Monday, December 08, 2008

A free tool to host docs for your leads and candidates

A tool to help Recruiters share info with leads and candidates

For the past year or so, I've been playing around with a document hosting/sharing service called Basically, allows you to upload docs - pdf, word, excel, powerpoint - to their server, and then share those docs with people via the web.

Why would you want to do this?
  • First, some docs are too large to email. You may have some high resolution docs that your marketing team created, or a full color recruiting brochure, or a non-proprietary powerpoint that your execs created for a conference...all things that you want to share with leads and candidates, but all large. Too large to email. With, you can simply email them a link to these downloadable files instead.
  • Second, if you're like many corporate recruiting departments, you may struggle to keep the latest versions of your application forms, background check release forms, driving directions to your office (for interviews), etc all in one place. With a service like this, you can keep only the most recent, approved versions of the docs stored online (and even password protect them if you don't want just anyone to find them).
  • Third, with's integration into Linkedin, you can now allow leads and candidates who find your profile (a lot of active candidates are leveraging Linkedin these days to find recruiters at their target companies) to directly access similar files. So active and passive candidates now get direct access to your marketing materials. Just one more way to expose your recruiting messages without lifting a finger.
  • Fourth, if you're a candidate, would allow you to upload your resume, portfolio of work samples, letters of recommendation, and more to your own linkedin page, for recruiters or hiring managers to access. is free for a basic account, which allows you to host 1GB of docs. Details at

Want to see how it works? Login to your Linkedin account, then find me - John Vlastelica - to check out my profile and access a few documents I uploaded yesterday.

Note: I take no kickbacks or commissions from or any vendors. When I recommend a service, it's because I like it, not because I'm incented to market it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recruiting in a Downturn

Top 8 Tips for Recruiting in a Downturn
When economic times get rough, we – as recruiters and HR managers – must adjust our approach. Layoffs, budget cuts, and nervous candidates change our landscape and require us
to operate differently if we’re to survive and thrive. So what do the best corporate recruiters do when the going gets tough?

Read the article I wrote for DICE here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A sarcastic reply to a sarcastic suggestion about careers sites

Sarcasm gone a little too far?

I was suggesting to one of my clients that - when we launch the new ATS-powered online careers site - they should create a more visible home page link to their careers site, as it's hidden now under a link to "411". Love this client, as they make me laugh - and share a common love of sarcasm in email!

Their response:
I was planning on putting it under 411 and then having a hot button “More 411” and then a hot button “411 Extras” and then a hot button “Want to Work at [Retailer]?” and then “Really Want to Work at [Retailer]?” and then “Apply Here”, but I guess a Jobs link on the home page would be ok.

My response:
What would be even cooler, is if people had to create an avatar (online pic of themselves), and dress them in only [retailer] brands, and then literally go on a treasure hunt to find jobs on the site. We hide the jobs all over the site – like in investor relations and privacy policy areas. They collect “hoops” for jumping through hoops, and when they reach 100 hoops, they get a special code SMS’d to their cell phone (Verizon only). With this code in hand, they go to a new website ( where – after entering their 16 digit, case sensitive code - they get to see the magical “apply now” button (Mac only, no PC users). We would get SOOO much press if we did that – wicked cool!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One month on Twitter

So my friend Carmen Hudson (we worked together at; she's now with Yahoo) told me I had to try twitter. I said my initial exposure to it was not good - random comments from people "waiting in line to get a latte" and 140 character ponderings about politics or fashion from people who clearly had too much time on their hands.

Well, admittedly, you do get some of that. But what I've found - after a month really using twitter - is that I like it. Here's a few reasons why...

  1. It's an easy way to stay connected to people you know. Lots-o-people I know are on it. I was surprised, frankly, at how many experienced, senior level folks I know use it. You probably know a lot of people on it, too.
  2. The messages are short, and often funny. It takes little time to write and read "tweets", and at least 1/3 amuse me, 1/3 educate me, and 1/3 are just little status updates (telling me where someone is, or what they're doing at work or home).
  3. Assuming the people you know have similar interests, you can benefit from community filtering of news or events. A recruiting leader I know writes a 5-10 word intro to an interesting article he read, and then links to it in his twitter update. I know he's "vetted" the article for me, as he's no dummy, and wouldn't pass it along if it wasn't interesting.
  4. You can share timely, important updates with your network. For example, a recruiter friend of mine just went through a 40 person layoff last week. I put a note out on twitter saying I had a contact there if anyone was interested in these folks, and immediately got 3 other recruiters interested. Another friend publishes his "hot job" of the week on there, instantly exposing it to 100s of people who follow him.
  5. You can connect your updates to feed into sites like facebook, so that you update your status in one place, not two or three.
  6. You learn things about people you thought you already knew. I've learned what I do - and don't - have in common with people I know. Politics, hobbies, favorite restaurants, travel destinations, vendors they like, conferences they like, news sources they read, etc.
I'm going to stick with it. Have you given it a go?

Monday, October 20, 2008

If you're in the Seattle area, connect on Linkedin

Hi - Just a quick note to let you know that I set up 2 different Linkedin Groups over the past month.

SMA Seattle's Seattle Recruiting Group:
Join this if you're an HR or recruiting professional interested in the Seattle marketplace. We're just about to 100 "members" now.

Corporate Recruiting Leadership Group/Seattle:
This group's membership is limited to corporate (no vendors/search) recruiting leaders (managers/directors/vp's only) in the Seattle area.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tweets, Blogs, and Widgets – Oh MY! Web 2.0 for Recruiters

Join me and about 125 other Seattle-area recruiters and recruiting/HR leaders for a great lunch and learn session on Web 2.0 on Nov 12. Details at Hope to see you there!

Our November program will welcome back Carmen Hudson to the Pacific Northwest! She’ll talk to us about Web 2.0 and describe emerging trends in web technology that aim to enhance creativity, information sharing and collaboration. This fun, interactive session will go beyond LinkedIn to explore the world of social media, “cloud recruiting”, blogs, widgets and avatars. What is Web 2.0 and why should recruiters plug in? Do sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Second Life yield real-world hires?

Carmen Hudson, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at Yahoo!, will share her experiences, wins and pitfalls of leveraging Web 2.0 to attract talent, as well as discuss exciting new tools on the horizon. Bring your questions and observations to prepare for this lively exchange!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Referral Bonuses - I saw something new today...

When I was a Corporate Recruiting Leader, we'd make changes to our employee referral bonus payouts to see where the law of diminishing returns kicked in (if we double it to $4,000, will we get twice the hires?). We also recognized that we wanted to set reward levels differently based on position, but it was a hassle to administer and track, so we generally set bonus levels for big groupings, like hourly and salaried.

This week I'm reviewing ATS's for a 350+ store retailer/client, and - today - I received a demo of HR Smart.

They offered something I've never seen, but often wanted.
  • In their system, you can set different employee referral bonuses based on the req. So your easy-to-fill marketing job may have a small or no referral bonus, while your tech job may have a $1,000 bonus and your tech manager job may have a $4,000 bonus.
  • The referral bonus amount for a job is shown to the employee at the time they review open jobs on your internal careers site. No need to refer to a separate ER policy/program page matrix to figure out what each job pays.
  • You can set it up so that the bonus pays out in phases - maybe $500 if their referral makes it to an interview, $500 if hired, and another $500 on their 30 day anniversary.
  • And, you can even set up referral bonuses for non-employees. So that anyone who reviews your careers site can see the $1,000 (or whatever) bonus you're offering for a job.
Granted, I got a 75 min demo, and didn't see how all of the back-end processing works (or doesn't work). But I love the fact that a systems company is looking for ways to help us maximize our #1 source of external hires.

p.s. Again, I get no commissions or kickbacks from this or any ATS vendor.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Well, spent a good part of the day getting a demo of Virtual Edge, a top rated ATS. Coming soon to a theater near you...they're going to be offering SMS text notifications from their ATS. Very cool.

I have a client that hires mostly 16-25 year olds into their retail sales positions. And I'll tell you, SMS/texting is going to be great for them. Email is sooooo 2006.

Imagine auto texting an acknowledgment of an application submitted online, notifying someone of a new job opening that fits their job-agent criteria, confirming interviews, or even sending referral solicitations directly to kids' (er, young people's) cell phones.

I don't know of other ATS vendors that offer this. But am glad to see it's coming. Soon.

p.s. I don't take any sales commissions or kickbacks from Virtual Edge or any ATS vendors.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Talent Acquisition Leadership Academy

I'm off to LA today to teach at the Strategic Talent Acquisition Roundtable's Leadership Academy. We'll be hosting recruiting managers and directors from across North America, from companies like Pitney Bowes, Home Depot, Owens-Corning, FedEx, Officemax, and more.

Our next session is in Chicago, next week.

Details at

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hiring Decisions are big financial decisions

I loved this - heard something new today. Not mind blowing, but a really simple way to think about the hiring decision.

A new client of mine said, "You know, our tenure averages 15-20 years for certain jobs. When you think about it, our Hiring Managers are making $2 million dollar investment decisions when they decide to hire someone."

He was leveraging simple math - [fully loaded salary] x [years in the job] = $2 million dollar decisions.

Now, your company may only have expectations of people staying in their jobs for 5 years. But still, that could easily be a 1/2 or 3/4 million dollar decision.

Anyway, I liked the way he talked about the financial investment/decision without using the typical negative-feeling measures around costs of turnover, lost productivity, lost customers, recruiting costs, wasted training, etc.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spring Conferences

The 2009 Spring (starts Mar 30) ere conference agenda was just published.

I'll be presenting again this year, including a half day session on leading consultative recruiting teams with my colleague Jeremy Eskenazi, and a solo session on how we can make our hiring managers successful.

Details at

I'll write more about ere in the coming months.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Joe Candidate: Problem Solver.

I just received an unsolicited resume from a guy for a job I don't have. Not sure about his target marketing skills (I'm not a hiring authority, but I am networked with a bunch of companies and recruiters), but I am sure that his approach in his email grabs me more than a standard "let me introduce myself" email. He focuses on the problems he can solve. I like the concept. Do you see candidates "drawing you in" more with their emails, resumes, cover letters?

Dear Mr. Vlastelica,

Are all your Divisions / Operations performing up to expectations?
  • Do you have an operating unit that has a great product / service but needs experienced guidance?
  • Do you have a new operation that needs someone who can roll up his sleeves and work without the corporate net?
  • Do you have a “Problem Division” that needs someone to whip it into shape?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions I may be the answer to your problem.

[overview of background and resume followed]

Monday, August 04, 2008

Using images in your networking emails

It's been a while since I've blogged. I've been consumed with the re-launch of my recruiting toolbox website (will be finished by next week).

Anyway, I received an email from a headhunter, who is networking for an HR position in Hawaii. What I loved about it was that they put a picture of the beautiful "office view" right in the email. Clearly, the company doesn't matter with a view like that (kidding!). Seriously, it made me wonder, "Why don't we use more images to help candidates visualize their new opportunity?".

Do you ever use images in your job postings or networking emails? Do they work well? Please share.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just Added - Pre conference workshop with Shally

We just added a pre-conference workshop to our SMA Seattle June Conference. Join sourcing guru, Shally Steckerl, on June 10th, for an intense 3 hour advanced sourcing techniques workshop.
Where? Bellevue, Washington
How much? Only $199.
Learn more here:

Hope to see you there!

John Vlastelica
SMA Seattle - Past President, Strategic Advisor, 2008 Staffing Symposium Master of Ceremonies

Friday, April 18, 2008

The 4th Annual Seattle Staffing Symposium

Hi - Staffing Management Association of Seattle (formerly EMA Seattle) is proud to announce the details for our 4th Annual Staffing Symposium. We've got a great lineup of national-conference-quality speakers packed into a single, recruiting and retention focused day on June 11th.

  • Michael McNeal, Vice President of Talent Strategy and Acquisition, Intuit, Inc. His team just won the corporate recruiting department of the year award down at ERE.
  • Laura Stoker, Senior Director of Training, AIRS. She's an amazing web sourcing trainer and popular return speaker for us.
  • Shally Steckerl, Talent Acquisition Consultant and Strategist, JobMachine. Shally's the definitive sourcing guru, and he's back to share advanced techniques.
  • Steve Lowisz, President and CEO, Qualigence. This speaker knows how to work passive candidates.
  • Brian Krueger, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition, Amazon. Brian's been at Amazon for 6 months or so, and will share a great, low cost idea for growing your employment brand awareness.
  • Sharon Jordan Evans, Consultant and Popular Author. Sharon wrote the book - literally - on employee retention.
  • Jason Warner, Recruiting, Training, and Development Leader, Google. Jason - our Seattle native - is returning to speak on what he sees that's wrong with our industry, and what we can do to make it right.
Learn more and register early. We had 300 people attend last year from all over the West. At under $300, it's a phenomenal value. See you June 11th!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Are you going to ERE next week?

Hi - I'll be speaking at ERE again this year. If you plan to be down there, shoot me an email so that we can connect.

john [at] recruitingtoolbox [dot] com

If you aren't signed up for my session (we're doing a 3 hour pre-conference workshop this year on building and leading consultative recruiting teams), maybe I'll see you in the exhibitor hall or in one of the general sessions.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You've got to be kidding me...

A friend of mine, who's the head of recruiting for a well known company, just received this email from a vendor looking to sell him sourcing services. What an unprofessional approach! Wonder if this works for them? If you have a bad email to share, send it my way. Might be fun to dissect some of these approaches publicly!

Good Morning [Name],
My firm just wrapped up on a successful pilot for [competitor] corporation.

The reason I am contacting you, is although we were very successful and met every criteria and after promising to do business... The staffing manager still decided to just take our free pilot offer and run. So , to return the favor, since [competitor] directly targets your company, I thought you might be interested if I personally offered you the same deal.

Our company provides high end, dedicated contract sourcers to do passive (and active) candidate development.

If you can use this on your staffing team ( with most recruiters only have 2-4% of there day available for sourcing, how could you not) then circle back to me directly. I will offer you a free 1 week pilot with 1 or 2 dedicated sourcers so you can see how well we can produce and become a cohesive part of your staffing model.

I look forward to hearing back from you soon.



Chief Sourcer

[Company] Consulting LLC

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Save the Date: June 10th and 11th in Seattle

We're in the final planning stages of our big Seattle recruiting conference. We had 300 attendees from Washington, Oregon, California - and even a few from British Columbia - attend last year.

We're locking down our speakers now...we've already confirmed the head of recruiting from Microsoft, a recruiting leader from Google, sourcing guru Shally Steckerl, the head of training from AIRS, and more. It's sure to be another great conference.

Dates: June 10-11
Location: Seattle area

Details will be posted at next month. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Must-Have Tool for under $30

I just hit 2,000 contacts in my outlook contacts database last month (that, and my 1,600 messages in my inbox could be causing my outlook crashes lately...hmmm?). Anyway, I was thinking how my contacts have grown over the last 2 years. Yes, I've met a lot of new people in my travels to client offices and conferences. But just as importantly, I've grown my contacts database because it's now so easy to add contacts! How?

I bought this tool - anagram - a few years ago. It's software that runs in the background that allows me to highlight contact info anywhere (at the bottom of an email, on a website, at the top of a resume), press Ctrl-C, and - presto - the info is automagically copied into the appropriate fields in my outlook contact database. It creates a new contact, puts the contact's name in the name field, the email in the email field, the cell phone in the cell phone field. It even puts the url of the webpage you copied it from in the notes field. All you need to do is confirm that it's correct (about 10% of the time it does something funky, like put the person's title in the company field), and save it. Now it's in your contact database.

I don't get any commissions from any vendors for recommending their products, so I say this purely as a happy user. Check out Anagram at It's $29.95, and the best $30 I've spent in years.

p.s. Apparently, Linkedin cut a deal with them, so you may already have a free version of this software running as an outlook plugin if you have the linkedin plugin installed.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Have my blog postings emailed to you

Hi - Quick note to let you know that I just added functionality that allows you to subscribe to this blog and get auto updates of blog posts via your email. Sign up is on the right, underneath the About Me section. Thanks!

Get inside the minds of top recruiting leaders

Some of you may recall that I used to put out a quarterly newsletter, The Recruiting Toolbox. Well, I stopped over a year ago, and my efforts have morphed into this world of blogging.

I received a lot of great feedback when I'd interview top recruiting leaders. I'd get inside their heads and learn about their challenges, their priorities, their approaches, and their views on what makes recruiting teams work well. I talked to leaders from companies like Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Starbucks.

I'm about to start those interviews up again. And this time, I'd like to talk to leaders from big brand name companies, but also talk to people who "get it" from smaller and medium sized companies. Not all of us will - or even want to - work for the big brands. And the challenges of smaller companies may resonate with some of us more.

So, question: Who are some of the recruiting leaders you've worked for, know, or heard of that you think would make for an interesting interview?

I have an interview set up tomorrow with Andrew Carges, the VP WW Talent Acquisition from a medium sized company, Success Factors. Watch for the interview to show up here in the next week or so.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What do you want to know about IT/tech job seekers?

I'm about to start a project where I'll ask thousands of active IT/tech job seekers -most already working, for companies across the US - recruiting related questions via an online survey. I'll help craft the questions and interpret the answers in a way that helps folks like us, who recruit hard-to-find people.

I already have some survey questions in mind. But wanted to ask a recruiting professional or hiring manager, what are 2-3 key questions you'd like IT people to answer to help you better recruit them to your company? What questions would help you prioritize your recruiting budget, help you tailor your recruiting sales pitch, help you change behaviors in your managers or interviewers, or help you adjust your recruiting process?

Let me know. I'm going to call tech recruiters and managers in my network to generate and validate questions. Would love to know your thoughts, too.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Are you going to the ERE conference this Spring?

I'll be speaking down at the big ERE conference in San Diego again this year. Let me know if you plan to attend. And if you haven't registered yet, but you plan to, email me. As a speaker, I'm given the opportunity to save my colleagues some money on registration.

March 31-April 2, 2008
San Diego

john [at] recruitingtoolbox [dot] com

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Employee Referrals: Non-Money Rewards for Good Behavior

Recruiting Nirvana exists when everyone in your company - from admins to software engineers to VPs - acts like a recruiter. Generating referrals is one of the best ways non-recruiters help to recruit. Now, most of you probably have some sort of referral bonus. Good. But there's also some no-cost actions we can take to keep the referral pipeline flowing.

We need to take the lead to publicly recognize employees who make quality referrals that get hired. Find ways to reinforce employees who make time to help build the company.
  1. Ideally, get each of your VPs a list of all of the referrals made each month by their employees, and shadow-write a “thank you” note that he or she can send out to the employee and the employee’s direct manager.
  2. Or, when it’s performance review time, send a note to top-referring employees and their managers, recognizing the extra effort they put in over the past year to help recruit great people. Guess where these attaboys end up? Yep, right in the performance reviews.
  3. Try establishing goals and publishing stats for referrals by departments, or even consider setting up a competition within or between departments, to raise the visibility of quality referrers and tap into people's natural competitive spirit.
  4. When new employee announcements are sent out, be sure to note the source of hire if it's a referral. Remind people that good people don't grow on trees. Every one of us could - and should - be out there generating quality team members.
They key is to reward good behavior, publicly. Send a message that people who make time to refer quality employees are not only making money, but they’re doing their jobs and spending their time wisely.

What do you do to reinforce good referrers?