Working for a company that strives to put its people first is truly a dream come true. A lot of well-known companies have “People” built into their foundations. Just take a look at a few quotes from their mission statements/core values:

“People are the heart of our business…”

“We respect our employees and value their contributions…”

“We treat our employees… with professionalism, dignity and respect, fostering an environment where people can contribute, innovate and excel…”

Why is it that these day’s companies who put their people first are the exception to the rule? Unfortunately the concept of staying with the same employer throughout your career died in the 90’s. For the first time, international competition carved out a niche in the American job market. In response, companies abandoned long-term strategies in favor of quick profit plans to stay competitive. Labor costs were high, so corporations uprooted their employees from being part of the family and made them an overhead expense.

When people became an overhead expense, management became reluctant to budget any more time and money than necessary into their people. Development programs ceased; loyalty and engagement became lost relics. Companies assumed people would jump ship at the chance for something new and exciting. There was no sense in risking the waste of a lost investment.

So why? Why do some companies still embrace their people?

Because they know: people are their best assets.

Customer loyalty is built on customer service. Products and services are made and delivered by employees, not by 30-second TV ads. For employees to deliver, companies need to invest in them. They need to foster the notion that every idea deserves attention, work is meaningful, and creativity and innovation are good things! People respond to appreciation. It’s time to unleash their potential!

The best performing employees are often the most engaged employees. Recently, many companies have caught wind of this. Corporate recognition and employee engagement articles have increased. However, despite efforts, engagement is still very low. So if you are reading this and working in a company that is truly putting you first, embrace it. Soak it in and enjoy it! If you are reading this and are a person who is in a position to enact change in your corporate culture, step up and do it! Hopefully, with an upward trend in embracing people, all companies will reclaim that bit of old-fashion value of working as a family.

Generation Z

Generation Z Invasion Contingency

They’re coming, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. If it hasn’t happened already, your company will soon be infiltrated! Start stocking up on supplies and preparing your teams to ensure a smooth transition.  You may remember the last wave of integrating Millennials. Trust me when I say that Generation Z is bringing changes that we’ve never seen before. Here is my contingency plan to secure a better level of preparedness and keep you, and your job, off the menu!

  1. Bring back the human factor.

A report from Millennial Branding found that 53% of Gen Z respondents preferred face-to-face interactions over virtual communications. 52% of them identified honesty as the most important quality of a good leader. This means, you can no longer sit in your corner office, beating around bushes behind closed doors. The movie Warm Bodies was on to something: Gen Z might all look the same but not all of them want to eat you (or in this case, take your job). Like you and me, some of them like a good juicy burger. To identify and attract these individuals, change up your leadership style and take down those barricades. Not only does Generation Z want to meet with you, they also want you to be fully transparent. So if your company is traditionally NOT transparent, it’s time to start a cultural shift. If not, good luck in retaining top talent from this group.

  1. Break free from tradition.

Generation Z’s are some of the most tech-savvy zombies employees in the workforce. No surprise, then, that 77% of respondents preferred using technology to help them accomplish their goals. They also prefer non-traditional work spaces.  A growing portion (27%) would relish the opportunity to work in a co-working space that operates independently of their managers. You don’t need to copy Silicon Valley and replace office chairs with beanbags, but you’re going to want to have a space where these invaders can put their own personal (and, dare I say, human) touch on things.

  1. Embrace different styles.

Despite being referred to as “the multitasking generation,” only a little over half of Gen Z’s indicated they like to multitask. Having a new generation that likes to focus on where their next meal is coming from can be a huge positive; a dedicated and intense focus on their next meal translates to a dedicated and intense focus on their next project. Oh, and by the way, only 59% expressed desire to work in a fast-paced environment whereas 68% indicated being able to flourish in one. As a leader, you will need to strike a balance between the large droves of Millennials who are juggling multiple projects and running around as if they are infected with “Rage” with the newest invaders who are accustomed to having ample time to just focus on “More brains!”

Something to keep in mind: Gen Z has kept a close watch on the professional careers of their predecessors. They’ve learned and seen how an attitude of entitlement and preference to fly solo are counterproductive to career and personal development. I mean, when was the last time you saw a zombie trying to lone-wolf it? All the stops need to be pulled out if we are to build loyalty with a generation expecting to change employers at least four times in their careers. While they may be more down-to-earth and casual, it’s still important to offer a well-balanced environment that provides clear direction, fosters innovation, and offers guidance and mentorship.




Experienced Need Not Apply

Experienced Need Not Apply

Why does it seem that recruiters and hiring managers only have eyes for perfect candidates?  After an evolution of the working environment that would make Charles Darwin smile from ear to ear, it’s surprising to see that these practices are still in place.  While finding a perfect match to the skills and experiences you desire may be preferred, going with the riskier choice comes with some advantages.

Companies like Zappos have shown us the power of the “hire for attitude and train for skill” approach.  By hiring a person with less direct experience, you are bringing in an unbiased candidate who can objectively look at existing processes and problems, and give a new perspective on them. This can lead to new ideas, solutions, innovations, and improvements.  Look at it as an injection of new oil into an old machine.

Hiring candidates with less than perfect credentials can also lead to loyal and determined employees.  The smart candidate will recognize your willingness to take a chance on them when other employers refused.  Your risk will in turn be rewarded with employees that stay longer and work harder.  Also, less-experienced candidates typically cost less than their experienced counterparts, and will have far fewer offers for you to compete against.

As a recruiter or hiring manager it is important to remember that as business is rapidly changing, experience is losing value.  You need to be looking for flexible candidates who can adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. If you are still stuck in your old ways, then I invite you to take a look at the resumes of Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.  Notice that neither of these two moguls had prior experience as a CEO, but were still able to change the game.

Unemployment in America

Unemployment in America

On September 5, 2014 the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their Employment Situation Summary.  The summary showed that 142,000 new jobs were created in August, which means that the unemployment rate remained at a steady 6.1%.  Here are the month over month numbers compared to last year:


The dip in new jobs created is being attributed to the typical end-of-summer slowdown, but is that really the case?  Believe me when I say that the jobs are out there.  How do I know this?  From personal experience, that’s how.  I am currently looking at our Sutherland Global Services recruiting target for September and it is not a small number, even if you subtract the positions outside of the US.  September isn’t just an anomaly either, projections by month for the rest of 2014 are looking to be just as high.

The jobs are definitely out there, but why is the number of new jobs created down?  In my article Four Common Recruiting Fails, I talked about four very commonplace recruiting blunders still being made by hiring managers today.  One of these mistakes is not hiring people with large gaps of unemployment.  As of the release of this report, 3 million Americans were disqualified for a reason that might not even be their fault!  I’m not saying that this practice is the sole reason for the disqualification of viable candidates, but it has to be factored in.  A side effect of these positions going unfilled is the decline in available workers, 268,000 to be exact.  Economists attribute the retirement of Baby Boomers to about half of this number, which means that 134,000 prime working-age people have given up on finding a job.

If you are going to take anything away from this article it should be that if you have a large gap of unemployment, you will want to be direct in an interview.  Ask if the gap will be an issue; if the response is yes then you will be able to immediately address the white elephant in the room.  Also, I feel like it’s worth mentioning – DO NOT LIE ON YOUR RESUME!  This will get you rejected quicker than a typo will!  The other thing that I want you to take away is that no matter how bleak you feel the job market is, you should take solace in the fact that Sutherland Global Services is really growing and always looking for an injection of new talent. Joining us is as simple as clicking the “Careers” tab at the top of this page, and selecting your location.  For those of you not located near one of our locations, don’t worry, we will come to you!

Together, you and Sutherland can fix the unemployment issue in America. So apply today!  If not for you, do it for America!


Recruiting Fails

Four Common Recruiting Fails

Despite there being a relatively high unemployment rate, many requisitions are still going unfilled.  Undoubtedly, the main reason given to upper management is something along the lines of “not enough qualified candidates.” In this article I am going to highlight four common recruitment practices that are severely limiting your qualified candidate pool.  Or to put it bluntly, four common recruiting fails.

Long Stint of Unemployment? No Job for You!

Let’s face it, it’s not 1967 anymore.  The unemployment rate is high and people are no longer spending 30 years at the same company.  In fact, it has been quite the opposite as job hopping is the “New Normal”, according to Forbes.  In 2010 we saw the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression.

Just because someone has been unemployed for an extended period of time does not make them any less qualified for the job.  Don’t assume the gap is due to laziness; you have no idea what their circumstances are.  Put the preconceived notions aside and let their previous work experience do the talking.

High-Skill Positions at Entry-Level Wages

Candidates turning down high-skill, hard-to-fill positions due to wage rate is not a qualification problem, it’s an affordability issue.  You need to be flexible with the wages you offer for these positions.  Take note of your competitors and see how long similar positions go unfilled.  Usually there is a reason they are paying people in those roles more, and it’s not because they can afford to.

Job Descriptions that Misrepresent the Actual Position

The job description is one of the most important and influential pieces of your recruitment strategy, and often gets overlooked.  Your job descriptions need to be interesting enough to draw candidates in and keep them reading.  Show job seekers that what you are saying is useful and relevant to them.

While being creative in the wording of your postings is definitely encouraged, do not misrepresent what the position has to offer.  Do not leave off core job functions because you think it will scare top talent away.  Be open and honest because nothing will cause a candidate to walk away from a job offer, and bad mouth your company, quicker than a feeling of deceit.  Not disclosing that the position requires cold calling while hopping up and down on one foot on a balance beam that is suspended three feet above a tank of sharks will surely cause a candidate to feel mistreated.

Limiting Your Candidate Pool by Job Title

CareerBuilder did a fairly large study and found that 55% of all hiring managers, from the over 2,000 organizations surveyed, only hired people who held the same title as the open vacancy.

My official title is “Talent Engagement Strategist.” What does that really mean?  I do a little bit of everything – I do some recruiting (apply now!), I get to play around on social media for part of the day (Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), I devise strategies to engage with my fellow co-workers.  If you are reading this then you know I get to create some compelling content, and I also support a myriad of internal tasks and projects ranging from reporting to business development.  I have so many hats that I needed a hat rack installed at my desk!

If I was a prospective candidate for your Social Media Specialist position, and you filtered your candidate pool by job title, I would certainly be eliminated.  Nowhere in my current or past titles have I ever been a “Social Media” something.  I clearly have a lot of experience with social media, but I would surely be passed over.

The next time you are finding yourself short on qualified candidates, I want you to think back to this post (assuming you haven’t printed this out and posted it next to your computer screen).  You may be guilty of some of these common recruitment practice fails. If you need any reminders, you can always tweet me @Tom_Castronova.


Five Reasons to Speed Up Your Hiring Process

Today I wanted to shine some light on the adverse effects that a slow hiring process has on an organization, and their ability to recruit top talent.  Below are five reasons why you should aim to increase the speed of your hiring process.

1.    Lose Out on Top Talent

The old saying “The early bird gets the worm” has never been truer when talking about top talent that is often not on the market for very long.  By having a slow hiring process, you allow your competition to be the first to make an offer.  This forces the candidate to make a decision before your offer is even on the table.  Chances are, the candidate will no longer be available once your offer does make it to the table.

2.    Increased Vacancies and Spending, Lower Productivity

How much revenue and productivity does a vacant position generate?  If you said zero, then you probably understand the profound effect that a slow hiring process has on an organization.  Some of you may be saying, “But you are saving on that position’s salary and benefits!”  True, but let’s say that this vacant position is a sales position.  Zero sales equal $0!  If your organization doesn’t already calculate the cost-per-day that a position remains unnecessarily open, then now’s the time to start.  You will be shocked at how much it costs you.

Another negative effect of a slow hiring process is that when you finally do hire someone for that open position, chances are you end up paying them more than if you had not been beaten to your first choice.  When top talent finally enters the job market, and they have worked with the same company for many years, something funny happens.  They undervalue, or flat out don’t know, what they are worth.  If your organization is flexible enough, and able to get in an early offer, you are most likely going to end up paying the new hire a much lower salary.  Why is this?  Remember how I said top talent doesn’t remain on the market for very long?  Invariably they will take one of those early offers and not be around to receive other offers, nor have the time to do their homework into exactly what they are worth.  If you have a very slow hiring process, and by some miracle your top candidate is still on the market, you will pay top dollar for them.

3.    Damage the Candidate Experience and Potentially Your Brand

In the age of social media, word of mouth is king.  Seldom do you see great experiences go viral on social media.  When you have a slow hiring process people are not only going to talk about it, but also scream about it on social media.  Don’t believe me?  Check out, which shows how long the hiring process can take, and how that wasted time can impact a brand.  Poor brand image will lead to smaller applicant pools, as well as lower-quality candidates.  As for your candidate experience, being slow to respond to an application will drive a candidate to their own conclusions about the prospects of joining your organization.  Can you guess what they are thinking?

4.    Incapable of Hiring Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are the “great white buffalo” of the recruiting world.  To hire a passive candidate you more than likely have built and fostered a relationship with this person over a long period of time.  One day you see they updated their LinkedIn profile, and they are on the market!  Only problem is that every other recruiting type has been fostering a relationship with the same candidate.  If you have a slow hiring process, you will see all of my previous points in action.  Another facet that comes with passive candidates is that you are not just competing with other companies.  If you are slow to the dance, you allow their current employer to make a counteroffer, or mend the rift that was driving that candidate to seek other employment.

5.    Significantly Raise the Hidden Hiring Costs

I say hidden costs because most organizations do not include them in their standard cost-per-hire calculations.  A major increased cost is if you require an excessive amount of interviews to fill a position.  In this case, anything over four interviews per candidate is excessive.  With each additional interview you are demanding more and more time of your hiring managers, recruiters, and any other employee involved.  Opening positions to internal candidates first, or having a complex requisition approval process, can also lead to high costs.  The longer the vacancy stays open, the higher the cost per hire.

These are just a few of the negative side effects of a slow hiring process.  If you feel there are more important downsides, feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter @Tom_Castronova.

Hiring Top Talent in a Down Market

Hiring Top Talent in a Down Market

Is it really easier to hire top talent in a down market?

There are more candidates to choose from in a down market; however, many will not fit your specific opportunity.  When the market is down, many candidates will apply for any job they see available.  This will require more time from your recruiters to assess the larger candidate pool.  Based on the increased traffic, it is easier to overlook good talent.  Also, “great talent tends to be more hesitant about making a career change in a down market. They fear if it doesn’t work out at the new employer for whatever reason, they have fewer career options if they have to leave.” Kim R. Davis

In order to hire top talent an employer must truly be able to define it, as well as be prepared to make timely decisions.  Nothing can be more detrimental to your talent pool than dragging your feet on making hiring decisions.


Top Talent…

  • Is persistent
  • Has high energy
  • Possesses a great attitude
  • Shares the company vision
  • Has a life’s purpose that is in alignment with the company’s mission


Top talent is in demand.  They are not standing in line waiting for your opportunity, you need to go out and seek them.  Be proactive, as you are not their only option!

Hire for Fit, Train for Skill Set

Hire for Fit, Train for Skill Set

I recently read this article by Brandee Barker and found it to be very true and refreshing.  Many times, the ideal candidate isn’t the person who is most qualified based on skills; often the ideal candidate is simply the person who will work effectively in your unique business.

It is rare that a new employee will resign due to lack of skill.  Commonly, their motive to step down lies in the fact that they’re unfit for the position.  An unfit employee can be detrimental to your company.  This is why it is important to make sure that you hire for fit.  If not, you will be building attrition into your business.

Employers make a costly mistake when they assume that acquiring the right employees, and retaining them, are two separate and distinctive activities.  They actually fit hand in hand and are two points of the same objective – finding the right person for a particular job.  Hiring a best-fit candidate makes retention notably easier to achieve.  Companies that want to enable success are starting to recognize the need to build retention into their recruitment process.

It is important to recognize that traditional thinking – doing business the same old way – no longer works in recruitment.  Over time, any business process that worked in the past can become illogical or impractical, and even a hindrance to business success.  Candidates are not standing in line, waiting to come work for your organization.  An effective recruitment process for today’s marketplace must be both a science and an art.  You need to reach the best candidates before your competition does.  Remember, great candidates – the ones you want – have options.


Three True Interview Questions

The Three True Interview Questions

From time to time I find myself Googling information on Recruiting; in fact, I may have a problem!  Sometimes I find myself on pages with useless information and other times I find myself on pages that provide quality knowledge on recruiting.  Today, I happened to stumble across this article on Forbes that is titled “Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions”.  Only three, that’s it!!!  Let’s see what they are…

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you love the job?
  • Can we tolerate working with you?

Can You Do the Job? – Strengths

Kevin Kelly, CEO of Heidrick & Struggles, explained to me that it’s not just about technical skills, but also about leadership and interpersonal strengths.  Technical skills help you climb the ladder.  As you climb higher, managing up, down, and across become more important.

“You can’t tell by looking at a piece of paper what some of the strengths and weaknesses really are… We ask for specific examples of not only what’s been successful but what they’ve done that hasn’t gone well or a task they’ve, quite frankly, failed at and how they learned from that experience and what they’d do different in a new scenario.

Not only is it important to look at the technical skill set they have… but also the strengths on what I call the EQ side of the equation in terms of getting along and dealing or interacting with people”.

Will You Love The Job? – Motivation

Bill Guy, CEO of Cornerstone International Group, emphasizes the changing nature of motivation:

“… younger employees do not wish to get paid merely for working hard – just the reverse: they will work hard because they enjoy their environment and the challenges associated with their work… Executives who embrace this new management style are attracting and retaining better employees”.

Can We Tolerate Working With You? – Fit

Continuing on with our conversation, Kevin Kelly explains the importance of cultural fit:

“A lot of it is cultural fit and whether they are going to fit well into the organization… The perception is that when (senior leaders) come into the firm, a totally new environment, they know everything.  And they could do little things such as send emails in a voicemail culture that tend to negatively snowball over time.  Feedback of onboarding is critical.  If you don’t get that feedback, you will get turnover later on”.

I must admit, they are spot on with these questions.  Each question I have ever asked, or that I have been asked, is a follow-up to one of these three questions.  As a recruiter, it is our job to find the people who not only know how to interview, but also know how to deliver and are a good cultural fit within their potential new organization.  However, will these people be wise enough to ask a company, “Why would I want to work for you?”

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree or disagree?

Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: How to Motivate Your Employees?

What motivates your employees to stay or leave?  No matter how much you attempt to engage your employees with cash, unless you strike a balance between what employees contribute to an organization and what they get back in return, you can forget about having an engaged workforce.  Cash isn’t king, apparently.  Who would have guessed?

In the 1950’s and 60’s, psychologist Frederick Herzberg set out to truly understand employee satisfaction.  These results form the basis of Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory.  Published in his famous article “One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees”, the conclusions he drew were extraordinary influential, and still form the bedrock of good motivational practice nearly half a century later.

Motivation-Hygiene Theory

I came across this article that shows that Herzberg’s findings revealed that certain characteristics of a job are consistently related to job satisfaction, while different factors are associated with job dissatisfaction.  These are:

Factors for Satisfaction Factors for Dissatisfaction
AchievementRecognitionThe work itself




 Company policiesSupervision

Relationship with supervisor and peers

Work conditions




Herzberg began separating extrinsic factors from intrinsic factors and he began to see that people were overwhelmingly more motivated by intrinsic factors like achievement, recognition for achievements and growth or advancement than extrinsic factors like working conditions, salary and status.

So if you want to have an engaged workforce – remember, cash is not king.  Engaging employees isn’t about simple compensation.  Employees want to feel appreciated for the hard work they are doing to contribute to your company and want to feel like they are growing as people.

This means employees want to know that the eight hours a day they are working does something for the greater good.

How do you keep your employees engaged?


The Biggest Recruiting Challenges for 2014

Better sourcing should lead to better talent, better fit and ultimately better retention – which is a true competitive advantage in today’s tough marketplace.  Our team was built to show our sourcing expertise and organize an effective, proven recruiting strategy to ensure the employment lifecycle begins with sourcing excellence.

Are you still trying to find one solution that fits all of your hiring needs?  Can you imagine if we shopped this way for clothes?  It just would not work.

I came across this article by Dr. John Sullivan on, let’s take a look at his predictions for the biggest strategic recruiting challenges for 2014.

The Biggest Strategic Recruiting Challenges

The eight most significant corporate recruiting challenges or problems that will be prominent during 2014 include:

  1.  Retention problems will increasingly impact recruiting – as more employees become comfortable shifting away from security needs and towards more exciting job opportunities, turnover rates will increase by over 25 percent.  This dramatic increase in turnover will create many new “sudden openings” which will put an added strain on already stressed recruiting systems.  In order to help reduce future turnover, the “potential for early turnover” will have to be included in the assessment criteria for all finalists.
  2. Speed once again becomes essential to remain competitive – over the last few years – with high unemployment and little competition for talent – in many cases recruiters could take their time and still land top candidates.  As the pace of change in business and the competition for talent increases, firms will have no choice but to revisit “speed of hire” approaches and tools in order to land candidates that are in high demand.
  3. Limited resources will require position prioritization – the increased hiring volume coupled with the inevitable lag in being provided with additional budget resources will require most firms to prioritize their jobs.  Recruiting will then allocate their resources toward filling revenue generating and other high-business-impact positions.
  4. Business volatility makes workforce planning more necessary but more difficult – as continuous business volatility in a VUCA world becomes the “new normal,” executives will increase their demand for date-driven workforce planning.  Unfortunately, most talent functions simply do not currently have staff with the capability to conduct sophisticated workforce forecasting and planning.
  5. College recruiting must be reengineered if it is to succeed – the demand for college talent in key majors will continue to increase dramatically.  Unfortunately, corporate college recruiting budgets and processes have been mostly stagnant over the last few years, even though colleges themselves and the expectations of their students have changed dramatically.  A reengineered college recruiting model must move beyond a focus on career centers and increase its capabilities in the areas of global college recruiting, remote college recruiting, recruiting students from online universities, recruiting “passive” students, and the use of market research to completely understand the job search process and the expectations of this new generation of grads.
  6. The shortage of top recruiters will become evident – as recruiting ramps up, firms will begin to realize that there is a significant shortage of talented and currently up-to-date recruiters.  After poaching from the rapidly shrinking executive search world, leaders will begin bidding over top corporate recruiters.  A lack of quality internal and external recruiter training capabilities will make the recruiter shortage even worse.
  7. Large firms must learn to compete with startups for talent – the recent lavish funding and the economic success of numerous startups will continue to make them attractive to innovators and top talent.  Unfortunately, few major corporations have a market-research-driven strategy or a set of tools that allows them to successfully recruit against startups for these valuable prospects with a “startup mindset.”
  8. Finding high-impact technology will still be problematic – although there is a wealth of new technology in recruiting, almost all of it is designed to reduce costs and administrative burdens.  After 20 years of waiting, I have yet to encounter the breakthrough recruiting technology that produces a competitive advantage by demonstrating in a split sample that its usage directly improves the on-the-job performance of all new hires by at least 20 percent over existing processes.


What will your company’s biggest recruitment challenges be in 2014?  How will your team combat these challenges?