Monday, October 30, 2006

NRT - Terps - 27 FSU - 24

Inspired by Recruiting Bloggers Jim Stroud and MN Headhunter, I'm going to take a brief break from the normal fare here and celebrate today with a NRT (Non-Recruiting Topic).

Last Saturday night, I froze, I lost my voice, and I watched my beloved Terps beat the Florida State Seminoles for only the 2nd time ever and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2003. How sweet it is...

The Block!

Monday, October 23, 2006

When Its Time To Go

It's always an awkward situation when you are a corporate recruiter and leave one company for another. You've just hired someone, now you have to tell them that you are leaving? You build up a level of personal trust, that person trusted you that you were offering them a better situation. They trusted you enough to leave make a life-altering decision. Now this place isn't good enough for you to stay? I've changed jobs a couple times in my career now and have always found this situation to be awkward. This time around may be the most awkward at all however.

First of all, I really do think my employer is special. I'm not leaving because of the company, my boss, my job, my compensation, etc. I'm only leaving because I've been presented with an opportunity to move up into a strategic leadership role, an opportunity that would not have happened with my current employer for at least a few more years. Yes I'll be getting more in salary, yes my commute will be shorter (or non-existent when I telecommute), yes I'll get to travel a bit more (which is something that I've wanted as well). But it all boiled down to the opportunity to make an impact in a way that I can't do in my current role.

So that's what I'm communicating to people, my colleagues as well as those who I've recently helped to bring aboard. And unanimously they have told me that they understand, which helps, but it is still awkward. It probably relates to the fact that I feel that I have done some of my best tactical recruiting work over the past few months. I have put my networking skills and utilization of new recruiting tools to the test and it has paid off with hiring some great 'passive' candidates. One of those in particular was one that I will remember for a long time. The day after I gave my notice, she was still one of those who I wanted to tell personally. I felt I owed it to her. Around Noon that day, I get an e-mail from her saying "I hear you are leaving???" I dropped what I was doing and practically ran to her desk to talk to her about it. As with the others, she was very gracious. Turns out that things at her former employer were not going so well, so it was really a blessing that we offered her this opportunity.

It's a strange sensation for sure, but I'm thankful that I am surrounded by good, gracious people, who can see that although I am leaving, that it's for something bigger and better. They congratulate me and wish me well. I can't ask for much better than that :-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Backpocket" Recruiting

"We don't have anything right for this candidate now, he's one for your 'backpocket' just in case you might have something more relevant for him in the future. "

This phrase, or something very similar, is said all the time in conversations between corporate recruiters and hiring managers after an initial interview with a good candidate who's not quite right for a particular job. But how often do corporate recruiters, or hiring managers for that matter, actually reach in to their 'backpocket' to pull back out that candidate for that more relevant opportunity that just became available? Probably not as often as we should in all likelihood. Most corporate recruiting operations are so reactive in nature that the default action that occurs when a hiring manager has a new need is to post a job and source new candidates. Unfortunately, most ATSs don't offer powerful enough CRM capabilities to better energize the 'backpocket' approach either. As corporate recruiters, we also deal so often with so many candidates, so many reqs, that all the good intentions of 'backpocket' recruiting can be easily lost.

But when 'backpocket' recruiting does work, it's a thing of beauty. My six favorite words from a hiring manager are "I have a candidate in mind". Now this doesn't always guarantee a quality hire (and you of course hope that cronyism isn't a factor). Very often however this is the result of a pre-existing relationship, such as an interview with a good candidate who wasn't hired initially, which enables a hiring manager to easily and efficiently consider someone who they already know about and feel will be a strong candidate for the role. It's even better when a recruiter knows the needs of the organization well enough that they have candidates ready to pull out of their 'backpocket' when that appropriate need becomes available. Corporate recruiters who are not overloaded and who focus on specific skill sets, industries, etc. are typically more effective with that approach.

Technology can make this even easier. Jobster's functionality can enable recruiters to both re-engage and invite 'backpocket' candidates to subscribe and be made aware of more relevant opportunities as they become available. I made another hire just last week re-engaging prior candidates from our ATS using Jobster's functionality. This candidate had interviewed with us earlier in the year with another part of the organization. While searching for candidates in our ATS that I wanted to invite to join our talent network, I ran across a candidate who was good, but just wasn't right for the particular job he initially interviewed for earlier this year. I sent him several jobs to review, one of which turned out to be ideally suited to his background and skills. He expressed interest immediately, we brought him in quickly for an interview, and he starts next month.

I start next month with my new employer because my boss-to-be put my resume in his 'backpocket'. He told me that he was going to do that when he let me know that I was not going to be considered further for the position that he initially interviewed me for. He might of had an idea as to what was going to become available in the foreseeable future. I didn't though, and was pleasantly surprised when I got that call from him asking me, "What's your current situation? Are you still interested in us? Yes? Good, I have something that's probably even bigger and better in mind for you this time." A fine example 'Backpocket' recruiting indeed.

So they got me and now I'm in 'short-timer' transition mode. More on that in my next post...

Modified 11:25AM 10/17/06

Friday, October 13, 2006


I've made quite a stir this week, both within my company and externally regarding my decision to move on to a new role. When I joined this company 3 years ago, I primarily did so to work for Gary Cluff, the ultimate corporate recruiting manager, a man that I have known and respected for several years. When I agreed to join his team, we both agreed that eventually my ambitions may outweigh my long-term prospects with this company. Within this last year, I began to get a serious itch to move into a recruiting leadership role. Unfortunately, there is only job one like that at my current employer, and Gary has it. He's not going anywhere for a few more years in all probability, nor should he. The only way I could move up in the near term was to move out.

I've received calls and e-mails about opportunities, I looked occasionally on the ERE and SHRM job boards, but it was always going to be only a truly exceptional opportunity that would take me away from a great employer, a great boss and a very comfortable situation. I narrowed my interest to three words: 'Recruiting', 'Leadership', and 'Maryland'. If I could find those three attributes with a compelling employer, that's what got my attention. I had an interview in the spring with a small non-profit, and even got an offer, but the opportunity just wasn't good enough to merit making a change.

Early in the summer I found a compelling opportunity on the SHRM Job Board. I sent in my resume and had a phone interview. The opportunity was for a Regional Recruiting Manager, based in Maryland, with a focus primarily be on college recruiting, and with an interesting, growing company in a very competitive industry. This opportunity met most of what I was looking for, but as it turned out, I didn't get the job. The Firm's Recruiting Leader said however that he would hold on to my resume just in case anything else should come up in the future. I can't say that I ever expected to hear back from him. But I did. More on that in my next post: "Backpocket" Recruiting

BTW - As if getting a new job this week wasn't enough, I also finally sold my house! We settled yesterday, over 5 months after it went on the market. The stress of changing jobs pales in comparison to the painful experience of selling this house. Getting a new job and selling a house in the same week, as you can see, I do not fear change...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A New Adventure

It has been with mixed emotion today that I started to let people know that I am leaving my current employer for a new recruiting leadership opportunity with another company, starting in November. It was going to take something truly great to take me away from a company and boss that I have the ultimate respect for. A fantastic opportunity that would take me from co-workers and a work environment that I have grown to love. A logical next step in my career that's just not available with my current employer.

I was provided that opportunity with an offer last Friday. This new role is with a national, fast growing firm where I will have leadership responsibility for experienced recruiting strategy as it relates to issues such as branding, technology, process, vendor relations, metrics, etc. My current job is split pretty evenly between strategic and tactical recruiting. The new job is 100% strategic, which is something that I was truly looking for if I was going to make a career move. In addition, my commute will be cut in half, and I'll have telecommuting opportunities on top of that. So as tough as it was to leave a good and comfortable situation in my current job, this new opportunity was just too good to pass up.

Now that I'll be in a strategic leadership role, "...from the trenches" probably doesn't make much sense as a Blog name going forward. So I'll have to think about something more appropriate, any suggestions? Heck, if Heather could do it, so can I, and she'd be happier with out the 'War For Talent' reference anyway :) (Although I still believe there is a 'War For Talent')

The one downside to all of this is that I've just made my current boss's life much more difficult. We were already trying to hire a Senior Recruiter and a Sourcer, and now he has to replace me too. It's my mission to do what I can over the next three weeks to find my successor. I posted the job today over on ERE and we are both hitting our networks hard to find the next great Recruiter to work for this truly great and unique organization. The problem is that everyone we ask is looking to hire a Recruiter for their own team. It is truly a great time to be a Recruiter in the DC Area! So be sure to check out the job posting, and if you are interested, please let me know (local candidates preferred please).

Over the next three weeks, I'll talk a little more about this transition, how I was identified for this role, and what the future may hold for me, and this blog. Who knows, maybe I might be able to convince my new employer to start up a Corporate Recruiting Blog (or something Blog-like). I have a few good ideas around this already. The new adventure begins!

ADDENDUM TO THE DISCLAIMER: As with my current employer, I will not refer directly to my new employer by name on this blog.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New OFCCP Rules Explained

The topic for the October WTPF Monthly Meeting held yesterday was New Rules: OFCCP's Revised Definition of an Applicant. Myself and approximately 6o others listened to Roger Ocampo of OFCCP's Division of Policy, Planning and Program Development as he explained to us in detail the purpose and philosophy behind the Internet Applicant Final Rule.

This has been a very hot topic here in DC with the large number of government contractors that have had to come into compliance with this new rule. Mr. Ocampo did a fine job in addressing the concerns of those in attendance, even if he didn't give the answer that they didn't want to hear. At the very least, he provided clarity on the issue, which is critical at this point as there has been a great deal of overreaction and undue concern over what the implications of this rule are.

Some of the key takeaways from this meeting for me included:
  • Consistency in process has been, and will continue to be, the most important factor in compliance.
  • Many companies don't realize how much technology, including what the job boards are doing to help already, can assist with the recordkeeping process.
  • This rule applies to positions posted on the internet, and the employer's consistency with applying this definition for all posted positions.
  • Basic qualifications for each posted position must be Non-comparative, Objective and Relevant. IMO, this is actually a good thing, for too long, too many job postings have been too vague in their requirements. Drawing a 'minimum-line' establishes consistency in selection criteria as well as screening and assessment practices.

Roger took much of his presentation from a broader presentation posted at the OFCCP website. He is also the author of the FAQ section on the website, which is full of valuable information. The final takeaway for all of us is that he (i.e. the OFCCP at large) wants to hear all of our questions and concerns. It's his job to find cases of discrimination, but the goal of this new regulation isn't to create new cases of discrimination, but to help employers create sensible, objective processes that will prevent future cases of discrimination. Does this rule cause new administrative headaches? Yes. Does this rule offer opportunities for companies to improve their processes, better define their requirements, and create a more consistent definition of an applicant? The answer to that is Yes as well.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Saw It With My Own Two Eyes

Yesterday's Daily ERE Article by Dr. John pronounced Michael Lackaye, formerly of Quicken Loans (formerly? Mr. Homula is also formerly I assume, he seems to of fallen off the face of the earth!), the "World's Most Aggressive Recruiter". I won't make a judgment here of whether or not that is true (unlike Karen and Anthony with their comments on the articles, think they have an axe to grind or what?). I can say though that having spent time with both Michael's, I have alot of respect for their talent and their willingness to 'do what it takes' to find talent.

I had the fortune to actually witness "The Bank Caper" that Dr. John referred to first hand. I had just finished dinner with the Quicken Loans team, and was heading back to the hotel lobby when we noticed this sales conference and what the host company had done to identify their top performers. When we got to the lobby, we saw that the sales conference had adjourned to the hotel bar. I accompanied the Quicken Loans team to the bar for a nightcap, and watched them in action. It was like 'shooting fish in a barrel' for these guys. The salesmen at this conference weren't a target for any opportunities at my company, I was just along for the ride and got to witness first-hand some great Recruiters at work.

According to Dr. John, the networking continued past that evening, and the follow-up resulted in some great hires. Dr. John makes the very important point that those who were hired as a result of the actions by 'The Michaels' made the decision to join Quicken Loans by 'choosing what was best for themselves and their families.' The Quicken Loans team simply took advantage of a situation that was placed right in their lap. Was this necessarily 'aggressive'? I didn't think so, they didn't force anyone to talk to them, they certainly didn't force anyone to accept their offer of employment. They were simply good Recruiters who did their company a great service by taking advantage of an opportunity to hire top performers that were unwittingly showcased by a company that had no idea that there were 'sharks in the tank'.

Where in the world is Mike Homula anyway? Hope all is well with him, and I hope Michael Lackaye does well in his future endeavors as well.