Recruiting In 3D

To Test or Not to Test? THAT is the (Eternal) Question

Ever had to give or take a test while you were in the application or interview stage for a job? Chances are, if you’ve made a job change in the last 5 years, that’s likely the case. And no, we’re not talking about some wacko Rorschach Test, where and ink blot will revive that long suppressed memory of your icky Aunt Ida at Christmas time. I’m talking about the major players in the marketplace: Myers-Briggs, Wonderlic, Gallup, and the like. Many people wonder what those tests actually tell you about the likely future success of the employee. Others, they swear that it tells them who the A, B, and C players are without having to spend a dime on them.

Maybe my next best hire is here?

While, there is data to support both theories, it varies by company, industry, and heck, it even varies down to department and team levels. Here’s my quick and dirty theory on it (and it’s just a theory, so let’s not fire off any burning arrows at my door if you disagree – after all, that’s what these “interwebs” are for, good banter):


  • Yes it gives you some insight as to the work style, cognitive ability, or basic skills that a person may require for a given role.
  • You can use it as an inital benchmark for who you want to pursue further in the process, and also eliminate people who may not fit right away.
  • These tests have been through a battery of assessment and validity tests, by qualified, accredited psychologists and I/O shrinks.


  • It’s just a test. What if you get someone (say someone who looks like me with the same name!) who is not a test taker, but a paper-writer? Do you pass on a superb candidate because they don’t “test” well?
  • Nothing will ever, (I’ll repeat that) EVER, replace the power of an interview, and what you can tell from the person sitting across the table from you.
  • People can still fake their way through a test.

In the end, I’m not necessarily beholden to being PRO or ANTI-testing in the recruitment process. I think it has it’s merits, but as a TOOL in the process, and not the end-all-be-all in the selection process. There are companies that use it as the primary indicator, and while they may get good test-taking robots, they probably have a competitor who has a rock star employee working for them, who could have been theirs if not for that ol’ test.

We need to encourage the Company powers-that-be, that this is a tool, but it’s not the only tool. As Yoda said, “”The Jedi use the force for knowledge and defense, never for attack”. Let’s use testing as part of the greater solution in finding the best talent out there, not as a way of truly evaluating talent on a multi-level basis.

Side Note:
Clearly, I took the wrong path in life, because a smarter version of me would have become one of the test peddling companies. (Have you ever seen the PRICE on these things?) OY.

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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?

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    Does Your Organization TRUST Your Recruiting Team?

    Trust is a simple enough word. Easy to define in most generic scenarios, and fairly commonplace to know it when you see it in action. We see this often in the sports world, where a quarterback will have a favorite “go to” receiver, someone he knows will run the route correct, who will instinctively know when to break off the route, and who can improvise in sync with the QB. The QB also knows that the receiver studies the playbook, watches film relentlessly and asks questions where needed.

    Heard this before?

    It’s not always so simple in the business world, especially as it relates to the HR and recruiting departments. We all know that the pervasive thought in most , not all companies is that HR/Recruiting are service groups who are not revenue generating, therefore a spike lower on the totem pole. We’re not going to address that here today, because that could hijack this whole post. But do they realize the value that you deliver in time-savings, candidate sourcing, and support? Do they trust that your team is capable of delivering what they need? If you’ve ever been in an organization where they don’t trust recruiting, then you know what this looks like: (just a few examples)

    • Managers don’t tell you someone is needed until they are ready to make a hire (read: please draw up an offer letter)
    • You get a job description and no further information
    • The candidate is not a fit – and that is all the feedback you get
    • You only find out about needs when it comes through the system, you don’t know the pulse of the organization

    Recruiting teams can build trust in the organization in simpler ways that you might think. But it takes time. Don't expect miracle results overnight. Here are a few things you can do:

    • Lay it out – Sit down with each of your hiring managers and lay out the expectations that you need from them – 24 hr turn around time on resumes, phone screens, etc. and then let them know what you can deliver to them. But make sure you DO deliver it. Keep your word.
    • Investigate and Understand – When you get a job description from a manager, make them sit with you to get some of the “off-spec” peripheral information. Smart managers will see this as a clear sign that you are vested in getting them what they want for this role. They will realize that you want to find them they “type” of person they want, instead of just a body with skills.
    • Deliver and communicate – When you say that you’ll have them resumes in 72 hours, then do that. Or at the very least be communicating what the hiccup is. (Lack of qualified applicants, can’t find people in the salary range) Let’s face it, people want to feel like they are the center of your world, and this aids you with that.
    • Be Seen – take some time each day/week to be pacing the halls, dropping in for informal conversations with managers – “how are things going with the XYZ project? Are we planning any more needs there?” “How is John Doe doing in the 1st 2 weeks? Are you hearing good/bad/indifferent things?” Again, this clues them in that you are not there merely to put butts in seats, but that you want to be a partner in the level of success that your clients “(hiring managers and teams you work with) have.

    This won’t work for every manager, as there are just some people who you will never get through to, no matter what you do. But as with all things, word of mouth is a powerful tool. Convince a few powerful decision makers in your organization, and your reputation as a key asset is going to spread. And many of the “non-believers” will be converted by hearing it from people they already trust.

    What have you done to build trust with your hiring managers, teams or clients?

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    Job Board Leopards Changing Their Spots………… Again

    I’ve taken some notice lately of the current trends in the job board marketplace lately. It seems that many of the boards are looking to transition from the old model of “post & pray” to more of an Ad Network-centric approach.

    Update & Disclaimer: I’m not an Ad Network or job board employee, so I won’t try to define the industry, but I realized I neglected to define an Ad Network. So, here it is as Wikipedia defines it. Mea Culpa, I digress, and we move on.

    What we’re seeing in the marketplace is a dramatic shift from what the bread an butter of the job board business model has been since the mid-90’s. It started with the ability to post your open positions, and have people fax a resume in (because, really who was using e-mail in a widespread format in 1995?), then progressed to overwhelmed in-boxes (which is/was/will be every recruiters nightmare), and then finally to the redirection to the career site. All of this still amounts to a theory of putting it out there and seeing what happens.

    We then experienced the Sourcing Revolution, where it became commonplace for (good) recruiters to actively source candidates. we saw user groups, technical forums, LinkedIn and professional sites become the chum tank for the sharks. If you were out there, you could be found. This too, still applies today, but has gotten vastly more mature in the approach and technical style, thanks to blogs, and training seminars, like AIRS, using available techniques like Boolean searching.

    Now, with the emergence of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, we’re starting to see more of the job boards move toward sponsored ads, and impressions that (allegedly) drive traffic back to your site, and ultimately drive people to your postings, assuming it will lead to more candidate flow for you. Having done an impression campaign in the past, I’m not yet convinced it will work the way it is intended. I mean, I see tons of trailers online and on TV for movies – I’m AWARE of them, but it doesn’t necessarily make me want to see it more. The hope here for job boards (we think) is that they will be able to capitalze on the market of people who are actively using the social media sites, and other popular avenues, and can cash in based on the recrutiing departments metrics tally that they are getting traffic from Ad Network related content. But isn’t that really the same as ye ol’ “post & pray”? Perhaps the only difference is that someone on the job board side is posting it, and you as the recruiter, are not.

    But the folks who dream up the next big thing at the job board headquarters know what they are doing. They see that so many of these corporate and TPR clients are cutting, slashing and burning external costs at an alarming rate – both because of the economy, but because of better trained recruiters. That means less money year on year, in total contract value (CV). If the CV decreases, so does the revenue and ultimately the stock prices. NOT GOOD, if you are waiting on that bonus. Now, they can provide a “value-add” (and I challenge anyone to tell me that the job board sales rep did NOT use that term when they tried to see this to you – it’s their go-to hot button) service with the Ad Network. A colleague of mine was able to just cut 5k off of his most recent contract with one of the larger job boards. He declined the Ad Network package, and impressions, because his company has a strong social media presence, and strong brand. Had he taken it, he’d be paying 3-5k more than his old contract. So the brass at the job boards has struck some more gold to keep revenue at least where it is at, if not higher.

    My question is will they stick with this, can they sell it widely, and will they be able to truly prove the worth of this, or will the Ad Network model go the way of the dodo bird and “post & pray”?

    The end of boards as we know them?

    The end of boards as we know them?

    What are you seeing?

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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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