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I’ve been talking a lot about where HR is headed this year, which is important so we can prepare ourselves appropriately. However, what about now? What can we fix right now? It has occurred to me that there are some basic precepts in Talent Acquisition (TA) that practitioners are not tending to. This advice emanates from conversations I have had with several jobseekers about their hiring experiences of late. If you are doing committing any of these hiring crimes, please fix it immediately.
- Asking the candidate for information in bits and pieces. Every company has necessary information they need in order to make a formal offer. In case you were unaware, candidates are as busy as you are. They don’t have time to be going back and forth with you about what you need. Create a checklist or some sort of system for the jobs you hire for to ensure you account for all of the items you need to collect from a prospective hire. To commit this crime is to annoy your candidate and to give the impression that your company works haphazard manner.
- Not allowing your new hires to give adequate notice. If the candidate has to wait several weeks to get through your pre-hire process, you can wait the two to three weeks they need to give their current employer adequate notice of their departure. If you expect it from your people, you should expect others need to do the same for the companies they are employed by as well.
- Telling prospective hires to give notice before you have fully vetted them. No one has time to be putting in notice with their current employer prior to you vetting them or officially offering them a position- only to be told the position is no longer being offered to them. This is a crime, because you never know what can come up during your pre-offer process to prevent you from hiring them. Will you help them find a new job if it turns out you can’t hire them? Probably not. It is never advisable to say anything to a current employer, until a prospective hire is fully vetted and given an official offer letter. Make sure your TA people aren’t telling candidates to do this.
- Ridiculously long applications. When’s the last time you looked at your application? Do you really need to know things like: when a person was divorced or where a deceased family member lived? These examples are just a few of the growing list of ridiculous questions asked on applications. Unless you are a federal, state or civil service agency, you should not have a 50 page application. Even within those agencies, there are often times redundancies in terms of information they solicit during the hiring process. Some advice, take a look at your application and gather only the information you absolutely need to make both a legal and practical hire.
- Requiring candidates to incur costs in advance of their employment. A candidate I know was recently asked to send passport photos to her prospective employer (which was previously made available to the employer and lost.) The loss of the photos caused this person to have to purchase a new set of photos and pay for overnight delivery to a state agency. This was a burdensome cost for the candidate. My advice to employers is: you require it, you pay for it. Many candidates are in tough financial spots and cannot afford to pay a dollar more than what it may cost them to get to the interview and back. Do your best to eliminate economic and financial hurdles for them to overcome while trying to become employed by your company.
These are just a few instances in which the actions of your Talent Acquisition staff could be undermining your hiring efforts. I provide this advice not to point the finger, but to shed light on an area where we need to do better as a discipline. When I worked as a Talent Acquisition Specialist, my focus was to put the right people to work as quickly as possible. As a TA Specialist or Recruiter, you have to be dedicated to making every step in the hiring process as painless as possible. You make it so by letting people know what they can expect and removing unnecessary hurdles from their path to becoming an employee.
For more insights on this topic, click here to hop over to “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel.
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Yesterday, I was on a show called: Drive Thru HR with two of my friends/colleagues (check out the replay here). We had the chance to discuss what we see as necessary qualities for today’s Recruiters and Talent Acquisition professionals. There’s no question that there has been a shift from when I started over 10 years ago. If you speak to the average jobseeker (and this includes candidates internal to your organization) – that shift isn’t exactly a positive one. It appears that as technology improved the quality of Recruitment has decreased. The opposite should be true; but alas it isn’t and people are fed-up.
I have a few friends in the market looking for new work. As such, I have become the go-to gal for all ridiculous Recruiter stories and antics. While I am rarely shocked, I am often disappointed. For this reason, I am listing the essential qualities that I believe make a Recruiter successful.
1) Jobseeker Advocacy- I am always stunned by the Recruiter that doesn’t get that it is their job to advocate for their candidates. It may be a sore spot for me, because I worked in staffing once upon a time- where everything from your paycheck to your performance depended on your ability to find talent and get them working as soon as possible. Hiring managers look to the TA professional or Recruiter for guidance on the candidate landscape and market. As a Recruiter, it is not only your job to snatch up the best candidates; but it is also your job to advocate for the ones that have the potential to be a great hires. You’re probably thinking- well doesn’t everyone have potential? The answer is “it depends”. However, there are times when the hiring manager wants what they want and despite their stubbornness you have to be courageous enough to advocate for your people; so your qualified applicants have a fair chance at being evaluated. I have advocated for candidates that were not necessarily the hiring managers first choice; but they were the best qualified and it turned out beautifully.
2) Understanding the Need– Too often, I hear about Recruiters engaging jobseekers without fully understanding the job they are recruiting for. Not only does it make the recruiter look ridiculous, but it is also a poor reflection on the company. How can you expect the candidate to get excited when you can’t answer basic questions about the position? Last I checked, the first thing a recruiter needs to do is to sit with the hiring manager and understand what they need . The next step is to do your own independent research about the position to add to what you already know. The moral of the story here is: know what you’re recruiting for and stop trying to herd jobseekers like you would cats.
3) Humility– We have all been in a position to look for new employment at one point or another. The Recruitment Process is not the place for a power trip. Often times, people are at their lowest when they are coming in for an interview- especially at the entry-level. Anything you can do to make them feel at ease-so they can put their best foot forward is advisable. Treat candidates as you would want to be treated.
4) Setting Expectations- Recruiters are busy. Nobody gets that more than I do. That being said, help yourself and the candidate by letting them know what to expect in the beginning-so they don’t have to constantly bug you for status updates. If you do this and there are still complaints, you can at least rest easy at night knowing you attempted to provide some guidance to your candidates for what they should expect during the hiring process. If candidates know what to expect they will be less inclined to stalk you for answers.
5) Get Out There- I don’t care how much Social Recruiting you do- it is no substitution for getting out of the office and out to events to meet with potential candidates. In my previous life, I was often the only Recruiter willing to go to events, job fairs and the like. Some of my co-workers were reluctant to do so relying only on internet sourcing to fill positions. To each their own, but it is almost blasphemous to be a Recruiter and not want to be out and about networking. Step away from the screen and get out to an event. It allows people to connect with you in person rather than the normal channel of applying online.
We all get busy or forget to follow-up from time-to-time. However, these should not be the defining a whole industry such as Recruitment. As with any job, the focus for Recruiters should be to deliver a consistent and quality experience. Your reputation and your company’s reputation depends on it.
As the calendar flips over to the months of November and December, our minds inevitably drift to holiday shopping. Recruiters are preparing their shopping lists now for the hiring that is sure to begin (budgets willing!) come January. Taking advantage of the slower pace of business, recruiters need to capture the attention of candidates who may find themselves with a little more free time over the holidays to do some job shopping.
If you’ve ever shopped online (and come on, who hasn’t?), then you understand the value of the “Quick View” feature. It’s not a laziness factor that stops us from going to another page to get the full details of the product. It’s more of a convenience factor. You can easily click on the Quick View option and still get detailed information like the colors the item comes in and whether your size is available. Quick View makes it even more convenient to find what you want quickly and easily.
Where am I going with this?
As many of you know, I am on a quest to find HR technology vendors who are finding unique ways to solve HR problems. As such, I recently stumbled across a new company called Match-Click. If you haven’t yet heard of this company, you likely will soon. In a nutshell, the company is taking the concept of the “Quick View,” enhancing it by adding video and applying it to the recruiting process.
Launched in June of this year, the start-up is quickly spreading the word about its ability to help companies move beyond those staid job board listings to market their positions using short and sweet videos. Like the Quick View feature, the videos (three for each job posting) give candidates a brief look at the salient details of the job – who they will be working with and what the culture of the company is like. It’s a unique way to browse before buying, if you will.
What I found most interesting is that these aren’t your typical lengthy, high-production corporate videos. Instead, these videos are made by the hiring manager and a couple of co-workers using whatever recording device they happen to have on hand, whether that is a mobile phone or a webcam. It’s real, it’s authentic, and it recognizes what we are all short on – time – by keeping the videos blissfully short.
As those who follow me regularly understand, I am in support of HR technology companies who are delivering products that find practical and distinctive ways to help HR practitioners perform their work more efficiently. No copycats, no replicas. Now, I’m not saying that Match-Click is the be-all and end-all solution for recruiters and companies, but what Match-Click does – help companies grab the attention of job shoppers and “just browsers” alike – it does well.
What Match-Click is doing is giving companies an innovative and cool tool to attract interest – to a job, to a company, to the people who work there. It is always challenging to capture the attention of candidates, but compelling content and useful information go a long way. Whether it is an active candidate, a passive candidate or a candidate somewhere in between, the brief, personal videos offer a no-obligation peek into a job. The site also lists the typical information you’d expect – job requirements, day-to-day responsibilities, benefits, etc. The candidate then gets to decide if they want to invest more of their time to apply for the job.
Want to know more about Match-Click and just how easy they are making it to attract attention to your job postings? Visit them on the web at: http://www.match-click.com/
Do you know about an innovative product or service that is making HR practitioners’ jobs easier? Tell me about it and I just might give it a test drive, too!
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Depending on who you speak to there is a talent war and every employer should be gathering up their troops to battle for the best and brightest. While I don’t disagree that there are still some highly sought after professionals that are hard to get to particularly in technical fields- I don’t see this said talent shortage/war being true in general.
What I have seen is great talent who are no longer passive but now actively open to any and all conversations surrounding new opportunities. I see those top performers as ready to have conversations about their next move, but employers being ill-equipped to receive them.
What do I mean?
This means that many of the employers speaking about the talent shortage are really spreading workforce propaganda and are in fact the root of the problem when it comes to the talent discussion. All employers want the best and brightest at their company, yet not all of them are diligent enough in how they attract, assess, develop and retain that talent. They want the finest selection of talent but are only willing to offer up salary, development, and benefits that don’t begin to compensate or reward the efforts of quality professionals.
There are various types of workers needed to keep your organization afloat. You have the top performers who will do what they are expected and offer up ideas, skills, and abilities above and beyond what you ask of them. These are your current and future leaders. You have your operational kinds that will be on time do what is asked of them and nothing more. They’re not overly concerned about upward mobility or development-just pay them for an honest day’s work and you will have them for the long haul. Lastly, you have those that will do less than what you expect and require a lot of hand-holding. These are the people that do just enough to keep you off their backs, but are not adding much to your workforce in terms of engagement and productivity.
When you think about what you want the makeup of your employee ecosystem to be- it isn’t likely that you want to attract or retain the latter kind of professional. Everyone is aiming for the best! You want those professionals that are self-motivated, productive, and ready to push the company agenda ahead.
Return on Effort
While it’s great that you are clear on what you want- are you as clear on what will attract and retain what you seek? The talent is there. They are open to conversation and helping you solve your business problems, but it comes at a price. Just as you expect ROI on your investments in them; they expect that you provide opportunities for growth, benefits, fair market value pay in return for their efforts. It’s called “return on effort”. This is where you get what you need from the employee and you in turn provide proper remuneration for their deliverables.
Do you have the budget or resources to garner the talent you seek? This is an important consideration for all businesses. If the answer is “yes”, your only worries is the strategy in getting and keeping them. If “no”, you have both a budget concern and work to do in terms of figuring out how you fairly and equitably distribute what you can; plus continuing to attract and retain talent despite a shortfall. This is not an easy task, but it may require you to be honest with current employees as well as new hires as to what you can really offer. Some may still join or remain with you through the struggle and others may flee. The point is it’s time employers stop selling grown adults on ideals and fluff that may never come to fruition.
Be cognizant of what you can offer as an employer and admit your shortcomings. Talent gaps and shortage may be real, but it isn’t the full story.
How will you rework your talent strategy in 2014 and beyond? Let me know how I can help?