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Future Empathy

4 Jun

Technology.  Social Media.  Change and more change.  As a small business guy, it is almost like watching the Indianapolis 500 on a daily basis.  You are watching a car, you follow it thru the turn, you look back and you miss the next one.  But you did hear the sound and see the blur.  I hear about alot and – it is a little blurry.  It can be overwhelming and distracting and tough to manage sometimes. 

Do you ever read someone's opinion about the latest this and that that is going to take over and make this thing obsolete?  You're thinking, "Wow, I hope not yet" - but at the same time succumbing to the pressure of get in now or you are screwed?  I think I felt this way reading something about resumes being obsolete.  They are done, it's over – you won't need one.  Well, I don't know about that but I tell you something that is over.

The whole job hopper label and gaps in employment are falling under the "is what it is" label.  Not sure anyone in the future is really going to care that much.  It is simple.  If so many good people are in the market(allegedly) right now then – wow – a lot of future empathy for the out of work guy and gal is being developed.  Future Managers with Future Empathy.  A whole new generation of compassionate capitalists unleashed on the marketplace.  The hiring manager's desk is being converted from an altar where I pray for forgiveness because I had a temp job for 3 months to a big comfy couch in a pottery barn setting where I can explain this season of my life.  Is your boss from the future?

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I Would Rather Work In A Bad Area Than Live In One

29 Oct

It’s Monday and my first call of the day just required me to deviate from my plan and share some thoughts.  I love this hiring manager I just talked with – she is quick witted and honest – two good qualities to possess.

Every time we talk about what she needs some help on – she gives me an update and this one opportunity she has me working on – always comes with the disclaimer – "but you know Andy, that one is not in a good area."

Now this is a good company, good compensation, good benefits, good work environment inside – apparently outside this location is not so great.  Can we change that?  Can we do anything about it?  So why share that – the question is will someone take the job?  Easy answers on all these questions.

Apparently, my hiring contact with this company is not a fan of this particular location.  Cool.  I think this a reminder to the hiring authority that what you say matters and that we need to be careful in the recruiting game that we are not placing our value systems on others.

For instance, I don’t want to drive an hour to work but people do it.  I don’t want to work insane hours during busy season but people do it.  I don’t want to clean port-a-pots but people do it.  I don’t want to work in a bad area either but people do it everyday.

Hiring Managers – do not put your value system on others – what you say matters – and in this Halloween Week we do not want to scare people with our thoughts.  Let’s allow the candidate to decide that one.  I would rather live in a good area and work in a bad area than the inverse.  Trick or Treat.

Memo To The Cynical Hiring Manager

4 Oct

"Well, Andy – I realize they could probably do the job and the resume does look good but my only concern is.."  I love the phrase – "my only concern is" – I LOVE IT.  Has any phrase ever shouted more clearly – here comes some negativity? – got pessimism?  I know they have 19 things going for them but can we focus on why they suck for a minute?

I realize the candidate walks on water but there is always a chance he could freaking drowned after our orientation.  He could lose faith if I hire him.  I know he has had a success pattern but it could all end if we make him an offer.  His accomplishments look good but that could all come crashing down when he breaks the plane of this door.

My only concern is that you understand when you CAN say my only concern.  I think we take a pretty good order around here at CGP – understand what you really want in an ideal fit, understand the culture, understand the specs and then go recruit.

When we go recruit we are looking for the best people for the given opportunity.  You don’t see this activity but I can assure it is just that – an activity – that includes a lot of phone calls, alot of time, alot of interviewing.  That is our job.  You don’t see the candidates that don’t fit – you don’t have to talk with them.  They did not waste your time.

What you will see is the fruits of our labor.  You will see candidates that fit, that are qualified and most of all realistic to the market.  So… here comes the resume to your attention – qualified folks at the click of your mouse.  Now – you can get busy thinking how to fill in the blank after you utter my only concern is….Please don’t.  We have already eliminated those we had and knew you would have concerns about.

The solution is simple – trust us and let us do our job.  Tell us your CONCERNS in advance and you will not see these candidates.  If they get to you – we think you should see them – bring them in – interview them – they are at least worthy of a phone interview.  We have screened them – we have listened to them with discerning ears and selected only the ones that we think will not evoke your concern but will cause you to open up your planner tool of choice to see when you can see them.  We don’t send people we hope you will see – we send people you should.

This entry was not prompted by one lousy hiring manager – it was prompted by reflection of pessimistic hiring managers over the years and phrases that make me cringe in my role as recruiter.  Our job really is not that difficult but it does require will and desire when we are direct sourcing for your next employee.  Understand where we are coming from and know that the candidates you get from us are qualified and requalified – they come from hardwork not some big drawer overflowing with qualified resumes.

Are we going to miss something occasionally?  Sure.  Just let us know the answer to why this candidate does not fit – chances are it is someting we missed when taking the order or did not discuss with you.

Our only concern is you don’t realize the effort that goes in to a search.  Our only concern is you waste your time interviewing people that are scouring the ads.  Our only concern is you are interviewing people who just want a counteroffer.  Our only concern is that you are interviewing unrealistic candidates who are wasting your valuable time.

If you are prone to mix in a "My only concern is…" – wait until you have at least talked with them and VALIDATE your concerns.  Your only real concern should be can we attract and retain talented candidates and do people want to work for me and this organization.   

I Have No Doubt You Can Generate Resumes On Your Own

8 Aug

The key word in the title of this post is resumes.  Hiring Manager you can generate them on your own.  Go ahead – post that job on the job board of your choice – fire up that ad – and watch your Inbox light up.  Wow – what a response.

I think I received the best compliment a recruiter can receive this week.  I was having coffee with a candidate of mine at the local Starbuck’s.  She had completed a phone interview with a hiring manager I had made several placements with over the years.  The candidate shared with me that the hiring manager "sure thinks a lot of you."  As yours would – my ears perked up and of course, I had to ask why she said that.  She said, "because she said you understand what they want."

Sure – that made me feel good – very good.  Here is the point we are getting to –

Resumes are not pre-qualified candidates.  Resumes are pieces of paper.  Recruiting is not resume processing.  Recruiting should be a proactive not reactive.  I am fairly sure my head may pop off the next time I hear we have it "posted on crapresumes.com" as if they are doing something to fill the position – the kid that stops by your house selling candy bars is doing more than you.

When recruiters accept an assignment – they are surveying the market for the best candidates.  The best candidates are not applying.  The best candidates want to be recruited.   They want calls from recruiters.  HR is capable of making these calls but they don’t want to.  Why?  It’s difficult, time consuming, and they have no incentive.  Most HR people I value have always shared with me they cannot stand recruiting – unfortunately that dislike extends to recruiters.

So let’s examine this – we have a hiring manager looking for the right fit, we have the hiring manager relying on HR to bring qualified candidates, HR having a job description with generic specs, a job board or whatever non-human medium HR utilizes to hopefully generate candidates, an HR representative doing some phone screen to determine something from the best applicants and no real assurance we have the best candidates but my did we generate a freaking load of resumes.  Woo!

One thing I failed to mention in the above paragraph is we also have an HR department, in so many cases, that does not really care about the pain of the hiring manager and the burden a key vacancy can create on the department’s already spread thin resources.  They don’t really understand it.  Quite harsh on the HR bashing but let me support that by saying why –

1) I hear countless complaints from hiring managers about HR not delivering quality applicants.

2) HR has no incentive to fill these job openings.

3) Applicant Tracking Systems don’t update themselves – someone needs to get on the phone.

4) HR is burdened with other things to manage.

I know I have made 87 points in this post and am having trouble wrapping this all up but I shall try.

Recruiting has to involve a discerning human.  Recruiting is a matter of will and desire and incentive impacts the will to hunt and the desire to find the selective, better qualified candidate.  HR is way too in to the process and not the placement – they are in to the requirements not the recruiting of talent. 

Let HR work on benefits, employee relations, community relations, union stuff, union avoidance, overhauling of job descriptions, orientation, procedure manuals, training and what they do best and leave the recruiting to the people that enjoy it.  Let recruiters be your human resources.

 

Don’t Ask – Do Tell

26 Jul

Memo to Hiring Manager of the Day – You can’t expect the hiring of top people to be convenient.  My client – I tolerate their hiring gauntlet – I mean process and while thorough, it occasionally borders on defeatist. 

Location A is where the job is.  Location B is where the big boss resides.  Great candidate from afar has phone interview with hr and boss from location A and does well.  Company schedules phone interview with big boss 2 days later.  Candidate again does well.  HR calls and asks me to get candidate in to meet with boss and hr from location A at location B with big boss.

Top candidate is an interviewing phenom and is open to just about anywhere – working with a couple of recruiters and is apparently the headliner on Lalapainterviewza 2007.  In other words, the schedule is filling up and I am one of her promoters.  Dates I had previously given HR were not gonna work now that the tour bus was rolling. 

I suggest two dates.  HR shares that this Friday would not work because the location A boss and HR just can’t get away from location A and that next Friday would not work because big boss was "taking the day off."  I asked HR guy – "Why don’t you just ask big boss if he would be willing to come into the office for an hour next Friday?"  Simple enough. 

HR responds with "I am not gonna ask him to do that."  I, of course, said – in a service minded tone(always) – "If you won’t, would you mind if I did?  Because I will."  HR says – "Sure, go ahead."

Enough with the dialogue – (sorry, gosh I need to set the stage with real life examples here – back it down).

The point – this is where HR falls short so many, many times.  You’ve got a hiring manager with pain, you’ve got 3 people needing to interview potential candidates, a specific skill set you are looking for and unwilling to settle for less, the corporate travel department involved, airplanes involved, a candidate finds their way into your email inbox that you do not even dream of passing on yet you are unwilling to ask the manager with the pain to make a small investment to interview someone on a day you think he is contemplating taking a vacation day.  Huh?

Coincidentally, HR had it wrong.  The big boss was not going to take next Friday off but the Friday after that.  However, you don’t get that if you don’t have the discussion.  So – see you gotta ask but really – just tell them this is when it needs to happen.

What is the worst thing the manager can say?  No.  Next memo to hr – when you hear – "no" – know – you are doing your job.  Believe me I asked the hiring manager but if he would have said "no" I would have been telling him why it needed to happen.  HR needs to push more often – HR needs to make things happen more often and stop acquiescing to hiring managers.  They are screaming at you for candidates – when you have one – tell them when they will be interviewing the person.

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