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    Entries in Recruiting (133)

    Monday
    Aug042014

    Selling your non-glamorous city: 5 observations from 2 days in Cleveland

    I spent a couple of days last week in the lovely city of Cleveland, Ohio to attend the (really fun) DisruptHR Cleveland event, and then took some time doing a bit of a city tour with some really cool people, (see the pic on the right for the crew taken in the Cleveland Indials Social Suite, which was a fantastic place to catch a ball game from).

    Robin, Frank, Tammy, Trish, and me (L-R)

    One of the big themes that seemed to permeate everything about the visit to Cleveland was that just about everyone from Cleveland that I met was pretty heavily invested in convincing me (and everyone else), that Cleveland is, in fact, a really cool place to live, work, play, socialize, etc. Said differently, people from Cleveland are REALLY in to being from Cleveland. They love and are proud of their city, and try really hard to let you know how fantastic it is. Even though they seem to think that most of the rest of the world sees Cleveland as a kind of last century place and not one that holds much allure for non-natives.

    But I think there are probably some ways that are more effective than others in 'selling' your less than glamorous city to potential employees or investors. And since Cleveland is not unique among Midwest, Great Lakes, rust belt kinds of places with having a bit of an image problem, (the place I live, Rochester, NY is right in that mix), it makes sense that lots of HR/Talent pros have to sell their cities all the time. So based on two days of listening and learning from the good people of Cleveland, here are my top 5 observations on the best/worst ways to sell your non-sexy location to someone that is inclined to believe the worst about your beloved hometown:

    1. Don't constantly remind people that they already believe your city is horrible

    Lots of the conversations I had (and a few of the DisruptHR presentations too), seemed to start with a statement like "I know you think Cleveland is old/backward/dirty/boring/horrible/whatever, but I am going to tell you why you are wrong..." And then they would get into the specific elements and attributes of the city that were positive to try and change my (perceived) opinions about Cleveland. But what if I didn't actually have a negative pre-conception of Cleveland? What if I didn't know much at all about the city? Don't make the first notion in my head a negative one with a "I am sure you heard that Cleveland is terrible" statement. Just lead with the strengths and drop the 'I need to change your mind" stuff.

    2. If you have something cool that NO ONE else has, then talk about that. Talk about that a lot.

    Every decent sized city has some amount of the following things: sports teams, art museums, zoos, theaters, fancy restaurants, concert venues, parks, and probably a dozen more things common to cities. While these are all interesting and important, they (typically) don't do much to convince any but the most passionate that your city is somehow superior to some other city. But when you have something really cool, something that no other city can replicate, then you lead with that. In Cleveland one such example is the (very cool) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The ONLY one of these is in Cleveland. I would spend probably 80% of my time talking about these kinds of unique elements if I was trying to sell someone on my city. "We have a nice library" is not really a differentiator.

    3. Don't fixate on a local problem that visitors are likely not familiar with

    In only about 48 hours in Cleveland I learned that the lack of downtown parking seems to be a REALLY BIG issue. Everyone seemed to mention it at some point, and two DisruptHR presenters talked about it as well. Parking seems to be a big problem, but the only reason I know anything about it is because the natives kept on bringing it up. I would not have known or realized this was an issue on my own. But since the locals seem really worrried about this, now I have in my head that parking is a problem in Cleveland. A better strategy is to not constantly remind visitors or potential transplants of what is a local problem until really necessary. Unless the local problem has something to do with random shootings, carjackings, that kind of thing. Those are the local problems I feel entitled to a little warning about.

    4. People at different life stages want different things

    This is kind of obvious, but still worth mentioning. Where you are in your life and career, significantly impacts the kind of places you are drawn too, and the types of features of a city that seem most attractive. The most successful cities are the ones that offer the kind of variety in housing, entertainment, employment, social, and recreational options that appeal to a wide range of people - from hipsters to young professionals to blue collar workers and to experienced professionals. Once the options that appeal to a group (in general), start to wane and they leave for other options, then a part of the city kind of falls away with it. The most vibrant cities, and sections of cities, have a diverse mix of not just people, but uses as well. If your downtown is all office buildings with limited residences and shops, then it will be a ghost town after 6PM.  I am not sure this is really a Cleveland problem or not, but I think it is important to mention regardless.

    5. Everyone comes from somewhere, and most people have an irrationally elevated opinion of how great their own 'somewhere' actually is.

    I am not sure I have ever been to a city where the local residents are as proud of their city as Clevelanders are about theirs. Everyone I met was really in to being from or living in Cleveland. In some ways, I felt like the visitors were being 'sold' all the time. While being proud of where you live is a great, great thing, I think you also have to be careful (and be a little rational too). Lots of cities are really cool places to live. Lots of cities have most of the same kinds of things you do too. People are nice and friendly all over the place, not just where you live. My point is, sell your city, and what makes it great, but remember that the person you are selling to probably feels the exact same way about their own city too. Keep it in check and be honest - folks will appreciate that more than being fooled. Just ease off on all the parking talk.

    I had a fantastic time in Cleveland. And I can't think of better ambassadors for that fine city than our gracious hosts and guides Frank Zupan and Tammy Colson.

    I do think, in fact, it is true - Cleveland rocks.

    Have a great week! 

    Wednesday
    Jul232014

    WEBINAR: How Smart HR Pros are Becoming Better Marketers

    The next Fistful of Talent (where I am a contributor in case you did not know that), FREE webinar is set and it is a good one - details are below faithful reader.

    Kris Dunn and Tim Sackett will present "How Smart HR Pros are Becoming Better Marketers – By Using Company Reputation Sites Like Glassdoor.” on Wednesday, July 30th at 2pm ET, and they plan to hit you with the following topics:

     - How the the yelp-ification of America—the trend towards consumer-based reviews in almost every area of our economy—is changing the way employees and candidates think about job search and employer brands. It’s second nature for your employees to rate a restaurant, a book or a movie online. That means that employees of all types (not just the ones who want to complain) are more willing than ever to participate in your brand through user review.

    Why the explosion of social media and deep coverage of every aspect of our lives through video and photos is changing the willingness of smart companies to increase their transparency.  Every employee and candidate who interacts with your company is a potential reporter, and they expect you to share the good, bad and ugly about working with your firm openly and honestly. Old versions of employment brands won’t cut it—you”re going to have to give up some control to maximize your brand.

    - They will cover the 5 Biggest Myths about company reputation sites like Glassdoor and tell you which ones are completely BS and which ones you actually perpetrate by not fully engaging on sites like Glassdoor.  They will hit the usual suspects here: “The only comments are from the bad employees”  and “The salary data out there isn’t factual,” and tell you why things have changed. More importantly, they will hit how you actually may make the myths a reality by not fully engaging on reputation sites.  Think about that last sentence: You’ve got to be in the game to influence the game.

    Last but not least, they will give you a 4-step playbook on how to engage on reputation sites and become more of a Marketer as an HR/Recruiting Pro.  It’s true—you wouldn’t have read this far if you didn’t want to learn more about how to use reputation sites like Glassdoor to maximize your company and your career. We’ll help you get started.

    The outside world now has a huge say in how your company/employment brand is perceived, whether you engage or not. We think you should engage.  Join us for How Smart HR Pros are Becoming Better Marketers – By Using Company Reputation Sites Like Glassdoor” at 2pm ET on Wednesday July 30th and we’ll show you how.

    REGISTER BY CLICKING THIS LINK OR FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW!

     

    Friday
    May022014

    WEBINAR: The Recruiter Makeover

    Just in time for the Springtime hiring season (that is a real thing, right?), I call your attention to the next installment of the often imitated but never duplicated Fistful of Talent webinar, this one tailor made for recruiters and talent acquisition pros that might need their own professional spring cleaning.

    Titled, The Recruiter Makeover: 7 Ways Recruiters Can Reinvent Themselves as Marketers, the FOT crew are partnering with the cool folks at Jobvite for a fresh and edgy look at ways recruiters can re-cast themselves for today's 'everything is marketing' age. In this FOT webinar you'll see how the world’s full of great products/services that eventually became commodities, and how unfortunately, there are a lot of recruiters in danger of becoming commodities as well if they don’t change with the times. Odds are you feel the shift under your feet—great candidates are less responsive than ever to average recruiters, which means you have to become a more effective marketer of the brand and opportunities you represent to keep your closing rate high.

    If you’re still reading, that means you haven’t been average in the past.  Join the FOT crew on May 8 at 2pm EST and, and the gang will give you the roadmap for a career makeover that includes the following goodies:

    - The Ugly “Before” Picture. We’ve all seen the “before” pictures used in makeovers and this one is no different.  Using your “average Joe/Jane” recruiter, we’re going to take a snapshot of the recruiter most in need of our makeover.  Brace yourself, because “before” pictures in makeover workups all look like mug/prison shots of Lindsay Lohan, right?

    - Trendspotting 101. We can’t start prescribing the skill equivalent of makeup or liposuction for recruiters until we tell you about the trends that are causing the need for the makeover.  Candidates have more options and messages flowing to them than ever before.  Whether its the emergence of Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn or the social recruiting scene, recruiting is morphing into marketing.  We’ll compare and contrast some of the trends to tell you why recruiters are evolving into marketers even as they keep their core recruiting skills strong.

    - 7 Ways Recruiters Can Reinvent Themselves As Marketers. Makeover time. We’ll hit you with our list of things you can do to reinvent yourself as a marketer who just happens to recruit for a living.  You can do this. Don’t believe the naysayers that will say this is hype.  Those people are just trying to keep you average.

    - Our Top 5 List of Recruiters Who Have Strong Marketing Game. It’s all empty talk until we give you examples, right?  The FOT crew will break down our top 5 list of recruiters who have added the marketing toolkit to their games, complete with emphasis of which of our “7 Ways” list they specialize in.  Everyone in the world needs role models—even recruiters.  We’ll tell you who to connect with and emulate to become a marketer in the recruiting game.

    Evolving your game as a recruiter isn’t easy. It takes thought, expertise and time you don’t have, because you’re busy filling positions.  Join FOT on May 8 at 2pm EST for The Recruiter Makeover: 7 Ways Recruiters Can Reinvent Themselves as Marketers, and we’ll show you how to add marketing chops to your personal recruiting brand so you don’t get left behind.

    Use the link above to register for the FREE FOT Webinar and feel better about yourself for at least the next 12 minutes.And as always the FOT Webinar comes guaranteed - 60% of the time it works every time.

    Have a great weekend!

    Monday
    Apr282014

    What's so great about top talent?

    Pretty much every article or analysis of the drivers or pre-requisites for consistent high performance in an organization eventually mentions the concept of 'top talent.'

    An organization needs the best or 'top' talent in order to continuously generate great new ideas, to execute their strategies, to improve productivity and efficiency, and so on. Some estimates of the comparative advantage provided by 'top talent' compared to average (and much easier to find) talent rate that advantage as high as a factor of 10. Whatever the actual factor is, and it probably varies pretty widely depending on the industry and type of work, there is pretty much universal agreement that while not always available (and affordable), acquiring 'top' talent should be most organizations goal.

    But why, exactly?

    What specifically do these 'top' talents bring to the organization? What do they actually do that is demonstrably superior to average talent and how would the answer to that question help organization's improve their recruiting and development strategies?

    Well, a recent National Bureau of Economic Research study titled Why Stars Matter, has attempted to identify just what are these 'top talent' effects. It turns out that just being better at their jobs only accounts for a part of the advantage these high performers provide and that possibly the more important benefit is how the presence of top talent impacts the other folks around them, (and the ones you are trying to recruit).

    Here is a summary of the findings of the 'top talent' effects from HBR:

    The paper points to three different ways that superstars can improve an organization, and measures the magnitude of each in the context of academic evolutionary biology departments. The first, and most obvious, is the direct increase in output that a superstar can have. Hire someone who can get a lot of great work done quickly and your organization will by definition be producing more great work. But, perhaps surprisingly, this represents only a small fraction of the change that superstars have on output.

    The researchers found that the superstar’s impact on recruiting was far and away the more significant driver of improved organizational productivity. Starting just one year after the superstar joins the department, the average quality of those who join the department at all levels increases significantly. As for the impact of a superstar on existing colleagues, the findings are more mixed. Incumbents who work on topics related to those the superstar focused on saw their output increase, but incumbents whose work was unrelated became slightly less productive.

    So 'top talent' (mostly) gets to be called 'top talent' because they are simply better, more productive employees. But a significant benefit of these talented individuals is that they help you recruit more people like them, who in turn also are more productive than average, continuing to raise the overall performance level of the organization.

    But this only works in the real world if indeed the top talent actually can help you (and actively help you) recruit more people like them.

    The findings of the NBER study suggest that beyond their own performance, and the potential of them to elevate the performance of the rest of your team, the real benefit to organizations from 'top talent' is really tied up in whom they help you recruit next.

    It might be something to consider adding to your interviewing and assessment process a question something along the lines of "If you were to come on board, who would you recommend we hire next?"

    Have a great week!

    Wednesday
    Apr022014

    A funny reminder of what normals think about many of us

    I am pretty sure my favorite, offbeat website is Dinosaur Comics. I know I have blogged at least a couple of times over the years with a take on something interesting that the genius behind Dinosaur Comics, Ryan North has posted.  And his idea, a comic series where the pictures, panels, and layouts are exactly the same every day, but with the topics and dialog between the two characters changing, is really unique and remarkable.

    Recently, Dinosaur Comics took on the topic of HR and Recruiting's favorite sourcing and people research tool, LinkedIn. Take a look at what two comic dinosaurs think about LinkedIn, and then I (natch) will have a couple of comments after the comic.

    Really funny, right? But to paraphrase the great Joe Pesci in Goodfellas - how is it funny? And should we really care beyond laughing? A couple of quick thoughts:

    1. 'Normals', i.e. people who don't live and die all day long on LinkedIn, are not all that concerned with their 'personal brand', and don't actually feel like their job is the most important thing about them likely make up the majority of your workforce.

    2. Most of these people, I think, are not at all comfortable with the notion that the divide or the separation between 'work' and 'not working' is diminishing (or even disappearing). Lots and lots of solid and even outstanding performers are not thinking about work after 5PM. And they are not spending their weekends sending LinkedIn connection requests. They are, once again, 'normal.'

    3. HR and Recruiting people love to tell everyone who will listen that 'They need to be on LinkedIn' and offer endless tips and tricks so that people can 'Get the most out of their LinkedIn profile'. They do this for primarily self-serving reasons - they want the full range of people that they someday might be interested in contacting about job opportunities to be easily findable and contactable, (facilitated by tossing a few $$ to LinkedIn). I wish some honest recruiter would just post an article that says 'If you ever want to be considered for a job at my company, here is what I expect to see on your LinkedIn profile.' But instead we get dozens and dozens of pieces about 'optimization' tips. So boring.

    I don't mean to take shots at LinkedIn, I am a long-time user and have gotten some value out of that over the years. But I also think it has become too easy (and lazy) to have one and only one source for universal professional information. And one that normal people don't really understand as well.