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#WorkTrends: Hiring Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants (VA) offer young brands the flexibility to focus on other areas of the business.

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From multitasking between meetings and meal prep to the issues of internet and noise levels, many of us are still trying to adjust to this new normal. But we don’t have to do it alone. Big and small companies are hiring helpers to come to the rescue. These virtual assistants (VAs) and freelancers can take on the tasks that give employees a break and keep the business going.  

Nathan Hirsch, co-founder of Outsource School, came to #WorkTrends to talk about this new trend. For entrepreneurs and leaders he’s got one rule of thumb: bring in help before you’re in dire straits early. “When you can’t walk away from your business for a week, a moment — that’s usually a good indication that you need to hire followers” — as he calls VAs.

The same approach applies as with bringing in any outside help: make sure everyone is on the same page and onboard well. Outsource School uses an onboarding process called SICC: Schedule, Issues, Communication and Culture. VAs also receive standard operating procedures for their first week at work and are tasked with not just reading them, but asking questions. A quiz determines whether they need more training or not — and at that point, if the fit isn’t right, each party may decide to part ways. “That’s how you protect your time, protect your investment and build trust,” he noted. 

For managers, Nathan advises “making sure you set those communication channels up front” to get the process aligned — whether that includes emails, Slack, WhatsApp, Viber or all of them. Then coach VAs on which to use when. For VAs, asking for support when needed is critical. And I predict that we’re going to see more VAs coming onboard now and into the future, so this is an option I’d take seriously. 

We covered a lot of ground in this discussion, so I encourage you to have a listen for yourself. Got feedback? Feel free to weigh in on Twitter or on LinkedIn. (And make sure to add the #WorkTrends℠ hashtag so others in the TalentCulture community can follow along.)

Find Nathan Hirsh on Linkedin and Twitter

(Editor’s note: This month, we’re announcing upcoming changes to #WorkTrends podcasts and Twitter chats. To learn about these changes as they unfold, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.)

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 

Talent Acquisition Success in 2016: The Empowered Recruiter [Webinar]

To stay competitive in 2016, your talent acquisition success will depend on a combination of effective recruitment marketing strategies, increased speed, and quality hiring processes.

All of which looks good on paper but can feel overwhelming.

Finding the right candidate is often like searching for a needle in a haystack. Your recruitment marketing strategies deliver new volumes of candidates for open roles, using various channels to attract that sought-after talent. And your optimized career page, social sources and job board listings engage candidates better than ever before.

Now what? Are you essentially creating a bigger “haystack” that those elusive “needles” are buried in? You don’t have time for that.

As recruiters, your fundamental responsibility is to find the best people for any given job as fast as possible—regardless of the complexities you face with sourcing, hiring processes or volume of candidates. You need faster and easier candidate identification. You need tools that make you more productive as a recruiter.

What if you could actually create smaller “haystacks” for each open requisition you have, and be automatically presented a handful of potential “needles”?

You can. With a next generation ATS (Applicant Tracking System) – a platform that brings candidate intelligence, analytics, integration, and automation right to your fingertips, strengthening your ability to derive actionable insights from the database.

Become an empowered recruiter and experience talent acquisition success in 2016! Join PeopleFluent and Meghan M. Biro, on December 10, 2015, at  2PM EST for our webinar: “Talent Acquisition Success in 2016 Part 1: The Empowered Recruiter.”

Here’s what you can expect to learn:

  • The imperatives of robust, dynamic talent pipelines
  • Specific opportunities to simplify complex sourcing requirements
  • How to build and manage recruiting analytics that empower you
  • How mobile capabilities accelerate and amplify some of the most core functions of modern applicant tracking databases

You’ll also learn more about next generation Applicant Tracking Systems, like PeopleFluent Recruiting, which are purpose-built for enterprise recruiting by simplifying complex recruiting processes, accelerating candidate identification and engaging candidates, recruiters and hiring managers.

This valuable information will help you find, attract, hire, and align the best candidates in 2016 and will give you a critical edge over your competition. Click here to register today!

photo credit: Cross Processing Experiments via photopin (license)

 

PeopleFluent is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post.