Your City or County Probably Doesn't Break Even On Amazon Distribution Center Jobs...

With all the talk about Amazons's 2nd Headquarters campaign and where that project will land, it seems appropriate to examine the economic impact of the less lofty Amazon distribution center.  These smaller projects from Amazon are often highly contested, with counties and cities fighting to offer the best incentive package to land the included jobs as part of an economic development initiative.

A new study of publicly available data by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute has found that when Amazon opens a new warehouse, the county where it is located does not see an increase in employment during the Amazonfollowing two-year period. Warehouse jobs do increase by about 30%, but the county's overall employment stays steady.  More detail below:

Amazon has opened fulfillment centers in 25 states, often courting state or local tax incentives to build them. The study suggests that these localities are not getting a return on that investment, one of the study's authors, Ben Zipperer

In fact, the study found that if anything, employment actually decreases two years after Amazon opens a fulfillment center in a county, though not to a statistically significant degree.

EPI used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that included warehousing employment figures in 1,161 counties around the US. That includes 54 Amazon warehouses in 34 counties, accounting for about 75% of all Amazon fulfillment centers.

The study also found that average warehouse wages, based on total wages, do not increase when Amazon opens a warehouse in a county. That could be because Amazon hires a mix of part-time or hourly and salaried employees, keeping overall wages down. A separate study released in January found that 700 Amazon employees in Ohio — about 10% of Amazon's workforce in the state — drew benefits from foot stamps.

As you would expect, Amazon disputed the findings of the EPI study in a statement:

In addition to the 200,000 Amazon employees in the US, we know from 2016 data, which is more current than the EPI data, Amazon's investments led to the creation of 200,000 additional non-Amazon jobs, ranging from construction jobs to healthcare industry positions. In fact, over the last five years, counties that have received Amazon investment have seen the unemployment rate drop by 4.8 percentage points on average, and in some areas, the rate has been lower than the state average.

The study, Amazon said, focused on a "misleading" section of time (2001 to 2015) that included both the recession and a time when Amazon was not building warehouses at the clip it is now.

Is anyone really surprised that counties and cities may overpay for an Amazon Distribution Center project?  You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.  Fail to secure the project and be positioned as the county commissioner who never brought a name project to your county.  Overpay, and wait for it - no one with the exception of the academics - really evaluates whether the project paid off or not.

Amazon continues to win.  Government officials in charge of economic development and job growth, take heed...

 


HR CAPITALIST DEFINITIONS: "Edge City" (with notes on Amazon Moving to ATL)...

With all the competition for Amazon's second headquarters (dubbed HQ2) and with Atlanta (home of Kinetix, the company I own part of) being in the mix, I thought I'd share one of my favorite books of all time and give you a Capitalist definition while we are at it.

Edge City is the term.  I picked up the book by the same name over 20 years ago at a bookstore when heading to the beach for a vacation.  The book became one of my all time ATLfavorites, and the definition changed how I viewed the business world forever.  Here's a description of the term, as well as details about the concept.  Take a look and we'll talk about Atlanta/Amazon after the jump.

"Edge city" is an American term for a concentration of business, shopping, and entertainment outside a traditional downtown (or central business district) in what had previously been a residential or rural area. The term was popularized by the 1991 book Edge City: Life on the New Frontier by Joel Garreau, who established its current meaning while working as a reporter for the Washington Post. Garreau argues that the edge city has become the standard form of urban growth worldwide, representing a 20th-century urban form unlike that of the 19th-century central downtown. Other terms for these areas include suburban activity centers, megacenters, and suburban business districts.

In 1991, Garreau established five rules for a place to be considered an edge city:

  • Has five million or more square feet (465,000 m²) of leasable office space.
  • Has 600,000 square feet (56,000 m²) or more of leasable retail space.
  • Has more jobs than bedrooms.
  • Is perceived by the population as one place.
  • Was nothing like a "city" as recently as 30 years ago. Then it was just bedrooms, if not cow pastures."

Most edge cities develop at or near existing or planned freeway intersections, and are especially likely to develop near major airports. They rarely include heavy industry. They often are not separate legal entities but are governed as part of surrounding counties (this is more often the case in the East than in the Midwest, South, or West). They are numerous—almost 200 in the United States, compared to 45 downtowns of comparable size—and are large geographically because they are built at automobile scale.

The book is organized by chapters that dig into various Edge Cities in America, including Tyson's Corner, Houston's Galleria area and more.  Because the book came out in 1991 - you can preview the whole book on Amazon (irony) without buying.

What's the big deal about Edge Cities for HR?  The biggest impact they have is what I call "recruiting center of gravity" - my term, not in the book.

Commute preferences change in metro areas as Edge Cities come online and continue to grow.  In Atlanta - home of Kinetix - Edge Cities like Buckhead, Perimeter and Galleria have pushed the employment center of gravity north, to the point where a study I did in 2009 showed that the location preferred by the greatest number of candidates across Atlanta was the Perimeter, located at 12 o'clock on I-285, the perimeter loop that surrounds downtown Atlanta.

But back to Amazon.  You might expect that given the northbound trend of Edge Cities in Atlanta, Amazon would be looking for a location in the north suburbs.  You'd be wrong, primarily because the airport is south of downtown.  As a result, the patch of land proposed for Amazon is connected to downtown near the old Georgia Dome location in an area called The Gulch.

Edge Cities apply to everyone but Amazon - because 50,000 jobs has its own gravity that transcends the Edge City formula.

Quick math - if the average office space formula calls for 170 feet of office space per employee/worker, the HQ2 project would stand at 8.5 million feet of leasable/owned real estate to support 50,000 employees.

You know - the equivalent of 14 Edge Cities described by Garreau.

As they said in Jaws - we're going to need a bigger boat.


WEBINAR: Social Media Ad Buys for Recruiting - The HR Pro's Guide...

Posting jobs on social media is the minimum — and in today’s competitive recruiting world the minimum isn’t enough. That’s why I put together this webinar comparing, contrasting, and ranking the top social media platforms for recruitment marketing advertising. We wanted to cut through the noise and help you make smart recruiting decisions with your recruitment marketing budget related to social.

Join me for “The Talent Acquisition/HR Leader’s Guide to Social Media Buys for Recruiting” on February 15th at 1pm ET/12Noon CT/10am PT and we’ll give you the following goodies:

--A primer on buying recruiting ads (in all their various forms) with the players you expect – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

--No-nonsense rankings of where to spend your money on social platforms based on your specific needs – with sub rankings related to reach, audience and more.

--Benchmarks on what others are doing related to their overall recruiting budget – in social, job boards, Indeed and more – to give you a sense for how you compare.

--The best way to run recruiting campaigns that don’t cost you anything – and are probably right under your nose.

--Some quick-start templates to use to get social ads rolling for that tough to fill job that’s currently crushing your soul.

We love recruiters and HR pros that have recruiting as part of their job. You’re busy and haven’t had time to dig into to social recruiting ads – we did it for you, so join us for “The Talent Acquisition/HR Leader’s Guide to Social Media Buys for Recruiting” on February 15th at 1pm ET/12Noon CT/10am PT. We have you covered!

REGISTER NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK


What Is Your Pettiest Reason For Being Lukewarm On A Candidate?

I'm asking. You know you have some type of petty thing - that's caused you to rank a candidate lower than they should have been.

I'm not talking about bias with a capital "B".  I'm talking about bias with a smaller than lower case "b".   It's so petty that the "b" in bias is actual two font sizes smaller than the rest of the word.  

Mine?  I have a hard time with candidates who take me out of my normal messaging environment.  Namely, the ability to use iMessage across different devices and communicate with team members is a preference - not a necessity.  I've hired people that I can't message on the iMessage platform before, and will in the future.  Best candidate wins. 

But when I pick up my phone to SMS a candidate rather than iMessage from my mac, I need to remind myself best candidate wins.  Twice.

What's your pettiest reason for being lukewarm on a candidate?  Hit me in the comments, or message me.  Unless you're not IOS - if that's the case, definitely hit me in the comments.


VIDEO HANGOUT THURSDAY - The Psychology of Recruitment: Brain Hacking to Get Agreement...

If you’re a client or follower of Jobvite, you know the Recruiter Nation Live series.  It started with the Recruiter Nation Live Conference in San Francisco last June, and continued with the Recruiter Nation Live Roadshow that brought real recruiter talk to 9 cities in North America over the last three months of 2017. 
 
The feedback was great – you loved it, so we’re back with the latest in the series – the Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series, hosted by Fistful of Talent and me.  Once a month, FOT will host a live Hangout designed to keep the conversation among HR pros and recruiters going – focused on things you can use, like the best-kept secrets of today’s smartest and most efficient recruiters, Jedi-mind tricks proven to make you more persuasive/get great candidate response and strategies to hold your hiring managers accountable for their choices–so everyone wins.

 ----------------------------------------------

Our next hangout is at 1pm ET on January 25th (Thursday!).  It's an informal thing - we fire up the video and a few slides (emphasis on "few") and run through a few things in 20-25 minutes...

Topic - GETTING READY FOR THE JANUARY 2018 HIRING RUSH!! (WITH FOTers DAWN BURKE AND KRIS DUNN)

REGISTER FOR THE HANGOUT BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!!

TOPICS/THE GOOD STUFF - 

The Psychology of Recruitment: Brain Hacking to Get Agreement
 
While technology continues to have greater importance in our day-to-day lives and jobs, knowing the things that make us uniquely human is just as critical. How you use social psychology, and our decision biases to help connect, engage and influence a job candidates is where you can make a huge difference. 

Join Paul Hebert and Dawn Burke of FOT for this 25 minute video hangout as they riff on:

1--How you can use aversion to your advantage - even when the person doesn't have a job to lose.

2--Understanding how getting small commitments can drive even bigger ones.

3--Leveraging "framing" when you talk to candidates to help you lock in salary and other things you might normally have difficulty discussing with candidates


It will be fun and fast. You'll want to join us because it will turn your recruiting game up to 11.  Or if it's already an 11, it will turn it up to 12.

(Hint - one of the weirdest influence techniques is included in this session. Listen in and Paul will explain it.)

REGISTER FOR THE HANGOUT BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!! 


ASK THE CAPITALIST: Are HR Pros with MBAs Special Anymore?

Kris- 

Would love to know your opinion on a trend I am seeing as I'm screening HR Director candidates... DOCTOR IS IN 

I used to encourage HR undergrads to pursue their MBA instead of a Masters in HR. I felt it held more value for businesses and was a tough program that would advance them in ways a specialized degree couldn't. 

I am shocked at the number of candidates I am seeing with an MBA and MA in HR. 

The result for me is I am losing respect for the MBA! I mean, if sooo many people can get one, is it really a tough program? Does it really demonstrate anything special anymore? 

What do you think? Am I way off track with my line of thinking? 

-AW

---

AW - 

I obviously have to lead with a Groucho Marx quote here - "I'd never belong to any club that would have me as a member".

Your advice is still relevant, and if it's any consolation, lots of young HR pros took your advice, right?  Now they're pissed off that people like you won't get out of the way fast enough, and in a cocktail of following AW's advice and having time on their hands - they've got more degrees than they've had jobs.  I say this as someone with 3 degrees, including a MBA.  But I'm Gen X - now a veteran of all this we call HR.

You're obviously seeing the explosion related to accessibility and availability of the MBA.  Distance learning and lots of options has made the MBA tag a bit easy to gather, which I think means you've got to evaluate what the candidates are actually presenting in a couple of different ways:

1. Where did they pick up the MBA and did they actually have to work hard to achieve it? Traditional programs where you have to spend time in class still rule in my eyes - that commitment, along with the interaction that occurs when you have to work in groups with other humans is still the most important thing.  That being said, there's a lot of online MBA programs that work the hell out of people, with University of Phoenix coming to mind.  Of course, there are a lot of diploma mills as well, which is why you feel the way you do.  

Good rule of thumb - any school with a directional name without reference to a state or city is a problem.  Southeast Missouri?  Says legit to me.  Southeastern University?  Wait, Southeastern where?  Oh, university... <shudder>

2. The most important thing related to the MBA is what they learned and how it's changed them.  With that in mind, some of your interview process has to go after what they learned from the MBA program and how they applied it.  Additionally, how has it changed them?  If someone really took the MBA and ran with it, when you ask them for a portfolio of their work at their job, you'd like to think they could provide that to you.

No portfolio means they checked off a box.  Existence of a portfolio means it changed their worldview a bit and now are looking to create work product that helps them in the future.

I still like the MBA.  I just think you'll have to do a little work to figure out what Steve Martin learned in The Jerk - what's S*** and what's Shinola.  


Forcing Managers to Interview Minority Candidates - Necessary or Pure Bureaucracy?

Capitalist Note - If you follow sports, you may have heard that the Oakland Raiders (soon to be the Las Vegas Raiders) are set to hire Jon Gruden, current ABC/ESPN commentator, past head coach in the NFL and yes, a white guy.  It's said at this writing to be a done deal, but the Raiders have to interview other candidates as required by the NFL's Rooney Rule.  I'm re-running this post to explore the merits of forcing managers to interview minority candidates in searches.

If you follow sports, you're probably aware that Pete Carroll, head football coach at the University of Southern California (USC), is leaving USC to become the head coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.  On the surface, this is pretty pedestrian stuff - head coach wins national titles in college, gets a chance at a big payday in the NFL.  Yawn...

What you probably don't know is this: before the Seahawks and Carroll could sign an contract that had already been agreed to verbally, the Seahawks had to interview at least one minority candidate as part of their process.  It's required in the NFL, and here's how the rule (known as the Rooney Rule) is positioned:

"Under the NFL's Rooney Rule, any team in the National Football League offering a head coaching position must interview at least one minority candidate. Named after the Pittsburgh Steelers' owner Dan Rooney, chairman of theMike_tomlin league's diversity committee, the rule was created in the hopes of increasing the number of minority head coaches in the league.  

How do you feel about that?  Here's how I feel about that.  Stop talking about Affirmative Action and start talking about how the world works as you consider this one. On many occasions, hiring managers have a candidate in mind that they think they want to plug into a job.  When this happens, they're usually so set on the decision that they think any other interviews may be a waste of time.  The tough part about that is that your company still has a process, and the hiring manager needs to put forth a little more effort.  So, let's take the focus off of minorities and plug another group of candidates in to discuss the wisdom of forcing your hiring managers to interview candidates they don't think have a chance - internal applicants.

Let's say your hiring manager has an external candidate they think would be great for the job, but you've also got 3 internal candidates for the position who have applied.  Your company has a process that says all internal candidates are, at the very least, going to get a brief conversation/interview with the hiring manager in question.  Your hiring manager doesn't want to do it, and he's bitching about it.  You're faced with the classic catch-22 - you either force the process and risk looking like a bureaucrat, or you let the hiring manager do his thing without interviewing the internals, which is decidedly bad for your culture and employee relations environment.

I'm tagged as a capitalist.  You might think I would allow the hiring manager to skip the internal interviews with a name like that, right?  But I don't, and here's why.  I've learned that for every 10 internal interviews you make a hiring manager do against their will, they are going to get 2-3 pleasant surprises, meaning they're impressed enough by the candidate in question that they'll change their mind and offer them the job, or they'll put the memory on reserve and as a result, hire them for a future role.

My stance on internal interviews is easily carried over to the Rooney Rule. By forcing interviews of minority candidates, you've got a shot to make the hiring managers go HMMMMM....

Need proof? That logic is documented when Mike Tomlin became the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the young age of 34 (and later led them to a NFL Championship):

"Mike Tomlin wouldn't have gotten this opportunity without this rule," said Shell, the first modern black NFL head coach. "He never would have sat down with Dan Rooney."

Said Rooney: "To be honest with you, before the interview he was just another guy who was an assistant coach. Once we interviewed him the first time, he just came through and we thought it was great. And we brought him back and talked to him on the phone and went through the process that we do, and he ended up winning the job."

The Rooney Rule is the same thing as your rules regarding how internal candidates are handled. You don't put rules on interviewing minorities or internal candidates in place because it's the right thing to do.  You do it because the exposure gives strong talent an opportunity to surprise hiring managers who wouldn't otherwise be exposed. 

And that, my friends, should be our main objective in the Talent game.


Indeed Is Preparing to Shift Your Spend from PPC to Resume Database...

Price increases and changes from Indeed have been reported elsewhere - for good reporting on Indeed changes, check out this article and others from Joel Cheesman.

Thought I would weigh in with what I know from my own life in Talent Acquistion and the team that I work with.  Here's what we know and what it feels like: Indeed-

What We Know:

--It used to be that if you spend on Pay Per Click (PPC) with Indeed up to a certain threshold, you got Featured Employer status.  That status came with one important featured - unlimited use of the Indeed Resume Database, which by all accounts, is pretty damn good.

--Most of what Indeed has focused on in the past is PPC via the featured jobs model.

--Conventional wisdom says that the advent of Google for Jobs will and has hurt Indeed's PPC model.

--Indeed reps are currently forwarding proposals to clients with changes in the Indeed Featured Employer/Resume Database model.  Basically it goes like this - in addition to whatever PPC spend you want to make on featured jobs, you're going to have to buy "seats" to access the Resume database.

--Indeed reps are pushing for commits by the end of the year, but when pushed are saying nothing will change related to Featured Employer providing access to the Resume Database until Q2 of 2018.

--Quick math for one recruiting firm suggests to get what the team has grown accustomed to related to access to the Indeed Resume Database, the spend would equal the company's current budget for PPC via Indeed Featured Jobs.

What All That Tells Me:

--Indeed sees the damage/downside to the current PPC model and is wisely monetizing another product stream they previously haven't charged for - The resume database.

--The quick math calculated by the recruiting firm referenced above suggest that Indeed is being pretty aggressive with Resume Database pricing, attempting to fully replace the revenue that might ultimately be lost if the PPC model fails from firms who use the resume database often as part of their core business.

--If your recruiting team doesn't hunt (meaning they just take what comes in off the PPC model and don't use the database much), Indeed still has a problem related to replacing the revenue that might be lost from you if the PPC model ultimately fails and you take your budget dollars elsewhere.

Keep your eye on the efficiency of your Indeed PPC spend as it related to impressions, clicks and applies.  We're seeing some clients way down, but others are holding tight.

If you use Indeed's resume database, our math says that Indeed wants to replace potential lost revenue in PPC with Resume Database seats.  If you don't use the database?  Well, Indeed is still working on how to replace your spend if the PPC model fails and you leave.

 


Let's Hangout and Talk - Getting Ready to Staff Up at the Start of 2018...

If you’re a client or follower of Jobvite, you know the Recruiter Nation Live series.  It started with the Recruiter Nation Live Conference in San Francisco last June, and continued with the Recruiter Nation Live Roadshow that brought real recruiter talk to 9 cities in North America over the last three months. 
 
The feedback was great – you loved it, so we’re back with the latest in the series – the Recruiter Nation Live Hangout Series, hosted by Fistful of Talent and me.  Once a month, FOT will host a live Hangout designed to keep the conversation among recruiters going – focused on things you can use, like the best-kept secrets of today’s smartest and most efficient recruiters, Jedi-mind tricks proven to make you more persuasive/get great candidate response and strategies to hold your hiring managers accountable for their choices–so everyone wins.

 ----------------------------------------------

Our next hangout is at 1pm ET on December 14th (this Thursday!).  It's an informal thing - we fire up the video and a few slides (emphasis on "few") and run through a few things in 20-25 minutes...

Topic - GETTING READY FOR THE JANUARY 2018 HIRING RUSH!! (WITH FOTers DAWN BURKE AND KRIS DUNN)

REGISTER FOR THE HANGOUT BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!!

TOPICS/THE GOOD STUFF -
 
--How to build your internal and external recruiting “posse” for 2018. 

--What year-end “house-cleaning” (especially within your technology platforms/ATS) must be done to start 2018 with a clean slate. 

--How to partner with your executives and hiring managers to get great results - together. 

--What reporting would help you manage expectations and influence your internal clients to recognize the great work you're doing?

REGISTER FOR THE HANGOUT BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!!