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Your Application Process is Worse Than You Think

During this global pandemic, many employers have struggled to remain in business. This is especially true for multi-location employers of large numbers of “non-essential” employees. These organizations weathered the storm of being forced to shut down operations for periods of time to ensure the safety of workers and community.

And while restrictions have loosened a bit, these employers may find that it’s not necessarily easy to rehire previous employees and attract new talent. What worked pre-pandemic, won’t necessarily work post-pandemic. This logic extends to the hiring process–and includes the job application.

Check out this fourth video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

Improve Your Job Application Process

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and in this video series I’ve been sharing the excuses that we frequently hear from employers. Excuses that are crippling their ability to engage and retain job candidates. Today’s quick excuse overview is rooted in denial.

So, in the spirit of admitting that you may have a problem as the first step toward overcoming said problem…Does this sound like something you’ve said…or thought…before? Our application process “isn’t that bad.”

Let’s say that you agree that a 50+ question application is ridiculous. Right????

But wait, when was the last time YOU actually applied to your own company? Have you EVER done it?

If it has been awhile, apply today! While you’re at it, count all the questions in your application. I hope you don’t come up with 28 questions for the picker packer job at your distribution center!

Next, how easy is it for job seekers to apply to multiple job opps at once? This key question is a significant differentiator in today’s job market.

Not every kind of job seeker cares to apply to multiple jobs at your company at once. But let’s think about which ones would…

Those who work hourly positions…and those available to work at multiple locations.

So, when thinking about the application process excuses your company is making…are you hiring a decent amount of these candidates?

How easy is it for them to apply for multiple jobs in one session? And, can they quickly see how close your jobs are to their home or bus stop?

Addressing these questions is one way to improve your applicant experience and fill your pipeline. Your job seekers and you deserve better. Check out the link in the post and learn how ExactHire can help you elevate your employment experience.

 

Schedule a demo with ExactHire now!

We’re ready to learn about your hiring process!

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

 

Your Application Process is Worse Than You Think

During this global pandemic, many employers have struggled to remain in business. This is especially true for multi-location employers of large numbers of “non-essential” employees. These organizations weathered the storm of being forced to shut down operations for periods of time to ensure the safety of workers and community.

And while restrictions have loosened a bit, these employers may find that it’s not necessarily easy to rehire previous employees and attract new talent. What worked pre-pandemic, won’t necessarily work post-pandemic. This logic extends to the hiring process–and includes the job application.

Check out this fourth video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

Improve Your Job Application Process

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and in this video series I’ve been sharing the excuses that we frequently hear from employers. Excuses that are crippling their ability to engage and retain job candidates. Today’s quick excuse overview is rooted in denial.

So, in the spirit of admitting that you may have a problem as the first step toward overcoming said problem…Does this sound like something you’ve said…or thought…before? Our application process “isn’t that bad.”

Let’s say that you agree that a 50+ question application is ridiculous. Right????

But wait, when was the last time YOU actually applied to your own company? Have you EVER done it?

If it has been awhile, apply today! While you’re at it, count all the questions in your application. I hope you don’t come up with 28 questions for the picker packer job at your distribution center!

Next, how easy is it for job seekers to apply to multiple job opps at once? This key question is a significant differentiator in today’s job market.

Not every kind of job seeker cares to apply to multiple jobs at your company at once. But let’s think about which ones would…

Those who work hourly positions…and those available to work at multiple locations.

So, when thinking about the application process excuses your company is making…are you hiring a decent amount of these candidates?

How easy is it for them to apply for multiple jobs in one session? And, can they quickly see how close your jobs are to their home or bus stop?

Addressing these questions is one way to improve your applicant experience and fill your pipeline. Your job seekers and you deserve better. Check out the link in the post and learn how ExactHire can help you elevate your employment experience.

 

Schedule a demo with ExactHire now!

We’re ready to learn about your hiring process!

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

 

Job Seekers Aren’t Patient Enough to Complete Your Whole Job Application

Do you struggle to find balance when it comes to gathering the right amount of information about job candidates during the employment application process? If you ask too many questions, your application conversions plummet and you’re left scrambling to find talent. If you ask too few, then it can be difficult to screen candidates well enough. After all, you’d rather avoid lengthening your interview process because you’ve advanced under-qualified individuals too far into the selection cycle.

This scenario nicely summaries one of the hiring process dysfunctions we regularly see with ExactHire client prospects. And in truth, many employers skew toward asking too many questions up front–with disastrous results!

This is the third video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

Job Seekers Aren't Patient | ExactHire

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and I’m here to share another “no excuses” hiring process video with you. If you find that your organization is guilty of this excuse, then don’t worry…I’ll share a strategy for overcoming it, too. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to better job candidate engagement.

So here’s another excuse that some employers have been making for awhile… It will be too much work to screen later in the process.

I get it…”if you ask fewer questions up front in the job application, then you have less information to go by when it comes to screening your job candidates.”

However, your lengthy job application is going to dramatically decrease the number of candidates you’ll put through your hiring process–so, you may have some free time for extra screening on your hands.

In our current reality, you must decrease your application complexity because the opportunity cost of a long employment application, is more time sourcing more candidates because there isn’t enough talent in the pipeline. That is, talent who is willing to take 20 minutes to fill out your job application.

Let’s narrow in on a specific set of job seekers for a moment. Let’s talk about hourly jobs that don’t require a complex skillset. If a job seeker is targeting retail, quick service, distribution, or maybe cleaning and sanitation, he or she is applying to a category of job that may only require one interview before an offer is made. These industries just don’t have long hiring processes because many of the jobs have low barriers to entry.

In fact, according to Glassdoor Economic Research, some of the industries this type of job seeker would consider, have a very speedy interview process–like Restaurant & Bar–which averages just 10.2 days.

Since this job seeker persona’s potential position with you doesn’t require complex skills, there’s no need to ask them a ton of questions at the front of the hiring process…and because this persona isn’t as particular about the type of hourly job…if it is too much work to read through your job and complete an application…they’ll just apply to your competitors down the street instead.

What if you could have your cake and eat it too? What I mean is, have a short, initial application with only deal-breaker questions and get more applicant info as you need it.

Set expectations with job seekers that if initial requirements are met, they may be asked to complete more application steps later. Think of it as a progressive profile of your job candidates.

Job seekers will appreciate a short application up-front, as well as your professionalism in telling them what to expect throughout the process.

HR technology is making it easy to utilize multi-step applications. ExactHire’s hiring software can empower your organization to leverage this strategy and overcome its excuses. Check out the link in the post and let’s improve your job seeker employment journey together!

 

Schedule a demo with ExactHire now!

We’re ready to learn about your hiring process!

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

 

High Unemployment is Not an Excuse to Avoid Hiring Process Improvement

I’ve seen a lot of change in HR technology over the past decade as well as many employer pitfalls when it comes to leveraging technology to improve the quality of hire and increase the number of job applicants.

Those employer pitfalls have really stuck out like a sore thumb this year, as the global pandemic has had a profound impact on employer recruitment and retention success. Creating a great hiring experience has never been more important to workforce productivity.

The excuses your organization may have made in the past about why you haven’t taken the time to improve your recruiting process must be remedied if you hope to compete for top talent in a post-pandemic world.

This is the first video in a series about identifying the excuses we often hear and the strategies that ExactHire has the experience to know make a difference in your hiring success.

High Unemployment | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Pre-Pandemic Employment – THEN

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and to say that it has been a volatile employment year is a major understatement. Whether your employer has laid off people, or is in a hiring binge, it’s clear the pandemic has shed light on the more troubling excuses we hear employers make about their hiring process.

Before the pandemic began, companies were navigating a candidate-driven market. The job seekers called the shots…and companies couldn’t find enough candidates…fast enough.

At the end of February, nearly 158.8 million US civilians were employed–that was a 10-year high. And, the unemployment rate was at a historic low of 3.5% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The employment landscape favored job seekers, and while we were in a much better economic position, employers had to rethink their hiring processes to attract and quickly hire top talent. That meant candidates received multiple job offers, employers boosted their total compensation packages and some jobs went unfilled for long periods of time.

Some of those were evergreen jobs…those are the jobs that some industries always have open 24/7, year round. Examples of evergreen jobs might include servers at restaurants, cashiers at retail stores, tellers at banks, direct support professionals with nonprofits…you get the idea. The positions for which multi-location employers, especially, are always hiring.

Pandemic Impact – NOW

Fast forward to now. We’ve made economic improvements and US unemployment has improved to 6.9%…though it’s still almost double what it was in February (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Some jobs are still on hold, and others are at peak demand in an unprecedented way. Like manufacturers of safety equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, e-commerce sites, online meal delivery services and software companies.

And like I said earlier, the excuses employers are making…are more exposed. So, what’s that first one?

A Higher Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Mean Hiring Employees is Easier

Unemployment is still pretty high now, and it’s an employer’s market so I’m not worried about applicant volume.

Not so fast…even though you’ve likely seen an increase in job listing views, application starts and even submissions since the pandemic began, know that some people are still opting out of traditional working arrangements for many reasons.

These reasons may range from a new need to work remotely in order to care for others…to a lack of motivation to work because pandemic-related unemployment resources have exceeded their normal pay rate.

And for people who are underemployed and constricted to a specific schedule of availability due to a short-term part-time job, they aren’t giving your job a second glance if you’re not conveying that your organization is still working hard–even in an employer’s market–to attract and retain good hires.

The Pandemic is Still Impacting Your Job Candidate Pool

According to a Washington Post article referencing Bureau of Labor Statistics data in May of this year, “if you took the official unemployment figure, added in people who wanted a job but were not looking for one, and then included everyone who had been pushed into part-time work, you could say that 26.4 percent of people lost work or work hours in April.

But hey, things are better now than in April, right? Yesss…but let’s recognize that this year more than 1 in 4 workers were hit by the coronavirus fallout.

Navigating that experience had a significant impact on job seekers and that impact has lasting effects…effects that you must consider as an employer.

Strategy: Communicate Your Employment Opportunity Differently

Since there are no guarantees that you’ll convert applicants…even in this job market…you must communicate differently.

And I don’t mean just trying different media to communicate (although that is important), I also mean highlighting your solutions to the pain points that today’s job seekers want to alleviate.

If they’re reluctant to return to work for social distancing reasons and your job can be done remotely, prominently display that in your job description…and even your job title.

If you’re open to flexible working arrangements such as temporary work or variable working hours, mention that, too.

Dedicate a portion of your careers site to spotlight your response to the headlines of this year such as the global pandemic and the fight for social justice and racial equality. Weave your employment brand and core values into every piece of career content with consistency, variety of delivery method and sincerity.

And just like you’re not willing to settle for a warm body in a job seat, while applicants may need jobs…they’re not willing to settle at organizations that don’t have brands or values that align with their own.

Has your organization been doing enough to navigate this volatile employment landscape?

Interested in learning more? Watch this webinar on demand!

Pandemic Hiring Recruiting Webinar | ExactHire

Check out the other videos in this series…

Application Process is Worse Than You Think
Job Seekers Aren't Patient in Hiring Process
Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

[WEBINAR] Post-Pandemic Hiring: Align Recruiting to the New Normal

Pandemic Hiring Recruiting Webinar | ExactHire


[WEBINAR] Post-Pandemic Hiring: Align Recruiting to the New Normal

Watch on Demand | ~45 minutes including Q&A

Before the pandemic began, companies were navigating a candidate-driven market. Job seekers called the shots, and companies couldn’t find enough candidates quickly.

Now, after an initial, alarming increase in unemployment mid-year, we’ve made some economic improvement. And, more than 6 months into this paradigm-shifting event, the new normal isn’t so new.

The needs of job seekers have changed, and even though it is now an employer-driven market, employers must adapt to attract and retain employees–even with a greater abundance of job seekers available.

In this ExactHire best practices webinar recording, we cover

  • how to benchmark your speed to hire,
  • how to prove the ROI of improving hiring process efficiency, and
  • strategies for overcoming common talent acquisition obstacles post COVID-19.

At the end of the presentation, our team conducted a Q&A session to answer questions.

[WEBINAR] Hiring Issues Addressed by Tech & Data



Gain new ideas, and a new perspective

May 21, 2020 | 2:00 pm EDT

(30 min. presentation + 15 min. live Q&A)

Who says your hiring process has to be the same as 8 years ago? We’re going to talk about traditional HR process, and how applying technology backed by data can shift your perspective. You’ll also hear real-life examples of how strategies learned in other departments can be applied in the Human Resources department.

In this ExactHire webinar, we’ll dig into the critical ways in which leveraging technology and analyzing data can help you overcome your most pressing hiring issues.

Specifically, we’ll discuss how to:

  • Understand the talent acquisition process to avoid pitfalls.
  • Identify HR trends that encourage adoption of new technology.
  • Increase your knowledge of today’s successful hiring practices

At the end of the recording, our team does a Q&A to answer job application-related questions.

[WEBINAR] New Features for Hiring in the New Normal

Hiring in New Normal | ExactHire Webinar


New Features for Hiring in the New Normal

Even though we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the way employers approach the hiring process and employment in general will be forever changed as a result of this paradigm-shifting event.

Savvy employers will adopt HR software that makes it easy to quickly and efficiently move candidates through the hiring process. Those organizations that engage job seekers with streamlined scheduling tools, clear and prompt communication, and resources to orient them to the location of jobs will be well-positioned to succeed as we progress through the pandemic.

In this webinar, we’ll review these new ExactHire hiring software features:

  • the interview scheduler which integrates with your calendar,
  • customizable advancement and disqualification reasons,
  • customizable tags that may be used to manage and organize users and jobs,
  • job listing previews to simulate how a job description will appear to external job seekers,
  • a WYSIWYG editor for application templates, job questions, and candidate emails, and
  • how to utilize Google Maps integration to improve your candidates’ experience.

At the end of the webinar session, our team will conduct a live Q&A to answer ExactHire ATS product-related questions.

5 Pro Tips for Quickly Pivoting to a Virtual Employee Onboarding Process

The new normal of living amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic is causing many employers to adopt new business processes…and to adopt them quite quickly.

For those organizations who are fortunate enough to continue hiring new employees, one of those business processes is to learn how to correctly onboard remote employees in a distributed workforce.

A hastily created employee onboarding process will put new hires at risk of feeling disconnected from their work and organization. On the other hand, a productive virtual employee onboarding program will forge a connection between the new teammate and the organization; thereby, positively contributing to employee satisfaction and the goals of the organization despite the uncertainty and hardship attributable to our current coronavirus reality.

Are you ready to pivot to a distributed workforce? Whether virtual employee onboarding is a brand new practice at your company, or you’re just looking for ways to fine tune employee onboarding for distributed workforces, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll discuss five best practices for quickly pivoting to a virtual employee onboarding process.

1 – Create a “remote-first” pre-boarding experience

With so much uncertainty on everyone’s mind, your new hire’s interactions with your organization in the days leading up to his start date shouldn’t further increase his anxiety. Make a toolkit of digital assets to share with a new teammate to make sure he feels adequately prepared and informed on day one. Here are some ideas:

  • Provide an organizational chart listing all employee names, titles and the hierarchy of the management structure. If you are a part of a very large organization, then a chart of the new employee’s department and/or division may be sufficient.
  • Create a task list or training schedule for the new hire’s first few days on the job. Create this in a shared document (e.g. Google Docs) that can be edited on-the-fly to include additional tasks as time progresses, as well as hyperlinked resource documents. With this approach, the employee can follow links to conduct further research to acquaint himself with your company and its organizational knowledge as his schedule permits.
  • Task relevant co-workers with creating video welcome messages to be shared with the new employee in the days leading up to the first day. We use a variety of tools at ExactHire (ranging from completely free to very affordable) such as video capture on our smartphones, and video applications like Soapbox, Vidyard and Camtasia.
  • Share a short, hyperlinked list of your company’s social media profiles with the new hire, as well as expectations about whether he is likely to be bombarded by social media invitation requests in his first week (as this can be a common way for remote workers to connect with one another).
  • Make it clear what equipment will be provided by the company (and by what date), and/or whether the new hire is responsible for bringing any of his own devices to his remote workstation. Ensure that all devices are accompanied by robust instructions on how to use and/or setup appropriate security protocols for effective work within the organization.

2 – Leverage the unique onboarding resources now available to your organization

While social distancing has caused many of us to approach the work setting in dramatically different ways, it has also led to the installation of a handful of new laws and limited regulations meant to help the American working population and employers cope with this crisis. Aside from new laws such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also recently relaxed its normal requirements for Form I-9 compliance when hiring new employees. This change will help employees who have never hired remote workers to examine and temporarily approve employment eligibility documentation with confidence.

In particular, DHS has “[deferred] the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.”

However, not all employers meet the criteria necessary for taking advantage of the option to initially virtually examine new hire documentation. In fact, only employers who have gone 100% remote for all employees may utilize this temporary flexibility in document examination. For more details on which organizations qualify and what documentation is necessary to participate, check out this recent Forbes article.

3 – Make a short list of near-term new hire expectations

To make this pivot toward remote onboarding manageable and relatively fast, focus on only the absolutely critical expectations that you need all new hires to know right from the start. In doing so, make sure you communicate that the current situation necessitates focusing on the “must-knows” initially, but that icing-on-the-cake knowledge and nurturing will be sure to follow as things calm down a bit.

Your new hire will appreciate your candor, and be more likely to establish trust in the organization early because it is helping to flesh out priorities to ensure the new hire’s success.

Here are some examples of employee expectations that may resonate with your team. Be sure to educate your new hire about each of the items below that may be important for his work.

  • Training prerequisites that must be completed before certain aspects of a job can be endeavored (e.g. safety, password security protocol)
  • Preferred methods for co-workers to communicate with each other (e.g. email, phone, Slack, text, video conference, project management tool comments)
  • Mission-critical reports and metrics that must be updated…and with what frequency

Remember that while your ability to equip your new employee with these essential bits of information can shorten his learning curve and improve outcomes, don’t forget that our normal isn’t so normal right now. In fact, it reminds me of an unidentified quote that my co-worker shared on our Slack channel today…one that very appropriately describes the current plight for many of America’s remote workers:

“You’re not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work.”

There’s a place for grace right now.

4 – Communicate your culture

While company culture can be somewhat nebulous to describe to others, as it is often something experienced for one’s self in-person, there’s no doubt that remote cultures exist, too.

However, it may take longer to assimilate remote workers to cultural norms if you don’t take strides to help them take seed early. Here are some ways to make your virtual culture more quickly tangible:

  • Facilitate video introductions between a new hire and fellow department members and other key co-workers. Make sure all teammates take a turn to introduce themselves, explain their respective roles, and offer suggestions on how they interface with the new employee in his job.
  • Recognize that your organization likely has a multitude of multimedia approaches for communication in different situations. Create a “cheat sheet” of common scenarios to give your new employees a head start:
    • Protocol for out of office messages
    • Appropriate channels for different types of Slack posts
    • Frequency for co-worker video meet-ups and the purpose of each (e.g. is this a project-related call or a virtual happy hour?)
    • General guidelines on how quickly to respond to different inquiries and requests (make sure to allow for time zone differences between co-workers)
    • Location of a schedule of regular working hours for different employees
    • Protocol on whether to use one’s video camera on conference calls (is it preferred or required by various departments?)
    • Acceptable format for email signatures
    • Preferred software applications for different assignments (e.g. MS Word or Google Docs when both are available?)

5 – Implement employee onboarding software for remote hiring success

Depending on the industry in which you work, you likely use a set of software applications critical to the productivity of your business–it’s your tech stack. From CRMs to POS systems, and project management suites to ticketing portals, these varied forms of technology are essential to different industries because they leverage technology to automate and improve repetitive, and perhaps otherwise manual tasks for different employers.

While health clinics may not need POS systems, and safety equipment manufacturers aren’t desperate for software issue ticketing suites, I will advocate that all employers who are currently hiring should consider employee onboarding software.

Moreover, if you are hiring remote employees, onboarding software gives you a significant competitive advantage as you can improve the new hire user experience (aka first impression) as well as minimize documentation errors.

ExactHire’s OnboardCentric employee onboarding software can be implemented either as a stand-alone solution to meet your urgent onboarding needs; or, as a hiring component integrated with our ExactHire applicant tracking system.

As employers face constantly evolving news related to COVID-19, they are adjusting priorities and re-allocating resources on a daily basis. Our team understands the need for fluidity and responsiveness, and we’re equipped to get you up and running with onboarding software quickly.

To expedite implementation and improve your new hire experience despite the current pandemic, we recommend that you start by implementing required new hire forms (e.g. state tax forms, Form W-4, Form I-9, direct deposit, etc.) and allow us to train supervisors who need access right away.

Then, as demands on your schedule decline, our team is happy to work with you to include non-essential nice-to-have new hire forms, discuss onboarding process best practices and conduct more advanced user training with all of your hiring managers. Our responsive team is ready to work as your partner through this crisis.

Demo ExactHire Onboarding Software

Are you ready to improve your employee onboarding experience and respond to the rapidly changing hiring landscape with success? Schedule a demo of OnboardCentric today.

Employer Strategies for Successfully Hiring Justice Involved Job Candidates

My gut tells me that many employers are open to the idea of hiring individuals from the justice involved community, but have historically avoided the opportunity for a variety of reasons. Whether they previously had an abundance of other candidates to consider or were intimidated about the steps involved, many organizations haven’t proactively included this untapped talent pool.

After all, they haven’t been sufficiently motivated to do so. That changes now.

Why you should consider hiring the justice involved population

Today, employers can’t afford NOT to look at every viable employee population. Increased awareness and support for inclusive hiring practices coupled with historically low unemployment suggest that the time is ripe for employers to implement strategies that successfully source and retain justice involved individuals.

Here are a few of the benefits to employers who engage employees who are formerly incarcerated or on work release, parole, or probation.

Better job candidate flow

Low unemployment is especially crippling for industries that traditionally experience high turnover in hourly positions and/or with a contingent workforce. With nearly one in three American adults holding a criminal record (ACLU, 2017), employers who are able to successfully engage this population are poised to win the war on talent.

Text Recruiting | Hourly Workers | ExactHire

Giving justice involved individuals another chance is the right thing to do

The formerly incarcerated combat a pervasive social stigma in many facets of their life, and it often impedes their ability to find work. In fact, according to the same ACLU study, 75% of formerly incarcerated people will remain unemployed a year after release. When someone has served his/her time, society should give them a second chance–not a re-sentence once they are released.

Reducing recidivism pays for itself

According to a 2018 special report from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, across 30 states 5 out of 6 (a staggering 83%) of state prisoners released in 2005 were arrested at least once during the 9 years following their release. Recidivism, or the “tendency for a convicted criminal to reoffend,” is on the rise.

And, it’s no surprise when we consider the absence of sufficient resources to support transitioning justice involved individuals back into society. This makes it hard for the formerly incarcerated to get over what some call the “three hots and a cot” mentality.

Consider that the Gross National Product (GNP) is losing an estimated $78 billion to $87 billion annually as the justice involved remain unemployed, according to the aforementioned ACLU report.

Employer tax incentives

Companies who hire the formerly incarcerated may be eligible for hidden hiring incentives such as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. WOTC is a federal tax credit available to employers that hire individuals from specific targeted groups that have consistently faced significant employment barriers. Among these targeted groups are “qualified ex-felons” who are defined as individuals who are hired within a year of being convicted of a felony, or being released from prison from the felony.

Create a supportive network to succeed with the justice involved

It’s one thing for companies to be compelled to act based on the benefits mentioned above; however, in order to realize success in hiring and retaining the justice involved job candidate population, your organization must implement an internal infrastructure that can accommodate their unique needs. Additionally, it should utilize established external resources that may already be available in your area to help transition the justice involved back to work.

This is easier said than done, as there is not an abundance of model employers showing the rest of us how to do it. And, perhaps that deficiency is part of the explanation for the slow adoption of hiring this population.

The best intentions are only a fraction of what’s required for success in employing the justice involved. Employers must put systems and services in place to get this source of talent back to work. According to SHRM’s Getting Talent Back to Work Toolkit, employers should focus on

  • Reliable Checks – working with reputable background checking agencies to make sure the data you use to make decisions about a candidate’s suitability for employment is sound.
  • Relevant Assessment – ensuring your organization’s methods for assessing criminal records on an individual basis are relevant.
  • Reasonable Risk – comprehending and assessing the reasonable risks associated with hiring this population so that you can proceed confidently.

Within these three categories, there are many steps organizations may take to set themselves up for a higher percentage of success in employing the justice involved population. Here are some ideas for consideration.

Make connections during the pre-release period

Consider offering a candidate training program for incarcerated individuals six months prior to their release. Just as you would approach tuition reimbursement for an in-demand nursing student, ask pre-release individuals who have been identified as good candidates for a commitment to work for your organization for a period of time so that they may receive important life skills and a starter wage. This type of arrangement can go far in building employee loyalty in a tough employee retention market.

Develop relationships in your community

Employing the justice involved is a careful undertaking, and can be enhanced by positive and close relationships with local sheriff departments and other representatives at the Department of Corrections (DOC), staffing agencies and other transitional support agencies.

Set expectations with internal staff

For success in employing the justice-involved population, you need to dedicate internal resources to properly setting expectations and training existing staff members on how to undergo this initiative in a productive way. Be realistic and transparent around challenges that may surface, and develop strategies about how your company will address those challenges before you find yourselves in the moment.

Make sure that your organizational structure models success for justice involved individuals. For example, don’t have a single working area or department where justice involved employees represent a majority of the unit. This is their time to transition back into the workforce and recognize positive habits and behavior from others who have succeeded in the organization. If you offset that balance, then negative habits can be perpetuated with poor outcomes.

Invest in offering on-site services for justice involved employees

Some justice involved individuals fall circumstance to rising recidivism rates because they don’t have reasonable access to the services and support they need to get a foothold in the world after release. If your organization is serious about successfully employing this population, then consider offering some of these services:

  • Reentry resources – Links to and documentation about existing public reentry services in your community. For example, Orange County, California has a robust post-incarceration resource toolkit on its website.
  • Basic food needs – Make information available about local food pantries and agencies that make sure people don’t go hungry. Help employees apply for food stamp benefits.
  • Spiritual support – Consider on-site chaplain services so employees can nurture any of their spiritual goals and confide in a third party.
  • Medical care – Make sure that employees are afforded time to take care of medical needs and given information about how to obtain access to prescription drugs, including mental health care when applicable.
  • Basic paperwork – Remember that your justice involved hires may need important documents either located and/or reproduced such as birth certificate, Social Security card, personal ID card and/or driver’s license.
  • Substance abuse support – Recognize that some of your justice involved hires may struggle with substance abuse and therefore create an environment that is supportive of substance abuse counseling and rehabilitation so that destructive habits that often lead to crime aren’t repeated.
  • Ride planning – In order to promptly arrive to your workplace, your employees may need ride sharing programs, access to information about convenient public transportation options, and/or an employer-provided bus to transport employees to and from their current residence or halfway house to your job site.
  • Flexibility for required meetings – A common challenge for recently released individuals is maintaining availability for a shift job while also showing up for required probation or parole officer meetings that might happen in the middle of the day. With proper communication, offer these workers flexibility to attend the meetings that are critical for their post-release success.
  • Soft skills training – In some cases, justice involved individuals may have never learned about or been exposed to positive models for appropriate communication, social behavior, or even cleanliness/hygiene. Understand that services around these soft skills may be critical for employing this population with success.

Communicate your intentions clearly

Because much of employers’ hesitancy to hire justice involve populations is attributable to the stigma often associated with the formerly incarcerated as well as the company’s tendency toward compliance and protectiveness, clear communication is a driver of employment success for this talent group.

Clear communication includes both adjustments in traditional employment policy as well as external job advertisements, company culture content and screening and interview process design.

Remember that it is a violation of Title VII to reject applicants because of criminal records unless it is job related and consistent with business necessity. Employers have an obligation to clearly define what is job related and consistent with business necessity. They should reevaluate the role and scope of background checks in the hiring process, and use effective job evaluation to identify which criminal offenses will not work with which jobs.

Set realistic expectations with your justice involved candidates

Not every employer is going to be able to employ every justice involved employee. However, there is power and respect in being transparent about the opportunities and potential path available with your organization. I recently attended an event (more on that below) where they talked about the “ABC Jobs” trajectory for the justice involved:

  • Any job
  • Better job
  • Career

Which of those types of jobs can you offer this population? And, if it is just any job that has a low wage, how can you prepare that individual to succeed in that job and then move on to another organization (maybe one with which you partner on these programs) where they can achieve the next step?

This job pathing model can improve your community by creating work that improves individuals, makes your company productive and advances the public good through reduced spending due to rampant recidivism.

Anticipate potential setbacks

There will be ups and downs in any endeavor to create an infrastructure for employing justice involved populations…as there is with any other talent population, too. However, being aware of setbacks through conversation with other employers, local law enforcement, state agencies, etc. will bring to light things you can plan to address:

  • “Ban the box” legislation – Do you have work sites in geographic areas that are NOT subject to “ban the box”? If so, then take another look at your employment application and consider whether any questions about a candidate’s criminal history are potentially deterring qualified, but justice involved individuals from considering employment with your organization.
  • Shift challenges – Is your work shift schedule such that it makes it impossible to accommodate the needs of justice involved individuals who must attend parole meetings? As previously mentioned, take measures now to consider alternative strategies for meeting transportation needs and addressing shift requirements.
  • Recognize bias toward unexplained issues – I recently met someone who is employed with the city government and who was previously justice involved. She explained that it is not uncommon for little, unexpected things to happen that can adversely impact the positive trajectory of a justice involved individual. She encourages others to get the facts before jumping to negative conclusions. For example, she has seen malfunctioning ankle bracelets cause productive employees who have done nothing wrong to be hauled away by police on the job in front of co-workers. Without sensitivity to the root cause of such problems, bias and gossip could lead to a lack of support, or even wrongful termination.

The time is now

Is your organization ready to get serious about considering this untapped talent population? I hope the considerations outlined in this blog inspire exploration of this talent pool and fine-tuning of any of your existing initiatives.

Author’s Note: I recently attended a remarkable “Second Chance Staffing Visioning Event” held in January 2020 at Butler University and in conjunction with Allegiance Staffing. This interactive session was a kick-off to a joint research project between these partners and others to explore the job performance of those with criminal backgrounds while on the job. There is not yet much (or current) research in this specific area and the event brought together individuals from social service agencies, businesses, and the government–including thriving employees who have been justice involved. I’m excited about the direction of this research as it perfectly aligns with making a positive impact and with the challenging job landscape. Given the lack of formal studies in this area, their goal is to conduct a more detailed empirical analysis of the relative workplace performance of justice-involved citizens, as well as identify factors affecting this performance. Such a study requires the assistance of local employer(s) willing to share data regarding employees’ attendance, aptitude, and attitude, and they are currently in the process of securing these partners.

 

ExactHire and BountyJobs Partner to Connect Employers to Search Firms

ExactHire, provider of robust applicant tracking system and employee onboarding software solutions for small and medium employers, recently announced a strategic partnership with BountyJobs, Inc. BountyJobs is a leading third-party recruiting platform for collaboration between employers and search firms with over $2 billion in placement fees to recruiters and the world’s largest recruiter marketplace.

This strategic relationship with ExactHire is one of the latest in the fast growing BountyJobs partner network, seeing 500% growth in 2018 and resulting in the largest partner network of any recruitment marketplace. This network connects innovative technology providers focused on improving the way companies recruit, attract and retain talent. This mix of partners has been hand-selected to help support the key constituents of the 2-sided BountyJobs Marketplace; employers and recruiting agencies. The BountyJobs solution is available as a featured job board within ExactHire’s HireCentric ATS.

ExactHire helps businesses improve HR outcomes with integrated applicant tracking and employee onboarding platforms. Tools for automated job posts, applicant management, and custom reporting dovetail with a platform that eliminates paperwork and task redundancy for employers and new hires alike. And now, through ExactHire’s partnership with BountyJobs, clients can extend the candidate search beyond traditional job boards with convenient access to a network of over 10,000 third-party recruiters. The result is a fully optimized hiring and onboarding process that produces better applicants and enhances the employee experience.

A Scalable Solution for SMBs

“The recruiting, candidate assessment, and employee onboarding software offered by ExactHire is a scalable yet robust platform for SMB and mid-size organizations,” said Jerry Aubin, CEO at BountyJobs. “This cloud-based resource optimizes HR processes into a simple solution for both hiring and succession planning.”

“We are always looking to improve candidate sourcing for our clients, and we realize that sometimes using a third-party recruiter is necessary,” said Harlan Schafir, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at ExactHire. “Our partnership with BountyJobs offers ExactHire clients a streamlined approach to engaging with recruiters and sourcing exceptional candidates. We’re excited about the partnership for ExactHire, but more so for our current and future clients. This is a valuable addition to our services. It differentiates us from other HR software providers.”

How to Connect with BountyJobs

The new relationship, which marries data-driven hiring solutions and traditional talent acquisition, creates an innovative approach for employers when making critical hires. To take advantage of ExactHire’s partnership with BountyJobs, access the Featured Job Boards area within the Job Board Favorites tab within HireCentric’s Jobs Dashboard. There, you’ll be invited to initiate a relationship with BountyJobs. Or, follow this link directly to connect with BountyJobs today.

ExactHire HireCentric BountyJobs Featured Job Board

 

HireCentric ATS BountyJobs Referral | ExactHire

 

For full details on this new strategic partnership, please see the original post on PRWeb.

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