Archive for the ‘ Employer Branding – Bad ’ Category

Do You Want to Hire the Best Talent?

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At the beginning of 2010 I wrote a blog post called “Why would I want to work for your company?” and published it here. It must have struck a chord because I was asked to remove it because someone thought I was having a pop at them; would I do that? Being new to blogging, I duly complied. I then reposted it here in April 2011. Today it is my most visited (and I hope read) post. It is also the one that is searched for and found the most often using the words in it title. Obviously there are many that are asking the same questions.

This post is to take the subject of that post a bit further.

In that post I talked about poor employer brand and the lack of attention many companies give to promoting that brand to potential candidates, naïvely in favour of their hallowed corporate and consumer brands (which might suck by the way). Today it is all about engagement – at least some people are getting it. I’ve been banging on about networks, communities and candidate engagement since July 2006; the date I came into HR Resourcing. They didn’t really listen then, but back then I didn’t have such a loud voice.

Now it’s louder and I’m not alone either. People are listening and asking questions, hungry to learn. I go to seminars, conferences and have conversations with plenty of people who do a similar job to me and have many of the same challenges. The subject of Candidate Engagement, what it means, how important it is, the dynamics, psychology and methods of approach are all part of the discussions.

Now I don’t have all of the answers, none of us do, but it seems to me that there are some simple concepts to grasp.

  • Everyone is a potential employee if you get the proposition right for them
  • Not everyone is a potential applicant – some just won’t fit or have the skills you need but they are interested in what you have to say and will have opinions others will listen to
  • Everyone could be a consumer – piss a candidate off and it will cost you money
  • Talking costs nothing – tell them what THEY want to know, not what you think they do or just what you feel comfortable telling them.
  • Every employee you have has a story to tell, make sure the majority have a good one

That last point is a huge subject that covers a wide range of HR aspirations and failures. But I’m not going there today.

So how do we engage with the world and give people the information they need. In the more mature and up to date companies you’ll need to join forces with Marketing, Branding and Communications to create an environment that can be used to let everyone know what your organisation is all about. It products, its people, its ambition, its opportunities, events, initiatives, CR projects, the good news and the bad news. Get people interested in you and your company and they will be more interested. Some will even want to work for you. It takes time and effort and therefore money, but can you really afford not to? There are companies that you compete with in the quest for top talent that are doing this already.

Most Resourcing Departments don’t have someone with the title Social Engagement Manager or Candidate Engagement Specialist or similar. Why not? Mostly it’s because I’ve just thought of it myself! – far too many options available for answers on that one.

It’s a new concept; no one has any experience of it. It therefore scares those who are supposed to be in control because they can’t be and don’t have the skills and knowledge to work with it. It’s a new concept only in so far as people now see Social Media and new technology as enabler to get the job done. The concept is not new it’s been around since Man learned to speak. But with Social Technology we all see a route for a quick fix.

But don’t be fooled into believing the technology will be the complete answer; you will need to invest in the people who have the aptitude and attitude, who can use the platforms and then use them to engage.

There are platforms that are now emerging, some established like TribePad, that will actually help you with your engagement plan. They are all so new that when I thought about this blog post I searched the web using a host of different terms and search strings and all I was finding was job boards, aggregators or ATS providers. None of which seemed to offer you a platform to engage with the world and anyone who wants to engage with you properly yourselves – apart from TribePad. There are others, I know there are. I have yet to meet or find them. I welcome comments on this blog from those who offer a similar option I’d be interested. However you don’t have to use advanced platform to make a start; you can use Facebook, your own company website, Twitter, blogs as well as face-to-face events. There is so much that can be done.

Ok I’ve digressed. In my previous blog I was stating that we have to give the public more reason to want to join our companies. We need to engage with people in person, face-to-face or online we need to give them what they want with targeted or subscribed distribution of information. We have to be available, ready and willing to answer the tough questions now. It’s no longer acceptable that just because you are one of the biggest companies in the world, with one of the best brands that people will want to work for you. Why would they when you don’t engage at all or give them an idea of what it’s like, what our culture is like, what opportunities exist for them to help their careers?

Engagement is not about just giving a candidate a good experience during the interview process or the lifecycle of a job, it’s about fully embracing the concept and looking at everyone as a potential employee. They are no longer candidates, they are followers or interested parties who need to be given a reason to keep coming back to your site or platform or community. They have to want to be there, they want to experience what you are, they want to be informed and if you get it right they may also apply for the job.

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Resourcing – Why Chop Logs with a Teaspoon?

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This weekend I spent loads of time in my garden. About 4 hours on Saturday and about 3 on Sunday. It was time well spent.

I had a list of things I wanted to get done, the sun was shining, it was warm and dry, perfect weather for some hard work.

In the spring of 2010 we had six very large Ash trees felled in various parts of the grounds.  Two of the trees were easily 30 meters tall and were felled inside the garden with no way to get them up the very high steep bank through the woods and out of the garden.  I managed to get some of them cleared last year but had left the rest in piles to season where they fell.  Time to move some more; cut, split and stack them in the stables, (we don’t have horses, it’s just a giant storage shed), ready for winter use.

I’d put this particular job off for most of the summer hoping for a long hot spell to really dry the wood out.  That and the fact it was going to a long hard job and I didn’t really fancy it at all, but with cut and split logs costing in the region of £100 a tonne if purchased it made sense to use what was already ours. So to work.

With my in-ear headphones and the iPod on shuffle I just got on with it. A chainsaw and a bow saw on Saturday, an axe and hatchet on Sunday.  I was having fun, all the time the number of tree trunks and branches from around the place were being reduced to the size we could use in the house.  Whilst I was doing this I was thinking, amongst other things, about my next blog post.  Each time I latched onto a theme I just couldn’t make it work.

Then on Sunday it occurred to me.

I just spent hours reducing trees to 20cm logs to burn in an open fire.  Whilst it was most certainly hard work it had not been difficult at all, in fact it was easy.  I was methodical.  I paced myself.  It occurred to me was that I was enjoying what I was doing, I had the enthusiasm and energy to get the job done and I had the correct tools for the job.

Of course my mind linked it instantly to Resourcing and how organisations big and small don’t generally give it the priority it needs, don’t have the appetite, energy or the right tools to do it right.  To do anything right, there has to be an appetite, enthusiasm and energy to do it well and the right equipment to do it effectively and efficiently for the right results have to be available.  I could have created the same amount of fire logs with a bow saw and a regular saw and just an axe but it would have taken me so much longer and with much more effort and lots of pain.  This is a task I have done for year and love it! I know what I am doing and have the right approach, tools and technique.  Yes anyone can do it but you have to know what you are doing.  I’ve seen the damage done by poor attention to the detail and poor technique; it’s not pretty

When it comes to Resourcing the appetite comes from the leader of the organisation.  Many executives say it is a priority but few give it anything other than lip service and it tends to get marginalised because outdated attitudes to sourcing and attraction are cemented firmly in days gone by, i.e. pick the phone up and call and agency or search firm. (A bit like using a rust old and blunt hand saw).  This last sentence assumes it is recognised as an essential and specialist business function in the first place. I doubt very much that it is in the majority.  There are many companies that are happy for the hiring managers to leverage personal networks, place job adverts and engage with agencies; and for many this works well.  Whilst it doesn’t actually add any real value to the business it puts bums on seats.  Sadly for the majority of hiring managers and HR practitioners that’s all it’s about.

Equipping a Resourcing function properly is key to its success and essential to it adding far more value to the business than most people think it can.  It doesn’t start with simply giving someone the responsibility to recruit for your company.  It starts with a commitment to do it properly and to recognise that it is something that you need to invest in to allow the proper policies and procedures to be put in place and then constantly refined, retuned and modified to keep pace with a constantly changing landscape.

It also takes time to get it right for your company.  There is no overnight fix, but there can be a dramatic and identifiable improvement within a reasonably short space of time.  I’m talking within the current accounting period.

The one big mistake that many hiring managers, HRDs, HR Managers and company executives make when it comes to Resourcing is thinking it is easy and that anyone can do it.

Last year I asked an audience made up of about 100 HR management types “How many of you have personally been responsible for Rescouring someone in the last year?”

All but a few put their hands up.

Then I asked them “How many of you did that without using agencies or search firms?”  Only three hands stayed up.

I’m not sure what they thought they were doing but it wasn’t Resourcing, but it was easy.  I told them that the only thing they had proven to me was that they knew how to use a phone.  Only one or two of them had actually done the resourcing, all of the others had offloaded it to 3rd parties.    Now this is not a fault at all but simply an indication of what many think Resourcing is all about.

Recruitment, Talent Acquisition, Resourcing, Staffing – call it what you will, is not a one dimensional function and it does not follow a simple linear process that has a clear beginning and an end. To be sure that your business doesn’t suffer because of the bad hires you have made or the bad impression you have made in the market it must be given specialist continued focus and attention.  It is a front line customer and consumer facing function.  Treating it as anything else could be neglecting your responsibilities.

Providing your company with the right tools means applying the right priority to the function, finding the right people, paying them what they are worth, the right training, giving them the appropriate budget to use the appropriate technologies and platforms and give them the corporate support to ensure they are not marginalised by HR, Sales, Marketing or any other function.  Think about it!  An effective Resourcing team might speak to more people every week, selling your company to a wider audience than any other department in your organisation.  Do you really want them to be doing a bad job of it?   You get the right people with the right attitude and attributes and give them respect they will both save you money and add to your company’s bottom line.

With the right tools for the job you get a job well done, you get added benefit in terms of corporate reputation, the delivery of the right skills at the right time for the business and is done efficiently.  The best talent in the market will give you more respect and as such could well put you at the top of their list of places to work when they are ready.  And as with anything done right you will get value for your money.

I am looking for work at the moment and know from first-hand experience how bad the Resourcing/Recruitment processes are in companies if left to the HRBPs, HRDs or generalists. It’s not the individuals’ fault all of the time; it’s probably the priority given to it.  There is a simple answer – Hire me I’ll sort it out for you.  I can be contacted here

Let me just add this; if it was easy to do, why do so many of you get it so wrong all of the time?

Music of the Day – In Loving Memory by Alter Bridge

Thanks for reading

Recruitment Fraud – Action Needed?

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A week or so ago there was a topic that was posted on The FIRM’s discussion forum that was quite alarming. One of the members, an in-house UK based recruitment manager at a large company had flagged the issue of Recruitment Fraud.

I suspect that label could cover a multitude of sins, some very minor that we might experience every day and some major. This one falls into the latter category. It would appear that criminal gangs have been targeting the jobs market to collect personal information about people. In many of these cases it appears that the perpetrators of such fraud are creating spoof corporate websites and enticing people to apply for jobs through them. Of course the ‘candidates’ think they are applying for legitimate jobs at well known global companies In doing so, the targeted members of the public are asked to provide a range of personal information that would be relevant to a job application, but being given to a criminal company puts them at serious risk.

These fraudsters have also claimed to be able to arrange visas including travel and accommodation, couriers, legal advice or other services. The perpetrators can get quite clever providing alternate contact info for another spoof department or transferring calls. All with the objective of convincing the ‘applicant’ of their legitimacy and to con them into supplying personal information and money in the belief that a legitimate visa will be issued.

In addition the fraudsters have been known to send what appears to be real job offers to these ‘applicants’. In a recent situation one company actually had people turn up to start work. As you can imagine this caused a lot of frustration and disappointment to all involved.

It seems that it is all very convincing with many overseas workers looking to migrate being targeted at potentially great expense to them.

Many companies including RBS, British Airways and Shell ( only did a very brief search) are now putting notices on their corporate careers sites to inform people of how they advertise and the processes they follow during a formal recruitment lifecycle. There is of course no indication that they have been targeted or if they are just acting ahead of the game.

This is a serious issue and thought it wise to raise awareness of the issue to a wider audience and to suggest that everyone starts to think of a page or statement that we can put on their corporate careers web site. Not only are the individuals victims of this but so would your company be if this happened to you or them. It would damage your reputation and the level of trust people have in your corporate, customer/consumer and employer brands.

Many of you will be aware of this, but if not I hope it helps

Is Measuring the Cost of Hire sufficient to prove Effectiveness?

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As every in house recruiter knows there is a priority to reduce the cost of hire. If you don’t then you should. Many of the initiatives that flow through the corporate landscape are justified before or after by the forecasted or realised cost savings; whether it is creation of a PSL, a new ATS, increased head count to reduce use of agencies or to reduce time to hire etc., it all comes down to RIO.

There are those in house recruiting structures that strive for a perfect direct souring model; one that is motivated by the business need to reduce agency and search dependency and therefore the cost of hire. There is nothing wrong with that at all and for many would be a sound justification.

But what about considerations given to the quality of hire? Have you given thought to how much it would cost you to make a Bad Hire? Estimates vary on this one from a few months of Total Cost to Company (TCC) to 3 years. TCC is salary plus bonus plus Fringe Costs (in a sales environment add in commission guarantees well). The reason it can be so high is not only the cost of the original hire and the wasted salary to that person, but the cost of the replacement, the lack of productivity the poor hire contributed and then the training and ramp up time of the replacement hire.

If your poor hire is also potentially one of your consumers then the impact of the poor hire could run into millions of lost revenue over the lifetimes of that person and their extended family. It is a stretch I know, but a risk easily calculated. Another impact will be the detrimental impact to the Employer Brand of your company. Now I appreciate that Employer Brand is promoted, protected and impacted on so many levels but the experience a candidate has or employee has (regardless of how long they stay with the company)will without doubt influence other people’s perception of your company as a place to work as part of their career aspirations.

What might be the impact if the poor hire was a senior member of management or in a high profile position? Wouldn’t that have an adverse impact on the reputation of the organisation not only from its customer but its investors as well?

With these thoughts in mind, is a focus on the reduction in the unit cost per hire a real indicator of improvement and gained efficiencies? Shouldn’t we be looking at the seemingly unquantifiable ‘Quality of Hire’ and promotion of or impact to ‘Employer Brand’? Both tend to get overlooked outside of the recruiting teams, possibly because the benefits can only be measured over a longer period.

Focusing on the Candidate Experience and the Quality of Hire, obviously with an eye on the costs are key considerations for me because they offer potentially massive long terms gains for the business as well as the reputation of my teams, whereas the cost of hire is typically a short term metric relative to the past or current fiscal period.

So is Measuring the Cost of Hire sufficient to prove Effectiveness? I would say No. What do you think?

A work in progress and interesting to hear thoughts on this, especially what areas can positively affect the Candidate Experience, Employer Branding and Quality for hire?

Social Media, yes;
Employee Engagement, yes;
Referral Programs, yes

– what else?

What does the Recruitment Industry Compete on?

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In a departure from #myjobhunt blog series

Recently I was asked “What do you think are the key factors that the recruitment industry competes on?”

My Answer:

You have to think about what you are competing for. Are agencies and search firms competing for the potential candidates or are they competing for the actual deal with the customer? They should have both in mind always.

Of course if competing for the candidates you have to be able to present yourself as credible and effective. An agency has to present itself as knowing the market as well as the ins and outs of the customer they are representing to the candidate, without the hard sell. They have to know all there is to know to ensure that the candidate has sufficient information to determine if the job and company is suitable. Also armed with the customer knowledge the agency recruiter will be able to determine accurately if a candidate can be turned into a credible applicant in front of the customer.

Competing at the customer level we look for agencies or suppliers that will be able to represent our brand, our company and the position we are recruiting for as if they work for us; much like a sales channel does for products. If a search firm or agency can show they have the ability to understand our business, our processes and our culture then they will be equipped to sell our proposition to each candidate and be of greater service and thus value to all parties.

To compete we all have to be in the position to represent ourselves to each other and meet the expectations of all involved. If as a customer I respect the agency or search firm – and more importantly the person I am dealing with – I will invest the time to educate them and equip them to better represent me. In doing so the agency or search firm will be armed to earn the trust of the candidate. The candidate will have confidence that they will be represented to the customer and the customer will have the confidence that their brand is in safe hands. The customer will appreciate that candidates from that particular source will be thoroughly vetted and closest to the mark.

So answer to the question; the industry competes on knowledge and credibility……………oh yeah, for the poorly managed in-house PSL structures its all about price and not quality of service and the poorly equipped agencies all compete on speed of service rather than quality.

I welcome thoughts and comments on this one please

Recruiters Brand Protection – shameful

This isn’t part of the the lifecycle progression however for those who read my last posting I wanted to use this particular article from The Daily Mail as an example of the worst case of brand projection and brand promotion you are likely to find. If this Mr Winn wasn’t so offensive and full of bile you could compare such a faux pas to Ratner, but this is so far from common decency …….

In case you are not aware Mr Winn is the owner of a business who appears to have compared service men and women on duty in the UK armed forces to paedophiles and drug dealers and refuses to even consider then for employment as a result.

Please take a moment to think about the brave devoted people he has insulted and the poor people who work(ed) for him!

Action should be taken against people like this