Make Your Hiring Process Friendly for Applicants

I’ve read a number of articles over the past few months about how impersonal and cumbersome the hiring process is for most employers. Given the space we operate in, we pay particular attention to those comments, as those same comments may apply to our clients and their applicants.
The underlying issues for these opinions appear to stem from two things:

  1. Applicants not hearing back from employers after they’ve submitted an application or resume
  2. Employers making the application submittal process more difficult than it needs to be

Keep in mind — these are viewpoints shared by applicants…not by me.

Keep Applicants in the Loop

Because we specialize in paperless HR solutions (especially applicant tracking software for the purposes of this discussion), addressing the first issue is pretty easy to do. Most any reputable online application software tool will allow you to automate the process of keeping applicants in the loop regarding current job openings. While there are many ways to do this, the end result should typically be the same. That is, applicants know where they stand and what to expect next in the process as it evolves. This protects your employment brand and will more readily ensure that good applicants, while perhaps not hired initially, will continue to follow your job opportunities and apply again for relevant openings.

Simplify Application Process Without Sacrificing Candidate Data

As you look at addressing the second issue, the answer may not be quite so apparent. This is true, even if you’ve used an applicant tracking software tool before. Until recently, there were two polar opposite paths that solutions like ours used to remedy this:

  1. Allow applicants to “parse” information from their resume directly into their online application.
    • Advantage: Time savings for applicants and the potential for a quicker, simpler user experience from their perspective
    • Disadvantage: Frequency of error in terms of information from the resume being pasted into the wrong section of the online application
  1. Require applicants to complete a full online application to be considered for a given position.
    • Advantage: Applicants have the opportunity to try to differentiate themselves with answers to questions on the application unique to that opening
    • Disadvantage: It can take more time than applicants are willing to spend

Then our team came up with a third option — one that more closely resembles the sequence of events in most hiring processes. This unique, two-step application process seems to resonate well with both applicants and employers. Here’s how it works:

  • Once applicants select the position for which they’d like to be considered, they are prompted for some very basic information. While this is customizable by client, the information typically consists of name, address, phone, email, resume upload, and some basic job-specific screening questions. For most applicants, they are able to complete this sequence in less than five minutes.
  • The employer may then use the results of the screening questions to determine which candidates meet the basic requirements of the position.
  • For those who do, the employer may generate an email, with only one click, to invite those qualified applicants back for the next step in the hiring process.
  • Since the applicants who receive this email know they are being considered more seriously for the position, the request is seen as a natural progression in the hiring process.

As you can see, this follows how most organizations hire today. Instead of forcing them (or their applicants) to change anything dramatically, we’re simply using our technology to move them toward a paperless HR environment…without worrying about losing passive applicants who will not take the time to complete a lengthy application at the onset of the selection process.
If you’d like to learn more about our applicant tracking software’s two-step employment application feature, please contact us.


Applicant Tracking Software for Blue Collar Employers

In my dealings with organizations around the country, I occasionally (though not as often as in the past) hear concerns about moving the hiring process online for positions that are entry-level or blue collar in nature.  I especially run across this objection when speaking with individuals from manufacturing companies. When digging a bit deeper with these organizations, the concerns typically boil down to two things:

  • Do their applicants have internet access readily available?
  • Are their applicants tech-savvy enough to complete employment applications online?

The first question is probably a bit easier to evaluate than the second.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent publication on the topic, “Computer and Internet Use in the United States: 2018,” around 85% of American households had internet access in 2018.  That means three out of every four applicants (on average) have internet in their home.  Beyond that, we also have to consider how many people have access to the internet through their smartphone or tablet device?  While there may not be any solid statistics to bring clarity to that question yet, I’m a believer that some reasonable percentage of the 25% population without home internet access do have access through one of these alternate devices.

Strategies for Applicants Without Internet Access

However, let’s look at this from a more pessimistic perspective.  To be fair, if I’m recruiting for positions that are more entry level or blue collar, I don’t want to potentially miss 15% of my applicant pool because they don’t have internet access.  If you subscribe to that theory, below are some things our clients have done to make our applicant tracking software more accessible for those who may not have regular access to the internet:

  • Set up kiosks so applicants may apply on-site.  Going this route doesn’t mean you have to purchase new laptops or desktops (or even tablets).  Instead, simply have your IT staff (or an outside group for very few dollars) repurpose older computers so that they may be used in a lobby or office for just this purpose.
    • If applicants do not have a current email address, then make sure your web-based employment application includes a link to a free email provider within its instructions – so that the applicant may create a new email account on the spot and then use it to complete the required email field on the application.
  • Suggest to applicants that they may access your career portal for free from most libraries.  All they need is a library card (also free), and they may apply like any other applicant.
  • Partner with your local Workforce Development office.  Given that its mission is to help create and/or fill jobs for local organizations, the staff there may be happy to allow applicants to complete your online application from their office.
  • As a last resort (if none of the above work), suggest to applicants that they use the computer of a friend or family member.  While I don’t anticipate it would come to this often, it does virtually guarantee that they’ll know someone with internet access.

Applicants Who Are Not Tech-Savvy

Now, on to the second question from above — are the applicants tech-savvy enough to complete online employment applications available through your applicant tracking software?  The reason this is more difficult to answer is because there are a handful of things that can influence the answer.  Chief among them are:

  • How user-friendly is the paperless application you’re using?  If designed properly, a good ATS should walk applicants through the process of finding and applying for the right job in a very simple, intuitive way.
  • What is the typical demographic you’re hiring for these positions?  There are some groups of people where access to internet and overall computer usage is lower than the national average.  Again, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s data, examples include households where the median age is above 65, and households located in rural areas with limited availability to purchase/use internet services.  If you happen to target these demographics, you may need to have manual options available on very limited stand-by for cases where accessing a web-based application doesn’t work for applicants.

So, if you hire entry-level or blue collar staff regularly, please take a look at your hiring landscape.  Feel free to use the guidelines above to help determine whether the advantages of applicant tracking software may be realized for your company, despite any initial concerns regarding affecting your applicant flow.

Image credit: Perfection is our Direction by Nick Harris1 (contact)

Eleven Small Steps to Improve Your Recruitment Brand and Engage Applicants

Let me start off by saying that this blog is not about high-level recruitment strategy or your master plan for world recruiting domination. This piece is about sweating the small stuff in talent acquisition – specifically, raising the bar on employer recruiting etiquette…dotting all of your i’s and crossing your t’s. Especially, if your organization has been doing alright in getting decent candidates in a reasonable amount of time, but now wants to refocus, shape up and really win the applicants over in order to consistently pick from the cream of the candidate crop.

Try making these little adjustments throughout your selection and hiring processes and see how it impacts your candidates’ perception of your employer recruitment brand:

#11 – Make being responsive to candidates a priority

How often do you fall into the trap of telling a candidate that you will be in touch again no later than the end of the following week…and then it’s really three weeks before you get back to the candidate, or worse yet – never? It would not be acceptable for a candidate to get back to you far later than the date promised, so it should not be okay for you to dally on your end either. While being timely and responsive to candidates seems like it should be automatic; unfortunately, in my experiences this is not the case the majority of the time.

And while life happens and schedules do get pushed, it is completely fine to touch base with the candidate by the promised date just to let him/her know that the process has been delayed and that you will be back in touch by a certain future date – but that you are still interested in his/her candidacy. This is a good time to make sure the candidate is still available despite the new, pushed off deadline, as well.

#10 – Create an FAQ page on your applicant tracking software portal

While this one is certainly going to help support the idea that your employment brand conveys helpfulness and transparency, it is also selfish since it helps to cut down on the number of applicant questions you may receive during the hiring process – and that helps you save time and process employment applications more quickly. You’ve probably already thought of some frequently asked questions that you receive from candidates since you started reading this paragraph, but just in case, here are some ideas (some will be more relevant than others depending on your industry and position types sourced):

  • Do you have both part-time and full-time positions available?
  • Can I apply in person?
  • How long will my application remain in the database? How often should I update it?
  • Do I have to submit a new application each time I apply for a position?
  • How long will it take before I can expect a call to schedule an interview?
  • Do you have internships available?
  • Do you accept applications year-round for certain positions?
  • How many stages are typically involved in your interviewing process?
  • What is your policy on using social media to connect with applicants?
  • Will I receive a confirmation once I submit my application?

Add a page to your applicant tracking software (ATS) site for your own company’s frequently asked questions (FAQs) in the recruiting process.

#9 – Create a careers blog for your company

Kick number nine on the list up a notch by having a regular blog devoted to all things related to careers at your company. Invite your recruiters and hiring managers to periodically contribute content that would be helpful for your applicants and encourage applicants to subscribe to your careers blog RSS feed so they get the latest updates. You could accomplish this by inviting past applicants to subscribe to the blog by posting it in your status updates on various social media sites or embedding its URL into an email message sent out of your recruiting software portal. Here are some ideas for relevant topics:

  • As you create job success factor summaries (spoiler alert – see #2 on the list below), post them to the blog and encourage subscribers to ask questions about positions
  • Invite current employees to blog about what they like about their role and encourage them to be candid about what’s challenging in the job, as well
  • Blog about upcoming job fairs where your company will have a booth
  • Embed videos of company cultural events in the blog (corporate challenges, holiday pitch-ins, trade show exhibits, etc.)
  • Offer tips on how to best prepare to interview and/or where to find out the latest and greatest about your organization’s milestones

#8 – Be truly prepared to interview your candidates

Magnifying glass on applicantThe best potential hires will take time to research your organization before their first interview, and often, before they even apply to a position. As a recruiter, you can always tell who did their homework based on the answers to your questions or comments they make in the interview. Don’t disappoint your interviewees by failing to return the favor of preparing to interview them, as well. Your best applicants may quickly disengage from the process when recruiters have to fumble around during the phone interview and take time to read the candidate’s resume and application to get up to speed because the recruiter failed to do so before the interview began.

#7 – Get a little more personal with your rejections (breaking up is hard to do)

Given the volume of recruiting you may do for your organization, it is very possibly not in the cards for you to send a custom, individualized rejection letter or email to every single applicant who does not make the cut. However, hiring technology at least affords you the opportunity to send mass emails using custom email templates. Instead of having one generic “no thank you” email template that is sent to every applicant that is declined, you may at least have a few different rejection email templates. Here are some simple solutions to being a little less generic:

  • Have different templates for the different stages at which someone is removed from the process (i.e. decline after initial phone screen, decline after 1st in-house, decline after final round of candidates, etc.)
  • A template that lets them down easily and encourages them to apply again in the future vs. one that specifically omits mention of encouragement to apply for future positions
  • A template that discloses that the reason one was not selected is because the position was put on hold or filled internally (at least the candidate then knows that you didn’t reject due to qualifications or experience…but rather because the employer’s plans changed)

#6 – Impress your finalists and keep them close even if they aren’t selected

Help finalists network elsewhereChances are, if you are following the other recommendations in this list, you will start to see even better candidates – especially in the final stage of your selection process for various positions. This is a great situation, but it will make the final decision harder since you’ll be choosing from among “A players.” Make a lasting impression on the final interviewees who aren’t selected by offering to not only stay connected with them (i.e. via LinkedIn, Twitter, automated job alerts, etc.), but also to encourage them to use you as a networking resource to help them get their foot in the door at other organizations.

Obviously, this really only makes sense if these candidates aren’t a fit for any other positions you may have open in the near future – you wouldn’t want to willingly compete with other employers for these applicants. Candidates are bound to have a positive impression of your organization (despite being declined) if you are sincerely interested in helping them find the right job fit elsewhere. The best part about this plan is that they will likely tell their other contacts about your company going the extra mile…and those contacts might be your next dream applicants for tomorrow’s openings.

#5 – Don’t underestimate the power of pictures and video

This isn’t the most innovative item on the list, but despite that, it is often not played up as much as it could be on employers’ careers sites. While you may at least have a company LinkedIn and Facebook page by now, are you keeping it up to date with engaging pictures and video streams of employees loving their work? Here are some quick ideas:

  • Embed pictures within the actual job listings on your recruiting software site. If your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application supports HTML when uploading job listings, then you may insert images.
  • Include pictures of current employees with testimonials about working for your organization. Better yet, embed videos on your careers site (possibly your Careers Blog a la item #8) with employees talking about what to expect when working at your company. Have your videos available on a company YouTube channel, as well.
  • Include a link to a picture map of your office location when using email templates to invite applicants to schedule in-house interviews.

#4 – Proactively follow-up with previous applicants in your current pool of candidates

There are many reasons why some people in your current candidate pool (i.e. people who have previously submitted an application to your site) may not be the best fit for your current job opportunities. However, they may be a fit a month, six months, or a year down the road. Don’t expect them to consistently reach out to you in the future, but put timing on your side by:

  • periodically reaching out to them by emailing newsletters or press releases about significant company developments;
  • making sure they are subscribed to your automated job alerts so that they receive notice any time you post a new job;
  • sending your top passive candidates a personal note every so many months to stay in touch

Consider running an applicant referral bonus program so that your previous applicants can earn rewards for referring their friends to other open positions. While the applicants probably wouldn’t refer friends to positions for which they are being considered, odds are there are plenty of other opportunities in other departments that might be a fit for a friend. If their referral is hired, then candidates could receive a small gift card. This program helps you save money and time on recruiting costs, but it also spreads good will among your passive candidates and helps you virally spread the word about your job opportunities to a wider audience.

#3 – Survey your applicants for input on how to improve your recruiting process

Survey your applicants for inputThis one isn’t for the faint of heart as you are opening the floodgates for potential negative comments – but this is all about improving, right? A baby step for this option would be surveying your newly hired employees to find out what they liked/disliked about their recruiting experience.

However, if you really want to find out how to polish your employment brand’s reputation, then you might consider soliciting feedback from applicants who were not selected for positions, as well. Many candidates will not choose to participate since you didn’t select them; however, you may be surprised at the reaction you get from those who wish to remain engaged with your company and are therefore willing to participate. On the other end of the spectrum, if anyone by chance has an awful experience with your recruiting process (i.e. poor expectations set, late interviewers, lack of follow-up, etc.), they may be all too willing to tell you about it. You want this feedback so that you are aware of problems and can enact change – as well as report back on improvements.

If you’d like to offer an incentive for individuals to respond, depending on your industry, you may be able to offer some benefit to those who participate in the survey. For example, a restaurant, convenience store chain or retailer might offer a link to a coupon to applicants who complete the survey.

#2 – REALLY set expectations for candidates with job success factors sheet

Link to Job Success FactorsIs it enough to just create a comprehensive job description for the position noting all of the essential job requirements (with percentage of time spent on each duty allocated), qualifications and even workplace hazards chart? Maybe not. While it is important to have this unabridged version of the job description, as well as the more concise job posting description in circulation, take the opportunity to illustrate to candidates what it looks like to be successful in the role…after six months or a year, for example. What happens during a typical day/week? What will the candidate have accomplished or be working on independently in order for your organization to call him/her an “A Player” or a top 10% hire?

Make this sheet available to all candidates at the point of application by simply linking to it within the body of the job description. That way, truly interested applicants may take the time to download the document and get a better sense for the position, company culture. Applicants with the best potential job fit will become even more engaged and others will simply self-select out of the process after understanding more of the demands of the position. Here’s an example of a success factors description I put together for a position we hired earlier this year.

And #1… Create an up-front-contract about hiring process milestones and then deliver!

You may not always know exactly how many steps each positions’ selection process will have at the onset of initial interviews, but you should at least have a general idea. Stand out from the rest of your employer competitors by being upfront with applicants and bringing a sense of transparency to your hiring process. The best part about this list item is that it’s super easy!

All you have to do is give candidates expectations about how many steps are involved in the hiring process, what they are and how long you expect it to take to proceed through each section of the hiring funnel. And if your process isn’t set in stone, that’s okay, just tell them that’s the case but promise to keep them apprised of any changes to the details of the interviewing process.

Outline this process to candidates during the first interview (often, a phone screen) or even earlier by including it in any emails sent to the candidate to request that an initial interview be scheduled. The good part about speaking to candidates about your interviewing process details is that you can receive their immediate response as to whether or not they anticipate being able to participate in a process that takes the length of time that yours may require. If they can’t, no worries – you haven’t wasted your time or their time by conducting an initial interview. Candidates are more likely to be candid with you if you are candid with them.

Do you have other suggestions on how employers can improve their etiquette during the hiring selection process? Please comment and share your ideas! For more information about how our organization can help you leverage technology to improve your recruitment brand, please contact ExactHire.

Unique Job Specific Screening Questions Part 2 – Nonprofit Leadership

For those of you who read my first Unique Job Specific Screening Questions blog, then you know that many of the deal-breaker and essay questions sampled in this piece are especially common to high-volume positions for which one may recruit frequently. But what about your organization’s leadership roles? While you may not be creating these types of job listings in your applicant tracking software very often, it is still critical to identify the make-it-or-break-it questions for these high-level positions, as well.

In this follow-up, we’ll focus on the nonprofit industry. Easy-to-assign screener questions are just one of the many benefits available to not-for-profits that use technology to go paperless. A special thank you goes to Bryan Orander, Founder and President at Indianapolis-based Charitable Advisors, for sharing some of his preferred job-specific screening questions for certain key leadership roles in the nonprofit arena.

Download our hiring process questions guide

First Executive Director Screening Questions

  1. Tell us about your experience working with a nonprofit board of directors to help them add meaningful value to the organization and the relationship you strive to create with the board.
  2. Tell us about your experience and success in building relationships for fund development that could apply to this position.
  3. Based on either your personal knowledge of our service area or your research, what do you see as some of the greatest opportunities in our service area?
  4. Tell us about how you have exhibited the skills that will be needed as the First Executive Director of this organization. Consider that you would be wearing many hats and expected to work frequently at the community visioning level; and, that you would be hands-on with people, projects and paperwork while you work to grow the organization and build a staff team.
  5. Tell us about your experience in engaging businesses and neighbors in efforts to benefit their community…ideally, in a multicultural setting.

President Screening Questions

  1. Describe what you feel are the essential components of successful fundraising.
  2. Describe your most significant accomplishment.
  3. Provide an example of how you have taken on a leadership role to make our community a better place to live.
  4. What role could or should our organization play in making our community a world class place to live, and what initial steps would you take to make that happen?

Executive Director/CEO Screening Questions

  1. What fundraising approaches would you see as most important to an organization like ours, and how have you used them successfully?
  2. Describe how you have successfully engaged board members in sharing your organization’s story and taking ownership for raising funds.
  3. The Executive Director/CEO will be leading the Board’s evaluation of the organization’s current name and brand identity. Tell us how you would approach conducting such an evaluation.

If you would like to share your own ideas for screening questions for leadership positions – in any industry – please comment on this blog. We can certainly all greatly benefit from our combined collective knowledge of hiring and selection tips. For more specific information about how to leverage job-specific screening questions in your own selection process, please contact ExactHire to learn about our applicant tracking software options.

Download our hiring process questions guide

Unique Job Specific Screening Questions

Around here, we sometimes call the unique job specific screening questions available in our applicant tracking software portal the “deal-breaker” questions. You may attach these questions to individual job postings in order to gather more objective information about applicants up front. In turn, the Screening Questions Reports allow you to quickly compare applicants’ answers to one another and change status codes on the fly. This saves a lot of time as you don’t need to view the entire applicant record if an applicant has already answered a deal-breaker question in such a way that he/she removes him/herself from consideration for a position by failing to meet basic requirements.

But job-specific screening questions are also a great place to feature thought-provoking essay-type questions so that you may better understand an applicant’s motivation, inspiration and passion.

Here are some questions worth noticing from both categories. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to use some of them in your own job listings…

Download our hiring process questions guide

Deal-Breaker Screening Questions

  1. What is the current expiration date of your [insert license/certification here]?
  2. How many years of experience do you have in [insert desired field/discipline]?
  3. Please list your salary history and minimum salary requirement.
  4. What is the maximum number of employees that you have supervised in a job?
  5. Are you experienced in administering performance evaluations?
  6. Have you ever terminated an employee?
  7. Do you have any experience using Excel for [insert desired activity…i.e. financial reporting]?
  8. The work schedule for this position is generally 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Will this schedule work for you?
  9. Do you have experience using a cash register and/or handling cash?
  10. Please mark all locations at which you are interested in applying.
  11. I am aware that the company may require a drug test as part of the hiring process. Y/N.
  12. Mark all languages in which you are either conversational or fluent.
  13. Do you have a valid CDL?
  14. Mark all the software applications in which you are proficient.
  15. What machine equipment are you able to operate?

Essay Screening Questions

  1. What do you feel is the most difficult part of customer service?
  2. Share a difficult issue you have had to confront with an employee and how you resolved it.
  3. Describe your level of experience with third party audits and/or governmental agencies.
  4. Think of a time when you knew a co-worker was taking shortcuts that you knew would impact quality negatively. What did you do?
  5. What volunteer work have you done that has prepared you for this position? Why do you feel it was of value?
  6. Imagine you were in a job where you had the opportunity to do what you do best every day. How are you spending most of your time? What results are you generating?
  7. What are your learning goals? What particular skills do you want to learn? What specific challenges do you want to experience?
  8. What is the most dangerous aspect of your current job? How do you manage the risk?
  9. What are some things you would like to avoid in a job?
  10. What is the best feedback you have ever received from a supervisor? What made it so good?
  11. Please list the top 3 things that are most important to you in considering new employment.
  12. In what kind of culture and environment do you do your best work?
  13. What really productive partnerships or mentors have you had? What was it about these relationships that made them work so well for you? What did you contribute to these relationships?
  14. What are your favorite screening questions to use when narrowing your field of applicants? Please let us know with your comments.
Download our hiring process questions guide

If you are interested in using job-specific screening questions in our applicant tracking software, please contact ExactHire to schedule a demo.

Image credit: Question! by Stefan Baudy (contact)

An Employment Application’s Place in the Selection Process

I was recently emailing a newer client during our applicant tracking software implementation process, and asking him to make edits to the standard version of the employment application that we load to our client sites. After all, we can customize applications to the needs of each of our clients.

To this he responded:

“I’m actually wondering if I even want the actual employment application online. At what point is the decision made for someone to actually fill it out? Currently, we only get applications for candidates after they have interviewed face-to-face. Your thoughts?”

This is a great question and one I have fielded before. After all, some of our clients have changed the placement of the employment application in their selection and recruiting process as a result of implementing our ExactHire applicant tracking software (ATS). And so I replied:

“Great question! The ATS portal actually uses the online application as the means by which ExactHire captures an individual’s information in order to consider them as an applicant. That is, in order for one to apply for a position with your company, they complete the online application, and if they’d like, they may also attach their cover letter/resume. Without an application, we have no means of recognizing them as an applicant within the ATS for you then to manage them through the selection process.

It is perhaps a bit different of an approach than what you are used to at your company; however, it is nice to not have to worry about having to capture the applicants’ details after the fact and further into the interview process. Plus, you also have the option of asking job-specific questions on the second page of the application so that you may obtain more objective information about each candidate pre-interview so that you can better screen out unqualified applicants based on their answers to what I call “deal-breaker” questions.”

If you have any questions about how your employment application can be customized on our portal, please contact us.


Build a Recruitment Brand, And They Will Come…(Part 2)

You may recall from “Part 1” of this story the emphasis I placed on creating and nurturing a recruitment brand for your organization. Because whether or not you address it, you have a brand…so make sure it is a recruitment brand you are proud to support!

In this post, we’ll take a quick look at how you may use applicant tracking software to help maintain the recruitment brand you worked so diligently to create. Specifically, we’ll look at an ATS as a launch pad to social networking platforms; as well as, a means by which you can easily use status codes to move candidates through the selection process–while keeping those candidates informed.

But first, after my last post I invited ExactHire client, Right On Interactive, to share how they create and maintain the Right On Interactive recruitment brand.

Here are Right On Interactive’s President Troy Burk’s thoughts on the subject:

  1. “We educate as much as we evaluate. We realize that throughout the entire recruiting process we must continue to show the value of the opportunity, the potential for personal growth, and future direction of our company. The candidates are interviewing us as much as we are interviewing them.
  2. Be honest with the candidates. We talk about the specifics of the position, the requirements, and what our expectations are for performance. False expectations on either end will end in disappointment (on either side).
  3. If a candidate is not a good fit for the position, we will try to help them network with others that might be a better fit. We have done this with several individuals and helped them find the right position (with another company).”

It is clear that Troy’s organization understands the importance of mutual respect in the selection process, as well as how to leverage networking to help candidates.

So how can you use an ATS to exponentially increase the size of the audience that has access to your job postings? With ExactHire’s applicant tracking software, you have the ability to allow candidates to “share” your job listing with friends and colleagues via the biggie’s like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but also over 285 other Internet sites! And, if you have been paying special attention to your recruitment brand and how it dictates that you treat your applicants, you are much more likely to have site visitors that want to share your openings with others. Your recruitment brand is creating fans for your organization.

Social Networking Links | ExactHire ATS

When you have the social networking under control, then it is time to keep applicants engaged by managing them through your selection process within the ATS. The administrative side of the ExactHire ATS allows you to use both applicant status codes and job status codes to assign a progress label to every applicant for each position to which he/she may have applied. Then, you may run a quick report that allows you to use status codes as search criteria to drill down to specific lists of applicants that deserve a follow-up email from your organization. Use the ATS to send emails to multiple candidates at once, and create a recruitment brand that embodies consistency in candid communication. Your applicants will note your efforts, trust me.

Image credit: Road Herd by Ed Thomes Photography (contact)

Build a Recruitment Brand, And They Will Come…(Part 1)

Over the span of each of your careers, I’m sure you can pinpoint at least one time in which you had a very unfortunate, if not comical, recruitment experience with an organization. That is, the company made some major blunder while recruiting you…for example, during an interview or a follow-up communication. If so, I invite you to comment and share your experiences, though please keep the organization anonymous to protect the innocent.

I’ll go first. During my first full-time job search right out of college, I was engaged by an insurance brokerage during a job fair. I went through a series of interviews and also took an employee assessment before being invited in for a final interview with the principal of the brokerage.

Everything was going just fine, and then he started to ask me things like, “what do your parents do a for a living?” and “are you married?” Wow. Those are some major interview no-no’s! While there is more to share to that story, you get my point. Needless to say, I decided not to pursue opportunities with that organization because of the implicit message their recruiting methods sent to me.

Now hopefully you have all had wonderful recruitment experiences, as well. You know, the organizations that really had their act together and left you feeling informed and valued as a candidate–whether or not you landed the position in the long run. What do these companies do differently to leave such a positive impression with you?

Odds are, these organizations have spent some time developing their recruitment brand. They have clearly identified the types of candidates that they seek, and have taken measures to consistently be up front with candidates about what should be expected from the recruitment process–sometimes down to the number of steps involved and the timing between each step. They appreciate the time applicants have invested in applying to their company, and while sometimes they are not able to personally address most applicants, they do use applicant tracking software in order to automate the process of sending responses to all candidates to explain next steps, or to thank them for their interest.

And because there are so few organizations who really live and breathe a true recruitment brand, you can imagine that the organizations who do spend the time reap the reward of a high volume of applicants. Build a recruitment brand and they will come…and the top talent will be included in those numbers, too.

So, with applicant flow covered, what can you do to manage the volume of applicants and really mine your database of individuals? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog to learn how you may use applicant tracking software as: 1) a launch pad for social networking; and, 2) a means by which to assign status codes to quickly categorize quality applicants for future consideration as job openings become available.

Image credit: tea candle in the dark by Markus Grossalber (contact)