Trying to See the Forest Through the Trees…

I’m going to admit something that’s a little hard to admit, for fear of just coming across as careless or ignorant… I’ve not always been the greatest at staying on top of job seeker data. I remember once when my pal Kris Dunn asked me a while back, pre-recession, what the unemployment rate was in DC. I had no clue. Shoulder shrug, followed by a response something along the lines of… “Should I know?” Does it matter how many unemployed people there are? If I have jobs to fill, then I’m focused on finding candidates. Employed or unemployed, I just want qualified. My focus has always been on what’s on my plate rather than the broader economic outlook. (Tssk, tssk… go ahead and say it…)

Forest through the trees Of course, of late though, it’s just simply impossible to ignore employment numbers and job seeker stats. If you pick up a newspaper or tune into CNN at all, you know when the monthly/quarterly employment numbers are out and therefore, what the country and President’s prognosis is. But even still, I could put that all aside and tell you that I feel like I’m an economic barometer of sorts — more requisitions = greater new business, or more career transitions because others are hiring. If I’m busy recruiting, then the economy must be looking good, right?

The truth is, sometimes it’s just a bit hard to step back and look at the forest when you’re so focused on cutting down that darn tree. And maybe, it’s just that I can’t see how employment stats and job seeker data is really going to impact that one really hard to fill req, that position that’s been open for months now. But maybe… well, what if job seeker data could help me do my job better, faster? It’s a thought.

So, here’s some data that may be worth paying attention to – it at least caught my attention… The Jobvite Survey: Job Seeker Nation 2010. There’s some interesting stuff in the report about just who those job seekers are that we hear stats about all the time, and how they approach the job search… but of note for me? Two things. First, that there are those out there who we can peg as “proactive career managers”:

Proactive Career Managers are currently employed and open to a new job but are not actively seeking one. This segment represents 53% of the working population and 27% of all American adults, roughly 63.5 million Americans…

53% of the working population! 27% of all American adults! 63.5 million Americans! Those are numbers that kinda matter, right? That’s a whole lotta people who would be open to a new job. But perhaps more interesting? Well, if we were to ask how to tap into that group? That’s when the data becomes even more interesting. And worth really paying attention to. As for where they’re congregating… they’re on Twitter, and LinkedIn – but overwhelmingly where they hang out and spend time? On Facebook. Check out the graphics:

Screen shot 2010-11-23 at 8.01.43 PM

It makes me stop and say, wow, right? The stats are interesting… it kinda makes you think a little bit about the tools you’re using, yes? But it also makes me step back to look at the forest, and think less about those actual reqs on my plate. Interesting report. Check it out. And take a moment to step back and see more than just that one tree you’re trying to chop down. I know I’m trying to…


FOT Background Check

Jessica Lee
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don't be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she's still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life... she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat. Talk to Jessica via EmailLinkedInTwitter or Facebook... See Jessica's riffs and rants on Fistful of Talent here...


  1. Tracy Tran says:

    Here’s the link of the unemployment rate in the DC area and the economic forecast. comes out every quarter:

  2. Lindsay Rothman says:

    Jessica you make excellent points! Thanks for bringing this study to our attention!
    The research about the Proactive Career Manager puts the notion of social recruitment into the spotlight. Simply posting an opportunity on a company website or an online job board is no longer sufficient. Social media – specifically social recruitment takes our traditional views about hiring and flips them around. Many people claim that a key success factor in the social media revolution is that the news finds you (as opposed to the other way around). Apply this idea to recruitment and all of a sudden it’s no longer about filling a requisition, it’s about connecting with the talent pool on sites like Linked In, Facebook and Twitter. Otherwise, you will never be able to access these candidates as they expect the jobs to find them via their social networks.

  3. H2cm says:

    Hi Jessica,
    The HEALTH CARE DOMAINS MODEL is ideally suited to personal and group reflection and seeing the trees through the forest and vice-versa. 

The model includes a POLITICAL and SOCIAL domain. Developed in the 1980s at what is now Manchester Metropolitan University this model is accessible, free and easy to learn and use. There is a website and blog:

 “Welcome to the QUAD”

Online since 2006 this has a growing archive and includes a bibliography. W2tQ has a small but growing and global readership.

The model has four care domains and each has a unique resources page e.g.


    I would be pleased to hear from anyone with questions, or interested in using the model in career development / life coaching.
    Best regards and good luck!

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