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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommended Resources:

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

Photo Credit: reobuyer Flickr via Compfight cc

Employer Black Holes & the Candidate Experience: #TChat Preview

Originally posted by Matt Charneyone of #TChat’s moderators, on MonsterThinking Blog

With the way employers and job seekers alike refer to the “black hole” of online job search, you’d think it’s some sort of industry wide conspiracy, given its endemic proportions.

The candidate experience, writes #TChat co-host Kevin Grossman, is almost always negative or non-existent, regardless of the job title, function or level:

There’s only one job per multiple candidates, so what has their experience been with American corporations and SMB and startups alike?

Overall, pretty crappy. I mean, it’s not news to know how poor the applicant experience is and has been for a long, long time.

Case in point — I recently went through a fairly high-level job search with a well-known firm in the HR marketplace. Considering that they should know better the best practices of recruiting and hiring, I was left with inconsistent acknowledgement and no closure. Still. Even thought I didn’t get the job, of which the other primary candidate definitely had the edge on me, I was led to believe that there were other opportunities.

And then nothing. Crickets chirping in the night.”

Grossman’s experience, and frustration, echoes the experience of countless others, but he points to two of the almost universal expectations candidates have when applying for a position: acknowledgment and closure.

These are pretty reasonable demands, and the fact that most employers aren’t meeting even this basic baseline defies reasonable explanation.  The truth is, employers have gotten pretty good about the acknowledgment part; most applicant tracking systems have been programmed to automatically e-mail a confirmation directly to the job seeker for their records, and it’s sent out the moment they apply to an open requisition.

It’s the closure part organizations seem to be having problems with, to the frustration of candidates and to the detriment of their employment and consumer brands alike.  But the thing is, it’s just as easy to notify applicants that they haven’t been selected via e-mail, instantaneously, as it is to notify them when their application is received.

But no one likes to be the bearer of bad news, least of all recruiters.  Most seem to feel that letting people know they’re no longer under consideration opens a door that they’re trying to close, and that, in effect, no news is good news.  But it’s not.

In fact, for employers and job seekers alike, it’s very bad news indeed.  At Monster, we’re committed to advancing the conversation, and searching for the solution, for an improved candidate experience and to help employers transform the “black hole” into a brand-building talent pipeline.

That’s why we’re excited to be participating in tonight’s #TChat, Workplace Culture Branding – Employer Black Holes and the Candidate Experience. Join @kevinwgrossman @meghanmbiro and @talentculture at 8 PM ET tonight as we tackle this very important issue.

We might not come up with all the answers, but we hope these questions, and these related articles, help inform, inspire and impact your perspective on improving the candidate experience:

#TChat Questions and Recommended Reading: 2.15.11

Q1. Is the applicant ‘black hole’ experience real when applying for a job?  If so, why does it exist?

Read: Candidate Experience Isn’t About Pleasing Everyone by Claudia Faust

Q2. How does candidate/applicant experience impact employment brand or company culture?

Read: When Potential New Hires Are Searching for YOU by Emily Bennington

Q3: At a minimum, what should job seekers expect from employers to which they apply?

Read: Candidate Experience and Common Sense by Tim Sackett

Q4: What do employers owe to applicants?

Read: Candidate Experience: A Question of Values by Howard Adamsky

Q5: Should the candidate experience apply to applicants?  When does an applicant become a ‘candidate?’

Read: Candidate vs. Customer Experience by Gerry Crispin

Q6: What are some creative ways job seekers can get through the black hole or recruiters can handle the applicant tsunami?

Read: How to Get An Employer’s Attention in 20 Seconds by Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

Q7: Job seekers: What has your candidate experience been like during your most recent job hunt?

The Employment/Applicant Transaction: Acknowledgment and Closure by Kevin W. Grossman

Q8: Employers: what are you doing to improve candidate experience?

Read: Eliminate the Black Hole by Colin Kingsbury

Visit for more great information on #TChat and resources on culture fatigue and how to overcome it!

Our Monster social media team supports the effort behind #TChat and its mission of sharing “ideas to help your business and your career accelerate – the right people, the right ideas, at the right time.”

We’ll be joining the conversation live every Tuesday night as co-hosts with Kevin GrossmanMeghan M. Biro and Steve Levy from 8-9 PM E.T. via @monster_works and @MonsterWW.  Hope to see you tonight at 8 PM ET for #TChat!