THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

November 15, 2007   view past issues

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WEDDLE’s Research Factoid: Another Set of Evidence

WEDDLE’s continuously conducts both primary and secondary research on the Best Practices in employment and HR leadership. Typically, we focus on empirical or quantitative data as they often yield especially instructive insights. However, the other side of research-qualitative data-is also important. The comments and opinions of job seekers open a window on their experiences using various job search and career self-management techniques. Those data are equally as helpful in understanding how best to reach and recruit top talent.

WEDDLE’s has been conducting an online survey of job seekers since 1996. Over the years, we’ve collected hundreds of thousands of data elements detailing:

  • what they do and don’t do when looking for a job;
  • what they like and don’t like about the various methods of job search; and
  • which methods they think work best.
  • As a part of this survey, we’ve asked them to identify the job search method which enabled them to land their last job and the employment Web-sites that have served them best in their job search. In both cases, they can choose from a list of answers we’ve provided or give us their own. And, when they give us their own answer, they often add a comment that helps us better understand the nature of their experience. We’ve reprinted some of those comments below. They are unedited and unblinkingly candid and honest. In short, they are some of the best qualitative data you’ll find about what’s good and what’s otherwise in today’s job market.

    How did you get your last job?

    “from headhunter who found my resume on Monster”

    “combination of networking & internet searching through a state sponsored website”

    “Company website + networking with employee of that company”

    “Consulting work led to a job offer”

    “Contacted company I worked for in the past.”

    “Job agent identified from company listing on a job board”

    “local paper”

    “Referral through friend”

    “Responded to a window notice”

    “saw an ad for career fair on OrlandoJobs.com web site”

    “Started my own company”

    “through the co-op website at my University”

    “worked an internship there prior to being hired”

    Which employment Web-sites have served you best?

    “All basically are inefficient as a method for job search”

    “collegerecruiter.com – I was in the Army and went back to school – graduate this fall.”

    “For me Hcareers is the best if you want to stay in the Hospitality Field!”

    “HR Ladder is the best site for HR positions”

    “I feel that all these places are very bad. They keep sending job that is not in my legue. Or too far away I wish I could get some help from these job board. I have my resume with 5 different job board and still not one job after 2 years”

    “idealist.org – this is the best for non-profit jobs and is amazingly user friendly. It is great for career change/retirement positions or social service careers”

    “www.techjobsonline.com has had some good jobs, but not as good as dice and vetjobs”

    “I got my job with CSX from VetJobs!”

    Please Note: We’d very much like to have your views and insights about job searching and career self-management, as well. To participate in our online survey, please visit the Polling Station at the WEDDLE’s Web-site.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: WEDDLE’s 2007 Fall/Winter Training Series

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the WEDDLE’s 2007 Fall/Winter Training Series.

    This series is 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 sourcing and recruiting online. The Fall/Winter 2007 series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group; the remaining programs include:

  • November 27, 2007: Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • December 4, 2007: Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • December 18, 2007: A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • These are great learning opportunities and priced hundreds, even thousands of dollars less than other training programs. Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To get pricing information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.


    Section Two: For Your Consideration

    Peter Weddle has been writing columns for his own newsletter and for the interactive edition of The Wall Street Journal since 1999. The following column has been drawn from that work and updated for 2007. For a complete collection of Peter’s writing, please see our book Postcards From Space.

    There is a Free Lunch

    There’s a story making the rounds about a senior human resource executive at Ikea, the global home furnishings company. Ikea apparently has a database of over 1,000,000 resumes that it has compiled from applicants over the years. As is the case with many employers, this database resides on a computer somewhere and may be checked when new openings in the company arise, but otherwise sits unused and untapped. Despite the considerable cost in recruitment advertising that was required to establish contact with the people whose resumes reside in the database, Ikea basically ignores it and them.

    That’s where this HR executive comes in. He’s reputed to have said something to the effect, “We don’t need candidates, we need customers. Why don’t we send a discount coupon for lunch to everyone in the database so we get more of them into our stores?”

    The idea, of course, was simple. Ikea furniture stores also have a restaurant, and the candidate database is also a customer database. If someone was interested enough in Ikea to apply for a job there, they are probably also interested enough to be a customer … especially if they’re offered a discount on a sandwich. It’s not a completely free lunch for the candidate, but it definitely is for the company. Here’s what I mean.

    While not every organization’s potential employees are also its potential customers (e.g., hedge fund support staff normally don’t invest in hedge funds, luxury car salespeople usually can’t afford their own Ferrari), this 1:1 relationship is true in enough organizations to suggest that we should adopt a very different view of our resume databases. To put it as succinctly as I can, it’s not an archive of documents, but an address book of people. As a result, in many, maybe most organizations, the resume database is a key corporate asset, if we’d only use it that way. How do you take that step? The following will get you started.

    Your resume database is a direct marketing program waiting to happen.

    More often than not, recruiters will tell you that they don’t have the time or, in some cases, the skills to build a relationship with the applicants whose resumes are stored in their databases. They know the value of such relationships and they would certainly support a program to develop them, but in today’s climate, it’s tough to build a persuasive business case to launch one. But if that candidate database is also a customer database, we now have an ally-our colleagues in sales and marketing. You know them-they’re the ones who never see their budgets cut, even as we’re being asked to do more with less.

    Your resume database is every sales and marketing person’s dream: a pre-qualified pool of prospective customers (i.e., they’ve already demonstrated their interest in your organization) assembled at no cost to them. Why not approach these potential partners, therefore, and ask them to collaborate-they provide the funding, you provide the database-on a program of online communications designed to sell former applicants on the organization as an employer and as a vendor of goods or services. Such a program would stretch organizational dollars and, in essence, put them to work twice. It’s enough to give the CFO goose bumps.

    Direct marketing for candidates who are also customers is an act of customer service.

    If candidates are customers (or potential customers), we should treat them that way. Customer service, however, is an active, not a passive verb. If we want to convince talent that they should consider “buying” our organization as an employer, we can’t afford to ignore them. We have to be in touch with them regularly and use those communications to win their trust and loyalty. That means doing something for them, not talking at them. Simple as it was, the Ikea coupon idea is a good case in point. It promoted the company (as an employer and a vendor) by providing something useful, with perceived value for the recipient. That’s customer service.

    Successful customer service involves creativity and persistence. It means relatively frequent interactions that surprise and delight, that intrigue and inform, that differentiate and, ultimately, sell an organization to its customers and candidates alike. You can’t create good customer service as an ad hoc task performed in the tiny breaks of an already over-full business day. It demands the same level of effort, the same sophistication and the same quality of innovation as the very best direct marketing programs for your organization’s goods and services. That’s why a collaboration with your sales and marketing colleagues is so potentially helpful. Yes, of course, we want access to their budget, but equally as important, we want to tap their (or their vendor’s) marketing savvy and experience. To put it another way, the best customer service is an action verb performing at peak levels.

    Great customer service delivered through well conceived direct marketing is extraordinarily viral.

    The key to great customer service is influence multiplication. In other words, customer service must be so positively differentiating that people want their friends and colleagues to experience it, as well. The impact of the interaction, therefore, is not limited to a single potential customer or candidate, but is, instead, multiplied many times over. In effect, your resume database (of people contacts) now has a virtual adjunct of employment and consumer prospects, all of whom have had a positive experience with the organization. If you have a database of 250,000 resumes, you now have 500,000 or more connections, all of whom are predisposed to listen to your message. That’s viral.

    Once again, the Ikea situation provides a good illustration. When you give someone a discount lunch coupon, they are likely to take their spouse or a friend or even several friends with them when they visit the store. The impact of the customer service experience, therefore, is multiplied by a factor of two or more. That’s two or more people who have now been treated unusually well by Ikea. True, the discount coupon isn’t that big a deal, but the unexpected receipt of it is. And, that surprise good will is what will induce its recipients to see themselves as Ikea customers and candidates.

    In most organizations, the resume database is a forgotten asset. It includes an incredible amount of voluntarily provided-or more precisely, free-information about people who have already expressed an interest in an organization. Yet, this database sits untended and unexploited on organizational computers, even as recruiters and marketers struggle to connect with talent and customers they don’t know and must pay to reach. Which begs the question: Why are we ignoring such an appealing free lunch?

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Remember what you learned in kindergarten: It’s nice to share. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    P.S.S. Don’t forget to send us your new e-mail address if you move. Lots of people are changing jobs these days, and we want to be sure you still have the information in WEDDLE’s to help you perform at your peak. All you have to do to keep your WEDDLE’s newsletter coming is send your change of address to pwj@weddles.com.


    Section Three: Site News You Can Use

    Business 2.0 published an article on how best to nurture creativity in your organization. As more and more HR Departments strive to establish themselves as strategic partners, the importance of delivering innovative plans and programs grows. According to Paolo Lugan, a person who’s been described as the “Father of Innovation,” there are seven secrets for creating creativity. They are:

  • Banish brainstorming meetings. Creativity is spontaneous, not planned.
  • Practice da Vinci’s code. Eliminate all assumptions and begin with a tabula rasa.
  • Play nice with others. Creativity is collaborative so there’s no room for prima donnas.
  • Burn the corporate policy manual. To think freely, you have to act freely.
  • Rule out “degree-itis.” There is no hierarchy in creativity so titles don’t matter.
  • Master the art of indiscipline. The best ideas often come from a cross-disciplinary approach.
  • Trash your Outlook calendar. Creativity isn’t produced by time management tricks and busy schedules, but by a culture of innovation.
  • The Employee Benefit Research Institute released the results of its most recent workforce survey. It found that “older” workers are now opting for full time, year-round employment rather than the part-time or part-year arrangements that have heretofore been the norm. This shift was apparent in all cohorts of the population, including those aged 55 and older, those aged 65-69, males, females, Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and those with a high school diploma and those with a college degree. What’s driving the change? Many of the respondents said they were opting for full time work because they could not afford to give up employer-supported healthcare benefits. What does this mean for recruiters? We must guard against subconsciously (or otherwise) limiting our outreach when sourcing for future openings. For example, we may be just as successful finding candidates for full time work at employment sites which specialize in “older workers” as we are at sites which focus on other cohorts of the workforce.

    Right Management announced its findings from a study of likely attrition patterns among college students and recent graduates once they are employed in the workplace. Better than six-out-of-ten (61%) say they expect to stay at their first job less than three years. What might induce them to change their minds and stay? According to respondents, it’s:

  • the ability to grow from within;
  • a workplace that offers flexibility; and
  • an environment where there is camaraderie.
  • What should you do with this information? First, make sure you include such factors in your employment brand. If they actually are attributes of your organization’s employment experience, they will help you attract and, equally as important, retain top Millennials. Second, make sure that retention is not a metric on which your staffing organization is evaluated. Not only do you have little impact on an employee’s decision to stay or leave-as the old adage goes, “people join organizations and leave supervisors”-but in all likelihood, you’ll be swimming upstream, at least with those who are just now entering the workforce.

    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 appropriate link to your left or call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.


    Please Support Our Sponsor: WEDDLE’s Training

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the WEDDLE’s 2007 Fall/Winter Training Series.

    This series is 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 sourcing and recruiting online. The Fall/Winter 2007 series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group; the remaining programs include:

  • November 27, 2007: Blink Recruiting-Getting to “Yes” Fast With Passive Prospects
  • December 4, 2007: Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • December 18, 2007: A-to-Z in Best Practices for Online Recruitment Advertising
  • These are great learning opportunities and priced hundreds, even thousands of dollars less than other training programs. Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To get pricing information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768.