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Archive for the ‘Sourcing’ Category

The 80/20 Rule

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Author: Karen Antrim – Lean Human Capital  

Years ago, my boss said to me “this place has too much of the 80/20 rule.”  “80/20 rule?” I asked.  “It’s when 80 percent of the work gets done by 20 percent of the people.” he answered.

In my real life, when I’m not sourcing or teaching sourcing, I’m a mom.  I volunteer at my kids school, at our church, and for little league.   I often observe the 80/20 there.  You’ve probably noticed this in your real life too.  80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the parents.

Weekly, I read about a new tool, technique or process that is going to change the way we source.  Or, I get an email for a class on how to improve and write better Boolean strings to find resumes or lists on the net.  I’m all for constant learning and constant improvement.  It’s the mantra our firm is based on.  However, I work for recruiters who have very little time and a mountain of openings to fill.  So my ability to get them accurate prospective candidates in a short time is a priority.  My sourcing techniques must provide the biggest return for the effort.  They must adhere to the “80/20 rule”.

The principle applies to recruiters who do their own sourcing. They have even less time for each activity in the recruitment process without a sourcing staff to assist them.  The “80/20 rule” should become a guiding principle.

Simply put, the 80/20 rule is how to get 80% of your candidates with 20% of the tools and processes of sourcing.

Let’s take some specific examples.  We all know that Linkedin.com has the largest community of profiles of any social professional network.  If you have time constraints on your recruitment process, why use any other network?  Get 80% of your prospects, build 80% of your network, start 80% of your conversations in LinkedIn.

Here is an inverse example.  I understand the appeal of long and sexy Boolean search strings.  As a Boolean geek, I dig‘em.  But as a person who must be pragmatic in her practices, they do not return enough bang for the buck.  They don’t adhere to the 80/20 rule.  For example, the popular string (Intitle:resume OR inurl:resume OR intitle:cv OR inurl:CV  OR etc..) generally finds resumes that have been posted on a personal website or perhaps a university faculty bio. There just isn’t a large population of these out there.  One can spend a great deal of time playing with keywords in this string and not get a large return for their time investment.  This is an example of the 20/80 rule.  20% return on 80% of the investment.

Pick your top 3-5 successful sourcing activities, and stick with those.  Mine are:

  1. Site command to harvest linkedin.com
  2. Subscription resume database such as Monster
  3. My ATS
  4. Finding associations and membership lists
  5. Target companies to raid with call campaign

As a recruiter, you may change out #4 for working your own existing network.

Regardless of whether you’re a recruiter doing your own sourcing, or a sourcer supporting recruiters, putting 20% of your time in these activities will produce 80% of your prospect list.  That leaves a whole lot of time for other tasks, such as candidate interaction, building your network, or branding yourself and your organization.

Happy Sourcing!

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

Engaging Quality, Active Candidates – All About Timing & Your Message!

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Question: Ever wonder how many recruiters are logged into Monster/CareerBuilder at any given time?
Answer : Hundreds of thousands!

Question: Ever wonder how many “hits” a quality candidate gets (in the first 48 hours)  from recruiters after posting their resume online
Answer: 20-100 + +

Synopsis:  While there are talented, active job seekers out there (contrary to what some “experts” might say), the competition for them can be as fierce as it is for those elusive “passive” candidates!

The minute a talented professional posts their resume, you can bet there are hundreds of recruiters, sourcers, competition, etc. ready to pounce on them!  So what can you do to ensure you are making contact with the top job seekers?

Some practical advice on Harvesting Quality, Active Candidates:


Since quality talent will get 20-100+ hits from recruiters within 48 hours, it is critical to be identifying talent as they ‘hit the boards’.

Some tips:

  • Set up automated search agents to drive candidates to you (NOTE: A key to this is ensuring you have the right key words set up to harvest talent effectively.  If you don’t have the right key words, you will miss talent).
  • Don’t rely on your search agent (NOTE: comment on keywords above).  Each morning before 8 am (when your competition is getting in), review all resumes posted during the last 24 hours.  Again, your ability to develop key word search strings that will identify all the potential candidates will be your key to success. If you want more info on this subject, contact me.
  • Lastly, MAKE CONTACT WITH THEM. I know many recruiters who have search agents to drive candidate flow to them but. . . only get to them on a weekly basis.   

These tactics will probably ensure that you are one of the top 5, 10 recruiters that are contacting them which is very important. 

Think about it. If you just posted your resume online, what would you be feeling when you started getting responses? Probably pretty excited eh? How about the 83rd response from a recruiter? Maybe annoyed?


Your Message:

Regardless whether a candidate is active/passive/unemployed . . . TOP TALENT IS IN DEMAND! 

So what is your value proposition? Why would they want to talk to you? How is your message different from all the others?

As many of you know, the Art & Science of Engaging Top Talent has been a passion of mine for years.  I spend a lot of time working with recruitment teams on perfecting this skill.

Some simple advice:

  • Make sure your message is short, compelling and to the point (100 words or less).
  • Make sure it answers the questions roaming through the candidates mind: “So What?” and “What’s in it for me?”

For more insight, check out this blog post I wrote on the subject.

Remember there are definitely talented active job seekers out there.  But . . . you are not the only one trying to recruit them!

Ensuring you are one of the first recruiters to contact them with a compelling message and . . . the probability of engaging them will go up exponentially!

Compelling Time to Fill (TTF) data — It can be misleading

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

In a recent blogcast, (Time to Fill – Are You Managing A Key Metric You Are Measured On?), we discuss how time to fill can be misleading and . . . not a good indicator of hiring manager satisfaction and overall “responsiveness” to the truly critical hiring needs of the organization.

While most organizations might be able to track TTF by job category, they only report the overall average to key stakeholders. Unfortunately, this statistic becomes a “blended” rate of all positions regardless of priority, cost of vacancy, criticality to organization, difficulty to fill, etc.

And if an organization is not structured to truly support priority, critical to fill, or difficult to fill positions, there often is a big gap with respect to TTF between what we call Business As Usual Req’s – (AKA – BAU’s – repetitive positions that most often are filled by active, internal or referral candidates) and  priority/critical/difficult to fill ones. 

Some very intriguing data from one of our healthcare clients illustrates this point.

While there overall TTF for Q2 was 33 days (very, very good especially compared to our benchmark median of 41 days.

  • 300 positions were filled in an average of 23 days
  • While 49 positions took on average 89 days to fill!

This provokes the questions:

  • Do you have the right organizational structure to support BAU and priority/critical/difficult to fill positions?
  • Do you have the right process to support these distinctly different types of positions?
  • Do you have the right resources to effectively screen through the active pool of candidates while proactively sourcing top talent not found in those circles?

If you haven’t done so recently, I would slice your TTF data by BAU and priority/critical/difficult to fill categories and analyze how well you are performing. 

If your data is similar to the organization outlined above, then seek to develop strategies, processes, etc. to improve timeliness on the positions most critical to your organization!

I hope you’re having a good week. 

Who Is Blitzing?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

In a recent blogcast , we talked about injecting some fun into sourcing for top talent.  Well, our team took it to heart and . . . over the last 4 weeks committed to having some fun while getting in dedicated sourcing time.  

As outlined in the blog, folks could ‘opt’ into 3 daily sourcing sessions (7:30 to 8:30, 11-12 and 4-5).  These times were selected based on thier experience of catching people live during those times.

During the first week, to check out who was going to attend a session, someone would send out an email – Who’s Blitzing!? (as in call blitz).  The folks who were doing to participate would quickly shoot back an email confirming participation. 

Over the course of the month, it was amazing to see these sessions ‘take off’ three times a day.  Most importantly, it was great to see how this ‘fun’ challenge drove some very positive behaviors including:

  1. Folks scheduling in sourcing time BEFORE other activities like interviews, meetings, etc. which is a key principle of our Perfect Week, Perfect Day Time Management methodology.
  2. Folks being prepared for each call session with enough names for the blitz.  This usually meant 2-3 hours of sourcing ‘research’ time to set up these call sessions. Again, another positive outcome of the challenge.
  3. Motivation – Everyone that has participated clearly agreed it increased the quality of sourcing time!  The 7:30 to 8:30 and 4-5 time slots were very productive and before this event . . . those call times were a hit or miss for the team.  Some would get hit and some would be missed.  Moving forward – - it will now become part of their routine.   
  4. Folks are seeing the benefits from this hard work!

Most importantly, everyone has seen increased candidate flow to some very difficult to fill positions during the month that often brings luke warm ‘effort’ as folks seek to enjoy the end of the summer!

I encourage you all to consider injecting some fun into your sourcing routine as we head into the last “official” week of the summer!

Have a great holiday weekend.

Getting through the Dog Days of Summer . . . HAVE SOME FUN!

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

In my 17 years as a recruitment coach/mentor, I have found that the beginning of August usually brings with it a common case of “Recruiter’s Rut.”   Many of us drag ourselves into work on Monday after a long weekend of fun in the sun wishing we were still outside playing!  We wake up realizing that the summer is almost over after it just began!  We start to wonder “Where has it gone?” 

In addition, the reality starts to set in that the year is 60% complete and . . . there is still a lot to accomplish!

It is at this point you can wallow in self pity or . . . inject some fun and passion back into your recruitment day!

I first wrote about “Recruiter’s Rut” back in 2002!  I have personally seen this infectious ‘disease’ rip through entire recruitment departments with ease.  The best cure is to gather your peers and develop a strategy to fight it.

Some ideas?

Well, since at the end of the day, each and every recruiter is measured on their ability to identify and recruit top talent for their organization . . .  fun contests centered around generating quality candidate flow is always a great cure!

Recently, our sister organization implemented a contest for August that might help you to steer clear of ‘Recruiter’s Rut’.

  • They are holding three sourcing call blitz sessions each day (from 7:30 to 8:30, 11-12, and 4-5).  These times were carefully selected as times that they had the best opportunity of getting someone live on the phone.
  • These are ‘optional’ sessions for all recruiters recognizing there are other activities that might prohibit you from attending all of them.
  • For each session, they are tracking:
    • Number of dials
    • Number of appointments set
    • Number of “live” conversations   
  • Points are awarded as follows:
    • 10 points: For attending a call blitz session  
    • 25 points: For a candidate submitted to hiring manager from the call blitz
    • 50 points: For a Hiring Manager Interview
    • 75 points: For an offer
    • 100 pints: For a hire

In just the first week, we have seen more productivity, a spike in activity and . . . a little mojo back into the day.

Another fun contest you might deploy is the Recruiter Decathlon .

Even the most motivated, passionate recruiters I know (including me) sometimes need some assistance getting through the dog days of summer.  If you feel Recruiter’s Rut settling in with you and/or your team . . . inject some fun back into the day!

Time, Tenure and Trust

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

We have recently published our first annual Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark study. A core piece of the study was measuring/benchmarking key process efficiency metrics of the staffing supply chain.

Through this initiative, we found the average Route to Hire Efficiency Metric to be 6.7 to 1.

That is, it takes 6.7 candidates routed to the hiring manager to achieve 1 hire.  While this actually is pretty darn efficient compared to studies we have done in other industries, Best in Class organizations (representing the average of the top 25%) Route to Hire Efficiency was 2.48 to 1! 

Basically, the Elite, efficient organizations required half as many candidates (routed) to get 1 hire! 

Or course there are/were many things they did differently to develop a Lean, efficient staffing process, but something all systems had in common was this concept of Time, Tenure and Trust.

  1. Time – All Elite organizations spend a considerable amount of time on:
    • The intake session with the hiring manager. They made sure they clearly understood the need, how to market the opportunity; define clear service levels for service, etc.
    • The pre-screen process. Whether they used an automated assessment tool and/or some combination of phone interview, they spent enough time with the candidate to ensure they were someone that was worthy of consideration and should be interviewed by the hiring manager.
    • Discussing candidates with managers and proactively setting interviews.

While all these steps might seem obvious to some experienced recruiters, many recruiters/organizations still struggle to INVEST the time required in these three steps.  The usual results include routing too many candidates to managers that they in return reject to be interviewed/considered.   This is clearly evident in that the average Route to Hiring Manager efficiency was 43% while the Elite organizations efficiency was 80%!

  1. Tenure – Most Elite firms agreed that they had many ‘tenured’ recruiters on staff that had built rapport with their hiring managers, taken the time to understand the business unit they supported, etc.  All firms agreed that you can overcome short tenure by investing the time in the three steps above.
  2. Trust – Elite recruiters have the trust of the hiring managers and they respect them as staffing consultants. 
    • They interview the candidates the recruiters send rather than scrutinize!
    • They ask for their opinion when deciding on making an offer (or not).
    • They respect their input on compensation discussions.

While I don’t want to over simplify how the Elite organizations have become hyper efficient, I don’t want to lose the forest through the trees either!  Time invested up front can quickly turn a non-tenured recruiter into a staffing consultant that garners a ton of TRUST FROM their hiring managers. 

Some food for thought on a Wednesday!

PS – If you are a healthcare organization that wants more information on our Healthcare Recruitment Benchmark Study, please contact us!

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.

LinkedIn + Persistence + Phone + Respect = Success – Don’t stop until they say, “NO!” – A TRUE STORY

Friday, June 18th, 2010

My colleague (Kristine) recently received an executive level, ‘niche skill-set’ search opportunity from one of her clients/hiring managers.  As many savvy recruiters do these days, she developed a targeted sourcing strategy and:

  • Identified all competitor companies and companies that employed people with the skill set she was looking for.
  • Then defined all the different titles that this person would/could be called within these target companies.
  • She then started to seek potential candidates and individuals she could network with in this market (the client didn’t want to relo if possible) via LinkedIn. 

Armed with this intel (and a compelling Value Proposition Statement/Attention Grabber) about this opportunity, she made contact (via Inmail or directly via business/personal email) with all the potential applicants/networking professionals. 

While this is a very common practice among thousands of recruiters, her subsequent actions are often not.

  1. She sent two to three electronic messages out to each and every candidate.  While her response rate was good, she didn’t receive feedback from many and most importantly . . . she did not connect with the A+ talent her client demanded and deserves.
  2. She didn’t give up. While most recruiters would give up on these “prospects” in search of others, she identified phone contact information (this is part of her normal process) for all candidates that had not yet responded to her Inmails/emails and started an out bound telemarketing campaign. 

Covering all bases and having resilience:

She caught one individual around 7:30 am (knowing she was a manager, she called before meetings started – - usually around 8).  Her brief discussion that morning led to a subsequent discussion that led to . . . . an interview, offer and hire for a critical to fill position with interface with the COO, CMO and CEO of a Fortune 500 company!

One day after the candidate (now new hire) accepted the offer, she sent the most wonderful email to Kristine.

“Kristine, I can’t thank you enough for being persistent and making contact with me.  Honestly, while I was intrigued by your emails, I probably wouldn’t have called you back simply because I get so busy during the day with work, life events, etc..  Your persistence has allowed me to find an unbelievable opportunity for me and my family.  I am grateful for your efforts!”


Morale of Story:

  • Don’t assume that no response means they don’t want to talk, won’t help you network, etc.  Remember they are as busy as you! (Are there calls or emails that you have NOT responded to because they are not urgent or of top priority?)
  • Emails, texting, social media tools, etc are awesome and a quick way to reach out to a targeted group of people quickly.  But don’t fall into the trap of ONLY communicating via this method!  A targeted sourcing strategy including emails, texts, and PHONE CALLS is the key to successfully recruiting passive candidates.
  • Your compelling message, your tonality when calling, and the time you actually call are . . . all key ingredients to successfully engaging top talent.
  • Don’t stop until they say – “No, not interested and . . . can’t help with networking” (objection handling on this topic is for another day!)

While I am sure all of you have heard this before and/or follow a similar strategy as a matter of practice . . . I thought this was a wonderful story to share to ensure you are practicing it NOW!

In this age of electronic communication, I think it is easy for even the savviest recruiters to fall into the trap of “email & pray” on occasion! :)

Making the Lean Business Case

Friday, June 11th, 2010

During our consulting engagements and training we’re often asked:

How do I convince my leaders and associates to practice lean?

The challenge is often a large mountain to climb.  Perhaps the best way to start is to ask a different question.  “What does it take for lean to become part of your company’s culture?”  The answer begins with a matter of perspective.   How do you enable a mass of constituents, hiring managers, recruiters, and business leaders, to see the value lean can bring to the organization?

Lean is a totally different perspective which enables people to solve a problem regardless of how the problem’s been defined.  Let’s look at hiring 100 people as a common problem that a recruiter and a hiring manager would share.  As a recruiter I might define the problem of meeting my hiring goal as an issue of not having enough quality candidates.  From the hiring manager’s perspective, they could care less about my volume of candidates.  They just want the one right candidate who’ll continue to generate revenue for the business and help their department achieve the business goals, times 100 of course.   So while the two stakeholders have the same problem, they have different perspectives on what the root cause of that problem is. 

So, not surprisingly, the solution starts with communication and knowledge sharing for each stakeholder to see the problem through a “lean lens.”  We do this in our process optimization and design workshops, as well as when we develop training programs.  Utilizing a “voice of the customer” approach, the various stakeholders are gathered to share their common views of the problem, and to discuss potential solutions for the problem through their respective “lenses” or their perceptions.

The other aspect of adopting this method is communication of the value add of going lean.  As we have consistently discussed, we, as an HR function, are not as adept at communicating the value of what we contribute through the lens of the businesses we support (money, $, revenue, and $).  As we’ll reveal soon with the results of our current healthcare benchmarking study, there are thousands of hours of waste in existence within many healthcare systems’ recruitment practices, but until we begin to equate that waste into dollar amounts, our businesses will not understand our value, or support initiatives such as lean.  Our recent webinars have exposed many of you to the concepts of ‘cost of vacancy’ and other techniques to display potential ROI from lean initiatives. There will be more of that to come with the results of the study.

So consider

  1. Exercises and events to promote communication of common problems from the lens of all stakeholders 
  2. Communication of the value add of going lean from a business perspective that’s tied to financials.

More on this soon, but in the meantime contact me if you have questions or would like to discuss this further.