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Is digital profiling becoming the norm for finding potential employees?

The days of the traditional paper resume are mostly over. The majority of recruiters and hiring managers use digital data to understand their potential employees, whether this digital profiling stands alone or is used in combination with more traditional means of recruitment.

Digital profiling involves creating a good picture of a potential hire, based on their online footprint. Nearly everyone in the job-seeking world uses LinkedIn, and of course this is a great tool for recruiters who want to better understand who they are looking at. Sites like LinkedIn offer all of the traditional resume information, along with current research and projects a person is undertaking, their connections and networks within the industry, and other valuable details.

Digital profiling for finding potential employees
Digital profiling for finding potential employees

Using digital profiling, recruiters can get a better idea of what people are truly like, beyond their polished paper resume. A professional, motivated person will use sites like LinkedIn wisely, to create the best image of themselves that is appealing to prospective employers.

When Digital Profiling Goes Beyond LinkedIn

Both job seekers and recruiters/hirers should know that there is often more to a digital profile than what is available on LinkedIn. A quick internet search can reveal a lot about a person, making it worthwhile for hirers to do some easy background research. Job seekers should know this and strive to create a professional online presence across various social media platforms, knowing that some of their words and images may be public.

The Deeper Details of Digital Profiling

Digital profiling isn’t just about what one says and does online — it can also reveal hints about a potential hire’s productivity. If someone is posting on their blog at all hours of the day, it can possibly lead a recruiter to think that this person is not that invested in their job. Or, a recruiter may look at someone’s online activity and see that they are very dedicated to their job, using social media at appropriate times. It is important for both hirers and job seekers to think about what their social media use and digital profile looks like from all angles.

Digital Profiling: A Hiring Consideration

With all of the information one can glean from digital profiles, this practice will surely fit into hiring decisions and recruitment in the future. There is a lot to be learned from a digital profile, for people on both sides of the desk.

Recruiting Automation: How Much Is Enough?

As the owner of a boutique recruiting firm, I am constantly approached by a variety of vendors who tell me that their new product will revolutionize recruiting. Everything from using algorithms to monitor candidates’ social media postings to creative ways of finding and sourcing passive candidates. While all this sounds wonderful, does it really work for all the extra cost?recruit_clip_image002

While I firmly believe that some automation is needed to effectively recruit in today’s world, I also believe that it is impossible to 100% automate recruiting because there are so many moving parts with candidates and clients. In addition, those hard-to-find and highly-sought-after candidates are generally turned off by all this automation as they are constantly bombarded each days with waves and waves of emails and LinkedIn emails from recruiters. In fact, many of these candidates have told me that they don’t check their email and LinkedIn because of the deluge of emails from recruiters.

To me, effective recruiting is still all about building trust and relationships with candidates; ideally over the phone. Many times, the trust and relationship building comes well before they may be ready to make a job move. Recruiting is also a very blue-collar function of hard work and effort. You can’t just post jobs online and sit back and wait for candidates to come to you nor can you expect automation to eliminate the need for this hard work. Effective recruiting is still all about really knowing what the client requires in the job, then researching for and approaching potential candidates.

I feel that the only automation that a good recruiter requires is a good applicant tracking system that has basic capabilities such as resume search, automated job posting to various internet job boards, and the ability to produce reports. Besides the ATS, I really only see the need for a Premium level LinkedIn account. I have been very effective with just these two tools. To me, anything else is overkill and not money well-spent.

Your Job Search Requires A Great Deal of Patience

job hunt

Conducting a job search is never easy, even in the best of job markets. Given the sluggish economy of the last 5-7 years, a job search is tougher and taking a much longer time. In good job markets, it would not be unusual to be able to find a new position in 30-60 days. In today’s economy, depending on the level of the position, could take anywhere from 60 days to 6 months or more.

There are a number of reasons for this:

1. Lack of suitable openings because most companies are not growing and headcount is not increasing
2. Companies are being extremely cautious with their selection process; thus taking much longer and adding additional steps to the process
3. Jobs have been eliminated and potentially replaced with technology or outsourcing

Until the overall economy improves, candidates can expect the process to continue at a slow pace.  Knowing all this in advance is   half the battle.

For those looking to switch or find a new job, networking is still the best way to land a new job.  Utilize a tool like LinkedIn to connect with friends, former college mates, and current and former work associates.  Your network remains your most power tool in helping to you find your next job.


What to Do When Your Most Valuable Employee Wants to Leave

Losing a valuable employee is hard. They were your star and now they want to go. So what do you do? Think about what has happened. Why is the employee leaving? Does it have anything to do with the company or the management or both? When someone important to the company leaves you want to understand if the reasons are something that can affect fellow workers, like bullying, salary issues, personal issues, stress or the like. Whatever the reasons, accept them gracefully and show your support, then manage the transition with the rest of your staff.

Valuable Employee Decide To Leave
Valuable Employee Decide To Leave

When someone well respected leaves others in the team begin to wonder if they need to be looking for greener pastures. They wonder if there is something wrong with the company. A resignation triggers reactions that some get over quickly while others don’t. Whatever the reasons it is a disruption that can adversely affect other team members and day to day operations.
So what to do.

Consider a counter-offer though a top performer has probably weighed the pros and cons prior to resigning. If it costs less to offer more than a counter offer is a consideration but it is not a strategy to use lightly. It can be a dangerous strategy if it becomes known that it works. The best policy is to identify and prevent problems before valuable employees resign. Resignations should not come as a surprise if management is listening. Also, it is best to ensure that senior employees are mentoring other employees so the company will not be crippled by retirement or resignation.

Stay on top of the loss by showing respect to the departing employee by acknowledging the loss to the company and thanking them for their outstanding efforts and do this with the entire team present. After they depart help your team make the transition to working without their former colleague.

Manage the transition by telling other employees what they’ll be doing now that their teammate is going and allow the departing employee to work with the team before departing so everyone is aware of what tasks may need to be covered. Ask for volunteers to cover tasks so that the transition goes smoothly.

Whatever you do, do it with grace. Show your team that they have nothing to worry about and that there may be opportunities for developing new strategies and ways of doing things that will become apparent as you organize around the talents of the new team.


Recruiting the right people for your organization requires making sure that your recruiters and your recruiting process do not make any of the following mistakes.

Recruiting Mistakes
Recruiting Mistakes

First of all make sure that your hiring process does not discourage bright, motivated, talented people by being generic, insulting and cumbersome. People need to be treated well from the beginning if you expect them to be enthusiastic about working in your company.

Start by creating job ads that describes the job responsibly in detail and appeal to human beings and don’t sound like potential hires should be happy you want to interview them. Market potential employees with the same vigor you market your customers.

Use an applicant tracking system that will help you identify the right talent faster or you’ll find yourself wading through a huge pile of non-relevant applications. Don’t generalize, target your search to the specific and most important aspects of the job.

Be sure that your company’s web presence accurately represents you. One study conducted for Forbes Magazine found that nearly one third of respondents reported using social media to research companies and job openings, so your social media presence is crucial to a comprehensive recruitment strategy. It’s equally important, however, to understand how professionals at various stages of a career use social media differently.

And remember that candidates will be researching your company across a broad array of platforms, so you must take steps to ensure that their experience is consistent, regardless of how they view your online presence. So make your company’s website and any other online platforms consistent and functional for different types of devices, including notebooks, tablet PCs, and smartphones.
Very important is to remember that face-to-face communication is still the best way to get to know a candidate. Though companies find that video conferencing and skyping is timely and cost effective, most potential candidates prefer an in-person interview. Do not make the mistake of foregoing the interview process for a strictly technological procedure or potential top people can be lost because they were ill at ease and did not present themselves or their talents in the best way possible.

Recruiters are like ambassadors and they need to represent you well. Today’s job seekers place great emphasis on company culture and your recruiters and your hiring process need to be consistent. Don’t use recruiters who are not well-versed with your company, its mission, goals and culture or you will not attract top talent.
So remember to know what you’re looking for and not to over-emphasize money or benefits and to take a wide view of what is possible and you’ll attract the right people.

The Value of Creating A Partnership with A Recruitment Firm

There is so much value in building a strong recruiting relationship between your company and a recruiting agency.   In a true partnership arrangement, an agency will become an extension of your internal recruiting function and help to make recruiting process and results more seamless and efficient.

Partnership-740x459Too often, companies feel that it is necessary to utilize multiple agencies to source the same positions. The companies’ rationale is that the more recruiting agencies involved in the searches, the better. In actuality, it creates worse service because it becomes a race for those agencies to submit candidates first. Many of the candidates will not be properly screened, and the recruiting results are probably going to be disappointing. In addition, your company will have to spend extra time at the front end of each search to explain to each agency about the duties of each role. From a candidate standpoint, this arrangement also probably means the same candidates will be contacted multiple times by different agencies for the same role. This process will not represent your company’s recruiting brand in the best light.

Establishing a strong partnership with one recruiting agency is the best arrangement for sourcing top talent for your company.  The best recruiting firms will have their finger on the pulse in their specialty markets and can give your hiring team insight into what is happening in these markets.  Your recruiting partner will know the best available talent, where this talent is located, how to reach out to that talent, salary rates,  available skill-sets,  and current hiring challenges.  If other businesses are struggling to find the same people as you,  your recruiting partner should be able to advise your company on alternative recruiting solutions.

Your recruiting partner can specifically target “passive” candidates for all roles.  This frees your internal recruiting team to focused on “active” candidates which are being generated through applications via your company’s job postings or your internal employee referrals.  Your recruiting partner should have good access to your hiring managers as well as your internal recruiting team.  This access will permit the recruiting partner to develop a strong understanding of your company’s culture and organization as well as benefits and career progressions.

From a cost standpoint, it is most likely cheaper for your company to set up a partner relationship with an agency.  Most agencies will reduce their overall fees or even go to a flat fee arrangement if they knew that they had a strong recruiting partnership arrangement.

In short, there is real value in setting up a partner relationship with a recruiting agency.  Don’t hesitate to try it out!

Streamlining the Hiring Process in 2016

At the heart of most great companies is an incredibly strong emphasis on the hiring process. During recession periods companies could afford to use long hiring processes to find the absolute best candidate for their open positions. Not so in today’s world. Growing competition for skilled candidates penalizes companies with longer time-to-hire cycles.

The lengthening hiring process is the result of a tightening job market that favors well qualified job seekers rather than the companies seeking them. Waiting for the candidate who is the perfect match for a job opening can result in not finding anyone close to what is needed.

Streamline the Hiring Process
Streamline the Hiring Process

Many companies are reporting a lack of quality candidates in the candidate pool. This in itself lengthens the hiring process as companies continue searching even after identifying suitable, albeit not perfect, candidates.

What are some ways to staff up in a shorter period than currently in use without making costly hiring mistakes?

Review and Reduce Your Company Hiring Cycle

The first thing to review is the company approach to hiring. It should take a formalized approach including requiring that any requests to hire include a clear definition of the position and the position’s requirements. Clearly defining a job and position in terms of education, experience, knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes necessary to be successful makes the interview process easier, faster and more effective.
During the initial interview focus on evaluating a candidate based on the road map clearly defining what is required. Choose several candidates then test them in whatever manner is appropriate to the job in question.

Test Potential Candidates

To ensure someone has the skills they say they do, test them. These can be written tests, role-plays, or simulations such as asking a PR candidate to write a press release for a make-believe product or asking a marketing candidate to explain the key components in a marketing plan. These tests don’t need to be elaborate, but they do need to be able to differentiate the candidates who have the necessary skills from those who don’t.

Before Making an Offer Check References and Perform Background Checks

Due diligence should be a standard procedure in most companies, yet it is often done poorly or not at all. It is important to verify what a person is saying about past employment to the extent allowed by law. It is also important to do background checks to ensure that critical information about a person’s character has not been left out.

Use An Applicant Tracking System

Avoid costly hiring mistakes by hiring mindfully and using a system that allows you to manage the hiring process. Large companies in particular need a way to track the process of hiring and checking references and onboarding. The best candidates will rise to the top during the process especially when you are able to effectively track them through the interview and evaluation process. The more often you exercise mindful hiring, the better and faster you’ll be able to find the best candidates to fill any open positions.

Conducting a Job Search-Best Practices

So, you are ready to begin looking for a new job?   Many of the best practices in conducting the search are the same whether you have been forced to undertake the search or have just decided that it is just time to  make a move.  Here are some of my thoughts on best practices:

Conducting a Job Search-Best Practices

1.  Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

These steps are the foundation of the job search.  Make sure to take the time to completely and accurately update your resume and LinkedIn profile.   Also, make sure that both the resume and LinkedIn profile contain the same content as companies will, in most cases, review both of them.  It could be an embarrassing situation if one does not agree with the other.  As far as the content, make sure to list your specific accomplishments for each job and be prepared to talk about these accomplishments during any phone or in-person interview.

2.  Tap into Your Existing Network

It is very important to let your network know that you are on the job market.  This network would include former (and maybe current) co-workers or associates, LinkedIn connections, and recruiters that you know.  Many candidates find their next position through networking as opposed to answering a job posting.

3.  Work to Expand Your Network

Letting your current network know that you are on the job market is the easy part.  Expanding the network is tougher.  Asking for referrals from your current network is a good step.  Also, search LinkedIn to locate recruiters who may specialize in placing candidates with your skill set.

4.  Check the Job Boards for Suitable Openings

Check all the major job boards like Indeed. LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. for any suitable postings.  Apply only to the jobs that you feel that you are strongly qualified.  In today’s very specialized job market, it will be a longshot for a company to consider you for a role if you don’t have direct experience in their respective industry or the specific discipline. Companies are generally looking for candidates who can hit the ground running with very little ramp-up, so candidates who are not ideal fits generally don’t get contacted.

5. Contact Companies Directly

Develop a list of companies in both your local area and specific industry where your skills may be in demand.  Use a tool such a LinkedIn to identify people who may potentially be hiring manager for someone such as you.  Craft a very specific cover letter which highlights your skills and fit and send it (along with your resume) to the potential hiring manager.  Timing could be on your side.  At worst, you should be able to make a valuable contact.

Job hunting is never an easy process and, most likely, will take a longer time that you originally determined.  Hopefully, these practices will be the process a bit smoother.

Uneven Job Market

There has been a lot of press regarding the low employment rate in the US (reported by the government as somewhere in the 5% range). Certain sectors of the job market are hot, such as IT positions. However, in many other sectors of the job market, things are pretty tough. Many of the advertised positions are lower-paying jobs. I recently did a somewhat unscientific analysis that proves that this is the case.


I surveyed posted positions on two very popular job posting sites, LinkedIn and Indeed.  Many of you already know that LinkedIn Jobs is a popular, but paid site and Indeed is very popular job posting site and is generally free to post.

I did the analysis using jobs posted within 100 miles of Philadelphia PA (MAS Recruiting’s office location) and then broke the jobs down by salary level. Here is what I found:

Total Posted Positions in last 90 days: 315,996 as of January 21, 2016

80k+ Jobs: 37, 782 (12.0%)
100k+ Jobs: 15,752 (5.0%)
120k+ Jobs: 7,453 (2.4%)
140k+ Jobs: 3,384 (1.1%)
180k+ Jobs: 1211 (0.3%)
200k+ Jobs: 518 (0.2%)

Total Posted Positions in last 90 days: 289,687 as of January 21, 2016

80k+ Jobs: 39,107 (13.5%)
100k+ Jobs: 20,048 (6.9%)
120k+ Jobs: 9,451 (3.2%)
140k+ Jobs: 4,439 (1.6%)
180k+ Jobs: 971 (0.3%)
200k+ Jobs: 359 (0.1%)

The findings are remarkably similar and show that between 75% and 80% of all the posted positions are paying 80k or less in salary.  To me, this shows that companies are very careful with their hiring and willing to add lower salary positions to fill some needs, but will not generally hire higher salaried roles unless absolutely necessary.  All of this ties in with what I have seen in my business since Q4 2015.


Hiring Forecast for 2016

A number of recently released surveys forecast strong hiring in the first half of 2016. A strong job market will pressure wages as employers boost pay to lure top workers their way.
Hiring will be swift and competitive especially in two sectors, namely tech and health care.

Hiring Forecast for 2016
Hiring Forecast for 2016

In the tech world developers of applications and systems software, database administrators, cyber security experts, and all manner of artificial intelligence specialists will be in great demand.
In health care physician assistants and nurse-practitioners are in high demand as are doctors, pharmacists and dentists. Also in demand are respiratory therapists and cardio radiological technicians, which are both good jobs that pay well with a two-year associate degree.
The transportation sector has a critical demand for air traffic controllers which has actually become chronic and, if not solved, will cause increasing flight delays in the coming year. There is also a high demand for professional truckers as we begin 2016. The financial services arena is experiencing a heightened demand for financial planners as the number of people nearing retirement is increasing.
Teaching position in pre, elementary, and secondary schools are expected to increase sharply in 2016 as these areas lack sufficient teachers. However, the greatest demand in the education sector will be for teachers with expertise in science, math, and bilingual education.
Jobs that will continue their sustained decline in 2016 include printing press operators whose ranks are being depleted by the digital printing age and factory workers across the board. Factory jobs in the United States are systematically being replaced by increased automation and a shift overseas.
This year, 2016, will require employers to find and keep good workers in the fast growing and critically understaffed job markets. Recruitment will look to adjacent industries for people with skills that can be adapted with training to fill open positions. Employers with established internship and apprentice programs will look to these programs to tap and groom younger candidates while also welcoming back former employees wanting to return.
Internship and apprentice programs will give employers insight into the traits and motivation of potential employees as well as their ability to fit into the company culture and learn on-the-job.
This year college recruiting will be more prevalent than it’s been since the great recession. Companies see grads as a strategic asset – they bring new, fresh thinking, are drivers of innovation and change, and can immerse themselves and ‘seed’ the culture of the organization, making them ‘home-grown talent.’ If they don’t have all of the needed skills and experiences, they can be trained on the job. In addition, graduate hires can create a sustainable managerial/executive pipeline of high-potential talent.
In 2016 candidates are in the driver’s seat, often entertaining multiple job offers, workers are choosing the employer whose values align with their own and one that lays out a clear path to career advancement for them – making a strong employer brand critical to winning the best talent. Companies hiring Millennials face the fact that they often demand to be advised of their proposed trajectory for several career moves within the organization, before accepting the job.