Category: Hiring and Recruiting


Why I Hate Headhunters

January 29th, 2016

Let me start with the ironic truth: I am a headhunter. My family has been in the recruitment business since 1971. We are a family of headhunters. And we have helped more than 50,000 people (our customers) with their career and search. Yes, we have helped them find their next role. So I think I have an earned perspective on what I hate about the very field I live and breathe in each day.

I Hate Head HuntersHeadhunters are selfish.
They tell you about how they make money. Or how much they make. Or worse yet, they perpetuate the notion that they are in the headhunting business just to make money. We all want to work with the pompous ass who brags about paying for his cigarette boat with his commision check, right? Headhunters see value in dollar signs, not human success stories – and that makes their actions and goals selfish.

Headhunters sling resumes.
We have all heard the demand from headhunters: Give me your job opening. Pretty please, hand over your hardest job to fill, the one that has been open forever and you have met with 50+ candidates that don’t fit the bill. Yes, that one. Once a headhunter takes the order, they will sling 10 resumes at you that aren’t even in the right job class. All they are doing is clogging up their “client’s” inbox.

Headhunters’ “clients” often don’t know they are clients.
Please just say yes – that you are open to seeing talent. Then, I will call you my client and push talent and resumes your way. There is no partnership here. And, you certainly don’t feel like a client.

Headhunters disappear when you need them most.
Wow, what’s really aggravating? When a hire blows up at the end of your headhunter’s guarantee period. It’s common for a headhunter to guarantee their placement for 60, 90 or some number of days. Headhunters call their customers all of the time. But then they disappear when there is a problem to avoid replacement hires or giving money back.

Headhunters make placements.
They don’t build recruitment solutions. Each placement is a transaction to a headhunter that means a payout. So headhunters build their goals around how much money they want to make, instead of solving their customers problems. Why do you need your next hire? What are your challenges in finding the right person? Headhunters don’t really care so long as they put a butt in a seat.

So yes, I hate headhunters.
The term headhunter is derogatory. But only because people live up to these stereotypes. And people that don’t live in the industry are left to believe that this is what all recruiters are like.

This is not how my company recruits. Quite frankly many good competitors do OK too. But many headhunters, well, they make it a little easier for the Outside-In Companies to make placements. Because we headhunt talent, but we don’t perpetuate the headhunter myth!

Consider scheduling an info session with our Senior Recruitment Consultant and see for yourself how we’re different.

How Hiring Has Changed From 20 Years Ago

December 29th, 2015

20 years ago…

A Personnel Manager advertised a job by:

  • Senior Java Developer Vacancy in Newspaper. Job Search Concept.Placing an ad in the paper, usually in Sunday’s job section!
  • Handing out applications to walk-in job seekers.
  • Talking to their network, friends & family.
  • Encouraging referrals through sign up sheets/cards that were on the shelf in the HR office with all of the other forms.
  • Calling a temporary agency for a temp.
  • Reaching out to their favorite search firm or headhunter for more difficult positions.

Job seekers applied by:

  • Walk-in resume submission in the office lobby.
  • Sending resumes by fax machine, postal mail, hand delivery or even a courier!
  • Signing up in person at the local temporary agency.
  • Talking to their network, friends & family.

Employers reviewed talent by:

  • Batching and reviewing resumes — Often times a task to do at night in front of the TV.
  • Searching  for talent on Resumix or other early Applicant tracking systems (as time allowed).
  • Calling applicants, returning calls and screening people over the phone (leaving a lot of messages on home voicemail machines)
  • Keeping track of activity with paper sheets or maybe excel.
  • Interviewing people in person.

In the last 20 years, technology and social media have made significant changes to the way we hire talent. What things do you miss about the old-fashioned way of hiring? What technology and social media are you forever grateful for? Are there any new things that you wish were never invented or introduced?

The 1 Thing You Should Be Doing About Talent

December 16th, 2015

People ask me all the time if there are any shortcuts in recruitment. Are there any quick fixes to deal with today’s changing talent landscape? Normally I would lecture you. I’d explain that your talent strategy is as fundamental as your business strategy or marketing plans. However, there is something you can do right now that will help you and your business immensely in the long run.

The one thing you should be doing about talent is keeping the sofa full. Leaders should practice “keeping the sofa full,” by interviewing talent all of the time. (Read my blog on Keeping the Sofa Full here)

Everyday leaders struggle with proactivity and routines. A business needs a rhythm or way of pulsing and discussing what is most important. Where should we put our focus? Where should we put our time and attention? What matters most? Deciding what is most important is the hardest part.

I’ll say it again, your business should be interviewing talent all of the time. It is really that simple. We don’t sell only when we need a new customer. Proactivity is everything. Keeping the sofa full is about always knowing who your next hire is. But I don’t have any openings right now you may be thinking. You may not now, but you will. We all will. That is the one fact in today’s talent-driven economy. Your business and every business will lose some talent for good and not so good reasons. What you do about it is a choice.

When you keep the sofa full, it will take less time to fill your open positions. If you always keep an eye on talent and meet people, it can shorten the days it takes to fill a recently vacated position. Keeping the sofa full also improves your brand and your productivity. Can you find better talent than you have? Can you top grade or upgrade someone who is failing or has average performance? Keeping the sofa full is a direct way to improve your engagement scores and culture at the same time because it requires you to be giving feedback to staff and to know if they are productive and a culture fit.

I know this seems impossible for your company. You’re fighting today’s fire. Dealing with this week’s crisis or business opportunity. The business has a different plan du jour right now. Time is always the enemy for good ideas like this. Recruiting proactively takes planning, discipline and prioritization to interview all of the time. As a leader it takes time, money and most importantly resources to commit to this. It seems like a soft dollar cost savings to turn hiring all of the way off. But have you ever tried to get any program going again when it was turned off completely? It takes retraining, planning, kick off meetings, etc. to breathe life into something that has not been used in a while.

So take action. What are your three most abundant skill sets? What is the hardest role to fill in your business? Build recruiting for these roles into your daily operations. Take all networking calls. Meet any referrals quickly. In short, interview talent all of the time.

2016 Workforce Trend Predictions to Impress at the Water Cooler

December 2nd, 2015

2016-workforce-trend-predictions-012016 is an election year. One thing is for certain either party’s candidate is going to be inheriting an economic environment that continues that slow but steady identity that has permeated the last few years.  If you need a new job, you’re in luck! The pendulum has shifted and this is now an employee market. Are you ready to acquire more talent for the business? Expect to invest more resources and to find “sourcing” talent as one your biggest challenges. Job board postings are way up. But their effectiveness continues to shift.

  1. GDP will not boom, expect 2.5-2.8%. Why? Demographics do not support the increase in productivity needed to get there even if the economic environment presents itself!
  2. Unemployment will continue to fall, as low as 4.8% but far from 3.9%.
  3. The year of the millennial in the workforce. They will hold 1 in 4 managerial roles and officially become the largest segment of the U.S. workforce.
  4. 2015 set several records in July and October of this year for the “number of jobs posted online”. Expect 2016 to surpass this consistently due to labor shortages.
  5. Did I mention labor shortages? Expect the average days to fill for skilled or technical positions to continue to go up, is some cases well over 90+ days on average!
  6. Baby Boomers are pulling the great disappearing act, retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day right now. They are retiring earlier than any previous generation due to the wealth creation effect of many two household incomes.
  7. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Compliance and reporting are no longer future events but business items that require all businesses to comply!
  8. Interest rates are going up. Because they have too. There are many pundits that some adjustment will be good for business too. Households have lowered their debts since the recession and businesses have taken advantage of cheap borrowing costs.
  9. The War for Talent will reach the 6 o’clock news. Yes, it will not be long until you see reporters at job fairs and news anchors lamenting the challenges that companies are having finding the talent they need to run and grow their business.  Yes, the Talent Challenge is happening right now. BUT, no one is really talking about it unless you’re in the talent field.
  10. 2016 is the year that the number of temporary workers in the U.S. stays over 3 MM throughout the year. It could get as high as 3.5 MM (but I doubt it). Current high water marks each month suggest that more than 25,000 temporary jobs are created some months.

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.

2015-TSWP-SIG-PassiveTalent

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.

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.

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