Friday, October 09, 2009

Free Recruiting Trends Webinar - prepare for the economic turnaround

Join Kevin Wheeler and I on October 21st at 10am PT/1pm ET as we explore the critical issues you need to consider as you prepare for 2010 and the (assumed) economic turnaround. This facilitated panel discussion will focus on the key questions you need to answer to prepare for the recruiting work ahead. We'll discuss possible answers to questions like...
  • How to prepare your departments and hiring managers for 2010
  • How to drive the right workforce planning conversations
  • How to engage the candidate communities you recruit from ahead of the need
Learn more and register (free!) at Kennedy's site.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What does a good third party recruiter do to partner with corporate recruiters?

Jenifer Lambert - a Pinnacle Society recognized, top rated executive recruiter - recently interviewed me for her Recruiter Earth radio show. It was unscripted and live, and she asked some tough, frank questions about the keys to partnering with corporate HR.

I joked that I know that, for many third party recruiters, HR stands for "human roadblock". But I also shared some insights into what the best, most effective third party recruiter partners do - and should do - to work with (not against) their corporate partners in HR.

You can listen to the interview here:

I'd love your comments. What do you think is the key to a great partnership between corporate HR and search professionals?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Explore legal issues of using facebook/myspace and the web to recruit

Do you wonder whether it's legal to use information found on the web about a candidate to make a selection decision? I mean, the candidate or prospect put that picture of himself drinking for everyone to see, right? And his comments about his last employer and "hot co-worker" should be fair game for our use as HR/recruiters, right?

Join us next Wed, 9/16 in Seattle for a special lunch seminar which will explore the legal issues of using sites like Myspace and Facebook to screen candidates.

“Landmines, Pitfalls and Potential Law Suits – Understanding the Risks of Using Search Engines and Social Networking Sites to Screen Candidates.” Featuring Lester Rosen, Attorney at Law

Learn more and register at

Wednesday 9/16 Seattle 11am-1:30pm

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

45% of Employers Using Social Networking Sites to Research Candidates

A June 2009, 2,600 hiring manager survey from Careerbuilder found that 45% of employers are examining your online, social networking presence (especially Facebook) to learn more about you before they make a hiring decision.

Well, we probably knew that this was happening. Apparently, it's up from 22% last year. Again, no surprise that it's rising. But still...

More interesting is that 35% claimed to have found information on a site like Facebook that caused them not to hire someone. 35% is huge!

What kinds of things caused them to reject a candidate?
  • Over 1/2 found inappropriate photos or information.
  • Almost 1/3 said they found evidence of poor communication skills (What? Do we need to ensure we use 'you're' instead of 'your' and 'its' instead of 'it's' appropriately, or never use slang or PG-13 language even when we're casually writing with friends?)
  • 14% said they rejected someone for using an emoticon (:<
But, 18% also said they used online content about candidates to justify their hire. They liked what they saw, and found it to be a major positive influence on their hiring decision.

So, lessons learned? The careerbuilder article has a list of 5 dos and don'ts. Basically,they say be very aware of the messaging you're putting out there about yourself - your personal brand, and maybe your next job, is at stake.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Learn Best Practices for College Recruiting: NACE Web Conference

College Recruiting Best Practices: Online Conference, Aug 11-13, 2009

I'll be presenting at my first NACE conference in a few weeks. My topic will be How to Leverage Your Hiring Managers. We'll discuss how to lead, how to set managers up for college recruiting success, what tools they need to effectively interview, select, and sell candidates, how to engage and reward managers, and how to leverage SLA conversations to set and manage expectations. I'll also be part of the opening keynote session on The Future of Recruiting.

I'm excited to hear great speakers like Kevin Wheeler, Gerry Crispin, and Steve Lowisz talk about social networking, the future of recruitment, metrics, and more.

Details are at:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hiring Top Performers - Overview Article

How to Avoid Hiring Mistakes and Select Top Performers

I was asked to write an article for the WTIA (Washington Technology Industry Association) Executives Forum (designed for non-HR leaders). While most of you reading this blog entry already practice these best practices, I thought I'd share it with you in case it's the type of thing you'd like to share with the execs you work with. It's a good short read on what leaders can do to prevent hiring mistakes and hire the right people.

Whether you're an emerging small company or a large technology leader, every hire counts...especially in this economy, where headcount is so precious. So, what should you focus on to...

  • Avoid hiring mistakes?
  • Structure your interviewing process to yield the best hires?
  • Leverage your interviewing strategy as a selling strategy?
Full article here:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Free Webinar August 19th - ERE presents "Help Me Help You" with John V

Help Me Help You
How to help your Hiring Managers Succeed

John Vlastelica will present a free 1 hour webinar based on his popular ERE 2009 San Diego Session focused on how corporate Recruiters can help their Hiring Managers succeed.

Learn more, and register for this free event, here:

August 19th, 11am PT, 2pm ET

  • The 4 things the most successful Hiring Managers have in common
  • How to talk to Hiring Managers about their role in a way that positions you as a partner
  • 20 specific, tactical best practices to help managers succeed throughout the key stages of the recruiting process
Hope to "see" you there!

Monday, June 15, 2009

External Recruiters: Get More Business

I was asked to share some insights into what third party recruiters can do to get more business in this economy. So, I thought back to my time in the trenches as a recruiting leader at Amazon during the last downturn, asked clients and colleagues (corporate recruiting leaders) about their current approach to leveraging agencies/search firms, and pulled in a friend and colleague who runs a staffing firm and trains external recruiters.

Jenifer Lambert and I wrote this paper to help third party recruiters gain insights into the corporate recruiting world and learn:
  • How to demonstrate value and gain business in 2009
  • How to uncover opportunties
  • How to answer "Why should I pay a fee?" questions from clients
You can download part 1 of this short paper here:

How are you leveraging third party search firms - if at all - in this economy?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Background Check Vendor Checklist

Considering a new background check vendor?
I completed a custom benchmarking study 18 months ago for a client, and asked 20 major employers about their background check policies, processes, standards, and plans for the future. 50% said they were relatively unhappy with their current vendor.

There's a lot of firms out there. I was networking with people from a firm (ESR) based in California yesterday, and I asked them some questions about the differences between the firms in their space. (Their President was one of my favorite speakers at the Kennedy show I was at a few weeks ago, and we're bringing him to Seattle to speak to us on Sept 16; watch for details in the coming weeks).

They pointed me to a 22 question checklist that highlights key questions you should ask any background check vendor you're considering. I thought it was an objective list, so thought I'd share it.

Are you pleased with your background check vendor? What makes them work well - or not so well - for you?

p.s. Note: I don't have any commission relationships with any vendors of any kind. I certainly have opinions about firms and people in our space, but my opinions are not influenced by commissions or kickbacks.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Prepare for your Recruiter Interview

Do you have an upcoming interview for a new recruiting job?

Top 5 Things You Need to Do to Prepare

1 Know your results.
It shocks us how few recruiters know how many hires they made in the last month or the last year. Even fewer know how those numbers compared to other recruiters. As crazy as it sounds, simply knowing this information will put you light years ahead of most recruiter candidates. (p.s. Put this information on your resume, so that it's easy to recall during the interview)

2 Know where your hires came from.
Whether you use your company's ATS/Talent Management System, or a simple excel spreadsheet, you should track and pull source information on your hires before you interview. Most recruiters guess where their candidates came from during the interview, which doesn't build confidence in the interviewer that you know how you spend your time - or how you should spend your time - to find them great people. Obviously, most companies are listening for your ability to focus on the right, high ROI source for the job. Be prepared to walk through your strategy for sourcing common candidate types via the web, social networking tools, referrals, networking/cold calling, etc. Show how you keep agency fees low and leverage your toolbox to be uber productive.

3 Know your close rate.
It will impress most interviewers if you know what your offer:hire rate is, and how that compares to other recruiters in your company. All companies want to hire good closers. Great companies want to hire recruiters who know the levers that predict close rate. So, if you end up interviewing with a great company, know why your candidates declined and the steps you regularly take to pre-close candidates.

4 Know your business, and how it differs from theirs.
We have to practice what we preach. You should know your current/old company's people-competitors and products inside and out . You should also research the company you're interviewing with. Differentiate yourself by knowing more than just what products or services they offer. You should also...
  • go on to their /jobs site and see what kind of people they hire
  • read their latest press releases
  • try out their product or service (when I first interviewed at in early 1998, I made sure I bought a book online before I went in to the interview, and I'm glad I did, as they asked me a lot of questions about the customer experience)
  • talk to anyone you know who works there (leverage your linkedin network) to learn about their growth plans, recruiting culture, and recruiting pain.
  • identify their people competitors (leverage linkedin to see where their current employees used to work, and where they went when they left this company)
  • read any company or employee blogs you can find, and see if has comments about what it's like to interview or work there
Interviewers are absolutely blown away when recruiter candidates ask smart questions about their business, or relay examples that seem incredibly relevant to their company. The best interviewers are trying to answer one core question while they're interviewing you: How likely could this recruiter repeat the success they had at company X here at my company? You must help them answer this question by highlighting how you've overcome challenges or met goals that are similar to what you'd find if you worked for this new company.

5 Prepare examples.
Don't wing it. Spend some time writing out a few examples of your accomplishments, and review them the night before the interview. Practice saying them out loud. Most companies will ask the "tell me about a time you had to..." questions as they try to gather evidence that you can source, assess, and close candidates, and appropriately account manage - and push back on - difficult hiring groups. Quality examples that highlight your strengths is what gets you hired.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Join us at our 5th Annual Staffing Symposium in Seattle, June 3, Amazing Speakers

Hi - We're holding our 5th Annual Recruiting Conference on June 3 in the Seattle area. Our SHRM Staffing Management Association of Seattle (SMA Seattle) group puts on national-conference-quality events each year for <$300.

We have an amazing speaker lineup, including the heads of talent acquisition from Microsoft and Expedia. And one of the best speakers I've ever heard - Penelope Trunk, who will bring an irreverent, funny look at Gen Y.

Details and registration info:

I'll be MC'ing again this year.

Some of our distinguished speakers include:

* Scott Pitasky, Microsoft Corp VP, Talent & Org Capability. Every recruiting leader (and recruiter!) wants to know what the head of global microsoft recruiting is thinking! He's very smart, and an incredible presenter. (He was also a keynote speaker at ERE in March)

* Penelope Trunk, Boston Globe Columnist, Brazen Careerist, Avid Blogger. Take an entertaining and engaging trip with Penelope into the world of Gen Y. She's hilarious, irreverent, very smart, and very, very direct; prepare to be challenged. (One of the best speakers I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot)

* Eddie Pate, Consultant and former Director of Diversity at Starbucks and Microsoft.

* Janel Canepa, Consultant and former HR and Recruiting Leader at i2, Ariba and Cisco Systems. Learn how to stay relevant and engaged in a changing recruiting landscape from someone who has built unbelievably effective recruiting machines in Silicon Valley.

* Kristin Graham, Expedia Sr. Director, Recruiting / Communications. Kristin brings a true product marketing and branding orientation to the way she thinks about recruiting and social media.

Hope to see you there!

John Vlastelica
Co-Founder, Past President, and Strategic Advisor
SHRM's Staffing Management Association of Seattle

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The most condescending (and funny) cover letter ever!

A friend forwarded me this cover letter found during a resume search on a major job board. I've deleted a few links to protect the identity, but this is some funny stuff!

Step 1. Recruiters, headhunters, search people, and those with itchy email trigger fingers... PLEASE READ THIS.

I am looking ONLY for an Agile Mentor, Software Development Lead, Team Lead, or Development Manager position ON THE EAST SIDE (uh... this means Seattle area, in Washington STATE). I am no longer an individual contributor (even though I am really good at it). I only work on Agile teams - that means Scrum or XP or LEAN.

Just to clarify... I don't do VB or Delphi, and no, I won't work on the east coast, midwest, or in foreign countries [except maybe for ONE MILLION DOLLARS]. Also, I am not a DBA or QA person. I probably won't be interested in Java opportunities, and if you even say "perl" I will collapse and evaporate into a pile of dust.

OK now. DID YOU REALLY READ THE ABOVE? If not, go back to step 1...

Please do not contact me unless your job matches the above description. If you don't know what Agile is, please move along.

Now, IF YOU MUST... please contact me via E-Mail only - NO PHONE CALLS. If you resourceful people do manage to find my number (again), I will probably hang up anyway :-)

OK, good, you DO need to email me. Great! Now, I politely request that you please send me as complete a description of the position as possible, mentioning all the specifics you have that tell me why I might be interested. Please no more mails like "we have something we think you'd like, please contact us ASAP!" - those hit the big /dev/null in the sky.

My full resume is a C# program I wrote, and is always and forever online (and updated regularly) at [link] - feel free to bookmark it and/or "save a copy as a word document" from that web site (don't ask me how to do this by the way).

Thanks, and now, perhaps you might want to review Step 1 just one more time... ;-)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Best Practices for Screening Tech Resumes and Candidates

Too Many Tech Applicants?
While your company may be laying off or freezing headcount in most areas, you're probably still hiring technology workers. If so, check out this new Best Practice guide Dice asked me to write. And feel free to share it with your Hiring Managers.
  • Learn 5 techniques for filtering out the unqualified resumes, and focusing your energy on the most qualified IT/technology applicants
  • Learn 5 techniques that will improve your phone interview effectiveness, and lead to better on site interviews
More best practice guides at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Now here's a different kind of job posting (smile)

I love funny job postings. You can often tell whether a firm has an HR person - or not (probably the case with this one).

Here are some snippets from a craigslist posting (it is still live on the site as of today, but it may come down soon).

Intro includes...
  • We don't want standard solutions; we want solutions so ridiculously unconventional that we shake the time space continuum.
  • We want someone that can shine of truth. Illuminate Darkness.
  • The Search for Truth will start with your Search Masterpiece. We just want to be there when it happens.
Requirements include...
  • 3+ years experience developing in C and/or Ruby with AJAX; or you can be one of those weirdos that refused to learn anything past Fortran
  • Proven track record of building Core Search Technology at another company; other acceptable places include: your garage back in Palo Alto, CA in 1998 or that dream you had.
Personal Characteristics include...
  • The successful candidate will reject setbacks
  • Childhood dreams of being a Rockstar are not necessary for this job, but we will question your humanity.
And my favorite part.


We have come to terms that you will spam us.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Twitter Job Search

Twitter is being talked about everywhere - millions use it, especially recruiters (who seem to be early adopters on all things social media). Anyway, today launched its beta service, which lets job seekers find jobs posted on twitter (usually by recruiters). Over 30,000 jobs were posted on in the last 7 days. 7 days! In this economy! Imagine what'll be out there when things turn around?

You can search by keyword and location, or just browse job titles.
Check it out here:

Monday, March 09, 2009

Get Demographic Data To Focus Your Recruiting

Trying to build an online media recruiting campaign?
  • Ever wonder whether a popular website attracts more men than women?
  • Or what countries or cities attract the most users?
  • Or whether the sites visitors have college degrees?
  • Or even what other sites - or types of sites - visitors to this site also tend to visit?
Enter Quantcast. is a firm/site that independently measures traffic and demographic data for popular websites. It was started by Stanford Statistics Professors, and now can be leveraged by us (recruiting professionals) to help evaluate whether a particular site attracts the kind of users we'd want to target in specialized online ads.

While it doesn't show job titles, it does allow you to slice and dice to see how many people fit your general profile.

So, if you're trying to build a case - based on data - on why you should run online ads on a big tech blog to go after those degreed, african american, under 30, New York based, $60k+ candidates with an interest in technology, quantcast can help. They can help you identify the right site, gather current data, and compare it to other options without having to engage an ad agency.

Give it a try.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quality analysis about prior recessions, and when will this end?

I'm no financial expert. But I do work with a financial advising firm. Kenneth Smith, CEO of Empirical, has great, fact based insights that he shares with clients. When I feel anxiety, his analysis helps to calm me down (smile).

While the financial markets aren't a perfect proxy for good/bad news in recruiting, they certainly correlate. So I've grabbed a few things that I found interesting in his February letter to clients, and thought I'd share.

Timing of Recession and Market Recovery
  1. The average recession length was around ten months with the longest recession lasting sixteen months and the shortest lasting six months. We are approaching fourteen months in the current recession. (JV: Remember, this recession officially started in Dec 2007)
  2. The market bottomed and began to recover, on average, five months before the official recession end dates. It is reasonable to expect the market to begin to rebound prior to the end of the current recession as well.
So what? Well, I see this and wonder if we're hitting bottom now. If so, bring on the turnaround! If not, hurry up and get to the bottom.

Full article, with a great overview of past recession timing and turnarounds on the last page, here:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Which Social Media Sites Would You Pay For?

Techcrunch's Erick Schonfeld reports on a survey by Abrams Research that shows which social media sites over 200 social media elite say is best for business. It's interesting, but maybe not surprising, to see Twitter on top, beating out Linkedin, for social media services they'd recommend a business pay for.

"...if you ask, which one would they recommend for businesses to pay for (if they had to), Twitter beats Facebook by more than two to one (39.6 percent vs. 15.3 percent). LinkedIn again comes in second. Why did Twitter come out on top. It is seen as an efficient way for companies to get their marketing messages out there. One typical response:

It’s the quickest way I’ve seen to spread information virally to a wide scope of people attached in a lot of random ways.

The survey was taken at Social Media Week 2009 and included “founders, bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs and members of the Twitterati.” Basically it is the opinion of the insular social media elite. So what they say may just be wishful thinking, but the results are good fodder for discussion nonetheless."

1. Which social media service would you be most likely to pay for?

  • Facebook 32.2%
  • Linkedin 29.7%
  • Twitter 21.8%
  • YouTube 13.4%
  • MySpace 1.5%
  • Digg 1.5%

2. What social media service would you advise a business pay for?

  • Twitter 39.6%
  • Linkedin 21.3%
  • YouTube 18.8%
  • Facebook 15.3%
  • Digg 3.0%
  • MySpace 2.0%

3. Which social media service will be the first to die?

  • 41.1%
  • Bebo 12.4%
  • FriendFeed 8.9%
  • 8.4%
  • Flixster 6.9%
  • Digg 5.0%
  • 3.0%
  • Other 14.4%

4. Which corporation has done the best job of using social media? (Respondents were asked to choose one; these were the most popular choices, ranked accordingly)

  1. Zappos (online shopping site)
  2. Obama (campaign and presidency)
  3. CNN
  4. Comcast (“Comcast Cares”)
  5. Jetblue
  6. Dell
  7. Burger King
  8. NPR
  9. New York Times
  10. Ford
Are you on twitter? Is your company on Twitter? Facebook? I'm sure you're already on LinkedIn, right?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Are you going to ERE's Spring Conference? 10% Discount

Hope to see you at ERE this Spring

As a speaker, I can offer you a special 10% off registration discount. Just email me (john [at] recruitingtoolbox [dot] com) if you'd like the code.

Check out the agenda here

I'll be presenting on how we can help our hiring managers succeed, as well as co-leading a pre-conference workshop for recruiting managers and directors with Jeremy Eskenazi on building and leading a consultative recruiting team.

The conference starts March 30. And it's in beautiful San Diego. Email me if you plan to attend so that we can be sure to connect.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Learn about Recruiting Metrics - Webinar: Feb 19th

Leveraging Recruiting Metrics with John Vlastelica

Join me next Thursday, Feb 19th, at 10am Pacific, for a 1 hour, info packed webinar on recruiting metrics.

We'll talk about the problems with traditional metrics and the keys to measuring speed, quality, costs, hiring manager and candidate satisfaction.

Like all of my training, this webinar will be real world, practical, and ready for immediate use.

To learn more, or to register, go to

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

New Website, 2 New Team Members

New Website:
We've just updated our website to include more information about the real world consulting services, custom recruitment training, and
customizable tools we offer. Please check it out. We still need to break up some text heavy sections. Would love your feedback.

New Team Members: Welcome Kristin and Edith
Kristin Westby and I worked together at AT&T Wireless in the late '90s (she was a staffing manager there), and Edith Rothenberg and I worked together on a project a few years ago (she was a staffing manager who also led the interviewer and recruiter training efforts for all of Microsoft).

Kristin will focus on project management for new custom, hosted recruiting toolbox buildouts and Edith will focus on custom training design and delivery. Check out their bios to learn more.

Friday, January 23, 2009

SMA Seattle Event: Nike on Human Capital Supply Chains

Hi - Join us March 4th in Seattle for a great lunch workshop by Nike Recruiting Leader, Dan Hanyzewski. To register and learn more, visit

Human Capital Supply Chain Strategies - How Has an Iconic Brand (Nike) Leveraged All Classifications of Talent Resources?

Join us Wednesday, March 4th for an informative discussion featuring a top Pacific Northwest brand, Nike. When Daniel Pink wrote the book Free Agent Nation he was envisioning talented job candidates would become more transient and market driven. Well he was partially correct. As labor demographics change and global mobility impacts the Supply Chain, forward-thinking companies are utilizing Independent Contractors, Freelancers and/or Contingent Labor to strategically supplement their core workforce. Nike looks to leverage these and other channels of talent to keep its brand competitive and win the “war for talent”.

  • Learn how a temp to perm proposition can not only make sense but become strategic to your sourcing strategy.
  • Learn how to look at large populations of talent that might be better represented by an outsourced solution. Why? So you can leverage your valued Talent Acquisition resources to focus on more specialized and critical hires.
  • See how Nike is establishing an insourcing solution (a business within a business) that is based on a cost per unit pricing approach, not wage base.
  • Investigate how Nike has built a bridge to convert highly skilled labor through its Contingent Labor Managed Program, and more.