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

Jan 10, 2009

RFL: The Skinny on the E-Verify Issue

Here is a lay person's take on the E-Verify issues currently at hand. As reported on January 9, the US Department of Justice has delayed the effective date for regulations requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify. The delay effectively pushes back the effective date from Jan 15 to Feb 2o. If it's just a 6 week delay, what's all the noise about?

In truth, the business groups that mounted legal resistance to the new regulation are seeking more than just a simple delay. They are seeking a summary judgment to rescind the rule entirely, based on their premise that it causes undue burden on employers. This group of co-plaintiffs is comprised of significant Capital Hill heavy weights: the US Chamber of Commerce, the Society for Human Resource Management, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the American Council on International Personnel, and the HR Policy Association.
  • I just need to go off on a brief tangent here. During the US Presidential election campaign, the word Lobbyist took on a very negative connotation, a four letter word of US politics, if you will. At no time did either candidate, or any of the reporter covering the race, stand up and remind us that lobbyists are CRITICAL to a democratic process. Lobbying groups, such as those mentioned above, give voice and action to thousands and thousands of individuals who have neither the resources nor the access to drive change in the government. Lobbyists are groups that represent the needs and wants of differents groups of American citizens, to bring the voice of those citizens to the government that is supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. We can't brush all Lobbyists or Lobbying groups with the same brush. Let's try to remember that. Okay, back to E-Verify-
So what is this regulation and why are they trying to rescind it anyway?

Essentially, the regulations place much more responsibility on some employers to verify citizenship and legal identities of the people they hire. That doesn't sound like a bad thing, right? The regulations only affect employers who hold any government contracts, and would amend the government’s acquisition processes by requiring federal contracts to stipulate that businesses must use E-Verify to determine if all new hires and existing employees performing work on federal contracts are authorized to work in the United States. Businesses contracting with the federal government would be required to enroll in E-Verify within 30 days of the contract award date.

Let me just say, in my opinion E-Verify is a generally good thing. It replaced outdated paperwork systems, and has been developed to a point now where about 94% of all verifications completed INSTANTLY, and, based on recent labor statistics 1 in 8 new hires in the US are now checked through the system. This process was developed, however, to be voluntary for organizations, and was designed to ASSIST in HELPING companies avoid hiring illegal workers using false identifications. Our ability to protect US jobs and US companies from illegal workers is important because it leads to our nation's tax base. This isn't an opinion on immigration laws or work visas, merely a statement that we must make sure that we know who is working in the US, and are taking our income tax fairly from all.

The problem arose when the Bush administration, by executive order, bypassed existing immigration law provisions, and mandated this E-Verify process for all federal contractors. Further, it states that the verification process is not only for new hires, but that any current employees that will work on the federally contracted projects would also need to be re-verified through the system. Additionally, while 94% instant verification is very good, the amount of work and time created by the other 6% is creating an undue burden on the employers. Look at it this way, IF this goes into effect, every company that is covered under this regulation would essentially need to hire AT LEAST one extra body to simply handle the extra work created. Think about that. The government is mandating that all these businesses ad $50k to their overhead. (yes, the salary for these folks won't be $50k, but when you account for benefits, insurance, and cost of regular turnover, the cost for a $30 salary can be over $50 annually.)

So, here we are. Employers don't want to take on this additional expense, and feel that the US government has unfairly pushed off the enforcement and oversight of immigration labor laws to the private sector. The US Government is trying to cut back on the volume of illegal workers in the US unidentified. Everybody wants what's best for the country. The question on the table is how to do it fairly without hurting the now fragile economy. Good luck to those making these types of decisions.

E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule postponed until February 20, 2009

E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule postponed until February 20, 2009

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Jan 8, 2009

RFL: Tired of Informercials @ Trade Association Meetings!

I attended an HR association meeting today at a chapter that I think is well run and well attended. In the 4 months that I've attended, around 40 Human Resources Professional attend, and the structure and organization seem to be top flight. But after sitting through 2 sales pitches for the last two meetings I attended, decided it's time to complain about it formally! As I began to think about this post, it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the world of social networking and social media is impacting the way we act in real life.

In the two meetings I attended, the monthly topics were to be diversity training and managing workplace conflict. Both good topics for a professional association meeting. However, in each presentation, the speakers spent nearly 10 percent of their time discussing their extensive background- who they've worked with, what services they provide, how they serve their clients needs, etc. After the 10 minute "personal branding" segment, we were lead into an infomercial that tied the core training ideas to the solutions that these presenters sell. It makes me feel bad for the monthly meeting "sponsors" who have to pay a couple hundred bucks for the opportunity to promote their goods and services, but only get 5 minutes.

As a professional who has spoken at many hr and trade association events, I know how alluring the sales potential of this activity is. I realize that the opportunity to speak to 40-100 potential customers for 90 minutes is rare, at best. And, as with any consultants, there's the business 101 voice in the back of your head telling you that you have to promote yourself to keep you business running. Really, though, don't you understand the professional courtesy here and the role you have been brought in to play? If you had asked to present to the group and told the programming committee that you had a great 90 minute sales pitch for employer services, do you think you'd get the gig? And once you're in, do you think the audience somehow doesn't realize that they're being sold to?

I am always turned off by this brazen salesmanship. I physically become uncomfortable and agitated. When I speak to the HR groups, I always feel that the best way that I can build long term career success is by building trust and confidence. I believe that's done through providing educational and informational content that people can use, when you're brought in to educate and inform. That you don't only provide solutions that meet your own needs, but provide your audience with a range of options and ideas and opportunities. Okay... it's true. I'm a New Englander, and I'm an old-school sort of a guy. I do have faith in the Universe, and do believe that if I maintain my personal integrity and professional courtesy, success will find me.

My company, JobsInTheUS, which hosts JobsInME, JobsInNH, JobsInVT, JobsInMA, and JobsInRI, will be providing numerous educational webinars and seminars in 2009, and while I am often defending myself against the sales and marketing folks, I will continue to make sure each event is educational in nature, and certified by the HRCI. Our goal is simple, do our best to make sure that every webinar and seminar attendee leaves our events feeling not only that they've learned something, but that they now have more tools to implement that knowledge.

That's how it looks on the Recruiting Front Lines from the HR Association of Central MA from one stodgy curmudgeon!

RFL: Life Imitating Social Media, or the Other Way Around?

Life Imitating Social Media or Social Media Imitating Life?

OR: Social Networking and Real Life: Which is the Dog and Which is the Tail?

It has occurred to me recently that life may indeed actually be imitating social media and social networking in many ways. It may sound ridiculous, but have we actually created and fed a resource that is controlling the our behavior and personal development- making us dumber in the process? Here's some examples:
  • In general, more people have less regard for spelling, grammar, or professional communication than a decade ago.
  • Consumer Branding strategies are now being implemented by individuals in what's called "personal branding".
  • People are generating greater numbers of shallow relationships and fewer deep and meaningful relationships.
  • What is written on MySpace Facebook LinkedIn etc, is being quoted in reputable news channels.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I have noticed a growing commercial footprint within the social media. People are becoming willing to exaggerate themselves and the products, services, or companies they are connected to. There are more "FRIENDS" trying to sell each other services than in real life. It reminds me of the movie GROUNDHOG DAY with Bill Murray. OR, more specifically, the insurance sales person on the street trying to sell Bill Murray insurance. Yes, they once knew each other vaguely, and now the insurance rep feels like it's perfectly okay to leverage that relationship to his benefit. In fact, this is a caricature of insurance sales people that has been lampooned for decades. This dynamic has become the norm in the social media outlets, and appears to be spilling back out into the real world.

See my next post on informercials for a good description of what I mean.

I'm interested on what others think about this premise- does the online social world reflect the behaviors of the real world? Or has the real world changed it's behavior based on the success of online worlds?

Is Your Recruiting Plan Recession-Proof?

Reprinted from the Recruiting Review for JobsInMA, and can also be found in the newsletters for JobsInME, JobsInNH, JobsInVT, and JobsInRI:

Is Your Recruiting Plan

By Margaret Hansen,


Bonuses are off the table. Salaries are flat. Staff resources are thin. People are lucky to have a job. You've heard all of this before, but how do you plan to address these shortfalls in '09? Here are 3 questions to ask yourself.

Question #1: Are you prepared for long-term vacancies?

First, make sure your current employees aren't left in the lurch. Even though your budget is tighter, you need to recognize and reassure them. After all, they are your most precious resources.

Process improvement should be the flavor of the day. Does your team really need to spend 80 hours per month on administrative tasks? Consider hiring an intern. It will free up some team time for strategic meetings and follow up work, plus buy you some insurance for future staffing needs.

By the time you have ironed out a leaner plan, your intern will be trained and interested, just in time for graduation and a post-recession promotion.

photoQuestion #2: Are you maintaining a trusted presence?

As the unemployed, or "active," job seeker pool grows, your image as a trusted employer should be keeping pace.

Many job seekers are feeling anxious about the future. People are nervous about layoffs. How do you address those fears? How do you instill confidence and attract top performers to your positions?

Be sure to answer these unasked questions at every step of the recruiting process from initial advertising to interview and beyond. It's on everyone's mind, even if they don't ask.

Come up with a "Top 10" list of why it's great to work for your company. Ask your most dedicated top performers what they like about working there. Make it diverse - choose at least one person from each division at varying levels: an IT employee is likely to have an entirely different perspective and experience from an HR employee.

Once this list is created, include it - in part or in its entirety - with all of your employment advertising. It's part of your Employment Brand and there's never been a better time to let it be known.

photoQuestion #3: Are you getting the best value for your employment advertising dollar?

Now that you have a Top 10 list of great reasons to work for your company, make sure that you're getting it out in front of the right audience.

Advertising online poses the least amount of risk while offering fantastic return on investment. Web stats track the number of job views, referrals, and online applications.

Sprinkle your Top 10 around: in your online banner ads, job postings, company profile, website, press releases and even in your employee manual. It will soon become a big part of your recruiting strategy.

Find an all-inclusive online subscription that offers unlimited jobs, unlimited changes and tools to help you recruit, such as a resume database. You'll be able to make changes at any time of day, recruit faster and cheaper and reach more people than any other method.

Your budget is likely to be tighter for next year. Be sure to maximize your recruiting dollars.

Poll Results: Work/Life Balance over Salary!

Okay. So I'm a little biased. I like this article from our last newsletter the best.... and maybe it's because I'm quoted in it... maybe. Another good read brought to you by Margaret Hansen!

Poll: Salary Competes with Perks

By Margaret Hansen,

Thinking about your earnings lately? How about controlling your own schedule? Given the current state of the economy, a surprising majority are more concerned with the latter.

In a recent poll, we asked which was most important:

  • Salary
  • A flexible schedule
  • The ability to telecommute


Nearly half of the group chose Salary (47%) as #1. A not-so-surprising answer, but with the economy grinding to a halt lately, it seems to be packed with a little more emotion.

"Salary is just as important to me as is having work in which I can add value and fully use my skills and experience," said Suanne Williams Lindgren a professional HR consultant from Freeport, Maine. "I frequently meet intelligent, skilled people who are underpaid, underemployed, and working 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. I think this is a terrible waste of human energy that we can ill afford at a time when there is such tremendous need in our world."

photoFlexible Schedule

Coming in at #2: a flexible schedule with a whopping 42% of the group choosing this answer.

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a flexible schedule as an alternative to the traditional 9 to 5, 40-hour work week.

Some situations allow flexibility with arrival/departure times with a prescribed number of hours, including daily presence during a "core time." Others may offer a compressed work week with longer days but more time off. Still others allow the flexibility to attend family events, meetings and other commitments during the work day as needed.

Life is unpredictable. Parenting, family issues, dealing with illness and maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle are just a few of the things that are competing with work. Increasingly, people need - and are demanding - a more flexible work schedule.


Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" lists Telecommuting as one of its top six best benefits - and 84 of its 100 winning companies in 2008 offer it.

"It's true that financial concerns are leading people to consider compensation more heavily than, say, two years ago," Jason Blais, Field Operations Manager for, said. Blais meets with both job seekers and employers at career events across New England. He sees a new trend with uncommon work arrangements.

Blais points out that a more interesting trend is that the majority of poll takers chose perks over salary.

"53% of our poll respondents would prefer accommodations to fit their lifestyles (flexible schedule, ability to telecommute), compared to 47% who feel that salary is more important," Blais said. "I think employers need to take heed of this reality."

Some common telecommuting jobs include: medical transcription, IT-related work, sales, customer service and any job that relies on the Internet.

Healthier Resumes by M Hansen, JobsInMA

Great article written by Margaret Hansen of JobsInMA / JobsInTheUS for our Career Connection newsletter- thanks Margaret!

3 Easy Steps to a Healthier Resume

By Margaret Hansen,


With the unemployment rate continuing to climb, it only makes sense to keep up with the competition (your fellow job seekers). Giving your resume a fresh update is a practical move. Old standards still apply, but today’s resume “kit” also includes an online search-friendly version. Follow these steps to improve your résumé’s health for today’s job market.

Step #1: Proofread

Reading your resume aloud is a great way to catch typos, inconsistent tense and unclear language. You can do this yourself or enlist a friend. But don't forget to do it.

Although your resume is more of a list than an essay, someone still has to read it and understand it. Give yourself a day or two after updating it for a fresh perspective. The employer will notice if you have skipped the proofread.

Pick a tense and stick with it. Under each job, stay consistent with tense, using past tense for past jobs and present tense for your current situation.

Keep items in a series parallel. Don’t say "Managed 12 associates, created new employee manual, company recognized my work with awards and chaired cross-functional team." Instead, move the 3rd item out of the series to its own sentence and get specific: “Recipient of Leadership Teamwork Award, 2007.” The past tense verbs of "managed," "created," and "chaired" are parallel.

Consistency allows your resume to speak for itself without distracting the reader. Let them remember your skills, not your resume blunders.

Jan 6, 2009

RFL: Strategy for 2009- Adaptive Staffing

Recruiting may seem like a low priority for businesses today facing hiring freezes, or worse. But a recession requires a different way of thinking. Employers who take advantage of this market will come out stronger and more diverse when the economy finally turns around. In an environment where companies are forced to do more with less, it is critical that employers leverage the skills and talents of their existing workforce, and make sound hiring decisions based on this new climate.

Economic Turns
When entered the market six years ago as a small start-up selling employment advertising, the unemployment rate was at its highest since 1994, coming in at 4.7%. Total employment was just over 680,000 statewide. In the years that followed, a strong economy prevailed with job growth expanding both nationally and state-wide.

What drove job growth across New Hampshire? Strong business development initiatives, coupled with a growing national economy. As a result, unemployment declined, bottoming out at 3.3% during the 4th quarter of 2007, the lowest quarterly rate since early 2001. This blossomed into an attractive environment for professionals willing to relocate, and April 2008 saw total employment reach its highest level ever, with 717,625 persons on NH payrolls.

In the second half of 2008, everything changed. While final numbers had not been released at the time of this printing, forecasts suggested that total employment in November would end at approximately 713,000 persons. It’s no surprise that the instability of the economy will continue to have dramatic affects on the labor market for the next several months as businesses tighten their belts.

Adaptive Staffing
In the months to come, employee productivity and personnel decisions will weigh heavily on bottom lines. Through better recruiting and staffing techniques, businesses can significantly reduce turnover costs, resulting in increased quality of work, productivity, and, ultimately, profitability.

Staffing Expertise
JobsInNH assists local businesses in leveraging their workforce and identifying internal solutions to seize these opportunities, by offering educational webinars and seminars through JobsInNH University. For the past four years, JobsInNH has presented internet recruiting and employment advertising workshops across the state. Accredited by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), these programs help businesses to better understand the recruiting market, providing timely content and pragmatic approaches to identify, attract, and retain the best employees.

In 2009, employers will have access to several new accredited programs developed and presented exclusively by JobsInNH University. From understanding social media's impact on the workforce, to developing strategies to optimize staffing during a recession, employers can choose from an array of educational content.

One session, Employment Branding 20/20, was recently presented to the Seacoast Human Resource Association. This program provided HR professionals with techniques to decrease recruiting costs while increasing employee retention by creating best in class employment branding. All of the programs presented by JobsInNH University will give employers the specific tools and guidance they need to achieve results using their own in-house resources.

Employers can find more detailed information about these programs, and register for upcoming sessions at


Jason Blais on FoxNews

Word Cloud for RFL

Wordle: The Recruiting Front Lines

Using Video to Reinforce Employment Brand