miscellany

–Look for Workstream to expand in
Europe next year. It believes that this growth will be easier for it than for some of its competitors. That’s because Workstream’s data centers are in Canada, not the U.S., making Patriot Act compliance easier.

 

–At Dave & Busters, turnover is down both among management and among front-line employees. The company, however, isn’t yet satisfied with its retention and is working to improve it.

 

–“The opposite,” I was told this week, when I asked someone from Cisco this if the company is feeling an economic slowdown. He says the company is bustling because of the expansion of “Web 2.0” on the Internet.

 

–From R. W. Baird, a stock-analyst company: “The labor market data appear weaker than it was during the last (1995) mid-cycle slowdown. However, a recession similar to the 2001 recession does not appear as likely as many companies have been more disciplined with respect to hiring than they were leading up to the ’01 recession. For example, in each of the last three expansions employment levels increased by approximately 20% relative to the trough whereas employment has increased only 6% relative to the ’01 recession trough. While most economists still aren’t calling for a recession, if one were to occur, we believe it would be more like during the ’90-91 recession ? “

 

–A couple of people have asked me in recent weeks what Dan Hilbert (known for award-winning work at Valero) is up to. Hilbert has left Valero and is doing consulting and speaking on his own, particularly related to workforce planning. Meanwhile, he’s having workforce-monitoring/workforce-performance-related software built by 11 developers in South America. He hopes to have this software ready by late this year or early 2008.

 

–Speaking of recruiting-leaders-turned-consultants ? Susan Burns (an award-winning recruiting director who has worked at Waggener Edstrom and Federated Department Stores) was telling me yesterday that she’s looking to talk with people who are going to ERE’s Amsterdam conference, maybe do a little exploring of Amsterdam after the conference. Let me know if you’re going, and I can hook you up.

 

–It has been a busy fall for ERE. Been working on the annual ERE Recruiting Excellence Awards (applications will start soon); getting ready for next month’s conference; getting ready for the Spring conference in San Diego; November in Amsterdam; the ERE daily newsletter of course; and the print publication, the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership. I’m excited about the next (November) Journal — will be one of the best issues so far, and includes among other things a list by Michael Kannisto of 100 questions you should ask yourself to better understand your company’s recruiting brand. It’s an awesome list.

Weekend reading

The magazine “Bloomberg Markets” — the October issue, which should be on the newsstands/bookstores over the weekend — will have a good article on India’s labor shortage. Check it out if you do business in India. Unfortunately, I don’t have a link to the article online.
 
BusinessWeek will have a whole set of career/recruiting/job-related articles. You can find them online on the home page under “best places to launch a career 2007.”  The feature includes an article on Facebook vs. LinkedIn, and it includes a chart listing the 95 best places to start a career, according to the magazine’s criteria. Also, check out the article about Microsoft’s HR chief, who has spoken at ERE’s expo before.
 
All for now …
 
 
 

Put in $1 and They'll Put in $3

The head of recruiting for a Fortune 500 retailer tells me in a phone call Wednesday that his company is “struggling big time” right now, along with some other retailers. He’s hoping for a good Christmas — when the company makes 80% of its money — and is optimistic that his company will just hunker down right now and be fine for the long haul.

 

HotWeb is hiring this fall, for regional reps in various parts of the country.

 

At a Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement fair Thursday at a Marriott near the
Los Angeles airport:

 

Richard Vellanoweth, who’s recruiting for the claims department at Allstate, says he has seen “no domino effect” from the mortgage meltdown into the overall economy.

 

Toyota Motor Sales recruiters tell me they’re “scaling back a little bit” on their recruiting in this economy.

 

Jennifer Key, a Wachovia recruiter, says the mortgage meltdown has produced lots of fresh new resumes (from competitors laying people off) flowing into her company. She says her recruiting has not been negatively affected.

 

Carlos Sandoval, Wachovia VP/recruiting diversity strategist in Charlotte, North Carolina, says the company is looking for bilingual recruiters nationwide.

 

Jackie Blazek, an HSBC recruiter, is meeting a lot of people here, but isn’t quite finding enough people who’ll move to San Diego to take the HSBC jobs (in the auto-finance division) she most wants to fill. Housing prices in southern California are one stumbling block. She’s not too concerned about a possible economic slowdown. “I’ve heard that talk since I’ve been in the industry,” she says. She’s more concerned about filling jobs than hiring freezes. “We’re busy,” she says. Blazek talks up the company’s benefits, which include a 401(k) match of $3 for every $1 an employee contributes, with some limitations.

 

Janis Ruiz, who runs the entertainment division at Aon, says the financial-sector problems are “not impacting us.” She adds, smiling: “If they’re still paying the celebrities all the money they’re paying them, they’ll still need us to insure them.”

 

Jane Richardson is looking for State Farm agents, who are independent businesspeople and can earn $300,000 a year. She wants people who are skilled at networking and prospecting — outgoing people. “With insurance, there is no recession,” she says.

 

Sally Sandoval of Amtrak is having a tough time filling engineering and other jobs in San Jose, Oakland, and San Luis Obispo. There’s “no problem with the economy,” she says.

 

Joshua Valdez, of BP, is looking for engineers, accountants, procurement, sales, international negotiators, and others. He’s not real worked up about any possible problems in the U.S. economy. “Locally, I don’t see it. The jobs are needed.” Valdez says that environmental regulations have created the need for new employees, and also that new trade regulations have increased the need for financial experts.

 

Shirley Kelley-Spurgeon of Borders says “retail in general is struggling.” Kelley-Spurgeon, however, sees the challenges as being more about competition from the Internet as well as from discounters like Costco than about a recession beginning. Rather than worry about a possible recession, she believes retailers need to “restrategize” and decide why a customer would prefer their goods over those from a discounter.

 

“How’s the fair?” I ask Merlinda Lunney of Sara Lee. “Fair,” she says. “I found one person, or else it’d be bad.” Lunney’s looking for people to sell Sara Lee products to foodservice and other companies. As for the company’s business in general, Lunney says, “We’re doing really well.”

 

Liliana Flores of Washington Mutual says that “everyone’s going through a tough time right now” in businesses touched by the mortgage meltdown. “Hiring has slowed down,” she says. Meanwhile, however, she’s looking for salespeople and others, and she says that Countrywide’s layoffs have provided WaMu some new job candidates. “We’re taking on a lot of their shakeout.” Flores doesn’t sound all that concerned about the mortgage meltdown, saying that it was to be expected after so many years of upward trajectory. “Nothing stays big forever,” she says.

 

Scott Jaykell of Solar Turbines (owned by Caterpillar) received maybe three resumes he really liked by around 3 p.m., out of about 20 or so. He wasn’t too enthused about that, but said that if he fills one job, he’ll be happy. “We’re going strong. We’re still hiring.” Among the company’s favorite universities: Purdue, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Arizona State, and Rose-Hulman. Solar Turbines seems ahead of the curve when it comes to workforce planning and succession planning; Jaykell says it has a good feel for who’s ready to retire and what the company needs to do to help their replacements prepare to take their places.