Human Resources Today

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talent acquisition

Employer Brand Pros: Stop Worrying About Glassdoor


Employer Brand Pros: Stop Worrying About Glassdoor

When it comes to your reputation as an employer, it can be hard to keep up with all of the online review sites. Candidates and employees are talking about you on sites like Quora and Reddit. They are leaving reviews on Google, Facebook, Comparably, Indeed, Kununu, InHerSight, FairyGodBoss, CareerBliss, Vault, and of course, Glassdoor.

Sometimes the ratings are to be celebrated. Some reviews may raise an executive’s eyebrow. And, some ratings and reviews can negatively impact your company’s reputation, your employer brand, and your ability to hire new employees and even retain customers.

Click here to read the full blog post.


Brand Like a CMO: A Recap


Brand Like a CMO: A Recap

Last week, we hosted our inaugural class - Brand Like a CMO - as part of our learning series. We invited speakers from non-HR functions to educate employer brand practitioners on the fundamentals of consumer marketing. Speakers included: Steve Hoeffler, a marketing professor from Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of ManagementMitzi Gaskins, VP of Luxury Brand Management for Marriott InternationalCaroline Frisbee, VP - General Manager for Delk; and Peter LaMotte, Chief Digital Engagement Officer for Levick. Participants came from all over the country (and Canada!) and from a variety of industries. 



How Recruiting Can Manage Change And Be A Partner

Many people will insist that the most important part of having a corporate recruiting team is to have a clearly defined structure, utilize metrics to drive business decisions, and to gather as much buy-in as possible throughout the organization to move initiatives forward. Most of that is absolutely correct. But what about when all of your best laid plans start to.....change? While having the clearly defined structure is important, it’s key to remember to be flexible and open to integrating change on an ad hoc basis. It’s critical to ensure that your teams are flexible with your recruiting programs, SOPs and approach to projects. There will be almost certainly be situations where you may need to change based on unexpected situations or business needs. 

For example, within your recruiting team there may be a certain process or chain for approving requisitions or offers. But department heads or other executives may determine that a different course of action may be required based on headcount needs. The process-driven recruiter in you wants to continue to instill process and order, but that just may not be feasible at the current moment.

Having a level of flexibility in situations like these actually helps you more than you might think. Executive teams recognize when they have team players who can be highly adaptable, and perceive them as strong business partners. Being viewed in such a way can be critical when you are trying to "sell" your department's initiatives. What I’ve learned over the years - sometimes the hard way - is that you just need to “play ball” sometimes and see how things turn out.

There are a few things to keep in mind the next time you encounter a situation where your recruitment team is having some change thrust upon it.

1. Keeping good metrics can help to draw tangible conclusions as to whether an experiment or pilot actually worked. It can also help to identify where the most/least successful areas are for making changes. As one of my former bosses told me “facts are our friends”. Feelings are not. People tend to ‘feel’ a lot of things in the hiring process : “it feels like this req has been open for 4 months” (and its been 17 days). This is the opportunity to influence change through facts.

2. Ask questions. Be sure to ask probing and clarifying questions when changes to your program are being suggested. This allows you to accomplish two things. First, it allows you to understand what the motives are behind the change, which could lead to additional solutions or parts of the solution. Secondly, it shows the other party that you are genuinely interested in how you can assist.

3. Remember that exhibiting flexibility puts you in a good light with your peers and executives. Executives tend to gravitate to those that they feel can be open-minded and those that they perceive are able to see the ‘big picture’.

4. Manage the change down. When working with your recruiting teams – if you want real buy-in – be sure to give them both the political side of the change and the action that needs to be taken in order to be successful. Challenge them to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone and you may be surprised how many people embrace the change. Be approachable and willing resource who can answer questions throughout the change process.


Pete Radloff is a Lead Consultant with exaqueo. You can connect with Pete on Twitter.  exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.




Recruiters, Why Don't We Scrum More?

Timely. Detailed. Manager. Feedback.

When you read that, you have one of two likely reactions. They are probably either "I'm sorry, what did you say? Was that English?" or "Oh, you mean when a manager says 'hmmm, Not a fit'". Let's face it, regardless of whether you are an internal or external recruiter, getting timely and detailed feedback and information is usually a challenge. Feedback and a solid heads up can very much resemble the purple squirrel we're all always in search of. So what can we do? We're all at the mercy of the hiring manager who makes the final call, right? Well, what if we turned the feedback model on it's head?

Many of you who recruit for technical and/or engineering roles are familiar with the Scrum development methodology. Not familiar? NO PROBLEM. It's not just for engineers! Scrum is a methodology that incorporates the idea of fast development cycles, frequent releases and quick stand-ups versus long, drawn out, "Death by Powerpoint" meetings. Hmm, maybe the developers are on to something here.

If we start to think and work like the client teams we're supporting, there's a greater chance of success of us getting what we need. For our purposes, let's focus on the quick standup here. Consider these outcomes as part of moving toward a more Scrum mentality when working with hiring managers:

Quicker Feedback

By scheduling 10-15 minute stand-ups on the books with hiring managers, you can get detailed feedback on phone interviews, submitted candidates, and any tweaks they want to make to the profile in real time. Also, with their schedules, 10-15 minutes is easier than 30-60 minutes. Now you can get the info you need to pivot, or to keep the trains moving forward with candidates. And at the end of the day, quick feedback is an integral part of any candidate experience.

Work How They Work

Eternally, recruiters are trying to move to a model where they "have a seat at the table" so that they can be seen as business partners versus order takers. This is an ideal way to show that you get it. You understand how quick they need to move, and you want to work within those parameters.

Client Service & Personal Touch

Scrums are a much more effective way to have a personal touch point with your managers. Seeing their recruiter frequently helps build familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust. Respecting their time, and still getting what you need is a win-win for both sides. And let's be one reads emails. A harsh truth, but a truth nonetheless. And isn't 15 minutes talking better spent than say, 4 hours a week playing email tag?

Stay On Top Of The Needs

In addition to having your Scrum meeting with your managers, try to join in on a couple of the development scrums. Sure, most of what is discussed will not apply directly to recruiting. But during those meetings, occasionally the future needs are discussed, or they talk about where they are bottlenecked and may need additional heads. This my friends, is proactive recruiting at it's genesis. Again, it's part of building a sense of trust among not only the managers, but the team as well.

This might be most useful in the technical arena, but it can definitely be parlayed across multiple business units with some modifications. And, since we're all looking to show that we can help drive the business, this is a potentially helpful way to demonstrate that to you teams.

Have you incorporated this at your organization? I'd love to hear your take on this.

Here are a couple of fun takes on incorporating Scrum in your process:


Pete Radloff is a Lead Consultant with exaqueo. You can connect with Pete on Twitter.


exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.


Employer Brand Measurement: Introducing Source of Brand


Employer Brand Measurement: Introducing Source of Brand

If there's one thing that corporate America drills into your head again and again, it's ROI. Especially during budget season. And while I don't miss those complicated Excel models, I'm constantly reminded of the importance of measures. You need an argument for making one investment choice over another. As a former boss always reminded me, "data drives decisions." The problem in our line of work? The data is often flawed. For example, human resources has been relying on "source of hire" for years  and it's one of the most imperfect measures in human resources. I have long argued there is no such thing as a single source of hire and thus no accurate way to measure one. Even pre-Internet, job seekers may see an ad in a newspaper but were informed about the job from friends, family, college professors or career offices.


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Dissecting the Tribe

Judging by the retweets, comments and direct messages, my post A Member of the Tribe--over at HRExaminer--resonated with folks. Seems we care about culture but we don't know how to define it, grasp it, understand it.  Several you wondered about the job seeker role in this. If companies are bad at defining and communicating their own culture, can job seekers figure it out on their own?Yes and no. I actually spent quite a bit of time as a career coach and that's what's driving my perspective. I often told clients--don't compare job offers to each other--compare them to what you actually want from a company. I asked them to ponder: "what does belonging mean to you?" I also told them never to take a job without (a) making sure they interview with their future boss and (b) asking a series of questions about how work gets done.

There are ways to understand a company culture even if there's no manifesto or the clues aren't defined. Aggregating social data is one way--when I was at Marriott I asked many a data mining vendor if they had the ability to mine data from employees the way they do from customers on sites like TripAdvisor. None of them had ever done it before.  Why? First, HR is usually about 18-24 months behind marketing in utilizing technology. Second, much of the way work gets done isn't documented in online mediums.

It's the sidebar conversations, the lunches with mentors. 

Sure, sites like Glassdoor can be mined for insight, opinions, opinions strong enough to drive someone to write about them online. And that leads to trend aggregation. But unless you can mine--and make public--insider conversations (even on a medium like Yammer), you won't get the true extent of culture. You'll get generalities on the culture, not specifics on how work gets done.

Even now, when people ask me what it's like to work at Marriott Corporate HQ, my responses are tempered. I speak in general terms: "it's hierarchical, a buy-in based culture that pre-sells and moves slowly." But that's because the culture at Marriott, while strong, isn't well-defined in terms of how work gets done. There are core values that have created a foundation, but like most companies, they're lofty, positive and open to interpretation.

Employees aren't going to be open and transparent publicly unless the company is.

And for job seekers, anonymous content is just that anonymous. And at exaqueo, we're on a mission to change that. As organizations, we have a responsibility to define who we are and how we work--and be honest about it. Culture isn't all Zesty, hunky models, roses and candy. It's the warts, the thorns and the candy corn (I absolutely hate candy corn).  But YOU might love candy corn and that's the thing.  The more you know, the more you can decide if it's the right place.  I'm a neat freak. My husband is the opposite, and yet we still married each other.  That's fit.  And for talent acquisition and HR professionals, this is the holy grail. And this is where culture comes in.

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Why HR Matters to Start-Ups

A whopping 80% of start-ups experience human capital issues, which either support their success or accelerate their demise.  Strong workforce and HR plans not only help to define a start-up’s culture, but also protect its most important assets: its people.  What every start-up (and small business) must know is that for its value proposition to be strong, and differentiated, there needs to be a solid framework in place to grow your workforce. Successful start-ups from Zappos to Google are known internationally for their unique culture and office environment.  The history, of these two firms, can be traced back to a well-defined human capital strategy, in addition to, the know how to implement a strong product.  However, entrepreneurial drive would mean nothing without leveraging the intellectual capital attracted to (and retained by) the organization.

Recently, Yahoo agreed to purchase Tumblr, a six-year old successful start-up for $1.1billion!  Tumblr’s value proposition stems from building a platform, which allows users to create blogs and post writings, photos, and videos.  According to the Wall Street Journal, “Tumblr lowered the bar for online publishing and effectively merged blogging with social media.” In essence, Tumblr increased the visibility for over 100 million users.  Doing so, it has allowed users to exponentially increase the tangibility of their work to a larger audience.

Most interestingly, the agreement between Yahoo and Tumblr, calls for Tumblr to be independently operated as a separate business.  This suggests, that Yahoo recognizes Tumblr’s unique culture, with only 175 employees.  Additionally, it suggests that Yahoo’s recognition that nobody knows Tumblr’s employees better than Tumblr does.  Keeping Tumblr running as an independent business unit allows Tumblr to continually concentrate on its product, while keeping its small-knit culture intact.  At the same time, Yahoo expects to strengthen its market prospects through the acquisition.  From small deals to mega-billion dollar closings, as with Yahoo and Tumblr, the common denominator is the human resources function.  From strong performance to an agile strategy, these firms have been adaptive to competitive forces and market changes.

From talent quitting to protecting its intellectual property, Yahoo, Google and now Tumblr all have a strong talent acquisition strategy in common.  Moreover, they all follow the path of entrepreneurial human resources.  The products that these firms offered, at the time, were revolutionary.  Accordingly, their human resource officers had to adjust their talent acquisition strategy to attract talent, where there were no initial six to seven-figure paychecks.  Last, but not least, adjustments had to be made to retain its top talent and provide benefits that were congruent to the growth of each firm.

As the next possible Tumblr or Google, your business needs to value HR.  This means you shouldn't start with a junior recruiter as your first hire or outsource all of your HR. Founders and leadership teams have to play a role in human resource/capital management.  Whether you like it or not, your start-up’s success depends upon the strength of your workforce. So you have to learn and understand the business of people.




Talent Fit: An Art or a Science?

This post was written by exaqueo consultant Rajiv Bawa.

Google and Facebook, two of the hottest employers today are not only popular for their technologies, which bring people together, but also for their unique business models.  Candidates globally are vying for the opportunity to work at either firm.  Google alone can receive up to 75,000 applications in one week.  Given no shortage of qualified candidates, these two firms put applicants through a gauntlet of interviews and tests; to not only decipher technical prowess, but more importantly fit.  The way a potential employer compares candidates for fit, needs to ensure fairness and uniformity.  It's a science. But it's also an art.What is fit?  Some would say it’s how the candidate “meshes” with current employees.  Others would argue that it’s the evaluation of how the candidate would handle the organization’s environment.  From working within teams to whether current employees would want to travel with the applicant, fit is a huge aspect of the recruitment process.

In fact, evaluating a candidate for fit is more important, to the vast majority of organizations, than technical knowledge.  At the end of the day, who wants to work with a brilliant Analyst when he/she is not able to work well with peers or rubs clients the wrong way?  Industry experts may believe both organizational fit and technical knowledge are equally important.  But without appropriate organizational fit, the technical knowledge a candidate possesses is worthless. They simply won't adapt to the firm’s environment, policies and procedures.

Many interviewers jokingly discuss the candidates they can't get answers out from. To the interviewer, these candidates lacked the communication skills and personal confidence needed for a successful interview.  But looking at it more closely, was it something off of their “list” of requirements that the candidate didn't measure up to?  Or, was it that innate feeling that one has, similar to dating, that this person wasn't the “one?”

From a scientific perspective, organizations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, hiring consultants to help them develop their visions, values and organizational culture.  From these, the Talent Acquisition function clearly establishes a set of metrics that helps guide interviewers around the key attributes they should be probing for.

When I was in Campus Recruiting, at Lehman Brothers, there were established key areas, which we measured each candidate on.   From leadership to analytic skills, the key components of our undergraduate program were very black and white.  Or, were they?  With a pre-defined set of metrics, we were able to ensure that each and every candidate (Summer Intern to Full-Time) hire was uniformly evaluated.  Because of this, decision meetings were very clear cut, and it was very evident who was a hire and who was a decline….yeah right. If only!

Merging the black and white (technical knowledge) metrics, with the grey area of cultural fit, you get hues from midnight black to heather grey, and every possible shade in between.  The art behind successful decision meetings becomes apparent when it is no longer a question of candidate skill.  As one Managing Director put it, “no way am I putting this guy in front of my client!”  So, what’s the deal?  Did the candidate make a major gaffe during the interview?  No, it was not as easy as that.  It started to become a question of fit.

Lehman Brothers, in its heyday, prided itself around the motto “Where Vision Gets Built.”  So, what was it that didn't fit per se?  This is where decision meetings came to a fork in the road.  Every interviewer may agree on the established technical knowledge a candidate possesses.  However, there could be a split regarding fit.  What is important to know, is that HR can be key to ensuring fair discussions around these “grey” areas.  Talent Acquisition ensures that discussions around diversity to the difficulty level, of each interviewer are looked at, when solidifying final decisions.  Moreover, questions regarding candidate honesty, approachability, attitude and entrepreneurial abilities are further discussed within the decision meetings.  Interviewers are further evaluating the “soft skills” a candidate possesses.

On the flip side, candidates should also care about fit. For example, take LGBT job-seeking professionals. They worry about "coming out" during their interviews.  Would you really want to work somewhere that had an issue with who you are?  Of course not! At the same time, you don't have to "come out" to an interviewer. You can evaluate fit but doing research on the company--talking to current employees, evaluating affinity programs, looking for domestic partner benefits, etc. It's a balance of being yourself and doing your research.  Art and science, head and heart.

When it comes to decision meetings, organizations and candidates need to own their individual pieces of the puzzle.  When each party knows there is a “match” it's just like dating. You use your head and your heart to find "the one."




Covering Talent Issues: A Reporter's Perspective

I sit on the Board of our local talent acquisition non-profit group, RecruitDC. And since the inception, we’ve been lucky enough to have exceptional keynote speakers at each of our sell-out conferences. This year, with so many economic and government factors affecting our local talent landscape, we’re taking a different approach. Washington Post reporter Sarah Halzack will lead a panel of executive HR leaders to address some of these issues.  Halzack, a Capital Business Reporter and Web Editor for the Post, has a unique perspective on the area’s talent market. In advance of RecruitDC’s May 23rd Spring Conference, I sat down with her to talk talent, reporting and her own unique job.

Susan LaMotte: How did you land at The Washington Post? And tell us a little bit about your beat and the topics you cover?

Sarah Halzack: During my senior year at George Washington University, I worked as a research assistant for Laura Sessions Stepp, a journalist who was then working at the Washington Post and was in the process of writing a book.  When I graduated, she pointed me to apply for a job at the Post as a news aide, our most entry-level position. At that point, I was still somewhat unsure about what I wanted to do for my career; I had majored in journalism, but had only done internships in media relations. But as soon as I began working in the newsroom, I knew that I was exactly where I wanted to be.  I loved the energy of the place and I loved being surrounded by such bright and curious people. Currently, I am a reporter and Web editor with our Capital Business publication. I cover employment and workplace topics. That includes anything from how the labor market looks and what it says about the broader health of the regional economy to more HR-specific topics such as talent attraction and retention, compensation and benefits/rewards.

SL: I’m so glad the Post continues to dig into these topics especially since we spend so much time talking about politics in DC. Now, business journalism isn't as contentious as politics, but what have you learned about staying objective?

SH: Fairness is at the core of what we do in any department of the newsroom. I think the best way to achieve it is by thinking about a story from all 360 degrees and making sure you’ve been thoughtful and deliberate about what information you’ve included, what sources you’ve talked to, and whether you’ve given all the stakeholders a fair chance to comment. And I think it’s helpful to not make assumptions in reporting.  That helps ensure that you arrive at the most objective framework for your story.

SL: I think that’s good advice for business leaders too. We tend to have preconceived notions about solutions or even who to hire for a specific role! The 360-degree approach is something we could surely learn from. From the reporting you’ve done for the Post, what are some of the business trends you're seeing in our market?

SH: As we noted in the most recent edition of Post 200 (The Washington Post's annual report on the area's top businesses), it seems that many of the biggest businesses in the Washington region got a little bit smaller last year That manifested in different ways: Some shrunk real estate footprints, some reduced headcount, and others spun off business verticals. And so it seems that this year will be about adjusting and adapting to those consequential changes.  As for the local job market, the unemployment rate is ticking down slowly.  However, we are not adding jobs in the professional services sector at a fast enough pace to rev the engine of economic recovery.  Lately, our biggest job creators have been the health-care industry and the hospitality industry.  However, these are sectors that don’t tend to pay especially well, so that could weigh on income growth in this region.

SL: As part of preparing this year's Post 200, you talked about talent as a primary issue for many CEOs. What particular concerns and challenges do you find them to be facing right now?

SH: As I talk to folks in the local talent industry, a few themes emerge.  Some say that talent retention is a difficulty, particularly amid this climate of tightened budgets that might not allow as much room for compensation increases.  I also hear often that certain jobs remain hard to fill because they can’t find workers with the right skill set.  I’ve heard of and reported on lots of different ways of dealing with this—building talent pipelines with local colleges, creating internal training programs, or recruiting from unexpected places. For example, I reported last year on Merrill Lynch’s Washington office and how they are recruiting veterans, accountants and lawyers to work as financial advisers. In another story, I wrote about how Vocus was hiring a food truck for a day and giving out free pizza to lure people to apply for jobs. In other words, it seems many talent professionals are looking for outside-the-box ways to get the best people to come to their organization.

SL: There has been a great deal of conversation in our industry about a talent shortage versus a shortage of certain skills. But that’s just one of many key topics we’re talking about right now. It’s a crowded platform of challenges and I know we’ll delve into then for our panel.  Now, like many journalists, I'm sure story ideas are constantly crowding your mind. What do you do outside of work to clear your head?

SH: I perform with a professional contemporary dance company called Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co.  We rehearse in the evenings and on weekends and perform throughout the Washington area.  It feels great to get up and do something physical after being behind a desk all day!  And dance calls for a different type of creativity than I use as a journalist, so that is refreshing as well.  I’m also a big fan of yoga. 

SL: Me too. We lead such crowded lives I find yoga a great way to eliminate all that noise if only for a hour.  And with all that you do, we appreciate you taking the time to join us at RecruitDC.  We look forward to hosting you and our panelists on May 23: 

-       Melody Jones, Chief Administrative Officer, CEB

-       Angela Mannino, SVP Human Resources, Inova Health System

-       Jeff Perkins, Chief People Officer, NPR

-       Bridgette Weitzel, Vice President, Organization Development & Chief Talent Officer, BAE Systems North America





Why You Should Care About Candidate Experience

We're marketers. That's what we are. Talent acquisition is about promoting opportunities. Driving brand loyalty. Evaluating customer sentiment. Participating in the conversation about our brand. Whether you like it or not, if your game is talent, your playing field is strangely similar to a marketer's. And that because it's all about the experience. Ever find yourself running to post a review on Yelp, TripAdvisor or OpenTable? And when you do--you're always talking about the experience. That's why marketers live to transform the brand experience. It's an operational exercise.  You want to look at every step of the process, get feedback and then look at it again. You want to think big too--how does the experience make the customer think and feel? Would they come again? Is there loyalty there? Would they recommend you to a friend?  Marketers live, eat and breathe all of these things. And so should talent acquisition leaders.

Enter the Candidate Experience Awards. Designed to showcase companies delivering the best in the experience job candidates receive, the Candidate Experience Awards provide insight into an often overlooked part of the talent process--the experience.

I'm lucky to be joining a great collection of HR professionals as part of this year's Candidate Experience Council.  As the Council elevates the importance of candidate experience, we'll be encouraging your organization to apply--because get this--it's not about the award. It's about the experience. "The CandE Award process is a competition, but it is also designed to provide every organization that chooses to participate confidential and specific feedback on how they can improve their candidate experience." Winner or not, you'll get valuable feedback you can't always attain from inside the organization.

Whether you're hearing about this for the first time, or sighing and thinking "Is this really worth my while?" We say yes. Want to know more? Ask me or any of these fine folks joining me on the Council:



Why You Should Care About the Jobs Report

Another day, another jobs report.  That's what it may feel like.  In talent acquisition, we spend so much time thinking about  jobs to fill and plans for our own organizations, that we don't often pay much attention to the larger picture. Sure, we listen to the jobs reports, we grimace when the numbers aren't what we think they should be, and we move on.  What can you do? For starters, you can care.Here at ERE Expo this week, Linda Brenner,  moderated a session with Morningstar analysts Robert Johnson and Vishnu Lekraj. It was just as much an economics lesson as it was a wake-up call. We need to care. We need to pay attention. And we need to understand what's going on beyond the basic 8.1% August unemployment rate (today's BLS data). First, a few key data points and lessons from Robert:

You've probably heard that we've lost eight million jobs in the recession. But dig deeper. The reality is that 50% of that is housing related. Two million jobs were lost in construction and two million in mortgage/real estate related roles. Think about that---specific industry sectors responsible for half of the loss.

Further, we tend to assume that global markets have an exponential impact on our economy. Greece, France, Spain, China...argh! Their struggles become ours.  Not necessarily true. Consumer spending actually accounts  for 70% of the U.S. economy--the most important factor in our growth. And that's because consumer spending acceleration grows industrial production which expands employment and results in increased capital spending.

Bored yet? Don't be. This stuff matters. Take note of the point made by audience member and industry thought leader Eric Winegardner during this session: Sure, unemployment stands at over 8% but for those with Bachelors degrees, that drops to a surprising 4.1% (as of this morning).  The unemployment rate for veterans is down to 6.6%.

Interested yet? You should be.  You should be beyond interested--and actually care.  Here's what to do next with the numbers that are out this morning.

1) Watch the numbers and do something with them.

We typically read an article or two about the jobs report, grimace and move on.  This time around, do something more. Don't just move on. Pay attention to the news stories and let them pique your interest.

2) Read the report

The best way to pay attention? Read the actual report. Really dig in. Ask questions. Share it with your team, or divide it up to read and review. Then have a conversation about it. What does it mean for you and your business? What data points matter more based on your employee population and hiring forecast.

3) Dig for additional data to help you shape your plans

The jobs report should get you fired up to look for more data--other trends that will help shape your 2013 plans. One particular one I like is the report from the National Chamber Federation that looks at the specific priorities, policies and programs of the 50 states and Puerto Rico."   As reported in its June Jobs Summit, 2012, the top-10 performing talent pipeline states in 2012 are FL, MA, SD, VA, NY, MD, CO, ND and CT.  The top talent pipeline states are determined using six measures:

  • Higher education degree production
  • State spending per degree awarded
  • Total student cost at a four-year research institution as a share of state disposable income
  • Share of residents age 25 to 44 with at least a two-year degree
  • Share of high school seniors taking Advanced Placement Courses
  • Attainment of goals for placing adults in open jobs by the state workforce development system

The BLS also offers geographic data breakdowns too. This is powerful data that can help you convince your leaders to hire more virtual workers or rethink geographic distribution.

 4) Look at other economic trends

Consumer spending is an important one.  Consumer income growth was stagnant after an increase in July. So what do we look for moving forward? First, take note of the BEA's consumer spending data reported quarterly. Then look for sector growth.  Retail sales, both back-to-school and the holiday season are great indicators of growth, as are auto sales and housing starts.  Sales of autos have rebounded which according to Morningstar's Johnson, was one of the reasons we had a recovery at all.

5) Try not to get political

Regardless of your political preferences, this isn't a time to grab your soapbox. It's time to be an HR professional.  And that means it's your unbiased job to read, understand and care about the data. And as hard as it is, separate that from your political views for a moment.

Now what? Go beyond this morning's news. Don't just rely on a broad number, dig in and see what it means to you.  Start with reading the news release paying attention to the numbers related to your industry. Then take a look at the charts starting with age and gender. You'll be surprised at how much you might begin to care.



Why Employer Brands Need Personal Brands

When companies think employer brand, they’re thinking big picture. They start by trying to get a sense of their reputation in the marketplace. What do job seekers think about their employment opportunities and the employment experience? Most employers look for a story to create (and hint, it’s usually the one they want to tell.) But Oscar Wilde once said “society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.”  He’s right. That’s the real employer brand story.It’s the story of the thousands of individuals that are your workforce. It’s their commonalities, the values they reinforce together, the shared goals.

It’s also about self-selection—it’s enabling those individuals to ensure they share the same vision as the company does. And that’s where personal brand comes in. As talent acquisition and human resource leaders we’re so focused on the amalgamation of our employees it’s easy to forget they’re individuals.

So maybe we should start thinking about personal brands and employer brands together? At the Fall ERE Expo I’ll be giving a workshop on just this topic: the connection linking an organization’s master and employer brand and each employee’s personal brand.

It may seem hard to connect personal and employer brands. After all, personal brand is always seen as individual—how one person gets ahead, how one person defines his reputation. The company’s role is to support that through the performance review—guidance on how the employee can and should get ahead and correct areas of development. It should be so much more than that.

Great employer brand engagements always start with the individual—the employee. They break the workforce apart to find out what makes it tick only to tie the themes back together to help tell the brand story. Because each employee has to understand the role they play in supporting a consistent employer brand message, if the themes accurately reflect who they are, it’s not hard to be a brand ambassador.

However, employees also have to find a place for their own unique talents and experience: their personal brand. And that’s more than a performance conversation. It’s teaching employees how to become self-aware and then what to do exactly with that self-awareness. It’s helping them to balance the “what do I have to offer” with the “what I want in return.”* That becomes a litmus test for brand ambassadorship. When employees feel like they’re offering more than their getting or getting more but not using their talents, they won’t be advocates.

If you’re interested in how personal brands are developed—and what role they play in the employer brand, I hope you’ll join me for Fall ERE Expo.  There’s new territory to be discovered here—let’s do it together.

*The "what do I have to offer" and "what I want in return" are from my Kaleidoscope Career Model(C) from The Right Job, Right Now (St. Martin's Press, 2007).



45 Seconds to a Great Employer Brand

Today, my former team at Marriott International won "Best Employer Brand" at the Recruiting Excellence Awards--part of ERE Expo. (Congrats team!) The awards are a great way to keep tabs on what's happening in talent acquisition and recruiting and what might work for you. It's conference season after all: "more best practices, please." At the kickoff of the last Recruiting Innovation Summit, I put up a slide that said "don't replicate what you learned today." Then I did a mini-case study of My Marriott Hotel(TM), the social recruiting game I worked on while I was there. But don't copy it. Don't copy anything you see actually. Think bigger picture. What are the lessons you can take away from a conference? What can you tell your boss when you return in 45 seconds to prove it was worthwhile?

Hmm. 45 seconds. I've never said anything in 45 seconds or les. But I love a challenge....

Let's say you're rethinking your employer brand. You know it needs work but you don't know where to start? Here's 45 seconds of boss-worthy strategy you can take away to spur getting started.

1) Know your master brand first.

If you don't have a relationship with your CMO or marketing, get one. Learn their craft and the ins and outs of your master brand. You can't create or evolve an employer brand unless you know how it fits into your larger master or consumer brand. Plus you'll need a good partnership with marketing to make your employer brand work.

2) It's employer brand, not employment brand.

Sure, the brand is about the employment experience. But you're choosing to work for an employer and you might have multiple employment experiences within the context of one employer. Focus on the bigger picture first (and #1) and then connect to the actual process of employment.

3) Strive for alignment.

Global company, employer brand created and only used in North America? Nope, won't work. You've got to have a common thread of alignment first, from master brand to employer brand to employment experience. Then, you can begin to differentiate by geography, discipline and level. But align first.

4) Bring in tools and execute last.

Don't start your brand with product creation. That's like producing a commercial for cereal before you know what it tastes like. If you're in the early stages of building an employer brand, you shouldn't be talking to execution, technology, or social media vendors. Yet. They'll be more effective partners if you have a strategy in place first.

There 45 seconds to get you started. Now use the best practices to get inspired.



Don't Recruit on Social Media

Wait, what? Don't recruit on social media? But I thought you were a social recruiting advocate? Yes, yes I am. I'm also an advocate of advancing the way we think and report out about recruiting in conjunction with advances in the field. Last week the fab @Jason_DFW shared an interesting infographic about recruiters' use (or lack of) of Facebook and Twitter.  Today, CareerXRoads shared their latest source of hire data and, GASP!, for 2011, only 3.5% of those surveyed used social media to make external hires.

The data isn't surprising at all, really. As a field, recruiting/talent acquisition/HR is making some major missteps in the way we think about the affect of social media on recruiting, how it is being used versus how it can and should be used, and what the data actually means.  But first, a few admissions.

First, source of hire is dead.

There's no more accounting for source of hire. There simply isn't. The thing is, recruiters know this. And yet we continue to talk about it as if it hasn't changed at all. We admit that with any given candidate, there are likely a minimum of five sources that a candidate can choose or reference.  Whether it's self administered (the candidate decides, on a survey for example, which source they'll report), or through direct application (the candidate clicks a Jobvite that came through Facebook), there's still no telling which sources played into the decision to apply and which was most influential or important.

Second, recruiters aren't using social media to make hires.

If they're using social at all, they're using it to engage, share, research, locate and influence candidates.  But for some reason they don't see this as recruiting. If they're not using social, it's because they can't see past the immediate process steps for a search they're currently working on.

So what does this mean for social recruiting? As recruiting and talent acquisition leaders, we need to stop only thinking about the transaction and the process. We need to think about the influence points and inputs along the way.

  • What did the candidate think when he read your job description on the job board? Did that make him apply? Maybe. But what made him accept the job? And what were the inputs along the way?
  • Why do thousands of candidates follow company career Facebook pages? Why are they asking questions on those pages and interacting heavily with recruiters and employer brand leaders that engage with them?

Imagine sitting with a bunch of marketers in a conference room. They're talking about their media buy and marketing planning for an upcoming product launch. They don't focus on one source of purchase for the customer. Sure the process of purchase matters--without it, you don't sell and you don't make money. But to drive the purchase, you engage. Personally. And on multiple touchpoints. That's why marketers LOVE social media. They can better understand the customer through engagement, and better connect, build loyalty and target them this way.

And right now, recruiters aren't getting that. They're so focused on process, they only see the role of social in process. And if the new hire doesn't say "I found the job on Facebook" and the recruiter doesn't say "I hired the person through Twitter," they think social is worthless.  I would too. But it's far from it.

So don't recruit on social media. Engage. Recruiting is the process. Branding is engagement. Without both, you're missing the boat. Want to know HOW? That's the next post. Stay tuned.





You Don't Know Recruiting

I'm back at it again on HRExaminer, this time with the fabulous Lars Schmidt, director of talent acquisition for NPR.  Lars and I were talking about how hard it is to be in-house with companies while so many consultants, headhunters and others look inward and wonder "why can't they do more" and "they can't source and recruit like we can."Other times, we're just jealous that we can't be as public or open as we'd like.  And we can't spend as much time as we want to on Twitter, blogging, and commenting. After all, we have allegiance (and paychecks) from visible organizations with valuable brands. And we can't risk it.  So we took a hard look at the life of an in-house talent acquisition or recruiting leader. And we have some, um, honest? upfront? clear? lessons to share. Hop on over to HRExaminer and check out: You Don't Know Recruiting.