THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

April 3, 2008   view past issues

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Feature: The Six Habits of Ineffective Recruiters

If you’ve been alive on planet Earth at any time during the past decade, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Stephen Covey’s blockbuster bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The book has helped millions of people center their lives on seemingly simple but powerful principles for leading a meaningful and satisfying life. It is, if you will, a guide to right actions in the ups and downs of our day.

As Dr. Covey also acknowledges, however, there is a dark side to habits. These oft repeated actions can be harmful as well as helpful. They can cause us to fail as well as succeed. So, while it’s appropriate to bias our lives toward the right habits, it’s also important to avoid those that can undermine or derail us. To put it another way, we must be as proactive about protecting ourselves from bad habits as we are about pursuing good ones.

What does that mean for those of us in recruiting? I think bad habits can actually cause an organization to lose the War for Talent. To ensure that doesn’t happen, it’s critical that you stay away from what can harm you and your performance. Fortunately, while there are a fairly large number of dangerous habits, you can get significant protection by avoiding just a handful as they represent the greatest potential threat. I call them “the six habits of ineffective recruiters.”

These bad habits fall into two categories:

  • those that are artifacts of the early days of online recruiting
  • and

  • those that are artifacts of earlier days in traditional recruiting.
  • Let’s look at the six habits in a bit more detail.

    Bad Habits That Are Artifacts of the Early Days of Online Recruiting

    Habit #1: Using the same employment Web-sites over and over again. Today, there are over 50,000 job boards and career portals operating in the U.S. alone. That’s a 25% increase in online recruiting capability in just the last five years, yet many recruiters persist in using only the one or two sites with which they’ve always posted and are thus most comfortable. Regardless of their recruiting requirement or the access that other sites provide to their target demographic, they limit their job board selection to a familiar handful of sites and no others.

    What’s a more effective habit? Learn how to shop smart for job boards. Use reference guides and colleagues to help you scan the job board universe for sites that might be appropriate for your particular opening. Then, evaluate the alternatives focusing on their ability to attract passive, high caliber talent in your target demographic. Finally, select the set of sites-I suggest you use seven-that are most likely to connect you with the top talent that you need and your clients and competitors can’t find. Why can’t they find those top prospects? Because they’re still going to the same old sites they’ve always used.

    Habit #2: Relying exclusively on job postings for candidate sourcing. For much of the past decade, recruiters have focused almost entirely on the use of recruitment advertising to reach candidates for their openings. Today, however, the Web offers a range of sourcing methods for finding and establishing relationships with top talent in all professions, crafts and trades. Despite these advances in capability, however, many recruiters persist in simply posting jobs online-putting a check mark in the Internet box-and then spending the rest of their time doing the same old things they’ve always done in the real world.

    What’s a more effective habit? Adopt a multifaceted online sourcing and recruiting strategy and acquire the expertise necessary to implement it effectively. For example, the Internet now offers a way to supplement your traditional networking with online networking that can significantly expand your access to the candidate pool. Unlike social networking, this professional networking places your interactions with prospects in the appropriate venue for building useful (i.e., work-related) recruiting relationships with them. However, as with any other activity, this sourcing method is only as effective as the time and effort you put into it.

    Habit #3: Following the herd to the latest recruiting fad. Since its earliest days, online recruiting has been absorbed by one “great new thing” after another. Countless tools have been introduced for sourcing, selling, selecting, segmenting and systematizing candidates, all accompanied by breathless claims that they are going to change recruiting as we know it on the Web. All too often, however, the time and energy that was devoted to learning these new (and unproven) techniques precluded recruiters from gaining expertise in the proven tools they already had.

    What’s the more effective habit? Invest your limited time in becoming an expert in the tools that have proven their effectiveness online. Don’t avoid new developments, of course, but let others prove or disprove their claims. Early adopters gain no significant advantage in the recruiting field, so let them experiment while you pursue excellence in what we already know works: recruitment and search advertising, online networking and a limited set of data mining tools.

    Bad Habits That Are Artifacts of the Earlier Days of Traditional Recruiting

    Habit #4: Writing job postings the same way classified ads are written. Recruiters have been composing classified ads for newspapers and other conventional publications for decades. They’re comfortable with the way such recruiting messages are composed and structured in print, and they’ve been effective at writing them. This success has encouraged many recruiters to assume that they can use the same approach online. The Internet, however, is unlike the printed page; it has very different physical dimensions, and it creates a virtual experience that engages people in a very different way.

    What’s the more effective habit? Acknowledge two differences: (1) People, in general, interact with a written message differently on the Internet than they do on the printed page and (2) Passive prospects, in particular, interact with job ads differently than do active job seekers. Learn the structure, syntax and vocabulary of persuasive online recruitment advertising and perform the tailoring necessary to adapt those principles to the information and motivational needs of passive, high caliber talent.

    Habit #5: Treating the resume database as a static stack of documents. Paper resumes have always had very limited utility. Basically, they provided recruiters with a summary of a person’s qualifications and their contact information. That situation has now changed, thanks to the widespread installation of resume management systems that can be (and often are) linked to the Internet. This architecture provides recruiters with a way to communicate regularly with the people behind the resumes and build relationships with them. As useful as that activity would be, however, many recruiters fail to make the effort.

    What’s the more effective habit? See resumes as people not documents. Use the mass one-to-one communications capability of the Internet and the organizing capacity of computerized databases to develop and implement a campaign of regular, personalized messages to all previous applicants. Properly designed, these communications can help you pre-qualify them for and pre-sell them on the openings you have to fill today and in the future.

    Habit #6: Viewing recruiting as an activity that anyone can do. A growing number of organizations are assigning recruiting responsibilities to HR generalists. They ask these individuals to perform an activity for which they have had modest (if any) training or worse, they expect them to recruit effectively while concurrently accomplishing a laundry list of other HR duties. As we all know, however, talent has never been more important to the success of the enterprise, and that includes the talent required to recruit successfully.

    What’s the more effective habit? If you really believe your organization is in a War for the Best Talent, staff for victory, not for a stalemate or worse. Recognize that recruiting is a profession unto itself, with an ever-growing body of knowledge and ever more complex set of skills. Then, give recruiters and HR generalists the training and the priority of mission they need to hone their talent and perform their role successfully.

    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: eGrabber

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of eGrabber, the leading Silicon Valley-based provider of resume data capture and processing solutions.

    Would You Like More Time for Recruiting???

    If you are looking for possible solutions to:

  • increase your connect time with candidates
  • overcome inefficiencies in your work-flow
  • improve your productivity and placement ratio
  • save time and cost,
  • then ResumeGrabber Pro is the tool for you.

    ResumeGrabber Pro offers a fast and automated way to import, screen and transfer resumes into your ATS/Contact Manager/database. It completely eliminates the pain of having to manually import/screen every resume and copy-paste contact information from each selected resume into your database.

    All you need to do is;

    1. Highlight the resume(s) you’d like to import. Resumes can be in any format, from any source-Google search results, resumes on Job Boards, word documents, text files on your local PC folders or email attachments in your inbox.

    2. Screen/shortlist resumes using keywords.

    3. Just “Click” to transfer them to any database.

    ResumeGrabber Pro auto-extracts name, address, phone & email of the candidate and enters it, along with the resume, into your database. It works with MS Excel, Outlook, ACT!, GoldMine, PCRecruiter, BigBiller and more.

    For more information and a free trial, please visit www.egrabber.com/promo/weddles/rgpro/index.html.

    For a free 10-minute demo, please call 408-705-1106 or email sales@egrabber.com.

    Buy ResumeGrabber Pro before April 9, 2008 and get $100 off. Use coupon code WEDSPL4Y8 while placing your order. This offer is exclusive for subscribers of WEDDLE’s Newsletter for Recruiters & HR Professionals.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    WEDDLE’s identified the villain in the “whodunit” it published last month. (For those of you who missed this “crime of talent,” click here and select the March 13, 2008 issue to read it.) Remember, the clue we had from the victim was 4 I. Lots of you sent us your solution to its meaning, and some of that email follows:

  • “… maybe [it was] Andy on the 4th floor in Independent [Projects] … 4 I …”
  • “It was Fortuna. He was phonetically spelling her name and died before he completed it.”
  • “My theory is that Paul was trying to tell us that the interview at 4 was the 1 who killed him.”
  • “4 I translates to “four-eyes” to me, so I’m going for the first candidate that he “dissed”…. four-eyes was certain he could do great things for the company and quickly realized the only way he was going to get his foot in the door was by eliminating the bad man that didn’t have a clue what ‘top talent’ was or could do!”
  • Thanks to these intrepid detectives and to everyone else who sent us their solution to the crime. Who actually did it? The interviewee who wore glasses. Even fatally wounded, Paul Appleton couldn’t help but be unpleasant, so he described the killer with the less than polite term 4 I, meaning “four eyes.”

    AARP published an article in the March & April, 2008 issue of its magazine that explored the connection between physical exercising and brainpower. It focused, in particular, on a yoga exercise that is receiving considerable attention for its ability to boost your “mental muscle.” It’s called “superbrain yoga;” here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: place your left hand on your right earlobe, thumb on the front of the lobe with your fingernail facing outward and second finger behind the earlobe. Then, with your left hand, grasp your right earlobe using the same finger placement. Press both earlobes simultaneously, making sure your left arm is inside your right and thus closest to your chest.
  • Step2: As you press your earlobes, squat down, keeping your back straight. Do 10-12 deep bends, inhaling through the nose on the way down and exhaling through the mouth on the way back up.
  • The exercise may not be something you want to do in your cubicle, but when repeated on a daily basis, devotees say it stimulates memory, concentration and abstract reasoning, especially among those of us who’ve had a lot of workplace plaque build up over the years.

    MyBusiness magazine featured a list of what it calls “time bandits.” These activities eat away at the time you need to think, evaluate, plan and … oh, yes, from time-to-time, rest and recuperate. What are the worst of these time bandits? Here’s the magazine’s list with a few of my variations on the theme:

  • Clutter wastes time by forcing you to look for things when you need them. A possible solution: Spend the last thirty minutes of each day putting things away in their designated place.
  • Interruptions waste time by breaking your train of thought and forcing you to start over and over again. A possible solution: Set aside periods of time during the day as “interruption-free zones” and then rigorously enforce them.
  • Meetings waste time when they don’t start or stop on time and proceed without an agenda or designated objective. A possible solution: Work on changing the culture in your organization so that anyone who calls a meeting spends as much time preparing for it as they expect to spend in the meeting itself.
  • Miscommunication wastes time because work must be redone when it’s not executed as needed or specified. One possible solution: Develop checklists for situations that occur frequently and for those that don’t, insist on regular status reports so that disconnects are identified early, before they become huge problems.
  • Micromanaging wastes time because it overloads you (causing you to take longer to do each task) even though others are perfectly capable of performing some of the work. One possible solution: Take the time to ask yourself if each task on which you’re working could be done just as well by someone else, and if so, give them the chance to excel.
  • WEDDLE’s launched its 2008 Spring/Summer Training Series. This unique developmental activity provides a full curriculum of training programs that are delivered by toll-free teleconference. You get the PowerPoint slides for each program in advance, and on the day of the training, you simply call a toll-free number and have the presentation delivered right to you. All of the programs are presented by WEDDLE’s Publisher, Peter Weddle, and draw on WEDDLE’s 10+ years of research into the Best Practices for online sourcing and recruiting. The 2008 Spring-Summer series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group. It includes:

  • Completed: Online Networking: More Than a Pretty Face & an Address
  • April 23, 2008: Data Mining for Rare & Valuable Talent
  • May 7, 2008: eBranding: the Key to Attracting Passive Prospects
  • May 21, 2008: Juicing Up Your Corporate Career Site’s Yield
  • June 10, 2008: “Precruitment:” Planning for Recruiting Excellence
  • June 18, 2008: Transforming Supervisors into CROs: Chief Retention Officers
  • These are great learning opportunities presented by one of our industry’s most highly rated speakers. In addition, you can’t beat the price; it’s hundreds, even thousands, of dollars less than comparable programs elsewhere. Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To sign up, please 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:

    VetJobs

    http://www.vetjobs.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

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

    Distribution of jobs: International

    Fee to post a job: $175/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 individual

    Top occupations among visitors: Engineering, Information Systems, Management, Sales & Marketing

    Other services for employers: Discussion forum, Assessment instruments, Banner advertising, Status report on advertising.

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes


    Please Support Our Sponsor: eGrabber

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of eGrabber, the leading Silicon Valley-based provider of resume data capture and processing solutions.

    Would You Like More Time for Recruiting???

    If you are looking for possible solutions to:

  • increase your connect time with candidates
  • overcome inefficiencies in your work-flow
  • improve your productivity and placement ratio
  • save time and cost,
  • then ResumeGrabber Pro is the tool for you.

    ResumeGrabber Pro offers a fast and automated way to import, screen and transfer resumes into your ATS/Contact Manager/database. It completely eliminates the pain of having to manually import/screen every resume and copy-paste contact information from each selected resume into your database.

    All you need to do is;

    1. Highlight the resume(s) you’d like to import. Resumes can be in any format, from any source-Google search results, resumes on Job Boards, word documents, text files on your local PC folders or email attachments in your inbox.

    2. Screen/shortlist resumes using keywords.

    3. Just “Click” to transfer them to any database.

    ResumeGrabber Pro auto-extracts name, address, phone & email of the candidate and enters it, along with the resume, into your database. It works with MS Excel, Outlook, ACT!, GoldMine, PCRecruiter, BigBiller and more.

    For more information and a free trial, please visit www.egrabber.com/promo/weddles/rgpro/index.html.

    For a free 10-minute demo, please call 408-705-1106 or email sales@egrabber.com.

    Buy ResumeGrabber Pro before April 9, 2008 and get $100 off. Use coupon code WEDSPL4Y8 while placing your order. This offer is exclusive for subscribers of WEDDLE’s Newsletter for Recruiters & HR Professionals.