Monday, April 26, 2010

Cutting Staffing Costs to a Fault

"Our cost per hire rose this month by eight percent," the CEO said to the Director of HR in a way that the statement was more a question that must be answered.

"That's easy to explain. First we...," you being and follow it with a list of reasons why the costs rose, including the bombardment of resumes and the use of an executive search firm for that high-profile opening in Marketing.

Has this happened before? Has it been followed by a request to reduce costs starting now?

While I understand the need to watch costs/operating expenses, I wonder if organizations that are now hiring again are presently at a point where cost minimization is detrimental to organizational success.

Let's look at cost per hire as the intro showed. This cost includes all the costs that go into hiring new employees. It includes but is not limited to:

  • cost of the time spent preparing, interviewing, and deciding on applicants

  • cost of job postings

  • cost of administering employment or skill assessment tests, background checks, and drug tests

  • cost of any travel, lodging, or meals

  • cost of outsourcing to recruiting firms

All these costs exist for a good purpose: to get the best employee for the position. So why the minimization of costs? HR is still viewed as a cost center because it doesn't generate any revenue. If the costs are going up, and nothing can offset them, then they need to be reduced, right? It truly depends on the strategy of the company, but for the most part, I have to say minimizing costs is the wrong move.

The right move is to learn where the costs need to go, move them there, and then measure the results, keeping it all in line with the business strategy. To shift the costs, HR and management need to determine a hierarchy of positions based on the position's ability to generate revenue, decide the organization's future, and keep the business competitive. Based on this hierarchy, the combined partnership of HR and management can determine how it spreads the costs of recruiting. After cost decisions are in place and hiring begins, it is going to take time to see the results. This is going to extend beyond the one month that the CEO in the narrative gave. At a minimum, I recommend measuring for positions 6 months after they've been filled because it may take this long for a new employee to understand the tasks of the job and the social and political aspects of work.

I'd seriously recommend the idea of scrapping the cost per hire in favor of other measures such as:

  • percentage of employees in the top tier of our hierarchy still employed after 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc.

  • percentage of employees in the top tier of our hierarchy performing above, at, or below expectations

  • percentage of employees in the top tier of our hierarchy hired through referrals who remain, perform at or above expectations

  • percentage of employees in the top tier of our hierarchy who leave voluntarily or involuntarily

Remember, hierarchy isn't based on org chart layout; it is based on importance of the position to the success of the company. And notice that I only mention the top tier. These measurements can address the other tiers as well.

The point that we can make from this is that recruiting isn't just about how much is spent hiring new employees. It is about smart hiring and measurable results. If we can determine that referrals lead to a 90% employment rate after 180 days with strong performance results, then we can work to cut recruiting costs in areas that aren't giving the same results.

It is also worth noting that organizations can save on costs in the selection process if they eliminate staffing elements that aren't necessary for each position. Not every position needs a background check* or a job skills assessment test. Determine which positions need which elements and save on costs that way.

Finally, if the concern is about cycle time -- time to fill a position -- my recommendation is to not be overly concerned about it. The time will make some people worry, but organizations shouldn't press the issue of cutting cycle time (just like cutting costs) just to get the process over or because a fear looms that the req will be closed. It will only result in the wrong hire which will create an opening later on, increasing the costs by repeating the staffing process over again.

To wrap this up, the idea here is to measure costs, adjust them appropriately, and have the numbers justify the reasons why the costs are as they are.

I'd love to hear what the professionals have to say.

Thanks for reading.

* To avoid discrimination claims, if a position does require a background check, an employer should check everyone, not just one or a few finalists.

Addressing Satellite Office Employees' Needs

Recently I obtained my Masters in Human Resource Management (the main reason why I've gone 2 months without a post), a far cry from being in IT for the past 10 years. When people ask me what I want to do, I tell them that my passion is in HR, inspired by events of my years as a part of the workforce, and that I want to use my education and the aforementioned passion to become a successful HR professional, an advocate for the employer as well as the employee. One preference I have as I look to transition is to find a position at a headquarters or an office that employs at least a few hundred people because the chances for growth and advancement far exceed those in satellite and small offices. Even more so, I want to avoid offices that don't manage some portion of the business and that don't show a history of retaining, developing, and promoting employees.

One may ask why I'm being so picky about this. Even though getting an offer from anywhere is a blessing, I desire to move beyond the honeymoon and into the marriage, advancing beyond the position that allowed me access to the company. I've been employed in a satellite, or branch, office for longer than I'd like to admit and have seen very few promotions; the opportunities just weren't available even though the employees performed very well.

For those who require opportunity, being employed in a large organization's main office far outweighs anything a satellite office can offer in career advancement, and if you, the reader, are in HR or management, perhaps this blog entry will be a guide on how to treat satellite offices which are bound to have employees that want to advance their careers.

The satellite office could almost be seen as a dead end professional street for many. Employees may get their start in an organization in one of these offices, but they then realize that, after a while, the organization offers little room, if any, for advancement. The "out of sight, out of mind" mentality can be a part of this as well as the desire to have all team members centrally located, but more often than not, the real reason, from my experience, is that a lack of advancement results from just not being where the bulk of the business occurs.

If the organization is concerned about high performers leaving, then HR must get involved. Satellite offices need to have an HR presence in some form, whether in-house full-time, part-time, or through monthly visits, and HR must have some indication of what is happening in these offices. Exit interviews and performance reviews that feature goals for the next review period are good places to start. Each one holds key pieces of information that can clue an organization into its employees' level of engagement. These tactics are not any different than what can happen in a main office, but the point to make here is that with fewer opportunities in the satellite offices, HR must take action to address employees' developmental needs.

Exit interviews are obviously reactive since the employee has already left, but they can work to prevent future employees from leaving if HR can convince managers to act upon the information. Goal review allows HR to see just what development challenges employees will undertake for the coming review period. If the tasks seem to indicate a lack of employee growth and enthusiasm towards the goals, HR can assume that engagement and performance will slip and turnover will increase. HR can then attempt to partner with line managers and employers to help create new goals and find ways to increase the opportunities for these offices.

New projects can breed life into satellite offices. Since many of these offices are seen as specialist offices doing routine tasks, shaking up the status quo with new projects can get people fired up to come to work. HR should talk to management about moving projects to these offices to utilize the talent, giving employees the opportunity to do something different, provided that the workforce is capable, willing, and in need of the challenge. The organization may find that moving projects to satellite offices can also create new opportunities for those employees in the main office who are now free to work on other projects that may require close supervision during the initial stages.

A couple other options are available for employees in these offices, and HR should help explore the feasibility of each. The first is the transfer to another office. This is probably the most common option for employees looking to advance their careers. HR should work with line managers to identify those employees ready for promotions. After this stage, HR and these employees should discuss the possibility of transferring to a different office and developing relocation programs to help employees acclimate to new cities and offices. It should be noted that this option isn't one that brings life to an office; it may be detrimental to the office if it loses a key employee who transfers elsewhere.

Another option is for the employee to work in multiple locations. The organization will have to incur some travel and lodging expenses during this time, but if the business the employee generates outweighs the costs of travel for this employee, it certainly seems worth considering. This employee can either be a part of something that stays in the headquarters or be the individual that brings the project to the satellite office.

The great advantage that organizations have today is in the form of technology. The Internet, web cams, and teleconferencing equipment make it possible to conduct business in a decentralized manner. Projects or divisions can operate thousands of miles away from a main office and still succeed, if the right pieces and culture are in place to make it happen. The culture is key because the willingness to make it work absolutely matters. Partial ownership at the main office and the satellite office create a shared responsibility so that no one wants to fail. The use of technology allows employees to move up without moving, and while at some point the employee may have to consider a location change, the goal for organizations should be to provide more options for employees in satellite offices while reducing the turnover of high-performing employees.

I haven't talked about it until now, but efforts to bring new life to satellite offices can also break the glass ceiling. Implementing changes increases opportunities for qualified women and minorities. This action can go a long way in proving that satellite offices are employing individuals in proportion to the qualified applicant pool of the surrounding area. The diverse workforce in these offices may also lead to new creative developments that the organization may not be able to generate at the headquarters.

I'm sure most employees want to feel like the sky is truly the limit, and addressing satellite office employee concerns may make this vision closer to becoming a reality. Underestimating the power of communication can stall any initiative for these employees. New hires need to know during the recruiting and selection process that opportunities beyond the current position exist, and current employees need to see this in action or be a part of the action. An organization with satellite employees should not overlook having an advancement culture, and communications to employees should detail individual success and new business that the office obtains.

Have you had any experience in this area? If so, I'd love to hear from you and learn from your experiences.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't Let a Recovering Economy Take Your Talent

"I need to find a new job."
"Why do I bother? I know they will cut me next."
"I'm happy I have a job, but it's just a paycheck."
"I'm not learning anything new."

Have you ever asked yourself these or similar questions? If you have, and even if you have not, you can bet the employees around you have, and I'm sure at least one is thinking it right now.

While some employees are actively looking for a new job (19%), many employees are seeking stability in employment (86%).* Of those that are currently looking for a job and those that want stability, how many think that the desired stability is coming from their current organization, the one with unpaid hours, less pay, and layoffs? To these employees, having a job and staying employed during the recession isn't considered stable. Metaphorically, it is like living on a fault line that has yet to shift.

We, as HR professionals, know that many companies have implemented the same cost-cutting measures our companies are doing, but it isn't always clear to the employee. Not every employee has access to or knowledge of the latest SHRM survey or benchmark data that details what organizations plan to do in 2010 and beyond. Employees become worried about the uncertainty, sometimes escaping before the ground begins to shake. The choices that employees make center around which organizations are more stable than the current one, and it is up to us to make ours the most stable for those employees that we do not want to lose.

Will our employees forget about frozen compensation increases when compensation is restored to the median increase of 3%**. Will our employees forget about the increased cost of medical they've had to pay? How about the unpaid days they had to take? I've heard it said that people will be happy to still have a job, and that they'll welcome increases from the same employer that took it away. But I say, why take that risk?

How do we win over our employees again to the point that we can retain motivated and engaged employees? I will admit that I am not an expert in retention, engagement, and motivation, but I do know that either we engage and motivate our employees and make the employment experience meaningful, rewarding, and safe, or we prepare to conduct exit interviews. If only 13%*** of employers are taking extra steps to retain employees, perhaps we'll be conducting many more exit interviews than we thought.

Pay and benefits are important to employees, but whether or not pay and benefits increases are feasible, we can not forget that inducements such as work-life balance and career development are important too. Beyond just giving to our employees, here are a few ways that we can become proactive in letting our employees see that we care about retaining their services, and hopefully, they'll see that we are making an effort to fix what they feel or know is broken.

Learn Employee Aspirations

We must make sure we are working with our employees, learning about their career aspirations and working with their managers to lead them in those directions. For example, if someone is "shouldering the load" of a former employee but someone else would like those responsibilities, consider giving them to the interested party. That person may do a better job and be happier. It may also free up the other person to do something else as well. This is a win for everyone, but it means getting out there and learning what people want and helping them achieve their goals.

Train and Develop for Free

The paragraph above segues into training and development. Not all T&D needs to cost money. For example, if an organization has an Excel guru, consider having that person train others in using Excel to build macros, pivot tables, and vlookups. Write down who has gone through the training and add it to their KSAOs. Why pay a trainer when we may have one in-house that can do it for free!

Hold Managers Accountable

Something I read in "Study: Economy Doesn’t Change Workers’ Retention Expectations," from November 2009 on SHRM's website stuck with me too. Get those manager's involved. Managers need to improve their relationships with their employees. They don't have to be "buddy-buddy," but now is a great time to mend relationships that are strained and strengthen those that are still good. Get managers to conduct more one-on-one and team meetings to learn more about the team and employee interests. Giving employees a voice that is now heard can work wonders. What I like about this, as the article mentions, is holding the manager responsible for retention. Sure some turnover is unavoidable, but if employee can be kept, that manager should be involved and rewarded.

Market the Organization to Itself

Finally, I think now is a great time to market the organization internally. It is the perfect time to stand out against other companies by showing what we have done better than other companies during the recession. If the organization has done worse, then describe and execute the plan on how we'll do better in the future! If it takes getting the marketing team involved, then get that team's help. Employees will appreciate the communication, especially when it concerns them.

There are many more things we can do to retain our employees and provide them with a stable environment, but the suggestions above can show that we are ready to build our workforce again, starting with those employees we have in-house. Aren't they worth it?

What other suggestions would you recommend? I'd love to hear more.

* Recession Alters Relationship Between Employers, Workers

**U.S. Salary Increase Budgets Barely Matching Inflation

***Study: Economy Doesn’t Change Workers’ Retention Expectations

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Engaging an "On the way out" Employee

After I wrote my last blog entry, "High Value at Low Ranks," I started to think more about what should happen to retain knowledge, if the employee decides to leave.

Preferably, the best route to take would be to require, as a part of the job description, all employees to input work and knowledge as related to the position, into a knowledge base, an interactive tool or database that maintains rules, procedures, contacts, and any other documentation necessary for continued uninterruption of business. This information is readily accessible at any point to anyone in the organization, given the correct permissions. A knowledge base can take many forms, including full-blown information systems or even as simple as a notebook full of instructions.

Unfortunately, not every organization has the time and money to document certain or all aspects of each job, and many employers scramble to tap into a departing employee's knowledge via a series of KT (Knowledge Transfer) meetings during that employee's final days. Trying to reclaim information from a "checked-out" employee who is only doing a customary two-weeks notice can be about as entertaining as baby-sitting your neighbors' 2 year old son for four hours. You may be mentally up for it, but the kid is not.

What do you do when work wasn't documented, and the idea of a back-up was merely that, just an idea? You must successfully reclaim the knowledge that is about to leave with the employee, but your confidentiality and noncompetes don't help you. Those signed documents may prevent the employee from passing the trade secrets and personal knowledge of the business on to other organizations, but they do not help you recapture what is walking out the building and boarding the #121 bus.

You can't be left hoping that you will get a stand-up employee who will give his or her all in the final two weeks with your organization. That employee, especially one you denied a promotion or raise, is few and far between. You need actual extrinsic incentives. You need a two-week strategy.

Here ae a few suggestions for what you can do during this time.
0. No New Projects. Why did I start with zero, not one? The answer is that zero is significant here. It means absolutely no new projects. I've heard stories of managers asking their employees to start something new. This won't work because your employee is no longer engaged, and the level of work will not be what you would get if you would just give it to someone who will remain and is willing to prove himself or herself. Addtionally, by not giving new projects to the future ex-employee, it allows you more time to obtain the knowledge you seek.
1. Start Later. Begin with offering the employee shorter days during the final weeks. You need to consider that while this person is officially still working for you, he or she is no longer mentally working and is already moving on. Don't force the employee to begin working at 8am. Relax the time and don't even attempt to subtract hours or PTO if the person is late. You won't get anything from the employee if you play hardball.
2. Shorter Days and Smart Planning. Don't schedule TK meetings early in the morning, right after lunch, or right around end of business. The employee is bound to come in late (see #1), take longer lunches, and leave early. Find the right time in the morning that works. Odds are you already know when you get the best work out of your employee. Find that time and use it to your advantage.
3. Lunch meetings. Get the employee away from the office distractions of surfing the web and saying bye to fellow co-workers. You can do this and make it fun by treating the employee to lunch. Keep it professional and distraction-free by offering up places that don't have plasma tvs, pool tables, or dart boards. It should be relaxed, but the emphasis here is still on business. And use this time to butter them up by thanking them for the time they gave to the organization and team.
4. Money. You can't go wrong with offering up more money. Sure the person shouldn't get paid anything extra for doing the job he or she is supposed to do, but don't forget to remember these two words: "money talks." Money is a great motivator; use it if you need to, but make it contingent on the level of knowledge you obtain.
5. Stay connected. In case the employee decides to use up his or her vacation time, or in case you anticipate you may need this employee's services after the two-weeks, you should keep the lines of communication open. Ask the employee about his or her stance on contracting for the organizations when issues or questions arise. You'll need to make sure you get legal involved here as the details of the contract can leave you open to potential ligitation problems. Here are a few pointers: make sure to draw up a formal contract with specific start and end dates. Also note that any level of work is not guaranteed. You don't want to be responsible for paying out a month's salary when the person never worked during the contract period.

This may look like a skeptic's list of incentives, but in reality, these suggestions can be useful. It all depends on the employer-employee relationship, the circumstances behind the employee's departure, and the importance of the knowledge the employee holds.

Let's see what the professionals have to say.

Monday, April 5, 2010

High Value at Low Ranks

I recall numerous times as my team got in an elevator on the way to a team lunch when someone would bust out some version of the line: "if this elevator crashed, the company would be in big trouble." From that came nods, grunts, and laughter, all signaling agreement (and I'm sure wishes that it wouldn't happen). It was clear to us that our team, a technology team responsible for $25-50+ million in revenue a year, depending on the year, was incredibly valuable to the company. We knew that if the team was gone, the company couldn't survive.

Recently, after hearing about the departure of one person from her organization, I wondered about the impact her loss would have on the organization. She wasn't a president, a CEO, a director, a manager, or a top sales person; she was standing on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder, but yet she was solely responsible for numerous well-known clients with deep pockets. She didn't have a back-up. She was valuable because nobody else knew what she did and how she did it, and the company hadn't devised a plan to pick up the work if this employee chose to leave.

Sometimes -- sickness, retirement, going back to school, childbirth -- voluntarily leaving is something that can't be prevented, but what does an organization do to show it values an employee who is in a position that doesn't have a back-up? Further, to go beyond the employee, what does an organization do to make sure it has a back-up for critial yet entry-level positions?

The organization should look to retain employees in these positions. I say get tuned in! Get to know what rewards, intrinsic or extrinsic, drive the employee. Is it money, promotion, appreciation and recognition, new skill, more weight into decisions, work-life balance, new tools to make work easier, or something else? Learn the key motivators and make them happen. If it seems possible that the rewards will only work for a short period of time, use this time to train a back-up.

In this case, the employee wanted a raise, and her manager denied it, presumably because the organization had a freeze on merit increases. Eight months later, the employee gave her two-weeks notice. The manager and the human resources team, if HR was even aware of the employee's request, failed to tune in, and for eight months failed to act. Perhaps they thought the job market was strong enough to keep this employee, this low-rung employee? It must be understood that talented employees exist at all levels in the organization, and management should put a plan in place to identify key employees and how business would be affected if something were to happen. Part of that plan would include:

  • meeting weekly with the employee to get an idea of his/her level of engagement

  • learning about and acting upon what will make this employee stay

  • training another employee as a back-up

These suggestions can help keep the employee from leaving, but at least for now, they help to create a small insurance policy for situations that don't seem big but really are.

In a time when fewer reqs are opening and companies are siding with attrition, what makes the most sense to you and to the company?

Do not fail to act.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

IEDs in the Resume World. Incorrect Employment Dates.

For the purpose of today's post, I'm going to assume that at least 1 person in your career has told you to periodically review your resume, not wait years before you do it. For one reason, you don't want to be put into a situation where you are scrambling to write it in a format that makes sense. For another reason, an updated resume that is also visible on sites such as LinkedIn or some job board are likely to get more hits (CareerBuilder knows when a resume gets updated, and that appears to strike more interest from employers). But simply put, the most important reason for updating your resume is this: details become fuzzy the more removed you are from them, and those details could be your undoing in a selection process.

So what's all the fuss about? The recent SHRM survey, "Background Checking: Conducting Reference Background Checks (2010)," cited an amazing statistic:
64% of HR professionals reported that during background reference checks, inaccurate dates of previous employment, as provided by employees had the most impact on their decision to not extend a job offer. Keep in mind that while most organizations, 66% surveyed in the Midwest, have policies on obtaining consent from the applicant before proceeding with a background check, not all of them do.

I refer to incorrect employment dates as IEDs. While not the same as those our military encounters, these can be detrimental and explosive to your job search. And you may never even know.

Now that sounds like reason enough to get keep or get your resume updated, doesn't it?

It isn't all about wonderful attitudes, perfect smiles, and organizational and job fit. You need to get your facts straight; this is your first impression in showing your honesty and attention to detail. Don't blow it; however, if for any reason you need employment dates (or any details) to appear one way on your resume, you should at least explain that you aren't intentionally misleading anyone. The explanation may just be too long to put on a resume, or the exact details of the employment might've fallen into the confusing zone of employee/independent contractor.

Italian poet Cesare Pavese seems to have said it correctly: "We don't remember days; we remember moments." Unfortunately, not all resumes are written by a poet, and some applications have required fields that expect dates, not characters. You must stick to the facts and realize that someone is going to eventually check up on you.

I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hire Now, Discount Later

Warning #1. I'm writing this one with a little tongue-in-cheek because I'm in one of those moods.
Warning #2. For the record, I am attempting to stay away from the political agenda; I'm just offering up my take on the contents of the Act and its impact on organizations.

Let's kick it off with a Star Wars reference, shall we.
Gran Moff Tarkin to Death Star Gunner: "you may fire when ready." And with that, there goes planet Alderan.

In today's day and age, with the passing of the HIRE Act this month, Tarkin might've advised his HR staff (imagine working in HR for the Empire) to "hire when ready." Yea, yea, weak comparison and bad use of a quote, but work with me here.

The HIRE -- Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment -- Act is the newest boost by the government to get this economy righted. The basic gist is simple: hire a new employee this year and receive tax credits up to $1,000 on your organization's income tax return in 2011. Now that sounds inviting. Looks like the carpet cleaners will be working overtime to get the red carpets ready to roll out in order to welcome in new employees. Not so fast.

This Act does have some catches for hiring new employees:
Catch #1. To be eligible for this tax credit, any position that currently exists must have been previously held by an employee that either vacated it voluntarily or left for cause (say, poor performance).
Catch #2. The tax credit is said to also apply to newly created positions. (I like the idea of adding fully-staffed HR departments)
Catch #3. The newly-hired employee had to have been out of work longer than 60 days.

For an organization to gain the tax credit, the employees hired under the HIRE Act must be employed for 52 weeks. This leads me to wonder about this whole Act. Say that an organization wants to hire again after laying people off a few months ago from the positions it is ready to hire into, but it also wants to get the tax benefits of the new hires. Does it restructure and create new positions that are slightly different than positions that got downsized? Ethically, I would hope organizations don't do this, but I could see it happening. Hire the employee now and get the discount later.

Will this somehow create more discrimination claims? Could the determining factor of who gets hired be time unemployed? I realize that isn't a protected class, but if it comes down to a white male who was unemployed for 5 months versus an African American male who was unemployed for only 1 month but equally qualified, does the latter have a claim if the employer didn't choose to hire him? What if the person who was laid off sees the position with a new title but the same qualifications? What if this person is over 40, and the new hire is under 40? Employers are going to need to be mindful of this.

Is there enough incentive here to hire new employees? I've read a few other comments across the Web on this topic, and it seems like this could be a nightmare not worth the hassle.

My opinion is simple. If you find the right employee and can take advantage of the breaks offered up by the IRS, then go for it, but please, do not go out of your way to alter existing jobs just to get the break. It could open you up to claims you don't want to have. If you have a need to create a new job, do it, and hire the right person, regardless of time spent unemployed. Cast your net so it catches qualified applicants, including the unemployed.

I realize this Act contains much more info, and if you are concerned about how it can impact your organization, stop on by your accountants. I'm sure they can add some insight into this. If they aren't aware of it, make them aware now!

So Gran Moff, when will you hire someone who can build a Death Star that has a sewer cap over the most exposed part of space station?

(HR pros. What do you think of this? Will you take advantage or disadvantage of it?)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Say it ain't so, Spokeo!

This topic is poignant because of a paper I'm writing in regards to technology and recruiting.

Today I overheard two fellow employees discussing personal information with comments such as "how can they do that" and "that isn't true." I decided to prairie-dog up and see what they were talking about. The answer was I said spell it. S-P-O-K-E-O.

I dropped down in my chair and went straight to the site. is a website that appears to be a data aggregator that scours 40+ social networking sites in search of personal information based on a name, phone, email, and even friends.

I'm not surprised this technology is there; I've been in web development for about 10 years now and have used my share of site-scraping programs to obtain data. The idea is simple; the application is something different. I'm not going to talk about how this can be used to stalk enemies or former flames; this blog is about HR-related issues, and Spokeo is perfect to look at through the eyes of a recruiter.

Social recruiting is HOT, mainly because of its ability to find information and post jobs quickly. Twitter is a-buzz with job postings that reach job seekers in a matter of seconds (and sometimes those positions get filled as fast!). Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace all have data available, depending on user restrictions, to the general public. Spokeo is just like them, except it exists to pull all that information together into one nice little bundle. Hey recruiters! No longer do you need to run to numerous sites searching for your candidate. Find him or her at Spokeo!

Here's what's wrong with that last statement, in regards to recruiting. Most of that information isn't job related. The fact that it shows my credit level (hello, Fair Credit Reporting Act), my marital status, my age, my gender, and my ethnicity ( Title VII, need I say more) might leave companies in a bit of a legal bind if the decision to recruit certain individuals is based upon information gleamed from this site. Additionally, not all this information is true; I am not in my late 30s, although I do feel like it sometimes. While Spokeo states "the data is not verified and might not be accurate" because humans are not involved in the collection of data, it doesn't relieve employers of their responsibility when making judgements based on the gathered information.

Here's what I say. Stay away from this. It may not be the reason you choose to skip past an applicant, but it also shouldn't be the smoking gun that gets you and your organization in trouble with an accusation of discrimination in recruiting. While you may be able to hide that you search with it, remember that:
1. You could be in violation of your company's recruiting policy and/or Internet usage policy.
2. You have ethical co-workers (I am in no way implying you are unethical) who may not approve and are willing to let others know.
3. You should be basing your decision on KSAOs in the initial screening, not a picture of someone you found, especially when you aren't certain that picture is of who you think it is.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Professional CV for Michael Otte

Human Resources Graduate Student

My CV is in the works, but rest assured, I love Human Resources for the fact that this profession is here to help the employer and employee, a balancing act not to be taken lightly.

Please come back soon. I'll add to my cv as well as blog on my studies about Strategic Staffing in my upcoming class. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say on it.