THE TECHNACIOUS RECRUITER NEWSLETTER

October 15, 2007   view past issues

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WEDDLE’s Research Factoid: The Overlooked Strategy

WEDDLE’s continuously conducts both primary and secondary research on the Best Practices in employment and HR leadership. For some months now, we’ve been exploring the implications of the results generated by our 2007 Source of Employment Survey. As many of you know, it is the only poll that goes directly to workers and asks them two questions: where did they find their last job and where do they expect to find their next one? This year’s survey generated over 11,700 responses during the period January 1-August 31, 2007.

Workers told us that they continued to use traditional methods of job search-the newspaper and career fairs, for example-even as they are turning to alternative methods such as visiting job boards and the career area on company Web-sites. What’s most striking, however, is the minimal use of what is generally acknowledged to be the single best source of employment: networking. Just one-in-ten of the respondents (10.5%) said that they found their last job by networking at work or at a business event. An even smaller percentage reported that they had used networking online, including social networking sites, in their job search.

What the Findings Mean

Put 100 recruiters in a room and ask them to identify the single most effective way to reach top candidates, and 98 of them will say that it is networking. That’s why employers rely so heavily on their employee referral programs and why staffing firms live by their commitment to “dialing for dollars.” It’s odd, therefore, that so little attention is paid to using the power of technology and especially the Internet to make this already proven method even more productive. If workers aren’t finding jobs by networking online, that means recruiters aren’t looking for them that way. And, I would respectfully suggest, that’s shortsighted.

Traditional networking is effective, but time-consuming and labor intensive. It correctly focuses on establishing familiarity and trust with individuals-what most of us call building a relationship with them-because the best talent is almost always employed. Our networking, therefore, must accomplish both of two tasks to create an applicant:

  • first, it must enable us to find them when they aren’t looking for a job, and
  • second, it must enable us to convince these passive prospects to do the one thing they most don’t want to do: make a change.
  • Networking works, however, because when it’s done well, it connects us with specific individuals who won’t come to us on their own accord and facilitates our getting to know them and their getting to know us.

    And there’s the rub. Traditional networking is done one-on-one. So, while it’s very effective, it’s also inefficient. And, in a War for the Best Talent, victory depends upon our ability to operate at maximum productivity. Certainly, we should continue to network the old fashioned way, but today, we must also tap into the mass one-to-one communications capability of the Internet and network online.

    Networking on the Internet or e-networking is efficient for two reasons:

  • It can be done whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you. I recommend that you network online twice a week for 30 minutes at a time, but you can accomplish that task in the office, from a hotel room on a business trip or while you’re sitting at home in the evening wearing your fuzzy slippers.
  • It reaches a large population on an individual basis. When you add to the dialogue at a discussion forum on a professional association site or on the bulletin board of a career portal, your communication is read by tens and sometimes hundreds of potential prospects, all at the same time.
  • What can you add to the peer-to-peer sharing that’s going on in a Java programmers discussion forum or a bulletin board for engineers? You probably aren’t a Java programmer or an engineer or an expert in any other field for which you recruit, so what do you bring to the conversation? The answer is your own expertise. As a recruiter, you know a lot more about the job market for Java programmers or engineers than do they. You are conversant with the kinds of compensation packages being offered, the kinds of skills being sought, and the kinds of work arrangements employers are willing to accept. When you share that knowledge with the other participants of an online networking group, you are building familiarity and trust with each and all of them. And, you can do so in just 30 minutes twice a week. Networking doesn’t get any more efficient or effective than that!

    Please Note: As a part of our ongoing research, WEDDLE’s has been surveying both job seekers and recruiters on the Web since 1996. We’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of data elements probing:

  • what they do and what they don’t do,
  • what they like and what they don’t like,
  • and most importantly,

  • what they think works best.
  • To add your insights and opinions to our research, please visit the Polling Station at the WEDDLE’s Web-site.


    This Issue’s Sponsor: The eJobFair for Top Diversity College Graduates

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the Diversity Talent Network and its upcoming eJobFair for top diversity college graduates.

    An event you don’t want to miss… the ‘2007 HBCU Alumni Online Career Fair’ sponsored by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities!

    Howard University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the United States will showcase the best diversity candidates with degrees in Business, Communications, Engineering, Healthcare, Liberal Arts, Political Science and many more. Participating will be recent graduates and experienced professionals engaged in their careers and seeking new opportunities.

    The entire event is online and virtual. You will be able to post your best job openings, screen online applications from motivated candidates, schedule and conduct telephone interviews from your desk at home or your office anytime during the weeks of November 5-9, 2007 & November 12-16, 2007. Don’t wait; take the first step … register today!

    For more information and to register visit the Diversity Talent Network or to speak with a representative, call direct (866) 405-8045.


    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.

    The Smart Consumer’s Dilemma

    Employment Web-sites have been the greatest advance in the field of recruiting since the creation of the resume. That may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not. In the fifteen years since their first appearance on the World Wide Web, job boards and career portals have connected more organizations to more talent more efficiently than any other single medium in existence. Both employers and recruiters now consider these sites a critical component of their sourcing and recruiting strategy. They are not a replacement for traditional methods, of course, but they are an essential addition to them. As a consequence, the employment Web-site industry is now recognized as one of the most vibrant segments of the e-commerce marketplace.

    That development, however, has both positive and negative implications. Job boards and career portals provide much needed support for today’s all too frequently understaffed, under-budgeted and under-resourced recruiting teams. Their success, however, has also attracted a crowd. With virtually no barrier to entry, more than 40,000 sites have opened their doors online, and additional sites launch all of the time. Today, employment Web-sites are operated by:

  • stand-alone companies,
  • newspapers and magazines,
  • professional associations and societies,
  • college and university placement centers and alumni organizations,
  • radio and television stations,
  • large and very small affinity groups, and
  • sole proprietors.
  • This diversity of choice is a benefit tied up inside a dilemma. It’s a benefit because robust choice enables you to focus your sourcing and branding strategies on those sites that are most likely to reach the specific talent cohort you want to recruit. It’s a dilemma because there is no easy way to know which sites offer the best combination of capabilities and which deliver best on the capabilities they say they have. In effect, you can’t capture the benefit if you can’t resolve the dilemma.

    Think of it this way: the benefit of choice represents potential; it is what sites say they can do. To win the War for the Best Talent, however, we need to know reality-what they actually can do. We have to identify the sites that produce what they proclaim. Said another way, the key to using online employment Web-sites effectively is to be a smart consumer.

    How do you become a savvy consumer of employment sites? By educating yourself in two dimensions:

    Design.

    First, it’s important to acquire the information that will enable you to determine the which, what, where, who, and how of alternative job boards and career portals. Which sites should be considered for a specific requirement, what are their services, where are the services delivered geographically, who do they reach, and how do they reach them. The answers to these questions might include the following data elements:

  • The site’s traffic, expressed in unique visitors/month;
  • The site’s appeal, measured either in elapsed time or in the number of pages of information each person typically views;
  • The demographics of the site’s visitors (e.g., what are their skills and skill levels);
  • The site’s capabilities, including whether it offers a job database, a resume database, a forum for peer-to-peer networking, and the kinds of features that attract passive prospects (e.g., a job agent and confidentiality protection in the resume database);
  • The cost to use those capabilities; and
  • The site’s content, including the quality and uniqueness of the information that is provided for those who are looking for a job (i.e., active job seekers) and for those who aren’t (i.e., the passive prospects we’d really like to recruit).
  • Operation.

    It’s also important to acquire the information that will enable you to gauge each site’s ability to deliver the design features it says it has. In other words, what is a site’s actual performance and what are the standards by which it operates as a business? These factors determine the reality of a site’s capabilities and thus the likelihood that it will actually help you. They are the answers to such questions as:

  • Does the site provide accurate data about its performance (e.g., the traffic it attracts and the number of resumes in its database);
  • Does the site deliver the capabilities it claims to have according to the standards expected of a reputable business operation (e.g., if a site says that it collects the resumes in its resume database directly from candidates, does it actually do so or does it collect them from somewhere else by using an automated program of some kind);
  • and

  • Does the site fully disclose what will happen to candidate information that is provided to the site (e.g., if the site sells the contact information it acquires through on-site registration, does it inform individuals of that practice up front).
  • Historically, employers and recruiters have been able to acquire research data (from published guides) to determine what sites are designed to do. To assess the operation of those sites, however, they have had to rely on experience-their own and that of their colleagues. While these perspectives remain helpful, there is now an additional way to gauge a site’s performance. It’s called the International Association of Employment Web Sites or, as it’s often referred to, the IAEWS.

    The IAEWS is the first and only trade organization for job boards and career portals and the companies that serve and support them. It’s important to you because it has published a Code of Ethics which requires that its members adhere to the standards listed above and much more. Does that make the companies in the association perfect? Alas, probably not. It does, however, create an expectation of performance that you can count on, and there is no other place on the Web with that kind of consumer protection.

    How can you tell if a job board or career portal is a member of the IAEWS? Look for the association’s logo on the site. It’s not yet the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” but it is an effective way to resolve your consumer’s dilemma.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and benefit from your recommendation. And, we’ll certainly appreciate it 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 3: News You Can Use

    Bear Sterns published a report which concludes that allowing site visitors to create their own content-videos on Vimeo, profiles on MySpace-is “not likely a fad.” In fact, it even has its own acronym: UGC for user generated content. The report describes the growth of this form of online information-it now generates 13% of Internet traffic, up from just 1% in 2004-as the “democratization of content.” It’s a nifty turn of phrase because it suggests that the secret to a successful Career area on a corporate Web-site is not what the company says, but rather what its visitors say. In other words, the magic on a Career area occurs when candidates begin to see your site as their site. How can that happen? I suggest that you test out two kinds of functionality that support professional networking:

  • blogs
  • discussion forums.
  • Right now, those who seek to network with their peers online-and it’s the best talent who typically want to do so-must go to a commercial career portal or an association Web-site. So, why not give them a way to develop such professional relationships on your site? What you would doing, in effect, is transforming your site into their career home, which means they’ll visit it when they are looking for a job, but more importantly, when they aren’t, as well. Their continuous presence on your site gives you a significant competitive advantage in your sourcing.

    Search firm BlessingWhite released the results of its State of the Career Report 2007. Based on interviews with almost 1,000 workers, it found that job stability was not a high priority in determining whether or not they would take a new job. Only 2% of the respondents said it was their make-or-break factor. Almost half (47%) said that interesting and/or meaningful work was the key issue. Indeed, the caliber of their employment experience was almost three times more important than the next factor on the list, work/life balance, which was cited by just 18% or fewer than one-out-of-five of the respondents. Other factors that were even lower on the priority list were financial reward, the opportunity for promotion, cultural fit, and a good boss. As I explain in my new book, The Career Fitness Self-Fulfillment System, it is the individual’s responsibility to keep their career healthy and to do so, they must ensure they have a daily infusion of challenging work supplemented with the resources necessary to succeed and the recognition they deserve for their performance on-the-job. The organizations that make those factors the staple of their employment experience, therefore, are the career equivalent of a healthy diet. And, for the most conscientious individuals-the top performers-that’s a value proposition with irresistible appeal.

    TheLadders.com announced the results of its survey of business travelers and, much to my surprise and contrary to my own experience, the skies aren’t apparently all that unfriendly. More than a third (36%) said they had never missed or had to reschedule a meeting due to travel delays, and another one-in-four (27%) said they had never been forced to miss or reschedule more than one or two meetings. Given such happy outcomes, it should come as no surprise that a solid majority (53%) of these road warriors would not change jobs simply because of “excessive travel requirements” and even more (56%) said that travel would not be an issue in their deciding whether or not to take a new position. Maybe that’s because, when they were asked to point out some of the “fringe benefits” of their business travel, 18.8% said it gave them a chance to make connections that could lead to a new career opportunity, and 14.9% said it had led to a romance.

    WEDDLE’s introduced its 2007 Fall-Winter Training Series. The Series 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 sourcing and recruiting online. The Fall-Winter 2007 series is sponsored by Bernard Hodes Group. It includes:

  • Completed: Optimizing the Candidate Experience: The Secret to Selling Top Talent
  • October 23, 2007: Staffing Metrics That Count in the Corner Office
  • November 6, 2007: Googling, Blogging & Other Sourcing Techniques for Passive Prospects
  • 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 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 plus you get discounts for attending multiple programs. Registrations are limited, so reserve your seats now. To get pricing information and sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 317.916.9424.


    The eJobFair for Top Diversity College Graduates

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of the Diversity Talent Network and its upcoming eJobFair for top diversity college graduates.

    An event you don’t want to miss… the ‘2007 HBCU Alumni Online Career Fair’ sponsored by the Historically Black Colleges and Universities!

    Howard University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the United States will showcase the best diversity candidates with degrees in Business, Communications, Engineering, Healthcare, Liberal Arts, Political Science and many more. Participating will be recent graduates and experienced professionals engaged in their careers and seeking new opportunities.

    The entire event is online and virtual. You will be able to post your best job openings, screen online applications from motivated candidates, schedule and conduct telephone interviews from your desk at home or your office anytime during the weeks of November 5-9, 2007 & November 12-16, 2007. Don’t wait; take the first step … register today!

    For more information and to register visit the Diversity Talent Network or to speak with a representative, call direct (866) 405-8045.