Keep Your Eye on the Prize

By Veronica Scrimshaw

highway-lights-300Today’s guest blogger is James Seidel with James Seidel & Associates located in Kelowna, BC, Canada. JSA is an owner-operated firm with clients across western Canada. The firm primarily places candidates in I/T, engineering, and sales. James is a former leader of our IT Trading Group and is currently serving on the NPAworldwide Board of Directors.

In our business, that prize is a placement and a customer who walks away with a product they feel good about for a price they feel was worth it. If you are good at this business, as in any business, you charge more for your services than someone who is average. Your customers expect more from you for that price, and you deliver. That’s how business works.

Expecting more from us means our customers expect us to provide better candidates, faster than our competitors. That’s the service we sell. They’ve generally done their best to fill the role before they reach for the phone, and they expect us to quickly better their efforts.

To be the best, they expect us to have toolboxes with more tools than they have. They have many of the same tools, sometimes more expensive ones, but still look to us with our toolboxes because somehow we manage to produce. Often we have a deeper database, years of experience in a niche, tireless work ethic, boundless creativity, and all that. But we may have something else that they don’t. A really competent group of affiliates who also work in that space. Who also have deep databases, niche focus, and the mindset to succeed in a competitive business. We can instantly multiply our efforts by 3 or 4 or 5 by a few quick phone calls to people we know can deliver. The ones who have done it in the past. In sports terms, your points leaders are generally the same people this year who did it last year. Those are the folks we get involved. Those are folks our clients don’t have access to and that make US look GREAT to our customers. It gives them the knowledge that a supplier can somehow deliver every time. It keeps them coming back and it keeps us separate from the pack.

You don’t lose half of a fee with a split placement. You GAIN half of a fee with a split placement. You GAIN an affiliate who will help you again the next time you ask. You GAIN the chance of the other affiliates helping you again as they saw the success with your client.  You GAIN a client who had their order filled by a premium recruiter before someone else did. You GAIN the chance to do it again with them. An added bonus? You will meet some really cool people and you’ll likely GAIN some friendships that will last a long time…

Still worried about splitting a fee? Not if you have your eye on the prize.

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Great Interview Questions for Recruiters to Ask

By Veronica Scrimshaw

conference-table-300It seems to me that interviewing skills are all over the table. Sometimes I hear that candidates “don’t interview well,” and I’m sure that’s true. However, I’ve also been through some interviews where it could be fairly said that the INTERVIEWER didn’t interview well either! Since interviews are such a critical component of the hiring process, everyone could stand to improve their interviewing skills – candidates, clients, and recruiters alike. Below are some interview questions for recruiters to ask that will help assess talent more accurately.

From the LinkedIn Talent Blog:

  • Can you share an experience where a project dramatically shifted directions at the last minute? What did you do? Let’s face it, “stuff” happens, and sometimes projects and plans don’t materialize as expected. It’s helpful to understand how candidates react to these situations.
  • Tell me about a time you missed a deadline. What happened? With this question, you might look for responses that indicate the candidate accepts ownership, communicated the missed deadline to higher-ups in an effective manner, took steps to mitigate damage, and/or changed a process to avoid a future recurrence.

Here’s an interview question from Insperity that could be very eye-opening:

  • For managerial candidates, ask if they have had to implement a policy change, structural change, or other significant change that was not very popular. If yes, what was the change, and how did they manage it? You are looking for signs of leadership, and also evidence of the person’s adaptability to change. It’s rare to be in an environment that never changes, so it’s good to see how people handle disruption.
  • On the flip side, ask if the candidate has ever been impacted by an unexpected policy change, structural change, or other significant change. With this question, you may be trying to assess if the candidate is a good team player, or exhibits flexibility under pressure or difficult circumstances.

Lou Adler has two interview questions he uses with great success. The questions lend themselves to other questions and actual performance-related dialogue. They are:

  • Tell me about your most significant accomplishment. If you have specific performance objectives that the candidate will need to meet, it should be fairly simply to ask the candidate for an example of something comparable. The candidate’s answer will allow you to ask further questions that help you determine if that candidate can actually accomplish the things that need to be done in the new role.
  • How would you solve this problem? This question uncovers problem-solving skills, strategy, creativity, planning, and more. It should lead to a back-and-forth conversation that helps you understand how the candidate plans, prioritizes tasks, allocates resources, and other details that indicate success.

Do you have a favorite interview question for recruiters? What’s the WORST question you’ve encountered in an interview? Please share it in the comments!

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How Important Are Reference Checks?

By Liz Carey

BBX50H7QEZAdapting to new hiring practices is a necessity for any business or recruitment partner to thrive in this competitive landscape. And one of the things constantly changing is
the role and importance of pre-employment reference checks in today’s workplace.

Reference checks allow a recruiter to get independent insight about a candidate’s previous on-the-job performance. It verifies the information provided by the candidate on their resume and during the interview. You can also use this information to sell your candidate to your client.

We hear conflicting opinions as to the value of reference checks in this day and age. For many, reference checking is just part of the process, and they don’t place much value on the information gleaned about candidates – thinking the references provided may be biased or even fake. But it is an incredibly vital part of any recruitment process, and should never slip through the cracks. Reference checks can reveal high-potential candidates who may not be the best at interviewing, and filter out the embellishers who appear amazing on paper.

Rather than depend on the opinions of a few references, some recruiters rely on gut instinct or a 2-minute phone call with the candidate, and while gut instinct can sometimes filter out half-truths and fakers, it shouldn’t be the basis for a hiring decision.

Similarly, a resume can only tell so much – It may look like your candidate is able to do the job, but has he actually done the job in the past? This is where references can provide a wealth of information. You don’t want your client learning the hard way about a candidate’s poor performance.

To get insight as to how your candidate actually performs on the job, it’s important to do reference checks. Make sure the references are really who your candidate says they are by looking them up on LinkedIn and calling them on the company’s land-line. Ask open-ended questions about their work processes, attitude, key strengths and areas of improvement, and whether they would have the candidate work with them again. Pay attention to what the reference doesn’t say about the candidate, as well.

The only thing a reference check costs is a little time and effort, and it can save you from huge ramifications further down the line, so there’s no reason to let the process fall through the cracks.

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2016 Workplace Trends for Recruiters

By Dave Nerz

JA1HKXSB6M-300Below are six trends for recruiters to watch for this year:

Trend: Workplace Flexibility

Technology and expanding work hours are driving the need and employee expectations for greater options for when, how and where we all work. Employees are now working and available outside of traditional work hours and the average work day is expanding from 40 to 47 hours in North America. Employee work-life balance is more challenging and employees are now willing to switch employers to keep demands in balance.

Trend: Office Space and Design

As less companies are providing full office space for employees, some companies are using office space as a drawcard to attract employees. That is a strange one, no??? With features such as lounge areas and flexible work settings, you will find that some employees will want a more traditional work environment.

Trend: Boomerang Employees

“Boomerang Employees” are employees that leave a company, only to return later. As employees venture off to new assignments with new employers, they are sometimes disillusioned and return to prior employers where the fit was better. With job swapping becoming increasingly frequent, it is now much more common to accept back a staff member who has ventured out. Recruitment professionals need to consider the impact on searches. Don’t eliminate former employees from your search criteria.

Trend: Rising Benefits Cost

The cost of healthcare premiums is on the rise. The result causes companies to rethink taking on full-time employees. This may even lead to layoffs, and an increase in the use of freelance staff to minimize the cost of employing full time professionals. This represents an opportunity for recruitment agencies to position part-time contracted employees.

Trend: Generation Z in the Workplace

Graduates from tech-savvy Gen Z are entering the workplace. As witnesses to the global recession, these young professionals have realistic expectations, entrepreneurial approaches and flexible work attitude. Get ready for the impact! Professional recruiters should become savvy on generational differences.

Trend: Temp Assignments/Short-term Projects

Job roles are now looked at on a more short-term basis, as job-swapping has become increasingly common and accepted by employers and recruiters. Experienced professionals are often seeking a short term “gig” to suit their current needs. The freelance market is also growing, with more professionals offering their service ad hoc as opposed to a full time role. Variety and flexibility are valuable to this employee. Recruitment professionals need to ask about the desired duration as this may be counterintuitive.

What trends are you seeing?

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Using Appreciative Inquiry in Recruitment

By Amy Teske

Appreciative Inquiry Appreciative Inquiry is about the search for the best in people, their organizations, and the world around them. It is a way to solve problems by looking at what is going right, rather then what is going wrong.

It is easy to be negative. Things sometimes don’t go the way we plan. Deals collapse, communication can be amiss and certainly plans fall through.

The traditional response to these events is problem solving. However, that naturally starts from a negative perspective. For example-something could be done better, and a process needs to be fixed. We then take part in problem identification and come up with a plan of action based solely on the problem.

Let’s take the same problem and approach it with a positive perspective. This is the foundation of Appreciative Inquiry, a method of problem solving that was pioneered by David Cooperrider in the mid 1980’s.

To apply Appreciative Inquiry to a problem solving situation, you focus on the positives. This helps you build on strengths, where conventional problem-solving can help you manage or eliminate your weaknesses. This process is to help your recruitment firm evaluate processes in a unique and positive way.

There are 5 steps in utilizing this method:

  • Define the Problem- Instead of saying Ways to Fix Recruitment Problems, you will say Ways to find the best candidate. This slight wording change can have an impact on your focus.
  • The Discovery Phase- Look at what you have done in the past-and what is working well.   Do you always ask clients a particular question that always helps you be successful? Take note of that.
  • The Dream Phase- You think about what change you want to see. Take the positives you identified in the Discovery phase, and reinforce them to build real strengths and process development.
  • The Design Phase- This phase looks at the need to support the vision. Here you start to realize the types of systems, processes, and strategies that will enable the change to happen.
  • The Deliver Phase- The key to successful delivery is ensuring that the goal is the focal point. The overall result is the changes that occur, that all serve to support and sustain the goal in a positive way.

What would recruitment look like if it were always productive and progressive? Think about the best possible recruitment process, both from a candidate’s point of view and the hiring organization perspective. This mindset can change the outlook and make a positive impact on your business.

Learn more about Appreciative Inquiry here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appreciative_inquiry

Champlain College, David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry

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Bad News About the Future of Staffing and Recruiting

By Veronica Scrimshaw

Scott_Love_cropped_8043Today’s guest blogger is Scott Love. Scott helps staffing and recruiting companies get more business from better clients, and at higher rates and fees. Over 4,500 staffing and recruiting firms from over 35 countries have invested in his systems. Access his Staffing and Recruiting podcast and other free videos and tools that will help you sell more: www.StaffingSalesTraining.com. We are very excited that he will be one of the featured speakers at our upcoming Global Conference in Washington, DC!

Recruiting and staffing firms have entered a year that many believe will be a record in production. Everyone is hiring! Clients want to get more candidates!

But that red-hot image of the future may in fact be a destructive fire on the horizon. Here is the dilemma, and it’s a double dilemma. I hate to sound like a pessimist, but I see so many firms that are not prepared for this impending doom.

First, the candidate pool for staffing and recruiting firms is shrinking. Most people in our industry believe that is a good thing. Why is it shrinking? It’s not just because of the demographic issues, such as retiring baby boomers and a void of talent that is ensuing. But the problematic issue for recruiting and staffing firms is that technology has made it easy for companies (our clients) to boost their hiring through social media. Many have added low cost internal recruiting departments, which means they can hire those who are “good enough” through the ability to easily and more swiftly capture that low hanging fruit. For many of you, your clients have now become your competitors.

That’s the first dilemma. And it’s a big issue.

This second dilemma compounds that issue and even exacerbates it. It’s the fact that, because there is a boost in recruiting firms and staffing agencies in terms of numbers and also in terms of activity, then the companies you hoped to get as clients will not perceive you as valuable since now you are a dime a dozen and seem to be just like all the rest. The batch of new staffing and recruiting firms all want to get business, so they are going to “buy” it by lowering rates and fees; they are training your prospective clients that your business, in spite of the need for it, has become a commodity. If you don’t believe me, count how many times you have heard that your rates or fees are higher than your competitors.

So both of these converging issues mean that 2016 might not be that robust year you were hoping for. Sorry.

But here’s the good news. Many of your competitors might not see the problem and might not know how to be prepared for dealing with it. Let me give you some tactical ideas that can still help you make this an amazing year for you.

1. Understand that the middle has disappeared. This is something I see when I visit and consult to staffing and recruiting companies and speak to them about the competitive landscape. The successful ones know that they need to adapt and change how they perceive their value in the market. It doesn’t have to be a big change, just a shift in your perspective. You will make money by either becoming a Tiffany’s or a Wal-Mart. Both are viable business models and both will make you successful.

2. Understand and articulate your uniqueness. “Staffing firms are all the same.” That’s what your clients think. Are they really that wrong? You have access to the same pool of candidates. You look the same. You charge the same. You do the same thing for them. What’s the difference? You can build in uniqueness by focusing on a certain niche or sub-niche. You can highlight that difference by articulating a message or a story that is relevant to your clients. You can highlight that difference by finding a common theme of specific value and tailoring your message to that theme.

3. Go for the brass ring, not the low hanging fruit. If you hold all the cards by focusing on placing candidates that everyone needs and nobody else has, then you have value and are in a position to charge higher rates and fees. I once consulted to the owner of an independent temp agency in south Florida who was depressed and exasperated from the rate pressure coming from larger competitors. I advised her to build value through specialization and differentiation. I gave her a strategy solution and advised her that, instead of focusing on all administrative areas, she needs to limit her activity to only placing degreed executive assistants who are bilingual on both a temp and perm basis. Her increased value in candidates, just from this minor shift in focus, resulted in price not being an issue. She was the only one in her area that had this focus on specific value in a fungible position, so she was not limited by industry and made more placements at much higher rates and fees. Her processes were easier and more replicable, thereby scalable as she added new employees. Her perceived and tangible value increased, as did her stature in the market. An ancillary benefit of this strategy was that it got her out of the HR department and into the corner office, which meant she could negotiate directly with the executive-level decision-maker whose commitment to those specific placements was much more emotional and personal.

4. Sharpen your skills. Add up your training budget for the past year (how much you have invested in training and development, such as books, seminars, online resources, coaching and consulting). Now, compare this number to what you paid for your college education. Most people might admit that they invested less than $1,000 a year in their own development, but for a college education, they spent tens of thousands in something that has no impact on their income. When you finally start playing to win by investing in yourself and your team, then you will discover ideas and reach new levels of performance.

These are simple ideas, but if you follow them, my prediction is that, at the end of this year, you will be celebrating your best year ever.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Love – reprinted with permission

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Social Media: Which Sites to Choose and How to Use

By Sarah Gawrys

45377332.thbAt an expo I attended a few months ago, I visited many booths that sold services for advertising, marketing, and public relations. I found in my pile a really good piece summarizing different social media platforms and how to use them as a business from the David James Group, and wanted to share for those who set social media as a goal for branding and communicating in 2016. Here are some ideas for sites that I thought would work well for independent recruitment firms.

First and foremost, let’s cover the main information on any site where you are visible as a company. Make sure the profile photo matches across all platforms and is a clear, professional photo of the brand logo or your face. On the cover photo, also have it match across all platforms, and having it be a representation of your brand is best. A good idea is the city you are located in or where you recruit in, or a recent event. Having a fully developed profile is a necessity, so if you have a hanging twitter or Facebook out there you never completed or did anything with, delete it or fix accordingly. On any of these pages, make sure your website and contact information is up to date as well, so if people do find you, they can reach you as well.

Facebook:

  • Company and recruiter updates
  • Publishing content in relation to mission; shared articles and original blog posts
  • Special campaigns
  • Initiatives- themes that run throughout the year
  • Milestones
  • Shared photographs from things like events and company happenings

IDEAL AUDIENCE: adults; broad yet engaged audience

FREQUENCY: 1-2 per day or 1-2 per week depending on company size

IMAGE SIZING: 160×160 for profile photo, 851×315 for cover photo

 

Twitter:

  • Quick updates and announcements
  • News-worthy photos
  • Share photos, graphics, and video related to your initiative
  • Shared interests
  • Relationship builders
  • Relationship development
  • Making a splash

IDEAL AUDIENCE: information seekers age up to 65

FREQUENCY: 5-7 tweets per day, at least 5 days per week

IMAGE SIZING: 400×4000 for profile photo, 1500×1500 for cover photo

LinkedIN:

  • Advertising
  • Business page (campaigns, initiatives, business/organizational happenings)
  • Group pages (updates, news, networking)

IDEAL AUDIENCE: Professional adults

FREQUENCY: 2-5 times per week

IMAGE SIZING: Company page profile photo 100×60, company page cover photo 646×220, LinkedIn group page profile picture 200×200


What Are We Really Doing Here?

By Veronica Scrimshaw

GTDKKKRP55-300Our guest blogger is Judy Tilmont, owner of JST Search Group in Indianapolis, Indiana (USA) and a member of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors. JST Search Group places professionals in a wide range of manufacturing, engineering, operations, and finance roles.

I love a new year. Everything about it speaks to excitement. It’s a new start, a time for reflection, resolution and goal setting. As recruiters, we look forward to the new year more than most. Our clients have new budget dollars, which usually translates to new hires. They are eager to talk with us about their openings. They want butts in the seats before someone else lays claim to that budget. Candidates are now willing to hear about new opportunities. They’ve made resolutions, too. They have told themselves, “I will make a change this year!”  They can see the end of the school year and will consider relocation. And, oh yeah, the housing market is picking up. The engine is primed and we are ready to roll.

We’ve made our resolutions, too. We’ve set our goals. And whether they are based on placements made, fees collected, new client contracts signed or some combination of all three, I think it is important to spend just a few more minutes reflecting. The question I would ask you to consider is, “What are we really doing here?”

The answer is we are changing lives. Think about it. With every phone call we ask someone to trust that we can change their life for the better. To a client, we can find the person who will relieve the stress caused by that open position. We can find the one person that can make their company money, save their company money or fill the one void in the process that will make it easier to make or save money on a day-to-day basis.  To candidates, they trust that we will put them in a place where they can pay their bills a little easier; their career will grow faster, where they can be a difference maker.  Though the decision always rests with them they look to us for the guidance, answers or reassurance to make the final commitment.

I challenge you in this New Year to think about what you are doing in those terms. Think about how we impact lives and what tremendous trust we must garner to allow that to happen. When we submit candidates, make sure they are the ones that will make a difference, those that will fill the void.  When you discuss offers with your candidates, consider the changes they are making and how their lives will be affected. Are they going to be able to pay their bills easier? Is this a culture where they will thrive? I guarantee that’s how your clients and candidates are really thinking about it. So add it to your resolutions. Start each day, remembering people trust you to change their lives for the better and act accordingly, and I promise, this will be a great year!

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Recruiting Trends to Watch

By Veronica Scrimshaw

blue-presentation-folderQualigence International has released its 2016 Recruiting Trends white paper. The report offers a comprehensive look into some of the changes recruiters can expect to see throughout the year, including cross-industry hires, diversity, college graduates, benefits, talent pipeline, and big data. The white paper is a free download; a few of the salient points are highlighted below.

Cross-Industry Hiring. While traditional hiring activity has focused on hiring candidates with direct industry experience that matches a particular role, there can be value in considering candidates that may not have that exact experience in the background. Such candidates may have broader understanding of markets, increased exposure to different types of people and business styles, or be more willing to try new things or tackle new challenges. It’s also wise to remember that longevity in a particular industry may not equal top performance.

Diversity. More employers are looking to diverse their workforces, whether that includes more women in executive or technical roles, increases in racial minorities, or other cultural differences. Other types of diversity can include education levels or work experience.

Talent Pipeline. There is a growing disconnect between finding candidates and making placements. Things that contribute to this include recruiters who either don’t engage with candidates, or who engage with them inappropriately or at the wrong times. Regular, consistent follow-up is critical. Excessively-long hiring processes and multiple below-market offers also cause candidates to withdraw. These are areas where recruiters and employers alike can improve this year.

Candidate Assessments. Employers are getting more sophisticated in how candidates are evaluated, from video interviewing to personality assessments to sample work assignments and more.

Customized Benefits. As candidates continue to value work-life balance, employers are beginning to look at customized benefits packages. While some employees may place more importance on a flexible schedule, others may be more interested in health insurance or fitness/wellness incentives. Look for customized packages to increase.

Time-to-Fill. As the time it takes to fill open positions is near historic high levels, recruiters and employers are beginning to understand the negative impact this can have on a company’s morale, productivity, and financial performance. Efforts to improve the candidate experience, including speeding up the hiring process, should increase as a result.

What recruiting trends are you seeing? Please comment below!

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Headhunting is Back!

By Dave Nerz

vviftdjakyk-matthew-wiebe-300We are in the midst of a severe talent short market. Some predict it will last for years into the future. Even during the recent recession, the unemployment rate for those with four-year degrees and those with advanced degrees was not remarkably high. Today, some career segments, like IT, are at near full employment. Employers and the global recruiters supporting their search for talent are having a tough time finding qualified talent.

So what is this all about? Many employers use “talent shortage” as code for “the people I want at the price I want to pay are not available.” The market has changed and some employers are unwilling to recognize the result of these changes. It makes recruitment virtually impossible for some openings. I hear recruiters say, “I have 5 of these openings in the New York City area and they pay $63,000.” When the market is $75-$80K, this is a pointless search. All the more reason for employers to hire elite recruiters and ask them to properly define the position and market for that position before beginning a search.

There are options, but for more than a decade the level of corporate investment in development, education, and training has been nearly non-existent. Do you see training and development programs in place at the employers you know? Some of the market leaders and trend setters, like Google, Apple, and even oil companies, were investing before oil dropped to record lows. Many of these leaders have been seen abandoning training and development in favor of benefits, perks, signing bonuses and cool work cultures.

So we are in a zero-sum game. This means recruitment will change even more dramatically in the next few years. Headhunting as it is called will be back in vogue. No longer will there be a host of readily-available talent to be found on LinkedIn and other social sites. Finding candidates will require precision-based recruiting to engage, excite, extract and move a candidate from one great position to another.

If employers want to avoid being victim to the talent shortage that is upon us, they will need to pay market rates, hire the best recruiters, and create a desirable work environment with good managers, fair benefits, a positive culture and a healthy work-life balance. Become the job that employees want versus the one they want to leave!

Headhunters: have at those that do not respond…they are called “source employers” and will provide the talent for those employers that are more progressive and realistic.

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