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    Entries in Recruiting (199)

    Wednesday
    Sep082010

    Coming and Going

    Most HR or Recruiting functions calculate and report on standard metrics such as turnover rate, voluntary separations, turnover rate broken out by company function or location, source of applicants, source of hires, and other common measures of organizational effectiveness in the recruiting and retention process.

    Many organizations also try to do a reasonably thorough job of tracking the reasons why employees leave the organization, often through the use of exit interviews.  Better opportunity elsewhere, lack of promotion chances, hating the boss, etc.

    Aggregating, combining, distilling, and analyzing this kind of 'coming and going' data, when supplemented with analysis of individual and company performance can be a powerful differentiator, providing the organization's leaders with important competitive insight to inform hiring, development, and operational strategies.

    That is, if the HR organization has the tools (possibly), analytical capability (maybe), and an understanding of the best way to present this kind of information in a method that is relevant, consumable, and engaging (oh boy).

    Take a look at the image below, the infographic maps more than 4,000 moves both in and out of New York from over 1,700 people in the past decade based on an informal survey by New York public radio’s the Brian Lehrer Show.

    The interactive chart captures the destination zip code for the move, whether the move was 'in' or 'out', the date of the move, and even the reason for the move to or from the particular zip code.

    The chart also provides the ability to deep-dive into specific zip codes to analyze the overall patterns of migration as well as drilling into individual movements. We can see, for example, that in 2001 someone relocated from NYC 10014 to Tampa, Florida 33602 because the 'Rent was getting too high to stay'.

    It is not a stretch for HR to re-invent this kind of graphic as the 'comings and goings' of new employees, and recently separated colleagues.  The zip codes in the chart could be replaced by company regions, locations, even senior leaders.  Examining the inflows and reason codes (curious how many people join and leave for the very same reason) in a graphical manner somehow energizes the information normally presented on simple report, or a bar chart.

    While most HR organizations don't have the luxury of graphic or web designers on staff (too bad) to create these kinds of interactive tools to review, interact with, and even re-imagine data, it would benefit most of us in the business of providing and acting upon workforce and organizational information to do a better job of presenting the data in ways that help the data tell its story.

    The full infographic can be found here - and be warned, it is a fun and engaging chart that you are likely to spend some time playing with to, and ultimately a kind of curiosity begins to set in as you try and get a closer look at the decisions and motivations of the real people whose experiences make up the data for the graphic.

    Compelling, engaging, fun, and informative.  How many of those adjectives can you ascribe to the last report on turnover you sent up the chain, or that you received?

    Thursday
    Aug122010

    Rolling the Dice

    Let's say you were,  after a lengthy tenure as a professional with one organization, suddenly and without time to prepare found yourself downsized, right-sized, or otherwise-sized and found yourself in the unenviable position of being out of work.

    What are the first five things you would do?

    And for now, let's eliminate from consideration any Johnny Paycheck - Steven Slater dramatic exits involving cursing out the customer or boss or flaming out on Facebook or YouTube.  Face it, you are probably not that creative or interesting.

    1. Call your spouse/significant other/drinking buddies.

    2. Process the key question of 'When was the last time I did a resume?'

    3. Do an amazingly fast mental calculation estimating the length of time certain prized luxury items (boat/Harley/comic book collection) may be at risk, and what you could get for them on Craigslist.

    4. Call drinking buddies again.

    5. Look online for potential openings. 

    I'd be willing to bet in those first five things you'd do immediately after being thrust into the role of job-seeker that you would likely hit up one of the major job boards and run a search for postings in your locality/industry/area of expertise.  In the USA that means Monster.com, Careerbuilder, Indeed, etc.  

    But if you are in the broad category of IT professional, you'd certainly be all over Dice.com.  Dice has been the leading job site for IT professionals in the US for what seems like forever.  I personally found the most lucrative and long lasting IT contract I ever had on Dice.

    A quick search of companies listing positions on Dice reads like page one of the list of the Fortune 500.

    As a major job board in the IT industry, Dice enjoys top of mind status.  But we all know the world of recruiting and job advertising has changed dramatically.  The dawn of social and online professional networking, (essentially LinkedIn), has certainly affected how organizations and recruiters seek talent, and how individuals can find opportunities, connect with employers, and advance their careers.

    Major boards like Dice are not immune to these changes, while seeking an opening on Dice or Monster might possibly be in the 'first five' things a job seeker would do, it seems more and more likely that actually making the needed connection to stand out in this incredibly tough job market can't really happen via the old-school job board.  Following, friending, liking, connecting - whatever you call it, to many these are the new paradigms in the job search.  

    And the folks that run the big job boards understand this.  They're not stupid. They know the world is changing, and that their services have to change as well.  

    Tonight at 8PM EDT on the HR Happy Hour Show we will talk with one of these leaders, Tom Silver, SVP of Dice.com to get a better perspective on how leaders of big boards assess the recruiting landscape, how they are meeting the new challenges, and how the overall market for IT work and workers is faring.

    You can listen to the show on the show home page - here, or via the widget below:

    src='http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf' flashvars="file=http://www.blogtalkradio.com%2fsteve-boese%2fplay_list.xml?show_id=1198517&autostart=false&shuffle=false&volume=80&corner=rounded&callback=http://www.blogtalkradio.com/flashplayercallback.aspx&width=215&height=108' width='215' height='108' type='application/x-shockwave-flash' pluginspage='http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer' quality='high' wmode='transparent' menu='false' name='1198517' id='1198517'>

    You can call in to listen and participate - 646-378-1086.

    I hope you can join us for what should be an interesting and informative look behind the scenes at Dice.com. 

    Monday
    Aug022010

    TalentVine - Combining Old and New

    Quick - what source has consistently been demonstrated to be most organization's best source of good, qualified candidates?

    No, it is not Craigslist.

    Of course it is employee referrals. But you knew that.  Everyone knows that, right? 

    Here is another question - what has been for the last two or so years been the most talked about, dissected, and analyzed development in corporate recruiting?

    No, it is still not Craigslist.

    It's 'Social Recruiting'.  Broadly defined as leveraging the wide variety of social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (as well as others), to advertise jobs, define and communicate the employer brand, to develop communities of potential candidates, and to help build a robust pipeline of talent.

    But unlike employee referrals that have a track record of delivering good candidates and high performing employees, in many respects the jury is still out on social recruiting. Just as many well-made arguments can be made advocating its adoption as a necessity for the modern recruiter as can be made that is not much more than a fad, and the buzz will eventually wear off, and recruiters will return their focus to strategies that have previously been shown to work effectively.

    Like employee referral programs.

    What I like about TalentVine, a new product from SelectMinds, is that it builds upon and improves a traditional employee referral program by introducing highly configurable and powerful integration with social networks.  

    Essentially here is how the solution works:

    1. Available positions are scraped from the company website (or other sources) into TalentVine.

    2. Automated and ad-hoc email notifications are sent to current employees informing them of specific jobs that they may want to refer to their friends and business contacts. For example recruiters can forward engineering jobs to all or some of the company's engineers, or send an email with links and information about a particularly important or 'hard to fill' job to the entire organization.

    3. Simple, yet powerful integration with the three big social networks, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter enables employees to share job opportunities to some or even all of their contacts. TalentVine possesses internal logic to help an employee try and find the 'best fit' for the position from among the employee's social network contacts.

    4. Candidate details are captured in TalentVine - contacts that see the referral can click the unique, trackable link, see the job details in TalentVine, and either choose to apply, or even forward to some of their contacts. Recruiters can see the history of a referral as it progresses from and through social networking chains.

    5. Referral program management is supported.  Companies can configure the referral bonus amounts and ensure that top referrers and sources are identified.

    6. Tracking - TalentVine keeps track of the referrals sent, referrals forwarded, links clicked, and applications received.  Insights can be gleaned as to the most effective referrers and the networks likely to produce the best candidates.

    Throughout the solution, the navigation links and visual cues are interesting and well-designed.  Large and attractive design elements add to an easy and almost fun user experience.  In fact, of the numerous enterprise and corporate systems I have seen lately, TalentVine looks and feels the least 'enterprisey'. That is a strength. 

    Organizations that are looking for methods to strengthen their existing referral programs, or seeking ways to empower more of the organization's employees to tap into their personal and professional networks would be advised to take a look at TalentVine. Combining a classic and successful recruiting approach with the latest capabilities and potential of leveraging social networks for recruiting is an innovative and interesting combination.

     

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    Wednesday
    Jun092010

    Stand out by following all the rules

    Disclaimer - I am not a recruiter, career coach, resume writer, and claim no expertise of any kind on the job search process.  

    But something that I see and read quite a bit about that is related to the job search process makes me wonder. It is the seemingly standard resume advice that more or less goes like this:

    1. Recruiters and HR staff will examine your resume for less than one minute before making a screening decision. I have even heard this is more like 30 seconds.

    2. You should have a cover letter, but there is a pretty high likelihood no one will read it.

    3. But in case someone reads it, it better offer a compelling reason for the Recruiter to read your resume. Except of course if the Recruiter follows the process that many of them seem to adopt, that is to head straight to the resume before reading the cover letter. So mostly the cover letter is intended to convince someone to do something they have already done.  

    It would be funny if the cover letter said something like: 'Thanks for reading my resume, you must have been impressed since you are now reading this cover letter.  Let me tell you a bit more about how fabulous I am.'

    4. But here is the one 'truism' that for some reason bothers me the most - the common advice to not do anything different, unusual, or out of the ordinary on the resume itself. No images, logos, strange or different colors or fonts.  No cutting-edge design at all that might distract or annoy the hiring pro. Keep the the typical formula, plain white paper, two pages max, 10pt Times New Roman font, nice clean bullet points of your major accomplishments, etc.

    In other words, make sure your resume looks exactly like every other one in the pile or in the recruiter's overstuffed e-mail inbox.

    The Evil HR Lady wrote about this issue, referring to a online service called Vizual Resume that offers a collection of interesting and different templates for the creation of more distinctive resumes. Other similar services like VisualCV also offer options to create more visually appealing, engaging, and perhaps more compelling documents and testaments to someone's skills, background, and capabilities. And there is at least one iPhone App for resume building and transmitting.

    Is the advice to genericize all the design elements of the resume the best to give and for job seekers to follow? In an incredibly difficult job market, where competition for positions in many fields and regions is historically high? Whatever you do candidate, don't do anything to make your resume stand out from anyone elses.

    Sure, playing it safe with format, design, or interactive elements won't rule a candidate out in a competitive search process, but it won't make anyone's qualifications stand out from the rest either.

    Am I way off the track on this? Maybe some real recruiting pros can set me straight as to why the standard advice seems to have the effect of making it all the more difficult to get noticed.

    Why has the technical revolution that has impacted and dramatically changed almost every aspect of the workplace had such a difficult time disrupting the classic resume?

     

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    Tuesday
    Jun012010

    Sex, Religion, and a Colossally Bad Hiring Process

    Let's say you have an important, executive level role to fill in your organization.  It is the kind of job that does not come open all that often in your organization, or even among your competitors.  Legendary Marquette coach Al McGuire

    It is a really attractive position - internally and externally prestigious, well-compensated, remarkably stable and secure, and offers the right candidate room and opportunity to materially influence outcomes at the organization and quite possibly in the industry at large.

    The type of position that you have to hire for very carefully, since it is in the kind of field that while there may not be hundreds of qualified candidates, there will be quite a few, and all of them will bring long histories of achievement and success with them, and many if not most will also possess reams of background material for potential review.

    You quickly realize the the complexity, importance, and visibility of this hire requires you to take some 'extra' precautions - you engage an external search firm to assist in the identification and screening of potential candidates, you enlist a large internal hiring committee to gather input and advice from a wide set of perspectives,  and at one point, after the search was about one year underway, essentially scrap everything and started all over, having determined that the 'perfect' candidate had not been identified.

    So finally after about a two-year vetting process, you finally find the 'right' candidate.  A candidate that brings the background, experience, and (hopefully) the right blend of 'soft' skills, you know that intangible but essential blend of attitude, initiative, and collaborative spirit that would make him or her absolutely the best possible choice. The candidate passes the external screening process, gains the support and recommendation of the internal hiring committee, and ultimately is blessed by the highest leaders of the organization and receives and accepts an employment offer.

    What could possibly go wrong at this point, with all the time, effort, smart people involved in the process, and 'public' nature of the position and search?

    Exhibit A - Marquette University (a Catholic, Jesuit university 'dedicated to serving God by serving our students and contributing to the advancement of knowledge' (from www.marquette.edu), and the search for a new Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

    In this search, only after the offer was issued did things get interesting.

    Here is the quick recap from what I could piece togther:

    1. Marquette spends two years searching, screening, vetting, interviewing, and finally finding the 'right' candidate for the Dean position.  A long time for sure, but not completely out of the realm of possibility for these kinds of searches. 

    2. The candidate, and now the prospective new Dean, is Seattle University Professor of Sociology Jodi O'Brien, a scholar whose research focuses on gender and sexuality issues. 

    3. After some external pressure and influence (allegedly) - Marquette rescinds the job offer citing the sudden discovery of some candidate writings the are 'inconsistent' with the Marquette culture. So sudden in the fact that the expensive, two-year long search process either did not uncover the writings, or even more troubling that they were not actually considered prior to the offer being given.  

    We are not talking about random Tweets or blog posts here, but published scholarship that is incredibly easy to find and in fact, are documented on Professor O'Brien's resume. Some Marquette students express their outrage.

    4. Marquette now has entered what appear to be settlement talks with Professor O'Brien in hopes that the negotiations will (according to O'Brien), "take into account not only the harm done to me personally and professionally, but also acknowledges this situation as a learning opportunity for the Marquette community". 

    And the cynic in me thinks the 'learning opportunity' may involve cutting a nice-sized 'we really messed this thing up, please now go away' check.

    Forget if you can the sex and religion angle to this, and think about the more universal lesson from the Marquette debacle.  If you need two years, have to spend buckets of cash, and engage dozens of internal and external experts and you still can't figure out the candidate does not match your culture, then you either don't have any idea what you culture is (or want it to be), or you do know what it is and you just don't care. 

    But being unable to accurately screen and hire for cultural fit will come back to get you, maybe not in as public and embarrassing a way as in the Marquette example, but perhaps at least in an embarrassing 70s leisure suit kind of way.

     

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