Death Knell of Hiring As we Know It

Take yourself back ten years to the last throws of the Dot.Com Era and compare the difference between the amount of people available for job openings then to what we have today - way too many. When the economy is cooking and there are fewer people seeking work than available jobs, it’s all about finding people to do the work. When you have too many people for the jobs at hand, the real effort lies in making sure you get the right person for the job.

Pity the poor hiring manager that makes a bad hire with so many choices...but it is happening every day.

With hundreds of resumes to paw over for each opening, you’d think making a hire would be easier….think again. Resumes are woefully inadequate for times like these and better assessment methods are needed to uncover the 50 people you get for each job whose resumes all indicate a qualified match. Then consider trying to pick the five or so people out of those to interview for the role. How do you choose? Phone screens? Psychometric tests? Coin flip? Whatever the method, you then need to interview people that are given one chance to make their mark – and one chance for the interviewer, typically within 30 minutes, to make their choice. After 5-6 weeks of time invested (sometimes less), you settle for the best person of the group – I mean how many hiring managers will say all that time was wasted. So, somebody gets the job. That folks is the hiring process for 95% of all jobs…there has to be a better way, right?

There is, well, er…sort of…at least it is somewhat evolving!

I think it is inevitable that the Internet will continue to shape employment initiatives for the better, the way it has since the early 1990’s (OCC, Monster, ATS, Google, etc.), how it evolves will depend on the thought leaders of the employment universe.

For several years now employment focused people have marveled at the opportunity that the Social Web could provide, claiming it as the next frontier of job recruitment. I certainly believe this will happen, but not until human resources and recruitment gives up on the resume as the vehicle for job consideration. A resume does not work at all for Social Networks and goes against the basic doctrine of the Social Web - helping others and genuinely sharing interests, motivations and passions. A resume can never divulge the truest sense of a person. They diminish our skills and demean the complexity of our experiences. Resumes in their simplest context are for screening people out, plain and simple – not much helping or sharing there…

While the employment world comes kicking and screaming to a non resume world (it could take a while…), the Social Web can provide an excellent, world class benefit that hiring authorities can put to great use today. In fact, it has been my prediction that this will help bring the demise of the resume (I’m betting my career on it actually…), and that is providing a career development, training and job hiring process where people actually get into careers that they love, possessing the skills to do the work and getting hired for the right jobs at the companies where they fit in the best.

The last part of the equation is the one that the Social Web offers right now. There is absolutely no reason that a person should get into a job situation where they knew very little about what they were getting themselves into, nor for a hiring manager not to know whether a person they offer a job to has the right interests, motivation, attitude and functional capability to do the job they offer them. The tools at our disposal to evaluate both sides of the hiring equation are available and both parties make a big mistake by not using them. Through the use of Talent Communities, Online Assessments, available Internet data and other Social Media activities – we’ve never had more opportunities available to make the best hiring choice.

I agree that not all companies have availed the public of their employment “brand” and it is a bit more work for a person interested in a company to get a sense of this, but there are plenty of ways to do it (using Linked In to contact a current employee for example, checking Clean Journey’s Career Investment Score, etc.). More importantly, a career minded person has tons of ways to create a Professional Brand and make a Career Investment that will get them noticed and position them to be considered for the work they crave.

For employers with way more resources, there are no excuses. The Social Web provides all the ammunition that is needed to uncover most of what should separate one candidate from another (Twitter, Facebook, Clean Journey, Linked In, Google, etc.). Finding people that have the skill is of course important, but finding people that have the interests and passions to do amazing things with those skills is the key separator to finding the "best" person for the job. The Social Web has and will continue to greatly improve the Quality of Hire for both company and new hire alike, and the benefits that this will provide the overall American Economy should be immense.

A wise person taught me a long time ago that a passionate worker is a hugely productive worker who won’t dream all week about Friday Happy Hour…uncover the passion!

Views: 369

Comment by Alasdair Murray on August 13, 2010 at 8:16am
I am also an employer branding skeptic Jerry. if such a thing existed then surveys wouldn't tell us all the time for instance how 3/4 of the UK's workforce are unhappy in their job. You cannot brand something that has so many variables. Take two different departments within an organisation for instance and the people within them, all with different upbringings, aspirations and personalities. As much as you roll out company mission statements and talk about your 'ethos' there will always be different atmospheres within the company an instances of employee friction and unease. Sure, you can have a wish list of ideals as a company, but they are never achievable at all times because of the mix of people that go to make up your company. it's a load of baloney that has trickled down from the likes of Virgin, Microsoft, Google etc. - all the companies perceived as being sexy to work for. Are they in reality sexy to be an employee at, or is it just that they are household names and thus people aspire to work for them over and above A N Other company down the road who may well treat their employees better?
Comment by K.C. on August 13, 2010 at 12:43pm
I hear what you guys are saying and you both make good points...but let me give you another way to look at this era of 2.2 years on average in a job for people under 35 (these are US numbers Alasdair - no idea about the UK), there is a workforce out there that’s wondering what it’s like to work at companies they may be eyeing for their next job. Regardless of what you call it, having an idea of what a company is like or a better yet the potential boss would certainly improve that decision making for anyone - would it?

I don't know about you guys, but one of the areas that my team consistently is involved in is describing to potential candidates exactly that type of company information, so we can get them to consider a move to a client company. In fact, a big part of our client manager's job is to walk the halls, have lunch in the cafeteria and interview the hiring manager and hopefully a team member to paint as complete a picture as possible so our team of recruiters can use this in their "tool kit" to land candidates for the open position (most of this information is gleaned as we extract a performance profile from the hiring manager on a visit to the client - and in phone conversations over the course of working with them).

How different is this from what you guys call "branding?" Alasdair, you mentioned Google and Microsoft in your comment. What comes to mind when you compare these two companies? If you were a software engineer recently graduated from MIT and both companies wanted to hire you - wouldn't you have an impression of what you think they are like before you spoke to a recruiter at either company directly...whether it’s right or not - you probably would...

Forget about all the employment marketers out there, doesn’t everyone have an impression of a company? What comes to mind when you think of IBM? Harrods? Southwest Airlines? BP? Or even Jet Blue (2 beers and a jump!)? Regardless of what you think, you can bet your potential candidates do…
It seems to me if we could provide some idea of what company’s and their employees are like that we would be able to improve hiring quality – don’t you?
Comment by K.C. on August 13, 2010 at 12:52pm
How about this, put yourself in a situation where you are a casual job seeker (say you're looking to make a move in the next six months to a year). You hear about a company in your area that seems pretty cool and you check out their website. Like 40-50% of all visitors to a corporate website you go to the company's career section just to take a look to see what's see a bunch of things in your functional area - but you're not ready to apply and you put in the back of your mind that this is a company you should keep on the radar for when you are ready...before leaving you notice a button labeled, "Join Our Career Community" with the adjoining text, "Connect Confidentially with us...learn our "inside story." It peaks your interest (especially the confidential part) so you join with your ID protected, and periodically you get messages (text or email) telling you interesting "insider type stuff" about the company, inviting you to online networking events with both employees and management, and periodically forwarding to you "hot" job openings specifically in your functional area... It’s not a social network Alasdair as you describe, so whatever competition among members for jobs that exists, is left to how much you want to reveal of yourself on the Professional Brand page each member gets to adorn about themselves - and how much of a Career Investment each person is interested in putting forth by joining and actively participating in Networking Events (among other types of available Career Investments)...

Quite a bit different don't you think? Ask yourselves what percentage of career section visitors that actually apply for a job – 1%, 5%? What if you could capture a greater number and actually cultivate the ones most interesting to you over time into candidates…does either of you see value in that?

Lastly, I have to also ask you Jerry, if prior to launching your cool audio recruiting program, if either Sea Ray or Gibson called you up and asked if you wanted to be their Head of Recruiting, wouldn’t you at least have considered it?
Comment by Alasdair Murray on August 13, 2010 at 1:05pm
I thought it was a recruiters job to try and match candidate to company culture anyway? Every organisation has its own unique selling points but I have always felt that the term 'employer brand' was a misnomer. Sure when I think of Harrods the store, it conjures up images of expensive goods for rich customers but that tells me nothing of what it's actually like to work there. What employer in their right mind, big or small, well known or unheard for wants to offer their employees bad terms? It's just that when someone thinks of Virgin they think airlines, perfume, music, tv.What does that on the surface perception actually tell anyone about Virgin as an employer.

whenever i write ad copy I try and identify a few things about the culture and positioning of the company in its marketplace. Today i wrote something for a company I;d never heard of but lo and behold they "operates in a range of commercially diverse sectors and enjoy a reputation as a niche service provider that is second to none". They also offer full and comprehensive training with a good career at the end of that training. That's not their employer brand, it's what they offer potential employees. All the stuff about, as Minchington put it “the image of the organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the minds of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market" is a bit of a pipe dream. No one wants to treat their employees badly in this day and age but to suggest that an employer can gain a competitive advantage by investing in employer branding is, to me at least, misleading.
Comment by Alasdair Murray on August 13, 2010 at 1:06pm
PS - apologies for the typos, I had a two year old pulling at my arm whilst typing.
Comment by Alasdair Murray on August 13, 2010 at 1:15pm
Sorry, KC, only saw your last post after I;d posted the above. I still think it's difficult for a company, any company, to make any sustainable promises with any confidence about how they treat their people. We all know the honeymoon period in any job is soon replaced by the day to day routine, that's why in surveys so often upwards of 50% of people are unhappy where they are. It's better to play to your known strengths as an organisation as in the above example. Unheard of company but doing very nicely thank you in their niche marketplace. Can't guarantee you won;t fall out with a colleague occasionally or that some of our managers are complete idiots, but hey, every workplace is full of all sorts of characters, that's why it's impossible to brand working in an organisation.
Comment by Jerry Albright on August 13, 2010 at 1:17pm
K.C. Of course it would be great if candidates were able to receive more targeted job info from clients. i didn't quite gather that as being the theme of your earlier posts in this thread.

I got the idea you were talking about a group of people swarming around a company (online of course) wanting to hear all the exciting hype pushed out by the PR group about how wonderful the place is. It just doesn't happen. People simply are not "fans" of companies. Might love their products - sure - and sign up for special offers and product news - absolutely.

But what you were describing earlier? I just don't see it. (and likely never will.)
Comment by Alasdair Murray on August 13, 2010 at 1:20pm
'People simply are not "fans" of companies.' Not quite true, but it's generally those who have not got much work experience and have a perception of a household name as being the utopia for their career, when in reality, as I have said, no organisation can ever promise that working with them will be any better than working at AN Other company down the road with any sense of long term confidence.
Comment by Jerry Albright on August 13, 2010 at 1:26pm
Alasdair - I'm like most people. I am a fan of products. Like I've said - Gibson, Sea Ray. I like their products. Heck - I like (and would go so far as to call myself a fan of) Crown Royal, Schwinn, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, Normark Fishing Equipment and many, many more.

Product visibility and acceptance has nothing to do with working at the company. Some companies - let's take Apple for example - may very well have a fan base comprised of geeks around the world who would love to be selected as a team member. This is one of only a handful of examples I can think of.

I'm not quite sure what this thread is about anymore. I'm a fan of this particular ham company and I'm going to dive into some of their finest stuff for lunch right now. (But I doubt I'd want to work there...............)
Comment by K.C. on August 13, 2010 at 1:28pm
Hey thanks for the feedback - I REALLY appreciate it...

One follow up question - I get your feelings about branding for the general public - but would you see value for a potential employee to see whether the manager of the functional team they would actually end up working for - was an idiot or not? How about a Forum Q&A with some of the single contributors from the same team? Forget about general employment marketing, I am referring to putting the actual people together so one could see what they were like and ask what its like on the team to do the work, do they hang after work together, is there a ton of pressure, etc.

If that could be organized would this help improve hiring quality? What do you think?


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