Video: Parts of Recruiting

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Too often HR people or hiring managers think the parts of recruiting are: write a job description, post it online and then review the right people who have come to you.



Recruiting requires a good position description, a good target list of companies that have provided that experience, knowing who the people are and then contacting each one of them to see if they or one of their colleagues might be interested in doing for you, what they have been doing for someone else. Please do give me a call if I can be of any assistance. The number here is 510-601-1343 or email me I’d love to talk with you and help you find the right people for your open positions. Thank you.

Video: What you need in a job description

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Do your job postings bring in the right candidates?

Could it be that your job descriptions are boiler-plate and not interesting?

Hi, this is Connie Hampton of Hampton & Associates. We do scientific and executive search services, or unbundled, a la carte, modular search services for the biosciences industries. Doing it for about 16 years now. And today I want to talk about job descriptions. Many times I receive a job description that is boiler plate. It is full of assumptions, jargon, insider words, but with no synonyms or it is so general as to be incomprehensible, I guess, is the best way to put it. You either have to know already what they are looking for or… At any rate, it’s so ambiguous that the resulting resumes that are received from a job posting are all over the map, not even including the ones that are sent in because the person wants a job, any job.

Video: Help Your Recruiter Deliver the Right People

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Do you expect your recruiter to read your mind or the mind of your hiring manager?  

Help him or her out by communicating what you really need to solve the company problem!  What exactly does the right person need to accomplish to solve the problem you have?  Who does he/she need to interact with?

This is so much more than what they “have” – like a PhD in a niche topic or 5 years of experience at one of your direct competitors.  If these things are really necessary, be prepared to tell your recruiter why!

Conversation about In-House Recruiting

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Lynne Blom and I had a lovely conversation about the similarities and differences between being a recruiting in-house at Genentech and being a third-party/external recruiter like me.

You can leave questions and comments below or on G+ or at YouTube

Did you know that large companies can lose your resume inside their ATS and that sending a fresh resume for a new posting may be needed but can get you labeled a pest?  Or that large companies hire “Sourcers” to find the right people that the in-house recruiters then screen?

Spring in Oakland

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Spring in Oakland

Spring time has arrived in Oakland, CA.  We are still short of water, but that last rain really encouraged the flowers!


A little time, a big impact
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Social Media for HR

HR folks are busier than a cat with puppies.

Do you have time for social media?  Do you have time NOT to? Having a web presence used to mean a website that was prepped when the company started and then, perhaps, taken care of by the corporate communications person or marketing.  HR only had to up-date the careers page by sending the latest job posting to the webmaster. 

Not so much today.  Now there are career pages on your company’s LinkedIn and G+ Pages, job postings in LinkedIn, other jobs sites, and that is not even to mention the need for employment branding. 

Do you have a plan to make your company attractive to the top tier of potential employees?  Is it part of your annual hiring plan? And how much time will it take?  The idea has been around now for years but many small biotech companies have simply not implemented it.  Last year Claes Peyron wrote a blog about the 9 Steps to a Successful Employer Branding Strategy on It boils down to know your long-term needs and who has the skills and expertise to take care of them and then be visible in their world.  Social media is the means to this end. 

Do you have a spreadsheet of the groups, communities, websites and social media that your kinds of employees use?  Are your current employees using LinkedIn or Facebook?  Google+ or Twitter?  Do you have these lists sorted by company function (i.e. Research people here, Accounting there)?

Do you ask your current employees to post articles, blogs or links for and about your company?  Do you give them time to do it and make it part of their job?

Transparency or a window into the company will allow the best and brightest of your potential hires to evaluate the company and interact with your people inside.  Your people can let you know how that goes and if these wannabe employees are worth pursuing. 

Hospitals have been on the cutting edge of this, showing us what it is like to be, for example, a nurse in the pediatric ward.

The career pages on the company website or LinkedIn or G+ Page can be used to host videos, pictures, audios and other quotes by and about your employees to demonstrate what it is like to work there. 5 great Employer Branding videos

Maren Hogan has written a lovely short blog on why it is important


Do you need any help gathering the information you need to do this?  Check out ConnieOnCall

The pain in recruiting

Overwhelmed Office Worker
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Overwhelmed Office WorkerFrom my discussions with HR people and hiring managers, most feel that recruiting is a pain.  The hiring managers know that they need someone, but are frequently too busy actually doing the job to have time to review resumes and sit through interviews.  Some of them are really not well-trained in how to interview and most don’t understand how many steps there are before the resume appears on their desk and the interviews get scheduled, nor how it changes things if they have to keep putting off the reviews or the interviews.   And therein lies the pain for the HR people who do know what happens if the hiring manager can’t (won’t) take the time to define the job properly, actually sort through the stack of resumes that the HR person has already screened or schedule and show up to the interview. 

They both know how important it is to have a well-functioning team and how disruptive it is to be short of the right people.  We can even put a number on the cost of not hiring in a timely and efficient manner.

So what can be done?  “Start as you mean to go on” is an old British saying.  Plan the action and then stick to it.  When you promote or hire a new manager, (or an old one needs a new employee) let them know that hiring for his team is part of the job and that there are best practices to be followed, including such things as using template for job postings that includes things like “what 5 things will the successful employee complete by his first performance evaluation” and including those on the actual performance evaluation.  (Click here for a template for determining what the job is about) That the manager will make time for discussion with HR about the recruiting process, will make time to review resumes/online Profile/etc. and will make time in a timely manner for interviews.  Minutes escape us but hiring the right person for the job needs to be a priority.

Other complaints about recruiting involve people (recruiters or applicants) who did not read the posting and sent resumes that are completely off-target, thus wasting the HR person’s time; the length of time it takes to find the right people even if you retain a recruiter, especially since there are so many people currently out of work; the cost of a third-party recruiter (contingency or retained); the time it takes from the hiring manager’s and HR person’s schedule and the time it takes from the decision to the actual on boarding. 

Some of these pains can be solved by acknowledging that “it takes 3 minutes to cook a 3 minute egg” and that “the workman is worth his fee”.  But you need to know what you are getting in that purchased egg.  Are there parts of the process you would rather do yourself?  Parts that you would definitely hire someone else to do? 

Candidates want recruiters to “be the job fairy” and instantaneously grant them a job.  HR and hiring managers want recruiters to “be the job fairy” and spontaneously (while reading their minds) present them with the right hire.  Unfortunately, recruiters are simply human, although we try to augment that humanity with as much of the latest tech support we can get.

What is your particular pet peeve or pain around recruiting?

Parts of recruiting

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Scheduling interviews in notebookWhat are the steps to finding the easily found and how are they different from finding the hard-to-find?

You in HR juggle many tasks.  Each of those tasks from recruiting through compensation, employee relations, organizational development to mergers, acquisition and “right sizing” have many parts.  I’m no expert in comp or OD or M&A, but I’ve been recruiting for over 16 years.

Here is what I know about recruiting:

You have to know what you are looking for.  None of us can read minds, especially those of hiring managers who are not sure themselves of what they need.  Holding the hiring manager to reality and getting the details of the job can be simple or far more complex and difficult than it should be.  Do you have a standard form for getting these details from your team leaders?  Do you use the things desired to 1.) write the job description and 2.) do the performance review form for that job?  Generic job ads tend to get generic applicants.  You don’t need a generic employee, you need someone with specific skills to solve specific problems and you won’t get those unless you know what they are and ask for them.

Once everyone agrees on what the ideal candidates will be able to do (not simply have – we all have known PhDs who are not ready for industry) then you have to know how and where to look.  You have many choices:

  • Search your database of previously received resumes
  • Post the job (and possibly pay a contingency recruiter)
  • Ask your current employees for referrals
  • Call into your competitors, call your network, do Boolean searches on the internet and look on LinkedIn yourself
  • Hire an extra employee as a short-term contract recruiter to do the above.
  • Give an exclusive to a contingency recruiter (who will do all of these things.)
  • Hire a retained recruiter (who will have his staff do much of the “looking” and will do the pre-screening and initial face-to-face interview.
  • Hire a boutique, a la carte recruiter or sourcer who will do only those parts of the search that you don’t have time for or expertise in.

(I’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each of these in a separate post.)

Once you have a flow of applicants and resumes and have acknowledged each one, then sorting them is the next step.  It is remarkable how many people want “a job, any job” and will send a resume just because you posted a position, any position.  So eliminating the generic resume senders will reduce the pile considerably. Studies have shown that as many as 99 out of 100 resumes are completely off-target.

Using an ATS (applicant tracking system) will also eliminate many of course, but beware that, unless you program in the synonyms for each of the keywords, you are likely to lose potentially great applicants.  Smaller companies may not have an ATS and it is the responsibility of HR to sort the incoming emails and paper copies.  Having a good list of keywords for each function can be a big help.  This would also be done by any people you hire to help you – in-house or external.

Once you have eliminated the obvious “bad” resumes (and I know that you don’t have time to be the Job Fairy and figure out where any one particular person might fit into the company even if it is the Chairman’s grandson), then you and/or the hiring manager need to look at the screened resumes more closely.  Is this person known to anyone on the team?  What do they think?  Does the experience shown make it likely that this person could actually solve the problem the team is hiring to solve?  When that stack is reduced to just a few, then it is time to schedule phone screens or phone interviews to make sure that the person matches the resume if you have not hired someone else to do this.  Because this screening takes time, it is good to have a process that tells the obviously “wrong fit” applicants that they are not being considered for this particular role in a timely manner. They are waiting for your response and the longer they wait, the less positive things they will have to say about your company (on social media and elsewhere).

If the screened candidate does seem to fit, then it is time to schedule a face to face interview.  Do you sit in on these interviews or are you responsible for both phone screens and in person interviews?  Is your hiring manager good at interviewing?  Or does he or she simply want to hire the “likeable” person, rather than the one with the best skills and expertise? Do you need to train your hiring managers on interviewing?  Most people have been the interviewee but not the interviewer and it can really stress the new manager.  We don’t get any formal training in hiring, generally speaking and many managers “just go with their gut.”  This can turn out to be a disaster.  The less charismatic applicant could well be the better person for the job.

Interviewing by committee sounds like a good idea in that you get input from all the “stakeholders”, but it can make a bad interviewer even worse because he/she depends on the rest of the team to make the decision for him. Yes, input is good, but the first interview and the final decision should be made by the person who will be supervising the new hire.  That is the relationship that needs to be strongest. If you think of interviewing like dating, having your date meet your parents on the first date is incredibly stressful and not likely to show him in the best or most realistic light.

Once the decision has been made, then all of the people who were not chosen need to be informed – it is just common courtesy (and it improves your company’s employment brand considerably).  Don’t leave people hanging.

Onboarding the new hire needs to be well thought out.  What steps do you take?  Who is responsible for this step?  Do you have a check list so that nothing gets forgotten or assumed?

Part of hiring includes performance evaluation and it really helps if you compare what was accomplished to what you said you wanted to have accomplished.

Do you have a checklist for all these steps?  Do they vary depending on the level and function of the position you are trying to fill?

Nitty Gritty of compensation

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Compensation is only one of the many tasks of HR.  Irv, Lisa and I discuss some of the parts and tools you use to keep all that going.

Compensation in the Raw

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When a Spreadsheet is Your Only Tool
Irv Kirschbaumwith Irv Kirschbaum,
Total Rewards Consultant

So…you have a big compensation project coming up but none of the high-powered compensation analytical or planning tools that are available on the market today.  It’s just you and Excel!  Let’s assume for a second, and at times it’s a big assumption, that you actually know who all of your employees are, what their jobs are and what they’re paid.  Where do you go from there?


We invited Irv Kirschbaum to spend his lunchtime with you on Friday, February 21st, at 11:30 a.m., at Connie Hampton’s G+ Hangout, and share some of the wisdom he’s gained over the years working under just those conditions…more often than not.  He’ll discuss and answer your question about such subjects as:

  • Some essential principles of working with spreadsheets in compensation
  • How to protect the confidentiality of sensitive employee data
  • What basic skills you’ll need to hone
  • How to organize your excel workbook
  • How to link files in order to minimize data redundancy and enable global changes
  • How to design your reports

Irv has many decades of experience in the management of corporate human resources, particularly in the field of employee compensation for multiple industries.  Having served in large companies, as well as startups in the Silicon Valley, he has designed local and global reward systems from scratch and troubleshot existing compensation schemes on a worldwide basis. Working closely with management at all levels and boards of directors, he’s designed and implemented base-pay and variable incentive systems encompassing short- and long-term (equity) plans, sales commissions and executive compensation.  He has held management positions at McKesson, William M. Mercer and Autodesk, among others; and has consulted with a wide variety of companies including Dolby,, TriNet, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Kabam! He’s currently on an interim assignment with the Sutter Health West Bay Region and the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation through this June.

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