Human Capital Management Solutions


How to win over passive candidates and not turn them off (part 1)

What is a passive candidate? For me, it refers to someone who is NOT expecting a call in relation to a position.

Engaging these candidates is the most exciting part of any recruitment assignment in my opinion. Not only will you get to market test your skills and methodology on the job you are filling, talking to these candidates gives you instant feedback that may leave you pleasantly surprised (or otherwise). You just don’t really know what to expect.

So how can we excel in what I describe as the “We Find You” approach? In this part 1 of 2 series, I’ll outline the initial steps we should be taking before we start engaging passive candidates, based on my experience over the years.

1. Talking to the Hiring Manager to build a Candidate Success Profile
Just like an iceberg where 90 percent of its mass lie beneath the water, I spend most of my time preparing myself for the assignment as opposed sticking my head out immediately into the candidate market.

In every case it is essential to speak to the Hiring Manager and his/her team to find out their benchmark of a person who would excel in the role and the type of people who may be trained to undertake the position. During this process, I’ll also get them to consider high performers they know or have worked with in the past so I can better understand what they are looking for.

Some of the questions I would ask include:
  • Who is the best person that you have worked with in this position?
  • Who do you know of in the industry that would be amazing in this position?
  • If you could get a person and had no restrictions at all, who would that be?
In addition, chatting with the Hiring Manager will also help you spot bias within the hiring processes so that you can work together to correct them.

My mantra #1 is – “I need to know how you will know”. It is ok if they are unable to provide you with a clear direction initially, but what you will get are ideas that will help guide you along and provide you the direction you need as the assignment progresses.

2. Eliciting an authentic candidate value proposition
Understanding why a person would want this job is a huge clue to the type of person who would be successful.

The candidate value proposition will be both tangible and intangible:
  • Tangible is always easy to define and measure and includes items such as remuneration, career path, location, travel time, training and benefits.
  • Intangible includes brand, culture, team environment, work-life balance, leadership style and so on.
When I learned to recruit, we termed this “Benefit to Need”. The candidate must gain a benefit from taking the position and they must be also able to fill the organisation’s needs. If there is a neutral or, at worst, a negative “Benefit to Need”, there is a strong chance the employee will leave for something else that suits their needs better. This match is really critical in a skill short market and is often overlooked.

3. Gaining internal and external market intelligence
Not many people do this typically but this is crucial if you want to know how the value proposition of your role is stacking up against similar offers in the market. This market intelligence when consolidated is vital feedback to share with all stakeholders.

A simple search on job boards such as SEEK, Indeed and LinkedIn will enable you to find out the number of similar positions in the market, companies who are hiring, remuneration packages and locations.

Conducting further analyses using SEEK’s Talent Search and LinkedIn Recruiter will provide information on numbers of potential candidates with similar skill match, location and a remuneration range. Looking at salary surveys will also provide you with a good idea on how competitive your salary packages are.

Based on this picture, it is critical you look at your Position Brief and assess your chance of success. Briefing your Hiring Manager and their team will engage them and enable you to tweak the position brief, if required, to ensure you maxmise your chances of success.

Next week, I will go into the actual workings on how you can source, reach out and engage passive candidates. Stay tuned.

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Internal Recruitment Function - Ideas to Add Value When Your Jobs Decline

Trevor Vas, Principal Consultant with HCMS shares his observations on our recent *Talent Management Roundtable meetings (TMRT) where we discussed: “Creative Ways to Add Value to Your Organisation when Jobs Decline”.

How many of you have experienced coming to work one day, only to find that the CEO has issued an edict: “Freeze on All Hiring”? What do you do? How do Recruitment Functions maintain their relevance and capability when there are few or no jobs?

These questions are vexing and impacting many Internal Recruitment Functions. The pressure to add value and become an integral business partner is more important now that filling jobs is not the major priority. The Internal Recruitment Function is often the first to feel the slowdown in an organisation. In the TMRT meetings we used the analogy of the canary in the mine. Recruitment tends to slow or at worst die in anticipation of a reduced demand to recruit staff.

The discussions at the TMRTs raised a number of interesting points:

Two-Speed Economy Operating Internally

It was interesting that many of our participants reported that their recruitment functions are experiencing the multi speed economy discussed in the press. Some areas of the business were growing while other areas of the business were slowing down. This adds an additional complexity of moving recruitment staff to new areas to assist where required. There were many examples cited including:

  • slowing of Business Banking versus growth in Financial Planning; 
  • slowing of consulting projects relating to government versus an acceleration in insolvency or areas of advice where traditionally permanent staff would have been employed.

Also of interest is that the GFC in 2008 and 2009 seems to have given many businesses a greater confidence to navigate this volatility. The organisation’s immune system clicks in quickly to protect and sustain the business.

Increased Compliance and Internal Mobility

As a result of the above changes businesses are certainly more careful about recruitment and have: 

  • increased compliance in getting new or replacement positions signed off, some have increased the sign off authority;
  • put more focus on recruiting existing internal staff rather than external recruitment; and 
  • reduced or eliminated the use of external recruitment spend.

Increased Need to be Strategic

What is also fascinating is that these trends have placed more emphasis on Internal Recruitment Functions working strategically with the business. Internal Recruitment Functions are using workforce planning to evaluate what positions are critical to be recruited and using this as a tool to assist with business planning. This has also placed a greater emphasis on Account Management and the need to segment your Hiring Managers and work selectively where it adds the greatest value. The Internal Recruitment Function staff now need to become “Trusted Advisors” and train their teams to work strategically with the business. Ironic but understandable, now that we have the time we become strategic.

Focus on Strategic Sourcing

The other trend of increased importance is the focus on strategic sourcing and business intelligence. For the Internal Recruitment Function to be able to fill critical positions and become Trusted Advisors they require the ability to source critical candidates and provide input into business planning.

A Change in Metrics

As they say for every action there is a reaction. The above trends have impacted reporting/metrics and competencies required of Internal Recruiters.

The main metric is no longer centred on filling open reactive positions this means that other metrics such as Hiring Manager Satisfaction, Quality of hire and Time to Productivity, Number of Job Ready Critical Candidates in the Talent Pool are now more relevant in many cases.

Different Competencies Required

Recruiter competencies and skills are different in this environment. It is no longer a transactional recruitment position where you take a job order and the recruit. Skills such as managing senior stakeholders, undertaking account management, facilitating workforce planning, reviewing talent management approaches and undertaking strategic sourcing are now important requirements.

So all of this begs two questions that we have asked at the meetings, these are:

  1. What is the most appropriate title of our recruitment roles if recruiting is now less than 50% of what we do? 
  2. What recruitment tasks do we do that cannot be outsourced to an external function?

I would love to receive any comments or questions on the above and can be contacted at

*Trevor Vas is a Principal Consultant with Human Capital Management Solutions (HCMS). Part of our value add to the industry is to facilitate Talent Management Round Table (TMRT) meetings with Internal Recruitment and Talent Managers of large to medium organisations.

These TMRT meetings are held in all capital cities in Australia and Singapore. As the name suggests the group in each location discusses, debates and shares ideas on issues relating to Talent Management. They are provocative interactive meetings based on getting the group to “crowd source” new solutions to topical issues. If you are an Internal Recruitment Manager or in a similar role and would like to participate in our next TMRT, please contact Trevor Vas.


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HCMS sponsoring sixth annual ATC event!

HCMS is proud to announce that they are once again one of the Gold Sponsors at the sixth annual Australasian Talent Conference (ATC) themed, 'Dealing & Winning in a Rollercoaster Talent Market'.

Last year was a crazy rollercoaster of a year. Environmental disasters, a soaring dollar, a booming resources talent market and talent shortages still a growing concern. 

ATC thought the most appropriate theme for this year’s conference would be one that addresses the roller coaster nature of our talent markets. As they swing up and down, contract and expand, and generally remain unpredictable, it is necessary to be prepared for anything. Agility, flexibility and the ability to anticipate future trends and patterns before they become real issues is the key to long term recruiting and talent management more!
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How can we help Queensland organisations?

Dear Colleagues/Friends,

I am sure you are as horrified as I am watching the terrible destruction of the floods in Queensland unfold.

I have felt quite helpless and started asking myself what HCMS could do to in terms of assist organisations that have been impacted by this destruction.

What has occurred to me is that we can use the HCMS ATC and Talent Management Roundtable networks as a coordination point for Queensland organisations that are looking for specialist staff they cannot readily access.

These are my initial thoughts and I would be pleased to refine these using the power of Crowd Sourcing:

If a Queensland organisation is looking for a particular specialist skill that they cannot readily source, my thoughts are: 
  • HCMS can conduct some Boolean searching for these skills and send names and contact details to the organisation; in addition
  • HCMS will also put this request out to the ATC and Talent Management Round Table networks to ascertain if any organisation has access to these skills either in their database or internally - you could then contact the QLD organisation with either possible names or support.

I know this is a small thing but if we can help anyone with this type of service then at least we are directly assisting in a small way doing what we do best.

Please send me your thoughts and ideas so that we can provide support to make this idea even more powerful, thank you.

Kind Regards,

Trevor Vas
Executive Director
Human Capital Management Solutions Pty Ltd

p +61 3 8621 6600
f  +61 3 9621 1300

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Take part in the HCMS National Employer Branding Survey!

"Employer Branding is not jazzing up your recruitment advertisement or re-designing your corporate website and other communication touchpoints. Whilst your company projects its image through its communication vehicles, the employer brand concept lies much deeper..."
Brett Minchington author of "Your Employer Brand".

Take part in the HCMS National Survey on Employer Branding and see how your current Employer Brand compares!

Just some of the issues we cover:
- The definition and composition of Employee Value Propositions (EVP) and segmented and customised Candidate Value Propositions (CVP);
- The communication and integration of your EVP and/or CVP throughout the recruitment process;
- The challenges faced when defining and implementing an effective Employer Brand.

Recommended for Senior HR/Recruitment Managers and Marketing Managers specialising in Employment Branding.

HCMS will be hosting a series of complementary Roundtable events to discuss the findings from the survey.

Melbourne: Wednesday 24th November
Sydney: Wednesday 8th December
Brisbane: February 2011 - date tbc
Perth: February 2011 - date tbc

If you'd like to attend or complete the survey please contact Andrea at HCMS on (03) 8621 6600 or

All survey participants will receive a copy of the survey results.

We look forward to your contribution!

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HCMS CEO talks Talent Pooling

HCMS has recently facilitated a number of roundtable discussions within our Australian Talent Management Community on Sourcing Talent. How are organisations doing it now, where are they experiencing a lot of their success and what will sourcing look like going forward?

Many organisations reported the predominant use of traditional, reactive recruitment practices, with most acknowledging that this was NOT the best way to go about finding high quality talent.

Taking into account that almost 80% of our members struggle to find and/or attract the right talent for their organisations, it has become clear that new approaches need to be investigated.

The following article highlights some key insights on Proactive Talent Pooling; how to go about it, the metrics that support it and most importantly, how to demonstrate ROI to the business.

For more information on Talent Pooling Services, please contact HCMS on +61 3 8621 6600 or email us on
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Melbourne Mornings

There’s nothing better than starting off a cool Melbourne morning with strong coffee, delicious pastries and a lively debate around Internal Mobility.

As part of our Talent Management Roundtable Network, HCMS, together with the Department of Justice hosted a group of Recruitment and Sourcing Professionals from some of Melbourne’s leading organisations. We had the opportunity to listen, learn and lead a discussion around the benefits, issues and challenges with regards to Internal Mobility, or as our presenters PricewaterhouseCoopers, call it: Internal Agility!

I’m sure I speak for all the members when I say that Georgie and Shannon from PricewaterhouseCoopers were fantastic, their presentation was informative as well as inspiring and I know we all walked away with something valuable.

Here are just some of the key issues raised this morning:

  • Should Internal Mobility be more of a culture or a process?
  • Should internal candidates be preferred over external candidates?
  • Should we manage identical processes for internal and external candidates? If not, why should they differ?
  • How do we measure the success of our Internal Mobility program? Which metrics are most important? How and when do we measure them?
  • Do we look at time and cost to hire – typical metrics for an external process? Or do we measure the performance of the internal hire in their new role?
  • What about tracking voluntary turnover for those who weren’t successful – in other words our silver medalists?

A lot of food for thought - and that was all before 09:00 am!

Thanks again to the Department of Justice - a great morning was had by all and we’re really looking forward to the next event.

If you’d like to join us, please get in touch – we’d love to have you there.

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HCMS Website Relaunched!

HCMS is pleased to announce the launch of its new website.

Browse through our pages to learn more about our range of consulting services.
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