Are “Passive” Candidates Superior?

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,

Recruiting, a Fishy Business

I’ve lived and worked all over the US: Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Oregon, and the east coast. I chose to make my homebase in middle Tennessee, just south of Nashville. Tennesseans have many passions: football, music (all kinds) and fishing are at the top. I fit right in. I love football; I came here for the music; and the fishing is fantastic. Since football season is over and the daffodils are popping up everywhere, it’s only natural to think about fishing. As I fantasized about fishing, I realized how similar recruiting is to fishing. Recruiters have distinct styles that correlate to 4 types of fishers: Noodlers, Opportunists, Net fishers, and Fly fishers. What type best describes your recruiting style?

Career Page EEEssentials

John Sumser “published” an HRxaminer article, Star Candidate Experience in 17 steps on Jan 25. I clicked to read it right away – intrigued – for candidate experience is not usually the focus of articles on recruiting strategy. The article was as you would expect from one of the oldest and most respected voices in Internet recruiting, John Sumser. But, 17 steps is a lot to remember. In fact, the 18th step of the article reads, “and so on.” Then John wrote, “If this list seems familiar, it might be because it’s a seven year old piece,” which links back to a post published in July 2006.

Serendipity? The Talent Architect expands her horizons.


There are days when I love LinkedIn. Last week, after posting to this blog, I was reading a LinkedIn discussion about SmartRecruiters receiving a $5 Million capital infusion. There was some debate on the viability of their business model and strategy. Being a bit of a strategy geek (two degrees and too many books on it!), I was hooked. I quickly scanned the news and visited their website. I bookmarked it to revisit when I had more time. That same evening, when I returned home after being onsite at a client’s all day, I received an email from David Smooke, SmartRecruiters marketing maven, which read, “Hey Pat, You understand the importance of a career Site. Any interest in collaborating with me and writing on SmartRecruiters’ SmartRecruiting Blog?” Intrigued, I decided to investigate further. I listened to Wempen and Tincup’s interview with SmartRecruiters Founder/CEO, Jerome Ternynck. Jerome has a fascinating story. He was unable to find work in France, his home country, and emigrated to Poland to work. He is now in San Francisco, ostensibly to have a better vantage for the 2013 America’s Cup, but, I’m guessing he had a taste of Peet’s coffee, something I miss nearly every day <sigh>….   Continue Reading

3 Keys to Effective Recruiting

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

Picking your battles

Sign saying Please flush the toilet

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 “Google Earth” for Talent Spotting


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