Candidate

Sourcing First For Culture Makes For A Productive Environment

As one of the keypoints or "Must-Haves" of a search, @PeopleOps we recognize that aligning candidates with companies based on a solid culture fit is important. While working with hiring managers across a variety of industries, we always make the extra effort to source candidates that directly relate to the hiring company's culture. It's part of our process. We really get to know our customers companies and apply that knowledge of their culture to our sourcing. It's no different for our own internal needs.

Here at PeopleOps, we value the hard work and production that our interns show us everyday. In hopes of returning the favor, and in light of great timing, we took an office Friday field trip to see “The Internship” recently. As an office, we grabbed some lunch together, and then saw the film.
 

 

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We recognize the importance of company DNA and look for certain “culture fits” when go through our hiring process. We want to work with people who we truly enjoy being around while also "getting it", because lets face it, we spend more time in the office than we do at home. Our senior staff is comprised of talented individuals who get along like friends, while also being great coworkers, and we hope to immerse our interns into that mindset as well. At the end of their internship, they may be offered a position to work with the big boys, so to speak, so instilling our company DNA soon is the best way to go, and what better way than to mock the idea of a coffee getting, copy making, down right horrible, internship? 
 
 

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The world of Community Management is changing.....at least ours is.

The title Community Manager didn't even exist 5 years ago, well it did but in a totally different industry.  Anyway, the world of online, digital, or "inbound" marketing is evolving everyday, every hour, and even sometimes within minutes.  One of the ways we try to keep up with the trends is by having the best people working on the things they enjoy the most.  In this case we're speaking of Community Managers.  Not just social media managers, but true authentic "Community" Managers.  It's a true DNA match for a PeopleOps Community Manager to be architecting and maintaining talent communities.  Here's a graphic describing the difference. 
 

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Jonah Manning at Lunch with DriveThruHR

 
 
 

Listen to internet radio with DriveThru HR on Blog Talk Radio

@jonahmanning ....Jonah Manning visits with Bryan Wempen and William Tincup about HR and whatever else keeps him up at night with Corporate organizations.

DriveThruHR more than not talks about Human Resources with HR professionals every day at lunch time for 30 minutes. Give us a listen at (347) 996-5600 and share your thoughts on twitter using #dthr or @drivethruhr. We talk HR along with lots of clever bantor and thoughts every day at 12 Noon Central time at "DTHR".

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The Method Sourcer

  Some say ‘true candidate sourcing’ is the intersection of where the art and science of recruiting meet.  Unfortunately, sourcing is too broad of a term for that description. In fact, even to this day I regularly spend time teaching a new client what ‘our’ definition of sourcing means.  

    The Method Sourcer utilizes different techniques to find and locate the best talent.  Early in my career, after selling my previously built name generation company, I was fortunate enough to be hired by an emerging juggernaut in the hybrid RPO space.  As a passionate name generator, I had grown jaded with the realization that the perception of my success or failure derived not by the quality of my research, but often by the quality of the sourcer or recruiter making the calls.  I was eager to learn the rest of the cycle; an RPO environment would be a perfect ‘sand box’ to test what I felt in my gut. 

      After entertaining their training program and learning the traditional recruiting method I was left with just one repeating phrase “why in the hell are you doing it that way?”  The traditional recruiting method is to scour job boards; reading endless resumes, finding what candidate the recruiter feels is on the money, calling them, leaving numerous voicemails, and maybe ending up with 2 or 3 candidates in a day. This process seemed very inefficient, and defeated the intent of what sourcing SHOULD be.  Method Sourcing is very different. Here are the five core principles of a Method Sourcer:

Leverage the Candidate 

      I started to develop what it was to be “the Method.”  The concept of this was to leverage the sourcers’ time by allowing the candidate to screen themselves.  The theory was, if the sourcer could get within a few percentage points of accuracy based on the job requirements, and allow the candidates to review and self evaluate on the must haves, they would respond if it seemed appropriate.  This way the sourcers are only spending time on the phone screening the candidates that are interested and relatively qualified, rather than very generalized screening. 

   
Understanding the Language of Attraction Marketing 

    We are not talking about the same (and often lame) methods of writing job posts.   The content of the message to the candidate must be compelling, authentic, and action oriented:

  My client is seeking a world class _________ (this is a both a complement and a challenge to the candidate), for their global headquarters in ___________. (If the city is not ideal place a complementing adjective prior to mentioning)

  I ran across your profile as someone whom could potentially contribute to _________’s EXPLODING growth.  (positive growth is a big deal right now, during times of peak hiring substitute this line with ‘I ran across your profile as someone knowledgable in this space) 
         Then add in your closing action line.  This type of marketing allows the company to expand with the greatest candidates possible, and allows the candidates to obtain a greater understanding of why they are needed at the company.

Keeping search simple 

   When the sourcer is gathering the search requirements (preferably from the hiring manager directly) it is important to focus not only on the requirement itself,  but the three to five ‘must haves’ that the hiring manager is looking for.  This is common knowledge for a sourcer or a recruiter.  What is not common knowledge, however, is to then begin to question the hiring manager why each of those ‘must haves’ are critical to the company.  For example, a hiring manager that needs an engineer searches only for a candidate with a computer science degree from a top 20 school.  One may think that hiring manager is perhaps being unreasonable.  However, after questioning you realize that what the hiring manager is looking for is a solid CS fundamental track that is only emphasized at the the top 20 schools during the early parts of their educational track.  

   Understanding the ‘why’ is often more important then understanding the ‘what’.  When searches get hard (and often they do) this is the information you will be able to circle back to for inspiration.  

     Next, you want to understand what alternative titles these candidate could be called.  Working with the candidate as well as the company to find the best suited position title can be beneficial for both the company and the candidate. Finally, obtaining a verified list of competitors.  Simply then construct your strings with the associated “must haves” from people with those titles from those companies.  Voila. 

Essential Tools for The Job:

   A Mac, an iPhone, and an iPad.  Why?  Everything just works. In my experience, my computer never crashes, my emails and files are always synced, and it out performs when running multiple softwares at the same time, versus my PC running windows.  

    A linkedin PRO and Linkedin Recruiter Account.  Why?  Because building a long term network with your Linkedin Pro account while using the Linkedin Recruiter account to blast inMails is more effective than alternative methods.

     A recruiting/enterprise branchout account beyond Facebook  Why?  Because while Facebook has everyone, it is an absolutely terrible mechanism when trying to search professionally.  Additionally, every candidate has access to detailed information on Facebook, such as photos.  Branchout makes it possible to keep your business and personal world separate while making searching through Facebook actually productive. 

     Access to one job board (which one does not matter).  Why?  Because there are good candidates on there too, and they can get the ball rolling while you are waiting on passive candidates to put their resumes together. 

5) Kill the F&%*$&g reports please! 

I get it, data is king.  In order for sourcers to prove their worth, they have to have data.  Why is this?  Normally it’s because the recruiters are either terrible at what they do, or are too competitive and consequentially do not give the sourcers candidates good play.   The sign of a method sourcer is that he or she will not want to do reports..why?  Our DNA is not content, it’s CONTEXT.  Every minute we spend in repetitive meetings or putting together multi-color reports to explain why it takes 150 candidates for the recruiter to be able to get the hiring manager to hire someone is the time that we could, would, and should be spending finding more candidates.   Yes, I am ranting! 

  

Understanding the Context of the Candidate

   Why there is such a disconnect in understanding that the consumers ARE the candidates.  If you want to know the best way to reach candidates, look at what the best consumer companies are doing.  

   Take for instance, Apple.  They are among the top brands in cult-like following and Apple is the king of subtle disruptions.  This past March (2011), I was at South By Southwest (SXSW) when Apple was launching the iPad2.  SXSW brings together some of the most forward thinking social media and tech companies. They discuss cutting edge and even sometimes barely existing technologies.  Apple did not have a booth or a logo at SXSW.  What they DID have is a pop up store in downtown Austin ,about 4 blocks away from SXSW.  So, the day the iPad2 launched, guess where a ton of people were? You got it! They were not in breakout sessions that they or their companies paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for them to be at.  Rather, they were standing in line, a hundred people deep, tweeting away about the iPad2.  Apple won SXSW without even being there.  
 

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  Alright, so what is the connection to this anecdote and the consumer and candidate?  Priority.  Keep in mind, the people waiting in line at the pop up mac store were not just run of the mill consumers. These were the normally passive candidates within the social media space that recruiters fight over on Linkedin and other online platforms.  So why were they in line?  Because they wanted an iPad2.  Apple knew there ultra-targeted customers would likely be at SXSW so they made it easy for them to get there hands on one.  Consumers crave authenticity, relevance, solid actual results, and low barrier’s of entry.  That same consumer is also your next great hire.  

How do you create a recruiting context that matches this culture? 

  1. Be Authentic:  Kill the corporate vomit that is on the job requirements.  Write what you would want to read.  Why your company is cool, why you have good people, what you are really looking for, and why YOU think they should be interested.  Couple that with a quick YouTube interview with the hiring manager talking about the requirement... unedited.  
  2. Is it a Good Job:  If you are trying to pitch a mediocre job then go back and make it not mediocre.  You do not have to pay top of market to win the day but if you want the guy at your competitors, you need to ask yourself why would someone leave to come to you.  If your answer is, because my company is better, then you have lost.  It HAS to be because my job is better, and if it's not, you need to make it better.
  3. Lower the Barriers of Entry: Does your Applicant Tracking System suck?  The answer is most likely yes.  I understand that due to compliance laws, we have to have some forms of applications.  However, you should make the application process, at least on the front end, something they can do with a simple email or maybe logging in to use their Linkedin resume-like profile.  Oh and while I am at it, please start taking LI profiles as resumes, its good enough! 

Inspired Search

   Marketing department of all sizes have been recently talking about the transition of the context of marketing and how it gets its message to audiences.  The old montage of "stack it high and let it fly" is dead and gone.  Marketing teams are instead crafting hundreds, if not thousands, of messages that are now being delivered to small niche groups.

   What is most interesting is understanding why this shift is a must for marketing companies.  This is because, due to the absolute inundation of content, consumers authenticity radars have also become more evolved. Take, for instance, when companies try to cleverly craft YouTube videos that look like it was generated by real people, but was actually done by a production company and then they try to make that video go viral. The consumers' comment strings will tell the whole story.

   Here is the interesting thing, consumers are also candidates.  This means that the same canned messaging, job posts, and the corporate speak embedded in the job description are not going to cut it with the candidates you often are seeking.  I am aware that the candidate application pools often get overwhelming results in terms of applicants. However the applicant to hire ratios at most top companies is less then 3% and falling.  Why is this?  The best candidates are often not applying to the jobs.  Why? They are not looking at the promoted Tweets because it is not that interesting to them.

     So what is the cure? It's really a one-two punch.  You have to have a real, authentic, direct message.  When I say "You", it's whomever your job pitch man is: sourcer, recruiter, hiring manager, internal employee, etc.  Most, if not all, companies have this.  So why the lackluster results?  Is your pitchman inspired?  I am not talking about the corporate Kool-Aid drinking 'Yes Men.'  Your pitchman needs to be legitimately into the company...like the product, the services, what your company is working on, they buy into the big picture, or just basically give a rip about the organization.  Why does this matter?  It's the only way the messaging is going to resonate. Sometimes it's not what you say, but how you say it.  I hope whomever your pitchman is, they care about the company. If not, I hope you can quickly find someone who does. 

Do you legitimately care about the company you represent?  If you don't, maybe it's time you too become inspired.

 

Best in Breed; Not Necessarily Best Available

In today’s market, with unemployment rates nearly doubled in the last twelve months and the number of potential candidates for job openings steadily rising, it has become extremely difficult for hiring managers and recruiters to find the best potential employee. While sources such as mainstream job boards provide a hiring manager a large applicant pool to fill potential job openings, there is a wealth of vastly more targeted candidates who are often missed. There are a number of other sources to find the true “Best in Breed” candidates. Sources such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Spoke, as well as a wealth of individualized professional sites and forums give a trained sourcer a huge source of potential candidates to tap into. At PeopleOps, we have found especially for difficult areas such as for specialized law firms, computer science based engineering, etc… finding on-the-money candidates is the only way to provide true value. With these top quality candidates, We are able to present to our hiring authority a clear picture of the best applicants available. Having worked closely with hiring authorities, we know the time constraints placed on them. Hiring authorities are often busy with pressing job requirements and just simply do not have the time to “cut through the noise” and find the best-qualified candidate.

 

Context Sourcing

  If content is king then 'CONTEXT' is the Kingslayer and about to overthrow him.  As social media is becoming more like a 1938 style "my [virtual] handshake is my bond", so too will the way organizations recruit talent. 
 

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   Context within Content.  Linkedin.com is content...Iphone User Group, that's context.  Context is the layer that makes data valuable.  If 50% of landing a job is 'who you know' what happens when everyone knows everyone?  When job referrals are plentiful?  Context is what is going to make it manageable.

   In corporate America, no recruiting tool has even been able to stand up to the employee referral.  The problem is that too many companies cannot manifest enough employee referrals so they have to rely on external staffing resources.  I for one, am personally happy about this, but none-the-less, the 'context' evolution of social media is about to spill over into this area as well.

   Context is organic targeting.  This means that the right kind of information organically finds the right audience for that information.  Software engineers will hear about opportunities from their open source communities like Forrst or GitHub.  Account Executives now get the latest product ranking for Gartner's Magic quadrant from their Linkedin news feed (that shows who they know at the organization).  Every professional group has pockets they huddle in...pockets that provide the context ...not content...they are seeking.

Here is one quick tip to increasing your Context right away:

Lower the barrier of entry:  Sometimes Context is not always about whether or not your candidates are reading your message but WHAT they are reading it on.  Majority of email is now consumed via a smart device... but most devices are currently not smart enough to store a resume.  So if you try to get a slam dunk on a cold email odds are they are going to either delete your email or simply forget to get back to you.

 

Understanding the intangible’s of the “other” side of sourcing

Many if not most recruiting functions view sourcing as an augmentation or additive.  Most sourcers are viewed as Junior Recruiters.  Unfortunately many times this is true.  Sourcing is one of those generic terms like saying “He is a Quarterback.”  Quarterback of what?  There is a big difference between a pop warner league and the NFL, although ‘technically’ its the same game with virtually the same rules.  
 

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The  happens in sourcing, although its simply not as obvious.  Just like in sports, there are folks that make is a hobby, something they do in school as they are making their way into the ‘real world’ and then there are the Joe Montana’s who take it as far as one can go.  

The Sourcers I am referring to are those sourcers.  These are the guys and girls you see on your Facebook and twitter talking about sourcing, tools, methods, etc.  They are sourcers by trade, by profession.  They view themselves in the leagues of surgeons, elite special forces, corporate espionage, and other colorful depictions that help their outside colleagues understand just how good they really are. 

Despite all of this, from top down leadership they are still viewed as an augmentation when based on the Method, they should be the center piece of a sourcing strategy.  The Method will dive into other pieces of sourcing later, but in this Chapter | Post | Talk we will focus on the other things a sourcer does that to most is not so obvious.

External Affairs:  To candidates that a good sourcer networks with while finding candidates are typically extremely well connected industry mavens and centers of influence.  Theses professionals are vital to getting good information about who is really doing well in a role, information that cannot be captured by any kind of social profile.  If the sourcer is not professional that Maven or influencer will not pass along their vital information to your company again. 

Public Relations:  Your companies CEO just had his hat handed to him last night on CNBC.  Sure, your public relations department is “all over it” with wordsmith embedded press releases, however, how many real people do they speak with 1 on 1.  None, if they can help it.  However, consider a Sourcer that still has to get their search completed.  Who are they speaking with?  By the nature of the caliber of candidates they should be speaking with, they are fielding these questions not just by friends and family but top producers from your companies competitors.  These candidates have a highly influenceable social graph that consist of vertically aligned colleagues.  If the sourcer does not do a good job it can magnify the ripple affect, however, if the Sourcer can properly orate the companies vision and direction, even with candidates that do not get hired can rapidly effect public opinion in spheres of influence that really matter. 

Management Consulting:  Your companies hiring manager needs a program manager to replace a retiring employee.  If your sourcer truly understands the space, they will know the proper competitive salary data, what relevant companies house the best talent, where that talent is located geographically, etc.  This data could also be contained by draining internal resources or by hiring a research or retained firm.  This information coming from your internal sourcer will be authentic an unbiased. 

Mergers and Acquisition Sourcing:  Sure a Sourcer’s main focus is to find talent, but in doing so he quickly learns which of your companies competitors are doing well, working on a large initiative, etc.  They also hear about growing startups, layoff’s before they happen, and other industry rumors.  This competitive inteligence can and should be constantly passed to your companies Mergers and Acquisitions department to help locate and source potential product and company acquisitions.  This information could probably also be helpful for a companies R&D department.

A good Method trained Sourcer will produce value that vastly exceeds the obvious immense value of finding the very best talent.  The will also help in cultivating winning authentic communities to drive the very best talent to your company.

The Method Manifesto | The Candidate is Changing

The hiring company has always pretty much had the upper hand in the candidate experience.  Sure competitive organizations use elaborate resources to locate and persuade the candidate to be interested in working with your organization, however we all know that only one is hired.  That means that by default, the number of rejects a company goes through for one single search is heavily lop sided compared to whom they will eventually hire.

Insert candidate horror story here.  Many organizations have relatively brutal interview tactics.  While this is within reason...as many Talent Attraction practitioners would say...”we are looking for people to fill jobs, not looking for jobs for people.”  A companies priority is to find the best person to fill an open role.  I get that. However, here is what is going to become the second priority..candidate experience.

Why?  The days of asking a candidate that is tanking an interview to leave are over.  The days of not giving any feedback until they completete a form letter...yep those are over too.  While companies are scrambling from a marketing and customer service perspective to become more human...what virtually all do not realize, is their staffing departments are the Trojan horse in terms of liability.

Why?  In a current climate where the most obscure customer in his Mom’s basement in Iowa can create an absolute customer service nightmare by way of social media for a major company...imagine what a business professional whose social graph is not only as extensive but by the vary nature of the credibility of the person far more potent.  So the business personal is being interviewed for a Project Manager role.  He is reached out to on Linkedin by a recruiter.  He replies with his resume saying he is currently employed but is an admirer of the recruiters corporation and would like to know more.  The recruiter, due to OFCCP requirement, sends the candidate a link and says he needs to apply online.

The candidate, although passive, obliges and takes the 30 minutes (was supposed to be 15, but he had to reset his password twice because your companies applicant tracking system is a joke) to answer the canned questions and apply himself to the role. 

Then, the hiring manager has interest and wants you to do a phone screen.  The recruiter calls the candidates and do the first interview.  The second interview also happens by phone with someone else on the hiring manager’s team.  They like him and ask for him to come in and interview face to face with the hiring manager.  This interview gets rescheduled three times due to your hiring manager’s travel requirements.  The interview finally takes place (keep in mind this is now week 3).  The candidate makes up some excuse, uses a sick day, etc to be able to come in.  The 1 hour interview drags onto 2 hrs.  The candidate calls the recruiter and says it went well.  The hiring manager, still not persuaded says lets talk to one more person.  In the mean time, the hiring manager for a myriad of reasons decides on someone internal.  The recruiter (typically) drops the ball and ignores the candidates follow up emails for at least 2 more weeks and then sends an automated response from within the Applicant Tracking System.  

The candidate opens his email after a 6 weeks of interviewing to get an auto-generated email.  The candidate says to himself  ‘they didn’t even tell me ANYTHING.’  So he shoots a tweet out @yourcompany’sname thanks for the waist of time...I would rather spend the day at a DMV then sit down with one of your managers again.  Even with the smell! 

Then...something imaginable happens:  @candidate..I had the same experience.   @candidate me too.  @ candidate  what happened? @ candidate those jerks.

Then it goes viral.