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Expert Recruiting Advice for Employers Hiring

Peter WeddleWho is Peter Weddle?

Peter Weddle is a recruiter, HR consultant and business CEO turned author and commentator. Described by The Washington Post as "... a man filled with ingenious ideas," he has earned an international reputation, pioneering concepts in Human Resource leadership and employment. He has authored or edited over two dozen books and been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The National Business Employment Weekly, and CNN.com. Today, he writes two newsletters that are distributed worldwide and oversees WEDDLE's LLC, a print publisher specializing in the field of human resources. WEDDLE's annual Guides and Directory to job boards are recognized for their accuracy and helpfulness, leading the American Staffing Association to call Weddle the "Zagat of the online employment industry."

Weddle's Syndicated Content:

The First Five Lines
Job postings remain the single most effective way to recruit new hires. And, the first five lines are the single most important part of a job posting. They determine whether or not passive, high caliber talent will read on.

Don't Post a Job, Advertise Respect
Job postings are now routinely used on both job boards and social media sites. These online communications remain the most widespread method of candidate sourcing, yet are disparaged and ignored at almost every recruitment conference. Why? Because recruiters intuitively grasp the cost-benefit advantage of job postings, but all too often don't grab hold of their power. They use job postings to describe a job, when they would be better served by delivering respect.

A Social Job Posting
Not much has changed with job postings since they first appeared in the early 1990's. Today, they are, as they have always been, information-based ads that are shaped by their ancestors in the classified section of newspapers. What has changed, however, is the people who read job postings. They want a different experience, one that is social as well as informative.

How to Build a Post-Social Online Career Center
Today's typical online career center has all of the appeal of a brick. Its one-off, transactional focus may be tolerated by desperate job seekers, but for high caliber prospects, it's an invitation to spend time elsewhere. Those hard-to-recruit individuals have choices, so they demand a very different kind of experience, one that only a post-social Web-site can provide.

Post-Social Recruiting Part II
As I explained in my last column, post-social recruiting involves using social technology to create true career communities without the expensive overhead of traditional corporate career support. Unlike candidate databases and networks, these virtual "careersteads" nurture allegiance among talented workers and that bond, in turn, transforms them into genuine and long-term employment prospects.

Post-Social Recruiting
For the past five years, social recruiting has primarily been implemented in two ways: data mining pools of talent and networking with prospective candidates at social media sites. While such techniques will continue to be important, the thrust of social recruiting in the future will shift to a far different kind of activity: building and leveraging individual allegiance at employer and staffing firm sites. It's the next phase in the War for Talent - the era of post-social recruiting.

Pay Attention to the 99 Percent
Here's the inconvenient truth of recruiting: we reject 99 percent (or more) of our job applicants. In today's economy, there are more often than not far more people vying for our openings than we can possibly hire. So, the question is: will we disappoint those we turn down or will we give them a reason to come back and try again?

Optimizing the Recruiter's Experience
Economics has been called the dismal science. Recruiting analytics should be called miserable math. You have to use such metrics, but it's painful to do so. What makes the experience so unpleasant? It's complicated. Performance data can be analyzed in many different ways, and that's exactly what's happening in recruiting today. There is no general agreement about what constitutes the baseline measures of success.

The Most Important Number for Recruiters
We live in a world guided by numbers. They tell us which keywords generate the most traffic to our organization's career site, where we're most likely to connect with highly skilled candidates online, and how much it will cost to participate in a career fair for our target demographic. As useful as these metrics are, however, there's another that's more important and often overlooked. It's the number that tells us what we should be doing to source and recruit top talent.

Meta Tags for Top Talent
Meta tags have burst onto the public consciousness with the rise of search engine optimization. If you want top talent to find your corporate career site or even your job postings, a strong set of meta tags is all but essential. They provide a definition of sorts for what's on your Internet pages so search engines can find them when "A" level talent is searching the Web.

Use the Socratic Method in Candidate Email
We do it all the time. We find a great prospect for a key opening and send off an email message to start our recruiting conversation. More often than not, however, all that comes back is the sound of silence. The conversation never begins because we haven't structured the message to stimulate a reply. We haven't used the Socratic method.

Keep Your Promise to Optimize the Candidate Experience
The best candidates have choices. Most are employed and those who aren't receive a continuous stream of offers from recruiters. How can you differentiate your organization from the herd and your opening from the others that are available? Optimize the candidate experience in your recruiting process by making a promise and then keeping it.

The Two Worst Words in Recruiting
Every recruiter uses them, usually without thinking twice. These two words appear in recruitment ads and job postings on corporate career sites, job boards and social media sites. They are as comfortable as our fuzzy slippers. And, more than any other facet of the candidate experience, they turn off top talent. What are these words? Requirements and Responsibilities.

The Lingua Franca of Recruiting
Despite the popularity of social media these days, job postings remain the lingua franca of recruiting. Whether they appear on a corporate career site, a job board or yes - on a social media site - job postings are the principal way most employers communicate their openings to top talent. Yet, most job postings still have the look and feel of old fashioned print classifieds. They are about as appealing as a statistics textbook written in Swahili.

The Power of Non-Commercial Social Media
Commercial social media sites are all the rage these days. It's hard to find a recruiting conference or publication which isn't breathlessly touting the power of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Ryze, BranchOut and others. They're all useful recruiting venues, to be sure, but they are not the only social sites we recruiters should be using. Where else should we be going on the Web to meet high caliber talent? Non-commercial social media sites or what most people call association Web-sites.

Treat Your Talent Pipeline As a Rest Stop
What's the number one problem with today's talent pipelines? Attrition. According to research, the number of people bailing out of recruiter-built networks typically reaches forty percent or more each year. Given the time and effort required to load a pipeline, that's a huge loss for any organization. What's the solution? Re-imagining the purpose of your pipeline.

The SET Method of Social Recruiting
Social recruiting is typically defined as an activity that occurs on social media sites. It's as if social recruiting didn't exist before Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But, of course, it did, just on different media. And, that fact points to an emerging best practice: social recruiting is most effective when it's conducted with a multimedia strategy.

The Generic Candidate
The latest "big idea" in recruiting is to optimize the candidate experience. Pundits everywhere have leaped on the bandwagon to offer this strategy or that technique to make job seekers feel better as they pass through the recruiting process. No doubt, it's all helpful advice. But, sadly, it also ignores the one element that most sours the outlook and interest of potential new hires: our demeaning habit of treating every individual as a generic candidate.

The Hunger Games of Recruitment
Despite its dark themes, The Hunger Games has become an international bestseller for both young and not-so-young adults. It recounts the epic struggles of youthful "tributes' tossed into an arena where they are cut off from all human contact and left to fend for themselves in a deadly contest. Take away the ensuing violence and you have a disorienting isolation which, sadly, is not all that different from the experience of job seekers in many corporate recruiting processes.

Employers Behaving Badly
Candidates are people too. And in today's world, people are more social than at any other time in human history. They interact in two different worlds, one real and the other virtual. Treating people poorly during the recruiting process, therefore, can produce a double whammy that harms an organization's employment brand not once, but twice.

Deadlines vs. Lifelines
Recruiters live in a world defined by deadlines. Requisitions must be filled by a certain date, so sourcing, interviews, and reference checks have to be completed by earlier ones. Meeting those deadlines, however, can cause us to overlook a different kind of line, one that is especially important to our candidates. I call them lifelines.

Don't Believe In Fairy Tales
For decades, economists celebrated the rational person. It was their view that people would always make the intelligent choice - do what was in their best interests - when making a decision that would affect their economic wellbeing. Then, in the 1970s, two psychologists debunked that idea and one went on the win the Nobel Prize, in economics no less, for doing so. Turns out, we humans aren't as clear headed as we think we are, and that truism offers an important message for recruiters.

Get the Career You Deserve
After the last recession, recruiters have to be asking themselves, "How do I have a meaningful career in this field of work?". The minute the economy goes south, the nanosecond hiring slows, recruiters get their pink slips. There is no job security in recruiting. You can however, create something even better: career security.

Maximizing Your ROR- Your Return on Recruiting
What works best when sourcing top candidates? That's the key question, isn't it? Sure, it's interesting to explore new ideas and techniques. But, at the end of the day, job one is to recruit talent in the most efficient way possible for the openings you have right now. So, what techniques do recruiters find most effective today? That's what WEDDLE's annual Source of Employment (SOE) survey reveals.

Become a Talent Whisperer
Talent is hard to find, to be sure, but talking to talent effectively is even harder to do. Not only must we convince superior performers of our organization's value proposition, but in today's Web-centric world, we have to accomplish that feat in writing and in the blink of an eye. The key to success, therefore, is to learn and practice the art of "talent whispering."

What 11/22/63 Can Teach Recruiters
Stephen King has another best seller out called 11/22/63. It's a time-travel story about a man who ventures back to that date - the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. His mission is to change the past, to prevent the crime, and thus reshape the world he and we know. It's a fascinating yarn, but just as important, the truth it reveals about resetting ourselves offers an important lesson for recruiters.

Lead With Your Strength
The most important part of a recruitment ad is the first five lines. Top talent has the attention span of a gnat. They seldom read an entire job posting or print ad unless they are quickly convinced it's worth the time to do so. That's the reason you have to lead with your strength.

What Makes Online Networking Work?
There have been countless articles published about how to find candidates on the Web. The tools and techniques they describe are the science of online networking. What gets much less attention is the communication with candidates after they are identified. Done well, it is an art, for it alone convinces the passive prospect that they should apply for an opening. Or, to put it another way, the art of networking is what makes online networking work.

The Proactive Candidate
The conventional wisdom is that passive candidates are the best talent. They aren't. Passive describes someone who is stuck in place, and top performers are always on the move. Maybe not from one employer to another, but always on to the next challenge. And, it's that quest to experience their better self which is the key to recruiting them.

Give Your Job Posting Titles a Bite
When the director of the movie "Snakes on a Plane" thought about changing its name to "Pacific Air Flight 121", the lead actor Samuel L. Jackson threatened to quit. When asked why, he said, "Snakes on a Plane, man! That's the only reason I took the job. I read the title." He could have just as easily been describing the power of job posting titles. They may not cause people to take a job, but they do get them to bite on the ad.

Recruiters @Zuccotti Park
The extraordinary impact of a small group of protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park holds an important lesson for recruiters. In an era that celebrates virtual meetings on social media sites, it underscores the power of presence. While sourcing and recruiting online will continue to be effective strategies, we must not overlook the potentially profound influence of plain, old-fashioned face-to-face interactions.

What Recruiters Can Learn From Pols
We are, of course, in the silly season of politics. Despite the verbal gaffes and awkward photo opps, however, politicians do provide an important lesson for recruiters. While they carefully assess their prognosis for success and potential level of support when considering a run for office, the critical factor is more often than what it means for their family. The same is true among the best talent when they are considering an offer from a prospective employer.

Offer Top Talent Career Security
The War for Talent has now defined the recruiting field for a quarter century. While there has been much commentary about optimizing the candidate experience and building organizational cultures of excellence, the principal tactics in this war have been financial. We have paid top talent more to get them in the door and paid them even more to hang onto them. Both were shortsighted.

Making Job Boards Work-II
Though disparaged of late in conference presentations and the blogosphere, job boards remain the #1 external source of new hires according to at least two major surveys. To achieve such success, however, recruiters must know both how to shop smart for job boards and how to use them well. Think of it as a two-step strategy for maximizing the return on your investment of time and money in online recruitment advertising.

Making Job Boards Work
There's a paradox in recruiting today. Two recent surveys confirmed the effectiveness of job boards in recruiting new hires. And at the very same time, there's been a chorus of complaints that these sources produce too many candidates of too little quality. Can such a contraction be resolved? Absolutely. By shopping smart for job boards and then using them well.