Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

3 Tips to Deal with an Urgent Request

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

In the world of recruiting and HR, it seems that everything is portrayed as urgent requiring an immediate response, as though we’re living in a constant state of emergency! We’re under siege from a constant stream of urgent requests from internal business partners. For example, a talent acquisition manager of one of our clients recently shared that much of her time, and that of her people, was spent responding to “urgent” questions or issues from internal business partners, rather than managing the business of talent acquisition – sound familiar?

In reality, what is often labeled “urgent” simply is not. But because we live in the age of smart phones, everyone assumes we’re available 24/7.  So as we all know, people sit in meetings tapping away at their mobile devices and catch up on phone calls while walking to and from the bathroom. In some ways, technology has turned us into rapid-response junkies.

One of the most difficult aspects of this rapid-response culture is figuring out how to respond appropriately to clients and customers. On one hand, we know that our customers expect and value responsiveness, which we want to provide. On the other hand, not every request needs an instant response. In fact, doing so too often will not only reinforce the customer’s expectation of rapid-response on everything, but also might not always yield the best results.

So the next time you get that email with the little red exclamation point or the voicemail at 10 PM, try these three tips for determining how to respond:

  1. Don’t assume urgent means right now. Talk with your boss or your customer about what he/she wants to accomplish and when it’s really needed. His/her interpretation of “immediately” may be different than yours.
  2. Respond, but don’t necessarily act. Sometimes a client or colleague wants you to commit right away to a plan of action, but doesn’t need more than that in the short term. Explain what you will do and your intended timeline to be sure that meets his/her needs.
  3. Be prepared to say no. At times, you need to discern between a true crisis and a cry of wolf. Even if your customer thinks he needs it right now, it may be best to decline.

Have a great week!

‘Two cents’ from the road

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

As I have mentioned in the past, I am one lucky “recruiting guy” because I get to interact with talented recruitment professionals throughout the world on a daily basis. 

With our Solution engagement, I also get to become a ‘teammate’ of many recruitment organizations!  With our Benchmark Study, I have intimate interaction with many, many more!

This unique opportunity always provides me with many thoughts/observations/insights! 

Some  recent “Lean, JIT ‘Elite’ Recruitment Thoughts” from the road:

Discipline, sense of urgency, and self-direction are a few of the most important ELITE recruiter competencies you can possess.

  • The busier you get, the more time you need to plan your perfect day. If you are not planning at least 30 minutes a day . . . I bet you are 10-50% less productive than those that do!
  • You can plan all you want but . . . if you are not “true to your schedule”, if you do not commit to crossing off your TO DOs (ETFs, MTNs), starting/stopping meetings ON TIME, etc., IT IS WORTHLESS!

Trust is also very important.  If your hiring managers don’t TRUST that:

  • You understand their business
  • You have an eye for the talent they want/need
  • You know how to find top talent
  • They will continue to:
    • Ask to see all resumes before setting up interviews
    • Always want to “see more”
    • Not listen to your salary/offer recommendations, etc.
  • To earn trust, you must learn their business by attending staff meetings, learning from employees/candidates AND become an expert at performing intake sessions and setting SLAs

A strong ability to solicit interest is equally important.  With technology, social media, it is much easier to FIND passive candidates . . . but still very difficult to SOLICIT THEIR INTEREST.

While there are many facets to recruiting, if you:

  • Are able to plan for, and execute more Perfect Days (with passion :) )
  • Have earned the trust of your hiring managers via knowledge and engaging/executing flawless intake/SLA sessions.
  • Have mastered the ability to engage and recruit top talent.

You are pretty darn ‘elite’ in my book!

My ‘two cents’ from the road . . . Please share any of your ‘two cents’ from the field!  :)

I hope you have (or had) a good spring break!

Planning Your Time – Perfect Week/Perfect Day

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Recently we hosted a poll to see when some of you plan for the next day of work. The results were interesting in that 76% of you do plan ahead either when you’re wrapping up your day or the next day with your cup of coffee.  However 27% of you either don’t have time to plan or only plan a couple of times a week.

When do you plan your day?

I plan for the next day before I leave each day — stress reliever!                    51%
I am a morning planner — with my cup of coffee                                                  22%
Plan? I barely have time to go to the restroom!                                                    20% 
I sometimes plan my day — maybe 2 to 3 days a week                                         7% 

If you’re like me it’s difficult to manage your schedule and complete your “To-do’s” while operating in an environment of constant change, fire drills, etc. One of the techniques we teach to overcome this obstacle and become more productive and efficient is to adopt what we call “A Perfect Week, The Perfect Day” routine. This routine can help you and your team improve time management, planning, and organizational skills, manage multiple projects and tasks, and get more accomplished!

“A Perfect Week, The Perfect Day” routine helps set a strategic course for the week and allows for changes.  The best time to develop “A Perfect Week” is in advance of your week (maybe Friday afternoon or early Monday morning). 

Begin by listing all the activities you want to accomplish into two categories:

  1. Billable. Billable activities directly relate to hiring new employees. Obviously this activity contributes to making money for your organization. Examples of billable recruiting time might include prospecting for candidates, making offers, attending job fairs, setting up interviews with hiring managers, qualifying a requisition, etc.
  2. Non-billable. Non-billable activities are things that you must accomplish and typically support your billable activities. Examples include entering candidates into your ATS, developing postings for the Internet, activity reporting, department meetings, training, paperwork, etc.

If you’d like to see an example of the template we use to document our “Perfect Week” please contact me.  At a high level it would look something like this:

  • Source six hours for BM position. Get three submittals to Kendall – Billable
  • Get requisition from Szary for the SVP of IT – Billable
  • Source four hours for SVP position – submit two candidates – Billable
  • Spend 2 hours in staff meetings – Non-Billable

The next step is to plan your days differently, something we call “Time Based Planning.”  Most people manage their schedule using outlook or some other online scheduling system with a “To-do” list.   Most of these “To-do” action items are not sequenced in order of priority and most people don’t embed their “To-do’s” into their daily schedule.  Time-based planning allocates a specific time during your day to accomplish your “To-do’s” based on their priority.

In the example below I’ve taken the perfect week list above and mapped out one of my days through time based planning:

7:30 – 8:30           Planning, return emails, call Bob about Sue
8:30 – 11:00        Sourcing for SVP position
11:00 – 12:00      Interview with Joe Edwards for SVP of IT
12:00 – 1:00        Lunch – call Mom for birthday!
1:00 – 2:00           Interview Bill Wallace
2:00 – 3:00           Schedule Lisa & Catherine interviews
3:00 – 4:00           Phone screen BM candidate
3:00 – 5:00           Return all emails from net postings

Rather than having my day scheduled and then trying to map my “To-do” list to it, the two are embedded together! 

Of course each week and every day won’t go perfectly!  If activities you’ve documented in your perfect week change during the week then readjust and develop a new plan of action. Plans were meant to be changed!   

Try this routine as a pilot.  We think you’ll find it improves your planning, time management, and organizational skills.   

Eating Frogs Will Help You Enjoy the Holidays

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Like most of you, I find that the holiday season can bring intense pressure to meet deadlines and get things done before we take a few days off (hopefully :) ).

And when you are working at maximum capacity, you have little room for error and/or time to waste on non-productive, non-value added tasks!

In efforts to improve our time management/planning skills, we have studied experts in time management, personal achievement and behavior modification which has resulted in the creation of The Perfect Week/Perfect Day planning methodology

I thought I would share a couple of simple, yet powerful, concepts from this methodology to ensure that you finish the year productively!

  1. To maintain focus and sanity in extremely busy times, you must INVEST more time in planning your weekly/daily activities.   Spending ½ hour creating a time-based daily schedule will allow you to be 25-30% more productive during the day.
  2. Make sure you identify and ‘Eat your Frogs’ early in the day.  Embedded into our methodology is Brian Tracy’s (www.briantracy.com) Eat the Frog philosophy.  If you have never watched the Eat the Frog Movie - DO SO NOW!  In one minute, you will grasp the invaluable concept.  ‘Eating Frogs’ early on will build positive momentum and provide energy for the rest of the day!

Some other helpful hints are outlined in our free resources portal under time management/planning.

I hope that your next week is hyper productive so you can enjoy the holidays!

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!

Health System Workforce Planning

Friday, June 25th, 2010

A recent article from McKinsey Quarterly discusses how most health systems lack a rigorous approach for matching clinician supply to the demand for various health services.  As a result, patient care and clinician morale suffer—and costs cannot be controlled effectively. Essentially they discuss the need for better workforce planning:

“Few health care systems forecast their workforce demands accurately. Predicting the number of doctors who will be needed in ten years’ time isn’t enough; it’s also necessary to figure out how many general practitioners, specialists, nurses, and allied health professionals will be required. The length of clinical training only compounds the problem.” – McKinsey, Managing The Clinical Workforce

We concur with McKinsey’s recommendations and have added a few of our own from the work we do with our clients.

Our collective suggestions on creating proper workforce planning and staffing optimization structures include:

  • Forecasting:   Begin with accurate forecasting focused on demand of services by job clusters.  What types of jobs does the system need– now, next year, and the year after?  What types of jobs will need to be refilled or created based on market needs and system growth plans?  Work with finance to get accurate budget projections – this should be something you do every year at the beginning of your fiscal cycle and at least once during the fiscal year to track changes.
  • Determine Baseline Demand:  For each job category, determine your baseline demand.  This would be a charting of hiring needs for at least the past year, ideally two years, by job family.  Again this would involve working with finance to map the potential needs over time. You can also look at actual hires made month to month for the last year or two to get a sense of the fluctuations.
  • Forecast Changes in Demand:  Map potential changes in hiring demand based on various factors, including demographic changes, retiring workers, consumer expectations, medical innovations, policy shifts, or productivity improvements.   Career progression and job movement internally are also factors.
  • Scenario Analyses:  Project various areas of impact to your model based on the aforementioned factors.  Here you get to play with the “what if” scenarios – a spike in hiring in Q2, a dramatic slowdown in August, etc.  The Scenario analysis will prepare you for these fluctuations and changes so you can be more proactive.

These are simple outlines of concepts, which of course have much more depth.  In a future post or whitepaper we’ll delve into workforce planning in more detail.

If you’d like to learn more about how we approach workforce planning and staffing optimization, and the benefits they could provide to your system contact me.

The “Elite” Employer Brand

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I teed up this concept of an employer brand .  Here are some key areas to consider when measuring your employer brand.

First, you must measure it.  You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and you can’t improve what you can’t measure.  If an organization wants to maintain and consistently improve on the performance of its employer brand it must have a meaningful analytical philosophy that seeks to apply a quantitative and objective view to its brand.  Without this, there can be no analysis and comparison for improvement. 

Source effectivenessThe lifecycle of your employer brand begins with the first contact, which is typically an organization’s careers web site and subsequent sourcing stage.  At this stage an organization should measure the effectiveness of the methods they have relied upon to attract candidates.  This can allow the organization to view the most effective sources of attraction and consistently return to those sources based on the ROI achieved.  We capture this in our current benchmarking study and what we find is people may be measuring it but they’re not taking action.   If they see overspending in a certain area, they don’t adjust their spend in time and often wait until the year has passed. What should take place is that there should be an immediate shifting of the spend to the most effective sources as quickly as possible.

The recruiting process – This is a series of measurements at each stage in the life-cycle of the candidate’s experience during the entire recruiting process.  The recruiting process is one of the most critical aspects in making the decision to join an organization, and often the most overlooked.  An organization should measure the effectiveness of every single step a candidate attains in the recruiting process.  Each touch point the candidate makes with your organization should be considered beginning with the online application, assessment, interviews, the offer, and orientation.  If there is a negative impression that occurs during the initial online application stage of the recruiting process, then there may be a dramatic decrease in the candidate pool.  In the initial discussion with a candidate, another negative impression may cause a candidate to withdraw from the process, and tell others about their negative experiences.  Negative impressions at any stage of the recruiting process can dramatically reduce the candidate pool, and may provide fuel to create a significant gap for an organization that must meet their hiring needs. 

Recruiter Effectiveness – In our elite recruiter benchmarking study  we’re taking a groundbreaking look at the competencies and skills of elite recruiters.  What we’ve found is that effective recruiters engage candidates with the promise of the brand experience (EVP) and continually deliver on the promise.  The elite recruiters even check in with their hires to make sure promises are being kept, and the expectations delivered when someone was hired match the reality of their experience. 

Fit – How a candidate perceives their fit within your organization, the culture, and the position you are offering are critical elements in the messaging of your employer brand.  Organizations should measure the effectiveness of the messaging in all elements of the employment brand through various media channels.  These channels could be print or interactive media marketing and can also extend to the communication with the candidates recruited and interviewed by your company.  Analyze the effectiveness of the messaging communicated about the culture within your company to improve the long term impact that fit can have on the attraction of your needed talent.

So the key takeaways here are that the brand is pervasive, and all encompassing across someone’s life-cycle of experiences with your company.  It must be measured through the sourcing, recruiting process, and fit of a candidate and then through the employee with your company.  Finally, you as the recruiter, play a critical role in the portrayal of the brand promise, and should act as an ambassador to ensure its delivered!

Candidate Care in a Down Economy

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Last year we hosted a webinar on the “Changing Role of the Recruiter”.  We posted some of the highlights of the discussion on our site.  

Looking back, many of the “predictions” we shared have proven to be true! Unfortunately, one in particular doesn’t seem to be losing momentum and continues to affect millions of people and thousands of organizations.

Prediction:  “With requisition loads down, recruiters will be asked to do “more with less” while the number of applicants per position will increase dramatically.”

In the midst of collecting data from numerous organizations for our benchmark study, it is still not uncommon to find applicant-to-hire ratios of 40, 50, and even 100 to 1! With economists predicting a slow “job recovery”, we probably won’t see this trend decrease over the next 12-18 months.

We usually equate high applicant-to-hire ratios with “wasted time” spent weeding through and screening out unqualified candidates.  After all, one of the “Seven Deadly Sins of waste in Recruiting” is Overproduction.

Unfortunately, the flip side to this coin presents another challenging dilemma – developing and deploying an excellent Candidate Experience. 

A few weeks ago I spoke to an audience of unemployed executives in Charlotte.  Their number one gripe about us as recruiters?

“They never follow up. I don’t know where I stand in the process, or how long it will take.”

Of course this isn’t the first time I have heard this and I am sure it’s not the first time you have either. 

The obvious reasons we should provide an excellent candidate experience have been well documented:

  • The negative impact a poor candidate experience has on your organization’s brand can be harmful. Every candidate who does not receive feedback or a “red carpet” experience can create a viral impact of a negative perception of your organization.  With social media and the advent of sites like JobVent, Glassdoor and Vault, candidates have a greater lens of choice in their employers.  
  • For B-to-C organizations, these companies can choose where they shop, where they do their banking, what healthcare facility or restaurant they visit, etc.  The revenue loss associated with a poor candidate experience can be catastrophic.

If those two reasons are not compelling enough to stress the importance of an excellent candidate experience, let’s look at a few others:

  • Every “unqualified candidate” is someone’s brother, mother, close friend or relative.  I am sure we all know of loved ones close to us that are out of work (heck, it might be you).  You know the stress and anxiety it can bring.  If you think of each and every candidate as your brother, mother, close friend or relative, I think it provides a different perspective to the importance of an excellent experience.
  • These “unqualified” candidates for this position might be “qualified candidates” for future positions.  A bad experience today will impact their interest later.
  • “Unqualified, active candidates” talk to “highly qualified passive candidates”.  If you believe the old adage – “Poor customer experience is shared with 8 people, a positive one with 2” – - a poor candidate experience might ruin your chance to engage top talent for your critical to fill positions in the future!

I know that developing strategies to provide an excellent candidate experience is easier said than done, especially with limited time, budgets, etc.

Some easy, quick, cost effective ideas to improve the candidate experience even just 10% are as follows:

  • Have a “follow up” policy.  Whether it’s automated through your ATS or a generic email, thank candidates for applying and tell them the next steps in the process.
  • Post a guideline of your staffing process on your career site.  This can be general in nature and give the approximate timing of each step in the process, but it will at least give candidates an idea of what the steps are and what will happen next.
  • Audit your candidate experience.  They are your primary customers, so allow them to have a voice in shaping the experience of others.  You will thank them for it! 

If you’d like to see some examples of The Candidate Audit or other examples, contact me at bsavoy@leanhumancapital.com

Are you recruiting ‘Passive’ Candidates as if they were ‘Active’?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

I had a recent conversation with a very frustrated hiring executive: The conversation resurfaced some ‘best practices’ around recruiting quality talent.

He was frustrated with the current recruitment efforts on critical to fill positions in his department. While they had gone through great lengths to deploy a sourcing strategy to drive quality, passive talent into the recruitment process, the vast majority of candidates they were interested in were “bailing” out of the process.

Pondering the situation, I asked a few simple questions to try and identify the root cause of the defects (for those that sat in on our 7-Deadly Sins webinar – - you know what I am talking about :o )).

  1. How are you engaging candidates into the process?
  2. How quickly are you engaging candidates into the process?
  3. Who are they meeting with on their first visit?
  4. Where are they meeting?  
  5. Does the candidate fully understand the next steps after their first meeting?

 The answers I received from the recruiter/hiring manager might not surprise you:

  1. Well we have them go through the normal process.  If they are interested, we ask them to go online to register in our system”.
  2. “Once they hit the system, the recruiter is calling them within 24 hours – - hopefully – - to do a pre-screen with them.”
  3. “We like to have them come into the office and meet with the recruiter first – - then meet with the hiring manager.  Ideally, we like to get a slate of candidates to come in and interview all the same day/afternoon.  It is much more convenient for the hiring managers.”
  4. “Ideally – the office. It makes it easier for us.”
  5. “We let them know that we are interviewing several candidates and will have feedback within 3-5 business days.”

I think you know were I am going with this!

So after listening to his answers, I reflected and responded:

“So your managers are requesting the recruitment team to find the highest quality (often passive) talent possible but . . . you want the passive candidates to engage on your TERMS?

  • Fill out paperwork before I will talk to you
  • Come to my office
  • Sit in lobby with other candidates
  • Wait for a response

I don’t know about you folks, but if the University of Alabama used these technique to ‘recruit’ the most talented football players – - I bet they would not have won the national title last year!

While I don’t want to make light of this situation, I find this dilemma within hundreds of companies throughout the country.  Simply put:

They are trying to recruit quality, ‘Passive’ candidates with their ‘Active’ candidate process.

Organizations that excel in recruiting top talent, take a holistically different approach to the passive candidate recruitment efforts.

Some Best Practices

1.     How are you engaging candidates into the process?

Once the recruiter makes contact with a top prospect and does a preliminary pre-qualification (hopefully on the same call), they immediately seek to set up a “cup of coffee” meeting with a dynamic hiring manager.  No initial paper work. We can take care of that later. No resume? No problem, lets just meet and have an exploratory conversation.

2.     How quickly are you engaging candidates into the process?

Immediately (as outlined above)! I have worked with hiring managers that literally say – - if you get a top notch person on the phone, I will meet anywhere, anytime.

3.     Who are they meeting with on their first visit?

While I am not saying they shouldn’t meet with a recruiter on the first visit, the quicker you get them connected with a dynamic hiring manager the better.  From experience, it is much easier to engage a talented professional to have a “confidential, exploratory discussion over a cup of coffee” if for nothing else – - to network VERSUS – getting them to come for an interview with a recruiter!  

4.     Where are they meeting?

When you are not looking for a job, the last thing you would want is people to THINK you are looking.  Coming to a competitors office for a visit – - in this day and age of LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. – - is very risky at best.  And to ask them to sit in the lobby with other “candidates” is disrespectful in my book.

5. Does the candidate fully understand the next steps after the first meeting?

If you meet someone and like them, you should recruit that person. What is wrong with showing your excitement for taking the next steps – ask them their availability to meet with a key executive – - BEFORE you leave that first meeting?  I am not implying an offer? I am just showing sincere excitement about moving forward and keeping the positive momentum during our courtship!

These are simple best practices I have seen successfully deployed by organizations that don’t fall into the trap of trying to recruit quality, ‘Passive’ candidates with their ‘Active’ candidate process.

If you find yourself in this dilemma, please share this with your hiring managers :o )