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.
Steve Porter, who is an Outreach Consultant with JobsInRI, has been working closely with the Workforce Development Specialist, Amy Driscoll, at the RI Hospitality Association (RIHA) to help connect employers and job seekers in that industry. Amy’s role is part of the RI Hospitality Education Foundation. Together, they’ve developed and delivered presentations at netWORKri offices across the state to job seekers focused on Transferring Skills to new careers.
The reports I’m getting back have been eye opening, and provide tremendous insight into the struggles of both job seekers and employers. As you may already be aware, RI is now tied for the highest unemployment rate in the US. The presentation has been very helpful in showing candidates how to do their own skills inventory, and identify the soft skills they have that can transfer into new jobs. The target is really the recently unemployed, and those who have been out of the market for so long, they’re out of the loop in the new job hunting world.
Great work and congratulations goes to the folks at the RI Hospitality Education Foundation (RIHEF) who have spearheaded this charge, and are out there making a difference!
In addition, the RIHEF lead a seminar to analyze how to find and train soft skills for the next generation workforce- high school students and teens. The idea here is to help develop the real world skills that are necessary to fill positions in the hospitality industry. (I have to say, focusing on this younger group is both forward thinking and creatively strategic. If more business leaders, association leaders, and community organizations were similarly focused, we could see a significant rise in apprenticeship style education, which I’m all for)
Any way, here are some bullets of the issues facing this one industry in this one state, as reported by the JobsInRI Outreach Consultant:
– Many of the RIHA member restaurants and hotels have openings, but can’t find good people.
– In the business of hospitality, budgets will be cut and expenses reduced, but layoffs are usually the last option.
– The RIHA doesn’t feel the recession has affected the RI industry too deeply. Business at most restaurants and hotels are still down slightly, though.
– The Newport business climate has not been hit badly at all, which is where the center of the tourism universe resides in RI.
– The universal belief is that next year’s tourist season will be excellent. Optimism is high.
– The RIHA specialist maintains a folder of job openings from hotels and restaurants that she is personally trying to fill. Following the seminars, she speaks one-on-one with candidates searching for the right kind of people.
– Many are frustrated with employment advertising options. The paper is expensive and online job boards result in too many desperate, inexperienced candidates.
– In addition, while resume databases are exceptional for finding employees with specific hard skills (certifications, degrees, years of experience) they fail profoundly in finding candidates with strong soft skills (team player, customer service, friendliness, communication, etc.).
– They are desperate for candidates with exceptional soft skills which is what fuels their industry.
Great work Steve, thanks for those insights!
Well, that’s how it looks from the recruiting front lines at the intersection of Rhode Island and Hospitality!
The properties of JobsInTheUS have launched a focused initiative to reinforce strong and lasting connections with the local communities they serve in AL, LA, MA, ME, MS, NH, VT, & RI. Unlike most internet resources, these companies are participatory in local business and trade associations, HR Associations, career centers at colleges, universities, trades schools, and government centers. In addition to this interaction with the business community, the JobsInTheUS.com websites now also provide in-person events to connect great in-state employers with the best local talent. Check out this series of posts with briefs on the recent career fairs hosted by JobsInAL, JobsInNH, JobsInME, and JobsInRI!
On Thursday, September 18, JobsInRI.com, in partnership with the Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, hosted a successful career fair at the Twin River Gaming Facility in Lincoln. Merchant Card Services, Express Personnel, and AAA of Southern New England sponsored the event, which was heavily advertised on multiple radios station, on area campuses, through local business and trade associations, and by email invitations to job seekers. Unlike other recent events, the more than 600 job seekers who attended were able meet with dozens of employers looking for great employees to fill jobs in Rhode Island. Companies as big as Rite Aid, Raytheon, and Amica exhibited alongside great local businesses such as the Groden Network, Picerne Real Estate Group, and Cranston ARC.
This broad range of high-quality, in-state employers illustrated a brighter side of the Rhode Island economy. In fact, the 32 companies on hand represented hundreds of current openings in the state, and the 2008 JobsInRI Career Fair helped them connect with great local candidates. “We were very excited about the level of the candidates that came through today. In fact, 24 out of the 25 exhibitors that answered our feedback surveys stated that they found potential candidates during the career fair,” said Jason Blais, Field Operations Manager for JobsInTheUS.com and JobsInRI.com. Obviously, the employers were impressed as well. According to Michael Coates, of Clean Water Action, “The turnout at this fair was very impressive. Your organization obviously took a lot of care in advertising this event.”
This Career Fair reinforced JobsInRI.com’s status as the #1 local employment resource in Rhode Island. Currently, there are more in-state, Rhode Island career opportunities posted with JobsInRI.com than anywhere else. In addition to providing the leading resource to find jobs, JobsInRI.com also provides the best value to employers. In September alone, the website, www.JobsInRI.com, received more than 1,000,000 page views.
WERE YOU ABLE TO ATTEND THIS EVENT? DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS EVENT OR CAREER FAIRS IN GENERAL? PLEASE SHARE YOUR COMMENTS WITH US!
On March 5th, the Community College of RI hosted a career fair for their students. I attended to speak with students about career opportunities in the state, and promote our website. The event was well run and organized, held in the cafeteria during mid-day. This allowed for good traffic, maybe 125 to 175 students came through, along with a small number of non-student job seekers. CCRI did a good job of preparing their students, and promoting the event, so the job fair was fairly beneficial to the companies involved.
Unfortunately, several employers came for the sole purpose of finding soon to be nursing grads, and none were seen at the fair. There was a rumor that the nursing students were testing that day. However, a number of CNA students were available to speak with. The community college fairs are always interesting for me because of the diverse body of students you meet.
My favorite story of the day: I met a lady in her late 30′s or early 40′s who recently graduated and was looking for work. She had gone back to school to get an Associates in Computer Science, and was now embarking on her new future. In my experience, people who complete their schooling later in life tend to be much more enthusiastic and focused on applying their education to their career. This woman was very excited to seek out internships, as she could afford to work for little or no pay for a little while. In speaking with her, I urged her to stay focused on internship opportunities.
Students offer undervalue the resource that an internship provides. For many, it’s a way to get a foot in the door and then have access to a wide variety of projects and work duties. In many companies, everyone wants some help from “the intern” so that student ends up with more multi-departmental and cross-functional experience than the full time employees! What a great start to a career, and a great way to explore what direction is best.
Well, that’s all for now. See you soon on the recruiting front lines!!!!
Thanks for taking a look at the first post from the front lines of the recruiting market. This week, I visited the University of Maine, Orono campus to exhibit and promote our state-specific employment resource to juniors and seniors seeking higher education in this school, probably best known for it’s engineering program and division I hockey team. I also traveled to Warwick, RI to exhibit and network to support our RI-based job board at the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns 8th Annual Convention. When our field reps attend events, we always have two missions- promote the job board to job seekers to build brand awareness and site traffic; and build relationships with local employers who may have a need to advertise local jobs. [As a quick disclaimer, I'd like to note that the consultants, trainers, and professionals that work in our field operations, including myself, are not sales reps, and are never responsible for closing sales.] Our primary role includes a little of each of the following: Public Relations, Relationship Building, Education and Training, Marketing, and Promotion.
RI LEAGUE OF CITIES AND TOWNS 8TH ANNUAL CONVENTION The 8th Annual Convention for the RILCT is an event devoted to providing programming updates, and resources to the municipalities in Rhode Island. They also allow companies to pay to exhibit at this event, which was held this year at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. About 80 companies paid for the privilege of promoting their goods and services to municipal employees who attended workshops throughout the day. The attendees included town planners and engineers, city clerks, tax assessors, strategic planners and other city government titles, while the exhibitors ranged in services from health insurance providers to financing institutions, from traffic congestions solutions to engineering firms, and from storage centers to environmental systems…. oh, and of course there was one company there promoting cost effective recruiting resources Sorry, but I just can’t pass up a shameless plug.
I attended this event with one of our outreach consultants, and we spoke with dozens of municipal employees from various cities and towns across the state, and spent a great deal of time also talking with other businesses vying for budget dollars of those municipalities. Overall, there was a great deal of interest about the recruiting industry in RI, and people seemed very interested in the price savings available through our service. Now, that may sound like an obvious statement, but truly it’s a little surprising, and perhaps indicative of the reaction to recent stories about local economic slow downs, and the national dialogue of the dreaded R word. The reason I say it’s surprising is that price hasn’t been the hot button issue in recruiting in RI over the past few years. Most organizations, including the public sector, were very happy to pay the rising costs for employment advertising, to stay with what has long been the cornerstone of job posting- print media. While most of the country has made the turn to the internet, and realized the increased flexibility, reach, and cost savings, RI-based employers have held tight to the state’s pre-eminent newspaper. Price was not the most important issue; for many it was simply the maintenance of the status quo which drove the recruitment advertising decision-making, particularly in those businesses that have long bureaucratic lineages.
SO, this development of price, value, and return on investment as a key analytical metric in the Ocean State is a new story. Here are some quick bullets on some of the other recurring issues we heard from the front lines of the recruiting market in RI:
Budgets are expected to be very tight this year
Not much job growth is expected, though most understood that turnover would continue to be a reality. This year’s question will be how do they stay fully staffed and find good, qualified candidates, while operating with a lower budget for recruiting
A significant number of mature workers are facing the prospect of a transitional work period. Those close to retirement age feel that the budget cuts may include them, so are facing he prospect of finding a new job for a few years to bridge the gap to social security, and even fill in the household budget holes left by insufficient retirement savings.
Employers are very concerned about the Brain Drain. Keeping the young professionals in the state is a concern of every region of the country, but in RI, with the borders so close, and the chatter of the economic outlook being bleak, people are very conscious of this issue.
Engineering continues to be a very competitive field, and while recent college grads can be found, many firms are continuing to have difficulty finding those 3-5 year experience candidates.
UNIVERSITY OF MAINE CAREER FAIR The University of Maine is the largest post-secondary school in the state, and offers a wide variety of programs, with their engineering school being one of the most respected. On January 30th, they hosted more than 160 employers to the career event to meet their students. Indeed, there were engineering firms from as far away as Texas exhibiting to attract these fresh faced soon to be graduates to their companies. Our business is currently recruiting for Software developers, Database administrators, and sales, so we were collecting resumes and meeting students as well. I have attended career fairs at nearly all the colleges and universities in ME, NH, VT, and RI, over the past 4 years, private and public, so it’s always fun to compare the preparedness and quality of students at these events to the rest.
I have to say, in all honesty, that the overwhelming majority of students that we saw and spoke with were well dressed, prepared to ask and answer questions, armed with updated resumes, and actively looking to impress. For those of you reading this blog, I’m sure you’ll find it to be no surprise that despite graduating in just a few months, many many students still are not sure what they want to do. The engineering program at UMaine is strong, and the students graduating from that program were very focused on their potential jobs, while many other majors, such as New Media Studies, English, Business Administration, to name a few, were only vaguely aware of what real-world opportunities would satisfy their dreams and desires.
(I always have to laugh when I meet with students, and ask them what kind of work they are looking for, and they look me square in the eyes with their power-business-woman-makeup or their almost-a-beard-facial-hair covering their young and naive faces, and say simply, “management”. I normally respond to this question by asking, what type of management are they interested in, to which I usually get a blank look followed by “well, any kind of management really.” Please know that I say this with the greatest humility and humor, as almost all of us were in their shoes at some time)
In speaking with some of the other exhibitors close to us, we heard a great deal of optimism at the front lines of the recruiting market. Local businesses felt that these graduates were very strong candidates, and that the business climate in ME would be mildly insulated from any potential R word, as we have such a unique economic profile and entrepreneurial spirit. Most organizations had a great deal of respect for the education that UMaine provided, and felt that while students will always lack real-world skills, the career services and department heads have done a great job of readying the student body for the labor market.
Students, on the other hand, always seem filled with an almost manic bipolarism of unbridled confidence and optimism, combined with an underlying concern of the lack of time that they have to find the right job, and the fear of making the wrong career decision. We spent a great deal talking with students in the business administration program who were interested in our business, a Maine based business which has had tremendous growth over 8 years. Many of the students were keenly interested in becoming a manager, but were not sure about the process to get from college grad to mid-level manager to senior manager. I really enjoy providing resume tips, career exploration advice, and ideas for resources that can help students find out what kind of work will really make them happy.
IF anyone knows of good resources to help kids assess their options, I’d love to hear them. Thanks!