Thursday, August 18, 2016
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Through a Candidate’s Eyes: Improving the Applicant Experience
One of the best ways to do this is by controlling the entire experience of the recruit, from the moment they find your job listing until they accept your offer. Investing in user experience for online applicants and ensuring the entire hiring process is smooth can make your company more desirable, attracting top talent and ultimately leading to a better, more productive workplace.
Here are three things to keep in mind when guiding your recruits through your hiring process:
Start with your first contact - which is going to be onlineThe first time a potential employee hears from your company, it's likely not from an recruiter, HR representative, or executive. Either they have seen a job listing on a site like LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster, or they are familiar with your company from elsewhere and have checked the careers page of your site for listings directly.
Mobile recruiting is more than just a buzzword. Three-fifths of all candidates interact with job listings on mobile devices. Ask yourself: Is your website responsive? Is it clearly presenting information to job seekers in all formats? Make sure the websites and other recruiting tools you use to post job listings are also mobile-optimized.
Aside from being able to find company information and job descriptions quickly and effectively, a great user experience depends on ease of submission. A 15-page mobile application won't get many takers, especially from currently employed and highly desirable applicants who don't have time to fill out page after page of information for one job. Be sure your forms are not just easy to read, but short. Only ask the information you need to qualify a candidate up front. While having them fill in their education and job history into a form might be easier on your candidate processing database, it's onerous and repetitive, since it's included in their resume. Invest in software that can scan candidate resumes for that information. Some companies have even begun looking at social media profiles in lieu of resumes at early stages of recruiting. Eliminating points of friction will help you attract a higher volume of candidates and, inevitably, better recruits.
Present the right kind of informationIt's not enough to just present the information in a pleasing and clear manner -- your content must contain substance. Avoid evergreen job listings that are too vague to be useful for all but bottom-tier candidates.
Your job description should not only be clear and descriptive, it should include additional information candidates need to know about making a decision whether or not to apply, such as office hours, regular benefits, and salary range.
Additionally, candidates will want to know the answers to these types of questions, either from your website or from the interview process:
- What is the company culture like?
- How does this company distinguish itself from the competition?
- Will I be doing work I'll enjoy and learn from?
- What are the other employees like?
- How will my role benefit the company?
- Is this business good at work-life balance?
- Do I want to work here?
Follow up, follow up, follow upAt every stage of the process, following up with potential employees will eliminate possible frustration (due to not knowing where they are at) and ensure candidates that there's a human side to the recruiting process.
Applicant tracking systems are useful. They can automatically send a confirmation to a candidate that you received their application. They can remind recruits to submit more information or complete evaluations. Don't use them as a crutch for all communication, though. At worst, they can become robotic and impersonal. Don't let candidate think they're resume was swallowed by a black hole when the applied to your company. Let me know you got it. If they aren't being considered for the position, let them know when it has been filled. Above all, communicate with candidates you have actually contacted about or brought on site for an interview - not only the candidates who are offered the position.
Follow up doesn't have to end after an employee accepts the job. Onboarding, including benefit information and forms, is yet another point that can make or break your company reputation with job candidates. Make the training process as easy as possible while still being thorough. Consider checking in with your new employees at 30 days (or perhaps even three or six months) to not only get feedback on the hiring process, but to make sure their transition has gone well.
Building your company can also mean building your brandIn the end, good recruit experience is all about good relationship building. Every interaction, from an online portal to a manager's phone call, can positively or negatively impact a candidate's perception of your company. Remember: they're also evaluating you to see if your company is a good fit for them.
Every few months, review how a recruit will interact with your office by staging a mock application process. Go to your website and try to see it through their eyes. Implement processes to make the hiring process as fast as possible. Most of all, engage with your recruits so that, whether or not they are offered or accept a job with you, they come away from the process feeling positive about your entire business.
For more information on how J & J can help you with your hiring process, please contact us.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Are you sure you're recruiting the right people?
Finding the right employees can be more difficult than you might think. The right employee for your company might not be the right employee for your competitors and vice versa. Rather than relying on a strict set of guidelines, use the following questions to determine if a candidate is ideal for your company.
Who do you want to attract?While you might want to attract people with sales skills or design experience, figuring out who fits with your team is a greater challenge, yet the more important one. Learning to ask the right kind of questions is key to determining who the right people are for your environment. Does the candidate seem bitter about their last job? Do they claim they prefer to work independently rather than as a team? That might not be an automatic disqualification, depending on the role and the company, but it will certainly tell you more about the person you're thinking of hiring.
Who do you want to attract?It might be tempting to post job listings on your own website and call it a day, but that won't get your noticed by the best candidates. Craigslist might be great for finding a band to perform at your party, but may not be the best tool for long-term recruiting strategy. In addition to major job sites like Indeed or LinkedIn, consider branching out to other social media platforms. You may also want to use targeted sites, like HigherEdJobs or Idealist, that attract candidates in your industry. If you're really seriously about targeting the right candidates you'll want to go with an external recruiter -- preferably one who has developed many relationships with potential job seekers. The best recruiters have top performing, specialized individuals in their databases. These people are likely to already have a job and may not be actively looking for a new one, but would leave for the right opportunity.
What is the candidate's potential?It might be easy to find the person with the best skillset to fit the position, but does that always translate to the best fit? Many skills can be taught and experience can be gained by anyone. What matters are things like personality traits, like emotional intelligence and empathy, and innate skills, like interpersonal communication and time management. While not all employees will be outgoing, a candidate should be well-prepared to answer interview questions, ask follow up questions, and elaborate on discussion topics. If the potential employee seems quick to learn or has a passion for your industry, even better!
Does the candidate find your company desirable?Aside from parsing the candidate's interests via interview questions, you should also let the candidate ask as many questions as he or she needs to get a good feel for the company. Great companies remember that potential hires are also interviewing you. They need to get a good enough feel for the company to determine that they want to work there - and that they will be a good fit. Be open about your business's culture and expectations. Be honest, as well. You not going to do yourself or the candidate any favors by making false promises or stretching the truth about work hours, benefits, or culture.
Can you create the job around the employee?You never know - you might end up filling a niche you didn't think you needed. If a candidate blows you away in the interview process, but his or her skills and experience don't quite fit the mold of the jobs you're searching for, don't worry about it! You can make up a new job description together. As long as you have the money for expansion, you might as well take a chance on someone who seems bound to be a rockstar on the job.
It's important to remember when hiring to think outside the box. A candidate may not look the part. She might not fit the demographics of your current team. Maybe he won't work out. In the end, without taking a chance on those with potential, you might miss out on moving your team from mediocre and safe to amazing and innovative.
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Is Your Hiring Process Too Long?
Across the board, the hiring process has gotten longer and longer. According to a report from Glassdoor, the average job interview process now takes 23 days, up from just under 20 days in 2009.
While applicants should expect some time to evaluate and review their candidacy, is there such a thing as too long of a hiring process? Here are some ways to determine if you are going overboard on the recruitment timeline.
Your candidates accept jobs at other companies before you can offer them a position.A potential employee may be in different stages of the interviewing and hiring process at several companies at once. This is especially true of highly-qualified candidates who are serious about finding a new position. Top tier management candidates may only be on the job market for a few days before being offered a position, putting them in the awkward circumstance of deciding whether to accept the job offered or wait for your hiring process to run its course.
Think about this from your own position as a company. When you find a great candidate, you'd probably like to extend an offer as soon as possible. There may be little incentive to continue reviewing other applicants at that point. When a desirable candidate receives a quality offer, they are in a similar mindset and more likely to take the immediately available job rather than wait around for your (possible) offer. Although it's not uncommon for candidates to get other job offers while they are still interviewing with you, if you frequently have candidates drop out mid-process, you should review your timeline and compare it to other businesses in your industry.
In the long run, this means the best candidates may be grabbed up by your competition, leaving you with a subpar team. Statistics also show that, contrary to what many think, a longer hiring process results in less qualified or more mediocre candidates -- because top prospects are siphoned off by other job offers before they can be hired by you.br />
Your job descriptions are unclear.If you keep the same stale job listings up all the time in order to attract candidates under a generic job title, you're simply delaying the tough choices when it comes to selecting candidates. Open-ended job listings attract candidates who either desperately want to work for your company in any capacity or candidates who aren't especially qualified or experienced in specific roles. While these types of listings can work well for entry-level jobs, or might even inspire you to create a non-existent position within your organization, they do a poor job of recruiting top-level, experienced talent or filling specific holes in your team.
Being more specific with job postings will also keep you from needing to restructure and repost the job in the future. Candidates who see jobs constantly being reposted may be wary that your company either doesn't have a defined hiring strategy or is not serious about filling a position in a timely manner. Constantly running open-ended job postings makes it seem that you don't have a timeline for hiring, and most job seekers are interested in finding a new position as soon as possible.
If most of your current job listings are open-ended, change your strategy. Post updated, clear job descriptions that target candidates for the specific roles you need to fill, and only when that need arises.
You're waiting on confirmation to move ahead from accounting. Or legal. Or marketing. Or...Many job seekers have stories of awkward situations they've encountered while going through an interview process. A common one that comes up is when a job is eliminated after a company advertises for it and begins the interview process.
Much like having evergreen or open-ended job listings, if you're not confirming the state of the job listing prior to posting, it draws out the job process and can paint your company in a negative light to applicants. Is the recruiting and human resources department even communicating with the departments its hiring for? At best, getting approval after-the-fact from various departments is time consuming and tedious, and only draws out the process, frustrating your candidate and increasing the likelihood they will take a position at a different company. Not confirming the scope of work for the position or the budget for salary only slows down your hiring process. It can also be frustrating for top candidates who are offered a position with a lower salary or different requirements than they were expecting.
Your process involves too many interviews or site visits.When discussing the length of the hiring process, you must consider the literal length of the interviews. A good rule of thumb for a non-executive position is two or, at maximum, three on-site interviews. A phone screen prior to scheduling the first interview can also help narrow the candidate pool down to your top contenders, so you spend less time interviewing on site, moving the process forward more quickly.
If candidates need to meet with more than one person, try to schedule back-to-back sessions for the same day. It will take less time for both you and the candidate to go through one, 2-hour interview session than to have to come back on subsequent days, possibly taking off more time from their current job, for additional hour long meetings.
When administering tests and screenings to candidates, keep in mind that each test adds a significant amount of time. Over the past few years, the percentage of companies using background checks, drug tests, and personality questionnaires has increased substantially. Not only do these assessments represent a greater investment of time on behalf of the candidate (and perhaps make them wonder if the job is worth it), they take more time to organize and evaluate on behalf of the company - not to mention the increased costs in possible testing fees and the time investment of your hiring staff.
The solutions to speeding up your hiring process:
Make it easy for candidates to apply
- Redesign your website or candidate portal to make it easy for job seekers to find the appropriate listing and submit their application.
- Confirm receipt of applications by automatically sending an email response when you receive a resume.
- Post in several locations, such as on your website and major job seeking sites for your industry to allow the largest candidate pool possible to see your listing, increasing your likelihood of finding the right candidates more quickly.
- Keep candidates in the loop by using their preferred form of communication: either email or phone.
- Give feedback after the interview, even if it's simply to thank the candidate for coming on site.
- Let them know what the next step is and then follow through. If you expect to let them know about a second interview or a hiring decision the following week, stick to your timeline. If the decision is delayed, let them know that as well. It's also best practice to let a candidate who has interviewed know if they are not being offered the position.
Streamline your job posting and interview process
- Have a clear need when posting a position and aim to fill it as soon as possible.
- Get pre-approval for the position from the relevant departments, set a scope of work, and approve the salary range.
- Schedule back-to-back interviews if needed to both speed up your internal process and decrease the amount of time a candidate needs to spend on site prior to the hiring decision.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
3 Steps for Ensuring the Success of New Employees
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Through the employee interview process, potential job candidates are evaluating your company just as much as your company is evaluating them. After you make an offer and a new employee starts, you don't want to give them any reason to believe they've made a mistake in accepting the position. Additionally, the first three months of an employee's tenure at your company are crucial to establishing strong relationships, good work habits, and healthy expectations. Here are 3 tips for getting your employees off on the right foot.
1. Schedule the first day - and week
You should have a point person for the employee's first day. Have this person tour the office with your new hire, making sure they are introduced to other employees and know where the kitchen, bathrooms, and relevant office equipment is located. This may also be a good time to deal with security issues, like after-hours access or parking passes - if not now, then at least in the employee's first week.
If the employee is in a supervisory role they should be introduced to their direct reports. An informal meeting or lunch with their team is a great idea, as it can break up the more formal training and orientation schedule. In addition to meeting the team, the new employee should meet with their supervisor to confirm the job duties and what the first 1 to 3 months in the position will look like.
2. Incorporate technology into the onboarding plan
There's nothing more awkward than showing up for a first day and finding out the company isn't ready for you. Starting a new job gives you new-kid-in-school jitters. Imagine how much smoother the employee transition will be if the company actually has a work station set up! Getting a computer, mobile devices, and phone lines in place prior to the employee's first day means your new hire can start being productive almost immediately, rather than waiting for IT to do its work. Have a system for letting your technology department know what needs to be accomplished and when you have a new employee starting. You should also prepare a list of IT-related items and tasks for your new employee, such as setting up their email, voicemail, remote access, and passwords.
Another way to involve technology is to set up a portal, allowing employees to fill out their new hire paperwork more efficiently. If tax and direct deposit documents, or even health insurance registration forms, are handled at home, you will avoid spending a precious hour or two of the employee's orientation simply pushing paper--not to mention making sure employees remember to bring their identification documents!
3. Elicit feedback and follow up
Maximizing your employee's success doesn't only occur on the first day. The first ninety days or so of a new hire's tenure is what can make or break their time at your company. The seeds of employee retention are sown early. Going back to first impressions, you will never again have a better time to impress your employee with what your company is capable of and how your business functions than in those first three months.
Individualizing your employee's experience can show the company cares about their success. Institute goal planning and meet with your new hire on and off to discuss a long term career trajectory. Find out how they are doing, both formally and informally. Get anonymous or confidential feedback from their coworkers and direct reports to get a better sense of their performance and strengths. Above all, maintain a good balance between allowing your employee independence and giving them instruction and direction.
Employee retention is the goal!
By employing proper onboarding techniques, your new hires can learn proper skills, fit in with the team, and start contributing from almost their very first day. Not only is onboarding a factor in productivity, it's an effective talent management strategy that can help your overall hiring process and corporate health in the long term.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Tips Your Company Needs to Identify and Keep Top Performers
How do you identify top talent?Top talent does not necessarily mean C-suite executives and managers. Performance and individual characteristics that are valuable to your organization are what you want to look for when identifying top talent - no matter the employee's rank or title. Which employees meet or exceed the role as put forth in their job description? How are they performing when it comes to employee evaluations? Use official and unofficial management feedback channels to flag those whom you consider top talent.
What are top performers looking for at a company?In a nutshell, most top performing employees are looking for a company with which they can identify. They want a company that shares their values. This can take several forms:
- Business ethics. Is yours a company that employees believe is ethical? You don't need to be a non-profit organization engaging in the greater good. Do you treat employees, vendors, and customers with respect? Do you engage in socially responsible activities in the world at large?
- Company vision and values. Do you have a well-defined strategy and vision that guides both your business and your hiring? Are your resources allocated in line with that vision?
- Corporate reliability. People want a company that is committed to new ideas. While innovation is exciting for top performers, a stable company is also a benefit. Top performers want to be assured a company will be around to nurture their talents. While they want to be encouraged to grow, they also want to make sure they will be supported for years to come if they choose to remain with you.
- Sufficient resources. Top performers, perhaps because of their high productivity levels, are less likely than other employees to think they have the resources necessary to do their jobs. Think outside the box and don't discount employee suggestions for new tools or policies that can help make work more efficient, engaging, and successful.
- Leadership. There's a saying that employees don't leave jobs - they leave managers. Ineffective leadership at all levels and bad management of your top talent in particular can lead to a stifled, low-productivity environment. If an employee is not getting the right kind of feedback to do his or her job properly, it's inevitable they will look elsewhere.
- Compensation. Pay is not the only reason, or even the most common reason, people find new jobs. However, both a salary and a total compensation package that is below industry standard will make it much easier for your top talent to be lured away. Show your employees you appreciate them by offering a decent level of pay and benefits, in line with what your company needs to pay to keep them and what you can afford.
How do you retain top talent?In addition to having a well-defined sense of ethics, a company vision, and being committed to employees, you should have a great company culture. When you focus on building the right company culture, you'll also attract and hire candidate that fit in well with your company. This means your top talent will work well with everyone else on staff and make friends and connections in the process, and they'll appreciate the cultural value the company adds to the work environment. A positive company culture is also more likely to ensure top performers click with their managers and other leaders in the company.
Get to know your employees as individuals.Not every top performing employee will have the same motivations, goals, or inspiration. It is important to see how they work and what motivates them. Take the time to check in with top performers and all employees to discuss career progression, personal and professional goals, and both strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has room for improvement, and your employees should feel valued as well as supported in building their skills where needed.
Don't use your top employees as a crutch to run your business.Be sure to attain balance. You do not want to over-rely on your top performers' strengths to the detriment of their work-life balance - or your company. Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, if Jack were hit by a bus tomorrow, this company would be in big trouble!”? Make sure your key systems and information are replicable - don't allow top employees to be the only repository of how things work, where things are, or who you are working with. It's important for your employees to know their work is supported by other people and that they support others. They should feel like they are part of a team environment, not the entire basis of your organization. While some stress can be a positive (procrastinators thrive on deadlines, and some of your top producers might as well), overstressed employees are more likely to seek employment elsewhere.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Having Fun at Work: 3 Ways to energize your staff and increase productivity
1. Rely on having the type of fun your employees want
Some companies have employee softball teams. How many have rare coffee tastings? Don't put together events, teams, or clubs because it's what is expected. Defy employee expectations by crafting your extracurricular strategy based on what your employees like. If you have a fitness-oriented culture, perhaps an outing club, bowling team, or flag football meetup group will appeal to your employees. Is your team full of caffeine-addicted early-birds? A coffee tasting outing or bringing in different rare coffees each week might be a much-appreciated benefit.
Rely on your employees' talents to determine what type of fun activities to offer, as well. Having an employee who paints in their spare time or spends weekends dressing up like Disney characters at children's parties isn’t just a fun quirk worthy of the employee newsletter - it can be the basis of an event to show off a talent and allow other employees to catch a much-needed break.
Of course, don't neglect the importance of yearly or semi-annual parties or picnics. The summer family picnic and winter holiday party are standard for good reason. If possible, invite families or significant others to one or both events to allow employees to show their loved ones their professional success.
2. Implement innovative recognition programs
Getting a figurative pat on the back from your manager is always a great feeling. That feeling, however, usually lasts only a few moments before it's back to the daily grind. Innovative companies have come up with more innovative employee recognition solutions. Help employees compete (with themselves and with each other) by putting together a rockstar approach to recognition.
Take a peer-to-peer approach, instead of top-down. When a fellow employee appreciates you, it feels genuine since they aren't required to give you feedback as part of their job description, and this kind of peer-to-peer recognition can be built into your culture. When someone helps a new person set up their voicemail, goes the extra mile on graphic design, or even finishes a project for an overworked colleague, there should be an easy and accessible way to show appreciation. This will also foster a great collaborative environment.
Tell the world how awesome your employees are. It's one thing to email an employee with your thanks. It's another to boost their self-esteem with an email copied to their manager, team, department, or even the company. If you have an intranet system or cloud-based social application, create a template for employees, managers, and vendors to write up their recognition. If you have company social media channels, you might compile recognition there as well.
Start a system of tangible rewards for employee recognition. Create a detailed recognition system in writing that rewards employees when they deserve it. This doesn't always have to be a cash award (although small cash payments would likely be appreciated). You can source gift cards in a certain increment or award employees with things like a recognition lunch, reserved parking, or additional time off in their PTO bank. Even plaques or award certificates that can be displayed in an employee's work area serve as a tangible reminder to them and everyone who works around them of their success.
3. Use gamification to make work fun!
Millennial employees - new hires in their 20s and early 30s - are used to a lot of feedback. They're also used to a digital work environment and have likely engaged in a few online games in their day, even if their game of choice is more in the Candy Crush realm than Call of Duty.
While 89% of employers think employees leave for more money, only 12% of employees actually report leaving their jobs for monetary reasons. Most employees require engagement to stay focused and have fun at work, and making work and goals into games is one way to ensure employees are engaged!
Tie your gamification strategy to specific business goals. It should provide feedback to the employee to see how their work is affecting the overall goals of the company. Of course, it should also tie into intrinsic motivation by creating a positive, winning feeling in employees and allowing them to have fun in the process.
One thing to focus on is making sure your gamification actually enhances productivity and makes work better. Micromanaging employees with point systems often has the opposite effect, causing employees to fear Big Brother and leading to less organic creativity and more employee turnover.
Become a powerhouse of employee retention
Having fun at work can lead to better productivity and employee engagement. Even better, these simple methods cost less per employee than traditional financial bonuses or incentives while creating a similar sense of appreciation and well-being. Fun work activities and recognition through contests also has the added benefit of employee retention, and even recruitment if the program is large enough and done well. Innovative companies have already started these types of programs, establishing powerhouses of employee retention, and in this case, imitation is certainly the sincerest form of flattery. Your employees won’t care if you’re not the only one engaging in these programs because they will appreciate your effort -- and their rewards.