What Do You Know About Me?

Image courtesy of deviantart.net

Once upon a time, I started a position somewhere (they shall remain nameless) where the grass seemed to be greener than my last pasture. I had a great boss, supportive and competent co-workers and challenging work- what more could one want?

It appeared throughout the interview process that this company was very concerned with attracting a competent HR professional that could help them ignite a more progressive HR delegation. I assured them that I was their woman wooing them with my credentials, education, past projects, notable employers and enthusiasm for the discipline of HR.

So said, so done…

I came on the scene and started effecting change quite immediately- to my then bosses’ delight.  The problem was my co-workers weren’t  delighted. You see at the same time that I was wowing my boss, the love and courtesy from my co-workers started to wane. Suddenly, the “good mornings” stopped, invites to lunch ceased and I was conspiring to take their jobs or so they thought.

What did they do next?

Daily, they would whisper and gossip about the many ways they could undermine my prowess and I knew it. What I did was return the favor, by not saying “good morning” or even looking their way. I just kept my head down and did the work. Before you get all mighty on me, it was fair treatment. I had just come out of a toxic environment that took everything from me and almost my health. I had no more tolerance for petty office shenanigans (insert the expletive of your choice for good measure).

In any event, their conspiring led them to my boss one day to complain about my lack of “good mornings” and reluctance to be “more social”. In turn, my boss called a meeting with me to ask me the following:

He said: “Janine, could you just be the bigger person and try a little harder- like be their friend.” To which I responded with a synopsis of my daily dealings with them. They wanted to dig into my personal life, meet for breakfast with spouses after church on Sunday; oh and I was to report to them the where, what, when and why- anytime I met with the Director of HR on a new project.

His answer…

“I didn’t know all of this was going on, but could you just try a little harder- you’re stronger than them.” Keep in mind that, I was working for this company for maybe six months at this time.

What did they know about me?

That is the problem and the question. They knew nothing about me, my likes or dislikes, my work habits or my boundaries. All too often, we make judgments about the new guy or gal on the job based upon our own insecurities and biases. In this instance, these two were essentially uncomfortable because I was quickly productive and my ideas were welcomed. They had spent years doing mediocre work and I was shaking things up. Nevermind, that one of them hired me and gushed about the company and their need for a progressive person. That went out the window the day they realized I was a serious professional that got sh%t done.

Here’s why these situations are problematic for Talent Acquisition:

1) I was the new person. Instead of being supported, I was being bullied into being more social than I was ready to be at that time. I was told during the hiring process they wanted “productive and progressive” and that’s what I was doing.

2) The onus was placed on me to rectify a situation that my boss should have been able to handle quite decisively.

3) I could have quit and they would have been left wondering why. Toxic environments create turnover.

I didn’t quit, because I wasn’t about to let two bad apples ruin what was a dream opportunity.

As talent acquisition professionals, we need to remain cognizant of the fact that first impressions not only extend to how candidates impress us, but how we impress them. We can’t advocate for competencies and skills in the hiring process but then try to deter the person when they come barreling out of the gate providing the very same acumen you recruited for. Furthermore, you better be sure that you keep a close watch on those in a position to hire, on-board and mentor new employees. There is nothing more costly and embarrassing than to someday find out that your turnover is high and moreover, that it is high because someone in your organization is undermining your otherwise benevolent efforts to retain employees.

Some level of foolery exists in most organizations, but be sure your leaders are prepared to act swiftly, decisively, and consistently to prevent occurrences like these.

In the end, one of the co-conspirators left the company. The remaining one and I established an amicable work relationship.

Need to get your talent acquisition team refocused. Contact me for a free consultation.

Beyond Recruiters: Making The Hiring Process Simple For Candidates

FTC Disclosure: I received compensation for writing this product review listed below as one of the services I offer my clients. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. iCims is an ATS provider and I have either reviewed or used their product personally. I have not made any absolute statements about its functionality but endorse the capabilities I have personally observed.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Image courtesy of stockphotosforfree.com

Image courtesy of stockphotosforfree.com

When we speak about Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) capabilities, we often overlook its impact on the spectrum of users and instead focus on the bells and whistles that tend to be non-essential or less relevant to its primary recruitment function. After all, the purpose of an ATS is to automate and streamline recruitment, hiring and onboarding processes so that it saves time, resources and energy.

The question is: who is really saving the time? Has ATS technology to date been too heavily focused on the recruiter and hiring manager experience?

The gap in ATS technology has been the lack of emphasis on the candidate experience.

2014 is the “Year of the Candidate” at iCIMS. With this initiative, they are refocusing their intentions out of both necessity and utility to better serve the candidate from a technology standpoint. Today’s candidate is on-the-go, always looking for the next opportunity and an easier way of reaching you the employer.  With the increased influence of social networks, mobile capabilities and the flattening groups of passive, active and non-active jobseekers, it is only right that iCIMS look at ways of improving candidate engagement.

iCIMS is taking the lead on reengaging the workforce by revamping and developing technology that encourages the candidate to engage with companies and seek out opportunity rather than deter them from the hiring process. In January 2014, The International Labour Organization (ILO) reported a dismal outlook on economic recovery and job creation. In this report, they state that, 23 million people globally have left the labor market due to difficulties in finding suitable employment. Slower job creation can be blamed for that statistic, but I’m sure we can also agree that finding the jobs that do exist has become increasingly onerous as well.

The mobile advantage

Two in five candidates say that their perception of a company is hurt if a company career website is not optimized for mobile. iCIMS has created an extremely responsive career portal that is optimized for candidates to utilize on mobile devices and tablets of all screen sizes. The clean and simple look and feel of the career portal is enhanced with intuitive navigation, making it easily accessible for candidates-on- the move.

Candidates that have embraced using “the cloud” for document storage, will find ease of use in being able to upload their resumes from their Google Drive or Dropbox accounts. In addition, the more social candidate can reap the benefits of iCIMS social integrations which allow candidates to submit their resume for a job with their social accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+. Social capabilities also ensure that candidate applications that reach recruiters are as up to date as the news feed on their social networks.

Another convenient capability is the location based job search tool which uses GPS technology to search for positions within a specific radius of the candidate’s location. The ideal situation for any candidate is pursuing a job within a reasonable commute. This technology allows candidates to focus on opportunities in their area. This also benefits employers as it allows them to target candidates looking specifically for opportunities in the markets where the business is located. The “Year of the Candidate” is all about connecting the dots and creating a “fit” for both the candidate and employer.

Video as the rule

Video is no longer the exception, but rather the rule. Increased time constraints, diminishing budgets for travel reimbursement or coverage for out-of-state candidates, coupled with a glocal (global +local) candidate ecosystem makes video not only cost-effective, but practical. Video is the shining star across the iCIMS Talent Platform whether it is as a branding initiative on the careers page or part of the real-time Skype integration for interviewing candidates remotely.

Their newest and most exciting feature is the video cover letter. The video cover letter is one of iCIMS newest candidate screening tools that allows the candidate to showcase their skills above and beyond the parameters of what a normal resume can tell the employer. The candidate can record a short video to be submitted for consideration with their application from a computer webcam or mobile device. Rather than submit the same old cover letter that recruiters have seen for years, they get to truly understand from the candidates’ point of view why they believe they are qualified- while gaining an opportunity to assess how they communicate orally.

HR technology takes the guessing out of recruitment; while reallocating power to the candidate, in an effort to allow them to put their best foot forward as they pursue new opportunities with you. Start simplifying recruitment today and make 2014 the “Year of the Candidate”

Company Bio

iCIMS, is a leading provider of innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions, is an Inc. 500 and Software Satisfaction honoree focused on solving corporate business issues through the implementation of easy-to-use, scalable solutions that are backed by our award-winning iCARE Customer Support.

Talent Shortage or Employer Propaganda?

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Depending on who you speak to there is a talent war and every employer should be gathering up their troops to battle for the best and brightest. While I don’t disagree that there are still some highly sought after professionals that are hard to get to particularly in technical fields- I don’t see this said talent shortage/war being true in general.

What I have seen is great talent who are no longer passive but now actively open to any and all conversations surrounding new opportunities. I see those top performers as ready to have conversations about their next move, but employers being ill-equipped to receive them.

What do I mean?

This means that many of the employers speaking about the talent shortage are really spreading workforce propaganda and are in fact the root of the problem when it comes to the talent discussion. All employers want the best and brightest at their company, yet not all of them are diligent enough in how they attract, assess, develop and retain that talent. They want the finest selection of talent but are only willing to offer up salary, development, and benefits that don’t begin to compensate or reward the efforts of quality professionals.

There are various types of workers needed to keep your organization afloat. You have the top performers who will do what they are expected and offer up ideas, skills, and abilities above and beyond what you ask of them. These are your current and future leaders. You have your operational kinds that will be on time do what is asked of them and nothing more. They’re not overly concerned about upward mobility or development-just pay them for an honest day’s work and you will have them for the long haul. Lastly, you have those that will do less than what you expect and require a lot of hand-holding. These are the people that do just enough to keep you off their backs, but are not adding much to your workforce in terms of engagement and productivity.

When you think about what you want the makeup of your employee ecosystem to be- it isn’t likely that you want to attract or retain the latter kind of professional. Everyone is aiming for the best! You want those professionals that are self-motivated, productive, and ready to push the company agenda ahead.

Return on Effort

While it’s great that you are clear on what you want- are you as clear on what will attract and retain what you seek? The talent is there. They are open to conversation and helping you solve your business problems, but it comes at a price. Just as you expect ROI on your investments in them; they expect that you provide opportunities for growth, benefits, fair market value pay in return for their efforts. It’s called “return on effort”. This is where you get what you need from the employee and you in turn provide proper remuneration for their deliverables.

Be Honest

Do you have the budget or resources to garner the talent you seek? This is an important consideration for all businesses. If the answer is “yes”, your only worries is the strategy in getting and keeping them. If “no”, you have both a budget concern and work to do in terms of figuring out how you fairly and equitably distribute what you can; plus continuing to attract and retain talent despite a shortfall. This is not an easy task, but it may require you to be honest with current employees as well as new hires as to what you can really offer. Some may still join or remain with you through the struggle and others may flee. The point is it’s time employers stop selling grown adults on ideals and fluff that may never come to fruition.

Be cognizant of what you can offer as an employer and admit your shortcomings. Talent gaps and shortage may be real, but it isn’t the full story.

How will you rework your talent strategy in 2014 and beyond? Let me know how I can help?

The Push and Pull of Recruitment

Image courtesy of PushandPullsigns.com


Hello HR Aristocrats! Today you can find me on the iCims Hire Expectations Institute blog with a brand new article called: ” The Push and Pull of Recruitment”. iCims is a strategic partner of my business Talent Think Innovations, LLC and a supporter of “The Aristocracy of HR”. This article is the first of many collaborations you will see with iCims and I in the future.

FTC Disclosure: I received compensation for writing this article listed below as one of the services I offer my clients. I only work with companies I feel have great products, services and offerings. In accordance with my blog disclosure statement, I will only work with and showcase products and/or companies I believe my readers will benefit from. iCims is an ATS provider and I have either reviewed or used their product personally. I have not made any absolute statements about its functionality but endorse the capabilities I have personally observed.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Here’s a snippet of the post: 

“The Push and Pull of Recruitment”

Those of you that have been in recruitment long enough remember a day when we used to be able to post to a job board or two and receive a bevy of resumes. I’m talking posting jobs before we had to pray that anyone would be interested in our opportunities. A lot has changed since that time, and yet I can be assured that every month of every new year there will be some focus on the methods we utilize to attract candidates.

Some say we need to focus more heavily on big data and analytics. Others say attracting top talent is near impossible because we are experiencing a talent shortage. Whatever your opinion on the subject, I think we can all agree that spending your recruitment budget on job board advertising alone is probably not going to cut it that much longer. We are looking at a new frontier of the modern workforce- where a specific and targeted mix of advertising is utilized to get the word out about open positions.

Along with the specific and targeted mix of advertising is a continued emphasis on company’s having a consistent and attractive digital presence.

What does this mean?

It simply means that organizations need to become clear about who they are and what value proposition they are offering candidates for joining their company. In the past, the candidate-employer relationship was guided by what the employer wanted and most experts urged candidates to yield to the company’s wants rather than encouraging them to fulfill their own wants and needs read the rest of the post here.

Want to boost your brand recognition in collaboration with The Aristocracy of HR? Click here for more on our content writing services.

“Employment Branding For Attracting Quality Hires” Snippet

Image Courtesy of fuwad.files

Some of you may know that I am off to San Francisco tomorrow to speak at HR.Com’s Talent Acquisition Excellence Forum in San Francisco. This is my first mainstream conference speaking engagement. I am feeling a mix of excitement, nervousness (all good) and anticipation at the moment.

I am very lucky to be co-presenting with my friend and colleague Lexie Forman-Ortiz, Community Manager for SmartRecruiters.

Our session: “Employment Branding For Attracting Quality Hires” is something both Lexie and I are very passionate about. All too often, employers work in a constant reactive state of trying to hire a “warm” body to fill a need. When you have a bonafide need to add headcount to your already existing staff; it is not something you take lightly. Employers have to stop expecting quality overnight and via quick-fixes. Attracting the right candidates to your organization requires a well thought-out recruitment strategy and an understanding between management, hiring managers and recruiters that they will all be dedicated to the process of properly attracting, evaluating and selecting the right individuals for the job.

How will they find these people?

We make the case that employment branding is the answer. Lexie and I are not going to leave employment branding out there as a glorified buzzword of the moment, but we will make it practical and relevant for attendees emphasizing the emerging need for employers to hire for retention.

Whether or not you are physically present to hear Lexie and I speak please follow our hashtag on Twitter #BrandQuality and also check out the conference hashtag #HRcomtalentforum to keep abreast of the other great sessions there.


For off-topic fun and to follow my adventures while in transit to and in San Francisco, follow my #Czarinatravels hashtag on Instagram. I will take you along with me to all the great eats, sights and everything in between.

Also check out my partners-in-crime: Tiffany Kuehl, Celinda Appleby, Jocelyn Aucoin and Mary Wright on Twitter. The first two ladies are also speaking at HR.com and Jocelyn and Mary are coming along for moral support. All great people to follow.

Wishing you a great weekend ahead!


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