THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

May 29, 2008   view past issues

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Feature: The Best Recruiters Use All of Their Brain

I’ve just finished writing a book called Recognizing Richard Rabbit. It’s a fable for adults, a tale of forest animals who help a friend discover … well, that’s the secret of the book (which you can buy even before it arrives in bookstores by calling WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768).

Unlike traditional fables–Who Moved My Cheese?, for example-my story immerses the reader in two spheres of exploration. One, of course, is the fictional account of the fable, itself; the other is a self-interview that probes the same territory, but with nonfiction. In other words, Recognizing Richard Rabbit enables you to use both hemispheres of your brain-the analytical or reasoning capability that resides on the left side and the imagination or creative talent that lives on the right.

While the book is not about recruiting, I think its premise-that we are at our best when we tap both our reasoning and creative energies-is an important lesson for those of us in the field of talent acquisition. Given the current fascination with online sourcing techniques, I worry that we are in danger of losing that balance. Said another way, our success depends upon our ability to guard against being too left-sided in our work. We must be careful not to rely exclusively or even primarily on the analytical side of our brain in our efforts to meet our recruiting requirements.

What does that mean? Left-brain recruiting activity encompasses the logic of search strings and the efficiency of online contact management. It involves:

  • Data mining within specific Web-sites as well as on the Web at large;
  • Searching resume databases whether they are provided by research sites or job boards;
  • Developing ever larger address books of names and contact information; and
  • Compiling ever-larger databases of resumes from previous job applicants.
  • Such activity is important, to be sure, for it enables us to source prospects for our openings efficiently. However, there’s nothing creative or intuitive about it. In Maslovian terms, left-brain activity is essential but insufficient for successful recruiting. We can be the best data miner on our team or have the biggest address book of contacts on the Web or build the largest database of resumes on the planet, and still be an also-ran in the War for the Best Talent.

    What’s missing? The right side of our brain, of course. The creative hemisphere that taps our imagination, inspiration and our ability to empathize with others. Only the right side of our brain enables us to take all of those names we uncover by data mining, all of those resumes we find by searching databases, all of those references to prospects we uncover on social and business networking sites and transform them into relationships. If the left side of our brain permits us to leverage the power of our computer for efficient sourcing, the right side of our brain gives us back our humanity so we can be effective recruiters. It puts people back in the center of our profession where they must be for us to be truly successful.

    How does the right side of our brain do that? It provides our native ability:

  • to build familiarity and trust with others, even those we would describe as passive;
  • to identify and assess individual personalities as well as competencies, thereby ensuring a good fit as well as a filled requisition;
  • to extend single connections into vibrant communities that serve as reliable pipelines of talent for our organizations; and
  • to be effective while being efficient, moving beyond a simplistic supply chain perspective to a deeper, richer appreciation of the men and women with whom we interact.
  • Exercising those abilities transfers the focus of what we do from the medium to the message. It moves us from the mechanics of computerized sourcing to the people-centricity of computer-assisted recruiting. The right-side of our brain extends our reach beyond online databases and documents and virtual “introductions” to true engagement with candidates, for only that kind of interaction reveals the fine-grained distinctions among people. It enables us to see the people we source not as cogs at the end of a clever Boolean search string but as cognitive beings with whom we are intimately connected by the humanity we share.

    Now, I realize that some will say that such high-minded phrases are way too esoteric for the daily routine of recruiters. They are, these critics will charge, much too ephemeral for the real world demands with which we are confronted in our work. And certainly my words are high-minded. In my view, however, that’s entirely appropriate. We recruiters work in a high-minded profession. We may not get the priority we deserve in the enterprise, but what we do draws on the noblest level of human endeavor. Day-in, day-out, we create the human capital which powers the organizations that employ us and we do so without any expectation that we will be advanced in our careers or even in our paycheck. Because that’s the other unique gift we draw from the right side of our brain … it inspires us to reach for the best we can be. There’s not a technology on earth that can do that.

    Does that mean we should ignore the left side of our brain? Absolutely not. Focusing exclusively on the creative side of what we do is just as potentially harmful to our recruiting success as focusing exclusively on the analytical side. Just as you can’t recruit top talent without building relationships with people, you can’t source strong prospects without conducting rigorous searches of databases and documents archived online. For that reason, the best in our profession tap every bit of their capacity-the logic and reasoning and the creativity and imagination-with which they were endowed. They use all of their brain.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about the WEDDLE’s newsletter.

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


    This Issue’s Sponsor: WEDDLE’s Private Training

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of WEDDLE’s Private Training Programs, with tailored courses for corporate and third party recruiters.

    WEDDLE’s offers a wide range of training programs that can be delivered on-site in your own facility or in a toll-free teleconference format similar to WEDDLE’s public programs. You can select a single 75-minute program, pick two programs for a combined 2.5-hour seminar or three programs for a half-day workshop.

    All programs are delivered by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, one of the recruiting profession’s most highly rated trainers. And, best of all, these programs are reasonably priced, so you make a smart investment and get smart in return.

    WEDDLE’s training programs include:

  • “Precruitment”-Planning for Recruiting Excellence
  • Transforming Supervisors into CROs-Chief Retention Officers
  • Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • Optimizing the Candidate Experience: The Secret to Recruiting Top Talent
  • A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • Best Practices in Sourcing Passive Prospects Online
  • Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • The Sum & Substance of a Great Employment Brand
  • Transforming Your Resume Database into a Candidate Gold Mine
  • HR Leadership-The Antidote to Management-by-the-Numbers
  • Staffing Metrics That Count in the Corner Office
  • For more information and to schedule your private, in-house WEDDLE’s training program, please call us at 203.964.1888.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Associations Now magazine from the American Society of Association Executives published a list of tips for those of us who are leading a virtual team. Developed by Michelle Allen (and with some commentary by me), they are:

  • Learn to be comfortable with distance and times zones. With team members likely to be spread out geographically, there is seldom a common workday or work schedule. “An effective virtual leader rotates the time frames when conference calls for team meetings are going to be held so that the same people are not always inconvenienced.”
  • Practice the art of delegation. Ironically, delegation (when clearly and fully communicated) helps virtual teams feel more connected because they have clear assignments and goals. “When it comes to delegation, the general guideline is that the more everyone knows about who is working on what, the more people feel connected and better positioned to support each other and the team as a whole.”
  • Stay in touch with your remote employees. Communicate on a regular but non-intrusive basis and watch for the warning signs of individual disconnection. “Things such as decreases in input, offering [fewer] ideas or suggestions and comments, either in virtual team meetings or just simply through e-mail … indicate that a person has gone to the ‘virtual screensaver’.”
  • Make sure you have a full perspective before making a decision. It’s hard enough to see all aspects of a situation when you’re collocated with your team; it’s even harder when the team is operating virtually. Reach out to individuals and the team as a whole and solicit their input, but always reserve your right (and authority) to make the final decision based on your judgment of what’s best.
  • Be prepared to adapt your leadership style to different cultures. Virtual teams increase the likelihood that you will be supervising someone from a different country and/or culture. It’s the leader’s responsibility to make sure they are aware of differing mores and to adapt their style as much as possible to accommodate them, without diminishing the team’s focus on the accomplishment of its mission.
  • Harvard Business Review reported on a University of Wisconsin-Madison study of retention problems following a layoff. According to an April 2008 article in the Academy of Management Journal, layoffs that affect just 1% of the workforce subsequently led to a 31% increase in voluntary turnover. What causes this problem? After reviewing data submitted by companies competing for Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, the researchers, professor Charlie O. Trevor and doctoral candidate Anthony J. Nyberg, found an unexpected connection. While a mistrust of the organization or a sense of being overworked in the aftermath of a layoff may have been contributing factors, they discovered a positive correlation between the attrition and corporate career development programs. These programs, which are often offered in the wake of layoffs to improve retention, apparently can have just the opposite effect. Why? Trevor and Nyberg suggest that the content of such programs raise employees’ awareness of their options and of how to seek out more attractive opportunities with other employers. Does that mean you should abandon career development programs if you have them? I don’t think so. But it does mean that these programs must be carefully designed and, just as importantly, implemented in concert with a set of initiatives that will solidify the employment value proposition of your organization.

    Total Picture Radio, which is known as “The Voice of Career Leadership,” recently conducted an interview with WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle. The wide ranging conversation covers everything from networking online for top talent and WEDDLE’s User’s Choice Awards to Peter’s most recent books: his fable for adults called Recognizing Richard Rabbit and his handbook to success at work called The Career Fitness Self Fulfillment System. To listen to the 25 minute interview, just click here. To place your order for Recognizing Richard Rabbit or The Career Fitness Self Fulfillment System, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768. Order now and be among the first to own these books. The fable won’t be in bookstores or on Amazon.com for a month; the handbook won’t be there for three months, but you can own Rabbit right now and Career Fitness in less than two months, if you call right away. So don’t delay, place your order today!

    WEDDLE’s publications are the references of choice for recruiters seeking to maximize their return on the Internet and win the War for the Best Talent. 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 on the link to your left 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:

    BioSpace

    http://www.biospace.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: $325/posting

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 525,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among visitors: Sales & Marketing, Research & Development, Biotech/Pharmaceutical Clinical Scientist

    Other services for employers: Discussion forum, Automated resume agent, Banner advertising, Status report on advertising.

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes


    Please Support Our Sponsor: WEDDLE’s Training

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of WEDDLE’s Private Training Programs, with tailored courses for corporate and third party recruiters.

    WEDDLE’s offers a wide range of training programs that can be delivered on-site in your own facility or in a toll-free teleconference format similar to WEDDLE’s public programs. You can select a single 75-minute program, pick two programs for a combined 2.5-hour seminar or three programs for a half-day workshop.

    All programs are delivered by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, one of the recruiting profession’s most highly rated trainers. And, best of all, these programs are reasonably priced, so you make a smart investment and get smart in return.

    WEDDLE’s training programs include:

  • “Precruitment”-Planning for Recruiting Excellence
  • Transforming Supervisors into CROs-Chief Retention Officers
  • Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • Optimizing the Candidate Experience: The Secret to Recruiting Top Talent
  • A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • Best Practices in Sourcing Passive Prospects Online
  • Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • The Sum & Substance of a Great Employment Brand
  • Transforming Your Resume Database into a Candidate Gold Mine
  • HR Leadership-The Antidote to Management-by-the-Numbers
  • Staffing Metrics That Count in the Corner Office
  • For more information and to schedule your private, in-house WEDDLE’s training program, please call us at 203.964.1888.