8 Reasons Why Employers Need to Recruit Differently

Recruitment is undergoing a change. You can thank technology for part of the change. But much of the credit must be given to social media. The change isn’t just cosmetic or incremental. It’s revolutionary. However and whenever you look at it – Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter – the growth stats and usage is phenomenal. People are talking, 24/7. Word of mouth is spreading like wildfire.

But management at most organizations, particularly human resource professionals and recruiters, fail to grasp the importance of social media and engaging and building talent communities. Why are so many companies not adjusting to this reality?

The primary reason in my opinion is ignorance or as renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow described it – unconscious incompetence. Many senior and middle managers just don’t know what they don’t know. They equate social media to Facebook and Twitter and say “they just don’t get it.” Neither did the leaders in Egypt, Iran, and Yemen and look what happened to them. Social media isn’t just about sharing feelings and gibberish. Beneath all the noise coming from social media is a fundamental change in the way we communicate. And recruiting is about communication. It’s about branding, marketing, and public relations.

A second reason management and recruiters fail to adjust is a mindset that time is on their side. What’s the rush? The experienced leader thinks that he or she has seen things like social media come and go, and the business weathered the storm without being the first to jump on the bandwagon. But that was when we lived in a world where yesterday’s news was tomorrow’s headline. Today we’re talking real time coverage all the time.

Social media is changing everything. Social media isn’t like the keypad replacing the rotary dial on the phone. It’s not about the fax replacing mail delivery. It’s not about the PC replacing the typewriter. Social media isn’t a tiny step of innovation but a giant leap in how we communicate. Social media also highlights how quickly innovations pervade our daily lives compared to just the gradual changes just a few decades ago.

For example, while it took nearly 38 years to get 50 million TV viewers, it only took 3 years to have 50 million tuned into an iPod…and nearly 200 million new members joined Facebook in 2010 alone. Traditional forms and methods of recruiting are becoming the 8-track relics of finding and hiring new employees. The 8-track might still work but no one is buying them.

Let’s get to the point. Social media is not about putting butts in seats. A recent article on the ERE website describes the situation perfectly.

“Social media will not lead to immediate mass new hires or pipeline. It is a vehicle to take people on a journey. A journey that people will board at different junctures. But when reaching the destination, the goal is that they are either someone who wants to work for your company or that they are a Brand Ambassador. Brand Ambassadors are people who may not want to work for you, but they engage in your community, participate in discussions, sing your praises to friends and act as a champion of your brand.” (Source: ERE.net )

The current global recruitment landscape is changing. The Perfect Labor Storm is real – a war for talent is the result. The ERE article offers 8 reasons why recruitment of employees moving forward will never be the same and businesses need to respond to the change today.

1. Talent is geographically mobile and happy to move for the best job;

2. Talent is more demanding, not only in pay but career progression and training and development;

3. The experienced talent pool is shrinking in volume;

4. The convergence of talent, as recruiters fighting in a smaller talent pool attract candidates across different sectors;

5. The graduate pool is scarily becoming “less skilled” as graduates come out of universities with watered-down degrees, ill-preparing them for working life;

6. Talent is less loyal and happy to switch companies every two years on average;

7. Competitors are getting smarter in mapping out talent pools and attracting your staff away;

8. Recruitment agencies are failing to be creative in attracting unique talent to their databases, hence perpetuating “recruitment chess” of the same talent across companies.

The time for pondering is over. Recruitment 3.0 is not coming – it’s here..


This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

5 Steps to Screening and Qualifying Candidates.

With few exceptions, screening candidates has become a major problem for companies these days. An oversupply of unemployed candidates and unhappy workers seeking employment or better jobs is clogging up in-boxes and bogging down productivity.

The deluge of resumes, or what I have been calling the resu-mess, is a problem for small companies. Often the small business doesn’t have a dedicated recruiter or HR manager which means that screening and interviewing candidates diverts attention away from other responsibilities. Spending the time to screen dozens or even hundreds of resumes just isn’t possible. Employee selection then becomes “first come, first served,” and quality and qualified candidates are missed.

Small business is not alone in this resu-mess. Large business is overwhelmed with applications and they too don’t have enough human resources and recruiting staff to manage the process, especially after the recession decimated their ranks.

Fortunately technology and automation has again come to the rescue. No more is an automated applicant processing system too complex and too expensive for the small business. Like the cost of almost anything involving technology, the convenience eventually becomes irresistible and the investment has an almost immediate return on investment.

While many vendors claim to offer applicant processing systems, all are not created equal. Five features should be included in any system if the system is to do what the employer intends it to do – find the most qualified candidates quickly and accurately. To do this, I recommend this 5-point checklist for selecting the right applicant processing system.

1.Applicant dashboard. A hiring manager or recruiter should be able to log into their company APS system and easily access a dashboard. The dashboard should show at a glance names of candidates and date of application, plus additional features I’ll discuss shortly. By viewing this dashboard, the recruiter or hiring manager can quickly determine if current sourcing (Careerbuilder, Monster, LinkedIn, Craig’s List, employee referral, etc.) is working and make adjustments accordingly. 

2.Screening questionnaire. This is likely the second most important feature but biggest differentiator when comparing applicant processing systems – a means to quickly qualify and disqualify candidates. Many systems include the ability to ask qualifying questions. But few allow you to weight and rate the importance of each question. By including this function, managers can quickly scan the dashboard for applicants who scored the most points, narrowing down the candidate list almost instantly. For instance, in this screen capture above, you’ll see that the “Screen Q” field sorts the applicant scores. Management and HR can then agree to pursue applicants with a score above a specific number and pass on the others. Imagine how much time an applicant processing system feature like this saves compared to opening and reviewing every application.

3.Disqualify candidates. Specific questions to qualify candidates might trigger immediate disqualification. This feature, like the questionnaire itself, is the exception in many systems, not the norm. For example, let’s say the job requires licensing, a 4-year degree, or a willingness to relocate. Despite an ad and job description that spells these requirements out explicitly, a company will still receive resumes from candidates who aren’t licensed, didn’t graduate, or won’t or can’t relocate. This is a huge waste of time and pet peeve for recruiters these days. An applicant processing system designed with the recruiter and hiring manager in mind will automatically disqualify candidates who don’t meet minimum requirements. (Note the “YES” under disqualified. A report should also also be generated that hides the DQ candidates from view.) Recruiters can then focus their time and resources contacting and interviewing only the most qualified candidates quickly and efficiently.

4.Status. The system should also have a method to track the progress of a candidate through the selection process. Examples of status levels might be DQ Phone (disqualified during phone screening) or Waiting for Info or Mgr Interview (candidate is scheduled for interview with manager). A report can then easily be run to evaluate the status of each candidate in the selection process.

5.Applicant Notification. One of the most time intensive processes for human resources is responding to all the candidates. An applicant processing system should include an email system that allows the employer to send out automated emails informing the candidate that their application was received, requesting additional information, reminders to complete a pre-employment test, updates on the selection process, and even messaging the disqualified candidates that they won’t be considered.

It has never been easier for people to apply for jobs. High unemployment, rising employee disengagement, and lean human resource departments have only pushed companies to the brink of crisis when it comes to screening candidates efficiently, quickly, and cost effectively. An applicant processing system can help turn the dreaded experience of recruiting a candidate into a routine, productive, and easily managed event.


This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

Employee Turnover On The Rise.

Employee turnover rates will be slightly higher this year compared to a year ago according to the just released Convenience Store News 2011 HR & Labor Study. 

Turnover is nothing new to convenience store retailers. Historically high employee turnover was treated as a fact of life and absorbed almost as a fixed expense. But this year stiffer competition for good workers from other businesses is adding to voluntary and involuntary termination. To become more competitive, many retailers have increased salaries and benefits for their store level workers, according to the study. 

Convenient stores aren’t the only businesses facing higher turnover. Employee turnover at restaurants is on the rise, according to the latest People Report Workforce Index (PRWI). For the first quarter of 2011, the PRWI found that 47 percent of surveyed companies reported increases in hourly worker turnover and 49 percent recorded higher management turnover. 

“We’re entering the era of the disengaged as many employees seek alternatives elsewhere,” said Bob Kelleher, CEO of The Employee Engagement Group. Recent research from Glassdoor.com’s employment confidence survey supports Kelleher’s views.

According to the survey, 73 percent of employees say they will leave their job in the future and more than one in three expect to do so within the next three years. 

Additionally, MetLife’s 9th annual study of employee benefits trends found that employees hope to land a new job in the next 12 months as employee loyalty wanes. “Very strong” employee loyalty, according to the study, plunged to 47 percent from 59 percent just three years ago. 

Kelleher also projected that businesses will not simply return to their pre-recession turnover levels. For instance, if a company’s traditional voluntary turnover dropped from 15 percent to 5 percent, the 10 percent of the workforce that didn’t leave during the past year is now in queue, and will be in addition to the traditional 15 percent voluntary turnover. 

The cost of turnover is expensive. The loss of an employee for any reason hits the bottom line and not in a good way. Replacing an employee not only requires time, money, and resources but it requires more sales to recoup the loss. For example, the loss from just one crew member in a fast food restaurant required the sales of an additional 7,613 children’s combo meals at $2.50 each. A clothing store has to sell almost 3,000 pairs of khakis at $35 to recoup the loss of one sales clerk. 

Convenience stores and fast food restaurants restaurants (as well as every business in every industry) must prepare for higher turnover and employee disengagement as the economy improves and the unemployment rate declines. 

Employee turnover is not a cost of business than can be absorbed. Studies by American Management Association and others report a range between 25 percent and 250 percent of annual salary per exiting employee. While entry-level, lesser skilled positions are at the lower end of the cost range, turnover at these positions cannot be ignored. 

A 2010 study by the Canadian Grocery Human Resource Council pegged the cost of turnover for the front line, part time grocery clerk at $1,300. While $1,300 might not seem like a lot, consider that when turnover is in the mid to high 30 percent range (which it is for many grocery stores), a store has to sell between $32,5000 and $65,000 in groceries to recover that cost (assuming a 2 to 4 percent net margin.) 

The costs of employee turnover however can be tamed by implementing best practice solutions which include honesty and integrity tests, pre-employment personality job fit tests for convenience stores and fast food restaurants (hospitality), and employee training.


This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

7 Reasons Why Employees Fail

If you ask 100 managers explain why employees fail, you will likely get at least 101 different answers. But once you remove all the smoke, mirrors, theories, and old wives tales, there are really only seven reasons. 

1. Lack of Technical Skills/Knowledge. Everywhere you turn these days it seems you read and hear about the shortage of skilled workers and the Baby Boomer brain drain. A lack of skills and experience may prevent a candidate from being hired but is far from the most common reason, an employee is terminated. In fact, most employers seems to be overly tolerant of under- and unskilled employees they like.

2. Cognitive Skill Mismatch. Cognitive skills, or general mental abilities, are playing an ever-increasing role in employee performance. Unfortunately, few employers recognize or understand how important they are. But human nature tends to want to hire “really smart people” even when the job doesn’t require it or the culture support it. That just leads to early boredom and frustration. Just as common a mistake is underestimating the role cognitive skills play when an employee is up for a promotion. A very capable supervisor with average or even low abilities might fail as a manager because the new role requires them to manage a more complex environment and respond at a faster pace. Going forward, more employees will fail if cognitive skills are ignored.

3. Poor Personality Fit. At the core of every human being are key personality traits that determine how people respond to competition, initiative, conflict, flexibility, traditions and organizational policy, large groups of people, mental toughness, curiosity and more. Research shows that these traits predispose many workers toward a “natural” competence in areas such as drive for results, follow-through, detail-orientation, planning and organizing, interpersonal skills and stress management. Mismatches between a proven “best-fit” profile for the job and the individual in the job leads to significantly higher incidences of turnover, poor performance and stress.

4. Poor Behavioral Style Fit. Behavioral styles predict no more and no less than how an individual will behave in the workplace. It doesn’t predict success or competence but the way people will respond to (or ignore) problems, people, pace of the environment and procedures. Mismatches between job and personal styles and inter-personal styles don’t necessarily guarantee failure but do ensure that stress and conflict will eventually show its ugly and costly face. How an individual learns to adapt and a manager learns to respond ultimately determines if harnessing the energy of behavioral style will boom or doom employee performance.

5. Poor Values Fit (Motivation).While people can learn to adapt behavioral styles, adjusting personal values, or motivators, is not so easy. In fact, people generally don’t change what’s most important in their lives without some life-altering event like the death of a loved one, a personal tragedy, starting a family, divorce and so on. When values collide, some people will adjust their behaviors to reduce conflict between other people or the job. But with time, the tension between different values wins out. Workers then decide to leave the job or fight for their cause. In either case, the cost to the employer (and many times the health of the employee) is enormous. Selecting individuals who are motivated by the job and/or company culture is just one way to make sure employees expend their energy on productivity not conflict.

6. Poor Team Fit. While team fit is a very common cause of employee failure, it is really cited as the reason. But it has been my experience and contention that fit on a team trumps job fit any day. A highly skilled employee who doesn’t mesh with the team for any number of reasons either will be driven out of an organization by conflicting co-workers or the co-workers themselves might leave. In either case, the effectiveness of a competent employee will never be realized if he or she doesn’t fit on the team.

7. Poor Cultural Fit. Team and cultural fit may be synonymous for small business. But in larger organizations, a highly skilled individual can become a lost soul if his personal values clash with the culture. It could be as simple as the employee wanting the opportunity to climb the career ladder but the path to do this is reserved for a chosen few. Or it could be the Fortune 500 executive who accepts a position in a non-profit organization. Competence and experience don’t have a chance to shine if the culture suffocates it. More commonly, value differences over faith, politics, or management style can easily turn a high performing employee into a failure.

So there you have it – the seven reasons employees fail. Now the question becomes” what can an employer do to prevent these failures.”

One of the most efficacious things a company can do is match people to jobs, teams and cultures. Hire, promote, and build teams that play to employee skills, behavioral style, motivations and values respectively. Making these good employee job matches requires that managers possess rich and detailed information about their employees and candidates. Pre-employment and professional development assessments are not only cost effective, valid, and legal but also a prerequisite for recruiting, retaining, and engaging employees.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

Managers Don’t Trust Pre-Employment Tests: Why?

Would you hire a candidate if he agreed with the following statements during the interview?

  • I am usually satisfied with work that is “good enough.”
  • It is not necessary to do more than enough work to get by.
  • My anger frightens other people.
  • Sometime you have to lie a little to protect yourself.

Would it surprise you to find out that many managers do say yes. If so, you wouldn’t be alone. Thousands of managers make that decision every day; ignoring the results of pre-employment tests and allowing their egos and gut instinct to rationalize very clear signs of employee behavior danger.

Pre-employment tests enjoy a love-hate relationship with managers. Some managers live and die by the results of a pre-employment assessment test in screening out candidates. Others despise the notion that a simple questionnaire might second guess a hiring manager’s gut feeling about how well a candidate might fit into a job. The fact is that both approaches are flawed.

Hiring ManagerFirst of all, both parties must consider moderation when using pre-employment tests. The die-hard advocates must put the results of these tests in context. No test should be used as the sole determinant in screening out or selecting a candidate. The best formula for hiring is one-third interview and experience, one -third reference and background checks, and one-third pre employment assessment tests.

Alternatively, ignoring employment tests as part of the employee selection process ignores a powerful ally in the search for the right fit candidate. A validated assessment offers an objective third party view of a candidate, often exposing character flaws as well as unidentified potential.

Then we have situations where the assessment results paint a clear picture of a risky hire and the manager’s opinion is called into question.

For instance, I received a phone call just the other day from a manager questioning the results of candidate’s honesty and integrity report. A candidate revealed during the interview that he had been picked up twice during the last year for driving without a valid license. The candidate explained this away by saying he had a mortgage to pay and a family to support. “I couldn’t afford to lose my job,” he said.

The employer interpreted that commitment to his family as a positive value. He questioned why the pre employment test would raise red flags about this individual’s character when he was such a good father and husband. He rationalized away that driving despite a suspended license was still illegal no matter what the reason. He ignored how this candidate might respond again if he lacked the money to pay his mortgage, to put food on his family’s table, or to purchase medications for his children. Would he resort to “borrowing” money from his employer without the employer knowing it? That’s exactly what many employees caught embezzling fund say when caught – “I wasn’t stealing because I meant to pay it back.” What lies would he be willing to tell to protect his family?

If you think I’m exaggerating, consider what lengths one employee working for a Wisconsin business went to “keep her husband happy.” (Hint: she had systematically stolen more than $600,000 from the business over five years.)

While not absolute, the pre-employment test prompts red flags in areas of conscientiousness, hostility, and honesty. The responses on a validated assessment clearly indicate how a potential candidate like the one described above might react if given a choice between family and the law. And yet employers choose to doubt what they read in the candidate’s report despite numerous confirming statements about questionable integrity.

Pre-employment tests can offer valuable insight into a candidate’s integrity, work attitude, and job fit. They are effective and reliable indicators of job fit and future performance. Ignorance is not bliss when hiring employees and pre employment assessment tests can help managers hire smarter.

Learn more about how to hire employees with a positive attitude.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.