Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What is up with John Sumser?

Today I was reading a blog post as forwarded by friends and it put my “Haynes” in a wad. It seems to me that John Sumser either over edited his blog post till it made no sense or he’s talking in incongruent sentences just to confuse or to incite. On his post titled “relationships take time 4” He states some pretty wild things.

Let me give you an example; his second sentence says. “Internet search techniques, it is supposed, have created a new function in our industry.” Besides the bad sentence composition, it appears to be saying that sourcing started with the coming of internet research techniques.

Forgive me if I’m wrong but didn’t we have sourcers since like the seventies. Research was done by recruiters and as a result searching techniques came about which resulted in further specialization. We used to keep index cards and did research thru the phone. I remember doing research in the internet back when we had “gopher”, I didn’t know how to flip or x-ray then. Internet search techniques didn’t just magically appear to create a new function. Considering internet research a new function to the industry is not recognizing that recruiters have always sourced and that research function existed and was performed well by recruiters long before “internet search techniques” came about.

Mr Sumser’s next sentence states: “This sort of confusion happens every time there is a hiring peak.” It seems to me he is either declaring the internet research function a “confusion” or the reasoning for creating the internet research position a confusion. I long thought of Mr. Sumser as a visionary but I am rethinking my position.

His next statement is just as bewildering: "It might even be a good way to predict the end of a bubble". This is where the incongruity becomes obvious. I was under the impression that internet search techniques were an innovation and as the market tightens there will be more need for such innovations not that it was a result of confusion. And if I was to follow his reasoning it would mean that every time we have an innovation in the industry it is a sign that as he puts it is a “good way to predict the end of a bubble”. There you have it guys the new crystal ball for staffing/recruitment is the upcoming innovations as new things come about they indicate the market busting.

The last sentence in his first paragraph goes on to say: “Sourcing is a component of market targeting”. This is news to me, sourcing can be a form of market targeting but a component of it? I better not go any further before I go from annoyed to just ranting or worse yet I might become as incongruent as Mr. Sumser.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Internet Research Tip

Good search results do not happen at random. We drive them through our queries. Whether you are searching CareerBuilder or Google the biggest mistake recruiters make is not thinking about their queries. Most recruiters just look at their new acquired job requisition and just start typing directly into the screen those keywords that they deem to be the important skills.

I went to indeed.com and pulled this position at random. I thought that this job description exemplifies the horrible descriptions we receive to work off of but it can demonstrate how we approach our searches.

If you would indulge me in reading this job description: (The only editing I did was take the company name out.)

Oracle Developer needed to design, develop, and maintain Oracle and web-based applications. In-depth knowledge of Oracle and Oracle tools is a must. 3-4 years of strong programming in PL/SQL, Oracle Forms and Reports required, plus a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work experience. Experience in UNIX, C++, JSP, Java, and related tools is a major plus. This is a direct hire opportunity with full benefits.

The normal query would look something like this in a database like CareerBuilder:

[ oracle PL/SQL UNIX C++ JSP JAVA]

When you run the query in at first glance it seems to have done well pulling quite a few software developers but as we look closer they are a total mix of results including a few resumes of recruiters.

Here are my suggestions; since PL/SQL (Procedural Language/Structured Query Language) is Oracle Corporation’s proprietary server-based procedural extension to the SQL database language, you don’t have to use the keyword “Oracle”; especially if you use some of the subset of PL/SQL like DDL or DCL or DML . Our query would begin to look something like this;


Also this position calls for web based application development and JSP is mentioned specifically. Since JSP generates html and xml there is no need to use those acronyms, but we can use Java to draw more of the web based work. Some people would use JSP OR Java Server pages so it would we good to use both formats.

[ (PL/SQL OR DDL OR DCL OR DML)(JSP OR “Java-Server pages” ]

If you went outside of the resume databases into a search engine like http://www.google.com/; you’d have to add a little something extra to re-emphasizes the database portion of the job try adding (RDBMS OR ORDBMS). In google the query would look like this:

[ resume (RDBMS OR ORDBMS)(PL/SQL OR DDL OR DCL OR DML)(JSP OR “java server pages”) -job -jobs -submit ]

The point of this exercise is that you need to visualize the results you want and then work the keywords to drive them out through the query. The one thing to remember as researchers/sourcers/recruiters is that we are not called to be engineers or programmers or experts in whatever field you are recruiting for but you do have to develop an expertise at finding the right keywords for your query.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The referral system, how to get the name

Isn’t it interesting that all statistics that we read and everyone that we have talked to about the best source of candidates will invariably attest to the fact that the best source of candidates is referrals? Yet as you speak with recruiters asking them were the bulk of there day is spent, you will hear things like searching thru the databases or processing paperwork but referrals doesn’t seem to rank too high on the list of activities they spend their time on. I don’t know if you’d agree with me but if generating referrals is an important part of our work shouldn’t we be spending more time generating them?

It seems to me that if we do not spend time creating and developing a referral strategy then we just stumble our way into referrals.Referrals don’t just happen; they are made, and as phone sourcers we recognize these to be at the foundation of our work. Even if you are doing everything wrong in your recruitment, you will get the accidental referral but, by creating a methodical organized approach to consistently generating referrals, you will find that sourcing can become a pretty simple thing. So how do we stimulate this powerful sourcing strategy?

The place to begin is by identifying the ideal candidate. In order to receive high quality referrals you must be able to quickly communicate the exact type of person that makes a great referral. As some people in the industry have coined; have your elevator spiel. You must quickly and well be able to communicate who you are looking for. If you can’t communicate to others who it is you are looking for; then, how will they know who to refer to you. It takes more than rattling off keywords (after all, it is not a database you are communicating with).

Part of your message needs to easily explain the value you bring to anyone who is referred; why should they give you the name? It’s important that your referral sources know what makes you exceptional, what you have to offer. Spend some time shaping up a creative approach to motivate and stimulate referrals with value, respect, appreciation, recognition, and gratitude. I know, after that last line I can hear you say, whatever!! How do you do that? Think of your referral program as more than a means to ask for someone your contact would know. Make it a system which with you can educate your contacts on how what your needs are and what it would mean for them to refer someone to you.

Instructing your contacts on the steps of your referral program can make a great distinction between yourself and everyone else. By clearly explaining in simple terms what your requirements are you have set their expectations for a professional networking experience and in the process enhanced the quality of referrals. At the risk of sounding redundant, invest, yes, invest some time considering your approach, and recognize the value that relationships bring. Build components of trust and rapport building into your strategy; don’t try to fake your way, people can tell fake, even thru the phone. Let your personality come thru but guide the interaction with a well thought out strategy to make it a worthwhile exchange. When they provide you with a name it should not be because you coerced anyone, nor should they feel that they betrayed a friend, rather that they enhanced their friend’s opportunities by providing their name to a true professional who will honor their trust and respect their confidence.