Posts Tagged ‘ candidate ’

Recruiters – What are your 3 Burning Questions?

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A month or so ago Emma and I were invited to present at the End of Year Recruitment Conference held this last week and organised by The Recruiter Network. This would be the first time we had stood up as The FIRM in a public environment and wanted to do something that was in keeping with our core values – we chose “sharing knowledge”.

There are many ways in which standards can be raised for hiring managers, recruiting practitioners working in-house and for sales people working at agencies; arguably the biggest of these is by gaining an understanding of how we all work. It is probably fair to say that very few agency staff know what it is like to work in house or what the roles and responsibilities of recruitment or HR practitioners are and the challenges they have.  There are guesses; some right, some wrong, but rarely known

With this in mind we felt a little information sharing could go a long way. If the in-house function is performing well, has the sophistication, resources, competencies and desire then the use of agencies will be eliminated in that organisation. However, I doubt very much that this model is widely adopted and that the vast majority of companies will chose to use the services of agencies for one reason or another. Let us remember though that the vast majority of companies do not have a dedicated competent in-house Rescouring teams and as such companies choose to use agencies. Hiring managers who manage their own process typically won’t have a clue how to resource properly, despite what they themselves will think and as such will tend to use an agency or worse, multiple agencies for expedience. Nothing wrong with that if it works well for all parties.

So to our presentation. The idea was to ask agencies what their Burning Questions are and discuss some of the reasons the questions needed to be asked and hopefully provide answers and insights.

1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as a recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

The questions were posted on Surveymonkey. Using Twitter and the UK Recruiter newsletter we invited agencies to ask away.

We were given a 50 minute speaking slot at the start of the conference and as such unfortunately we couldn’t discuss every question asked. Some were just too stupid anyway.  These are the ones we addressed or at least we tried to on the day. Thanks to the discussion in the room amongst the delegates we sort of ran out of time.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Question 1. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask your customers (hiring managers)?

  • What is more important, cutting costs or finding the right candidate?
  • What would be your ideal Agency/Customer relationship?

Question 2. What are the 3 Burning Questions you, as the recruitment consultant, would like to ask HR or Resourcing teams at your customers or prospects?

  • Do you have favourite agencies/recruiters and why?
  • Why do you block access to hiring managers, even when we are a recognised and trusted partner?

Question 3. What are the 3 biggest issues or frustrations you have when dealing with HR or Resourcing functions?

  • Feedback …………or a lack of it
  • Poor job descriptions or briefings on the positions
  • Not responding to telephone calls (messages) or emails

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From many of the questions it is clear that some agencies really do want to learn in order to help their customers. It was also clear from some of the reactions in the room to the answers we were giving that agencies simply do not know nor can they comprehend the scale of some of the challenges in-house people have – there were gasps after Emma gave one example of what her teams are dealing with on a daily basis. It is also clear that many companies would do better by engaging more with their suppliers and teaching each other how to work together.  Better results for all I suspect will be realised.

I welcome further questions

I welcome further answers

If you would like to discuss any of these questions or any others that you have please let me know. My contact details can be found here.

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.

#myjobhunt – Being Inspired & Being Confident is Crucial

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

Today I was inspired.

It happens more to me than many people I know. It comes from the people I count as my friends and the people I meet or chat to by phone.

I had 6 major discussions today; 3 in person and 3 by phone. Each one was different and each left me with things to think about and reflect upon.

As many people know I’m looking for work at the moment and I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear that it is not easy and at times my head is all over the place. I know I am not alone. Yet it is days like today and the conversations I had, that bring the focus back. I’m not going to go into the detail, but the inspiration each of them gave me was huge.

I don’t mind admitting that I got up this morning feel quite down and frustrated with #myjobhunt 2011, you may have got that from my last post. Yet I got the station and onto the train. One of the things that only a few know about me is that I love listening music to the point that I can get very lost in it and generally take my in-ear headphones everywhere with me. I tend to like it loud and I tend to like it very heavy, for much of what I listen to anyway. This morning was no different and yes it was loud. As a result by the time I’d got to London my mood was on the upside

The first meeting was a chat with Doug Shaw, someone I’ve got to know through Twitter, ConnectingHR and at SocRecCamp. A top bloke. Genuine and supportive. It was a simple coffee to share ideas and explore a few thoughts, no agenda, just chatter. Time flew past and I had to leave to make my way to my next appointment, scheduled as an interview. I was buzzing, not from the coffee but from the conversation I’d just had.

I don’t get nervous about much but this interview was different, not because of what is at stake in my life but because of whom I was interviewing with. But I was up for it. Over the next hour I had another conversation with someone who shares my passion for what we do and who gets how to engage with people. We shared our thoughts and he probed to find out what I thought on certain issues and practices around Resourcing and Talent. It was a good introductory conversation which had to come to a halt after 80 mins, both of us acknowledging that we could have spent all day on the various subjects and issues we face in our daily jobs. Now if I get this particular position this is the chap I would report to. It’s pretty good to know that your potential boss gets it too.

I had a spring in my step as I strolled across the West End of London to my next meeting.

This one was with a lady from APSCo who I’d met and shared ideas and thoughts with previously over the last two or three years. We talked about the complaints or moans members of The FIRM have about agencies, along with issues that the agencies have when dealing with their customers, whether HR, Resourcers or hiring manager. Typical and expected chatter. It wasn’t an entirely pleasing subject to chat about given there is unlikely to be a simple answer to the issues we all have, nor is there ever likely to be a remedy to them. All we can do is discuss them and try our best to improve how we do things. What was clear for me however as I walked to the Tube was that if we all focus completely on doing the best we can, in the right and appropriate way, as expected by everyone then it can only be better. Anyway that’s another subject for another day…..maybe.

What was good about this meeting was that it I was given the inspiration to possibly make a difference and it was in my power as an individual to do something about it. Which I will be doing over the next week or so, if I can find the time

Whilst I’ve been looking for work I got to know of a number of others that are in the same situation; three of whom I had met for the first time this year. I am pleased to say that these three people, all in HR have in the last 4 working days secured new jobs. One of whom announced her success today adding to my good feeling. I won’t out them just yet as I am not sure how public they have made their news, but brilliant news and many congratulations to you all; G, S and J.

I suppose what I am saying with this post is that it is okay to be a little down and a little frustrated and a little confused when job hunting. It’s a serious business. But be true, stay focused and believe in yourself and know that you are good at what you do and you’ll have days like this too and soon those days will turn into the kind of days my three friends have had in this last week. Be inspired.

I started this post by saying I was inspired today. I was. I’d started the day feeling pretty grim about things but then as the day wore on I got back on the balls of my feet and started to feel good, and by the time I got home I was buzzing. It was a day when I got focus and confidence back. And it’s not just today either. The support and encouragement and great friendship I have received this year is amazing. Last year blew me away but this year is amazing. Thank you all.

My name is Gary, I’m looking for a new job and I am good at what I do.

Music of the Day: BU2B by Rush (also inpsired by Doug, a Rush fan too)

thanks for reading

Will You (We) Ever Change? – #myjobhunt week 3

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I’ve not had the opportunity to write too much about #myjobhunt over the last couple of weeks – to be honest I haven’t had much inclination.

Last year I was on gardening leave and not required to get up a prescribed time. Nor did I have anything other than job hunting to do each day. I did seem to get a ridiculous number of chores that seemed to spring up from nowhere. The sun was even shining then. This year I have a job to do, a job that I enjoy so my priority is to that job. I also have to admit part of me has been in denial over the last month, hoping and to a certain extent certain I would get a reprieve and get a last minute extension to my contract. Alas this was a bit foolish on my part. The reality of the situation is that my boss on the first day had told me that it was unlikely to last more than a year. I knew the parameters and in September 2010 I was prepared for that.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the scope and scale of the job ahead of me and how much needed to be done. Nor was I prepared for the team in which I would work. I was soon thinking of myself in terms of a long term employee and lost sight of the end point. Wishfully thinking that I would be made a permanent employee.

So when informed at the end of June that it was almost certainly coming to an end I was more than a little disappointed; even that’s an understatement. Yet the day came when we had to tell everyone. It made it very real at that point.

In the last post regarding #myjobhunt 2011 I mentioned that I had already started interviewing and at that time I was quite advanced with one company. There were a few other opportunities that I had started but only the one that had moved. This one job is very interesting to me on so many fronts. It ticks many boxes for me. You can therefore imagine how I felt with a limited pipeline of opportunities and a job I was excited about after 4 interviews, to be told that they were not going to be making a decision for another couple of weeks because they had two other people to interview.

Or maybe you can’t.

I had to admit that since the last interview on the previous Friday I’d felt that I didn’t perform well in the interviews, there were plenty of gaps or things I should done better or differently, maybe. As such my initial reaction was one of rejection. I clearly hadn’t done enough to give them a reason not to interview others. But thinking about it over the weekend and putting myself in the position of Hiring Manager I had to admit that interviewing all of the potentially suitable candidates makes perfect sense. So whilst still disappointed I started this last week not feeling rejected.

However this delay, as well as the fact that everyone now knows I will be leaving at the end of Sept spurred me into action.

I had a few calls with agencies and search companies with very predictable results. “oh sorry that job has gone” or “we’ll call you back” or “you don’t have enough experience” – One or two of which WILL be mentioned in a blog post once I have secured a job, so if you work for an agency and I have spoken with you this last 2 weeks and you think you may have been a touch misleading or up your own arse, you have a little while to make amends before I name and shame you.

Two weeks ago I’d received a referral from a friend in The FIRM which I followed up immediately. I further followed it up this week and have been rewarded with an interview soon. I also applied directly for another role last week, followed it up this and also now have an interview. Both of these interviews are with the companies directly, which is pleasing. Progress.

One disappointment however is a role applied for two weeks ago via a company’s career site. The job was posted by a member of The FIRM and therefore I expected a bit of either professionalism or courtesy. Sadly no response has been received to date. This week I also connected with her on LinkedIn and sent her a direct email. Still no response. Again I will be blogging about it and them once I have a job.

You (We) must do better. Recruiters or agency staff are constantly getting criticised for poor responses and lack of engagement which they all seem to want to defend. Yet my experience tells me that you (we ) don’t have a leg to stand on. WE have got to do better. One thing that it seems I need to scream loudly is that if I apply to you for a job don’t ignore me. Not only am I applying for a job that if successful could see me as your boss, but it is rude. I am not a serial applicant and every job I apply for is relevant and appropriate to me and my experience and competencies.

Rant over. I feel more positive now because I am making a real effort. I have clearly stated that I am interested in one particular job, however a delay, as any, gives me the opportunity to have my head turned by others. I am ignoring the doubts, or at least trying to and getting on with giving myself that “choice” I wrote about last year. If fortune favours me and the other candidates don’t impress or fall short and they want me, then I will have to decide at that time. Right now however I don’t have a choice and need to surge forward.

Tomorrow is another day, thankfully the last day of the week before a weekend and a recharge.

As with last year I have received the most amazing amount of support and help from my friends online and offline, some of whom are in the same position as me and possibly looking at the same jobs – I am still happy to share with them too, unless of course I am in an advanced situation with a prospective employer. Good luck to everyone and please let me know if I can be of help.

Having Multiple Versions of your CV – the discussion continues

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]

Last weekend I asked a simple question on Twitter, it got an immediate reaction from many which inspired me to post the same question on the blog. “Do CVs Contain the Truth?”

Of course we all hope they do, we know that not all of them do.

There have been some great comments and discussions on- and offline. When I created the post I was thinking as both a candidate, which is what I am and as a hiring recruitment manager, which is also what I am.

From the candidates perspective I only have one linear history of experience and in my CV I always highlight what I have done and what I have achieved, all of it, over the last 10 years. I am only going to apply for jobs that are relevant to that experience, to do anything else I would be deceiving myself that I could be something that I am not.

This is a change for me. In previous years when I was selling hardware and software, based on advice from a so called recruiting and career expert, I had a number of CVs; one highlighting my direct sales experience, a second highlighting my channel sales experience, and other highlighting my management experience, all created in order to justify the application to a particular job, a job that I was probably not suitable for. None of them actually suitable for me either. I learned my lesson. As a candidate I had to know what I am good at, what I want to do and what I bring to the next job. One of the key things I look for when considering a new role is what that job or company can do for me; how will it help me develop.

I am looking for a new job now and can see how two CVs might help find a job, especially if I haven’t find THE job; one to highlight my ability to fill Reqs and the other more strategic and management focused. But for now I only have one CV. The CV. The history.

From a Recruitment Managers perspective I don’t actually care. I only see a CV, I don’t know if it is one of one or one of many. I don’t care. It is what it is and I have to make a judgement and decision on it. What I do care about is being able to read a CV and believe it is a true representation of a candidate’s experience. If I start to have doubts then I won’t be inclined to proceed with the candidate.

I was interested in the comments from my fellow in-house recruiters and recruitment managers who said that they would rather read a CV that has points specific and relevant to the position applied for highlighted, to them I ask “how would you know that what you are reading has been created for you?” “How do you know they have read and understood the job description?” There is no way of knowing at all.

If we encourage candidates to alter CVs to highlight skills and experience simply touched upon, are we not asking for all CVs to be documents of aspiration? In doing so, are we then not diminishing the value of a CV as well as our ability to rely on them as a testament to skills, experience and knowledge genuinely earned and learned?

There is no right or wrong to this practice. It is simply a personal preference.

But it is worth thinking about it’s worth, rather than just accepting it as a good idea.

Do CVs contain the truth?

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Is tailoring a CV to fit a job or a company dishonest? Is it deception?

Do we as Recruiting Professionals or hiring managers not want to know that what we are reading is the absolute truth and not just a version of it?

As a job hunter I only have one stream of experience that might be relevent to the roles I am applying for so don’t see the benefit, but ……………………….

Discuss.

The “Apply with LinkedIn” Button – End of the World?

[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]
When I read the announcement last night by Gigaom about LinkedIn’s new Apply with LinkedIn button my first thought was “oh dear what are they doing now?”. My next thought was “how will this integrate with eRecruitment systems to the point that the profile information can be parsed into the appropriate fields in the system?”

As taxing as it was I had a further think. eRecruitment systems rely for the most part on applications from people and the submission of CVs which are then stored within a ring-fenced environment to be acted upon or searched upon at a later date. There is a fundamental problem that has caused anguish to candidates, software vendors and users of these solutions for as long as they have existed. They are cumbersome to use; typically the design by the user rather than the software vendor is at fault; they require the candidate to upload a new CV every now and again and they require the employer to store surplus data, which then in turn means compliance with various regulations related to Data Privacy and Protection legislation.

However if we dispensed with CVs altogether (not likely to happen but history is full of improbables realised) and just used LinkedIn (or as the BBC might say “other platforms are available”, but for the sake of this post I will refer to them all as LinkedIn) profiles as our career resume then all that needs to transfer between LinkedIn and the employers systems is a stub/pointer.

The impact points I see are

  • Candidates will have one accurate profile to maintain that is available to all
  • It will possibly reduce the instances of fraudulent CV claims
  • It will vastly reduce (not likely to eliminate) the number and unilateral dependence on CV’s
  • LinkedIn profiles will become more robust and dependable
  • eRecruitment systems will become challenged to offer something new rather than just a rework of the same old technology processes that have been around for 20 years
  • The profiles can be linked to different talent groups within companies and tracked and communicated with accordingly
  • Arguably it could signal the end of the eRecruitment systems, as we know them (or completely?)
  • It will definitely hit the agencies hard – let’s face it if there is one group of beings who love to think Candidate Ownership it is them. (I’m smirking already!)
  • No more mass storage requirements for employers to manage
  • Job boards are likely to have to adapt to the openness or their relevance and value is likely to fall away. Only the nimble will survive
  • This concept married with the Recruiter Tool get closer to a total solution for employer and candidate

I see so many advantages for this in the corporate space that I am excited by the possibilities.

On the down side it could encourage and increase in the number of applications received by a company. A problem scenario for already swamped recruiting teams. In the announcement made last night it claims that LinkedIn will provide some pre-screening questions to enable on-line filtering – they are never likely to be as robust as the specific filtering questions required by companies, when you consider the questions needed to be asked of applicants in the Financial Services, Pharma and Security spaces and you get the picture. One possible answer to this would be full integration with the eRecruitment systems to ensure that when the application is made using the button the eRecruitment system filtering then takes over.

Another issue is the question about the LinkedIn platform and its overall identity. LinkedIn is moving further and further away from a networking platform to a job hunting or candidate sourcing platform – dare I call it a career board. Is this a bad thing though? It’s flexibility as a networking platform is restricted by is linear structure and the controls it imposes and let’s face it, it knows what it has in terms of potential candidate data so why would it want to be anything else?

I am haven’t been a big fan of not using CVs but I can see and embrace the logic behind it. I know that it will take a while for many of the hiring managers embedded in traditional ways of doing things to adjust. It will also take companies a while to adopt and trust the profiles, it is change and a challenge to tradition after all. Also don’t forget that there be a huge challenge to the regulatory compliance people who are so intransigent and even resistant to change at this level.

All this aside I am in favour of doing away with the dependence on a CV and the assumption that one is needed and using LinkedIn (or similar) profiles in their place (so long as candidates recognise that they have to provide the data in the profile in the first place.

So after writing that little lot and having had a chat with LinkedIn today I can confirm that this is all speculation. Nothing has been announced or confirmed by LinkedIn …………yet!