Archive for the ‘corporate recruiting’ category

The Newest Trend in Applicant Tracking Systems

May 29th, 2014

Responsive is the newest trend for applicant tracking systems.

Today’s workforces are freer to work from anywhere they want to work. Employers expect people to be productive while on the move, which requires technology that empowers people to work from anywhere in the world, on whatever device they choose. As a result, workers are fueling the demand for mobile solutions. Employers must respond with responsive products. These platforms understand what screen size is being used to access the platform. Responsive platforms automatically provide context and will appropriately juxtapose the right data being displayed, with the right controls, on any device and on any browser, at speeds we’ve never experienced before.

If a vendor has no plans for creating a responsive version of their applicant tracking system in the next 6-12 months, this should be a huge red flag. 

When it comes to selecting an applicant tracking system, however, many organizations fail to ask the right questions. Employers have traditionally treated the hiring software selection process as a feature comparison—a static selection methodology that often ignores the most critical factor for success: user engagement. Without user engagement employers cannot expect to gain agility, collaboration, and efficiency from their hiring platform. Employers must understand each vendor’s mobile strategy before selecting a product.

Download and share the free Applicant Tracking System Trend Report to learn more.

Are You Hiring The Top Minds of a New Generation?

May 9th, 2014

hiring millenialsIt’s only natural to want to hire the cream of the crop for your company, and this typically means that you will want to focus your recruitment efforts on the top college graduates every year to fill your ongoing workplace needs.

However, today’s top students are becoming increasingly aware of their value to businesses and are interested in better incentives and attention from potential employers. You may need to adjust your approach to ensure that you have a good shot at hiring the top minds of the new generation.

Give College Graduates Plenty of Feedback and Opportunities to Grow

By 2015, some 60% of all available job opportunities will require the skill and knowledge of just 20% of the applicant pool, noted Kathryn Dill in a recent piece at Forbes. She cited statistics from the “Class of 2014: Your Next Generation of Top Talent” survey from Achievers, a company that develops employee engagement applications.

The survey shows that graduates are searching for firms that will provide them with an opportunity to grow in their field, along with plenty of feedback and rewards.

To meet their needs, Dill recommends that hiring managers offer immediate evaluations on a regular basis. Millennial workers are typically staying in jobs for 18 months on average, which means it will do you no good to drag your heels when evaluating their progress and potential.

Increase Use of Social Media in Recruitment

More and more college students and graduates are coming to rely on social media such as Facebook and Twitter to navigate their job opportunities. You should increase your social presence both to advertise the virtues of your company and its culture and to meet potential candidates where they are spending more of their time—online.

A recent report by Srikanth An at ShoutMeLoud notes the importance of using LinkedIn when you are searching for the best available young talent.

A good step is to add every member of your staff to your company’s LinkedIn page to help you establish more second- and third-tier connections to potential recruits.

Be More Accepting of Eccentric and Creative Individuals

Managers may ask HR to find more workers who “think outside the box,” but the eccentric personalities of creative individuals sometimes prevent a recruiter from seeing the value they can bring, notes a recent report by Stephen Glasskeys at Forbes.

Glasskeys cited the examples of self-taught film auteurs Paul T. Anderson and Quentin Tarantino. Although these individuals might have unusual habits and appear unusual (unkempt hair and messy clothing), they have become experts in their field and deliver world-class results.

By embracing unusual people during the recruitment process, you improve the likelihood of finding the most talented minds available in your industry.

Hiring to Address Your Company’s Weaknesses

April 11th, 2014

As a hiring manager, you and your staff may be more accustomed to recruit and hire new people primarily to bolster the strength of your organization. However, in some cases you need to focus on hiring to address your company’s weaknesses.

In fact, the very act of admitting that you lack certain skills is the first and toughest step to take when preparing to expand your team, according to a recent article at Fast Company by Steven Sinofsky. He cited the example of a fleet management company whose cofounders had expertise in engineering and design.

While the founders were excellent at developing hardware and software, they soon realized that they lacked professional business experience when the time came to tell their story to the news media. This realization led them to hire experts to help them plan ahead and define the roles and responsibilities required to expand their operations. They were hiring to address their firm’s weaknesses head on.

China’s emergence as a dominant original equipment manufacturer or OEM was the subject of a recent post at ClarkMorgan by d.lightdesign’s senior human resource manager Harry Wang. The firm’s social enterprise mission is to make and distribute solar power and light products throughout the developing world.

dumbbell-742370-mWhile building a technical staff, Wang determined that it would be impossible to find “perfect individuals.” The people he was interviewing showed a gap between those with hard technical skills and technicians who had softer skills. Accordingly, Wang decided to make a conscious effort to hire people with a diverse set of skills. The result was a team of workers who possessed complementary weaknesses and strengths and was better situated to achieve the company’s goals.

Writing for LinkedIn, Dave Kerpen, the CEO of Likeable Local proposed that instead of trying to get rid of our weaknesses, that instead hiring managers should embrace weaknesses for what they are. This will enable them to leverage the associated strengths that come with each “weakness.”

He provided a list of 16 common weaknesses faced by organizations, including “disorganized,” “inflexible” and “unrealistic.” He then paired this list with their corresponding qualities. While it may seem to be a weakness when an employee is disorganized, Kerpen notes that the employee may turn out to be one of your most creative people. A person branded as inflexible also has the quality of being highly organized, noted Kerpen. Likewise, you can view an unrealistic member of your team as being one of your most positive employees who can do wonders for morale.

It’s not always easy for the key decision makers at an organization to admit to the existence of any weakness, but the sooner you accept the realities of your workplace, the sooner you can take the steps you need to address any deficiencies.

Finding the Hiring Balance Between Fit and Fact

March 10th, 2014

balanceWhen making the decision about whether to hire one promising job candidate over another, it may be tricky for you to strike a good balance between the facts about each individual and how well it seems that they will fit in your company culture.

Recruiters and hiring managers may be reluctant to rely on the hiring model of using only data, resumes, an applicant tracking system and referrals to make a primarily fact-based decision. They recognize the importance of intangibles, such as ensuring that each new hire will work well with existing teams and will be a good representative of the corporation’s culture.

However, striving for a good fit instead of emphasizing the facts about an applicant’s skills, knowledge and experience can lead to an atmosphere of fraternity and sorority-style hazing, notes a recent Forbes article by Micah Solomon that points out the pitfalls of peer assessments. He cited the example of companies such as Whole Foods, where coworkers vote on whether to retain a new hire after a 30- to 90-day probationary period. You run the risk of only hiring “people like us”, which can lead to reduced diversity.

When the company is populated by a core group of initial hires who made it through the early tough days of the startup period, they may function like immune system antibodies “that attack outsiders who bring in new ideas or methodologies,” notes Barry Schuler in a recent Inc. article.

While you may have achieved great success with your founding employees pulling all-nighters, you run the risk of missing out on a great candidate who has a family at home but is just as talented, if not more so than those who burn the candle at both ends. Schuler suggests that companies build a counterculture to help them develop a diverse melting pot of new employees.

However, you have the power to strike a good balance between fit and fact in the hiring process. Begin by examining your corporate culture, recommends Rhonda Ness in a recent article at Insperity. This will help you determine what makes people want to work at your organization. Details that make up the “sizzle” of your corporate culture and attract candidates include corporate size, benefits, work schedules, and dress code.

You will also want to convey your corporate culture to applicants by crafting detailed job descriptions instead of using generic announcements.

Ness suggests that during the interview process, you should ask applicants what role they played in the team at their last job, and find out how successful they were at working with their colleagues.

Striking the perfect balance between skill set and corporate fit is never going to be an easy task for HR professionals. However, by paying close attention to the messages you send out about your corporate culture and asking better questions during interviews, you will be a lot closer to achieving the right mix for your organization.

Avoid Paying for Bad Hires in 2014

January 23rd, 2014

paying for bad hiresThere’s an old adage in carpentry about how you will benefit if you “measure twice, cut once,” which speaks volumes about the importance of taking your time to do the job right the first time. It also applies to the decisions that you make when recruiting and hiring applicants for jobs at your organization.

Hiring managers need to take their time as they evaluate recruits to avoid paying for bad hires in 2014, as so many companies have done in the past year. Bad hiring decisions can amount to as much as 30 percent of a recruit’s earnings during the first year, notes the U.S. Department of Labor.

What’s more, besides becoming a drag on the company’s profits, a bad hire can reduce your team’s morale and productivity, as fellow employees have to take time out of their day to train a fellow worker who really has no business being at the company.

The cost of bad hires can quickly add up, according to a recent interview with Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos at Business Insider. Bad hires amount to the biggest category of mistakes, costing Zappos in excess of $100 million, said Hsieh.

The Zappos method for avoiding bad hires now includes using two sets of interviews, Hsieh said. The first set is conducted by the hiring manager, to determine if the potential candidate is a good fit for the team in terms of criteria such as relevant experience and technical ability. A second set of interviews serves to make sure that the job applicant fits in well with the company’s culture. People must pass both interviews before they can be hired.

Ultimately, the total costs of making a bad hire can really mount up. There are hiring costs, compensation and the cost of maintaining the employee. Combine this with disruption costs, a severance package and mistakes, missed business opportunities and failures that will wind up costing an organization as much as $840,000, using the example of a second-tier manager earning $62,000 per year who is terminated after 2.5 years, according to statistics provided by the Undercover Recruiter.

Techniques for Avoiding Bad Hires

Hiring managers have a variety of techniques they can implement to avoid making bad hires. For example, it never hurts to prepare “too much.” A great job applicant will do extensive research before coming in for interviews, and hiring managers should do the same. If you’re hiring for a technical position, it’s a good idea to speak with a member of your team who is an expert in the area to get specific advice on questions to ask the recruit, notes a recent article at Linkedin.

See how the applicant treats everyone in your company. Ask the receptionist whether the job seeker treated him or her courteously or rudely. This is a good way to see how candidates will fit in at your business. Combine this insight with any clues you can glean from the recruit’s social media pages, such as Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds.

To see if your candidates are paying attention, Business Insider recommends that recruiters insert an unconventional request in the job application, such as a list of three websites that the candidate often visits. The idea here is that if there is no response or only an incomplete answer, it’s not worth your time to conduct an interview.  By focusing more time on your recruitment techniques, you can avoid having to pay so much for bad hires in 2014.

What Machines Know: Can Algorithms Predict A Career Path?

December 2nd, 2013

Algorithms are quickly shaping and defining our world.

In a TED Talk from 2011, Kevin Slavin points out the algorithms that already affect our daily lives in “How Algorithms Shape Our World.” Most are at least partially aware of how algorithms are used in the stock market–buying and selling at an astronomically fast rate–but may not be fully aware of how heavily they are being used in our culture and day-to-day activities.

The Language of Machines

Physics and programming have begun to track how we work, move, play and shop. Machines are being taught to track our every move, discovering the best ways to sell, advertise and operate with algorithms. Cleaning bots in our house predict the most efficient ways to sweep a room, web history is tracked and searched for our interests and everything from elevators to predicted movie rental sites are being programmed to stay one step ahead of humans in our culture’s capitalist quest for ever-growing convenience, speed and efficiency.

This doesn’t stop with how we purchase–this is heading into the very heart of how we are recruited, hired and promoted. In the article “They’re Watching You at Work,” The Atlantic writer Don Peck writes:

Until quite recently, however, few people seemed to believe this data-driven approach might apply broadly to the labor market. But it now does. According to John Hausknecht, a professor at Cornell’s school of industrial and labor relations, in recent years the economy has witnessed a ‘huge surge in demand for workforce-analytics roles.

From Ivy League to Social Media Analytics

It is common for pedigree to mean something. When an Ivy League graduate with high marks and an impressive resume seeks a job, companies are recruiting left and right—a sought-after candidate for a high-level job. But what if candidates who are better suited for the job are falling through the cracks? Companies are beginning to look at algorithm programs and tests that can determine the productivity, creativity and professional promise of individuals based on everything from social media usage to how they play specifically-designed gaming apps.

Knack is a company that is doing just that. They have developed gaming apps like Wasabi Waiter that have successfully been tested to predict an accurate competency rate after just 20 minutes of play-time. The Atlantic notes:

How long you hesitate before taking every action, the sequence of actions you take, how you solve problems—all of these factors and many more are logged as you play, and then are used to analyze your creativity, your persistence, your capacity to learn quickly from mistakes, your ability to prioritize, and even your social intelligence and personality.

Reason for Concern

It’s easy to worry about the intrusion of machines in our lives, judging our potential. This concern, however, fails to consider the challenges of our current system: over and over it has been proven that with (often unknowing) bias we judge candidates and produce results rife with human error.

Gender, race, appearance and even personality are subject to our partiality and personal preference. Numerous studies show that our society is still not where we expect it to be in unbiased hiring practices. From the Atlantic:

Tall men get hired and promoted more frequently than short men, and make more money. Beautiful women get preferential treatment, too—unless their breasts are too large. According to a national survey by the Employment Law Alliance a few years ago, most American workers don’t believe attractive people in their firms are hired or promoted more frequently than unattractive people, but the evidence shows that they are, overwhelmingly so.

Hiring the Underdog

The inability of humans to remain completely objective forces us to be open to the idea of machines and their formulas to help predict the outcome of the hiring potential in candidates. Undervalued candidates will be found that are better suited for the jobs we are looking to fill. This, of course, begs the question: Will programmers and algorithm writers be able stay away from introducing bias into machine formulas? And in what ways will candidates try to beat the system?

Looking for Talent: Inside or Outside Your Organization?

September 6th, 2013

hire internally or externallyMichael Ducy’s article “Hire Goats, Not Outside DevOps Engineers” on InformationWeek.com advocates sourcing candidates from within an organization rather than externally. He compares DevOps, with their unique blend of bridge-building and multi-disciplinary skills, to goats, which constantly test limits and boundaries when they are fenced in.

Goat analogy aside, Ducy hits home in the crux of the matter: can an outsider really make effective cultural changes in an organization? In making the decision to re-position employees or hire externally, you must consider organizational health and culture as well as the specific job requirements.

Sourcing from Within the Organization

Promoting from within saves costs and time just in terms of the recruiting process. Other advantages are:

  • Candidate knows the organization and its structure
  • Connections and relationships already exist
  • Candidate is a proven asset
  • Improved employee morale as peers recognize career opportunities; retention tool
  • Better acceptance of new ideas within existing team

On the negative side, you’re drawing from a smaller talent pool. There is also the risk of stagnancy, training and learning curve time.

A well-developed and strategic succession plan will help identify candidates for open positions. Besides experience and technical expertise, the plan should include soft skills like leadership and teamwork strengths as well as the ability to negotiate and build bridges.

Hiring Externally

An external candidate can be a catalyst for change in processes, and can also:

  • Bring more experience and education to the job, as well as up-to-date technical knowledge
  • Have a fresh outlook with new energy and new ideas
  • Reduce your training needs

However, external searches are costly and time-consuming. The incumbent will need to learn the organization’s culture and structure. Morale could dwindle as other employees see fewer promotional opportunities and resist new ideas. Dealing with an unknown may be risky in terms of experience and performance.

Is there a middle ground? Perhaps an employee referral of an external candidate would be the best of both worlds. Your employee could judge the fit as he knows the candidate as well as the organization and its culture.  In addition, employee referral programs often provide good incentives to those employees that the referral stems from, which can also improve morale.

Is There Only One Answer?

Of course not. Each hiring decision must be made based on a position’s requirements and overall organizational health. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I concerned about retaining key leaders? Is our organizational culture very strong? Is employee morale and acceptance of new ideas important? Think about repositioning from within.
  • Is it a turnaround role? Do I want a catalyst for change? Do we need to invigorate the function with new competencies? Consider looking externally.

Whether you promote from within or hire externally, always seek the best candidate from the job, not only for experience and technical skills but also for organization and cultural fit.

Is Your Candidate a Superbowl Contender or a Playoff Fluke?

August 6th, 2013

joe montana

According to an article on ScienceDaily.com, Don Moore, an associate professor at Berkeley-Haas, says that hiring managers often ignore the context of past performance. This can undermine the hiring process because past performance  provides context into what a candidate has truly done as opposed to seeing what they look like on paper.

Because football season is almost here, it’s easy to think about past performance in the context of the NFL.  Think about those teams with great records towards the end of the season.  Sure, a 10-3 record looks pretty on paper, but what teams did they play?  Did the majority of their opponents have losing records, or did they get through a gauntlet of tough teams?   Contextual differences like these make all the difference in the world between a true Superbowl contender and a team that will likely be eliminated in their first playoff game.

On a more academic level, a GPA is a common score used to determine whether a person is a good student or not. However, the GPA alone doesn’t say too much because it  depends on the leniency of the grading system. Students who have a lower GPA from a school with a stricter grading system may actually be the better student.

Professor Moore refers to this as correspondence bias. As a hiring manager, it’s important that inferences aren’t drawn based upon a disposition without looking into the surrounding circumstances first.

Looking at awards is another great example. If a hiring manager sees a large number of awards on a resume, it may help to boost the candidate to the top of the list. These awards may be superficial though. There may have only been a handful of people in the running for the award or a certain company may hand out more awards than another company. If another candidate works for a company where awards are never given, that candidate may not be considered – when in fact that is the person could be the better hire.

So how can a hiring manager check up on past performance? Watch the tape on your candidate.   Even if there isn’t actual video footage of them working,  do those reference checks thoroughly and talk to the person’s supervisors to see how they have actually handled difficult experiences.  How tough were there previous jobs and what sort of obstacles did they get through to succeed? Just as you would when making your NFL playoff picks, make sure you consider what your candidate has been put up against to get where they are.

 

Can Social Media Really Reveal Good and Bad Hires?

July 10th, 2013

hiring with facebookAfter favorably evaluating a job candidate’s resume, you look him up on Facebook. And there he is in all his age twenty-something glory – sitting in a hot tub, wearing nothing but a cowboy hat, looking as if he’s had way too many beers. Do you automatically toss his resume in the “No” pile and continue your search?

Your answer should be “Not always,” according to Shelley Dubois in her July 3 article on “Hiring Managers misuse (and misunderstand) Facebook” found at CNNMoney.

Dubois points to a recent study published in the monthly social networking journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Researchers assessed 175 university students on qualities like emotional stability and conscientiousness, and then asked them to examine their own Facebook pages for signs of substance abuse and badmouthing others.

Study Results

The study revealed that a tendency to badmouth others is linked to negative job applicant traits. However, the researchers also found that those students who may go overboard in posting photos and videos of partying with their friends tend to have extravert, or outgoing, personalities, which can be valuable in functions like sales and marketing.

The results of this particular study may be distorted because of the young age of the participants, as their FB posts tend toward impressing their peers. Also, because researchers asked them to self-report on their own FB posts, the students may have downplayed the negative material.

Standardize Your Process

If you routinely check social media sites like Facebook during the hiring process, it’s advisable to standardize your procedures so everyone involved in hiring performs the same steps. Although young people are becoming more adept at screening out uninvited eyes through their FB privacy settings, many are still available. Be consistent in reviewing applicants on social media – do it for all, or none.

The degree of tolerance you have for questionable Facebook postings depends on several factors, including your organization’s culture. You may be willing to go forward with a candidate who displays an inappropriate photo or two, but can you ignore discriminatory comments, signs of excessive drinking or any hint of illegal substances?

Implement Background Checks

While a few drinking photos may be harmless – having a background check reveal a potential employee’s criminal past is a clear red flag.  Not only do you need to hire competent employees who will help your company grow, but you need to make sure your company is a safe environment for everyone that works there.  Be sure to integrate background checks into any hiring process and make standardized decisions based on the results.

The advice to employers seems clear – don’t screen out job prospects based on their Facebook profile alone. Depending on your company culture, bring the qualified candidate in for a face to face interview, even if their Facebook page is less than wholesome.

EEOC Compliance Rules You Might Not be Aware Of

May 28th, 2013

EEOC Compliance RulesHuman resources professionals know all to well how tough it can be to keep up with rule changes via the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For example, Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing company that has 42,000 employees, found itself having to pay a penalty and adjust its hiring practices after the New York Attorney General’s office determined that the company broke the law when it refused to hire job applicants who had criminal convictions during the previous seven years, according to a report from Lexology.

It’s simply bad business to break the laws with discriminatory hiring practices. You will find that it pays to invest time on a regular basis to keep yourself informed on EEOC rules and regulations to ensure that your organization remains in compliance.

For example, did you know that it is a violation of EEOC rules to force your employees to disclose confidential, personal medical information before you approve them to take a health leave? The EEOC settled a lawsuit against Dillards that claimed the company improperly asked employees to provide this information and fired workers with disabilities who had taken more health leave than the company’s maximum allowable time.

With advances in genetic screening technology making it easier and more affordable to get a person’s DNA scanned for the purposes of diagnostics and disease prediction, employers might be tempted to ask applicants for their genetic information during recruitment.

A prudent manager with an eye on the company’s bottom line might not see any problem in refusing to hire someone who has the potential to develop an expensive medical condition. However, the EEOC enforces the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prevents you from asking potential employees for their genetic data or their family medical history.

To minimize your organization’s potential liability for engaging in discriminatory hiring practices, take the time to visit the EEOC website on a regular basis. Repeated visits to the site will help you keep up with the latest news about rules and regulations, and to learn about companies that have violated the rules, so you can learn from their mistakes.  An even more efficient route to EEOC compliance is to utilize a hiring software package / applicant tracking system that integrates EEOC / OFCCP compliance.

Following EEOC rules should result in your organization continuing to hire the best people for the positions you are filling, while maintaining a stellar reputation in the community. If your firm is known to avoid discriminatory hiring practices, you stand a better chance to attract the best and brightest job applicants from all walks of life.