It’s hard to start off a new year without thinking of at least a few things you would like to improve or revisit in your personal and/or professional life. There’s something empowering about having a clean slate, but sometimes its a struggle to know what type of resolutions might have the greatest impact on your success in 2014. Consider this list of just a few ideas on how you might positively impact your company’s recruiting process in the next year.
While the corporate social media pages you have in place may very well continue to be critical (for example LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook), ever expanding networking sites such as Google+ or Pinterest might have a powerful impact on your particular industry or hard-to-fill niche positions. But before you dive in, do some research to make sure the move has the potential to be worth your time…there’s nothing worse than a social media profile that exists, but is hardly ever updated.
2. Proactively connect with hiring managers to better anticipate incoming job posting requests.
Let’s face it – recruiting can be a very stressful job when there are slews of open positions for which you must source an unending list of applicants. Utilize rare down time to reach out to managers to ask for insight as to whether near future openings are likely to be for brand new positions; or, for positions that seem to always be open. Based on the answers you receive, next steps might include undergoing job evaluation to create new job descriptions and/or taking a closer look at the competencies required for positions that are consistently on the high turnover list.
3. Double check job inventory levels with paid external job boards & review contracts.
If you pre-purchase units of inventory in bulk from third-party job boards, its a good idea to check your remaining inventory from time to time to make sure what you have in your notes reconciles with the vendor. This is a good way to avoid delays in posting jobs when you have a last minute request on Friday afternoon only to find out you are already out of job credits without a way to get them until Monday.
Also, review the fine print of your contracts with vendors to make sure you understand any restrictions on rolling over inventory from one year to the next as well as any annual increases.
4. Evaluate the effectiveness of sourcing channels with reporting tools in your applicant tracking system.
Speaking of job boards, when was the last time you took a look at your applicant source reporting tools to verify if the investment you are making in external boards is paying off? Not only should you verify that continued advertising with your current vendor list is appropriate, the near year is a great time to put some time into researching other job board and job aggregator options, as well. So many resources abound these days from boards that are diversity-specific, to regionally-focused, to profession-oriented.
While you may have strong feelings about how you conduct the selection process, its important to take pause and ask others about the images and feelings they have when asked what its like to work for your organization. While it may be apparent that applicants and site visitors should be questioned, don’t forget about your own current employees and perhaps vendors/partners, as well. General sentiment can be monitored by trolling social media and perhaps implementing Google Alerts about employment at your organization, but for smaller organizations you might consider a good old-fashioned survey or focus group, as well.
6. Do a refresh on your careers portal.
Armed with feedback about your employment brand, its a momentous time to consider revamping content/design on your employment page, if it has been awhile or if what you currently serve up is not effective (which you could find out by reviewing site analytics for visitor traffic – i.e. time on site, bounce rate, etc.).
If you don’t have any videos yet, what are you waiting for? Or, if you are in a pinch, at least have some quotations and head shots from your best internal brand ambassadors available for potential applicants to view on your employment site. Given the tools available in HireCentric applicant tracking software, its easy to embed a YouTube video on your ATS site, for example.
8. Do an audit of your existing hiring process practices.
Is everything on your hiring checklist getting completed for every applicant? For example, do you have a policy in place to determine when background checks should be conducted for certain types of positions? Is it being followed? Are reference checks being completed appropriately and in a timely manner, and is the information gleaned being used effectively?
9. Make like an applicant & complete your own employment application.
Hopefully you are not guilty of last updating your company’s job application more than ten years ago! On an annual basis, take time to complete the entire application on your own to make sure that questions are grammatically correct, job-related and legal. After all, employment law frequently changes and an effective HR person must keep up with relevant federal, state and local legislative updates. In addition to the aforementioned items, be sure that the time it takes for you to complete the application isn’t too long or too short. Make it enough of a speed bump to get qualified applicants, but not so long that people get frustrated and abandon the process early.
10. Start a blog about recruiting & employment experiences at your organization.
An effective way to generate interest in your organization’s employment opportunities is to frequently add engaging content to your website. An easy way to do this is by implementing a blog on which multiple authors across your organization can contribute. While it may initially be challenging to encourage others to write, this hurdle can be overcome with an interesting contest incentivizing others to write about the employment experience from their own perspective. Plus, if you do regularly blog take another look at Google+ as a social network…setting up Google Authorship for your contributors helps your search rankings and drives traffic to your site.
11. Clean up your status code list & add new dispositions, if necessary.
Just as a good rule of thumb for donating your clothes is to get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in a year, the same is true for your applicant statuses. So often clients get caught up in a status-generating frenzy when first implementing hiring software only to end up using a few select labels within a large list. Of course those subject to affirmative action plan reporting tend to have long disposition code lists out of necessity…but even then, give your list a quick look and clean it up if appropriate.
12. Be more involved in social media groups & “tweetups” for your industry.
While you may already belong to a number of subgroups on social media sites, how often are you actually engaging with others…within discussion groups, during tweetups on Twitter, sharing others’ posts, etc.? If you can legitimately connect with others, including potential future applicants, then when it comes time to push some of your own career-related content (like job listings), others are more likely to share it with their own networks and respond.
13. Archive applicant records & job listings you don’t need anymore.
When you are sourcing a high volume of positions all at once, it can be easy to leave ATS housekeeping type activities such as archiving until later. The problem is that “later” can sometimes turn into “not at all.” The beauty of archiving is that it can be reversed (unlike deleting records)…so never fear…clean up your hiring portals and look at dashboard data that is relevant to you in the moment!
14. Craft a more innovative message to applicants who don’t make the cut.
First off, please make sure that you are at least communicating to applicants (in a timely manner mind you) when they are not selected for a position. There’s no reason not to do this, especially with the automated, yet personalized, mass messages that can be sent from your applicant tracking system. However, so many applicants receive delayed messages from organizations…if they receive a rejection message at all. They may not be a fit today, but could be nurtured to be a fit for perhaps a different role tomorrow. Keep them engaged by considering a coupon in your rejection message (if you are a retail organization, for example) or dropping them into a drip campaign with messages about news at your organization or future hiring needs.
15. Analyze the impact of using employee assessments within your selection process.
Do some reporting to show how many of the new hires that completed assessments within your organization remained employed for certain periods of time. For those who have assimilated well and remain employed, look at their score results to create benchmarks for future candidate assessment invitations. If you aren’t already doing pre-employment testing, explore your options.
16. Check with others who interview to see how to better capture their feedback.
Is there room for improvement in terms of the efficiency with which ratings and/or comments are collected from hiring managers? If so, think about ways in which you might make this easier for others so that they are more inclined to consistently offer commentary. Enable managers to log into your hiring software to leave notes and/or implement custom surveys so that the type of comments they offer are standardized.
When was the last time you took a look through the list of your software application’s restricted users? There may be individuals who have moved on so credentials could be archived; or, others may have earned the right to be assigned to a different business unit’s applicants and job templates due to a recent promotion. Make sure you understand the type of access each user level affords someone and take advantage of new features as they may have been rolled out over the past year.
18. Consider new technologies like video interviewing.
If you find yourself challenged when it comes to arranging interviews with candidates out of town; or even candidates who are currently employed elsewhere and limited on taking time off to drive to your office to meet with you, then explore the many options for video conferencing and interviewing. If budget is tight, consider no cost options such as Skype or Google Hangout; otherwise, other options abound in the market.
At least once a year, its a good idea to glance at the levels of management that are arranged to review pending requisition forms for new job openings. Particularly, if the layers are predetermined, consult with those involved to make sure it still makes sense for them to have a say in the process.
Even if you do already have an incentive in place, it can be easy for employees to forget about it if your job postings aren’t top of mind for them. Set expectations about how you will approach referrals, and encourage people to continue sending them even if previous referrals didn’t make the cut (but make sure you are communicating with applicants that don’t make the cut a la item #14). Lastly, make it easy for employees to spread the word about your job postings on social media and ensure that your applicant tracking system has a field to allow applicants to name the referring employee during the application process.
21. Set goals for key recruiting metrics.
Hone in on the numbers that make sense for your organization, industry and corporate culture, and then utilize reporting features in your ATS to generate reports on demand periodically. Options might include time-to-hire and/or time-to-fill, retention rates, ROI for ad referral sources, offer to acceptance ratio, etc.
22. Update your applicant correspondence email templates.
It’s probably been awhile since you checked out the language used in all the templates you regularly use to message candidates from your hiring software. Go back through each of them, make any necessary updates, and think about you can make them more effective. Add new ones as appropriate, and archive ones that are now obsolete.
23. Revisit your job screening questions & update scoring & disqualification filters to make life easier.
In addition to an annual review of your standard employment application, don’t forget to scan the job-specific screener questions you attach to certain listings and templates. Are you incorporating automation filters to allow you to automatically score and/or disqualify applicants who fail to answer questions in a way that deems them eligible for a position? For example, HireCentric ATS allows one to quickly filter a candidate list to view only those applicants who answered basic qualification-type questions favorably.
24. Create lead-nurturing campaigns to stay in touch with passive applicants.
If you’re using any kind of technology for hiring tool, then you are collecting an ever-increasing number of applicants, as well as assigning statuses that allow you to know who you might consider in the future. For those high-potential people, send them career-related content about your organization periodically to engage them for the future. Sketch out a series of short messages that link to employee testimonial videos (ah-ha! #7) or blogs about company culture (that’s right…#10) and then “drip” on these candidates via email at fixed intervals.
25. Conduct “lessons learned” pow-wows to break down what went wrong when there are occasional bad hires.
Even the best of processes can sometimes result in an infrequent bad apple hire, but when they do its important to stop and take stock of what led to the issue(s). Look for trends related to such items as sourcing channel, assessment results for certain cognitive and behavioral traits, leadership style of assigned manager, productivity of peers involved in employee’s department, ease with which the employee was onboarded into the organization, and the degree to which the actual job’s demands were accurately portrayed in the job description and during the interviewing process.