Will There Be Another SourceCon?

13 05 2009

Many of you have been asking questions about the next SourceCon. When will it be happening? Where is is going to be this year? Well, here are some answers to your questions!

You’ve asked if there will be another SourceCon, and the answer is YES – but it will actually be in 2010. Because of the current economic situation, many corporate budgets have been slashed for travel and education of recruiters and sourcers. SourceCon is gras-roots and self-funded (with no vendor sponsorship or exhibitors) – so in order to secure the hotel we have to guarantee the food and beverage and accommodation numbers. The reality is that if people do not attend we still have to pay for those rooms and meals. So, to mitigate the risk of a financial loss, the Event team has been asked to look towards February 2010 for hotel and meeting facilities in Atlanta. We are hoping to have the Grand Hyatt again, and will post as soon as dates are confirmed.

Please pass this message along to your colleagues and peers who have been wondering about SourceCon!

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Redefined: a Paradigm Shift for Talent Acquisition

13 05 2009

First, before I toss my reputation under the bus on what may get called rantish, let me assure you that no staffing executives were hurt in the making of this document.  I’m also quite a nice guy who offers honest respect to almost everyone, but I’m constantly rolling through ideas so I’m slightly opinionated.

As a preface and insurance policy for striking a sour chord with a few folks who might otherwise retain my services, here’s a short disclaimer regarding business culture.

Business in general could use a big therapy session. 

Most of the time ideas that should be expressed remain dormant and left unsaid.  And we wonder why nothing changes.  Much of our business culture is invested in perception more than reality.  Smoke and mirror tactics, with little risk and no miracles.  Imitated voices, dialects, email styles, and temperaments, all cloned from a fear of individuality.  But who will admit this? 

It’s for this very reason that CEO’s often rely on 2nd opinion staff.  Someone who can operate outside the realm of fear and risk telling it straight.  Risk being creative.  Risk truly thinking outside the box.  With all the pedigrees and MBAs, what a shame it takes such drastic measures to get the simple truth.  Yet the need exists. 

Perhaps business and capitalism in general would benefit from better PR within our own country if everyone felt they could truly speak as an individual and express their innate creativity. 

Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge.  Maybe we all benefit from that.

Now without further adieu, I hurl myself under the bus in search of truth.  At least it sounds deep.

Okay, I feel one reason recruitment research is still an unacceptably challenging, painfully unique sell (both when selling to search firms and to corporations alike) is because there still exists an old, infectious mentality within much of recruiting that believes every cog in the search wheel is tied directly to the placement.

Let’s unravel this for a moment.

While the pressures of recruiting and research are very different, research is in fact hard work and takes a great amount of skill to perform well.

Researchers are the messengers of data, not the users of data.  They are the intelligence arm which harvests information required by any well informed talent acquisition effort.  And like information long ago, a messenger has faith in a wise king’s ability to discern that the content of a message is no reflection on the messenger.  How it was delivered, yes.  Speed, presentation, and success in the overall objective up and to that point, yes.  But not beyond.  If the news is good news and the king is joyful so much better for the messenger, but that is simply icing on the cake. 

In real world terms today, once a researcher accrues 100 names that are spot on, there’s no guarantee any of the individuals will express interest in leaving their current organization.  In this hypothetical, 100 declines of interest is not necessarily a reflection on the research.  So what is the purpose for accumulating recruitment intel, and how do you sell the service if it’s not tied directly to the ultimate goal in staffing, the placement? 

Many seek to measure research success the same way we measure a recruiter’s success; through placements, candidate interest, etc. and therein lies the problem.

These are two distinct units with their own micro-goals.  Until this division of labor is understood and embraced, research is forced to operate under a pressure it was not designed for and the true value is lost between the forest and the trees.

Consider our CIA and military ground troops.  The CIA is not held to account for winning a war.  Air and ground forces ultimately do that.  But the military depends on intelligence to achieve that goal, and so 2 distinct groups with unique responsibilities and micro-goals work together towards a common endeavor.  In the same way, Researchers can be passionate partners towards that shared endeavor, but their role is unique and separate, with its own successes.

Data is data, it cannot do anything except in the hands of those who use it.  In strictest terms, talent acquisition research is synonymous with market research

I got my start as a Researcher at Futurestep/Korn Ferry back in 2004, and I was a recruiter before that.  I really enjoy working with RPO and executive search firms, so forgive me while I sell research as a full on replacement for both.  Look, if you’re selling for an RPO firm, you’re selling against another guy who needs the money too so how are we different?

Here it is…

When a company utilizes an outside firm for staffing, the incentive becomes defined by monetary gain as opposed to true, genuine concern for the welfare of the company.  We can dance around that or call it for what it is.  In other words, if I’m an external recruiter, I may care for my client but it’s because my client pays me to.

Name generation enables the corporation to do the work they do better than anyone, selling the candidate on working for them.  Name-gen challenges the corporation’s own internal team to be the first point of contact for a candidate, whether it’s the internal recruiter or better yet the actual hiring manager.  These lists make any market transparent for them, so they can systematically call or email any of the main players we bring back on a silver platter.

Example:

Imagine a Java developer at Pervasive Software here in Austin getting a call from a recruiter.  Like the 32 other calls he has had this week. 

Then imagine the same Java developer getting a call from the Senior Director of Development from a competing company like Troux Technologies.  Major difference.

Those are 2 totally different conversations.  The fix, if you will, for staffing is not changing the external staffing model from contingent to RPO to the latest trend — rather, it’s placing the responsibility for candidate contact and recruitment on the corporation.  That is how you get real hires that end up staying for the long haul. 

Why are more people not selling this into corporations?

Because external firms sell clients on their inability; the need for external help.  Research is just the opposite.  It enables the client to do what they do best. 

Remember, search firms are paid on placements.

As we discussed earlier, if I bring back 100 names, there is a theoretical chance not a single one will want the job. Here is the hard cold truth, this is not the fault of any one single person.  I have provided the market transparency (market research) from which a company can glimpse something of their reputation with their competition’s work forces.  If no one out of 100 passive job seekers from their top competitors wants to even talk to them, that is market research that tells them something.  Perhaps their location is bad.  Maybe they are known for poor management.  Or poor compensation.

By removing the responsibility for the placement and changing it to a responsibility for data, a corporation is in a much greater position to make key hires, even if sometimes it means the research results in none.

By using research, no one is paid to convince an individual to take a job.  What if a dating service begged you to take a mate for marriage when you knew it was in their financial interest to do so?  See the problem?  Research solves this from A to Z.  But because it can’t promise the placement, it’s still a hard sell when it should be the easiest.        

They say we don’t reinvent the wheel.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that’s because the wheel works.  Yet as long as I’ve been in it, the staffing industry has seemingly recreated itself several times over.  Take a moment to consider why that is.

Take a few more seconds.

It’s not always about the placement.  Sometimes a company learns more from its loses than its successes.  All throughout nature, harsh forces shape canyons and coal into beautiful things.  Triumph through adversity.  What if the staffing industry as a whole sold on that honesty instead of promising the moon to secure revenue?  Maybe we wouldn’t be right behind lawyers on that sink to the bottom of the ocean joke list?   

The market tells a story.  When a company knows the market, their hiring strategy is the response.  Researchers bring a talent market into transparency. It’s not designed to convince individuals to take jobs.  That responsibility is incumbent upon the party hiring. 

When realized in this broader context, the value of professional, strategic name-generation deepens as expectations are aligned with the market, instead of promises of placements where commissions and bonuses hang in the balance.

One reason the perceptions of research may have remained twisted stems from the irritations inherent in recruiting itself.  Because let’s face it, full lifecycle recruiting can be stressful work and to think that someone on the team should get paid well without having to suffer those same pressures seems unfair.  So research often gets hung on the same hook, so to speak.

To be totally honest, this not an issue that’s caused me a single concern while on a client engagement.  Not once.  My references will back that up.  But it is an issue when trying to sell the service to new clients.  I would love to be a better salesman for my company Horse2Water, but unfortunately sales has never been my strength.  If it’s yours, call me and let’s team up.  All the same, I believe with great confidence in my service and ability.

As a former corporate, RPO, and executive recruiter, I realize the value research holds at the fundamental level.  But the primary reason such an excellent service is not an easier sell rests in misplaced expectations.

I seek simply to right that wrong.  It may take a paradigm shift in staffing as a whole to accomplish that, but hey I’m not afraid.

 

 

horse2waterReagan Jones is the founder/Lead Researcher for Horse2Water. As an AIRS certified Recruitment Research professional with an extended track record for executing electronic research strategies in support of corporate, RPO, and executive search engagements, Reagan provides advanced internet search capabilities and e-dentification methodology, with a specialization that stems from a proven, combined experience in both executive search and high-level corporate recruiting.





Ask The Sourcing Dude and Dudette

12 05 2009

sourcingdudette

We’ve enlisted the help of the Master Sourcers themselves, The Sourcing Dude and the Sourcing Dudette, to answer some questions that are at the forefront of many of our minds. In each issue of The Source, they will respond to some of these questions.

If you have a pressing issue you’d like the Sourcing Dude and Dudette to answer, please email us and we will bring it to the SourceCon shrine for consideration.

“There are people in the sourcing world who are on both sides of the fence when it comes to social media. Some think they are great resources, others think they’re just a time suck. What are your thoughts on engaging in community using social media from a sourcing standpoint? Is it worth your time, or should we be spending our time elsewhere, such as Googling or searching resume banks?”

Since we all agree that Recruiting is akin to sales and marketing, the leveraging of social media has to be seriously considered as part of a company’s strategy. Not so much for pure sourcing, but rather, as part of a bigger strategy that a company needs around leveraging these solutions to help create brand awareness and mutually meaningful relationships with candidates.

Gone are the days of slick marketing that tries to give the impression that the company is perfect. Candidates in this day and age expect more transparency from an organization on what it is actually like to work for a company and do the companies values, opportunities and goals effectively marry up with the interests of the candidate.

Social media should be used as a vehicle to reach a targeted audience through both push and pull marketing that feeds up relevant and added value information to potentially interested candidates and acts as part of the conduit to help establish and develop candidate relationships.

In the future I believe these social communities will become better defined, more relevant and targeted to the needs of the demographics which will provide the Sourcer/Recruiter the ability to connect with potential candidates that have mutual interest with what a company has to offer. Do I think that social media and social networking sites will become the greatest source of hires in the next few years, No. Do I think that if a company correctly leverages social media and looks to establish targeted and relevant communities that build relationships based on mutual interest ahead of demand, could they one day become the greatest source of hires, Yes.

But in reality, until companies and recruiters understand that social media should be a vehicle to help promote brand awareness and create relevant and targeted relationships with future-interest candidates vs. thinking they are next big thing from which to source candidates, then I do not believe social media is the savior of us all.

 

Make sure you follow the Sourcing Dude (and Dudette!) on Twitter as well: @SourceConDude





Twitter For Recruiters

12 05 2009

Like most people whose age has crept somewhere north of 35, I didn’t get Twitter.  It’s not that I didn’t appreciate technology or understand the potential benefits of social media, it’s just that I could not wrap my head around what possible benefit I could get from knowing what a perfect stranger was having for a snack.  Turns out there’s much more to it than that, and in fact I’m just beginning to realize the potential Twitter has to build my business and increase the power of my ‘brand’ in the marketplace.  Hopefully this brief article will encourage you to investigate it as well and see if it can do the same for you.

First off, proceed with caution.  If you are like most Executive Recruiters I know, myself included, you were born with a natural attraction to bright and shiny objects.  Twitter can be pretty shiny, especially once you begin to accumulate followers and get some momentum going.  Don’t let it distract you from your business though, or you will soon be cursing it as an unnecessary ‘timesuck’.  Plan times, away from prime calling hours, to get set up and then carefully limit the amount of time you spend ‘tweeting’ throughout the day.

If you want to take advantage of Twitter, you need to participate, and you need to do it in a way that catches people’s interest.  I would recommend posting a couple of days worth of ‘tweets’ before you begin following anyone.  The reason for this is that often people you follow will follow you in return, and when they click on your profile you want them to see that you are an active member of the community.  A good goal is three new posts a day, spread out.  I like to post something as soon as I come in, something right before lunch, and then a final one right before I head out of the door.

Only you can decide what you ‘tweet’ about.  The classic approach is to just post about what you are doing right at that moment, but there are lots of other valid approaches.  The only cliché I would avoid is posting about food.  Turns out that no one cares what you are eating, unless you’re happy to be the host of that ‘Bizarre Foods’ show on the travel channel, and even then you’re on shaky ground.  If you want ideas, simply read what others have been ‘tweeting’ about, and pretty soon you’ll get the idea.

One unexpected benefit I found is that Twitter is an excellent source of industry news and personal development for me.  By following the leading websites and blogs in my niche, which happens to be the pharmaceutical industry, I’m often the first in my office to know when big changes are happening.  And by following other executive recruiters, I’ve found numerous training resources that I would not have otherwise known existed.

If you are going to get benefit out of Twitter, you will need to stick with it over time.  I personally decided to give it three months, and in fact it only took about 6 weeks for me to determine that it deserved a place in my long term strategy.  The litmus test of any new recruiting tool is whether or not it improves my relationship with my candidates and hiring authorities, and since I have a number of them as followers now, I can say that it is doing just that.

This article has been almost criminally brief, so I would encourage you to check out other resources and play around on Twitter yourself before you take the plunge.  I personally found the book ‘Twitter Power’ by Joel Comm to be very helpful.  If you decide to sign on, please follow me, I’m @jdavidgoldberg.  Good luck and happy tweeting!

 

 

Goldberg, David photoDavid Goldberg works with talented Pharmaceutical Marketing professionals and helps them find new opportunities for professional growth.  With over a 15 year career in business, technology and communications, David’s role with the BioPharma team emphasizes relationship building and strategic recruiting.  Prior to joining the team, David enjoyed a successful career as an Information Technology project manager, giving him insight into a wide variety of business models and experience with goal oriented problem solving.

David’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from Penn State University and a Master of Arts from the University of Phoenix.  While not at work, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading and watching Penn State football.





Get In The Loopt

11 05 2009

I’ve been playing Golf for seven years and I am bad. I’ve dropped cash on Ping Irons, Big Bertha Drivers, Dry-fit golf shirts, and even a Mack Daddy golf bag that I take family canoe trips in. No matter how good the equipment, I just suck palsy bad.

Most of the clubhouses around Atlanta have my picture posted on their bulletin boards. They warn their members via loudspeaker whenever I tee it up. My friends even started to wear a cup. “Dude, just throw the golf ball,” a friend once impatiently advised.

If you are a bad Golfer, no club, driver or putter can really make a difference. You’re just bad.

Unlike Golf, you can be a great Recruiter and downright lousy if you don’t have the right tools. Seriously, why would someone try to recruit with just a phone and phonebook these days? The tools matter, Sparky.

And, why should you use what everybody else is using? Sure, plenty of recruiters live for overpriced job boards and applicant tracking systems.

But let’s open the book on a whole new set of candidate sourcing tools. Let’s go mobile. Let’s get nuts! Let’s go crazy and go streaking! (Crickets chirping) Okay, maybe not that crazy.

I admit it. I’m a newbie at this whole thing, and my first foray into social mobile applications (app) was Buddy Mob. It’s GPS enabled too. I went hunting for potential candidates. Walking down streets, through parks, and dark scary alleyways – constantly broadcasting my identity and location to anyone who cared.

I quickly came to the conclusion the only people using Buddy Mob were those in search of booty or nudity shots. No thanks. I uninstalled Buddy Mob. I moved on.

Then I came across Loopt. It’s a GPS enabled social app that allowed me to connect with friends (or potential candidates). You can easily broadcast your location and update everyone with pictures and an instant message.

A cool thing about Loopt: you can also post to your Twitter, Blog, RSS feeds and Facebook accounts.

Getting started is easy. Download the application on your cell phone. Loopt works on most phones.

Next import your contacts from your phone or from Outlook, Google and MSN accounts. Then send them an invite. Once they’ve accepted your invitation to connect, you can give them real time updates and they can see your exact location. Tada!

Pay attention when importing contacts. You don’t want your crazy ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend accidentally in your Loopt network. They will know your every move.  Not good.

I’m daily bombarded with staffing agency calls. Loopt is a great for those professional stalkers I call Account Managers. With this mobile app, all those unreturned phone calls from pesky salesmen– they are waiting for me in the parking lot.

Here is how you should use Loopt:

Pick a conference where you could source potential candidates or clients. Set up a booth and give away an iPod or Wii. At this point you can ask them if they have a Loopt, Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace account. Let them know you will send them a text message or an email announcing an opportunity to connect via Loopt.

After they accept your Loopt invite, you can update them via Twitter, Facebook or RSS feeds.

The next wave in all this Social Media frenzy is portability but, patience young Jedi. Much is still to be learned and people need to catch on.

As it stands, a lot of Loopt users are hesitant to add you to their network. But with privacy controls being added with every update, you can be certain more and more people will eventually connect with you.

Now is the time to build the social web 2.0 empire. As your following grows on Twitter and Facebook sites, the social mobile apps will follow too. The time is coming when you can source candidates using mobiles apps or expand your client base with your mobile communities.

But for now, Loopt is a great stand alone sourcing tool and a new way to connect with potential clients. Have fun and keep me in the Loopt!

 

Michael GlennMichael Glenn has been recruiting for over 10 years. Currently, he is the IT Recruiting Manager for inComm and he has worked for companies such as Turner Broadcasting System,  and Oracle/Retek. Michael Glenn is passionate about using technology in full life cycle recruiting programs. He resides in Atlanta.





OFCCP? It’s Documentary, My Dear Sourcer!

11 05 2009

If you source candidates via the Internet, you need to be aware of EEO, AA, and the OFCCP.

I know, when it comes to the professional world, the superabundance of acronyms sometimes seems overwhelming—like a bizarre case of alphabet-induced vertigo. Even so, IMHO, the DOL’s FAQ page does have a rather WYSIWYG approach to the QAs pertaining to ASAP compliance with the ESA’s OFCCP regulation of EEO data for the CS. Check it out! It’s not just fluff.

Who or what is the OFCCP? It is a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor whose responsibility it is to monitor the compliance status of and resolve complaints against all employers having contracts with the Federal Government (Stony Brook University Glossary Of Affirmative Action Terms).

Since early 2006, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has been enforcing their February 6 ruling, which sets down explicit regulations on the collection, storage, and reporting of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) data for Internet applicants. The new regulations are specifically for contractors who do work for the Federal government, but I think the old adage holds true here. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. It is just another part of the long-established, national effort to eliminate prejudice in the hiring process, and the precepts behind it apply to us all, whether we are “Federal contractors” or not.

We Candidate Sourcers (CS) can actually see our part in all this when we familiarize ourselves with the rationale behind the OFCCP and its mission. I think the Department of Labor does a fine job of laying out the overall particulars of Executive Order (E.O.) 11246, which strives for equity in the arena of federally contracted employees. You can find the particular particulars relating to our neck of the woods as you peruse the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Department of Labor (DOL) Web site.

Because the OFCCP’s intent is to ban discrimination and to ensure that all individuals have an equal opportunity to become employed “without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, disability or status as a Vietnam era or special disabled veteran” (OFCCP Mission Statement), its star E.O. aims to prohibit Federal contractors from making unfair employment decisions on such bases. Furthermore, the Executive Order Program has an EEO Clause, which essentially requires contractors to take affirmative action so that everyone who applies to them for a job will be treated equally and without unfair bias.

Failing to adhere to OFCCP regulations is a serious matter and can land an employer in a lot of hot water. An audit, which could stem from either a discrimination claim or disparate ratios of minority vs. non-minority personnel within an employer’s organization, can be nightmarish…or it can be just another hurdle in the road. The difference lies in your preparation for such an occasion.

Like practicing preventive medicine (exercising good daily health habits and going to those regular check-ups), you have the power to adopt proactive measures as you source your candidates. Let me count the ways…. Save and archive, the following:

  • the search date
  • information about external databases and other sources you use to find resumes or names
  • all search criteria (include string search terms and any Boolean restraints)
  • the position you seek to fill, with full job details
  • resumes or job applications you view (especially of the candidate who meets basic qualifications or are considered by the contractor)
  • tracking notes related to each candidate (concentrate on prequalifying interview notes, whether you use e-screen, telephone, or other)
  • any notes concerning your rejection/prioritization of resumes

If it seems like a lot, consider various types of software that can automatically track this stuff for you. There are some good ones worth the expense, and as researchers, you will probably find one that suits your pocketbook. Weigh monetary cost against the time and frustration you save yourself.

The rest is up to your client, who should have a customized Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) in place. No one could reasonably challenge your selection of search criteria, as long as your terms are neutral and appropriate to the job description. Of course, there is always the expectation that those criteria do not produce disproportionate gleanings based on race, gender, or ethnicity.

So then, we can surmount this seeming beast by willingly and intelligently complying with those elements of it that even hint at directly affecting us, the CSs of the recruiting industry. Ready? Onward Ho (OH)!

 

Darlene Lamoureux is the owner and President of Data Mining & Solutions, LLC. Prior to starting DMS, Darlene was a stay-at-home wife and mother, striving to supplement her husband’s income by independently contracting short-term, computer-based projects and working in other modes of temporary employment because her availability to her family is very important to her. Starting DMS is a natural result of her collective academic and work experiences, affording her the ability to manage her God-given privilege to be at home and care for her family. Darlene has more than 25 years of research experience in a wide array of areas including academics, computer fluency, and cultural issues. She has done extensive research relating to adult education and distance learning and has helped to develop assessment items for a nationally recognized organization that specializes in career planning and workforce development.





April 2009 Newsletter Available For Download

10 05 2009

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