It Is Harder To Find People When Unemployment Is High. Here’s Why.

Q. We have run ads on the job boards for two manager level positions and only received about 30 resumes. We expected to have more resumes than we could review in a reasonable time frame.  There has to be a good reason for such a low response rate. For years when we were hiring for these same positions we received over 150 resumes.

This is a common misunderstanding by companies. As a recruiter, companies just don’t believe it when I tell them finding top talent is much harder when unemployment is high and easier when unemployment is low. I can sum up why in one word, “fear.”

This happens because even with 12% unemployment in California, only a very small percentage of those people will actually be qualified for your position. Variables to consider include location, compensation, industry, the right skills, years of experience, cultural fit and so on. This means that there really isn’t that huge of a pool of candidates to choose from in the unemployed arena.

That then leaves those currently working. But stop and think about those working for a minute. They are thinking, “The devil I know is better than the one I don’t know.” Do you believe they want to take the risk of changing jobs, having something not work out and then face unemployment for 6 months? Not very likely. Chances are they know people that have been unemployed for a long time, so working candidates bunker down. Staying with a company where they may not be happy is a whole lot better than unemployment. As a result, most employed people are not looking or even interested in considering something.

Contrast this with times of very low unemployment. There is no fear. The candidate figures that if the new job doesn’t work out, no problem, I will find another in no time so they are willing to consider other opportunities.

Don’t underestimate “fear” in your analysis.

This is why it is imperative for companies that want to hire top talent in bad economic times to be proactive in hiring and not reactive. Most companies have the philosophy that when they need someone, that magically out of thin air the stars will align and top talent will beat a path to their doorstep. WRONG. Top talent and those passive candidates work on their, not your, time table. Most companies hiring today are hiring because the position is critical, not just needed. So it is imperative it be the right hire and they get it right the first time.  To do this you must change from reactive (looking only when you need someone) to proactive, always looking and building a queue of candidates, so when you need someone you already know where they are. Until you do this  you will continue to hire from a very limited pool of candidates.

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.

If you want to know if your hiring process is reactive or proactive you can download our free Hiring Methodology Assessment matrix. Take the assessment and then you will know the strengths and weaknesses of your process. CLICK HERE to download then click the LEARN MORE link at the top of the page.

If this was helpful please pass it along to others. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Hiring In Another State Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

Q. Over the next year we will be hiring a significant number of people outside of California. What are some ways to hire in other states other than running ads?

Hiring in other states will take time and commitment from the hiring manager. They must become actively involved in the process. The best people in the state where you are hiring may not be answering ads, but that doesn't mean they aren't interested in another compelling opportunity. How you search for top talent in other states really doesn't change that much from how you do it in California.

Start with LinkedIn. Begin by joining groups on LinkedIn that align with your industry and the functional area of the position. Have your hiring manager get connected with some of the people in these groups. Then search the groups for likely candidates, post the job in the groups and start sending out updates announcing the opening. These broadcasts can be very powerful. In addition, you can pay a reasonable amount of money to post an ad on LinkedIn that will target the types of people you want to attract. Finally, start engaging people who appear to fit or might know others that fit. This is easily done with emails, phone calls, or by meeting for coffee when you're in the area. None of these takes a lot of time, but they are very effective.

As your manager begins the process of building relationships, have them ask what associations and networking groups are in the area so they can tap into those resources. Ask people for referrals and contact the associations or networking group leaders. Ask if they will make an announcement or post the open position. Plan a trip or two when these groups will meet and attend them. Meet people and begin building a relationship with them. They will be your best resource for talent in the area.

The best advice I can give you is that you shouldn't wait until you need the person to start this process. Since you already know you will be hiring, start the process now so you will already have a queue of people when you are ready to hire. Top talent are out there and open to exploring opportunities. It just takes time and effort to locate them. Remember, top talent doesn't search on your schedule. They do it on their schedule. Hoping top talent will be available at the same moment in time as you are seeking them is not a very good hiring strategy.

You can now download a FREE copy of our best selling book, “You're NOT The Person I Hired.” Just CLICK HERE for your FREE ebook.

Download this free assessment of your company's hiring process to see if your company will attract top talent. http://www.impacthiringsolutions.com/index.php/hiring-assessment-scorecard

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

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3 Guarantees To Recruiter-Proof Your Best Talent

As recruiters for more than 30 years, my partner Barry Deutsch and I have intuitively known why every now and then a potential candidate we try to recruit says to us, “Thanks for the call, but I really like my position.”  Until last year though, we have never actually validated those reasons. Last year I decided to start keeping a list of the reasons these candidates indicate they are so happy. Usually, we just say, “OK” and make another call. Last year I probed a little further. I started asking , “Why” or “What makes your position so enjoyable that you won't consider something else?”

You will have to read to bottom of the article to find out  the most interesting and yet obvious aspect of the informal survey.

First some background. Since most of our executive search practice tends to be at relatively senior levels, most of the comments are not from entry level or manager level people. Although having recruited at these levels for many years, I believe the same reasons apply at all levels, including labor, hourly and administration, or non-exempt as well as exempt employees.

I have prioritized these as best I can, however, I doubt that there is that much difference between the rankings, with the first one as the exception. I also firmly believe that the happiest, and therefore the candidates virtually impossible to recruit away, have all three of these in their position.

1) A boss they can respect is far and away the biggest reason for a potential candidate turning down our recruitment efforts. They never use the word respect, that is our word. Respecting their boss is not the same as liking their boss. I'm not suggesting they don't like their boss, just that you shouldn't interchange the two. Although the majority do have some sort of personal relationship with their boss, many tell us their boss is hard to work with, demanding, too direct or blunt, not a people person, and other words similar to these. So what is respect? It means that their boss takes an interest in them and their career. It is more than just approving of their work. Their boss ensures that they are continually challenged (see Success Factors below), they often referred to their boss as a mentor,  they are growing and becoming better, their job doesn't fit easily into a predetermined job description, they know each other on a personal level, and their boss actually seems to care about them and their career succeeding to put it simply. They are not taken for granted. Their position isn't one of we are doing you a favor letting you work here. Rather both receive value from the relationship.

Their fear in leaving is that they know that few bosses are this way and they don't want to risk leaving a good to great boss. They are not just there to do a job, they are a person that wants to feel good about their job when they get up everyday to go to work and their boss contributes to this.

Do the people you manage feel this way about you or the managers in your company?

2) The candidates are learning and growing. They see positive change in themselves and their careers as they look back on each year. This is why Success Factors are so important. This is the tool by which they measure their growth. A Success Factor includes time based  measurable goals, often stretch goals for the person to achieve. Top talent and your best people like challenges and want to be stretched. It gives them a sense of fulfillment when they achieve the goals coupled with a sense of purpose. Achieving the Success Factors is often the excitement that gets them up each morning and coming to work. It also demonstrates their boss's interest in them. Success Factors send a clear signal that as their boss your role is to help them improve and find purpose in their job. This isn't just a job where you come to work to do the same routine duties and tasks everyday and then go home. Average to below average talent want this. Top talent will grow and become something better by working for this boss.

Do your people have measurable Success Factors? Every position in an organization from the CEO to the janitor should have measurable Success Factors.

3) They are making an impact. This doesn't have to be a significant life changing impact. Any impact is better than just doing a job. We believe it is this impact that makes them really enjoy their job. Everything else contributes to the enjoyment of their job, but feeling like one is positively impacting the business makes an employee feel like they are part of the team. It gives them purpose in the job. They are now directly linked to the company's success and  its profits. They take great  pride in this. They know that regardless of how small a role they played, they did play a role. When the CEO stands up and thanks the employees for the successful year, they feel the CEO is personally thanking them.

Are your people impacting your organization? Do they feel a sense of purpose that their job is important and contributes to the success of the organization?

Here is the most interesting and yet obvious thing that came out of this informal survey. We validated why certain employees enjoy their job and even a recruiter can't pull them out. Inadvertently, we also validated that these same reasons apply as to why someone  wants to leave an organization. When these things aren't present, the employee is likely to start looking for something better. A position that includes all three rarely has turnover.

You can take an easy assessment of your hiring process with our free Hiring Methodology 8-Point Scorecard. Find the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process. CLICK HERE to download.

If you struggle with finding people, you can download the chapter from our best-selling book “You're NOT The Person I Hired” on sourcing top talent. It is free and one of our most downloaded items. Simply CLICK HERE to get your free chapter.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If you liked this article please pass it along to others and post it on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Brad Remillard

A+B+C = Top Talent. Defining A,B,C.

Top talent = doing the right things, the right way, the first time + ability to get the most from others + intuitive ability to think and work strategically.

Looking deeper into this equation:

A) Do the right things, the right way, the first time deals with the tactical functions of the job. The basic blocking and tackling associated with every position. If a person can’t do these basic functions then everything else is irrelevant. This includes prioritizing the functions of the job or department, dealing timely with the day-to-day issues that arise, eliminating and filtering all the background noise and distractions that come up and ensuring that the job gets done, on time and correctly the first time.

B) The ability to get the most from people begins to separate talent. This deals with not only the ability to manage but also lead. There are hundreds of book on this so I’m going to deal with a very narrow difference between managing and leadership – responsibility and authority.

Managing isn’t as difficult, when as a manager you have responsibility and authority over people. People may not want to do what you need them to do, but often will for fear of the consequences if they don’t. For example, not receive a full bonus, receiving a poor review, risk being fired, lower pay increase or some other discipline. None of these are positive, but the job gets done. At some point your people  will either give up or leave if pushed to far. For this example managing is about fear. How many people in your organization manage this way? I don’t see this meeting the qualification in this equation. In fact, I suggest this is why many people are not and will never be top talent.

Leadership clearly involves managing. Top talent understand this. They are able to get the most out of people and push people beyond what the person thinks they are capable of doing. One aspect of leadership is responsibility without authority. Fear is removed from the equation. Now people do things because they are motivated to perform and want to do the job. It is getting a person you don’t have authority over, that is already working 50 –60 hours a week to do something for you which you have responsibility. Leadership is more about motivating, encouraging, rewarding, respecting, challenging, liking, and communications so everyone understands, than it is fear. People have demonstrate time and time again just how they will exceed everyone,s expectations when they have a leader, instead of a manager.

C) The ability to do A and B  may make a person above average talent, but I don’t think it makes them top talent. C is the area that takes talent to the top level. The intuitive ability to think ahead, anticipate issues, strategically think, see the future and define it, take the theoretical and move it to reality, deal in the vague world of reality, rely on intuition to make correct decision without enough data, respond quickly to crisis without throwing gas on the crisis, use the power of B to rally people, all while improving the department or business. It is this unique set of traits that are hard to define, but everyone knows them when they see them. It isn’t just raw intelligence, although that doesn’t hurt, as much as a blend of intelligence, common sense and intuition.

Interestingly the company’s culture and environment can influence these. That is why someone maybe very successful in one company but not in another.

In order to hire and retain top talent you must first have an effective hiring methodology. One that addresses each of these three. In our experience most companies don’t have a hiring methodology that address all three of these. Most do a good job on A, a fair job on B, and a terrible job on C. In fact, C is rarely addressed in any depth.

Does your hiring process deal effectively with each of these? Are the people involved in hiring properly trained to probe and explore these issues? Do they even agree on these issues? In most companies the hiring team doesn’t even define the culture that same way.

Hiring top talent will never be successful until your organization prioritizes hiring. Once it becomes a priority, an effective hiring methodology for attracting, hiring and retaining top talent will arise.

Want to assess your hiring process. Download our FREE 8 Point Hiring Methodology Assessment Scorecard. How does your company rank on these critical points? CLICK HERE to download.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

Who Is Responsible For Hiring Top Talent In Your Company?

Was your answer HR or the hiring manager?

I typically ask this question in our hiring workshops, seminars and Vistage presentations to CEOs and key executives. The answers are generally either HR or the hiring manager. Both of which I disagree with.

I believe hiring top talent in any organization falls squarely on the CEO's desk. The CEO is responsible for all activity that takes place in the company. Just ask those CEOs in jail who tried to claim ignorance, or the  “I just didn’t know it was happening” defense. Too bad for them as they should have known. That isn’t to say that CEOs can control every activity. They can’t. Every company has or has had a wild employee that says something stupid or does something stupid, however, the company is still often held accountable for the actions of this one employee.

Remember Management 101A, you can delegate authority but you can’t delegate responsibility. The buck still stops at the CEO’s desk.

This is why I’m rather surprised when CEOs answer this question HR or hiring manager. They may have the authority for the activity around hiring, but the CEO sets the tone, priorities, importance around hiring, and who will be hired. Like everything else in the company, when the CEO sets high standards of performance the employees tend to accept and even expect that level of performance. This includes hiring.

The CEO has the ability to determine the quality of people that are hired into the company. The CEO can define top talent for the company, departments, or positions. The CEO can make hiring top talent a priority in the company. The CEO sets the tone and importance for hiring in the company. It is the CEO that has the ability to get everyone focused on where hiring falls on the list of priorities. It is the CEO that has the megaphone to drive this point home. It is the CEO that has the ability to hold HR and hiring managers accountable for hiring top talent. It is the CEO that ultimately controls the training budget for hiring, enabling these employees to learn how to make great hires.

So what are some of the practical things a CEO can do to ensure hiring top talent?

  1. First and foremost, build a culture that includes hiring top talent. Do this by re-enforcing it in the values of the company, discussing it at staff meetings, promoting it in the company newsletter, and on a regular basis emphasize how important hiring is to the success of the company. Few companies do all of these on a consistent basis. Many do it once or twice a year, mainly as an after thought. Hiring top talent should never be an after thought.
  2. Train your people in hiring. Most employees, especially in small companies, have never had any training on hiring. They do their best to hire the best, but that doesn’t mean they are skilled at it. In fact, many are intimidated by the hiring process and just as many actually find the hiring process as painful as buying a new car.
  3. Encourage your people to always be looking for top talent. Top talent isn’t always available when you need them. The CEO should encourage all employees to be on the look out for future talent, especially when there isn’t a need.
  4. Incorporate referring and hiring top talent into the performance management system. Set goals for referrals and reward those managers that maintain a queue of potential employees that can be hired.
  5. Build into your hiring manager's schedule time to meet with potential employees, participation in trade or professional associations, and other community activities. This should be less than 10% of their time.
  6. Build a website that speaks to future employees, the way your current website speaks to customers. The first place candidates go to research a company is the company's website. Yet few websites really engage future talent. Most are not candidate friendly and less than 1% have any significant “WOW factor” for candidates coming to the company's site. Add employee testimonials, have the CEO do a 2 minute video talking about the company's vision, how the CEO values employees, promote your employee friendly culture, the importance of hiring only the very best and the CEO's personal commitment to all of the employees.

Hiring top talent doesn't have to be a time consuming effort. It is in most companies because they are only consumed with it when they need to hire someone. It does have to be a consistent effort though that consumes a small percentage of the hiring manager's time each month.

If the CEO set raises the bar on hiring top talent, the employees will follow and most will jump over the bar.

You can determine if your company's hiring process is effective at hiring top talent by taking our Hiring Methodology Assessment. It is FREE to download. CLICK HERE.

Want to make your company a candidate magnet with a great website? Read this short eight hundred word article with some great tips to building a  candidate friendly website. CLICK HERE.

Finally, download this culture assessment to determine whether or not your culture will attract top talent. CLICK HERE

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard