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Media Jobs Monthly Newsletter

October 28, 2009
The idea of Darwin Awards for Recruitment is a good one. My nomination goes to an old idea that just won't die: the "war for talent." This post correctly points out that, "While many have forgotten the term 'war for talent,' the phenomenon is slowly re-emerging..." Well, yes, I did forget. When I saw the first study back in the '90s, it predicted doom for employers and an abundance of jobs for us talented folks, thanks mostly to the demographics of aging baby boomers. I felt like all I had to do was sit back and wait for recruiters to start breaking down my door. I'm still waiting.

What the study really seems to uncover is that talent is something that CEOs worry about because, well, so many of them don't have it! Maybe that is why so many at the top go missing, or should I say, leave to "pursue new opportunities." If that applies to your CEO, here are some ways to keep the talented masses on board while you recruit for executives.

To find more talent, you need strong job descriptions that pull in the right people while filtering out the hundreds of unqualifieds and avoiding the "superman" complex. But in today's market, even the best candidates (corrupted by the war for talent like me?) are still romantic about job search. There is something about that magic of waiting to be discovered that compels people to throw their name in and hope for the best. Yet, they don't do much more than that.

Fortunately for your company, this same lack of initiative is also holding back the power of social media and the Web in empowering job seekers. While there is some indication that new generations of job seekers are engaging more, it is surprising how few are using the Web to perform due diligence on your company and its recruitment and talent management process. Are you ready for the kind of scrutiny that could be coming?

Once you get past the initial flood of applicants, and the really talented ones don't drop you because of your lack of social media engagement, reference checking is one thing that works well online. There are many smart applications that can facilitate the process and make it more efficient, objective, and revealing. For those who still prefer the old-fashioned way, here are some solid guidelines. Meanwhile, various workforce analytics offer hope for quantifying the recruitment, hiring, and retention process and alleviating the challenge and bias of subjective screening. However, this kind of data crunching can be a bit scary kind of a mix between Minority Report and Gattaca!

As for me, I am working remotely. No, that's not code for my being fired or leaving to "pursue new opportunities." I'll be here next month, too -- unless, of course, I become a casualty in the war for talent. In that case, I'll throw my name in and wait for the phone to ring.

Bill Conneely
Director, Job Market

Resume Triage for When You're Drowning (MediaJobsDaily)
When you've got 600 resumes coming in every hour, it's okay to judge based on appearances. Even better: preventing that deluge of submissions in the first place. Here's how.

Do Recruiters Have Time for Social Media? (Hire Strategies Blog)
"I don't tell [recruiters] that they have to be on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn every minute of every hour of every day, but someone needs to be monitoring activity because there will be some," writes social media consultant Peter Gold. See, social media doesn't have to take up a lot of time and be entirely about direct hires. Referrals, employment branding, and "many other things besides" are benefits recruiters will see from interacting online, and none of them require someone to spend every minute on Twitter.

The Darwin Awards of Recruiting (
"I have fired her four times and she just looks at me, gives me the 'eye' and says, 'OK, hon, see you tomorrow.' So if you have any ideas about how to get her out of here let me know." Read this and more horror stories from the newly-inaugurated Darwin Awards of Recruiting, now accepting your nominations.

Your Recruiting Problems Are Getting Bigger (The Staffing Advisor)
Social media recruiting is great, writes Bob Corlett at The Staffing Advisor, but just as recruiters are using new tools to check up on candidates, Generation Y is doing the same to gauge your company's authenticity. Almost half of students are using social media to verify if working at your company is the same as you portray it.

Talent Management Challenges in Post-Recession Era (Talent Junction)
The war for talent is a growing challenge: Sixty-seven percent of top execs surveyed by Accenture see the phenomenon as the top business threat second only to competition; up from 60 percent last year. And thanks to the worldwide recession, the definition of talent and talent retention has changed, too.

Recruiting and Non-Competes (The Fordyce Letter)
Can you recruit a candidate for a competitor when that candidate's signed a non-compete? After all, he's the one who signed the contract, not you. However, it's not that simple. Watch for these legal red flags.

What Good References Tell You (The Staffing Advisor)
Think checking references is a waste of time? Not so. You can learn a lot just from observing the time it takes for the reference to return your calls. And often references can give telling information about the candidate's personality, even within a positive recommendation.

Can You Predict Effective Employees? (HRE Online)
And are there privacy concerns? "Even if HR is not driving the bus, that ship has already sailed," says the CEO of a company that attempts to use data to predict which employees will be the most productive. HRE Online delves into the emerging world of workforce analytics.

Top Execs Leave; What to Do Before Pulling in a Replacement (HRE Online)
"When CEOs or other top executives leave an organization under sensitive circumstances, it requires careful handling to ensure that contracts and laws are followed and that communication is quick and appropriate." Before beginning the search for a new CEO when an exec leaves suddenly, it's HR's job to minimize the damage caused by the vacuum at the top.

--Compiled by Rachel Kaufman, editor,

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