talent acquisition

Winning the Tech Talent War

This article was originally posted on Nov. 16th on LinkedIn.

Author: Pete Smith

Last night, I attended TalentMinded’s Next Generation Talent Acquisition meet-up on “How to Hire and Retain Tech Talent”. The panel included Jack Noppé, Chief Product Officer of Intelex Technologies Inc., Lauris Apse, Senior Director of Digital Operations at CBC, Malgosia Green, Chief Product Officer, TopHat and Gianluca Cairo, Chief of Staff, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Government of Canada.

The panel discussion for the evening explored ways that companies are being successful in attracting and retaining scarce technology talent. The moderator for the evening, Kim Benedict, CEO of Talentminded kicked off with a sobering statistic. In a forty-kilometer radius of the event, there are currently over 700 open job postings for full-stack software developers and this is just one of the many job titles that make up the software development infrastructure of a company. Against this backdrop, I captured five important themes from the evening to share.

Companies are moving away from hiring for “Culture fit” to hiring for “Values fit”. This may seem a very subtle and nuanced difference, but it is an important distinction. “Culture fit” often leads to hiring people who look and think like you and therefore eliminates a large number of candidates from the pool, creates systematic biases and reduces diversity. Hiring for “Values fit” means hiring people who share the same values as you and your company, but may think very differently about how to accomplish these. This leads to diversity in thinking, higher productivity, better solutions and a more diverse and less homogeneous workforce. It also opens up larger pools of candidates.

The second key point was around understanding your employee value proposition, embracing what you are and matching your recruiting strategy to attract the people that looking for the distinctions that you offer. Working in Digital Media at CBC represents a different employee value proposition and attracts a different employee than the value proposition of working at high growth start-ups like Intelex or TopHat. One is not right and the other wrong, but rather each attracts different candidate types.

Third, imbed your recruiters into your development team so that your tech recruiters sit with, go to lunch with, and socialize with your Dev team. Break down silos between HR / Recruiting and your hiring managers. When I led a large team at PeopleSoft, we approached the working relationship between a recruiter and a hiring manager similar to the working relationship between a salesperson and their sales engineer. Both have distinct roles but ultimately work as a team to sell your value proposition to a candidate and convince them to join your company.

Fourth, you can not run recruiting as an “off-the-side-of-your-desk” activity. Recruiting must be a primary activity for leaders and metrics are required to hold managers, directors and executives accountable for results. Three years ago, I worked with a client to restructure their recruiting approach. At the time, I told their SVP for Products and Services that he needed to carve out 30% of his schedule to devote to recruiting. Eighteen months later, he confessed that at the time that he thought I was crazy, but looking back, he thought my time estimate was low and he had spent more than 30% of his time on recruiting.

Finally, think of “Diversity” as Canada’s secret weapon and superpower in the talent war. We have internationally renown universities that attract students from around the world (for example, 35% of University of Toronto’s enrollment is international students). Our challenge is to keep that talent here once they graduate while also attracting experienced talent to relocate to Canada as permanent residents. To that end, for qualifying companies, The Canadian Federal Government is establishing a two-week "standard" for approving visas and work permits.

There was a lot of wisdom floating around last night. I hope these few points that I captured help you in winning your war for talent. 

Why talking about career growth opportunities is essential in getting the right candidates

Published by Stephanie Heisz, Talent Advisor, TalentMinded Inc.

Most job ads are boring and generic; a sea of sameness.  But what do candidates really want to know? What would make the best talent take notice of your job opportunity?

One common theme that almost always comes up during the interview process is career growth. What’s the next natural progression from the role they are interviewing for? Yet for many firms this almost never makes it into the job ad, let alone the screening process.

A question we like to ask candidates is “if you were offered the job, what factors will you use to determine if this role is the ‘right job’ for you? 80% of the time career growth makes it to the top of the priority list.

Don’t get me wrong - the culture of the company has influence over the candidate’s decision, however we find that ‘what’s the career path?’ gets asked the most. 

This raises the question - why don’t more companies ‘talk’ about (and promote) the opportunity for career advancement in their job ads?

I was at a tech social recently and asked people – ‘when you are reading a job ad, what entices you the most to apply to the job?’ When talking to people it became clear that opportunities for career advancement was huge!  People want to be challenged, promoted, valued, on a mission and progressing their own goals as much as the companies they work for. Win-win.

Yet, as we are all too well aware – many companies are still posting job ads that list what the person will do – not what they will become (Lou Adler).

Here are some real live examples, tips and job ad excerpts from some of our favorite clients and most admired brands on how they address career advancement opportunities in their job communications:

  • “Why join our team? This is your opportunity to learn the business from the ground up, and eventually take those skills and apply them in a more senior position at the company.”
  • Prove it. Share statistics about promotions within the company – “In 2015 we had 40 in-house promotions - once you join our company you won’t want to leave. We’ll provide you the opportunity to move-up.”
  • “But know this. If you do decide to apply for this position, and we agree that this is the right job for you, you'll be supported by a plethora of internal programs whose only focus is the continued progress of your career.”
  • “People in our career track drive delivery and capability excellence through the design, development and/or delivery of a solution, service, capability or offering. They grow into delivery-focused roles, and can progress within their current role, laterally or upward.”
  • Be authentic. If there’s no fast track growth plan, then don’t make it up.  Candidates trust and are attracted to authenticity.
  • Provide mentorship. If the growth opportunity isn’t readily available or yet defined, providing mentoring or coaching can be a great alternative to finding and keeping great people.
  • All of this ties back to job seekers thinking the grass is always greener on the other side, and that in order to advance they will likely need to move to a different company. If you address areas of growth within the company early on, it could help keep employees around longer. We suggest that hiring managers map out at least the next logical career progression for someone entering into a role at their company.

Paint a picture of where your ideal candidate is currently and what are they not getting that you can offer them and then advertise that.  And if/when the question of career progression comes up in the interview phase, and it will, at least you would have a well thought out answer.

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.

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

How do you know if your recruiting strategy is about to fail?

A collaborative blog post with Pete Smith.

Before the holidays, we were talking to a manager who was bemoaning their workload. On top of everything else, they were conducting candidate screening interviews because they had four open positions and their internal HR team was too busy to get the screening interviews done. Kudos to the manager for picking up the slack—but as a CEO, is this how you want to run your company? 

In our last post, we asked: Would you run your sales process like you run recruiting? We are in a talent war. Tech CEOs know this, yet most lack metrics to understand whether their recruiting process is working well, about to fail, or already on life-support.

No CEO runs their business by periodically looking at their financial results to see how they performed. Instead they use forward-looking metrics and trends such as size of their sales pipeline, average time to close a deal, average deal size, and the trends underlying these metrics to predict their future financial performance.

The same goes for recruiting. If you aren’t already tracking, measuring, and diagnosing your future recruitment success, here are six metrics to get you started.

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

52 days is the average time-to-hire, and that metric hasn’t changed much over the past ten years. Obviously there will be outliers (such as an average of more than 250 days to hire a sales rep in San Francisco), but this 52-day benchmark provides a good diagnostic to understand whether your recruiting team and hiring managers are executing well.

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

This metric is the ratio of applicants rejected prior to screening interviews divided by the total number of candidates who have applied. Beyond the obvious waste of time in filtering, a too-large applicant pool makes it difficult to pick the best fit candidates. Hiring managers should spend 20-30% of their week recruiting, but not on filtering applicants. This time is best used on networking, generating referrals, having ‘coffee’ conversations with passive prospects to build future talent pipelines, and of course interviewing only the most qualified (short-listed) candidates. If you can’t map these tasks to your hiring managers’ activities, you have a problem.

3.      Are less than 20% of your hires coming from employee referrals?

If less than 20% of your hires come from referrals, then you may not be tapping into the best talent pool.  Multiple studies show that employee referrals are better quality candidates, take less time to hire and are happier and more productive than other sources of hire.

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

A 10:1 ratio is very generous. Ideally five short-listed candidates should yield a good hire if your process is working. This metric is calculated from the ratio of candidates hired to the total number of applicants that pass the screening interviews and are recommended for further interviews by hiring managers. Interviewing more than ten short-listed candidates either means that your recruiters and hiring managers aren’t aligned on the job requirements, or that they can’t tell the candidate a compelling story about the position and why they should want it. It could also mean that you are mostly interviewing active job seekers and not searching out enough passive candidates (which are often the stronger candidate). Five short-listed candidates or fewer per hire is a good metric.

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

If more than 20% of the offers you extend are declined, you’ll never be able to keep pace with your growth. This may indicate that your compensation and benefits package is not competitive, or reveal that the candidate experience during the interview process is turning off short-listed candidates. Bad reviews on sites such as Glassdoor, especially recent ones that go unaddressed, can also have a big impact in the eleventh hour. 

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

If your score is lower than the state average of 3.1 (according to Bersin by Deloitte) your company will raise a red flag in the candidate’s mind. A higher score, coupled with authentic, positive, and engaging employee comments, can mean the difference between a passive candidate rejecting or accepting your request to talk. Current stats show that approximately 67% of candidates use Glassdoor as part of their decision making process, and on average a candidate will use up to 14 different pieces of online information to assist in deciding whether to accept an offer with your company.

If you like our benchmarks, feel free to use them in your business. If your metrics aren’t measuring up, our next post will tell you what you can do to change the game.

 

Kim Benedict                                           Peter Smith

CEO / Co-Founder,                                 Managing Partner, 

TalentMinded Inc                                                   The Meaford Group Inc

Would you run your sales process like you run recruiting?

A collaborative blog post with Pete Smith.

“We are in a talent war”. Maybe you’ve heard this statement recently. We certainly are hearing it frequently from CEOs and other senior executives of software companies. Yet, in this war, so many of the wounds seem to be self-inflicted or from friendly fire.

To win a war, you need to commit resources, take risks, act with urgency and often invoke a flair for dramatic or brazen acts. Sales professionals will say the same applies to selling. We argue this equally applies to talent acquisition strategy and recruiting so our question to you is: “Would you run your sales process like you run recruiting?”

These days, it’s harder to find great talent than it is to find new customers. Recruitment is a sales process. Yet, while leaders state that talent is a competitive advantage, few companies run their recruitment function with the rigor, foresight, or resources that they devote to their sales function. In other words, if companies are losing at the “war for talent,” then they’re doing so not because of competition or external forces, but because they’re fighting ineffectively: no strategy, old and ineffective tactics, poor messaging, and lack of data or forecasts to guide decisions.

To make our point, we would like to compare and contrast typical sales and recruiting processes.

Talking with sales leaders, we’ve found common sales processes and management techniques across industries. Sales starts with defining the value proposition, which is converted into messaging aimed at a target market of prospects to generate leads. Leads are qualified and scored against their propensity to convert to a sale. Through this process, sales professionals create a lead funnel, measure leads against stages in the sales pipeline, and track conversion rates to create a time-phased sales forecast.

Throughout this process, lead qualification is important to avoid wasting time on deals that have a low probability of closing. Urgency is also prevalent in the actions of sales reps in order to keep leads and prospects warm, and moving towards a closed deal. Prospecting is an ongoing marketing and sales activity and rarely will a sales leader say that they have too many leads.

And in today’s world, how many sales organization operate without CRM technology to manage to sales process? NONE.

Now consider your recruiting process and what of the above is missing.

In our experience, companies start their recruitment process at a disadvantage by not articulating their value proposition, or by neglecting to turn that value proposition into compelling candidate-focused messaging. Most companies post an internally written job description—a boring, text-heavy document that describes the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of the role. Rarely will the job posting be a “marketing” document which describes and sells the benefits that the candidate will get from joining your company, such as skills development, career advancement, culture, or environment.

This is analogous to sending out product specifications fact sheet as sales and marketing material in order to attract prospects. It does not work!

Once the job is posted, applications are received, but often one of two things happens: almost no one applies, or there is a flood of applications. In the first situation, recruiters must scramble to find someone, anyone to put before a hiring manager—with no leads, no prospects, and no line of sight on where to find the right candidates. In the second, recruiters are overwhelmed with the task of sorting through applications from people who are unsuitable for the role. In both cases, the hiring manager ends up frustrated: “Why can’t I just see a few great candidates? No one seems right for the job.”

When it comes to dealing with applications, some companies use a screening process based on University marks to complete the initial sort and discard. As Pete argued in his post, "I don't get it: Why are Employers Fixated on Marks", this is the wrong strategy and potentially eliminates great candidates for no other reason than work efficiency.

Where are these companies going wrong? Consider how many sales organizations rely solely on inbound leads to stumble upon them. The answer is NONE. Instead they invest in tools and techniques to help them be found, nurturing campaigns to develop prospects and outbound prospecting to target potential customers. So why do we expect this ineffective strategy, (often called “Spray and Pray”) in which a company posts a job description on multiple job boards and then hope for the best, to work for recruitment?

Your best candidates are likely passive—not currently looking for a job because they are happy in their current role—and need to be identified, nurtured, and encouraged to consider a role with your company. Just as with sales, this often comes down to building a relationship over time, not desperately reaching out at the last minute in the hope of grabbing a “quick sale”.

For example, a small software company could never find enough qualified developers or professional services candidates to meet their growing needs. We recommended to the CEO that he become the face of recruiting. To build a candidate pipeline, he personally spent a summer reaching out to potential future employees on LinkedIn. Although this sounds daunting, it really meant evenings, when he was in front of the TV, with his laptop searching LinkedIn. His search criteria was competitors or companies selling similar software into his target industries and when he found a profile of the current or former employee that he liked, he personalized an invitation for that person to connect. Most accepted. After building a pool of a few hundred candidates, his normal LinkedIn activity of posting relevant, interesting news about his company nurtured these candidates, built their interest and exposed them to current job openings. The result: No more talent storage.

Just as with sales, prospecting should be an ongoing recruitment activity—and rarely will a great sales leader say that they have too many leads. In recruiting, leads are people—candidates who may come work for your company, if not immediately, then in the next six months to two years.

Yet to be able to effectively build a recruitment pipeline of potential future hires, the recruitment team needs to be baked into your company. This means being kept up to date on upcoming corporate changes and new projects, understanding what roles are likely to need new people through growth or turnover, having a line-of-sight on what makes a successful hire for particular roles, and understanding the unique factors that makes each department “tick.”

Armed with this information, recruitment can build a predictable talent pipeline months in advance: developing targeted messaging aimed to the target candidate group (sales messaging), reaching out to potential candidates (generating leads), screening candidates and conducting preliminary interviews (qualifying leads), and targeting those individuals most suited and most likely to consider a role (convert to sales). Top recruiters say that for many roles it may take up to 100 candidates, researched and contacted, to find that one perfect hire. Lead qualification is critical throughout this process to avoid wasting time and energy on candidates that have a low probability of closing.

Finally, if this really is a talent war, you don’t send your army into battle armed with sticks and clubs. Analogous to the sales CRM system, Google AdWords, marketing automation technology and SEO tools, your team needs modern recruiting technology. It starts with an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). If your job posting says “please email your resume to careers@yourcompany.com “, the battle is over and you have lost before the first shot was fired. Other tools your team will also need are social recruiting tools such as premium or recruiter subscriptions to LinkedIn, niche job boards and advocacy marketing tools like Techvibes, a strong employer brand message and sourcing technologies like Entelo - just to name a few.

Again and again, leaders ask, “How can I get the people I need to help my company reach its targets?” The answer is simple: look to your sales process and mirror it in recruiting. 

Kim Benedict                                           Peter Smith

CEO / Co-Founder,                                 Managing Partner, 

TalentMinded                                           The Meaford Group       

What tech start-ups can (and should) be doing to rev up recruiting

We regularly attend events and meetups focused on start-up tech CEOs growing their businesses.  Regardless of the theme - how to get financing or build a winning marketing strategy - the challenge of finding and hiring great talent always comes up in the conversation!  

 

When projects can’t move forward or sales slow down because hiring isn’t happening fast enough; - this can be big trouble for executives.  It’s hard for organizations of all sizes to recruit the right talent.  And by now, if you’re scaling quickly, you’ve likely experienced the cost and pain of making a wrong hire.

 

Recruiting can be especially challenging when you are new or nobody knows you exist, you’re competing against big brands and big budgets and chances are you’ve tapped out your immediate referral networks.   

 

The good news - recruiting awesome talent for your start-up or growing business isn’t impossible.  Some may argue, ‘there’s no shortage of talent’ - you just don’t have the right strategy to go about finding the best people.

 

If, like most start-ups or growing business you are hoping that everyone wants to work for you because you are unique, your people make the difference, or you have a foosball table with a fully stocked bar fridge, you are mistaken.  No one knows who you are in the job market, so they aren't going to walk in the door resume in hand.  Posting a job and praying the best people are waiting for you - well, as they say ‘hope is not a strategy’.

 

There’s a famous quote from Abe Lincoln, "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe."  This is the key to great recruiting.

 

So how are you preparing for hiring?  Here are some tips to give you a competitive advantage and start building a quality talent pipeline.

 

1. Find out what truly makes you unique - conduct surveys and focus groups – internally and externally starting with the people who work for you, and the people who know you (advisors, consultants, family and friends).  Develop an understanding of why people want to work for you and why they stay.  Go beyond your product or solutions and dig deep for the true meaning.  Ask yourself, how you are changing the world or the lives of your customers?  And don’t assume you know what it is.  Take the time to better understand your target audience and what makes you special.

 

Everyone is looking for top talent - your ability to articulate what makes you unique, in a creative and compelling way, beyond the solutions you build, will be a critical tool in your talent strategy.  

 

2. Unlock your online ‘brand real estate’ – social media platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc., have free company review pages where you can develop your company profile, add photos and employee testimonials as insights into your culture.  Get a head start on developing these channels of influence.  According to Glassdoor, 94% of candidates are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages their employer brand (e.g., responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment). (Glassdoor survey, October 2014)

 

No matter how small you are, you have a brand and a culture. Once you start promoting opportunities in your company, people will start looking for information.  Savvy candidates will start looking for evidence that you and your company are as awesome as you say you are. What they find will determine their next course of action - apply or move on.

 

3. Write creative job ads – this takes time and several drafts, maybe even outside help. An awesome job ad could prove to be the key to getting the right, quality candidates applying.  Don’t underestimate this – it can be a huge difference maker!  In our experience, the quality and appeal of your job ad (not to be confused with the formal job description) impacts the quality of the candidate pipeline by up to 80%.  

 

Jobs get ‘served up’ daily through social networks and there’s no better way to get to the passive candidate than tempting them into a conversation with a compelling vision of something better.

 

4. Get a recruiting technology!  There is nothing worse than a tech company recruiting on email!  Your process should be agile and engaging and relevant to this century.  What’s often referred to as ‘inbox recruiting’ is clumsy, cumbersome, and super inefficient for both the candidate and whomever has to sift through all of the resumes.

 

There are many cost effective candidate management solutions on the market that pay for themselves 10X over in time and capability. 

 

5. Rev up your ecosystem – start planting seeds with your referral ecosystem – and not just employees - consider all your ‘Friends of the Firm’ - vendors, customers, advisors, followers, University alumni, friends, local schools – whoever the best talent might be friends or acquainted with.  Don’t just limit your referral bonuses to employees.  There’s a good chance your next hire is a friend of someone you know and cares about your success.  Start nurturing and creating value in those relationships; so when the time comes you can tap in.

 

Failure to plan your recruitment strategy may cost you customers, funding, revenue or worse, a rushed decision on a wrong fit hire.  

 

Recruitment isn’t just posting a job and waiting for candidates to apply. That’s not how you land your best customers and it’s certainly not how you get the best people to share in your vision and want to work hard for you. You’ll need all cylinders activated to get your message to the right people – it takes time, a good process and strategic planning, but it’s not impossible.  

 

Don’t get caught without a customized recruitment strategy. Like Abe and his axe (you knew I was going to come back to that!), invest in the front end of your hiring needs. At TalentMinded, we are expert axe sharpeners.  We help companies scale by providing smart, effective and efficient recruitment processes and strategies that drive profitable results.  If you need a better talent acquisition strategy to help your company grow or just need some good advice on technology solutions or best practices - reach out - we’re passionate about helping great companies scale!

Why don't companies reward the people that care about them?

Why do organizations not reward external people (like alumni, clients, followers) for referring company career opportunities to their friends/family, social networks and other channels?  There are some companies that do but at TalentMinded, more often than not we uncover organizations that are just in the stages of perfecting their internal employee referral programs; they’re not even thinking out of the box! 

Years ago I worked at a company that paid out rewards to what they called, ‘brand champions’.  If you referred a new business opportunity and/or a candidate that was hired they would present you with a gift card of your choice.  There were terms and conditions of course, but overall the success of the program was less about the monetary value of the reward (in this case it was usually $250.00) and more about the passion for the brand and recognizing fans for helping them succeed.    

It was through programs and values like this that they built an engaged community of external brand champions that believed in the mission, cared about their success and always took the time to help.  It was about building strong partnerships and relationships and it worked!  The program was so successful in fact, it was like having another recruiter on their payroll! 

These types of channel referral programs are not new to how businesses drive sales and revenue, so why are they virtually obsolete from how we attract and acquire new people to our companies?

Leveraging a company’s external reach to talent through broad social media networks and other spheres of influence is core to recruitment success in today’s digital world, especially for new start-ups.  Much like a strong marketing program, to survive (or at least compete) companies must optimize all channels in the talent ‘ecosystem’ to drive awareness and ultimately create better quality, predictable talent pools. 

We know the best candidates (and customers) come from referrals – inside and out – so we’re curious – what’s stopping companies from developing this type of external program to help access and reach the right people for their business?   

We’d love to hear your successes, challenges and thoughts on external referral programs!

Comments welcome or reach out direct at kim@talentminded.ca

Author: Kim Benedict, Managing Director/Co-founder, TalentMinded Inc. www.talentminded.ca