September 2010 Archives

Thursday September 30, 2010

Online Job Demand Rises 59,900 in September

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Online Job Demand Rises 59,900 in September, The Conference Board Reports

Online job demand increased by 1 million (30 percent) since the official end of the recession in June 2009

September picture mixed across the U.S. with gains in Southern and Midwestern States, dips in labor demand in the Northeast and the West essentially flat

September demand rose for workers in computer and mathematical science, transportation and material moving, and architecture and engineering while demand declined for sales and related workers and healthcare practitioners and technical jobs.

Online advertised vacancies rose 59,900 in September to 4,296,100 following a decrease of 57,100 in August, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLineā„¢ (HWOL) Data Series released today. The gap between the number of unemployed and advertised vacancies (supply/demand rate) stood at 3.51 unemployed for every advertised vacancy in August (the last available unemployment data) but is down from its peak of 4.73 in October 2009. (Chart 1)

"Since the NBER June 2009 end of the recession, HWOL has increased by 1 million advertised vacancies," said June Shelp, Vice President at The Conference Board. "The HWOL series trough in April 2009 led the NBER official trough by about 2 months, reflecting a rather typical pattern where labor demand leads at economic turning points. Following the rapid HWOL rises in labor demand in the 4th quarter 2009 and 1st quarter 2010, labor demand has now settled into more modest growth, pointing to a moderate growth in employment through the end of 2010." (Chart 2).

Sept. Conference jpg

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Wednesday September 29, 2010

Right Keywords, Wrong Candidate

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Recruiters often ask me how a candidate can be rejected for consideration, even though the person's resume has all the right keywords.

Simple answer? The job description got lost in translation.

Think about it: Every job exists because a company has a problem. Otherwise, they wouldn't be hiring. Unfortunately, most employers are unable or unwilling to talk directly about the problem; so they talk around it.

Candidate Mistake.jpgInstead of saying, "We've got a great team of developers. But they lack discipline, and we're on the verge of losing a major contract because we're chronically behind schedule," they hand you a job description that reads, "The candidate will be expected to broadly influence the technology and direction of the product. Must be proficient with J2EE, JCR, JSF and Ajax and possess a BS or MS in computer science or related field."

It's a classic disconnect: The hiring manager is worrying about a PROBLEM but translates the solution into a list of QUALIFICATIONS for the job.

Submission Deficit Disorder

From this point on, you and the employer pass like two ships in the night. You submit the resume with the right QUALIFICATIONS and what happens? The hiring manager stares at the resume, trying to imagine how that candidate's going to solve the PROBLEM.

The keywords are there--you made sure of that--but the essential qualities needed to solve the problem are unknown, at least on paper. So the candidate's resume is returned to you, stamped REJECTED.

But it doesn't have to be this way. By interviewing the hiring manager directly, you can understand the nature of the problem and begin to find a solution. Here are some simple questions to ask:

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Monday September 27, 2010

American Staffing 2010: Turning Point

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Last week, the business cycle dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research officially announced that the most recent economic recession in the U.S. ended in June 2009. The committee, considered to be the official authority on U.S. economic cycles, determined only that business activity troughed and a recovery began in July of last year; it did not conclude that the economic climate in the U.S. has improved markedly or that the economy has returned to functioning at normal capacity.

The ASA Staffing Index, which measures the percentage change in weekly staffing employment, troughed in the week of June 29, 2009, and has grown virtually nonstop since. ASA research has shown that staffing job trends serve as a coincident economic indicator, especially when the economy is emerging from a recession. The recent announcement by the NBER regarding the end of the recent recession corroborates what the ASA Staffing Index suggested more than a year ago.

Since the end of June 2009, the Index has grown 37%, suggesting that staffing employment has increased by this percentage after losing 1.14 million jobs during the 2007-2009 recession. The ASA Staffing Employment and Sales Survey, which collects information on industry employment and sales, has revealed that industry revenue was 33% higher in the second quarter of 2010 than in the second quarter of 2009. The staffing industry appears well on its way to a double-digit recovery--similar to that experienced after the prior three recessions.

But why is nonfarm employment growth, which typically lags increases in staffing employment by six months, not exhibiting the same robust job increases that staffing firms are reporting? Although the recession may be over, many economists are concerned that the profound damage to the economy and the way businesses view permanent hiring may result in high unemployment for the foreseeable future.

Read more about recent economic trends and what they mean for the staffing industry, in the current year and beyond, in American Staffing 2010: Turning Point. The report includes 15 charts that illustrate staffing employment and sales trends, as well as data on how staffing benefits employees, staffing clients, and the economy. The report is available online at and is the cover story of a special issue of Staffing Success magazine, in the mail to ASA members this week.

Alexandra Karaer

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Tuesday September 21, 2010

2 Minute Recruiter Coaching - Tame Your Phone

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This monthly article gives you quick, easy-to-implement ideas on various subjects. This month's topics have to do with taming your phone. The phone may be the best money making tool in a recruiter's tool box but it still must be used intelligently so that it doesn't become a time sink. In terms of who has access to me via phone, I have a simple guideline; the more you pay the more access you receive. That is just economics 101. How do you qualify clients' and candidates' phone time?

Tame Your Phone.jpg Topic #1:

Tame your phone

The phone may be the best money making tool in a recruiter's tool box but it still must be used intelligently so that it doesn't become a time sink. In terms of who has access to me via phone, I have a simple guideline; the more you pay the more access you receive. That is just economics 101.

So if a client has just paid me a $30,000 retainer, of course they have access to me. But, if a candidate is calling who I've never spoken to, who hasn't submitted a resume, and who is not in my primary area of focus, that call will likely go straight to voicemail if I'm busy. You have to remember that eighty five percent (or more) of the candidates that you talk to are people that you are never going to be able to place.

 To tame your phone, make sure that you have certain "call batches" in your schedule where all calls are going out and very few (if any) of those that are coming are being answered. If it is an incoming phone call that is revenue related, then that is the exception to the rule. Nearly all other calls can go to voicemail to be called back after your outgoing calling batch. Your cell phone can act as your "bat phone" for clients and important candidates to reach you for deal making issues. I'll give an example of how to phrase this on your voicemail in the example at the end of this article.

Topic #2:

Create and enforce a candidate call in time

If you pre-close the issue of when the best time to reach you is with new candidates, you will able to gently guide the flow of incoming calls from candidates. I first heard of this idea from Peter Leffkowitz and it is something that I strongly recommend. If you frame this issue the right way, you will find that people respect you for it and will comply with it most of the time.

After you conduct an internal interview with a new candidate, just let them know that if they are not actively interviewing with a client of yours, the best time to reach you is between 2 and 4PM (or whatever time frame you prefer). Be honest and tell them that you spend the mornings actively searching for exceptional career opportunities that you may be able to present them with and that the afternoon is when you deal with candidate issues. You can also gently remind them of this on your voicemail message (see below).

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Wednesday September 15, 2010

Ten Characteristics of High Performing Teams

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Getting started on building a high performing team can seem like a daunting task. After all, with so many different personalities and ingrained habits, it's hard to determine where to start.

Take a look at the Ten Characteristics of a High Performing Team below. Rate your team, on a 1 to 5 basis on each characteristic. Give the list to each person on your team for rating. Then compile the results and you'll have a good idea of where to get started. Just pick one or two areas to tackle. After you've made progress on those, chose another. In a very short time, you'll find that your environment is changing for the better and your team is moving into a high performance mode.

Effective Teamwork.jpgServant leadership

The team leader understands how to serve the members of the team and gains influence through understanding and being responsive to their needs. All actions flow from the mission and help shape the organizational culture.

Open communication

Active listening is used to ensure crystal clear understanding. Productive conflict is encouraged so new ideas can be explored. Diverse opinions are welcomed.

Synergistic relationships

In an effective team, members gain strength from one another. They accomplish more together than they could acting individually. In this case, the whole is not only different, but also greater than the sum of its parts.

Personal development

Effective team members continually learn better ways of working together. Individuals take responsibility for improving knowledge to better contribute to the team.

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Tuesday September 14, 2010

10 Things You Must Do Before That Successful Interview

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You've worked hard to get here. You've sent out 31 resumes, networked, attended job fairs, enrolled in school for more education - you've taken all the right steps.

Interview Preparation.jpg Then, one afternoon the phone rings. "Yes, we'd like you to come in for an interview. Is next Tuesday at 10:00 alright with you?" Alright???!!! You can be there in 10 minutes! But you gather your composure, pretend to rifle through your "appointment book" and calmly reply, "Yes, Tuesday at 10:00 works for me. See you then." Now what?

The sequence goes like this: the resume gets you an interview; the interview gets you the job. This is when you become more than a bunch of employment dates and workplace accomplishments. This is your opportunity to shine. It's show time!

Go in cold and you're working at a disadvantage. You prepped the perfect resume, now it's time to prep for that all-important interview. Here are ten steps you should take before you show up at the interviewer's door.

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Wednesday September 8, 2010

The Follow-Up Marketing Script

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Marketing Strategies.jpg
2 Minute Coaching

This monthly article gives you quick, easy-to-implement ideas on various subjects. This month's topics have to do with marketing follow up, exposing client wounds and discounting.

Topic #1:

The Follow Up Marketing Script:

Probably the least effective part of most marketing plans has to do with follow up or more specifically; the lack of consistent follow up. One of the reasons for this is that many recruiters do not know what to say on a follow up call. Often they get tripped up on coming up with a reason to call every 30 days.

Here is a simple follow up question that you can use over and over with your clients: "Are there any types of candidates that you'd like me to keep an eye open for in the next 90 days?"

This question does a couple of very useful things for you. First off, it prevents procrastination as you now have an "evergreen" script for each follow up call. Second, it positions you as someone who is trying to add value by acting as a talent scout for your client. Lastly, it avoids negative trigger words such as "openings" or "requisitions" that may make your prospect become defensive. You're not asking if he any has official openings but rather if he would like you to keep an eye out for any particular skill set.

If the answer is "yes", you drill down by asking good questions. If the answer is "no", you get off the phone quickly and move onto your next call. Topic #2 below will expand on the idea of asking questions to expose your client's wounds.

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Tuesday September 7, 2010

Staffing Employment Once Again Sees Growth

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The staffing industry added jobs in August after exhibiting no employment growth in July, according to the latest data released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the monthly period measured, seasonally adjusted staffing employment grew by 17,000 jobs, or 0.8%. The newest government statistics estimate that the industry has 22.1% more workers employed now than in August of last year.

American Staffing Association.jpg"Staffing firms added close to 400,000 new jobs in the past year, an indication that the economy continues to slowly dig out of the 'great recession,'" says Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. "While ASA members expect that growth to continue, they report that businesses are being very strategic about adding back permanent jobs, timing employment increases with sustained increases in demand."

Nonseasonally adjusted BLS data, which estimate the actual number of jobs in the economy, indicated that staffing employment grew 3.4% from July to August. On a year-to-year basis, there were 21% more workers employed in August 2010 compared with the same month in 2009. The ASA Staffing Index, which is also not seasonally adjusted and therefore is comparable to the nonadjusted employment figures reported by BLS, showed an increase of about 4% from July to August and year-to-year job growth of 27%.

BLS logo.jpgIn employment placement and executive search, BLS reported 239,000 jobs in July (BLS data for this sector lag one month and are not seasonally adjusted), a 2.0% increase from June and a 9.7% increase compared with a year ago. Employment in this sector began growing earlier this year.

Total nonfarm payroll employment showed little change during August, declining slightly by 54,000. This decline was largely driven by continued cuts in the number of short-term workers previously hired by the federal government to complete work on the 2010 census. These workers were hired directly as government employees and are therefore not included in the temporary help industry employment count.

Private sector employment showed a modest increase of 67,000 new jobs over the month, largely driven by employment gains in health care, mining, professional and business services, and construction. Since the beginning of the year, private sector employment has risen by 763,000 new jobs. The U.S. unemployment rate was little changed, edging up from 9.5% to 9.6%.

Wednesday September 1, 2010

Seven Years' Good Luck

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Today marks seven years that I've been writing this newsletter to you all. If I had to summarize my advice from all those years, it would be this:

Everything's going to be all right.

Look, I know. I've read the anxiety in your e-mails; I've seen the worry in your faces; I've been through countless job searches with you, Readers.

There's no doubt about it, the job hunt is stressful, straining, and tedious. The lack of certainty over what's going to happen to you, your family, and your career creates so much worry that it's easy to fall prey to periods of despair.

But I can also tell you that everything is going to be all right.

We'll make it through, together.

We've helped literally millions of people through their job searches over these past seven years. It's rarely easy, but those millions have landed successfully on the other side in a new role. And you, too, will find your way through.

It will take longer than you want; it will be more of an emotional rollercoaster than you were hoping for; and there will be days when you think it is never going to end.

But end it does. The call will come, the offer will be made, you will find your next great gig. Barring major medical problems, professionals like you do land in a new role. I've seen it happen, literally, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times.

And to get through the job hunt challenge, let me elaborate a bit further on what I've learned over these past seven years. My best tactical advice is this:

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