By Dave Mendoza, Master Cybersleuth, JobMachine Inc.
The war for talent has exposed an ever decreasing technical engineering base within North America, as universities produce fewer engineers than demanded by attrition to sustain today’s technology revolution. Recruitment has gone global in harnessing the potential of a highly educated and motivated class of intelligentsia within Central Europe, India and throughout Asia. The disconnect between an ambitious workforce development strategy and actual metrics is in the manner and means by which we understand the following key issues that confront us as staffing professionals:
Today we initiate a series of discussions to engage global perspectives among fellow colleagues in the staffing industry from each corner of the Earth, in the spirit of fostering best practices and understanding. It is my intention to engage and solicit a global conversation and ultimately, and most importantly – to develop a menu of perspectives which identifies fundamental patterns among recruiters, newspapers and other mediums, and the role of demographics. My lofty goal is to research the manner in which we recruit, develop social networking relationships to foster talent pools, and how we engage job boards, etc. by country, region and continent. Today I take one small step forward to initiate a series of inquiries in the hopes that together we can learn from each other.
I thank each of my colleagues in advance for their willingness to confront the questions posed. Your contributions will assist in identifying patterns we can sort together as part of an ongoing discussion. I invite the staffing organizations of Corporate America and Multi-National companies to share in the dialogue.
Brian Janecek is a US national, born and raised in Oregon and a technical recruiter developing talent on behalf of corporate and highly-technical positions at FEI, a nanotechnology tool provider (SEM, TEM, S/TEM, FIB, DualBeam, etc.). FEI’s corporate headquarters is located in Hillsboro, Oregon, USA, Brian has been charged however with a three-month assignment on behalf of FEI’s Brno, Czech Republic office. In addition, FEI maintains an office in Holland that covers Western European countries.
FEI Corporation is a leading supplier of Tools for Nanotechâ„¢ enabling research, development and manufacture of products at the Nanoscale. Our range of industry-leading focused ion and electron beam hardware and software products are delivered to three primary Nanotechnology markets: NanoElectronics, NanoResearch and NanoBiology. With R&D centers in North America and Europe, and sales and service operations in more the 40 countries around the world, FEI is bringing the Nanoscale within the grasp of leading researchers and manufacturers and helping to turn some of the biggest ideas of the this century into reality.
Brian’s talent pool is primarily associated with the development, design and manufacturing of electron microscopes (SEMs and TEMs). Brian partners with Staffing, HR Business Partners and Hiring Managers to ascertain the specifics of a search, develop sourcing strategies, and then execute those strategies to identify and deliver top-notch talent to the business group.
He initially began his staffing career as an HR Generalist in 2002 and eventually gravitated to a career in recruitment over the last five years. Brian’s competitiveness is the source of his inspiration as a recruiter. He loves a challenge and the field of electron microscopy, in particular, makes recruiting a particularly satisfying adventure.
As a recruiter for FEI, Brian depends upon direct sourcing from competitor companies as a key resource for developing talent. FEI is a small player (about 230 employees) within its niche competing against major global companies in a relatively small market that’s currently experiencing a major labor shortage in the technical fields. Brian deems going after the competition’s workforce as an essential component of their staffing strategy.
Brian faces technological and strategic challenges in his quest for talent within Central Europe, He describes sourcing talent in Brno, Czech Republic as a “time warp.”
“We recently posted a full-page ad in a regional newspaper with a number of positions listed and are launching a campaign where we put up ads on public transportation in order to get our postings in front of passive candidates. I’ve considered wearing a sandwich board and standing for a few hours in front of our biggest competitor, but I’m not quite to that pointâ€¦yet.”
Brian’s keen networking efforts opened doors for him at FEI corporation and his Czech language abilities inspired his current duties overseas. Over the next three months while working on in Czech Republic, FEI will cover his overseas expenses for housing, meals (to an extent), flights for his wife and two small children, and a company car. He was kind enough to share his perspectives as an American national working as a contract recruiter in Central Europe.
Which job boards, online forums, blogs, etc., within the region are considered valuable assets in your search for talent?
“Like most companies in the region, we rely heavily on local job boards for resumes. The large global boards (Monster, Dice, etc.) haven’t caught on here at all so sites like Jobs.cz are much more useful. I hesitate to call the sites useful for mining resumes as a lot of attitudes held-over from the days of Communism continue to prevail and most people would never dream of putting a resume with any personal information on a job board that anyone who pays the fees can see. Therefore, a majority of the resumes that do get posted (and there aren’t many) are from new college graduates who lack experience. There are many smaller boards that make a good effort but never really catch on (same as within the US) so those have been of minimal value. Posting our jobs on these sites has been fairly successful and we do get some good candidates from those, but I have to temper my expectations as I’m dealing with a much smaller region and talent pool than I’m used to in the US. Brno is about two hours from Prague and getting candidates to consider leaving the big city for something smaller is nearly impossible without overpaying by a great deal. In fact, getting candidates from farther away than about 30 miles to consider work here is challenging.
LinkedIn has been a good source of networking contacts and I have mined some good candidates off the site.
How are US and European recruitment culture different? How are they similar?”
“The biggest difference I see in recruiting in the US and in Central/Eastern Europe is that active recruiting is essential for success in the States and it is almost non-existent here. Agencies play a much bigger role in this region and most are content to post jobs on various sites and wait for candidates to come to them. In fact, many candidates that I mine are quite surprised to be getting an unsolicited call from a recruiter as it isn’t a part of the culture here. The Internet is being used as a job-hunting tool, but is still in its infancy as a sourcing tool for recruiters. Many of the recruiters that I’ve met with are much more tactical and less strategic than is my experience in the US, meaning that they are much more administrative than the average US recruiter. There is also a major problem here of the top-level talent leaving the country for higher wages in Western Europe and the US so holding on to employees once they’ve come on board is a challenge.
Another major hurdle here for recruiters is that people aren’t accustomed to switching jobs as often as Americans are. They tend to stay in the same job for a long time and, for the most part, aren’t interested in knowing what else is out thereâ€¦they are very risk-averse in that area. This is changing with the younger generations, but is still the norm.
Companies here tend to focus more on college hires as most people coming out of school in a technical field have master’s degrees. The thought is that they can mold them to fit the company much easier if they haven’t been influenced by the culture and habits of other companies.
Employees must give at least two months’ notice to leave so the time between the signing of the offer letter and when they actually start is usually about two to three months. Along those lines, it’s also extremely difficult to fire anyone so making the right hiring decision is that much more important because you’re going to be stuck with the person for a long time.
Fighting to find, lure away and hold on to talent is the same wherever you go; the circumstances are just different.”
Where is Europe ahead of the USA in certain recruitment tactics?
“This is a very subjective question as saying who is ahead or what methods are better. I’m very biased because I learned to recruit in the US and the transition over here has been like learning a completely new job. Agencies here are relatively cheap and they seem to elicit a greater level of comfort with candidates so that is one area that I think is definitely more advanced. In the US there is a bit of a stigma associated with going to an employment agency to look for help in a job search, but here it’s often the seeker’s first choice.”
What networking groups are available and influential within Europe as a whole and within your country in particular?
“I can only speak to my region and most of the networking groups that I’ve come across are those of expatriates … it just isn’t part of the culture here to create or join such groups.”
What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
“I’ve not come across any yet so much of the training I’ve done has been through setting up meetings with our various staffing partners (agencies) and trying to draw out any information that I can from them that would be helpful for sourcing within this market.
What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career?
“I recruited a top-level candidate in the US who was being courted by a number of companies who all made him offers. We wanted him badly but didn’t have the money to throw at him that some of our competitors did so I had to pitch other benefits to working with us. I talked to him almost daily for two weeks and, despite being outbid for his services, I was able to close the deal with him. I learned more about recruiting from that single experience than from any other. Recruiting isn’t just about finding good candidates and offering them the most money; it’s the ability to find people’s hot buttons and push on those to convince them that your company is the one that they want to work for.”
NOTE: Stay Tuned For Part 2 of My Interview with Brian Janecek, FEI Corporation in Brno, Czech Republic. I encourage our readers to take the opportunity today to Connect directly with Brian Janecek on LinkedIn, simply click here and insert his email: Brian.Janecek @ fei.com
Next Up …. Doran Parsons, Staffing Manager at Dell Corporation in Bratislava, Slovakia!