THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

September 15, 2004   view past issues

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Feature: Practice the Golden Rule

Recently, I received a message from a job seeker that was depressing on two counts. It read, in part, “… I just can’t figure, when applying online, why there is not a response from the employer, even when the person applying is qualified. I guess online employment hunting is so impersonal that there isn’t any feedback ….” It was signed Jobless in New Mexico.

The message was a downer, first and foremost, because the person who sent it was struggling to find a job. It was also depressing, however, because it illustrates how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in recruitment. Thanks to the Internet, we now can reach deeper into the candidate population faster and cheaper than ever before. We can connect with even the passive prospects and “A” level performers who were formerly accessible only via headhunters or by time-intensive networking. We have all of those advantages, and in many organizations, at least, we’re frittering them away. How? By violating something as simple as the Golden Rule.

As any grade school child can tell us, that rule simply urges us to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. So, why are we behaving as if job seekers are persona non grata in our organizations? I’ve heard all of the rationalizations, but frankly, they simply aren’t compelling. Usually they are a version of one of the two following themes: in tough economic times, there are simply too many applicants, and in good economic times, there are simply too many openings for recruiters to communicate with those who would like to work for their employer.

Implicit in this statement is the real reason prospective employers mistreat candidates: their recruiting functions are not staffed to do the work they should. While that’s an unfortunate reality in far too many organizations, it is not a justification for such behavior. Why? Because technology, in general, and such developments as applicant tracking systems and corporate Web-sites, in particular, provide an effective way for us to:

  • practice the Golden Rule in our candidate interactions and
  • do so within the constraints imposed on our headcount in the recruiting organization.
  • Taking this step is vitally important because the experience a candidate has while interacting with an organization is a key element of its employment brand. The way candidates are treated conveys a subliminal, but powerful message about an employer’s culture and the value it places on people. While those who are desperate for employment will probably apply no matter how shabbily they are treated, the best and brightest will not tolerate impolite or disrespectful behavior, even if it is unintended. They deserve to be treated better, they expect to be treated better, and they will only consider working for employers where they are.

    How can you use technology to burnish the experience you provide to candidates? The following steps will get you started:

  • An easy first step, of course, is to use the auto-responder built into your applicant or resume management system. (If you don’t have such a system, see if your e-mail technology can generate an automated reply to resume submissions.) While these messages are obviously generic and therefore impersonal, they do address the “black hole” experience of resume submission. When job seekers apply for a position and get no acknowledgement that their credentials have been received, they immediately assume the worst; the Internet has let them down, their resume or application has been lost, and they will be overlooked for a position they want and could do well. A simple “Thank you; we got it.” would go a long way toward relieving that angst.
  • In addition, use the message in your auto-responder to enhance and promote your organization’s employment brand. To do that, the message content:

    (1) must persuade the candidate that they will be treated fairly and responsibly in a process that is well organized and meticulous. Your communication should thank them for their submission, underscore your organization’s commitment to hiring only the best prospects for each opening, and tell them what will happen next in what time period, whether they are selected for further evaluation or not.

    (2) should also tell them that you provide in-depth information on your corporate career site to answer any questions they may have. If you don’t provide such information, you should. It indicates that you care enough about candidates to try and be helpful to them even before an offer of employment is extended. How do you determine what information they want? Ask some of your recent hires what was most helpful to them in making a decision to join your organization.

  • Manage the expectations of job seekers by being honest about your limitations. Use your corporate career site to tell them, right up front, what you cannot do and why. For example, you might say that the volume of applications is so great that you unfortunately don’t have the resources to provide individual feedback or the answers to personal questions early in the evaluation process. Simple as such a statement might seem, it conveys an appreciation for the needs and concerns of job seekers that can differentiate an employer and induce even the best and brightest to apply.
  • There are never enough arms and legs in today’s staffing organizations to do everything we know we should in dealing with candidates. That reality, however, does not mean that we don’t have ways to set our employer apart among top prospects. Ironically, one of the most effective strategies is to use technology to implement a practice most of us learned in grade school. Treating candidates as we would like to be treated not only makes you popular on the playground, it also helps make your organization’s employment brand very hard to resist.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    A Final Request Please tell a friend or colleagues (or two) about WEDDLE’s newsletter.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Yahoo! HotJobs

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Yahoo! HotJobs

    Find the right candidate right now.

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  • Post Jobs,
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    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    CareerBoard acquired JobBoards.com, enabling it to expand its regional specialization. The site will now add Detroit, MI, Louisville, KY and Indianapolis, IN to its traditional service area in the state of Ohio.

    DiversityInc.com now charges for job posting on its site. Based on data received from the site in 2004, its profile in WEDDLE’s 2004 Recruiter’s Guide to Employment Web Sites indicates that job posting is free. It is not. Based on information we recently received from one of our Guide’s users, we now know that the site charges $195 for one posting of 45 days. Many thanks to our reader and to all of you who help keep WEDDLE’s up-to-date and accurate!

    TrueCareers launched a Diversity Center as a part of its Web-site. TrueCareers is a WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award winner. It is a division of Sallie Mae, the student loan provider, and specializes in candidates with a college education.

    Union Pacific found that almost a third (29%) of its employee healthcare costs were caused by chronic conditions and poor habits. That was in 1990; by 2001, it had lowered that percentage to 18.8% by instituting an employee health and wellness program. Along the way, it discovered that the best way to inform employees about good lifestyle habits was not to provide the information at work, but rather, to mail it to their homes. That can be expensive, however, so use the Internet instead. It enables you to get the information out more effectively and cheaply. How? By building a Family Health & Fitness Center on your corporate site or intranet. Promote the center in pay envelopes, but put the information online. That way, family members can access it whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them. What information should you include? Everything from exercises for the “activity challenged” to healthy dinner recipes and contests for youngsters; in short, anything that will make a healthy lifestyle a family affair.

    WEDDLE’s and ExecuNet are pleased to announces a Webinar series for recruiters and HR professionals. The three-session series is entitled Unfair Advantage: Tactics, Strategy & Leadership for Winning the War for Talent. Each session is a stand-alone program that promises to pack plenty of learning into 90 minutes. Session 1 covers best practices in online recruiting; Session 2 explores key strategies in winning the War for the Best Talent; and Session 3 addresses the secret weapon for winning the talent wars-leadership. All of the sessions will be delivered by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle. You can sign up for one session or for all three. There is a registration fee of $195 per session/$390 for the entire program, but it provides site access, so you can have as many colleagues as you want attend the program. Best of all, WEDDLE’s subscribers get a whopping 39% discount. For more information and to register, please call ExecuNet Member Services at 1.800.637.3126. Make sure you identify yourself as a WEDDLE’s subscriber to get the discount.


    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. Your company is a marine products manufacturer that needs a supply chain director fast. Which of the following sites would link you to the talent you need?

  • JobsinLogistics.com
  • SupplyChainRecruit.com
  • BuyingJobs.com
  • TalentSupply.com
  • 2. You need an electrical engineer with experience in analog design and testing. Which of the following sites would short circuit your search?

  • EngCen.com
  • IEEE.org
  • TinyTechJobs.com
  • DesignPeople.com
  • 3. Your company needs a bilingual sales manager for its Denver store. Which of the following sites would translate into a successful search?

  • LingoJobs.com
  • BilingualSource.com
  • BilingualJobs.net
  • SpeakUp.com
  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2004 Guides and Directories

    RegionalHelpWanted.com

    www.regionalhelpwanted.com

    A WEDDLE’s 2004 User’s Choice Award Winner

    Post full time jobs: Yes

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

    Distribution of jobs: National – USA

    Fee to post a job: $101-200/posting

    Posting period: 30 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 500,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among resumes: Administrative, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing

    Other services for employers: Auto notification of resume-job matches, Banner advertising, Special area for HR professionals/recruiters, Status reports: banners, postings

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. All but TalentSupply.com, a job board for actors, models, disc jockeys and poets.

    2. DesignPeople.com, the site of the Old Rochester (NY) Civic Theater.

    3. Only BilingualJobs.net.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: Yahoo! HotJobs

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Yahoo! HotJobs

    Find the right candidate right now.

    Combine Yahoo!’s reach and cutting edge search technology with HotJobs’ career expertise and let Yahoo! HotJobs go to work for you.

  • Post Jobs,
  • Search Resumes, or
  • Post and Search with a custom solution.
  • To speak with a representative, call 1-877-HOTJOBS (468-5627).