Rethinking the Role of Recruiters

Posted by Mark Jackson on Thu, Aug, 04, 2016 @ 07:08 AM

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Recruiters as brand ambassadors – as opposed to salespeople - for your organization

Let’s face it. It’s a candidate-driven marketplace out there. It is more difficult than ever to attract and retain qualified employees. As a recruiter, you’re charged with filling open positions with the most qualified candidates. But there’s more to it than attracting top talent; you need to find the right match for your organization so every hire becomes a productive, engaged, long-term employee. Competing for talent in a buyers’ market requires the recruiter’s role to evolve from a transactional salesperson to a brand ambassador – responsible for establishing the organization’s reputation as a desirable place to work, and keeping the attention of both today’s and tomorrow’s job seekers. Just what makes a brand ambassador and how can you get there?

Convey Your Brand

As an ambassador, your job is not to sell applicants on your company. Instead, you want to serve as a matchmaker, accurately communicating the organization’s brand and identifying applicants’ individual brands to find an ideal match.

What do we mean when we speak of a brand? In this context, it’s not a marketing term. Your brand is your organization’s essence – it’s core values. It helps to think of the organization as a person and assign personality traits to it. Is your organization resourceful, adaptable, creative, independent, serious, spontaneous, responsible? And you’ll need to think beyond the organization’s brand to consider both the department and hiring manager’s brands as well.

You, as a recruiter, are the initial human point of contact for your company’s brand and are in the unique position of using both your experience and your discretion to make vital hiring decisions. You’re searching for a brand match – the perfect relationship where both parties share parallel goals and approach professional life in similar way. 

Salesperson Versus Ambassador

What is ambassador-style recruiting? Essentially, it boils down to respect for the candidate. A respect for their time, their goals, their skills and their potential contribution to your organization. Here’s a look at some of the pronounced differences between salesperson- and ambassador-style recruiting. 

Salesperson-Style Recruiting

Ambassador-Style Recruiting

Match based exclusively on resume to job comparison

Match based on meeting the brand vision and goals

Focus on easily-defined “hard” skills

Consideration of “soft” skills like leadership, oral and written communication

Success based on filled vacancies and speed

Success based on engagement

On-boarding is company-focused (internal tasks and paperwork)

On-boarding is part of the employment experience and geared to promoting early success

Applicant Experience and Onboarding

An ambassador-style recruiter should understand what’s it like to be an applicant, and hone the recruiting and onboarding process to be an overall positive experience. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that new employees decide within the first 30 days whether they feel welcome in the organization, and that one in 25 leave their jobs because of a poor (or nonexistent) onboarding program. There are areas in the applicant experience to focus on: 

  1. First impressions: Are your job listings up-to-date and does the language accurately reflect the position and the ideal applicant? Do the listings help convey your brand? Do applicants receive confirmation of the submittal of their resume or application?
  2. Process: Does the process move smoothly with organized, timely interviews? Do you process resumes efficiently? Are non-selected applicants politely notified?
  3. Finalization: Is the onboarding process geared to the applicant? Do they have the tools they need to succeed? Are early expectations communicated?

As part of the applicant experience, we can’t stress enough the importance of treating each applicant with the respect they deserve. You should be looking to attract not just today’s applicants, but tomorrow’s as well. Today’s runner up may be tomorrow’s perfect candidate.

The ambassador-style recruiter is focused on building relationships, not closing deals. By putting the applicants’ first, respecting their time and individuality, and meshing their brand with yours, your organization has the best chance to win top talent - today and beyond.

For more on ambassador-style recruiting, check out our on-demand webinar

What Every Company Ought to Know about Ambassador Style Recruiting

Tags: candidate experience, recruiter, applicant experience, Hiring

Why Smart Companies Are Making Onboarding a Top Priority

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Thu, Jul, 07, 2016 @ 13:07 PM

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After spending a great deal of time and resources to bring in quality new hires, many employers are making a major mistake by not prioritizing onboarding. 

Despite the fact that effective onboarding improves employee performance and increases employee engagement and retention, according to a report by the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton, a study of 500 U.S. companies of varying sizes shows that the average amount spent on onboarding per new hire is just $67—and a third of these companies spend no money at all. 

Effective onboarding doesn’t have to be expensive, but the figures above are still alarming. 

No matter what the final tally is on your own company’s onboarding efforts, there are certain things you want to get right to make the process effective. Of course, all necessary paperwork must be completed quickly and efficiently. But you also want to get new hires established in their jobs and connected with your culture, so that you can get them up to speed as quickly as possible. After all, it typically takes about eight months to get new employees fully productive, but getting them comfortable as quickly as possible helps minimize that time period. On the other hand, failing to provide a reasonable orientation can leave new employees “confused and disoriented,” which is far from conducive for high performance and engagement. 

Smart companies are recognizing the importance of onboarding, with the most successful companies connecting it with employee performance. And more and more are recognizing that it’s a good idea to begin the onboarding process even before a new hire’s first day. According to Aberdeen’s “An Employee-Centric Digital Workplace” report, best-in-class companies are 53% more likely than others to begin the onboarding process before day one (this is also known as pre-boarding). Additionally, best-in-class companies are 39% more likely than others to measure employee engagement with onboarding to ensure new hires understand what’s expected of them. 

So if you’re looking to get better performance from your new hires, consider seeing if you can improve the onboarding you provide. 

How Modern Talent Acquisition Software Can Help

Software allows you to automate crucial aspects of the onboarding process. For example, you ensure that all necessary documents have been filled out correctly, saving time and preventing problems. You also can manage and track the other tasks that need to be completed after someone is hired (email setup, ID photo, parking pass, etc.) As a result, you can put your focus on higher-value onboarding priorities—such as making sure the new employees you just hired have the proper attention to get off on the right foot, which improves performance, engagement and retention levels.

To learn other important steps for improving your hiring results, read our new article -  “4 Key Steps to Successful Talent Acquisition.”

 

Tags: talent acquisition, employee onboarding

Two Essential Components of a Positive Candidate Experience

Posted by Mark Jackson on Thu, Jun, 23, 2016 @ 08:06 AM

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More than three of four candidates would be willing to “accept a salary that is 5 percent lower than their expected offer if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process,” according to CareerBuilder’s 2015 Candidate Behavior Study

Clearly, the candidate experience is important to job seekers—and thus critical to employers. But how do you help ensure you’re providing a quality candidate experience? One way is by focusing on these two essential components: quality communication and effective management of the candidate process.

Quality Communication

Anybody who’s applied for a job knows that candidates are eager to hear back from employers. Yet often candidates are left in the dark, waiting weeks or even months for emails or phone calls that may never come.  

So it’s no surprise that 34% of job seekers say that more communication during the hiring process would improve their candidate experience. The only surprise is that the percentage isn’t ever higher. 

More evidence that communication from employers is often lacking comes from the CareerBuilder study: 36% of candidates expect to be updated throughout the application process, yet only 26% of employers actively communicate to candidates what stage of the process they’re in.  

The takeaway is clear: evaluate your communication with candidates. Are you consistently letting them know the information they want to know (if they’re being considered for a position, if they’re moving forward in the process, if they’re out of the running, etc.) in a reasonably timely manner? Or are you leaving them wondering and waiting?  

Candidates don’t want to be left hanging—even if they aren’t going to be considered for a position. The easiest and best way to keep them informed, and to give them a positive experience, is to provide regular, clear communication from the start. 

How Modern Talent Acquisition Software Can Help: Technology prevents candidates from falling through the cracks in your communication by sending automated email communication to candidates based on where they are in the process. The right messages are sent to the right candidates at the right times—every time. 

Effective Management of the Candidate Process

If your candidate process goes on … and on … and on, candidates will sour on their experience and your organization no matter how well you communicate with them. 

In fact, 83 percent of job seekers say that a long hiring process would either significantly or somewhat worsen their candidate experience. It’s critical to get candidates from the application to the end of the process in a reasonable time frame. That means moving candidates from stage to stage in your process in a reasonable amount of time. It’s also important to limit the pain candidates experience in any stage of the process. 

It’s worth noting that the start of the candidate process is a common trouble spot, with 90% of job seekers calling extremely long application forms a cause of a poor candidate experience. Limiting the pain candidates experience in filling out your application forms is a key part of getting more candidates to apply, and for getting the entire candidate process off to a good start.  

How Modern Talent Acquisition Software Can Help: Software helps your hiring process run smoothly for all parties. It makes applying easier by prepopulating relevant application forms with data pulled from LinkedIn, job boards and straight from résumés. And it provides routing notification to immediately inform your internal team when it’s time to take a next step in the hiring process. This eliminates internal process delays and miscommunication, two common causes of long hiring processes. 

Improve your hiring results! Read our new article - 

  4 Key Steps to Successful  Talent Acquisition

Tags: candidates, applicant experience, Hiring

4 Ways to Promote Better Recruiter/Hiring Manager Relationships

Posted by Mark Jackson on Thu, Jun, 16, 2016 @ 10:06 AM

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A Bersin report found that “developing strong relationships with hiring managers is the top driver of talent acquisition performance.” In fact, it was found to be four times more influential than any other factor studied. 

Yet many employers are clearly failing at managing the recruiter/hiring manager relationship. From the same report: 80% of recruiters believe they have a good understanding of the jobs they’re recruiting for, but 61% of hiring managers disagree. 

Given the tremendous gap in their opinions, it’s no wonder managing the relationships between these two groups is one of our “4 Keys Steps to Successful Talent Acquisition.”

The recruiter/hiring manager relationship is critically important for two reasons: 

  1. The recruiter needs to understand the skills and qualifications the hiring manager is seeking for given job roles or the wrong candidates can be delivered, which results in bad hires or delays in hiring.
  1. The recruiter and hiring manager need to work together to avoid time-costing bottlenecks that slow the hiring process. Bottlenecks frustrate candidates and increase time to hire. 

So, how can you promote quality relationships between your recruiters and hiring managers? 

  1. Encourage frequent, effective communication at every step of the process. At many organizations, this isn’t happening—which isn’t surprising, considering the statistics above from the Bersin report. “The lack of communication between recruiters and hiring managers is the biggest challenge we have in the industry—period,” Steve Lowisz, CEO of recruiting and recruitment research firm Qualigence International, told SHRM.  

  1. Take steps to build trust and agreement. Have recruiters and hiring managers meet face to face in an effort to establish themselves as partners working together toward a singular goal: making quality hires in an efficient manner. As part of this, recruiters and hiring managers should agree upon written expectations for the relationship and how they’re going to work together. Doing so will help them stay on the same page, especially since both will have documentation to refer to.             
  1. Have them hold process improvement meetings. Recruiters and hiring managers should hold occasional meetings to evaluate how they can work together more efficiently and more effectively. For example, they can examine if the recruiters have been sending along the right quantities and types of candidates to the hiring manager for interviews.                                                                                                               
  1. Use modern talent acquisition software. Software will help recruiters and hiring managers stay organized by consolidating candidate and job information, and will prevent communication breakdowns by using notifications and auto-alerts throughout the process. In fact, recruiters and hiring managers won’t even have to log in to the software to be alerted of an update—smart emails will keep everyone on the same page. So, for example, both recruiters and hiring managers will be aware if changes are made to a job description. Plus, there will be no more giant piles of paper to sift through, which will save time, eliminate frustration and reduce cost. 

Your talent acquisition efforts have a tremendous impact on the future of your company. Don’t let poor or mediocre recruiter/hiring manager relationships spoil that future. 

For more on managing the recruiter/hiring manager relationship, and to learn other important steps for improving your hiring, read our new article -

4 Key Steps to Successful  Talent Acquisition

Tags: recruiter, hiring manager, talent acquisition

Putting the Training Wheels in Motion - Five tips to help launch an effective Learning Management & Employee Development Program

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Tue, Jun, 07, 2016 @ 10:06 AM

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Are you considering implementing a formalized employee development program? It is an investment that’s likely to pay off. Organizations with a career development program in place enjoy up to 250 percent higher productivity. And the benefits don’t stop there. Reduced turnover, higher employee engagement levels, increased innovation and improved risk management are some of the additional benefits companies realize when they implement a formal training and career development program. Training also serves as a recruiting tool – you’re more likely to attract and keep good employees if you offer them development opportunities. 

If your company doesn’t have a training and development program in place, it may seem daunting to get started. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are five basics to keep in mind as you work to implement an effective and efficient employee training and development solution in your organization. 

1. Consider it an investment

There is a tendency among business owners and executives to view employee training as an optional expense — and that mindset can prove very costly to your organization in the long run. The moment you think of employee development and training as just another expenditure, you’ll neglect it. Instead, think of it as an investment that can prove extremely valuable for the long-term success and growth of your organization.  

2. Remember you’re planning a program, not an event

A training program is more than just a series of unrelated courses or workshops. It should reflect your organization’s goals, as well as the needs of your staff. What's important is that your staff training program has some reason behind its structure. An unrelated series of presentations or activities might have some value, but it will benefit neither the staff nor the organization as much as a training program that forms a coherent whole. Spend the time to outline and flesh-out your course offering, aligning it with your business needs and goals. Document the desired outcomes of each course and determine how you will measure and track those outcomes. 

3. Involve your staff

Make a point to involve staff members in the planning and implementation of your training program. The people who actually do the work are usually in the best position to figure out what their needs are. Ask questions, gather input, and structure training opportunities that meet employees where they are and take them where they want or need to go. Training breeds commitment, and committed employees are happier and more productive. 

4. Incorporate the basics - but don’t stop there

Companies often decide to implement a training program to address compliance matters (think OSHA or Department of Labor), manage risk ((think sexual harassment and diversity training), and/or professional certification or credential tracking (think nurses, teachers or commercial truck drivers) – and these are certainly areas that benefit from a formalized approach to training. Job function training is another common (and worthy) goal of an employee training program.  

As you plan your training program, consider broadening it into a full-fledged employee development program. Think of training as a retention tool, helping to instill loyalty and commitment from employees. One idea would be to offer career development courses, enabling employees to prepare themselves for promotion. Staff will be more likely to stay if you offer them ways to learn and grow while at your company. Don't give them a reason to move on by letting them stagnate once they've mastered initial tasks.  

5. Leverage technology

A training and development initiative won’t succeed if it isn’t easy to maintain. Companies often rely on spreadsheets, Word documents and calendar reminders to track employee training. Usually these programs were initiated when the company was much smaller, or was training fewer individuals. A disjointed system like this requires administrators to enter data in multiple locations, making reporting, analytics and data sharing virtually impossible. While this may work when your training needs are minimal, as you grow this system becomes overly labor intensive. 

Employee training, with the myriad of details to be tracked, is an ideal candidate for automation. Not long ago, learning management software was only within financial reach of the largest companies. But now, there are affordable learning management solutions accessible to small and mid-sized companies. Give your initiative the best chance of succeeding by establishing an easy to manage infrastructure that’s both scalable and accessible. 

Interested in more suggestions for launching an effective employee training and development program?

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