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Embracing Fearlessness!

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I am EXCITED about the jobs, candidates and company cultures that are growing in our economy today!

We’re seeing more clients who are getting ahead of the curve by asking us to reach out to passive candidates (employed people who would consider a new job but aren’t actively looking). When I call a potential candidate they usually say that they’d be interested in hearing about new jobs and are willing to transition. Companies like Zappos are masters at engaging with customers in new ways through social media like Twitter and Facebook.

This is an exciting time for recruiting and hiring and finding a new job! People seem less fearful of bad things happening and more interested participating in making good things happen. Competition is fierce, but creativity is high and it is an exciting time to be working.

What steps have you or your company taken to move your business forward? What are you doing to attract top talent that is now willing to transition to forward-thinking organizations?

Survivor 2010: The Workplace

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This could be a great topic for the next season of Survivor! The inherent drama of the average workplace is just begging for reality coverage beyond the fictional documentary of “The Office.” I can already see the twists – uneven distribution of privileges and power, poorly managed dispersal of important communication, rumors, alliances and backstabbing, challenges, poor nutrition and sleep deprivation, torches…Well, that last one is absolutely necessary to the theme, but probably not OSHA-friendly.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all this drama are a lot of real-life, difficult decisions being made by management and executives. Oddly, many of these difficult decisions aren’t made based upon the ability of an individual to contribute to the success of the company. If a company didn’t have succession planning and/or talent management metrics in place before these decisions became necessary, they likely wouldn’t have time to create them in order to save some of their top talent.

And it’s not just the folks whose jobs are eliminated that suffer as a result. A study by the Institute of Behavioral Science (2003) suggests that “large-scale layoffs often produce damaging psychological and physical effects on survivor’s well-being” and “working in a chronic downsizing environment is worse than single one-time exposure to layoffs.” It would seem that what doesn’t kill you, doesn’t necessarily make you stronger when it comes to downsizing.

There are some good ideas, though, of how to be a true Survivor of Workplace 2009 – 2010. If you’ve been laid-off, there are equally great articles about how to best manage the transition. See below for resources for your situation…

SURVIVOR’S TALE: I was laid off and am braving the job hunt! What now?

SURVIVOR’S TALE: My friend was laid off! How can I help?

SURVIVOR’S TALE: I am still working, at least for today. How do I stay sane?

Clearly, in a climate of mass layoffs and downsizing the winners are the folks who come out of the trenches having embraced the change and maybe with something new! People are embracing market transitions as a chance to learn new skills, gain knowledge in new areas, take risks/create some stability, meet new people and/or give priority to different areas of their lives. How will you be a Survivor?

Pro-Active Recruiting – Build a Bench/Pipeline!

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According to a recent study by SHRM and the Wall Street Journal, employers “might need to brace themselves for an upcoming surge in voluntary turnover.” Unfortunately, the previous options of offering high performers additional perks or bonuses in order to retain them may not always be available given today’s market. Instead of focusing only on how to avoid losing your top performers, perhaps it’s a good idea to identify super-stars in the market right now that you could bring into your organization later, if needed.

Before the problem of turnover strikes, there will be a LOT of people who are just waiting for their phone to ring to talk to a recruiter or HR about a company where they might like to work. Now is the perfect time to start connecting with these people! Obviously, a recruiter can easily help you build and manage your candidate network, but this can also be done by internal HR departments. If a top performer applies to a job or comes to you through a referral, take the time to have a real phone interview with them – even if they’re not a good match for any open positions! Get to know them and invite them to learn more about your company, possibly through additional conversations or an on-site visit. Keep in touch with them regularly and establish a professional relationship that keeps dialogue open to discuss new roles as soon as they become available – better yet, be able to call them BEFORE you’ve even posted the job!

This is especially effective with sales teams. Most salespeople are willing to talk/interview, even if they’re not looking for something new immediately, and welcome the opportunity to broaden their network of potential employers. Additionally, these bench candidates may help you fill jobs that are currently open by offering referrals and directing other top performers to your organization.

In time, you’ll have a short list of top performers you could call at any time to discuss great, new opportunities available with your company. The investment is small, but the returns are fantastic! I think it’s safe to say that if you’ve built a place where top candidates want to come to work, it’s likely your own top performers will want to stay.

Whine and Cheese

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Hey HR, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think “open position?” Lemme guess, money, time and irritation? Not getting other important things done? Hiring managers leaving you meanie voicemails and/or begging for you to magically produce the perfect candidate? Drowning in resumes, emails, phone calls and just plain cheesy attempts by applicants to catch your attention – like shoes with resumes tucked in them and homemade baked goods.

How about you, Hiring Manager? I bet you’re thinking about all those nights you are going to be working late to finish duties resulting from that empty spot in your department, reading hundreds of resumes in your so-called “free time,” and finding even more time for the interviews, paperwork and follow-up that comes from the hiring process.

Job-Seeker, what do you think of when you hear about an open position these days? Filling out another application…never hearing back from anyone…countless other applicants competing for the same job?

Recruiters, what do you think? Opportunity? Why are they having trouble filling this role? Who do I know, what do I know in their industry?

Clearly, hiring is typically a painful process on the part of HR and job-seekers. And this is understandable! Hiring is far from the only responsibility of most people in HR and most hiring managers. Thankfully, recruiters have a different mindset! They see it as an opportunity to fill a need by making connections between people they know and clients (employers) that hire them. Additionally, filling that open job really IS their primary job function!

Future posts will discuss how employers can partner with recruiters in ways that really will save money, frustration and time. (Yes – you can actually SAVE money by hiring someone to help!) Job seekers will learn how to be more effective at getting identified by people who are hiring, not to mention looking/sounding good when they find you. And overall, there will be posts about how Hiring Managers/HR/Recruiters can form a strong partnership.

Seriously, it shouldn’t be that painful. Dare I say it could be fun?

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