All posts by William Chin

Long time recruiting professional focus on Asia Pacific, now based in Beijing, China. A blogger and speaker on HR topics. Passion for all things HR. This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my won and not those of my employer.

A Savvy Recruiter (Part 2 of 2)

Fotolia © RonenThis is a follow to the last post providing suggestions of how one can become a savvy recruiter.

More often than not, the recruiter supporting a business unit is junior to the hiring manager. The recruiter is unlikely to have the industry training and experience relative to the hiring division. Perhaps the recruiter may feel nervous in approaching the hiring   manager due to gap in seniority level and even more inadequate because the he does not have technical knowledge of the role. Have you felt this way before? I know I have.

Insightful Industry Acumen

Get to know the industry of the company you work for. There is an abundant amount of resources where you can research to gain industry insight. You can set a news alert for topics pertaining to your company and related competitors. There are industry research by technical analysts and financial reporters. There may be professional associations with publications to read and conferences you can attend. You may want to read your own company’s website for press releases and technical white papers. A savvy recruiter pieces together the broader picture of industry trends necessary to begin having thoughtful and insightful conversation with the hiring manager.

Insightful Hiring Meeting

Never go into a hiring brief meeting unprepared. It shows that you are unprepared and disengaged with supporting the business. A true savvy recruiter proactively does some homework to prepare. Review the job description to understand the role. The role maybe a repeat hire but, don’t assume it is exactly the same as before. Get a briefing from the human resource business partner. Learn the organization dynamics and skills needs of the entire team, not just the position being posted. Talk to matrix managers to learn from cross-functional teammates who may have insight into the role. Bring in a set of sample resumes that encompass the full range of skills and experience based on the stakeholders you have spoke with. A savvy recruiter can now drive a more productive hiring brief, with information even the hiring manager may not have previously known.

Insightful Hiring Outcome

In addition to candidate sourcing recruiters need to be able to influence the hiring outcome. To do this, the recruiter must be part of the business or technical interview process, not just the “HR interview.” It is no longer acceptable to just pass resumes to hiring managers for their screening and simply collect feedback at the end of interviews. Recruiters must also participate in interviewing candidates for their business acumen and depth of experience in their respective discipline. Moreover, the recruiter must be able to assess and make hiring recommendations based on technical fit for the role.

This last part of making interview decisions on a candidate is probably the most difficult part, especially if the recruiter does not have the requisite technical or business background. One example to start, the recruiter can sit in together with hiring managers on an interview. Learn the types of questions asked my hiring managers and the responses they look for. After a while, the recruiter can conduct interviews independently.

Developing a level of confidence in decision making is what makes the difference between a typical and an outstanding recruiter. Having the trust of hiring managers to affect hiring decisions is the hallmark of a savvy recruiter.

A Savvy Recruiter (Part 1 of 2)

Fotolia © Stephen CoburnHuman resource practitioners consistently talk about being business partners with the clients whom we support.  Human resource managers want our line management to value the advice and solutions we provide.  More often though, business managers don’t understand the advice we provide and how it relates to helping them achieve their business objectives.  That is because HR professional offer solutions from the HR perspective.  They often lack the insight of the core issues affecting business managers.  The most effective HR solutions are those made with true understanding of the business and goals.

Recruitment professionals deal with the same issues.  While a recruiter’s desire is to help line managers find the best candidate and quickly, they frequently face situations where managers reject the set of candidates presented and being asked to find better qualified candidates.  Hiring cycle time are lengthy and misses targeted recruitment time frame.

A “Savvy Recruiter” is a recruitment professional who understands business requirements, finds qualified candidates and has support and trust of the business management.  If you observe carefully, there are some recruiters who show a certain level of confidence.  They don’t seem to have any difficulty sourcing for the right candidates.  They can talk with fluency of the business strategy, challenges and opportunities.  Business managers seek out savvy recruiters to help them with the toughest recruitment cases.

Savvy recruiters exhibit the follow three qualities:

#1) Being Prepared

  • Most job requisitions are not new and are often for replacement and incremental headcount. In fact, the majority of positions posted need the same skill sets as previous hires.  The savvy recruiter can use previous hiring profiles as a basis to get a jump start on sourcing candidates.
  • The savvy recruiter also works with HRBP and training teams to better understand skills gap of the team.  They use this information to source for better qualified candidates who can meet the current and future needs of the organization.
  • Knowing the business team is critical to being a savvy recruiter.  They can have insightful discussions with business managers about succession planning and offer job rotation suggestions to current employees.  These types of discussions help line managers think about career development for their existing team.

#2) Know The Market

  • Having updated market intelligence data such as competitor companies and talent skill set map is a hallmark of a savvy recruiter.  This can prove to business managers that you understand where to target potential candidate recruitment.  You have insight into business environment and the surrounding talent market.
  • During your hiring debrief, a savvy recruit will do some preliminary homework by bringing sample resumes to the meeting.  Having a set of sample resumes helps managers consider the potential profiles and offer insight of the preferred candidate, many times the profile requirements are not written in the job description.
  • Knowing the technical requirements of the role is also another strength of a savvy recruiter.  A recruiter who knows and understand the technical domain of a job role can screen, expertly interview and shortlist candidates for a hiring manager.

#3) Deliver Top Candidates

  • Ask you hiring managers for candidate referrals.  A players refer A players.  A savvy recruiter will go one step further to engage hiring managers to go through their LinkedIn connections and to post the vacancy on their WeChat account to proactively involve the hiring managers in the sourcing process.
  • A savvy recruiter will always personally interview their candidates before they presenting profiles to the hiring manager.  Recruiting is not about presenting volumes of resume to hiring teams.  It is about presenting a small set of qualified candidates to the hiring team and know exactly which candidate will be hired.
  • It is not done until it is done.  Recruitment does not end at the time of an offer accept.  A savvy recruiter will follow-up with the candidate offered until the person in on-board and at least, until the new hire has passed probation.  The recruiter will develop an on-going relationship with the new hire for future candidate referrals.

In summary, a savvy recruiter knows the business and the talent needed for the organization.  Secondly, the savvy recruiter is networked with both internal and external talent market.  Lastly, the savvy recruiter can influence the hiring outcome.  These are the qualities of a recruitment professional who can demonstrate the highest impact to the business they support.  Ultimately, they gain the trust of hiring managers and help teams become winning organizations.

HR Data Analytics – Case Use by HR Organziations

© Ogerepus - Fotolia
© Ogerepus – Fotolia

The Chapman Consulting Group just completed their Spring HR leaders meeting in Beijing on May 15.  This time Lenovo hosted the session at their Beijing headquarter office.

The topic for this round is centered around Managing Global HR in the age of ‘Big Data’.

  • What companies are doing to optimise talent and HR systems in parallel with the advent of global and regional Centres of Excellence;
  • The increased use of data and analytics as another tool of Global HR management; and
  • The effect this is having on the type of HR Leader progressing within the profession.

This theme is consistent with their #1 trending HR focus areas for 2014.

I have captured key points from the meeting below.


Lenovo – Shared Services

Lenovo, the world’s leader in the PC industry, had just implemented a global HR system, making the switch by eliminating several disparate systems into a global solution.   While they have done all the requisite change management requirements with organisation stakeholders, they are seeing that people still like to do things the “old way.”  How true!  People hate to change.

While Lenovo made a clear stand that all everyone need to adopt and utilise the new system they do have a VIP process for their top key executives.  The VIP allows for telephone hotline and/or email communication to a HR professional for assistance.  However, everyone else is expected to utilise the new self-service model.

The benefit of going global with their new HR system is now they have the ability to manage their workforce under one roof.  Previously, HR was unable to access “real time” data and instead, was managing people with spreadsheets.


Pfizer – Improving Retention

Employee retention is a huge risk in the pharmaseutical industry in China.  Industry average is around 25-30% turn-over each year.

Pfizer is the global largest pharmaceutical player and is also the largest in China.  Even Pfizer is not immune to the high turnover rate.  In fact, competitor companies target their employees, because they are the largest.

To combat turnover and improve retention they turned to “big data” to better understand drivers of turnover – they created an employee profile of turn-over drivers.  The profile Pfizer developed is employee specific with a “risk score.”

Pfizer partnered with a consulting company to develop the analysis tool combining existing employee data and against employees who left the company.  By looking at former employee profiles they then were able to map those to existing employee enabling Pfizer to see trending issues that may cause turnover.  Seeing this information ahead of time allows HR to partner with BU leads to take proactive actionable steps.

Some examples of high risk dimension include:  employees where are a rehire (they have already left once), short-time with a manager (have not developed a strong bonding with the direct manager), and long tenure in a role (it’s time to refresh with a new focus).  I was thinking these are all indicators of high risk turnover by itself.  So, why do you need to do a study?  The genius is that employee turnover is multi-dimension.  Not one thing by itself are drivers of turn-over but, by combining all the various turnover drivers and employee profile, you begin to see a multifaceted profile of their employees – HR and BU can then take multiple tracks to drive retention.


Qualcomm* – Use a Data Analytics 

Qualcomm has a dedicated data analytics team.  That team started in 2008 and was a small group who was responsible for generating large HR data but, on spreadsheet format.  Over the years, Analytics Team went on to focus on benchmarking to creating data visualisation and now focusing on predictive modelling for the company.

Qualcomm human resources has the ability to pull up dashboard data an a click of a button.  This is information is globally accurate and with the ability to do drill downs by organisation, business function, geography and employee types etc.  This enables Qualcomm HR, at all levels – HRVP to HR specialist, to have the same data points, at any time.

The analytics team also conducts research projects analysing the success of a merger and acquisitions project.  The team created a social network analysis / model indicating the strength on network and social ties.  In a M&A, one would typically want to see the newly acquired company integrate into the overall company.  The faster employees integrate the greater the success outcome.  Creating such a model allows Qualcomm to analyse and visualise social interactions to gain insight on who were the “bridge builders,” those who were the best at helping with integrating after a merger.


Doosan – Don’t Over Do It With Data

Doosan is a Korean-based conglomerate.  The HRVP reminded us that sometimes over use of data can be detrimental to business decision.  Instead of using judgement, managers often ask project analysts or HR for more data to help with their decision making.  With the data provided, business will ask for more next level data, to back up the high-level data.  Analyze the data, analyse more data, then the data paralyses you.  By the time the data is complete that the information is out of date and decision window is closed.  How often have we faced this before?  The presenter was so right on with this point.

In HR, we also have metrics and data to measure our performance.  The roundtable participants all have HR KPI scores they manage to.  One hotelier HR said that after a HR systems implementation that their HR satisfaction scores dropped.  I thought that after any large project implementation that one would expect a drop (remember that people hate changes).  Instead of managing to the dropped score HR should be managing to improving the score and maybe, that scoring criteria will be different from the prior standard but, the processes and systems have changed.

Doosan further explains that in a business downturn, for example, HR is expected to manage employee reductions.  So, what happens if HR is successful with meeting the employee reduction targets and morale KPIs are on track yet, the business continues to decline.  Doosan HR further suggests that we use experience and judgement to help the business.  Data is only one part of the story.


This wraps the summary of key points by each presenter.  The Chapman Consulting Group always does a good job with brining together a group of HR leaders from various industries for sharing and networking.


*I am employed by Qualcomm.  However, the information contained within is the opinion of the author and not that of my employer. All company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Furthermore, this blog post does not represent an endorsement of their products and services and I have woven my own experience in this post. This is for informational purposes only. There is no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information.
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