Sunday, November 20, 2005

We the Killers of Innovation

What kills innovation? When I think about true innovation I think about the things that truly change the way I view the world and my work. When a friend of the family showed me that he could write code to develop games for the Commodore 64 it mesmerized me. I never knew a regular person could understand dots and dashes in a way to create something logical and stimulating for a human being. This was the first glimpse I had into what was about to occur. It was innovation self aware.

I grew up around computers. My father worked for a technology company and used to bring home the first small mainframes. I would actually work on a dummy terminal set up in an office in our house. The printer on this thing made the house shake—seriously! But it wasn’t until college that I saw the next significant leap in technology—turning the world wide web into a graphical environment. I played around with the web prior to this but it wasn’t that stimulating. You could find information but most of it was geeky and for a college student not that exciting. Mosaic changed this. A friend of mine showed me a browser that allowed me to see pictures on the web. This was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Okay, I’m known for being dramatic—but at the time it was truly amazing to me! I don’t think any of us realized what this meant or how it was going to change the us.

The next big leap for me is when DOS went away. I worked on Windows 3.2. I tried to stay away from DOS as much as I could but there were times I was forced to get in there to do certain things. I was also using a Mac at school and preferred this environment over Windows 3.2. Then Windows 95 was about to be released and I knew DOS would go away. I remember arguing with a computer geek I worked with who thought I was crazy when I said no common person would ever use DOS again. She thought I was an idiot. Long story short, I was right. Who would want to use DOS? If technology isn’t making things easier than what’s the point? Mac lost massive market share and I became an avid Windows user—along with millions of people around the globe.

What now—Google? Search? Yes, this is part of it but I’m not sure this is the end all. Google Earth is probably one of the most impressive things I’ve seen recently. It’s not perfected yet but it’s taking the web and adding a whole new dimension to it. This is significant. I’m not going to go into a seven page rant on why this is significant but it is. You will see. This is my next prediction and I’m sure I’ll hear people tell me I’m an idiot—but who cares. I won’t even say I told you so—it’s just my opinion. For the most part the web is two dimensional right now. Google Earth is making it multidimensional. We all know search is the hot topic right now and we know why—because information is power, there is a lot of information, and search helps us find the information we need to have power. Google Earth allows us to see this information in a way that is more human than it has ever been. Okay—that’s all I’m going to say about this.

So, what kills innovation? How many of you have asked your ATS vendor to customize their product? Why?...because you need it to play well with your internal bureaucratic created processes? Right? If it was truly innovative would you need to customize it to work for all of your processes? Probably not! If it was truly innovative wouldn’t it just work? Wouldn’t it just make your work better, faster, more efficient? We kill innovation when innovation truly doesn’t exist. The recruiting tools industry hasn’t really been that innovative. Right now most recruiting tools are based on a database with recruiting steroids. That’s it! There are innovators out there and I know who they are. They may not be innovative in every part of their business but they are innovating. The ATS space has been underwhelming to say the least. The entire industry has been. If you dropped your ATS tomorrow and used Outlook would life really be that different? REALLY?? REALLY, REALLY? Do you think you could create a system without it and keep your time to fill and quality of hire the same or better? I would put money on it that you could.

So what the heck is my point here? Three things!

  1. When innovation truly doesn’t exist we ask vendors to customize the heck out of it to fit our crummy processes. We kill anything that they developed that is unique because it wasn’t innovative to begin with.
  2. Innovation doesn’t come often—but you know when it does. Don’t confuse design for innovation.
  3. Never underestimate crazy ideas. Whenever someone is running an idea by me that I think is crazy I always stop myself and think twice about it. It may be the next greatest thing. Don’t underestimate the power of dreamers.

We kill innovation because we spend money on things that aren’t innovative. We also criticize ideas that we think are crazy. Take a look at what your recruiting team spends money on and ask yourself what would happen tomorrow if it was gone. What else COULD you be spending money on? What would happen if you took the most obscure idea you heard this year and actually tried it? What would happen? What would really happen? I know, some bureaucrat would probably complain and it would feel like the end of the world. But what would really happen……..

Friday, November 04, 2005

Jobster Advisory Born

I’m a firm believer that relationships that start off controversial can lead into some of the strongest. This is the way I feel about Jobster. When Jobster was in its early stages, about a year and a half ago, I heard rumor of them from some of my colleagues in the industry. I knew that there were a few organizations working with them on a pilot program and I knew it had something to do with a referral network. Other than this I didn’t know much else about them.

I then started to receive e-mails from Jobster. They were personalized mails signed by the CEO himself, Jason Goldberg. The Senior Vice President of my team received one, our President received one and I received one. The mail basically said that this is a new innovative way to build your talent network and we would love to tell you more. When we replied to this mail we got nothing back. This was frustrating, especially since our President specifically asked me to see what Jobster was all about. I went onto their website to learn more. I immediately felt a connection with their brand (from a look and feel), however, it was still confusing to me what they did. I got the fact that their tool was about networking with the right candidates but it was hard to figure out how it actually worked. Finally, out of frustration, I put up a blog entry about my experience with them. This was the first time I saw some light at the end of the tunnel.

Miraculously, the chief Jobster himself, Jason Goldberg, read my blog and sent an e-mail to me. He basically said anytime you are ready to know more about what we do, bring it on. This immediately impressed me about the organization. It was the first step in changing my perception and my experience up to this point with them. I told Jason to sign me up—I wanted to know more. He sent Heather Grey out—one of his top sales executives, to show us the product. After my meeting with Heather my perception of them had gone full circle. I hadn’t used the product yet but I knew that I would. There were several things that jumped out at me. They were hiring smart people, they understood the power of a brand, they care about their customers, they are in it because they are passionate about it and they are innovating.

Then we tried the product. Our start was slow. We had to manually enter the contacts into Jobster, enter in our job advertisements and then manage the leads that came in with minimal information about them. It was something new and with anything new it takes some pain to get to where we needed to go with this. This was several months ago. We just ran our latest account executive and senior account executive campaign and the light bulb finally went on. We made contact with several great people. One of them is in Hong Kong and the other in Seattle. These are the type of people that I definitely want to talk to. We haven’t made a hire yet but we are in interviews with candidates from Jobster and I have no doubt that we will make our first hire very soon—and they will be strong hires. If I look at what I invested in the product so far, even if I make two hires this year, it will pay for it. And this is just the beginning. The product is starting to gain momentum.

So where are we now? They value the customer’s voice and they invite controversy. They truly feel this is the essence of what will allow them to become better. So they invited several recruiting professionals up to Seattle to listen about what they can do better and what they are doing well now. This is something I value about them. They brought me up to Seattle and did a lot of listening. I also had the honor to sit in the room with other top recruiting professionals from Nike, Starbucks, EDS, MITRE among others. We had the opportunity to meet their people. Later on we went to Wild Ginger and got to know each other on a more personal level. Over dinner I had the pleasure of talking with John Atkins, lead Product Manager, and Ethan Lowry, Vice President of Product Design. In addition to almost figuring out the future of all innovation I learned how to get all the food to our end of the table. Ethan also taught me how to accidentally lose a glass of merlot and miraculously end up with some top notch Pinot from Oregon—one of Goldberg’s favorites. The night ended with Heather Grey and me chasing a mini-van through the rain. All in all it was a great experience. The Jobster team realizes there is still a lot of work to be done but they are listening to their customers and they are thinking about the right things. They have the building blocks for something great. Thanks for the experience Jobster!

Friday, October 28, 2005

King of Connections

We just launched our new Waggener Edstrom Worldwide brand. This is exciting news especially for those of us on the Staffing team. Our new career site features employee vignettes, accolades, cultural anecdotes, career paths, and, of course, our job listings. If you get a chance check it out:

I had the honor of conducting the interview for our featured employee vignette. I included this below. This is from one of our PR pros on our T-Mobile team—Jackson Jeyanayagam.


King of Connections

Jackson Jeyanayagam is well-connected. Whether sharing ideas
with co-workers, chatting with editors at Glamour and Maxim, promoting
after-hours parties, or reaching out to the broader world, Jackson enjoys
building relationships as part of his job. He is in the know and on the go.

A senior account executive at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide,
Jackson works with wireless service provider T-Mobile USA. He helped launch the
wireless industry’s first nationwide service to play ”ring-back tones,” real
songs that callers hear when calling a mobile phone. Jackson also manages
celebrity product placements for the fashionable T-Mobile Sidekick II product.

”I like the WE culture. It’s an open environment and I have
lots of good friends here,” he says. “There is an entrepreneurial spirit here,
so you can carve your own way. There are so many things you can get involved in
from staying connected with colleagues and clients to giving back to the global
community. Where else would I get to do this?”

Staying current on what’s considered hot among consumers.
Working the phones. Contributing to corporate giving efforts. Getting paid to
read Gear, Spin and Details and watch MTV’s "Total Request Live.” Hooking up
hip, young celebrities and fashionistas with the latest mobile data devices.
It’s all in a day's work for Jackson, and the connection - even friendship -
with colleagues and consumers makes it more worthwhile.

“I speak my opinion and people listen to me. The agency is
shaping its vision and I feel I get to give input,” Jackson says. “When I have a
meeting with executives who ask my opinion, that means a lot to me. Everyone
here has a say and you can make a difference.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Visual Mapping

I had the fortunate opportunity to hire an individual that wrote her dissertation on clustering blogs based on market demographics. She is originally from Hong Kong where she was a journalist and public relations practitioner before coming to the US to obtain her PhD. She recently turned me onto a blog that focuses on visual mapping. I have included the link below; I believe this work WILL have an impact on recruiting.

Visual Mapping Site:

Two of their maps really jumped out at me--the first was the map that showed the overlap and differences between search engines. It’s actually a map that they pulled off of What’s interesting about this is that when we are thinking about search optimization we need to be thinking about multiple sites. It also made me think that aggregate sites don’t win out over well branded sites. This has implications for what they are calling “vertical search“. You would think a user would use a vertical search site for the convenience of having all of their jobs in one place. If this were true users would use Dogpile more than they would use Google. Google’s brand far outweighs Dogpile’s so it’s just not the case. Dogpile is also symbiotic of the other sites--if they didn’t exist Dogpile would cease to exist as it’s currently known.

The second and more interesting post was mapping around social networking. This is very exciting work. This will most likely be the future of social networking where you can actually see how your connections visually. Jobster is doing some of this now but it’s not as advanced as what’s shown on infostetics. This concept really makes sense to me because when you think about relationships they are not linear--they are multidimensional. Let me give you an example of this:

You have a co-worker that works in recruiting. She owns a piece of the pie and
you own a piece of the pie and your day to day responsibilities are to service
those clients and fill roles. Your relationship with her is as peers in this
instance. Your co-worker also owns college recruitment and you support her on
initiatives that she is driving. Your relationship with her here is as your
project lead. You also know her husband and go out for drinks with them on
occasion. Your relationship with her here is as a friend. Some relationships can
obviously be very complex but I think this demonstrates that relationships are
not linear.

They also show how this same concept can be used in e-mail. Furthermore, David Lefkow also had a post recently mentioning how cool Google Earth is. This is another example of visually mapping search. All of this research will have implications for how we recruit--the web is becoming more and more multidimensional than it has ever been.

It’s RAD!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Cybersleuthing & Digibility

I just came across two very interesting blogs. This first is Digibility authored by Jim Stroud and the second is Cybersleuthing by Shally Steckerl. Both of these authors are Microsoft employees. If you want to be top of your game in on-line recruitment then you should check these guys out--especially Shally Steckerl--a lead researcher at MS.

If you want to simplify the business world into three main categories from the context of innovation here it is:
  • There are those that innovate--changing the way we work in live with their inventions; they are rapidly changing the marketplace
  • There are those that react to this; they try to catch up and make sense of the change around them
  • There are those that ignore the change; they don’t want to believe things are changing around them and do nothing to keep up with the advances

The on-line recruiting world is changing. Search is more relevant than it has ever been and search optimization is critical. If you don’t understand this or don’t know what this is you should. Shally and Jim are a good place to start. If you are completely unfamiliar with this subject then some of their postings may be confusing. Shally in particular can be a bit daunting.

Regardless, check out their posts and start asking about search optimization for your recruitment site and job postings if you aren’t doing this already. Both of their sites are included below:

The Digability Blog
The Cybersleuthing Blog

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Make vs. Buy

I just read an interesting article about make versus buy talent acquisition decisions. I posted a link to the article below. The article presents a case for firms that have high R&D investment and short product release cycles to hire external talent versus train an internal workforce. They go on to say that if you have longer product release cycles and lower R&D investment than it’s better to train your internal workforce. The article is focused on technology firms.

Check out the article and post a comment if you agree or disagree with this….

Make vs. Buy

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Go Cheap or Go Brand

David Monreal posted an interesting comment on my blog asking, “why spend X in Monster or any other big job board if I can use a cheaper small one and get also listed in Indeed, WorkZoo or Hotjobs.”

First, this is a great question David, and I have an answer for you. The answer is brand recognition. This is still one of the most important factors driving traffic to a site. Most of the job boards, job search and other job tools out there are not genius technology. The reality is you can hire a web developer and build a crummy job board in no time. The true genius comes from the ability to get your brand through the massive clutter.

Here is a simple exercise to test this theory. Go find a few of your top performers—not including recruiting or HR. Then ask them if they have ever heard of Indeed or WorkZoo (Jobster is a different story because they actually are making huge strides in brand strength, but still have a long way to go). Now go ask them if they heard of Monster? What do you think the answer will be?

As recruiters we have to be careful not to underestimate the brand of the top job boards. We live in the recruiting world and read about all the new tools out there—but does the average person? You can post to some cheap job board and have it picked up on Indeed but do you think there are more people looking for jobs on Indeed or Monster? Just because there are thousands of jobs posted there doesn’t mean the people you need are there.

Hotjobs has an interesting model—they say you can search the web for jobs. Have you ever conducted a test search on their site? Try it and see what comes up. Hotjobs postings come up first—several pages before you get to general web postings. Then the kicker is that their search algorithm excludes their competitors—you don’t see Monster postings popping up. So the reality is that it’s not a true web search.

The one job board that seems to consistently fly under the radar that in my opinion should have competitors worried is Craig’s List. Their brand is viral and their traffic is very strong. In my opinion they are the Linux of the on-line job advertisement world. Until the Indeed’s, WorkZoo’s and SimplyHired’s of the world increase the brand strength I wouldn’t put my money on the cheap job boards. But hey, throw your jobs up on the free boards and on your blog and let these sites spider them. There’s no harm in this.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Innovation: Through Thick and Thin

My pals over at Jobster have given me an excuse to swim back up to the surface from my staffing abyss and do some blogging. It looks like Jason is back at it talking about what Jobster is all about. He recently did a webcast from the September ERE conference. Feel free to check out the link below to see what Jason has to say.

Here's the link to view the video:

The thing I like about Jason and Jobster is that they seem to be in it for the right reasons. They are a company in search for a better, more innovative way to recruit. is this way as well. The reality is that they care about the recruiting industry and want to make it better—I don’t believe it’s all about profit for these two organizations. We often get excited about the very small start-ups and criticize those that are in the spotlight. However, many of those small start-ups are working to build a brand and then just sell it off to a larger company. I’ve been very under impressed with this. These mostly comprise of 30 something’s trying to retire early.

This all goes back to choosing a career you love. Look at Jeff Taylor—he can retire but he is starting another company called Eon’s. It’s a company that will be focused on the Baby Boomer’s. I suspect that Jason and Jeff will be at it for a long time whether they are rich or poor—again, because they are in it for the right reasons. So next time you talk to someone saying they want to start some new recruiting site and sell it off to a larger company—you got to ask yourself…what are they doing to make our industry better, faster, smarter?

Bravo to the true recruiting innovators out there…..and thanks for staying with it through the ups and downs…..

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Public Relations Careers @ Waggener Edstrom

Sorry for the lack of attention to my blog. Many of our PR clients have their fiscal year change during mid summer and staffing really picks up. We have several PR roles available in the NW so I thought I would post them to my blog. If you know anybody in PR and think they might be interested please feel free to pass the word along.

Account Executive-Waggener EdstromSeattle

Waggener Edstrom, also popularly known as Wag-Ed, is hiring four (4) public relations account executives. These positions are located in the Seattle metro area. At Wagged, an account executive is a pivotal role within our agency. What do I mean by this? You ARE the daily driver on our key accounts. Some of these accounts include Microsoft, T-Mobile, AMD, Boeing, GE and many other clients that are changing the way we work and live everyday. As an AE on one of these accounts you will have opportunity to work with some of the top marketing minds in the world and advise them on their PR needs. At Wagged you will have the support and tools necessary to deeply immerse yourself in your client’s business. You will be guided and mentored by stellar PR pros. You will be encouraged to absorb the world around you, to know what’s happening in the most remote corners on earth and then to see and understand how your clients fit in. It will be your inherent responsibility to tell their story in a way that transcends cultures and continents. We don’t just put on catchy events and bombard the media with worthless stories. We partner with our clients on one of the most important areas of doing business of this millennium, strategic communications!

We are looking for people that want to be involved in helping tell the story of innovation, science and technology in this important time in history. We want you to be curious about the world. You don’t need to have all the answers. You do need to have some experience in Public Relations. We will be putting you in front of some of the top marketing minds in the world. You will be expected to learn their business, know their influential landscape inside and out, their competitors, and the market in which they operate. You will apply your PR knowledge against their threats, weaknesses and opportunities and WOW them with your smart and innovative approach to doing PR. You will guide and mentor a small team of individuals working with you to achieve these results. You will be a leader.

Specifically we are looking for 4-6 years of PR, media relations, analyst relations or marketing communications experience. Your experience could come from an agency or in-house role but it’s important that you are involved with external communications and/or media relations. You have to have a passion for technology, innovation or science. We look at these areas broadly. We will relocate you from anywhere in the country if you are offered one of these roles. So talk to us; see if this is you! Come hike Mt. Rainier, buy a fish from Pike Place Market or explore the San Juan Islands! Then come to work at Wagged on Monday and help put a voice on some of the world’s most profound innovations!

So tell us your story! E-mail your resume to

Senior Account Executive-Waggener EdstromSeattle

As a Senior Account Executive at Waggener Edstrom you are not just an up-and-coming leader; you are a leader! This responsibility is held at the highest regard by your peers and agency leaders and comes with a set of profound responsibilities. As a leader at Waggener Edstrom you have become ultra self-aware, you lead by example and foster innovation, curiosity, passion, integrity and respect amongst your team. At this point in your career you know what it takes to earn the respect of your clients as an expert in the field of PR. You are a master of relationships and understand the intricacies of the influential landscape that you live and operate in. PR is no longer a function of a plan that has been handed to you. You now look through a lens that spans continents and cultures and you apply this perspective in a way that enables your clients to share their passion for discovery and innovation in a very powerful way. Your passion for innovation and PR is viral!

We have two Senior Account Executive roles available in the Northwest. We are open to candidates located in both Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington metro areas. If you are interested in exploring one of these roles further tell us your unique story. We want to hear about your passion for innovation and examples from your five to eight years of experience in the field of Public Relations. We also want to know about your ability to proactively craft and shape stories and your ability to operate with grace in crisis situations. Tell us how you worked with your clients and helped to give their ideas a powerful voice. We want to know!

Our people and our clients come before all else at Waggener Edstrom. We understand that our value is derived from the minds of our employees. Our benefit package is designed to offer Waggener Edstrom employees opportunities to develop their expertise and continually hone their PR skills. In addition we offer strong compensation packages and excellent healthcare benefits. We believe our employees should get the support they need so they can focus on what they love to do—INNOVATIVE COMMUNICATION!!

So tell us your story! E-mail your resume to

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Classic Contractor Lines....

Sorry for the lack of attention to my blog. I have to say that I highly respect those that maintain their full time jobs and write on their blogs daily. When things heat up in recruiting there is no time to spare--none! Even if we worked 24 hours a day our jobs will never be done.

Okay--so with a little more levity I present you this. One of my colleagues was looking through our recruiting database last night and found an old candidate correspondence from one of our ex-contract recruiters. This recruiter was classic--we had some good times working with him. He used terms like "smiling and dialing" and "good old fashion". He was a crack up! He was a good recruiter though and got the job done. We found an old e-mail that he sent to a candidate and we all had a laugh. I figured why not share it with the world. Here you go--typos and all. You may want to use this one sometime--it's a true classic!

Good morning. In this economy a little time away is ok. Send my your resume and I'll run It up the flag poke and see if anyone salutes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Seattle ranks #1 on the most overpriced places to live

Hard to believe….Portland, Oregon made it on the list of Most Overpriced Places to live. Seattle ranked number 1.

I guess you pay for clean air, great city, snow capped peaks, Ocean, rivers, lakes and NW culture. You know what though—it’s worth every penny in my book!

“Most Overpriced Places”

Is it the Next Great Weapon?

Michael Homula wrote an article on “The Next Great Weapon on the War for Talent

I didn’t particularly find anything new in this article but I’m always interested to hear what folks in our field have to say about secret weapons.

Some highlights he mentions are:

  • The movement from candidate tracking to CRM. This is something that I have written about several times and I do agree that this is key. It’s sort of the buzz on the street right now and those that are good at managing the relationships will lead. There is no question in my mind about this.
  • He talks about referrals—I don’t even need to go here. We all know that this is key! Nothing new… Companies that don’t have good referral programs are living in the dark ages.
  • He also mentions presentation. This I thought was interesting. Of course this seems obvious but it’s amazing how some people present themselves. We did a training at our agency called “Brand Me”. We really took a good look at the perception of ourselves that we were projecting. Most people think they know what they are like but they don’t really have a clue. Most people a very self-UNAWARE! I get calls from sales people and often I hear this relaxed, deep, male voice. Often times it’s a voice that is trying to convey confidence, someone that has been around the block, calm and smooth. These messages drive me nuts!! Have some energy. It doesn’t impress me that you are calm and smooth and comfortable. Be excited, have new ideas, be passionate. I agree 100% with Michael here.

I don’t know if Michael portrayed the next best thing. What I do think he told is that the things we are already doing—we better do them well!

Monday, July 18, 2005

My First Jobster Campaign

I feel like a little kid back from summer break and about to get on the school bus for my first day back to school. My brand new jeans are crisp and still have the store pressed creases; I have my brand new backpack filled with school supplies and my bagged lunch filled with the essentials of elementary dining.

Ayh, scraaaatch that....I don't have the anxiety associated with a first day of school because Jobster made it pretty darn easy for me to sit behind my computer screen and build my network. I'm posting my first campaign to my blog because I'm pretty proud of the tools that Jobster has available. They just make it easy. If you are interested check out Wagged's first campaign below. And hey, if you know any good PR people…..

Waggener Edstrom is hiring!

View jobs

Friday, July 15, 2005

Why are you punching yourself?

One thing that always gets me is how the successful organizations tend to be the ones to always get attacked by the underdogs. Maybe this is just inevitable but I really think they are fighting the wrong battle. I read through the influential blogs in the recruiting industry and Monster tends to be constantly under fire. Why? They have been one of the most successful on-line recruiting advertising organizations in the world. Why don’t you see blogs talking about all the crummy sites where we have spent time and money with no results? We aren’t a huge Monster user. We get about 5% of our hires from Monster, however, this is huge when you are hiring very niche, hard to find people. We easily get our ROI from Monster.

So why fight Monster? Why not take market share from the Newspapers where there are still billions of dollars up for grabs if the on-line recruiting industry can get their act together and continue pulling customers away from newspapers. By the way—if you really want to make a big deal about organizations getting into what they are calling “vertical search”—which is totally inaccurate by the way, then the credit should go to Flipdog. They were the first major player in technology of this kind. Oh, and did I mention that Monster purchased them a long time ago. This just happened before people were making such a big deal about it. Let’s give credit where credit is do—this is no new innovation. And my advice to the on-line recruiting organizations is fight for more market share from the news papers instead of each other. Once you have achieved this then feel free to attack each other. Monster gets this….maybe others should listen.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

WorkZoo, Indeed & More on Vertical Search

I had the pleasure of meeting David Hardwick, from Jobster, in person this week to get a more in-depth view of how to use Jobster’s tools. We also had a chance to discuss Jobster’s recent acquisition of WorkZoo. WorkZoo is another job search tool being classified as vertical search. I’ve been having a tough time figuring out why the industry has been calling tools like WorkZoo, Indeed, and Yahoo’s new tool as vertical search.

David helped clarify why recruiting industry pros are calling this vertical search. With tools like WorkZoo and Indeed it allows the candidate to search in their particular area of interest across all the job postings out there (on the web) in that category. So, yes, this is technically a vertical search. But when you think about it how is it REALLY different from what’s out there—is it the fact that the search is vertical? Not from what I can see. Think about it. If a candidate goes into they can choose to search for jobs in the Accounting/Finance Industry. This is a vertical search. So how is this different from a candidate going into WorkZoo and searching for jobs in the Accounting/Finance Industry—which is also a vertical search? Do you see where I’m going? The uniqueness or innovativeness in these tools isn’t the ability to search vertically; it’s actually in their ability to search broadly. If you Search Monster’s jobs then you get results from Monster’s subscribers. If you search on WorkZoo or Indeed you get Monster jobs, Craig’s List jobs, jobs posted on company websites and more. So basically these tools allow you to search more broadly across the web versus the traditional job boards. It would be like having someone pull accounting jobs from every newspaper in the country and sending them to you versus picking up your local newspaper and looking at jobs in your market. It’s really that simple—well, not quite…

Anytime you are doing a broad search across the web there are processes and technologies that will allow certain search results to appear more than others. What is interesting about WorkZoo and Indeed is that when you do a search most of the jobs that appear are ones posted on the job boards. So ultimately since the job boards are pretty good at branding and a few of them have very high volume traffic, by posting there your jobs appear on sites like WorkZoo and Indeed. In a way it’s a symbiotic relationship. It’s hard to say how well one would survive without the other. The large job boards could survive independent of the WorkZoo’s and Indeed’s of the world. I’m not sure if this would be true for WorkZoo and Indeed without the large job boards. Maybe someday they could with the increased use of blogs. This is because the more organizations post their jobs to the web, and the more views they get, the more their jobs will show up on sites like Indeed and WorkZoo. I don’t think we are there yet. I’m not suggesting this is a bad or a good thing I just think we should call things what they are. Indeed and WorkZoo serve a purpose. I’m just not convinced that I would classify this as vertical search. I believe this is an inaccurate category to place them in.

One thing I will say—if you get a chance check out WorkZoo’s use of mapping and demographics technology. This is impressive. If you search for a particular job type in a specific area it will not only pull your results but allow you to visually see where all the jobs are in this category across the country. This isn’t something I’ve seen from Indeed or other players in this category.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Vertical What?

All of the hoopla about vertical job search doesn’t make much sense to me. Vertical search does. So the major search engines are getting into vertical search—jobs, shopping, etc… Yahoo was already in vertical markets with hotjobs—they just didn’t have an entire web based job search. In terms of anything revolutionary in recruiting—give me a break! It’s just another Flipdog rip off. It’s nothing new. Indeed does it, Flipdog did it and now Yahoo. Big deal!

What would be more impressive to me is to see the job boards tap deeper into vertical industry. For instance—I’m in PR. How could the job boards dig down deeper into this particular industry to target the people I need? It gets back to push versus pull. With Flipdog, Indeed and now Hotjobs this allows the candidate to search half a bazillion jobs—there is still only one candidate qualified for maybe one of those jobs. So ultimately—how does this solve our business problem? It’s nice to have but I’m not convinced of anything revolutionary here—in terms of job search.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Youngsters Want it All, Now!

I always find these articles interesting—regarding generation gaps. Are there really distinct generations or is it a continuum? Also, are new generations REALLY having more fun than past generations—the roaring 20’s looked pretty happening to me! It’s also interesting that out of one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of heath care we still have higher morbidity rates than other superpowers—why? Last time I checked you can find most of our 20 something’s online at almost any hour of the night. The big difference I see is that they aren’t afraid of rapid change—they live and breathe it and they don’t want to follow antiquated corporate, bureaucratic rules that are going to slow them down—some managers look at this as defiance. They look at it as the right thing to do…

You can read the full Associated Press Article Here

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Ritzcarltonian Weapon!

The most under estimated secret weapon in recruiting. The RECRUITING COORDINATOR! We, visionary recruiters, sit around talking about all the technology hoopla to help us attract, find and on-board candidates but who/what really makes it all happen? Is it the technology that listens to the candidates’ individual concerns, gets them flawlessly from point A to point B, takes care of their every need and ensures their experience with your company is Ritz Carltonian? Heck No! It’s the recruiting coordinator.

I would put my money on a recruiting coordinator any day over any of the next generation recruiting technology out there. Give me MS Outlook, give me the Internet and give me a coordinator and I will hire the best and brightest professionals.

Let’s face it, we’re recruiters and if we know a thing or two about recruiting we can find a candidate blind folded, sitting at table in Starbucks on a Sunday morning. We really don’t need 10K per seat technology solutions to solve our recruiting woes. Yes these little bells and whistles help but this is a relationship business. Once we find them then what. If we are efficient we need to be able to quickly establish an honest, mutually beneficial relationship and maintain this throughout the recruiting process. BUT, we also have to find new candidates for other positions. So how on earth do we make that person feel valued when we are constantly on the prowl for new talent? Do you believe technology will do this for you? Your weekly sales logic pop-up appears and you do your check in call? I have a better idea. You work with a recruiting coordinator that knows your business, the teams you support, your style, your objectives and they take the candidate once you have established the relationship. That’s how you recruit!

Look, this isn’t a slam on all the great technology tools out there. This is about thinking of the most treasured resources we have and investing in them. I’m successful at my job because of the recruiting coordinator I work with. I have been able to hire some of the top talent in my industry because of her. We have had executive talent come in and interview with us while also talking to some of the top brand companies in the world. We ended up hiring many of them. The one consistent thing we always hear is awesome they were treated throughout interview process. Our coordinators roll out the red carpet.

Think about how you would like to be treated in an interview process. If there was a representative from a company that worked with you on your customized flight itinerary, gave you your interview schedule well in advance, bios on the interviewers, information on the role and organization, got your lunch order, gave you clear instructions on how to submit any expenses you incur what would you remember when the interview was said and done with. How would you feel, and more importantly, how hard would it be to turn down an offer from such and amazing company.

Next time you go to work walk over to your recruiting coordinator and thank them for helping you be a great recruiter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Adopt a Chinese Blog

Slashdot reports on hosting a Chinese Blog

Here is an interesting read from Slashdot. It’s about adopting blogs from China. Since the Chinese government is adamant about censoring certain language there are people from other countries allowing Chinese bloggers to make posts.

Adopt a Chinese Blog

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Naked Interviewing

Oh, this one is good. I picked this up from the SHRM website. I don't have time to summarize because I need to jump into some panel interviews so I'm just going to paste the whole article. Enjoy! (By the way...I think I would have had to hire this guy for his creativity..ha, ha)

Probation for naked interviewer

Akbar was nude apart from a clipboard, the court heard a man who tried to conduct a job interview naked has been sentenced to three years' probation and placed on the sex offenders' register.

Glasgow Sheriff Court was told that Saeed Akbar, a manager at an interpreting and translation company, "had wanted a bit of excitement".

Sheriff Brian Lockhart described the behaviour as "wholly unacceptable".
Akbar, 35, left the interview room and came back in to speak to his female victim naked and clutching a clipboard.

When the job candidate refused to strip as well, he put his clothes on and attempted to continue the interview as normal, the court was told.

Akbar, from Fife, said: "I wanted a bit of excitement that afternoon, that's purely all it was."
'Safety fears' Passing sentence, Sheriff Lockhart said Akbar's partner had now left him, he had lost his job and his friends refused to associate with him.

Referring to the 25-year-old victim, he added: "I can really understand how the police report describes her as extremely distressed, intimidated and fearful for her personal safety.
"I understand that you now accept that she would not know your thoughts and appreciate that she did in fact, fear being harmed by you in a sexual manner.

I have to take into account the catastrophic effect this incident has had on your life
Sheriff Brian Lockhart "On the one hand, I have to take into account the distress which you caused your victim. "On the other hand, I have to take into account the catastrophic effect this incident has had on your life. You have suffered severely as a result of your actions."
The father-of-one, from Dunfermline had pleaded guilty to committing a breach of the peace.
He worked at Alpha Translating and Interpreting Services in Glasgow, which advertised for a translator.

'Role play' The woman answered the advert and was invited to attend an interview at the firm's Glasgow office the following day.

When she arrived, Akbar - who was held in "high esteem" by his company - asked if she would mind if they took their clothes off.

The £25,000 per-year executive tried to restart the interview after putting his clothes back on, but his victim fled and reported the matter to police.

He initially told police his strip was a consensual "role play" as part of his "tough interviewing technique".

Aamer Anwar, defending, said: "He totally accepts his guilt. It was a serious abuse of his position as he foolishly believed the complainer was interested in him."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Our Friends, The Hiring Managers

You have probably read Gretchen Ledgard’s Microsoft Tech Recruiting Blog. I mentioned her blog in a post below. Her most recent entry was a rant about working with Microsoft Managers through the recruiting process. Her blog ended up getting picked up by cnet which caused a bit of heartache for Gretchen. The thing is that this is by far not just an issue for Microsoft. This is an issue for our entire industry. The clients/hiring managers that we work with aren’t immersed in the world of recruiting so we can’t expect them to automatically understand why we don’t have three top candidates to give to them immediately after we receive their job specifications.

It’s our job, as trusted advisors, to work with managers to address the labor market challenges, the realistic outlook for finding their talent and what the process is going to feel like. This is not easy. Most managers are very busy and immersed in creating the revenue—that ultimately pays our salaries. They expect us to do our job so they can do theirs. This is a completely realistic expectation. If you went to Burger King to order a hamburger you wouldn’t want them sitting their explaining why it’s taking so long to get your hamburger—you just want the thing. Part of our job though is to help solve our client’s business problem—that’s having the right talent, in the right place at the right time so our organizations can remain competitive in the market place. It’s our job to solve this, but to solve this we need to involve our hiring managers/clients. The big difference between the Burger King example I used and the recruiting model is that we work for the same organization.

I’m writing this because I had a manager come to me the other day and we discussed what we were doing to find candidates for his role. He had some suggestions and we talked through these. He was non confrontational and mainly wanted to understand why we did certain things and offered some suggestions. The next day he read Gretchen’s blog and came to me and asked if I thought he was being difficult. He wasn’t. He came to me and wanted to be involved. What more can you ask for from a client? This opens the door to talk, to debate, to discuss. This is how problems get solved and both parties can understand the world of the other. Just because things aren’t always happy and peachy doesn’t mean they are bad. People get stressed, there is a labor shortage, we all need more top candidates; this will continue to be a challenge and will most likely become more of a challenge. I think organizations will learn from this. They will learn that finding top talent is as important as selling widgets and eventually will put more resources in finding people. Some organizations get this now and others will be forced to get it as the labor market continues to tighten. Keep the dialogue going though—good or bad!

If you are a recruiter and your clients/hiring managers are always happy with you and feel you always have the best talent for them at the right time, can you let the rest of us know where this place is? I have yet to find this utopia in my career.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Future of Recruiting Part 2

Have you read Lefcow’s blog—it’s about the future. Not just the future but the future of recruiting. This is probably the most important topic in the recruiting field and we spend little time thinking ten and twenty years out. The fact is that we don’t even need to think that far out anymore because it’s the age of acceleration. There are companies out there changing the way we live and work. Some lead the effort and others react. Those in the recruiting field that are thinking about the future and making the changes now will be the ones to lead. The challenge is that the same organizations providing us the resources to advance the field are the ones that create the bureaucracy which can hold us back. Recruiting, HR, Marketing and IT will have to work in harmony to obtain many of the advancements that are at our fingertips. I wrote an article about the future of recruiting. This topic is too big to discuss in one blog. Here is future of recruiting part 2.

Most of what I’m going to write about are things we can be doing now. Let’s face it, we can make all the predictions we want about the future but finding good people is tough NOW and it isn’t getting any easier. We know that the future is going to bring added complexities to what we do. The demographics of our labor force are rapidly changing. Our skilled labor force is more mobile than ever. The new generations demand more from employers. IP is becoming harder to protect. Technology is making the work/time/space irrelevant. I can go on and on but the fact is that we can’t know exactly what it’s going to look like 10 or 20 years out but we know finding and retaining people will be tough. We also know that there are inefficiencies in what we do now; we know technology can help or hinder what we do based on how it’s designed and how we use it. So how can we make this all work to our advantage instead of hinder us?

Some folks from TMP recently visited our office. They talked about Best Practices, but more importantly, they said they would also like to talk about Next Practices. I liked their thinking around this. I, in a way, discounted best practices in my last article on this subject. We need both. We have to ensure our practices are the best now and that we are incorporating new practices to lead the charge into the future. So in this blog entry I’m going to talk about three recruiting “next practices” but also about what we can do now to address what’s to come.

Integrated Branding

A lot of the smart recruiting bloggers out there have been talking a lot about branding. Check out Joel’s SEO blog for example. If you don’t get branding or why it’s important then you should spend some time reading and studying brand. This is my first topic of discussion, integrated recruitment/company branding.

This may seem obvious. Integrated branding. But it’s only by happenstance in most situations that the branding is integrated. And…it’s usually recruiting just leaching onto the company brand. Take Nike for example. They have an extremely powerful brand. Recruiting can simply stick a swoosh on their ad and candidates will instantly have an emotional connection. I know the Nike recruiters are more sophisticated than this—I’m only using this as an example. The point is that they have very powerful tools at their disposal. This comes from a very strong marketing team. In how many organizations does recruiting take an active role in company wide marketing? Probably not many! But why not. We want candidates to have an emotional connection just like customers. This is truly our most powerful tool in recruiting hands down. If anybody thinks otherwise let me know. Think about it. Nike doesn’t pay the highest salaries in the market job for job. Yet they have people lining up at the door to come work for them. Why? BRAND!

Recruiting will be a driving force of company branding in the future. Now as much as I like to try and predict the future I’m also a realist. Do you like when people that have never recruited before tell you how to recruit? “Why don’t you just throw an ad on Monster.” Oh gees, thanks, I wish I had thought of that—duh! Well marketing isn’t going to want some recruiter walking in and telling them how they should do their job either. I’m all about what we can do now to prepare for the future. How about ask if you can join some of your marketing team meetings. Let them know you are interested in incorporating more of the overall company brand image into your recruitment campaign and would like to learn more. This way you get to know the marketing team. Who knows, maybe you will even have an opportunity to give input.

Talent Pools

There are companies that have excellent talent pool programs now. One that comes to mind is GE. They hire top grads from around the country and allow them to spend time working in different business units throughout GE. They get to travel, learn about different business groups, and then settle down into a group that they will thrive in. GE has the resources to do this but this would obviously put a strain on medium and small business. With the added demand for talent, competition, and the changing demographics of the labor force we will see more companies considering talent pools. Organizations will pre-hire top talent, rotate them through business groups and then move them into new positions as they open.

I believe this is something we can sell into our organizations now. If you are from a Fortune 500 firm you are probably saying big deal, we have this now. This one is geared more towards medium and small business, especially for businesses that hire niche skill sets where talent is very difficult to come by.

Pick a position within your organization that you have a constant need for, where it’s difficult to find talent, and is considered an important or revenue generating role. Determine what the business could sustain in terms investment hire. If you are a small business this may only be one hire. If you are a mid size business maybe this is five to ten. Pull in a senior level champion from the business unit you will be hiring for and get them involved. You will need them to sell this back to your hiring managers when the time comes.

Once you have buy in from your leadership team develop a program to attract the talent. You need to think long-term here. What is going to attract someone to join an organization without moving into an actual job. Think of GE”s program. They allow people to travel and experience different business units. The program has an elitist feel to it. They hire from top universities. What could your organization offer that is unique? How will you brand this program? .

New Media

I have written about new media in my last “Future of Recruiting” blog but this is an important one. The media landscape is changing so rapidly that we have to keep a pulse on it.

I’m going to focus on a few forms of new media that I did not mention in my last blog. Most of these forms of media are available to us now and a few are years out.

  • Product Placement: Because of Tivo and digital recording consumers are choosing what they want to watch. Advertisers can’t force ads on consumers any longer. Because of this we have seen more product placement integrated within TV shows. Just think if you got Ross from friends to say that he has applied to a job opening at your company. Then he makes some joke about why he wasn’t qualified for the position. This one is a little more blue sky but the point is that we need to be thinking about new ways to reach candidates.
  • Gaming: I was talking to a TMP rep from Boston and she mentioned that one of the big five consulting firms had developed an on-line game that they rolled out to college students throughout the country. It allowed them to compete against each other. They were able to sell it to the universities because it had a learning component. They were able to track whom the top students were and brand their organization at the same time.
  • Spatial Recruiting: In the not to distant future we will have access to Smart Phones that will use GPS and triangulation technology to locate and identify people in any given location. Yes this sounds far fetched but it’s only because it’s new to us. How can we use this? Let’s say you go to a university to do a college recruitment fair. The turn out is a little bit less than expected. You can use your smart phone to send an instant message to everyone within a quarter-mile radius of your booth inviting them to come by. Now how cool is that!

I’m not going to go into every form of new media out there. I could go on for pages. I will save this for the next chapter in the future of recruiting. Lets go back to my first point, branding. You can use all the new media in the world but if you don’t have a defined and consistent brand you will confuse your audience. If you are sending IM’s with one look and feel and then running on-line ads with a completely different message then candidates may not be able relate or connect with your organization. They may end up viewing it as spam. Remember the Nike logo. The feeling you get from it. Make sure you audience FEELS IT!

Stayed Tuned For Future of Recruiting Part 3

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Job that Never Ends

It’s Friday. The day is almost over. Summer is almost here.

But I still need Account Executives!

You know, it’s funny. One of our Senior HR coordinators recently joined the recruiting team. She is overseeing our infrastructure staffing. At her second recruiting meeting she said that she was getting good traction with a few of her roles and should have several of them closed soon. I said great! We should have you take a few from some of the other recruiters to help out. She said, “well, let me just get the ones I have closed then I’ll take some of the others.” It made me chuckle. I asked, “do you think that’s how it works in recruiting?” We all had a laugh about this. Welcome to our world!

It makes you wonder…are there jobs out there where you can actually get all your work done for any given point in time. I wonder what that feels like?

I guess that’s what makes that special bond with us recruiters. Happy Friday Recruiting Friends!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Did Greatchen do the Right Thing?

If you haven’t read this yet check it out. Gretchen has some guts! Give me your opinion. Did Gretchen do the right thing?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Monster and Microsoft Kick Ass!

It seems like every article and blog I read uses Monster as an example when criticizing job boards. Here’s the thing, job boards aren't the issue IT'S THE USERS!! Jobs boards are just one form of media. Just like billboards or TV or newspapers or any other form of media. Like any of these forms of media you need to know when to use them and be sure you are using them for the right reasons.

The way I view Monster is like Microsoft. The guys at Monster might disagree with this comparison but I happen to think Microsoft is a great company. There are so many people that bitch about Microsoft’s power, their competition practices...and on and on and on… Well let’s see….how many people that bitch about them use their products? If you don’t like them don’t use them. The fact is that Microsoft has allowed us to communicate around the globe on a similar platform. Are they perfect? No. Are they evil? No. They want to be the best just like any other company. If there were 5o companies creating operating systems what would interoperability look like today? I’m sure there are many people with opinions on this and I’ll see a few comments from the “I don’t like any big successful entity” people out there. But I really view these people as complainers. They are probably the same people that complain about logging and then live in a wood house. Go build a mud hut or come up with a better solution!

So what does this have to do with Monster? Well let me give you my opinion. If every job board was as successful as Monster then we would have to spend our money in multiple places rather than one that has the best market share. The bottom line is that they are one tool for us to use and a damn good one. Their brand is like 95% market penetration. Who can argue against that? If you think you can brand better than Monster let me know. Monster pretty much translates as Monster in most cultures. This wasn’t something they intended but just happened. Now I know you get a bazillion resumes when you post a job on Monster and many of them aren’t the right ones. In my opinion this is better than most. I would rather get two hundred resumes and have two or three that I can hire versus paying 600 dollars and getting five unqualified resumes. And believe me when I say I have done this before. Also, Monster has excellent customer service. These guys are a smart bunch of people. They aren’t a bunch of kids running a start up. They really care about our industry and where it’s heading.

Also, would you rather type up an ad, try to fit into a half inch column at some obscure cost per line, by a drop dead deadline or post an ad at any size, at anytime, with a clear cost, and your own branding from the convenience of anywhere in the world? (please excuse the run on or whatever the heck that was) Well this is what job boards have done for us. They have taken one form of media (newspapers) and modernized them for us. Monster has broad reach so people should consider Monster a branding tool. If you are out there headhunting yet have no jobs posted anywhere then some of the people you touch may be discouraged. You might call someone and they aren’t interested at that moment but you peaked their interest. If they go to Monster or your job site and see jobs posted they know you are hiring. This increases the chances of them applying.

Last, what is the ROI on Monster? To be honest, less than five percent of our hires come from Monster. But what we pay versus what we get makes it 100% worth it. We can pay more on one headhunter fee than our entire year long contract with Monster. It’s one tool, not an end all. Those that use it as an end all are the ones to criticize. The candidates that apply to every job on the planet should be the ones to criticize. But let me tell you something, Monster is out there working their asses off trying to make it better for all of us…and make some money at it. You can’t fault someone for that. So, I’m a Monster Defender! And I’m a Microsoft Defender! I don’t fault companies because they are successful and that kick the crap out of their competition. I respect them—I like bad ass companies!

Wait, wait…one last thing. Next time someone says a company like Microsoft is trying to take over the world go check out how much Bill Gates has donated to charity. No one on the planet has EVER donated as much as him. And why does he still work when he can buy a small country and retire there??? Ever wonder that? Because he loves what he does and is passionate about technology. Why don’t you go criticize the .com’ers! Most of them didn’t have a product to sell. They built a fluff brand only to be sold so they can retire at 30. What do they care about this world and making a difference? They only cared about themselves and we all paid for it. Before you jump on the bitching band wagon and start rattling off about a company because they are successful stop and think about it…..

Bring on the comments!!!!

Job Interview Pointers

I get asked on a semi-regular basis for tips on interviewing. Most of these requests come from friends and colleagues about to embark on a career search. I had the opportunity to participate in an interview by Thad Peterson over at Monster about a year ago and he wrote a story about interview tips. He is a great writer and I believe the article is solid. I’m posting this on my blog so when I get asked in the future I have something to direct folks to. Feel free to take a glance if you are interested.

Job Interview Pointers
Get Advice and Insight from Waggener Edstrom's Staffing Partner
by Thad Peterson
Monster Staff Writer

Like many career advice experts, Steve Fogarty, staffing partner at Waggener Edstrom, says candidates should research a company thoroughly before an interview. And if the company is a private firm, that's not an excuse to skip doing your homework.

Where there's a will, there's a way, and finding a way to gather information on a company “distinguishes the great candidates from the good candidates,” says Fogarty.

Consider Fogarty's company, a large independent public relations agency. He says that if someone were trying to find out about Waggener Edstrom, the candidate could take a number of steps. In addition to simply visiting the company's Web site, joining a trade organization like the Public Relations Society of North America would almost certainly give someone interested in his company exposure to people who work there.

Fogarty offers a less conventional method as well: “People might be able to find a press release that one of our PR people has written and contact that person and say, ‘I saw your press release. It looks really good. Would you be open to me asking a few questions? I'm doing research on your company.' That's a way to get information.”

What else can you do to improve your chances at the interview? Try these tips from Fogarty:

Be Concise

Interviewees rambling on is one of the most common blunders Fogarty sees. “You really have to listen to the question, and answer the question, and answer it concisely,” he says. “So many people can't get this basic thing down. You ask them a question, and they go off on a tangent. They might think you want to hear what they're saying, but they didn't answer your question.”

Provide Examples

It's one thing to say you can do something; it's another to give examples of things you have done. “Come with a toolbox of examples of the work you've done,” advises Fogarty. “You should come and anticipate the questions a recruiter's going to ask based on the requirement of the role. Think of recent strong strategic examples of work you've done, then when the question is asked, answer with specifics, not in generalities. You should say, ‘Yes, I've done that before. Here's an example of a time I did that…,' and then come back and ask the recruiter, ‘Did that answer your question?'”

Be Honest

Somehow, candidates get the impression that it's best to try to dance around difficult questions. “If you don't have a skill, just state it. Don't try to cover it up by talking and giving examples that aren't relevant. You're much better off saying you don't have that skill but perhaps you do have some related skills, and you're happy to tell them about that if they like.”

Keep Your Guard Up

According to Fogarty, you can split recruiters into two schools. There are those who are very straight-laced and serious, and candidates better take the process seriously as well when dealing with them.

“Then you have recruiters like me,” he says, chuckling. “I'm going to be that candidate's best friend when they call me. My technique is to put them at ease, because I want them to tell me everything, and a lot of candidates mess up in this area. They start to think, ‘Oh, this guy is cool. I can tell him anything.' And then they cross the line.” And that can take a candidate out of contention. Remember: Always maintain your professionalism.

Ask Great Questions

Fogarty says nothing impresses him more than a really good question that not only shows you've researched the company in general, but the specific job you're hoping to land as well. “That makes me go, ‘Wow, this person has really done their homework. They not only know the company, but they know the role.'”

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Book Tag

I’ve been book tagged! That Canadian Headhunter is up to it again. I do think it’s interesting to get a sense of what people read so I’m going to play along here. I’m not going to tag five bloggers though, only three. I will however share five reads:

  • Tipping Point By Malcolm Gladwell. This book is about viral marketing, rules of epidemics and how they spread and what makes for a sticky campaign. It also explores people that are natural connectors. They have hundreds of contacts and they are key in the spread of epidemic campaigns. It’s a very interesting book!
  • Trusted Advisor by David Maister. This is the ultimate client relationship book. I highly recommend this if you are in a client management role. Feel free to read my rant below about consulting…
  • DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. I don’t think this one needs explanation. I have to say though that I rarely read Fiction. It just doesn’t do much for me. I absolutely loved this book though. I could not put it down. The fact that this was based on part fact made it more interesting.
  • Tuesday’s with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I know, I know…half the world has this one on their list. This book is truly amazing though. I haven’t read it in a while but I should read it again. It truly makes you re-think how you are living your life.
  • Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR by Al Ries, Laura Ries. This is an excellent book about the power of PR. I’m in the industry so I read it, however, I would recommend this for anybody. Most people don’t truly understand what PR is. This book will explain it!

    Okay….I’m going to tag:

    Bill Zolna
    Dan Miller
    Thad Peterson

    You’re it!

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Trusted Advisor

One thing I'm learning quickly about blogs is that you have to be specific. When you don't it can be easily interpreted in ways that you did not intend it to, hence the reason for this post.

In my post, “Stick a Headhunter in a Two-Thousand Person Call Center," I mention that the best recruiters are consultants. The Canadian Headhunter with was not overly impressed with this statement. In fact, he down right disagreed with it. I quote:

I wish I was a business consultant but I'm not. I'm not bad at finding people. That's all. And no one pays me 40G's for my services either.

I'm going to post about an interview I had with an executive recruiter who wanted me to do some research for him/her. S/he blabbed so much about how s/he did business consulting. I spent an hour with her and didn't understand a thing she said. And, you know what? If the client needed a business consultant why did she hire me? Personally, I think it's a scam.

I actually really appreciate his candor and his opinion on this matter. If I had read that myself without any further context I probably would have had a similar reaction. I think people throw around the term consultant very loosely. It's as if you call yourself a consultant and you're some corporate superhero. The fact is Mike is right. We should just call ourselves what we are. Michael, the Canadian Headhunter, is a headhunter so he says he finds people. I respect that. So let me explain what I meant by saying that a good recruiter is a consultant.

The head of our People Services team (includes training, HR, internal comm and recruiting) came over from Nike. She headed Nike's Global Organizational Development team. She was very particular on how each and every person on the team interacted with our clients. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. She handed us books like the “Trusted Advisor” and brought in experts in the field to evaluate our current processes and methodology. The tipping point for me was when I saw her quickly gain credibility with our agency leaders. Soon after she was invited to sit on our company's executive advisory board. HR and Recruiting now had a seat within the highest office at our agency. I realized that she was much more than fluff.

So what did I learn from her. When I talk about being a consultant I'm merely referring to the type of relationships we build with our clients, whether they are internal or external. It's a partner versus an order taker. I use the term consultant and trusted advisor interchangably. I believe they are one in the same. A consultant is essentially a trusted advisor. When start out in our careers we tend to do exactly what our clients ask….

Manager: I have five important roles that I need opened and filled immediately

Recruiter: Okay, let me help you get those posted and I'll get started right away.

Manager: I know this doesn't fit within our typical comp structure but we need to make this happen.

Recruiter: Okay, I'll talk to our comp analyst and see if I can make this work.

Manager: I can't believe he asked for more money; that just really turns me off. I want to see other candidates.

Recruiter: Okay, let me see who else I have in the pipeline.

These are exaggerated examples but you get the point. The relationship between the manager and the recruiter above is one of customer and order taker. In my opinion the best recruiters work as trusted advisors, not order takers. When you do this effectively your clients want your opinion before just coming to you and demanding that you help them with something. This is what I would consider a “consultant” or “trusted advisor” approach:

Manager: I have five important roles that I need opened and filled immediately-these are critical. Who do you have in the pipeline?

Recruiter: When we reviewed your business plan you showed two hires for the first quarter. We just hired the account executive and I'm currently working on your Director. I'm assuming these are additions to your original plan. Is this due to increased business?

Manager: Yes and No. We have two people going on sabbatical, we just got another 25K retainer and I have one person on a performance plan that I don't think is going to make it.

Recruiter: When do the sabbatical's begin?

Manager: One leaves next week so I need to hire someone right away. The other doesn't leave until the 20th but I want to get a head start.

Recruiter: Since these two are sabbaticals have you considered using a contractor?

Manager: I have, but I figured since I have some upcoming long-term hiring needs that I could kill two birds with one stone.

Recruiter: Since these two are urgent I would suggest contractors. This way we have some time to find the right people versus just finding a short-term fix. I have a few Waggener Edstrom alumni that are interested in contract work. They left on good terms and I can have them up and running in no time.

Manager: I like that idea. Let me run that by my team and get back to you.

Recruiter: Great. With regard to you 25K revenue increase I'll work with you to get some job reqs posted and routed to finance for approval. In the meantime I will take a look at the pipeline and get back to you right away with a plan to get these filled. I'm going to touch base with Jane (our HR Business Partner) to bring her into the loop on the person on the performance plan. I just want to be sure we think through all implications before binging in external candidates on this one. However, when I bring candidates in to interview for your other roles you can keep in mind that you might need to hire one more.

Manager: Sounds good. Thanks for your help.

This, in essence, is what I mean by consultant. I don't think being a trusted advisor or consultant is some obscure term for a person that sits around and analyzes the business without getting a thing done. I look at a consultant as a person that stops and thinks before reacting, pushes back on our clients when necessary and offers solutions to the problem versus just doing what they are asked. I know this isn't rocket science and most of us do this naturally. I'm surprised, however, by the amount of times I see people jump at a request without stopping and questioning why they are being asked to do it. You owe it to yourself, the client, and the business to think through the problem. You are in fact the expert and your opinion should matter.

So when I throw around terms like consultant loosely I'll stop and think next time. I can't say that I have always acted as a trusted advisor. When I started in recruiting I just wanted to please everybody. I tried to do whatever was asked of me. I was pretty good at getting the work done but not nearly as effective at doing what was best for the business. I still standby my statement:

To me, a good recruiter isn't a headhunter or a “corporate recruiter.” They are professionals who understand the business problem and develop a solution to solve it. The best recruiters, whether on the agency side or corporate side, have this ability. They are business consultants.

Why Headhunt When You Can Psychometric?

There was yet another article, this one from John Sullivan, debating the approach of having candidates come to you versus we go to the candidate, “The Best Recruiting Strategy Is the "We Find You" Approach”. I still hold that this is not the best approach in all cases.

Let me give you one other example, Hollywood Video. They use a product from Unicru which allows them to set up kiosks in their retail outlets so candidates can apply while they are in the store. The goal would be to drive as much traffic as possible to these kiosks and allow Unicru’s psychometric tool to help narrow down the search. In this case you need to drive volume to the kiosks. The skill set needed is very general and broad. You would not hire a headhunter to research lists and cold call with this model.

I agree completely that recruiters should have “headhunting” skills. I just don’t buy that this is a one size fits all model. A headhunting style of recruiting will not work in every case. John Sullivan is still my hero. I just think this subject is multi-dimensional and only one side is being represented.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Stick a Headhunter in a Two-Thousand Person Call Center

“Can you imagine sticking a couple top-rated headhunters in a two-thousand person call center and asking them to find passive candidates to fill all of their positions?”

There has been a lot of talk regarding corporate recruiters, headhunters, and the need for corporate recruiters to be more like headhunters. The most recent example is Lou Adler’s article, “So You Want To Be a Headhunter.” The discussion itself is always good. If nothing else it reminds us of all the tools available to us as recruiting professionals. To be honest though I have a different perspective on this whole discussion.

First, most of the corporate recruiters I know have come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of them have been on the agency side at one point or another and have acted as what one might consider a “headhunter”. So I don’t look at it as much of a distinction between corporate recruiting and headhunting. I see the distinction coming from the type of positions that are being filled.

Recruiters need to have a toolbox that ranges from traditional advertising to cold calling/networking—both on the agency side and on the corporate side. Most of the blogs and articles I’ve read focus on corporate recruiters needing to sharpen their ability to headhunt. What about search firms? I’ve worked with headhunters that aren’t as good at filling roles as corporate recruiters and have seen them place ads like the rest of us. To me, a good recruiter isn’t a headhunter or a “corporate recruiter.” They are professionals who understand the business problem and develop a solution to solve it. The best recruiters, whether on the agency side or corporate side, have this ability. They are business consultants.

Let me give you an example. My old manager went over to a T-Mobile call center in Bend, Oregon. Both Waggener Edstrom (pr agency) and T-Mobile are corporate environments. Now the distinction between the two comes from the type of skills needed to do the job. At Waggener Edstrom the majority of our hires are exempt level, niche, hi-tech and innovation focused PR professionals. Do we advertise? Yes, but less than 5% of our candidates come from advertising. All of our recruiters have to act like “headhunters.” We need to network, use referrals, cold call, research and do whatever it takes to find our people. When my old manager was with Wagged he played this role.

Now let’s take T-Mobile. Their call center is hiring non-exempt, entry-level customer service reps. They hire in very high volume. In this case you are going to have job fairs, advertise and use many traditional means of recruitment. They also use a referral program. With any type of skill set or job people know like people. So the referrals work in both scenarios.

Now let’s take search firms, agencies, and headhunters. It’s pretty much a similar model. If you are a temporary agency you are going to operate on a similar model to a T-Mobile call center. If you are an executive search firm you are going to operate more similar to a Waggener Edstrom. Both agencies and corporations use both models in many cases. At T-Mobile you might deploy traditional recruitment tactics for the call center and more of a “headhunting” model for a call center manager. Many agencies also have temporary and permanent search divisions that may use both methods or some combination of the two.

It’s not one or the other and I don’t fully agree that corporations should just focus on getting good at “headhunting”. Can you imagine sticking a couple great headhunters in a two-thousand person call center and asking them to find passive candidates to fill all of their positions? That would be a fun experiment! They would probably sink pretty fast unless they learned how to get good at recruiting volume. I think we can learn from both sides. There are times we may have to recruit in volume and there are professional recruiters out there that know how to do this and can teach a thing or two to headhunters, and vice versa.

It’s not headhunting versus “corporate recruiting”. It’s knowing when to deploy the right methodology for the given business scenario.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Campaign for Real Beauty

Within weeks these two campaigns hit the marketplace….

The Campaign for Real Beauty: Normal People Click Here
The Campaign for ???? Beauty: Airbrushed People Click Here

Which will win the minds and hearts of the people?

If you have an opinion leave a comment!

Center For Information Worker

This is very cool stuff from Microsoft! I know it sometimes seems sexier to look at all the cool stuff the start-ups are doing but you should always keep an eye on how Microsoft is innovating. Let’s get real! When Microsoft innovates it impacts us all. Their Center for Information Worker is a forward look at the future of work. Microsoft has talked to the Gen Y’ers, they have done their homework and I would suspect that most of their projections will become reality. This will undoubtedly impact the way we hire and the types of skills we look for. Check it out: MS CIW

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Almost the Real Scoop On Jobster

I blogged on Jobster a few weeks back. I wrote about my skepticism of the product, how I didn't get replies to my e-mails, how I was unsure what the product even did and wondered if Jobster is really any different than Linked in.

It's funny who might be out there reading your blog! A few days later I received an e-mail from the Chief Jobster himself, Jason Goldberg. His e-mail was basically saying…bring it on. Now, it was much more subtle than that. He actually said…”anytime you want to be educated on our product, I'm ready when you are.”

I immediately liked the guy’s directness and his sarcastic sense of humor. Second, I was impressed that he is out there reading the blogs and responding. The guy is a CEO of a start up and he is spending the time to become self aware. I believe companies that get this are usually the survivors. Last, the Chief was willing to tell me how it really is. Yes I was still skeptical; yes I wanted to find the flaws; yes I wanted to believe that this was no better than anything else and why should I invest. BUUUTTTTTT…'s no, no and no. I think Stevie likes it!

Was it just because the Chiefster sent his top, high powered, ex TMP superstar to my office to seduce me with her Jobster superpowers? Nah, she actually had a nervous twitch, she mangled her words, was spitting at me when she talked and it looked like she shopped for her clothes at garage sales. Okay, I'm being totally facetious here. I know she may read this and how it would be her worst nightmare if I actually meant it. The real scoop on her, her name is Heather Gray and she is Jobster's West Coast rep. She knows her stuff…she pretty much ran the show for TMP NW when she was there and she is smart as a whip as well as a darn good presenter.

So Heather gave our team the scoop. What did I learn….

  1. It's basically a viral advertising tool. It is definitely different than your standard networking tools although it incorporates the six degrees technology. In terms of what I've been saying about the need for on-line media experts on your recruiting team…these guys are giving us a tool to start doing this ourselves.
  2. The concept is simple and it makes you wish you thought of it yourself. It's very innovative though and takes things to the next level in terms of on-line recruiting. If you are going to pay for a product you want it be easy to use and effective.
  3. I’m just going to say exactly what it does (since they don’t really do this on their site)-it allows you to send a customized job advertisement to your network, and allows them to send it along to their network, and then to theirs and so on. If this stuff works then I think they may have something quite revolutionary. The product also allows you to see the progression of the campaign. It tracks each time it’s passed to a new lead. This to me was one of the most interesting tools within the product. You can go in and review each individual the campaign touched.
  4. Their dashboard is sleek and clean. Once you are in the dashboard area their product appears to be easy to use. I still think when you go to their main page it's a bit confusing. Part of this is probably due to the concept being so new. The other reason is because I don't think they just come out and say what it does.
  5. The pricing is fair and similar to the way job boards price their products. I don’t see them replacing job boards in any sense. It’s a different type of tool. Job boards will continue to expand their category and time will tell if Jobster will be the next big thing in on-line recruiting.
  6. They plan on adding new online media targets in their next versions. They are thinking about every device and every platform. I liked this a lot!

Now for the disclaimer, I still have not actually used the product. I am going to give it a try though. I was more impressed than I thought I would be after the meeting with Heather Gray. Either Heather should get a raise for convincing me or the product really does have some substance to it. I will of course have an update on this product once I use it.

Oh..and on a final note….their business cards a cool. They are little text bubbles with their Jobster characters. They also have cool quotes on the back of the cards. The card that I have reads, “Some people dream of success. Other people wake up and work at it.” I love cool business cards! Heather also informed me that the characters aren’t actually representations of real Jobster employees. Oh well, nobody can be perfect.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Shout Out From A Canadian Headhunter

Well, the Canadian Headhunter gave me a shout out on his site. He says he likes me because I put at the top of my blog list. How can I not? They are the best recruiting blog out there and probably the only one that is dedicated to blog multiple times a day about my favorite topic—recruiting!

The post was pretty darn funny if I must say. First of all—he called me Stevie. My grandparents still call me Stevie! I think I should take this as a compliment coming from someone that calls himself the “Canadian Headhunter”. By the way—Gerry Crispin’s article was so warm and fuzzy that it made me want to move to Canada. No..seriously—Crispin has a darn good point and you should take a look.

The Canadian Headhunter did correct a grammatical mistake on one of my postings. This is what I appreciate about this guy. He is dedicated to getting things right. This is what it should be about. By the way—this has been fixed. In my opinion a good blogger should act like a journalist. If something is wrong call it out. It shouldn’t matter if you like the person or not. Correct the error!

Now, as a final note, I did find it interesting the little Newsweek jab. Yes, Newsweek did screw up. But many ground breaking stories have come from unverified sources. The Watergate scandal is one of them. What would be the alternative? The media not take risks and only publish “safe stories”? Can you imagine what people would get away with in this world if that was the case! And who’s really to blame? Do you blame a kid’s parents if he murders someone or do you blame the kid? Newsweek publishes a story and a bunch of people kill each other and it’s Newsweek’s fault? Not in my book.

To get back on track, I’m honored to be part of’s blogroll and to get the shout out from that crazy headhunter from the North. By they way—who’s idea was it to require passports as of 2006 to get over the Canadian border? It was probably us but what a stupid idea!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Talent Storytelling

Nelson Ferris of Nike visited our offices a couple years back. I will never forget the stories he told. In fact, the very nature of what he does is storytelling. He is the chief storyteller at Nike. He talked about the transition from Blue Ribbon sports to Nike…how he didn’t even know if Nike would be able to pay him when he first started; he talked about Nike before they hit 1 billion and the growing pains they went through. Any of these stories could probably be found on the web but it’s the art of how Nelson told them that made them so compelling and sticky.

The way Nelson told stories reminded me of my Grandfather. I always admired his ability to tell stories. He could be in a room filled with people and start to tell a story and the entire room would gravitate towards him. For some people telling stories is natural. Others struggle explaining what happened to them that day. Whether it’s natural for someone or not there is an art and methodology to story telling. Being a recruiter in an PR agency also gives me an inside look at what storytelling can do for an organization. But what about recruiting? Why should storytelling be important for us?

Storytelling is crucial in recruiting. A recruiter’s ability to tell a story is the building block of your organization’s relationship with the candidate. It’s what brings the organization to life for them. They may research your company, see the physical surroundings but until they can connect with a phonetic masterpiece their emotional attachment to the company will be no different than any other outsider. If you can bring them inside with a compelling story, one that is sticky, then you will have your candidate’s attention and possibly several others. This is what truly separates great recruiters from good ones. Their ability to tell a sticky story!

You don’t have to be an expert to tell a good story. There are several critical elements in a good story. Most of these elements are consistent in stories throughout history. I don’t claim to know them all but here are few to consider as well as examples of how they might be used in a corporate setting:

1. The Plot: Maybe this is your organization’s win of a major account or client
2. The Struggle: The unbelievable feat your company had to overcome to win
3. The Antagonist: This is your company’s competitor (If Gates this is Jobs)
4. The Hero: The one person in your company that helped overcome the obstacles
5. The Win: How the Hero and the team celebrated the win.

Now think about the close of an interview with an all-star candidate. Let’s say the candidate asks about your clients. You choose to tell them about your companies methodology for targeting and winning top-global brand clients. You also tell them about a recent important win. Think about how you can tell the story so it’s sticky. Do you talk about the struggle, the antagonist, the hero and the win? Or, do you simply tell them that you won this great account. Which one do you think will stick with them? Every question the candidate asks gives you an opportunity to tell a compelling story. Take the opportunity to tell one.