Recruit and Hire with the Real Atmospherians

“Some world views are spacious, and some are merely spaced.” —Rush, Grand Designs


Scene 1: Pacific Avenue was closed for Halloween. Throngs of families dressed up for the holiday, passed one another while children chased each other in circles, their bags of candy swinging round and round. As we trick-or-treated from merchant to merchant, homeless panhandlers hit us up for money, while some staggered among us like the living dead.

Scene 2: The banner hung askew along the chain-link fence. It read “The Home Depot Is Hiring – Inquire Within.” As we drove into The Home Depot parking lot, day laborers eyed us eagerly, hoping for work. Some stood in small groups while a few others hung out alone waiting to be approached. When we left, an older white male was in the process of hiring three of them for a local job.

Scene 3: Like an end-of-days story, the motorhome is parked on on the side of the highway, not too far from where we live. Makeshift sections of plywood where aluminum siding used to be cover one side of the motorhome and it looks like most of the motorhome’s contents have been moved outside. Right behind the motorhome construction workers put the finishing touches on a new hotel.

If these were movie or TV sets, the extras would be straight out of Central Casting. I had heard the expression before, but I didn’t know that it referenced a real casting agency called Central Casting located in Burbank, CA, not until I listened to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts 99% Invisible. These extras are stereotypical to the context required for any given scene, to convince us they’re real, or as close to it as possible for us to buy in to the staged reality.

The podcast referred to the term “The Atmospherians,” something Theodore Dreiser, American novelist and journalist from the 20th century, had coined nearly 100 years ago. These are the backgrounders, those who give a scene its subtle yet visceral breadth and depth that helps tell a story.

But in the scenes above, real-life scenes that I experienced of late, these were real and contain the people companies don’t to be seen as the company backgrounders. They just don’t want that much reality associated with their employment brands. In a world gone bedazzled with authenticity and transparency, they still double-down on some form of compromised storytelling because of their inherent biases and need to control the marketplace message. They want to make recruiting movies to inspire and believe in, and they believe this is how they compete for the hearts and minds of candidates and customers alike.

So it’s no surprise that most high-performing companies invest in marketing their messages of community, values, diversity and culture – all of which make up the most of the top recruitment marketing messages of the winners and survey participants of Talent Board’s Candidates Experience Awards research five years running now.

I’ve been in marketing a long time, and I know the compromise is real, has to be. It includes a combination of living and breathing all the messages above, positioning one’s strengths as consistently and continuously as possible while allowing for some of the real stuff to be seen, like the Halloween community scene above (which the candidates/customers are going to see regardless).

This is a good thing, something we’ve discussed time and time again on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, and something I’ve lived again and again. Businesses who risk process exposure in order to improve candidate-as-customer experience are personified stories of decent places to work. Here are three examples from the Talent Board Story Teller recipients, all winners of this year’s Candidate Experience Awards:

  1. Cumming: Transparency is the key to their success with Candidate Experience by requesting a Glassdoor review from candidates, their commitment to a 5-day turnaround on decisions on resumes, exposing their process and even how their ATS rates and ranks candidates on their career site. In addition, they understand the business impact of a bad experience.
  2. Enterprise Holdings: Recruiter contact information is made available to candidates, including photos and social links and they pledge to get back to candidates within 5 days. Enterprise also measures the candidate’s’ time in each step in the process. In addition, they treat their internal candidates equally well and show the rate of promotions within the company in real time.
  3. Spectrum Health: Hiring managers and recruiter are partners in the candidate experience at Spectrum Health. They both commit to follow-up with candidates – for recruiters, within 3 days upon receiving a resume and for managers within 7 days of receiving candidates from the recruiting team. Disposition emails include the recruiter’s name and phone number if the candidate needs more information.

However, no matter what they risk, employers big and small still have to differentiate and market and sell their products and services in order to have a viable business. One that sustains itself by reinventing and reinvesting, and one that aspires to hire the most qualified people in a consistent and sometimes transparent process. I’d rather recruit and hire with the real Atmospherians anyway. Wouldn’t you?

Selling the Recruiting Process Isn’t a Gamble

“Wheel goes round, landing on a twist of faith
Taking your chances you’ll have the right answers
When the final judgment begins
Wheel goes round, landing on a leap of fate
Life redirected in ways unexpected
Sometimes the odd number wins
The way the big wheel spins…”

—Rush, The Big Wheel


Step right up and spin the HR technology Conference career wheel – a winner every time!

Well, not quite, but the nostalgia of the all my previous HR Technology & Exposition conferences overcame me at the latest one when I realized that all my best and worst career incarnations and near misses are collectively linked to this conference.

What’s fascinating about going to the HR Technology & Exposition (or any industry event that you’ve consistently gone to year after year for well over a decade), is what goes on in the sidebars. I’m not talking about the straight networking, or analyst or influencer briefings, or the marketing and PR agency pitching, or the investor pitching, or the parties or the shows or the gambling (when the HR Tech conference is in Las Vegas as it has been for the past three years). I’m talking about the targeted sourcing and recruiting that goes on and on and on.

First and foremost, it’s a personable recruitment marketing and sourcing gold mine for all happy or unhappy perpetual candidates (which we all are) in software sales, marketing, customer service, product management and even software development and engineering. It’s also a potentially diamond-studded referral pool for any and all HR and recruiting technology companies as well as all the attendee companies that are there shopping for HR tech and talking HR tech shop. I witnessed it all around me while I was at this year’s show.

But companies are only a winner only when these investments pay off. Unfortunately, beyond the rush of the front-end schmoozing and selling, companies can neglect to share enough information about the overall recruiting processes and pre- and post-hire expectations, leaving the candidates feeling like a loser.

My reminiscing morphed into the related recruiting and candidate experience data analyses we’re going through now at the Talent Board. Talent Board is a non-profit organization focused on the promotion and data benchmark research of a quality candidate experience. Tired of hearing the same old stories of poor candidate experience, the Talent Board co-founders set out to elevate the mission of a creating and sustaining a better recruiting process and business performance through research.

There were 200 companies and 130,000 candidates that participated in the 2015 North American Candidate Experience Awards, and we’ll round out all of this year’s research in our research report due out in January 2016.

What’s not a surprise from the research surveys over the past four years is the fact that one of the top ways companies engage with potential candidates who haven’t yet applied for any openings are employee referrals. This year, for both CandE winners and non-winners alike, nearly 55 percent of companies consider it a differentiator and another 35 percent consider them a part of their regular recruiting processes.

While I only anecdotally took in the what and how of personable recruitment marketing and sourcing delivered in the sidebars at the HR Technology Conference, we did discuss the bigger picture on the TalentCulture #TChat Show live from the conference.

According to this year’s CandE research candidates found these top five types of marketing content the most valuable prior to them applying for a job:

  1. Company Values – 41.81%
  2. Product/Services Information – 36.59%
  3. Employee Testimonials – 34.89%
  4. Answers to ‘Why’ People Want to Work Here – 30.78%
  5. Answers to ‘Why’ People Stay Here – 23.68%

This is all well and good to the current kinds of recruitment marketing that most companies engage in. But when there’s a misunderstanding (or no understanding) of the entire recruiting process, candidates end up in the “black hole” application process.

For example, according to this year’s CandE data, the types of job and employment content potential candidates found most important while learning about career opportunities included:

  1. Job Descriptions (duties, skills, requirements) – 74.08%
  2. Salary Ranges/ Compensation Structure – 38.97%
  3. Benefit Details – 33.48%
  4. Successful Candidate Profile for the Job – 24.61%
  5. Career Path Examples – 22.89%
  6. Overview of Recruiting Process – 17.53%

Now, when you compare this year’s non-winners and winners on the types of recruiting process content they make available prior to potential candidates applying, it’s clear why the winners win (based on this category):

CandE Non-Winners

  1. Employee Testimonials – 73.78%
  2. Details of Application and Next Steps – 67.68%
  3. Events – Career Related Listings, Dates and Locations – 62.80%
  4. Overview of Recruiting Process – 56.71%
  5. Frequently Asked Questions – 54.88%

CandE Winners

  1. Events – Career Related Listings, Dates and Locations – 76.74%
  2. Details of Application and Next Steps – 72.09%
  3. Employee Testimonials – 72.09%
  4. Overview of Recruiting Process – 72.09%
  5. Frequently Asked Questions – 60.47%

That’s a 15% difference between winners and non-winners, which is more than enough to have a competitive edge in today’s highly complex and competitive hiring economy. Companies shouldn’t worry about revealing their recruiting processes and exposing their hiring weaknesses. Candidates want to be valued and have an engaging and transparent experience and how companies treat them has a direct impact on whether they’ll invest their time or not – that’s the winning combination. In today’s digital age, where people share experiences online, a poor candidate experience can be bad for business and translate to millions in lost revenue annually.

Today’s savvy job seekers want career development opportunities, a great company culture, a positive candidate experience, and a complete understanding of their potential suitor’s recruiting process – before they ever apply. Transparent marketing and selling the recruiting process isn’t a gamble, it’s a prize investment that pays off every single time.

Why Winners Invest in the Internal Candidate Experience Today

For the longest time it’s always been about recruiting from the outside in. As if companies had never hired for many of their jobs before. As if the only way to fill them was to post the jobs and pray for new magical applicants they’d never identified previously, and hopefully some of those had just enough of a magical edge to get the final interviews and then get hired.

Of course, the reality is that most of those applicants aren’t magical and aren’t qualified 75-95 percent of the time. And out of those hired, we hope that they’ll stick and stay beyond their first 6-12 months. But that’s the way we’ve sourced and recruited for decades, and recruiting technology automation has only given us more of the same.

A lot more of the same – hundreds of applicants per open requisition on the average according to the latest Talent Board Candidate Experience survey results (a trend that’s increased over the past few years). The good news here is, at least for the companies that have participated in the Candidate Experience surveys (whether the employer won a CandE Award or not), is that:

  • 70% of participating candidates are likely and to apply again to the same employers.
  • 70% of participating candidates are likely or extremely likely to refer others.
  • 68% of the candidates rated the employers with 3 or more stars out of 5 stars on their overall candidate experience.

And nearly 80% of those candidates weren’t hired.

It’s even more refreshing to hear companies are investing strategy, resources and time into their internal candidate experience. Yes, those folks who are already employed. Your hopefully engaged critical talent. Your brand ambassadors. Your key referrers who help attract competitive people your way.

It’s really only been the past few years where I’ve heard larger organizations talk more about improving the internal candidate experience. Anyone who’s read my articles know how much I emphasize the fact that we’re all perpetual applicants/candidates all the time.

We’re all either being constantly re-recruited into their current organizations (engagement and opportunity) or recruited out of them (attrition and opportunity). It makes no never mind whether we’re happily employed (some of us) and unhappily disengaged (most of us), looking for our next gig, or not. We’re all perpetual candidates, regardless of generation or gender, skill set or experience.

So I was energized when CandE Award-winning companies like Humana, T-Mobile, SWIFT and many others shared at this year’s Candidate Experience Symposium that they are truly investing in and improving on how they treat internal candidates and re-recruit and retain them. We learned they’re making it much easier for current employees (including permanent and contingent) to be internally mobile, transforming cultures that used to discourage mobility to those that embrace it, in order to apply for and stay within the “mothership.” And many other companies are right behind them to keep their competitive edge and sharp as possible. Again, these folks are your employment brand ambassadors.

Now, even with these internal candidate experience improvements, it’s true that predicting new employee tenure is about as difficult as predicting the weather, even with various data inputs and powerful algorithms we have today. Most people these days stay in their jobs only about 3-5 years. It’s not just the millennials moving around for better opportunities — all generations do it.

But one thing is clear: referrals can and do have an impact on employee retention. If an employee is satisfied at work, feels like part of a team and the greater culture, and of course is rewarded fairly, then he or she is much more likely to suggest referrals. They become a brand advocate.

And if these referrals have a similar experience to those who referred them, they will in turn potentially last a little longer and make referrals themselves. In fact, even candidates that don’t get hired will make referrals if their experience is a good one as referenced in the Talent Board data above.

Long-time recruiting analyst John Sumser and HR thought leader Jessica Miller-Merrell concurred on the TalentCulture #TChat Show when you hire somebody you don’t know, and you bring them in, you have to figure out all sorts of attributes of trust, in order to get them to fit into your organization.

In fact, John said it best, “When you use a referral, the trust is implied by the person making the referral. Everybody knows that what makes organizations fun, flexible, agile, adaptive and productive is the degree to which everybody in the organization trusts everybody else. Trust is the variable that makes your organization great or makes it fail.”

This is why CandE Winners invest in the internal candidate experience today.  Re-recruiting from the inside out makes for one trustworthy and invaluable talent pool.

Go Long with Your Candidate Experience, Kids

“Moving without motion
Screaming without sound
Across an open ocean
Flying there on temporary ground…”

—Jack White, Temporary Ground


We huddled together while Brad barked out our last names and the next play.

“Grossman, you do a five-yard buttonhook. I’m hitting you, so be ready. Smith, you block, and if I have to dump to you, I will. And Day,” he paused stood up to look over at the other team, and then bent down again in the huddle. “Day, go long. All right, let’s go.”

My friend Robby dropped his head and shook it. Go long was code for please run downfield and draw away the defenders but I’m never going to throw you the ball.

“Brad, c’mon. Go long? I swear I can get open.”

“Okay, okay. Just go long, man. And be ready.”


We all laughed, but I felt bad for Robby. True, he wasn’t all that coordinated on the football field, but he was fast and in excellent shape from playing water polo. He could swim circles around us and could catch and throw the water polo ball with amazing precision.

It was a cold and foggy afternoon during holiday break. We were all high school juniors wearing grubby sweats and playing a little friendly four-on-four football at a local park.

We broke huddle, lined up and ran the play. Robby actually went long even against his own judgment, but then I was covered and Brad was about to get sacked. He had no choice but throw it to Robby, who of course was wide open.

Maybe it was risky throwing it to Robby, but what if he caught it and scored the winning touchdown?

What if indeed. Even with innovative blue ocean strategy and progressive risk-taking, businesses rise and fall on temporary ground as readily as political empires. There are simple too many economic factors in play these days, but the right workforce can and does make a difference.

However, imagine the go-long metaphor in the world of work and what it takes to be competitive with talent acquisition today. Many companies still can’t stomach throwing the long ball, especially when you add in a complex global talent market mired in employment law and regulatory mud.

It’s just easier to replicate the status quo of stale recruiting processes and run the same plays over and over again just to get some of the right butts in the right seats. Because sooner rather than later many of those talented butts will play musical chairs.

That’s why Talent Board launched the Candidate Experience Awards four years ago. Talent Board is a non-profit organization focused on the promotion and data benchmark research of a quality candidate experience. Tired of hearing the same old stories of poor candidate experience, the Talent Board co-founders set out elevate the mission of a better recruiting process and business performance – and found it they did.

Today the Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards is open to all global multinational and regional companies including North America employers, EMEA employers, APAC employers and will soon launch is Latin America – and is free for participating companies. The CandE Awards program consists of three survey rounds designed to evaluate and recognize organizations that produce outstanding candidate experiences.

Round One is comprised of a multi-dimensional survey designed to capture and evaluate the nominated company’s recruitment processes and practices impacting the candidate experience. All companies that complete the first round submission process receive Employer Benchmark data.

Those that meet the awards’ baseline for candidate experience were invited to participate in Round Two of the competition, which involves surveying a random sampling of the company’s 2015 candidates. Each firm had to commit to a statistically significant candidate response, as well as a set standard for the proportion of randomly selected respondents not hired. This year there were 130,000 candidates that participated in the survey and nearly 80 percent were not hired.

Companies that meet criteria for both rounds one and two are awarded a “CandE Award Winner” designation (and this year’s top 50 will be recognized at the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Symposium September 30 – October 2 in Fort Worth, TX.).

Here’s some go-long recruiting strategy data for you: over 74% of winners and 65% of the nearly 200 participating companies (winners and non-winners) are systematically aligning candidate performance to recruiter performance. The latter represents a 10% increase from all participating companies in 2014. This means that candidate experience for both CandE winners and non-winners is:

  • Regularly measured & incorporated into the recruiter dashboard per their performance reviews and there are both non-monetary performance (gifts cards, trips, etc.) and monetary performance incentives (salary increase, bonus).
  • It is regularly discussed in formal recruiter reviews and it’s measured and incorporated into the recruiter dashboard. There are no performance incentives.
  • Regularly discussed in formal recruiter reviews but the measure is subjective and not formalized, and there are no performance incentives.

Winners with exceptional and innovative recruiting practices are advanced to a final “judged” Round Three, where their video interviews are reviewed by the CandE judging panel to determine whether or not they should receive a special “Story Teller” honor based on their positive candidate experience. This is in addition to the statistical analysis and algorithms applied above and the selection of the top 50 CandE winners.

Those that are getting the “Story Teller” honor this year are including the following three plays in their talent acquisition “passing” game:

  1. Map multiple candidate touch points and take the time to educate candidates on what each one means – and survey them for continuous feedback.
  2. Utilize technologies such as video interviewing and onboarding as a means of improving the recruiting process.
  3. Quantify the impact of poor candidate experience and potential customer loss (potentially hundreds of millions per year).

There’s plenty more where that came from. It’s no longer just about raising awareness around recruiting and candidate experience and avoiding the black hole. The Talent Board CandE survey participants and CandE winners have created a sweet new benchmark for talent acquisition and business performance around the world. And each year the multi-year and first-time winners raise the business bar even higher for us all.

So go long with your candidate experience, kids. I know you can get open.

Why I Have a Sweet Tooth for a Better Candidate Experience

“Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it in dew
Cover it in chocolate
and a miracle or two?” 

—Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, The Candy Man

Unfortunately, I can still taste his sour words. We’d been talking recruiting shop, him a talent acquisition director at a large technology company and me an HR industry analyst, when I asked him what role his team had in retention.

“None,” he answered. He went on to explain to me that his team managed hundreds of requisitions and with the volume of unqualified applicants they received, he stayed focused on putting smart butts in the right seats. What happened after that was on the hiring managers and leadership.

“Not my problem,” he said.

Then I asked him about dispositioning candidates that weren’t selected to move on in the hiring process and if they sent any communications, he replied that their applicant tracking system could probably have had auto-responder functionality, but they just hadn’t turned it on yet.

That was four years ago, nearly a lifetime in the upside-down world of recruiting and hiring economics. And while the former point about retention is an ongoing debate amount recruiting and HR professionals, the latter point about dispositioning is something thankfully more and more companies are taking action to improve.

My candidate experience soapbox is simple – companies of any size and in any industry should at the very minimum do two things when it comes to anyone applying for employment:

  1. Acknowledgement – simply that you’ve applied and we acknowledge that. Thank you very much.
  2. Closure – simply that you are or are not qualified for the position, that you are or are not getting the job, there are or are not other opportunities with us, and we acknowledge all these things in a consistent and timely manner. Thank you very much.

I write about this often, but we’re all perpetual candidates who are either being constantly re-recruited into their current organizations (engagement and opportunity) or recruited out of them (attrition and opportunity). It makes no never mind whether we’re happily employed (some of us) and unhappily disengaged (most of us), looking for our next gig, or not. We’re all perpetual candidates, regardless of generation or gender, skill set or experience. So any entity that meets my minimum candidate experience is a winner.

But for those that don’t meet the minimum and leave their job seeker “customers” with a crappy experience, what do you think will happen? Will the ex-candidates put their tails between their legs and slink away?

Well, according to the latest 2015 Talent Board data on candidate experience from 130,000 job seekers surveyed over the past few months (most of whom were not hired), they don’t. They end up sharing their recruiting stories everywhere, good and bad (which is why looking at the stories through the eyes of the job seeker is so critical for companies).

Eighty percent of candidates said they’re likely to share positive recruiting experiences with their inner circle, and 66 percent will share negative ones. And when it comes to sharing publicly, online, everywhere, 53 percent will share their positive stories, and 33 percent will share their negative ones.

The good news is that the percentage of candidates who had a negative response to their overall job seeking experience dropped slightly from 12 percent in 2014 to 10 percent in 2015. These are the people who replied that they will definitely take their alliance, product purchases, relationship somewhere else, but when you do the math, these are 13,000 people who won’t be “buying” employer branded bull or your stuff. I’ve certainly been there. This kind of candidate resentment can add up to millions of dollars of lost revenue. This is the negative ripple effect according to my friend and TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founder and co-host Meghan M. Biro.

However, it’s never too late to change. The nearly 200 companies who participated in the 2015 North American Talent Board candidate experience surveys have exceeded the above minimums and then some. In fact, the top 50 of them will receive a 2015 Candidate Experience Award (the CandEs) this year at the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Symposium September 30 – October 2 in Fort Worth, TX.

That’s why I’ve been involved with the Talent Board for the past four years now and why I’m still abuzz about joining them. I will help lead and further their mission of benchmarking and elevating the candidate experience and recruiting performance, from the first job post to the final onboarding and beyond in North America and around the world.

Those employers exceeding the candidate experience minimum, whether a CandE winner or not, are reaping the benefits. Here are a few more early cuts from the 2015 survey data:

  • 70 percent of candidates surveyed are likely and to apply again to the same employers, slightly above last year.
  • 70 percent of candidates surveyed are likely or extremely likely to refer someone else to those employers they had applied for job at.
  • Plus, over 50 percent of all these candidates had no relationship prior to applying to the company. That’s huge.
  • 68 percent of the candidates surveyed rated the employers they applied to with 3 or more stars out of 5 stars on their overall candidate experience. That’s 3% higher than in 2014.

What’s more dramatic about all of this is that there are 27 percent more candidates in 2015 that completed the CandE candidate survey from a slightly bigger pool of participating companies. This is great news overall and a testament to more and more companies investing in improving their talent acquisition and candidate experience.

There’s so much more 2015 CandE data and analysis to come, so stay tuned. Thank goodness I have a sweet tooth for a better candidate experience and good business sense.

How Simulating Work Loyalty Could Help Drive the Winning Output

“The No. 1 thing we want to do is create competition, create opportunities for guys to show what they’re capable of.” —Jack Del Rio, Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders

Only one starter started for the Oakland Raiders in the last preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. This isn’t unusual in preseason since the point is to tryout your rookies, your trades and your returning players to find your team depth, who will eventually start during the season and what will the final league mandated 53-person team roster look like.

I’m a Raider fan to the last. That said, I’m also fascinated by the seemingly efficient way in which professional players from nearly every professional team sport are sourced, recruited, vetted and offered a job. Star power and media gawking aside, these are multi-million and multi-billion business that strive to win and thrive when they do so.

The team itself is about the output – the output of winning. You could put all the predictable player and coach rhetoric in a blender and serve it up every game day and it will still only be as sweet at the win itself.

This efficiency is refreshing, because if the franchise isn’t winning, then the players and coaches will continue to be changed up until there’s consistent winning output. Of course depending on what’s been agreed on contractually, the teams can look for new employees and the employees can look for new teams.

It’s business. Everything inside and out is continuously transactional and transitional and you’re only as valuable as you are contributing to the winning output. So all these brands we read about including Amazon and Netflix where the cultures are tough and if they no longer need you, then you’re no longer needed. We shouldn’t be shocked then by only measuring the winning output. Employee loyalty and hard work have little impact on tenure anymore in these companies.

And yet, employer investment in building winning teams doesn’t always impact tenure for the better. Either way, companies still need to source and screen for the best regardless and offer a better recruiting experience. According to Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards data – now in it’s fifth year with 130,000 completed surveys from North America, 100,000 from Europe and 20,000 from Australia and New Zealand – most companies are using a variety of automated screening and assessment activities and most applicants today expect these screening practices and for the most part are either satisfied or extremely satisfied with their experiences.

This is critical in such a competitive global environment – pro teams constantly recruiting for continuous winning outputs. So instead of trying to screen out the kitchen sink and on the front end via an arduous application process, why not get outside of your own requisitions and get more applicants in the door early on to create the proverbial talent pipelines (or people pools – whatever you call them). This means reducing the time it takes to get people in your door.

I know, I know, I’ve talked about this before and too many companies today already get too many resumes per open job – over 200 on the average per the latest CandE data. But by shortening the length of the online application process, and depending on the recruiting technology in place, employers can assess and develop talent pipelines around job types, skills and competencies to which they can turn to fill key roles.

Because of all the people data, we can easily aggregate and maintain it on all external and internal candidates. Add to that the myriad of skills-based, competency-based and role-based assessments on the market, and the magical recruiting and talent management software available to companies whether integrated platforms or stand-alone recruiting systems, and the computing power available to make the magic work – people pooling makes competitive fiscal sense.

Co-chair of the Human Resource Executive’s HR Technology® Conference, Steve Boese, wrote recently and shared with us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show that a continuing theme in 2015 has been the realization and maturation of the importance of bringing more analytical approaches and rigor into the HR discipline. The importance of data; the strategies to gather, compile, assess, and make meaning from that data; the role technology plays in support of these efforts, and the ways that data enhances our understanding of people and talent are all hot topics being explored by organizations big and small and will be one of the major themes at this year’s HR Technology Conference and Exposition.

And with HR and recruiting technology companies taking in over $2.3B in private investment funding since 2009, where are the virtual job tryout platforms?

Seriously. Why aren’t there more realistic job previews and virtual job tryouts (some of what we’ve called gamification in the past)? Even with how far the industry has come with sourcing and screening technologies, talent analytics and the like, why aren’t there more virtual playing fields where rookies and veterans alike can challenge themselves to whether or not they can fill a specific role? What’s wrong with creating a little competition and mock career opportunities so that individuals can show what they’re capable of?

The most progressive of companies are incorporating virtual job tryouts, like those showcased as the CandE Winners or others that have been working on elevating their recruiting experiences, but adoption is still slower than what I would’ve anticipating a few years ago. This is an opportunity to educate candidates on a variety of workplace conditions and demands of the performance environment and inviting candidates to self-select out. This kind of preview gives potential employees an understanding of what they’ll be doing and more likely to increase their commitment to the winning output.

And there it is again – the winning output. We’re free agents loyal to the work we love to do first and foremost, then those we do it with, around and for. And if we had the opportunity to simulate how that “loyalty” could help drive the winning output, combined with the past hiring data, quality of hire data, and the talent analytics we now have today, it would add another important dimension to people pooling and talent pipelines and could be yet another win-win for the recruiting world, and the companies, rookies, trades and internal transfers.

Imagine Employer Branded Emotional Workplace Raincoats

“C’mon you little fighter
No need to get uptighter
C’mon you little fighter
And get back up again…”

—Supertramp, It’s Raining Again

Facebook messenger popped up: Did you hear the news?

The person messaging me was a new co-worker. I just stared at the words, a sick feeling of knowing something I didn’t want to know roiled in my stomach. The blinking cursor taunted me.

I wrote back: What news?

The cursor blinked a steady robotic wink.

That your boss was fired today.

Two weeks on the new job, alone at a conference 3,000 miles away from home, and no where near the office I was onboarded and trained.

Your boss was fired today. This being the person who recruited and wooed me, and, I thought, brought me in to be part of the A-team.

Fear bubbled up like bile in my throat. I knew something was wrong all day when I hadn’t heard back from the multiple messages I had left. Frantic second guessing seized me – the offer, my acceptance, my excitement – the opportunity I had been looking for.

Another message popped up: Kevin, you there? You all right?

No, I’m not all right. Not even close, I thought.

I had no idea what to do. I thought of my wife and my two daughters. I thought of the lean times and risk-taking and the rock bottom perspective before this point. Although I didn’t know for sure if this was the end of a very short beginning, it definitely felt like a long walk off a short pier somewhere in the dead of frozen winter.

Until it wasn’t. Until I discovered it had nothing to do with me and the winter freeze thawed quickly and all was as well as could be. It was then I found myself parachuted into a hot jungle thicket of unpredictable monsoons that was thankfully alive with the work I loved to do and with people I loved doing it with.

I thought I had done my due diligence. I thought I had asked all the right questions from others besides my boss who had recruited me. I read about them online via Glassdoor and LinkedIn and various other press releases and Internet smack – and was okay with all of it.

Ready to go to work! Onward! Let’s do this!

Sound familiar to some of you? We don’t know what we don’t know until we’re truly in it, right? When we talked about the Amazon work experience with Kidpower Founder and Executive Director Irene van der Zande on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, Irene made a valid point. She said that people who decide to work for difficult even harsh workplace cultures go in with eyes wide open, and they either adapt and make it work, or they leave.

But we all know the world of work can be volatile for any one of us at any time. How we respond to tough workplaces is up to us and she shared some examples of how Kidpower has prepared hundreds of thousands of teens and adults worldwide to take charge of their emotional and physical safety when others (and your environment) are acting in unkind, hurtful, unsafe ways – one of which is by wearing an emotional raincoat.

Cry me a river, right? Work is work, so suck it up and deal and be happy with a bright and shiny new job. The problem is that, although more and more companies are forced to be more transparent during the recruiting process and have improved it throughout, we’re just not getting a clear enough picture of what it’s like when we get to the suitor’s front door and go inside.

The Talent Board’s Candidate Experience Awards research data – now in it’s fifth year with 130,000 completed surveys from North America, 100,000 from Europe and 20,000 from Australia and New Zealand – tell us that companies have showed no maturity in strengthening the new hire onboarding experience year after year.

Also from the data – less than half of new hires received a phone call from their hiring manager during the onboarding process, and less than a fifth engaged in any social connection with their future team members. Of course, a deeper comparative analysis across job types (hourly, salaried and executive) may uncover onboarding practice differentials, but the fact remains beyond the employers supplying information and completing required paperwork, muggy thunderstorms may loom.

Interestingly, the 2014 CandE data shows low investment priority (45.1 percent or 79 out of 175 participants) in onboarding technology, in comparison to other recruiting technologies like applicant tracking systems (83.4 percent or 146 out of 175 participants). However, per the survey, onboarding as a service is the number 2 priority being considered for 2014-2015.

That’s good news. Take it from me and what I’ve learned from Kidpower – if storm clouds are brewing on your just-hired horizon, put on your waterproof emotional raincoat and weather it like the champ you are, especially for the the work you love to do and get compensated for. It will pass and you’ll be fine. Most of the time. And in the end you’ll stay or leave accordingly.

In fact, just imagine employer branded emotional workplace raincoats. Hey, there’s a new hire tchotchke for us all.

Come see the must-see keynotes and the 2015 CandE Winners at the 2nd Annual Candidate Experience Symposium September 30 – October 2 in Fort Worth, TX.  Connect with me to learn more.

With the Effectual Stretch in Recruiting, You Can’t Lose

“The end cannot justify the means, for the simple and obvious reason that the means employed determine the nature of the ends produced.” –Aldous Huxley

Indeed. This quote was shared with me in a comment on my Who Cares As Long As We’re Still Hiring article. The commenter conveyed that it does matter what we call something, as it helps to power the means.

This is true, and I responded that words do matter and the means employed are critical. But I argued that the spirit of technological innovation today isn’t helping to alleviate the human problem of not adapting fast enough to remain employable, and/or creating new opportunities where none existed before. We can and do occupy the same space with technology and displacement isn’t new, although now in this digital age, it’s unprecedented. Worrying about what we call talent acquisition isn’t creating solutions to retrain the workforce and keep our growing population productive – that’s the means I’m worried about.

His thoughtful response summed it all up:

The mistake all of us are doing… is trying to solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them – that only creates more problems.

Solid solutions in the past have come from trying to solve our problem outside the thinking we used to create them. This requires testing every belief we have – something most are not willing to do….

Amen. And change and solve we do, from every technological disruption to workforce displacement, whether it comes from early learning and not knowing any other way, or forced adoption.

For example, a PeopleFluent colleague of mine, who is a Millennial, developed a research survey for Millennials that will generate valuable insight for employers as they consider how to hire and develop their next generation of employees. Millennials can take the survey here. Instead of initially send out email campaigns to lists of the younger workforce, which we will still do, we instead chose to share via social media channels first. Within a week we had nearly 300 responses.

That’s telling, don’t you think? Give the young folk what they want, where they want it and how they want it, and you’re in.

Then there was the Wall Street Journal article about the New York Times temporarily blocking access to their homepage on all desktop computers at its headquarters. Those employees who try to get on their own site via desktops will receive a message prompting them to switch over to phones or tablets.

And that is that – forced adoption. Not a bad idea actually when you think about the fact that there are now well over 5 billion mobile devices in use across the world, compared to only 789 million laptops and 743 million desktop PCs. That’s where more and more of their readers are accessing newspapers, magazines and books.

And applying for jobs. In fact, the failure to recognize and account for the now ubiquitous use of mobile Internet access will most likely hobble a company’s efforts to find new people. As more candidates leverage their devices to learn about jobs and apply to them, they will simply move on from companies that don’t have mobile-optimized career sites. Responsive web design ensures the candidate experience is consistent regardless of device and will help reduce drop-off rates and increase qualified applicant conversation rates. Not to mention the fact that Google’s search algorithm now penalizes a company’s mojo if they have both a mobile and desktop website, as opposed to one mobile-optimized site.

Talent acquisition professionals today have the benefit of a bevy of technological innovations including mobile to empower attracting, sourcing, screening, interviewing, hiring and onboarding, but the mainstream is still focused on targeting the entire stream that dumps into the big blue of everyone looking or not looking for a job. The proverbial post-and-pray approach of posting a job everywhere possible and praying that some qualified folks will appear in the net along with the hundreds of unqualified people per each requisition posted. And doing it every single time the job is open.

When we discussed this on the TalentCulture #TChat Show with three progressive recruiting pros – Johnny Campbell, Founder and CEO at Social Talent; Sara Fleischmann, Purple Squirrel Hunter at Hewlett-Packard; and Stacy Zapar, Founder of Tenfold, and recruiting strategist, trainer & advisor – the consensus was that it’s the way recruiters have always done things.

There’s safety in numbers, and if everyone else is doing it, surely it must work! Unfortunately it’s still prevalent in many circles because there’s a lack of education and motivation in the recruiting industry.

But there those organizations making a difference, adopting new recruiting practices and empowering job seekers to do the same. For example, in a recent webinar with Gerry Crispin, Talent Board co-founder and one of the great minds behind the Candidate Experience Awards, some innovative examples of the “means employed determine the nature of the ends produced” include:

  • RMS – Run virtual chat rooms where job seekers bring honest questions and recruiters bring honest answers.
  • Spectrum Health System – Bring together qualified candidates and managers together in person for one-stop interview shop with a promised decision and offer, or not, the same day.
  • jetBlue – Built pilot people pools that start attracting talent in universities and then assign mentors that continue 3-4 years after graduation (bootcamps, assessments, etc. They sources 20% of their pilot hires this way.
  • CH2M – Continuously improve the recruiting experience and generate a monthly sentiment report. Their net promoter score increases year over year in overall communication, ATS efficiency, mobile apply, etc.

Change can be painfully productive, and the adage “adapt or perish” is one more and more employers and prospective employees hang from their hearts like motivational posters. That’s why with the effectual stretch in recruiting, of pushing oneself to learn and expand beyond what’s known and comfortable in a way that’s produces desired yet diverse effective results, it’s a win. Or what Mr. Huxley said. Either way you can’t lose.

With the Warming Heart of People Pools

“And I don’t care, go on and tear me apart
And I don’t care if you do
‘Cause in a sky, ‘cause in a sky full of stars
I think I see you…”
—Coldplay, “Sky Full of Stars

The statement’s context bummed me out. Not because my father-in-law and his wife didn’t know what I did for a living, people from outside the HR technology space always think I work literally in HR. No, it was because once they realized I worked for an HR software company that provided applicant tracking software, they immediately referenced the ATS black hole from whence no job applicant is supposedly ever seen again once he or she applies online.

We ended up discussing all the other ways applicants can gain visibility with a prospective employer – their online presence and their networking acumen. But no matter how good the recruiting software is (and PeopleFluent’s is pretty damn good), managing the candidate experience along the way hasn’t been easy for companies.

In fact, for the past few years, companies on the average receive an excessive number of resumes per every open full-time permanent position. This according to Talent Board’s 2014 Candidate Award Experience Awards Report released earlier this year (the 2015 data collection is in process). The CandE data from the past two years alone that shows open requisitions for all levels of positions are tracking over 200 resumes each.

While at the same time, more than half of job applicants are applying for up to four jobs per week, while nearly a third applying to up to nine jobs per week. Though applicant tracking systems and automation has helped companies funnel these resumes into their respective job “buckets” to be reviewed by overtaxed recruiters and hiring managers, the application process has not changed much for job seekers and employers.

But one of the biggest problem with the post-and-pray reactive recruiting approach and online application process is that it’s req-based – every time a new job is posted recruiters have to review a huge volume all new applicants on the average (most of whom aren’t qualified and many they may already have in their database) instead of leveraging their existing database where potential matches lie.

What if a company’s applicant database could be used to generate proactive sourcing pipelines? With better access to their own data, knowing how to set up the applicant pipelines, and how to communicate with the candidates can make the marketing investments pay off with great return and less near-term churn.

I recommend that companies get outside their own reqs and generate their own qualified candidates by creating and maintaining people pools based on skills and competencies needed for the work at hand. Being proactive with sourcing and screening doesn’t have to be aspirational – companies can do it with their own applicant databases and they way they capture new applicants via their career sites.

Because if it takes 45 minutes to complete an online application, then it’s 40 minutes too long. Attract applicants based on skills and experience needed, not just the literal requisition (especially for non-technical repetitive hiring), and collect just enough information to screen and create qualified talent pools for your recruiters and hiring managers. This allows companies to create proactive people pools based on skills need and not the job itself, which can and will maximize their recruitment dollar.

Given the time and resources it takes to find the right people why should companies start the process from scratch each and every time? By building these people pools (again, who cares what we call it as long as we’re hiring), employers can develop them around job types, skills and competencies to which they can turn to fill key roles without having to restart the processes from the beginning.

Creating repositories and automatically updated saved searches of qualified candidates in your talent acquisition system, such as those who were qualified but ultimately not selected for the position for which they applied, provides employers with a short list of individuals already engaged and interested in working for the company. This saves time and money and can help improve the relationships with hiring managers.

Along these lines, people pools can help improve the candidate experience and employer brand. For instance, informing candidates who weren’t selected that they will be kept in a pool and considered for future positions will not only let them avoid having to reapply, but also create a more positive impression of the company. It also keeps those individuals warm and engaged and interested in future openings. As a result, when a new positions becomes available, the company can fill it much more quickly by turning to those who have previously expressed interest.

A people pool strategy also can enhance talent mobility. Understanding the talent already in the organization and identifying who can be called upon to fill key gaps is another key advantage. Using employee data stored in the HR system can illuminate the talent already in place and their unique skills and strengths. As a result, the company can further streamline the process of filling positions with internal talent, while helping to retain their best employers by giving them the opportunity to advance through the ranks.

Of course, the “black hole” application experience hasn’t completely gone away and nearly 50 percent of the CandE winners still only received 3 out of 5 stars of less on their application process. The conundrum is that because of the great recruiting technology equalization happening in the world it just will not be enough to be an employer of choice long-term.

Remember, every person is a perpetual candidate no matter how happily employed or engaged they become over time, something we discussed more than once with Talent Board co-founders Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin on the TalentCulture #TChat Show.

They agreed that at any given time they may find another role more appealing inside organization, or elsewhere. All of these candidate and employee phases combined with empowering technologies and continuous “customer” service from those who employ and woo candidates are what will give organizations the unfair advantage in the 21st century.

This doesn’t mean the effectual stretch and learning new skills will guarantee jobs for everyone, but these will be the benchmarks for many CandEs to come, with the warming heart of people pools ultimately eclipsing the black hole.

People Quality Makes For Picture Perfect Business

“All I know is that sometimes the truth is contrary — everything in life you thought you knew.” —Neil Peart (Musician and Writer)

Without doing the math and coloring them in, you can still tell what most of them are. But that’s no fun when you’re six, just learning addition and loving to color pictures like my oldest daughter does. Adding the numbers together in each piece of the picture “puzzle” and then following the corresponding picture color code to color each piece in is the thrill of discovering its full context.

If the data is right (the math is correct) and the color code followed accordingly (regardless if colored a bit outside the lines), then these two things coming together tell a vibrant story in and of itself. And no matter how many times you complete the color by number pictures, the vibrant stories remain valid and reliable.

Quality may always vary somewhat with all of the above, but it’ll definitely go beyond the artistic going with one’s gut.

Like in recruiting. In a global talent acquisition market where most recruiters and even hiring managers spend only seconds reviewing each resume (we’ve all done it), no matter how good we think we are, it’s no wonder the “gut feel in hiring” is usually less accurate than a coin flip.

In fact, an article in the Harvard Business Review last year highlighted that, “humans are very good at specifying what’s needed for a position and eliciting information from candidates—but they’re very bad at weighing the results.” The authors found that simple computer algorithms outperform human decisions by at least 25 percent, “regardless of whether the job is on the front line, in middle management, or in the C-suite.”

While there is obviously still value in having recruiters and hiring managers who possess good people instincts, it has become even more essential that they have reliable data on which to base their sourcing, screening and hiring decisions.

We’re just not as good as we think we are when it comes to computing quality.

Reliable data and that single source of data truth – that’s where we need to get to first in order to address the quality conundrum. That’s not easy when today’s human resource and talent acquisition professionals rely on a variety of systems, such as HRIS, ATS, ERP, CRM and more, to manage their most important asset – their people.

These systems supply companies with data on everything employee-related, from general demographic information like date of birth to candidate sourcing channels and from compensation and benefits history to employee performance ratings. And, the volume of HR data generated by companies is increasing daily – in large organizations, there can be upwards of 10 different HR applications generating data.  In multinational corporations, there are dozens of different disparate HR systems, covering various geographies and functions, yet disconnected from the “mothership” core.

Obviously the solution is to integrate and analyze the data that is held within a company’s talent acquisition system into the company’s human resource information system (HRIS) and vice versa. This could be done in a integrated core HR and talent management suite solution, or it could be done with a sound data integration and management solution that nicely unifies the pipelines of any and all HR and recruiting point solutions and/or suite combos.

As the workforce continues to become more global, mobile and diverse, ensuring that all these systems enable collaboration and cooperation becomes even more critical. Again, we need that one single source of data truth that will support our HR reporting and talent analytics initiatives, something we talked about at length on the TalentCulture #TChat Show with and Jen Phillips Kirkwood, ADP Analytics and Innovation Ambassador.

By allowing for applicant data to flow unobstructed between all these critical business systems can enhance our ability to:

  • Build deep talent pipelines
  • Obtain a long-term view of our workforce
  • Gather real-time, actionable data
  • Save recruiters and hiring managers time and resources
  • Standardize and synchronize data across all HR systems

No longer are talent acquisition professionals focused primarily on time-to-fill as a competitive advantage – now, it is also about finding ways to increase quality of hire. The unification of all this data enables improvements in recruiting effectiveness throughout the organization, impacting the overall quality of hire and ultimately the performance of the business.

When I got certified as a Talent Acquisition Strategist from HCI last fall, we went over a progressive case study on quality of hire measurement from Avanade, a technology company that helps clients and their customers realize results with Microsoft technologies.

Avanade has created a worldwide interview assessment methodology that measures competencies, behaviors, technology capability and cultural fit, against their current workforce populations. This results in improved new hire performance and helps reduce attrition for the first 12 months of employment.

Their quality of hire analytics require multiple data points that help calculate and inform continuous adjustments to new employee quality. This includes:

  • Average performance rating for new employees in the first 12 months.
  • Employee performance as a percentage of “achieves expectations” of performance in the first year.
  • Annual hiring manager survey focused on overall quality of new employees.
  • Percentage of employee retention during the first 12 months of employment.

Quality of hire is often referred to as “the holy grail” of recruiting and hiring. It’s what all the winners of the Candidate Experience Awards aspire to. In fact, Amelia Merrill, Head of People Strategy (HR) at RMS and four-time CandE winner, recently presented at the first-ever CandE 101 Workshop and shared that “either you’re all in on the candidate experience, or your not. Nobody gets half pregnant.”

Indeed. There’s no better way to be “with quality-of-new-hire child” than by going all in with unified HR systems, key recruiting and hiring data and talent analytics. An excellent way to start determining your quality-of-hire is by tracking the turnover of your new hires during their first year with you. Higher-than-desired levels of turnover within this period often signify poor sourcing, selection or onboarding – or some combination of these activities. It all comes down to how carefully you measure and track new hire sourcing, performance, competencies, turnover/retention, diversity and inclusion, and developmental/leadership potential.

Just do the math: people quality is what makes for picture perfect business.

About the Author: Kevin W. Grossman co-founded and co-hosts the highly popular weekly TalentCulture #TChat Show with Meghan M. Biro. He’s also currently the Product Marketing Director for Total Talent Acquisition products at PeopleFluent.

photo credit: Crayons, Coloring via photopin (license)

These Are The Moving Recruiting Money Shots

I played Patrick the recruiter in our customer conference general session skit. It was less than 15 lines and shouldn’t have been a problem.

But it was, mostly because I’m a ham at heart and like to improvise whenever possible. Forget the fact that there would be a floor monitor and a laptop showing the players the script.

So there I was on stage with some of my esteemed colleagues in front of hundreds of customers – heads of HR and talent acquisition – plus partners and peers – delivering my lines like a seasoned actor.

And then Megan, our VP of strategic accounts, queued me up for my big finale:

“What if you could pin your most frequent searches on your dashboard, and have the results refresh automatically as new candidates show interest, eliminating barriers between you and the next great member of your team?”

“That would be fantastic!” I exclaimed.

Wait for it…then nothing. Odd, I thought, what’s she waiting for? 

Seconds go by. “Um…Patrick…um…would you like me to set up a job search for you?”

Wow. I missed the money shot line. How did I do that?

“Um…yes! Can you set up one for our Store Manager position we’re always looking to fill?”

“Absolutely. We’ve set the Store Manager search to include the important parameters you define and that are unique to the job, including keywords, tags and location…”

Megan wrapped up the Patrick segment, and that’s when I added:

“Megan, sorry, but I’m managing over 60 reqs right now and it’s hard for me to remember which one is which.”

Smiles. Laughter. Some claps. I had my money shot after all.

Okay, maybe not 60 reqs, but I know many talent acquisition teams are carrying heavy job loads because finding and hiring the best people. Tech talent is especially tough today, to find those with the necessary skill sets that are critical for today’s companies – primarily, software programmers and developers, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) positions.

According to Computerworld’s 2015 Forecast survey, job growth in IT remains very healthy – nearly one-quarter of respondents said that they plan to add more IT employees this year.  At the same time, unemployment for IT professionals is extremely low – just 2.5% according to figures from one of the latest Dice Tech Trends report – making it even harder to find top people with technology skills in high demand.

Conversely, the non-technical positions companies need to fill continuously takes a candidate pooling and constant “warming” approach, as well as engaging candidates with relevant content in various mediums, especially video.

Competing for the best people, regardless of role or classification, has again become priority number one with an emphasis on the speed and quality of the hiring process. But it’s really much more complicated out there: the hiring economy today is like an original screenplay we keep rewriting and reordering, with a lot of sweat and tears, through every economic boom and bust story.

Yes, it’s complicated. According to the U.S. Department of Labor:

  • Job Openings have increased 28% in 2014, more than any other year since 1999.
  • For the last 12 months we’ve added on the average 200K per month.
  • At the same time, wages aren’t keeping pace, which is causing increased turnover.

And yet, a study last year from Carl Frey and Michael Osborne at Oxford University found that 47% of jobs are at risk of computerization over the next two decades.

And for the past few years, companies on the average receive an excessive number of resumes per every open full-time permanent position. This according to the Candidate Experience Award (CandE) data (you can now download the 2014 report here and then participate in the 2015 CandEs here) from the past two years alone that shows open requisitions for all levels of positions are tracking over 200 resumes each. At the same time, more than half of job applicants are applying for up to four jobs per week, while nearly a third applying to up to nine jobs per week.

Although the competition for top talent is fierce, employers must still find creative ways to entice people with in-demand STEM skills to join their company – getting to know whom they’re targeting is critical prior to and especially during outreach. Thankfully, research and relationship building are alive and well in recruiting today for whatever the roles being hired. We’ve covered this topic detail on the TalentCulture #TChat Show more than once recently.

But what are some specific examples of delivering better talent acquisition regardless of the complicated backstories and plot twists? We keep pitching the “better experiences” for candidates, recruiters and hiring managers, but what productions have made it to the big screen?

The CandEs have them in the spotlight and since founding them in 2010, the Talent Board has created a global benchmark process for companies to gain needed insight into their recruiting processes and more specifically, how their candidates feel about the process and how they were treated.

The CandE benchmark is the foundation for how companies are recognized for the awards, by their candidates. This award process is truly the first and largest “People’s Choice” award in the recruiting industry, and remains the largest single source of candidate experience and recruiting performance benchmark data in the world. (For those keeping score at home, about one-third of the 2014 winners are PeopleFluent customers.)

Here are give great examples of from the CandE winners with distinction, those companies who by far have exceeded the first-tier winning benchmark:

  1. MetLife has built a validated simulation that not only helps assess a candidate’s qualifications, but that candidates also find informative and educational about job requirements. They also distribute surveys to get detailed input from new hires at from day one, after three months and again at one year.
  2. Capital One launched their CandE effort two years ago to build “consistency” of treatment from call center employees to executives. Every person who applies is asked a series of CandE-related questions and their response rates are north of 50 percent (10,000 asks per month) and their Net Promoter Scores are then segmented by location, level, function and recruiter.
  3. NBCUniversal holds Tech Talk Tuesdays and Ask the Experts every Wednesday, every single week. By measuring and acting on their source of hire and other hiring data, their speed to hire has improved from 75 days to 29 days.
  4. Hyatt has begun aligning their well known and well developed “guest experience” to the CandEs. One thing they’ve done as a result is to introduce applicants to employees during the interview process, and much earlier in the process than most companies usually do.
  5. RMS, a three-time CandE winner with distinction conducts weekly and sometimes daily online chats that focus on providing “honest answers” to “honest questions.” They measure hiring like dating and equate the recruiting process to first-date impressions and beyond.

These are the moving recruiting money shots if there ever were. Thankfully there are more killer premiers and sequels like this every year.

Step right on up for your screen test. My people will call your people and we’ll do lunch.

About the Author: Kevin W. Grossman co-founded and co-hosts the highly popular weekly TalentCulture #TChat Show with Meghan M. Biro. He’s also currently the Product Marketing Director for Total Talent Acquisition products at PeopleFluent.

photo credit: DSCN3961 via photopin (license)

That Magical Mindful Presence of Candidate Service

“And with all your magic
I disappear from view…”


She stopped in the middle of the hall and met my gaze. We shook hands. Other customers, partners and peers streamed around us on either side like a river around rocks.

“It was a pleasure meeting you,” I said.

She smiled. “Likewise.  This was a great week. Very informative. You really know how to listen to your customers.”

I’d thought she’d wink on that last comment, but she didn’t. Instead, the gleam in her eyes told me all I needed to know. After earlier conversations about how they’d been waiting for our latest talent acquisition product innovations that would eventually improve their speed and quality of hire over time, her and her colleagues were excited about the possibilities. The streams around us rushed continuously by, color and conversation blurred while we engaged in the magical mindful presence of one single interaction.

“Safe travels,” I said.

“You as well.”

Then we both merged into the nearest streams and were gone. And so it was at our PeopleFluent WISDOM 2015 customer conference, where engaging customer, partner and peer communication streams flowed in and out of the general session hall, through breakout sessions, down hallways, across tables during breaks and mealtimes.

Business thrives when customer communication and education are constant and engagement and retention are high. They are, of course, a very special group of investors who count on some kind of return in short order – streamline our processes, save us time, money and more. In the HR technology marketplace, they want all of the above plus better hires, a smarter workforce, strong leadership, diversity of thought, agile innovation and more.

This is why according to Yvette Cameron, HCM research director at global research firm Gartner who spoke at our WISDOM conference, companies spend over $41 billion on customer relationship management (CRM) technologies. We leverage technology, invest in our products and services, improve our customer service, wheel and deal, bend over backwards and do whatever it takes to hold onto our customers.

Conversely, companies only spend about $11 billion on HR technology, which is just a little more than a fourth of the CRM spend. Yvette then asked us all: What if we treated employees like we treat our best customers?

What if. Ironic, right? But hey, engagement is up according to the latest Gallup research: The percentage of U.S. workers engaged in their jobs rose from an average 31.7% in January to an average 32.9% in February. The latest monthly rate of employee engagement is the highest Gallup has recorded in three years and is a full 1 1/2 percentage points above where it stood in February 2014.

One and a half percentage points. Whooptee do-da-day. Break out the bubbly, kids. As soon as we’re hired we disappear into a faded and muted blur. As soon as we don’t get the job, we disappear.

Progress, however incremental, is progress, and there are those who are making the move on the front end to treat candidates like customers and using the right technologies to enable the much-needed preferential treatment. That’s why research and relationship building are alive and well in recruiting today, something we’re going to cover on the TalentCulture #TChat Show this week.

These same candidates, who like your customers, are doing their homework in advance on whether or not they want to do business with you, regardless of the technology investments you’ve made. This means the HR and talent acquisition teams need to take the time and do their due diligence when sourcing the best talent and invest in “whatever it takes” engagement to hold on to these customers – the current and future workforce.

Finding and hiring top tech talent is really tough today, especially those with the necessary skill sets that are critical for today’s companies – primarily, software programmers and developers, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) positions.

According to Dice’s 2015 Tech Candidate Sentiment Survey, tech candidates understand that recruiters use publicly available data to research candidates and get a “total person” view before making that first call to provide a better candidate experience. At least 50% of survey respondents said that they wish recruiters would do more research on them and their background before calling.

The candidates are in the driver seat now, so let us not forget that. But, according to the 2014 Candidate Experience Awards Report (the CandEs), employers overall are doing a better job meeting the needs of candidates in the pre-applicant stage of the candidate experience, providing transparency into Values (86.5 percent), Product (81.3 percent), Answers to ‘Why” People Want to Work Here (87.1 percent) and Answers to ‘Why’ People Stay Here (70.3 percent). They also focused on providing information on key culture initiatives around Diversity (83.2 percent).

This all helps of course, but whether hired or not (we’re all perpetual candidates), business thrives when customer communication and education are constant and engagement is high. Over the past two years, many CandE winners have invested in developing qualitative feedback channels for those candidates not advancing while immediately career pathing those who are.

And although not all their efforts focus on one-to-one communication, many are focusing on interactive communication channels that inform, educate, provide feedback and ask for feedback from smaller groups, leveraging that magical mindful presence of candidate service.

We really should listening more. And answering back. That’s worth at least 10 percentage-point return on engagement, don’t you think?

“And if you were to ask me
After all that we’ve been through
Still believe in magic
Oh yes I do
Oh yes I do…”

About the Author: Kevin W. Grossman co-founded and co-hosts the highly popular weekly TalentCulture #TChat Show with Meghan M. Biro. He’s also currently the Product Marketing Director for Total Talent Acquisition products at PeopleFluent.



This Workplace Merry-Go-Round Never Slows

“Midway hawkers calling
‘Try your luck with me’
Merry-go-round wheezing
The same old melody…”

—Neil Peart (Lakeside Park)

We became carnies for a day – midway hawkers calling out from our very own front yard. The main reason was to make some quick cash since my sister and I had already blown through our weekly allowance. It was summertime, decades ago, when I was 12 and she was 10.

School was out so we had to promote our little Saturday carnival via the neighborhood kids and the viral word of mouth. At 10 the morning of, after our mom had left to run errands, we taped the big poster to the garage door that read:

Carnival Today – 10:30-12:30. All games 25 cents. Everybody Wins!

We hung colorful balloons from the mailbox and set up chairs, TV trays and a folding table in the front yard. We used an old cigar box for our cash register. We then pulled out beaten up boxes we had dragged out from the garage full of old games and toys and set them up on the table as prizes. A few of the toys were in good shape, but most had broken or missing parts, especially the games.

My sister was the mastermind of the operation. She created a series of actual carnival games from everyday items around the house, some of which included a ring toss with our mom’s wooden and metal bracelets and Pepsi bottles; a lawn dart toss with real metal darts; and a baseball throw using my old little league baseballs and some of our expendable stuffed animals to knock down. To keep the littler kids occupied during carnival, we turned on our Slip-N-Slide at the other end of the front yard.

At first I felt a little guilty that we gave away our old toys and games to the kids as prizes. That lasted until noon after we had raked in the dough, about $10 in total. We couldn’t have been happier with our entrepreneurial endeavor and were already planning how we’d spend the loot at the mall that afternoon.

Never mind the part about some of the parents coming to our house that night asking for refunds and returning our broken toys and games. That’s not the point.

No, the point is that my sister’s been hawking herself and her skills her entire life. I’ve been a exuberant hawker myself; adapt or perish, as I found out quite readily during the past five years alone. Most of us have learned to do the same.

For as long as we’re trying to earn a buck and turn it into two, we have to shape and hawk our wares. On a merry-go-round wheezing the same old melody. That’s the perpetual carnie candidate experience – from individual contributor to captain of industry.

“Try your luck with me!”

Where lady luck is nothing but a game of chance weighted in your favor with sought-after skills and circumstance. And a better marketplace as well. Hey, hiring plans across the board are favorable:

  • According to the recent Vistage CEO confidence index survey, 62 percent of respondents plan to expand their workforce in the year ahead, up from 56 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the highest since the first quarter of 2006.
  • CareerBuilder’s annual job survey found that 36 percent of employers expect to add permanent, full-time staff this year. That’s a 50 percent increase over what employers said at the beginning of 2014.
  • Released in early December, Manpower’s Employment Outlook Survey of 18,000+ employers found a seasonally adjusted 19 percent of them plan to add staff in the first quarter alone.

Lady luck indeed. Every startup founder to CEO to CHRO to board member knows (or better know) the right people can mean the difference between boom or bust (including themselves), which is why organizations are moving away from how they source and categorize their people and toward a unified workforce that’s managed for results regardless of employment status. We’re talking full-time folks and freelancers.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), temporary workers currently make up 15 percent of the workforce and are predicted to climb to 20 percent by 2016. In fact, contingent workers can make up more than 50% of the workforce, especially at tech companies, where contractors or freelancers are hired for their expertise. It’s called the “blended workforce,” although more accurately should be called the “fluid workforce” since 40% of contingent workers convert eventually to permanent roles.

Plus, a recent study by the Freelancers Union suggests that one in three members of the American workforce do some freelance work, which does include a higher proportion of younger people. The on-demand economy is crazy hot!

But even with all this exciting and disruptive workplace economic change not seen since the early part of the 20th century, the new how and why of work, the “sourcing the right” skills race continues to heighten dramatically. In fact, according to a soon-to-be-released PeopleFluent talent strategy survey, over 50% of respondent companies said recruiting hard-to-find skills in both leaders and employees is one of main issues keeping them up at night.

That mantra continues with the same Vistage CEO confidence index survey referenced above revealing that the high demand for skilled labor, specifically finding, hiring and training staff, was mentioned about three times as frequently as financial issues or economic uncertainty.

“Try your luck with me – if you can find me!”

The 2014 Candidate Experience Awards report will be released soon (also known as the CandEs), and part of the latest data from nearly 150 companies and 95,000 candidates includes the fact that 30 percent of candidates actively researched and applied for jobs for more than 16 weeks before landing one (or giving up).

Plus, the vast majority of these candidates, the ones that either weren’t selected or simply gave up trying, were never asked for further feedback on the recruiting process, whether they were notified by the company the process was ending or they withdrew on their own. This continues to be a big missed opportunity to better understand what may have been “missed” on both sides during any part of the recruiting process, including the “why” of skills disparity and what both sides should do about it.

The complexity of this situation is compounded by the fact that more and more of the work that “knowledge professionals” deliver will be automated by magic algorithms and software, and skill flexibility and fluidity will be the new currency – constantly being assessed by magic algorithms and software.

“Try your luck with me – please?!?”

So let me wrap it all up now with this idea, one shared with us in full by Brian Carter and Garrison Wynn on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, co-authors of The Cowbell Principle. Yes, a metaphor based on the SNL skit of the cowbell namesake. For individuals, a cowbell is a talent or gift. For businesses, it’s a durable competitive advantage.

The key to happiness and success is knowing who you are and how to succeed with hawking your best stuff. Your cowbell gives your value to people and they (hopefully) love you (and invest in you) for it. But do make sure you target those “investors” that align with your best stuff.

Today more companies are asking candidates to show more of their skills and talents up front in the form of virtual job tryouts, and 25 percent of candidates who responded to the CandEs solved a puzzle, problem or case situation relevant for the job they applied to.

We’re all in this never-ending game of workplace chance and we’ve got to practice, practice, practice our ring tossing to get a ringer. It’s not impossible to win once in a while either – if we continuously develop the skills that are deemed relevant, in demand and economically valuable, and learn how to continuously hawk the hell out of them to maximize our unique differentiating strengths.

Because this workplace merry-go-round ain’t ever slowing down for us carnies.

“Try your luck with us – a winner every time!”

About the Author: Kevin W. Grossman co-founded and co-hosts the highly popular weekly TalentCulture #TChat Show with Meghan M. Biro. He’s also currently the Product Marketing Director for Total Talent Acquisition products at PeopleFluent.

photo credit: mbtrama via photopin cc

Transformative Conversations And Enculturation

“How many times
Do we chaff against the repetition
Straining against the faith
Measured out in coffee breaks…”
—Neil Peart

His smile ricocheted off the booth and hit the back of my head. I couldn’t help but smile right back.

“Bingo, bango!”

He’d just won a $50 gift card after spinning our fabulous PeopleFluent prize wheel at the recent IHRIM Conference. In fact, anyone who came to our booth to hear about how to drive higher levels of contribution and deeper engagement through better “people management” experiences and platforms spun the wheel and walked away with a prize.

Everyone’s a winner; everyone smiles.

Bingo, bango. Like the feeling you get when you land a great job after an exhaustive search. I remember the recruiting and the hiring process, a little over a year ago, excited for day one, ready to get on with it and get to work. The yummy branded cookies sent to my house the week before I started were a nice touch as well, bringing smiles to my little girls (and sugar to their lips). Plus, my new manager had already been mentoring me and working with me prior to day one.

Get to work I did. Sure there was the physical and online paperwork, the administrative subterfuge, but mercy me was it exciting. Then on to week one immediately immersed with colleagues and culture and the work you’ll do.

Thirty days. Sixty days. Ninety days. Six months go by…

That’s when you have to remember the smiles, when you’re “straining against the faith,” because over time the world of work leaves marks no one else can see, no matter how sweet the sugar is; no matter how many coffee breaks we take. Priorities change, responsibilities change, co-workers change, leaders change – you feel like you’re the one spinning on the prize wheel, each and every slot a whitewashed blank.

Bingo, bango. It’s all worth it when you get to do what moves you though, because that’s what moves the business. These moves generate huge payoffs in employee retention, satisfaction, and overall business performance, even with the ups and downs.

Everyone’s a winner; everyone smiles. Like the feeling we get when we’re immersed in a new job, doing things we love, and colleagues and a culture we’re really jazzed about. Like having a repetitive positive onboarding experience every single day.

This is what a high-engagement workplace culture provides – an environment where employees love what they do and with whom they do it.  When all employees are emotionally and intellectually invested, and leadership is just as committed (if not more so), then extraordinary effort and positive financial results follow.

If the recruitment process brings on momentum, then onboarding is the tipping point, the winning spin, one you want to replicate again and again.

The 2013 Candidate Experience Awards survey results revealed that onboarding practices are relatively consistent among participating employers:

  • 65.4 percent of those new hires surveyed had completed paperwork online, versus 69.4 percent for the winning organizations.
  • 42.3 percent of new hires received a call from HR, versus 49.2 percent for winning organizations.
  • 35.5 percent of new hires received a call from the hiring manager, versus 39.7 percent for winning organizations.

Despite less-than-perfect practices by both overall and award-winning firms, these candidates – now new hires who most certainly consider themselves winners in the competition for a job – are nearly universally positive about their onboarding experience:

  • Overall, 79.5 percent of the hired candidates were positive about their onboarding experience, versus 87.2 percent of the candidates of award-winning firms.

Onboarding should be a people-centered process requiring quality, consistency and an ample investment of time. Technology helps to facilitate it all, but not completely replace it. With this understanding in place, companies will always benefit from a successful onboarding process that engages employees from the get-go.

Bingo, bango.

In fact, the best better approach would be to use the time between when the candidate accepts the offer and before they start to actively immerse them in the company culture empowering transformative:

  • Conversations. Having the new hire participate in a webinar or other type of interactive training session, facilitating conversations between the employee and the hiring manager and enabling them to go onsite to see the workplace and meet key colleagues before the actual start date.
  • And Enculturation. Rather than spending most of the onboarding process filling out paperwork, employers will benefit from helping the new hire become acclimated to their new office and co-workers, maybe even assigning them a “work buddy,” thereby improving engagement and making a strong impression at the start of their tenure.

Just as Todd Owens, the President and COO at TalentWise, recently told us – Culture comes from every breath and every step, from before day one and beyond it…

And every single spin of the prize wheel thereafter. Everyone’s a winner; everyone smiles.

Photo Credit: Thom Watson via Compfight cc

#TChat Preview: How Talent-Centric Recruiting Improves Business Outcomes

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about building resilient workplace cultures, and this week we’re talking about how talent-centric recruiting improves business outcomes.

Progressive organizations today are looking for every possible advantage to attract and retain the best candidates. These organizations are continuously searching for new ways to engage candidates earlier, communicate their compelling employment brand story, and enhance the candidate experience, as well as the recruiter and hiring manager experience.

The 2013 Candidate Experience Awards survey results from nearly 50,000 candidates from over 90 progressive companies show the emerging importance of communicating a company’s culture as a key point of differentiation, as well as decreased emphasis on job benefit details.

The good news is that according to the CandE data, the top marketing content employers make available, and the content candidates consume, includes company values, why do people want to work here and why do they stay, and other related “cultural fit” topics.

Talent acquisition processes and systems that are built around the unique needs of not only candidates, but recruiters and hiring managers as well, are what give those progressive companies a competitive advantage.

Creating a personalized recruiting experience that is talent-centric, fostering consistent employment branding through video, continuous peer-to-peer collaboration and critical analytics are what lead to better business outcomes like faster recruiting, better hires, and improved retention.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about how talent-centric recruiting improves business outcomes with this week’s powerhouse guest: Elaine Orler, President and Founder of Talent Function.

Sneak Peek: How Talent-Centric Recruiting Improves Business Outcomes

Elaine and Jeff Interview

Watch Now!

We spoke briefly with our guest Elaine Orler, to learn a little about improving business outcomes with talent-centric recruiting. Check out our YouTube Channel for videos with other #TChat guests!

Related Reading

Elaine Orler: Candidate Experience 2013: The Good, The Bad, The Better

Adam Eisenstein: Putting the Candidate First: MHFI wins Candidate Experience Award

Kevin Grossman: How to Improve Your Recruiting Strategy Through Candidate Sourcing Data

Meghan M. Biro: It Takes Talent To Become A Top Recruiter 

Maren Hogan: What They Tell You To Do About Candidate Experience

We hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas with our guests and the TalentCulture Community.

#TChat Events: How Talent-Centric Recruiting Improves Business Outcomes

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, May 14 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with our guest Elaine Orler!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, May 14 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What is the current state of recruiting for candidates, recruiters and hiring managers? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How can companies improve the overall talent acquisition process? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What does it mean to be talent-centric versus process-centric? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: What are three key recruiting performance metrics that drive actionable talent analytics? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: How has technology impacted candidate, recruiter and hiring manager engagement experiences? (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

Do you have great content you want to share with us? Become a TalentCulture contributor!

Photo Credit: M I S C H E L L E via Compfight cc

#TChat Recap: #Dice141 and the Candidate Experience

Improving The Candidate Experience

Candidate experience, it can sometimes feel like a moving target to increasingly burdened recruiters and HR Pros, but is it really so far out of our reach?

Last night we discussed how to make candidate experience a “given” for everyone involved and we had an amazing group  with Shravan GoliJohnny Campbell and Steve White! Someone from every sector weighed in on making the candidate experience golden.

We started with the most obvious question of all. What do candidates really want? HOW can we deliver a solid candidate experience without knowing the answer(s) to that question?



#TChatters Agreed That…

    • Tech communities provide a valuable service not just for recruiters but for tech talent as well. (Hint: Don’t spam and neglect to provide value!)
    • It’s not all about recruiting, show your current employees the love too.
    • Candidate feedback formula = timely + respectful + contextual
    • InMails may not be the way to a talented techies heart.
    • Tweets may attract tech talent, but the job description or ad is the real clincher.

 Want To See The #TChat Replay?


Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

Thanks again to guests Shravan Goli, Johnny Campbell and Steve White for showing us the way to true candidate experience.


Click here to see the preview!

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Your Employer Brand Owns The Candidate Experience

Gerry Crispin: Net Promoter Score and Candidate Experience

Nick Price: Candidate Dispositioning – What does it mean and why does it matter? 

Siofra Pratt: How To Dramatically Increase Your Job Views on Twitter

Christopher Young: Incentivize Recruiters for a More Successful Hiring Process

#TChat Events: A Better Candidate Experience Means A Better ROI


#TChat Radio — Are you plugged in to #TChat radio? Did you know you can listen live to ANY of our shows ANY time?

Now you know. Click the box to head on over to our channel or listen to A Better Candidate Experience Means A Better ROI

Note To Bloggers: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about trends on candidate experience? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we may feature it!

If you recap #TChat make sure to let us know so we can find you!

We Want To See You On TalentCulture! Become A Contributor Now!

Next week at #TChat Events, we’ll be talking about building resilient workplace cultures.

Sign up for the newsletter to get the scoop on next week’s guest, topic and questions!

Save The Date: Wednesday, May 7!

The TalentCulture conversation continues daily on #TChat Twitter, in our LinkedIn group, and on our new Google+ community. So join us anytime on your favorite social channels!

photo credit: MiiiSH via photopin cc

#TChat Preview: A Better Candidate Experience Means A Better ROI

The TalentCulture #TChat Show is back live on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. #TChat Radio starts at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) and the convo continues on #TChat Twitter chat from 7-8 pm ET (4-5 pm PT).

Last week we talked about gratitude and appreciation and how they drive high-performance climates and cultures, and this week we’re talking about improving the candidate experience.

The good news is, according to the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards research, an overwhelming majority of candidates (87.3 percent) reported feeling satisfied to very satisfied with how the application processes allowed them to present their knowledge, skills and experience, compared to 12.7% who felt dissatisfied.

Plus, for the sought after tech talent today, it’s not all about the money in the end, especially for startups. According to the recent 2014 Dice Salary Survey, the technology startup community seems to want to fill their hearts and minds as much as their wallets. Cultural fit, company purpose and investments in personal growth all are included in the rewards startup professionals seek. The fact is, many tech professionals are seeking more than just money — they want their whole selves to be sourced and seen, finding the right culture fit and participating in tech talent communities that bring together like-minded techs in specific fields to collaborate, innovate and invigorate the very heart of their world of work purpose.

Join #TChat co-creators and hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as we learn more about improving candidate experience and ROI with this week’s guests: Shravan Goli, President of Dice; Steve White, Talent Acquisition Manager for Pier 1; and Johnny Campbell, Ringmaster and Chief Social Sourcer at Social Talent. Dice is debuting a new hashtag for the event.

Join in with #Dice141!

Sneak Peek: Improving The Candidate Experience

We spoke briefly with Shravan and Steve in a G+ Hangout to learn a little about how improving the candidate experience increases ROI. Check out our YouTube Channel for the full video!

Related Reading:

Meghan M. Biro: Your Employer Brand Owns The Candidate Experience

Gerry Crispin: Net Promoter Score and Candidate Experience

Nick Price: Candidate Dispositioning – What does it mean and why does it matter? 

Christopher Young: Incentivize Recruiters for a More Successful Hiring Process

Siofra Pratt: How To Dramatically Increase Your Job Views on Twitter

This topic is vital for those looking to meet the increasing need for top quality talent, so we hope you’ll join the #TChat conversation this week and share your questions, opinions and ideas and learn from our distinguished panel of guests. This is one #TChat you don’t want to miss!

Newsflash: Dice is helping recruiters better promote jobs via Twitter while making it easier for tech pros to job hunt — all in 140 characters or more! #DICE141

Dice’s new Twitter Cards (#DICE141) allows recruiters to include richer, more engaging content about their opportunities – right in their tweets. You’ll enhance your employer branding, extend your reach and make it faster for tech pros to apply on-the-go.

Download your “How to Create #DICE141 Twitter Cards” instructions today!


Download your “How to Create Twitter Cards” instructions today!

#TChat Events: How Can We Improve The Candidate Experience?

TChatRadio_logo_020813 #TChat Radio — Wed, April 30 — 6:30pmET / 3:30pmPT Tune-in to the #TChat Radio show Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman talk with guests Shravan Goli, Johnny Campbell and Steve White!

Tune-in LIVE online this Wednesday!

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wed, April 30 — 7pmET / 4pmPT Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and our guests will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these #DICE141 related questions:

Q1: What do tech candidates value today in their job search and why? (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How does cultural fit impact tech candidate decisions? (Tweet this Question)

Q3: What role do tech talent communities play in today’s job search? (Tweet this Question)

Q4: What feedback can employers give tech candidates who aren’t hired? (Tweet this Question)

Q5: What other online services can help tech candidates in their job search? (Tweet this Question)

Throughout the week, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, and in our new TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!

TalentCulture World of Work was created for HR professionals, leadership executives, and the global workforce. Our community delves into subjects like HR technologyleadershipemployee engagement, and corporate culture everyday.

To get more World of Work goodness, please sign up for our newsletter, listen to our #TChat Radio Channel or sign up for our RSS feed.

photo credit: Scott Beale via photopin cc

Content Marketing Freshness Comes With True Relevance

On the morning of the vernal equinox, the crazy cool converged. Actually, according to my mother-in-law, the vernal equinox is equivalent to at least four full moons, which means the crazy isn’t necessarily cool and only falls from trees like overripe fruit that children can’t help but to throw at one another.

That’s an appropriate analogy if you compare it to the way too many companies and candidates still market to one another. A spoiled twist on the spray and pray approach to the recruiting pitch (have you ever been hit with an overripe peach, for example?).

Content marketing best practices are as ubiquitous as the over-pollenated buzzwords that coat them these days, and yet, marketers, recruiters and applicants alike are still tossing leaky, bruised hand grenades over the fence to see whom they hit, and who cries out.

You know who you are.

Hey, I’m not judging; I’ve been there, too. So before we get back to the best practice, let me cover my crazy cool convergence from this week first:

First, I found that the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards eBook is now available for download! The third annual North American “CandE” Awards program has grown with overwhelming participation from both the employers seeking to benchmark their processes and job candidates who are eager to share their feedback on their recruitment experiences. Lots of great data in the latest eBook, including the top six content themes employers make available to potential applicants before they apply:

  • Values (i.e., ‘Fit’)
  • Answers to ‘Why’ People Want to Work Here
  • Community and Sustainability Initiatives
  • Answers to ‘Why’ People Stay Here
  • Product Information
  • Diversity – Culture

The 2013 CandE Awards indicate the emerging importance of communicating a company’s culture as a key point of differentiation, while there’s a decreased emphasis on job benefit details (among many other valuable insights). That’s a good sign. Download the CandE eBook and read it. Trust me. And if your company wants to participate this year, please do register here. There’s still time.

Second, LinkedIn is becoming a crazy content marketing tool, which I kinda knew and have tinkered with, but learned more succinctly after talking on #TChat with Viveka von Rosen, CEO of Linked Into Business and co-founder of LinkedProspecting. Since its launch, LinkedIn has been known as a recruiter and job seeker professional networking site, but has been extremely under-utilized as a recruitment search and marketing resource, to continually attract, find and engage with their ideal candidates by leveraging content marketing, influencer relations and so much more. (That last part is key for whatever “platform” you use.)

Third, I just received my LinkedIn publishing invite on the first day of spring! Sure, spring represents renewal and new beginnings, but the little gray pen thingie appeared magically in my status update box, and I’m not even really sure what it means yet. I’ve been told it’s a big deal for regular content creators, of which I am one, but now I can share real and relevant “fruits of my labor” with my “targeting” network. Good for me, good for business, hopefully good for readers. Right on.

Now, back to the best practice

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – I recommend that apply these two rules when enraptured with the sweetness content marketing can bring:

      1. Keep it real. Because good story is the human experience, but it’s not so simple to tell – or, more appropriately, retell. Sixteen years ago an editor told me that, “You haven’t quite found your voice yet; you haven’t fallen through the center of the earth and back again. It takes experience and practice to find your inner voice, and not everyone gets there.” True indeed. Practice, practice. Read and read some more and then read even more inside and outside of your immediate professional realm – and then write, write, write to find your voice. Write with regular frequency and remember your voice will come with time. And keeping it real keeps it authentic and you’re more likely to find a “buying” audience this way, whether on LinkedIn, your career site, your blog or whatever your publishing platforms of choice are. Candidates want the transparency with your company, just as much as you want from them.
      2. Keep it relevant. Because finding your audience means you’re creating and sharing relevant content with them (think of the CandE example above when it comes to attracting the right talent). The good stuff they want to consume regularly, whether they take action or not (over time, they might). Maybe they want a little humor, maybe they want to be schooled, maybe they want to be moved, but regardless, they want it to be meaningful and relevant to their lives as “customers” – buyers or candidates. This goes for content you curate as well as create. If you’re targeting product managers, then create and/or share software/hardware agile development articles, go-to-market strategies, building business cases, marketplace trends and innovations, and so on. Vice-versa if you’re a product manager prospect targeting specific companies and industries – share your insight and keep it focused.

The only forbidden fruit in my garden is that which rots in my field. Content marketing freshness comes with true relevance.


Photo courtesy of Big Stock

Candidate Experience: Getting It Right #TChat Recap

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not strategies.”
Lawrence Bossidy, Author & Former CEO, Honeywell

If talent is what matters most at the end of the day, why do so many companies struggle to provide a stellar experience for job candidates? And how can we finally fix that?

This is the hot topic the TalentCulture community tackled this week at #TChat events — with guidance from two of the HR community’s most knowledgeable candidate experience experts:

Elaine Orler, President of Talent Function Group and chairman of The Talent Board;
Gerry Crispin, Staffing Strategist and Co-Founder of CareerXroads Colloquium.

(Editor’s Note: See #TChat highlights and resource links at the end of this post.)

Building Brand Advocates One Job Opening At A Time

What is candidate experience, anyway? Of course, it starts long before a potential employee ever arrives for an interview. In fact, some #TChat-ters say it’s smart to think of it as an ongoing brand experience that begins the moment an individual envisions a future with your organization, and continues throughout the recruitment process, and beyond.

Smart employers consider all the touch points in that process, not just the tone and content of a job description. Every interaction helps shape a candidate’s impression — from the way a company website portrays its workforce, and the way it engages with employees on social media, to the pace and flow of ongoing communication with applicants. No detail should be overlooked.

Why do details count? Because, according to our guests (and the 2013 Candidate Experience Survey Results), these factors make a lasting impression on job seekers. And cumulative impressions can determine a brand’s destiny.

Early results from nearly 50,000 former job candidates confirms what common sense tells us. Once candidates develop a perception of an organization, they’ll share their thoughts with others. And that word-of-mouth behavior can have a measurable impact on your business — for better or worse.

Roadmap For Improvement

Early next year, The Talent Board will publish a detailed survey report to help employers make meaningful changes to their candidate experience. But in the meantime, here are some self assessment questions:

• Have you walked a mile in your candidate’s shoes? (And documented that walk?)
• What kind of first impression does your company project?
• Do you acknowledge job seekers when they apply or submit a resume?
• What proportion of inquiries are completely ignored?
• Is information about your company culture available, accurate and complete?
• Are your employees empowered as brand ambassadors?

Inspiration From Candidate-Friendly Companies

How do great employers like Zappos and Microsoft make their candidate experience stand out? They treat everyone with respect and common sense. They also display other “best practice” behaviors.

These actions leave a lasting positive impression – even when candidates aren’t hired. Even when they’ve invested significant time and energy to conduct company research, customize a resume, apply for the position, prepare for and participate in interviews, and follow-up with hiring managers.

Of course, word now travels incredibly fast on social channels. And with organizations like The Talent Board paying close attention, the voice of the candidate is getting louder all the time.

So, if you care about influencing the way your organization is perceived by candidates, consider the resources and highlights from this week’s #TChat conversation, below. Thanks to everyone who contributed opinions and ideas. This is how we can move the meter in a positive direction!

#TChat Week-In-Review: Candidate Experience Survey Insights

Gerry Crispin (2)

Watch the #TChat “sneak peek” video now

SAT 12/7:

#TChat Preview:
TalentCulture Community Manager, Tim McDonald, framed the week’s topic in a post and “sneak peek” hangout video with guest, Gerry Crispin. Read the Preview: “Candidate Experience: Survey Insights.”

SUN 12/8: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro looked at how employers can improve their hiring process to achieve better business results. Read: “5 Tips For A Winning Candidate Experience.”

MON 12/9:

Related Post: Guest blogger, Matt Charney, recommended a provocative approach to improving the status quo. Read “Compliance: Why It’s The Only Fix For Candidate Experience.

WED 12/4:


Listen to the #TChat Radio replay now

#TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin about the early findings from the candidate experience survey. Fascinating stuff. Listen to the radio recording now!

#TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin, Elaine and Gerry joined the TalentCulture community on the #TChat Twitter stream, for an open crowdsourcing conversation centered on 5 related questions. See highlights in the Storify slideshow below:

#TChat Insights: Candidate Experience Survey Insights

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Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Elaine Orler and Gerry Crispin for sharing your perspectives on candidate experience trends and implications. We value your time and expertise!

NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about how companies can offer a more effective job candidate experience? We welcome your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, #TChat welcomes leadership development expert, Steve Gutzler, to discuss the role that emotional intelligence plays in our job performance and our effectiveness in leading others. Look for more details this weekend.

Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and we look forward to hearing from you.

See you on the stream!

Image Credit: Pixabay