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.

Quit this One Habit to Improve your Customer’s Experience

August 19th, 2015

There is the idea of “moments of truth” in service. This concept basically represents every time we interact with a customer that we have a moment to impress, do our best, or make the interaction either positive or negative.

In a restaurant, when your hostess or waiter doesn’t bring you your menu for 10 minutes, it is a negative thing – not a good moment of truth. When the waitress finally arrives at your table, s/he explains that s/he had just arrived and all the servers are transitioning shifts and juggling tables. Thanks, I think. This is an excuse. The words offer me no value, and it actually makes me feel even more frustrated. All I wanted was an apology and a chance to order. The comments made nothing better. I really don’t care about why.

Over years of study and real world application, “Burkhard leaders” have learned that making an excuse at any time in service with a customer, peer, boss, vendor or friend never adds value or improves the mistake. An excuse always makes things worse. No one wants to hear you give an excuse. We just want it fixed and done right. The excuse drags out the negative moment and in fact, adds another negative moment of truth. Instead, when you offer me a solution to fix whatever broke, you could win me over forever!

No excuses

Apply this thinking to your own world at work or in your home life. All day long someone makes an excuse on why you did not get a response to the email, why they did not attend your important meeting, or finish the project. Giving any excuse simply makes it worse, right? When your son does not clean up his room or do his assigned chore. Which is worse: the missed work or what he has to say about why it’s not done? Johnny came over and we got distracted. Or, I got my homework done instead. We don’t need all that from a teenager! If he understood “No Excuses”, he would simply go up stairs and clean his room and tell you when it was done. Nothing extra, nothing more. No excuses.

No Excuses is a core value of our companies. No Excuses is about how we act and react in moments of providing service. At the Outside-In® Companies, we try very hard when we make a mistake. Yes, we make them too! Our playbook is to fix what broke. Apologize. But never, ever make an excuse. When we do it well (offering a fix instead of an excuse), there is no drama to discuss, no flames to fan. It is simply matter of fact. Fixed. Done. Over. I like to think this is about running head first into the problem. Get it over with. But for goodness sakes, don’t try and over-explain the why.

Win over your customer by quitting the habit of making excuses. No Excuses means no drama. No Excuses means action. No Excuses means taking one on the chin and not feeling like you have to explain yourself away. All we want as customers is what we asked for. Nothing more.

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!
 

The 2015 Outside-In Summer Reading List

August 5th, 2015

Sometimes I can’t find enough time to read the pile of “must reads” on my night stand. So I am careful to suggest that others add to their guilt (I might be projecting my own guilt!) by having even more book and article suggestions to tack on to their lists.

Books.Pile of book on desk.When I make time to read, however, I am able to set aside the events of the day and the many distractions from people and electronics and something amazing starts to happen. Ideas and thoughts seem to flow in a torrent! I hope you’re able to spark your learning in a similar fashion. Find the time. It reduces stress and allows you to chew on the problems of the day in a new and productive way. And as a CEO or business leader, you don’t have to read all business books to find inspiration. This year, the trend (Fortune & LA Times for example) is for CEOs to read non business books to inspire new ideas.

So whether you’re committing to regular reading or simply looking for something to do on that family camping trip or week at the beach, this August I have a few page turners to consider.

  1. Choose Yourself by James Altucher: James is an avid writer, blogger and many time entrepreneur. Choose Yourself defines today’s workplace realities and offers real world ideas on how to take control of your work and how you will forever define how you earn an income. Thought provoking!
  2. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides: This one grips you! A few weeks ago, I spent a week ignoring friends and family on the beach in Block Island and read this one. It’s a true story researched for years by Hampton, Outside Magazine and others. This is the greatest historical story you don’t know! Great lessons in leadership, sacrifice, and survival. Imagine trying to get to the North Pole in a wooden ship with no means of communication with the outside world!
  3. Delivering Happiness A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos.com. In a business world where few have any real meaningful, sustainable business advantage, Delivering Happiness chronicles the dramatic rise of Zappos and how their culture drives everything and defines their success. And it is an entertaining read to boot! Not every success is immediate and over night. Success takes time, risk and perseverance.

I am always scanning for the next must read, I hear the Uncontainable, The Story of the Container Store by Kip Tindell is a must read… Next on the list? What books are on your list? Share away!

How to Retain Millennials

July 30th, 2015

Everyone seems to be curious about Millennials.Millennial-Workforce They are, after all taking over the workforce – in the next ten years they will comprise 75% of the global workforce (The Deloitte Millennial Survey). So, employers should take time to get to know millennials and what makes them tick.

One thing we know is that millennials are job hoppers. According to a survey by Pinpoint Market Research, 39% of participants aged 20-29, have already held 4-7 full-time jobs and 83% plan to stay at a single job for just two years, unless promoted. What is it that makes millennials move around so much? What do millennials value? Let’s look a little further into what Pinpoint found in their millennial survey to figure out how to retain millennials.

  1. Offer work/life balance: this seems to be one of the most important things that millennials seek from an employer. 88%, aged 20-29, said they seek a consistent work/life balance and 57% said they will leave a job if they aren’t getting it.
  2. Create opportunities to work from home: part of a work/life balance is the flexibility to work at home. 72% choose companies with work-from-home options.
  3. Don’t assume money is everything: if your retention plan is to throw money on the table when an employee seems unhappy, think again. 47% choose fewer hours over more pay and 60% choose “love of job” over money earned. Perhaps you should look at your workload expectations instead.
  4. Ensure your company is stable: millennials seek employment at stable companies – 88% say company stability is a top priority when considering employers.
  5. Focus on learning opportunities and career development: millennials want to work for an employer that fosters learning and development AND pays for it. 81% want companies to invest in their professional development and 83% want a clear path to promotion and will leave if they don’t get it. Here’s a few more statistics that really emphasize this one:
    • 83% want tuition reimbursement for education sought while employed
    • 78% want learning opportunities in leadership
    • 73% want to attend conferences, networking events and seminars

Based on the findings in this survey, millennials care about work/life balance, flexibility and career development. What will you do to retain millennial workers?

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!

CBI Way: Improve Your Sourcing Efficiency

July 15th, 2015

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

Sourcing and identifying qualified candidates can sometimes be tedious, frustrating work. While this isn’t groundbreaking news to many in the talent acquisition world, it is also a pain point that can be resolved by taking a step back, and examining your sourcing process. By identifying the defects or weaknesses in your sourcing process or strategy, you can create a more polished, more efficient method to your sourcing madness.

Creating a sourcing strategy can contribute to smooth, effective, and efficient sourcing. However, if there is a defect in your process prior to executing the strategy, a well thought out plan can only do so much. For example, it’s important to completely understand the job requirements, specifications and responsibilities before moving forward. When you jump into sourcing without a total comprehension of the job, your time invested can easily become a wasted effort. And that wasted effort will likely negatively impact your overall success. sourcing-efficiencyBeyond the initial strategy, you may also want to look at your sourcing metrics to measure how different sources are performing.

Posting job opportunities can be a great way to have candidates quickly pipelined. And job boards can still be effective, with 25% of job seekers saying that found their job by responding to a job board posting (International Association of Employment Web Sites). However, in 2006, that same survey said more than 31% of job seekers had the same response. So, how can you improve your efficiency with posting jobs? Think about your sources for posting. Not all resumes or applications are a fit for you position, and when you have a lot of “rejects” it will negatively impact your efficiency. While it doesn’t seem like a huge problem, every resume you must review as a sourcer, takes away from time you can be digging for candidates you know are an ideal fit. Can you eliminate a source that doesn’t produce quality candidates?

Sourcing is critical to the recruiting process and strong sourcing practices help ensure you meet critical metrics with regularity. Ultimately, weaknesses in your sourcing process can hurt your efficiency as you continue to execute your strategy. Don’t be afraid to take a breath, step back, and identify any defects that you may be overlooking while digging deep in the depths of the world wide web. Afterall, information is the critical ingredient to improve efficiency.

Have you heard about our talent pipelining service, talentSOURCE? Learn about the sourcing service and benefits by downloading the talentSOURCE PDF.

The Advantages & Disadvantages of a Flat Organization

July 8th, 2015

Today’s organizations have no choice. Speed, the flow of information, and a 24/7 global world make it difficult for any team or organization to survive in a traditional, hierarchical, command & control structure. But maybe this is not about survival at all; but instead about organizational advantage!

Look to today’s brands and business success stories like Google or Zappos — what are people talking about? Culture. These firms are successful for many solid business reasons, and especially about the way they design their organizations. Things like org charts, roles, compensation and even leadership philosophies have become more than an afterthought — they can be a company’s true advantage! Each of these structural decisions can make a difference and create better outcomes for the business. Which got me thinking…

Pro Cons word on notebook page What are the advantages to flattening out your company?  And will the results be worth it the trouble? Here goes:

Advantages of Flat Organizations:

  • Lower Cost: Sometime around the mid-90s, businesses took out middle managers that were simply extra layers that helped organize the business but did not add value. Good luck finding a business that has a lot of middle management bloat today. This cut is basically permanent.
  • It’s easier to manage teams: In flat companies, business teams are organized in smaller units that are closer to the customer and where the team community is easier to manage. Strong teams often follow the “two pizza rule.” If it takes more than two pizzas to feed the team, then it might be best to break the group down into smaller units.
  • Decision-making is closer to the customer: Military organizations put the decision-making too far away from the customer. A flat company does the opposite, allowing employees who talk to customers every day to make decisions.
  • Empowerment of the “front line”: In a flat company, the power shifts in the organizational chart to the front lines, which creates empowerment amongst the ranks. This is a shift in cultural thinking. Give the front lines folks the go ahead to ask and solve customer problems!
  • Team-based problem solving: Instead of dumping problems & challenges in the leader’s lap, employees in flat organizations work as a team and garner input and feedback from many perspectives. This power of the team enables buy-in and change to often happen a little bit easier as folks are a part of the change!

So that is the good stuff. What are the downsides?

Disadvantages to Operating a Flat Organization:

  • Inability to shift in leadership style: Many leaders are not capable of changing up the way they lead. Even those leaders that want to change may not be able to adjust when the going gets tough. Power, control, titles and access to information are all either tools for all or weapons for a few!
  • Change management is difficult: Conversely, even if the leader can shift their leadership style, sometimes folks simply can’t handle the the change.
  • Time investment: In a world where we are judged by weekly status reports and quarterly earnings will anyone take the time to make the investment in a new way of operating before someone screams “results now!”
  • 9-5 workers aren’t interested in empowerment: Not all employees long to make decisions nor have the skills to be on active work teams. The organization must be prepared to provide the knowledge, training and ongoing framework for this to work.

For leaders every aspect of the business and its design is a decision. Where can you get more productivity; flat or with hierarchy? All that matters in the decision is what works for you and your shareholders. Even if that shareholder is you.

Magic or Science? How Talent Acquisition is Misunderstood

July 1st, 2015

Outside-In® Chronicles: Originally published with the title Talent Acquisition is a Science in July, 2011, this article still rings true today. Today the market may be different and there are new recruiting methodologies, but there is still a science behind recruiting that is misunderstood.

Talent Acquisition professionals are misunderstood. Generally, recruiters are rebellious. We color outside the lines and come and go when we please. Often times, this freedom is misinterpreted. Our work can be considered soft, simple, easy. But frankly, we never stop recruiting. We work at night and on weekends and there is science behind the mysterious, magical quality of our work.

Crazy scientist in glasses with a bulb or test-tube We often hear things like, “I don’t know how you do it, but can you get me another one just like Mary (or John or whomever).” It is this mystery and ambiguity that makes our work seem more like art than true science.

I have managed more than 1,000 recruiters in my career and I can share from experience that only a few are born to recruit. Those that are born with it have some common traits. They are naturally curious, they care about people and they have the energy of the “Energizer Bunny”. They go, go, go 24/7 and they move mountains for their customers. They make it look easy, when it is not. This work ethic, curiosity and personality can get you started but it takes great science to be a good recruiter.

The trouble with the science of recruiting is that there is not one standard formula. When it comes to hiring, our clients respect education and certifications. There are CPA’s, MBA’s, RN’s, EE’s… you name it, these certifications and degrees are a symbol of excellence in a particular field. But how do you know when a recruiter has reached a certain level? That they know, understand and excel in their field? For recruiters, it is not as cut and dry. We learn by doing and sometimes we are lucky to have a good mentor show us the way. We can take some course work or get an Internet certification, but we do not have certifications that translate. Have you heard of CPC or CTS? Probably not. I have had both, but now they mean nothing.

All we do is run Internet searches or review our databases. Right? This misunderstanding of our profession means we aren’t typically viewed with strategic importance. We are rock stars for a year. We are homeless the next. Our expertise is necessary during certain times of a business cycle like growth, acquisition, new product or business unit launches. But we have to be creative with our skills to show our value in down times of the business cycle.

Our customers see outcomes (the people we hire, the requisitions that aren’t filled) not process. They don’t care about things like sourcing or behavioral based interviews because they need what they need when they need it. But take a minute to think about the people on your team. Would you hire them if it were up to you? How would you find the right people to build the best team? With enough thought I think you’d agree that people are really the science behind the strategy — and good recruiters are the science behind it all.

Download our recent white paper to learn some of the science behind creating a sourcing strategy, and why you shouldn’t start recruiting without one.

2015-TSWP-SIG-PassiveTalent

Hiring: All Signs Point to Growth

June 24th, 2015

After reviewing recent news about recruiting and staffing trends in 2015, all signs point to growth. Below are excerpts from industry surveys and forecasts published this month (June 2015), and CBI Group President, Chris Burkhard’s response to the hiring optimism.

2015 recruiting trends

CFOs in the US are more confident now than they have been in years. – American Staffing Association
The 2015 CFO Outlook Survey conducted by Financial Executives International and Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business found “67% of respondents indicated they have plans to hire at their company in the next six months, representing the highest percentage of CFOs to respond positively to this question in three years. The survey also found 77% of CFOs were not forced to reduce headcount over the past 12 months. Furthermore, 74% of respondents said wage levels they are paying are on the rise. The optimism index for US CFOs’ own businesses increased to 74.01 in this quarter’s survey, the highest reported since 2006.”

May Jobs numbers FAR exceeded expectations. – CareerBuilder
“U.S. employers added 280,000 jobs in May, which is the biggest job gain since the end of 2014 and much higher than the 225,000 jobs economists were expecting. That’s especially good news if you look back at some of the numbers from earlier this year.”

All metro areas set for job growth this year. – US Conference of Mayors
“2015 will mark the first year all 363 metro areas will see job growth since the economic recovery began, according to a new economic forecast released by the US Conference of Mayors and prepared by ISH Global Insight. The forecast also projects 316 metros, 87%, will see job growth greater than 1.0%, with only 47 areas, 13%, experiencing job growth of 1.0% or less.”

US staffing employment up more than 5% over year. – American Staffing Association
US staffing companies employed an average of 3.13 million temporary and contract workers per week in the first quarter of 2015, up 5.5% from the same period in 2014, according to data released today by the American Staffing Association. “Even with weak economic growth in the first quarter, demand for temporary and contract talent increased as businesses increased the size of their flexible and permanent workforces,” said ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist. “The continued growth in staffing employment means more long-term opportunities for job seekers.”

The US is projected to create 8 million jobs from 2014-2019 — a 5% increase. – CareerBuilder

“CareerBuilder has released a list of the industries expected to add jobs at an accelerated pace from 2014 to 2019… and it’s not just STEM jobs that look to have especially promising growth in the next several years. Technology and globalization continue to change the composition of the US workforce and push our economy in new directions. Based on EMSI’s data from more than 90 national and state employment resources, it appears the US is projected to create roughly 8 million jobs from 2014 to 2019 – a 5 percent increase. A significant number of industries will likely experience an even greater percentage gain during this period.

Around one-third of all U.S. industries are expected to outperform the national average for employment growth over the next five years. While it’s not surprising that technology and health care made the list, the accumulation of new jobs will take place within a diverse mix of industries requiring a broad range of skills and experience.”

The list represents 20 industries that are projected to add at least 10,000 jobs and experience 15% growth in employment over the next five years.

CBI Group President, Chris Burkhard’s response to signs of growth:

I am never more concerned than when all signs point to good times. Not to be contrarian in nature just for the sake of it. However, all of this demand, hiring and need for a contingent workforce solution will require a dramatic shift in how employers approach this “problem.” No longer can you post and pray with job boards or simply spend money to solve it. Organizations are going to need to make Talent Acquisition a strategy just like Finance, Operations, Sales and Marketing. And this time it is going to need to be foundational — pretty marketing around your employer brand or adding a few more recruiters on contract will not provide a sustainable fix. Talent strategy will need to be forever! Or until the next downturn or recession. And even then, great firms will be in a spot to take advantage of their strong position by scooping up the best talent!

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