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Friday, May 4, 2018

A Message to my Non-TA colleagues

The talent landscape is changing.  The skills gap is growing. And the harsh reality is, that gap is only going to increase.  According to the AARP, 10,000 baby boomers are hitting retirement age every single day, and this is expected to continue into the 2030's.  We can also look at the following statistics to give us a deeper glimpse into some of the trials we will face as the labor force continues to evolve -

The emergence of these challenges combined with the ever-increasing impact of technology on how people consume and share information has created some fundamental shifts in the talent acquisition space. How companies attract candidates, acquire talent, and the factors that candidates look at when evaluating a potential employer are different than they were even 5 years ago.  As competition for talent grows, it’s important to understand these shifts and the impact they have on our approach and philosophies.

The solution will be multi-faceted and it will take some time but one of the things that I want to share is this - One of the key philosophies that we have to adopt is the idea that Talent Acquisition is everyone’s job.

Talent Acquisition truly is a team sport.  The Talent Acquisition team members are the subject matter experts and they will lead the charge but it’s important that everyone plays their part.  We must create a compelling story and we must let our employees tell that story. The facts and experiences that we share give potential candidates a holistic view of what life is like inside of these four walls.  These are things that someone outside of the organization may never get an opportunity to see and they are vital to our employment brand. Employment brand is a huge topic that is having an ever-increasing impact on Corporate America. There is a ridiculous amount of research and insights into this topic but it’s no secret that a successful branding plan starts from within.  

The beautiful thing is that there are a couple of simple things we can do to impact our employment brand and these things do not require a lot of time or resources.  What are they you ask? Well, I’m happy to share. The first is to clearly understand your EVP. At the foundation of any good employer branding effort is a defined Employee Value Proposition (EVP) or collection of philosophies, values, and factors that summarize why a potential employer is desirable.  Now, some experts will tell you that all of us sharing the same fundamental EVP will be paramount to the success of the EVP. While I believe that having core principles that we share consistently is important, I also believe that as we delve into data-driven storytelling (more on that later), it’s critical that you are able to share YOUR story.  Why do you work for the organization? What’s attractive to you? What are 2-3 key things that you would share if you were trying to highlight what is special about your role, team or work environment? By focusing on what is important to you, you can speak about it in a very genuine matter and the passion that you convey will be picked up on by others.  So take a moment and think about your personal story, your EVP, and what you would like to share with the outside world.

Once you have that identified, let’s think about how we want to disseminate your message.  We all have access to various social media platforms. Chances are you belong to groups and you belong to associations.  You consistently interact with others in your area of expertise. These platforms are free. They require a little bit of a time investment, but they can have a significant impact.  According to a recent study by Social Media Todaycontent shared by employees get 8 times more engagement than content shared by a brand's own channels.  Therefore, by being the instrument that shares components of your work life and doing it with a clear understanding of the message that you are sending, you can have a substantial impact how potential candidates perceive your team, your job, and your organization.  And if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. Marketers get paid to market and recruiters get paid to recruit. What really resonates with people are the insights of the people that are “living the life”, the people that are performing in the same type of role that they would be if they joined the company.  It’s also fair to assume that the best talent networks for a particular skill set are owned by the people doing the job every day. You have worked alongside people, you went to school with these get the idea.
It’s important to note that in order to do this successfully, you need to have the right tools to do the job.  If you look at a tool like LinkedIn, having an active, updated and compelling profile is crucial. There are lots of resources that can help you get there (here is a nice one from Forbes) and it’s something that can be done in minimal time.  If you have further questions I suggest consulting your friendly neighborhood recruiter.  Once you have a stellar online presence, it’s important to expand your network to ensure that your message is reaching the appropriate audience.  This is beneficial in a number of ways. Not only do you help spread the word about the unique things going on in your world but I can’t tell you how much I have learned by networking with others and sharing ideas.  Again, if we look at a tool like LinkedIn the easiest way to do this is with groups. They allow you to interact with people in your field and easily find folks with similar interests or skills. They have groups for everything.  They even have a group for Underwater Basket Weaving.  I’m not making this up.  

This is the just the tip of the iceberg on this topic.  Employees outside of Talent Acquisition are so important to a successful strategy.  I didn’t even address how important the role that everyone plays in the candidate experience is or the importance of adhering to processes that makes sense or the significance of educating yourself in an attempt to eliminate unconscious bias... If I keep going this little piece is going to get really long. We have a lot of work to do. For now, this is a good place to start. Traditional recruiting is obsolete and so we must evolve. My challenge to you would be to think about your EVP, expand your network, and spread the word!  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Why you're a bad salesperson (or recruiter)

They all send SPAM

This is the most obvious and I can’t emphasize this enough.  I have never been to a conference or training where the presenter talked about the value of bulk messaging.  Do you know why?  Because it’s awful and incredibly ineffective.   It’s easy to identify and it sends the wrong message.  They usually look like this –
Dear (insert the wrong name here),

I work for this company that you’ve never heard of

It’s glaringly apparent that I know nothing about you or your organization

Send me your availability


Awful Salesperson / Recruiter

Does that ever work?  Has anyone ever really gotten a sale that way?  I guess it’s possible, there’s a sucker born every minute but it will never work with this guy.   I’m also amazed at the number of messages that I receive from recruiters that include a job description.  Not just any job description, but one that has absolutely, positively nothing to do with my background or interests.  All that you’re telling the recipient is that “Hey, I’m lazy and I really don’t give a crap about your company or you as an individual”.  You may think that you are being more efficient or saving time but the reality is that you’re setting yourself up for failure and hurting your brand.  If you’re doing it, stop it.

They approach every conversation with just their goals in mind

Too often I observe people going into conversations with a sole focus on the sale, commission, or placement.  This is a bad behavior and one that you need to do some soul searching to recognize.  When I’m dealing with our vendors, it is my expectation that they are approaching each situation with our company’s best interest in mind.  That is being a true partner.  I would hope that they would never try to sell me something that wouldn’t benefit the organization or push us towards a direction that didn’t make sense for us.  They may lose that particular sale, but you build credibility and trust and as a result, will have greater long-term success.  The same thing happens with candidates.  I know that we all have metrics that we’re trying to achieve.  However, I too often see recruiters trying to jam square pegs into round holes.  It is possible that an opportunity is not the right fit for someone and we need to be cognizant of that.  Again, you may get that particular placement but the long-term ramifications are huge.  If you are a third-party recruiter and you place someone that doesn’t work out then you lose credibility.  If you are an in-house recruiter and you place someone that isn’t a good fit you are harming your organization.  I don’t know about you, but my bonus and 401K are tied to my organization’s performance so there are selfish reasons for me to be concerned about this.  And finally – you’re screwing with one of the most important components of someone’s life.  Think about how much of your sense of purpose, happiness, and ability to provide for your family is associated with your career.  Don’t be a jerk, think about others. 

They don’t follow up  / keep in touch

I think that most people would agree that communication is key to any successful relationship.  Now, we all have known people whose friendship seems to be full of convenient timing.  In other words, you won’t hear from them for a long time and when you do, they need something.  I have had salespeople like this and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.  They don’t visit, they don’t check-in, and they don’t try to improve our professional relationship.  However, when it’s time to renew a contract or pitch a new product, they show up with a smile on their face.  Under those circumstances, it’s easy for the customer to make note of the
salespersons self-centered motives.  Again, it sends a very bad message.  We can do the same thing as recruiters.  A pipeline is useless if it’s nothing more than a list of names and numbers.  Take time to build your network, to understand your clients and candidates, and position yourself as a partner.  Relationships can’t be enhanced in the absence of communication.  It can be time consuming but with effective time management and a little commitment, it’s something that can improve your partnerships and business results.

They lack transparency

Similar to communication is transparency.  The thing is that candidates and customers don’t like surprises.  You can avoid this by sharing information and being as honest as possible.  I think that we tend to try and avoid conflict or disappointment by putting spin on a situation that would be better addressed with
forthrightness.   From a customer perspective things like price hikes, changes to the product, or changes in support structure shouldn’t come out of left field.  For candidates, not having proper information around the true specifics of the job or the culture of the team that they would potentially be a part of can be damaging.  The best-case scenario is that a lot of people’s time ends up wasted.  The worst-case scenario results in a bad hire and we all know the effect that can have. 

I could go on and on about this.  I really could.  As I was making notes on this subject it quickly occurred to me that I have a ton of thoughts related to this topic.  I’m sure that many of you do as well.  We have all experienced a bad salesperson or a bad recruiter.  The good news is that there are a lot of good salespeople and phenomenal recruiters in the world.  I interact with people on the positive side of the spectrum every day.  Even more encouraging is that there are a lot of talented folks that do it right and are willing to share what they know.  Take time to seek these people out, take a “partner-like” or consultative approach with the people you interact with, and put a smile on your face and you will be just fine.