I was reading an article today about the ferocious talent wars for tech going on right now in Silicon Valley and a sentence caught my eye.
“Whether she is scouring Stanford or Parsons for up-and-comers or more established candidates, de Baubigny says, ‘I am always very open-minded about what good talent looks like.’”
Maybe it’s because I watched a new show this morning called Brain Games
or maybe it’s because I’m a compulsive anagrammer, or maybe it’s my Dyslexia kicking in — for whatever reason when I read the word “scouring” I saw “sourcing.”
I started to think.
Has sourcing become scouring?
I believe it has.
What a few of us began doing (and talking about) in the latter days of the 20th century and on into the present century has turned into an incessant scouring (for many) of what can be found on the Internet. (more…)
We are entering a time of social fatigue. A recent survey from Pew Research found that 61% of current Facebook users have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more, and 20 percent of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so.
The forecast is for decreasing use: 34% of current Facebook users say the time that they spent on the site has decreased over the past year, and only 3% say they will spend more time on the site in the coming year. Meanwhile, 27% say they will spend less time. The honeymoon is over. Among the top reasons cited for decreased time spent on Facebook are: it’s a waste of time; bored with it; content is not relevant; and just didn’t like it.
This doesn’t mean that people are abandoning social media. Overall time spent in social networking continues to rise — up 38% over the previous year according to Nielsen Media — more than any other online activity. The growth in time spent on social media is largely tied to the spread of smartphones, sales of which are accelerating overseas but slowing in the U.S. as we reach near saturation. That just means that the same pattern of skyrocketing use of social media followed by slowing use will be repeated in other countries in coming years.
Why Didn’t the Mayans Warn Us?
So what’s happening? (more…)
With the astronomical jobless rate and the skyrocketing cost of four-year college, many are questioning the value and validity of a bachelor’s degree. As a proud NYU alumnus, I treasure my education and wholeheartedly believe in the relevance of the college experience. However, over the years my black-and-white viewpoint on this subject has shifted to shades of gray.
That’s why the current educational phenomenon of “degree inflation” is so disconcerting to me. Economists and educators have coined this term to describe today’s hiring climate, where a college degree has become the basic requirement for jobs that don’t actually need an advanced education. According to Burning Glass, these positions include clerks, dental hygienist, administrative assistants, and paralegals. Corporate hiring professionals often adopt strict “degree required” criteria as a means of weeding out candidates and working with a manageable number of prospects. But very often this false criteria has no bearing on someone’s ability to engage, contribute, or excel in a role. (more…)
Telecommuting has been all over the news this week and many of us think it has been blown out of proportion.
First, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer changed the company’s policy that allowed employees to work (sometimes entirely) from home. Yahoo tried to put the story in perspective with a press release that said, “This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home. This is about what is right for Yahoo right now.”
Just a few days later, Best Buy announced that it would eliminate its renowned Results-Only Work Environment, a program that allowed corporate employees to work when and were they chose, as long as the quality of the work met the company’s standards. Like Yahoo’s change, it’s not a total ban, but corporate employees are now expected to work 40 hours a week and come into the office “as much as possible.” Best Buy spokesperson Matt Furman said, “Bottom line, it’s ‘all hands on deck’ at Best Buy and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business.”
So — bored or not — do you think Yahoo and Best Buy doing the right thing? I do. (more…)
HR technology is evolving rapidly, with huge advancements in social, cloud, and mobile solutions this year. We’re excited for what 2013 will bring and how the latest technology will transform the way hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates engage with each other in the hiring process. (more…)
In the movie “The Matrix” there’s a scene where Laurence Fishburne says to Keanu Reeves, “The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work … when you go to church … when you pay your taxes.”
That’s basically the premise of big data, where the potential in recruiting is in getting good candidates to respond. (more…)
The average smartphone user in the U.S. now spends a little over two hours a day on mobile apps. That’s a number that’s starting to rival the amount of time people spend watching TV — about three hours on average (who are these people?). To state the obvious, mobile is where we’re headed, as web access through desktops declines. Recruiting will change as a result, but a failure to recognize how mobile platforms are different can mean a long and arduous journey marked by hard lessons. (more…)
My philosophy is that the best candidate is the one who is not, and does not need to look for a position. I am finding that in the past 12 months, there are fewer and fewer candidates who are not in the market for a position. People are more willing to speak with a recruiter, there are fewer objections I need to overcome, and it has been easier to reach people. I am sure I am not alone, and that these previously “passive candidates” are also speaking to the other recruiters reaching out to them. The data supports this; the recent Careerbuilder 2012 Candidate Behavior Guide showed that 74% of currently employed individuals are looking for a position in one form or another.
There are a few reasons for this:
- It is easier to look for a position due to technological advances, social media, etc.
- Loyalty to a company is harder to find, especially within larger companies who are consistently bought, sold, merged, or restructured.
- Certain managers may be resistant to flexible or remote working conditions, although technology and position requirements can accommodate these requests easily.
People will continue to become more visible in their personal and professional lives. This is inevitable, as social media continues to become more prevalent. Job searches will become easier and more mobile in nature.
There is nothing we can do about this, and I actually think this is a good thing. Managers simply need to have a more open mind about remote working conditions, and flex time. Allow your top performers to work remotely, and inform your low performers why they are unable to do so and what they need to do to earn this ability for a flexible schedule or remote working condition.
The loyalty issue is the hardest aspect to fix; you cannot control mergers and acquisitions. The best thing you can do is to show your employees you truly care, listen to them, open your ears and close your mouth, and ensure you are taking the time to address their needs and wants. Little things do matter. A small gesture to let an employee know you are listening and that you truly care ensures that you are focusing on enhancing productivity, not back-filling a position.
Exactly three years ago employment-branding expert Dr. John Sullivan published the insightful: “Your Employer Brand is No Longer Owned by Your Firm” and challenged practitioners to recast themselves as influencers, rather than controllers, of employment brands.
No doubt this wisdom extends to brands of all types, but for most people employment is their most frequent “transaction.” Courtesy of new media, brand control is now firmly within the hands of consumers. Current, former, and prospective employees have multiple online means to share opinions and experiences, which combine to form a collective perception about “What it’s really like to work there.” Employer/employee review has been for some time a reciprocal aspect of the recruitment process.
Since Dr. Sullivan’s article, Facebook and Twitter have each cemented their place as the dominant players in the social media and micro-blogging spheres respectively. However it is the rise of websites (in full disclosure, mine is of course one of those sites) providing anonymous and authentic workplace reviews and freely advertised jobs that is the strongest emerging trend.
Pioneered by San Francisco’s Glassdoor in 2008, North America has seen a steady stream of new entrants to this social media space welcomed by active and passive job seekers determined to “look inside,” to research a prospective employer, before making a critical career move.
So does this trend pose an opportunity or a threat to recruiters and employment branding devotees?
- Real-time visibility. Conversations about your workplace are already happening — you just can’t hear them. Having visibility to the candidate market’s perception provides powerful feedback to best align your employment brand with the business strategy.
- Authenticity. Participation in dialogue about your workplace reinforces the fact that you’re prepared to listen and projects your organization’s authentic desire to be a great place to work.
- Cost of hire. Many participants in this space will be able to run basic job ads for free with premium solutions available for “hard to source” campaigns. Overall cost to hire should be significantly lower.
- Open platform. Employment/review sites will often link applicants directly to your own career and social media sites to provide your intended brand experience, not the one offered by traditional job boards.
- Reduced staff turnover. Informed candidates make better decisions and employers get a better fit.
- Content moderation. Both you and the platform should review content regularly to ensure that it’s neither spurious nor offensive. While you’re unlikely to be able to screen reviews before they’re posted, you should be able to “flag as inappropriate” those that breach the site’s review guidelines and have them removed. Generally strong opinions are OK, but venting is not.
- Ivory tower mentality. Ignoring negative and even positive reviews risks creating a perception that you’re not prepared to listen and engage.
From a candidate perspective, job search engines with workplace reviews provide an information-rich experience and are a natural extension to well-known sites like Tripadvisor and Eatability, albeit with more at stake than a below par dinner!
For practitioners, opportunities abound to enjoy a greater level of transparency and engagement with stakeholders, while credibly influencing your employment brand and reducing sourcing costs.
Don’t be late. Move with the trend.
Having worked in executive search for more than 10 years, I have had great success in finding candidates but have encountered many obstacles in trying to place those candidates because often many hiring managers mismanage the hiring process. Below are five issues hiring managers must consider when trying to fill their open positions with superstar candidates.
- There’s no silver bullet — Some hiring managers will consider only the most perfect candidate. The candidate must have the correct degree, must live within a commutable distance, must have the right niche of skills, must have international experience, must be willing to work for “x” amount of dollars, must love ping pong, and must be able to juggle three cats while riding up a ramp backwards on a unicycle. Those last two I made up but they emphasize how particular some managers can be. Your dream engineering candidate who knows how to work with polymers for medical devices containing lasers believe it or not might not live within 20 miles from your headquarters. Train and be flexible on relocation if you want your silver bullet. Additionally, if the candidate doesn’t have the degree you want but beaucoup experience in the field then defer to the experience and take advantage of their real-world skills.
- Hiring managers want all-star candidates at second-string salaries — Of course hiring managers want to hire the best of the best for as little as possible, especially if the candidate currently works for their bigger more successful competitor. But if they want that quota-busting salesperson with 15 years experience who sells their specific type of software into multi-million dollar companies that specialize in bio-medical supplies, then they’d better not be cheap. To put it in understandable terms, why would Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots and play for the perennially bad Cleveland Browns for half the money? If you want an all-star, don’t waste time offering a minor league salary.
- Don’t procrastinate — Hiring managers are hot to fill their open positions, yet they may take four days to review the resumes passed their way, another week to schedule the interview, and another two weeks after meeting with the candidate to decide if they want to bring the candidate in for another interview. What hiring managers don’t realize is that the superstar candidate is also entertaining offers from other companies and their procrastination might lose them their top draft pick.
- Free your mind – Less than 20% of recruiters and executive search people use behavioral assessments, and we’re still in the early adopter phase of video interviewing tools, both designed to save the hiring manager’s time and to help them make the best hire. Hiring managers who aren’t onboard should consider using these proven tools designed to help them attract and retain top performers.
- Why the candidate should work for you – Hiring managers often approach recruiting as though they are speaking to a candidate with seven children in college all of whom need braces and brain surgery. In other words they think most candidates certainly want, if not need, to work for them and thus approach the candidate with a “what can you do for me” attitude rather than “here’s-why-you-should-want-to-work-for-us” attitude. (Maybe this explains why they are so carefree with the candidate’s time as mentioned in point number three.) Hiring managers often provide a job description with a laundry list of mundane requirements and qualifications that is only going to attract the desperate candidates who need a job, not the ones who want and can do the job passionately. Tell the candidate why they should want to work for your company, and most importantly why they should want to work for you. Don’t assume your job is the Holy Grail for which candidates have long been searching.
- “And the sign says ‘long haired freaky people need not apply” — Similar to these songs lyrics and point one, hiring managers, much to the frustration of recruiters and executive search people, don’t give people a chance no matter how much experience they have. “If you don’t walk like me or talk like me then odds are you won’t be successful in this organization.” This often-misguided attitude delays the hiring process and the hiring manager’s odds of finding that superstar candidate. The engineer who designed the Mars Rover landing wears two earrings. I worked with a software company that behaviorally tested their incoming candidates because they wanted candidates who matched the behavioral profiles of the CEO and VP of sales, both of which were similar. The theory was if the CEO and Sales VP were successful, then employees with the same behavioral attributes should be as well. Unfortunately the CEO managed his subordinates in a manner he himself would not want to be managed even though he shared similar behavioral attributes. As a result he experienced high employee turnover.
Politely respect the candidate’s time and talent. If you left Tom Brady hanging for three weeks do you think he’d want to play for your organization?