Rants

#trulondon thought number 1; Lazy Recruiters!

It has been 48 hours since #truLondon and we covered a lot of content. Over the next 5 days I will be sharing a daily thought from #trulondon. Something that stood out for me or made me think, and there was plenty of things that stood out in the memory bank. I’m going to kick off with one I’d love to hear your thoughts:

#truLondon thought 1: Lazy Recruiters

Igotmore annoyed in one track than I can remember at any of the #tru events I have attended. What caused me to get so irate was the comment “recruiters are lazy!”. Now I have worked with plenty of recruiters over the last 27 years.In the past it was all agency recruiters, and I was one for a long time. More recently my work has been mostly with direct recruiting teams.I want to start by stating that in all this time, I have met very few that could be described as lazy. Quite the contrary,I,ve met few people in any other profession who work anything like the hours, or as hard as recruiters. So why this comment, and judging by the lack of reaction, agreement?
From my position, there is little difference now between the working practices of agency recruiters and their corporate counterparts. Whilst third-party agency recruiters might have fee paying clients to satisfy, that’s not really different to having equally demanding and fussy hiring managers, except that a corporate recruiter can’t drop a hiring manager if they prove to be a difficult customer.

Over the last 18 months, the roles have got closer and closer in terms of how they operate. When we talk sourcing, technologies, candidate difficulties or control, as well as influencing hiring managers, the conversation is identical regardless of discipline. Corporate recruiters benefit from greater support in candidate attraction from employer branding communications and initiatives, agency recruiters often benefit from a wider exposure to the market at large, through working with a range of companies.

Time pressure is an issue for both disciplines, as well as a “hire now” pressure ahead of “hire future.” The pressure is on to fill seats and find the hard to hire talent. The “war for talent” is largely a war for other people’s talent. The talent that is needed to fill open positions is the talent that companies are fighting to keep, everybody is battling for the same candidates. I think recruiters have been slow to communicate this. There is a real perception that recruiting is easy and as a result, recruiters are lazy.

In my opinion, recruiters can be accused of being inefficient. When we look at most recruiting technology, it’s mostly underused, with little investment in keeping skills up to date, changing operational practice as the technology has developed. Whilst most recruiting technology issues regular updates and increased functionality to stay competitive, most recruiters use it as was bought.

One clear example of this is the recruitment database or ATS. Many recruiters, (by no means all), use the database for information storage and tracking rather than information retrieval. The progress from Recruiting 2.0 to 3.0, was really little more than the move from post and pray to source and spray. Recruiting is still focussed on volume of approaches in the hope that some of it fits,and volume often brings results.  Priority needs to be on developing smarter working practice, and development takes time. Time is the factor most recruiters aren’t allowed, with the current pressure to hire. Rather than recruiter bashing, i’d like to see a rethink on allowing recruiters to redesign operating practice, and link closer with vendors to make sure they are getting the best out of the technology they have.

Recruiters work far to hard to be described as lazy, and only those who have never had to deal with the real complexity of influencing both candidates and hiring managers beyond attraction would ever think otherwise. Recruiters need to communicate these issues better, and work on brand “recruiter” as hard as employer brand. If you work with recruiters, get to know their job better.

People play the critical part in  the success of any organisation. The recruiters who source and introduce them are central to the success of the business. I always felt privileged to be charged with the responsibility of influencing people s careers and getting the best talent in to organisations. Talk of “lazy” recruiters does not reflect this.

Sometimes, and in some cases inefficient, true , but lazy, definitely not!

Bill

 

 

Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry Messenger used to summon mobs (the headline you won't read!)

The suggested solution. Not mine!

It has now been proven that social media channels, particularly twitter, Facebook and Blackberry messenger has been used to spread messages summoning mobs to hot spots around England. Some of these mobs included youths, some even wearing hoods. Facebook groups and hashtags have sprung up across all these social channels encouraging these mobs, fully tooled up with hammers, brooms, spades and other implements to gather in fixed places at fixed times for the purpose of wreaking havoc. Havoc on the mess left behind, and to stick 2 fingers up at those who caused the destruction.
This is a small selection of the 1000′s of tweets that have been sent:

http://twitter.com/#!/AdmWks/statuses/101064146501640192

http://twitter.com/#!/iamphiliplee/statuses/101081767137652736

From the FaceBook Group Post riot clean-up: let’s help London which has gained 18,000+ fans in 36 hours:

“Any Clean Ups Happening In West London, Ealing? Please Let Me Know ASAP. Thank You.”

“Once the embarrassing rioting has ended in London let’s all show the world what we’re really about by helping rebuild and clean up so it is better than it was before. Invite all of your friends! Let’s see if we can get London looking like a new city by the end of the week”

“Any clean-ups anywhere near Muswell Hill going on tomorrow?”

“Is there anything happening in Ealing at the weekend for the clean up effort?”

“@cleantottenham on Twitter tells me that help is needed to handout fliers to commuters at Silver St train station in the morning if anyone can assist with that…?”

” clean as, and quiet. Glad to see you have reclaimed it! It’s our London and across the city we applaud for the efforts and bravery shown today. x”

“Clapham Junction saw some scary looting last night. .What was great today though was about 200 locals with brooms all waiting to help clear up and reclaim the streets. When the last fire engine pulled off there was a big cheer of thanks with lots of brooms being waving in the air.”

A few pictures i’d like to see on the frount pages in the morning!

And on YouTube, a little creativity!

And the video story of the “cleaners” in action. You can see both the devestation, climate and the real spirit in this video:

My last hat tip goes to one of my Facebook friends Stuart Gibson who left this messageagainst a picture I shared:

“We were there. We raised our brooms with hundreds of others. We even did Mexican waves with brooms. Finally, we were able to help council workers clear up the damage. It was very moving.”

Good job Stuart and everyone involved. This is as much a part of the social media story as the part Twitter etc played in the riots. Please share these story’s.

Sorry for moving away from my usual recruiting/social media posts, but I felt a strong desire to share this social media story of good! Business as usual tomorrow!

Bill

We don’t need #Recruitfest

 

The camera friendly Charlie Judy (Source: Smartblogs.com)

 

I was commenting on Charlie Judy’s excellent post, “The Recruitfest Drive By Shooting” when I got the urge to write this post. The over-riding message I took from the 9 hours of Recruitfest streaming, and I watched it all, was that Recruiters and HR need to brush up on candidate care, and give a good candidate experience.

No S**T Sherlock!

It’s great that we have a conference streamed to 3000+ people.

It’s great that we have an active twitter back channel that creates its own set of conversations.

It’s great that I can phone in and speak to a presenter 1000′s of miles away and ask a question in real-time.

It’s great that #Recruitfest happened and created a whole new type of event: ConferenceTV

It’s great that a big part of #Recruitfest talked about the real candidate experience

It’s  sad that we had to have that part of  the conversation in the first place.

It’s not rocket science. We don’t need the great and the good to give us solutions. Why don’t we all just stop talking about it and agree:

  • To acknowledge all applications received
  • To agree, communicate and stick to a timetable and method for feedback.
  • To communicate “decline” decisions as soon as they are made.
  • To give candidates constructive feedback. Not war and peace, but something they can work on in the future.

It’s not rocket science, it’s not hard and its basic human decency. We can automate 80% of it.

Lets cut the excuses. We shouldn’t need to waste the #Recruitfest opportunity (or any other conference/unconference including #tru,) talking about things we should really be doing.

We should be talking about the future and how we can make the most of it. Talking about new developments and where they can fit in.

Start thinking #BrandRecruiter and do the simple things to clean up our act!

Be ambassadors for common sense good practice! Don’t make decency the exception.

Bill

Links Mentioned In This Post And A Must Watch Video

The Recruitfest DriveBy Shooting – Charlie Judy

#Recruitfest Speakers Charlie Judy & Gerry Crispin Talking Candidate Experience

Is the “lost generation” a myth?

I took part in the graduate recruiting track and the GenY track at #truManchester. My takeaway from the latter was the feedback from those that fit the stereotype by age, (and not the old people talking about them), was that they would rather not be boxed in to an age bracket definition which dictates what they are capable of and how they think. It is much the same as speculating that all Baby Boomers don’t understand technology and want a job for life. People are people and should be approached as such. The labeling is not helping either to integrate, and none of those present lived at home! You can read more about this at the great blog started by The Twintettes which outlines their view on this.

My biggest eye-opener came in the Graduate Recruitment track. The story I heard was far from what I expected. Martin Edmondson from Graduates Yorkshire, commented that he knew of a number of larger companies that ran Grad Training Programmes that just couldn’t get enough applications. As a result, the programmes are still open when historically they would be long closed by now. This astounded me and was backed up by a few others who operate in the graduate recruitment market or hire graduates.

All the headlines tell me we have a lost generation and that the situation for this years graduates is dire.

Some possible causes for this gap between reality and perception among those graduating are:

  • Negative headlines and reports have led to a belief among students that there is no point. More positive headlines please that reflect reality!
  • This year has seen the highest number of graduates taking up continuing education for another 1 – 2 years. This is because of the belief that there are no graduate opportunities and needing an alternative safe-haven for the next few years. Continuing education can be irrelevant and does not necessarily  lead to greater employability, whilst increasing student debt.
  • Theres a greater number of graduates taking extended “gap years” for travelling, believing there is no point sitting around unemployed as there are no opportunities.
  • Poor links between graduate employers and graduates.

Since #truManchester, I have been looking closer in to this by speaking with interns and graduates I’m connected with and others responsible for graduate recruitment. Theres seems to be a huge disconnect between university career departments and graduate employers. There is not a lot of confidence in either their capability to give real commercial advice or to co-ordinate entry in to the workplace. The top 10 – 20% of graduates that have been courted for some years or go to the right universities are fine, but what of the 80% that sit outside this bracket?
The feedback I get is that University Careers Officers are well-intentioned but lacking in real life experience or reality. The upshot of this disconnect is where we are at now, where there are so many students out of work through apathy or access to opportunity, while graduate programmes are struggling to attract a sufficient volume of candidates to achieve the quality needed.
I thought social media channels might provide the  gateway that enables graduating students to connect with reality and find opportunity. After all, there’s lots of great advice out there in the twitter stream about how to find a job, and it is given freely. This is, after all the connected generation we are talking about!

Just how many of those graduating at this time are active in social media? The lowest percentage of social media users in the USA (couldn’t find the UK figures) according to Google Ad planner is 18 – 24 with 9%. (kind of flies in the face of the Gen Y enabled generation theory.) I would imagine that the UK is not going to be dissimilar.

Sourced from www.pingdom.com

There are some very good graduate communities and websites on-line. Graduates Yorkshire and Brave New talent are two that I’m very familiar with. That is great for those that belong to those communities or sign up, but what of those that are either unaware of the communities or just not using social-media in this way? When we conducted user research for the Oyster Partnership, the majority of younger users were in Facebook only (not twitter) and this was largely for social use and staying connected with a small group of friends. The feedback from #truManchester was that there is still major concerns over privacy which over ride a willingness to post personal detail to Facebook. Perhaps this is where the university career services need to be devoting their efforts, in converting a less than social generation in to using social media in the job search, and picking up on real opportunities rather than reading sensational headlines.

I ran a quick search for graduate opportunities in the UK through the TwitterJobSearch engine that reads 120mn messages a day from 30 social sites and aggregates all the job posts in one place (It’s very neat!). This simple search shows that there are over 3,273 graduate trainee jobs posted to twitter today.
Job aggregator 1job.co.uk are showing 6,282 jobs currently advertised on job boards and career sites.
Jobsite alone have 326 jobs posted for graduate trainee specifically and 1480 jobs requiring either new graduates or graduate level entry candidates.
It is a fair assumption that there may be many duplicates or agency postings amongst these figures, but that’s still a lot of opportunities at a time when we are reading the “lost generation” headlines each day.
I’d like to see the careers advisors from the universities spending time on developing student skills in social-media and on-line in order to find jobs opportunities, track graduate employers and get the most of the application process. The students also share some responsibility in this.

Whilst drafting this blog, I noticed a post from Wendy Jacob (who works in a university), airing her disappointment that come the end of term, the students just disappeared. While she works with the students (and no doubt puts plenty of personal time in), she doesn’t always get the follow-up or interest she deserves. You should read and comment on Wendy’s post. Could be that all the “No Jobs” and “Lost Generation” talk has caused many to give up before they have even started. I think more universities should employ the likes of Wendy, who have real recruiter experience. Her role is all about employability, everything we are talking about here.
In my own experience in sourcing interns for clients from Universities, it has been a real mixed bag of experiences. I have had to really battle to get through the layers of career service and get to talk to someone who can do anything. We get there in the end, but if I was hiring for me, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have given up before I even started. Despite much talk, the universities seem disinterested to organise themselves to talk to potential employers who could provide the gateway in to work.

I’d be interested in your views and experience in this area, and the best way to get the right graduates in to the right jobs. It seems that outside of some excellent on-line communities like Graduates Yorkshire and Brave New Talent, both parties are being poorly served.

Be ambassadors for great recruiting,

Bill

Links Listed In This Post

The Twintettes Blog

Graduates Yorkshire

www.Pingdom.com

Wendy The Recruiter

Brave New Talent

Jobsite

A1jobs

Oyster Partnership Research