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Archive for the ‘Art of Recruiting’ Category

Sometime back I remember seeing an email from Monster about BeKnown. I hadn’t tried it until today when I happened to get another email about it.

What is this? This is an application for Facebook to make it appear/work similar to Linkedin. So you can use facebook to create your professional profile and recruiters could use it to search profiles. It takes a few clicks to install BeKnown on to your facebook account. It claims to keep this professional network separate from your friend network. But the rate at which these networks grow, many times I forget their association among my 400 odd connections and am a light facebook user anyway so doesn’t matter to me.

The oppty: I think if facebook users adopt this application (not sure what’s their incentive since many likely ones to adopt may already use Linkedin), it becomes a way to reach a larger pool of users who are not on linkedin (roughly 700 MM Facebook users vs. 200MM on Linkedin).

My experience: I tried it today and haven’t yet filled out my profile fully but seemed easy to do. However my curiosity was to see if this helps Pragna’s recruiting projects. There I have to say, was little disappointed with the search results and the completeness of the profiles. I tried a few searches for technical, manufacturing roles and couldn’t find anyone really.

I am sure recruiters would love the prospect of tapping Facebook. BeKnown is a first such oppty (Branchout was one such app  before), but then they have to wait till the network throws up something meaningful :-).

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Well – No “Wave”, no “Buzz” but “Plus” seems to be way to go!!

After two failed attempts, Google has a promising product – something I can use. What’s the selling point for me? I couldn’t figure out how to use Facebook categories to slice-n-dice my friends list. Google+ definitely did the trick very nicely. Especially can think of Friends, Co-workers, and Other Friends as being a necessity for me to share more freely. Then was thinking its pretty secure until I found out about how to use it for recruiting!!

Google+ for Recruiting is simple:

Goto http://findpeopleonplus.com

Put the filters to search by occupation (Software Developers, Architects, Software Designers et. al). Supposedly 20% of everyone on Plus currently are Techies. For example, http://findpeopleonplus.com/Country-United-States/Occupation-Computer-Scientist is one such URL

Search the profiles, use keywords if necessary (fewer keywords) to narrow down the profiles

Best of all, it allows you to email them pretty easily from the Profile pages. Neat!!

Heck with security and privacy, it seems to help Pragna and its customers definitely :-).

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Continuing on our saga to hire good candidates – here is what we are looking for. I believe this applies both for our internal hiring at both Pragna and SmartCloud companies as well as the hiring projects we undertake for our clients. Essentially there is a lot of difference between high potential hires/candidates and just another hire/candidate. Though its not always possible to hire the “high potential” ones, one can atleast try to evaluate if we have found one! There sure is a very short supply of the high potential hires which is probably the only reason why Pragna even exists.

Lets see what defines a high potential candidate (Hire)

1. Ambition – I would rate this higher than the others just from the fact that we are talking about a “high potential” hire and not just another hire. Ambition drives people to scale heights beyond their means and wild dreams. Makes the impossible possible. This is #1 for high potential hires. So, sometimes I get excited when I meet people with ambitions and sometimes have been guilty of overlooking other things :-(.

2. Ability – One could argue this should be #1 (maybe true for regular hires). This is to validate some of the  qualities/capabilities that one needs in oneself to achieve the ambitions. Some of these can be tested easily in the interview process and some probably is a gut call or a marginal call based on prior work history.

3. Agility – This is extremely important for high potential hires, that one demonstrates flexibility (especially in startup environments) and also tendency to take a step back to review/analyze, identify root causes and always to keep an open mind to change, feedback, business strategy, criticism etc. and should have openness to share thoughts and learn.

4. Achievement – If the hires/candidates have certain amount of experience, then the above must have resulted in some achievements in their careers. I would think identifying their achievements with special emphasis on the above areas would give proof points about their potential. I don’t think its right to measure this in terms of $ revenue achieved or the valuation of the company (which I have myself been guilty of in the past), but more in terms of overcoming the adversities and challenges to achieve meaningful outcomes.

Well that’s it, The four A’s to find the high potential candidates; gives me little bit more structure to the interviews I need to do at Pragna and SmartCloud.

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What’s the worth of a resume anyway? The answer depends on whether its “A” resume or “The” resume.

Let me explain – Majority of recruiters tend to send back as many resumes as they can find which kind of matches the text of the job description. Well – that’s what is called “A” resume. And I think it would be worth about $1. Adding up all the cost of access to job boards (probably 30 cents per resume) and labor costs of sending it along, it won’t be more than $1 especially with many shops worldwide competing to find and dump these.

“The” Resume on the other hand is easily worth $10,000.  Taking an average of recruiter fees (if any) or internal recruiting costs, it worth that much if not more. Big difference ha?

Now the art of finding “The” resume is what makes the recruiters and recruiting projects succeed. The true skill and value of a recruiter is to increase the value from $1 to $10,000 or more through careful understanding of job, domain, candidate skills, motivation and interest, presenting the candidate profile and managing the selection process. Its time to ask the question when you engage a company whether they are in the business of finding “A” resume or “The” resume.

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Joining NPA

Well just 3 months ago, I had not heard of NPA. But the concept itself wasn’t new to us. We at Pragna were looking at ways to grow our business and we stumbled upon the idea of partnering with other staffing/recruiting firms to share requirements and leverage our trained team to help make placements. I found good level of interest among the folks I talked to and within weeks we were working with 3 firms on a split fee basis.

Then one fine day in Oct 2010, I bumped into a fellow owner of a recruiting startup. He said to me – what you are suggesting makes sense, but why not join NPA? You can reach out and partner with 100’s of firms instantly instead of one-by-one. Voila! this is no-brainer idea!

Here we are 3 months later. We are member of the network and very excited about the immense potential of this network. We are thrilled with the professionalism, attitude and responsiveness we have seen throughout the application process and interacting with member companies.

This is just a great way to increase the overall reach for our FTE positions and work with opportunities worldwide! I feel confident that we can provide better support to our customers using NPA network.

In a short time, NPA  has become one of the key focus areas for the company!

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We have examined candidate sourcing techniques in the past in this blog. But the real effectiveness of the recruiting activity depends on the process one uses, little tips and tricks to identify good candidates and the diligence one shows in the activity.

At Pragna, we have been training our team on all these aspects – the process, tips & tricks and the being diligent. Below is a list of best practices from our training guide:

Call it 7 keys to effective candidate sourcing :-).

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Many organizations identify “Passion” as a very critical component in the candidate hiring process. No doubt I have had personal experiences of my own performance as well as others that I have seen vary based on their passion and the inherent drive towards a given task.

This becomes even more critical in leadership roles where one has to constantly define and pursue a mission. Last week I heard Dr. Vivek Mansingh (currently R&D head of Dell in India) speak at the Leadership summit on a topic – Leadership begins where Logic ends. He says that majority of our brain area is the emotional part and very small portion is actually the logical part (for which I could find some scientific evidence online). Regarding the assertion that Einstein used only 4% of the brain, how much do we use? I couldn’t locate any real evidence and most articles I read on this topic seem to suggest that the 4% number is more a myth. However one thing was clear from his experience as well as mine that normally individuals use a small portion of the brain and the rest requires some emotional thrust to put to use.

So what happens with finding individuals who have passion for a certain task or job is that it triggers their emotional part of the brain and channels all the energies to the specific task or goal. That’s how seemingly  normal people start achieving great things that once seem impossible. It’s the constant  drive, hunger, energy, commitment that “Passion” brings in to achieve greater results.

That provides some logic around the need to identify “Passion” for the mission/task/project however hazily one can gauge become as critical as the skill evaluation in the hiring process for key people in a company.

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