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Monster’s New Power Search Tool

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

As many of you know, I am a passionate Research professional and lead instructor for Lean Human Capital’s Internet/social media sourcing sessions.

Last week I spent several hours reviewing (also did a demo) the new Monster “Power Search” tool and thought I would provide a synopsis of what I learned. 

There is a new way to do search.  It’s called “semantic search”.  The old way most search engines work is by using keywords based on digits in fields and Boolean commands.  The results provided back to the user match the keywords you typed in based on what you are looking for.

Semantic uses an approach based on providing answers that ALSO included synonyms or common correlations to the search word or phrase you typed in. (i.e. if you type “lawyer” you will also get “attorney” “barrister” etc).  (Important: These correlations are only as good as the developers who make them for each site).

Semantic search uses tools developed by a couple different companies, and universities.  It is cutting edge, new technology. With that said, I suspect it is not fully refined or embraced in corporate development… yet.

Monster has taken a bold approach AND a $100 million investment to make their database searchable with the semantic search methodology.

Bottom Line:

I WOULD recommend Power Search to organizations that:

  • Do not have a sourcing team.  
  • To recruiters that have limited Boolean and or search experience.

It does have a terrific interface and it is easy to use and learn. It provides easy returns.

However, I would probably not recommend it to those organizations that have a sourcing team and/or recruiters skilled in Boolean search techniques based on my ROI/Cost analysis. 

I give kudu’s to Monster. They are investing in technology TODAY (and getting a jump on their competition?) that I suspect  will eventually (don’t know time frame) become standard (and classic search option will fade away). 

Some stat’s that Monster provided me are outlined below.

Shoot me an email if you have any success stories/challenges with this new search tool and/or semantic search technology!!!!


Monster conducted detailed return on investment (ROI) studies with 48 recruiters from 15 large enterprise accounts to measure the value of Power Resume Search. In side by side comparisons with competitive products or standard keyword searching, customers found that Power Resume Search produced the following results:

  • 65% average time saved using Power Resume Search compared to keyword-based search engines
  • 150% average increase in the number of qualified candidates found
  • 90% of recruiters prefer using Power Resume Search over other keyword-based search technology
  • 97% of recruiters found qualified candidates faster using Power Resume Search

Karen Antrim
Research and Sourcing
Lean Human Capital

2011 Recruiting Trends

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

As many of us begin to wrap up the first quarter of 2011, I’d like to explore some of the trends that we’re seeing and how they may affect the remainder of the recruiting year. 

Heightened Focus on Employee Engagement

As the economy continues to recover this will be an interesting indicator to watch.  Employee Engagement and retention were two of the biggest concerns for HR professionals in 2010, according to a survey conducted by Human Resource Executive magazine, and will continue to be in the year ahead.  Based on 2010 survey data of employees from HR Solutions, only 27 percent of employees are ‘Actively Engaged.’  The remaining 73 percent is divided between ‘Ambivalent’ employees (60 percent) and ‘Actively Disengaged’ employees (13 percent).  To address this issue, organizations are utilizing their most Actively Engaged employees as mentors to motivate and re-energize their disenchanted peers.  According to the 2010 HRE survey of 802 HR Executives, 48% of participants responded neutral when asked about the current state of Employee Morale/Engagement at their organization. Such ambivalence has lead more organizations to increasingly focus on the results of their annual satisfaction surveys.  This has included conducting break out focus groups or additional surveys to address engagement.

Voluntary Attrition Increases Dramatically

Most employers have been concerned about this for some time, as the past few years may not have been kind to their employees with regard to pay freezes, lack of bonuses, and increased workloads.  The importance of retaining employees, especially high performers and those in critical roles is paramount.  According to Harris Interactive, 54 percent of employees plan on looking for a new job once the economy improves. In an effort to thwart this, one trend we’re starting to see is the formation of strategic retention plans that go beyond just focusing on traditional compensation, to include professional development, career pathing and succession planning.

Jury’s Still Out on Social Media, LinkedIn becomes More Dominant

While we still haven’t seen strong ROI from the use of social media, organizations are still “dipping their toe” in its use.  Within our client base we’re seeing little success with the usage of Facebook & Twitter beyond simple brand recognition efforts.  But, we expect that over time these mediums will become more important once the mysterious ROI equation is solved and there are strong success stories as a result of their use. LinkedIn has continued to be the dominant player in the social media recruiting space but we expect to see even more pronounced usage this year. Our clients are adopting its usage at a more rapid pace and beginning to see the results from its use.  The primary driver of return for LinkedIn seems to be finding enough time to use it.  If you have enough time you’ll see the return. 

We’ll continue to add to this list as we see more trends develop to keep you informed. 

Building Talent Communities – A Pragmatic Approach using Dunbar’s Principle

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Because we have so much data/intelligence at our disposal, I think we have a tendency to over complicate and analyze things to the extent that we become overwhelmed with WHAT WE CAN’T DO rather than focused on getting started with WHAT WE CAN DO!

No better example of this dilemma is the concept of recruiters building talent pipelines/communities. 

There is so much being written about using social media to develop communities by leveraging viral marketing strategies using multiple channels  (LI, Twitter, FB, etc.) that . . . . it can make your head spin!

And when we humans get overwhelmed, we usually shut down and do nothing.

I was introduced to the Dunbar principle a few years ago.  For more info check out the article on the Dunbar principle

The short version of his principle is that there is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.  No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number. It lies between 100 and 230, but a commonly used value is 150.

I have often recommended that we use this complex (yet very simple) theory to start developing talent communities.  Instead of getting overwhelmed with all the cool new Web 2.0 things you can do (that you are not getting to!), focus on a simple pragmatic process to get  a talent pipeline going.

  1. Identify the job categories you need or want to develop a pipeline within.
  2. Within those job categories, start to identify prospects (via your ATS, online databases, LinkedIn, etc.) that you want to develop  a relationship with.
  3. Make an initial contact to engage in dialog (remember to develop a compelling message).
  4. Over time, develop  a candidate relationship management program to regularly connect with these individuals to cultivate the relationship.
  5. Focus on developing your Top 150 Network – the top 150 candidates that you would like to continually have a relationship with – these can be active or passive candidates.
  6. As you learn more about individuals in your network, think about replacing folks that are not the ‘quality’ you are seeking with others that are (or you think might be).
  7. Invest 3-5 hours a week to developing and maintaining your Top 150 Network.

The key is to keep it simple and focus on developing your first 150 relationships. Dunbar would be proud! 

Recruitment leaders, imagine how powerful it would be if each of your recruiters had a Top 150 Network! 

Once this is created, think about expanding your network by leveraging social media sites, building online communities, etc.    

Of course one of the keys to your success is being able to develop relationships with these individuals.  Best practices include:

  • Becoming a resource to them.
  • Providing information of value.
  • Providing a compelling value proposition that answers the questions “So What?” and “What’s in it for me?”

Please don’t confuse this message. I do believe that social media tools will transform how we recruit in the future.  I am not proposing that you abandon your social media/talent community initiatives!  But sometimes taking a simple, pragmatic approach to launch an initiative is the right way to go!

Linked in — Networking Best Practices?!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I had a great discussion with our team of recruiters regarding contacting potential candidates and/or networking using LinkedIn (LI). I thought I would share some ideas/tips I found very interesting!

The spirit of the conversation centered around the best ways to connect with folks you find within LinkedIn.

This led to the three most common ways to directly contact folks in LinkedIn and the “pro’s & con’s” of each method:

  1. Send Inmail – While Inmail is great, it is a paid for service and can become expensive. So if you want to use it, it will cost some extra $ during the year.
  2. Sending an Invitation to “link in” – LI only wants  you to send an invitation to someone that you have a relationship with (past/present) and/or through an introduction with someone in your network.  Of course while this can still work, it limits the number of people you could directly link in with outside of your network and without an intro.  In addition, most of the recruiters on our team found introductions to be less effective and . . . less timely.  While it might be a LI “no-no”, most of the recruiters said that they regularly send invitations as – “someone that they have done business with” – with great success and WITHOUT getting sent to the LinkedIn police :)
  3. Join a group and send a group member a message – Joining a group is great and will allow you to directly contact folks within that group.  Of course best practices say that if you join the group solely to post jobs you are recruiting for (asking for something) WITHOUT providing information of value (making a deposit if you will) . . . you might get banned from the group or at a minimum, find that folks tune you out.

The fourth method that many subscribed to is finding someone in LI and then looking them up on other sites (Jigsaw, White Pages, etc.) and contacting them directly (via phone/email).  The logic behind this tactic is two-fold:

  1. Many people don’t check LI all the time and/or don’t have LI emails sent to their personal email address so response time can be slow.
  2. So many recruiters are becoming LI recruiters that people are getting saturated with Inmail, Invitations and group messages. So to “separate” themselves from the other recruiters, they are going back to traditional means of connection.
  3. Linkedin can be very helpful; however, if the person you’re trying to find has left their company and you’re not able to find a home phone number.

Some other great points made during our conversation that I thought I would share:

  1. If someone is a power networker in LI (300+++) connections, you can almost guarantee they will respond. Those that have only a few connections probably don’t check as much and . . . they use traditional means to connect.
  2. LI provides such a wonderful amount of information to “personalize” your message so take advantage of it. Use the information on the potential candidate’s profile to make a connection, and quantify why connecting with you will benefit them and others in their network. If you send the canned LI message or a watered down version – - don’t expect great response rates or worse – - some unhappy peeps!

LinkedIn did not exist 5 years ago. It quickly has become an excellent recruitment tool.  But as things change, you need to constantly be watching how others are using this tool and make sure you’re contributing to the conversation.

Leveraging the Power of Your Network

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

David released some of the initial results of our elite recruiter study a couple of weeks back . 

One of the areas that was ranked as an area for improvement was Leveraging Networks.  It just came up again the other day during an intriguing conversation with a client and I thought it was a topic that warrants further discussion.

We discussed that while 70% of people still find jobs through networking (according to Bureau of Labor), people spend less than 20% of their time “networking” to find a job. And if this is true, how much of a recruiter’s time should be spent developing relationships and networking to find quality candidates?

The point was well taken.   

To level set the discussion – The definition from our competency/skill model is as follows:

Leveraging Networks: Draws upon a wide range of professional and/or business relationships for help and support in achieving individual and organizational goals.

After I thought more about this topic, it’s not surprising that recruiters rank themselves low here.  Let’s face it.  It takes work to maintain an internal and external network that can assist you in performing your work more effectively.  This alone takes more time than most of us have in a day. 

So if you think this is an area for improvement for you, following are a few techniques to consider:

  • The Lost Art of Investigative Questioning – Of course you need to have a robust network to leverage it.  Most struggle to develop a network of professionals they can leverage for sourcing talent, etc. Using specific, probing questions with your Centers of Influence can exponentially improve your ability to build a strong network.
  • How Many Friends do you have  – If you don’t invest time in maintaining the relationships and helping out your “friends” in your network, don’t expect them to be responsive to your request!  Invest time in identifying how many true “friends” you have within your network and building upon this list over time.
  • Growing your friends network  – Check out this post to discuss some simple tactics to grow your friends network!  Some things to consider:
    • Prioritize the relationships – Focus your networking and energy on those that can help you with both your current and long-term problems.  For work-related problems, this might be a peer or someone who is a level above you.  For industry-related issues, this might be a peer at another company.  Whoever it is, block time to spend with that person consistently, and stay connected! 
    • Don’t waste your time on the wrong people - Stop spending energy on a relationship that’s not giving something back to you.  Don’t keep helping others out if you realize they really aren’t helping you.

While all these tactics will help you create and grow a powerful network, probably the single biggest deterrent from you having a robust, interactive network of friends is having the DISCIPLINE to carve out the time to develop it!

Building your network needs to become part of your daily/weekly routine.  I personally have developed the good habit of blocking off 30 minutes a day (I plan it into my Perfect Day Routine  to develop my network and hit all of my news, websites, and blogs for industry information.

I know.  This is easier said than done.  And by no means can I say I do this 5 days a week/52 weeks a year!

Some behavior modification tips/techniques to help you build this “good habit”:

  • Post a note on your screen – - Am I building my Friends Network today?
  • Have a list of your “friends” network. Set a goal each quarter to grow this list.  Make this goal “public” and post it in your office (i.e., – I will have 350 friends in my network by June 30, 2010. Review every month for growth. ).
  • Try to carve out 30 minutes of time when you are least likely to be interrupted.  First thing in morning before you leave your house for work? End of day? Lunch? Friday afternoon? 
  • Hold a contest with your fellow recruiters. Who can develop the most amount of new friends in the next 90 days?

With the instant access we have to millions of people, we often forget to develop lasting relationships that will and can benefit us in so many ways.  INVEST in your network and it will provide dividends along the way.

Thoughts from the road!

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to participate in numerous industry events allowing me to talk “shop” with many talented staffing professionals.

 As always, these events allow me to learn from others and provide me time to incubate thoughts/ideas that often turn into future strategies. 

 Some interesting thoughts/ideas from my travels:

  • Ideally, I think most would agree that hiring people based on competencies (versus skills) will drive better hiring decisions. Unfortunately, because it is not easy to assess someone’s competencies, we most often hire based on skills.  With internal candidates, we should have a more accurate understanding of past performance, candidate competencies, etc. allowing us truly to focus the hiring decision based more on competencies versus skills.
  • Probably only 5 to 20% of all hires need some type of direct sourcing activity. Do you understand the positions that will NOT be filled by active/internal candidates before you dedicate time, money, and resources on active/internal strategies that take precious time away from direct sourcing activities?
  • Shally Steckerl challenged the thought that one’s internal website is a “source of hire” – rather, it is a destination.  Think about it.  Most often candidates search for jobs via ‘google searches’, job boards, sites like www.simplyhired.com or www.indeed.com, SEO/SEM, social networking, advertising, etc. If one source of hires is your website, you probably do not truly understand how your candidates ‘found’ your opportunities. 
  • For those of you that have multiple license agreements with large job boards, how many of your recruiters actually use them on a regular basis?  Many companies have saved money by cutting back on licenses!
  • David Lord had some interesting statistics on retained executive search firms. 
    • The submitted candidate to hire ratio for retained search firms was 6.5 to 1 in 07 and 5.2 to 1 in 08.  Is this more efficient than your internal team?
    • 4 out of 10 retained executive searches fail!  WOW!   
  • While most executives see recruiting as “essential”, do they really perceive it to be strategic to their organization? One way to shift their thoughts is to answer the question, “How does recruiting solve corporate problems?”
  • Here’s an idea – Create an annual report for your 2009 recruitment activity/ performance. Present the report to CXX level.
  • To truly create an effective Talent Relationship Program, you need to get hiring managers involved with the ‘relationship management’ activity.
  • If your sourcing team does an effective job of identifying/sourcing quality talent for key job families over time, your sourcing team will spend less time “identifying” talent and more time developing relationships with the talent found!   
  • Create questions to ask your hiring managers:
    • What positions are most critical for changing the market value of our company?
    • What positions are less critical and really only need good people? 

The backlash is back!

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

It seems like déjà vu. About 10 years ago the art of crafting Boolean search string commands, “peeling back URL’s” took the recruitment industry by storm.  Much like the Job boards did in the mid to late 90′s .   These new sourcing techniques were claimed to be the next ‘silver bullet’ with respect to finding that elusive passive, high quality candidate.  Recruiters raced out to learn more about these techniques and if . . .they executed the techniques properly. . . on certain types of positions . . . they found success. 

Fast forward and 10 years later and the same phenomenon is occurring again. We have a new set of technology based sourcing tools to find candidates.

  • Blogs have replaced internet “chat rooms” (isn’t a blog what we used to call a “chat room”?)
  • Searching the Internet via powerful browsers and Boolean search string logic has become even more advanced and powerful
  • Huge databases of people have emerged in social networks

Web 2.0 is what we are calling it this time around and again . . . like 10 years ago . . . on certain types of positions . . . these are powerful tools that work!

But just like last time, the pendulum that probably “swung to far to the right” is coming back.

Over the past six months, many discussions have been focusing back on the fundamentals of recruiting. While technology-based tools and methodologies can assist in finding candidates and even developing relationships . . . we know that this is only one piece of the pie.

What about – -

  • Engaging hiring managers, identifying the skills and competencies that are required of a new employee
  • Setting Service Level agreements
  • Developing and communicating a value proposition to attract quality top talent
  • Skillful Assessment techniques
  • Candidate Interview Preparation
  • Effective Salary negotiation tactics
  • Having the discipline to manage priorities, daily time management, and goal setting, etc.

The Pareto principle (80/20 rule) probably applies somewhere in this conversation. Just like 10 years ago, with all these cool new gadgets – - it is hard not to focus 80% of your time, effort and energy trying to master them. But the reality is there is no silver bullet with respect to recruiting.  Recruiting is a balance between technology, “Boolean searches”, networking groups, and the bullets above!

These thoughts of mine were further validated at the ERE conference last week. While there certainly were some really cool technology-based sourcing and selection tools – - many of the sessions were focused more on the fundamentals, managing client relationships, and measuring success/ROI, etc.

Tony Blake from DaVita, in his excellent presentation, quoted a person stating – - “The next killer app. in recruiting is the recruiter!” (I love this quote!)

Mike Grennier from Wal-Mart in his presentation titled “What I have Learned” . . . stated – - “Don’t forget about the phone as a core fundamental recruiting tool!”

So just like 10 years ago, the pendulum is starting to swing back to the right…

“Mastering the fundamentals, while maybe not that sexy, is back in style!”

Richard Newsom from Fifth Third Bank stated the following during his sesession “Managing your recruitment department on a single metric”: “There is nothing more powerful in recruiting than a skillful recruiter managing the process artfully from “end-to-end” to achieve exemplary customer satisfaction ratings from your internal/external customers. ”

To this point, over the coming weeks we will be discussing 10 fundamental “game changers” that Elite recruiters execute flawlessly 95% of the time!

Do you have a social media policy?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to participate in the Thought Leadership Institute’s Corporate Sourcing Leadership Conference. As with any discussion around sourcing today, we talked about Social Media sites/Web 2.0 tools as it relates to sourcing top talent.

For larger companies, regulating access to these sites has become a big issue and debate.

  • Should we allow access to employees?
  • If we don’t, will that negatively impact our brand identity and how the public perceives our organization?
  • If we deny access, does that really stop them from accessing these sites via their mobile computing devices?
  • If we do provide access, will workforce productivity go down?

From our discussion, even the early adopters of these technologies for recruitment purposes have not completely figured this out.

With that said, there are some companies that have developed policies/guidelines for social media usage.

If you are in the midst of figuring out your position on this subject, you might want to check out the links below to assist you in your efforts.

As you can imagine – technical companies like Intel and IBM are leading the way with respect to usage of new technologies!




Have a great Holiday!