How come we keep seeing the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool?

STOP trying to hook candidates floating near the surface - these represent the bottom third of the candidate pool (pond)

The primary method you use to attract candidates is guaranteed to bring the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool to the table.

The primary method is posting job descriptions as job advertisements on job boards. Then we wait for those “fish” floating near the surface to pop up and come forward. We rarely consider fishing in deeper waters for candidates who not aggressively waiting for the fishing hook.

Here’s the typical job board posting experience: You post your ad. You receive 300 resumes. Of the 300, you cannot figure out what keyword 298 of the applicants clicked to apply. This group was so far off the mark, not only did looking at those resumes waste your time, but you’re now angry because you missed the lastest installment of “Dancing with the Stars.”

2 of the resumes in the group were outstanding. When you emailed/called those two candidates, you discovered they had gone off the market in the blink of an eye. You could have predicted that was going to happen when you saw their backgrounds – many others found their backgrounds attractive also.

This approach tends to bring the unemployed, useless, worthless, non-productive, toxic, poor performer to the table. Occasionally, you get lucky and find a “needle in a haystack”. Usually, the process of collecting resumes from job ads based on posting a job description is a complete waste of time.

What do you do now? Traditionally, you would have either re-run the job advertisement on a different job board, hoping you might see a different group of candidates. What you got was the same group of candidates you attracted the first time.

Your other option is to look at the 298 candidates from your initial job ad response and pick someone from that group. You’re probably thinking: better a warm body in that seat that no body.

Imagine you considered the first group to be the entire universe of available candidates for your open position (complete fallacy – but I’ll address the issue of candidate pools and how to fish deeply for the best talent in another blog post).

You know deep down that none of these candidates can get you the results you need, but now you’re desperate. You take the top 3, interview them, and pick the “tallest pygmy”, crossing your fingers hoping your deadbeat candidate makes it through the 90 day probationary period.

Does this sound dysfunctional?

What if there was a better way to attract candidates? Let’s tackle those “hiring best practices” for sourcing and finding great talent in our next post.

Barry

Your Primary Tool To Find Candidates STINKS

Holding Your Nose Because Your Primary Recruiting Tactic STINKS!

 

 

The primary tool that most companies use to attract professional or management candidates is classified job advertising through posting a job description on a major job board like Career Builder or Monster.

 

This technique stinks!

 

This technique works great when you really want to attract the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool.

 

This technique works great when you feel like wasting 2-3 months finding a candidate, and then restarting the whole process over again.

 

This technique works great when you want your next important hire to be a function of luck and hope.

 

Stop using methods that are useless, worthless, a waste of time, and yield poor results based on luck and hope.

 

Instead, we recommend diversifying your search efforts into 3 main categories to attract selective candidates. Check out our blog post defining the various categories of candidates and why “selective” candidates are the “sweet spot” to recruit for most companies. Click here to read this popular blog article on Hiring Mistake #7: Fishing in Shallow Waters.

 

 

Referrals to find great candidates

 

First, employee referrals are your most valuable tool to bring great talent to the table. Research shows these folks tend to be better performers and are a better fit within your culture.  I’d like to move beyond the concept of just leveraging employee referrals. I’d like to recommend we call it “stakeholder” referrals and look at customers, vendors, and suppliers – in addition to employees.

Step 1 is to create a Compelling Marketing Statement. Read the Chapter in our free e-book titled “How to Attract the Bottom 1/3 of the Candidate Pool” for the lesson on how to craft a Compelling Marketing Statement. The link to get a FREE digital copy of our popular and best-selling book can be found on our IMPACT Hiring Solutions home page by clicking here. Send the Compelling Marketing Statement to your employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers via email with a short message. Perhaps, you could say something like:

 

Attached is a Compelling Marketing Statement for a role we are recruiting for right now. Could you please pass this along to others in your network (former business associates, contacts, connections, neighbors, alumni) who you think would be compelled by the opportunity and able to achieve some of the success factors we’ve described.

 

The ten you sent it to send it to ten they know who send it to ten they know – and so on until two weeks it’s now in the hands of other 1,000 appropriate and targeted candidates. You’ve just leveraged the natural networks of your employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers – without randomly picking strangers off generic advertising.

Your minimum goal for using referrals should be that 50% of your hires from this point forward come from referrals.

 

 

On-Line Job Boards to find great candidates

It’s not that the job boards stink – it’s your method of using them. Posting a traditional job description is worthless. It gets lost in the clutter since 99.99% of the ads look exactly the same. Most candidates hunting on the job boards are in the “aggressive” bucket and desperate to get out of their current situation or they’ve been unemployed for a very long time. Finding a great candidate using this approach is like the proverbial “looking for a needle in a haystack”.

To top it off, a job description posted on a job board is not an advertisement. It’s a job description MASQUERADING as a job advertisement.

Have you ever read a job description and been compelled by it? It’s the most superficial, meaningless, conglomeration of bureaucratic terms and buzzwords you’ve ever come across. It’s a complete turn-off.

We call this technique of posting the job description as your ad “Drill Instructor Advertising”. It reads like a drill instructor at army basic training screaming at you on the first day when you step off the bus. We DON’T want you if you DON’T have 3 of these, 4 of that, 2 of those! It’s negative, demeaning, and degrading to read these. Here’s the basic problem with allowing your job description to MASQUERADE for your ad: Top talent DOES NOT give a darn what you want as an employer – they don’t care! They want to know WIIFM. What will I learn in this role, what impact will I have, and what will I become for having been in this role for a period of time.

Remember, early in this article I mentioned that the most common technique of posting the job description brought the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool. It’s even worse than that if that’s even possible. Top caliber candidates are so turned-off by the traditional job description MASQUERADING as your advertisement, that they take their hand and pull it down. You never get to see these candidates in your ad response since they self-select out after reading the first sentence. They are disgusted, repelled, irritated, and feel like screaming when they see jobs posted using job descriptions.

So, even though I am not a huge proponent of job boards to find and attract great talent, you should still use them because they are so cheap and the exposure to your potential universe of candidates is so large. However, instead of posting the traditional job description as a weak MASQUERADE for your ad, instead post the Compelling Marketing Statement. We’ve got some samples in our book and on our website under the FREE Resources tab.

 

Networking Through ONE Degree of Separation

You’ve heard the old adage that we’re all connected to Kevin Bacon through 6 levels, or you can reach anyone on the planet through 6 phone calls.

B.S. – If I had to go through six individuals to get one referral, I’d retired before the job got filled.

I would like to recommend a tactic of “ONE DEGREE” of Separation.

Let’s say Bob is the candidate we would like to recruit. Where does Bob hang out with others just like him?

  • Alumni Groups
  • Trade Association Dinner Meetings
  • Continuing Education Programs
  • Seminars and Workshops
  • Online Discussion Groups and Forums
  • LinkedIn Groups

Now we reach into each group and connect with Bob who is not the perfect candidate. However, Bob refers us to through one degree of separation to the person on his right or his left. I’ve found this technique of using ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION – both on-line and off-line to be one of the most powerful sources of great candidates. In over 25 years of executive search and over 1000 search assignments, I’ve probably placed over 90 percent of the candidates through using ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION.

If would like a quick 15 minute phone review of how to use ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION in finding your next hire, shoot me a note through LinkedIn that you would like to take advantage of our “I could have had a V-8 to find better talent review”, and we’ll set up a quick 15 minute call where I’ll show you 3-4 ideas you’ve probably not thought of yet to find that ideal candidate.

Barry Deutsch

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Why and How LinkedIn Can Bring More Than Just Top Talent To Your Company

LinkedIn is one of the social media sites that may be as misunderstood as Twitter. CEOs and key executives constantly ask me why they should be using either one. They haven’t been able to grasp the impact these tools can have on their company. The CEO or key executive doesn’t have to actually use either of them, but they should at least encourage the use by the appropriate people in their organization.

LinkedIn is more than just social networking like Facebook. I think of Facebook as a personal social site and LinkedIn as the business people's social site. LinkedIn and Facebook serve different purposes.

Unlike Facebook which hides a lot of information about the person, unless you are directly connected, LinkedIn profiles are pretty much open for everyone to review. Granted the person controls what information they chose to display, but whatever they decide it is open to just about everyone. This is actually a good thing.

Since most profiles on LinkedIn are about the person’s professional background it really isn’t too much different than posting one’s resume online. This opens up a whole new way to use LinkedIn to benefit your company.

Here are some examples:

Hiring. Why pay thousands of dollars to Monster, CareerBuilder or The Ladders in order to have access to their resume databases? If you are seeking a professional person chances are very high you can locate them on LinkedIn. You can review their background, experiences, accomplishments, awards, education and so on,  for free or a small monthly fee.

In addition you can connect to references, view a list of people with similar backgrounds, identify people in your industry or even specific companies. LinkedIn has provided you and your hiring team not only with a wealth of people, but also given you an enormous amount of information on this person.

Reference Checking. We hear this all the time, people won’t give you references unless they know they will give a good reference. OK, so now you have a way of getting your own references.  LinkedIn allows you to find people based on companies. LinkedIn will give you list of people that have worked at a specific company and those currently working at the company. Now you have a list of people independent from the ones the candidate provided you.

Customer Leads. Cold calling has never been the best way to access a company. With LinkedIn your sales people can now develop warm leads. Your salesperson can identify a potential customer, find who else in their network has contacts within the company or better yet knows the person your salesperson wants to meet and ask for an introduction. How about asking if they would set up a lunch with the potential customer? This is a powerful tool few sales people use.

Vendors. What a great way to pre-qualify vendors. Go on LinkedIn look for people that have left the company and connect with them. You may learn some things the salesperson will never tell you. Granted, depending on the person the information could be biased. That works both ways. As with all information the person collecting the information will have to filter it as they see fit. But I submit having it and ignoring it is better than not having it at all.

Affiliations. Another tool that helps identify potential companies to affiliate with. This is a great way to be introduced to someone you hope to develop a professional business relationship. Often contained within the profile are recommendations that may help you decide if this is the right company to work alongside.

Open Jobs. A component of hiring but this has a different spin. The ability to post open positions  for free or low cost. With LinkedIn groups you can post a job for free and have hundreds of thousands of people be aware of it. In addition, for a reasonable fee you can target specific people, with specific backgrounds, in specific industries only. So you don’t receive hundreds of unqualified resumes.

International Contacts. LinkedIn is a global site. If you are seeking contacts or considering doing business in a foreign country, LinkedIn may provide the contacts you need to get started. If your company is considering coming to the USA, the level of contacts available to you in just about every business sector is well worth your time to check out.

I could continue, but if I haven’t convinced by now why go on. Even if these reasons don’t work for your company, think beyond the specifics above. Think about how these resources can be utilized in your company. That is the real value of LinkedIn. It opens up so many opportunities that have not been available in the past.

I would encourage everyone to be active on LinkedIn. The benefits far out weigh any drawbacks.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

 

Four Things Companies Do To Shoot Themselves In The Foot When Hiring – Part 2

I recently asked over one hundred CEOs and their key executives, “Is hiring top talent critical to the success of your organization?” Not surprising that everyone replied “Yes.” Not simply important, but critical. So then I asked,”If it is critical, then how many of you spend time each month focusing on hiring, excluding when you are actively looking to fill a position?” Not surprising, only three people raised their hand.

WOW, something that is critical to the success of the organization, gets virtually zero time unless there is a current need. Is that the way most critical issues are handled in your company? No strategic planning. No thought or action discussed or taken until the problem arises? Only once the problem arises is it dealt with it. Until then it is that famous management strategy, “Out of sight, out of mind?” or “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”

I believe this management style only happens with hiring. Most other critical issues are regularly discussed, on-going programs such as, cost reductions, product development, increasing sales or market share, customer service, improving operational efficiencies are all constantly discussed and often major components of the company's strategic plan. In fact, I have seen many strategic plans that all have great plans for growth. Yet few ever include a strategy for hiring the people needed to execute the plan as the company grows. Strategic hiring is rarely part of a strategic plan.

I believe companies that truly want to hire top talent and do it on a consistent basis must avoid these four major land mines when hiring:

1) Untrained Managers – Discussed in part 1.

2) Poorly Defined Job – Discussed in part 1.

3) Finding candidates – This is one of the biggest problems faced by companies. This happens as a result of number two. Most companies search for the least qualified to start with. Then they complain that all they are seeing is unqualified candidates.

The other issue causing this problem is that most companies start the hiring process too late. They wait until they absolutely need someone. Then they expect that when they are ready to hire someone, at that moment in time, top talent will also magically appear on the market, find them, and be so compelled after reading the minimum job description to update their resume, and respond. YEAH and a multimillion dollar customer will also magically call too.

Reactive hiring is a thing of the past. Hiring top talent requires proactive hiring. This means your hiring managers must be in the market engaging people all the time. They should be connecting with people on LinkedIn, involved in professional associations, and commit at least an hour or two a month to hiring. Few managers spend any time engaging potential candidates when they aren't actively hiring. In fact, many even discard resumes as they come in if they aren't hiring. Finding top talent doesn't take a lot of time each month, but it does take a consistent monthly effort of an hour or two.

4) Disrespecting the Candidates – Top talent, especially those candidates who are working and in no hurry to make a job change (referred to as passive candidates) will walk away from a manager or company if they aren't respected in the interviewing process.

Some common complaints that left candidates feeling disrespected include:

  • The hiring manager being late for the interview. Few managers would accept it if the candidate was late, so why should it be OK for the manager?
  • Lack of  preparation by the interviewer. Again, if the candidate came in unprepared would that be acceptable?
  • Taking calls during the interview.
  • Finally, telling the candidate that if they have any further questions to call them. Then ignoring the calls. If managers don't respect the candidate during the hiring process, it isn't going to get any better once they are hired.

The interview is a PR event. These candidates will make sure others know how they were treated. They may post it on a website or hear about a person they know is interviewing and ask them about their experience. Bad PR is never a good thing. This is an easy thing to fix. It only takes treating candidates the same way you would treat a customer.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You're NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

Four Things Companies Do To Shoot Themselves In The Foot When Hiring – Part 1

I recently asked over one hundred CEOs and their key executives, “Is hiring top talent critical to the success of your organization?” Not surprising everyone replied “Yes.” Not simply important, but critical. So then I asked,”If it is critical, then how many of you spend time each month focusing on hiring, excluding when you are actively looking to fill a position?” Not surprising, only three people raised their hand.

WOW, something that is critical to the success of the organization, gets virtually zero time unless there is a current need. Is that the way most critical issues are handled in your company? No strategic planning. No thought or action discussed or taken until the problem arises? Only once the problem arises is it dealt with it. Until then it is that famous management strategy, “Out of sight, out of mind?” or “We will cross that bridge when we get there.”

I believe this management style only happens with hiring. Most other critical issues are regularly discussed, on-going programs such as, cost reductions, product development, increasing sales or market share, customer service, improving operational efficiencies are all constantly discussed and often major components of the company's strategic plan. In fact, I have seen many strategic plans that all have great plans for growth. Yet few ever include a strategy for hiring the people needed to execute the plan as the company grows. Strategic hiring is rarely part of a strategic plan.

I believe companies that truly want to hire top talent and do it on a consistent basis must avoid these four major land mines when hiring:

1) Untrained Managers – Hands down the number one reason hiring fails. This is the biggest problem with hiring in most companies. Few managers are actually properly trained on how to hire. Most managers have never even attended one course or read a book on hiring. For the few that have had training, it is usually limited to interviewing training. Granted this is better than nothing, but interviewing is only one step in an effective hiring process. If you aren't finding qualified candidates, all interviewing training will do is validate they aren't qualified. If the job isn't properly defined then where you look for candidates may not be the right place, resulting in unqualified candidates.

The fact is the vast majority of managers use the “Tribal Hiring Training” program. Too often a person learns to hire from the person that hired them. And the person that hired them learned from the person that hired then, and so it goes all the way back to Moses. All this really does is perpetuate hiring mistakes from one generation to another. It doesn't resolve the problem.

If companies are serious about improving hiring, step one is to develop an effective hiring process and then training their managers in all aspects of the process.

2) Poorly Defined Job – This mistake results in the search going sideways before it even starts. Traditional job descriptions for the most part aren't job descriptions at all. Most describe a person. Does this read like your job descriptions; Minimum 5 years experience, minimum BA degree, then a list of minimum skills/knowledge and certifications, and let's not forget the endless list of behaviors the candidate must have, team player, high energy, self-starter, strategic thinker, good communicator, BLAH BLAH BLAH. Of course there is also the list of the basic duties, tasks and responsibilities. These are really important, but as a person with 5 years of experience, who doesn't know these already? This traditional job description defines a minimally qualified person, not the job. So before the search starts it is all about finding the least qualified person. Any wonder why the least qualified person shows up at your door?

Instead of defining the least qualified person, start by defining superior performance in the role or the results expected to be achieved once the person is on board. For example, Improve customer service feedback scores from X to Y. Reduce turnover from X% to Y% within the next twelve months. Implement a sales forecasting process that includes a rolling six month forecast that is accurate within X% of actual sales. Now this is the real job. It defines expectations, not some vague terms or minimum requirements. For every job there are usually at least four of these results required. The job is being defined by performance. In order for the person to be able to achieve these results they must have the right experience. Maybe it is five years, maybe three or maybe ten, it doesn't matter. If they can do these it is enough. Now go find a person that can explain how they will deliver these once on board and you have the right person.

3) Finding candidates – See part 2

4) Disrespecting the Candidates – See part 2

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad