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    Entries in Recruiting (195)


    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.






    Jobvite Share

    Today Jobvite released its latest offering in the increasingly important market for solutions that assist and enable more effective social recruiting.  

    The new service, called Jobvite Share, provides corporate recruiters, third party staffing pros, or internal human resources professionals several new capabilities for more efficient sharing of advertised open positions on the popular social networks, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

    The solution offers an easy way for anyone, from recruiters to hiring managers to CEOs, to distribute and target any job openings on social networks, increase employee referrals, and track in real-time the value of any job advertisement or placement on-line.  Jobvite Share makes it quick and easy for any employer to harness the power of the social web to find the right talent at no additional cost.

    From the Jobvite press release:

    With Jobvite Share, anyone with a position to fill can easily enter a job URL, and Jobvite will create a custom, trackable listing for that job, regardless of where distributed on the web. It can then automatically be sent to targeted contacts in email, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and shared anywhere on the Web. Jobvite Share puts powerful, real-time metrics in the hands of employers of all sizes to see what works – and what doesn’t work – in their job marketing and distribution – all free of charge.

    Users start on the Jobvite Share launch page, then enter the URL of the online job advertisement on their corporate job site, and quickly generate up to 5 unique trackable links that can be shared on the social web, via Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter.  

    From there, recruiters can track and label multiple links to see results for each source in real-time. Jobvite Share provides the metrics needed to see what works – and what does not – in job marketing and distribution, including views, clicks, forwards and clicks to apply; all metrics are tracked by individual channel (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email) and can follow referrals as they spread across the web

    In addition to helping manage the promotion and facilitated sharing of job openings to recruiters and employees social networks, Jobvite Share also provides a matching algorithm between the job description content and the characteristics of one's social network contacts that can be applied to more closely and precisely identify the best potential referrals for the position.  Basically, you have 794 Facebook friends, but Jobvite Share is smart enough to suggest the three that are a close match to the job description.

    And the best thing about Jobvite Share? , the cost - free.  Yes, you read that correctly, free.  Five trackable unique URLs, automated contact matching criteria, and simple yet informative metrics on your social sharing efforts, all for free?  Yep.  And that is pretty cool.

    Look, it is dirt simple to post your open jobs on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter.  But once you post the jobs out on the social networks you start to wonder about the effectiveness and the impact of those efforts. With this new offering from Jobvite, you can not only easily post your openings on the social web, but you can additionally monitor what channels are working and what ones are not.  And with metrics, contact matching capability, and visibility to which channels are working, Jobvite Share seems like a natural fit for both those organizations that are just starting out in social recruiting and those that have been experimenting for some time, but have not yet figured out the sweet spot.

    For more information about Jobvite Share - check out their site - Jobvite Share.







    Recruiting the Brand

    In the annals of corporate retail brands the name 'Air Jordan' resonates.  The iconic basketball shoes named after the legendary NBA star Michael Jordan have endured for over 25 years.Air Jordan I

    The first pair of Air Jordans debuted in 1985 and immediately became a market sensation, racking up tremendous sales and spawning dozens of updated versions, which Nike continues to release today.

    Fast forward to 2009, MJ the legend is out of the game, but his and the Air Jordan brand's influence on the game continues, sometimes in unexpected and not so positive ways.

    Jordan's son Marcus, himself also a basketball player was recruited to play college basketball at the University of Central Florida (UCF).  Marcus accepted the scholarship offer from UCF and is set to begin his college basketball career this Fall.

    There was one stipulation from Marcus (and the Jordan family), he would be allowed to wear a current version of the NIke Air Jordan brand shoes for practices and games.  Seems like a reasonable request, if your dad is Michael Jordan you probably should wear Air Jordan gear.  You have to promote the family brand, right?

    But the folks at UCF have run into a little problem. The school has a $3,000,000 deal with the rival shoe company Adidas that stipulates that all UCF athletes will compete in Adidas clothing and shoes. The company and UCF are in negotiations to resolve these issues, but as of yet have not reached an agreement.

    Marcus, naturally insists one wearing the Air Jordans, and while it is likely that the worst outcome is that UCF will have to pay for all the apparel and shoes for its teams for one year (the current contract with Adidas is set to expire in 2010), there could be more significant repercussions, as Nike has not shown interest in taking over the school's contract which could leave UCF left out of the lucrative 'shoe sponsorship' game for some time.

    Whether it is a college recruiting an athlete or a company recruiting a new employee, everyone entering the organization brings with them their experiences, their skills, and more and more their 'personal brand'.  While in the corporate recruiting world, you are not likely to have a candidate demanding to were a particular shoe, it is increasingly likely that a candidate may have a 'brand' of some kind.  Their brand may be expressed with a blog, website, an event they sponsor or speak at, an online radio show, or even some 'on the side' work they do.

    Managing the tension and potential conflict between candidates (and even employees) personal activities and brands and the goals and brands of the organization is likely to become a more important skill for companies and managers.  When you are recruiting a new candidate into the organization be aware of their brand and how that might impact the potential employment relationship. 

    If the employee has a personal blog, will you encourage them to continue? Or will you try and absorb the blog and ask the employee to 're-brand' to serve more direct company goals?

    If they have a personal Facebook fan page or Twitter accounts with thousands of fans and followers will you try to 'co-opt' this for company benefit?

    If the candidate or employee is well-known and speaks at multiple events will you support that, or immediately get caught up in attendance, vacation, and expense policies?

    Individuals are forced to be far less reliant on organizations for stable employment that many simply must establish their own personal professional identies.  How well companies manage this tension going forward could be a significant factor in attracting and leveraging top talent.

    While you ponder these questions - a look back at a classic Air Jordan promo:


    RecruitFest 2009

    This week I am heading to RecruitFest 2009 in Toronto, Canada.

    RecruitFest is a non-traditional event that is about building relationships and with a priority on face-to-face networking. It is focused on about taking your online relationships offline, which is certainly a good thing.

    Technology plays such a key role in corporate recruiting today, and one of the main goals I have at RecruitFest is to try and get some insights on what the future holds in recruiting and especially in recruiting technology in these areas:

    Candidate Experience

    How can technology improve the candidate experience while also serving to support corporate initiatives? Most candidates revile the entire application process.  From arcane and lengthy online application processes, to lack of feedback, to a feeling that there are two different 'expert' answers to every job search question; candidates really are having a terrible time.

    Corporate Data Analysis

    What should companies be measuring when evaluating their recruiting efforts?  And what are the best technologies and strategies to make these measurements possible? Once you decide that 'Quality of Hire' is what you want to focus on, just what does a 'high quality' hire look like anyway? How much of little responsibility does recruiting have when a new hire does not work out?  And how do you pull all of this information together in a timely and understandable manner.

    Impact of Social Recruiting

    We all know that social networks and social media are influencing, altering, and perhaps fundamentally changing candidate job search and corporate job marketing. But to what extent is this really true? And is it really true only for the largest organizations with significant resources and massive budgets?  Can these tools and approaches really be utilized by small organizations and one or two person HR shops to try and level the playing field in the competition for the best talent.

    While I expect to learn quite a bit at RecruitFest, the main reason I am attending is to meet in person so many great people I have interacted with online this year.  I think that is the real value of attending almost any event, and in particular one like RecruitFest.

    I plan on posting from RecruitFest when I can and be sure to follow all the fun on Twitter under the #RecruitFest tag.


    All candidates are equal, some just a little more equal

    We are in the (seemingly perpetual) process of trying to re-design our University career site to make it more user-friendly, more engaging, and to make it better articulate and communicate why we think our school is a great place to work.

    Very important goals, and I do think eventually I can convince the organization to move beyond Web 1.0 and embrace the modern world of technology and recruiting, (maybe).Flickr -Jenny Downing

    But one issue that keeps coming up is the notion of having separate application processes for Faculty jobs compared to Staff and Administration jobs.  It actually is fairly common still in higher education to have applicants for Staff jobs follow an online application process via whatever ATS the school uses, and have faculty applicants simply e-mail CVs and other documents directly to search committee chairs, bypassing the ATS if not entirely, at least initially.  As you would expect, anecdotal evidence from Faculty candidates clearly indicates they prefer this method of applying.

    The 'logic' behind this is that since in general applicants for faculty positions dislike the online application process, many feel it is 'beneath' them, most ATS (including ours) don't do a great job handling all the different files required for many faculty applications, and lastly and perhaps most importantly, the search committees (which are almost completely made up of current faculty) hate the ATS for reviewing applicants and documents. Let's see, the candidates just want to e-mail their information and the hiring managers hate using the ATS and want to keep the candidates happy. So, should we 'let' applicants for these positions simply revert to this 'old-school' method of applying?

    Personally, I am torn between designing a system and a process based on anecdotal evidence or perceptions of what our target candidates want, and a coherent and consistent design for our career site and application process that certainly benefits the 'back-office' as well and supports any possibility we have of building a 'talent community'. We can't capture centrally all the candidate information that is sitting in 50 different search committee chair's e-mail inboxes. We will not have a way to systematically reach out to this community if in fact, we make no attempts to aggregate and centralize this information residing in e-mail inboxes and paper files.

    So here is the question : Should we have 'different' application processes for different constituencies? Or should we design a system and process to the best of our ability and require that all applicants to comply?