From The Winner Of iPlace Mission Award 2009…

Author: Mark Johnson

iPlace is a great place to work and like most companies iPlace has a yearly recognition of an employee in respect to the excellence in services by an individual. As a Winner of iPlace mission award, I was nominated for a vacation for 4 days and 3 nights in a 5 star beach resort at Kovalam, Kerala.

It was an exotic trip to a beautiful part of India and they call it “God’s own country.” Me and my family had a  wonderful time visiting one of the scenic resorts with a view of the Arabian Sea, The Leela Kempinski Kovalam Beach Resort!

We played for many hours in the waves, tanned ourselves and lazy hammocks in the resort welcomed us. It was a great experience by the beach side with huge waves coming almost all the time. The entire resort is surrounded by the beach. Our room had a great sea view which made us feel as if we were on a ship floating in the middle of the ocean. The property is large and is spread across undulating terrain. Since our room was not in the main property, a buggy was arranged (normally used in golf courses) to drive us around. The buggy took us through the most scenic routes. The sunset at the resort is very picturesque, we just sat on the beach-facing restaurant with a cup of coffee and watched the sun slowly turning red and submerging in the water.  We enjoyed every moment on the sea shore and soaking in the luxury of beautiful natural surroundings of coconut trees, lush greenery and colorful evening skies over the sea for 4 days. Then there was exclusive gymnasium, international spa, infinity edged swimming pool  and the pool side-sea side restaurant. In all, we had a fantastic time and it was a perfect place for spending quality time with your nearest and dearest ones.

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Craft a Superior Client Experience

Author: Allen Cash

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As a recruiter working in a firm which treats you like a business partner, you must be focused on your clients and think strategically about client relationship management. During tough economic conditions creating a superior client experience differentiates you from your competition.

Client experience:
To help you deliver a superior ongoing client experience, a structured method of regularly and successfully interacting with your clients works the best. If you keep your clients well informed and up-to-date, they will be more engaged in the process and more likely to send referrals your way.

Building rapport with new clients begins with presenting a clear overview of your firm’s expertise and capabilities. Guided by a disciplined recruiting process, convey that your goal is to thoroughly understand your client’s hiring challenges and formulate a tailored recruiting solution.

Educate your clients about the challenges of recruiting and how your firm has effectively responded to those challenges. This plays a major role in building a credible image of your firm. Following are some of the areas where innovation can help your clients build loyalty towards your services:

  • Building a highly capable recruiting team
  • Holding regular client meetings or scheduling conference calls
  • Building a customized sourcing and recruiting strategy
  • Being critical on key process implementation and continuous learning.
  • Investing in your employees and encouraging performance oriented attitude.
  • Foreseeing the changing market conditions and strategizing accordingly.

Get to know your clients well.
This is the first step in presenting a superior experience for your client. Get to know your clients by keenly observing their business personality and conducting methodical research. Your primary objective is to learn all that you can about your clients and use it at the right time to develop trust.

Review your client’s business goals and objectives. Your ability to listen carefully and adapt to client needs quickly is essential. A fact-gathering session is absolutely the most important time you spend with your clients, as it sets the tone for your future relationships.

Be proactive in stating challenges and offering solutions.

Demonstrate clearly to your client that you understand their goals by developing a modified process based on their specific needs. Carefully document the process and get the client’s approval on the work process documents.

No matter how enthusiastic your clients are during the initial stages avoid haste. Ensure that all the processes are effectively set. The most powerful thing you can do is to give the client suggestions like their business partner focusing completely on their interests. Over a period of time when you give intelligent suggestions to the client they begin to appreciate your acute business acumen.

Implementation of the ‘high quality client experience’ designed processes.

Establish regular communication on a daily operational level, this will clarify client expectations and business priorities every step of the way. Your actions and client expectations will be in sync and you will develop a much stronger expertise of the client’s account. In addition to the daily conversations set up regular weekly or bi-weekly discussions with the clients. These are high level business consulting discussions where you go over the reports, observe trends and suggest changes to maximize productivity. This strengthens your position as a recruiting specialist whose priority is developing a long-term consulting relationship. When the client comes to an agreement with you on implementing new processes an innovative and the fast moving client account is established.

Always be alert.
Anticipate problems before they arise and prepare a plan of action. Present the plan with the possible challenges to the clients before they bring up concerns. This is important, as it is not uncommon for your clients to experience heightened anxiety in critical business situations. Having a ready plan of action will reduce the client’s panic and will not defocus from producing results.

Constant follow-up.
Follow up with the client by always asking them for feedback and areas of improvement. This helps you understand the logic and intelligence of your client’s expectations. The constant feedback seeking helps in raising the bar of performance within your own company.

It is imperative to constantly monitor your own performance. One of the best ways is to conduct periodic client relationship surveys. Ask your clients to rate your services objectively in terms of the overall productivity. Be clear in showing clients that your desire to constantly improve is to produce better results for them.

Client relationship surveys give you the opportunity to examine other issues that might exist. It also creates opportunities to get referrals if you have delivered a superior client experience over a period of time. The goal should always be ‘customer delight’ and not just mere satisfaction.

First-rate technology keeps you focused on client relationships.
Effective technology and administrative support fine tunes the superior client experience. High speed internet and error free networking can help you spend more time with your clients uninterrupted. Automated processes for the administration of new accounts, user centric designed websites and error free performance reporting are the basic necessities for offshore recruiting.

This is the iPlace way of creating an exceptional and sophisticated client experience. Most of the iPlace clients have valued and endorsed this approach.

In my opinion, offshore recruiting is moving away from a typical ‘service oriented business’ dependent on an individual recruiter’s performance. Instead, it is emerging to be an integrated and consultative business. To make the best out of emerging trends, stay consistent with your commitment to differentiate your practice from your competition and brand yourself as innovative thinkers. Give your clients the experience of tomorrow, today!

Self Branding

Author: Sophia Simon

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How to survive in the times of recession? The answer is Self Branding.

In big companies there are thousands of people working at any given point in time. Everyone finishes their work on time, works hard, meets the deadlines and strives to get ahead. But, these things will never make you different from others as everyone does the same more so in the recession. Everyone is focused on work and their career. So what is it that can differentiate you from the crowd – The answer is self branding.

In marketing, branding is the entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (goods or services) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. The aim of branding is to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market.

You can apply the complicated definition above in the following simple way in order to brand yourself:

Unique name = your unique qualities or your talent

Product = you

Consumers = your boss or top management

Advertising campaigns = the ways or the strategy or the process you use to make yourself popular

Market = people at work

Self branding is a process of differentiating yourself from other people at work. It gives you a competitive edge over the others and thus enhances your chances for promotion and visibility in the long run.

Self branding involves finding out, enhancing and exposing your unique talent which makes you stand out in the crowd. This is special, your talent only you have this talent! It can be anything, the way you speak, your ability to build relationships and bridge interdepartmental gaps, your managerial qualities, your leadership qualities, innovative ways of doing tasks and more. Your qualities need to become more visible, the way to do this is to work with other people and to let them benefit from your qualities. There is no better way to spread a message than by letting other people experience it and get some gain from you. You unique qualities should add value to your company, your colleagues and you. After doing a self assessment and finding your unique talent if you feel that your talent is not that advanced then you need to hone your talent so that it can be truly beneficial.

Here are the steps for self branding:

1)        Identify your unique qualities.

2)        Enhance and develop your talent. If you feel that you need to sharpen your skills go for some training.

3)        Spread awareness – Make others aware of your unique talent by using it to help people across the board.

4)        Be Genuine and maintain professional relationships – Help people without bias and try to be a people person.

5)        Give respect to everyone

6)        Keep yourself open to others ideas and their unique ways so you’re constantly learning.

7)        Showcase your talent and Increase visibility by participating in a lot of work and outside work activities.

Self branding does not happen in a day’s time, it is a long term process. Patience is the Keyword!

If you want to really assess yourself then you can take a test and ask your colleagues to tell you honestly what they feel about you. Urge them to be openly critical and prepare yourself for some hard hitting facts. If you find out facts that you feel are not in sync with your self image then you start working on the plan for self branding.

I hope this article was of some help to you.  Go for self branding and see the difference.

CEO of iPlace will be Speaking at the Staffing World 2009

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Hank Levine, President and CEO of iPlace will be speaking at Staffing World 2009, the American Staffing Association Annual (ASA) Convention http://www.americanstaffing.net/convention/index.cfm.  ASA is one of the largest staffing trade associations in the US and ASA’s annual convention is probably the largest of all the staffing shows.  The annual convention and expo will be held from October 20 to October 23 in Orlando, FL at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort.

Hank will be conducting one of more than 40 informative staffing specific workshops.  His presentation is entitled “Use Offshore Recruiters to Lower Cost – Select the Right Partner”.  It covers the two articles iPlace employees wrote for Recruiting Trends on “How to select an Offshore Recruiting Firm” www.recruitingtrends.com/online/thoughtleadership/1330-1.html and “Best Practices for Working with an Offshore Recruiting Firm” www.recruitingtrends.com/online/thoughtleadership/1409-1.html.

Hank’s presentation will last one hour.  Here is the synopsis that will go into the Staffing World 2009 program:

“Would you like to know how to cut costs without diminishing your recruiting performance or revenue?  Global recruiting expert, Hank Levine, will show you how teaming with an offshore recruiting partner can reduce recruiting costs by 50 percent, increase placements and revenues, and help put more Americans to work”.

“Partnering with an offshore recruiting firm allows your recruiters to offload time consuming but important tasks such as candidate sourcing and screening.  With the new found time recruiters can work on and close more job orders, spend more time with candidates, and make better matches and more placements by better understanding the needs of hiring managers.  These results will only be achieved if you select the right partner.  Hank will walk you through a point-by-point checklist to use during the selection process and explain how to avoid pitfalls such as choosing a company with poor infrastructure or high recruiter turnover”.

I’m really looking forward to this event and I wish Hank all the very best for his presentation.  For more information on the convention or to register as an attendee, visit staffingworld.org.  They have some heavy discounts going on currently!

iPlace Celebrated 3rd Anniversary

iPlace celebrated its third anniversary at Leather Lounge on Saturday night with a fabulous party. The recession did not stop the iPlacers from having a blast. This spectacular event was organized by Jiten and the decor was Arabian. To add to the magic DJ C burned the dance floor and left the crowd screaming for more. The people, spirit and food made the party a big hit. The highlight of the evening was the Mission Award. The Award is given once a year to an employee who best demonstrates iPlace’s core values. The employees select the three most deserving candidates and the winner is announced at the party through a lucky draw. This year’s Award was certainly enviable and luxurious – 3 nights and 4 days all expenses paid trip for two at Leela Kempenski Kovalam Beach, Kerala. The award and the party get bigger every year.

Repurposing Employees during the Recession for Success

Author: Priyanka Lakhe

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– It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.

By most accounts this recession is the worst since the1930s. Major corporations have filed for bankruptcy and there are layoffs everywhere. Experts estimate that in the last quarter of this year the economy will turn around. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen. But I’m optimistic because things can’t get any worse! In such an environment you can either chose to succumb to the situation or face it head-on. My company chose the latter and I would like to share this success story with the whole world — and especially CEOs of other companies.

My company, iPlace, is an offshore recruiting company that offers sourcing and recruiting services to US staffing agencies and corporate recruiting departments. In December 2007, we estimated that before the end of 2009 we would fill up our current 100 seat, 3-story facility and move to a bigger place. I was dreaming of having my own cubicle in an up-market, posh office. But the economic downturn in the US badly affected our business.

Our sourcers and recruiters assist senior recruiters and account managers of American staffing companies by doing the time-consuming work of finding candidates using Internet-based tools and conducting screening interviews. Our work saves senior American recruiters and account managers a lot of time and allows them to focus on higher touch, higher value tasks such as strategizing, building rapport with candidates and clients, expanding their network, etc. However with the reduction of workload caused by the recession, staffing companies did not need assistance. Some of our clients were firing their own recruiters and they did not have enough job orders to sustain iPlace. So we had to part ways with several clients even though they were very happy with the quality of our work. They left us with a promise to come back once the market is better.

The worst hit was our day-shift sourcing team as our clients’ recruiters had ample time to do Internet-based sourcing themselves. What would you have done if you were in the CEO of iPlace? Lay off employees? Cut employee benefits? Freeze pay? Well we did not experience any of it. Why? Because our CEO reasoned, “our employees have worked hard throughout the year and the recession is not their fault” and “we have the best employees in the entire world.”  Most of our sourcers and recruiters have completed a year and are highly skilled. If we fire such experienced and highly trained staff now, we will be the losers tomorrow as these people would go to our competitors.

My team started brainstorming on ideas to generate revenues from the sourcing team and our CEO asked our clients for ideas. One client told our CEO that because of the recession many of their recruiters were left with virtually no work and that the top priority of the company was getting new clients. It then occurred to us that we could reposition our sourcers to find our client contact and background information for hiring mangers using virtually the same sourcing techniques we used to find candidates for job orders. The client loved this idea and we started receiving sales lead requests from one of the client’s senior account managers.

The senior account manager asked us to find decision-makers and hiring managers from a few companies in his region. Our first assignment was challenging since this was the very first time we were doing this kind of work. However the account manager was very pleased and the word spread virally across the client’s other offices. Before we knew it, we were working with seventeen account managers. Our requests varied from finding hiring managers from IT companies, building a list of medical factoring companies, finding organization charts to gathering financial market data and future business directions of some companies. Some of the account managers were very helpful as they gave us feedback and suggestions to improve. This eventually helped us in defining a robust sales leads generation process.

After a couple of months, we contacted the seventeen account managers and conducted a survey on the sales lead generation service. We received an overwhelming response. Most of them liked that we provided validated numbers and e-mail addresses along with related web links for each contact. Now my team is confident that we can handle any type of sourcing request. We strongly believe in our sourcing capabilities and our motto is: “We can find anything and everything on the Internet!!”

While we were developing the sales leads generation process, my colleague Viji and I had an idea to offer the sales lead generation service to prospective clients. This idea was approved and our team has started promoting it through e-mail campaigns. This idea has generated a lot of interest. We have now expanded our sales lead generation service to UK and Canada clients.

This is the best part of working for iPlace. The company thinks of its employees as business partners. We are free to voice our opinions and come up with ideas which will generate revenue for iPlace. I am happy to be a part of such a company that believes in innovation and that cares for its employees. I think that companies that lay-off employees and start cost-cutting should think twice. I’m sure they can think of alternative ways to utilize their experienced staff and to earn additional revenues.

Guide to Writing Good Behavioral-Based Questions

Guest Contributor:  Jerry Bires

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Any filtering mechanism for candidates should include well-crafted behavioral-based questions.  For the sake of expediency and keystroke-savings, let’s call them BBQs.  Unlike a conventional BBQ, ours has nothing to do with a grill, pork or pork by-products.  That said, answers to BBQs are the real meat, the real beef, as it were, in a candidate’s application for a job.

If well written, the answers to these questions are like gold because they effectively tell us so much about a candidate’s logic, ability to communicate and their experience performing tasks, or using skills that a hiring manager has stated were crucial to success in the position being filled.

Now for a candidate’s answer to be like gold, a well-written BBQ must be concrete, not whimsical, fluffy or ethereal. It’s not intended to allow a candidate to conjecture about their ability to do something. Just as there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no conjecture in the BBQ.  It should be written so that the candidate’s answer effectively pays off the experience claimed on a resume. Their answer should demonstrate why they can perform one or more of the key functions required on the job.  On some online applications, the behavioral-based questions will follow an initial set of multiple choice questions.  If so, they can cross check each other.  For example, if a product manager candidate’s answer to a multiple choice question said they’ve created content for mobile devices, but you don’t see that experience on the resume, a BBQ on this subject makes them cite specifics.

If this concept is difficult, then go rent the movie, Jerry Maguire.  Cuba Gooding Jr. could have been talking about the BBQ when he said: “Show me the money!  Show me the money, Jerry.  Show me the money!”  A candidate’s answer to a BBQ should, indeed, show us the money.

Examples of well written BBQs:
“Describe to what extent your work in non-oxide ceramics has involved transition metal diborides.  Were any of them zirconium or titanium based?

“Describe your development of algorithms for use in a very low (<200MHz) power environment with severe memory constraint.  Explain how you accounted for synchronization issues in multi-threaded code.”

618-457-8727 (CDT)
jerrybires@verizon.net