Talent Circles

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Power of Building a Custom Specialty and Niche Recruiting Strategy Part 3

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

In part three of our series we’re talking about a type of community that is vital to the success of several technical organizations in Silicon Valley. The women in technology crowd have been a focus of many organizations when it comes to hiring not only a gender-diverse workforce, but also a strong technical candidate pool.

Hiring women takes a more direct and focused approach. If you look at corporate leadership teams you will find that the glass ceiling for most of these companies are still intact and haven’t been shattered. GM hired their first female CEO, Sheryl Sandberg is breaking glass everywhere she goes, and Marissa Mayer is making the news on a weekly basis with the shakeup at Yahoo.

So how exactly does your company attract and recruit the women in technology crowd? Here are a few approaches that’ll help your business hire this diverse people group:

Hire with the intention to train new employees in skills that are needed One of the major drawbacks to hiring these two workforce groups is you might not always find the perfect candidate because they either don’t exist or they’ve already been hired by a competitor. When you don’t find the right candidate find someone with the potential to be a perfect fit into your organization. Hiring for will over skill might even turn out to be a better business decision because you’re able to train a candidate to work in the way you want them to.

Create a pipeline full of specifically targeted candidates. Using a talent community to build relationships with female candidates will allow recruiters a go-to resource to fill open positions when they come across their desk. Since it’s harder to fill positions with a specific type of person whether it be gender-based or technical it’s better to have an already existing pool of candidates to choose. Build internship programs as a way to attract female students to your company and place them in your talent community to hire for full-time positions.

Create an inviting workplace for women candidates. Women friendly workplaces offer perks that aren’t necessarily aligned to your male candidates or employees. There are several ways to make your workplace “women-friendly.” Some of these are:
  • Flexible workday shifts. This is important for women who have children and need to come in late and leave early, but also work from home during the evening after their kids have been put to bed.
  • Telecommuting. When their children become ill or their babysitter calls into work, it’s important to give these women the flexibility to go home and take care of these moments as they arise.
  • Provide mentoring initiatives particular to women. If you take a look at most corporate leadership teams you’ll see that women are very infrequent in these roles. Giving the women in your workplace the ability to be mentored by fellow women, whether they be inside or outside your company, will give you not only better women leaders, but a perk that most women don’t get in leadership roles.
Hiring women in technology is a big deal because these roles are few and far between. Having more women in leadership roles will not only help attract more women to your workplace, but will give your company better visibility when it comes to attracting a broader workforce.

Don’t forget to check out part one and part two of our series on custom specialty and niche recruiting strategies.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Power of Building a Custom Specialty and Niche Recruiting Strategy Part 2

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Last week we talked about the importance of building a custom specialty and niche recruiting strategy and how it’ll change your recruiting efforts for the best and today we’ll talk specifically about veteran and diversity recruiting. A few months ago we hosted an entire series on how veterans make great hires and today we’re giving you some advice on how you can close the deal when hiring veterans.

Engage veterans in your storytelling.
One of the most successful ways to get a veteran to work for your company is connect them with other veterans. Create a story about your workplace with veterans and how those specific employees are vital to the overall success of your company. Candidates want to hear compelling facts about how your workplace accommodates veterans and a diverse workforce. These facts should come from the type of candidates you’re trying to engage and hire to increase your credibility.

Hire differently.
This candidate isn’t your normal out-of-work job seeker or college graduate. The veteran workforce is highly connected and motivated and will need a special type of recruiting. Consider an even more personal approach to hiring this networked workforce in order to gain a better understanding of the candidate and how their military work experience transitions into the private workforce.

Who We Love
We’ve given you a few examples of how to recruit the veteran workforce, but we also want to highlight a few companies who we believe have done an outstanding job. These companies have been highlighted on our blog in the past, but Home Depot and GE have been two stand out examples of who’s doing it right in veteran recruiting.

Home Depot’s career portal has a specific site dedicated to veteran recruiting. Not only do they offer exceptional discounts to all military personnel, but their dedicated career portal gives veterans the ability to join their community and talk one-on-one with recruiters and how they might be able to fit in the Home Depot family. They’ve hired more then 60,000 veterans since 2004 and have been given numerous awards on their commitment to hiring and working with military professionals.

GE is another example of a company doing things right when it comes to hiring veterans. Their program “Get Skills to Work” gives veterans an opportunity to gain the proper skills needed to re-enter the workforce. Their mission is to educate, prepare, and place veterans in long-term careers. With an estimated 600,000 manufacturing jobs GE is working to build better futures for military veterans.

These two companies are prime examples of how companies should recruit and maintain a vital and promising relationship with veterans. It’s important to use social media, communities, events, PR, and digital storytelling to drive these candidates to a centralized location to help create a targeted and truly unique experience.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Power of Building a Custom Specialty and Niche Recruiting Strategy

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

As a corporate recruiter it’s likely that you are juggling multiple requisitions that are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. Maybe those positions are technical ones like engineers, developers, sales professionals and even operations support. Maybe you are intrigued by building a specialized network and community of candidate, but are wondering what’s in it for me?

The best way to build a custom specialty and niche recruiting strategy focuses on creating a destination and community to drive all your pipeline candidates to even before you have an opening. And that starts with building a candidate recruiting strategy. With niche and very unique degree programs and skill sets, recruiters must first research the candidates they want to reach while also considering what resources, information and answers they need. Building a candidate pipeline goes beyond just standard company information, culture and benefits answers. It means providing value and a level of engagement that peaks their interest and encourages them to apply for your job role and/or invest in your talent community.

One of my favorite times of niche and specialty recruiting is of the diversity variety. Recruiters build relationships with qualified diverse candidates like veterans, women or other minorities. These groups are targeted, specific and focused on going beyond just the standard apply now. Recruiting teams build campaigns, share resources and understand that these relationships are an investment that goes beyond just filling positions but incorporating company messaging and most importantly helping the community.

Just as the title says, there’s power in building a custom specialty and niche recruiting strategy, but how is that done? Here are three things you can do to help build a niche recruiting strategy:

Be In Sync With your Community: Are you looking for veterans, women, and/or minorities? Once you know what you’re recruiting for get in sync with that specific community and start meeting people. There are several recruiters out there that when looking for specific types of candidates they’re going to meet-ups, speeches, and anywhere that they might find this specific candidate. Don’t make the mistake of not being where your candidates are if you’re niche recruiting.

Learn the Lingo: This might sound silly, but if your recruiting a specific position and sound dumb doing it you won’t gain the respect of those candidates. Learn the vocabulary so you’re able to interact in the community. Learn enough about the position and what it entails to be able to speak intelligently. For example, if you’re hiring a graphic designer don’t say the word “font” instead say “typeface” as it’s the proper term.

Give Candidates Something They Can’t Get Elsewhere: This really applies to any type of high-level recruiting, but when recruiting niche job reqs it’s important to give that candidate a little something extra that’ll put them over the top in deciding to work for you versus a competitor.

Having a good recruiting strategy in place is one thing, but being able to recruit niche jobs is an entirely new playing field. Building a specific strategy around niche job requisitions will allow your company the upper hand in beating out competitors in important positions.

Come back tomorrow and learn how to specifically recruit veterans and see what companies are doing it best.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Four Ways to Diversify Your Recruiting Efforts

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Several weeks ago I presented at a technical recruiting event leading a track on how to use Twitter to recruit. The technical recruiting world in Silicon Valley where I live is extremely competitive and finding the right talent for those specialty roles is not easy. In order to be effective in your recruiting efforts, especially in highly competitive markets you have to diversify your strategy.

It’s no longer acceptable and doable to be apart of the crowd with your recruiting strategies because your competitors will be constantly outshining you. Your recruiting strategy will make or break your company’s growth because everyone wants the best and brightest talent in the market. Here are four ways that’ll help not only diversify your strategies but set them apart from your competition.

Build a pipeline.
Plan for positions. Take a look at positions and how they historically are filled and opened and plan better to fill them. Build relationships and get to know your candidates personally. Learning to take a more pro-active approach to knowing who your candidates are and what they’re looking for will allow recruiters to fill positions more accurately.

Start with leveraging Talent Circles talent network technology to develop these relationships with candidates in your pipeline. A talent community will allow recruiters to have a place where they can interact and get to know their pipeline over recruiters who choose to post and pray.

Go where the competition is not.
Seek out communities and networking meet ups where you are the only recruiter present. Think outside the box when it comes to the places you’re recruiting. If you’re looking for a technical candidate don’t go to all the technical meetups and networking with the same crowd because chances are your competition is there too. Start thinking outside the box with events that might not necessarily fit your candidate’s profile, but still match the skills you’re looking for.

Build a resource reputation.
Provide prepared resources and one page to establish a reputation that sets you apart. It can be as simple as a LinkedIn Profile best practices one sheet for every candidate who applies for a job opening. The major issues with candidates and the job search are they don’t get proper feedback after an interview or applying for a job.

Being known as a company to provide feedback will allow candidates to feel less animosity towards the company if they know why they weren’t hired for certain positions. Using a talent network to communicate with different candidates will help increase the validity of your community and recruiters within your company.

Be active online.
Go beyond just using social media as a sourcing or job distribution tool. Build relationships. Share resources and get to know your ideal job seekers before they apply. In doing so you’ll be able to have a good idea of each candidate that funnels through your pipeline without spending hours on vetting each and every candidate at the same time. Just being out there will increase your chances of sourcing on a higher level.

How are you diversifying your recruiting efforts? Share your secrets!

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Evolve a Successful Recruiting Strategy within Your Corporate Recruitment Team

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Recruiters are independent creatures by nature. We prefer to source, recruit and fill our positions in solitude with only our phone and our computer screens as portals into the outside world. Maybe that’s because of our sales-centric personalities where we are competitive and often reclusive. It’s time we set out of our comfort zone.

Except that we can’t do it alone. We may be a cog in a wheel but a interactive and long term recruiting strategy means working with a team instead of just flying solo.

Take the Anelosimus eximius South American spider for example. They are lone wolves preferring to hunt for insects alone. Then the spiders realized something and came together in communities of 50,000 they create elaborate webs up to 65 feet high.

Successful recruiting and hiring isn’t just a single recruiter’s job. It’s bigger and more involved. It’s a team effort that goes beyond even your corporate recruitment team. I’m talking about leveraging your entire employee population working together as brand ambassadors to fill the twenty-five, three hundred or even three thousand open roles together with a singular mission that benefits everyone at your organization – the employees, the stockholders and those candidates putting them to work and driving productivity and revenue for your company.

In order to attract and retain the best candidates recruiters must work with their public relations, marketing, and other departments to create a workplace culture that’ll have candidates flocking to your open requisitions. No longer are recruiters able to recruit based off salary and compensation, but culture is now one of the most crucial pieces of a candidate’s decision to apply and stay with a company long-term. The saying “money can’t buy happiness” hasn’t been truer in the workplace. Paying someone six figures doesn’t always guarantee that they’ll be happy. A recent study by the New York Times states that happy workers are harder workers.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and using those around you will not only help develop your own skills as a recruiter, but it’ll give those around you the same opportunity. Whenever you’re struggling to fill a position don’t just rely on your own skills, but use your entire recruitment team to build a strategy and plan around filling difficult positions. This will not only help you break the mold of being a lone wolf, but it’ll help develop a stronger process for filling difficult positions and getting difficult tasks done.

Are you a lone wolf or a social butterfly? How have you involved your recruitment team in improving your recruiting strategy?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Biggest Obstacle in HR & Recruiting: Fear of Failure

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Working in HR and recruiting is interesting to say the least. It’s not a job that I knew I wanted for myself but once I fell into the role, I fell in love. The industry is filled with innovation, creative technology and comradely, but there are things hidden in the shadows.

More than most it seems we are afraid and adverse to failure. We fear it instead of embracing it. We hide our mistakes instead of learning from them. We think that failure makes us look soft or weak when not innovating, driving change or challenging the status quo makes us look business inept and feeble. Complacency is a death sentence. That is what is holding us back in HR and recruiting: failure and complacency. You have to be able to give yourself the ability to fail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” In HR and moreso in recruiting this quote speaks volumes to those who chase after a candidate, but aren’t successful at hiring them. The fear of failure for recruiters comes with the fact that a lot of their pay is tied to performance and the type of candidates that they bring in. Without being really good at their job it’s hard to be successful in the industry.

There are a few reasons why recruiters fail. Overcoming these challenges will allow a recruiter to be extremely successful in the field.

They don’t’ want to win badly enough
Recruiters are inherently sharks in their industry. The only reason a recruiter might fail or be afraid to fail is because they do not want it bad enough. Desire to be the best will always outperform natural talent. Just think of the classic tale of the tortoise and the hair.

They get too attached to candidates
This really doesn’t sound like a bad thing does it? Getting too attached to candidates will sidetrack a recruiter and might jeopardize their professional opinion on if a recruiter thinks the candidate fits in perfectly with a certain job. This can end up costing company’s thousands of dollars.

Loss of drive and ambition
Getting lackadaisical in their approach to recruiting is a big reason why they fail. Some people just fall out of love with their job and that’ll signal a red flag into why they’ve failed at recruiting the best talent for a company. The loss of drive and ambition is one of the top reasons people fail at their jobs.

Do you have a fear of failure? How have you overcome?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Should You Hire for Skill or Will?

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

There’s a battle happening in Silicon Valley now that I’ve been living and working in the thick of it for over 6 months. Skilled and specialized candidates are in demand and recruiter is resorting to a myriad of tactics to find them. Job seekers have been cold called, LinkedIn messaged and even prompted on Secret, the anonymous sharing app to apply for company’s technical job openings. Recruiters are ruthless because the companies they work for and represent know the cost of skilled hiring. Just last week Silicon Valley giants settled a wage-fixing lawsuit to the tune of $350 million. They have tried to hire for skill, but tried to manipulate the cost, and it backfired.

Hiring for skills is tough. You pay premium for these qualified job seekers, which is why many companies are experimenting with recruiting alternatives. They are investing their efforts in hiring for will in unusual or creative ways. Take for example the Inmate Entrepreneur program. Inmates are charged with building a startup and coming up with creative technologies and businesses. Companies who are hiring for will need to focus their efforts on corporate apprenticeship and training programs for individuals in different places in their career progression and life.

Learning to hire for will instead of skill might be the new trend in these high-tech focused areas in order to save companies millions a year on hiring skilled workers. There are several pros and cons when hiring for will over skill. In order to make the best decision for your company here are some of those outlined. Each company you recruit for needs a different type of workforce so before you decide know what type of worker your company exactly needs.

Hiring for Skill vs. Will

  • Hiring for skill will generally foster more innovation in your company because these workers already know what they’re doing and their more prone to quicker thinking.
  • Skilled workers save your company more money upfront and our able to start jobs quicker due to a minimal learning curve.
  • The cost of hiring a skilled worker is much higher then hiring an employee who you have to train and develop their skills.
  • When hiring skilled workers there is much more competition in the area. Recruiters have to act a lot more proactively to get the best skilled workers for the best price.
These are only two on each pro/con side for hiring skilled workers over newer workers in the field, but there are hundreds more.

Do you have any issues on hiring skilled workers vs. will? Let us know and we might be able to help!

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Your talent pool is never be too large if you have the right tools to manage it!

A few weeks ago, a participant to the Bersin/Deloitte Impact Conference wondered how she could make sure that her talent pool would only include qualified passive candidates? TalentCircles helps you to address this question optimally and define what's best for you.

Think twice about what a "qualified" passive candidate might be.
If the candidate is passive, this means that you may not have a job for her right away. Consequently also, it may be difficult to say whether or not this candidate is "qualified." So you may not want to apply to passive candidates the same criteria you apply to candidates who actively apply for a job.

If you want to attract passive candidates, remain open-minded. As a rule, an exclusionary strategy may make you miss lots of people with potentially interesting skills in a variety of business units and you will fall into the same predicament as what you experience today with too few passive candidates!

So the question becomes: how to make sure not to be overwhelmed by a large talent pool. TalentCircles gives you the ability to evaluate your talent pool along multiple filtering criteria, including:
  • Job matching
  • Questionnaires, which can be public or private
  • Circles, which can be public, private or confidential
  • Mass and individual tagging

Job matching
This feature is extremely powerful. Whether or not you have segmented your talent pool in circles, tagged candidates or selected them through questionnaires, the job matching capabilities will tell you immediately who in your candidate pool has a profile corresponding to the job you are trying to fill with the match percentage. You can also adjust the job matching criteria at your convenience on the fly.

Mass and individual tagging
You can tag any individual candidate, as well as bulk-tag candidates. All the candidates you have tagged will show in any search using that tag. You can connect and engage with these candidates at your convenience (alert them on any type of news, event, invite them for video interviews, webinars, etc.)

Questionnaires, sometimes called pre-recorded interviews, allow you to filter out the candidates you attract. These questionnaires can contain as many questions as you wish and these questions can call for video responses, text only or multi-choices (with one or several valid choices). You can score all the responses. Questionnaires can be posted on public social networks, sent to a selection of candidates or posted in circles. In the event that questionnaires are posted in public, do not worry if you get hundreds of responses: TalentCircles allows you to sort candidates by scores.

When candidates opt into your network, they can subscribe to one or several public circles of interest that you have defined and where you engage people on topics that are of interest to them. For example, a candidate can belong to both a military circle and a sales circle. Each time, you will post a job, a blog post, an event, questionnaires or new documents related to this circles these candidates will be notified automatically.

Not all the candidates in public circles will be equally interesting to you. So you can run a search on candidates that are of special interest to you and invite them into a private circle that only these candidates will see.

There may be candidates that are of very special interest to you and whom you want to particularly pamper without letting them know how valuable they may be to you. You can make a search and assign these candidates into your confidential circle.

Of course, if you want to reduce the size of your talent pool, you can also decide to accept people upon invitation only.

Managing a large talent pool is easy when your talent acquisition platform is designed to do so!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Veterans Series: Community is key to attracting veterans: Conversation with Chad Sowash.

This post is part of a series that already includes conversations with:

Chad Sowash retired from the Military after 20 combined years of service. He started in the online recruitment industry in 1998 working in sales at Online Career Center before it was rebranded as Monster.com in January of ‘99. After leaving Monster Chad took a leadership role as a Vice President at DirectEmployers Association for ten years. During his that time he led the collaboration between Corporate America and State Workforce in the creation of the National Labor Exchange.   

Chad enjoyed a short stint with RecruitMilitary as their Chief Experience Officer and exited shortly after the company’s acquisition. Chad has since teamed up with a colleague to start a firm, Catch 22 Consulting, whose purpose is to provide expert resource for companies which want to build meaningful hiring programs for veterans and individuals with disabilities and ultimately help companies better understand attraction, engagement and building of communities, as opposed to merely building resume databases.

Tell me about your history, what you did in the military?
I actually started my career in the military only six days after graduating high school. I knew I wasn’t ready to jump right into college, wanted to see the world and felt the military was a great option. I soon found that being stationed in the tropical paradise of Panama was wonderful just as long as I wasn’t receiving mortar and AK47 fire, which is what happened within the first few months of my tour during Operation Just Cause.  That’s right I started the first four years my 20-year stint with Uncle Sam in active duty Army and found myself carved into a hillside on the parameter of Fort Clayton ducking, covering and returning fire.

Fast-forward four years to 1993 where I found myself transitioning back into civilian life and in search of the same type of brotherhood, camaraderie and true community that I missed from the Army. That’s where I found and joined the Army Reserves. I finished up my twenty as a reservist where I was deployed back to active duty a couple times as an Infantry Drill Sergeant on Sand Hill at Fort Benning, GA. That’s right, Round Brown, push-ups, cadence, the whole deal as a full-time Infantry Drill for 2 ½ years, HOOAH.

Why did you transition out of active duty?
Back in ‘93 I was only an E-4 and you have to remember back then we were faced with major military budget cuts from the Clinton administration, so the likelihood of promotion was very bleak. Heck we were using the original Nintendo game systems for M16 weapons qualification instead of real weapons and live rounds, talk about scary. At that point it really didn’t make any sense for me to stay in the active military, so I made my move and chose to transition back into the civilian world. Fast forward to today, that’s pretty much what we’re going to be seeing with this huge drawdown: many aren’t going to want to stay in, and others are going to be pushed out for a myriad of reasons not due to bad conduct.

How was the transition to a civilian job from being an E-4 Specialist?
It was fairly easy. On active duty, my first job was as a quartermaster and chemical equipment repair, and luckily my new employer knew to look deeper or I would have easily been overlooked. Luckily I had an “inside scoop” to land a sales gig and once I started working in the job, the skills I learned in the military translated easily. My new boss knew that military teaches you much more — leadership, working within a team – those types of things that were very important in my transition. Over the years, I’ve presented to many groups about military and veteran hiring and I always ask how many people (in the audience) ever went through standardized leadership training to keep the job that they were promoted into? Usually you can hear a pin drop after that question, because in general, there are no leadership courses organic to organizational career pathing, like in the military. Most promotions above E-3, in the Army, come with leadership course “strings attached”. This means you must complete the prescribed leadership course to retain or achieve the next promotion. Not to mention, you must keep up with all of your certifications, new schools etc. That’s right the military has standardized leadership courses that are organic to the entire environment, because the military builds leaders and most organizations promote their achievers, which unfortunately in most cases are not leaders.

Would you have gotten your first job without having the “inside scoop”?
That’s a great question and to be honest, if I actually made it to the interview I would have been confident, but I’m not sure that I would’ve made it through the resume screen. As I said, my first job after transitioning into the civilian sector was in sales, where you obviously have to work with people on a daily basis and you have to be very detail-oriented. I was lucky because my “inside scoop” was my Dad who was the Regional Sales Manager and also an Army veteran. But if I didn’t have that “inside scoop” or connection would I have gotten hired into that position? Did my resume say that I had the necessary skill sets? Would a newfangled Military Occupation Code (MOC) translator say the job was right for me? Not in a million years. But I did have the skills, learned and honed from the military and was fortunate enough to be afforded the chance to prove myself.

Did the military teach you to adjust to new circumstances?
Absolutely! Flexibility is a necessity in the military, because you never know what’s going to come at you, literally. You have a mission, but you have the autonomy within that mission to get it completed, and you have to map out all of the different contingency plans, visualize outcomes, alternate opportunities and anticipate problems. You can’t just go into a mission thinking there’s one way to achieve the goal. So when I transitioned back into civilian life the entire thought-process and mindset was perfect for business.

What else did the military teach you?
The military taught me many things, but I believe leadership and the “driver” instinct was important, which for me was a perfect match for the business development and sales world. I also knew that I wanted to work with people, which is ingrained in us on Day One in Army Basic Training where you are issued a Battle Buddy, even before your toilet paper, a bunk or even wall locker. This sets a precedent that teamwork is paramount and starts the wheel of camaraderie and community in motion. I firmly believe that specific mindset translates very well into the civilian workforce, yes we might be a tad more direct than our civilian counterparts at first, but everything can become copasetic after acclimating to our new environment.

So what are some recommendations you would give to hiring companies?

I could go on for days, but here are a few that I think every company should think about deeply.

1) Get an expert to provide a fresh set of eyes
It takes a very specialized skill-set to build a successful veteran hiring program and you cannot fathom how many gaps you’re missing. So bring in an expert who can provide a fresh set of eyes and the expertise you desperately need. Over the past 10 years I’ve seen many companies fail when trying to build a DIY veteran hiring program because they felt they knew what they were doing. They didn’t…

2) Focus heavily on community
Much like I did when transitioning out of the active duty, other veterans will look for the same military-like community. Can your organization provide it? Are you using community to retain your current veteran population? Do you even know who your current veterans are? If so, how are you engaging them and using them as a business asset?

3) Ask the right questions
Civilianized questions won’t work well with prior service, especially newly transitioning military.  It’s incredibly important for organizations to understand who we (Veterans) are so they may ask the right questions allowing them to truly tap into the most relevant responses.

4) Focus on outcomes, not just compliance
The OFCCP is pushing very hard on federal contractors to have a better understanding of military talent and how it relates to their open positions. I have watched the same organizations drop the “veteran hiring ball” many times over the years because they are focused on checking the box and not actual hiring outcomes. Organizations may someday get veteran hiring right IF they focus on building sustainable veteran hiring pipelines that are graded against outcomes, not audits. Compliance should be an advisor at the table and NOT the driver.   

Friday, May 2, 2014

Recruiting for Hidden Talent Within Your Existing Candidate Communities

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

One of my favorite bloggers and thought leaders in this space hands down is Naomi Bloom. She has a wealth of resources, knowledge and stories that can’t all be explained by a single resume, a 30-minute meeting and certainly not on one LinkedIn profile.

That’s exactly what Naomi talks about in one of her most recent blog posts about how to find the hidden talent within your existing communities. She writes about how she discovers some of her own talents through a fundraiser event. Special talents that are best shared through experiences in person.

This is a great story that can teach us as recruiters to look beyond the flat screen when it comes to talent search. Why do we as recruiters allow ourselves to keep running around working and re-working sourcing, hunting and searching for job seekers who we already are engaged with or even interviewed in the past for the available jobs at our company?

You have conversations with colleagues already within your reach that can help you realize untapped talents. Questions like:
-       If you could do anything, regardless if it made you any money for a living, what would it be?
-       What is a secret talent you have that no one knows?
-       If you were to perform in a talent show, what would you do?
-       If you were on Survivor, what would be the skill that your team would keep you on the island?
-       As a child, what did you love doing?
-       What is your favorite thing to do on vacation?
-       What is the number one attribute that your classmates remember about you in college?
-       If you were to have trophies to symbolize your achievements, what would they look like?
-       Where is the most exotic place you’d like to travel, why?

The main piece of wisdom here is not what questions you need to ask as a recruiter, the real solution is in whom you need to ask. For example, consider the candidates you’ve met from the job fairs in the past 3 months. What about the candidates you’ve interviewed in the past 6 months? Or the past 12 months? Or, what about that one candidate who impressed you from two years ago?

The solution to our existing recruiting woes starts with the hidden talent within the pools we’ve already been fulfilling, sourcing and managing. It means reaching out to your existing candidate population. There is a wealth of hidden talent available within your own network. To help you with this approach, I seriously recommend that you have a talent network system to help you manage it all.

Talent networks serve as a CRM allowing you to engage your existing relationship, add notes and schedule customized follow up to truly tap into the hidden talents within your existing candidate pipelines and databases whether it be your current employee population, alumni networks, past applicants or the other job seekers you’ve engaged along the way. TalentCircles includes this feature.

I hope you found this helpful. If you are already engaging within your own network, what kind of management system are you using to organize the information?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Recruiting or Retention Is Just Like the Chicken or the Egg – Part 2

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

After examining the ongoing battle between what’s more important for businesses as they invest in human capital, we understand that both recruitment and retention are equally critical to the bottom line and future growth of organizations who expect to be innovative.

In my previous post regarding this topic, I outlined the reasons on why professionals must redefine their approach on how they recruit and retain talent. The programs that were developed to recruit and retain are not meeting the needs of today’s most talented individuals. Individuals, regardless if they are current employees or job candidates, have distinctive needs that HR and recruiters must understand so that they can successfully engage, manage and develop the talent pool of their companies.  

Leading HR professionals and recruiters are using marketing and communication strategies to recruit their future workforce and keep their employees happy and engaged with combining these four strategies:

1.     Resources  
Information that is easily accessible and available for sharing is important to recruiting and retaining efforts. Custom content, mobile sites and a working social profile that is connected to the job boards and other management systems provide talent the necessary convenience and knowledge, two valuable resources they are seeking as they engage with brands.

2.     Relationships
The rise in social recruiting has indeed grown the access to billions of social media profiles, updates and information. An emphasis on sourcing is important, as is segmenting and managing contacts and face to face networking efforts. By developing the relationships with a variety of professionals, HR and recruiters can mitigate risk and be ready when new needs arise. Investing in relationships is equally important for potential hires as it is with hired talent internally.

3.     Timing
Programs that recruit or retain must be updated with benefit plans that provide resources based on a new timeline. Speaking of timelines, new metrics like growth and results must be measured, analyzed and rewarded other than time. Also, the performance of now is a mindset that today’s most innovative leaders understand. If this is not a cultural value in your organization, I recommend you start taking some steps to integrate it.

4.     Technology
The variety of apps and systems can be overwhelming however, technology is a critical component to the overall recruitment and retention strategy and it must be a priority if you expect to grow and develop your talent. Be sure to include social and mobile needs as part of your technology adoption and management plans.

Focusing on these four areas as you update, develop and launch your recruitment and retention strategies will help you to engage with the talent pool. I’d love to hear from your specific experiences on these strategies as you tackle this important human capital initiative.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell