Recruiting In 3D

TMA’s Social Recruiting Summit Recap

Last week I attended the TMA Social Recruiting Summit in New York City. For a kid from New York, any trip there is nice, because in addition to being able to see some family while I am up there, I pretty much eat pizza every day and twice if I can find an excuse. Being able to cover the event gave me the ability to view the conference from a different perspective, where I could actually listen to all thecontent, while also taking in how the crowd is reacting to it.

The event itself was well attended by about 125 people, and it was nice to see that the attendees’ experience levels and industries varied greatly. This was particularly refreshing, because it brought out some of the challenges that are definitely unique to certain industries, while other times attendees were secure in knowing everyone else faces the same struggles. TMA did a really nice job on including speakers and content that spanned recruiting, sourcing, marketing and employee branding. It’s a tough feat to successfully cater to an array of audiences in a smaller conference, and it worked. Read More

The 100 Most Influential People in HR and Recruiting on Twitter

I’m very humbled and privileged to be part of this list. There are some amazing recruiters out there who are also on this list. Make sure to check them out!

Check out the list here

What Do Applicant Assessments Tell Us, Anyway?

You’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve lived it. Maybe you had to implement it, and you may even have taken it. The dreaded pre-employment assessment. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the more common types in the market are Wonderlic, Myers-Briggs, and Gallup. Sure, they are all legal, and legally defensible in court, and are praised by a vast amount of executives far and wide. But what do they really tell you?

Choices, Choices.

The types of information sought on these assessments can vary widely – from personality types, to sales acumen, to analytical skills. But in the end, how much does it really tell you about the employee you are about to hire. There are several areas to consider when looking at potentially using a pre-employment assessment.

1. What are you looking for?
If you are seeking people who have strong analytical skills, then an employment assessment that measures this might be a way to go. But without having to over-customize a solution, can you effectively get what you need? In most cases, a cookie-cutter assessment may seem like a one-size fits all, but it’s leaving out critical components about who is actually taking the assessment. A Director of Product Management may score vastly different from a Statistical Data Analyst, depending on how much of their day-to-day is spent in a purely analytical world. And, are you having your sales reps take the same assessment as these purely analytical candidates?

2. What kind of metrics are you assessing to validate the impact of these assessments on your hiring process?
Assessment without analysis is just testing. You have to look at your core metrics on this. If the point of testing is the reduce turnover in key critical roles, and to make sure that people in these roles are highly promotable, then you need to look at the data. Having detailed components about turnover, promotion rates, and performance reviews is critical in seeing how valuable this assessment toll has proven. If you can’t put a finger on seeing where the value was added (i.e. a 15% reduction in turnover in the inside sales group), then you just have a bunch of test scores. Considering the pricing on many of these products, that’s an awful lot of money spent on anecdotal data. Considering that HR is already a department that most companies consider overhead, we have to spend wisely.

3. Do executives put more weight in the assessment more than the people interviewing and selecting the candidate?
If you have C-Level people weighting the outcome of the assessment ahead of the other critical stages of the interview process (Resume, experience, interview & interview feedback, references, and background checks), then something is wrong. You’ll almost inevitably lose proven and potential “A” players because they refuse to be judged from an assessment, and/or you let them get away because some test score said they weren’t up to snuff. “A” players don’t have to tolerate the cynicism that comes with being judged on test scores alone.

I’ve worked in companies where if the test score was not a certain number, there was no hire – end of story. I think about all the people in the world who are great at writing the 30 page paper, but who are not good testers. Conversely, how many people can ace tests, but not come up with core analytical takeaways from a project? It’s a balance, and as I said above, needs to be looked at as PART of the process, not as the litmus for the WHOLE process.

4. Is the assessment linked to your organizations key indicators of success and performance?
If it is, then you can truly use this as a potential indicator for future success. Dr. Charles Handler really does some nice work in presenting views in this arena. If you’re seriously considering implementing something, his research and articles might be a good spot to start. He has a great deck on Slideshare, that might be worth reviewing.

Assessment for the sake of saying “well, we tested them, and they did well/poor” is a waste of valuable interviewer and recruiter time. I’m not 100% in favor on pre-employment assessments, nor am I 100% against. As with most people, I’m somewhere in the middle.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this.


Bookmark and Share

Cover letters? Are We Thin-Slicing Recruiting?

What is it with the love affair people have with cover letters? Is it professional? Sure. Is it a nice way to give a complete presentation of your professionalism? Check. Does it show you completed a basic course in business writing in college? Probably. But is it absolutely necessary to have in order to be considered a top candidate for a role? In my opinion, no. But that would differ from a great deal of opinions from people in the Twittersphere and Blogosphere right now.

There are a number of people out there who feel the cover letter is an essential piece of the puzzle, and key in determining the validity of a candidate. Just this week, there was banter out there on Twitter about how one Twitster would toss out the resume of a candidate who did not have a cover letter! Really? Are you that flush with candidates that you can just arbitrarily throw out potential stars because they didn’t have the obligatory “pick me” letter? I’d be hard pressed to believe that is the case with many companies in many areas, where the pool for talent is being thinned by everyone, and in a market where a large percentage of seekers are top performers, hit hard by the economy.

What I don’t get, is what are you getting from the cover letter that ensures that this candidate is better than everyone else who doesn’t have one? Writing skills? Ok, sure, but won’t the resume give you some inclination of the writing skills? Or the e-mails you have traded back and forth with them (assuming you DID e-mail with them). Most importantly, won’t their previous experience, and the phone call that you have with them tell you a bit more accurately if they are the right choice? Thing is, I think we’re becoming to focused on the quick hit, the “thin-slicing” of the recruiting process, to steal a phrase from Malcom Gladwell’s book, Blink. Don’t mistake me, recruiting is a quick moving, minute-by-minute profession, but we also need to step back at times, and make sure we’re taking in the full picture. Too often, we see no cover letter, and think “oh well they are not professional”, or “they couldn’t take the time to write me a personal cover letter?”

Lest we forget, that in this day and age, it’s becoming profitable to be a cover letter or resume writer. Do a quick search on Twitter for “cover letter” and you’ll get a minimum of 5 services in the 1st 25 tweets, for people peddling their services. (I’m not knocking it as a profession, it’s actually quite a needed service for some folks.) But, let’s remember that there’s a better than average chance, the cover letter you covet (too much ‘cov-” there? Ah, I digress) so much has a good probability of being written by someone else anyway, so it’s still not giving you the indicator of the candidate you want.

We need not kill off the cover letter. I think it’s a nice touch, and I’ll read it if there is one. But that said, let’s not let it become the determining standard. As with social media, it’s not the end game, its not the sole strategy, but more of a tool in the arsenal.

What a lovely segue to my follow-up post.


Bookmark and Share

Too many tools?

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Doostang, Plaxo Digg, I could go on and on. Is it possible that we’ve acquired too many tools in our “Recruiter’s Toolbox/Arsenal”?

Pick your poison.

In all reality, how many sites can you really keep as current and still be effective at your job? I’m a fan of the “master a few, but be aware of as many as possible”, school of thought. I mean, you never know what tools are going to start to emerge as a premier source for finding talent.

I once thought that I should get on as many of these sites as possible, network ad nauseam, connect, connect, connect and make sure everyone can find me. I learned a few things there.

  • 1. Everyone WILL find you, even if you don’t want them to. I Learned the benefit of a “qualified network” from that.

    2. If you get on too many of these sites, your quality on each will diminish, and you’ll spend more time finding your passwords than you do networking. Unless of course your job is Chief Networking Officer. (In which case, e-mail me for my resume)
  • 🙂

    I really like the approach of looking at networking like a starting pitcher. Sharpen skills in a few key areas, and like a pitcher, throw 3-4 solid types of pitches as your bread and butter (the “outs” pitches) and a few that you throw in for some changing up.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going to go off on some “Less is More” rant, like Jerry Maguire. I just think that focus in important when considering your networking approach. We’ve already become an ADD-riddled society with our technology, and the recruiters are supposed to be the very epitome of the ultimate multi-tasker, so don’t fall prey to spreading too thin.

    My personal favorites right now, are LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter and ERE, as well as being an avid reader of numerous blogs (Thank you AGAIN, Google Reader). This style won’t work for everyone, but as with the networking sites, its a choice.

    What do you think?


    Bookmark and Share

    <span>%d</span> bloggers like this: