How to Build a Recruitment Strategy?

Let’s say your company is about to go through a huge growth spurt and you are in charge of ramping up the company’s employee base from 500 to 1000 employees in the next year. What do you do to achieve this aggressive growth?

In my experience, most recruiters and recruiting managers are ill equipped to put together an appropriate recruiting strategy, so I have outlined below some of the key steps.

1. Understand the business goals and requirements

Often the business units overstate or oversimply their business requirements. You and your team need to meet with them to truly understand their hiring needs. Do not just look at requisitions or accept business unit assertions. Meet to determine short-term and long-term hiring needs as well as expected attrition.

Action: Set up business unit meetings with executives and local human resources present (skin in the game) and outline on paper what those needs are and what the required timeframes are for the hires to be in place. Perfection is not required, as you will continue to host these meetings on a monthly or quarterly basis to work on joint recruitment project plans.

2. Build a workforce plan

Following the business unit meetings, pull together an initial workforce plan with the roles, locations, hiring timeframes and attrition data so that these can be signed off by the unit team and ultimately by the HR VP and CEO. This is your road map and will continously evolve as you and your team deliver on the plan.

3. Develop a sourcing/recruitment strategy

Based on the meetings, difficulty of recruiting for certain roles, competitors, compensation, etc., pull together a recruitment strategy. This will usually involve recruitment project plans under the leadership of a project manager, recruitment events, social media strategy, hiring of search firms or external parties for additional research/sourcing (if necessary). Make sure you identify key metrics for the projects and overall recruitment strategy to be successful. You should be budgeting and identifying ROI, team member deliverables, key roles, executive sponsors and other details.

I could write a book on this subject, but let’s just leave it as developing an appropriate plan of action to deliver on the results. Call me to discuss if you need help here.

4. Integrate the recruitment strategy with your recruiting/people technology solution

Hopefully your organization has invested in the right technology solutions, not in some inflexible, non-social, process-driven recruitment/HR monolith. Integrate all or most of all metric and process-driven activities into the solution for fast and seamless sourcing, engaging, hiring and on-boarding activities.

Even if you have a monolithic monster, doing this strategy on spreadsheets will move you lightning years ahead in your recruitment efforts.

5. Measure and communicate results regularly

To members of your team, this should mean weekly. For hiring managers and or executives, this should be determined at the initial meetings. Usually the larger or more important the project, the more often you should communicate. When executives, hiring managers and HR partners on the line see frequent communication, they tend to develop a comfort level with the effort and results. Remember, the recruitment strategy engages and makes executives, hiring managers and HR business partners accountable as well, so reporting results engages everyone.

Note: If you have never done this type of process before, it’s going to take some effort the first time to engage executives and managers in the process. Also, once you communicate results and identify any project or recruiting bottlenecks, you are sure to also get some pushback and negativity. The key is to ensure you have strong executive support and that agreement was given for the strategy at the front end. Be diplomatic but push through hard to achieve the business results; that is your mandate.

Good luck and if you want more details or want to engage me on some of your projects, tweet or email me at

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Are Toxic People Suffocating your Company?

toxic people

Of course they are. But the first question you must ask yourself is if your company culture created these monsters in the first place. If the answer is no, the solution is simple. Have upper management work to either enforce a plan to address the behavior or if this does not solve the situation, quickly remove them from the company payroll. Nothing is worse for company morale than individuals who spew negatives all day or belittle other employees or management. These types of employees love to cause chaos, dredge up rumors and create false innuendo about company employees. One has to wonder why they do it, but the behavior prevalent in most companies.Unfortunately, most companies live with these scourges and do not remove them.

Not dealing with these individuals results in staff turnover, dysfunction, poor results and apathy. So if you’re in management or human resources, please take action right away; your employees will thank you immediately with better productivity and maybe a little laughter and lightheartedness.

If the employees have become toxic because of your company culture, leave at all costs, unless you’re management or the executive running that company. In that case please fire yourself.

Let me know what your company is doing about this key productivity issue by emailing me or posting your comments


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How a Wellness Program Can Engage your Employees and the Broader Community

wellnessMost employers have pretty selfish reasons to put a wellness program in place. Usually the program and its associated return on investment plan are focused on reducing absenteeism, reducing drug use and disease management program impacts, as well as increasing employee productivity and employee retention. This is all great and realistic if the program is designed properly and you add one key element: time.

Any return on investment for a wellness program will take significant time, probably up to 3 to 5 years according to leading program experts. So why invest in a wellness program short-term?

Well if you’re a company that expects to be in it for the long run and wants to remain competitive, it’s clear that a wellness program will have major positive impacts over time. But the biggest reason to invest in an employee focused wellness program (read that again: an employee focused wellness program) is due to the fact that there are huge short-term gains to be held in engaging your employees with your company.

Recently, during our wellness program launch we made the whole program available to employee’s families.  The reasoning is that for our employees to reach their wellness goals they must have a supportive environment and therefore including their spouses and their children as part of the program makes total sense. How can an employee attempt to quit smoking if their spouse smokes like a chimney?  Not only does this help individuals to reach their goals but it also extends the support a company receives for launching the program in the first place by extending its reach into the family unit. Also of key importance is if employees have a hand in creating the wellness program and becoming the key focus, their engagement will follow. If they feel they own the program and have input then they will engage and then all the great previously discussed ROI can start happening at a much faster pace. So launch a wellness program but then let your employees own and help steer the goals and the key directions of the program so that they and their families are actively engaged. Engaged employees create much richer value for a company.

Recently at our company, we have further extended our wellness program into the larger community by starting to plan a “Community Wellness Day” that looks to raise awareness and provide opportunities to all community members to get involved in wellness. The event will have race/run/walk events, a healthy barbecue lunch, wellness and business participants and children’s activities. Not only does this provide great benefit for community wellness but also by doing this we are hopefully increasing overall community engagement in the support of our employees and our company, which is critical in today’s global economy. It’s time to re-think how companies engage with their community and extend benefits to a much larger audience. Successful engagement must start being looked at a much broader level if companies want to increase short and long term return on investments. I look forward on keeping you posted on future developments. Stay tuned more to come.

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Add some Pop to your Corporate Recruitment

snap crackleWant to make a huge difference to your companies recruiting strategy? It may sound simple but these are the most important steps you can do right now:

  1. Identify the most important roles in your company both to staff and for succession planning purposes.
  2. Identify the level of skill your company is ready to pay for.
  3. Hire a sourcing specialist to identify the top people in your industry in your salary range that are currently doing that work (they are not contacting (unless you want them to) the candidates at this point, merely identifying the best talent). Experienced sourcers will already have very good research in your industry.
  4. Once you have a list of about 20 people per role, contact them and see if they are or would be interested in working for your company in the future. If you’re currently hiring, recruit right away.
  5. Make a short list for the future of the candidates that are interested in working with your company for each key role.
  6. Continue to source for other roles in your company until you have them all done.
  7. Keep them current and add to the lists.

This will eliminate a lot of the requirements to hire external recruiters, keep your costs down, bring down your time to hire and make you a hero in many managers’ eyes. Imagine, your hiring manager calls you and you already have live pre-qualified passive candidates, not just resumes. No more, let me post an ad comment.

Simple advice but it’s amazing what it will do to your recruitment efforts. Get to it.

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Wellness Programs – Beyond the Employee


Wellness programs are all the rage in the last few years as they should be. Companies looking to help employees be healthier both mentally and physically are not only helping the employees live a better life, they are helping the bottom line. There is no doubt that the measurable results or return on investment is a few years away as it takes quite a while for employees to become more self-directed to lead healthy lives but some less tangible benefits should become evident at the front end.

A well-coordinated wellness program should be another great sign for prospective employees that the employer is above the rest of the herd. A company willing to invest time and money in getting employees fit, that also provides good compensation and progressive benefits should be a good choice for talented candidates. As well, employees who see a management team investing in them should over time understand that the company is trying to go above and beyond normal attraction programs. Sure there is a self-serving side to the programs but overall it’s a clear sign of a different and progressive company culture. But, what about looking beyond the employee?

To truly be successful, a wellness program needs to reach out beyond the employee, into their family. If you’re an employee that finally decides to mobilize and quit smoking or start eating healthier but your spouse and or kids are chain smokers, heavy beer drinkers and fast food addicts; good luck.  A great wellness program will include the whole family unit to help support the employee along the right path. Allowing spouses and children to access the same services the company provides to employees will accelerate an employee’s path to wellness as well as move the company further along a return on investment related to things like absenteeism, reduced drug usage, disease management costs and a much more productive and happier workforce.

What are some of the things your company or some of the best in class companies you know doing to accelerate program take-up? Email me so I can highlight your thoughts in my next article on wellness.

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Is HR a T-Rex?

photo (1)I bet most of you on seeing that title, thought of HR as the extinct T-Rex vs. the aggressive, carnivorous beast of action T-Rex! Although there are definitely both kinds of HR out there (sorry to say), I like to think of HR as the always hungry on the move HR T-Rex. So how does HR behave or become the T-Rex of the company, never sleeping, an always hunting carnivore?

1. First become more than HR (traditional HR any way).

For HR to become one of the key alpha’s around the boardroom table, it’s important that it focuses on a lot more than just payroll, policy and hiring. The new HR T-Rex must be a business person first and foremost. Understand how your business produces widgets, at what cost, who your competitors are, what the companies challenges are, etc…, Without this knowledge and how your organization and your skills can support the business opportunities and challenges, you will remain outside the key decision-making circles and be seen simply as a necessary evil and or cost.

2. Be aggressive and take and make some room when necessary.

I am not saying to become a bully or to fight every action and or decision to the bitter end. If you do, you will become extinct, nothing more than a footnote on the company’s payroll records. What I am suggesting is that when you have the right information, understand the business challenges clearly you must take a reasonable and clear stance. Be assertive and make your case to your colleagues or to the key executives, leverage legislation, policies, etc, but also tie in the business gain and or loss. Stick to your guns, even though you will have non-supporters. Showing backbone and sticking to your guns will create respect and serve you moving forward.

3. Hunt for prey.

Prey in this case is opportunity. Opportunity for you and HR to help the business be more competitive, to take on more market share. You can do this by ensuring HR is at the key business tables, so that you can support, lead or provide advice to key business initiatives. HR and you as a business person can do so much more than you think you are capable. By developing credibility, you will be invited to participate where no HR has ever or not often been. Make a difference, step out of your comfort zone.

4. Increase your hunting grounds.

Go beyond the traditional HR networking or professional groups, reach out into the business community by joining chambers of commerce, industry boards, social media groups. By leveraging out your knowledge and network, you will be able to learn new perspectives and bring fresh ideas to support your company’s business growth.

5. Stay hungry

Remember you’re only as good as what you have accomplished today. So it’s important to keep working at becoming a better business person all the time. Sure, be the best at all the HR programs that you put in place but remember that the highest returns are where HR programs that solve business problems reside. Be seen as a business person first and an HR professional second.

So are you ready to be a T-Rex? Your next meal is waiting just around the corner.

Share your thoughts with me.

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Why Hiring Based on Social Media Cred is the Way to Go?



A recent article on Business Insider on Sarah Robb O’Hagan, the President of fitness chain Equinox, spurred my interest in writing this article. In the article Sarah says “she doesn’t care about your credentials. She wants to see your Twitter feed”. She goes on to say that the first thing her company does is go to someone’s social platforms to see how they match up. Sure she says I could hire a grad with an amazing GPA but with zero social media credibility or I could hire a grad with an extremely developed social network of 30,000 followers. Now that’s leadership, she says.

I agree with her for the most part, that someone’s social cred is a huge example of how they would perform in the real world. If they have developed a professional presence, invested countless hours in developing the brand and image, developed strong relationships and created buzz, then you have a potential star candidate and employee. So what to look for.

  • A strong professional Twitter feed, with many followers in the right industries, who respect the person and or brand.
  • A strong LinkedIn feed with a clear view of the person’s brand with many followers in both industry and global presence.
  • A personal web site or blog on personal passions and or businesses.
  • Other strongly integrated social media sites and apps integrated to develop a consistent brand

So here are some no-no’s that employers will give the thumbs down to.

Explicit language, graphic violence, sexist or degrading comments, bullying, retaliation, excessive alcohol or drug abuse, hard partying are some of the top no-no’s.

Of course, a solid media presence does not guarantee a smart and reliable employee but more and more it’s becoming a key differentiator in the selection process. So employers pay attention to how potential candidates build their social media presence as if they are good at doing this it’s likely that they are entrepreneurs, strong business leaders, communicators and relationship builders. 

So get your electronics locked and loaded and good social media hunting out there.

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The No Job/No Experience Conundrum

ImageThere is no easy answer or solution to finding work in this new economy so fixated on hiring talent with previous work experience. But there is an easy approach. If you work harder and are willing to take some risks, you could be on your way to smooth sailing on your career path.

Over the years I have always encouraged high school students to approach companies with unpaid coop or work terms. The key here is to know your strengths and ensure you understand you need to begin at the bottom.  Employers love free help but do not like to have to take the time and energy to train and supervise resources. So as much self-sufficiency on the job as you can bring will get your foot in the door and then potentially to better and better opportunities.

Volunteer, work part time doing anything so you can learn the inner workings of the company or industry you’re interested in. I am always amazed by how little work experience many second and third year college students have when they seek summer employment. Take chances, when younger and put together short email proposals about the work you could do for a company and how you can minimize risk and bring value to an employer’s business. Any employer trying to be competitive will try to see how they can use you. Remember be humble and start at the bottom. As you gather experience, you can then gravitate to better opportunities. Who knows if you impress, a full time opportunity might come your way. At a minimum you have experience, potential references and a job network and context of the industry you would like to work in.

For non-students, the same approach can work but because most of us have to make money to survive, you might have to take a part time approach to this job experience strategy, or limit the experience to a few weeks or months.

So stop hesitating and start putting together a quick but humble overview of what your value proposition is. Then pull a list of potential companies or industries you want to focus on. Start low but aim high and you will soon be on your way to experience and a job recruiters and employers will not so easy gloss over.

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The Next Talent Battle Field

ImageThe war for talent has been a constant theme for years and will continue to be. Some will say that with high unemployment, business failures and faltering economies how can this be? But, in times of high turmoil and in an increasing business environment of innovation and competitiveness, talent and the right kind of talent will always rule.

With immigration, country barriers crumbling and with an even more mobile workforce and a work from anywhere workforce developing, talent is becoming even more important to all economies.

But I am here to tell you that the battle field is changing. Where the war for talent has been fought and won in the past has been at the corporate level.  Companies have wooed talent and created an environment where talent can thrive and establish themselves long term.  And although this will continue the real battle field is widening and to the winners will go the spoils.

In this world where boundaries are disappearing, we will start seeing cities, communities, regional blocks and countries developing integrated and focused attraction and retention strategies and operational plans to support their tax base and the companies that reside within their boundaries. Not only will these entities develop the strategies, they will start having to execute them to attract and retain the talent required to compete in this new reality. The future world of recruitment will need to move from corporations to these entities. Scary to think that our future viability will be in the hands of those who know so little about recruitment.

This new battle field will require new tools, new approaches to leveraging social media, new technology and a new type of recruiter. Are you ready to compete in this new environment? What will it do to your world?

Check me out here to engage in discussion:

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Twitter –!/GuayFrancois

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Buyer Beware – A Recruiters Nightmare Before Offer

ImageOver the years I have interviewed many types of candidates; the super qualified, the humble ones, the over confident, the loud and abrasive kind but to this day the one candidate I fear the most is the Bamboozler.

The Bamboozler is the candidate that comes in with all the right credentials, the right answers and is usually quite accommodating through the early stages of recruitment. But to the experienced recruiter your alarm bells are going off; something about the candidate’s attitude is off, something about him or her tells you to be careful and to advise your clients about the possibility.

You dig and you research and try to ensure the candidate is committed before you bring them in to meet the hiring managers. The Bamboozler assures you they really want to leave their current employer and your opportunity is exactly what they want. Your spidy sense is tingling and you’re on high alert but you succumb because they are at the top of the recruiting class.

During the interviews, your managers are captivated by this excellent candidate who is well versed, innovative and almost cocky; pushing the envelope and their answers with your managers. The Bamboozlers are on the edge of acceptance but reeling in everyone with their gutsy take on everything.

References come out great, and you’re behind the scenes digging reveals nothing new, so you start negotiating an offer. Here is where it starts to get tough; the candidate digs in and demands an aggressive package.  You’re again on high alert, wondering if the candidate truly wants the job or is highly overestimating their value. Finally you reach an offer that the candidate looks comfortable in accepting. They tell you they will discuss it with their family and get back to you the next day.  You’re feeling fairly confident but that feeling of doom is still hanging around your head; but you push it off.

The next morning as you are going through your email pile you get suckered right between the eyes. The candidate has emailed you and regretfully informs you that after careful consideration they have decided to stay put with their current employer.  As you stare bewilderedly at the email you know you have been duped; you were used as bait for the Bamboozler to negotiate a better offer with their current employer.

You sit there wondering after all these years of recruiting and identifying bad fits how you were fooled and you realize the warning signs were there all along. You’re disappointed by all the hard work that has been wasted and by the thought of having to tell the hiring managers the search is back on. But inwardly you smile.

Why you ask? Well it’s well known that candidates that use this tactic are usually not long with their current company anyway. They may have gotten a raise and feel like a peacock for the ruse they have pulled over our eyes, but they have not fooled their current employer who has already identified a potential issue with this employee who leveraged a tactic which does not show sincerity or longevity with a company. In a few months or at most a year, this candidate will be back on the market looking to truly leave their current company.

My advice: If your spider sense is tingling heed it and don’t waste your time with this type of candidate and if you can deduce from their career path or from your network that this candidate has used this tactic in the past, stay away. Buyer beware, Bamboozlers are the plague of recruiters, hiring managers and HR managers everywhere.

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