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It is better
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John Sumser

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Recruiting Strategy
(December 01, 2000) Given the explosion in Recruitment related services, little attention has been paid to the specifics of Recruiting Strategy. In a world driven by infinite novelty, it's difficult to keep the nose to the grindstone. However, Strategy is emerging as a key consideration.

Another word for strategy is "cost effective planning". With the extraordinary number of opportunities to spend and rapidly growing budgets, most recruiting shops need a plan on which they base their success. If a company's approach is jettisoned each time a new vendor emerges, the real Recruiting endeavor never gains traction. A number of firms, including our own interbiznet Consulting Group, have emerged to carry some of the weight.

The key elements of a Recruiting Strategy include:

  • A clear picture of current and future staffing requirements (five years is a good horizon line)
  • An assessment of the skills, demographics and workload requirements of current employees
  • A solid definition of regional expansion plans
  • Training Requirements for Recruiting competency
  • Established communications patterns for hiring decision making
  • Clear criteria for hiring decision making
  • A clear understanding of regulatory requirements
  • A relationship with a team of creative copy writers
  • A detailed understanding of current and future marketplace trends
  • A process for identifying demographic targets
  • A conceptual map of the communications vehicles available for reaching demographic targets
  • A compelling story about the reasons this particular workplace is attractive
  • A job communications budget
  • A plan to measure the effectiveness of dollars spent on Recruiting
  • A database in which to collect data about potential employees
  • The ability to match job requirements against potential employees
  • A clear understanding of the supply-demand dynamics in the regions that will be recruited
  • Hiring Timeline objectives and a system to measure performance
  • A formal "vetting" process for new vendors
In other words, the development of a coherent Recruiting Strategy involves coming to a series of conclusions about sources and objectives. By leaps an bounds, technology and its implementation runs a distant second to questions that concern recruiting volume.

- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Trend 1: Recruiting Gateways Emerge

(November 30, 2000) During 2000, a number of companies emerged with an obvious proposition: Job Postings produce better results when distributed broadly. From focused networks to small electronic advertising boutiques, the tested techniques of Online Recruitment Advertising are being pioneered in just a few firms. The most interesting is an emerging concept referred to as "The Recruiting Gateway".

Both CareerBuilder and CareerEngine have promoted this approach through the development of alliances and distribution relationships around the Web. The two companies share a vision of a network of websites, sold and staffed from central locations that run on a standardized platform. In these network models, each additional distribution point brings incremental revenue to the parent company.

The Electronic Advertising Boutique, represented by IIRC and eQuest gained visibility and momentum during 2000. These firms offer Recruiters the opportunity to select from a series of destinations. IIRC offers approximately 40 services. eQuest offers a smaller range of outlets preferring to grow more slowly; their service is hinged on the delivery of results measurement.

In the early days of Electronic Recruiting, the team at Net Temps pioneered the alternative approach. By broadcasting job postings to hundreds of newsgroups and websites, an account with Net Temps guaranteed a broader response to a given advertisement. Essentially, every job posting was sent everywhere. The emphasis on distribution secured the company a permanent place in the industry. Net Temps has gone on to pioneer other forms of online recruiting and should be understood as an innovation machine.

By far the most exciting offering in this area belongs to a Minnesota company called RecruitUSA. With a distribution capacity that dwarfs any other available service, RecruitUSA combines Net-Temps style distribution on a massive level with targeting at top-level sites. In addition, the company has distribution alliances with over 250 paid sites and is embedded in the architecture of a number of large integration players (including BrassRing, Peoplesoft, and Lawson).

Although the owners are quite modest about their accomplishments, RecruitUSA stands out from the rest of the crowd. An intelligent eye on required technical development is coupled with shrewd alliance development. By combining targeted distribution and "carpet bombing", RecruitUSA has defined the core features required in a 21st Century Advertising Agency.

We anticipate explosive growth in the Gateway arena during 2001. Coupled with targeted media planning, traffic development strategies and "creative development", this class of firm will shoulder the burdens of producing real recruiting results.

Excerpt from the 24 Electronic Recruiting Trends 2001 (requires Acrobat).

24 Trends 2001

(November 29, 2000) The late night lights are burning bright these days. We're hard at work on the 2001 Electronic Recruiting Index (ERI). With hundreds of companies to evaluate, new models to develop and lots of stuff to count, you'll have to excuse us if we occasionally seem preoccupied. The research team has been digging into the market for a solid year.

Today, we're introducing a new downloadable portion of the ERI. As promised last week, it's a 25 page detailed report on the Top 24 Trends in the industry.

In order to read the material, you'll need to have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat installed on your machine.

It's the first component of our trends and forecasts section and covers, with hot linked URLs, the key things to watch over the coming year.

24 Electronic Recruiting Trends 2001 (requires Acrobat)

Topics include:

  • Trend 1      Recruiting Gateways Emerge
  • Trend 2      Inventory Principles Take Hold
  • Trend 3      Perfection Of "Do Nothing Recruiting"
  • Trend 4      Continued Rumors Of Consolidation
  • Trend 5      NASDAQ Crash Drives Profitability Up
  • Trend 6      Proliferation Of Job Boards Unabated
  • Trend 7      Explosion Of Trade Shows
  • Trend 8      The Recruiter Returns
  • Trend 9      Search For A Business Model Goes On
  • Trend 10    Consequences Of The Staffing Industry Crash
  • Trend 11    Internet Search Techniques Wear Out
  • Trend 12    Job Posting Explosion Goes Exponential
  • Trend 13    Enterprise Players Join The Fun
  • Trend 14    Job Board In A Box Business Opens
  • Trend 15    Traffic Development Techniques Deployed
  • Trend 16    New Ad Agencies Take The Field
  • Trend 17    Newspaper Wars Won By Surprise
  • Trend 18    Market Segmentation Multiplies
  • Trend 19    Referral Networks Try Their Hand
  • Trend 20    Alumni Networks Connect Ex-Employees
  • Trend 21    The Use Of "Communities" Expands
  • Trend 22    Emphasis on Strategy Rediscovered
  • Trend 23    Talent Markets Grow Slowly
  • Trend 24    Limits Of Tools Understood
- John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

Given vs Received

(November 28, 2000) The essence of marketing is learning to see the problem through the eyes of another. Long the foundation of market success (we're reminded of HotJob's ads on the top of buses), the technique is rarely mastered in corporate recruiting. The proposition, known by every salesperson who made a living, is that the customer never buys what you are selling. They buy what they buy.

When we say it's a buyers market, this is the arena we're describing. Employment Branding does not work unless it is understood as a selling proposition. The question is not "describe all of your job openings in ways that make them rise to the top of the search engines". Rather, the goal is to build an attractive force that draws candidates to your company.

Then, things get complicated because not everyone wants the same thing from an employer.

In yesterday's article, we described the constituent members of the Employment Branding. To approximate, we'd bet that you need about 500 audience members to fill one opening five years from now. In a simple example, 100 openings over 5 years might require as many as 50,000 audience members from the 7 basic sources:

  • customers
  • competitors
  • suppliers
  • investors
  • ex-employees
  • current employees
  • normal sources (advertising, college recruiting, headhunters, temps) Each sub-group has obviously different interests. What appeals to a competitor's employee is unlikely to be interesting to a customer. The trick is in understanding the various (and different) perceptions of each group. Employment Branding messages have to reach out, connect and attract each person they target.

    The disciplines of Demographic targeting, message revision and precision delivery are not normally found in recruiting operations. The skill sets exist in some marketing departments. The reason that a Chief Talent Officer can be such an effective role is that, properly chartered, she can integrate the skills from around the company.

    We're betting on the rapid emergence of firms that manage these processes.

    - John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

    Employment Branding III

    (November 27, 2000) The audience for employment branding messages is larger than you might imagine. Composed of potential, current and ex employees, this group crosses several sacred boundaries. Obviously, since customers, competitors, suppliers and investors constitute such rich mines of potential employees, they must be on the targeting lists. Ex-employees represent a labor supply windfall. Current employees need to be recruited every day.

    We've often discussed the value of training the competition. Value based outreach to potential employees who happen to currently occupy desks at the "other guy's" company is an essential component of 21st Century Recruiting. Not for the faint of heart, investing in the competition's workforce, with usable data and rich (but employee centric) value, violates several core 20th century assumptions. Investing in this aspect of employment branding is a key demonstration of corporate faith in the ultimate outcome of the competitive battle.

    We've also written extensively on emerging, web based alumni programs.

    Amping up the internal communications infrastructure so that current employees are being actively re-recruited on a periodic basis requires new ways of thinking about supervision. Currently, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems are all the rage in sales forces around the globe. Designed to keep relationships alive and healthy across product, support and sales subsets, these tools aim to coordinate all customer data through a single database that prompts effective behavior. We're seeing a variety of signals that indicate that ERM systems (Employee Relationship Management) are on the immediate horizon. These tools would harness the various data around the enterprise to prompt effective supervisory behavior.

    The big issues will circle around employment branding in the customer, supplier and investor arenas. Sustainable harvesting of these rich veins of Potential Employees requires a careful hand. Some companies will decide that it is simply too risky to deliver focused employment messaging into these sectors. This risk, of course, is that a successful campaign will deplete the supply chain's talent supply and cause it too collapse. The counterbalance, as obviously, is that with a pictable labor supply, there is no need for a supply chain at all.

    There's method in our madness. The reason each of the aforementioned sources have to be carefully inspected and targeted is that Employment Branding is fairly expensive. We estimate program costs at $500 per individual per year. Trying to deliver the employment branding message to a group large enough to satisfy a five year labor requirement means reaching a very large audience. The budget numbers will take some time to get adjusted. Building that audience, one name at a time, by targeting discrete subsections of easily accessible supply is the best method for managing the costs of the program.

    Systems that help identify leads, trigger outreach, suggest behavior and manage the Potential Employee Relationship are on the way. Just over the horizon, these PERM solutions will help manage employment branding programs into budget alignment. The trouble with waiting for them is that your competition won't.

    - John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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    © 2013 interbiznet.
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    Materials written
    by John Sumser
    © TwoColorHat.
    All Rights Reserved.

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