April 5, 2012   view past issues

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We Aren’t Number Two, Three or Four

Are you tired of hearing the U.S. is no longer the world leader it once was? Are you fed up with pundits who opine that the American Dream has been replaced by the Chinese Dream or the Indian Dream or the Korean Dream?

If so, get my new book, A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream. Ripped right from today’s headlines, it recounts the experiences of three laid-off Baby Boomers and a secret online group of workplace activists practicing economic disobedience against the vulture capitalists in the American workplace.

A Multitude of Hope will entertain and educate you and, as it names implies, give you hope for the future – yours and your kids.

The book won’t be published for another week or so, but you can place a pre-order with Amazon right now by clicking here.

Employers Behaving Badly

Candidates are people too. And in today’s world, people are more social than at any other time in human history. They interact in two different worlds, one real and the other virtual. Treating people poorly during the recruiting process, therefore, can produce a double whammy that harms an organization’s employment brand not once, but twice.

What constitutes bad behavior by an employer? Whatever job seekers say it is. That’s the candidate analog to the oldest axiom in business: the customer is always right.

So, how do job seekers define bad behavior?

While they are irritated by any number of the practices and policies that shape contemporary recruiting processes, their chief complaint – by a very wide margin – is a feeling they get from too many employers. They sense they are being disrespected.

What makes them feel that way? In survey after survey, they identify the causal bad behavior as the “resume black hole.” They submit an application and hear absolutely nothing back from the employer. No thank you. No information. Not even an acknowledgement that their resume was received.

We recruiters, of course, have several reasonable explanations for such behavior. These days, we’re drowning in resumes and working with historically low levels of both staff and budgets. And, all too often, our technology lets us down. Our applicant tracking systems are unable to generate even a canned response to candidates, let alone one with any semblance of humanity.

Worse, this behavior has now come to be seen as a business strategy by corporate executives. It’s recruiters doing their part for enterprise success by “doing more with less.” Only that’s not what’s happening. The strategy may make the bean counters smile, but it’s actually harming the enterprise. It’s undermining the caliber of talent we can recruit.

The Double Dose of Bad News

Here’s a truism of the social web. People find their own level. Peers talk to peers. Or to put it more bluntly, the best talent talks to the best talent. So, when we display the kind of behavior that job seekers define as bad, the word gets out. And, it gets to the people we least want to hear it.

Worse, candidates extrapolate. They believe that bad behavior in a recruiting process is a predictor of bad behavior in the workplace. If an organization disrespects job seekers, it is likely to do the same to its employees.

That kind of brand can doom our recruiting efforts no matter how good we are at our job. The best talent has choices, and they will almost always avoid the organization that comes across as a bad employer. Whether they experience its bad behavior themselves or they hear about it from a peer.

So, what should we do?

First, we need to lean on our ATS vendors. We should demand that they provide an auto-responder capable of handling an unlimited number of applications at any one time. Further, that auto-responder should also be able to transmit a message that reads as if it was actually written by a human.

Second, once we’ve acquired the capability for good behavior, we should promote it to the world. We should feature it in every job posting and on our corporate career site, Facebook page, Twitter profile and LinkedIn page. How? By making a two-part statement:

  • Part one is our employer’s public commitment to acknowledge the receipt of every candidate application
  • Part two is our employer’s public recognition that doing so is a courtesy every candidate deserves.
  • Assuming the ATS community measures up to its role, that simple assertion will go a long way toward burnishing our employer’s brand and differentiating it from employers behaving badly. Those delinquents may still attract a lot of candidates, but only our employers will attract (and recruit) the best talent.

    Thanks for reading,


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    Be At Your Best With the Best Tools

    The best recruiters use the best resources to get the job done. And, when it comes to reaching top talent online, their choice is clear. It’s WEDDLE’s Guides for Recruiting Success. Get yours today!

    WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. This is the 10th edition of the Guide the American Staffing Association called the “Zagat” of job boards and social media sites.

    WEDDLE’s Guide to Association Web Sites. This book details the recruiting resources and capabilities that are available at the Web-sites of over 3,000 professional and technical associations.

    Finding Needles in a Haystack. This one-of-a-kind guide lists over 25,000 keywords and keyword phrases, across 5,400 job and position titles in 28 industries and professions.

    Sourcing Career Success

    As recruiters and HR professionals, we spend 33 percent of our day (or more) on-the-job and 100 percent of our job helping others to achieve career success.

    Don’t our own careers deserve equal attention? Absolutely! And the one best way to do that is by sourcing career success with WEDDLE’s books. They include:

    Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System. This book introduces a complete regimen of activities that will help you successfully compete for and hang onto the job of your dreams. Its one-of-a-kind program not only tells you what to do, but how to do it and how often.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit. This fable for adults will entertain and delight you and help you out of the boxes that keep you from becoming the champion inside you. It is a novel and engaging way to recognize the talented person you are meant to be.

    The Career Activist Republic. This blockbuster of a book provides a provocative yet positive assessment of the changing world of work in the American economy and describes an innovative strategy that will enable you to avoid the pitfalls and capture the opportunities in this new environment.

    The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired and Not Be Fired. This anthology collects the best of Peter Weddle’s columns on job search and career success. It is the only book you’ll find that provides a candid and totally up-to-date look at how to get and stay ahead in today’s workplace.

    The books are available at and at