Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Archive for November, 2008

Doing the Right Thing!

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

The Kennedy Recruitment Conference just finished up yesterday with Shally’s Sourcing Summit. It sure was fun participating and sharing information with a lot of passionate recruiting colleagues.

If you have not attended this event before, I highly encourage you to consider attending the spring event in Vegas.

Probably my biggest AH-HA moment came from two sessions put on by Ryan Loken (Senior Manager of Talent Services for Wal-Mart) and Don Ramer (CEO of Arbita). Don’s presentation was, by far, the most intense and powerful presentation I have seen in years.

While both of these speakers have completely different styles, they were both passionate about:

  • Treating people with dignity and respect
  • Doing the right thing
  • Creating raving fans (Ryan’s term) as a result of treating people with dignity, respect and doing the right thing!

In the current economy, we, as recruiters, are going to be receiving more requests from folks that are struggling to find employment, under-employed, or somewhere in-between. As we know and experience, the recruiting profession, in general, tends to forget the human/compassion side of our industry. We sometimes forget that these requests from “unemployed and potentially unqualified people” are still coming from human beings! And, as Don illustrated in his message: “…these are our brothers, our sisters, our children…”

How do we treat them? Do we engage? Treat them with respect? Go out of our way to help them if we can’t employ them?

Or do we delete their request and/or send them a canned response telling them they are “unqualified”?

We can make every excuse in the world why we cannot personally touch/help everyone that applies to our respective organizations; BUT . . . each and every day, we can also try and reach out to as many folks as possible and, with those we do interact with – take the time to help.

If req. loads are lower, would you invest in helping others in their time of need? Maybe give tips on interviewing? Resume writing and/or finding positions that fit them?

I’m certain if you have friends/family members in similar situations you would hope that they are treated with dignity and respect by the recruiters with which they interact. You would hope those recruiters take an extra few minutes to provide interviewing tips, share resume advice or even make a quick recommendation.

Sometimes in our quest to “fill req’s,” find new ways to source candidates, improve candidate quality, etc., – we forget about the true nature of our business; Connecting hiring managers with talented professionals and helping professionals find a dream opportunity!

We truly do have the ability and opportunity to “change peoples lives” each and every day.

"Pre-Web 1.0" – Sourcing tactics

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

At the ERE conference a couple of weeks ago, there was a lot of discussion around Web 2.0 sourcing tools and even “beyond” (cloud recruiting!). While it is truly exciting to discover how we can use emerging technologies to find and recruit talent regardless of generation, at some point – the conversation comes back to the start.

That is, at some point – no matter how you find and “connect” with a potential candidate for your search (text message, Boolean search string, Facebook, etc.), in order for them to get hired . . . you have to reach out and talk to them.

At one of the ERE break out sessions on emerging technologies, someone made the point; “…don’t forget about that piece of technology called the phone…!” The point being that while discussions around “pre-web 1.0″ tactics might not be “in-vogue,” there are still time-tested, no-cost, highly effective sourcing techniques that should be front and center within each recruiters “tool kit”.

For example, one simple, but powerful, technique to identify the organizational structure (and talent) of your competition (or any organization for that matter) is to engage in a little investigative conversation with each and every candidate you interview.

No matter how you find candidates, at some point (if the candidate seems qualified) you will interview them. Whether they are active or passive, they are prepared to provide you information about themselves during an interview. In your interview/pre-screen, it is very easy (and necessary) to engage them in discussion about themselves, their work history, their accomplishments, etc. and it is natural to ask questions regarding organizational structure, their centers of influence, etc. This line of questioning can provide you with a tremendous amount of information about them, their department, and how many people in that company do what they do.

One possible conversation/interview (and good Investigative Questions (IQ’s)) might go like this:

“So, Jim, please walk me through your work history, from your first job out of school to present…?”

“So now you are at XYZ Company, what is your current role and responsibilities…?”

“So I get a better understanding of how you fit within the organizations, briefly describe your organizational structure…?”

“Who do you report to? How many peers do you have? What do they do? Who reports to you? Who else do you interface with? What are their titles…?”

Having this information is invaluable!

First off, if the candidate gets hired, you can use this data to ask more specific, effective IQ’s like:

“You mentioned you had 5 other peers. As you know, we have 2 more positions, of those 5 folks who would you like to bring over? If you could pick your “dream team,” who would you pick?”

“You mentioned that you interfaced with the business analysts; we currently have a position in that area. Who would you recommend I contact that might be interested and/or well connected that can help me with my search?”

If you find out the candidate is not right for the position, you now know exactly how many other folks exist within that organization that you can target/recruit! This is very important. For most recruiters, they usually ‘don’t know what they don’t know.’ They can’t tell you how many of ______ exist within a company. And if you don’t know that, you can’t truly say that you have “exhausted” recruiting all talent within a specific organization. On the flip side, if I know there are 10 recruiters at a company and I end up talking to all 10 (through various techniques), and no one is qualified and/or interested, I can cross that company off my target list and move on. I can now say that I’ve “exhausted” all recruiting efforts into that company.

This Conversational, Investigative, Methodical sourcing technique is just one example of a “Pre-Web 1.0″ technique that has been used, successfully, for years!

If you would like a copy of our Pre-Screen form used to guide us in this discussion, please email me at dszary@recruiteracademy.com

Road map for a hyper-productive, motivating day of outbound sourcing activity!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

For any recruiter that has to do a heavy amount of outbound solicitation (aka – cold calling), I’m sure at times (maybe right this minute if you’re reading this blog post) you lack the motivation to get on the phones.

If this is you, please read on!

Over the last 20 years, I have studied leaders on the topics of time management, planning, behavior modification, personal achievement as well as industry experts in the field of recruiting.

From this research, there are clearly common themes to being motivated and having a productive day, including:

  • Proper daily planning
  • Defining and performing critical/important tasks (rather than always focused on urgent requests)
  • Being single minded when engaging in an activity

One uncommon (or, less talked about; but arguably the most important) theme, is developing the skill/ability to start each day with a positive, driven mindset and then engaging into super- productive activity the minute you get to your desk.

Developing this skill can improve overall daily productivity by 10, 20, 50%. In addition, it can relieve stress associated with ‘cold call procrastination.’

I (like I’m sure most of you) develop a daily plan (our planning methodology at the Recruiter Academy is called The Perfect Week, A Perfect Day) following the principles outlined by many leading experts.

Up until now, I’ve always believed that your daily plan could be done either, in the evening (before the next day) or in the morning before your day begins. I’ve had folks argue this point with me that point out the need to plan before you leave at night for the following day. However, I’m a morning person and do a much better job of planning when I am rested and focused on the day ahead.

Most days, I come into the office early, prepare my daily plan, handle email, maybe some administrative tasks, and prepare my call list with the good intention of ‘hitting the phones’ early in the day.

On the surface, not a bad way to start the day. But in reality, planning/emails/ administrative tasks did not put me in that positive mindset vital to successful outbound solicitation.

Now as I reflect back, I have often started my day this way (with good intentions to do outbound solicitation) only to procrastinate and continue on with the hours of the computer/admin work on my plate.

Essentially – My start to the day (planning, emails, and admin work) put me in the mindset to continue to do more of the same.

While it might seem subtle, coming in with a positive, ‘you can’t stop me’ attitude and immediately launching into positive activity (no planning, emails, administrative) can generate candidate flow and/or referrals and release endorphins that can set a productive tone for the entire day.

We recently implemented this process at our organization and the results were amazing. More activity, more candidates, less stress, happier teams.

My road map for a hyper-productive, motivating day of outbound sourcing activity!

  • When I have a day loaded with a ton of out bound solicitation, and I know I need to get out of the gate quick; I am going to script out the first 10-50 calls of the day (pending my prospect/call list I have to work from).
  • I am going to write down the first 10-50 people that I want to contact that morning right on my Perfect Day schedule. Most importantly, when I hit my desk that morning, I will immediately launch into that activity and nothing else. If you checked your emails when you left the night before, they can wait another hour or two.
  • This doesn’t mean that I can’t plan in the morning. Since I am a morning person, I will do my planning remotely from my home before I come into the office. I still believe you should do your planning when you are focused at the task at hand. If that is before you leave at night – great. If it is in the evening after you put the kids down – great. For me, that best time is the morning.
  • Before arriving at the office, I will read and/or listen to something that motivates me for the task at hand. Probably more important than technique is your mindset and motivation to make a call.
  • I will arrive at the office when I have a high probability (based on the contact information I have on the individuals) to catch them live on the phone. For me, that usually is 7:30am when my clients are getting to the office and planning their day and returning emails. :) I will block off at least 1 hour for my initial call session, maybe longer given the nature of my prospect list.
  • As I arrive at the office, I will be prepared, focused and have a positive mental outlook on what is going to happen as a result of making these calls.
  • If possible, I will perform this initial call session with a peer. Camaraderie during sourcing is always motivating!
  • My first few calls are NOT going to be new prospect calls! They are going to be “easy” calls (maybe follow up calls) to folks that I feel comfortable talking to and/or know will be an easy/pleasant conversation. This will allow me to practice effective communication skills and gets my ‘voice’ (and mojo) going.
  • I will be prepared for each call knowing what I want to say and what I want to accomplish on the call (this will be written next to their name on my perfect day call list).
  • I will reflect on my initial calls for the day and reward myself for a positive calling session.

As I reflect back, it is pretty obvious to see that my most productive days “cold calling” usually occurred when I got out of the gate quick (adding a motivational contest – made us even more productive).

DISCLAIMER: I understand the information presented above is nothing new, or has been covered and written about previously.

The key is NOT doing any administrative work BEFORE you hit the phones. NONE! Developing the ability to immediately launch into high intensity, outbound activity to get the blood flowing for the day is the key. To do that, of course you (I) have to be disciplined to have your first 10-50 calls scripted for the day.

For seasoned recruiters (like me), maybe this can get you out of a sourcing ‘rut’!

For new recruiters, developing this habit can be the single most important key to your success.

For anyone struggling to get on the phones, give this a try.