Category Archives: staffing

Recruiters – Serving Two Masters (or more)

Not to get all Biblical on you, but the good book does say “No one can serve two masters.” (Matt 6:24) It actually says a whole lot of things, but for now let’s just focus our attention here.

Now, ol’ Matthew traveled with a pack of recruiters himself, so there is some wisdom in heeding this advice. But in our daily grind or balancing loyalties and clients, recruiters truly have a complicated dynamic.

As a matter of fact two “masters” may not even cover it for some of us; but it’s clear that there is an ever strengthening movement toward valuing our external clients as much as we might value our internal clients. In addition to our hiring managers, the recruiter is also facing an increased expectation to consider the candidate experience during the hiring process. We have one client that pays us, one client that needs us – who gets the lion’s share of our attention? And, more importantly, who can do both effectively?

One school of thought is that because a recruiter has two clients, a focus on one can only come at the expense of the other. In this scenario, there is a single continuum measuring the focus of the recruiter, with “candidate” and “hiring manager” representing the opposite extremes of the scale. So, if you were to focus on “candidate experience,” you move closer to the candidate side of the spectrum, and further away from the experience of our internal client.

That’s an either/or situation that doesn’t really hold water. In reality, we have two continuums operating simultaneously. The candidate and the hiring manager each have their own scale, both demanding our focus, both capable of improving or suffering independent of the other. That explains our current situation – we have a buyer’s market and seller’s market both competing for our recruiting bandwidth. The result of which is the loss of the most precious commodity we possess – TIME.

Seriously, what happened to time? Wasn’t technology supposed to make things better for us?


IF – it’s the right technology…and, IF we know how to maximize the capabilities of said technology.

Now we have “front end,” “back end,” metrics dashboards, automation, ATS, and whatever the CEO’s sister is going to sell us next year – and we STILL can’t get out of our own way.

Never fear, the gang at FOT is here to help you get a reset via our roadmap for building a high performing Talent Acquisition/Recruiting function.  Join FOT’s Kris Dunn and RJ Morris for our June webinar (sponsored by the recruiting experts at CareerBuilder) on June 24th at 2pm Eastern (1pm Central) entitled, Moving Past Smile and Dial: 5 Ways to Build a Recruiting Function Your CEO Will Love,

 The recruiting profession is a village, not a desert island. Get on board with your tribe and gain some brain capital – As a bonus, FOT will also provide a FOT Checklist – 10 Things To Do Today to Maximize Your Ability to Attract Great Talent – to all who register.  Learn what you do well, learn what you might do to improve, and learn how to get back a little of that chronological capital – TIME.

Ball 4 – Lauren DiChiacchio

Long live Jaworski!
Long live Jaworski!

Every couple of weeks, I thought it might be nice to dig a little deeper into the mindset of one of our HR colleagues. This month, it’s recruiting maven Lauren DiChiacchio.


1. So, you’re going to give advice to 22-year old Lauren about a successful career in Staffing; what do you tell her?

“Networking is extremely important to be a successful recruiter. This industry is all about who you know.  The more people you know, the more potential candidates you have access to.  Someone you know may not be looking to make a career change; however, they may be able to connect you with the right person.  Networking is key.”

2. Looking at the future of recruiting, what keeps you up at night?

“When I was a graduate looking for a position after college, I didn’t have to worry about social media exposing my personal life for anyone to see.  Silly college decisions were left in the past not posted on the world wide web for anyone to pull back up years later.  Now, the space between professional and personal life has grayed.  People do not apply the right privacy settings on their social media accounts allowing them to be accessible to anyone.”

“This lack of a “filter” will have a negative impact on the candidacy pool as it opens them up to public judgement (whether right or wrong) by simply googling their name.”

“If you are going to invest in your public profile, candidates should focus on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.  LinkedIn allows people to connect with each other on a strictly professional level and can get a candidate’s name out there whether they are actively, passively or not looking for a job.  It can highlight their specialties, skills, and experience.”

3. If LinkedIn had the ability to play a theme song whenever someone viewed your profile, what song would we hear when accessing yours?

That is a good question.  Being that I am born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I would have to say the theme song to Rocky “Eye of the Tiger”.  This is twofold – first, it is the opening song to the Eagles games (E-A-G-L-E-S!!!!) and second, is because it exemplifies the idea of never giving up.   Plus, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love this song?!

4. What’s the story with that St. Joseph’s Hawk – why the flapping?

“Obviously I am very biased but I think the St. Joe’s Hawk is the best mascot out there.  The tradition is that the Hawk must flap its wings throughout an entire basketball game, never stopping (even during halftime) until after the game is over.  This compliments our motto, “The Hawk Will Never Die”.

If someone wants to connect with you, where do they find you?

610.525.4000 x270

Unemployed and Ignored

NOT an effective business card.

I wrote about this in a previous post…“The Stink of Unemployment” specifically refers to the proclivity of recruiters to utilize “employment status” as an unspoken job requirement. In other words, if you’re not currently employed, you won’t be considered for employment. Ironic, yes? Illegal? No.

But, as this Atlantic article points out, there is a very scary existence for those who are part of an especially discriminated-upon population ~ the long-term unemployed.

There’s no way to sugar-coat this particular issue. There is most definitely a filter in the hiring process that targets and eliminates applicants who are not actively employed ~ especially so in any situation that depends on a “blind” resume submission. Right or wrong, as a recruiter you react to supply & demand. Positions that are in high demand will have no problem attracting a supply of candidates, so a candidate with a long-term (per the article, “long-term” is longer than six months) state of unemployment will be an immediate (and easy) elimination. Why?

  1. Relevance ~ In some jobs, being removed from the game for six months could put you at a considerable disadvantage
  2. Perception ~ “Why do I want you if no one else wants you?“; harsh but realistic. Do you want the Chevy with a current owner, or the one that has been abandoned for 6 months? Show me the damn CarFax.
  3. Candidate 2.0 ~ Even if a LTUA (long-term unemployed applicant, you like that?) is identified as a leading candidate, the thinking is that another more attractive (i.e. “employed”) candidate is right around the bend.
  4. Cost ~ Internal Staffing resources and/or Contracted Recruiters are an investment; the way to show value to your client is finding the candidate they can’t find themselves. Even better if you can stick it to a competitor by taking someone they value; that doesn’t translate to the long-term unemployed.

Using a Beveridge Curve (don’t ask) to illustrate the point, Mr. O’Brien reveals even worse news – a candidate who is less qualified, if unemployed for less than six months, will be called back before an LTUA.

This all basically sucks for you if you’re currently in the unfortunate state of being unemployed for an extended amount of time. I can’t crack that code yet, but I do have one recommendation I would offer anyone who cares to listen.

Save a tree and quit sending resumes. Don’t expect a callback from an on-line or mailed resume submission. The stakes are much higher for you, so your role is now a full-time network maven. Network, network, network – in PERSON. Find groups, cold-call offices, call in favors, take a lessor position to get closer to someone in a position of influence. Your job is selling YOU. Ask for help…start here, I’ll listen. We need to get you a different acronym.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more samplings of the Hardball message.


America Has Talent (but I’m not sure where)

“Talent” is a subjective term – reference American Idol, The Voice, et al if you need proof of that. As hard as it may be to define what “talent” might be for your particular organization, but for all of its importance we are all pretty clueless about how to find it, keep it, and/or replace it.

There’s not a better example of that than the NFL Draft, scheduled to begin on April 25th. A huge part of the evaluation process is the NFL Combine, an invitation-only event bringing scouts and “talent” together under one roof. Akin to a Fat Stock Show, college football players are graded out on seven separate physical drills, subjected to the Wonderlic™ Assessment, and then interviewed by executives representing their respective NFL franchise.

It’s crazy, really, and it’s all accessible for your viewing pleasure on the NFL Network. There are no skeletons, there are no secrets (really, nothing could be hidden in the outfits they wear), it’s a coming out party for college debutantes.

It’s also a crapshoot.

“My turn Uncle Jerry!”

Football geeks will easily recognize the names of LaMarcus Russell, Tony Mandarich, Ryan Leaf, Lawrence Phillips, Vince Young, Jeff George, and Todd Marinovich. Their common thread is their complete failure in the NFL coupled with a complete mis-evaluation of their talent. How the hell does this happen when you have a team of people evaluating every last piece of data and film available for each individual under consideration? Well, being a Cowboys fan, I can speak to that directly:

  1. Beauty Pageant – Pharma companies hire babes to sell product, NFL teams want dudes that look like Zeus. Both theories work about 50% of the time, but at least one is capable of marrying a doctor – customer for life!
  2. Hannibal Lechter theory – “What do we covet, Clarise?” Remember this? We covet what we see every day; guys on the big college teams & on the big college stage become “must haves” to a dreamy-eyed NFL GM.
  3. Ignoring the obvious – The “busts” listed above were not cases of bad data; each of the guys had “off the field” issues; behavioral, substance, criminal, or capacity (as in, “mental midget”). But they look so good, “can you imagine him in our uniform?!”
  4. Big noses abound – It’s ironic in business and in sports; “talent” is the lifeblood of the company. People skilled at finding the talent are often at the bottom of the food chain. All the data in the world can’t overcome a Senior Executive sticking his or her big fat ego into the situation.
  5. Paper Tigers – A major cause of bad hires & bad draft picks; on paper, the candidate looks great. During the “20-yard Shuttle” or “Three-cone drill” a guy just jumps off the charts & catches everyone’s eye. Never mind he was an under-performer in college and high school. Never mind his interview is similar to watering a houseplant, it’s so intoxicating to see a 4.2 time in the 40-yard dash., we temporarily forget the felony charge.

As someone who advises and consults leaders on the practice of identifying, developing, and retaining top talent, it’s painful to watch the manner in which Jerry Jones conducts his draft. I’m offering my services to you, Jerry, at a 10% discounted rate, to manage your draft for you this year.

I’ll even go so far as to offer a money-back guarantee, ‘cuz that’s the kinda guy I am. 817-733-3052, I’m waiting for your call.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ Straight talk, no-nonsense approach to workplace issues. 

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn for more samplings of the Hardball message.




Discrimination, or Logical?

Is there another choice?

My friend Lisa posted a great article on the HR Hardball™ discussion thread; Arthur Delaney of the Huffington Post writes that the unemployed population faces an unspoken bias bordering on discrimination in the job market. The basis of the article is the overt and/or unconscious “weeding out” of unemployed candidates during the screening process.

I have to admit, I’m somewhat torn on this topic – human behavior would dictate that we assume (the “a word”) an employed person is more employable than an unemployed person. To illustrate this, Delaney cites a UCLA study that shows the unemployment “stigma” starts as soon as the former job ends. Whatever the reason – voluntary, involuntary, laid-off…..doesn’t matter. When you’re unemployed, you become damaged goods. President Obama actually considered banning posted job listings with “must be currently employed” as a requirement. Somehow that seems perilously close to classifying “unemployed” as a protected class – could you imagine?

I empathize with job-seekers ~ I would like to think we’ve all been through the process, but we have short memories when we’re back in the employed ranks. For the job candidate, it’s a gut-wrenching process and it’s very easy to be lost in the transactional nature of the hiring process, especially if you don’t have a current paycheck.

But…I also empathize with the professional recruiter – having served the function myself, lo those many years ago; the job is a never ending grind with one outstanding feature; resumes NEVER stop coming. You fill the job, another one opens, and with each new job, thousands of resumes follow. Arbitrary requirements are sometimes formally or informally applied, i.e. GPA (ridiculous), number of jobs, or current employment status. Anything to make the pile smaller. Machiavelli would be a recruiter.

So it’s not an illegal process, but is it overly biased and unfair? More importantly, is it accurate?I’m curious what you think.

John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder and OH (Original Hardballer); like this post? Try this one, this one, or even this one….go ahead, don’t be a weenie.