Delivering the Systems and Expertise You Need to Confidently Make Great Hiring Decisions
I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while thinking that its efficacy would get better and better as the economy and job market failed to recover at the pace that the economists thought (hoped) it would. It looks like my hunch was right.
Nine months ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article called “Only the Employed Need Apply“. The premise of the article was that many employers were only interested in talking to people who were already employed – even if the candidate who had applied had lost their job even after performing at a high level.
Bobby Fitzgerald, a partner in five restaurants in three states, says these days he gets two dozen or more unsolicited résumés each day at one of his Phoenix restaurants, the White Chocolate Grill. But Mr. Fitzgerald says his top candidates, for jobs ranging from servers to management, usually are people who are employed elsewhere. He currently has 50 openings across his five restaurants and has told recruiters to bring in only people who are working.
When you consider that in March 2010 our unemployment rate is still on the precipice of 10% and the average time that someone is unemployed is still over 1/2 of a year, it would appear that Business Leaders like Bobby Fitzgerald aren’t alone.
At Hire Better, we’ve seen a significant up-tick in the number of clients who want us to assist them in hiring salespeople. For those salespeople who we see as applicants, the statistics are NOT in their favor if they’re applying for a role in which Hire Better is involved. Here’s what we’ve found:
In a typical hiring cycle, assuming that we have 100 people to consider for a role:
- 82-85 will be Direct Applicants
- 12-15 will be People who are “headhunted” or from our Network
- 1-3 will be Referrals from internal employees at the client company
When we get down to the Top Three Finalists, they’ll look like this:
- 1 Direct Applicant
- 1 “headhunted” Candidate
- 1 Referral
And when the finalist is hired: The chance of the Direct Applicant goes DOWN exponentially as the salary and responsibility goes UP.
For a Sales role, the prospects of a Direct Applicant are even WORSE. The same statistics will apply to the Candidate pool as before but I have to expand the pool to 5 people when you look for Finalists:
- 1 is a Direct Applicant
- 3 are “headhunted”
- 1 is a Referral
And when this is the case, the Referral has more than a 50% chance of getting hired and the Direct Applicant has less than a 10% chance. In the case of sales candidates – I believe these stats are just about right. And they’re justifiable! If you’re considering hiring an unemployed salesperson or sales manager, you should be asking yourself “Why would a good salesperson be unemployed?”
If you have a 12 month sales cycle and an 8 month learning curve, it will take nearly 2 years to get your new salesperson producing consistently. In that 2 years, maybe you’ll pay out close to $150,000 in subsidies.
Using your average margin, how much revenue must be gemerated to offset that subsidy?
How much revenue must be generated to produce a satisfactory ROI?
How long must the salesperson stick around in order to produce that ROI?
To bring it all back together, if a prospective sales candidate (who, for the sake of this blog post is unemployed) has found him/herself in a new sales role every 2-3 years, what are the odds that anyone who is hiring them is going to experience a positive ROI?
When we look at candidates through this lens we find it’s a lot easier to not find ourselves getting “sold” during an interview by someone who has all kinds of great excuses for why “things just didn’t work out” at that last job they were in…
Tags: A-Player, A-Players, bad hires, Baseline Selling, challenges of hiring salespeople, Dave Kurlan, hire better, hiring, hiring manager, Interview, Kurlan, mediocre salespeople, Objective Management Group, recruit don't absorb, Recruiting, recruiting salespeople, Salespeople, talent acquisition, unemployment, unemployment rate, virtual bench
Last night, after more than 5 months of hard work by our Development Team, we released the incredibly powerful and fully re-vamped Talent Vault. This web-based system, the enabling technology behind our entire service offering, has been entirely re-written and, thanks to Jonathan Bryce and Robert Collazo at Rackspace, takes advantage of every aspect of Cloud Technology.
Our business has never been better or our results as strong as they are today – and that’s not going to stop. However, this new system, along with what will be an entirely new branding campaign and name change to Hire Better in the coming months, will be targeted at the BPO world and, more specifically, PEOs, HROs and other service providers who are pursuing greater client engagement through both software and service channels. The team that we’ve been able to build is exceptional and their commitment to efficiency and consistent delivery has been incredible.
So many of you have been instrumental in this development and I owe you all so much:
Andrea Azdril for the inspiration to re-write it and for helping me understand its true potential.
Andy Meadows, Josh Baer, Dean Dzurilla, Eric Rachal, Cruce Saunders, Chris Dollins, Jade Bourelle, Scott Fritz, Keith Kreuer, Mike Umansky, JayC & SuperChunk, Vic Tanon and so many of my friends from EO and MIT: thanks to each of you for your thoughtful feedback on architecture, design, feature sets and for being so open and honestly describing the pitfalls that I’d likely face through this process.
Neelan Choksi for your ongoing evaluation of the system and service offering and me, personally as well.
My Mentors & Advisors – your tireless and patient support and counsel through the smooth and rough times has really helped – especially those rough times.
We’re excited to be positioned so well to go attack the marketplace. Look out!
To you all I’m sincerely gracious,
Tags: @hirebetter, @hirebetterteam, advisor, BPO, business process outsourcing, cloud computing, cloud files, cloud sites, could servers, enabling technology, hire better, hire better systems, hire better team, HRO, LAMP, mentor, metrics, mosso, MySQL, NAPEO, OtherInbox, PEO, PHP, process, rackspace cloud, SAAS, talentvault, technology, thank you, the cloud, twitter.com/talentvault
I continue to hear from Recruiters, Journalists and even Business owners that now is a great time to pick up talent because of how high the unemployment rate is. I’ve written in the past about how I think that now is a great time to be RECRUITING as well but not because of the growing number of the unemployed. I’m not going to re-hash that here. Instead, this post is going to focus on what Jack Daly considers the difference between Recruiting and Absorbing.
I’d like to start by sharing that I live in Austin, TX (yes, it is as cool as you’ve heard). In this town we’re proud of live music, barbeque and, probably above all, Longhorn Football. Mack Brown is the Head Coach (aka the CEO) of the team.
Right now, spring practices are done and the coaching team is spending all of their time figuring out (1) what’s our depth chart for the fall (2) who are the top High School Sophomores at each position in Texas and the US and (3) how are we going to convince young men from around the country to pay us $300+ to come to our camp so that they can be seen by our coaches when every other school in the country wants them to do the same?
The reason I brought up point #3 is because it’s not unlike the current marketplace for Businesses looking to land top talent. How? Hundreds of young men will descend upon Austin in the coming weeks and happily throw down their $300 camp fee. While the coaching staff has a responsibility to treat every camper fairly by providing them with a safe place to stay, healthy food and some nominal feedback about how to improve, it’s the 8-10 players that they personally invited in for the camp that they are focusing their attention on. Every once in a while a young man who shows up and was unheralded impresses the coaches and gets a shot scholarship but it’s rare.
I hope you’re seeing the direct parallel between the people who are applying for jobs at your company as opposed to the people who you have to fight to get.
With that in mind, let’s go back to Mack Brown’s role in this recruiting process. Because he has the advantage of knowing who the top 10 Prep Quarterbacks or Linebackers are by subscribing to the industry publications that track this data, he can carefully place phone calls to these young men to get them excited about the program.
Focus because here’s the crux of the blog post: After Mack Brown gets off the phone with a young man who he’d like to see as his starting quarterback in 2011, do you think he sends that 16 year old a copy of a job description for what a Quarterback does?
Let’s bring it all back to your business: here are the 5 questions you have to ask YOURSELF when recruiting and then share with your “top recruits”:
1. Why come to work here?
2. What are we (as a company) doing to ensure that our team is successful?
3. How can you (our prized recruit) be sure that the reputation of our company is exceptional?
4. Where is our greatest opportunity for growth in the marketplace?
5. What are the most compelling reasons to join the team here?
If you’ve read the book Who you would know that these are also part of the 5 F’s (Fame, Family, Fortune, Fun and Fit). By asking yourself these questions as the CEO or Hiring Manager you’re attempting to proactively answer a lot of these concerns that a recruit would have.
If you’d like to pick up a great book for the weekend and learn how college football is answering each of these questions, check out Meat Market: Inside the smash mouth world of College Football Recruiting by Bruce Feldman.
Bonus food for thought: if Mack Brown needed a starting quarterback in 2011 and he didn’t start thinking about it until 2 weeks before the season started, would he start placing ads on CraigsList with the hopes someone would apply that he could hire?
Tags: 5 F's, A-Player, A-Players, Austin, bruce feldman, Fame, Family, Fit, Fortune, Fun, geoff smart, hiring manager, jack daly, longhorn football, mack brown, proactive recruiting, recruit don't absorb, recruiting versus absorbing, talent acquisition, unemployment, unemployment rate, who the book
At American Workforce we have a number of partners who look to our processes to help their clients with talent assessment and acquisition. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, the companies they introduce us to have been trying to utilize basic recruiting aspects of what an advisor of mine calls, “smoke and hope-ium”.
An example: just last week I was talking with a company that shared with me that while they weren’t urgently needing to acquire sales talent, they’d happily hire an A-Player if they fell in their lap.
Landing A-Players doesn’t just happen. Even in an economy where as much as 20% of the labor force is unemployed, 4 out of 5 people are still working. What’s more, the people that you likely want to help grow your organization are kicking butt for their current employer. They aren’t going to show up on your doorstep, unannounced, and ask where their cubicle is for when they start working the next morning.
Adam Robinson is a colleague and friend of mine in Chicago. He’s got a tremendous blog called Better Hiring Today and we agree on a lot of things. He recently completed a 4 part series on the challenges associated with hiring salespeople. While we don’t use the same nomenclature or verbiage, we’re saying nearly the same thing. Here are some highlights on some common sales recruiting difficulties:
- Great salespeople are always in demand and unless you’re recruiting, you’re probably fishing in an overstocked pond of mediocre talent that is looking to jump ship before their resume takes a hit for lack of productivity.
- Mediocre Salespeople are A-Players at “selling themselves”. I couldn’t agree more. What complicates this is the fact that many Entrepreneurs are salespeople at their core and there’s no one easier to sell than a fellow salesperson.
- Great salespeople are the product of an environment. Adam touches on a good point but I think that he skims the surface and doesn’t dig deep enough on this particular topic given its significance. Many of you have seen me write about Dave Kurlan and his methodologies before. Dave has gone deeper, a lot deeper, into understanding both the environment where success was achieved by a salesperson as well as the dynamics of what they had to sell. Here are some examples of those dynamics:
-What was the average value of the product or sale?
-Who inside of an organization were they selling to: Purchasing? Finance? CEO?
-How many calls did it take, on average, to win new business?
-How did the price of the product they were selling compare to its competition? Were they the lowest priced? Highest?
-What was the quality of the product or service they were selling? Was it a Kia or a Lexus? What’s your company sell?
Getting back to the title: Where does top talent live? They live everywhere but they’re not hiding. They’re friends with the teller at the bank person who went the extra mile during your last visit, they have the season tickets next to you at the Opera or Stadium, they’re married to the guy you play softball with. If you don’t have your eyes open and act as your company’s biggest billboard for WANTING to talk to the best talent you’ll probably miss all of the subtle clues around you.
Tags: 20% unemployment, A-Players, adam robinson, always recruiting, Better Hiring Today, challenges of hiring salespeople, company billboard, Dave Kurlan, hire, hiring, mediocre salespeople, Objective Management Assessment Test, OMG, recruit don't absorb, Sales Talent, smoke and hope-ium, talent assessment, top talent
In writing this blog entry I’m deviating from my typical focus area and, instead, bringing light to something that I’m seeing more and more of because of our economy. If you’re currently unemployed and frustrated with your job search prospects or struggling to remain up-beat even after numerous emails, the answer to all of your problems does NOT live with a “Career Counselor” who wants to charge you $5,000+ to figure out what you should do with your life.
The very best part of Mary’s article back in 97 was all the way at the end. In case you didn’t get that far, I’ve included it here:
“Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.”
As someone who has paid an enormous amount of money to a company in 2000 when the stock market had crumbled and while I was young and vulnerable, I wish there was a way for me to offer more than just this blog post as warning.
These “Career Counselors” can carry lots of different names: Personal Career Coaches, Bernard Haldane, Resume Experts or Networking Advisors. Bottom line: they’re all the same. They don’t have access to private “career networks”, they aren’t going to help you gain clarity about yourself through a few assessment tests and they absolutely won’t provide the kind of value that $5,000 worth of personal effort would return you.
*Disclaimer: in addition to feeling ripped off, I also spent $4,500 in legal costs trying to recover my counseling costs only after finding that companies like Bernard Haldane have been in legal trouble in nearly every state in the US. Companies like BHI have been sued so many times that their legal agreements are really good. If you’re going to hire them don’t expect to be able to recuperate your money.
Tags: "Advice Like Youth Probably just wasted on the Young", Advice is a form of nostalgia, baz lurhmann, bernard haldane, Bernard Haldane Associates, BHI, career counselors, chicago tribune, everybody's free to wear sunscreen, mary schmich
There’s a link circulating out in cyberspace about a Podcast in which Steve Mullen is interviewing Brad Smart, the author of Topgrading. The focus of the interview is all around Hiring in a Weak Economy.
I had a great conversation with a friend of mine just the other day around this exact topic. We were specifically discussing the fact that the Press obviously doesn’t understand what is going on and they’re printing the same things about recruiting as they are about investing in the stock market and buying real estate: that there are huge advantages to being a contrarian.
As someone who runs a consulting company that focuses on recruiting for a living as well as having some stock holdings and a small real estate portfolio: I couldn’t agree more.
But being a contrarian is tough. And in this market, recruiting in a traditional manner is absolutely NOT the prudent thing to do. Prior to the unemployment rate being where it is, we had a member of our team who did nothing but research the very best places for us to be posting every position that we work on. The results were always solid because we could get 300-500+ applicants no matter what the role was. While direct applicants usually make up between 60-80% of the total pool of people we consider for a role, they rarely comprise more than 1 of the 3 finalists we end up with. Today, even if you’ve got no posting strategy at all, you can get well over 500 applicants for nearly everything. It may come as a surprise to many, that even with an exponential increase in direct applicants, this pool of pool of candidates still only represent about 1/3 of the total finalists for any position. Why? Even with over 10% unemployment in states like California, nearly 90% of the people in the state are still employed.
However, I’ll still contend that now is the best time in recent history to recruit. My reasoning isn’t scientific. Rather, it’s based on our own internal survey of how things are going. Our justification: there are very few people who are currently employed turning down phone calls. In fact, they’re returning calls at a higher rate than we’ve ever seen before! Lots of things could be causing it but we feel that there are a couple that are most prevalent:
- Their companies aren’t communicating about their direction.
- Management has reacted to market conditions and eliminated performance based pay.
- Salespeople have had quotas increased but compensation decreased.
Starting tomorrow we’ll launch a new search for a Vice President of Sales with a target compensation of around $250,000. Care to guess how many websites we’ll post it on? ZERO. We know that the right person for this job has a great career right now. We’re going to need to RECRUIT them away.
It is tougher than posting for the job and watching the resumes come flowing in from hundreds of people? Absolutely.
Is it fair to our clients to have us spend hours sorting through (potentially) thousands of resumes instead of targeting the 75-100 companies who we think have the person we’re most interested in? I think Dr. Smart would agree with me – in an economy like this, the best return on investment is to recruit, not post and hope.
Tags: A-Player, Brad Smart, caps on commission, contrarian, decreased compensation, earning caps, endgame PR, hiring in a weak economy, increased quota, job applications, performance-based pay, posting jobs, recruit don't absorb, startup bizcast, steve mullen, Topgrading, unemployment, vice president of sales
My morning vice is reading the Drudge Report. I find that Matt Drudge’s conservative view on the economy and government is a little easier to digest than Fox News or The Huffington Post. This morning the majority of the top half of the page was on the alarming number of jobs that were shed in January and the fact that the lost jobs numbers for December and November were revised up even further. The unemployment rate now stands at 7.6% and, while there are a lot more jobs in the market today than there were in the 30′s (it’s not really fair to compare today against 70 years ago), the fact that the economy has shed somewhere between 3.5-3.7 million jobs in the past 12 months with nearly half occurring in the last 3 months, it begs the question of when it will slow down?
CNN’s Financial News network had a very compelling editorial piece yesterday that does a much better job than I could at clearly articulating the issues with the job market that no one is really talking about. The short answer: companies laying people off happens all the time but when no one else is hiring, that’s when you have serious challenges. And considering nearly every company has ratcheted back spending because of questions on how long the current climate will last, people who are unemployed today will likely face a stretch of more than 19 weeks before landing another role.
***TIPS FOR THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING JOBS***
1. Don’t read the news every day. It won’t lift your spirits.
2. Make job hunting a full time job. Putting your resume on job boards and then sitting back and waiting to be contacted doesn’t work any more (has it ever worked?)
3. If you’re fortunate enough to get an interview, NAIL IT. Be prepared, know about the people who will be interviewing you, the company you’re interviewing with and the competitive landscape (who are the biggest threats and what are their opportunities).
4. Stop spending at the same level that you did when you were employed. Seriously! Because there is no finite end in sight, be prepared to be unemployed for 6 months or longer. If you land a new job before then it will benefit your savings account. Cancel trips, reduce or eliminate eating out, cut charitable donations.
5. Get networking. Go talk to people. Pick up the phone. Start a blog. Tell anyone who will let you talk about it that you’re looking for a new role. There’s an old saying in marketing, “Doing anything without marketing or advertising is like kissing a stranger in the dark. You’re fully aware of what you’re doing but no one else has any idea.”
Here’s a few links to articles and sites that can help while job seeking:
*Misrepresenting Yourself to land a job? - http://budurl.com/ptnv
*Tool Up for a Mid-Career Hunt - http://budurl.com/l8f8
*10 Things that scream “Don’t Hire Me!” - http://budurl.com/jlxm
*Take the first job you’re offered? - http://budurl.com/n9vu
Tags: 10 Things that scream "Don't Hire Me!", 19 weeks to find a job, 1930's, CareerBuilder, cnn money, cnnfn.com, don't read the news, drudge report, forbes, fox news, get a new job, HotJobs, huffington post, Misrepresenting Yourself to land a job, Monster, post your resume, prepare for an interview, shedding jobs, stop spending money, Take the first job you're offered, tips for jobseekers, Tool Up for a Mid-Career hunt, unemployment rate