Two Essential Components of a Positive Candidate Experience

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Thu, Apr, 06, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

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What is the candidate experience, and why does it really matter?

Recruiting.com defines the candidate experience as the series of interactions that a job seeker has with your company throughout the recruiting process. These interactions include any communication that a candidate receives from your brand messaging, software systems and/or employees.

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 a 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 cracksin 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. 

For more tips on improving your candidate experiece and overall recruiting success, check out our webinar recording: 

Game Changing Strategies to Elevate Your Recruiting Success 

View Recording 

 

Tags: candidates, candidate experience, applicant experience, Hiring, recruiting

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

Implementing a New ATS? Follow These 5 Tips.

Posted by James Bellew on Thu, Feb, 16, 2017 @ 08:02 AM

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Selecting a  quality applicant tracking system (ATS) that meets your needs is critical for improving your talent acquisition process and results. But if you don’t implement it successfully, even the right ATS technology won’t be much help.  

In this post, we provide five tips that will help you successfully implement a new ATS, enabling you to both get the most value and avoid headaches.  

1. Check vendor references BEFORE negotiating and signing a contract. As part of this reference checking, be sure to ask about the implementation experience. A few questions you might consider asking include:

  1. How difficult was implementation?
  2. How well did the ATS integrate with other software? (This is particularly helpful if the reference uses other software you also use.)
  3. How helpful was the provider with implementation?
  4. What suggestions do the references have based on their implementation experience?

2. Carefully prepare for implementation, including deciding which data to bring over from your old ATS. There’s a famous quotation by Benjamin Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Avoid unnecessary implementation problems by being prepared and organized. An important part of this is determining which data you will bring over from your old ATS, and which you won’t. The amount of data you bring over often impacts the length of your implementation process.

3. Test your new ATS. Ensure that it meets your specifications and expectations. Verify you’re getting what you’re paying for—that your new ATS lives up to what you’ve been promised and seen during demos. As part of this, ensure the ATS integrates properly with other software you use. Lackluster integration is a common source of frustration. Don’t let it happen to you.

4. Get users trained fully and effectively on the ATS. This includes recruiters and hiring managers, but also others who will be using it. Ensure they know how to use features and functionality that are important for getting the most value from your new ATS. Those great reporting capabilities don’t do much good if users don’t know they exist, or don’t know how to access or use them.

5. Keep refining after beginning use. Take advantage of valuable updates the provider makes to your ATS. Especially with best-in-class ATSs, taking advantage of new capabilities is key to getting more value. Additionally, give existing users training refreshers as necessary, and ensure new users are trained fully.

Follow these tips. They should help your organization implement your ATS successfully, and help you get great results from the start. 

Are you considering changing to a new ATS? Before you make such an important decision, download “5 Questions to Ask When Switching Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).It will help you make a smart decision. 

 

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

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