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    Entries in Recruiting (183)

    Friday
    Jun102016

    It's never taken longer to fill the average job in the US

    Job openings as tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the JOLTS report hit an all-time record high of 5.8 million in April 2016

    And what I suppose could be considered a kind of perfect storm for recruiting, at the same time as job openings are at a record level, the average time it takes to fill an opening has also never been higher.

    Check the chart below from the latest DHI Group report, the DHI-DFH National Mean Vacancy Duration, which has been tracking average time to fill for about 15 years:

    The average job now takes 29.3 working days to fill, up from 27.7 in March, and represents an all-time high time to fill for the data series.

    Should you or we or anyone care about this? After all, time-to-fill as a singular recruiting metric is kind of flawed, and some would argue that it is not important at all at an individual job level. 

    But others (and I think I am one of them), that increasing time-to-fill duration means something, and in the aggregate, (across the entire organization or in a major job function or industry group), that it can tell you quite a bit about the effectiveness of recruiting strategies and technologies.

    Because for me, when thinking about the massive amounts of investments made in technologies that are designed (at least on paper), to make recruiting, (again, in the aggregate), more efficient and effective, this all-time high level for time to fill suggests that we are all contributing in some degree to a pretty massive fail. What other industry or major business process can you think of that has actually gotten less efficient, despite hundreds of millions of dollars of investment over more than two decades?

    Again, I know time-to-fill taken by itself and out of context might not be the best way to judge the health and success of technological investments for recruiting, but I think even the most cynical would have to at least admit that at a macro level that time-to-fill should not be increasing to all-time highs if organizations and their technology partners were actually functioning as designed or promised.

    Shouldn't recruiting be getting easier? Even just a little easier?

    I'd love to know what you think. 

    Am I off-base to even be thinking that time-to-fill really matters? Most organizations would happily trade a few days to fill in order to make the 'right' hire. But shouldn't technology and process have evolved to the point where making that tradeoff should happen less and less?

    This issue was on my mind way before this latest set of statistics has come out, and I am even putting together a general session at the upcoming HR Technology Conference in October to talk about it.

    Two decades, millions and millions of dollars spent, and yet at least by this measure, we are not getting any better at putting people in the right jobs.

    It's baffling to me.

    Tuesday
    May312016

    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 247 - Greenhouse and the Future of Recruiting Technology

    HR Happy Hour 247 - Greenhouse and the Future of Recruiting Technology

    Hosts: Steve BoeseTrish McFarlane

    Guest: Daniel Chait, Co-founder and CEO, Greenhouse

    LISTEN HERE

    This week on the show, recorded live in San Francisco on site at Greenhouse Open, the customer event for recruiting technology provider Greenhouse, Steve sat down with Greenhouse Co-founder and CEO Daniel Chait to talk about how companies can become great at recruiting and how modern recruiting technology can help them achieve this goal.

    Turns out, at least some of the process changes that companies can implement, like going into candidate interviews with a structured plan, or making sure you understand which are the key elements or attributes that are likely to make a candidate successful can elevate an organization's recruiting function into the top 10%.

    Additionally, Dan and Steve talked about the market for recruitment technology, why it might be so crowded with solution providers, and why most recruitment technology providers have made a mistake by trying to make recruiting simple and somehow 'not core' to the business. Dan and Greenhouse feel that recruiting is hard, important, and are creating tools to make organizations successful at these tough challenges.

    You can listen to the show on the show page here, or using the widget player below:

    This was a fun and interesting show - many thanks to Dan and the entire team at Greenhouse for having the HR Happy Hour out at the event. And also, many thanks to our HR Happy Hour Show sponsor Virgin Pulse, www.virginpulse.com.

    Finally, remember to subscribe to the show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and all the major podcast apps - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to add the show to your subscriptions and you will never miss a show.

    Thursday
    May262016

    RECRUITING OPPORTUNITY: The Hotel Gym at 6AM on a Wednesday

    Quick take from the road on a busy Wednesday, (note to self, this should have been a 'Notes from the road' post, but I digress). 

    Tried to do the 'stay relatively healthy' bit early this morning by hitting up the Hilton gym at about 6AM or so today and walked into probably the most packed facility I think I have seen in weeks on the road. There were easily 40 or so folks already grinding out a run on the treadmill or faking their way through some pull downs on the lat machine.

    In fact, the place was so crowded, I noticed six or seven folks enter, look around, and then leave since pretty much every available piece of cardio equipment, (and most of the weight machines), were being used. This was at 6:19AM on a Wednesday.

    Now this may not seem all that remarkable, the hotel is pretty large and there are three or four different events and conferences going on here this week, so packing 50 people into a gym may not be as big a deal as I am making it out to be.

    But if you subscribe to the notion, as many folks do, that industry meeting and conferences like the ones going on at this hotel this week are great places for networking and recruiting then it stands to reason that at least some of the 'right' kind of folks you might be looking for can be found in the gym at 6 in the morning.

    The 6AM gym folks are (at least trying) to go the extra mile (pun intended), to keep their s%#% together while on the road - which isn't easy at these kinds of events where the overwhelming tendency is for folks to spend hours and hours sitting in hotel meeting rooms, hitting buffets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and hitting up the endless open bar each night.

    There are almost certainly recruitable and desirable candidates at every event.

    It could be the most recruitable ones are on the treadmill at 6AM. 

    Are you going to be there to meet them?

    Monday
    May022016

    Revisited: Talent vs. Culture in Hiring Philosophy

    Let me be very, vet clear about this: If you only have time for one podcast in your life that podcast should be the HR Happy Hour Show. We are closing in fast on 250 shows in the HR Happy Hour archive, and Trish McFarlane and I have lots more great stuff to come this year and beyond.

     But if you are like me (a little bit of a podcast nerd, admittedly), you like to mix up your podcast diet and sprinkle in some other choices. For me, one of the podcasts I almost always catch is the Bill Simmons podcast, which is probably 85% about sports, but mixes in enough other topics (pop culture, politics, tech and business), to make it a good listen even if you are not a massive sports fan.

    Recently, Simmons did a show with Silicon Valley investor Chris Sacca, most well known for being an early investor and advisor to companies like Twitter and Uber. Prior to his pivot to investing in startups, Sacca was a relatively early employee of Google, (from about 2003 - 2007), helping the search giant build out its data center infrastructure. 

    In the podcast Sacca talks about life at Google and what makes Google so different as a company and a place to work. The most interesting part of the discussion starts at about the 13:30 mark, where Sacce talks about the hiring philosophy at Google, and why that was imporant. Have a listen, then some quick comments from me.

    In case you didn't catch the key comment, I will repeat it here.

    Sacca: 'One of the things they (Google) did that is kind of like an NBA team, is that they hired just for sheer capability, not necessarily for culture fit. And so they were just like 'If we get the smartest, most driven, ambitious people in the world all to work here and we will see what happens

    And so other teams were like 'Well, I don't know if this guy is going to work well with this other guy, you know a lot of raw talent but, if you look at Eric Schmidt and Larry and Sergey the owners and general managers, they said 'Let's just get the smartest people in the world here and then see what happens.'

    In the podcast Sacca goes on a little more about what the focus on talent and raw capability above this idea of 'fit' meant for Google, but I think you can get the idea from the excerpt above.

    Looking back through all the posts I have done on this topic over the years, I would say at least philosophically that I come down way towards the Google/Sacca point of view on this. I think raw talent, the ability to assemble enough of it at one time and in one place will have the most significant impact on organizational success, certainly when a company is smaller and growing.

    Focusing solely on talent and ability may result in hiring a few bad apples, and Sacca admits as much in the podcast, but in the end whether its the NBA or a tech company, the team with the best talent almost always wins.

    Have a great week, and make sure you check out the HR Happy Hour Show too!

    Wednesday
    Apr272016

    Who makes better hiring decisions, man or machine?

    Despite two-plus decades of innovation, billions of dollars spent by organizations on HR/Recruiting technologies, and (adding in this one), 139,927,434 blog posts on the topic, hiring still remains stubbornly difficult, is often lengthy and costly, and all too often results in disaster.

    There are potentially dozens of individual reasons why this sad state of affairs persists in 2016, but I want to talk about just one in this post - the question of whether or not hiring could be improved if we relied upon people (mainly hiring managers) less, and machines, (automated job fit assessments and similar instruments) more. The source of the rest of the data in this post is from a 2015 NBER Working Paper titled Discretion in Hiring by Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, and Danielle Li.

    In the paper's abstract, the authors set out to answer a simple question:

    "Who should make hiring decisions? We propose an empirical test for assessing whether firms should rely on hard metrics such as job test scores or grant managers discretion in making hiring decisions."
    A pretty good question for sure.

     

    Who (or as we shall see soon what), should have the final, or at least the most influential voice in determining which candidate to hire for a given role?

    According to the authors, hiring is hard and prone to error for two primary reasons. One, resumes, profiles, even interviews are usually not perfectly complete and able to reveal with a high degree of confidence and accuracy who is the best candidate for the job. And two, the people the firm entrusts to make hiring decisions are simply not that good at making these decisions.


    They start with imperfect information, then apply (sometimes subconsciously), there own views, preferences, and biases that may not be congruent to the organization's goals to the decision process.

    Bad information + inaccurate, possibly biased decision makers = way too many bad hires.

    So what might a remedy be to combat the 'bad information' and 'bad decision makers' challenge?

    How about improving the information, (not very controversial, surely), and removing the decision makers (possibly more controversial, as most hiring managers will claim they like to, you know, hire).

    More from the NBER paper on what they did and what they were able to find:

    In this paper we evaluate the introduction of a job test, and develop a diagnostic to inform how firms should incorporate it into their hiring decisions. Using a unique personnel dataset on HR manager, job applicants, and hired workers across 15 firms that adopt job testing, we present two key findings. First, job testing substantially improves the match quality of hired workers: those hired with job testing have about 15% longer tenures than those hired without testing. Second, managers who overrule test recommendations more often hire workers with lower match quality, as measured by job tenure. 

    This second result suggests that managers exercise discretion because they are biased or have poor judgement, not because they are better informed. This implies that firms in our setting can further improve match quality by limiting managerial discretion and placing more weight on the test.

    Less manager input/discretion in hiring led to better hiring outcomes. Across the board in this study.

    A few caveats worth mentioning, (and you should, if you are so inclined, read the entire paper here).

    This study was performed across a dataset of 15 firms hiring for high volume, lower skill kind of roles - think something like data entry, call center, that kind of thing. The kinds of jobs where it is relatively easier to come up with an accurate job test/assessment, and ones where the primary measure of hiring success is often retention.

    Also worth noting is that the researchers controlled for other measures of employee success like productivity, i.e., they were able to determine that when hiring managers overruled the job test scores in making hiring decisions that they were not in fact sacrificing longer tenure for increased near-term efficiency.

    Essentially, for this category of low to mid-skilled service roles, the researchers were able to show that all things being equal, additional managerial input and discretion into the hiring decision process only served to lead to worse hiring outcomes.

    I will close with one more line from the study's conclusion section:

    In our setting it provides the stark recommendation that firms would do better to remove discretion of the average manager and instead hire based solely on the test.

    But that conclusion only holds true for the 'average' manager, right?

    I'm sure your managers are way above average when it comes to making hiring decisions.

    Right?

     

    Discretion in Hiring, Mitchell Hoffman, Lisa B. Kahn, Danielle Li, NBER Working Paper 21709, November 2015