Jason Roberts


NYC – You think you know everything…oh wait – thats the other team…

David Wright of the NY Mets – arguably one of the best third base players currently, takes on the Phils in the 3 game series this week.


This is a continuation of a series produced by Aspen Advisors on improving recruiting progressively and systematically over the next six months, in parallel with the Major League Baseball Season. 

SERIES 3:  Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets @ Citi Field / April 13, 14, 15


Testing and formalized assessment is a good thing.  Our Prime Group in Pando has some interesting behaviors when it comes to formalizing assessment. This group tends to use 1) additional online assessments during the application process, 2) has a copy of the resume handy during an interview consistently, 3) takes notes, and 4) uses formalized questions that are clearly prepared and observed during an interview.

Now other companies do share some or all of these behaviors – no question. However, it is interesting that those traits happen more consistently in companies that score better overall when it comes to experience ratings from candidates, new hires, and hiring managers. Oddly enough, they don’t necessary score “better” when interview processes are reviewed. All the scores are within margin of error, so don’t look for a quick upshot in feedback when you increase formality. In fact, the Prime Group picks up the same number of low scores for interview and assessment topics. That does not surprise me – its a candidate driven marketplace, and in demand talent may feel that some formalized assessment may not be required.

The takeaway? Make an effort to review your assessment processes and the perception of formality in those processes from both the candidate and hiring manager’s point of view.  Using the traits above long term mirrors the profile of companies that have higher experience scores from hiring managers reviewing recruiting’s performance, and candidate scoring on the recruiting experience. Formality isn’t a bad thing – in fact, I look my best in a tuxedo 🙂


Smooth or harden lines to reinforce your story.  “WHAT? What’s smoothing a line?” LOL. I know.

When you create a trend line, you have usually the ability to choose how the line is actually drawn. You can either have a connect the dots kind of look or a smooth look. However, you can see that the visual tends to tell to story. The smoother the line, the less volatile the trend appears.

Screenshot 2015-04-14 10.23.35

Example of chart 1 with SMOOTH lines, indicating within tolerances or targets

If I was to change the line to be straight line connections, it can show a jaggedness, which can be used to communicate that the trend itself has volatility.

Example of chart 1 with hard lines, indicating volatility

Example of chart 1 with HARDENED lines, indicating volatility

So when you tell the story, if you think the trend line is good or in compliance – give it a smooth line. If it is not, give it a hardened line. The audience will immediately understand that improvement is needed, or the trend needs correction.


Analysis / Problem Identification is a key dimension for any recruiters and recruiting leaders. Honing those skills means better understanding the competencies of that dimension, as listed below. There are probably one or more you can work on, but also one or more you are an expert in. Pick the ones you will develop, and pick at least one you can mentor somebody else on.

Recognizes the problem first; Stays ahead of the problem; Remains effective when another’s direction is uncertain; Persuades people to provide information to help resolve upcoming issues; Cites little problems before they become big problems


Tracking Currency. You would think this is a straight forward concept – but there are global implications here for sure. In many cases, costs are allocated in the regional currencies, and then there is a global currency for a business. As an example, we have customers that track costs in over 10 different currencies, as they have several operating groups located globally. So local data on costs are collected in Rupees, Yen, Australian Dollar, US Dollar, GBP, Euro, and so on. Meanwhile, the global organization is has its headquarters in the EU, so they report to the markets in the Euro, but the US market is the highest growing market. What to do??

First – stop trying to convert everything. Market fluctuations allow for too much volatility, and after a year, what you converted from US Dollar to Euro then means something different now. Instead, report regionally first, in a regional currency. If you have an operating company in Asia, with a headquarters in Singapore – use the Singapore dollar as the regional aggregating currency, don’t covert to Euros – that does not mean much to the operators in Singapore or Asia.

Second – find out what the official company currency is. If you are public – you have one, but if you have several operating entities, you have actually have more than one (see if you are traded on multiple exchanges). If you are private, this could get ugly quick – so talk to finance on what they want you do to when aggregating costs. This is important for tracking expenses, cost per hire, relocation expenses, and so on.

Opening Day: A New Season for Recruiting Teams


My brother Steve and I – 10 years ago. A couple of die hard baseball fans playing with major league players in Florida.


A sign of summer – baseball is here. My favorite 6 months of the year. Another season, and I reflect on how things in the recruiting world are now since last April, and the April before.

As in baseball, the leadership and management is NOT solely responsible for the day to day experiences and results when recruiting talent. The responsibility is shared with the ones in the field, and the ones who play every day. The manager is not a catcher, pitcher, infielder, or an outfielder. The manager is not pitching the ball, or throwing to first. Now conversely, it is the manager that calls for certain pitches. Its the manager that creates the batting order and who plays each day. The manager is the one calling for certain plays. There is a back and forth on responsibility for sure.

Change CAN come overnight – but sustainable change takes more work, planning and adoption. Those improvements come with consistent effort and concentration. So I have prepared some ways to improve – all season long.


The baseball season kicks off today. Its a long season, ripe with opportunity for players and managers to get better through that season. As such, I have written a post, like above, for each series that the major league baseball team Philadelphia Phillies play. Yes – I am a Phillies fan – a die hard Phillies fan.

Posts like this are set to release on the opening pitch of each series, the 2 to 4 games that the teams oppose each other over a 2 to 4 day period. Each post has content designed to enable recruiting efficiency. The posts will showcase which competencies one could improve as a recruiter or sourcer, will have methods on executing analytics, and data proven techniques to improve the recruiting experience for candidates and hiring managers. Everything is data driven or based on evidence from Pando, not just random set of editorials. Like baseball, we run things at Aspen by the numbers, so I did the same with the posts.


In addition, I will be traveling the country again through April to October. Some of these posts may coordinate with the many conferences associated with recruiting and HR. I will attend some baseball games with some great leaders in recruiting, so watch for those pics online. We will also be engaging with the TRU conference series (via Bill Boorman) and Future of Talent Institute (via Kevin Wheeler) to keep the work progressive and global. I will drop in some items from these conferences, viewpoints from all kinds of players, and those who judge the game (but don’t necessarily play).

I’m excited to share and participate in this “season of improvement” for recruiting. I am not convinced that my Philadelphia Phillies will make the playoffs (the odds are really against them) – but I am convinced that any recruiter or leader who wants to improve can when given the right tools and allowed the ability to give their best efforts. 

SERIES 1: Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies @ Citizens Bank Park / April 6, 8, 9


Did you know that increasing the amount of hiring manager interaction with a candidate directly has been proven to increase candidate experience ratings? I bet you didn’t 🙂 We have all kinds of data like that in Pando.

The key communication points, such as interview scheduling, offer letters, thank you notes and so on have been a trait that companies with a higher rating of candidate experience have in common. That does not mean that recruiters should stop or are bad at those things – it just means the candidate likes interacting with the hiring manager too. In fact, hiring managers at companies with highly rated candidate experience are much more likely to execute such activities. So take a look at the process you do, and the one the hiring manager does, and move one or two of your interactions over to the hiring manager (this assumes that you don’t do a bunch of this already). Here are some suggestions – have the hiring manager leave a message or personal email about scheduling an interview; have a thank you come from the manager; have the manager follow up prior to an interview saying “please prepare a few questions”; have the manager extend the offer – even if that means all questions still go to recruiting for negotiation. Those are just a few, but candidates clearly state that those experiences occurred in companies they rated highly.


Track metrics in multiple time frequencies. Metrics are always required – but what is a “Metric” – and what is its “frequency”? A metric is a trend line – plain and simple. Its a measurement over time. You can use a bar chart or a line chart, or other visuals, but if the X axis is time…its a metric. Measuring over time and showing a visual of those results is one of the easiest ways to show how improvements are occurring. However, that X axis needs to be looked at several different ways. In Pando, we tracking metrics daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually and year to date. THAT IS MORE THAN MOST and because we can easily – so don’t get nuts. Most organizations have trouble tracking daily – so they don’t see how work is executed day to day or on the weekends. However, its likely you are tracking things monthly. So start tracking one frequency sooner and later – weekly and quarterly, so you can see consistency in how your team executes in these other intervals. Start with simply hires, then interviews. Then do time to fill. Then start segmenting by team, recruiter, division and so on…you will start to see differences you never saw before – and opportunities for improvement.


Planning and Organizing is a key dimension for any recruiter or sourcer. Honing those skills means better understanding the competencies of that dimension, as listed below. There are probably one or more you can work on, but also one or more you are an expert in. Pick the ones you will develop, and pick at least one you can mentor somebody else on.

multitasks appropriately; integrates with management effectively; improves manager efficiency; handles incompletion of tasks well; performs against intended plans well; uses good planning technique; handles missed deadlines well; use of procedures as intended; keeps track of activities and records; creates client schedules appropriately; arranges schedules regardless of difficulty; performs weekly planning effectively


Time to Fill. We have seen several variants of “time to fill” because companies start measuring from approval, or posting, or first applicant and then stop at offer, hire, start date, blah blah blah…UGH. What a benchmarking mess.

We can only measure what is in the data. For Pando, “Time to Fill” is actually Time to Offer Accept (TTOA). It is the designated start date for active recruiting until the candidate has accepted the offer in the system. Your company can designate its own recruiting start date – when the recruiter was assigned, when the req was posted, when it was approved – whatever. That is NOT a standard company to company – but the concept of GO is. The reason we use offer accept is because its candidate driven. They are the ones who determine the date – not you. So you determine GO, they determine STOP. Its the cleanest, easiest to track, works globally, works across functions, and is specific to any business.

“But it should be when the requistion closes or is marked as filled”. WRONG 🙂 In some organizations, they have multiple positions on a requisition. So you have to track by when the position was available, and when it was filled, not the requisition. In Pando for these organizations we have to track both, and that can be an interesting variance in itself. Tracking TTOA is a sure fire way to have comparisons across industries, regions, recruiters, and so on.

Anatomy of an Executive Search – The Rainmaker

Our business is growing and I am amped about it. We have new products and tools coming out that are going to blow the lid off of strategic talent acquisition, and it’s been a long time coming. We just hit year six. We are profitable, stable, and the brand is growing. I have the team partnered up with PR resources, marketing resources, and we are getting ready for a nice direct push. Our advisors are ready for the incoming work that has us booked up though the fall, and I have several people on backup as we need it.

But direct marketing and sales is not the only way we are growing this business. We have learned that our services and technology is a strategic advantage for HR service providers that sell to the same market that we do. They obviously don’t sell strategic consulting – they position payroll services, outplacement, recruiting, legal services, technology and so on. None of them are competitors, because we just don’t have that many.

But they have plenty.

Its no secret that we offer exclusivity. Its a principal we had since I founded the business. I didn’t realize how powerful that was until HR service providers had tools that their competitors did not have – our tools. And now we have an opportunity to leverage that. We are hunting for providers of technology and services typically purchased by HR organizations to buy our services and Pando technologies, and make it part of their own service offering. In return – we don’t offer it to their competitors. Ah ha – a sales differential. Ah ha – a retention tool. Nice.

But these deals are huge, multi-faceted, multiple years, and full of intellectual property pitfalls. It’s not a $X0,000 annual license for a technology that needs to be renewed each year. I need a rainmaker. Someone who can chase down the safari sized deals, and make it work. I know that I am instrumental to the deal, but I have a business to lead too. I have to find a rainmaker that can get these deals started. It won’t take many to grow the business, but I have feeling we are going to plenty of companies say “we can sell it, but we won’t buy it.” I am not looking for channel sales 😉

It’s not going to be easy, but I know it’s straightforward. This is not my first rodeo in finding executives – and that is what this job is. An executive who has savvy, expertise, can close and has been there and done what others think they do. I want Alec Baldwin in Glengary Glenross. Coffee is for closers only.

So as I was preparing for this, I thought “why not blog about this and tell people how I am doing it?” I tell people in a closed door session what I would do, and it’s not a secret, so why not expose it this way…so here is blog #1

Who did you buy from?
First item on the agenda? Make a killer list of my contacts who probably deal with these folks. I have had a few interactions with folks directly, and of course they are on the list. I have good network of procurement officers at corporations, legal folks who navigate deals, and of course CHROs and heads of staffing. Turned that list over to my research team, and appointments are being set up. My approach is tell the story – here is how my business is going to grow, who can help me do that, and don’t point me in the direction of some wanna-be. Who did you sign a multi-year, $X00,000 to $X,000,000 technology and services deal with that you were impressed with?

Right? Did you really think I was gonna send a bunch of LinkedIn Inmails? Not for this gig. I want to hear “they were awesome – they will love this Andrew”. I had a call the other day – and got two leads that do exactly that, and I have a handful of more calls setup.

What do they need to have to make them effective?
But here is the other part of the conversation – I am asking these buyers what the rainmaker needs for them to be able to buy from them. I have worked up an assessment and list of competencies and experiences (featured in the blog after the next one) but I don’t know everything. I have recruited people like this before, but I never HIRED anyone like this before. So I am finding out what I need to add to my assessment.

What’s next? A “description” of the role that someone will actually read and respond too. But it’s not really for them…it’s for me.If I have to lead them, I need a plan and follow it. It’s starts with that initial role design.