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Daily Archives: April 24th, 2009

24 April 2009 6:43am

As it gets easier to find the names of great people, getting them first will become the dominant metric for hiring top performers, recruitment commentator Lou Adler predicts.

Adler notes in his newsletter that the accuracy of his predictions over the past 10 years has ranged from “spot on” to “off by a year or two” and – in just a few cases – “dead wrong”.

His latest predictions include:

The adoption of consumer marketing principles to recruiting. In consumer marketing, he says, the companies that have the most creative ads, which are positioned to be found, have better results. This theory has flowed through to search engine marketing and optimisation, leading to the rise of Yahoo! and Google, and in the early 2000s “a few brave companies started adopting these same consumer marketing concepts for recruiting, but it took three-to-four years after they were proven out in the consumer world before they were generally accepted by HR/recruiting”.

He says recruitment advertising is about one-to-two years behind its consumer marketing cousin. “Based on this trend, it’s not too far-fetched to predict that the majority of companies will be adopting these consumer marketing principles without any lag time. The most progressive will be adopting them in beta.”

The rise of the ‘ERP-pipeline-CRM-talent hub’ sourcing model. “With the rise of Web 2.0, social media, blogs, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it’s pretty obvious that finding the names of potential candidates will have little value, but nurturing them and having them follow you will have tremendous value,” Adler says. “This is why building a pipeline of prospects kept warm by robust CRM systems will be critical.”

Your best employees should have heard of, or personally know, the best people in your industry and in their field of expertise, he says. “Tapping into this direct and indirect network through a far-reaching and progressive employee referral program will be a critical component of tomorrow’s ERP programs.”

Time of possession will become the dominant recruiting metric for hiring top people. “Getting the names of great people is now simple, but getting them first isn’t. The sourcing sweet spot of the near future will be to get these people to call you on the first day they decide to get serious about considering a new career opportunity.

“You can see where you stand on this measure by starting to ask the best people you come across how long they’ve been looking. If it’s not on the first day, worry. Then start tracking it. Of course, you need to add this objective to your recruiting strategy and then figure out how to pull it off. It’s pretty obvious that those candidates found on day one are of higher quality than those found after they’ve been looking two-to-three weeks.” (He notes that good recruitment agencies are already doing this.)

Increased focus on top performers vs. the masses. Adler says a basic principle of consumer marketing is to identify an ideal target customer, develop messages that meet their motivating needs, then push these messages through the best media channels (like TV, radio, blogs, Facebook, etc.) to drive the highest response rate.

“Up until the recent past, most recruitment advertising has been targeted to attract average performers (consider your boring job descriptions) and pushed to where the best rarely go (the big job boards). Building an ideal candidate persona is the first step in determining the messages and the appropriate media. This profile examines the prospective candidate from multiple perspectives identifying job hunting patterns, their decision criteria, networking and social connections, motivators, and short- and long-term career needs, to name the most obvious.”

The rise and fall of Twitter will be offset by the increasing importance of the corporate recruiter, employer branding, and job linking. “In a sea of sameness and info overload, the brand will become king again,” Adler says. “Twitter will become useless unless a loyal group of followers is developed and maintained.

“The dominant reason top people accept offers is the opportunity to learn something, make an impact, and grow. An employer brand can establish this overarching message. Linking the corporate vision and strategy to each class of job through the talent hub can increase the number of prospects and followers as long as the tweets and emails enhance the story. However, the corporate recruiter will become the critical cog in this system – just as the sales rep is in any other complex buying process. If corporate recruiters are just doing data updates, box checking, and admin, the possibilities offered by consumer-based Web 2.0 marketing will fail to launch.”

Hiring will become a business process. Adler admits he’s actually “not too sure of this one”. But, he says, “it seems odd that with hiring top talent such an important issue, most company execs and HR leaders don’t really do too much to ensure it’s done properly. Of course, they’ll sometimes train their managers in an interviewing process they don’t use and they’ll give the recruiting department some extra resources when hiring spikes. However, this is not a strategy; this is a tactical reaction to a change in business conditions.

“Despite this typical response, some companies actually have implemented an end-to-end integrated process for hiring top performers with startling results. This covers how jobs are defined (clarifying performance expectations), the implementation of consumer marketing-based sourcing programs, the use of an evidenced-based interviewing process, all tied together by a solution-based sales system for recruiting.”
Adler notes that for some employers these things are not predictions; they’re already doing them successfully.

The most important thing is to ensure you have a recruiting strategy and don’t just “adopt the latest fad and see if it works”, he says.

“Tactics don’t determine strategy; strategy determines tactics… The key here is not to get caught in the trap of tactics driving strategy. This is a fool’s game that can’t be won.”

You can read Adler’s article in full here: What is Your Recruiting Strategy?