THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

September 4, 2008   view past issues

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Feature: It’s Fall, Now What?

Remember last year? Or even better, the year before? You would come back from a relatively slow summer, and bam!, the flood gates would open. The Labor Day holiday marked the end of summer and the beginning of a frenetic, sometimes even frantic period of hiring. The fall has traditionally been the first or second most active period of recruiting for large as well as small employers. You would hit the ground sprinting and not stop until the Thanksgiving Day holiday had arrived.

So, what about this year? While some employers are still hiring, many are not. Unemployment is up, layoffs are rising, and recruiting, well recruiting is sadly the last thing on many CEOs’ minds. Does that mean there’s nothing to do? Of course not. The question is not whether we still have important tasks to accomplish, but rather, which ones we should execute and in which priority order.

To help you think through your goals for the fall, I offer the following list of suggestions:

Recruiter training. It’s always tough to take time out for training when the demand for recruiting is strong. On the other hand, even the most season recruiters need to have their skills refreshed from time-to-time, and those new to the profession deserve to have a full kit bag of competencies as they begin their work. Start by upgrading individual skills in the use of your applicant tracking system so that everyone takes greater advantage of its full functionality. Then, hone the skills of each recruiter in:

  • online sourcing techniques;
  • networking, both online and off;
  • interviewing strategies and methods;
  • interpersonal communications, both verbal and online; and
  • interpreting and using the organization’s financial performance data.
  • Hiring manager training. When business is booming (or even when it’s recovering), there’s precious little time to improve the skills of our partners in the recruiting process, especially those of hiring managers. While it’s clear they don’t always realize how much they need it, virtually every line manger who supervises more than just him or herself could benefit from having their capabilities upgraded in the following areas:

  • writing clear and reasonable position requirements;
  • interviewing strategies and methods;
  • building empathy with others, especially strangers;
  • selling the organization’s value proposition as an employer; and
  • understanding and actually believing the connection between talent acquisition and their success.
  • Team training. The recruiting process seldom works well when it is executed by stove-piped units. Convincing top talent to leave their current employer and join yours (which remains the challenge of recruiting even in a down economy) requires an integrated and concerted effort by everyone in the organization. So, provide the training necessary to establish a team-based approach to recruiting that includes:

  • the CEO, CFO and the other senior leaders who must establish a vision, values and culture for the organization that will both accomplish its mission and coalesce into a compelling employment brand;
  • the HR Department on which the recruiting team depends for budgetary and moral support as well as the development of policies and procedures that will enhance the organization’s employment brand;
  • the IT Department which ensures that the data captured both about candidates and the operation of the recruiting process are accurate, easily accessible and efficiently used;
  • your sourcers and recruiters who must be genuinely committed to excellence and to the mission and values of the organization; and
  • your supervisors and managers who must be able to evaluate candidates accurately and sell the best prospects persuasively on joining their team.
  • Workforce planning. All too often, recruiting teams are forced to engage in reactive, ad hoc sourcing because they aren’t given visibility into line units’ staffing needs in advance. As a result, they are forced to wage the War for Talent as a struggle for any talent rather than as a search for the best talent. Workforce planning is the only way to solve that problem, and despite what the pundits will tell you, it need not be conducted with supercomputers and MBA graduates. Back-of-the-envelope analysis will give you enough information to forecast:

  • which open positions will be refilled first in the recovery;
  • which positions are likely to change in content, location or both;
  • what new positions will be created by changes in market conditions, the competitive landscape or technology;
  • when and how fast the demand will ramp up in specific fields and locations; and
  • where there might be demand-supply mismatches that could affect the timing and certainty of successful staffing.
  • Building your organization’s employment brand. The best candidates are almost always passive, so the only way to pull them into your recruiting process is to develop and promote a compelling and differentiating image of your organization as an employer. This brand is a combination of what you say about what it’s like to work in your organization and what you do to and for candidates in the recruiting process. As a result, building an effective employment brand encompasses all of the following:

  • creating a statement (not a tag line-we’re selling employment opportunities not tires) that will depict the unique aspects of the work experience your organization offers in a persuasive way;
  • promoting that statement in the key places where your target demographics hang out, both online and off;
  • training every hiring manager to articulate the statement without butchering it and with enough passion to sell even the most passive prospect;
  • training all employees to articulate your employment value proposition accurately and with feeling so they can more effectively participate in your employee referral program; and
  • simulating the values and commitments in the statement during your recruiting process and living up to them in the way you treat candidates as they move through that process.
  • Building a prospect warehouse. When business is booming, resume databases quickly become repositories of static documents and databases of prospects (not applicants) never even get established. Hard charging recruiting organizations simply don’t have the time that’s required to build relationships with the people behind the resumes or the candidates who aren’t yet ready to apply. Yet, that’s exactly what is needed. The best talent only responds to those they know and trust and only when it’s the right time for them, so organizations must build large warehouses of individual connections that enable them to nurture such relationships. These efforts include the following:

  • creating multiple channels (e.g., your employee referral program, data mining online) to identify and connect with the top talent in the career fields for which your organization recruits;
  • developing and implementing an opt-in communications program with the necessary messaging to build familiarity and trust among those prospects;
  • developing and implementing a similar campaign for those applicants whose resumes are already in your resume management system;
  • targeting specific individuals in the two databases for specific openings in advance (i.e., before the opening occurs) and pre-qualifying and pre-selling them for those positions; and
  • using the additional information gathered about individual prospects and applicants in the warehouse to identify the best-fit individual for each current opening and sell them on that position.
  • Of course, not every organization will need to perform every one of the above tasks. The key is to use this fall of slower economic growth to best advantage for your employer, and any one of these tasks (or more) would be a step in the right direction.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. READER’S ALERT: Don’t miss the write-up below on WEDDLE’s latest book-Finding Needles in a Haystack. Shally Steckerl called it “A rare and uniquely useful reference guide for recruiters!”.

    P.S.S. Don’t forget to send us your new e-mail address if you move.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big message in a little book that is well on its way to becoming a business best seller.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends that make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you are meant to be.

    What’s that have to do with recruiters and HR professionals? Despite all of the technology it now involves, recruiting is still fundamentally an exercise in forging genuine, empathetic connections with other people. And you can only make such connections if you are being authentic, if you are being true to yourself. In other words, Recognizing Richard Rabbit will not only help you to find the You of your dreams, it will improve your ability to recruit top prospects, as well.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. This is one book you won’t want to miss! Buy your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Beyond.com polled visitors across its network of 15,000 employment sites to determine how higher gas prices are affecting their outlook and behavior. It found that almost eight out-of-ten (79%) are looking for a job closer to home. That’s a sobering statistic in a booming economy, but in these times of slower growth, it’s a startling revelation. What should you do? Explore what alternatives you have for creating “energy handcuffs”-subsidies or other support that will make it simply too costly for talent to leave your organization. What might that involve? Beyond’s poll also produced the following results:

  • 13% of respondents are seeking to telecommute from home, so a telecommuting program could be one kind of an “energy handcuff;”
  • 6% of respondents are using public transportation or walking to work so bus passes and/or a showering and dressing facility could also serve as an “energy handcuff; and
  • 2% are looking to carpool with coworkers so establishing a carpooler’s bulletin board on your organization’s intranet is yet another way to create an “energy handcuff.”

    Whatever you do, however, such programs will only have the desired effect on attrition if they are well publicized and carefully managed. Indeed, a poorly run “energy handcuff” is likely to fuel even more departures and thus further deplete an organization’s talent reserves.

    BusinessPundit.com developed a list of eight questions designed to increase the insights elicited during reference checks. While many organizations have a “minimalist” policy regarding the release of information about former employees, the site believes its questions can turn even the most reticent reference into a virtual fount of intelligence. The questions follow-you decide:

  • Were you asked to be a reference by [candidate’s name]?
  • What did [the candidate] learn during his or her time with your company?
  • If you could give [the candidate] a single career suggestion, what would it be?
  • What circumstances frustrate [the candidate] the most?
  • How well does [the candidate] manage pressure, stress or crises?
  • [If the reference supervised the candidate] How did [the candidate] respond to your management style?
  • Would you rehire [the candidate]?
  • Can you refer me to someone [the candidate] didn’t get along with?
  • The Hay Group surveyed compensation executives and managers to get their sense of how many employees actually know the minimum and maximum figures in the salary range for their position. Among the respondents:

  • 24% said that few employees knew the salary range minimum and maximum for their job;
  • 25% said some employees knew these figures;
  • 18% said that that half of all employees were aware of such figures;
  • 18% said that most employees had this information; and
  • 14% actually said that all employees knew the figures.
  • To put it another way, almost half (49%) of the compensation experts in this poll felt that hardly anyone in their organization knew much about the upper and lower limits of pay for their job and barely one-in-seven thought that everyone was fully informed. With rising costs and inflation putting a pinch on almost everyone’s household budget, such an information vacuum poses a real risk to retention.

    WEDDLE’s has released a powerful new tool for recruiters. Called Finding Needles in a Haystack, it’s the first comprehensive listing of keywords for successfully searching resume databases online and off. The book provides thousands of search terms and phrases for the:

  • engineering,
  • finance,
  • healthcare,
  • human resources,
  • sales & marketing,
  • technology,
  • and other fields.
  • If you’re not getting the yield you need from job board resume databases, data mining or even your own resume management system, this is the reference book for you. In fact, sourcing guru Shally Steckerl described this book as “A rare and uniquely useful reference guide for recruiters!” It doesn’t get any better than that! To order your copy, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Get Finding Needles in a Haystack today!

    WEDDLE’s also offers a number of other publications for recruiters seeking to win the War for the Best Talent and maximize their ROI … their return on the Internet. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the occupational fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden talent market” online, it details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Postcards from Space: Being the Best in Online Recruitment & HR Management. A compilation of Peter Weddle’s columns for The Wall Street Journal, it provides a complete introduction to the Best Practices for sourcing, recruiting and retaining talent online.
  • Generalship: HR Leadership in a Time of War. The only primer on leadership that focuses on the unique challenges of the HR professional waging both a War for Relevancy in the modern corporation and a War for Talent in the 21st Century labor market.
  • So make sure you’re at the top of your game, get your WEDDLE’s books today. Click here or call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 40,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to recruiting top talent online, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for each of your requirements. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the optimum yield for you. For example:

    WorkplaceDiversity.com

    http://www.workplacediversity.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Fee to post a job: $200/posting

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 85,000+

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among visitors: Wide range

    Other services for employers: Assessment instruments, Automated resume agent, Banner advertising, Status reports

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes


    Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit Today!

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big message in a little book that is well on its way to becoming a business best seller.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends that make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you are meant to be.

    What’s that have to do with recruiters and HR professionals? Despite all of the technology it now involves, recruiting is still fundamentally an exercise in forging genuine, empathetic connections with other people. And you can only make such connections if you are being authentic, if you are being true to yourself. In other words, Recognizing Richard Rabbit will not only help you to find the You of your dreams, it will improve your ability to recruit top prospects, as well.

    So, what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. Don’t delay. This is one book you won’t want to miss! Buy your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit right away.