Friday, December 20, 2013

Recruiting the Hunger Games Way

Recruiting the Hunger Games Way

Doug Douglas
Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 1.50.57 PMMay the odds be ever in your favor.
Ten million skilled labor jobs went unfilled in the U.S. last year alone. 10,000 Baby Boomers retire each day. Do the math and something needs to happen to put the odds in your favor if you are a recruiter. Here are a few to consider.

Be Memorable

Advantages came to the contestants in The Hunger Games who were the most memorable out of the 24 who were competing. You’re probably not Google, Facebook, or Apple. You don’t have instant name recognition that helps to sell your brand. But you do have a story to tell. Psychologists have been studying the impact of sharing stories and how they directly impact a person’s attitudes, values, hopes, and fears. But somehow, in the recruiting world, we haven’t grasped that power yet.
So much of recruiting today is creating a job description with an unending list of bullet points and communicating what they company demands of the candidate. Very little emphasis is placed on telling the candidate about the company — what it does, why it does it, what impact it makes, and the causes that company supports. Once a company can have interested parties visualize themselves working there, the battle has been won.
In addition, an emphasis on that candidate’s experience is mandatory. It’s a no-win situation to tell a remarkable story and have a candidate envision themselves working there … and then totally disregard the candidate through the rest of the recruitment process. Common human courtesies will help to make your company memorable.

Alliances Get You Further

As with any good movie, you have the good guys and the bad guys. The Hunger Games was no different. As the battles began, individuals quickly aligned with each other to try to defeat the others.
In this battle for talent, new, fresh, innovative thinking is required — a business alliance. For some, it might mean aligning with a firm that can focuses on sourcing and driving candidates to your recruitment team. For others, it might be a marketing ally that help you to tell your story — online, print, video, social, etc. Some will choose an ally that is focused on recruitment optimization — taking your current strategies, processes, technology, and team and fine-tuning it to make it run more effectively and efficiently. Or you might align yourself with a totally outsourced recruitment partner that delivers on your behalf.
I have been warning recruitment leaders for the past few years that a major transition was about to take place in the way that recruiting is executed. This is mostly because of the generational shift of our candidate base. Two main reasons why this change will take place:
  1. It is the first generation to grow up with the Internet accessible to them every day of its lives. It has reshaped communication skills. It has reshaped problem solving. It has reshaped how businesses operate. It has reshaped just about every aspect of our lives. But somehow we think we can still recruit with the same tired strategies and processes that we used 5-10-15+ years ago.
  2. This is also the generation where everyone got a trophy and we quit keeping score. Candidates have a deep need for communication and reassurance … and having an ATS with knockout questions that eliminate the vast majority of applicants within 30 seconds of their application being submitted doesn’t really feel good to these candidates.
The role of recruiter is changing to more of an influencer … and that means alliances must be in place: Networking alliances. Campus alliances. Referral alliances. Optimization alliances.

Your Mentor Changes Everything

In the movie, each Tribute had a mentor assigned to them. One of the most appealing things that a company can do to draw in new talent is assign that new person to a mentor. Someone to show them the ropes, answer their questions, and give the newly hired person a very personal sense of dedication and appreciation. It will take some screening and training on your part to find those who will truly embrace the role of mentor, but this commitment is well-worth the extra effort when competing for a candidate with a competitor.
You may not be the biggest company. You may not have the most resources. You can, however, put the odds in your favor by developing and executing on a plan based around these ideas.

Monday, December 2, 2013

What Does The Future of Hiring & Recruiting Look Like?

The Future of Hiring and Recruiting, Circa 2020-2025

"Maximizing personal growth and job satisfaction in the short-term will maximize compensation in the long-term."

In 1998 I took a snapshot of the hiring process used at most companies. (It was a special camera.) The picture that emerged looked similar to the image shown. With this past in mind, I’ve decided to take a picture of the hiring landscape 10 years into the future. I’m pretty sure I’ll be retired by then, so I’ll use this post to reminisce about the future that could be.
  1. Talent becomes a business strategy, not just a mission statement. Company leaders will finally realize that if hiring great people is the most important thing hiring managers need to do, they’ll actually be measured on how well they do it.
  2. The elimination of skills-infested job descriptions. Skills, academics and experiences don’t predict on-the-job performance. By proving that candidates are competent and motivated to do the actual work required under the actual circumstance, you’ll discover they have the exact level of skills, experiences and academics required. This shift will also open the pool of prospects to diverse candidates of all types regardless of age, race, gender or physical challenges. (Here's a legal brief you can download describing this process as not only superior, but more legally defensible.)
  3. Performance-based matching becomes fully effective. Rather than matching people on key words, the ability to use artificial intelligence to match a person based on their past performance becomes available. This allows anyone who has a track record of comparable accomplishments to be considered. This will instantly open the door to more top candidates in different industries, including and especially, returning military veterans. Comparability will be based on job complexity, types of decisions made, underlying business conditions and job pressures, organizational structure and sophistication, and breadth of team responsibility.
  4. Companies finally realize that the best people are not interested in lateral transfers. It’s pretty obvious that if a company wants to hire a great person, they need to offer a great career opportunity. The posting of traditional job descriptions will be banned as archaic, and recruitment advertising will be story-based, emphasizing what the person can do, learn and become, not the skills they must have. Here’s a sample of this type of futuristic ad.
  5. Auto-engage high probability prospects with career opportunities. People give lots of clues whenever they’re thinking of switching jobs. For example, they buy this book on job-hunting secrets or watch this video, they update their LinkedIn profile, they expand their professional network, they attend more industry events, they Google for jobs to see what’s available, and they check out Since their LinkedIn profile is public, it’s pretty easy to push jobs directly to these people when these job-hunting activities reach a certain level. They’ll actually respond if these jobs represent career moves, not lateral transfers.
  6. Assessment accuracy emerges from the dark ages. Competency models and behavioral interviewing will be tossed out as far better tools emerge. These outdated tools are as bad as relying on the continued use of skills-infested job descriptions to attract people. I’m going with Performance-based Interviewing, objective evidence-based assessments using talent scorecards, Career Zone analysis, and AI-based fit assessments.
  7. People will become an investment to be nurtured, not a cost to be controlled. Robust public and private knowledge databases will be available (think LinkedIn on steroids), that fully describe a person’s performance and potential. As new jobs open up, companies will be able to instantly target their current and former employees who are best suited for these roles. This will enable a company to finally leverage it’s human capital.
  8. Hiring becomes a legitimate business process. If the demand for top talent is greater than the supply, you can’t use a process designed to weed out the weak, you need one designed to attract the best. Real time feedback metrics will ensure the process is in control and functioning properly. This shift is now underway at companies in highly competitive talent markets, like Silicon Valley. Some are using Performance-based Hiring as the foundation.
  9. The emergence of the hiring manager self-service model driven by the ERP and VTC. With all of the above taking place, it will become increasingly easier for a hiring manager to tap into his or her company Employee Referral Program (ERP) and instantly obtain a list of pre-qualified, warm referrals. Candidate pipelines will become a thing of the past as Virtual Talent Communities (VTC) became the primary means to connect people with opportunities. VTCs are the sum total of a company's employee's first degree connections.
  10. Candidates make rigorous and balanced career decisions. The Career Zone model presented in an earlier post offers job-seekers a sophisticated means to evaluate any career opportunity by considering all of the long- and short-term factors in balance. It starts by figuring out where the person is positioned on the career curve and selecting new opportunities that maximize job stretch and job growth, not compensation. Maximizing personal growth and job satisfaction in the short-term will maximize compensation in the long-term.
Image, the impact of improved workforce mobility as described. There'd be better jobs for everyone, more satisfied people, a more productive economy and a big drop in unemployment as jobs are filled more quickly and more accurately. But hold on. About 10 years ago, I put together another list of hiring predications for circa 2010-2015. Funny, they looked a lot like the above. I guess I’m not very good at predicting.