Background Checking … Using Social Media

Robert Pickell, who’s the senior vice president of customer solutions at HireRight, says that he expects to see a lawsuit like that before long: a workplace violence or similar episode will happen, and someone will argue that the employer should have found information on social media indicating that the employee was dangerous.

HireRight has been talking to customers about the social-media-background-checking convergence for three or four years. The company has yet to plunge into it, though, saying there just isn’t demand, and the pitfalls are too great.

In the comment section, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this.


Employee referrals and social media have begun to blend together. Could background checks and social media be next?

A new company called “Social Intelligence” says it’ll “track the worldwide network of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, individual blogs, and thousands of other sources.”

Social Intelligence will, within 24-48 hours, produce a report on a job candidate using both automation as well as humans, the latter there to make sure there aren’t “false positives.” It says it will weed out “protected class” information it finds, such as race and religion. The company is also offering a version to monitor what existing employees are up to.

As far as the hiring version, a screenshot, which you can click on to enlarge, shows that the employee profile screens for such things as: ”Gangs,” “Drugs/drug lingo,” “demonstrating potentially violent behavior,” and “poor judgment” — something we could all agree can be found in ample supply on social media.

I asked the company’s CEO, Max Drucker, whether this judgment thing is kind of subjective. “We err on the side of not flagging something,” he says, adding that “serious red-flag issues” are what they’re really looking for. He also notes that the firm has three people review information before the profile’s done. So, “Todd beat Sean in the 600-meter dash” shouldn’t show up as a Todd-beats-people flag. I hope.

Nick Fishman, the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, doesn’t envision his or other similar companies going down the social-media background-checking road. “Not only are they not now, but I don’t foresee getting into it in the future,” he says. “It’s a hornet’s nest.” Awaiting employers in that nest, he says, are FCRA regulations and EEO rules. Leer más “Background Checking … Using Social Media”

Why the Old Recruiting Skills Are Dead, and Four Essential New Ones

There has never been a more challenging time to be a corporate recruiter. Hiring managers are very demanding and expect fast, personalized service by knowledgeable recruiters. Given the current unemployment rate and the perceived availability of talent, they may be unrealistic in what they expect. Nonetheless, they are the primary customer and need to be provided service at a high level. Candidates, too, are not what they used to be. The talented and highly in-demand candidates also want to be given fast, personalized service by an ethical and in-the-know recruiter.

All of this means that the skills that once defined a successful corporate recruiter are not sufficient. Indeed, those skills may even be detrimental to success.

A corporate recruiter has always had a different skill set than a recruiter working in an agency or as an independent. While agency recruiters have focused on building relationships (often in deep, vertical job families), on tapping into new sources of candidates, and on assessing candidates against a variety of criteria, the corporate recruiter has evolved three very different set of competencies over the years.

The first is the ability to facilitate hiring. These recruiters are adept at dealing with the corporate bureaucracy and legal issues. They are formidable navigators of the corporate landscape. They know every hill and valley, every bomb and sinkhole. These skills are unique to a particular company and do not transfer well. Recruiters with these competencies are most likely to have worked for the same firm for many years. Every bureaucracy has created people with these types of skills and could not function without them. The internal knowledge they have, and their ability to get things done in systems resistant to getting things done, makes them valuable, but only in that system. While this may seem as if it is practical and useful, the skills usually fail completely to help the recruiter navigate a talent-constrained marketplace, find the rare candidates, or convince them to work for the organization.


There has never been a more challenging time to be a corporate recruiter. Hiring managers are very demanding and expect fast, personalized service by knowledgeable recruiters. Given the current unemployment rate and the perceived availability of talent, they may be unrealistic in what they expect. Nonetheless, they are the primary customer and need to be provided service at a high level. Candidates, too, are not what they used to be. The talented and highly in-demand candidates also want to be given fast, personalized service by an ethical and in-the-know recruiter.

All of this means that the skills that once defined a successful corporate recruiter are not sufficient. Indeed, those skills may even be detrimental to success.

A corporate recruiter has always had a different skill set than a recruiter working in an agency or as an independent. While agency recruiters have focused on building relationships (often in deep, vertical job families), on tapping into new sources of candidates, and on assessing candidates against a variety of criteria, the corporate recruiter has evolved three very different set of competencies over the years.

The first is the ability to facilitate hiring. These recruiters are adept at dealing with the corporate bureaucracy and legal issues. They are formidable navigators of the corporate landscape. They know every hill and valley, every bomb and sinkhole. These skills are unique to a particular company and do not transfer well. Recruiters with these competencies are most likely to have worked for the same firm for many years. Every bureaucracy has created people with these types of skills and could not function without them. The internal knowledge they have, and their ability to get things done in systems resistant to getting things done, makes them valuable, but only in that system. While this may seem as if it is practical and useful, the skills usually fail completely to help the recruiter navigate a talent-constrained marketplace, find the rare candidates, or convince them to work for the organization. Leer más “Why the Old Recruiting Skills Are Dead, and Four Essential New Ones”

Why the Old Recruiting Skills Are Dead, and Four Essential New Ones

There has never been a more challenging time to be a corporate recruiter. Hiring managers are very demanding and expect fast, personalized service by knowledgeable recruiters. Given the current unemployment rate and the perceived availability of talent, they may be unrealistic in what they expect. Nonetheless, they are the primary customer and need to be provided service at a high level. Candidates, too, are not what they used to be. The talented and highly in-demand candidates also want to be given fast, personalized service by an ethical and in-the-know recruiter.

All of this means that the skills that once defined a successful corporate recruiter are not sufficient. Indeed, those skills may even be detrimental to success.

A corporate recruiter has always had a different skill set than a recruiter working in an agency or as an independent. While agency recruiters have focused on building relationships (often in deep, vertical job families), on tapping into new sources of candidates, and on assessing candidates against a variety of criteria, the corporate recruiter has evolved three very different set of competencies over the years.

The first is the ability to facilitate hiring. These recruiters are adept at dealing with the corporate bureaucracy and legal issues. They are formidable navigators of the corporate landscape. They know every hill and valley, every bomb and sinkhole. These skills are unique to a particular company and do not transfer well. Recruiters with these competencies are most likely to have worked for the same firm for many years. Every bureaucracy has created people with these types of skills and could not function without them. The internal knowledge they have, and their ability to get things done in systems resistant to getting things done, makes them valuable, but only in that system. While this may seem as if it is practical and useful, the skills usually fail completely to help the recruiter navigate a talent-constrained marketplace, find the rare candidates, or convince them to work for the organization.


There has never been a more challenging time to be a corporate recruiter. Hiring managers are very demanding and expect fast, personalized service by knowledgeable recruiters. Given the current unemployment rate and the perceived availability of talent, they may be unrealistic in what they expect. Nonetheless, they are the primary customer and need to be provided service at a high level. Candidates, too, are not what they used to be. The talented and highly in-demand candidates also want to be given fast, personalized service by an ethical and in-the-know recruiter.

All of this means that the skills that once defined a successful corporate recruiter are not sufficient. Indeed, those skills may even be detrimental to success.

A corporate recruiter has always had a different skill set than a recruiter working in an agency or as an independent. While agency recruiters have focused on building relationships (often in deep, vertical job families), on tapping into new sources of candidates, and on assessing candidates against a variety of criteria, the corporate recruiter has evolved three very different set of competencies over the years.

The first is the ability to facilitate hiring. These recruiters are adept at dealing with the corporate bureaucracy and legal issues. They are formidable navigators of the corporate landscape. They know every hill and valley, every bomb and sinkhole. These skills are unique to a particular company and do not transfer well. Recruiters with these competencies are most likely to have worked for the same firm for many years. Every bureaucracy has created people with these types of skills and could not function without them. The internal knowledge they have, and their ability to get things done in systems resistant to getting things done, makes them valuable, but only in that system. While this may seem as if it is practical and useful, the skills usually fail completely to help the recruiter navigate a talent-constrained marketplace, find the rare candidates, or convince them to work for the organization. Leer más “Why the Old Recruiting Skills Are Dead, and Four Essential New Ones”

The Future of College Recruiting Will be Dominated by Market Research (Part 1 of 2)

The current lull in college recruiting is an opportune time to evaluate new strategies and tools. It is no secret that the vast majority of organizations that recruit from college campuses globally do so tactically, employing little or no strategy. To even the casual observer, the approaches used are predictable, pedestrian, and in some cases laughable, but all of that is about to change.

From the vantage point of someone who has been involved in college recruiting for more than 40 years, either representing a corporation or a university, it is clear that we are approaching a strategic inflection point with regard to the amount of strategy supporting college recruiting.

As that inflection point approaches, there are several dramatic changes that you should anticipate, including:

* The growth of social media (already demonstrating significant impact), opens up hundreds of new communication channels, allowing organizations to present highly targeted messages to highly targeted prospect segments and to cultivate relationships with top talent throughout their academic careers.
* The growth in acceptance of and access to video communication equipment will make it possible for organizations to decrease the use of campus visits and embrace “remote college recruiting.” This societal change comes just as more universities embrace virtual classrooms that allow students to participate in courses without being physically present. Costs will drop, organizations will be able to expand the number of colleges mined for talent, and everyone involved will save time.
* The globalization of work will force organizations to embrace unified global sourcing. While most organizations today continue to recruit geographically, as work becomes more distributed and global universities refine their emphasis and establish stronger industrial ties (Petronas University of Technology for example), organizations will have no choice but to tap the global market to recruit the high volume of graduates with specialized skills needed.
* The “businessization” of university recruiting will require more strategic, longer-term programs to manage complex situations. Due to the dramatic growth of for-profit universities and ongoing economic pressures on public institutions, many educational programs today have direct ties to established corporations that enable benefactors closer access to top students. Cultivating a relationship with said students in such environments will require college recruiting functions to become more business-like, i.e. guided by strategy, empowered with real-time information and relationship-management tools, and world-class opportunities (think of jobs as products) to take to students.

All of the changes highlighted above point to a demand for the college recruiting function to migrate away from being a game of chance to a more serious function that embraces cutting-edge marketing and sales tactics to deliver specific students to the organization. The modern arsenal of tools needed will include CRM (customer relationship management) systems and highly segmented branding informed by robust market research.


by Dr. John Sullivan | //ere.net

The current lull in college recruiting is an opportune time to evaluate new strategies and tools. It is no secret that the vast majority of organizations that recruit from college campuses globally do so tactically, employing little or no strategy. To even the casual observer, the approaches used are predictable, pedestrian, and in some cases laughable, but all of that is about to change.

From the vantage point of someone who has been involved in college recruiting for more than 40 years, either representing a corporation or a university, it is clear that we are approaching a strategic inflection point with regard to the amount of strategy supporting college recruiting.

As that inflection point approaches, there are several dramatic changes that you should anticipate, including:

  • The growth of social media (already demonstrating significant impact), opens up hundreds of new communication channels, allowing organizations to present highly targeted messages to highly targeted prospect segments and to cultivate relationships with top talent throughout their academic careers.
  • The growth in acceptance of and access to video communication equipment will make it possible for organizations to decrease the use of campus visits and embrace “remote college recruiting.” This societal change comes just as more universities embrace virtual classrooms that allow students to participate in courses without being physically present. Costs will drop, organizations will be able to expand the number of colleges mined for talent, and everyone involved will save time.
  • The globalization of work will force organizations to embrace unified global sourcing. While most organizations today continue to recruit geographically, as work becomes more distributed and global universities refine their emphasis and establish stronger industrial ties (Petronas University of Technology for example), organizations will have no choice but to tap the global market to recruit the high volume of graduates with specialized skills needed.
  • The “businessization” of university recruiting will require more strategic, longer-term programs to manage complex situations. Due to the dramatic growth of for-profit universities and ongoing economic pressures on public institutions, many educational programs today have direct ties to established corporations that enable benefactors closer access to top students. Cultivating a relationship with said students in such environments will require college recruiting functions to become more business-like, i.e. guided by strategy, empowered with real-time information and relationship-management tools, and world-class opportunities (think of jobs as products) to take to students.

All of the changes highlighted above point to a demand for the college recruiting function to migrate away from being a game of chance to a more serious function that embraces cutting-edge marketing and sales tactics to deliver specific students to the organization. The modern arsenal of tools needed will include CRM (customer relationship management) systems and highly segmented branding informed by robust market research. Leer más “The Future of College Recruiting Will be Dominated by Market Research (Part 1 of 2)”

Movement from Test to Experience: a Fundamental Shift in Assessment Perspective

Despite the advantages listed above, we need to be realists and face the fact that testing is a difficult game to be in. Despite a huge shot in the arm provided by technology, the basic testing paradigm still involves candidates filling in small circles and likely grousing a bit in the process.

On the other side of the fence, many companies view a “test” as isolated element of the hiring process, not an integrated part of the bigger picture. As a result of this paradigm it is not a stretch to say that in their current mainstream state of use:

* Tests are boring — they are not engaging for candidates. In fact, they have the opposite effect.
* Tests build walls — it is very common for a separate function to be in charge of testing and for tests to be an “add on,” creating separation between various parts of the recruitment/staffing functions
* Tests are highly localized — although highly effective as key parts of an employee lifecycle/talent management perspective, tests are most commonly used to fight fires
* Tests offer only a one-way dialogue — pre-employment tests provide no feedback to the applicant and by doing so can function to erode employment branding efforts


Reengineering guidance and relationship of Mis...

by Dr. Charles Handler | //ere.net

Those of us in the testing and assessment business are very proud of what we do. We have about 50 years of experience in helping companies to make better hiring decisions, resulting in happier employees and increased ROI. Some of the benefits of pre-employment assessments include:

  • Sound methodology: when created correctly, assessments provide an accurate and reliable way to measure constructs important for job performance
  • ROI: we have tons of data to show that assessments provide a strong value add to the hiring process
  • Variety: there are thousands of tests available, covering almost every job and industry
  • Versatility: tests can be used for both pre- and post-hire assessment, helping them offer more value

Despite the advantages listed above, we need to be realists and face the fact that testing is a difficult game to be in. Despite a huge shot in the arm provided by technology, the basic testing paradigm still involves candidates filling in small circles and likely grousing a bit in the process.

On the other side of the fence, many companies view a “test” as isolated element of the hiring process, not an integrated part of the bigger picture. As a result of this paradigm it is not a stretch to say that in their current mainstream state of use:

  • Tests are boring — they are not engaging for candidates. In fact, they have the opposite effect.
  • Tests build walls — it is very common for a separate function to be in charge of testing and for tests to be an “add on,” creating separation between various parts of the recruitment/staffing functions
  • Tests are highly localized — although highly effective as key parts of an employee lifecycle/talent management perspective, tests are most commonly used to fight fires
  • Tests offer only a one-way dialogue — pre-employment tests provide no feedback to the applicant and by doing so can function to erode employment branding efforts

The positive and negative factors associated with testing combined with what I call “technology push” (the idea that advances in technology push all businesses and industries upward and forward by providing the infrastructure needed for innovation) are driving a fundamental shift in testing. This shift will carry us away from thinking about “tests” toward an increased focus on the idea of creating an “experience” that adds value for all parties involved in multiple ways.

We can expect this shift in focus to bring an increase in:

  • Transparency: tests will become embedded into a more engaging candidate experience until they become transparent to the applicant
  • Interactivity: experiences will increase the level of interactivity between organizations and job applicants/employees, as well as interactivity within the applicant population
  • Predictive accuracy: technology-backed experiences will help create major shifts in predictive capabilities of assessment-based content based on business intelligence and data analysis that flows from increased engagement and interactivity Leer más “Movement from Test to Experience: a Fundamental Shift in Assessment Perspective”

How to Get Your Executives to Pay Attention to Metrics (Part 2 of 2)

Maximizing Visibility

* Imbed metrics in standard business reports — this is the most important action among the 25 listed here. HR metrics are traditionally presented in independent HR reports, which are rarely widely distributed or read. Reports emanating from the CEO, COO, CFO, and business unit leaders are more likely to be widely read and therefore the best place to embed a few powerful HR metrics. Many business leaders inherently accept that things like vacant positions, quality of hire, turnover, and absenteeism negatively impact their business, but are used to discussions about each being silo’d as HR issues, not business issues. Partnering with business leaders to identify workforce-related risks and embedding information about each in relevant business communications will make the connection more clear.
* Alerts and forecasting — the vast majority of HR metrics being reported today reveal little change from period to period, making paying attention to them akin to staring at a rock and waiting for it to dance. If you want managers to pay attention, stop reporting nothing and start alerting managers to things that are changing or that will likely impact their business.
* Include an executive summary — if you must push out a lot of information, keep in mind that like you, busy executives don’t have the time to read an entire report, so be sure to include an executive summary highlighting the problems or opportunities that your metrics point out.
* Continue the story — in addition to reporting your successes through metrics, use other communications to further spread your message. One approach is to write up your HR “success stories” in a narrative format and then integrate them into regular communication mechanisms like newsletters, web sites, blogs, videos, and internal presentations.
* Get some metrics in the annual report – the most widely distributed business report is the annual report. Getting a few of your critical metrics in it increases both your visibility and status and may result in external analysts commenting on your successes.


Metrics have become and will continue to be an indispensable tool when it comes to managing any corporate function strategically. Unfortunately, like many things in life, not all metrics deliver the same value. In part one of this series, I discussed five differentiators that set exceptional metrics initiatives apart from average ones and offered up a number of ways that you could improve your efforts with formal planning and a compelling presentation format. In this part, my attention turns to improving the visibility, relevance, and emphasis of your efforts.

Maximizing Visibility

  • Imbed metrics in standard business reports — this is the most important action among the 25 listed here. HR metrics are traditionally presented in independent HR reports, which are rarely widely distributed or read. Reports emanating from the CEO, COO, CFO, and business unit leaders are more likely to be widely read and therefore the best place to embed a few powerful HR metrics. Many business leaders inherently accept that things like vacant positions, quality of hire, turnover, and absenteeism negatively impact their business, but are used to discussions about each being silo’d as HR issues, not business issues. Partnering with business leaders to identify workforce-related risks and embedding information about each in relevant business communications will make the connection more clear.
  • Alerts and forecasting — the vast majority of HR metrics being reported today reveal little change from period to period, making paying attention to them akin to staring at a rock and waiting for it to dance. If you want managers to pay attention, stop reporting nothing and start alerting managers to things that are changing or that will likely impact their business.
  • Include an executive summary — if you must push out a lot of information, keep in mind that like you, busy executives don’t have the time to read an entire report, so be sure to include an executive summary highlighting the problems or opportunities that your metrics point out.
  • Continue the story — in addition to reporting your successes through metrics, use other communications to further spread your message. One approach is to write up your HR “success stories” in a narrative format and then integrate them into regular communication mechanisms like newsletters, web sites, blogs, videos, and internal presentations.
  • Get some metrics in the annual report – the most widely distributed business report is the annual report. Getting a few of your critical metrics in it increases both your visibility and status and may result in external analysts commenting on your successes.

Improving Relevance

  • Give them input in selecting metrics — the metrics you report on might seem irrelevant to your managers because they were not involved in selecting them. Ask your target audience “what people-management metrics would help them make better decisions?” If they select a weak metric, educate them about better metrics that may present a more accurate story.
  • Always include ROI — the return on the investment of budget dollars (or ROI) is the single most powerful metric. As a result, include the estimated ROI ratio of people-management, which compares all labor and HR costs to the revenue generated by your firm’s employees. If this ROI percentage (also known as workforce productivity) is high, you should directly compare it to other business functions.
  • Drop metrics that are ignored – if you deliver your metrics online, use web analytics to determine which metrics managers are paying attention to and drop those they are not. If you are not relying on electronic distribution, ask them.
  • Avoid tactical metrics – even if executives and managers request them, it’s often best to omit tactical or operational metrics that cover process efficiency. Focus on strategic metrics that directly relate to or directly impact primary business goals (i.e. revenue, profit, product development, customer service and sales). Leer más “How to Get Your Executives to Pay Attention to Metrics (Part 2 of 2)”

Career Development Complaints Is a Warning Sign and an Invitation

Having a job almost three years into the recession is a type of security, which explains why 81 percent of the workers in the survey aren’t actively looking, though 51 percent of them see no career advancement where they are, and 43 percent believe they have to change jobs to move up.

Wise HR professionals should take these surveys as an early warning. Internal career advancement may be limited, but that doesn’t mean bosses should be overlooking opportunities to help their staff develop the skills they’ll need when openings do come up.

Two years ago, when Lake Research Partners asked about career development, 25 percent of the workers said their boss was “not providing guidance and opportunities necessary to advance.” Now, almost three times as many workers feel that way.

Besides being good business to have workers ready to step up, it can also help ward off recruiter raiding. If large numbers of workers are unhappy with their career development, and a big percentage feel they have to leave their company to grow, that’s fertile ground for recruiters. You can’t stop defections, but doing nothing will only make the best talent more receptive to other opportunities.


The Office's Michael ScottWhen CareerBuilder asked workers which TV bosses most reminded them of their own boss, it wasn’t much of a surprise to find American Idol‘s Simon Cowell and The Office‘s Michael Scott among the top ten.

But Judge Judy? Oprah?

I don’t suppose most of us think of Cowell, Judge Judy or Oprah as TV bosses, even if bossy and opinionated and judgmental fit two of the three. But hey, this is CareerBuilder’s gig and it’s just for fun anyway.

Oprah made the list because she reminded at least some of the almost 4,500 poll takers of their boss. “Very influential and informative,” CareerBuilder called her. The job board applied another “i” word to Cowell: “insulting.” Michael Scott got his own “i” word: “idiotic.” Judge Judy was “no nonsense and fair.”

There was a serious side to the online survey. Workers were asked their opinion of their boss’ skills and management qualities. The biggest shortcoming, identified by 61 percent of the participants, was in career development. They didn’t feel the boss was doing a good job preparing them to advance in the company. Leer más “Career Development Complaints Is a Warning Sign and an Invitation”

Twitter’s Hiring Strategies

Last week, SourceCon ran the first part of an article series on Twitter’s Hiring Strategies, outlining some of the significant new hires Twitter has made this year. I also showed you the video that Twitter put out to help its recruiting efforts. I was able to grab about 30 minutes with Twitter’s director of recruiting, Oliver Ryan, and talk to him about some of the recruiting and hiring practices that Twitter has in place for its internal efforts. While Twitter has talked with several tech media publishers about their recruiting video, this is the first time it has talked about their recruiting practices directly with the HR, recruiting, and sourcing community.


Last week, SourceCon ran the first part of an article series on Twitter’s Hiring Strategies, outlining some of the significant new hires Twitter has made this year. I also showed you the video that Twitter put out to help its recruiting efforts. I was able to grab about 30 minutes with Twitter’s director of recruiting, Oliver Ryan, and talk to him about some of the recruiting and hiring practices that Twitter has in place for its internal efforts. While Twitter has talked with several tech media publishers about their recruiting video, this is the first time it has talked about their recruiting practices directly with the HR, recruiting, and sourcing community.

Oliver Ryan, Director of Recruiting (or “People Wrangler” as it states in his LinkedIn profile), joined Twitter about a year ago. When he arrived, there were no full-time recruiting resources at Twitter, and total headcount was only around 40 employees. Since then, Ryan was offered a full-time position and the company has grown to over 250 employees, with the recruiting team now at eleven people. Leer más “Twitter’s Hiring Strategies”

How Should You Be Structured? 10 Questions to Ask

Centralized Structure: The most common is the centralized structure that more than 50% of recruiting functions follow. Central structures are not only common; they are efficient. A single person controls all recruiters, all budgets, and all resources. Decisions get made quickly. It “looks” efficient and streamlined to those who approach organizations like machines and expect people to act like machines.

Its weakness is that most leaders make decisions with imperfect data, distorted views of events, and often play to what pleases their boss more than to what’s right for the organization. The very best recruiters and many who have strong ideas may become disengaged and leave, depriving the organization of their perspective. It also limits creativity and experimentation as central leadership is about expediency and the here-and-now.

However, it can be an effective structure, especially in a small organization. If your company has only a handful of recruiters and little infrastructure, a central organization does make a lot of sense and would be a logical form. It requires a central leader with a sense of vision and with the capability to set direction.

Decentralized Structure: Completely decentralized structures are much less common and only appropriate in the rarest of circumstances. In a large and highly diversified conglomerate, perhaps a form of decentralization would be an acceptable way to organize. This structure allows each part to have total control over itself. In effect, it is many centralized functions working under the same umbrella. Its strength is the freedom it gives to a recruiter to do his or her job in whatever way desired. But the flip side is that the resources to implement ideas and the commitment to follow through are often missing, making the freedom much less valuable.

In decentralized structures many things don’t get done very well or at all: metrics are not rolled up, recruiters do not receive consistent training, EEO standards are hard to enforce, and it is probably hard to even get the right data. There is no overall strategy and little sense of belonging to a larger organization. While freedom is nice in many ways, this is too much of a good thing.

Matrix Structure: This is a complex structure where individual functional areas are divided to support particular products, product lines, business units, etc. For example, the recruiting department might have a sourcing group where individuals are assigned to particular product groups or business units. There might be teams made up of sourcers, recruiters, HR generalists, and so forth to support the business.

The weakness of a matrix organization structure is lack of clarity as to where loyalty really lies. If an individual is responsive to the business and neglects the functional loyalties, or vice-versa, there can be tension, anger, and loss of financial rewards.

Matrix structures rarely work well, but when they do, leadership makes it very clear where rewards come from and where primary loyalty lies.

Hybrid model: This is also called the federal model because it look a great deal like the way the United States has modeled the relationship of its central government with the individual states. The “states” in our model are the various divisions or branches of your organization, and they have the core responsibility for recruiting. The central function still exists and has its own set of responsibilities and duties. It sets an overall strategy for the recruiting function, develops standards and training so that every recruiter does things in a similar way, funds research, and purchases and maintains a central talent acquisition system or other system for building talent pools.

Organizations who adopt this structure need recruiters who are collaborative and yet can focus on filling the needs of their internal clients. They need creative and flexible managers who can adapt quickly and figure out ways to stay within the guidelines and standards and still get the positions filled. It is a structure filled with give and take — with the need to compromise and share for the greater good. It is a powerful model, but harder to sell than the seemingly more efficient centralized model.

This is also a model that adapts well to global units and to virtual workers. Each can operate the way best suited to their circumstances, but they also agree to abide by the commonly agreed-upon rules, use the same technology, and share their skills and learnings. This structure fits the social network model and provides for focus while allowing the maximum amount of flexibility and freedom.

I have compiled a list of questions that may help you think through how you are organized and whether or not to restructure.

1. Does your current structure help you achieve your recruiting goals or does it impede attaining them by fostering inefficient or poor decision making?
2. Does your current structure play to everyone’s strengths? Do those with the right skills work in the right place and feel comfortable making suggestions and offering ideas?
3. Does this structure allow for cross division/business unit collaboration and sharing?
4. Does each business unit feel that it is being well served by this structure?
5. Does everyone have access to and use the same technology for tracking and reporting?
6. Have you removed all extra layers and reporting relationships that do not add direct value? Is it efficient?
7. Do the hiring managers understand where to go and who to go to for services?
8. Are there clear lines of responsibility and accountability for each aspect of the recruiting function?
9. Are decisions made with minimum bureaucracy?
10. Are critical data and facts funneled to a common core for reporting?

There are no absolute right or wrong answers to what structure is best. There are perhaps three criteria that are core to deciding if you have chosen the best one for your organization. These are:

1. The customer (and who that is can depend) becomes the central measure of success. His satisfaction is the core measure.
2. All data, internal and external, is centrally recorded and available for analysis and incorporation into HRIS and other tools.
3. Needs and resources are flexibly and quickly matched. Resources are allocated to ensure customer satisfaction.

Any structure that helps to achieve the organization’s goals in a way that is respectful of others, encourages creativity and honest feedback, and that accommodates virtual and global workers is a good one.


I see many recruiting functions wavering back and forth between centralized, decentralized, and some hybrid forms of organization. Recently this has been made worse by the increased number of virtual, contract, and part-time recruiters and the global spread of sourcing and social networks.

I usually end up, when talking to recruiting leaders, in the age-old discussion over whether it is best to keep the function centralized or to change to some other form. I think the majority of leaders want a centralized function for a couple of reasons. The first is the desire to be in control without question. It’s about power and prestige, because in the corporate world, the more people who report to you the more assumed power you have. The second is for efficiency because it is true that organizations with one leader can make decisions fast — whether they are good ones or not.

But leaders should ask which structure will be the best one for their particular organization. There should be a clear set of answers to these questions: “What are you trying to achieve?” and “What is your organization’s culture?” Because, in the end, every effective structure is a reflection of strategic intent and of the values and goals of the organization.

Within organizations there are structures are most commonly found, along with their tweaks, modifications, and adaptations. Leer más “How Should You Be Structured? 10 Questions to Ask”

Little Hiring Seen for Rest of Year

You’ve heard that old saw that if something quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck? Might as well apply it to the U.S. economy.

Today’s Economic Trends Index from The Conference Board declined slightly from July. It now stands at 96.7. In July it was 97.4.

Obviously, that’s not good news, though a .7 drop in an index that is up 9.4 percent in a year might be ignorable if all it did was quack. But the Index is also walking like the duck it is. For the first time since March 2009 seven of the eight components that go into the index turned negative.

The Conference Board reported the weakening indicators were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons; Job Openings; Industrial Production; and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales.


You’ve heard that old saw that if something quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck? Might as well apply it to the U.S. economy.

Today’s Economic Trends Index from The Conference Board declined slightly from July. It now stands at 96.7. In July it was 97.4.

Obviously, that’s not good news, though a .7 drop in an index that is up 9.4 percent in a year might be ignorable if all it did was quack. But the Index is also walking like the duck it is. For the first time since March 2009 seven of the eight components that go into the index turned negative.

The Conference Board reported the weakening indicators were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons; Job Openings; Industrial Production; and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales. Leer más “Little Hiring Seen for Rest of Year”

Sun Tzu on Sourcing

Is there nothing new under the sun?

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general. His Art of War is the oldest military treatise in the world.

He thought spies were an essential part of war — and where is Sourcecon being held in 2010?

At the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (on September 28 and 29).

When I saw that, it made me want to go back to Sun Tzu and see if there is anything he can tell us about intelligence gathering today.

Here’s what I found: economics.

This is the first thing Sun Tzu says about spies. (Chapter 13:1)

Raising 100,000 men and marching them a long distance will bring heavy losses and drain the resources of the state.

Men will drop exhausted on the highways.

It will cost 1,000 ounces of silver a day.

There will be problems at home and abroad.

Up to 700,000 families will be negatively affected.

Waging war costs money. It uses up your resources. It takes people away from their regular jobs.

So, one of Sun Tzu’s major goals was to avoid war altogether or reduce the cost and an essential part of his strategy was the use of spies.

He said that a wise general will use “the highest intelligence of the army for spying.” (13:27).

Here’s the reason. If a spy can identify the most important targets and tell you how to get to them, it spares you the cost of throwing a big army into the fray without knowing exactly where you’re going.

So, in effect the spy leads the army. She tells the generals where to go.

Spies are a most important element in war, because on them depends an army’s ability to move. (13:27)

How does this relate to recruiting? Well, what are the options? If you put an ad on a job board, you’ll get a ton of resumes. Most of them are going to be irrelevant, but your recruiters will have to spend time sorting them out.

The person you’re after, however, might not even be looking for a job. She might not be searching the job boards and it’s likely that no one is telling her about the ad either. So, all of your time is wasted, the job remains unfilled, and the required work remains undone.

On the other hand, you can hire a sourcer who will go out and identify good people and then the recruiter can call them.

Which path is most likely to reach the right targets faster? And which is going to be cheaper in the end?

Sun Tzu says that:

Hostile armies can face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of 100 ounces of silver in honors and payments, is the height of inhumanity. (13:2)

And what is the most important kind of intelligence? According to Sun Tzu, names.

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. (13:20)

Cheaping out on the cost of a sourcer is only going to postpone, sometimes at great cost, your opportunity to meet the people you’re pursuing.
Types of Spies…


Sun-tzu

Is there nothing new under the sun?

Sun Tzu was an ancient Chinese general. His Art of War is the oldest military treatise in the world.

He thought spies were an essential part of war — and where is Sourcecon being held in 2010?

At the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. (on September 28 and 29).

When I saw that, it made me want to go back to Sun Tzu and see if there is anything he can tell us about intelligence gathering today.

Here’s what I found: economics.

This is the first thing Sun Tzu says about spies. (Chapter 13:1)

Raising 100,000 men and marching them a long distance will bring heavy losses and drain the resources of the state.

Men will drop exhausted on the highways.

It will cost 1,000 ounces of silver a day.

There will be problems at home and abroad.

Up to 700,000 families will be negatively affected.

Waging war costs money. It uses up your resources. It takes people away from their regular jobs.

So, one of Sun Tzu’s major goals was to avoid war altogether or reduce the cost and an essential part of his strategy was the use of spies.

He said that a wise general will use “the highest intelligence of the army for spying.” (13:27).

Here’s the reason. If a spy can identify the most important targets and tell you how to get to them, it spares you the cost of throwing a big army into the fray without knowing exactly where you’re going.

So, in effect the spy leads the army. She tells the generals where to go.

Spies are a most important element in war, because on them depends an army’s ability to move. (13:27)

How does this relate to recruiting? Well, what are the options? If you put an ad on a job board, you’ll get a ton of resumes. Most of them are going to be irrelevant, but your recruiters will have to spend time sorting them out.

The person you’re after, however, might not even be looking for a job. She might not be searching the job boards and it’s likely that no one is telling her about the ad either. So, all of your time is wasted, the job remains unfilled, and the required work remains undone.

On the other hand, you can hire a sourcer who will go out and identify good people and then the recruiter can call them.

Which path is most likely to reach the right targets faster? And which is going to be cheaper in the end?

Sun Tzu says that:

Hostile armies can face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of 100 ounces of silver in honors and payments, is the height of inhumanity. (13:2)

And what is the most important kind of intelligence? According to Sun Tzu, names.

Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm a city, or to assassinate an individual, it is always necessary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, the aides-de-camp, and door-keepers and sentries of the general in command. Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. (13:20)

Cheaping out on the cost of a sourcer is only going to postpone, sometimes at great cost, your opportunity to meet the people you’re pursuing.

Types of Spies… Leer más “Sun Tzu on Sourcing”

How to Get Your Executives to Pay Attention to Metrics (Part 1 of 2)

It has taken many years to get to this point, but almost everyone in recruiting has come to understand the necessity of metrics. Unfortunately however, the vast majority of metrics in use today have little impact because they were not designed to effectively “get the attention” of executives.

The issue isn’t metrics in general; at firms like Microsoft and Google, executive team meetings are often referred to as the equivalent of “math camp.” While other firms may not be as “geeky,” metrics rule the boardroom. The lack of interest in HR metrics also cannot be attributed to HR being an overhead function, as that state is true for both finance and supply chain management, neither of which fail to garner attention.

The real issue few pay attention to HR metrics is a simple one: most simply are not compelling. Let’s face it: HR is rarely a strategic priority, and due to years of bureaucracy and failure to meet expectations, it is something that most managers and executives would rather deal with less rather than more unless it is immediately relevant to their business.

For metrics to be effective in altering behavior, they need to be both visible and immediately relevant to the audience that needs influencing, not the party producing them. To accomplish that, recruiting leaders need to proactively identify and understand the factors that make a metric a critical “must-see” metric. The goal behind measurement initiatives should be to get executives to demand access to y


It has taken many years to get to this point, but almost everyone in recruiting has come to understand the necessity of metrics. Unfortunately however, the vast majority of metrics in use today have little impact because they were not designed to effectively “get the attention” of executives.

The issue isn’t metrics in general; at firms like Microsoft and Google, executive team meetings are often referred to as the equivalent of “math camp.” While other firms may not be as “geeky,” metrics rule the boardroom. The lack of interest in HR metrics also cannot be attributed to HR being an overhead function, as that state is true for both finance and supply chain management, neither of which fail to garner attention.

The real issue few pay attention to HR metrics is a simple one: most simply are not compelling. Let’s face it: HR is rarely a strategic priority, and due to years of bureaucracy and failure to meet expectations, it is something that most managers and executives would rather deal with less rather than more unless it is immediately relevant to their business.

For metrics to be effective in altering behavior, they need to be both visible and immediately relevant to the audience that needs influencing, not the party producing them. To accomplish that, recruiting leaders need to proactively identify and understand the factors that make a metric a critical “must-see” metric. The goal behind measurement initiatives should be to get executives to demand access to your metrics, to pay thorough attention to them, and to know immediately how to act differently in response to them. Leer más “How to Get Your Executives to Pay Attention to Metrics (Part 1 of 2)”

For Recruiting, the Use of the Cloud, and the Crowd, Are Growing

A novel idea for a company, originating out of UNC’s business school, but you haven’t heard of it until now. So Engelke’s looking for someone to market it using a viral campaign. This weekend he plans on posting the project on a website called 31Projects. With that site, top, pre-screened students will have about three to five weeks to submit their suggestions for the build-your-own-cereal campaign, and Engelke will pick a winner. He’ll pay the winner in the neighborhood of $25/hour for implementing the campaign, and if all goes well, may end up hiring them.

Engelke heard about 31Projects through the Triangle area of North Carolina, where he says “everybody knows everybody through one or two connections.” 31Projects will launch next week. It has several hundred MBA and grad students signed up in its network, and has tested it with employers, including a non-profit research institute. Later, it hopes to expand, using undergraduate students as well.

Getting people who don’t work for you, or who at least don’t yet work for you, to do work, isn’t new. Raghav Singh mentioned in an email that “Brassring was doing something like this back in 2000,” using a big virtual network of people to clean up resumes.


Image representing CloudCrowd as depicted in C...

It’s not a new phenomenon, but watch for the use of the cloud, and also the crowd, to grow in the coming months as more vendors vie for your cloud/crowd-recruiting business.

Hajo Engelke is trying it out. Engelke has started up an unusual company in Durham, North Carolina. It’s a website where you build your own cereal, clicking on cranberries, dried apples, pears, pineapples, and so on, add them to either granola or corn flakes, and voila, place your order.

A novel idea for a company, originating out of UNC’s business school, but you haven’t heard of it until now. So Engelke’s looking for someone to market it using a viral campaign. This weekend he plans on posting the project on a website called 31Projects. With that site, top, pre-screened students will have about three to five weeks to submit their suggestions for the build-your-own-cereal campaign, and Engelke will pick a winner. He’ll pay the winner in the neighborhood of $25/hour for implementing the campaign, and if all goes well, may end up hiring them. Leer más “For Recruiting, the Use of the Cloud, and the Crowd, Are Growing”

Consumer Confidence Improves, But Jobs Numbers Hard to Predict

byJohn Zappe

It’s numbers week in the U.S. again. The time of the month when the official government employment data makes its appearance, influencing stock markets worldwide, and corporate hiring decisions nationally.

Predictions of what Friday’s labor report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will show are already beginning to appear. A Dow Jones Newswire survey of economists says that on average they expect the U.S. to have lost 110,000 jobs during August. That’s mostly due to the continuing layoff of temporary Census workers.

Because of the massive Census hiring, analysts have been paying closer attention to developments in private sector hiring. In July, the BLS said 71,000 non-government jobs were created, though the Census layoffs resulted in a total loss of 141,000 jobs. (Both those numbers are likely to be adjusted in the Friday release.)

Tomorrow (today), we get a preview of what may be in store when ADP releases its National Employment Report. The payroll processor uses its data to estimate the monthly change in private sector employment. While the numbers are usually lower than the government’s, they tend to accurately predict whether jobs were added or lost.


It’s numbers week in the U.S. again. The time of the month when the official government employment data makes its appearance, influencing stock markets worldwide, and corporate hiring decisions nationally.

Predictions of what Friday’s labor report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will show are already beginning to appear. A Dow Jones Newswire survey of economists says that on average they expect the U.S. to have lost 110,000 jobs during August. That’s mostly due to the continuing layoff of temporary Census workers.

Because of the massive Census hiring, analysts have been paying closer attention to developments in private sector hiring. In July, the BLS said 71,000 non-government jobs were created, though the Census layoffs resulted in a total loss of 141,000 jobs. (Both those numbers are likely to be adjusted in the Friday release.)

Tomorrow (today), we get a preview of what may be in store when ADP releases its National Employment Report. The payroll processor uses its data to estimate the monthly change in private sector employment. While the numbers are usually lower than the government’s, they tend to accurately predict whether jobs were added or lost. Leer más “Consumer Confidence Improves, But Jobs Numbers Hard to Predict”

Employment Branding: Satisfy the Psychological Contract

For example, let us consider Un-diverse Inc, a fictitious company based on a real example. Un-diverse is considered to have one of the most attractive employment brands for young aggressive professionals. However, we questioned its generational diversity efforts from the images displayed on its careers website, as well as when questioning its associates about their internal status. Although it is not explicit in its attraction for young professionals (that would be illegal in the United States, according to Title VII and other federal and state laws), the culture created from their particular employment brand is one which is attractive to young professionals, especially male professionals.


by Joe Shaheen

In the September Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, I write about branding in a way that, hopefully, you haven’t thought about before.

There has been a lot of talk about employment branding recently and how organizations are dedicating more and more of their resources toward their branding intitiatives. In all the noise and in the race to create the best brand something essential not just to recruiting but for the entire entry-to-exit HR process was lost. Keeping promises! That’s right — keeping promises. It’s not as boring a subject as it might seem, and I make no ethical/soft arguments toward that end in my article. Simply put, I provide evidence and a discussion that supports either promising only what you deliver, or using your employment brand as a driver to deliver more than what you promise. It’s all there in the literature. It’s even very intuitive to see, yet time and time again we see that this advice is ignored in the branding efforts of even some of the most visible organizations.

What I say in the Journal is that branding isn’t a matter of good and bad, but about how much you promise, what you promise, and what you can deliver. If you raise people’s expectations too high, and under-deliver, that’s when you’ll have a problem. Leer más “Employment Branding: Satisfy the Psychological Contract”