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What If I Could Make It So the Garden Weeds Itself: Part II 

By: Steve Sanders – VP/GM of Industrial Practice

If you read the last post I wrote, you will recall that I discussed a book I recently read that outlined a situation where the band Van Halen had created a process by which they could easily identify non-conformance on the part of their venue. If you haven’t read that article or need a refresher, you can find it here.

The question for us: what are the applications to recruitment, hiring, etc? To put it another way, how can we apply these ideas to the hiring process so that the potential non-confirming individuals and employers will self select themselves out of the process?

I can give you a few examples of how we do this at TYGES. Our process for working with clients or individuals is based around the idea of investment. Our organization expects to spend a significant amount of resources on each search we take on. As a result we expect the client to invest time and effort in educating us on the search and their business. If the potential client is slow to respond, hesitant to give us access to key decision makers, etc. then we are not likely to pursue further search work with them. We’ve found that these behaviors are a good indicator of how the client will treat us investmentwhen we bring them candidates and we are only interested in working with clients that are prepared to be fully invested in the process.

On the “candidate” side, we also expect investment. In this case, the individual must demonstrate investment through their actions. For instance, prior to introducing the individual to our client we ask that they provide us with a clean, well formatted resume. We ask that they spend 20-30 minutes with us sharing information about their background, experience, and preferences. Often this call is scheduled beforehand. In addition we ask for a list of references. If the individual is timely in meeting these requirements and the information provided is clean and well formatted, then we know that we are working with someone who is invested in the process up front. If not, we have a red flag as to the level of cooperation that we are going to see going forward.

In addition to the above, we do both pre and post interview briefing with our individuals seeking a career change. These are usually scheduled calls as well and can last as long as 20 minutes. If the individual is not timely or not cooperative as we work through the early interviews then we take this as an indication of their investment in the process and will give them the option to remove themselves from the process. We have a saying, “Kill the deal, early and often.” Ideally speaking, we want to weed out those who are not going to accept the job if offered well before it comes to that stage of the hiring process.

Just like the band and their brown M&M’s, we’ve developed a process by which we can gauge the likelihood that our potential client or candidate will work with us as a partner vs. just usBrown_Twitter_Pic_Reveal_1.26ing us as a resume mill or as a tire kicking exercise.

Essentially, we have created a garden that weeds itself.

I welcome your feedback as we continue to Reinvent Recruiting with Resolve.  You can find me on LinkedIn or you can contact me directly.  Also, you can learn more about TYGES at www.TYGES.com, on Twitter @TYGESInt, or here on our blog. Our mission is simple:

We’re here to make good things happen to other people.

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A Time To Be Thankful: Are You Satisfied With Your Work Life (Part III)

By: Katrina Blalock – VP/GM, Aerospace / Defense Practice

How would you rate your experience when you step into the office each day? On a scale of “dreading the day” to “your friends are jealous of your career happiness,” where do you fit in?

Over the past 2 posts I have written, we have discussed being under-challenged in the workplace and being over-challenged and how these factors affect an employee’s work ethic and overall happiness. But there are many people who are satisfied in their workplace environment and are genuinely happy and love what they do. If that applies to you, if you truly enjoy your work, you should be thankful. With Thanksgiving around the corner, many people take the time to reflect on the things in life they are thankful for and, if you are one of the lucky individuals who are satisfied and content in the workplace, that is certainly something to be thankful for.

Are you appropriately challenged for your skill set and still unhappy? Do you find your work life to be mediocre? If you aren’t happy in a position that is challenging you in the right ways, it could be time to find a new line of work. On the flipside, are you a hiring manager and feel you need some fresh talent on your team? Reflection on your attitude and workplace is a big part of planning for 2015.

I encourage your feedback and would like to connect with you on LinkedIn. Learn more about TYGES at www.TYGES.com, on Twitter @TYGESInt, or here on our blog at http://reinventingrecruiting.com/

Our mission is simple:

We’re here to make good things happen to other people.

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The Black Hole That Is The Applicant Tracking System

We have been working with more and more clients in the manufacturing sector that have decided to adopt an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) as part of their talent recruiting process. Generally speaking, Applicant Tracking Systems are fashioned as a portal for individuals to submit their career credentials and express their interest in either a particular organization or a particular job that the organization is promoting. people are not productsIn theory, an ATS is a great idea. They are easily deployable software programs that remove the tedious aspects of sorting through resumes, screening out and dismissing unsuitable applicants, and distributing resumes to a particular department and a particular hiring manager. However, if any of the vendors who built the first Applicant Tracking Systems had spent ten seconds thinking about that process, they would have designed it intelligently, using normal human logic to create a funnel that would simplify the process of separating the wheat from chaff in the talent selection pipeline.

When you fill out an online job application, it asks where you worked, and your job title. Any reasonable person can extrapolate your major duties from the job title, but every ATS asks for the tasks and duties you performed anyway. Tasks and duties!

You’re asked what tasks and duties you performed, as though the list of items in a job description is more important for your next employer to understand than what you actually accomplished on the job.

If you think about the smartest, most switched-on person you’ve ever worked with, and then think about the biggest slacker and do-nothing person you’ve ever worked alongside, the contrast between those two people is obvious. Yet no ATS in the world could distinguish between them, as long as the two people worked at the same job in the same company at the same time. Applicant Tracking Systems don’t inquire about what you learned at a job, what you left in your wake, or what you view as your greatest accomplishment. The selection mechanism most of my clients use is stuck in the past, interested only in the tasks and duties and tools you used, as though those things out of context could have any significance to the next hiring manager you work for.

e075debe6c5b624f27a0938bf7620827.jpgApplicant Tracking Systems are Black Holes for job-seekers. You lob a resume in and nothing comes back. If you’re lucky enough to get a response, it’s likely to be a different (but still terse) auto- response demanding that you complete an aptitude test or an honesty test. The honesty tests employers use are actually intelligence tests, because if you’re not smart enough to figure out the ‘right’ answer on those things (“If you saw an employee stealing, what would you do?”) you’re not smart enough to have a job. And it’s not just the choice of fields in Applicant Tracking Systems that makes them so loathsome. They are built on bad logic at their core. They are based on the notion that the central problem in recruiting is to screen out and dismiss unsuitable candidates, making a business function of the vetting process, whereas, in fact, the problem in recruiting is that it’s hard to find great people, and we should be selling them throughout the process if we want them to consider joining us.

Ask any CEO how s/he feels about the availability of talent. It’s a global problem, and not only because job descriptions are so often fanciful-bordering-on-delusional. It’s hard to find employees who are not only smart and plucky but also good communicators, flexible and reliable. When you’re facing a shortage of talent – not job applicants, mind you, but the proactive and self-directed subset of those applicants who can make a difference for your firm and its customers – is your first thought “Let me make the job application process as off-putting as possible?” Not if you understand anything about human motivation.

The ATS vendors that will survive to 2020 and beyond will be the ones that figure out how to humanize the selection process. Luckily, it isn’t complicated. An ATS that were oriented toward engaging job-seekers rather than intimidating and repelling them would be a good start.

You can learn more about  TYGES at www.TYGES.com, on Twitter @TYGESInt, or here on our blog.

Our mission is simple:

We’re here to make good things happen to other people.

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What if I Could Make it So the Garden Weeds Itself

By: Steve Sanders – VP/GM of Industrial Practice

I read a book recently called Think Like A Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the bestselling authors of Freakonomics. The book outlines how to set aside biases and begin to think more like an economist. It is an excellent read and I highly encourage you to have a look but rather than give you a book report I wanted to highlight a particularly intriguing idea. The authors provided an example of an idea they called “teaching our garden to weed itself” using the band Van Halen- popular rock band from the 80’s with a larger than life front man named David Lee Roth.

100_5808Garden1WeedsEssentially it worked like this: Van Halen had a very large road show with complex lighting, pyrotechnics, and sound systems. The set up of this equipment often would fall to the host venue and many times there were problems with the set up when the band arrived on the day of the show. The result was that the show would need to be delayed or the quality of the performance was less than what it could have been if the set up had been done correctly. In order to correct the issue, the band would need to have their personnel go onsite at the venue to oversee the set up and make sure things were done correctly. This was a costly and time consuming approach for the band.

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David_Lee_RothApparently the band’s lead man, David Lee Roth, hit upon an idea that didn’t necessarily fix the issue but certainly gave the band some indication that there were likely to be problems with the setup. In the entertainment industry it is common to have riders in the contract that outline the venue’s responsibilities in minute detail. Given the complexity of the set up required the rider was very detailed as to the construction of the stage, lighting, pyrotechnics, etc. In addition to the logistics of the set up, the band also required certain food, drinks, etc. be provided in the dressing room and some of these requirements could be quirky to say the least. For instance, Van Halen required the venue to provide a bowl that contained a large amount of M&M’s.

The idea that David Lee Roth came up with was to require, in the rider, that the venue remove all the brown M&M’s from the bowl. The M&M bowl served two purposes: the first being that the band really liked their M&M’s. But, secondly, was that the presence of M&M’s or lack thereof was an indication of how closely the venue adhered to the very detailed instructions in the contract rider, i.e. – if the band arrived and there were brown M&M’s in the bowl then it was a pretty good indication that the entire set up needed to be gone over with a fine tooth comb for errors.

The authors went on to explain how this idea can be used in other instances. The basic tenet is that processes can be designed such that the non-conformances become readily apparent like the presence of brown M&M’s in the bowl. Later this month I’ll write about how these ideas can be applied to the hiring process. Until then spend some time thinking about how you can create a garden that weeds itself.

I encourage your feedback and would like to connect with you on LinkedIn. Learn more about TYGES at www.TYGES.com, on Twitter @TYGESInt, or here on our blog at http://reinventingrecruiting.com/

Our mission is simple:

We’re here to make good things happen to other people.

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To Be (Grateful) Or Not To Be (Grateful)

By Tim Saumier, President of TYGES International

Every year I ask myself this question – Am I grateful?  Growing up we were fortunate – not like you would think because I am the youngest of five children, raised by a single mom on welfare in Syracuse, NY.  Throughout my childhood, I probably lived in 20 different places, which included (public housing, hotels, our aunt’s house, and wherever we had to go to survive).  We had food stamps that kept us fed.  We lived on or around the public transit system (bus) and could catch a ride for $.15 (that’s right, fifteen cents), but honestly we walked most places to reserve our money.  In addition, my two oldest siblings were born deaf which further complicated our lives.  fortunateSo with all this, why would I consider myself fortunate?  Well, for the most part we had food, shelter and water which is more than most people have today in this world.  But what set us apart is that we had a mother who was a stubborn lady with a wonderful work ethic who taught us many life lessons over the course of our childhood.

Was I fortunate? Of course.  But don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hated being poor and knew that as I grew up I would do my best to change this.  I was the only one in my house to graduate from college (my sister went back later and got her paralegal degree) and I knew that I would never be the smartest person in the room, but I would not be outworked – period – no excuses.  This in a sense what has helped define my life thus far.  I spent about 15 years after college chasing the “American Dream” or better yet “Nightmare” before realizing that the more things I accumulated the more miserable I became.  There would never be enough; I would never make enough.  Most people would consider my story to be a success story when it’s measured by dollars but I finally realized that things/wealth would not make me grateful.

I need to remember to be grateful for the small things in life:

1)      Ability to wake up each morning

2)      A roof above my head and food in my stomach

3)      A great family who loves me unconditionally

4)      A career that I love because I get to help people daily

So when you are pining for something you don’t have or you’re idolizing items that others have remember that this does not bring joy and gratefulness.  Keep it simple in your life.  And during this time of year if you really want to experience joy, go out and serve and give of your time.  Take the focus off of you and put it on others and teach your kids to do the same.  Don’t just make a donation but give of your time, your smile, your hugs, and whatever else you have to give.  Make it sincere.  Buying someone in the coffee line a cup of coffee is nice, but its too easy and not as impactful.  Find the lonely neighbor and invite them to dinner, take your family and serve at a shelter, find a family that you know is struggling and take care of their Christmas for them.

12143Instead of buying those things that end up being given away in less than two years, think about those who need basic things like socks, food, shoes, coats, etc.  It will feel like a sacrifice initially and you’ll think that you’re the one doing the blessing, but the real blessing is for you. It’s something that has changed my life in a radical way. I read this somewhere recently so I can’t take credit for it: “We’re here to make Good Things happen for other people.”  Pretty interesting words to live by.

So ask yourself – are you truly grateful?  I am.  I may not always remember it but I work hard every day to be grateful.

I welcome your feedback as we continue to Reinvent Recruiting with Resolve.  You can find me on LinkedIn and at Twitter you can find me at @timsaumierTI.  Also, you can learn more about TYGES at www.TYGES.com, on Twitter @TYGESInt, or here on our blog. Our mission is simple:

We’re here to make good things happen to other people.

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