talent acquisition

Why referrals (especially in start-ups) should be a top priority

Why Referrals should be top priority

Why Referrals should be top priority

Why referrals (especially in start-ups) should be a top priority

Author: Stephanie Heisz, Talent Advisor, TalentMinded

From the time that I got my first “real job” I learned quickly about the power that employee referrals can have on a company and its culture. As well, after working in the start-up world, I have seen first hand how important it is to tap into the pool of talent in your network to hire people who believe in your company and mission. 

As it turns out, I found my current employment through a referral.  It’s easy to see why my employer is tapping into their referral network before posting positions online–hiring through an employee referral is faster, more cost effective and generally a better culture fit–and I’m living proof! I would also go as far to say that the majority of people I know found their first and often second job through a referral. 

It’s important for companies, especially tech start-ups, to understand the end-to-end value of an employee referral. Here are some of the reason employee referrals should be your number one, if not only source of hire when you are in the early stages of growing your business–and they may be different than you think.

JOB HOPPING HAS BECOME THE NORM

“Job hopping” has become the new norm; 91% of millennial workers only anticipate spending 3 years or less at one company. With so many options out there for a lot of skilled talent, especially in tech, it’s easy to keep fast tracking your career forward with great leaders and great companies.

Being a millennial I can attest to this myself and I see it happening within my network all the time. We have the mindset of always thinking about the next best thing. When I talk to people in my network about their current jobs, the majority are not planning to grow their career within the current employer or foresee the opportunity to do so. 

So there are two key points to this: 

1.       Given millennials may move jobs more often, having someone you trust refer them into your company can be a good sign.  Often times we dismiss ‘job hoppers’ thinking they can’t hold down jobs or get fired.

2.       Cutting through the noise on job boards and inmail ‘spam’ or avoiding it all together by going direct to your immediate referral network can be a key competitive advantage especially in a tight labour market. 

EMPLOYEE REFERRALS = HIGHER RETENTION RATES

We have entered into a time where it is easier than ever to apply to jobs and find them online – or the jobs find you! With tools like LinkedIn and Indeed, people can apply to multiple jobs with ease and/or receive daily notifications about jobs that match their search criteria. When applying to, and getting jobs, is this easy, it is essential for employers to look at other methods of employee retention.

Employers who have employee referral programs have 25% higher retention rates of employees after two years than those who do not. When you already have the inside scoop on a company, and know people who you respect within the company, it helps in making a smooth transition. Employers who use their network for referrals, and not just internal employees, have a better chance at extending their reach into the labour market and attracting talent who are pre-qualified ‘fits’ for the company.

My first experience with this was when I worked at a bank during my undergraduate degree. After my first year of employment, I referred two people to the company–one that I had worked with, and one a fellow student. At this bank, culture fit was very important, and since I had a great sense of what it was really like to work there, everyone I referred was hired and stayed and moved up in the company.

When you think about companies who have had success in hiring through employee referrals, like my current employer TalentMinded, the ROI is in employee engagement, retention, lower cost and time to hire and company growth.  

SO HOW CAN YOU INCREASE EMPLOYEE REFERRALS?

A lot of companies, especially start-ups, give employees perks for referring people to the company. It’s standard to have some sort of monetary compensation or tangible reward to motivate employees to tap their networks. We find most companies offer a minimum of $1500 per hire paid out after 3 months or half and half during the probationary period.

There are other things companies are trying in an attempt to fill their pipeline with quality referrals for hire.  I have a friend who works for a company that is doing some cool things with their referral strategies and its working. For example, they give their employees extra vacation days if they hire your referral.  They also take the employee and their referral out for lunch the first week the referral starts and make sure they publically recognize the employee’s contribution through a monthly newsletter and townhalls.  

Another way to increase your referrals and get your employees jazzed about digging deeper into their networks is to give it a brand of its own.  Try creating a sub-brand for your program with a logo and tagline to match.  This will help get your employees rallying behind something more tangible and visible then just an email reminder from time to time.

The ‘ask’ for more effort and energy in driving an increase in qualified referrals should also come from the top down.  A message from the CEO can be more powerful than a standard HR policy announcement or poster in the lunch room.

Lastly, consider rewarding your brand ‘ambassadors’ beyond your company walls.  Encourage referrals from external networks and people who know you and the company well.  Being a start-up usually means your small, so why not reward ALL the people that care about your success.  Extend your reach by expanding your rewards to other raving fans around you.  And as we mentioned, it doesn’t have to all be all about the dollars and cents. As stated in one of our earlier posts, “Why don’t companies reward the people who care about them”, it’s the thought that counts – don’t underestimate how far a $25.00 Starbucks card can go in helping you build your brand!

Essentially I am a firm believer in employee referrals based on what I have experienced personally as well as the success I have witnessed through my network and their career paths. Having some sort of employee referral system in place, that employees will actually pay attention to and action, should be a top priority when crafting your recruitment strategy.

Please feel free to share some of the things that your company does to drive referrals!

Author, Stepahnie Heisz, Talent Advisor, TalentMinded

 

 

 

 

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!

The Recruitment Mistakes CEO's Don't Know They're Making

Does this sound familiar?

A mission-critical vacancy. You hurry up and post the job online.  The result, all the wrong candidates—or no candidates at all.

Work piles up. Critical deadlines loom. 

At this point, you have no choice. Time to bite the bullet and pay a recruitment agency. Anything to get someone in that seat fast!

These “recruitment 911” moments happen all too often—and many business leaders don’t realize it’s not the candidates that are the problem. It’s their recruitment process. 

Take “Bob,” for example.  Bob is a collection of many of the conversations that we have with tech CEOs. “We’ve interviewed fifteen candidates and no one’s a fit,” Bob says. Or, “We’ve had the role posted for six weeks and zero viable candidates have applied!” 

Bob can’t grow his company because he can’t find the right talent.  He doesn’t have the budget or the desire to pay expensive agency fees—but what’s the alternative? 

There’s no silver bullet in recruitment, but a few simple changes can generate big results—especially for companies like Bob’s.  Here are some of our recommendations to get started. 

  1. Use an applicant tracking technology. Many companies (including tech firms!) still manage candidate applications through email. Handling vacancies through a technology platform not only makes it easy to manage candidate flow and gain valuable data, but vastly increases role visibility. Not using appropriate technology robs you of countless impressions and opportunities to connect with a wider candidate pool, especially on mobile. Depending on your budget and your hiring volumes we recommend Jobvite,Jazz or Breezy.
  2. Create an interesting and authentic job ad. Generic job ads source generic candidates. To catch the attention of even the most passive candidates, create a job ad that reflects the colour and culture of your organization, and that discusses both the good and the bad points of the opportunity. Everyone is looking for “smart” people that are “collaborative”.  What makes your opportunity unique?  What makes your foosball table more attractive?
  3. Show your culture in creative ways. Just like a new client, a potential employee will look for information about your company to support their decision. Add photos, testimonials, reviews and more to your web portals (not just your career page) to show candidates that you deliver on your employee promise. Sources like IndeedGlassdoor and Stack Overflow offer free company pages where you can provide insights into your company culture.  As part of TalentMinded's recruitment program, we interview the CEO and write interesting blog posts and articles about them and their company to complement our hiring efforts.
  4. Proactively source candidates online. Don't just 'post and pray'. Take time each week to reach out and network with potential candidates. In reaching out to a candidate, you’re not just connecting to the individual but potentially to their whole network. Not every connection will lead to a candidate—but even individuals who aren’t a fit may refer you to the perfect person for the job. 
  5. Determine your process upfront.  Don't make things up as you go along. Savvy candidates, especially more passive ones, won't last if you take too long between steps or deliver a poor candidate experience. Recruitment is a process. Proper planning at the outset will save you time in the long run.
  6. Enhance your personal LinkedIn profile. Just as savvy hiring managers look up candidates online, so do in-demand candidates research the people they’ll be working for. Don’t underestimate the amount of time potential candidates spend researching you and your company online. If a candidate looks at your LinkedIn or Glassdoor profile, what will they find? Will they be inspired by your vision, your passion, and your direction for the company?  

Do these tactics work?  We helped Bob implement the right applicant technology and had it set up in 72 hours. We created a new, interesting job ad that was posted in the right locations and shared via targeted social media platforms, increasing visibility and reach. And we helped create an online presence that reflected the true company culture—quickly and easily. 

Within weeks, quality candidates filled the pipeline, five were shortlisted—and the company made the perfect hire. 

Stop making recruitment harder than it needs to be!  With some good planning, a deeper understanding of what makes your culture attractive, and the right sourcing tactics, you can get better hiring results. 

TalentMinded helps tech companies grow their business through high-impact talent acquisition programs. We provide flexible, scalable monthly managed recruitment services (people, process, tools, technology) to help you hire the right people, and build talent pipelines for today and the future.