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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Candidate Sourcing Secrets - CareerBuilder 09.21.2016

Candidate Sourcing Secrets From GM’s Global Sourcing Manager


Sourcing Secrets From General Motors' Global Sourcing Manager
Ever wonder if there’s a more time- and cost-efficient way to source and screen candidates? To answer these important questions, we spoke to one of the best in the business: Will Maurer, global sourcing manager at General Motors. He offered up some real-life examples and insights on how to expand your sourcing skill set, work more effectively with hiring managers, get the most out of your database — and take your sourcing strategy to the next level.

How can sourcers/recruiters work with hiring managers to more effectively deliver better candidates? 

There are many skills that are required and many techniques that can be leveraged in order to increase your effectiveness when working with a hiring manager. It all starts with cultivating a strong partnership. I emphasize the word “partnership” because I think it’s imperative that you are seen as a trusted advisor and not simply an order-taker.
In order to be viewed as a partner, you need to gain credibility. One of the things that can help immensely is ensuring you are prepared for the initial intake session. Simply bringing the job description and checking off some boxes won’t get it done. One of the ways that we achieve this is by acquiring labor market data as it relates to the role and then studying it so we are able to speak to it. It helps establish you as a subject matter expert, shows that you’re prepared, and stimulates higher-level strategic conversations.
As W. Edwards Deming said, ‘without data you’re just another person with an opinion.’ Data can be very impactful. It brings validity to your insights, which is crucial when setting expectations or establishing an overall strategy.
I think you also need to bring what are commonly referred to as “calibration resumes.” These are resumes that you have identified as possible prospects based on the job description. Walking through these resumes opens a discussion regarding the role, the team, and the requirements and will help you hone in what the hiring manager is looking for. Again, the focus is to gain credibility because the most important thing you can do to work effectively with hiring managers is to ask them to be part of the process. Our goal is to turn everyone in our organization into recruiters, especially our hiring managers.

Will Maurer, Global Sourcing Manager, General Motors
Will Maurer, Global Sourcing Manager, General Motors
When you think about it, hiring managers are probably best positioned to fill their own roles. They will typically have a robust network of people that operate in their field if they have been doing it a while. They also have the ability to tell their story and share how working for their current organization has impacted their career. This is very powerful when talking to a potential candidate. Don’t assume that hiring managers automatically know how important they are in the process.Educate them. You can help them tap into their network and establish their own unique value proposition. Once they understand how impactful they can be in the process and how important their contributions are in today’s market, they can be a phenomenal resource.
Once you have established that partnership, it’s also important to note that you can’t stop there. Communication, accessibility and follow-through are key in keeping that relationship strong.

As a sourcer, how can you get the most out of your database and the tools you have at your fingertips?

It’s important to understand not just the tools at your disposal on a surface level, but also the nuances of each tool. This includes features that have been developed to improve your overall efficiency and effectiveness. We have created a scorecard to evaluate our various sourcing tools. Naturally we look at the number of results or candidate profiles that a tool can generate, but we also look at its efficacy within a particular set of skills and any features that streamline or simplify our processes.
The idea behind this is that we identify the tools that can have the greatest impact within each functional vertical. This is vital.
I think that tool selection and evaluation is an important concept that is often overlooked. It’s easy to get lost in the myriad of products available and find yourself in a situation where you are ‘dabbling’ with many potential solutions instead of maximizing your performance with the key tools at your disposal. I would never discourage trying different avenues and continuing to innovate but I think that you need to establish what tools are going to be at the foundation of your sourcing strategy.
Once those tools are identified, it really comes down to being committed to learning the tool and the vendor having the ability to provide continuous education. We put a lot of emphasis on our suppliers being accessible and providing training not just at the time of implementation, but throughout our relationship with that vendor. Having a competent and readily accessible support staff is very important.

For someone looking to become a more advanced “modern-day sourcer,” what would you recommend to help expand their skill set?

What prompted the “Modern Day Sourcer” were some observations I had made when attending various conferences that were tied to talent acquisition. It occurred to me that in some instances there was a gap between how companies defined a sourcing professional and what I believe is truly needed to be successful in this space.
There is no doubt that someone in a sourcing role needs to be a search expert, but I think there’s more than that. The labor market, candidate expectations, and how candidates select employers have evolved since I began in talent acquisition several years ago. Additional skills are required.
First of all, it’s important that you are a student of your craft. If at any point you think you have this business completely figured out, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.
There are so many resources out there to help keep you informed about our industry. There are websites, blogs, workshops, conferences, certifications, training curriculums, and more. Personally, I make it a goal to obtain a new certification each year. Make an effort to educate yourself and learn something new every day. I would start with your current organization. Educate yourself on how your business fits into the market, how the various business units interact, and how talent acquisition fits in the company as a whole. This goes a long way when trying to gain credibility and present yourself as an advisor.
Also, don’t forget about the skills outside of putting together Boolean searches or interviewing prospects. Presentation skills, overall communication skills, the ability to build and document a comprehensive strategy, and adopting a marketer’s mindset are some of the things that are important as you embark on your journey towards being a talent ambassador, educator and strategic partner.
When working on these other skills, you need to have the ability to humble yourself, put yourself out there and get feedback from your colleagues. Ask them to observe you. Then ask for feedback and look for common themes. Once you have identified potential areas of improvement, you can formulate a strategy to work on those areas and implement it accordingly. You can also look for special programs to help build these skills. If you’re struggling for an answer, go to your manager and ask for his or her insight. I am always thrilled when a team member comes to me looking for ways to better themselves and we can usually figure something out together.

Friday, September 9, 2016

What they say vs. What they mean - hiring manager edition

Let’s give some kudos to hiring managers.  They are our greatest allies, our partners, and a critical component in recruiting.  They can also be a source of frustration at times.  I feel fortunate to have worked with many fantastic hiring teams and I truly believe them to be a trusted resource.  However, that doesn’t  mean that I can’t have a little fun at their expense.  With that, I present to you “What they say/What they mean”- the hiring manager edition.  

What they say:  They need to be able to hit the ground running.
What they mean:  I don’t want to actually manage or develop anyone.  

What they say:  I am going to need 20 more of these filled by the end of the year.
What they mean:  I have no approved headcount.

What they say:  We have a work hard, play hard mentality.
What they mean:  I really have no idea why someone would want to work for me.

What they say:  I can’t put my finger on it, they just didn’t “wow” me.
What they mean: I don’t know how to interview someone.  Was that in the handbook?

What they say:  They couldn’t give me a compelling reason why they wanted to work here.
What they mean:  Passive candidates are a foreign concept to me.

What they say:  I need this filled ASAP.
What they mean:  3 weeks after your submittal you’ll still be trying to get feedback.

What they say:  I was on the fence with him/her, I could go either way.
What they mean:  I’m waiting to hear everyone else’s feedback and then I’m jumping on that bandwagon.  

What they say:  Have you tried _____ job board, my job needs to be on that job board.  
What they mean:  I know as much about recruiting as you do about writing code but I did see this commercial once…

What they say:  It’s always worked in the past.  
What they mean:  I’m living in the past and change terrifies me.

What they say:  I’m really looking for someone with 2-3 years of experience.
What they mean:  I need someone who knows what they’re doing but will work for cheap.  

What they say:  I need to see more candidates.
What they mean:  I’m stalling because I really don’t have any idea what I’m looking for.  

What they say:  I’m not sure that he/she is the right fit but let’s bring them in to evaluate.  
What they mean:  You are about to waste time and company resources.

What they say:  Do you know what I had to go through to get into this company?
What they mean:  This person  is about to have an awful candidate experience.  

Will Maurer is currently living his dream as the Global Sourcing Manager for General Motors.  With that said, his opinions are solely his own and do not reflect the opinion of his employer.  He firmly believes that Talent Acquisition is a team sport and feels very fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best professionals in the world.  You can find his random thoughts at

Thursday, September 1, 2016

8 Must Knows for Navigating an ATS by Shannon Starke

Ah, the dreaded ATS. Candidate sourcing powerhouse, recruitment trend analyzer, reporting and analytics warehouse - no matter how this behemoth tool was sold to the powers that be, you're stuck with it.

Truth: the system is slow. And cumbersome. And not nearly customizable enough to meet your needs. Who cares about reporting when you can barely get through the workflow to process the hire?

I have spent nearly a decade as an HR Operations manager supporting large Talent Acquisition teams with all of their ATS-related needs. Why would I subject myself to this? I've tried to move on. But the truth is, there aren't many people who can put up with the daily grind of life in recruiting technology operations - the constant issues, the system latency, the pissed off hiring managers, the conflicts with IT, the battles with the vendor. I've cast attractive hooks for my role. No one bit.

I've grown to like my role. Why? Because I know enough to help. The way I see it, my role exists to tell you what your vendors won't. So here it is, eight tips to make your life in ATS-world easier.

  • Mark your positions referral-eligible, even if there is no associated bonus. Doing so will enable the "Refer a Friend" (or similar) link, which will drive referral-based traffic to your posting.
  • Utilize the "add locations" feature on the requisition. This will ensure your position displays in multiple location searches, increasing the visibility of the posting.
  • Post your positions externally and internally, unless policy specifies otherwise. There are few legitimate reasons to withhold posting on either site. 
  • Add pre-screening questions to quickly screen out candidates who do not meet the basic requirements. These do not need to be "knock-out" questions, but rather flags you can immediately review to aid in dispositioning the candidate.
  • Include salary and/or salary grade on the posting. Salary grade, in particular, will be meaningful to internal candidates and increase transparency.
  • Do sporadic quality checks with candidates. Not getting any response from qualified candidate pools? It is very likely a system glitch. If you suspect there is an issue, reach out to a few candidates of interest to see if they received the system email correspondence. It could be the email never triggered, or it contained a broken link. Whatever the case, obtain the details from your candidate and notify your IT team immediately.
  •  Double check your templates. I cannot count how many times I have seen templates incorrectly configured - triggered at the wrong step/status, erroneously linked to a defunct website, swapped with the wrong text. Ensure your star candidates are not receiving rejection letters by double checking your template configuration. Not sure? Contact your IT partners to confirm.
  • Confirm the new hire's start date. Most ATS's require you to uncheck a "tentative start date" box or otherwise confirm a new hire's start date in order to hire the candidate. This is a fail-safe to ensure data flows properly into the HRIS for payroll and onboarding purposes. If the date is not confirmed, you cannot hire the candidate.

It is my hope these tips and tricks will reduce your time-to-fill and make your daily lives a little bit easier. Happy hiring! 

Shannon Starke is a globe trotter, thinker, and day dream believer. A psychology junkie and former nervous Nelly, she writes about empowerment and self-transformation. She also provides advice for job seekers to her followers across the world. Check out her website at or follow her @thestarke.