Tag Archives: Human Resources

Winning Recruiting Strategies For A Tight Job Market

For those of you in the “trenches” of daily recruiting, it is pretty obvious that the job market has become very tight for many positions; especially many technical roles. Gone are the days from a couple of years ago when a company could just run an Internet ad for a position and get several great candidates who applied. This was the case, but not in this market. Candidates have or are gaining the advantage in the market.
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Communication With Candidates

Throughout my years in recruiting, I have always strived to communicate well with my candidates. I know that this has been appreciated, because I have received many compliments from various candidates who appreciate me keeping them in the loop as to where things stand with a certain position.

My philosophy is simple: I look at candidates as an “asset” and someone that I want to build a relationship with. I know that candidates realize that I am just the conduit between them and the company and that the company makes the final determination on how they want to hire. However, my goal is to keep the candidates as informed as possible. If I cannot help them with this particular job; it is possible that I can help them in the future (even years down the road). With technology the way it is today, it is pretty simple to stay in touch with candidates if you want to make the effort and value the relationship.

Excellent communication with candidates not only builds goodwill with your candidate base, but it also serves to build your brand. Hopefully, this will stay in the mind of a candidate if you ever reach out to them in the future.

Advice To Companies Having Problems Filling Certain Positions

I have seen a lot of companies over the last several years struggle to fill certain positions. Most of these positions tend to be either Information Technology or Engineering related.  With the unemployment rate nearing what the government refers to a “full employment”, it is understandable why filling certain jobs has become a real challenge.

Rather than sit back and hope that the perfect candidate falls into your lap, companies need to look at their sourcing and recruiting methods and processes and determine what needs to change.

1. Are we too strict with our job requirements?

I see this as the main culprit to not filling jobs. Many companies have job descriptions that have requirements that are way too restrictive. Rather than have 7 or 8 MUST have requirements that must be satisfied, re-look at the requirements to see if any of the MUST haves can be converted to NICE TO HAVE.  With a certain amount of training, you could get new hires to the level that you seek.

2. Can we be more flexible with the role?

Many companies today still do not offer employees some work from home flexibility or the ability to perform a role remotely. There is very little cost or downside to offering this flexibility and not having it, puts your company at a major disadvantage to those companies who do offer such flexibility.  Offering this option will also great increase the pool of potential candidates for your roles.

3. Are our salaries competitive?

Because of the slow economic conditions over the last 8 or so years, companies have offered current employees very minimal annual raises.  When they get to the point of hiring again, they are quite shocked to see what certain hard-to-fill roles command in today’s market.  These companies struggle to come up with competitive offers because of concerns with internal equity.  In order to attract star candidates, companies are going to have to make very compelling offers or risk losing the candidates to another companies.

4. Are our benefits competitive?

While base salary and bonus potential seem to be the key components in any job offer, having a competitive benefits package is a close second in priority.  Having a benefits package that is both comprehensive and priced well are very important to landing star candidates.  One area where I see companies struggle is offering competitive vacation or PTO levels to experienced candidates.  It is not realistic to expect an experienced candidate to drop from 3 or 4 weeks vacation back to 2 years vacation.  Companies need to make these candidates “whole” in order to be competitive in today’s employment market.

5. Is our interview process too cumbersome?

In a softer job market, companies could take their time with the hiring process.  This would include multiple phone or onsite interviews as well as extended time between these interviews.  Ina a soft job market, candidates do not have many options and, thus, are compelled to wait.  As the job market heats up, the opportunities for candidates increases, and therefore, companies must speed up the timing of their hiring process in order to capture the star candidates.  Remember, everyone is looking to hire stars, and stars don’t stay on the market very long!

Hopefully, these points will help your company make the changes necessary to improve your hiring rate and fill more jobs.

Should I Pay Someone To Help Me Find My Next Job?

I get asked by candidates quite often if they can pay me to help them find their next job.  I tell those candidates that 99% of recruiters (including myself) are paid by the client when we make a placement.  Companies come to a specific recruiter and engage his or her services to recruit specific talent to fill specific roles.  Generally, recruiters do not work as “talent agents” to represent individual candidates to “shop” them around to various companies.  I will never accept money from a candidate in order to help them find a role.  I don’t feel that it is morally right to do this.

However, there are firms out there that will charge candidates really good money to represent them in their job search.  Under the guise of “Career Counseling”,  these firms will help candidates put together a resume, coach them on how to interview, and then tell the candidates that they will market their resume to various companies and recruiters.  There is a substantial fee for all this so-called service.  In addition, these firms generally get the candidates to sign an agreement that the candidate will owe a certain additional fee to the Career Counseling company if the candidate finds a job, whether the Career Counseling firm helps makes the placement or not.

There is something wrong about this business model where you lead the candidate on to think that your firm will open up doors for them and never do.

My advice to candidates is NEVER pay anyone to help you find your next job.  It may be OK to pay someone a small fee to assist you to prepare and/or update your resume, but most recruiters that I know, will give advice to candidates for free.  In addition, there are a lot of free templates online that a candidate can use to prepare their resume.

 

 

Considering An Unsolicited Job Opportunity From A Recruiter

Why should you consider an unsolicited job opportunity from a recruiter?

Most of the candidates that I reached out to for many of my openings are not active job seekers.  If I have done the correct research, my hope is that I am presenting them with an opportunity that is a great match for their background.

Candidates should, at least, be willing to speak with the recruiter to learn more about the company,  the specifics of the role, and also the compensation package.  Many times, the best opportunities come up when you are not actively looking to make a job move.  Also, you are in a much better negotiating position as someone who is actively employed versus someone who is losing  their job or has already lost their job.

I have seen too many cases where candidates “pass” on an opportunity because they are “comfortable” in their current job.  Unfortunately, some of the same candidates reach out to me months or even years later in a panic because their job is being eliminated because of downsizing or financial instability.

It never hurts to explore a job opportunity presented to you.  Worse case scenario is that you spend some time exploring the opportunity to find out that the role is not a match.  Best case scenario is that the unsolicited call presents you with a wonderful opportunity to enhance your career.  Time very well spent if this is the case!

Job Interview Preparation

In today’s highly competitive job seeking market, you need to do detailed preparation prior to any phone and/or onsite interviews with potential new employers. Solid preparation will permit you to stand out from the competition!

Thanks to the internet, you can quickly and easily review the company’s web site for information on the company’s products and services. Make sure to review press releases and news on the company as well. If the company is publicly traded, you should be able to find a wealth of financial data on the company with your internet research.

Use LinkedIn to review the profiles of anyone that you will be speaking or meeting with during the interview. Doing this will give you insight into their current duties and responsibilities but also may provide you with some “ice breakers” to start the interview on a light note.

Speak with any friends who either know first hand information about the company or interviewers to try to gain some insight or a competitive edge.

If you doing a phone interview with the company, make sure to have a pad and pen available in order to jot down your thoughts or to use the pad to solve a technical problem.

Take the time to review the description of the job that you are being interviewed. Write down your key accomplishments in current or past jobs that relate to this position. Make sure to highlight these accomplishments during your interview session. Ask the interviewer, “What are the key problems/issues that this role is looking to solve?” Once you know this information, you are in a great position to relate to the interviewer just how you handled these issues in the past and what solutions that you developed. Companies are looking to hire candidates who are not only sharp technically but who are good problem solvers and creative thinkers.

Detailed preparation to any interview is the key to success.

Updated Job Market Statistics (June 2016)

I updated the analysis (previously done on January 21, 2016 and March 24, 2016) using jobs posted within 100 miles of Philadelphia PA (MAS Recruiting’s office location) and then broke the jobs down by salary level. I gathered my data from jobs posting on Indeed and LinkedIn; two of the most popular job posting sites. Here is the new June analysis and the comparison to January’s and March’s data:

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The comparison data between LinkedIn and Indeed is remarkably similar until you get to the month of June. Up until June, the data showed that between 75% and 80% of all the posted positions are paying 80k or less in salary. The March data also showed that recruiting and hiring has not increased at all since January, and that we remained in a flat job market. However, June’s data from LinkedIn should a large drop in the overall number of jobs, but also showed that total percentage of jobs paying less than 80k dramatically jumped from 77.4% at the end of March to 90% on June 14.

The data from LinkedIn is probably a much better indicator of the health of the overall job market since it cost money to post jobs on the site as compared to Indeed where most of the job postings tend to be free posts. I would imagine that the job totals on Indeed would lag those on LinkedIn.

This data shows that companies continue to be extremely careful with their recruiting and hiring and are 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. I don’t see the job market getting any better soon since summer tends to be a slower time even in the best of job markets.

How To Use Your Company Culture to Attract Top Talent

Every professional recruiter knows that a huge part of success in placing a candidate involves finding a company whose culture meshes with the work style and goals of the job seeker. This is simply human nature—we seek social groups where we feel at home and we seek job situations where the culture is familiar. There’s a good reason for this—we can often be more productive in an environment where we know our strengths are recognized, and where we don’t have to expend energy “fitting in” or translating our ideas to fit with a foreign corporate culture.

Company Culture to Attract Top Talent

To top it off, more and more talented job seekers are prioritizing company culture when they go to look for a job. Google, for example, receives a staggering 2 million job applications from very talented job seekers every year. Why? Employees are drawn to the very publicly promoted culture of the company.

Hard To Define Culture

Recent studies show that in regular spoken communication, it is only 15% what we say to each other that is “heard” and 85% how we say it. Similarly, corporate culture can be difficult to define and words may fall short.

Culture is a set of values, but also an aesthetic, as well as a specific way of presenting yourself in the world and marketplace. A successful recruiter knows that you have to go beyond what is being said sometimes, and matching a candidate with an appropriate culture often means interpreting unspoken language of both company and candidate.

Company Culture Is Not A Façade

It’s one thing to create a company culture, but it’s another to keep it up to date as the company grows. Google’s culture is, in part, focused on innovation and they’ve built that into their workforce in such a way that it’s now organic to the growth of the company. In other words, as the company grows, and it grows constantly and quickly, innovation is part of the growth and integral to it. In this way the company’s culture is never something static but something real that grows with the company. Another way to look at it is that the company grows in part because of the culture.

Look For Keys

Companies often use key indicators to communicate what they actually stand for. For example, they may have various ways of encouraging employee growth. They may emphasize teamwork in the way the office is laid out or in extracurricular activities.

Some companies emphasize philanthropy through community service days. Surveys of millennial talent indicates that Gen Y workers hold volunteer work and giving back as a very important factor when it comes to looking for a place they want to work. Other companies are green companies with policies aimed at having a low impact, environmentally. Millennials also seem to favor companies with an eco-friendly approach. Family friendly companies have great health care and even daycare on offer and you may see children in the workplace.

Take the time to discover what the actual, not just stated, culture of your client’s company is.

Making Matches That Work

Company culture is not just a superficial definition or brand. Culture can define the way that employees interact, the ways that conflicts are resolved, and how business problems are solved. Just as with any human culture, it permeates daily experience and therefore how a company does business.

Find out what is really most important to the top talent that you are looking for. Ask about life goals, not just career goals. Is friendly competition between employees attractive or intimidating to top talent? Think about the things that make a workplace unique or welcoming and match candidates with the environments that they like and thrive in.