Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Job Agent is out - Career Agent is in

Job agent is a common service of job boards to keep candidates in the loop of new job openings in the “visible job market”. Job agent significantly decreases the amount of search activities performed by job seekers. However, candidates must still evaluate job ads, prepare their CV and cover letter and send them off.

To really ease the job hunt process, candidates in Poland (I did not find this service in other countries) may use career agent, a service rendered by professional career consulting companies. Essentially, a candidate commissions a career professional to actively promote his/her job application to the prospective employers for the period of 2-6 months while he/she can jump into the process when employer demonstrates interest in interviewing. The service include: preparation of CV and cover letter, social media profiling, job offer research and liaison with the prospective employers, job interview and salary negotiation coaching, as well as an individual marketing campaign in the “hidden job market”. Candidates can spend their time on other activities then applying for jobs and substantially lessen their frustration with the job hunt processes.

So how is all this relevant to HR? Should HR care that candidates’ applications are sent by third parties? Accordingly to some recent articles, HR does not appreciate to receive applications sent by helicopter parents. So, are they happy to receive them from career agents?

Given the war for talent, HR should be happy about quality candidates no matter how they get informed of openings and whether or not they contact the employer by themselves. After all, career agent is similar to head hunter who introduces talent to the company. There are important differences though. Whilst head hunters are paid by the company career agents are paid by the candidate. Notably, the remuneration include a basic flat fee plus a success bonus, around 60-80% of candidates first gross salary at his/her new employer. Second, while head hunter act in the company’s interests, career agents and parents always have the candidate in mind first. But unlike parents, career agents may help candidates to define career goals, help them find opportunities that balance their passions and market opportunities, and aid with candidates self-exploration.

What are the odd for career agents to boom? Can career agents get the foot through the door of e.g. German HR departments? Can in-house recruiters get used to dealing with candidate’s career agent just like it is normal for the casting director to deal with the actors’ agent? Would career agents be easier accepted when they represent senior candidates? What impression make candidates (senior or entry-level) who let themselves represent by a career agent? Why it can be beneficial for a company that candidates work with a career agent? And finally, are HR departments prepared to deal with career agents?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

National Characteristics of Job Ads

At first, job ads seem to be uniform across the regions. Their components are pretty much the same: a short description of the employer, a teaser, a task list, a candidate profile, employer’s rewards to the successful candidate, and contact information. Yet, there are some characteristics of job ads that are unique to certain countries.

To circumvent scarcity of resources in human resource departments, many companies in Hong Kong, Poland and Great Britain opt for communication with shortlisted candidates only. Some companies will indicate their approach in the job ad by placing one of the following phrases:
* Only shortlisted candidates will be notified.
* We regret only shortlisted candidates will be notified.
* We reserve the right to contact shortlisted candidates only.

Another line often included in job ads in those countries is
* All data collected will be used for recruitment purposes only and will be used strictly confidential.

However, in Poland applicants are also asked to include consent with personal data processing. For example:
* Please include the following clause in your CV: I hereby give consent for my personal data included in my offer to be processed for the purposes of recruitment, in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act dated 29.08.1997 (uniform text: Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland 2002 No 101, item 926 with further amendments).

By indicating the salary range, HR and recruiters in Great Britain attach great importance to efficiency of recruitment process. In Poland, this practice is coming about slowly. In Germany, it is completely unusual.

Next, while indicating a contact person and a phone number is very common in German job ads, it is rather an exception in Poland. However, an emerging trend among local recruitment agencies in Poland is to invite questions to the job ad by skype or gadu-gadu (Polish instant messaging system). Skype and gadu-gadu nicknames are included as a result.

A rather recent note appearing in job ads in all analyzed countries, but yet not aimed at job seekers is the request to refrain from resume forwarding by recruitment agencies. Such request accompanies ads by global players such as Google and companies with well staffed in-house recruitment departments or established agency relationships. For example:
* To all recruitment agencies: Google does not accept agency resumes. Please do not forward resumes to our jobs alias, Google employees or any other company location. Google is not responsible for any fees related to unsolicited resumes.