Are “Passive” Candidates Superior? In the olden days, before the internet, when search consultants (recruiters) received fees of 25% or more for white collar professionals with 3-5 years of experience (those were the “good” olden days, believe me!), those of us who wanted to catch the big fish, realized that the money was in finding great candidates who worked for the client company’s direct competitor. We guarded our Rolodexes with our lives. We didn’t call them “passive” candidates,
Last summer, I had the opportunity to help a friend who was having some challenges staffing his infrastructure team. I hadn’t actively recruited for over five years, but, I thought it would be great fun to be onsite, work with smart people and play with new tools such as Jobvite and Checkster. It seems like yesterday that I was having coffee with Jobvite founder, Jesper Shultz, as he shared his vision for a unique recruiting tool that would leverage social networks and help recruiters manage their applicant flow. Yves Lermusi, who developed Checkster in his post-Taleo career, was a memorable speaker at one of our NCHRA meetings. I discovered (as Raghav Singh tried to tell me) that in spite of some really cool tools, the recruitment process hasn’t changed since I first cut my teeth at the Santa Cruz Operation in the 80s. I’ll stake my career (spanning leadership roles in technology, professional services, and HR) on three things: 1. Your company’s career site must function Your marketing team spends a lot of money to attract customers to your site. While they are there, they will almost always look to see if you’re hiring. Any one who becomes aware of… Continue Reading
Pat, I want to thank you for your help over the last few months as it has been a inspiring, life-changing experience. Connecting with you helped me realize just how bad things were at my then present job and how important it was for me to take control of my career and develop a meaningful short-term and long-term plan. You logically walked me through the transition including the negotiation of an exit package and then deeply listened to me to understand my core beliefs. From there you put me in front of a mirror and reminded me who I was, what drove me and why what I had been doing was consistently tripping me up. Looking back the solution seems so simple but its harder to see the alligators when your in the water, that is why your coaching was so helpful. Thank you for all of your guidance, sometimes gentle, sometimes with a two by four between the eyes. It worked. You are a “career whisperer” and I’m grateful that for the experience. All the best, Bob K.
Vicksburg. The Civil War. In case you missed it, we are “celebrating” the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, aka The Civil War, which was anything but “civil.” This was the culture war of culture wars. Those who live north of the Mason Dixon line will tell you the war was over slavery. Those who live south of that line will tell you it was about states’ rights. Historians’ views are more nuanced. A couple of weeks ago, my spouse, Jim, and I took a few days off and decided to meander (he thinks any speeds under 75 are slow) south on the Natchez Trace. We stopped along the way at Meriwether Lewis’s murder site (a real cold case) and several Native American mounds. Our final destination? Vicksburg, the site of a long, grueling and determinative battle in this war. Jim, who is writing a novel about female spies in this war, is an expert. Me, not so much. In fact, except for the local Civil War sites in the Franklin, TN, area, this was my first visit to a major battlefield. A century and a half later, the site is almost pastoral, with rolling, grassy knolls (if… Continue Reading
The question of the “perfect” candidate is one that anyone who touches the recruiting process must eventually confront. I explained a few of the challenges in my previous blog post and I have been poking around to see what practical tools exist. I began with a long conversation with Lucia Erwin, a Silicon Valley workforce planning pioneer and HR strategist. She said that one of her biggest consulting challenges is when she wants to conduct an environmental scan for talent. That’s because often, when companies are scanning the external environment, they are looking at competitors, industry trends, governmental regulations, not the talent pool. Managers often assume that whatever they need in the way of skills will be there. This reminds me of building The Field of Dreams, if you have the jobs, they will come. This discovery prompted me to interview Greg Nicastro, CEO of My Perfect Gig. I first discovered MPG a couple of years ago while having coffee with a former colleague from SCO (The Santa Cruz Operation), John James. John listened to my impassioned rant about talent and how it’s the people who make the difference between winning and losing companies and that if you have the… Continue Reading
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to a hiring manager make the following complaints about unfilled positions. “This position has been vacant for 9 months.” “We just can’t find the right person.” “HR hasn’t sent me any qualified people.” “I can’t find a good headhunter who can find me someone.” “We have hired the best search firm and they can’t find me anyone.” Then, when I ask, “How many people do you think can do this job?” I get answers like, “Oh, there’s only a handful that I can think of” or “I have no idea” or “I can’t take time to train someone. They need to hit the ground running.” If you don’t have a clear idea of the supply of available talent (possessing the required KSA’s, etc.) vs. the demand for that talent, you can’t possibly have an effective staffing strategy. You are basically crossing your fingers and rolling the dice. As far as I can tell, very few companies even think about it like that. Some governments (i.e., Canada and Australia are two) think about the labor supply. Industries that need large quantities of similar skill sets (e.g., call centers, manufacturing, the medical industry… Continue Reading
My connection with the talent acquisition (AKA “recruiting”) process goes back several decades. My first recruiting challenges were the most difficult. I was an independent sales rep for Tupperware. Yep. I started out as a Tupperware lady. Everything I know about selling, and recruiting, stems from my early days in direct sales management with “party plan” sales models: Tupperware, Rubbermaid, Creative Circle, with a few stints in network marketing. Trying to recruit moms (in those days, there were no Mister Moms in my circle) to work part-time and stick with it was the toughest job I’ve ever had. Stepping up to an office job as an account executive (‘recruiter’) with Sales Consultants was a dream come true. It came with a monthly minimum wage draw against commission, free coffee, and a receptionist! I had arrived. Since those days, I have worked in retained executive search, within HR for Fortune 500 companies as a corporate recruiter, and externally as a talent acquisition consultant. I have worked with some of the top thought leaders in HR and talent acquisition. In over three decades, not much has changed. We’ve shuffled the roles around. Now, you’re just as likely to find a “headhunter” inside… Continue Reading