“X” Won’t Respond to Me on @LinkedIn! How can I get them to respond? #SHRMTalent

I’m out in Denver this week at the SHRM Talent Conference. It’s packed with talent acquisition pros and everyone is super excited to be out and share, so the conversations have been really dynamic!

I got involved with a group of TA leaders where one asked the question: “We (their recruiters) can’t get software engineers to reply on LinkedIn. Does anyone know a way we can make that happen?” The next leader said, “Oh, we are having the same issue, but with accountants!” And then another in Healthcare. Basically, all of their teams were struggling to get responses on LinkedIn.

Oh, you all, are my people! Let’s talk shop!

I find there are a few kinds of people that will respond on LinkedIn without too much trouble:

  1. People who actually know you. Turns out, “network” is and should be about folks you actually know.
  2. Recruiters and Sales People. No explanation is needed.
  3. Life Coaches. See #2.
  4. Catfish and Scam Artist. I would think the LinkedIn algos could weed a lot of this out, but it just seems to grow.

Everybody else is really hard to get to respond to, especially if there’s no connection and it’s a cold outreach.

I’m going to answer the main question with a question. Don’t you hate that! Here’s my question: “If they won’t respond to you as a recruiter, who would they respond to?”

Take a minute, gather stakeholders, and answer that question.

If I’m a software engineer, and there’s a professional networking site I’m on, who would I normally respond to?

  • People I’m connected to through work, school, life, etc.
  • People I view as peers or superiors in my career.
  • People who think might be able to offer me some value. (No, your job isn’t of value to them)

If this is the case, why are we having recruiters reach out to candidates on LinkedIn at all? Why aren’t hiring managers and organizational leaders reaching out? That’s really the question! A potential candidate is exponentially more likely to respond to a peer in their skill profession or leader in their skill profession or an executive from your company.

Why?

Because they feel like that “direct” connection has value. If I’m a software engineer and VP of Engineering from a local company reaches out to connect with me, I’m much more likely to connect with this person. If I’m a manager or some function and the CEO of a company reaches out to me to connect to share leadership philosophy, I’m almost always going to accept that connection.

How do I get my Hiring Managers and/or Executives to do my Sourcing on LinkedIn?

Well, if the pain is enough for the organization you might be able to make this happen, but the reality is, it won’t be consistent enough to make a difference. The better way is to have your TA team partner with these folks and allow them to run their accounts. If I support the VP of Engineering, I’m 100% sure I would have a relationship where she would allow me access to her LinkedIn. This would happen because I would be beyond professional in using it and also give her a weekly activity report of what I did and what happened.

I’ve done this with both LinkedIn and their work email. In a way, I’m their AI bot! I’m going to use your profile to help us attract talent, and when we find someone with interest, I’ll do a transfer from you to me as the recruiter, so the candidate is left to believe a handoff happened and it’s going to be an awesome experience.

Some people think this is deceitful. I get it, but I don’t truly believe it’s different from acting like your chatbot or our crappy mass email that is made to look like it’s personal but it’s just automation. I’m not trying to deceive the candidate, I’m trying to make a connection with them and one of my leaders, in hopes that turn into interest.

Tell me why or why not this wouldn’t work in your organization?

4 Tips in Hiring Candidates with Grit!

In our ever-constant struggle to find the secret sauce of finding the best talent, many organizations are looking to hire candidates who have grit. What the heck is grit? Candidates who have grit tend to have better resolve, tenacity, and endurance.

Ultimately, executives are looking for employees who will get after it and get stuff done. Employees who aren’t waiting around to be told what to do, but those who will find out what it is we should be doing and go make it happen. Grit.

In tough economic times, our organizations need more employees with grit!

It seems so easy until you sit down in front of a candidate and try and figure out if the person actually has grit or not! You take a look at that guy from 127 Hours, the one who cut his own arm off to save his life. That’s easy, he has grit! Susy, the gal sitting across from you, who went to a great state school, and worked at a Fortune 500 company for five years, it’s hard to tell if she has grit or not!

I haven’t found a grit test on the market, so we get back to being really good at questioning and interviewing to raise our odds we’ll make the right choices for those with grit over those who tell us they have grit but really don’t!

When questioning candidates about their grit, focus on these four things:

  1. Passion. People with grit are passionate about something. I always feel that if someone has passion it’s way easier to get them to be passionate about my business and my industry. If they don’t have a true passion for anything, it’s hard to get them passionate about my organization.
  2. Doer. When they tell you what they’re passionate about, are they backing it up by actually doing something with it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ll ask someone what their passion is and then ask them how they’re pursuing their passion and they’ve done nothing!
  3. What matters to them. Different from a passion, you need to find out what matters to these people in a work setting. Candidates with grit will answer this precisely and quickly. Others will search for an answer and feel you out for what you’re looking for. I want a workplace that allows me to… the rest doesn’t matter, they know, many have no idea.
  4. Hope. To have grit, to be able to keep going when the going gets tough, you must have hope that things will work out. The glass might be half full or half empty, it doesn’t matter, because if I have a glass, I’ll find something to put in it!

I’ve said this often, but I believe individuals can acquire grit by going through bad work situations. We tend to want to hire perfect unscarred candidates from the best brands who haven’t had to show if they have grit or not.

I love those candidates with battle wounds and scars from companies that were falling apart but didn’t. I know those people had to have the grit to make it out alive!  I want those employees by my side when we go to battle.

Should Corporate Recruiters Get Paid Salary & Commission?

First, shoutout to @Hervbird21 (Recruister) on Twitter for starting this conversation (Editor’s Note: Hervbird21 I don’t know who you are but send me a note and I’ll share your LinkedIn if you’d like) Also, take a look at the Twitter thread as there are some exceptional recruiting thought leaders who had thoughts on this subject.

Link to the thread

I’ve written about this a number of times over the years, but with the recruiting market being so hot right now, I’ve actually had a number of Recruiter compensation calls with corporate TA leaders trying to figure out three main things: 1. How do we retain our recruiters; 2. How do I attract more recruiters; 3. How do we reward great recruiting performance?

First, I’m all in on the fact that recruiters should be paid in a pay-for-performance model. That doesn’t mean that corporate recruiters, agency recruiters, and RPO should all be paid the same way. All three of those roles are different and should be compensated based on what the organization needs from each recruiter.

Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Corporate Recruiters

Pros:

  • You get more of what you measure and more of what you reward.
  • Your best recruiters will be compensated more, and higher compensation is tied to longer tenure.
  • Low performers and internal recruiters who actually hate recruiting will hate it and self-select out.
  • It will most likely raise individual recruiting team member performance in the aggregate.

Cons:

  • You will most likely have turnover with this type of change
  • Potentially, you could get behaviors that aren’t team-oriented. (IE., senior recruiters not helping junior recruiters)
  • Potentially, you could lower your quality of candidates as recruiters move quickly to gain performance comp. (the quantity over quality argument)
  • It actually might increase your compensation budget, initially, until you can find the model that is most effective.

Okay, wait, why did I say “potentially” on the Cons? Primarily, because it truly depends on the model design. Just making a decision to pay more for hires is ridiculous and leads to bad outcomes. But, developing a model that rewards individual performance that is based on recruiting behaviors that lead to better hires, quickly, and in a team setting, well, now you diminish the negative outcomes of pay for performance.

How could we make pay for performance work for corporate recruiters?

I’m not trying to dump on all the folks who commented on “Quarterly Bonuses” but stop that! “Quarterly Bonus” really means, “I don’t want to be individually measured and held accountable, but I also want more money on top of my great base salary”. Quarterly bonuses in most corp TA shops are a joke. They are usually based on Hiring Manager satisfaction and days to fill, two of the most subject measures that have zero correlation to better recruiting.

Also, internal recruiting pay for performance is not just a modified agency or RPO model. Corporate recruiters do much more than just recruit in most TA departments, so if you reward them to just recruit, understand, you’re just standing up an in-house agency model. Your internal recruiting model for corporate has to be unique to the job.

Some thoughts and ideas:

– Spend a bunch of time deciding what you actually want from your recruiters and from your function as a whole. Those two things must be aligned.

– Before going to a pay for performance model you need to get your arms around your recruiting funnel data. Otherwise, you’re just guessing at what and who to reward.

– In most cases, you can’t make the rewards the same because recruiters have different requisition loads and levels of position. Also, in most cases, certain areas of your organization hire at different times. So, get ready to test and be flexible to do the right thing at the right time.

– It’s okay if a recruiter makes more than you think if the model is producing what you want it to produce. Too often I hear from TA leaders that are like, “Jill is making too much!” But, Jill it killing it and the top recruiter.

– If you can’t get your head around paying for hires, pay for the behaviors and activities that lead to more hires.

– Start with a month or quarter test, make sure during the test no one will lose money. The goal is to try and reach some sort of outcome of better performance, to see if it can work. If they are only concerned they might make less money, you won’t truly see what can work or not work.

– It’s not about quality or quantity. It’s about quality and quantity. I’ve never led a recruiting team in a corporate or agency where good recruiters would ever send a crappy candidate on purpose. That just doesn’t happen, normally. If it did, that recruiter didn’t belong on the team.

I don’t believe in recruiting “team” rewards as pay for performance in most cases. Most teams are not designed and measured for “team” performance, so many on the team are getting the reward for a few doing most of the heavy lifting. You can still have team rewards, but you truly have to think about how you reward your most effective recruiters, short and long-term.

I think the ideal ratio for compensation for corporate recruiters should be 75% base salary and 25% pay for performance, where your best top recruiters can make 125% of their normal total comp if they are killing it. As I mentioned above, you will have recruiters quit because you have “recruiters” on your team that didn’t take the job to recruit, but to administer a recruiting process and collect a nice base salary.

Okay, tell me what I missed in the comments or if you have a model that is working you would like to share with everyone!

Top Speed is Overrated in Recruiting!

I have this tendency to get up on a soapbox and tell HR and TA leaders that measuring “Days to Fill” (Time to Fill, Time to Hire, Applicant to Hire, etc.) is a complete waste of time! I do this knowing that this is primarily the main recruiting metric used by the vast majority of organizations. So, I’m kind of calling them dumb, and I don’t like that, because that’s not what I believe!

I find the majority of HR & TA leaders to be hardworking, caring folks who want to do the right thing, but no one is showing them the “right” thing. I mean, I did in my book, but no one wants to read a full book!

Why is speed overrated in recruiting?

First, there is absolutely no correlation between how fast you got someone hired to how good of an employee they will be. Zero! Nil! Naught! None! So, you are measuring something, and telling people is massively important, but it has zero correlation to whether or not you hired someone that will be good for your company.

Awesome! Wow! Let’s hire faster! The faster we can get these walking zombies in here the faster we can fail! Yay! Fail faster! #WinkyFace

Second, I’ll give you that some sort of speed of recruiting metric as correlated to your industry benchmarks might be a good indicator to let you know how well your function is running or not running. Meaning, if your average days to fill is 40 and the industry benchmark is 30, you probably have some work to do. But, if you are at 29 and the benchmark is at 30, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are better at recruiting, just a bit faster.

Third, you can hire too fast. We tend to never think about all the false-positive hiring we do by moving too quickly. If we are rushing our process, we open the door to letting bad hires into the organization. We also open the door to filling roles before we can truly see what’s available in the market. Oh, Timmy is interested, let’s hire him quickly! And then the day after, Mary, applies and she’s much better, but you already hired Timmy.

Fourth, a large portion of the time in a day’s-to-fill metric isn’t even owned and controlled by recruiting. Hiring managers and the candidates themselves, control upwards of 50% of a time metric in any recruiting process.

Why do we focus so much on speed in recruiting?

Because “speed” is something c-suite executives get all excited about. If we are doing it faster, we must be doing it better. Plus, most c-suites think it takes too long to hire, so slower recruiting validates their belief that recruiting is broken. But, 99.99% of c-suites never recruited, so they are stupid. I mean, they are stupid about recruiting!

Because this is the metric we’ve always used to measure recruiting success in our organizations. Throughout the history of recruiting this is the metric that was measured, so this is the one we use. Kind of like how sports used metrics like points per game, and then advanced analytics came out, like plus/minus and now we look at older metrics as rudimentary in describing the performance of athletes.

Because we don’t know a better way to measure how or if we are successful in recruiting in our organizations. This is a tough one because we don’t know what we don’t know. I wish our ATS and recruiting technology vendors would do a better job of measuring and teaching advanced metrics to TA leaders. (Shoutout to vendors like SmartRecruiters, Greenhouse, Gem, and Predictive Hire – they all have some good stuff if you choose to use it.) The reality is, you would make your technology stickier if you did this.

What should recruiting focus on, rather than speed?

You know what’s coming. The funnel dummy!

We have certain actions that lead directly to recruiting success in our organizations if we analyze our recruiting funnels. The recruiting funnel will show you directly individual and team performance. But, let’s set that aside for a second. The funnel will ultimately give your organization the first truth about recruiting it’s ever had, the actual capacity it can rely on in recruiting. Your c-suite is dying to know this, and all you can tell them is, “we’ll work faster and longer and harder”.

Knowing your actual recruiting capacity will set you free and make you look like a genius as compared to every other TA leader that has become before you in your organization.

Cost of hire by source. Source effectiveness. Quality of applicant by Source (No, not the quality of hire, that’s not a TA metric), candidate experience metrics, recruiter experience metrics, etc.

Most shops run a classic 6-3-1 funnel. Meaning, it takes six screened candidates passed onto a hiring manager, who will then choose three of those candidates to interview, and then make an offer to one. If you take the billions of hires done at all organizations each year, it will almost always, on average, fall into a 6-3-1 model. Top of funnel, I.E., how many applicants to find six screened candidates, is a different story. That is dependent on a number of variables.

So, should you stop focusing on speed?

Yes. And, No.

Yes, you should stop focusing on speed if you are in a cycle where this year’s recruiting speed goal was to reduce your days to fill from 37.1 days to 36.8 days. At that point, your speed goal is worthless. You are only incrementally getting faster and you’ll see no real positive outcome from such a small time savings, even at enterprise and a million hires. Yes, I know the math says different at scale, but you are also forgetting the most important part. THERE. IS. NO. CORRELATION. BETWEEN. SPEED. AND. QUALITY. IN. RECRUITING!

No, you should not stop if you know your recruiting is flat-out broken and you are not even in the ballpark from a speed perspective. If it’s taking you 50 days to fill a position that your competition is doing in 25 days, you’re broken, and while speed isn’t the cure to your ills, you’ve got to catch up on the process side of things.

Okay TA Peeps! Tell me I’m wrong in the comments!

The Most Brilliant Talent Tips Condensed Into Tiny Sentences!

I wrote a book with a lot of words. One I discovered is that people love for you to have a book, but no one really wants to read 60,000 plus words. They want you to break it down to about 500. “Just tell me what I really need to know!”

Okay – Here you go:

  • Always give personal feedback to candidates you’ve interviewed but didn’t hire. 
  • Make every candidate believe you desire them until you don’t. 
  • Job advertising works. Programmatic Job Advertising works best. 
  • You don’t hire the best talent; you hire the best talent that applied to your jobs. 
  • If your team only uses 50% of your ATS, it’s not an ATS problem, it’s an adoption problem. (which means it’s a leadership problem) 
  • Measuring the recruiting funnel will give you far better results than measuring days to fill. 
  • Only hire Sourcers if you truly have recruiters willing to do outbound recruiting. 
  • 90% of your recruiting is inbound recruiting, but your hiring managers believe 50% of what you do is outbound recruiting. 
  • Your diversity hiring woes can be tied specifically to certain hiring managers, but we are too afraid to connect the dots politically. 
  • 99.99% of candidates will never accept a job without first talking to a real person. Call volume, in recruiting, matters. 
  • If your sourcing tech is failing, it’s not a failure of the tech, it’s your recruiters hate doing outbound recruiting. 
  • They key to being a great recruiter is getting someone who doesn’t know you to trust you with their career. 
  • A candidate will always respond to a hiring manager more than a recruiter on average. They’ll respond to the CEO of your company even more than a manager of a function.
  • On average, there are worse selection strategies than hiring the most pretty people you interview.
  • The most underutilized recruiting resource you have is your own database of clients.

What is your favorite tiny piece of talent advice? Put it in the comments, and I use it in my next book which will only be 2,000 words!

Want a Smarter Workforce? Hire More Gay Dudes!

Okay, before the entire LGBTQ community becomes unglued for me saying “dudes” and not every segment of the LGBTQ community, you have to understand the study we’ll dig into below! In this study, gay men stood out as extremely high academic achievers over every other part of society, gay or straight, and other genders.

From the Washington Post:

In new research made possible by questions recently added to U.S. household surveys, I found that gay men achieve stunning success across every level of higher education. This accomplishment comes even as men’s overall college completion rates have fallen further behind women’s for every generation born since the 1960s.

I found, for example, that about 52 percent of gay men, age 25 or older in the United States have a bachelor’s degree. For context, about 36 percent of U.S. adults 25 or older have a bachelor’s; this ranks the United States ninth in the world in college completion. If America’s gay men, however, formed their own country, it would be the world’s most highly educated by far.

Organizations are constantly searching for the “silver bullet” when it comes to talent. Every so often some research comes along and says, “Hey, over here, we found a silver bullet!” The ironic part of this silver bullet is I think most organizations will ignore it, even though it’s fairly straightforward and clear. Why? Normal bias, primarily, that gay people of all genders have faced when it comes to hiring.

Why are Gay men off the charts when it comes to achieving academic success?

This is where it gets interesting because the reasons can be somewhat subjective, but they actually feel accurate. If you’re a gay boy growing up in America, in public school, you are in for a tough life of bullying. You can’t control that. What can you control? You can control how well you do in school.

Who do teachers love? Kids who care about what they are teaching and do well. Gay kids who aren’t widely accepted by their straight classmates, find a higher level of acceptance from teachers, especially when they are high performers. So, I can control the asshole bullies, but I can control how much I study. It’s a unique form of resilience to be sure. “I became smart and worked super hard at school because that was my avenue of acceptance within public education.”

And, as it turns out, doing well academically in high school, leads to more opportunity in college where gay kids find even more acceptance in a predominately liberal higher education system. The flywheel keeps turning, and the gay smart kids, become even smarter gay young men, who then move into the corporate world as high achievers.

But, now these intelligent, high-performing gay men, also have a community of their own who can support and care for each other in a professional capacity. Recommendations for jobs and promotions, inside information on projects, sharing of creative ideas, etc. The “Old Boy” network, becomes the “Not So Old Gay Boy Network”. Don’t hate, you taught them the system!

Just because you’re smart and gay doesn’t stop bias.

It’s still far easier in our world to be a straight white man than a super-smart gay white man, for the most part. The interesting part of the study was that gay men of all ethnicities have shown this academic prowess. It’s not just a white male thing, it’s a brown male thing, a black male thing. Turns out, gay men of all colors, achieve higher levels of academic success, leading to higher levels of professional success.

It pains me that gay kids have to deal with bullies in school. That any kid has to deal with bullies is awful, but when you’re “different” than the majority of your peer group, it can be especially cruel. I love that on average gay boys have found an outlet in academics because that will lead to way more good outcomes than bad.

I’ll go back to this one quote that I think is very powerful: If America’s gay men formed their own country it would be the most highly educated country in the world! In. The. World. I’m also guessing that would be a pretty amazing country to live in.

Finally! Elon Musk Weighs In on America’s Birth Rate Crisis!

Say what you want about Elon Musk, he tends to be years ahead of the curve around what the world will want and need. I get it, he’s a polarizing figure, people either love him or hate him. I don’t own a Tesla, and I don’t really have the pull to want one, but I get the fascination. I get the fascination with building a company around private space travel, and he just recently said he could care less about electric cars because he now wants to build “real” robots like the ones Will Smith fought in iRobot!

BTW, I totally want my own Tesla Robot. The friend that will always be there for you and I would get the algorithm where they never try to give me life advice, just support my craziness! Also, my “Tesbot” will have an English accent, because I’m a dumb American and I really like that accent.

Elon’s robot idea came partly because of a real-world problem he faces, and truly all of us are facing at this moment, around talent shortages. He needs workers to build EVs and Rocketships. For a dude that doesn’t put limits on what is possible, it seems almost impossible to hire great, productive workers, who enjoy that type of work. So, let’s build robots!

Elon came out recently to clarify the real problem we have in America, really most industrialized countrys’, in that our birth rate is a major economic problem no one is paying attention to:

He went on to talk about world population estimates, etc., and the trends we are on are not positive when we truly look way out into the future. The problem is, in almost every country, our political systems are not built to address the future, they are built to address the next election cycle.

If you voted for Trump in the last election, you probably believe we have a “major” problem at our border to the south with immigrants flooding into our country. Honestly, we should be hoping immigrants are flooding into this country because we need them to work in all the jobs that Americans are refusing to work in!

We do have an immigration problem! The problem is, we don’t allow enough immigrants to come into our country and work legally, pay taxes, and be a part of this great experiment we call America. I’m not a liberal. I’m a raging moderate who sees what is really going on in businesses across America! We need more workers! Or, as Elon believes, more robots…

What are potential solutions for our birth rate crisis?

1. Pay people to have more babies.

You know, stuff like paid family leave and tax incentives to have more children, great education and paid daycare, etc. Let’s make it easy for families to have great families. Right now, in America, having kids is a wealth deterrent for people.

2. Massively expand immigration.

This is not a scarcity problem. Immigrants are not taking jobs away from Americans. We have way more jobs than we have Americans! Plus, immigrants now have more options than coming to America, since there are about 20 other countries with worse birth rate issues than we have. We are now in competition for immigrant talent, skilled and unskilled, and we have half our population who still are being told by politicians that immigrants are bad.

3. Help Elon build his robots!

Honestly, because of our birth rate crisis, if Elon doesn’t get there first, someone else will. We have already seen so many jobs get eaten up by automation and robotics and it’s not stopping, it’s accelerating. Self-driving semi-trucks. Touch screens to order your Big Mac. Self-checkout lanes at the grocery store. Etc. The problem is, robots are only good at certain things, and we still need humans for a lot. Unless Elon figures out my Tesbot and then look out! Timmy is going on vacation!

Talent Hoarding is Real! And it’s getting worse…

Talent hoarding has been around since the beginning of time. If you were good at hunting and gathering, some bigger stronger caveman was going to keep you around and not let some other cavemen lure you away!

In today’s world, talent hoarding begins when a manager doesn’t identify someone who works for them as promotable when they most likely are. The organization uses its leaders to understand who is ready for that next-level position. Certain managers, tend not to openly report they have such a candidate in their group, so they can keep that talent performing for them. This makes their life easier.

But, let’s not just blame these managers of people. There’s another organizational design issue that causes talent hoarding. Manager performance, and often parts of their compensation, are based on “team performance”. That being the case, it’s to a manager’s advantage, and the team’s advantage to keep talent. Almost no organizations incentive managers to promote people off their team into other parts of the organization.

There was a study just released in 2022, appropriately titled, “Talent Hoarding in Organizations” that showed that:

“Temporary reductions of talent hoarding increase worker’s applications for promotions by 123%. Marginal applicants, who would not have applied in the presence of talent hoarding, are three times as likely as average applicants to land a promotion.”

What the study determined, was that if you did not have any barrier to letting someone apply for promotion, your way more likely to be promoted! Things like you must first have your manager sign-off on your readiness, or things like having managers put names forward, etc.

Organizationally, we know also that talent hoarding often pushes talent to leave. Basically, if you aren’t going to promote me, I’ll use the free market to get a promotion somewhere else. In a talent market, as we have right now, that is happening at a massive scale. We see organizations implementing new internal mobility strategies to help counteract this, but it’s barely making a dent still, primarily because most of these strategies still rely on some sort of manager performance metric to allow someone to move internally.

Can we eliminate or reduce talent hoarding?

Short answer, yes. The longer answer, it’s hard!

First, we are talking about centuries of institutional dynamics at play. Generation after generation of leaders were raised under this framework. Thus, we have major change management issues to conquer.

Second, we would need to eliminate the negative side, or at least counteract the negative side of team promotion, with a positive side for the manager and team. This is the “coaching tree” analogy. Great coaches hire assistants and teach them how to be great coaches and those coaches go on to peer level roles. When you talk about the greatest sports coaches of all time, one major factor is their coaching tree. How many other coaches did they create? And, how good were those coaches?

If we can find a way to reward, and not punish, managers for promoting talent within the organization, which is greater than the reward for keeping great talent, we will have a much better chance at stopping talent hoarding. That is difficult. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an organization that has figured out the value of the theoretical “coaching tree” for a manager. Meaning, if I promote someone off my team, what is that worth to me, as the manager?

It’s a hard question to answer because it’s very specific to position and organization. If I’m at Apple and I “grow” a new Engineering Manager, from a Software Engineer, that I’ve mentored, there is considerable value in that happening! If I’m managing a fast food restaurant and mentor an hourly worker into a salaried manager, that is less valuable, by dollar amount, but still very valuable to the organization.

The reality is, you have no shot if you don’t try and answer that value equation!

You can have some success, by just eliminating all barriers to promotion and allowing anyone to apply. You will still have some that won’t, as managers will still have formal and informal influence over those that work for them. So, it’s not perfect. But, you’ll get more, than by asking your managers alone.

Also, just eliminating barriers could create a gender issue as we know through many studies men or more willing to apply to jobs they aren’t qualified for than women, so barrier elimination will most likely get you more male applicants, who you will promote, leaving more women behind. We actually need our leaders to help us identify and promote our great female next-level hires.

When talent is scarce, like it is now, talent hoarding will be worse. Talent hoarding is bad for your culture and it’s bad for your talent. And it’s happening right now in your organization.

You Do NOT Have a Short-term Recruiting Problem!

I’ve been trying to preach this for what seems like forever, but we tend to be so short-term focused in almost every business process and decision we make in the modern world. How can we make a profit today, F the future!

Your current recruiting issue is not a short-term problem that eventually will just go away on its own. Also, your current recruiting problem has nothing to do with the “Great Resignation”. That was a made-up term by a professor trying to explain a short-term issue we were currently facing, amongst a much larger long-term problem.

The “Great Resignation” is simple economics. We have more jobs than people looking for jobs, so workers have “buying” power. Other companies will pay me more for the same work or give me a promotion with my lessor skills because they have no other options. Straightforward supply and demand economics.

We are already seeing the “economics” of this situation play itself out with higher inflation driven by wage growth and we’ll see more and more adjustments made by organizations to figure it out. Most likely that involves technology replacing parts of jobs, adding human capacity through technology, etc. Organizations can only eat so much in wages before they’ll find a “better” way to skin the cat.

Our problem IS and will continue to be, we have a shrinking workforce that we are doing absolutely nothing to turn that demographic fact around.

Peter Shanosky, wrote a good piece on our aging issue:

The median age in the United States is currently 38.1 years old — a number that reflects a consistent rise in recent years, but not too terrible. That number has been moving up about .15 per year as our largest generation, the oft-discussed boomers, age…

In our professions, then, we would expect to see a median age of around 38. Naturally, that’s not the case, specifically when you get into some of the trades or other professions that aren’t necessarily glamourous. Still, these jobs are essential to our everyday lives. We should not ignore them.

So how far off are they? Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve got some wide discrepancies. Looking at just a few:

· Real estate agents: 49.1 years old

· Automotive mechanics: 47.4 years old

· Facilities managers: 50.1 years old

· Bus/Shuttle drivers: 55.6 years old

· Housekeeping/Janitorial: 50.1 years old

· Home health aides: 47.2 years old

· Electrical trades: 46.8 years old

Yikes. There were plenty of professions even older than that, but I picked these for a reason — there’s little barrier to entry. You don’t need a $200,000 piece of paper, and they’re located across the country. You don’t need to live in a growing metropolitan area to have any of these jobs. In other words, based on ease of access, they should be younger. But they’re not.

Why aren’t younger people moving into these roles?

Basically, we have a problem with younger generations not actually wanting to work. There are probably a million reasons, social media, NFTs, influencers, Bitcoin, Meme stocks, etc. If you are 18-30 in today’s world, you are inundated with examples, constantly, of how you can be rich, by not really working, and it all looks so easy!

The problem is, we can’t rely on GenX and young Baby Boomers to keep building our shit! Eventually, they’ll be dead and you’ll be sitting there wondering why the fucking lights won’t come on so you can film your next TikTok video about how to make a million dollars trading make-believe money. Turns out, we need folks willing to get their hands dirty from time to time.

The obvious solution is to increase immigration and create a constant pipeline of workers who want to come to America and actually work. Turns out, regardless of want mass media is trying to get us to believe, millions of immigrants still want to come to America! We actually have jobs that pay money and benefits and overtime and provide training, simply if you have a work ethic! Isn’t that a crazy concept!?

I don’t want young people to think this is all their problem, it’s not! Your parents own a portion of this as well. Someone should have made you work when you were younger. Mow a lawn, babysit, work the fryer at McDonald’s when you were 16, but they were doing pretty good and you were basically not annoying them with your face in your phone, so you didn’t get the opportunity to value work. I think older Millennials, GenX, and Baby Boomers all worked when they were 16 for two main reasons: 1. Our parents refused to give us anything, so we needed money if we wanted something. 2. Our parents couldn’t stand watching us sit around and do nothing, so we were forced to leave the house.

All of this rant about how young people suck, still isn’t the problem!

We aren’t having enough babies!

Probably starts with we aren’t having enough sex, but that’s another post.

Turns out, babies and puppies are a god damn lot of work, and if you don’t like work…well, it’s kind of comes around full circle!

There are 3 ways this will be fixed, and I do believe it will be:

  1. More Immigrants, like millions and millions more. (BTW – every industrialized, rich country is in the same boat as the US, we just really such at immigration)
  2. More automation and technology to replace workers. (Already happening, get used to it happening a lot more)
  3. More babies! Won’t happen anytime soon, and I would guess we might never be able to turn that around.

Or, you and your organization can just believe this great resignation thing will play itself out and we’ll all be back to normal by summer. Have fun with that!

And P.S. – Get off my lawn!

In a Corporate Recruiting Department, What Percentage of Hires Should be from Outbound Recruiting?

I went to hireEZs (formerly called Hiretual) Outbound RecruitCon this week and the big topic of conversation was recruiting isn’t working! Surprise! It’s broke!

Well, recruiting probably isn’t broke, it’s just what we normally do isn’t working as well any longer. The reality is, about 90% of corporate recruiting is some form of posting jobs and waiting for candidates to apply. That clearly isn’t working right now! And, it probably won’t work for a long time to come.

Outbound recruiting traditionally has been something only agency recruiters really did a lot of. It’s why recruiting agencies are a multi-billion dollar industry. Even RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) companies don’t do outbound recruiting, they also, primarily just replace the normal inbound recruiting done by corporate talent acquisition departments.

Why don’t we do more Outbound Recruiting in Corporate TA?

First, it’s exponentially more difficult to do outbound recruiting than inbound recruiting.

Why? It’s fairly obvious, one is just contacting people who have already told you they want to work for you (inbound) and the other is convincing someone to come work for you that might have never even heard of you and your organization!

Second, we don’t really train our recruiters to do outbound recruiting.

And since TA leaders grew up only doing inbound recruiting, their training consists of, “Look, it’s not hard, just pick up the phone and call people!” Which is actually really shitty training! It’s incredibly hard, and it takes skill.

Third, we don’t give our recruiters the technology and tools to do outbound recruiting properly.

Almost all corporate talent acquisition budgets are focused on inbound recruiting. It takes a lot of money to fill the inbound recruiting funnel, and since that’s what most of us do, that’s where the money goes. And, no, LinkedIn isn’t an outbound recruiting technology!

What percentage of our recruiting should be Outbound vs. Inbound?

This is a very organizational, job, and industry-specific question. If you do a ton of hourly hiring, your organization will do more inbound recruiting than outbound. If you hire highly skilled workers, healthcare, technology, etc., you definitely should at a minimum be doing a 50/50 split of inbound and outbound recruiting, and some will be in the 70-80% outbound the more specialized you get.

We all know there are some roles that you can post and advertise and they are so specialized you will never get a candidate remotely close to being qualified. And yet, the money is spent because, “well, you never know…” Actually, yes, yes we do know, and I’m not burning any more cash just for the fun of it! All of those resources should be spent on outbound recruiting.

The key to increasing your outbound recruiting is two-fold:

  1. You’ve got to measure the two, inbound and outbound, separately.
  2. You’ve got to have recruiters who aren’t asked to do both, because they won’t. I’ll add here, these two types of recruiters have to be paid differently and you can’t expect the same outcomes from both types.

What we know today is having a talent acquisition strategy that is mostly inbound recruiting will and is failing for most organizations. It’s hard, but in current times, its what is needed.