We are currently in the midst of our somewhat annual Hiring and Recruiting Challenges 2008 Survey.
You should take the survey. Just the questions will get you jazzed. The
answers, on the other hand, will make you shudder.
If you're a regular reader of these articles or have attended a
recent ERE Expo, you're well aware of some of the forecasted changes
we supposed gurus are predicting. Well based on the preliminary
results of our international survey, the predictions are coming
true. Unfortunately, most companies are doing little about it.
Over the next few articles I'll highlight some of the results of
the survey and some actions recruiters, recruiting managers, and
companies need to take now to make sure they are not left behind.
those who take the survey will receive a
free detailed whitepaper and be invited to a private webinar to
discuss the results and recommendations.)
At this point we have a few hundred people who have taken the
survey. Here are some of the more interesting trends and issues:
1. The quality of candidates being sourced. So
far 71% of the survey participants indicated that finding strong
candidates for critical positions was a growing or now a huge
problem. Surprisingly though, as you'll see below, most companies
aren’t offsetting this major problem by using a full complement of
all available sourcing tools. From my perspective the problem is
overrated. You can't use yesterday's sourcing ideas to hire
2. Problems with the hiring manager. We asked a
number of different questions about the relationships recruiters
have with their hiring manager clients and what they thought of
their client's ability to hire top performers. The results were
all pretty negative. Sixty percent indicated managers were
unwilling to spend enough time to discuss real job needs and most
managers over-relied on skills and qualifications when determining
whether to see a person or not. About 60% of the survey
participants believed that managers were not strong at accurately
assessing competency. An equal number believed that managers were
not very good at recruiting top performers. While the survey also
indicated that most managers have taken some type of interview
training, I suspect few use it and most managers have never been
trained on how to recruit top performers.
3. Effectiveness of applicant tracking systems.
Only 24% of the respondents had anything good to say about their
company's applicant tracking system solution. The bad things that
were said ranged from "it's useless" to "blow it up," but I
suspect much of the misgivings are related to inadequate training
and lack of tech savviness on the part of the users. Most of the
systems people are complaining about aren't nearly as bad when you
know how to use them. Regardless, we'll dig deeper into this area
as more survey results come in. While we won't publicly name
vendors, we will be able to better pinpoint the problems.
4. Retention and turnover concerns. On issues
related to employee satisfaction, 58% of the survey participants
indicated that retention was an important issue, but only 31%
believed that turnover was increasing at an alarming rate. While
the results are preliminary, my sense of this is that turnover is
not increasing for most positions. In fact, it seems that the
pendulum is swinging back as the candidates themselves realize
that constantly changing jobs is not a good thing. This could be
one of the reasons major job boards are seeing a decline in the
number of people responding to each ad while the number of ads
posted is increasing.
5. Use of major and niche job boards. There
seems to be growing dissatisfaction with major boards with
movement toward niche boards. Despite this, there is little in the
way of using better-written and more compelling advertising to
attract people. Nor does there seem to be much being done to
position the advertising so it can be more easily found in a sea
of like-sounding jobs. The idea of product differentiation, while
obvious to consumer-based marketing, seems alien to those
responsible for recruitment advertising.
6. Use of new sourcing techniques. There is
definitely an upswing in the use of employee referral programs as
a primary sourcing tool. About 50% of the respondents indicated it
was used regularly and 42% indicated it was an important or
extremely important resource. This correlates closely with a major
shift to networking with passive candidates to generate names with
over 50% of those taking the survey indicating this was an
important and effective sourcing channel. What was more
interesting was that less than 20% indicated they were using
social networks (ZoomInfo, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). Equally
interesting was that far less than 20% of the respondents were
using basic Internet marketing and Web 2.0 concepts to position
and write ads. This is a vastly under-used, low-cost sourcing
7. Implementing a hiring and recruiting
strategy. Only 25% of the respondents indicated that
their companies have a comprehensive hiring and sourcing strategy
in place. Even fewer (15%) use a rolling workforce plan to
forecast hiring needs six to 12 months out. Is recruiting the only
function that doesn't use strategy and planning to drive tactics?
8. Use of metrics. The survey asked respondents
to describe their use of metrics to track recruiter performance
across 10 standard measures
(you should take the survey just to see what these are). Less than 25% had a complete process control
metrics program in place. Good metrics allow you to implement
process improvements targeting the biggest problems. These could
range from the quality of advertising by sourcing channel, manager
effectiveness, and recruiter productivity. Without metrics to
determine the problem it's hard to tell whether you're getting
While the survey results are not yet complete, some interesting
macro trends seem to be evident. The most important is that it
doesn't seem that companies are reacting fast enough to maintain
their competitive position given fundamental labor market changes
now taking place.
The lack of using basic Internet marketing concepts and Web 2.0
tools is part of this. This represents both an opportunity and
concern. For example, we're finding great passive candidates very
easily using well-positioned and more compelling advertising on
niche boards, but few companies are implementing these simple ideas.
The survey data at this point indicates that few companies are
developing proactive, multi-channel sourcing programs. This is
worsened by the lack of widespread implementation of a formal hiring
and recruiting strategy on the front end and weak process-control
metrics on the back-end.
Without a strategy you don't know where you're going and without
good metrics you don't know if you're getting there. This situation,
while negative overall, is actually very positive for those
companies that want to increase their share of top talent since it
won't take too much effort to see great results.