January 09, 2013
What's in a Title, Anyway? - recruitment agencys

Creative Job Titles in an Evolving Market - recruitment agencys

Hands holding blank business cardsOkay, admit it: the fact that there are fewer job postings involving the words “ninja,” “guru” or “rockstar” comes as a relief.  Yet while the trend for wild (and sometimes ridiculous) titles seems well beyond its peak, there’s still a good argument to be made for creative or non-traditional job titles.  An interesting title can help grab attention and increase interest, whether during the application process or while chatting at a networking event, and can be a great reflector of a non-traditional brand.

But how can you tell when it’s time to have a little fun with your titles, and when you should just stick to the tried and true?

Step One: Does a creative title fit the job – and your target candidates?

Reactions to creative job titles are as varied as the jobs themselves, ranging from “I’d love that!” to “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  The best way to assess whether a more innovative approach to titles may be a good fit is to ask the opinions of your current employees in the relevant role or department.

Be cognizant of the reactions of your top performers or other individuals that particularly reflect the skills and attitudes that you value.  If the idea is met with enthusiasm, solicit ideas and suggestions for titles that are engaging and accurately capture the job or division.

Another approach is to try posting and sourcing candidates using the creative title for a role for a limited period of time, then compare results to the previous title.  What did candidates think?  Were passive candidates any more likely to take or return your call?  Was there any measurable change in applicant volume or quality?  It’s often a good idea to try this kind of test prior to a full-scale rollout; after all, ideas that sound great in a meeting room can fall flat in the market.

Step Two: Does the title mean anything?

At the end of the day, let’s not forget what titles are supposed to do: provide others with a simple indication of a role and its responsibilities.  No matter how creative or exciting, a job title fails at its primary goal if it fails to deliver this message.

Also be aware of how a title change could affect the searchability of your positions.  (Similarly: If you’re an individual with a creative or unexpected title, it’s often a good idea to make sure that your LinkedIn profile and resume also use or reference a more traditional title for your role to help ensure that you show up in relevant keyword searches.)

Step Three: Is a creative title reflective of the company brand and culture?

Titles, like job descriptions and recruitment materials, should accurately reflect the company’s culture, values and brand.  Use of a non-traditional job title, especially as part of the recruitment process, sets certain expectations – and you’d better be prepared to follow through.  Misalignment between the job as presented in the recruitment process and the actual position results in frustration and disillusionment in the new hire, and a creative title for a prescriptive role can further exacerbate this issue.

Yet if you have an offbeat culture, are searching for a very particular type of employee – or are looking to highlight a particular corporate value across multiple roles – a title change may be a great way to see results.


Image courtesy of luigi diamanti /

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December 19, 2012
Head2Head's Holiday Hours - recruitment agencys

Looking to connect with Head2Head this holiday season?

We’d love to hear from you! But please be aware that our office will be closed on the following days:

  • Monday, December 24
  • Tuesday, December 25
  • Wednesday, December 26
  • Tuesday, January 1

Best wishes from all of us here at Head2Head!

Tags: holiday hours
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December 11, 2012
Why Great Employee Referral Programs Fail - recruitment agencys

Hand Putting People NetworkAsk and ye shall receive.  Ah, why are employee referral programs never so simple?  Across businesses, sectors, and geographies, employee referrals consistently rank as one of the best sources of quality hires.  Which is great … if you can manage to get referrals at all.

Time and again, we’ve seen employee referral programs fall flat – not because of poor program design or rewards or even the employees themselves.  No, these failures come down to lack of one simple thing.

A communications strategy.

To be effective, a referral program should have a full communications strategy that includes a minimum of four core elements:

1. Launch Awareness.

Quick way to fail: Create a new program with great rewards and opportunities, and hide it away so that no one knows about it, or cares.

Simply put, no one will refer candidates to a program that they don’t know exists.  If you are launching an employee referral program, or attempting to reinvent or reinvigorate an existing program, don’t just place a notice on your intranet or send out an email – it’s time to make a splash.  Clearly explain what the program is, why employees should care, and the type of rewards the program provides – and provide links to current or upcoming opportunities.  Look for as many opportunities as you can to get the word out: intranet, email, employee newsletters, company blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, a promotional contest – you name it, go for it.

2. Leadership Buy-In and Promotion.

Quick way to fail: Make the employee referral program seem like “just an HR/Recruitment initiative,” rather than a program that benefits the entire company.

Engagement and buy-in from leadership is often key to making employee referrals part of the company culture.  Leaders at all level need to be able to explain not only that the program exists, but also how and why referrals are valuable to the business.  Understanding how great employee referrals connect to achieving business goals is a great motivator – and engaged employees are motivated to help the company succeed even without a financial or other reward.

3. Ongoing Program Promotion.

Quick way to fail: Assume that employees will remember about the program and actively review current postings to seek opportunities to refer family/friends without reminders, encouragement, or further information.

Following a great launch, don’t let your program fizzle out.  All the techniques used to launch a program can help you gain and keep long-term momentum.  Consider including employee referral success stories in company publications, running referral contests or promotions, delivering regular communications in corporate social media, and even offering an award or extra bonus for top referrers.

4. Follow-Up with Candidates – and Referrers.

Quick way to fail: Promote the program and its many benefits, then ignore referred candidates and referrers alike.

If candidate experience is important in the recruitment process (and it is!), then it’s especially critical when dealing with referred candidates.  Referrals have often heard an insider’s perspective about the company, and have certain expectations.  Dropping the ball on candidate experience – even if the candidate is entirely unsuitable for the role or company – risks damaging your employment brand.  Provide a great experience, and even the individuals that you pass over for jobs can become brand champions and referrers.

And don’t forget about your referrers.  Give updates on where their candidates are in the process, feedback on the alignment of their referrals, and thanks for spending the time/effort to help the company recruit great new hires.


Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 /

Tags: employee referrals, communications, HR, recruitment
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December 03, 2012
Quick Take: Use Technology to Manage Relationships, Not Data - recruitment agencys

Businessman with Recruiting ConceptTechnology continues to evolve to better meet the needs of recruitment and HR functions – even as our practices evolve to better take advantage of the opportunities technology offers.  But where’s all this change taking us?

We asked , where he sees recruiting and HR technology evolving over the next five years.  His answer:


I think the core thing that we’re seeing is that the “traditional” ATS is becoming antiquated.  It’s not because these functions have stopped being useful.  It’s just that there’s so much more value to be gained through systems that do more than just store and search candidate data.

What we’re seeing now is incredible growth of CRM-focused applications that enable HR and recruiters to manage relationships and people, not just manage data.  These systems reflect the growing reality: great recruitment is not dissimilar from a great sales function.  And like a good sales funnel, a company’s talent pool needs to be nurtured and grown over the long term.

Where technology is going to add value is through easy functionalities that will allow companies to build and maintain relationships with their people – potential candidates, current employees, and alumni – over the long term, and empower a more strategic view of long-term talent trends and opportunities.


Image courtesy of suphakit73 /

Tags: Quick Take, ATS, technology
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November 26, 2012
GUEST POST: Talent Management Programs: Recruiting Asset – or Liability? - recruitment agencys

Check mark and XGreat talent management programs benefit more than your internal employees – they can be a significant asset in attracting great candidates. If you've got best practice programs in place, show them off! They can help make you an employer of choice to candidates who are serious about their performance and careers, and help you make sure you're getting people who'll be a good fit for your team.

But before you start flaunting your talent management practices to job candidates, you'd better make sure they're up to snuff. Here are some quick questions surrounding core elements of a talent management program to help evaluate where you stand:


  • Do you make sure the important benefits and payroll paperwork gets done, then leave the rest of the first day details to individual managers? (Liability)
  • Do you have a comprehensive onboarding process that ; introduces them to the organization, their co-workers, your customers, and market; provides goals; supports development; and sets them up for success? (Asset)

Role-Based Competencies

  • Have you identified a set of core competencies and specific competencies for each job that lead to superior performance, and communicated them to each employee? (Asset)
  • Do your employees have up-to-date job descriptions that list the general requirements, job responsibilities, essential functions and competencies of their role? (Asset)
  • Do you view job descriptions as meaningless paperwork? (Liability)

Employee Development and Support

  • Do any of your employees work without formal goals? (Liability)
  • Do you involve employees in setting their goals? (Asset)
  • Are employees’ goals linked to organizational goals so that employees understand the purpose and value of their work? (Asset)
  • Is employee development limited to a few training days each year, or left entirely to the employee’s initiative? (Liability)
  • Do you focus on and support employee development in all its forms*, seeing this as one of your managers' and employees' primary responsibilities? (Asset)
    (*courses, conferences, coaching, on the job training, work assignments, job shadowing, lunch and learn sessions, reading, volunteer work, cross functional team work, temporary assignments, webinars, e-learning, etc.)

Performance Evaluation

  • Do you have a formalized process or tools in place to provide ongoing employee feedback and coaching year round? (Asset)
  • Do employees receive only an annual performance appraisal/rating, or nothing formal at all? (Liability)
  • Do employees complete a self-appraisal and share it with their managers? (Asset)
  • Do you view performance appraisals as something managers do and something employees receive? (Liability)

Pay and Rewards

  • Do you link pay to performance, and reward desired behaviours and achievement of goals using both monetary and non-monetary means? (Asset)
  • Do you assign everyone the same percentage increase each year? (Liability)
  • Do you have a process in place to identify high performing, high potential employees in all key areas and prepare them for advancement? (Asset)


  • Do you train managers in the skills required to effectively manage employee performance and development? (Asset)
  • Do you believe managers learn best by from experience and let them hone their management skills independently through trial and error? (Liability)
  • Do you consider succession planning something you only need to do for your top executive positions? (Liability)

Corporate Culture

  • Do you work proactively to create a strong organizational culture? Can you describe that culture? (Asset)
  • Do you view organizational culture as something intangible and organic that happens by itself? (Liability)

Now stop and review your answers.

Do you have more assets than liabilities when it comes to talent management? Maybe you need to put a bit more effort into making yourself effective and attractive as an employer.

If you’ve identified “assets” in the way you manage your staff, make sure you flaunt them to candidates in your next job interview. If the candidates seem enthusiastic about your talent management programs, it’s a safe bet they care about being a high performer.


Sean Conrad works and blogs for . He writes about recruitment, managing employees and other talent management topics for the

Tags: talent management, performance evaluation, onboarding, HR, attracting candidatrecruitment agencys n>
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