Archive for November, 2012

November 27, 2012

Putting Your Organization’s Focus Back on Recruitment

For the most part the last thing companies make a priority during a period of economic downturn is recruitment.  Organizations are more focused on cost and expense management then the investment into new talent.  The focus during this economic period becomes “doing and getting more with less” – being more productive with less talent.  Most companies continue to simply try to survive, keep their heads above water and wait out the recessionary market.  Unfortunately only focusing on the present and not at all on the future will hurt organizations once the markets move into recovery and then into a period of economic prosperity once again.

Most organizations view their recruitment function as a reactive and transactional function that simply fills their current open positions with talent who are actively looking for a new role.  Most executives don’t understand the impact of recruitment to their future bottom line.  They don’t see the fact that recruitment does not provide an organization with an immediate ROI – the return on the investment of new talent usually takes at least six months to a year before it is ever realized.  The economic conditions are improving and unfortunately most companies are just beginning to look at investing in their recruitment strategy and function once again.  These “late to the party” organizations will be missing out on the opportunity to fully realize the maximum potential and profitability in the better market as they lack the right talent on hand.  They will also be forced to spend a lot more money on their reactionary recruitment practices further diminishing the return.

Luckily we work with a number of organizations across North America who understand the importance of a future focused recruitment strategy and see it as a critical investment rather then a cost.  They see recruitment as a key foundation to their road back to maximum corporate profitability.  These are the companies who are continuing to hire for their key roles with the future in mind – and they are the smart companies who realize the best time to recruit the top talent in the market is during a period of economic downturn.  They have a plan and vision for their workforce and understand their talent is the key to their success.

Think of recruitment during economic downtimes the same way you think of buying shares of an undervalued company in the stock market or buying real estate at a great price in a recession.  Once the market recovers you will be in a position of strength with your assets growing in value.  The most important asset for an organization is its’ talent and now is a great time to be a buyer in an oversupplied top talent marketplace.  Top talent is more actively and aggressively looking for their next role and organization in today’s reality.  They have less and less loyalty to their current organization and have watched their talented colleagues lose their jobs and are thinking they could possibly be next.  Top talent in today’s market will definitely be more open to discussing a new opportunity now than they were in previous years.

For an organization to compete effectively for talent during this time they must have a vision and proactive recruitment strategy in place.  They must have a workforce plan in place to properly assess their current and future gaps in talent across their organization; planning the effective development and movement of their current top talent and identify the skill sets and experience they will need to go to the external market to recruit for.  Once an organization has this plan in place they can begin to build proactive talent pipelines in the external market.  The key component is proactive.  It’s fine if you can’t afford to fill these roles now but it’s is a great time to invest in building your talent pipelines so that you are able to benefit from them six months in the future.  Smart companies have a vision and recruitment strategy in place and are continuing to invest in their talent pipelines for when they are truly needed.

The recession has had an interesting impact on the talent marketplace.  With so many talented people out of work and the obvious limited hiring demand by companies to bring on new talent, many professionals across all skill sets and levels have established themselves as their own bosses and become consultants.  The growth in the contingent labour market across North America over the past few years has been substantial.  More and more talented professionals have realized their limited opportunities to secure permanent opportunities in this market and are focusing on project and contract opportunities that provide them with greater flexibility and work life balance then they have had in years while working in corporate life.  As the economy continues to recover, top talented professionals will become more selective in their opportunities having already gone through the career roller coaster during the recession.

The market is now in the midst of recovery and many in the large market of contingent professional labour have realized the perks of their lifestyle and most will not return to corporate life again.  This is an interesting phenomenon and will force companies to change the way they look at their base of talent from being permanent headcount focused to utilizing a more contingent labour focus similar to the transformation of the Information Technology workforce many years ago.  Companies will see more of their critical roles within Sales and Marketing, Finance, Accounting and Human Resources filled with contingent labour.  Companies will need to adapt their recruitment practices to also include more focus on the talented professionals now only interested in contract and project opportunities.

As our economy continues to move through this period of recovery and then back into the inevitable period of prosperity, organizations will once again need to re-brand and re-establish themselves as a top employer.  The recession has created a media storm of negative coverage of employers with very few organizations being viewed in a good light during this time.  The Employee Value Proposition (reasons why your organization is a great place to work) that was effective five years ago for your company is no longer valid.  You need to take the time to understand what your workforce is feeling and how the recession has changed their priorities in choosing to work for you.  You will need to re-build your employer reputation to effectively compete for talent in this market.

Strategy and vision are terms used quite a bit in times of corporate prosperity and often neglected in times of recession.  Organizations who maintain a forward thinking strategy and future vision especially when it comes to talent will be the ones who succeed in the new economy.  Is your organization a visionary when it comes to talent these days?


Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management Solutions at The Talent Company –  Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices. Simon’s full profile can be found at

Simon can be reached at

November 22, 2012

The Top 2 Metrics of Recruiting that Focus on the Outcome

How many of us in recruiting are getting too caught up in recruitment metrics these days? We seem to feel that having data on every move a recruiter makes will lead to a better recruitment function. Are we focused on too many metrics in recruitment and are we in fact slowing down the overall effectiveness of our function by creating a too heavily measured environment? And do our business leaders really care about all of these metrics?

We need to be concerned with the engagement levels of our recruiters who are in my opinion the most important factor in an effective recruitment function. Recruiters are getting frustrated with the increased level of measures being used to evaluate their performance. They dislike the increased time it is taking them away from core recruiting to provide data inputs used for reporting. We can’t forget about the importance of the engagement of our recruiters and ensuring metrics aren’t becoming a barrier or blockage to successful recruiting. We also don’t want to build an environment for our recruiters that make them feel and perform as if they are working in a call centre.

Don’t get me wrong, metrics can be a great way to tell a story or use to analyze potential problems within a recruitment function but I continue to hear stories of recruitment functions getting too caught up with metrics and spending too much time generating fancy looking reports full of data that they think the business wants to see.

Let’s think of what is important from the business perspective – which should be what is the true outcome of our work and our impact to the organization’s bottom line.  That’s all they truly want to hear from us.  They aren’t interested in the thirty page presentation on how we decreased their cost per hire by 10% or improved the interview to hire ratio by 20%.

Our businesses all feel the pressure from their shareholders, their employees and their customers.  So from a business perspective, my 2 most important measures of recruitment are:

  • Quality of Hire
  • Recruiter Service Delivery

Quality of Hire

This should measure the true outcome of the new hire’s performance and the direct impact to the organization’s bottom line. This measure can be taken in the new hires first 6 months or 1 year. Simply prequalify the primary goals or targets of the new hire with the hiring leader prior to hiring for the role. Did the new hire meet, exceed, or fail to meet these goals or targets. If the new hire exceeded their goals, what was the direct impact to the organization – this is the ultimate outcome and my recommended measure of recruitment success.

Recruiter Service Delivery

This should measure how effective the recruiter was in delivering the recruitment service to their client, the hiring leader. This measure should be taken following the new hires start with the organization and can be done using a simple survey asking if the recruiter met, exceeded, or failed to meet their expectations in terms of process and outcome.  Expectation setting with hiring leaders is a major component of this measure and only helps when measuring a hiring leader’s satisfaction with the performance of the recruiter and the function.  A great tool for recruiters to use with their hiring leaders is a service level agreement which sets the expectations of the relationship and service on both sides.

So the next time you are looking through endless pages of recruitment data, ask yourself is this the data most important to me and the business?


Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment and Talent Management Solutions at The Talent Company –  Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices. Simon’s full profile can be found at

Simon can be reached at

November 6, 2012

Talent Attraction’s Next Frontier: a Partnership with Marketing

Every organization reaches a point where its ability to attract new talent demands a new, creative approach. The old way simply doesn’t cut it anymore, and hiring managers grow impatient. So where does one find new inspiration?

Acquiring talent is undeniably similar to marketing. In marketing, as in finding talent, customers (and candidates) must be engaged, convinced and nurtured before a sale (or hire) is completed.

Ultimately, any organization that is struggling to keep up and compete for talent would be remiss to not leverage its internal marketing expertise. Here are a few marketing themes to help reposition an organization on a path to success:

  1. Create a positive experience every time. Some of the largest organizations in the world spend millions of dollars to ensure that customer touch points are positive – which, ultimately, improves the customer experience and drives up revenue. The same principle can be applied to the candidate interview experience. The consequences of a poor interview experience last far beyond the interview itself, as colleagues, friends and family surely come to know about it. It’s key for organizations to ensure that every candidate interaction is positive.
  2. Use job posting titles to engage. A job title is an opportunity to stand out and engage talent. How can any recruiter expect to engage quality talent with a title as unoriginal as Network Administrator? Organizations should use this opportunity (or “copy space” as marketers refer to it) to educate candidates on what makes the organization unique and sets it apart. For example World Class International Organization in Search of Network Infrastructure Star is sure to get much more positive attention – not to mention clicks and inquiries.
  3. Leverage other channels. Attracting talent these days is so competitive, that in many organizations opportunities remain unfilled for months. However, with the volume of tools and people available, there’s no reason for this! I have over 1,000 connections on LinkedIn, who, in turn, connect me to nearly 1,600,000 people (via extended networks). That’s a lot of extra people to help put an opportunity in front of the right candidate. Don’t forget to engage your extended network and ask for help to spread the word! A word of caution however: reciprocity is key. You, too, must be willing to share opportunities when asked. Another channel to consider is recruitment vendors. They’re an extension of an organization. Just remember that to ensure that they have the right collateral and share appropriate messaging on your organizations behalf.
  4. Create content worth sharing. Content (such as a job description) should do more than just communicate job details. Rather, it can be used to establish brand, convey key differentiators, and elevate an organization as a leading employer – provided, of course, that the content is worth sharing. If so, then one of the most potent and inexpensive ways to spread the word is through social media; especially now that integrated communication features such as Share, Like, ReTweet and Pin It make it effortless for people to share compelling content.  
  5. Repeat and schedule updates. Another great social media feature is the ability to strategically position content in front of a target market when they’re most likely to read it. Many social media aggregators make it easy to schedule and repeatedly distribute content. It’s like running a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl because the content is distributed to a targeted and engaged audience. And best of all, it’s free!
  6. Build and foster communities. A well-developed community engages people and allows them to remain connected to an organization’s brand. Communities come in different forms and sizes, including simple LinkedIn groups and Facebook pages, to comprehensive alumni programs that provide key market updates, attract new talent, and foster new business leads. A well-maintained community builds brand awareness, creates interest, and can be a fantastic source for new and engaged candidates.
  7. Conduct market research. Prior to entering a new market or launching a new product, organizations conduct research to understand market influences, identify obstacles to success, and discover how to best position their product or service. Talent attraction can certainly follow that lead. It amazes me how often talent is described as “one of the top two most important assets for an organization,” and yet it’s rarely given the same resources and budget as a marketing strategy. Market research enables organizations to gain insights on what influences and motivates top talent to consider new career opportunities.

While each of the themes above are beneficial, frankly, the only way to measurably take recruiting to the next level is to embed the principles of marketing within every aspect of an organization’s talent attraction strategy. This includes identifying, engaging, nurturing, and onboarding talent.

Of course, all of this begs the question: “What about organizations that lack the required marketing resources, or whose marketing department barely helps out with simple branding initiatives — let alone all of this extra talent attraction stuff?”

This is a valid concern and common challenge. To find an answer, I consulted a number of marketing leaders within my network. All of their feedback boiled down to this: talent attraction functions must do their homework, build a business case, and convince leadership that it is a worthy investment for additional marketing resources and budget.

In addition, organizations are wise to socialize what they want to achieve by seeking the advice of marketing leaders – because they likely know how, and how not, to proceed. At the same time, bringing marketing leaders into the conversation helps build early consensus and support, which is typically a deciding factor to the executive who will (or won’t) be releasing the additional budget.

In conclusion, although the global economy remains weak and millions are out of work, organizations around the world continue struggling to find qualified talent. It’s a big problem. Traditional methods of attracting talent are becoming less useful, and so the need for a different approach is growing. And on a humanistic level, how we interact has also evolved as social media empowers the average person to become more collaborative, bold and influential as opinions are voiced live and with a global reach. One poor interview experience with a candidate, and hundreds — if not thousands — will know about it in a matter of days (sometimes hours).

What this also means is that the close alignment between marketing and talent attraction needs to be more prevalent – and not just to avoid negative candidate feedback, but as a means to better understand and engage hard-to-find talent tactically and strategically.

My opinion is that we hit an inflexion point a while ago, and that talent attraction’s next frontier is clearly a partnership with marketing.


Joe Minaudo is Practice Leader, Strategy & Transformation with The Talent Company, a management consulting firm with the capability and proven experience to advise clients on a variety of complex human resources related challenges. For more information regarding The Talent Company, please visit or via email at

November 5, 2012

Recruitment services firm Solara Search hires Lesia Tomkins as Senior Search Consultant

Markham, Ontario, Canada – November 5, 2012 – Solara Search announces today that recruitment expert Lesia Tomkins has joined as Senior Search Consultant.  Ms. Tomkins comes to Solara Search with a deep network and expertise in attracting talent within the human resources space.  More recently, she has worked closely with organizations to identify and engage top sales, marketing and finance professionals.

“To have a recruitment expert as well respected and accomplished as Ms. Tomkins join our firm is a real coup,” says Rehana Doobay, Chief Executive Officer of Solara Search’s parent, The Talent Company. “Our organization has become a hub for some of the best HR talent in the industry. Lesia will be a tremendous addition to an already impressive group of professionals and associates here at Solara Search.”

Lesia’ s success spans across a number of industries and areas within HR including those that are often the most challenging in which to attract talent.  This includes compensation and total rewards, HR systems implementation and bilingual payroll professionals.

“I am incredibly excited to have Lesia join Solara Search,” says Joe Minaudo, Practice Leader, Strategy & Transformation with The Talent Company. “I have worked closely with Lesia in the past. With her unparalleled ability to forge strong relationships and deliver value for clients, she will add clear capability to our already high performing search team”.

Lesia Tomkins assumes her role as Senior Search Consultant effective immediately.

Solara Search is a recruitment services firm that enables organizations to achieve real value and real results through the identification, engagement and acquisition of top talent. Clients benefit from a range of services, each uniquely designed to target and address complex talent acquisition challenges.  At Solara Search, our belief is that organizations gain greater value for their recruitment spend by enlisting only the services needed, not based on a single source approach.

Solara Search – Real Value. Real Results.


Joe Minaudo

The Talent Company


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