Talent Wars: Are you prepared for battle?

The war for talent is on, as most industries require very specific skills from their employees. Targeting and attracting that talent is critical to remain competitive in the marketplace. There are many ways to ensure your recruiting efforts are successful.

Resourceful HR’s top five tips:

  1. Create a contingency plan.
  2. There will always be unexpected vacancies and no candidates ready to fill the role. Recruiters are great at building a pipeline of talent and maintaining relationships with quality candidates. They should spend time finding professionals with critical skill sets or experiences that would be valuable to your organization to ensure you can move quickly in hiring someone should the original plan fall through.

  3. Vet your internal candidates and external talent pool.
  4. A good recruiter can gather market intelligence on the talent pool and see what the market has to offer. This will ensure that the decision to promote from within or offer training to existing employees is because they are the best person for the job and organization.

  5. Engage recruiters that know what you offer.
  6. Recruiters (internal and external) should serve as a brand representative for your organization. Maximize their ability to build interest and excitement for working for the organization.

  7. Craft your compelling story.
  8. All communications a qualified candidate receives, whether it be your website, job boards, postings, social media, or communications with your recruiter should help them understand what differentiates your organization and why they would be interested in joining your team. From organizational goals and career opportunity to the unique culture, every aspect of working for the organization should be used to garner enthusiasm for joining your team.

  9. Assess your culture before you make a hiring decision and ask the right questions.
  10. Articulating your culture and work environment and what it takes to thrive at your organization during the recruiting process will allow candidates to know what success entails. Asking the right questions of candidates will allow you to fully understand the likelihood a candidate will be able to perform as needed. (Link to: http://springboard.resourcefulhr.com/successfully-assessing-cultural-fit/)

Quiz: Is it time to bring in recruiting resources?

There are some tell-tale signs that it is time to outsource recruiting. If you answer yes to two or more of these questions it may be time to look for a recruiting partner.
1. Is it taking you longer than expected to find quality candidates?
2. Are you spending your time weeding through candidate resumes that are clearly not the right fit?
3. Is recruiting taking your time away from your core business functions?
4. Are you experiencing high turnover rates from employees you hired that aren’t the right fit?

HR and Startups – Planning for Successful Growth and Greater Productivity

Over the years Resourceful HR has had the opportunity to work with many cutting edge startups in both the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest. It has been a pleasure to help these companies put a plan in place for recruiting, compensation, performance management and compliance. We have had the wonderful opportunity to watch them achieve their growth and productivity goals including hiring top talent and receiving the funding they require to continue to grow.

Accomplishing these initiatives is often easier said than done though, because many entrepreneurs and startup founders have many other responsibilities to focus on. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, often startups do the bare minimum when it comes to HR because there just isn’t enough time in the day. As the article shares, HR is an important component to add to your bench in order to get most out of your most expensive line item – your people – and to avoid current and future people, performance and policy issues. We encourage you to read the entire article here as several HR consultants and executives share some great tips.

Four important things to remember:

HR is more than recruiting. Often startups are focused on acquiring the talent they need without thinking about the HR structure and initiatives needed to support them after they join your company. Don’t lose sight of the long game.

Your office manager may need HR training or support. Many times HR responsibilities fall to the office manager by default. He/she may need additional HR training or an HR expert that can provide support when it comes to employee, performance, or compliance issues, as well as guidance on which HR activities will bring the greatest return on investment.
Be conscious of the culture you want to create and work towards creating it from the very start. It is much easier to start as you intend to finish rather than find yourself in a situation where you may need to make big culture changes when you’re already well underway.

Assess which policies are required by law and which policies will clarify company expectations and offerings. You may also want to consider policies that are specific to your work environment and/or demographic such as social media, telecommuting, and relocation policies. At this point, it’s probably safe to say that every company should have a social media policy given its ubiquity in our current society.

Be aware of the nepotism. Startups often tap their own networks for hiring, which has its plusses and minuses. While hiring from referrals tends to be less risky, you can end up with a homogeneous and/or cliquish and divided staff.

Additional resources as you grow your startup:

Are you hitting the 20-employee mark?
Employment laws we advise you to embrace
Create structure for successful growth and greater productivity

How to Listen When Interviewing & Recruiting Job Candidates to Ensure the Right Skill Set and Cultural Fit

Active listening is key to getting to know a job candidate. I always recommend that when you are interviewing an individual, whether in person or over the phone, to have an open mind and to ask the right questions.

Keeping an open mind means you can often find the right fit even when you may have preconceived notions about the position’s needs. I’ve seen excellent resumes and realized during the interview process that the person looked great on paper but was not going to provide the skills/results the organization needed. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’ve interviewed people who I thought may be lacking but then when I talked with them I could tell they were the perfect fit when delivering what a company needed.

What to listen for when interviewing a potential candidate?

  • Indicators that illustrate the candidate’s work style and how they work/collaborate with others.
  • What contributions/results they have provided to past employers.
  • How they are driven/motivated to contribute to their new employer.
  • Examples of why they may be a good fit for the organization.
  • Demonstrated/quantifiable successes and overall delivery of those successes.
  • And of course always check references.

I am genuinely interested in people and what they are seeking. That means I have to be truly present and ask good questions so candidates have an opportunity to share their true selves. I am always taking into account both the candidate and employer’s perspective to ensure a good fit when it comes to skills and culture.

We have lots of recruiting resources and tips including ideas for attracting top talent! You can check them out here.

Ideas for Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Munchery is a business with a mission to “make it ridiculously easy to put a delicious, high-quality meal on the table in just a few minutes”. Launched in the Bay Area it is growing and recently raised $28 million to continue its mission. Next stop? Seattle. As they grow, they are looking to grow their talent base. As we shared in our Puget Sound Tech Recruiting Trends Survey the top recruiting method that resulted in a successful hire is employee referrals. Munchery has taken this into consideration when it comes to their recruiting efforts. They are asking employees and the people that already know their services and brand to refer engineers. And if it is a successful engagement the referrer will receive free dinners for a year. You can check it out here. They are also using their blog to share not only the job description but what it is like to work for the company. Zappos recently launched a similar endeavor in an effort to share the company’s culture and learn about candidates before making the new hire. We recently talked about this idea and more on our blog: Check out: how to assess a candidate’s cultural fit and how to vet a candidate versus a resume.

Another company, Exact Electric, a Seattle based electrician company is offering folks who refer a journeyman electrician $500 if the engagement is successful for over 60 days. Candidates can be referred by employees, clients, friends, family, colleagues and also be self-referred.

You may have also heard about Starbucks’ efforts to attract and retain talent. They are offering a free college education to employees nationwide through Arizona State University’s online program. The company’s goal is to provide a sustainable wage and the ability to achieve a college education without going into debt. The initiative provides employees who work at least 20 hours a week with the option to receive full tuition reimbursement.

We’d like to hear from you! What are you doing to incent employees or other brand ambassadors to refer top talent? What are you doing to retain talent? We will be sharing more tips on this topic as well as how to build a talent pipeline so that you have the talent you need when you need it here on our blog.

Are you Proactively Identifying Potential Candidates?

Steps you can take to ensure your network is there when you need it.

Build a Talent Pipeline: Garnering talent before you need it can catapult you ahead of your competition. Our 2013 Recruiting Trends Survey results highlighted what most of us already know – the need to fill positions quickly is a challenge when it comes to hiring top talent. Often hiring managers need to fill a vacancy or bring in new skills ASAP. Whether you are a recruiter, hiring manager, or team member, tight deadlines add to the pressure of placing someone in a key role. We recommend that clients build a talent pipeline in advance of the hiring need, especially for positions that are in constant demand. This is a great way to overcome the challenge of short timelines and the need for specific skill sets. Over 50% of the recruiting trend survey respondents indicated they spend between one and five hours monthly building and maintaining a network of potential candidates.

Pipeline building involves posting the position, accepting resumes from active job seekers, networking/sourcing to identify passive job seekers and keeping communication with candidates active until you have an open position.

Tips on how to build a talent pipeline:

  1. Start planning. Take stock of the skill sets that are making your organization successful and determine which skill sets will be needed down the road.
  2. Let active job seekers know that your company is soliciting resumes for anticipated future hiring and provide an estimated timeline.
  3. Stay in contact with prospects.
  4. Stay connected with and get to know candidates through social media channels if appropriate to your business and industry.
  5. Schedule occasional events or lunches/coffees with prospects.
  6. Keep accurate notes/records regarding the availability and interest level of the individuals on the list.
  7. Tap into your candidate’s network. Ask pipeline candidates if anyone they know may be interested in learning about your organization’s job opportunities and whether they know of anyone else that you should be networking with.
  8. When to start pipeline building? As soon as possible. Lead time can vary as demand fluctuates and ideally, you’ll want to capture both active and passive job seekers to ensure the highest quality talent pool when you are ready to hire.
  9. Determine if outside resources may be required. What is the budget for recruitment efforts?

Pipeline building is great for frequent hiring needs. Maintain a pipeline of available resources so you’re not starting from scratch each time a position becomes available.

Successfully Assessing Cultural Fit

Your organization has a culture. Whether you can articulate that culture, or it’s the culture you want your organization to have, or everyone in the organization believes the culture is the same as what you think it is, you still have a culture at your organization.

As you build your organization, recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees, there is always discussion around culture fit. Job seekers express frustration that the feedback is that they “didn’t fit” and employers will express frustration that they can’t find someone with the skills necessary that will actually “fit” into the organization.

We all have stories of working at organizations with great cultures, and toxic cultures, and weird cultures. But at the end of the day, what culture is the right fit for every individual is highly subjective. So how do we find candidates that are the right fit and how do we assess that through an interview process?

The first step in assessing culture fit is to know what the culture is. Culture needs to be a deliberate thing. Whether the leadership has made a decision of what they want that culture to be or not, it’s there. The most important step to assist you in finding talent that fits in with your culture is to clearly articulate what that culture is. Being able to describe and clarify what the culture is currently or how the organization is going to be built on that front will allow you to assess fit.

Zappos is widely heralded for their phenomenal culture and their approach to building culture. You can read about this in numerous articles across a wide-variety of publications, as well as their own Culture Book. Netflix is also another organization highly regarded for their culture. You may have seen the famous Netflix Culture slides that rocked the world by eliminating the vacation policy. You may not want your culture to be like Zappos or Netflix, but what you can’t argue with is that you will know exactly what can be culturally expected when you work at those organizations. As such, you can more easily assess if a candidate fits and potential candidates can more easily determine if the organization is one where they want to work.

Here are a few ideas to help you assess culture during the recruiting process:

  • Ask questions around the aspects of your culture that may highlight a candidate’s experience in a similar environment.
  • Ask what aspects of the culture resonate with them and why.
  • Have the candidate describe the culture of previous employers and what elements allowed them to be successful or prevented them from thriving.
  • Ask the candidate to describe their ideal work environment.
  • Ask references about the culture they experienced the candidate in and the level of success the culture supported.

Defining your culture isn’t easy. And using the interview process to fully understand if a candidate is a perfect fit isn’t a sure thing to knowing you’ve hired the right person. But without a clearly articulated culture, you are flying blindly on whether someone will be happy and successful with your organization regardless of his or her technical skillset. Putting some work into the definition will ease the process on both you and the candidates of potential interest.

Immune Design is Focused on Growing their Business from Seattle to the Bay Area and we Partnered with them to make it Happen

Immune Design, a clinical stage biotechnology company, is focused on growing and innovating, two of our favorite ingredients when working with a client. They wanted an experienced, professional HR and recruiting partner that could help create a robust, scalable HR infrastructure, recruit talent in the Bay Area and offer savings over hiring in-house HR and recruiting staff. This made working with Resourceful HR an excellent fit.

Paul Rickey, VP of Finance at Immune Design shares in our latest client interview how Resourceful HR was able to source a number of highly qualified candidates to help grow their business while receiving scalable and cost prudent services. Essentially, they needed an HR partner who could ramp up or decrease HR and recruiting efforts depending on their budget and needs over the course of the year.

Immune Design has since opened a new office in the Bay Area while also bolstering their HR infrastructure so that they can continue to be an innovator and leader in their field.

We are working with some great organizations that continue to inspire us! You can check out more client interviews here:
SPUD (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery)
Buzzbee Technology Marketing

A Resume Doesn’t Guarantee a Candidate will Deliver Results

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a cross-transferrable phrase when reviewing resumes. As a hiring manager, you may start by combing a resume for key buzzwords highlighting skill sets, education, previous employment, professional affiliations and accomplishments but a savvy manager understands this is a one dimensional approach to hiring a potential candidate. An awesome resume does not guarantee the candidate is capable of delivering results or fits with the culture of your organization.

Vet the Candidate, Not the Resume

Automattic, a blogging service with the mantra of making the web a better place, was recently featured in Harvard Business Review for their outside-the-box approach to interviewing. Before making a hiring decision they conduct ‘try outs’. It entails engaging (and paying) strong candidates to work on a real project with the team. It provides team members and the candidate an opportunity to see if the candidate can deliver the results required and work well within their virtual team environment. The selected project is directly related to the potential role. An initial resume is useful for attracting a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention but an increasing number of businesses like Automattic are looking to gauge how a candidate will perform as part of the interview assessment and prior to extending an offer.

A comprehensive ‘try out’ may not be feasible for your organization, but there are valuable and inexpensive methods to determine whether a prospective candidate with an impressive resume will perform on the job.

Resourceful HR has some key recommendations to help you improve candidate assessments:

  • Understand what is important to you and what is required of the candidate. Create a job description that lays out the results expected of the individual. Include aspects of the environment and culture that may impact how the role must function. By taking the time to tailor a creative, culture influenced, and transparent job description, applicants will understand what is expected when they choose to apply.
  • Conduct phone screens prior to scheduling an in-person interview. Screens can be tailored to ask specific questions aligned with the position, while providing an overview of related skills sets and experience. A good screen can also discern culture fit and provide insight into problem solving abilities. Phone screens save time and money by providing an initial assessment of relevant value to the hiring team.
  • Ask the right questions and train your hiring managers on how to interview. Not all hiring managers have equivalent experience when it comes to asking behavioral and skill based questions to assess capabilities. In addition to training hiring managers on the legalities of what can and cannot be asked, train your hiring managers on how to ask relevant questions that get to the heart of whether the candidate will thrive and produce in your work culture.
  • Always check references. When you think you have found the right person, double check the person will be a good hire by validating prior work behavior and characteristics. Checking references not only confirms interview results but also should confirm a pattern in defining the individual and what they legitimately bring to the table. Design open-ended questions so references are required to share examples and situations, which will improve accuracy and showcase personal attributes.
  • Hire a recruiting consultant to support and advise you on your hiring process. Clients wear many hats in their organizations; the recruiting and hiring process can be a major drain on time and productivity. Hiring the wrong person for the job is equally costly, when you look at hard costs and the impact on morale and productivity. Working with an experienced recruiter who can take on time consuming aspects of the recruiting process such as phone screens, sourcing, training managers, checking references, and candidate engagement, can make life easier, reduce the risk of a bad hire, and greatly increase the opportunity to have a great hire.

Did you just hire an employee or commission a contractor?

There are very clear legal distinctions between the two, and the Internal Revenue Service cares deeply and passionately about the difference. The light-hearted infographic below shows some of the ways that contractors and employees differ and the consequences of those differences. You may also find this test for defining an independent contractor and related next steps helpful.

If you want the full story on making sure you classify workers correctly, you should invest in our “Independent Contractor Versus Employee” resource guide. The guide also includes a handy list of employment laws by company size.

You’re Invited! Join us for our HR Strategy Workshop – Two Dates and Locations Available

Are your HR initiatives increasing profit? Are you utilizing the person tasked with HR as an active business partner? Often HR is thought of as ensuring your organization is compliant and vetting employee concerns. However, HR can have a much wider impact when it comes to maximizing the largest line item on your budget – your employees. Thinking of HR as a part of your overall business strategy and deploying it correctly can increase productivity while saving on costs.

In this workshop we’ll explore:

  • The true cost of staffing your business (average cost of recruiting an employee, training, retention, termination, etc. as well as a benefits for a typical hire).
  • How to select the HR areas and initiatives that will increase effectiveness of your organization and decrease costs.
  • Creating a successful strategy that focuses on affecting change in the identified areas that bring the greatest return on investment.
  • Setting expectations, measuring and evaluating results.

Join us! April 17, 2014

Location: Southwest King County Chambers
14220 Interurban Ave. S #134
Tukwila, WA 98168
Time: 7:30am – 9:30am
Cost: $100
*Free to Equinox, SKCC members, and Resourceful HR’s clients and guests.
Register Now

Join us! April 23, 2014

Location: Civica Office Building
1st Floor
205 108th Ave NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Time: 7:30am – 9:30am
Cost: $100
*Free to Equinox, SKCC members, and Resourceful HR’s clients and guests.
Register Now

Recruiting – It’s not about filling a position, it’s about solving a business need

Recently I attended a presentation on commercialization in the life sciences industry. It provided a great road map for smaller organizations to follow and plan for as they approach this phase of development. Interestingly, there was no discussion about human capital or the skills employees need to possess to move the organization through each phase of growth.

The lack of focus on this topic underscored why having a recruiter (internal or external) that not only has the ability to source and attract talent but also understands your industry, the challenges you face and your organization’s development lifecycle is critical. A recruiter who merely views their role as filling a position with a warm body and then moves on doesn’t have your organization’s best interest in mind. To truly be successful over the long term and make a serious impact on achieving your goals, a recruiter needs to serve as the facilitator in finding talent that can solve the business issues you are experiencing.

I attend a lot of events that are not focused on recruiting and HR. It allows for me to have more engaging conversations with our clients and really understand what’s keeping them up at night. In turn, our team is better able to find talent to deal with those challenges instead of just filling a spot on the org chart. This includes asking: What are some of the challenges you face? What skill sets are needed to take you to the next level? During the early stage of growth, how are you differentiating your vision and culture from your competitors and attracting the team you want and need? What types of projects are you working on? How can adding to your team make these projects more successful, make your organization more profitable and help you achieve your goal/vision?

In addition to being invested in helping you achieve your vision and providing solutions to a business need, there are several traits you should look for in a recruiter.

What traits are important to you and your team when working with or hiring a recruiter?

If you see me at an event, please say hello. I’m always interested in different perspectives on the critical issues for your business.

Should Your Employee Handbook be a Top Priority this Year?

As the year kicks into high gear and you further define the HR initiatives that will bring the best value to your organization, we have compiled the following questions to help you decide if creating or updating your employee handbook should be one of those initiatives.

1) Do you find yourself spending a considerable amount of your day answering the same employee questions regarding policies, benefits and career development opportunities?

2) Are your employees unclear on what you expect from them when it comes to your company’s culture and operations?

3) Could you do a better job of ensuring the right policies are in place and documented to guard your organization from the risk of a lawsuit?

4) When recruiting and onboarding, could you provide a more professional impression of your company that differentiates your organization from competitors?

4) When you hire a new employee do you feel like they have a hard time ramping up to providing 100%+ performance?

5) Do you have employee issues that can be eliminated by communicating more clearly and in writing?

6) Is your employee handbook dated or have policies that no longer apply or require additional policies that reflect how you are currently doing business (for instance, telecommuting, social media, electronic device use)?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may want to consider putting an employee handbook at the top of your list.

Other topics that may be helpful as you determine your employee handbook strategy:

Timing is everything – 3 ways to overcome short timelines when you need to fill positions quickly

The Bay Area Bioscience Recruiting Trends Survey results highlighted what most of us already know – the need to fill positions quickly is a challenge when it comes to hiring top talent. Often hiring managers need to fill a vacancy or bring in new skills ASAP. Whether you are a recruiter, hiring manager, or team member, tight deadlines add to the pressure of placing someone in a key role. We recommend that clients build a talent pipeline in advance of the hiring need, especially for positions that are in constant demand.

There are also other steps that can be taken now to overcome the challenge of short timelines and the need for specific skill sets:

  1. Develop a relationship with your ‘go to’ recruiter and ensure they not only have a successful track record but that they also take the time to understand your organization and specific needs. When you engage with the recruiter provide a clear picture of the “must have” and “nice to have” requirements for the role.
  2. Spend time building your network. Over 50% of survey respondents indicated they spend between one and five hours monthly building and maintaining a network of potential candidates.
  3. Train your existing team members on skills you anticipate needing in the future, such as STEM skills.

Interesting Work More Important Than Money

Are you concerned compensation is what’s preventing candidates from joining your organization?

In our recent Bay Area Bioscience Recruiting Trends Survey we asked organizations to share the most effective ways in which they attract talent. And here are the results:

  1. Providing challenging or cutting edge projects
  2. The organization’s environment/culture
  3. Products and/or services offered
  4. Compensation

You read that correctly – compensation came in fourth. These results serve as a good rule of thumb as you create your hiring plan as well as your retention strategy. Happy employees (employees that are going to contribute to your organization over the long term and truly invest in the goals you are looking to accomplish) are ones that are working on projects that engage and challenge them. There are many different ways to motivate employees. The most important things you can do is check out the research available to you and then ask your employees (they know better than anyone). Until you have the projects, culture, and products candidates can get excited about, you’ll always struggle to bring in and retain quality talent.

You can check out all the results by downloading the full white paper here.

Two Ways Your Organization Can Deal with the STEM Talent Shortage Today

Fifty percent of the respondents of our Bay Area Bioscience Recruiting Trends Survey agree that there is a shortage of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) talent. There has been much publicized about the shortage and the need for better education starting in elementary school and even earlier. In addition to academia, politicians and business leaders are devoting resources to bridge the gap. Diversity groups are also pushing to get different ethnicities and women engaged in STEM programs. These efforts are all key to the future health of our economy by ensuring organizations have the talent they require to grow and innovate.

As these programs prove to be successful we will continue to see strides made to develop talent and create an extremely competitive workforce. But what can you do now to find the talent with the skill sets your organization needs to succeed?

  1. Train the employees you have. Instead of hiring a new employee, look internally for someone who already has institutional knowledge and understands your goals and your culture. Creating opportunities for employees to grow and learn is also a great way to retain talent. It’s a win/win. You receive the benefits of having the skill set you need without the cost and resource expenditure of sourcing and onboarding a new employee.
  2. Work with recruiters that have experience finding talent in these areas and engage them to proactively build relationships. Start planning now! Take stock of the skills sets that are making your organization successful and determine which skill sets will be needed down the road so that you can start building your talent pipeline. And then work with a recruiting service that can help you build relationships with these individuals so that when you need to hire someone outside the organization you can act quickly.

You can check out all the results by downloading the full white paper here.

The Results are in for our 2013 Bay Area Bioscience Trends Survey!

We recently surveyed San Francisco area bioscience organizations to help the community better understand the industry’s recruiting needs and challenges.

Findings offer insight into organizations’ #1 challenge (finding quality candidates) and whether the region has the talent, knowledge base and STEM-related skills needed to be competitive in the marketplace. Findings also address which attributes organizations can offer in order to attract the right talent.
While organizations identified recruiting as a critical business objective, most indicated that they don’t have a formal recruiting process in place. The organizations that do have a recruiting process shared that the areas in which they excel are screening potential candidates and aligning them with the organization’s goals and fit but struggle with finding quality candidates and attracting them to their position.

As the industry continues to grow and gain traction in areas across the U.S., ensuring the West Coast is poised to attract, find and retain quality talent will be mission critical. We look forward to continuing the discussion, gaining your insights and putting this data into action. Download the white paper and share your thoughts on the results in the comments section below.
You can check out all the results by downloading the full white paper here.

Are you a bioscience professional responsible for recruiting in the Puget Sound Region? You could win a $250 Apple Store gift certificate!

Our recently launched Life Sciences Recruiting Trends Survey is designed to help the life sciences sector gain ideas for talent development and insights into recruiting trends and challenges. The results, which we will be sharing with the participants in the coming months will be focused on informing the industry’s regional recruiting efforts and expand the industry’s understanding of how to be effective in recruiting and hiring the talent needed to grow and innovate.

It takes about 10 minutes and your answers will be kept completely confidential. You must complete it by Friday, December 20th to be eligible to win a $250 Apple Store gift certificate.
Take the survey today! We look forward to hearing from you!

Findings from the 2013 Governor’s Life Science Summit and Annual Meeting

I recently had the opportunity to attend Washington Biotechnical and Biomedical Association’s (WBBA) 2013 Governor’s Life Science Summit and Annual Meeting. Along with many other impressive presenters, Governor Jay Inslee and WBBA’s President and CEO, Chris Rivera shared Washington State’s most critical legislative and economic priorities when it comes to the life sciences sector. They also shared how WBBA’s ten-year strategic vision will work to support the sector. Their vision is to make Washington “the global leader in life science innovation and health care delivery.” It’s a lofty goal, but one I believe we are well poised to take on.

2013 Annual Puget Sound LIfe Sciences Recruiting Trends Survey

It’s an exciting time not only for our region’s life science organizations but also for the people benefiting from the work they are doing. Life science professionals are working on cures for cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s to name just a few and are proactively creating and inventing products and technology to help individuals worldwide enjoy healthier, more productive lives.

This sector is also contributing greatly to the Northwest economy. WBBA shared that the life science industry is one of Washington State’s largest employment sectors and that:

  • More than 420 life science companies located in 70 cities call Washington home.
  • 72 non-profit research institutes garner billions of dollars in research funding annually.
  • Since 2007, employment has grown more than 12 percent, adding $11 billion to the state’s GDP, $7 billion in personal income and employing more than 92,000 people statewide.

As a member of WBBA and an avid supporter of the industry, Resourceful HR is focused on how we can contribute to WBBA’s vision. The strategic initiative we are poised to support is helping organizations find, attract, recruit and retain the talent they need while also creating the infrastructure those organizations need to be nimble, productive, competitive, and compliant.

2013 Bay Area BioScience Recruiting Trends SurveyAre you a Bay Area bioscience professional? Download our latest white paper highlighting the recruiting trends in your area.Lisa Brown, Chancellor of Washington State University – Spokane, emphasized another aspect of the equation regarding the need for increased high-performing talent over the next decade. As thousands more patients enter our medical system through the Affordable Care Act, the need to recruit world-class faculty to train competent physicians needed to treat those patients becomes even more critical.

The event was extremely informative and exciting to me to see where we are headed in Washington State and how we can also apply our own strengths to the life science industry in the Bay Area. I look forward to continuing the conversation and helping our clients contribute to WBBA’s vision.

Are you a bioscience professional who is responsible for recruiting at your organization and eager to contribute to WBBA’s vision? Here’s how you can help:

Fill out our Bioscience Recruiting Survey, together we can understand the trends around skills and talent in the Puget Sound Region. We will be sharing the results in a white paper in the coming months. It’s also a great opportunity to win an Apple Store gift certificate!

Data Can Equal Good Hiring Decisions

Are you collecting the data you need to make good and informed hiring decisions? Often organizations think HR is people driven rather than data driven – for instance, you may have a gut decision about whether a potential candidate will fit with your culture or possesses the personality your customers will want to work with. I recently attended a SHRM workshop that supports how important it is to develop a data collection and analysis plan to ensure organizations are hiring the talent (and skills) truly needed to succeed.

The movie Moneyball provides a telling anecdote. The general manager for the Oakland A’s decides the best way to assemble a winning team is to do tons of data analysis on players in order to identify which characteristics are needed to get them to the world series when put all together. He analyzed all players, including players in the minor leagues to determine which skills were undervalued, what skills were complimentary to others and what salary ranges would be competitive for their ball team. He recognized that other teams were hiring elite players and offering huge salaries, thinking that a team comprised of individual “star” players would lead them to win. The result was a lot of stars being paid a ton of money with no guarantee of the team working together. The moral of the story is that if you analyze what you need over the long term and hire talent based on those results that truly complement each other, you can have a winning team that is cost effective for the organization.

At the SHRM workshop I learned how large corporations, such as Target and Enterprise Rental Car are using data mining to tailor their customer service and hiring practices. The lessons learned reminded me how all organizations can utilize their data collection and analysis efforts to be super competitive in their field (bioscience, technology, manufacturing, etc.).

The important thing is to plan, start small, and collect, collect, collect. It may take a year to determine a pattern but having a plan in place earlier rather than later will put an organization ahead of the curve quicker. Some things to take into consideration is the type of employee characteristics that succeed in your organization, why employees have exited your organization, which skill sets are resonating with serving your customers, which factors contribute to above average performance, and what above average performance means (greater sales, team collaboration, innovative ideas and contributions, excellent customer interaction). Your data needs to be as quantifiable and descriptive as possible.

As you write job descriptions, source candidates or work to motivate existing employees, you may have a cursory view of what makes for a successful employee – the important thing is to collect your own data and relate it back to your company culture, industry needs and market context.

Is Your Internship Program Legal?

A new case law went into effect this summer, which is driving the requirement that interns be compensated for their work. The case is dubbed the Black Swan case, named after one of the movies in which the defendant (Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc.) ‘employed’ interns for zero pay. In his ruling, the judge referred to a Department of Labor (DOL) “Fact Sheet” that includes six criteria that an intern program must meet.

As graduates look for opportunities to gain on the job experience and organizations look for ways to garner talent while minimizing payroll costs, it’s important to test your internship program’s legality.

The Test

In a nutshell, the law says that your intention for employing an intern should be to provide them training or job experience that they can apply to their studies or to further their career. It is key to understand that the employer should not be receiving the benefit (e.g. a free cost employee) of having the intern work for their organization and that instead it is the organization’s responsibility to provide the benefit (e.g. on the job training) to the intern.

Here are the criteria your program must meet in order for it to be legal NOT to compensate interns:

  1. The internship is similar to training, which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is really for the benefit of the intern, not for the benefit of the employer;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

Learn more information and view the fact sheet..

Worried your internship program might not pass the test? Send us your questions and comments below.

The Recruiting Revolution: Human Interaction

In the past month I’ve read countless articles and seen advertisements for presentations highlighting a new way of recruiting and what is being termed an impending RECRUITING REVOLUTION. I love to learn improvements and new trends in my field so that I (and the Resourceful HR team) can be on the leading edge. So of course, I was all ears – What could be the new development that could impact recruiting to this extent?

Answer: Human interaction.

Yes, you read that right. Old school, old fashioned, plain and simple one-to-one human conversation.

For those that have been in the recruiting field a good amount of time, this doesn’t feel revolutionary, but for many it is. In the past decade things have changed dramatically when it comes to ‘connecting’ with candidates. Many recruiters have stopped picking up the phone to call prospective candidates or attend events to meet and interact with professionals in a targeted field.

Social media, especially LinkedIn and the internet in general have allowed recruiters to be more targeted with their outreach and efficient with their sourcing and research. Many recruiters have come to rely on mass blasting candidates that match a key word in hopes that good candidates will respond. Some recruiters assume the cream of the crop will get their “Inmail” and immediately jump to respond and want the job they are filling. But the problem is the cream of the crop have been inundated with these messages and tactics and are no longer responding to these messages. It’s become noise to them. These sought after professionals are busy making an impact on their current employer and only responding to recruiters who are providing a compelling and more personal reason to contact them. If you want them to join your team and contribute their needed skills be thoughtful, be specific and don’t send mass communications – which means human interaction wins out over Inmail.

Good recruiters still use human interaction to identify the best candidates, sell hot prospects on the compelling opportunity, and determine alignment and fit with the position. This tactic is how great recruiters have sustained through the peaks and troughs of hiring and has their clients returning to them time and again.

At Resourceful HR, we’ve never stopped including human interaction in our efforts. We have always believed that you need to find and sell great candidates if you want to build a great team. We use LinkedIn, job boards and other social media as a tool – not the solution. This ‘new revolution’ in recruiting is a good reminder that new trends and resources do not negate the power of tried and true practices but instead enhance them.

How do you see this revolution changing your organization’s approach to recruiting? I’d love your thoughts on how revolutionary this is for you.

Why Recruit When You’re Fully Staffed?

Do you think recruiters are only necessary when you have an immediate need or vacancy? Do you believe your “promote from within” culture or extensive succession plan leaves recruiters obsolete in your organization? If so, I encourage you to re-think the value of recruiters. They serve a critical role for an organization, even when you don’t think you need to be recruiting.

1)      Recruiters are often the most public and accessible brand representative your organization has and their efforts are what allow you to have a successful promote from within culture and have talent worthy of developing for succession. So when you’ve reached this point, don’t rest on your laurels. Keep your recruiters engaged in that community to ensure the reputation stays strong and you remain an employer of choice.

2)      Even the best plans require a contingency plan. There will always be unexpected vacancies and no one ready to move into that role. No matter how deep you go in a succession plan, there will be a need to backfill a role. Recruiters are great at building a pipeline of talent and maintaining relationships with quality candidates. They should spend time finding professionals with critical skill sets or experiences that would be valuable to your organization to ensure you can move quickly in hiring someone should the original plan fall through.

3)      As a hiring manager, we know you want the best person in each role. Getting recruiters involved provides an opportunity to vet your internal candidates against the external talent pool. They can gather market intelligence on the talent pool and see what the market has to offer. This will ensure that the decision to promote an employee is because they are the best person for the job. In addition, if your internal candidate knows that the promotion is not a sure thing, they will consistently strive to do better, stay competitive, and innovate.

Recruiters are not just about filling requisitions. They need to be focused on ensuring the organization has the right talent to achieve the business goals. At Resourceful HR, we serve as our clients’ ambassador and work with many to build a pipeline to ensure they have the talent in the wings when the need arises. I encourage you to engage recruiters as ambassadors for talent and you may be pleasantly surprised at how rewarding hiring, both internally and externally can be.

I’d be interested in learning how else you find recruiters adding value to your organization when there isn’t an open requisition. Please leave me your comments below.

Quality-focused Recruiters – Yes, We Do Exist

When I tell people that Resourceful HR provides outsourced recruiting or about my background in recruiting, it fascinates me that most everyone has a negative recruiter experience to share. Most often it is a result of a recruiter focused on placing people regardless of fit for the sole purpose of getting paid and moving on to the next role. I’ve worked as a recruiter in several different environments and it is true, there are some recruiters and recruiting organizations that are more concerned with quantity of placements over quality of placements. My experience working in a quota oriented environment is the reason why I became so passionate about organizations hiring the right talent. As I talk to business leaders and hiring managers, I’m always working to dispel the myth that recruiters only care about quantity. Here are three traits I look for to identify recruiters focused on quality hires.

1) Quality oriented recruiters delve into the organizational culture and keys to success in the environment. Understanding what makes your organization unique allows the recruiter to ask candidates questions that highlight their alignment with your needs. A technical writer candidate may have the skills to do the job but not thrive in your rapidly growing start up that is faced with tight timelines and requires long hours. A quality oriented recruiter understands aligning candidates to the environment and culture is often the most important factor determining success in a role.

2) Recruiters interested in making quality hires enjoy building relationships with candidates and the hiring organization. Understanding the trajectory of the organization is useful in finding candidates that align with that trajectory. The candidate that can help you launch a product in three months is not the same candidates that will help you design and develop a new product. You want to make sure the candidate you select is not simply looking for a 6 – 12 month gig if you need someone to stick around longer term.

3) The quality-oriented recruiter has repeat, long-term customers. This applies for both internal and external customers. If you stopped working with a recruiter because they were not providing candidates that met your needs, you are probably not alone. That recruiter likely has a client base of one hit wonders. A quality oriented recruiter will have worked on numerous roles for a client and adds new clients based on referrals and reputation.

I joined Resourceful HR to help businesses grow through recruiting and HR practices. We don’t focus on throwing candidates into roles just to fill a seat in the organization. We focus on getting the right person into the right role. When we do that, our clients will ultimately grow and then need more recruiting help.

As you look at adding team members, I’m asking you to keep an open mind to recruiters. There are many who want to see your business succeed and making good hires is key to success. Get to know the recruiter or recruiting team. Find out what got them where they are at. If the answer doesn’t revolve around quality hires and helping businesses grow and succeed, they may not be the best resource for you.

I’d love to hear what other traits you’ve seen in quality-focused recruiters.

HR Temp Staffing – A Candidate’s Checklist

Last week we wrote about what companies should look for when partnering with a HR temp staffing firm and this week we are focusing on the candidate experience. If a candidate isn’t a good fit for a client, it goes without saying that both the client and candidate suffer. If a staffing company doesn’t understand the benefits of setting expectations or finding the right culture fit for the candidate the partnership falls apart for all parties involved. That is why it is critical that candidates select the right staffing company in which to partner.

There are many staffing firms that place HR professionals, both local and national, which is great news for candidates looking for temporary employment opportunities. It also means that candidates should take advantage of their options and be selective. The following provides a checklist of what candidates should look for in an HR temporary staffing service firm:

  • Is their contact and resume submission process easy?
  • Do you receive notification, either electronically or by phone that they have received your information and resume?
  • Do you get the feeling that the service firm is just filling up their database with resumes to throw at their clients or is their intention to get to know you and make a good match for both the candidate and client?
  • The above bullet is a deal breaker as you want to ensure the agency you choose to work with is being realistic and honest about how they can help you. The staffing firm should always let you know their process during first time interviews to ensure your time is not wasted.
  • When the staffing firm does follow-up regarding a position, do you feel like you are being treated as an individual (that they are not just reading your resume and looking to fill an empty seat)?
  • Do they take the time to get to know your skill set and what you are looking for in a HR temp position?
  • Is it clear to you that they are setting the right expectations with you and the client?
  • Does the staffing firm follow-up with you and the client to make sure things are
    going as planned?
  • Do they conduct quality assurance calls with you and the client to ensure all parties receive the service they signed up for (and even exceeded the expectations)?

Have you looked for a HR temp position? We’d like to hear from you! Please share your comments below on what you look for in a HR staffing company.

Temp Staffing – A Client’s Perspective

Are you looking to fill a temporary HR need? Perhaps for a planned or unexpected leave of absence or a short-term project that could benefit from expertise you don’t want or need to employ full time? The good news is there are lots of options available to you. The bad news is, there are lots of options. Where do you start? Full disclosure: We are one of the companies that provide HR temp staffing services. With that in mind we emphatically encourage you to find the right one for your organization, as it will save you time and grief down the road. You may want to start by reading the benefits of finding the right cultural fit and setting clear expectations. We’ve also put together a guide that includes the questions you should ask before hiring a staffing agency.

To further help with your HR temp agency selection process, we have put together more tips below. If you have questions or additional information regarding making a temp engagement successful, we’d love to hear from you! Please also stay tuned in the coming weeks for what a temp should look for in an agency.

First and foremost: the temp agency should be responsive, knowledgeable and honest. While sometimes taken for granted it is important to be mindful that the agency you choose to work with possesses these qualities, as they are critical to a successful engagement for all parties – you, the candidate and the agency. These attributes come in the form of many operational deliverables so define upfront what they mean to you (for example, returning emails and phone calls promptly, answering questions kindly and eagerly, making sure they are transparent when it comes to sharing and placing candidates with other clients and being attentive to your specific needs).

Here are the top three things (after the above is covered) we recommend you look for in an HR temp staffing firm:

  1. Did the agency ask you and the candidate the appropriate questions so that you are confident they know what you need and what the candidate can deliver on? Making sure your agency does the due diligence to determine the right fit for both your needs and the candidate’s skill set is essential. For instance you may have a need for a technical recruiter temp who already has an established network. Make sure the agency truly understands what you are looking for and be very specific with them so there is no room for interpretation regarding those needs. If you feel like they are not treating you or candidates as individuals and just filling a seat in your organization, run!
  2. Do they take care of all the administrative details (otherwise, what are the benefits of using their service?). From timecard processing to onboarding paperwork (W-4s, I-9s, confidentiality agreements, etc), the process should be turnkey so you can focus on providing your temp with the information they need to perform.
  3. Does the agency check in on a regular basis to make sure all is going well and that your needs are being met? From the start, the HR temp agency should have taken the time to get to know your needs but also be understanding when those needs change as your business landscape changes. Checking in on a regular basis on both you and the temp will ensure the engagement is successful and that tweaks and changes happen quickly when needed.

Do you have success stories (or not so successful stories) when it comes to hiring temps? We’d like to hear from you! Share your comments below.

Temp Staffing – The Benefits of Finding the Right Culture Fit and Setting Expectations

Everyone who has had a bad experience with hiring a temp or being a temp at any point in your career, raise your hand. Chances are the majority of you have had at least one challenging experience with a temporary employee situation (it seems to be a rite of passage when it comes to careers these days). And unfortunately, I’m raising my hand right along with you. Why does it have to be like this?

“As I look back, most of my bad temp experiences are due to poor culture fit and a void when it comes to setting expectations on either side.”

Early on in my career, I worked for an organization that needed a temp for a few weeks due to an unexpected employee departure. We needed to keep some basic activities afloat while the company determined how best to fill the gap. We contacted an agency that had spent the previous three years trying to maintain a relationship with us. They jumped at the chance to find us a temporary employee to greet visitors, answer an occasional phone call, forward general inquiry emails, and complete data entry. I reviewed a couple of resumes, chose not to interview and instead selected the candidate with experience in a professional services organization and with the tasks we were seeking to accomplish. In 48 hours, we had someone to help… and it went downhill from there.

The temp wasn’t familiar with the Mac platform, which was used across our entire organization, and was more of a social butterfly, which didn’t fit into the culture of the organization. She was interested in a full-time opportunity with us from day one and she spent more time trying to convince us to hire her  than actually doing the necessary work.

She was at the organization for two weeks and left, having found employment outside our organization. Her rationale was that we weren’t willing to commit to hiring her on a more “permanent” basis. We never indicated this was a temp-to-hire position but apparently that was her expectation. We were still in the process of trying to figure out what we needed at the organization when she suddenly left her role with us. We then spent the next month plus cleaning up the mistakes in her data entry tasks and trying to figure out where general email messages had gone.

It is amazing (and a blessing) that so much was learned from ten days of a temporary employee. I pass on my lessons in hopes that you don’t have to learn the hard way when it comes time for you to hire a temp.

1)      Take your time. No matter how urgent the situation is, you do have a couple of days before an implosion will occur. Interview the temp before you agree to work with him/her. A 30-minute conversation will help you assess if they will fit with the rest of the team and be committed to doing the tasks that need to be done.

2)      Explain the culture. If the agency doesn’t ask you about your organization’s culture, consider using another agency. If you aren’t in a position to change agencies, explain your culture and the nuances critical to the temporary employee being successful. Then focus on those factors when you meet the potential temp (see #1 above).

3)      Have references completed. Ask the agency to do a reference check (if they haven’t already) or if more comfortable, check them yourself. Make sure the temporary employee has done the tasks you need support on and that previous employers would hire this person again.

4)      Set expectations.  Just as you do with new hires, sit down on day one with your temporary employee and set expectations. Spending 30 minutes to an hour of your time will save you hours of headaches later. Explain what needs to be accomplished during the assignment. Provide insights into how the organization operates so they can work within the system. And let them know exactly what the plan for the role is long term (even if there is no plan yet, share that this is the case).

At Resourceful HR, we use these four steps in our process of placing temporary HR professionals because we know it makes a huge difference in both the client’s and temp’s experience and success.

What other lessons have you learned and applied to make your temporary employee experiences a success?

Seeking Quality Talent? Engage High School Students NOW!

We all have talent challenges – good people are hard to find and the war for talent, particularly technical skill sets is in full battle mode. Washington State’s business community is in demand for technical skills and the San Francisco Bay area is notorious in its fight for technical talent. There are many workforce development programs and worker retraining initiatives in place to shift the skills of today’s workforce to meet today’s demand; but what about tomorrow? The needs will only continue to grow in today’s knowledge-based global economy.

Many states have implemented STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiatives in an effort to advance education in these four areas and encourage more students to pursue careers in these fields.  These efforts will go a long way in building awareness of educational paths students can pursue, but is it the answer for organizations that need quality and specialized talent for sustained growth?

It’s time to “change the conversation” according to Bruce Kelly, Assistant Principal of Aviation High School in Des Moines, Washington and move towards greater levels of integration between business and students to face these challenges. Aviation High School, a public high school, is the “only college prep aviation-themed high school in the Northwest” with the mission of preparing students for “higher education and work in a knowledge-based, global economy.” I met Bruce Kelly at an event held by Washington STEM, a statewide organization “advancing excellence and innovation in STEM education” and was highly impressed by what he’s been able to do to help students build skill sets as well as help businesses meet their talent needs to grow and be competitive in the marketplace.

A key program at Aviation High School is helping students find summer internships at area businesses that allow them to contribute to the success of the business while developing skills and participating in entrepreneurship and leadership in action. Organizations win because they get tactical execution assistance and fresh perspectives as well as hungry students eager to learn and jump right in on even the most challenging of problems. One example involved a Bellevue, Washington based aerospace research company with less than 50 employees. They hired six interns from Aviation High School last summer and immediately had the students collecting and analyzing data on space exploration initiatives and making recommendations to senior leadership. They were held to the same standards as college interns at the organization and developed presentation and communication skills that could never be learned in the classroom. In return, the company was able to move key projects forward.

This partnership is a win-win-win on many levels. The local business gets projects completed, builds a strong brand within the community, and starts building relationships with talent they might hire full-time down the road. The students experience the real world and see classroom lessons in action. They typically return to the classroom inspired and more engaged in the learning process. The school wins because the curriculum becomes more relevant to the needs of the business community and the students are more participative at school and ready to engage in the workforce when they graduate.

Bruce Kelly described it as a “porous school house door” to business and industry. “Schools and businesses need to work together so everyone benefits now and in the long run. We can’t wait until schooling is finished before we show students the possibilities of their career. Getting them involved in real world scenarios for eight weeks during the summer is the easiest way to showcase the possibilities.”

You can read more about Aviation High School’s internship program at: http://aviationhscareers.org/internships

Another influential program that is affiliated with Aviation High School is the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), which is designed to inspire high school students to seek career opportunities in the STEM fields by giving them real world experiences working with professionals. Each year FRC introduces a new game as a challenge for the students and mentors to develop strategies and a robot for playing the game. Students learn problem solving, leadership and hands-on skills such as computer-aided design (CAD). By encouraging students to pursue education and employment in these areas, FIRST works to preserve the region’s economic strength and advance our global competitiveness. You can see the competition in action here and learn more about the program here.

Like all internship and leadership programs, an investment is required in time and mentoring, but the ROI is often worth it.  If you are interested in learning more, contact the high schools in your area. They don’t have to be industry-focused schools; any school with AP programs will be able to find motivated students. Let them know about the projects you have and the skills you need. They’ll be able to help connect you to students.

If you have experiences or recommendations from working with high schools to expand your talent pool, we’d love to hear from you. We can all benefit from “changing the conversation” and “working with a porous door.”

Recruiting: Marketing, Networking and Integration

A few weeks ago after attending SourceCon, Genevieve Phillips, one of Resourceful HR’s recruiting consultants, wrote a post about talent sourcing best practices. After reading that blog post, I reflected upon how some of the latest techniques and changes affect and extend into the recruitment process.  This evolution, in large part, is due to the Information Age and how quickly news, ideas, and knowledge is transferred and absorbed.

The days of writing basic job descriptions and calling upon your personal network of friends and business colleagues to find top talent, is a time of the past.  We have entered into a new age of what some are calling “integrated recruiting.” It is a more holistic approach on recruiting that builds upon the fact that successful companies need to continually search for, and engage with the future talent that their organization will be built upon.  While building personal and professional networks will always remain a basic staple, recruiters must now plan ahead for future organizational needs while working to satisfy immediate recruitment goals.

Three Key Aspects of Integrated Recruiting Include:

  1. Marketing – Job descriptions must be written with the company’s employment branding in mind. As a recruiter, you need to focus on filling the position at hand but also take into consideration that a wider audience will likely be viewing your description.  Always take into consideration: what do you want people to know about your organization?  Why should a passive job seeker keep your company in mind as a potential future employer?   While you’re targeting individuals for an immediate need you’re also recruiting for future job opening that may not yet exist.
  2. Networking – Find networking opportunities online, attend events, and expand your personal and professional networks.  Focus your efforts on individuals that may make a valuable contribution to your organization.  This should be a combination of cultural fit as well as skills and knowledge base. You can tap into these resources to find other groups or individuals of similar caliber.
  3. Integration – The overall recruitment plan should integrate employment branding, marketing plans, and other aspects of your business.  Engage candidates for the current need while enticing and engaging with future prospects.  Build a long-term pipeline for the organization as a whole; not just for a specific position or targeted team.

Top talent will always be in demand.  How will your organization establish relationships with these individuals so you receive the first call when they are ready to make a move?  Integrated recruiting is the ultimate pre-sales tool for attracting talent.

Please comment below with your best practice strategies and questions!

The Evolution of Sourcing: Momentum, Metrics, and Moxie!

As a Recruiting Consultant for Resourceful HR, sourcing continues to be the #1 priority in driving recruiting efforts for clients.  Without sourcing, there would be no candidates, and consequently, there would be no hires.  When I took a leap of “career faith” 10 years ago and left the world of non-profit management, sourcing was a rarely copped term in the industry.

As my recruiting career quickly progressed, I discovered my talents lay in the “front end” of recruiting.  I was a natural hunter and my ability to find and assess talent developed as I grew my internet research skills and overall awareness and expertise in the industries I served.

Since then, sourcing has become an industry standard as part of current recruitment driven initiatives, inclusive of small, mid-size, and large organizations. Before I was fully cognizant of my specific recruiting strengths, I was well on my way to defining my career as a sourcing specialist in a volume driven corporate culture.  At this stage of my career, I relish the opportunity to attend forums that allow me to synergize that experience, while connecting with sourcing strategists who are the driving force behind sourcing momentum, expectations, and metrics.

Attending the SourceCon 2013 conference in Atlanta this February enhanced my perception and provided valuable insight into the direction of sourcing as an industry and as it clearly aligns under the umbrella of recruiting and human resources.  Some of the critical elements to a solid recruitment/sourcing initiative remain constant; the ongoing objectives from sourcing should include:

  1. Increasing the total number of hires
  2. Decreasing candidate hiring costs
  3. Decreasing the time to fill a job opening
  4. Increasing candidate satisfaction in the hiring process

As sourcing strategy evolves with the growth of the internet, social media and mobile devices, we are seeing a transformation in recruitment sourcing priorities as it relates to hiring cost management and long-term forecasting.

As the proverbial sourcing ship sails into 2013, the opinions of top hiring leaders suggests that technology will continue to drive the momentum and metrics behind this growing and clearly defined industry.  I’d like to share some of the elements I personally found most relevant to my sourcing development from this year’s SourceCon conference:

  • Ask the right questions. Understanding the requirements of the client and the organizational culture, as well as candidate motivation is essential to the hiring process.  I see sourcing as Matchmaking 101; listen, learn, and connect!
  • Develop your persona through social media.  As I build my personal sourcing brand through social media, I have to find a way to relate to multiple candidates in a diverse array of professions and industries our clients reside while remaining authentic and approachable across the board.   By creating consistent messaging that genuinely reflects your persona, you can build your credibility.
  • Craft a strong story. Sourcing is about story telling. Job descriptions should tell a good story, but it’s your initial pitch to a candidate about the company, the opportunity, and the culture fit that drives hiring momentum.  By prioritizing key client needs, you can significantly reduce the assessment time and potential fit; know your client and take the time to understand the story you should be telling.
  • Brand baby brand. With the rise in recruiting through mobile devices and social media platforms, aligning the company profile with a positive focus on employee culture and job openings becomes mission critical.  As we move away from traditional sourcing methods, which rely on job boards and postings, candidates prefer social media engagement to get a feel for a company and further  garner their interest in you as a potential employer.  Enlighten your sourcing strategy by promoting social media branding awareness with your clients!

If you have questions or comments about sourcing as it relates to your recruitment strategies, we would love to hear them!

Recruiting Options: Which to Choose?

You have an open position but limited company resources to help you fill it.  What do you do?  What outside resources could you tap?  Here we take a look at several external options to consider, each with pluses and minuses.

Staffing Firms

Most companies and candidates are familiar with traditional staffing firms who are generally paid when they fill a position (known as a contingency search) or are retained with an initial deposit up front and final payment when the candidate accepts the offer.  Fees generally range from 20 -35% of the new hire’s first year annualized compensation and can include bonuses and other incentives in the calculation.  Good staffing firms already have a database of relevant candidates and can match client and candidate quickly with a high degree of skill match and culture fit precision.  This makes the high fee worth it.  You get who you need within a few days. Unfortunately, staffing firm quality can vary.  Some throw candidates at the client hoping one will stick.  When looking at staffing firms when you have a tight timeline, it’s important to check references to ensure the firm can act within your timeframe on the talent and culture fit you need.

Contract Recruiters

If you have a number of positions and can afford to hire a fulltime resource for a short stint, hiring a contract recruiter may be a good option.  Good contract recruiters generally want fulltime for 3-6 months and can be expensive.  They are hired on their own or through a temporary staffing firm and generally work onsite at the client company.  This is good in that hiring managers can walk down the hall anytime to talk with their recruiter.  It can be bad when the client doesn’t really have the space, computer, desire for the phone bill likely to occur or the need for fulltime.  We do place contract recruiters onsite at our client’s request when the next option, outsourced recruiting, doesn’t make sense or appeal to them.

Outsourced Recruiting (aka Recruitment Process Outsourcing)

Outsourced Recruiting is a fairly new type of relationship trending that has grown enough in popularity to have its own association and industry definition. The Recruitment Process Outsource Alliance, a group of the Human Resources Outsourcing Association (HROA), defines recruitment process outsourcing as “a form of business process outsourcing where an employer transfers all or part of its recruiting process to an external service provider.” This can take many forms and practices vary by vendor but generally this relationship allows the client organization to pick and choose where they want vendor assistance in the recruiting process.

What does outsourced recruiting look like?

I’ll just speak to what it looks like at Resourceful HR.  We charge by the hour to be an extension of our client’s recruitment function.  While you do have one point of contact, we work as a team on your position helping to sell your story and desired brand image across our collective networks. We tweet your news and events and actively share stories with our friends, colleagues and within your industry on how great you are. We choose together which pieces of the recruiting process should or could stay in-house versus Resourceful HR performing the function and we vet this per position.  For example, together we may decide that it makes the most sense for us to do the candidate sourcing and phone interviews while someone on the client’s team screens the resumes and does the references. 

Each position’s process can be tailored to fit the client’s budget and desired outcomes. We provide full transparency throughout the process of who we have contacted, what resumes have surfaced and how many hours we have spent. We provide a contact sheet that lets our clients make multiple hires from a single search. The only downside is that we may not have the ready-made database of candidates a staffing firm could offer, so filling a position within a week would be unusual. Time to hire varies depending upon the complexity of the position and how responsive the client company is to providing feedback.

Hopefully the above provides some context to help you decide which external resource may be right for you when faced with hiring.  What are your experiences with these options?  How do you make the decision that is best for your business?

HR Return on Investment

It’s that time of year when many of us reflect on the past and plan for the future. And at Resourceful HR we do just that – we use the new year to reflect on successes from the previous year and plan for what we want to accomplish in the coming months. I’ll be the first to admit that new year’s resolutions are difficult to sustain, but there are some great ways to ensure your HR objectives and resolutions are successful – metrics.

Recently, the Resourceful HR team had the opportunity to explore the topic of HR metrics and ROI in detail at our last Northwest HR Best Practices Roundtable. Many of our readers already understand the value of HR and as business leaders and professionals, we know HR plays an important role in maximizing performance, retention and achieving organizational goals. However, measuring the tangible results is not always evident or easy. We wanted to share some of the key points, ideas, and advice that came from the Roundtable discussion.

  • Just like with any business initiative, the only way to measure the results is to clearly define the outcome you are seeking and the actions that will get you there.
  • Determine what can be measured. What can be measured is what generally gets done.
  • Measurements of productivity or work activity don’t always equate to achievement of business goals.
  • Make sure what you are measuring aligns to business objectives/strategy.
  • Everyone across the organization needs to understand the value of HR initiatives in achieving organizational goals and the metrics used to track the success of each initiative.
  • Be proactive. Implementing metrics because of problems usually does not produce the results you are seeking. Be clear about your long-term goals and how HR initiatives are supporting these efforts.
  • Metrics are key for tracking progress towards change. Identify what needs to change based on where the organization is trying to go. Then identify which metrics would be valuable to monitor how things are progressing.
  • HR professionals should work closely with managers of teams or business units and determine what information would be helpful for them to know and monitor based on changes they need to see in their team to accomplish key objectives.
  • Objectives will change and you can’t always predict how. Gather data and metrics based on what you know you want to track today and make changes along the way as objectives, long-term goals and markets fluctuate.
  • There are some metrics that are required to be tracked, for compliance purposes, such as tracking full time employees for the Affordable Care Act or hours worked for sick pay for the Seattle Sick & Safe Leave, etc.
  • Many metrics don’t highlight an impact in the short-term. For many initiatives and tracking activities, you’ll want to create a one-month to five-year plan. Examples would be retention metrics or succession planning.
  • Identify recruiting metrics that matter to your organization. Time to fill may not be the best measurement if it is a hard to fill role or a unique niche position.
  • People costs are usually the highest expense at an organization so tracking the impact those dollars have on success is extremely important.

Establishing effective metrics isn’t easy. But the benefit of putting the tracking mechanisms in place and being able to highlight a job well done will be just as rewarding as crossing the finish line of the race you’ve resolved to complete this year.

We’d love to hear from you on your best practices for identifying and implementing metrics for your HR initiatives. Share your thoughts below.

Strategic Planning for 2013 – Is Your Company Prepared to Excel?


As you plan for 2013 we recommend considering the following:

  1. What are we doing well?
  2. Where can we improve processes? What would we like to do better?
  3. Are our regulatory requirements up to par?
  4. Do our current company policies reflect actual practices and our company culture?
  5. Do we like our company culture or do we want something different? How can we get there?
  6. Are we certain that our employees understand what is expected of them?
  7. Have we planned for retirements or sudden resignations?

Here are several areas that if focused on could benefit your company immensely.

  1. Compliance

    • Are your company policies in writing and do they reflect actual practices? Documenting employee policies helps to ensure you haven’t unintentionally set any precedents that could result in an unfair labor practice charge. Many employers think they can do whatever they want as long as they don’t write it down. This is not the case. Having written policies ensures each employee is treated consistently, which will help in a legal dispute and also decreases time spent answering frequently asked employee questions.
    • When was the last time you put your job descriptions and employees’ actual duties to the test? Could they pass a Department of Labor (DOL) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) audit? Surprise DOL audits are becoming more common, so it may be a good time for a review. Often when new positions are added, the responsibilities of existing employees shift. This can affect how the job is legally categorized (exempt versus non-exempt from overtime). If you have added positions or had turnover, it is important to revisit this classification in order to keep yourself out of trouble.
    • Are your employee records up to date with the correct information maintained in the correct files? There are regulating agency file requirements that you must adhere to. Creating time and space for an annual check of employee files will put you ahead of the game and give you confidence in an audit situation.

    More Information:
    FLSA Audits
    HR Audits
    Employee Handbook & Policy Development

  2. Performance Management
  3. The end of year marks an excellent time to prepare for performance reviews and plan your goals and objectives for the year ahead. Performance reviews are useful whether you need to recognize a great contributor or transition a poor performer to better performance.

    Unfortunately, the annual review process is often looked at as a burden when it could be a valuable tool to inform, coach and motivate. Perhaps your process needs some tweaking to make it less burdensome and more of an asset to the business. Concentrate on the competencies that drive corporate objectives forward, such as technical competence, decision-making and staff development. Defining, communicating and measuring against these competencies will reap rewards for your business and lessen performance frustration between colleagues.

    More Information:
    Performance Management

  4. Succession Planning
  5. Some questions to consider include:

    • Are any of your employees approaching retirement?
    • Have you developed a succession plan to move current promising employees up in your company?
    • Do you know whether or not you already have the needed skills internally during employment and economy shifts?
    • Are you providing leadership coaching to those who may be moving up?

    Start the process early and be ready for changes in the marketplace. This type of planning also allows new employees important training time with the person who is either leaving the company or moving on to a new position. Have a pipeline of internal candidates to select from when you need them. Be your own “just in time” recruiting source.

    More Information:
    Succession Planning

  6. Recruiting
  7. Have you taken the time to determine the cost to the company for every hour you aren’t spending on achieving core business objectives? If you are expecting to hire new employees in 2013, it might make sense to break down the steps of the recruiting process and determine which aspects make the most sense to focus your expertise. Obtaining outside recruiting resources may be the least expensive option. Experienced recruiters can often do things faster and more efficiently because recruiting is their core business. This can translate into dollars saved for you in hard recruiting costs and decreased organizational downtime while the position is being developed and filled. Some recruiting resources charge a percent of base salary and others operate on an hourly basis so it important to explore these options with your HR partner.

    Click to learn more about our hourly recruiting services.

    Contact us for help evaluating your company’s HR needs!

Employers: Ready, Set, Engage!

With U.S. employers competing for top talent in industries such as software, biotech and other highly competitive industries, retaining and engaging current employees is mission critical in today’s growing global talent market. As companies promote aggressive recruiting strategies, retaining and cultivating the talent that already exists is an equally essential endeavor.

With a known talent shortage in the U.S. in some industries, prioritizing the value of current employees makes great sense to the bottom line. When a candidate becomes dissatisfied with their current work environment, they are far more open to new opportunities: recruiters look for this open door. Hiring and training new employees, regardless of the industry, is far less cost effective than keeping current employees engaged and happy. In today’s market, 71% of U.S. employees feel they are “not engaged” at work, and 29% of employees feel they are actively “disengaged” (Gallup International 2011). With so many low cost and no cost ways to effectively engage employees and improve retention, why not spend more time building loyalty and stability in your existing team?

A recent report published by Deloitte indicates that key global players, including Australia and Canada, are stepping up their game by improving competitive immigration policies to take advantage of skills developed in other countries. Deloitte’s recommendations to address the lack of highly needed skill sets in the U.S., includes lightening up on licensing standards, while expanding technical and vocational training programs (as well as apprenticeships), to create alternative pathways to developing highly specialized skills.

Imagine an enormous ship sitting just 12 miles off the shore of California; although this looks like a cruise ship, there is no recreational agenda. The cabins are offices and the guests drop in to build businesses. Although this ship does not yet exist, the concept is the brain child of Blueseed, a company founded by a young entrepreneur, designed to offset restrictive U.S. immigration laws and to build new businesses, while reaping the benefits of new jobs.

On the local scene, Seattle recently witnessed the departure of Sarepta Therapeutics (formerly AVI Biopharma). Although the biotech industry is establishing a strong foothold in the area, Sarepta opted to move to Boston because the company wasn’t finding enough of the skill sets it needed in the Seattle area to execute on its strategy.

If you have a business with specific talent demands what does this mean to you? From a recruiting perspective, we know that landing good talent requires multiple approaches, a strong story, and impeccable timing, particularly if you own a small or mid-market sized business requiring the same niche talent that large corporations aggressively pursue. If a recruiter approaches a passive candidate with strong skill sets, the candidate has to have the motivation and appropriate incentives to consider the move (and the risk) to take on a new role.

The purpose of employee engagement is to build a culture of committed and loyal individuals who want to give more than what is required (and who are less likely to move to a competitor when approached by recruiters!). Below are some tips designed to help build awareness and improve employee engagement, regardless of the industry:

  1. Make sure your company has a clearly communicated mission, vision, and strategy. A sense of purpose drives employee engagement.
  2. Execute transparent communication; employees should have a connection to how the company is doing financially and how objectives are being accomplished; this creates a sense of “buy-in” and helps employees feel their work has a direct impact.
  3. Build a strong team; your Human Resources partner can actively develop healthy team dynamics, assist in overcoming minor communication issues that can become far more serious, and promote participation and recognition.
  4. Create a culture of trust. By facilitating an environment where employees feel their voices are heard and thoughts can be shared, a strong sense of community naturally follows.
  5. Recognize employees for what they bring to the table; positive affirmation and acknowledgement is a great no cost way to bolster a sense of loyalty within the team.
  6. And finally-make sure employees know what is expected. By providing the tools, training, and resources to achieve what is expected, employees will reward you with impactful work that benefits the organization as a whole.

If you have suggestions or methods that have been effective in building and retaining a strong team, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Results are in for our 2012 HR Strategy and Business Results Survey!

Our team just released the results from our 2012 HR Strategy and Business Results Survey. 60 business leaders from around the Puget Sound area shared how they are using HR to achieve business objectives. We know you will find the results interesting and hope they will help guide you as you continue to make important HR and business decisions. Check out the results and let us know what you think by posting a comment below. Request your immediately delivered copy via our website.

Interviewing Potential Job Candidates: Why Should Managers Be Trained?

I am often asked why managers should be trained in recruitment practices and interviewing skills. What I share is that employees are the single most important resource within an organization. A strong, competent and committed staff can be the difference between success and failure. To protect this resource you want to ensure that managers are bringing in qualified individuals, who fit within the company culture, to capitalize on existing productivity and camaraderie. A bad hire can impact productivity and cost you resources, time and money.

Having a professional, legal and clear process for sourcing, recruiting and interviewing will give managers the tools they need to make good hiring decisions. It will also ensure they are not breaking any anti-discrimination laws when it comes to asking questions and documenting interactions with applicants. While many managers are excellent judges of character, without proper training, they may inadvertently get into trouble by asking an innocent question that is illegal, leaving the company open to a lawsuit. Training not only protects your organization from potential litigation, it also helps managers discover new techniques that can be utilized to gather valuable information from candidates. With additional tools and training they can become experts in picking out critical pieces of information and avoid relying too heavily on instinct in selecting the most appropriate candidate.

In my experience past behavior often predicts future performance. With proper training, managers can develop behavioral based interview questions that focus on what candidates have actually accomplished in past positions – rather than asking hypothetical questions that have no real basis in reality. They can also be trained to ask questions that identify whether the candidate has the core skills required for the position, in addition to questions that uncover the motivational factors that are sometimes less obvious. Fit and motivation are both critical considerations when selecting quality hires.

The recruitment process is the start of a relationship with a potential employee. It is important that out of the gate, managers are providing an experience that reinforces the company’s brand and clearly communicates expectations. Being organized, preparing in advance, and asking well-crafted questions leaves the candidate with a positive impression of the organization. Interviewers should be professional, courteous, and always consider that a candidate could also be a prospective customer or client. Leaving a positive impression will have an impact upon the candidate’s decision if an offer is extended. A negative interview experience may be insurmountable.

One obvious benefit of training managers is educating your staff in what they can and cannot ask during the recruitment process. Check back in the following weeks for another post about recruiting and some tips about how to ensure your practices are legally compliant.

Plan for Upcoming Trends – Accommodating Five Generations

When the next generation of workers enters the workforce in 2015 we will mark a new era of the greatest age diversity we have ever experienced in the workplace at one time – five generations coming together. This is a result of delays in the retirement age as well as workers deciding to work well into retirement. The five generations include:

  • Traditionalists
  • Baby Boomers
  • Gen X
  • Millennials
  • Gen 2020

Is your company ready to utilize their collective strengths and manage them effectively? Each generation has its own expectations regarding the work environment, what is and should be expected of them and reward systems. Being deliberate in finding ways to accommodate their various expectations will enable you to take advantage of the differences among the groups so your company receives all they have to offer. Here are several areas to consider as you get started:

Engagement: Develop customized ways to engage different groups. For example, Traditionalists and many Baby Boomers commonly prefer pensions and company directed retirement options, while Millennials prefer self-directing their retirement portfolios. Millennials expect to be included in big picture decisions more so than prior generations and company loyalty is more self-interest led than in prior generations. All styles are valid and must be accommodated to ensure your company receives maximum benefit from their collective talents.

Social Media: Younger workers expect it to be a part of their job, while older workers may see it as a waste of time and may feel resentful of employees spending time on social media sites. While Traditionalists and Baby Boomers came to work with all of the knowledge they needed to do their jobs, many of the Millennials use the internet and social media to solve problems and find the knowledge they need to complete their work. Training on social media as well as policies about use in the workplace is needed to deal with the lack of understanding to bring the two groups together.

Mentoring/Reverse Mentoring: One way to maximize productivity and increase knowledge across your workforce is to connect different generations in coaching or mentoring relationships. The older workers can offer years of experience and wisdom in the field while the younger workers can teach the older workers about new technology.

Flexibility/Schedule/Hours: Traditionalists and Baby Boomers are used to an 8-to-5 work day in an office while younger workers are used to more flexibility with regard to hours and work location. “Regular” hours when the office is staffed may need to be altered or expanded to accommodate both groups.

Training Styles: Older workers are more comfortable with traditional training methods while younger groups prefer to use technology in their training. Your best bet when it comes to training is to find out what works for your employees and create programs that honor different learning styles.

Be ready for the new workplace by planning ahead and making incremental changes to the way your company does business. Contact us for help designing custom programs that will work for you!

Engaging Your Workforce!

The way we engage our employees and value others is intrinsic to the social and emotional learning programs we produce. As a senior level HR executive, I have had the opportunity to work at several organizations and see what works and what does not. As a client of Resourceful HR, I wanted to share with blog readers some of the best practices I have learned throughout my career.

By Jean Battersby Wooten, Human Resources Manager, Committee for Children

I recently had the opportunity to attend Resourceful HR’s NW HR Best Practices Roundtable where the focus was employee engagement. This is a poignant topic for our organization as our team thinks of employee engagement as a cornerstone to the work we do. The way we engage our employees and value others is intrinsic to the social and emotional learning programs we produce. As a senior level HR executive, I have had the opportunity to work at several organizations and see what works and what does not. As a client of Resourceful HR, I wanted to share with blog readers some of the best practices I have learned throughout my career.

I also hope to hear from you! Employment engagement is ever evolving. It is a dynamic process that never really ends – it is not something we can just cross off our list after accomplishing a few tasks. What are the best practices you employ in your organization on a sustainable basis and what are the ways in which you measure engagement?

The following are just some of the techniques Committee for Children employs:

–          Employee engagement starts during the interview/hiring process (whether you are hired or not). We value expertise and the time job candidates spend engaging with our organization. Our goal is to show candidates respect throughout the whole process – this means keeping them informed, sticking to deadlines and keeping the relationship going even if they are not hired. You never know if you may need their contribution down the road.

–          Empower your employees. Giving your employees a full picture of what you are want to accomplish ensures they have the information they need to make good decisions. We share the strategic plan with the entire company and then each senior manager communicates with their team. This way every individual understands how their goals influence the results of the strategic plan.

–          Recognize all contributors. Recognize the efforts of all when possible. When a school or school district decides to purchase one of our programs, we acknowledge all that were involved. There are many contributors that helped along the way and we go out of our way to make sure everyone’s efforts are acknowledged, including designers and developers, the production and packaging teams, the financial team, client support services, our marketing team…the list goes on and on. Every purchase is a result of ALL of our employees’ synergistic efforts and all should be recognized for their contributions.

–          Focus on feedback. This is a crucial aspect that impacts our employee engagement initiatives. For two years in a row, our employees have voted us a Best Places to Work sponsored by the Puget Sound Business Journal. While the recognition is nice, it is not what drives our participation in this process. As part of the process, our employees are asked to complete a comprehensive survey (that requires 85% of employees to voluntarily fill it out in order to be considered for the award). The results from the survey let us know what we need to be focusing on in order to create greater job appreciation (i.e. what motivates people, what provides the support they need, what benefits are important to them). This feedback is then turned into our ‘marching orders’ for the year – We dive into each aspect and then work hard to create the environment our employees are desiring.

–          Listen, listen, listen. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Our culture thrives on transparent communications. While it is nice to have the Best Places to Work survey tool to collect feedback, the most important thing you can do is to listen and then communicate to employees that you hear them. For instance, you may learn there is a benefit that is lacking. While you may not have control over the benefit, it is still important to let employees know they were heard and tell them what you can and cannot do to help them. Another way we ensure everyone is at the table, even when they cannot, is to make notes from staff meetings and executive meetings available on our SharePoint.

And lastly, the best way to engage employees is to be engaged yourself. Enlisting your HR staff and making sure your managers are on board is key to creating a work force that comes to work feeling valued, respected and wanting to contribute!

_ _ _

About Jean

Jean is a successful human resources professional with over 25 years of experience. She is a natural leader with a passion for helping others reach their full potential. The industries she has worked in include high tech, professional services, manufacturing, distribution, insurance, non-profit and academia.

About Committee for Children

Committee for Children is a 30-year-old nonprofit whose vision is safe children thriving in a peaceful world—a world in which children can grow up to be peaceful, empathic, responsible citizens. It may seem like a tall order, but their social-emotional learning materials are in schools from Illinois to Iraq, Chile to California. They’ve taught millions of children skills that help them stay safe, manage their emotions, solve problems, avoid risky behavior, and improve their academics. And with your help, they can reach millions more—one child, one classroom, one community at a time.  Visit them at www.cfchildren.org.

Maximize Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a new trend that may benefit your bottom line and should be explored when your company is considering options for recruiting. With RPO your company typically pays only for the actual hours and expenses required to find and hire a new employee.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a new trend that may benefit your bottom line and should be explored when your company is considering options for recruiting. With RPO your company typically pays only for the actual hours and expenses required to find and hire a new employee. This is in contrast with the traditional recruiting agency model that requires you to pay a flat percentage of your new hire’s salary in fees to the recruiter. Some RPOs require that you outsource all of the recruitment activities for a given search; others allow you the flexibility to outsource the parts of the process that you need help with.

Some things to consider when deciding whether or not to outsource some or all of your recruiting:

  • Are your hiring efforts working? Where are the breakdowns in the process?
  • How much control do you want to have over your search efforts?
  • Which pieces of the search process do you most need help with?

Recruiting involves a number of steps:

  1. Writing or verifying the job description for the position to fill
  2. Strategizing about how and where to find the best candidates
  3. Writing job postings and position descriptions that get the attention of appropriate candidates
  4. Sourcing – which includes finding unique ways to attract the highest quality candidates
  5. Reviewing resumes to determine who will be interviewed
  6. Interviewing – which can include both telephone screening and in person interviews
  7. Selecting finalists and assisting with hiring decisions
  8. Reference checking
  9. Job offer and salary negotiations
  10. Declining candidates not selected
  11. Organizing start date and onboarding activities for the new employee

When it comes to Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) you will find many different service offerings. You want to make sure you are working with an RPO company that meets your needs. As you consider the different companies you may want to consider the following:

  • Will the RPO customize their involvement to best fit your needs?
  • Will the RPO allow you to drive the process or expect you to fit into their process?
  • Will they spend time with you to determine where the process “pain points” are and work with you to address those issues?
  • Is there a minimum commitment money-wise or time-wise?
  • Can they come up with out of the box solutions to recruit for hard to fill positions?
  • Will you have direct contact with the recruiter(s) working on your position or is there an account manager you must go through?
  • How much regular contact will the RPO have with you? Will there be regular meetings and updates?
  • Will you be given copies of applicant lists? Many retained and contingency firms will not share their list of contacts which can be valuable to you in future searches. A good RPO should share this information with you since you are paying for the time and materials to generate the information.
  • While RPOs don’t generally have a set fee they should be able to offer examples of total expense as a percent of base salary so that you can compare this expense to other retained or contingency firms you are considering.
  • RPOs generally do not have a ready-made database of potential candidates since each search is customized to the client. However, the RPO should be able to give you a rough idea of search length if they have recruited for similar positions.

Resourceful HR offers RPO services and customizes each search to individual client needs. Let us know if you have questions about RPO services or how we can best help you.

Using Social Media Sites as References when Screening Potential Employees

There is debate among recruiters over whether or not it is wise to use social media as a means to check references for potential hires. On one hand, obtaining information about a candidate through social media sites can provide insights into an individual’s behaviors and attitudes, which can help determine whether that person will fit into your company’s culture. Conversely, when taken out of context, the information may be misinterpreted. Either way, you must consider that if the information obtained is not specifically relevant to the position you are hiring for, you may be exposing your company to potential litigation.

Discrimination charges are a significant legal risk associated with investigating candidates online. Learning about a disability or a characteristic that would include the individual in a protected class is likely information that would not have otherwise been disclosed on a resume or during the interview process. If the individual is not hired for any reason, the fact that you had the protected knowledge could work against you. Here are some tips to avoid legal risk:

  • Establish a standard screening policy that includes specific language spelling out the criteria being utilized to make a decision regarding an individual’s candidacy. Ensure that the policy is implemented consistently across the entire company or across similar job categories.
  • Create a list of sites that will be researched and use only those sites.
  • Have the information reviewed by an individual who is detached from the selection process. This person should also make the determination as to whether or not any piece of information should influence the hiring decision.

    (Ideally, the individual reviewing the sites should be the same person who makes the final recommendation based on the documented policy.)

  • Document your findings. Keep accurate and detailed notes that indicate the sites referenced, as well as the information that was found and your final decision.

A final factor to consider is whether or not the information obtained is even likely to be useful with regard to the position being filled and therefore if it is worth the legal risk. When hiring a public relations professional, a company would be justified in wanting to know how a potential candidate brands and represents himself/herself online. The information obtained may reflect how that individual will represent the company. By contrast, it is probably not necessary to research the online profile of an individual being considered for a mail room clerk position. Because the information is not related to the position, is it worth the legal risk?

In the majority of situations, my recommendation is to utilize social media sites for finding potential candidates only and to stick to traditional methods for reference checking. Exceptions may exist for specialized positions where individuals are being hired for highly public or recognizable positions that represent “the face” of the organization. If social media sites are utilized, make sure policies are well documented and reviewed by counsel.

What do you think about using social media sites to research potential candidates? Have you used this resource successfully? How does your company use social media to support its hiring process and what are some of your lessons learned?

What are High-Performance Companies Doing when it comes to HR Planning?

Whether you are implementing your marketing plan, HR strategic plan or striving to reach your sales projections, we find that companies that proactively plan for the long-term rather than react to short-term forces increase their competitive advantage.

When it comes to HR planning, what should you be thinking about?

Look back – What one or two areas impeded your growth or business objectives? For instance, you may be looking to cut expenses. Ask yourself, what aspect of this issue is related to your staff and what efficiencies can you put in place to assist with solving this problem.

Create or update your employee handbook – Well-documented policies save you time and future headaches. When employees understand what is expected of them they perform better. Not sure what your handbook should cover? Start here.

Improve recognition and rewards for employees. This does not have to be a monetary investment. Ensuring employees are recognized and rewarded in a compelling way means greater retention, which will reward your bottom-line. Check out some ideas here.

Analyze your workforce plan – A key component of HR planning is understanding your workforce capabilities including projected shortages and surpluses in specific occupations and skill sets. Having a strategy in place will put you ahead of the competition, as you will be well positioned to solve for issues and take advantage of talent as the market changes.

Design a recruiting strategy – Once you have created your workforce plan and identified the talent you require to increase profits, create a recruiting strategy that gets results. When it’s time to grow, invest in the right positions.
Click here to learn more about our recruiting best practices training and guidebook.

Compliance is key – Being legally compliant with local, state and federal employment laws, no matter what your plans are is critical to being successful. Audit your practices and policies to save you from costly lawsuits in the future.

Once you assess your successes and the areas that need your attention, put your resources in action so that you are headed in the right direction.

Distinguish Yourself – Interviewing Tips for Job Seekers

Congratulations! You got an interview. Now is your chance to distinguish yourself from other candidates and secure a job offer. Here are some relatively simple things you can do before and during to make sure you stand out. And if you are just starting your search – you will want to check out these resume tips.

Interview Tips

  1. Prior to arriving to the interview, gather as much information as possible about the company, the position and the people you are interviewing. A business owner wants to know that you are interested in what they do and that you’ve done your homework. At the very least you should visit (and read) the company’s website so that you know what the company does and who the main players are. If possible, find out who you will be interviewing with and learn something about them. The easiest way to uncover this information is to ask whoever calls you to schedule the interview.
  2. Utilize your network of contacts to find out even more about the company. Do you know anybody who works or has worked for the company? Do they have any information on current initiatives or any big changes happening? Do they know anything about what the hiring manager is looking for in a new employee? What is the dress code and what type of culture does the company have? It is in your best interest to walk into the interview with as much knowledge about the job and the company as possible. You can use this information to tailor your responses in a way that will make sense or speak to the needs of the organization and to formulate relevant and knowledgeable questions. You will also want to heed any information you find out about the dress code. Make sure you dress the part!
  3. During the interview make sure you call out your accomplishments. Even though you spent a lot of time carefully spelling them out on your resume, don’t take for granted that the person or people conducting the interview are familiar with your accomplishments. It’s important to take into account that many companies use their Human Resources department to screen resumes and assist in the process of selecting candidates. This could literally be the first time one or more of your interviewers has seen your resume. And even if they did read it don’t assume that the interviewer remembers what it says. Lead with examples of how you went above and beyond and tie them to how they will help you succeed in the position for which you are interviewing.
  4. Spell out how your accomplishments were tied to your employer’s success. How you state your accomplishments is important and should be compelling. You may think that a project was “just doing your job” but if it saved the company time and/or money, you will want to find a way to highlight this important result. For example, one woman I spoke with told me about a time that she decided to double check her company’s I-9 files to make certain that they would be compliant in the event of an audit. She found and corrected errors in the files and thought very little of it. To her it was just part of her regular duties. When the company did in fact get audited a few months later, they passed with flying colors. Her work on the I-9 file that day saved the company time (they were prepared for the audit) and money as they did not incur any fines as a result of missing paperwork. This is an important example to call out during an interview.
  5. Another important strategy during an interview is to ask thoughtful questions that show that you understand your goal, which is overall, how to affect the bottom line of the company.
    1. How is the department organized?
    2. What does success look like?
    3. How will we measure success or know when we’ve achieved it.
    4. Are you seeing the return on investment you hoped for?

Tips for when you are Working with a Staffing Agency

If you are working with a staffing agency you are in a unique situation. You are in a sense applying to two companies at once, but you also have the advantage of having access to someone who has inside information into the company you are ultimately applying to work in. Use your contact at the staffing agency! Ask questions to help you determine what to expect from your relationship with them and also about what to expect from each company you interview with. For instance, how often should you follow up with your contact? There is a fine line between showing your interest in the company by following up and becoming a pest. You can easily ask your contact at the agency for guidance about how often to follow up with him or her as well as the company you just interviewed with. It is likely that it is similar for the staffing agency and other potential employers.

What are some of your interviewing strategies? How do you insure that you are putting your best foot forward and being noticed during an interview? Please leave us your comments or send us an email.

Wetpaint Discusses their Successful Employee Benefits and Onboarding Strategies

Resourceful HR’s president, Jennifer Olsen, interviews Rachel Corwin, the Recruiting and HR Coordinator for Wetpaint, a Seattle based media company. Rachel shares Wetpaint’s impressive array of benefits as well as what they are doing to welcome new employees. One of the interesting strategies she talks about is how the company created a Best Places to Work committee, which is made up of employees from different departments, who provide feedback on what benefits interest people and will keep them engaged.

Distinguish Yourself – Resume Writing Tips for Job Seekers

I was recently invited to speak to a group of HR job seekers on the topic, “What employers are looking for in candidates”. The question of the night was, “how do I differentiate myself from other applicants?” As the group talked about trying to stand out, it became clear that there is a disconnect between what employers are looking for and what job seekers think are their most valuable attributes.

Several participants suggested that sought after characteristics include patience, good listening skills, and the ability to make others feel comfortable when speaking to them, while many said they really don’t know how to articulate this in a cover letter, resume or during an interview.

How can you identify and highlight the traits that employers want in a way that will set you apart? The first place you need to distinguish yourself is on your resume and cover letter. This is the first impression you will make, so it better be good. Most business owners are concerned with productivity and their bottom line. You want to communicate your strengths in a way that addresses your ability to increase productivity and either lower costs or increase revenue for the company.
>> READ MORE for resume writing and cover letter tips! >>

Background Check Policies – What you should know

Do you require prospective employees to undergo a background investigation? Do you have concerns regarding a candidate’s right to privacy? These are serious considerations to take into account while establishing a company’s policy on pre-employment background investigations.

Recent wisdom suggests that it is better to create guidelines around how your organization will handle adverse information rather than developing a cut and dry policy to determine pass and fail criteria. This approach permits you to handle each investigation on a case-by-case basis and allows for flexibility in cases of extenuating circumstances. For instance, a criminal record does not automatically preclude employment. If a criminal record is found, an HR representative has the obligation to speak with the candidate to determine accuracy and whether or not the situation warrants further consideration, given the circumstances.
>> CONTINUE READING >> Must knows when creating guidlines

Creating an Inviting Careers Page on Your Website

Do you want smart, computer savvy candidates to apply for jobs at your company? In today’s market it is a safe bet to advertise positions on various internet job sites but it is also vital to include postings on your company website utilizing a dedicated careers page. Online forums and job boards are useful to get your posting out to a broad audience, but ultimately you should include a link to direct traffic back to your company’s website. Additional information regarding the job opportunity and the company should be provided on the careers page. Providing a direct link for resume submissions on your website is a prime way to “seal the deal”.

Internet and job board postings should be utilized to attract attention and to provide basic information regarding the opportunity. To dive deeper and learn more about your organization, savvy job seekers will visit your company’s website. Once you have succeeded in getting the potential applicant to your site, you want to make it easy for them to apply directly without going back to the original posting. Make it convenient to avoid losing individuals who may not want to invest the time flipping back and forth between pages. This is especially true for passive job seekers who happened across your job posting.

>> What kinds of information should you include on your careers page? >>

Timely Candidate Communication Is Key to Keeping Good Candidates Interested

Live from the 2011 SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, NV, Jennifer Olsen shares tips about how timely candidate communications factor into keeping good candidates interested in your employment opportunities.

Create a Successful Recruiting Strategy

As your company grows and you continue to hire new staff you may be thinking about where you can find the best candidates and how to minimize your time and expenses in finding these qualified applicants. The first step you must take to ensure a successful sourcing and recruiting strategy is to decide who should take on this responsibility – do you outsource all or part of the recruiting process or do you assign it to somebody in your company. If you keep your recruiting internal, to whom in the company do you give ultimate responsibility? Human resources staff? Department managers? Office manager? You should also consider the cost of this individual’s time and how these hours are best spent to move your business forward.

There are many things to consider when thinking about whether or not to outsource your company’s recruiting process.

1) How many positions are you looking to fill? Are the positions all similar in function, skill and training? Are they for the same department or are they all over the board in your company? Hiring five people for the same position is very different than hiring five different positions. If you are looking to fill multiple similar positions or if the positions are “hard to fill” it may be more efficient to hire a recruiter who has the expertise to find talent and who may have more efficient access to the appropriate pool of candidates.

2) Is it more cost effective to utilize your time or your company’s resources, or to outsource? Do you or your employees have the time to devote to recruiting while providing the core services or products your company offers? Is it critical that your employees remain focused on their top priorities? Can a current project or initiative be postponed in order to accommodate a focused recruitment effort? Considering what your time is worth or that of your staff, it may make more fiscal sense to task someone outside of the company to share their resources.

3) Does your HR staff have a solid recruitment background? Are they up to date on the current techniques for finding the most qualified staff for you? Do they have the bandwidth and the resources available to them to do a thorough job?

4) Candidate travel can be expensive; do you have the time and expertise on hand to ensure that only the top candidates are brought in for in-person interviews?

Depending on the answers to these questions, you may find that outsourcing is the most cost effective and efficient option for your company. Creating an effective recruitment resource, either internally or externally, will speed the time to hire and reduce opportunity costs to the organization while increasing the quality of candidates.

Find and Hire the Best Candidate in this Job Market

Securing top talent is getting harder, especially when it comes to filling specialized or technical positions. To help our clients find and secure the best candidates in this changing job market we’ve compiled a list of recruitment strategy tips:

Use several sourcing strategies to gain visibility
. In addition to advertising online, ask your staff to participate in professional associations, develop relationships with university placement offices and clubs on campus, and monitor online resources for potential candidates who may have resumes online even if they’re not actively looking. You may also want to remind employees about or implement an employee referral program.

Consider in-house candidates. Providing current employees with growth opportunities lets them know their skill sets and accomplishments are appreciated. Post positions internally first when appropriate.

Have a plan in place before engaging in interviews
. Ideally only the top candidates should be invited onsite for an in-person interview with your team. Identify key decision makers and stakeholders early on and make sure they know what is expected of them throughout the interview process. This will ensure each candidate is treated consistently, which is important for your company image and helps avoid legal issues.

Understand the benefits of working for your company and communicate them
. Top talent is often looking for two things – they want to be a part of winning team and they want opportunities for career development. Be able to thoroughly communicate these benefits during the candidate’s interview.

Communicate with candidates throughout the hiring process. The best candidates are likely to have multiple job offers and move quickly when considering a position so have a plan for keeping them interested in your company. Recruiters/managers should be gathering information and essentially ‘pre-closing’ throughout the process so there are no surprises once the offer is extended.

Hire the candidate with a track record of producing results. We believe “past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior” so it is important to ask candidates and their references for specific examples of the behaviors and experience you are seeking.

Start the employment relationship on a good, solid foundation
. Once the best candidate has accepted your offer, your work is not done. Have a plan for integrating that person and their skills into the workplace so they can hit the ground running. If you want the best, and want the best to make referrals then create an on-boarding process that is smooth, exciting and welcoming.

If you have any comments or any questions for any of our staff, please email us at info@resourcefulhr.com or post your comments below. We love hearing from our readers.

Select the Right Salary Survey for your Company

According to a recent Society of Human Resource Management survey, “salary is by far the leading cause of employee dissatisfaction among U.S. workers,”. Given this statistic, it makes sense that employees want to know how their company determined the salary for their position. Employers who deliberately select the appropriate salary survey can be confident about their response to employees and where their salaries lie in relation to the market average.

The key is to be strategic about selecting the appropriate survey for your company, industry and your workforce. There are many to choose from as evidenced by a quick online search. To help you develop a deliberate approach, we’ve compiled a list of questions that will help you with your salary survey selection process:

  1. Do you have management support? Purchasing a survey can be costly. It is important that your management is educated about why the survey is necessary and how the data will benefit the company.
  2. For which jobs are you seeking salary data information? The type of job you are benching can narrow down your search. Ask yourself the following questions:
    1. Where, geographically, do I recruit to find the most qualified candidates for specific jobs? – locally, nationally, internationally?
    2. Which companies/industries employ people in the same positions? Another way to arrive at the answer is to ask, “To what companies/industries do I lose my employees”? – private, public, large, small, start-ups, mature. Type of industry – research, manufacturing, government, retail, etc.
    3. What types of jobs do I need data on?
      • Generic jobs that cross employer segments like Receptionist, Accountant, and IT Help Desk are generally easier to find data on than positions that are specialized like Biotech Pharmacology Associate, Environmental Safety Engineer and Microchip Manufacturing Manager. The specialized positions may only be found in industry or job specific surveys. In addition, because there tend to be fewer qualified candidates a company must cast a wider net to find them. This means that you may need a survey that provides national and international data cuts.
      • Do I need senior management and executive position data? Because higher-level management positions often require additional data like long-term incentive, stock, revenue and operating budget, they often are found in “executive compensation surveys”.
  3. Where can you find the best survey based on the questions you have answered in step 2 above?
    1. Search the internet
    2. Call colleagues in your industry and inquire about which surveys they participate in
    3. Contact professional associations like American Electronics Association (AEA), National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
    4. Contract with a third party to locate an appropriate survey

What has been your experience with salary surveys? How often do you update your salary data? We love hearing from our readers. Please respond via the comments area below.

Questions to Ask When Employing a Staffing Service

We are pleased to announce that Resourceful HR is adding a new line of business to its existing services – HR staffing services. Whether you are looking for temporary or direct HR staff, our experienced consultants source and place HR talent for a range of industries. For more information, check out our new brochures for Employers or Job Candidates or contact us!

As we designed this service, we started thinking about the questions a company should ask before enlisting the help of an HR staffing service. All in all the staffing organization’s screening process needs to be structured in a way that ensures that you have the opportunity to engage with individuals who possess the skills and experience you require and are also a good fit for your organization.

>> Continue Reading for sample questions >>