Category: Talent Acquisition

How to catch the attention of A+ talent that ignores you

November 25th, 2015
Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

As a sourcer of talent, when I find a rock star candidate, sometimes it feels like I’ve won the lottery. That’s when I remember that finding the candidate is only half of the sourcing battle. Next you have to get them to engage. Without engagement, it’s pretty hard to call finding that perfect fit, a win at all.

But, I’m here to tell you that all is not lost. While you may have tried every method you could think of six months ago, there’s certainly an opportunity to resurface and breakthrough the wall of engagement.

Here’s a few strategies to revisit those perfect candidates who seem to have ignored your emails or LinkedIn connection request:

allstar candidate talent sourcingTiming: When you think back to how you tried to get your star candidate’s attention, you remember a desperate attempt of countless emails, LinkedIn messages and voice mails. But every time you worked up the energy to try just one more reach out, you still never captured their attention. Or at least that’s how it felt, and then you made up some reason to rationalize the situation so you could move on. But now that some time has passed, why not try again? Perhaps they actually did see your messages but timing was really bad.  Think of all the events in our lives that we try to juggle. It’s a new day, a new month, or a new year, give it another go!

Woo them: Yes, woo. While you may have told them before, don’t be afraid to reiterate how impressed you are with his or her background. Share that you wanted to try to reach out again, noting your previous attempt. Re-introduce how incredible the opportunity for them would be considering their expertise, and even in the (X) amount of time since first reaching out, he or she is still your ideal candidate.

Show your expertise, ask for theirs: You’re the recruiting and research expert. Explain your understanding of the job market and where the candidate’s particular industry is going. Remember, when working with passive candidates, you need them more than they need you. Maybe he or she is not interested, but would offer their ideas or suggestions for you. They are a ‘rock star’ in their field after all — which means they have deep industry knowledge and likely have some good referrals.

So, when you’re in the valley of desperation during your sourcing journey, don’t lose all hope. There are any number of ways to go back after a “lost” candidate. And in reality, what’s the worst that could happen?

Great sourcing isn’t about just building lists of names or grabbing resumes wherever you can. Great sourcing is about identifying and engaging business-changing talent and passive candidates.

Outside-In® Chronicles: Hard In and Easy Out

November 11th, 2015

Outside-In® Chronicles: a throwback post, originally published five years ago in November 2010 While many of the same “people questions” exist, the state of the economy, with the lowest unemployment rate since April 2008 (5.0%), makes the answers or solutions uniquely different. And through all the ups and downs in hiring, our mantra of “hard in, easy out” has remained the same.

Leadership is all about the “people side of the business”. It just seems as if the focus and importance of people issues ebbs and flows with the state of our business. For the last two years, most “people” conversations have been exclusively about cutting costs, reducing head count or associated expenses, and/or plans to create efficiencies. Many businesses find themselves in a spot where they are lean and this means that many, many organizations find themselves panicking quietly about people and talent issues. I hear these questions each and every day with more urgency:

Should we hire to add headcount or use temporaries?
I do not have staff to conduct hiring; how do I get started again?
Should I have a long term strategy or simply react now?
How do I make hiring a core competency? What role should my managers and staff play in the process?

I will let you in on a little secret – HR folks of all kinds are now finding jobs at a steady, if not record clip. We cut them fast and hire them back just as fast. Perhaps a little too fast. Over the last twenty years I have operated within an informal mantra, “It should be hard to get into your company as a new hire, yet very easy to leave”. This statement of hard in, easy out is simple to remember yet profound in its significance to your business.

Concept of confusion and right strategy of a businessman

First, let’s address “hard in”. Your employees want to feel proud of how we bring new staff into the business. It is great if your process for hiring is effective and makes it exclusive. It should be difficult to get hired. Truthfully, it should be a process that never, ever stops. How many of you regret that your stopped viewing talent over the recession? Most of us (if we are honest) know it to be true. We need cash and TALENT to win as opportunities continue to emerge!

The “easy out” is just as important. Trust me when I say that the workforce knows they will not work for you for a lifetime. They expect to have seven or so different roles throughout their career. This reality is reinforced every moment with a media frenzy of companies that make business decisions that impact their workforce! The workforce knows business can no longer afford to be loyal. And surprise! They won’t give it to you anyway. There is too much churn and reality in the business world for anyone to be lulled into a false sense of security. No longer do candidates call us and say, “I am just looking for a safe company that I can stay with for many years.” That is no longer the reality for most employees.

My suggestion is to create an honest, open environment around this issue. Your culture must be capable of accepting the fact that you are “leasing” an employee for a period of time. You want their productivity, their creativity, their innovation and they in turn get fair market value in compensation and learning that makes them a more valuable asset to their careers.

Make it hard to get in to your company, yet make it very easy to leave. Do this and you will have the talent you need and the honesty that makes business simple, refreshing and a great story to share.

The Realities of the Current Labor Market. (plus a prediction)

November 4th, 2015

Contrast perceived advantages to working with small/medium firm versus a bohemoth. What is market information telling us?

The US unemployment rate is at 5.1 %; this is considered full employment for economic discussions. However, we have only been here for a couple months. In fact, at the beginning of this year we were at 5.7%, and this time last year we were at 5.8%. This is not a lot of time for workers to see a change in their job search outlook. Nor is it much time for employers to see and react to trends in turnover and hiring.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The realities of Oct/Nov 2015 if you’re a worker, is that it has not been “good” for very long at all. Not even long enough to notice any change really. And this unemployment rate a national statistic. Some regions are red hot and doing better like the mid-west or parts of the west. The east is much cooler in jobs-related reporting than other regions right now.

And if you’re in charge of hiring, every company story is different. Fewer companies are really-aggressively hiring right now. Business strategy drives talent plans. And many current talent plans were set during more conservative and modest business times, likely around the second half of last year. Big companies are not adding or are, in fact staying status quo with hiring plans this year. Small to mid-size companies on the other hand, are driving the growth. As is the rise of the contingent worker who is freelancing, temping, or contracting to greater and greater numbers, which (frankly) barely shows in government labor data.

Now for my predictions.

  • Managing labor costs in business will continue to be a critical focus. This means employers still want flexibility in their labor costs as a strategy. Enter in temps, contractors, independents and or outsourcing.
  • Companies will lower labor costs over time. IT is a great example — After years or decades of using contractors many organizations are seeking to lower costs by bringing more IT folks in-house. This will happen in any skill set over time.
  • We are entering an era of labor shortages. The War for Talent predicted the boomers exit from the workforce and it is happening everyday. Yet now, the exiting labor pool is causing a negative point of view on today’s labor numbers. The labor is leaving the workforce as predicted, albeit a little slower than anticipated. But it is happening and it will cause labor shortages. We simply want our labor shortage to be caused by marketplace growth versus a sharp reduction in supply!

Sourcing Needles in a Haystack – My Journey to Find Arjun

October 28th, 2015

Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

Sourcing Needle in a haystackSometimes sourcing talent can become frustrating. But great sourcing means breaking through to find that needle in a haystack. And every so often, breaking through means trying something simple or different, and just seeing where your sourcing journey takes you. This approach can be refreshing for a very hard to fill job, and as I experienced recently, ultimately rewarding.

I have been working on sourcing for a high level management consulting role in business analytics and strategy. This is a very hard to fill role and the other day I was beginning to feel like I’d never find another qualified candidate. What did I do? Instead of giving up, I went back to sourcing basics. I revisited the job description, pulled the most important keywords, and put together a boolean string that could be plugged into almost any source. Specifically, the three most significant keywords that I thought best represented my target. In this case, ‘business development, ‘advanced analytics’, and ‘electronics’ were my top choices.

With my keywords identified, I chose my favorite search engine (Google), and gave it a shot. There was no shortage of hits, of course. But to my surprise, much of what I saw was very relevant. Articles, publications, companies, and even a few random resumes. I dove right in, letting the web take me on a ride for about twenty minutes.

All of a sudden, in front of me was the needle. A resume. Not just any resume. Arjun’s resume. A name I hadn’t seen, nor experience I had identified anywhere else during my sourcing on LinkedIn, job boards, social media, company targets, and every other source you could imagine.

On my journey to find Arjun, I was reminded of a few things: Don’t be afraid to try new techniques, simplify your strategy, and sometimes, take a sourcing journey through the world wide web.


How do you handle peak hiring?

September 30th, 2015
Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

Last quarter, an average of 221,000 jobs were added per month, which means many companies experienced and are experiencing increased hiring. After a recession and many years of slow or stable growth, companies with or without HR teams have been able to handle the steady hiring. But now, for companies that are experiencing fast-growth, those same teams are entering unknown territory. Some don’t have the time to add more recruiting to their plate. Others don’t have their recruiting process ironed out and the increased hiring shines a spotlight on those gaps. And, many aren’t sure whether to hire new recruiters to their staff because they aren’t sure when the peak hiring period will come to an end. No matter what the recruiting challenge is, companies are left to wonder, “How do we handle peak hiring?”hiring peaks

If you’re thinking, “this is too much for us to handle, let’s outsource” — then you may consider an RPO solution to meet the needs of a new office, new product, or quick growth. While Recruitment Process Outsourcing can be quite effective, it’s not the best solution to jump into when you need quick results and expect it to take all your pain away immediately. Getting the internal support and dedication to fully engage with your RPO partner is important and takes time, and it also takes longer to implement this type of outsourced solution.

The good news is, if you are experiencing a spike (whether you expected it or not) you are not alone. There were five million hires in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding to more than 10 million in the previous two months. So, how are companies handling all that hiring? The contract recruiter model is well-designed for peak hiring. An on-demand recruiter with experience in your recruiting niche, is used to coming into an unknown environment and is able to get up to speed quickly. Additionally, at CBI Group, our contract recruiters have their own technology “tool-kit” to utilize and are backed by our Outside-In® team and therefore able to rely on our recruiting and research teams. As an alternative to a complete outsourcing model like RPO, on-demand recruiters can be project-based support that fully integrates into your team and culture.

The inevitable peaks and valleys of hiring can create an unbalanced workforce. A specialized recruiter can provide unmatched flexibility and expertise for just about any situation, including hiring spikes. With varying levels of experience, industry expertise and cost, strategic approaches to talent acquisition partnerships can help shape your business immediately and down the road.

Want to discuss your hiring strategy for peak hiring?
Request a meeting and we’ll schedule time for you to chat with one of our talent solutions experts. We guarantee a phone meeting within 3 days.

Job Market Trends: Plentiful vs Hard to Get

September 23rd, 2015

Something unique is happening in the job market and no one is paying a bit of attention. While most of us were squeezing in one more summer vacation or doing back to school shopping, employees left their jobs in what appears to be record numbers! Allow me to explain.

The US economy is into to its sixth year of job recovery. Relative to the labor market there has been a slow but steady environment of job creation with an average of 211,000 jobs created per month in 2015 while the unemployment rate has dropped .4 percentage points during that time. In August, while a little below average, 173,000 jobs were created, prompting unemployment to drop from 5.3% to 5.1%. All of this has happened right in front of us, with very little impact on the mindsets of employees and hiring managers.

A lack of awareness of the recent turnover makes sense on a base level. We have had very little, if any, wage pressures or inflation. There has been no real pain for employers. Sure, we hear the market talking about some skills sets that are in short supply. That STEM jobs never really felt the recession. But, job postings that used to produce a slate of candidates, well, no longer produce quality candidates. In fact, in July the US set an all time record going back to the year 2000 for the number of jobs posted. Yet hiring was about the same, yet consistent number? Why?

What is the shift? Voluntary Turnover. Every Monday morning we are getting calls and messages pointing out the obvious. Employees are leaving for greener pastures. And, more than likely, they were not even looking for work. They either got a call from a friend, someone sent them a job posting, or perhaps they got a call from a recruiter. At 5.1% there are fewer being laid off, fewer who are unemployed. There are simply less active job seekers available now than there have been since 2007 (pre-recession). And the pressures of this environment are now starting to show during planning sessions with talent acquisition professionals. For most, business is good, earnings are up. Revenues hanging in there. Now we have talent gaps, shortages and resignations? What next?

But Burkhard, where is your hard data? This is just conjecture and first-hand marketplace experience. Trust me, we are looking for others that are studying this. And we are working on plans to launch our own survey very soon. But here is my proof.

The Conference Board just updated Jobs Survey Results — a survey they have done for 20+ years. September is the first time since late 2007 that the proportion of respondents “who are finding jobs plentiful equals that for those who are finding jobs hard to get. The last two times the ‘plentifuls’ first exceeded the ‘hard-to-gets’ after an economic slowdown were 1996 and 2005.” In both of those period jobs, unemployment, and frankly a good economy followed. (Source: Bloomberg, Wells Fargo Investment Institute)

So mark my words: what we see is real. If the economy holds up we are entering a new era in employment. Get ready for turnover. Be prepared for job postings to produce less. Get conditioned to recruitment and talent being critical business issues that hold back your business. Employees have had choices. They and their employers simply did not know it. Demand is so strong that the jobs are coming to them!

I am not sure business is prepared for what’s to come. Expect Monday morning surprises “Hey boss, do you have a minute?” Your talent strategy will stop producing they way it did. Your turnover could and should spike, regardless of your focus on talent, culture and employee engagement. Whatever your talent weakness has been, it will be exploited!

Got data? Lets talk! We have many, many relationships that are seeing this ‘plentiful vs. hard to get’ trend.

Outside-In Team Featured in Delaware Business Times

September 2nd, 2015

On September 1st, members of the Outside-In® team were featured in the Delaware Business Times article, “Job Market: The need for employees with specialized skills spikes.

Our President, Chris Burkhard was quoted, discussing how “the growing employment market would finally give unemployed and underemployed workers the chance to follow their career plan.”

“We are starting to see more opportunities, not that the recession is behind us fully, but people are willing to step back away from a job and try again. I think people are starting to have enough confidence in the market to consider a move from their current jobs,” Burkhard said. “We had the awful 2008-2009 financial crisis. I think there are a lot of people who are unemployed or doing things they don’t really like. I think that’s always a mistake. We’re coming out of an era when people were just happy to have work. It seems the market is finally giving people a chance to pursue their career goals.”

Images and Infographic from Delaware Business Times [Images and Infographic from Delaware Business Times]

Along with Chris, team members Debbie Fincher, Karesa Blagrove, Heather Pelaez, Rich Kolodgie, Shante Hynson and Joshua Wiggins were photographed in our Newark, DE Office. To review the article and learn more about the top job postings in Delaware and current job market trends, click here.

CBI Way: Thorough Intake Leads to Successful Sourcing Strategy

August 26th, 2015

Guest blog spot by Outside-In® Team Member Alex Patton

In the last CBI Way blog, we discussed improving sourcing efficiency by cutting out defects and weaknesses throughout the sourcing process. So where can your sourcing strategy go wrong? When do you start wasting your time? Let’s start from the beginning of the process; the intake call with the hiring manager.
Businessman Working Calculator Balance Financial Planning Paperwork Concept

Your intake call should be used to gather as much information as possible about the responsibilities and qualifications required for the role. The more questions you can ask the better. Ask why the job is open, what the target fill date is, and everything in between.

An overview of the position can lead you to more probing and specific questions about the desired candidate profile. Use this time with the hiring manager to fully understand what he or she is really looking for in a great candidate, which can often differ from the formal job description and and listed requirements.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the profile of someone who has been hired previously. The closer you can pin down the ideal profile before you begin sourcing, the better. Not only should you think about sourcing the right candidate during the inquisition, but also find out the best selling points for the position itself. These selling points will be important if you’re targeting passive candidates who need to be engaged or motivated to make a move.

Creating an effective sourcing strategy directly depends on the quality of your intake call with the hiring manager. Don’t take it lightly or breeze through it. Think critically, plan your questions, and reach back out after the intake if you feel something may have been missed. A thorough intake conversation will prime your sourcing strategy for success, and create a strong rapport with your hiring partner.

Do your recruiters use the “Recruitment Bulldozer” method?

August 12th, 2015

Outside-In® Chronicles: Originally published with the title Look out for the Recruitment Bulldozer! four years ago this month. Are you a recruiter that bulldozes candidates? Is your company running over candidates to fill jobs? Here’s a suggestion for a more Outside-In® way to recruit. But first, let’s explain what we mean by bulldozing!

Over the years, I have coached many talent acquisition professionals. One of the soundbites that I’m typically heard saying is, “don’t bulldoze!” What do I mean? Recruiters are tasked with presenting our company, knowing what the hiring manager is looking for and understanding technical terms to have knowledgeable discussions with prospects. Once we are prepped for an interview, we get so excited to share what we know, that we tend to pitch the job. This usually sounds something like, “Hi John, I am Chris Burkhard from CBI Group and I am recruiting today for underwater basket weavers.”

The challenge with the job pitch approach is that it doesn’t leave a good next step. If the person is not interested or does not have the right skills, we need to quickly transition to asking for referrals or help with networking. The problem is that with this approach, the majority of recruiters never talk to that person again. We keep plowing ahead for the talent we need for the requisition in front of us. We just keep running callers over to find what we want.Bulldozer Front RetroAfter I say, “Don’t bulldoze” and I have the recruiter’s attention, I suggest a more Outside-In® way to recruit. I certainly did not invent this approach but I have refined it over the years to be more customer centered.

How? Flip the conversation around and focus your conversation on the caller. Find out what matters to the job seeker. What are they trying to accomplish in their career? Focusing on them typically sounds a little different. “John, I help talented underwater basket weavers achieve their next career objective. Could we spend a little time finding out about you and what you might be interested in?” This approach requires a lot of time, energy and curiosity. But isn’t finding out what the person wants helpful to determine if your current opening is a fit right? If not for this req, then perhaps you can be honest and talk in bigger terms — about where your company is going and how the future might involve them.

The focus shifts to building a relationship with the talent. To building potential pipeline. This makes tomorrows’ recruitment easier and this is where good recruiting takes shape. It means you truly know your talent in the marketplace and particular people come to mind when open requisitions fit their career goals and objectives.

It may seem so much easier to take the Bulldozer path. I hear it over and over again, “I do not have the time and I have jobs to fill.” But I think the typical recruiter has it all wrong. None of us should have the time to do it wrong the first time. Recruiting talent and getting to know prospective candidates is what recruiters should and must do to differentiate. No more bulldozing please!

What are the Hot Jobs of Summer 2015?

July 22nd, 2015

Last month we posted Hiring: All Signs Point to Growth, but are you wondering which industry groups top the employment growth charts? And which industries rank the lowest? Staffing Industry Analysts released the Hottest U.S. Job Markets: July 2015 Update earlier this month that answers these very questions.

Of 11 major industry groups, here’s how they ranked according to their composite growth score (CGS factors in the average monthly job growth over the prior 12, 6 and 3 months, as well as the level of acceleration or deceleration in growth observed over each of those periods).

  1. Professional and business services (74)
  2. Education and health services (72)
  3. Trade, transportation, and utilities (67)
  4. Leisure and Hospitality (64)
  5. Construction (62)
  6. Financial activities (47)
  7. Manufacturing (43)
  8. Information (43)
  9. Other Services (41)
  10. Government (37)
  11. Mining and Logging (15)

As you can see, of the 11 major industry groups, ‘professional and business services’ ranked highest in employment growth with a CGS of 74, and Mining and Logging ranked lowest with a CGS of 15. Within these major industry groups, 247 specific industries were ranked individually. Among all of the industries, here are the top 5 industries with the highest employment growth:

  1. Retail – Warehouse clubs and supercenters (78)
  2. Nonresidential electrical contractors (76)
  3. Computer systems design and related services (76)
  4. Management consulting services (76)
  5. Residential specialty trade contractors (74)

The 5 industries with the lowest employment growth were:

  1. Support activities for oil and gas operations (9)
  2. Agricultural, construction, and mining machinery (17)
  3. Oil and gas pipeline construction (19)
  4. Oil and gas extraction (21)
  5. Wholesale – Recyclable materials (21)

It’s also important to understand how many jobs there are in each of these industries. While some industries may have a high growth score, there may not be that many jobs overall in the industry. And then there may be some industries that do not have a very high CGS, but still employ a lot of people. So which industries boast a high CGS AND have a high overall employment number in summer 2015?

Industry  Composite Growth Score   Employment (in thousands) 
Retail – Warehouse Clubs & Supercenters 78 1,425
Hospitals 73 4,864
Computer Systems Design and Related Services 73 1,846
Offices of Physicians 71 2,538
Services for the Elderly and Disabled 70 1,526
Temporary Help Services 66 2,883
Restaurants and Other Eating Places 63 9,993

So what does this tell us? Any of the following would be a good place to look for jobs: healthcare jobs in hospitals, temp jobs at temporary employment agencies like Placers, jobs servicing the elderly and disabled, medical jobs at doctor’s offices, IT Jobs in all industries – and of course retail and restaurant jobs. Each are hot, hot, hot this summer 2015!

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