How to Make Your Business a Talent Magnet

September 21st, 2016

Every company, large and small is challenged when it comeVector business conceptual background in flat style. The hand of businessman holding magnet and attracts happy customers or clients of different age and race to the business.s to attracting, developing, and retaining the best talent. For decades now, “lean” has been the buzz word in manufacturing. The lean business model has spread across industries, including the recruitment of quality talent. Here are a few tips to help you attract and keep the best and brightest, while remaining efficient:

Attract

What if, instead of bearing the cost of recruitment, (fees, travel expenses, etc.) you could have all the top candidates be drawn to you like a magnet? Corporations such as Apple and Google have perfected the art of employer magnetism. But you don’t have to be a tech giant to create a similar attraction.

Businesses need to focus on creating a workplace environment in which people enjoy working, according to Roberta Matusun, author of Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace That Attracts and Keeps the Best. She also points out that, apart from the product or service they offer to consumers, businesses should also brand themselves as an employer.

Create Purpose

A mid-sized California BioPharm company has been able to capture the element of purpose. They boast a job satisfaction rate of 77% of their 18,000 employees. Almost all of them (90%) stated that they feel as though they have a “high job meaning.” Purpose is especially important when you are targeting a younger workforce as Millennial generation; it is said, work for the purpose, not the pay.

How to Create Purpose

Graham Kenny, writing for the Harvard Business Review says purpose, is not a company’s values, mission or vision. Your purpose statement needs to say; “this is what we are doing for our customers.”  To craft an effective purpose statement, it is important to convey the impact your organization has on the lives of the people it serves. Success in this area will inspire your employees to become invested.

Engage, Motivate, Retain

Face it, at times it is simply hard to get out of bed in the morning. Imagine working in an environment where you wouldn’t be missed if you didn’t show up at all. It is imperative that the modern workplace is structured to make employees feel integral to the day-to-day operations. Doing so creates a culture of engagement and a feeling that the success of their organization is dependent on the full participation of each individual, no matter their position. When employees feel motivated, they become more engaged, and that translates directly into improved retention.

By creating a corporate culture in which employees enjoy working, feel they have a purpose, and understand how they connect to the overall “big picture,” you will not only attract the most desirable talent but most importantly, inspire them to stay.

8 Candidate Traits to Thoroughly Vet

September 14th, 2016

As a recruiter, it is your responsibility to recruit quality employees, whether for your client, or internally. Depending on the size of your company or client, you likely get plenty of resumes each day, or identify plenty of potential talent. So how can you tell early on in the process if a candidate is possibly no the best fit?

Close up of business person investigating infographs with magnifier

#1 Long Gaps Between Jobs

With the unemployment rate what it has been these days, it is very uncommon to find long gaps between jobs on a candidate’s resume. While it is common to have a gap or two at one point in their career, if you have an applicant with long gaps between jobs, there should be a good reason. Childbirth, education, and being self-employed are valid reasons, however; if there is no explanation for the gap, it is a red flag.

#2 The Applicant is Unemployed

The first thing you would need to do is find out why the person is no longer employed. If the applicant was fired or they quit, they may not be the best person to recruit., but its worth vetting. Dive into their thinking and reasoning to make your decision. If they have been unemployed for a long period of time and out of the workforce, their jobs skills may not be as fresh as other applicants.

#3 Job Hopping

Going from job to job could mean that the candidate cannot commit to a job. When things get tough, the applicant doesn’t stay. Hiring this type of employee can waste the company’s time and money to hire and train someone to replace the individual.

#4 Poor Attention to Detail

One of the biggest red flags when going through resumes is spelling errors. If the candidate couldn’t take the time to proofread their resume, chances are, they won’t be dedicated to their role after hiring. Someone who took the time to thoughtfully and accurately put together their experience indicates more of a quality candidate.

#5 Lack of Professionalism

Professionalism is a must when it comes to recruiting employees. You should look for professionalism in their resume, the first phone call, and the interview. If an applicant shows a lack of professionalism, its crucial to dissect their true personality during interviews.

#6 Social Profile

A potential employee’s social profile can say a lot about them. You can learn a lot about a person by looking at their social profile. If the employee had posted any derogatory or disparaging comments about a job, employer, or former employer, it is a huge red flag. You don’t want to recruit a person who has no problem posting this type of negativity for the world to see.

#7 Discrepancies

If you are reviewing a potential candidate’s resume and LinkedIn profile and find discrepancies, it could be cause for concern. Either they are lying on their resume, they are forgetful when it comes to dates, or they are just plain sloppy. No matter the reason, not the best sign for quality talent.

#8 The Applicant is Overqualified

Some recruiters might find that an overqualified applicant to be a dream come true, however, it really isn’t. If the applicant is overqualified, it could be he or she is looking for a job to hold them over until they can find a better job. Also, they could get bored, and want to move on quickly. Take time to thoroughly vet the reasons for their interest.

Need help identifying quality talent? We can help! Give us a call at (302) 266-0860 

How to Attract and Retain STEM Professionals

September 7th, 2016

Illustration of STEM education in apply science concept

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals are in incredibly high demand. Government agencies and research organizations have a variety of definitions for what constitutes a STEM professional, but it generally includes the following career paths for employers in the United States:

  • Science: life sciences such as biology and geoscience, hard sciences like chemistry and physics, and social sciences such as psychology, sociology, and economics
  • Technology: computer and information technology, cyberinfrastructure, nanotechnology, robotics, geographic information systems, software engineering and development
  • Engineering: civil, electrical, aerospace, industrial, and mechanical engineering
  • Mathematics: applied mathematics, statistics, actuarial science

There are several other subfields within STEM that intersect with similar career paths as well, such as biomechanical engineering. When most private sector employers think of STEM they tend to think of high-tech professionals like software developers, engineers, and data scientists since the needs (and average compensation) for the applied sciences and mathematics fields are not homogenous with that of high-tech and engineering.

Each field and subfield has various roles and expectations in the workplace. According to surveys of STEM graduates, higher starting salaries are extremely important to computer science and engineering technology professionals but mathematicians and life scientists value diverse workplaces with strong camaraderie, rather than going for the organization offering the highest paycheck.

Other integral findings for what STEM professionals are looking for in the workplace include the following:

  • Benefits that are meaningful. Benefit packages actually outrank starting salary in terms of what STEM professionals look at when they compare potential employers. Are you offering a competitive amount of flex time, sick days, maternity and paternity leave, transit benefits, medical benefits, and other perks that are important for attracting and retaining high-value employees?
  • Opportunities for personal growth and advancement. Regardless of where the professional falls on the STEM spectrum, all are seeking opportunities for personal growth like working on projects that are important to them, being challenged, and having a supportive work environment conducive to this kind of growth. If your projects can give also give him or her a chance to improve their communities, they highly value that opportunity more than enviable starting salaries.
  • Job security. Job hopping is the new normal in many fields today and most people want job security. However, STEM professionals highly covet job security over other factors in their work environment when selecting an employer. If you recruit primarily on a project basis or have high turnover rates, your organization will have a hard time attracting quality STEM candidates.
  • Inclusive and supportive company culture. STEM professionals greatly desire diversity and recognition for doing a great job over a casual atmosphere that offers craft beer on tap and ping pong tables. Make sure that your website and promotional materials demonstrate great company culture.
  • Assignments are clearly-defined. STEM professionals want to work in organizations where they don’t have to sift through middle management and oblique mission statements to figure out what they’re working on. If your company is known for getting down to brass to business, be sure to market your business in that way.

 

Why the World Loves and Hates Executive Search Solutions

August 24th, 2016

The world loves Executive Search because it is easy, with either no or low commitment. In the world of contingency, you may not know my name or company logo but if I have the rare talent you need — you don’t seem to really care who I am all of that much.

Hiring managers (aka an expert in something other than hiring),  are happy to offload and delegate what they don’t like or know enough about — and that includes finding talent. This is strategic right? Outsource non-core tasks. Or is it lazy?

Executive Search Solutions

When people and culture are important to a company, leaders better be up to snuff in best in class hiring techniques. This is the quandary. Leaders and hiring managers know what’s expected of them, but can’t be good at everything. They understand that they are supposed to make talent important, but often don’t have the hiring infrastructure and support in place to be good at it. So, what do they do?

They excitedly or begrudgingly work with Search Firms.

We are your worst nightmare. The world hates Search Firms like mine because the service offers an expensive cost per hire. We are your last resort. Everyone in the business wants to avoid working with the dreaded executive search industry. You brag when you cut our costs. Sometimes it is the goal, lower hiring costs. But at what true expense and impact if you can’t find the talent you need to execute your business?

Nonetheless, you choose this, because you frankly have no other choice. Build expensive, scaled hiring infrastructure or pay someone for one hire who has that hiring process down pat and in place.

Don’t hate me for the honesty. Search firms exist on the fringes of your strategy at best. And I  know some great search firms, including my own. But we know our place. When we win, Human Resources sometimes feels like they lose, that we did their job or something. That should not be the case — the Search process works best when the firm partners with Human Resources and the Hiring Managers. When we are a part of the overall solution-building process. When we are a part of the organizational chart and strategy.

Why Having a Booth at a Job Fair is a Great Way to Recruit New Talent

August 17th, 2016

When it comes to recruiting new talent for your businessTalent Strategy Job Fair, you have multiple options to choose from. You have agencies with a database of talent that they can introduce to you and you even have job boards where prospective employees search and apply for jobs. However, another excellent method of recruiting new talent that you can use as a supplement to your recruiting strategy is through a booth at a job fair. Hosting a booth at a job fair can be an invaluable part of an overall recruitment strategy for your company.

Having a booth or desk at a job fair can have multiple benefits that can serve as a big boost to your overall recruiting endeavors. You will get to meet and interview each and every candidate that approaches your booth out of their curiosity about your company. You will have a chance to determine whether this job seeker is a presentable, well-spoken person who will get along well with your other employees.

Using a job fair as a recruitment strategy can especially be beneficial to companies that are looking for employees who have “soft skills” such as sales, communication, and management. Within a few minutes, you’ll be able to determine if a job seeker appears to be confident, determined, and well-spoken enough to survive in the competitive and volatile world of outside or inside sales. You’ll be able to determine if a job seeker appears to be commanding enough and has enough control over his/her emotions to be able to manage a team of employees every day.

You can save a lot of time and money by only calling back employees who made a good first impression and who meet the criteria you’re looking for on the resume they handed to you at the job fair.

Some employers believe they can do some sort of video conferencing interview to quickly screen candidates instead of participating in a job fair, but you may not have a chance to see as much as you could when you meet a candidate face-to-face. Through video, you may not be able to determine how a person carries himself, what his/her body language is really like, and whether he has a strong presence. All of these factors are definitely important particularly when candidates are seeking jobs where they have to deal with clients on a regular basis.

We highly recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity to host a booth or desk at a job fair. As we mentioned, this gives you the chance to really see job candidates as a whole. How can you find them? Let’s list some ways:

  • Online directories
  • Contact colleges campus officials
  • Find big outdoor events

We have one final tip: pay close attention to what a candidate asks you when one approaches your booth. This will shed light on his/her level of interest as well as his/her intentions.

Is Passive Talent Better Than Active Job Seekers?

August 10th, 2016

Balance weighing two spheres blue and red. Scales measuring abstract objects. Comparison choice confusion exchange and decision concept. EPS 8 vector illustration no transparency

One of the more difficult aspects of sourcing and recruiting is engaging with passive talent. It takes a thoughtful and strategic plan, and even a detailed plan isn’t guaranteed to work. So it’s leaves you to wonder — is passive talent better than active candidates, anyway?

The answer isn’t clear. There are benefits to both hiring active and passive talent. Passive talent is often that very niche pool of candidates that has a specialized skill set, and therefore highly sought and generally very valuable to any company. Therefore, recruiting passive talent can be expensive and time consuming, especially without an efficient talent acquisition process.

Active candidates are at least keeping their ears open for a new opportunity and often pursuing those roles proactively. Sometimes, this can mean the candidate is more willing to make a move, will make that move more quickly, and for less of a salary increase. At the same time, why are they actively looking for a new role, good or bad?

Again, it’s hard to determine if one type of candidate is better than the other. Both have their traditional qualities, and both could be the absolute right fit for your company. Generally, having a preference before going into the recruiting process could create undesirable gaps in your talent acquisition process.

15 things I learned over 15 years! Advice I might give my 32 year old self.

July 27th, 2016

Who ever thinks about where they will be 15 years from now? Who really thinks about tomorrow? At 32, I put it all on the line and became the fourth generation in my family to take the entrepreneurial plunge – starting my first company, CBI Group.

I was asked to share a little bit about what I have learned over the last 15 years of running my own business, CBI Group and the Outside-In® Companies. Perhaps I can pass on some wisdom you might find useful, or a musing that you find entertaining? For me this is pretty darn cathartic! Write it down. Get it out. And keep pressing play and come back at it again tomorrow, right? That is what most entrepreneurs do best. As Churchill said, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.” These are my words to live by through thick and thin.

As I think back I get emotional. I have had servers stolen, office roofs collapse, 9/11 on my first day. I have had floods and fires on Super Bowl Sunday! Through all the good, bad and disaster, here goes 15 thoughts from reflecting on 15 years in business.

  1. Most business are not pink unicorn businesses. Few entrepreneurs have million dollar business ideas, let alone billion dollar ones. So think about it as you sip your Starbucks, while shopping using your Amazon Prime account to compare rates with Walmart. To be the next Facebook, you have to have a scalable idea, a really great brand promise that is very defendable, and be a very skilled leader/founder that knows how to scale. Most of us mere business mortals build our businesses and keep them for a long time. Progress, profit, growth, real break through impact and change come slowly! And not all businesses will sell, merge or be acquired. Day after day we run our companies.
  2. What is success, anyway? The funny thing about success is that it looks easy. And is often viewed that way with envy and jealousy. However, show me an overnight success and I guarantee you it is the exception to the rule. Success is a judgement, anyway. Success comes with hard work, luck, perseverance, and fortitude that few can stomach. I am at year 15. Success is all relative.
  3. The stages of growth are challenging. If you’re lucky to navigate the growth stages, to learn from them, and frankly survive your inevitable inability to adapt and change fast enough, you have learned this too. As leaders we must change our approach/style/focus and even our goals for each phase of growth. And no one tells you this when you start! I started this business with a flip cell phone, an 89 page business plan, and a card table desk in a friend’s office break room. (Thank you, Jim!) We grew, added staff and then one day nothing worked. We adjusted and changed and then we hit another growth wall. Years later, I am now better informed on what goes into next growth stage and the challenges that we will face as a company, and that I will face as a leader. The lucky ones get a chance to learn from their mistakes and live to fight another day. Some great insight on each phase of growth can be found at here.
  4. Just how often can I change my style and role, anyway? Day 1 I did everything… Sales, marketing, customer service, hiring, billing, taking out the trash, you name it. Where did all of these employees come from anyway? 15 years, three brands, thousands of employees and customers later… think of all those budgets, strategic plans, and years of promise and change? Today, I spend my days teaching and coaching leaders and employees in through making tough decisions for their business. Our values guide me in my work and help others to forge their own path and make their own decisions. Some days, I still sell, market, answer the phone, and take out the trash. BUT, I come back resolutely to our strategy. Where we are going? And why? And then I align everyone to the plan and to the current operational plans for the business this quarter. And my role will continue to involve — what will year 20 look like?
  5. Hiring more people is an entrepreneurial answer to just about everything. We get excited about growth and enjoy opening more offices, generating more sales and of course increasing headcount. BUT, I’ve learned what you really need to do is to solve problems with better scalable systems and technologies! That is where value and scaling can come into play.
  6. Define your why. Coming to work without a real purpose or perhaps to just make money is a hollow place to be. Customers, employees, and vendor/partners get excited when your business exists to serve the greater good. Why do you get out of bed? Defining that in your business attracts folks to your business and keeps them coming back.
  7. Go find someone who has solved the problem before. If you know me as stubborn, you would not be the only one. My biggest learn over the last five years is all around this point. For years I solved the problem with what I had, my way of thinking and my team. Instead? Go get the answer, find folks that have solved it before. Gather perspective. Then make your path forward with that information. So much time, energy, resources and money have been wasted on starting from scratch! This is a problem when you have a culture that prides itself on innovation and creativity. I’ve learned that simple is often more elegant.
  8. Not everyone is going on the ride with you. Or at least the whole ride. My dad, Alan Burkhard told me once, “Not even your mother made all 27 years with me in the business.” Life changes. Business needs change. Folks do different things, they move, change careers, get married and start businesses. Or they disagree with your thinking and business direction… and they leave you. Get used it! However, treat them like they will be with you forever. I had less then 2% turnover in core staff the first 7 years. Man, I used to brag about it. Then we changed business models and great legacy folks left me. My heart was broken at the time. No one goes on the ride with you the entire trip. Get used to it. I have.
  9. Make it really hard to get in your business. But easy to leave. This is a borrowed family mantra. But it works really well. In other words, hire slowly. But throw folks a party when they leave. Loyalty and allegiance are good things. Unless that is all that is left. And it happens. Staff and the jobs they are in do not remain a good fit for long. We are really lucky if your current duties align with your interest more then a few times a year. Work is cyclical and project based. Most businesses change everything fast. Try and stay aligned to the purpose. Try to keep your quarterly goals relevant as the business changes month to month. Do your quarterly or six month goals seem outdated when you go to review them? Welcome to the pace of change today. Agile employees, agile rolling forecasts, agile performance reviews or feedback sessions. Everything must be portable, flexible and easy to move. Including you.
  10. Be way more conservative and realistic. I have suffered from and am often overly optimistic. I am reformed at this point. But at 32, I could sell, I could talk fast,  and I could and did try to outwork others. So most of the time, I was lucky enough to outwork my optimism. But the truth is I have had to be much more honest around planning scenarios. Today, work cast scenario planning really matters to me. And I prefer realistic  and conservative thinking today. And it is hard this way. Running a business can be more fun when your a gambler who goes for it all of the time. No rules in the early years of the business is fun for others right? Until you fail big time. And I have. So, today I balance long-range strategy thinking (and dreaming) with a dose of reality.
  11. Have you really mastered being a leader? I hear it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master anything. Humbly, I am triple that in real world practice as a leader. And I still have so much to learn.
  12. I wish I did not wait so long to be direct. Tell the truth. Let folks know where they stand. Give them feedback. We all crave it. Stop hinting someone to death. Love them up or out. Your team deserves to be successful, challenged, and to be the best they can be for you. Or move folks on to their next successful place. That is a leader’s job – or at least one that cares about their people.
  13. Running a business is cyclical. Economic swings, job markets and times/politics change. I always felt I was too small a business to worry about how much market share I had. BUT, I wish I had learned earlier on that the market changes. And how I run the business needs to change with it. There are times to go for it, and times to be very conservative and play things tight to the vest.
  14. I had no idea I could be this patient. If I had to give my younger 32 year old self some advice it would be, “This is going to take a while. You’re going to need to sacrifice everything. Put it all on the line, everything, your house, your marriage, your key relationships… Younger self, are you ready for all of this? Time, patience, fortitude, moxie, perseverance. At times you go numb. At times you come to the office but take the day off mentally. But most days the world will not let you. Entrepreneurs need to be relevant and focused almost every day to make it. And that says nothing about success or making it big time!”
  15. Everything changes. Good days fade. Bad days take longer to go away. Business is terrific. Then change happens. Some years you grow and don’t make money. And in flat years you’re running a better company and the bottom line is sweet! Change keeps coming. Employees come and go. Customers are bought and sold, go bankrupt and move out of town. Customers’ needs and wants change. Multi-million dollar business lines dry up. New products grow up before your eyes and become your big bell winner, your future. Rookies become managers. Managers become senior leaders. I have learned that being a student of change is my one true advantage. Embrace it, drive it, and know status quo is deadly in the long run!

So my 32 year old self was full of himself. Glib and confident. Boundless and endless energy on reserve. Every problem in the business was one I created. I celebrated those early fiascos, they were fun to try and resolve. Everything was about the vision for what I wanted to build with that early team. We were going to reinvent and create a space in staffing and professional services. We vowed to make culture important (believe it or not when those words were foreign in most business’s large and small). I worked endlessly. For two years straight I worked every single day. My theory was an hour worked today is an hour I would get back when I exited the business. The exit plan was scheduled for year nine! Well, six years later I am still at it. Today it’s much more about the journey than the destination.

p.s. if you’re interested, here are my 10 musings from our 10th anniversary in 2011!

How to Recruit Passive Candidates, Part 2

July 20th, 2016

As discussed, the goal of of sourcing passive candidates is to build relationships with highly skilled pools of talent. You usually won’t find passive candidate resumes online, and engagement requires a strategic and thoughtful approach. So, what can you do?

passive candidate pool First, it’s important to build your pool, and in turn, your network. A great way to be successful is name generation. While resumes are nearly impossible to find, names are not. You know your target candidate, and you know the companies where they work. In it’s simplest form, creating an excel spreadsheet with columns of name, title, company, location, and contact info is a great start.

Use all the channels possible to build your pool; LinkedIn, associations, conferences, company websites, and universities, just to name a few. Put every name you find that is attached to the target industry and expertise for which you’re looking on the list. It can’t hurt to have more than you need when building a pool for passive sourcing.

With your list or ‘talent pool’ complete, you can begin to engage. You can start with your primary targets, or folks you know wouldn’t be an exact fit, but could be a great referral source. Modify your email or message for each set of candidates, requesting their expertise to identify the extremely niche skill set you seek.

More often than not, people are willing to help, point you in a good direction, or even have a colleague who would be interested that you missed. It’s important to be thorough and resilient when sourcing passive candidates, traits that will set you apart from every other sourcer or recruiter in the war for talent.

Need help catching the attention of passive talent?

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What is sourcing in recruitment process?

July 6th, 2016

Sourcing Recruitment ProcessSourcing is a common term, often used in the procurement of services and vendors. But sourcing is also commonly used in regards to talent acquisition. So what is sourcing in the recruitment process? Since not all jobs can be filled by posting a job online and having applicants find you, you (or someone on behalf of your company) have to go find good candidates to fill your position. That is sourcing.

Sourcing is a talent acquisition discipline which is focused on the identification, assessment and engagement of skilled worker candidates through proactive recruiting techniques (Wiki).

But wait, isn’t that recruiting? While sourcing is a discipline within the recruiting process, there is a distinction between sourcing and recruiting. Check out our article How is Talent Sourcing Different from Recruiting? There is also some heated debate over the definition of Sourcing vs. Recruiting, and whether recruiters are sourcers are recruiters.

What do you think?

How to Recruit Passive Candidates

June 22nd, 2016

magnet attracting passive candidatesSometimes recruiting can be pretty straight forward. You have an open job, you post it online, and a significant pool of talented individuals apply for the job, eagerly expressing their interest. You interview, negotiate offers and fill the position. But often, when the job opening requires unique talent, passive talent will be the target. Active candidates don’t fulfill the requirements and you need to reach the candidates that aren’t searching for jobs, haven’t expressed any interest in your requisition, and are generally happy with their current role.

Recruiting these passive candidates requires a strategic approach to generate interest. Passive candidates usually don’t have a resume online, and certainly aren’t regularly applying to jobs. Identifying and recruiting passive candidates should be focused on marketing the opportunity to each individual. Think about why his or her background translates well into the role, and tailor your message appropriately.

The goal is to engage and build relationships with pools of highly skilled candidates. It’s important to position yourself as an expert in the industry market and develop your network. Again, marketing or selling the job and company is crucial. Put yourself in their shoes. What’s it like to receive an unexpected message, call, or an invitation to connect on social media? Are you making that unexpected conversation worth their while? Remember, in the passive candidate market, the recruiter needs the candidate, not the other way around.

Need help catching the attention of passive talent?

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