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Will Technology Replace HR in 2016?

We’ve been hearing about technology replacing humans in HR for more than five years. Algorithms, Talent Analytics, and Predictive Behavior Technology are certainly having a significant impact on HR, and making it much more of a science. Yet there’s an issue because technology is fallible too. What about the other side of the argument, that HR is an art because, at its heart, it’s about people?

Which is it? Art? Or science?

I say both. Today’s human resources professional resides somewhere between the warmth of personal relationships and the cold truth of data. For years, we’ve watched HR change before our very eyes: technology has seeped into our interactions in the workplace, from recruiting and training to performance management, leaving many wondering how—and if—HR still has a place in modern organizations.

My answer? It still does. And here’s why.

From analytics to algorithms, technology’s new tools help us use data to be more efficient, effective, and scalable. Data can drive business decisions, provide insights into the workforce, predict future requirements, quickly match talent to needs, and measure traits and results that are critical to an organization’s success.

“Experts predict the Internet will become ‘like electricity’ — less visible, yet more deeply embedded in people’s lives for good and ill,” according to the Pew Research Center’s Digital Life in 2025. Yet, technology is not yet ready to replace the HR department. Dealing with people is, not surprisingly, inherently human: Adaptable, always changing, and full of possibility. HR is more than data-driven science, it’s an art—and despite the many benefits, it isn’t ready for a hands-off approach. 

Embrace What Technology Has to Offer

The reality is that organizations don’t have the capacity or the budget to keep technology out of HR—nor should they try.

Recruiters spend an average 6.25 seconds reviewing a resume. That sounds speedy until you realize there were 292,000 jobs created in December 2015 alone. That’s where machines can help: The non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research found computer algorithms do a better job of evaluating skills, personality, and overall job fit than humans. Machine-assessed candidates even stayed in their positions longer than those selected by recruiters.

Talent analytics can bring clarity to information that can seem overwhelming. These analytics can identify factors that predict employee success, calculate the risk for turnover, measure engagement to improve retention, and forecast talent needs. Using this information can be the difference between thinking—and knowing—you’re making the right decision.

Other emerging platforms are streamlining critical HR functions. New platforms for benefits and payroll make staying compliant much simpler. Online training options make on-boarding and professional development cost-effective, individualized, and accessible from anywhere in the world.

HR professionals should lean on these tools. But at the end of the day, it still takes a human being to understand how to interpret and act on insights they have identified. What technology enables us to do is shift focus from shuffling data between piles, to the areas that truly need a human touch.

Can Talent Analytics Do HR’s Job?

No. But they can help.

Talent analytics can do a lot of the heavy lifting for recruiters. Organizations don’t have the budget or capacity to manage the deluge of resumes that can come in. And who makes their decisions based solely on a CV these days anyway? Even interviews and portfolios have had to make room for the value of a candidate’s social footprint.

Talent analytics can lend a hand in the screening process, measuring a person’s innate talents and checking any number of criteria. They can provide a forecast of a person’s potential—not based on traditional indicators, like education or GPA, but on personal attributes and motivations that are inherent to who they are. Imagine trying to measure someone’s emotional intelligence or attitude. You can’t do that based on work experience, an interview, or gut instinct.

Companies like Google use analytics to manage existing employees and maximize the potential of new recruits, fine-tuning everything from how they review applicants to their on-boarding process and organizational structure.

But these systems don’t work on their own. The data they collect is impressive, but analysts are still needed to interpret it; there are too many idiosyncrasies and variables to be able to quantify personality traits with 100 percent accuracy. Even with machines, there is always room for error.

You Can’t Automate Culture

Algorithms screen; they don’t build relationships. Millennials value transparency and company culture in the workplacein fact, it’s one of their primary concerns. Analytics platforms can scan for traits that identify the candidates who are the best fit, but the culture that will keep them engaged is shaped by unique human factors. Recruiting good employees isn’t just about analyzing their personality—it’s also about communicating your own.

Technology Is a Tool

Technology can make an employee’s job better by analyzing what works and what doesn’t. It can be used to free up time in HR to focus on strategy and developing new policies. In fact, it can even give recruiters tools to make the process more human. But effective HR still requires a human touch. This is part of the balance between science and art. Think of the data as a paint-by-numbers project: Analytics give you the colors and numbers—but you’re still the one who has to paint the picture.

This article was first published on Switch and Shift on 2/17/16.

#WorkTrends Preview: Diminishing Unconscious Bias in Hiring

During this #WorkTrends, we are going to discuss how to diminish unconscious bias in hiring.

Every day, unconscious biases influence hiring decisions. This issue undercuts the culture and success of many companies, from start-ups to Fortune 500s.

According to our guest, author Gail Tolstoi-Miller, companies must build awareness of the bias that takes place in the hiring process and take action. She will share why organizations should implement formal training for people in decision-making functions, and how to combat and diminish bias throughout the hiring process.

#WorkTrends Event: Diminishing Unconscious Bias in Hiring

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Tune in to our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, March 16 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Host Meghan M. Biro as she talks about diminishing unconscious bias in hiring.

#WorkTrends on Twitter — Wednesday, March 16 — 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What are the signs of unconscious bias in the hiring process? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question.)

Q2. How can hiring managers avoid bias?#WorkTrends  (Tweet the question.)

Q3: What recourse do job candidates have if they suspect bias?#WorkTrends  (Tweet the question.)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. Feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!

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When Recruiting Improves Candidate Communication

“Do you hear the phone when I call?

Do you feel the thud when I fall?

Do you hear the crack when I break?

Did you lock the door when it shut?

Did you see the knife when it cut?

Do you keep your ear to the ground?

For the kid in Lonely Town…”

—Brandon Flowers, Lonely Town

Work. There comes a time when we reflect on whether or not to defect. Of whether we stay the course of a complicated, even painful relationship that does not reinvest to retain, or if we close our eyes and leap.

We see these reflections as a possible jumping off points, opportunities to start anew and find:

  • An employer that maybe, this time, will celebrate all that we bring and reward us accordingly.
  • A job where we can do what we do best – the work we love to do and that we’re the most loyal to.
  • Meaningful work that generates a positive prismatic return for us and for those who employ us.

Its one of the most difficult things we do in the modern age: apply for employment. From hourly contract work to salaried jobs to management and executive positions, it’s a highly personal journey of putting ourselves out there to be assessed, reviewed and ultimately judged as to whether we’re deemed worthy of working for an individual, a team, a company.

The recruiting and hiring process from employer to employer can vary so dramatically, with only a few providing a more positive candidate experience than the many, the path from pre-application to even onboarding for those who get the job can eviscerate the hearts of even the most hopeful.

Which was how I felt five years ago. I remember going through a job search with a high-visibility firm. That combined with my industry visibility at the time made me feel even more vulnerable, especially considering that I made it to the final selection process, and I had much more than pride on the line; I had to provide for a family.

Considering the industry they were in, they should’ve known better, the best practices of recruiting and hiring. Instead, I was left with inconsistent acknowledgement and no closure. And even though I didn’t get the job, of which the other primary candidate definitely had the edge on me, I was led to believe that there were other opportunities. It took weeks to know I wasn’t hired and longer still to hear there weren’t other opportunities.

I know. Maybe I’m being melodramatic. I mean, not everyone gets the job and the employment trophy, right? It’s a messy business, this world of work. Stiff upper lip and all that. Of course, I survived and joined the global non-profit research organization called The Talent Board that highlights the good, bad and the in-between of recruiting and candidate experience via the Candidate Experience Awards and Research (CandE). We survey both employers and candidates about the recruiting process, from pre-application to onboarding.

The CandE winners know it’s a constant work in progress – those companies that have improved their recruiting experience for candidates. They are raising the bar and sharing compelling stories as to their talent acquisition journeys of making candidates their number one customers. They know that candidates themselves want to be valued and have an engaging and transparent experience. How they’re treated has a direct impact on employer brands. In today’s digital age, where people share experiences online, a poor candidate experience can be bad for business and translate to millions in lost revenue annually.

When I read through the candidate open-ended survey responses, I empathize viscerally; we’ve all been there; we’re all perpetual candidates. Here are a few paraphrased and sanitized examples (and these were the nicer ones):

  • If there is anyone I could speak with about where my application stands, I would appreciate it. I put my heart into applying for that job. 
  • They should have been more specific as to why I wasnt selected and given me some constructive criti 
  • I did not hear anything until I received a notification that I was not hired two to three months after my interview. 
  • It took a week after I followed up with HR to receive an automated message saying that the position had been filled.

Tens of thousands of similar responses. Yes, progress continues to be made year after year since the first report was released, and the 2015 North America Talent Board Research Report is now available to download. (Companies interested in participating in the 2016 survey research can register here.)

However, there has been a bit of a backslide:

  • 2015 results show an increase in the number of employers not contacting candidates post applica
  • Overall, the percentage of organizations that acknowledge applications with a “thank you” correspondence dropped from 89.5 percent to 85.3 percent
  • The percentage of recruiters required to respond dropped from 49.3 percent to 39.6 percent, which is too bad since, at the very least, talent acquisition systems today are more than malleable enough to accommodate hundreds of disposition codes and better personalize automated messages.

And then every once in a while you come across a positive one, even from those not hired:

I thought the hiring and recruitment managers both did a fine, professional job in conveying this information to me at the conclusion of their process.

Amen. So I wish the true wish of every candidate and current employee around the world: the hope for consistent and personable acknowledgment and closure, knowing that you may not be the chosen one.

When recruiting reflects on its effects, and then improves its candidate communications and follow-up and through, it can retain the relationships outside and in that impact the brand and the business.

And then it may just be a happier year for some of you who start anew.

Five Reasons Why Social Media Should be On Your HR Radar

Social media has become an incredibly valuable part of HR recruiting efforts, both for relationship building and to identify and vet top talent. And truthfully? If you’re not building social media into your recruiting efforts at this point, you’re not really recruiting on par with today’s industry standard.

The HR industry is using social media to source and recruit top talent—and, social media is where the candidates are. In fact, two-thirds of hiring managers say they’ve found successful candidates through social media. Social media, already so effective at digitally bringing people together, facilitating the sharing of ideas, and spurring conversation, is proving to be an excellent resource when it comes to attracting great employees. It also lets recruiters have access to fairly comprehensive views of candidates, whether or not the applicant intends that to be the case, which provides another way to sidestep potentially unpleasant surprises (and hiring fails). 

Social Media: Mainstream or Niche

As the largest social network targeted to professionals, LinkedIn is the go-to platform for recruiters and job seekers—but, if you think LinkedIn is all that’s out there for recruiters – you’d be wrong. Recruiting has gone multichannel. Forums like Quora and Twitter (especially HR or industry-related Twitter chats) bring experts to the surface while niche groups and sector-specific platforms are gaining relevance.

For example:

  • Albert’s List is an incredibly active career networking group on Facebook that boasts more than 13,000 members in the Silicon Valley and beyond.
  • AngelList is a platform that allows job seekers to apply privately to over 40,000 startups, and also pairs recruiters and companies with like-minded individuals.
  • Doostang is a networking site for graduates of top-ranking undergrad and MBA programs.

Online networks are filled with communities like these, which allow recruiters to target top talent in their industry with laser-like focus.

Improve Candidate Quality

Whether you incorporate niche networks into your recruiting strategy or not, social media can have an impact on the quality of the people your organization recruits and hires.

How is HR leveraging social recruiting? According to Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey, recruiters rely heavily on social media:

  • Only 4% of recruiters DON’T use social media in the recruiting process.
  • The 92% of recruiters that do use social media cast a wider net than ever using social networks from LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to Google Plus, Instagram, and even Snapchat.

Pew Research reports nearly three-quarters of online adults use social networks. Among Millennials—the largest generation in today’s workforce—that number jumps to 90 percent. Interaction drives these online communities. By cultivating an engaged and diverse community, you can connect with a broader range of candidates, which increases your access and exposure to the global talent pool.

Connect With the Right People

Building a stronger social presence gives you leverage to shape the way people perceive your brand. Candidates want to know your organization’s vision, value, culture, and reputation; a strong brand will articulate these and attract like-minded professionals.

People learn about brands through interesting posts, shared articles, conversations with friends and colleagues, and other types of interaction. All that activity does wonders to raise awareness of brands. In fact, a majority of Millennials described themselves as almost always online and connected while 88 percent of them get their news and information from Facebook, according to research published by the American Press Institute.

That curiosity extends both ways, of course. Just as people now have unprecedented access to potential employers—and their employees—through online networks, companies can build relationships with potential candidates to learn more about their skills, experience, and cultural fit before they even begin the hiring process. 

Reach a Wider Audience

Work is no longer a place; it’s an activity—one that many skilled professionals can do from anywhere in the world. This independence has expanded the talent pool; businesses can (and do) work with people all over the world, finding the best fit for the job regardless of location.

Plus, a community of local and international connections makes it easier to locate that talent when you need it. More than two-thirds of recruiters said social media helped them find candidates they otherwise would have never found or contacted. What’s more, 59 percent of recruiters said candidates found through social media are of the highest quality. Networks don’t just help you find “hidden” candidates; they help you find the hidden gems.

Grow Your Brand and Engage Your Employees

Recruiting isn’t the only way HR can use social media, of course. It can also be used to engage employees and candidates, and build awareness of your online brand (or that of your company’s) and tell the brand story, which is becoming more and more important in today’s job market. According to CareerArc’s 2015 Employer Branding Study:

  • 75 percent of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job.
  • 62 percent of job seekers visit social media channels to evaluate employer brand.
  • 91 percent of job seekers find poorly managed or designed online properties damaging to an employer brand

Social media has become the top way to stay ahead in the game. Simply put, if you’re trying to find promising new talent, you must be active in social media and work to build out your company’s social media presence. Many more candidates are using social media than aren’t and most of the top talents

Bottom line? Social media has become one of the most valuable tools building employer brands, building and maintaining relationships, promoting jobs, sourcing candidates, and vetting applicants. Recruiters understand its importance and investing their time and money to get (and stay) up to speed with all things social. They have to. The talent won’t wait for them to catch up.

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#WorkTrends Preview: Quicker & Better: The Importance of Speed & Productivity in Recruitment

During this #WorkTrends this week, we are going to address the importance of speed and productivity in the recruiting process.

In a tight labor market with high demand for top talent, speed is critical to landing the best possible talent. According to our guest, Kurt Jones with PeopleFluent, recruiting leaders need to focus on all of the areas in their control to make sure their teams are performing at peak productivity and with a constant sense of urgency.

Guest host Cyndy Trivella and Kurt Jones will discuss:

  • How much wasted time costs an organization
  • Why speed and productivity should be top priorities for recruiters
  • How to capitalize on technology to keep talent pools fresh and accessible
  • How speed positively impacts the Candidate Experience

#WorkTrends Event: Quicker & Better: The Importance of Speed & Productivity in Recruitment

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Tune in to our LIVE online podcast Wednesday, March 9 — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #WorkTrends Guest Host Cyndy Trivella as she talks about the importance of speed and productivity with recruitment.

#WorkTrends on Twitter — Wednesday, March 9 — 1:30 pm ET / 10:30 am PT

Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #WorkTrends Twitter stream to continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. We invite everyone with a Twitter account to participate as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1. How does recruiting speed correlate with landing top talent? #WorkTrends (Tweet the question.)

Q2. In what ways can productive recruitment efforts be measured?#WorkTrends (Tweet the question.)

Q3. Is there a connection between speedy recruitment and a positive candidate experience?#WorkTrends (Tweet the question.)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #WorkTrends Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. Feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

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Recruiting Gen Z: A Whole New Ballgame

Move over, Millennials: Recruiters need to prepare for Generation Z, and that’s going to take a whole new mindset. Gen Z is the newest generation—born after the mid-90s—and its oldest members are set to enter the workforce.

Raised post 9/11 in a steady recession economy, this second generation of digital natives has faint—if any—memories of the boom years. They’re more pragmatic and less dependent on their parents, putting them more in line with the Silent Generation—than their Millennial peers. Here’s a look at some of the key qualities that make Gen Z unique.

They Aren’t as Close to Their Parents

After years of lamenting the rise of the helicopter parent and their impact on America’s best and brightest, surveys suggest the trend may be coming to an end. In fact, parents of Generation Z have backed away from the smothering and coddling that Millennials have had to endure. As a result, Gen Z is self-directed and accustomed to accessing answers and inspiration from the internet and their peers.

This is the first generation born in the golden age of the Internet; they aren’t tech savvy, they’re tech-immersed. They can’t remember a time without a home computer or Internet access. The rise of social media means they are always engaging in a digital narrative and global community. Gen Z tends to rely on peer influence—even those whom they’ve never met in person.

They’re Value Oriented 

According to a survey conducted by marketing firm Sparks & Honey, more than a third of Generation Z wants to “invent something that will change the world.” Further, two-thirds of this group would rather be entrepreneurs than employees. This emerging generation seems more focused on following passions and values than making money.

In some ways, this is a characteristic that puts them in line with the Silent Generation. Born between 1925 and 1945, the Silent Generation was plagued by economic instability from the Great Depression and World War II. Members of Gen Z grew up in the middle of the war on terror and spent many of their formative years hearing about mass shootings and gun violence.

However, there’s a notable difference between these two generations: The Silent Generation drifted into complacency in the 1950s under the threat of McCarthyism. Generation Z means to change the world.

They’re Not Totally Tech Driven

Popular culture likes to paint this group, the children of Instagram, as a narcissistic demographic scarcely capable of one-on-one conversation. However, while much of this generation can barely remember a time without a smartphone in hand, research suggests Gen Zers are more than just tech-driven automatons. In one workplace survey, research group Millennial Branding found 53 percent of Gen Z respondents prefer face-to-face communication over tech tools like email (16 percent) and messaging (11 percent).

Recruiting Generation Z

For recruiters dealing with the already tight competition for talent, a new approach is in order—one that speaks to the characteristics and motivations that define Gen Z. Here are three ways to refine your Generation Z recruitment strategy.

  1. Consider the Way You Work 

The notion of the 9-to-5 workday is already disappearing; by the time the last of Generation Z arrives on the scene, it may be gone altogether. While members of Gen Z are pragmatic enough to want stability, they’re used to mobility and will demand communication and working styles that suit their nomadic nature. As a recruiter, counsel employers on what the new generation of employees will expect: They’ll work remotely—even more than Generation Y—and will keep hours that flex to accommodate their other interests and commitments.

  1. Examine the Career Options You Have to Offer 

As Generation Y and members before them, the members of Generation Z will be hard to retain for the long term. Imbued with an entrepreneurial spirit, they won’t like playing the passive employee. With their focus more on passion than money, it will be hard for recruiters to find a quality Gen Z candidate who will be content to work toward someone else’s dream; they want to have a purpose. Work with your employers to create a clear path to leadership, and encourage “intraprenuerial” roles within your company. Give members of Generation Z something they crave: A career they can actually love.

  1. Look at How You Communicate

Honesty is the quality Generation Z desires values above all others. Raised in an era of obfuscation and “too big to fail” myths, Gen Z demands transparency from any organization they do business with—whether it’s where their food comes from or a company’s reputation for engaging in ethical practices. As such, they’ll expect management to be honest with them in every aspect of their jobs. If you place value in this and engage them with clear communication and expectations, you’ll attract and keep loyal employees.

This is the first time in history where so many generations—the Silent Generation, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and now—have shared a work environment. There’s no doubt that makes your job as a recruiter an adventure. If you try to play by the old rules, your employers will struggle to keep up; changing your strategy now to anticipate Gen Z will create a workplace that attracts the youngest generation as they start their careers. What are you doing to prepare? I’d love to hear about it.

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Onboarding Is The Holy Grail Of Employee Retention, Engagement and Productivity

How does effective onboarding relate to retention, engagement and customer satisfaction? Simply put, in every way.

Onboarding is a widely misunderstood practice. Some companies believe it’s a handshake on day one with a pile of papers for the new hire to complete. In actuality, great onboarding begins at the first touchpoint in the relationship. This means, the first time the company representative engages with a job candidate, the onboarding begins. Further, should this touchpoint result in a hire, it should carry through to the first day of employment and all the way through the employee’s tenure.

Onboarding Is Not Brain Surgery

I read many a horror story about how job candidates and employees, alike, are treated like a commodity rather than contributors. This mistreatment stems from the apathy and disregard many experience when starting a new job. Lack of communication and the feeling of being lost among a crowd of other disregarded co-workers are commonly heard remarks. Without a connection to help employees feel part of the organization, disengagement often times results in a lack of productivity because employees don’t understand how their role contributes to the company’s mission, vision and values.

According to researchers at the Abderdeen Group, 62 percent of companies that have a solidified onboarding program experience faster time-to-productivity with 54 percent claiming to have better employee engagement. After reviewing these stats, it’s clearly counter-productive for companies to forego having an onboarding program, yet there are still many brands who have chosen to forego a structured onboarding program.

We Don’t Know Where To Start

For leadership to truly appreciate the value of an onboarding program, they first need to understand what they’re missing. An analysis of relevant employment data is a good start. Tracking the following metrics is advisable for businesses of all sizes:

  • time-to-hire
  • time-to-productivity
  • client retention
  • referrals
  • contributions to problem solving
  • synergy with co-workers
  • promotability, and
  • tenure

In today’s business world, there’s no excuse to not track employee data of this type. There is no shortage of systems that enable organizations to track and review the numbers at regular intervals so there’s really no excuse not to be doing so. But here’s where the tough part comes into play. Once you have the data, how do you interpret it and what should be done?

  • First, you need to decide what you want to accomplish. Decide on what success and failure will look like; this helps steer the understanding of the data and guide your action.
  • Second, organize and formalize when you’ll review and interpret the data. Incorporate user-friendly technology that allows easy input or seamless conveyance of the metrics. If you plan to use a manual input methodology, be warned, this may lend itself to human error or worse, lack of compliance to follow through on the input.
  • Third, be consistent. Set a schedule for when you’ll review the data and stick to it.
  • Fourth, have a plan of action on how to adjust for changes. The data may not present the results you wish to see. You’ll need to be prepared for this by having a plan-of-action to achieve what goals your organization wants. For example, initiating short, informal performance reviews more often during the first year to maintain open lines of communication can make a significant difference in retention and employee engagement. Conversely, the results may come in favorably, so be prepared to capitalize on that information and take it to the next level.
  • Fifth, be patient. It takes time to gather significant data and more time to look for noteworthy trends.

So What’s Really In It For The Company?

In a word… everything. Take customer service, for example. Companies with unproductive customer representatives inevitably lose market share due to a decrease in customer loyalty and/or gain a bad reputation as a service provider. According to Gallup, when employees are engaged, they will be more productive and more likely to experience good relations with customers. This behavior can be supported by getting off on the right foot with new employees. Set the stage for how their customer involvement is pivotal to the company. Ensure all employees understand the mission, vision and values of the organization and are able to convey this sentiment to customers (by the way, customers should also be onboarded.) The same factors are in play regardless of the industry or occupation. Keep the lines of communication open and keep “recruiting” your employees to show them how they are valued and always strive to align personal goals with the company’s. Adding these simple communications and tactics can be the difference maker in both employee and customer retention and satisfaction.

Knowing that great onboarding leads to a more productive and engaged employee, which in turn creates happier and more productive workers, should be an established initiative for all companies. Unfortunately, there are still too many organizations that have not adopted this train of thought, even though the research and even common sense supports it.

It really comes down to this… everyone wants to feel valued.

Image credit: Gratisography

Don't Believe The Hype: Unlabeling Millennials

Ever since the CoBies — Google’s multidirectional Conference Bikes that transform going for lunch into a team-building exercise — the image of millennials in the workplace has turned into a kind of perpetual second-guessing. So young, so self-possessed, so smart, so not into phone calls! So what else do they want?

This kind of approach is both fascinating and frustrating to HR in general and thought leaders especially (Ahem). It’s also beside the point. I’m not one to place labels on people. The “new generation” customarily befuddles the older; the older generation usually wants to take it upon themselves to school the younger. One difference here: millennials’ facility with digital, mobile and social means that they tend to be the teachers. But that same digital dimension also stimulates a vexingly stubborn case of us and them.

Get over it

Yes, millennials did seem to arrive fully dressed (in extremely skinny pants), with tools — as if born texting, that first infant cry a hashtag. But that’s just confluence. And taking to mobile and social like fish to water? That deserves credit, not headshaking.

The very term millennial has marketing-ploy written all over it; and that works contrary to the role of HR, which is to recruit talent. Here’s the basic premise to recruiting talent: Recruit talent. The best candidates for the position, not generations, not mystique. Hu-mans. Also, it’s a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s job to see past hype and stereotype in order to create an authentic and constructive relationship between candidate /new hire and company. So let’s look at two millennial trends and see what they really mean.

Millennials don’t care about money

A recent Case Foundation study found that 55 percent of millennials are influenced by cause work when deciding to join a company. Meaning and mission clearly play a role in their employment choices.

Look again: That doesn’t actually mean they don’t care about money. Yes, many millennials are concerned with causes, and given issues like climate change, that’s not surprising. Nor are millennials the only generation to consider the ethical value of work.

But this may be a savvy adaptation on the part of these here kids. Studies show that millennials are on track to be the most educated generation to date, according to the Pew Research Foundation. They’re also saddled with debt: a White House study puts outstanding student loan debt at over $1 trillion by the end of 2014 — partially due to greater enrollment among millennials. And despite the job market heating up, millennials are still underemployed, and making lower starting wages since the economy’s tumble. This puts looking for work with more than just a crappy salary in a different light. Sort of a silver lining, look at the bright side kind of light.

Millennials want to know the Big Picture

When interviewing and talking to recruiters, millennials want to know more than just the nature of their particular job. They want to know about how they can grow, what they can expect to accomplish, and how they can fit into the mission of the company.

In truth, transparency is always better: it’s far more productive in the long term for a recruiter to paint the whole picture, not just the small stuff. This promotes a better fit for candidate and company, which leads back to a holy grail in HR: retention.

Even from a company perspective, big picture conversations offer far better indicators for a good ROI. But here’s another point: given that millennials came of age and streamed into the job market at a point when jobs were drying up and the economy was tanking, there are plenty of practical reasons to want to be informed about growth and the potential for accomplishments.

Again, look at the economy: The job market is improving, but there’s a new kid in town, Generation Z. Actually, as a recruiter, I’d take the millennial request for the bigger picture as a plus: it speaks to commitment. Which refutes the “job hopper” mis-label that sometimes gets stuck on millennials. It also makes them more like everyone else, not less; the quest for engagement and growth at work is not unique to people under the age of 34. This is an everybody issue.

Soon enough, millennials will be the new normal; they now comprise a solid one-third of the workforce not yet hitting retirement age. High time to consider talent the fulcrum, not generational trends. Yes, each generation offers a skill set and a mindset more suitable to certain positions or purviews than others. But that’s a sweeping overstatement. No matter the organization, mission or corporate culture, whether employees travel on wacky team-building googlecycles or in drab shuttles, whether in Silicon Valley or Duluth or Madras, different generations all contribute their part to a workforce, and each individual employee is what matters. The sooner we stop trying to get the label to stick, the better our chance to not become unglued in the process.

Picture: thestocks.im

A version of this article has been published on MillennialCEO on 4/20/15

This is Why Your Hiring Process is Stuck in the Past

The hiring process is in a constant state of change — at least, it should be. The skills-laden job posts and run-of-the-mill interview questions of yesterday might have once succeeded in landing great hires, but that’s just not the case in today’s competitive job market.

To win over today’s best talent, companies need to remain innovative and competitive in how they hire. Unfortunately, too many companies are relying on outdated screening tactics and hiring methods.

To help you determine if your hiring process is stuck in the past, here are four old-fashioned hiring strategies and how to bring them into the 21st century:

  1. Leaving hiring up to one person.

Most organizations have a designated person for recruiting and hiring, but this strategy belongs in the past. Hiring should be a collaborative effort between human resources, leadership, and the department that’s looking to fill a position. After all, two heads (or 20, for that matter) are better than one.   

How to update: Get more people involved in the hiring process, from sourcing to screening to interviewing. LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Recruiting Trends report revealed that 26 percent of the 3,894 talent acquisition decision makers surveyed consider employee referral programs to be a long-lasting trend. So, incentivize employees to refer people they deem a good fit for the job by rewarding referrals that lead to hires.

  1. Screening via phone interviews.

The phone screen has had it’s run, but it’s time to say goodbye. Thanks to modern screening methods, the phone screen has become a less efficient way to get to know job candidates before the in-person interview.

For starters, phone interviews don’t paint an accurate picture of a candidate, as they don’t support a visual connection. Not to mention, it can be time-consuming to sit on the phone with one candidate after another. But, most importantly, phone interviews are difficult to standardize, which presents a big issue when it comes time to compare candidates against each other.

How to update: In place of the traditional phone interview, use one-way video interviews to screen job candidates. The nature of one-way video interviews makes it easy to assess and compare candidates — and in much less time.

What’s more, candidates favor them, with nearly half (47 percent) of candidates surveyed by Software Advice preferring them to other screening formats, such as the phone interview (which only 36 percent prefer).  

  1. Keeping your search local.

There’s no denying the benefits of hiring locally, however sometimes the local talent pool just doesn’t cut it. Considering that 35 percent of employers reported difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of available talent, according to ManpowerGroup’s most recent talent shortage survey, hiring managers need to expand their recruitment reach beyond their own backyards.

How to update: Advancements in technology have made it easier than ever to tap into global talent pools. Social professional networks, for instance, have become the top source for quality hires (43 percent), according to the aforementioned LinkedIn report.

While social media has made it easier to source and connect with long-distance talent, video interview platforms have made it possible for those candidates to take part in the interview process — without having to spend a small fortune on travel expenses.

  1. Communicating through email.

Email will always serve as a powerful communication tool, but is it the best means of communication for reaching the newest generation of job seekers? Another report by Software Advice suggests that texting job candidates is on the rise, with 43 percent of job seekers (under 45 years old) considering recruiters who use text messaging “professional.”

How to update: While initial outreach and acceptance (or rejection) is better suited for email, notifying applicants of new job openings, confirming application receipt or interview times, and other such communications are ideal for text messages. Just be sure those texts are sent at an appropriate time and in a professional manner.  

When it comes to hiring, there’s only one thing that has remained the same throughout the years: find and secure the best person for the job. It’s how you do it that is continuously evolving and improving.

What do you think? What are some other outdated aspects of the hiring process? Share in the comments!

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5 Must-Have Metrics for Recruitment Success

To the uninitiated, the recruiting world looks like a supermarket: When you need something, you simply go to the right part of the store and select from your pre-packaged options.

But for those in the know, recruiting behaves more like the stock-market: it’s fast-paced and varied. You are never sure whether the skills you need will be available at the price you want. Like a stock market trader, the successful recruiter needs a balance of experience and data to land great talent.

Too often, recruitment success is gauged by time-to-fill quotas or cost-of-hire numbers. All these numbers do is tell you how quickly you hired someone at the lowest possible price. These metrics just won’t cut it in a place like Silicon Valley, where skills and expertise (quality) trumps fast and cheap.

William Tincup, one of the leading thinkers in HR, expressed the “recruitment paradox” well with this tweet:

Often we focus on what can be measured. Instead, we need to focus on what should be measured: whether we are efficiently finding the skills and expertise at the right time and for the best price.

Here are five indispensable metrics that will help you determine whether you are finding top quality hires who will move your business forward — In short, whether you are actually recruiting people you want to retain. I will also outline the red flags you should be acting on to refine your recruitment process.

Remember: For all these metrics there is a spectrum in terms of success. The more critical, complex or hard-to-fill the role is, the tighter the target should be:

Must-have recruitment metric #1: Qualified applicants-per-requisition

Why you need it: The qualified applicants-per-requisition metric indicates whether your sourcing practices are delivering what you want: people who can do the job effectively.

How to get it: To calculate this metric, follow these steps:

  1. Start at the end of the period you want to analyse
  2. Count all of the qualified applicants you have for the requisitions that are still open or were closed during the period
  3. Count the number of requisitions that are still open or were closed during the period
  4. Finally, divide the number of applicants by the number of requisitions to calculate your metric

You can further refine your numbers by looking independently at the requisitions that are closed and the requisitions that are still open. You can look for flags that indicate whether specific roles or geographies are seeing more or fewer qualified applicants per requisition.

Red flags to act on: If you see that your qualified applicants-per-requisition metric is declining over time, then you need to tweak your sourcing activities. For example, you may need to post job openings in new locations or revamp your referral program.

Must-have recruitment metric #2: Offer acceptance rate

Why you need it: Declined offers are very expensive for tangible and intangible reasons.

How to get it: To track how well your organization is performing, look at:

  1. How many offers were accepted
  2. How many were declined (if an offer has not closed then do not count it in the calculation)
  3. Divide the offers accepted by the sum of offers accepted plus offers declined

By following the above steps, you will be able to see offers accepted as a percentage of all offers closed.

Red flags to act on: Aiming for 100 per cent acceptance is not realistic, however if less than 90 per cent of people are accepting your offers, then you have work to do. This could indicate that there is a mismatch between your expectations, the resources you are putting against this, and the level of player you are trying to “attract” from the market.

You need to remain flexible – just like a stock trader – in terms of the price you will pay. At the offer stage, it may be cheaper to include a signing bonus and land your candidate than to start again. Or it may make sense to introduce some assessment tools or other types of qualifying tests to the interview process so that you fast-fail candidates who will not match your offer.

Must-have recruitment metric #3: Resignations and involuntary turnover for less than 3 months service

Why you need it: If someone leaves your organization within 90 days of starting, then you most likely have no return on the time and money you invested in finding them, onboarding them, and training them to do the work required. The combination of the resignation metric with the involuntary turnover metric tells you whether you are landing the right people or not.

How to get it: To generate this metric, follow these steps:

  1. Select the time period you want to analyse
  2. Count all the people who have less than 3 months service at the beginning and end of your analysis period (this allows you to calculate average headcount)
  3. Count all the people who left, that had less than 3 months service, during the period
  4. Categorise and group these exits as resignations or involuntary
  5. Divide the number of resignations or involuntary exits by the average headcount of people with less than 3 months service

Red flags to act on: If an increasing number of people are resigning within three months of starting, then this is a bad sign that the role or culture or something else about the organization was a significant mismatch – that should have been caught through the hiring process. It also could be a sign that expectations about work performance were not properly communicated.

If an increasing number of people are being asked to leave within three months of starting, then this is a sign that the hiring team is not picking up on critical red flags about capabilities or fit.

Must-have recruitment metric #4: New hire performance by lead source

Why you need it:  This metric tells you not only whether your new employees are getting up to speed effectively, but by referencing lead source, it enables you to cycle back into your recruiting efforts so that you know where your best people come from. This allows you to consistently fine-tune and improve your sourcing and selection efforts to build overall quality of talent in the organization.

How to get it: To calculate this metric, you need the following data elements:

  1. Make sure you record the source of the application for successful candidates as part of their employee record
  2. Count the total number of people with less than 12 months of service
  • These people should be grouped by the last performance rating they received
  • They should also be grouped by the hiring lead source through which they came to the organization
  1. Of this group, count the number of people who are not considered low performers
  • Performance scales vary so low performance needs to be defined by the organization. For example, on a traditional 5 point performance scale scores 1 and 2 are considered low performance
  1. Divide the number of people who are not low performers by the total number of people from steps 1 and 2 above

Red flags to act on:  The primary goal of every recruiting function should be to improve the quality of talent in the organization, whilst managing the price that is paid for this talent. New hire performance is something that needs to be tracked over time and action needs to be taken when the trend turns negative. For example, if your new hire performance starts to drop, then you need to review your whole talent pipeline to determine whether candidate quality is dropping or whether onboarding and ramp-up processes are not delivering like they should. That’s why this metric is so valuable: it reveals what is really impacting overall talent quality.

Must-have recruitment metric #5: Vacancy rate

Why you need it: Finance may like vacant positions, as it looks like a cost saving, but in reality having too many open positions can lead to all sorts of repercussions: higher overtime costs, stress (which can lead to absences), as well as mistakes and customer impacts. Therefore, it is important to track how many positions are vacant and for how long. Tracking vacant positions also allows you to determine how well your recruitment process is functioning.  If the recruitment team is not landing good new hires fast enough, then your organization will be negatively impacted by the absence of people who do the work.

How to get it: To calculate this metric, follow these steps:

  1. Count the current number of open positions (positions which have hiring activity underway)
  2. Count the number of employees (headcount) at the beginning and end of the period
  • This allows you to calculate average headcount
  1. Divide the number of open positions by the headcount plus the number of open positions
  • This gives you vacancy rate as a percentage of your total possible workforce.

Red flags to act on:  Every organization runs with a certain amount of vacancy. The dynamics of your industry, geography, etc. will determine what is a good number for your organization. But in any case, if the vacancy rate is increasing, then you need to take action.

This is where the other metrics on the list play their part.  Are we getting enough qualified applicants? If the answer is no, then you need to review your sourcing strategies. Are people accepting offers? If the answer is no, then you need to review the competitiveness of your roles in the market. Are we keeping people longer than 3 months? If the answer is no, then you need to review your selection and onboarding processes.

Looking at the big picture

Rarely in the dynamic environment of talent and people does one metric tell the whole story. With the combination of metrics detailed above you will be properly informed about the effectiveness of your hiring processes and able to respond to deliver the right people, at the right time, to the right place at the right price.

To learn more about how to take an analytical approach to recruitment and other critical areas of focus for HR, download this free white paper: The Datafication of HR: Graduating from Metrics to Analytics.

This article originally appeared on the Visier Workforce Intelligence Blog.

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Visier Analytics is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post. 

7 Ways Candidates Blow A Phone Interview

I’m consistently amazed by how unaware the average job seeker is of how to establish a positive first impression on a phone interview. I hear the same frustrated complaints from employers of all industries and sizes – that candidates who voluntarily submitted their resumes in hopes of discussing a position they’re supposedly interested in just can’t seem to get it together. Remember when all you needed was a solid resume to be guaranteed a face-to-face interview? For the sake of saving time, resources, and money, recruiters have become much more selective on who they decide to meet in person. In an effort to weed out time-wasters and soft-skill-deficient candidates, recruiters are conducting phone screens to find out who’s off their game.

1. They’re unprepared to take the call.
If you’re 4 beers deep at a Yankees game or trying to wrestle a dirty diaper off a screaming baby, you probably shouldn’t answer a call you don’t recognize. Yet, most of the candidates my recruiting team speaks with are under the impression that it’s better to answer a call you’re not completely prepared for than to miss the call altogether. It’s not. If you find yourself in a situation that isn’t suitable for a professional conversation, don’t pick up. Instead, call back within 24 hours, after you’ve collected your thoughts, can speak confidently, and have locked down a quiet location.

Not to mention, they start timing you from the second they leave a voicemail, which brings me to my next point. If you’re actively looking, you should have a professional voicemail with specific instructions to avoid an unwanted game of phone tag. For example, “Hi, you’ve reached Mark Smith. If you’re calling in regards to my resume, please leave your name and number as well as the best times for me to reach you.”

2. They expect the recruiter to fill in the blanks.
“Hi, what job did I apply for again? What company are you calling on behalf of?” It pains me to admit this, but these responses are the norm when an employer reaches out to a candidate, even for high-level positions. You’re a job seeker, which means you probably apply to several jobs each week. We understand that it’s tough to keep track, but it’s essential – if only for the sake of a recruiter’s sanity – that you start taking notes. Just by picking up the phone and saying, “Hi Wendy, you must be calling in regards to the Customer Service position I applied for last week.” Mind blown.

3. They conduct an unorganized job search.
This goes hand in hand with my last point. Today, it’s not enough to print out a handful of resumes and call it a day. We always recommend that our candidates keep a spreadsheet of every job application they submitted with corresponding dates, company names, and relevant contacts. Or, if you’re a tech wiz, try these awesome job search apps. That way, when the phone rings, you’ll have a handy guide that’ll save you from playing guessing games. Also, it’s important to keep your background information and portfolios within arms reach to provide some quick material for preliminary questions. It says a great deal about your personal brand if you’re prepared to answer a challenging question, and even have some on-hand stats to back up your argument. And for bonus points, don’t forget to browse company websites and connect with HR personnel on LinkedIn. Taking that extra step makes a huge impression.

4. They don’t understand why recruiters really call.
More often than not, recruiters aren’t calling to simply schedule a personal interview; they’re calling to conduct a prescreen. In other words, to decide whether they want to move you forward. Remember all that research you were supposed to do when you applied for the gig? Use it to show recruiters you know something about how their company culture works and that you’re serious about the job.

5. They have a bad “radio personality.”
Phones are tough – all you have to make an impression is your voice. Candidates, especially introverts, often fail to heighten their energy over the phone. Nobody’s expecting you to sound like Ron Burgundy, but you should at the very least sound excited, confident, and prepared. Excessive “umms,” stammering, or sounding like you’re dead inside are huge turnoffs to recruiters. The only way to overcome this obstacle is through practice. Record yourself on any device you have handy, and ask yourself this difficult question: “Would you hire you?” Getting your career narrative down in a way that engages and connects with an employer is essential to winning that face-to-face meeting.

6. They have a weak or unprofessional online presence.
Chances are, if recruiters are interested in what you have to say, they’ll be googling you before then end of your conversation. A half-complete LinkedIn profile or a racy Facebook picture is all it takes to eliminate you from the game. Just last week, one of my recruiters found a candidate with a stellar background and scheduled her for an interview right away. But just minutes before their call, she discovered an R-rated photo online that involved a stripper pole. Needless to say, the recruiter’s mind was made up before the conversation started.

7. They fail to treat a phone interview with the same decorum as they would a personal one.
Just because you didn’t put on a suit or block out time in your day doesn’t mean it counts any less towards your chances of securing the job. Request follow up procedures, send personalized thank you notes, and be sure to highlight any takeaways to reinforce your sincerity. Take it from me, the small things really do matter.

photo credit: Phone Talkin via photopin (license)

How to Succeed at Talent Acquisition in 2016: The Empowered Recruiter [Webinar]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what you can expect to learn:

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

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

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

photo credit: Cross Processing Experiments via photopin (license)

 

PeopleFluent is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post. 

How To Get The Most Out of Your Job Ad

So, you’re hoping to create some buzz around the job ad you’ve just published on your careers page? Today’s recruiting environment is competitive and complex. Recruiting the best candidates starts with making the right first impression—and using a combination of tactics will help you get the most out of your job ad. For the best results, it’s important to include social and mobile recruiting tools, as well as free and paid ads—and to know the best day to post.

Building Hype Around Job Openings

So where do you start?

The first thing you need to do is get your listing noticed by the communities where the passive candidates hang out. LinkedIn might be just the platform you are looking for. The business- driven social platform has scores of ways to get your job ad noticed, including groups you can join, mention jobs in, or initiate general discussions around the role, your company, or the industry.

The next thing is to promote the opening within your organization. Does everyone on staff know you have just listed a new job? Share it across your company. If you don’t have a referral system in place, we’d strongly advise you to set one up. For example, eFounders used simple tools they were already familiar with and made it work. Include a social sharing feature to your job ad and give your staff incentives to start sharing from their own social accounts.

Just listed

Another tactic is to create your own online communities. Smart companies make sure they have created Facebook groups or a Facebook Jobs tab, or even run a Facebook ad campaign, with the sole purpose of attracting potential candidates. Promote your employer brand through these pages and when you post a job ad, you’ll have a talent pool of existing fans. Add as many touch points as possible between you and prospective candidates.

Make sure to add mobile listings to your arsenal. According to research from comScore.com, smartphones and tablets account for 60 percent of total digital media time in 2014. Kelton Research survey results indicated 86 percent of active candidates surveyed use their smartphone to begin a job search, and 70 percent of active candidates want to apply via a mobile device.

seven out of ten

The Top Job Boards

Posting your job ad on your careers page and social media is not enough. You need to include job boards. While the leading premium job boards in terms of ROI (return on investment) are LinkedIn, Craigslist, Indeed, and Monster, there are many other job boards you can consider using.

Some job boards, like Indeed, also offer a free option as well as a paid. SimplyHired and Glassdoor offer free postings when you access them through an ATS like Workable. For the most effective places to post your jobs, check out our job board directory, which enables you to choose job boards based on industry, location, and cost (paid versus unpaid).

Posting your job on your careers page and social media is not enough. You need to include job boards. While the leading premium job boards in terms of ROI (return on investment) are LinkedIn, Craigslist, Indeed and Monster, there are many other job boards you can consider using.

Some job boards, like Indeed, also offer a free option as well as a paid. SimplyHired and Glassdoor offer free postings when you access them through an ATS like Workable. For the most effective places to post your jobs, check out our job board directory, which enables you to choose job boards based on industry, location, and cost (paid versus unpaid).

The Best Day to Post a Job

Don’t post your jobs on Friday evening, because by Monday they’ll be last week’s news! Instead, wait until Sunday evening or Monday or Tuesday morning and advertise your roles when the candidates are most active.

Most job sites use freshness as a factor in ranking job search results. Plus, the new jobs of the day usually land in email updates and job board front pages, so getting there when the action is happening can often get you double the candidates you’d receive on a slow day.

The Premium Job Boards

When volume of candidates is the priority LinkedIn, Indeed, and Craigslist are the top sites for posting job listings due to their popularity, functionality, and reach. LinkedIn boasts the biggest potential candidate pool and may be the most powerful sourcing tool in your arsenal. Indeed is a job search engine and a global job board leader with over 180 million unique visitors per month. Finally, although Craigslist is a classifieds site and not a traditional job board, it beats everyone on inbound traffic.

job directory

If the big guys are too broad, and you need to do some laser-targeting, you’re in luck. Try our global, searchable job board directory to drill down by industry, location, and cost. Just the thing if you’re looking for “only healthcare job boards,” or “only job boards in Brazil.”

Happy hiring!
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Workable is a client of TalentCulture and sponsored this post.

4 Reasons Why Job Boards Are Still A Useful Tool For Employers

Many professionals believe that the humble job board is on its way out. With social media taking the recruitment world by storm, you could be forgiven for thinking this is the case. But the advent of social marketing doesn’t necessarily spell the end for job board advertisements.

In fact, there is no reason the two can’t work side by side. According to studies, job boards are responsible for 18% of all successful hires, whilst social media only contributed a mere 3% of them. Not too bad for a method that is supposedly becoming obsolete. Not only this, but job boards are the people’s choice. Around 65% of candidates are seeking new employment directly through these sites, with 1 in 6 external hires made in this way. So what exactly does the job board offer that other forms of recruitment don’t?

Discover Candidates From Unexpected Sectors

The main problem with social media recruitment is that you are unlikely to reach a diverse range of individuals. In order to secure an employee long term, you need to find a candidate who is already skilled in your chosen area.

This can be difficult if you are only advertising to a small number of Facebook or Twitter followers. The likelihood is your ideal candidate won’t be following you on either of these sites. By taking the time to enter your criteria on a job listing site, you are reaching a much broader spectrum of workers and will find that more of your candidates match up to your high standards.

Simplify The Recruitment Process

Skilled entry level employees do exist, but trying to discover them one by one isn’t worth anyone’s time or investment. If you are hiring for multiple positions this problem can be a hundred times worse. A recruiter spends on average 2 hours of their time sourcing and communicating with a single prospective candidate. If you have 50 people to interview, then these hours soon add up.

A specialised job board (focusing on a specific field of expertise) cuts down the number of unfit candidates who apply for the role and makes it easier to scan through CVs. By shortening the recruitment process you save yourself a lot of unnecessary work and manpower.

Cut Your Recruitment Budget

Everyone knows time equals money and in-house recruiters aren’t going to work those hours for free. Although job board advertisements are considered by many to be expensive extravagances, they can actually be a cheaper alternative to costly salaries.

The average job post will cost you around $250, whilst the average salary of a technical recruiter comes in at just under $70,000. This means you could post 280 ads per year, across a number of job sites, for the price it would cost you to hire a skilled recruiter.

According to Forbes, a single job post from a well-established company will attract around 118 candidates. With 280 ads online you could potentially receive an incredible 33,000 applications each year. Although this is only an estimate, a recruiter working flat out would struggle to get anywhere near this figure, proving that you really do get more for your money with the job board.

Work In Harmony With Your Social Media

At the end of the day, there is no reason why you should favour using either a job board or a social media platform. It is a simple task to link your job listings with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, meaning you can cover a much larger network of candidates.
By operating via a job board you increase the chances of finding skilled and professional applicants. Although social media can help you unearth new talent, it is simply not sufficient by itself. So before you start designing a recruitment campaign solely for your social media presence, consider how a job board might help you find your next employee of the month in half the time.  

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Make Your Own Blended Worlds of Work

The three of us have lived and breathed on all three worlds. We’ve been full-time employees, we’ve been independent contractors, and we’ve been entrepreneurs – all in varying capacities and with varying success. And sometimes we’ve been on two or even all three at once.

Because of this, we of course agreed that the way we used to work is long gone. We being myself, TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founder and co-host Meghan M. Biro, and founder and CEO of Zenith Talent Sunil Bagai, a recent show guest. We discussed how the days of primarily being full-time or part-time have given way to what we call the blended workforce – those individuals working as regular employees, freelance workers, and self-employed entrepreneurial talent side-by-side their full-time brothers and sisters.

Employers are now hiring record numbers of contingent workers and relying increasingly on this mix to achieve their goals. Staffing Industry Analysts research states that after rising substantially for a few years, the average percent across respondents has held steady at 18% since 2013. And earlier in 2015, a report by the Government Accountability Office showed that contingent workers make up 40 percent of workforce.

Not only that, we assumed during our discussion that these workers (us included) are happier, have achieved greater work-life integration and are profiting on their own. If that’s true, it’s welcome news for employers and workers looking to improve their opportunities.

And if it’s true, building and managing this blended workforce does still present challenges on almost every front – particularly when it comes to effectively sourcing and hiring contingent workers. It’s an on-demand world regardless of our classification – we want to do what we want, when we want and how we want.

That said, there are also no active or passive employment seekers on any level. Being called passive is a misnomer. It’s just incorrect. We’re all free agents loyal to the work we love to do first and foremost, and how we do that work, then those we do it with, around and for. So employers need to rethink the way their source, recruit, hire and onboard anybody for their organizations.

The three of us have also traversed two other interconnected universes that embody all three worlds above – one that supports us financially and the one that supports us emotionally and psychologically. I’m sure many of you readers have as well. The mix of breathable atmospheres is always dependent on where we’re at any given time, but I’d argue that the happiest of us frolic in our own by-design Milky Ways, with the heavy gravity of economic reality keeping us fixed in both spaces on any of the blended worlds.

Part of the softer gravitational pull does include how we perceive, consume and absorb like-minded cultures at those (blended workforce) opportunities – those that may feed our emotional needs. For example, 2015 Talent Board Candidate Experience research of over 130,000 job seekers revealed that what attracted more of them to specific employers over 40 percent of the time for Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Z (or Centinnials) were the company values. For Baby Boomers it was number two, but still nearly 40 percent. And both men and women valued values over 40 percent. (An interesting note was that financial information was in the top five only for Boomers and men.)

While this is important from a recruitment marketing perspective, Josh Bersin shared new research by a research firm named Imperative that echoed the softer gravity and the fact that we’re much more productive, are higher performers and are significantly more likely to be net promoters of their organizations when we are doing personally fulfilling work in any capacity, outweighing any financial gain.

Ultimate success is relative and subjective, but I’d argue that we three have made our own blended worlds of work and gained invaluable rewards both tangible and intangible. That’s definitely the way to make a elevated living today.

Recruit and Hire with the Real Atmospherians

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TChat Recap: How Hiring Managers Can Reduce The Cost Of Hiring

This week the TalentCulture team discussed how hiring managers can reduce the cost of hiring with Nikos Moraitakis, CEO of Workable, a technology startup reinventing hiring for ambitious companies.

In an increasingly competitive hiring environment, hiring managers must improve their engagement and performance with recruited and candidates alike in order to hire and retain top talent. But all too often, this is far from ideal, and they unfortunately fail to do this effectively.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Nov 4th: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: How to Make Meetings Worth Everyone’s Time – Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!

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Selling the Recruiting Process Isn’t a Gamble

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

—Rush, The Big Wheel

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CandE Non-Winners

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

CandE Winners

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

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

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

Lower Recruiting Costs with Employee Retention

There seems to be mass exodus into the job market.  If over 2.7 million people quit in July 2015, about double those numbers were hired that same month.  After years of a stagnant growth, it seems the economy is roaring back to life.  Hallelujah, there are jobs again!  But after so many years of a down economy, employers and employees learned to do without.  Employees learned to accept lower wages, grateful to have a job while many others did not.  And employers learned to hire top talent without having to break the bank to acquire them.  That has all changed.  Now, employees have their hand out.  They’re hitting the job market hoping for more money, better benefits, more responsibility and paths straight to the top.  Unfortunately, every time an employee leaves a company, it costs that business money.  There are costs to recruit new employees that include ad placement, interviewing costs, time and travel. In addition to that, training new employees, waiting for new employees to ramp up in their roles and experiencing lags in productivity all hit employers’ bottom line.  So how do you lower the high costs associated with recruiting?  Focus on employee retention.

It’s Time to Get Serious About Employee Retention

Employee retention is a lot more cost efficient than losing good employees.  The most common reasons employees leave is for more money, more opportunity, benefits, and for better corporate culture.  Statistics say anything over a 10% turnover rate is considered high for a company.  But if your company is watching talent walk out the door at a rapid rate, you’re at Defcon 5.  It’s time to get serious.  Try the following tools to enhance your employee retention:

  • Get flexible about the work environment. These days, employees want a healthy mix of work/ life balance.  It can be hard to commit yourself to family duties if you’re always in the office.  As a result, many employees prefer to seek out positions that can offer them flexible working arrangements.  Teleworking can be a great asset to the company as well.  This frees up valuable company space and resources to lower overhead costs.  And tools like video interview software can be used to keep costs down for private virtual meetings.
  • Incentivize workers to keep them feeling engaged and rewarded.  It can be difficult to engage workers and keep them feeling a part of the team.  But tools like workplace contests and incentives can help plug team members back in.  Employees like winning things, particularly if it’s a day off or a gift certificate.  These can give otherwise disengaged employees something to get excited about.  When employees feel valued, they tend to stick around longer.
  • Promote from within.  One of the most common reasons why employees leave their jobs is to gain a higher title or increased pay.  If employees don’t feel there’s a clear career path, they may feel like there’s no opportunity for them at your company.  Communicate with employees how they too can achieve promotions- title bumps and more pay.  This kind of positive career coaching can help encourage employees who otherwise may feel inclined to start looking at other jobs.
  • Develop employee training programs. A better educated workforce benefits your business and its customers. It also encourages employees who are eager to learn new skills.  Try introducing tuition reimbursement plans or training courses to encourage your employees to stay.  If a common reason employees leave is to gain new skills, you can offer them this ability in their current role.  Try pairing employees with an internal mentor to help guide the employee in their quest for new skills.
  • Offer merit based raises.  Employees always want a path towards more money.  But if your business is still only offering an annual 3% raise, you could be missing out on opportunities to reward your stand out employees.  If your business has been successful, spend some of the profits to reinvest in your employees.  This can encourage loyalty and longevity at a business.
  • Encourage interdepartmental teams. In some organizations, departments can be pitted against one another for resources.  Some businesses even have problem child departments who don’t seem to want to cooperate with everyone else.  If you’ve got a rogue department on your hand, it’s quite possible that employees across the organization are feeling the heat they’re giving off.  Encourage interdepartmental teams to build relations between your employees.  If the office climate feels like a scene straight out of “Mean Girls,” start building teams internally before your most talented performers jump ship.

It’s exciting to begin recruiting for open positions when a company grows.  But if your company is constantly hiring to refill the same position, you’re going to take a hit to the company’s bottom line.  Spend a little time investing in your employee retention efforts and save yourself the costs of losing good employees for no good reason.

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#TChat Preview: How Hiring Managers Can Reduce The Cost of Hiring

 

Last week the TalentCulture team talked about why recruitment should be transparent marketing, and this week we’re going to talk about how hiring managers can reduce the cost of hiring with Nikos Moraitakis, CEO of Workable, a technology startup reinventing hiring for ambitious companies.

A high percentage of mature talent acquisition functions report that they have high-performing relationships with hiring managers. Nurturing these relationships increase a company’s ability to hire qualified individuals efficiently and cost-effectively and meet today’s business needs and tomorrow’s challenges will excel and save potentially millions per year.

Sneak Peek:

#TChat Events: How Hiring Managers Can Reduce The Cost of Hiring

TChatRadio_logo_020813#TChat Radio — Wed, Oct 28th — 1 pm ET / 10 am PT

Join TalentCulture #TChat Show co-founders and co-hosts Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman as they talk about how hiring managers can reduce the cost of hiring with this week’s guest: Nikos Moraitakis, CEO of Workable, a technology startup reinventing hiring for ambitious companies.

 

 

Tune in LIVE online Wednesday, Oct 28th

#TChat Twitter Chat — Wednesday, October 28th — 1:30 pm ET /10:30 am PT Immediately following the radio show, the team will move to the #TChat Twitter stream, where we’ll continue the discussion with the entire TalentCulture community. Everyone with a Twitter account is invited to participate, as we gather for a dynamic live chat, focused on these related questions:

Q1: What’s wrong with hiring and hiring managers today and why? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q2: How can hiring managers help improve the candidate experience? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Q3: How can technology improve hiring manager performance? #TChat (Tweet this Question)

Until then, we’ll keep the discussion going on the #TChat Twitter feed, our TalentCulture World of Work Community LinkedIn group, and in our TalentCulture G+ community. So feel free to drop by anytime and share your questions, ideas and opinions. See you there!!!

Subscribe to our podcast on BlogTalkRadio, Stitcher or iTunes:

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#TChat Recap: Live From #HRTechConf: Why Recruitment Should Be Transparent Marketing

This week the TalentCulture team discussed why recruitment should be transparent marketing with Susan Vitale, Chief Marketing Officer at iCIMS; Lori Sylvia, Chief Marketing Officer at SmashFly; and Michele Ellner, Director of Marketing at Montage.

Today’s hiring economy is highly complex and competitive and finding top talent is harder than ever. If fact, attracting candidates and retaining current employees is a lot like attracting and retaining customers.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Oct 28th: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: Yes! You Can Reduce The Cost of Hiring – Wednesday, Oct 28th, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!

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Engage Passive Candidates: The Three Rules of Recruitment Marketing

Longer job vacancies and slower time-to-fill can derail an organization’s ability to reach business goals, making it imperative to have a robust talent pipeline at the ready to stay well connected to high-quality candidates. Technology, such as a recruitment marketing automation tool, mobile-optimized career sites, and a social media presence, can streamline processes and provide you with pools of warm talent from which to source when your organization is ready.

Three Main Components of Recruitment Marketing

In many ways, recruitment marketing is simply getting in front of the right people, at the right place, at the right time, with the right information. But most importantly, it’s about developing and driving an employment brand so organizations can attract and hire the best and the brightest. There are three crucial tenets of recruitment marketing: consistency, relevance, and authenticity.

  1. Create a Consistent Experience

When establishing a strong employment brand, a focused message that is true to your company’s core mission and values is key. Regardless of the methods of communication, it is important to keep a consistent brand across all channels—from career sites, social media sites, and job listings, to screening and interview questions. Each touch point with candidates is a valuable chance to make an impression with your brand.

As candidates turn to social media more to look for jobs—increasingly so from their mobile devices—it continues to be an important channel for attracting passive candidates. Employers should also have a content-rich presence on social media, in order to reach savvy job seekers and on-the-go-candidates. Statistics show that 88% of job seekers are using at least one form of social media, while 70% of companies have made at least one hire through social media.

  1. Deploy Relevant Content

Engaging with candidates regularly is a vital aspect of recruitment marketing, but what you are communicating is just as important. When it comes to communications directly to candidates, develop tailored messages that speak to their interests based on location, industry, job level, etc. Be clear about what sets your company apart from other employers.

Leverage technology to create talent pools for sourcing candidates to automate this process. Engage and nurture passive candidates who may not yet be ready to apply for a job, but are interested in the company’s employment brand. This not only provides access to a warm pipeline of talent, it also creates a positive image of your company, and keeps your brand top of mind when a candidate begins to shift from being a passive candidate, to one that is ready to take action and apply.

  1. Make It Authentic

Generic descriptions and stock photos are a common practice for career websites, but the lack of your company’s true culture can be damaging. Savvy job seekers want to know what it’s like to work for you, what the office environment is, and who their potential coworkers are before they decide whether to apply for a job. The more realistic, the better.

Through their individual, real-life stories, current employees can support your company’s value proposition and key messages. Leverage those workplace stories and bring them to life. Story-telling, video, and images can be used to craft recruitment marketing campaigns tailored to showcase what you have to offer and convince passive candidates that your organization is one for which they want to work.

Get Started

Job seeking behavior has forever changed, making the old tools and the status quo irrelevant in today’s new era of job seeking and recruiting. Achieving your recruiting goals requires a strategic recruitment marketing plan. The talent is out there— you just need to have to right tools and strategies to find them and keep them connected until you are ready to hire and they are ready to make the leap.

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Your Remote Sales Team Needs This to Be Successful

It might not be a bad idea to start thinking about building a remote sales team.

As part of its 2014 Key Global Trends research, Dell uncovered more than half of people believe employees who get to work from home are just as productive, if not more so, than those confined to an office every day.

It’s not hard to see the benefits of employing remote sales reps — the majority of their time is spent communicating with clients out of the office, via phone, or online anyway. But, in managing a distributed sales team, other challenges arise, like keeping everyone on the same page, engaged and productive.

Here are some tips to help you build a successful remote sales team:

1. Hire ‘Type A’ People

Working remotely isn’t for everyone. Some personality types will fare better than others working as a remote salesperson.

For example, ‘Type A’ people typically operate with a constant sense of urgency at work. They become impatient when they feel unproductive and enjoy juggling multiple projects at once. These traits make them great candidates for getting things done under minimum supervision.

Here are some other traits to look for in great remote salespeople:

  • Autonomy
  • Self-motivation
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Problem-solving
  • Quick, effective decision-making

Assess these traits and project performance by assigning a small project for candidates to complete as part of the interview process. For example, ask sales candidates to give you a cold call later in the day to talk to you about a specific product.

2. Make Onboarding Quick, Easy and Scalable

Sixty-seven percent of organization leaders believe a smooth onboarding program leads to better employee engagement, according to a 2013 Aberdeen study. When building a team of employees who are distributed all over the map, engaging them through efficient exchange of documents and onboarding information is a must.

Completing new hire paperwork long-distance can be cumbersome, especially if it involves signing and scanning hard paper copies. Instead, make your onboarding process completely digital — allow new hires to sign and fill in agreements electronically.

Helping new hires get up-to-speed quickly on a distributed team can present many challenges. Create training content like videos and written guides with images using channels like YouTube or Vimeo, and online document builder apps like Google Docs, for instance.

Store them on a cloud platform, like DropBox or PandaDoc, which is specifically built for sales teams, where all team members can easily access them regardless of the time of day. This will help new team members find what they need on their own, and other team members won’t have to constantly stop what they’re doing to train.

As demand for your product increases, you’ll need a way to add more members to your sales team and make them experts on the products they’re selling quickly. That’s why making your onboarding process scalable through prepared training materials, easy access to files, and a training plan will help you avoid unnecessary growing pains.

3. Provide A Mobile Workspace

Just because your sales team doesn’t have a physical office doesn’t mean they can’t have a shared space to collaborate on-the-go. You could use word processing programs to write contracts and email to send them back and forth, but in that method, you risk losing documents and keeping track of workflow.

Instead, provide a workspace that connects all aspects of document management in one place. Use a content management platform that integrates with your team’s CRM so you have less scanning, uploading, and data entry to worry about. Being able to upload information right from your CRM into sales documents creates a paperless, lightweight process — easy for sales reps on the go.

Additionally, use messaging tools to help the team stay in touch easily using a mobile device — like Slack or HipChat, for example. Regularly bring the team together virtually in the same room using video conferencing and screen sharing tools like Appear.in or Join.me.

4. Enable Instant Communication and Feedback

On a remote team, employees don’t have the luxury of wandering to the office across the hall to ask a question. They’ll be working primarily on their own to troubleshoot problems and develop ideas.

Use a platform that helps your sales team collaborate better — one on which members can instantly send documents to one another with questions or seeking approval. You’ll notice workflow improve as employees can see document statuses, make changes, and send documents back and forth more quickly.

Yet, keep in mind not everyone might be working in the same time zone, so set communication expectations accordingly. Determine times for deadlines and meetings based on when everyone is most available. Decide during which times the team should use instant message chat, email, and video calls to communicate.

5. Hone Your Culture

Because your sales team doesn’t work together directly, creating and managing a company culture will be harder. That’s why it’s important to have a solid idea of who you are as an organization, what you stand for, and the related cultural characteristics (social norms, values, and beliefs).

Define tangible characteristics of your culture like how you speak to customers, how and when your sales team speaks to one another, and how you approach work. Communicate them clearly and regularly to the entire team. Develop a “company code” or “company values” sheet employees can reference to clarify any questions and ensure their decisions are in alignment.

Regularly survey remote team members, asking about their level of satisfaction and their thoughts about the company’s values. Ask for suggestions for improvement. This will facilitate big-picture feedback and reduce unexpected turnover due to employee dissatisfaction.

A successful remote sales team needs the right talent, effective onboarding practices, and a strong culture to help keep everyone on the same page. Your team of remote workers could be the most productive team you’ve ever managed, as long as you provide them with the right resources and support.

What are some other methods for managing a remote sales team? Share in the comments below!

Photo credit: Bigstock

A Microbiome of HR technology We Are

The microbiome discussion had me riveted. One of multiple 10-minute presentations at the TED@IBM event really inspired me, learning about how microbes interact in symbiotic communities. The research shared by Dr. Robert Prill, a computational biologist at the IBM Almaden Research Center who gave this TED talk, specifically talked about microbes and food and how they can tell us if something is good for us or bad for us. This could have profound implications on keeping food production safe worldwide.

At the break, an analyst friend told me about a few HR technology projects he was advising on. Same solution provider – two new implementations and one remediation due to serious data integrity and security issues.

Remediation? Yikes, I thought. Not that surprising; we’ve been in the HR technology marketplace for many years and solution providers can never be all things to all customers, whether they say they’re a true integrated talent management suite provider or stay focused on a best of breed solution.

And then it hit me – wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have a microbiome of sorts for companies buying HR technology? Or for any hardware and software purchases procurement, finance, operations, IT, marketing and sales, human resources and talent acquisition makes?

My inspiration became a realization that we actually already do – a somewhat symbiotic community of business executives, HR buyers, IT, analysts, influencers, vendors and third-party consultants.

Obviously selecting the right HR technology can be a daunting task, whether it’s a new solution or a replacement system. So many things have to be considered in this complex ecosystem relationship — cloud computing, HR data management, talent analytics, best of breed and integrated HR and talent acquisition and management systems, and more.

In our own microbiome, it’s happiest time of the year for many HR and business executives who are now at the 2015 HR Technology Conference & Exposition (second only to vacations and the holiday season). They are busy evaluating and reevaluating their HR technology ecosystems.

There are three simplified selection steps to consider. These aren’t new and many HR buyers and providers alike have shared them for decades, but they’re always worth sharing again. Plus, nearly every software provider in our space will gladly give you a “make the business case” kit.

First, outline your problem and goals. What are the problems with your overall talent strategy today and what are your goals for tomorrow? Your HR technology investment extends beyond the product itself – it’s also about the collective experiences with your vendor that make up your HR and recruiting processes and the systems that enable them all – user experiences, implementation experience, customer experience, compliance experience, data management experience, system integration experience, and much more.

Second, research your solutions. Now that you’ve documented your primary talent strategy problems and goals, it’s time to find the right solution that will enable you to recruit, hire, develop and retain the very best talent. And this is where you can leverage your HR technology microbiome to make better informed decisions – analyst reports, online research, peer network reviews, third-party consultants. In fact, there’s so much information available today that most buyers are well-armed prior to selecting their short list of solutions.

Third, build the business case. The final step in this process is to create the business case for buying and/or replacing the right HR technology for your organization. This includes:

  • Reviewing your current talent processes, metrics and analytics
  • Outlining the benefits of a new HR technology solution (whatever that is)
  • Listing your top vendor contender or contenders (Technical documentation, features, benefits, services and support, ROI (qualitative and quantitative), etc.)
  • Calculating your costs (Software subscription fees, implementation fees, support fees, maintenance fees, customization and/or configuration fees, data integration and management fees, etc.)
  • Identifying your key stakeholders (CHRO and/or Head of Talent Acquisition Other Senior Executives, IT Department Finance/Procurement, etc.)
  • Creating your final compelling presentation (make that magical business case!)

Most of us in the HR marketplace know there are just too many realities and variables that can muck up the works from RFP to purchase to implementation to maintenance. Vendors over-promise and/or under-deliver, internal teams underestimate resources needed, and internal teams and leadership alike change before total cost of ownership is ever realized. I can’t tell you have many times I’ve heard, “Oh, I came on board right after we purchased and implemented [insert provider name here] – and now it’s a beast.”

These bad metaphorical microbes aside, a microbiome of business processes, people and HR technology we are. We’re more informed than ever when it comes to purchasing and implementing the talent technologies we count on to keep our businesses performing well and staying healthy. And that’s definitely good for us.

Happy Buying!

#TChat Recap: Three Steps To Selecting The Right HR Technology

This week the TalentCulture team discussed the three steps to selecting the right HR technology with this week’s guest: Mary Delaney, President, Recruitment Software Solutions at CareerBuilder.

Selecting the right HR technology can be a daunting task, whether it’s a new solution or a replacement system. So many things have to be considered in this complex ecosystem relationship — cloud computing, best of breed and integrated HR and talent acquisition and management systems, and more.

Listen to the recording and review the Twitter chat highlights below to learn more.

What’s Up Next? #TChat returns Wednesday, Oct 21st: #TChat Radio Kicks Off at 1pm ET / 10am PT — Our radio show runs 30 minutes. Usually, our social community joins us on the Twitters as well.

Next #TChat topic: Live from the 2015 #HRTechConf: Why Recruitment Should Be Transparent Marketing – Wednesday, Oct 21st, 2015 — Our halfway point begins with our highly engaging Twitter discussion. We take a social inside look at our weekly topic. Everyone is welcome to share their social insights.

Join Our Social Community & Stay Up-to-Date! The TalentCulture conversation continues daily. See what’s happening right now on the #TChat Twitter stream in our LinkedIn group, and on our Google+ community. Engage with us anytime on our social networks or stay current with trending World of Work topics through our weekly email newsletter. Signing up is just a click away!

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Photo credit: Big Stock Images