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.



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? 


The world of Community Management is 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. 


My recent post on Blogging4Jobs: 10 Common Social Recruiting & Internet Sourcing Myths BUSTED

The Slow Agonizing Death of the Job Post

Why the professional job post is dead:


The $50k and up professional job postings are soon to be completely obsolete as job searching becomes a more social process.  The only way for this to not become a reality is if Applicant Tracking Systems stop existing as the black hole of recruiting, and  start becoming real people responding to candidates.  The result comes from the fact that social media is not only changing it for the candidate, but for the recruiting function as well. 

Historically, 2% of online applicants at any tier-one technology firm result in an actual hire.  However, the highest ratio of candidate to hire is from employee referral.  By making job searching social, the theory is that it will help filter down the number of applicants and lift up the number of referred applicants.  

If this occurs, and I believe it will, the number of overall applicants will be manageable. Additionally, because they are going to be likely tied to an internal team member, managing that interaction from a human perspective will be organic.  

So how does this tie into the Method Manifesto?  It’s the acknowledgment that sourcing is no longer just about building a pipeline for the present.  More and more companies want a pipeline of cultivated candidates from likely skill sets, so when the inevitable role opens, the staffing department is ready to go.

How do you do that?  Sensing this has been coming, major job boards are already touting that you can use their platforms to build your candidate pool.  I believe this is bogus, because a pool of candidates primarily with just active seekers seems highly ineffective.  I am not saying active seekers cannot be good employees, of course they can, but by the vary nature of the action they are seeking when you are ready they will likely not be.  The key is to develop these networks with potential candidates based strictly on profile with a mix of active and passive personalities.

So why are job boards dead?  In the next couple years, a new post in pushed candidates will respond, likely because of retweets and network referrals, not because they saw the job on a job board.  Under $50k job opportunities, excluding internships, will be business as usual...for now. 


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.  


  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! 

5 Must-Have Characteristics of a Recruiting/Sourcing Vendor

Sourcing and recruiting for businesses are critical, hard to find skill sets that takes time. It also takes a lot of domain knowledge. It can be hard for businesses to find the necessary time or internal resources to learn and/or implement winning passive sourcing efforts and authentic social media messaging (to name a couple) for themselves. In these cases, businesses can reach out to a third-party agency to manage their candidate development efforts. Consider these 5 must-have characteristics when evaluating an agency partnership.

1. The Right Services

Saying "agency" is really a disservice to the Talent Acquisition industry.  The question is what is your need?  Do you need to hire lots and lots of standard qualification employees? Then a U.S. based RPO might be right for you.  Do you have one critical hire you need to make but have a super strict budget? Then a contingency agency could be the right call.  Maybe you have a fairly consistent need for a tier 1 candidate pipeline for a specific business group that complains a lot? That could be when you tap the services of a tactical sourcing team like PeopleOps.

2. A Clear Process

Project results on whitepapers and company case studies are great, but the real value of an agency's involvement will be in how they put, not only how they fill the business critical roles, but the additional added value of how they work with the hiring authorities.  Recruiting or Sourcing agencies should be able to clearly lay out and explain the candidate development methodology for prospective clients. Being able to clearly show you the order in which things need to happen and the amount of time and resources required at each step. This will indicate that the agency has delivered ROI to clients before. Thus, you will also be able to infer that it has the game plan to do it again for your company.

3. An Emphasis on Measurement

Words like "metrics", "benchmarks" and "analytics" should be peppered throughout your prospective agency's pitch. Progress made toward your goals should to be measured at every step of the way, and a recruiting agency worth its weight will be able to track all campaigns, direct sourcing efforts, candidate flow and report on performance regularly. You have goals. You are trying to meet those goals by hiring the agency. Therefore, it should be as focused as you are, charting success in an undeniable, data-driven way. 

4. Strong Project Management Skills

Recruiting is fueled by the creation of remarkable content aimed at your ideal candidates, compelling direct sourcing initiatives, and authentic messaging. In order to be successful, good recruiting/sourcing agencies will need to get inside your hiring managers head to build that content and learn about that dream candidate. Do the agencies you're considering have the process and communication skills to make you think they will make reasonable and realistic requests of your hiring authorities? Also, have they set clear expectations around what each step in the candidate development and attraction process will require in terms of time and resources? Do you get the impression that they can manage campaigns with lots of moving parts? A good agency will make your life easier; not the opposite.

5. An Online Presence Optimized for Top Talent

Does the agency you're considering blog regularly? What is its own internal recruiting initiatives like? Are there optimized landing pages and premium content offers throughout its site? An effective recruiting or sourcing agency should be its own best case study. Think twice about engaging with a recruiting firm that doesn't make the services it sells a priority for its own business.


The Method Recruiter


 The systematic approach for most recruiters I have been (attempted) to be trained by and those I have observed typically have a similar approach to recruiting candidates.  For the most part, recruiters avoid sourcing for numerous reasons:

Too Many Requirements 

Too Little Time

Too Many Meetings


   Recruiters are also a mixed bunch from a background perspective.  Its rare for recruiting to be someone’s career choice from the beginning.  Some have started out in HR which means they are typically more grounded in process then in the tactical it takes to actually recruit.  These are the vital people who make sure reports are solid and accurate, finance actually approves the reqs, interviews are coordinated properly, and the list of vital importance goes on and on.  One thing NOT listed though is ‘recruit great candidates’....oh and for the record ‘review incoming resumes in ATS’ is NOT the same thing. 

   This is not to say that all those above tasks are not important.  Quite honestly those previously stated tasks plus others like actually closing the candidates, putting together offer letters, etc are also critical to closing out requirements in a timely manner. 

   The Method Recruiter does not, should not, could not (a nod to Dr. Seuss) provide those tasks.  Why not?  Because they are a Method Rec*cruit*er.  Definition:  d Method Recruiter truly partners within a specific department to provide expert guidance and to deliver the best in breed candidates available for any given search within that assigned department.  

    So what does the process look like, or at least should look like?  The HR Function should have 2 people tied to it.  The HR Business Partner who has the authority to make sure Finance and other critical departments behind the scenes move with speed.  The other person would be the Coordinator the takes care of the ‘nuts and bolts’ items mentioned above.  

    On the hiring manager’s side, his assistant will help the Coordinator with department specific information.  The Hiring Manager will interview and in writing select the candidates and the Recruiter will focus on presenting a batch of 10 on the money candidates for a 1-2 day interview.  

     It sounds simplistic because it is.  In fact, this is all that needs to be said in this post. 


Recruiting Smart+Hard+Fast

The Method Manifesto is as much about the tactical of sourcing candidates as it is about the strategic.  The basic recruiting or sourcing model goes as follows:

Step 1:  Have an intake meeting with a hiring manager or recruiter about the search, understanding the must haves and idiosyncrasy of the role.  

Note:  keep in mind the person taking notes is a recruiter and not a person from the field they will be recruiting in.  

Step 2:  The recruiter will start scouring various online tools such as job boards, Linkedin, and if they are really savvy buying some targeted name generation.  

Step 3:  The recruiter then reviews each resume found and makes a call to the 1 in 5 that are actually on target.  Most likely the recruiter will dial through about 50 resumes in a day, however if they are a lower level recruiter they could potentially do as much as 100.  

Note:  The math behind this is, lets say they have a 40% contact ratio (which is fairly accurate high).  If the Sr. Recruiter makes 50 dials and speaks with 20 people over the course of 2 days to include call backs, they will most likely get about 5-8 candidates.  What happens next?  In order for them to get to that 50 dials they had to review almost 250 resumes.

Step 4:  When a candidate actually answers the phone the recruiter usually gives a little canned pitch and discusses with the candidate on if he or she would be interested in the role.  If so, the recruiter will do a quick phone interview discussing the role and then passes along those notes to the hiring manager. 

The results for a day long process will average 2-3 candidates.  

The Method bases sourcer would conduct their searches as follows:

Step 1:  On the intake session, The Method based sourcer will only care about two pieces of info (outside of the basics) what are your THREE top “must haves” and who are your TOP 10 competitors.  

The Method sourcer knows that most likely the person that will ultimately get hired will posses the three things the hiring manager really wants and will most likely or at least preferably come from a direct competitor. 

Step 2: Not needing name generation, the Method Sourcer will search ALL available online tools such as Linkedin,, Facebook, Twitter, Google & Bing Searches, Zoominfo, as well as through various other niche sites and platforms.   However, we do not save our work we simply shoot a “Method” based message to each candidate.  We already know based on our criteria that they are likely to be qualified so our question is really simple... “Are you keeping your eyes and ears open to an opportunity?” 

Step 3: Within an hour of beginning a search, the Method Sourcer has already located and reached out to (no spam, 1:1 reaching out) to at least 100 candidates.  Allowing them to reply back whenever they are available.  This free’s the Sourcer to move to another search or task.  

Step 4:  Out of every 100 candidates reached out to, the ratio is typically 10 responses (with resumes) and 5 are qualified enough to pass through to the hiring manager.  You may note that its about the same amount of results as the Sr. Recruiter.  While this is true, keep in mind it took that Sr. Recruiter a full 2 days of work to generate that, while the Method Sourcer only spent a little over an hour total.  

Average candidates daily for a method sourcer are around 10-13 per day and can be over 20 in a crunch.  Each candidate is interested, resume captured, from a targeted competitor, and possesses the three “must haves.”


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 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. 


The Method Manifesto: State of the Union - Recruiter

   The role of a recruiter really varies from organization to organization.  If the recruiter works for a third party, they typically focus on numerous roles within a handful of verticals across numerous hiring managers.  Third Party Recruiters trade the admin component for the sales component.  Even when dealing with their best client, the posture for any internal staffing function is to beat the agency.  Agency (Third Party) recruiters are often sought after from hiring managers and loathed by internal staffing.  

   You also have corporate recruiters.  Often a corporate recruiters acts more as a facilitator then an actual headhunter.  Most organizations saddle a recruiter with so much volume they are lucky if they can spend a couple moments a day sourcing.  They have to rely on other resources for majority of their candidate flow.  This results unfortunately in a poor quality of candidate flow, which increases the odds of a hiring manager preferring the candidates from a third party (agency) because of the perception of a higher level of competency. 

   So what is the Method Recruiter?  The method recruiter does not handle administration tasks or coordinator support tasks.  No scheduling, no offers, no excessive meetings, no excessive applicant tracking systems or metrics reporting.  All of these tasks can be handled by HR support or by the hiring manager’s personal administrator.  The Method Recruiter’s sole purpose is to find the absolute best candidates for their hiring managers.  The Method Recruiter is a pure headhunter that doesn’t have to focus on finding his next search.  The Method Recruiter simultaneously focuses on making quick turn arounds for active searches but puts deep roots in the ground for future initiatives. 

  So if you are currently a recruiter how to do make your organization transition.  Truth is you may not be able to.  It may require a change in organization.  However, lets assume you are passionate about the company you work for (this is key for this to work), you need to create a clear 8 point plan to present to your staffing leadership and hiring managers or client groups.  

Here is what that plan should look like:

1) All administration tasks will be handled by a coordinator, HR Business Partner, and or hiring manager’s personal administrator.  As a recruiter, my greatest asset to the organization is creating significant increases in quality of our human capital.  This is where I should focus. 

2) Ownership of my clients.  It is important that I become my clients sole point of contact for all hiring initiatives.  Both external and internal.  This will help define business critical priorities and maintain a constant flow of qualified candidates. 

3) Speed of hire.  My goal is to locate a candidate that is ultimately hired within 14 business days of starting a search.  This means before a search starting the hiring manager is full engaged in the search and ready to make decision. 

4) Quality of hire.  All of my candidates will be from or alumni of our organizations direct competition except within searches where technical aptitude trumps industry affiliation.  No external “paid” advertising for any of my searches is no longer needed or requested.  My clients should receive a small amount of top candidates to select from.  No more then 4. 

5) Recruiting CRM.  With the money that we save from no more job postings, I would like to fund the adoption of a Recruiting CRM.  Unlike our Applicant Tracking System, a Recruiting CRM (like Avature or Jobvite) will allow me to create powerful realtime analytics across my searches.  Allow my clients to engage with candidates easily, to be able to track that data effortlessly, and allow for a better candidate experience. 

6) Seamless Social Recruiting.  I will build real authentic community with targeted candidates.  As these relationships mature and expand, our reach will also.  Creating results from our organic posts that will dramatically change the way we recruit moreover the way passive candidates view our opportunities. 

7) Easier Sourcing.  From requirement approval to final interview, the process should take place within 1 calendar month. 

8) Emerging Technology.  Our team should take advantage of free online tools such as Twitter, YouTube, etc to communicate authentic messages to our industry peers.  These are free tools that I can manage to create significant assets to my clients exposure.