I was told once that the way to determine whether the glass if half full or half empty is to know whether your filling the glass or emptying it. If it started out empty, it’s easy to see the glass as half full; if it started out full, you’re likely to feel that it has become half-empty. Following that logic, I suggest that the glass of our economy is half full.
“What I can tell you is that we are seeing signs of improvement. Layoffs, although we are still having them, seem to be leveling off a bit compared to a number of months ago. Of course, that doesn’t help those still out of work.”
Those were the words of Fran Allain at the beginning of September. Allain is the employee retention project manager for the State Department of Resources and Economic Development, one of the officials on the front line of the labor market here in New Hampshire.
Allain continued: “Simultaneously, we see more hiring. Not in great numbers, but there appears to be some positive movement. I wouldn’t expect massive hiring too soon. It’s going to be a conservative, long-term correction to the workforce.”
While not a very positive outlook for job-seekers across the state, it is a very good environment for employers. In fact, forward-looking employers have a rare opportunity to significantly enhance the quality of their workforce. Those companies slowly adding new staff will have the pick of the litter when making hiring decisions. Now more than ever, they can position themselves to attract high-quality talent that had not been available prior to the recession.
Of course, to be successful, employers will need to pay close attention to the recruitment process.
Reprinted from an article in the RecruitingReview and an earlier post in RFL… (but it’s much prettier now!)
Beyond Cost Per Hire
By Jason Blais, JobsInNH.com
Cost Per Hire
It’s no surprise that a recent JobsInNH.com poll showed Cost Per Hire as the most commonly analyzed recruiting metric. It’s easy to count the number of applicants and hires per advertising source. It’s also a relatively easy process to calculate how many advertising dollars were spent to fill a position.
But these are second-level metrics, focused on the actual process itself. And they can often be short-sighted.
A better recruiting analysis question is: how valuable are the hires to the business? To answer this, you have to look at how long it takes for each hire to become productive and how long they stay with your company. Employee retention affects quality of the work being done by your company and your turnover costs.
Let’s assume that an entry level position at your company earns $25,000 in wages, and has an average annual turnover of 30%. While the costs related to turnover vary greatly, a conservative estimate is approximately 1.5 times the employee’s salary. Therefore, each time you have to fill that entry level job, it costs the company $37,500.
If you can reduce your turnover to 15% annually by attracting better candidates, then the potential value of your recruitment advertising is significant. In a department of 10 (of these entry level positions), you’re reducing your average annual turnover costs from $112,500 to $56,250.
Improving Your Bottom Line
Defining the success of recruitment advertising is an important first step to developing more effective strategies for talent acquisition. Ensuring that you’re attracting the best person for your company for all of your job openings is absolutely critical to your long term success, particularly when employers are forced to do more with less.
In 2009, I fear that more employers will be too focused on bottom line or second level metrics, such as Cost Per Hire. Through this strategy, businesses will end up sacrificing future growth opportunities as they focus on costs only. The most successful companies, however, will refuse to compromise their long term goals for short term gains, and will continue to analyze and invest in their recruitment advertising, adhering to the principles that great businesses are built by great people.
With employers across the United States tightening their belts, more and more HR and Recruiting professionals are focused on the value of their talent acquisition practices. Recently, the largest job boards in New England posted a micropoll for employers, asking them which recruiting metrics they were analyzing…
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that Cost Per Hire is the most commonly analyzed recruiting metric. What we see from this graph, in my opinion, is that most people are looking at the metrics which are most easily measured. It’s very easy to count the number of applicants and hires you get per advertising source. It’s also a relatively easy process to calculate how many advertising dollars were spent to fill a position.
Unfortunately, those are second level metrics, focused on the actual process itself, which don’t actually reflect the value of your recruitment advertising. First level metrics, which measure the results of the processes, provide a much more accurate analysis. As is the case in many situations, the more valuable information is generally the harder to capture. When the success or failure of recruitment advertising is boiled down to a dollar amount or a number of hires, you are left with a very short-sighted analysis.
A truer indicator of the value of recruitment advertising is how valuable the hires are to the business, given their prospective roles. To understand this value, you have to look at how long it takes for this person to become productive, and how long they stay with your company. Employee retention affects quality of the work being done by your company and your turnover costs.
For example, let’s assume that an entry level position at your company earns $25,000 in wages, and has an average annual turnover of 30%. While the costs related to turnover vary greatly, a conservative estimate is approximately 1.5 times the employees salary. Therefore, each time you have to fill that entry level job, it costs the company $37,500, when all is said and done. If you can reduce your turnover to 15% annually by attracting better candidates, then the potential value of your recruitment advertising is significant. In a department of ten of these entry level positions, you’re reducing your average annual turnover costs from $112,500 to $56,250.
I include this example as an illustration of the importance of recruitment advertising to your bottom line. Defining the success of recruitment advertising is an important first step to developing more effective strategies for talent acquisition. Ensuring that you’re attracting the best person for your company for all your job openings is absolutely critical to your long term success, particularly when employers are forced to do more with less.
In 2009, I fear that more employers will be too focused on bottom line or second level metrics. Through this strategy, businesses will end up sacrificing future growth opportunities as they focus on costs only. The most successful companies, however, will refuse to compromise their long term goals for short term gains, and will continue to analyze and invest in their recruitment advertising, adhering to the principles that great businesses are built by great people.
Recruiting may seem like a low priority for businesses today facing hiring freezes, or worse. But a recession requires a different way of thinking. Employers who take advantage of this market will come out stronger and more diverse when the economy finally turns around. In an environment where companies are forced to do more with less, it is critical that employers leverage the skills and talents of their existing workforce, and make sound hiring decisions based on this new climate.
Economic Turns When JobsInNH.com entered the market six years ago as a small start-up selling employment advertising, the unemployment rate was at its highest since 1994, coming in at 4.7%. Total employment was just over 680,000 statewide. In the years that followed, a strong economy prevailed with job growth expanding both nationally and state-wide.
What drove job growth across New Hampshire? Strong business development initiatives, coupled with a growing national economy. As a result, unemployment declined, bottoming out at 3.3% during the 4th quarter of 2007, the lowest quarterly rate since early 2001. This blossomed into an attractive environment for professionals willing to relocate, and April 2008 saw total employment reach its highest level ever, with 717,625 persons on NH payrolls.
In the second half of 2008, everything changed. While final numbers had not been released at the time of this printing, forecasts suggested that total employment in November would end at approximately 713,000 persons. It’s no surprise that the instability of the economy will continue to have dramatic affects on the labor market for the next several months as businesses tighten their belts.
Adaptive Staffing In the months to come, employee productivity and personnel decisions will weigh heavily on bottom lines. Through better recruiting and staffing techniques, businesses can significantly reduce turnover costs, resulting in increased quality of work, productivity, and, ultimately, profitability.
Staffing Expertise JobsInNH assists local businesses in leveraging their workforce and identifying internal solutions to seize these opportunities, by offering educational webinars and seminars through JobsInNH University. For the past four years, JobsInNH has presented internet recruiting and employment advertising workshops across the state. Accredited by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), these programs help businesses to better understand the recruiting market, providing timely content and pragmatic approaches to identify, attract, and retain the best employees.
In 2009, employers will have access to several new accredited programs developed and presented exclusively by JobsInNH University. From understanding social media’s impact on the workforce, to developing strategies to optimize staffing during a recession, employers can choose from an array of educational content.
One session, Employment Branding 20/20, was recently presented to the Seacoast Human Resource Association. This program provided HR professionals with techniques to decrease recruiting costs while increasing employee retention by creating best in class employment branding. All of the programs presented by JobsInNH University will give employers the specific tools and guidance they need to achieve results using their own in-house resources.
Employers can find more detailed information about these programs, and register for upcoming sessions at www.jobsinnh.com.
THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN FOR AND ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN THE DECEMBER 19, 2008 ISSUE OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW. THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY JASON BLAIS, THOUGH THE NHBR ARTICLE PUBLISHED A TYPO IN THE BYLINE.
Another busy day on the recruiting front lines! My first stop this morning was to an event facility in New Hampshire, to meet with a potential partner and explore the capacity of the venue. As it looks now, we’ll have 70 NH employers exhibiting their employment brand to potentially 1,000 job seekers looking for work in the state. While the new partnership isn’t formalized in writing yet, it does look good, and should position this job fair to be the recruiting event of the year.
For our career fair, we’re asking job seekers to pre-register. This makes them eligible for door prizes, and provides us with great information about the demography of people attending the event. While it’s still more than 4 weeks away, we already have more than 100 job seekers pre-registered, and the profile is unique in the job fair world. The majority of the registrants so far, about 2/3, are currently employed, with just over half having 4 year degree or further education, and the average age of registrants right now is approximately 40 years old.
When I proposed this event a while back, I felt that the job fair market in this area really underserved this population- experienced passive job seekers. Many job fairs catered to the fully unemployed, and most in NH are focused on college students, as its the colleges who are hosting them. Through our data collection, we knew the make up of job seekers passively looking tended to be very different than that of the people we see at the career events we have exhibited at. So, thus far, the diversity of the job seekers we’re attracting to our job fair in March looks to be dynamic and unique. I’m very glad to see things filling in nicely. Another thing that we do differently is sending up job fair tips to both the exhibitors and job seekers. We’ve seen that dispersing a few key tips to both groups really does help to better prepare both sides. Should be fun… (If you’re an experienced job fair exhibitor, do you agree with this assessment of the demography of job fairs? I’d appreciate your input by clicking here.)
Any way, that was just the start of the day…
The bulk of my day was spent at the NHCUC job fair in Manchester NH. I have attended this event for 4 years now, and find it to be a great resource for us to not only promote our service to job seekers and students, but also to engage and provide resume and interview tips to them. I was very impressed by the number of students who were prepared with updated resumes and confidence in their approach. Many however, were still very unsure exactly what type of work they wanted. I often suggest to them to post a resume online, and see who finds them, and I provide advice to the extent that I can. I can’t help but leave any college student focused job fair feeling that all college seniors should be required to take a full semester course in career exploration/development in order to graduate. But I guess that’s just my opinion, and I have to acknowledge that a course such as that would still only be as valuable as the effort put in by both the professors and the students. If they don’t want to consider what job to get, they won’t.
Students were from many area schools including Franklin Pierce, Plymouth State, Colby-Sawyer, Rivier College, Saint Anselm, Southern NH University and more. At this point, I do want to give praise to all the career development professionals and other college staff that helped to promote this event and prepare their students to find job opportunities. The vast majority had professional attire, copies of their resumes, and exhibited a strong approach with eye contact, handshakes, and introductions. While these may seem like obvious things to do at a job fair, I am sure that many recruiters will agree that it’s not always the norm.
I fielded many questions about how to find work with an art degree, how to find internships, and how to get a career in marketing. I tried to review resumes, make suggestions regarding companies that I knew of personally, and provided tips on how to explore career options further. Most students were very engaged in the conversation, and seemed eager to really dig in to carving out their career path.
One job seeker story that stood out today: I met a young lady who had graduated college in 2005, and was recently laid off from a company that was closing it’s doors. She received a 2 week severance package, was suddenly finding herself unemployed. She had worked with a local sports organization for a couple years in customer service, and was hoping to find another admin asst job or customer service job in the Manchester Area. Her question to me was this: When an employer writes NO PHONE INQUIRIES on their job postings, and does not provide a direct email address, how do I follow up when I haven’t heard back about a resume I submitted.
Ouch. I didn’t have a good answer to this one. This young lady had submitted her resume, which was well done, and seemed to have the transferable skills necessary for clerical work, for 80 job openings in the last month, and had only had a couple call backs, with only ONE interview scheduled. I spoke with her at length about this issue, and shared her frustration. It seems as though ATS systems and other HRIS services have really taken the humans out of human resources. If you are hiring people to work for you, but give them no way to follow up with you after they’ve submitted your resume, what is left for them to do. I know that there are times when it is difficult for me to reply to every resume I get, but at least on our website, we have a telephone number and generic email address that will get to me if someone is assertively trying to follow up to interview with our company. Here’s a quick poll question, and I’m open to feedback (you can share your thoughts by clicking on the Comments link and adding your ideas): If a company accepts resumes online, should they have any obligation to either reply to all applicants, or at least to provide some contact info, so that applicants can follow up?
One Recruiter story that stood out today: I spoke with a recruiter from a health care facility, who I see at many events in the area. I asked about attendance at other events this year, and how this event was panning out. Her reply was that attending career events has almost become simply an obligation and routine, rather than an active recruitment activity. Most of the events don’t yield too many qualified candidates, but the fear of missing one, and the added benefit of exposure for the company, keeps people coming back. This recruiter also said that she felt that so many people are going online today, that fewer and fewer realize the value of these in-person events. Interesting… Anyway, it reminded me about our job fair coming up, and I am more resolved than ever to not only provide valuable tips for registered job seekers, but to also reinforce and underscore the impact of meeting with a recruiter face to face, and making a personal connection.
Well, that’s the news from the recruiting front lines, this time in Manchester, New Hampshire. I’ll be posting again soon with issues an updates from the recruiting front lines in Alabama and Louisiana.