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IT Recruiting is Still a Struggle. These Strategies Can Help

Recent headlines are shining a bright light on high-profile layoffs in the technology industry. But for many employers, IT recruiting is still an uphill battle — largely because the IT talent shortage continues to dampen hiring plans.

For years, organizations have posted more job openings than qualified candidates could fill. The opportunity cost is staggering. To put this into perspective, consider that by 2030, at least 85 million jobs could go unfilled. In financial terms, this shortfall could translate into $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues.

Fortunately, the pandemic-era shift to remote work helped expand the global pool of candidates. But it also increased competition for the strongest candidates.

What can you do if your competitors are offering higher salaries or better benefits? It doesn’t mean your organization is out of the running. How can you gain an advantage? In this fierce IT recruiting marketplace, you can attract and retain the best global talent by focusing on three key priorities:

Strategies for Global IT Recruiting Success

1. Define Audiences and Create Candidate Personas

It’s essential to know your target audiences. This includes thinking carefully about the personas of candidates you want to attract now and in the future.

First, your talent acquisition team and hiring managers should take time to explore the different cultures related to your target markets. This insight will help you develop messages and incentives that resonate with the various types of people you want to draw into your organization.

For instance, messaging that a software developer in India considers important and engaging won’t necessarily interest a software developer in Bulgaria or any other country. The same principle applies to nearly every other position and region, across the board. 

Also, a large pool of talent isn’t yet ready to enter the workforce but will become a priority in the future. Don’t wait. Start considering now what it will take to reach those young candidates and appeal to their interests.

For example, an internship program is one way to build a pipeline of candidates who will soon be prepared to enter the workforce. When college students perform effectively and have a positive work experience as interns, you can build a bench of people who are ready to be hired when they graduate.

2. Develop Your Employer Brand and Showcase Your Culture

To attract and retain top global IT talent, it’s especially important to publicly showcase your employer brand and company culture in an authentic way. 

Social media is one of the easiest, most effective tools to accomplish this. Ideally, your social media presence provides visibility into your organization’s culture, mission and values, professional development opportunities, diversity initiatives, corporate social responsibility, and team bonding activities. This helps potential candidates envision what it could actually be like to work there. 

Your social media presence is especially important when attracting younger talent. In fact, The Harris Poll says 58% of Gen Z and Millennial job seekers with work experience rely on social media to research potential employers. And 48% have applied for job opportunities they found on social media.

And other research reveals that most candidates who are seriously considering a job offer will carefully review a potential employer’s social media profiles for red flags before they decide to accept.

BREATHE LIFE INTO YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND

Clearly, Gen Z and Millennials are turning to social media when looking for jobs. They’re also willing to get involved as employees if employers simply ask.

For example, an employee brand ambassador program could significantly amplify your organization’s social presence. By crowdsourcing social media activity internally, you can generate higher-quality content, increase audience reach, and drive much deeper engagement.

Employee brand ambassador programs can also capture behind-the-scenes “magic” that makes your organization a unique place to work. This could include everything from feel-good stories about managers who recognize team members in fun ways and internal team traditions like weekly trivia contests, to candid videos of silly work moments and community volunteering events. Your employees are uniquely positioned to showcase your brand in ways that no one could communicate alone.

From Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to LinkedIn and Glassdoor, the content posted by and about your organization reflects your overall employer brand. So it’s important to work closely with your marketing and social media teams to ensure your efforts support the organization’s brand identity across all platforms and channels.

3. Prioritize and Personalize Candidate Experience 

The last (and perhaps most important) piece of the global IT recruiting puzzle is to provide the best possible candidate experience. This is vital because it helps distinguish your organization from other companies that are vying for the same talent.

Your candidate experience is essentially your brand experience. In fact, 78% of job hunters agree that the candidate experience they receive directly indicates how much an employer values its people.

Not surprisingly, a weak candidate experience has caused some job hunters to withdraw from the hiring process. Their top 3 issues:

  • Disrespect during interviews
  • Poor rapport with recruiters
  • The process simply took too long.

Ultimately, a negative candidate experience can harm your brand. For example, 72% of candidates that encounter a negative candidate experience will tell others about it directly or online. That’s not the kind of word-of-mouth any employer wants to spread.

ELEVATE YOUR CANDIDATE JOURNEY

How can you ensure a strong candidate experience? Focus on each stage of the process:

  • First, carefully review and evaluate the entire journey. Start with the moment someone learns about a role at your organization. Then, move through each step until a new employee arrives for the first day on the job.
  • When candidates initially apply, is the process as easy, accessible, and straightforward as possible? Can people apply quickly online, or do you require them to go through multiple steps and submit excessive amounts of information?
  • During the interview cycle, your hiring team has a chance to shine. How do you assure candidates that you’re interested in them and you value their time? Is everyone in the hiring process able to prepare for interviews? Do they develop relevant questions, so candidates can provide useful answers? Does your process give candidates ample opportunity to ask about job expectations, organizational culture, and other key decision criteria?
  • Throughout each stage of the journey, clear, consistent communication is key. Are you keeping candidates in the loop with regular updates and next-step information? And if you choose not to move forward at any point, do you explain why in a timely, thoughtful way?

These steps may seem obvious, but if you want better results, you won’t leave them to chance. Why? According to a U.S. survey, interviews trigger anxiety in as many as 93% of job seekers. A great candidate experience can help relieve stress. This means candidates will be able to focus on discussing their strengths, demonstrating their skills, and determining if the position is a good fit.

Final Notes on Global IT Recruiting

In today’s candidate-driven global IT market, applicants have the power to choose which employer they prefer. That’s why it’s crucial for hiring managers and talent acquisition teams to know their audience, develop their employer brand, and perfect the candidate experience. When these three components work well together, your organization has the best chance of attracting and hiring the right kind of talent for every job.

A Perfect Job Offer is Much More Than Just a Number

TalentCulture Content Impact Award Winner - 2023

How would you define the perfect job offer? Some people think it’s about finding a magic number that will seal the deal with the right candidate. But smart recruiters know it involves much more than that.

Compensation negotiations have always been complex. But now they’re changing in some fundamental ways. This is largely thanks to new pay transparency laws, which mandate that employers include salary ranges in job postings. As a result, here’s what I see ahead…

How Pay Transparency Changes The Hiring Game

Pay transparency is a boon for job seekers, who will have access to much more useful information about open positions. But this doesn’t need to be a zero-sum game. No doubt, many employers will adjust their tools and processes. And that means recruiters can prosper under these new pay transparency rules. How?

For recruiters, the goal is the same as always — bring the perfect offer to the table. But now, the way to get there is likely to be different than it was in the past.

Making a perfect job offer has always required a balance of three key objectives — fairness, cost-effectiveness, and competitiveness. But these elements are dynamic. The balance is always shifting. So the more you understand how these relationships are changing, the better.

Imagine this: A knowledgeable recruiter leans more heavily on one of these three objectives when making an offer. That strategy might work in today’s hiring climate.

But what about next year? Without the right tools, the same recruiter may not have enough information to make reliable decisions. Instead, compensation will be based on guesswork. And this could jeopardize the balance that holds these offers together.

To build more solid job offers in 2023, take a closer look at the 3 factors I’ve mentioned:

The 3 Pillars of a Perfect Job Offer

1. Fairness

Candidates should be paid fairly. It may sound obvious, but with new pay transparency laws, recruiters have a more important role in making sure this is the case.

Fairness can be tricky to prove because it’s relative. Start by comparing candidates with their own abilities, with employees who do similar work, and with others in your organization.

But keep in mind that it’s not enough for you to think an offer is fair. A candidate must also believe it’s fair. That’s because candidates are much more likely to accept an offer they think is fair than those who think it’s based on guesswork or gamesmanship.

How can you convince candidates that an offer is fair? Don’t assume they’ll take a recruiter’s word for it — they want to see the data. That means your organization will gain a significant advantage if recruiters are able to show their work. This is possible to do with modern data analytics tools, even at scale.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

Your recruiters should be able to attract the best candidates to your organization at the right price. This sounds like a reasonable expectation. But what, exactly, does it mean?

Too often, organizations treat recruiting simply as a cost center. They set a budget and expect recruiters to work within those parameters. That’s important, but there’s so much more your talent acquisition team can accomplish.

Even now, as the economy experiences a downturn, recruiters aren’t just sourcing scouts who fill open positions. They’re also talent strategists who can think holistically about your business needs and goals while also providing the best candidates at the right price.

A compensation strategy involves so many complex elements: workforce planning, budgets, guaranteed vs. at-risk pay, and financial performance. The effects of compensation decisions reach far beyond any individual job applicant. In fact, deciding how many people to hire and determining what to pay them are among the most costly and important decisions any business leader must make. So, as the economy continues to sputter, cost-effective job offers are increasingly important to every organization.

3. Competitiveness

A job offer should balance the chance of a candidate saying yes with the compensation cost to the organization. Understanding what’s at stake is essential in today’s environment. This is why many employers are upgrading their compensation analysis tools. Because in a volatile labor market, good data makes the difference between successfully navigating choppy waters and crashing against the rocks.

In a way, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness are two sides of the same coin. Recruiters want to make offers that help their organization manage costs, even as they attract and retain top talent. But without the right data, finding that balance can be difficult.

This is where recruiters are most likely to make mistakes. In a white-hot talent market, landing qualified candidates can be a struggle. In a down market, it’s a challenge to stay within prescribed budgets. That’s why the perfect offer deserves as much market intelligence as possible, no matter what the hiring climate may be.

Getting Ahead of the Curve

Fair, cost-effective, and competitive. A perfect job offer must balance all three. Recruiters can get ahead of the curve now by taking tangible steps to implement this three-pronged strategy. Specifically, they can focus on using the right information, ensuring that processes are accountable, and communicating about pay throughout each step of the recruiting journey.

At its core, a perfect job offer is based on the best available compensation insights. For successful employers, that means real-time data that indicates what job seekers expect to be paid, what candidates are offered and are willing to accept, as well as what internal data says about existing compensation standards.

The era of pay transparency is here. It may be new, different, and perhaps even a bit intimidating. But it’s also an exciting time to be a recruiting professional. Because, if you’re willing to adapt, a perfect job offer is always within your reach.

 

Hiring In a Recession: 3 Strategies for Business Resilience

The global economic climate is in a precarious state, with experts now predicting a 70% likelihood that the U.S. will enter a recession this year. No doubt, this news is unsettling for business owners. But it’s important to remember that recessions are a natural part of ongoing economic cycles. They can even present opportunities for organizational growth and resilience if you know how to capitalize on them.

So, how can leaders navigate today’s challenges and emerge even stronger on the other side? By strategically hiring in a recession. If you want to build bench depth on your team during tough times, here are three strategies to consider:

3 Strategies for Hiring in a Recession

1. Go Global With Remote Hiring

We’re in a much different position now than during The Great Recession of 2008. So is the global workforce. Thanks to technological advances and the prevalence of remote work models, it’s much easier now for hiring managers to tap into the vast global talent pool.

Compared with local hiring strategies, seeking out top talent internationally offers multiple advantages. Not only can you gain access to a much larger source of candidates, but you can also achieve significant overhead cost savings if you hire people in locations where labor costs are lower.

In addition, sourcing job candidates from around the world can help you develop a much more diverse team. If you are careful to hire skilled professionals, an international approach can inject your work culture and business deliverables with fresh perspectives. This can help your business operate more effectively and efficiently while supporting long-term growth.

That said, hiring globally isn’t without its challenges. To succeed, hiring managers need to be aware of hiring laws and regulations in their chosen countries, as well as cultural differences. It’s also important to ensure that hiring practices are fair and equitable, regardless of where potential employees may be located.

The importance of remote work leadership also needs to be taken into consideration here. Your organization should be prepared to develop and support management skills and practices that will help remote teams stay connected, engaged and motivated.

2. In an Era of Mercenaries, Focus on Your Missionaries

The last few years have been like a game of musical chairs for the labor market. The Great Resignation resulted in 44% of workers hopping from job to job, searching for higher pay, better benefits, and more flexible work options.

This led to a new trend known as “mercenary hiring,” where employers use inflated compensation packages to recruit highly skilled candidates without regard for the company’s mission or culture. However, this recruiting practice can be very risky. While it may be an effective way to attract top talent in a tight labor market, it can also lead to increased workforce churn and damage company culture.

Fortunately, there’s an antidote to mercenary hiring. Hire “missionaries” instead. Focus on people who share a passion for your company’s mission, purpose, vision, and values. These job seekers are more likely to invest in long-term success with your organization, so they’ll also be more invested in your company’s growth.

Of course, it’s one thing for employers to identify, attract and hire these “missionaries.” But it’s even more important to focus on creating an environment that nurtures them and encourages them to thrive. For example, this can include competitive salaries, consistent recognition, and generous professional development opportunities, as well as incentives like flexible scheduling and remote work options.

3. Find Opportunity in Adversity

The hiring landscape may have changed, but one thing remains the same: Hiring during a recession is an opportunity to tap into highly qualified talent you might not find as easily during better economic times.

During the last recession, the U.S. lost 2.6 million jobs. And in 2022, we began seeing some very prominent companies announcing major layoffs. While this news can be disturbing, hiring managers should see it as an opportunity to find the best and brightest talent amidst the chaos.

History has shown us some iconic instances of hiring when the job market was at low ebb. For example, in the 1940s, Hewlett-Packard famously capitalized on the closure of military labs to beef up its workforce. And during one of the nation’s worst 16-month economic cycles, Microsoft took the initiative to hire some of its most influential engineers. Both cases offer powerful business lessons.

Key Takeaways

So, what’s the moral of this story? Here are the three key takeaways to keep in mind about hiring in a recession:

1. Top Talent is Only a Zoom Call Away

With the rise of remote work and virtual hiring tools, it’s easier than ever to find top talent in all corners of the world. Don’t limit your search to local candidates. Consider expanding your talent acquisition reach to a global scale. This can open you to a broader pool of qualified, motivated candidates while giving you access to diverse skills and experiences.

2. Resilience in Hiring is More Than Just Hiring More People

In a recession, it’s important to be strategic about who you recruit. Look for individuals who share your goals and understand your company’s mission. People who sincerely want to advance your agenda are much more likely to stay with your company during difficult times. Focus on building a team of dedicated employees who are willing to be flexible during uncertain times. This will help you weather the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.

3. When Others Freeze Hiring, Be Bold

During a recession, it can be tempting to react with a hiring freeze. Although that approach may save costs in the near term, it is also likely to be a mistake. Investing in talent during tough economic times can set you apart from competitors and position you for success in the long term. Don’t be afraid to be brave and continue investing in your team, even when times are tough. This can help retain your best existing employees, while also helping you attract strong new talent. That combination can build the foundation your company will need to drive future growth.

Final Note

Overall, the key to successful hiring in a recession depends on three factors – your ability to be adaptable, strategic, and focus on building a team that is willing and able to weather the storm with you. By keeping these principles in mind, you can navigate even the toughest hiring climate and make your organization more resilient in the face of any economic downturn.

Screening Job Candidates Online: Risky Business?

Sponsored by: Fama.io

It’s no secret. On a daily basis, recruiters and hiring managers are screening job candidates online by simply entering their names in search boxes at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and beyond. Experienced professionals know they shouldn’t be doing this, but many do it anyway. Why?

The Slippery Slope of DIY Candidate Screening

Publicly available online information can reveal a lot about potential employees. It gives employers insight into an individual’s hobbies, interests and personality traits. It also shines a light on controversial opinions, political affiliations and protected class information. 

Gaining unrestricted access to a candidate’s public social media profiles may be easy. But instant access isn’t a free pass to engage in unethical or potentially illegal hiring practices.

That’s why it needs to stop. Screening job candidates without permission is an invasion of their privacy rights — especially the right to consent to the search.

Catching Up With the Rules

To be fair, most recruiters and hiring managers don’t fully understand laws involving online background screening. That’s partially due to the relative novelty of this practice, as well as a lack of updated guidance.

But now that online screening has become so widespread, employers need to know how to protect their organization as well as job candidates. That’s why it’s important to understand the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Learning how to comply with these regulations is worth an employer’s effort. Online screening can be a powerful tool to determine an individual’s hireability. And when performed correctly, an online background check is an effective and perfectly legal hiring practice. 

How can you make this process work better for your organization? Let’s look closer at key legal aspects of screening job candidates online. First, I’ll explain how problems tend to arise. Then, I’ll suggest steps for a fully compliant, worry-free screening process. 

Understanding the Controversy

Why exactly is social media screening so controversial? Calling it an invasion of privacy is hard to defend, since many social media profiles are publicly available. Furthermore, applicants freely choose what, when and how they share on their social media profiles.

Much of this information may reflect positively or negatively on a candidate’s ability to perform in a work-related capacity. For example, education, work history, extracurricular activities and hobbies are often prominently featured on social media profiles. And employers typically evaluate this kind of information during the interviewing process, anyway.

However, the issue isn’t about employers using information that would otherwise be discussed during a standard interview. Instead, it’s about access to information that organizations are legally and ethically obligated not to consider.

We’re talking about legally protected categories such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status or religion. This is where issues arise, because the moment anyone views a social media profile, it may inherently reveal details about protected categories.

How Widespread is This Practice?

In a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers said they regularly review social media profiles as part of the hiring process. Furthermore, 54% acknowledged that they’ve rejected applicants based on a social media review.

However, the survey does not indicate how often social media reviews were being conducted by hiring managers who are legally obligated not to consider protected information. 

When used correctly, online screening can highlight positive work traits like compassion or open-mindedness. But it can also reveal negative traits. For example, what if a candidate threatens others in a post or shares a video while committing a violent act? This kind of behavior isn’t welcome in the workplace and would likely hinder the candidate from performing effectively in any role.

Steps to Achieve Better Outcomes

For a fully compliant screening process, consider these best practices:

1. Clarify the Rules

Defining a clear set of guidelines is essential for all background check methods — including online screening processes. According to leading U.S. employment attorney, Pam Devata, “In general, the same rules apply, whether you are using social media or more traditional methods for conducting background checks.”

In a recent interview, Devata explained, “The keys are consistency, accurate record keeping, ensuring that any data accessed is not legally protected information prohibited from being used in employment decisions, and that any decisions are rooted in business necessity.”

2. Focus on Documentation

Before attempting to navigate the nuances of social media screening, it’s important to establish consistent, generalized hiring practices across the organization. This includes putting a process in place to record and track all pre-employment decisions and FCRA-required disclosures.

Although it can be challenging to document online screening activity, consistent, accurate record-keeping will put your organization in a better position to address any issues that may arise. 

3. Partner with a Specialized Service Provider

One of the easiest ways to address the complexities surrounding online candidate research is to rely on a trusted online background screening partner like Fama.

With a proven, independent team managing the screening process, employers can gather only the information needed to assess an applicant’s job potential, without the risk of revealing protected categories. In fact, the strongest digital screening solutions include compliance filters. This ensures that reports shared with hiring teams focus solely on job-relevant information.

At Fama, we go beyond bare-minimum compliance protections by applying ethical AI and machine-learning technology. Also, a team of skilled humans reviews our screenings to ensure their legitimacy and accuracy. This helps us continuously improve our screening capabilities and our results.

Final Thoughts

No doubt, social media screening is bound to remain a controversial topic. But when you’re not sure about the legal implications, it’s important to avoid the false assumption that it’s safe to assess a candidate’s online presence on your own.

Guaranteed compliance is always possible by working with an objective, third-party screening solution. This means your team will benefit from a fully compliant screening process. And ultimately, it means your organization can focus on finding the best candidate for every job.

Recruiting Predictions and Trends That Will Define 2023

Nothing is certain. And anything can change in a flash. Many of us have learned these lessons the hard way in recent years. Forecasting almost seems like a fool’s game now. But during this time of year, I can’t help thinking about recruiting predictions. What trends will define hiring strategies and practices in 2023?

Trend 1: Power is Shifting

First, let’s put 2o22 into perspective. What a rollercoaster year! It started at the height of the Great Resignation, when people were leaving their jobs at record rates. The promise of greener pastures was a powerful motivator. But only months later, the tide turned as “boomerang employees” began reversing their decisions.

This boomerang phenomenon wasn’t just media hype. In fact, a global survey by HR tech provider UKG found that 43% of people who resigned during the pandemic later decided they were better off in their old job. And by last April, 20% had already returned to their previous position. 

So, are employees still calling all the shots? Not so much — but they do still have some bargaining power. This leads me to another trend…

Trend 2: Flexibility Rules

The job market is coming to a crossroads. Unemployment rates remain low, but employee expectations remain high. Now, many people have become accustomed to remote work and more flexible work/life choices. So increasingly, employers are turning to amenities like free meals and hybrid work models, hoping to lure people back to the office. But these strategies have only been marginally successful.

Numerous studies underscore the problem. For example, in a recent survey of 80,000 global employees, Advanced Workplace Associates found that people generally don’t comply with hybrid work policies. Specifically, when organizations require 2, 2-3 or 3 days in the office each week, actual attendance averages only 1.1, 1.6 and 2.1 days, respectively.

No doubt, this kind of willful disregard concerns employers. But as long as consequences aren’t enforced, the behavior will likely continue.

Trend 3: Economic Weakness Clouds the Future

Continued inflation and the threat of a lengthy recession is causing employers to think twice about immediate business expansion plans. And none of this is helped by the war in Ukraine or ongoing friction in international relations.

What Do These Trends Mean for Recruitment?

Innovative business leaders will hire more strategically in 2023. Decisions will be driven by the need to (among other things) expand their products and services, or reposition their organization to compete more effectively when the economy improves.

Smart employers will train recruiting teams to spot the best candidates by using leading-edge hiring techniques. In the past, recruitment predictions emphasized technology and automation. Both of these trends are still important. But tools, alone, won’t be enough to give recruiters the advantage they need to identify, attract and secure top talent.

Going forward, successful talent acquisition will depend on recruiters with strong skills and competencies, as well as tools that help them work effectively.

Keeping these trends and business factors in mind, here are three recruiting predictions to consider as we head into another turbulent year in a highly competitive environment:

3 Key Recruiting Predictions for 2023

1. Recruiting Roles Will Become More Adaptive

Strong recruiters will recognize the need to be more flexible about how they contribute to business goals. They will rely more heavily on reskilling and upskilling to extend their capabilities, so they can demonstrate transferable skills that add value as staffing needs change. If hiring slows down, companies can tap into these added skills by involving recruiters more heavily in HR, research or sales activities.

Often, recruiters know their company inside and out. This in-depth knowledge helps them sell an employer to job candidates. Innovative companies will recognize the benefit of transitioning recruiters to other interim assignments if needed, rather than letting them go. This avoids the unwanted cost of having to recruit, onboard and train new recruitment staff when hiring picks up again in the future.

2. Unlikely Platforms Will Help Recruiters Find Top Talent

When thinking about sourcing and recruiting employees, most recruiters automatically think of LinkedIn. However, other less obvious options are also highly effective. These platforms attract targeted audiences that are often larger and more engaged.

For instance, Slack User Groups and Github are excellent channels, but recruiters typically don’t utilize them enough. Both are magnets for hyper-focused, passionate users who could be great candidates for specific roles.

Also, interview sites focused on unique skill sets are terrific sources for finding specialized candidates. One popular example is HackerRank.

3. Recruiting Careers Will Still Appeal to Young Workers

Despite an economic slowdown, the recruiting profession will remain hot. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report, low work engagement has already cost the global economy $7.8 trillion — and the situation isn’t changing. As unhappy employees continue to look for new opportunities, other organizations will need recruiters to tap into this talent pool.

This makes recruiting an attractive career option. And those seeking training or certification in recruiting have more options than ever, thanks to online learning platforms. Reputable professional education programs can train anyone to become a recruiter or sourcing professional in just a few weeks.

Plus, this role gives people the opportunity for continued growth and higher earnings potential. No wonder Glassdoor says corporate recruiting is the most satisfying job, especially among Gen Z workers.

Final Thoughts

For years, recruiters have been inundated with hiring demands, as companies in the technology industry and other sectors boomed with work opportunities. Now some hiring organizations are starting to hit speed bumps.

Company culture and employee expectations have changed dramatically in response to the pandemic. Everyone is still trying to figure out the new normal, even as the world continues to change.

Once organizations regain their bearings, hiring will likely to bounce back. Until then, resourceful, well-trained recruiters will recognize the need to remain flexible and package themselves as valuable business assets.

Are You Cultivating a “Culture-Add” Talent Strategy?

In recent years, I’ve been encouraged by a groundswell of employers that are choosing to embrace “culture-add” people practices. In fact, several months ago, I wrote about it in a Sage Masterclass article.

Because this concept is central to the future of work, I’ve continued to ponder, read and discuss culture-add issues with others. Now I’m convinced this topic deserves much more than just one blog post. So let’s explore it further here. I hope this underscores the need for a shift to a culture-add recruitment and retention mindset. But more importantly, I hope it inspires constructive change.

What Does “Culture-Add” Mean?

The term “culture-add” speaks to a paradigm shift beyond traditional “culture-fit” talent strategies. On the surface, the culture-fit approach seems appealing. However, it ultimately leads to one-dimensional groups, teams, and organizations. And history tells us homogeneity can have dangerous consequences:  blind spots, groupthink, and poor decision-making.

In contrast, a “culture-add” approach actively seeks people with diverse perspectives that enhance teams and organizations. As we learn more about the significant benefits of a diverse workforce, culture-add hiring is emerging as an important way to strive for differences that make a positive impact.

As I noted in my previous article:

Most of us know that employees who align with a company’s values and fit into the culture generally have higher job satisfaction, improved job performance, and frankly, stick around longer. However, we are resting on our laurels if we use this as our rationale for continuing to use the culture-fit model.”

Embracing Organizational Change

We all know humans tend to resist change. In fact, the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” was suitable for a long time. It still holds some merit, so let’s not dismiss it completely. Tried-and-true processes can potentially save us from all kinds of turmoil — emotional, logistical, financial, and more.

However, if we want to innovate and grow, we must also be able to adapt. No doubt, changing an organization’s cultural fabric can be daunting. But it is necessary for long-term viability.

As Stephanie Burns says in a 2021 Forbes column, Why Evolving Your Business Right Now Is Critical:

Anyone who has wanted to cling to how things were will be in for a surprise this year, as COVID-19 entirely shifted the original paradigm. However, it’s also presented an opportunity for businesses and individuals to evolve into new ways of being.

COVID hasn’t just turned the world on its head, it’s accelerated trends that were already happening, such as the shift to remote work and the collective desire for more convenience…

Still, some founders don’t want much change. This could be due to fear of the unknown or fear that leaving their old business model, which had worked so well for so long, could be catastrophic. However, we’re reaching a critical impasse where businesses that don’t evolve may very well fade out of the picture. Evolution is a natural part of all of our lives, and our businesses are no exception.”

Leaders would be wise to heed this important advice, even if it seems overwhelming. It’s time to change. Our work cultures are constantly shifting. We, too, should remain prepared to embrace new ideas, processes, and people who can make us better.

Culture-add hiring can support this process by inviting more diverse minds and voices to the table as we dream up fresh ideas and orchestrate change. This reminds me of a related term — new blood. We need new blood to thrive.

Connecting Culture-Add and Diversity

This conversation leads us directly to the benefits of diversity. There’s an excellent article on the NeuroLeadership Institute blog, Your Brain at Work: Why Diverse Teams Outperform Homogeneous Teams. The entire piece is worth reading, but here’s a noteworthy excerpt:

Diverse teams are particularly good at exposing and correcting faulty thinking, generating fresh and novel ideas, and accounting for a wider array of variables in planning.

Part of the reason this happens is due to what scientists call cognitive elaboration — the process of sharing, challenging, and expanding our thinking. In essence, diverse teams compel each other to think more deeply about their reasoning and interrogate the facts more objectively.

They share counterfactuals as they go, they don’t take things for granted, and there is minimal ‘social loafing’ — or just accepting things at face value. In short, diverse teams tend to come to better conclusions because those conclusions have been road-tested more thoroughly.”

The science of diversity in teams is truly fascinating. It tells us that recruiting and hiring leaders can help by feeding teams with talented people who can accentuate the benefits of diversity.

Of course, diversity and inclusion don’t end with hiring. The next step is fostering a workplace that makes a wide variety of people feel valued. This is not an easy task. However, it is essential. So let’s look closer at what to consider…

Tips For Building a Culture-Add Mentality

1. Actively weave a sense of belonging into your workforce

As you build a more diverse organization through culture-add hiring, don’t be surprised if cliques and segmentation develop based on geographical, cultural, and other distinctions. That’s natural! But challenge your people to also learn and share what they have in common with others. Allow space for these common interests and goals to surface.

The Why Diverse Teams Outperform Homogeneous Teams article offers a compelling reason to make this a priority:

The benefits of diversity aren’t likely to accrue if we simply put together a team of diverse individuals and assign them a task. The environment in which they’re working should be inclusive — one in which all members feel valued and as if they have a voice.

In that inclusive environment, the benefits of diversity are far more likely to materialize. If not, employees will leave the organization, or worse, stay but not contribute. Diversity without inclusion only creates a revolving door of talent.”

Vigorously work on building a sense of belonging so people of different ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles feel celebrated for their differences. After all, you’ve brought them in to add to your culture, so allow them to shine.

2. Prepare to fully retrain your recruiting and hiring staff

This tip could stand alone as an article, white paper, or college thesis. But to be brief, let’s use an example to illustrate how deeply culture-add hiring upends the traditional approach:

Previously, when Bob hired someone at XYZ insurance company, he considered a candidate like Stan an excellent fit. That’s because Stan lived in a similar neighborhood, was married to a well-liked woman, and had kids who were high achievers. If Stan also golfed on the weekends and enjoyed a steak dinner, even better! He’d fit right into XYZ Insurance and would have a fulfilling career.

As mentioned previously, this model once made a lot of sense. Cultural similarities and a genuine “he’s one of us” mentality created a comfortable atmosphere where longevity was often the result. Unfortunately, homogeneous organizations were also the result.

Today’s businesses face new challenges that require a different approach. Your talent acquisition team can start by taking the initiative to reassess the criteria they use to find people (where, how). Then you can reframe the recruitment conversation from end to end.

Instead of looking for people to fit a standard outdated profile, allow questions and conversations to emphasize and embrace differences in candidates. What can they add versus how do they fit?

Begin by asking yourself and others in your organization to talk openly about how hiring is being handled, and what kind of outcomes this approach is creating — for better or worse.

If a culture-fit model still drives your talent decisions, don’t be ashamed to admit it. But if that’s the case, you’ll want to start making changes soon. Because I assure you, your competitors are already moving toward culture-add for the win.

Are Job Candidates Ghosting You? Try This Recruiter’s Advice

Spooky season is upon us! People are carving pumpkins, dressing in crazy costumes, and swapping scary stories. So, in the spirit of Halloween, we’re taking on a truly horrifying subject. This is so frightening it can make a hiring manager’s hair stand on end at the very mention. That’s right. We’re talking about candidate ghosting. Beware!

Is Ghosting For Real?

Oxford Languages defines ghosting as “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.”

When somebody ghosts you, they stop replying to your messages, they don’t answer calls, they stop all forms of communication. There’s never any explanation—they simply disappear without a trace.

Originally a dating term, ghosting is becoming increasingly common in business, especially in the context of recruiting. For example, a 2021 survey by Indeed found that 28% of job applicants had an employer—10% more than in 2019. And today’s reality seems much worse. In fact, a U.K. poll earlier this year found that more than 75% of job hunters admit to ghosting in the past year. Scary statistics, to be sure!

Why Do People Act So Creepy?

There’s no single reason why candidates ghost potential employers. But ghosting clearly seems more common when job vacancies are prevalent in a particular sector. 

When more opportunities are available, applicants have less incentive to keep in touch. They will often receive viable offers more quickly, so when they do, they’ll accept the most attractive option and move on.

However, ghosting also happens when vacancies are few and far between. We’ve seen it up close at our own recruiting agency, even in niche roles where very few opportunities exist. 

In a discussion with our team, one brave team member confessed to ghosting a prospective employer in the past. She explained, “I was pretty far into the interview process when a few issues raised concerns for me. These were mainly about time off, travel expenses—things that probably should have been resolved up front.”

The truth is, we can make some educated guesses about a candidate’s motivations, they can ghost us for any reason. Without an explanation from the candidate, you’ll never know for sure what happened—and that’s what makes it so frustrating.

The Business Impact of Ghosting

Probably the worst impact of ghosting is that it wastes time. You could spend months sourcing credible talent and conducting interviews. You may even get to the stage where you’re negotiating a package. And then without warning—poof!—that top candidate goes silent. 

Ghosting is not only time-consuming—it is expensive as well. Consider this:

The average U.S. cost per hire is $4,700 for a non-executive role and $14,936 for an executive, according to Zippia. Most roles are filled within roughly 42 days, but it can take much longer when ghosting comes into play.

And it’s not just about the extra cost of a delayed hiring process. It’s also important to take into account the business cost of an unfilled role, which can cost employers dearly in terms of lower business productivity, quality, and responsiveness.

How Can You Combat Ghosting?

Although it’s impossible to shut down ghosting altogether, we’ve learned some techniques to help employers prevent candidates from vanishing into thin air.

1) Invest in the Relationship

Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes. As one recruitment specialist told the BBC earlier this year, “Candidates are being approached all the time with an abundance of jobs to choose from […] if they have multiple applications on the go, it can be easier to simply ignore one of them.”

If a candidate is in contact with multiple recruiters or hiring managers, it’s easy for several to fall off of the radar. But if you develop a working relationship with candidates, you’ll remain top-of-mind. Just as you would with a friend or colleague, make sure you stay in regular contact with candidates. Show that you care by touching base when you say you will and by keeping them updated throughout the hiring process.

2) Be Transparent From the Start

Before you move forward, strive to clarify what a candidate is seeking in a role, and reflect on whether your offer will meet those expectations.

People may feel uncomfortable telling you they’re unhappy or unsure about an aspect of a role. Instead, they may find it easier to simply move on. So be sure you understand their job requirements from the start of your working relationship.

In particular, don’t keep the details of an offer secret. For example, if a candidate is interested only in working remotely, an in-office location will likely be a dealbreaker. It’s best to be upfront about every aspect of the role before you make an offer. This saves time for both you and the candidate.

3) Establish a Long-Term Connection

Smart hiring managers and recruitment specialists help candidates recognize the value of maintaining a relationship throughout their careers. Rather than just completing an immediate transaction, recruiters can introduce candidates to influential people within their industry and help build their professional network over time.

Ghosting can cause unintended reputational damage. So, if you help candidates see the long game, they’ll be less likely to abruptly end your communication. 

4) Respond Kindly to a Rejection

We’ve seen employers lash out at candidates who decline an offer. This is a surefire way to encourage more ghosting! If a candidate rejects a job application, remember they’re doing you a favor by responding at all.

Keep responses polite and professional. Thank the candidate for their transparency, wish them well, and keep the door open for the future. It’s a surprisingly small and very well-connected world. So think about how much goodwill a gracious response can help your organization, in the long run.

5) Ask People Not to Ghost

Sometimes the best way to encourage candidates not to ghost you is just to…ask! Tell people upfront that if they change their mind about the opportunity at any point, you would really appreciate a heads-up.

This approach has often worked for our team. It lets us be more proactive in filling roles for our clients. Because we have spent time nurturing trust with our candidates, they tend to be candid in sharing their thoughts.

Of course, this may not work every time, but it can’t hurt to try.

6) Recognise When You’re Being Ghosted

…and move on. Don’t assume that a candidate will eventually get back in touch with you to seal the deal. If a candidate is wasting your time, then your energy is better spent on finding a more suitable applicant elsewhere.

Similarly, you should never put all your recruiting eggs in one candidate basket. With ghosting on the rise, it’s crucial to have at least one active candidate at any given time. But ideally, you should keep two or three more high-quality candidates in the running for an open position, as well.

7) Don’t Ghost

You may have been ghosted, but there’s never a reason for an employer to be a ghost. Employers who blow off applicants can quickly develop a bad reputation for ghosting and wasting candidates’ time, too. 

If we expect candidates not to ghost, we must treat them the way we would like to be treated. Recognizing the time and effort unsuccessful candidates have put into their applications is a must.

Employers should keep all candidates informed of the outcome of their application, whether it is positive or negative. Otherwise, that negative candidate experience may come back to haunt your organization in the future.

All this Ghosting Talk Is Kind of Scary!

But don’t worry, you made it to the end. And now you’re much better equipped to avoid those wicked ghosts. Poof!

Traditional Hiring Practices Are Inefficient for Hiring Leaders

There hasn’t been a time in recent history when the development and application of smart hiring practices has been more important. Companies are struggling to hire the best and the brightest while facing a unique set of challenges. We’ll explore if we are meeting this inflection point effectively — and what companies can do to improve their response.

Our Guest: Lou Adler

On the last Worktrends Podcast, I spoke with Lou Adler. We discussed hiring practices and how businesses can take it to the next level.

‎Lou Adler is a well-known hiring expert, who turned the recruitment industry on its head through his performance-based recruiting model. With over 40 years in the recruiting industry, Lou’s company, the Adler Group has trained over 40,000 hiring managers and placed 1500 executives for many of the fastest-growing companies.

He is a top LinkedIn influencer and author, known for The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired and the Amazon top 10 best seller Hire With Your Head, Using Performance-Based Hiring to Build Great Teams, translated into multiple languages.

Hiring Decisions: Are We Making Progress?

You contend that hiring results haven’t improved much in the past 25 years. What is the basis for this claim after tens of billions have been spent on new HR tech?

Well, the biggest claim is… I look at the Gallup satisfaction report, which comes out monthly and it hovers around 30 to 33% of people who are actually satisfied with their jobs. And that number hasn’t changed in 25 years since they started taking it.

So as far as I’m concerned, things have not only not gotten better, they have gotten worse. And I contend, I know the reasons why, but that’s least sufficient proof to say, “Hey, maybe we do have a problem.”

The Great Resignation & Job Satisfaction

Let’s talk about the great resignation. In all of the implications, what are you seeing here? And do you have suggestions for companies, recruiters, and job seekers around this?

To me, and it goes back to the underlying problem of why people are dissatisfied and it really comes down to the point that people take jobs and they don’t really know what the work is. And they don’t know what the style of the manager is, they don’t know the quality of the team, and they’re not a hundred percent sure of what the expectations are.

The satisfaction is driven by the work itself, the people, the company, the manager, the projects, the impact they’re making, and people give that to a shrift. They focus too much on the start date, not enough on the actual work they’re doing.

So to me, that’s the underlying problem of dissatisfaction. And it’s gotten worse because people are now trying to hire faster for more money. So now you have the great resignation, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

The Solution: Recruiters Need to Understand the Roles

Recruiting, with no understanding of the role, won’t help us recruit and retain the contributors. It’s time to change the mindset about how we approach discussions with candidates. Quick hiring, without deep consideration of the roles, is fueling negative outcomes. 

I have the knowledge that I believe is correct, but I think you have HR leaders and companies that have a strategy designed, “Hey, let’s fill jobs as fast as we can.”

And yet I believe the process of making that decision, “Should I hire this candidate?” And from the candidate’s perspective, “Should I take this job?” That is a much more detailed, thorough evaluation. That’s an investment on the company’s standpoint in hiring this person and an investment on the candidate, “Hey, should I invest my time in this company?”

And I don’t think the tools that both sides use to make that decision are evaluated properly. I think people have competency models. They’ve got behavioral interviewing. I think that’s a band-aid solution, and I don’t think they’ve really addressed the core problem.

The Solution: Take the Time to Define the Work

There are steps to improving hiring. However, more time on the front end of the process is necessary. This requires a close look at critical performance objectives — and incorporating these into a method, a “scorecard”, that can direct the entire recruiting process.

If you want to implement performance-based hiring, you have to only do two things. Number one is you don’t take a requisition filled with skills, experience and competencies. Instead, you take a requisition that lists the five or six key performance objectives the person taking that job needs to do over the course of the year to be considered successful.

We call that a win-win hiring outcome. Meaning the candidate says, “I’m so glad I had this job over the year and I’m enjoying this work.” And hiring manager says, “I’m so glad I hired that person.” So, defining the work is that core thing.

The other bookend is, don’t accept or don’t hire anybody unless they meet the standards on a tool. We call it the Quality of Hire Talent Scorecard, which determines the 10 best predictors of on the job success. If you just put those two bookends in, don’t hire anybody who doesn’t meet these performance requirements and define those performance requirements up front, you’ll figure out what you’ve got to do in the middle to get there.

In Summary: When Hiring, Emphasize Key Performance Indicators & Consistently Apply That Strategy

Overall, we cannot hope to improve hiring decisions without taking the time to understand the specifics of the role. The ensuing process should not be a race to hire, but a race to capture the important aspects of the role and communicate this effectively to candidates.

The issue to get to that though, requires a lot more work. It’s not just, “Will you take this offer at this point in time?” I have to understand the job, I have to understand the environment, the candidate has to understand, “Is this the right career move? Is it work that I’m intrinsically motivated to do? Can I work with this team? And can I work with a manager’s style?”

I hope you found this episode of #WorkTrends helpful. I know that I found the discussion fascinating.

Subscribe to the #WorkTrends podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Also, for more great conversations, be sure to follow #WorkTrends on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram!

Why Skilling Investments Directly Correlate to an Organization’s Bottom Line

Sponsored by: Cornerstone

Learning is the most important thing we do at work. 

I know that’s a bold statement. I’m sure you’re already trying to think of things you do at work that are more important than learning. But the truth is that learning is the foundation of how we grow and perform. 

Think about the learning opportunities at your organization. Are there company-sponsored places you can go to learn? Or do you simply rely on Google and YouTube? 

The reality is that many organizations rely on employees to find their own learning and development opportunities. So, what’s the problem with this? 

The problem is that this lack of prioritization for development opportunities at work won’t get us through the current talent and skilling shortages many industries are facing or help us grow into the future of work. 

These aren’t problems that will go away on their own, either. In fact, the current skilling and talent shortages are keeping business leaders up at night. According to a recently published Cornerstone People Research Lab survey, 48% of all employers placed skills and talent shortages within their top three concerns over the next three years. 

This urgency from business leaders is further evidenced in PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey, where 74% of CEOs reported being concerned about the availability of key skills. 

Cornerstone’s survey also found that while ‘laggard’ and ‘average’ organizations show a consistent employer-employee confidence gap in skills development, high-performance organizations are ahead of the game. 

Let’s explore how high-performance organizations approach skills development and why it works.  

High-Performance Organizations as a Model for Success

High-performance organizations put their money where their mouth is. For example, when asked when they would prioritize skills investments for their company, 72% of respondents reported that prioritization was expected to occur within the next year or had already begun. Meanwhile, 68% of lagging organizations plan to invest in skills development within three to five years. 

According to our research, high-performance organizations aren’t just investing in one or two learning and skill development areas either. Nearly all high-performance organizations are prioritizing learning and development technology, learning content, formal education or university learning, mentoring and coaching programs, and on-the-job skills training.  

Meanwhile, only 34% of lagging organizations prioritize formal education, and 52% invest in mentoring and coaching programs. There’s more than a 30-point gap between high-performance organizations and laggards. 

High-performance organizations are also increasingly adopting an internal talent marketplace mindset. They are using skills data and skills development programs to promote internal mobility. Ninety-seven percent of high-performance organizations agreed that the role of talent development is to improve employee growth. Employees also agree – 82% of employees at high-performance organizations reported feeling that their company had insight into the gaps between current skills and those needed in the future. 

Developing internal talent is the number one way high-performance organizations plan to fill skills gaps. Meanwhile, lagging organizations plan to hire externally to fill those gaps over the next three years. 

Up-Leveling Your Skilling Strategy 

So, where do you start in up-leveling your skilling strategy? 

First, take inventory of the skills currently available in your organization. Then, predict what skills are most important to the future success of your organization. Once you understand what skills gaps exist, you can chart a plan to help close them. 

To do this, AI-based skills assessment and pathing technology can help identify those gaps between existing and future skills and make intelligent job and career recommendations based on skills.  

Once you connect skills development to career growth, employees can more easily chart their desired career path by seeing an integrated view of the skills needed and how it translates to internal mobility. 

This kind of growth investment isn’t just good for your people – it’s good for business. According to a 2021 Gallup survey in partnership with Amazon, skills training is one of the top perks younger workers look for in a new job. Further, 61% of respondents also said that upskilling opportunities are important for staying at their job.  Seventy-one percent agreed that job training and development increased their job satisfaction. More satisfaction leads to better retention. Better retention means better success and outcomes for a business.

The takeaway is simple. When organizations adopt an internal skills marketplace and an internal-first hiring mindset, employees stay engaged and happy, and your business increases its chances of successfully navigating the future.

New HR Processes to Meet Workforce Expectations

The Great Resignation was a very real and present concern for HR professionals in 2021. In December alone, 4.3 million workers left their jobs. As the labor pool shrunk and companies faced skill shortages, there was a palpable power shift among employees. Workers knew they were in demand and could ask for more: more flexibility, more money, and more perks. Average hourly earnings have increased 4.8% year over year as a result.

Companies were already faced with competition for talent before the pandemic. This threw HR professionals in even more of a tailspin when they had to find new ways to meet these workforce expectations while developing work-from-anywhere policies practically overnight.

Although the labor force participation rate shows signs of bouncing back in the coming years — in fact, employment is estimated to increase from 153.5 million to 165.4 million by 2030 — HR must come up with innovative ways to attract and retain talented employees if they want to keep up. That means changing their HR processes to meet workforce expectations.

Meeting Workforce Expectations With New HR Processes

With a tight talent pool, HR professionals have to get creative, embrace new technologies, and find fresh ways of attracting and retaining talented employees. To do this, HR teams should stay open-minded to more progressive employment arrangements. This could include using contract, contingent, and gig work. In some instances, they should even consider employing robots, automating HR processes, and reskilling employees. 

As workers’ expectations change regarding work flexibility and other norms, the onus is on HR leaders to update the following HR processes:

1. Productivity Measurement

Gone are the days when measuring employee productivity meant simply looking at an employee’s time card or hours worked. In a work-from-anywhere environment, managers must shift their mindset to managing employees based on results rather than on time spent sitting at a desk.

It’s up to HR to teach managers how to measure and monitor employee productivity without physically seeing them in their chairs. To accomplish this, HR must clearly define job descriptions. Additionally, managers must communicate expectations. Most importantly, HR should encourage managers to let employees have the autonomy they need to do their jobs while still providing coaching on timelines, issues, and opportunities.

2. Pay Practices

Employees want not only the flexibility to work remotely, but also more flexibility as to when they work. Although 70% of executives want to return to the workplace, only 40% of workers do. Organizations that have embraced a remote environment to meet workforce expectations are now faced with the “work from anywhere” problem. Sure, it’s wonderful that employees can live anywhere in the country — or even the world. But, most HR teams are not set up for payroll, benefits, compliance, or taxes everywhere to support this. This can be a major roadblock when it comes to attracting and retaining talented employees.

In addition, HR leaders have to get ahead of questions from employees about cost-of-living adjustments for cities with higher costs of living. What is your philosophy and compensation structure? Does it allow you to attract talent across all markets nationwide? For example, consider tech companies based in San Jose, which is a tech industry hotspot. Should employees get paid more because that’s a high-cost-of-living area? Or not because they have the option to move? These questions can get quite philosophical and are up to your HR team and other company leaders to decide.

3. Onboarding Solutions

For new employees, the “computer setup” checkbox for onboarding has evolved over the years. Just a few decades ago, someone from IT came to connect the new employee’s system and set up their email at their desk. Now, it’s a UPS package delivery. Then, a two-hour phone call where IT instructs the employee on how to set up and configure settings for their workgroup. The employee needs to learn the ins and outs of how to use the collaboration tools and where to find the information needed for the job.

In addition, new employees might never even meet their HR representative in person to complete paperwork. These situations open up a need for remote onboarding tools. Tools that offer e-signature capabilities and advanced cybersecurity to prevent private information from being breached. They also require a solution for remote I-9s. (Current USCIS guidelines still require a person to provide HR with original ID documents to show proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.) Above all, you should determine how to integrate current tech tools with these new tools to make onboarding remote workers smoother for all involved.

4. Career Growth Opportunities for Employees

Even before the pandemic hit, employees looked for development and growth opportunities in their roles — particularly Millennials, who are known to leave jobs that lack such opportunities. HR can encourage employees to stay with the company longer by offering new forms of recognition and benefits, like upskilling.

Now, more than ever, employees want to know what competencies they need to learn to grow in the organization. They also want to know how these skills will benefit them in their future careers. To meet this need, work with managers to understand the competencies required for each role. Outline a clear path from one position to the next on the hierarchy.

Workforce Expectations for the Future

Meeting changing workforce expectations to mitigate the labor shortage requires updated HR processes that follow new trends in HR practices. Although this HR transformation process can seem overwhelming, the benefits will pay dividends in attracting and retaining talented employees — and securing your company’s future growth.

     

Boost Your Talent Attraction Strategy

There are several job vacancies advertised each day. The question is how many of them manage to attract prospective candidates. Many recruiters struggle to locate and hire qualified candidates. The job market is full of talent, but wrong moves can cost you the right candidate.

Below are some helpful recruitment strategies for attracting the best talent.

Boost by Adding Clarity

In most cases, the job seekers are looking for clarity in the job posting. Clarity around company history, job profile, pay scale, and career opportunities. The savvy recruiters give job seekers a clear picture of what to expect. Communicating job necessities clearly and how someone will benefit from them is important. There are several ways of crafting job posts that can stand out. Note the company culture mentioning how the employees can enjoy the work-life balance while being in the company and the different perks they are entitled to. 

You may be wondering if outsourcing your recruitment is the right move for you. It can give both parties involved in this process an opportunity to do what they do best, and help provide more time for focusing on tasks that really matter, like hiring new employees. You can also take help from PEO services for recruitment. 

Boost with Campus Recruitment

Colleges are full of dynamic and young talent that will show a great deal of enthusiasm in their work. Partner with colleges and universities to get in touch with their placement cells. Campus recruitment is a terrific way of finding students and new graduates. other ways to get in front of students and graduates:

  • Campus newsletters
  • Seminars and workshops to showcase company and career opportunities
  • Invite students to take a tour of your organization
  • Sponsor student cultural events and festivals
  • Provide internship programs

Boost by Adding Flexibility

Employees are often looking for organizations where the pressures of work will not affect their personal lives. A modern-day organization offers many benefits to its employees including a better work-life balance. Provide some extra perks such as a remote or hybrid work model, extra company holidays, or an open office environment.

Several companies have friendly sports events for keeping their employees entertained. It is crucial to have a sense of freedom and rejuvenation in the workplace. Try to get away from the usual working standards.

Leverage Competitions

According to the reports, digital media has gradually become the leading source for finding employment. You can arrange online talent search programs for experts and students to participate in to showcase their skills. For example, Loreal Cosmetics conducts a marketing competition for students called Brandstorm where they are allowed to act as managers throughout the competition. These kinds of competitions allow job seekers to know the organization better and recognize its brand.

Social Media Recruitment

HR teams have to be sufficiently active on social media networks for attracting the best available talent. Develop a reputation and a good connection by using social media. There are specialists available that can guide you in the art of using social media as your mainstream device for promoting yourself as a top recruiter. 

Conclusion

Companies need to flaunt their job requirements in a way that will appear like irresistible opportunities for the top talent.  Think of it as a well-organized marketing campaign. You are selling the brand. If done right, you will find the right talent for your organization quickly and easily.

Ways to Help Veteran Employees Thrive

Sponsored: Orion Talent

I am a staunch advocate of veteran hiring. It is a smart business decision with a positive impact on everything from profitability to innovation to competitiveness. Not only are you hiring men and women with state-of-the-art technical skills and proven leadership skills far beyond that of their civilian peers, but you are also accessing resilient soft skills. Combined, these skills will help shape the future of your company.

While many of you are already on board with hiring veterans, I know retaining veterans is an entirely different animal. In a recent conversation with Meghan Biro, we talked about how many companies don’t transition service members to civilian roles very well. According to SHRM, the average annual employee turnover rate is around 19% making it a formidable hurdle for talent acquisition leaders. When we consider veteran employees, the percentage jumps to nearly 50% leaving their first post-military position within a year.

Much of this turnover can be attributed to a lack of support. Or, an undefined career path, feeling uninspired, or skills misalignment. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Luckily, these issues can all be addressed through a well-planned veteran onboarding and retention plan.

Help Military Veterans Thrive with These Five Strategies

1. Mentorships 

Mentorship is an excellent way to provide your new veteran employees with a connection to another veteran. They can serve as a resource, guide, and advocate in their new role. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers a wealth of information on retaining veterans, including information on setting up a successful mentorship program. 

Listed among the benefits of veteran mentoring are an increase in morale, and productivity. In addition, retention, better adaptation to workplace culture, better career development, and promotion of diversity. These voluntary relationships are also a great way to transfer institutional and cultural knowledge.

Technology powerhouse Siemens has been successfully executing its veteran mentorship program for years. Orion Talent has worked with Siemens to hire nearly 2,500 veterans since 2010, and among their veteran retention best practices is a military peer mentorship program. Mike Brown, Global Head of Talent Acquisition of Siemens, explained their program.  “When other military come in now, they get paired up. And I think that really helps with their transition.” 

2. Employee Resource Groups

Similar to the retention benefits of mentoring veterans, creating Employee Resource Groups or Veteran Affinity Groups also offers increased employee engagement and job satisfaction. The VA calls these voluntary groups a “critical element to retention advocated by study respondents”  in their Veterans Employment Toolkit. ERG programs can also include career development, advocacy, community service, and social activities. Make sure to give your veteran employees the time and space to participate in these groups, especially as they onboard.

An additional benefit of veteran ERGs is that they help build your company’s reputation in a job market where candidates, veteran or civilian, are seeking purpose-driven work. They also increase workplace agility as your org chart is flattened in an ERG. Collaboration and innovation often follow!

3. Career Pathing

When I speak with men and women transitioning into the civilian world, their desire for a clear career path stands out. Their military career progression was clearly laid out, with defined goals and requirements. In civilian terms, you can think of this as career pathing. When you hire a veteran for a Junior Electrical Engineer position, you could lay out a plan with steps and milestones to reach Senior Electrical Engineer and then Project Manager, for example. 

Laying out these career paths pays dividends in terms of engagement and retention. Employers also experience higher performance and productivity rates. This Mercer study shows that 78% of employees would stay with their current employer if they were given a clear career path. 

4. Upskilling

Offering continuous development and ongoing education to your veteran employees is a powerful retention tool.  

Not only are you illustrating your investment in their success by providing these programs but you are reaping the rewards. Aside from increased retention, benefits of upskilling include increased employee satisfaction, less need to hire train new employees, and becoming more competitive in your industry.

“Our experience shows that when veterans receive tailored preparation for future roles, it leads to a better fit, a better transition, and ultimately better retention,” explains Laura Schmiegel, SVP, Strategic Partnerships at Orion Talent. “This helps companies save time and money in employee turnover, and it means they get to keep some of their best talent.”

As Meghan discussed in her recent article on veteran hiring, workforce partnerships can play an important part in upskilling. Strategic workforce partnerships like the Department of Defense Skillbridge program allow you to recruit veterans and gain access to their existing expertise while upskilling and reskilling them at the same time. 

5. DEI Initiatives

The veteran population represents a 43% diverse workforce and should be an integral part of a company’s DEI initiative. As with any other group in your initiative, you will want to consider how to prevent bias towards your veteran employees. Unfortunately, some old biases may linger, and your DEI strategy is the place to nip that in the bud. 

This HR Exchange article by LaKisha Brooks explains, “These judgments are often harmful to diversity initiatives because they limit our ability to see people as individuals with unique talents to contribute. For example, bias against veterans includes assuming they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bias can also include mental health problems just because of their military background, assuming they have a particular personality type, such as being rigid or stern…It’s essential to put assumptions aside and ask meaningful questions to learn the truth instead.”

These five veteran retention strategies will help highlight to the veterans at your company that yours is a workplace that sees them for the unique individuals they are with valuable skills worthy of investment. But, you don’t have to take on all five at once. Choose one, and make it amazing! Then move on to the next retention strategy. Your veteran employees will be proud to call your company home.

 

Tips for Jumpstarting Your Talent Acquisition Strategy

Terms like recruitment and talent acquisition are used synonymously, but they aren’t the same. Recruitment is a short-term fix for most “big-picture” employers, whereas talent acquisition is a long-term solution. 

While you may need to fill a vacancy quickly, organizations should focus on long-term planning if they want to improve their culture and work towards a unified vision.

Talent Acquisition vs Recruitment

Recruitment is about filling vacancies. Talent acquisition is an ongoing strategy that focuses on finding leaders, specialists, and future executives. For HR to run a successful talent acquisition strategy, they need to plan and find candidates well.

There are other subtle differences, Talent acquisition:

  1. Requires a lot of planning
  2. Uses metrics and data to improve the recruitment process
  3. Focuses more on skills and experiences. Recruitment concentrates on the position.

Although employers hope their employees will give 2-weeks notice before quitting, there are plenty of times where that isn’t possible. Of course, an employee suddenly leaving is why employers prefer the recruitment strategy, but planning can make talent acquisition possible.

Should I Be Recruiting or Acquiring?

Not every industry needs a recruitment strategy, but how do you know if your position requires the acquiring method? Generally, the more specialized and high-demand roles should take an acquiring approach, regardless of urgency.

Some would argue that all positions require talent acquisition, and employer review websites like JobSage prove this. For example, a fast-food cashier is still challenging to fill long-term because front-of-house workers handle angry customers. You’ll want to hire talent that fits your corporate culture to reduce turnover rates, even for easy-to-fill positions.

How to Create a Talent Acquisition Strategy

A poor talent acquisition strategy can impact your organization as a whole. To ensure the right talent fills your vacant positions, follow these steps to create your acquisition strategy.

Start With the Right Communication Strategy

High-quality talent wants to work for companies that offer great benefits, an incredible corporate culture, and growth opportunities. Therefore, it’s essential to communicate your total benefits package and differentiators when promoting career opportunities.

Don’t Forget About Competitive Pay

Inflation has hit hard. The recent 7.5% increase has made even the most well-paying jobs insufficient for people with families. That means salary and salary growth potential are more important than job seekers.

If you’re consistently losing out on talent at the last possible second, look at the salary your competitors offer. Be competitive.

Consider Contractors and Employee Referrals 

Employee referrals are one of the best ways to find new talent. Consider implementing an employee rewards program to make it attractive.

Alternatively, you could seek out independent contractors to fill positions. Not only are they less expensive to hire, but they can work remotely and jump into a job at a moment’s notice. 

Remove Bias From the Hiring Process

Diversity in the workplace leads to increased productivity, creativity, cultural awareness, and marketing opportunities. However, unconscious biases can cause us to choose candidates based on their sexual orientation, race, religion, age, religious affiliation, or gender. 

To make your recruitment process more diverse, use Applicant Tracking Systems, non-bias workplace tests, and a more structured interviewing process that focuses on skills.

Keep Past Applicants Engaged

Keeping a passive talent pool will allow you to pick from it when necessary, but you can’t just promise a job at a later date. Instead, you need to stay in contact with your applicants by telling them you’ll contact them should another position become available.

Create a separate email sequence that speaks to your potential hires to let them know what’s happening in your business. 

Offer a Remote or Hybrid Work Environment

A PwC survey found that 72% of workers prefer to work from home at least two days a week, while 32% want to work from home full-time. Since remote employees are more productive than their in-office counterparts, it makes more sense to offer remote employment options.

By removing geographic barriers, you open up your talent pool beyond your physical location. As more businesses switch to the hybrid office, you’ll need to do the same to be competitive.

Regularly Speak to Students

Your strategy’s unconventional talent acquisition step should include university and college students, especially in fast-moving industries. While students won’t have the experience you’re looking for, they will have new skills and a go-getter attitude.

You can start by sending recruiters to job fairs who can speak to students. Then, consider partnering with specific schools for internships or on-the-job career training to scope out top talent.

Ask for Candidate Feedback

Organizations rarely ask their candidates why they wanted to apply for a position or why they declined an offer. However, you must gather this data to know what kind of candidates you’re attracting and how you can be more competitive.

Make sure the survey is anonymous as not to discourage participation.  You’ll also make your candidates feel like their opinion matters, improving your brand by asking for feedback.

Promote From Within

The best thing about hiring from within is you already know your candidates. Additionally, they already fit in with your company culture and have the skills to move into their new positions. Finally, hiring from within is great for long-term talent retention.

The Future of Recruiting

Remember the olden days when potential candidates applied to a handful of jobs online and waited for a response? Remember in the stone ages when prospective hires mailed out paper copies of resumes and awaited a phone call or a letter? Well, according to an SHRM survey of over 1,500 talent acquisition professionals from 28 countries, COVID-19 accelerated a shift toward digital-first recruiting.

EBI has reported that the average corporate listing receives 100 to 250 resumes. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job seekers who received an interview only have a 36.89% chance of receiving an offer. They apply to jobs widely in a ‘spray and pray’ mentality. For recruiters, the challenge is no longer finding applicants but rather finding the right people in this barrage of resumes. And with virtual hiring likely being here to stay, perhaps it’s time recruiting adapted for today’s hiring culture.

Our Guest: Ben Green, Hirect

On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Ben Green, PR Manager for Hirect. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Ben now plays a key role for Hirect. A free, mobile chat-based hiring platform that instantly connects startups, founders, CEOs, and hiring managers with candidates interested in the growing startup sector.

When asked about virtual recruiting in the COVID era and the future of recruiting, Ben suggests that the virtual trend might be here to stay.

“With more remote work and work from home flexibility, they (recruiters) can attract talent from pretty much anywhere and connect with them instantly,” Ben says. “Everything can really be done online, uninterrupted, and I believe it’s the future of work and recruiting moving forward.”

For those with less time and resources to meet every candidate in person, virtual recruiting also makes the job much easier. But with so many different recruiting technologies out there, how can organizations choose the right one for them?

“There’s definitely several factors to consider,” Ben explains. “Tech versus non-tech, seniority, the position, scale, size of your team. All these things will determine what your budget is and what the tool ROI can be as well.”

The Big Benefits of Virtual Recruiting  

There’s a lot of talk about bias right now. How does virtual recruiting help recruiters and hiring managers eliminate this from the hiring process?

“Ideally, the focus should always be primarily on candidates’ skills and experience, but really the true way to eliminate bias is through blind resume screens,” Ben says. “AI can certainly help with reading or grading applicants without taking into consideration a lot of the personal details and information.”

Beyond helping to eliminate bias, Ben feels that integrating technology and AI in recruiting has vast potential. It benefits both recruiters and job seekers, particularly from a filtering, searching, and matching standpoint.

“With the AI matching algorithms that we have at Hirect, the candidate pool can be narrowed down almost instantaneously based on any number of factors,” Ben explains. “For candidates, AI can help them wade through a lot of the irrelevant posts… and find ones that match their specific or unique criteria.”

But Ben is quick to point out that you can’t rely on AI alone to find the right applicants. Making sure you have a really granular job description and an interview process that encompasses certain skills is also key. And these often require a human touch – something Ben believes there will always be a need for.

“There’s really an art to the close,” Ben says. “Trying to relay a founder or a CEO’s passion or vision to really inspire a candidate to join a young business or a startup… That just can’t be replicated through technology.”

I hope you enjoy this #WorkTrends podcast, sponsored by Hirect. In case you missed it, you can listen to the podcast here. You can learn more about the future of recruiting by reaching out to Ben Green on LinkedIn.

Image by Daniil Peshkov

3 Ways Recruiting Technology Improves Candidate Experience

The pandemic’s fallout illustrates an impactful point: Employees are more resourceful than leaders sometimes give them credit for being. As employers, our recruiting technology must match their level of resourcefulness or we risk providing a bad candidate experience.

Most of our company went remote soon after the pandemic lockdowns began, and everyone adjusted accordingly. Supervisors didn’t have to hold their employees’ hands or provide additional layers of oversight. Over time, the trust between managers and their teams increased.

Of course, going remote so quickly required having the right people in place and having the infrastructure and technology necessary to support our teams. Especially the technology. An Ivanti survey revealed that 85% of workers believe they don’t have the technology they need to produce effectively — a demographic our team did not want to be known for in a competitive market.

The workforce is becoming increasingly more talent-driven. Even with fewer job openings, qualified candidates are carefully plotting their next career moves. For recruiters, this move means they have to work diligently to create engaging and applicant-friendly hiring experiences. And that’s where a thriving tech stack comes back into the picture.

The 3 Core Benefits of Recruiting Technology

Sourcing, recruiting, and hiring talent requires person-to-person interaction and collaboration. That doesn’t negate the importance of recruiting technology, though. With the use of technology in the recruitment process, hirers can become more efficient, improve the candidate experience, and better serve the people they’re trying to place.

How else could an active recruitment professional complete multiple tasks for multiple clients in various stages of the application process — and still sleep? Below are just some ways emerging online recruitment tools and tech processes help augment candidate engagement strategies.

1. Technology fosters humanity

Contrary to what some people might think, online recruitment tools have improved our personalization with associates. By leveraging solutions like AI chatbots to carry out repetitive duties, we can concentrate on the human element of recruitment interactions.

While a chatbot answers basic questions or helps candidates pick their preferred employment tracks, a live recruiter can conduct in-depth interviews. This keeps everything flowing seamlessly without overburdening recruiters.

Measuring the effectiveness of personalized candidate engagement strategies can take several different forms. Make use of a net promoter score (NPS) and also conduct a survey that asks applicant recipients questions like “What is the likelihood that you will recommend our agency to someone else?” Log and chart your NPS as you incorporate new technological components into the mix to see how they affect the NPS to track the benefits of technology in recruitment.

Another measure of candidate engagement success is your app-to-hire ratio. As you implement new technology and improved candidate touchpoints, you should expect to see this metric trend down as more applicants complete the candidate journey and receive job placements.

2. Technology increases efficiency

Applicants don’t want to linger in the pipeline for too long. With online recruiting tools, we can hasten the cycle from posting an advertisement to locking in the right applicant. It’s remarkable how quickly people can move through frictionless digital systems without going through an old-school manual application process.

The key here is to provide flexibility. After all, you want to keep candidates moving through the process. But not at a pace where they feel like they are being rushed or “sold” into open positions. Let the applicant help determine the pace. The same seems true of Hilton; the hotel and resort chain scaled its hiring processes by leveraging predictive AI and ditching outdated assessments. Their move toward installing hiring software reduced its hiring from six weeks to five days.

To gauge how much the use of technology in the recruitment process improves time-to-hire speed, set and analyze relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, our company uses opportunity centers as in-person recruitment locations where we track how many candidates are submitted to the client we’re hiring for at the time. After adding tech, we have seen our productivity steadily increase. This metric is now 40% better than when we started — and we’re always open for improvement.

3. Technology helps meet candidates where they are

To improve the candidate experience, recruiters must meet applicants on their terms and expectations. Technology helps us keep satisfaction higher by removing common obstacles to developing a positive working relationship with candidates.

Case in point: We’re moving toward omnichannel communication choices to give candidates information where and how they want it. That includes text, email, or perhaps also a direct message.

When you transition to a multichannel recruitment approach, you can often decrease the amount of time between when a candidate gets a message and responds to that message. It’s possible to measure that time frame as a KPI. It is also wise to keep tabs on which channels offer the most direct path toward candidates.

Candidate Experience: The Real Benefactor of Recruiting Technology

The use of recruiting technology is hardly new. Still, it has become so essential that it’s challenging to improve the candidate experience without paying attention to your tech stack. Use technology to augment your recruiters by removing redundant and time-consuming tasks. Ultimately, you’ll free them up to create better people experiences.

You don’t have to add every new advancement that comes along — but keep an open mind. And learn the many ways you can free up your team and improve your brand equity with tech. Your candidates will thank you. And so will your bottom line.

 

Photo by Rawpixel

The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of Building Workforce Diversity

The evidence overwhelmingly supports the business case for workforce diversity. So why are companies still failing to achieve their diversity goals?

Diversity has become a higher priority on the corporate agenda. Simultaneously, the business case for workforce diversity is now well evidenced (especially by McKinsey & Company, where analysts have been tracking the performance of more diverse companies for years). And yet, many organizations still struggle with ‘why’ diversity programs fail and the ‘how’ of doing diversity well.

Perhaps outreach programs are successful, but few candidates make it to the final selection stage? Perhaps diverse early career talent is easier to onboard, but fewer diverse candidates progress into senior leadership? In our work, we often find organizations undermine their own efforts. Quite often, through the use of a flawed recruitment and assessment process.

Biased decision making can creep into any stage of the hiring or development process, creating a disadvantage for minority groups. In other cases, inadvertent use of tactics that offer an advantage to those with access to exclusive knowledge or education occurs. These tactics perpetuate a cycle that maintains the status quo and prevents diversity from flourishing.

At Sova, we’ve long championed fairness and equality in recruitment and career progression. As occupational psychologists, one of our main goals in designing assessment is to provide a truly objective view of a candidate. We see it as our role to help companies go beyond the CV to make better, unbiased, and fair decisions about talent.

‘Why’ the Selection Process Goes Wrong

Before we talk about how we can improve diversity through fair selection processes, it’s useful to highlight some of the areas where we see diversity fail. These failures happen even when recruitment and HR teams invest in better diversity through actions such as targeted advertising, tailored marketing materials, and broader outreach programs:

  • The interview process starts with killer questions, such as asking which university the candidate attended, which is unfair when the candidate relies on knowledge or experience that isn’t available to all.
  • Too much emphasis on the CV screen effectively defines people through past achievements rather than their future potential.
  • Reliance on academic achievement, often linked to educational opportunity, makes those from more disadvantaged backgrounds less likely to be considered.
  • A reliance on unstructured interviews has been shown by extensive research to typically be much less predictive than either structured interviews or other more objective assessment measures.
  • Traditional assessments, such as a series of verbal and numerical reasoning tests, act as a hurdle race, potentially excluding otherwise suitable candidates.
  • Poorly designed assessments that lack scientific rigor bring a degree of embedded bias; some rely on exclusive knowledge of lifestyle habits or culture.
  • Assessors at assessment centers who are not well trained in managing unconscious bias impact fair selection; so does the center’s content when it favors particular groups.
  • We often fail to collect the right data; that data must be readily available and frequently reviewed.

‘How’ to Improve Workforce Diversity During Recruitment

Here are five practical changes that improve hiring processes and facilitate fairer decision making:

1. Consider carefully and thoughtfully what “good” looks like for your organization.

The definition of good needs to be through a wide lens and with the scope of diversity in mind. Rather than addressing one aspect, think about what diverse talent means as a whole. Consider how you describe what you look for in a candidate. Ask if your description might be perceived as exclusive when framed without thought to diversity. For example, have a broad range of people provide feedback on a job description and posting.

2. In designing your process, think about which techniques are fairest.

Have an inclusive approach to design. Gather insight into how others interpret your process design. Questions and assessment content need to be objective and not discriminate based on access to specific knowledge exclusive to some. Having input into the design from a diverse group is also essential, so gather different viewpoints on the assessment.

3. Thoroughly monitor the success of your assessment process.

Take the time and care to measure easier to acquire metrics such as gender. Also, gather data over the longer term – for example, who gets promoted. To see the whole picture, keep sight of all the assessments in your process and across all groups. Link to this data routinely and review it in real-time, not only on an annual basis.

4. Use analytics to learn which parts of your journey – or which questions and content – are working fairly and which are not.

Layout the parts of your process shown to be generating unfair responses. Then consider whether to change them or remove them. For example, are certain questions excluding those qualified applicants without a university education? Or are you excluding candidates based on language or numeracy skills not applicable to that specific job?

Once you’ve built the business case for diversity, the next step is to practically put in place a new process that will result in fairer outcomes. Diversity strategy guides the organization, of course. But without practical application at every stage of recruitment, assessment, and development, organizations will struggle to truly make a difference in their workforce diversity.

To learn more about leveling the playing field through fair assessment in hiring and development, you can download Sova’s free white paper: Leveling the Playing Field.

 

This post sponsored by Sova Assessment.

 

Photo: Vlada Parkovich

4 Proven Ways to Improve Recruiting and Remote Hiring

To say COVID-19 has changed the recruiting and remote hiring would be an understatement. For a start, it’s likely you’re relying more heavily on the expertise of the rest of your HR team, your recruiter, or business leaders while navigating the interview and remote onboarding process. To help you improve the remote hiring process, we’ve put together our top four tips for interviewing virtually, including how to answer some tough questions from candidates.

1. Decide on the Remote Hiring Process 

Before you do anything else, decide on the steps involved in the remote hiring process. Make sure everyone understands the types of interviews and stages the candidates will have to go through. This also allows an opportunity to offer candidates an outline of what to expect. This will be an unfamiliar situation for most, so planning and preparation are key. For example: The free version of Zoom limits meetings to 40 minutes. So, ensure everyone understands the rigid time frame.

If you’re using an agency to help you? Be sure to allow for scheduled follow-up calls with the agency. This will help to keep the process you’ve decided on to move more efficiently.

2. Produce an Information Pack for Candidates 

A great employer branding tool, an information pack can be prepared by and sent to the candidates before the interview/s. The pack can include: 

  • Background information about the company
  • What they should expect from each stage of the interview process 
  • What you’re looking for in an ideal candidate 
  • The technology and login details required (for example: Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.)
  • Point of contact details throughout the interview process 

Sending this information to the candidate will help them have a great candidate experience. It will also allay some of their anxiety while enabling them to prepare to the best of their ability.

3. Encourage Managers to Use a Scorecard

A job interview in person is hard enough. Throw in video technology, and the degree of difficulty increases. When it comes to video interviews, keep your job as simple as possible. That way, you can focus more on making a fair assessment of each candidate. One way to do this: Produce a scorecard unique to the position the candidates are interviewing for. By isolating the top skills or qualities and giving them each a score out of 5, 10 or 20 (depending on the weighting of each), it allows you to quantify where a candidate sits. The scorecard can also help eliminate unconscious biases. After all, managers will only score in relation to the candidates’ demonstrated skills.

4. Prepare for Tough Questions from Candidates 

During the remote hiring process, chances are there will be questions you and the hiring manager may not know how to answer. So prepare ahead of time for some of the most common candidate questions. Below are a few of these questions with tips on how to prepare for them. 

What’s the workplace culture like? 

As the majority of candidates going through the remote interview process won’t have been to your offices, you should explain what it’s like for a newcomer. Things to mention include virtual social activities, daily/weekly catch-ups and the technology you use to keep your staff connected. 

Once hired, what should I expect from the onboarding process? 

The minute details are not helpful here. Instead, provide a high-level overview of the virtual onboarding process. Mention any hardware that would be sent to the new starter’s home and give an outline of the first week of induction/training sessions. It may also be worth mentioning if your workplace organizes a work buddy for new starters and who would be responsible for leading the onboarding process, whether it’s someone from the HR team or the new starter’s line manager. 

How well is the company working remotely?

This question is a good opportunity to mention any wins or challenges the company has faced. Assure the interviewee a remote onboarding process exists. You can also mention how regularly the company meets online and the other ways everyone keeps in touch – whether by Slack, Zoom, emails or phone calls. 

What has your company learned from the transition to working from home? 

Similar to the above, think about any learning curves the company has faced while working from home, whether they have had to do with systems, communication or staff surveys. A candidate may also want to know if the company now recognizes the value in working from home if this wasn’t already in place.  

What types of measures are you looking at to return to the office safely?

While you’re probably still figuring out the details of the policy that will allow a safe return to the office, you should be able to mention the aspects you’re considering. These could include staggered start times, transport options, an increase in remote working or providing PPE. 

Tell me about your flexible working policies?

The answer to this question is likely something all candidates will want to know. If you aren’t already aware, talk to management to find out the company’s thoughts. In some cases, work practices aren’t affected or will not be reduced. In that case, then simply explain why the company has taken this stance. 

The remote hiring process is new for many of us. Which makes this is a great time to learn new hiring methods. Put these tips to work, and hire the best candidates!

Photo: Pixabay

5 Ways COVID-19 Will Continue to Change HR

Many companies and job titles will go through drastic changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The HR sector and the people working in it will undoubtedly experience some of them. Here are five things people can anticipate regarding HR after COVID-19 — as well as during it:

1. Companies Will Show Employee Appreciation Differently

Even while people love working from home, many find it difficult to get through their days without the fist bumps, handshakes and pats on the back that often accompanied their most productive, successful days in offices. These changes mean HR departments may need to find alternative ways to thank employees for their hard work. 

Hani Goldstein is the co-founder and CEO of Snappy Gifts, a company specializing in employee recognition products. She noted, “Working from home can be an isolating and disorienting experience for most of today’s workforce who are used to seeing their peers every day at the office.”

It’s also more challenging for employees to strike that all-important work-life balance. “Hours that were once dedicated to fun activities have been replaced with more work and increased responsibilities,” Goldstein explained. These things mean employers need to show their gratitude differently. Whether that means having team appreciation parties over virtual platforms or sending workers online gift cards, HR representatives must figure out safe, effective ways to express thanks. 

2. Remote Hiring and Recruitment Practices Will Gain Momentum

Some analysts predicted remote methods would change hiring and recruitment methods long before COVID-19 impacted the world. They were right to some extent, especially as HR professionals realized doing things remotely cut out potential hassles like travel arrangements. Remote platforms let companies extend their hiring and recruitment reach instead of only looking for candidates in the immediate area. 

HR after COVID-19 will likely prominently feature remote platforms and approaches. Suppose a human resources professional or recruitment expert can gauge a person’s candidacy for a role via a teleconferencing platform. That method saves time compared to bringing a person into the office. 

Some remote interviews are for work-at-home jobs. However, if a person gets hired for a position at a physical location, companies may require that the new hire tests negative for the novel coronavirus before arriving. 

3. Contracts Will Include COVID-19-Related Specifications More Often

As professionals navigate this new normal and ponder what it means for the future of HR, they should consider how the pandemic might impact their employment contracts. For example, a company might remove a line that guarantees the worker a certain number of hours per week to work, especially if the industry will experience the effects of the pandemic for the foreseeable future. 

One emerging trend — especially seen in the construction sector — concerns the addition of force majeure clauses related to the pandemic in contracts. Those cover the natural and unavoidable disasters preventing a party from fulfilling a contract’s terms. However, it is not sufficient for that entity to claim it was inconvenient to meet the contract’s terms. Courts look at several variables, including whether the conditions made working impossible.

Contracts may also state that workers must report their COVID-19 risk or agree to get screened. Drug screenings are already commonplace, and the same could become true for coronavirus tests. Legal experts and HR representatives are still working out the specifics of contracts in light of the global health crisis. However, people should expect to see some noticeable changes in contractual language soon. 

4. HR Representatives May Need to Reserve More Time for Training

The pandemic forced workplaces to adjust rapidly to new procedures to keep people safe. Cleaning happens more thoroughly and frequently, and many companies reduce or eliminate the time employees spend in close quarters. Customer-facing businesses also must adopt new procedures for keeping guests safe. 

Human resources professionals regularly schedule training sessions. However, they may need to do that more often or for larger workforce segments due to COVID-19. Some businesses invested in robots to help workers or wearable gadgets to ensure that people stay far enough apart while on the job. It could take a while for some workers to adjust to those things, although dedicated training efforts could help. 

If all or most of a workforce shifts to remote working, HR representatives may deem it necessary to plan training sessions that spell out safe practices online and give people tips for staying productive. Many employees now have to work in ways they hadn’t imagined. HR professionals cannot remove all the obstacles, but taking the time to educate the workers about what’s new could relieve the stresses they feel. 

5. Businesses Will Adjust Their Time-Off Policies According to Government Guidance

The need to isolate confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases poses challenges for HR professionals who may already face workplace shortages for other reasons. However, following government guidance on that matter remains crucial. Workplace leaders must also stay abreast of recent changes.

For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the guidance about workers caring for themselves at home after symptom onset. The most recent recommendation is that people can come back to work if at least 10 days pass since symptoms began and they stay fever-free for at least 24 hours after their body temperatures initially return to normal without medication. Their non-fever symptoms must also improve. 

The CDC previously set the fever-resolution component of that three-prong test at 72 hours, so the change represents a significant reduction. These specifics mean companies may begin implementing time-off periods that people can use specifically for reasons connected to the virus. Doing that keeps people safer by minimizing the likelihood that they feel tempted to work while feeling unwell. 

The Evolving Future of HR

No one knows the pandemic’s time frame, so it’s impossible to say for sure how things will change. However, the five things mentioned here are solid predictions, especially since some workplaces have already adopted the changes.

Photo: Ricardo Resende

Is Diversity Baked Into Your Hiring Process?

A few years ago, we were asked to help a market leader that was intent on changing its culture to be more creative and innovative. (Sound familiar?) The company was spending a million dollars on messaging and elaborate company meetings to help “get the word out” and create excitement for this new, transformative initiative.

But even as its leaders spoke eloquently about the need for change — even hiring a guru to guide their efforts — few process changes were made, and they were hesitant to reconsider the kind of people they hired. They talked of needing people who were “cultural fits” even as they held meetings in which they touted the need for cultural change and disruption.

Why traditional hiring practices backfire

The company’s hiring practices were similar to those we see in most organizations, perhaps even your own. After candidates were identified, an internal team of “high performers,” along with HR representatives, reviewed the applicants’ résumés to ensure they had the requisite experience. Unfortunately, this meant most applicant experiences were similar. The unintended result? A candidate pool with little experiential diversity.

But it didn’t end there. After “qualified” candidates interviewed with the hiring teams, they were ranked by the group. If any members of the hiring team had a concern about a person, those concerns were noted. Strong objections by a couple of group members, as a practical matter, were enough to give a candidate the boot.

Predictably, the least objectionable candidate — who typically looked, acted, and thought like other members of the group — became the team’s preferred choice.

If we want change, we need to expect challenges

When we asked the hiring team how the hiring process supported a culture of innovation, team members told us that their hiring criteria included experience in helping organizations change.

Pushing back, we asked the team to consider which types of people would contribute different and creative ideas. What employee characteristics would help the organization change? For instance, had they valued people who were:

  • Diverse in race, ethnicity, and background?
  • Rarely satisfied with the status quo?
  • Impatient and not always willing to take “no” for an answer without significant debate?
  • Disruptive, at times disagreeable, and willing to question authority?
  • Not easily managed?
  • At times, slow and hesitant to make decisions based on what was done last year? (Creativity takes time.)
  • Unwilling to go along just to get along?

 Their response neatly framed their hiring challenges:

“Why would we hire someone who is hard to manage, never satisfied, and always questioning what we do? We’re pretty good here, you know. If we hired people who we knew would consistently challenge what we learned yesterday, we’d never get anything done.”

We say we want change, but do we?

Yes, we say we want to change. We say we want creativity. We say we need diversity, but do we honestly believe it?

The truth is, even if we’re committed to recruiting more diverse teams, we’re often painfully unaware of how our hiring processes give preference to people who are more like us. As a result, we often allow the long-term effects of our biases, knowingly or unknowingly, to be hidden in our collective consciousness, in our culture. Over time, groups that cling to such processes tend to become more homogeneous, not less.

Even when we manage to hire authentically diverse teams — composed of different backgrounds, races, genders, ages, perspectives, and beliefs — we expect everyone to come together in a fabled “kumbaya” moment.

True diversity begins with intention

Recruiting a more diverse and successful team begins with intention. The kind of intention that’s required is more than a desire or wish. It’s a conscious, mindful choice based on a belief that diversity is critical to the team’s success. It requires that we create processes that are built for diversity. Our preference for people who look and think and act like us is strong and can only be overcome with a structured commitment to embrace people who often make us uncomfortable.

So, where should we start? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Start early. It’s easier to become diverse before biases have become ingrained in our hiring practices.
  2. Be clear on the type of people you hope to hire. Do they share your values? Are they competent? Good thinkers? Willing to change? Ready to speak truth to power? Confident? Good leaders? Having clarity is a necessary first step to building a successful hiring process.
  3. Recruit blindly. Superficial aspects of a person’s bio often outweigh an applicant’s talent or potential. The fix? Implement a blind submissions process — stripping away names, ages, and gender. Create a process in which people cannot “see” the applicants when initially judging their competence.
  4. Put more diversity, of all types, on your hiring team. The research on this is clear: a diverse hiring team will recruit more diverse members.
  5. Expand your personal and professional networks. Our personal preferences are affected by our experiences. For example, research shows that fathers with daughters are more likely to hire women. Having more experience with an unrepresented group makes their inclusion more likely.
  6. Confront bias when you see it. When we tolerate bias, we teach that it’s acceptable.

Learning to appreciate our differences — and to embrace diversity — is what ultimately fuels an organization’s competitive advantage. Only when people challenge us to think and act differently can we create the remarkable. So, let’s get to it.

Photo: Bethany Legg

Why You Should Recruit Introverts — and How

In this extrovert-biased world of ours, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Many job candidates aren’t making it past the hiring process to get the jobs they’re qualified for. The reality is that if introverts don’t interview in a bubbly, enthusiastic manner, they likely won’t make it to the next round. And if they don’t share their accomplishments with confidence and bravado, they’re likely to be overlooked for positions in which they would thrive. 

The costs to our organizations of this lost talent are staggering to consider. 

Yet, emerging evidence shows that the tide is turning. In a 2019 Workplace Survey of some 240 introverts, a promising 38% of respondents said their organizations demonstrated a willingness to hire and promote introverts. And as general awareness of introversion increases, it may become less of an exclusionary factor. 

Hiring a diverse workforce is just the first step. Companies must also do the work to create places where people of all temperaments feel included and experience a sense of belonging. When introverts can see many different pathways to success and opportunities to thrive, it’s more likely that they’ll stay in an organization and do their best work. 

Consider How Introversion Impacts The Job

In the hiring process, weigh whether personality actually makes a difference for the position. 

Susan Schmitt, group vice president and head of human resources at Applied Materials, says, “The main thing that matters on temperament: Is there any element of this person’s temperament, nature or behavior that will impair them in this particular role or a future role?” 

In essence, how might their temperament work for or against them in that particular role? Susan gave the example of a new hire that appeared to have low energy during the interview process. “She was somewhat slow in her responses, thoughtful and reflective, which led some interviewers to think she may not be right for the role. But her skills, knowledge, experience and education were super strong, and her capacity for complexity and conceptual capability were outstanding.” The team hired her. 

“This hire became a success story, and she ended up becoming a vice president. Had she been dinged for her low-affect personality in that first interview, think of the lost contributions,” remarked Susan. 

To ensure that people with introverted personality types are included and embraced within your organization, make certain that introversion is a key dimension of diversity within your larger talent management strategy. This would establish that an introverted candidate who didn’t come across as the kind of person an interviewer would “like to have a beer with” wouldn’t get shot down for that reason. After all, not every position requires a candidate to be great at after-work socializing, right? Furthermore, if everyone inside an organization knows the introvert-inclusive criteria for hiring and promotion, then they can build a stronger introvert-friendly culture throughout. 

Through hiring greater numbers of introverts and embracing all personality types in our organizations, we may one day reach a critical mass of introverts who are recognized, respected and heard for their wise and understated input.

How Can You Attract Great Introvert Talent?

Here are some ways to ensure that you cast the widest net and seriously consider introverts in all hiring decisions. 

  1. Give them a sense of what it’s like. How do potential recruits view your company? Ryan Jenkins, Millennial and Gen Z expert, says that companies need to manage their YouTube channels and make sure they offer people the experience of seeing what it is like to work for your company. Introverts, who like to research and spend time in reflection, will be looking to social media channels to figure out if they have a connection to your brand. You may never even see those potential introverted hires if you have a sparse online presence. 
  1. Create an introvert-friendly interview process. Integrate these three strategies: first, prep the room. Avoid blazing lights and noisy areas. Consider chair placement; sitting too close together can be off-putting for introverts who value personal space. If it’s a group interview, seat the candidate at the middle of the table rather than at its head, so the candidate feels less scrutinized and can make eye contact with everyone. 

Next, schedule adequate time. If you schedule yourself too tightly between interviews, you may feel pressured and impatient if the person doesn’t respond quickly enough, especially if you are an extrovert. Introverted candidates are likely to pause before answering questions, and you want to provide them with the time they need to fully express themselves. 

And finally, attend to energy levels. One hiring manager said that she noticed her more introverted candidates were “not the same people at the end of the day. They deflated without a chance for breaks with back-to-back interviews.” To avoid overwhelming the candidate, only put people on the interviewing schedules who are essential to the process. Consider breaking a packed interview schedule into two days. 

  1. Check your bias at the door. If you’re more extroverted, beware of projecting your bias about introverts onto the candidate by wishing they showed more emotion or visible energy. If you’re an introvert, you’re more likely comfortable with a slower pace and pauses, and the possible self-effacing manner of an introverted interviewee. Check yourself for confirmation bias — that is, the tendency to seek answers that support your case and point of view while minimizing other important responses. Diversify your pool of candidates by being open to everyone. 
  1. Employ paraphrasing. Reflecting back what you heard gives candidates a chance to modify or validate what they said. It also offers a needed pause for introverts so they can process what’s being said in a reflective way. Both introverts and extroverts will appreciate the chance to clarify their thoughts and round out their responses.
  1. Use AI tools (with caution). Using artificial intelligence screening is receiving more attention as one solution to reducing the costs of hiring and to promote more diversity. AI can allow you to cast a wider net and includes those with introverted temperaments who might not be considered in the initial screening process. Digital interviews record verbal and nonverbal cues of candidates and analyze them against position criteria. But many experts suggest using a slower approach rather than a full-scale adoption of these tools at this stage, as they can bear unintentional biases. 

To capture introvert talent, think beyond hiring (and promoting) for personality. It starts with checking your own temperament bias and valuing introverts in your talent management process. 

 

Photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng

Hiring Tech Talent? Tap this Overlooked Pipeline

Over the past decade, and even more so in our current economic state, more areas of life have become increasingly digitized. That evolution has certainly affected hiring practices. Applicant training systems, for instance, can collect, sort, and rank thousands of résumés, automatically surfacing top candidates for any given role. Chatbots can engage, source, and screen candidates based on a set of predetermined metrics like skills and education.

But with all of these advancements in recruiting and hiring, one thing has remained relatively stagnant: credential requirements. Most companies still require candidates to have a college degree. But in industries like technology, where the way people learn new skills is rapidly evolving, that requirement is creating a barrier.

Traditional hiring practices simply can’t keep up with the tech industry’s increasing talent needs. Sure, some aspiring tech workers are still taking the conventional education-to-job pathway by obtaining computer science degrees. But fewer than 60,000 computer science graduates enter the market each year, and that’s a tiny talent pool for companies to compete over.

Still, many qualified, talented technologists who took different routes to learn their skills are screened out of the hiring process due to companies’ outdated hiring criteria. Employers would do themselves a favor by opening up their minds and candidate criteria to other options.

Alternative Talent Pipelines

On top of producing a low supply of workers for a field with high demand for talent, many traditional colleges and universities are often hamstrung in evolving their curriculums. They just can’t do it fast enough to keep up with the evolving skills employers are looking for. It’s simply not feasible to change course curriculum as quickly as computer programming languages change.

Take JavaScript, for example. It’s become an extremely popular language for web development over the past couple of years. To secure a job in the field, you need to know not only JavaScript, but also frameworks like Angular or React. Yet these frameworks are changing almost every year, putting colleges and universities with inflexible curriculums at a huge disadvantage. It often takes more than a year to get the approvals necessary to change the curriculum.

Other tech training programs, however, like online courses or in-person boot camps, can more quickly pivot their curriculum to match changes in industry trends, equipping students with the right skills to meet employer needs. For this reason, alternative skilling programs can also produce talent much quicker than two- or four-year degree programs.

Alternative skilling programs have the flexibility to accelerate curriculum and churn out qualified programmers in mere months. They give students the basic skills they need to jump into a tech role. Then, employees are expected to learn on the job — a huge advantage to any company looking to shape unique skill sets, especially when 87% of IT executives are struggling to find skilled technology professionals today.

On top of developing relevant skills from a more agile learning environment more quickly, many alternative training graduates possess additional capabilities that can benefit employers. Here are a few:

Broader Life Experience

Graduates from nontraditional backgrounds often bring unmatched life experience into their new careers. Alternative coding students often enter programs with a breadth of different backgrounds — both vocational and educational. In fact, many already have college degrees in nontechnical fields and have enrolled in tech training programs to explore a career change.

Whereas two- or four-year college graduates likely just left home to go to college and then went straight into job searching, nontraditional students have had different life experiences that grant them additional perspectives and soft skills to bring to the table.

For example, a single mother who graduates from a coding boot camp is likely to be an excellent multitasker, as she’s raised her child while coordinating her education on her own. Or a former restaurant manager who joined an alternative training program to explore an interest in tech is likely to have strong leadership and managerial skills that a recent college grad may not possess.

Built-in Tenacity

Graduates from an alternative training program have already proven themselves by finishing the course. Many alternative training programs remove barriers such as high tuition costs. This means that the training becomes accessible to a wider pool of tech-interested people. It also means anyone who joins a program can drop out with fewer financial consequences than they could in a two- or four-year degree program — resulting in individuals who’ve demonstrated immense drive and hard work.

That presents a built-in vetting process. People who successfully complete free or low-cost training programs prove their grit and tenacity — especially considering that many are taking care of children or working full-time on the side. These kinds of traits are important in tech job candidates.

Many of these learners are also career-changers. They left one career to pursue a true interest in technology, which means they’ve demonstrated drive simply by taking the risk to enter a new career field.

Industry-Relevant Skills

Graduates from nontraditional learning pathways are often equipped with specific, industry-relevant skills. Because alternative training programs tend to be more nimble when it comes to curriculum, they can easily adapt to teach the specific skills employers are looking for. Many programs even ask companies what skills they’re in need of — both current and future — to ensure students learn the proper ones.

For example, our organization recently switched the core language taught in our flagship LC101 course, moving from Python to JavaScript after assessing the skills needed by our hiring partners. We’re also able to train a cohort of students specifically for a company experiencing difficulty hiring those hard-to-find skill sets. Given that 33% of companies report problems in finding qualified candidates to fill open tech positions, alternative training programs may be the answer for sourcing talent.

Of course, college graduates with relevant skills should always be a part of the eligible hiring pool. But with the demand for entry-level talent being so much greater than what traditional pathways are producing, it’s time for hiring managers to diversify their recruitment strategies to give other talented technologists a shot. They’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by the talent and promise candidates from a variety of education and experience backgrounds can bring to their businesses.

#WorkTrends: How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality

New research shows that diversity and inclusion are a top priority for leaders. So why does the needle seem to be moving backward when it comes to gender equality at work?

On this week’s episode of the #WorkTrends podcast we dive into some of the answers with Dorothy Dalton, who is working to shift the conversation about men, women, work and bias.

Based in Belgium, Dalton has been working in talent management and recruitment for many years. She runs her own executive search firm and has founded an organization to help professional women reach their potential. In our conversation she offered important insights into how we can start to transform the modern workplace to make it more equal and inclusive for everyone.

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

Make It More Than an HR Issue

Dalton, an expert on gender-neutral and bias-conscious recruitment, says one of the challenges when it comes to diversity in the workplace is that people see it as an HR issue rather than an overall business issue.

“What we need for any cultural transformation to be effective are the three pillars: leadership commitment, systemic change and behavioral change,” she says. “What we’re doing is we’re cherry-picking a bit because no one really likes to change. All of us are quite locked into our old ways of doing things, so it really is part of an overall business transformation, not an HR problem to be solved with a few little training sessions — which is, quite honestly, the way people tend to go about it.”
Don’t Expect Progress to Just Happen
Dalton says that while every generation tends to think they are more understanding than the previous one when it comes to workplace diversity issues, the progress isn’t always so linear.

She says that when her own daughter, an older millennial, entered the workplace, she was horrified to discover that gender and diversity issues hadn’t progressed much. Dalton says we all have certain biases, and those shouldn’t be demonized, but they can’t be ignored either if we want to truly create more equitable workplaces.

“It’s really normal to have opinions and biases, but we have to set up procedures and processes, checks and balances, to make sure that we’re on track to make better business decisions,” she says.

She says research shows that most of us think we don’t have biases and that we behave correctly, but digging deeper reveals we have plenty of biases. “We’re still at a very primal level,” she says.

Take Steps for Change

Dalton offers a number of ways organizations can make an impact right now in their own companies, starting with how they recruit. “Women tend to look for promotional opportunities within their own organizations,” she says. “If they look outside then it tends to be in response to usually external circumstances — either a change in their personal lives or a takeover, a merger, or something’s not working.

“Organizations may have to have gender-neutral adverts. They have to have put the flex opportunities [and] remote working upfront because women are afraid to ask because they feel they’re discriminated because of it — and they are.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more. On this week’s episode of #WorkTrends we talk to Dorothy Dalton about the work she’s doing to shift the conversation about men, women, work and bias.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summarize What Candidates Can Expect

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

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

Ask the Same Job-Related Questions in the Same Order

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

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

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

Maintain Consistent Interviewers and Clearly Defined Rating Scales

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

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

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

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

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

Rate Candidates Immediately After Interviews

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

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

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

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

5 Proven Ways to Make Employees Never Want to Leave

Recruiting the right employees is a time-consuming and important process. Hiring the right people is critical to the organization achieving its goals. But what happens when a new hire shows up for work? How can you make sure your star candidate becomes a happy, dedicated employee who never wants to leave?

I’ve learned five keys to meeting new employees’ expectations and keeping them engaged on the job.

“How Can I Help” Leadership

Command and control is old-school; servant leadership is the new school of management. To improve retention, throw out old dictatorial practices and focus on how leaders help employees achieve their goals. Rather than tell people what to do, the servant leader looks for ways to remove obstacles that prevent people from succeeding.

As an executive servant leader, I dedicated at least 50 percent of my time each week meeting with people to understand how they did their job and what they needed to achieve their goals more effectively. I always took notes and made a point of following up to report on what actions I had taken as a result of their input.

In addition, every month I held “bear pit” sessions where I invited key employees from various functions to come together and “have at me.” They asked bold questions and I answered, unaccompanied by my support staff. To say that these sessions were grueling would be an understatement but I quickly learned how people were feeling in my organization and what was needed to enhance their engagement.

Regular Performance Feedback

Everyone wants to improve, and if employees don’t get constructive performance assessment on a frequent basis, they feel abandoned by the organization. They have no idea what they need to do to improve and as a result feel that no one really cares about helping them do a better job. Employees who don’t get feedback leave for an organization that has employee performance management hardwired into its culture. Show your people that preparing employees for future opportunities is a priority for leadership.

I held each of my direct reports accountable for conducting regular performance reviews with their reports; it was a key element in their performance plan and their annual bonus depended on how well they carried out the task.

Career Development Plans

Every employee needs a specific plan for how they’ll learn new skills and get exposure to new opportunities. Leaders are responsible for making sure every employee has a detailed career plan, including potential lateral moves that could enhance their long-term potential.

One way I measured a leader’s effectiveness: looking at how many of their employees moved around to new positions in the organization in order to expose them to new challenges. The effective leaders made it a priority to proactively move their people around; the mediocre ones never did and as a result had short tenure in my organization.

A Personalized Culture of Engagement

A culture isn’t created by corporate programs. It’s defined by everyday personalized acts of leadership. No two people can be engaged in the same way, hence the problem with a single engagement program that is forced to fit all individuals. Instead, a leader can create a personalized culture based on how they interact with each employee every day.

My calendar was full of one-on-one conversations with individuals in my organization. Those conversations made it fairly easy to understand how I could help them identify more strongly with the goals of the organization.

Fair Compensation

The most obvious way to retain employees is to satisfy their basic needs: pay and benefits. Without those fundamentals, it’s difficult to attract people through the recruitment process and to hold them if they take a position with you. You must be at least comparable to your competitors to play the game.

Standout organizations with incredible retention rates invest heavily to both discover individuals who align with their vision and values and to build a culture that encourages them to stay. The leader who wants to retain loyal employees makes it an everyday priority. Focus on these five practices and not only will your retention rates improve, your peers will look at you as the organization to watch in the field.

#WorkTrends Recap: Servant Leadership in the Modern Workplace

Art Barter, who founded the Servant Leadership Institute and is the CEO of Datron World Communications, began his journey when he wanted to infuse Datron with servant leadership principles but couldn’t find adequate materials. Today, everyone at Datron gets trained on servant leadership principles.

During this #WorkTrends, we discussed the core of servant leadership and how it is all about motives. What Art told us is that Datron’s servant leadership definition is “to inspire and equip those we influence. To inspire people”, Art says, “you have to care about them.” Art pointed out that even power is different in servant leadership because it is shared.

“As CEO, I know I need to serve everyone in the organization, and I imagine inverting the orginational chart to remind myself of that.”

Another great piece of wisdom that Art told us was that the most important thing you can do is give your employees a vehicle to live your organization’s purpose. We discussed the qualities Art looks for in new talent. He said he’s learned not to look for competence first, but for character.

“We spend more time looking at the character of a  leader,” he said. “If a leader comes in talking about themselves rather than the people who will be working for them, that’s a sign.”

We think that makes for a pretty great organization. Thanks, Art, for this perspective on servant leadership.

Here are a few key points Art shared:

  • People are looking for purpose in their lives
  • Confidence level in our businesses and government is historically low, according to Gallup
  • Change doesn’t happen through words; it happens through leadership actions
  • When you turn an organizational chart upside down, the CEO sees all the people he or she has to serve
  • Hire for character first, competence second

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You can also check out the highlights of the conversation from our Storify here:

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