Tag Archives: Rich Peterson

What Do Hiring Managers Want to See?

What do you need to know when you’re applying for jobs?

Recruiters (Agency or Corporate)  surveyed spend 5 minutes or less reviewing candidate information and even more spend less than 2 minutes.

Given that you don’t have much time to make a good impression, you really need to make sure the impression you make is a good one.

How to leap off the page in the first ten seconds someone looks at your resume.

Following are some “Basic” Tips. There are dozens more.

The presentation of your resume is very important. If a resume looks bad the implication is that the candidate is bad and they are either too commercially unaware to know how important a resume is or too apathetic about their job search. Some examples of ‘bad presentation’ include shabby formatting which makes it hard to read and follow, bizarre pictures, floral borders,  six pages of content that tells the reader nothing. Consistent formatting with bold headlines, clear dates and headlines such as achievements, awards, education and duties really helps to find the information the interviewer is looking for quickly and efficiently.

Tailor your resume to the job!

Often, I have told candidates to have 2-3 versions of their resume.

Use a chronological format over a functional format. The hiring manager assumes you are hiding something if you submit a purely functional resume. Recruiters need to understand all the movement in your career. If dates are missing or if your resume focuses too much on functional skills to downplay the chronology they will become suspicious. Proofread. Proofread. “Proofread.”

Drop the resume objective. Stating at the top of the resume that you want to work in another sector or job than the one you have applied for is a common mistake. Include a summary on your resume explaining how you can add value to the organization, rather than an objective explaining what you are looking for. Hiring managers aren’t interested in what you are looking for; they are interested in people who can solve their business problems. Clearly

Add a competency or skills section to your resume. Make it easy to figure out what your core skills are. The hiring manager needs to know right away if you have the skill set to do the job.

Do not apply to every job posting. Read the job description before applying. Only apply to those jobs where you truly meet the qualifications. Applying to jobs you are not qualified for is a waste of both your time and ours.

Do not call incessantly to follow up on a job posting. If you don’t hear from the company, they have nothing to tell you.

Use Linkedin –it is your best friend in a job search and beyond. Don’t just use it to make contacts but also to do your research. Look at experienced people who are doing the job that you want at the moment. See what types of things they have done and achieved and set about gaining similar qualities. Use them as a template for making yourself as desirable to employers as possible.

Be proactive! Don’t just sit there applying and hope the jobs come to you – go out and find the jobs yourself, building up a big network of contacts whilst you do it. Keep track so you are always on top of who you are in contact with, who they work for and what they can offer you.

But, do not forget. The Employment Process is Just That! A Process.

It Will Not Happen Overnight!

But don’t expect a good job to be sold to you even if you are a good candidate because there will be someone else in the queue who can demonstrate a burning desire to do that role and who the company knows will commit and work hard.

Basically, don’t just be average. Find out what the person recruiting for the job you want is looking for – and then be that person.

Set Yourself Apart From Others. Be Different.

Using Non-Traditional Recruiting Media

Using “Non-Traditional Recruiting Media,” to convey the corporate culture and job opportunities. Media included:

  1. “Speed Interviewing like Speed Dating”
  2. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, other social networks
  3. “It’s a BLOG.” New Media Recruiting Tool
  4. LinkedIn. Huge and Underused for Recruiting
  5. Live Chats
  6. Purchasing Keywords
  7. Job Fairs
  8. JobsinPods
  9. Social Media
  10. Online Meetups
  11. Brazen Careerist
  12. ERP’s
  13. YouTube
  14. Signatures Status Lines
  15. Broadcast
  16. Cinema Advertising
  17. Exits
  18. Interviewing
  19. Measurements
  20. Search Engine Marketing
  21. Social Media Advertising
  22. Video
  23. Web Analytics
  24. Metrics
  25. Onboarding
  26. Passive Job Seekers

And Even More.

Recruiting Metrics and Its Importance

Recruiting metrics are important.

The quantity of recruiter activity and quality of hires produced by a recruiting team are important figures to understand. Metrics can be used to judge recruiter performance, gauge the quality of employment brand, and develop effective and cost-efficient recruitment marketing.

However, when is all this data too much? When do you move from a smart strategy of examining the recruitment data generated by your team to an the innovation-sucking paralysis of over-examination? When does the cost of examining your recruiting efforts overtake its ultimate utility?

How do we measure the success of our recruiting teams?

There are Good and Bad Points:
Let’s put things into perspective. The recruitment department within each organization is responsible for recruiting the primary assets of the company – its workforce. For a company to make sure that their recruiting department is effective and efficient, proper performance metrics must be employed.

Before metrics are implemented within any recruiting organization, it is imperative that we understand the following three concepts and how the changes in economics and demographics affect the way we view the role of today’s recruiter.

We must understand what recruiting metrics are and what their real purpose is.

We must understand the role of traditional recruiters and the pitfall of their associated metrics.

We must understand the role of today’s recruiter and create metrics that encourage necessary recruiting behaviors.

Since there isn’t a universal formula for calculating recruitment costs, you will need to determine what costs you want to track and attribute to your hiring.

Below are some of the basic costs that you need to consider:

1) Sourcing

These are many costs that you incur to source for candidates, which may include print ads, online job posting boards, and/or resume banks.

Be sure you divide the cost of these sources by the number of positions you are filling, using that source to have a true cost for a specific hire.

2) Screening

How much time and expense does your administrative staff expend to open, respond, and route resumes to the hiring team? The best way to do this is to figure out an average cost per resume and track how many resumes you receive for each job to be able to calculate the administrative cost per job.

How much time does your hiring team /recruiter spend screening through resumes? This may also be an average cost per resume received for the job.

If your organization conducts preliminary phone interviews, how many were conducted and how much time was spent by the recruiter to prepare, conduct, summarize and communicate the results of those interviews?

Do you have an automated applicant tracking program? This is an indirect cost that you may choose to pro-rate across your hires for a specific period of time, somewhat like depreciating a new computer on your taxes.

3) Interviewing

Did your hiring team or the interviewee incur any travel expenses that were reimbursed by the company?

How much time was spent scheduling interviews?

How many staff members were involved in the interviews? How long per interview? How many interviews? What is the average cost of the interviewers’ time?

4) Hiring

How much time and what was the cost for follow-up with candidates during negotiations and to notify those that were not hired?

What was the cost of referral fees from a recruiting agency or an employee referral?

What costs will the company be paying for the new hire to relocate? Some costs may include moving company, airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, temp housing, house hunting visits, assistance with sell/buy, or spouse/dependent assistance.

What was the cost for background investigations and/or reference checks? Drug screens?

If there was a signing bonus, how much was it?

What costs does the company typically incur to bring someone onboard – orientation, mentor, benefits enrollment, computers, cell phones, uniforms, etc.?

Not every hire will incur all of these expenses. And, your organization may choose not to track some of these costs but this list is a starting point to help you identify your recruitment costs per hire. The key is to identify what recruitment costs you are going to track and then consistently track them for all your hires to have an internal comparison from one hire to the next.

There are other measures you need to consider as you evaluate the overall success of your recruiting and what you can do better next time.

1) How long did it take to fill the position from start to hire date? What could you have done to reduce the time to hire and not have impacted the quality of the hire?

2) What was the impact on productivity while the position was left vacant?

This is a very difficult calculation to conduct especially depending on the position. However, it does have an impact on the hiring.manager and the organization as a whole. If it can’t be quantified, at least keep it in mind.

3) How satisfied was the hiring manager / organization with the hire? This assessment can be done following the hiring but should be repeated again 3 – 6 months after the employee has been on the job to get a real sense of how successful the hire was.

Be sure you review your cost analysis and each of these other measures to identify what you can capitalize on next time and what you need to do different. For example, what was the success of your recruitment sources?

Which ones provided the most candidates and more importantly the quality candidates? Which ones did not?

Problems with Recruiting Metrics
To understand how metrics can often get in the way of good recruiting efforts, we first have to understand some of the problems with the obtaining and using the data.

Costly: As recruitment marketing channels became more numerous, gathering intelligence across those channels became very difficult. Organizations now must consider sources of hire from social media, job boards, traditional media, television, search engines, referrals, and their own employee referrals. Gathering the data from these disparate sources into usable and comparable sets is often very difficult. In order to compare these different data sets, it has become necessary to use specialized software for applicant tracking and/or specialized, highly-trained employees. Read: expensive.

Inaccurate: For most recruiting data sets, there is some human point of input. This could be a recruiter logging an activity call or interview. It could be a hiring manager logging an interview into a VMS or an applicant self-selecting where they found a job online. In each one of these circumstances, there is a very high degree of human error. Very little motivates a candidate to select the proper source of their knowledge and hiring managers aren’t often held responsible for quality recruiting metrics. Finally, individual recruiters are often told to record everything with very little incentive behind this performance – logging activities does not usually prevent a recruiter from being fired. The end result of all of these faulty inputs is terrible, useless data.

Not Actionable: Some of the recruiting metrics commonly examined have very little follow up and/or consequence. If source of hire was (theoretically) perfectly accurate, a recruiting department can make smart decisions as to which job board to allocate more resources toward. However, consider metrics such as the number of applications per view of a job post. A very low apply-to-view number may indicate a low quality job post, an unappealing employment brand, or unrealistic job requirements.

On a per job basis, this metric is quite easy to examine. However, on an aggregate basis, the metric becomes almost worthless. If no one applies to a particular “Legal IV” position, it may mean it’s because it required a particular niche experience; whereas, in the case of a sales role, perhaps the benefits or compensation model were not detailed or appealing. This is just an example, but you can see that applying universal action or coming up with a plan based on that data is highly problematic.

Consider even some of the most highly regarded, important metrics, such as candidate hire per interview. This data can be very interesting – individual recruiters can be judged on the quality of their candidates and the selection criteria for particular departments can be analyzed. However, it is again a ratio usable mostly on an individual case, because of its wild swings. If you are filling an impossibly hard (or intangible) position, you can and should expect a very low ratio. A “good” hire-to-interview ratio could mean easier positions or indicate higher turnover in the future. It’s difficult to draw any conclusions from this metric that you can use to judge a department as a whole or even the performance of an individual recruiter as compared to another.

A Cost Efficiency Model

Considering that recruitment data is often problematic, hard to come by, un-actionable, and/or expensive, when should you implement these programs? How do you know you are placing too much or too little emphasis on recruiting metrics?

It’s easy to justify costs, either in recruitment software or in specialized human labor, through lofty goals such as improved talent pipelines, topgrading, or employee retention or morale.

However, it’s important to understand both the real utility of gathering the data, the validity of that data, and the cost in doing so.

One of the best ways to determine which metrics to follow and/or develop programs and methods to obtain is through a simple cost efficiency model. Recruiting departments often quantify only one side of the equation: the cost of a recruiting software purchase or perhaps the cost of a specialized recruiting consultant or training for their staff. It is rarer that department heads will quantify the benefit of the action gleaned from that data.

To understand the cost savings or increased revenue from any program, you must first understand what action you can take from the data. If you can determine that specific action can be taken (such as hiring another recruiter, firing a recruiter, moving to another job board, developing a better employment website), you have to also consider the financial impact of this action.

It’s somewhat easy to say, “If we had this data, we would understand if we should [buy X, reduce X, etc].” It is harder to say “And because we took that action, we will [achieve X revenue, reduce Y cost].”

This is to say, “improving” a commonly watched recruiting metric is not a benefit in and of itself. It is rather the financial consequences of the action taken because of that data that matter.
Recruiting metrics often mean a lot to recruiters and very little from the standpoint of business impact. To justify expense and recruiting program initiatives, it’s important to study which metrics matter most to your organization in terms of financial consequence. You don’t have to feel bad about ignoring the data that is too costly, inaccurate, or impossible to act on.

Additionally, if the financial impact and yield from the resultant action will be less than the cost of obtaining and analyzing that recruitment data, you can consider that metric as an expense, not a utility to your organization.

Three Key Metrics:

So where are companies to begin?
Focus on three key metrics when working with a recruitment outsourcing vendor:

• The yield on the outsourcing partner’s pipeline of candidates. In this case, companies need to determine whether the provider improves the ratio of qualified to non-qualified candidates at each stage of the candidate pipeline. This is highly measurable and a very good metric because it drives the right behaviors on the part of the vendor and it forces them to manage the client better.”

For example, being measured on their yield should push the vendor to spend more time with hiring managers and encourage those managers to articulate their needs so that the recruiter can create more exact hiring specifications.

• Reductions in the time to hire, including the time to get a new hire on the job and the amount of management time spent interviewing candidates. Although companies obviously do not want to bring this metric down to zero, finding the most appropriate level can reduce recruiting costs and improve productivity significantly.

Reducing time from need to hire means new employees are working with customers faster,” says Lever. And the less time managers spend on recruiting, the more time they have to drive revenue.

• Reducing the cost to recruit. Like the time to hire, companies do not want to lower recruiting costs too much lest they hinder the recruiting process. Instead, the objective with this measure is to achieve a balance between the yield metric and keeping costs within reason. The cost to recruit includes both direct costs (advertising, staff, tools and time) and indirect costs (productivity and time) that are more difficult to translate into hard dollars.

Managing Performance
Measuring performance is not enough, of course. It is important that the client company provide the outsourcing vendor with feedback on their performance and any information the company has gathered about its recruitment needs. By sharing data and reports with the vendor, a company can identify and communicate recruitment hot spots or problem areas.
For example, if the time to hire is particularly high in a certain department, a closer look can determine if the recruitment firm is at fault or if the hiring managers in the department are bogging down the recruitment process with unclear job specifications or by not being available for interviews or not providing necessary feedback about candidates. There should be a two-way relationship between the recruiting firm and the company.

Current Metrics Being Tracked
Respondents who track metrics (514) were asked what metrics they currently tracked in their organizations. Table 1 depicts a breakdown of the metrics provided in the survey and the percentage of respondents who are currently tracking that particular metric.

The top three metrics that are currently being tracked are:
1. Number of new hires, 99%.
2. Vacancies, 91%.
3. Source of hire, 90%.

Almost all of those surveyed stated that they currently track the number of new hires. This is a fairly straightforward metric and is relatively easy to track. The same is true of vacancies and source of hires.

Nonetheless, these results provide solid evidence that tracking various staffing metrics is an important part of the staffing function. Later surveys in this series of surveys will explore these and other metrics in greater detail. Organizations always place an emphasis on their recruiting procedures. Thus, for HR professionals concentrating on the staffing aspect of HR, tracking the source of candidates and how/where they heard of their company, how long it takes to fill a position, etc., is always important and frequently measured.

The three metrics that are the least measured are:
1. Cost of turnover, 34%.
2. Involuntary separation cost, 20%.
3. Voluntary separation cost, 17%.

This finding was surprising when looking at the recent trend of layoffs and the phenomenon of turnover in general. It would seem logical for organizations to spend their time and resources calculating the costs associated with turnover, as many organizations have been affected by these phenomena; however, this is one of the metrics that respondents indicated a desire to learn more about. Perhaps this is an area of staffing metrics that, with additional study and education, will allow HR professionals to use such measurements to their fullest potential.

One would expect these measurements to be of extreme importance to HR professionals. Analyzing the cost of turnover and separations could help organizations to determine any changes over time and, if so, to investigate the reason for increased or decreased associated costs. Armed with this knowledge HR professionals might be able to modify some of their HR activities to address problems or capitalize on best practices.

Respondents also were asked how often they tracked these metrics. About half of the metrics are tracked primarily on a monthly basis. The other metrics are tracked monthly, quarterly or annually. Rarely are any of the metrics tracked on a semi-annual basis.

Employer Branding /Employee Value Propositioning

Richard N. PETERSON firmly believes….

There is No Truth. Just Perception.

Branding is also a major objective in implementing outreach and recruitment programs.

I am intimately involved in Employer Branding and Employee Value Propositioning.

Rich Peterson always stated that, “Your employer brand is who you are, and how employees inside — and candidates outside — view your agency.”

It can’t be copied; it is unique to your organization and reflects how you interact with your workforce. The best brands communicate the organization’s mission.

Employer Branding is the Research and Strategy.

Employee Value propositioning is the Message.

The expression of all the benefits your employees receive from working at your company. A set of associations and offerings provided by the company in return for the skills, capabilities and experiences an employee brings to the company.

Employers need to establish an employer brand identity and recruitment marketplace presence through a multi-pronged approach, including television, radio, interactive media, outdoor media, print advertising, and brochures.

Naturally, the cost can go as high or low end as you like. There are no mandatories.

Employer Branding denotes a company’s reputation as an employer of choice in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders).

Employer branding is therefore concerned with the attraction, engagement and retention of initiatives targeted at enhancing the company’s employer brand.

Just as a customer brand proposition is used to define a product or service offer, an employer brand proposition (otherwise referred to as an employer value proposition, employee value proposition or EVP) is used to define an company’s employment offer.

Rich Peterson Stresses the Importance Of Branding and Employee Value Proposition is the employment message. A succinct expression of all the benefits the employees receive from working at that company.

A cohesive advertising campaign that brands the agency as a vital and important employer of choice is paramount for implementing a sound recruitment and retention program.

I have learned the three components of a brand image include:
–    Vision-Company’s Senior Leadership
–    Image-Public Relations and Marketing
–    Culture-Promoted by HR and Company

I have integrated branding advertising by:
–    Having a thorough understanding of branding goals by partnering
closely with marketing communications departments and
advertising agencies.
–    Researching competitors messages/branding
–    Understanding short- and long-term recruitment goals
–    Conducting employee and consumer surveys of brand perception
–    Incorporating the same tone and feel of the product marketing
communications into the recruitment campaign(s) &
collateral material.

Richard Peterson has all creative development begin with an audit.

Develop interactive and traditional communications programs

Develop brands, campaigns, messages, and supporting materials that will reach your target audience, and persuade them to follow the call to action.

Multi-platform advertising campaigns in a number of disciplines for military and government clients on the web, in print, and on-air.

Background Checks Can Be Dicey

If employers act unilaterally to exclude all job applicants who have criminal records from jobs, they run the risk of setting themselves up to charges of race discrimination and other allegations.

Employers can’t turn away potential employees simply because of a long-ago conviction that is unrelated to a job for which they are applying. i.e., DWI charges and the candidate is applying to be a store cashier. Employers cannot dismiss candidates based on criminal background checks, when they should have considered each applicant individually and evaluated whether his or her past arrest or crime had any bearing on the job for which they applied.

All leading and not so leading, employers conduct criminal background checks on all of their candidates who are advancing through the process. At the same time, the number of Americans with criminal records has escalated dramatically in recent years. It’s been reported that one in three Americans has some sort of criminal record, which often includes an arrest that didn’t lead to a conviction, a conviction that didn’t result in jail time or a conviction for a non-violent crime. Yet often these records are included in overall background checks that then exclude applicants from jobs.

When it comes to incarceration rates, black men are imprisoned at six times the rate of white men.

Employers need to revisit how they go about running background checks.  Employers must consider the nature of the crime, its relation to the potential job, and the time that has passed since the offense. Employers must give candidates the opportunity to explain the circumstances of their criminal records, including information about whether they already proved they could do the same sort of work for which they’re applying, and whether they had gotten rehabilitation or other training.

If someone was charged with a larceny but never brought to trial, he still has a criminal record. What if he is innocent? Is he a criminal who deserves to be barred from a job? To be sure, there are also people who were found guilty and served time for their crimes. But once they’ve paid their debt to society, do we want to keep them permanently unemployed, particularly if their prior offense has nothing to do with the job they want? Are we a society that does not believe in second chances?

Fortunately,  the government is beginning to  crack down on employers who use background checks without looking at whether the criminal record has any relevance to the job and without giving the applicant a chance to show that she or he is fit to do the work. Employers are going to have to start looking at more legal and fair ways to evaluate job applicants with criminal records.

Broad-brush practices that automatically exclude thousands of qualified applicants cannot be tolerated nor accepted.

Of course, candidates are becoming more and more savvy at figuring out how to “Beat” a criminal background check. We certainly do want to encourage that kind of behavior.

Just some food for thought.

How To Be a Successful Job Candidate

Lessons from the Campaign Trail

Think your job search is challenging? How would you like to go on 50 interviews a month as other candidates try to dismiss you and the media stands ready to report (and continually replay) any blunder or defeat to a curious and sneering public?

Next to running for elected office, a job search is easy. But, you can still learn something from the “Planet of Politics.” Here are a few lessons you can carry over to your own candidacy and job search:


Lesson # 1: Describe Yourself and Your Message

Just as every candidate needs to separate himself to survive the primaries, your resume needs to jump out to get you the interview. Design it toward the job description. Know the job description and research the company. Ask yourself, “If I were the hiring manager, what would I search for in a candidate?” Feature these skills and qualities in the top quarter of your resume.”


Lesson #2: Look the Part!
Image consultants give both Romney and Obama high grades on their overall look.

They dress slightly better than the norm and always wear well-fitted, high-end suits that are:

1.)   Authoritative, but not stuffy.
2.)  Stylish, but not faddish

As for fashionable, you may think that “Disco,” dress looks great, but only on Saturday evening.

Behavioral Interview Questions Part 1

Looking for a Job and getting hammered on Behavioral Based Interview Questions?

It happens often.

Behavioral based interviewing is interviewing based on determining how you performed in specific work situations. How you performed in the past will predict how you will perform in the future. The rule being:

“Past Performance Predicts Future Performance.”

How do you overcome it?

The quickest way is to get the job description and look for behaviors for which you anticipate the prospective employer is requiring.

There are no wrong or right answers.

The interviewer is trying to understand how you performed in a given situation. Your response determines if there is a fit between your skills and the position available.

So listen carefully, be clear and detailed when you respond, and most importantly, be honest.