Five Reasons to Use an Outside Recruiter

You and your HR staff have brought some great talent to the company over the years. But there are some very good reasons to work with an external recruiter to bring you new talent. Here are my top five reasons:

1. Speed and Focus

You’ll be tapping into a recruiter’s vast network of contacts. A good recruiter has spent years building an extensive network of contacts, the foundation of a successful talent search. You and your internal HR staff simply don’t have the time to build the kind of relationship web that will lead to attracting the very best people. By bringing in a recruiter, you are borrowing an often monumental list of contacts.

2. Credibility

Working with an outside recruiter extends the credibility of your brand. Job seekers sometimes find it difficult to trust an internal recruiter, while they often see an external recruiter as a more objective expert with both parties’ interests in mind. The external perspective of a trusted recruiter can often sway a candidate’s decision between two competing offers, especially if the external recruiter has placed many people with the client. An active candidate often counts on the parlayed experience of others whom the agent has placed at the client to measure things like culture, employee happiness, and internal professional development.

3. High Demand, Low Supply

It’s getting harder all the time to find and retain good talent. In many specialized, highly technical industries, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find qualified talent. Our industry, Litigation Support and eDiscovery (ESI), is a perfect example. According to a recent study by Transparency Market Group, “The U.S. portion of the eDiscovery market was valued at $3 billion in 2010 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.3% from 2010 to 2017 to reach $7.2 billion by 2017 (that’s 240% total growth).”

In this climate of dramatic growth, finding the right new talent requires a focused, concerted, and ongoing effort. That kind of campaign is often difficult for you and your staff, who have to juggle a range of recruiting and retention tasks. Wouldn’t it be better for you to dedicate yourselves to retention? Losing just one key employee can mean thousands in recruiting and retention costs.

4. Relief

You’ll give your staff some administrative relief. Finding the right talent is time-consuming, labor-intensive work. Wouldn’t it be better to pass that workload to an outside agency? And there’s no reason to fear that by handing over administrative chores to an external recruiter, you’ll be losing control of the process. An experienced recruiter will keep you and your staff constantly informed, providing statistical analysis of the process. In our agency, we make a point of developing close, personal relationships with HR, constantly reassuring them we’re working for them and with them. We create a strategic partnership designed to help clients recruit and retain the best people out there.

5. Market Intelligence

You’re also borrowing a recruiter’s inside information chain. A good external recruiter stays abreast of the latest market, industry, and salary trends. By bringing on a recruiter–especially one focused on your industry–you bring that knowledge and expertise to bear on your department’s recruiting efforts. Additionally, recruiters have often represented large sectors of a niche industry and know the backgrounds, secrets, motives, successes, and failures of the talent pool. They know who to present and should also know who not to present.

A Few Hints to Ensure Success

There are a number of good reasons to work with a recruiter. By following a couple of simple rules, you can help ensure a successful partnership.

Don’t try to work with every agency that claims to specialize in a niche search expertise.

In fact, I suggest working with a maximum of two. If you work with any more, you’ll simply be buried in resumes. If competing agencies all know that every agency in town has the search, they will try to get the candidates to you first and fast, rather than right and vetted.

Be sure to research a prospective agency.

Ask lots of questions to be sure you’re getting the expertise and credibility you need. How many people are they placing in this niche per year? Per month? How big is their recruiting team? What is their geographic success rate? Who will manage the process? What is their process? What does the agency pride themselves on? What have been the keys to their success as an organization?

Keep the lines of communication open. If a recruiter is to do the best possible job for you, they need to understand how your needs may change over time. The more transparent and trusting you are with your agent, the more deliberate and expeditious they can be in fulfilling your search needs. Like any relationship, trust takes time. Make sure you use a recruiter who is looking to invest in your success in the long term as well as the short term. Good recruiters don’t just fill jobs; they create smart, sustainable human capital strategies and resources.

How to Fix the American Job Skills Deficit

By Jeff Selingo

America has a skills deficit.

U.S. employers have been saying it for years, frustrated by job openings they can’t fill with qualified workers who even have basic skills. Now a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development proves it in pretty stark terms.

We’re far below the countries who performed at the top in the literacy test, average in problem-solving with computers, and only the Italians and Spaniards are worse in math skills. Most worrying from the results: young Americans did worse than their international counterparts on every measure.

The report is a wake-up call not only to fix our K-12 school system, but to expand our definition of what we mean by education after high school in the U.S.

Here’s the problem: the idea of graduating from a four-year college in the U.S. is so firmly ingrained in our culture that many of us have trouble envisioning anything else. It seems we send some kids off to college because there is nowhere else to put them. The campus is a convenient, albeit expensive, warehouse.

By clinging to the belief that education after high school can be found only at a four-year college campus, we exclude large portions of the American population from sharing in the nation’s economic successes. In 1970, seven in every ten workers with a high school diploma or less were in the middle class; today, fewer than four in ten remain there. More and more jobs demand training beyond high school. By 2020, two out of every three jobs will require some sort of higher education.

We need an expanded notion of what constitutes an education after high school to include more on-the-job training and apprenticeships in addition to classroom learning. In extending our definition of higher education, more attention needs to be given to “middle jobs.” These are positions that do not require a bachelor’s degree, but pay middle-class wages. Nearly half of the jobs in the United States today that put people in the middle class are these middle jobs.

Corporate executives worry more about filling these positions than they do about finding employees for high-end careers in engineering, design, and technology. “We can secure all the grads we need from elite schools,” Thomas Bowler, senior vice president at United Technologies, told me. “That’s not a challenge. It’s the other half of the workforce that I worry about.”

As a result, some companies are taking it upon themselves to educate their own workers, bypassing the higher education system completely.

In rural Macon, Missouri, a company called Onshore Outsourcing trains employees to provide technology services — ranging from software development to application support — to Fortune 500 companies that normally would send the jobs offshore to India or China. About 80 percent of the company’s 150 employees are people who didn’t go to college because they weren’t encouraged to or couldn’t afford it.

Chuck Ruggiero, Onshore’s president, says, “we’re looking for that underemployed worker.” The average salary at Onshore is $30,000, a solid wage in a part of Missouri where good jobs are few and far between.

The process to get hired, however, is demanding. From an initial applicant pool that could number upward of two hundred, the group is narrowed to about thirty through a series of interviews and a test. About fifteen people get into an eight- to twelve-week boot camp of classes designed around problem-solving activities, not lectures. “The idea is to put them on an island and throw them a problem to solve,” Ruggiero says. “After all, that’s the way the real world works.”

A world in which the skill-set of U.S. works is quickly falling behind.

Manufacturing in Ohio

After many years of declines, manufacturing is again driving economic expansion, benefiting more than half of Ohio’s counties that are heavily dependent on the industry, according to a Dayton Daily News data analysis.

The state’s reliance on manufacturing was detrimental during the Great Recession and its aftermath, when more than one-third of Ohio’s job losses were in that sector. But manufacturing jobs are returning, and industry payrolls are growing after many years of declines.

Manufacturing is an important source of high-wage jobs, and it also helps commercial innovation. Some manufacturing jobs — such as those in large automotive plants — are gone forever, and others will eventually disappear, but manufacturing productivity and capability remain the state’s best competitive advantages, industry experts said.
“We are (very) good at it, and you can’t build an economy on something you are bad at,” said Edward Hill, dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. “We are within 600 miles of 60 percent of the nation’s market, which means we have a natural advantage for manufacturing and logistics.”

In 2011, Ohio had about 52 out of 88 counties whose economies were heavily dependent on manufacturing, according to the newspaper’s analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Counties are dependent on the manufacturing industry if 20 percent or more of average annual earnings come from the manufacturing sector.

Indiana had the most counties nationally that met this criteria, with 53 out of 92 counties, followed by Ohio.

Manufacturing accounted for about 31 percent of earnings in Preble County, 30 percent in Miami County and 28 percent in Champaign County. Ohio counties that were the most dependent on manufacturing were Shelby County with 48 percent of earnings and Union County with 44 percent. The sector also accounted for 18 percent of earnings in Butler County, 17 percent in Clark County, 16 percent in Warren County, 12 percent in Montgomery County and 5 percent in Greene County.

Ohio also had more workers, 638,400, in manufacturing in 2011 than all but two other states: California with 1,245,800 and Texas with 835,500, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Manufacturing’s comeback

The state’s economic reliance on manufacturing meant it suffered large job losses during the Great Recession. The downturn decimated the sector.

The average durable-goods industry lost about 11 percent of its workforce between December 2007 and June 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ohio’s economy and the auto industry are intertwined, and many auto-parts companies suffered huge losses or shuttered when total U.S. vehicle sales plummeted 34 percent during the recession.

Among the casualties was the General Motors plant in Moraine, which closed in December 2008, displacing 1,080 workers.

Ohio lost about 341,370 jobs between 2007 and 2011, and about 117,121 of those jobs — or 34.3 percent — were in manufacturing, said George Zeller, an economic research analyst in Cleveland.

U.S. manufacturing employment has trended downward since peaking in 1979, and Ohio even lost jobs in the mid-2000s while the country gained them.

But the recession ended in December 2009, and as the economy reversed course, manufacturing finally made a comeback. Between 2010 and 2011, Ohio gained 49,616 net jobs, and 17,388 (35 percent) were in manufacturing, Zeller said.

“Manufacturing is driving the Ohio recovery, particularly since we have such an intense concentration” of jobs in the sector, he said. “Manufacturing is not only important for its high-wage jobs for Ohio workers, but it is also extremely important because of its large ripple effect on the rest of the economy.”

U.S. manufacturing is in the midst of a revival because fewer companies are outsourcing jobs to Asia because of rising labor costs in China and other countries, experts said. Some companies are bringing jobs back to the states because of cheaper production costs. Auto sales have rebounded, and the dollar’s weakness means American-made goods are cheaper in international markets, so exports have risen.

“With the lower value of the dollar compared to Asia, we aren’t seeing the labor-intensive part of manufacturing return to the state, but the higher-skilled stuff has come back,” said Hill, with Cleveland State University.

Dayton region among best

The revitalization benefits Ohio because manufacturing accounts for about 17 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. The state’s strengths are in manufacturing, and they include large and developed supply chains related to the automotive, air craft, and polymer and chemicals industries, Hill said.

Ohio’s manufacturing industry has outperformed the nation in the recovery. The state’s manufacturing employment has grown 7.6 percent since June 2009, compared to only 2.2 percent growth nationwide, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Ohio has a competitive advantage in manufacturing because of its tax environment, cost of living, central location, skilled workforce and industrial history, said Greg Knox, board chairman of the Dayton Region Manufacturers Association.

“Just look at Dayton, where we have some of the best manufacturing-capable companies in the world,” said Knox, who owns Knox Machinery, a Franklin-based company that sells computerized metal-cutting equipment. “And traditionally, every one manufacturing job has a trickle down effect of providing three to five other jobs.”


What Every Interviewer Wishes You Knew

By Jeff Haden at Inc. Magazine

In the best interviews, job candidates say a lot and interviewers very little – after all, the interview is about the candidate, not the interviewer.
But there are a few things interviewers would like to tell job candidates well before the interview starts.

1. I want you to be likeable.
Obvious? Sure, but also critical. I want to work with people I like and who in turn like me.
So: I want you to smile. I want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship — and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before.)
A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond. You may have solid qualifications, but if I don’t think I’ll enjoy working with you, I’m probably not going to hire you.
Life is too short.

 2. I don’t want you to immediately say you want the job.
Oh, I do want you to want the job — but not before you really know what the job entails. I may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you… so sit tight for a bit.
No matter how much research you’ve done, you can’t know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

 3. I want you to stand out….
A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don’t recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)
The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.
So when I meet with staff to discuss potential candidates I might initially refer to someone as, “the guy with the bizarre stainless steel briefcase,” or “the woman who does triathlons,” or “the gentleman who grew up in Lichtenstein.”
In short, I may remember you by “hooks” – whether flattering or unflattering – so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time or the huge sale you made.
Instead of letting me choose, give me one or two notable ways to remember you.

 4. … but not for being negative.
There’s no way I can remember everything you say. But I will remember sound bites, especially the negative ones – like the candidates who complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, or their customers.
So if for example you hate being micro-managed, instead say you’re eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you’re desperate to escape your old job.
And keep in mind I’m well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I’m getting the best possible version of “you.” So if you whine and complain and grumble now… I know you’ll be a real treat to be around in a few months.

5. I want you to ask lots of questions about what really matters to you…
I need to know whether I should hire you, but just as importantly I need you to make sure my job is a good fit for you.
So I want you to ask lots of questions: What I expect you to accomplish early on, what attributes make our top performers outstanding, what you can do to truly drive results, how you’ll be evaluated… all the things that matter to you and to me and my business.
You know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to you. I don’t. There’s no other way to really know whether you want the job unless you ask questions.

 6. … but only if the majority of those questions relate to real work.
I know you want a positive work-life balance. Still, save all those questions about vacation sign-up policies and whether it’s okay to take an extra half hour at lunch every day if you also stay a half hour late and whether I’ve considered setting up an in-house childcare facility because that would be really awesome for you and your family.
First let’s find out if you’re the right person for the job, and whether the tasks, responsibilities, duties, etc. are right for you.
Then we can talk about the rest.

 7. I love when you bring a “project.”
I expect you to do a little research about my company. That’s a given.
To really impress me, use the research you’ve done to describe how you will hit the ground running and contribute right away – the bigger the impact the better. If you bring a specific skill, show how I can leverage that skill immediately.
Remember how I see it: I have to pay your salary starting day one, so I’d love to see an immediate return on that investment starting day one.

 8. At the end I want you to ask for the job… and I want to know why.
By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so and let’s figure out how to get what you need to make a decision.
If you don’t need more information, do what great salespeople do and ask for the job.
I’ll like the fact you asked. I want you to really want the job — but I also want to know why you want the job. So tell me why: You thrive in an unsupervised role, or you love working with multiple teams, or you like frequent travel.
Ask me for the job and prove to me, objectively, that it’s a great fit for you.

 9. I want you to follow up… especially if it’s genuine.
Every interviewer appreciates a brief follow-up note. If nothing else, saying you enjoyed meeting me and are happy to answer any other questions is nice.
But “nice” may not separate you from the pack.
What I really like – and remember – is when you follow up based on something we discussed. Maybe we talked about data collection techniques and you send me information about a set of tools you strongly recommend. Maybe we talked about quality and you send me a process checklist you developed that I could adapt to use in my company. Or maybe we both like cycling, so you send me a photo of you on your bike in front of the sign at the top of the Col du Tourmalet (and I’m totally jealous.)   The more closely you listened during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.
Remember, we’re starting a relationship — and even the most professional of relationships are based on genuine interactions.



A positive attitude make success easy; a negative one makes success pointless…

If you truly want to be successful, your number one task should be to create and maintain a positive attitude. When you’ve got an attitude of optimism, expectancy and enthusiasm, opportunities grow, and problems shrink.

If you’re a leader, a positive attitude draws people to your side and encourages them to do their best work. A leader with a negative attitude, however, can only compel others to take action through fear.

More importantly, what would be point of being successful if you’re always feeling lousy? With that in mind, here’s how to ensure your attitude stays upbeat:

1. Always act with a purpose.

Before you take any action, decide how it will serve your greater goals. If the connection is weak or non-existent, take that action off your to-do list. Aimless activity wastes time and energy.

2. Stretch yourself past your limits every day.

Doing the same-old, same-old is depressing, even if your same-old has been successful in the past. Success is like athletics; if you don’t stretch yourself every day, you gradually become slow and brittle.

3. Take action without expecting results.

While you naturally must make decisions and take action based upon the results you’d like to achieve, it’s a big mistake to expect those results and then be disappointed when you don’t get them. Take your best shot but don’t obsess about the target.

4. Use setbacks to improve your skills.

Rather than feeling bad if you fail or get rejected, look back at your actions and see what you can do (if anything) to improve your performances. Remember: the results you receive are the signposts for the results you want to achieve.

5. Seek out those who share your positive attitude.

It’s a scientific fact your brain automatically imitates the behaviors of the people around you. (It’s because of something called a mirror neuron). Therefore, you should surround yourself with positive thinkers and shun those who are excessively negative.

6. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

If you want to be happier and make those around you feel more comfortable, cultivate the ability to laugh at yourself. If you don’t (or can’t) laugh at yourself, I guarantee you that the people you work with are laughing behind your back!

7. Forgive the limitations of others.

High standards are important, but humans are, well, human. It’s crazy to make yourself miserable because other people can’t do a job as well as you think you could, or when people don’t share your vision with the same passion that you feel.

8. Say “thank you” more frequently.

Achieving an “attitude of gratitude” requires more than simply being aware of what’s wonderful in your life. You must, and should, thank other people for their gifts to you, even if that gift is something as simple as a smile.