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Don’t Expect Job Seekers to Complete Your Long Employment Application

While you have the best of intentions when it comes to improving your employer’s hiring process and better engaging job seekers, if you’re being honest, you’ve let a few excuses keep you from taking action to attract more applicants and retain employees. Don’t let excuses like the global pandemic continue to immobilize you from taking action to hire top talent now.

One of the common excuses we at ExactHire have seen lately is when prospective clients assume that they don’t need to shorten their employment application because a higher unemployment rate will ensure they still receive plenty of eager job seekers–regardless of a job application’s length. They do need a job after all, right?

This is the second 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.

Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and I’m here to share my latest “no excuses” video for those of you looking to fine tune your hiring processes for better job seeker engagement. And even though it can be tempting to use the pandemic as your excuse for waiting on those unemployed job seekers’ applications to roll in…your employment competitors already know that you can and should do more to engage future employees. And, they’re taking advantage of that knowledge, too.

Excuse: If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application!

So here’s the next excuse we at ExactHire know that some employers have been holding onto for far too long!…. If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application.

Once upon a time, this was more true. And, perhaps it will be sort of true once again as economic factors continue to shift over time.

In the meantime, your organization–however beloved it is in the eyes of your community–will never be so precious that it can entice top talent to complete a 52-question job application.

The job application rate numbers don’t lie.

According to an Appcast study referenced by SHRM, job application completion rates plummet by nearly 50 percent when an application has 50 or more questions rather than 25 or fewer.

Others say the impact is worse–Indeed research suggests that employment applications with just 20 screener questions lose 40% of candidates, with abandonment rate increasing as more questions are added.

You can bet that increasingly tech-savvy and on-the-go job seekers are abandoning your laundry list of a job application as we speak…their attention is only retained if you can allow them to raise their hand of interest on your opportunity quickly.

Your job seekers…and you…deserve better!

Strategy: Trim the question fat.

So, what do you do first? The obvious initial strategy is to shorten your application. But, obvious doesn’t mean easy.

Take the time to audit your application questions and consider what really needs to be asked at the onset of your hiring process. Do you need their references on the app; or, can you get them at the interview?

Modern hiring software makes it easy to edit and preview your application to include the optimal number of questions for your organization.

Think about how your application will appear to a job seeker as you make edits and then save it as a draft before you decide to publish it.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Okay, but probably not as overwhelmed as your job seekers are when they look at your current job application? No worries, we can help at ExactHire. Check out the link below 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…

Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement
Hiring Process Improvement | High Unemployment

 

Don’t Expect Job Seekers to Complete Your Long Employment Application

While you have the best of intentions when it comes to improving your employer’s hiring process and better engaging job seekers, if you’re being honest, you’ve let a few excuses keep you from taking action to attract more applicants and retain employees. Don’t let excuses like the global pandemic continue to immobilize you from taking action to hire top talent now.

One of the common excuses we at ExactHire have seen lately is when prospective clients assume that they don’t need to shorten their employment application because a higher unemployment rate will ensure they still receive plenty of eager job seekers–regardless of a job application’s length. They do need a job after all, right?

This is the second 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.

Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement

Video Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jessica Stephenson with ExactHire, and I’m here to share my latest “no excuses” video for those of you looking to fine tune your hiring processes for better job seeker engagement. And even though it can be tempting to use the pandemic as your excuse for waiting on those unemployed job seekers’ applications to roll in…your employment competitors already know that you can and should do more to engage future employees. And, they’re taking advantage of that knowledge, too.

Excuse: If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application!

So here’s the next excuse we at ExactHire know that some employers have been holding onto for far too long!…. If they really want the job, they’ll complete the whole application.

Once upon a time, this was more true. And, perhaps it will be sort of true once again as economic factors continue to shift over time.

In the meantime, your organization–however beloved it is in the eyes of your community–will never be so precious that it can entice top talent to complete a 52-question job application.

The job application rate numbers don’t lie.

According to an Appcast study referenced by SHRM, job application completion rates plummet by nearly 50 percent when an application has 50 or more questions rather than 25 or fewer.

Others say the impact is worse–Indeed research suggests that employment applications with just 20 screener questions lose 40% of candidates, with abandonment rate increasing as more questions are added.

You can bet that increasingly tech-savvy and on-the-go job seekers are abandoning your laundry list of a job application as we speak…their attention is only retained if you can allow them to raise their hand of interest on your opportunity quickly.

Your job seekers…and you…deserve better!

Strategy: Trim the question fat.

So, what do you do first? The obvious initial strategy is to shorten your application. But, obvious doesn’t mean easy.

Take the time to audit your application questions and consider what really needs to be asked at the onset of your hiring process. Do you need their references on the app; or, can you get them at the interview?

Modern hiring software makes it easy to edit and preview your application to include the optimal number of questions for your organization.

Think about how your application will appear to a job seeker as you make edits and then save it as a draft before you decide to publish it.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Okay, but probably not as overwhelmed as your job seekers are when they look at your current job application? No worries, we can help at ExactHire. Check out the link below 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…

Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement
Hiring Process Improvement | High Unemployment

 

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…

Long Job Application | Hiring Process Improvement
Hiring Process Improvement | High Unemployment

[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.

Remote Work While Parenting and Teaching Kids

7 Tips for Remote Work Success + Kid Activity Ideas

Can you relate to this remote work scenario?

It was about three o’clock on Tuesday afternoon and I was engaged in another Zoom video conference related to COVID-19 planning for our business. My office is in the back of the house away from the main traffic areas and is usually pretty quiet–ideal for video conferencing.

However, a crouched figure suddenly appeared at the side of my office chair with pleading eyes looking upward. This time it was my daughter, and it was the third time this afternoon that one of my two children had crawled into the office to avoid being seen on webcam, and in an effort to whisper-shout something to me.

This time took the cake though. To my chagrin (but also to my glee at her inner resourcefulness), my daughter was holding a small dry erase board with an important question for my consideration:

Remote Work Parenting | ExactHire

“Can I play FIFA Soccer [on Nintendo]?”

I’m sure all of you who are fortunate enough to still be working…and doing so 100% from home…can relate to my story. If you are a stay-at-home parent or caregiver, right about now you are also likely open to new ways to keep kids occupied while sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m blessed with the opportunity to be safe and spending time with my family in a way that unfortunately has faded in recent years due to over-scheduling. Nevertheless, we all need some creative ways to balance remote work with helping to tutor and care for children at home during the work day.

In this blog, I’ll share seven tips on how to cope with the challenge before us, as well as kid activities I’ve been curating from friends, Facebook groups and word-of-mouth.

1 – Create structure

With so much chaos in the world right now, we all (not just our kids) need some stability in our lives. School-aged kids are used to the assuring rigors of the school day including a predictable schedule of different classes and activities. While e-learning coursework fills some of this gap (when your kids aren’t on a break), it doesn’t mean that they are busy for the equivalent of your eight-hour work day.

Every morning I create a list of activities that my two kids can do during the day. I might assign a time span to some activities, or schedule certain tasks for a specific time of day (e.g. let’s all go outside at noon and play soccer in the yard).

Part of this schedule may instruct them to do specific activities that don’t require my supervision during the times of day that I might need to be on a conference call for work. Having a schedule…or even just a list of to-dos…helps you handle boredom angst with a plan of action before you find yourself in the thick of it!

Ideas:

2 – Empower with control

Our current reality is one in which we have less control over our daily lives than normal. In Indiana, we are currently under “shelter in place” restrictions from our state government and so the freedom we have to travel to certain destinations and connect in-person with others is impeded–even if remote work is now offering more flexibility. A lack of control can be frustrating and isolating.

The same is true for your kids. Help them realize a certain degree of control in their lives by letting them pick from a variety of activity options. For example, with the schedule I mentioned above, let them choose an option from different categories, or ask them to choose any three activities from a list of five.

Another way of offering them more control is to allow them to earn rewards by completing different tasks. On a daily basis, I ask my kids to complete a couple of chores, do some reading, practice their typing and get exercise (just to name a few things) before I allow them to play video games. The Nintendo time slot in the late afternoon is their delayed gratification reward for doing well throughout the day. It also nicely coincides with the time of day I tend to have video calls.

Allow kids to choose from a variety of tasks:

3 – Be flexible

Before you accuse me of talking out of both sides of my mouth, while you should have structure and offer control, you have to be a little flexible, too. But, how?

Consider the schedule a fluid priority list. It’s not critical that some of the tasks happen at a specific time, but perhaps just that they happen that week. If you’re working from home, you already know that flexibility is essential to accommodate feeding your kids lunch during the day and addressing their occasional skirmishes with each other. The good news is that many employers are offering more flexibility and understanding than ever before. So, my co-workers are well aware of my kids sneaking into my office while I’m on a video chat.

Also, don’t forget the physical interpretation of flexibility, too. Make sure you’re creating opportunities for your children (and you!) to exercise and move around.

Get moving:

4 – Be forgiving

It’s not a time for our normal standards; we’re still in transition to a potential new normal. Tensions are high because we’re all under more stress than usual; therefore, grace toward others should be a priority. Don’t judge, support.

That means you shouldn’t stress or have “mom or dad guilt” because your kids are getting more screen time than you’d normally prefer. We’re doing the best we can. Make it work by helping to provide options for “quality” screen time that might teach your kids something worthwhile.

5 – Foster social connection; albeit distantly

For the sake of our sanity, social distancing can’t also mean social disconnection. While we all need to be doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19, we should absolutely be creative about using technology to connect our kids with friends and loved ones who can help us while we work at home.

My son and a friend have a virtual playdate scheduled for today to play Battleship. They each have the game at home, so it will be easy for them to play via video conference.

Other ideas:

  • Plan a Zoom video call with your baseball team or Brownie troop
  • Shoot a video skit to share with your friends and ask them to return the favor
  • Have a grandparent read a story via video conference

6 – Celebrate iteration

Because the ExactHire team is a software company, one of our internal mindsets is to iterate and improve on initial experiments…whether they be in development, marketing, sales, client service or even remote work. The idea behind iteration is that it doesn’t cause us to delay launching a concept in an effort to make sure it’s 100% perfect first. Instead, we launch a promising idea, product or service, and then constantly improve upon it as we go–after all, we can’t predict the future to know what will work perfectly the first time.

How can you instill that fearlessness to innovate in your own children? Now’s the time to talk to them more regularly about the types of things you do for work since they have a front row stage to your work habits. Additionally, there are activities you can share with them that will help them explore new skills and experiment with unique ways of doing things.

Stretch their imaginations:

7 – Remember mindfulness

Above all else, as challenging as times may get, don’t forget to be grateful for what you still have and mindful of your mental state’s impact on others. If you are anxious, then your kids will be anxious, too.

What can you do together and/or provide to them to promote relaxation, appreciation and a mind-spirit-body connection?

Be mindful together:

There are many things I would change about the current situation and my hearts go out to everyone for this unanticipated hurdle we are banding together to overcome. However, I do recognize now as an opportunity to nurture the resilience of my children, and to be a family with ever stronger values around how we spend our time.

Working and Onboarding Remotely?

If your organization is allowing more remote work than ever, you may need options for remote employee onboarding, too. Contact us for a demo of ExactHire’s employee onboarding software and make remote onboarding seamless.

 

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.

 

The State of Your HR Goals

Our clients are often looking for help in leveraging ExactHire solutions to meet their HR goals. Whether it be optimizing job templates, setting up custom reports, or integrating assessments into their hiring process, helping clients succeed is extremely rewarding for me. So it’s no surprise that ExactHire clients and HR success were on my mind last week when I was listening to Indiana’s Governor Holcomb deliver his 2020 State of the State address.

It’s All About Jobs and Impact

As I listened to the speech, albeit while wrestling my toddler into his pajamas, I made a mental note of how many times I heard the word jobs (or job). Because I know the mind can play tricks and make a person biased toward items they are most familiar with, it made me wonder if I was actually hearing the word job more frequently than other words.

So I ran a quick analysis on the speech and the word jobs was said 13 times. When taking out pronouns and articles, the only other words that were more frequently used were: Indiana, year, and state. I’m glad to know that my mind wasn’t playing a trick on me!

I feel like this is worth pointing out because the work of an HR department is important. I feel like all of you in human resources, posting your jobs, looking for the right new hire, are doing work that impacts not only your organization, but your state and country, too. It wasn’t that long ago when a human resources department seemed to be a thing of luxury. But now we have the ear of our lawmakers; we battle the largest challenge at most organizations; and we invest in the biggest assets an organization has – its employees.

While you might feel frustrated that you cannot seem to find the right hire or that filling a position is taking longer than expected, do know that you are taking on a critical component of the economy – working on things that make an impact larger than you may have initially thought, with ripples expanding outward – and people are taking note.

Helping You Achieve Your HR Goals

No business can succeed without setting goals. The most successful organizations are constantly reviewing past performance and making appropriate adjustments in order to achieve future goals. While this applies to whole organizations, it’s also true for individual departments. What are your HR goals? Where can you improve your outcomes or efficiency?

If you are interested in brainstorming ideas on how you can improve your applicant pool, increase the speed of onboarding new hires, or test drive software that may create efficiencies for you, don’t hesitate to give myself or any of my teammates a call.

How to Effortlessly Use Texting to Hire Hourly Workers

You only have to look at your smartphone’s weekly screen time report to know that the amount of time we spend accessing our phones is increasing at a relentless pace. Whether our pervasive mobile usage troubles or encourages you, it is undeniable. In fact, according to research done by Hitwise, the average device split for searches was 72% for mobile and 28% for desktop in 2017.

In consideration of the amount of time people spend doing web searches on phones, naturally we’re in a climate where employers must adapt and leverage mobile communication in their hiring process–particularly while unemployment is at an epic low.

Today, the name of the hiring game is speed, and this is painfully realized in industries that employ a large number of hourly, non-exempt workers. The reality of those employers is that if they hesitate to respond quickly, the competitor across the street has already paid their would-be new hire for their first shift.

Signs that you’re not effectively using a text recruiting strategy

We can and should all continuously experiment with and tweak our hiring processes. The hiring landscape changes so quickly that constant attention is required. However, there are telltale signs that help identify when your organization has a more significant mobile communication problem.

Phone ghosting

I was initially surprised a couple of years ago when I heard that many employers of hourly workers, in particular, struggled to get candidates to respond to phone invitations for an initial interview. If your recruiters are frequently encountering full voice mail boxes when reaching out to schedule a conversation; or they discover that a candidate doesn’t even have voice mail set up, then it’s time to try something other than a phone call.

Candidate shelf-life

It’s not uncommon for employers who rely on large numbers of hourly workers to empower the managers and assistant managers of various store locations to screen candidates and invite them to proceed in the hiring process. Because hiring is just one of myriad operational responsibilities for these managers, they don’t always respond to candidates as quickly as may be necessary in this job market.

This failure in prompt candidate engagement all too often sinks a retail location’s recruiting efforts before the ship even leaves port. Or, maybe a manager is in such tremendous need of candidates that he recognizes this deficiency and immediately calls or emails new applicants. However, because many hourly workers tend to fill positions that aren’t necessarily accompanied by a desktop computer or an office landline, their tendency is to communicate via text rather than voice mail or email.

If a job seeker doesn’t recognize a general manager’s incoming phone number, chances are she’ll avoid taking the call–meanwhile, if she has applied to multiple hourly positions, a savvy competitor is grabbing her attention and her time via text before she checks her inbox.

Standardizing communication and respecting candidate privacy

In the absence of a strong hiring software platform that allows managers to contact job candidates via text message, many managers of hourly workers will resort to their own smartphone to contact applicants to connect for an interview.

This is commonplace; however, it isn’t in the best interest of the employer. In many cases, these applicants were not prompted to opt-in to receiving text messages during the job application process–why would they if the applicant tracking system didn’t support text messaging?

Not only is this a privacy concern as it does not allow job candidates to formally opt-out of text messages once they are initiated, but practically speaking, candidates won’t necessarily be on the lookout for text communication from your organization.

Arguably, they will probably quickly adapt given that texting is second nature to many of them, but your organization is missing an opportunity to set expectations about the hiring process and endear itself to candidates…candidates who are in hot demand.

Moreover, when general managers take texting candidates into their own hands outside of an ATS, there is no guarantee of adequate communication documentation with the job applicant. By utilizing applicant tracking software that includes in-application texting functionality, an employer is ensuring that multiple users of the system have access to review communication between candidates.

After all, in this highly competitive recruiting landscape, recruiters have full plates and may be called to work on different job requisitions if a co-worker is on vacation, on leave, etc. What you don’t want is for only one person in your organization to have access to candidate conversations–that’s a significant obstacle for a scaling company.

Why is mobile recruiting an opportunity for hourly jobs in particular?

Hourly workers are often the front-line defense (or offense) for your organization. They are the individuals who are most likely to interact directly with your customers. And, unfortunately, they are often in the positions with the highest turnover–whether that is related to the nature of the job, the typical lower pay (relative to exempt positions), and/or the lack of benefits (at least in the case of part-time hourly employees). In a job market flooded with open positions, candidates will leave for a few cents more per hour.

You see this happen in positions like

  • hosts and servers at your local restaurant,
  • cashiers at your retail store,
  • LPNs at your healthcare facility,
  • service techs at your automotive dealership, and
  • direct support professionals (DSPs) for nonprofits.

People who fill these types of positions tend to be on the go (i.e. not doing a desk job) and may have more than one part-time job at a time. They don’t get into email or voice mail as frequently (if at all), and so they need fewer barriers to communication when it comes to job consideration, as well as long-term engagement with an employer.

Considering that over 58% of America’s working population fills hourly positions (BLS, 2017), there’s real opportunity to leverage texting to be the first to attract and engage hourly job candidates. I’m offering the following steps to help you position your organization as an earlier adopter of the mobile recruiting revolution.

6 steps to successfully use texting to hire hourly workers

1 – Create communication efficiency

Use pre-built text message templates within your applicant tracking system. Create and label them for different stages in the selection process for hourly workers. This saves store managers time when they need to hire three new retail associates–“yesterday!”

2 – Model the right texting behavior

Train your hiring managers on appropriate texting etiquette for your recruiting process. Does the language they use and the tone they convey support your overall employment brand? Additionally, make sure they understand how text messages will show up to the job candidate.

An easy way to accomplish this is to test the messaging feature from within a sample job application. Then, take a screenshot of how it appears to a recipient on your phone and share it with managers. This step will help them understand from what number(s) messages may originate, whether the sender’s name, job title and/or organization name are referenced, and how much of the message will appear on the preview screen before being cut off.

3 – Lightning fast speed

Use text to reply promptly to candidates once they’ve responded to your initial outreach. Don’t make the mistake of resting on your laurels once you have native texting functionality and take your sweet time to reply–jump on message responses!

Remember: texting affords job candidates fewer communication barriers to entry, so they expect organizations to respond quickly, too.

4 – Strategically plan text content

You should absolutely use text to reach all types of job candidates to screen and schedule interviews. However, text messages also present an opportunity–when used thoughtfully and selectively–to reach candidates who are on the fence about joining your organization.

Consider the potential impact of a personalized message sharing a link to a positive article about your company. Or, the likelihood that a hired candidate will end up ghosting you during the pre-boarding phase if you regularly connect with him to prepare him for his first shift.

5 – Flip the script on thank you notes

Use text messages to thank a job candidate for her time and preparation after you conduct an interview. That’s right–once upon a time, we expected job candidates to thank recruiters and hiring managers for their time in order to help them secure an offer–but times are changing!

Thank you notes are still an amazing gesture on the part of a job candidate, but they are no longer a mainstay for job offer consideration in today’s job market given the sorry state of many employers’ candidate pipelines.

Today is about sourcing, not screening. Break through the clutter by proactively thanking candidates with a simple text message and humanize your hiring process.

6 – Hiring process visualization

When candidates know what to expect from the hiring process it

  • helps them visualize how they see themselves interacting with your organization,
  • may allow them to more adequately prepare, and
  • it makes it easier for them to say “yes” when you make the job offer.

You can use text to quickly outline the various hiring process steps at the onset of the recruiting process. Think of this step as reducing friction for distracted job seekers who probably have many options before them. If you can grease their understanding runway regarding your job opportunity–and you can do so quickly–you’ll be the employer who is poaching job candidates from competitors across the street.

Mobile recruiting facilitated by text message communication is here to stay. Armed with the steps outlined above, you’re on the way to engaging the job seekers in your hourly job candidate pipeline and positively impacting your employer’s bottom line.

ExactHire Hiring Software | Text Recruiting

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