Finding Qualified Diverse Talent is NOT Your Issue!

During 2020, I’ve spoken to a lot of leaders who are concerned with their diversity recruiting. Every single one of them will say something like, “Tim, we just can’t find the ‘qualified’ diverse talent we need!” Sound familiar? Feel familiar?

I’m not a diversity recruiting strategy expert. I leave that to my friend, Torin Ellis. I do think I’ve got a bit of knowledge when it comes to overall recruiting, though.

When I break down the response I get from most leaders, regarding diversity recruitment I usually have one cringe, and one response. “Qualified?” What do you mean by that? I hear it as, you can find plenty of diverse folks interested in coming to work for you, but none of them, or few of them, are actually qualified to work for you. Is that how you read/hear that?

It makes me cringe a bit because what you’re actually saying is we don’t have a supply problem, we have a training and development problem, but you don’t even realize that. You could have your perfect diverse mix of employees if you just invested a bit in training and developing these great hired into great employees. But, you don’t see the value in that, which makes me think you probably don’t see the value in a diverse workforce, to begin with.

What I actually say to them is this, “You don’t have a diversity recruiting problem. You have a diversity pay problem because finding diverse “qualified” talent is easy. Finding ones that will accept your job, culture, location, and/or average to low pay is really hard!” 

Finding talent has never been easier in the history of humanity. We have more technology and tools than ever before. Finding is easy. Recruiting is hard..

Successful recruiting takes some skill. A success recruiter will find the “qualified” diverse talent you are looking for and then they’ll do a few things:

  • They’ll get them interested first. They will make them feel desired and wanted by the organization. By the hiring manager. By the team. Being Desired is a powerful drug!
  • Next, they’ll discover what that talent actually desires in their career. Quickly, efficiently, like a sniper.
  • Then they’ll make a determination: 1. Are we going to meet those desires. or 2. We won’t meet those desires.
  • One, you obviously move on to screening, assessing, etc. Two, and you move on to giving something back to this person. “I can’t help you right now, but I’ve taken notes and if I have anything that ever comes close to meeting what you need, I’m going to contact you back.” 99% of recruiters will never say that to a potential candidate.

Honestly, about 25% of the time when you tell someone “I can’t help you, but…” they’ll actually state a desire to keep going. You taking the potential away will make some reveal they actually have an interest. Doesn’t mean you will still move forward, but it’s a nice outcome.

I can easily find you “qualified” diversity talent. Don’t think so, call me. I can find anyone. The problem we’ll run into is that some of that talent is rare and will cost a premium to get. It’s a simple economic proposition, you can buy talent or build talent. They each have their costs and benefits. I find most organizations claim they want to hire diverse talent, but aren’t doing what it will take to make it happen.

4 Things You Can Do to Get Candidates to Open Your Emails!

I found some cool data that probably got overlooked a while back from CB Insights. Now, this data is from 2016, but it’s super relevant!

CB Insights did some testing with their own email newsletter that went out to 175K+. A very big sample and the reality is they have the exact same goal as we all do, Get Candidates to Open Our Email!

These 4 things work really well in getting people to open your email:

1. Brand Names. CB found that using a big brand name like Apple, Google, Nike, etc. in your subject line increases your odds greatly of getting someone to open your email. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Tim, how the heck am I going to use a brand name in my recruiting emails!?” How about something like, “3 Ways we are a better place to work than Apple!”

2. Short TitlesLess is more when it comes to attention-grabbing subject lines! I suggest under 5 words if possible. “Are we paying too much?” or “I’ve Got a Quick Question” or “Sackett” – Yep, in my own testing, the one email that gets open at a higher rate than any other is when I only put my last name in the subject line!

3. Negativity. This seems counter-intuitive. No way! People love positivity. You are right, but negativity draws them in! “How Candidates Fall on their Face!” will get opened way more than “How Candidates Succeed!” Again, in ten years of blogging and making headlines, this data also rings true. I get way more interaction on negative headlines than positive headlines.

4. Surprises. Different viewpoints that people don’t expect. “Punching Your Boss Can Get You a Raise!” or “Older Workers Have More Energy Than Millennials!” or “Hiring Dumb People!” Basically, people open these because they don’t agree with the headline. What the heck is Tim talking about today!?!

So, if all of these things work. What does CB Insights say doesn’t work, in fact, what should we stop doing with our subject lines? 

  • All of the opposites of above! Long headlines, positive headlines, boring, etc.
  • Question Headlines. “What 3 Things Are You Doing to Hurt Your Brand!” While Buzzfeed has made billions with these clickbait headlines, CB found readers are getting fatigued with these types of headlines. (I will tell you “The X Things to do…” headlines still work in my world. 5 Ways to Hire More People! Will always do well.
  • Broad topics do worse than Niche. A headline that says “5 Ways to Attract More Talent” will do worse than “5 Ways to Attract More Nurses Right Now!”

The key to great email subject lines is they get opened! If you send out a hundred emails to candidates and no one opens them, it doesn’t matter what the content is and how much time you spent making it perfect. Get Them To Open Your Emails! Is the single most important thing you should worry about first!

It’s very Recruiting 101, and it’s something almost every recruiting shop struggles with, but then we go and focus on the picture we’re using. Does it have a puppy and a kid in a wheelchair? No, stop the presses! Stop it. Fix the basics first, then worry about doing the higher level stuff.

What is your most responsive email subject line?

@LinkedIn’s Future of Recruiting Survey says the #1 Skill for Recruiters in 2020 is… @LinkedInNews

I know you hate clickbait headlines, but they work, plus I know you want to know, so why give it away in the title! I mean I don’t get paid for my dashing looks and witty charm! Thank goodness!

LinkedIn launched its 2020 Future of Recruiting survey results today and it’s one of my favorite content pieces to comment on. Click through the link to download it for yourself, it’s packed with interesting data around talent acquisition and recruiting!

The #1 Skill for Recruiters in 2020 is…Adaptability!

Did you guess that? I didn’t. I think I could have probably could have had 50 guesses on not got that one. Here are the others:

Fastest growing skills for recruiters in 2020:

● Personal Development +44%

● Diversity & Inclusion +42%

● Talent Pipelining +37%

● Decision-Making +34%

● HR Strategy +30%

Okay, I can see personal development being high on the list, since 2020 has brought a lot of quality time working in remote settings and high unemployment numbers for recruiting pros, I think most people have been thinking about their personal and professional development.

I actually would have guessed D&I would have been #1. 2020 will be remembered for a few things – Covid, Social Justice, and the U.S. finally getting a sane person in the White House. So, from a talent acquisition perspective, I would have guessed diversity and inclusion recruiting to be the top priority.

HR Strategy actually makes zero sense to me! So, you’re in talent acquisition and your most needed skill is HR Strategy? Quite frankly, it makes you question the results overall. How could that be? Talent Pipelining? Yep! HR Strategy? Nope! But, it’s 2020, weird times.

Another big eye-opening stat from the report:

70% say Virtual Recruiting will become the new standard!

Okay, this one will take some explaining and background. First, what do you mean by “virtual recruiting”? So, for this data, that basically means, the process we have for recruiting can be done virtually. Sourcing, video interviewing, online assessments, etc., can all be done virtually, so I guess, yes, in that case, “virtual recruiting” is the new standard.

But, honestly, most of that stuff was already fairly standard.

I think the bigger aspect is Recruiters believing they’ll continue to be virtual/remote after Covid. I think Covid has shown organizations that in a pinch, yep, recruiting can be done virtually. But, every organization will have to truly decide is it better or the same as before, or possibly worse?

I’ve spoken to a number of F500 executives who aren’t super keen on remote recruiting because the relationships with hiring managers are worse, synergies amongst the TA team aren’t as robust, and brainstorming around testing and how to improve seem weaker in remote settings. Some of that can be improved, but it still comes down to leader perception.

We’ve been automating recruiting since the first Caveman needed a new assistant to track dinosaur migration patterns, so the fact that we’ll continue to automate and be able to recruit from anywhere in a mostly Saas environment should not be surprising to anyone.

Go download the new report. Some really good stuff around TA budgets and everyone’s favorite new topic, Internal Mobility, as well.

Talent Acquisition is NOT Marketing. Here’s why!

We love, I love, to say Recruiting is Marketing! I love Recruitment Marketing and the technology behind it, I think it’s brilliant! Recruiting is also not sales!

Why is Recruiting neither Marketing nor Sales?

What’s the core function of marketing and sales? To welcome as many people as possible into your funnel so that all of those people will buy your product or service, or give to your charity, etc.

In Recruitment we in the Rejection business!

Can you imagine you walk into a Cadillac dealership? You saw the commercial for the new SUV, you decide you want that SUV. You saw the billboard for that same car, heard the radio commercial, heck you even saw an Ad on Facebook, it’s almost like they’re listening to your brain! You’ve got a pocket full of hundred dollar bills and you walk into the dealership because today you’re driving away in that brand new, beautiful Cadillac SUV!

DealerNo!

MeUm, what?! 

DealerNo, we aren’t selling you that new Cadillac SUV, you’re not a Cadillac “Man”! 

MeA what!? 

DealerYeah, sorry, you don’t get a Cadillac today, we’re saving those for only certain people! 

It’s funny because we know this would never happen! I could walk into the dealership holding a severed head and the first words out of the salesman’s mouth would be “the trunk on our new sedan could hold a hundred of those heads!”

Recruiting isn’t Marketing or Sales, because true Marketing and Sales is in the business of ‘All’, not one. No one really gets rejected in marketing and sales if you have the means. In Recruiting, you could fit every single thing the organization is requesting and you will still get rejected. Recruiting is in the Rejection business, not the sales and marketing business!

If we/recruiting are in the Sales and Marketing business, we are in a really sick and twisted business! Hey, “Everyone” come and apply to our jobs, because I get really excited when I get to turn you down and say “no”! So, let’s not kid ourselves. Our business is about Rejection. Hey, come on over here and let me tell you what’s wrong with you, and then I’ll make the decision if we want you to be a part of our team or not.

Marketing campaigns sometimes try to fake like they’re being exclusive. “Only ‘you’ are being invited to buy this new SUV! You’ll be the first to own it! No one else!” Until next week when everyone will own it and actually have a better color than you. That’s not true rejection for those who don’t get it first, it’s just a game we play to increase demand.

So, why does this manner? 

If we know we are actually in the Rejection business, and we are, we/recruiters have to have an empathy level that is off the charts if we want to survive. Let me get this straight, you want me to talk as many people as possible into loving our company, then you want me to reject 99.9% of them? Yes!

To be able to do that and not drink yourself to sleep every night takes a really high ego or an endless supply of empathy towards all those great people who just wanted you to pick them, but your organization picked someone else, but they left it on your desk to share the bad news!

This is probably the main reason so many candidates never get dispositioned. We can all just crush only so many souls in a day! It’s easier to ghost candidates than to crush their dreams!

The rejection business is a hard, hard business to be in. Sales and Marketing are easy. Can you imagine how easy your life would be if you were able to give everyone the job!

Do you pay a larger employee referral bonus for Black Engineers?

I know a ton of HR Pros right now who have been charged by their organizations to go out and “Diversify” their workforce.  By “Diversify”, I’m not talking about diversity of thought, but to recruit a more diverse workforce in terms of ethnic, gender, and racial diversity.

Clearly, by bringing in more individuals from underrepresented groups in your workforce, you’ll expand the “thought diversification”, but for those HR Pros in the trenches and sitting in conference rooms with executives behind closed doors, diversification of thought isn’t the issue being discussed.

So, I have some assumptions I want to put forth before I go any further:

1. Referred employees make the best hires. (Workforce studies frequently list employee referrals as the highest quality hires across all industries and positions)

2. ERPs (Employee Referral Programs) are the major tool used to get employee referrals by HR Pros.

3. A diverse workforce will perform better in most circumstances, then I homogeneous workforce will.

4. Diversity departments, if you’re lucky enough, or big enough, to have one in your organization, traditionally tend to do a weak job at “recruiting” diversity candidates (there more concerned about getting the Cinco De Mayo Taco Bar scheduled, etc.)

Now, keeping in mind the above assumptions, what do you think is the best way to recruit diverse candidates to your organization?

I’ve yet to find a company willing to go as far as to “Pay More” for a black engineer referral vs. a white engineer referral. Can you imagine how that would play out in your organization!?  But behind the scenes in the HR Departments across the world, this exact thing is happening in a number of ways.

First, what is your cost of hire for diverse candidates versus non-diverse candidates? Do you even measure that? Why not?  I’ll tell you why, is very hard to justify why you are paying two, three, and even four times more for a diversity candidate, with the same skill sets, versus a non-diverse candidate in most technical and medical recruiting environments.  Second, how many diversity recruitment events do you go to versus non-specific diversity recruitment events?  In organizations that are really pushing diversification of the workforce, I find that this figure is usually 2 to 1.

So, you will easily spend more resources of your organization to become more diversified, but you won’t reward your employees for helping you to reach your goals?  I find this somewhat ironic. You will pay Joe, one of your best engineers, $2000 for any referral, but you are unwilling to pay him $4000 for referring his black engineer friends from his former company.

Yet, you’ll go out and spend $50,000 attending diversity recruiting job fairs and events all over the country trying to get the same person.  When you know the best investment of your resources would be to put up a poster in your hallways saying “Wanted Black Engineers $4000 Reward!”.

Here’s why you don’t do this.

Most organizations do a terrible job at communicating the importance of having a diverse workforce, and that to get to an ideal state, sometimes it means the organization might have to hire a female, or an Asian, or an African American, or a Hispanic, over a similarly qualified white male to ensure the organization is reaching their highest potential.

Workgroup performance by diversity is easily measured and reported to employees, to demonstrate diversity successes, but we rarely do it, to help us explain why we do what we are doing in talent selection.  What do we need to do? Stop treating our employees like they won’t get it, start educating them beyond the politically correct version of Diversity and start educating them on the performance increases we get with diversity.  Then it might not seem so unheard of to pay more to an employee for referring a diverse candidate!

So, you take pride in your diversity hiring efforts, but you’re just unwilling to properly reward for it…

The Fight Club Recruiting Rules!

Great talent and great hiring are about getting the best candidates to respond to your messaging. It’s our reality as talent acquisition professionals that we have candidates who apply to our jobs, some of whom might be great. We also have to go out and find great talent and find ways to get them to respond to our overtures.

It’s the number one job of every talent acquisition professional. I would argue it might be the only job of talent acquisition. Get great talent to interact with you!

The first rule of Fight Recruiting Club is you need to get candidates to respond!

The second rule of Recruiting Club is you need to keep trying to get talent to respond to you until they actually respond. Wait a second, Tim! You mean we have to reach out to a candidate more than once!? I mean, if they don’t respond to me after my first outreach, that’s their loss! No, it’s your loss! You need that talent!

The third rule of Recruiting Club is you need to interact with candidates in themedium they are most comfortable with. I like it when you text me, most people do. It gets a high response rate. Some folks like email, phone calls, Facebook messenger, handwritten notes, etc. Find all the mediums the candidate likes, not your favorite!

The fourth rule of Recruiting Club is it’s not about you. It’s about them! “I’ve got a great career opportunity for you!” How do you know what I want? Stop assuming you know what I want when you don’t. How about you first to get to know me a little. I mean, you don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date!

The fifth rule of Recruiting Club is….(there are ten in total, click through to the rest of my post over on Saba’s Blog)

Google Leading the Way on #COVID19 Gig Worker Response! #Coronavirus

Google has more contractors (gig workers) than actual full-time employees. Did you know this? I didn’t. Google employs roughly 120,000 contractors and has about 100,000 regular full-time employees. Welcome to 2020!

Here’s what most people don’t understand about the contracting world (it just happens to be my world at HRUTech.com!)

  • Most contractors (gig workers) want to make as much money as possible, as such, most will choose to take the highest dollar offer in lieu of medical insurance and paid time off (PTO). Some states require a certain amount of PTO.
  • Running a contract staffing firm, our contractors are our product. If our ‘product’ doesn’t work, we have zero revenue. So, it’s not like we can just have contractors stay home for 14 days and pay them their full-time wage. It’s simple economics, zero revenue in means no money to pay out, plus most large enterprise clients, like Google, are usually out 30-90 days in paying their contract staff invoices.
  • Of course, every contract and temp staffing firm wants to do what’s best. They also want to stay in business.

Google understands this simple dynamic and they stepped up big time this week in making this announcement:

“As we’re in a transition period in the U.S.—and to cover any gaps elsewhere in the world—Google is establishing a COVID-19 fund that will enable all our temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19, or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined,” the post read.

Google relies on approximately 120,000 temps and contractors on top of its 100,000 full-time employees, and not all of them have paid sick leave currently. Google’s post seemed to indicate that the fund would cover expenses for those not already able to take sick leave under current employment arrangements.”

That message right there is coming from a huge place of understanding from Google! We rely incredibly on this pool of talent, our contractors, and we have to find a way to make sure that the suppliers of this talent are taken care of so they can take care of their employees.

Uber and Lyft also came out this week and told drivers that tested positive for COVID-19 they would also pay them their average week’s wage to stay home and not drive. Another giant cost for these companies, but when you rely on gig workers as your business model, you better find ways to take help these folks out when a crisis hits.

Most organizations don’t consider “Total Employment” when a crisis happens. They circle the wagons around their own FTEs and not much else. I’ve spoken to multiple giant enterprise HR leaders this past week and this concept wasn’t even a blip on their radar! They could care less about their contractors and their partners for talent when it comes to COVID-19.

This is ultimately a much bigger problem for these organizations. I preach constantly to organizational TA and HR leaders they should be owning all talent in their barn. Total employment (FTEs, Contractors, Temps, Consultants, etc.). This is who really gets your work done, and if you don’t have awareness of all aspects, you are truly missing the boat.

What do you think? Do you feel your organization should be paying attention to contract and temporary workers during this public health crisis?

The First Rule of Recruiting!

Sometimes we go so far into the weeds in recruiting we forget what is really important.

We have to have a brand!

We have to have an ATS! Or a new ATS!

We have to have a CRM! What the hell is a CRM!?

Our job descriptions need to be better!

Our career site sucks! Don’t they all!?

We need to relaunch our employee referral program!

There are literally a million things you could focus on in recruiting and you still would have a list of crap you never even got to.

You know recruiting isn’t difficult. It’s not like we’re trying to launch the space shuttle. Recruiting is finding people for your organization. People are everywhere. We just need to talk them into coming to work for our organizations.

It’s the first rule of recruiting – Just let people know you’re hiring.

We make it so difficult when all we have to truly do is let people know we actually want to hire them. Do you have any idea how many people would really want to work for your organization, but they never know you are hiring or were hiring?

Recruiting is really only that. Just letting enough people know that you want them to work for you until you’ve reached the right people. It’s okay that you will reach some you don’t want. That’s part of the game.

To reach the people who you want, and who want you, you have to let a lot of people know you’re hiring.

Letting people know you’re hiring goes beyond your career site. It goes beyond job boards. It goes beyond employee referral programs. It’s a philosophy throughout your organization. It’s about an understanding that you want everyone to know that you’re hiring.

Most organizations don’t do this. It’s a combination of issues, but mostly it’s a conceited belief that letting people know you’re hiring seems desperate. That we are too good of an organization to let everyone know we are hiring, because we don’t want everyone, we only want a few.

This is why most talent acquisition departments fail. Simple conceit.

Great recruiting isn’t conceited, great recruiting is about being humble enough to let people know you want them, that you really want them. At the end of the day, that’s what we all want. To be wanted.

Would You Be Willing to Guarantee a New Hire One Year’s Worth of Pay and Benefits?

“People don’t want more choices. They want to be more confident in the choices they make.”

– Scott Galloway

It’s hard to hire not because there isn’t enough talent. There are all kinds of talent. In fact, there has never been a time in our lives where it’s been easier to actually find that talent and connect with that talent!

The technology and access we have to candidates have never been better. So, why is it so damn hard to hire!?

Candidates are fearful of making a bad decision. I might not love my current job, but at least I know what I have. I know the good and the bad. If I move and make a change, I’m not 100% sure of what I’m getting myself into.

So, would your organization be willing to take that fear away from me? 

Just take it clean off the table. If you take our job, we know it’s a stressful decision, we’ll sign a contract where we will play you a guarantee one year’s salary and benefits, no-fault. Meaning, at any time in the first year, if you, or we, decide this just isn’t working out, we’ll pay you the balance of that first year’s salary. It’s a no-risk offer to come to work here!

Would you do that? Why or why not?

If we do our jobs really well, in terms of sourcing, screening, assessing, vetting, and selection, this is really a low-risk proposition for the company, and it might actually help us land some of the best talent that is just a bit more conservative in their decision making. Think about who is naturally conservative in their thinking? Engineers, highly intelligent, logical people like scientists of all types, medical professionals, accounting types, legal types, etc.

You know those hard to land hires!

The dirty little secret of doing something like this is it’s basically almost no risk because most professional hires, given a proper courting process, don’t leave within twelve months. You wouldn’t do this with high volume hiring, but you could do it with your hard to find, low volume hiring.

What do you think? What am I missing? Why would our executives support this or hate this? Hit me in the comments.

True or False: Corporate Recruiters Fear Agency Recruiters?

True or False?  It’s a common belief, in most Talent and HR circles, that most corporate recruiters fear agency recruiters.  Go ahead and argue if you would like, but it seems a little silly.

The reality is, true recruiting professionals don’t fear amateurs.

It’s like a really great professional Photographer. They charge money because they offer something someone is willing to pay for. Professional photographers don’t fear the mom at the soccer game with her $2,000 dollar camera and $5,000 dollar lens. Who cares that you have the equipment if you don’t know how to use it!? Pros don’t fear amateurs.

So, if you are a really good corporate recruiter who knows how to really recruit and source talent, agency recruiters don’t scare you, because you know your stuff! That’s the problem, though, right? The reason so many people feel the title of this post is true is because we all know so many corporate recruiters, who really don’t know how to recruit. They aren’t pros, they’re amateurs. Amateurs fear professionals when it comes to meeting head to head in competition.

The best professionals love it when a talented amateur tries to play at their level. These types of individuals help to push both parties to do the best work they can. Or, at least, they should! A great agency recruiter should push an average corporate recruiter to want to get better. An amateur agency recruiter will starve, that’s why you only see amateurs in the agency ranks for a very short period of time. If they aren’t good, they don’t eat! That is why on average, agency recruiters tend to have more recruiting skills than corporate recruiters. Agency folks aren’t full salary. How they are compensated forces them to have better skills, on average, of they are out of job.

So, how do corporate recruiters ensure they become professionals? Well, I love Malcolm Gladwell, so I’ll steal a little of his 10,000-hour concept (and go ahead and tell me it’s B.S. – I don’t care, I like it and I’ve seen it work). You must make yourself a true recruiting professional!  You need to invest time and development in yourself, in the recruiting industry, to become a pro. That means as a corporate recruiter, you focus on recruiting, not becoming an HR Pros. What?! Most corporate recruiters are corporate recruiters because that’s their path to get into a straight HR position. Their endgame is not recruiting, it’s HR. That’s a problem because they are not fully vested in the recruiting game. This is an amateur move.

The reality is, those who get promoted are usually professional at something. Become a great recruiting pro and the powers-that-be will take notice, and you’ll find yourself in positions you never thought possible. True professionals don’t worry about promotions, they worry about becoming a better pro at their craft.

The next time you start feeling yourself pushed by an agency recruiter, don’t curse them for what they do, embrace them for what they push you to become — a better recruiter!