Welcome to The Fordyce Letter:

The Fordyce Letter

Straight Talk for the Recruiting Profession

John Zappe

John has been writing about recruiting and employment for nearly a decade,and has worked in the field for almost twice as long. He traces his connection to the employment industry back to the beginning of the commercial Internet when he managed some of the earliest news oriented websites. These offered job boards, which became highly popular with users. John worked with agencies and large employers on job postings, resume search, and campaigns, before consulting with media companies on audience development and online advertising sales.

Articles by John Zappe


What’s the State of Recruiting Today? Take the Survey and Help Us Find Out

Survey icon - Stuart Miles - free

Last year we discovered recruiters prefer talent acquisition to most any other name. We learned that recruiting quality prospects was harder in 2014, even if some of the corporate recruiters we surveyed thought otherwise.

And looking back on the results of last year’s State of Recruiting Survey, it seems some recruiters were whistling past the graveyard when it came to predicting the difficulty in recruiting this year.

Now we’re conducting this year’s recruiting survey, and we want you to take part. In addition to corporate recruiting, we’re collecting information specific to the search and staffing sectors. Among the questions we ask are some the specific challenges presented by your clients. Your opinion of hiring managers is among them.

We also ask about your use of metrics, analytics and KPIs to measure productivity and performance. One especially useful question deals with the most effective way of reaching candidates, i.e. phone, texting, email, etc.

The more responses we get from agency recruiters, the more useful the results. So please, spend the 6 or 7 minutes it will take and complete the survey. And add your comments to fill in any blanks. Those who participate will get early copies of the results.

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Industry News

Staffing Awards Winners Announced

Best of staffing logo

Inavero, the staffing agency quality rating firm, has named the winners of its annual Best of Staffing award, giving the nod to 160 agencies whose clients gave them high marks for meeting their hiring needs.

In a second category, this one the top scorers as rated by the talent they placed, Inavero named 116 agencies. Many of these were double-winners, earning a berth on both the rankings by clients and by the talent.

According to Inavero, the Best of Staffing Award was earned by fewer than 2% of all staffing agencies in the U.S. and Canada, winners earned satisfaction scores more than three times higher than the industry average.

Industry News

Monster’s Strategy: ‘All the People, All the Jobs’

Job board Q4 2014 financials updated

New Monster logoAfter a so-so end to a so-so year, Monster executives are pinning their hopes for a company makeover on a lineup of new products, some to be introduced in the next few months, others launched last year and a few legacy tools like Power Resume Search.

“We’re building a new Monster,” COO Mark Stoever, declared during a conference call with analysts this morning.

In optimistic, if subdued language, he and President and CEO Tim Yates, discussed the company’s fortunes as they detailed the product portfolio they maintain will again make Monster a major player in recruitment sourcing.

The company’s year-end financial report out this morning suggests it has mileage to make up. Monster earned 7 cents a share in the last quarter of 2014, after excluding certain one-time expenses, including a $326 million charge against goodwill. The per share earning was a penny above Wall Street’s forecast.

On the other hand, at $186.2 million, revenue was down 6.3% from the same quarter in 2013, coming in 3.3% below analyst expectations. For the full year, Monster saw its revenue decline 4.7%, bringing in $770 million, which was just a bit more than a third of what high-flying LinkedIn reported last week.


Bullhorn Survey: Agency Growth May Be Slowing After Strong 2014

Bullhorn-revenue by recruiter type

Bullhorn-Comp by agency typeIndependent recruiting firms of all types and size had a good 2014 and 9 out of 10 of them expect an even better year in 2015.

On average, 77% of the firms participating in Bullhorn’s annual North American Staffing and Recruiting Trends Report said they met or exceeded their 2014 goals; 89% expect to increase revenue this year.

Yet, says Bullhorn, there are signs that the rapid growth of the last two or three years may be leveling off. Pointing to the 79% of agencies that reported more than half their income coming from repeat business, Bullhorn wondered if the rise from last year’s 61% who said that might “signal a reduced focus on expanding the client base.”

Industry News

Temp Agencies Shed Jobs As Economy Gains Jobs, Grows Wages

Econ data Jan 2015

Econ data Jan 2015Temp agencies cut jobs January, shedding 4,100 workers even as the overall economy added  257,000 new jobs, handily beating economists’ predictions the number would be closer to 230,000.

The Labor Department’s monthly Employment Situation report this morning also said unemployment rose slightly to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent as more workers opted to join the labor force. In addition, average hourly wages increased by 12 cents, the largest gain in months. Wage growth has been stagnant, hovering around 2 percent annually since the end of the recession.

The drop in temp jobs was foreshadowed by the American Staffing Association’s Staffing Index, which at the end of January, was well off its December high. January, historically, is an up and down month for staffing agencies. Of the last 10 years, temp agencies have shed jobs in six, the result of reductions in seasonal staffing.


LinkedIn Does It Again

Job board Q4 2014 financials

Job board Q4 2014 financialsLinkedIn reported another winning quarter this afternoon, bringing in $643 million in the last three months of 2014, with recruiting sales accounting for 57.4% of the total.

Both the revenue, and the company’s adjusted earnings per share of 61 cents,  handily beat Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts were predicting LinkedIn would earn 53 cents on sales of $617 million.

Last week,  Dice Holdings, parent company of several niche job boards including the tech site Dice.com, reported besting 2013′s numbers, earning 12 cents per share for the 4th quarter on revenue of revenue of $67.8 million. It was a 16% improvement on revenue and a swing to profitability compared to last year’s 11 cent a share loss. Still, the company missed analyst expectations on both counts.

Industry News

Staffing Index Off December High As Overall Hiring Slows

ADP Report 1.2015

ASA Staffing Index 1.2015After adding a hefty 253,000 jobs in December, private employers slowed their hiring in the first month of the year, adding an estimated 213,000 jobs in January.

This morning’s National Employment Report from HR services company ADP and its partner Moody’s Analytics, was below consensus forecasts from economists who had pegged the increase between 220,000 and 240,000. The report  revised up the initial December count from 241,000 to 253,000.

Mark Zandi, chief economists for Moody’s, blamed cuts in the energy industry for the slower than expected growth. “Businesses in the energy

Industry News

Firm Says Execs Got 17% Pay Hike Offers In 2014


Executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group says the senior executives it placed last year received an average pay hike of nearly 16%, and, for the first, out-of-work candidates got offers matching those given to employed executives.

Manufacturers, however, made offers well above the Salveson Stetson average. Manufacturing executives got a 25% pay hike. Human resource executives also did well, seeing an increase of 20%.

Broad implications can’t be drawn from the firm’s data since only 20 executives participated in its annual survey. But it does provide texture to other reports of a resurgence in manufacturing and growing demand for HR professionals.

Industry News, Staffing

Forecast: Staffing Jobs to Grow By 135k This Quarter

Palmer 2015

Palmer 2015Industry consultant G.Palmer & Associates has a bold, and aggressive  forecast for the staffing industry: temp help in this first quarter will surge by 10.5%.

“Our forecast for the 2015 first quarter follows recent trends demonstrating growth and indicating another increase in demand for temporary workers, marking the 20th consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases,” said Greg Palmer, founder and managing director of of the staffing industry consultancy.

The predicted year-over-year growth is a big percentage, even for as fast a growing jobs sector as staffing. But it’s not the first big forecast the Newport Beach, Calif. firm has made. In 2010 Palmer predicted demand for temp workers would increase 20.9% in the last quarter of the year. The prediction was off, but only some. Temp growth that quarter grew 19.2%.

Industry News

Tech Firms Agree to Pay $415 Million In Anti-Poaching Case


AppleA $415 million settlement proposed by four tech giants could become one of the largest anti-poaching awards if a federal judge approves.

Apple, Google, Intel Corp and Adobe Systems agreed to the amount in a court filing yesterday. A previous offer of almost $325 million was rejected last summer by the judge in the class action case, which was filed in 2011.