Mark Jackson

Recent Posts

How the Right Applicant Tracking System Improves Candidate Experience

Posted by Mark Jackson on Thu, May, 11, 2017 @ 13:05 PM

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According to a recent report from Software Advice, nearly 26% of recruiters said using an applicant tracking system is one of the top contributing factors for applicants having a good candidate experience. A good applicant tracking system allows your company to guide every candidate through your hiring process from beginning to end with ease. Unfortunately, not every company can take advantage of this streamlining, and it costs them money and candidates. And of course, some systems are better than others. So as always, it’s important to ask the right questions about your applicant tracking system to see if it’s your process or your software that’s making your organization’s candidate experience terrible.

 Is your ATS simple?

A good ATS is simple and to the point. It helps guide applicants through the process, and makes it as easy as possible. At its best, an applicant tracking system is invisible. The last thing you want your ATS to do is to be overcomplicated, confusing and an extremely long process for the candidate, making applicants focus on the how of application process rather than the why. A recent study showed that almost 49% of candidates think extremely long applications were a major deterrent to applying for the position. If your applicant tracking system makes applying more complicated than it should be, drop it. A great ATS should be as easy to navigate as a consumer website, why isn’t yours?

Tweet This: 49% of candidates think extremely long applications were a major deterrent.

Is it Effective?

In order to have the best candidate experience, your ATS needs to do what it sets out to. For your applicant tracking system to be effective, here’s what it needs to have: requisition management, automated workflow, applicant-facing tools, pre-screening, scoring and compliance. Analyzing your current situation, your job posts, and how your ATS feeds into the rest of your hiring process can allow you to improve every part of hiring, but only if your ATS can deliver on its part of the bargain. If you feel like you have to work around your applicant tracking system instead of with it, it’s not effective. Once every element of your hiring (including your ATS) works in harmony, every part of your hiring will end up benefiting. Ask your new hires how they feel about your applicant tracking system and be ready to process their honest answers.

Tweet This: For your applicant tracking system to be effective, here’s what it needs to have:

Is it convenient?

Have you ever been to the hospital, reached the front desk to tell someone your emergency, then, once you finally reach the emergency room, the nurse asks you what’s wrong? And then, once the doctor finally comes to check on you, they also ask you what’s wrong? It’s frustrating to have to repeat yourself, especially when you’re in need of dire care. When something like this happens, all you can think to yourself is, “are these people even talking to each other?” It’s incredibly frustrating annoying, and while hospitals may have their reasons for the lack of communication, the amount of time they waste in treating a patient is all the same. 

Why treat your candidates the same way? After being questioned so many times about who they are and what they do and having to fill in the same information over and over, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your candidates are dropping out. A recent study showed that companies saw a drop out rate as high as 48% because of a complicated applicant process. Don’t do this to your candidates. It will decrease your talent pool and give you bad reputation as an employer. You need every advantage you can get as an employer looking for talent, and anything keeping you from top talent needs to go.

Tweet This: Companies saw drop out rates as high as 48% because of complicated ATS processes. 

If your current ATS isn’t your company’s standards for hiring and it doesn’t make anything easier for the candidate it may be time to look into a new solution. Your ATS is a key part of your hiring process, so don’t let your current one cost you candidates and your company money. Instead, a good applicant tracking system should expand your talent pool by giving your candidates the most optimal experience. Not sure where to look? Visibility Software’s applicant tracking system is a great place to start.

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Tags: candidate experience, applicant tracking system, ATS, cloud based ATS, recruiting software

The Real Value of an Employee Development and Training Strategy

Posted by Mark Jackson on Fri, Apr, 28, 2017 @ 12:04 PM

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The Real Value of an Employee Development and Training Strategy

Many organizations that we speak with tell us that while they understand the value of employee training and development, they aren’t certain they need a formal learning management program to deliver, track and manage that training. Many of these organizations track the training they do provide in spreadsheets or even with paper files. While we can agree that any approach is better than no approach, learning management programs are ideal candidates for automation. There are big benefits to be realized from standardizing processes and automating the workflow surrounding employee training, and here we take a look at just a few of those benefits. 

Aids retention

Studies tell us that 40 percent of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year, citing the lack of skills training and development as the principal reason for moving on. Employee development and training programs help employees feel invested in their jobs and in their organizations. A well-established program ensures that employees continue to feel motivated to advance their own careers within the company, as well as to advance the company’s mission, rather than turning elsewhere for new opportunities. 

Attracts job seekers

An organization that has a standardized employee development plan reassures job seekers that the company is invested in their long-term success and advancement within the organization. Applicants are less likely to invest themselves in a company that doesn’t show the same commitment in return. A recent Bersin study noted, “Companies with career management programs are better able to attract and retain top talent, leading to higher employee engagement and, in turn, a positive impact on the bottom line.” 

Automates manual processes

If your training requirements are modest, it may be tempting to continue to use the collection of spreadsheets to track course offerings, registrations and certification renewals, but by deploying a smart learning management solution, you can dramatically reduce the overhead involved, saving money and driving efficiency. From automatic reminders to employees and their supervisors, to enrollment tracking and training reimbursement request handling, through an automated approval workflow, a dedicated learning management solution can generate a rapid and significant return on investment.   

Promotes consistency

With formalized training, you can be certain that vital functions and tasks are taught in a consistent, precise manner, ensuring that all employees receive the same information. You can of course develop your own training in house, but most organizations rely at least in part, on professionally-produced training courses. Depending upon the specific training provided, the value of such consistency may vary from improved productivity to reduced liability for the company. 

Streamlines compliance

From sexual harassment awareness training, OSHA-mandated safety training, through business ethics – it’s not just that proper training is the right thing to do, training protects your company from potentially devastating law suits and fines. A learning management solution helps ensure employees (and you as the employer) are in compliance with job requirements and the law. The software can track certification expirations, courses due, and notifications and accreditation requirements, helping maintain strict compliance and protecting both you and your employees. 

It makes financial sense

Increased revenue is a common goal across many organizations, and investing in employee training to support that goal makes financial sense. For example: 

  • The Cheesecake Factory invests an average of $2000 annually per employee on training. The chain enjoys sales of $1000 per square foot, almost double the restaurant industry average. 
  • Payroll provider ADP coaches some sales associates on managing virtual teams and time management. Those that participate had an average of seven percent growth in sales. 
  • Motorola has found that every dollar invested on training can yield as much as a 30 percent gain in productivity within three years, which has helped them cut costs by $3 billion and increase profits by 47 percent. 

For more in-depth tips on taking employee learning and development to the next level, check out our Best Practices Guide – 3 Steps to Achieve Talent Development that Drives Organizational Success

 

Tags: LMS, learning management system, Employee Training, employee development, learning management solution, talent development

Succession Planning: The Core Issue of Leadership Failings

Posted by Mark Jackson on Wed, Mar, 22, 2017 @ 10:03 AM

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An organizational succession plan should always have a plan B. It is one of the biggest problems for any business and a core issue for leadership. Succession planning is like an insurance plan for the survival of your business. So it stands to reason then, that if you don’t have a succession plan, you can’t ensure that your business will survive after your resignation. The good news is, it’s never too late to start the development of a succession plan. All you and your team have to do is answer a few questions and write the plan to set it in motion once it’s needed.

Succession planning was recently identified as one of the top three immediate HR issues that needed to be dealt with (Bersin and Associates). It’s no easy task however, and as it becomes a higher priority as Baby Boomers enter retirement (3.6 million baby boomers were expected to retire this year) it’s of growing importance to be able to answer these questions. 

  1. How many people will be leaving the organization - both voluntarily and involuntarily - over the next 5-7 years?
    The youngest Baby Boomers turn 50 this year and are preparing to retire. Your organization has to be ready for the retirement or removal of key players to the team. The maturing age group makes up 13% of the American population, and that could mean a large percentage of employees retiring from your organization.

  1. What skill sets will those employees who are leaving take with them?
    In preparation for several key members to leave the organization, understand what their positions are. Detail job descriptions accordingly so the team can adjust functionally and culturally for the impending change.

  1. Will we recruit externally or promote from within to fill those gaps?
    A vast majority of organizations - 77% of them - realize the significance of internally recruiting candidates for promotion. However, even though so many understand this key fact, 54% do less than one-third of their recruitment from within the organization. Take into account the financial responsibility of committing to an external recruitment plan and if that’s a risk your organization is willing to take. While internal recruitment strategies may save the budget, external recruitment can bring life and fresh ideas into the office.

  1. What’s going on outside the organization that could affect my ability to recruit the employees we need?
    Pay attention to economic and employment trends. Mass layoffs and the size of college graduating classes are just two examples that can have an impact on how your team formulates a recruitment strategy.

  1. Where is the supply of candidates going to come from?
    Your career page, job boards, and social job advertisement all have a part in recruitment strategies. What do they have in common? They are all on the internet. Online recruiting can save companies as much as 50% in cost-per-hire.

  1. Where will our company be in 3-5 years, and what does that mean for the type of people we will need to recruit?
    Projecting your organizational needs as well as employee needs can help decide the future of your team. This can help your recruitment team determine which niche job boards it will be best to post job openings to. 

  2. What type of training opportunities do we need to provide to ensure our current employees develop the skills we need?
    As the Baby Boomers enter retirement, the Millennials are entering professional employment. That means, your organization will need to prepare the training programs set in place appropriately. Because 40% of Millennials are interested in careers that allow for growth and accomplishment, training programs need to determine a career path.

Now that you’ve asked all of these questions, do you have a backup plan? Your succession plan is dependent upon how thorough the questions are answered so your organization can be prepared from A to Z when a key team player leaves the company. Give your team the tools they need to keep the organization thriving as Baby Boomers retire. They have big shoes to fill and with a succession plan, it will be much simpler for your team to compensate for any gaps in the team.

To learn more about developing an effective succession and career pathing process check out our Best Practices Guide-

"3 Steps To Achieve Talent Development That Drives Organizational Success"

 

Tags: Leadership, Succession Planning, training management, talent development, recruiting strategy, career pathing

The Evolving Role of Recruiters

Posted by Mark Jackson on Fri, Mar, 03, 2017 @ 11:03 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 game-changing strategies that will dramatically improve your recruiting process, register below for webinar on March 7th, 2017 at 2:00 pm EST:

Game Changing Strategies to Elevate Your Recruiting Success

Tags: candidate experience, recruiter, applicant experience, Hiring, recruiting, recruiting strategy

Selecting Your New ATS: Best-in-Class or End-to-End?

Posted by Mark Jackson on Tue, Jan, 31, 2017 @ 14:01 PM

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One of the most important choices employers face when deciding on a new applicant tracking system is: Do we want a best-in-class (aka best-of-breed) solution, or an ATS that’s part of an end-to-end system? 

It’s an important choice because best-in-class solutions and end-to-end systems have clear advantages. If you make the right choice for your particular needs, there’s a good chance you’ll be happy with the ATS you select. Conversely, if you make the wrong choice, you’re much less likely to be happy to be satisfied with your new ATS. 

Below are primers on understanding best-in-class ATSs versus ATSs that are part of end-to-end systems. 

Primer on Best-in-Class ATSs

These ATSs are dedicated to best-in-class performance and user experience. They integrate with other software solutions that manage post-hire needs, such as training and payroll. 

The advantages of using best-of-breed ATSs include:

  • Greater innovation and more dynamic—potentially creating a competitive advantage
  • Easier to specialize and customize
  • More rapid upgrades

Primer on ATSs That Are Part of End-to-End Systems

End-to-end systems (aka “suites”) are when individual vendors provide all of your HR technology needs, from recruiting software to training to payroll. The ATS is one component of the end-to-end system you use. 

The advantages of using end-to-end systems include:

  • Simplicity
  • Only one vendor
  • Few, if any, integrations required

Which Is the Better Choice?

In recent years, there has been much discussion and debate about whether best-in-class or end-to-end systems are better. It’s a debate without a winner to date. In fact, according to a 2016 Ernst & Young HR technology survey, the percentage of organizations that use best-in-class software is roughly the same as those that use an end-to-end system. 

As noted earlier, however, making the right choice for your particular needs is highly important. For example, if you’re having trouble sourcing and hiring the talent you need, moving to a high-quality best-of-breed system—thanks to greater innovation and customizability—could be a difference-maker. 

The Rise of Easier Integration

One of the biggest HR technology developments in recent years is that integration has become much easier. In fact, more and more best-of-breed software products are even offering a variety of plug-in integrations with other best-of-breed software. Analyst Ward Christman told TrustRadius, “I'm seeing a huge shift towards partnering to meet customer and market needs. This path is becoming easier thanks to better standards and connectivity via APIs and data interchange hubs, with additional ‘alliance building’ resources coming soon to support this need for collaboration.” 

Another analyst, Bryan Wempen, added, “I don't feel like a shift from specialized to suites is happening, actually just the opposite. I see specialization as the trend with a focus on features for interpretation of data and analytics about everything talent.” 

It will be interesting to see if improved integration impacts the best-in-class vs. end-to-end system debate. 

Considering a new ATS? Be sure to download “5 Questions to Ask When Switching Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).” It will help you select the right ATS for your needs, and implement it successfully.  

 

Tags: applicant tracking system, ATS, recruiting, integrated recruiting system, cloud based applicant tracking system, cloud based ATS