The Unskilled Of Today Are The Skilled Of Tomorrow

*A great benefit of blogging is meeting industry leaders and sharing and debating ideas.  Today, I’m sharing an article from Felix Wetzel of Jobsite.  Please be sure to give Felix your feedback at the end.  

When I joined Jobsite several years ago, one out of my two people strong team was what generally would be considered unskilled. He had no qualifications & before joining Jobsite as a data entry person, he worked for several years as a waiter in the Army barracks. He was also something of a computer geek, building his own PCs with the main purpose of increasing their performance to have a better gaming experience. This was also the time when companies like Jobsite lived very much on their SEO performance (and Google hadn’t impacted our shores yet). This person took the SEO bit between his teeth and ran with it, until he became one of the best SEOs in the UK. And this case isn’t an exception at Jobsite.

Paul Hart, former manager of Portsmouth Football club (sponsored by Jobsite) and previous to that responsible for the youth development of several football clubs, assessed footballing talent with  a SPIT test: In the order of importance: Speed, personality, intelligence, technique. His rational was as follows: I can teach technique, I can expand your playing intelligence – but personality and speed are a given, they can only be improved marginally and slowly.

Both of these stories have one thing in common – what we considered as skilled and unskilled is an outdated and narrow perspective. In the future, there will be skills required that are beyond our current understanding, and it will require certain characteristics and personalities that are in-built in people. And I’m not talking just about technology roles, such as mobile developers or SEOs, who would have thought that Starbucks would’ve created so many barista positions all over the world?

Recently I wrote several blog posts about the future of work and the main comments focused on not leaving the unskilled behind. I’m actually more worried about leaving the technically-skilled (as in white collared workers) behind – they are often the most complacent, the most rigid and the easiest to be replaced via outsourcing and ultimately automation. That’s why I believe the real in-demand ‘skills’ in the future of work will be creativity and project management.

  • Creativity, as it allows the development of ground breaking, innovative, competitive and unique solutions.
  • Project management, as it transforms creativity into tangible assets

Obviously great contacts and great education (and by this I mean being taught how to be a rounded and self-determined individual and how to think methodically yet radically) are important components.

Like sports clubs, big brands will set up academies to identify the raw talent. The technical skills – as in Paul Hart’s model – will be learned on the job. This is based on the premise that a participant is bright, has the right attitude and aptitude, and can pick up anything. For anybody developing an interest in work, wanting to get into an industry or just purely the workplace, it will be all about freelancing, volunteering and internships.

I started to write for my local newspaper aged 15. We need to get back to the understanding that school is only teaching so much and, here I agree whole-heartedly with Lucian Tarnowski, Founder and CEO of, neither the current education system nor the current political system are set up to deal with the global changes we are starting to see now and will continue to see in the future.

We need a structural overhaul not only of the system, but also about what and how we think and what and how we label. Much will depend on companies to make a difference. As much will depend on individuals. Let’s drive this change instead of blocking necessary reforms and hiding behind quotes such as ‘leaving the unskilled behind’.

Felix Wetzel is the Group Marketing Director for Jobsite and author of the ‘People, Brands, & Random Thoughts‘ blog.


Recruiting Is Individual: 3 Steps To Success

I spent several hours over the weekend catching up on my reading.  I can’t tell you how many articles are out there about recruiting and what you need to do to target groups, how to source, how to interview and on and on.  What I don’t seem to see anyone writing about is that recruiting is a very individually focused, unique experience.  It’s easy to lose sight of this when it’s your job to fill hundreds of positions each year.

3 Steps to a Unique Recruiting Experience

There are three critical steps a recruiter needs to follow with an identified candidate in order to not only close the deal, but to help ensure that the candidate-turned-employee will have a good experience with the company during onboarding.

  1. Give a unique pitch to each candidate– Being a recruiter means you need to be a bit of a fortune teller.  Do your homework about what is important to that individual, then finesse the information during conversation so that you can make a prediction of what it will take to get that unique candidate to sign on the dotted line.  You may be filling a number of similar positions, but if you find yourself giving the exact same pitch to each candidate, it’s time to step up your game and make it unique.  You’re the candidate’s first exposure to the organization and need to make it a strong, lasting and positive one.
  2. Pay attention to the details–  This means that you need to make sure all the behind-the-scenes steps that need to happen are tied up with a bow.  Don’t put the stress on the candidate.  All the “back office” work needs to be flawless.
  3. Continue the wooing–  This is the step that is often forgotten.  In a personal relationship, we all know that you can’t just find someone you’re interested in, act on your best behavior to get them to start the relationship, then ignore them.  Recruiting candidates is no different.  It’s critical to continue checking on the candidate/ new hire, even after their first day.   I once heard Jessica Lee (former VP of Talent Acquisition for APCO and current Director of Digital Talent Strategy for Marriott International) say that employees continued coming to her long after they were hired.  It’s because she started the relationship at APCO with them.  She gave them a real-life connection that they needed to start a successful career.  I’ve worked with recruiters like this too.  They play a critical role in retention because they never completely end the relationship once the employee is on board.

What Is Your Talent Mindset? Pinstripe Talent Can Help You Focus

I recently had the opportunity to speak with leaders from Pinstripe Talent about something they are passionate about…. a talent mindset.  

As a Human Resource leader, one of the key roles I occupy is that of helping shape and set the way the organization approaches talent. It’s our company talent mindset.  The same goes for me personally as well as all the other leaders in the organization.  Since “talent” is not a commodity, recruiting and retaining talented, skilled employees is everyone’s job. In order to be successful, you have to have a talent mindset so that you understand what motivates people to stay and what makes them feel valued.

Pinstripe is sharing their ideas about talent and having a talent mindset.  I was fortunate to hear a presentation by Angela Hills, Executive Vice President from Pinstripe at Talent Net Live.  Angela then sat down to answer some of my questions about a talent mindset and I’ll be sharing those here with you in a two-part series.


What is one thing an individual can do to help a fellow leader identify his/her talent mindset?

Well, one thing? Ask the question. Tell people what your Talent Mindset is and ask others to share theirs. Ask your CEO or leadership how they approach talent. Ask them what they are most proud of when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. Ask them what motivates them and why they stay? Ask them what their top talent priorities are. Their answers will clue you in to which Talent
Mindset drives them, but it will also get Talent on their radar by talking about it. You’ll get them thinking and you might even influence them to focus on it more, just by getting them to talk about it!

What are a few of the benefits of knowing your talent mindset and potentially the talent mindset of your team or colleagues?

More than anything, I think it helps you to focus on what you do best.   Knowing your core approach to talent can help you realize why you’re so good at certain things and what others value most about it. It affirms the way you typically approach things. It can also highlight areas you may want to focus on (i.e. maybe you review the summary of another Talent Mindset and really wish you were more like that….), but more than anything, it will help you do more of what you do best.

Knowing the Talent Mindset of your entire team can be very useful. Staffing a project with a variety of Talent Mindsets ensures that you’re looking at an issue from multiple angles. It can also spur conversation and as noted above, I’m a firm believer that the more we talk about something, the more it is on our minds, and then the more it shapes our behavior. Talking more about talent should lead to colleagues focusing more on talent and that is good for business!

*Stay tuned for more discussion about Talent Mindset.   Thank you to Angela Hills, Pinstripe Talent and Talent Net Live for starting the discussion. In the meantime, do you have discussions with your leaders or team about their approach to talent?  Share with me in the comments.

Recruiters- Use A Targeted Sales Pitch To Land Top Candidates

What facets should a robust recruiting strategy take into account?

  • the business needs
  • the organizational culture
  • finding the most qualified employees

These are the tenets that are widely accepted as some of the most important when determining your strategy.  From there, recruiters attempt to find the candidates who are qualified for the open positions.  The candidates come in to interview and give us their best sales pitch on why we should hire them.  Then, the recruiter, hiring manager, and any other important players pitch why the company is so great.

This is the step where many organizations fall down.  In our zeal to get the candidate on board, we throw out every possible reason the company is great in hope that something will resonate with our strongest candidate.  It’s a bit like throwing a handful of darts at the dartboard.  You may hit the bulls-eye, but maybe not.  By employing a more tactical approach to the close, recruiters can have greater success in reeling in the strongest candidates while also determining the “fit” of that candidate.  Let’s look at a real-life example.

US Marnie Corp- Targeted Tactics

The US Marine Corp has a method to do this that may not be well-known, but works quite successfully in accomplishing this targeted recruiting message.  They use what they call “benefit tags”.  When a Marine Corp recruiter has a candidate in front of him (or her),  they lay these benefit tags out on the table in front of the candidate.  Each tag has a word or phrase with either a tangible or intangible benefit.

The six intangible tags are:

  • Challenge
  • Pride of Belonging
  • Leadership and Management Skills
  • Self direction, self reliance, self discipline
  • Courage, poise, self confidence
  • Professional Development and opportunities

The five tangible tags are:

  • Physical fitness
  • Technical skills
  • Financial security, advancement, and benefits
  • Educational opportunities
  • Travel and adventure

The candidate is asked to choose the tags that represent what is most important to them in their life and career.  The recruiter is prepared with a pitch for each tag, so no matter which tags the candidate chooses, the recruiter has a specific goal of what needs to be communicated.  For example, if the candidate chooses “leadership and management skills”, the recruiter may tell them about all the Fortune 500 CEOs who are former Marines.  If they choose “travel and adventure” the recruiter may tell them about all the exotic places they can serve their country.

Making it work for your organization

This technique can work in your organization too.  By looking at the organization as a whole and what the benefits are, you can come up with your own tags and selling points.  Maybe you offer an environment that promotes from within, tuition reimbursement, global offices in 7 countries, and an average tenure of 28 years for employees.  It would be easy to have four specific selling tracks that address:

  • Advancement opportunities
  • Education and Training
  • Global travel opportunities
  • Job security

By asking each candidate “What is most important to you in your career?” you are demonstrating that your organization values their needs, right from the start.  It is a good way to build that trust from day one.  If candidates believe they are having their individual needs addressed, I’d predict that it will not only close more deals quickly, but will produce stronger initial engagement with the company.

What do you think?  Are you using targeted, individualized recruiting tactics in your organization?  Should you?  Let’s discuss it in the comments.

Decisive Recruiting: 3 Benefits for Leaders

Several months ago, I decided to give my bathroom a facelift.  I don’t know if you’re like me, but once I get an idea like that in my head, it’s on and there is no stopping me.  After choosing just the right paint color, accessories and all the amentites a bathroom needs, I was nearing the completion mark.  Save one item.  The mirror.

You see, my home came with those large, plain, rectangular mirrors that the builder installs.  All I knew was that I was not about to leave that plain mirror up a moment longer.  I began the search of all types of stores for the perfect mirror.  Then, I found it.  It was a colorful, mosaic mirror at Pier One.  But I did not buy it.  In fact, I doubted that something so colorful and unique would work in that space.  I kept thinking that maybe there was still one more mirror out there I had not seen.  So, I left the store and went home.

I continued to look at mirrors but my mind kept coming back to the mirror with the mosaic frame.  I finally decided that I was crazy not to buy it, even if it was bold and even if it was different than all the other mirrors in the house.  I headed back to Pier One, ready to make the purchase.  One problem…

The mirror was gone.

Sold out.

Can’t be ordered.

The same thing happens each day as leaders make hiring decisions about high potential candidates.  Recruiters work hard to source just the right person, one with the mix of experience and skills that also has a strong possibility of being a culture fit.  Sometimes, the leaders stalls on the decision though because the candidate seems just a little too unique, too cutting edge or too different than the rest of the team.  The recruiter tries to keep the candidate warm on the idea of joining the company, but many times, the candidate is lost once the hiring leader comes to his or her senses and decides to make that offer.

The reasons for a leader to be decisive are many, but three strong benefits of a faster decision are:

  • Cost-  The longer you wait to fill the role, the greater your chance you will lose the strong candidate and have to keep the recruiting process going.  As days to fill increase, so do your costs.  Also, you run the risk of needing to pay current employees overtime or hire a contract employee if the role remains unfilled for many months.  Making a decisive decision will cut your expenses up front.
  • Tone-  When a candidate has the interview process and hiring decision dragged out for months, even if the offer comes through and the candidate accepts, it plants that nagging seed of doubt about how other decisions in the company are made.  It leaves the candidate not feeling as valued or wanted as they join the organization.
  • Impact on Current Team-  When positions remain open for long periods of time, it puts stress on the existing team.  Often, they are not fully aware of the behind-the-scenes activity so they may begin thinking that the role will never be filled.  This may mean that they are doing more work and feeling over extended which if there is no end in sight, may impact their decision to stay.  By communicating the progress with the team and that a quick decision is the desired outcome, it gives them confidence they need to pitch in and work even harder while the interview process is going on.
The goal is to find the best candidate and make that offer.  Next time you see the unique candidate, don’t make them your mosaic mirror.   If you do, you just might be to late once you make up your mind.


Social Recruiting Strategies For Your Organization

Are you using social platforms to enhance your organization’s recruiting efforts?  It’s a practice that is quickly becoming not only more acceptable as an avenue to reach candidates but a “must have” tool in your recruiting arsenal.  Early adopters of social media platforms had to use a trial-and-error method to determine how to identify specific candidates, the best ways to grab their attention and how to take the initial connection and turn it into a hire.  Social recruiting is about how to engage social media users, potential candidates, in conversation.  These conversations begin to build a relationship with your organization and the brand, ultimately to lead to hires from a new candidate pool.

Today, there are many ways to build the skill of social recruiting.  Recruiters can still join the various platforms and attempt to reach candidates in that same trial-and-error method. However, more organizations are trying to find training for their recruiting teams that is more effective and efficient when it comes to building the employer brand into a social recruiting strategy.

Why social recruiting?

It’s about more than having a Twitter or FaceBook account.  It’s about:

  • using multiple sites to target a niche of candidates that you may not reach otherwise
  • pulling them into your world, not just pushing information out to the masses

I recommend an upcoming, online series of sessions hosted by Brazen U.  The Social Recruiting Bootcamp will take place November 7- 18.  BrazenU’s Social Recruiting Bootcamp will teach you how to use social media to ENGAGE with your target recruiting audience, create the content and message to CONNECT with top talent, and implement the strategy to make the right HIRE, fast.

This course offers the flexibility to either participate in live sessions or access the program materials at a time that fits your schedule — all at a fraction of the cost of typical in-person conferences. And, the course has been approved for 6.0 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

Register today!

Circle The Wagons- A HR Project For Us All

I need your help today.

I start this post by saying that Steve Boese has no idea I’m writing this.  If he did, he may try to dissuade me.  That said, I have far too much respect for him not to share this.  You see, my friend Steve is going through what many of us have experienced at some point in the last few years….a layoff.  And while not completely unexpected, he certainly didn’t think his company was going to lay off a group of leaders last Thursday.

To tell you the most important thing about Steve is to share that he has strong character and is the kind of guy that gets the job done. He received this devistating news just one day before HRevolution.  He could have decided not to come.  But he didn’t.  He held his head high and came to the event that he co-creates and spent time around the very group of people from our industry who “get” what he does. To quote the leaders in the HR Technology space:

“Steve, at the HR Technology Conference, we always cared about your “day job” because you are expert in running HR systems, especially from Oracle. Plus teaching others about it. Combine that with your social experience and media knowledge, and you’re one special guy.  We look forward to your being a panelist at this year’s event in Vegas, in addition to hosting an HRevolution session with Trish on our own program, after doing the full-tilt boogie HRevolution in our hotel on the Sunday afternoon before our opening reception.  In short, you are a Renaissance Man in my world.” Bill Kutik

“I’m confident that your next best opportunity will find you.” Naomi Bloom

Here’s what you need to know about Steve:

  • He has over 15 years experience implementing enterprise technologies for Human Resources, Recruiting, Finance and Distribution, including significant experience with Oracle E-business Suite Applications in numerous industries and locations. He’s served in a wide range of roles from team member, to team lead, to Project Manager.
  • Steve is an award winning Human Resources blogger, speaker, and host of the weekly HR Happy Hour radio show, a live call in show about HR, Talent Management, Recruiting and technology now entering its third full year.
  • Steve worked as a Applications Consultant for Oracle Corporation and has also owned a consulting company.
  • He is an Adjunct Instructor at RIT, teaching a Graduate course in Human Resources Technology.
  • Steve spends his free time as co-founder of the HRevolution event.  This is a progressive learning event for HR and business professionals that focuses on discussions around HR issues, technology, and media.  HRevolution is in it’s third year and Steve is one of the organizers of the event each year.

What We Can DO to help:

Each person who reads this blog has business contacts.  I ask you to think today of at least one person you can put Steve in contact with, one person you can pass his information to, one suggestion you can make to help Steve in his search.  One of the most important reasons to build our network is that when we’re in need, our community can circle the wagons.   Let’s do our part to help Steve today. His contact information is below.

Email –

LinkedIn –

Phone (585) 317-7492

Twitter – @SteveBoese


Referrals- The Blind Dating of Recruiting

Blind dates.

We’ve all had them, right?  You know, when you’re in a slump in between relationships and you just can’t seem to meet the “right” person.  Suddenly, your mom, sister, or friend knows of someone who “would be perfect for you”.  You mind begins racing with images of the worst possible people to be paired up with.  Are they smart, funny, or friendly?  Are they desperate?  Are you?  You agree and proceed to spend the 6- 8 most miserable hours of your life staring at someone who picks their teeth or has strong views on everything from politics to breakfast cereal.

Then, there are the blind dates that really work out.  When you have a matchmaker that really knows both people and realizes there are many commonalities.  This matchmaker takes into account that in addition to the commonalities, there are also some interesting differences that may lead to a great relationship.  Maybe they know that you have always wanted to spend more time outdoors hiking, rock climbing, and skiiing.  They match you with someone who already loves those hobbies.  Perfect.  The matchmaker also is willing to tell you why they think you’re a match.  They give details.  They give you the dirt.

Well, hiring should be like that.  I have read enough articles in my day in Cosmo and Men’s Health to know a little bit about what you need to make the best possible relationship match.  Here we go:

  • Tell it like it is–  Now is your chance to set the expectations and say exactly what you are looking for in a person for the role.  Most job descriptions only give you the skills or experience needed in corporate speak.  Get real and get results.  Use job descriptions that say exactly what you want like Daxko does.
  • TRUST the matchmaker–  A referral is only as good as the person making the recommendation.  If the employee making the referral is a poor performer, shady, or all-around sneaky employee, I wouldn’t put credibility in their assessment.  Make sure you’re asking those strong contributors who you should be talking to.
  • Decode the situation–  Here’s where you need to get the dirt.  Ask specific questions to ensure the potential candidate not only has the skills, but the ability to thrive in the environment.  Dig for as much info as you can.
  • Be ready to bail–  Have your exit strategy from the start.  Maybe you get through questioning the referrer and realize that this will not be a match to the position you are filling.  Have a strategy that makes the referrer feel valued but that clearly says this is not the person for the job.  Don’t just talk skills, talk culture.

So, what did I miss?  What blind date takeaways do you have for handling referred candidates?