Training Development Manager

Title: Training Development Manager


Location: Remote

Industry: Pharmaceutical / Biotech

The ideal candidate will have 5-7 years of experience with a minimum of 5 years of pharmaceutical sales training experience including content development & facilitation.

  • The Training Development Manager will be principally responsible for building training and development curriculum which will facilitate clinical education, detailed product knowledge, soft skills and business acumen training sessions.
  • This will include training and development needs for the company.
  • This position will also serve as the conduit between Marketing and Sales by translating and communicating brand strategies to sales personnel through multiple training mediums, while adhering to regulatory guidelines.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Develop, design, and manage sales training and curriculum design for branded products within four commercial business units – and coordinate the delivery / execution of these programs
  • Standardize, as much as possible, training programs across divisions
  • Develop and Facilitate trainings throughout the organization including but not limited to Professional Development and Orientation programs
  • Serve as a Training Mentor to identified areas
  • Develop standardized onboarding process for all new-hires
  • Manage the development of all levels of training targeted toward existing and new product launches
  • Manage the development of all levels of training targeted toward new hires and existing hires
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the training programs
  • Evaluates trainee performance and keeps management informed of progress
  • Work with Marketing to ensure alignment of training programs with product strategy
  • Work with Sales Directors to ensure fulfillment of divisional sales training needs
  • Work with Regional Trainers from each division to develop special training initiatives for their respective divisions
  • Maintain consistency with Medical, Legal and Regulatory standards
  • Prioritizes projects based on strategic importance to the organization
  • Training formats should include a variety of delivery methods, including oral, written, online, audio and video
  • Evaluates/recommends outside vendor training resources and programs
  • Continually assess the training and development needs for the field force to ensure and maintain the effectiveness and compliance of the sales force in each division

Education Requirements and Qualifications

  • Bachelors Degree, preferred, with a minimum of 5 years’ of pharmaceutical sales training experience including content development & facilitation.
  • Strong organizational, analytical and project management skills.
  • Ability to lead cross-functional teams and excel in a matrix-style organization.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and execute in ambiguous circumstances under short timelines.

Strategic Designer, Senior Manager

Strategic Designer, Senior Manager

Direct Hire

Location: McLean, Virginia

Will consider remote


The ideal candidate will have:

  • Strategic Design
  • Figma (preferred), Sketch, Invision or similar UX/UI applications
  • Research
  • Experience with Innovation or Start-up environments
  • Proven ability to collaborate in cross-functional teams in Agile environments

You will:

  • Discover and incubate new startup opportunities for the line of business
  • Own the charge to re-imagine business process and build products using emerging technology, incorporating insights into product, market, and technology trends
  • Open up the boundaries for innovation, technology, and processes to improve the way we think and work within the company

Your Impact:

As an experienced, multidisciplinary digital designer, you will contribute to broader team objectives throughout the design lifecycle from conceptualization, iterative prototyping and MVP design, go to market strategies, and business case development. In this role, you will:

Provide Design Services:

  • Work on concepts that span market and competitive insights, emerging trends and themes, customer journeys, and needs and personas synthesizing and defining the problem space
  • Develop digital concepts and product strategies bringing prior experience in areas such as UX design, visual, branding, content strategy and digital marketing in addition to strategic design
  • Develop storyboards, low and high-fidelity wireframes and visualizations to pitch ideas and show how they will transform how our customers work
  • Engage in a rapid, iterative approach that enables fast experimentation, learning and co-creation with customers

Conduct Research:

  • Research and present digital exemplars and lead ideation workshops that draw on multiple subject areas to build a concept vision through measurable insights incorporating experience with research methods
  • Determine qualitative approaches, techniques, and tools, and define target population to approaches to validate hypotheses and test product usability in market
  • Lead and/or work with 3rd parties in the execution of primary research to uncover insights from customer behaviors, needs (known and unmet), and receptivity to new concepts.
  • Summarize research findings and insights for executive reviews.

Champion Human Centered Design:

  • Channel the voice of the customer ensuring that the business solution is thoughtfully designed to support their needs and advocate incorporating research findings into design prototypes, MVPs, etc.


  • At least 10-12 years of business experience, working across the design lifecycle / Design Thinking with digital products incorporating interactive and visual design elements
  • New product development experience using lean startup methodologies, agile development, and human centered design in a modern delivery environment; experience supporting digital product design at a startup preferred
  • Proficient with user experience design principles, best practices, and tools; experience with Figma (preferred), Sketch, Invision or similar UX/UI applications
  • Strategic experience in designing B2C & B2B2C products
  • Portfolio of diverse projects demonstrating human centered design capabilities – on-line portfolio available for review
  • BS/BA or Master’s degree in (Strategic) Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, Design Planning, Strategy or other meaningful experience… graduate degree preferred

Keys to Success:

  • Strong expertise in prototyping and in-market testing!
  • Experience using dynamic tools and techniques to conduct qualitative research
  • Proven ability to collaborate in cross-functional teams in Agile environments
  • Results-focused and performance driven in fast-paced environment!
  • Active member of the design community
  • Excellent verbal and written skills to communicate design principles and conduct professional presentations



TMF Specialist

Title: TMF Specialist
Regulatory Documentation
Term: Anticipated 1 year, potential to extend
Location: Woodcliff Lake, NJ
On-site or Remote position – up to 40 hrs week

The ideal candidate will have:

Basic knowledge of CFR, GCP & ICH Guidelines
2 plus years Pharma experience (includes CRO / Vendor experience)
Knowledge and understanding of DIA TMF Reference model

The Role:

  • Perform daily Trial Master File management activities such as Review, Processing, Filing of Clinical Trial Master File documents, to ensure the TMF is Inspection Ready.
  • Conduct Quality Control reviews of TMF Documents. Coordinate with eTMF vendor for TMF set-up and processing of TMF documents and conduct eTMF query resolution.
  • Assist in the archiving of TMF documents; this may include shipping, retrieval, and tracking of documents approved for archiving to off-site storage; Maintain electronic logs which contain the location of study documents.
  • Development/Contribution toward user manuals / Best Practice guides
  • Must have strong document management skills, including experience with review of Regulatory Documents, be detail oriented, organized, quality driven and able to work in a team environment under tight deadlines.
  • Knowledge/understanding of TMF requirements and technologies to support document collection and archiving; eTMF experience preferred.
  • eTMF/TMF Process and system training
  • eTMF Implementation experience
  • Ability to think outside the box
  • Hands on Inspection experience (FDA, MHRA, etc)
  • Internal audit preparation
  • Support integration of partnered or clinical information including transfer of TMFs in compliance with applicable regulations and best practice
  • Proactively stay current with best practices and recommends application across business groups to improve TMF operations
  • Assist with TMF process education
  • Assist CRO eTMF configuration
  • Assist and deliver key KPI reports to study team, manage expectations, and track on-going KPI across all study team by partnering with clinical operations leads


  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Acrobat, and electronic document management systems, preferably Documentum. Agility with ClinOps databases preferred.
  • Basic knowledge of CFR, GCP & ICH Guidelines.
  • 2 plus years Pharma experience (includes CRO / Vendor experience)
  • Knowledge and understanding of DIA TMF Reference model
  • Excellent written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Bachelor’s Degree preferred.


Agile Development for eLearning

For decades, eLearning development has followed the ADDIE model of Analysis, Design, Development, Implement, and Evaluation.  ADDIE has served us well.  It has been and will always be a trusted and valid approach to learning development, but it has shown its shortcomings in recent years with the implementation of models derived from ADDIE or meant to streamline ADDIE.


It is our responsibility as learning leaders to research and embrace processes which will enhance the process for our organization and lead to enhanced end products for the end users.¨ Agile Development is one process every organization should look to for eLearning Development.  The greatest value comes from the team approach to iterative development.


♦Side Bar: Every member of the learning team is a learning leader.  As you grow in your profession, it is vital you continue to research new and interesting avenues in the learning world.


Agile Development has been happening in eLearning for many years; however, it is in recent years the process has been embraced beyond IT software development.  Some of the apprehension around moving to agile development has revolved around a misunderstanding of the process or no understanding at all.  Let’s demystify the process and show how it can successfully enhance, not only your eLearning development, but the working relationship between your teams.

What is Agile Development


“Agile is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.”[1]


At its simplest, Agile Development is a type of iterative software development.¨ The iterative process allows for an agile response to design and development needs throughout the process.  One of the biggest wins for Agile Development is the focus on team, what is the team working on and how do they work together.


♦Side Bar: One of the biggest mistakes people make is believing Agile is for software development only.  Surely, the “…ability to create and respond to change1” is an ability we should all strive for.  Continuing to work in the way you always have is a sure indicator of becoming obsolete.


Let’s take a look at the Agile Manifesto.


The Agile Manifesto

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:


Individuals and interactions over processes and tools


Working software over comprehensive documentation


Customer collaboration over contract negotiation


Responding to change over following a plan


That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.[2]

Advantages for eLearning

So, how does this apply to our daily lives as eLearning leaders, designers & developers?  It gives us the freedom to unleash ourselves from traditional eLearning design and development constraints, brings us closer to our stakeholders, and helps us to bring the best we have to offer to the end user.


An iterative approach allows for:


  • Increased and consistent input from all project stakeholders.
    • Current processes include the initial Analyze/Design/Discover phase during which customers, end users, developers, designers, testers, etc. come together to define the project requirements and then regroup toward the end of the project once the bulk of development is complete.
    • With Agile, the initial design phase all the stakeholders come together to initiate the project and define the project requirements. These User Stories are there to guide the development of the course.  The primary stakeholders also meet daily to present progress on User Stories and to discuss any roadblocks they may encounter.


  • Realization of design or functionality enhancements throughout the cycle.
    • A linear approach makes it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to implement changes beyond the scope of the original project. This includes changes to design, and functionality.
    • With Agile, if a team member identifies an enhancement, the team can review it and make the joint decision to implement the change. The repetitive nature of Agile builds in the sense across the team where almost nothing is impossible.
  • Delivering functional products within shorter timeframe.
    • Each iteration of an agile project is meant to be a usable product. There may be a minimum number of preidentified user stories before release to the end user, but the product of each sprint must be usable.
    • This approach also allows for modular learning approaches (See Cultivating a Growth Mindset through MicroLearning).

Getting Started

There are a few steps needed to get started with Agile Development.  Remember there is a lot to be done with Agile Development, but these are the minimum to start your project off on the right foot.


    1. Select Project Opportunities
      Review your upcoming projects to find one suited to start the agile process with. Look for projects at least 2 months out.  This will allow time to ramp up all the participants.  The project should be large enough to require more than one iteration, but not so many it becomes unwieldly.  Lastly, select a project with some excitement surrounding it.
    2. Identify Key Stakeholders
      This initial stakeholder list should include everyone touched by the change. This includes the learning and development team, department heads and their direct contact for training related needs, a member of the Project Management Office, and anyone else you deem important for the process.  While this list is exhaustive, those participating in the daily development meetings will be a smaller subset.
    3. Facilitate Culture Change
      Once you’ve decided on the project, it’s time to start working on changing the culture around how development occurs. This is a vital step in the process.  All stakeholders must understand how the change to agile benefits them and the end user.  This can include having them conduct some research, directing them to this blog, and providing them an overview of the agile process.  If you have a Change Management team in your organization, they can help with additional ways to facilitate the culture update (See Change Management: Creating a Blended Approach to Learning and Change).
    4. Train Your Team & Key Stakeholders
      This is a must! Your team must understand what agile is and what the process looks like. Your PMO or IT team can help with this.  You can also tap a person on your team to write a instructor led course on Agile Development.  Alternatively, you can bring in an outside vendor to conduct a class.

Launch Your First Agile Project

Congratulations! You are ready to launch your first Agile Development project.  This is a huge step for the organization.  Remember the importance of team in Agile Development.  The meeting frequency will seem tedious, but over time you and your team will grow to appreciate the depth and breadth of teamwork!


Get connected to UserEdge — your competitive edge in eLearning contract and direct hire staffing solutions.


UserEdge Contributing Editor: Anna Hemsworth

Anna Hemsworth a creative, versatile leader and pioneer in online learning with more than 15 years of experience developing innovative eLearning, mLearning, and Virtual Learning platforms. She has a demonstrated ability to build, develop, and lead high performance learning development teams rooted in adult learning theories while fostering exploration of emerging technologies.


[1] What is Agile Software Development? (2020, January 16). Retrieved July 12, 2020, from

[2] Beck, K., Beedle, M., Van Bennekum, A., Cockburn, A., Cunningham, W., Fowler, M., . . . Sutherland, J. (2019, October 06). Agile Manifesto for Software Development. Retrieved July 12, 2020, from



Unfilled Job Positions Decreases Corporate Profitability – A Quantitative Look

Employees are vital to an organization and when job vacancies occur, it is in the best interest for the company to rehire as quickly as possible in order to avoid a disruption in team cohesiveness and the adverse financial impact on profitability and shareholder wealth.  Open positions are a cost detriment when not filled in a timely manner and to measure the lost economic opportunity, the following methodologies can be utilized:


Multiple of Compensation Method


The Multiple of Compensation Method values an employee based on their annual salary and is what the insurance industry utilizes to underwrite “key man” insurance policies.  In this method, a multiple between 3-7 times is typically applied to the annual salary of the individual.  The multiple applied depends on the type of business, the estimated difficulty in finding a qualified replacement and the responsibilities the job position entails.


For example, XYZ Corp. has a Senior Manager position vacant with a yearly salary of $115,000, which has been open for 1 month due to the inability of the human resource department to find qualified talent and/or the inability of hiring managers to take time to view resumes due to increased job responsibilities resulting from the departure of the employee.  In determining the economic opportunity associated with this position, a conservative multiple of 5 times is utilized.  Accordingly, multiplying the yearly salary of $115,000 times 5 yields the economic opportunity to the corporation of $575,000.


It is highly important that the company fills the job vacancy as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  If the above position has been left open for 1 month, the economic value lost to the organization equals $47,917.  This is computed by dividing the value of $575,000 by 12 months.  On an hourly basis, the economic value lost equals $276.44 per hour and is computed by dividing the value of $575,000 by 2,080 hours (40 hours per week times 52 weeks in a year).  This is a lot of money for any organization to be losing by not filling the vacant position!!!


Revenue Method


The Revenue Method values the lost opportunity based on the company’s total revenue and total number of employees.  For example, XYZ Corp. generated $397 million in 2017 and employed 1,147 employees.  Based on the above, the yearly revenue attributable to each employee is $346,120.  While the value can be increased by fewer employees this can be detrimental as added workloads to existing staff can cause friction within the organization due to increased workloads and longer work hours, which would ultimately impact the corporate culture in a negative light.


In this scenario, assuming that the person who held the Senior Manager position at XYZ Corp. left for unbeknownst reasons and the position has been left open for 1 month, the economic value lost to the organization would equal $28,843.  This is computed by dividing the value of $346,120 by 12 months.  On an hourly basis, the economic value lost equals $166.40 per hour and is computed by dividing the value of $346,120 by 2,080 hours.  This is a lot of money for XYZ Corp. to be hemorrhaging by having the position go unfilled!!!


What is the Best Method to Utilize


Both methods effectively value the lost economic opportunity of unfilled job positions.  However, to smooth out any fluctuations, an average value should be utilized.  In the above scenarios, the lost economic opportunity associated with the Multiple of Compensation Method and the Revenue Method on a monthly basis equals $47,917 and $28,843, respectively, with an average equal to $38,380.  Accordingly, it is in the best interest of XYZ Corp. to find a replacement as quickly as possible.


For good business practice, businesses must implement a loss limit by determining how much lost economic opportunity would be acceptable by having the vacant position.  For example, management at XYZ Corp. believes an acceptable loss limit would be $50,000 for the vacant Senior Manager position.  Based on the above, the company would have 28 days to hire a replacement before additional losses would be incurred.  This figure is calculated based on four steps:

*Step 1: Annualize the average monthly economic loss.  In this case, multiplying $38,380 by 12 months yields a yearly loss of $460,560.

*Step 2: Determine hourly loss.  In this case, dividing $460,560 by 2,080 work hours in a year yields an hourly loss of $221.42 per hour.

*Step 3: Determine daily loss.  In this case, multiplying $221.42 per hour by 8 hours in a work day yields a daily loss of $1,771.38.

*Step 4: Determine days to hire.  In this case, divide the acceptable revenue loss of $50,000 by $1,771.38.




Job vacancies, particularly those that have been posted for a lengthy period of time, represent a major problem from both a financial and corporate culture standpoint.  This is significant given that industry conditions are constantly changing and businesses need talent in order to effectively compete.  If the recruiting process is slow, it is imperative that management take the appropriate corrective action to avoid any wasted economic opportunity.


While the majority of companies in operation have an internal recruiting department to hire personnel, it is in their best interest that they also work with a specialized outside recruiter to find the best available talent.  By aligning with an outside recruiter with a focus on a specific area, the pool of qualified candidates is increased allowing the hiring manager to select the most qualified and talented among the group.


If your organization is looking to hire folks with backgrounds in Training (instructional design, elearning, blended learning, etc), Communication (tech writing, corporate communications, copy editing, etc.) and User Experience Design look to a specialized firm such as UserEdge Technical Personnel to compliment your firm’s human resource team.

Brand Equals Value in Recruitment

Your brand is your value. Branding isn’t just for marketing purposes to attract customers. It represents the strength and value of your company, and that means something when you are hiring – and potential recruits are looking at your company.

Relational hiring is the way in which you interact with potential candidates during the hiring process. But what are you doing to attract that one candidate you are searching for in a large talent pool? How are you using your brand to maximize the impact of recruits and to be competitive? It is your brand that helps attract and retain employees.

Reputation is everything.

Would you work for you based on what the news says, people say, social media says? Your brand reflects your corporate culture, your employee benefits, and your employee turnover.

Brand is about building relationships at every level including the recruiting of new hires. When working with clients on building their brand, I address two key issues

1.”What do others think of this company?”

2. “What do we want others to say when they think of this company?”

In branding you have to know your customers. So let’s think of potential employees as another target market. You have a position to fill, perhaps a project management position. You have established your requirements, the skills, and experience that are necessary to successfully complete the job. You additionally require some type of project management certification to narrow down your job pool. Now what? Do you just post the position with a few recruiting firms, on your company website, or through various social media?  Your answer should be, “No.”

Talent acquisition that is superior and that is a true fit for your team and corporate culture will require you to reveal some information about your company. Your brand is your differentiator. What is it that sets you apart from other companies searching the same talent pool? Who are you to potential recruits in this talent pool? Why would they want to work for you?

In today’s world of “what’s in it for me” job seekers, particularly the millennial generation, are a bit more particular than they used to be. The upcoming generations are not just looking for “a” job; they are looking for “THE” job. And the experienced generations are also moving on. I often read articles about individuals switching careers or leaving lucrative jobs to do what they are passionate about. This doesn’t mean giving up work to become a nomad. It means people want to work for companies that value and invest in their employees.

The benefits of branding

Talent acquisition never ceases, but you can be more selective by having a talent pool that truly wants to work for your company and is knocking at your door.

* Tangible effect on the bottom line: companies that are well branded reduce their recruiting costs due to retention.

* More skilled job applicants: attract passive employees – those who are well established in their fields and provide valuable experience.

* Reduced hiring costs: people are more inclined to take a lower salary to work for a better company.

Partner branding

Having a recruiting agency that has built a solid brand will help get those desired recruits to you. In today’s world, hiring and staffing agencies are a dime a dozen. Know who you are partnering with in the recruitment industry. Are you working with an agency that has thousands of prospects but no relationship with those who are in their database? Does your recruiting firm post, then pass? Very few firms I have worked with take the time to vet potential applicants before passing them on to their clients. Recruiting agencies should know their potential recruits as well as they know their client needs. Falling short on this can make for a bad experience for qualified employee candidates.  Also, be sure you are working with a hiring agency that has an established brand because they are a direct reflection of you. Make sure you have the edge when it comes to recruiting.

Tell us how you are branding your company to new recruits. Knowledge is power and leverage. What sets you apart? Why do candidates want to work for your company? Leave a comment!

Get connected to UserEdge — your competitive edge in technical and information staffing solutions.

By Donna Cornelius Contributing Editor

Recruiting for Training and Development

Talent acquisition for the various roles within your company is hard enough; add a specific skill set such as e-learning, training, or development and you may find yourself at a disadvantage. You need qualified, screened candidates who have proven skills and experience. Of course, you already know this because you are the person required to fill these job positions while enabling the company to quickly fill an open position with minimal downtime!

But there is a process enabling you to hire e-learning developers and instructional designers with more confidence.

In our blog “Recruiting Agencies Creating Partnerships” we described what to look for in an agency as well as how to create a positive partnership experience. But another critical reason for creating these partnerships is so you can turn to niche agencies that focus on identifying uniquely qualified employee recruits for a specific skill set or industry, such as training and development. This makes for a more positive, successful, and less stressful employee hiring experience.

Boutique or niche recruiting agencies have direct knowledge of your hiring requirements for certain types of positions. They also have established relationships with active and passive recruits with the skills and experience you need.

E-learning impacts business goals

Training and development have evolved from yesterday’s method of flying in your trainers or sending out your employees and recruits for hands-on training to today’ s creation of virtual, online classrooms so your staff can learn new software or take classes related to your company’s specific service or product. This has generated an increased need for writers and developers to create these training rooms and related instructional materials. However, when you add the requirements for various software and development programs used for training, the available writing talent pool just got a little smaller.

ASTD Research – e-Learning and Training on the rise.

For example, while working with a telecommunications company, my team used Primus to develop solutions for internal customer service representatives. As this program was being enhanced, we required classroom training to walk us through the nuances of using this program – such as their new Boolean searches and options for editing and producing solutions. Then the customer service reps needed training on using our solutions in this new portal. Now take into consideration that literally hundreds of employees needed to be trained, and flying everyone to a central destination certainly was not economically feasible. On the other hand, online virtual training enhanced our ability to train multiple teams all across the country at their own pace and time schedule.

For cost reasons alone, e-learning and instructional design has a valid and valuable place in today’s business world.  Traditional methods of having an instructor on-site have become antiquated and are not cost-effective in a global workplace and virtual world.

Training in today’s technology has its advantages, but only to the extent that you match the recruit with the most experience to your requirements. Niche employee agencies such as UserEdge focus on filling positions with specialized requirements and can help you identify potential employees who have these qualifications and experience much quicker and at a lower cost compared to in-house recruiting teams.

Training and development knowledge is key to your success

What sets niche recruiting agencies apart is specific knowledge versus general knowledge. When hiring employees for e-learning and instructional design you need to be assured that the firm’s recruiter:

*Is an expert in the roles of information design and development for which they recruit

*Understands the types of tools required and has established relationships with people who use these tools

*Has knowledge of your personnel career objectives and specifics of the position – matching the candidate to the client’s needs and requirements:

o Why the position is available o What department plans are

o What the potential candidate does within the organization and structure of the team

*Works with the hiring manager regarding corporate culture:

o Cultural fit

o Interpersonal fit – peer-to-peer relationships

Niche recruiting agencies save clients time as well by conducting in-depth screening of candidates and reviewing potential candidates’ work as it relates to specific role. Finding a recruiter for e-learning and instructional designer talent acquisition means they know (these lists are not all-inclusive):

The role:

*E-Learning Developer – Lectora

*E-Learning Developer – Camtasia

*Instructional Designer

*Instructional Designer & Project Manager

*Project Manager

*Training Coordinator

*The responsibilities and skills:

*Develop e-learning modules

*Produce videos, hotspots, and simulation exercises

*Have knowledge of XHTML, CSS, Javascript, Photoshop, Illustrator, and SML

*Research and document task analysis

*Write learning objectives and modules: exercises, workbooks, worksheets, scripts, storyboards, manuals, job aids, tutorials, testing and evaluation forms, case studies, training databases, computer-based training, and computer-managed instruction

*Organize, plan, schedule, and implement all phases of a project

*Conduct needs assessments

*Recommend training solutions to meet business needs

*Lead design and development of solutions

*Provide Learning management system support

Each client’s need is unique. A niche employee recruiter understands that an instructional designer may need a blended role of instructional designer and project manager. These roles are creative and organized. Having a large talent pool makes your employee acquisition more streamlined. Whether you are looking for a training specialist, instructional designer with e- learning development, e-learning developer, or learning management system manager, for internal or external training on products, systems, or sales training, let UserEdge help you hire your next e-learning developer or instructional designer. Gain the edge with UserEdge.

Get connected to UserEdge – your competitive edge in technical and information staffing solutions.

By Donna Cornelius Contributing Editor

Recruiting Agencies – Creating Partnerships

Staffing firms, search firms, headhunters, recruiting agencies…there are many names, but the bottom line is they each provide services that help companies with talent acquisition.

In our blog “Gain the Contract Staffing Edge” we quickly touched on what to search for when selecting a recruiting agency:

  • It understands your corporate culture and personnel requirements
  • It has an established structured recruiting process
  • It has a large database of active and passive candidates

But in this blog we are going to identify some specific best practices that will help you make an informed decision about what to look for in choosing a partner for your recruitment processing needs and company objectives. We will also look at how staffing agencies are going beyond simply filling a position to becoming an in-depth Recruitment Process Outsourcer (RPO) able to meet your goals on a much broader scale.

Knowing your recruitment firm options

Whether your organization has a corporate recruiter or not, there are key factors in recognizing when you need customized recruiting services. A partnership with agencies can help you meet goals when:

  • You need to fully outsource the recruitment/hiring process for a specific position or location
  • You have contract positions to fill that are either long-term or short-term
  • There is a need for an employee for a specific project within your organization (Niche agencies are typically very helpful in these cases.)
  • You need assistance with managing only one part of the recruitment process
  • You are looking to knowledge experts who can advise you in making improvements to your own process

Once you determine your need and the type of outsourcing firm that meets your company goals then it is time to build the relationship. Although standard corporate policies are established through your vendor agreements, there are considerations when choosing the right firm:

  • COST – just because a firm is the most expensive does not always mean it is the best. Staffing agencies come in all sizes, but it is the service that determines quality, not cost.
  • SIZE – bigger is not always better. Smaller or medium sized recruiting firms can have clearly defined strategic human talent acquisition processes that rival those of larger firms. Boutique, niche, or medium sized agencies may also provide a more attentive relationship ensuring your needs, goals, and objectives are met.
  • TRACK RECORD – does the staffing firm have previous experience with the position you are asking them to fill? Ask the agency if it is able to match the new hire to the skills/position that your department heads require?
  • INTEGRATED RECRUITMENT PROCESS – is the employee resource firm able to provide a consistent and sustainable process to meet your corporate and management recruiting goals? Knowing how a recruiting agency identifies potential candidates is critical in determining the quality of those applicants they are sending your way. They may not give away their secrets, but they should be subject matter experts in your industry, with a working knowledge of the skill sets required for the positions they are filling.
  • PERSONABLE – you are most likely going to be working with this recruiting firm on a regular basis so be sure you get along with them. Are they interested in just supplying a warm body or are they interested in developing a long-term relationship with a vested interested in helping you with quality employees that contribute to the growth of your company?

You don’t need the latest Dummies Book on how to find a recruiter, but it is important to make sure you have a detailed discussion with your recruiting agency. Be sure they understand your employment requirements, corporate culture, and the personality traits that you look for in potential employees. They should be reliable, straightforward and easy to work with.

Look for quality in reputation. Because it is testimonies that will help you begin your search for the right recruiting and staffing firm:

“UserEdge has always been responsive to my hiring needs. They listen carefully to my specific job requirements and work closely with me to find the right person for the job. I have always found them accessible and open to my requests. They have made my hire search easier by finding highly qualified candidates to fill my open positions ”

Get connected to UserEdge – your competitive edge in technical and information staffing solutions.

By Donna Cornelius Contributing Editor

The Importance of Relational Hiring

“If you advertise the position, they will come.”

The problem is—they do! With an average of 89 applicants per posted position (Talent Acquisition Factbook 2011) and half of those unqualified, the task of finding viable and valuable job candidates is, at the least, highly time consuming. This is further complicated by the diversity of positions that need to be filled.

Hiring – technology versus relationship

Our last blog “Recruiting Tools for Hiring” looked at the various technologies that allow us to source, track, and manage potential job candidates for employment. But having the right tools doesn’t guarantee finding and hiring the right employee. One of the problems is that the recruitment process has become very mechanical. The daily routine of receive requisition; advertise; receive resume; email; phone screen; physical interview; and then make an offer leaves recruiters on a never-ending wheel and leaves candidates wondering, “Am I just a number in the recruiting process?”

With the culture of America changing, job seekers are no longer looking for “just another job.” They want to enjoy the life they have outside the work environment. And rightfully so. They spend half of their day, or more, at work and traveling to and from their job. Prospective job applicants are taking a deeper look at companies and their environments. It is those companies that create positive recruiting and work culture experiences that get the best candidates.


An experience in best hiring practices — a match to the company, not just to the requisition

Zappos is a perfect example of positive recruitment. Their recruiting process is not about filling a position with a warm qualified body. From mail personnel to top-level executives, they take an excruciatingly in-depth look at each job applicant. They research the applicant experientially and socially. Then they interview. Then they interview some more and not in the conventional way. In the book “Delivering Happiness” by Zappos CEO Tony Hseih, a potential interviewee was not hired because of that person’s negative interaction with the company bus driver who took the candidate from the hotel to the company and back. This hiring practice is based on the creation of their successful Zappos experience – finding highly experienced employees who are also excellent fits for the company culture. (Learn more about the Zappos Experience.)

Zappos is not the only company changing how they recruit. The Talent Board, a non-profit organization, identifies and recognizes companies who have excelled in engaging talent acquisition through developing strong strategies in their recruitment cycles. (The CandEs)

Much like the marketing industry has gone full circle in realizing the necessity of researching consumer behavior and creating a positive, memorable consumer experience, the same is true about recruiting job applicants and their candidate experience.

Employee recruitment begins with developing strong talent strategies and identifiers. A key to a successful strategy is relationship management. Improving hiring techniques and employee culture creates a better candidate experience.

The difference is technical, then tactical, recruitment

Technical recruitment is the set of tools used to search and identify viable job candidates such as job boards, career sites, looking at passive applicants, networking, and mobile applicants. It may also include part of the pre-screening process, but then this is where the change needs to take place.

Implementing relationship practices as part of the recruiting cycle is a way to identify highly qualified and top-level job candidates for your organization, and a valuable employee increases your bottom line. It is tactical relational recruitment applied to talent acquisition that determines the best fit in culture and experience.

INTERACT: This begins once you have identified a viable candidate. It may begin with the typical phone call and email, but implementing relationship building in the recruiting processes is what separates an average recruiter from a great recruiter. It is imperative to dig deeper into the character, hobbies, and personality of a potential recruit during the early stage of candidate screening. Listening and interacting with job candidates allows a recruiter to customize the experience and determine if a candidate would excel in a particular organization. This in turn leads to the ability to help hiring managers make informed decisions about job candidates.

ENGAGE: This becomes convoluted at times when the prospective applicant is passed from the sourcing agency to in-house, but a well-developed partnership will maximize their joint efforts to develop a positive candidate experience. Next steps in relationship development may include a video interview with the agency. It may also be a conference call with several of the team members and the prospective employee. Engagement allows the agency, the company, and the employee to have a hands-on experience of what the future working relationship will be.

CONNECT: Network, network, network. Time and distance may not always afford the opportunity to meet with a potential candidate face-to-face, but with today’s technology distance is often irrelevant. Connection is based on what you know about a person and knowledge is a valuable asset. Creating a positive candidate experience means using the information you have acquired through data mining, social networking, and personal details from conversations. Stay in contact between interviews. Call the applicant to see if there is any other information about the company is needed. One of the first things asked of a potential recruit is a personal identification factor, which usually includes the birth date – send a birthday card. The objective is to recognize the time the job applicant puts in as well. Create a positive connection experience.

Applying the principles

All of this information is valuable, but unless you put it into practice your recruiting process stays the same, yielding the same results. Having a partnership with a staffing or recruiting agency exponentially helps companies implement the relationship components in recruiting. When partnering with niche or boutique agencies, you will see a focus on identifying your need, but they will also be building databases based on networking and relationships. They will focus on the qualities of a job applicant, not the quantity of the applicants they can procure. Don’t get caught spending your time with an applicant who has only been phoned, emailed, and then passed on to your desk – find an employment agency who has you and your candidates’ best interests in mind.

Get connected to UserEdge – your competitive edge in technical and information staffing solutions.

By Donna Cornelius Contributing Editor

Recruiting Tools for Hiring

Over the years the avenues of identifying potential qualified employees have grown, but the basic steps of hiring have not substantially changed, still consisting of advertising, reviewing resumes, pre-screening, and interviewing.

The dilemma for human resources and internal recruiters determining the best methodology for hiring qualified candidates while shortening the procurement cycle. Many companies still continue to advertise positions, but the venues for advertising have morphed from print and a few staffing agencies into technology-driven job boards, career sites, professional networks, search engine marketing and Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) technology in an attempt to quickly fill open positions. It seems that there are new technology partners constantly emerging on the web to use as sources of identifying potential new hires, such as Indeed, Glassdoor, SimplyHired and LinkedIn.

Challenges in talent acquisition

But the question begs to be asked, what is the best source of hiring? Because here are the difficulties facing human resource departments in new talent acquisition:

  • Difficulty in procurement, particularly in niche areas surrounding IT such as eLearning, technical writing, user experience and visual design, leading to longer timeframes to fill open position
  • Cuts in spending cause companies to reduce recruiting staff
  • Workload – fewer staff means increased requisitions per recruiter
  • Diversity of positions to fill: low level, management, exempt and non-exempt employees
  • Number of applications – surveys show that for every posted position the average number of applicants received is 85 and over 60% of those are unqualified (Source – TalentBoard)

Solutions in strategic talent management

UserEdge recommends a collaborative hiring process of:

  1. Internal recruiters manage the streams of internal potential candidates through internal promotion and employee referrals
  2. Talent technologies are used by both internal and external recruiters, but approach and access may differ allowing a broader net in identifying and gathering qualified employees
  3. External recruiters, particularly specialized recruiters, are often used to access specific skill sets for high powered sourcing.  They can also help with efficiency and production recruiting efforts due to the fact that specialized recruiters:
    • Have custom databases in which profiles are built on potential contract or direct hire employees often known as Candidate Relationship Management software
    • Have an extensive resource of qualified passive candidates with whom they keep in constant contact
    • Pre-screen applicants to ensure that backgrounds and experiences match search criteria allowing hiring managers to make informed decisions in a much faster time frame compared to using in-house recruiters
    • Are able to provide contract workers to fill hiring needs for temporary or permanent placement.

Finding the right talent does not need to be either overwhelming or time consuming.  UserEdge is here to support your business efforts and talent acquisition with direct hires or contractor hiring. Contact our friendly staff to help fulfill your next talent needs.

Get connected to UserEdge – your competitive edge in technical and information staffing solutions.

By Donna Cornelius Contributing Editor