It’s Time to Take Crowdsourced Hiring Seriously

There’s been a lot of talk in the past few years about how we approach staffing in the new digital age and the era of the gig economy. While it’s not exactly a secret that online agencies are rapidly overtaking traditional firms, even these online firms are experiencing difficulties. As a result, staffing firms and recruiting professionals are asking themselves serious questions about where the industry is headed, and whether they can keep pace with the rapidly changing hiring landscape.

In industries like healthcare, where employers are experiencing critical shortages of qualified candidates, the need for change and innovation is even more apparent. For many staffing professionals, innovation can easily stop at moving our practices online. While online staffing may be able to reach a wider net of candidates, it can be more challenging to assess the employer’s’ needs, particularly when hiring at the executive level.

It’s time to consider how the staffing industry can not only use technology, but how they can harness technology to find better hires, faster. The answer to this dilemma may lie in adopting the practice of employee referral programs, also called crowdsourcing.

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What is crowdsourcing?

In the last few years, we’ve seen a surge in crowdsourced companies like Lyft, Uber, and Kickstarter. Crowdsourcing was first mentioned as a phenomenon in 2006, when it was explained as a method of breaking down the barriers between professionals and amateurs. Crowdsourcing is based on the idea of tapping into the collective knowledge of users in order to create a better experience for a company. After all, no one knows a product better than those who use it.

Further, crowdsourcing is also a way to reduce costs for hiring managers and employers by using a larger network of people to achieve a task.

How companies are using crowdsourcing now

At its simplest form, a crowdsourced program at a company is like an employee referral program. With a referral program, employees are able to earn money or other perks when they refer new employees to their company. There have been a number of studies that have examined referred employees’ performances in the workplace, and the results are overwhelmingly positive.

In fact, referred employees not only perform better at their jobs, they also stay with a company for longer, are able to pick up on tasks more quickly, and produce 25% more profit than their peers. With these kinds of statistics, it’s no wonder that referred employees are incredibly valuable to a company. In fact, these are the kinds of candidates we look for in our industry — the ones excited to learn and grow, and more importantly, excited to stay in a position for an extended period of time.

Why staffing should take a page from the referral program playbook

As professionals in the staffing field, it’s time to look at what’s working not just in our industry, but in other industries across the board. Other companies are using referral programs and crowdsourcing to find better talent, faster, and staffing should be doing the same.

Crowdsourcing combines the discernment of an in-person agency with the power of an online staffing company. It empowers like-minded professionals to reach out to their personal networks to help their connections find jobs. Essentially, it puts the power to find a great candidate into the hands of those who already know great candidates, saving employers time and money. It’s a more innovative, more thoughtful way of finding candidates, and it won’t be long until more companies in the industry begin to adopt this method.

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Balancing AI With Human Contact

The topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly its far-reaching impact on the future of the workplace, continues to be at the forefront of the staffing industry. I am of the camp that truly believes AI will make our lives easier and create work that will be different, yet even more exciting, from what we know today.

Like many of us, I welcomed Alexa into my home in November 2015.  Having garnered a solid understanding of its pros and cons, and appreciating the benefits, I haven’t looked back.  Just last week I heard my 8-year-old nephew asking Alexa to add fruit punch flavored Capri Sun juice to the shopping list, clearly illustrating his ease of acceptance for this small-scale AI device.

In the staffing world, there is excitement and momentum around AI and other such tools that help streamline operations, improve our candidates’ experience and free up our recruiters from performing the mundane daily tasks that must get done. Beyond supporting a more efficient use of our time, AI in most cases also contributes to improving the bottom line.

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So, with the extra time provided by AI and with the increasingly fast speed at which the world operates, I encourage taking a moment to think about the importance of key relationships and how you can maintain and fortify them. This is something you have to do yourself. While AI may free up some time, as far as I know, there is currently no technology that can do this for you. Four things that I have found very beneficial for connecting with people and developing successful business, as well as personal relationships, are:

  1. The little things add up. Simple and personal gestures can often enrich a relationship. Taking the time to make a call, schedule coffee or lunch, send a card or even a quick text are all easy ways to remain connected with people. Use social media in a positive way. You may start by reading or liking a post, but if you expand beyond that to true engagement and conversation you will find that it can enhance your relationships. Small things like this create a strong foundation that you may need to draw on down the road whether you are working through a complex customer issue or trying to find the perfect fit for one of your candidates.
  2. Be generous with your time and attention and do so without expectation. Let your network know when you are thinking of them and not just when you need something.  Help others by sharing an article, some expertise you have, or by simply avoiding distraction and giving your full attention to the person with whom you are having a conversation. Additionally, when you act without expectation people feel your authenticity and it will come back to you tenfold.
  3. Remember the golden rule. If you treat people the way you would like to be treated, things tend to go well. Empathy is frequently cited as a soft skill that can give you an edge in business. Anyone in a client-facing role (which, in my opinion, is everyone in staffing) understands the gains to be made by having the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
  4. Have fun. Connecting though humor is just plain fun. Who doesn’t like to be around someone who is optimistic and has a good sense of humor? Congratulate others for their success; lighten the mood during a stressful situation, and just laugh. As Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Finally, use technology to help you manage your time and energy so you can better focus on the important stuff that only you, as a human, can do. A willingness to accept and adapt to AI broadens our horizons and often encourages a greater openness to learn, but we mustn’t forget the importance of the human touch. If nothing else, Alexa or Siri are more than willing to remind you to call your mother!

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Honoring the CW Program Game Changers

The year was 2006. We referred to the crowd as the pioneers. They were the contingent workforce management trailblazers attending SIA’s second annual CWS Summit in Dallas. As our President Barry Asin remarked, there weren’t any actual covered wagons or visible campfires. But change — and excitement — was in the air.

Fast forward to 2018. We’ve had 13 CWS Summit events in the US so far. Next week we have our ninth CWS Summit in London, with more than 530 people set to attend. Enthusiasm from our ecosystem for the growing field is still palpable. In SIA’s 2017 Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey, companies reported that contingent workers comprised a median 20% of their workforce and an average of 21% of their workforce. These levels are substantially higher than the median 10% and average 14% reported in our 2010 Buyer Survey. A different mix of respondents may account for some of that change, but it is also due to the growing influence that contingent workforce programs have had in elevating the value of the flexible workforces to the bottom line.

To say the contingent workforce management profession has come a long way would be an understatement. To honor the profession — as well as those in it including the individuals who built it — SIA is introducing the Contingent Workforce Program Game Changers list.

Those late to the game may not know that contingent workforce management didn’t exist as we now know it. The pioneers, the game changers, were at the forefront of the changing world of work that involved contingents. Many struggled with rogue spend, still more worked hard on their C-suite to recognize the importance of this field in the boardroom, others were one-man shows administering the program with the help of manual systems and processes — fewer vendor management systems or managed services programs to be seen.

And it has since been established that contingent workforce management is now a profession. The numbers have it. Just consider our most recent CWS Summit, held last Fall in Dallas. More than 70 attendees represented global contingent workforce programs of more than $500 million in spend; 50-plus administered programs between $300-$500 million. Another 110 participants presided over CW agendas of between $100-300 million, while 131 more handled programs of between $50 and $100 million. Adoption of vendor management systems and managed service are a rule rather than the exception.

The Contingent Workforce Program Game Changers list gives credit where it’s due. To qualify, you would have to be directly employed within the buyer enterprise organization. For example: You could be a VP of HR sponsoring the program, an individual in the finance department responsible for program compliance, head of talent acquisition accountable for managing the contingent workforce or a procurement guru whose team handles the staff augmentation and statement-of-work contracts.

While we encourage individuals to nominate themselves or their peers for consideration, we welcome nominations from all quarters of the ecosystem. We encourage providers to submit client candidates whom they feel demonstrate true innovation and authentic partnership.

The Nomination

The nomination must include:

  • Nominee’s name, job title, company, email address, phone number
  • A brief description of the program, including scope and mission statement if available.
  • A short paragraph (approximately 250 words) explaining what this person has done that makes him or her worthy of inclusion. Include quantifiable data where possible. For example: “Manages a $XXX million program for the last three years. Her last initiative resulted in cost savings of $XXX or adopting a new model that resulted in X% increase of a temp-to-perm conversion rate.”
  • The nominating party’s name and contact information

Please email the nominations to

Deadline for nominations is July 31. The list will be featured in SIA’s Contingent Workforce Strategies 3.0 e-newsletter as well as online.

(To be considered for the list, the nominee MUST be a W-2 employee or regional equivalent of the buyer/enterprise organization. Consultants on assignment or MSP/VMS program office personnel are not eligible.)

Lessons Learned from Selling a Staffing Company

The staffing industry provides a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to start, grow and, with a little luck, sell their business.  It seems like there is an announcement in nearly every Staffing Industry Analysts “Global Daily News” publication about a recent sale.

Several months ago, my colleagues and I sold our own staffing business to a larger strategic buyer. It was a whirlwind process that took nine months from start to finish. The intervening months have provided ample opportunity for me to reflect on the sale process.

There is a significant amount of information available on the steps involved in selling a business. In general, they include things like defining an exit strategy; determining the value of your business and enhance that value before sale; gathering due diligence materials; locating a buyer; and negotiating the deal.  All good advice, if at times a bit simplistic.  In my experience, the actual sale process requires a lot of work and can create a fair amount of stress on the participants if it is not managed properly.

I participated in all phases of our sale. I felt I had a pretty good understanding of M&A work as a certified public accountant. I learned a lot more going through the process. In this article, I want to share some of the lessons learned.

1. Ensure owner alignment. All owners of a business must be in alignment concerning a sale. That means they must agree that the time is right to sell as well as on a target sale price. Check your stockholder or operating agreement to ensure that you understand how it may affect the sale process. Can one stockholder block a sale?  Is a stockholder vote required to approve the sale? This can really get interesting if you have multiple owners representing multiple generations.

Don’t overlook the importance of tackling this issue as the first critical step. My company had seven owners. We spent a significant amount of time discussing these issues as a group before we decided to move forward with a sale.

Even a sole proprietor needs to spend time addressing this. Take some time for some serious self-reflection: Are you ready to walk away from the company you built?  Are you willing to stay on and work for the new owners?  What will you do next?  A buyer will want you to enter into a non-compete agreement.  Are you willing to do this?

It is important to spend the time thinking through the ramifications of a sale before starting down that road.

2. Get a valuation. As we ran our business, we had made it a point to get a valuation approximately every five years. This information was extremely helpful in educating the owner group. It also provided us with a starting point for our discussions on a target sales price.

A smaller staffing firm may only need to obtain a valuation prior to finalizing their decision to move forward with a sale. Many investment banking firms provide this service for a reasonable fee. Going through a valuation provides you the opportunity to work with the investment banking firm prior to engaging them in a sale transaction. One of our key factors in the selection of the investment banking firm was our experience working with the person who did our valuation.

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3. Do tax planning. Most owners are surprised by the tax implications of a sale. Don’t fall into that camp. Bring your tax advisor into the process before deciding to proceed with a sale. Make sure you understand the tax ramifications. The sales price is important but the actual cash you get to keep is where the rubber hits the road.  For example, a sale of a limited liability company interest may generate capital gains, but IRS regulations include references to things like “hot assets” and “unrealized receivables” which might generate ordinary income for the members.  For many staffing companies, their single biggest asset is receivables. Having a tax strategy in place will also help when you negotiate the terms of sale with the buyer.  In today’s rapidly changing tax environment, engaging a tax advisor early is money well spent.

4. Learn about the Net Working Capital Adjustment. This is a purchase price adjustment based on the working capital (current assets minus current liabilities) of the selling company. A buyer typically expects to purchase a certain level of working capital (excluding cash and debt) at the time of sale to allow the business to continue to operate normally. A target working capital amount is usually calculated using a six- or 12-month moving average. This target will then be compared to the actual working capital at the date of sale and the purchase price is adjusted up or down based on the difference between the actual and target amounts.

You should calculate the six and 12-month moving average prior to entering negotiations with a potential buyer.  Determine which one gives you the best (lowest) amount.  Consider whether there are any components of working capital during that period that are unique or unusual. You will want to try to have them eliminated from the calculation.

Here is an example: One of your regular customers had a unique project that generated a significant billing and your receivables were larger than normal for two months. This type of project will not happen again but, it is included in calculating the working capital moving average, causing it to be higher than normal. If the higher balance is defined as the target, it may generate a reduction in the purchase price at closing.  Be proactive in understanding this adjustment. This will help you when you are negotiating your terms of sale.

These are just a few of the lessons I learned through the process of selling my staffing business last year. Each transaction will have unique aspects and unexpected surprises. Build your team of trusted advisors. Rely on them to help you negotiate the best deal possible, to get the outcome you deserve!

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Key Takeaways for Recruiters from the MSA’s 2018 Annual Conference

Artificial intelligence, the #MeToo movement, and mergers and acquisitions took center stage at the Massachusetts Staffing Association’s (MSA) 2018 annual conference, held earlier this month, as recruiting professionals discussed the implications of these trends on both their firms and the industry.

Presenting the theme of “What (Could Possibly Be) Next?”, the event brought together more than 100 recruiting professionals from Massachusetts and the greater Northeast region. It fostered broad conversations about state and federal legislation, and tackled important industry issues in technology, the workplace, and business growth.

The staffing industry for 2018 is ripe with opportunity, but poses some challenges that recruiting professionals will need to overcome to ensure they’re maximizing their productivity, streamlining their operations, and growing their businesses. How can staffing firms ensure that they’re well prepared to tackle some of the challenges this year, and how should they most effectively increase their operations and develop the strongest relationships with their candidates and clients?

Following are three major takeaways from the MSA’s 2018 Annual Conference and some strategies for how staffing firms can prepare themselves for the future:

Artificial Intelligence Won’t Replace Human Recruiters

Much has been discussed about the concerns of artificial intelligence replacing human recruiters, but can that truly happen? Does artificial intelligence possess the same emotional intelligence as humans so that it can ultimately overtake their work? Not true, according to a panel led by Bullhorn’s Vinda Souza. Entitled “AI and the Future of Staffing,” the panelists, which also included Monster’s Chris Cho, MAS Medical Staffing’s Bill Murray, and Bullhorn’s Jonathan Novich, argued staffing firms should be more excited about how artificial intelligence can aid process improvements, generate stronger candidate engagement, and eliminate non-value-added tasks. According to Bullhorn’s “2018 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report: The Industry’s Outlook for 2018,” 40% of respondents attributed automation’s greatest value to increased efficiencies and the same percentage to increased engagement. Artificial intelligence can undertake lower-level initiatives such as scheduling, screening, following up, and data entry, but it could never fully overtake more strategic initiatives such as developing and growing candidate and client relationships. That’s because artificial intelligence can’t advance a conversation the same way humans can — it lacks the required empathy to match the tone of the conversation to progress it forward.

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Stronger Harassment Policies Will Help Combat #MeToo

There has been no shortage of headlines related to the #MeToo sexual harassment movement that has spawned out of Hollywood and impacted corporate America. Meanwhile, according to research from CareerBuilder, 41% of respondents said they’ve had relationships in the workplace. For staffing firms to navigate what can be tricky waters, they need to ensure that their harassment policies and procedures are fully updated. The“#MeToo Movement in Your Workplace” panelists discussed the importance of developing and implementing better policies — with better employee training — to address workplace harassment. In order to do so, firms must focus on culture change by ensuring that their management teams set proper expectations for not tolerating inappropriate workplace behavior. It only takes one incident to turn a workplace culture into a toxic one, and the #MeToo movement has created a new reality that’s here to stay.

Preparedness Is Key for Growing via Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

North American M&A transaction volume increased 28% year-over-year in 2017, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. And 2018 presents even more opportunities to continued growing firms via M&A because of private equity and cheap debt, according to a panel on “Preparing Your Staffing Businesses for Exit … Start Now to Maximize Value.” The panelists said that firms looking to grow through M&A need to ensure that they’re aligned on all their internal processes now and not later. Why? Because not having important items such as compensation plans or management team plans in place will hinder the quality of firms’ revenue. Firms must also focus on their people because — at the end of the day — their people separate their firms from the competition. The panel concluded that companies that drive exceptional value have solid growth strategies and retain their current employees.

It’s certainly an exciting time for the staffing industry. For the firms that want to be the real winners of 2018 and beyond, they must adopt the best technology, effectively manage all their workplace operations, and devise the best growth strategies — because they never know “What (Could Possibly Be) Next.”

Outsourcing Recruitment: What to expect

If you’re a director, VP or chief of HR or operations, recruitment has been at the forefront of your mind at some point. Finding the right people to grow your business and deliver on your organization’s goals and expectations is a critical deliverable tasked to you daily.

There are many benefits of outsourcing your recruitment, but making the jump to a process outside of your organization can be intimidating. At the core of any outsourced solution relationship is trust. From there, a partnership is created and results can be delivered. When looking at an Outsourced Recruitment solution, there are several traits which you should expect to see. You want your partnership to deliver quality candidates, an improved recruiting process and result in a scalable relationship that serves as a cost-effective extension to your recruitment team.

Remember that a recruitment process outsourcing provider takes ownership of the recruitment process and delivery of qualified candidates. Whether you outsource some or all of your jobs, this process and delivery are largely based on a strong partnership with mutual accountability. Ensure that a statement of work is in place that outlines these responsibilities.

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When looking for an RPO solution, there are numerous qualities that you should consider to ensure you’re choosing a partner that is aligned with your business goals:

  1. Industry Expertise. Not all RPOs can support recruitment for all industries. Look for an organization that has recruitment specialties within your target market. They understand the candidates and screening required to optimize your recruitment spend.
  2. Services Available. Are you having problems finding the right candidates? Is your screening process lacking? Do you need help interviewing the candidates you do find? Maybe your entire recruitment strategy needs a complete overhaul. Ensure you know what the shortfalls of your current program are and align with a provider to fill the gaps and enhance your overall strategy with a suite of services matching your needs.
  3. Scalability. Are you looking to outsource all or a portion of your recruitment strategy? Most RPOs will allow you to scale your commitment to fit your need. However, be aware that you will always benefit from implementing a consistent program for all candidates. By ensuring that all candidates are screened to the same level of quality, you can better ensure that you will be improving the quality of your workforce.
  4. Trust. Employees are the face of your business. They are often the first impression between customers and your brand. Make sure that you can trust your provider to communicate your brand, culture and job requirements accurately to your future employees.

Outsourced doesn’t mean hands off. A credible RPO will ensure that you are involved throughout every step of the process. Provide a clear definition of the roles you are looking to hire for and adhere to the process established by the RPO partner to find and deliver these candidates. Remember to get specific with the types of roles you are looking to recruit for. Being upfront with your candidate requirements will help your RPO partner source the proper candidates and ultimately result in a higher quality employee who is hired to do the job they applied for.

Once the candidates have been sourced for your position, you will be responsible for interviewing those candidates and making a selection. Every day in between the initial screening and the in-person interview represents the potential for that candidate to secure other employment. Some RPOs will book the interviews on your behalf, but if not, be sure to follow up with a candidate within 24 hours of the candidate presentation to increase the odds of making a hire.

Regular progress reviews in the form of weekly/quarterly/annual business reviews should be discussed and booked with your RPO partner. Perpetual data collection and analysis is the only way to improve your recruitment process. If you are not aware of the success and problems with your organization’s recruitment, it is very difficult to make educated adjustments to your program. The review of those metrics is key to understanding the value of your outsourced recruiting solution.

Outsourcing your recruitment can yield many benefits and finding the right RPO solution can be challenging. Be sure that you understand the current recruitment and hiring challenges that face your business and look for an RPO partner that understands your needs and can deliver the results to improve your workforce.

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Trouble on the Rise: Gen Z Is Changing the Face of Recruitment

One of the recent changes in the recruitment scene has been a shift in the labor force, characterized by the entry of the Generation Z, also referred to as iGeneration. The challenge presented by Millennials fades in comparison to the complexity presented by the unprecedented entry of iGeneration into the workforce. Here, Gen Z denotes the group of individuals born later than 1996, who are characterized by their experience with technology during their early years, and the tendency to use social networking sites as a regular means of communication.

Currently, more than 20% of the United States population comprise this generational group and the number is quickly surging. Most of the members of the iGeneration are just entering the workforce, leaving recruiters with the conundrum of how to attract and manage them. Here are some ways the Gen Z are posing challenges to recruitment and how employers can address those challenges.

Technology dictates how they search and apply for jobs

This post Millennials generation is tech-savvy in nature, and have grown up around tech, something that prepares them for the digital age better than the past generations. The implications here that organizations still entrenched in traditional forms of recruitment have to embrace technology in their recruitment process. In fact, research shows that companies that use technological applications like video interviews and video screening are more likely to attract talent from this generation.

You could also use gamified recruitment apps to show that your company values technology and innovation. By presenting your company as an organization that is innovative and digitally aware, this digitally native group will identify and want to work with you. You should also make technology and innovation part of your corporate culture.

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They are more engulfed in social media as a communication platform

As previously noted, the iGeneration are more exposed and engrossed in social networking sites. To attract them, companies must adjust their recruitment strategies, making sure that social networking sites play a larger role in job postings. Research shows that this generation consumes much of the information through their smartphones. As such, make sure that your job postings are optimized for mobile hiring platforms. In your job postings, focus on the things that attract this generation, including:

  • Flexibility
  • Training
  • Work healthcare

They prefer a workplace that sparks their entrepreneurial interest

Like Millennials, this generational cohort is highly interested in entrepreneurship and would like to start their own business. Around 72% of the iGeneration want to turn their hobbies into a career path. Take advantage of this drive by providing opportunities for progression along the careers and in the personal lives of the employees, encourage their personal and professional growth.

They appreciate the value and short-term benefits along with their career path

Unlike the Baby Boomer generation that prioritized long-term gains like retirement plans, this generational group is more focused on what is received in the short term-say five years or less. Things that are likely to be more attractive to them include a flexible work environment, programs for student loan repayment, and day-to-day bonuses.

To summarize, the Generation Z in entering the workforce with new dynamics, which are likely to change the way companies attract and manage talent. For organizations that want to stay ahead of their competition by attracting top talent in this generational group, keep these attributes in mind when making job postings or running a seasonal recruiting campaign, and when communicating with and training the new hires.

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Out of this world: When lofty requirements drive the talent away

When I was fresh out of college looking for my first job, I had an odd experience with one potential employer. The job description listed several computer programs I’d never heard of. (And I wasn’t applying for a programming job.) I read them off to my parents, both computer programmers, who could only laugh. Their take: the hiring manager must not have had any idea about any of those demands; no one person could hope to have that much experience, much less a fresh college grad. Yet that’s what this little publishing house was looking for in an editorial assistant. Those expectations went beyond the purple squirrel commonly referred to now.

I was reminded of that experience today when I read an SIA report on what advice staffing firm recruiters and other staff have for their enterprise clients. The survey received more than 5,000 responses to the question: “Based on your day to day experience with client companies (where temporary workers are placed), what anonymous feedback/advice would you give those clients?” The responses tended to fall into consistent groups, among them, be reasonable in your expectations.

This advice is not obviously not new. But it serves as a helpful reminder. As SIA’s John Nurthen, executive director of global research, has advised, sometimes the contingent workforce program office needs to rein in their hiring managers. And with unemployment hovering at 4.1%, the talent calls the shots. Will candidates bother to respond to a job that has absurd expectations? “Be flexible on the required skills and years of experience you’re targeting,” one survey respondent stated. “And if a specific skill really is critical, yet you can’t seem to land that hire, be open to hiring based on fit and let training take care of the missing skill.”

Another area of advice from staffing firm staff has to do with communication. One such suggestion is to provide recruiters as much information on the position and expectations as possible. Many programs remain uncertain about allowing staffing recruiters access to hiring managers, but doing so would help address this area of concern. Frank Enriquez, CCWP, SIA’s senior manager of contingent workforce strategies and research, suggests how programs can accommodate such a request while maintaining a competitive field of providers in this week’s Contingent Workforce Strategies 3.0 e-newlsetter.

Other common themes emerging from the feedback:

  • Treat temps better.
  • Trust your suppliers more.
  • Improve your operational hiring processes.

Going back to my experience, I don’t know if that hiring manager ever came to his senses. I never got a call back. But he’s clearly not the only one to have expectations that were out of this world. Today, when talent has little need to come knocking at your door, you may need to review those job requirements to ensure they are not out of hand.

The report is available to CWS Council members here.

Creating the Ultimate Productivity Flow

In my last post, I discussed identifying that ultimate tech that will take you to the heights of your organization’s productivity. So, now that you (hopefully) have done so, it’s still a bit too early to put your feet up and relax.

Now that you have given your team the best tech out there, you need to align them to the new process. Good thing is, some of this work has been done for you by this technology already. But aligning the process is just one half of the deal. You now need to reignite your team’s spirits, make them feel excited about their work again—make them believe there is a better world for recruiters out there, and that they are now lucky to be part of it. What you need to enable, is ‘drive’, excitement, collective enthusiasm — that powerful fuel that will enable your organization’s ultimate productivity flow.

But, you ask,“How do I do it? Where do I start?”

Examine your team’s up and down times. Learn their vernacular and pay attention to what makes them go off track. Create the process around these pitfalls; keep checking in and tracking their performance in your new system.

Besides group chanting, meditation, yoga in the office and other non-traditional employee engagement activities available today, there is one simple powerful way to engage: to describe the benefits of the system you are about to put in place. The system that puts your recruiter in the center of the process — that alleviates all anxiety and hard manual work they used to do, dealing with constant interruptions and cumbersome steps, endless band-aid solutions, and workarounds entrenched in the old process.

Yes, you can call a town hall meeting and announce:

“Let’s work smart, not hard!”

Who wouldn’t love to hear this from their management team? It guarantees instant buy-in — engagement levels not seen before in your company’s history. Just try it. At a very minimum, it will make even the skeptic’s heads turn. You’ll gain everyone’s undivided attention.

Now that you have their attention, remind them how they used to work long hours, trying to find those perfect candidates, how the competition was beating them to the punch, and they had to start from scratch the next morning. Remind them of all the pains they have been experiencing. Mention the quotas they’ve been struggling to fill.

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I can assure you, many will be surprised to hear that management acknowledges their everyday hurdles and problems — and, what’s more important, cares enough to fix them.

Now make a pause, and unveil your new process:

Mention the following phrase: “Recruiter in the center.”

You have the technology. You have created the roadmap for implementing your effective process. What you need to do next is: guard and foster that initial trust your team gave you. Keep the oil burning, so the light never goes out. Remember, the buy-in from your entire team is critical in managing the productivity flow. It is the hardest to attain but if done successfully, will pay off tenfold.

“Recruiter in the center” will be your new mantra for years to come.

And what does a happier more productive, not-overworked recruiter mean for your business?

I don’t have to tell you that it means: more satisfied customers, new hires and candidates, higher profit margins and thriving culture that will elevate your organization’s brand, all while generating more and more new business.

So let’s get started. And please share your success stories with me.

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Integrity Matters: How to Identify It in Leaders

I read with interest recent comments from Warren Buffet on what he looks for when hiring talent and future leaders: intellect, energy (initiative), and integrity – and he goes on to say that without integrity, don’t bother!

I’ve been reflecting on this since and not only agree with him but think the timing of his comments are more important than ever – especially with attracting and retaining Millennials in the workforce.

In a recent Inc. article, integrity makes the list of the top four leadership traits millennials look for in leaders – along with mentoring, having a gentle spirit, and authenticity.  I know from personal experience in leading millennials and in coaching millennial leaders, that being able to count on a leader’s word, and an organization’s word, for that matter, is critically important to them. Millennials value leaders who can walk the talk. Interesting though, integrity usually makes it to the top of the list for all demographics.  The bottom line is we all want to work for leaders we can trust, we can count on. Given this, when leaders look to attract top talent and future leaders, it doesn’t hurt to first look in the mirror and examine how integrity shows up in our own leadership mix.  If we don’t demonstrate integrity ourselves, we won’t be able to succeed in the fight for top talent.

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Assuming we make the grade, how do we assess whether candidates have it?

A few things to consider:

  • Can they easily speak to the values that they live their lives by, and give examples of how they do this?
  • Do they keep their word, can they be counted on to do what they say they will and can they share behavioral examples of how they do this?
  • Are they known for praising or blaming others? Do they give credit to team members?
  • Do they speak only “I” language or do they also have a “We” vocabulary?
  • In the interview, consider giving them an ethical scenario to resolve and see how they handle it.
  • Conduct references around integrity – ask their references to give you an example of why they trust this candidate or how the candidate demonstrates integrity.
  • Start with referrals from your most trusted, high integrity employees – it’s always a good place to begin

There are a lot of leadership traits that are critical to success, but without integrity, sustained leadership will be very hard to attain. If you are a rising talent and on the leadership track, remember to be impeccable with your word. Deliver on what you promise. Speak the truth. By making it easy for senior leaders to trust you, you will be on the right track to ensuring you have the personal integrity required for a successful leadership future!

Next month, I’ll share other important leadership traits for future leaders to develop, and yes, a couple might surprise you.

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