Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Posts Tagged ‘HR’

Halogen touts 38% revenue increase in third quarter

Posted by sweens on November 5, 2010

Ottawa’s Halogen Software finished its third quarter of 2010 with “significant market momentum” and a 38 per cent revenue increase in annual recurring revenue, according to a release by the firm.

The company, which is privately owned, only released selected financial parameters, focusing on its new customer wins and recognition at the HR Technology Conference in September.

New customers the firm added include IMAX Corp., LinkedIn Corp., U.S. Court Services and Baltimore Life Insurance.

In addition, Halogen released two new products for public sector and hospitality organizations.

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

References Checks: Decreasing in value…

Posted by sweens on May 19, 2009

I would argue that reference checks are becoming decreasingly valuable in the current hiring practices of the labour market and can often be expendable. Having done many of them in my short time in the recruiting industry, I have found them to be more of a formality then anything – and they offer little insight into my candidates that I did not already know through speaking to them.

Reference checks are an immeasurable way to measure the qualities or achievements of any given individual. Reference checks are subject to interpretation and manipulation more times then not. Everyone is able to find someone in their past who can provide them with a positive reference – so can that information really be seen as accurate?

We now work in an environment where it is not socially acceptable to provide negative references on former employees or co-workers. However most of the time, the negative information is really what you are digging for from a reference. Most candidates will be happy to tell you all the good things about themselves – but it is the negative things you need to unearth. But if you can not get that information out of your references, why bother?

Some companies will not even give a reference these days. It is a policy some HR departments make on behalf of their company and everyone else must abide by the policy. Not so great for employees coming out of that company.

But the problem does not sit solely with the person providing the reference or the candidate who names the references. The problem also lies with the person checking the reference. Many times, recruiters can ask questions that walk the reference down the road you want your reference to go. Tailoring questions to your candidate and having your reference legitimize your candidate.

 Is this good?

Yes it is – for you – but it defeats the purpose of the reference check. This system of checking a reference is no different then interviewing a candidate and asking those questions you want answered which serve only to screen your candidate in to your job. This method simply ends up matching your candidate to the job you have rather then evaluating your candidates experience and their needs to the needs of your client.

Ultimately, I feel that reference checks are becoming a less effective measure of someone’s ability, or as any of kind of metric, as was perceived in the past. Companies and recruiters should strive to find a better approach to measuring the completeness of someone’s previous work history, rather then conducting some ‘old school’ reference check.

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Company Morale: How important is it?

Posted by sweens on May 13, 2009

I think the answer is ‘pretty darn”.  I was reading an article today which was discussing when a company has a run of layoffs, they need to follow up on those layoffs otherwise they run the risk of lower productivity and trashed reputations.  What I liked from this article was the following quote:

“ There is a great myth that, following a layoff, the surviving employees will be so grateful that they still have a job that they’ll work harder and be more productive.  The opposite is usually true.”

I really liked that quote because I believe it is true.  And I believe this for two reasons:

1 – I have been through layoffs
2 – Some of my best recruits have been candidates who came from a company that just laid off some people

Being laid off is not an enjoyable experience for anyone.  Granted some people volunteer to be laid off, but ultimately it is not an experience people want to go though.  But surviving a lay off is not a great experience either.  I have seen my share of shake-ups in an organization and once the layoffs are done and you have settled back in, a lot of questions pop up into your mind.

Many of your friends are likely gone.  Tensions are a bit higher.  The whole dynamic of an organization can change over night.  Those are big obstacles to over come and often times can lead to more of a shake-up then expected.  Those people, who survived, are likely not as happy as before. 

As a recruiter, this is a great time to swoop in and look for candidates.  People will start to look for a job once their employment satisfaction drops below a certain level.  These candidates often represent some of the best talent available in the labour market so stay on top of your local news to see what is going on in terms of layoffs.

Ultimately, there is a big onus on the company to monitor the morale of any company.  Employees need to be kept in the know and re-assured about the position of the company (within reason).  Ignoring this can lead to a growing frustration within the staff, and your top-performers are likely going to start looking elsewhere…


** The article can be found in the OTTAWA HR MAGAZINE – May 11, 2009 issue – Written by Stefan Dubowski

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Corporate VS Agency Recruiting: Who’s better at it?

Posted by sweens on March 5, 2009

I am sure people often wonder who has a better recruitment process; a recruiting agency or an internal HR department. Simple answer – the agency! I am sure I just upset any corporate recruiters that are reading this but I think the processes for both are vastly different. Granted I have never been in a position where corporate recruiting has been my practice but I simply can not see the same quality coming from a HR department then one coming from an agency.

I see this for a few reasons. First, in order for a recruiting agency to be truly successful they need to be continually recruiting, out in the labour market, continually talking to candidates, following industry trends, etc. This way, when they get a position to recruit, they know what is going on, where to look and who is available. I do not see this being a regular occurrence for an HR department for a few reasons.

First, let us look at the annual growth of a company. Obviously that number has dropped recently, but a successful organization will grow at around 20% during a big boom. Say you have a company of 100 people and they are going to expand by 20%. You are talking about acquiring 20 people in 365 days. The level of positions will obviously vary and so will your recruitment practices. Of those 20 positions 10 will likely be hired through referrals from friends of friends of former colleagues. We do after all live in a world where the most hires come from jobs that never get posted.

So now we are really talking about 10 jobs or so. 10 jobs over 365 days equates to just over a month to fill each position. Is that really enough work to justify hiring an employee who is dedicated to recruiting? Likely not! That being said, paying the ‘body’ to do the sourcing is not the only expense.

In order to be effective in your searches and truly tap into the labour market, candidates need to be found on alternative platforms other then job boards. The tools to find those candidates are not cheap. One of the most useful tools a recruiter has is an applicant tracking system (ATS) which will store resumes, notes on candidates and build a database of candidates for future positions. Add all those up and then add your recruiter salary, and you have got a pretty big expense.

With the lack of work for your recruiter and the cost associated with the recruitment at a level that would compete against the quality you would get from a recruiting agency, you may not be looking at the best solution for your company. You may want to consider paying the placement fee rather then the burden mentioned here. Not to mention that having an agency send you resumes cost you nothing.

The ability to find a position that needs to be staffed quickly is the business of a recruiting agency. They are always looking for top quality candidates and are ready to go quickly once the position has been qualified. If you are using someone who is not working on concurrent searches then their process gets drastically slowed down because they have to start their recruitment process for each and every position, rather then coming out with all cylinders firing.

Compare it to a race. Would you rather have your car running and in gear waiting for the light to turn green? Or would you rather be in park with your engine off and then get going once the light goes green?

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The hiring cycle: What does it say about the employer?

Posted by sweens on March 4, 2009

Based on my lunch-time conversation from today with my colleagues, employers should be aware of the ‘brand’ they are creating for themselves as they go through their hiring cycle with candidates.  Some clients have a slow hiring cycle and others have an accelerated one.  Each cycle depends on the organization and their current circumstances.  Candidates should work with their recruiter (or HR contact) to establish a timeline as to how long the hiring cycle should take.


As I have said before, the recruitment industry has a unique relationship between the customer and the service provider.  It is unique because the customer needs to provide feedback to the service provider so that they can continue performing their service to the best of their ability.


What do I mean by this?


I mean that when an employer receives a resume from a recruiting firm they need to sit down with whoever needs to see that resume and evaluate the resume.  They need to decide if they want to proceed to an interview of if they are not interested in the candidate. 


However simply saying “yes” or “no” does not help your recruiting firm.  If it is a “yes” the employer should be explaining why they like the person and where they may see any challenges.  This will allow the candidate to be better prepared for an interview rather then walking blinding into a situation that may be unfavourable.  Simply saying “no” does not do any good either because the recruiter is clearly a little off in his/her search so the feedback the customer can provide (I did not like this person because…) will help the recruiter alter their search on the next round of candidates.


Without this give and take relationship between customer and service provider, the hiring cycle will be slowed down where it does not need to be.


Why do employers need to be cognisant of this?


What message are you sending to a candidate who is interested in working for your company when you firstly get their resume and then take a week to get back to them?  You then wait two weeks to grant them an interview and then decide to make them an offer three weeks after that?  It certainly is not a good message.


This type of a hiring cycle leaves doubt in the mind of candidates.  It leaves them wondering if they should be seeking employment with your company.  You may find this shocking but it happens all the time.  Companies with a good market brand often have long or poor hiring cycles that leave a bad taste in the mouths of their candidates. 


It is for this reason that the hiring cycle is an important element to any company’s human resources practice.  It is also important for the recruiting firm to make their clients aware that the relationship between them must be of a ‘give and take’ nature in order to be a successful one and address their staffing issues promptly.  Employers need to be aware that dragging out a hiring cycle can often turn away good candidates who have heard bad things about the company. 


Remember, bad news spreads quicker then good news.  What news do you want to hear about your company?

Posted in Recruitment | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »