THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

June 26, 2008   view past issues

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Feature: What You Can’t Get From Google

Search engines are a wonderful invention. They’ve taken much of the tedium and practically all of the labor out of finding stuff. With the click of a couple of keys, you can uncover the date that Edison invented the radio. Or was it Marconi? Or some lesser figure whom history has overlooked? But, what did Edison invent anyway? And how many light bulbs are there in use today? And, where are most of them made? And … well, you get the picture. Whether it’s Google or Yahoo! or some other search engine, finding facts and figures has never been easier.

That’s why recruiters increasingly turn to search engines in their work. They can use these powerful little devices to:

  • promote their brand or even specific job openings by using the “search marketing” services offered by at least some of the search engines;
  • boost the visibility of their own employer’s site by optimizing its position among the natural search results generated by various search engines;
  • monitor comments made about their organization at various blogs, newsgroups and sites that provide a platform for employer “evaluations;”
  • probe into specific sites where talent might be hanging out online (e.g., LinkedIn.com);
  • hunt for resumes archived in other places online, whether that’s a personal site, a publicly accessible database or some other venue; and
  • conduct research on the value proposition espoused by their employer’s competitors.
  • It’s all useful information and data, whether the information and data are outbound (through advertising and the natural results of a search), or inbound (via collected resumes and business intelligence). But, that’s as far as you can go with these little engines that can. They help us find stuff.

    Stuff, however, is only a part of what it takes to be a successful recruiter. In fact, we can have the best stuff in the world-we can be a world class stuff finder-and still fail as a recruiter. Why? Because we work in a people-centric profession. Success depends on human contact. And, what search engines can’t provide is the character necessary to leverage all of that stuff into genuine, engaging interactions with top talent.

    What are the key elements of a successful recruiter’s character? There are many personal attributes that matter, of course, but I believe three are of particular importance. They are a person’s integrity, empathy and judgment.

    Integrity

    There’s not a lot said or written about the importance of honesty in our work, yet that trait is central to both our personal credibility and our organization’s success. More important, I think it’s the only way we can look ourselves in the mirror when we get home from the office each day. What does integrity involve?

  • We must be honest with our customers, the hiring managers we support, even if they don’t (appear to) appreciate it. We must tell them when they’re asking for too much in candidate requirements or offering too little in compensation or on-the-job responsibility. We must make sure they know the reality of the labor market and not flinch when they disbelieve us. That response is symptomatic of their own issue with integrity-they don’t live in a vacuum so they know (or should) that top talent is scarce-and we don’t help ourselves by stooping to their level.
  • We must also be honest with the candidates we source. We’re pretty good at assessing individuals, and we should tell them when there isn’t a good fit between their values and goals and our employer’s culture and mission. Even if they are fully qualified for the job, even if the hiring manager wants to make them an offer, we owe candidates that measure of integrity. I fully understand the pressures one can face when mission critical positions remain open, but we’re dealing with people’s lives and careers, so in my view, there is no room for quibbling.
  • Empathy

    Job search, regardless of whether one is an active job seeker or a passive prospect, exposes a person to one of the most difficult passages in life. They must open themselves up to the judgment of others. They must make themselves vulnerable to a detailed examination of their successes and failures, their hopes and dreams. It’s a humbling, often frightening experience, whether one is at the top of their game or desperate for work. It creates a level of stress that often blunts a candidate’s ability to communicate or even think clearly.

  • This situation requires that we recruiters have a natural proclivity to relate to those whom we source, interview and evaluate. We must be able to establish enough familiarity and trust with individuals to induce them to represent themselves accurately and positively. That’s the only way we can make good decisions and select the best candidate for each of our openings. Moreover, given the pressures of our requisition load, we must form that human connection quickly while not diminishing its authenticity. Said another way, we must find it within ourselves be genuine, even at warp speed.
  • The same situation also requires that we help hiring managers-who may not be naturally gifted with empathy-to be better people people. First, we must teach them the importance of this character trait by showing how it can impact their ability to select the best prospect. Then, we must show them how to unleash it if they have it or acquire it if they don’t. We must help them overcome both their reticence with strangers and their inability to relate to those who are, in essence, seeking their approval. Basically, we must show them how to convey warmth and interest in the sterile confines of an interview so that candidates are comfortable and able to be the best they can be.
  • Judgment

    Whether we make the final hiring decision or not, our judgments have a huge impact on the caliber of the talent our organizations access. We decide who will and who will not be considered qualified and thus suitable for in-depth evaluation. Our opinion often determines who is on the final slate of candidates and who will be sent a “Thanks, But No Thanks” note instead. Indeed, there’s not a part of the recruiting process that isn’t significantly influenced by our conclusions and convictions. We decide:

  • how to articulate our organization’s employment brand,
  • where to place its recruitment and brand ads (e.g., on job boards, in print publications or both),
  • which of the various sourcing methods we will use (e.g., online data mining, virtual career fairs), and
  • when we will communicate with the prospects we uncover and the manner in which that message will be conveyed.
  • The most important judgment we make, however, is the one that precedes all of those other decisions. Our index judgment is the decision we make about how competent we will be to make good judgments. We determine the level of expertise we will have and the extent of our experience. In essence, we decide the caliber of our talent for making sound judgments. And that’s why judgment, itself, is a matter of character. We choose to be prepared or not in our judgments.

    So, here’s my simple suggestion for ensuring you recruit to the best of your ability. For every session you spend on a search engine, devote a commensurate amount of time reaffirming, refining and enriching your character. The search engine will provide the information and data you need to succeed, but only you can find the human qualities to engage the talent your organization needs.

    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: 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 bestseller in a little book that is this year’s first choice for summer reading on the beach.

    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 who 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 is not about self-improvement, but about 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 journeys: one in fiction, the other in nonfiction. 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 were meant to be.

    Make this the summer when you figure out how to meet the person of your dreams-the one who lives inside you. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768. So, don’t delay. Make sure you have Recognizing Richard Rabbit packed in your suitcase for your summer vacation.


    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Classified Intelligence reported on a presentation by the discount store Target at a recent conference of New England newspaper ad directors. The speaker, Pam Armour, listed four principles that Target apparently uses in managing its commercial brand: candor, commitment, consistency and courage. Those values may help Target sell beach towels and fishing rods, but I think they can just as effectively be used to sell an organization’s value proposition as an employer. Here’s what I mean:

  • Candor: The characteristics of the work experience that are highlighted by an organization’s employment brand (e-brand) must be believable inside the organization before they will have credibility outside it;
  • Commitment: An e-brand is only as good as it is promoted, and in today’s message saturated culture, an employer must continuously place its e-brand in front of the talent it wants to recruit, even when it’s not hiring;
  • Consistency: An e-brand must be articulated in the same way by every representative of the company: its recruiters. hiring managers, senior executives and the employees who will make the employee referral program work (or not);
  • Courage: E-brands can go bad (particularly when an organization’s leaders act off message), and when they do, it’s our job to point the problem out and urge remediation. No one likes to be the bearer of bad news, but the hard truth is that we can’t succeed without a healthy employment brand.
  • The Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, a publication of the British Psychological Society, recently announced the findings of a study of employees who have been laid off and their propensity to retaliate against their former employer. Not surprisingly, the key factor in determining how employees reacted was their perception of their employer’s communications. After surveying over 700 people affected by layoffs, the study concluded that those who received more information and viewed that information as honest and free of spin were far less likely to be critical of the organization. Those who felt they were kept in the dark or not dealt with straightforwardly were more likely to take legal action and/or badmouth their former employer. What shapes a person’s perception of an organization’s communications? Whether or not they believe their employer has integrity. And here’s the challenge: that view is formed well before the bad news hits. If the people who recruit an organization’s employees tell them the truth about what’s it like to work in the organization, and the organization’s leaders walk the talk about the role that workers play in its success, then workers are much more likely to accept bad news at face value and not carry a grudge. If, on the other hand, the culture of the organization is to tolerate disingenuous communications and such communications begin with each person’s very first interaction with the company (during the recruiting process), then there is little or no chance that employees will believe what they are told about a layoff or keep their critical views to themselves.

    Workforce Management magazine published the following survey data from Salary.com in its May 19th issue. The findings illustrate the continuing disconnect between HR and employees when identifying why employees quit. Here are the top five reasons for voluntary turnover by workers as cited by HR and workers themselves.

  • Inadequate compensation: cited by 36% of HR Departments, cited by 27% of employees
  • Lack of career development: cited by 19% of HR Departments, cited by 30% of employees
  • Insufficient recognition: cited by 22% of HR Departments, cited by 17% of employees
  • Boredom: cited by 7% of HR Departments, cited by 11% of employees
  • Inadequate professional development: cited by 12% of HR Departments, cited by 11% of employees
  • Why are these misperceptions occurring? In the same issue, the magazine reported the following data from PricewaterhouseCooopers showing the number of full time equivalents per HR employee in various countries and regions of the world:

  • Central & Eastern Europe: 93
  • U.K. 90
  • Western Europe: 90
  • U.S.: 89
  • The U.S. business community, which prides itself on being ahead of the game in optimizing the human capital of the enterprise, actually invests less in the functional department responsible for achieving that end than companies in any other part of the world. To put it another way, you can’t keep your finger on the pulse of an organization’s workforce unless you have enough fingers to go around.

    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:

    Western New York JOBS

    http://www.wnyjobs.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-Part time, Contract

    Distribution of jobs: Regional: Buffalo & Rochester, NY

    Fee to post a job: Less than $100/posting

    Posting period: 21 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 6,000-7,000

    Source of resumes: Direct from individuals

    Top occupations among visitors: Administration, Customer Service, Sales & Marketing, Healthcare

    Other services for employers: Banner advertising

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes


    Don’t Miss Out on 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 bestseller in a little book that is this year’s first choice for summer reading on the beach.

    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 who 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 is not about self-improvement, but about 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 journeys: one in fiction, the other in nonfiction. 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 were meant to be.

    Make this the summer when you figure out how to meet the person of your dreams-the one who lives inside you. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768. So, don’t delay. Make sure you have Recognizing Richard Rabbit packed in your suitcase for your summer vacation.