Thursday, November 12, 2015

1960's Recruiting in 2016!

Remember the 1960’s? Well, there are two generations – and currently a third generation (who are becoming teenagers as we speak), 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.  You reached out to a trusted third party recruiter or opened the job up for every 3rd party recruiter to submit resumes.  If you were lucky, a hiring manager would just call someone they knew and set up an interview.

In 2015, 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.  Instead of Recruiters, we have Talent Acquisition Specialists.  Instead of Human Resource Directors, we have Human Resource Business Partners.

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.
Many companies post their positions on their websites.  That is very positive.  Unfortunately the positions are hidden under layers of marketing, almost as if to create the perception that talent acquisition is an afterthought.  If recruiting is a priority, it needs to reflect that priority on the company website.
In the mid-2000’s Social Media Recruiting became all the rage!  Unfortunately, using the premise of Behavioral Interviewing (that people revert to their original behavior when under stress), many companies jumped into Social Media Recruiting prior to understanding the time and monetary cost, not to mention how to disengage from unqualified candidates who wanted to remain engaged (read Embrace Social Media…? ).  Then they jumped back out.

When candidates reply, what are they required to do in many companies? Complete a six to seven (or more) 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.”  Therefore in the model of 1960’s recruiting, instead of wandering to Personnel for an application, they wander to the website where they are forced to complete an application.
It is far better to attract or engage candidates prior to requiring them to complete an application.  It is a small tweak in process that may result in very positive results because the company is now engaging with the candidate and gaining their confirmed interest prior to asking for an application – the social part of social media.

Today instead of filing the resume/application 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 the new job.

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.  Instead they will ask “Where can we spend more money to post our positions?”

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 2016. Utilize the tools available in the way that attract candidates. Beware of processes that repel candidates. It is important to tweak a recruiting process first, verify positive results.  Then tweak it more.  Companies that try to change recruiting processes (while possibly needed) will meet resistance.  Tweaking is easier and changing is harder.

Bill Humbert is available for speaking and training contracts.   435-714-4425

©1999-2016 B. Humbert – Provocative Thinking Consulting, Inc. – USA 01-435-714-4425 The right to reprint is hereby granted, as long as the copyright notice and contact information remain with the article.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

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…

Bill Humbert is available to present to companies and associations on various Recruitment and Human Resource topics.  He has a long history of speaking to students in High Schools and Colleges/Universities. You may contact him at Review his eSpeakers profile -

Friday, November 06, 2015

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.