Feature: WEDDLE’s Research Factoid
WEDDLE’s continuously conducts both primary and secondary research on Best Practices in employment excellence and HR leadership. Among the documents we recently reviewed was a 2006 Towers Perrin survey conducted among HR executives at 250 large and midsized North American organizations. Towers Perrin asked the executives a very simple question: What is talent?.
The data below indicate the percentage of respondents that selected a specific workforce group as talent.
The groups are, by no means, exhaustive or even meaningfully structured, but they do provide an interesting perspective on our work as recruiters.
What the Findings Mean
Employers crave talent and can never get enough of it. In fact, they believe they’re embroiled in a War for Talent. This situation can give you a powerful advantage in the job market, IF you understand what employers mean by talent.
While specific skill requirements are idiosyncratic to each employer, there are some individual attributes that almost all employers would consider to be talent.
Finally, the wide range of talent identified above by employers suggests that they view talent as a practiced state. Anybody can achieve the ability to be talent, but not enough people do. That’s why employers are always searching for talented performers. Whether you’re born with talent or acquire it, however, employers will only recognize you as talent if you keep your expertise current and apply it to your work every day.
Please Note: As a part of our ongoing research, WEDDLE’s has been surveying both job seekers and recruiters on the Web since 1996. We’ve amassed hundreds of thousands of data elements probing:
and most importantly,
To add your insights and opinions to our research, please visit the Polling Station at the WEDDLE’s Web-site.
Section Two: For Your Consideration
Peter Weddle has been writing columns for his own newsletter and for the Interactive Edition of The Wall Street Journal since 1999. The following column has been drawn from that work and updated for 2006. You can also find many of Peter’s tips and techniques in our book WEDDLE’s WizNotes: Finding a Job on the Web.
Employers Get Personal-What Should You Do?
Personal used to mean private, but not any more, especially in a job search. Employers are increasingly factoring individual background information into their assessment of job candidates. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, half of all employers were doing so less than a decade ago. Today an astonishing 96% of all companies-small as well as large-are conducting background checks on job candidates. It is now the norm in the hiring process.
What’s behind this surge in investigative activity? Several factors are playing a role:
These factors ensure that personal is now public or, at least, available to any employer who asks. Whether you’re looking for a job today, plan to do so tomorrow, or think you might at some point in the future, this trend will affect you. The question you have to ask, therefore, is: How should you react to this new reality? Here are my suggestions.
First, take a deep breath. These background checks do not represent the arrival of Big Brother or Big Sister. They may feel a bit intrusive at first, but in the long run, they protect the vast majority of us who have nothing to hide and nothing in our background that would preclude our employment with any organization.
Second, understand what’s going on. A background check involves an employer’s acquiring information from appropriate sources (i.e., government, officially sanctioned commercial organizations, other employers) regarding your:
The employer must have your permission in writing to check with these sources and must commit to protecting the confidentiality of the information it acquires.
Third, appreciate the importance of this information. In a nutshell, it can affect your employability. An unfavorable credit report or a disagreement between the information you have provided on your resume and what the employer uncovers in a background check can hurt and even derail your prospects for a job, even if you are otherwise qualified to perform it.
Fourth, know how to protect yourself. Assuming you are who you say you are and your credit, criminal and driving records are no more blemished than the average person’s, the biggest danger in a background check comes from the errors that can and do creep into the personal information that others collect about us. The key to protecting yourself, therefore, is preparation.
As a minimum, you should:
Background checks are here to stay, so it’s important that we get comfortable with them and learn how to use them to our advantage. There are two keys to helpful reports: vigilance and accuracy. They are the beginning and the end of effective preparation. And, that-effective preparation-is what you should do to respond to employers getting personal.
Thanks for reading,
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Section 3: News You Can Use
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that five of the ten fastest growing jobs between now and 20014 will be in the field of information technology. The Federal government, alone, will spend $92 billion on IT by 2010. But, where are IT jobs today? And, what kinds of IT jobs are growing fastest? According to Dice, a job board specializing in IT and engineering, hiring was strongest in the following areas:
The skills that employers wanted most were:
How can these findings help you if you’re not an IT professional? Tech companies need more than IT talent to survive. Find locations with fast growing IT sectors, and you’ll also find opportunities for finance and accounting, sales, operations and other professionals.
WeComply, a business ethics training company, released the results of its survey of workers’ knowledge of what’s private and what’s not in online communications. It found that over half of the respondents were placing themselves in jeopardy because they didn’t appreciate the reality of today’s electronic workplace. It is as simple as it is ominous: all of the following records can and, you must assume, will be kept by their employers:
Recent legal cases have determined that employers must store these records indefinitely. Moreover, because they are subject to discovery during litigation, they can be and often are made public. You can check an employer’s electronic document retention policy, but the safest course is simply to assume that you have no right to privacy, at least on company computers. And, that exclusion of privacy applies whether you use those computers at home, on the road or in the employer’s workplace.
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