Posts Tagged ‘ Recruitment ’

Which Is The Best ATS for Me?

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One of the most common questions I seem to get asked or see being asked by many is paraphrased along the lines of “we are looking to get an ATS, which one would you recommend?”

It’s a very good question. With so much choice out there and an increasing number of users with opinions and experience of one or more products, it makes sense to ask for help and advice at the outset.  Yet asking such a question is a bit like asking how many bricks are needed to build a house.  It is just not possible to answer the question in isolation.  When building a house there are an abundance of issues and objectives to be established and prioritised before the design and architecture can be decided upon, let alone constructed. Much in the same way, when you feel you need to acquire technology to help you resolve a problem or organise your processes it is essential you know why you are embarking on such a project in the first place and once selected, what you plan to do with the ATS.

This kind of planning and forethought is fundamental, yet this is hardly ever the way in which companies or, in particular their HR Departments proceed when in an apparent rush to select and acquire a shiny new ATS.  Now I should make it clear at this stage that every organisation will need to go about things differently and this will be based on a number of things but in theory any justification for budget spend and intention to acquire a new tool should consider the following:-

  • Business Objectives
  • Strategic Workforce Plan
  • Size, scale and scope of project
  • Budget
  • Resources, capabilities, skills
  • Previous experience and knowledge of similar projects

And don’t forget one size does NOT fit all.  What works well for one organisation won’t necessarily work for you and vice versa.  Whilst companies may choose to use software from the same vendor, their experiences of it and the benefits they derive from it will vary considerably. Such variations will be entirely dependent on how the system, or should I say the required solution, has been designed and architected prior to and during implementation.  It is also true to say, sadly, that the level of service received from the software vendor will vary depending on the nature of the contract, price paid and the relationship that you have established with them.  So many variables.

In the last 5 years there has been a growth in the number of ATS or other e-recruitment systems available, this in response to the growth in demand for such technology by organisation of all sizes.  There is a solution for every company of every size and market. The available solutions will help you manage the processing whether you are recruiting for volume or niche roles, for executive or graduates and school leavers, for professional specialist skills or temps. These solutions work.  Rarely do they not, let’s face it the software vendors wouldn’t be able to sell it if it didn’t.  When companies get frustrated by the software they have selected, it is rarely the products’ fault. More often than not the dissatisfaction is as result of poor understanding in the first place a lack of adequate design or poor implementation. In many cases business requirements have changed yet the architecture of the system was overlooked or people have moved on leaving a void in the available expertise to make such changes.

In simple terms an ATS – Applicant (or Application) Tracking System is a software package used by organisations to help them manage the journey that a person takes when they apply for a job, become a candidate during an interview process and then proceeds to being offered a job, if they are fortunate.  There are a myriad of other functions that it can be applied to and have an impact on, but for the purposes of this post we don’t need to go into what they are.

Typically if used wisely the ATS will help organisations structure, schedule and report on activities taking place at each stage for each vacancy and for each person in the process.

What it doesn’t do, and won’t or can’t do, is the recruiting for you.

Now I know this make sense to some of you, yet there are some who are now pausing, or at least I hope they are.  The ATS is a tool, a tool that needs to be used by people, following processes defined by the company and the Resourcing function.  Yes, it will address some of the administration issues that you have to deal with, it will help you as a company organise and keep track of workflow so that the information about a vacancy requisition and those that apply to it can be maintained and organised, in the hope that errors are minimised.

What an ATS won’t do is replace human interaction and hands on recruitment. Recruitment by needs to be high-touch and have a significant level of engagement, otherwise it becomes less recruitment and more administration, common amongst those companies that don’t really take recruitment seriously enough to invest in it properly. I’ve known some people/companies that have been able to justify an ATS on the promise of saving headcount, only for that to cause serious issues down the road.  It is therefore crucial that time and effort be set aside to define your objectives, map your processes  and consider the architecture of the installation and how the software will be used and how it will effectively meet your business needs.  This will need to be assessed in line with your current or planned operating model and the capability of your resourcing function.  You will always be thinking of scalability preferably in line with your long term Strategic Workforce Plan which will be mapped to your organisation’s overall five to ten Business Strategy.

One could argue that even with all the planning and foresight you will never get a perfect solution, there are always going to be compromises and limitations. Well that is true, but having clearly defined objectives, a solid plan and the knowledge and expertise at hand to know what the limitations will get you closer to a perfect than you were before you started.

For now.

Music of the moment: The Blister Exists by Slipknot

Who Do you Think is the Most Influential Leader in Global Recruitment?

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Do you work for or know an influential leader?Banner 344x80

I am sure many of us will have been fortunate to have worked for, or with a manager who has been an inspiration to us and has possessed the true ability to lead, not only the team and its delivery of services, but also has had the clarity of thought to lead the thinking on different issues important to you and to the business that you support. They are rare and we don’t always appreciate them at the time, but each of them as had a bearing on you and how your do things.

In their August edition Recruiter magazine launched “Most Influential In-house Recruiters” with a stellar line up of in-house practitioners for 2013, each of whom in the opinion of the author of that piece made a significant impact in their business or is a key influencer and thought leader. Many, myself included (I am pleased to say I am friends or at least know all but two of those mentioned), recognise that they each deserve to be included and for a variety of reasons. These leaders have made a significant difference to the teams they lead, the services they deliver, the innovations they have implemented at their employers or the changes they have influenced in the wider recruitment landscape.

It goes without saying that each one of those included by Recruiter deserve to be there, yet there will be countless others across the world that have had a similarly significant impact on the people they work with and the services they deliver and also richly deserve the accolades of their peers.
Do you work with someone that deserves the acknowledgement?
Who has made a difference to you and your business?

Whether you consider someone to be a good leader or an inspiration to you or others will always depend on circumstance and perspective of course.  And it is your perspective that counts.

Who do you think deserve to be honoured as The Recruitment Leader of The Year 2013? who will you nominate?

Get your nominations in now  >> Click HERE

Closing date for entries is 30th Sept 2013

Originally posted on The FIRM Awards site

In-house Recruiters – behaviours and ethics, improvements needed

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Whenever in-house recruiting practitioners come together online or in person you can bet your house the conversation will soon turn to the use of recruitment agencies and soon thereafter to how bad or unethical they usually are.  Some of the more entertaining discussions in the online communities I am a member of are full of anecdotes of bad practice, lack of integrity, stupidity…..well the list goes on. Sadly the comments are all too true, frequent and similar in nature, so it is hardly surprising that all agencies good or bad tend to get grouped together as bad.

 

However on a number of occasions recently I have been party to some discussions and comments from the other perspective; those made by recruitment agencies about the issues they have with HR, in-house recruiters or hiring managers.  Some of them are the expected moans about an inability to sell, usually coming from a blatant lack of understanding for their customers and not worth the consideration, others however deserve much more.

 

Whilst the in-house recruiters might enjoy “agency bashing” as a frequent activity, the agency sales people do have some genuine reasons to “bash” back.    I give you a mashup of a couple of incidents from earlier this year, as an example of one of really poor behaviour.  Sadly the in-house recruiters involved are members of The FIRM and yes they still are, in the hope that they will learn from others.  Discussions have been had.

 

An agency is briefed on a role by an employer about a specific vacancy, asked to find suitable applicants and submit CVs accordingly.  The agency supplies CVs to the inhouse Recruitment Manager as requested, in accordance with procedures.  The Recruitment Manager contacts the candidates directly and attempts to bypass the agency. 

 

Because this is a mashup of incidents, much of the detail from each is omitted, including the names of all parties, but you get the gist.

 

Let’s be clear on this, if the agency has been asked to provide CVs for a particular role and responds accordingly I cannot think of any justification why this kind of behaviour is acceptable. You should be ashamed. 

 

I’d be interested to hear if anyone can try to justify it.  This is also I am sure, just one of many moans or genuine complaints that could be aimed at in-house recruiters.

 

Many in-house practitioners generally take the high moral ground when it comes to ethics and professionalism and become quite partisan in either promoting or defending that position, myself included, yet I am all too aware that there is merit in what the agencies say and based on the above I am sure few would disagree.   A couple of years ago I presented to an audience of over 100 inhouse recruiters and used the words “you are not as good as you think you are”.  I had learned that at the time as a result of my own, then recent, job hunting experiences. As a result of the growth of the in-house recruiting function in the last two years I believe this to still be the case today, more than ever. 

 

To be able to do our jobs properly we have to act with integrity. This is true when dealing with everyone in the candidate supply chain, no matter how they are sourced.  To behave any other way is not only a mistake, but so damaging to your recruitment brand and to your own personal reputation.  Even if you don’t have your own personal code of conduct, your company should without doubt. 

 

I am not saying you have to deal with recruitment agencies, however I am saying that if you chose to, then doing so with the highest levels of professionalism and honesty can only be a good thing.  I would hope that members of The FIRM think and behave the same way. 

 

I welcome all comments and thoughts on this one

The Future Can Wait………….. Get Recruitment Basics Right Now

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I’ve not blogged much over the last few months and not put down anything of substance since before Christmas. Some of this as a lack of inspiration, but the majority of it was to do with the fact that I was consumed by job-hunting activities before Christmas and then focused on the start of a new job in January and since then. Stressed yes!

I know in 2010 when I was job hunting I was able to find inspiration to blog pretty much each day. So why the difference? Well to be honest it was the lack of difference that was the cause.

In 2010 I wrote about my adventures and frustrations as a job hunter, outlining many of the failings and inadequacies I was encountering from agencies, so called exec search firms and in-house recruiters as well as outlining my own successes, shortcomings and failures, offering titbits of advice to others in the same situation. So the difference this time around was the lack of difference, i.e. nothing had really changed and if I was to repeat the same process I could have just reposted many of the posts from 2010. This year however I was exposed and engaged far more by search firms than contingent agencies. My thoughts on these types of organisations and their over inflated sense of worth may well be a post in a few weeks.

One thing that was clear to me, as those who will have read the few posts I wrote in the last 3 months of 2011 will have seen was my frustration over the lack of attention to the basics and the poor execution of what should be a relatively straight forward and simple process.

In November I was asked if I would like to contribute to a Christmas Blog Calendar by Ed Scrivener, owner of Scrivener Recruitment. Ed is someone I have never met, other than on Twitter, nor is his company one that I have done business with. But we had “spoken” on Twitter about various subjects non-work related so didn’t hesitate to agree. Obviously as a job hunter any exposure to a wider audience is a good thing.

What follows is the post that Ed ran on his blog on 5th December – thanks Ed.

Not a week goes by when I don’t read something about the Future of Recruiting. I admit I do read much of it because Recruiting or Resourcing is what I do and what I have a passion for. I am also hungry to learn. Some of what is written, such as Recruitment 3.0 & Recruitment 4.0 by Matt Jeffrey is clever thinking and some of it may even become reality, however there is much written elsewhere that is poorly thought out and fails or will fail on many levels.

Whatever the quality of the thinking or the writing they are all overlooking one thing: the Now of Recruiting.

It is all well and good to speculate on the future however I believe our time will be best spent making sure that we all address the fundamentals today. In the vast majority of companies the basic processes, capabilities or attitudes for successful Rescouring just don’t exist, and this is the same whether you are a large or small organisation; whether you have in-house Resourcing teams or not. Very few organisations have the sophistication to apply the proper respect.

Yet when it comes down to it the way we will recruit in 20 or 200 years is unlikely to be any different to how it’s been done for the last 5000 years.

Let me explain

For centuries recruitment was typically done by the fighting forces; they found out about or impressed (attract) a warrior, courted him (engage) and bought his services (hire). Then in the world of commerce of the last 300 years the same principals have applied, but instead of armies and warriors the world has had commercial organisations and workers, but the same simple steps apply.

Absolutely nothing has changed, nor do I suspect will it. What has changed are the means by which we can attract and the facilities that allow us to engage on a one-to-many basis; today we use a vast variety of other communication channels, many of them are so new that they appear to be different, but strip away all of the hype and the technology and we are back to the basics. Today we have all of these wonderful new platforms and channels that give us a wider audience to broadcast to yet Rescouring remains a high-touch activity, where all of the principals of the past remain constant. We have to speak with people and do so with respect.

Today people expect a certain degree of sophistication during their quest for work. They have far more choices than any other time in history; choice of employer, location and job type. They also have a choice of platforms through which to seek out suitable jobs; old and new. Information about employers is available from so many different sources and the new facilities available to Resourcers allow a greater flow or information, targeted and general.

We still have to review a person’s background one way or another. It doesn’t matter if the CV is dead or not – what a stupid conversation that is, what matters is that the Resourcers have the information to review. What matters is how an interview is conducted, what is said and what happens in them. They are what matter. What matters is how you treat the applicants during the courtship (engagement) and acquisition (hiring) phases. What matters is the impression a new employee has on his or her first day and in the first 3 months – it has a significant impact on their performance for the rest of their time with your company. What matters is how capable the Resourcers are and how much they respect and understand the value they bring to the business. What matters is how you and your company are perceived by the world’s employable. What matters is what they say about you when you are not listening.

Yet few leaders of companies, HR departments, Resourcing departments (if they exist at all), and hiring managers take it seriously enough to invest the necessary time, money and above all the commitment to the task; to doing it right. That is what matters

Yes we have all of these new and wonderful shiny platforms that allow us to reach and engage with more people, but without the basics they are useless.

These are the basics. These are what you need to get better at today. Get the basics right and you will then be able to start thinking about the future of recruitment.

My Top 10 Predictions for 2012

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There have been a lot of predictions about the future of recruitment, about 2012 and about the economy so why not add to them I thought

Here are my top ten predictions for this year.

1. You will still have vacancies to fill
2. You will still get cold calls from people
3. Many of those People and others will continue to be stupid beyond words
4. Road Fund License (Car Tax) will need renewing at the end of …..(pick a month)
5. Christmas Day will be on 25th December 2012
6. It will rain in July………………somewhere
7. There will be more crap blogs than good blogs to read
8. Your Klout Score will remain completely irrelevant and useless to anyone but you
9. Social Media on the mobile will rule time and space
10. All of these will come true

There you go. That all you need to know for 2012.

Have a good one

Are Your Interviewers Good Enough?

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When you interview people for a job you are asked to make a judgment call on whether the people you interview are good enough and suitable for your company, but what makes you think you are good enough to do the interview and represent your company? Are you suitably trained to conduct a proper interview and make that decision yourself? I suspect not.

The vast majority of hiring managers whether they work in HR or not have never been trained how to interview people; the psychology, the questions to ask, what not to ask, how to decide who is good enough or what good enough looks like.  Many will have the information needed to sell the company and the job to each candidate, but fail disastrously by simply asking the wrong questions, focusing on the wrong competencies in a person’s background appropriate to the role, not listening to the answers given and not exploring each answer or further.

I know some companies train and certify every manager before they are able to open a Requisition, before they are able to hold an interview.  Why don’t more do it?

What is often forgotten in the recruitment process is the candidate.  There are plenty of articles and blogs written about how poor the candidate experience is in the majority of companies, yet little attention is given to the quality of interviews.

Do you realise you could be missing out on very good talent for your organisation because your interview processes or the people doing the interviewing is substandard, boring and in some cases illegal.

In an interview a good candidate will be interviewing you and your company. Or they would be if given the chance to.  They too have to make a very important choice.  To a greater extent the decision the candidate has to make is far more important and crucial than the decision you have to make.  If they get the decision wrong it could screw up their life; if you get it wrong you rectify and move on.   Candidates therefore must be given the opportunity to represent themselves and as most interviews follow a typical Q&A format the right questions need to be asked to elicit the appropriate answers or at least stimulate the appropriate level of discussion.

I will give you an example from recent personal experience.  I was being interviewed for Director, Global Recruitment by an HRD.  The role was very senior and of a strategic leadership nature, yet a ridiculous amout of time was spent going into detail on a project I worked on in early 2008, that was purely transactional and not at all relevant to the role I was being interviewed for.

Where were the questions about the ATS they are about to acquire and deploy, my thoughts related to the announcements from LinkedIn made just that week, to the use of social media, candidate experience, employer brand, the impact of the AWR or many others more relevant to the most senior resourcing role in the organisation.  I think you get the point.

This is not a rant nor is it a specific observation on that one incident – there have been others in the last 7 weeks – this post is purely an observation about the lack of attention and lack of priority given to one of the most important jobs/functions in a company; that of an interviewer.

So before you judge a candidate be sure you judge your interviewers’ ability,  otherwise you will be failing your candidates and losing out on the good people you set out to acquire.

How many companies train and certify their managers before they let them near an interview room?

Do you?

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.