The Top 7 Sources of Hire for 2017!

Silkroad released their annual Sources of Hire 2017 report and I always love looking at big sets of data around the source of hire because I think the vast majority of organizations are misallocating their talent acquisition resources in a big way, and this data just gives me more evidence to point to!

Check out this chart:

So, it looks like Employee Referrals remain king! That doesn’t surprise anyone, what should be surprising are two items from this list:

1. Organizations are wasting more time on Indeed than any other place. 2nd place of a waste of time is LinkedIn. What? If the vast majority of your interviews are coming from Indeed, but a much smaller percentage of your hires are coming from Indeed, you have a misallocation of resources. LinkedIn has the same thing happening but from a much smaller overall number.

2. CareerBuilder is exponentially a better overall value than LinkedIn, but when I ask most companies to give me their #1 spend LinkedIn is almost always their largest single purchase when it comes to the source of hire, even though it’s #7 overall.

So, what does this data tell us?

First, if you are not investing in automating and increasing your employee referral program, you should probably not hold a TA leadership position at any company in the world. I find most organizations spend the least amount of money ‘marketing’ and ‘automating’ their referral program than any other single source they have. Yet, it’s their number one source and their number one quality of hire source.

Second, Indeed does drive a ton of traffic, and for many companies that’s organic (free) traffic, so you can’t beat that. It’ll be nice to see if Google Jobs changes all of this when it’s fully live. You should see a traffic shift from Indeed to Google as a source of hire. But, this doesn’t mean Indeed will go away. Just like the job boards, people will find value and talent at Indeed.

Third, if you’re single biggest spend is on LinkedIn, yet, it’s not your single biggest source of hire, you’re being taken. By whom? Most likely your recruiting team who claims LinkedIn is awesome when it’s really not that awesome, for you. If your hires per source and cost per hire per source work out that LinkedIn is number one for you, great! Spend more! This data shows it probably won’t.

Lastly, you should be striving to make your sources and interviews be fairly equal if possible. If you’re interviewing a ton from a source because you get great traffic, but you don’t make many hires, it’s a greater waste of time than those sources where you get a high interview to hire ratio.

One final cool stat:


14 Million applicants, 655,000 interviews. This data tells us what the magic number is that we already all know, it takes three interviews to make one hire.

Feels right, doesn’t it?

Compromise Kills Innovation

The most innovative leaders of our time were mostly assholes. Why? They refused to budge on their idea. Everything in their body told them what needed to be done to make their idea happen, and they refused to compromise on even the smallest details. This is how greatness happens.

True change only happens when someone is unwilling to listen to their critics.

This is also the exact way more careers are killed than any others. It’s all or nothing. Greatness happens at the edges, not in the middle.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t fit well in most corporate environments. Most MBA programs don’t teach you to be a tyrant. Leadership development, in today’s corporate world, is about bringing everyone to the middle. Finding ways that we can all get along. Even suppressing those who push the envelope too far.

We want everyone to line up nice and pretty. To play the role they were hired to play. To be the poster children for compromise.

It’s important for leaders to understand this concept if your job as a leader is to drive innovation and change. You don’t drive this through compromise and you need some renegades on your team, that quite frankly you might not even enjoy being around.

It took me so long to learn this because I was a renegade as an employee. I couldn’t understand why my leaders kept pushing me to compromise when I knew the right way to do something, the better way to do something, the new way to do something.

Once I became a leader I acted the exact same way towards those who were like me. Get back in line. Run the play. Do what the others do. That was the leadership I was taught. I didn’t value those who seemed to be fighting me, just as I use to fight. New leaders struggle with this because we take it personally.

We feel like those renegade employees are actually fighting us. When in reality they’re fighting everything. It’s our job as leaders to understand that the fight they have is super valuable if directed at the right target! To get them to understand they don’t need to fight everyone and everything but pick some fights that help us all and then support that fight.

This isn’t everyone you lead. It’s actually a really tiny number, but it seems bigger because they take up a lot of time and cause a lot of commotion amongst the drones who want to stay in their box. But, this is how change and innovation are born. By one person who is unwilling to compromise because they know a better way and they’re willing to fight to make it a reality.

This isn’t to say it will always work. Most ideas fail, but those who are willing to make an uncompromising stand for their idea, stand a better chance of seeing that idea succeed.

I’m Not in the ‘Love’ Business

It’s almost the end of 2016 for most people. Once Christmas hits and New Years coming a week later, it seems like most of the population just coasts through the end of the year.

You know what happens at the end of each year? People begin to evaluate their life and their career. It usually goes something like this: “2016 was like totally awful. What am I doing with my life? I need to find a job that I love!” (in my head I’m totally saying this in my best 80’s valley girl voice)

I run a recruiting shop. I’m not in the ‘love’ business, I’m in the ‘win’ business.

In recruiting, someone is going to win and someone is going to lose. I mean if you’re good. If you go after noticeably better talent, that talent is actually working for someone else when you find them 99% of the time.

That means one organization is losing that noticeably better talent, and one organization is gaining noticeably better talent. Win. Lose.

Love has nothing to do with being a great recruiter. I mean it’s awesome if you’re one of the crazy ones, like me, who love this game, but it’s not necessary to be awesome. What is necessary is an emotionally unstable need to win.

Great recruiting organizations win. They win at a far higher rate than they lose. We’re not talking baseball hitting, we’re talking great free throw shooting. It must hurt when you lose. It must feel like a first kiss when you win.

Love has nothing to do with winning and losing. Some of the strongest competitors I’ve ever faced really didn’t love doing what they were kicking my butt in, but they had a great passion for winning at anything did.

Too often as recruiting leaders we feel we need to find people who love recruiting. All leaders fall into this trap, trying to get their teams to fall in love with the work they do. The belief that ‘love’ will drive great performance. Which might actually work, but getting someone to ‘love’ work, is really hard, and rare.

Getting someone who only wants to win, that’s much easier to find and feed.

I’m not in the love business. It’s messy and emotional. I’m in the win business. That’s black and white. You either won or you lost, how you react to that outcome tells me how good of a recruiter you are.

How focused Are Your Leaders In Making Your Organization Successful?

We all like to think we have a leader or two that is freaking dialed in at a level far superior to everyone else. They’re freaks. In early, usually, one of the first ones, out late, if not last. They seem to know what’s going on in every part of the organization before you do.

Our top leaders are ultra-focused on making their organizations great. Nothing seems to distract them and throw them off their game. So much so they probably have very questionable work-life balance, if they have any at all.

Want a real-life example of one of these freaks!? Let’s take a look at Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban:

Nick Saban said he wasn’t aware that millions of Americans went to the polls on Tuesday to vote for the next president of the United States.

“It was so important to me that I didn’t even know it was happening,” Alabama‘s head football coach told reporters in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday evening. “We’re focused on other things here.”

To be fair, news media isn’t part of Saban’s routine.

The 65-year-old coach typically wakes up every morning, has a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie and a cup of coffee and watches about 10 minutes of The Weather Channel, which promised no political coverage on Election Day…

Nick Saban wasn’t aware there was a Presidential election going on! Brother! That’s focus!

I’m not sure I buy into the fact he had no idea. Most leaders, especially leaders of 18-22-year-old young men, would have made a very specific point to encourage those men to be a part of the American process. To show their leadership within the community by voting. But, Nick is a freak!

Nick Saban is not like most leaders, he’s an outlier in every definition of the term, which makes him extremely good and extremely successful at what he does.

Do you think you have a leader in your organization that is so focused on making you successful that they didn’t even realize there was a Presidential election going on?  I doubt most of us have one of these folks in our organizations, but if you do, you need to pay attention to that person! I’m not saying it’s healthy, all I’m saying is success is hard, and sometimes you have to have unhealthy habits to get it and maintain it. We all face that balance

We all face that balance. Don’t judge Saban for his choices, they’re his to make. He’s addicted to success, even if it means not knowing what’s going on in the world around him.

Guess What? HRCI Didn’t Die!

So, back in March, I told you that HRCI was going to die! You know the whole SHRM started their own certification and why would anyone want two certifications. If given the choice the smart HR pro is going to choose SHRM over HRCI. I assumed, at that point, HRCI would pack up camp and just slowly go away.

Well, they packed up camp! Move across the street from SHRM (I mean literally across the freaking street!) and set up a new camp. I think that’s funny and cool, and shows some of the spunk the HRCI crew has in them.

We all know the story. HRCI was in bed with SHRM for 39 years, then SHRM decides it wants to be in bed by itself and start their own certification. My take then, and now, is the same, smart move by SHRM to drive more revenue. Good decision for the business, mass confusion for the membership.

So, HRCI, like most companies facing survival, did some things to make sure they will go on another forty years and some things I really like. Check these out:

Year around continuous testing. One major problem with most certification bodies is they get stuck in having their one or two times per year testing. Great for them, awful for the people wanting to certify. Technology now allows you to test anytime, anywhere. No waiting. Test when you’re ready. Smart.

Voucher program. Allows organizations to buy exams in bulk. So, you have a large HR shop and want to get all of your people certified, buy in bulk and save money. Also, certifying prep organizations can also buy in bulk and sell packages for prep and testing all in one. Again, this is something organizations like because they can pay for it all at once. Smart.

APHR – Associate Professional Of HR – HRCI was super smart with this one. Before students couldn’t truly get their PHR. They could take test exam but had to wait like two years before HRCI would issue the certification. Now, HR students (and there are 1,700 HR college programs around the country) can take this exam as a student and get the certification. Brilliant on so many levels! You now lock up students with an HRCI cert from the beginning and they’re more likely to move forward with additional HRCI certs. Plus, it’s a huge audience to go after that just keeps getting bigger each year.

2nd Chance Insurance – Currently for $150 you can hedge your bets on failing your HRCI exam and almost 45% of people fail! It’s tough! This is a little insurance policy to take it again the second time for a fraction of the cost. Smart. People love buying insurance! Smart.

Top Employer’s Institute – HRCI partnered with Top Employer’s Institute out of the Netherlands to certify complete organization’s HR shops. Basically, this is a third party coming in and ensuring your HR shop is providing best practices to your organization and you have your shit together. Everyone loves trophies! Smart.

I still don’t know how all of this will end, but my declaration of HRCI dying might have been premature! What I like is they’re moving fast and adapting to what HR pros want. This is a weakness of SHRM who tends to move much slower in making changes, even obvious changes.

HRCI has nothing to lose. They’re smaller. More nimble. They’ve got a little brother edge to them which I like. They’ve still got some huge marketing challenges ahead. First and foremost is SHRM’s advantage of messaging and marketing to their full membership about the advantages of their own certifications. That will be tough to overcome, but I don’t see them going away anytime soon.

Want to live like a rock star? Move to Detroit!

Glassdoor recently published a list of the Top 25 Cities where your pay will go the furthest. Who topped the list!? Yep, it’s DETROIT! GD found that the Cost of Living ratio in Detroit is 50%! That basically means that when living in Detroit you get to use 50% of your income for things other than bills! What is the Cost of Living ratio in San Fransisco (the lowest of all American cities)? 11%! Basically, you only get to use, for your own enjoyment $.10 of every dollar you earn in San Fran!

What is the Cost of Living ratio in San Fransisco (the lowest of all American cities)? 11%! Basically, you only get to use, for your own enjoyment $.10 of every dollar you earn in San Fran!

So, if you read this blog a couple times you know I’m a fan of Detroit! Everyone loves a comeback story and Detroit might be the single biggest comeback story on the planet right now. Being at the top of this list just confirms what others in and around the Midwest have already been seeing.

Here’s the Top 10 in order:

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Indianapolis, IN
  6. St. Louis, MO
  7. Cincinnati, OH
  8. Birmingham, AL
  9. Kansas City, MO
  10. Louisville, KY

So, what jumps out about this list?  For the most part, it’s mid-sized, midwest cities.  Low cost of living. Four seasons. A lot of Applebee’s restaurants (at least that’s what the people on the coasts think!). One southern city on the list in Bham – which I hear from Kris Dunn and Dawn Burke is a hidden treasure.

I’m a midwest guy, born and raised. Went to college in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Have visited every big city in the U.S., multiple times. Big cities are great, but not the best place to raise a family. California’s weather is awesome if you like paying $1 million dollars for 700 square foot home next to a highway.

The reality is startups and Fortune 500 companies are beginning to see what Glassdoor found in putting this list together. Google has a growing campus in Ann Arbor, MI, located about 40 miles from downtown Detroit, about 15 miles from the Detroit airport. It’s easier to attract and retain a Midwest workforce than it is when you’re primarily trying to recruit to the coasts.

This is especially true when your workforce starts to get to the age where they want to settle down, start a family and buy a house. Sure, it’s fairly easy to get college-aged kids to relocate from the midwest to California, New York or Boston. The trick is keeping them there! In Michigan, I see this every summer. The kids come back to have their weddings. Once they’re back, they begin to feel that pull to stay ‘home’.

This is why Midwest companies that are great at recruiting all have some sort of Boomerang recruitment strategy. Most are diving deep in their databases to find students who graduated over the past five years and building a database of 1-5 year experienced pros they are reaching out to constantly, ‘welcoming’ them to come back and enjoy the riches of the Midwest!

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

This is HR’s go-to advice for employees who put in their two-week notice, especially if that employee is heading to a competitor:

“Just remember! The grass isn’t always greener!” 

HR is mostly right. I’d say here’s the actual breakdown of ‘greenest’:

  • 50% is actually about the same shade of green. You’re moving to just move. You’ll find the job, the people, the money, everything is almost the same. The only change is the name and maybe the location by a bit.
  • 30% is going to be a nice shade of light brown, meaning the grass isn’t green at all, it’s dead! HR wants to believe this number is higher but it’s not, but it’s high enough to give some folks some pause before making such a big decision.
  • 10% is way greener! Like green M&M green. Dream job green! Everything is better and you’re so happy you made the move. You found your dream job!
  • 10% isn’t grass at all. Someone replaced the grass with some other material, like in Phoenix where grass can’t grow so they pave the front yard and paint it green, or just put in rock and cactus. This is completely something you didn’t expect. You were hoping for a better job, and you got something that isn’t better but not worse, it’s not even the job you expected, so you can’t really compare.

So, you have about a 10% chance of getting what you think you’re getting. Not good odds, but like I said, most employees way overthink their odds on this and probably believe they have a 70-90% of bettering themselves when they move. Most will just stay the same or get slightly worse.

Why do we believe moving is better?

1. You’re being sold. Sold by a recruiter and a hiring manager that you’ll be moving from a trailer park to Disney World. You really, really want to believe that’s true, so you buy!

2. You over-value that what we don’t know, over what we already have. This happens in so many areas of our life. Relationships. Jobs. Table at a restaurant.

3. You over-value what others have, over what you have. Think about this for a minute. You’re so eager to get out of this job, yet others are so eager to get this job. What does that say? You’re brilliant and everyone else is an idiot? Probably not. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

Everyone keeps telling me all these ‘new’ young workers just want to jump from job to job. They don’t have loyalty, etc. The reality is much less about their desire to move, and more about them being more naive to the realities of changing jobs.  We all loved changing jobs until it backfires and you leave something good, for something crappy.

Once that happens, you’re less likely to change jobs the rest of your career, even if you’re in a bad job! Don’t underestimate what you currently have. It’s probably way better than you’re making it out to be, and the new gig isn’t as good as it sounds. That’s not sexy, that’s just reality.


The True Cost of a Bad Hire

If there is one constant in HR and Recruiting it is the fact that no one will ever agree on how much a bad hire costs an organization!  Never!  It doesn’t matter how much time you put into coming up with some algorithm, how much research to back up your numbers, it’s still going to be 90% subjective/soft numbers at best.

This is the main reason executives in our organizations think the majority of HR/Talent Pros in the world don’t get business!   We come to them with stuff like this:

“We need to reduce turnover because of Engineer who leaves us, costs the company $7,345,876.23!”

Then you go through a 73 slide PowerPoint deck showing how you came up with the calculations all the way down the parking meter expense during the interview, and when you’re done, no one believes you’re even close to an actual number.

The gang over at National Business Research Institute put together a pretty good infographic proving my point – take a look:

NBRI - The Cost of a Bad Hire Infographic

97%+ of the ‘lost’ cost is from “Training” and “Productivity Loss” and those, my friends, are considered very subjective measures in almost all organizations.  What that says is, ‘Oh, Jimmy isn’t working out – fire him – and because he wasn’t working out we lost ‘X’ percent of productivity over any other possible replacement (which in itself is a whole other leap)’.  And, we lost 100% of training we put into Jimmy because he is now not here.  Which again is subjective, since most training isn’t one-on-one, and resources used to train are almost always not used just on one person, etc.

What that says is, ‘Oh, Jimmy isn’t working out – fire him – and because he wasn’t working out we lost ‘X’ percent of productivity over any other possible replacement (which in itself is a whole other leap)’.  And, we lost 100% of training we put into Jimmy because he is now not here.  Which again is subjective, since most training isn’t one-on-one, and resources used to train are almost always not used just on one person, etc.

So, here’s a better way to figure out the cost of a bad hire:

1. Ask your head of finance or accounting what they think it costs? “Ballpark it for me?”  $10K? Sounds great! We’ll use $10K.

2. Use $10K as your cost of bad hires.

Your reality, HR’s Reality, is it really doesn’t matter what the number is.  Only that the powers that be in your organization all agree on the number. Stop wasting your time trying to come up with a better number, just come up with a number that those signing the check agree is probably legit.

Would You Be Willing To Pay For Interview Feedback?

I get my ideas in the shower. I have a busy life, so it seems like my down time is that solid 5 to 10 minutes I get in the shower. I usually shower twice a day—once first thing in the morning, then before I go to bed. That’s 10 to 20 minutes daily to think and clean. I like going to bed clean. I like waking up with a shower. You’re welcome. You now know my daily cleaning habits. Thanks for stopping by today!

I’m not sure why ideas come to me. My wife says I’m not completely “right.” I get weird things that come into my head, at weird times. This morning I decided to stop fighting the candidate experience freaks (those people that think candidate experience actually matters, which it doesn’t) and finally help them solve their problem. You won, freaks. But I damn well better get a lifetime achievement award at the next Candidate Experience Awards!

Here’s your solution: Charge candidates a fee to get feedback on their interviews.

<Drops mic, walks off stage, give me my award.>

Yeah, that’s what I just said. Let me give you the details; apparently, a couple of you just spit out your coffee.

Candidates want great feedback on their interviews, desperately. When someone really wants something, that certain thing becomes very valuable. HR shops in organizations have the ability to deliver this very valuable thing, but they don’t have the resources to do it well. By well, I mean really well: making that feedback personable, meaningful, and developmental.

Are you willing to spend 15 minutes debriefing a candidate after an interview… a candidate you don’t want? Of course not. What if that candidate paid you $10 for that feedback? That’s $40 per hour you could make just debriefing candidates. Couldn’t you go out and hire a sharp HR pro for like $30 per hour to do this job?

Yeah, that’s why I deserve awards. My ideas are groundbreaking. It’s a big burden to carry around.

Think of this like an airline. Airlines figured out that certain people are willing to pay an extra $25 to get on the plane first, or to be first in line. This is all you’re doing. You’re not taking advantage of anyone; you’re just offering a first-class candidate experience for those willing to pay for it. For those unwilling to pay for first class, they’ll get your coach experience. They’ll get a form letter that says thanks, no thanks, here’s a 10% off coupon on your next use of our service, or whatever you do to make that candidate experience seem special.

A first-class candidate experience for $10. Do you think candidates would pay for that? You’re damn straight they would! Big companies would actually have to establish departments for this! Goldman Sachs, give me a call, I’ll come set this up for you! GM, Ford and Chrysler, I’m like an hour away, let’s talk, I can come down any day next week.

It’s easy to dismiss a crazy idea that some guy came up with in the shower—until your competition starts doing it, it becomes the industry norm, or Jobvite orHireVue or Chequed builds the app and starts selling this a service. My Poppi (that’s what I called my Grandfather) always use to say, “Tim, it only costs a little more to go first class.” People like first-class treatment. People want first-class treatment. People will pay for first class treatment.

Would you pay for great interview feedback, so great it could be considered personal development? How much?

The Greatest Retirement Benefits You Can Give Your Employees

My Dad retired this past year. I’m already ‘leveraging’ him for some time. He has so much of it now! It’s like he won the time lotto and he’s throwing it around because he’s got so much of it. “Hey Dad, can I borrow a couple of hours!? It’s a busy week! I need you to pick up the kids!”

I read this article, The Huge Retirement Benefit You Probably Aren’t Expecting recently:

America is reaching a tipping point. Adults in the busiest phase of life, juggling kids and careers, number about 40 million, which is roughly equal to those near and in retirement, who typically have time on their hands. But the number of adults pressed for time is projected to grow slowly, reaching 49 million by 2050. By contrast, the number of retirees with plenty of free time will explode to 88 million, as more and more boomers retire.

When you add it all up, retirees will have 2.5 trillion hours of leisure time to fill over the next 20 years. This free time will redefine their habits and priorities—even their identities. And yet almost no one is planning for this sweeping change, according to a report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Age Wave.

Time is going to be the new currency of future generations. It’s like lake front property, there’s only so much. Unless you live in Dubai and have billions, then I guess you can make new lake front property!

The crazy thing is, organizations aren’t really putting that much effort into figuring this whole thing out. We’re treating it like we’ve treated retirement for decades. “Well, Bill’s retiring, let’s throw him a party, buy him a walker with a horn, and give his work to the new kid.” We aren’t thinking in a new context of what do these ‘new’ folks who are retiring really want?

What I’ve learned from Dad is we in HR are missing some things. Here are some ideas of Retirement Benefits you could offer, but you haven’t even begun to think in this new way of time:

1. Part-time, flexible Mentorships – Some people can’t wait to stop working for your organization. Many feel they’re being ‘nicely’ pushed out, or society makes them feel like ‘it’s time’ to leave. The reality, so many of your retiring employees would love to keep in touch. Help out the new kids. Lead mentor groups on how to deal with customer issues, leadership dilemmas, customer/client feedback, etc. And most would do it for free! They would volunteer their time!

2. Corporate Community Volunteer Programs – Remember, these super valuable, experienced, loyal former employees who love your brand, have a couple trillion (with a T) hours on their hands! Can you imagine how much good will you could leverage in the community if you activated your retirees as volunteers with some direction and leadership!?  It could transform your corporate presence within the markets you serve. BTW – hospitals do a great job at this! There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to do this in your organization as well.

3. C-Suite Bullship Detectors – Your executives don’t always know what’s really going on because they have a bunch of VPs kissing their ass telling them what they think they want to hear. Retirees are a great mechanism to tell your executives what is actually going on, versus what they’re being told. They’re like highly paid consultants, without the highly paid part!  We all need someone without a vested interest to tell us like it is, even when it stings a little. Your retirees would love to do this. Works really well for newer retirees who are still close to the business. Not so well once they get a ways out. You will be shocked at the bond your executives will build with these folks!

Something to think about. How are your new retirement benefits helping your former employees spend and invest their most precious commodity? Time.