Client zone

I think we all recognise how the UK market matches what is being said by Joe Light here

As recruiters wade cautiously back into hiring mode, they’re throwing out their old playbooks. Rather than sift through mounds of online applications, they are going out to hunt for candidates themselves.

Many plan to scale back their use of online job boards, which they say generate mostly unqualified leads, and hunt for candidates with a particular expertise on places like LinkedIn Corp.’s professional networking site before they post an opening. As the market gets more competitive again, they are hiring recruiters with expertise in headhunting and networking, rather than those with experience processing paperwork.

Inundated by online applicants, McLean, Va.-based government contractor Science Applications International Corp. plans to cut the number of job boards it uses in the coming fiscal year to six from 15 or so, says company vice president Kara Yarnot.

SAIC has asked its 125 U.S. recruiters to find candidates for analyst, engineering, and other jobs on professional social networks instead.

“It’s almost a throwback to the old, dial-for-dollars method of recruiting,” says Ms. Yarnot. “We need to reach candidates earlier, before they’re being pursued by competitors.”

About 24% of companies plan to decrease their usage of third-party employment websites and job boards this year, according to a December survey from the Corporate Executive Board Co., a business consulting firm. Meanwhile, nearly 80% of respondents said they plan to increase their use of job-board alternative methods this year, such as employee referrals and other websites like Facebook Inc. or LinkedIn.


Food services company Sodexo USA, owned by Paris-based Sodexo SA, slashed the number of jobs it posts to third-party job boards by more than half since the recession started, says vice president of talent acquisition Arie Ball. The number of applications to some executive openings at Sodexo rose more than 50% to 300 since the downturn started, Ms. Ball says, but the increase brought many unqualified candidates.

“Recruiters had to put in all this extra time to read applications but we didn’t get benefit from it,” she says. Now, the company is hiring different types of recruiters who specialize in headhunting, including finding candidates to poach from competitors, rather than those who are good at processing and filtering applications.

Companies are adapting their plans as they start hiring again after the downturn. Between November 2009 and November 2010, the total number of job openings rose 32%, according to the Labor Department.

Job seekers who were reluctant to leave their existing jobs—as well as unemployed workers sitting on the sidelines—have begun casting about for opportunities, too. Between December 2009 and December 2010, recruiters saw a 17% increase in applications per opening, according to the Corporate Executive Board.

The trend has in many ways been a boon for job boards, which say they haven’t noticed any impact from some companies’ pullback. But some of the largest sites acknowledge that the new environment means they must do more to keep customers happy.

In the coming months, Monster Worldwide Inc. plans to roll out technology that ranks candidates based on how well their applications fit requirements set by the recruiter, says chief global marketing officer Ted Gilvar. The product has been available to some customers since late last year.

Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc. remains concerned that relying too much on job boards could be bad for business.

Melissa Mounce, the company’s senior vice president of corporate talent acquisition, says the company became concerned that its slow response time to applications was hurting its retail bank’s brand. “Someone who applies for a bank-teller position might also be a customer or potential customer, and we were letting those applications fall into a black hole,” she says.

PNC has reduced its overall spending on general job boards, such as Monster and CareerBuilder, but still uses niche boards, like for tech professionals, when the need arises. “We used to post everything, but in this environment, you have to think strategically,” she says.

Additionally, the company is currently reorganizing its recruiting staff to better handle the tens of thousands of applications it receives in a given month. Instead of using senior recruiters to filter through the company’s applicants, lower-level screeners process them first and only hand off the most-qualified. A separate set of recruiters actively searches for more experienced candidates who aren’t likely to come in through a job board.

Jeff Haden notes The 5 Biggest Hiring Mistakes

Interview Mistake

Hiring the right people is critical for any business but especially for a small company with relatively few employees.  Hiring mistakes not only waste time and money, they create a ripple effect that impacts other employees and your business.

Here are five hiring mistakes you absolutely must avoid:

1. Thinking you can change a leopard’s spots. All employees typically must follow company rules and guidelines, whether formal or unwritten. Still, some people can’t — or won’t. The outstanding salesman with the incredible track record of generating business andterrorizing admin and support staff won’t immediately play well in your sandbox just because you hired him. The kid who works Dracula hours fueled by Mountain Dew and Cheetos won’t magically transform into a model Mr. 8-to-5. For some people the work itself, and how they perform that work, is what matters most — not the job. Don’t think you can change them.

Instead: Two choices: One, decide you will accept the total package. If you desperately need revenue you might decide to live with the proven sales superstar’s prima donna behavior. Or letting the valuable programmer work nights may be okay even if everyone else works day hours and communication will be less than optimal. But if you’re not willing to accommodate or compromise, pass. There is no middle ground.

2. Hiring for skills rather than attitude. Skills and knowledge are worthless when not put to use. Experience is useless when not shared with others. The smaller your business the more likely you are to be an expert in your field; transferring those skills to others is relatively easy. But you can’t train enthusiasm, a solid work ethic, and great interpersonal skills — and those traits can matter a lot more than any skills a candidate brings.

Instead: If in doubt, always hire for attitude. A candidate who lacks certain hard skills is cause for concern; a candidate who lacks interpersonal skills is waving a giant red flag.

3. Selling your business. You absolutely need employees who want to work for you. That’s a given. But never try to sell a candidate on your company. Why? 1) Good candidates have done their homework; they know whether your company is a good fit, and 2) You skew the employee/employer relationship from the start. An employee grateful for an opportunity approaches her first days at work much differently than an employee who feels she’s doing you a favor by joining your team.

Instead: Describe the position, describe your company, answer questions, be factual and forthright, let the candidate make an informed decision… but never sell. The right candidates recognize the right opportunities.

4. Hiring friends and family. I know: Some successful businesses look like a perpetual family reunion. Still, be careful. Some employees will overstate a family member’s qualifications when making a recommendation. Their heart may be in the right place, but their desire to help out a family member doesn’t always align with your need to hire great employees. Plus friends and family see each other outside of work, too, increasing the chances of interpersonal conflicts. The smaller the company, the greater the potential impact. And one more thing: Two brothers in a five-person business may just wield more effective power than you.

Instead: Either set up an appropriate policy, like “no family members in the same department,” or do an incredibly thorough job of evaluating the candidate. In general establishing and following a policy is the cleanest solution if only because you will never appear to favor one employee’s request to interview a friend over another.

5. Ignoring intuition. Nothing beats a formal, comprehensive hiring process — except, sometimes, intuition. Always weigh impressions against qualitative considerations. And feel free to run little “tests.” I always took supervisory candidates on an informal tour of our manufacturing areas. Sometimes employees would interrupt to ask a question; I stopped because employees always come first. A candidate who appeared irritated or frustrated by the interruption was a cause for concern. Same with a struggling employee, say one who got behind while stacking boxes. I would naturally pitch in while still talking to the candidate. Most would also pitch in, some self-consciously in an obvious attempt to impress, others naturally and without affect. (It’s easy to tell who automatically helps out and who does so only because you’re watching.)

Instead: Let your experience and intuition inform your hiring decisions. And don’t be afraid to conduct your own tests. A classic is the waiter test: How someone interacts with a waiter (or anyone in a position to serve them) is often a good indication of how they will interact with your employees. You know the intangible qualities you need in employees; determine a few simple ways to see if a candidate has or lacks those qualities.

Bottom Line: If in doubt, cross ’em out. Everyone makes hiring mistakes, no matter how hard they try. Never put yourself in a position to look back and think, “I knew I shouldn’t have hired him…”

Medical Devices, a good place to work…….

After witnessing declines in every quarter since the second quarter of 2009, the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.4% in the fourth quarter of 2009, an indication that the economy is on a recovery path. While the UK continues to recover from one of the worst economic downturns, the healthcare sector, particularly the medical devices industry, is well on its way to witnessing growth.
This resilience to the economic crisis is largely because demand for healthcare is not tied to consumer discretionary spending and it continues to remain stable, even during times of recession.

Healthcare’s underlying drivers

The UK is home to 62 million people, of which 16% are aged 65 and above. By 2050, this will grow to an estimated 77 million. As a sizable chunk of this population continues to age, a surge in the incidences of chronic diseases is also expected. This, coupled with a sustained rise in benefits provided by payers and providers, is expected to boost demand for medical devices and supplies. Many manufacturers and healthcare providers are spending heavily in raising awareness through direct-to-consumer advertising, and this is further boosting the country’s demand for healthcare.

It is not just the private sector that is encouraging growth. The UK Government can be credited with improvements in the country’s healthcare delivery and services infrastructure, the result of a steady increase in spending on healthcare, which was estimated at $220bn (£141bn) in 2009, roughly 10.1% of the country’s GDP.
“As a sizable chunk of this population continues to age, a surge in the incidences of chronic diseases is also expected. This is expected to boost demand for medical devices and supplies.”

UK healthcare spending has witnessed an increasing trend for more than a decade, in absolute terms and as a proportion of GDP. The overall implications of this, and consequently an improved healthcare delivery network, can be judged from the marked improvements in the country’s leading health indicators.
The adult mortality rate (the number of deaths of adults between 15 to 60 years per 1,000 population) fell to 93 in 2010 from 129 in 1990 (males), and to 58 in 2,010 from 78 in 1990 (females).
• Under-fives mortality rate (children less than five years old per 1,000 births), for both sexes, decreased to five in 2010 from ten in 1990.
• Maternal mortality rate (maternal deaths due to childbearing per 100,000 births) fell to 61 in 2008 from 65 in 1990.
• Life expectancy at birth increased to 78 years in 2008 from 73 years in 1990 (males) and to 82 years in 2008 from 78 years in 1990 (females), an indication of the improvement in the UK’s overall health climate.

The flip side to this growth is the severe budgetary constraints that the country’s National Health Services (NHS) will face in the next few years. Publicly financed healthcare expenditure has contributed to most of the increase in health spending for almost a decade.
The UK’s public healthcare is financed through the NHS, the total expenditure of which amounted to $153bn (£98.3bn) in 2009-10.
While the NHS continues to suffer from underfunding, a bigger concern is an estimated £2.6 billion ($4bn) cost savings that the NHS is expected to contribute. Consequently, the funding to NHS for 2010-11 was reduced to £102.3bn ($160bn) from the £104.6 billion ($163bn) originally planned in last year’s budget.

Reportedly, NHS trusts are expected to deliver efficiency savings in the range of £15 billion ($23bn) and £20bn ($31bn) over three years from 2011 to 2014. While there are growth obstacles that do not seem to leave the horizon any time soon, the fact that the underlying demand drivers remain in place, should make the UK industry stakeholders happy.

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