Thursday, June 29, 2006


In my previous post, I proposed that it may now be the time for academic programs to emerge focused on our profession. Is a Bachelor's Degree in Talent Acquisition the answer to legitimizing Recruiting as a profession? No, not by itself. But I do believe that formal education based upon our profession could raise the status and profile of Recruiting over time.

So I thought I would take a look at what my alma mater, The University of Maryland (Go Terps!) already has as course offerings that could fit the degree requirements for a Talent Acquisition Major. I was surprised to discover that the Business School has recently discontinued Human Resources as a major. (Hmmm...this could be our chance!) Regardless, here's a list of current course offerings at Maryland that could comprise the requirements of a Talent Acquisition major.

BMGT 230 - Business Statistics
BMGT 350 - Marketing Principles
BMGT 360 - Human Resource Management
BMGT 462 - Employment Law for Business
BMGT 362 - Labor Relations
BMGT 496 - Business Ethics and Society
BMGT 392 - Introduction to International Business
BMGT 463 - Cross-Cultural Challenges in Business
BMGT 451 - Consumer Analysis
BMGT 351 - Direct Marketing
BMGT 450 - Integrated Marketing Communication
BMGT 484 - Electronic Marketing
BMGT 485 - Project Management
PSYC 424 - Communication and Persuasion
PSYC 460 - Psychological Foundations of Personnel Selection & Training
SOCY 431 - Principles of Organizations
SOCY 460 - Sociology of Work
COMM 222 - Interviewing

The point here is that the existing courses at a school like Maryland could easily provide the foundation for an academic major, one that could provide a core of knowledge for our profession. Additional courses covering subjects such as Assessment and Selection, Research and Sourcing, Recruiting Technology, etc. would all add value and legitimacy to Talent Acquisition as an academic and professional discipline. Not to mention, this could only enhance our efforts as a profession to 'grow our own'. What do you think? Is this reasonable? Is there value to this? I'd love to hear the opinions of others on this topic.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Recruiters of the World Unite!!!

Great article today on ERE by Jeremy Eskenazi. Jeremy wrote on a subject that I've been thinking about quite a bit about lately, that Recruiting is a unique profession and as such deserves a higher profile than it has in most organizations. To win the War for Talent, you need well trained soldiers equipped with weaponry necessary to succeed. You need an effective strategy, you need effective and reliable means of communications, and most of all, you need talented recruiters who understand the essentials of successful Talent Acquisition.

All too often, I hear executives shout that 'Recruitment and Retention is our number 1 priority!' The recruitment function in every organization is responsible for one thing: Bringing highly competent new employees into the organization to make a positive impact on that organization's product, service, bottom line, mission, etc. If what we do is so critical, then why do we not have a higher profile in our organizations? Historically, our profession has been viewed as more of an administrative than a strategic function. We post the ad, send you the resumes, collect the application and process the hire. That view has been changing slowly over the past 10-20 years, but the right now primary responsibility for raising the profile of our profession lies with us.

If there is one thing that I have learned in my career, it is that Recruiters are for the most part Type A personalities who love to connect and collaborate. ERE, EMA, Blogs, local recruiter networks, etc. have all been positive means of facilitating a discussion around learning the basics and the best practices in our profession. Unfortunately, not enough people in our profession take advantage of these opportunities.

Even more so, we do very little to grow our own. Jeremy states that "for people who are new to staffing, this is often a stepping-stone on their way to somewhere else". There are also many in the profession who are 'Accidental Recruiters', who end up in the profession after starting their career somewhere else. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against accidental Recruiters, many of them are some of the most talented Recruiters I know. My point is that in order to be a more established profession, we need to do a better job in promoting Recruiting as a desirable career in itself, a career that the best and brightest want to move into from Day 1.

I've heard talk about developing new Certifications for Recruiters, but I think the educational and development opportunities need to be more formalized and advanced than that. Could it be time for Business Schools to add Talent Acquisition as a concentration, putting it on equal footing with Accounting, Marketing, and Human Resources? That IMO could be the first step in the right direction.

Our profession undoubtedly suffers from an inferiority complex, as Jeremy tells us in his article today. I happened to suffer from that complex a bit myself. Jeremy states that "Recruiting experts should think of themselves as professionals". I agree, but let's not just think of ourselves as professionals, let's take more proactive steps to enhance the view that recruiting as a profession is one that is absolutely critical to the success of any organization.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Blogs, ATSs and Job Boards over Fried Rice

It was 'Cheezhead meets the Beltway Bloggers' (Scott, Tiffany and Me) today at Eat First. The four of us met up at the SHRM Convention, made the short (and rather humid) walk over to Chinatown, and kibbutzed over some good Chinese food.

I've known Scott for a while, and we happen to have an equal interest in Recruiting Technology. In fact, we will be co-presenting at the upcoming WTPF one-day conference, Talent ROAR, this September. It was also great to finally meet Joel and Tiffany after exchanging e-mails, phone calls and blog comments.

We got to know each other and shared some war stories. We discussed recruiting technologies and the local recruiting landscape. I enjoyed the time personally. Collaboration is the best way to learn and grow in my book, and always made even better over a good meal!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Wanted: Boat Captains and Sump Pump Operators

We had just a bit of rain here over the weekend in the DC area. I fortunately wasn't affected too much myself, other than sitting through a couple rain delays at the Nats-Orioles game in Baltimore on Saturday, and having to drive through some torrential downpours and standing water most of the weekend. Others have not fared as well though unfortunately. Downtown DC was flooded in areas, some major roads were flooded out, but I haven't heard anything yet about the rain affecting SHRM (except that Joel's flight has been delayed).

This certainly puts a damper on outside activities for those in town looking to explore, especially since it appears that more thunderstorms are in the forecast through tomorrow PM. Good news though is that there are still plenty of excellent inside entertainment and dining options available just a short cab ride from the Convention Center. A taxi might be the best way too as the Metro system has had some problems from the flooding. So eat, drink and be merry SHRMers, I'll be by for a quick visit tomorrow and hope to see some friends and colleagues there. Now, where did I put that canoe...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Welcome to DC SHRMers!

**Modified 6/25/06, 10:15AM (thanks to Dave and Tiffany for promoting this post)

This week marks the 58th Annual SHRM Convention, which will be held this year in my hometown at the Washington Convention Center. I did the SHRM convention once, but probably wouldn't do it again as I've preferred to stick to the recruiting-focused events put on by ERE and EMA. No matter, welcome to DC to all those who will be coming in for the convention next week. For those of you who may have a little extra time on your hands, or built in extra time to see our nation's capital, I thought I would provide suggestions from a DC native, things that may get you a bit off the beaten path. BTW, Metro will get you most of the places I recommend below.

And boy, does that path get beaten during the summer here (I typically stay away from downtown, too many tourists...). You can do the Smithsonian of course (you don't realize how cool it is to have all these great FREE museums here until you have to pay to get into one in another city). You can also check out some of the monuments as well, but what else is there?

Museums - The biggest crowds of course will be at the Smithsonian, they are some of the greatest museums in the world, but you have other options. One of my favorite museums is actually a paid-admission one. Get your tickets in advance, The International Spy Museum is the coolest museum in town, interactive from start-to-finish, this is one not to be missed. I believe that Careerbuilder is hosting an event next week at the National Building Museum. If you don't go to that event, try to make it to the Museum regardless, another hidden treasure.

Monuments - If you are going to go see the monuments, go at night (with a group). There are less crowds, it will be cooler (it's been quite hot here the past couple weeks), and the views are amazing. Last month, when the CareerXroads Colloquium was in town, I took Carol and Lisa from Yahoo, and Gerry Crispin on a nighttime tour of the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. These memorials are safe at night as there are park rangers there at all hours. You could do the Monuments by Moonlight tour via SHRM, but why tie yourself down when you and some friends could just as easily grab a cab and head to the monuments at night yourself. Another lesser-known memorial is the Teddy Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island, which sits in the middle of the Potomac and is a hidden local treasure. If you make it over that direction, you should also stop by Arlington National Cemetery. In addition to visiting Kennedy's grave and the Tomb Of The Unknowns, be sure to hike up to Arlington House for a breathtaking view of downtown DC.

Restaurants - Here's some recommendations for some great places to eat, most of which I've tried (*), but some of which I only know by reputation:
Jaleo * - Great Tapas
Georgia Brown's * - Yummy Low-Country/Southern fare
Pizzeria Paradiso - Best Pizza in DC
DC Coast * - Excellent Seafood
Tenpenh - Asian-fusion style (same owners as DC Coast)
Lauriol Plaza * - Best Mexican in Town
Cashion's Eat Place - Great Adams Morgan neighborhood restaurant
Tony Cheng's * - Solid Chinese Restaurant: Mongolian BBQ downstairs, Seafood upstairs
Old Ebbett Grill * - Classic DC restaurant across the street from the White House
Ben's Chili Bowl - Almost forgot this landmark, great chili-dogs and half-smokes!
Bethesda Crab House * - If you are going to come to this region, you might as well partake in a regional tradition - a Crab Feast. If you are up for a beer and a bushel, then do it right by taking the subway just outside of DC to the Bethesda Crab House. A hole in the wall that serves Chesapeake Bay-style steamed-and-spiced blue crabs. Plan on a couple of hours, a crab feast is an event in-and-of itself. Don't wear white either, this is messy eating. Nothing better IMHO than a pile of crabs and a pitcher of cold beer. Mmmmm!!!

Watering Holes - It's been a few years since I've explored the night life of DC, but there's a few bars that will always be local favorites:
The Brickskeller - Like variety? How about the World's Largest Beer List! Try the Buffalo Burger too.
The Dubliner - Classic DC Irish Pub
Hawk n' Dove - Historic Capitol Hill Bar

Oh, one last recommendation:
The Udvar-Hazy Center - Got some time to kill before you fly out of Dulles, stop by the new National Air and Space Museum Annex next to Dulles Airport where you can stand next to a Space Shuttle, a Concorde, and a couple hundred other amazing aircraft. BTW, you can take a shuttle bus there from the original Air and Space museum.

If any other local readers have any suggestions, please feel free to add them as comments to this post. For the rest of you coming to SHRM this week, welcome again to DC and enjoy your time in our Nation's Capital!

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Battle of Baltimore

According to an article in The Baltimore Sun this week:
"...experts say that mantras like "war on talent" that were heard during the tech boom of the late '90s are coming back. "
Again, no surprise here that things are as tough in Charm City as they are in DC, the two metropolitan areas have more or less merged anyway over the past 10-15 years.

One thing that the article doesn't discuss in detail however is just how much more difficult it is hiring 'cleared' talent in the Baltimore area, and how much worse it's going to get thanks to the BRAC (the article does make a brief mention of 40-60K new jobs coming to the area as a result of the BRAC). There is a certain government agency south of Baltimore that requires security clearances at the highest levels. People who work there typically live near there, as a commute from DC or Virginia is just too much for most. And unlike DC and Virginia, this agency is the only game in town. As a result, the pool of candidates is extremely shallow to begin with, and furthermore, salaries for talent with these clearances have shot through the roof.

It will only get worse too. As the article mentioned, the BRAC is going to bring thousands of new tech and knowledge-based jobs to the Baltimore area by moving DISA (and other functions) to Ft. Meade and CECOM (and other functions) to Aberdeen Proving Grounds. Adding more jobs to Ft. Meade where there is already a severe cleared talent shortage in the local area is will only continue to oversaturate a market with many times more jobs than people to fill them. Now a commute for some of those who currently work for and support DISA may not be so unreasonable. But Aberdeen is a different story altogether.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds is currently a sleepy Army base on the shores of the Chesapeake. In addition to the Army base, you have three things in Aberdeen: Farmers, fishermen, and Cal Ripken Jr. What you don't have is relevant engineering talent who live in a reasonable commutable distance. Furthermore, although active duty servicemembers currently stationed at Ft. Monmouth, NJ will move to Aberdeen (because they are told to do so), it is unlikely that many of the civilian workers or contractors who support Ft. Mo will be as motivated to relocate.

So, if the "experts" think that the War for Talent is just coming back, wait a few years, the battles have only just begun. At least the Greater Baltimore Tech Council is planning ahead, the MoshPit concept is a move in the right direction.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Congrats to Jason G.

As reported at, Jason Goldberg has been nominated for the 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. I've known Jason for a little over a year now, and have the upmost respect for his vision, his spirit, his energy, and his heart. I first saw Jason (who was raised here in the DC area BTW) when he launched Jobster at the 2005 Spring ERExpo. I had heard about this Jobster thing a few months prior and couldn't wait to learn more. After witnessing the launch, I had to learn more. I met Jason and his team that week, and have been a fan ever since.

Jobster is all about driving the next generation of recruiting technology. It is about connecting people with jobs through the power of networks, it is about pushing job content out to targeted audiences, it is about exploring new and innovative ways to reach out and inform people about opportunities that they may never of thought about considering before. Jason is a true innovator and entrepreneur, and this nomination is a well deserved honor.

His work is not done however IMO. Much of Jason's success has been due to aligning himself with many of the top thought leaders and practioners in the business. I was honored to be invited to join the Jobster Customer Advisory Board last year. Through the board, I have had the opportunity to interact and collaborate with many of the top minds in the business and I thank Jason graciously for that. At the first board meeting in Seattle last year, he wanted to learn about us, our challenges, what we want Jobster to be. My concern then, as it is today, is that Jobster still has not done enough to educate the general public as to what this new paradigm is all about. Jason said that they have no plans to do Superbowl commercials, which is fine by me, but other things can be done to communicate to the masses that Jobster offers a "better way". Maybe the next step is Jason on CNN? MSNBC? The Today Show? Newsweek? Jason does a great job selling to prospective clients, now it's time to sell to everyone else.

So to Jason, my fellow Redskins fan, congrats again, and keep up the great work!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Clearance Crisis

OK, so I am making the case that there is a fierce War For Talent that has been raging here for the past few years and has no sign of letting up. With rock-bottom unemployment, there are talent and labor shortages in a number of industries and disciplines, but where is the pain the greatest? Starting here, and in future posts, I will explore how the industry responsible for providing for our country's defense and welfare is fighting the fiercest battles of all in the DC War For Talent.

As mentioned previously, the number one economic force in the DC area is federal government spending. Since 9/11, the greatest increase in government spending has been in the defense/intel/homeland security sector. Much of the work related to this sector is IT/Systems Engineering-based and/or Knowledge-based (i.e. much of this work is highly technical and/or requires advanced education. As a result, the DC area has one of the most highly educated workforces in the country). Since most of this work in this sector by nature is classified, most of the jobs require security clearances. An individual cannot obtain a security clearance on their own, they must be sponsored for a clearance by a government agency (or via a company with government contracts). In almost all cases, you must be a US Citizen to obtain a security clearance. Once you get sponsored to obtain a security clearance, the clearance itself is processed by a government agency such as OPM, DSS or an agency in the Intelligence Community (IC).

So, it isn't enough that you need to hire a highly-skilled Software Engineer, or Systems Administrator, or Program Manager, but in most cases they need an active clearance, or be eligible to obtain a clearance. Thus, we recruiters are all fishing out of a very, very shallow pool. But it gets worse. Let's say that you don't have a clearance, but are clearable, and are put into the clearance process. From scratch, it can take as much as 6 months to obtain a Secret-level clearance, over 12 months to obtain a Top Secret clearance, and 18-24 months or more to obtain a TS/SCI clearance. Add to that additional 'tickets' which provide you access to even higher levels of classified information, and you can add even more time to the clearance process. In other words, the higher the clearance level, the less cleared talent there is to choose from, and the longer it takes for new individuals to obtain the proper clearance levels.

Why does it take so long, well a number of reasons. First of all, the workforce responsible for processing these clearances is severely understaffed itself. As a result, the backlog of clearances to be processed ranges anywhere from 200K-400K, depending on who you talk to. The clearance process itself is very complicated, often relying on a number of factors which may be out of the investigator's control, including problems with an individual's clearance application itself.

Another major problem has been the issue of reciprocity across agencies, i.e. government agencies accepting each other's collateral clearances. This very issue was supposed to be addressed and solved as a result of recommendations from the 9/11 Commission and resulting legislation. But this issue is yet far from solved. A front-page article in today's Washington Post addresses the issue as it relates to IC agency-administered Polygraphs . This particular issue burns me the most as I have run into it on a couple of occasions myself. You find a perfectly good candidate who apparently has the right clearance level, and the customer you want to hire that candidate to support won't accept their clearance due to the way the candidate's clearance was processed by another agency!

The government has been struggling with this issue for years, and even with new laws that were supposed to fix this issue in the interest of the defense of our country, these government agencies still can't work out their differences and get this right. "The Clearance Crisis" critical and complex issue that I will continue to explore in the future. In the meantime, do be sure to check out today's Post article as it reflects some of the strange and bizarre twists that make the jobs of those of us "in the trenches" more and more challenging every day.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Regional Planning With Legos

First day back from the beach, and what's on the front page of today's Washington Post? Region's Job Growth a Centrifugal Force (free registration required). Good timing for this article as it focuses on one of the topics I will explore in future posts, specifically the sprawl of residential and commercial growth throughout the Washington-Baltimore area, and it's effect on the regional job market.

When one refers to this region, you are really talking about an area that today not only includes Baltimore, but is more and more reaching into Southern Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Richmond and the Maryland Eastern Shore. There are a number of factors that have led to the massive regional growth seen here over the past 30 years, but up until 10-15 years ago, most of the commercial growth existed inside the Beltway. Today's Post article does a nice job in explaining the commercial growth on the fringes of the region and the effect this growth is having on future regional planning efforts. More to come from me on this subject.

Speaking of regional planning efforts, there was one thing mentioned in this article that I thought was worth noting today. This month at the Baltimore Convention Center:

"...300 government officials, business people and civic leaders gathered to discuss how best to accommodate the growth expected in central Maryland over the next 25 years.

Grouped around tables, participants debated where to target future residential and job growth, placing color-coded Legos in the desired locations on a large map. Most groups chose Baltimore and its inner suburbs or inside the Capital Beltway along transit lines in Prince George's -- areas that have a strong infrastructure and that have lagged economically behind much of the state.

But other participants said these hopeful towers of white, blue and yellow Legos in more urbanized areas were out of step with reality. At one table, participants clustered more growth in Howard and Anne Arundel, in acknowledgment of jobs moving to Fort Meade."

Legos huh? Wow, I was hoping that those responsible for regional planning would be using more sophisticated methods than that. Hmmm...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New WTPF Web Site

I crave networking and collaboration. I do that in a number of ways, including a couple local HR/Recruiting organizations such as Project SAVE, Project SAME, and WTPF. My involvement in WTPF harkens back my involvement in the DC-Area EMA 'Chapter' that existed up until a few years back when SHRM decided to break up the SIGs. At that time, I was on the planning committee of that Chapter, and although we were not an official SHRM Chapter, we had SHRM/EMA's backing and were focused on putting on local events, in particular, monthly breakfast Buzz Sessions and Panel Discussions. In the late 90s and early part of this decade, these were extremely popular events, where we were able to pull out 100+ attendees on a monthly basis to share and collaborate in a highly energized environment. It was really kind of a 'Golden Age' for recruiting collaboration in this area.

When SHRM decided that they did not want to support the SIGs anymore, they gave us a choice, either become an 'official' SHRM chapter or affiliate with an existing local SHRM chapter. Neither option was viable as none of us involved had the resources or interest in running a SHRM chapter, nor did we believe that affiliating with one of the several DC area SHRM chapters was in our best interest. Our primary interest was to simply continue delivering the great monthly events that we had been delivering. Eventually, we decided to join forces with WTPF, a separate local HR organization that includes the membership of 120 local companies (including over 1000 individuals). WTPF knew of our success with producing monthly events and was more than happy to add in more recruiting-related content. I remained on the planning committee and we have continued to produce some great monthly sessions, as well as annual all-day events that have also been quite successful. This year, our all-day event is called Talent ROAR (Recruiting, Orientation, Assimilation and Retention), will be held in September, and will have Lou Adler as the keynote speaker. There will be another post about this event in the coming weeks.

This year, I was nominated to join the WTPF Board as VP, Technology. WTPF had been interested for a while in upgrading their website, and someone thought that I could help shepherd that process, and do so to coincide with their 45th Anniversary celebration, which happened to be yesterday. I'm proud to say that yesterday afternoon, we got the new Website launched, and even though it still needs a bit of work, it's a vast improvement already over what was there before. Much thanks to our President, Kim Clark-Pakstys, our VP Communications Liz Alston, Dept. Director Jonathan Bein, Ryan and his team at Ziplex, and Tammy for the time and effort you put into getting this site up-and-running. It's been a rewarding experience for me to see all this come together, and I hope that this will as a result provide our membership with a much improved way to access information that will be of value to them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown

Thanks to The Recruiting Animal for his post about my entry into the blogosphere. Hopefully he'll get my name right someday ;-) He laid down the challenge though to post on a regular basis. I'm not sure if I'll be a daily poster, but certainly plan on contributing at least a few times a week. I do need to update the picture that is out there for me too, maybe time for professional headshot? Eh, probably not, not exactly my style. I'll find something a little better though.

As I have been away on vacation though, it's made me think a little more about what exactly I want to do with this blog. I don't just want it to be a rant about the challenges of recruiting in DC. Most of you probably won't be back if that's all this is. I do hope to keep this somewhat entertaining, interactive and as creative as possible. I've been looking for something to really challenge me intellectually for a while now, and I think this could be just the medium to accomplish that.

Also, big thanks to Jason Davis at for the post about this blog and his five questions. Hope I didn't turn Jason and the boys over there off for not listing as one of my three current favorite blogs. I was truly trying to be honest though. The Canadian Headhunter (aka The Recruiting Animal) just had to stir things up, but picking just three blogs was way too tough! Jason's ERE/San Diego story is true and I one of the cool results of that evening was Jason telling me about Joel Cheesman, who I look forward to finally meeting in person when he comes to DC for the SHRM convention later this month. Thanks again to Jason and I look forward to collaborating more with him in the future.

Friday, June 09, 2006

DC Region Leads Job Growth

OK, one more for the road. Just ran across this article tonight in the local paper. According to a report released Thursday:

The greater Washington, D.C., region has added more jobs in the past five years than any of the other nine most populous metropolitan areas in the nation...

The region...added about 271,000 jobs in the past five years, more than 60,000 more than the next best region, Miami. Four of the top 10 areas — New York, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco-San Jose — lost jobs during that time.

Federal government spending continues to play a large role in driving job growth in the Washington region, Priest said. About $52 billion in federal spending was spread across the region last year, up from $48 billion in 2004 and $12 billion in 1990, he said.

No shock here, but more proof of just how hot the economy and the job market is here right now.

A Little R&R

Start a blog, then go on vacation, great idea, right ;-) Well, timing is everything. I finally got the urge this week to jump into the Blogosphere, upcoming vacation or not, so I had to do it. I'm off to the Delaware Shore for a week, with a quick trip back here for a night in the middle. I'll probably still put a post or two up next week, gotta keep the momentum going.

One thing I hope to accomplish on my vacation is to finish The World Is Flat. I'm really enjoying it so far, but I only get time to read it before bedtime, which means I only get through a few pages a day. I'll have much more time just to sit, relax, and read for the next week.

GO BEN GO (TKIN) signing off for now. (Thanks Jeff!)

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Networking, Collaboration and Best Practices Galore!

One of the great things about my job is I get the opportunity to get out of my 'foxhole' every once in a while and go network and collaborate. Today, I actually was honored to be on a panel of experts at the monthly Project SAME meeting at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD. Project SAME is lead by Bob Corlett, one of the great HR and Recruiting facilitators and thought leaders in the Washington area. Bob asked me a month ago to be on this panel with Mary Vail of CoStar and JJ Heffley of KPMG to help lead a roundtable discussion about what practical strategies are helping us and others to win battles in The War For Talent. I feel honored that Bob thought I had something to contribute and was thrilled to participate.

The meeting was attended by about 30 fellow HR and Recruiting colleagues, and a great discussion ensued. Mary, JJ and I shared some of our best practices, especially around employee referral programs, open houses, and maximizing relationships with our hiring managers.

There was heavy audience participation as everyone was open to sharing what was working well for them. One recruiting manager described the reward structure of their referral program that included rewards that increased in value with every subsequent hire that an employee made. There were several comments around the importance of following up on referrals and rewarding successful referrals at various stages of the process.

One topic that struck a chord with everyone was the success that people were having with posting jobs on Craigslist. Having made a hire or two from there myself, I could certainly relate. The subject came up when Bob asked what job boards were working for people. Silence ensued. Someone mentioned success using a niche job board (which I will certainly check out for myself now), but when the subject of Craigslist came up, the room came alive with stories of success. Amazing how something so simple can be so effective.

Almost everything we discussed however came back to one key component, communication. Effective communication with referral programs, with active and passive candidates and with hiring managers was the real bottom-line key to success in almost every circumstance. Overall, today's Project SAME meeting was a wonderful collaborative event. Thanks again to Bob for asking me to participate. I'm off now to follow up on some leads I got from the post meeting networking. Back to the foxhole...

The War For Talent - DC Style

Over the past couple of years, I have run across several individuals (on ERE in particular) who question whether there really truly is a 'War for Talent'. Although you can argue whether there is an overall labor shortage or not, there is no doubt that there are severe talent shortages in a number of occupational categories, and there are combined labor and talent shortages in a number of local areas as well. The DC area happens to be one of those areas that is currently facing massive labor and talent shortages, with no relief in sight.

One the motivators behind starting this blog was to explore the rather unique job market and overall economy of our Nation's Capital. For one, DC has been relatively 'recession-proof' through the decades in a large part due to the fact that the US Government is based here. The Government is a huge employer, and government spending supports a large and vibrant services-focused government contracting industry. Even during the Great Depression, according to my Grandfather, life in DC wasn't so bad, primarily due to the presence of the Federal Government.

The current War for Talent here has actually been escalating since 9/11. Unemployment is as low as it has ever been (2.9% in Greater Washington as of March '06, 2.2% in Fairfax County, VA, where I work, and 1.9% in Loudoun County, VA), so in other words, if you have a pulse, you're hired! ;-) Again, much of this is driven by government spending, defense/ intelligence/ homeland security spending in particular. There are a number of factors that make Recruiting in this market particularly difficult, and I will explore those in future posts.

But in the meantime, here is a 'boots-on-the-ground' view of the current situation according to a recent Washington Business Journal article titled Too Many Jobs, Too Few People.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Here we go...

Well, I've finally done it. After thinking about creating a Recruiting blog for over a year now, I've just decided to finally go ahead and do it. Why? For one, I love collaborating. I feel compelled to contribute in any way that I can to the advancement of our profession. I certainly don't claim to be an expert, but I hope that this blog will fit in with the exciting, on-going conversation in the Recruiting blogosphere.

After the 2005 Spring ERExpo, I was convinced that I was going to start a Corporate Recruiting Blog. After speaking with thought (and blogging) leaders like Kevin Wheeler and Gretchen Ledgard, I felt that it was the right thing to do at my employer. My employer (who will not be referred to directly in this blog, disclaimer is listed at the end of this post) is a bit conservative however, and the blog never got going. I've been an avid recruiting blog reader since then, checking up on a number of my favorites (see Recruiting Blog list) daily via the RSS feed on MyYahoo. I've had the opportunity to speak with most of those Bloggers, in person or over the phone, and continue to find the collaborative opportunities fascinating and endless.

So this blog will not be a Corporate Recruiting Blog. This is not necessarily for job seekers (although I invite your comments and feedback), this really more to join in the conversation, to offer my insight "from the trenches" as to the challenges and issues we face daily, especially those involved with recruiting in the DC area. I hope also to make this as interactive as possible, so don't be shy, please reply!

The War For Talent is red hot here in DC, so join me "from the trenches", if you dare ;-)

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions on this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of my employer)