Recruiting In 3D

Keeping The Ambulance Chasers Away When Recruiting With Social Media

It’s coming. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, it is coming. The US has become an incredibly litigious society in the last 20 years or so. Remember the lady who sue McDonald’s because the coffee she bought was hot, and burned her? And about 100 other similar cases over time? Well folks, soon they will be attacking recruitment practices on social media (SM) sites. Mark my words.

As Jessica Lee highlighted this in her most recent Fistful of Talent post, there are concerns that lawsuits may rise because of the rise in recruiting on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

Now I’ve been saying for sometime, that we’re just in the waiting period before the first company gets hit with a discrimination suit after recruiting on a SM site. Not because it is an inherently bad practice, but because it is a wide open target. From my perspective, I’m a bit leery of actively recruiting off of SM sites, not because I think it’s bad, but more because I don’t want to be the first to get hit. Our team uses a more passive approach on these sites, to divulge information about the company and it’s openings, and to formulate more of a circular recruiting approach to drive traffic back to our company site. In this way, we’re using the site for a recruitment purpose, but not necessarily sourcing off of there, per se. I recently hired someone off of Twitter (our 1st off of there), but it was someone who reached out to us, after seeing some tweets we put out there, and having viewed our career site, hence circular recruitment.

But as Jessica puts it, and as I’ve seen it in other posts out there, SM CANNOT be your only method of recruitment. Sure, if you are seeking people with SM backgrounds or certain creative skill sets, these might be a strong source for you, but hopefully you are supplementing this with other sources. You’ve got to cast a wide net to source and identify the best of the best out there, and one or two sites won’t get you there.

The ambulance chasers will always find something to file a suit against, and people will always look for a way to get rich quick at someone else’s expense. But a well thought out, and well rounded approach to your recruiting will hopefully guard you from any frivolous accusations. You should be taking an active look at your process, and evaluate where you might have any risk exposure.

Plan accordingly, avoid the mob.

Plan accordingly, avoid the mob.


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Are You Rolling The Dice With College Recruiting?

This is probably the ideal location for me to go on some rant about how great “The Hangover” was this summer, but I’ll do my best to refrain – no guarantees. What I really want to touch on is how your college recruiting program can look a lot like the tables in Vegas. I’m inclined to write about this because: A. I just came back from a trip to Sin City in the last few weeks, where I surprisingly did a minute amount of gambling and B. College Recruiting has begun anew for the 09-10 school year. So, bonus points for me and my circular relevancy.

Vegas Baby! or Maybe State U!

Vegas Baby! or Maybe State U!

So here’s how a great deal of college recruiting goes: Company signs up for fair. Company goes to fair, yaks up company, collects resumes. Company holds PowerPoint slide show, branding extravaganza (Also known as Information Session).Company parses through resumes, and selects on-campus interviews. Company selects 2nd round (maybe 3rd round, as well) interviews. Company makes offer, student accepts (some decline). Company hires candidate.

What has the company gotten? Well, potentially a dud. Maybe someone who does not work out, who perhaps interviewed well. But potentially they get a rock star, a motivated, and successful hire. Hopefully more of the latter, but all of those people have a common trait. They came to the company – all of them. Not Vice Versa. So I liken this to gambling because you aren’t you really playing the odds every time you go through the process like this? Wouldn’t you be better served going after more students aggressively? Certainly, there is still going to be a cross-section of candidates who came to you, but why not reduce the need for relying on chance?

Equate this to another scenario: Plan and pay for Vegas trip. Get to Vegas, yak up dealers, friends, and anyone willing to listen. Spend money to play cards, dice or vice of choice. Spend more money if you lose. Potentially come home with a bit more cash or much less than you went with. Same Same.

There are many things that a company can do in order to make their brand better known, and to reach students before they even hit a job fair, and to be on the top of their mind.

  • Career Services gets a bad rap as a place where you don’t get much accomplished in trying to get connected to academia, or getting directly to students. And really, that’s not the primary function of their job at all universities. But if they are used correctly, as more of a conduit, than the end game. They can provide you with information about student groups, and groups, clubs or societies that are part of a major/school. They can provide information for you, and generally are happy to do so, if you are not walking in there and asking for a list of students that “are looking for jobs”.
  • You can contact many of the groups etc. and find out when they have events that you can sponsor. This might be a dinner, or awards event, or even guest speaker. These students are happy to help. The money they may or may not get donated helps. But hey, this is college recruiting, and it takes money to make money, right? They are also going to help you with finding out about small-scale fairs for students in their disciplines. These typically have fewer, but more targeted attendees.
  • You must kill the information session. In fact, it’s already dead, so you’ve saved time. Whatever is going to be provided in the “branding extravaganza” they can get in 15 minutes online, and…they like it that way. In this regard, faculty can be helpful. They want to get exposure for their students. Their students getting jobs is good business for them. But you’ve got to have something compelling to go in with that isn’t a “Rah-Rah” speech. If you can get candidates interested in your industry, you can get them interested in you. Remember that, and you’ll have some interesting stuff to deliver to them.
  • Finally, and most importantly, you have to stick to what you say you’ll do. There’s a big reason most students are mistrusting of the current process as it stands – many in our profession don’t keep their word. When we say that we want to stay in touch with them through the year (maybe they are a junior who already has an internship, or a sophomore we cannot use just yet) we need to do so. When we say that we’ll be contacting candidates back in 2-3 weeks, we need to do so. Or at the very least, let them know that you’ll be contacting back students who were selected, by “x” date. At least they know, that if “x” date comes and there is no word from you, then they have their answer.

Now, I will say that there are exceptions to these rules – we all know that there are certain……let’s call them Big Boys, who can just show up, and people will flock, they have all the connections they need at the school to get the best 5-10 candidates from each discipline (again, money helps A LOT with these issues). And they can just play the same old notes and get what they need, what with all their cool t-shirts and all (They actually are quite witty, to be frank). But let’s face it, we’re not all companies the size of a 3rd world country, and aren’t all afforded that luxury.

So, are you going to be the active hunter, trying to seek out the people you want at your company, or do you want to roll the dice, and see if your number eventually comes up?

PS – I couldn’t resist. The Hangover WAS a great movie. I’m sure many a bachelor party was scratched due to it’s release, and many a reminiscent moment was had around the country. Go see it, or get it on that Netflix queue.

Don't build relationships and networks, and it's all a gamble.

Don't build relationships and networks, and it's all a gamble.


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Don’t sling it over the fence! Working with TPR’s…

Full Disclosure:
I’ve been on both sides of the desk in my career, TPR (3rd party Recruiter, agency, whatever you call it) and the corporate recruiting side. I have sympathy and affinity for both, though working on the corporate side, I LOVE not working 90 hours a week. 🙂

We don’t use alot of outside firms where I work, because, well we’re lucky to have 3 strong recruiters who all have agency experience and know a variety of sourcing techniques. That said, there comes a time where you have to use them, whether it is due to position overload, or just general need for more help on a hard search. I was reading an article today from Leah Ward and she really makes a great point on how to interact with your TPR’s.

If you are just farming out jobs to 10 agencies at a time, you’ll likely not only NOT fill the spot in a timely fashion or at all, but you will almost inevitably drive yourself crazy in the interim. Sifting through resumes from TPR’s takes alot of time, and unless you make the investment up front, you’ll likely not get what you are looking for.

When I take time to farm out a position, I have a short list of TPR’s that I trust, and know can get the job done. But, req’s don’t fill themselves. You need to disseminate down what you are looking for in the ideal candidate (and yes, GIVE THE WISH LIST TOO!). You can’t play the information-secret game. They want to fill your spot, and you do too. I’ve even found it helpful at times to have them come and meet with the hiring manager directly, getting it right from the source as well.

Set ground rules too, as Leah states. If you commit to responding to a resume in 24 hours, DO IT. Being a former TPR, nothing makes me work on something less than lack of response. And provide feedback – let them know why it wasn’t a fit, i.e., the candidate is a job hopper, they couldn’t answer basic technical questions, whatever. You wouldn’t take no for an answer about your resume or job interview without a reason, right?

So, what are you doing? Are you setting expectations, or are you slinging req’s over the fence in the hopes that the right candidate will be slung back? Not likely.

Share what you are doing to make sure you get the most bang for your 20+ %.

Time invested, saves time.

Time invested, saves time.


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Building Pipelines, and Paying It Forward

I read a tweet that someone sent out yesterday, linked to an article that talked about how recruiters are looking always for the exact match. They want people in almost identical roles, from competitors, etc. In essence they are looking for clones, as the article states.

While that may be true, and also a narrow minded way for a recruiter to work, it is the recruiters job to find candidates that have backgrounds that line up with the current skill set of the company, the openings you have now and the ones you will have in the future. All we hear is “build a pipeline” this and “have a bench” that. So IMO, in essence, recruiting for similar skill sets out of competitor companies makes sense in both filling your openings and building the ever-popular pipeline. However, as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is more than one way to build a pipeline.

When we talk to a candidate, do we explore the entire spectrum of that candidate’s experience, desire, and future goals? Or are we looking at do they have “5 years of .NET programming skills, experience in a widget shop, and did they go to an Ivy League school”? If we only look at that and move on, we’ve only scratched the surface, and likely have wasted time on both ends of the phone.

If you truly take the time to peer through someone’s background and ask about the “why” behind the “how” of their projects, what motivates them, and what they want in the future, you may have just built that wonderful enigma that is a pipeline. While it may not be the exact match for now? How many among us can predict our req load or makeup of that load 3 months from now.

I just hired someone recently, that I had talked to for the 1st time about 9 months prior. At the time, his skill set was just a bit off on some of the experience (technically speaking) that we needed for that role at the time. Instead of just showing him the door, we explored a bit more and figured out what he was really strong at and where he could best showcase these skills. I told him that we didn’t have the fit now, but in time, I was sure that something would pop up, and I’d call him then. Skeptical as he was (and I could tell from the way he finished the conversation, he’d heard this a million times before), I called him back when we had the right fit. Long story short, he’s on board. I kept my word, and he took our job. Win-Win.

That said, there are going to be people you talk to that you just can’t help, no matter what the background. But if that person can demonstrate that they are a strong candidate, and assuming you as a strong recruiter have built up your network to have a small group that shares resumes amongst yourselves, you can get this person networked around. Philip Newman on ERE chats a bit more on this topic, earlier this week.

You’re a recruiter. That means you’re a digger, a hunter, a harvester, a conduit and a connector. You can’t be complete just being a paperboy. Say yes when you can, no when you have to, but always remember to keep it in mind, and pay it forward, because you need to.

KarmaCop-311x322


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Help Me….Help You!

I make it a rule to discuss salary, compensation and the like with virtually all my candidates in the first or second conversation that we have. Make no mistake, I’m not asking for “Name, SS# and how much was your W2 last year”, but I address it at some point in the conversations. You really have to have these conversations if you

Over the years, I’ve had some very colorful responses to my question about what a candidate’s current compensation is and what they are looking to make going forward. I thought having grown up in New York, and watching 20+ George Carlin specials gave me all the dirty words I’d ever hear. Oh how wrong I was. Some people get terribly upset when you ask this, as they feel like you will pigeon-hole them into that number/package, or that there is some ulterior motive. Kinda makes me feel like a really, really desperate Jerry Maguire sometimes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-oHuogx6_Y

The thing is, I ask this because I’m trying to work with the candidate, and build trust and rapport from Day 1. By having a frank and open dialogue, we’re able to establish that relationship that allows for good matches to be made. Recruiters need to act as agents for their candidates and that representation is about trust. Have it, and you’ll have higher success rates. Don’t have it and you’ll be closing the same position five times. Now, I’m not saying that I’ve never had a candidate reject an offer based on compensation, but it is an intricate part of your process. Jessica Lee, of Fistful of Talent notes that this is a launching point for being able to have frank discussion about the candidate expectations, and the industry standards that are out there.

Candidates naturally have to have a skepticism about whether to trust the recruiter, after all, there are shlocky recruiters out there, and how can you be sure. I try to address this up front and let them know that I’m asking because there is a budget (as much as we all want to work without one) and if I know what they are looking for from the beginning, I can be sure we can get them to the front lines. Besides, after a manager gets a resume, the first question is inevitably, “How much will this person cost me?” (Don’t believe it? Try sending a profile and resume to an account manager (for TPR’s) or to a hiring manager (Corporate).

If I know the difference between the desired salary and the budget is say, 10k, I can work with that and talk with the manager. Plus, smart candidates are looking at the whole package. But if the candidate is looking for a 130k salary and the budget is 85k, why bother to take them down a path you can’t finish out for them? It’s a waste of your time, the manager’s time and ultimately the candidates time. The key here is explaining this to the candidate. And if you tell them you’ll keep them in mind for the future, do it. Call at another time down the line, check in, etc. If you tell them it’s not a fit, and you’ll refer them elsewhere, follow up and do so. Your word is your calling card.

In the end, the smart candidates will respect you for the candor. The great candidates will even know of peers or other friends that they can refer to you, either for that job or just based on the fact that you’ve proven your mettle as a viable and trustworthy recruiter. This is all just another tool in your box for building that all important positive reputation. And for recruiters, your reputation is your brand. The question is how’s your brand?


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