Job Ads, Get Real, Get Honest

I’ve spent much of today trying to put together a blog on Recruitment Advertising. This was the result of several ads I reviewed in the AFR this morning, and a subsequent tweet from a Recruitment Advertising Executive.

Firstly, I have no formal qualification in Marketing or Comms, and I am as guilty as most with some of the garbage I have put out in the market place although primarily due to the confines of organizational guidelines.

Let me start off by stating that many white papers, surveys and research can provide the Top 3 or Top 5 reasons people leave organizations. A useful source of information to formulate your advertising strategy one would think.

So where do I start?

The Numbers. What a bunch of chest pumping this is. We have X number of employees, have over $XB of work in hand. I’m sorry but there are always organizations, competitors with bigger, better numbers than yours. But do they actually mean anything if your employee turnover is at 30% or you wrote down $1B off last years projects? I don’t think so. Perhaps they play a little more importance when advertising in markets where little is known about your company like overseas, but again you are pitting yourself against local organizations and your competitors who have bigger, better numbers.

The Role. The leading reason people leave their employer is because of their manager. But we never sell this in our advertising. How often have you read something along the lines of “The role reports into an inspirational leader, whose passion for her employees has seen her retain over 90% of her team whilst promoting internally…” Never? Thought so. Wouldn’t it be great to hear a little about who you will be working with? I know I would appreciate a little glimpse into the personality of who I would be working with.

Your Duties. Usually copied and pasted from a position description, and if not a few bullet points provided to the recruiter by the hiring manager or client. Here you’re told about what you need to do or have experience in. But rarely do you get the cold, hard truth. 

What would you think if you read “you’ll be tasked with turning an underperforming business unit with strong growth and low margins into a high performing business unit maintaining growth while increasing margins by X%. Low productivity, morale, and attendance are rampant and an experienced manager is required to turn this business unit into a highly engaged, productive workforce…” Sounds challenging huh? Wait a minute, another Top 3 reason for leaving your employer… you guessed it. Lack of challenge. So why aren’t we being more honest in our advertising? Is it for fear of perception, or poor ad response? How often do we hear a recent recruit turnaround and say “sorry this isn’t the position I thought I was applying to”. Would this type of approach reduce the number of these types of hires? I think so.

Remuneration & Benefits. Rarely does Remuneration factor into a person’s reason for leaving according to the stats. So I for one, do not believe it’s required. However the Recruitment Marketing Executive I previously mentioned and various Marketing people employed by the various Job Boards will disagree.

Why don’t I believe it’s necessary? Firstly you can’t compare Position A in Company A to Position A in Company B. There will be vastly different issues and challenges, so while Company B pays more than Company A, the role could be polar opposites. This isn’t a car comparison guide. Unlike cars, there are far too many intangibles with jobs to make such comparisons beyond title.

I’ve also experienced many a person take a step back in remuneration (not massive steps backwards) to take on an opportunity with which will provide the environment, culture and challenge they seek. Far more rewarding for them professionally than the monetary component. Thus going back to the reasons why people leave their employer.

Benefits are always interesting. I recently accepted a role without being told one of the benefits was that a comprehensive onsite gym was available with Personal Trainer. I would have accepted far sooner had I known this. If your benefits are unique, you should publicize them.

Much of what I have mentioned above applies primarily to traditional job ads placed in print media, job boards or career sites. With the emergence of  infographics such as (have a chat to @pauljacobs4real) and soon videograms some of what I mention won’t apply, or will it?

I’m sure I missed more…and if I have..well I’d be glad to hear your opinions on Job Ads.

Recruitment Agency – Not Dead and Not Dying

I’m enjoying the beginning of a tweet discussion with @recguruoz, @sarahcalverley, and @LeighRowbottom.

The title originated from @recguruoz.

My response was that yes, this might be the case but they weren’t necessarily reinventing or adjusting.

@recguruoz claims the industry globally has gone through a radical re-invention since GFC.

@LeighRowbottom agrees and states a Monumental shift from large chunky transactional internationals to slick boutiques.

I currently sit within a corporate or internal team. Have done so for a few years now. I certainly agree that agency is not dead or dying and that there will always need to be a place for them.

As a Client,  I would argue that the industry has not gone through a radical or monumental shift. Certainly not from the providers I have worked with. These providers are Internationals, Nationals, and Boutiques.I’ll get to the whole ’boutique’ concept in a moment.

Keen to understand what @recguruoz means by radical reinvention? Over the last 5 years, no supplier has offered anything radically different to what they did before and what they are doing now to me or the organisation I work with, or my network of internal recruiters (believe me if they were I would have either heard about it or be promoting it). Either they call me, or I call them, they provide me a candidates, I hire them and I pay a fee.

Almost every introductory call I take or meeting I attend the old line which include the words “database, specialist, boutique” are mentioned. Now, LinkedIn is the norm. Some more adventurous organisations have ventured out into Social Media. Awesome, but I do not know how this is creating value for my organisation. Perhaps more so building your own brand. Remember I am a client (not of any of the aforementioned individuals by the way) and this is my experience.

Feedback from candidates for the most part has not changed since my days of agency til now. They apply to a job or are head hunted through some avenue. Introduced to an organisation, typically not appropriately briefed as indicated by them, and once placed typically left to their own devices in most cases.

Terms of Business have barely changed, guarantees remain the same, fees are the same…

How is this a radical re-invention?

With regards to ‘Boutiques’. I’d like to know the definition of a ‘Boutique’. I personally would consider a Boutique to be a supplier within a niche industry or discipline. You may only work in Financial Services or even further specialise in Corporate Finance within Investment Banking.You may have a dedicated recruiter who specifically focuses on Environment professionals. I would consider that boutique.Focused, specialist, narrow, personal and small are words that come to mind when I hear boutique

I speak to supposed ‘Boutiques’ and when they begin to tell me their organisation structure and their own particular remit, they are no different to the larger corporates. “I specialise in Engineering and recruit Project Admin, HSE, Site Engineers, Construction Manager, Project Managers…” If you are recruiting with this remit then i’m sorry you simply are not able to specialise and provide a level of service I would call boutique.

Then you have the big corporates who snap up the ’boutiques’ and go to market as a boutique but the service is the same as if you had gone to the larger parent due to process, structure, policy changes.

Perhaps the comment refers to the internal workings of agency? Different profit share schemes, split fees, move towards sourcing, social media etc. If so, then fantastic. Change is good.

But if you ask me or others within my network whether Agency has redically re-invented itself or monumentally changed, I can say that would be a ‘negative ghostrider’

I do look forward to the day when I pick up the phone or sit down with a supplier who actually does give me something radically different.

@LeighRowbottom I know for a fact your organisation Morgan Consulting is leading the way in being different through your support and attendance with Australian Talent Conference – ATC. Not sure how you are applying it for your clients, but demonstrates a willingness to adapt and reinvent.

A time to fill.

Yesterday our management team discussed the measurement of ‘time to fill’ and my opinion was very different to the group majority.
Currently it is measured from time the requisition is opened to the time they start.

My opinion is that recruiters should work with managers to decide upon a prospective start date. Time to fill will then be measured +/- days to this start date. This has always been my view.

We are moving towards a new process where a resource planning tool aka spreadsheet/gantchart will provide details of approved positions, required by dates, demobilsation dates etc. Only those positions on the RPT will be approved for hire.

So if the RPT dictates requirements should we not therefore use the start date as a fixed point of measurement?

In my opinion providing a fixed date and measuring against it has a number of benefits;

– enables recruiters to prioritize roles, improving efficiency
– manages expectations around delivery
– holds recruiters accountable
– allows for better workforce planning
– provides more time to review and consider internal applicants
– removes the highly speculative roles which stop, start and get withdrawn
– allows for more planning in regards to sourcing strategies

Time to fill where there is no fixed date to work towards causes many issues;

– unrealistic manager expectations
– speculative positions which distract recruiters from more pressing vacancies
– last minute role withdrawals through poor planning etc

If you look at it as if you are servicing your car or getting something drycleaned. Imagine if the service provider said “i’ll get back to you when its ready as I have no idea”. Would you tolerate this or would you prefer to have a date and time to schedule around?

So what do you consider to be the best measurement for time to fill in your business and why?