HRExaminer v3.29 July 20, 2012
Table of Contents
Meeting Candidates Wherever They Are
Have you been following the continuing foolishness about whether Facebook or LinkedIn are the ‘best’ place for recruiting? It’s as if those pundits have not begun to grasp social media. Candidates don’t congregate where you want them to; they are in the places that are comfortable to them
The days of recruiting by shooting fish in a barrel have been gone for a while now. Recruiting is a mostly local sport that is won in the trenches on a case by case basis. The technology and the demographics have changed the game.
Any given communications channel may be exactly right or exactly wrong for your recruiting efforts.
The idea that there is one best place to recruit comes from a time when the newspapers held a near monopoly on recruitment advertising. Two or three major Recruitment Advertising Agencies ferried customer requirements to the newspapers and generated fortunes. The 1970s and 1980s were a great era for those companies and its’s been downhill ever since.
The past 20 years have belonged to the job boards (DICE was in operation in the late 1980s as a bulletin board housed beneath the founder’s bed in an apartment in San Jose.) Even though there are nearly 50,000 job boards, there was an overlap in thinking between the newspaper era and the first generation of internet Recruitment Advertising. There was still just one way to do it.(use a Job Board)
The last decade has given us an explosion of sourcing processes and techniques. What began as a few geeks learning Boolean searches and primitive web spidering exploded into an industry that may well be larger than the actual Recruiting it supports. Sourcing experts rarely agree on the boundaries of the discipline. It is definitely vast and complex.
In a nutshell the "is it LinkedIn or is it Facebook" debate is nonsense because the number of places where candidates hang their hats is exploding. What matters is not which one is the winner but which one makes you a winner. The truth only matters as it relates to your company or organization.
Every firm lives in some city and in some ecosystem. The people who inhabit that particular ecosystem do it in very particular ways. You reach out to them by going to where they are and fitting into their world on their terms.
Ascendify: Data is not a Relationship
The reason that startups need a lot of money is that the real business isn’t always apparent on first blush. Entrepreneurs are great at a process that looks like fire, ready, aim. In other words, you start by getting close and then you fail your way into the fight place.
Not everyone is comfortable with this. A large group of people (most of whom haven’t actually built a business) think that the expenditure is a big waste. They can’t understand how startups go through ‘all that money’ and don’t always hit home runs.
It’s tricky to be a customer of these companies. Product management lurches in the early years. The smooth (Monotonous) predictability of established firms is a faint promise in Startup Land. When you get involved with them as an investor, employee or customer, you are making a bet that the company will discover something amazing.
That usually means betting on the team rather than the technology. Over the next month or so, we’re going to showcase a number of companies for whom the game is just begun and who are staffed by amazing people.
Ascendify is another entrant who believes that recruiting is broken and can be fixed with the proper dose of technology. Matt Hendrickson, the small company’s Founder and CEO built the ResumeMaker software that has dominated software sales for a decade. With the confidence and insight of a winning serial entrepreneur in the industry, he’s set out to decrease the friction in the hiring process.
He’s one of those charismatic guys that you want to bet on. (That’s a common thread in CEOs of these companies). With offices in downtown San Francisco, he’s building a team in the emerging new nexus of HR Industry startups.
The company is working a variety of vertical markets as they search for firm ground. College Recruiting, Corporate, Government One-Stops, Libraries and workforce transition programs (which is just about everything but the Staffing Industry) are the targets. Obviously, time and success will require focus.
The reason that Ascendify merits attention is that they are building the platform with a ‘candidate first’ design mantra. The power of social technology enters the organization from the outside. Candidates and employees bring it in with them. Being candidate-centric is a survival strategy for companies looking to survive the coming demographic transitions.
Given their roots in Resume preparation, it’s no surprise that the company is focused on the resume screening process. By harnessing social network data in a baseball card style, the first whack is a meaningful contribution to recruiter productivity. They compress data into easy to understand nuggets that are easily compared. The baseball cards have a photo, current job, last job and location info. These are the pivot points for first layer resume screening.
Underneath this first tier of service, Ascendify is working to build talent communities that are more than data. Their insight is that data is the gateway to relationships rather than being the relationship.
Like most of the companies we’re going to cover, Ascendify is a hub of enthusiasm and hard work. They are worth looking into as a social-recruiting partner because they are natives.
Alice: If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn’t be, and what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?
Welcome to the Employment Law Blog Carnival -Wonderland Edition
Mock Turtle: Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with, and then the different branches of arithmetic–Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.
So, why do employees quit? Employers think it’s money. It’s not. It’s because you’re a jerk-I mean, because they’re not “engaged.” Mark Toth offers the Magic Wheel of Engagement with 6 E’s to show you care.- Manpower Group- The Employment Blawg- Why Do Your Employees Really Quit?
Alice: I simply must get through!
Doorknob: Sorry, you’re much too big. Simply impassible.
Alice: You mean impossible?
Doorknob: No, impassible. Nothing’s impossible.
Title VII doesn’t protect against same sex sexual harassment unless you can prove that the harasser is gay. Why? Well, because employment lawsuits should really be about employees’ sex lives. Not. So an oil worker had to put up with crude (and not funny) jokes, grabs, and touching, including a hammer poked at his butt. His sexual harassment suit was thrown out because, although he was sexually harassed, the jerk harassing him was probably just bisexual, instead of gay.–Eric B Meyer- The Employer Handbook- One Roughneck’s Life: Sex Jokes, Gay Innuendo, All Legal. BTW-the case would have survived in California and other states with broader protections.
Knight: You see, it’s as well to be provided for every-thing. That’s the reason the horse has all those anklets round his feet.
Alice: But what are they for?
Knight: To guard against the bites of sharks.
An employer and employee agree in writing that employee would have a set salary for 36 months. Employee is fired a year later, and sues for the remaining 2 years’ pay. Because the agreement never said the employee would stop getting paid when she stopped working for the company, the court made the employer pay. So make sure to always say that employees will stop getting paid when they get fired. I know, right? Daniel Schwartz – Connecticut Employment Law Blog – In Drafting Employment Law Contracts, Precision and At-Will Disclaimers Matter
Alice: Where should I go?
Cheshire Cat: That depends on where you want to end up.
In Canada and the UK, employment is contractual instead of at-will. So discharge requires good cause. If you change an employee’s terms of employment enough–usually their pay– you can, in effect, fire them. Then you get an unjust dismissal claim even though they weren’t fired. The answer: don’t force new terms, negotiate a new contract. See Stuart Rudner- Canadian HR Reporter What is Constructive Dismissal.
Mad Hatter: Would you like a little more tea?
Alice: I haven’t had any yet, so I can’t very well take more.
March Hare: Ah, you mean you can’t very well take less.
Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing.
If you are considering automatic enrollment in the company retirement plan, be sure to make the withholdings from everyone, every time. If you don’t you will end up with far less than nothing. And read Jewell Lin Esposito’s post at Employee Benefits Unplugged, Financial Advisors: Auto Enrollment Isn’t Always the Best Solution for 401(k)s
Alice: There’s no use trying, one can’t believe impossible things.
Queen: I daresay you haven’t had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
The NLRB, aka Policy Police, has declared that at least six of your employment policies probably violate the NLRA because they are so broad that employees can’t talk about wages, hours, and working conditions. The six impossible policies are: at-will, arbitration, no salary discussions, confidentiality, nondisparagement and social media. Donna Ballman – Screw You Guys I’m Going Home- Top Six Illegal Policies in Your Employee Handbook. Donna also talks about what actually happens if you violate the NLRA and someone brings a charge.
King: I don’t like the looks of it. However, it may kiss my hand, if it likes.
Cheshire Cat: I’d rather not.
In a related post on impossible policies, if you have a policy that requires employees to keep their pay and benefits confidential, you are probably violating the NLRA because talking about wages is protected concerted activity. But wait, the employer and employees must also keep some of the exact same information confidential under the ADA, GINA, HIPPA and privacy laws. So the law requires that employees cannot, and absolutely must, talk about it. Stephanie Thomas – Compensation Cafe- Does Your Compensation Policy Violate the NLRA?
Queen: Were you ever punished?
Alice: Only for faults.
Queen: And you were all the better for it, I know!’
Alice: Yes, but then I had done the things I was punished for, that makes all the difference.
Queen: But if you hadn’t done them,that would have been better still; better, and better, and better!
The US Supremes are going to figure out whether an employer can be vicariously liable for a supervisor’s sexual harassment. Since sexual harassment is both intentional and personal, the company is not usually liable–not unless it knew what was going on and didn’t do anything. But under agency law, employers are liable for the acts of their employees even if they don’t know what’s going on as long as the employee is acting in within the scope of his job. The general rule is that sexual harassment is never in the course of someone’s job. But since sexual harassment is about power ,and supervisors have power . . . nah, probably no liability. For more on the case being considered by the Supremes, see Philip K. Miles–Lawffice Space SCOTUS Grants Cert in Supervisor Liability Case.
Queen: Now then, are you ready for your sentence?
Alice: But there has to be a verdict first.
Queen: Sentence first! Verdict afterwards.
WTF is benign discrimination? It’s when the plaintiff can show some sort of improper bias, but no harm. Is any kind of bias illegal, or does something bad actually have to happen? Jon Hyman at the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog wonders what happened to the requirement of an “adverse employment action” in discrimination lawsuits. Did the 6th Circuit Just Approve A Claim for Benign Discrimination?
Tweedledum: I know what you’re thinking about, but it isn’t so, nohow.
Tweedledee: Contrariwise. if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.
Alice: I was thinking, which is the best way out of this wood: it’s getting so dark. Would you tell me, please?’
When employees earn commissions as part of, or instead of, a paycheck, you still have to follow the rules on when employees get paid, minimum wage (unless they are exempt), payment on termination, as well as your contract/policy about payment. So you could end up having to pay an employee a bunch of commissions before you’ve collected them, especially if the employee is quitting. Andrea Paris looks at commissions under California law in The Basics-Paying Employees a Commission Part II.
Unicorn: You don’t know how to manage Looking-glass cakes. Hand it round first, and cut it afterwards.
If you cut an exempt employee’s salary, be sure you don’t accidentally raise it by making them subject to overtime. Bottom line: they have to meet minimum salary requirements (and actually be exempt based on their position and duties). For more tips see Mike Haberman at Blogging4Jobs- How to Reduce the Salary of Exempt Level Employees.
Alice: If you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison’ it is certain to disagree with you sooner or later.
When an employee sues for unlawful conduct, it may not be the best idea to sue them back. It looks bad and can backfire as retaliation. For the scoop on one case that went sideways for the company see John Holmquist- Michigan Employment Law Connection- Be Careful What You Ask For: Retaliatory Counterclaims Under the FMLA
Dodo: Ahoy, and other nautical expressions!
The Edge Act requires that cases arising out of international banking be brought in Federal Court. So a guy in Ohio was fired when the bank did an email sweep and found a bunch of porn and other “offensive” material. Because the bank dealt with international currency, it was allowed to move the case to federal court. Why? Well, because internet porn in Ohio is the same as international banking, right? See Robert Fitzpatrick- Fitzpatrick on Employment Law – Some Banks May Be Able to Edge Plaintiffs Our of State Court.
March Hare: I have an excellent idea, LETS CHANGE THE SUBJECT.
King: Rule 42: All persons more than a mile high must leave the court immediately.
Alice: I am not a mile high, and I’m not leaving.
Queen: Sorry. Rule 42, you know.
The amendments to the ADA provide broader (ahem) protections to people who are overweight. It looks like it may be awhile before the courts decide if the law protects people who are just overweight but can’t point to a medical condition that causes the weight. And what about medical conditions created by the weight? For a great discussion, see Robin Shea -Employment and Labor Insider- Is Obesity a Disability Under the New ADA? Probably.
Alice: It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.
Ed. note: Quotes are from both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.
The essence of great recruiting is to fish where the fish are. As times change, the ‘recruiting waters’ get overfished. This is what makes the profession so highly flexible. Over the course of a decade, the success of one technique creates the demand for the next.
More than any other corporate function, recruiting involves adaptation to rapidly changing markets. Companies that shift their methods with the times thrive. Companies that don’t, wither.
In 2012, that means learning how to use social media as a part of your recruiting effort. In a few short years, the center of the Internet moved from static sites to the more vibrant and interactive universe of online networks. Job Boards give way to social media as users are migrate to the new world.
Here are a few stats that put the story in perspective:
- 23% of all hours spent online are spent on a social media site.
- 80% of all Internet users are members of at least one social network
- 66% of all Americans use a social network
- 25% of all American internet traffic is on Facebook alone
We’ve released a new White Paper, “Facebook Recruiting Basics: A Guide to 21st Century Employment Branding. It lays out the core principles you need to understand in order to recruit effectively on Facebook. Download it here.
 Neilsen: Sept, 2011 http://cn.nielsen.com/documents/Nielsen-Social-Media-Report_FINAL_090911.pdf
 Pew Internet: March 2012 http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Why-Americans-Use-Social-Media.aspx
 TechCrunch: Nov 19, 2010 http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/19/hitwise-facebook-accounts-for-1-in-4-page-views-in-the-u-s/