Posts tagged hiring
Generating a Game Plan for Improving Candidate Experience
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Your compensation is in the right range, you’ve added some great benefits job seekers value, like student loan repayment, and your employer brand is showcased on your newly updated career site. But you haven’t noticed a great response to your recent open positions, and feedback has been tepid. You’re a successful organization, and people like you. Why haven’t you been attracting great candidates for your open positions lately?

47% of candidates think employers do a good job of setting expectations regarding communication in a potential hiring interaction. 78% of employers think they do a good job. Where is the disconnect, and what other aspects of your candidate experience are lacking? Hiring is a two-way street. In many markets, industries, and specialized roles, job seekers can take you or leave you. The power imbalance that once existed in favor of employers has shifted mightily. Improving your candidate experience can differentiate you from other employers and help you land the best hires.

How do we define candidate experience? According to Mike Roberts, writing in the Jibe blog, “Candidate experience is defined as how job seekers perceive and react to employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.” What does this have to do with employer brand? Employer Brand defined: Your employer brand is your promise to your potential employee. “This is what you can expect.” Ideally, employer brand and organizational branding are aligned.

Now that we know what employer branding is, how do you develop your brand so you know that it’s contributing to a great candidate experience?

  1. Take ownership of what it’s really like to work for you!
  2. Recognize the problems and work on solving them, but don’t hide them or pretend they don’t exist.
  3. Be open about your culture so job candidates can opt in if it’s a fit.
  4. Recognize that looking for the right job & right hire is a two-way street.
  5. Don’t make excuses but do be able to communicate why your culture and way of doing business works for your organization.

Employer brand can contribute to (or detract from) a candidate’s experience in the hiring process. It’s all about expectations. When expectations and experience do not align, this creates disappointment-when promises are made, they must be kept! So consistency between branding and experience is key.

What about the other way around? How does candidate experience impact employer brand? A poor Candidate Experience can wipe out gains in visibility & credibility of your employer brand. You can’t have a great employer brand without a great candidate experience. A poor candidate experience can also negatively affect your company brand. Candidates are often current or potential customers, so turning them off in the hiring process can also hurt your brand perception with them and those they share their experience with.

All stages of the candidate experience are potential touchpoints for positively impacting candidate experience. Some of these points are:

•       Pre-application/interest community

•       Application for open requisition

•       Pre-hire assessment

•       Screening (phone, live video, recorded video)

•       On site interviews

•       Offer stage

•       Post-offer background check, drug testing

•       Onboarding

Responsiveness, communication, setting realistic expectations about the process and timeline, and clear descriptions of jobs and qualifications can make the candidate experience better at every stage along the way. Additional support for pre-hire assessments and other technology solutions like video interviewing are critically important and appreciated by candidates. Respecting job seekers’ time and treating them with dignity and appreciation can set you apart from your competitors.

Continued communication post offer, as well as an organized and effective onboarding program, will be icing on the cake if you have followed through at the other steps. Removing barriers, creating a frictionless process that doesn’t drag on, and providing candidates the support and status updates they need will help you create a superior candidate experience. Asking new hires in the onboarding process to provide a frank assessment of their experiences will provide you with the data you need to identify needs and make continuous improvements. With unemployment at all-time lows in the U.S., it’s time to make your move toward the best candidate experience, and capture your competitive advantage!

Are You Telling Little White Lies to Get Butts in the Seats?

Lying to job seekers about your culture might get you a warm body-a butt in the seat. That much is true. And if you love onboarding and training lots of new hires, it will also give you something to do and feel productive about every day of the year as they churn through your organization. You may lie to yourself and tell your team that call center employees (or food service workers, or warehouse helpers) just turn over quickly and there’s nothing you can do about it. You may even say that machinists and nuclear engineers and UX designers are in short supply and all just looking for the highest pay and that’s why they’re leaving so soon after you hire them. But you’re not doing yourself any favors if you don’t look in the mirror and figure out what you and your HR team are doing (or not doing) to influence high turnover. Even if your executive leadership hasn’t gotten wise to the cost of each new hire (estimates range from $15,000-45,000 for average employees) then you should be educating them as a strategic HR leader on what you can do to recoup this cost for the organization.  

If we’re honest with ourselves, there are many conditions about our workplaces that we take a decidedly rosy view of, when we go to recruit new employees. It’s like anytime when we’re having new friends over for dinner. We clean up the house, cook up our best recipes, and serve them wine. We decide not to invite our crazy sister to dinner, even though she hangs out at our house almost every day. We don’t show them the basement, where we throw all the stuff we don’t want anyone to see but we don’t have the heart to get rid of. We’re on our best behavior and telling our most entertaining stories. We have an optimistic view of where this relationship can go, and all the things we can do with our new friends to make life fun and rewarding.

We do this when we bring in fresh talent to our organizations too. We don’t put that crazy, outspoken but genius team member on the interview panel because she might be a little too much to handle. The team has been pulling 80-hour weeks for the past six months and there’s no end in sight, but the hiring manager without much subtlety tells them not to advertise that fact to potential new hires. There are people on our team who should have been held accountable, and haven’t-they're holding us back from meeting our goals but no one wants to deal with it. Working conditions and tools are less than ideal, but those challenges aren’t mentioned. There are many more things we hide, lie about and ignore when we’re trying desperately to fill holes on teams that never seem to stay fully staffed.

“But what about the managers?” we in HR say. They’re the ones who don’t train new employees well, don’t hold others accountable, don’t give recognition and feedback (even though we’ve given them the tools and preparation) and fail to foster teamwork. Aren’t they at fault for the turnover? What about the barely acceptable wages our nonprofit, or startup, or low-margin industry is forced to pay? It’s no wonder people are leaving in droves. If only our (pay, benefits, working conditions, managers) were better, our retention would be too.

Before you blame it solely on the managers, read this from Jaclyn Westlake, in The Muse:

…I couldn’t wait to work with eager students as I guided them through the admissions process. I envisioned myself reassuring nervous parents, decorating my first-ever cubicle, and building lasting relationships with my co-workers. Sure, I was a little idealistic, but this was also what the hiring manager told me I would be doing.

When I arrived for my first day of work, I was led to a storage room and handed a phone, a sales script, and a long list of phone numbers and told to start making calls. I didn’t even have a working computer. Turns out, I had inadvertently accepted a job as a cold caller.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/what-you-can-realistically-do-when-your-new-job-catfishes-you

An experience like that isn’t easily forgotten, along with the ill will that goes with it. We can’t tell from this account whether there was any HR or recruiter involvement in the misrepresentation, but just reading about how this new hire’s hopes and excitement were dashed in this bait-and-switch makes my heart skip a beat. The employer brand is seriously damaged by this kind of disastrous misrepresentation, but even the little white lies we tell and the filtered information we release in our less-than-authentic interview processes can damage the chances we will create a successful hire and retained employee.

I’ll be speaking at DisruptHR in Denver soon on the topic of The No Filter Job Interview-I hope you’ll join me and hundreds of my favorite HR pros to hear my recommendations on sharing your real culture to get the right hire. See you there!

Photo credit: Foter.com

Backing Out on an Accepted Offer of Employment

This question and answer series is taken from Quora. This question is about whether backing out on an accepted offer of employment will burn bridges with that employer and put a candidate at risk for being passed over for future opportunities with that same organization.

If you withdraw from the hiring process after accepting an offer, then the HR/Recruiting team would definitely be disappointed, but you shouldn’t assume you are “blacklisted” as a result. If your recruiter reaches out to you to find out what happened and why you rescinded your offer acceptance, there’s no need for you to provide a lot of details, but I would suggest that you be open and share if there is anything that would help them understand where they went wrong in the process.

Maybe the other offer you got was for your “dream job” or had a better salary, more career development opportunities or a shorter commute. There are a lot of legitimate reasons why this happens, and if you are gracious, appreciative of their time, and professional in your interactions with them, you shouldn’t assume you can never apply for a position with that company again.

That said, don’t ever just ignore the company and stop responding. You accepted an offer to join their team, and you owe them at least a clear, polite communication to let them know that you will not be joining them, after all. The worst thing you can do is vanish and stop responding to them-that’s truly unprofessional and would earn you a (justified) place on my list of unprofessional candidates not to consider again.

Photo credit: btaroli via Foter.com / CC BY

10 Steps for Finding and Keeping the Right Hires
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Sometimes I daydream about the ideal HR world. Yes, it’s filled with rainbows and trees that grow salt water taffy. Even in my HR dream world, I need to hire people and help my clients do the same, so this is my ideal talent acquisition process. Tell me if this is what it looks like in your perfect HR vision:

  1. You have a clear view of which jobs are likely to be open, and when. You gathered, reviewed and analyzed the data on your hiring in the past three years, and you know which jobs and job groups tend to need filling. You also know the seasonality of your business, and can plan ahead for hiring needs.
  2. Job seekers and referrals to reach them are already in your pipeline. You know many sources for great candidates that you can reach at the click of a mouse or by placing a phone call, because you are continuously doing the groundwork of sourcing for your most-often open positions.
  3. You have job postings updated, paired with sticky videos and graphics, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. With all of the many platforms for recruiting, and all of the creative work your company’s marketing group is doing, why reinvent the wheel? Encourage your Talent Acquisition team to partner with Marketing to come up with effective messages and graphics that are consistent with the branding and marketing your company is already doing, and tailored toward recruiting new hires.
  4. You know where to post to find the right-fit candidates. You can’t post openings on your website and forget it if you want to effectively recruit in today’s market. Reducing your time to fill, attracting the right candidates, running an efficient hiring process and getting the right hire all depend on being intentional in your posting. In addition, since you are looking to increase diversity in your job seeker pool, you are also reaching out to specialty sources to post your openings.
  5. Your recruiters know the jobs and your hiring leaders’ specific needs. Do your recruiters know how to screen job seekers the right way, so your hiring managers are getting the best group of candidates to review? Instead of having a “check the box” mentality, your recruiters are willing and able to understand the job so that they can analyze the job seeker pool in a more sophisticated way. You make sure your smart TA team is functioning at their top efficiency and effectiveness, and not making excuses about how they don’t have time to fully evaluate candidates. And there's absolutely NO "fire hose" candidate throughput. Managers don't have time for that!
  6. Your Talent Acquisition team is willing to tell managers the truth, even if they don’t want to hear it. Like many managers, mine sometimes want to insist on looking for the candidate that doesn’t exist-the early career Harvard MBA with 10 years of experience in mergers and acquisitions that is excited to relocate to Sioux Falls for a salary of $40,000 per year. Your recruiters and TA leaders have built trust with the business, so when they push back, hiring leaders may not like it, but they will listen.
  7. You know which competencies lead to success in the roles at your company, and how to assess for them in the hiring process. You provide training and development for hiring leaders and others on how to effectively interview and assess talent, whether you have pre-hire assessments formally implemented or not. And you look back at how hires have performed, so we know if we're doing it right.
  8. You have access to compliance resources to ensure that your recruiting and hiring process is not only effective, but consistent with legal requirements. You understand the potential for adverse impact and discrimination, and know how to avoid them in your talent acquisition activities, as well as how to properly document your processes to reduce risk.
  9. You use data to pinpoint the sourcing, recruiting and hiring activities that deliver the best ROI. You don’t just throw things out there-you continuously review performance and assess against benchmarks that make sense for your business. Then you adjust your process for maximum value.
  10. The first-year onboarding program at your company is up and running for every new hire, starting at offer acceptance. You know that when you deliver an offer letter and receive an acceptance from a new hire, there will be a seamless handoff to the background check process, ordering needed equipment and space, and delivering a welcome gift to your newest team member. When she arrives at work, she will instantly become a part of your team, learn about company culture and values, and begin her training to set her up for success in her new role. She also will feel the warmth and appreciation of your employees and management, and be glad she decided to spend a big part of her life working with your company toward mutual success. And she will hear from her manager, mentor and HR at regular intervals to identify her needs and reinforce the company’s culture and values, over the course of the first year of her employment and beyond.

One more thing: if my company's TA team is working as a department and sharing its expertise with other areas of HR and the business, it goes without saying that we won’t have silos and we’ll work together seamlessly, learning from each other and supporting each other. It’s my ideal HR world, so I get to have it the way I want it!

What did I miss? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Visit Solve HR, Inc.

Photo credit: stevendepolo via Foter.com / CC BY

Make Your Hiring Process Real
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While working in severely dysfunctional environments back when I was still a new professional, I have personally sat in on interviews as an individual contributor and heard hiring leaders tell bold-faced lies about things like work-life balance. And I’m not talking about technicalities here, like saying “Our organization’s values statement includes work-life balance” when it isn’t actually implemented in practice. What I heard was, “Oh, yes! There’s plenty of balance here! We manage to get our work done and leave plenty of time for your personal life. And we’re flexible too, no worries!” Umm, no, and no.

Should I have offered to walk this candidate out to the entrance after the meeting and told her the truth? Yes. But that would be ruining any chance for my own work-life balance since I was working in “survival mode” as my manager called it, and with two team members currently missing, I needed some new sucker to take the job. That makes me a terrible person out to save my own hide, but I’m not sure what anyone expects in that situation, where you pit team member against team member and put them on a tropical island without enough food or tools. “Survival mode” is fine when it’s really just in emergencies, but nobody has the fortitude and motivation to do their best work that way all the time. The organization had made a choice that it was worth the turnover to keep lean. I’m not sure they were right, but that’s for another day, another post.

In the years after that, I had a very different experience with a much more enlightened employer. I had been looking for a new opportunity and wasn’t in a hurry. The role was very demanding, but exciting too. When I heard about the salary range, I wasn’t dazzled, but the work was cool enough that I wanted to know more. I had a great call with a recruiter, and was next scheduled to speak with another person in the role I was being considered for.

She helped me put the brakes on pretty quickly. “This is a job where you can expect to work 60 hours or more per week consistently, every week. And then sometimes we work through weekends if there are deadlines.”

She continued, “And you should expect to travel 50-75% of the time, depending on client need.” Hmm…this was not previously mentioned by the recruiter. Travel is fun, but not all the time, and it’s certainly something I would need to know in order to realistically evaluate the opportunity.

“You also should know that you will be held to billable hours and sales goals.” OK. As a recovering lawyer, “billable hours goal” is code for “we will work you within an actual inch of your life.”

I revisited the salary range, thought through the other details, and it was very clear that I wasn’t willing to be worked within an inch of my life or expected to spend most of my waking hours there, even for exciting work, for the salary they were offering. If I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t have left the legal profession.

What if my interviewer had been a coward, like me? The organization would have gotten some good work out of me, that’s true. But alas, it wouldn’t have been a long-term gig. Telling the truth about the job gave me, and the organization, the right result. It wasn’t a fit. Wise hiring leaders and talent acquisition professionals know that painting an accurate picture, warts and all, makes for not only good hires, but the right hires.

Think about your own recruiting, interviewing and hiring processes. What incentives is your organization creating among those involved in the hiring process (recruiters, interviewers, yourself) that aren’t in alignment with your business and hiring strategic goals? Are you being frank with job seekers about what you have to offer?

Visit Solve HR, Inc.

Photo credit: dv over dt via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA