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The Hiring Insider

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Creating a customized, written search plan (Part II)

Part II of your search plan should be a summary or approach of the process.

Possibly the first step will be an initial review of job description (s) and maybe even the complete life cycle of the current recruitment process.

Next you will want to identify who will be involved in the interview process and why.

Map the process out on a whiteboard with targeted deadlines (or desired dates for completion). Will you need someone to start by a drop dead date for cross training (before the outgoing ee leaves)? Or is there a manager the person must meet before going to Japan for a month? This is a time to check everyone's calendar and avert disaster whenever possible!

Be sure that you and your recruitment team are clear on who is responsible for what. If travel arrangements and interview times need to be scheduled don't lose time figuring out who is responsible for the workflow. Likewise, who will be extending the offer to the candidate and checking references; will you need a background check, health screen, credit or licensing check?

I usually present my written search plan to clients for a sign off just after we sign a contract to proceed with the work. That way before going forward we're on the same page about what will happen next.

Part III to follow tomorrow.....make it a great day. Lucia

Monday, June 28, 2004

Elements of a Search Plan

This week I'd like to review the 5 elements in a solid search plan. I thought I'd break it down and do one part each day for a series this week. On Friday I'll post a full mock plan.

When working with an executive level recruiter you will have an initial phone consultation which is generally followed by a written search plan so both parties are on the same footing and in agreement about the search process going forward.

The phone consultation should review why the vacancy exists, who else is on the team and what strengths are we seeking in a new addition to the team. Is the position actually approved and what will the interview process look like (who will be involved, who will make the offer and when do you need someone to start)?

In a written Search Plan HireWorks, Inc. (my company) first reviews your needs summary.

I. Needs Summary

This should summarize your information about the position, location, title, number of positions, salary range, work environment etc.

Skills and competencies required should be listed next. I typically use adjectives and phrases listed in a series to be sure I've hit on all areas of interest to my client.

This includes minimum requirements such as degree required, years of experience, software knowledge etc. But it also lists for example, critical thinking skills, ability to work independently or from home. I'll speak to motivation levels and attitude required as well.

Tomorrow I'll review Part II of the Search Plan - Suggested Work Plan (Process).

Questions and comments are welcome.


Thursday, June 17, 2004

Hiring Managers - Are you ready Part II!

Bear with me today - I'm reprinting an article in its entirety today...good read. Enjoy.

Make Use Of The Calm Before The Storm

By: Bill Larkin

This article originally appeared on

The primary motivator for employee loyalty over the last three years has been fear – fear of being downsized, and fear of not being able to find another job. But as signals of an improving job market continue to flash, thousands of employees who have been rooted in their jobs are plotting to free themselves. The market tide is turning in favor of the workforce, and experts say few employers are ready for it.

If you don’t believe it, consider this: in a survey conducted by Accenture, 40 percent of U.S. workers say they plan to leave their current job within the next five years. A recent AOL survey paints an even grimmer picture; in which 58 percent of more than 5,000 participants said they “may” or “will definitely” start looking for a new job when the economy improves. Why are these numbers so high? The need for financial cutbacks forced many organizations to neglect programs that are essential to employee retention. The Accenture survey says it all: respondents cited lack of compensation (71 percent), advancement opportunities (58 percent), and professional development or training (51 percent) as the primary reasons for seeking new employment.

Despite the renewed focus on employee retention that 2004 is expected to bring, many experts say the damage has already been done. “We are entering a dynamic period for the employment market,” says Ed Jensen, a partner in Accenture’s Human Performance Service. “Employers need to protect themselves from raids on their talent in order to remain competitive.”

It stands to reason, then, that there are two main challenges looming on the horizon: acquiring only the best of the candidates you will need sooner than you think, and keeping the best of those you have. Ironically, these burdens will fall upon one of the hardest-hit departments in your organization: human resources.

Pan for gold
It’s hard to believe that a short time ago, HR professionals – and the organizations they work for – were used to shelling out 30 percent search fees to agencies in the hopes of securing a high-quality candidate to fill one of their many open requisitions. Now, there is no room in many budgets for outside help in the hiring process, and there’s less time and manpower to do the legwork internally. For those HR departments that find themselves short-handed due to recent downsizing and attrition, the thought of a renewed focus on recruiting is surely a cause for concern.

Despite the popular assertion that the current market is still flooded, finding the right candidate is harder than it may seem. “The writing is on the wall,” asserts Scott Cohen, national practice leader for talent management at Watson Wyatt Worldwide. “Organizations will increasingly compete for the smartest and the best individuals.” And they’ll have to hunt pretty hard for them, like the proverbial needle in a growing haystack. A recent report issued by Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. maintains that 92 percent of recruiters and hiring managers were inundated with irrelevant responses via the Internet, and 71 percent said a majority of the resumes they received in response to an online job posting did not match the job description. The increasing demand for resume and recruiting management is poised to overwhelm an HR department that has already been reduced by layoffs. How does the already overburdened HR professional handle and evaluate resumes to fill critical positions from a shrinking pool of contenders with less help on a tighter budget? Most major and many smaller companies have already automated their recruiting and applicant tracking processes. Those that have not need to make it a top priority.

The ideal solution should provide integrated applicant management capabilities that not only streamline the hiring cycle, but also enable hiring managers to identify the best candidates more quickly and cost-effectively. The idea is not to replace human judgment, but to support decision makers by automating repetitive tasks and increasing the efficiency of those high-touch activities that cannot be automated. Managers may even use self-service to hire applicants on the spot, an important capability in environments where demand can dictate rapid bursts of hiring, such as retail.

Do your homework
In desperate times, people may take desperate measures: some people will do anything it takes to land a job, up to and including fabricating degrees, work experience, previous earnings, and qualifications. Even worse than including phony accomplishments, they may leave out negative information that would typically disqualify them. In an era that has uncovered – too late – a high-profile college football coach who exaggerated both his college and football experience and an armed robber turned board chairman of a major firearms manufacturer, it’s frightening to imagine how many covers have yet to be blown. While some of these stories are benign enough, the wrong person in the wrong job can cause real harm, and when that happens, the damage to everyone involved can be devastating. How can organizations avoid hosting the next big scandal, or worse? By understanding how to legally and accurately verify candidate credentials, and making the effort to do it consistently.

With less HR staff in place to perform extensive background checks, is it worth the time it takes? Absolutely. Even one bad hire can do some serious damage. LeRoy Robbins, CEO of recruiting specialists IIRC, claims that the hard costs are estimated at “50 percent to 200 percent of that person’s salary and benefits,” not to mention the soft costs of an increase in workload and its accompanying decrease in company morale and customer service. “As you move up the line, bad hires become more significant because of the impacts of their roles. Having to replace that person is enormous,” explains Robbins.

Beyond the responsibility to the organization itself, there are legal duties to consider, such as taking the proper steps to avoid hiring an unfit individual who causes harm. Negligent hiring processes, discrimination, and invasion of privacy can all lead to costly grievances and lawsuits. At the 21st Annual Employment Law & Legislative Conference, Wendy Bliss, J.D., SPHR discussed effective pre-employment screening practices. Depending on the requirements of the position being filled, all of these methods may be appropriate: multiple reference checks; verification of the last 5 to 7 years of work history; criminal background checks; a social security number trace, examination of education and motor vehicle records; and credit, professional license, certification, or registration checks when job-related and validated. She also recommends checking the applications over for any of the following red flags: blanks, unexplained gaps in employment, questionable reasons for leaving prior jobs, illegible writing, no signature, information that is inconsistent with the applicant’s resume, and multiple people listed who may not be contacted for a reference. Because every state’s laws differ slightly, it is vital that employers familiarize themselves with the specific requirements governing reference immunity, service letters, use of criminal history, and other related issues for any and all of their locations.

Stay ahead of the pack
As the job market continues to improve, employers will find themselves once again catering to the best and brightest talent. “Employers have been less careful about how they treat their employees because they know there is a ready supply out there,” says Sharon Koss, SPHR, president of Koss Management Consulting in Seattle, WA. “They have forgotten what turnover is, how expensive it can be, and how hard it can be to find good people.”

They’ve also forgotten how much good people can cost in a competitive market. To avoid getting burned, employers need to first make sure that all current employees are fairly compensated, and when a position comes open, consider hiring from within. In many cases, the best person for the job may be lurking a few cubes down. This is another scenario in which an automated system can make a world of difference. With a comprehensive in-house talent pool just a couple of clicks away, recruitments costs are significantly slashed. This makes it easier for organizations to promote top talent, fostering higher employee engagement, and improving the retention of key employees.

Then, organizations should start putting in place a system by which they can ensure the compensation packages they offer are competitive, but also fall within the parameters of their budget requirements. For example, are you able to quickly measure the value of a candidate’s total compensation package (salary, benefits, bonuses, etc.) against your budget for the position? Can you compare packages you are offering against industry compensation data, salary surveys, and internal jobs before an offer is made to the candidate? Can you easily take into account the geographic pay differentials that exist based on the candidate’s work location?

It’s a lot of work, but a system of compensation “checks and balances” is critical to preventing your company from overpaying or under-competing for talent. Fortunately, there are applications available that can automate much of the legwork that needs to take place in order to assemble sensible but competitive compensation plans. In fact, some organizations have used applications and the accessibility of data to take a less traditional approach to compensation.

According to Edward Lawler, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, many organizations are using the availability of compensation data combined with automated employee performance management to develop competency-based compensation systems. It attracts employees who like the notion that, if they work hard, they know how and when they will be rewarded. It also prevents the loss of talent, which is perhaps even more important. “A competency-based system helps an organization achieve its goals,” explains Lawler. “When it is structured right, it rewards top performers and keeps many of them from leaving.” Companies that do not provide the right rewards and opportunities, however, wind up priming their talent for the competition.

Watch where you’re going
Many organizations are blissfully unaware that they are currently suffering from a false sense of security; in fact, most organizations believe that when the employee exodus does happen, it will happen to some other company. It won’t be long before that illusion is shattered. As the pendulum begins to swing back in the opposite direction, savvy employers who anticipate its movement can survive, or even thrive, by taking preemptive actions to retain their proven performers while they attract and groom the best of those candidates who have begun to test the waters of the recovering job market. By providing the appropriate rewards and opportunities to seasoned in-house talent and offering competitive compensation plans to meticulously screened prospects, your organization can ride the wave of the impending upheaval while your competition struggles just to weather it.

About the Author:

In his role as Vice President of HRMS Solutions, Bill Larkin’s current charter is to drive Kronos’ success in the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) market. In June 2002, Kronos entered the middle tier of the HRMS market with licensed HR and payroll products, which complement Kronos’ existing suite of employee resource management solutions.

Larkin brings to Kronos extensive consulting, sales, product development and marketing skills honed during a 20-year career in human resources, in which he held positions with Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and Genesys Software Systems.

Prior to joining Kronos, Larkin founded LCS and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in HRMS end-user requirements definition and vendor selection. Larkin also has helped a number of software vendors develop and expand their HRMS strategy. Larkin was a co-founder of the eClipse Group, a consulting firm formed as a joint venture between the Human Resource Management Consultants and LCS and Associates.

Larkin is an active member of the International Human Resource Management Association and the Northeast Human Resource Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Iowa State University.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Hiring Managers - Are you Ready?

The Triangle business journal reports that a recent survey conducted by Manpower states employers are looking to hire big in the 3rd quarter.

The paper reported:

"From July to September, 47 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees while 3 percent intend to reduce their work force, the survey says. Fifty percent expect to maintain their current staffing levels.

Nationally, 30 percent of the 16,000 U.S. employers polled said they planned to add new employees, with 6 percent expecting a decline in the number of jobs."

Call your recruiting partners and prep us with projected needs and timelines. The more we know, the better able we are to assist you.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Third Party Recruiters, HeadHunters, Executive Recruiters what is the difference

Good morning,

Many people want to know just what is the difference between HeadHunters, Exec Recruiters - third party recruiters and so on?

Well, typically we are all self employed and do not work for a corporation we've been hired to staff - we're a third party provider. Some recruiters don't like to be called HeadHunters, doesn't bother me in the least. We are hired to do what companies cannot or will not do for themselves. Research positions, the market and target candidates who will become strong achievers for that organization.

I did a quick google search this morning and many searches are being done each day for all of the above titles and keywords daily. In fact, the daily budget google recommends for an AdWord campaign is $750/day. So that tells you about the level of interest and the intensity of searching for recruiters to call most days of the week.

If you are looking for a recruiting partner, give us a call. We'd be happy to do an initial 30 minute (free) consultation to see if we might be a resource for you.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Recruiters and the Recruiting Process - Is yours what you think it should be?

Good morning!

Is your recruiting process going well? Is your recruiter(s)responsive and do they understand what you need? Are you happy with the flow of candidates, scheduling of feedback and interviews?

What is missing from the process and what can we (recruiters) do better to serve you?

Recruiting is a service you pay for. You pay us to make it go away! I tell my clients they should feel a huge weight lifted from their shoulders once they sign my fee agreement. At that point I own the process and update them along the way. It is no longer their primary concern or worry. They can move on, perform other duties and know that they'll hear back from me with status updates.

We want your feedback! Is recruiting what you think it should be? Where do we have room for improvement?

Suggestions and feedback welcome. Look forward to hearing from all of you out there!

Make it a great day.

Best, Lucia

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Executive Recruiting - Eat what you kill??!

I subscribe to ERE Exchange - a group/forum for recruiters. Each day there is a feature article and while most are quite good, written by Dr. John Sullivan, Mr. Lou Adler and other professionals, today's article was awful. For many reasons, articles like today's and recruiters like the one featured, is why I remain a recruiter.

Recruiting is tough work and some days even life insurance salespeople are treated better than we are...but articles like those found today are why!

Actually if you can get past the first paragraph of the article I do agree with most of what Mr. Adamsky says. Sales is service...if you believe that and act that way then there is no need to be shark-like and use terms like Eat what you Kill. Just God Awful if you ask me.

People do business with those they like, know and trust. I think the words you choose to represent yourself and those in your profession should be chosen carefully.

Tip of the day: Be sure you LIKE, KNOW (or get to know) and TRUST the recruiter you are working with. I promise it will be much more fun!

Best wishes,