recruitment marketing

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.

Forgot the December Slowdown: Keep Recruiting on Track

Many people make the mistake of thinking that recruiting slows down in December and January. They put their hiring activities on hold, waiting for budgets and workforce plans to be reviewed and approved. What a loss!

Just think: the global average time-to-fill for a vacancy is currently 68 days, and still increasing. Finding the right people takes time—and the more challenging the role, the longer the recruitment cycle.

If you press pause on your recruiting activities this December, waiting until people are back from the holidays, then the earliest you could make your first hire of 2016 could be mid-March. That’s the entire first quarter gone!

Then if you think how long it takes to onboard and bring a new employee up to speed—about 60 days on average for a Sales Rep, for example—well, you can do the math. That’s a significant loss of time, productivity, and potential revenue.

While you may not be sourcing new candidates on December 24th, there are plenty of strategic recruiting activities that you can tackle this upcoming holiday season to help reduce your time to source for new roles in the New Year. According to Jennifer Bouyoukos, VP, Talent Management at Argus Software, "This time of year is the most strategic.  Now is the opportunity to execute on some of the most important elements of recruitment like branding, workforce planning and mapping critical talent".  

Here are five ideas to help get you started:

  1. Build Talent Pools: If your company is looking to grow, you’ll already have some idea of the ideal profile for the type of people you want to add to your team. Now’s your opportunity to use tools like LinkedIn to start researching and building talent pools for upcoming vacancies. Look for benchmarks at organizations that hire like you, and save potential candidate profiles in a folder. If you want to be proactive reach out to your connections who know these individuals and ask for a warm introduction. One networking coffee date could be your next awesome hire.
  2. Activate or Refresh Your “Free” Internet Real Estate: Candidates—especially those who are “window shopping” over the holidays—will be searching the web for more information on your company, your culture, and what makes you a great employer. What are they going to find? Sites like GlassdoorIndeed, and Stack Overflow allow you to post pictures, write reviews, and share what it’s like to work for your firm. It’s imperative that you monitor these sites regularly and refresh the content on an ongoing basis, especially when you are ramping up hiring. Sites like Glassdoor also provide analytics for who’s viewing your company profile—average age, education, and much more. Use these insights to begin to plan your recruiting strategy and craft the right message for your audience.
  3. Get Published/Create Content: Even if you’re not planning to hire until the New Year, write and share an article or blog post. You can talk about how you grew your culture, how you’re creating or disrupting a market, how your workplace is different—or whatever it is that makes you great and that potential job seekers may find compelling. Articles and blog posts are also a great way to support your recruitment messaging, build buzz, and expand your social media reach.
  4. Rewrite Your Job Postings: The pressure is always on to ‘hurry up and just post the job!’  The result—no time to be creative and out goes a stale job ad that attracts all the wrong candidates. 

Boring ads don’t create enthusiasm in potential candidates or your referral network. We can’t stress it enough—the best candidates crave something new and different from employers. Get ahead and start working on your posting strategy. Be bold. Tell a story. To start, take a look at your old job ad and ask yourself, “Why is this important?” after each line five times. For example, “We have been in business for 20 years” – why is this important? Stability. Why is stability important? And so on. This will help you drill down to your real messaging, and help you gain a fresh perspective  on how to communicate with your target audience.  

 According to Rob McDougall, President/CEO at Upstream Works Software, “Our [TalentMinded] job ads generated higher quality candidate  applications all around. As a result, we tapped into new talent pools and found the right fit for our company fast.”

5.  Sharpen Your Interview Skills: “Slow” times are the best times to brush up your skills—and the skills of your hiring managers. Identify skills gaps and create a plan to address those areas through targeted training workshops or programs. For example, TalentMinded offers a two-hour Interviewing Skills Workshop that helps managers improve their probing and assessment skills, and enables them to make better hiring decisions. This interactive training is loaded with creative activities and role-play, and makes a real difference in hiring managers’ effectiveness. 

Still stuck? Check out this blog—Think about your recruitment process like sales and marketing. What activities are happening in your sales and marketing departments right now that you can mirror in recruitment?

Recruitment shouldn’t slow down during the holidays. Careful planning and strategic thinking now will pay off in increased productivity and better metrics in the New Year.

At TalentMinded we help companies scale through better talent acquisition programs.  We provide a monthly managed recruitment platform that includes people, process, tools and technology at a fraction of the cost of staffing firms. Our solutions are more strategic and insightful than traditional in-house models and can scale with you.  Find out more about why our clients rave about being more TalentMinded.  

Need more insights and ideas - drop me a line - kim@talentminded.ca

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. 

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!