The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

#TAGBlog – 2018′s Talent Acquisition Trend Predictions

by Alyssa Stahr

12 March, 2018

We may not have a crystal ball in our hands, but industries have a way of allowing us a glimpse into what the future may be. It is how we plan, how we act and how we grow.

One of TAG’s vendor partners, Phenom People, recently released its predictions for the talent acquisition industry in ebook form: ”10 Talent Acquisition Predictions for 2018,” and we at The Arland Group agree with a lot of what is planned for the next year. One of my personal interests in the ebook was at the very beginning, when Phenom People released its panelist survey predictions from 2008 regarding 2018. Predictions then included an increased focus on social networking; millennials redefining jobs by working more from home; and communication through video, email and texting instead of traditional phone calls. That was a whopping 10-year span of thoughts that came to fruition, and hopefully we’ll be right with our 2018 forecast.

Technology, Technology, Technology
Everyone I polled for this blog, along with the Phenom People report, spouted out Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality as key game-changers. Alex Brown, manager of recruitment marketing at Fiserv, said that AI and machine learning will find its place and not be used as a buzzwords or cool widgets any longer. “Some will fail; some will rise to the top. As technology makes processes more efficient, be careful not to sacrifice quality of hire for speed.”

Sharon Lynch, TAG’s senior director of media and strategy, said “AI being added to the recruiter toolkit as a way to increase efficiency in interview scheduling and even more so when it’s added to Open Web Search will be keys in 2018.” Jessy Dyson, account management team lead, agreed. “AI will become increasingly important. Keep an eye on everyone who partners with Google for Jobs. They’re seeing increased traffic and with that often comes increased opportunities and different products.”

Gina Prestifilippo, director of media and strategy, named VR as a mind-blowing tool for TA. “I’ve heard of organizations who have used VR at career fairs and stated the line for their booth was outrageous, and it was mainly because the students were using VR. It may seem odd to more conservative organizations, however, using VR to show prospective candidates your company culture, company and community events, day-in-the-life for job positions, etc. This is everything a candidate wants to know and see before committing their time and energy. What better way to show the company culture than seeing it as if you were already there.”

Non-Biased, Diverse Hiring Practices
This doesn’t just include diversity in hiring alone. It also includes more non-biased language in the form of, you guessed, it — technology. Phenom People says that technology advancements will remove bias as much as possible through non-gendered language on job postings.

Prestifilippo says that diversity recruitment marketing, while always an important aspect in TA, will now more than ever be an important investment for organizations. “What is the diversity your organization wants to achieve? Who is your audience? What is the message? What channels will reach your targeted audience? Include your employee resource groups, and show the group’s activities within the company and your community, etc. Show diversity and what you are doing to empower diversity. Give the candidate reason to find meaning in a career with your organization.”

Personalizing the Candidate Experience
Candidates are sharing their thoughts loud and clear, but one telling note is that they want better job descriptions and more personalized care throughout the entire candidate interviewing experience. Brown agrees that candidates are demanding a more personalized experience, and the top talent will go to those employers who win in this space. Lynch says that she sees more companies interested in rewriting and updating job postings with a more candidate-focused approach. “This provides candidates a better view into a company versus postings, which are a copy-paste of an internal-facing legal document.”

Another extension of the personalized experience includes SMS and social media messaging. Talent Board recently its 2017 North American Candidate Experience Research Report, and candidates said that the No. 1 most frustrating thing in applying is never hearing back from a company. This could be not only after sending in a resume, but after interviewing as well. There are more ways to communicate now than ever before, and Prestifilippo says that SMS social media messaging should be a practice that organizations are using today. “With more than 12 touchpoints a candidate views before applying to a position, you should be connecting and making yourself available to candidates at every step of the journey. Everyone is on their smart phone and everyone is on social media. Engaging with candidates on a personal level through text messaging and/or social messaging will help you build rapport and trust with your candidates.”






#TAGBlog: A Chat with Director of Media and Strategy Gina Prestifilippo

by Alyssa Stahr

5 January, 2018

Our #TAGBlog series continues into 2018 with a look at the story of Gina Prestifilippo, The Arland Group’s director of media and strategy. Gina has gained a ton of experience in the past five years, working in full-cycle recruiting for both third party and corporate environments. Gina met our President and CEO Deb Andrychuk at a LinkedIn conference, and after Deb noticed Gina’s interest and excitement for recruitment marketing and employer branding, the ball got rolling for Gina to join the TAG Team.

Tell us the story about how you found TAG and the hiring process. What did we do right that other recruiters can learn from?

Deb and I were attending Stacy Donovan Zapar’s session at the LinkedIn conference. She inspired me to further my career development in employer branding. About six months later, she called to tell me about a position she had available and asked if I would be interested in hearing more. After a long conversation, she gave me the contact information for Stephanie (Silvey) and Jessy (Dyson). I reached out to both separately and discussed their roles within the agency, and I was able to ask open-ended questions about any concerns I may have. It gave me a real opportunity to understand how I would be contributing to the agency and how my work experience would add value to this new role. I knew right away this was an opportunity of a lifetime!

What’s the most rewarding thing about being in the talent acquisition field specifically?

I started in customer service, and knew I wanted more. When I transitioned into the talent acquisition industry, I highly enjoyed helping people find careers that suit them based on what was important to them personally. Now, to be able to help talent acquisition teams market their careers as a destination for job seekers, I’m able to reach a bigger audience and continue to help our industry grow. It’s rewarding to see our industry progress into more of a candidate’s world!

Can you take us through a typical day with TAG and what you do?

I work with clients to help enhance engagement on their recruitment marketing efforts for social media campaigns, web development needs, vendor relations, etc. On a daily basis, I network with new business opportunities to help companies expand their employer brand with our agency’s capabilities and creative services.

What’s been the biggest challenge in your job so far?

I’m lucky enough to work remote from Columbus, OH. However, the disadvantage is not being with my team in St. Louis on a daily basis. I’m an extremely social person, so missing out on getting to know everyone in the office on a personal level has been the biggest challenge for me, thus far. As I highly enjoy working out of the comfort of my own home, where my dog is my work BFF, I do look forward to seeing everyone in-person whenever I get the chance. Having a special bond with your coworkers has always been important to me. So, while I don’t see them every day, I love to shine my personality through emails, IMs and team calls!

What has been your best day at TAG?

I have a lot of ‘best’ days with TAG, I thrive on even the smallest of accomplishments! However, I do have a ‘most memorable’ day that I’d love to share! My first week with TAG, I was in St. Louis meeting the team and diving into my new position. Each night of the week, I was able to go out with a coworker and get to know each of them personally. My third day on the job, I went out to eat with Jessy, and as she was dropping me off at my hotel, I jumped out quickly so she could immediately get on the highway exit ramp. While getting out of the car, I somehow managed to slice my finger open. I knew right away that I would need stitches. Luckily, the valet attendant at my hotel rushed to my aid. After he helped carry my things to my room and attempt to bandage my wound, I told him I think it was best I go to the nearest urgent care. Fifteen miles later, I arrived by taxi to the closest urgent care that was closing 10 minutes later. Although I needed five stitches in my finger, everyone who helped me that night was so wonderful and nice. They were all very sweet to me as they knew I was only a visitor in town for the week. I truly will never forget that day! Ha! Sorry Jessy!

You work remotely, which has its pros and cons. What is your advice to both workers and companies who have a work from home policy? How do you stay self-driven since you aren’t in the traditional office every day?

I’m incredibly lucky to work from home, but would agree it does have its pros and cons. For me personally, being away from the team environment keeps me focused as I have the tendency to be quite social. Then again, I miss out on everyday conversations and/or things that happen in the office that is always fun to enjoy with coworkers.

Other than having a dog bark in the background, I appreciate listening to music when completing administrative tasks but I also enjoy the peace and quiet when trying to concentrate on creating strategy. As I am a visual person, I take a lot of notes to keep myself organized when completing personal tasks. Even though my commute is down my staircase, I still get up every morning at 6 a.m. and get ready for the work day.

If there are any companies that are weary on allowing associates to work from home, I would suggest allowing at least one day a week. It’s important for people to have a day where they feel they can escape the office to focus and accomplish work goals. Sometimes, your day could be full of meetings and/or phone calls, that find yourself working from home later that evening. If associates were able to block out one day a week just to check items off their list, I’d say it’s not only good for a person’s work performance but for their stress level as well.

What are your career goals/goals for TAG in 2018?

I am just beginning my career with The Arland Group. I have so much more to learn from my team and my mentors in the office, as well as within the industry alone, that I plan to continue educating myself and continuously improving my strategy to ultimately increase our client’s engagement with their prospective audience. Every client is different, every company’s story is different and every candidate experience is different. That is the beauty of my job and what makes every day exciting and filled with new opportunities and challenges.


Change—Get Past the Fear!

by Deb Andrychuk

9 August, 2013

Change. Just the thought of it can make us humans break out in a cold sweat. We resist change like the plague. I’m sure there are many scientific reasons why, but I think it always goes back to the old saying, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.”

With this in mind, it makes sense that it’s so difficult to introduce positive change to our clients. Let’s take employment branding as an example. Many prospects that we are engaged with either do not have a strong employment brand or have a version that is dated, generic or poorly executed on the creative side. If they even have content, it’s coupled with horrible visual aesthetics. I get that outdated employment brands are driven by both fear and lack of budget. But, you can’t get the budget unless you have the courage to ask.

Did I mention these are the same clients who are complaining about poor application conversion rates? Candidates who arrive at these career sites are not only unimpressed but also unsure about working for a company that does not take the time to explain its value proposition. To attract quality candidates, recruiters and talent acquisition leaders need to get past the fear and start identifying what can be improved in their department.

  1. Go team! Include folks outside of your department to get a balanced approach and new ideas. This takes the pressure off of you—if something goes wrong, then it’s not solely on your shoulders.
  2. In or out? Determine whether or not your change is something you can handle internally in an efficient way. If not, look to bring in external partners. Do your homework and talk to clients who have used the firms you are interested in.
  3. Establish budget and timeline. This may be your biggest hurdle. Build a solid case around why change is necessary and how it will impact your organization’s bottom line. Establish timelines to stay on task.
  4. Communicate. You do not need to communicate 24/7, but you do need to make sure that you consistently update the team and let your internal partners know what is going on. A simple project easily derails when no one is talking. If your project involves creative, make sure you include marketing, legal and communications from the start to lessen the threat of having your work scrapped later.
  5. Be yourself! Whatever you do, do not plagiarize the work done by other companies and think that its solution will fit your company’s needs. Do the research and take the time to understand how your project should unfold with your culture and personality stamped on it, not someone else’s.

My last thought? If you have the courage to do what you know will benefit you and your company, then you will get immense satisfaction and reward in the end. Once you get rolling, you will find the fear has subsided.

Change will do you good!

Old is New Again: Effective Brochure, Flyer Elements

by Ryan Stene

9 July, 2013

Over the last 90 days or so, I have had several clients and prospects who want to have conversations around refreshing the collateral and brochures that they hand out to candidates. In this digital age, it made me think. Was what was once an old school approach getting attention again?

The desire for a crisp look and the need to be able to hand out something that is effective, clean and intriguing have been some of the reasons for the recent discussions. For us at The Arland Group, this is something that we can accomplish with great success. We succeed when clients are struggling to get across their message in a short and effective manner. Clients love it because it something that is very affordable and a quick project.

This got me to thinking—what are the top five elements needed to make an effective talent acquisition brochure or flyer?

  1. Creditability—Candidates expect to be able to receive something from the company that allows them to understand the business and who you are hiring.
  2. Time-Saving—Candidates want printed material to take home and read at their leisure. Yes, you can direct them to your career site, but a brochure adds a personal touch, tells your candidates what your company offers and why you are an employer of choice.
  3. Motivate Your Audience—The content has to be engaging, otherwise what’s the point? But, you also have to motivate your audience to take an action. Do you insert a QR code that takes them to a landing page or your career site? Do you have them text a number to receive updates via SMS?
  4. Have Fun With It—Who says the flyer has to be a standard size? Are you a paint company? Make the flyer in the shape of paint can or something that is tied to your business.
  5. Make it a Keeper—Putting helpful information inside the flyer can make it a lasting impression. If you are in the food service industry, provide a $5 coupon at the bottom of the last page. Provide job seeker tips—interviewing, cover letters, etc. Readers will continue to reference your brochure even if they didn’t get the job.

When is the last time you refreshed your content? If you haven’t in the last 18 months you better get on it—because your competition is.

The Arland Group Inaugural Summit Finds ‘BEOW’ Factor

by Alyssa Stahr

16 May, 2013

If someone would have told me last week that the catchphrase for The Arland Group’s first ever summit was going to be “BEOW,” I would have looked at them a little sideways. But, in fact, BEOW, which stands for Branding, Engagement, Optimization and Winning! also stands for something else—our creative team hard at work.

The two-day gathering began with some of us meeting for the first time. Arlanders are spread throughout the country, and we had team members traveling in from Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago and Indianapolis. The excitement here at St. Louis headquarters was evident, and we all were ready for two days of presentations, stimulation and collaboration.

Presentations were based around talent acquisition and how TAG specializes in different facets of this realm, be it through sales, social media or customer service. We identified who we are as a company and where we want to go in the future. As someone who works on the creative side of things, it was nice to hear what the sales people do on a regular basis and how the creative team fits into that puzzle.

My esteemed TAG team member, Emily Pirraglia, and I gave a presentation on what we provide our talent acquisition clients in terms of social media and content. In the course of preparing for our presentation, BEOW was born. We posted a photo of Grumpy Cat, and BEOW instantly became a TAG phenomenon for the ages. After all, the acronym fits perfectly with what we provide our customers and what we recommend every creative agency does with their own brand.

The thing I loved most about the two-day summit was the idea phase of the meetings. We all went in with open minds and open hearts. I really feel this is a team who cares about one another and the work we produce daily for our clients. It was great to know that no matter how silly or complicated an idea was, it was still written down and discussed. After all, the most creative minds in history haven’t necessarily been the most straight-laced bunch. World-changing ideas have come from those people.

The next summit is planned for six months out, and with a focus on the creative side of things being the next topic of choice, I can’t wait to see what we come up with!


Recruiting: Are You Labeling Job Seekers?

by Deb Andrychuk

13 July, 2012

I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Nationwide Insurance Talent Acquisition conference at the end of June in Columbus, Ohio. Slotted to present the day after their keynote speaker, Eric Winegardner who is VP of Client Adoption & Strategy at Monster, all I could do was wonder if I could measure up to my friend and former co-worker who is a freaking rock star with a microphone and Powerpoint. For those of you who don’t know @ewmonster, he is a bigger than life personality and one of the most fun people I know. He’s a fascinating blend of ex-HR person, fashion policeman, recruitment industry thought leader, fashion advisor, culinary critic, recruitment trends analyst, stand-up comedian and fearless customer/jobseeker advocate all wrapped up into one uncanny resemblance to Jack Black. He is also one of the most engaging speakers in human capital that you could ever have the pleasure of spending time with and he is damn funny!

But, I have to tell you, watching Eric was a real eye opener for me. In that conference room at the Hyatt, Eric got the crowd (me included) thinking about how important it is to treat your job seekers like you would your own consumers and to focus on the sacred candidate experience. After poking fun at Nationwide’s use of Lotus notes, he next dared everyone to think about how job seekers are labeled and the lack of equity that exists in a job search by the unemployed versus the gainfully employed. With 12.7 million unemployed Americans in June 2012, the equivalent of the population of the 30 smallest states (individually), Eric shared that many of the unemployed were just victims of circumstance. How could this classification be an okay practice based on the current economic conditions and the jobs crisis across America today?

He went on to say that “Unemployed” is without a doubt the biggest stigma you can attach to a job seeker right now. It’s become so uncool to hire the unemployed that some companies have begun putting a line in their advertisements, “Unemployed need not apply.” Eric stated wryly to the group, “It’s like saying that only married people are worth dating.” Quiet filled the room as I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. Had I not made a living pounding into my clients’ heads how it was imperative that we get their brand and positions in front of the elusive yet exclusive passive job seeker? Don’t we all put a premium on the passive seeker and look down our noses at the active? Haven’t we all been told “That the active seeker couldn’t possibly be talented, he’s looking for a job!?” How is it that just a few short years ago, it was perfectly très chic to search for your next venture on a job board, and now candidate hide the fact that they saw your ad there? It’s no wonder that candidates don’t apply to job postings at the same frequency that we witnessed ten or even five years ago. They are afraid they will be labeled. And, we have taught job seekers that they have to find a more cunning entrance into your company. Whether the candidate feels like they must leverage that they are a “referral” when applying, or we teach them to indicate in your ATS that they saw the job listing on a social media site or simply “other” resource. We have taught them that it is simply not okay to be an active seeker looking job posting and that they need to lie in order to get their foot in the door. Sound familiar?

Now a few weeks later after the conference, I’ve had time to reflect and I’m really glad that Eric spoke first…it made me realize that I had something to learn and it didn’t really matter what I was going to look like or sound like the next day. It was about me being there to hear his message and it really touched me. I absolutely feel some shame and responsibility for adding fuel to the fire all these year and being part of the problem when it comes to labeling job seekers. I want to own up to my mistake. So, here I am sharing with all of you (there are like 12 people who read this blog, right?) Hear me people, “I was WRONG!” Further, I pledge that I will be open to promoting all jobseekers to Arland and client openings, regardless of how they come into the funnel.

I beg all of you who influence or make hiring decisions to offer everyone a fair and equitable chance at employment. Make your choices based on what’s right: Who is most qualified for the job? Everyone deserves the chance at the American Dream. Give them their chance, okay?

Happy Designers Produce Amazing Work – Thank you PSAV : )

by Jonathan Galbreath

13 January, 2011

There are 100s, 1,000s … 10s of thousands of amazing designers in the United States alone. How many are relevant? How many are practical? How many do you trust?

You’ve been through several agencies and there hasn’t been a good fit, yet. You’ve saved the last 50k of your VC money to find and hire the most talented agency on the planet.

We’ll be honest with whoever knocks on our door. You can hire The Arland Group because we are reliable, intelligent and trustworthy. But, if our work isn’t beautiful … really, what’s the point. We encourage all of our prospective clients to “shop the look”. We DO produce amazing results for our clients because we are very talented folks, but most importantly because OUR CLIENTS TRUST US.

You fancy yourself as a great designer, photographer, social media guru? You just might be. But, you’ve knocked on our door and you’ve put your trust in The Arland Group. Now, let go and enjoy the experience.

Our design team doesn’t always focus on being “Out of the Box”: We’d rather “change what the box looks like”.

Take for instance one of our favorite clients: PSAV

When PSAV contracted us to imagine their employment branding and recruitment website … we were ecstatic.

PSAV needed a simple tagline that expressed a fast-paced, demanding, exciting lifestyle that is a PSAV associate. “You’re On.” not only harks back to “showtime”, it says “you’re the (wo)man”. You are in control. You are in the drivers seat. You contol your success.

BOLD is what our design team had in the back of their minds when conceptualizing PSAV’s career website. PSAV’ers are techy and fast paced – they embrace the latest in social networking and technology, thus Real-time Twitter feeds. To our best knowledge, no other recruitment website has taken this approach. We also built microsites to better target segments of PSAV’s employment initiatives: Another first in the industry.

Of yeah … and it doesn’t end there …

Kudos to all at PSAV for “changing what the box looks like”!

I Answer to Many

by Deb Andrychuk

29 June, 2010

I Answer to Many
One of the hallmarks of the Talent Acquisition Group at The Arland Group is that we work as an extension of our clients’ recruiting teams. One day I might be writing job descriptions, the next could involve identifying key trends in source of hires or assisting with the implementation of a multi-faceted social media campaign, and in between I could be researching CRM’s or wrapping up the sale of a career site. Much of our company’s success depends on the interaction between Arland and the client or “partner.” And, because of the nature of the projects on hand, I “report” to a specific project lead at each company and I become part of that partner’s team. My contact varies on each assignment. I work with recruiters, HRIS leaders, marketing folks, recruiting admins, managers, directors and VP’s of recruiting and human resources; vendor managers, procurement, retail operations and legal teams. Because of the different levels of interaction, I think of my role as a game: adjusting my style, my personality, my skills and knowledge to fit into a particular company’s recruiting structure and process. If I don’t adapt, I don’t succeed. Success is eminent though if I work effectively with each new “boss” and deliver strategic solutions that fulfill needs, budget and timeline.

By the way, if you are known for hating every boss you work for, you shouldn’t work in recruitment marketing sales. I technically have about 45 leaders in my life, all and I answer to each one as if he or she is the President of The Arland Group. My friends ask me, “How annoying is that, reporting to so many people?” I don’t have to think long before responding, “Yeah, sometimes it’s not so fun and can be overwhelming, but I love what I do!” I am still in awe that after 2 years on the job I still get excited when starting my work day. I consider myself pretty lucky as many people I know can’t stand what they do for a living. For me I find satisfaction in that every day at Arland is different. Every day I learn something new. Every day I get to make an impact on our partners’ recruiting missions, saving them time or money or improving their brand equity. And, I enjoy the challenge that comes with juggling multiple projects. Trust me! There is never a dull moment in my life! This is a very good thing for someone like me who has adult ADD. Most of all, I love the relationships that develop along the way. So many of my clients become good friends and there is wonderful sense of camaraderie- who could ask for more? I’m happy to say that I answer to many chiefs and dig every minute of it!

Stop the Deletions

by Deb Andrychuk

10 June, 2010

I was talking to my boss earlier in the week and he was reviewing my prospective new business report. Discouraged by the lack of new appointments, he sighed and mumbled something sarcastic like, “I could get 10 meetings a week when I was in your shoes.” At first I felt embarrassed and somewhat defensive and then it occurred to me that he was right. 10 years ago, HR or talent acquisition wasn’t the cold calling target they are today, and get this: HR would not only take your calls, but they would dutifully listen to your entire voicemail, sometimes taking notes and writing down your contact information and then actually return your phone calls, regardless of whether they were interested in working with you or not. Amazed by the thoughts of this Happy Land where caller and client are evenly paired? Well, it doesn’t exist today, so time to wake up and face the new reality. Remember that before the advent of job boards, job aggregators, applicant tracking systems; CRM’s and social media solutions, vendor to client ratios were not so wildly disproportionate as they are now. And even though current HR behavior may seem downright rude or insensitive at times, it’s obvious that these poor souls are drowning in the sea of incessant calls received from sales people hawking their wares on a daily basis. So, it makes sense that as a vendor, if you can’t find a way to stand out amongst the gazillion people leaving a message with a given prospect, you run the risk of getting deleted before you can even begin to share your value proposition. So, how do you prevent your prospect from hitting “*D” on their phone and sending you into vendor purgatory?

Here is a day in the life at Arland: I will be diligently looking for fresh opportunities to network and make new business calls, when without fail, I get the call. It’s someone in my industry- the recruitment advertising world, calling to complain about the injustices bestowed upon them by HR Directors, VP’s and recruiters alike. To hear Mr. Yukkity-yuk talk, you would believe that the HR community owed him something for his poorly constructed elevator speeches and equally dismal deliveries of said messages. UGH! It’s during these moments I wish I could just slap a giant pause button and say to my newly muted friend, “If you think about all of the technology that has been developed over the course of the last decade, you’re CUH-RAZY if you haven’t noticed that your prospect is now the target for an unprecedented number of vendor calls and emails, and the quantity of these marketing calls continue to escalate every day! “

So, how do you deliver your message to your target audience without getting discarded before you have stated your purpose? Mike Grennier who heads up talent acquisition in North America for Wal-Mart might have the answer. He recently tweeted, “Dear Vendors: Voice mails longer than 30 seconds will NOT be returned. Think twitter-length. Thank you.” Hhhmm might seem a little harsh, but seriously, maybe Mr. Grennier is on to something here. Maybe we should all take his advice…if your message is longer than a typical Facebook status update or is more than 140 characters, trash it and start again. Besides condensing your message, I think we should all think about emailing our clients first. If you were in your prospect’s shoes, wouldn’t you rather have the option to answer an email at your convenience versus feeling obligated to return a voicemail? And, I think we vendors should all receive harsh jolts of electricity every time we leave messages with trite sayings like “saves you time, money and will increase your ROI.” We can do better than that, can’t we? I for one am going to apply what I know about social media to the development of my new and improved voicemails. I pledge to keep it concise, keep it real and honest, provide true value to the recipient and I will be polite. Above all, I will strive to keep it memorable and unique. I remember a top sales person at a previous employer of mine who used to tell mini-jokes on voicemail when he couldn’t get in touch with a decision maker. He would say something like, “Wow, sorry to hear about your broken arm” to someone who he had never met before. He would then chuckle and continue with, “I’m assuming it’s broken because you won’t call me back!” Believe it or not, this unusual approach worked more times than not, probably because it was unique and he used humor to his advantage. This sales person was smart enough to realize that no one really cared about his credentials, his product differentiators, or the slick article written about his company in Fortune Magazine last month. But he knew if he could make a personal connection with his prospect he might have a shot at getting a meeting and a potential sale.
So, in true Twitter fashion, I leave you with this final thought: Dear Vendor, craft a unique message that is concise, useful, engaging and honest. Email first, call second.
PS Call me in a week and I will let you know this works for me, that is, if I don’t delete your message first…

What is a Black Hole?

by Sharon Lynch

1 June, 2010

What is a black hole? Some may say it’s a “region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. …” or some may say “that’s where my sales rep went after the contract was signed.”

At The Arland Group (TAG), our Talent Acquisition group guarantees that the media partners included in your recruitment media plan will not disappear into a black hole but rather, become stars and shine their knowledge even more brightly after the sale. To this point, we recently setup three media partners to appear at our customer Ministry Health Care within six weeks of the 2010 Media Plan contract being signed.

We firmly believe in helping our customers truly get the very most for their investment. At The Arland Group, our “account management actions” meant that we invited three vendors who are key partners in the 2010 Media Recruitment Plan to cover best practices, competitive benchmarking, time-saving tips, etc.  Monster, Simply Hired and Healthecareers came to our customer’s headquarters in Milwaukee where they had 15 people, primarily recruiters/end users who came eager to listen, learn and brainstorm about how they can best utilize specific products to fill their job openings.  Each media partner brings a distinct strength to the media plan, and in this group setting, by pulling the entire recruitment team together, also allowed for our customer to pro-actively at the onset of the contract term, establish their own internal best practices.

Mike Schmidt, Director of Recruitment at Ministry Health Care, said his recruiters considered this Vendor Summit as “one of the best meetings we’ve ever had.” With the introduction of many new tools available outside of the traditional job postings and resume search, having direct contact between media partners and end users/recruiters is invaluable to help them best use new products.

This post-sale support and “product on-boarding” are even more critical as new products are introduced with the advent of Web 2.0 and trends developing around social media. Monster’s Media Specialist, Dennis Stevens, said having the entire recruiting team assembled to discuss new products now in their mix will help ensure that one of Monster’s unique and most successful products, Career Ad Network, will garner the best possible results.

Healthecareer’s strategy involves developing partnerships with industry-specific associations to help drive job seekers to their site so they had Jennifer Badding, Senior Manager, Association and Partner Development, in attendance to speak directly with the Ministry recruiting team about associations that were meaningful to them and their specific job openings.

Meanwhile, Simply Hired in the job search engine space, will help Ministry reach job seekers in new places and help them connect with seekers who are searching solely by location and industry/job title.

Now that a baseline has been established, and expectations established externally with media partners and internally among recruiters, Quarterly Reviews will be more significant and informative. It also makes a contract more than a contract; it turns a piece of paper into a true partnership. If you’d like to learn more about how to keep your media sales reps out of the black holes and keep them as stars, you can reach me directly at .