May Job Numbers Jump Start War for Talent

The latest May 2010 job numbers have just been released showing an increase of 25,000 new jobs, the fifth consecutive month of increases, particularly in the full time work category. The private sector appears to be driving the rebound while the public sector is not far behind. While I view this information as “good news,” I can guarantee that this increase in job numbers will greatly heat up the war for talent, especially at the senior level.

This is because the economic upswing is already bringing many baby boomers closer to a retirement decision. As one of Manitoba’s leading executive search professionals, over the past six months I have already seen the impact of senior executives finally taking the leap into retirement. They have been waiting in the wings during the recession and riding out the stock market volatility, but now is the time. However, their departure is leaving significant holes in many organizations’ leadership teams.

The whole concept of the “war for talent”, already ten years old, is an even more critical challenge today than it was during its early stages. The challenge partly results from three factors. First, senior executives are already beginning to exit the workforce in greater numbers. Secondly, as a result of belt-tightening during the recession, many organizations have not been able to effectively develop internal talent to move forward in a succession situation. And thirdly, the labour pool for young up and coming professionals in the ages of 35-45 is also shrinking.

So, what does this mean? It means that companies and not for profit organizations alike are going to be forced to go to the outside candidate market, which at the senior and experienced executive levels will continue shrinking at a more rapid pace. It also means that organizations will have to widen their search efforts and dig deeper into a smaller talent pool to find the right candidates. Finally, executive search efforts will need to be more creative, intense, and focused using multiple channels of communication.

Most organizations do not have the time or capability to conduct such intense or focused search activities and are turning to executive search professionals for help. An executive search professional can assist in a number of ways, but most notably the following:

Defining the opportunity – most senior leaders who have been with a firm for a long time take themselves for granted and have difficulty viewing their organization from an external point of view. Search professionals can help to define the employee value proposition, or in other words, what will attract a smart, ambitious and talented candidate to the opportunity? What are the challenges a new professional would face and what level of sophistication is required to be successful. Once the list of skills and competencies is identified, search professionals can begin their work.

Broadening the scope – talented candidates with the right skills and experience are no longer lining up at the door. Therefore, organizations must broaden the scope of their search beyond the local talent pool and this requires significant time and extensive research. Search professionals are tapped into both online and traditional resources to conduct these searches. In addition, over the years they have developed in-depth candidate databases and have developed relationships with professionals who are open to new opportunities and are just waiting to be tapped on the shoulder with the right job.

Matching challenge and compensation – getting a candidate to the door is one thing, while creating an attractive compensation package is another. Yet, at the same time, it is well known that money is not a long-term motivator and therefore organizations must offer other alternatives. Typically, candidates are attracted by the organizational brand and its inspiring vision, as well as the challenge of making a difference.

There are a number of routes that can be taken to conduct the search for new candidates. However, partnering with an executive search professional provides the best value proposition for today’s war for talent.

Paul Croteau, managing partner, is known as one of Manitoba’s leading executive search professionals. His more than 25 years of experience in the recruitment of senior management and executive leadership professionals are the foundation to his solid reputation for developing a deep understanding of his clients’ needs, enabling him to provide exceptional service and successfully meet the complex challenge of matching the right leader to his clients’ business needs.

Seven Strategies for Winning the War for Talent at Non-Profits

The other day I had a phone conversation with a man I have known for many years. He is a local behavioral health executive. We were talking about the difficulty of hiring and retaining entry level staff. He bemoaned, as do many others, the problem of staff turnover. I responded that based on my observation that a lot of these entry level workers left within six months, my conclusion was that a number of them were probably mistakes or miscalculations of the hiring process. His opinion varied somewhat; he thought that the pool of persons he had to choose from was increasingly sub-par and that losing a good share of these hires was inevitable. This is a problem which is likely to continue as the economy slowly improves. That is, those that were willing to accept a $10 per hour job at a non-profit during more difficult times are now being offered $15-$20 in the traditional business community. He has a point but I would still argue that regardless of the economy and the size and characteristics of the applicant pool it is still possible to pick the best of the pool and that is our responsibility as organizational leaders to find ways to figure out who they are.

At any rate, my friend went on to make a very interesting observation: “Community services are expanding as government continues to privatize services and phase out institutional programs. The non-profits running these new programs are all paying about the same for direct care staff; offering about the same benefits. ” “The only difference, he said, was in the quality of the work environment being offered.”

This started me thinking about what were those work environment variables that applicants as well as current staff found attractive? What features were attractive to new staff and which ones did current staff find valuable enough to keep them working for the organization as opposed to looking for opportunities elsewhere. So, if we truly regard staff not as an economic drain on the organization, but as the organization’s “most important asset” then it would be smart for us to pursue clear objectives with regard to the characteristics of the work environment that we should be pursuing in order that we are able to attract and hold on to the brightest and the best. Two factors will pose barriers to our success: the retirement of baby boomers and increased job opportunities closely following the growth of the economy. An ABC news report last week indicated that currently the ratio between companies planning to add jobs in 2011 and those planning to eliminate jobs was the most favorable it has been at any time during the last twelve years. The war for talent is about to heat up folks and you better be ready for the fight.

Here are some work environment features you should look at in order to evaluate your ability to win the war on talent.
1. Make sure your physical facilities are clean, safe, attractive and functional. For too long social service employees have had to put up with facilities that were totally inadequate. That must end.
2. Salaries and benefits need to be competitive, that is within 80% of what is being offered for each job category in your region of the country. If you are within that 80% number, you can compete; below that you will be left with the people that no one else wants.
3. Train, train, train. Make a commitment to the ongoing personal growth and on-the-job success of every employee. Part of your agency’s culture should emphasize learning for everyone from the CEO to the janitor. Staff training always increases staff retention.
4. Encourage appropriate social interactions amongst staff, on the job and off. Positive social relationships keep staff engaged and motivated, even when things aren’t going so well. Workers often spend more time with other workers than they do with their own families; these relationships can be appropriate and at the same time rewarding.
5. Make work fun. Even the most menial of tasks can become fun if we are creative enough in our approach. If you want to see what I mean, do a Google search on the Pike Street Fish Market and see how fisherman make their job fun.
6. Provide a way for staff to have input into operational issues that effect them. Chances are, when there is an operational challenge, those working closest to the area of concern will have some good ideas about what to do about it; you’ll never know if you don’t ask them.
7. Over communicate about the organization. Make sure everyone sees how their job is related to each and impacts the culture of the organization, its mission and its current challenges. It’s always a shame when I see organizations withhold important information from employees. Chances are this information is the subject of a well-oiled rumor mill anyway; better to have the truth out there and in a way so that whatever the challenge is, employees can influence the outcome to be more positive.

So there you have it, seven strategies to win the war for talent at your organization. Make sure you have objectives that you are pursuing in each strategic area. If you want to look at how other organizations are poised for this war, I would suggest reading Tony Hsieh’s book Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose. Yes, Tony runs a company that sells shoes on-line and that’s a different business than we are talking about. Nonetheless, I think his strategies will stimulate your own thinking and you will get a bank account of very creative ideas to draw from.

Small Business Recruiting – Competing With the Big Guys for Talent

It’s difficult for small businesses to compete directly with large companies for top-notch talent. So why try to take them head on? There is more than one way to win the recruiting game. Follow these tips and you will soon have the big guys asking you for advice on how to successfully recruit talent in this ever-changing economy.

Develop Your Niche

Many successful small businesses have figured out that the way to compete with large companies is to develop a niche. The same holds true when it comes to hiring talent.

Your company must have at least one thing that the bigger companies don’t have. Identify this distinction and use it to compete. For example, are your employees empowered to make decisions without going through three layers of management? Do you give employees a day off during the week to attend college classes so they can obtain their degrees? Make sure everyone knows what differentiates you from the rest of the pack.

Consider the Culture

Sure, the big guys have the money to throw at people, but you’d be surprised at how many people would turn down the money for the opportunity to work in a smaller, more personal environment that is both stimulating and fun.

A big advantage of working in a small company is that you don’t have to go down four layers to speak directly with your staff. Take advantage of this situation. Ask your employees for feedback on the work environment, and wherever possible make changes to improve the environment. Word will get out quickly that your company is one for which people want to work. Before long, you will have people knocking on your door.

Market Yourself

You buy a product because you like the way it’s packaged. More times than not, it’s all in the marketing. The same holds true in recruiting. People form opinions early on when looking at companies. Make sure they are forming the right opinion about yours.

Take a look at the way your jobs and company are packaged. Start with your Web site. If you were cruising the Web and you happened to come across your site, would you stop to take another look?

Most Web sites are plain vanilla. In order to get noticed, you need to stand out. Try the following:

· Personalize your Web site. Include pictures of your work force.

· Ask employees to write testimonials on why they choose to work for your company.

· Have employees describe interesting projects that they have worked on.

· Make it easy for people to apply online even if they don’t have resumes. After all, many top candidates are not actively seeking jobs and therefore may not have updated resumes.

Be sure your Web site reflects your environment. A well-maintained Web site can be a powerful weapon.

Be Flexible

Sometimes it seems like we are all going after the same talent. But there are groups of capable, educated people out there who are often forgotten. The part-timers. The people who dedicate part of their lives to raising a family, doing philanthropic work, or pursuing a dream. These people are very committed to their cause and will be very committed to you if you give them a chance to use their abilities in a non-traditional way.

Set up programs like job sharing, flextime and telecommuting and make them a part of your culture. You will find that people are more than willing to exchange higher salaries for flexibility in the workplace. You will also find that this part of your work force will be highly loyal to you because they know there are few employers who actually walk this talk.

Letting Go

It’s hard to let go of the reins but people want to feel like they have a direct impact in the day-to-day operations of their company. Loosen up some of the control and let your employees step up to the plate. You’d be surprised how many balls get hit out of the park once you step aside.

Competing for talent takes more than money. The smart player will be the one who comes up with the winning strategy. Yes, some people can be bought, but is that really the type of person you want on your team?

Fighting the War For Talent During the Recession

At first blush, it would seem that the current recession, accompanied by layoffs, company downsizing and closures, and rising unemployment would freeze the war for talent and recruitment. Not so. Why?

First of all the current economic recession has masked the shortage of workers for two reasons–layoffs have created a ready supply of good workers, and would be job changers are holding onto the jobs they have. But this won’t last. Why? Demographics. The number of 65 year olds will surpass the number of 18 year olds in five years. Smart companies are quietly preparing for the next round of talent warfare. What are some of these companies doing?

They develop a rehiring strategy. According to research conducted by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, and HR consulting firm, in all past recessions, almost 60% of American companies rehired a significant number of their former employees who had been laid off. Other companies such as Cisco implemented a community program, which placed laid-off employees in a reduced salary outplacement program to assist them to finding another job before they’re laid off.
They overhauled their recruitment and hiring systems. Everything from interviewing, employee orientation and training is reviewed and revised to make it leaner a meaner. The motivation for this rarely takes place during good times.
They conduct a talent inventory in the organization. This includes creating or revising the company’s succession plans and developing bench strength.
They review and revise their leadership development programs. Survey after survey indicate that people who quit their jobs do so because of their relationship with the boss, not because of dissatisfaction with their job. A recession is a perfect time to take a hard look at leadership style and training to increase employee satisfaction with management.

According to Jobfox Inc., a company providing employment research and consulting, there are three recessionary fallacies when it comes to talent management during recessions:

Fallacy 1: Weak economic activity results in weak recruitment for talent. Not true. Layoffs and downsizing results in reorganizations, reallocation of responsibilities and new positions with different kinds of talent are created.
Fallacy 2: Employers only hire when they are growing. Not true. There is little correlation between economic growth and hiring. The reality is that all hiring is a function of what is called “churn” in the workforce. Workers quit, get fired or laid off, find new jobs or go back to school. There is constant movement. And today, every year, the average professional remains in his or her job three years before they move on.
Fallacy 3: Job hopping freezes during a recession. Not true. Top performers invariably leave troubled companies during tough times, and stay during good times.

In summary, recessions cause more, not less churn.

So this recession provides different dynamics for companies in the war for talent. The smart companies recognize that and are already implementing smart strategies to take advantage of that.

In the War for Talent, Employers Are Their Own Worst Enemy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be 10 million more open positions than available workers in 2010, and the former Employment Policy Foundation (EPF) projects that this gap will grow to 35 million by 2030. The EPF also projected occupations requiring post secondary training or a college degree will increase to 65 percent by 2030. Currently, only 38 percent of the American labor force has a two year degree or higher. With recent college educational attainment rates at about 28 percent (US Census Bureau, 2003), the gap between knowledge worker demand and supply will widen. This fact coupled with the projected loss of educated senior leaders due to baby boomer retirement (US Bureau of Labor Statistics forecast is that the five hundred largest employers will lose 50% of their senior leaders in the next five years) makes it highly likely that US companies will be facing a “War for Talent”.

There is mounting evidence that companies are already feeling the talent crunch today. A recent survey of staffing directors conducted by Monster and Development Dimensions International reported that these professionals overwhelmingly reported that competition for talent was strong and the war for talent is getting increasingly hotter.

As the “War for Talent” heats up, some employers are employing effective battle tactics while too many others are engaging in hiring practices that are dooming them to a fate of mediocrity or even worse, extinction. While there are numerous habits that could be identified as dysfunctional, four of the most common hiring habits leading to battlefield casualties include:

Overly restrictive hiring criteria
Subjective selection procedures
Slow speed in acting on candidates
Poor candidate interviewing experience

This paper will explore each of these habits and suggest alternative strategies for success.

1. Overly Restrictive Hiring Practices

A recent feature on the Information Technology blog,, published an email that was received from Andrew Stuart of the Australian recruiting firm Flat Rate Recruitment. It read:

“I had a client building an advanced network security application designed to prevent denial of service attacks. I sent them person after person and they kept knocking them back. The reason was almost always because the person didn’t have enough low level

TCP/IP coding experience. The people I sent had done things like design and develop operating systems, advanced memory managers and other highly sophisticated applications. But my client wasn’t interested. They required previous hands on experience coding low level TCP/IP. Eventually I got an application from a very bright software engineer who almost single-handedly wrote an Amiga emulator, but had little or no experience doing low level TCP/IP coding.

I told the client, “I have a great guy here who has no experience doing low level TCP/IP coding and I think you should hire him.” They were extremely skeptical. I pushed hard to get an interview. “Look, this guy is a superb software engineer who doesn’t have low level TCP/IP coding experience now, but if you employ him, within 3-6 months you will have a superb software engineer who does have low level TCP/IP coding experience.”

As you might expect, the company took a gamble and sure enough, the candidate ended up being the smartest and most capable programmer in the company. This little anecdote illustrates the importance of learning ability in job success. As a retail executive recently related, “Retail industry knowledge is not rocket science. I can teach retail knowledge. What I can’t teach is natural leadership. Give me proven strong leaders and I will quickly make them into strong retail leaders.”

The Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection caution against selection on the basis of knowledge, skills, or ability learned in a brief orientation period. While the definition of what constitutes a brief period is left somewhat vague, the logic is clear: Selection requirements should focus on those qualities or experiences that are critical for candidates to possess at time of hire and not knowledge, skills, or ability that can be learned in a reasonable amount of time. It is not surprising that there is considerable research showing that mental ability or learning ability is the single most important predictor of job success (Scmidt et al). Smart and passionate candidates quickly close transient experience and knowledge gaps and add significant long term value to the organization.

In addition to learning ability and passion, employers too often focus on finding individuals that perfectly match a long list of overly constraining requirements that are grounded in faulty logic. Typically, these requirements are not listed on a position description but are determined through discussions with the recruiter or hiring manager or learned through the process of introducing candidates for open opportunities. Let’s consider the following overly constraining requirements (real examples) and their underlying assumptions and implications:

• International Consulting Company requirement – “candidates must have lived and worked in a foreign country”. Assumption: Living and working in a foreign country is predictive of an individual’s appreciation of cultural differences and their business impact as well as being predictive of the candidate’s ability to operate in a variety of cultures successfully.

Logical Flaw – the fact that I have lived and worked in another country does not necessarily indicate that I was either successful or enjoyed the experience. Being

successful in a single culture (e.g., France) does not necessarily translate into success in another culture (e.g., China). Result – Individuals who have traveled extensively or have a true passion for international work and are willing to be students of different cultures will be excluded from consideration.

• Corporate Procurement Specialist Requirement – “candidates with manufacturing procurement experience will not be considered.” Assumption: Procurement specialist dealing with supply chain vendors in a manufacturing environment will not be properly equipped or familiar with the nuances of how to handle vendors supplying a corporate environment.

Logical Flaw – manufacturing procurement specialists also supply the desks, paper, equipment, etc. for the office environment. Core skills of vendor negotiation, analysis of alternative sources, cost reduction strategies, and inventory management are highly transferrable. Result – Highly skilled procurement specialists that would likely be extremely successful in the role are not even considered.

• Plant HR Generalist Requirement – candidates who have had corporate experience or attained titles of HR Director or above will not be considered. Assumption: Individuals who have “tasted corporate life or higher level work responsibilities would not be satisfied with the demands and realities of plant HR challenges.

Logical Flaw – Corporate roles are not always valued more than plant positions. There are individuals who prefer the pace and demands of a plant environment to a much greater extent than a corporate environment. Result – Individuals with both plant and corporate experience but with a strong passion for plant environments will be overlooked.

2. Subjective Selection Procedures

It is amazing that companies take a highly structured and data driven approach to making capital or other strategic investments but rely frequently on “gut feel” for making strategic talent selection decisions. In the previously cited DDI and Monster survey,

nearly half the staffing directors admitted that gut instinct and intuition play an important role in hiring. Selection systems without tests and assessments often lack critical information that could turn a “maybe” into a clear “yes” or “no.”

Not only does the absence of testing and assessment information increase the probability of subjective selection decision-making, the use of unstructured interviewing also promotes gut instinct decisions. In a recent discussion with a hiring manager, the manager admitted that he really did not know how to conduct a professional interview. He indicated that he liked to conduct a more casual conversation and look for any indications of characteristics that might prove troubling. In his words, he was looking for

the “right vibe” and he would know it when he saw it. Evidentially it was a scarce quality since he conducted close to 100 interviews before making a final selection decision.

In another experience with a hiring manager, a candidate was rejected on the basis of a single question. The question was, “how many people have you terminated?”. While the candidate did in fact have experience with under performers and had conducted terminations, it was not enough in the hiring manager’s eyes. The hiring manager felt that a higher rate of terminations would indicate that the candidate could lead a diverse work force and make tough performance decisions. It is just as likely that a high termination rate could indicate that the candidate had poor coaching and talent development skills.

The lack of structure in an interview with interview questions clearly tied to competency requirements opens the door for interviewer stereotypes to surface. Early in my career, I was a classification counselor in a state correctional system. Part of the job was to make custody recommendations for prisoners entering the state system. The recommendation was made by a panel of three individuals who represented different perspectives including field leadership. The panel membership varied. On one occasion, a particular field captain was selected to participate in the custody discussions. It soon became apparent that he applied certain stereotypes in evaluating prisoners as he indicated that he felt that small ears close to the head was a possible indication of a high security risk. While this is an extreme example, it illustrates how individual stereotypes can affect judgment.

There are numerous research articles on the deleterious effects of different types of rating errors and rater biases on rating accuracy. As a single example, a study by Marlowe et al.(1996) found that both attractiveness and gender contributed to rater bias. Highly attractive individuals were rated higher than less attractive individuals and males were rated higher than females.

Clearly, objective testing and assessment information coupled with structured behavioral interviewing leads to superior, more informed selection decision-making.

3. Slow Speed in Acting on Candidates

In computing the true costs associated with hiring, it is necessary to consider the lost productivity associated with having the position vacant. One would think that this true cost would motivate employers to act quickly on evaluating candidates for positions. However, the speed of candidate reviews is too often very, very slow. This slowness manifests itself at each stage of the process…slow to review initial candidates, slow to conduct phone screens, slow to get them into initial interviews, and slow to conduct deep selection steps.

The cause of this slowness is most frequently associated with heavy workload pressures and overly booked calendars. The paradox is that faster time to fill metrics would help

alleviate workload pressures for both HR and the hiring manager. A shared sense of priority and an intelligent and organized approach to executing selection steps also eliminates the likelihood that high quality candidates will abandon interest and accept employment with a potential competitor. Losing high quality candidates at the end of a selection process results in even greater recruitment costs.

Another rationalization is that a slow hiring process is reflective of careful and deliberate selection decision-making. However, the view from the external perspective of a job candidate is exactly the opposite. Overly slow or involved selection is more likely seen as being reflective of a disorganized and inconsiderate organization that does not view talent as a priority. Slow hiring processes can quickly erode an organization’s employment brand and affect their ability to attract good talent on an ongoing basis.

4. Poor Candidate Experiences

In addition to a slow selection process, a poor interview experience can also contribute to a company’s negative employment brand. Research has shown that interviewer qualities such as warmth, sincerity, empathy, and listening skills as well as interviewer behaviors such as question style, invasiveness, and job knowledge both impact applicant reactions (Harris & Fink, 1987). Other research suggests that negative applicant reactions can also affect an applicant’s attraction to a job opportunity and their desire to pursue employment with the organization (Ralston & Brady, 1994).

Other factors can affect candidate reactions. Candidates react less favorably to interviews conducted by phone than those conducted face to face (Silvester, Anderson, Haddleton, Cunningham-Snell, & Gibb, 1999). Poor pre and post interview communications, promptness of the interviewer, and interview length could also impact a candidate’s reactions.

The question is: In a time of scarce talent, why would you want to irritate quality candidates?

Strategies for Success

These four bad habits can easily be corrected. The first step is to take a position of recruiting quality talent rather than individuals that have performed the exact same position in the exact same industry and faced the exact same challenges. This overly narrow strategy brings tremendous talent supply constraints and ignores the value of passion, ability to learn, and the importance of overall leadership qualities. There is also the added advantage of injecting new perspectives and thinking into the organization by bringing in individuals with diverse backgrounds.

The second step is to utilize testing and assessment information to increase your confidence and predictive accuracy that a candidate can successfully perform the job. These methods can be used to identify individuals that possess true leadership talent. An individual with a high level of talent but a slightly non-traditional background (e.g.,

comes from a different industry) could well make a much greater contribution than an individual that has performed the exact same job in the same industry but possesses modest leadership talent. The third step is to adopt structured behavioral interviewing and train your interviewers to conduct a professional, job relevant interview. Structured behavioral interviews will increase your predictive accuracy and increase the likelihood that candidates will form a positive impression of the organization and its opportunities.

The final step is to take a close look at your selection process and key metrics. Shortening “time to fill” will help ensure that you do not lose quality candidates to other organizations and will positively affect your overall “cost of hire”. Better organization and scheduling of talent selection components (initial review, screening, interviewing, testing, etc.) should have a very positive impact on time as well as candidate reactions.

These four steps go a long way in arming an organization to win the War for Talent.

Resources, Tools and Methodologies for Talent Acquisition, Hiring and Recruitment


One needs to have dreams, plans, strategies to be successful in any venture. This is a basic requirement. If you do not know what you want, where you want to reach and how you want to reach (your mode and plan for success), you certainly cannot reach there. In case you are starting a new venture or you are planning to diversify your existing business, you also need to identify the source for your capital (Financial Backing). You cannot do all these things on your own. You need “extra-ordinarily talented” and Highly Skilled people to help you to reach the goal that you have seen for your organization. For this, you need a jeweller (the talented, matured and exceptionally skilled HR Professional) to identify such DIAMONDS for you. It is one of the key role of a HR Professional to identify, source, select, HIRE and RETAIN BEST of the talent from the market to work for the organization. If they cannot find talented people from the market then they need to groom the right type of people with the right type of attitude and aptitude. In 21st Century, we are in the era of “war for talent”. It is becoming difficult to get right type of people and retain them. Many companies are losing their businesses because they are not able to hire “right type of people”; because they compromised with the “quality of the talent”. In this article, we will try to explore and understand different sources to get “Best of the Talents”. Any reference of HR Department” in this article, means Team of Talent Acquisition, Hiring and Recruitment.

Different Sources To Get Talented People

As a HR Professional (Chief Talent Acquisition Officer; Hiring Manager or Recruitment Head), one should be aware of all the sources and resources to get best of the talents and they should also be aware of as how to use those resources to the optimum level. You can use either or all of the below mentioned tools to get BEST talents.

1) Existing and “Active” Candidates Data with Company

This is primary, but if properly used, most important source and tool in the hands of HR Department to get right type of people. The HR department gets N number of profiles every day from different sources (including candidates who just drop-in their profiles at the reception. The HR Department needs to maintain and update this data on regular (if possible on daily basis). The details and data should be maintained in such a manner that one should be able to generate a MIS, stating number of profiles in the database, skills of the candidates (including education and experience level) and status of each profile (if shortlisted or not; if interviewed or not; date of interview; result of the interview; if rejected or selected etc). All these profiles should be considered as “active profiles” for six months from the date they were received in the HR Department of the Company. Any other profile older than six months, should be deleted and destroyed. Such profiles are of no use to the company. The HR department should be able to use this data to fill the existing vacant position with a MOST suitable profile.

2) Employee References

In last decade and a-half, all the companies across various industries are facing a BIG challenge to retain the talent in their companies. People are resigning for various reasons. There is another challenge of FAKE profiles (People are faking about their experiences, salaries etc. Many people are just COPYING someone’s profile and presenting it as their own, without even knowing what they have mentioned in it). To handle this, it has become apparent to do reference checks. Getting the reference check done in a proper way is very costly.

Considering the above two scenarios and just to counter it, it is important to hire a person through the reference of your existing employee. No one can present, market and brand your company, market the culture and policies of your company then a happy and highly motivated and engaged employee of your organization. Hence, hiring with the reference of your existing employees is an important source and tool to hire and retain Quality Talent.

3) Internal Advertisement (internal Job Posting)

Learning is a continuous process. Many people keep on learning new skills, updating their skills and acquiring higher degrees by way of distance mode of education. There by you might have “multi-skilled” and “multi-talented” people within your organization. Hence, it become crucial and important to post your job-requirement, internally for your existing employees. By doing so, you will be able to RETAIN good and talented people.

4) Jobsites and Job Portals

If the above three sources and methods are used appropriately, efficiently and to the optimum level, hypothetically you do not need to go outside the company to get good people, working for your company. However, that is actually not possible and hence, you also need to look for external sources to get MORE Suitable Talent for your company. There are many Job Sites and Job Portals, available in the market and you need to select the BEST one for your needs. Good Job Portals have huge database of millions and millions of profiles. You can source a “Suitable” Talent from that database. You can also post your job requirements on job-portals just to get more relevant profiles. You should learn how to use all the features of your job-portal for its optimum utilization.

You can also have the HR or Job Site of your company and post your requirements on that site. This will also give appropriate branding and advertisement to your company and will also help you in managing the “Candidate Database”.

5) Campus Hiring

In case, you like to hire “knowledgeable, talented and properly groomed” freshers then you should opt for Campus Hiring. This will give you Raw Clay and Material that you can mould as per the need and culture of your organization. You need to plan your “Campus Hiring” in a suitable manner to target right type of people. You need to decide, if you like to hire a plain graduate or a graduate with some specific trainings or Management Graduates or Engineering Graduates etc. If you provide right type of atmosphere, culture and processes, chances are that you will be able to retain these freshers, trainees for a long period of time. There are many Business Magazines which publishes lists of BEST institutes in different categories, locally, nationally and internationally.

6) Recruitment Consultancies

Most of the time, even recruitment consultancies also uses various job-portals to source talent for their clients. Hence, it makes more sense, if you buy one login on any of the relevant job-portal (or more than one job portal) and if you learn how to use it properly.
You need the help of Recruitment Consultants if you are planning to hire a talent through head-hunting for senior profiles and from different geographical locations; for example, if you are planning to hire someone from international market. Hence, taking the help of Recruitment Consultants to hire talent for you, should not be your first choice or option.

7) External (Newspaper) Advertisement

This is one of the VERY costly source to hire talent. External Job-Advertisement on media (Newspaper, Television, Radio etc), helps you in Branding and Publicizing your company but if not targeted properly and managed properly, this is one of the POOR but COSTLY source to get suitable talent. You need to understand and plan properly, what type of people you are looking for, from where you can get those people, which newspaper do they read, how you want to get and manage these profiles and what you will be doing with that database or else, you will not be able to get suitable talent.

8) Social and Professional Networks & Local Communities

There are few professional and social networks, such as LinkedIn, FaceBook, Orkut etc, that you can use to get right type of talent (of the listed networks, LinkedIn is highly recommended). You can also target few NGO’s, Training Institutes and Local Communities to hire low-level, low-cost workers for factories and your companies.

9) Head Hunting (Also called as “Body Shopping”)

There is this bread or group of talent, which are highly experienced, competent with great leadership skills but very passive in job market. They are very experienced in their domain and industry. Sometimes, they are also the founder member of the organization. Generally these are the people working in the capacity of Senior Managers, General Managers, CFO’s, CTO’s, CEO’s, Vice-Presidents, Directors, Managing Directors etc in their present roles. They do not post their profiles on jobsites. They do not even read job-sections of newspapers. They do not apply for any jobs opportunity. Only very few of their friends and close associates are in procession of their profiles. They need to be challenged by an opportunity. Such people need to be head-hunted. Generally, recruitment consultancies are EXPECTED to do this job. This is a way to get the talent when you are looking for rare and distinct talent. When you are looking to fill positions like CFO , CEO etc. Here, numbers are not important but quality is. In a year, you might be able to head-hunt 15-20 people but they will be of high worth and value.
Not everyone can be a “Head Hunter”, you need to have “special” type of skills to be a “Head Hunter”. Every type of sourcing is not called as head-hunting. For a sourcing to be called as “Head-hunting”, this should involve “rare profiles”; profiles and skill sets not readily available in the market.

10) Talent-Poaching

This, according to some section in the industry, is considered as unethical mode of sourcing and hiring. For this, you need to understand the business of your company and also should be aware of the competitor companies in your industry. Just target those companies and hire in masses from those companies right from the entry level to senior level. This tactic is usually used to kill the competition. This is like a big fish eating the small fish. People across the globe are discussing and debating to ascertain, if the “Talent Poaching” is ethical or unethical. No doubt, this is one of the easiest way to source trained and talented people within the industry when you have infrastructure and money.

Distinction Between Headhunting and Talent Poaching

Some talent acquisition managers as well as hiring and recruitment professionals are confused and are not able to discriminate between the two. Here are few differences between the two:

1) Headhunting is associated with senior and rare profiles. Talent Poaching is just sweeping and running through talent-wealth of your competitor.

2) Headhunting is planned. Talent Poaching is targeted.

3) In headhunting, the intention is to get the BEST person for your organization but in Talent Poaching, the intention is to kill your competitor and the competition.

4) Headhunting is about getting a person with “Leadership” skills with “Global Exposure”. Talent Poaching is about “saving the training cost”.


This article is not about “Recruitment Process” or to describe about “Steps involved in Recruitment Process” but just to share the resources and channels to source and identify talent. I have taken care to list all the possible channels. I am sure all the readers will gain from this article.

Scouting For Talent – Picking a Winner

Tuesday (November 3) is Melbourne Cup Day. Also known as “The race that stops a nation”, it is also a public holiday for those fortunate enough to live in Melbourne.

Who can forget the amazing three years of consecutive wins by Makybe Diva (2003 – 2005), or master trainer Bart Cummings with eleven cup winners?

As I only moved to Australia seven years ago, after a decade living in New Zealand, it has been interested to notice how I became more caught up in all the publicity prior to the big race. Popular choices at this stage are horses like Viewed (last year’s winner and trained by Cummings), Efficient and Alcopop.

Thinking about the race and trying to pick a winner reminded me of the same challenges we as HR people face scouting for top talent. In looking for top talent, we need to differentiate between show horses and race horses.

Show Horses

It really amazes me how some people look at the colours of a horse to pick a favourite.
Bay coloured horses clearly have the best Cup record with 58 wins, including four in the last five years, and there are 16 in this year’s field. Brown horses have won 36 cups, while chestnuts have won 34. Only five greys have won the race, Efficient is the only grey horse in this year’s field.

Just because a candidate dresses well, communicates well, with a good education, does not make them a winner. Picking a candidate based on impressions during an interview is no different to picking a horse based on colour.

Past research have shown that structured interviews (SI) and past-behaviour interviews (PBI) have conflicting results as a valid predictor of job performance. Yet most appointments are based on interviews.

Race Horses

Few punters would pick a horse just based on their performance in the last race. They will analyse the important variables – form, barrier, jockey, trainer, track condition. For the Melbourne Cup a key criterion is whether the horse can see out the 3200m distance.

Just as there is a great science in picking the Melbourne Cup winner, which involves intense study of superior minds, the search for talent requires a similar disciplined approach.

Using well constructed psychometric tests, based on sound job-based criteria, is critical to identify a star performer for that role. I have covered in a previous article the need for role clarity.

Some talent scouts are better at analysing and screening applicants out, than in identifying top talent. Perhaps this is a function of having to embark on an elimination process to produce a short-list that has created this paradox where the hiring manager picks the winner. See my previous article on how long is your shortlist.

The true talent scout

Few and far between, the true talent scout can pick a race horse that will win the race. The key criteria are to match the company, the role and the company.

As I was last week sharing with the VP of HR in a coaching session, it is a great occasion if you work for a great boss, in a great company in a great role!

HR Managers – How to Interview For Talent

Recruitment can be a complex and fragile process. However, interviewing for talent should be handled separately from the rest of the interview process. It should stand alone because of its importance. Basically, it only has one objective and that is to discover whether or not the applicant has recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that match the vacancy. This is a more structured interview, more focused and the questions are more incisive. The candidate should be told that this part of the interview is exclusively about their talent.

One of the best ways to discover a person’s talents during an interview is to ask open-ended questions so that they reveal themselves by the choices they make. The talent interview should be a verbal mirror image of the job. In the job, he or she will face many situations where they have a choice of their response. Their performance will be defined by the way they consistently respond. By asking open-ended questions that offer the opportunity of a wide range of answers, it will be possible to identify elements of talent. The direction that they choose their answer will be predictive of future behavior.

As soon as you’ve asked the question, pause and remain silent. If you’re asked to clarify the question, responded by explaining that you more interested in what they think it means. Past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior and to discover elements of talent remember this point. The quicker and more spontaneous the person answers the question and gives you a specific example, the more likely that this is recurring behavior and not a single example. If it is recurring behavior then it is a reflection of their thoughts and feelings as well.

If you have to keep on asking probing questions after you’ve asked your initial question, you can normally count on the fact that it is not recurring behavior and therefore is unlikely to be repeated in the future and is not an insight to their talent. When you ask, “Tell me about a time when” the careful not to judge the response on the quality of detail. Otherwise, you end up evaluating whether or not the person is articulate or has a good memory instead of possessing the recurring talent that you want.

Rapid learning is a clue to a person’s talent. Find out from the applicant what sort of things that they have learned quickly. Discover what sort of activities and tasks easy for them now. This will give you an insight to their talent. During the talent interview, also try and discover what sort of things gives them great personal satisfaction in the workplace. Ask them what they find fulfilling. Those answers will give you some idea of how a person will cope repeating those tasks week in and week out.

Metrics for Talented Employees

What is the most important task of any HR department? I think the one thing they can do is to find and keep talented people within company. The problem is that these people are usually not like others (that’s why you want to hire they!), they do not pay much attention to salary you suggest, they don’t want to have stock options and don’t think in terms of profit and loose. You goal is to find these people, hire them and keep them in company as long as you can. That is the main goal of any HR department.

Let’s discuss how to manage talents in your company. The first task is to find gifted people, I’m sure you know how to find people to hire, but the task here is to find talented? How to do it? Well, I cannot advise much here, you will need to talk with hundreds to find the one, more over you will probably need to provide some people with test job to find the right person. But there is an indicator that you are performing well: if you will find something that is not usual and is extraordinary, pay attention to this person.

In terms of finance talented people are easy to hire. Typically, you will no need to pay huge salaries or pay someone to abandon their job. The turnover rate within this kind of people is below average, as the only reason why they change their job is they cannot find something new and interesting. When hiring talented person you will need to hire some ordinal persons and probably fire them later, so you should carefully consider what the impart of bad hire might be.

The most important thing about talented people is to provide them with adequate learning and growth opportunities. Keep them interested in your company, not just because you pay money for the job, but let them work with some interesting projects. If you have an education courses, suggest them to visit courses they like. Also, consider some “don’t”-s. Don’t make a usual rotation you might willing to do for others. If you find talent, then I’m sure you don’t need him or her to fill like brick in your company building. These people are more sensitive to that kind of changes.

The best option for talented people is learning-on-the-job, suggest them to learn some technology, or pay attention to some market tendency, suggest them to learn a foreign language.

Actually, training opportunities are the one metric which should be considered as a “talents” indicator. Ask people you why they are interested in position you suggested, the good answers are, “because of I can work here with X technology and help you to develop Y product”, I’m sure you are talking to gifted person or “I like your training opportunities”, again, you are talking to the person, who will learn faster than you can imagine. This is a great business investment.

The good idea is to combine some talented oriented metrics into the set of metrics, key performance indicators or scorecards, so that you can always compare your current HR strategy against “searching talented” strategy and answer the question – if you are performing well.

Emigration to the USA – Want a Green Card For Talent?

Emigration – moving from one country to another – can radically change a person’s life. Of course, the more developed the country of your choice is, the more difficult is to emigrate there. Developed countries build barriers to unregulated immigration and attempt to search for skills and talent among the crowds desiring to immigrate.

This article is for people who seek emigration to America which is among the countries with the most strict and difficult immigration laws. There are four ways to obtain a green card – a status of a permanent resident alien in the USA. One can immigrate on the basis of (a) family relations; (b) employment/professional skills; (c) by winning in a Diversity Lottery; or (d) by obtaining a status of refugee/political asylum. There are thousands and thousands US law firms working in the area of immigration. We – a law group of Milgrom & Associates – work on all kinds of immigration cases. But our primary area is helping those whose goal is emigration on the basis of their unique professional skills and talent. And in this area we perform certain services that, as far as we know, are not offered by any other American attorney or law firm.

Let’s say you are a foreign inventor and have a new invention you want to patent in the USA, or if you are a programmer, wrote a new computer program, and want to protect and register your copyright in the USA, or you are a composer who wrote a symphony which needs protection in the USA… In other words, if you (a) don’t live in the US, (b) created something valuable and (c) want to protect your intellectual property rights in America – we can help you in doing that. Some other law firms offer such services, too.

Let’s further say that after taking steps to protect and register your rights you believe that there is a demand for your creation in America. Then we can assist in monetization of your intellectual property. We can search for a company interested in licensing, manufacturing, marketing and selling your invention, for example. Or look for buyers for your computer program. Or find performers for your symphony. And when those interested parties are found we will conduct negotiations with them, draft an agreement on your behalf, and otherwise protect your interests. Very few – if any – law firms in the US offer this kind of services to their foreign clients.

Finally, if your creation is commercially successful in America and emigration to the United States is your goal; we can help you and your family to get green cards – on the basis of that commercial success. As far as we know, nobody in the US offers all of the above as one package. These legal services offered by our firm are unique.

Also we assist foreign talents and professionally successful people from all walks of life – science, literature/theater/music, business, sports, and industry – in obtaining green cards. We help them and their families in their emigration to the US.

Emigration to the US on the basis of professional achievements, getting green card for talent is not an easy task. We will assist you in navigation of stormy emigration waters and bring your family ship into a safe harbor.