Category Archives: recruiting

Emotional Intelligence in Recruiting

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020, emotional intelligence will need to be a Top 10 skill for all workers.

So what does that mean for recruiters?

More than you might think, according to Caroline Stokes, who presented the session “How Emotional Intelligence Can Make You a Better Recruiter” during the Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech conference in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Considering the fact that the U.S. Air Force recently switched to emotionally intelligent recruiters and saved $3 million in operating costs, Stokes says that shows there is a definite bottom-line impact on the organization when choosing emotionally intelligent recruiters over typically trained recruiters.

Stokes is founder and CEO of both her recruiting agency FORWARD  and The Emotionally Intelligent Recruiter, and she has nearly ten years as an executive headhunter and coach, with clients such as Autodesk, Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Disney and other innovation leaders.

She began by sharing what Facebook’s head of workforce, Ross Sparkman, identified as some attributes of a good recruiter, including:

* The ability to learn from mistakes;

* Continually self-improving;

* Opportunistic and able to move fast; and

* Data/metric driven.

Stokes said that while curiosity is among the most-valuable qualities recruiters can exhibit when interacting with candidates, recruiters may sometimes hold back their questions when meeting a candidate.

“One of the reasons why curiosity isn’t part of our normal makeup is because [recruiters] are supposed to know everything. But we don’t,” she said in a mock whisper, “so don’t worry about it and just be curious.”

Recruiters will continue to be the lynchpin for organizational success even as bots, artificial intelligence and automation increase in usage, she said.

“We need to work in harmony with artificial intelligence,” she said. “Tech cannot replace the human experience. In fact, it’s never been more important to be human.”

Regardless of where technology takes recruiters in the future, one thing won’t ever change, Stokes said.

“The actual skills recruiters need,” she said, ” are to be a good listener and communicator.”

HR: It’s About Quality, Not Quantity

Most organizations are structured along the following lines: On one side you have the competitive differentiators — sales and marketing, product development, customer service. And on the other, you have compliance and cost containment — finance, legal and HR. The competitive-differentiator side tends to get the lion’s share of funding and attention — and that’s the side HR and recruiting needs to be on, said Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference Co-chair Elaine Orler.

“Talent is the only real competitive differentiator,” said Orler, who spoke during a session at the conference on future trends in talent technology. “That’s how we win.”

Too often, HR must scrape and beg for the money for implementing the tools, systems and resources to make talent acquisition faster and more effective, she said. It needs to reorient its mindset away from cost-containment to value-added, and have the confidence — and the data — to successfully present this argument to the C-suite so it can get the resources it needs.

“We need to have those straightforward conversations — that if we only have 30 days to find a candidate, we’re only going to come up with C-players,” she said. “We need to advocate for 40 days, and 20 percent more salary, for example, to fill that position with an A-player.”

Orler, who’s worked as a recruiter and technology consultant for 20 years and is now senior vice president for professional services at Talent Sonar, also discussed her predictions for what we can expect to see in talent acquisition during the next year and beyond. One trend will be “total talent management,” she said, in which organizations will need to take into account the growing number of non-employees who fill critical talent roles. HR needs to take ownership for the contractors, gig workers and temps who fill these jobs and help them develop their careers and skills, even though they’re not full-time employees, she said.

Another development will be the realization that machines are not going to take over after all — but millennials and Gen Z will, and HR needs to help companies adapt to the different way in which the younger generations prefer to interact with their employer, said Orler. “We’ve got five generations in the workforce now — that’s unprecedented,” she said. “We’ve got to address how to manage the mixed workforce, and technology will help us do that.”

Then there’s what Orler refers to as “Suite Play 2.0,” or the growing availability of “plug and play” talent applications enabled by so-called “partner ecosystems,” in which HR tech vendors share their APIs with other pre-approved vendors to make it easier for clients to install new point solutions on their platforms without going through all the implementation and integration headaches of yesteryear, said Orler. “This is going to make things easier and faster,” she said.

Finally, talent acquisition will increasingly be measured by quality, not quantity, she said.

“If I could ask you to do one thing, it would be to refuse to allow TA to be measured by time-to-fill,” Orler told the audience. “Time-to-fill only generates quantity. Measure quality instead — that’s how we can show that we’re on the value-added side of the business, not the cost-containment side.”

‘Listen Up, Hiring Manager’

If you’re a recruiter who feels as though you don’t have the respect of hiring managers, you’re probably not alone.

During a mega-session yesterday titled “Getting Hiring Managers to Focus on Great Recruiting” at Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech event, San Francisco State University Professor John Sullivan said that only one out of three hiring managers think recruiters have a positive impact on their businesses. But he also told those attending that recruiters have a number of options at their disposal for changing that dynamic.

Sullivan said that the best way to get the attention of hiring managers is to approach them with data that matters to them.

Recruiters, he said, shouldn’t waste their time trying to change what hiring managers care about, because they won’t change. Instead, he said, they should focus on what they do care about: money.

“Managers live in a world that’s data driven, but mostly it’s about money,” Sullivan said.

If recruiters want to get through to hiring managers, Sullivan said, they need to be able to explain how what they do impacts each of these four areas: business goals, bonuses, getting promoted and time.

“Don’t bother coming in to talk to hiring managers about diversity or time to hire, because it just glazes them over,” he said. “But if you come in and tell them you can increase their sales by 20 percent, then they will listen to you, instantly.”

Sullivan noted that recruiters have a compelling story to tell. “If you do great recruiting, you can increase revenue by 3.5 times,” he said, adding that leadership development has roughly half that impact.

“Every other manager on the planet measures process effectiveness,” Sullivan said. “But only 33 percent of firms actually measure quality of hire?”

How can recruiters know they are doing a good job if they’re not measuring the right outcomes? he asked.

At the same time, Sullivan said, everyone else in the organization measures failure rates, but not recruiters. (New hires, he said, fail nearly half the time, with a 46 percent churn over an 18 month period.)

Not good, he said.

Sullivan advised those attending to show hiring managers what a weak hire costs their organization. “How much damage can one employee do?” he asked. “A lot. They can cost you 10 times their salary.”

Time to ‘Fix’ the Labor Market?

When it comes to evaluating job candidates, a college degree is often an over-used and overrated criterion that screens out otherwise-qualified people from good jobs and contributes to a worsening talent shortage.

So suggests the Rework America Task Force, a new organization that’s got some heavy hitters on its roster, including Siemens USA, Microsoft, IBM and Princeton University and is chaired by former Obama White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.

Rework America’s stated goal is to “fix America’s broken labor market” by transforming it to a “21st century, skills-driven model.”

“The current labor market fails job seekers, workers and businesses,” says McDonough in a press release announcing the new organization. “Many workers have the skills employers are looking for to fill open positions, but don’t know it because too many job listings are written in a way that excludes qualified job seekers rather than attracting them.”

This includes requiring credentials such as a four-year degree as a proxy, McDonough says, instead of listing the actual skills needed for the job. That’s a problem, he adds, given that nearly seven out of 10 Americans don’t have a four-year degree, although they may possess skills that are actually relevant to the job.

Rework America is based on the Skillful Initiative, a partnership established last year between the state of Colorado and companies such as LinkedIn that helps companies use tools and data to create a skills-based hiring process that lets job candidates demonstrate the skills they can bring to an organization. Microsoft recently donated $25 million to Rework America’s parent organization, The Markle Foundation, to enlarge and expand the Skillful Initiative to another state.

A recent study by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte finds that six out of 10 production jobs remain open because of the talent shortage. Given this sad state of affairs, it will be interesting to see whether Rework America’s program can help fill this gap and ensure people with skills can find meaningful work.

Hiring for the Holidays

It’s the time of year when we start to see retailers bracing for the holiday shopping season. For the heavy hitters in the industry, this usually means hiring seasonal workers. Lots of them.

In the past week, for example, we’ve seen reports that J.C. Penney plans to bring on 40,000 new workers to handle the holiday load this year, while Target Corp. figures to add around 100,000 seasonal employees. Even Toys ’R’ Us, fresh off of filing for bankruptcy, is looking to hire roughly 12,000 part-timers for the holidays. (The toy product retailer also says it will pay weekend rates during peak holiday times and offer additional employee discounts over the 2017 holiday season.)

The biggest retailer of them all, however, is going a different route this year.

As noted by the Washington Post, Walmart’s answer for handling the 2017 holiday crush is to “dole out extra holiday work to its existing employees.”

These extra hours “will help staff traditional roles like cashier and stocker, and newly created positions such as personnel shoppers and pickup associates,” said Judith McKenna, chief operating officer for Walmart U.S., in a statement. “This is what working in retail is all about, and we know our associates have the passion to do even more this year.”

This holiday staffing strategy isn’t altogether new for Walmart. The Bentonville, Ark.-based corporation took a similar approach last year, which was “well-received by employees and customers,” according to the Post.

The new policy will allow employees to work up to 40 hours a week during the holiday season—Walmart considers 34 hours a week to be full-time—and will help address what the Post calls “long-standing complaints” among workers who feel they’re underemployed.

“The struggle to get enough hours has been the No. 1 issue angering associates,” according to Dan Schlademan, a spokesman for OUR Walmart, an employee group founded by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which has attempted to unionize Walmart locations in the past. “We’ve never been able to understand why Walmart continues hiring seasonal workers when there are so many people begging them for more hours.”

That said, questions remain around the new policy, as the Post points out. For example, will employees be forced to take on extra hours? And will they be penalized if they take time off during the holidays?

These kinds of questions aside, labor experts contend this approach makes sense for Walmart, according to the Post.

For example, even if the company ends up having to pay overtime to some of its employees, “it probably will save thousands of dollars” by not having to recruit, hire and train a fleet of temporary workers.

Richard Feinberg, a professor of consumer sciences at Purdue University, tells the Post that Walmart should see the decision to rely on its own veteran workers to get through the holidays pay off in additional ways.

“Experienced employees are … more knowledgeable and effective than new hires,” says Feinberg, “which means [Walmart is] getting greater productivity while also cutting costs.”

Such benefits are no small matter, especially at a time when, as the Post notes, the national unemployment rate is nearing a 16-year low and economists say attracting temporary workers for low-paying jobs is becoming “increasingly difficult.” Given such realities, it will be interesting to see if other leading retailers adopt a similar staffing model in holiday seasons to come.

B-School Applications Are Up

Applications for graduate business degree programs are up this year, suggesting a bumper crop of potential recruits down the road, reports the Graduate Admissions Council. The nonprofit association of B-schools administers the GMAT admissions exam.

Among larger programs, 73 percent reported an uptick in applications in the council’s latest annual survey . Smaller programs saw increases of 39 percent to 51 percent. The survey polled 965 degree programs at  351 business schools in 45 countries.

The survey also showed growth of a trend we first noted early this year: amid uncertainty about the nation’s immigration policies, foreign students are steering away from U.S.business schools. About 75 percent of full-time two-year MBA programs in the United States saw a decline in foreign-student applications. By contrast, 22 percent saw increases in U.S. applications.

 

The report quotes one unnamed admission official at a U.S. school  offering an explanation: “Anecdotally, we have had prospective and admitted students express concern about applying for and enrolling in [graduate management programs  in the United States because of the current political situation and fears of finding employment/H1Bs after graduation.”

 

How to Address the Labor Crunch

It’s the best of times for U.S. workers, it’s the worst of times for U.S. employers. Unemployment is at record lows while wage growth is at record highs, and many companies are hitting a wall trying to find qualified new hires to fill their ranks.

Jobs — particularly in industries such as construction — are going begging. And unless something changes fairly soon, this is going to have a big impact on economic trends. As Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, tells NY Times business columnist Eduardo Porter for a recent column, “Over the next 20 to 25 years, a labor shortage is going to put a binding constraint on growth.”

One of the biggest factors in the current talent scarcity is the withdrawal from the labor force by working-age (25 to 54) American men. The nation’s labor-force participation rate of this demographic is nearly the lowest in the industrialized world, Princeton University economist Alan B. Krueger tells Porter. Many of these men lack the skills that today’s new jobs require, while others have been lost due to disability or opioid addiction.

What to do? Porter cites a new study from researchers at the University of Maryland that recommends a number of policy solutions that may appeal to conservatives and liberals alike. The researchers, Melissa Kearney and Katharine Abraham, say improving access to high-quality education and providing more child-care resources will help people upgrade their skills while making it easier for working moms to re-enter the workforce. Expanding the earned-income tax credit may also entice nonparticipants to get back in the job-hunting game.

And, although support seems to be growing for raising the minimum wage ( to as high as $15 per hour in some quarters, in order to equalize it with the inflation-adjusted minimum wage from decades ago), Kearney and Abraham express caution about doing so, noting that it will price some job seekers out of the market. They also recommend reforming disability insurance to encourage recipients to seek jobs. And, they say, limiting immigration will only exacerbate the labor shortage, notwithstanding the stated conviction of many Americans that immigrants take jobs from deserving citizens.

These are all common-sense proposals, but they require political unity and some expenditure of public funds. That’s a tall order, of course. So maybe it’s time the nation’s employers take it upon themselves to be activists on this front, for the sake of the labor market and the economy.

Where’s the Best Place to Interview?

Glassdoor’s released its annual Candidates’ Choice Awards for the 100 Best Places to Interview, and topping the list are three companies that are hardly household names: #1 is Dignity Health, followed by Horizon Media at No. 2 and Cadence Design Systems coming in at third place. Rounding out the top five were Salesforce and J. Crew.

What makes for a good place to interview? Glassdoor relies on input from job candidates and employees, who rate and review their interview experience with a company, and ranks organizations based on the percentage of positive reviews they get. Dignity Health, a San Francisco-based healthcare system with 400 care centers (including hospitals) in 22 states, received a 93 percent “positive interview experience” score, while second-place winner Horizon Media got 91 percent and Cadence Design Systems got 86 percent.

Dignity Health interviewees frequently cited a “relaxed and friendly environment” during panel interviews, with one candidate who interviewed for a nursing position describing the entire experience as “wonderful and educational.” The typical interview lasted for about 30 minutes, according to the reviews. Candidates who interviewed at Horizon Media, a New York-based media-services agency, frequently cited transparency as a positive experience there, with HR generally doing a good job of keeping them in the loop regarding their status. Those who interviewed at Cadence Design Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based IT firm that’s also on Fortune’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, the tone of the reviews was a bit more critical, with many describing a complicated process consisting of multiple technical interviews (many of the positions were for software engineer, which may explain that) and in a few cases hiring managers who were late to the interview or recruiters who failed to follow up at all. In general, however, they described the process as smooth and efficient.

Glassdoor’s Best Places to Interview includes a few well-known names as well, including Walt Disney Co. (at No. 25 on the list), United Airlines (28), Nike (34) and Starbucks (39). The length of the hiring process and interview difficulty also play a part in determining winners, says Glassdoor.

Face it, it’s tough to attract and hold on to talented employees these days, and a positive candidate experience matters more than ever. Just ask the organizers of the Candidate Experience Awards, who will hold their own awards ceremony for North American winners this October in Nashville. (And you’ll be able to hear directly from some of those winners at this year’s Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech Conference).

Candidates Want the Personal Touch

Does your candidate experience resemble this?

A new study from Randstad US bolsters this point, with 82 percent of survey respondents agreeing that they are often frustrated with “an overly automated job search experience.” Ninety five percent of the 1,200 respondents to the survey agree tech should supplement, not replace, the recruitment experience and 87 percent agree that it’s made the search process more impersonal.

The top two aspects cited by respondents as contributing the most to a positive impression of an employer (aside from an actual job offer) were “the degree of personal, human interaction during the process” and “the recruiter/hiring manager I worked with.” Factors contributing to a negative impression of an employer included the length of the hiring process and “the communication level throughout the selection process.” One-third of the respondents who said they’d had a negative experience reported that they’d never apply to the organization again and would not refer a friend or family member there.

We’ve certainly touched before on how lengthy hiring processes and lack of communication can alienate candidates and undermine employers in their search for talented candidates. But now more than ever, jobseekers want a candidate experience that’s similar to or even surpasses the one that consumer-focused companies provide to their customers.

As Randstad North America CEO Linda Galipeau says, “Employers today, and in the future, will be judged by the experience they create for prospective hires. In a technology-driven world of talent, it’s not only about how a company markets itself, but what others say about the company that has a positive impact on employer branding.”

Will Foreign Students Shun the U.S?

The Trump administration’s increased scrutiny of H-1B visas affects not only experienced foreign workersit also could pinch the flow of talented international students who, after earning U.S. graduate degrees, traditionally start their careers in the lower rungs of major American companies.

A May 2017 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the exam that students usually must take to enter an MBA or other business-focused graduate program, found that two-thirds of 700 foreign students seeking admission to a U.S. graduate business program would consider shifting their destination to another country if they couldn’t get a work visa after graduation.

The U.S. remains the top choice for graduate business education, with 62 percent of respondents listing it as their first choice. India, at 9 percent, was the overall second choice. Canada, at 6 percent, was third, with China, the United Kingdom and France also mentioned.

But already there is evidence that U.S. visa policies are discouraging graduate business students. About two-thirds of MBA programs are reporting a decline in foreign-student applications, the council reported. And 56 percent of students who plan to study outside the U.S. cited American immigration policies as the reason, the GMAC survey found.