5 Tips To Hire Right The First Time

HR lesson for 2016: Pay attention.

Interviewing and hiring is never simple. Just like loving someone for all the wrong reasons, you can hire — or not hire someone — and err in judgment. Some of it has to do with them, but a lot of it has to do with us. Bottom line: Even if you’ve got the perfect candidate, creating a positive takeaway in terms of interviewing and the hiring process is critical. The first real portal into an employer brand is the recruiting and hiring process. But there are more ways to do it wrong that right.

Here are five tips for getting it right the first time.

1. Consider the employer brand. Keep that as your north star, everything aligned in that direction, and you’re ahead of the talent game. According to a recent study, 69 percent of job seekers would not take a job with a company that has a bad reputation — even if they’re unemployed. Which means keeping not only a positive image, but also the reality of your employer brand well-scrubbed. It is critical for attracting the right talent. It also means taking a hard looking your candidate experience.

2. Sweat the small stuff, and search far and wide. Social media means everyone has access to everyone, which means there’s an incredible amount of information available for the taking and the giving. Note that 84 percent of hires would consider leaving their current job if offered a job by a company with an excellent reputation. This also confirms the old adage of leaving no stone unturned. Pay attention to the micro as well as the macro when it comes to searching for viable candidates — passive or active.

3. Calibrate your hiring to the season. If you’re a startup, get a jump on hiring with a healthy recruiting push in January — when small and hungry may be the message a potential hire looking for a better employer wants to hear. Career resolutions are big for the New Year, one reason the beginning of the year sees a spike in the traffic on LinkedIn’s Job Slots — up some 250 percent. Ditch the challenge of going up against a Goliath and trying to match them perk for perk. Instead, take advantage of the beginning of the year to show off the lean gleam of a new firm with loads of potential.

4. Max out the metrics. As was recently pointed out, we’re living in the midst of a recruitment paradox, in which what we recruit is not necessarily what we want to retain. What constitutes a perfect hire — and how you measure it — has long been the subject of debate. Now is the time to deepen the intelligence of your metrics, and see where the gaps are, such as: qualified applicants, turnover, vacancy rate, declined vs. accepted offers, and the performance of new hires based on the source that generated the lead (a great one to measure).

5. Make it easy to stay. There’s a reason why certain companies win CandE Awards for their candidate experience – and a reason to follow their lead. Bungled interviews, inappropriate questions, talent overlooked for all the wrong reasons; insufficient caretaking and lackluster onboarding is going to prompt that new hire to reconsider his or her options. Once we shift into, “I’m looking for a job” mode, it’s easy to return there; and certainly brief stints have become acceptable within the new work culture.

Make sure the roots set deep with your candidate experience. There are indeed best practices and good etiquette, and best to heed them. The Talent Board noted that only 85.3 percent of organizations sent a “thank you” correspondence to applications, down from 89.5 percent; recruiters who are required to respond dropped nearly ten percent, from 49.3 to 39.6 percent.

No matter how fancy your analytics or social media searching, there’s still one factor you can’t overlook. We are human. As writer, film-maker and perpetual job-seeker Heath Padgett found out when he quit his software sales job and traveled the country in an RV, working a different job in each state, we really are only as good as our hearts and minds. They are still what we need to improve hiring practices. And, yes, relationships are still critical.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes on 12/30/15 

4 Ways To Be A More Resilient Leader

Sundays are “Breakfast with Music Time” (Could be Arcade Fire, or Keith Urban, or Tamar Braxton, or Mogwai, or any variety of other eclectic stuff I listen to every day, but those are stories for another day). This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to be a resilient person, a resilient leader. Sunday morning, there was Ringo from the Beatles, belting away “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends”. What song could be a better anthem for resiliency?

Why resiliency? Last year I wrote about employer brand and candidate experience. Subsequent conversations with friends, family and clients made me realize organizations, and employees, and people, need more than a strong brand and the intent to engage and create a positive experience for employees and potential talent. We need resilient organizations with flexible, resourceful leaders to create the most productive work culture for people.

Most organizations make a plan and figure that will get them where they need to go. But much of the time things don’t go according to plan, and people lose heart and focus. Employees start asking the same questions every day, betraying their unease and uncertainty. Leaders may parrot the same answers every day, telling people it’s just the way it is, get over it. But it’s not enough, and the organization and its people will ultimately falter.

We all need to believe that things will be ok, that tomorrow or next week or next year will be better. And we need an organization that makes it possible to believe, one that makes it possible to keep working hard. We need a resilient organization. Uncertainty is the enemy. Many people are talking about what it takes to be resilient: Michael Ballard, for example, has looked deeply into why some people encounter a setback and go on to thrive while others falter and fail to progress. His experience is an exercise in choice: we can choose to progress, or through fear or uncertainty become stuck. I’ve benefitted from Michael’s wisdom in my struggles to understand why my dad is trapped in Alzheimer’s, and to find some way to come to terms with it and move forward. In that process I’ve realized we can all benefit from a set of coping skills. These work for CEOs, HR managers and employees of any level: we all need the same set of coping skills.

1. Realize it’s not all about you. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, as Harold Kushner wrote. Agonizing over why bad things happen is the fast track to being stuck. Resilient people, and organizations, know how to adapt to bad things by reframing negative experiences. You are not responsible for everything that happens. A bad quarter is the work of an organization, not an individual. Disease is a process, not a judgment. Know which errors are yours and correct them, but don’t project them onto other people, and don’t hold yourself responsible for every bad thing in your life.

2. Control what you can, and don’t beat yourself up for what is beyond your control. I cannot control the disease that is devastating my dad, but I can control how I respond to it, and how I help my family cope. I can choose to be a victim, or I can choose to survive and thrive while supporting my family. Not a difficult choice, is it?

 3. Pay attention to relationships. Building and maintaining enduring relationships is key to being a resilient person. It’s the same with organizations: build relationships with partners, customers and prospects (this is where brand comes back in). Many of the relationships that sustain us are forged in the workplace. Be a good friend, a good listener, and a good supporter of people’s best selves.

4. Think positive. My dentist once told me I needed a root canal and then handed me a book of positive affirmations. Better than nitrous? No, but it did help reframe the problem: it was a simple solution to a fairly straightforward problem. (Dentists please take this as intended.) The point is bad things, especially in the workplace or in your career, are seldom life threatening. Learn to see them as an opportunity: if someone doesn’t like your presentation, you can choose to learn why, and at the same time realize it was a reaction to one piece of work, not a judgment on your entire professional life.

We all have the choice to be trapped in the present bad thing, or to learn from it and rebound. Sometimes it seems too difficult to choose; there’s something compelling about being a victim of circumstances. But passivity is a trap. Resilient people, resilient leaders, and organizations, take action, own what’s theirs, and learn from the rest. Choose to bounce back. Choose to learn. Be resilient. Stay true to you and the people who believe in you.

A version of this post was first published on Forbes on May 4, 2014

photo credit: Ascent Magazine Atos Thought Leadership – Caught in the web via photopin (license)

Forbes Picks TalentCulture As A Top Career Site: 3 Reasons Why It Matters

“The people to get even with are those who’ve helped you.”
–J.E. Southard

Today it’s time for us to “get even” by expressing deep gratitude! Why? Because has selected TalentCulture as one of “100 Top Websites For Your Career.” Of course we’re thrilled — and not just for all the obvious reasons. So, in the spirit of lists everywhere, here are our 3 Reasons Why This Forbes List Matters:

1) It Matters For Our Mission

By including us, Forbes is acknowledging the rise of crowdsourcing and virtual communities of practice in today’s social business world. And, if you consider the breadth and caliber of the company we’re keeping, it truly is an honor to be featured.

2) It Matters To Others In The World Of Work

On this list, everyone is a winner because there are no rankings. Instead, as Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith notes:

“Our goal was to assemble a comprehensive guide to smart and engaging…online destinations for interns, job seekers, business owners, established professionals, retirees, and anyone else looking to launch, improve, advance, or change his or her career.”

forbes-logoForbes has developed a highly eclectic mix of sites. It’s not just about wildly popular social platforms like Twitter; professional networking sites like LinkedIn; job boards like CareerBuilder; and reference sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forbes actually adds meat to those big bones with niche services like CareerBliss and PayScale, as well as informational sites like Lindsey Pollak and Jobacle.

However, for us, the most exciting sites on the list are the many valued friends, partners and participants in our TalentCulture community. For example:

Blogging4Jobs by Jessica Miller-Merrell
Brazen Life by Brazen Careerest
Come Recommended by Heather Huhman
Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter
The Office Blend by Dr. Marla Gottschalk
Tweak It Together by Cali Yost
WorkLifeNation by Judy Martin
YouTern by Mark Babbitt

3) We Hope It Matters To You

Most importantly, this recognition is a positive reflection on each of you — the tens-of-thousands of monthly visitors who rely upon TalentCulture as a resource for helpful “world of work” ideas, insights, connections and conversations with professional peers.

This milestone is also an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the hundreds of community participants who, for nearly 4 years have generously developed blog content, appeared as guests on our #TChat Radio shows, participated in our popular #TChat Twitter events, and shared knowledge and peer support continuously on our social media channels.

TalentCulture exists only because of the time, effort and skill that each of you contribute. That’s the beauty of community. This isn’t merely a “website.” This is a reflection of a continuous collaborative process that our founder, Meghan M. Biro, calls a “metaphor for the social workplace.”

Truly, in this case, we could not have done this with out you. So thanks to you all! And congratulations on what you’ve helped us create. Stay tuned to this site — and let’s see where our living learning laboratory will take us next!

Image Credit: redagainPatti at flickr


HR Tech as High Art and Deep Science

(Editor’s Note: For full insights from this week’s events see High Tech or High Touch? #TChat Recap.)

If you’ve seen this week’s #TChat Preview, you know that I’m packing my Team TalentCulture bags and heading for Philadelphia to join the action at the HRO Today Forum — where I’ll again help judge the iTalent innovation showdown.

Although it’s a live show-and-tell competition among vendors, I don’t think of it as a smackdown. Instead, I think of it as a celebration. A very important celebration.

The Upside of Change

Why is this so important? And why now? Because the world of work is changing at a phenomenal rate — and there’s no going back. You can find evidence everywhere — and it’s exciting. Just think about it. Only a year ago, at the first iTalent competition, HR infrastructure was in a much different place.

Enterprise adoption of social business is no longer just a smart idea, but a requirement that is rapidly redefining organizational culture. This shift is spawning a whole new class of start-ups — ventures that are challenging the status quo across the HR technology space. The convergence of cloud computing, big data, mobile connectivity, collaboration tools and social channels is disrupting talent management processes at every level.

Some might feel threatened — but that kind of inertia is eroding fast.

There’s a new mantra in the networked organization — adopt and adapt. That means there is no wide-open, well-marked, straight-line path to the future. On the other hand, leaders can no longer afford to delay or deny. Agility is the keyword in a world of relentless change. Without it, organizations jeopardize the effectiveness of their workforce, the vibrancy of their corporate culture, and the competitive advantage that comes from a strong talent infrastructure.

This is today’s truth. The road ahead may be uncertain, but I’m on your side. So you might as well hear it from me.

HR as High Art and as Deep Science


Read the post now…

So with the future at stake, how do we get “there” from “here”?

As I noted in my Forbes column this week, technology, alone, is not enough.

HR (specifically talent management) is an art because, at it’s heart, it’s about people – in all their messy glory. It’s about hiring the right people, and then inspiring and enabling them to deliver stellar performance.

HR is a also science because there are ways to measure talent, skills and compatibility that can take some of the guesswork out of the process and dramatically increase the odds of success.

Imagine being able to recruit, hire, recognize, measure and reward stellar performance on a virtually continuous basis. Imagine a real-time feedback loop that allows leaders to gauge the pulse and productivity of their organizations from mobile devices and tablets. Imagine unsung workforce heroes receiving the recognition they so richly deserve.

All of that is already happening now, thanks to new HR technology — in the hands of smart talent-minded professionals. I’d say that’s reason to celebrate the art and the science that makes the “human” side of business so complex, so rich, and so rewarding.

And that’s why — no matter which vendor “wins” the iTalent competition — I am celebrating the fact HR innovation is leading us to a whole new future of work.

To look more closely at this topic, read my post:

HR Technology: A Revolution for the World of Work

(Editor’s Note: For full insights from this week’s events see High Tech or High Touch? #TChat Recap.)

Image Credit: Pixabay

The Human Side of HR Self-Service

(Editor’s Note: If it’s Monday, this must be Meghan’s #TChat Preview, right? Well, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we’re shifting the editorial flow. Starting this week, you’ll see #TChat Preview/Sneak Peek videos even earlier than before. Our Community Manager, Tim McDonald, is posting weekly previews on the weekend, so that Meghan is free on Mondays to share whatever is on her mind. That should keep us all guessing! Let us know what you think of this approach. And as always, thanks for your support!)

HR & Technology: A Natural Power Couple

I’m psyched about the upcoming HRO Today Forum in Philadelphia from April 30-May 2. This is a fun HR/Tech meeting of the minds. It’s always exciting and inspiring — filled with the best and brightest minds, and the latest cool and innovative HR technologies. In fact, this will be my second year serving as a judge at the Forum’s iTalent competition. Think of it as “The Voice” (or as I put it last year, “The X Factor”) for those of us who obsess over HR technology. I can’t wait to see who wins this showdown!

Forbes_MeghanMBiro_on Attributes of a World-Class Workforce

Read the full column now…

What Makes HR Tech So Powerful?

But of course, tech for tech’s sake isn’t the goal. It’s really about finding ways to create a better world of work. As I explain in my column this week…

Self-service is a key development in building and retaining a work-class workforce. It is a key leadership and learning tool. It is what the future looks like. And it’s here today. 

But … Self-service is no substitute for savvy hiring. It can take smart hiring to a new level, but never, ever forget that hiring is the bottom line in HR and leadership. If you hire wrong, all the “insanely great” self-service efficiency in the world will be worthless.

So, even as we embrace new ways to operate more efficiently and effectively, we need to keep our eyes on the strategic business prize. To see the full picture from my point-of-view, read my Forbes post:

“5 Attributes of a World-Class Workforce”

Bottom line: Technology is only as valuable and productive as the people using it. Until robots rule the world, people are your core asset. So let’s not lose sight of what really makes the world of work go around.

P.S. Want to explore the link between workforce strategy and technology in deeper detail? Then read this week’s #TChat Preview post, and join the conversation!

(Editorial Note: Want to read the RECAP of the week’s #TChat events? See “HR: What Are You Waiting For?)

Image Credit: Pixabay