Recruiting Trends in 2010

The Talent Advantage survey returned some very interesting trends in recruiting for 2010

Among these:

1. 78% of US organizations focusing heavily on passive recruiting
2. 73% have a running list of previously interesting candidates
3. 59% share interesting candidates with colleagues who are hiring
4. 59% Keep a list of people not yet contacted who may be suitable for future roles
5. 58% Keep an active dialogue with previously interesting candidates
6. 95% Track candidates when not actively looking to fill role
7. The majority or recruiters (approximately 60%) believe it’s appropriate to take up to an extra two months to find an excellent candidate
8. 50% of respondents were nervous that competitors might learn to use networking and social media more effectively
9. 46% of respondents were nervous competitors would build and nurture a strong talent pool
10. 61% of US recruiters polled were utilizing social and professional networks
11. 56% of US recruiters are finding better ways to source passive candidates
12. 26% of US recruiters believe the strongest trend is training recruiters and hiring managers on how to hire A-level talent

Passive recruiting and social media/networking seem to be very prevalent in the minds of recruiters.

Source: KRESS Employment Screening | 320 Westcott Street | Suite 108 | Houston | TX

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Understanding a Resume

There are three key issues to understanding a resume. They are The Audience, The Author and The Content. Each of these components requires careful consideration when developing your resume to ensure that you achieve the best possible results. At times such as now when the job market is tight it is more important than ever that your resume stands out from the crowd. Remember a simple rule, Less is More, you would not tell all on a first date, you would tell enough to make yourself interesting and the same rule applies to writing your resume.

The Audience in this case can be either human or mechanical and we have to consider both of these entities. We also have to consider another scenario, that of networking where the resume is used as an introductory tool rather than as a direct job application. In the case of the human audience we are most often considering a recruiter and secondly the networking contact. The recruiter is usually busy and pushed to giving each resume the briefest of scans. To overcome this issue we need to make the resume easy to read, so easy in fact that the information jumps off the page straight into their mind. Long, complicated sentences in the opening summary can jeopardize your chances of having your resume passed on to the hiring manager. The mechanical audience is usually some form of scanning system that is looking for key words. The objective is to make sure the correct words are in your resume.

The Author can either be the person who is the subject of the resume or someone who is employed by that individual. Every time that you show your resume to someone else and ask for their opinion your will receive constructive criticism. There is a fine line between constantly changing your resume for the needs of the opportunity you are chasing and doing it because someone else has made a comment. When choosing a writer to work with make sure that they understand you and your goals, this is not a five minute exercise but requires multiple conversations before a satisfactory result can be obtained.

The Content is the most important piece of the puzzle. This is normally divided into 3 main sections, The Summary, Experience and Education. There are many variations on this theme but in essence the goal in all resumes is to know your target position, research it carefully and focus your resume on answering the needs of the company. The Summary is where you make your first impression; this is the area where you have the first 20 seconds of the recruiters time. Make the best of this and deliver a clear, easy to read section. In the Experience section we are dealing with your accomplishments, we are looking for thoughts and ideas that make you stand out from the crowd. The final section, Education is where we list College and Corporate training information unless we have recently left school where we may also list our High School information.

In summary, a well written summary section focused on what you can deliver to an organization, an author focused on building a great resume that is focused on them and a content section that demonstrates your strengths and accomplishments will provide you with the finest resume.

When “No” is better.

The old (not sure how old) addage “Hired for what you know. Fired who who you are.” seems to have gotten the Google treatement.

This article in the New York Times, highlights the algorithms Google are using to help select the right candidate and make the selection process better and faster. It’s a great read to understand the breadth and depth of the questions they used to help construct the algorithm, and also how much they see the current methods as being a poor indicator of on-the-job performance.

While I dislike the notion of the selection process being totally mechanized, I do recognize that a “no” is often in the candidates and employers best interests.

Nobody likes being turned down for a job, but there is one thing worse ; that’s being accepted into a badly fitting one.

Job search in any economy

During a recent conversation with a recruiter from a large firm here in Boston, we talked about talent shortage, but the perceived reality of very few folks actually hiring, and some people still finding it hard to find a job.

I wanted to see what was really going on, and I started looking into this. It so happend that John Sumser wrote a great series of articles  (WarI War II War III, War IV) about the labor shortage and baby boomers retiring, and the related commentary from Amitai and Colin and I wanted to include their insights.

While all this is fantastic thinking and analysis, I wasn’t really getting to the answer I really wanted, and then the light of clarity turned on, as I pondered the real question – What does this mean for you, the job seeker?

So my conclusion was:

Rather than fret or analyze what the environment is doing your better off focusing on those things that you can control and move you forward.

  • Do you know what job you want and what companies you want to work for? – More importantly how good a match are you?
  • How robust and wide is your network?
  • Do you have all your tools sharpened and ready? (cover letters, resumes, elevator pitch, marketing pages, interview practice, etc…).
  • Are you spending enough time on enough different tactics.
  • Are you activities getting you closer to finding open positions, the hiring person, and an offer?

At the end of the day, you still have a job to find. (or should that be a job to do – to find a job?)

Are you the right fit?

Inc Magazine has an article about the Science of Hiring in a past issue.

It acknowledges what most people already know, the traditional interview is a poor indicator of a persons future job performance, tells you little to nothing about the candidate, and most interviewers aren’t as good at interviewing as they think they are.

The article suggests a better process would include four elements: conducting behavioral interviews, mixed with some carefully chosen cognitive and personality tests, some “on the job task testing” and finally conducting more extensive background an reference checking. One of the people quoted in their article asks for 12 references and would probe each one until they got some “negative” comment about the candidate; else it’s not a credible reference.
All the examples cited in the article, achieved lower turnover rates and longer average staff tenures by adopting more stringent assessment.

When you’re out of work the financial, emotional and psychological pressures to find another job are enormous, which can lead you to waste your time and chase ill-suited opportunities. You might think your best tactic is to target employers who only use the traditional interview and conduct just one or two interviews before making a decision, thereby avoiding employers who have more stringent and varied elements to the selection process.

If getting a job, “any job” is your goal, then this could be a good tactic, but you’re likely to end up one of around 75% who each year say they are dissatisfied with their job, and will be looking to move. Not to mention your job performance may not be up to par, and your employer is also thinking you should move on.

On the other hand if you really wanted to find an employer that could offer you the type of work you really want (even if you didn’t exactly know what it was), in an environment suited to your personality and were likely to be happier for longer, it would make sense to seek out employers with the better selection process.

For successful candidates going through a more stringent selection process will benefit more than just getting the job, they’re likely to be happy about it for longer, and it confirms the position is right for them at this stage of their career.

For the unsuccessful candidates, the hardest pill to swallow maybe accepting you’re chasing entirely the wrong job with the wrong companies.
Not something you might find out if you only ever had the cursory traditional interviews at each job-change.