5 Pillars of a Great Candidate Experience for 2020

Photo: Ben White

5 Ways to Build a Great Candidate Experience in 2020

Heading into a hiring spree for the new year? Last year, the Talent Board Candidate Experience Research Report found that if a prospective hire has a negative candidate experience, they’re increasingly willing to sever their relationship with that employer. This year? That report’s packed with good information to map to better strategies right now. With 61 million members of Gen Z beginning to join the workforce, companies need to bear it in mind. These digital natives have high expectations for work/life balance, inclusivity, technology and who they want to work for. And first impressions count. 

We know that a great candidate experience can pay off in long-term dividends, leading to a better employee experience, better engagement, and a stronger chance your new hires will be willing to rep you as an employer to their peers. But the most important result is that it leads to an applicant staying with the process through to the final interview, and then if it leads to a hire, they — and you — feel great about the move. To optimize the outcome, focus on these five simple pillars: 

Communicate Better

Quality communication and feedback are key factors in improving candidate experience. According to the Talent Board report, candidates who were able to ask a chatbot questions consistently rated their candidate experience higher than those who weren’t. Additionally, candidates who communicated with a chatbot were 80% more likely to increase their relationship with the employer, and candidates who received mobile text notifications during the research process rated their candidate experience 50% higher than those who did not.  

Be Human

But: no matter what generation, candidates prefer hearing from a live human within the first few steps of their application process. Despite multiple rounds of emails or preliminary video interviews, candidates may get frustrated if there’s no sense of a person on the other end, particularly Gen Z. This generation wants to believe in your company’s mission and find the work meaningful, starting with personal interactions — that’s how they know the prospective employer values them as an individual.  

Reject with Tact

When it comes to rejection, candidates still want to hear the bad news straight from the horse’s mouth — and not from a robot’s. Positive candidate experience ratings jump upwards of 28% when an applicant receives a phone call rather than an automated email rejection. It will also go a long way towards keeping the candidate in your talent pool for future openings. Rejections should be considered and considerate: especially with a young candidate, make sure the criteria and the reasoning is clear, and leave the door open. 

Be Curious

Employers who ask candidates for their feedback on the hiring process increases that candidate’s positive feeling about the organization. According to the Talent Board report, when candidates are asked for screening or interview feedback, there’s a 148% increase in their willingness to increase their relationship with the organization. That simple act of asking for (and listening to) feedback has the potential to create exceptional employee loyalty in advance.  

Be Consistent

Consistently treating candidates well breeds trust and trust is foundational for a true, human sense of engagement. Make sure your message and your process are consistent end to end. If there’s any doubt, map out all the touchpoints your organization has with a candidate. Create a checklist to address how you can treat candidates better, from branding to technology. Is the branding inclusive? Are you offering an application process that offers self-service and is self-populating? Also: make sure your job listings and your job information are consistent everywhere, whether on your career page or job boards. Candidates should feel good about your organization no matter what kind of interaction they’re having. 

We’ve got more sophisticated hiring tools than ever. But here’s a modern irony: it’s imperative that we go back to the basics in terms of how we use them. Respect candidates’ time, energy, and attention spans. Consider their need to feel like they’re valued, like their questions will be heard and answered, and that there are people — not just algorithms and bots — genuinely interested in who they are. Provide plenty of information about the process as well as the position; and about the organization’s values and culture as well as the next forms they need to fill out. Think person, not just process. And no matter the outcome, remain gracious. Might seem old-fashioned, but it’s back in style.

Finding Gen Z Talent in 2020

Photo by Wyron A 

Finding Gen Z Talent in 2020: Three Predictions

TalentCulture asked Kristen Ribero, Director of Enterprise Marketing for Handshake, for three predictions on how we’ll be finding Gen Z talent in 2020. It’s all about democratizing opportunity and building diverse teams; sourcing tech talent beyond STEM; and proactive, personal outreach. Here’s what she had to say:

Prediction 1: We’ll Democratize Opportunity and Build More Diverse Teams 

Employers recruiting early talent traditionally tapped into a few “core” schools that were either selected by proximity or by whether a leader at the company attended that school, which resulted in a pretty homogenous talent pool. 

Instead, we’ll start more effectively democratizing opportunity — by enabling employers to find talent based on numerous attributes that help determine fit, from any school, anywhere. And there’s plenty of information out there. Gen Z’s search for authenticity enables their greater freedom of expression and openness to understanding diverse perspectives. Gen Z grew up on mobile phones, social media, and are true digital natives. While early talent recruiting has shifted digitally, the attributes and values that set candidates apart remain largely the same.

We’ll use targeted talent marketplaces that have the potential to connect candidates with like-minded employers. Not only does this ensure a more seamless cultural fit, it also increases the likelihood of an employee being successful. And we’ll be combining high tech and high touch to do it.

From the talent side, Gen Z values individual identity, and are careful with how they craft their niche personas. They also value diversity, and want to work at organizations that embrace people from all walks of life. By carefully curating their own online presence, Gen Z can secure engagement from relevant employers through these targeted marketplaces. And that enables a better match through targeting for both employers and prospects.

Prediction 2: We’ll See Tech Talent Who Aren’t STEM Majors

Gen Z who haven’t necessarily majored in STEM are increasingly applying for technical roles. Their knowledge of programming languages and other technical skills supplements their coursework — without needing to major in STEM related fields. Of the women who applied for software engineering roles on Handshake, 35% majored in curricula other than STEM, according to Handshake’s Women in Tech report. And in their profiles on the site, it’s clear they have the skills and know how to show them off.

So what we’re seeing is that declaring a major isn’t the only indicator of required skills for a job. Employers are realizing this too, and adjusting their search criteria.

There are other factors here: Research shows that Gen Z  job seekers are more financially motivated than millennials, and the majority of Gen Z employees value salary over other job perks. Technical roles are in high demand, and they tend to be higher paid.

Gen Z is careful to craft a niche identity that’s persuasive and unique enough to set themselves apart. They don’t know a world without technology, which means they are more tech-savvy than previous generations. And they’re leaning in on hard skills as equally as soft ones. Of the 35% of women who applied for software engineering and developer roles I mentioned, their majors include business analytics, communications, marketing, language, and political science.

So employers will get better at looking beyond traditional attributes to find the talent they need. Instead of pinpointing STEM-specific majors, coursework, and GPA, they will lean on a candidate’s hard and soft skills to provide a more accurate assessment of their likelihood to succeed in a role.

Prediction 3: We’ll Take a More Proactive, Personal Approach to Outreach

Proactive employer communication to potential candidates will become a key factor in attracting Gen Z talent. From 2018 to 2019, we observed employers proactively reach out to 4x more students. Employers can tap into this generation’s need for connection by delivering encouraging, personalized messages. In Handshake’s student survey, 95% told us that they engage with employers that send personalized, proactive outreach. While tech has provided more seamless ways for people to connect, Gen Z still prefers to learn from real people. So high tech and high touch are effective complements.

As far as messaging, here are two examples: a message that won’t fly with Gen Z talent, and a message that will. First, the one you don’t want to do:

Hi there,

I’m reaching out to you from [company]. I see that your graduation date is coming up, and I wanted to invite you to check out our job openings on our website. Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks,

[recruiter’s name]

The message lacks personalized components like a recruiter introduction or student’s name. The student can’t easily decipher how this organization would be a good fit for them. Students are more likely to engage with messages that mention how their background is ideal for a role they’re hiring for. And the CTA is weak: the only indicated action is to check out job openings, but there’s nothing in there about actually applying. That’s a missed opportunity.

Here’s a much better example:

Hi [candidate’s name],

My name’s [recruiter’s name] and I’m a recruiting manager at [company].

We’re currently hiring a sales representative in our [city] office, and based on your background in business at [university] and passion in customer service, I think you should apply!

Don’t take my word for it. One of your [university] peers, [name], now works in this function at [company]. If you’re interested, I’d love to introduce you two so you can learn what it takes to thrive here.

We are also going to be at [university]’s campus next month, so let’s plan to connect in person if that’s easier for you. Please RSVP here.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Warmly,

[recruiter’s name]

What works in this message is the personalization of first name and institution name, along with the fact that an on-campus event is attached to the campaign. The recruiter also suggests an opportunity to introduce the student to one of their peers currently employed by the company. The next step, and a great way to increase the effectiveness of a message like this, is to arrange a scheduled follow up.

 

Why Big Tech is Losing Gen Z Hires

Photo: Thought Catalog

Why Big Tech is Losing Gen Z Hires

Remember when we were all trying to reach the hiring bar set by Amazon, Google, Facebook and other giants? No more. Toxic work cultures, questionable leadership and recent ethics scandals are tarnishing these once golden employers. The New York Times just reported that Gen Z are staying away.

The techlash is real: by some estimates, Facebook’s down at least 40% in acceptance rates for full-time engineering job offers. Amazon’s losing its sway with poachable young stars from companies like Dropbox. Uber’s taken a $100 million hit in terms of lost talent. Google’s lost its credibility as a fair employer. When graduates tell their peers they just accepted a job at one of the big tech firms, they’re often met with awkward silence. 

As Gen Z and new millennials graduate college and search for jobs, they’re looking for meaning, purpose, and values along with that good paycheck — and they’re steering clear of Silicon Valley’s big firms. And this isn’t just about a consumer attitude towards employer brands. It goes deeper. Many are responding to recruiting outreaches with messages of their own, leaving recruiters blindsided. Some students are batting back automated recruiting queries with very specific protest messages.

The spend on recruiting one engineer can be as high as $20,000, according to the Times; the cost of advertising at Stanford University’s computer science job fairs can top $12,000. Whether or not this truly hurts the bottom line remains to be seen in some cases, while it’s already obvious in others. 

But what is clear: smaller firms who do have an ethical compass and fair hiring and employment policies may have a new advantage. An employer brand that’s based on genuine values, a social purpose, and wants to save the planet instead of ruin it – that’s a big factor for this generation. We may start to see companies selling themselves as inherently good: “We don’t have any scandals, we’re not associated with data theft, and we believe in climate change!” could be a highly effective selling point. It’s going to be an interesting year.

 

abstract-colorful-image-data-driven-recruiting

4 Reasons You Need Data-Driven Recruiting

Do you remember Blockbuster, Kodak, or even Nokia?

Let me guess. You haven’t heard these companies in quite some time.

These companies each lacked innovative and creative ideas because they were comfortable with their current status in the market.

We all know where these companies are today.

For Blockbuster, Kodak, and Nokia, this lack of urgency to innovate and update their systems ultimately led to their downfall.

This same concept goes for employer branding. If you are using old-fashioned recruitment processes, there is a high chance you will end up wasting your time and resources, interviewing unqualified candidates. This not only will negatively affect your brand sentiment and employee morale, but it will cost your company time, money, and resources.

HOWEVER!

It is not too late to make a change. Yes, 2019 is coming to an end, but the shift to implementing data-driven recruiting is still reasonably fresh in the market. Using data on candidates to create recruitment strategies has proven to make the entire hiring process from start to finish remarkably smoother, cost-efficient, and more accurate than the traditional methods.

So let’s get into the juicy details.

What is Data-Driven Recruiting?

Data-driven recruitment is the process of optimizing the candidate’s journey from awareness to consideration by leveraging data on the candidates you want to recruit.

This data-driven recruitment process could take the form of external or internal data collected on candidates. While many Fortune 500 Companies have an abundance of internal data available on their candidate process, that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to make strategic decisions that will yield better results. When we apply a data-driven mindset to recruiting, identifying which campaigns and channels are producing the best hires becomes much more manageable.

But even if you could understand which channels or campaigns the good hires came from, how would you optimize them? How would you know what content to continue producing on that channel year after year?

As candidates are changing, so is the data! By analyzing that data, you get to know more about your candidates and which ones, in the end, become your employees. Having that data is an essential strategic asset in your recruitment process.

To help you fully understand the benefits of using a data-driven recruiting, we’ve compiled a list of 4 benefits of implementing a data-driven recruitment strategy.

1. Improve Quality of Candidates Applying

The hiring process can become very tedious and overwhelming when you have to handle 100 ́s of job applicants for one position. But what if you could remove the unqualified candidates from the list?

By tailoring your talent communication strategies on all your career channels with data collected on candidates, you can improve your chances of attracting the right candidate the first time around by targeting their needs and preferences.

There is no need for an outside staffing and recruiting agency when you have all the information on what the candidates want. Curating your talent communication strategies on your career channels to appeal to your desired candidates will drastically improve your chances of hiring the right candidate over and over again.

Hiring the very best employees time and time again will significantly improve your company’s performance, both short-term and long-term.

As an employer, if you can understand which channels your desired candidates look for career-related information, then you can create a strategy that guides the very best candidates down your funnel. Data-driven recruiting can make that happen.

Within the HR sector, we also see the rise of ambassador marketing programs. Using your network to find new employees has many benefits. People find job postings from their network more trustworthy, which, in turn, has a positive impact on the number of applications a company receives from their job posting.

2. Reduce New Hire Cost

With the right set of data, you will be able to optimize your best hires by channel. A study by LinkedIn has shown that companies with a stronger brand see a 43% decrease in hiring cost.

To start to reduce new hire costs, focus only on the variables and channels that lead to the best hires. On the flip side, you also need to eliminate as much waste or churn as possible throughout the process.

Once you have collected data on candidates and your hiring process, the next step is to identify which channels are producing the best hires — focusing your recruiting efforts on these channels. By trimming the fat in your traditional hiring process, you will be able to save money on the channels that are not producing quality hires.

After you determine which channels your ideal candidates are on, it is crucial to create customized content that is attractive to them. By providing content that candidates value the most, you will be able to guide and prioritize what changes you need to make on your channels. And, more importantly, how you can position yourself as an employer in the marketplace. If you prioritize and tailor your content to your ideal candidate, you will increase your chances of hiring the right candidate the first time around and ultimately decrease long term costs associated with bad hires.

3. Decrease Hiring Time

From the moment a candidate recognizes your company as a potential employer to the point when they finally click the apply button, is called the candidate’s journey. To optimize your candidate journey, maintain a smooth and time-efficient hiring process.

Candidate Funnel
Awareness – Social Media Channels/Review Platforms
Interest – Career Opportunities/Work Culture
Consideration – Career Website/Offer to Candidate
Application – Mobile/ATS/Applying Online

Once you have defined your funnel, it’s vital to have the right measuring systems in place. Using a data-driven approach in your hiring process will allow your team to create a candidate funnel that optimizes the needs and preferences of your desired candidate during each stage.

Communicating clearly with your ideal candidate allows them to work their way through the funnel more quickly.

Your content from throughout the candidate journey should tell a story that resonates with qualified candidates and leads them further down the funnel. In doing so, hiring the right candidate will occur much quicker.

4. Improved Candidate Experience

Attracting and converting your desired candidate requires a flawless candidate’s experience.

It’s not only important for a company to create the ultimate employee experience, but also a fantastic experience for your recruits. Even those who don’t make the cut should still be treated as if they were one of your employees from the start.

Going back to the candidate funnel of awareness, interest, consideration, and application, there are many steps you can take in each part of the funnel to ensure that candidates have a positive experience.

Awareness:

Social media has become one of the most important ways to attract and nurture candidates. It has changed recruitment for good. To provide guidance in the jungle of channels and where you should focus your efforts, utilizing data and external surveys will assist in making these strategic decisions. By delivering content that showcases your workplace and what being an employee at your company is like, you will give candidates a definite feeling of acceptance and desire to be there.

Interest:

To properly get a candidate interested, they have to see something they like about the company. By tailoring your strategies to the candidates’ needs/preferences, you are thereby providing appealing content that would spark further curiosity in applying to your company.

Consideration:

The Career Website is the heart of the candidate experience, where you can showcase your organization and really stand out. It’s often the place where decisions for or against an application are taken, and where making an impeccable offer should occur. In this stage, you should hold nothing back about your company and play all your cards.

Application:

The application process is crucial, from a job ad to application submission. What causes dropouts and is your ATS provider keeping up with the latest developments are the questions to be asking. Staying updated and current is vital to finalizing the application process. No one wants to apply to a company that looks outdated, boring, and slow.

Still not convinced?

Whatever your company recruiting methods are, the age of data-driven recruiting is already here, and it’s not going anywhere.

Remember, when I mentioned Blockbuster, Kodak, and Nokia? Don’t be them. Be better, and stay on the offense!

Companies will only continue to evolve the hiring process by finding new and innovative ways to hire qualified candidates more efficiently, thus making it harder for companies who lack this to survive. There are plenty of different strategies you could derive from using data on candidates. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Better-People-Decisions-Make-Hiring-More-Efficient

Better People Decisions Make Hiring More Efficient

Hiring is costly.

Hiring the wrong employee is even more pricey, and the more pivotal the position is, the more expensive it can be. A bad hire costs your organization in three ways: finances, time, and intangible factors. Hiring and onboarding a new employee costs more than $4,000.

The process may take 2-3 months, and the effect of a bad hire can influence overall morale.

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster, a company that helps businesses gain insights into their new hires, and existing company culture. Their mission is to make hiring more effective by catching bad hires before companies invest time and money pursuing the wrong candidates. Here is some of what we discussed:

What inspired you to start Checkster?

What triggered us to provide this solution is really the fact that when you look at how people make decisions when they buy goods. Most people read reviews; you probably do that as well. We looked at that and thought we could apply the process to talent acquisition.

How do background checks benefit both hiring companies and candidates?

There are varying definitions of a “background check.” Often, we limit background checks to just a criminal check, but background checks can also include employment verification, drug check, and reference checks. I believe everyone deserves a safe, passionate, and productive work environment. Background checks can uncover criminal behavior; we intend our process to discover bad habits like shirking responsibility or sowing discord, so we find out this type of information from a new digital reference checking approach.

What makes the Checkster process different?

We use what we call “collective intelligence.” The use of collective Intelligence lets us combine insights from many individuals to get a complete picture.

Does this also help to eliminate bias in the hiring process?

The problem with biases is that we all have them, and they are often unconscious, so they affect how we think and feel. So, we cannot eliminate the bias of one single person, but we can cancel out each other biases by interviewing multiple people with different unconscious preferences. With Checkster, we get as many colleagues as possible to eliminate bias as much as possible.

What are the pros and cons of using social media to vet candidates?

One plus of using social media is that it gives you a chance to at least get a sense of someone’s personality. Some research has shown its reliability. However, I recommend that you always confirm any information discovered in social media. Make sure that whatever you find out about the candidate is verifiable. Why is this important? This verification ensures you are not attributing your discovery to the wrong person, or that the information you discovered was accurate and posted by the candidate and not by someone else.

What advice can you offer to help companies conduct better exit interviews?

Exit interviews are another useful tool. Exit interviews can be a great source of knowledge for HR and managers, but even more so for recruiting. The best advice to keep in mind is to be clear on how you will use your data; too often, people are performing surveys or interviews, not tracking responses consistently, and as a result, do very little with the results. If it is a regrettable departure, allow several people to give feedback, not just the departing employee.

Thank you so much for sharing your insights. It’s been a pleasure to speak with you.

Thank you very much.

Photo by Robert Katzki on Unsplash

Recruiting in the Age of AI

Recruiting in the Age of AI

I’m really looking forward to this upcoming webinar on recruiting in the age of AI. Together with SmartSearch on Thursday, Nov. 7, I’ll be diving into one of the keys to empowering recruitment today: using the latest AI technology.

We all know that to be successful, any organization has to place a high value on finding and retaining the best possible human capital to drive its growth. A full 70% of respondents in Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey said that effective, efficient recruitment is one of their key concerns for 2020.

Overall spending for AI software is predicted to overtake hardware purchases by 2023. AI is changing work across the board. And as AI-powered technology changes the face of recruiting, it’s allowing us to engage with candidates at levels of personalization never seen before, and at a speed that fits the demands of hiring today. We’ve seen the application process accelerate, exploding into an environment without limits. The numbers are staggering. With the rise of job boards and the need to follow multiple paths from application to interview, the scope of information and applications has gone far beyond anyone’s ability to process manually.

AI is simply the most expedient tool to enable leaders to address critical concerns, such as accessing candidates with the proper skill sets and shortening the time to hire. It also helps hiring managers mitigate recruiting challenges and provides staffing agencies with the tools and power they need to source well and source fast.

The Tools for Recruiting in the Age of AI

Chatbots and Conversational Tools

Chatbots will soon be the new normal in recruiting and hiring. Chatbots can help with a broad range of tasks, including candidate screening, pre-interview Q&A and helping applicants set up interviews with recruiters and hiring teams. Chatbots can be used to screen candidates with multiple-choice questions and pre-established decision paths that direct the applicant to the next logical question. Chatbots can field the answerable questions and convey the rest, serving as a neat archive of the candidate and indicating any gaps in information as presented by a company.

Screening for Skill and FIt

Three-quarters of the recruiters who reported difficulty hiring this year, according to research from SHRM, named skills gaps as the No. 1 problem, and more than half see skills shortages on the rise. Tech-driven skill and fit assessments help weed out applicants who might look great on paper but don’t have the specific training and skills for a certain role.

Since AI tools used in the screening function often have machine-learning capabilities — they learn from repetition — they get better at screening the more they do it. They can be taught to identify the types of candidates an organization is seeking or learn to be legally compliant and avoid biases related to age, gender or race. AI-based screening software can integrate with onboarding and offboarding tools and existing HR platforms to provide a comprehensive snapshot of a candidate with predictive analyses about an individuals’ potential or possible future performance.

Data and Predictive Analytics

Using statistical methodology and software to analyze worker-related data and predictive analytics allows you to find and exploit patterns in that data to uncover risks and opportunities, and improve decision making. Data and predictive analytics help predict applicant performance, select best fits, analyze the probability that a candidate will accept an interview or an offer, and assess the long-term outlook for potential hires. With some of the world’s biggest companies setting the example — Google, Sprint, Cisco, Salesforce and Credit Suisse all use predictive analytics programs in recruitment and hiring — it’s a mistake to overlook this tech.

Bias Detectors

Inherent biases in the recruiting process are still a challenge, but AI bias detectors are creating new ways around these contentious issues. AI recruitment tools can remove data like age, gender, race or gendered language to present and rank applicants based on skills, competencies and abilities, excluding the more subjective and potentially problematic qualities.

Virtual Tools

Digital video technology enables employers to incorporate skills and behavioral assessments powered by AI within their video interviews. According to SHRM, virtual interviews actually give recruiters and hiring managers a better understanding of a candidate’s skills than traditional interviews do. Using video interviews at the front end of the hiring process can move candidates more quickly through the system, and holding live-video interviews for candidates who live across the country or the globe reduces the need to fly in all top candidates for face-to-face interviews.

Virtual walk-throughs can convey a valuable sense of the organization’s environment and play into the current “show me” social media mindset. Using video as an employer branding tactic offers candidates a snapshot of company culture and the people with whom they’ll be working, and a clear sense of the job they may be accepting.

A Boost for Staffing Companies

When it comes to sourcing talent, staffing companies that keep up with the latest advances in technology enjoy a competitive advantage. For employers, the practice of reaching out to staffing firms to assist with hiring needs is on the rise, and more recruiting and hiring teams are turning to outside agencies to source as much as talent as possible, given the current talent market. Thirty-two percent of hiring managers who turned to an outside staffing company cited the organization’s technological capabilities as a selling point.

Sixty-three percent of talent acquisition professionals report AI has changed the way recruiting is done at their company, according to research published by Korn Ferry. And an equal number say that since the introduction of AI, candidates are more qualified and vacancies are filled faster than ever before. According to the survey, talent acquisition professionals are welcoming AI: 48% say big data and AI are making their roles easier, 40% say the top way it helps is providing valuable insights and 27% say it has freed up their time.

With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering at a 50-year low, sourcing and securing top-notch employees has never been more challenging. But given AI’s increasing role in the process, that could change. AI has certainly turbocharged recruiting and staffing among those who choose to leverage it; and for those who don’t, it may be time to rethink that strategy.

Be sure to register for the AI webinar, set for 3-4 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, Nov. 7, with SmartSearch and me. This information is a must-know for everyone who is recruiting in the age of AI. All registrants will receive a copy of the presentation and link to the webinar recording. Hope you can join us! Register here today.

Why Automation Won’t Fix Recruitment Inefficiency

Why Automation Won’t Fix Recruitment Inefficiency

Automation undoubtedly makes life easier for recruiters. From sifting through dozens of resumes in microseconds to sending candidate-rejection emails, automated software and processes streamline operations. But all the manual configuration and repetitive performance in the world can’t eliminate recruitment inefficiencies without a little help from AI.

Understanding AI Vs. Automation

While many people see automation and AI as interchangeable, they couldn’t be more different. Automation serves as a “fast echo,” repeating the same tasks again and again — it’s essentially a mimic that never fails. But AI builds on each iteration, making necessary tweaks, much like the human brain.

A copy machine is an excellent example of automation in action. Press a button and the machine churns out 1,000 replicas of your chosen document. But if the automated copier ran on AI, it could recognize that you usually make 20 replicas of a given document and make that decision for you. An AI-powered copier could save you time, money and a bit of exasperation by analyzing and evaluating every situation.

In the recruiting world, automation lends a helping hand during initial applicant research and outreach — but it doesn’t always work after that first contact. When it comes to retaining information and building quality relationships, AI strategies can begin to understand the whys and hows behind each step. AI can then foster smarter conversations and close gaps by decluttering processes and tearing down silos. This marriage of machine-led tasks and human-led emotions brings everything together to find the right talent and place candidates who stay.

Fixing Inefficiencies in the Hiring Process

Even the tightest recruitment protocols have areas of inefficiency that automated solutions can’t fix on their own. For example, many companies still use the dated model of blasting hundreds of emails, making 100 cold calls and praying that someone accepts a job offer. This approach is fraught with holes and driven by processes rather than candidates.

Modern job applicants, companies and marketplaces demand more customization from recruitment methodologies. Building quality relationships that uphold a company’s reputation and attract prospective employees requires a devotion to continuous improvement, which is something AI provides. AI delivers a personal touch to recruitment that doesn’t feel spammy.

Recruiting teams accustomed to sending out bulk emails or relying on platforms that offer straightforward Boolean searches must realize that they’re just ticking off boxes. They might amass what amounts to incoming “leads,” but those leads aren’t necessarily relevant. As a result, they needlessly waste resources on trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

Trimming Excess Steps from Recruitment

Automation belongs in every HR department and recruitment firm, but it shouldn’t stand alone. Technologies such as AI and machine learning can fix several leaks in the system and lead to the improvements listed below.

Less Time to Find Noteworthy Candidates

The faster a company can source exceptional applicants, the faster interviews and job offers can happen. Automation helps weed out inappropriate candidates at the beginning of the recruitment funnel, but AI can take things to the next level.

AI-powered software and chatbots can perform secondary evaluations of automatically targeted applicants, whittling down the field for the benefit of human recruiters. AI can then take the data it amasses from this secondary pruning process to more intelligently screen talent in the future. Over time, interviewers should see an obvious boost to candidate quality and eagerness.

Less Time to Fill Vacancies

Businesses with job openings want the time between posting a job opening and signing a new employment contract to be as short as possible. But when a search isn’t handled appropriately from the outset, it can take even longer to fill the position.

If the Boolean automated search isn’t targeting the best people, for instance, it will send low-quality applicants into the funnel. Machine learning can sift through information to better inform the Boolean automation based on past data. This removes barriers before they can put a wedge into the system. Additionally, it reduces the likelihood of having to return to stage one when no candidates are deemed viable.

Higher Proportion of Qualified Applicants

Naturally quality is a subjective matter. AI can be a useful tool for culling through past job performance documents and reviews, ferreting out key metrics that apply to all excellent workers. Those metrics can then be plugged into recruitment systems.

Like humans, AI learns based on past performance and input. Because AI carries little bias and embraces change, an AI-powered tool used to gauge the aptness of a worker’s long-term potential to be productive or stay loyal for years has a distinct advantage over human instinct.

Better Retention

A major indicator of inefficient recruitment processes is high turnover. Companies that can’t hold on to new people for long may have inadequate or flawed initial reach processes. Additionally, the messages hiring departments and recruiters send could be mixed or confusing for applicants.

Constantly recruiting for the same position wastes money and hurts morale. AI can be used to diagnose the problem by looking backward and analyzing data, such as which employees stayed and which ones left. The underlying issue may not lie with the recruitment program — but AI could highlight onboarding stumbles or erratic communications with new hires, which could be fixed by tweaking strategies.

Automation continues to be an invaluable recruitment tool. When overlaid with a blanket of AI and machine learning, it becomes part of a robust, productive way to find and hire amazing people. What recruiter could ask for more?

5 Small-Business Tips for Attracting and Hiring Top Talent

Every business, small or large, needs great employees to thrive. The problem is that every business wants the best people, which makes the competition fierce.

How can a lean small business with a limited budget compete in a world of well-known, deep-pocketed behemoths of the business world? Keep reading for five strategies that can help you attract the right people.

Embrace the Benefits of Being Small

Many big companies have hundreds or thousands of employees, treating the individual contributor as little more than an easily replaceable cog in an enormous machine.

Small businesses are different. The leaders of a small business are often directly involved in every hiring decision. Far from being a standardized part of the machine, each employee can put their skills to work in a variety of roles. This work environment makes a small business the ideal environment for talented, motivated individuals who are looking to make a difference.

Highlight Your Flexibility

Managing employees is a challenge for large businesses. Big companies often have multilayered bureaucracies that end up being inflexible. Small companies, on the other hand, tend to be agile and can offer a challenging and fulfilling culture for employees.

If you want to attract ambitious candidates who can push your business to be the best, be sure to highlight the autonomy, flexibility and growth that they can expect to experience at your organization.

Talk About Advancement

For someone who works for a company with 5,000 employees, it may be difficult to imagine a path of advancement. But at a small business with 15 employees, it’s easy to see a path to success. You can make this path even more transparent to your employees by offering skills training, stretch exercises and educational programs.

Keep an Eye on Social Media

Social media is a useful place to post your open positions, and it also gives you insight into what workers like and dislike about their jobs. When you post a new job opening, be sure to highlight how working for you will differ from working for a giant in your industry. Show potential candidates that you have created a business culture they’ll want to be a part of and where they’ll enjoy coming to work every day.

Use Automation to Accelerate Your Selection Process

An employer that advertises an opening about a desirable work environment may find itself flooded with applicants, and that means more time to sort through candidates in search of the best. But technology offers an answer. While you would never trust your ultimate decision to an algorithm, automation offers many useful tools that can help you find the best applicants. In the initial phases of recruitment, these tools let you focus your time and attention on finding the best of the best.

No business will succeed without good employees. Particularly in a small business, a great employee can be the difference between mediocrity and excellence. Do you want to attract great employees? Then tell them what makes your business great.

What We Can Learn from Talent Board’s 2019 Candidate Experience Research

What We Can Learn from Talent Board’s 2019 Candidate Experience Research

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The candidate experience is more important than ever.

If you had a nickel for every time you heard that phrase, then you’d probably be trying to get ahold of Bill Gates for suggestions on what to do with all your money.

Unfortunately, it seems that employers have begun to tune this message out. Or so says the 2019 Talent Board Candidate Experience Research Report. Its findings show a surprising trend: If a candidate has a negative candidate experience, then they’re increasingly willing to sever their relationship with that employer.

Thankfully, though, the same research shows that the path to a better candidate experience is pretty straightforward. Let’s dig in.

Candidate Resentment Is Surging

Here’s the reality: Candidate resentment is on the rise.

There has been a 40% increase in candidate resentment since 2016. And when comparing 2019 and 2018, we see that candidates are less likely to apply to the same company again based on their experiences. They’re also less likely to recommend a company to others.

When considered broadly, the trends can lead to two slightly different conclusions. Either the candidate experience itself has gotten worse, or candidates themselves are embracing the leverage they have in the marketplace. The odds are that the results are a mix of both factors, but they also show the tightrope that employers face as they craft their candidate experiences.

Flip the Script with Communication

Talent Board research also shows that there’s a simple way for employers to lower their resentment scores: communication. When employers invest in communication and feedback, the candidate experience improves significantly, and investing in technology can give organizations a means of creating positive candidate experiences.

For example, candidates who were able to ask a chatbot questions consistently rated their candidate experience higher than those who weren’t. Additionally, candidates who communicated with a chatbot were 80% more likely to increase their relationship with the employer, and candidates who received mobile text notifications during the research process rated their candidate experience 50% higher than those who did not.

However, automation can only go so far. When it comes to rejection, candidates still want to hear the bad news straight from the horse’s mouth — and not from a robot’s. Candidates prefer to receive news of rejection by a phone call — not an automated email. Positive candidate experience ratings increase by 23% when candidates receive the bad news via phone call.

Feedback Matters Even More

Do you want to improve the candidate experience? Ask for feedback. No matter which stage a candidate is in, the solicitation of feedback is proven to increase a candidate’s perception of their experience. Here are the stats that show it — overwhelmingly:

  • When candidates are asked for research feedback, there’s a 72% increase in a great candidate experience and willingness to increase the relationship with the organization.
  • When candidates are asked for application feedback, there’s a 72% increase in a great candidate experience and willingness to increase the relationship with the organization.
  • When candidates are asked for screening/interview feedback, there’s a 148% increase in a great candidate experience and willingness to increase the relationship with the organization.
  • When asked for feedback before the start date, 76% of new hires are more willing to increase their relationship with their new employer. That’s a great retention starter.

Lessons Learned from the CandE Winners

On average, this year’s CandE winners scored 144% higher than all other participating companies in North America — so they must be doing a few things right. Here are a few lessons you can learn from the 2019 CandE winners:

  • Listen to candidates.
  • Communicate often.
  • Ask for feedback, and provide feedback.
  • Set expectations about the recruiting process.
  • Hold your team accountable for improving the candidate experience.
  • Focus on fairness in the recruiting process.

For more information on the 2019 Talent Board Candidate Experience Research Report, click here.

 

How to Optimize the Candidate Journey to Hire the Best Talent

How to Optimize the Candidate Journey to Hire the Best Talent

A lot has changed in recent years about how candidates look for jobs and how employers find talent, but understanding talent’s needs and preferences remains crucial through every step of the recruitment process. As new candidates, new needs and new preferences come to the table, employers must adapt their recruiting approach. Creating innovative ways to attract not just top talent but the right talent has become the talk among top employers in Potentialpark’s 2019 global study.

For example, the rise of digital tools has significantly shifted how employers interact with candidates online. In the current job market, candidates don’t have the same stress or pressure they did when jobs were more limited; the balance of power has shifted from employer to candidate.

The Potentialpark study says recruitment via social media content is a must for employers. And having a clear objective for what content you should produce in each stage of the candidate journey is vital to understanding how your talent communication strategies are performing. It’s also imperative to listen to what talent experts and industry professionals are saying to know what content is needed to attract, engage and convert top talent into new hires. When you take the steps to understand which content appeals to the right candidates, you’ll notice more qualified candidates coming through the funnel.

With all that in mind, let’s talk about the candidate journey!

Step 1: Awareness Stage

How are candidates finding you on the internet? Chances are that recruitment is the first time a candidate will be hearing about your company. It’s difficult during this stage to be in complete control of your employer brand. This first step — to attract the attention of top talent — relies on how targeted your content actually is.

Your strategy during the awareness stage relies on your ability to effectively communicate your employee value proposition (EVP) right away. Social media is the perfect platform to communicate your message because it lets you reach candidates through organic and paid content and to easily target your ideal candidate. In order to have more qualified talent enter your funnel, you should optimize for the social media channels that your ideal candidates are on. This can be easily done with data. If you don’t optimize your career channels, you’ll inevitably have a high dropout rate and high costs before any candidates even start their journey.

As reflected in Potentialpark’s 2019 U.S. rankings, L’Oreal does a phenomenal job at providing insight into its culture and at giving candidates an accurate idea of what being an employee there looks like. Here’s L’Oreal’s research and innovation careers page on Instagram.

 

 

Step 2: Interest Stage

If everything goes according to plan, the candidate should now be showing interest in your company and what’s in it for them. This is a pivotal point in the candidate journey because they might have decided based on your social media content to jump straight to the career website to apply. So it’s important to have an optimized career website. Content such as videos, blogs and testimonials will give candidates a clear idea of what life is like at your company and how they might fit in.

Potentialpark’s 2019 Talent Communication Study found that:

  • 63% of candidates were disappointed with the generalization of content.
  • 36% of candidates were disappointed with the lack of organization on career websites.

The research indicates that quickly making potential benefits and perks known to candidates is highly valued by top talent. Dell’s career website does a brilliant job of this. Its clear message and focus on its employee benefits gives it a strong competitive advantage when recruiting top talent.

 

 

Step 3: Consideration

The candidate should now seriously be considering your company. This is an opportunity to educate and inform them about what you offer as an employer. The career channels to consider here are social media, your career’s website and review platforms. These will help to expand your reach to candidates.

This is a good time to give your current employees the stage by bringing their experiences and stories to life. Creating content focused around your EVP and team value proposition (TVP) will go a long way.

Google does an excellent job of showcasing its culture to potential candidates by interviewing employees and publishing their stories on YouTube. Authenticity is key when producing employee-related content because candidates will quickly see through content that’s anything less than authentic. Bringing your employees’ stories to life offers insights to interested candidates and also makes your employees feel valued and a part of something bigger, which improves retention. It gives employees something to share with their network, which in turn will lead to better PR and better referrals.

 

 

Step 4: Application Stage

Now that you have the candidate on the edge of applying, it’s up to your systems and content to make the final push. While providing content around this stage is still important, continuous communication with the candidate before, during and after they submit an application is equally important.

Here’s more from Potentialpark’s 2019 research:

 

 

One crucial aspect during this stage of the candidate journey is to maintain an open and clear line of communication. You never want a candidate to be left wondering what happens next. By having an efficient applicant tracking system and clear communication and content, the candidate will apply with a smile.

Small Companies Can Be Recruiting Contenders

Small Companies Can Be Recruiting Contenders

The ability to attract top talent takes more than just a posting on a job board, a newspaper ad or a sign in a storefront window. Many small businesses must compete with larger companies for talented recruits, without the luxury of internal recruiters or head-hunters to conduct searches and interview candidates.

However, there are some cost-effective ways for small-business owners to compete. For example, here are some areas to focus on:

  • Entice candidates by making it easy to apply (think mobile).
  • Recruit the best for your unique business.
  • Introduce other team members into the interview process.
  • Interview with a goal in mind.
  • Make great offers and hire people who complement your business.

Here are some other areas to focus on to help your small business be a recruiting contender.

Try New Technology

You may not have a huge software budget, but there are affordable recruiting software options that are designed for small businesses. The appropriate technology can help you vet candidates, become better organized and expedite the hiring process so you don’t lose good candidates by being too slow. Moving away from relying on an email inbox or Excel spreadsheet helps you stay current and nimble in your hiring practices.

Recruiting software can definitely help level the playing field and allow your business to compete with larger companies.

Show Your Agility

Since you’re not a large conglomerate, you should have greater flexibility in your attempts to hire top talent. For example, your pitch to candidates should emphasize the availability of flexible hours, direct access to management, remote work, opportunities for advancement, continuous learning opportunities, community involvement and even the flexibility of paid time off. These elements help you show an openness to being flexible and accommodating.

Offering remote work also highlights your business’ embrace of innovation. The advantages to both employees and employer from remote work are endless.

Another option that many small businesses overlook is altering their hiring strategies. Visit colleges in your area to get to know the guidance counselors and ask them to pass along your information to promising young graduates. Social media can be very useful as well; it’s a great tool to leverage employment options that benefit you and the community as a whole.

Look for New Talent Entering the Workforce

As Liz Frazier writes at Forbes, “22% of recruiters surveyed have already invested in new recruitment advertising techniques like Snapchat, and text message-based recruiting. When it comes to the actual job postings, 65% of college seniors agree that the majority of the search results from job boards they’ve used are irrelevant or not a good fit for them.”

One of the most significant issues with small businesses is failing to plan for long-term opportunities that pertain to their employees. As members of Generation Z move into the workforce, the employment market must shift with the times.

Another highly important factor to remember: members of Gen Z are the first true “digital natives” in society. They grew up with all the latest innovations, including smartphones, the internet, social media and mobile real-time connections, so their expectation is to have a digital relationship with any potential employer.

Expand Your Thinking

Look beyond the potential of the people you interview. In addition to them having the right skill sets, think about how they will complement your business. Broaden your thinking to include people who are a “culture-add” in addition to being a culture fit.

Being a culture-add means bringing something different to the position, whether it’s a new design, a new experience, a new vision, a new approach, an innovative strategy or just a fresh perspective. An employee who is a culture-add accentuates what already exists in your workplace culture and also brings a different dimension that is sorely needed.

As a small-business owner, the competition is fierce when it comes to hiring top talent, but with some diligence, there’s no reason you can’t level the playing field and compete with larger companies.

How Leaders at a 100-Year-Old Company Built an Innovative Recruiting Process

How Leaders at a 100-Year-Old Company Built an Innovative Recruiting Process

Tech and recruiting go hand in hand. It’s hard to recruit without a strong HR tech stack. But implementing these tools can be a challenge. If you work in HR, you may have experienced pushback from employees who don’t want to change their workflows, or from senior leaders who aren’t sold on the ROI of rolling out new recruiting tech.

But no matter how daunting change — or the Autobahn-like pace of it — may seem, tech is here to stay in HR, and if you want to attract quality candidates and create a candidate experience that serves them, you’ll have to embrace that change.

Angie Wesley, senior vice president and head of talent acquisition at TIAA, has overseen a wholesale change in the company’s recruiting process, as it has embraced new tech to navigate the modern candidate marketplace. “It was either going to come to us or we were going to have to join it,” she says. The tools have helped the organization, particularly in regard to creating a better candidate experience and creating a more streamlined process for compliance.

She shared her experience and advice for HR organizations implementing the tech tools they need to keep up with the Joneses.

Train, Train, and Train Some More

When it came to introducing new technology and automation to the recruiting process, Wesley says there wasn’t much organizational pushback, though she did have to navigate the concerns of her recruiters. “A lot of these recruiters are seasoned, so they have their own way of moving candidates through the process,” Wesley says. “We just had to make sure that we could show them how technology actually helps them, instead of inhibiting them.

To help recruiters understand the power of their new tools, TIAA used a variety of training programs, working with vendors to provide either in-person or web-based training. Wesley’s team also helped recruiters understand how their new tools had helped other businesses.

But Wesley says training isn’t just for implementation. Her team tracks the usage of some tools so they can see whether staffers are having issues. “If we have folks that are not using a certain technology or tool that’s in the process, we’re able to identify them and work with them to understand what the difficulty might be,” she says.

Put Candidates First

It should go without saying that employees’ comfort with their tech tools is a priority for organizations. But Wesley says the primary question TIAA asks about its recruiting tools is related to a different audience: candidates. “Candidate experience really sits at the front,” she says.

In order to meet candidates on their own terms, TIAA created a device-agnostic application process, and also updated its website to ensure it was mobile-friendly. “That was clearly a gap we needed to close,” Wesley says.

Candidates are provided assessments that can be done online on a schedule that is convenient to them, and TIAA has begun to embrace technology such as text messaging to further its commitment to reaching candidates on their own terms. “Not everybody’s checking their email,” Wesley says. “Texting is real time, and that allows us to immediately get some responses.”

The company also started a talent network to demonstrate its value to potential candidates, even if there isn’t necessarily a job available at the moment.

Wesley says TIAA’s embrace of technology is helping it meet the demands of a candidate-centered employment market. TIAA uses video interviews so that candidates don’t necessarily have to come to the office. “The majority of the population is currently working, so it’s a passive market,” Wesley says. “We don’t really want to intrude or disrupt their day.”

Keep Recruiting Human

Ultimately, rolling out tech in the recruiting process comes with an important consideration: making sure you keep the human element front and center. “What we are finding is candidates still want that human touch in the process somewhere,” Wesley says. “They don’t want technology to take care of everything.”

While Wesley says there’s no magic formula, she believes recruiting leaders need to understand the importance of telling their story and highlighting what makes their organization a unique place to work. “It’s hard to get technology to tell that story versus a human on the phone,” she says. In other words, technology is just the first step. “We leverage technology to start the conversation, and then we step in to finish it.”

HR Still Needs to Solve its Resume Problem

HR Still Needs to Solve Its Resume Problem

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend at another company about an intern set to join my team. To my surprise, he was also excited because his team was hiring a summer intern. We expressed our shared excitement over the ability to teach a young professional.

“I have so much to teach him already,” he said to me. “I saw his resume  —  he didn’t even have a hobbies section.”

I’ll be honest, before this conversation it hadn’t occurred to me that a hobbies section was a requirement for a good resume. But I’m certain that good people can disagree on the issue of what makes a good resume. This is fine until you realize that resumes are often the sole measure of whether a candidate will move forward in the recruiting process, and even if a resume manages to pass the screening process, the personal preferences of the reviewer will influence the hiring decision.

For every job posted online, hundreds of people will apply. The majority of resumes submitted along with these applications will never meet the eyes of a human being. That’s because they’ll be eliminated from the process by a computer system. Of the resumes that make the cut, less than 10% will advance to an interview. Then, if the company is lucky, one will belong to an applicant who accepts an offer in the end.

Over the years most companies have evolved their recruiting efforts to keep up with the times. Meanwhile, the submission of a resume has been a tradition since the day Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first professional resume in 1482.

This tradition continues to dominate the recruiting process in essentially the same manner it did over half a millennium ago.

Clearly there’s a valid reason that employers use resumes: They’re the best tool we have to weed out unqualified applicants and prioritize strong candidates. This may seem like a unique benefits of resumes, but careful examination reveals that resumes aren’t as effective at this task as one might believe.

Resumes Are Subjective Recollections of Experiences

One key flaw in resumes is that they’re subjective recollections of experiences. Thus, they can’t provide essential information about the candidate’s potential to succeed at a job.

John Sullivan, a professor and thought leader, wrote that “Resumes are at best, self-reported descriptions of historical events  —  the very definition of a resume highlights its fundamental weakness. Rather than providing information that you really need to hire someone (examples of a candidate’s actual work or a description of what they could do in your job), resumes are merely self-reported narrative descriptions of the candidates’ past work.”

Resumes rely on the candidate to recall their past experiences. Many of these experiences may be partially forgotten or selectively left out. To put it simply, relying solely on self-reported past experiences isn’t a good indicator of a candidate’s potential. Nor does it identify their future contributions in the role they’re applying for.

Applicant Tracking Systems Reward Keywords, Not Qualifications

Another limitation is that resumes are screened by applicant tracking systems programmed to reward keywords and likeness to a job description. In effect, if a candidate puts the “right” words on their resume, they are more likely to get an interview. This is true even when someone else is more qualified but describes their experience differently than the job description does.

Unfortunately, many candidates are still unaware of the impact of keywords. Even though they may be qualified for the job, they can be disqualified from the process because they weren’t keyword experts.

Leslie Stevens-Huffman, a business and career writer, argued more than a decade ago that “Resume keywords are an increasingly critical element of a successful job search. They’re important because recruiters search resumes for keyword matches when sourcing candidates from databases loaded with job-seeker profiles. The more frequently your resume matches the keywords contained in a recruiter’s search, the more calls you’ll get.”

It goes without saying that whether someone is an expert in keywords doesn’t determine whether they’re qualified to fill a job. Yet this continues to be a significant loophole in resume screening.

Resumes Often Misrepresent Experience

Thirdly, resumes often contain misrepresentations of a candidate’s previous experience. This makes it difficult to rely on them as an accurate measure of whether a candidate is right for a position. The 2018 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Report stated that as many as 84% of employers found a lie or misrepresentation on a resume.

The report found that candidates at all levels misrepresent information on their resumes. The research around misrepresentations in resumes is clear. But this hasn’t been enough to convince employers to re-evaluate their reliance on resumes.

Looking Forward: Reworking the Resume

Given the challenges with resumes, why do employers continue to rely on them? The answer is convenience.

Resumes are still the most accepted method of applying to a job. But this doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

Charles Coy, senior director of analyst and community relations at ReWork, writes that “Today, rather than sift through the thousands of resumes their companies receive, many HR teams rely on keyword-crawling bots to sort out the top candidates. In the future, they’ll have a similar tool  —  but it will be much, much smarter. AI will be trained to process a much more complex set of data, including social media posts, project experience, relevant trainings, personality test scores and more, to assess candidates more holistically.”

The hope for the future is that the resume will be more expansive and gather inputs from a variety of sources. This would allow employers to rely less on self-reporting and to increase accuracy and improve the process. Employers can get a head start by working on ways to rank candidates holistically and by not relying solely on the resume.

For now, it’s imperative that we become aware of the limitations of the resume and the problems with using them as the sole determinant of whether a job applicant moves forward.

Artificial intelligence may open up a world where the resume of tomorrow looks very different from today. In turn this will give us more objective ways of ranking candidates and determining whether they’re qualified. It will mean that we can rely less on subjective preferences and instead focus on actual skills, abilities and potential. Who knows, maybe artificial intelligence will also be able to tell us whether a hobbies section belongs on a resume.

4 Ways to Hire the Best Grads from the Class of 2019

Survey data from National Association of Colleges and Employers indicate that employers plan to hire 16.6% more members of the class of 2019 than were hired from last year’s graduating class, making the forecast the best hiring outlook since 2007.

That’s good news for graduating seniors entering the workforce and for the employers who can put these candidates’ vibrant minds and tremendous work ethic to good use.

Members of Generation Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, made up 5% of the workforce in 2017, but by 2022 they’re expected to represent one-fifth of American workers. This generation’s distinctive ethos combines perpetual hustle with a flair for multitasking and a native understanding of technology. So how can you identify the top candidates from the class of 2019?

Gen Z at Work

The job market — and nearly every industry — has changed substantially over the past decade. Companies now have the opportunity to hire employees who grew up in this new world. When hiring members of Gen Z, there are a few key skills and characteristics to look for.

The students of the class of 2019 are graduating with, on average, more internship experience and coursework directly related to their chosen professions than previous classes have had. Their firsthand exposure to the workplace has led them to align their majors and electives more closely with future jobs. Because of this they’re graduating with more confidence in their career choices.

Gen Z’s career decisions tend to be tied in with their passion for improving the world. When evaluating jobs, these children of the recession value salary and financial health. However, an empowering culture and a company with strong core values are even more important to them.

An empowering culture includes the availability of mentors and access to senior leaders. In fact, Gen Z ranks mentorship on par with health insurance as the most important benefit a company can offer. It’s a generation that craves regular feedback, values social connection and is keen to develop the gaps in their soft skills. As 40% expect to interact with their bosses on a daily basis, they will welcome the direction senior leaders can provide in these areas.

This generation also seeks out jobs that require them to perform different tasks and varying functions. They’ve never known a time without a constant connection to the internet, including social media, so multitasking is their resting state. While not every Gen Z candidate is a master multitasker, employers should seek out those who are.

Even with these valuable traits, you still want new hires who can hit the ground running. That means selecting applicants who have appropriate experience; who display strong communication skills, including body language, eye contact and voice modulation; and who embrace teamwork to collaborate well with others.

Finding Your Hires

Identifying the best potential hires and wooing them with their career priorities will benefit all players. Here’s how to recruit the class of 2019 and determine which candidates possess the valuable traits that set their generation apart.

1. Establish Key Attributes of Successful Candidates

When you hire graduating seniors, you’re looking more for potential and fit than for experience. As you write the job description and long before you meet candidates face-to-face, figure out the precise attributes you need in the position. To start, figure out what top performers in the role have in common: What is it about them that leads to success in the job? Do they have something in common from their prior work experience or similar coursework in college? While you don’t want to recruit carbon copies, finding candidates with certain commonalities to your star talent means a higher chance of success.

When evaluating resumes, keep an eye out for the experiences that indicate the skills you’ve identified. Are there similar jobs or internships that indicate excellence in communication? What about collaboration on school projects, such as case competitions? Do any experiences indicate problem-solving abilities? Don’t just ask about a candidate’s previous experience; analyze it for the attributes you need. That will allow you to look past a college senior’s lack of work experience to home in on capabilities.

2. Ask References the Right Questions

As you check references, standardize the questions to get further insights into the candidate’s fit for your job. Most references don’t know each other, so you want to look for consistency in their responses about the candidate.

To assess whether a Gen Z candidate will find your workplace sufficiently lively and empowering, ask about the type of culture the candidate thrives in to determine whether that ideal environment is similar to what they’d find at your company. Ask references which words they’d use to describe the candidate and assess whether you consistently hear words that describe someone you want for the job.

What about the types of problems the candidate solved? Are they at the right level for your position? Do they exhibit the multitasking and creative capabilities that set Gen Z employees apart? Ask for examples of collaboration and teamwork, and inquire after the candidate’s leadership style. Does it fit with your needs?

3. Evaluate Real-Time Problem Solving

Present candidates with an actual problem they’d have to solve on the job and ask them to walk you through how to solve it. Do they understand the problem? Did they ask any clarifying questions before jumping in with solutions? Do they understand the root cause, or are they offering only a short-term solution? Does their answer make sense relative to the position? With Gen Z, look for them to think beyond their own narrow experiences of the world to evaluate the problem from multiple perspectives.

4. Switch Up the Context

Instead of a single in-office meeting, conduct multiple interviews in multiple settings, including via Skype, in person and with peer groups. This will show you how a Gen Z candidate connects to peers and supervisors via communication technologies and how they can put their passion for change to use. Equally important, it will indicate whether a candidate’s communication skills and collaboration remain consistent even as the setting changes.

Finally, even in this generation, common courtesies like a thank-you note still indicate a collaborative team player. It may be extreme to immediately dismiss candidates who don’t send thank-you notes, but those who do send them tend to be thoughtful and mindful employees who take the extra step.

Recruiting Gen Z employees will mean retrenching some parts of the hiring playbook and reimagining others. Retaining them will make a significant impact on your workplace.

 

corporate recruiting college sports

What Recruiters Can Learn From College Sports

Several years ago, I was a coach for the Loyola University Maryland women’s basketball team. We were underdogs in the NCAA Tournament, playing an acclaimed Virginia team.

There were just a few seconds left in the game. We had the ball and the opportunity to advance to the next round. We huddled together as a team and drew up what was sure to be a game-winning play. I looked over my shoulder and saw the lens of an ESPN-U camera a few inches from my face. This was big time.

When the time-out was over, we executed our play perfectly, took the shot — and it didn’t go in. Virginia advanced, and we went home.

As I spent the next few weeks unpacking what happened, I realized a tough lesson. Odds are, we were never going to beat Virginia, for one simple reason: they recruited better than us. It didn’t matter how much time I spent developing my players’ skills. The odds would always be stacked against us. It was a lesson I’ve applied to the corporate world countless times. Nine times out of 10, the best team wins. Recruiting is the true name of the game.

Thankfully, corporate recruiting is a bit less cutthroat than college athletics recruiting. But my time in college athletics has shown me a few things that I believe all corporate recruiters should be doing. Wearing a company-branded tracksuit is not required.

Make Recruiting a Team Sport

In the corporate world, recruiting is typically done by an HR director or a hiring manager. This person is the singular point of contact for a potential recruit.

But college athletics do things differently. Yes, coaches will be assigned individual players to recruit, but as the recruitment process continues, the entire staff gets involved with the process — and sometimes the university itself does as well. Imagine you have a recruit who is interested in a pre-med track. During a recruit’s campus visit, the coaches would have the student meet a biology professor and possibly even sit in on a class, so that the student can see just what their future course of study will be like. In fact, that professor could play a role as critical as the coaches do in recruiting particular student-athletes.

So here’s what I have to say to corporate recruiters: slow down. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Find the people within your organization who you believe can add value to your recruiting process. If you’re recruiting a new IT team member, get high-level members of the IT staff involved. The list goes on.

By recruiting as a team, you will potentially reduce the time to hire and show top talent your desire for them to join your organization. If that’s not a slam dunk, I don’t know what is.

Recruit the Living Room

One of the trickiest parts of athletic recruiting is that when a coach enters a living room, they are not just discussing their program with a high school student. Instead, they’re discussing it with an entire family.

Or put it this way: you’re recruiting a student-athlete’s family — and everyone else involved in the decision-making process, be it extended family, a coach or a family friend.

And while athletic recruiting is a bit more personal than corporate recruiting, corporate recruiters need to find ways to recruit the proverbial living room. Social media makes this easier than ever. The most direct way to do this is to reach out to someone in your recruit’s network — perhaps a mutual contact.

But even if you do not have this shared connection, take a look at your organization’s social media presence, like your LinkedIn or Instagram pages. If a recruit is mulling an offer, they will discuss it with their living room, and their friends and family will take to their phones to research you. Putting your best face forward is a great way to win the living room, without ever stepping foot inside it.

Build a Pipeline

A low-level Division 1 basketball program, such as the one I coached at, has to cast a fairly wide net for recruits. If you’re looking at high school senior targets, you may have as many as 300 potential student athletes (PSAs) to fill four or five roster spots. And as you track future recruiting classes, the numbers get larger. You may be tracking 500 high school sophomores, for instance, or as many as 800 high school freshmen.

If you’re a larger school, you may only be recruiting 10 PSAs to fill those same spots. But the same basic principle applies: you find the candidates with the requisite measurables, and fine-tune your decisions based on soft skills and character traits.

Now, if you’re a weekend warrior, do you need to be tracking 800 junior HR executives? Probably not. But you should ensure that the pipeline you are trying to build is as wide as you can make it — and that you are making touch points with potential recruits early in the process. You may find it can make the difference with rising stars or help you find a diamond in the rough.

Never Stop Recruiting

In the corporate world, we have a little something called a noncompete clause. In college athletics … not so much. In fact, it’s incredibly common to have coaches attempt to recruit your players to join their programs.

Ridiculous, right? Well, perhaps. But that’s why coaches are continually making sure their players are engaged from the moment they arrive on campus. Athletics is a tricky business, of course — players can get hurt, coaches can leave, players can lose their starting roster spot. But combined with the competition from other programs, it’s paramount to build that engagement.

And it’s that concept of engagement that all organizations need to remember. Non-compete clause or not, keeping employees engaged is the best way to stop other organizations from poaching your team members.

After all, the teams with the best talent win. So make sure you keep yours.

Why Virtual Career Fairs Are a Hot Trend in Hiring

Joe Milner, the talent acquisition manager at educational publishing and assessment giant Pearson, was at a campus event in Northern California when a company executive broached the idea of bringing in some of the promising students to the company’s primary locations in other states for interviews.

“We started to do the math on airfare, hotels, all that stuff, and it starts getting expensive,” Milner says.

It’s a common problem. How to scale up and diversify entry-level hiring across multiple college campuses is a conundrum that is front and center for many organizations as the labor market continues to tighten.

Recognizing this new reality, Pearson has decided to leverage technology and create virtual job fairs that allow it to interview groups of candidates from multiple campuses simultaneously via videoconferencing. “This is really going to give us a chance to not just limit ourselves to the local candidate pools,” Milner says. “It’s going to be a real positive for us.”

More companies are turning to virtual career fairs to find more diverse, qualified talent from a wider pool of colleges.

Leveraging Technology

Career fairs of all types remain a vital way to connect with top young talent across nearly all industries. According to an analysis of the 2018 campus recruiting season by talent acquisition technology firm Oleeo and employer branding firm Universum, on-campus events and career fairs ranked behind only employer websites among the top ways students learn about job opportunities.

Campus events are an important component of Pearson’s talent recruitment strategy, particularly for associate software engineer and associate project management roles within its technology organization. The strategy largely has been centered around physical career fair events at key corporate locations such as Phoenix, Boston and New Jersey, Milner says, where graduating college students would attend in person.

“That left a ton of potential talent out there,” Milner says. “We started looking at how we could leverage technology to start doing virtual events.”

The company turned to Montage, which touts its single solution to “engage, interview and hire better candidates, faster.” Its system allows hiring managers to leverage video, voice and text messages to connect with and interview groups of candidates, and it also offers AI-powered chatbots to help schedule the sessions.

For Pearson the goal was to replicate aspects of its very specific real-world career fair formula in a virtual setting.

At its on-site fairs, Pearson typically brings in groups of 15 or more students who are set to graduate within 60 days. It breaks them up into different phases, with some students completing one-hour sessions in which they can showcase their programming knowledge. Next, the company runs them through speed interviews in which multiple managers and team members conduct six-minute interviews on different topics. The events end with a group problem-solving exercise that allows the company to see how individuals engage with each other.

“It gives us a chance to really get a wide range of insight into the candidates, but also allow them to meet quite a few of our different managers too,” Milner says.

Going Virtual

For its first virtual fair, which took place this year, Pearson kept it small, inviting six students from different universities around the country who had indicated they were on the job market. Milner says the candidates seamlessly rotated through video interviews with different hiring managers in a range of departments.

“We ran them through a similar process using Montage as the primary interface,” Milner says. “It went well. We felt like it was able to allow us to really get to know these candidates, almost as much as when they’re in person.”

Milner says the actual technology required very little training for the hiring managers, who were already familiar with videoconferencing. It also proved immediately successful: Pearson offered positions to two candidates based on the virtual interactions alone, and one is set to start this month.

“The biggest takeaway is that it’s a great chance to be able to explore some students from other schools to make sure we’re getting exposure to some great talent out there,” he says. “I think this will be a necessary part of our recruitment mix.”

Mike Cooke, an account executive at Montage, says that in addition to allowing companies to greatly expand their reach to find talent from often-overlooked campuses, virtual career fairs offer efficiencies and cost savings for HR departments. For example, he says, a company could schedule a candidate for a two-hour virtual window and assign a hiring manager for each 30-minute section. “There’s not the coordination with the campuses,” he says. “There’s no traveling for their hiring managers. There’s time reduction, there’s cost reduction.”

Cooke says interest in virtual career fairs is increasing as the labor market becomes even tighter. “It’s a very hot topic right now,” he says. “I think it’s ultimately the labor shortage. It’s so hard to find the right candidate that simply going to your local campus to hire, or a couple of major campuses throughout the year, isn’t enough. There’s talent at some of these smaller campuses that is being missed.”

better job descriptions

There’s a Smarter Way to Do Job Descriptions

Whether you’ve been in the HR or people management space for 2 years or 20 years, you’ve probably seen a lot of changes in terms of technology and processes.

You post jobs online, track and analyze candidates with AI, measure the pulse of your organization, provide real-time feedback to employees — all in a bid to be more productive, strategic and stay ahead of the huge demands on your shoulders.

But whether your role is more strategic or tactical, there’s one key item that you’re probably contributing to regularly which hasn’t changed with the times: job descriptions.

What’s the Matter with Traditional Job Descriptions?

First, let’s be clear what we’re talking about with “job descriptions.” A lot of people use job description and job post interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different.

After all, if you hear “job post”, you probably think of a one-off document you post to a job board that doesn’t have much connection to the interview process … let alone the rest of an employee’s lifespan at the company.

A properly built and well-utilized job description, on the other hand, can be a dynamic, central record that enables other HR programs: your hiring process, assessment and development programs, and employee engagement and retention programs.

Job Descriptions + Competencies = Smart Job Descriptions

So how do you turn your job descriptions into tools that integrate throughout the employee lifecycle?

It comes down to mapping the demonstrable, measurable skills and behaviors needed for success to the job description.

These skills and behaviors actually have a name, and you’ve probably heard of them before: competencies.

Competencies unify all HR processes across the entire employee lifecycle according to one common, measurable framework.

They’re built through extensive job analysis, research and a structured development process. They consist of leveled indicators to differentiate between basic, intermediate and advanced performance.

By mapping the competencies to jobs, your job descriptions are transformed into talent management tools that can be used throughout the employee lifecycle.

Your Job Descriptions as Talent Management Tools

Let’s unpack that a bit. Here’s how job descriptions with mapped competencies can be used across the employee lifecycle.

  • Hiring & Selection: This comes down to being able to carry out structured, behavioral interviews, with questions based directly on the required skills and behaviors. That way, interviews are carried out in a structured, consistent manner … and your company’s hiring decisions are made based on consistent criteria.
  • Assessment & Development: Again, the competencies on the “smart” job descriptions allow the actual job description to play a central role in your assessment programs. This may take the form of self-assessment, supervisor assessment, or the ever-popular 360 assessment, often used in leadership roles. If gaps are identified, the organization can provide employees with learning resources pre-mapped to competencies to develop and strengthen those gaps.
  • Engagement & Retention: One of the most powerful motivators to keep top employees engaged is opportunities for growth. With your competencies mapped to every job, there’s total transparency on exactly what skills and behaviors, at what levels, your people need to demonstrate in order to take their next step (or even reach their dream job).

The Smarter Way to Build Job Descriptions

This approach to job descriptions has significant benefits to your company’s employees. An employee within this system has a sense of purpose and alignment. They know exactly what they need to do to reach that next level in their role (and increasingly-popular career pathing programs can provide a huge incentive for the best talent to stick around). There’s a system that they can wrap their head around, and once again, it all revolves around that initial job description they were hired to do.

For you, the busy HR professional, using the right job description software can make implementing these systems easy and greatly improve the job description creation, editing and revision process.

You’re already using technology for almost everything you do. You want to spend your time strategically, so you have the freedom to work on projects that make a lasting impact. You’re looking to build better processes for your company and get the recognition that you deserve for doing so.

The world of work has changed so much. Isn’t it time that your job descriptions did, too?

This post is sponsored by HRSG.

About HRSG

HRSG’s CompetencyCore is the only software platform making use of Smart Job Description technology. Our software allows you to easily create smart job descriptions by mapping competencies, utilizing exclusive AI technology, with the click of a mouse. Get a demo or join our upcoming webinar on May 8, 2019 to learn more about building Smart Job Descriptions.

3 Ways to Master the Spring Hiring Season

As the snow is melting, you might be turning your mind toward warm-weather staples like baseball, barbecues and hiring season. Yes, hiring season. As a human resources professional, you have probably noticed that it is easier to fill open positions in May, June and July. Smart Recruiters conducted a survey of 100,000 employees at 700 companies and found that these three months come with the highest number of job applicants.

There are a few reasons that explain why these months stand out. Many companies try to fill open positions by the start of summer, which often leads to a hiring increase. Most companies also do not want to leave roles empty through the summer months when many existing employees go on vacation.

Further, organizations have typically updated their strategic goals for the year by this time, which means there are likely new roles to be filled. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found in its 2018 “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey” that May and June are two of the months with the greatest number of available jobs.

While all of these factors are important, there is one particular factor that makes this time of year a prime time for hiring.

Spring Brings a New Applicant Pool

Most college students graduate in the spring, offering up an entire class of candidates who are ready for their first real jobs. While this time of year means more competition for job seekers, it also means better odds that you will find someone who is the right fit for your company. And unlike older applicants, recent graduates might be ready to start right away without risk of requesting a summer vacation.

Younger hires are also more gentle on your budget. Workers with years (or decades) of experience have higher salary expectations, so you might be able to save thousands of dollars annually by hiring even one younger candidate with fewer years of relevant work experience.

Less experience can be a strength. Younger job applicants are likely to be more adaptable and more eager to undergo extensive training when hired for a new role. Recent graduates are familiar with having to multitask and juggle numerous high-priority projects for their coursework, a lifestyle their more seasoned counterparts might have forgotten. They are also often equipped with a team attitude, chipping in to help their coworkers when others are feeling overburdened.

There is no doubt that you should be on the lookout for highly qualified applicants to fill your open positions come springtime, but how can you be sure that you stand out to job seekers? Follow these steps to ensure your company is on the radar of potential employees when application and hiring season rolls around:

Increase Your Visibility

Make sure your company is showcasing what it has to offer employees in the places candidates are searching. Where does the top talent in your industry usually find job postings? Your company’s openings should be on those sites. If you are seeking developers, for example, some search sites are better known for posting jobs in the tech industry than others.

According to Jobvite, 43 percent of applicants find jobs via a job board. Social media networks also prove to be a great resource. LinkedIn led to successful hires for 95 percent of companies, and some companies surveyed even found employees through Twitter or Facebook.

Create an Enticing Atmosphere

With so many job options to choose from, applicants are going to prefer companies with a positive culture that speaks to their values. Emphasizing your organization’s core values will attract candidates whose values match your team’s. Cultivating the company culture that so many people seek is all about attracting employees whose personal beliefs align with your team’s mission.

This connection can be established through your HR communications. Over 40 percent of job applicants get zero response from recruiters; even an automatic response is better than nothing. Be receptive to prospective employees reaching out to you over any communication channel — when a role opens up, you might have just the right candidate waiting in the wings. In fact, 55 percent of applicants have some type of relationship with companies before they apply.

Rely on Your Existing Employees

Who knows your workplace and its expectations better than your current team members? Showcasing the talented employees who fill your office is a good way to attract like-minded candidates. Having workers vouch for the culture and workload also assuages any worries job seekers might have about work-life balance or benefits.

Using your employees as brand ambassadors gives you a strong advantage. According to Glassdoor, 76 percent of job applicants want inside details on what makes a company a great workplace. Employees can also act as judges of character at marketing events or during in-office interviews.

Finding the right candidate can happen at any time, but you have a definite advantage in late spring and early summer. Put the timing and applicant pool to work for you, and use these three tips to find the right additions to your team during the right time of year.

Why You Need to Start Training your Recruiting Teams for AI-Related Hiring

Why You Need To Start Training Your Recruiting Teams for AI-Related Hiring

AI is here to stay. You are going to need to hire AI talent no matter what your industry is — and now is the time to start preparing your organization to do that effectively and efficiently. It’s just not going to happen on its own.

Once upon a time in recent history, businesses made the switch to PCs, email, networks, the Web — and experts in information technology became vital for any company. Now we’re racing headlong into another evolution as AI transforms business applications. We’re going to need people who are experts in AI. It’s that simple.

Even if you don’t know you’re going to be hiring AI architects, AI product managers, software engineers and AI ethicists, assume that you will. We all know that innovations don’t wait. They just happen, and it’s up to us to be there.

It’s best to accept that AI will be a part of how your business functions, if it’s not already, and start planning your investment in AI-skilled hires now. You don’t want to wind up with a substantial hole in your roster or your operations due to all the talent being snapped up. Here are three steps to take now to start preparing for the robot revolution.

Start Training and Building Infrastructure Around AI

AI, machine learning and big data are all transformative tools, which means your recruiting team needs specialized training in how to effectively hire for positions related to these technologies.

Or, take it a step further and consider AI-dedicated recruiting teams. We’re already grappling with recruiting, hiring and retention. Most HR teams are still mired in day-to-day tasks that should not still be on their plates — not when there are countless new platforms and service providers who can take over.

A team that’s dedicated to recruiting for AI roles is going to have to be very fast and very efficient. It will also need to be extremely focused in terms of pinpointing the hard skills and training for a specific AI job position — and also very smart about identifying and discerning the right soft skills. It will need to make sure the outward-facing materials are truly aligned with the organization and free of bias.

One way to accomplish this is to redesign the recruiting team so they’re not all looking for talent, but are instead more task-oriented, so the focus is divided among people and hopefully speaks to their strengths. Here are a few possible recruiting functions that could pop up in the very near future.

A Q&A czar — This person or team is the landing point for questions the chatbot sends to a human (please have a human on hand to answer questions as well as chatbots).

Initial pre-screening — This function works with cognitive assessment and screening tools to identify the best potential candidates in terms of both hard skills and soft skills

Skills specialist — Once the first tier of potential candidates is identified, this function takes a much closer look at the technical and functional hard skills, then assesses key soft skills such as problem solving and situational challenges that match each candidate better with the requirements of specific jobs.

The decision team — This team combines all the information and feedback on each candidate and takes it to the next level in terms of a hire. They’re also the team that interfaces with the hiring organization.

Let the Chatbots Help with Recruiting

As we head toward filling AI roles, here’s an irony: Our concerns about machine learning and AI may hurt ourselves even more in the next few years. Tighten up your recruiting and hiring processes with automation, self-service, and other future-facing tools. Let the chatbots help. It will free your team to ramp up on how to find the best AI talent — how to screen for training, skill sets and experience.

We need to be better and smarter about how we recruit, hire and manage our hard-won talent. Many of us are looking at the solutions presented by machine learning and AI. It’s not that I want you to lift the needle off that record. But no one wants to be caught off guard, waltzing to the possibilities of sentiment analysis and virtual teams, while your competitors are searching for tech talent to fill their brand-new AI-related jobs.

We need to make sure we’re still in control of the hiring process, but that doesn’t mean rejecting innovative technologies because we feel like they’re too opaque. Automation and self-service are vital for today’s candidates — this is how they interact with all the other aspects of their life, and it has to be part of the candidate experience just as it’s part of the consumer experience.

They also provide a far better and clearer picture of how candidates are responding, and how they’re behaving during the recruiting and hiring process — vital information that helps HR departments learn and improve.

Get Outside Help If Necessary

If you can’t train up your team, bring in reinforcements. You need specialized experts on board who know the difference between Hadoop and PySpark — just a for instance. You also need to know where to find AI talent, how to attract them, how to get them to say yes, and then, how to keep them.

Consultants are one way to do it because hiring for AI roles is not in everyone’s wheelhouse and requires very specialized awareness of training, tech and tasks. Bringing in outside services are another: use the tools developed and administered by organizations that are highly advanced in background screening, in self-service platforms, in video interviewing channels, in tools that can be integrated with your existing hiring software.

Companies that are smaller and not entrenched in AI are not necessarily going to want to do this alone. They’re also not going to have the resources to commit to automation or self-service tools. But those tools are vital, and your organization is going to have to integrate them one way or another in the coming years.

globe

The Future of Work Is Global: 3 Tips for Hiring a Global Team

As they look for solutions to the talent crunch, U.S. employers increasingly are turning to international labor pools to fill critical workforce needs — even as political uncertainty surrounding immigration continues to grow.

A report released last year by immigration services firm Envoy said that most U.S. organizations were still actively sourcing foreign talent. The survey found that about 70 percent of employers indicated that having a global workforce was very or extremely important to their talent strategy.

However, the Trump administration has imposed tighter restrictions on individual visa applications, including the popular H-1B program that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. So what is a globally focused organization to do in this challenging environment?

We asked corporate immigration lawyer Neena Dutta for her insights into how employers can more effectively secure visas for international recruits.

Understand the Candidate’s Goals and Background

Dutta, who is a seasoned immigration practitioner with a focus on corporate immigration, represents a variety of employers who wish to sponsor individuals or teams of employees. She says that given the complexity of the visa process, there is no one-size-fits-all process for employers looking to recruit foreign workers, but there are few guidelines that can make success more likely.

Dutta says the first step when sponsoring a worker is usually to determine what that individual’s end goal is — most importantly, whether they’re looking to stay in the U.S. on a short-term or long-term basis. The next question to ask, she says, is “what nationalities do you have?”

“That might seem like a strange question for some employers to ask, but it can make a huge difference,” she says. For people from countries such as Australia, Canada and Chile, there may be special treaties or regulations that can make a significant impact in the visa application process.

It’s also important to fully understand a candidate’s education credentials. Dutta says that in the eyes of the immigration system, a candidate wrapping up a college degree is not the same as a candidate with a degree.

For example, a candidate who is applying for a visa and is on track to complete a master’s degree in their home country in six months will not be treated the same through the application process as a candidate who has already secured the degree. It’s an even more important distinction, she says, given U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ lottery-based system that holds visa slots for 20,000 candidates with master’s degrees or higher and a larger applicant pool with a bachelor’s degree.

“The slightest change in facts can make or break it,” she says.

Find an Expert to Lean On

Dutta says one of the biggest mistakes HR professionals make when recruiting foreign workers is failing to include their immigration counsel in the process once they decide to make an offer.

Sometimes HR may decide to move forward with an international candidate because it feels the candidate is a good talent fit and long-term investment for the company, even if it isn’t sure if the candidate can work after 12 months, Dutta says. While HR is restricted from asking certain questions, an immigration attorney tends to have more leeway, she says.

For example, she says, a candidate could inform an organization’s immigration counsel about a change in their marital status or dual citizenship that could alter the facts surrounding their work eligibility — information that HR would not be able to turn up on its own.

Dutta says discussing difficult issues surrounding foreign workers with outside immigration experts can save HR considerable trouble over the long run, even if it’s just a few minutes on a conference call. “It doesn’t have to take hours and hours to do it,” she says. “Sometimes people just give me a quick call. It’s always better to run it by somebody else.”

An outside expert can also help an organization navigate internships for foreign students, a common problem area. “Even when the person’s volunteering or doing free work, you have to be really careful that they’re not violating their visa,” she says.

Get a Long-Term Plan

The Trump administration has proposed or enacted a number of new restrictions on high-skilled foreign workers, changes that are expected to increase the number of denials for H-1B petitions.

Among the biggest proposed changes for employers is in pre-registration requirements for H-1B visas, an electronic process that can be burdensome for smaller companies, she says, but there are a number of policy changes that will likely require adjustments by employers.

Dutta suggests studying up on the regulatory changes and developing a process to help ensure your organization doesn’t miss important deadlines — such as the April 1 date each year when the USCIS begins accepting H-1B applications. The slots are usually filled just a week later.

“Long-term planning has become essential,” Dutta says. “It’s really difficult to sponsor someone last minute. You have to look to the future — one year, five years, what’s the plan? — which is difficult in today’s work environment where people move around so much.”

colleges

Colleges Aren’t Preparing Students for Work– What Employers Should Do

Danny Iny dropped out of school at 15 to start a business. He also got an MBA at a top business school in Canada. Guess which decision he considers the mistake?

“My own experience was that quitting school was a great choice. I had a ton of opportunities, experimented with things that I never otherwise would have been able to,” says Iny, author of “Leveraged Learning: How the Disruption of Education Helps Lifelong Learners, and Experts with Something to Teach.” “The MBA was a huge waste of time and money, and I can’t get that time or that money back.”

Research indicates that Iny’s experience isn’t as unlikely as it may seem. The prevailing wisdom that higher-education degrees — regardless of what they cost — are good investments just doesn’t hold true for many people.

So why are colleges failing to prepare workers for the workforce? We talked with Iny about what society gets wrong about higher education and what employers can — and should — do about it.

In your book you argue that colleges are really bad at teaching students the skills they need to be successful professionals. Why do you think colleges are so bad at teaching those skills?

The simple answer is that they were never supposed to be good at it. College is like nunchucks. In Japanese martial arts, there are two weapons that students learn, the sword and the nunchucks. But they’re very, very different in how they came to be. The sword was designed to be the weapon of the samurai. Nunchucks were farm implements. You used them to thresh wheat. They were repurposed into makeshift weapons because that’s what was available in an era where people were not necessarily allowed to bear arms.

You can do a lot with something that has been shoehorned into a new purpose, but there are limits when it’s used for things it wasn’t designed for. The idea of using nonvocational higher education programs as a path to becoming a skilled professional in the modern workforce, it’s a nunchuck, not a sword. It wasn’t designed for that. It can be made to work, but it will never be sword. You can sometimes be successful at hammering in a nail with your shoe, but it’s not a hammer.

So what was college originally designed to do?

The curriculum of higher education in traditional nonvocational programs is designed around subject-matter competency. If you go through an English lit program, you‘ll graduate with knowledge of that subject matter.

College used to be more akin to finishing school though. Completing a college education was a signal, a kind of shorthand. It didn’t really matter if you were studying English lit or political science because in a lot of ways, the curriculum was just a placeholder to represent the overall experience.

It’s not to say the curriculum wasn’t valuable. But take someone who went to Harvard in the ’50s. Nobody thought they were going to have a career because of all the Jane Austen novels they read. It was everything else that was part of the package. The problem is that the rest of the package isn’t functioning the way it was supposed to. And a lot of people are looking at the curriculum saying “This doesn’t prepare students for a career.” But it was never supposed to. That’s not a fair burden to place on it.

When you say that the “rest of the package” isn’t working, what do you mean?

In the U.S. there is a two-tiered educational system. There are about 200 selective colleges, meaning they accept less than 50 percent of the people who apply. These 200 schools, the Ivy League and top schools, make up less than 10 percent of overall colleges. Those are the ones where you get the brand cachet of having the name on your resume and the alumni network.

Then there’s almost everything else, the 90-plus percent of schools out there that are not selective, that will take almost anyone who applies, but that still charge a small fortune. They don’t have all those extra value-adds that contribute to lifelong success. That’s where the real travesty happens. It’s not that you pay a quarter of a million dollars for a Harvard education and it’s not worth a quarter of a million dollars. It’s when you pay a quarter of a million dollars to go to a school that nobody’s heard of and get an education that doesn’t prepare you to do much of anything.

Why can’t colleges just do a better job training students? Are they just unwilling to adapt? Or is it that they don’t understand the problem?

Large institutions have a lot of legacy and inertia around how they work and function. It’s not just about people’s expectations; there are cost structures. One of the staggering numbers is that when you enroll in college, only 21 cents on your dollar actually go to instruction. The rest goes to everything else that’s involved in keeping the college running. (That number is from Ryan Craig.)

The people in these systems also have a particular skill set, so they need either substantial retraining or institutions need new people, which is not palatable to most of the people in higher education.

But I try to be compassionate because what people are asking of higher education is an impossible thing. We’re basically saying “I want to give you a tenth as much money, but I want you to create something 10 times as valuable.” A lot of people in higher education are doing the best they can.

So is there any hope for colleges? Or has higher education as an industry already been disrupted?

Disruption is ultimately going to happen. Because along with all the general inefficiencies, there are also systemic changes happening to the way we consume education. The shift from just-in-case to just-in-time in education means that people don’t want the big four-year program loaded with pre-reqs that don’t really have anything to do with what they’re going to do. We want a very granular, focused training on the things we actually need to know at the time we need to know them.

Take, for example, the taxi industry and Uber. Taxi companies in most parts of the world were terrible. But it took a long time for a good alternative to be available. The technology had to be there. People have to catch on to the new thing. But finally you get this critical mass, and within a couple years it seems like “Who uses taxis anymore?”

Higher education is so deeply entrenched in American society and people highly fear the consequences of a bad decision when it comes to education. And yet college enrollment has declined 7 percent in the last five years. That’s more than a million and a half people saying “No, college doesn’t make sense.” And they’re doing it at a time when there isn’t a good, clear alternative.

In 10 to 15 years it’s going to be a very, very different landscape. We’re at that stage of disruption where the old solution very clearly doesn’t work and is cost-prohibitive, but there isn’t a clear, mainstream new solution — yet.

So faced with this reality, what should employers do differently when it comes to recruiting their workforce and how they see the role of degrees and training?

First, stop doing things that don’t work. It’s not just that the degree is becoming less and less of a signal; it’s already not a good signal. It’s already not predictive of how well someone will do in a job. A lot of the most progressive companies are dropping degree requirements. The Googles and Apples and Bank of Americas and PricewaterhouseCoopers, they’re not using degree requirements anymore in entry-level or nonvocational positions.

Second, recognize that even when the degree did carry value, it only carried value as a proxy indicating if a person had certain skills or abilities. But now we can screen for the skills we need from workers using assessments and simulation tools. We don’t need degrees to signal that anymore.

Yes, Your Employees Are Probably Looking for Other Jobs. Stop Trying to Fight It.

Yes, Your Employees Are Probably Looking for Other Jobs. Stop Trying to Fight It.

With low unemployment and growing demand for talent, it’s absolutely a job seeker’s market out there right now.

A survey last year found that 82 percent of workers were open to new employment opportunities, and Gallup data from 2015 and 2016 indicated that half of all employees in the U.S. were actively seeking new jobs. The ongoing talent crunch means a huge percentage of job applicants are actively employed at other companies.

So how do you keep your talent from leaving? For starters, by knowing that cracking down on job seekers within your company isn’t going to help. Smart organizations are focusing more on retaining talent than on hindering their workers’ ability to search for other jobs.

Last month, I wrote in my column on Forbes that you should probably stop worrying so much about retention. Let’s take it a step further — here’s my advice for how to stop panicking about retention and start focusing on what matters.

Focus on Incentives and Culture to Retain Talent

All the data shows that companies that demonstrate they believe in the professional and personal growth of their employees are much more likely to attract and retain top talent.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is by clearly celebrating each and every accomplishment and achievement by employees. It’s also quite important that employees and managers remain in close contact on accomplishments, which also means having clearly established goals and milestones. Generating accurate data on employees hitting their target goals and also showing the trajectory of their performance and improvements is always helpful.

And companies should offer as much training as possible, particularly beyond employees’ current job description. Work with employees on their current and stretch goals, offering guidance about next steps.

If an employee can continue to grow by staying within the company, that’s great. But if they can’t, don’t try to maneuver the situation so they’re afraid to leave. Instead make sure they leave on good terms and know they always will have a home in your organization.

They may return sooner than you think — either as a boomerang employee or an independent contractor. Employers can’t afford to burn bridges any more than employees can.

Don’t Try to Stop Employees from Interviewing with Other Companies

I was asked recently — by someone who expected me to say what a good idea this was — if they could request that their employees not interview with another firm.

Here’s the truth: It’s a terrible idea to make such a request. Instead, I strongly suggest you invite your employees to interview with other firms. It’s a remarkable incentive for employees to stay, actually. If you encourage them to explore their free will and free choice, you’re sending a message that:

  • You’re confident enough as a company to be compared with others.
  • You’re confident enough as an employer to know you can replace an employee.
  • You’re confident enough in that employee to give them the privilege of making up their own mind.

Given the statistics, it’s highly likely employees will be interviewing. You might as well make it a part of your non-restrictive management policy to recognize that change and growth — even out the door — is inevitable. Make it clear that an employee’s career growth is considered a win for the company, even if the employee grows right out of the organization.

This comes with one important caveat. Encouraging employees to interview with other companies can be done by a brand that has plenty of confidence, as well as stellar compensation and benefits packages. A company that’s trying to hold on to its employees by the fingernails should probably steer clear of this approach.

There’s No Point in Blocking Job Portals in the Office

People look for work and jobs 24/7, and, yes, that probably means in your office. But there’s not much you can, or should, do about it. Even if you did “lock out” job portals on your organization’s PCs, intranet or network, some employees will find a way.

Glassdoor statistics from 2015 indicated that 45 percent of job seekers used mobile devices to search for jobs at least once every day. Unless you’re going to act like a grade-school teacher and confiscate mobile devices, it’s going to be nearly impossible to prevent a sneak peek at a job portal. Plus, such rules smack of retrogressive management policies and are begging to be broken. For example, what, exactly, should be the consequences for breaking such a rule?

Instead, trust your workers and show confidence in them and the strength of your organization. The reality is that job boards and portals can be random and overwhelming, and many employees are smart enough to take a personal day to focus only on job hunting.

There’s no doubt that today’s workforce landscape is challenging for organizations of all types. But accepting this reality as it truly is and focusing your resources on what matters most to employees will help you retain more talent over the long run.

5 Questions Hiring Managers Should be Asking About Modern Personality Tests

5 Questions Hiring Managers Should be Asking About Modern Personality Tests

Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger has said one of his methods for finding the right job candidate is to arrive early for a breakfast interview and ask the restaurant manager to purposely make a mistake with the candidate’s order. He says the tactic lets him see how the potential hire reacts to conflict and adversity.

Of course, hiring managers and human resources professionals don’t have the time to take every candidate out for breakfast, so they have to find other ways to determine whether she or he is the right fit, not only in professional competency but in the organization’s culture and community. Many are turning to personality tests, which rely more on data than on gut feeling or instinct to identify the right employees.

These tests can help you quickly sort through candidates and also reduce turnover rates. But with the array of assessment options out there, you need to think carefully about what to measure and why.

Here are five questions about modern personality tests that you should ask to help you find the right fit.

What Behaviors Does Your Company Need?

Start with what you want to assess. “Companies should think through what organizational metrics they’re trying to move the needle on,” says Whitney Martin, founder of ProActive Consulting. “Then they can figure out what to measure in candidates that are correlated with those outcomes they’re trying to predict.”

She says companies often implement assessments without giving enough thought to what behaviors a candidate needs to be successful in that role. “If a health employer wants to impact patient satisfaction scores, they need more nurses with more empathy,” she says. But if your assessments focus just on nursing skills and knowledge, you’re not necessarily hiring people with the behaviors you need.

What’s the Best Way to Measure Those Behaviors?

When you think of personality testing, you may first think of tests like DiSC and Myers-Briggs. But experts say these so-called four-quadrant tests probably won’t help much for assessing candidates.

“If I gave you a Myers-Briggs test every year for 10 years, each one will be different,” says Kelli Dragovich, senior vice president of people at Hired. “People can react differently in a workplace versus personal life.”

That variability undercuts any predictive value, ProActive’s Martin says. “Because of that, the test-retest reliability tends to be lower, so it’s not very effective to use the test pre-hire to predict future performance,” she says.

Using a more holistic assessment — for example, one that includes mental ability scales and interest scales — can give you a much more robust measure of personality, Martin says.

What Kind of Candidate Experience Are You Creating?

The tight job market and competition for top talent mean you need to think more about candidate experience, experts say. “In the testing world, we have shifted our approach to being much more customer-centric, because the realization has finally sunk in for our clients that candidates are your customers,” says Nicholas Martin, director of global products and analytics at Aon’s Assessment Solutions.

He notes that when you’re trying to attract top talent, how you engage with candidates can have a big effect. “There have been case studies showing that if candidates have a bad experience with your hiring practices, that will hurt your bottom line,” he says.

Think through the process. Are candidates enjoying themselves? Are they engaged while they’re taking the assessment? Do the tests and instructions make sense? These questions are a key part of providing a quality candidate experience, Aon’s Martin says.

How Is Gamification Reshaping Personality Tests?

Automation can make many of the routine tasks associated with hiring — scheduling interviews, updating applicants, providing feedback — simpler and easier for hiring managers. This can also lead to a better experience for candidates.

“We’re making it more candidate-centric,” Aon’s Martin says. “We can say, ‘Here’s the link to do your digital interview,’ and they can complete that interview when the timing is best for them, as opposed to saying, ‘Here’s your hour slot in this day; be there or you don’t get the job.’ ”

Gamification — building game elements into assessments — also can help candidates have a positive experience. “There is a lot more interaction and engagement with the assessment itself. So it feels like you’re playing a game while taking a very serious assessment of a particular concept or competency,” Aon’s Martin says.

How Can You Use the Data?

Dragovich says hiring managers also need to consider how to use the data they collect. “You can use it to both help your existing workforce or talent understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as to develop more well-rounded teams and fill in any talent gaps you might have,” she says. “It helps you have a common language across the company around behaviors, which creates a landscape for coaching, development and team building.”

However, don’t get lulled into thinking personality assessments are a cure-all. Dragovich notes that even the best tests should be only one piece of your talent-assessment puzzle. “No company should make yes-or-no hiring decisions based on a subjective personality assessment,” she says.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in June 2016, and substantially updated in December 2018.

The Future of Recruitment: How Manufacturers Are Evolving to Recruit and Engage New Talent

How Manufacturers Are Evolving to Recruit and Engage New Talent

While smart companies of all types are investing more resources in worker engagement and development than ever, many manufacturers remain a step behind. In fact, Lisa Ryan, an employee engagement and retention expert with a background in the manufacturing and welding industries, says she still encounters manufacturers who are skeptical about the value of these worker-friendly concepts.

“In some places there is this mentality of, ‘The guys come to work, why should I thank them for doing their job?’ — but I’m seeing a slow change,” Ryan says. “It’s starting, but it’s not as fast as other industries. You can connect with people on a human level instead of just another employee ID number.”

This new approach across manufacturing is being driven by a dire labor shortage — created by the U.S. manufacturing renaissance, rapid technological advances and retiring baby boomers — that is projected to grow in the coming years. “If your company is stuck in an old, calcified way of doing business, you’re going to have a hard time finding and keeping younger workers,” Ryan says.

Failing to recruit and retain young talent could be fatal for manufacturers, who are already staring down a potential shortage of 2.4 million workers over the next decade, according to research from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The same report found that a record 89 percent of executives agree there is already a talent shortage in the U.S. manufacturing sector, with firms struggling to find skilled labor to operate emerging technologies.

We asked a number of experts how the manufacturing sector is evolving to recruit and retain top talent. Here’s what they shared.

Changing Perceptions and Approaches

Khris Bhattan, president of RTG Solutions Group, which consults for the manufacturing sector, says one of the biggest drivers of recruitment and engagement strategy in the sector is the changing physical work environment, which in most cases has moved far beyond the stereotype of the gloomy factory floor.

“Manufacturers have become very aware of this negative stigma and have made significant investments in the manufacturing workspace to reverse it,” Bhattan says. “Investments in the workspace include not just the physical space but also the tools, equipment and safety protocols that are part of the workspace.”

Ryan agrees that a stigma of factory workplaces lingers with many job seekers, but she says companies can overcome it with recruiting pitches that focus more on the importance of technology in manufacturing. She says companies also need to drive home that automation and robotics are expected to create more jobs in the sector than they replace.

“On one hand, yes, it’s replacing workers,” she says. “Yet on the other hand, we’re looking for a different breed of talent and people that understand technology, like technology and want to use it in the manufacturing environment.”

Skills Gap Requires Creative Recruiting

Carlos Castelán, managing director and founder of The Navio Group, an HR/business consulting firm that works with companies to improve workplace engagement and productivity, says HR professionals in manufacturing organizations need to adjust to compete for the best and brightest.

“HR teams should think about different ways to meet the company’s goals, be it rethinking traditional employment and engaging on-demand talent solutions or adjusting pay on job offers to attract top talent in these areas,” he says. “More than ever HR plays a critical role in achieving a manufacturing company’s strategic objectives and long-term vision.”

Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies and manufacturer of innovative material solutions, is taking innovative approaches to address the talent shortage, particularly when it comes to locations in rural areas. The company is looking beyond the geography of a job and touting positions in which people can design a career, “invent themselves and reshape the world,” says Valerie Gervais, the company’s senior vice president of human resources.

“We’re attracting talent in rural areas by rolling out pilot programs that take a holistic approach to people and families, because we know it’s not about making a living, it’s about making a life,” Gervais says. “In fact, we brought in an anthropologist to understand specific barriers that were impacting our ability to hire in certain areas. As an employer, we look at the whole ecosystem of the family.”

Manufacturing Engagement

In the book “The New Collar Workforce,” Sarah Boisvert writes about touring a family-owned and -operated jewelry company in Massachusetts that implemented lean manufacturing principles designed to encourage rapid iterations to reduce waste and improve efficiency.

She encountered a worker performing low-tech repetitive tasks who was nevertheless highly engaged in his job — because the company had empowered him to solve problems. “He was clearly proud to be valued by management and trusted to think, not just do something repetitively,” she writes.

Boisvert says lean manufacturing approaches can help tremendously with employee engagement if executives truly buy in and implement them with a focus on empowering people — which doesn’t always come easy in the sector.

“Manufacturing by definition is a conservative industry, and we’re conservative partially because change is expensive,” she says. “Anytime you have to change anything on the production line, it’s expensive both in terms of equipment and training.”

Ryan says part of the resistance to empowering, engaging and developing manufacturing employees is because most workers in the sector are between the ages of 45 and 65, rather than job-hopping millennials who want more feedback and opportunities for career development.

“There’s this mentality that ‘I’m going to be wasting my time with this person because they’re going to be leaving anyway,’ ” she says. “But if they just spent those couple of minutes, if they just created those connections and helped those people, they would probably be with the organization a lot longer.”

She says that to meet the complex needs of the next generation of workers, manufacturers will have to get creative in how they approach engagement and development. “A turkey at Christmas isn’t going to cut it,” Ryan says.

We want to hear from you. What are you seeing? How are recruiting and retention changing for you? What should manufacturing companies do to compete for top talent?

talent pipeline

How to Build a Talent Pipeline to Keep Your Company Moving Forward

With unemployment at a historic low, even successful companies in thriving industries are struggling to find employees. Compounding this issue, Americans today are less willing to move for new jobs than they were in the past. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national “mover rate” hit a record low of 11.6 percent in 2011 and still remains far below the figures of decades past.

This lack of mobility hurts some industries more than others. Research projects conducted for multiple chambers of commerce suggest these areas include construction, manufacturing, health care, transportation and logistics. Robert Half, a global staffing firm, found that 65 percent of CFOs struggle to identify talented workers for job openings — and that’s even before the struggle to hire talent once they find it.

To prevent this situation from getting worse, companies should reimagine their recruitment strategy as a pipeline. This talent pipeline, much like a sales pipeline, gets talented prospects identified and interested in the company early so that when the time comes to hire for an open position, qualified candidates have not only already been pre-identified but they are eager to take the role.

The Necessity of the Talent Pipeline

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, recent research shows that there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill vacant positions. Many of these roles exist in new or developing fields, like data analytics and cybersecurity. For example, IT companies have 17 percent more jobs open than qualified workers to fill them. Training programs have sprouted to try to correct this imbalance, but companies need these workers faster than today’s training programs can produce them.

The issue with training lies in the multidisciplinary nature of these new jobs. Data analysts, for instance, require both advanced software skills and keen business sense. People with that combination of skills are rare, and while those who do possess the necessary training are paid handsomely, there simply aren’t enough of them.

That leaves companies clamoring to catch the attention of the best candidates — and that’s where the talent pipeline comes in.

Traditional economic development models rely on the assumption that a talent pipeline consists only of people with credentials. In today’s world of online education, however, learning is not limited to traditional brick-and-mortar locations. Advancements in technology have opened new learning opportunities and have created widespread access to aptitude tests that guide people into optimal career paths based on their innate abilities. By using aptitude-based tools, companies can identify “raw talent” earlier and communicate with those people sooner than ever before.

Modern companies can identify students with the abilities those companies will need in order to compete in the future, all while the students are still in high school. Once identified, students can work with companies through apprenticeships, internships and on-the-job learning opportunities to develop the skills they need. It’s kind of like playing “moneyball” in Major League Baseball, only for the workforce instead of relief pitchers.

With millions of students entering American high schools every year, companies that leverage this advantage can get the future workers of Generation Z interested in their industries before they even choose a college. For areas like manufacturing, that’s a big advantage. Many Gen Z students, like millennials before them, have begun to skip college in favor of jobs that don’t require taking on massive student-loan debt.

Constructing an Effective Talent Pipeline

Ready to find your future employees? Follow these tips to build a talent pipeline that brings in more qualified candidates and gets younger prospects interested in your company.

Look Beyond the Resume

Resumes, while helpful to outline past accomplishments, don’t reveal the potential of those who submit them. Several tools claim to help employers understand personalities, strengths and interests, but even those extra tools fail to capture the reality of an employee’s true potential. Those surveys can be rigged, especially by smart candidates who understand how to answer in the way the company wants to hear.

Rather than rely on half-measures or self-reported surveys, companies should turn to performance-based tools to get a real understanding of what candidates are capable of. The most effective tools capture real measures of aptitude and provide proven, reliable information about a prospect’s innate abilities.

Proactively Invest in Future Talent

It’s hard to fill a talent pipeline when your company has multiple openings. Business environments put a strain on everyone, from employees picking up extra work to teams interviewing day in and day out to fill the roster. This mentality often leads to suboptimal talent, as the company takes any warm body to fill a spot.

However, by focusing on high-school students, companies can identify future talent with the abilities they need early enough in the process to create a stable, self-renewing workforce. General Electric, for instance, uses its program in Boston to train young people for STEM positions — and, in the process, it identifies the students who would make the best employees later.

Outsource the Workload

Long-term talent pipelines set up companies for long-term success, but they don’t solve short-term needs — at least not yet. To solve this, companies can turn to freelancers and contract-based staff to bridge the gap while their high-school-aged talent pipelines bear fruit.

Fortunately, good freelancers exist in abundance. If the current pace of freelancing continues, more than half of all Americans will work for themselves at least part time within 10 years. That means a plethora of skilled talent is already out there and eager to take on more work for companies that need them.

Will improved educational opportunities close the talent gap? That’s hard to say. However, shortage or not, companies with an effective talent pipeline will be able to attract the best and brightest to work for them. By investing in the future and finding short-term alternatives to bridge the gaps, companies can stay ahead of the talent shortage and secure the superiority of their workforce for years to come.

Armando Garza is the chief evangelist at YouScience, the first online aptitude-based career guidance platform, and his goal is to help young adults find their best-fit careers at the intersection of their talents and passions.