Posts tagged recruiting
Generating a Game Plan for Improving Candidate Experience
Football Player.jpg

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!

8 Tips for Recruiting in Low Unemployment

This is one tight labor market. In case you haven’t been recruiting lately, let me tell you: it’s really tough to find talent if you don’t have a smart game plan and compelling value to offer as an employer, as well as an attractive employer brand. Unemployment is at 2.4% in Denver and statewide in Colorado. In Boulder, it’s 2.1%, and nationwide in the U.S. unemployment is sitting at 4.1%. But with unemployment this low, the additional piece is that the cost of sourcing and hiring new employees has gone up. And we need to recognize and budget for that fact, as well as identifying creative and affordable ways to attract new talent.

I’m an HR professional who recruits, not a recruiter. So, I don’t have access to paid platforms and I don’t have the luxury of having my focus be allocated entirely on sourcing and recruiting great talent. If I throw up an ad (even a sticky and compelling one) on a platform that gives me tons of eyeballs, these days I don’t have lots of qualified people who are looking to apply. And especially if my client hasn’t budgeted for and implemented the groundwork needed to establish visibility and interest from job seekers in them as an employer of choice, my job gets a lot more difficult.

Today, I’m recommending my clients consider the following recommendations, many of which can support both job seeker attraction and employee retention:

·       Use video on company career pages to show what jobs really look like (and showcase their employees in a unique way that communicates their organization’s values and attractiveness as an employer)

·       Institute creative compensation and benefits options that are highly valuable to job seekers and employees, and that reinforce your company’s values, then make sure they’re marketed to potential hires. Some examples are: student loan repayment, sabbaticals, earning a gift on your work anniversary that is actually meaningful (i.e., a new bicycle (or alternative gift of similar value) for employees at a cycling industry company), or a small annual bank of volunteer PTO time where they can be paid to do good work for a local nonprofit with a mission they’re passionate about.

·       Budget for staff time and technology to source and build pipelines of candidates for roles that are likely to be needed in the near future. These are not just roles that turn over or have variable demand, but are also key positions revealed during succession planning.

·       Make your employees into ambassadors for your employer brand. Share content on social media and encourage them to do the same. Yes, this means that you will need to address employee engagement first, so that your ambassadors have an authentic and attractive story to share about what it’s like to work for you.    

·       Invest in technology that allows for creation of a talent community where job seekers not right for one position may be identified as a fit for another, and that also effectively supports recruiters in identifying high value potential hires they can keep warm for later opportunities that are likely to come up. This needn’t be highly complex or expensive, but it does take some thought and expertise to determine requirements and find the right cloud-based platform or system solution, depending on the complexity of the client need.

·       Involve your leaders in sourcing talent and building your employer brand. Often managers are involved in professional and industry groups where they network with others who might have skills that could be needed by the organization in futures hires. Create and share a game plan with them for identifying candidates who should be in your pipeline. Often these people are currently employed-organizational leaders must be tasked with responsibility for continuously not only representing the company in the community but also looking for opportunities to recruit new talent. This activity shouldn’t just start when an opening becomes available.

·       Don’t let time to fill be your trigger to hire. It is naturally going to take longer to find the right new employee for your teams in this tight market. Hold out for the right new employee who will shine and stay to help your organization be successful.

And the final, but most important recommendation is that in EVERY interaction with job seekers, my clients must represent their employer brand in a positive way by being responsive, professional, friendly and respectful of people’s time and interest. If done the right way, this is the lowest cost recommendation but potentially the highest impact. If employers can turn job seekers themselves who weren’t chosen for positions into brand ambassadors, then a very small positive action can have an amazing ripple effect. Job seekers, after all, are often customers, and they also might be right for another position down the road, even if they weren’t hired for the one at hand.

Sourcing, recruiting and hiring can be successful in today’s low-unemployment environment. It just takes some creativity and prior planning, as well as a little bit of patience.

Photo credit: flazingo_photos via / CC BY-SA

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.

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:

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 / CC BY

10 Steps for Finding and Keeping the Right Hires

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 / CC BY