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In case you haven’t noticed, the hiring freeze that seemed to overtake the our nation over the last 14 months is thawing, just in time for Spring.
Here are a few of the articles that I’ve noticed in the past few days that suggest it’s time for you to pay attention and get your act together because it’s going to be time for you to start RECRUITING instead of ABSORBING…soon.
- Upstaged by Younger Rivals, Google aims to Get Hip again [LINK]
- Demand for Programmers has returned and Start-Ups are out of luck [LINK]
- Microsoft is spending 10x that of Apple to Recruit and still struggles [LINK]
- There are more than 1,000 Job Postings with the word “Java” in them on Monster [LINK]
- The same keyword results in >8,000 on CareerBuilder [LINK]
The next BLS survey isn’t due until February 4, 2011 but the statistics will continue to hold true, while there is a nationwide unemployment rate of between 9-10%, the unemployment rate for college graduates is around 5% and about 2% for married college graduates.
It’s time to get your game faces on or you’re going to be forced into hiring people in the very bottom of the barrel.
And if you haven’t checked it out GlassDoor yet, you should. Your current and former employees are talking.
You’ve been warned.
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
Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Brad Smart, the author of Topgrading. I remember reading his post in September of 2009 and thinking how powerful it was. When going through my list of topics for what made the most sense to blog about this week I realized that this was as timely and quite a bit more profound than anything I had come up with. He and Chris Mursau, the Vice President of Smart & Associates, write a great blog that you should definitely read on a regular basis.
I’ve taken the liberty of shortening the article down to apply more to a Hiring Manager than a job seeker so that you’re aware of the kinds of challenges that an A-Player might be having in clearly articulating how and why they’re exceptional.
A players are remarkably … um … inexperienced at job hunting, and they are remarkably inept at it.
C players, however, are nudged out of jobs and companies and they become masters at getting the next job. C players also become masters at imitating A players. They’ve read many books that teach them how to make their resumes look better and how to answer interview questions.
In this economic downturn thousands of companies have folded and hundreds of thousands of not just under-performers but high performers, A players, are out looking for jobs. The unemployed are from every industry and there are quite a few super sharp people out looking for work – sometimes for the first time in their career.
Here’s the problem: C players become masters at imitating A players; their resumes are full of hype and conceal negatives, and their interviewing behavior is well-rehearsed. So on the surface C players look like A players. And the poor A player who is looking for a job doesn’t know how to convey – “Hey, my resume is truthful and so is everything I say in interviews.”
Throughout their careers, A players needing a job have simply gone to their network and asked for connections to hiring managers. That historically has been a very productive method. “Birds of a feather …” and when A players contact their networks and say a super sharp A player they know is available … hey, job offers pop up.
- Rewrite your resume, tooting your horn. Keep it to 2 pages and list ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND SUCCESSES. I’ve looked at hundreds of resumes since the economic slide and I see A players being TOO HUMBLE. Don’t include much about responsibilities and don’t state your career objective (save that for the cover letter). Don’t puff yourself up – stick to the facts. But make it clear when YOU accomplished something and not just the team, of which you were a member.
- Rewrite your cover letter. Cover letters are usually boring and canned. Speak from the heart, say what you’re looking for, but here is the key…
- Make it clear that your bosses in the past decade would give you rave reviews. If you have received overall performance ratings that are tops, say so. Humble A players rarely do this – too bad because C players don’t do it for a different reason (it ain’t true that bosses gave them top ratings!).
- Offer to arrange personal reference calls with your former bosses (and subordinates and peers, too). Only A players CAN make such an offer and actually follow through, but again they are too humble. In the past their network got them a job and they knew that others were singing their praises, so they were simply their usual understated self. In this economy if you won Olympic gold metals, you’d better display them if you want to get on the team. It frankly impresses the heck out of recruiters and hiring managers to read and hear that your former bosses would praise you and that YOU do the work of arranging the phone calls.
- Don’t accept low pay. In the past few months I’ve seen some companies take advantage of people they are recruiting and hiring, knowing that even A players are desperate. Trouble is, when the economy improves, A players who KNEW they were worth more than what they were paid, leave. Companies you would want to work for won’t try to cheat you in the short term.
Brad writes that he’s interviewed more than 6,500 people over the years as his basis point for the credibility of his thoughts. I’d make the argument that I’ve seen more than 100,000 resumes in my career and maybe 0.1% of them were well written. Takeaway value = far too many hiring managers who made snap decisions about candidates based on just a resume even though resumes have a high likelihood of not telling anywhere close to the whole story about someone.
Tags: A-Players, Brad Smart, C-Players, chris mursau, hire better, hiring, hiring manager, Interview, job postings, resume, smarttopgrading, Topgrading, topgrading methodology, TORC, unemployment, unemployment rate
It’s not often I’m floored by the comprehensiveness of a Blog Post simply because too many people write them with speed in mind or just for Search Engine Optimization.
Today I was floored.
Gina Kleinworth is one of the Team Members at HireBetter. A significant amount of her role here is being responsible for combing the web every day to find articles that reinforce our goal of helping companies confidently make great hiring decisions. (Are you following us on Twitter? You should – we invest a lot of time in making you a better leader. We’re Tweeting 2-3x per day under the moniker of @HireBetter.)
Gina found an article today written by Auren Hoffman on his blog Summation. It’s title: “Why hiring is paradoxically harder in a downturn“. Its subtitle is what I chose for this blog post’s title: “Noise goes up but the quality remains the same”. You can also read it on the Huffington Post.
His comments rang true with me again and again as I read the blog 3 full times. Here are some of the points that he makes throughout this well-written post (read it, seriously):
“Great people are more likely to be employed with a company since a great person is often over 3 times as productive as a good person. Joel Spolsky argues in Smart & Gets Things Done that an A-player is anywhere from 5-10 times as productive.”
“In troubled economic times, anyone can get laid off, but a disproportionate number of layoffs tend to fall on C-players. This is because they are the lowest performing people in a company and there generally are more C-players at a company than any other caliber. Note that this isn’t always true, as evidenced with Yahoo!, a company that has recently experienced many layoffs but doesn’t have many C-players. In Yahoo!’s case, majority of the lay-offs fell on B-players and even some A-players. Yahoo! is an exception and is an exceptional company — most large companies, however, are chock-full of C-players.”
“There are A-players that are MORE likely to leave. Tough times often paint companies into a corner and force them into maintenance mode rather than continuing to innovate. Great players love to innovate and usually NEED to innovate. It’s usually very hard to keep these type of A-players caged-up and thus this presents a big opportunity for recruiting.”
“Great people are often first to leave sinking ships. They don’t feel they need to stick around for a severance because they are confident they can always get another job.”
“Unfortunately, it is really hard to tell the difference between an A-player, B-player, or C-player just from a resume. Which means you need to engage with candidates and therefore you’ll have far more candidates to deal with given this economic climate. My guess – for a standard job announcement, you’ll have three times the number of C-players applying, twice the number of B-players, and the same number of A-players.”
Tags: A-Player, A-Players, auren hoffman, B-Player, C-Player, hire better, hiring, hiring is hard, Interview, joel spolsky, Recruiting, Scorecard, talent acquisition, topgrading methodology, tweets, Twitter, unemployment, unemployment rate
Last week The Economist had an article in their Print Magazine that was titled, “You’re hired – next year“. I found to it be a lot of window dressing and likely written to attract eyeballs more than provide real value. However, there were a couple of things in the article that were worth noting:
“According to a survey carried out by Watson Wyatt, a consulting firm, three-quarters of American companies have implemented a hiring freeze.”
“The hiring of freelancers and consultants has become more common, allowing companies to avoid spending on employee benefits and delay hiring decisions until the economy picks up.”
“When they do take on new employees, companies are taking longer to make an offer, knowing that they no longer have to move fast to prevent competitors from stealing their prospective hires.”
The first data point, while it likely won’t surprise you, is still very shocking. There are nearly 5 million unemployed Americans right now and 75% of companies aren’t allowing new hires. This combination does make me wonder what Ben Bernanke was smiling about today…
The second data point, again, won’t come as any surprise at all. The reason I pulled out for the purpose of this blog is to emphasize the guidance that I’ve shared with a number of colleagues. If you’ve got needs right now for work that can be done by freelancers, it’s very possible to get $1 worth of work for $.25 these days. It’s not because Freelancers are lowering their rates. Rather, I’ve found that it’s because hiring a graphic artist (as an example) for a 10 hour project is much easier to do these days and, if you hire a Freelancer who doesn’t have anything else to do, there’s a very high likelihood that they’ll put 15 or 20 hours into the project simply to fill up their day and occupy themselves.
Lastly, the third quote that I called out of the Article is another example of just how clueless the media is about the labor market these days. It’s absolutely true that if you’re competing for a perpetually lazy clock-puncher who is guaranteed to bring no value to your organization and poison your culture, you can take as long as you want to hire them without fear of competition. But if you’re looking for top talent, even in this marketplace, you’re going to have to fight. A real life example: one of our clients needed to hire a Service Delivery expert in the NYC area while the S&P was at its absolute low earlier this year. The prospective employee they really wanted had been on the market for 3 days because the company he was with had shut down when it ran out of funding. By the time they “won” the chance to add him to their team he had 3 other offers.
I love analogies and I’ll end with this to drive home my point and also show my love of baseball: there are never scalpers selling tickets for more than face value outside of the stadium in Kansas City in September. Conversely, good luck getting a single seat at Fenway during the same period of time for anything less than twice the price printed on the ticket.
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
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
Recently we’ve had the number of people who want to work with Hire Better really jump. Not surprising, considering every company who has made it known that they’re growing and adding staff is being bombarded with applicants.
That being said, we’re having to eliminate a lot more people from the process earlier than ever before. It’s compelling enough to share with the public. Here’s why:
1. Traditional recruiters don’t “get it”. We’re working hard, every day, to change the mindset of companies. Put simply: they (companies in America) don’t trust headhunters. We’ve introduced transparency and accountability in two ways:
(a) The Talent Vault – where every single person we talk to, and every conversation we have with them, is tracked. No other firm in America (or even internal recruiters) will show this.
(b) We account for our time based on every 6 minutes we work. Our clients know what we’re doing, every minute of the day.
When we’ve made attempts to hire team members from traditional Staffing or Recruiting firms, they wash out in a week because they don’t like being held accountable. They use statements like, “I feel like I’m under a microscope” or “This model makes me think that no one believes what I’m doing” when in reality, it’s the opposite. Because we’re willing to share everything we do to the level that we do, our clients have told us it’s the reason they come back again and again.
2. As most people know, our entire team (absent myself) is comprised of Work at Home Moms. I happen to be a Work from Home Dad. It’s not to suggest that we only hire women, we just have yet to find another Dad who’s willing to admit that he’s a WAHD. We get a lot of guys who apply because they were previously recruiters and they’re intrigued by the idea of working out of their homes but they haven’t accepted the dual responsibility of Daddy-hood and a career. While we’ve flirted with the idea of hiring full-time people, it simply doesn’t work with our model. If you’re applying for a job with our company and you’re hoping it can replace your current full-time job, please save your time and effort. It’s simply not what we’re looking for.
Bonus: if you’re a Work at Home Dad, please send me a twitter directly: @HireBetterCEO. We’d love to have you on the team.
3. Balance in the lives of our employees is critical. When we’re interviewing someone who tells us that they’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done – even work 80 hours a week, it shows us that they won’t fit in. We work hard, but we’re like sprinters. We work hard for short periods of time and then spend time with our families. When we really focus for 2 hours at a time, good things happen! We’re believers that the hours from 25-80 each week aren’t nearly as effective as 1-24.
4. We don’t use industry jargon like “jobs”, “reqs” or “desks”. We’re a team. Everyone on our team has a role. And we never, ever, try to get someone hired just so that we can collect a fee. We don’t measure speed to hire or cost per hire. We measure the quality of the hire over the life of their employment and the satisfaction of each client and hiring manager. Note to those who are interviewing with us: don’t regale us with stories in your interview telling us how proud you were that you handled 50 open positions yourself and filled them all in a month. We won’t be impressed.
Bottom line: we’re growing, but we’re picky. If you’re interested in being on our team as an interviewer, qualifier, researcher or administrator, email Jen Globig today and tell her that you’d like to help us change the world.
Tags: apply for a job, contingent recruiter, cost per hire, desk, growing, headhunters, i don't trust headhunters, job application, jobs, new positions, quality of work, recruiter, recruiters, reqs, requisitions, RPO, talent acquisition, unemployment, unemployment rate, wahd, wahm, we're hiring, work 2 hours, work at home dad, work at home mom, work from home dad, work from home mom, working 80 hours a week, working part time