RA Clark Consulting

Volume 3, Issue 4       April 2009



What Happened to the War for Talent?

Part II



As we continue deeper in to a hiring slow down, hiring freeze or worse it provides all of us opportunities to review our processes, procedures and expenditures.  Recruiters of all types, corporate or placement industry have an unexpected and largely unwelcome chance to retrench and develop more effective methodology for the coming recovery.  Following are some suggestions that we had identified internally or through dialogue with Talent Acquisition personnel nationally.


Effectiveness & Effectiveness

Search Plans

On the agency side we have a format that we utilize with every open position to develop a search plan.  It includes actions, target dates, responsible parties and desired results.  They are outstanding when there is a firm commitment on the part of all the stakeholders, especially the hiring managers to follow the plan.  Now would be a good time to introduce something along these lines in your organization; it will be easier now as opposed to when the war starts up again.


Make sure that this includes targeting passive and active candidates.  Posting a job on a job board and watching resumes pour in is not recruiting! As the market picks up you must know how and where to find top tier candidates.


Candidate Communications

Behave like a quality headhunter. Keep your candidates warm and informed, no news is not good news for someone in a search, especially those in transition.  Your company's brand in the marketplace will be affected if you are not communicating consistently and effectively.


Interview Plans

Develop structured interview question which focus not only on the specific job requirements but the culture or fit of an individual into an organization.  Use them consistently and make sure that hiring managers are as well.  Data has its most value when a base line or a norm can be established.  As you develop cultural fit questions use them for every position and share the results.  An excellent way to begin this process is to ask your existing staff what characteristics successful employees' posses that is unique to your organization.  This is a form of concurrent validation one of the two most powerful forms of validation for any selection instrument.


Candidate Evaluation

What are the final criteria to be used in evaluating candidates?  Do you utilize assessment tools?  Do all the stakeholders participate in evaluating the candidates, if not then why are they part of the interview process?  Think about a quick conference call with all the stakeholders to ensure that there is alignment.

American Express has projected the following related to business travel: "The average cost per domestic trip in North America will increase by 1.2% to $1,002 in 2009, the company estimates. Last year, American Express estimated a 3.9% increase for 2008.  The average cost per international trip for North American business travelers will increase by 3.5% to $3,452. Last year, American Express estimated a 7.8% increase for 2008."

Even with these continuing increases in travel costs there remain a number of opportunities for organizations to save significantly on their candidate travel budgets.  A few suggestions follow:


Many people are most comfortable with a face to face interview and there are a number of services and companies that facilitate the process effectively.


Video Interviewing

This is a relatively new technology and some vendors are really perfecting the technology.  The vendors who have their act together can provide you with a very efficient product from both a time and cost basis.  We have developed a strategic partnership with one specific vendor who has an outstanding product.  Review your options, if you would like some suggestions we would be more than happy to share our experience in this area with you.  Call us at (770) 857-0002 x 224 or email jim@hrdracc.com


Sourcing is often pointed to as a major problem, I take exception with this from both the internal recruiter and agency perspective.  The internal process is often a significant hindrance in staffing as it is often too slow.  These options not only save on money, but also on time.  The fastest way to lose a candidate is through a slow process.  Review your process once a candidate is identified, speak with peers and try to identify best practices for streamlining the process.


Review Your Tool Kit

You have the time to look at the following areas to make sure your process is working as well as it can.  It is a lot easier when the requisition volume is low.

o      Web Site  Quality, message and ease of navigation

o      Advertising

o      Leveraging other Technologies

o      Social networking, where is the right place for you

o      Government resources, both state and local


Cut Costs


Review the effectiveness of your current relationships, renegotiate with those who are working well for you and as importantly take advantage of free sites like www.Craigslist.org.  Many communities have local resources or networks for recruiting, find out what they are and use them. 


Referral Programs

Do you have a program in place, is it utilized, and how effective is the program?  Today is an excellent time to begin to review this process.  It is one of the most effective and efficient means of finding quality employees.  Reward, recognize and incent those who participate.  Once again this is an excellent place to look at best practices, there are some superior programs out there.



Develop your strategic partnerships, demand more effort and quality from your vendors.  Every search firm you work with must be screening and culling your candidates.  Don't work with the "Publisher's Clearinghouse" search firms that are looking for the easy placement.  Save your self time and money, require detailed candidate reports and evaluations for every candidate presented.  In the long run a quality responsive agency will save you money in the form of time and effectiveness.  From our perspective the organizations that will provide us exclusivity for some period of time receive the most attention from the recruiting staff.


It is coming; the only question is when. Don't be caught unprepared.


"The mission statements for any sourcing program should be to find the strongest people possible in the shortest period of time at the lowest reasonable cost"
- Lou Adler




Measuring What Matters

 Submitted by Geri Williams-Fitts


The efficiency level of an organization largely depends on its human capital management. Through metric dashboards, we are able to collect information that will assist us in making decisions about our workforce planning. To be a true business partners to your Operational Committees.  As an HR leader, you need to demonstrate that you are measuring what matters and then communicating how it dictates what your action plans in HR will be.

With data available and new dashboard capabilities, we can analyze what the data shows as common themes for us either collectively or at the individual level.

We note some trending improvement in Success Rate of Hiring, our Hours Worked, Workers Compensation, Overtime Hours Worked (OHW), and overall Turnover. The economic environment mandates a stringent look at cost controls while other functions work hard to drive revenue. In HR, we manage one of the largest expenses in the organization - the salary and benefits of our workforce.

It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to regularly revisit the makeup of our workforce (full time/part time/on call), the scheduling versus the business demand, and the costs of employee activities.

As HR professionals, we should regularly be asking ourselves these questions:

• Are managers being diligent about scheduling to match demand?

• Are there opportunities to shift FTEs to part time status?

• Are we ensuring that all vacation time is being used?

• Are there employee activities that can still be held but with costs pared down?

These are just some of the aspects that can be considered in working to support your operation. Therefore, be diligent about keeping an eye on your dashboard - determine what it tells you and plan with the data.



Stop Dragging Work Home with You


You'll find that your worklife and your homelife will be more productive and enjoyable if you can confine work to the office.

Here are some tips that will help:

  • Gripe about work for no more than 10 minutes. If you've had a bad day, keep it from invading your evening at home. Set a timer if you have to. Return the favor by listening to the other person's gripes.

  • Tie up loose ends. To keep your mind off work, write down any nagging, office-related matters as soon as possible after arriving at home. Example: "Remember to call Jones tomorrow before noon, re: contract renewal." Then forget about it until the next day.

  • Take 20 minutes to clear your mind. Create some ritual that marks the transition from work to home. Examples: Take a walk, meditate, shoot baskets or read a section of the newspaper.

Source: Manager's Edge, as adapted from Secrets of Executive Success, Mark Golin, Mark Bricklin and David Diamond



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