Thursday, December 29, 2011

RecruiterGuy’s 2012 Job Growth Prediction

For the past 10 years, I have published my job growth prediction for the year using the Recruiter Barometer. Generally the Recruiter Barometer is a strong indication of how jobs will be impacted by the economy. In many ways the real estate business is similar because they look at foreclosed housing inventory and unsold homes inventory to help determine the strength of the housing market.

What is the Recruiter Barometer? The Recruiter Barometer observes the hiring of recruiters into permanent and contract positions. Consider that recruiters are not hired full time to recruit for one position. Therefore recruiters are job multipliers since they are hired to recruit for many positions. If companies begin to lay-off recruiters, we are going into a recession. If they begin to hire recruiters, we are scratching our way out of a recession. In this recession we have already experienced what the media referred to as a “jobless recovery” – obviously some indicators were up but not the key jobs indicator.

Once I look at the Recruiter Barometer, I consider what I have heard from economists and the news to complete my prediction.

Recruiter hiring has been fairly flat all year with an occasional spike – those were usually less experienced clerk types of recruiters. Generally that is an indication that companies are not yet serious about job growth. Obviously when you make a generalization, there are companies that will drive right through the prediction like a 2 story mining dump truck. Once you remove those happy aberrations you are left with the balance of companies.

Hiring generally has been fairly flat since prior to 2008. In 2007, I observed that companies had stopped hiring third party recruiters and were preparing to slow recruitment. The observation proved that the Recruiter Barometer was on target. In 2008, companies were laying off internal recruiters or reassigning them to other positions and we dove into the recession leading with our head. In 2009 there was little recruitment activity. In 2010, recruitment picked up slightly while there were still some significant lay-offs. In 2011, we had more layoffs but recruiting activity seemed to pick up. As we headed into the last quarter of 2011, recruiter hiring again flattened.

What does this indicate for 2012? My sense is that some companies have realized that they cut too deeply or possibly just enough for the current levels of economic activity. As we roll into 2012, many companies have a need to hire new employees and a new budget to enable them to do so. If they are US government contractors, they are being very cautious in hiring because our current Congress cannot agree to a budget for more than a few months at a time. Potentially this inaction exposes the contractors to either layoffs or forced unpaid vacations if the government closes down and refuses to pay them.

Money is not magic. Many European countries have discovered that it is a finite resource. Unfortunately the US is heading rapidly down Greece, Spain, and Italy’s path with our huge deficit spending. Combined with the uncertainty of the costs of the new healthcare laws that will go into effect within 2 years, companies have begun to hold a larger reserve fund instead of hiring pre-recession numbers of employees.

What is RecruiterGuy’s job growth prediction for 2012?

I predict a hiring spike early in the first quarter because hiring managers have now been conditioned that they need to hire early or lose those open positions. Many of these positions will be low to mid level career openings initially as companies try to fill holes in their current staff. This will be followed closely by a slow down for the balance of the quarter as companies cautiously integrate the new hires.

My sense is that the combination of Baby Boomers finally beginning to retire two to three years after they originally were scheduled to retire; and a two year pent up demand for hiring new people will create a cautious positive impact on hiring in the second and third quarters of 2012. During the second and third quarter I predict companies will recruit at all levels depending on their succession planning. The health of the building industry will determine the level of seasonal hiring for second quarter. My sense is this year will be a prime year for college interns – and the best of those will be locked in by the end of January.

Hiring will probably slow again in the fourth quarter as companies try to show strong numbers going into end of year. There will be the normal seasonal retail hiring during the fourth quarter. Overall I predict that hiring will be up appreciably over 2011 but not up to 2006 levels.

New college graduates will find a mixed hiring bag partially determined by their location and their desired positions. Those who have internships and co-ops in their desired fields will have a big edge over those who do not have that experience and company exposure.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Embrace Social Media Recruiting...?

Some consultants would tell me, “It’s about time you jumped on the bandwagon!” Others would say, “That is so 30 seconds ago – now we are talking mobile recruiting!” Other consultants would say, “Certainly you have begun offering the new…!”

It is interesting to have over 30 years of experience in any field. It gives you a certain perspective that less seasoned (okay, younger) professionals do not have. Over those years in recruitment, you learn about people and their behavior, simply through observing and interacting with them.

Wait a minute! How does this apply to Social Media Recruiting? Everything.

If you understand how to interact with people, you are on the way to understand the basic premise – and potential problem – with Social Media Recruiting.

First, let’s define Social Media Recruiting. It is not “recruiting.” It is simply a more engaged way to source candidates. Sourcing is only one step in the recruiting process. Is it a good way to source candidates? It may be a great way to source candidates depending on your budget and priorities. I am going to use two words that guys are reputed to avoid – engagement and commitment.

Does “Social” mean we need to be sociable? In other words “friendly or agreeable, esp. in an easy, informal way” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, second college edition – sits right by me every day)? How many effective Human Resource professionals are described as sociable? Most would probably prefer to be described as a nice, effective business person.

Let’s go back to engagement and commitment. Social Media Recruiting requires engagement and commitment on a daily basis. People (mostly) are social beings and love to communicate with friends (see Facebook). How much communication with unqualified candidates will your company/department commit? Sure there will be qualified candidates mixed in with the unqualified. How many ways can you describe your corporate culture? How many times will managers agree to be interviewed on YouTube to discuss their positions? When will your recruitment marketing material begin to become dated when it is constantly put in front of candidates? When does it become background noise? How do you let the unqualified candidates know you are not going to be “sociable” with them any longer – particularly if they just happen to be your customer also? If your corporate recruiter says “I am developing my next communication in our social media program”, instead of interviewing another candidate, is that an acceptable response?

If not, then what? Do you hire a social media marketing expert simply to communicate with candidates on your Facebook, Twitter, and Corporate social media sites? Then are they trained what they may and may not communicate to candidates via social media?

In my experience almost everyone likes to be on the cutting edge of anything that appears to be really interesting and fun. Then when the darn “work, engagement and commitment” words begin to demand our time, the glimmer tends to wear off.

Let’s go to the basic premise of behavioral interviewing. When people find a successful way to deal with a situation, they revert back to it when under pressure. This is why there is the challenge to maintain a LEAN manufacturing environment when the consultant leaves; and why vestiges of social media recruiting will continue after budget and time begin to exert pressure on the social media program.

There is no silver arrow in recruitment. Social media recruiting is an arrow for your corporate quiver. It should not be your only arrow for sourcing. Every company’s environment is different. Certainly social media recruiting works in some environments. Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) not every company can or wants to afford the engagement and commitment that social media recruiting requires.

Most companies are more successful when they focus on their recruitment strengths and improving all of their recruitment processes than spending the money and time on the next sexy technology that appears on the horizon. Remember the words engagement and commitment.

My business is on Twitter and LinkedIn, my book “RecruiterGuy’s Guide To Finding A Job” on Facebook, and my website has links to articles and videos of TV appearances and my blog. I participate in social media recruitment but it is only one source of candidates. May I consult with companies on social media as a potential source for recruiting? Absolutely! After we answer the questions above…

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holidays Are The Best Time To Interview

In my thirty years of recruitment, many candidates felt that attempting to interview during the Holiday season was a waste of time. They learned while working with me that it can be a very productive time to interview.

During my interview on Park City TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9GvkP0AfOI&feature=player_embedded#!), we discussed the reasons why this is the best time to interview.

1) Many companies have a new budget on January 1st. This means that new positions open in the new budgets. Over the past couple of years, hiring managers have been conditioned that they will lose openings if they wait too long to interview and hire employees. Therefore they are motivated to interview and hire.
2) They will interview candidates in December; and start the selected candidates in the first or second week of January within the new budget.
3) Generally people feel generous and warmer during the Holidays. Consequently while still probing the candidate’s experience, the manager potentially will be more cordial.

If candidates decide to interview during this period, the best way to meet the hiring managers is to network their way to meet them.

Identify the companies who need their skills and for whom they want to work. Then network their way into them. Typically 74 to 76% of all jobs are filled through networking and somewhere between 8 and 10% are filled through the Internet job boards and corporate websites.

Understand the foundation of networking. Successful networking involves give and take. Therefore it is important to help the person who is helping you. Ask your friends/acquaintances if they know someone working at the target companies. If so, would they give you contact information to reach them? When you call that person, mention that your friend mentioned they would be either a great contact in that company or a great person to meet someone in that company. Ask “When is a good time to chat that fits into your schedule?” Once you chat with them about your experience and what you want to do next, ask them who would be the best person to talk with next? Then ask if there is anything you can do for them. If people feel you are willing to help them, they will be more willing to help you.

Don’t be the opera singer warming up – you’ve seen them at “networking events” like Chamber after hours. They run from person to person collecting cards and singing “me, Me, Me, MEEEE!”

An example of successful Holiday interviewing is this story. My professional recruitment career began in Washington, DC. After a few years, my best client was Comsat Labs. Typically they were looking for very technical candidates. One of my candidates was a woman working in Baltimore and looking for a challenging position in Washington, DC or suburban Maryland. After my phone screen the week before Christmas, the hiring manager at Comsat was very interested in meeting her.

Since Patti had to drive past Comsat on Christmas Eve to go home in Virginia, I suggested we set up the interview for that morning.

Patti interviewed all morning and it went well on both sides. The hiring manager told her they had a little pot luck lunch to celebrate the holiday; and invited Patti to stay for that hour and meet the staff. She accepted. During lunch, the hiring manager polled the morning interviewers. Right before she left, the hiring manager asked her to come into his office. He wished her a safe trip and a nice holiday. Then he extended an offer. She called me Christmas night to accept. She started the second Monday in January.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

10 Tips for Successful Hiring Manager Interviews

1) Create effective job description that includes the 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals for that specific position http://www.recruitingtrends.com/building-an-effective-job-description. Makes the skills and experience necessary to be successful the first year crystal clear.
2) Use the goals and the departments this position interfaces with to create an interdepartmental interviewing team that focuses on its area.
3) Create an interview that combines behavioral interviewing with 1 and 2 step interview questions to probe skills and experience.
4) Each interviewer focuses on their skill area – and reports how well the candidate would do in their area.
5) Treat the candidate as a potential client – they may be in the future.
6) After interview and within 24 hours, the interview team meets and discusses candidate. Each member of team gives thumbs up or down. The hiring manager accepts their opinions and makes the final hire/no hire decision after the reference check/drug test/background test processes.
7) The hiring manage is taught how to conduct reference checks since they know everything the candidate will need to accomplish. Remember, they make critical decisions every day that impact company. They will conduct a more meaningful reference check than anyone else.
8) Once reference check/drug test/background check process is complete, the final hire/no hire decision is made.
9) Based on the information collected during the interviewing and reference checking processes, create an offer based on corporate compensation, budget, and scarcity of candidates.
10) Begin your offer process by selling the candidate on the position again, asking how they will handle counter offer, and extending the offer.

Critical Corporate Interviewing Improves Retention

When a trusted employee is promoted into management, generally what is their first task? Replace themselves. How do they interview candidates for their replacement? Go to HR and ask for a list of acceptable questions to ask. If they are lucky, HR has a list of “approved questions.” Are the questions targeting the skills required to be successful in the position? Generally not, they are simply acceptable interview questions. Do those questions include, “If you were an animal, what would you be?” Probably not, those questions are usually created by managers who feel they need to ask something more in order to get a better picture of the candidate.

Is interviewing taken seriously in corporate America? If it were, hiring managers would be trained to be more effective in the interviewing process. As a matter of fact, trained and “certified” hiring managers from every company function would be developed. For instance, there would a certified interviewing manager in accounting, another in marketing, another in sales, etc.

If executives truly understood the cost of hiring the wrong person for a job, they would require the same or greater due diligence on the selection of a new employee as they require on the selection of a new corporate acquisition. This due diligence would include a meaningful job description, a meaningful interviewing process, and meaningful due diligence on the selected candidate after the interview.

Let’s examine the cost of hiring the wrong person. The first assumption is that they are in the position for 2 years before they make the grievous mistake that gets them fired (after being put on plan). Let’s say that person is earning $60,000 per year plus full benefits. They are in a decision making position, possibly team leader/supervisor. Let’s also say they have some client contact (customer service is full time client contact). Does this begin to sound like someone your company has hired?

What are your “hard costs” of this hire? Did you pay a recruiting fee, relocation, advertising for the position (Internet postings, newspaper, other), attend Career Fairs, etc.? What time was spent by individuals in your company during the interview process? Did you need to pay the candidate expenses to interview them in person? Did you need to call in an employment attorney prior to letting them go? Did you pay severance? Were you sued by the candidate for wrongful termination when they were let go?

Many companies will glance at their “hard costs” of letting someone go but never even consider their potentially catastrophic “soft costs”.

Let’s examine the “soft costs” of someone who has been in a position for 2 years but is only doing part of their job – and not doing that well. What is the cost of the work that is either not done – or done by another member of the team? What is the cost of their disruption to the team? What is the cost of the credibility of the manager for hiring someone like them? Have they driven away a customer or other employees? What is the cost of managing, coaching, correcting them? What was the cost of the management time spent interviewing them; and then their replacement? Has their employment affected your brand as an employer? How has that affected recruitment? There may be many negative impacts.

On one occasional I conducted an interview training session with a small consulting firm. The attendees included the CEO and CFO. At the beginning of the session, I asked the previous questions. The table with the CEO and CFO estimated that the potential damage to the company could reach to $1 Million over 2 years. Imagine hiring just 4 people like that over a couple of years. Potentially that could make the difference between profit and loss – even between staying in business and going out of business. That is how important interviewing and selection skills are.

10 Tips for Successful Hiring Manager Interviews:

1) Create effective job description that includes the 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals for that specific position (http://www.recruitingtrends.com/building-an-effective-job-description). This exercise makes the skills and experience necessary to be successful the first year crystal clear. Then the manager is able to focus questions on those skills and experience.
2) Use the goals and the departments this position interfaces with to create an interdepartmental interviewing team that focuses on its specific area and general corporate fit.
3) Create an interview that combines behavioral interviewing with 1 and 2 step interview questions to probe skills and experience.
4) Each interviewer focuses on their skill area – and reports how well the candidate would do in their area.
5) Treat the candidate as a potential client – they may be in the future if they are not already.
6) After the interview and within 24 hours, the interview team meets and discusses the candidate. Each member of team gives thumbs up or down. The hiring manager accepts their opinions and makes the final hire/no hire decision after the reference check/drug test/background test processes.
7) The hiring manager is taught how to conduct reference checks since they know everything the candidate will need to accomplish. Remember, they make critical decisions every day that impact the company. They will conduct a more meaningful reference check than anyone else. Coach them as you would for interviewing.
8) Once the reference check/drug test/background check process is complete, the final hire/no hire decision is made.
9) Based on the information collected during the interviewing and reference checking processes; create an offer based on corporate compensation, budget, and scarcity of candidates.
10) Begin your offer process by selling the candidate on the position again, asking how they will handle the counter offer, and extending the offer.

Using this straightforward process will improve your company’s candidate selection process and improve employee retention.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and/or friends! Thank you to all of the people who have to work on Thanksgiving: especially the workers in the retail industry, the police and fire professionals who protect us, and the medical professionals who work 24/7/365.

We especially need to thank all service men and women who have served us since the Founding Fathers and the founding of the United States of America! They protected us through all of the years as our country developed and we worked our way to free all of our citizens; and to protect other people throughout the world who need our help.

Pray for the safe return of All of our Service men and women who serve us overseas.

During our celebrations, remember the sick and people who are out of work.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Post and Prey Recruitment

As I chat with companies regarding a potential recruitment contract, it has become apparent that many companies follow the same process as candidates. They post jobs on the Internet and pray they will receive the best replies from candidates. You see evidence of this on Yahoo Groups and occasionally in various LinkedIn groups when recruiters ask where they may post for different types of candidate.

A couple of months ago a Senior Corporate Recruiter informed me that they “recruit” by posting on LinkedIn. “It’s expensive but it’s effective!” In the next sentence she told me that they had blown their recruitment budget for the fiscal year.

Posting an opening on the Internet is a marketing effort where the poster pays and prays for great results. It is not a sales effort. Recruiting is a sales process. The most successful corporate and third party recruiters realize this and build relationships with candidates.

Recruiting is a dynamic process. Efforts that are wildly successful today may fail terribly a year from now. Therefore it is important to be out there from a marketing perspective and make it easy for candidates to apply if you attract their attention. Requiring candidates to complete an application prior to a conversation is not defined as “easy”. It benefits a company to have their resume in their database. It does not benefit a company to lose good candidates because it takes too long to complete the automated 1960’s application.

May I suggest a new recruiting dynamic? How about “Post and Prey”? There is a reason for the title “Headhunter”. These are specialists who know where to find the best candidates in any field and then deliver their “heads” to their clients. Does this take more time? It depends on how active a corporate recruiting staff is while building relationships with future candidates. What is the corporate budget telling them? When does the company forecast they will need certain talent? Then begin to identify that talent – not after the position has been opened.

Posting positions where potential candidates hang out virtually or physically is fine – just call it recruitment marketing. Then use the available tools like LinkedIn or Broadlook.com to identify who you want to hunt. That is the “prey” part of the process. Then call them not email. Thus the recruiter is beginning a professional relationship with the potential candidate.

During the conversation, ask if they saw your posting. If yes, where? If no, find where they are looking and their peers are probably there also. Now you are conducting market research at the base level and fine tuning your recruitment marketing. No need to spend money where the pool has dried up.

Candidates love to be told they are wanted by another company. Posting and preying is more effective and more fun than posting and praying.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

3.1 million Open Jobs/25 Million Workers Unemployed: What’s Wrong?

You know, this is a lot more complicated problem than simply analyzing the numbers. There are between 20 and 25 million people who are unemployed right now. Many of those have dropped off of the statistics because they are no longer on unemployment.

Wouldn't you agree that part of the problem may be the jobs are not located where the properly skilled workers are? Let's face it, many people are so underwater on their mortgages right now, if they had to move and sell their house (if they could even do so), they would also have to write a check at closing. With savings gone or almost gone, that is not a possibility.

Then you have the problem that there may be qualified help nearby but they are not perceived as a cultural fit. And some of that is as a result of their frustration of being out of work for a long period of time.

Since there are 3.1 million unfilled jobs, I do not feel that the problem is a trade problem. The problem is how to find the appropriate workers for the appropriate jobs. Once those positions are filled, the income generated and thus the consumer spending, will create more jobs.

Companies condition candidates. If it is difficult to find the open positions, people give up trying to work for that company. If the ATS requires candidates to complete a 7 to 13 page application (I saw one of those) prior to a conversation that generates mutual interest, people give up because too many companies have conditioned candidates that for all that work, there is no reply. How many times have you heard the phrase "black hole" when referring to a company hiring process? That conditioning is compounded by friends telling friends or groups of people that there is no point in applying to that company "because you never hear back."

I am a recruiting consultant/recruiter/author and therefore have the opportunity to see and understand the business side.

On the volunteer side, I am one of the volunteer organizers of the Park City Career Network. Park City is a resort town of approximately 12,000 fulltime residents. Since Aug. 2009, we have coached 64 people into new positions, mostly professional. I hear the words spoken that I referred to above.

We've discovered that most people who are unemployed really do not understand how to look for a job. They do not understand that the job search is a sales process. On the business side, many companies do not understand that recruiting/hiring is a sales process. Want proof? Look at their ATS hiring process.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this is a very complicated problem that will not be solved easily. It's not something that you can throw money at - tried and didn't produce advertised results.

Quite possibly it's an education problem. Both sides of the equation need to better understand they are in a sales process.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recruiting Out of State Talent Successfully

It is interesting to listen when companies complain they have difficulty attracting candidates from out of state. With a little research, a consultant may easily determine why they are experiencing those problems.

Relocation of candidates requires an understanding of psychology, an understanding that recruitment is a sales process, and a recruitment process that does not interfere with those understandings.

One of my clients decided to transition an important IT organization from Washington, DC to Cedar Rapids, IA in the early 1990’s. I was tasked to develop the recruitment strategy; and developed these tips. As a result, we recruited 200 IT professionals for Cedar Rapids in 20 months (prior to the Internet as a widely used sourcing tool). Of those 200 IT professionals, we needed to relocate approximately 145 individuals and families from cities all over the United States. I like to think we could have done it more quickly today because sourcing is so much easier and more targeted. However, the other side of that sword is absorbing and effectively orienting those new employees, especially since we also needed to recruit Senior Managers and orient them.

Fortunately my client was very light on its feet and welcomed innovation. Otherwise, we would have failed. We changed parts of our strategy when they were not as effective as they once were – while keeping the strategies that continued to work. The strategy was developed so it fit within my client’s basic needs of personal interviews, reference checking (very valuable), background investigations, and drug testing. Otherwise we were able to change the process as needed.

The following tips will help your company succeed in attracting top talent that needs to be relocated.

1) Examine your current recruitment processes. If you put up roadblocks to top talent, you will have difficulty attracting them. For instance, do you require candidates to complete an application prior to a conversation to develop mutual interest (a la the 1960’s Personnel Department)? This practice is Clerk recruiting at its worst. Professional recruiters talk to candidates first and develop an interest prior to any applications.


2) Avoid asking candidates to make a big decision. Keep asking for small decisions until relocation is a logical next step. People resist making big decisions without enough information – and asking them to pull up roots and move is a very big decision because it potentially impacts a whole family. Do you tell candidates in the first conversation that they Must move to your town? If so, you are probably making relocation a more difficult issue.


3) Will the candidate be viewed as a diversity candidate? If so, they will be concerned about what happens if they move and the work relationship fails. They will also be concerned whether or not they will “fit in” to the company, neighborhood, schools, etc. It is important to introduce them to other similar employees in your company or area.

With all of the potential complications, what process works? Remember first of all, this is a sales process. Therefore you want to ask the candidate to make small easy decisions with each one leading the candidate to the next obvious conclusion.

You need to determine if the candidate is qualified. In your introductory phone call you discuss your company/client and the specific position to see if there is interest. It’s important to honestly sell each – company and position. It is good to mention the location of the position but that’s not important yet. What is important is their interest level in a position like that and in your company. At this point if they say I don’t want to move to (Park City/Washington, DC/Iowa, etc), you reply “I understand. What’s more important at this point is if you are interested in this position and the direction of the company.”

“We don’t even know if you qualify for this position yet. When is a good time to sit down to discuss your qualifications?” Set up a phone screen. At the beginning of the phone screen, refresh their memory about the position and the company. Be sure to add some new information that will keep their interest. Once you have decided they are qualified, then you may say “The next little step is to have a phone conversation with the hiring manager. Would you prefer to have that conversation during the day or in the evening?” If they object that they do not want to move, simply say “I’m not asking you to move. It doesn’t cost you anything to talk. Let’s just chat with the manager to see if this type of position is interesting to you.” You want them thinking about the next easy decision – when to phone interview with the manager. Once you have a mutually agreeable time, contact the hiring manager to set up the call and coach them about the next steps.

After the call with the hiring manager, ask how it went. Find their level of interest. If it is high, the next little step is to meet with the manager in person and meet people on the team. Then a tour of facilities, followed by a tour of the area by a chosen professional real estate agent who is there only to sell the area but not a property (that may happen later). The real estate agent will ask them during the tour what they would like to see – schools, playing fields, cultural locations (museums, live theaters - repertory or off-Broadway), hiking/biking trails, etc. While they are conversing, the real estate agent should ask them if they like what they’ve seen - in other words, understand their objections. This is key to your success because candidates will tend to be more open to discussing concerns with someone who is not connected directly to the company.

Once you know their true objections – and if the hiring manager really wants to hire this candidate – you may be able to answer that objection in your debriefing conversation. For instance, they may say they won’t make a decision without their spouse seeing the area. One client answers that objection early by inviting the spouse/significant other to the onsite interview trip. They tour while the candidate interviews. After the interview, the other person joins them and is shown what the first liked the most about their tour (and will probably talk about their interviews).

After the real estate agent debriefs you, you can debrief the candidate. If there is an objection, treat it as important but not a show stopper (the person could just have a little cold feet). If there is mutual interest at this point, the next little decision is an offer. At this point, it is expected and the move will seem like a smaller decision because of the additional information since the first conversation.

If this is a key position, companies need to have some flexibility on relocation benefits (especially in this housing market), signing bonuses, and compensation/title (it still needs to be within the compensation structure). How much is this empty position costing the company per month?

Before the offer is extended it is important to review all of the reasons why the candidate should strongly consider the position and get their agreement on those reasons. Then with excitement extend the offer to them. Once they accept, negotiate a start date and coach them on the Counter Offer again (but that’s another blog!).

Happy Hunting!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

1960's Recruiting in 2011

Remember the 1960’s? Well, there are two generations who don’t.

If you were a candidate, there were three primary ways for you to find a job.

1) Complete an application, drop it off with the Personnel Department, and hope the company called you.
2) Become known as a contributor in your current company and be recruited by a recruiter or someone within another company who knows your impacts.
3) Network with people who could help introduce you to another company – “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know” became a mantra.

If you were the Personnel Department, you ran a newspaper ad and waited for responses, looked at them, decided if they were a potential fit and either interviewed them or filed their resume in a file drawer.

In 2011, many companies have the same process, only today it is automated. The name “Personnel Department” has mostly become obsolete. Today, we have Human Resource Departments that have the responsibility for Talent Acquisition.

How do many of those Human Resource Departments recruit today? They run an automated newspaper ad on one or more Job Boards. “Automated newspaper ad?” CareerBuilder was founded by two newspaper publishing companies.

When candidates reply, what are they required to do in many companies? Complete a six to seven page application prior to any conversation or mutual interest; and hope they receive a reply from the Talent Acquisition team. That process is called “Posting and praying.”

Today instead of filing the resume in a file drawer, it is filed in an applicant tracking system (Thank Goodness! At least that way you may be able to find the resume in the future!).

The applicant tracking systems that promote that process are partially correct. Clerks should be able to run that process. Unfortunately recruitment is not a clerk process. It is a sales process and successful companies treat it as such.

Successful corporate recruiting professionals understand the psychology behind recruitment. They understand that candidates do not like to make big, life changing decisions. They help them make little decisions that lead to the obvious conclusion – offer acceptance and starting.

As our economy slowly improves, companies will begin to open new positions for growth and to replace retiring Baby Boomers. The clerk based recruiting teams will suffer in that environment as their applications dwindle; and they won’t understand why.

Meanwhile the successful corporate recruiting professionals will have the opportunity to choose and recruit the most promising candidates - who will no longer follow the 1960’s processes.

It is time to move recruitment to 2011. Utilize the tools available in the way that attract candidates. Beware of processes that repel candidates.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What Makes Employees Happy?

Isn’t this the age old question? Ask three hundred executives and human resource directors that question. You will receive three hundred responses.

If you read “Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink, you will see that scientific research demonstrates that people typically fall into two groups – those intrinsically motivated and those extrinsically motivated.

The extrinsically motivated employees are motivated by conditions outside of them – money, benefits, working conditions, etc. According to Daniel Pink’s book, they are transactional by nature – if you do this, then you will receive that.

The intrinsically motivated employees are those employees that we usually describe as self motivated. According to research cited in Daniel Pink’s book, these people are motivated by mastery of their job, autonomy within their job, and a purpose for successfully completing their work.

Whom do you recruit? The best answer probably depends on the nature and culture of your business. My suspicion is that you want both types of people in many businesses. The better question is, “Are your executives/managers skilled enough to identify and manage both types of motivated people effectively?” If not, is your company willing to offer them the training to understand how these types of employees are motivated?

The delightful conundrum that humans offer is that we do not fit into boxes well. Just as you feel that you are successfully recruiting intrinsically motivated people, some employees suddenly begin to act more like transactional employees. Typically that means it may be time to study your compensation structure. It is important to take money off of the table. Don’t give away the company and don’t make work an “if…then” proposition. Possibly what they really need is more autonomy or a better understanding of the purpose of their work? The unhappy employee may not know how to communicate those needs. They know that they need a change and feel that more compensation may help them feel better. The terrible success rate of counter offers demonstrates that usually more compensation is not the answer.

We are back to the important question, “What makes employees happy?” “It depends” is not a helpful response.

Let’s apply the chemistry elements analogy with each response from the 300 executives and human resource directors. Take all of those elements and simmer them down to the base elements. Doesn’t it boil down to these two elements? “Am I making a positive, measurable impact”; and, “Am I having fun?” If both of these elements are present, compensation takes care of itself. The employees will do the work necessary to receive the appropriate compensation.

The challenge for companies is to recognize those base elements and strive to help their employees succeed and have fun. It is not easy. Those who are successful generally are found on the Best Places to Work lists; and financially benefit with an engaged workforce.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Offer Acceptance to Job Start Transition

Most recruiters, corporate and third party alike have discovered that a candidate’s acceptance does not automatically translate to their start. Many events may occur to prevent the candidate’s transition to employee, particularly if they need to relocate.

Therefore it is important to stay in contact through the period between their acceptance and their start. It is also good for the hiring manager to communicate their excitement that the candidate is joining their team. Why? Well the candidate is about to be re-sold on their current company with a counter offer. Possibly they need some advice for relocation to the new area. Do you have a dependable real estate agent for community orientation tours? Typically candidates convey any trepidation they have regarding the move to the real estate agent. Professional real estate agents can help you answer objections prior to them becoming too large to handle. The different variables working against the person’s start are too numerous to mention in a short blog or article.

When a recruiter feels the need to pull in the “big guns” (the CEO for instance), they need to be comfortable that person is willing to do so and able to sell the candidate on the advantages of working for the client. I’ve been known to travel two states to save a valuable hire (with my client’s blessing and aid) after the candidate accepted a counter offer. Countering the counter offer requires skill and sensitivity. After all, change is difficult for most people.

How do you handle their start day? Do you welcome them on board with a special welcome? Or do you send them to HR to fill out their paperwork? Remember to differentiate your business as a great place to work immediately. First impressions are lasting.

Remember your company just spent a sizable amount of money to identify this person. If they leave immediately (and over the years, I’ve seen a few go to lunch and never return), you company typically is starting over.

Welcome every new employee as a valued member of the team. The hiring manager should welcome them and review the 3, 6, 9, and 12 month goals with them (those are in your job descriptions, correct?). Then the manager needs to introduce the new team member to their immediate team, followed by introductions to other areas of the company where they interface. Then their immediate team and they go to lunch to begin bonding.

But the paperwork! What about the paperwork? Send it to them ahead of time. Suggest they complete as much as possible prior to starting. Then after lunch they can meet with HR for answers to their benefit questions and other paperwork questions.

Is there value in a formal company orientation? Absolutely! Learning the history of the company, its mission, and how to successfully work within the company are all important. Assuming that most people start on Mondays, and that Mondays are typically tough days for Human Resources, begin orientation on Tuesday. This gives the Hiring Manager and their team a day to bond and show the new employee how to be successful in that new group. Where is the software they need on the company network? Show them and then provide cheat sheets.

The first day is the beginning of your company’s employee retention process – and what a day to begin!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Job Search Myths, Monsters, and Misconceptions

As an expert recruitment consultant, I work with hiring managers and candidates on a daily basis. Over the years, I have heard the Myths, Monsters, and Misconceptions about job searches – many of which prevented candidates from landing a position sooner than later.

Myths –

1) Since there are so many people out of work and we’re in a “jobless recovery”, there is no point in looking for a job right now. There are between 15 to 20 million Americans out of work right now – that’s the bad news. However, there are jobs created in every town virtually every day. Some of those positions are very good positions. Keep networking!

2) Posting on job boards is the best way to find a job. Consistently between 74 to 76% of all positions are filled through networking, not posting and praying. That is true in both strong economies and in poor economies.


3) People don’t want to be “bothered” by me. If you are networking and are a warm referral from someone they know, most people will treat you very respectfully and try to help you.

4) Spell check finds all spelling errors. Well not exactly. How about these? Form/from, it/at, mange/manage or manger/manager (very common errors), meet/meat, bite/kite, is/in/an/as, etc. One letter does make a difference!


5) Never worked in that industry. Many candidates feel they are only qualified in the industry they came from. When you consider that accountants many times have to work within GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and manufacturing professionals work within cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice), their skills are transferable to other industries. Apply those principles in almost every industry. When we speak of related skills, this is how they are applied.

Monsters –

1) The 10,000 pound phone – This monster potentially impacts every sales person – and during a job search they are a sales person. They know that they need to get on the phone and make contacts but fear prevents them from doing so. Once the job seeker begins to call, it becomes easier but the fear stays around for awhile. Understand that the fear is like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain is your next job.

2) Age makes the difference! Some people perceive age as their job search problem. I’m too old or too young for this position. Ever hear the axiom that that the exception proves the rule? Be the exception.


3) It just doesn’t seem anything will help me find a job. Don’t give up. Many people are in the same situation. The more that the job seeker networks, the closer they are to finding a job. Talk with at least 4 new people per day. Activity creates activity. A proper attitude is very important during the job search process.

Misconceptions –

1) Interviews are Grueling! Obviously that is based on the job seekers’ point of view. Would that perception change if they knew that once they are chosen for a personal interview, the hiring manager is rooting for them to succeed? Most hiring managers would rather “do their job” than interviewing candidates. They want the interviewee to succeed! Go in with that confidence.

2) Resumes get me the job. Actually resumes are the candidate’s marketing piece. They help attract the right person to talk with the job seeker about a position. They do not “get them the job”

3) Salary negotiation begins after the interview. Salary negotiation begins long before the candidate is selected for the interview. The salary range is determined when the position is approved in the budget. Therefore candidates are being screened for salary from the beginning of the process. This is one reason to avoid giving your previous compensation until after your conversation.

Work your way through these Job Search Myths, Monsters, and Misconceptions to find your next job more quickly.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Countering the Counter Offer

Have you ever sourced the Best Candidate; sold them on the opportunity with your company or client; worked with them through the interview process, answering their questions; helped the hiring manager determine the best compensation package; extend the offer that they accepted; and then lost the candidate to a counter offer? If you have been in the recruitment business for any amount of time, you have experienced that sinking feeling when they stop returning your calls.

When should a recruiter begin to prepare a candidate for the counter offer? My suggestion is to bring up the topic when you are setting up the onsite interview. Why? You want them talking about it long before they experience the counter offer. Why? You don’t want them to experience the natural ego boost when they feel wanted, possibly for the first time in a long time at their current company.

A great way to bring up the topic is head on. “How do you plan on handling the counter offer if my company/client extends you an offer that you accept?” Hate to bring this up but some candidates use interviewing outside of their company as leverage to get a raise. Obviously there is a lack of integrity, but they have been successful squeezing what they wanted out of a company using that tactic in the past. It’s best to begin to coach them now – and the best way to begin coaching is to know their response to that question.

Now is the time to ask the following question again, “Why are you considering a job change now?” Many times the response I’ve received is “You intrigued me. Otherwise I was not looking.” Then you may ask them, “What was it about this position that intrigued you?” This response is very important to your success. Write it down in your notes (all the better if you work with an applicant tracking system!).
While discussing the counter offer early on, I like to bring up the statistic that depending on the economy and industry between 67% and 80% of those employees who accept a counter offer leave in the next 6 months – and their company knows that statistic.

If that is true why do companies extend counter offers? Typically to protect themselves. The manager suddenly realizes they need that person that they have either been ignoring or have not allowed them to move to a new project, area, manager, etc. They realize they will lose important knowledge that the person will take with them. They may have lost other members of their team and are afraid how this departure will reflect on them. Sometimes they suddenly realize they are under compensating their employee (but they still have a budget).

Fast forward to the offer. Once the manager has decided to extend an offer, typically they have already begun penciling the candidate into meetings (even when the candidate has not accepted). By now the candidate and I have had several conversations about the counter offer. They are now expecting one. Once the candidate accepts the offer, I ask them to let me know how many of the following statements they hear from various members of management:

1) “I am shocked that you want to leave! I thought you were happy. As a matter of fact, tomorrow we were going to discuss a (promotion, raise, new project, etc.) with you.” (Call me a cynic but the timing is suspect…”)
2) “You are a very valuable employee. We need to see what we can do to encourage you to stay.”
3) “I am happy that you came to me because I planned to chat with you about moving to another organization/project within our company” (that was nixed in a previous conversation).
4) “I am very disappointed that you chose such a busy time to leave our organization. Can’t you see the impact of your departure will have on everyone else?” (RecruiterGuy loves that one. “The manager is trying to put a guilt trip on the employee!”)
5) “Your manager just came to me to discuss your resignation. I asked if I could talk with you. You are a key person in our growth plans. I am sorry we haven’t shared this with you sooner. Let’s sit down and discuss the needed changes…” (generally an executive speaking)
6) “What will it take for you to stay?” (At least that one is upfront in its intent!)
7) “As you know, we rarely make counter offers here. You are such a key person. We will make an exception. What do you want to stay?”
8) “Thank you for coming to me and discussing needed changes. Would you like to lead those changes?” (Generally once you accept the counter offer, the desire to make the immediate changes in the organization dissolves shortly after) Then they will say, “Let’s just finish what you are working on first. Then we will discuss the changes.” (Note – they won’t say “make the changes” again)

One of my candidates called me after their resignation and proudly told me the company hit 7 of the 8 statements during the day of his resignation. Then he laughed and told me he was happy I warned him.

Why is accepting a counter offer typically one of the worse things an employee can do – and leads to so many leaving within the next 6 months?
• The employee’s loyalty to their current company is now questioned. Subtly they will begin to see changes in how management works with them if they accept the counter offer. Fewer strategic conversations and more tactical conversations as they begin the brain drain. Management also knows the employee will most likely leave in 6 months. Therefore, management will begin to plan who is going to replace the employee.
• Remember the odds of further success at that company decline rapidly once the employee accepts a counter offer. Management is now focused on “protecting themselves” instead of future contributions from the employee. They know the employee will only be in the position a short time before they have to go through the expense and time of replacing them.
• Usually accepting a counter offer will burn the bridge with the company where the employee successfully interviewed and received an offer. Now the employee who was excited by the company, the new position, the hiring manager and the offer has to go to the offering company and give them the news they accepted a counter offer. Generally that conversation does not go well. Once a manager decides to extend an offer, they begin to plan for the new employee’s start and begin penciling them in for meetings. They are very excited they have finally found the right person for the position. Imagine the level of disappointment when they are told the candidate accepted a counter offer.

I recommend to candidates, “The best way to resign is to graciously thank the manager for the experience working with them. Then firmly tell them that they are very excited about the new opportunity and give the date of their departure (generally 2 weeks’ notice). When a manager approaches to discuss the counter offer, simply thank them and begin discussing the transition.”

By discussing the counter offer early and often during the recruiting process, you increase the probability of delivering your candidate to your company or client.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Building an Effective Job Description

Hiring managers in many companies do not understand the value of an effective job description. One client said, “Just find me C++ programmers.” When I asked if he was mostly interested in application programmers or software engineers, he simply looked at me. If we found the right people, we would not waste his time reviewing resumes. After taking the time up front, he was happy with our results.

The job description is the foundation of an effective recruitment process. The best job descriptions provide talking points during manager/employee update conversations during the year. These updates help the semi-annual and annual reviews go more smoothly because there are no surprises.

On the other hand, if the job description is hastily created the corporate recruiter will have a difficult time zeroing in on the best talent. Then Human Resources is targeted as inefficient. The blame seemingly never falls on the hiring manager.

If HR is truly going to be a business partner, the department needs to act like one. Since the hiring manager knows their requirements, they need to take the time to get it right. This is the beginning of their due diligence. Ask M&A CFO’s what happens when they take shortcuts.

To create an effective job description, ask the manager the following questions:

What are the day to day duties?
What are the weekly duties?
What are the quarterly duties?
What are the yearend duties (if any)?
What special projects are expected to be completed?
What strategic projects need to be completed? What planning needs to occur?

What are the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month goals for this position?

If these answers are on target, the skills and experience to be successful in the first year become crystal clear. Then building a detailed interview becomes much easier and more relevant.

What are the advantages of asking for the goals?
1) During the interview process, you discuss the goals with every candidate. On the first day, the manager discusses the goals with the new employee. During the one on ones, the manager has a track to ask progress on goals and ask if there is anything they need to do to progress them. As a result of using this process, there are no surprises at annual review time.
2) Some candidates will decide not to apply - and that is okay. No point in taking the time with someone who isn't interested.
3) Some managers need to take the time to truly think about their expectations. This exercise helps retention because everyone is on the same page from the beginning.

This process works because HR and the hiring manager are a team trying to find the best qualified candidate who is a fit. It becomes easier to identify the "C" level (as in not A or B level) manager who does not want expectations to live up to.

Once you have these responses and are crafting your job description, look at similar positions on Monster or CareerBuilder. This way you may be able to add duties that may have been missed. It's a double check exercise. It also enables the HR professional to touch base with the manager one more time to see if they want the additional duties/required experience tweaked. Remember EEOC.

The job description is the foundation of the recruiting process. If you get it right, recruitment flows. If you don't, the balance of the recruiting process may be painful and retention will suffer.

I am available for my next recruitment consulting contract.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Importance of the Human Resource in a Start-up Business

When you are a venture capitalist or investment firm, you are trying to determine where you should invest your money. Just as in any other business venture, what are the fundamentals in the potential business?

What is the most important resource in a start-up business?

The product? Who controls the product? People
The financials? Who controls the financials? People
The Intellectual Property? Who creates the Intellectual Property? People
The Clients? What makes up the client base? People
The inventory? Who controls the inventory? People

Therefore, it would appear that people may be the most important resource. How do you measure the potential success of the company? The product or service is certainly important. Once it is determined that the product or service is needed, who is the leader, and what is the caliber of people they have selected to lead? That sets the tone for future hiring of the people who will control all of the other resources. If they hire people weaker than they, they are afraid of losing control – not a good leader. If they have hired a great team, they are poised for success.

What is their motivation – extrinsic or intrinsic? An intrinsically motivated person will work harder to succeed as long as they have autonomy, purpose, and desire for mastery of their area of expertise. (Read “Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink)

I have been a recruiting consultant in 3 start-ups. One of those three is currently in business, although it had to declare bankruptcy twice prior to being purchased by another company.

Why did they fail? For a variety of reasons, generally revolving around people and their decisions.

The entrepreneur is great at beginning businesses. An excellent and applicable question to ask them during due diligence is “What is your exit strategy?” While they are superb in the initial years, they need to surround themselves with solid managers. Once the business grows beyond the level that they have managed, perhaps it is the time to introduce a new leader who has successfully grown a business from that level to the next level. They can move to the Board and thus have a say.

Bottom line – the team is most important. That is the reason I love what I do!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Job Search Myths, Monsters, and Misconceptions

As an expert recruitment consultant, I work with hiring managers and candidates on a daily basis. Over the years, I have heard the Myths, Monsters, and Misconceptions about job searches – many of which prevented candidates from landing a position sooner than later.

Myths –

1) Since there are so many people out of work and we’re in a “jobless recovery”, there is no point in looking for a job right now. There are between 15 to 20 million Americans out of work right now – that’s the bad news. However, there are jobs created in every town virtually every day. Some of those positions are very good positions. Keep networking!

2) Posting on job boards is the best way to find a job. Consistently between 74 to 76% of all positions are filled through networking, not posting and praying. That is true in both strong economies and in poor economies.


3) People don’t want to be “bothered” by me. If you are networking and are a warm referral from someone they know, most people will treat you very respectfully and try to help you.

4) Spell check finds all spelling errors. Well not exactly. How about these? Form/from, it/at, mange/manage or manger/manager (very common errors), meet/meat, bite/kite, is/in/an/as, etc. One letter does make a difference!


5) Never worked in that industry. Many candidates feel they are only qualified in the industry they came from. When you consider that accountants many times have to work within GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and manufacturing professionals work within cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice), their skills are transferable to other industries. Apply those principles in almost every industry. When we speak of related skills, this is how they are applied.

Monsters –

1) The 10,000 pound phone – This monster potentially impacts every sales person – and during a job search they are a sales person. They know that they need to get on the phone and make contacts but fear prevents them from doing so. Once the job seeker begins to call, it becomes easier but the fear stays around for awhile. Understand that the fear is like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain is your next job.

2) Age makes the difference! Some people perceive age as their job search problem. I’m too old or too young for this position. Ever hear the axiom that the exception proves the rule? Be the exception.


3) It just doesn’t seem anything will help me find a job. Don’t give up. Many people are in the same situation. The more that the job seeker networks, the closer they are to finding a job. Talk with at least 4 new people per day. Activity creates activity. A proper attitude is very important during the job search process.

Misconceptions –

1) Interviews are Grueling! Obviously that is based on the job seekers’ point of view. Would that perception change if they knew that once they are chosen for a personal interview, the hiring manager is rooting for them to succeed? Most hiring managers would rather “do their job” than interviewing candidates. They want the interviewee to succeed! Go in with that confidence.

2) Resumes get me the job. Actually resumes are the candidate’s marketing piece. They help attract the right person to talk with the job seeker about a position. They do not “get them the job”

3) Salary negotiation begins after the interview. Salary negotiation begins long before the candidate is selected for the interview. The salary range is determined when the position is approved in the budget. Therefore candidates are being screened for salary from the beginning of the process. This is one reason to avoid giving your previous compensation until after your conversation.

Work your way through these Job Search Myths, Monsters, and Misconceptions to find your next job more quickly.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

You Accepted the Position – Beware of the Counter Offer

Expert Recruitment Consultant Discusses the Dangers of Accepting a Counter Offer

Numbers demonstrate the employment market is improving. As a result the people who have jobs are beginning to dip their toes gingerly into the market. Surveys show that 30% to 60% of employed workers are unhappy in their jobs and are waiting for the employment market to improve. An expert recruitment consultant warns that some of these people are setting themselves up for future failure if they accept a counter offer from their current employer.

“Most people do not understand the potential impacts of accepting a counter offer. For instance 69% of employees who accept a counter offer leave their current employer within 6 months of accepting that counter offer,” said Bill Humbert, known as RecruiterGuy (www.RecruiterGuy.com) and author of “RecruiterGuy’s Guide to Finding a Job”. “Unfortunately the counter offer has little to do with the employee and everything to do with the current employer.”

Humbert is not a career coach; rather he is an expert recruitment consultant with 30 years of recruitment consulting experience for start-up to large multinational companies. He knows how managers think when someone presents their resignation. His advice to job hunters who have successfully found a new job includes understanding:
• There is a reason why you chose to leave the company – and outside of compensation, that hasn’t changed. Most people dislike change. Therefore the decision to make a job change is generally a tough decision and is based on many factors including money. RecruiterGuy says, “When I extend an offer to a candidate for my client, I warn them about the coming counter offer. Then we have another discussion on all of the reasons they decided to find a new position.”
• A counter offer provides resigning employees a huge ego boost – and companies know that. The employee is thinking, “Finally I am getting some recognition of my worth around here!” An effective counter offer by the company works on a person’s need for recognition.
• A counter offer is all about the manager and company – and not about the employee. Did it take a resignation for them to recognize an employee’s worth? Do employees really feel that conditions will change for the long term? Probably not. Once the “danger” of the employee leaving is over, the manager will return to their old ways of doing things – the base of behavioral interviewing. The extra compensation may just be next year’s raise – a few months early. Remember, every position has a budget range.
• Count how many of these statements resigning employees hear from their manager and other company managers after they resign:
1) “I am shocked that you want to leave! I thought you were happy. As a matter of fact, tomorrow we were going to discuss a (promotion, raise, new project, etc.) with you.” (Humbert says, “Call me a cynic but the timing is suspect…”)
2) “You are a very valuable employee. We need to see what we can do to encourage you to stay.”
3) “I am happy that you came to me because I planned to chat with you about moving to another organization/project within our company” (that was nixed in a previous conversation).
4) “I am very disappointed that you chose such a busy time to leave our organization. Can’t you see the impact of your departure will have on everyone else?” (RecruiterGuy loves that one. “The manager is trying to put a guilt trip on the employee!”)
5) “You manager just came to me to discuss your resignation. I asked if I could talk with you. You are a key person in our growth plans. I am sorry we haven’t shared this with you sooner. Let’s sit down and discuss the needed changes…” (generally an executive speaking)
6) “What will it take for you to stay?” (At least that one is upfront in its intent!)
7) “As you know, we rarely make counter offers here. You are such a key person. We will make an exception. What do you want to stay?”
8) “Thank you for coming to me and discussing needed changes. Would you like to lead those changes?” (Generally once you accept the counter offer, the desire to make the immediate changes in the organization dissolves shortly after) Then they will say, “Let’s just finish what you are working on first. Then we will discuss the changes.” (Note – they won’t say “make the changes” again)

Humbert said, “One of my candidates called me after their resignation and proudly told me the company hit 8 of the 9 statements during the day of his resignation. Then he laughed and told me he was happy I warned him.”

• The employee’s loyalty to their current company is now questioned. Subtly they will begin to see changes in how management works with them if they accept the counter offer. Fewer strategic conversations and more tactical conversations as they begin the brain drain. Management also knows the employee will most likely leave in 6 months. Therefore, management will begin to plan who is going to replace the employee.
• Remember the odds of further success at that company decline rapidly once the employee accepts a counter offer. Management is now focused on “protecting themselves” instead of future contributions from the employee. They know the employee will only be in the position a short time before they have to go through the expense and time of replacing them.
• Usually accepting a counter offer will burn the bridge with the company where the employee successfully interviewed and received an offer. Now the employee who was excited by the company, the new position, the hiring manager and the offer has to go to the offering company and give them the news they accepted a counter offer. Generally that conversation does not go well. Once a manager decides to extend an offer, they begin to plan for the new employee’s start and begin penciling them in for meetings. They are very excited they have finally found the right person for the position. Imagine the level of disappointment when they are told the candidate accepted a counter offer.

Bill Humbert recommends, “The best way to resign is to graciously thank the manager for the experience working with them. Then firmly tell them that they are very excited about the new opportunity and give the date of their departure (generally 2 weeks’ notice). When a manager approaches to discuss the counter offer, simply thank them and begin discussing the transition.”

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Successful Corporate Recruiting Requires Focus, Time, and Hard Work

Successful corporate recruiting requires focus, time, and hard work. Companies that are very successful finding the top candidates understand that attracting candidates is a sales process. The amount of effort put into the search for the right candidate is reflected in the quality of candidates presented for interviews. Are your company’s hiring managers frustrated in the quality of candidate received? Do they constantly request the aid of search firms (who understand Recruiting is Sales)?

The purpose of this article is to save you money for your company and help you better focus your recruitment efforts.

When I am on a recruiting consulting contract, we discuss the client’s recruitment processes. While we are working through the process, I point out areas that need to be tweaked or completely changed in order to attract more and better candidates. The goal is to create a recruitment process that reflects a sales process (demonstrated in “Attracting Passive Candidates?”).

Used in the correct way, technology can be a terrific aid to attract and recruit top candidates. Used the wrong way, technology will drive top candidates to other companies in droves.

Is your Salt Lake City based company using technology to track activity and resumes? If so, you are on the right track. If you have been sold that technology will help you recruit, you most likely are on the wrong foot and would need a conversation to confirm.

Technology is great for speeding up process. Unfortunately it speeds up good processes and poor processes alike – just making bad things happen faster. If you are selling products, like Amazon, technology is fine. If you are trying to sell yourself as an employer, it is tougher unless you make one of the “Best Employers’ Lists”. By definition, most companies are not the best place to work – not that they are bad places to work, they just haven’t received recognition yet.

Yes. Recruiting the sales way takes more time typically than simply filling requisitions. However the reward for recruiting the sales way is much more productive and happier employees. They will make your company more profitable and more competitive than people filling desks.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Attracting Passive Candidates?

When I attend recruiting conferences and Human Resource meetings nationwide, inevitably the conversation works its way to attracting the Holy Grail of recruitment – the Passive Candidate.

It is valuable to listen carefully to that person’s definition of whom the Passive Candidate is. Generally companies define the Passive Candidate as someone who is doing a job at a high level within another company; and is perfectly content to remain there.

Then go to the website of the company seeking to attract the Passive Candidate. Does the company put up roadblocks while trying to attract the Passive Candidate? Beware of conflicting goals. If the company truly wants to attract the Passive Candidate, do they make it easy for them? Obviously if they are just looking around, they will not fill out an application prior to a conversation. How many companies are being sold by their Applicant Tracking System vendors that requiring candidates to complete an application prior to the company’s demonstrated interest in the candidate is best practice? It appears that many companies have bought into this practice. This practice runs directly counter to the sales process.

Successful recruiting is a sales process – pure and simple. The processes match perfectly.


Sales Process
1) Identify Need
2) Develop service or product to fill need
3) Source potential clients
4) Perform needs analysis
5) Proposal
6) Negotiation
7) Close
8) Delivery of product/service

Recruitment Process
1) Identify Need – new or replacement
2) Create job description
3) Source potential candidates
4) Interview – needs analysis
5) Offer
6) Compensation negotiation
7) Close
8) Delivery of candidate

In the recruitment sales process, the application should be completed after the interview is set and prior to the interview. Now you have sufficient interest by the passive candidate to motivate them to complete the application prior to the interview.

Requiring Passive Candidates to complete an application while surfing your website will cause them to continue surfing to another company that understands that recruiting is sales.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

RecruiterGuy’s Top 11 Tips for Successful Networking

As the author of “RecruiterGuy’s Guide to Finding a Job” and as a professional recruitment consultant since 1981, there have been many times when I observed people “working the room” while attempting to effectively network with others.

Most times they have been ineffective because they are more interested in quantity than quality relationship building. These are the people who are similar to the opera soloist warming up as they meet people – ME, ME, ME, ME-E-E! You have met them too often.

Successful networking requires building a relationship. Truly effective networkers strive for in person opportunities to network. The more senses a person uses when they meet you, the more likely they will remember you. Remember our smell sense works well in determining whether someone will remember you; and How they will remember you.

1) Everyone is a prospective candidate for networking. We all need to meet someone to propel our career or business forward. I am thrilled when I am able to introduce two people who become wildly successful as a result of that introduction. You don’t know who that seatmate on a flight knows.

2) List everyone that you know currently and from your past – high school, college, sports, first job, other jobs, neighbors, etc. You know more people than you realize.

3) Prepare yourself for networking conversations. List everything you do well professionally and personally. Place asterisks next to things you do well and like to do. Then create a story from your experience that demonstrates that skill or attribute. People remember stories better than facts.

4) Dress is a sign of respect. Subconsciously we measure an approaching individual by their dress, level of confidence, and expression. It happens automatically. You have the power to make it more positive, simply by dressing with respect.

5) Give is the attitude that successful networkers project. When you give, you receive. What you give is what you receive.

6) Focus on the other person. Listen to them. Process what they are saying. Offer suggestions.

7) Eye contact is very important. How often have you experienced a conversation when someone kept looking around? How did you feel about their interest in you?

8) Interview the person in front of you. Ask them probing questions. Why did you choose this field? What is your greatest challenge right now? How may my contacts help you?

9) Here I Am! Speech is your elevator speech or one minute commercial. Note this is number 9 because your focus needs to be on the other person. Prepare a quick discussion of your experience and accomplishments to help that person frame where they may help, discuss your current situation in a sentence and then tell them where you could use some contact help.

10) Communicate with the person in front of you. Right now they are the most important person in the room. Treat them as such.

11) Thank them for their thoughts and their help. Ask them for a card and email them that evening to thank them again.

Using these 11 points will help you consistently help more people; and as a result receive more targeted referrals.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interviewing the Seasoned Contract Recruiter Consultant

As the “jobless recovery” begins to transition to a hiring recovery, companies nationwide need to begin to plan for the need for more employees. This is the last in a series of four articles on deciding whether the company needs an additional corporate recruiter, support from contingent recruiters, or the more strategic support a seasoned (not $35/hr.) contract recruiter consultant provides.

In the previous two articles, we discussed the interview questions that companies may ask the corporate recruiter candidates and contingent recruiters (yes, you should interview them!). This article is focused on contract recruiter consultants.

A seasoned contract recruiter consultant has a minimum of 15 years of recruitment experience in a variety of companies. Why 15 years of experience? This demonstrates they have the knowledge and skills to survive a recession. Why a variety of companies? No one solution fits all situations. Therefore it is best that person has successfully experienced a number of corporate environments. How do you measure “successfully experienced”? If they have worked with a client more than once, that client was happy with their services. If they do not have a history of repeat business, that should be a flag for you.

Ask the contract recruiter consultant what industries they have recruited for. If they specialize in one industry and trumpet they have a rolodex of candidates in that industry, ask who their clients are. If their clients are your competitors, you will probably not receive resumes from those clients. If they forward candidates from those clients, they will also help create churn in your organization by recruiting out the new people in their rolodex from your company. Remember the premise behind behavioral interviewing?

Certainly you want to ask them about their most difficult assignment and probe why it was difficult. Ask them about their most interesting project and why? What impacts did they make on each project? Keep in mind that occasionally people inside of a company block potential impacts because they perceive the consultant is “making them look bad”. Those situations are not as satisfying for the consultant but they need to handle them.

This series of articles should help Salt Lake City companies make better choices on the type of recruiter they choose and the specific recruiter. You may reach me at recruiterguy@msn.com if you have questions. RecruiterGuy.com works nationwide.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Contingent Recruiter Interviews

What makes a great contingent recruiting firm? The recruiters and their practices. What makes poor recruiting firms? The recruiters and their practices. There are great, good, and poor contingent recruiters. I was a successful contingent recruiter for 12 years in the Washington, DC/Baltimore market. As a contract recruitment consultant, occasionally clients request that I use contingent firms to add to the candidate list.

Therefore I will suggest how growing firms can best pick contingent recruiters to help them staff their teams. How do you pick the recruiter to help you be more successful attracting and delivering the best qualified and the best fit candidate? It is important to interview contingent recruiters prior to selecting them to spend time recruiting for you.

How do poor contingent recruiters sell you on using their services? They say, “Oh just remember, you don’t pay unless you hire someone we send to you!” Does this sound like someone who will partner with you? Of course not…chances are that mindset will only result in wasting your time. Contingent recruiters who are the low cost providers must deal with lots of numbers in order to stay in business. Therefore they will spin your wheels with many unqualified candidates, hoping that one will stick. Hiring companies – is that what you want? Of course not!

How do the best contingent recruiters sell you on using their services? They take the time to build a relationship with your company, you, and your managers. In that process they develop the process to help you attract the best candidates for your firm. Their fee reflects the commitment they are making towards your success. In other words, they are not low cost providers.

If a recruiter tells you they specialize in your industry, ask “What companies in our industry are your clients?” That answer will tell you which companies are on their “don’t touch” list. If you receive a candidate from one of those companies, be very aware. That means they will mine your company.

Always ask for corporate references. Then ask the reference for their sense about the recruiter’s honesty and integrity. Was the candidate they introduced an impact performer? How many candidates have they successfully introduced to that company? How many left after the guarantee period?

Only after you are comfortable with the results decide to work with that recruiter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview Questions for Fulltime Corporate Recruitment Candidates

Your company needs to hire a recruiter. You’ve decided that you would prefer to find someone who is a fulltime employee. What questions do you plan to ask the recruitment candidates?

Your first step is to go to your job description. What level of experience do you seek? Obviously entry level candidates will be questioned differently than experienced corporate recruiters. The competition for qualified candidates is beginning to heat up. Therefore, you may want to try to recruit an experienced successful recruiter.

What are the first year goals for this position? Are there strategic duties required, such as recruitment strategy development? What planning responsibilities are required?

Remember that recruiting is a sales process. Therefore, your interview questions should help identify the sales strengths of your candidates.

The warm up questions may be:

Discuss your responsibilities at your current company. What were your challenges? How did you overcome your challenges? What challenges do you feel could have been handled differently? Why? It appears that you are doing a good job (if they are) for them, why are you interested in making a change at this time?

Then you can focus on the goals for your position and sales skills.

What have you discovered in your research for your interview here? What do you feel are the low hanging fruit that you would target? How do you feel you will sell our company to potential candidates? How is recruiting in this industry different than recruiting in other industries? How do you respond to those differences? Based on your experience so far with our process, do you have any process improvement suggestions? How many candidates did you extend offers to in your current job? How many candidates accepted your offers?

One key to successful interviewing is to listen closely to candidate responses. Then ask probing follow-up questions.

The next column will be based on interview questions for contingent recruiters.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Your Company Decided You Need to Hire a Recruiter?

Once your company decides it needs a recruiter or additional recruiter, what are your next steps?

Decide whether you need permanent or temporary help. How many positions are budgeted? Are they budgeted to be filled in one or two months or will they be spread throughout the year? What is your current status with recruitment? Will this be your first recruiter or are you adding new resources? If you have a recruiter on staff, what is their experience level? Are they capable of handling more open requisitions or will they hit their limit soon? What is their track record? Have they recruited top performers? Do hiring managers respect their work and enjoy working with them?

By the time you pay a permanent recruiter, add the benefits, and taxes, the numbers may indicate that your need is temporary. Perhaps you are going through a peak hiring period. What will you do if you run out of requisitions for your recruiter? Consult with your CFO to better understand their perspective.

If you need temporary help, decide if you need contingent recruitment support or contract recruitment support or contract recruitment consulting support. Contingent recruiters are great if you have one or more specific openings and need to have a couple of recruiters providing you with candidates. Obviously beyond providing you with targeted and screened candidates, they need to deliver the candidates if you decide to make an offer.

Experienced contract recruiters (not the $25 to $35/hr. variety) generally have a minimum of 5 years of experience and may join your recruitment team for short term support. Generally they split their time between onsite and virtual. Virtual works well while they are sourcing. While sourcing, they are focused on networking and calling. They can talk to hiring managers on the phone to update them.

Contract recruitment consultants typically have 15 or more years in the trenches. They’ve seen more than one recruitment model and provide recruitment process improvement, recruitment marketing, and recruitment consulting/interview training and recruitment support.

Next column will offer proposed interview questions for recruiters.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Recruiting Function – How Highly Valued in Your Company?

Since 1981 I have been a professional recruiter/recruiting consultant. Over the years, I have worked with start-up ventures and large multinational companies (many you know). For 1 ½ years I was the Recruiting Manager of a telecom start-up until they went public. My clients valued the recruitment function. They knew their recruitment processes needed improvement and invited me back as they needed tweaking.

Why do my clients value the recruitment function? They realize every position is critical in a growing company (Companies are either growing or they are shrinking). Are customer support positions critical in your company? Who is your point of contact with customers when they are encountering problems? Are they going to encourage customers to continue to purchase your products/services or go elsewhere? And what level of person in your company recruits for these critical people?

If the entry level position in Human Resources is recruitment, what does that say about the value of “talent acquisition” in that company? When I see companies are looking for “contract recruiters” that they want to pay $15 to $35 per hour, it is easy to see the value that company puts on recruitment. Remember, if you pay for advanced clerks, you receive advanced clerks.

Recruiting is a sales process. This is the simplified example to demonstrate that recruitment is a sales process - there is a sourcing function, a needs analysis function (interviews), an offer function, and a close. Sounds like a sales process to me.

Are the people that your company hires for the recruiting function sales professionals? Do you train them to act like sales professionals? Do they provide great customer service like great sales professionals? Do you train them how to conduct effective interviewing screens? Are they creative?

This week we will discuss interviewing potential recruiters. Then we will discuss one of the better processes to begin a new recruiter.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Doesn't It Make You Wonder?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when companies don’t understand that the recruiting process is a sales process?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when candidates don’t understand that the job search is a sales process?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when companies are sold on the idea that recruiting is a technology solution?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when candidates do not put their accomplishments on their resumes?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when companies punish hiring managers for checking references of candidates whom they are considering offering a job because it is a “Human Resource function”?

Doesn’t it make you wonder - when candidates do not research the company where they are interviewing prior to their interview?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when companies do not train managers how to effectively interview potential employees and then expect them to make good hiring choices?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when candidates lie about their education and feel they will not be caught?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when companies are going to understand that candidates may be customers or potential future customers?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when candidates who know that posting and praying doesn’t work, continue to expect success finding a job by posting and praying?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – when companies do not yet understand that employees are their most important asset because they control all other assets?

Doesn’t it make you wonder – that despite all of the above conditions; occasionally good companies attract good candidates? Amazing!

Obviously there are companies and candidates who do understand all of the above and their performance reflects their understanding.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

RecruiterGuy's Top 10 Tips to Finding a Job


1. Take stock of your emotional state. If you were recently laid off or decided that you just had to leave a job, you are probably going through the steps of grief. While taking time to recover, list your best skills and attributes – both professionally and personally.


2. Understand that finding a job is a series of sales or marketing processes.


3. List what sets you apart from other candidates.


4. Create your “Here I Am!” speech or elevator speech.


5. Develop a resume that includes accomplishments and metrics that demonstrate your skills.


6. List at least 250 people that you can approach to begin networking.


7. Call those people and give them your “Here I Am!” speech. Instead of asking if they have a job opening, ask who you should contact next?


8. Research both the company and the manager before you interview (Google their name).


9. Turn your cell phone to airplane mode before you leave your car or other means of transportation.


10. After your interview, take time to list your “Wish I would have said’s.” These will help you improve on your interviews for the future – and help in compensation negotiations.



For more background information on these tips, you may read the reviews and order "RecruiterGuy's Guide to Finding a Job" on Amazon

or on RecruiterGuy’s Guide to Finding a Job