Small Recruitment Agency Seeking New ATS?

By Sarah Gawrys

question marksAs the Director of Membership for NPAworldwide, I get many questions from independent recruitment firms looking to join our split placement network. One that I am hearing quite often is, “What ATS do most of your recruiters use?” Some criteria I hear from firms that they rate an ATS by include: ease of use for applicants, company size and field, social networking and job posting capacity, search functions, and user support services. Since I am not a recruiter or expert myself, I took to social media to see what other firms are saying about their ATS, and here are some good bullet points I pulled out:

  • Maxhire works great and integrates well with Outlook to keep track of conversations with candidates.
  • Itris is not the most aesthetic user interface, but it is efficient and interrogative, as well as straight forward.
  • Crelate has positive reviews and is the cheapest one user found, predicting vast improvements in the next 6 months to a year that will allow for email integration among other things.
  • Bullhorn is a highly customizable and user-friendly system that allows all members of the recruiting team complete access to recruiting processes via its cloud-based ATS and CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) technology. Two of Bullhorn’s strengths are in its candidate sourcing and recruiting software. Bullhorn is pulling some complaints on lack of customer service, seems that general consensus is that it takes a while to get running smooth due to the company now going after larger business. However, they do have some of the best functionality, at a price.
  • PCRecruiter’s biggest strengths are in organization and ease of use. It also allows you to customize reports and pull reports in a variety of different ways. This customization, however, does not extend to the user interface and the program as a whole, as some functions are not useful to companies in their current state. For managing a large number of candidate and company files, however, PCRecruiter is among the best.
  • JobDiva is a cloud based system. This system pulls resumes automatically 24/7 to match with the job boards, which it keeps synchronized. Combined with its compatibility with either Macs or PC’s and its mobile applications, JobDiva allows almost instantaneous updating and searching of job boards and resumes. Another key feature is the ability to search resumes by years of experience, cutting down on the many hours needed to manually check resumes for that information. Only came across positive remarks.

A good way to determine if it’s time to move on from your current ATS according to is to pay attention to these warning signs:

  1. It sends your applicants on a wild goose chase to find the job that’s right for them.
  2. No clear way to track social initiatives. Without a way to track which sources each candidate came from, all the Facebook posts, tweets and LinkedIn connections recruiters send out are basically worth nothing.
  3. No platform for communication. A high performing ATS should allow you to centralize communication within the platform in order to stay connected and on track with your fellow colleagues.

Any thoughts on your current ATS? Have one you love or dislike? Sound off below!

9 Numbers Indicating Opportunity for Recruiters

By Dave Nerz

opportunity-arrowThe Staffing Industry Review is a great publication that I read on a monthly basis. This month I scrubbed through it for a collection of facts and numbers that should be of interest to anyone in recruiting or talent acquisition. Looks like there is much opportunity and some challenge on the horizon for those of us in these markets.  Here is what I saw this month:


  1. Wages for full-time US workers were up for the first quarter of 2015 by 1.5%
  2. Research by Bersin for Deloitte says the employers are paying on average $4000 per new hire to acquire talent.
  3. Monster reports that 57% of the workforce is planning to search for a new job this year.
  4. Monster says 30% of recruiters find the tools they use to get in the way of their job.  (This means if you could find better tools…less frustration)
  5. Only 9% of independent workers use the commonly cited tools like or Uber.
  6. By 2020 there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs and only 400,000 trained to fill them.
  7. In 2015 there were 172.5K petitions for the 65,000 H-1B visas granted.
  8. Monster reports that 79% of job seekers will use social media to support their search.
  9. There are currently 4 million open jobs in the US.

While some of these are opportunities for recruiters, still others are challenges.  How do you feel about the profession’s trajectory over the next 5 years?

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Use the Phone to Make Recruiter Connections

By Veronica Scrimshaw

telephone-cord-connectionsToday’s guest blogger is Liz Carey, network coordinator for NBN, operators of and NPAworldwide and NBN merged in September 2014, and our two networks are working toward a full integration effective January 1, 2016. We’re happy to have Liz on our blogging team.

One of the hats I wear at NPAworldwide is “official note-taker” on trading group conference calls, where recruiters dial-in to discuss their hot job orders and candidates. What I have noticed on these calls is that connections are made – after one recruiter describes their job order, oftentimes another recruiter will chime in “Hey, I have a candidate that I think would be a great fit for that,” or “I didn’t know you worked in that space, I’ll give you a ring after the call” or “I’m near San Antonio too, let’s meet up for lunch!”

Participating in networking calls allows recruiters the opportunity to introduce themselves, their company, their specialties and any “hot” job orders they are working on and need help on. It’s so worth it to spend 30 minutes on a call if you can come out of it with a trading partner you didn’t have before! Whether you’re a member of a formal recruitment network or have your own private network, you’ve got to invest time into maintaining those recruiter connections.

It really strikes me that many of the deals made through our network come directly from things like the networking calls or meeting face-to-face at conferences. While the advent of online recruiting and social media like LinkedIn has helped skilled recruiters do a better job, technology isn’t a magic wand that gives industry knowledge in your specialty, skill at truly evaluating candidates, or solid relationships with peers, clients and candidates. Technology is important, but it’s not the total solution. Don’t use technology to build relationships; use technology to make connections.

Recruiters are relationship-driven people, and most successful recruiters will tell you that a big part of their success comes from strong relationships that are built over time. Here are five reasons why it’s important to pick up the phone and call your peers, or meet with them face-to-face:

  • Visibility. If you are out of sight you are out of mind. Make yourself known to others by attending calls or meetings.
  • Relationships. Members trade with people they know. They form relationships based on familiarity.
  • Real Time Hot Jobs. Find out what jobs are new and hot – calls and meetings provide great cooperative placement opportunities.
  • Market Insight. You will learn what challenges and successes others in your niche are having.
  • Connections. Confirm your interest in working an opening shared on a call or confirm support from a partner to help you fill an opening.

What’s your best tip for building strong relationships with your peers? Comment below!

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Q3 Global Employment Outlook: Hiring Expected to Increase

By Veronica Scrimshaw

business-arrowManpower has released the results of its latest quarterly global employment outlook survey; modest hiring increases are expected worldwide. The full survey is available here. Manpower surveys more than 59,000 employers in 42 countries on a quarterly basis. Key findings include:



  • U.S. employers report the most robust hiring climate. The strongest growth is expected in the leisure & hospitality, and wholesale & retail trade sectors. Growth is also expected in construction and transportation & utilities.
  • Canada remains cautiously optimistic, with employers planning to hire in finance, insurance & real estate, and transportation & public utilities.
  • Hiring in Brazil has decreased for fifteen consecutive quarters, and Q3 is no exception. Hiring is strong in Costa Rica, and Argentina is expecting a slight increase due to a very strong manufacturing sector.

Asia Pacific

  • Half of the employers surveyed in the manufacturing & services sector in Taiwan plan to hire during the third quarter.
  • Hiring is also robust across all sectors in India with more than 40% of employers planning to hire. Actual hiring may be hampered by a continued talent shortage.
  • Japan is reporting its strongest employment outlook since Q1 2008, with an especially robust mining sector. However, the shrinking workforce due to an aging population is a significant concern for employers.
  • Mining & construction continues to be weak in Australia


  • Employment forecasts in EMEA are expected to increase on a quarter-over-quarter basis in 7 countries, while declining in 11. On a year-over-year basis, anticpated growth is equal to anticipated declines.
  • Growth will continue in Turkey, although at a slower pace than previous quarters as well as year-over-year.
  • There have been many news reports over an improved pace of hiring throughout the UK, and the Manpower survey reflects the same positivity. Growth is anticipated in all sectors and geographic regions except Scotland.
  • Hiring in France is increasing due to a much-improved manufacturing sector, particularly within aerospace.

Manpower has been conducting the employment outlook survey for more than 50 years; it is unique in that it asks employers to predict future hiring instead of reporting historical data.

What is the employment outlook in your region or sector? Does it reflect the Manpower data? Please share in the comments below.


A Recruiter’s Handbook Guide to Snapchat

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Siofra-PhotoOur guest blogger today is Siofra Pratt from our friends at Social Talent. Read more about Social Talent at the end of this post.

As we’ve all seen over the last 2 years, the onslaught of mobile technology has dramatically changed how people interact, how they communicate, how they consume information, and (most notably for recruiters) how they search and apply for jobs. As a result, recruiters have had to adapt and work even harder to capture the ever-decreasing attention spans of today’s job seekers.

snapchat-logo-1Visual media has turned out to be one of the most popular ways of doing so, especially when it comes to job advertising and employer branding. Images and video are attracting more applicants to job postings than ever before, and those figures show no sign of slowing down.

So what’s the common denominator? Snapchat of course! So today, we’re going to explore the merits of an up and coming social app that combines both mobile technology and visual images and discuss why we believe it will be one of the best social recruiting tools of 2015.

What is Snapchat?Snapchat

Snapchat is a photo messaging app, used by over 30 million people on a monthly basis that allows its users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings and then send them to a controlled list of recipients.

That all sounds pretty normal right? Well, the difference with Snapchat is, that each of those images or videos (known as “Snaps”) have a set time limit placed on them for how long the recipient can view that Snap. As of April 2014, that range is from 1 to 10 seconds, after which they will be hidden from the recipient’s device and deleted from Snapchat’s servers.

700 million images and videos are sent via SnapChat every day (that’s 67% more images than Facebook) and Snapchat Stories content is being viewed 500 million times per day!

How can Snapchat be used for recruiting?

Snapchat is a great example of a non-traditional platform that is not only fun and easy for candidates to use, but is also a great method of assessing a  candidate’s communication skills in a way that a resume alone is unable to do. As Likeable Media’s Director of Talent & Culture, Brian Murray, said in his article on the topic, “Great communicators are innately able to use any channel to get their message across. They understand the audience and are able to tailor the message to them. In the case of successful candidates using Snapchat to communicate with me, the best ones understood it as an opportunity to show off, grab attention and speak directly to me. They understood the application was as much about appealing to a person at Likeable as them getting a job. And that’s just it. Snapchat is a great tool for calling on candidates to put their thinking caps on and their creative skills to work, by encouraging them to pitch for the job via the platform.

This technique has worked exceedingly well for three businesses in particular and I’m delighted to say that one of them is Irish ;P

  • DDB Oslo

Back in April of 2014, ad agency DDB Oslo, created “The Snapchat Pitch“, a student contest where candidates were asked to pitch their idea in less than 10 seconds on Snapchat. Contestants were encouraged to do whatever they wanted in those 10 seconds (talk, draw, scream [or] sing) and promised that in return, DDB Oslo’s creative department would watch every single pitch and fly the winner to Oslo for an interview. The challenge created huge buzz around the position in Oslo and the company found their perfect candidate as a result.

  • Sober Lanesoberlane-application

When Sober Lane Bar and Grill were expanding their gastronomic efforts into Dublin earlier this year, they decided to make an extra special effort to attract and hire new staff with the right personality and mentality for the job. And they believed the best way to do that was to permit job applications only through SnapChat. So, using the call to action ‚ – Forget discretion! When making an impression, Sober Lane is our obsession, it’s all about the session, let’s hear your confession, if you want a profession – Sober Lane asked any potential candidates to get throughly creative with their applications.

The message was short, clear, snappy, fun, clever and targeted perfectly at the type of employee they were looking to hire.

  • Likeable Media

Just over a year ago, as part of the standard application process at Likeable Media, all potential candidates received an email with the following message – “Thank you for your interest in Likeable. We will check out your information and be in touch with any questions! You can always tweet me: @BTMurr. Even better… SNAPCHAT me why you belong here (I MAY screenshot): BTMurr”

Brian Murray, the company’s Talent & Culture Director, says he originally included Snapchat in the process because he “figured it could be an entertaining way to engage with some of the brightest and most creative candidates.” He certainly didn’t bargain on it finding him some “amazing” artists and a videographer, or that Snapchat would become the part of application process his candidates referred to as Fun, Creative, Refreshing, and My favourite application, I’ve ever completed.

But Snapchat isn’t just for your candidates. Oh no! It’s also a great medium with which to flex your own creative muscle. The following are just some of the best ways, we believe, you can use Snapchat to attract the right candidates:

Offer vouchers for referrals
In the past, Snapchat has proved to be a great tool for dishing out vouchers in return for customer loyalty. The likes of 16Handles have used this successfully, and the same idea can be applied to recruitment. Brands can entice users/current employees to refer friends for vacancies by offering a Snapchat voucher to be spent on that brand’s products in return. The approach is win-win in that you will not only get a potentially great candidate (88% of employers say employee referrals are the no. 1 source of above average candidates), you’ll also be more likely to get some brand loyalty from the friend who referred them.

Get truly creative with your job ads
We’ve already spoken about the power of images and video when it comes to job advertising, but Snapchat can be used to make creative job advert pictures or videos and send them to an audience who might not normally check your careers page or your other social media accounts. Creativity will always give you an edge on the competition, whether it be with your job advertising or your employer branding and it also gives you and your team a chance to flex your creative muscles and illustrate just how fun and open to new technology your company is.

Post exclusive clips/pics of life inside your office
I’ve lost count of the amount of times we’ve said “do not underestimate the power of employer branding,” but I’m about to drive that point home once again! Snapchat is also a fantastic medium for making your company appear like a desirable place to work (something which will hopefully attract passive candidates). Why not use it to create exclusive behind-the-scenes snaps of the office and its environment, as well as insights into the day-to-day work of existing employees? It speaks to peoples’ need to know who you are, what you do and what it’s like to work for you and it creates a hype around your company. Try posting one picture/video a day at a certain time. This will make users expect a daily snap, and will hopefully increase their interaction with the brand.

But is SnapChat recruiting for you?

The answer to that question depends on your audience. Knowing your candidate audience is important in any recruitment effort, after all how can you attract the right types of people if you don’t know who they are? But when it comes to using Snapchat for recruitment purposes, you need to know that your ideal candidate will actually be using Snapchat.

71% of Snapchat users are under 25 years old. So the majority of Snapchat users will be entry-level graduates. So, if your recruitment needs are for senior-level healthcare providers, Snapchat as a recruitment platform probably isn’t right for you! Ultimately, the recruitment platform must align with the position, so if you’re trying to attract younger employees, creative types, marketing professionals, social media executives etc., Snapchat will be perfect.

But ultimately, as Brian Murray also wrote, “candidates LIKE different.” Applying with Snapchat is quirkier, more creative and more Snapchat1engaging than most application methods, and while it has certainly “driven candidates away” from Likeable Media, as Brian put it “they probably wouldn’t be a culture fit anyway.” Snapchat is new and it’s different, but it could just be exactly what your application process needs to attract the perfect candidate.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post  

At Social Talent we produce content for recruiters to read, enjoy and learn from 5 days a week including ‘How to’ guides, Top 10’s, infographics, industry news and much more from the world of recruitment. So, if you feel like you’d like to read more (of course you do!), please visit or follow us on Twitter at @socialtalent

If you’d like more information on our online recruitment training course, the Black Belt in Internet Recruitment, give us a ring on +353 1 524 1285 and on of our delightful team members will be there to have a chat!

Why You Need a Social Media Policy

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Mel-Kettle-PhotoMel Kettle is a communications and social media consultant, speaker, blogger, educator, coach, bookworm, obsessive foodie and eatie, and a budding photographer. She blogs on marketing and social media at Mel is passionate about working with organisations to show them how to communicate effectively so they can develop communities, share their stories and raise awareness. She particularly enjoys working with people who want to make a difference to other people’s lives. In her spare time Mel writes a food blog, The cook’s notebook.

I often have people ask me why should they have a social media policy? They only have two or three staff. They don’t actually use social media within their business (What??? That’s a whole other issue!).

And I tell them that all organisations need a social media policy. Even those that don’t use it. And especially those that have staff. Even if it’s only one employee.

Let’s face it. The majority, if not all, of your staff are likely to be using some form of social media – such as a personal Facebook account, private Twitter or Instagram account, or maybe they are blogging. Or commenting on blogs.

A social media policy will help them understand what is and what is not acceptable to say about your organisation. It doesn’t need to be long or sophisticated. It does need to include:

  • What can staff share about your business on their personal accounts – e.g. publicly-available information, job opportunities, public events etc
  • What should staff NOT share about your business on their personal accounts – financial information, projects you are tendering for, criticism of other staff/management/ your competition etc.
  • Who manages the company social media accounts and who to contact if you see someone talking about your business online (good or bad)
  • Consequences of a breach of policy

Ideally you want to empower your staff to be ambassadors for your business while showing respect for co-workers, clients, business partners and suppliers.

If you aren’t sure where to start, please get in touch.

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Moving from Contingent to Retained Recruitment

By Dave Nerz

shift-key-yellowFor many recruitment firms, the shift from one style of recruiting to another is a difficult transition. It is not unusual for those starting in the business to begin as contingent recruiters. And some firms find this model suits them well and continue as contingent recruitment firms with no need or desire to change. If it works and you are happy, your clients are good with your method, then keep a good thing going. Having recently spent a few days with a collection of 60-plus firm owners and recruiters, I saw a great desire on the part of many firms to move from purely contingent to at least a partially retained model. Most often there was a desire to offer both models dependent on the situation and the client.

Contingent vs. Retained
So many of those within and outside of the recruitment industry place more importance on the difference between contingent and retained recruiting than may be appropriate. At the end of the day these models define the methods of payment, the commitment between recruiter and client,  signal the way search will be done, but rarely are an indication of skill or ability. Sometimes I hear those that do retained recruiting placing themselves in a more “elite” category than those that “just” do contingent recruiting. While it is generally true that if you are doing retained search you have been in the business longer and your relationship with a client is more evolved, it cannot be generalized that retained recruiters are better or more effective than contingent recruiters. Each recruiter needs to be evaluated on their own level of success and capability and so much is dependent on the roles hired for and the client company’s desirability as a place to work. Some clients will object to the commitment needed to engage them in a retained search. This may be based on experience or sometimes even fear of paying for effort versus results. You need to evaluate each client situation and make the appropriate choice of recruitment model.

Different Models for the Shift
I will cover the methods I have seen and heard about where the shift is mainly from contingent to retained. The reverse does happen but with far less frequency. There are also even more unusual shifts that are made, including the shift from contingent to hourly.

The Partial Retainer
The most common start for those moving from contingent to retained starts with the request from recruiter to client for a “retainer.” I think it is interesting the way these can be positioned by the recruiter. Sometimes I hear of recruiters asking for a portion of an agreed-upon total maximum fee upfront. So 1/3 on agreement to do the search, 1/3 on submittal of a short-list of candidate and 1/3 on completion of 90 days of work by the candidate. The “retainer” is intended to be a fee collected and kept regardless of success. Some are willing to refund portions of this fee.

The Engagement Fee
Some recruiters are asking for an “engagement fee” of $2,500 to $5,000. These fees are typically positioned as non-refundable but deductible from the total fee due on the placement of a successful candidate. So in the end a 25% fee less the prepaid “engagement fee.”

Minimum Billing
This is somewhat unusual but used by some contingent recruiters not so much to move toward a retained model, but more to protect their downside loss. I have learned of some recruiters that will work  contingent but if unsuccessful, have negotiated with their client for an hourly rate upon the closure of an unsuccessful search that is based on hours of work invested. Where I have seen this most commonly applied is when the client’s in-house recruiter is working on a search with a contingent recruiter. It protects the independent recruiter from investing time in a dead-end project.

Exclusive Rate
One recruiter I talked with offers their client a purely contingent rate of 25% fee on any placement. When they balk at the 25% or try to negotiate to a lower fee structure, the recruiter offers a new model that includes a retained component. They refer this as their “exclusive rate.” The exclusive rate means the client gets first priority on the recruiter’s time and attention, but a monthly retainer is required and it is not refundable. The max out-of-pocket paid for a successful placement is 22% of the first year salary. The advantage is “priority service” for the client and monthly income for the recruiter with a maximum cost pre-established with the client.

The Leap
Above are all baby steps toward a retained methodology where perhaps recruiter and client have no experience with retained recruitment. Those that are serious about making the move to retained recruitment need to draw a line with clients. I have seen this successfully done as the market for talent tightens; the successful recruiter will be in a position to write the rules with clients. For many years this was a near impossibility…few jobs and many candidates. As the market for candidates tightens, recruiters will be in a position to consider a change in their pricing practice and models of recruitment. Perhaps it is a strategy that says any new client must be retained and billed monthly. Taking the leap from contingent to retained will require much energy, planning and persistence. In each case, the client company’s situation and experiences with recruiters will influence the ease of any proposed change in pricing plans.

I hope you will share both your experiences and models that are being used to shift from contingent to retained recruitment. I am also interested to learn about firms or recruiters that have shifted away from retained and have gone back to a contingent model. Please post your thoughts below…

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How to Select a Recruitment Agency

By Veronica Scrimshaw

apple-orangeWhether you’re an employer with ongoing hiring needs or have a one-off role to fill, using a recruitment agency is definitely an option worth considering. There are many traits and characteristics to consider when you are evaluating recruitment agencies. If you’re unsure how to select a recruitment agency, here are six pointers worth evaluating:

Relational or Transactional. Broadly, a transactional recruiter will approach your needs as a transaction. A relational recruiter will take time to develop a thorough understanding of your business and culture, and will want to partner with you in a strategic manner for the long term. There is nothing wrong a transactional approach; for certain roles, it may even be desired. What’s most important is to think about how YOU want to work. If you have a transactional mindset and the recruiter has a relational approach, neither side is likely to be satisfied with the working arrangement. In general, however, I think recruiters are more successful when they develop those strong, deep client relationships. They’re more effective at finding good-fit candidates, and understanding your long-term goals can help them work with you on building your team in a strategic way.

Experience. How long has the agency been in business? What about the individual recruiters? What was their pre-recruitment background? Have they worked in your particular industry? It’s also good to know WHO you’ll be working with on your recruitment assignment – a tenured recruiter, or someone who is learning the ropes. Ideally, you’re looking for a firm with a proven track record of success, and that will most likely come from years of experience. Firms that have been in business for a number of years will generally have weathered some economic ups and downs and know how to survive in a slow market.

Specialist or Generalist. Recruitment firms come in all different styles. Some will be “generalist” firms across the board. Others will be made of individual specialists. Others may be micro-specialists, serving a niche-within-a-niche. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer to this question; a lot of it will depend on the business you’re in and the kind of hiring you need to do. If you’re a manufacturing facility and generally need the same sorts of engineers, operations professionals, plant managers, etc. on a consistent and ongoing basis, a generalist firm with manufacturing experience might be perfect for your needs. If you’re a law firm or a hospital, it’s probably best to look for a recruitment agency that focuses specifically on lawyers or nurses. In my experience, there aren’t a lot of “generalist” firms that are really equipped to effectively source those types of candidates. If you need a person with a very specific (and rare) skill set, and you already know there are not a lot of those professionals in existence, a micro-specialist is the way to go. These recruiters have deep networks and relationships; if they don’t already know who all the prime candidates are, they’re going to be able to tap their resources to find them.

Methodology. How does the recruitment agency work? What services are they providing? Be sure you understand exactly what you’re buying and how the process is going to work, including a timeline for presenting candidates and obtaining feedback from you. A successful, professional recruiter should be able to document (or at least thoroughly describe) the steps they will take to complete your search from initial discussion all the way to the candidate’s first day on the job (and maybe longer!).

Accreditation. It’s always a good idea to ask about credentialing. Does the recruitment agency belong to any trade associations or other governing bodies? Have the individual recruiters obtained professional certification? Here in the USA, recruiters can earn a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) designation through NAPS, which means they have mastered a certain level of knowledge about their profession. This includes proficiency in U.S. employment law. NAPS certification also requires that recruitment professionals adhere to specific professional and ethical standards. Recruitment agencies can also belong to formal networks that have a code of conduct, ethics committees, or other oversight.

Size. The size of a recruitment agency is something to consider. There are arguments that “bigger is better” – that larger firms have more resources available and are better able to handle your search. Very large firms can also experience significant staff turnover, and you may find that your account manager is either very inexperienced or is frequently changing. On the other hand, very small firms *can* be limited in how many roles they can reasonably be working on at any one time. There is another option to consider, and that is a small firm that is part of a larger network of recruitment firms. In this scenario, employers can benefit from personal relationships, superior service and attention from the owner or a senior employee, yet still have the “backbone” of a large organization that can support their efforts across multiple occupations, industries, or geographies.

Hiring top talent is a major priority for successful, competitive businesses. Make sure you understand how to select a recruitment agency that will help you meet your hiring needs and goals both now and in the future.


Linked-In Profile Guide for Recruiters

By Sarah Gawrys

19196324.thbWhile recruiters know what to look for in terms of candidate profiles when hunting through Linked-In, as the Director of Membership for a split placement network, it amazes me how many profiles I come across for independent recruiters that are, well, terrible. Today, your personal brand is present on every site you are registered on, and each one of these is an opportunity to network and become more visible. Even if you are not interested in connecting with other independent recruiters to potentially fill more roles by split placements, you can believe that just like you search candidates, the candidates search you when they get an email, phone call, or connection from you. Here are a couple of ways in to increase your personal brand on Linked-In.

  1. Summary. If you are going to stop reading after this point, or this is the only one that caught your eye- please zone in on your summary in your profile. Including information on your specialty as well as your core skills and accomplishments will give you credibility. For example, if I am an ERP candidate or recruiter that has come across your profile, the first thing I would like to see is, “Specializing in ERP recruitment for contract, contract-to-hire and full-time employment nationwide with offices in Denver and San Francisco. Permanent and contract recruitment; executive search; hiring; and staffing industry experience as top-performing recruiters and business developers since 1976.” Right away as a candidate in ERP this tells me you know what you are doing, and you have been doing it a long time. I know that by returning your phone call I will at least be speaking with someone highly knowledgeable in the industry. If I am another recruiter looking for a split placement partner, I will mentally remember your name and ERP even 10 searches later if that role comes up with a client. Applying keywords and phrases that are relevant to the job will also help increase the chance of your profile showing up in recruiter’s search results. For example, “IT sourcing and opportunities for: IT Management | Chief Information Officer – CIO | IT Director | Project Manager | Project Lead | Team Lead | Functional Business Analyst | Programmer – Developer | Data Base Administrator – DBA | Security | Infrastructure | Technical Architect and other IT roles.” This might have you come up in searches for passive candidates just looking for others in those roles to connect with.
  2. Recommendations. Every single profile on Linked-In usually has connections, most at above 500+. It does not mean you are hard-working, friendly, people-orientated, or successful, but rather you sent a great deal of “connections.” The bottom of the profile where those 500+ people randomly endorse your skills you filled out from their homepage? Also found on nearly every complete profile, and again, means very little. What you see less of? Personal recommendations. These are from people who not only took the time to click “accept” on a connection request, but thought highly enough of their experience with you to recommend you to others through a personal note. When I am looking to work with a recruiter on a split placement, or perhaps to work with them to transition to a new career, I can tell a good deal about them from the recommendations written by employees, other placed candidates, or recruiters. For example, “In addition, Mark is a great team member and is always willing to share leads, expertise or strategies with more junior team members,” tells me that this recruiter is not only about himself or money, but is willing to help others, which can be rare to find, and shares a bit of his humanity instead of just his positions held at various companies.
  3. Contacting & Learning More. First and foremost, please have a picture. Primarily because without one, Linked-In moves those with the grey default avatar to the bottom of any search. Give those interested in you a way to learn more or contact you multiple ways besides just a Linked-In connection or In-mail. If they are a candidate not actively hunting, they may not even have a profile that allows many In-mails, so including no other contact information could lose you a connection. Under Contact Info at the top of the profile, including your business website or twitter page, or maybe a link to your business blog gives you more depth as an individual. If you do not appreciate calls or giving out your primary email, perhaps make a gmail account specifically for Linked-In and offer that at the bottom of the page. Show off your expertise to your connections by posting status updates of relevant industry material, personal tips and tricks, or even success stories of candidates placed. One final tip here on connecting is that once you feel as though your profile speaks highly of you; make sure to connect with every candidate or client prior to a call or appointment. By getting a good background they might find things in common or be able to prepare good questions.

If you are looking to get even fancier with your profile, this article from Social Media Examiner gets down to the technological side of enhancing your profile with images and videos.

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Applying Moneyball Principles to Your Recruitment Efforts

By Veronica Scrimshaw

image of baseballI recently watched the film Moneyball (I’m perpetually behind on movie-watching, but I digress), and was struck by how similar it is to recruitment.

A little bit of background for those of you who aren’t baseball fans:

Moneyball is a film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, that is based on a book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. The premise of the both the film and the book is that the game of baseball is unfairly rigged toward wealthy teams. It is centered around the Oakland Athletics. The Athletics are a “small-market” team and do not have the same kind of money available for player salaries as “big-market” teams such as the New York Yankees. The Athletics were a decent team in the early 2000s, but continually found their best players poached during the off-season by teams who could afford to pay more. Even more, the skills and statistics that have been used to measure player performance (hence, their value) are based on outdated statistics that don’t apply as much to today’s game. The Oakland Athletics were the first baseball team to really delve deep into statistical analysis to determine more accurate predictors of offensive success. They used these statistics to find “undervalued” players that they could afford in order to build a competitive team.

There is a scene in the movie where Jonah Hill’s character points out that a lot of teams are looking to get rid of certain players, or are unwilling to hire others, because of perceived flaws (some of which are really silly). One of those flawed players was a good pitcher. He threw a lot of strikes, and not a lot of players were successful hitting against him. Yet no one wanted him because he had a weird-looking throw. Because he didn’t “look right” compared to other players.

How many times have you heard the following from your clients:

“Great engineer, but he just won’t fit in around here.” Based on what? An interview or two? How is the client evaluating fit? Is the client perhaps putting too much weight on interview skill? Are they asking weird/trick questions? What if clients sent out a list of interview questions in advance so that the candidates could prepare the right information in advance instead of just guessing? Baseball teams are made up of players from all different backgrounds. Heck, some of them even have to have a translator so they can communicate with their teammates and coaches. Yet they’re not dismissed due to “fit.”

“We’re really looking for someone from our industry.” While it’s certainly true that industry experience CAN be necessary, there are a lot of jobs where a similar industry is equally good. There’s a famous mantra, “Hire for attitude, train for skills.” Maybe a better version of that would be, “Hire for skills, train for the idiosyncrasies of your specific business.” It seems many clients have moved away from any sort of formalized training. Professional athletes are surrounded by coaches and mentors who help develop their skills and knowledge; why are so many employers unwilling to do the same thing?

“She’s a strong project manager, but weak at team-building.” There is a train of thought that candidates must focus on improving their weaknesses. Improving one’s skills should be a lifelong goal but let’s face it: we’re not all good at everything and there is a point of diminishing returns. Would it be smarter to ask people to work to their strengths and spend most of their time improving those things, and less time doing things they just aren’t good at? While many baseball teams have a “utility player” who can rotate among various positions, most players specialize at a specific position. No one expects the pitcher to also be the team’s best hitter.

How can you help your clients look at their recruitment efforts a little differently? How would results improve with a slight change in perspective?

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