Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Holidays

Happy (fill-in-the-blank) Holiday and have a Merry New Year! (or something like that.) Plus, a big congrats to my fellow bloggers who walked away with the prestigious Best Blog Awards from (I am just happy to have been nominated.)

Special Kudos to Shally and my co-bloggers: Gretchen, Jenna and Julie. See you all at Starbucks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bigfoot Recruiting: Sourcing what does not exist!

It is sometimes a comedy of errors to observe the (sometimes) disconnect from reality between recruiters and well-meaning hiring managers.

A recent article in VOIP Magazine discussed how a certain HR manager of a certain cable broadband provider contacted a certain expert for assistance in finding experienced IP communications people. It seems that this certain company had made a decision to deploy Voice over IP next year to round out a consumer package. What this certain HR manager wanted specifically, was a Director Of VoIP Operations. Since Director Of VoIP is a brand spanking-new position, involving a new technology, and a new service model for the company, whomever landed that gig would need an excellent understanding of emerging technologies and a crystal clear view of the impact that this service would have on this cable broadband provider's business model. The writer of the article was not wholly optimistic of the HR manager's success. Why? Long story short, there are not many people around that fit the job description the HR manager described. And this had me thinking.

"Self," I said to myself, "How would you go about recruiting Bigfoot candidates?"

"Bigfoot candidates?"

"Yes," I continue to say to... ummm... myself. "Bigfoot candidates are those candidates that some people believe exist, but most folks accept them as general myth."

Bigfoot citings are not uncommon in HR, as they usually occur whenever new technologies become popular. Case in point, when the JAVA programming language was released in 1995 (or was it 1996?), it was not uncommon to see job postings for Java developers with 5 years (or more) experience. This was laughable on one level and frustrating in every other sense for both recruiters and hiring managers alike. How was a recruiter going to find the perfect candidate when (overall) they did not exist as the technology itself was barely a few months old?

I ran into this when I was recruiting Executive and Technical personnel for startup companies in the 90's. So what happenned back then? Well, some businesses changed their mind on how they chose to proceed on certain projects, delayed their initiatives (until the dotcom bubble burst), or dropped them alltogether. If I could go back in time, I would rattle off a list of what they could do (or I could have done) to find Bigfoot candidates skilled in Java or any other hot new emerging technology. Alas, I can not go back in time; but perhaps you dear reader can benefit from these finite pearls of wisdom.

When you are asked to find a candidate with years of experience in a technology that is only a few months old, do one (or all) of the following:

1. Look for the best of the best in last year's technology.

Ask yourself this, "What technology out there is like (fill-in-the-blank) technology?" If (fill-in-the-blank) technology does the same thing as (last year's technology), but faster, perhaps I can find a potential hire from someone who is really good with (last year's technology) and potentially could take it to the next level? I should focus on those candidates that innovated (last year's technology) and really stretched it in different ways.

2. Convince the business to add training time into its development cycle.

Explain to your client that experts in (fill-in-the-blank) technology are in short supply and that it would be infinitely easier, more productive and cost effective to train the engineers already on the payroll in (fill-in-the-blank) technology and factor their training with the development cycle of the new product.

3. Consider the source

Every technology, has a creator, so consider recruiting the people who invented the (fill-in-the-blank) technology (or buying the company they started).

4. Forget about Beta, go Alpha!

Get a working prototype online ASAP and post it online for people to kick around. Pay close attention to those who give the best technical feedback and recruit them.

5. Use your Lego building blocks

Look for technology that can perform a portion of what the (fill-in-the-blank) technology can do and then find another and then another. Imagine putting these technologies together (like a Lego set) as a means of competing against the (fill-in-the-blank) technology. Once you have all of the parts together, search the patents behind each piece of technology. Every artist signs his work, so find out who was good at making these pieces and then recruit them as well.

6. Spill the beans

This is a risky play and worth it in the end, but I advise doing this ONLY with the full approval of the company (especially the tech department). Leak reports on what you are doing to the blogosphere and study the reactions. I speculate that you will find:

A. People who will debunk it as heresay. B. Who will be impressed and speculate on the final product. C. People who will not be impressed and cite other companies who are doing similar things and doing it better (at least, in their opinion).

You want to pay closest attention to "C." Why? Elementary my dear Watson, they are providing you information on companies and/or technology that you might not have been aware of. This is intelligence you can use to find more potential hires. Its a sneaky play, but works VERY well if executed correctly. Ummm... At least, I have heard that it works well (wink).

When confronted with a Bigfoot search, convince your customer of the time wasted in finding what does not exist (or is extremely rare at best) and steer them in the direction of training the developers they have in the latest technical fashion trend. Afterall, it is easier to build a "Bigfoot" than to waste time looking for one. Still, I am reminded of all those explorers who refuse to believe what is most likely true and pursue a mythical beast that has been seen (only) with a shaky camera. For those recruiters who service clients with similar folktale faith, you have my pity.

Best Blog Awards - Vote for Digability! Click to vote for Digability!

Fish Tales

Okay, so this idea is not all that original but what can I say? I am a softy for the classics (just so long as they work - wink). For you young whippersnappers, let me walk you through.


How much does lunch for say... 2 people cost? I am going to say twenty bucks with a bit of change left over. You agree? Read on...


This is a fishbowl. Fishbowls like this typically range $10.00-$20.00 on average. Still with me?


Go to restaurants and coffee houses that are near to and (popular with) the employees of the company you want to target. Drop off a fishbowl near the front of the restaurant with a sign that says, "Free Lunch! Drop your business card for a chance to win lunch for two."


Collect the biz cards at the end of the week and award a free lunch to someone you may want to recruit or leverage for more leads.

In case you are skeptical as to if this will work or not, ask yourself how many times have you dropped a biz card in a box, tray or fishbowl to win some prize? Too many times to count? Yeah... It is a good idea, isn't it? (Wish I thought of it first - wink.)

Best Blog Awards - Vote for Digability! Click to vote for Digability!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The race is on...

The Best Blog Awards sponsored by are in full effect and your vote is required. When I looked at the competition for the "Best Recruiting Research Blog" (Cybersleuthing, Advanced Online Recruiting Techniques and others) I felt honored just to be mentioned. In a lot of ways, its like watching a race of champions speeding to the finish line. Sort of like... Flash, Road Runner and Speedy Gonzales racing. You know they are all fast, but which one would win? Well, that's for you (the voter) to decide. Click the picture above (or here) for some voting inspiration.

Best Blog Awards - Vote for Digability! Click to vote for Digability!

I will do it for... One Million Rupees!!!

In case you are sourcing for international candidates in a particular salary range, here is a cool tool for you.'s Universal Currency Converter ®This free Web-based service is the world's most popular currency tool! (At least, accoring to them.) It enables you to quickly and easily calculate how much any amount of one currency is worth in another currency.

Digability rating: Add it to your arsenal.

Best Blog Awards - Vote for Digability! Click to vote for Digability!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Razzle-Dazzle (or how to source with billboards.)

Sometimes when sourcing talent you have to use unconventional methods to get the attention of your target audience. A certain dog lover told me of a time when they posted jobs on a billboard across the street from a major competitor. The result? Competition complained (to no effect) and quite a few hires were made by said dog lover. Nice!

In case this bit of Razzle-Dazzle has captured your imagination, let me direct you to two very good resources: Windows Local Live and Billboards-Ads.

Billboard-Ads is (according to them) "The ONLY source you will ever needfor Outdoor Advertising." On their website, is information on billboard advertising rates (on average), a search form to help you target local markets by demographics, budget and campaign length (among others). Once you have narrowed your Billboard advertising to several options, you would want to engage Windows Local Live. How? Simply type in the address of where the billboards are located in Windows Local Live and research the area to see which location gives you the most bang for your buck.

Imagine if you will that you are looking to buy a Billboard at a particular intersection in a major market, say - Hotlanta. From the convenience of your desktop, you can get a bird's eye view of the area and mark on your map (using virtual pushpins) such relevant factors as nearby competitors, restaurants where the employees of my competitor might dash out for a quick snack and nearby companies that my competitor is rumored to be acquiring. Below is a snapshot of this example fleshed out on Windows Local Live. (Click the picture to see it, umm... live.)

Oh! While you are at this, you may want to check out MSN's Traffic Reports. Its a great way of monitoring how many traffic jams occur at the location you are considering.

Digability rating: Any excuse to use a Microsoft tool is a good one. (But of course, I am bias - wink.) Add this to your bag of tricks.

Best Blog Awards - Vote for Digability! Click to vote for Digability!