recruitments

3 Words That Will Change Talent Acquisition Forever ( in a really good way)

3 Words That Will Change Talent Acquisition Forever ( in a really good way)

recruitment marketing

There aren’t many instances in someone’s life when divine moments of clarity happen, but when they do, they can be game-changing. I had one of these moments recently and it was so impactful that I want to share it with the entire recruitment industry:

A few months ago I had a great meeting with my Co-Founder Bradley Clark and we were chatting about the acceleration of the recruitment industry’s transition away from its traditional HR heritage towards adopting the best practices, approaches, and technology found in the Marketing industry (which we’re excited about!). Brad talked about how you could literally read any article about marketing and each time you read the word ‘marketing’ you replace it with the word ‘recruitment’, and each time you read the word ‘customers’ you replace it with the word ‘candidate’ then the article will take on a completely different, yet highly relevant angle; giving us a snapshot into the future of where the recruitment industry is heading. It’s really cool and actually works — go try it and see for yourself!

So, back to those 3 words that I mentioned in the title … after discussing the many similarities between the core functions of recruitment and marketing we both came to the stunning (yet blatantly obvious) realization:

Candidates Are Consumers

I’ll let that sink in for a moment… Think about it. REALLY think about it, and now believe it.

Once you authentically believe that candidates are really consumers, then everything clicks and it will fundamentally change the way you approach Talent Acquisition. Suddenly, you’ll be looking at our industry through a new, clearer, and revealing lens.

Candidates are not job searching anymore, they’re job shopping. When you study the steps in a candidate journey and compare it to a typical consumer journey, the similarities are plentiful. Candidate Behaviour IS Consumer Behaviour.

Talent Acquisition Is Customer Acquisition

Let’s explore the typical steps that you’d take to buy something. For this example we’ll use a cell phone:

  1. Awareness: Before you’ve started looking, you’re already aware of companies like Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, LG, and Blackberry due to their branding, advertising and promotions.
  2. Consideration: You’ll Google search the handset options, read user reviews, compare different products, ask your friends etc.
  3. Conversion: You’ve decided that it’s a good option to upgrade your phone.
  4. Decision: You’ve visited a number of cell phone stores, talked to sales agents, negotiated price and terms, and chosen the best handset and plan that fits your individual needs.
  5. Buy: Transaction completed and cell plan contract signed.

Now let’s compare those steps to the job search process. The graphic below shows the typical customer journey through a 5-stage marketing funnel from awareness to purchase as demonstrated above. On the right you’ll see the typical journey that a candidate will take through the talent acquisition process.

So what can we learn from this?

Recruiters need to think and act like marketers to increase and nurture the number of talent ‘leads’ to be converted into candidates. If you do this, you’ll be working with deeper candidate pools which will increase candidate quality and reduce time-to-hire.

Unfortunately, the majority of the technology in our industry only focuses on the Job Application and Interview stages. Recently, Recruitment Marketing CRMs have started to address the top-of-the-funnel sections, but the software available is expensive and out of reach for most recruiters.

The good news is that at myRecdex we’re building a personal Recruitment Marketing CRM to enable all recruiters to have access to AI-driven Recruitment Marketing technology — not just the teams that have large budgets — so that we can all play a part in elevating our industry by thinking and acting like marketers.

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10 REASONS WHY INVESTING IN INTERNAL TALENT ACQUISITION FOR 2015 IS A SMART CHOICE

10 REASONS WHY INVESTING IN INTERNAL TALENT ACQUISITION FOR 2015 IS A SMART CHOICE

recruitment

So what can a growing organisation do to help overcome this talent shortage challenge in 2015? Well traditionally, organisations have chosen to do one of the following:

  1. Do nothing and continue to rely on job postings, employee referrals and word of mouth.
  2. Rely on external recruitment agencies.
  3. Invest in building an internal talent acquisition function.

After nearly 10 years in the recruiting business, I’ve participated in, and observed, all 3 of these options. In my opinion, #3 is by far the smartest choice. Here are 10 reasons why:

1) You’ll have more success

A broad statement to start, but my own observations and personal experience is that organisations with dedicated high performing internal talent acquisition functions are far more successful in reaching their hiring goals than companies that rely solely on job boards and/or external recruitment agencies.

2) You’ll save a lot of money

When compared with the cost of using external recruitment agencies, I’ve calculated that I’ve saved my clients an average of $170,000 per 6 months in each of my previous 3 recruitment gigs. External recruitment agencies are expensive, typically charging anywhere from 15% – 30% of a candidate’s base salary for each placement. This can add up very quickly. In the end, the ROI for an internal talent acquisition function is much greater, and your average cost of placement is significantly reduced.

3) You’ll hire better people

Because they’re dedicating 100% of their day to your specific organisation, a high functioning talent acquisition team will be able to uncover and canvass a deeper pool of candidates than #1 and #2 put together, often finding (and closing!) those ‘diamonds in the rough,’ and ultimately providing more choice to your hiring managers. This means your average quality of hire will naturally increase.

4) You’ll hire faster

Because the best people get snapped up quickly, a good internal recruiter understands that momentum and speed is everything when it comes to hiring. By operating on the inside and having more insight and influence over the internal interview process, an internal recruiter will get feedback quickly and will be able guide the interview process along at a faster pace as required.

5) Your hiring managers will be happier

Because they’re actually part of the same organisation, and often working in the same office, internal recruiters are able to partner with hiring managers to build close, trusting, long-term relationships while opening up effective, high touch communication channels. This enables the recruiter to more accurately understand the unique requirements of every position to better identify a solid, long-term match, which ultimately makes the hiring manager happier.

6) New hires will stay longer

By recruiting from the inside, internal talent acquisition recruiters are able to gain a first-person, deeper understanding of the unique organisational culture as well as the subtle nuances of individual team dynamics. This enables them to more accurately assesses a long-term culture fit which will result in longer tenures for new hires.

7) Your candidate experience will improve

Having a great candidate experience has become a critical part of the recruitment process and can directly impact your hiring outcomes (see my blog on Candidate UX here). By acting as a friendly and knowledgeable supportive ‘point person’ and company ‘ambassador’, an internal recruiter plays a key part in providing great candidate UX to job applicants across the entire interview process, which will ultimately increase your hiring performance.

8) You will have more control of your employment brand

Your employment brand is a very important and valuable part of your organisation. It gives your company a unique identity within the labour market, and is a critical component when it comes to attracting and hiring people with the right culture fit. Internal recruiters live and breathe your employment brand in every interaction with candidates, and they are your key brand-ambassadors to the outside world. Trusting your valuable employment brand to external recruitment agencies who can’t possibly fully and accurately promote your employment brand is a missed opportunity and can be a major risk.

9) You’ll make smarter workforce planning decisions

Your internal recruitment team should have a good pulse on what’s going on in the labour market for your specific niche, and can be a great trusted resource when it comes to making strategic decisions on workforce planning for your unique environment. They’ll be able to advise on areas such as market salary levels, skills availability by location, labour market trends, and specific hiring challenges as well as what your competitors are doing.

10) Your competitors are doing it

Business is competitive and so is the labour market. We all know that the most valuable part of any organisation is its people; therefore, the ability to hire top talent is crucial to an organisation’s success. There has been a noticeable trend over the last few years towards companies investing in internal talent acquisition. In fact, the vast majority of the world’s top companies now have their own dedicated internal recruitment teams. This means that there’s a good chance your competitors are doing it, and will have the advantage when it comes to hiring top talent.  They may already be trying to poach your top employees!

 Conclusion

2014 wasn’t an easy year for hiring, and by all accounts, 2015 is looking to be even more difficult. If your organisation is serious about growth next year, and about remaining competitive in the long run, then investing in a high performing internal talent acquisition function is very a smart choice.

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DEAR HR, I DON’T WANT ANYTHING SERIOUS, LET’S JUST BE FRIENDS…

DEAR HR, I DON’T WANT ANYTHING SERIOUS, LET’S JUST BE FRIENDS…

human resources

Not so differently, when someone asks me what I do for a living, and I tell them “I’m a recruiter”, a common response is “oh, so you’re in HR then?”. “No” I reply, “I’m not part of the HR department at all, I’m in Talent Acquisition,” to which they will usually give me a confused look. The funny thing is, I’m not too bothered about getting called an Australian almost everyday, but I do have a problem with people assuming I’m in HR – I can’t explain why I react differently about the perceived miscategorization of my profession vs my nationality, I just do.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why people assume that recruitment is part of HR. Recruitment was born out of HR many years ago, and was traditionally lumped in under the ‘HR umbrella’ throughout the 1980’s, 1990’s and most of the 2000’s. However, it’s different now: recruitment has gone through a major metamorphosis over the recent years and, in my opinion, has forged its own identity and therefore deserves it’s own department (aka Talent Acquisition). In this case, Talent Acquisition will still likely ultimately report to the CHRO’s office, but be seen and managed as it’s own business unit.

HR vs Talent Acquisition, What’s the Difference?

The way I see it, when you boil it all down it’s fairly easy to distinguish between the core functions of HR vs the core functions of Talent Acquisition: Talent Acquisition is responsible for attracting and bringing talent into an organisation, and HR is responsible for retaining and nurturing that talent.

It’s Time For An Honest Conversation:

Those in our industry know that attracting and bringing talent into an organisation ain’t easy, especially with the relentless ‘war for talent’ raging on around us. The fact is, you need specialised resources (i.e. recruiters), tools, and time to be successful in Talent Acquisition, and a traditional HR department typically isn’t in a position to supply these. In the same way, HR also needs their own specialised resources, tools, and time to be effective in performing their core function of retaining and nurturing talent effectively.

Many HR professionals openly admit that they despise the recruitment part of their role, and prefer to outsource it, even if it means using expensive and ineffective recruitment agencies. Similarly, most recruiters (including myself!) are turned off by the thought of dealing with the day-to-day responsibilities of HR such as employee relations, payrolling and performance management etc.

Hello Marketing!

The longer I work in Talent Acquisition, the more it becomes clear to me that the relationship between Talent Acquisition and Marketing is, in fact, much closer than one might initially think,. You see, both departments are essentially doing the same thing – the key difference is that traditional Marketing creates demand for customers to buy products and services, whereas Talent Acquisition creates demand for customers (aka ‘candidates’) to join an organisation. Commonly used terms like ‘employment branding’ and ‘employment value proposition’ stem from traditional marketing concepts.

Key Stakeholders are Key

Talent Acquisition has two key stakeholders: yup, you guessed it – HR and Marketing, and it’s critical that Talent Acquisition forms close relationships with both of these business groups to be effective. Talent Acquisition must work closely with HR to ensure hiring plans are aligned with business strategy and headcount. Also, recruiters are constantly evaluating long-term fit during the screening and interview process. There’s also crossover and collaboration with the onboarding process done by HR amongst other areas of overlap.

Talent Acquisition must also work closely with Marketing to ensure consistency of branding and market message. There’s also a lot of opportunity to partner on projects such as the company careers site, social media and industry events.

Conclusion

Although recruitment was born out of HR, it has evolved and matured over the years and now deserves its own identity in Talent Acquisition. However, in order to attract and bring talent into an organisation effectively, Talent Aquisition needs to build stronger relationships with Marketing, while still retaining some of its deeply-rooted connections with HR.

*these are my personal views and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer*

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2 EASY STEPS TO IMPROVE CANDIDATE FEEDBACK WHILE BUILDING YOUR EMPLOYMENT BRAND

2 EASY STEPS TO IMPROVE CANDIDATE FEEDBACK WHILE BUILDING YOUR EMPLOYMENT BRAND

recruitment

In today’s highly competitive job market, overlooking one of the most basic and simple parts of the recruitment process can reflect negatively on you, your company and your employment brand. Essentially, it will annoy and frustrate candidates and they’ll be less likely to want to work at your organization in the future.  Additionally, you also miss out on the opportunity to build your network and promote your employment brand

Ever since the early days of my recruitment career, I’ve made a special effort to differentiate myself from other recruiters and do my best to provide as much feedback as I can to applicants of my jobs. Admittedly, I haven’t been perfect in this area and there have been candidates that fell through the gaps, but over the years I have experimented with, developed and tested a number of simple ways  to improve my feedback rate and here’s a couple of easy tips that may help you:

1)    Implement a system to respond (and thank) every candidate applying to your job.

As well as a personal touch, this gives the candidate confirmation that their resume has been received. Thanking them for their application is polite and a good way to start the relationship.  This might sound like a lot of work if you are receiving hundreds of applications for a specific job but there are many quick and automated ways to do this depending on the technology of your recruitment process. Most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and job board software products will have a customizable auto-reply function for new applicants coming in. If this isn’t available to you, then a simple email auto signature will suffice and only takes a couple of seconds to do. Here’s one I’ve used in the past:

“Thank you for sending your application to us. We will review your application over the next few days/week/end of month and will be in touch via email or phone with some feedback.”

Many ATS systems and job board products will offer a standard response, but I recommend customizing this message to reflect your personality and the employment brand of your organization.

2)    Let every candidate know the final outcome of their application.

This seems obvious for the successful candidates, but what about the ‘rejected’ ones? Remember, they might not be the right fit for this job but they could be a great fit for another role that comes up in the future (or might be able to refer someone to you). Also, remember that candidates talk to each other and you could quickly get a bad rep around town.

Again, many ATS systems will have a customizable function that will allow you to do this with the click of a button. If you don’t have an ATS system, then you can use another quick email auto signature to respond to the candidate. Here’s an example of one that I have been using recently:

“Thanks again for your interest in this postition. Although you have gained some great working experience throughout your career, your profile isn’t close enough to match the needs for this particular position and so we will not be proceeding with your application. We will hold onto your details in case something more suitable becomes available and please keep an eye on our website careers@xyzcompany.com”

This message is polite and complimentary to the candidate and gives a clear indication of whether they are successful or not. It also lets the candidate know what you’ll do with their information and promotes your career page. It can also be another chance for you to promote your employment brand.

This has been extremely effective for me and I have received hundreds of replies to this message from candidates thanking me for my time and for actually getting back to them. This small step reflects positively both on me as a professional as well as the company I’m working for. It also keeps the door open for future relationships as I continue to build my network.

Conclusion

By using technology and a little bit of thought and planning, everyone should be able to respond to all candidate applications. Instead of viewing feedback as a burden and cumbersome to give, try viewing it as a great way to promote your employment brand and build networks in the talent market. By responding to every applicant that has shown interest the opportunity, you are creating a good first impression and taking the first few steps towards building a relationship with the candidate.

Photo credit: recruitingdaily.com

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5 STEPS TO COUNTER THE COUNTEROFFER

5 STEPS TO COUNTER THE COUNTEROFFER

human resources

1)    Uncover your candidate’s motivators:

Every candidate will have their own specific reasons for looking to change jobs (lack of career progression/ challenge/ support from management/ compensation etc) and your first priority should be to discover AND qualify exactly why they are looking to leave their current employer. Remember; don’t take their reasons for face value! Qualify their reasons by discussing them in more detail and asking probing questions to dig deeper into why they really feel that way. Keep notes and document this important information as you can use it in the future to remind the candidate of their original motivations.
This is an important step as not only does it give you more control in a counteroffer situation, it also gives your more insight into the candidate and what really makes them tick.

What if the candidate is primarily motivated by money?

That’s ok! At least you now know so you’ll be extra alert to the heightened risk of a counteroffer situation. I’ve successfully placed dozens candidates whose main motivator is money – sometimes it can make it make the candidate easier to close as the motivation is black and white. Again, dig deeper and find out the specifics about their compensation requirements and the shortfall at their current employer. This information can be used to your advantage during the offer process.

2)    Discover their risk factor:

Once you’ve feel confident you’ve nailed down the candidates main motivations, then ask this question: “have you raised this issue with your boss/manager/HR yet?” This can give you valuable insight to the level of risk of a counteroffer occurring. If the candidate replies “yes but he/she can’t do anything about it” then you’re pretty safe. If the answer is “no I haven’t” then they could be high risk. I usually probe further here and sometimes, depending on their motivations; I suggest they speak with their boss/manager/HR before moving forward on their job search (it could save you a whole lot of time and effort in the long run!).

3)    Reveal and talk about the Elephant:

For the majority of candidates, the possibility of a counteroffer won’t have even crossed their minds so this is your chance to reveal the elephant hiding in the room to discuss and educate (and scare!) the candidate about the reality of counteroffers. An unprepared candidate may accept a counteroffer because they panic and they haven’t thought it through. Resigning can be an emotional experience and rash decisions can be made. A quick google search will bring up dozens of articles detailing why accepting a counter offer is a bad idea but the main 2 I use during this conversation are:

–    Your loyalty will always be in question: If you accept a counteroffer, then you’ve already broken your trust with your current employer and you’ll likely be seen as a ‘flight risk’ resulting in a good chance they’ll be looking to replace you anyway.

–    The figures speak for themselves: Multiple studies show that 80% of people who accept a counteroffer have left again within 6 months as money is only a short term fix to the core problems.

You could also suggest that the candidate does their own research online as they’ll quickly learn themselves that accepting a counteroffer is rarely ever a good idea.

When should I have this conversation with the candidate?

There are 2 key occasions that I recommend you have this conversation: The first during the initial meeting/interview with the candidate, and then again before you formally make them an offer to keep the negative reality of a counter offer fresh in their mind.

4)    Don’t leave it to chance: 

Just because you’ve already prepared the candidate to reject the counteroffer, it doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. Another critical step is to make sure you keep in close contact with the candidate throughout the resignation process. Ask the candidate when they will be formally handing in their resignation and agree to schedule a phone call with them shortly afterwards to check in and see how it went. This way, if a counteroffer was made to the candidate during their resignation process, you’ve probably caught it early enough to use the information you gained in step 1 to remind the candidate of their original motivations to leave before a rash or emotional decision is made. 

5)    Don’t give up:

Even if you perform all of the previously mentioned steps, there’s no guarantee that the candidate won’t accept a counteroffer and you could be back at square 1. If you find yourself in this situation, then the best thing to do is to keep in friendly contact with the candidate, especially for the first 6 months (remember the statistics!). If they’re a super star candidate and a great fit for your team, then the chances are you’ll still have a need for them in the future. Call them a few weeks later to check in and arrange to meet them for lunch/coffee/beers for a friendly catch up. Think about it: by keeping in touch with them, guess who they’ll be calling first when they’re back in the market within 6months time?

Conclusion:

Counteroffers are here to stay and are becoming more common. However, by educating yourself about the negative reality of counteroffers and following the 5 steps outlined above, you can greatly reduce the risk for a counteroffer getting in the way of a successful hire.

 

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WARM UP YOUR COLD CALLS – THE SECRET THAT EVERY AGENCY RECRUITER NEEDS TO KNOW

WARM UP YOUR COLD CALLS – THE SECRET THAT EVERY AGENCY RECRUITER NEEDS TO KNOW

agency

Enlightened by the Dark Side:

In 2013, after 8 great years of working in agency recruiting, I decided to change career paths slightly and switched to the ‘Dark Side’ (or ‘Light Side’ depending on which side you’re on!) and became an in-house recruiter at an international corporation with their global HQ in downtown Vancouver. Being on the Dark Side felt new and strange at first, but it didn’t take me long to adjust to my new environment and I’ve enjoyed the experience so much that I doubt I’ll ever go back to the agency world (or what I now refer to as the ‘Dark Side’). Working in house has allowed me to work with businesses at both the tactical and strategic level to design and execute successful recruitment campaigns for immediate and future need, which is a nice change from the transactional, ad-hoc based recruitment style of the agency world.

It also didn’t take long before the flood of cold calls from recruitment agencies wanting business from me started to fill up my voice mail, email and LinkedIn account. After 8 years of ‘hammering the phones’ for new business at agencies, it was an interesting and enlightening experience to be on the other side of a cold call, and I immediately realised how repetitive and annoying they are to listen to. Almost every day I’d have messages in my inbox or voice mail that sounded something along the lines of this:

“Hi Brian, I’m calling from XYZ recruitment agency and I see that you’re advertising for a ABC position. I specialise in the recruitment of ABC’s and have a great candidate for your role. Please call me back at…”

Sound familiar?

It sure sounded familiar to me as I was guilty of leaving the same message on voicemails all over Vancouver for the past 5 years! Sure, it worked sometimes, but not very often, which is no surprise seeing as all of my competitors were probably leaving the same message.

 

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… (drum roll please!)

What is the secret to building a solid client base for recruiters? After reflecting on this for a while, I’ve concluded that if I were ever to return to agency recruiting, I’d go about business development with an entirely different approach and here’s how:

1) The goal of the cold call should be to form a relationship with the HR representative or hiring manager as a CANDIDATE and not a CLIENT.

Sound simple? Well it is!

You’ll find that people are a lot more willing to take time and talk to you if you are offering them something. Instead of asking for business from a hiring manager or HR representative, offer to help them with their own career. In fact, make it clear that you don’t want their business and instead that you want to form a relationship so that you can confidentially notify them of career opportunities in the market. Don’t ask for something, instead give them something.

2) Don’t expect to get business for at least 6 – 12 months.

Go in with the expectation that you’re not going to get the business for at least 6 – 12 months and be ok with this. Take this time to build a deep relationship with them as a candidate and don’t be tempted to cross the line by offering to help them with their hiring.

3) Be genuine, keep it organic and don’t force it.

If you’ve done a good job of building a genuine candidate-based relationship with them, then you can be almost certain they’ll ask for your help eventually: “Hey, by the way, if you’ve got a great developer on your books then I’d be interested in seeing a resume…”

Also, if you’ve managed to place them in a new position during this time, the chances are that they’ll be picking up the phone to call you next time they look to expand their new team.

 

Conclusion:

Separate yourself from your competitors by trying this approach. Even if they don’t become a client in the end, at least you’ve gained a good candidate (and maybe even a friend!).If they do become a client, then they’ll probably be one of the best and most loyal clients you’ll ever have.

 

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