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A Festival of Ideas

By Elaine Orler, on

I don’t know about you, but I’m stunned to realize that we’re already halfway through 2018. It seems as if it was just yesterday that we were enjoying the Ideas & Innovators session at last year’s Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech conference.

The I&I general session—among the most consistently popular RTTT sessions—consists of practitioners and experts from the world of recruiting giving fast-paced, five-minute long presentations (with each presenter accompanied by 20 PowerPoint slides timed to advance automatically) on an idea or innovation that they believe will strengthen or even revolutionize the talent-acquisition process. Some strong ideas were put forward during last year’s session that merit revisiting as we round the first half of 2018.

To read the full article on, click here… 

The tortoise or the hare?

The tortoise or the hare?

There’s an old story about a race between a tortoise and a hare. The hare is super speedy, but he becomes complacent, while the tortoise, slow and steady, eventually wins their race.

Is your recruiting organization the tortoise or the hare? Are you ready to win the race for talent?

As a talent acquisition industry consultant and analyst, I work with clients daily on their recruiting technology and process initiatives. They often engage Talent Function because they’re optimizing an existing recruiting system or about to engage in a new system implementation. Sometimes they need help overseeing an entire project; other times they’re seeking recommendations from a recruitment process and technology audit. Most clients align with either the tortoise or the hare.

First, let’s take a look at the “tortoise” organization. Through my experience in consulting with TA organizations over the last six years, I’m shocked that so many are still playing by the 2003 rule book when it comes to their recruiting processes and technology solutions. With each new client engagement, I’m often scratching my head and wondering, “Why are you still doing X and not Y?” Tortoise organizations have a long way to go to win the race. Although they’re very slow to change, they know they’re in a race for talent and they want to win. Tortoise organizations typically have some of the following deficiencies:

Role of Recruiter

  • Inappropriate requisition load (too many or too diverse to be effective)
  • Poor role definition between recruiter, coordinator and hiring manager roles
  • Dependency on post-and-pray approach to sourcing


  • Out-of-date or poorly configured technology solutions
  • No candidate relationship management solution to engage in proactive recruitment marketing efforts
  • Career website and apply process is not mobile optimized
  • Lack of integrations between recruiting systems and/or HRIS

Forecasting & Planning

  • Lack of forecasting, and therefore strategy, to meet talent demands
  • Lack of metrics to identify recruiting bottlenecks and/or display TA effectiveness

Candidate Experience

  • Lack of strategy and focus on the candidate experience
  • Career website does not have compelling or target-rich content
  • Apply process is too long and tedious

Sound like your organization? If so, you’d better hurry up because you’re already losing the race for talent. The best of the best talent expect better, from the point at which they visit your career website, all the way through their customized apply and onboarding experience.

Many of you may be thinking but I’m not a huge company, I don’t have the budget or resources to address all of this. However, transforming many of the areas listed above doesn’t cost a lot of money or require significant resources – just a commitment to identifying and fixing what’s broken. I would argue that a lack of commitment to moving the needle forward is costing your organization a lot of money every single day.

“Hare” organizations, on the other hand, have already addressed many of the items listed above. Hares typically don’t sit idle; they:

  • understand that there is room for improvement
  • continually seek new ways to optimize or replace old legacy systems and processes
  • continually work to optimize current recruiting technologies
  • are much faster to move on new technology innovations and solutions (i.e. CRM/recruitment marketing, digital interviewing, mobile and/or onboarding and integrations between systems
  • are typically aware of and making headway on role realignment and/or process inefficiencies
  • have candidate experience initiatives currently under development or on their immediate radar
  • recognize that they must become strategic and methodical in marketing through the development of compelling content and leveraging social media channels and recruitment marketing solutions
  • have more budget and resources for getting initiatives knocked out faster

Still, hares should be careful not to become overconfident and/or complacent. You’re lucky in that you’re ahead of the curve, but the curve is always moving. Stay the course and push the boundaries. You know you can win the race, but there are a lot of tortoise organizations out there that may beat you next year – or the year after.

If yours is a tortoise organization, identify where the finish line is and make the appropriate moves to beat competitors. Identify and leverage your organization’s strengths and unique qualities. Work to incorporate new improvements to your recruiting processes, technologies and candidate experience.

Not sure where to start? Schedule a focus group with your recruiters and hiring managers. Send out surveys to candidates (both those who were successful through the hiring process and those that were not). Make small improvements so you can move the needle forward.

You don’t have to be the fastest or spend the most money. In fact, taking a slow and steady (and strategic) approach can ultimately win the race.

Person of Interest – Recapping #SourceCon

Person of Interest – Recapping #SourceCon

One of my favorite TV shows in recent years was Person of Interest on CBS. It was the future thinking – not so real but maybe more real than we thought – hour-long drama of a machine built to recognize threats. A machine managed by evil government officials with a back door that provided the heroes with what were considered irreverent numbers (i.e. people) to rescue. A modern twist on the man vs. machine (made by man) storyline.

My career in recruiting started in 1993, which means I’ve been in the field longer than half of the attendees at SourceCon have been alive. While I’ve come to terms with the reality that my stories of machine recruiting (a.k.a. client server Resumix 2.0 on Unix, complete with scan stations, OCR resume processing and skills inventory libraries) are now museum artifacts, this year’s SourceCon was not to be missed. The carefully crafted formula of new meets old, man and machine, was delightfully balanced with a number of amazing female-fronted sessions and powerhouse emcee, Shannon Pritchett. The entire experience is best summarized by borrowing a phrase from my good friend Gerry Crispin, I’m a lifelong student of recruiting.

And I’m still learning – here are my top takeaways from SourceCon:

Man vs. Machine is everywhere. Chances are, I’ll entire retirement holding tightly to the truth that machines cannot replace the human in human resources. However, I’m confident that machines can enable humans to be kinder, smarter and better at what they do. Every session I attended focused on technology in a way that really pushed the envelope of what is possible now vs. later.

The annual SourceCon Grand Master Challenge came with a twist this year, though a human did win, the machine placed third and should not be underestimated. What was really interesting was that while the humans used a dozen forms of technology like data mining and artificial intelligence-based programs to compete, the differential came down to the humans’ ability to think outside the box and actually follow a hunch in some cases. I don’t think it will be long before technology adapts these same behaviors. The big takeaway being that recruiting and specifically sourcing are fully dependent on technology in more ways than we can count, and the more advanced the technology gets, the more solutions we have to find that next perfect person to fill business needs.

At the same time, we don’t need all of the shiny objects to be successful – sometimes we just need to rediscover untapped skills. Jim Schnyder from PepsiCo did an awesome job of breaking down some of what I like to call old school basics using a core candidate relationship management solution. Using the Avature CRM, Jim was able to demonstrate the basic principles of uncovering candidates you already know. In so many instances, sourcing teams focus on finding fresh talent, yet sometimes a gold mine exists with those might have forgotten.

One tip Jim gave, which I believe is critical for recruiting success, is around tracking candidates who said ‘no thank you’ and inviting them to reengage. Recruiting should be personal, but oftentimes recruiters take things personally when someone turns them down and then forget that candidate exists. Right candidate, wrong time is a formula for Right candidate, right time in the future. Inviting these candidates to a community, asking basic questions of them and creating an email campaign to reengage with them is both simple and hugely beneficial. Jim also shared several campaign emails that asked for 60 seconds to respond – the percentage of follow up from those candidates that had already been of interest and immediate value of those that are open to a conversation is a jumpstart on sourcing that next position.

There is plenty of research published by Talent Board, the non-profit organization behind the Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards, which proves that by providing a call to action to a candidate, even one who isn’t ready to join your organization, is far more likely to prompt a referral and leaves the door open to reach back out in the future.

Networking is an art and a skill. Not everyone is comfortable meeting new people – even I struggle to get out of my own way to make new introductions. (No laughing – people think it is easy for me and I assure you it is not – it is a decision, not a strength.) That said, when you’re hanging out with some of the most brilliant minds in sourcing, the ones who have pushed all the edges and still come up with new ways to find that one thing that seems impossible to find, even my decision to network is challenged by how intimidated I feel. The safest place to network with these experts is SourceCon. There is a level of we know how to do this mixed with just as strong a passion to teach it. While I am not going to be writing my own Boolean search string, or hacking a conference attendee list any time soon, I did take away a few tricks for making connections. These include the answer is always no if you don’t ask and just because they said no to your idea doesn’t mean they are judging you as a person.

If you missed SourceCon this time around, check out the event hashtag #sourcecon, follow the speakers and ask questions. A big congratulations to Shannon and her team for delivering one of the best content, conversation and educational conferences I’ve attended in a long time – setting the stage for next month’s ERE Recruiting Conference to raise the bar again.

Making Cake in a Coffee Pot: Evaluating Your Team’s Role in the Selection Process

Making Cake in a Coffee Pot: Evaluating Your Team’s Role in the Selection Process

Most companies use at least one recruiting technology – and sometimes several – throughout the talent acquisition process. To select and deploy these solutions, companies go through an extensive RFP process and choose vendors based on a defined list of requirements before completing the process design and, ultimately, implementation. However, taking this approach overlooks one very important thing: the resource structure.

To understand the relevance of this factor, let’s think about baking. Making a cake requires the following: gathering ingredients, measuring and mixing things together and then baking. Simple enough, right? Wrong. This overly simplistic approach can easily go astray and here’s why:

Gather Ingredients:
Tell someone to gather ingredients and you’ll quickly find out that there’s more than one way to accomplish this task. The person could go to the grocery store and walk the aisles looking for each item, while others may go in search of high end cocoa powder and organic, farm fresh eggs.

These methods represent what each talent acquisition team member may expect of a technology. For some, it’s about just getting the job done, for others, it’s about doing things to the best of their ability. As you draft out that list of requirements, consider how each one will impact the desired outcome. Are there shortcuts you can take or do you need a high performing option to handle the volume of your recruiting efforts?

Measure and mix:
Of course, once you have those ingredients in hand, there’s more than one way to measure and mix everything together. Resources may do so methodically using a hand-powered mixer or perhaps choose a more efficient electric or stand option. They can follow the recipe and sift the dry ingredients together before folding in with the wet ones, or they can dump it all together and see what happens. Here you have to determine how each resource works through the labor-intensive part of the process.

It’s critical that you evaluate your team and identify how resources source candidates – do they go to the fastest, easiest and possibly more expensive firms or websites, or do they leverage other avenues to search out and find the candidates? Knowing your team’s behavior will help determine the technology and/or process design that fits their work style.

And now, with that batter prepared, how do you bake the cake? Going back to the ingredients and recipe, there are always lots of choices – the oven, microwave or even the coffee pot. Each of these options has the capability to heat the ingredients enough to create the cake; however, the time and effort needed for each one will vary dramatically.

Thinking on that list of requirements, some companies aren’t always specific enough to evaluate whether or not a solution will meet expectations. For example, if the requirement is for the technology to heat up, a coffee pot would be a suitable way to bake the cake – even though it might not be the most efficient or effective. However, if your expectation is that you can control the desired temperature and cooking time, than the requirement needs to clearly state so ahead of time.

Understanding how your talent acquisition team operates is imperative when considering updates or implementations. Without a clearly defined roadmap, the technology and process design you choose will not fix any existing resource or skills misalignment. So before trying to bake that cake in the office coffee pot, take the time to see your team in action and get to know how they function. Only then can you bring your cooks to the kitchen.



A Game Changer with WebClipDrop

A Game Changer with WebClipDrop

By Janine Woodworth

 As a Recruiting Technology Consultant, I frequently have the opportunity to review new recruiting products. Recently, I was introduced to one such product – a complex, yet simple plug-in that solves for one of the bigger headaches in sourcing – WebClipDrop. Seeking to bridge a gaping hole that recruiting teams have been facing for years, the team behind WebClipDrop has built a way to capture web data and drop it into an existing system, while also creating a quick way to repeat content placement into online communications.

Available as a Google Chrome plug-in, WebClipDrop is an intelligent clipboard – kind of like SnagIt for data. What I found most valuable was the time saved not having to copy and paste one field of information at a time. The product’s initial smart data fields were designed to auto-parse candidate information into traditional recruiting applications. As a user, you have the flexibility to clip information from just about any site, and build your own insert mapping, or request to have them build it for you. The product maps data fields from most major sites used in recruiting. They are also planning for users to quickly map any of their sites in learning mode so that even the most customized web forms can be used. Recruiters can seamlessly click and drop new recruiting contacts in seconds (in bulk or one at a time).

One site that already mapped is LinkedIn. Recruiters can view potential leads in LinkedIn and then utilize the plug-in within Chrome to quickly capture and place contact information into a CRM or ATS. Here’s how that works:

Step 1: Go to web page where content resides; click on WebClipDrop iconScreen Shot 2016-03-11 at 4.05.01 PM


Step 2: Select the requested content to be clipped (Record From Page, Custom Clip, Droplet From Selection (text or html)

webclip_step4Step 3: The number of selected Clips and Droplets will be viewable (you can move any you don’t want to the trash)

Step 4: Clip to any web form

Historically, other products were difficult to integrate with LinkedIn, but in this case, the WebClipDrop plug-in acts much like a human, only faster, thereby saving recruiter time without complex data integrations.

In addition to the LinkedIn example, the product can be used for copying and pasting job descriptions into online posting sites. Recruiters can re-use the data on their clipboard over and over again making it easy to post job descriptions to multiple sites. Recruiters also have the ability to compose and send fully branded marketing message templates for their frequent communication needs. The library of “droplets” will add value to those Recruiters who spend much of their time writing highly repeatable text communications to candidates.

Candidates can also benefit. With the Chrome browser plug-in installed, candidates can easily clip and drop their CV/resume into company career websites and job boards. The candidate’s content parses into the correct career apply fields making the apply process fast and easy.

And while recruiters rarely want to add yet another tool to the gamut of technologies they’re using, I suspect this is one they will hold on to. The beta version is currently available, I encourage you to check it out here:

Getting to the Right Diagnosis & Treatment– Optimizing the RFP Process, Part 2

Getting to the Right Diagnosis & Treatment– Optimizing the RFP Process, Part 2

So by now you’ve diagnosed the issue and selected three prospective vendors to continue researching in order to find your cure. Since these vendors already demonstrated their ability to meet your requirements based on the RFI document, now you need to take this a step further and have each vendor demo their solution. However, instead of having the vendor conduct a standard presentation, it is best to create scripts that reflect your potential future state scenarios, focusing on the requirements that were deemed as high and medium priorities. Have a core team of SMEs develop the scripts and scoring sheets to appraise each demo. Make sure the scoring sheet includes the summary evaluation question, “Would you select this vendor (please provide details)?”

Once developed, send the script to vendors with a follow up appointment on the calendar for two weeks later. Each demo should be scheduled for at least two hours, but can be longer based on the amount of scripts developed. Key users and stakeholders should join in the vendor demo – however, ensure participants understand your current process and future state goals ahead of time. In addition to the demo, you may want to schedule a separate technology/security session with TA and IT leadership to review security and operational compliance, however this is optional.

Vendor demos can be completed onsite or virtually depending on the location of the participants. While there may be time for questions and answers, the goal is to complete all of the scripts in order. Make certain that vendors follow the script in order to be properly evaluated. Participants should complete their evaluation forms directly following each demo and submit for tabulation of results. If necessary, you can also include weights for scoring. For any remaining open issues, contact the vendor for clarifications, sometimes a follow up may be necessary.

With the demos complete, it’s time to review each, including the answer to that important summary evaluation question: “Would you select this vendor (please provide details)?” This portion of the process can be very analytical, and no two vendors are the same so keep the following in mind:

  1. Is this someone that will be a strong partner?
  2. Does this vendor have a stable financial base?
  3. What is the vendor’s product landscape for the future?
  4. What is the vendor’s pricing model?

Ultimately, select a vendor that can deliver on your specific business requirements and priorities and cure what ails your organizations. This leads to the fun part, contract negotiations, which may be handled by others. Regardless, it is important to address specific items in the contract. The most obvious being pricing and length of contract though you should also take into consideration your organization’s projected growth and any other HR technology initiatives as well as custom development that may be useful for future clients. In addition, it is critical that the vendor provide a timeline for when developments will be completed plus penalties if these are not delivered on time. Implementation of the product is more than just an estimate of time – it needs to be thoughtful and purposeful.

As part of contract negotiations, a project plan should include tasks to be performed by both vendor and the organization, including names of resources, and a realistic time frame for each. Another critical component will be the SLA (service level agreement), this document will cover information about down times and remedies for potential issues. If you are planning data migrations, be careful to start that work sooner to account for extra time needed during testing. You can include these high level details in the contract and the specifics about ongoing support for once the project is complete. And finally, remember that it may take time for your implementation to address the issues that brought you on this journey. Technology is not the only solution; it must also be incorporated into processes and people – some of these moves faster than others and you may need to adjust your remedies along the way.

There you have it – your treatment plan: completed RFPs, demo scripts and evaluations, and now, a contract. Together this will serve as the prescription a vendor provides to get your Talent Acquisition department healthy and ready for future state, all important parts of your medical record.

Getting to the Right Diagnosis & Treatment– Optimizing the RFP Process, Part 1

Getting to the Right Diagnosis & Treatment– Optimizing the RFP Process, Part 1

If you’re like most Talent Acquisition leaders nowadays, you feel pain. You recognize that things aren’t working right and could function a whole lot better. But where do you begin? Is the situation incurable or can it be fixed? Getting the correct diagnosis can be daunting but not impossible.

Start by evaluating the symptoms. Are there problems with people and processes or could it be your recruiting systems? The key to zeroing in on what ails your organizations is to take a good look at the current situation. Are your vital statistics in working order? Determine what’s working well and identify anything that’s not. It’s easy to assume that by replacing older technology, your organization will be healthy and vibrant again but the problems you face may not be technology-related. It could be people, processes or a combination of all three. Rather than treat each issue individually, think about enhancing your existing recruiting systems overall in order to alleviate the pain points. If the problem runs deeper and you find the need for a complete overhaul, there are also a few things to consider before engaging in the RFP process with recruiting system vendors.

First, we recommend that you begin with future state recruiting processes in mind. Future state design is a critical component for developing your list of requirements (features & functionality). Design a future state to solve for those current pain points, leveraging best practices and your knowledge of available recruiting solutions on the market. If you’re uncertain about future state, or unsure of the recruiting solutions available, find a consultant to help you. With this added support, sharing future state vision with leadership will help you get the necessary buy-in and budget for any updates or implementations. From here you may complete an RFI process with the baseline requirements to narrow the field down to a manageable number of vendors in order to go to RFP.

From here, send a list of your needs to vendors to solicit their response. The RFP document should include all of your requirements, identifying each priority as follows:

  1. HIGH (have to have)
  2. MEDIUM (strong desire)
  3. LOW (nice to have)

We also recommend including a column for vendors to respond with:

  1. Meets Requirement
  2. Custom Modifications or Development Required
  3. Planned for Future Enhancement (within next 6 months)
  4. Not Available (does not exist and is not planned for the next 6 months)

In addition, ask vendors to provide a list of relevant references – two weeks should be enough time for their response. At this stage, we suggest updating your Legal/Procurement team ahead of potential contract negotiations.

Once responses are received, you’re ready to analyze each vendor response and perform an in-depth review to determine who makes the cut. Tackling the vendor qualification and review process can be time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth it to ensure the product offering meets your business needs. You’ll want to assess and identify vendors who most fulfill the requirements gathered in future state design. At this point, determine your top three prospective vendors and get ready to take a deeper dive into their offerings and functionality.

We’ll talk more about this in part two – stay tuned!

Talent Acquisition and Sustaining Corporate Culture

Talent Acquisition and Sustaining Corporate Culture

Like most organizations, yours almost certainly has a vision statement. It more than likely has core values too. And it probably has expected principles and behaviors defining how work should get done. Each of these factors – and so much more – all combine to form your organization’s culture. Creating a desired company culture takes significant time and energy – but once you have it, how do you keep it, and whose responsibility is it to do so?

Sustaining an organization’s culture takes constant reinforcement – and more often than not this falls on the shoulders of Corporate Communications, as well as Senior Leaders and Executives. But is just talking about your culture really enough to maintain it? Doubtful. In fact, I would personally contend that the primary responsibility for sustaining culture ultimately falls on the shoulders of those involved in the Talent Acquisition process. That’s right, Recruiters and Hiring Managers.

It’s one thing to train new and existing employees on the vision, values, and behaviors they may not have fully understood and/or displayed at the time they were hired. There will always be a need for cultural communications, coaching and development once they onboard – at least to some degree. But those involved in the Talent Acquisition process have the opportunity to substantially limit that need to fill in the gaps by recruiting, screening, identifying and selecting not just top-performing talent, but top-performing talent that already fits the organization’s culture.

I see too many Recruiters – and often times organizations as a whole – that tend to look for one key quality in the identification of top-performers: the skillset match. Don’t get me wrong, having requisite skills is important – but job skills are just one element of the overall top-performer equation. Organizations with this myopic view should begin to shift from simply hitting the skills-related bull’s-eye to focus on the entire dartboard if you will. This begins by reexamining the way you score candidates, and recognizing the fact that culture fit is every bit as important as the skillset match. Doing so can not only help sustain the organization’s culture, but ultimately improve the company’s overall growth and performance.

Remember: skills define what the work is, but culture defines how the work gets done at your organization – and that can make all the difference in the world. Talent Acquisition professionals and stakeholders in the selection and hiring process must learn to align their organization’s vision, values and behaviors with the assets they are seeking during the attraction, evaluation, and selection of candidates. Recruiters and Hiring Managers alike should begin to connect the dots, by learning how to consistently identify and apply culture fit criteria when selecting and hiring talent. Then, the organization as a whole should continue down this path when managing and measuring individual employee performance, and reinforcing culture fit throughout the lifecycle of the employee.

So how do you as a Recruiter or Hiring Manager begin? I’ll be sharing some suggestions at the upcoming California HR Conference on September 2nd in Anaheim, when I present, “Recruiting on Target: Sustaining Corporate Culture.” For those unable to attend, I’ll follow-up with a subsequent post providing a few more recommendations. Until then, spend some time gaining insights and understanding into how you can define and implement opportunities within your organization – to identify top-performing talent that fits and sustains your company’s culture.

The Importance of Internal Mobility – Why Employees are saying Goodbye to their Companies

The Importance of Internal Mobility – Why Employees are saying Goodbye to their Companies

Most of us would say there is nothing more important than hiring the right person. However, it might also be said that the one thing more important is keeping employees once they are hired. And with Talent Acquisition shifting to a passive candidate sourcing model, many professionals are willing to explore opportunities with another company, even if they are happy in their current role.

These employees often feel that there are no opportunities for career progression, their managers are not taking the time to understand their goals and there is a lack of mentors to help guide them to the next level. Instead, companies are hoping and praying that their top performers are happy “enough” that they won’t leave, when there is a simple solution right in front of them – an internal mobility program.

When implementing an effective internal mobility program, consider the following strategies:

Internal sourcing

One of the challenges companies are facing is that they find it difficult to know where key skills sit across their organization. It is important to gain this understanding. One way to do this is by creating a talent profile or a set of competencies for each area of the business.

Look at your requisitions and identify internal groups with similar competencies/skills. You can then filter updates on opportunities within the company that match the interest and skills of these groups. Just like external passive candidates, you wouldn’t leave it up to them to comb the career site to find a position they are interested in but you would present them with specific roles they would want to see. Internal employees are no different.

Treat internal candidates like external candidates

As recruiters, we know how important it is to personally engage with candidates by having frequent communication and touch points. This displays appreciation for their time and efforts, yet often times, this is lost when dealing with internal talent. Since they work there already, the assumption may be made that a high touch experience is not necessary but this is not true. Employees deserve the same respect and should receive the same communication you would give to an external candidate.

Manager involvement

Most managers never take the time to have discussions with their employees about where they see themselves in the next 5 or 10 years. Incorporating a conversation, outside of the annual review process, to discuss career development will let employees know that the organization is invested in them and in turn, employees will be more likely to stick around.

Recruiting great employees is both important and difficult. So once you hire these people, do what you can to keep them.

Ready? Let’s Connect.