Tag Archive for recruiting

Carnival of HR: The “What Wins Championships” Edition

Rob-RyanIt’s an oft repeated cliché regarding NFL football that “defense wins championships.”

This gives me lots of angst, particularly when my team’s defense plays like crap in the opening weekend (Let’s please get it together Rob Ryan, ok? Thanks).

The Freakonomics folks tackled this a few years ago and wrote a good post about it in which they came to this conclusion:



Bottom line: Defense is no more important than offense.

It’s not defense that wins championships. In virtually

every sport, you need either a stellar offense or a

stellar defense, and having both is even better.


Makes me think of HR. Once we’re strong in the fundamentals of our sport (like any athlete) and have the proper conditioning we then tend to focus on whether we play offense or defense, don’t we? Of course, we NEED to play both (like they do in rugby … but that’s another topic).

Both defense and offense are necessary for a win with your organizational HR and people strategies. So on that note, this week’s edition of the Carnival of HR covers the fundamentals of the game, ongoing conditioning and strength training, defensive strategies, and offensive game-changers. 4 Quarters. Plus OT.

It’s a massive Carnival this week so grab a cup of java, settle back in your chair, and enjoy all these fabulous posts!


1st Quarter

KICK OFF by Steve BrowneRepurposing HR!!

Trish McFarlaneBe the HR Brand Ambassador for Your Organization

Jessica Miller-Merrell – eSkill Blog –  Is Simplicity the Next Big Thing in HR and Business?

Mike HabermanAre your ADA decisions “job related and consistent with business necessity”?

Tim BarryWe All Need Somebody to Lean on…In our Career

Gordon Middleton – Equifax Blog – I-9 Compliance: E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance Steps Up Activities

Mervyn Dinnen – Broadbean Blog – What’s The Future For Job Titles?

John Hunter –  Each Person Doing What They Are Told Isn’t Enough


2nd Quarter

Julie Winkle GiulioniLet’s Call a Truce… in the War for Talent

Chris Fields “Maybe You Should Step Down (from #HR)”

Lynn KnightDiet and Exercise to Optimize Talent Acquisition

Natalie Pike – Hireology Blog – Hiring After Labor Day: What you need to know

Bill Boorman – Take the Interview Blog – The Times They Are A-Changin’: Taking a Look at the Modern Recruiter

Kate Achille – The Devon Group – SEO Update – September 2014

Chris Powell – BlackbookHR – The Cost of Ignoring Employee Engagement

Anthony J James – Wired – Leveraging Social Media for Recruiting


(HALFTIME – Stand Up and Get Crunk!)


3rd Quarter

Will Thomson8 Things To Consider When Doing A Video Interview

Tim BarryAll You Need is Love…To Succeed in Social Recruiting

Sharlyn Lauby & Heather Bussing Why Job References Are Important – Part 1 – Ask #HR Bartender

Susan Mazza“3 Coaching Practices for Taking the Lid off Your Leadership”

Jennifer MillerResume Writing Tips from the HR Trenches

Jathan Janove – Ogletree Deakins Blog – Interview With #1 Bestselling Author Daniel H. Pink

Andrew TarvinThe Platinum Rule

Chris Fields“Who Are the Engagement Gatekeepers?”

Janine Truitt – Why My Next Move May Be Expat Life


4th Quarter

Melissa FairmanDo As I Say Not As I Do:

Ben Eubanks63% of Organizations Have No HR Strategy In Place

Linda Fisher ThorntonLeading For Ethics Future? (Or Ethics Past?)

Broc Edwards new socks: the last post you ever need to read about Zappos

Joanie ConnellBreaking Away: Is the College Transition Harder for Parents or Students?

Mervyn DinnenLiving in Interesting Times

Devin Lemoine – Success Labs Blog – 4 Essential Elements for Fueling a High-Performance Workplace



Winning the coin toss it’s …….

       Dan McCarthyDon’t Lead Your Real Team Like You Manage Your Fantasy Football Team

and with the game changing play ……

        Bill BoormanWhy mobile apply could damage recruiting #trulondon








Job Connection: Song and Dance

dance stepsEarlier this year, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) announced they would be launching the Louisiana Job Connection; a free job board to link Louisiana employers with job seekers. I sat through the first song-and-dance about this in January when a few of the folks (i.e. the marketing team) came to speak to the Louisiana SHRM State Council.  As 2014 rolled on I kept an eye on the launch which was, wisely, done in phases: employers were allowed to sign up and create profiles in June while job seekers were able to begin registration last week.

I have run into the LED Marketing folks (and their hired guns) all over town; they popped up again last week at a local SHRM chapter meeting for a 5 minute update. Their talking points have not evolved much; they continue to bring in the sexy factor by talking about their “innovative” and “advanced matching algorithm.” Many of the HR gals and guys, not fully realizing this technology has been around for years, think we in the Bayou State are pushing the envelope or something.

But how does it work?  How does any of this work?

I have seen ZERO details shared with either recruiters or job seekers on the magic behind the system. If I’m with one of the companies that LED is attempting to woo and/or placate (and thus presumably I have a lot more power in this game than Joe the Job Seeker) I would expect to get a lot more details about the how, why and what of the inner workings of this “innovative algorithm.” If I’m a recruiter with Big-Deal Company A I best have a pretty clear explanation on how, exactly, these search algorithms are working. If I’m going to let LED ‘match me’ with the employees they anticipate I will want to review, interview and hire…I sure would like to know HOW these folks were matched.

Is the matching of keywords, skills, jobs, whatever done as a broad match, a phrase, or an exact match? How, exactly, does the ranking system work? LED tells me I can choose to be matched with candidates who meet 10%…20%…on-up-100% of my posted job requirements.  But there needs to be a bit more transparency coming from LED on how the scoring works. Is, for example, the system creating some sort of Boolean search string of keywords from both the job posting and the job seeker profile?

As a recruiter, if I’m going to use the system, I demand a bit more transparency. Otherwise, just like other sites that have come before it (I’m looking at YOU Louisiana Workforce Commission) it will become nothing more than a place where Debbie the HR Assistant has to go do some busy work every few days. (note: the mechanism to post jobs is fairly straightforward, even allowing the employer to scrape job postings from other sites, but it’s nowhere near the greatest).

Granted, it’s only been a week but there are certainly a number of improvements needed to the site. On the recruiter side there is absolutely no integration with social channels and the search capabilities are crap; the criteria one can search are industry (broad and basic categories), job fields (i.e. Accounting, Banking, Insurance), experience level, and or keywords. It also appears that the keyword search is not even working; to test this I searched by job field “human resources” and came up with 175 candidate results statewide. I looked at 20 of these candidates, noted they all had the phrase “human resources” multiple times in their respective resumes yet, interestingly enough, when entering “human resources” in the keyword search box (and only keyword search) I got – wait for it – ZERO results. I repeated this with a search for software developers and got 127 candidates when searching “Information Technology” in job field and ‘software developer’ as keyword yet when I JUST did a keyword search I got – wait for it – ZERO. So, it would appear, that even though the directions to recruiters state you can enter “one or more” criteria that’s not really accurate.

The goal for these LED folks is a numbers game; get as many employers to post jobs as possible (to show opportunities!) and get as many job seekers to create profiles as possible (to show availability of talent!) and as this initiative gains steam the requisite heavy hitters have come out to share gushing quotes via LED press releases. I recently read a rah-rah quote from the VP of Global Talent Acquisition for a company with a huge gleaming office building in Baton Rouge which, it should be noted, is winnowing the staff in the Red Stick and informing hundreds of employees they can either opt to relocate to Houston or pick up their pink slip.

Look…I get it; this all sounds enticing when LED heads out to pitch to Company ABC why they should relocate their business to Louisiana – “You’ll find the talent here! We’ve got matching algorithms y’all!!” Mr. CEO, the recipient of the pitch, will think this sounds great.

But I wonder what Company ABC’s recruiting team will think.

It surely doesn’t appear any recruiters have been asked to participate in the development of a system they’re been clamoring (or so LED tells us) to use.

(note: I have also created a job seeker profile and, while I give LED credit for using the LinkedIn API, errors abound. Eight days after the launch and I continue to get the message “Alert: Could not update, please try again later.”  (this occurs whether I connect via LinkedIn Or enter my data manually). To their credit, the marketing folks I spoke to told me to call the Help Desk and they would sign in to my profile and see if it’s a programming issue. I think it is; I had to send them a tweet on day 1 to inform them that the abbreviation for Wisconsin (WI) was listed, incorrectly, as WA on their drop down list. Now, perhaps every time I select WI I get tossed into some sort of netherworld.

I’m also not sure the search engine on the Job Seeker side is functional; I’ve tried keyword searches for companies I know have posted jobs and I get ZERO returns.

Then again, it appears from the marketing efforts that this site is created for employers… the hell with the disposable commodities… I mean candidates. But that’s a post for another day…)



Shhhh…Don’t Tell Anyone But We’re Hiring

whisperIf you attend an HR conference in 2014 you’re more than likely going to find a session or two on topics like employer branding, social recruiting and/or how to build a talent network/talent community/talent pool (pick your poison). Mobile…social…SMS. Creating a dynamic and interactive career site. Effectively using video and images (Instagram!) to share your culture. If you are to stand any chance of hiring the necessary talent (you’re told) you better start managing your talent acquisition programs in a whole new way. Naturally, the implication is that if you are not already doing all of these things you are hopelessly out of date.

Yet, despite all these admonishments, there are a number of organizations that continue to reside firmly in 1998 and see no reason to change.

Look, there are some recruiting practices, decidedly old-school, that continue to work effectively for certain industries, in specific geographies and when targeting particular positions. Within the last week, while going about my daily about-town business here in Baton Rouge, I saw a billboard alongside the interstate advertising a job fair (10 AM – 4 PM!) at Company A, heard an announcement on the local news advertising a job fair at a community college for Company B (9 AM – 3 PM!), and found a flier on the door of a local coffee shop encouraging interested parties to complete an application for barista jobs (ask the Manager!).

Curious as to what was going on across the spectrum of jobs in town I decided to explore the local classifieds; it’s been quite some time since I looked at job listings in the (online) newspaper and I was bemused to see the category for tech jobs is called “computer personnel” – talk about 1998. Am I right?

While many ads provided the URL to company career sites there were a sizable number that did not. Some directed applicants to apply in person while others requested a resume be sent via email.  There were a few for which the only method of resume submittal was via fax or by mailing resume/cover letter via US Mail. Seriously? I need to either track down a fax machine or get a stamp and an envelope?

A fair number of those requesting resumes via email, fax or US Mail did not disclose the name of their organization but rather dropped cryptic clues like “a leading community bank” or “well respected law firm.”  And some, apparently believing what-they-do is akin to the CIA, opted to merely state “Company Confidential.”  (and no…those were not 3rd party recruiters playing the game on behalf of a client).

After musing about this on Facebook someone inquired if, in fact, the “mail to P.O. Box” was a blind ad.  No it wasn’t; the company name was front and center.

But THAT took me down an entirely new rabbit hole because those ‘blind ads’ do still exist. Talk about employer branding all you want; chatter on about demonstrating organizational culture via videos and pictures and storytelling; make the point that HR practitioners should target efforts on only having the most appropriate candidates apply (those who get the culture, brand, story).  Talk about that stuff all you want but remember at the other end of the spectrum from Glassdoor and UPS and Zappos and Sodexo sits the Community Bank of South Louisiana (80 employees!). **

Debbie the HR Manager at CBofSL is instructed to leave the name of the company off when she has a position available above a certain level so the CEO isn’t inundated with phone calls from his golf buddy Jim who want to finangle an interview for his wife’s hairdresser’s son. The powers-that-be don’t want it to appear to customers that the bank has retention issues so jobs are not to be posted publicly. Debbie’s only hope of developing an applicant pool is by using traditional post-and-pray recruitment channels and hoping for the best; she sure can’t head out to any social networks to build a community for secret jobs. And as she doesn’t have the wherewithal to set up a generic email account or sideline something through her non-existent ATS she ends up gathering resumes via US mail to a top secret PO Box.

That’s employment and culture branding right there, isn’t it?

Shhhh…we have secret job openings!

** not an actual organization

Lessons from Jesus: Injecting Faith and Fervor into YOUR Workplace

revival meetingI am, by no stretch of the imagination, an adherent to any sort of organized religion. While I have a Jewish heritage I was baptized Catholic and raised Lutheran and thus, subsequently, spent my life questioning everything and anything. I now go, as some may say, the cop-out way; declaring myself an agnostic as opposed to an atheist. I also immerse myself in studying the history of religion even while steadfastly abstaining from being either religious or, quite frankly, spiritual.

Yet, despite this absence of religious beliefs, I have served as the HR leader for not one but two Catholic organizations.  Let me just say that you haven’t really lived a full HR life until you’ve had to terminate a nun – your HR Department employee – for job performance. Fun times indeed.

Recently I’ve been doing some work for another faith-based organization and yesterday I had the pleasure of attending their all employee in-service; it was an interesting mash-up of an old-timey revival meeting and every painful training program ever coordinated by Debbie the HR lady.  There was also praying – lots and lots of praying.

While every organization may not find it feasible to bring in a 7-piece band (lead singer, 2 back-up singers, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards, and drummer) to kick off meetings, I had several observations that are applicable to any workplace:

Having FUN can destroy lingering negativity. The aforementioned 7-piece band got us going with some good old-fashioned spirituals.  Every employee stood and most (not all) sang along – some at the top of their lungs. Singing alongside one’s boss might not be for everyone (I’m not sure I would want to do it), but I couldn’t help but wonder if Gladys and Cheryl from Accounting don’t get along just a bit better back at their desks when they remember that at the next all-staff meeting they’re going to be be sharing a hymnal. It’s probably kind of hard to bitch about a co-worker’s spreadsheet error when you’re going to be singing harmony the next morning.

Remember to reminisce. Several of the organization’s leaders spoke about, well, the kind of stuff all leaders talk about at these sorts of gatherings; strategies, changes, and plans for the future.  There were updates and acknowledgements with the primary differential being liberal use of the words “God,” Jesus” and “The Lord.” All of the leaders who spoke however were extraordinarily effective at reinforcing the organizational culture message through the use of narratives and history.  “I remember last year at this time when xyz happened….” said one to exuberant head nodding from all assembled.  It was a very effective reinforcement of shared purpose and cultural expectations and alignment.  “You’ve been called to work here,” said one leader, later adding “you’re being prayed for in your work here.”  Certainly not my cup of tea (I don’t need to be prayed for thank-you-very-much) but perfect for the people who have chosen to work at this organization.

Have a strong foundation. A lot of organizations articulate and memorialize a set of values, beliefs and core operating principles; they emblazon them on the company website, print them in employee handbooks, and do everything short of making needlepoint pillows with their corporate values stitched upon them.  And quite often all of that is nothing more than meaningless fluff.  But let me tell you, an employee working for a Christian faith-based organization comes in to the job fully knowing the values and principles because she’s been reading the operating manual  – the Bible – her entire life.  When every speaker quotes a bible verse or two (we heard snippets from Titus, Corinthians and Mathew among others) it’s simply a reinforcement of the foundational message; stuff’s not changing every time a new leader joins the team or a new Board of Directors is chartered; after all, this was all laid out 2,000 years ago.

Be passionate about hiring to your culture.  As part of the meeting, Department Directors introduced new hires.  Personal tidbits were shared: “Michelle who is joining our team is the daughter of Betty – many of you know Betty – and Michelle and her husband Bob have 3 kids.  She enjoys baking, LSU football, and collects thimbles.” And then Michelle’s manager related the story of how she came to ‘finally’ get Michelle to come on board…”When I first spoke to Michelle last year she wasn’t ready to join us but I kept her resume front and center on my desk all year long, praying that she would come work with us.  I stayed in touch with her and, just recently when I had an open position, God laid it on Michelle’s heart to come to us. We’re so glad she is here.”  It was nice. Not something necessarily within what I consider the sphere of plausibility but then again I’ve neither prayed to a deity to convert a candidate to a hire nor has any deity, I’m quite certain, ever deemed it important enough to worry about my career choices.  The key though – reinforced yet again during this part of the meeting – was the infusion of belief and culture unique to this workplace and this setting.

Look … I’m fairly certain I was the only non-believer at this event; I sort of expected the heavens to part and a bolt of lightning to strike me as I crossed from the parking lot into the vestibule. And while I neither sang along nor paid strict attention to the prayers and bible-verse quoting I was enchanted by those who did.  I saw happy, engaged employees who were perfectly aligned with their organization’s culture.

I guess I learned a few lessons from Jesus.