Category Archives: Reporting & Metrics

Bring on the Replacement Recruiters!

By Dan Ridge, Contributing Consultant, Q4B

Whether you are a diehard football fan, a casual observer or someone who still thinks that what we call soccer in the USA is the most popular sport in the world you are certainly aware of the turmoil that is being created in the NFL with the lockout of the professional referees and the use or misuse of what are called replacement refs. Games have been decided by missed calls, bad calls and no calls. The integrity of the game is at stake and players, coaches, general managers and fans have had enough. Even the Good Guys in Vegas are not too happy with the current state of affairs.

There is a sense that with all of the controversy surrounding the debacle that was witnessed on MNF (unless you are a Seahawks fan) the lockout will end with each side giving and getting some of what each was bargaining for. But what a cost! Not so much in overall dollars but in fan perception, appreciation and support to say the least.

While I was watching ESPN, ESPN2 the other night I started thinking about this lockout, how important it is to have true professionals in every position in order for an organization to be successful, to provide value and service to their customers and to insure that the product or service delivered is the best that it can be. If one part of an organization is performing at a lower level than the rest of the organization the whole organization suffers.

Isn’t this true in recruiting? If not then it should be. Think about the many times you have seen companies that are struggling with their quarterly profitability, their stock prices are less than the street expected, their forecasts are off and projections for next quarter are dismal decide to cut their internal recruiting department down to almost nothing.

How many times have you seen those same companies run job ads that suck (JATS) looking for replacement recruiters with I to 2 years of experience when their company’s fortunes begin to turn around? Do you think that there will be some bad calls, missed calls and no calls when it comes to sourcing, screening and hiring the best fit candidates for their open positions? Could there ever be a situation where hiring managers and candidates raise enough of a ruckus that company management agrees to hire or rehire only seasoned experienced professional recruiters?

Probably not. Unfortunately, unlike the NFL referee situation, company management rarely sees the difference between seasoned experienced professional recruiters and their 1 to 2 year replacements. They don’t immediately see the impact if any of a bad call, missed call or no call by a replacement recruiter. And they certainly don’t understand how impactful a great hire is to their overall success.

And that is the fault of the seasoned experienced professional recruiter. Most recruiters vary rarely demonstrate their value to their company’s success. Do recruiters track the impact on the company that their hires have made? Can recruiters point to specific instances where one of their hires saved, made money for the company; exceeded expectations sooner than expected; was promoted or had a significant impact on the bottom line, the stock price or other company successes?

It is not about quality of hire, time to fill or cost per hire metrics that seemingly all recruiters are so caught up with. The people running a company are more concerned and more interested in making money, showing a profit, increasing revenue.

Did your hire help with any of those things? If not where is your value?

There may never come a time in your company where there will occur a tipping point event like the MNF spectacle that will show case the difference between seasoned experienced professionals and rookie replacements.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be able to demonstrate that difference yourself. Otherwise your company will always be looking for a replacement recruiter.

One last thought. I think that it would help if companies hired a senior recruiter to review every controversial hire and insist on using instant replay when the offer is extended and accepted.

Now, I will wait for a call from the league office. I know that they can use my input in settling this matter.

“Please hold for Mr. Goodell.”



Are You a Recruiter or an Experience Architect?

The “value added” for most any company, tiny or enormous, comes from the Quality of Experience provided.   –   Tom Peters

I just finished reading The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley the general manager of IDEO, the successful design consulting firm in San Francisco. IDEO as you can imagine is all about innovation and applying new and creative approaches not just to product design but to services and processes as well. Clients come to them looking for innovations in packaging, web design, advertising, interior office space layout, new product launch, employee training and much more.

Kelley suggests that the Ten Faces of Innovation are the roles or the personas that certain individuals within a company play in order to take an idea from, just that, an idea to successful product launch; to move a project that had lost its mojo to a wildly successful completion; to take a process or service offering that at best could be called ordinary, and make it extraordinary.

One of the ten faces that Kelley writes about is the Experience Architect. The person playing this role looks at a company’s products or services from the customer’s perspective. From the first time that a customer comes in contact with your company, through your web site, over the phone, entering your building or office space, was that experience ordinary or extraordinary?

IDEO has worked with hospitals to improve the patient experience; has worked with retail stores to redesign the store layout to make it more customer friendly, has worked with auto dealerships to improve the car buying process and has even worked with schools to improve the student-teacher relationship. In each and every case improving the customer experience has dramatically impacted the measurements that companies use to determine success namely more sales, happier healthier patients, better students.

Our company, Q4B, recently hired two very talented, experienced recruiters, both of whom will be working with two of our clients, managing an RPO engagement. Some of the responsibilities that each will have are:

–         Work as a liaison on a daily basis to ensure staffing goals are met through daily interaction and communication

–         Coordinate and facilitate process to open new requisitions; follow up as needed to gain appropriate approvals

–         Coordinate and facilitate process to ensure appropriate recruiting and sourcing support is assigned and monitor progress for candidate submittal

–         Facilitate interview process by greeting candidates, ensuring proper paperwork and/or forms are completed and collected, escorting candidates to 1st interview and closing out with candidate if needed

–         Ensure smooth on boarding process for new hires by coordinating and gaining approvals for offer letters, ensuring background checks and drug screens are performed and cleared, start dates are arranged and communicated, etc.

After reading Kelley’s book I felt that for each of our engagements, the recruiters that we assign could also play the role of Experience Architect. We could look at the client’s talent acquisition and retention process through the candidate’s (customer’s) eyes. Is the process ordinary or extraordinary? If ordinary we are in a position to make it extraordinary by fulfilling our responsibilities as listed above in an extraordinary way.

It is my belief that there are very few companies who could claim that their talent acquisition and retention process is extraordinary. There is enough evidence that suggests how improving the customer experience positively impacts the bottom line. Treating candidates as customers, looking at the hiring process through the customer’s eyes, improving the process, slowly but surely, to make it extraordinary, these should be part of the responsibilities of all internal recruiters, 3rd party recruiters, talent managers, just as they are now the responsibility of our great recruiters.

So if someone asks you what you do for a living you could say I am a recruiter, or you could say I am a recruiter AND an Experience Architect.

Try it sometime and read the book.

If You Achieve HROE Will You Be a HERO?

In a recent study that was part survey, part focus group, IBM researchers surveyed 707 HR leaders of companies of all sizes around the world; 600 of them were interviewed face-to-face. According to IBM’s senior VP for HR, J. Randall MacDonald, “HR leaders expect their businesses to remain focused on two equally important goals during the next three years — the need to drive growth yet, at the same time, maintain operational efficiency. Their immediate focus, as you might expect, is on present conditions. Wresting the maximum efficiency out of the operation is the overriding business challenge for 64 percent of the global HR leaders.”

After reading this article, written by John Zappe for ERE Daily, I immediately went to my trusted dictionary to look up the definition of operational efficiency. Here it is.

Operational Efficiency is – what occurs when the right combination of people, process and technology(tools) come together to enhance the productivity and value of any business operation, while driving down the cost of routine operations to a desired level. The end result is that resources previously needed to manage operational tasks can be redirected to new, high value initiatives that bring additional capabilities to the organization.

There it was right in front of me, a very concise description of what our company and other companies like ours strive to deliver to our clients in the area of talent acquisition, Operational Efficiency (OE).

To achieve OE within the recruitment domain the following areas would need to be addressed.

  • · Sourcing
  • · Screening
  • · Selection
  • · Candidate Relationship Management
  • · Requisition Management
  • · Reporting and Metrics

And each area would need to be assessed utilizing a capability maturity model.

  • · Level 1 – Ad Hoc
  • · Level 2 – Repeatable
  • · Level 3 – Defined
  • · Level 4 – Managed
  • · Level 5 – Optimized

The goal would be to bring each element of the recruitment domain to a level that would begin to produce desired results of the HR business unit. It is not necessary for all elements to be at level 5.

So, is Operational Efficiency an overriding business challenge for you and your company? Would achieving HR Operational Efficiency make you a HERO? These are questions that only you can answer.

As for me, what struck me most from the survey data was the fact that 64% of the 707 HR leaders surveyed had Operational Efficiency as their overriding business challenge, that’s roughly 452 HR leaders potentially looking for some assistance in this area.

I am now off to make at least 452 calls.

Creating a Talent Plan

“Let’s face it. The only thing that really differentiates your business from the competition is your people.” – Rusty Reuff, Talent Force

Every now and then I revisit one of my many business books just to see if I missed anything from an earlier read or to look at a topic in a different light based on what has happened in the business world since the book was first published. There is always something new, some new idea presents itself and that is the case with my recent re-read of Talent Force.

The book was published in 2006 and in it Rusty Rueff, co-author introduces the idea of a talent plan and defines it this way. “A comprehensive talent plan delineates the company’s recruiting and deployment strategies by business unit and by position within each unit. Additionally, the talent plan includes measureable forecasts, such as recruitment and deployment costs, time to acquisition and time to productivity for new talent. The talent plan allows the talent leader and other executives, including the CEO, to manage and measure this function alongside the rest of the business.”

What struck me about this talent plan idea when I first read the book was how similar the description was, for example, to what our company Q4B was offering our clients. Most, if not all, did not have a talent plan. In these cases, Q4B helped the client create and implement a plan thus allowing our Q4B consultants to provide the type of service required and deliver the right talent to the right position when needed.

What strikes me now upon re-reading is how little has changed on the client side. Many companies that we approach still do not have a talent plan and are still reacting to job requisitions rather than anticipating planned needs through proper forecasting. This is surely good news for companies like ours. We know that there is a need for a talent plan if companies want to grow and be successful. We know that we have been helping our customers implement talent plans as part of our recruitment process outsourcing engagements. We also know that as the economy begins to slowly rebound there will be significant pressure on internal recruiters to do more with less and without a plan that is nearly impossible.

That being said, what is required to create a talent plan? According to Rueff and our own Q-S4 process approach you need to understand the following broad areas that are critical to a company’s success:

  • The company’s goals and objectives
  • Key milestones that must be accomplished to meet those goals and objectives
  • The problem that the company’s goods or services solve, or the needs they fill in the marketplace
  • The size of the problem or need and the value of solving or filling it
  • Special or unique aspects of the company’s products, solutions or approach
  • The customer who uses those goods or services, and how the goods or services are used
  • What it takes to build, sell, deploy, and maintain the company’s products or services
  • The company’s distribution and supply models, including key industry partners and their core skills
  • The company’s competitors, their offerings, and how the company strives to differentiate itself from the competition

Once this information is gathered you then need to ask departmental leaders and hiring managers the following questions.

  • How their department aligns with and supports the overall business
  • What the departmental goals are and how progress is measured against those goals
  • An outline of the critical skills and positions necessary for the department to be successful, and how those skills and positions help the company accomplish its strategic goals
  • Examples of ideal candidates including specific qualification parameters
  • Departmental initiatives, Projects, or other activities, including any expected launch dates, release-to-manufacturing dates, or other corporate deadlines that must be factored into hiring decisions

Sounds like a lot of information to gather, a big investment of time in which to gather the information and an overall considerable commitment from the organization to accomplish this. Perhaps this is why many companies do not have a comprehensive talent plan, despite how important it is to their success in competing for top talent.

Is that your excuse?

Q4B may not have coined the term talent plan but we have been helping our clients develop and implement plans for acquiring talent since we started in 2004 and that was before the book, Talent Force was published.

So, if your company does not currently have a talent plan and would want to create one, you can read the book and call us or just call a company like ours. But remember, I have read the book twice.





Is Your Employment Brand Creating Enough Buzz?

Unless you’re living in a cave, or have been buried under a pile of unsolicited resumes, you, like the rest of the world, have caught World Cup Fever. This is especially true for those in our country since Team USA has made it to the Round of 16. Even for those diehard non-soccer fans, it is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of this world spectacle. But you certainly wish that those  Vuvuzelas would go away!

And yet, the Vuvuzelas have now become part of the World Cup experience. They have created quite a buzz, and not because they sound like a giant swarm of bees.

So, does your employment brand generate any buzz? In an article in ERE Daily, Dr. John Sullivan suggested that “If you are part of recruiting management at an organization that has been facing continuous talent shortages, it’s time to get out of that rut and focus your resources on the areas that can have the highest business impact. Almost universally, that means shifting your recruiting talent, time, and budget towards the programs that will have the most impact, starting with employment branding. Employment branding is the only long-term recruiting strategy that is designed to bring in a steady flow of high-quality applicants over a period of many years.”

For those of you whose companies are already good to great, or whose companies strive to be, here is a list of reasons to embrace employment branding.

  • It Will Have A Long-Term Impact. Once you have successfully built your employment brand, you can expect the positive impacts on recruiting to continue for at least five years baring any major PR issues surrounding your company.
  • Help Attract Higher Quality Candidates. Not only will you get more applicants, but the quality of your candidates will improve dramatically to the point where you will start getting applications from individuals who might never have considered your firm in the past. A great employment brand that highlights your firm’s focus on innovation is necessary in order to attract game-changers, managers, and innovators who demand it!
  • Improved Offer-Acceptance Rates. As your employment image becomes better known and more powerful, your offer acceptance rates will also improve.
  • Increased Employee Referrals. The percentage of hires from employee referrals will increase as a result of your employees’ increased pride and knowledge about what makes their firm superior to others. Increasing the number of referrals has added benefits in that it increases employee ownership in the recruiting process and allows recruiters more time to focus on managing hiring manager and candidate relationships, demand forecasting, and participating in employment branding strategy.
  • Improved Employee-Retention Rates. A compelling employment brand increases retention rates among your current employees because they will better know why working at your firm is a superior opportunity. In addition, their pride in your firm will grow as colleagues and friends routinely ask them, “Do those things really happen at your firm?” Unfortunately, the positive impact will be somewhat tempered by the fact that more firms will target your employees because of your strong employment image.
  • Increased Employee Motivation. Employee motivation will be easier to maintain because of your employees’ increased pride in the firm and the better management practices that are required to maintain an employer-of-choice status.
  • Improved College Recruiting. Because college students are highly brand conscious, employment branding is especially effective for intern recruiting and college hiring.
  • Strengthen Corporate Culture. Because one of the goals of employment branding is to develop a consistent message about what it’s like to work at your firm, employment branding can help strengthen your corporate culture. This consistent message can reinforce corporate values and guide behaviors while a consensus develops across the enterprise among managers and employees with regards to what it means to be a part of the organization.
  • Increased Manager Satisfaction. The resulting higher quality of candidates and higher offer-acceptance rate means that hiring managers will have to devote less time to interviews, and they will be more satisfied with the recruiting function.
  • Increased Media Exposure. As a result of winning awards, being placed on “best places to work” lists, and having managers give presentations at industry events, the amount of media exposure that your firm will receive will increase dramatically. Having the media brag about your firm’s excellent people-management practices adds a level of external credibility that no recruitment ad can provide. As a result of this initial exposure, the number of times that reporters and benchmarking individuals will call your firm for future stories will also increase.
  • Strengthen Competitive Advantage. Because employment branding efforts include extensive metrics and side-by-side comparisons with talent competitors, you ensure that your talent-management approaches are differentiated and continually superior. This superiority over competitors not only impresses senior managers, but it also improves your chances of winning over candidates who also apply for positions at your competitors.
  • Support for the Product Brand. An employment brand can support the corporate brand and your related product brands because many consumers mentally make the link between attracting quality employees and producing a quality product.
  • Increased knowledge and competitive intelligence. As more employees from top competitors join your organization.
  • Make it easier to attract the best. A great employment brand makes it easier to attract top recruiters and branding experts.
  • Help build HR’s image. The high impact and ROI of the employment-branding program can help build HR’s image as an internal/strategic business partner.

The buzz that you want to create needs to be backed by meaningful substance to build a great company. Take a look at your own Employment Brand. Is it world class? Can it compete for the best talent that you say that you want? Does it create enough of a buzz? Maybe it is time to consider Dr. Sullivan’s suggestions. Then again if all that you are after is just buzz then give all of your candidates Vuvuzelas.

Best Practices – Create, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

A recent article in ERE Daily, Advanced Employee Referral Programs – Best Practices You Need to Copy by Dr. John Sullivan caused me to consider the term “Best Practices” and how we use it in our business.

In his award winning book, The Invisible Touch, the author Harry Beckwith suggests that “..following Best Practices quickly becomes what no business can afford: an invitation to ordinariness. Best Practices quickly become common practices. You keep waiting for other practices to emulate rather than creating your own.”

Our company’s approach with our clients is based on the idea that “one size doesn’t fit all, that no two companies are alike, that we tailor our service delivery to fit each client’s situation, needs and goals.” In other words we help them create and implement their own Best Practices for recruiting and hiring the best talent.

That being said, there are some Best Practices that Dr. Sullivan discusses in his article that are worth reviewing and adapting to your own situation.

  • The best referral programs are well-funded because they have convinced business leaders and managers on the business impact of employee referral programs.
  • The No. 1 factor contributing to poor referral-program performance is a lack of responsiveness to inquiries and referrals.
  • Second-generation referral programs often broaden the scope of who is allowed to make referrals.
  • While many top-performing programs use program rewards, rarely are financial incentives the primary motivator.
  • While traditional referral programs rely on the erratic flow of referrals subject to the whim of the employee population, many top programs use proactive components that create flow as needed.
  • The lack of a robust social recruiting strategy in most organizations means that employee networks and social media tools are often not being used effectively to support employee referral.
  • Many organizations either over-restrict the scope of their ERP or don’t provide enough program structure.
  • One of the key differentiators between average and exceptional programs is program management.
  • In recent years, employee referral programs have become the dominant source of external hires, and they deserve a level of program strategy and management commensurate with that status.

If your ERP (Employee Referral Program) is non-existent or not producing the results that you should expect, i.e. better than 30% of your hires from your ERP, then consider some or all of Dr. Sullivan’s points and give us a call. We won’t suggest that you follow or copy some other company’s Best Practices. We will help you create your own. And isn’t that what leadership is all about.

It May Be Time for a Tune Up

I took my car in for service over the long Memorial Day weekend. It was time for a tune up, to have the oil changed and to get the brakes checked. I like my car and have spent a good deal of money into purchasing, maintaining and insuring it. I know something about cars but I am not an expert. I trust the service mechanics at the dealership to keep the car in good shape and I have not been disappointed.

While I was waiting, I could not help but think about our company and how often we use “car” related terms in our marketing and sales presentations. When we talk about our Service, we use terms like “Optimize your Recruiting Engine”, “Drive your Recruiting process”  and “add horsepower to your recruiting effort”. In a sense firms like ours are the service advisors and mechanics for our respective clients recruiting vehicle.

I bring my car in for service several times a year in an effort to keep it running smoothly and to avoid any costly repairs in the future. Why shouldn’t our clients bring us in on a scheduled basis to make sure that their recruiting process is running smoothly and to avoid any costly repairs?

Let me suggest the following.

The recruiting process is made up of six components, Sourcing, Screening, Selection, Candidate Relationship Management, Requisition Management and Reporting and Metrics. See Recruiting Domain Framework™

For each component there are five levels of maturity, Ad Hoc, Repeatable, Defined, Managed and Optimized.

When I bring my car in for service, my mechanic looks at the engine, spark plugs, oil filter and level, brakes, tires and makes sure that all components are optimized. Since my dealer provides this service, the car’s maintenance history is available to the mechanic. They know what “state” the car was in and what “state” it is currently and what the desired “state” should be.

Your recruiting process should require the same attention and service. The current “state” is established with the first service call.  Then necessary repairs can be made to bring it to the desired “state”. Then on a scheduled basis, routine maintenance can be performed in order to keep your recruiting process running smoothly and to be fully optimized.

When they told me that my car was ready, I looked over the itemized bill and saw everything that was done. I felt confident that the car would run smoothly and I also felt that the cost of the service was fair and that I wasn’t being taken for a “ride”. I also knew that the next time I bring the car in for service, other services might be required, other parts of the car may need attention and that there is not just one solution for servicing a car.

This is also true of your recruiting process. There is not just one solution that satisfies every client’s recruiting process. Where the process is currently and where it should be to be fully optimized varies from client to client.

So, what about you and your recruiting process? Do you know the current “state” or what the desired “state” should be? Do you feel confident that your recruiting engine will run smoothly and that what you are spending is fair and returning the results for which you are paying? Or is that red light on the dashboard an indication that your recruiting engine is burning oil?