Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Is Voice Mail Dead?

The greatest debate about "what is proper" since etiquette gurus arm-wrestled to decide where the salad fork should be placed is upon us....

"To leave a Voice Mail.....or not to leave a Voice Mail"

While I'm certain that there are many polls and stories and heaven forbid...blogs...out there on this subject - and many are probably about as opinionated and worthless as this blog - I do want to give some context and numbers from a study quoted in PC Mag (September 2012).  It says:

"A new report from USA Today and VoIP firm Vonage confirms what was already fairly obvious: Voicemail is dying.  In preparing data for the paper, Vonage found that the number of voicemail messages left on user accounts decreased 8 percent in July compared to a year ago. The data also indicated that checking your voicemail is an even bigger hassle than leaving someone a voice message. Retrieved messages fell 14 percent among Vonage users during the same period."

So I ask myself...2+ years after this study... "Is Voice Mail Dead?".  

My answer is (in my usual non-committal, afraid of maxims and ultimatums and dictums) depends.

I've asked around my office.  The sales people tell me that when calling clients or potential clients they always leave a voice mail for business related calls - and sometimes for personal calls.  The recruiters tell me that when calling candidates or potential candidates they only leave a voice mail after 2 missed calls or so - and rarely for personal calls.

The average age of my sales people is 40-45.  The average age of my recruiters is 34-40.  Interestingly to me, the average age of managers that my sales people are calling on are 40-50....the average age of tech candidates that my recruiters are calling is 20-35.  

Why do I bring this (age) up?  Because voice mail is for old people of course.  Just kidding....or am I?  

My own voice mail behavior/etiquette  you ask?.....

Well, personally - I HATE VOICE MAIL.  I unequivocally shudder every time I see the flashing light on my office line, or the little mailbox on my cell phone.  Call me lazy, but for me to take the time to dial in to the voice service and enter a password, then click digits and listen to blah blah blah, then click more digits to delete the message I've hardly paid attention too...but just want to get the light to stop flashing - YOU'VE LOST ME!

If you need me and I don't pick up the phone, email me or text me or tweet at me or skype me or IM me...just don't make me expend the effort of clicking through and pretending to listen to your poorly contrived and long-winded voice mails.

Then again - I am an absolute hypocrite.  I will call candidates and clients and leave a voice mail and put them through the same HELL that I just described I hate going through.  But, I do choose wisely who will be the recipient of that HELL.  If I'm calling someone who I think is over 40 - I leave a message, if under 40, I don't.  I'll then follow up on all recipients with an email or text message - depending on if I'm calling a land line or cell phone.  

Why do I leave a voice mail, even if I hate it so much? 
  1. I'm lazy. I ignore the fact that it takes me less time to leave a voice mail than text/email, but the recipient more time to retrieve the voice mail than read a message.
  2. I’m afraid. I was trained as a salesperson to "leave no stone unturned"...meaning I'm afraid if I don't leave a voice mail, it is that one person that loves voice mail and hates email/text messages - and now I've blown it.
  3. I’m an ageist. I think older folks still prefer voice mails to texts.  It gives them the warm fuzzies of the “personal touch”.  Younger folks – you millennials – don’t even bother…tweet, IM, or text me.  Even email is getting antiquated….
Do people actually listen to my voice mail?  I don’t seem to have any better response rate to voice mail than I do text or email. Perhaps I’m not good at creating a message that is concise or important or easy to respond to – as my sales guys say is essential.

Perhaps Voice Mail… no better than a message in a bottle…..DEAD.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Does Corporate Culture really matter?

So, the new buzz in recruiting circles these days is “Corporate Culture”.  After all, if you listen to or read the thousands of blogs that recruiters like me post out there day after day…then money no longer matters…it’s all about finding a company culture that fits you best. 

Darn “Millennials” are screwing everything up.

Does culture really matter that much?  I’m not saying that a good company culture doesn’t play a part in hiring decisions…but is it really the most important things to people these days? 

Ok…let’s make the assumption that corporate culture is the ultimate way of attracting talent to your company.  If that’s the case, then 95% (or more) of the companies out there looking to hire top talent are doing it wrong right now.  Take a look at any job board and tell me what you see.  Companies typically list the following in a job posting:
·         Short summary of what the company does (industry, product line, etc.)
·         Required skills, experience, and education
·         Technologies used
·         Position responsibilities
·         Location
·         Sometimes a compensation range

If culture is what attracts “Top” talent, why do companies rarely mention anything about their corporate culture?  Sure there are a few that use culture as a differentiation…. examples would include:  Zappos, South West Airlines, Apple.  But are they attracting the top talent with culture differentiation?  I can’t speak to South West or Apple, but I have recruited for Zappos in the past, and I’ve had as many skilled software developers turned off by their “culture” as turned on by it.  Honestly…most didn’t seem to care much…they just asked what projects they’d be working on and how much they could make.

So if the new “corporate culture” differentiation model is so great, why are most companies slow to adopt it in their own job postings / talent acquisition marketing campaigns?  My best guesses are as follows:
·         Most companies don’t have a discernible / definable culture
·         Whomever is putting the job descriptions together isn’t concerned with culture attracting talent
·         Companies don’t have a culture that they think will attract top talent
·         Hiring managers really don’t care about culture fit…they just want talent fit

Questions, Questions, Questions…..perhaps I’ll find the answers soon.

Friday, November 7, 2014

You WILL Fail - deal with it.

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Thomas A. Edison

Just a quick word to every job seeker, recruiter, or person that ever thought about just quitting….DON’T.  Life unfortunately is as much about failures as it is about successes…you should embrace both and figure out how best to react…that is where the real growth occurs.

I work with job seekers every day.  They all want to find a great company with a great position and great compensation.  In fact…don’t we all want that?  Sometimes I wish we could redefine the vernacular that we are all accustomed to.  I wish we could show that success is actually defined by effort…not by achievement.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a big proponent of the “everybody gets a trophy” mentality…what I am saying though is “Don’t give up….keep pushing and you’ll get it”.

Let me share some numbers from my own experience.  Most companies that use a recruiter have already exhausted their own “internal pipeline” of referrals and have also made some sort of an effort to advertise the opening (job boards, company website, social media, workforce services, etc.).  By the time I see an opening as a recruiter that a company wants me to fill, they have seen 10-50 resumes already on average.  Let’s just go with 30 as an average.  That is 30 people that have already failed (to obtain this job)!  Most companies will engage 2-3 recruiting agencies on a contingency basis.  Common rule of thumb in recruiting is to send over 3-5 candidates for each opening a company has engaged you to search on.  3 agencies x 5 candidates each = 15 more candidates (if you are keeping track, that is 45 candidates so far for the opening).  In order for a recruiter to find 3 qualified candidates to send to a company, industry average dictates that you will speak with 10 people to find one who is both qualified and interested in the position.  More math you ask???  …An additional 30 more conversations with people.  But….not so fast….not everyone picks up the phone or responds to a recruiter’s email.  On average…it takes 100 calls/emails to speak to 10 people as a recruiter.

Let’s summarize:
·         One job = 30 failed internally generated candidates
·         3 recruiting agencies = 15 candidates presented
·         15 candidates presented = 15x10 conversations or 150 conversations
·         150 conversations = 1500 calls/emails

What does this all mean?  On average, for one person to “succeed” or “accomplish” landing the job….1529 other people failed.
1529 failures

Obviously there are many factors that make this number move up and down for each open position that I see, but the point is simple.  YOU WILL FAIL.  Everybody does.  One of the first things I tell a new candidate is – rarely do I place someone on a first contact…but we’ll work together to find the right fit…it might be now – it might be a year from now. 

The best advice I can give a job seeker (or a new recruiter that keeps hearing people say “no thanks..not interested in a change right now”) is:  Get used to it, embrace it, learn and grow from it.  You will fail…we all do.  Just don’t quit.  You might be the next person on the list a recruiter is about to call for a position that is a perfect fit for you.