Posts Tagged ‘#recruitment’

Getting to “YES” on Job Offers

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

It used to be that to get a top executive, you figured out what salary you wanted to pay, offered a bonus that might be discretionary, and extended the offer.  The candidate might accept, decline, or counter, and the response was almost always based on the money issues.

Organizational Talent Management experts have learned a lot about candidate motivation, yet offers are still often constructed and extended based on just monetary issues.  Candidate turn-downs are often based on many other factors.

Hidden Concerns:  There are lots of things you can’t legally ask a candidate about, but might be on their mind.  What issues could interfere with a move?  Does the candidate have elderly parents, or kids in high school?  Is the spouse really on board, or being dragged kicking and screaming?  The best way to address these hidden concerns is pre-closing, or testing the offer.  When you float a dollar range, and ask could they accept that, you will often hear, “Well, I’d have to think about it.”  Your next question should be, “What will you be thinking about?” Or, “What issues will you be considering?”  This will surface many of the hidden concerns, which opens the door to further discussion.

Candidate Motivation: “A” Players are rarely motivated by just the money.  Other key motivators include being inspired by your vision, liking your company culture, identifying with the challenges you have laid out for them (performance objectives for the position), feeling they can make an impact, long term potential for growth or equity, etc.  If you take care to find out what really matters to each candidate, and make sure you have painted a picture that incorporates these features, the money becomes secondary.

Offer Components:  There are many components to offers today that can be important to a particular candidate.  Again, it is critical to ask what is really important in the features and benefits you include.  One candidate might find educational reimbursement to be valuable, while another might need flex time.  We had a candidate this year who needed the relocation package to allow much more for temporary living, and much less for cost of home sale, and that required a change in company policy by the new employer!  A key issue for executives today is where they will be permitted to live, with many people wanting to keep their home, and commute twice a month to the job location.  Know what is important, and see if the candidate’s needs can be met.

A key strategy is individualization.  Most companies employ experts that standardize HR policies as much as possible.  Candidates are at their most vulnerable when they make a job change.  Being treated like a person instead of a commodity will win hearts and minds, and get “yeses.”  Last year, I had one candidate for whom the money wasn’t an issue at all – he was taking almost a lateral.  All he wanted was some help getting his wife started on her job search in the new locale.  He was jumping for the opportunity, while she was hesitant, and that’s what it took to win her approval and consent.

The pool of talent will begin to tighten in the recovery, and getting offer acceptance will become an art and science, and you must master both!  As an employer, you need to be creative, intuitive, responsive and willing to customize.

Talent Management Strategies

Monday, June 5th, 2017

Talent Management experts have widely varying prescriptions for success.  Too often, you have to wade through 20+ pages of corporate buzzspeak to find one or two nuggets of “how to” that you can really use.  Do you really want to read sentences like this:  Talent management is a comprehensive, seamless, systemic end-to-end process to fully integrate your human capital strategy to ensure that every step in your staffing / on-boarding / compensation / retention / training and personnel development is aligned with a proactive philosophy and policies and procedures involving getting the right people with the right skills in the right place.

Our take on the basics of good talent management starts with the premise that every company’s talent management strategy can be distilled down to one word: Quality.  Very simple:  Better people, better hires, better results.

Here are the basic ingredients of a sound Talent Management Strategy:

Staffing Goals:  Develop a skills matrix analysis – what do you need, what do you have, where are the gaps?  Project bench strength and successorship planning into this.

Position Profiles:  Job descriptions must be based on SMART goals – specific measurable objectives that impact your bottom line – not a stale laundry list of skills.  The performance based profile becomes a personal business plan for the new hire.  “A” players love this.

Sourcing:  The hot button issue for most employers, and the most frequently mentioned “pain” in talent management.  You (or a third-party vendor) must have a plan to source “A” players – those people not now looking for a job.  Attracting only those who are looking for a job is proving insufficient to get “A” players.

Evaluation:  Performance based interviews (not competency based) explore the candidate’s specific ability to produce a tangible result.  Turn your objectives into questions, and dig deep to find the evidence of capability.

Recruitment:  If your hiring managers take the “what makes you think you should work here” approach to interviewing, “A” players won’t be interested.  Give them better tools so they can do a better job.  And, you must sell the prospect on the benefits of working at your company, not just evaluate their ability.

On-boarding and retention:  Why do “A” players say yes?  Why do they stay?  A chance to make an impact.  Real, clearly understood challenges.  Personal meaning in their work.  A supportive culture with continuous learning.  Appreciation, coupled with appropriate rewards.  Growth opportunities.  Provide these attributes, or risk losing your best people to those who can.

Performance Management / Compensation:  Specifying performance objectives makes management and appraisal easier.  Compensation must be at least partly performance based, providing incentives for the specific results you want.  This is doable from the lowest to the highest level of your organization.

These basics would get most companies 80% along on a solid Talent Management path.

What you might not need:  Unless you are a Fortune 1000 company, you might not need to fully automate your TM processes.  A decent applicant tracking system that integrates HRIS after the hire is adequate.  You also might not need computer or paper based assessment tools, which are the cornerstone of many TM consultants’ offerings.  A good performance-based evaluation interview is better than any test printout at predicting success.  I’m also convinced that there is too much emphasis on designing teaming, engagement, 360’s, etc.  These useful processes happen naturally in a performance-focused environment.

Keep it simple, and focus on quality in your entire talent plan, and let the above brief approach guide you to better results.


Who Do You Trust?

Monday, June 5th, 2017

There has been a lot written (some by me!) on whether recruiters should trust candidates; and on how much job seekers tell the truth vs lie, etc.

This makes me recall a couple of early TV game shows.  “Who Do You Trust?”, originally hosted by Johnny Carson, was about whether husbands trusted themselves or their wives better to answer the quiz question posted to them.    The show that was a more applicable reference to today’s topic was actually “To Tell The Truth”.  In this show, four celebrities tried to find which contestant truly held a particular profession (like being an airline pilot), vs. two impostors who merely pretended to be in that occupation.  The celebrity “interviewers” posed questions to try to ascertain who was the real pilot, and who was lying.  It was a fun show that ran for 25 years in various forms, which may prove how entertaining the recruiting profession is supposed to be!

In real life, we recruiters have to figure out who is qualified to occupy a profession, by asking questions and discerning the truth.  Where is Kitty Carlisle when you need her?

I think the key to being able to trust a candidate is to do the best possible job in getting to the truth, as an interviewer.  This entails asking direct and relevant questions, like “what would specifically qualify you to accomplish X?”, with X being a key job objective.  Then we must probe for details that back up the candidate’s initial assertion.  Ask “who, what, why, how” questions like, “What was your biggest obstacle in accomplishing X?”, and “How did you utilize your team to accomplish X?”. It is harder to fake answers to these specific questions.

Most experienced recruiters will be able to tell substance from fluff, if they ask the right questions.

Who Do You Trust? We’d like the answer to be everyone, and it is our job to help the candidate answer truthfully, by asking questions that encourage truthful, substantive answers.

Recruiting: Speed vs. Quality

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Are speed and quality mutually exclusive concepts in recruiting?  Can you find the best candidate in the shortest possible time?

The answer depends on what you are seeking.  Many employers are content to have readily available applicants (active job seekers) as the only candidates for certain types of jobs.  However, in some cases, employers prefer to recruit “passive” candidates – those who are employed and not looking for a new position.  It is widely presumed that the people who are NOT seeking new employment might be more highly skilled than those who have been let go or are actively in the job market.  Right or wrong, the desire to pursue passive candidates does take more time.  Why?

Active job seekers answer calls, return calls, and can set up interview appointments right away.  Passive candidates are busy working, on business travel, or otherwise occupied, and don’t always take initial calls or return them quickly.  They may not have a current resume.  It can take 4-5 phone call attempts to reach passive candidates, and then to set up even a phone screen can be a few days off.  Scheduling face to face interviews can take weeks if a candidate is busy or traveling.

Many of our clients call us after they’ve been attempting to recruit on their own.  It is not unusual for a client to report that they’ve been searching for 3-4 months, interviewed 5-6 people, and still haven’t found the person they want.  So, when they ask us how quickly we can submit people, we wince or we chuckle, but it isn’t really funny.

Employers also think that we instantly possess a database of passive candidates that we can immediately tap into, and present people instantly.  The reality is that most good retained recruiters start sourcing from scratch for new assignments, to be able to present people who are a precise fit.  Sourcing is done quickly – usually within a week.  It is connecting with people that takes longer as described above.  A search for precision fit, custom sourced passive candidates takes 3-6 weeks.  The quality is worth it every time.