Massachusetts’ Unemployment Rate is Lowest in 15 Years

News that Massachusetts’ unemployment rate is at the lowest point since 2001  follows a trend that we’ve been experiencing for several years now. The unemployment rate has been decreasing, especially among workers with college degrees in professional roles, as the economy has continued to get healthier.

 

While this news excludes other trends, such as the number of workers who are in jobs that they actually like or those who are working part-time when they’d prefer to be in a full-time position, it is trend in the right direction. Another positive trend includes the recent news that wage growth hit 2.6 percent for the past year, the highest level since the Great Recession. Job and wage growth are signs that employers are feeling confident and investing in the economy.

 

What does this mean for employers? As many Boston firms know, hiring talent when unemployment rates are low means being flexible, acting quickly, and staying focused. It’s also important to focus on retaining existing staff and to make sure you are on top of staff development and promotions to reduce the risk of losing people. PSG is proud to help clients meet their recruiting and hiring goals in this challenging market.

 

4 Tips for a Successful Relationship with your Recruiting Firm

Even if you’ve worked with a recruiting firm before, there are several considerations for getting the most out of your relationship. PSG President Aaron Green shares his tips for choosing and managing a recruiting firm:

 

Tip #1: Consider the Fit – It’s important to find a partner that can accommodate your needs and has the right industry experience and a successful track record with other firms of your size and organization type. A recruiting firm that sells a broad range of services will be able to offer a broad range of solutions for your needs.

 

Tip #2: Look for accessibility to their recruiting base – We all have become accustomed to on-demand services and the recruiting industry is adapting to this same trend.  Successful recruiting firms make themselves accessible to their candidates. For example, PSG responds to new candidate inquiries within five minutes of receiving a qualified resume on weekdays between 8am-9pm.

 

Tip #3: Ask how the firm adapts to the needs of the market – Not only do recruiters need to understand when to engage candidates, they must understand how to engage them. Many candidates expect instant access and answers. Recruiters that leverage technology, including online chat and mobile apps, for communicating will have an edge. Interview your potential recruiting partner to explain how they use technology to engage with candidates.

 

Tip #4: Remember that a relationship is a two-way street — Consider how you can make yourself attractive to a recruiter — many of whom are turning away business in this tight employment market. This may mean partnering with your recruiter to provide quicker, detailed feedback or taking other actions that make you a more attractive client without spending a dime more.

 

Aaron Green 0904 22

Predictions for Boston Hiring Trends in 2016

 

PSG President Aaron Green sees some interesting trends emerging around hiring job candidates in the Boston area this year.

 

“Hiring has become a painful experience,” Green says. “It’s painful for employers because there’s a shortage of qualified candidates for most open positions and because HR departments are stretched pretty thin.”

 

Green is referring to the low average unemployment rate in Massachusetts that has been below 5 percent since last April. As hiring picks up in certain sectors – such as technology and healthcare – organizations like hospitals and universities are looking for candidates with specific talents and skill sets, like workers who can support new initiatives in online courses.

 

At the same time, organizations are more mindful of having their HR department be the “right” size. That means ensuring there are enough resources to handle all the functions expected of HR, while staying flexible to adapt to changes in the economy – a lesson many learned the hard way during the last recession.

 

For many mid- and large-size companies this means considering outsourcing some parts of the recruiting process. PSG is seeing an uptick in clients using its Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) services. In some cases, clients outsource some aspects of the recruiting process, such as sourcing and screening candidates, so their internal HR team can focus on more strategic functions, like interviewing and onboarding new hires.

 

Green says the hiring process is also painful for job seekers. “It’s almost like hazing,” he says. He believes this will change, starting in 2016.

 

“Economics, combined with the availability of information online, is forcing businesses to look at the candidate experience in new ways,” says Green.

 

Ratings systems that leverage digital data – such as the star system on Glassdoor and use of the short survey that quantifies a Net Promoter Score (NPS) – are driving change and helping the recruiting process evolve.

 

“PSG will be rolling out a new NPS for candidates applying for internal staff positions,” explains Green. “For many years we’ve conducted NPS surveys with candidates we meet and consider for placement with clients; and the data from those surveys has informed our recruiting and interviewing processes. Now we’re applying that experience, along with research we’re currently conducting – including feedback from candidates we hired as well as those we didn’t – to help us build a stronger candidate experience all-around.”

 

Retailers have long lived under the adage that “the customer is always right,” which comes from a desire to make sure customers have a positive experience with their brand. Now many employers are applying that methodology to the hiring experience. They’re treating candidates like customers and using new tactics to ensure that even candidates who don’t get hired come away with a positive experience of the process and, subsequently, the brand.

 

Another local hiring trend is how quickly compensation is changing. Green says that aggressive recruiting by private equity and venture funded companies is partly to blame. Unlike traditional businesses that are run for long-term profitability, PE and VC funded firms can offer outrageous compensation packages for short-term employment periods. This practice forces wages across the local economy to rise and compensation plans that were created even one year ago are now out of date. On the other end of the spectrum, increases in Massachusetts’ minimum wage  are also helping to accelerate the changes in compensation.

 

Another big trend in recruiting and hiring is matching candidates with an organization’s culture to increase the odds of making a successful hire. When it comes to culture fit, Google is championing the idea. In his book Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead, Google’s Head of People Operations Laszlo Bock explains that “culture underpins everything we do at Google.” Bock offers several tips for interviewing for culture fit, including knowing where to find the type of workers you’re looking for, using “work tests” in which candidates are gauged for their reactions in typical work situations, and testing candidates against the traits that are most highly valued at your organization.

 

In the future, Green foresees a hiring process that’s built around a candidate’s needs, rather than a company’s. While this likely won’t come to fruition in 2016, our use of digital data and the examples of hiring practices at companies like Google are showing that it’s possible.

 

In 2016, companies are better than ever at hiring, but it’s still a painful experience. Fortunately, a focus on improving the candidate experience and hiring for culture fit can help Boston organizations improve the process.Aaron Green 0904 22

 

Boston is Popular with Recent College Grads

A recent report from the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) ranked Boston as the third most popular major American city among young college graduates.

 

This trend appears to be a reversal of a study two years ago that found a “brain drain” occurring as recent college graduates were leaving New England at a faster rate than any region in the country.

 

Among the eight economic and quality-of-life factors in AIER’s Employment Destinations Index that influenced migration patterns of college grads ages 22-35, the most important were:

  1. A high density of people with a college degree
  2. A low unemployment rate
  3. The ability to get around without a car

 

Other factors in the Employment Destinations Index included bars and restaurants per 1,000 residents, as well as earning power, rents, competition for jobs, and ethnic and racial diversity.

 

Massachusetts’ unemployment rate recently fell to its lowest rate since 2008 and the unemployment rate for workers with college degrees is about half the national average.

 

Despite the MBTA’s recent troubles, Boston takes public transportation seriously. Several PSG clients have chosen to relocate to more accessible, urban locations when upgrading their office space. This is an important consideration for attracting Millennial workers who may be eschewing car ownership.

 

PSG clients, and other Boston-area employers, are also attracting younger workers with state-of-the-art office design that promotes collaboration. Benefits such as providing free and healthy meals are also popular recruiting and retention tools.

 

What is your organization doing to attract younger workers? If you’d like help recruiting and hiring talent from this demographic, give PSG a call today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adapting to a Candidate-Driven Job Market

This post was originally published in NEHRA’s April e-newsletter. 

 

New England-area employers and hiring managers are experiencing first-hand a shift to a candidate-driven job market. They’re finding that it’s become more difficult to land top talent and that candidates are increasingly in the driver’s seat.

 

This shift is a result of several market conditions that drive demand for skilled workers, including:

  • 4.8 percent – Massachusetts’ unemployment rate in March 2015
  • 10,500 jobs were added to the Massachusetts economy in March, about double the monthly average job growth over the past year
  • 2 percent of the U.S.’ eligible workforce is participating in the labor market; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor participation rate in March was the highest it’s been since June 2010
  • There are now 5.1 million job openings in the U.S., an increase from 4.2 million in 2014 and a rise of more than 21 percent

 

This demand for highly skilled workers – across all industries – continues to rise and has become a central challenge for recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiters and hiring managers are becoming well aware that this candidate-driven market exists and they are responding.

 

Highly skilled workers have many job openings to choose from, and are ultimately receiving multiple job offers during a typical job search. Skills and experience in IT, professional services and healthcare continue to be among the highest sought after. For example, temporary contractors with IT skills and experience are seeing multiple offers for future projects or permanent positions before wrapping up projects they’re currently on.

 

Not only are skilled candidates seeing multiple opportunities and then fielding several offers, but compensation and benefits are also affected. Salaries across the U.S. have remained mostly stagnant, but for highly skilled IT, Project Management, and niche financial and healthcare professionals, it’s a completely different story. One banking client of ours in Boston hires several experienced consultants to facilitate cyclical financial reporting projects. According to him, “Recently, there are just fewer immediately available candidates with the specific skills [he] needs to hammer through these reports, and they are able to demand higher hourly rates simply because of supply and demand.”

 

Our clients are faced with a critical decision over how much budget to allocate for each new hire. If they allocate too little, they will lose candidates to other offers. Large tech companies like Google and Facebook are setting new standards for both compensation and benefits, forcing other companies to follow suit. A large social media and tech company just outside Boston recently offered select highly skilled software engineers salaries at three to five times the market average, and is increasing company-provided lunch from three days per week to five days per week starting in July this year. Employers are trying to be flexible and think creatively about how they attract talent.

 

Companies in the Boston and New England area have been forced to rethink how they go about getting work done, the type of candidates they end up hiring, and the process through which they hire. It seems obvious, but I’ll elaborate a bit. In today’s economic climate, where demand for skilled workers has steadily increased, companies going through organizational change, merger or acquisition, implementations, upgrades, growth or decline will face difficulty finding available talent that meets their exact need. The more prerequisites or more specific the skill-set is, the harder it is to find the perfect match.

 

Hiring managers feel the pressure of time to meet deadlines and manage through change, and more frequently than ever before, they are utilizing temporary or contingent workers to fulfill those needs. According to the BLS and Staffing Industry Analysts, temporary workers as a percentage of total employment is at an all-time high and trending upward. Some firms find that it is faster and more affordable to utilize a staffing firm to hire a temporary consultant than to post a job and find the perfect full-time employee.

 

Hiring managers who hire quickly win. With a talent pool on the decline and demand on the rise, those who shorten the time it takes to find and onboard candidates are winning the best available talent when they need it most. Many of our clients have elected to trust our screening and interviewing process, asking us to send our best available candidates, rather than requesting to see and screen resumes and then interview themselves. This can mean the difference between getting the best available candidate or the second or third round, and it saves our clients money and time toward deadlines and goals.

 

On another note, clients who are generally more flexible with required skills and experience are finding access to alternative talent pools more efficient and successful than waiting for the perfect candidate to turn up. Intertwined in our screening and interview process is a detailed and rigorous extraction of skills and experience not appearing on resumes. Another way to speed the vetting and hiring process up a bit is simply by using technology – like Skype or other video conferencing tools – to ease requirements for meeting in-person.

 

At PSG, we rely heavily on our ability to build strong relationships with clients where this process is a true collaboration, and we commonly coach and advise clients on effective search techniques. In today’s tight market, shortening identification and onboarding time, being more flexible with prerequisites and offering competitive wages and benefits are keeping our clients at a competitive advantage in this new candidate-driven market.

 

If you or your company would like to discuss hiring in a candidate-driven market, please feel free to reach me at nbrown@psgstaffing.com or 617-250-1000.

 

Nicholas Brown is  Director – IT, Finance & Accounting, Creative and HR Staffing Solutions at Professional Staffing Group

 

 

 

 

2014 Forecast for Boston Jobs

By Frank Gentile

2014 looks to be a good year for job growth; it might even be the best that Boston has seen since before the recession.  All of the surveys – including those of employers, hiring managers and job seekers – are pointing up, and most companies will tell you they have plans to hire in the New Year.

This means we’ll likely see a shift toward an employee-driven job market (away from an employer-driven market) in which candidates may receive multiple job offers and employers have a more difficult time with retention and with finding candidates who qualified for their open positions.

Beginning in 2014, here are some trends I forecast we’ll start seeing:

Companies will get creative in their efforts to attract employees – With a tighter labor pool to select from, we’ll start to see companies get more aggressive in attracting candidates. The last time this happened, with the tech sector in the late 90’s, we saw employers highlight workplace perks like foosball tables and bring-your-pet-to-work policies. Similarly, I believe we’ll see an increase in sign-on bonuses and perhaps stock plan offers to attract highly-skilled workers.

Health insurance benefits will feature more prominently in job offers – The Affordable Care Act has changed the healthcare options for numerous workers and helped emphasize healthcare plans overall. For employers with premium benefits, expect to start seeing job offers that specifically highlight healthcare benefits.

Baby Boomers will finally retire – The first Baby Boomers turned 62 in 2008, making them eligible to claim retirement benefits. However, the U.S. economy took a nosedive that same year and prompted many Boomers to stay in the workplace. Now that they’re eligible for full retirement benefits and the economy has stabilized and is starting to improve, we’ll see a lot more workers from this generation begin to retire. This will open up jobs at the managerial level and, as companies train younger workers for these roles, it will create opportunities at lower levels too. Employers will need to add employees to fill the subsequent gaps in the workplace.

Employers will enhance workforce diversity plans – There are many reasons to hire diverse workers, and now one of the most pressing is the need to find and retain quality employees. Faced with a shortage of qualified job applicants, employers will need to tap into new pools of skilled candidates. Organizations that have effective plans for attracting a diverse workforce will be at a competitive advantage. Recruiters will target passive candidates –In 2014 recruiters will have no choice but to look for passive candidates, i.e. candidates who aren’t actively seeking a new job. This means using social networks like LinkedIn and industry associations and organizations to search for and communicate with prospects.

Informational interviews will increase – Companies are starting to spend more time with informational interview candidates and on exploratory meetings, in order to develop a network and candidate pool. Some firms will hire top workers even if they don’t have a specific position available for that worker.

frank-gentile-2Frank Gentile is a 20+ year veteran of the staffing industry and an experienced recruiter. As a Director at Professional Staffing Group (PSG) Frank oversees the permanent placement division.  

2011: Year in Review

As 2011 winds down and we prepare to welcome 2012, here is a look at how the HR practices at Boston area employers evolved over the past year and what their expectations are for hiring, recruiting and HR expenditures in the year ahead.

The data on Boston employment trends and issues was taken from a quarterly survey of Boston-area employers conducted by my company, Professional Staffing Group. For the past two years we have surveyed our clients each quarter about their plans for staffing and hiring, salary and compensation, concern over retention and recruiting talent and budgets for HR spending.

When we surveyed our clients at this time last year, results revealed the most positive outlook on hiring and compensation since the recession began. At that time,

  • Many more employers expected to add staff is 2011. The number of employers planning to add staff spiked in the fourth quarter of 2010. 54 percent of employers said they planned to add staff over the next 12 months.
  • Uncertainty about employment was decreasing. In the third quarter of 2010 25 percent of respondents answered “unknown” when asked about headcount levels for the year ahead, but in the fourth quarter only 10 percent answered “unknown” when asked to predict headcount levels in the next 12 months.
  • Compensation was increasing. More employers said they had increased compensation for their staff by the end of 2010 and 82 percent said they expected to increase compensation in the year ahead.
  • Employers were holding the line on expenditures. The majority of respondents answered that they planned to keep budgets at the same level when it comes to tradeshows/conferences, seminar attendance, travel in general, internal training and development, professional certification, and reimbursement for continuing education.
  • The number of respondents who said employee engagement is a significant problem doubled from those who were asked the same question the previous quarter (18% in Q4 vs 9% in Q3)
  • Employers were starting to feel the strain when it comes to recruiting: The number of respondents who answered “not a problem” (29%) or “significant problem” (18%) remained essentially the same, but the number who said recruiting top talent is a minor problem jumped to 50% from 37% in the previous quarter.

Three months later, things were still looking good. Respondents to our Q1 2011 survey indicated that:

  • Compensation increases were continuing and more employers were giving higher increases
  • Employers were positive about hiring, but cautious
  • HR budgets largely remained flat
  • Although concern over retention hadn’t changed much, employers expressed more concern about recruiting and employee engagement

However, by the mid-point of 2011 many employers and HR managers were putting the brakes on. In our Q2 survey we found that:

  • Planned employee headcounts had leveled off
  • Compensation increases had also leveled off
  • Employers continued to hold the line on expenditures
  • Employee training and development was the one budget that employers said they planned to increase
  • Recruiting continued to become more of a concern

Three months ago we posted the results from our Q3 survey, which found:

  • Staffing level expectations had continued to moderate
  • While less robust, hiring expectations were still positive
  • Compensation increases slipped slightly
  • Spending on HR-related items was expected to level off

It’s clear that 2011 didn’t produce the growth that employers were optimistically seeking back in Q4 2010. However, by most indications the worst we can say about the past year is that employers proceeded cautiously by tempering compensation increases and hiring and holding steady on HR expenditures.

A look at the November report from the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development is encouraging. According to the report, Massachusetts’ unemployment rate in November fell to its lowest level in nearly three years as employers added jobs for the second consecutive month. Other signs that the state’s hiring levels may be picking up: more employers, both large and small sized, say they plan to hire; online job advertisements have increased; and fewer people are applying for unemployment benefits.

 

Aaron Green is founder and president of Boston-based Professional Staffing Group and PSG Global Solutions. He is also the chairman of the American Staffing Association’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at Aaron.Green@psgstaffing.com or (617) 250-1000.

Evaluating the Annual Performance Review

In recent years the annual performance review has undergone a makeover. For instance, now we no longer assume reviews only occur annually and most are no longer delivered “top-down” but incorporate input from multiple sources, including the employee being reviewed. Some companies have experimented with the frequency of performance reviews and some have tried eliminating them altogether. But, in some form or another, performance reviews play a necessary role in company culture.

Performance reviews are an essential part of our workplaces, they just might look different these days.  Here’s what’s new:

Performance is reviewed more frequently –whether it’s because a new generation of employees has expectations of instantaneous feedback or whether the work we are doing is more project based and easier to review upon project completion, managers are increasing the frequency of their feedback as this Wall Street Journal article asserts.

Reviews are moving online – paper-based files are indeed a thing of the past, but it’s not just online accessibility and file sharing that companies are taking advantage of. Now, some firms are using social media conventions to highlight performance and share feedback. Social media enables organizations to be more transparent and share goals, expectations and status updates. Social media can also make it easy to recognize and reward good work, e.g. through endorsements, recommendations or ‘badges’ for excellence.  In a few years we may be used to a whole new form of online reputation management.

Workers aren’t always visible – as the number of remote workers increases, managers face challenges in communicating, making accurate evaluations and ‘connecting’ with their staff. Reviewing the performance of a telecommuter or remote worker is similar to the review of a traditional office worker, but along with the benefit(s) of working remotely comes additional responsibilities and remote workers should also be evaluated on their ability to participate in group or department meetings and events and their ability to communicate and report on progress.

Self-evaluation – while 360 degree reviews seem to have seen the last of their 15 minutes’ of fame, self-evaluations are in vogue and perhaps here to stay. From having employees take a “first cut” at their evaluation, to implementing a back-and-forth comment-response approach, performance reviews aim to be more interactive.

Probably the only thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the dread that some employees and managers have for them. I’d like to say that the changes we’ve seen have resulted in a more positive experience for everyone involved but getting to that point that appears to be a tough balancing act.

On the one hand, employers use performance reviews to benchmark career advancements and distribute merit rewards. On the other, they use performance reviews to give constructive feedback and motivate performance.  Too much of one and not enough of the other can result in miscommunication, misperception and unhappy workers.  Another reason performance reviews get a bad rap is because they involve people – and people bring their own biases, personalities and politics to the process.

As employers and HR representatives, there are several steps we can take to aim to improve the performance review process.

First, ensure the frequency of the review fits the circumstances.  Not all work is suited to a formal review just once a year.  Take a look at the various types of work performed in your organization and shape the review process to that schedule. For instance, it may make more sense to evaluate your product developers after the launch of the latest product release.

It’s also important to avoid surprises at the time of the evaluation. Layering your feedback throughout the review period helps to “set the stage” for a formal discussion and also helps the employee prepare for a more interactive and constructive discussion.

In recent years there’s been talk of doing away with formal performance reviews, but personally I can’t imagine running an effective HR function without them. Performance reviews are necessary contributors to company goal-setting, feedback and coaching and useful for setting performance expectations and establishing parameters for reward.  Perhaps the most important step we can take to make them more effective is to explain their role in our organization and how they are linked with other important business metrics.

Please share your thoughts on making performance reviews more effective in the comment section below.

Aaron Green is founder and president of Boston-based Professional Staffing Group and PSG Global Solutions. He is also the chairman of the American Staffing Association. He can be reached at Aaron.Green@psgstaffing.com or (617) 250-1000.

Planning Tips for Staffing a Contingent Workforce

Reports on contingent staffing show that up to a quarter of jobs in many organizations are filled with contingent staff, and that nearly 90 percent of employers have either maintained or increased the size of their contingent workforce since September 2008, the beginning of the economic crisis.

Contingent staff includes a wide range of employee types, including:  temporary employees hired through an agency or directly by the employer, part-time employees, outsourced jobs and job functions, retirees who return to work, consultants, freelancers, independent contractors and on-call workers.

Why is contingent staffing an attractive workforce option right now?  In times of economic uncertainty many employers are wary of investing in full-time hires but see contingent staff as a way to mitigate risk. As I wrote previously, contingent staffing is also attractive because it offers employers flexibility (for bringing in skills only when needed), cost savings (by not carrying a worker’s salary during slow periods) and the opportunity to “try before you buy” with a new employee.

Whether you’re considering contingent staffing or already employing flexible staff, here are some tips for incorporating it effectively and determining the right mix for your organization:

Consider factors that impact contingent staffing – most often this means considering financial factors, such as salary, benefits, cost of training, and determining if it’s beneficial to have the same work done by contingent staff. Your ability to predict staffing needs 6 months or more into the future is also an indicator – if you don’t have certainty around your medium-term staffing needs, short-term contingent staff could be a good option. Other factors include the type of work involved and whether the talent pool for that type of work job is deep.

Ask yourself if this is the right time to bring on contingent staff – Are you gearing up for a big project, production cycle or seasonal demand? Do you need certain skills, but only for a finite time period? Do you want to make long-term staff increases, but prefer to take baby steps first?

Determine the right mix of contingent staffing for your firm – The “right” mix varies by industry, it varies by company, and it even varies over time for individual companies.  You should look at your particular circumstances and assess the right mix for your organization.

Consider the impact of contingent staffing on permanent hiring – Contingent staffing provides a great opportunity to try out people before you hire them permanently.  You may want to consider some level of contingent staffing as a recruiting source.

Ask a professional – it may make sense to bring in a workforce planning expert to help you determine the right staffing strategy, particularly if you don’t have many in-house HR resources or if you find there a great number of variables to consider in your planning process.

Employers have numerous options when it comes to contingent staffing and how to fit those options into their workforces. With smart utilization of contingent staffing, employers can better meet their product and service demands while mitigating certain financial risks relating to hiring permanent staff.

 

Aaron Green is founder and president of Boston-based Professional Staffing Group and PSG Global Solutions. He is also the Treasurer of the American Staffing Association. He can be reached at Aaron.Green@psgstaffing.com or (617) 250-1000.

Recruiting: Knowing your sources

Knowing what sources bring prospects to your organization is quite important to companies with ongoing hiring needs. If you know what is working, you can direct more resources toward these successful sources and/or save money by reducing expenditures on low-yielding sources.
Unfortunately Source of Hire Data is Typically Wrong

Most HR professionals I speak with feel their source of hire data is inaccurate and they want to know how to improve their system to capture the correct information. In getting to the solution, we first need to understand why the data is wrong; some of the typical reasons include:

  • Recruiter apathy –Not all recruiters value the source of hire information, therefore coding applicants accurately is just not important to them. For instance: maybe coding activity is done inconsistently, maybe it is not done at all, maybe the first drop-down selection for source of hire is picked.
  • Incentives/conflict of interest – If management values a particular source over another, recruiters may provide biased responses. Some recruiters even think the information will be used against them, or to make them seem less necessary.
  • Inconsistent system – If the way the question is posed to candidates is inconsistent, the results will be less reliable. Who is asked (recruiter vs. applicant) and when it is asked matters.
  • Applicant bias – Applicants may tell you the answer they think best positions themself to get the job. If you record the response at the wrong time you run this risk. For instance, the applicant that has been desperately calling for weeks and applying to multiple corporate website postings might think they have a better chance of landing the job if they say a recruiter called them.

An Easy and Effective Solution = Ask the New Employee Post-Hire

New employees will respond more thoroughly to questions because they often want to help their new employer. Furthermore you are getting the information straight from the source without any recruiter bias or apathy.

I would suggest asking the new employee during onboarding. First explain why you want the information to get maximum cooperation. I recommend not limiting possible responses to just one answer. Instead, provide choices of multiple factors based on responses from past hires and also leave a blank field. If the new hire does have multiple responses, ask for the responses to be ranked.

Two questions on source are necessary:
1. What source originally made you aware of our company?
2. What source made you aware that we had a current opening in your field? Or, if you were not aware of an opening, what source made you think to contact us? Or if we contacted you, what was the source of contact?

Lastly, don’t forget to ask for referrals. The best time to ask is when a new hire starts employment. Correction, the best time to ask is anytime, but it is really effective to ask new hires.

Aaron Green is founder and president of Boston-based Professional Staffing Group and PSG Global Solutions. He is also the vice chairman of the American Staffing Association. He can be reached at Aaron.Green@psgstaffing.com or (617) 250-1000.