The Contemporary Recruiter

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

HR Technology is Your Friend

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

Past Recruiting Paradigms are not Acceptable

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

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

What to Consider

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

Keeping a Grip

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

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

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

Photo Credit: lizaparker01 Flickr via Compfight cc

Your Hiring Process: A Trip Down the Red Carpet or an Episode of Survivor?-

There’s no doubt that hiring qualified people is important. Having top-notch talent who do quality work will help your organization reach its goals. Unfortunately, in an effort to get hiring right, some organizations have made their selection process an obstacle course.

Take, for example, a prominent company in Seattle. It’s a great place to work. However, a less prominent employer in town, with whom they compete for employees, is winning the war for top talent. Is the lesser known company’s jobs and work environment better? No. They consistently rank slighter lower on

Why is the lower-ranked company winning the war for top talent? It’s simple. It’s their process. They’ve created a fast and efficient red-carpet experience for candidates. Top talent are treated with exceptional care, and are whisked through an expedient selection process. This includes one phone interview followed by one face-to-face interview.

The more prominent company hires differently. A phone interview is followed by four separate visits for in-person interviews. As one candidate put it, “Interviewing with them is like being on the show ‘Survivor.’ They make you go through a ridiculous obstacle course to get to their jobs.”

Does this mean the prominent company is more rigorous in their selection process? No, not at all. In fact, when compared side by side, both companies maintain high standards. The lesser known employer is meeting these standards quickly and efficiently.

Forked Road

How can you turn your hiring process into a red carpet experience that accelerates top talent through an efficient experience? Take these four steps.

Step #1: Take the emotion out of hiring decisions.

Our emotions are an important part of being human, but they routinely compromise and slow down sound decision making. This is especially true in the hiring arena, because leaders often choose the wrong candidates for the job when their feelings interfere with the selection process. For example, feeling comfortable with a candidate is a distraction that hinders one’s ability to determine if a candidate has the necessary traits to perform well in a job. Being at ease with a potential hire is great, but it can also undermine making a decision based on factual evidence.

Top leaders counter the emotional element in their selection process by relying on hiring profiles. Unfortunately, hiring profiles are inaccurate or simply not used in many organizations. Implementing up-to-date profiles helps take the emotion out of hiring decisions. Instead of relying on “gut” feeling, hiring managers use hiring profiles to make faster, objective decisions based on facts.

Step #2: Cultivate candidates from multiple sources.

There are plenty of methods for sourcing good talent, including using job boards, going through your internal database of candidates, and of course, following up on leads through referrals. No one source can adequately meet all of your talent needs. The leaders who successfully fill their open jobs quickly maintain a strong flow of candidates, generated by multiple sources of talent.

Each candidate resource ebbs and flows, so your access to talent will always be changing. To quickly fill jobs with the most talented people, be sure to have a talent pool made up of multiple sources. Most organizations find they need to draw job candidates from six to eight different streams of talent.

Step #3: During interviews seek proof, not promises.

During conventional interviews, candidates are always on their best behavior. They say what you want to hear, only share the best parts of their backgrounds, and make promises of how they will perform on the job. Unfortunately, these promises don’t always translate into quality work.

Seek proof that the candidate is a good fit for your organization. This is done through experiential interviews where the candidate performs sample work focusing on key aspects of the job. Have salespeople demonstrate how they sell. Ask computer programmers to write code. Require a customer service manager to solve a real business problem. If you watch carefully while the candidates does the actual work of the job, you’ll quickly discover whether or not they fit.

Step #4: Always be interviewing.

Remember this truth about hiring: It’s not if a job is going to open up—it’s when. Ongoing hiring is a certainty, and top leaders and hiring managers plan for when positions will become open in their organization.

Companies that fill their jobs with ease and speed have made faster hiring a strategic imperative, and this initiative starts at the top. Executives should regularly interview top talent as prospective future hires. Senior leaders and other managers should do the same, following the example of their bosses. A few interviews each month will ensure that you always have people ready to hire, the moment a job becomes open.

Speed and quality are not mutually exclusive. A fast and efficient selection process can be thorough and effective. That’s why I’ve included a faster process in my new book from McGraw-Hill—High Velocity Hiring: How to Hire Top Talent in an Instant. Talented people have choices. Rolling out the red carpet makes them much more likely to choose you.

A version of the post was first published on Wintrip Consulting Group.

Photo Credit: Figures Ambigues Flickr via Compfight cc

Diagnosing Today’s Healthcare Staffing Challenges

Healthcare systems like to think of themselves as different from other industries, and they are to a certain extent. The service they provide is diagnosis, care, and healing, they provide it 24x7x365, and they can do so in some of the most trying times—think natural disasters and epidemics. Healthcare is different, but a lot of the challenges in healthcare today are mirrored in other industries, i.e., shrinking margins, intense competition, and talent shortages.

It is estimated that between 9 million and 13 million more people will have health coverage through the federal and state insurance exchanges. While hard, reliable figures on the number of uninsured have been hard to pin down, the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey estimated that the number of uninsured has dropped by 2.3 million since 2013. More individuals with access to healthcare is coming at a time when currently 55% of the RN (nursing) workforce is age 50 or older.

So what does an organization do to ensure it has the staff to be prepared to handle increased volumes while working to cut expenses? The answer lies in a mix of strategies, technologies, and change management due diligence.

Forecasting Demand

There is a lot of talk about predictive modeling in healthcare. While most of the buzz is related to population health, predicting disease, and foreseeing the likelihood of readmissions, these applications are still in their infancy. The ability to predict patient volumes, however, is going on its second decade. Predicting future volumes relies on a number of inputs, including CDC and Google flu data, historical volume levels, and number of customized variables and input on anticipated events at the local level. This data is fed into a modeling engine and forecasts are generated. This data is essential to accurately solidify hiring targets.

The Right Numbers

Once an organization has developed an accurate volume forecast, it is capable of determining how many staff it actually needs to care for patients. In this process the provider organization must make sure every department has a good mix of middle-career, seasoned professionals, and new grads. Care staff fall into two categories: core or contingency.

  • Core staff are those who hold an ongoing FTE (full-time equivalency) commitment within a department. As an example, an RN who is full time (1.0 FTE, or 40 hours per week) in the ICU is a core staff member for the ICU.
  • All hours, other than those worked by core staff members within their FTE, are sources of contingency. This includes those who are in float pools (those who are deployed to work in various departments as need arise), agency and travelers, and core staff working in overtime.
  • Determining how many of each you need can be achieved with a deep dive into the analytics of the provider organization. For core staff, a fair amount of volume analysis is required to discover the right numbers on a unit-to-unit basis. The point is to hire the number of core staff needed to keep them working to their FTE without the need for excessive floating, overtime, or cancelled shifts.

    Finding the right numbers of contingency staff involves an analysis of core staff behaviors and trends (expected and unexpected time off, etc.), historical volume levels and acuity spikes, predicted future volume, staffing levels, payroll, and various HR information.

    A Shift In Care

    With the transition from volume to value reimbursement models, there has been a corresponding shift from inpatient care to outpatient. Because of this, much more emphasis is being placed on the operational components of medical groups. Many outpatient clinics have traditionally operated under fixed staffing models where the number of staff available to care for patients is based on the number of physicians working. In the most progressive organizations, the switch to variable staffing models has begun. Like the inpatient world, with a variable staffing model the number of staff is based on forecasted patient visits. As the demand on outpatient areas increases organizations may consider transitioning acute care staff to the clinic setting as well as deepening contingency resources so care staff can operate across the enterprise in a number of areas.

    The Staying Power Of Satisfaction

    Like any organization, healthcare providers want to have low turnover. This is especially the case with the fear of a talent shortage looming and the cost of recruiting and placing open positions, typically estimated between 1.1 to 1.6 times the annual salary for a registered nurse. With “staffing” consistently ranked as one of the top reasons for turnover, it makes sense for organizations to want to right-size staffing sources and develop balanced schedules based on forecasted demand. It is also imperative to implement strategies that reduce staff dissatisfiers, like floating, cancellations, and continual recruitment to pick up more shifts.

    About the Author: Jackie Larson is senior vice president at Avantas, a provider of labor management technology, services and strategies for the healthcare industry. At Avantas, Jackie has been the driving force in building out the Avantas client services and consultation teams into a world-class organization providing guidance and support to customers on a wide range of issues including workforce optimization, productivity, labor pool and incentives, system integration, resource management and business analytics.

    photo credit: DSC06097 via photopin (license)

    Recruiting: Going Mobile By Demand? #TChat Recap

    This week at #TChat Events, the TalentCulture community explored the emerging role of mobile recruiting in today’s world of work.

    First, let’s clarify — what does the term “mobile recruiting” mean? CareerBuilder defines it this way:

    “The ability to market to prospective talent with or on a mobile device. More importantly, mobile recruiting is about the opportunity to connect with job seekers anywhere, and at any time; provide a better candidate experience; streamline your own process; and engage job seekers in entirely new and unique ways.”

    It sounds like a lofty goal — but how do we get there from here? And how are employers overcoming key issues in implementing mobile strategies? To keep the conversation grounded, we welcomed two experts in talent acquisition:

    Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, Founder and Chief Blogger at Blogging4Jobs and
    Rayanne Thorn, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at Technomedia, global talent management solutions provider.

    (Editor’s Note: See highlights from the #TChat events and related resource links at the end of this post.)

    Mobile Is Everywhere — Why Isn’t Mobile Recruiting?

    Many #TChat participants agreed that mobile recruiting is becoming a necessity, as individuals increasingly rely on smart phones and tablets to connect with information and people in our personal and professional lives.

    The convenience of mobile access is rapidly translating into job search behaviors, even though many employers haven’t yet optimized their websites for mobile access. SimplyHired says that the number of workers looking for jobs via mobile devices has skyrocketed, from 2.3 million to 9.3 million in the past year. Talemetry, says that 70% of job seekers are using mobile platforms, while estimates even higher, at 77%. (See the article and infographic.)

    However, as the Wall Street Journal explained earlier this year, most companies aren’t moving fast enough. According to a recent CareerBuilder study, only 20% of Fortune 500 companies have mobile-optimized career sites. What is everyone waiting for? Read the full report, “Trends in Mobile Adoption: An Analysis of Mobile Recruitment Efforts Across Industries.”

    Mobile Excellence: What Does It Look Like?

    So, what does it take for employers to be “mobile recruitment ready”? Ideally, it starts with a website that is that is optimized for mobile interaction. SnapHop, a company that provides mobile talent management solutions, says these elements are necessary for a great candidate experience:

    Support for all mobile platforms — access to sites from anywhere using, any mobile device;
    Location awareness — automatically sense the candidate’s location and filter information accordingly;
    Personalization — tailor information and recommendations by uncovering candidate preferences;
    Social media presence — leverage social channels to connect with candidates and share relevant, timely content;
    Responsive design — ensure that on all platforms, content is easy to skim and consume, and navigation flows with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.

    Upward Mobility: Advantages of Mobile Recruitment

    If you’re still not convinced about the business case for mobile recruitment, CareerBuilder for Employers developed a helpful presentation that outlines key issues and opportunities:

    And what did the #TChat crowd say about the pros and cons of mobile recruiting? Check the highlights slideshow and other resource links below for great facts, real-world stories and ideas from across the TalentCulture community.

    #TChat Week-In-Review: Mobile Devices + Recruiting = Perfect Match?

    Jessica Miller Merrell

    Watch the preview hangout now

    SAT 10/26:

    #TChat Preview:
    TalentCulture Community Manager Tim McDonald framed this week’s topic in a post that featured a brief G+ Hangout video with one of our guests, Jessica Miller-Merrell, Read the Preview: “Mobile Devices + Recruiting = Perfect Match?

    SUN 10/27: Post: TalentCulture CEO, Meghan M. Biro recommended ways that employers can gain business advantage by embracing mobile strategies. Read: “5 Ways To Use Mobile To Recruit Top Talent.”

    MON 10/28:

    Related Post: Dan Newman, author of Millennial CEO, offered a broad perspective on the changing of the leadership guard — and its implications for business. Read: “Another Kind of Revolution: Social, Mobile, Cloud.

    WED 10/30:


    Listen to the #TChat Radio show now

    #TChat Radio: Our hosts, Meghan M. Biro and Kevin W. Grossman spoke with guests Jessica Miller-Merrell and Rayanne Thorn about how mobile adoption is revolutionizing the recruiting process today’s world of work. Listen to the radio recording now!

    #TChat Twitter: Immediately following the radio show, Meghan, Kevin and guests moved over to the #TChat Twitter stream as I led the TalentCulture community through a conversation focused on 5 key questions. For highlights, check the Storify slideshow below:

    #TChat Insights: Recruiting Is Rockin’ Mobile Platforms

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    Closing Notes & What’s Ahead

    GRATITUDE: Thanks again to Jessica Miller-Merrell and Rayanne Thorn for helping us explore the potential of mobile platforms in the recruiting process. Your knowledge and passion are infectuous!

    NOTE TO BLOGGERS: Did this week’s events prompt you to write about mobile recruiting trends or issues? We’d love to share your thoughts. Post a link on Twitter (include #TChat or @TalentCulture), or insert a comment below, and we’ll pass it along.

    WHAT’S AHEAD: Next week, we dive into another fascinating topic — the role of social media in building brand influence. So save the date (November 6) for another #TChat double-header!

    Meanwhile, the World of Work conversation continues. So join us on the #TChat Twitter stream, on our LinkedIn discussion group. or elsewhere on social media. The lights are always on here at TalentCulture, and your thoughts are always welcome.

    See you on the stream!

    Image Credit: GailJadeHamilton via Flickr