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    Entries in Recruiting (135)

    Tuesday
    Oct212014

    Talent Attraction: The Real Reason to Keep Top Talent

    A few months ago I posted a recap of 'Why Stars Matter', a recent study out of the National Bureau of Economic Research that concluded the most important contribution that so-called 'Top Talent' makes to an organization is that they increase the organization's ability to recruit even more Top Talent.

    Here is an excerpt from my piece from April, then I will hit you with the reason why I wanted to revisit this topic today:

    ------------------------------------------------

    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 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.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Back to October when we have from the world of sports, specifically the NBA, this effect of 'Top Talent as a recruiting magnet' playing out with one of the league's most well-known and successful teams, the Los Angeles Lakers, and superstars, 5-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant. Except in this case, if Henry Abbott's reporting on ESPN is accurate, the 'Top Talent', i.e. Kobe, is no longer attracting talent, he is in fact, serving to repel other top players (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, etc.), from even considering joining the Lakers when all three players had that option this off season.

    In Abbott's short video he essentially concludes that at this stage of his career, Kobe's personality, need to take most of the shots, (and claim all of the spotlight), and his past history of not being able to co-exist with other top players has made the Lakers, once the destination of choice for NBA legends like Wilt Chamberlain, Shaq, and Magic Johnson, into a place where no top player will consider playing for.

    It is worth watcing the quick (1:20) report from Abbott, even if you are not an NBA fan, just because it serves as a reminder of what the NBER talked about in their research. Once 'Top Talent' stops serving as a magnet for other top talent, then it is probably time to take a long, dispassionate look at what they are contributing to the organization overall. Not just in what they are producing themselves, but how they might be holding the organization hostage so to speak, if they are keeping away the next wave of star talent you need.

    Happy Tuesday.

    Tuesday
    Oct142014

    A warning about hiring too narrowly

    As an HR/Talent pro if you have been involved in the hiring process for software engineers or developers then it is likely you have run into this scenario when presented a hiring requirement from one of your managers:

    Find me someone really proficient in (one from a long list, doesn't really matter which one), Node, Django, jQuery, AngularJS, Redis, Ruby, etc. and I need him/her right away. So you set out to examine your ATS, check LinkedIn, StackOverflow, GitHub, the Starbucks over by your local University - whatever, and you secure the person that is proficient in skill 'X' , just like your hiring manager asked for. Sean Scully, Maesta 1983

    Everyone is happy, right? The candidate found an opportunity that matches their skills, the hiring manager got someone that knows the specific programming language that they need, and you can move this Req into the 'Closed' folder and see if anyone brought in any extra Halloween candy to the break room.

    But there could be a longer term problem with this kind of approach to hiring, it can result in something called 'Resume Driven Development', a condition where the products that get ultimately developed and provided to customers become a reflection not of the requirements of the customers, but of the capabilities/resumes of the developers that work on the project. 

    What this looks like is pretty thoroughly explained in this piece from the O'Reilly Radar blog:

    Resume Driven Development happens when your group needs to hire a developer. It’s very hard to tell a non-technical HR person that you need someone who can make good decisions about software architecture, someone who knows the difference between clean code and messy code, and someone who’s able to look at a code base and see what’s unnecessary and what can be simplified. We frequently can’t do that ourselves. So management says, “oh, we just added Redis to the application, so we’ll need a Redis developer.” That’s great — it’s easy to throw out resumes that don’t say Redis; it’s easy to look for certifications; and sooner or later, you have a Redis developer at a desk. Maybe even a good one.

    And what does your Redis developer do? He does Redis, of course. So, you’re bound to have an application with a lot of Redis in it. Whenever he sees a problem that can be solved with Redis, that’s what he’ll do. It’s what you hired him for. You’re happy; he’s happy. Except your application is now being optimized to fit the resumes of the people you hired, not the requirements of your users.

    The problem is that your team is optimized around the inability to communicate at a critical stage: the inability of a technical team to specify what they really want (a developer with good programming taste and instincts), and instead hiring someone who has a particular skill or credential. I suspect that Resume Driven Development is quite pervasive: an overly complex application stack that’s defined by the people you hired, and by the current toys that the “cool kids” on the programming block get to play with, not by the requirements of the application.

    A pretty good example and reminder that in hiring, as in the rest of life, you get what you pay for, or in this case, what you ask for.

    And I think this problem, or this tendency, might only get more likely over time as organizations try and move to more 'just-in-time' talent acquisition strategies that incorporate more and more contingent workers.

    It is not an easy problem to solve for sure. The natural or easy tendency is to try and define or simplify the hiring process into simple or discrete definitions. Hire Person 'A' with Skill 'B', to code in Product 'C', that kind of thing.

    But there is a definitely some advantages that can be accrued by expanding, at least somewhat, the requirements for both technical and even non-technical roles.  The warning though, that Resume Driven Development suggests, is that unless you know exactly what you will need, for at least the foreseeable future, then you are going to get forced into being locked in to a set of people and technologies that you may not want to be locked in with.

    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!