My Headlines


We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason

Aug 19, 2009

August 2009 Vermont JobReport


The July job numbers showed positive signs that the worst of the economic downturn may be behind us. Let's start by looking at the statewide job posting numbers.

In July, the total number of openings posted on JobsInVT grew to 970, which is up nearly 12% over June. Year over year, however, job openings posted in July decreased by 36%.

161 Vermont Employers advertised job openings on JobsInVT in July, the same as in June, but up nearly 60% from January which had the lowest number for the year.

As you would expect, the number of job seeker visits to the website continues to be on the rise, increasing from 170,000 unique visits in June to 175,000 in July.

Now let's take a closer look at the job specific data. As usual, the largest number of job openings in July were in Chittenden County, which posted just over ONE THIRD of all job listings. Of interest, though is the sharp rise in jobs in Windham County, where nearly 25% of all job opportunities on were located. The steepest decline was seen in Lamoille County, which has dropped by nearly TWO THIRDS since May.

Strangely, both Salaried and Hourly positions saw slight declines in July, offset by an increase in Commission and Salary plus Commission openings increased nearly 40%. FULL TIME job openings continue to be strong, representing more than 55% of all postings, though down slightly from July. Part Time and Per Diem positions are on the rise, showing significant growth, doubling from June to July. These data points indicate that Vermont employers remain cautious.

The question on most peoples' minds, of course, is what jobs are out there? The trend over the past few months has continued, as job openings in Non Profits, Education, and Social Service sectors lead the pack. As Vermont businesses work to break out of the recession, it appears they are also investing into customer facing positiong as well, with many opportunities being posted in sales and customer service fields. On the decline in July, were Hospitality and Retail openings, down from their primary hiring season in the Spring.

A positive trend for July is the increase in Professional Services, Insurance, and finance postings. These are perhaps the strongest indicators that the tide may be turning, as they represent higher paying jobs that are dependent upon confidence in the market.

That's your JobReport for August 2009, I'm Jason Blais saying thanks for tuning in, and reminding everyone that while you're working for the things you want, to be grateful for the things you have.

Aug 17, 2009

Aug 14, 2009

Job Sites and The San Francisco Gold Rush

The final two months of 2008 resulted in a precipitous decline in job posting activity on our site as the economy began to tumble off the cliff, to paraphrase Warren Buffett's sentiments. Since the beginning of 2009, I've been focusing my attention on identifying and developing new programs and services that will add value to the users of our company's web service- namely HR professionals, small business owners and managers, recruiters, and job seekers- in order to stay relevant and viable.

Regardless of which rocks I look under, the hard fact is that anything which we develop will be related to a job market that is a shadow of what it was 2 years ago. Indeed, when the market was booming, it was easy street in the employment advertising sector- between 2004 and 2008 the number of online job boards increased from around 30,000 to over 100,000 due to the huge demand and growing value of web-based advertising platforms. Everyone with a dream of making it rich in e-commerce, it seemed, was staking a claim in this vast space, with our without strong business plans or depth of knowledge in this market.

It makes me think of the San Francisco Gold Rush of the 1850's. Back then, plain folk from all over the country (and even from overseas) packed up all their worldly belongings and set out to find gold and strike it rich. Very few of these "miners" had the knowledge or know-how to mine effectively; many, in fact, failed to even make the distinction between real gold and other, less precious minerals. At the time, though, the feeling was that it didn't matter what you knew- anyone could do it. All you had to do was dig around, sift through some riverbeds, and one day, your time and effort will pay off.

Today, anyone who can put together a little HTML and set up PayPal and Google Adsense accounts seems to have packed up their belongings and hitched their wagon to the job posting rush of the mid 2000's. And similar to the Gold Rush, very few possess the depth or breadth of knowledge that is vital to providing a lasting and reliable resource in this market.

Personally, it's sad to see all these new job posting sites popping up that simply scrape postings from other sites, ensure they are search engine optimized, and hope for some free money from the Google ad links that they paste all over the place. They're trying to get rich off the backs of real businesses who are working tirelessly to help employers find the best candidates available, and help job seekers access real, legitimate job opportunities.

Which takes me back to my focus of 2009, and some recent developments that may be coming down the line. In addition to an increased curriculum for our HRCI Certified webinars and seminars, we are working to find new ways to help the users of our site be more successful- whether that be by finding great candidates, or landing the job of their dreams. We've already added CareerTV, a very well produced service that provides tips and advice to help job seekers improve their resumes, interview success, and other career search activities. We've also partnered with Kennedy Information to deliver premier level services to job seekers willing to work with placement professionals.

Next on the horizon, we're looking at adding some punch to our Company Spotlights by perhaps adding some audio. The thinking here is that this will give employers a second dimension to engage job seekers, and really allow the personality of the company to shine. We're also exploring outlets to share the labor market data we accumulate in a format that will help job seekers better evaluate the employment landscape.

Now I'm beginning to feel like a blowhard. Really what I'm trying to convey is that good business is based on increasing the value you present, not on merely making a better package. I'm a firm believer that by doing good, we can all do well. In our industry, doing good means helping people and employers be successful.

When it comes down to it, the value of any business is most accurately measured by the trust of its customers. Sometimes I feel like an old fashioned fuddy-duddy, still clinging to basic business principles of a bygone era, while the youngin's wrap empty solutions in slick online marketing, and reap short term gains. Then, I remember that despite the speed of development and information sharing, long term business success must be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint.

Jun 25, 2009

Internal Company Email Exposed

Upon reading this internal communication, I realized just how much negative press has been devoted to exposing the dark underbelly of corporate greed through the acquisition of private and revealing emails. Rarely does one encounter a news bit that begins with, "Our station has acquired a copy of the internal email...", and is followed by a feel-good or uplifting story. Normally, this type of exposure ends in a story about some type of insidious and greedy business practice that serves only to put an ugly face on capitalism and corporate culture in America.

Not today. Today, I'm sharing an internal communication (used with permission), that shows the humanity behind a good business. I've acquired a company email that sheds light on the good people who are remaining positive and seeing the silver lining, despite significantly adverse business conditions and the depressed economy. Earlier this year, the leading recruitment resources in ME, NH, VT, and RI rolled out a free program to help employers who are forced to reduce staff this year. (I shared this in an earlier post, which you can view here.) While this program was created to assist those in transition, provide a valued service to employers, and keep the JobsInTheUS brands top of mind, it's clear through the following email that the program is truly a reflection of the people of this company.

The following email was written by Robert Ayers and sent to the entire company at JobsInTheUS. Ayers is responding to a communication highlighting the work performed by the company's outreach and education coordinators, which includes presenting workshops at private companies, state career centers, and trade associations to people who have been recently laid off, or are about to be. As you can imagine, the climate of these workshops can be quite somber, and the outreach and education coordinators do their best to build optimism while sharing real-world advice on how to launch a successful job search. Here's Ayers's email:

That’s great info for our sales talks once we get our contact on the line, just to find out they are laying off their employees and in some cases friends and family members. I mention this service daily, and in my conversation with my contacts, they will typically ask how the recession has changed my (JiUS) business. I remind them of this….although it looks bleak from an employer perspective, I myself have literally helped thousands of honest, hard working local people find jobs. This may not pay dividends in my commission check, but as always, it will open their hearts to the good that we do as a company in their community and state. Aside from all the negative publicity on the news today, we do a great service for our respective states. Let’s give a big shout out to Caleb and Steve, how depressing has their job been lately????? You guys ROCK! Thanks!

Robert Ayers

Senior Account Manager

Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must acknowledge that this is the company I work for. And I am so proud. You see, in our industry, recruitment advertising, we sit on the front line of the economy. Months before the national news was ready to report that the economy fell off the table, we saw companies freeze their hiring, not fill open positions, and begin to contract. For our sales staff, this has truly been a difficult year, calling on long term clients who are holding off on their recruitment advertising for the first time in a decade. Imagine spending your days calling to ask companies about their recruitment needs, and listening to well-established businesses explain how they're facing layoffs for the first time in their 40 year history, or how they're closing their doors after five good years.

Despite this difficult climate, our business remains strong, which I attribute to our core mission of helping to connect qualified local job seekers with quality in-state jobs. In the face of severe adversity, we continue to keep our chins up and focus on the good effect our work has on our communities. Thanks to Robert Ayers for allowing me to share his comments.

Every company has a good story to tell, and there's never been a better time to share yours.

Have a good story to share? Please share your comments, we'd love to hear it!

Jun 19, 2009

A Two Billion Dollar Secret

Why would you want to keep a two billion dollar industry a secret? I hope the answer is that no one would want to, but that sometimes these things happen. The aerospace and aviation industry represents a two billion dollar piece of the Vermont economy, and employs thousands of Vermont residents...who knew.

Part of my job as Director of Business Development with JobsInTheUS is to identify and develop strategic partnerships with key organizations to support our state-specific recruitment resources for employers and job seekers. The vast majority of hires that any company makes over the course of a year is from a local candidate. That is, businesses will only pay relocation costs for a very, very small percentage of hires made. With our business model focused on the local market, these partnerships are one way to ensure we're promoting great businesses to job seekers across the states we serve.

Recently, we reached out to the Vermont State Chamber of Commerce to find out if there would be an opportunity for a strategic partnership. Thanks in large part to the vision and drive of Chris Carrigan, VP of Business Development for chamber, we have created a powerful and engaging relationship to support specific industry sectors across Vermont. One of these is the newly formed Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association. Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie developed this organization in partnership with the chamber with a mission to help build awareness of the amazing business and employment opportunities that Vermont has to offer. Dubie was raised outside of Burlington, earned is BS in Mechanical Engineering at UVM, was a fighter pilot in the Air Guard, and worked for Goodrich Aerospace in Vergennes, VT. Clearly, this is the right man with the right perspective to move this mission forward.

came in to the picture to support the workforce development side of this mission, and to provide the exposure for the great employment opportunities in this growing sector in the state. A customized job portal has been created for the VAAA, giving job seekers access to the job openings available within their membership. At the open house on June 18, I was asked to speak to the membership, and was slotted just after the general manager of Goodrich and the chief engineer from Sikorsky- not bad company. I felt compelled to drive home the importance of self promotion within the industry to help build awareness of the great businesses across the state. While most people are aware of Goodrich and Sikorsky, who know much about Aviatron, Mansfield Helifight, or Vibration Solutions? These are just a few of the high paying, dependable, forward thinking employers based in VT who support international aviation and aerospace giants.

Like the national economy, regional economies are dependant upon confidence in the market place. I urged these businesses to be bold in their self promotion, vocal in their small successes, and active in their community. I've spoken with numerous lifelong Vermont residents who had no idea how large or how viable this sector was in their state. A state that has deftly built a reputation as a dairy capital of the world, as a maple syrup mecca, and as a land of lush mountains for recreation. Through our work with the Vermont Aerospace and Aviation Association and the VT Chamber, we hope to help build the awareness of this sector, and promote the excellent high-paying, future-oriented careers that are a key to Vermont's future.

Jun 8, 2009

The Social Media Expert: Modern American Carpetbagger

I have been bombarded over the past few months by email solicitations to attend presentations or webinars, buy books, and contract consulting services from "leading social media experts". As someone who regularly spends time in the Social Media world, I've learned just enough to know when people are selling me snake oil. I've also gained just enough insight to know which questions to ask, and to identify very questionable proclamations made by these s0-called experts.

With such a new resource, can there truly be any EXPERTS in this area? I would say the answer is absolutely not. There are many who have more experience than others, but even the most experienced "social media expert" has less than a decade under their belt, and for the first half of that time, the landscape was completely different. In truth, what we're seeing is people with expertise or experience in related fields quickly assigning themselves the title of Undisputed Heavyweight Social Media Champions of the World (boxing fans, you know how to read that aloud)!

At it's essence, this is the same model of carpetbaggers in America at the end of the 19th century. Before we move on, here's a quick definition from Wikipedia (bold and italics added by author for emphasis) :

The term carpetbaggers was used to describe the northern Republican politicians who came South, arriving with their travel carpetbags. Southerners considered them ready to loot and plunder the defeated South.[1] Although the term is still an insult in common usage, in histories and reference works it is now used without derogatory intent.

In modern usage in the United States, the term is sometimes used derisively to refer to a politician who runs for public office in an area in which he or she is not originally from and/or has only lived for a very short time.

This seems to hit the nail on the head. As people move into the new social media space, particularly when they're focused on business development, they are coming from somewhere else, bringing their past expertise, morals, and life lessons with them. This is critical to understand, as you encounter or explore working with an outside vendor to help develop your social media strategy.

Where did they come from?

What preconceptions are they bringing with them?

What do they know about YOUR business environment/market?

Are they truly more qualified than your internal resources?

Before attending workshops, purchasing white papers, or paying a consultant with social media expertise, be sure to execute your due diligence. Here's a few ideas to consider BEFORE you enter a relationship with a "social media expert":

  1. Identify your own 30,000 foot view of what a social media strategy should be.
  2. Include a list of results of this activity you expect to realize- 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years out.
  3. Define internally your WHY- why are you doing this, why is it worth your time and money?.
  4. Determine who your internal auditors will be- who will be reviewing the strategy to ensure it's the right plan for your company.
  5. What are 2 or 3 or 4 absolute MUST HAVE's for an outside consultant? (3 plus years industry experience, proven results of 3 or more successes with different businesses, 3 plus years experience with using a specific platform such as facebook, experience with online video, web design, etc, for example)
  6. How much autonomy and control are you willing to give over to an outside consultant. That is, will they lead and you follow, or will you work collaboratively to build a strategy.
I've included these only as a starter to get your think tank juices flowing. The list of due diligence questions you'll assemble will be specific to your company, your internal resources, and your goals. By starting out with this self exploration, you'll be better equipped to wade through the bog of experts to find your Bacopa amplexicaulis!

To get an idea of just how overwhelmed the social media landscape has become with so called experts, I include the following link:
GOOGLE Search Results for "Social Media Networking Expert"

Jun 4, 2009

The HR/Recruiting Scourge of Blandness!

Sent to me by Robert Ayers, Senior Acct Mgr for JobsInME, from Peter Weddle's recent newsletter:

The Scourge of Bureaucratic Correctness

There is today a scourge of bland communication oppressing the performance of corporate and staffing firm recruiting teams. While social media have captured their imagination, the vast majority of recruiters continue to rely on job postings-placed on commercial job boards and in the Career area on their own sites-to reach and reel in top talent. And the content of those postings is so dull it would put a brick to sleep.

Jun 3, 2009

Two Sentence Job Ads Online?!

As a director with the leading online recruitment resources in New England, I've reviewed literally thousands of job postings over the past five years. While the use of internet resources, such as JobsInME, has become the norm across the country, both in urban areas and rural, many people writing the ads are still writing for print. That is, they are using abbreviations, are condensing their sentences, and (apparently) trying to conserve space.

The newspapers had been training advertisers toward this behavior for the past 100 years, rewarding them with cheaper advertising for taking up less space. As they say, old habits die hard. If your company is currently hiring, go online and take a look. If the ad is any shorter than 10 sentences (or the equivelant with bullet points), you need to rethink your strategy. Online resources give employers unlimited space and formatting options to put their best face forward in hopes of attracting the best possible candidate for every position. Regardless of what title or pay grade you're trying to fill, making better hiring decisions affects productivity and therefore your profitability.

When you take a look at your company's job postings, remember this one point: On AVERAGE, a job seeker will review 5-7 postings per visit to a job board, and spend less than one minute per posting. Just because you've posted your means neither that everyone looking will click on it, nor that those who do will care enough to apply. Here's a simple test to assess your posting's curb appeal:
  • Perform a search using the category you're hiring for, or similar key words.
  • Compare your job title to all the others. If you were to only open 5 postings, would you be compelled to open yours?
  • Next, print off 5-7 job postings for similar jobs and lay them down on your desk next to each other.
  • If you were a highly qualified candidate- very likely currently employed elsewhere and just looking to see what was out there- which job postings would you be most likely to apply to? (Read that as, "which job postings are you most likely to polish up your resume for, lie to your boss and use your paid time off to interview for?")

If your company's job postings don't jump off the table as the best opportunities available, you have room for improvement. There are lots of ways to make a job ad better, but the first step is to do away with the habits of the past. Spend the time to craft a job advertisement worthy of the time and attention of the best available talent. Remember, Talent Acquisition applies to every single job in your organization. Take the time to show your audience that you care about the quality of your next hire, and you'll see the quality of your candidates increase.

Jun 1, 2009

Tired of Staff Who Just Don't Care?

Tired of Staff Who Just Don’t Care About Your Business?

The hospitality industry has historically seen one of the highest turnover rates of any industry. While a large part of this is due to the seasonality of many businesses, a lack of attention to the hiring process is also a major factor. The hard truth is that this turnover affects your bottom line- whether through cost of running job ads, overtime paid to cover the missing staff, or lost revenue caused by diminished quality. This last issue, quality, is perhaps the most important of all. From front desk, wait staff, and bellhops, to banquet managers, sales managers, and spa staff, every interaction your employees have with a customer or guest affects their view of your quality, and therefore your value. High turnover can sour your employee engagement company wide.

An employee’s attitude can have the single biggest affect on a patron’s decision to return or to recommend your business to others. Because of that, making good hiring decisions- employees who fit into your culture and care about your business- is a critical factor of your success. And it’s a factor that most often gets the least attention. The fact of the matter is that you really CAN make better hires with just a little effort and focus on specific details. Here are some very basic tips to help you make better hires for every position in your business:

  1. Identify and Define Your Unique Workplace Culture. Are your staff all business, or are they like a family? Do your employees really appreciate any specific benefits or perks that are unique to you? Do you always try to hire from within? Are you a group of perfectionists? Do you have a competitive workplace, or are you supportive of each other?
  2. Communicate Your Culture In Your Job Ads. Remember, every new hire will have to work within your current staff. Retention of new hires is directly impacted by how comfortable they feel in your workplace. To attract a better fit, include copy about your culture and work environment so that you’ll attract people who want to be part of your company, and aren’t just looking for a job.
  3. Engage Candidates During the Interview. When interviewing candidates, paint a very vivid and real picture of your culture and your expectations. Clearly relate how this person’s position fits into the business, and the importance of having the right person in that role. Provide a brief history of the business- the good, the bad, and the ugly- to build the candidates understanding of who you are.
  4. Focus on Soft Skills! It is much easier to identify hard skills than soft skills. Many hiring manager fall into the trap of hiring by matching hard skills to the needs of the job. That is, when hiring a dishwasher, the focus is on dishwashing or Hobart experience; when hiring a banquet coordinator, the emphasis has been on event experience. You will have greater success in your hiring by focusing on soft skills and fit. If you can hire people that are motivated to work for you, and will fit into your culture, training them on your processes is easy. Trying to train someone who has the right hard skills to fit into your culture and care about your business is much more difficult.

Using an online recruitment resource provides you with two major benefits over a sign in your window or print advertising. First, it delivers your message to a much larger audience of people who are actively searching for jobs in your area and industry. Second, you have much more space to write up your job ad to attract better candidates, and unlike print, there’s no additional cost for larger ads or more color. In fact, it really is up to you to raise the bar for candidates. Set your expectations higher, and promote why the best available talent should work for you.

Dealing with careless, thoughtless, or unmotivated employees is a headache. Thankfully, this is a headache that you have the power to heal. While it may not seem so, there ARE great candidates out there who will become your next great employees. Make an effort to attract a higher quality, and make that headache a thing of the past!

That's the view from the Recruiting Front Lines.


May 26, 2009

HR Is In Charge! ...Now What?!

What would happen if top VP or Director of HR became CEO?


May 18, 2009

Staffing Up in a Down Economy

We are all on the same path...finding ways to do more with less. It is widely known that workforces are becoming leaner and leaner, while most are still faced with maintaining and even growing market share and productivity. It seems like an impossible task: reduce the number of people working for you, and increase your revenue. Unfortunately, as markets have become more crowded and competitive over time, most businesses have routinely been increasing expectations and output of their workforces to drive profits. Because of this well-established culture, economic belt-tightening has proven to be even more difficult than in times past. We ALL ran lean operations BEFORE the economy started its decline. So where exactly do we go from here?

Staffing Up in a Down Economy
The Auxiliary Workforce Plan
by Jason C. Blais

I believe the first step on the path toward success is to look within. That doesn't mean we need to set up meditation schedules and personal reflection time, though those aren't bad ideas, but rather that we need to figure out just what our companies are made of. Specifically, what skills our workforce is made of. I am willing to stake my reputation on the fact that there are employees working in all our organizations today who have valuable skills that we are completely unaware of. That is, our current employees may present us with the skills we need to operate lean and thrive while other businesses merely survive.

There are numerous studies available that provide statistics on the dollar-value of engaged employees, and the damages caused by bored ones. For access to a number of these reports, visit SHRM, and type "engaged employees" or "bored employees" in their search engine. You'll find volumes of surveys and articles to this point.

Figure 1 The Life Cycle of an Employee, Used With Permission from SHRM

Through careful and thoughtful analysis of the skills that are required to carry out your business functions and the ancillary or unused skills present in your workforce, you can begin to build engagement while operating more efficiently.

During staffing reductions, either by layoffs or attrition, there is often a work gap left behind by the departed employees. That is, when a company lays off one person, it is common that some portion of the work that person performed must still be completed. Customarily, this work is picked up by the remaining employees, adding a sense of increased burden to the insecurity they are already feeling. We have an alternative to this process, however, which can have a splendidly counter effect- increasing our employee engagement and sense of security. It's what we call the Auxiliary Workforce Plan (AWP).

Essentially, the AWP provides the roadmap to identify, develop, and utilize untapped skills and talents present within our current workforce. Through this mechanism, we can provide interdepartmental and cross-functional opportunities to our employees, which lead to stronger engagement, and better overall understanding of our business. For the employees, it manifests professional development, resume building, and increased variety in their day-to-day job activities. This is truly a win/win practice that will provide the greatest benefits when the economy is at its worst.

Fundamentally, the premise is rather simple. First, we identify skill sets associated with each job function within our company. Then, identify secondary and tertiary skills that our employees have, but do not use in their primary job description. When staff levels are reduced, we can now examine the work gap created, in terms of job functions, and identify which skills we need to complete those tasks. Next, we simply match up the necessary job functions with the right employees based on the skills sets needed and available. Okay, maybe it's not exactly SIMPLE. Here is a scenario that may provide a clearer picture:

While it has been a regular practice to follow this philosophy- in this example adding 12.5% of work to your surviving staff- without offering a pay increase, it has also proven to hurt employee morale and enagement. Through the AWP, a business can identify unused skills across the workforce, and match those skills with orphaned job functions. This process broadens employees' understanding of the business, and provides a greater variety in the day-to-day work- two key factors to increasing employee engagement. Additionally, you can avoide overburdening the remaining staff by simply adding more work for the same pay.

While developing an Auxiliary Workforce Plan can be time consuming, the short- and long-term benefits are significant. The process of surveying our workforce to uncover the auxiliary skills can, in itself, generate excitement and engagement from our workforce immediately. Over the long-term, a well-developed AWP provides our company with engaged, productive, and dynamic employees, which leads directly to increased profitability. The AWP also gives us an added dimension in our recruiting and hiring process, as we uncover those latent skills during the interview process, providing us with a better view of how a candidate can contribute to all facets of our business.

This information was collected, developed, and shared by Jason C. Blais, Director of Business Development,, at the 14th Annual Maine HR Convention, under the JobsInME University program.

The following excerpts are used by permission from the Society of Human Resource Management:

From "Bored Employees Found To Damage Organizations"
By Kathy Gurchiek, HR Magazine, March 2008
  • Bored employees are less satisfied with their jobs, finding them less challenging and poorer matches to suit their skills. In addition, they are less innovative and feel less valued, he stated.
  • Employees with more than 10 years’ tenure with the same employer reported being overworked or bored more often than those with zero to two years’ tenure with the same employer.
  • Moreover, they want and expect jobs to be more than just sources of income; they expect them to be stimulating and fulfilling. Yet this need is clashing in many cases with the relentless industrial pressure to drive down costs, which seems to involve controlling aspects of employee work with ever greater precision.

From "15 Ways To Train on the Job, In a down economy, trainers turn to homegrown help" By Kathryn Tyler, HR Magazine, September 2008

  • Instead of hiring external consultants, turn to the real experts: your own employees.
  • Highlight internal talent.
  • Implement job shadowing.Create or expand formal mentoring.
  • Develop teachers throughout the organization.
  • Cross-train. Employees who have more than one skill become more valuable and flexible.
  • Host interdepartmental conferences.
  • Give job rotation assignments.
  • Develop training projects. On-the-job training projects and “stretch assignments” give employees a chance to learn while doing real work, not just hypothetical classroom exercises.
  • Create an online bulletin board, e-mail discussion list, blog to share best practices & ask for help.

NH Human Resource Professionals Come Together!

The Granite State Human Resource Conference's 2009 Human Capital Summit took place on Tuesday, May 12, in Manchester, NH, attracting nearly 300 professionals in HR, nearly 50 exhibitors, and a dozen or so sponsors. This year, the conference offered more HRCI credits than ever before- with a PHR or SPHR able to pick up 6.25 recertifications hours, and GPHR able to pick up 3.25. The day of professional development and networking was punctuated with a moving keynote speach by Bert Jacobs of Life is Good talking about the power of optimism.

After the 2008 conference, I was asked to join the volunteer board that organizes this event, and accepted a position as the Information Management Chair. Indeed, being part of the process this year has truly changed my perspective on the event. What I had seen as a one day event, which I really looked forward to, has become the culmination of so much work from my peers that it I now see the day of of the conference as a relief. Relief that it's finally here. Relief that our hard work paid off. Relief that I could take a month off from thinking about it... or almost a month. Beginning in a few weeks, we'll be working hard at putting together the pieces to execute the 2010 conference.

However, before we move ahead, it's good to take a moment to look back and appreciate the highlights of the 2009 Human Capital Summit. We were able to offer a very well-received variety of presentations, including:
'Managing your Talent out of the Gate; Trends and Best Practices'
‘What is a Green HR office?’
‘What is your Brand?’
‘Retaining and engaging the Older Worker’
‘Surviving a DOL Audit’
‘Workplace Whitewater’
‘20/20 Employment Branding’
‘How to Use Technology but not Feel used by Technology’
‘Strategic Development of Sustainable HR Policies’
‘The ABCs of Total Compensation’
Aside from the great sessions, there was a great amount of energy, enthusiasm, and camaraderie all around.


May 8, 2009

Yahoo! News Story - Layoffs slow to 539K in April; jobless rate rises

Layoffs slow to 539K in April; jobless rate rises

Yahoo! News

May 7, 2009

Why HR Rarely Develops the Employment Brand

(Reprinted from the Employment Branding Best Practice Exchange on LinkedIn)
After speaking with more than 100 HR professionals over the last year, I've found that very few develop or feel they control the employment brand. At first, this appears to illuminate a broken system. It seems logical and intuitive that the people who spend the most time dealing with the employees, and focused on the employee/employer relationship, would be the exact right folks to build and manage an employment brand. So why isn't this the norm?

I have come to believe that there are three very common realities that take place once a company makes a thoughtful decision engage in employment branding. Each of these three, in my opinion, creates less than ideal situations which negatively impact the value and return your EB realizes. I'd be interested in thoughts from this group on whether or not these seem to be accurate representations of reality, or if you can share ideas on how to avoid this pitfalls.

Here are the three most common scenarios I've seen first hand, and the obstacles created by each:

Once the idea for an employment brand initiative gains support and agreement, senior managers (particularly CEO's, GMs, and Marketing Directors) feel compelled to guide and direct the brand- to put their stamp on it, if you will. The power and control is taken away from the HR professional, and too much emphasis gets placed on how the company will market the brand. This emphasis leads to a contamination of the brand, as efforts are made to make the brand "look good" and fit into a pre-determined definition. Of course, we all know that brand loyalty and penetration is directly related to brand integrity. This practice most often leads to a rift between the brand you use to attract candidates and the reality of your workplace.

The decision is made to outsource this work entirely to an advertising/marketing agency who promotes an employment branding specialty, but who's experience is truly in the consumer branding realm. This is common with companies who lack one or more of: internal resources (labor hours and/or creative/design competencies), understanding of the process to build the brand, and confidence in internal ability to do the job right. My company is an HR vendor, so I will not bad mouth this world or the enormous level of talent and expertise in it. However, creating this disconnect between HR and the outside agency can demotivate internal experts to engage in the process and offer their best effort in supporting the agency. The other drawback to this practice is often that the agencies are unable (not unwilling) to really get to the heart and soul of your true employment experience. It has become second nature to managers and employees to say nice things to outside vendors, either because of fear of being caught saying anything negative, or out of a sense of duty to put on the best face possible.

3) SHORT ATTENTION SPAN (I should have listed this one first, right?):
While buy-in and engagement are promised by the management team, it is quickly swept aside, and the resource support is never provided. This happens more often than any other. After a compelling presentation and proposal to the management team, GM, or CEO, you are able to generate widespread understanding of the value of employment branding, and support. Then, when you need to fill a position or hire an outside consultant for some creative work or analysis or SEO, there are no funds provided, and the req's are denied. The expectation becomes that you, and you alone, will somehow take care of this initiative... in addition to all the other work you already do. This unrealistic circumstance makes it nearly impossible to put the time and effort in initially, and even more difficult to sustain it through completion. What began as a great initiative which you proposed and presented, has become an unmanageable burden to you. Can you spell frustration?

Apr 30, 2009 Partners With the Vermont Chamber of Commerce Partners With the Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Vermont's #1 Recruitment Resource Forms Strategic Partnership With State's Largest Chamber of Commerce, Offering High Growth Industry Portals, Discounts and Webinars to Members

BURLINGTON, VT--(MARKET WIRE)--Apr 30, 2009 --, Vermont's leading recruitment resource, has entered into a strategic partnership with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, giving the 1,300 member companies access to the best employment advertising resource in the state at a significant discount, plus high growth industry portal links to key industry sectors.

"In partnership with, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce is promoting jobs that exist in the high-growth sectors of Vermont's economy. As we look ahead, it will be important to grow and promote those sectors that will create the jobs of tomorrow," said Chris Carrigan, VP Business Development, Vermont Chamber of Commerce. "The tailored job portals with will help to accomplish this."

Vermont Chamber of Commerce members will have access to JobsInVT's monthly employment snapshots and industry leading online seminars on recruiting and employment branding.

"Local partnerships are key to our business as we continue to connect great Vermont businesses with the best local candidates," said JobsInVT's Director of Business Development, Jason C. Blais. "The Vermont Chamber is leading the way in promoting business opportunities within the state, and this will be a natural and mutually beneficial relationship."

The strategic partnership was developed under the JiVT Connects program, building local partnerships to reinforce JobsInVT's connection with Vermont's employment market. For more information about this program, please contact Jason C. Blais, at, or toll free at 877-374-1088 ext 2069., launched in 2002, hosts 160,000 unique visits monthly, generating more than 800,000 page views every month, and provides job seekers with access to more Vermont based career opportunities than any other resource.

Steve Dodge
Director of Marketing and Sales
Email Contact

Apr 29, 2009

Attracting the Best Candidates for Every Position Every Time.

Winning the War for Talent
Employer career fair tips for attracting the very best candidates every time for every position in your company.

The following tips have been culled from literally thousands of conversations with job seekers at career events. If you are serious about attracting and engaging the very best candidates, be sure to discuss and promote the following items.

Information about the mission and history of the company
  • Provide job seekers with a short history of your organization, highlighting important dates, changes in ownership, and any plans for growth or expansion.
  • Share the mission statement of your organization, then provide examples of how that mission statement "lives" in your daily activities and culture.

Organizational Structure and Career Advancement
  • How is your department structured?
  • How many supervisors are there, how many managers?
  • How does your department fit into the organization as a whole?
  • What opportunities for advancement exist? (Be prepared to share an example of someone who has moved up within the company)

Detailed Job/Department Description
  • If you are able, share a brief "day in the life" schedule for your department to give candidates a better idea of what it will be like to work for you.

Summary of Traditional Benefits
  • Be prepared to share a list of traditional benefits that you offer (broken down by FT, PT, and Seasonal employment if relevant).
  • Be as specific as possible regarding amount of paid time off, enrollment periods, and employee costs of benefits.
  • This is best provided as a one-sheet take away, and the presenter should have a good knowledge of these issues if questioned.

Perks (non-traditional benefits)
  • Aside from traditional benefits, discuss the perks you offer such as free meal with 8-hour shift, uniform service, flexible scheduling, paid overtime, etc.

  • How much training is provided?
  • How is it structured? (job shadowing, supervisor led, ongoing, etc.)

Structure for Performance Reviews and Pay Raises
  • If you have a formalized process for performance reviews and pay raises, be prepared to share this. You want to attract and hire the very best people available. The very best people want to work for a company that will recognize and reward them for their effort. This is a very important piece to discuss, and the most often overlooked.

Apr 26, 2009

Social Media Bucket #1: Social Networking

In today's edition of the Recruiting Front Lines, I'm concluding my 3-part series on the three primary uses of the social media platforms. As I've previously written, I have found that all social media platforms and resources fall into one or more of three buckets: Social Networking, Professional Networking, and Information Sharing. I have already written about the latter two, and have heretofore been reluctant to complete my three part series. It's really no wonder, considering how little time and experience I have dealing with Bucket Number One, Social Networking. I feel compelled to acknowledge up front, that this is the area of social media that I know the least about. To provide a more thoughtful and complete analysis of this bucket, I've turned to a valued expert, Shawn McGowan, Social Media Marketing Coordinator for

I believe it's safe to say that social media came into the world in the form of social networking sites which quickly gained popularity as a way to connect with other internet users across the world. Most internet users are now familiar with MySpace and Facebook, which have been the Coke and Pepsi of the social networking world, though there are truly many RC Cola's out there. Other platforms that perform primarily as social networking resources include Friendster, Xanga, and Classmates.

Before we go into the business value of social networking platforms, let's take a look at just how these sites work. In almost every case, a user is directed to creat a personal profile that will include some level of required personal information, such as zip code, name, and birth date. Users are encouraged to provide additional data such as favorite types of music, interests, education, etc. Once the profile is created, other users can performs searches, based on a number of criteria, to find like-minded profiles, and then request to connect. Often, networks start off small, by emailing friends and inviting them to join your network to stay in touch. For people who have moved often in their lives, or travel often, this is a great way to stay in touch. These networks encourage online chats, sharing of likes and dislikes, reviews of movies or music, and other similar types of exchange between "friends" to facilitate ongoing dialogue and communication. That's the gist of it, anyway. There can be much more to it, as much as you want to put into it, in fact, and these resources continue to grow quickly.

It's my assertion, however, that in the business community social networking sites have very little direct value. That being said, many feel that businesses should be very attentive to these networks, as McGowan expresses:
As far as services like Facebook and Myspace and their practical application in marketing and corporate branding, I feel that while LinkedIn may be a great outlet to meet business contacts and discuss relevant issues, this is where the real candid conversations about products and services take place between friends and loved ones. It is important for brands to be present in these conversations even if it's only to listen and react. More and more companies are taking the initiative and engaging their audience at this level to varying results.
While he makes an intriguing point for the value of social networking, businesses must tread carefully, as mis-steps in these arenas can be harmful to their brand. McGowan goes on to say:
Users can be hesitant to accept new contacts from outside their circles.
Unlike a business and marketing focused community where most information is positioned to be seen by the most users, social groups on networking services like Facebook are more often closed to the public with privacy settings making these clusters much smaller and exclusive. The reality of parents, grandparents, bosses, and community leaders having access to people's personal lives is bound to cause a shift in the way they conduct their online lives and to be more cautious of who they let into their networks.

In my opinion, there is no better place to see first hand the profound effect that the advent of social media "groundswell" has had in placing the power of consensus, power in numbers, in the hands of the general public. Instances where companies like Amazon, who recently stripped all LGBT books of their sales ranks on their site making them difficult to be searched, or Microsoft as they tried to collect a percentage of the severance packages they had paid to former employees, being forced to right the situation or at the very least just address it promptly are becoming more familiar. Causes, petitions, protests, boycotts of all types trend regularly on social networking services and proliferate in this fertile soil. The buzz of the online community is now too loud to ignore.
I understand McGowan's point of view on Social Media Bucket Number 3, though I have spent very little time engaged in these social networking platforms. I can see the power and perspective that can be gained by businesses who sell direct to consumers. For these companies, social networking platforms can offer tremendous market research and facilitate brand awareness.

Maybe it's my age, but I truly don't see myself engaging in social networking sites, other than to have a Facebook account so I can keep track of my daughter's network. And just to be up front- please don't bother trying to friend me, I pay no attention to those requests, and have no desire to build my network beyond my daughter. Indeed, I feel quite blessed to have a full life and wonderful family. Perhaps it's because of this that I have no desire to engage in social networking sites. As a professional who routinely works 50+ hour weeks and travels a few overnights every month, the time I have to spend with my family is far too valuable to spend it online trying to find internet "friends" or build my network.

But, hey, that's just, like, my opinion. ;)

Apr 21, 2009

Abstract from 20/20 Employment Branding

Abstract from 20/20 Employment Branding:

Employment Brand Defined
In this session, we'll talk about creating and leveraging a "brand" to increase your recruiting success. We'll identify the strategies that are used in marketing and advertising to attract customers, and apply them to the goals of attracting the best possible candidates. So, instead of building a consumer brand focused on selling your products to customers, your goal is to develop an effective employment brand focused on promoting your business to attract the best possible candidates for your culture.

Effective Brands

WHAT Does a Body Good?
You're in Good Hands with WHICH COMPANY?
Like a Good Neighbor WHICH COMPANY is There?
WHAT are Forever?

Each of the examples above speaks to a simple and effective consumer brand. They have a distinct message that can be conveyed in very short statements, and through marketing, they have impacted the way we feel about their products. Milk is good for you. Allstate has great coverage. State Farm is your local insurance provider who is there when you need them. Want a gift that will last a lifetime... you guessed it- De Beers diamonds ARE forever.

When an employer can establish, communicate, and reinforce an effective employment brand, they will realize an increased stream of applicants better suited to their work environment, which in turn leads to an increase in employee retention. Many key factors that influence an employee's decision to stay with an employer.

A brand can generally be defined as the sum of all characteristics and distinguishable features associated with a good or service – its unique personality. Brands are comprised of logos, images, slogans, and features of the good or service, along with all the supporting communication and promotion of these items. Simply put, a consumer brand should be built around the customer experience; therefore, an employment brand needs to be built around your employee's experience.

Identifying Your Unique Employment Brand

Establishing an effective brand in the consumer market requires a company to understand what drives consumer behavior. Likewise, in order to establish an effective employment brand, a company must understand what drives employee behavior.

One essential and oft-ignored necessity of branding is identifying the current reality of your situation, not what you wish your situation was. If the branding is not absolutely true and consistent with your business today, it will not be effective and will not last. In fact, a false brand will have negative effects, and cause resentment among your current employees. For example, you can't promote excellent opportunities for advancement if you don't make a regular practice of promoting from within...

I will be presenting a full workshop on developing an employment brand at the 2009 Human Capital Summit- from creating the brand identity to measuring brand penetration. You can register for this workshop at the official website, here.

Apr 17, 2009

Resume 411 From Guest Blogger Debra Wheatman

Thanks to Debra Wheatman for sharing this excellent article on the truly important issues to consider when creating your resume. Whether or not you're currently looking for work, this is definitely worth the read!

Drafting an effective résumé is key to contributing to a successful job search. Oftentimes, the résumé is the first thing a hiring manager reviews to determine your suitability for a potential opening. This first (and lasting) impression is critical; putting your best foot forward in creating a highly accomplishment-driven document will go a long way in ensuring that you are contacted. There are a number of things that should be considered to ensure your résumé works to your advantage:

Results - Everyone has responsibilities as part of their job. That does not engage or capture the reader though. It’s fairly boring to read ‘Responsible for…’ and whatever it is that you do on a daily basis. The key component is to provide the reader with an example of something you did that generated RESULTS for your employer. Consider the following acronym: SAR. This stands for Situation, Action, Result, and can help you define on paper what the situation was, the action you took, and the result that will demonstrate your ability to deliver. If you do this throughout your résumé, you will set a positive and proactive tone that you are a committed and productive individual who is able to serve as a change agent for a company.

It’s all in the Words -
Using compelling verbs will serve to engage your reader. Try to come up with different verbs to lead the bullets or sections of your document. Avoid using the same words over and over again. The résumé is a marketing document. You need to take a step back and think “What would I think of this if I saw it for the first time?” Try to get inside the mind of the hiring manager. You want to impress and engage someone. Actionable word choices will help you do this. Some good résumé verbs: Spearheaded; championed; aligned; delivered; implemented. You get the idea – these words present a call to action.

Presentation -
While ‘content is king,’ presentation plays a part in the recipe. People like to look at things that look nice – résumés are no exception to this rule. Your résumé should be presented in a consistent manner on the page. Ensure that the margins are aligned properly. Choose an appealing font like Book Antiqua in 10 pts. or something a bit stronger like Tahoma in 9.5 points. There are many fonts out there that hold more appeal than the totally boring Times New Roman. Once your résumé is complete, print it. Don’t just look at it on the screen. Printing it will give you a better sense of how you are presented overall.

Rules about Grammar and Spelling - If there are two things that will send your résumé straight to the circular file it is grammar and spelling mistakes. I recognize that we are not perfect – but, and there is always a but, your résumé must be perfect. If you know that this area is not your strong suit have someone else review it. It is also a good idea to have someone else look at it because the more you study it the less likely you are to catch small things that a fresh pair of eyes will capture. The Little Blue Book is a great resource to help with myriad grammar issues. Not sure how to spell something? is there to help. Need another word for managed? No problem – check out for synonyms. There are countless resources right at your fingertips. Gone are the days of heavy books; the online world allows access to the most inconceivable information, which you should use to your advantage.

The Downlow on Hobbies -
Leave hobbies off the résumé unless a hobby for you is completing an Ironman Triathlon or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Simply stating that reading or running is a hobby is not very compelling. The hiring manager will learn about you in time. However, the aforementioned triathlon and climb is certainly of greater interest than reading books. In addition to being an icebreaker, which can set a personal tone to the meeting, those things also demonstrate a unique spirit and other traits that set you apart from your peers. The perseverance, commitment, and dedication needed for those things warrants referencing on the résumé. If not something really unique, leave it off.


Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is the founder and Chief Career Strategist of, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries. Debra is also the CareerDoctor (

Debra can be reached at

Simple, Memorable, and Thought Provoking

Simple, memorable, and thought provoking. Those should be the three keys to creating a tagline specific to your employment brand. Also, keep in mind that your employment brand will be viewed internally as well as externally. To this end, slogans will serve to remind your employees what they like about working for your company and therefore, will be effective and lasting. Work with a group within your organization to develop your logo and slogan or tagline. Remember, "good enough" truly isn't good enough. You'll want to take enough time that you are absolutely positive that you have the best copy, that it conveys the message you want, and that it is memorable. Once you make a decision to launch an employment brand, you'll have to be dedicated to sticking with it for a significant length of time without making any changes.

Changing Your Appreciation Progams? Be Careful!

Over the years, I've worked for many companies who put on great employee appreciation events, and many more who offered referral bonuses when they were hiring.

Few, however tied these programs together to clearly communicate and reinforce their Employment Brand. If you're going to put in place an incentive for your employees to speak with their friends and family about working for your company, you should ensure that your core values and unique programs are top of mind, and clearly understood by all. Again, as I have written several times, your values must be in line with the reality of your environment to ensure brand integrity, and ultimately brand loyalty.

When we consider changing recognition or appreciation programs in our company, we always closely examine how it will affect our ability to hire great people. As an extension of that, we explore how it will affect the retention of our current staff, and what potential word of mouth "advertising" they will bring to their communities.

Aside from offering the highest compensation in the land, a company's REPUTATION is the most important element to attracting applicants. Our company has built a reputation for fast growth, casual atmosphere, engaged employees at every level, and flexibility to generate, develop, and execute new initiatives. Our perks are very much in line with this reputation, and serve to reinforce our employer brand. Some of our special perks include Bring A Dog to Work Fridays, employee driven All Star Awards with photos on the wall, and company outings the local Triple-A baseball game, or a harbor cruise.

Even when times are tight, as they certainly are now for most companies, we understand that any changes we would make to these unique and special perks would impact our ability to retain and attract great employees in the future.

What special perks does your company offer, and how well do you connect them to your Employment Brand both internally and externally?

Apr 14, 2009

My Blog Elevator Pitch (for a tall building)

First, a word of thanks to the MaineHR Cafe for giving me this great idea. You can see the MaineHR Cafe elevator pitch by clicking here. As I read that recently, I was reminded that it's important to routinely share the motivation, purpose, and hopes associated with a blog to let help new visitors and subscribers understand the intended perspective.

Here's a go at why I write the Recruiting Front Lines, and why you might care to read it or subscribe:

For than a decade I have have worked in marketing, sales, and advertising for media companies. In January of 2004, I joined, the umbrella of state-specific recruitment resources which now includes the leading resources (most job postings, events, and in-state traffic) in ME, NH, VT, and RI, along with growing presence in AL, CT, LA, MA, MS, NY, and PA.

Starting in 2005, I was charged with building and managing a field marketing program that was focused on reinforcing our local focus by engaging job seekers and employers in the community. Through this activity, we have presented workshops at career centers and colleges, developed HRCI-accredited seminars and webinars for employers, promoted our brand at festivals, trade shows, and job fairs across our markets. Last year alone, we exhibited at more than 250 events in New England and the Gulf Coast.

While I captured a significant amount of market data for use in our sales and marketing, I had no outlet to share the qualitative information I was getting from front line managers, HR admins, job seekers, career counselors, and business owners. I started the Recruiting Front Lines as a way to record and share the stories, news, and trends that I was hearing first hand from both seekers and employers.

Over the past year, I have become much more involved in the HR community, and have found myself building a focus on employment branding, social media for HR, staffing management, and other recruiting/hr focused issues. I still attend many events, and continue to broaden my awareness and knowledge of the labor market from those most closely and directly affected by it every day.

Okay, so I've never been one to be pithy or short on words. I hope this provides a good view of why I write and why I do what I do. Please feel free to visit often or subscribe to my feeds. If you know of someone who would be interested in following along, please share the link.

Best Regards,


Apr 12, 2009

Mobile Thoughts on Employment Branding

It crossed my mind recently that employers should pay very close attention to which companies are hiring employees away from them. These companies represent your market competition. Two things you should be asking yourself:

1. If you are losing top talent to one specific competitor, why and what can you do about it?

2. Are you also hiring away top talent from you competitor, or is this a one way street?

There's really no way around this simple truth: Great companies are built by great employees.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Apr 9, 2009

RFL: Building Your Bench from Unused Parts

(Continued from an article posted on April 8, 2009. Click here to see Part 1.)

Through careful and thoughtful analysis of the skills that are required to carry out your business functions, and the ancillary or unused skills present in your workforce, you can begin to build engagement while operating more efficiently.

During staffing reductions, either by layoffs or attrition, there is often a work gap left behind by the departed employees. That is, when a company lays off one person, it is common that some portion of the work that person performed must still be completed. Customarily, this work is picked up by the remaining employees (see scenario below), adding a sense of increased burden to the insecurity they are already feeling.
Consider this theoretical scenario, and please share your thoughts on how common, or uncommon, this practice is within your company.

10 people can do 100% of the work for a department.
  • On average, each person is responsible for 10% of the work.
Staff is reduced by 20%, while production is rolled back by only 10%.

80% of the original staff must now complete 90% of the original work.
  • Each person is now responsible for 11.25% of the work- a 12.5% increase.
Normally, there is no bump in pay provided to the remaining workforce.

There is an alternative to this process, however, which can have a splendidly opposite- increasing our employee engagement and sense of security. It's what we call the Auxiliary Workforce Plan (AWP).

Essentially, the AWP provides the roadmap to identify, develop, and utilize untapped skills and talents present within our current workforce. Through this mechanism, we can provide interdepartmental and cross-functional opportunities to our employees, which lead to stronger engagement, and better overall understanding of our business. For the employees, it manifests as professional development, resume building, and increased variety in their day-to-day job activities. This is truly a win/win practice that will provide the greatest benefits when the economy is at its worst.

To be Contnued...

Apr 8, 2009

RFL: Developing Your Bench

We are all on the same path...finding ways to do more with less. It is widely known that workforces are becoming leaner and leaner, while most are still faced with maintaining and even growing market share and productivity. It seems like an impossible task: reduce the number of people working for you, and increase your revenue. Unfortunately, as markets have become more crowded and competitive over time, most businesses have routinely been increasing expectations and output of their workforces to drive profits. Because of this well-established culture, economic belt-tightening has proven to be even more difficult than in times past. We ALL ran lean operations BEFORE the economy started its decline.
So where exactly do we go from here?

The first step on the path toward success is to look within. That doesn't mean we need to set up meditation schedules and personal reflection time, though those aren't bad ideas, but rather that we need to figure out just what our companies are made of. Specifically, what skills our workforce is made of. I am willing to stake my reputation on the fact that there are employees working in all our organizations today who have valuable skills that we are completely unaware of. That is, our current employees may present us with the skills we need to operate lean and thrive while other businesses merely survive.

There are numerous studies available that provide statistics on the dollar-value of engaged employees, and the damages caused by bored ones. For access to a number of these reports, visit SHRM, and type "engaged employees" or "bored employees" in their search engine. You'll find volumes of surveys and articles to this point.

The Life Cycle of an Employee, Used With Permission from SHRM

To be continued....

Apr 7, 2009

RFL Question of the Moment: Recruitment Advertising When You're Not Hiring

With so many people hopping on the optimism bandwagon that we all hope is taking us to the river of economic recovery later this year, I'm hearing more and more staffing and personnel professionals wanting to develop candidate pools before there are any jobs available. It got me thinking about the ethics and best practices around this issue.

What do you think?

Does your company advertise job openings even when they're not available? If so, why?

What do you think of this practice?

Apr 3, 2009

Press Release: Indicators Show Positive Employment Numbers

Just getting out ahead of the curve a bit on this one. My firm will be releasing the following press release shortly. Amazingly, while job seeker traffic is at record highs, there has also been growth in online job postings for two consecutive months

New England’s #1 Recruitment Resource shows record growth in monthly traffic and job postings.

Westbrook, ME. April, 3 2009— For 10 years the (JiUS) network of state specific, online recruitment resources has helped hundreds of thousands of local jobseekers find the best local jobs. With its latest trend numbers just released, New England’s recruiting experts are beginning to see some very positive signs.

With the largest applicant pool in years, and jobseekers aggressively looking for the best local employment opportunities, the JiUS network recorded nearly 1.8 million visits in March. This represents a 13% growth over February 2009 and, is one of the single largest months in the company’s history.

Job losses may still be on the rise but local employers posted nearly 8,000 open positions on the JiUS network in March. This marks a 10% increase over February and is the second consecutive month of growth in this very important statistic.

“We only allow job postings from legitimate, in-state employers, so the increase in postings is truly reflective of the increase in actual employment opportunities.” said Jason C. Blais, Director of Business Development.

He added, “What this tells us is that the confidence among employers is growing. For the past few months, many businesses were holding their breath. Two consecutive months of growth in online postings indicates that employers are beginning to collectively exhale and get back to the business of doing business”

Blais advises businesses regularly on the importance of staying out in front of jobseekers.

“During this transition, businesses that have operated conscientiously and have remained focused on their brand will have a significant advantage in attracting top talent. In fact, from the job seekers perspective, companies that are hiring during this transition period must be doing something right.” He said.

JiUS has been operating state specific job internet sites since 1999 and remains at the forefront of the industry through innovation, solid sales, distinguished marketing techniques and there-when-you-need-us customer service.

The JiUS network of state specific resources includes,, and


Steve Dodge,

Director of Marketing and Sales


Mar 30, 2009

RFL: JobsInTheUS and JobAngels on Fox News

The segment I participated in on Fox News this past weekend is now available on their website. My thanks goes out to Julie Banderas for facilitating such a comfortable interview and to Eldad Yaron for setting this up and getting the video link to me.

As a result of my participation in the JobAngels movement, and the subsequent Wall Street Journal article, I was fortunate to get a little air time on the America's News HQ program on Fox News Sunday. While I was a bit disappointed by the lack of discussion regarding JobAngels, I was pleasantly surprised by the plug for JobsInTheUS that Julie gave us.

Here's the video from this past Sunday:

RFL: Off topic and On the Twitter Mosaic

Okay... I've officially become a TwitterGeek! While I originally found this app to be a complete waste of time and silly creation, I've certainly come to admire it. There really are many ways in which Twitter can be of value, both personally and professionally. Yes, it can seem a bit odd. But if you give it a try, and be thoughtful about why you're in this space, I think you'll find it to be more than you expected. Sorry, enough of the plug...

Check out this app that I just learned about called Twitter Mosaic. It's not all that exciting, but it does give a visual of your individual Twitter network. Here's mine:

Get your twitter mosaic here.

Jason Blais on FoxNews

Word Cloud for RFL

Wordle: The Recruiting Front Lines

Using Video to Reinforce Employment Brand