Hiring

Clever Wordsmithing or Just Cause?

 

Read a headline that said something like brands need to worry about culture share suggesting market share was old school. A second headline stating results from the World Value Index asks consumers how aware they were of a brand’s purpose, whether they cared about and supported that purpose, and whether or not purpose motivated them to support the brand. Enso, began the survey in 2016 and only one brand (Amazon) enjoyed a top 10 rank sharing the other 9 spots with non-profits. No surprise there.

As an independent recruiter my firm begins the process learning as much as we can about the client, her/his company, and what makes its products/services valuable to consumers/buyers. Purpose and culture share have been subsets of that initial needs analysis.

It’s clear the time has come to modify the analysis digging deeper to understand the client’s purpose and, importantly, management’s commitment to that purpose. When the going gets tough – like a sharp economic downturn will management hold purpose or make sacrifices to “protect” the bottom-line?

As you read this how much value do you put on your current employer’s purpose and will purpose be a criterion for selecting your next gig?

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Is Communication Killing Productivity?

 

Before the days of internet driven non-stop, instant communications my employer, WSJ, engaged with Xerox to improve listening skills believing if we became proficient in actually hearing what was being said productivity would increase. And, it did. For some more than others but that’s another story.

I read today around 1/3 of the workforce is so overwhelmed by their company’s communication’s tools they’re thinking of quitting their jobs. Management acknowledges significant loss in revenue to due to missed or poor internal communications – over three billion dollars in annual profits from wasted time alone!

The Dynamic Signal study found that most workers (51 percent) do not feel properly informed by their company, ultimately feeling disconnected (57 percent), unhappy (33 percent) and not valued (76 percent) for their work, resulting in workplace departures.
Being able to listen to others is imperative in the communication process. This means not only listening with your ears, but also being able to comprehend what the person is saying. And receiving confirming feedback.

I’m a recruiter so helping companies find talent is my job but none of us in this profession want to deal with a workforce incapable of managing communications. To management I’d suggest immediately setting basic communications guidelines holding department heads accountable. To HR leadership I suggest all exit interviews probe for this issue reporting progress to senior management. To those faced with a wide array of tools, time demands and that awful feeling of having missed something really important don’t quit but do demand management deliver a workable fix.

A workable fix could be as easy as (a) severely limiting using the annoying, “reply all” response, (a) taking a few minutes each morning before opening one’s computer to make a prioritize TO DO list and, the really tough one, ignoring the internal chatter.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Next Generation of Thinkers and Leaders

I read a short piece on finding talent in tight markets (read: low unemployment) written by a CEO of a full service ad agency whose early career was working with a major consulting group.
She asked the question, “So what’s a small business to do when competing for talent with companies that might have bigger purse strings and a sexier name?”
To address the issue most companies, large and small, should either fire their HR department or, in a kinder gesture, isolate the educable from the “sheep” and teach them look for problem solvers. You know the type – it’s the person who leans away from consensus, the person who tends to break process and the person who has a record of delivering when others are still doing what they’ve always done regardless of results.
If you want your company to do great work – you know, the stuff that’s positive-disruptive employing the game-changing strategy that has clients and the competition saying, “wish I’d thought of that” remove your industry-only blinders, look across the entire business horizon and dig-deep for the next generation of leaders and thinkers.
That’s what we do for our clients.

Transferable Skills

It has been our experience that the majority of the job descriptions we see for marketing roles contain very specific job experience requirements. To me, this flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Ask any CMO of a large, publicly held company, they will tell you that marketing skills are transferable across industries. Therefore, a skilled and experienced marketing person should be able to transition from CPG to financial services or financial services to pharmaceuticals or… There might be a steep learning curve but a motivated, intelligent person will succeed and the company benefits from having a fresh perspective on its marketing challenges. This industry-only practice seems to unnaturally eliminate some very good potential candidates.

So, why does this practice continue to exist? I can think of two reasons. First, companies don’t allocate the time required or have confidence in their on-boarding process. So they hire someone who will “hit the job running”. Or second, they’re afraid to make a mistake. If the candidate doesn’t work out for reasons that have nothing to do with experience or skill set, the hiring manager has a built-in excuse, “But he/she had all these great jobs and recommendations”.

At PCS, we like to look at a prospective position in terms of what skills are necessary to be successful at the job and how will the person fit into the culture – and that has to go both ways. We believe that’s the winning formula for a successful placement.

Be Curious

Read a piece earlier today about Amazon’s hiring process. You know Amazon – that, “Work hard. Have fun. Make history.” first company (beating Apple!) to reach a $1 trillion market cap. What struck me was the company’s attraction to candidates who are “scrappy in how they solve problems”. Good advice for any company hoping to survive the next market disruption.

Beyond being scrappy Amazon also recommends that the candidate stays open-minded and curious about opportunities at Amazon. For me that’s the “bingo” moment for any candidate hoping to stand out from the crowd of other candidates. Ask great questions. As my business partner says, “Great questions trump poor answers”. And, honest curiosity may open new doors that lead to an even better career move.

Rehires Rock

We all know companies that have a policy prohibiting hiring someone who previously worked for the company. The policy doesn’t address the reason for leaving but, unless there was a serious ethical or legal issue (firing for cause ), people usually leave for one of two reasons: Better opportunity for professional and financial growth or with growing frequency, because they hate their boss. Both reasons are easy to understand and/or identify with.

Let’s consider a couple of good reasons to hire a “boomerang” candidate especially if no bridges were burned when they walked out the door. What really happened? Someone leaves to learn new skills or develop their potential. And if they went to a competitor, they’ve gained a greater understanding of the marketplace. These boomerangs bring a lot to the party if management is open-minded about the possibility of their returning.

Given the current tightness of the talent marketplace that most companies are facing, does a policy of “You can never come back” really make sense?

By Roger Tremblay

Exploring the Undiscovered Career Move

There was a piece in USN&WR citing a career consultant who urged employees to always be on the lookout for new opportunities even those who are happy in their job and well paid. Unfortunately, across various fields of marketing communications, job security is rare. How rare? About as rare as chicken’s teeth. Good people find themselves laid off for reasons beyond their control and, typically, not for lack of performance.

As recruiters, we always look first to the people who are happy, successful and not actively looking for their next opportunity. These are considered by many as highly desirable “A” players. When asked, most CEO’s say when moving through the hiring and interviewing process, they look first for character and integrity because those are traits you can’t teach. And, those traits are shared by the people who are better adept at dealing with a steep learning curve.

So, you “A” players, the next time you get a call from a recruiter, it might be worth a few minutes to listen and learn about the offering. Who knows, it could change your life and, it only takes a minute or less to reply, “I’m not interested at this time but, let’s stay in touch”.

SAVE THE DAY

It’s very frustrating for a professional recruiter to be called in to “save the day” tasked to find a new hire in an extremely short period of time after an internal search failed to produce any acceptable candidates. Professionals are good at what they do is because they take the necessary time and effort to conduct a thorough search and that doesn’t happen overnight. The most desirable candidates are usually gainfully employed and are not looking for other opportunities.

To find top candidates we start every search with a “blank page” not simply relying our extensive data base. To fill the “blank page” we conduct a thorough needs analysis discussion with the hiring manager and anyone else involved in the hiring decision to fully understand the ideal candidate’s profile covering both soft and hard skills.

So the next time you hear or are tempted to say, “We’ve never had any luck using recruiters” or “We can do what you do so you’re not worth the money” consider this. It’s true, there are bad recruiters out there just like any other profession but the good ones know their value and earn appropriate and fair fees. Most of the elite members of the executive search profession have a solid business education defined by years of experience, continue to be trained in new search methodologies and are dedicated to professional excellence.

We’d like to think that PointClear Search is included in that group.

Are You Catering Your Hiring Process to the Talent Pool?

I read a terrific piece by Mike Daly – The Knights Ghost (see below) on LinkedIn today that calls for two additional observations.
First, empty desks represent a loss of revenue not savings due to an unattached salary. Second, in addition to revenue loss the company also suffers a reputation blow not just from the candidate but, as an influencer, among her/his circle of friends and associates. Some lost revenue is recoverable. Reputation dings add up quickly potentially destroying years of reputation building.
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Offer declined – Candidate accepted another offer.
Manager – Why? How did that happen?
Me- We took too long.
Manager – It’s been only 3 weeks since I talked to her.
Me- 2 weeks too long, she was on the market for 3 weeks when you talked to her.
Manager – Did you know about the offer?
Me- Yes and no. She did not tell me she has an offer pending but it’s a fact, any talented person will have multiple offers within a period of time, I would say 2 to 4 weeks they are off the market.
Manager – So how do we overcome this challenge?
Me- The issue starts with the hiring process. If it’s a lengthy and boring process that does not cater to the talent pool. We will lose every time.
Manager- How do we refine the process to retain top talent?
Me- Treat talent the way they want to be treated. Do not set high walls for them to climb, shorten the hiring process with prompt feedback and collaboration between departments, create job descriptions that make sense, promote your environment and the product or project they will be a part of.
Finally, ask for feedback on the hiring process from new hires and tend to their feedback.
The hiring process has to be exciting and innovative to attract and cater to top talent. “Birds of the same feather flock together”
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What are you doing to avoid losing a star to the competition?

DIGITAL TRADITIONAL FORK IN THE ROAD

Seems like every other day I receive a referral for a solid seller who successfully transitioned from traditional media to digital. They self-educated themselves, earned digital certifications and, when asked, conveyed relevant insights from decades of sales and people experience with colleagues. They practiced consultative selling before the phrase was coined, bring well-tune listening skills to the table and succinctly communicate internally building solutions that answer client needs.
They consistently win contests, receive awards and earn the respect of former managers. Exceeding goals, conducting themselves professionally and earning respect by giving respect is their mantra.
When we speak they are anxious to contribute, to be part of successful team, to again pay income taxes and to contribute to a culture that values fun alongside of working hard (and smart) while recognizing the organization’s success is a function of maintaining work – life equilibrium. They’ll assume a leadership role and it isn’t necessary to include a management title.
Of late I’ve been wondering if these fine folks shouldn’t return to their traditional roots armed with the skills to sell cross-platform and the knowledge of where traditional media fits within the broader media landscape. Or, should they continue pushing forward for a place in the digital ecosystem?
Help me out. And help those at the digital/traditional fork-in-the-road.
What are your thoughts?