Learning when it’s time to walk away

Whether in your personal or professional life, determining when you should walk away can sometimes feel overwhelming. The constant back and forth of should you or shouldn’t you can affect all aspects of your life including your health, productivity and focus.

So what are some of the warning signs you should walk away?

You feel taken for granted.

This has to be the one feeling I hate the most. When you begin feeling as though your partner, friend, coworker or boss see you only as a commodity whose value is to serve them, you should seriously consider whether you should remain in that relationship. Regardless of the circumstances, everyone has the right to feel appreciated for more than what they can provide.

There should be fulfillment, at some level, in every relationship. If you feel under appreciated and taken for granted, it’s time to consider walking away.

The relationship is unequal.

There are times in every professional and personal relationship when things can feel out of balance. Perhaps one party is going through something in life or business that requires you to give more but this should only be a season, not the norm. If your career demands everything out of you but does not give you anything back outside of a paycheck, do you really want to stay there for the rest of your life? If someone in your life demands everything out of you and is not there to support, care for or love you back, don’t you feel you deserve more?

Sometimes finding the right balance in life is understanding which person or entity is depositing as much as they are withdrawing out of your life account.

You’ve lost that loving feeling.

Again, there are highs and lows in every aspect of life, so you should not make a permanent decision based on temporary circumstances. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you or the other party seems to have lost the passion, you may consider walking away. Sometimes there is just no more energy in the tank left to revive something that is dying.

This circumstance is most likely the hardest for those of us who are driver minded. We tend to stay in situations because we do not like giving up and are loyal to a fault. My challenge to you is to remind yourself of your value over your loyalty. After all, loyalty should be given and received in equal proportions.

So what now?

Speaking from experience, the decision to walk away will be hard and fraught with anxiety, especially if you care deeply for the other person or the company. I have found that shifting your mindset from being anxious toward growth helps tremendously. So as you go through this difficult transition, here are some things to remind yourself:

  • You are valuable and there is someone or something that will see that value and reward it. Push through.
  • The road less traveled is often lonely but it always results in growth, transformation and self-discovery. The rewards at the end of that lonely road will surely outweigh the pain it takes to get to there.
  • Stay the course. You will be tempted to go back to the disfunction you are used to because it feels safe. Many times, we stay so long in the wrong relationships or companies that we get the Stockholm syndrome. Avoid returning to the situation that has taken so much from you and stay the course.

Sometimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize out worth and value, but because we finally realize our own. -Robert Tew

I hope my advice helps you during this time. There are several books I have read and would like to share with you as you begin your journey.

What is Sprint Recruiting? A Podcast Interview with upstartHR.com

One of my favorite blogs and podcasts to follow is UpstartHR.com by Ben Eubanks. I can’t express how excited I was to be interviewed on a podcast I listen to by someone I really admire in the HR industry.

Ben and I sort of geeked out on the topic of human resource analytics and the transformation we are seeing as a result of more HR professionals leveraging data to make more informed decisions. As the topic evolved, we dove into the subject of Sprint Recruiting.

Agile, at its core, is about prioritizing (ruthlessly) on the things that need to get done. In agile talent acquisition, managers hold more power to set priorities. At the same time, recruiters and talent advisors get the benefit of clearer communication, a framework that sets them up for success, and a true partnership with their customers (the hiring managers in the organization). 

upstarthr.com

I’d like to say thank you to Ben Eubanks and Visier for giving me the opportunity to talk about the triumphs and evolutions of Sprint Recruiting. Be sure to check out some of the other UpstartHR podcast by Ben and his team!

Hope you enjoy the podcast.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

3 Reasons Why Hiring Veterans is a Winning Strategy

I recently read an article in The Motley Fool featuring Daymond John, one of Shark Tank’s successful entrepreneurs, sharing his thoughts on why veterans make great entrepreneurs. Daymond, the founder and CEO of hip-hop clothing company FUBU has created the Heroes to CEOs competition, hosted by Bob Evans Farms, a subsidiary of Post Holdings (NYSE:POST). The contest invites military veterans to pitch their entrepreneurial idea or business and the winner will be awarded a $30,000 business grant and an additional two-hour mentoring session. Daymond obviously sees the tremendous benefits veterans can add to businesses and so should recruiters. After reading the article, it confirmed my thoughts on why hiring veterans can benefit a company. Here are 3 reasons why hiring veterans is a winning strategy.

“This is my fourth year working with Bob Evans Farms and their commitment to supporting veteran entrepreneurship,” John said. “Over that time, I have learned immensely from the veterans who have participated in this contest and truly feel like I am the winner by being able to work with them and mentor them as they take on the new challenges in their business lives.”

The Motley Fool

Obsession for the Mission and Client

Successful companies are made up of employees who have an obsession for the mission of the firm and its clients. In John’s opinion, this is one trait that separates veterans from your average worker: “They dedicated their lives to service,” John said, “so they come with the perspective of, ‘what can I do,’ for this customer.”

Military training focuses on accomplishing the mission, creating a primal-like obsession for success at any cost. The core value of serving becomes ingrained in them and is one of the reasons why veterans are so successful in the business sector. If a company wants to hire team members who will serve their clients with excellence, hiring veterans should be a key focus in the recruiting strategy.

Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

Team Focused

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie

Movies featuring a character(s) with military training will most always have the sense of duty to the team as a central aspect of the plot. In real life, I’ve seen veterans lead teams to accomplish unreal results. They have an instinct for motivating their team members around a common goal because there is no “Me” or “I” in the genetic code for veterans.

The ability to not only focus on accomplishing a company goal but to also motivate your team toward that goal is invaluable in today’s marketplace. Veterans do not have to be named leaders to smash goals. They tend to have the innate ability to influence their peers in ways that civilian team members and leaders take years to learn.

Low Cost per Hire

As the market heats up, companies will continue to focus on the most economic way to hire the talent needed to meet their goals. Hiring vets is a low cost strategy without a talent trade-off. Why?

According to RecruitMilitary.com, when you hire a veteran, you receive all of the benefits of their training and tenacity with a shorter learning curve. They are accustomed to intense training and have the ability to adapt quicker than most of their civilian counterparts. Additionally, there are some tax benefits to hiring veterans which makes this a no-brainer for businesses who want the best talent who will propel their company to success.

Food for Thought

According to the Human Resource Executive, many of the strengths veterans develop during their service are “intangibles,” Sue Bhatia notes, which may be hard to convey on a resume—but are essential to workplace success: leadership and teamwork abilities, attention to detail and ability to work under pressure, for instance. Eight years ago, when the veteran unemployment rate was at its peak of nearly 10%, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and 10 other companies started the Veteran Jobs Mission with the goal of collectively hiring 100,000 veterans.

The coalition now includes 200+ companies and has hired 550,000 veterans as of November 2019. This is clear evidence that businesses have an important role to play in expanding opportunity and why hiring veterans should be a key focus in the recruiting strategy

**It’s also important to note that companies can also increase their diversity by hiring veterans. The veteran candidate pool is made up if roughly 20% African-American, 9% Hispanic, and 15% women. In addition, if you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requires you to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain veterans that fall into certain groups.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Talent Acquisition Should have MORE Resources in HR

If you were to look at how most HR departments are staffed, you most likely see the following:

  • 2% Recruiting
  • 45% Operations
  • 50% Staff to handle Employee Relation issues
  • 3% Management/Strategic

Unfortunately, most companies look at this spread and think, “Wow, we’re efficient.”  I look at that spread and think, “Wow, you really have that @$$ backwards!”

I realize that one of the core functions of HR is to mitigate risk.  It is a CORE function but it is not the ONLY function.  Too many companies spend so many resources and money managing out poor or misaligned talent and mitigating risk but if they were to put more emphasis and resources on how employees enter the company, they could see a number of benefits.

Recruiting, the Last Thought for Resources but first Thought for the whipping post.

I have worked for and with a number of firms who say they value recruiting but the efforts do not support it.  Recruiters are often overlooked, underpaid and undervalued yet charged with selling the company’s brand and opportunities.  The praise and glory tends to go to the HR professionals who keep the ship running and away from the rocky shores of litigation.

It seems that when things go wrong, that’s when the spotlight is placed on recruiting with question like:

  • Why did we hire that person?
  • Why can’t you fill roles quick enough?  I mean I know we are not paying what the market is paying and hiring managers are taking forever to get back to you but you’re hired to be a magician!  Work your magic!
  • Oh, our onboarding is awful.  The recruiting group should really get on that and fix it in their free time of filling jobs, marketing our brand and all while carrying a 25+ job load.

Might sound cynical but it’s often the truth.  Maybe your firm does not have this type of regard for recruiting but most recruiters I speak with feel the same pains.  Little support given relative to the expectations placed on them.

The Solution? Beef up your Recruiting Team and lessen the HR Police.

The facts stare us in the face but organizations are slow to move resources to address it:

If recruiting teams are staffed appropriately to truly be brand engineers, talent agents, and company guards, there would be less need for HR partners to focus solely on employee relations issues and risk mitigation.

The best way to avoid having to terminate employees is to redirect energy to hiring the right ones. Ensuring success will require companies to get leadership and management invested in improving the hiring process.

The How To:

Step 1: Change the mindset within HR

pexels-photo-1080865.jpeg

Leaders within HR must lead the charge and prioritize resources to the front of the employee funnel rather than the end.  This not only includes increasing recruiting staff with the right type of people (brand engineers, hunters etc, not just paper pushers) but also includes diverting resources to sourcing the right candidates, developing a robust branding campaign and an effective interviewing routine to only let the good apples in the basket.  Although costs to do this type of activity might cause your HR budget to be in the red initially, do not lose sight of the goal which is only letting the good people in your organization.

Step 2: Give Recruiters the Key to the Gates

giphy-1

Once you have the right recruiting team in place, empower them to be the gatekeepers to your organization.  Challenge them to be incredibly selective in who they let “sit at your table”.  Give them the power and authority to be like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings who boldly stood against a fiery enemy and proclaimed: You shall not pass.  Once you give them that power, you will be amazed at how protective your newly empowered recruiting team will be of your organization.  I would also suspect their engagement will increase proportionally.

Step 3: Educate your Internal Clients

person touching macbook pro

We all know there is a cost associated with turnover, both voluntary and involuntary.  We tend to only focus on one of these and it’s different in every organization.  In my opinion, both can be traced back to the hiring process.  Once you institute this new way of working in HR, track the expenses throughout the employee lifecycle to help prove to your internal clients that your strategy is working.  Within a year, you should be able to show a decrease in turnover for employees hired within the last year.  If you are able, track the revenue per FTE to help show the impact of retention of new hires as well.

Summary

In most medium to large organizations, HR is the last to adapt to the changing environment.  We tend to like our traditions and processes.  I hope that anyone reading this takes the time to flip the employee funnel around and track the progress it has to the company’s bottom line, engagement and other key performance indicators.  If anything, wouldn’t it be nice to spend more time and energy on how we can bring awesome people into our organization rather than how the hell we’re going to get the bad ones out?  I think that’d be a great organization to work for…. but that’s just me.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Applying the Point System of AGILE to Recruiting

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities. Stephen Covey

Prior to implementing Sprint Recruiting, I found it hard to balance what should be done with what needed to be done.  Part of me was driven by my over-achiever mindset and wanted to prove I could do all things like a superman. The other part of me was driven by the value I placed on the relationships I had developed with my hiring managers.  Both drove me to succeed but I did not have a clear way to chart my ultimate destination.

What I needed to learn was how to set priorities work in my recruiting process. 

Why Priorities Work

Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a shopping list?  Maybe it was just a quick run to the store for only four items and you thought, surely you could remember four items right?

How many times have you walked out of the store, gotten hom, only to relized the main reason you went to the store was to get the one item you forgot?

This is what happens when we don’t have priorities.  Our brains are wired to rank lists in terms of priorities.  Stop and think about it:

  • 1st, 2nd & 3rd place
  • Gold, Silver Bronze
  • High, Medium, Low

Ranking allows the brain to quickly assess which tasks should be completed first. It provides structure to large sets of information and creates a virtual roadmap for items to be completed. Absent of a ranking system, our brains attempt to classify information into subsets for quicker processing. This process of prioritization taxes the brain and quickly causes fatigue and anxiety.

Imagine a job board with 25 positions, each with a different manager and each with a different required skillset. Each job is essentially its own unique search which will require a certain investment of time and administrative work.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

Which job do you start on first?

The tendency is to go after the low hanging fruit.  In the recruiting world, this is the job with the most applicants. It’ll be easier to sit and comb through a ton of resumes (most which will not qualify) than it would be to tackle the harder jobs requiring sourcing. Sound familiar?

Don’t beat yourself up, I’m guilty of doing the same. Sometimes we just need a quick win to get us going and prove to ourself we can get through the monumentous task of making all of our managers happy with the perfect candidates. Unfortunately, this is a lie and one too many recruiters keep believing.

As a recruiting manager, I had weekly conversations with executives who compalined how we were not filling their critical roles. I would go into theses meetings with with hire and sourcing reports showing how many jobs we filled to prove the managers’ accusations were wrong. 

No matter how many meetings I went to with this information, the outcome was the same. We were not meeting the needs of our clients, despite how many jobs we had filled.  If only we knew what they wanted filled and when….

Discovering the value of leveraging a points system was a journey for us. We used a number of variations of priority ranking before getting to what we use now. I think it’s important to share the journey with you to help you avoid some of the pain we experienced trying to find what method worked best.

First Iteration

Our first stab at this problem was to have our clients assign a High, Medium, or Low status to each job assigned. We would meet with the business executives and ask them to assign this priority so we could attempt to meet their needs in that sprint.

This helped us in the beginning of the iteration really focus on prioritizing our efforts.  We took the high, medium, low assignments to break down how we would spend our time sourcing during the week.  My approach was to dedicate the first 40 percent of my week to sourcing for those high priority positions to start getting candidates in the funnel early in the sprint. Once I felt ok with the number and quality of candidates in process, I’d move on to my medium priorities to do the same.

Honestly, I felt like I had a process that was working. I had a cadence and system to my week. I knew every sprint would be front loaded with sourcing time for those critical roles as defined by my client. I felt good knowing the clients’ priorities were my priorities. Everything starting to align perfectly for me.

Or so I thought.

The major issue I didn’t plan for was just how many jobs would be marked as high priority. One client marked ten of their twenty jobs in a sprint as high and the remaining as medium. I had no system put in place to limit the number of high priority designations so essentially, I had just added an H, M or L next to our job board. 

While it was not a slam dunk win, we made some slight advancement  in this iteration.  We realized we were on to something. We did see an increase in focus and productivity in our first iteration. The ranking helped us prioritize our tasks and we began talking more as a team about our high priotity positions during our standups.

What did we learn? We were one step closer to aligning our efforts to our clients’ priotities.  The problem? The client still had too many priorities.

Second Iteration

We decided in our second iteration we would limit the number of High, Medium and Low priority assignments.  Twenty-five percent of the open jobs could be High, another 25% could be Medium and the remaining would be Low priority. 

The first sprint we introduced this was a little bumpy.  The clients really struggled while trying to determine a more narrow definition of high and medium priority.  Some asked for a little wiggle room on the percentages but we held firm. Internally, we struggled as a team because we had all been programmed to fill every position as fast as we could.  There were some instances when I almost caved on my own rules but reminded myself I had limited capacity.  I also reminded myself we were not superheroes so we needed to stick with the plan.

The second iteration helped us focus even more on time blocking for sourcing, interviewing and the administrative functions of our job.  We even agreed that by day three of the sprint, we would send an update email to our managers with high priority positions informing them of our progress. After all, with fewer high and medium priorities, we were able to use our sourcing time even more efficiently.

A couple of sprints into this iteration we noticed how hard it was to report our progress.  Did we report how many high, medium, low positions we filled or did we report a percentage of goal? Many of our business partners who assigned the priorities would forget which positions were designated as what by the end of the sprint.

How could we prove to our clients and ourselves how well we were doing? The progress we made in limiting the priority positions created some capacity and efficiencies but it did not allow us to truly measure our progress effectively.

The Point System

I struggled with this for weeks. I knew there had to be an answer but I just could not figure out how to structure the prioritization correctly. I felt like the recruiting team, our clients and our HR partners were all attempting to speak the same language but it just quite wasn’t there yet.

This was about the time I read the book SCRUM by Jeff Sutherland. The AGILE Framework breaks projects into stories. The focus is on the end user so the user story is developed to capture a description of a software or product feature. The process helps to create a simplified description of a requirement and can fit into Agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban. The purpose of a user story is to write down how a project will deliver value back to the user. It is then the project team’s job to develop the feature to satisfy the requirements of the user story. Points are applied to each story or epic to indicate priority and to measure progress in each sprint.

There it was.

I am not exaggerating when I say I actually yelled “Holy shit!” when I got to this part of the book. Finally, I saw what was right in front of me the whole time. No more high, medium or low assignments.  We were going to a point system!

I was so excited to get to the office and share my vision for our third iteration. I typically do not really put a tremendous amount of thought into execution when I’m in an iterative mode on a project.  The very first sprint call we had with a client, I introduced the concept of a budget of 100 points.

We worked through the first call with one of our clients who enjoys trying new things. They were as invested in making this new recruiting methodology work as much as we were. As we went through this groups 20 positions, we noticed something happen: we were all speaking the same language.

Photo by Vlad Chețan on Pexels.com

The Outcome

Rather than seven to ten high priority jobs out of a batch of 25 jobs, we had a clearer ranking of what was critical to the business. Our business partner gave one job 25 points, another two 15 points and then spread the remaining points equally over the remaining roles.  When we hung up the phone, the recruiter and I immediately began planning how we were going to get those two jobs filled to show the clients we were rock stars. 

We almost became obsessed with the points.  Our standups became centered around progress we had made on those high point roles. My one on ones were focused on the progress made during the week on the “high pointers” which gave us a standard agenda for this biweekly time together.  We build dashboards to track how many points we gained by day during the sprint to chart our progress both individually and as a team. Finally, we found what worked.

Our clients liked it too.  It was clearer for them to assign points against a budget. If you have 100 points and have 25 jobs, it might be easy for the client to simply assign four points to each job in the beginning. We had fortunately been through two iterations over roughly three months by the time we discovered the point system so it was an easier transition for our clients.

We did make a minor tweek to point allocation in the middle of our third iteration, instituting a rule that 60% of the points could be spread over no more than five roles. This was a tough sale at first but over time, the clients began to see how the prioritization and focus produced results.

The consistent progress we made in each sprint filling the jobs bought us more credibility and trust with our clients. It also allowed us to position ourselves less as order takers and more as consultants. During the biweekly allocation meetings, we would update the clients on progress made during the previous sprint while also identifying and addressing any obstacles experienced. 

The points allowed us to have a common language. Our clients were business people, they’re used to numbers. We are recruiters and competitive by nature. Numbers worked. Metrics also helped us fine tune our recruiting processes and lingo.

We have our process now and I don’t think we’ll be going back to the old way of recruiting anytime soon! Sprint Recruiting works for us and could work for you too!

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Top 2 Ways Machine Learning can Change Recruiting

Each new year brings the topic of Recruiting or Talent Strategy to the forefront of business news. My discussions with other Directors of Talent Acquisition have shifted from strategies to tools to help us meet the needs of our businesses. The impact machine learning can have in recruiting is very exciting.

Machine Learning is becoming one of the most influential and powerful technologies in the world. Traditionally, software engineering combined human created rules with data to find answers to a problem. Machine learning uses data and answers to discover the rules or reasons behind the problem. The amount of data available to recruiters is so immense, it can cause our brains to shut down and miss valuable insights that a tool like machine learning can provide.

Here are two ways machine learning can change recruiting.

Improve Recruiter Efficiency and Candidate Experience

Companies are training machine learning algorithms to help employers automate repetitive aspects of the recruitment process such as resume and application review. Imagine the day when you arrive to find your AI Buddy had been working all night to screen and sort your top applicants. Recruiters would be able to focus more time on value added interviews compared to today’s world wrought with frantic and chaotic processes that are inefficient and detrimental to the candidate experience.

Ideal is one company that offers machine learning and AI to help transform the recruiting process. The firm claims its virtual assistant is already trained on “millions of past hiring decisions” so it can quickly adapt to each new client’s recruitment process. Examples of decisions may include advancing applicants to the interview stage and hiring candidates. 

According to Ideal’s website, one of its larger clients reported 71% reduction in cost of hire and tripled the number of qualified candidates. The case study cites Ideal’s ability to automatically review candidates based on previous hiring decisions and then notify candidates of their status. This not only reduced the amount of low-impact activities for the recruiting team members but also increased the candidate experience. You can watch their testimonial here.

Take Sourcing into Warp Drive

There are a number of startups in the recruiting space focused on how to leverage machine learning to ramp up the sourcing efforts for recruiters. Machine learning can leverage past information to help predict which candidates may be the best fit for your organization. While this is an amazing step up from our current sourcing strategies, machine learning could also identify candidates who are perfect for your organization and are more likely to take your call. This would be a game-changer for recruiting!

Entelo is one example of a talent sourcing software company reportedly using machine learning to help recruiters discover quality candidates. The company claims its proprietary algorithm, More Likely to Move™, is capable of identifying individuals who have a 30 percent likelihood of changing jobs within the next 90 days. In one case study , Entelo reports one of its clients was able to improve its discovery of qualified, diverse candidates. The client reported an increase in its diversity efforts, raising its female hires from 40 percent to 47 percent and minority technical hires from 1.5 percent to 11 percent.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

A report by Glassdoor suggests that 66 percent of millennials anticipate leaving their current jobs by 2020. With unemployment being at a ten year low and the high costs of turnover becoming targets for business expense control measures, there will be even more pressure on Talent Acquisition professionals to up their game. AI recruitment tools using predictive analytics and machine learning to recommend candidates will become the differentiating factor in the war for talent.

I am excited by the changes I’ve already seen in the industry and plan to spend a lot of time exploring new tools in the AI and machine learning space in 2020.

Unlocking the Power of Recruiting with Emsi Skills

Job descriptions can be a valuable tool or the silver bullet that kills your first chance with prospective candidates. Contrary to popular rhetoric in recruiting circles, job descriptions are not dead but they do need to evolve. Emsi Skills is a valuable tool for recruiters who want to create a more effective job description and evolve into a more consultative talent agent for their clients.

What does Emsi Skills do?

Emsi has curated a list of nearly 30,000 skills from hundreds of job postings, resumes and professional profiles, according to its own website. It is an open-access skills database that provides an up-to-date collection of the real-world skills that people have and employers value. The skill library is updated every two weeks based on live postings and profiles, as well as suggestions from the community submitted through the Emsi Skills website.

Build the right job description

I know I struggle with job descriptions that come up short. Some are too long and lose a candidate’s interest while others are not truly describing the job I would like to market. Even if the job description is decent, it usually lacks the key words needed to leverage the power of SEO (search engine optimization), leaving it to fall on the second or third page of search results. Emsi will give job postings clarity by auditing desired skills and level setting expectations with hiring managers.

Managers often forget key skills they need for the role and simply hit the high points during the recruiter intake meeting. The Emsi Skills tool gives recruiters the ability to delve deeper into a job to develop the most effective search terms for their sourcing strategy.

Bonus: This tool is also a great enhancement for those of us dedicated to internal recruiting. It will allow firms to match employees quickly to jobs based on their skills versus what an employee may put on their resume. More on this later in the post!

Skill Clustering

In  New Geography of Skills, economist Enrico Moretti discussed an interesting idea. He suggests there are economic shifts happening on a more micro than macro level. Emsi has taken a unique approach to analyzing skills by looking for natural relationships between skills and seeing how they group or cluster together in a market or region.

Recruiters are dependent on the Labor Bureau statistics to create very rudimentary, outline-style lists of major skill sets. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t enjoy reviewing an exhaustive list of skills and its permutations to develop a search strategy. The Emsi Skills tool will graph skill groups into an easy to understand infographic. With Emsi, roles are defined based on a network of related skills as they emerge and shift in the market. See the example below:

This is one small step to help recruiters become more consultative and less reactive. By analyzing the relationships between skills and other aspects of work, we can infer
differences job titles and job skills. This small step will enable us to become more effective talent advisors to our clients.

Measuring the Internal Gap

As the market continues to heat up, companies will begin to focus even more inward to find and develop talent to meet the demands of the changing economy. The Emsi Skills tool will allow talent acquisition to measure internal talent against the enhanced job descriptions (created with Emsi’s help). Recruiters will finally have a tool to help clients create reskill and upskill strategies by analyzing underlying skills for different roles.

The focus on internal talent development and retention is a hot topic right now. As companies fight for talent in the market, some have chosen to focus and invest in their own talent rather than fighting for talent on the street. This strategy can prove to not only help with retention but also with employer branding. Numerous surveys point to a workforce more inclined to work for a company that invests in the continuous development of its employees. Emsi enables companies to finally compare employee skills to emerging skills trends to drive learning and development priorities.


I’ve used the Emsi Skills tool on most of my searches over the last thirty days and have found it incredibly ease to use and insightful. It can help anyone in HR become more informed and impactful to their business. Most of the similar tools in the market come with a hefty price tag and do not meet the level of insight the Emsi Skills tool provides.

I plan to write another post focused primarily on how recruiters can use Emsi to develop better search strategies and own the talent market.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Most Read Recruiting Blog Posts of 2019

I cannot believe 2020 is only two weeks away! Professionally, year has been a year of transformation for my group as we rolled Sprint Recruiting out to the entire organization. As an industry, we’ve seen a lot of hype about AI in Talent Acquisition and other analytic-based solutions showcased in the market. This post will be a roundup of the most read recruiting blog posts of 2019.

Recruiting Metrics-Measure what Counts

Much like a pilot, recruiters need to have a dashboard to provide real-time data on their candidate flow, open jobs, time to fill and placement numbers. Unfortunately, many in the talent acquisition industry tend to focus on time to fill and number of hires. Although these are critical metrics, they are by no means the only talent acquisition metrics to focus on. It was ranked highest on my most read recruiting blog posts of 2019. Read more here.

The Ultimate Recruiting Metrics Dashboard-A Review of Visier’s Talent Analytics Add-on

I’ve already confessed my obsession with analytics on this website in previous posts so it should be no surprise that I am writing another article on the topic. I shared in a recent post the convergence of Data Analytics and Recruiting based on my experience using the Visier platform. I had the opportunity to participate in a demo of Visier’s Talent add-on so I thought I would share my review of the ultimate recruiting metrics dashboard. This post was the highest ranked vendor review on my most read recruiting blog posts of 2019. Read more here.

Top 3 Recruiting Trends for 2020

It’s hard to believe there are only 42 days left of 2019. This time of year is complicated for me as I begin closing out the last minute year-end projects while also begin planning for what we should accomplish in 2020. Part of the planning process is identifying the top recruiting trends and the tools I want to use to maximize our talent acquisition strategy. Here are the top 3 recruiting trends for 2020. (My list at least!) Read more here.

What is Sprint Recruiting?

Traditional recruiting is sometimes the very definition of insanity. You get a job, you search for candidates, conduct interviews, place the candidate, they quit, and the cycle repeats. Numerous issues and landmines frequent the journey for the recruiters searching for the best talent. Sprint Recruiting helps prioritize the work, keep your focus and enables you to kick ass! Read more here.


Here’s to an awesome close of 2019! I hope you’ve enjoyed the context on the blog so far. Please let me know what topics you are most interested in for 2020 by commenting below!

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Why Sprints work in Sprint Recruiting

One of the key drivers of Sprint Recruiting is the sprint itself. It is also one of the major mindshifts both recruiters and clients have to address when adopting the Sprint Recruiting methodology. Why do sprints work in Sprint Recruiting? One word-efficiency!

“With Scrum, a product is built in a series of iterations called sprints that break down big, complex projects into bite-sized pieces,” said Megan Cook, Group Product Manager for Jira Software at Atlassian.

First, let’s define what a sprint is. According to the AGILE methodology, a sprint is a short, time-boxed period when a team works to complete a set amount of work. Sprints are at the very heart of scrum and agile methodologies, and getting sprints right will help your agile produce better results with fewer headaches.

Agile also uses the pull versus pull methodology to create efficiency.

The push/pull terminology is commonly associated with logistics or operations management. Neither process is more right than the other but in sprint recruiting, we employ the pull method.

Imagine a factory with a line of workers assembling a product. Every time one station gets through with their portion of the assembly, they push it to the next and begin the process again. It’s not a bad method necessarily, but it takes longer for a push-based supply chain to respond to changes in demand, which can result in overstocking or bottlenecks and delays. This creates a ton of inefficiency in the process which directly affects your profit line.

Imagine the same scenario but this time, your station only begins working on a new assembly once your partnering station pulls your completed product to theirs. This is the pull method where production and distribution are demand-driven rather than to forecast.

To demonstrate the power of sprint in increasing efficiency, I usually have groups go through my “Paper Airplane Factory” session. The teams usually laugh and ask how hard could making airplanes be but once they get into the process, they learn how complicated it can be.

I recently conducted this training in our Texas locations with team members new to the Sprint Recruiting process. The goal is pretty simple- each completed airplane is a profit of $100 and they will have five minutes to see how many they can make.

Each team member has one to two tasks to complete in the contruction of the plane. Once they are completed with their step, they are to move on to produce as many as they can in the time allotted. At the end of the session, we will measure the profitability, waste, and backlogs. We would also break down their profit by minute to create our baseline to compare with future sessions.

There are usually three iterations in this training I like to use.

First-no sprint process: It’s fairly straightforward in this session. I simply time the group to see how many airplanes they can make using the push method.

Second1 Sprint Iteration:We will stop the clocks at the middle mark to allow the team to assess what’s working and what isn’t to make necessary adjustments. In this iteration, the team has to use the pull method.

Third2 Sprint Iterations -We stop every minute and a half for 30 seconds to make changes and continue. Nothing is off the table. The teams are allowed to completely redesign the process in any way they feel to be more efficient.

Measuring Efficiency in Sprint Recruiting

I always enjoy facilitating this session and watching the teams work to streamline or enhance their process. I’ve seen multiple variations of this excercise and no two methods have been alike. That’s the power of sprint process-iterative learning.

Iteration 1: Push Method

• 10 planes completed

• Average of 3.33 planes per minute

• Total profit of $1,000

Iteration 2: With 1 Sprint Iteration

• Profit per minute of $333.33

• 13 planes completed

• Average of 4.33 planes per minute

• Total profit of $1,300

• Profit per minute of $433.33

• 19 planes completed

Iteration 3: With 3 Sprint Iterations

• Average of 6.33 planes per minute

• Total profit of $1,900

• Profit per minute of $633.33

The idea of stopping in the middle of the process to discuss ways to increase production or deliberate on what method works better sounds counterintuitive to the participants at first. Once I show them the difference in the profitability per minute, they are almost always astounded by the increase in production and profitability.

In the above example, profitablity increased 200 dollars per minute or 90% from the first to third iteration. Only having one sprint iteration increased the profitability per minute by 30%. Without the ability for production teams to stop, evaluate and decide on better processes, these efficiencies would not have been found.

Sprint Recruiting Efficiency

Recruiting can be a rat wheel at times…well, most of the time. The sprints help me and the team stop bi-weekly to discuss our successes in ord to find ways to scale them for future sprints. It could be a new sourcing tool we discovered or a new trick in our applicant tracking system that helped us bank more points. Regardless of the success, we document these successes to implement and continue to evolve.

Prior to Sprint Recruiting, this success sharing was limited. We usually continued doing the same old thing the same old way, expecting better results week over week. Our Sprint Recruiting method has allowed us to formalize this sharing to maximize our iterative growth every two weeks.

The same holds true for identifying and discussing what went wrong. What are the obstacles? Is it a process or people? How do we overcome or avoid it next sprint? This process helps us not only scale our good but deal with our bad! (Sorry for the Facts of Life allusion!)

Similar to the airplane making exercise, our team has become better with each sprint. Sure, we still have some sprints when we wonder what the hell went wrong but those have become fewer over time.

We’ve also become closer as a team because we actually pause to celebrate our wins. This is important in any type of recruiting but especially in corporate, in-house recruiting. Unlike working for a firm, we do not have the big “pay-day” celebration for big wins. The Sprint Recruiting methodology allows us to celebrate the wins we do get.

Implementing Sprints in Recruiting

The Houston Team Celebrating after the Airplane activity.

If you’re curious about how to start with sprints in recruiting, you should be. It’s a fantastic way to tackle large recruiting projects or high volume targets.

You’ll first need to identify a business unit that is open to innovation. Our first couple of clients who were in our beta version of Sprint Recruiting were great partners not only because they embraced innovation but also because they gave great feedback. You will want to design your sprint around the needs of your client so it’s critically important to have a solid partner who will tell you the good and the bad as you begin your journey.

Second, you’ll want to select the jobs to be included in the sprint. The easiest way is to have the entire business unit’s roles in the sprint but that may not always be the best scenario your first time into it. Talk with your client to garner their buyin on which route works best for them.

Finally, you’ll need to develop a point target to strive towards in your sprint with each position being awarded a point value by the client. This will help you measure your efficiency sprint to sprint. (More on the point system coming in a future post.)


The adage, “it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon”, is good in some situations, but not when you want to increase efficiency in recruiting. The sprint is a powerful tool used to help drive innovation, bust down obstacles, and drive client experience. If you find yourself struggling and in a rut, give Sprint Recruiting a test drive with recruiting in sprints. It doesn’t have to be a two week sprint, maybe start with a four week sprint.

Find what works for you and keep iterating! I think you’ll become addicted to the quick successes you’ll achieve as a team. Be sure to comment below and let me know your experience goes and if you need my help!

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.

Top 3 Recruiting Trends for 2020

It’s hard to believe there are only 42 days left of 2019. This time of year is complicated for me as I begin closing out the last minute year-end projects while also begin planning for what we should accomplish in 2020. Part of the planning process is identifying the top recruiting trends and the tools I want to use to maximize our talent acquisition strategy. Here are the top 3 recruiting trends for 2020. (My list at least!)

Candidate Engagement

According to a recent LinkedIn Survey, 70 percent of the global workforce is made up of passive job seekers. Engaging the passive job market has always been tough but low unemployment rates have created a candidate driven market. If your primary recruiting strategy is to post and pray, you will not survive in 2020. For those of us who go out and find the right candidates, keeping their attention has become even harder with all of the noise of competitors.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Leveraging tools like Jobvite and similar platforms to grow and maintain your passive candidate marketing efforts will be vital to success in 2020. Human Resource departments around the country that have internal marketing teams solely focused on internal communications and engagement will have to shift to focus on how to engage external candidates with content.

I recently shared a post discussing influencer marketing in Talent Acquisition. Companies like Adidas and Nike have leveraged influencers to market their brand and expand their reach. This strategy provides a more authentic approach to marketing and consumer engagement. I foresee leaders in talent acquisition exploring this tactic and others in 2020 to engage the passive candidates, grow an audience and build pipelines.

Candidate Management

One of the most frustrating parts of talent acquisition is finding the perfect candidate but not having the perfect role for them. Striking gold is hard in this market so what do you do when you find that perfect candidate who isn’t right for the current search but great for your company?

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

Managing a candidate pipeline will become even more critical in 2020, especially in the high demand talent areas like software developers and data scientist. Half (51%) of the recruiting professionals surveyed by LinkedIn said these tools would have a big impact in the future, while 43% are currently using them.  Ideally, you should have a tool that not only manages prospective candidates but also provides you a method to keep them engaged.

There are a number of great candidate relationship management (CRM) systems on the market. Platforms like Bullhorn, TalentLyft and my favorite, Avature offer recruiters the ability to pipeline and engage talent. If you are considering a CRM, be sure to measure its ability to build talent pools, rank talent and nurture your prospects.

Data, Data, Data

My poor team…

This year has been all about my obsession with data and I have to say that 2020 will bring more of the same. I’ve shared some thoughts on why data analytics is important in talent acquisition in earlier posts and I’m not alone. When asked about the future of recruiting, 43% of respondents said that leveraging data effectively will be a priority. Other surveys show 84% believe that analyzing talent data to drive decisions is becoming an increasingly important skill for recruiters to master. 

I’ve reviewed a couple of tools this year on the blog including Visier and Emsi. Data analytic tools are becoming a hot commodity in talent acquisition. Recruiters must leverage data to better understand the market, where candidates are hiding and what it will take to get them to make a move.

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Visier’s recruiting metrics dashboard provides insight for both your internal and external candidate flow and trends while offering some pretty unreal insights to your labor force. If you pair this information with the market analysis Emsi does leveraging the powerhouse of information regarding the labor market, you can create a more well-informed and realistic talent strategy in 2020.

Talent Acquisition leaders and team must become fluent in the language of data to remain relevant and competitive in 2020.

Final Thoughts

I’m excited about what 2020 will bring!

The talent acquisition is one that requires constant evolution which is one of the reasons I love the industry. Be sure to take the time to begin preparing for the new year by exploring how you will master candidate engagement, candidate management and the influx of talent data.

If you’d like some help evaluating tools and metrics, here are a couple of other posts to get you started!

Recruiting Metrics, Measure What Counts– Learn what metrics really matter in your talent acquisition strategy

Data Analytics and Recruiting-How Data will transform how we do talent acquisition.

Visier’s Talent Analytics Add-On-A Must for the new age of data driven talent acquisition

3 Reasons why relying on your ATS to develop a strategy is a mistake-Helpful insights from Visier.

Emsi – A powerful tool for labor market insights.

If you would like to learn more about Sprint RecruitingClick here to join our mailing list. You’ll get premier access to:

  • Get helpful recruiting tips sent to you monthly!
  • Read each chapter of the book Sprint Recruiting as it’s written
  • Resources including graphics, reports and training
  • Special Q&A sessions to learn how Sprint Recruiting can help you transform your Talent Strategy.