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What? No Skype Interviews? #TChat Recap

That was most surprising to me in last night’s #TChat on interviewing.  The fact that most of the participants didn’t think live webcam interviewing was viable.

Here’s a quote: “Skype interviewing is like buying a car on EBay. Saves a trip, but not always worth the hassle.”

Why is it such a hassle?  I understand the U.S. still falls behind other nations in big Internet bandwidth and solid connectivity, but between basic Internet connections, webcams and Skype to Cisco’s TelePresence Meeting Solutions, we can connect so easily these days live and in person without really being “in person”.

Even smaller firms are hiring remote, virtual teams around the world, and it’s just not fiscally feasible to fly folks in for face-to-face interviews.

Phone screening works well for early-on interviews, but a lot of non-verbal queues are missed when you can’t see the person — and that goes for interviewer and interviewee.  Sure you can “sense” verbal queues via tone and responses, but there’s still interpretation lost without “seeing”.

I thank Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter for having my back:  “I think Skyping will become a ‘norm’ for interviewing; is fairly comfy, easy venue, in my experience. Just go to quiet room, dial up.”

Right on.

Otherwise most participants last night agreed that better interview preparation for employer and applicant are necessary to improve the potential hiring exchange rate.

I agree with one of Meghan’s final points:  “Key take away = Questions should be open — ended; avoid questions that can only be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

That’s the basic premise to behavioral interviewing — probing past performance with scenario-based questions will predict future performance.  You’re not going to get much insight when you ask an applicant “tell what your strengths and weaknesses are.”  But you will when you discover how the applicant acted in specific employment-related situations.

One other point I liked from last night was the fact that interviewing, at least early-stage interviewing, is more about screening out those who don’t make the cut versus identifying hiring potential of those who do.

Here were the questions we asked last night:

  • Q1: Why are interviews so important in the screening and hiring process?
  • Q2: Why are so many employers and applicants “bad” at interviews?
  • Q3: What are the advantages and disadvantages to phone screening?
  • Q4: How much are employers using live video calls for virtual team interviews (Skype)?
  • Q5: Why are behavioral interviews better than traditional interviews?
  • Q6: It’s been said that even the best applicants can train to even best a behavioral interview.  What to do?
  • Q7: How can emotional intelligence be assessed in behavioral interviews?  And can it be?
  • Q8: Any interviews gone bad stories?  Do spill.  I will repeat them in the recap.

I’m going to probe question 7 more in another post, but in the meantime, here’s a Monster article on the subject of interviewing and emotional intelligence.  And it’s hard to tell stories in Twitter because it takes a lot more space that 140 characters, so if any of you want to send me your “interviews gone bad” stories for future fun recapping, please send to me at kgrossman (at) marcomhrsay (dot) com.

The stats from last night were again fantastic.  Who says you can’t engage on Twitter?  We had well over 100 people participating in the actual #TChat hour contributing over 1,200 tweets.

Dang.

Meghan and her savvy TalentCulture team, the TC community and little ol’ me, are again very grateful for you all and for your participation.  You gave us some great ideas for future topics and we look forward to next week already!

Here are some insightful #TChat tweets from last night:

Interviewing: #TChat Preview

Our last #TChat before Thanksgiving was all about assessments.

What was resoundingly clear was the fact that face-to-face interviews were preferred when making hiring decisions, as opposed to using assessments from last week’s chatters. We are still weighing the verdict and will simply keep exploring this.

So Meghan and I decided that the in’s and out’s of interviewing would be the topic for the next #TChat tomorrow, 11/30/10, from 8-9 p.m. ET & 7-8 p.m. CT & 6-7 p.m MT & 5-6 p.m. PT. Remember we welcome global input! Join in from wherever you might be

We’ve got a great group of savvy recruiters, careerists, human resource folk, fascinating leaders, media mavens and hiring managers in our greater TalentCulture community, so we look forward to a festively raucous Twitter discussion on the subject.

Because most “hiring” professionals don’t know know how to objectively interview very well at all.  I would argue that some of the worst hiring decisions are made via interviews.  Yep, I said it.  So bring it.  Plus, most job applicants don’t prepare, at all, for their interviews.

Just ask a few of our resident career experts, Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter and Chris Perry and others….We love this stuff.

We’ll also throw in a shout or two for emotional intelligence (our first #TChat topic) and how that plays a role in interviewing today.

Wherever you stand on interviews and interviewing, there are best practices to follow and we hope to unravel those mysteries in our next #TChat.

Use your favorite Twitter client of choice to follow the lively #TChat hashtag or use to TweetChat and log in with your Twitter handle.

We’ll see you there!  Come subjectively unprepared.  You know, like for an interview.

Assessments: A Satisfying Success! #TChat Recap

I’m full, and Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened yet.

Full from the knowledge and wisdom shared from many fabulous participants and nearly 1,000 tweets in last night’s #TChat all about assessments.  You can see all the stats and transcript here.

The premise for last night was:

There are a variety of companies who provide a myriad of different kinds of assessments.  Many are reliable and valid. And some maybe not so much. The point being, we want to know what kind of analyzing techniques you and your organization uses, for whom, and why, and what results you’ve seen to date.

By no means was this valid scientific sampling of the workplace, but what was interesting was that for the most part, no one uses pre-employment assessments.  We saw Wonderlic pop up and maybe there was one or two others, but otherwise our participants use development assessments like DiSC and MBTI (Myers Briggs).

In fact, those where primarily the main two that kept coming up over and over (although StrengthsFinder came up a few times now that I’m reviewing). Considering the list I posted in the promo, even development assessments aren’t used much.

There was some confusion early on in #TChat about whether or not folks used the DiSC and/or MBTI for recruiting/hiring, which is a no-no, but I’m pretty sure it was clarified that they were not.

When I asked about emotional intelligence assessments, I received nothing but crickets chirping.  That bummed me out.

Here’s a sampling of the questions we asked (although not all were numbered):

  • Q1: Does your org use assessments for recruiting, hiring and developing employees? Why or Why not?
  • How do you screen when hiring? Only interviews and reference checking? Industry and position specific?
  • Q2: What other types of assessments do you use? (emotional intelligence, personality, talent and skills-based, etc.)
  • Any job seekers on this chat who have recently taken a pre-employment assessment? If so, what?
  • Q3: Assessments a money sink? What’s the ROI and do any of you measure?
  • Are there internal assessments to measure first 3-6 month productivity/development?
  • Q4: Besides mainstream assessments already mentioned, why aren’t many others used in hiring and development?
  • Since last week was about emotional intelligence, anyone used MHS EQ-i, TalentSmart, etc.? Results?

Most everyone was in agreement that “retention” is the primary measure of ROI on any type of assessment. But what was resoundingly clear (and probably because we had a lot of recruiting folk on the #TChat), was the fact that face-to-face interviews were preferred when making hiring decisions.  That could be the topic for the next #TChat — the in’s and out’s of interviewing candidates for roles? We think yes.

A special thanks to Dr. Charles Handler from Rocket-Hire for joining us and sharing his assessment insight (@RocketHire).  I learned about face validity again, something I haven’t heard since my college psych days.

Also, thank you to @HRMargo, @LevyRecruits, @IanMondrow, @sbrownehr, @CyndyTrivella@jkeithdunbar, @KateNasser, @ValueIntoWords, @AliciaSanera, @tlcolson, @BillBoorman, @AvidCareerist, @heatherhuhman, @dawnbugni and everyone else who participated!

TalentCulture captain Meghan M. Biro and her savvy team, the TC community and little ol’ me, are very grateful for you all.  Thank you again for participating. We look forward to next week already!

Here are some insightful #TChat tweets from last night. Have a bite! Happy Thanksgiving!

Perils of Brand Abandonment: Strive for Shiny, Fresh and Authentic

Brand is something that cuts both ways in the recruiting business. Candidates have personal brands – we talk about that a lot on the TalentCulture blog – and companies have brands. A company’s brand directly relates to it’s workplace culture. An excellent (and disturbing) article by David Lee on ERE.net has me thinking about the perils of brand abandonment – those moments when people, or companies, stop paying attention to the messages they’re sending out when they are hiring and retaining talent.

Brand, the way I talk about it with candidates, is a shorthand way of presenting yourself to others. It’s more than an elevator pitch, but it relies on the same idea: a condensed and polished presentation of a few key facts about you and why you’d be a good employee. As I’ve written here, a personal brand should present your skills, interests, personality attributes and values in a coherent manner that will be compelling and authentic to recruiters and hiring managers.

For companies the process isn’t that different. An organization/workplace may start with a mission statement, then move on to values and objectives, but the point of the exercise is the same: to create a compelling, credible, and authentic collective persona – a culture brand – that is compelling to customers, investors and valuable employees. Of course, we know workplace culture is so much more than a mere mission statement. Healthy organizations strive to make their brand consistent on all angles.

But sometimes, when you’ve worked to establish your brand, you start to believe the shorthand version. You drink the Kool-Aid. You stop listening, stop monitoring how people react, and stop thinking about the value of your brand.

Lee’s article describes a survey in which candidates describe horrific, dispiriting experiences they had with prospective employers. Read the article for particulars, but the net is this: treating candidates poorly at any point in the recruiting process leaves them with a bad impression of your company. It’s brand abandonment, and it’s completely avoidable.

Brand abandonment is a real risk for career seeking candidates as well.

Here are a few points of risk:

Social Media and TMI

Social media can be the enemy of brand for a job seeker. We’ve all heard the stories of candidates being screened out for Facebook and Twitter posts. Don’t put anything on social media you wouldn’t tell your grandmother. The not-cool grandmother. I’m not saying do not be authentic and interesting. If your not-cool grandmother does not accept your unique personality well then – perhaps we can ignore her. I want you to be you! Just be thoughtful. Protect yourself here.

Poor Interview Technique

Talk about what you can do for the employer. In an interview situation you need to reinforce the links between your brand value and the company’s brand, without being narcissistic. Don’t reveal details that aren’t relevant. You may have been an Eagle Scout, but that was then and this is now. Listen, don’t just talk.

Improper (or no) Follow up

It is absolutely imperative to follow up with a thank you note. Unless part of your personal brand is being rude, there’s no excuse for not saying thank you. No scented pink paper, check your spelling, sum up the key takeaway of the interview – What you learned about the company, why you’d be the right candidate, why it’s the right company/fit.

Check Your References Before the Interviewer Does

Don’t count on the boss you had three jobs ago for a great reference – make sure you’ll get one by making a call and running through what you need in a reference and what he or she is comfortable saying. Don’t trust your brand to someone else: make sure you’re on the same page before you hand out names and phone numbers.

Brand is a responsibility. It takes care, constant monitoring and periodic refreshes. You are your personal brand. And companies need to stay present and take full responsibility for their brand behaviors by being consistent and sensitive to the messages they are sending career seekers about their workplace culture. Bottom line: Use what you’ve got to keep it shiny and fresh.

Image Credit: Stock.xchng

VIP Treatment for Hiring Managers and Recruiters: College Campuses

Today’s guest post is by our talented colleague and friend  Karla Porter.  Karla is the Director of Work Force Development and Human Resources for a chamber of business, industry and economic develop­ment agency in Pennsylvania and blogs about Human Capital & New Media at karlaporter.com You can follow her on Twitter @karla_porter for “all things human capital, career, recruiting and new media… maybe more.”

In 2008, college students and their parents were wearing out their worry beads thinking there would be little hope for a long time for graduates and no way to pay students loans for many years to come. Post graduate enrollment increased with students thinking they might as well stay in college rather than face unemployment or have to deal with underemployment. At least that way they could stave off student loans a while longer.

At the same time, in one of life’s ha ha I fooled you moments, employers coming out of recessionary shock realized the economic woes were going to be a chronic case of global acid reflux not a mere blip on the radar, but they couldn’t necessarily hold out on hiring any longer. What to do?

In many companies the answer has been to help manage budget cuts by hiring recent college graduates with the aptitude to do the job at entry level salaries, rather than seasoned professionals with track records that command heavyweight salaries.  At the very least, hiring managers are much more willing to interview and seriously consider recent graduates than perhaps they have ever been. Whether it will prove to be a wise business decision in the long run or not, it’s the hand many hiring managers and recruiters have been dealt.

So, why not enjoy the VIP treatment college and university career services centers are delighted to bestow upon you in order to help place their grads, especially in these times of a tight job market? Get to know the players, build rapport with them and they’ll turn into a team of willing assistants for you. It might even help ease the pain of a “light” placement fee for third party recruiters or a smaller bonus for in-house recruiters.

Here are some tips to tap into talent – even if you don’t have a budget to get out to on-site campus recruitment events. I’ll use computer science/engineering majors as an example.

Do you have any tips you would like to share for tapping into fresh college graduate talent? Interested to hear your stories and examples.

Recruitfest! Join Us. The Future of Talent Starts Here

I’m very excited TalentCulture is a corporate sponsor for this event Thursday, Oct 7th. Look forward to seeing everyone. We will also be present at the TweetUp – Here is today’s guest post from Eric Winegardner, Vice President, Client Adoption, Monster Worldwide.

This week promises to be the highlight of my year.  In just two days, nearly a year’s worth of brainstorming and planning will come to fruition and illustrate the possibilities when two organizations partner around a common desire of moving the Recruiting industry forward.  Of course, I am talking about Recruitfest!

I had the opportunity to attend RecruitFest! in-person last year in Toronto. I had skipped the inaugural event the year before and to this day consider it a professional miss.  What I experienced over those two days was a truly unique, transformative recruiting event that I knew I wanted to be a part of- and quite honestly wanted Monster to be involved in.  The first day had not even wrapped, and the wheels of partnership were in motion.

There’s something about the RecruitFest! brand that attracts the best and brightest minds from our industry.  Some credit the casual environment where people can participate in the conversations that matter to them.  Others say it is the design of the agenda that encourages speakers to lead conversations around topics rarely discussed, but critical to moving our profession forward.  I think it is a combination of the two- great people having passionate conversations about the possibilities inherent to the evolving world of work.

While this year’s RecruitFest! agenda is a bit more structured, it is still built around voicing opinions (however controversial) and exploring possibilities with the objective of transforming the conversation from theory into practice.   Our collective goal for the day is that everyone walk out (or log off) of RecruitFest! excited about being a part of this amazing community and reminded that what we do is perhaps one of the most noble professions on the planet: finding great jobs for great people.

Most importantly, we want you to have an experience that changes the way you think about recruiting and makes you a stronger, better informed professional equipped to serve the people who really matter: your clients and your candidates.

The Recruitfest! agenda is designed to tackle the business of recruiting holistically. We know that it’s not all about sourcing, or interviewing, or compensation, or benefits or any of the hundreds of tactical responsibilities involved in placing the right candidate in the right job.  It’s about how all of those elements can work together to position you and your talent organization as strategic business partners.

This year, we’ve selected a group of world-class leaders to steer the conversation.  Just check out this line-up!  Some are familiar names, others will be.  They all have one thing in common, wicked-smart and passionate about the business! What’s cool is we’ve grouped them together to facilitate conversations about topics that while they may be experts in require examining perspectives that they- and you- might not have thought of before or even entirely embraced.

More interestingly, the track leaders will be joining the audience of recruiting professionals at the event for the duration, participating in and adding to the dialogue as peers, not “influencers” or “thought leaders.”  That means that you get to hear from some of the most influential minds working in talent today, talking about the topics that really matter, in a completely spontaneous, unscripted, and unrehearsed format.  More importantly, they want to hear what you think.

The biggest learning opportunities and most valuable takeaways at RecruitFest! happen in real time. That’s because the conversation informs the content, instead of the other way around.  And that’s where you come in.

I truly believe that the best ideas and the brightest minds in recruiting don’t necessarily spend their time publishing blogs, joining me on the conference circuit or even sharing their insights and ideas with others in the recruiting community.  Why? You’re too busy recruiting!

October 7 is the day that all changes.  That’s because RecruitFest! has redesigned the un-conference experience it introduced to the recruiting space.  We will be utilizing cutting-edge tools and technologies to create a true “un-conference” experience whether you’re in Boston, Baltimore or Beijing.  You don’t just get to watch the stream at your desk, you get to participate in the conversation! The Recrutifest! virtual experience will allow you to converse with other participants, ask questions of the presenters and in-studio attendees, and evolve the conversation- all from the convenience and comfort of your own desk.

I encourage you to check out the schedule, speaker bios and session descriptions and start thinking now about how you can lend your voice to shaping the success of RecruitFest!  Register for the FREE virtual event today, and join during every available moment you have on Thursday!

As the emcee of the event, it’s my job not only to introduce our amazing speakers and awesome topics, but to keep the dialogue flowing.  That means it’s my responsibility (and my promise) to show no preference to any attendee because of how they are hearing and seeing the conference.  I don’t care where you are.  I care what you think.  And it’s not every day that a recruiter hears that.

 

5 Ways to Tell if Your Internship is Legal, Regardless of Pay

Just because your internship is paid, doesn’t make it a good program. And, just because your internship is unpaid doesn’t make it an illegal, brand-damaging blight on the company.

Instead, when evaluating an internship opportunity, take pay out of the equation (I’m serious!) and investigate the presence of these five factors:

Mentorship: If you are the “public relations intern,” for example, you’d better be supervised by someone who actually knows about public relations. In addition, this person should devote the time to being your sounding board — and be genuinely interested in your future enough to answer all of your questions, or put you in touch with someone who can.

Learning: You should be learning something new every day – and completing real projects. I always recommend interns keep an informal journal of their experiences – mostly so you don’t forget what you’ve accomplished to add to your résumé later. Set up a meeting with your supervisor once or twice a month to go over your journal to make sure you’re both still on the same page.

Another way to ensure learning throughout your internship is to set goals at the very beginning against which you can measure at the end. You might want to ask about this during the interview process.

Networking: Especially if the organization can’t offer you a job at the end of your internship, it’s important to provide you with access to people who might. Along similar lines, make sure you have at least one sit-down with senior leaders within the organization sometime before your internship ends.

Work Samples: This depends on the field and confidentiality rules of the company, but if you can swing it, make sure you walk away with not only accomplishment stories, but also physical proof of what you’ve done while interning for the organization.

Recognition: Throughout the internship, outstanding interns should be recognized for their hard work. If you came up with a great idea – particularly if the organization goes on to use the idea – other people in the company should know about it! And, at the end of the internship, ask your supervisor if s/he would be willing to serve as a reference. In fact, during the interview process, ask about the company’s overall reference policy — and your supervisor’s personal policy.

Although I laid out the specifics for a few the above, every single point can be asked about during the interview process — before you start your internship. It’s important you to enter every internship with your eyes wide open to what you’ll be experiencing, regardless of pay.

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