THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

December 21, 2006   view past issues

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Feature: Holiday Greetings

Every year at this time-as the Holiday season settles in and the end of the year approaches-we at WEDDLE’s pause for a moment to reflect on our blessings.

Yes, the world is a troubled place and yes, it has certainly been a challenging twelve months for those of us in the recruiting and HR professions. Despite all of that, however, there is much for which we can be grateful. Our families and friends, our freedom to live life as we choose, and our opportunity to pursue dreams that reward and fulfill us.

Each of those blessings is a special gift-something to be cherished, enjoyed and appreciated. For me, however, there’s one more reason to be thankful: It is the simple, wonderful fact that you are reading these words. I know that you have many other demands on your time, so I and my colleagues here at WEDDLE’s are especially grateful for your interest in our research, our thoughts and ideas, and our publications.

We thank you for taking a little time out from a busy day to read my newsletter, for purchasing our books, for the friendship you’ve shown me whenever I speak in your local area, and for your generosity in telling others about WEDDLE’s. These are special gifts, as well, and we greatly appreciate them. So, all of us at WEDDLE’s send all of you and yours our best wishes for a wonderful conclusion to 2006 and a healthy and fulfilling 2007.

Warm Regards,

Peter Weddle


This Issue’s Sponsor: Arbita

This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Arbita.com.

Arbita is the leading provider of global jobs cross posting solutions.

Our flexible integration solutions allow you to combine job-posting capabilities with other applications easily. Our platform independent technologies empower you to deploy our systems in concert with leading ERP, HRIS, and ATS platforms. Our streamlined posting, robust reporting, knowledgeable media consulting and experienced vendor management improve recruiting workflow and results.

For more information please contact sales1@arbita.net or call us today at (612) 278-0000.


Section Two: Insights on the Web

Peter Weddle has been writing columns for his own newsletter and for the Interactive Edition of The Wall Street Journal since 1999. The following column has been drawn from that work and updated for 2006. For a complete collection of Peter’s writing, please see our book Postcards From Space.

Be One of the “Best Recruiters”

Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They’re called “retronyms.” They are words that have been redefined by the advent of new technology. You’ve seen them in the transformation of “mail” into the pejorative “snail mail” and the revision of “television” into the quaint “black and white television.” Once familiar and adequate, the root terms from the past have now been given new meanings by the advance of technology and the addition of a descriptive label.

We in recruiting have seen this phenomenon occur in our own profession. We use a retronym to describe what we are about in the labor market these days. It’s a war, right, a War for Talent? But not just any war for talent; it’s a War for the “Best Talent.” Thanks to the Internet, it’s now necessary to add an adjective to a word that should be sufficient in and of itself.

Talent is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a special often creative or artistic aptitude.” The acquisition of people with talent, therefore, is the goal of every organization. Some may do it better than others, but every employer sets out, at least, to attract and hire those who have that special aptitude in the skill areas it needs to accomplish its business operations. They know they need the competitive advantage that talent provides. And, they recognize that their probability of success declines dramatically when they employ people without it.

Why, then, do recruiters now believe that they have to recruit something better than garden variety talent? Why do they now focus on sourcing and selling the “best talent?” I think there are at least three reasons:

  • First, unlike most retronyms, the “best talent” is not a negative term. It isn’t something that technology has made obsolete, but rather something that it has made possible. By properly tapping the power of the Internet, we can actually reach into that very small population of the truly superior talent in the workforce and present a case for their moving to our organization.
  • Second, we have proof positive that the economic value of superior talent is greater-indeed, considerably greater-than that of average talent. The McKinsey & Company study that was, ironically, called The War for Talent provided quantified confirmation that “A” level performers are 50-100% more productive than “C” level performers. We’ve always known that intuitively; but the report demonstrate that reality with numbers, so that even the Chief Financial Officer will understand.
  • Third, many corporate leaders, including some in the HR profession itself, believe that they can acquire the best talent with a minimum of fuss. All they have to do is bolt a little recruiting technology onto what recruiters are already doing, and bidda-bang-bidda-boom, magic occurs. There’s no need to change policy, process or procedures or even the capabilities of the recruiting staff (witness the number of HR Generalists being asked to recruit as an additional duty in an already overloaded day). As long as they have the Internet, pulling in the best talent is as easy as fishing in a barrel.
  • The first two of these reasons make sense to me, but third … well, the third is just way off the mark. The best talent may be a retronym, but recruiting it with the Internet is not like using other technology. Take the television, for example. The viewer’s experience is enhanced by simply flipping a switch on their color, flat screen, high definition, surround sound set. As long as they can find the on-off button, they’re good to go. Online recruiting, on the other hand, requires considerable knowledge and skill, at least if you want it to help you with your work. The Internet, alone, does not enable us to recruit the best talent; that outcome can only be achieved if we fundamentally change in the way we recruit, as well. In other words, we must redesign our recruiting to capture the full potential of the technology.

    What should this redesign involve? As a minimum, it should encompass the following:

  • A change in recruitment advertising. It doesn’t do any good to use the Internet to connect with previously inaccessible populations of great workers if your message has all the appeal of a wet mop. Unfortunately, however, that’s the nature of most job postings today. They are uninformative, uninspiring and therefore uninviting to all but the untalented. To access the best talent with the Internet, companies are going to have to change their view of the purpose and content of recruitment advertising posted on that medium. They must give it the same priority as the advertising they devote to their products and services and develop it with the same care and creative energy. They must see their job postings not as simple notices of open positions, but as electronic advertising brochures that have the power to differentiate and sell their special value proposition as an employer.
  • A change in branding. An organization’s employment brand isn’t conveyed via a slogan or a marketing campaign; it is, instead, the sum of the experiences that are provided to candidates throughout its recruitment process. And in many organizations, those experiences are off-putting to all but the most untalented of job seekers. Candidates are subjected to the “black hole” of online resume submission and to the generic content of corporate career sites; they have to endure being kept in the dark about their status as they move through the recruiting process and the frustration of being unable to connect with a human being at almost any point along the way. To recruit the best talent, companies must redesign their processes to improve the interactions they have with candidates at each and every touch point, online as well as off. While administrative efficiency is important, the critical objective is to provide a total consumer experience that is so unique and compelling that it attracts and sells even the most reluctant (i.e., passive) of superior talent.
  • A change in individual communications. Most organizations are able to attract at least some of the best talent in the demographics for which they recruit. More often than not, however, these prospects are not seeking jobs; they are window shopping employers. For that reason, virtually every candidate management system on the market today has some functionality for communicating with them. Unlike applicants, these individuals are not yet ready to submit a resume (in fact, they probably don’t have one), but they are interested in learning more about the employer. In most cases, they are successful and employed (somewhere else) and all but ignored by the recruiting team. Why? Because the team has neither the necessary skills nor the time to communicate with these individuals. Yet, doing so is the one sure way to enhance the quality of a company’s applicants and to cut the time and cost of sourcing them. To capture those benefits, companies must change their view of the timing and purpose of individual communications on the Internet. Their goal is not to develop a database of static resumes, but rather to build a vast web of active prospect relationships that nurture interest and trust among the best and brightest.
  • The “best talent” may be a retronym-a cohort of the workforce that can now be effectively recruited, thanks to technology-but it cannot be sourced and sold by technology alone. Indeed, the War for the Best Talent will only be won by the “best recruiters”-those who most effectively adapt their organizations and operations to capture the full potential of advanced technology.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!


    Section Three: Site News You Can Use

    Business and Legal Reports, Inc. published its list of the nine personal traits that make HR managers successful. If you’re thinking about your New Year’s resolutions, working on these attributes might be a good place to start. They are:

  • Organized
  • The ability to multitask
  • Discrete and ethical (which, in my view, are not related and deserve separate recognition)
  • Dual focused (which, I suppose, means the ability to serve more than one set of customers simultaneously)
  • Trusted
  • Fair
  • Dedicated
  • Strategically oriented
  • Team oriented
  • While I wouldn’t quarrel with any of the selections, I think BLR missed the most important: Competent. We can demonstrate all of the other attributes on the list and we will still not be successful in our field, IF we have let our skill set grow obsolete. Professional competency is the foundation for every other way characteristic that enables us to add value to our employers.

    CareerJournal.com and the Society for Human Resource Management released the results of their 2006 U.S. Job Retention Poll. As with previous surveys on this topic, the news is not good for employers. According to respondents, voluntary resignations are on the rise among both management and non-management employees. On average, employers lost 12% of their workers this year. Why did they leave? The poll found that almost as many employees left to find greater career opportunity (27%) as those who left for an increase in salary (30%). In fact, over half of the employees in the poll (56%) cited career angst-the desire for better career opportunity and dissatisfaction with the potential for career development-as the cause of their departure. While annual pay increases have clearly lagged over the past five years, employees seem to be telling us that they are looking to improve their compensation not with guaranteed raises, but with better performance … as long as that upgrade is made possible through opportunities for learning and development on-the-job.

    Netcraft announced that there are now more than 100 million sites on the World Wide Web. Why do we care? I think there are at least two reasons why such a finding is important to us:

  • Reason #1: It underscores a new core competency for those of us in recruiting. Among those 100 million sites, there are at least 40,000 job boards and career portals. To source and recruit the best prospects for our openings, therefore, we have to know how to find, evaluate and select the best of those employment sites for each of our requirements.
  • Reason #2: The reality of 100 million sites underscores how difficult it is for employers’ sites to stand out. If we want the best talent to find our site and to be attracted to it, therefore, we have to develop an employment brand that differentiates and sells our organization. Then, we have to promote that brand at the Web-sites that attract the best talent in the demographics we’re trying to recruit (see Reason #1).
  • In essence, the increasingly crowded nature of the Web changes both what we must know and what we must do in order to be successful in our work.


    Please Support Our Sponsor: Arbita

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Arbita.com.

    Arbita is the leading provider of global jobs cross posting solutions.

    Our flexible integration solutions allow you to combine job-posting capabilities with other applications easily. Our platform independent technologies empower you to deploy our systems in concert with leading ERP, HRIS, and ATS platforms. Our streamlined posting, robust reporting, knowledgeable media consulting and experienced vendor management improve recruiting workflow and results.

    For more information please contact sales1@arbita.net or call us today at (612) 278-0000.