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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 23, 2009

RFL: Your Recruitment Advertising is Failing If...

I just can't hold it in any longer. Through dealing with hundreds of employers over the last few years, providing guidance and education on recruitment advertising and employment branding, I have become a rather tough critic of the job ads that I see. I've developed and presented programs on these topics to employers, providing very specific steps to build more effective postings and sharing data we capture from surveying job seeker. I can't tell you how many times the audience members have come up to me and told he how much they've learned and how they're looking forward to rewriting their postings, then a week or two later I see one of their ads online somewhere and it looks like this:

Mech engineer. 5 yrs exp. req'd, project management a plus. Competitive benefits and salary. Send resume to Human Resources, XYZ Company, 123 Commercial St, whoville, USA, or email to hr @
So, what's so wrong this ad? Here's just a cursory summary: abbreviations, "competitive benefits and salary", no contact person, a lack of key words, no discussion of perks, no content for culture or environment, no salary info, and no promotion of the company itself. I've come to understand that while creating a compelling and effective recruitment ad doesn't require any special talent or skill, it DOES take a little extra time, focus, and effort. So, in the midst of a busy day, it's natural for humans to neglect this activity.

So, after reviewing another swath of poor attempts that I have no doubt will fail to generate any quality candidates, I couldn't help but to jot down the following list. If you're not certain how successful your recruitment advertising is, here are some of indicators that your online recruitment advertising is FAILING.
  1. 1/3 or more of the applicants you receive are completely unqualified for the job you're trying to fill.
  2. More than half of the applicants you contact fail to return your call.
  3. Your ads are being opened fewer than 200 times in a week (no matter what the job is!).
  4. More than half of the people you invite for interviews are unwilling to work for the salary you're willing to offer.
  5. More than 1/3 of the people you make job offers to decline them.
  6. On average, your hires stay with the company less than 2 years.
  7. The onboarding process is getting longer and/or more expensive.
  8. No applicants come in when you aren't posting job openings.
  9. Your turnover rate is not decreasing over time.

That's where I'll draw the line for now. Poor recruitment advertising affects virtually every aspect of your business. Despite the advances and maturation of technology in our business processes, the foundation of sound businesses will always be your people. More time, care, and focus needs to be placed on identifying and attracting the right people, than choosing which equipment to buy, which vendors to work with, 0r even which property to buy. If you have better people than your competition, your company will be successful.

That's how it looks today from the Recruiting Front Lines!

Think some of those indicators are wrong? Did I miss any indicators that you feel are results of bad recruitment advertising? Share your comments here!

Jan 21, 2009

RFL: Guest Poster Steve Balzac

I recently posted a question about the business case of cutting management training budgets during economic downturns. A number of excellent responses came back from experienced professionals across the country. Through this discussion, I decided to invite a few guest posters from the training region of the Human Capital ecosystem. Enjoy this read from Steve Balzac, "Business Sensei" and President of 7 Steps Ahead, LLC in Stow, MA, as he discusses how well trained staff can ensure that your business can take advantage of lucky situations...

Just Lucky I Guess...

A great deal has already been said about the plane landing in the Hudson River last Thursday. What's amazing to me is how many people have ascribed to luck the happy ending to what could have been a major disaster.

Was luck involved? Certainly!

It was lucky that the plane went down at a time of day when there was very little commercial shipping on the river.

It was lucky that the ferries were out at the time the plane went down.

It was lucky that the particular pilot just happened to have the necessary and appropriate training to recognize what had happened and not panic. Instead, he remained calm and relied on his training to glide a passenger jet down to the river.

As the old saying goes, luck is when 10,000 hours of preparation meets a moment of opportunity.

The lack of shipping and the presence of ferries wouldn't have helped much if the pilot had lacked the skill to bring the plane down safely. It's doubtful that he ever really believed that all that time he spent training, flying, and in a simulator would matter, other than for his own growth and development. What are the odds of a double-bird strike? What are the odds that just the right person was in the right place at the right time? Who could have known what would happen?

No one.

And this is the lesson for businesses. It's easy to see what skills and knowledge are useful today. No one knows what skills or knowledge will prove useful tomorrow. Trends can change in a metaphorical heartbeat. When businesses cut training and development, or restrict the courses an employee can take (refusing to pay for a course unless a "clear" business need exists), that business is focusing entirely on the problems of today. It is not creating a workforce that is ready for the problems of tomorrow. Ready, in other words, to face unpredictable situations, unexpected problems, and unplanned for or unlikely circumstances.

On the other hand, those who have had the opportunity train and develop their skills, who have the freedom to explore their interests and learn the things that may or may not be obviously useful, are the most likely to come up with a good solution to an unexpected problem.

In the end, luck really does favor the prepared mind.

"The Business Sensei"


Jan 20, 2009

RFL: 2009 Human Capital Summit, Building Awareness through Social Media

As Social Media and Social Networking resources grow and mature, they are becoming more valuable to Non-Profit organizations. These services provide them with the ability to connect with the community to promote activities, share information, and build awareness.

As a first-year volunteer on the Board of the Granite State HR Conference, I hold the Information Management chair. I have been focused on finding ways to provide the community with access to information about the 2009 Human Capital Summit, which is the name of our conference for '09. Thanks to tremendous support and encouragement from the rest of the board, we've developed the first conference blog space, and are continuing to build awareness through the internet-based networking resources.

I believe that online social media and social networking platforms can generally fit into one of three buckets: Information Sharing, Professional Networking, and Personal Networking. While the greatest volume of content on the web is currently in the Personal Networking bucket (see myspace and facebook), the other two are growing rapidly. As a professional working in an ecosystem that includes recruitment advertising, marketing, public relations, and partnership development, I have been putting in my time to really understand the potential value of all these platforms for professional gains. While I was originally hesitant about the idea of pushing networking and promotion to web-based platforms, fearful of the potential decline in interpersonal relationships that are the real key to business, I've found that the opposite is actually true. When used with careful consideration and a focused philosophy, these platforms greatly increase an organization's ability to build meaningful connections within their local communities.

Enter the 2009 Human Capital Summit. Through our blog, we can share the work being done by the board with professionals around the state and the surrounding areas. We will also be sharing guest posts by many of the 2009 presenters. This will help them build an audience in the state, help our conference generate interest and engagement, and help the human capital professionals decide on which sessions to attend and have access to more shared industry knowledge.

We'll also be promoting the event through various networking sites, such as HRM Today and TalentBar, which connect human capital professionals. Through partners with other bloggers who are working in human capital, we'll also increase our reach and awareness. Ultimately, by utilizing these resources we can disperse more information, faster, to larger audiences of interested professionals than ever before. Additionally, the community accessing this information also has the ability to provide feedback and input, sharing in the value and excitement we're generating.

We'd love to hear your feedback on how well we're doing integrating our event into the social media ecosystem! Click here to share comments on our Granite State HR Conference Blog today!

Thanks for checking out the view from the Recruiting Front Lines!


Transcript of Obama's Inaugural Address

For those that were unable to watch the entire Presidential Inauguration Ceremony today, here's a link to the full transcript of Obama's Inauguration Speech.


RFL: Strategic HR: Calgary: Marcus Buckingham!

Check out this AMAZING Strategic Human Resources Event featuring Marcus Buckingham!

I've agreed to post content to help build awareness and generate interest for an amazing HR event being held in June in Calgary, Alberta. A Fresh Approach will feature presentations by Marcus Buckingham, best selling author of First, Break All The Rules, Ann Rhoades, former VP of HR at Southwest Airlines, and Cameron Herald, former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

I am truly very excited about this event and appreciate the opportunity to help promote it. The following is an excerpt of a blog post from the Fresh Approach website. It's a very good read, please enjoy:

6 Secrets Everyone Knows but Always Forgets

The world is in a state of flux. That’s a given.

Business is driving this change. That’s news to some people, old hat to others. And while the Harvard MBAs drone on about business models and healthy bottom lines, the savvy business owner knows one thing for certain.

Business is about people.

And the most important people in any business are the ones who collect a paycheck from your HR department every month.

Your employees.

So how do you find good ones? How do you keep them? Simple questions, but if the answers were easy, every business would have energized worker bees, competent managers and brilliant leaders. Success would be all but assured.

But that doesn’t happen. Here’s six reasons why, and what to do about it.

Not-so-secret #1 – Employees are little gold nuggets

Employers love to pan for gold, to look for the next Warren Buffet for sixty grand a year, but what they consistently forget is that their pans are already loaded with nuggets. Stop looking at the rocks in the riverbed and check what you have in-house.

There was a reason why you hired your staff. Most of the time, it was a pretty good reason. They were qualified. Still are. And when they started, there was a deep desire to find real value in their job. To connect.

So what happened? Did they build a solid foundation in your company? With other staff, managers, and clients? How were they motivated to accomplish this? By command and control, or by encouragement and team-building. Big difference.

Cherish those little nuggets. They truly are gold.

Not-so-secret #2 – Knowledge breeds knowledge

Your employees are all experts at something inside your business. That has come with tenure on the job. The key is to have them share what they know. The result is a workforce with a greater understanding of the big picture. Once they see that every position is an important cog in an ever-moving wheel, trust and appreciation are not far off. And that appreciation isn’t confined to other employees – it extends to the company itself. The giant becomes a benevolent one.

The greater their respect for the place they work and the purpose it serves in society, the more they want to share what they know. And learn what the person in the next office is up to. Sometimes, chatting at work can be a really good thing.

Not-so-secret #3 – The well is bottomless

Continued here...

Jan 18, 2009

RFL: Long Term Recruitment Strategy Video

I'm glad to announce that with this post, I am taking the first step in completing one New Year's Resolution: Begin posting video in this blog space. At JobsInTheUS, the company that I work for which hosts JobsInME, JobsInNH, JobsInVT, and JobsInRI- the leading job posting resource in each state, we've been working on developing a video program that will run regularly and will have two focuses- Recruitment Advertising Tips for Employers and Job Hunting Tips for Seekers. Through this process, I have been capturing Gigs of video and playing around with various video editing programs.

In the video below, I am discussing my view of long-term employment branding initiatives. I feel that most employers see recruiting and employment branding (by the way, I'm tired of people using "employer" branding as a term- if consumer branding is focused on branding to attract consumers, what does employer branding mean? Anyway, that's a rant for another day... where was I... oh yes) in the same light as copier repair and fuel expenses. Yes, all these things do affect the expense budget, they all affect the operation of the business, and they are all necessary to keep the company growing.

However, Recruiting, and specifically Employment Branding, has the potential to dramatically affect your business's ability to compete in the marketplace, develop new revenue streams, build and maintain long term customer relationships, to name just a few of the short and long term strategic benefits. Business is really all about people, regardless of what you read in the WSJ or Michael Crichton novels (a tremendous artist who made a huge impact on media of his time). Whether it's Jim Collins' identification of the "First Who, Then What" concept in Good to Great, or the Dale Carnegie principles of human relations in business, you can find numerous resources to support this idea. That is, until you are sitting down with the controller working on the recruiting budget. This area is often cut early when faced with slow economic conditions.

I'm off on a bit of a tangent, so allow me to pull back. If any business continually makes terrible hires over a long period of time, I think it's clear that the business would suffer greatly, if not close down all together. I don't believe there's any question to that assertion. Therefore, in the video below, and in the coming segments, I'll be exploring the other side of that statement- if any business continually makes terrific hires over a long period, their success (spelled p-r-o-f-i-t-s) will increase greatly.

As this is my first ever video, I would LOVE any feedback!



Jason Blais on FoxNews

Word Cloud for RFL

Wordle: The Recruiting Front Lines

Using Video to Reinforce Employment Brand