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13 Reasons Why HR, Recruiting & Marketing Should Be Besties

There are times when the human resources and/or recruiting departments could use a little…er…makeover. Nothing too drastic…maybe just a new up-do or a shiny coat of polish. Or, maybe your HR team is on the verge of a surprise appearance (unbeknownst to you of course) on What Not To Wear when it comes to your recruiting and employee engagement techniques.

Regardless of the extent to which your department may need some dollin’ up, your dream stylist might be just down the hall. Yes. Your company’s marketing department could just be your potential new best friend and ticket to avoiding bad HaiR days. Consider the myriad ways in which their team may be able to help put a little groove back in your gait…

#1 – Attraction. Persuasion. Convincing Others.

Like recruiting, marketing deals in the trade of engaging and intriguing others to take action. The only difference is the context in which this occurs. Recruiting (hopefully) persuades individuals to apply and accept job offers with a company. Marketing produces content that helps to convince others (along with sales) to purchase products and/or services from the business. Though arguably, the scope of their activities may very well exceed the same efforts in human resources…as you may not always be hiring, and it might just be one item on your plate when you are in that mode. Sit down with your favorite marketer to find out about his/her department’s overall vision for attracting customers.

“Like recruiting, marketing deals in the trade of engaging and intriguing others to take action.”

#2 – Their Brand Strategy Leaves a Mark – & I Don’t Mean on a Cow

The marketers in your company are the keepers of the brand…fussing over every detail related to how people perceive not just the visual elements of your organization, but also how the brand makes them feel. I probably don’t have to tell you…remember when they freaked out about your email signature having hyphens in the phone number instead of dots?

Your employment brand is equally as critical as your company’s overall brand…and they should go hand in hand. Its important to think about how applicants and employees, especially, feel about the way you handle the selection process and your efforts to engage employees. A buddy in marketing can help you to think about the little details that will help to improve this brand…maybe even guide you in planning a recruitment-specific logo?

#3 – They’ll Blind You With Science Technology

Being an HR-type person myself, and arguably tech savvy, I do realize that there are of course some software-lovin’ human resources people out there. Though for me, I think my SaaS passion comes from my marketing/sales background…not from the fact that I have my PHR certification. And, I know that not every human capital expert is as comfortable using the latest social media sites and software applications as the majority of their marketing counterparts.

Especially when it comes to the latest social media trends, pick the brain of your promotions team for advice on how you can best utilize sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc. to create a following of people interested in all things “employment” at your company. Plus, they can probably let you in on a few integration tips so that you can automate the posting of job opportunities to your social profiles.

#4 – Their Packaging Creates a Special Delivery

You know the phrase…maybe you last heard it on an episode of American Idol or The Voice. “You’re really the whole package.” Marketing is more than a logo and a snazzy brochure. Its understanding the buyer experience and all that goes into it. Its intentionally crafting that experience to elicit the desired buyer behavior. The same applies for the recruiting process.

  • What expectations do you set with applicants about the interview process?
  • How do you package the career-related content on your webpage?
  • How does an applicant feel after receiving and reading an email notification in which they are ultimately rejected for the position?

Unless you already have a warm fuzzy about all these questions, get some constructive criticism from down the hall.

#5 – Targeted Recruitment Marketing Probably Can’t Hurt

If you’re a large enough business, then you may hire for positions ranging from IT to machine operator to administrative assistant. However, it’s unlikely that the applicants for these diverse positions will respond to the same types of call-outs, job boards and employee testimonials, right? That’s where audience segmentation can come in handy…and that should be old hat for your marketing peeps. They can walk you through the things to consider when creating your distinct lists (like previous behavior, for example), and then help you develop different sets of content/messaging that will suit the unique needs of each applicant population. Maybe even try out a retargeting campaign online…you know those ads for the amazing boots that follow you around on every website after you looked at them once on the Macy’s site two weeks ago. Yep, I bought the boots.

#6 – Because Pivot Tables Won’t Make Them Pivot on Their Heels

They should be no stranger to metrics and poring through different types of reports in the interest of gleaning data that helps make better, informed decisions in the future. And while hopefully you know what key performance indicators are important to the HR department already, that doesn’t mean that its always easy to get to that data without some Excel splicing and dicing. Your neighbors can be your tutor when it comes to mastering the spreadsheet.

#7 – They Can Sell…and Research

Job descriptions need a little pizzazz? Consider this…while the compliant HR side of you won’t neglect to include the workplace hazards chart on the official description, the marketing department can help you consider how to attract job seeker interest in the version of the job that gets posted on your careers portal and external job boards. Not only can they help dress it up to better engage the target audience for that specific position, but they can probably help you better optimize it for search engine rankings with strategic keyword placement. And speaking of search engine optimization efforts, don’t forget to get your company’s Google Analytics code from them so that it can be added to your recruiting software portal, too. That way, you can see all sorts of goodies about your job portal visitors…in addition to any analytics already available in your applicant tracking system (ATS).

#8 – They Know What a Hexadecimal Color Code is & They’re Not Afraid to Use It

Remember that part about branding being important? Keep it consistent by designing any web-based messaging you develop in such a way that it supports and reflects your company’s overall brand. And yes, that means using the same web-friendly colors that marketing uses on all other company materials. For instance, if you implement an ATS that includes a branded jobs portal, then make sure you involve marketing in the implementation process when it comes to deciding the style setting preferences for your careers site.

#9 – Because Stick Figures Just Won’t Do

When you need a neat-o graphic for your employee benefits manual so that you don’t have to use the Snipping Tool again (wait, what’s that?), just bribe them in exchange for their InDesign and PhotoShop expertise.

#10 – Focus On the People

Both camps certainly should have some stellar interpersonal skills…after all, you could probably mediate performance management reviews in your sleep, right? However, if you have been toying with taking your employee feedback solicitation show on the road, hit up your interdepartmental friends for any advice on staging successful focus groups. They might be ready to rattle off their do’s and don’ts list to you in no time.

#11 – They’d Be Willing to Write for You

If you haven’t picked it up from my subtle hints already, having informative, relevant and interesting career-related content available for your potential future applicants to consume is a critical component of your employment story. But maybe writing isn’t your thing. Your new friends can come to your wordsmithing aid…most likely to be your first volunteers for any job-related blogs, company culture case studies, or compelling employee testimonial write-ups.

#12 – Engage the Masses at Job Fairs

If you feel like the portable backdrop you are using to pull job seekers into your booth at career fairs is less than mesmerizing, then your new buddies might just have a list of trusted, credible trade show material vendors ready to dispense at a moment’s notice. Why reinvent the wheel when they are already pros at the conference prep game? They can probably help steer your design and messaging ideas down the right path, as well.

And Lucky #13…Two Peas in a Pod

Last but not least, why wouldn’t HR folks hang out with Marketing? We all have a lot in common! The majority of us tend to be on the social side…you know, people people. So there’s your opening…if you haven’t already, use your winning personality to open a dialogue with the dynamic individuals down the hall who just might help you raise your HR department’s game. Of course there are tons of skills HR can offer Marketing to return the favor…but that’s a blog for another time!

For more information about ExactHire’s applicant tracking system, please visit our resources page or contact us today.

Image credit: Besties by Darren Johnson (contact)

4 Tips to Attract the Best New Hires

So you have decided to hire a new employee, how are you going to ensure you get the best new hires for the job? Here are four tips to guarantee you attract the best talent for your new position.

Offer a competitive salary and benefits.

If you want to attract good applicants, you will need to compensate them appropriately…this means being better than “average.” Employees that are well compensated tend to work hard because they feel valued; while those who are not happy with their salary or benefits, may often not work as efficiently. To keep and attract the best staff, make sure you offer attractive benefits as well as good pay. Make schedules flexible when possible, allow for sick leave without using vacation days and offer health plans that are relevant to your staff (to name just a few ideas).

Show your company spirit

Who wouldn’t want to work for a place that knows how to have fun, and still be productive? When you post a job, make sure you review any social media sites your company manages. Look at them from the applicant’s point of view… what do your status posts and content say about your company culture? Make sure your Facebook page shows the environment in the office, and the great teamwork that everyone enjoys…and then other individuals will want to join the team! The applicant will see that the company values its employees and this will attract qualified candidates.
Show Company Spirit on Facebook

Strive to be well known in your industry & local market

Many qualified candidates want to work for an organization with a name they recognize; they feel comfortable knowing more about the company before the job is even available. As a whole, your company should try to make itself known in its industry, not just to sell products, but also in order to attract top talent. At the very least, be known for having a positive recruitment brand within your local market. This can be achieved by joining organizations, attending networking events and volunteering in your community. This shows a lot about how your organization values work ethic and company culture, as well.

Think outside the box

What other ways can you find good help? Does your company offer a bonus program to employees that refer a new candidate? If you do not have an employee referral incentive in place, it’s a great time to think about starting one. Also, try to think about other opportunities to find good candidates – don’t be shy about proactively approaching them, instead of waiting for the applicants to come to you. This can be done through social media and informal networking.

All these efforts will help your organization attract the best person for your new position. ExactHire offers software that helps organizations to improve job fit across their workforce. For more information, please visit our resources page or contact us.

Hone Your Recruiting Skills by Qualifying Resumes Like a Champ

If you’ve ever done any employee recruiting then you know that when you are bombarded by resumes (an arguably better problem to have than the alternative), you can sometimes feel like you are spinning your wheels trying to unearth the star applicants from the average candidates. It can just take a lot of time to go through all those resumes, can’t it? But, there are some simple application pre-qualification techniques you can use to start sourcing quality applicants more quickly. Plus, its hard to argue with these potential benefits of implementing a sound resume screening process:

  • Shorten your time-to-hire
  • Improve the quality of newly hired employees
  • Promote your organization’s employment brand by staying organized throughout the selection process and proactively letting applicants know that you’d consider them for other positions in the future
  • Realize a better ROI for your time and your hiring managers’ time…which ultimately results in fewer costs attributable to turnover
  • And…amass a pool of passive applicants ready to consume your career-related content

 

Familiarize Yourself With Job Descriptions

While this is good practice in general, its especially critical if you aren’t the one who wrote them, yet you are the person tasked with finding the perfect employee match! Armed with a working knowledge of the demands and nuances of the position, put together a list of 4-7 job-specific screening questions that you may prompt individuals to answer during the application process.

Then, take advantage of filtering tools within your applicant tracking system to quickly narrow your applicant results to only those individuals who score appropriately based on their answers to these screening questions. If you need help thinking of questions, interview hiring managers that are close to this position and look at the job description to clarify items that are candidate must-have’s versus just nice-to-have qualities.

Prioritize the Resumes and Applications You’ve Received

Once you’ve automatically narrowed your field of applicants using question filters, its time to rank resumes (in order to guide your decision on which applicants to contact first) based on their content’s percentage match to your position description and preferred experience, education, etc. Here are some ideas on factors that may contribute to your own personal prioritization formula…just make sure that the ones you use are job relevant:

  • Does the applicant have the “preferred” items (you already know he/she is in the clear for the required qualifications, but now look for the “icing on the cake” ones)?
  • Did he/she work in similar industries previously?
  • Is this person a referral from a current employee?
  • How soon is this candidate available to begin employment?
  • Did he/she include any quantitative information about his/her past performance as it relates to this position?

Rinse & Repeat for Phone Interviews

As you continue to more efficiently whittle down your list of qualified applicants and then conduct phone screens, take the same approach as mentioned above to determine which candidates should be passed on to the in-house interview stage. It should be even easier to better qualify applicants at this stage as you will have the benefit of speaking with them and gathering more information than was available on just the resume.

Communicate!

Now here’s the step where things can sometimes go awry and a recruiter who was otherwise destined to receive recruiting props has a failure to launch. Communication can not only dramatically improve the perception of your company’s employment/recruitment brand, but it also prepares you to dramatically shorten your time to hire for other positions in the future.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Promptly correspond with applicants still under consideration for a specific job about moving to next steps and what to expect from the selection process. Take this time to make sure that they are still interested in continuing down this path.
  2. Now here’s the important part…ALSO promptly be in touch with those candidates who didn’t make it for this position; however, their experience is such that they are intriguing for consideration for potential future positions. Status these people as “good future potentials in [name specific] department,” and communicate this detail to them to keep them engaged. This easy and fast extra step will reduce the amount of time you must take to source new applicants for a position within their department of interest in the future. And/or, if you have other positions open already that may be a good fit, copy them to consideration for that position and then let them know.

Analyze Trends

As you start working smarter (not harder) to pre-screen and qualify resumes, look for trends in your recruiting analytics to better understand from where the best applicants for different positions come…i.e. employee referrals, social media sites, specific job boards, etc. Use this info to more carefully pinpoint which job referral sources to use again in the future. That is, don’t drop a job posting bomb by pushing your job listing all over the place just because you can…choose the sources that consistently deliver quality applicants carefully to maximize your return on time (and sometimes money) spent.

By heeding these tips, you can become a more effective recruiter and likely reduce your stress level, as well. After all, it’s certainly easier to reach out to a pool of already engaged candidates in comparison to finding applicants for a new position from scratch. What are your ideas on better qualifying applicant resumes?

For more information about ExactHire’s tech solutions for the recruiting process, please visit our resources section or contact us today.

Image credit: Stand Out by Jamie Campbell (contact)

25 Recruiting Process Resolution Ideas for the New Year

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.

1. Reevaluate the social media distribution channels you are using to promote open job listings.

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.

5. Think about how others perceive your employment brand.

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.).

7. Update and/or create new employee testimonial videos.

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.

17. Audit your recruiting software portal users.

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.

19. Review the layers of approval in place for your job requisition requests.

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.

20. Remind others about your employee referral policy.

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.

Please feel free to share your ideas for recruiting resolutions in 2014 in the comments below, on the ExactHire Facebook page or via Twitter (@goExactHire).

For more information about ExactHire’s technology solutions for recruiting, please visit our resources page or contact us.

Image credit: Ungreen by Kevin Dooley (contact)

Teaching Company Culture to a Newly Hired Employee

I am not the newest member of the ExactHire team, but I still remember my first day well! Being the new kid on the block can be a little intimidating, especially at a small company. So, ease the fears of your new hires by teaching company culture from the start. You know…the informal, generally accepted ways of doing things in your company that the employee won’t necessarily read about in the employee handbook.

Times Have Changed in the Workplace

In most cases, workplaces are much more flexible and relaxed places to be than in decades past. If this is the case with your office, make sure the new hire is aware of dress code, lunch policy and other activities/tasks on which flexibility is given. This is true for companies that are still very traditional, as well. Think about how uncomfortable a new employee would feel coming to work way overdressed (or way too casual) on the first day of work. Let him/her know the expectations right away…especially since new employees may be hesitant to ask these types of questions directly when first beginning work at a new organization.

Part of the Family

If you utilized pre-employment testing during the hiring process, than you should already know a lot about what makes your employee “tick” and why he/she is well-suited for the role he/she has accepted. Keep that in mind when acclimating him/her to the new work environment and co-workers. If your company has any social media pages, make sure to invite the new employee to optionally view or participate in these pages. LinkedIn will provide a sense of the company’s industry presence or overall market view. Pages like Facebook, will allow the employee to see some of the fun activities your company has to offer (examples could include office parties or working retreats that the employees attend together).

Know Your Company History

It is helpful to teach the new employee about the background of the company, as well as the industry in which it participates. Knowing how the company started and what major milestones have been reached, paints a clearer picture of why the company is what it is today. Some businesses have traditions they keep in place to remind them of humble roots at the start of the company or even just reminders of the original owners. The new employee will more likely feel more in tune with the overall culture of the company as a result of knowing these facts.

By proactively instilling a sense of your organization’s culture with new employees, you are further helping to make the employee onboarding process a pleasant and informative experience. In the long run, employees who engage more quickly are generally more likely to be productive sooner and stay employed with your company longer.

Technology can augment your company’s employment brand which is certainly a key component of the organizational culture. For more information about ExactHire and how we can help, visit our resources section or contact us today.

Image credit: Say Geese by Vinoth Chandar (contact)

3 Tips That Help A Technology Company Get More Applicants

In 2010-2014, technology companies were one of the few bright spots in the U.S. economy. Even when other organizations were laying off employees, many tech firms were in solid (and sometimes spectacular) growth mode. With the data that’s available to us at this point in time, this sector of the economy appears poised for ongoing growth and expansion, well into the future.

That’s excellent news if you own or work for an organization like this. If you are a recruiter or hiring manager, however, it poses some challenges. While some of these challenges are familiar (i.e., how to make potential applicants aware of openings, how to make good hiring decisions, how to retain the best, etc.), my focus today is on how these companies can develop an ongoing pool of talent from which to draw.

Below are 3 key ideas to consider if you are in a hiring role for a technology company:

Make it easy for candidates to find your positions

Certainly, posting them on your career site makes sense. However, try to take advantage of free job boards and/or college career sites to spread that message. Provide your existing employees an easy way to share your openings via social media channels. This will help to leverage all of those collective relationships and often will allow you to tap into more of the passive candidate space. Our applicant tracking software tool facilitates both of these tasks for you and your team.

Make it easy for career site visitors to stay in touch with you

If they’re referred to you (employee referral, social media, etc.) and visit your career site, you want to maximize your return on that visit. If the person isn’t ready to apply yet or doesn’t see the position for which they’re qualified, give them a platform to opt in and be made aware of future openings. A good ATS should provide you this functionality.

Make it easy for people to apply

This is targeted toward the experience your candidates will have if they choose to apply for an opening. At the same time, you don’t want to sacrifice your internal time as a trade off for simplifying things for the candidate. For instance, allowing candidates to simply email you their resume with their targeted position in the subject line is about as easy as it can get for the candidate. From your end, however, it creates significant issues around where to keep the list of candidates for a given job, what you think of them, next steps in the process, email correspondence with them, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, asking the candidate for a full application with a lot of detailed information is about as easy as it can get for you. Not so much for your candidates.

An approach many of our clients use with our recruiting software is to meet in the middle with a two-step application process. Ask candidates for some very limited information upfront to encourage them to “throw their hat into the ring.” Part of this process, however, is requiring them to answer some quick, simple questions unique to that particular job for which they’re applying. The answers to those questions may be scored behind the scenes, allowing the client to very quickly zero in on the applicants who meet their minimum criteria. Those that move forward may be asked for more detailed information at a later point in the process, but all of that is kept within the same applicant file record. Good for the candidates (especially in-demand IT professionals that won’t take time to fill out a long application), and good for the firm.

Following these tips will help your technology company attract more quality candidates, engage them quickly, and allow you to stay connected with them for current or future openings. If you’d like to learn more about our applicant tracking system, please visit our resources section or contact us.

3 Tips to Engage Your Applicants During the Hiring Process

Any decent recruiter knows that it is critical to have an active pool from which to source candidates for jobs, but that doesn’t just mean a large number of any past job applicants. A truly good applicant pool includes applicants that are interested in future positions with your organization and have the qualifications required. Here is an overview of three tips to engage your applicants throughout the recruiting and selection process.

Have relevant and diverse content on your careers site

Maintaining a company careers site with current and RELEVANT job-related and company-culture inspired content will help attract top talent. Your website or career page may be your first impression with the applicant…so make sure it’s a positive and informative experience! This effort shows potential future employees that you are serious about your industry and your team, and it can provide compelling information to elusive passive job seekers who are just dipping their toe into the pool and contemplating job transition.

Moreover, feature this information in various forms and locations:

Acknowledge applicants’ efforts to apply for jobs on your site

Once the candidate has applied to the job, make sure he/she receives some confirmation of his/her formal interest in the company. Making this communication more personalized will help the candidate stay intrigued…think of it as a call to action. Invite the candidate to follow your company via Twitter or LinkedIn in the correspondence text, itself. By doing so, you can start to expose glimpses of your company culture early in the relationship and the right applicants will more likely stay interested in your company throughout the process, as a result.

Make the first meeting unforgettable

Most of the time, the first meeting between a candidate and an organization’s recruiting representative is an interview, so try to find ways to make this experience more positive and remarkable…not just a stiff meeting at an office in a conference room. Set clear expectations about what to expect from the rest of the interviewing process and then be accountable to following through with promises in order to bolster your organization’s credibility and employment brand.

When interviewing top talent for hard-to-fill positions, meetings could take place at a nice coffee shop. This would put the candidate at ease and also make the experience stand out in his/her mind. After all, when courting A players for critical positions, as a recruiter, you are competing against others that want this applicant at their organization, as well.

Finally, thank all applicants for their time…while not a radical idea, this is sometimes overlooked since normally it is the applicant thanking the hiring manager. These types of small details will leave a lasting and positive impression with your candidates.

As a recruiter, part of your job is to “sell” the position to the potential employee and make sure that each candidate is truly interested in the job. Keeping candidates engaged throughout the hiring process will help to ensure your top contenders accept a job offer, start off engaged and succeed at your organization.

For information on how ExactHire’s hiring software solutions can aid your efforts to engage applicants, please contact us today.

Image credit: engaged by Pia Kristine (contact)

How Can Online Content Improve Recruitment Experience for Applicants?

Imagine you are a fresh college grad, or a mother going back into the workforce, or a seasoned employee laid off due to the ever changing economy…where do you start to look for a new job?

The internet, of course!

And it’s more important than ever to make sure that job seekers have a positive experience with your organization. But for some job seekers, this experience may begin before recruiters have any contact with them. Want to help shape the impression that these individuals form about your company? Social media sites and regular blogging are effective and inexpensive platforms that can help improve the recruitment experience for your applicants!

Start by writing blog entries and using social media status updates to help answer questions potential candidates may have (try to think of the job search from their perspective):

  • What makes this an intriguing organization (or what makes your business innovative, interesting or unique in a sea of competitors)?
  • How would one describe the company culture? Are employees just a “number” or is there a strong team dynamic?
  • What should one expect from the application process? Will an application tracking system have questions that weed out those candidates not meeting minimum essential job requirements?
  • How many interviews will be a part of the selection process?
  • Will applicants hear their fate one way or another at the end of the selection process?

Knowledge is power and candidates will appreciate the information as it will then allow them to spend time on truly assessing whether your organization will be a mutual, productive fit.

Job Listings Themselves Are Compelling Content Sources

Leaving a positive first impression (and second or third impression) on your potential future employees is always important. Examine your job postings, arguably the most important pieces of content when it comes to written resources supporting your company culture, and make any adjustments that will help attract the best candidates. Try to avoid the typical “boring” help wanted ad…create content that is engaging and draws in candidates so that they want to find out more about your organization.

Assess How Content Supports Your Current Employment Brand

Next, take an unbiased look at your own website, company LinkedIn profile or Twitter account – would you find it memorable? Does it accurately support your overall corporate brand messaging, as well. If not, work with your marketing team to make some tweaks that better align HR/recruitment branding with organizational objectives.

Also, if individual employees are blogging and/or tweeting on behalf of your company, make sure that their content fits in with the image that the company wants to portray to potential candidates. After all, each employee can be viewed by applicants as an ambassador for the overall organization. Company culture is very important to many candidates so use your Facebook page or other networking forums to accurately paint a portrait of daily work life. Do you have outings as groups? What is the atmosphere like in the office? Or, what can be expected during the average work day?

Instructional Content: Set Application Process Expectations

Last–but certainly not least–the employment application process needs to be reviewed to make sure that its length is appropriate, and that its instructions and steps are clear and understandable to applicants. Also, make it easy for applicants to use social media sharing tools to tell their network about your job opportunities at the onset of the application process.

Applicants want to know that they can apply to a position with relative ease. If the online application is too long (and they are not warned of this ahead of time with clear content in the instructions area), they may leave an incomplete application; or worse, they may spread bad “word of mouth” news on social media sites about your company’s cumbersome application process. Try to avoid this viral pitfall by letting applicants know upfront what is required during the application process…and make sure the length is truly necessary. Depending on the needs of your organization, a two-step application process might be worth consideration.

If present, social media updates and blogs may be accessed by candidates to answer many questions they have regarding your organization before they even apply for a position. So it is important that your organization makes a conscious effort to supply this in-demand content. In the absence if your content, it is possible that other external individuals will fill in the content gaps–and that may not always be positive for your company.  And while the possibility of negative third party content isn’t eliminated by publishing your own, it is at least mitigated when you can present your company’s side of the employment story.

By publishing career-related content online, you will increase the efficiency of your recruiting efforts. When candidates can easily research your organization themselves, it’s easier for them to determine whether or not they they are a good fit, which makes it more likely that they will self-select out of your process early, in the case that it’s a bad fit. Additionally, these job seekers will likely retain a positive image of your organization’s employer brand because you will have saved them time and energy.  And who knows…in the future, they may be just the applicants you are seeking; or, their well-qualified and well-suited network contacts may hear about your company’s job listings, instead – a win-win!

For more information about the content sharing features within ExactHire’s hiring software, please contact us or visit our resources section.

Image Credit: Ulysses D S at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

5 Easy Enhancements to Make to Your Company’s Careers Portal

Easy Careers Portal Enhancements ExactHireWhen was the last time you took a good look at your organization’s recruitment site through the eyes of a potential applicant? I’m talking about just the career-related content you feature on your branded applicant tracking software portal. You can’t remember? Well, whether you don’t recall or perhaps just need a gentle nudge to revisit the candidate experience side of your ATS software, in this blog I’ll outline five simple adjustments to make to the content you feature to entice individuals to apply to job listings on your company page.

While we may work in the HR/recruiting realm and therefore be intimately familiar with the inner workings of our recruiting software, all too often our familiarity may be too focused on the administrative side of an applicant tracking system. And even though much care was undoubtedly given to the intricacies of your employment application and career-related content during your implementation process with an ATS vendor, odds are it’s not something you regularly consider now that you are actively using the tool. Give the following ideas some thought periodically and then make adjustments to keep your career site visitors engaged.

1 – Make the Transition from Corporate Web Site to Career Site Seamless

Careers Redirect Link to ATSIf your organization utilizes an applicant tracking system, then you have the option of easily controlling the presentation of employment-related information on your external ATS site, rather than waiting on your corporate site’s webmaster to make changes to company site pages on your behalf. Some organizations will opt to host career information on the company site and then just list job openings on the ATS site; while others will simply have an “Employment Opportunities” link on the company site that points straight to the ATS site where all employment information is housed.

Regardless of the approach your business takes, just make sure that it doesn’t take your company site visitors too many clicks to get to your job descriptions and application on the applicant tracking software site. Also, since your job listings will live on the ATS site, make sure that you don’t duplicate your efforts by having the descriptions available on your company site, too. Not only would this be confusing for your applicants, but it also could potentially hurt your job listings’ rankings in search results since your two different sites would be competing for the same traffic in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

I recommend keeping things simple by having a redirect link on your corporate site that says something like “Careers,” “Employment” or “Job Opportunities,” and that points to the URL for your applicant tracking system’s external welcome page.

2 – Use a Welcome Page With Pictures and Clear Site Navigation

Careers Site Welcome Page PicturesWhether potential applicants are redirected from your main company web page or are referred from job boards or social media sites, it’s important that you have a general welcome page available to provide interested applicants with more information about employment with your organization. People that come to your careers portal after leaving your corporate site will obviously land on your welcome page first; however, those directed from external job boards will land on a specific job description page within your careers site. Nevertheless, before the latter site visitors apply, they may wish to click on your welcome page link in the site navigation and investigate your organization further.

As a result, it is critical to have an engaging and informative page within your ATS site that serves as a welcome to site visitors. It can briefly describe the types of employment opportunities generally available with your company, as well as what you are looking for in the individuals for hire. Be sure and include interesting visuals such as photographs or videos of the people and products or services that make up your organization.

3 – Customize Your Jobs Page With Instructions & Social Media Tools

When applicants take time to peruse your available job listings, it’s important to make the experience pleasant. For example, if you regularly have many jobs open at a time, then make sure your Jobs page offers applicants the ability to filter job listings by criteria such as location, employment type and department. That way applicants can get to relevant information more quickly. Also, if you occasionally do not have any openings listed, make sure there are clear instructions inviting site visitors to return to your careers portal regularly as well as encouraging them to subscribe to your automated job alert notices.
 Get Notified of New Jobs | ExactHire
Lastly, if your company manages any social media pages, then include social media “follow” icons to make it easy for potential future employees to engage with your organization on social networks.

4 – Create Page Links That Discuss Your Company Culture, Benefits & Hiring Process FAQs

ATS Career Content Navigation LinksIn the age of information, your potential future hires want to find out about your organization when they first land on your careers portal. Make it easy for them by creating links in your site navigation that take visitors to more information about what its like to work at your company. Those of us in Client Services at ExactHire are always pleased to see clients featuring lots of rich, relevant content on their ATS portal – it goes a long way in driving more people to your site, as well as engages them to be more likely to finish submitting an application. Here are some ideas on content to feature:

  • Describe the culture of your company
  • What to expect from the interview process
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about working at your company
  • Employee benefit information (insurance, vacation, tuition reimbursement, etc.)
  • …And a page devoted to employee testimonials (more on this below)

5 – Feature Employee Testimonials With Pictures, Quotations & Even Video

Use Employee Testimonial Videos | ExactHireWho better to convince job portal visitors to apply than your current employees who love their jobs! If you haven’t already, round up a group of your top talent…particularly, the individuals who truly are employment brand ambassadors for your organization. Once assembled, solicit your team for candid testimonials about why they work at your business. Pose different questions to different people so you have some variety in your responses when you feature their statements on your employment site:

  • What attracted you to this company?
  • What advice do you give to applicants?
  • How do you describe the culture of this organization?
  • What surprised you most about the company once you started here?
  • Where do you see your career going within the company?
  • What does it take to succeed and thrive at our organization?

Then, record video of their enthusiastic answers to the employee testimonial questions and/or feature their picture next to their quotation on your Testimonials page.

Regardless of which career site enhancement techniques you may employ, the bottom line is that its best to regularly take stock of your approach to ensure that your employment brand is putting its best foot forward. Please share your own ideas for boosting the effectiveness of your career-related content in the comments section!

Ready for a more professional, branded careers portal presence for your company? Visit our resources section or contact ExactHire today for more details.

 

Image credit for video thumbnail: R&L Truckload

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