Expert Recruiting Advice
Who is Peter Weddle?
Peter Weddle is a recruiter, HR consultant and business CEO turned author and commentator. Described by The Washington Post as "... a man filled with ingenious ideas," he has earned an international reputation, pioneering concepts in Human Resource leadership and employment. He has authored or edited over two dozen books and been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The National Business Employment Weekly, and CNN.com. Today, he writes two newsletters that are distributed worldwide and oversees WEDDLE's LLC, a print publisher specializing in the field of human resources. WEDDLE's annual Guides and Directory to job boards are recognized for their accuracy and helpfulness, leading the American Staffing Association to call Weddle the "Zagat of the online employment industry."
Weddle's Syndicated Content:
The First Five Lines
Job postings remain the single most effective way to recruit new hires. And, the first five lines are the single most important part of a job posting. They determine whether or not passive, high caliber talent will read on.
Don't Post a Job, Advertise Respect
Job postings are now routinely used on both job boards and social media sites. These online communications remain the most widespread method of candidate sourcing, yet are disparaged and ignored at almost every recruitment conference. Why? Because recruiters intuitively grasp the cost-benefit advantage of job postings, but all too often don't grab hold of their power. They use job postings to describe a job, when they would be better served by delivering respect.
A Social Job Posting
Not much has changed with job postings since they first appeared in the early 1990's. Today, they are, as they have always been, information-based ads that are shaped by their ancestors in the classified section of newspapers. What has changed, however, is the people who read job postings. They want a different experience, one that is social as well as informative.
How to Build a Post-Social Online Career Center
Today's typical online career center has all of the appeal of a brick. Its one-off, transactional focus may be tolerated by desperate job seekers, but for high caliber prospects, it's an invitation to spend time elsewhere. Those hard-to-recruit individuals have choices, so they demand a very different kind of experience, one that only a post-social Web-site can provide.
Post-Social Recruiting Part II
As I explained in my last column, post-social recruiting involves using social technology to create true career communities without the expensive overhead of traditional corporate career support. Unlike candidate databases and networks, these virtual "careersteads" nurture allegiance among talented workers and that bond, in turn, transforms them into genuine and long-term employment prospects.
For the past five years, social recruiting has primarily been implemented in two ways: data mining pools of talent and networking with prospective candidates at social media sites. While such techniques will continue to be important, the thrust of social recruiting in the future will shift to a far different kind of activity: building and leveraging individual allegiance at employer and staffing firm sites. It's the next phase in the War for Talent - the era of post-social recruiting.
Pay Attention to the 99 Percent
Here's the inconvenient truth of recruiting: we reject 99 percent (or more) of our job applicants. In today's economy, there are more often than not far more people vying for our openings than we can possibly hire. So, the question is: will we disappoint those we turn down or will we give them a reason to come back and try again?
Optimizing the Recruiter's Experience
Economics has been called the dismal science. Recruiting analytics should be called miserable math. You have to use such metrics, but it's painful to do so. What makes the experience so unpleasant? It's complicated. Performance data can be analyzed in many different ways, and that's exactly what's happening in recruiting today. There is no general agreement about what constitutes the baseline measures of success.
The Most Important Number for Recruiters
We live in a world guided by numbers. They tell us which keywords generate the most traffic to our organization's career site, where we're most likely to connect with highly skilled candidates online, and how much it will cost to participate in a career fair for our target demographic. As useful as these metrics are, however, there's another that's more important and often overlooked. It's the number that tells us what we should be doing to source and recruit top talent.
Meta Tags for Top Talent
Meta tags have burst onto the public consciousness with the rise of search engine optimization. If you want top talent to find your corporate career site or even your job postings, a strong set of meta tags is all but essential. They provide a definition of sorts for what's on your Internet pages so search engines can find them when "A" level talent is searching the Web.
Use the Socratic Method in Candidate Email
We do it all the time. We find a great prospect for a key opening and send off an email message to start our recruiting conversation. More often than not, however, all that comes back is the sound of silence. The conversation never begins because we haven't structured the message to stimulate a reply. We haven't used the Socratic method.
Keep Your Promise to Optimize the Candidate Experience
The best candidates have choices. Most are employed and those who aren't receive a continuous stream of offers from recruiters. How can you differentiate your organization from the herd and your opening from the others that are available? Optimize the candidate experience in your recruiting process by making a promise and then keeping it.
The Two Worst Words in Recruiting
Every recruiter uses them, usually without thinking twice. These two words appear in recruitment ads and job postings on corporate career sites, job boards and social media sites. They are as comfortable as our fuzzy slippers. And, more than any other facet of the candidate experience, they turn off top talent. What are these words? Requirements and Responsibilities.
The Lingua Franca of Recruiting
Despite the popularity of social media these days, job postings remain the lingua franca of recruiting. Whether they appear on a corporate career site, a job board or yes - on a social media site - job postings are the principal way most employers communicate their openings to top talent. Yet, most job postings still have the look and feel of old fashioned print classifieds. They are about as appealing as a statistics textbook written in Swahili.
The Power of Non-Commercial Social Media
Commercial social media sites are all the rage these days. It's hard to find a recruiting conference or publication which isn't breathlessly touting the power of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Ryze, BranchOut and others. They're all useful recruiting venues, to be sure, but they are not the only social sites we recruiters should be using. Where else should we be going on the Web to meet high caliber talent? Non-commercial social media sites or what most people call association Web-sites.
Treat Your Talent Pipeline As a Rest Stop
What's the number one problem with today's talent pipelines? Attrition. According to research, the number of people bailing out of recruiter-built networks typically reaches forty percent or more each year. Given the time and effort required to load a pipeline, that's a huge loss for any organization. What's the solution? Re-imagining the purpose of your pipeline.
The SET Method of Social Recruiting
Social recruiting is typically defined as an activity that occurs on social media sites. It's as if social recruiting didn't exist before Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But, of course, it did, just on different media. And, that fact points to an emerging best practice: social recruiting is most effective when it's conducted with a multimedia strategy.
The Generic Candidate
The latest "big idea" in recruiting is to optimize the candidate experience. Pundits everywhere have leaped on the bandwagon to offer this strategy or that technique to make job seekers feel better as they pass through the recruiting process. No doubt, it's all helpful advice. But, sadly, it also ignores the one element that most sours the outlook and interest of potential new hires: our demeaning habit of treating every individual as a generic candidate.
The Hunger Games of Recruitment
Despite its dark themes, The Hunger Games has become an international bestseller for both young and not-so-young adults. It recounts the epic struggles of youthful "tributes' tossed into an arena where they are cut off from all human contact and left to fend for themselves in a deadly contest. Take away the ensuing violence and you have a disorienting isolation which, sadly, is not all that different from the experience of job seekers in many corporate recruiting processes.
Employers Behaving Badly
Candidates are people too. And in today's world, people are more social than at any other time in human history. They interact in two different worlds, one real and the other virtual. Treating people poorly during the recruiting process, therefore, can produce a double whammy that harms an organization's employment brand not once, but twice.
Deadlines vs. Lifelines
Recruiters live in a world defined by deadlines. Requisitions must be filled by a certain date, so sourcing, interviews, and reference checks have to be completed by earlier ones. Meeting those deadlines, however, can cause us to overlook a different kind of line, one that is especially important to our candidates. I call them lifelines.