recruitment process

WHAT THE BEST COMPANIES DO BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE (ON CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE)

Co-authored with Candice Sommers, Project Analyst, TalentMinded.

Every year we encourage our TalentMinded team members, clients and HR community to participate in the Candidate Experience Awards to drive best practices in their recruiting programs.  At a recent workshop hosted by Achievers and facilitated by the Talent Board we learned more about what it takes to provide a truly positive candidate experience - and the results might be different from what you think!

Here’s a summary of what we know about what the best companies do better than everyone else: 

  • They pay attention to job descriptions - they create unique, compelling job ads 
  • They invest in the right channels to attract more of the right people
  • They invest in their careers site and technology to enable the process
  • They include employee testimonials in their content & invest in referral programs
  • Their recruitment process is mobile compatible and responsive
  • They make it is easy to provide status updates and communicate to candidates often
  • Acknowledge candidate skills and experience throughout the process
  • Provide agendas to interviewees
  • They provide feedback and follow up no matter what the outcome
  • Provide clarity on the process and explain decisions 
  • Ask relevant questions at every stage of the interview process
  • Ask for candidate feedback 

Providing a consistent and positive candidate experience doesn’t have to be a daunting task nor is it all about expensive swag or extravagant tactics. While ‘Candidate Charters’ and ‘Concierge Teams’ can be awesome, focusing on these simple best practices have proven to help companies raise the bar. 

In our next blog we’ll share our favorite candidate feedback survey questions and tips on how to implement some of these improvements.

TalentMinded helps companies scale through better talent acquisition programs. We offer the best in people, process, tools, technology and brand for one monthly fixed price.  You don't just need a recruiter, you need a recruitment solution.  Call or email to learn more - kim@talentminded.ca, 416.587.1283.

Don't Underestimate the Phone Interview

By Liya Adessky, Talent Advisor, TalentMinded

It’s 9 PM, you’ve had one too many coffees, and you’re staring at the computer hoping you’ve convinced one or more of the 20 companies that received your application that you’re qualified for an interview. We’ve all been there! Looking for a job can be extremely stressful and time consuming. Applications can go into a black hole and in some cases, it’s a hyper-competitive, saturated job market. In many sectors there are few jobs, and lots of people looking to fill them. In 2015, “only four provinces registered job gains” (Kirby, Macleans, 2016) and even those gains weren’t all that impressive. For the job seeker, that means first impressions count more than ever.

People put tons of energy into crafting the perfect job application, and rightfully so. What you may not always consider is just how fierce the competition is right from the get-go. As a recruiter, I can often receive upwards of 300 applications for a single vacancy. With that in mind, it’s important to optimize your chances at every stage of a company’s recruitment process.

If your resume is indeed “screened in” for the job, the likelihood is that you’re moving onto a telephone interview first and foremost. Most companies require a “phone screen” or prequalification stage before you’re invited to meet a hiring manager in person.  Some companies even require video interviews before moving to a face-to-face interview.

In order to get to that all-important in-person interview you have to “pass” the phone screen, an often underestimated part of the process. We find that people often don’t take as much time or put as much emphasis on their preparation for this stage of the recruitment lifecycle. This can be a costly mistake. 

The candidate pool may be smaller once you’ve made it to a phone interview, but it’s still a tight race at the top of the candidate pipeline. According to a recent article by Peter Harris for Workopolis (2015), “98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial resume screening and only the ‘top 2%’ of candidates make it to the interview”.  

As a recruitment partner for companies both local and abroad, my days revolve around conducting and assessing phone interviews. Peter’s statistics are bang on.  Though I may schedule 10 phone interviews any given week for any given role, only 2-3 candidates may be submitted as a result. In other words, a solid resume does not guarantee a home run or in-person interview.

Here are some ways in which you can improve your chances to move from the phone interview to the next interview round:

  • Be on time: Much like an in-person job interview, recruiters place a lot of value on a candidate being on time for the conversation scheduled. It shows respect and says a lot about what it’s like to work with you. If you’re going to be late, be sure to send an e-mail ahead of time to and explain why you may not make it on time. To that end, try to avoid this scenario altogether by not scheduling back-to-back meetings or other important calls before or after.

 

  • Study your resume: Knowing your resume backwards and forwards may seem obvious, but many candidates often confuse items listed there. If it’s on your resume you should be prepared to answer questions about it. It’s the recruiter’s job to validate the information presented and/or uncover gaps in your employment history. Even if it’s simple forgetfulness, being unable to address previous jobs on your resume, and why you may have left certain roles, will not come across well and may cost you the next round.

 

  • Know the role: And more importantly, know why you’re the right person for it. Prepare yourself to answer the question: Why this job, and why this company? If you can’t articulate why this job will make you jump out of bed in the morning, then the recruiter may question how much you know about the company or how you will impact the organization.

 

  • Exude energy: What you hear is what you get in a phone interview. Unfortunately we can’t meet everyone in person. Be sure to stay alert, energetic, and enthusiastic over the phone at all times. Companies today are looking for passion and purpose. If you’re not excited about the opportunity, then that may be the difference between you moving forward over your competition.

 

  • Answer questions succinctly: It’s a red flag for any interviewer when a candidate can’t stay on topic. This may suggest to the interviewer that you’re not actually listening or that you are, but choose to talk about something else anyways, which is just as problematic. Phone interviews are opportunities to showcase not only your listening skills but your ability to be succinct. It’s not always just your answer to the question that is being assessed.  Stay on point.

While phone interviews may appear to limit candidates, in some ways they are an innate part of the recruitment process.  As recruiters and the companies we work for, we take this part of the process seriously and so should you. This means you may need to work that much harder to demonstrate why you’re a fit. Don’t take a phone interview for granted, and you may just see better results. 

Liya Advessky, Talent Minded

If your recruiting is failing, what can you do about it?

A collaborative blog post with Pete Smith.

In our last blog, we asked: 'How do you know your recruiting is failing?'  In that post, we provided six metrics for a CEO to test whether their recruiting process was performing adequately.

Recruitment is hard and it’s only going to get harder. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If what you have been doing isn’t working, what should you do differently?

Let’s revisit our six metrics:

1.       Is your time-to-hire more than 52 days?

If it is taking longer than 52 days to source and hire the right people, then there’s a good chance there’s a gap in your process.  While sourcing and screening inefficiencies can cause a long time-to-hire, we also see challenges from other problem areas, most notably wait time. Time kills candidates. Long waits between steps in the recruitment process dilute candidate enthusiasm and lose you great candidates.

We recommend conducting an audit on your process to identify areas where you can drive efficiencies.  Usual problem areas include the headcount approval process, offer letter generation, interview scheduling and changes in job specifications or hiring priorities.  As well, nothing will kill a good candidate’s desire to work for you than a lousy recruiting experience caused by unprepared hiring managers, delays in the process, lack of communication, feedback and nurturing and generally being treated as a commodity.

2.       Are 90% of the applicants for any open position unqualified for the job?

If you receive hundreds of applications and spend hours upon hours screening just to get to a handful of applicants that you are willing to engage in a screening interview, something in your process is failing.  Many companies think that’s just the way it is. We say different. Generic job descriptions don’t tell candidates what they truly need or want to know about the role, environment, and company. They also generate unnecessary volumes of applications putting the onus on the company to do all the work. This makes no sense! Creative and compelling job ads increase candidate quality by better illustrating the role and allowing the individual to self-qualify in or out of the process.  The best prospects are looking not just what skills they need to be considered a qualified contender, but “why should I?” Stop thinking of you job posting as a qualifications list and start thinking of it as a piece of marketing collateral that sells the candidate on your company.

3.       Are less than 20% of your job applicants coming from referrals?

Have you asked your employees to encourage their friends and former work colleagues to apply? Your employees should be your biggest and most enthusiastic fans. Better yet, provide incentives to turn your employees into an extension of your recruiting team. Incentives aren’t just cash rewards for a successful recruit. They also encompass elements that make it easy for employees to see open positions and know what type of candidates you are looking for, as well as a streamlined VIP process that prioritizes referrals. The last thing you want is for an employee to be embarrassed by the experience their friend or former colleague has in your recruiting process.  Recruitment tools such as Jobvite make it easy to communicate job openings through employees’ social networks at a click of a button.

4.       Do you interview more than ten short-listed people for any role?

This is a downstream problem in the process that starts at the front end. Have you defined the correct job, with a realistic set of expectations compared to what is available in the market and at the correct compensation? The higher the bar for qualifications, the more likely the successful candidate will come from the ranks of passive candidates that you need to go out and find. Is your job ad compelling? Have you communicated why a unique candidate would want to disrupt their life and invest time in even talking to your recruiting team? Everything needs to be aligned in your recruiting efforts: expectations; messaging; process; communications between recruiters, hiring managers and candidates; the compensation and benefits being offered; and the technology used in your recruiting process. These are all points of failure, and we recommend taking time upfront to plan properly to avoid waste down the line.  “Hurry up and post the job” is not a strategy.

5.       Are 20% or more of your job offers declined?

Do you measure which of your hiring managers are most successful? If so, why are some more successful than others? We see big differences in success rates between hiring managers. Some just aren’t engaged and hiring is their last priority, regardless of what they say. Others just can’t inspire people to join. There are always superstars (especially at the executive level) that tell such a compelling story about your company that candidates are excited to accept a job offer. Identify these people and use them as your closers, just like you use your best sales folks to close big deals.

6.       Is your Glassdoor score higher or lower than 3.1?

Bad reviews about your company culture, or no reviews at all, can turn off candidates right out of the gate. But even if all of your reviews aren’t glowing, there are lots of ways to leverage the good, the bad and the ugly on Glassdoor.  Good places to start include responding to bad reviews to show that you’re listening, asking new employees to write reviews as part of their onboarding process, and sharing fun photos from your holiday party and other employee events that show insights into how you celebrate being your accomplishments.

Calisi.jpg

Pictures like this say something about your company culture.  Calisi’s first day at work at Seradex.

Also, don’t forget about LinkedIn. Check the analytics on your company page. Posting jobs and employee events on your company feed should result in greater engagement and click-throughs than most of your marketing content. If your own employees aren’t liking and sharing insights into your company culture, including job postings, then why should anyone else care?

If you aren’t meeting your hiring targets or attracting the right candidates, these are fixable problems. But, like anything else, change in recruitment takes focus, time, research, and ownership of the problem. Start with an audit of your current processes against target metrics. Follow-through with an analysis of where your process is breaking. Commit resources, identify owners, and assign responsibility to fix the breaks and fill the gaps. Finally, bake your metrics into your business just like you manage any other process.

These actions will help get you one step closer to winning the talent war.

Kim Benedict                                           Peter Smith

CEO / Co-Founder,                                 Managing Partner, 

TalentMinded Inc                                   The Meaford Group Inc

Recruitment Resolutions: Getting Ready for 2016

I'm not a huge fan of resolutions however I do value the inspiration and fresh outlook a new year can bring to business.  So I say—forget getting a gym membership and resolving to drink less coffee—for a real change in 2016, look for opportunities to revamp and refresh your recruitment! What changes will you make to your recruitment process in 2016 that will have a measurableimpact on your company's business? A little reflection and a few changes now can get you off to a great start and working toward big results in the New Year: better hires, faster time-to-fill metrics, improved retention, and a positive impact on revenue

Here are five suggestions to get you started:

  1. Review your Recruitment Process: Time to take a step back and ask the hard questions. Is your recruitment process really working—and are you satisfied with the results? Does your process meet the needs of candidates? Are there steps that you can tweak or remove to get the same or better results? Do you have the tools you need to make good hiring decisions? Only by digging down into what’s working and what’s not can you begin to create a plan to make 2016 your best year ever. Consider taking this time to map out your current process identifying areas of waste and brainstorming on ways to improve and save time.  This process will help you make room for new ways of doing things better. 
  2. Refresh Your Referral Program: Your employees are going to be super active and social over the holidays—make sure they’re always recruiting! You’ll want to have planted those seeds when employees’ friends starting thinking about finding new jobs. Now’s also a great time to review where your referral program succeeded and fell short over the past year—do you notice any patterns? Are your incentives working? Referrals should account for 20% or more of your hiring.  If you're not there—how can you give the program greater corporate visibility in 2016? Consider giving your program a name or kick starting the New Year with double the bonus for referrals to make sure you don’t miss Q1 hiring targets. A little planning now can help transform your referral program into a candidate-generating powerhouse.
  3. Conduct an EVP Survey: Your unique Employment Value Proposition (EVP) are all the things that make your company a great employer, above and beyond a paycheque. Ask your employees: why did they really choose to join the company, and why do they stay? Gaining a better understanding of what your employees value about working for you is a critical step in developing recruitment and retention strategies that really work, and the insights can also be used to better target messaging on your career page, blog, job ads and more. (And CEOs, don’t discount this exercise—what your employees truly value is often different than you’d think.)
  4. Add an Assessment Tool: Reflecting back on your best hires in 2015, do you know what’s made them successful? If not, find out! Many assessment tools benchmark and build profiles using the profiles of your current staff. If you are looking to hire more people like those that drive success in your organization, now is a great time to profile and analyze your current teams. We recommend solutions like Predictive Success, a candidate-friendly and highly accurate assessment tool.  Also watch out for new tools on the market like Fortay that help you assess culture 'fit'.
  5. Revitalize Your Social Media: As the excitement of a new platform wears off, dust begins to settle on our social media presences. Don’t let your feeds be ignored! Take a moment to leverage the analytics behind these tools and review what worked and what didn’t about your social media outreach, and plan for how you can better use these tools in the coming year to support other aspects of your recruitment strategy. Or, if you’re not already using Glassdoor, Facebook or Twitter to promote opportunities to potential candidates and share insights about your company, then now is a great time to build a strategy. It’s critical to have an editorial plan, defined roles and responsibilities, and social media guidelines your staff can follow year-round.

Your recruitment resolutions don't have to be super ambitious or disruptive. There is innovation in simplifying processes, getting back to basics and piloting new trends on a small scale to determine what works.  With a little strategic thinking and foresight, you can be ready to start the New Year with a bang—and get the jump on your competition. Think ahead and make recruiting smarter your company’s key competitive advantage.  Here’s to an awesome year ahead!

We’re TalentMinded!  We help companies modernize their recruitment.  We audit and assess your recruitment function and make smart recommendations to help move your company forward.  And it’s not just about the ‘shiny’ stuff.  Our clients appreciate our pragmatic and analytical approach that provides recommendations that can be easily implemented and most importantly, actually work. 

At TalentMinded we are passionate about helping our clients grow by hiring the right people.  If you need to develop or re-work your recruitment strategy, ramp up hiring fast or need help resourcing a special project, then TalentMinded may be the right solution for you.  Contact us for more information about what we do and how we do it - kim@talentminded.ca.

What are your 2016 recruiting resolutions? Please share your thoughts with us on Twitter @betalentminded!