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Audit Your Recruitment Process Marketing Content to Delight Job Seekers

Use this audit checklist to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your recruiting process-related content.

I’m not the first one to say that recruiters, human resources professionals and marketing specialists should team up to create content that engages top talent in your recruitment process. However, how many of you have actively engaged in measuring the impact of that HR/marketing “bestie” partnership?

If you don’t have a benchmark from which to grow, your organization will have a tough time figuring out which recruiting content is worth the investment of time and money.

Maximize the effectiveness of your recruiting content with a periodic audit of your hiring process-related promotional assets. Establishing KPIs for content will make it easy to quickly identify existing content gems, as well as guide you in developing additional content that will resonate.

Auditing your recruitment content is as easy as 1-2-3

Let’s examine the audit process and recap with a free recruitment process marketing content scorecard.

1 – Determine your recruitment content audit’s focus

You can’t decide if you’re investing your time and resources to produce recruitment content wisely until you settle on the scope of your audit.

Don’t sweat it if you can’t tackle a comprehensive audit in your first attempt. If you can–great–though it will depend on your recruiting volume and what you’ve previously tackled in terms of content analysis.

It’s okay to segment an otherwise comprehensive audit into smaller sub-audits–just have an overall plan in place for which audit type should be attempted first.

Potential content audit focuses:

  • Employment brand quality: consider whether your recruitment content is well written, and whether it aligns with what you’ve defined as your organizational employment brand.
  • Hiring process stage: analyze whether a specific hiring process stage is addressed in each of your content assets, and if job seeker questions characteristic of that stage are answered by the content.
  • Job board optimization and search engine optimization (SEO): review your job listing rankings on third party job boards and recruitment content performance on external search engines to identify improvements that will create better digital awareness for your employment opportunities.
  • Content compliance: examine whether your content meets any industry- and/or government-related compliance requirements for your organization, including an analysis of your career content’s ability to attract a diverse set of job candidates.

2 – Settle on your audit evaluation factors

Your recruiting content evaluation process will be based on the type of audit you select. The audit factors must be easily measurable and align to your project scope.

Because this audit is a wonderful opportunity to connect the human resources and marketing teams in your company, ask the project champions from each of those departments to determine the ideal recruiting content audit criteria.

If we select a hiring process stage audit as an example, then HR and marketing might jointly evaluate factors like the content’s

  • alignment with overall employment brand,
  • specific hiring stage focus (e.g. awareness, consideration, conversion, retention and advocacy),
  • attempt to answer stage-appropriate job seeker questions,
  • call-to-action for the next step in the hiring process,
  • current distribution and promotion method by stage type, and
  • likelihood of being easily utilized by hiring stage stakeholders

As you prepare for an audit, you should also plan your intended project deliverables. Aside from a quantitative score for each recruitment content asset, deliverables can include other action steps to enhance content quality.

Potential hiring process stage content audit deliverables:

  • Documentation of all current content assets by hiring stage
  • Content gap analysis for certain hiring process stages
  • List of questions that individual content assets should answer at each hiring process stage
  • Action steps for your content library – content to retain, revise, create or expire
  • Template for creating content for each hiring process stage
  • Distribution strategy for each asset based on hiring process stage and content type (e.g. owned media such as your own career site, earned media such as a guest blog placement on an industry website, or paid media such as a sponsored job listing on a job board)

3 – Rank your recruiting process content

After you’ve married the appropriate content criteria with each asset, you’re ready to score your recruitment process content!

Please recognize that some things can be quantitatively evaluated (e.g. how many out of X job seeker questions are answered?) while others are subjective (e.g. does the narrative’s language support our employment brand initiatives?).

Now’s your chance to create your own evaluation form to standardize your existing and future recruitment content.

Need some help designing your employer’s scoring process? ExactHire created this recruitment process content scorecard to help you hit the ground running.

 

ExactHire Recruitment Process Content Scorecard

Recommendations that resonate

Your audit data is chock full of ideas on where you can start making an immediate impact on your recruitment process marketing. Best of all, it’s backed by a standardized content scorecard.

Use your scorecard analysis to spot trends. Does one aspect of your hiring process consistently fall short? Could others help implement some of the action steps due to their expertise in one stage of the process?

Backed by your audit data, you’re on your way to constructing a high-level recruitment process content strategy that will reinforce your employment brand and help convert more new hires.

Job Applications and Sensitive Information

When an HR team is seeking the golden candidate for a vacant position that desperately needs to be filled, it is important that the employment application contains all the necessary items. These items will determine if the applicant is initially a good fit for the organization and should progress to next stages of the hiring process. Depending on the job and the organization, there are many key questions to answer and crucial information to collect from the applicant. Learning about the applicant’s skills, education background, ability to travel or relocate, general job schedule availability…those are all key, non-invasive questions that can help Human Resources decide whether to pursue an applicant further.

A Question You May Not Need

One question that is asked occasionally is, “Can a Social Security Number (SSN) be asked on a job application?”  ExactHire does not provide legal counsel, so any questions regarding SSN collection need to be directed to your company’s legal team, but the answer is technically, yes, a SSN can be collected on an employment application; however, it is highly recommended NOT to ask an applicant for this highly sensitive piece of personal information on the applicant’s initial application for multiple reasons…

  • SSNs are typically collected from an applicant in order to conduct a background check, which tends to be when an offer of employment is extended to an applicant.
  • SSNs may also be collected as part of the employee onboarding process, when applicants have formally become new employees.
  • In general, applicants understand that submitting an employment application does not indicate a promise or offer of employment, so there is greater hesitation by the applicants to complete an application for employment that initially asks for SSNs and/or DOBs. This results in a lower application completion rate for a company.
  • Applicants tend to have heightened fears of identity theft and general privacy concerns since they do not know the number of company employees who will be reviewing their submitted application with the SSN and/or DOB information readily accessible.

Assessing Your Needs

According to SHRM, there is no law that prohibits an employer from asking DOB; however, how the employer uses that information must be in accordance with the The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  In an extremely rare occasion, due to the nature of the position where there is a legal need for it, such as with driver and commercial transportation related job positions, SSNs might need to be collected at the time of application.  (Please consult your company’s legal team to determine your company’s eligibility for this.)  If so, some applicant tracking systems like HireCentric can support multiple applications so that you can have a position-specific employment application for use in special, rare cases where you might need to collect unique information such as SSNs.

If you feel there is a need to collect SSNs on the job application for purposes of background checking , answer this question:  Will you be conducting background checks on every applicant?  If not, it is highly recommended that you not collect the SSN from all applicants, as that puts a heightened responsibility on you and your team to limit access to the large volumes of applicants’ SSNs. Typically, the background check disclosure/consent is completed by the applicant once a job offer is made, so the company can then collect sensitive information (i.e. SSN) for a limited number of applicants. ExactHire offers the opportunity to integrate background checks within HireCentric ATS, so please let us know if you want to explore the benefits of this integration.

HireCentric Security Features

While HireCentric job applications are completed on a secure site, if your company decides to collect SSNs from every applicant, internally as a company, you and your executive leadership team will need to devise a thorough method of ensuring individuals who should not view SSNs do not see SSNs. This will help protect you and your company from potential legal action resulting from any improper use of the applicants’ personal information.

Even if you do not include a question about SSNs, nor plan on ever including a question of the sort, HireCentric offers the ability to make certain Standard Questions viewable to HireCentric Administrators only as a means to ensure sensitive questions have limited viewing access.  In the employment application’s Applicant Statement / Disclosure section, providing a thorough explanation of why SSN and/or DOB is collected in reference to particular legislation is strongly encouraged as a way to help explain to the applicant why this sensitive, personal information is being asked in the initial phase of job application without a pending job offer.

Building a Secure, Legal Hiring Process

In the HR world, legal adherence is a top priority.  You and your company’s legal team can create the internal process to recruit and retain talent that is best for your organization. For your employment needs, ExactHire offers a variety of options to help you and your team implement that internal process you construct and a support team that is ready and willing to help guide you with those solutions in your employment processes. For more information about any of our employment solutions or questions about HireCentric, please contact support@exacthire.com.

Streamline Your Candidate Feedback Process

Many of our clients wrestle with the issue of how much access to allow hiring managers during the candidate recruiting cycle. In particular, one of the concerns most frequently cited is the potential for managers to log candidate notes that may be (intentionally or unintentionally) inappropriate or discriminatory. This creates potential exposure for the organization. At the same time, taking away the ability for managers to input notes or other candidate feedback creates additional workload for the HR or recruiting team.

One feature within our platform that helps resolve this dilemma is our HR Data Survey option. In short, this feature allows clients to design customized questionnaires that may be completed by one or more system users during the hiring process.

We see these surveys used most frequently to gather feedback about candidates at one or more points along the hiring journey. Examples include after a phone screen, after an initial interview, or following a group interview. In each case, however, clients now have the ability to fully control what type of feedback they choose to solicit, which can significantly reduce (or eliminate) the potential for managers to submit inappropriate notes.

When designing a survey, clients have the ability to score/weight responses from system users. They may also opt to have more than one survey to account for different types of positions or different system user perspectives within the hiring process. In addition, when viewing the survey results for a particular candidate, those users who are permitted access may see each of the individual surveys completed for that candidate.

This tends to be an excellent way to see multiple sets of feedback in a single view.

Sample Candidate Feedback Questionnaire For Interviews

hr-data-survey-sample

Best of all, this feature is available to all clients as a standard part of the HireCentric offering. And for current clients who would like to further explore ways to streamline the candidate feedback process, please email our support team (support@exacthire.com) for additional information and instructions.

Photo Credit: Alan Levine

Can I Check the Status of My Employment Application? [VIDEO]

In this age of instant gratification, it’s natural for job applicants to want uber-prompt attention when it comes to knowing whether the employment application they submitted for your company’s position has made it through your screening process. And, even if you pride yourself on being ultra communicative to applicants regarding their fate in your hiring process, it never hurts to make additional strides in the proactive communication category.

In this ExactHire vlog, listen to Jessica Stephenson explain how you can introduce an element of applicant self-service by enabling candidates to check on the status of an employment application by logging into their profile provided by your HireCentric applicant tracking system.

ExactHire Vlog Applicant Status Codes

Video Transcript:

When it comes to screening employment applications, how long is your applicant status code list? Especially if you’re subject to compliance reporting, the list can get very long and specific. For example, noting the exact reasons why each candidate fails to meet minimum basic qualifications…experience, education, etc.

And, while you would want that level of detail for your internal status assignments, you wouldn’t need to share that with candidates externally.

What if you could introduce a self-service component that allows applicants to log into their profile and check on the status of their own job application? Well, you can…and the best part…you get to choose the public-facing label for each of your internal status codes. So, what you know as “Not Selected–Basic Qualifications–Experience” would simply show up as “Not Selected” to the candidate externally.

But think about the positive application of that feature…for what you use as “Sent to Hiring Manager” internally, you could more strategically rename that status code “Screened by HR–Sent to Hiring Manager” to serve as a positive reinforcement to candidates that would otherwise disengage without prompt feedback about their employment application. This tool can be a competitive advantage in this age of immediate feedback…as long as you screen your applications promptly.

If you’re interested in turning on this feature, the ExactHire Client Services team would love to help you. Please email them at support@exacthire.com. Once enabled, Admin users will see a new field when adding or editing status codes called “Status Shown to Applicants.” Likewise, candidates, once they’ve logged into their HireCentric profile, will see a public-facing version of your internal status codes assigned to them.

Thanks, and have a great day!

5 Ways a Cloud Based Solution Saves Time and Eliminates HR Paper Trail Nightmares

Anybody who has spent anytime filing and shuffling through paperwork knows the nightmare that it entails.  For human resources professionals, this nightmare is compounded by the requirements that employment compliance regulations place on maintaining personnel files and documenting activity and personnel actions.  This leads to extra labor, costs and time-consuming activities for human resources departments.

Today’s human resources functions are trying to break the mold of the traditional administrative arms that are squirreled away in the corners of headquarters buildings around every corporation.  True HR business partners need to be out front where people and managers are. They need to be visible. To truly be effective, today’s HR professionals need to focus on transformational activities and not transactional activities. This requires getting out of the nightmare of paperwork.

1 – Elimination of Filing Paperwork

The primary benefit of any cloud-based human resources technology is not having to print countless sheets of paper which then need to be filed meticulously.  Most HR departments have a very structured filing system comprised of personal information, performance records, benefits enrollments, payroll and tax information, and United States work authorization.  Additionally, some employers may have files for training records, education and other qualification information.  Printing and filing all these documents can be cumbersome.  

Employees spend precious time updating information and signing and completing documents.  A high quality employee onboarding cloud solution will allow you to store standard employment paperwork and forms as well as provide parsing ability for new hire information.  This means, the information entered into one initial form by new employees will auto-populate to various new hire forms and documents.  No more repetitive entering of addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, etc. on multiple forms.  

Paperwork completed via the cloud can also be electronically signed and confirmed as well.  This eliminates the need for faxing, scanning, emailing, mailing and/or requiring an employee to be physically present to turn in paperwork to the corporate office.  Most systems will safeguard and protect the privacy of the information as well–if not don’t partner with them!

2 – Easy Recall of Information

So once all that legacy information is put into a file, what do you do with it?  Some of this paperwork is for compliance and record keeping requirements.  However, employment documents having to do with performance, education, training and other similar information are useful.  Managers may want to reference, an employee may want to reference and HR will definitely want to reference them.

A standard cloud-based solution will allow you to quickly reference this information via a reporting interface or dashboard. You will also be able to report on it to identify trends and data points for the entire organization, an individual department or a group of employees.  If you relied on paper files for this task, you would have to manually go through personnel files, pull the required documents and manually aggregate the data.

What is the ultimate benefit?  The ultimate benefit is that this information will actually be used for what it is intended.  The danger of a paper filing system is that the information goes into files and then never gets referenced or used because it has to be requested, then analyzed, then provided–and probably dusted off in the process.  Cloud-based systems put this information right at the decision maker’s finger tips. 

3 – Bulk Transactions for New Employee Records

In many situations, human resources staff may find themselves needing to make multiple changes to multiple employee records at the same time.  A traditional paper filing system would require access to all files to manually make the changes for all employees, and then all the new paperwork would have to be refiled.  Think about the time involved with that tedious task!  Alternatively, if all employee files are cloud-based, the processor could make one change and have it apply to multiple employees at the same time.

Setting up your new employees in different divisions, groups, etc. within a cloud system will allow fast changes to the groups of new hires you choose.  The changes will be applied across all employees you’ve selected, and once processed, their records updated.  There will be no further need to print and file paperwork as it’s all stored in the cloud.

4 – Connectivity of Systems

Many of today’s HR cloud solutions are integrated or can be integrated.  This means different vendors of different software applications can pass data back and forth.  The advantage of this for HR professionals lies with the ability to push information from one system to another.  This greatly reduces duplicate entry into multiple systems.  Most vendors of HR software do not provide a solution for every HR need, so if they can talk to each other through the cloud it is much, much better. For example, our HireCentric applicant tracking system integrates with our employee onboarding software.

5 – Self-Service

The days of the form library outside the human resources wing are long gone.  Cloud services allow employees to update information from anywhere at anytime.  In many cases, even from their smart phones.  Likewise, HR representatives can review, approve and process these information updates with ease.  The connectivity of systems described above also lets this information reach multiple platforms and vendors with a single update from the employee and/or administrator.

The advantages a cloud based system can provide are limitless in how they can help reduce time, improve efficiency and reduce human resources labor costs.  As an added benefit, new employees are more satisfied with their onboarding experience as they don’t have to make a trip to the HR department during business hours to fill out forms just to submit their basic information.  When selecting a cloud based system, make sure it provides you the analytics and recall of information you need.  And, make sure it is user-friendly with a great user interface; otherwise, your employees won’t use it.

Ready to Make Your Onboarding Nightmares Go Away?

Automate and improve your new hire onboarding process. Contact ExactHire to schedule a live demo of our onboarding software solution today.

4 Ideas For Your Mobile Recruiting Mix

Mastering the art of social media utilization isn’t the only key to implementing an enviable mobile recruiting strategy. Factors such as external job boards, search engines, jobs page design and other communication channels can’t be ignored either. In order to thrive in what might be called the “mobile recruiting wild,” these elements must be addressed. In this post, I’ll present a survival guide for successfully incorporating additional external resources into your mobile recruiting strategy.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

#1 – Your Resources

When it comes to utilizing tools other than social media in your mobile recruiting toolkit, you need to consider the mechanism(s) by which your job listings are publicized, as well as how your own job portal may impact your use of third party resources.

Posting Opportunities to External Job Boards

Time is an ultra-valuable commodity today. Job seekers, especially mobile users, quickly disengage from employer sites and job boards that don’t make it easy to navigate opportunities and submit employment applications. Likewise, busy HR administrators and recruiters don’t want to use hiring tools that make pushing jobs to external job boards time-consuming and tiresome.

To expedite the process for employers, some job boards offer a pared down version of screening questions and therefore a means for candidates to “apply” to an organization’s positions right on the job board, itself. However, with this job-board hosted application approach HR professionals may feel restricted in their ability to customize their employment application experience to the extent they wish. Nevertheless, this may be inconsequential if an employer only wishes to gather basic information at an early point in the screening process.

For employers that have more robust application needs and/or wish to push a position to a number of different external job boards, a mobile-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS) or human resources information system (HRIS) with a recruiting component may be a better solution. These types of solutions will allow you to build a job listing within the portal, and then easily push that listing to many different external job boards with minimal effort.

Moving to Mobile Responsive Web Design

Even though this chapter especially focuses on your relationship with external recruiting resources, don’t neglect the fact that your “owned” resources (i.e. your own corporate website and/or jobs portal) can impact the success of your external resource utilization. Specifically, if the pages on which you feature your organization’s job listings aren’t designed to be mobile responsive so that job seekers don’t have to pinch and zoom all over the place with their fingers, then you are at a disadvantage when it comes to reaping the benefits offered by third party hiring partners.

Job Boards Favor Responsive Design

Most major job boards already have mobile-friendly sites and/or smartphone applications that make it easy for job seekers to view positions advertised on their sites. If you choose to push your listing to any of these boards, then your listing will be visible to mobile job seekers, too. However, you may not realize that if your own careers page is not mobile responsive, then the listing position for your job on the external job boards may not be as favorable.

Mobile Recruiting | Indeed Apply | ExactHireFor example, many organizations elect to post their positions to Indeed.com; however, if the Indeed listing redirects job seekers to a careers page description on your own site that Indeed detects as not mobile responsive, then your listing will probably appear low in Indeed’s job listing search results compared to employers with responsive web design. As a result, your job listings will likely be noticed by fewer job seekers on Indeed. Additionally, when it is seen by job seekers it won’t be marked with the notable orange text “Apply from your phone” that serves as a signal to job seekers that it will be relatively painless to apply for the position. To get the coveted orange text on your job listings, you’ll need to either post your jobs directly on Indeed or use an applicant tracking system that is integrated with Indeed Apply.

Search Engines Reward Mobile Responsive Design

In April of 2015, the biggest search engine player, Google, officially started rewarding mobile-optimized web pages with more authority in its mobile search results. And while many job seekers will initiate a position search on an external job board, there are definitely individuals who prefer to begin a job seeking quest with a query on a search engine such as Google. In light of Google’s significant algorithm update, know that the chances of your job listings page and specific job description pages appearing in a prospective applicant’s search results will improve when your recruiting software is designed for the mobile user…so that it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the device on which it is used.

RWD Benefits UX

While this nod to mobile dominance by Google certainly warrants the redesign of a static desktop careers page, be sure and consider the applicant user experience (UX) when executing the site rebrand with responsive web design (RWD) principles. Images and text should be spaced appropriately when viewing the site from a smartphone, tablet and laptop/desktop; but, the mobile devices should also feature a menu icon with collapsed links that mirror the navigation experience from a desktop.

An enhanced user experience will mean it’s easy for job seekers to navigate to different pages of the jobs portal, submit a complete employment application, share the opportunity on social media and/or subscribe to future job alerts via email and/or text message.

Mobile Recruiting | Responsive Web Design

#2 – Your Strategy

The overall talent acquisition strategy your organization chooses to use will obviously influence the methods you employ in your mobile recruiting efforts. Your approach to connecting with candidates, as well as the budget available for recruitment spending are critical factors for consideration.

Push vs. Pull Candidate Connections

Which scenario best describes the approach you take when it comes to sourcing talent for your entire organization: push or pull? Does your answer change if you ask the same question for specific job categories within your business?

The Job-Centric Push

A common approach among corporate talent acquisition specialists is to focus on open job requisitions that need to be filled immediately. This job-centric activity involves pushing details about specific job listings to the job seeker community. The intent is often just-in-time-focused and can be aided by recruiting tools such as

  • automatic job alert push notifications,
  • responsive web design to aid job description discovery by job seekers via search engine results,
  • and the ability to pool candidates for future database search since they won’t always be hired for the initial position to which they apply.

The Headhunting Pull

Prevalent in the agency recruiting space, when recruiters proactively seek out talented candidates but not necessarily for a specific position, they are in “pull” mode. Organizations utilizing this approach will make the most of tools such as

  • third party job boards with apps allowing resume database searches;
  • social media networks that allow frequent connections with unknown contacts (for example, LinkedIn Recruiter);
  • and, staffing agency-focused recruiting software platforms that make it easy to pull or “inhale” resumes and general applications into the platform.

Recruitment Budget

There’s no shortage of places for human resource professionals to spend money on advertising job postings. What works for one employer may fail miserably for another company. Here are some quick suggestions on how to prioritize your recruitment budget spending based on the needs and reputation of your organization.

Site Design First

If your job description web pages aren’t already mobile responsive, then spend money on a site redesign first. Or, if you use an applicant tracking system to manage your job listings, then work with an ATS partner that has a software platform already built using responsive web design.

Optimize Job Descriptions for Organic Search

While re-writing your job descriptions and job titles to be keyword-relevant may not result in a hard cost, it will take your HR staff time…and time is money. However, if your recruiting budget is restrictive or virtually non-existent, then attention paid to job description elements such as job titles, description headers, meta descriptions and interactive content will put you in a better position for organic (i.e. unpaid or unsponsored) search success.

Better Job Description Clickthrough | ExactHireFor ideas on optimizing your job descriptions for search, see 5 Steps to Better Job Description Click-Through Rates.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Traditionally, many recruiting budgets have had a significant portion of dollars allocated to paying external job boards to feature specific job listings. While employers will surely continue to take advantage of external job board listings on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice; and, sponsored jobs on otherwise “free” job board aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired, other paid options are available.

Small- to mid-sized employers who have not ventured beyond traditional job boards yet may also consider sponsored social messaging, or paid search and display ads through behavioral ad networks such as Google AdWords. For example, if you discover that you have a large number of applicants viewing a specific job listing but then failing to apply for it, that job description page could be a good option for a display remarketing ad. With this approach, the job seekers who visited your page would then see text and/or display ads redirecting them back to your job description page as they view other websites that are a part of the Google Display Network.

#3 – Your Compromises

As your organization adjusts to a mobile-first mentality, it won’t come without compromise. However, considering some of the potential changes before they are in your lap will better prepare you to realign your expectations for what effective recruiting looks like with mobile technology as a driving force.

Employment Application Brevity

If your applicant tracking system utilizes integrations such as Indeed Apply and Apply with LinkedIn, then you’ll find that applications from those sources may have less robust information because the candidate hasn’t customized all of his information especially for your application. Additionally, even with a mobile-optimized employment application, mobile users are less likely to spend as much time typing answers to your screening-focused essay questions than they would on a desktop or laptop.

Compliance Reporting Conflict

If your business is a federal contractor or subcontractor subject to Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) reporting, than be sure and understand how your mobile implementation plans could affect your ability to capture key applicant information at the appropriate stage. For example, you should double check whether the mobile integrations you use will allow you to offer applicants the ability to self-identify veteran and disability information per VEVRAA and Section 503 requirements before an application is marked complete.

Candidate Communication Preferences

We live in a society of people with increasingly shorter attention spans. By making the job search and application process a better, faster experience for mobile users, you can expect to improve the time to fill metric for your organization. However, be prepared to field inquiries from job applicants about the status of their application earlier in the process and perhaps more frequently, too. Look for hiring software that allows you to easily and quickly communicate candidate status to individuals — either via email templates with personalization strings or an automatic external status that displays to candidates once they login to an application profile.

#4 – Your Compass

Any Discovery Channel survival show worth its salt teaches you that to survive in the wild you need to be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’ve been and then find the path with the best chance of leading you in the right direction. Likewise, to improve the outcome of your mobile recruiting activities, you need to evaluate progress and then forge ahead with the tactics that yield the best results.

Spend some time setting up a spreadsheet or reporting interface that allows you to easily monitor the impact of your mobile-minded improvements on your recruiting process. If you use an applicant tracking system, this may already be available to you. Build upon overall recruiting key performance indicators (that you hopefully already have in place) by looking at the ratio of mobile applicants to mobile job site visitors compared to the same ratio for non-mobile users, as a start. Dig deep in your hiring analytics to look for irregularities, unexpected changes and notable trends. Then take action to improve your activities as a result of your insights.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

Image credit: iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 Side by Side by William Hook (contact)

Oregon Ban The Box Legislation

As we approach the final quarter of 2015, it is never too early to start preparing for new legislation that will affect hiring practices in 2016.  Effective January 1, 2016, Oregon will become the newest state to implement “Ban the Box” legislation for both public and private sector employment.  Other states that have already enacted this practice in both public and private sector employment are Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New Jersey.

Oregon governor, Kate Brown, signed House Bill 3025 on June 26, 2015.  This law, H.B. 3025, will take effect on January 1, 2016 and prohibits an employer from requiring an applicant to disclose a criminal conviction on an employment application or prior to an interview.  If an employer does not conduct an interview, the employer is prohibited from requiring an applicant to disclose a criminal conviction prior to a conditional offer.  

Employers are able to notify applicants that they will later be required to disclose convictions or that a criminal background check will be conducted as part of the hiring process.  This legislation does include the caveat that an employer may still consider convictions when making hiring decisions.  For additional information on what this legislation includes, visit the Oregon State Legislature and The National Law Review.  

Upcoming “Ban the Box” Legislation

To keep abreast of states and cities who enact “Ban the Box” legislation, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) has an interactive map that provides an overview of the current legislative status.  For the actual legislation, you will need to go directly to the state or city government website to access the passed law(s) in its comprehensive language.

Employers need to be aware of the legislation that exists and what legislation is pending to be prepared for the potential impact on their organizations.  If your organization currently has hiring practices in multiple states and cities, or posts job listings nationally, it is important to be cognizant of the locales’ legal expectations and determine if you need to alter verbiage on your employment application(s) and/or change specific steps in your hiring practices to be compliant with “Ban the Box” legislation.

Please note:  The ExactHire team is not legal counsel, and we do not offer legal advice, so any questions regarding your company’s eligibility for exemption with the “Ban the Box” legislation and/or proper verbiage for your company’s employment application(s) should be discussed with your company’s legal counsel.  To learn specifically how Oregon’s H.B. 3025 affects your organization’s hiring practices, please contact your company’s legal team.

ExactHire Clients

At ExactHire, we take pride in doing our best to ensure our clients’ satisfaction is the highest possible. We do whatever we can to resolve clients’ current needs and identify potential needs.  After you speak with your legal counsel, and if you and your legal team decide changes need to be made to your employment application(s) to comply with legislation, the ExactHire team can work with you to create a new application with the verbiage you specify for compliance.  Also, please know that one of the benefits of using ExactHire’s HireCentric software as your applicant tracking system is that you can create multiple employment applications, each specific to your needs.  If you’re an existing client looking for more information about updating your current employment application(s) and/or creating additional employment applications, please email support@exacthire.com, and let us know your needs.

Learn More About ExactHire Solutions

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What Federal Contractors Need to Know About the VETS-4212 Report

If your organization is a federal contractor or subcontractor, you’re probably breathing a calming, collective exhale thanks to a Final Rule issued by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) which revised the VEVRAA (Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act) reporting regulations, and that goes into effect later this year. Finally…less paperwork rather than more thanks to this compliance reporting update! The new Federal Contractor Veterans’ Employment Report VETS-4212 replaces the VETS-100A Report and brings relief to affected employers as it requires less rigorous data collection than its predecessor.

I recently had the opportunity to speak about the Final Rule and the resulting new VETS-4212 form with Tony Pickell, Founder of Precision Planning — an Affirmative Action, EEO and Diversity consulting firm.

When does the new reporting go into effect?

Tony: “The updated regulations were published in 2014, but they are effective for the 2015 filing period which opens on August 1, 2015. All covered federal contractors and subcontractors must file VETS-4212 by September 30, 2015.”

Jessica: “So, who is a covered federal contractor or subcontractor when it comes to filing a VETS-4212?”

Tony: “A covered contractor will hold a contractor or subcontract in the amount of $100,000 or more.”

Jessica: “Okay, so the deadline is coming up and it’s confined to a specific time of year for all employers that are affected.”

Tony: “Yes, it is similar to filing the EEO-1 Report in that it is an annual report and must be filed by September 30th of each year.”

Why is the VETS-4212 Report replacing VETS-100 and VETS-100A?

Tony: “The old VETS-100 Report is gone. It only applied to employers that had contracts entered into and not modified since December 1, 2003. It became obsolete as contract prices changed and new contracts were issued. VETS-100A was the report that replaced VETS-100 for contracts entered into after December 1, 2003, and the VETS-100A report has now been renamed the VETS-4212. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service agency (VETS), which administers the reporting requirement, modified the report requirements for several reasons. First, VETS could not get an accurate count of total veterans because a veteran employee in a Company’s workforce could fall into more than one protected veteran category (i.e. disabled veteran and recently separated veteran) and the VETS-100A report didn’t require a total veteran number. Second, the new VETS-4212 format increases confidentiality for disabled veterans. Third, because the OFCCP changed the name of the former Other Protected Veteran category to Active Duty Wartime or Campaign Badge Veteran in 2014, VETS mirrored this change to make the veteran categories consistent with OFCCP regulations. As a result, the VETS-4212 was created.”

Jessica: “I’m glad they gave it a different name rather than another variation on “100”…less confusing for all. Why is it called the “4212”?

Tony: “It is named after the U.S. Code section for the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) 38 U.S. Code 4212.”

At what point in the hiring process is data collected for the VETS-4212 Report?

Tony: “At the post-offer stage via a voluntary self-disclosure form.”

How is the VETS-4212 Report different than VETS-100A?

Tony: “As I mentioned, the ‘Other Protected Veteran’ category has been updated to Active Duty Wartime or Campaign Badge Veteran to be consistent with terminology the OFCCP now uses for veteran categories. In the past, federal contractors and subcontractors have had to report employee and new hire veteran numbers by the four individual protected veteran categories. However, the recent changes made will require employers to only report veteran employees and new hires simply as ‘protected veterans’ in aggregate numbers.”

Jessica: “That’s great news…that means less of a data collection burden for employers.”

Tony: “Yes, but it’s optional for them to continue to collect veteran data at the individual category level, if they prefer. In response to this form change by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, the OFCCP issued an FAQ on post-offer veteran self-identification.  This FAQ clarifies that contractors may either continue to collect the individual protected veteran group information at the post-offer stage from hired employees (as has been required for years), or contractors may instead choose to modify post-offer forms to simply define the four protected veteran groups and then ask hired employees to respond with (a) I am a protected veteran; (b) I am not a protected veteran; or (c) I choose not to provide this information.  So, contractors now have a choice on how they would like to proceed in the future on post-offer veteran self-identification.”

Jessica: “That’s interesting, and makes me wonder about any reasons an employer may choose to stick with the traditional individual category detail for collection.”

What are some pros/cons of choosing to collect at either the aggregate or individual veteran category level?

Tony: “There are different considerations. The simplified data collection process can reduce record keeping burdens for employers and make VETS-4212 filing easier.

At the same time, now that the process will be more simplified, I think it is possible employers may get a higher veteran response rate because the veterans may be less likely to read the actual definitions (not being forced to pick a specific category in the future). There are some veterans who do not meet the definition of a ‘protected’ veteran. As a result, veterans who were confused about whether they fell into the protected categories before, may now just check the protected veteran box (even if they aren’t really a protected veteran). Employers could realize a higher ‘veteran’ hiring rate, consequently.”

Jessica: “I can see how that might be a pro for employers. What about any cons of moving to the new collection approach?”

Tony: “If an employer does choose to simplify the post-offer self-disclosure form, it will obviously require the existing form to be replaced. That could mean just a paper form; or, it may mean changes to an HRIS or standard operating procedures and require additional training. Some organizations may not have the energy or staff bandwidth to go back to IT and other groups within the organization to make this change after adapting all the VEVRAA-related changes from last year.”

Jessica: “Yes, I can see the form change being a temporary stumbling block for some contractors and subcontractors. Do you think VETS will offer any leniency on the deadline this year?”

Tony: “The VETS Administration has frequently granted extensions on filings in the past. Given that this is the first year, I anticipate that it is possible an extension could be granted beyond the September 30th deadline, but of course there is no guarantee and contractors should be prepared to file a VETS-4212 on or before September 30, 2015.

What other changes do you foresee coming down the pipeline related to veterans?

Tony: “I think there will be additional FAQs to clarify the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act regulation changes that took effect on March 23, 2014, but I wouldn’t expect any regulatory process changes anytime soon given all the change that happened last year. FAQs can tweak the interpretation of the regulations; however, they don’t have the binding force of law. Federal Contractors and the OFCCP alike will continue to digest these changes in the coming years.  During this time, we will learn more about how the agencies are going to audit contractors, and then see what kind of audit pattern emerges…as we only have about six months of audit data so far under the new regulations. A year from now we will see some trends and be able to make more interesting predictions on how the future may go.

 

Thank you to Tony Pickell of Precision Planning for sharing his expertise in this area for our blog. If your organization is looking for a trusted resource to navigate the complex reporting requirements attributable to federal contractors and subcontractors, then please reach out to Tony for assistance.

ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking system is outfitted with the data collection tools your organization needs to collect and report on pre-offer Affirmative Action Plan compliance-related items such as the applicant flow log report.

What is an Applicant Flow Log? – Whiteboard [VIDEO]

If your growing organization is accepting federal contracts or subcontracts for the first time and you are unsure about compliance regulations that may now be applicable to your business, then this Whiteboard Chat is for you. In this video, Jeff Hallam, explains the purpose of an applicant flow log report, and comments on which organizations must prepare one in order to be compliant with Affirmative Action regulations enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

Video Transcript:

Hi today we’re going to talk about what is an applicant flow log. An applicant flow log is a report that’s generated annually, and it’s used by organizations that are required, from an Affirmative Action perspective, to make sure that they are not discriminating against candidates for any illegal reasons. And all of this is subject under the umbrella of Affirmative Action, which applies typically to organizations, either directly through contracts, or indirectly through subcontracts, of certain amounts that are doing business with the federal government. And when you look at what we’re going to talk about today, you’ll notice right away there’s quite an alphabet soup of acronyms that are going to be used when you talk about Affirmative Action.

But we’re trying to simplify this a little bit and understand this isn’t meant to be a full explanation on Affirmative Action, but at least a way to help you make sure that you understand whether your organization might be perhaps subject to this, and if so, what are some key things that you need to be made aware of.

So, some of the players when you talk about an applicant flow log and Affirmative Action…all of this is administered and governed under the auspices of the OFCCP, otherwise known as the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. And this is an offshoot of the Department of Labor, so as you would expect, all of this falls ultimately under the Department of Labor as to whether organizations are being compliant. There are a couple of recent updates that have been passed along with Affirmative Action just as of the last year or so that expanded the pools of applicants through which discrimination has to be tested.

One of those, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act, or VEVRAA, applies to people who have been in the service, making sure that organizations aren’t discriminating against them. Likewise, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act applies to organizations, or individuals rather, who may have certain types of disabilities. And again, making sure that those folks aren’t being discriminated against. So when you look at an applicant flow log, understanding some of these basics in simplest terms, these items in this box here are what an applicant flow log is designed to track during the course of a year. So they’re very specific requirements that from an Affirmative Action perspective must be met to make sure that, again that discrimination isn’t taking place.

So what an applicant flow log will track per job are these items here…so the name of each candidate, the date that they applied, their race, their gender, veteran status, disability status and then disposition. And there could be a couple of other things here and there that your administrator may request, but these are typically the core things that have to be there for any applicant flow log report. And when you talk about disposition sometimes that can be a little confusing to people. What disposition really looks at is what did we do with a candidate? And there are, again, some key components to that. So when we say what did we do with them, meaning what ultimately did we decide to do from a hiring perspective. Did we hire them? If not, why not? When did we make that determination? And then who was it within the organization who made that determination?

So there have to be very specific things that are tracked along the way so that when it comes time to provide this applicant flow log report for your Affirmative Action purposes, all of these given data elements are there. So, as to tracking these elements, there are a couple of core ways that most organizations may do this. So if you work with job boards, or you accept email resumes, then typically you are going to have to find a mechanism usually in the form of an online document, or something that you’re going to have to email candidates, that allows them to voluntarily provide this information because it does have to be requested of each candidate. They have the option as to whether they want to disclose any of this information, but you have to have a record of the fact that you made it available to them.

Likewise, the other option, where more organizations seem to be headed is, if they are using an applicant tracking tool that will automate much of this, that can simplify things dramatically. Now, as candidates apply or indicate interest in the job, that information is offered to them right up front, it can be escrowed and held separately from the rest of the application, so that when it does come time to produce this applicant flow log information at the end of the year, that information is already there, readily available, and can be reported on at a moment’s notice.

So, again, that is just a very quick update on what an applicant flow log is. If you do have questions about whether your organization is subject to Affirmative Action reporting, or whether you have to worry about an applicant flow log yourself, typically we would suggest that you check with a qualified labor and employment law attorney, so that they can review your particular business practices.

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