The Age of the Super-Recruiter

An Interview with Sanjoe Jose, CEO and Cofounder of Talview

The challenges in hiring span from finding the right talent to finding the technology to help make successful hires. And we’ve seen an incredibly fast-paced phase of innovation in the field. At the forefront are leaders like Sanjoe Tom Jose, cofounder and CEO of Talview.

Sanjoe is passionate about making hiring easier with cutting-edge AI and machine learning-based technologies. He’s also likely one of the rare innovators who turned down an offer from Google to strike out on his own. Instead, he built Talview — which stands for ‘talent view.’ The firm’s Instahiring Experience platform is the first to bring the one-click consumer experience to a hiring context, radically shortening an organization’s time-to-hire. 

We talked about how AI can be leveraged to transform the whole hiring journey, about his thoughts on the market, and why certain hiring teams are AI-averse — despite the fact that given today’s talent race, recruiting needs, and deserves, a real shot in the arm.

What market problems are you trying to solve?

In speaking with our customers, hiring lag or a long hiring process is their biggest challenge. Businesses always need talent as soon as possible. But hiring lag also impacts other key hiring metrics — such as Quality of Hire, since the best candidates are only available in the market for ten days. This is especially critical in the gig economy, where companies can’t spend 2 months to hire someone who might only be employed for 6-12 months. Long hiring processes and not being able to provide remote functions also impact the Candidate Experience: 57% of candidates drop out of the hiring funnel due to a long hiring process. Companies also need a way to showcase their culture, values, and expectations to candidates before they’re hired, as it will help new hires ramp up quicker.

In your view, how is the candidate experience broken?

The back-and-forth process between employer and employee can easily become slow and confusing due to the time it takes to screen and select the best resumes, contact the candidate, arrange an interview time that suits both parties, and organize for someone to conduct

the interview. It’s not just a lack of speed that’s hurting businesses’ hiring process, either. The quality of the candidate’s experience as they go through the different stages of the funnel is also suffering at the hands of inefficient and aging recruitment practices. Job applicants are often forced to take off work to make multiple trips to attend interviews in person, and once they’re in the final stages, an offer can take weeks. A poor candidate experience also means applicants drop out of the funnel, and they’re less likely to reapply to the same company in the future.

Let’s talk a bit about solutions. How can technology fix some of these problems? 

In our own firm, we base solutions on three propellers: Remote, Automate, and Reuse. Generally, organizations need to be able to complete screening assessments and interviews online — they should not have to rely on physical face to face, especially if the best talent is remote. This can be done through live and recorded modes, saving candidates as well as recruiters immense time while both parties are still deciding if there’s a good fit.

And there are so many routine recruitment processes that are still completed by humans when they could be automated, such as screening resumes and scheduling interviews. Automating these processes frees up recruiters ’so they can spend time on far more value-adding activities,such as conducting final-stage interviews. And automation should be able to function round the clock, so candidates don’t have to wait to hear back from recruiters, and their questions can be answered immediately by a chatbot. 

Finally, recruiters and candidates as well need a way of streamlining the process when this is a repeat applicant. That means recording all application and interview data — so it’s available to reuse when a candidate reapplies to work for the same organization, and they can be fast-forwarded to the relevant stage. There’s no reason they should have to go through those assessments and interviews they already completed when they applied previously. Reuse just makes it easier.

How do you leverage AI and machine learning in your platform? What phases are you using AI and ML for in terms of the hiring journey? Is it end to end?

Yes — we’ve leveraged AI and ML to automate and drive more insights — all the way from the top of the hiring funnel right through to the moment of hire. From the start of the process, these technologies are used to screen resumes, derive additional insights from interviews and expertly match candidates to their ideal roles. As the candidate goes through each step from the location of their choice, computer vision is leveraged to authenticate their identity and administer multiple variety of skill based assessments. During the interview process, the technology assists hiring managers in conducting an objective interview — by building a behavioral profile of the candidate that leverages speech recognition and natural language processing, and giving suggestions as to areas hiring managers should probe from a non-technical skills standpoint. With companies struggling to assess soft skills accurately, these kinds of behavioral reports help companies hone in on communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills.

Do you think organizations can benefit more from recruiting platforms that are all-in-one inclusive?  

I do. While there are many pinpointed solutions that impact one or two steps in the hiring process, disparate systems can pose problems for enterprises, such as time-consuming, inefficient data entry and reconciliation processes. It’s more effective to have a seamless experience. Inefficiencies can lead to user dissatisfaction for all parties involved. And while some organizations do try to integrate disparate systems themselves, the performance is far from optimal and adds major overhead. We wanted to be enable the true digitization of hiring, and provide a platform that could be integrated with any of the leading Applicant Tracking Systems. I think that’s the kind of solution both sides want — the candidates as well as the hiring teams.  

My last question: What would you say to companies that are reluctant to shift to AI and machine learning for recruiting and hiring?

AI offers significant benefits while applied in the recruiting process, and hence is bound to become a significant part of every organization’s recruiting strategy sooner or later. AI can be leveraged to automate a lot of mundane tasks recruiters today perform — like matching a resume to the job description and scheduling of an interview. It enables recruitment teams to become true strategists and candidate experience champions, and ensure the best candidates join their organizations. It would be wiser for teams to leverage the benefits of AI and become super-recruiters than to get left behind.

To learn more about Talview, visit

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Hiring Process

As artificial intelligence evolves, we’re going to increasingly rely on it for boosting the hiring process. In Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, author Max Tegmark asserts that the “rise of AI has the potential to transform our future more than any other technology.” So it is, as we already see in hiring. AI is already saving HR teams time and money while attracting the best candidates in these key ways:

Solving the Sourcing Process

A recent study found that 46 percent of companies struggle with finding and attracting the right candidates for their open positions. AI programs can search online resumes and social profiles to find the best candidates for each job based on specific traits. They can also relay personalized messages to promising candidates and do it in scale — something human recruiters could not do alone. 

AI is being taught to overcome human biases during sourcing and screening. The key is teaching the program on data that presents as gender-neutral and training it to ignore other identifying information that might trigger biased decisions. An organization may end up with a pool of applicants far more diverse than if the HR team itself had sourced them.

Enhancing Employee Experience

Once your AI program sources and contacts candidates, AI can lead them through the recruiting funnel quickly and efficiently, ensuring the candidate experience goes smoothly.  Recruiter chatbots can provide real-time answers to candidate questions, offer quick feedback and suggest next steps. They can provide links to promising job descriptions, clarify company hours and location, and schedule interviews. 

Having a good experience during this phrase is a big deal, as is borne out in a study by CareerBuilder: 58 percent of candidates are likely to have a negative opinion of a company if they never get a response to their job application.67 percent are likely to have a favorable view of the company if they get frequent updates after they applied. Instead of dead air, a chatbot fills the space — and furthers the process.

Screening Boosts

AI-powered conversational tools can also give the screening process a boost. Since these tools are always learning, they’re ideal for when going back for a second look at candidates who applied in the past. AI tools can store essential data on all applicants, saving time and effort when you’re ready to reach out to them again. Companies that use AI tools have reduced their cost per screening by 75 percent.

Using technology to screen talent also saves time and effort for candidates. When CVS Health began using the Virtual Job Tryout assessment, it was looking for an automated screening tool to shortlist candidates quickly. The company processes over one million applicants per year: saving time on the hiring process is critical to the recruiting team. 

By offering job simulation inside hiring platforms, CVS enabled  candidates to virtually try out some of the tasks in a potential position. Depending on their performance, they might be invited  go proceed to the next step in the recruiting process. Or they might decide the position wasn’t a good fit, saving themselves and the company time. CVS Health found this tool screened out half a million applicants right away, saving 40 years of hiring manager time.  The tool also brought a measurable improvement in performance, training, new hire retention, and operational outcomes.

Assistance with Interviewing

AI in HR provides a simple way not only to reach out to possible candidates, but also screen, rank, and shortlist their resumes based on the traits most relevant to your company. Then, once you have a list of people you’d like to interview, the chatbot can act as the scheduler.

Certain AI tools can also help you conduct a later-stage virtual interview before inviting a candidate to come in person. Conducting a video interview with preset questions, you can run an AI program to analyze candidates’ facial expressions, tone of voice, mannerisms, and word choice. 

This technology will make it more likely you’ll end up with new employees who fit your company culture, which is why major brands like Google, Facebook, and Apple have been using this technology for years. And now even more companies use it, including Capital One, Allstate, ThredUp, Hilton, and AT&T. 


AI is also improving onboarding procedures — by, for instance, automating repetitive or tedious tasks like conducting background checks, putting together documents about benefits, and creating offer letter templates. AI can also help organize, print, and deliver all onboarding paperwork. 

The same can be said of training documents — another time-consuming step when the HR team has to do it manually. Instead, AI-powered tools can ensure all new employees receive copies of the paperwork that spells out company policies and log-in information.They can track when documents have been read, prompt an electronic signature, and schedule meetings to go over the information further when necessary. 

And all can happen 24/7 from anywhere, which means employees can start training or getting answers to their questions any time and from any device. It also allows the HR department to focus on tasks that cannot be automated or done outside of business hours. 

Why Use AI in HR?

From sourcing and screening candidates to interviewing and onboarding, AI is undeniably changing HR’s capabilities. A report from Deloitte in 2017 notes that 38 percent of survey respondents believed AI would be widely used at their company within three to five years. In 2018, that number rose to 42 percent,. It’s still climbing.  

72 percent of executives believe AI will offer significant business advantages in the coming years, while a LinkedIn study found that 76 percent of hiring managers believe AI will be at least somewhat important in the future. As Eric Sydell, EVP of Innovation at Modern Hire, summed it up, “AI is a perfect way to recruit the best talent that will excel at your company, as it uses huge volumes of data to predict outcomes better than any person can. Not only does AI save HR departments time, but it also gives candidates some insight into whether they even want the job.” 





4 Reasons You Need Data-Driven Recruiting

Do you remember Blockbuster, Kodak, or even Nokia?

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

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

We all know where these companies are today.

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

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


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

So let’s get into the juicy details.

What is Data-Driven Recruiting?

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

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

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

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

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

1. Improve Quality of Candidates Applying

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Reduce New Hire Cost

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

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

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

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

3. Decrease Hiring Time

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

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

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

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

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

4. Improved Candidate Experience

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

Still not convinced?

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

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

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

Better People Decisions Make Hiring More Efficient

Hiring is costly.

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

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

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

What inspired you to start Checkster?

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

How do background checks benefit both hiring companies and candidates?

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

What makes the Checkster process different?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much.

Photo by Robert Katzki on Unsplash

#WorkTrends: How to Build a More Diverse Pipeline

Here at #WorkTrends we spend a lot of time thinking about how to transform buzzwords into action, and this week we’re breaking down “diversity in hiring.”

There has been a lot of lip service paid to this topic, but many HR professionals find that there can be barriers to building a more diverse organization. However, there are tangible steps you can take to attract, hire and retain more diverse candidates. This week we speak with tech leader Carrie Maslen about how you can take those steps — and why diversity is so important.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

The Importance of Diversity

When considered in a vacuum, diversity is an incredibly worthy goal. After all, why shouldn’t the places we work resemble the places we live?

But Maslen says diversity is more than just a buzzword or aspiration. Organizations that embrace diversity see actionable, proven — and repeatable — results. “The data is clear,” she says. “The more diverse the team, the better the organizational outcomes.” Maslen says research from outfits including McKinsey, Catalyst and Boston Consulting, as well as many organizations’ own internal research, has consistently reached the same findings: “With more women on the team, you deliver the financial results.”

Diversity, however, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Maslen says she has found that when organizational makeup changes to include 20% of an under-represented group, that change begins to steamroll through an organization. “There are enough opinions and voices that they can’t be quieted. They have to be heard,” she says.

Make Sure Your Candidate Pool Is Wide

So how does an organization reach that 20% threshold? Maslen says change has to begin from the top. The entire organization has to understand that diversity is a business goal.

HR has a large role to play in ensuring that these goals are met. This includes being transparent about its data with leadership, showing not only accomplishments but the organization’s shortcomings. HR also needs to make sure it plays a large role in recruiting a more diverse candidate pipeline. Maslen says she has worked with a lot of managers who have a candidate in mind for a position, and she has had to put her foot down to ensure that more diverse candidates are included. Thankfully, she says, managers have become more and more receptive to looking outside their network. “Change is happening,” she says.

Remember Your Retention Strategies

It’s not enough simply to bring in female employees; you have to ensure that you also retain them. Maslen recommends taking a look at your maternity- and paternity-leave policies so that they better serve the needs of female workers — and make sure that these same workers are included in the decision-making process.

Maslen says women can be great advocates for themselves, and they can effect change from the inside, especially as organizations become more diverse. “But that can only go so far,” she says. Ultimately, transforming an organization into a thriving, diverse place to work is an organizational mandate. “The company really needs to create the environment, the policies and the practices that enable women to thrive and succeed,” she says.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

3 Ways to Master the Spring Hiring Season

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

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

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

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

Spring Brings a New Applicant Pool

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

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

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

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

Increase Your Visibility

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

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

Create an Enticing Atmosphere

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

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

Rely on Your Existing Employees

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

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

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

How to Hire Based on Values

A well-defined culture is the key to uniting your company and scaling to new heights, says author and high-growth company culture expert Brett Putter. Then why is hiring for culture fit so difficult?

Putter, who is the founder and CEO of CultureGene, a culture consultancy helping prepare startup and high-growth companies for scale, says your company culture is essentially the way your organization works. That means as you develop your business and it grows, your culture will change with it — making hiring for culture fit a tricky, if not impossible, task.

Hiring for well-defined values, on the other hand, is much more executable, Putter says. It’s also good business, leading to better employee retention, collaboration and productivity.

“When people are values-aligned they share much quicker, and the basis of the sharing is around the culture — almost the invisible way the company works,” he says. “We find that people get up to speed much quicker and we find that the root speed on their ROI is much quicker.”

We recently spoke to Putter about his company’s culture-development process and the power of hiring based on values.

Define Your Values

“If you ask any CEO to accurately define their culture, they can’t,” Putter says. “The reason for that is because it’s this almost-invisible, subconscious thing, for the most part, and it changes all the time.”

In his firm’s culture-development process, organizations start by defining their values, mission and vision — and specifically define values first. “Most companies make a mistake and they find the values, they put them up on a wall and tell their people to live those values,” he says. The problem, he says, is that people always interpret the same values differently, which can lead to significantly different decisions.

Instead, Putter starts by having companies taking their values and defining a handful of expected behaviors connected to those values. “That then allows the individuals in the company to understand how they should behave,” he says. “That then allows you to start interviewing and structuring interview questions against those specific behaviors, which are associated with your values.”

Hire Against Values

Prior to founding CultureGene, Putter was the managing partner at a London-based executive search firm, where he successfully completed executive-level searches for hundreds of companies.

When it comes to hiring for senior roles, Puttner says the candidate should be interviewed against your organization’s values first — before against specific skills and experience. “By and large from the CV you can tell if this person can do the job or not,” he says. “It’s more important to not waste everyone else’s time if they don’t fit the values.

CultureGene trains executives who are hiring to conduct the first few candidate interviews in pairs. One person asks questions and watches the candidate responses, while the second person takes notes and focuses on what he or she is hearing from the candidate. “At the end of that the two people get together and they score this person against the believability of those answers,” he says.

For hiring more junior positions at scale, a company can dedicate one person who will do a last-minute values check — after the hiring manager has identified a successful candidate — to ensure that person is a good fit for the organization.

Demonstrate Values During Onboarding

While CultureGene tailors the onboarding around the way each company works, it places a strong emphasis on demonstrating and communicating company values to new hires.

Putter recommends that the CEO begins the onboarding process if possible. “The CEO opens the onboarding and says, ‘This is who I am, I have an open-door policy, these are our values, this is what’s important to me,’ ” he says. Then, at the end of the week, the same CEO could say, “What questions do you have?” and reiterate the open-door policy that was expressed in the opening day.

Putter also encourages organizations to make an effort to incorporate their values into the onboarding process. For example, if prosperity is one of the company’s values, part of the process from the first day could be to share financials and the overall state of the business with the new hire.

The CultureGene process also requires every direct employee who is going to work with the new hire to write a 30-, 60- and 90-day plan that explains what they need to do to work well with the new employee over those periods and what they want to teach the new employee in that time.

“We demonstrate to the employee that’s joining we care about what you are about to achieve,” he says.

#WorkTrends: Is Retirement Outdated?

Retirement comes from the French word meaning “to isolate yourself.” But as our guest Chris Farrell puts it: “Who wants to be isolated?”

More and more, we are seeing older workers continue in the workforce or return to it. So what does this mean for our concept of retirement? Farrell joined us to break things down, and he shared with us some surprising statistics about the relationship between older and younger workers. Farrell is the senior economics contributor to the public radio program Marketplace and also the author of five books on personal finance in the economy. We’re very happy he didn’t isolate himself from us!

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

A New Way of Thinking About Retirement

The traditional idea of retiring at 65 seems to be going by the wayside. However, this may actually have positive benefits for mental health. “One of the things that the research is starting to show is that work can be good for your brain,” says Farrell. Work doesn’t just provide personal purpose, but also a sense of community. Even just gossiping while waiting in line for the Keurig machine engages our brain in healthy ways — not to mention the fact that work does require you to use your brain for the actual work you have to do.

Of course, older workers have plenty of experience for their positions. But they can also offer something else: creativity. It’s a spark Farrell says never goes away. “If you’re creative in your 20s, that creativity will be there in your later years,” he points out. Farrell uses the Oscars as an example. Think about the ages of the nominees. There’s a reason older artists often win awards — they are able to blend the lessons learned from years of practice with their creative energy, resulting in engaging pieces of work.

The Relationship Between Older and Younger Workers

With our current tight labor market, looking to nontraditional employees is more important than ever. But we often think of older workers as at odds with younger ones. The thinking goes that since older workers are more experienced, they’ll prevent younger workers from advancing in their careers.

This is a line of thinking that Farrell calls “fundamentally wrong.” He explains that younger and older workers are actually seeking completely different goals in their careers. While younger workers are studying the organizational depth chart, older workers are typically planning that next chapter. “You still want to work,” Farrell explains. However, “you probably don’t want to stay on the job for another 10.” They may have eyes on switching careers or entering a different segment of the economy — in other words, embracing a new challenge.

Also, studies have actually shown that when workers in their 20s are doing well, older ones do well, too — and vice versa. Additionally, older workers provide a mentorship role to younger workers, who also can teach their counterparts about this dadgum new technology they keep hearing about.

The Industries That Already Get It

Farrell notes that two industries are already successfully incorporating older workers — and offer lessons for those not just trying to navigate the tight labor market, but also looking for the value older workers can bring.

Surprisingly, one of the industries Farrell notes is manufacturing, which has an older-than-average workforce. Farrell recently visited Herman Miller in Zeeland, Michigan, and was especially impressed by one of the company’s programs. The company offers workers the opportunity to take 12 consecutive weeks off. Though workers are not paid during this time, they keep their retirement benefits, health care and years of service. Many of those who take advantage of the program are over 50. According to Farrell, the employees use the time to address family issues, set up a side business, or simply work on a personal project.

The second industry is healthcare. Many hospitals offer part time employment to doctors and nurses, providing the opportunity for older workers to get the psychological benefits of work — and for patients to reap the enormous benefits of an older employee’s years of experience.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

How Employee Advocacy Drives Recruitment Diversity

Organizations that take the opportunity to be more inclusive are winning. Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive team are 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. For ethnic/cultural diversity, this likelihood of outperformance rises to 33%.

Diversity in the workplace can increasingly be powered from within by an organization’s most valuable attribute, its own people. Here are five crucial factors employers should consider when looking at how employee advocacy helps drive recruitment diversity.

Increase Your Reach

HR directors have an opportunity to develop a talent acquisition strategy with a significantly increased reach by working with employee brand advocates. Employees have on average 10 times more connections than brand channels, and brand messages are shared 24 times more when distributed by employees, versus the same messages shared via official brand social channels.

Sky’s #LifeatSky employee advocacy programme has united colleagues from across the company in celebrating its culture, experiences and activities. It has resulted in an improved recruitment process, driving 100 hires and 10,000 applications through harnessing its people on social media. Meanwhile, Unilever’s employee advocacy programme means colleagues are sharing 14x more frequently, there are 5x more job views and 4x more engagement with content.

Whether it is attracting more women to senior positions, building better employer branding awareness for millennial candidates, developing a culture more welcoming or more inclusive, employees can reach more people. Adopting a tech-enabled employee advocacy program allows colleagues across the business to engage with the vision, values and purpose of the brand.

Scale Up Quickly

Advances in HR tech means brands are able to manage employee advocacy programs easily, scale the number of employees involved rapidly and measure the results accurately. That means creative content marketing can be put into the hands of staff, tracked in real-time and recruitment success reported to senior leadership.

Scaling up like this means a diversity of individual voices from across the organization can be celebrated and heard, opening up new recruitment streams across a multitude of demographics for sustainable results. Plus, when employees share content they achieve a click-through rate twice that seen by their company.

Build Trust

Candidates are 40 percent more likely to apply for a job at a company when they recognize the brand. Employees are significantly more trusted than CEOs, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, and employees are able to reach the wider candidate base needed to build familiarity.

Potential candidates will now expect to see recommendations and reviews from their personal network of friends, family and peers to help them make informed decisions on new roles. Word-of-mouth marketing is the best form of advertising — 84 percent of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family.

Employee advocacy programs allow colleagues to share local and relevant content to their personal networks to maximize the variety of candidates and reach a huge passive candidate pool. When Iceland Foods launched its Qubist employee advocacy app, Iceland Insiders, it generated more than 37 million impressions in the first three months alone, through employees’ own social channels, raising brand awareness and supporting the company’s marketing initiatives. Through the app, Iceland staff can share brand content to their own personal social media channels. The goal was to raise brand awareness of Iceland Foods and support talent acquisition.

Access New Talent Pools

To reach new talent pools and recruit different types of talent, employee brand advocates can help amplify existing employee networks. Sky, which has gained recognition as an inclusive employer, has an employee network that includes groups like Parents, LGBT and Women. Employees company-wide share content from the network on their own personal social channels. It also amplifies events such as International Women’s Day or Pride through its employee advocates.

To recruit hard-to-reach demographics, developing an inclusive culture and celebrating diversity internally is increasingly a workplace trend. 78 percent of employers surveyed for LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2018 said improving diversity “to improve company culture was a focus.

Go Social

When 79 percent of candidates use social media in their job search, it’s important to make it easy for them to engage with you via employee advocates. This is especially important at a time when traditional recruitment techniques are ineffective as people turn on ad blockers, and social channels such as Facebook prioritize friends and family over brand content. In an era of transparency and “fake news,” employees are seen as authentic and have real influence — the ability to cause effect or change behaviour — compared to brands.

With a mobile-first, multi-language employee advocacy app, large companies can bring together a disparate workforce to share relevant and personalised content on their own social channels. This kind of tech-enabled employee advocacy platform means colleagues feel empowered and passionate about their role in driving their company forward, while driving awareness of the Employer Brand Proposition (EVP) to a new and diverse audience.

#WorkTrends: The Future of Work: On-Demand Talent

The future of work is going to look radically different as it will be fueled by on-demand talent. And perhaps no one will be more affected by this disruption than HR. But what will those changes look like and is HR prepared for this shift?

This week on WorkTrends, we’re talking to Carisa Miklusak. She is an HR tech veteran who worked for CareerBuilder for many years. Three years ago, she founded tilr (TILL-err), a technology platform that automates the recruitment process for job seekers and companies. Her goal is to shrink the skills gap and eliminate bias in hiring. In this conversation, we talk through misconceptions about the gig economy and how some traditional hiring methods might not work with the contingent workforce.

You can listen to the full episode below or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Misconceptions About the Gig Economy

Many people think that gig work applies to either younger people, low-skill workers or people who couldn’t get W2 jobs, but Miklusak says it’s really quite the opposite. “What I’d love for HR people to hear and take away is that people are choosing to work differently and they have more options of how to work, and they’re starting to develop new motivations for work.”

There’s been a cultural shift in the current workforce, and all kinds of people are drawn to contingent work. “Learning and growing and having flexibility have risen to the top of these workplace values, even over making another dollar or two per hour or another $20,000 per year,” she says.

This isn’t a special class of workers. She says they’re the same workers who were taking W2 jobs yesterday, but now that there’s a system that allows you to work differently, they’re choosing this option.

At tilr, the company has workers who want to be “giggers” and go from one project to the next. But tilr is also attracting people who are exploring different projects and looking for a company they want work with on a permanent basis. Some other tilr workers are giggers for a while and then they go back in the traditional workforce, and then they come back as giggers.

Search Technology Isn’t Working for the Gig Economy

Miklusak says the current search technology still relies on a candidate’s job title as the main building block of recruitment. That’s not working. “What we’ve learned is that titles can actually be limiting and screen people out rather than screen them in.”

In the new workforce, people often have many different jobs over the course of their career, and their skills are more likely to reveal not only what they’re good at, but what they want to do. “Tilr doesn’t look at titles, gender, age or years of experience,” she says. It looks at skills and proficiency.

This has allowed the company to reallocate talent differently. “What we find is, let’s say Charlie did job A and job B, and he gained skills one through three at job A, and then skills four, five, and six in job B, but he’s never done job C,” she says. “Job C simply requires skills one and five, which he has from his prior two roles, so our search technology will actually present that job to Charlie, and if he accepts, because the decision’s up to him, we’ll measure the outcome of that reallocation.”

And if Charlie turns out to be a good fit, she says the algorithm starts to really learn about how you can look at skills and reallocate talent in very effective, new ways.

Interviews May Become Obsolete

As this matching process becomes more advanced, Miklusak believes it might do away with job interviews. “One of the reasons that we’ve focused on the gig economy as we started to introduce this technology to business leaders and to workers is because we do believe that it’s easier to start to make this mind shift to an algorithm without an interview for jobs with start and end dates.”

“Interviews can be really misleading because some people are great persuasive communicators, and although an interview is a great way to get to know a person and learn about their communication style, it’s often truly not indicative, nor is their title, of how they’re going to perform in the role.” So tilr has replaced the traditional interview with a few hours or days onsite in a temporary fashion, based on skills, to really see how someone performs.

However, tilr does ask workers to pass a background check, and the company speaks with every single worker by phone. “We’ve talked with over 30,000 people about their skills, ambitions, the type of jobs they’d like to see, what would really inspire them.” She says that while a human talks to them now, in the future, there might be a chatbot asking questions.

There’s a lot more to unpack here about how HR will change in the face of an increasingly contingent workforce. Let’s keep the conversation going! Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

FAQs: Social Media Background Screening

The words “social media background screening” can strike fear into many people’s hearts. As HR professionals, we get it: On the surface, it can all sound a tad Orwellian. But rest assured. As the president of the leading social screening company, I take concerns about privacy and online life seriously, and the industry has responded to changing concerns and practices over the better part of a decade.

Keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions about consumer privacy and social media background checks.

How Do You Make a Reliable Match?

How can you be sure a candidate is being correctly identified at the start of a social media background check? At Social Intelligence, we’ve been doing these checks since 2010. We’ve looked hard at our data and systems to ensure sure that our ID procedures are 100 percent accurate. It’s much more complex than Googling. Using matching criteria provided during the employment-application process is the best, most comprehensive way to identify a candidate correctly online.

An email address is a good example of a reliable positive match that can be used to screen online activity. Other identifiers, such as names, must be combined with other provided information to make a match — such as employment history, education information or an image.

Who Should Do the Screening?

As a best practice, employers should never review candidates’ social media profiles internally. By choosing an outside firm to conduct reviews, companies can respect candidate privacy and eliminate the potential legal risk of a boss or co-worker viewing a candidate’s personal life before the hire: Employers reviewing social media content themselves could lead to accusations of discrimination. From hiring managers to HR directors or CEOs, a company could be at risk if employees are Googling candidates in-house (and according to a CareerBuilder study, about 70 percent of them are).

Analysts should be reviewing activity only for content that presents workplace safety concerns. Searching for specific information could be legally dangerous: anything related to race, religion, national origin, disabilities, pregnancy, family status, gender presentation, sexual orientation, age, or military status is off-limits.

What About Consent?

Getting consent before a social media background screening is mandatory per the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Even if you have an FCRA-compliant social-screening setup in house — one that would remove all protected class information before the hiring manager sees anything — you must notify the candidate and receive permission to review their social media content. Make sure to read your consent forms thoroughly and take a look at sample social media reports to see if your reporting practices match up.

At Social Intelligence, we only review publicly available information. Hacking, asking for a password or friending someone that is a candidate before hire could be a violation of state laws — and is most certainly a violation of trust. So, build a “privacy curtain” into your hiring practices and hire a third party to manage social media screenings and track social media activity on your behalf.

This post is sponsored by Social Intelligence. Social Intelligence is the only social media consumer-reporting agency whose process and product have been reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission. Contact us to view a copy of our Letter of Review from the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, check out our FAQ page here for more on social media background screening or contact us with any questions you might have.

#WorkTrends: Social Screening and the Future of Talent Acquisition

You can learn a lot about job candidates by their social media profiles and posts. But how do you accurately and fairly screen applicants, at scale? What’s legal, and what’s appropriate when it comes to social media screening?

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Bianca Lager, president of Social Intelligence, a background-screening company with a focus on social media. Social Intelligence launched in 2010 to provide employers with pre-employment screening that’s ethical and applicable. Social Intelligence is the only social media background check company that has been reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.


What is Social Media Screening?

You may be wondering, “What is social media screening?” According to Lager, “it’s getting data from social media, understanding what people are saying online, what kind of content they’re creating and then applying that in a background-screening capacity to an employment decision.” Lager says Social Intelligence was an early pioneer in the industry.

But social screening isn’t about just Googling a job candidate’s name, which is time consuming and can results in errors. “We invest really heavily in machine learning to automate and scale social media screenings,” Lager says. Social Intelligence can identify and analyze people’s social profiles quickly, which is important to companies of any size, but especially large organizations with a lot of candidates to sort through.

But Social Intelligence isn’t interested in posts about the time you had too much to drink and took a photo with a lampshade on your head. “We’re looking for really egregious behaviors, things like racism, violence, bullying, stuff that can really affect the workplace.” Some people may wonder if it’s right or ethical to search for this type of information, but Lager says, “People are already Googling you.”

Why You Shouldn’t Do Your Own Manual Social Media Screening

While some companies believe that they can conduct their own social media background checks, Lager says there are several reasons why they shouldn’t. First, she says, your boss or the person hiring you should not be looking at your Facebook profile. “They shouldn’t know what church you go to, they shouldn’t know your sexual orientation or all sorts of other factors that could bias them against you in a hiring or employment decision.” And Social Intelligence doesn’t focus on that type of information.

She says it’s also a waste of time and resources for companies to conduct their own pre-employment checks. “When you have an intern in HR Googling someone, it’s probably not the best use of their time — and you’re exposing at least one person to a bunch of information that just shouldn’t be seen.”

Companies also run the risk of screening the wrong person. “John Smith might not be putting out real information on himself in terms of date of birth, et cetera, so how are you actually getting to the bottom of that?” Social Intelligence has worked with some of the top employment lawyers in the country to develop processes that align with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission did a full audit of the company. “We had to answer some questions from the Senate Privacy Committee, and the FTC determined that Social Intelligence was acting as a consumer reporting agency when we provide these types of reports for employment purposes.”

Why Human Input is Still Important

As great as artificial intelligence is, Lager says that human input is still important. A machine can’t detect whether someone is being sarcastic or not, so a human needs to step in and provide emotional intelligence and context. “That’s why we have a review program, very similar to Facebook, to make sure that we understand the innuendos, the sarcasm, whatever it is, at a human level.”

Say that someone uses the phrase “filthy pig.” “If you’re saying it aggressively, or in a threatening way, or as a derogatory term against police officers, that’s the type of thing that we double-check for, and our human analysis is there, too.” Because, she says, you could just be talking about your filthy pig farm — which is perfectly acceptable.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

This week’s #WorkTrends is sponsored by Social Intelligence. Visit to get 10 free social media hiring reports.

#WorkTrends: The Talent Fix

The labor market is humming right along, and competition for good workers is stiff. Is your talent-acquisition process also humming like a finely tuned machine, or are you pointing fingers at each other because you can’t recruit good employees?

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Tim Sackett about ways to improve talent acquisition. Sackett is a 20-year HR professional who has led HR organizations and worked for HR tech vendors.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends. His new book, “The Talent Fix,” is a guide for building a better talent-acquisition team.

The Talent Ownership Question

Who owns talent right now? Sackett says that’s the one question he really tries to force every head of HR or talent acquisition to ask their executive team. Most executives will assume you want their vote of confidence and will say, “You do, you’re the person who owns it.” However, he says that’s the wrong answer, and that this type of thinking will lead to failure. Ownership has to belong to the people who actually make the selection — it has to be the hiring managers at the ground level.

“If you took your team out on a team-building exercise tomorrow and you guys got hit by a train and everybody died, your organization wouldn’t stop,” Sackett says. “The hiring manager would attend your funeral and mourn your loss and then say, ‘By the way, we have to fill this developer position.’ ” And they would go through the process of trying to find someone.

While that’s a worst-case scenario, Sackett says the goal of every company should be to let hiring managers own their own team, and own their own talent. The role of HR and talent acquisition should be a partner that provides assistance. When you’re in a meeting and someone asks, “Hey Mary, why aren’t you filling that position on your team?” and the response is that TA isn’t finding anyone, that’s an epic fail. “Executives should look Mary in the face and say, ‘What are you talking about recruiting for? Your job is to fill your team. What are you doing?’ ”

What Talent Ownership Looks Like

If you’re not familiar with this concept, it might seem inconceivable, but there are companies successfully using these principles. “I ran TA for Applebee’s, which has roughly 2,000 restaurants and 125,000 employees,” Sackett says. He notes the chain has a general manager who is the top person at each location. “They tell every GM that ‘you’re not going to be a victim; you’re never going to complain about not having enough talent, because talent acquisition is your responsibility.’ ”

Complaining about staffing is seen as saying, “You need to replace me, I’m no good at my job,” because that’s their No. 1 job, Sackett says. So a GM needs to be great at recruiting or great at retention, and they can ask HR and TA for help. “They’ll prop you up and they will give you every resource they have to help you, but you have to own it,” Sackett says.

Building the Right Talent-Acquisition Team

Sackett has worked in recruiting, so he’s been on both sides of the desk. He runs a staffing firm and worked in staffing, but also spent about a decade on the corporate TA side. One thing he said he has noticed is that half of these team members really aren’t recruiters. “They love being a recruiter in a corporate job, they love that $85,000 salary, and they love working 9 to 5 and not taking work home — but they’re not recruiters.” He says they may be doing
administrative recruiting, such as posting a job on their career site, but then they sit around waiting for somebody to apply before plowing that person through their process, and that’s not real recruiting.

But Sackett says that when he talks to TA leaders, they don’t want to let these non-recruiters go because they’re “great people.” “I’m not saying they’re bad people — I’m saying they’re not recruiters, and you want to recruit a team but you’re asking people who don’t want to recruit to be recruiters,” he says.

He says it’s like being a hunter who doesn’t want to kill — but hunters have to kill. “Recruiting is all about going out and finding the best talent. It’s not about filtering through the talent that is available that wants to come to work for your average pay, your average benefits and your average location.”

Also, even if you get great people, you can’t bring them into the organization and ask them to do the same administrative job as the previous employees. “You have to change the culture internally to make it more of a marketing-/sales-driven culture, more of an activity-based culture,” he says. “You actually have to have really great measurables and actually hold them accountable to those, so it’s basic performance management.”

Talent Acquisition Isn’t Technology

In addition, Sackett cautions against looking to HR technology as a savior. Often, he says, the new tech you might look at probably will do 90 percent to 95 percent of what your old tech does. “If you already suck at recruiting, the technology’s just going to make you suck faster, because that’s what technology does” — it allows you to move faster and more efficiently, but it doesn’t make you better at your job. “You already have to be good at recruiting, and then technology will actually make you better at it,” he says.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

Stop Hiring Based on Intuition: 4 Proven Steps to Better Selection

Unstructured interviews are wildly ineffective at predicting future performance. Yet casual conversations, gut instinct and feelings are the ubiquitous means for assessing talent in today’s competitive marketplace, even at the highest levels of the Fortune 500.

In fact, over the past several years as an executive search consultant, only two clients, prior to working with us, had interview processes in place that were deliberately designed to limit natural biases and intuition. Instead, the overwhelming majority leverage the unsophisticated and futile assessment methods of generations past: laissez-faire conversations, brain teasers, work experiences and references.

The reasons for adopting such archaic approaches are multifold. First, most hiring managers and recruitment professionals have never experienced or been taught a better way. Applying a more standardized approach could be seen as minimizing the autonomy of the interviewer. Most of us think we’re great at interviewing, so we don’t see a need for change on that front. And many companies often view rigorous interview methods as antithetical to their friendly and inviting culture — they’re afraid to scare a top candidate away.

Science has the answers to these conundrums. Indeed, the evidence is overwhelming: Other than work samples and cognitive ability (IQ) tests, structured interviews are far and away the best means for predicting the future performance of your candidates.

The challenge, then, is how to begin implementing this proven yet unfamiliar process. The good news is that it’s not as complicated as it might sound. Here are four steps to get you started:

Summarize What Candidates Can Expect

As the candidate enters the room, ensure unplanned small talk is kept to a minimum. Any improvised forays into one’s personal interests can unconsciously lead to biases early on in the process. Instead, warmly introduce yourself, define the role, list the key competencies and explain how the interview questions will be structured. Be sure to let them know how long the interview will last, how many questions you’ll be asking and how you’ll be scoring each candidate. Also, point out that you’ll be taking notes so they don’t get distracted by it after a tough question.

Inform interviewees that the reason for such formality is to ensure every candidate has the same experience. If there are no questions on process, it’s time to begin.

Ask the Same Job-Related Questions in the Same Order

Because you’re hiring for a well-defined role, determine which competencies are the most critical for success. Then, draft seven to 10 thought-provoking, open-ended questions that test for these attributes.

For example, to test for one’s ability to persuade and build unanimity among stakeholders, the interviewers might first ask a broad question: “Tell me about a time you had to use your presentation skills to influence someone’s opinion.” Dive deeper with follow-up questions: “How did you prepare for the presentation?” “What was the desired outcome, and what points did you emphasize to drive home your proposition?” “What was the result?” “What did you learn from that experience, and what could you have done differently?”

To ensure consistency throughout each candidate’s experience, it’s imperative that both the baseline questions and the follow-up questions are preplanned and delivered in the same order.

Maintain Consistent Interviewers and Clearly Defined Rating Scales

Naturally, no interviewer rates the same way. Despite every attempt to minimize biases, we’re all susceptible to unconscious influences. In order to ensure that each candidate is scored equitably, there should be a consistent set of interviewers. Ideally, there should be no more than four interviews in total, and interviews should be conducted by a well-trained and diverse group of colleagues: a peer, a boss, a subordinate and a cross-functional neutral party.

Interviewers should rate candidate responses using a cohesive scale. For example, at my executive search firm, we use a rating scale of 1 to 5. The ratings represent “awareness,” “basic,” “intermediate,” “advanced” and “expert,” respectively.

But it’s not enough to simply give each level a general label. You should also leverage existing subject-matter experts in that role — or the hiring manager if it’s a new position — to define what specific behaviors should be displayed at each level.

For instance, if you’re assessing the candidate’s ability to empathize with a broad set of stakeholders, you might define “awareness” as “occasionally attempts to create a safe environment for asking questions and sharing outcomes.” A score of 5, or “expert,” on the other hand, might be defined as “considers the needs and emotions of others and the constraints of the circumstances when considering a course of action.”

The key is specificity. The clearer you are in defining ideal behaviors at each level, the less ambiguity and variance the interviewers will face.

Rate Candidates Immediately After Interviews

Many of us can’t remember what we did yesterday. How much more difficult is it to recall a detailed response to an interview question hours after it was given? It’s nearly impossible!

This is why it’s important that interviewers score candidates immediately after they leave the room. In your notes on each question, be sure to include actual examples given by the candidate and why that justified their final score. These notes will be crucial for discussing candidates — and breaking any ties between them.

Finally, each interviewer should give final scores to all candidates, and the candidate with the top scores among the four interviewers should be selected.

That’s it! This simple, structured interviewing approach will revolutionize your ability to predict the future performance of your next hire. Plus, because each candidate feels like he or she is on equal playing ground throughout the assessment process, his or her overall experience with your brand will improve and your Net Promoter Scores will soar.

How AI Makes Hiring More Accurate and More Personal

AI is projected to catapult from a $643.7 million market today to $36.8 billion by 2025. Bersin by Deloitte calls it one of the ten major trends changing everything about how we build and manage the world of work. It’s becoming an incredibly powerful tool for recruiting, though not always understood. There are two questions I often hear:

How can we use AI to better match skills to openings?

How can we use AI to make the entire recruiting and hiring journey better, and improve candidate experience?

Before delving into specifics, consider this: Essentially, if A, then B. Just as AI is changing the game, we have to change how we see it: it’s a tool with multiple benefits at once. In other words: if we are better at sourcing the talent to find those with the right skills to match the right job opening, then the candidate experience will be better.

In this regard, AI is a positive disruption that not only improves how we find candidates, but how they experience the process of being found. All along the recruiting journey it works faster and more efficiently by profound degrees. And at the same time it has a tremendous impact on candidate experience. Let’s look at common pain points to recruiters and candidates and see how AI improves the outcome:

Recruiter Pain Point: Too Many Applications

A common pain point among recruiters is the sheer onslaught of digital applications — whether or not an applicant is actually qualified, with the required skills. We can’t put too fine a point on this: Job seekers spend an average of 49.7 seconds reading a job description, and 14.6 seconds of that is spent on the actual requirements of the job. Then, many just hit send. According to Glassdoor, each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes on average. Of those, four to six are called for an interview — and one gets the job. Getting from 250 resumes and 4 to 6 callbacks per job is a whole lot of sorting.

AI Solution: Finding Soft Skills

AI can use pattern matching to connect the dots between job requirements and the skills and training listed on a resume. Machine learning means that AI can also get better at this the more it works, from building a bank of alternate phrases and variations it recognizes to tailoring its rankings to factor in other criteria. And AI can find soft skills just as quickly as hard skills. For instance, consider Arya: this new AI recruiting platform learns who the ideal candidate is through a combination of machine learning, big data and behavioral pattern recognition.

AI Solution: Assessing Fit

AI can also take an extremely educated and predictive guess about how a candidate may do in the long term, addressing concerns about ROI without bias. AI can use past hiring and employee records and patterns to get a clearer picture of the relative success and fit of a hire — and can identify potential blind spots of training gaps, enabling companies to put the services in place that support a better outcome.

Candidate Pain Point: an Overlong Application Process

Let’s face it: the digital environment has changed many job applicants’ perception of time. To a candidate in this digital environment, hours feel like days and days like weeks. Time, particularly for digital native generations, has shrunk — and the etiquette of responding to a message has radically changed. This is just one point of friction out of many in terms of how a candidate experiences the application process today. A delay in getting notified can feel like a rejection even if it’s not.

But while recruiters famously spend an average of 6 seconds reading a resume, finding the right hire for one job may take more than 20 hours. (And rare indeed is the recruiter tasked with filling one job at a time.) The wait — particularly if a candidate has been contacted by an organization’s hiring team — can feel like a hurry up and wait hustle, and may sour a candidate experience. Whether the result is a turn towards a different employer, or simply an element of disengagement in the process, it can stop a recruiter-candidate relationship before it starts. But recruiters simply don’t have the time or, most often, the person power to contact every applicant every step of the way.

AI Solution: Recruiters Don’t Do the Heavy Lifting

Allocating the heavy data sorting to AI frees more time for reading the resumes that actually matter. It means that unqualified candidates can be notified faster, and qualified candidates are really qualified — and the recruiter has had more time to spend getting to know them on paper before an interview. But additionally, AI can work as the messenger. For example, when a promising candidate is found with the qualifications and skills that match, Arya can reach out with a personalized message. If a candidate is interested, the connection has already been made — and a recruiter can take it from there. Instead of radio silence, there’s AI at work for you.

The myth that AI-powered recruiting is impersonal and inaccurate is just that: a misassumption about the power of AI. With the ability to greatly increase searches to radically cut down on searching time, as well as a way to reach out and develop a talent pipeline, AI enables recruiters to get back to what they know how to do best: spend time getting to know promising candidates, and find the best fit for each job. And for candidates, AI enables frequent contact and a faster process that improves their experience — and may just affect their decision to join your organization.

This post is sponsored by Leoforce.

How Retail Hiring Will Change in the Next 5 Years

The shopping experience has changed a lot over the past 10 years. But the experience of applying for a retail job is pretty stuck in the past.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 there were nearly 5 million retail sales jobs in the U.S. While the retail industry is changing fast and moving from brick-and-mortar to online, retailers still employ a large demographic of Americans. And retailers that want to attract and retain those workers will need to stay innovative.

We asked Kimberly Carroll, principal at HR consulting firm IA, how she sees recruiting and hiring changing among her retail clients.

Goodbye to Paper Applications

“If you can’t hire people quickly, you’re in trouble,” she says. If you’re working with paper applications, like a lot of retailers still are, you slow down the hiring pipeline and deter young applicants. “Especially with seasonal hiring, you need to be able to get candidates in quickly and stay in contact with them.”

Many retailers hire thousands of seasonal employees around the holidays. When you have to manually process paper applications, you can’t quickly assess, hire and onboard candidates — and you likely can’t stay in touch with them about future openings. For all those reasons, paper applications are quickly on their way out as companies move to fully digital hiring processes.

A Better Application Experience

Even the retailers that offer online applications for hourly employees still have big opportunities to improve the user experience. “These days, it’s all about the candidate experience,” she says. Retailers can take a page from tech companies’ playbooks and spend more time understanding their users: the applicants.

“Create a more unified experience,” she says. “Don’t send applicants to different apps and websites to do E-Verify and background checks. Keep them on one online platform, with one look and feel.”

Same-Day Hiring

Carroll mapped out a typical retail hiring scenario. A candidate goes to the mall to apply for jobs. They fill out a paper application, they talk to the store manager — and then they leave the store without a clear answer about next steps, since the manager has to get the employee into the system and go through approvals to make a hire.

But other retailers, maybe at the same mall, support same-day hiring. The candidate can walk a few yards away from that first business and get a job on the spot. “As soon as an applicant leaves, you’ve lost them,” she says.

Amazon is a retailer that’s set a new standard for hiring speed. At Amazon, candidates can fill out an application online and schedule an interview, after which they can be hired on the spot and even start working that day.

When it comes to competing for retail talent, it’s all about speed, Carroll says.

Daily Pay

Not only are companies figuring out how to hire someone right away, Carroll says she’s talking to companies that are paying employees every day.

“Companies are looking at paying retail employees on a daily basis. They’re saying, ‘Can we support that? And if we can, why not do it?’” She says employees are drawn to the instant gratification of immediate pay for every day they work, instead of waiting for a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check.

Retention Programs for Hourly Employees

For most brick-and-mortar retailers, the largest employee demographic is hourly workers. Retaining hourly workers is always a challenge, but there’s an opportunity to retain and promote those employees, offering them growth beyond entry-level positions.“If you keep losing those employees, you’re losing the skill set you might want in the future. So, the most successful retail organizations are building leaders from within, focusing on retaining more of their hourly workforce,” she says.

She suggests building a career path that starts at the entry-level, hourly position. “People put such a focus on higher education, but there’s nothing wrong with starting at an entry-level job and moving up,” she says. “Take an interest in those employees. Teach them skills, help them process, and turn the job into a career. Retailers need to extend their retention programs to hourly workers, not just salaried employees. ”

Creativity Managed: 3 Strategies for Leading Creative Teams

Creativity is only as good as the vision it’s funneled through, and a strong leader is the key to that vision’s viability. That’s what Ed Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, suggested in his 2014 book, “Creativity, Inc.” — an insightful and inspirational work.

Founders and executives innately know that they must lead with confidence and acumen. Still, many of them stumble on the path to nirvana. From bad hires to wishy-washy decision-making, leaders who don’t overcome their challenges doom their people to a lengthy stint in team purgatory.

When our company set out to dismantle creative barriers and strive for team excellence over ease, we used Catmull’s strategies as foundational tenets and helped our people capitalize on their diverse personalities and skill sets. Our journey boiled down to building a team dynamic around two core principles: hiring great people and practicing candid leadership.

Who You Are

Unearthing employees who are true gems takes time and effort, but it pays off in the end. We take extreme care in hiring only the best fits for our company culture. If an otherwise qualified candidate won’t mesh with our team dynamic, we would rather say “no” than risk bad results. As bosses, we’ve all ignored red flags about drama queens or kings, only to kick ourselves later.

By focusing on how new hires will integrate seamlessly into the office climate, you can avoid costly employment errors that only harm the team’s efficiency. Every team has its own rhythm, and putting the wrong instrument into the mix — even for a short amount of time — can be very disruptive.

What You Say

After putting the right people in the right positions, a leader must guide them with candor and respect. In fact, Catmull calls candor a “secret weapon,” meaning that frankness doesn’t equate to flying in hot to every meeting with an agenda or a directive. Instead, use it to set the tone so that when something is important or time-sensitive, your team understands it’s a priority.

Our company quickly learned that authentic conversations promote high-level engagement among our employees and foster more productive meetings. Moreover, transparency puts everyone at ease, allowing ideas to bloom and issues to be resolved quickly and concisely. By taking the time to get to know your team members and allowing them to get to know you, you ensure that everyone’s perceptions will be realistic and that no one will feel patronized by an uncommunicative boss.


Lead With Passion and Purpose

You can empower your creative team using these three strategies:

1. Make it personal.

When directing your vision, find a way to truly speak to your teams so they know how they impact the overall success of the company and its projects.

As Catmull notes in one of his chapters, Pixar has taken the concept of communication to an exciting level. Its film studio’s “Notes Day” allows everyone in the organization to spend an entire day evaluating how the company can operate more effectively. This process builds a personal connection between Pixar employees and everything Pixar puts its name on. 

Although most businesses can’t take a full day to work on process improvement like Pixar, they can modify and implement this concept on a smaller scale. Our company hosts biweekly show-and-tell meetings so that we can display our work to others. These meetings instill pride in individual contributors and reveal opportunities for dynamic growth.

2. Be decisive.

Resilient leaders help employees own the choices they make, which encourages them to take bold, smart, and effective steps.

Our system is simple: We start every day with a quick meeting — called a “daily” — overviewing mission-critical items. These dailies make everyone aware of what’s happening in the organization and hold teams accountable for the changes they want to see in their respective departments. They also ensure that there’s not a lot of time for an important decision to sit on the shelf. Even if we make a wrong decision, our resiliency gives our company greater flexibility. We can quickly pivot and move in the right direction, opening the door to time, budget, and opportunity.

3. Show that you listen.

Employees who feel heard have higher levels of job satisfaction and can uncover ways for your organization to evolve. Listening isn’t always easy, especially for leaders who feel stretched. But just as soliciting feedback can show customers that you care, so can devoting some time to your team members.

When we have feedback meetings and postmortems, the collaboration doesn’t stop there. We take a deeper dive into each department’s needs and functions and lean on our teams when overcoming challenges and solving problems. Moreover, we don’t rely solely on annual performance reviews to measure our employees’ happiness. In addition to these reviews, we conduct regular check-ins, sitting down with each individual at least twice per year.

“Creativity, Inc.” helped us evaluate our own teamwork gaps and catalyze the drive of our passionate and talented employees. By taking the time to not only read some of Catmull’s advice but to also investigate your own creativity processes, you may quickly find that building bridges over those chasms is simpler than you thought.

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Applicant Screening: How to Show Talent You Really Want Them

Bringing top talent into your organization is a careful dance: on the one hand, you need to know everything you can about an applicant, and on the other, you don’t want to scare them off in the process. The good news is that most job candidates understand the need for screening and background checks, and know there’s far more to their application than just having an interview or filling out an application. Even better news is that done right, screening can actually help to convey your genuine interest in job applicants, and increase their interest in working for your company.

Of course that also means there’s a flip side: done, let’s just say, less than ideally, a screening process can result in alienated candidates who would rather withdraw their application than continue the process. If there are any misunderstandings along the way, clear them up by clarifying process, timelines and expectations. If any kind of strike against an application comes up — from an old credit snafu to a lack of certifications, handle it with discretion and tact. Consideration and clarity go a long way. If it’s a problem of not being qualified but being otherwise promising, a positive approach may place them into a talent pool, where they’re ready to apply for a job they’re more suited for — and a known quantity to your firm.

It’s critical for companies to have a well-designed, thoughtful screening process. Here are five best practices to follow:

  1. Make it mobile-friendly.

Only 20% of companies are deploying their HR and employee productivity solutions on mobile apps. But if there’s a single criteria an organization should make sure it meets, it’s being mobile friendly. Mobile application systems can markedly improve candidate experience, and that certainly includes the screening process. Millennials and Generation Z’rs may well assume they’ll be able to do everything via mobile, and be turned off when they realize they can’t. It may also convey your employer brand as being not quite up to date or tech-forward — given the choice, most younger candidates will opt for a company that is more up to date.

  1. Make it efficient.

60% of potential candidates have quit a job application process because it was too lengthy. If you’re a small to medium or hungry company that is trying to stand out above the fray, there’s a golden opportunity here. Make your application process functional but merciful, if you can. Making it streamlined may not be that simple depending on the position, but as far as not losing candidates in the process, it’s worth considering.

  1. Screen relevant criteria, but leave out the rest.

You want to get a comprehensive report that addresses the concerns and questions related to working both at your company and in the position the person’s applying for. But a hospital and a software company have different criteria beyond security questions, and executive-level is altogether different from entry-level. Outsourcing a background check to a company that conducts generic, one-size-fits-all screening only adds to the candidate’s impression that they’re nothing but a number. It also may not give you all the answers you need to make the right hire.

  1. Don’t leave out contingent or gig workers.

In the latest benchmark report by the veteran screening firm HireRight, 77% of employers polled are projecting organizational growth, and 62% of employers polled are most concerned with finding qualified job candidates. It’s inevitable — and it’s also trending — that a substantial portion of hires may be contingent or temporary workers. For both security and fairness, they should be guided through the same screening and background check process as payroll and permanent employees. 86% of employers are already doing that, according to the report, but those that aren’t are overlooking a potential risk, as well as a strike against their employer brand. It’s not fair to full-time employees who did have to undergo full screenings if they’re working alongside those that didn’t — particularly if they share the same level of security clearance.

  1. Offer applicants an accessible, easy-to-navigate portal.

Candidates should not have to feel like they’re submitting to a mysterious process to do background screening. A navigable, friendly portal is the best way through the process. There should be someone available to answer questions, and if there is unfavorable information, a tactful approach to conveying it. Make sure Fair Credit Reporting Act legal requirements are followed correctly. If a candidate disputes the findings of a report, they should be able to discuss it and an investigation should be made — and resolved quickly. Resentment breeds disengagement quickly, and it may well be all over an error. Which is yet another reason to use a reputable firm with experience.

Even if a company has limited resources, accurate, well-designed screening systems are out there. The best ones help the employer present themselves in their best light — transparent not only about what they need to know to make a good hire, but also the fact that they respect and value applicant’s time and energy. Nothing will drive candidate engagement faster than a positive screening experience. In today’s talent market, it’s the edge you need to hire great talent. Want to learn more?  Watch “7 Steps to a Candidate Experience That Wins You Top Talent” a webinar on demand lead by Meghan. M. Biro.

This article is sponsored by Hireright. Opinions are my own.

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How to Attract, Select, and Hire the Right Candidates – Not Just Warm Bodies

In Culture Hacker, we focus on elevating the employee experience and improving engagement. While everyone seems to focus on improving engagement, we believe in taking a broader perspective – one that takes into consideration that a part of the engagement problem is the inability to select or attract the right people. As thought leader Bob Kelleher says, “Many companies don’t have an engagement issue; they have a hiring issue.” When it comes to hiring, you have to focus more on the right body than just a warm body.

To ensure you get the person who is the best fit for your company, it’s important to start with job fit, but then move quickly to cultural fit. Most skills can be taught, but character cannot be learned! Once a candidate satisfies the basic skills required, you must consider if their personal values are a good fit for your company. An effective way to do this is to implement your company values into the hiring process, and ensure that their behavior will fit the expected behaviors for your culture.

One way to do so is to implement behavioral questions into the interview process. I believe that a person’s previous experiences are a good indicator of their future performance, so probe with questions that begin with, “Tell me about a time,” “What have you done when,” or “Can you give me an example of when you…?”

Another effective interview technique is to consider activity-based interviews, where a task is given to an individual or group to see if the way they approach it is aligned with your values. Considering how someone works collaboratively to solve challenging tasks is a great insight to gain from the interview process. This is also a great way to engage the potential hire and get them excited about what they could be doing. An interesting twist on this concept? Implement gamification into your hiring process for assessment of skills, and to boost your employer branding. In the world of social media sites like Glassdoor or Indeed, an engaging hiring experience could become great marketing for your employer brand – even from candidates that didn’t get the job.

At my consultancy, SGEi, we love to get the team involved in the interview and hiring process by having many members of our staff conduct short interviews with the candidates, focused around one or two questions. When you involve your team members in the hiring decision, they will be more invested in setting up that new hire for success. It also helps to see how potential candidates do after meeting a series of people who are asking them questions in rapid succession. If they are still smiling at the end of the day, this is a great indicator that they will do the same for your customers.

At the end of the day, it’s critical to ensure that the interview process is a great experience for all candidates. Be on time, organized, grateful, and don’t forget to follow up with every person that interview with you. Remember – they might not be your next employees, but they may become your future customers.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the recession is over, and unemployment rates are lower now than they have been in years. The talent that is out there has options, and to find the right person for the job is going to take more than simply posting a job on a website. Tim Sackett, HR expert and writer for Fistful of Talent, posited that traditional talent acquisition is dead, and talent attraction has instead taken root. What are you doing to make your own employer brand attractive to potential candidates? Don’t forget to consider your own employee value proposition – in the knowledge economy today, it can be just as critical as the value you present to your customers.

Listen, I get it. There’s a lot of pressure to get the job done, and to get someone into an open role.  However, for all the things we seem to be doing quicker in business, this is one are that I suggest you slow down and take the time to attract, select, and hire the right person. The success of your team and culture depends on it!

Recommended Resources:

Your Spidey Senses Will Alert You to Recruitment Red Flags – Trust Them
Importance of Employee Value Proposition

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The Contemporary Recruiter

The HR Technology space is a crowded one, and with that is fundamentally changing how we recruit, the processes, and how we view business. This fundamental change can create an overwhelming situation that leaves many people in a state of uncertainty and confusion.

HR Technology is Your Friend

So, you have multiple positions to fill and precious little time to source and find qualified candidates. Most organizations are now using technology in one form or another, including spreadsheets to power their efforts more effectively and efficiently. But using technology in the best ways requires a change in mindset to purposefully embrace the proliferation of technological improvements in everything from searching for candidates to qualifying and hiring them. This new mindset should look at products like applicant tracking platforms that integrate all the available functions versus a series of independent pieces that don’t work together holistically. The right recruiting technology (ATS) should enable you with the tools to expedite and better qualify people, as well as save recruiting dollars. The benefits of using the right recruiting technology are myriad compared with using a manual, tedious process to manage your hiring. The efficiency here is in being able to conduct all aspects of the sourcing and recruiting with greater speed that incorporates and leverages technology to bring about a better result and not just a quick turnaround. Also, a well-designed ATS platform will enable you to onboard new hires with better capabilities by offering paperless and mobile-based applications that can be completed on the go by both recruiter and candidate. In addition, the best recruiting platforms seamlessly integrate with other best-of-breed vendors you need to use in your recruiting process. For example, the best available services such as background checks and other screening tools should be offered and not because they benefit the ATS provider, but because they best serve the recruiting needs of the client-organization.

Past Recruiting Paradigms are not Acceptable

Some companies are on a carousel of hiring that never stops, while some have the occasional hiring need. The one thing that is a constant in both situations is that neither can sacrifice quality of hire, nor take too long to find the right person for the job. Even with this, recruiting has long-been considered a tactical duty rather than strategic initiative, but much research has uncovered realities as to why recruiting must be strategic in nature versus reactive and tactical. This is where the new mindset must breakout of that outdated thinking.

It’s no surprise that moving away from the reactive mindset is difficult for some recruiters. Change is typically difficult, and with that, some recruiters are hesitant to abandon their reactive habits due to many years of working tactically. However, with greater availability of data and analytics for effective hiring, forward-thinking companies see the value in being proactive and learned versus reactive and imprecise and are open-minded to how technology can pave the way to a better outcome. For example, organizations are placing greater emphasis on finding candidates who align with the organization’s mission and values, most believing that this “attitude” is a major factor in productivity, ambassadorship, allegiance, engagement and retention. What this means for recruiting is that marking off a checklist of skills and keywords is no longer the deciding factor in someone’s candidacy. Additional measures must be taken to determine what motivation candidates have and if they will fit into the culture of your business. The organizations that have expanded their mindsets recognize the value and advantages technology and data bring to their recruiting process, and how necessary these tools are for achieving greater levels of success.

What to Consider

When hiring-managers need people to fill vacancies, they usually need them “last week.” However, the evolved recruiter has adopted a mindset of knowing that good communication and previous experience with that hiring manager will serve as a guide to hiring success. Without effective communications between hiring managers and recruiters, compounded by a lack of recorded data identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) of those employees who stand out as desirable, make it nearly impossible to fully understand what qualities and attributes will integrate nicely into that hiring manager’s team. This knowledge will, also, serve to create a more proactive approach… recruiters can and should develop a pipeline of candidates for varying positions before the immediate need arises. Simply, proactive attempts at forecasting, networking internally (think ERPs and brand ambassadors) corporate alumni programs, and external networking are all excellent ways to keep a healthy pipeline of candidates thriving and engaged, especially in today’s socially astute world. Quality, quantity, cost and speed are always going to be balls to juggle, but balancing the right combination of these is also essential to successfully deliver quality candidates.

Keeping a Grip

Finding the happy medium for recruiting in your organization is a must. It’s great to see what other organizations are doing and what technology is emerging or being used effectively by other organizations, but the caveat here is to first evaluate if their practices in recruiting are doable within your organization. Too often, people want to emulate the success of other organizations before determining if what that other company is doing makes sense for them. You must first evaluate your culture and determine if your organization can manage what works for others. This determination includes which recruiting technology is being used, what compensation and benefits are being offered, and potentially eliminating unnecessary steps used to successfully vet candidates. It’s important to understand your own processes inside and out and determine where the bottlenecks are and evaluate those glitches. Using data to analyze where you were and where you need to be can open the door to some interesting findings in your current processes. These findings, in turn, may help you develop a mind-set that belies the use of anecdotal experiences and replaces them with the use of empirical data in your qualifying and selection processes.

Additionally, if your recruiting strategy is homogenous, consider exploring other avenues. For example, if your employee referral percentage is low, give thought to how this can be improved. Also, if you are not looking to affinity groups within your organization and diversity groups outside the organization, you are missing out on opportunities to incorporate diverse experiences, skills and people who may very well align with your company’s mission and values.

All-in-all, recruiting in today’s world is an interesting place to be. As technological options expand, data and predictive analytics take a prominent place in the process, job seekers and candidates become savvier and more aware of companies as they consider culture a determining factor in their selections, and with transparency via social media bringing information to the forefront faster than ever before, the modern-day recruiter is being called upon to perform her duties with the speed and effectiveness of a well-oiled machine. These changes, however, should not deter you, as it’s just evolution taking place in your profession and raising the bar of expectations, and with that comes a wide-variety of technologies and tools that can advance you to greater levels of success within your profession.

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6 Fixes That Immediately Improve Your Hiring Process [Infographic]

The “hiring is broken” reputation is a hard one for recruiters to shake and the hiring process is only predicted to become even harder this year. 

To help you maintain your recruiting sanity, I’ve compiled a list of 6 fixes to improve your hiring process summarized in an infographic below.

6 Fixes That Immediately Improve Your Hiring Process [Infographic]

  1. Attract more candidates by promoting your employer brand

A LinkedIn survey found the #1 obstacle for job seekers changing jobs is “not knowing what it’s really like to work at the company.”

This uncertainty is a big reason why recruitment marketing has become so popular. As a central part of recruitment marketing, your employer brand is a reflection of your company’s culture, values, and mission.

Whether it’s through your company’s videos, photos, blogs, and social media statuses or third party review sites like Glassdoor, dramatically improve your hiring process by ensuring your employer brand is searchable, authentic, and compelling.

  1. Improve your job posting by adding your employee value proposition

Improving your job posting is a simple but overlooked fix to improve your hiring process. Most job postings seem to be written as an afterthought: long, boring, and technical. Worst of all, they tend to be company- rather than candidate-focused.

Research has found that job postings that emphasize what the job offers to fulfil the candidate’s needs not only attracts more applicants, but a higher quality of applicants too.

One of the best ways to highlight this job-candidate fit is to include your employee value proposition: the rewards or benefits that an employee can expect to receive in return for their performance.

Your employee value proposition should include what differentiates the job and company from whether it’s career progression, autonomy and flexibility, or amazing perks.

  1. Reduce time to hire by automating your resume screening

For every 100 applicants a high volume job posting receives, around 65% are ignored.

Automating resume screening using software powered by AI eliminates this resume “ignore problem.”

iCIMS found a resume spends 23% of its time in the screening phase. Using AI to automate your resume screening improves your hiring process because it drastically reduces time to hire without sacrificing quality of hire.

In fact, AI for resume screening has the potential to increase quality of hire because it screens every resume instantly screened which prevents good candidates from falling through the cracks and ignored.

AI for recruiting software analyses your existing resume database to learn what the qualifications of successful employees are and then applies that knowledge instantly screen, grade, and rank new candidates (e.g., from A to D).

  1. Reduce candidate acquisition costs by rediscovering candidates

Although the typical large company is sitting on thousands – if not millions – of resumes, most ATS software lack the ability to accurately search an existing resume database to match previous candidates to current reqs.

Talent rediscovery software solves this issue by using AI to analyze your job description and then searching your existing ATS to find candidates who have applied to your company in the past who fit the requirements of a current job opening.

Rediscovering previous candidates improves your hiring process because eliminates the need to come up with Boolean or keyword searches to conduct a resume search manually as well as saves you money on candidate acquisition costs.

  1. Improve your hiring process by personalizing your candidate experience

A CareerBuilder survey found that the #1 complaint of job seekers about the hiring process is a lack of personalization.

Employer behavior falls short of candidate expectations: while 52% of employers respond to less than half of the candidates who apply, 84% of candidates expect a personal email reply to their application and 52% expect a phone call.

One of the biggest benefits of using technology to improve hiring is reducing the administrative burden and freeing up recruiters’ time to personalize candidate experience.

By automating your resume screening, each and every application can be screened, ranked, and replied to. Recruiters can concentrate on the shortlist of candidates identified as strong matches, for example, all candidates graded as am A.

Recruiters can use this freed-up time to create more in-depth, high-touch relationships with qualified candidates to uncover their needs, determine fit, and persuade them to consider to opportunity.

  1. Show your recruiting value by using business-related metrics

Recruiting metrics are measurements that provide insights into the value and effectiveness of your recruiting process.

They provide information for recruiters to identify where process improvements are needed and justify investment into specific recruiting functions.

Measuring recruiting metrics and linking them to business outcomes, for example, reduced costs related to decreased turnover or increased revenue related to hiring top performers, significantly improves your hiring process because it demonstrates your financial and strategic value to the company.

The article was originally posted on Ideal.

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Report Says Marketing Hiring Will Increase This Year

Digital marketing is on the rise in recent years, so it makes sense that marketing professionals will be increasingly in demand in the near future. And McKinley Marketing Partners recently provided evidence of this when it released the 2017 Marketing Hiring Trends Report. The findings are based on the company’s survey of 314 marketers, and they offer encouraging information, like the fact that hiring in this industry rose by 19 percent from 2015 to 2016. Want more reasons to love the fact that you’re in marketing? Check out what else McKinley Marketing Partners’ report found.

What’s Going on with Marketing Hiring in 2017?

One of the most important findings in this report is that 44 percent of respondents said they plan to hire more marketers. In 2016, just 28 percent of marketers said the same thing, so expect there to be growth in marketing jobs this year. In particular, medium companies that make between $10.1 million and $50 million annually will be doing the most hiring this year.

And while 78 percent of respondents said they don’t have any job cutbacks planned this year, some companies will be cutting back in certain areas. The areas that are most likely to be affected include creative services, traditional marketing, and marketing operations.

When it comes to traditional marketing in particular, which services are most likely to be cut back this year? Well, traditional advertising tops the list, followed by direct mail, print, broadcast, direct response, and telemarketing. So, if these happen to be your top skills right now, consider learning some new ones to remain employable in the marketing field.

What Are the Most In-Demand Marketing Skills This Year?

If you’re looking to switch gears to become more competitive in the marketing industry, you should know that 56 percent of the survey respondents said they plan to hire professionals with digital marketing knowledge. This means you should be adept at the following skills, in order of importance:

  • Digital advertising
  • Content creation and curation
  • Content strategy
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Web development
  • Display marketing

All of these skills can increase your chance of getting a good job in marketing, since employers are looking for these more than ever when hiring.

The second most important area to be experienced at is creative services, since 35 percent of survey respondents said they’ll be hiring professionals in this area. The most in-demand skills within creative services include:

  • Graphic design
  • Web design
  • Visual design
  • Copywriting
  • Web production

What You Should Know If You’re Hiring Marketing Professionals

If you’re a hiring manager looking for experienced marketers this year, the competition may be fierce because the demand exceeds supply in most areas of marketing. For example, this study found that the demand for new employees in the digital marketing area is 56 percent, but the supply is just 24 percent, since that’s the amount of marketers who at least occasionally look for new job opportunities.

It’s not much better in the creative services area, where the demand is 35 percent and the supply is 27 percent. The numbers are similar in marketing operations, research and analysis, and communications, though the supply and demand are at least only a few percentage points apart.

The only area where supply matches demand is relationship management. If you’re looking for a marketer with product marketing expertise, it should be easier, since demand is 20 percent and supply is 21 percent. And if you’re hiring in the traditional marketing field, demand is only 19 percent and supply is 24 percent.

So how can you stand out to the top marketing professionals when you’re hiring? You need to keep in mind the main motivation for marketers who switch jobs, and that’s money. About 45 percent of survey respondents said they’d consider a job change if they were offered a higher salary. The only other perk that came close is career advancement, since 25 percent said they might switch jobs for this benefit.

Aside from offering a competitive salary, you should know that 86 percent of respondents said they also expect health insurance from their employer, including dental and vision coverage. About 80 percent want paid time off for vacation. Other benefits they would like include:

  • Casual dress in the office – 64 percent
  • Paid sick days – 59 percent
  • Telecommuting – 42 percent
  • Floating holidays – 40 percent
  • Office perks (free snacks and drinks, game room, TV, etc.) – 34 percent
  • Flex time – 31 percent
  • Summer hours – 19 percent
  • Every other Friday off work – 11 percent

If you can offer not only a competitive salary and health benefits, but also the option to telecommute or at least take more paid days off, you’ll be more likely to draw in the talented marketing professionals you seek.

Are you a marketer looking for a new job this year, or part of a company looking to hire? How do you feel about the information in the 2017 Marketing Hiring Trends Report? Let us know if you’re excited or apprehensive about the state of hiring in the marketing field this year.

A version of this was first posted on

What Small Businesses Are Saying About the Recruitment Process

 “People make the ultimate difference” Bill McDermott, CEO SAP

Even the best ideas can fail. Success is never guaranteed. It is dependent upon the talent, drive, and compatibility of human beings. Companies don’t just need bodies – they need people who have the talent and skills to meet the job requirements, and are a good fit for the team. Recruitment, therefore, is high stakes, mission-critical work.

To learn more about how crucial recruitment efforts are managed, particularly in small business, we surveyed 2,341 business professionals responsible for recruitment activities. Of those surveyed, 50% were in HR and 50% were in the lines of business. The survey included professionals in the US, the UK, and France across a range of industries, with an emphasis on retail, hospitality, and healthcare. All participants represented companies with fewer than 500 employees.

Our comprehensive report details specific findings; broadly, we learned the following:


Multiple, Unrelated Responsibilities

95.2% of those surveyed also had additional job duties including employee training and development, performance management, compensation and benefits, and workforce planning (not to mention line of business responsibilities).

WorkConnect Chart

97.0% performed multiple functions within recruitment – some combination of managing candidate searches, interviewing candidates, tracking applicants, and making hiring decisions. Individuals dedicated solely to recruitment does not appear to be typical in companies of fewer than 500 employees.

WorkConnect Link

In addition to other duties and activities, 58.7% of respondents hired 10 or more people in the previous 12 months, indicating there are multiple candidate searches being managed at any given time.

Number of New Hires

Time pressure to make hires

94.3% indicated that urgency to fill the role was a key factor in the level of difficulty involved in filling an open position. Even in markets where it is common to give two weeks or more notice before leaving a position, time pressure to hire still exists across the three markets. Given the rhythm of business today and employee loyalty dynamics (e.g., job hopping), there is a narrow window between approval to fill an open position and the need to have someone functioning in that position.

Growth and evolution are main triggers

84.4% indicated that a factor prompting new hires was growth and evolution including business growth, expansion, evolving job requirements, and restructured roles. The remainder indicated the trigger was more “functional” in nature (sick or maternity leave, retirement, normal turnover, seasonal workforce, increasing overtime). This indicates a strong strategic nature to hiring activities, increasing the stakes for finding candidates that are a good fit for evolving organizations.

Prompts for New Hires

Lots of manual effort

Use of online job boards or career websites is high (72.7%), as is use of software specifically to support the hiring process (61.4%).

Still, 56.7% use printed documents and 51.7% use spreadsheets to manage hiring activities. This generally means printing resumes, manually marking them up and sorting them according to level of interest, and then using XL to track applicants through the interview process.

94.7% indicated two or more people are involved in the hiring process even though this level of manual effort is not conducive to team collaboration.

Offline Tools for Hiring


Tight labor pools

It’s a candidate’s market: 96.5% of respondents say quality of available candidates is a factor that influences the difficulty of filling a job, 92.5% say availability of candidates is a factor, and 90.3% say competition for candidates is a factor.

Tight labor pools


Inefficient processes

In this environment, where there is time pressure to make hires and it’s challenging to find good candidates, 77.7% of respondents say completing the hiring process in an efficient and time-saving way is a challenge.

Across the hiring process, 78.6% say managing postings on multiple job boards is a challenge, 76.5% indicated that keeping track of applicant status and follow-ups is challenging, and 75.7% say consolidating and organizing feedback from co-workers is a challenge.

Given these dynamics it’s not surprising that people involved with recruiting want the following:

Access to more qualified candidates 92.30%
Easier to manage job posts 84.80%
More lead time for recruitment 84.10%
Easier to collaborate with peers during candidate evaluation 83.60%
More accessible database of previous job descriptions 82.70%
More automation / less paper 80.90%
Better applicant tracking software 80.50%
More budget to promote job posts 77.40%
More staff to support hiring 74.60%

Individuals tasked with recruitment – HR and hiring managers – are craving a better way. They want access to more and better candidates, they want to move away from printing documents and filing them in folders, and they want a better way to collect, aggregate, and store coworker feedback. Ultimately, they want to find ways to move and act more quickly.

People involved in recruitment are operating under some very challenging conditions. There is a tremendous opportunity to make things easier for them by enabling better business processes like hiring triggers, job descriptions, job posting, and collaboration. The hiring process is calling for tools and technology to support the end-to-end lifecycle.

This article was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and originally appeared on WorkConnect by SAP.

How to Recruit Like the World’s Best Companies

The world’s best companies are mission-driven, and they make more money than their competitors. Mission-driven companies have 30% more innovation and 40% higher levels of employee retention

These companies know that to achieve their mission, they need the kind of staff that will get them there; the kind of people who are highly engaged. But in 2015, this was only true for 32% of employees.

What determines high engagement levels, is corporate culture. It’s safe to assume that not many companies are paying too much attention to culture, but the ones that are, boast higher revenue.

What Does Employee Engagement Mean & Why Does It Matter?

When employees are highly engaged with the companies they work for, it means they are emotionally invested in the company’s vision and mission, and enthusiastically take ownership of their work to produce high levels of productivity. As you can imagine, the spinoff of that results in higher profits.

When staff are disengaged, they are only interested in their paycheck. These people hang around in the coffee area, watch the clock for home time, work only as much as they need to, come in late, doodle during meetings without making any valuable contributions…you know the type.

Undoubtedly, that kind of disinterest hurts the company. In fact, Hubworks reports that the cost of low employee engagement accounts for a $450 to $550 billion loss each year.

Considering that, it’s understandable why the world’s best companies boast the highest engagement levels.

Corporate Culture Determines Engagement Levels

Now, every company has its own culture. As you can see from the previous statistics, this is mostly by default; when culture “happens” to a company, rather than coming about by strategic design.

To implement a desired corporate culture, the following questions need to be answered:

  • What is our company’s mission?
  • How do we break down the overall mission into annual business goals?
  • How do we break business goals down into departmental goals?
  • What kind of staff do we need to achieve our goals?

The kind of workers you’ll need to achieve your goals will determine what business culture will attract them.

Let’s talk about Apple for a moment: Apple is considered one of the best companies to work for. It boasts a 70% employee engagement rate, even though most staff work under a tremendous amount of pressure. Apple offers its staff many perks, one of them full education reimbursement.

About this, Gallup Business Journal says:

“Apple had created an attraction strategy that differentiated the company from its competitors — and that appealed directly to the type of employee it wanted to hire. Apple’s brilliantly defined employment brand not only speaks to people with a strong desire to learn and grow, but also says a lot about the company’s culture and what it values.” 

The first step to recruit like the world’s best companies is developing a strategy to attract and retain the kind of people you need to achieve your company’s goals.

How to Emulate the Recruitment Process of The World’s Best Companies

Like attracts like. To attract the kind of workers you want, you’re going to have to create a workplace that draws the people you are after.

Interestingly, motivation levels don’t increase according to salary, so slapping a 10% increase on everyone’s pay won’t cut it. Instead, you first need to create a culture that is attractive to the people you want to attract. When that’s in place, follow a similar recruitment process of the world’s best companies, which fits your own culture and values.

Once the company has implemented their desired culture, the recruitment process begins with ad design and copy, moving on to interviewing and tests, and ending with effective induction programs.

Ad design and copy

Step number one to attract the right people is the ad. Ideally, the ad design and copywriting should be done by the marketing department, not recruitment, because the ad is branded marketing material, and needs to include:

  1. An attractive design that appeals to the people you are looking for (which is why you need to understand precisely what drives your ideal candidate).
  2. A title that stands out from the rest of the boring ads, and which appeals to your target audience.
  3. A first line that appeals to the candidate’s top internal motivator.
  4. An emphasis on what the candidate will do, learn and aim towards.
  5. Where possible, avoid specifying skills and education, especially when attitude is an important factor. Focus on attracting the right people instead of weeding out the bad apples.


LinkedIn listed a “Top Attractors” list in 2016. The top five best companies to work for include, in this order:

  1. Google
  2. Salesforce
  3. Facebook
  4. Apple
  5. Amazon

Let’s look at how they handle interviews:

But for Apple, all of the top 5 companies kickoff the interviewing process virtually, and then go on to rigorous face to face interviews. For instance, Google candidates who pass the virtual interview proceed to the next phase where Google conducts on-site interviews with four employees (not managers, but future peers) for up to 45 minutes each.

Facebook conducts 4 – 5 interviews before making an offer.

Emulating the methods of these top companies – affordable even for smaller companies – would require software like ClickMeeting which could be used not only for conducting interviews one-on-one, or with up to 25 people, but you could also use webinars to train new employees, especially if you work with remote teams.

What’s most important in the interview phase, is the information you need to find out, based on what’s important to your company.

Psychological tests are the norm for the world’s best companies because they understand that although you can teach a skill, you can’t instill the right attitude or motivation. For example, if the candidate is to be groomed for leadership, the company needs to know if the person has leadership abilities and what their leadership style is so that it fits the culture of the company.

The entire recruitment process is detailed and heavily invested in because it’s designed to attract the best and retain employees for as long as possible.

With that in mind, and following the examples of the world’s best companies, you’d aim to:

  • Allow candidates to showcase their skills, thinking style, leadership ability and whether they fit the company culture or not.
  • Ask questions around behavioral, hypothetical and case-based scenarios.
  • Provide role-specific initiatives where necessary, like role-playing a mock sales call. To determine teamwork ability, Apple places candidates into small groups for collaboration exercises.
  • Identify abilities with personality assessments and tests. Salesforce presents odd questions like “What’s your kryptonite?” so that they can see how fast candidates think on their feet.
  • Ascertain specific ability with challenges and practical exercises or tasks.
  • In interviews, find out different perspectives from the presence of a few staff members or managers.

As this article is about recruitment, it won’t go into onboarding, but the induction phase of recruitment is vital, as it sets the tone for how candidates view your company, which impacts their future commitment and engagement levels.

The world’s best companies pay a lot of attention to making the onboarding experience streamlined, professional and fun.

Being the Best at Recruiting

The motivation for modeling your company’s recruitment process after the world’s best companies is higher revenue and decreased cost.

With the end goal in mind and the realization that the top companies have the highest employee engagement rates, you’d begin identifying the ideal culture for your company, and the one that will attract and retain quality employees who will work to achieve the company’s goals.

The recruiting process starts with the ad design and copy and then moves on to interviewing.

The best companies have recruitment processes that are strategic and consist of clever ways of identifying information about candidates that can’t easily be manipulated.

Instituting recruitment processes like the world’s best companies is time consuming, but the results are well worth it, as the statistics well prove.

Photo Credit: joybenetton Flickr via Compfight cc

A New Study Reveals the Top 3 Barriers to Efficient Recruitment

Recruiting is High Stakes

Individuals charged with hiring employees face big challenges today: time pressure from hiring managers who need positions filled quickly, shrinking and highly competitive labor pools, interview processes that require collaboration among numerous people, lack of tools to facilitate the process. But it’s also a time of great opportunity: many companies are hiring due to growth or expansion and evolving job requirements, and companies know employees are their most important asset and that cultural fit is critical.

To meet the demands in today’s business environment, recruitment efforts need to be nimble, synchronized, and expansive. But a new independent study conducted by WideOpen set to release this month reveals there are key obstacles and common challenges among recruiters and hiring managers that threaten the ability to meet these demands. This global study of 2,341 recruiters and hiring managers in the US, UK, and France representing companies with fewer than 500 employees indicates the following for US respondents (n=841):

Obstacle 1: Candidate’s Market

The primary factor influencing the level of difficulty of filling an open job is related to supply and demand. There simply is a shortage of qualified, available candidates.

Candidate’s Market

Obstacle 2: Managing Job Postings

To reach as many candidates as possible, recruiters typically post their job postings to multiple online job boards. With the ongoing proliferation and fragmentation of job boards and communities, this has become a burdensome, time-consuming task.

Job Posting ChallengeObstacle 3: Candidate Management

Once candidates have been identified, the work of scheduling interviews, tracking applicants, and managing the interview process creates a different layer of obstacles among recruiters and hiring managers.

Candidate Management

A Better Way

Given the understandable and relatable challenges faced by those tasked with hiring new employees, recruiters and hiring managers have specific thoughts on how to facilitate a better set of tools and processes for a smoother process.

* Easier way to manage job posts. 94% of recruiters want greater access to more candidates. Expanding access to candidates means expanding access to various candidate pools, necessitating more job boards, more postings to manage. Already 58% of respondents currently post to four or more online job boards. It’s no surprise, then, that 87% of respondents want it to be easier to manage this flurry of activity.

* Better way to track applicants. With increasing candidates coming into the funnel, recruiters need a better way to manage that volume. Among other requirements, they need to be able to quickly filter those candidates they are interested in pursuing, whether that’s a phone interview or an in-person interview. 84% indicate selecting and categorizing suitable candidates is a challenge; 86% would like better applicant tracking software.

* Better tools to facilitate overall management. While there are myriad quality online job boards, recruiters still use a lot of manual tools to manage and track the overall process: spreadsheets, word processors, printouts, emails are all used by the majority of respondents to track and manage online job posting activity, and to collaborate with colleagues and aggregate their feedback on applicants. 84% of respondents indicate the need for more automation and less paper in the process.

As the stakes for effective recruiting increase and the activities required to manage recruitment efforts multiply, companies need to enable these efforts with automation and modern digital tools. In the age of customer experience where every business is a people business, a company’s most critical asset requires a commensurate degree of attention and support.

Stay tuned for more detailed findings, including those from the UK and France.

This post was written by Jeff Rosenberg, Co-Founder and Partner at WideOpen, and was originally published on WorkConnect by SAP.