Why You Need to Provide a Seamless Candidate Journey for Job Seekers

If you’re familiar with the concept of the candidate journey, you’re probably aware of how crucial it is to provide an excellent hiring experience for candidates.

For those of you who are unfamiliar or need a refresher, here’s a quick definition:

the candidate journey is the way candidates perceive and react to an employers’ sourcing, recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and on-boarding processes.

If you’ve been in the workforce long, you’ve likely had your share of positive and negative experiences in this realm – some companies get back to you quickly, guiding you throughout the journey, updating you on your status frequently; others accept your application never to respond – and even after you send a follow-up message, they still ghost you.

Not the best feeling, right?

I could make an educated guess as to which company you’d prefer to work for, and the majority of others would echo your opinion – according to a survey by Software Advice, a significant 63% of job seekers will likely reject a job offer because of a bad candidate experience.

Before we go any further, we’ll briefly review each stage of the candidates journey with examples of the actions taken in each one. We’ll then delve into why it’s important that you prioritize providing an excellent experience for candidates interested in working for your company.

Stages of the Candidate Journey

Awareness – a candidate becomes aware of your employer brand; a friend has referred them to your company, or they came across your advertisement on a job site

Consideration – a candidate decides they want to work for your company; they join your talent network or talk to one of your company representatives at a career fair about open positions

Interest – a candidate begins researching your company as well as your competitors; they check out your website and read your blog, or visit sites like Glassdoor and look through your reviews

Application – a candidate actually applies to a position within your company; they fill out an online application and send it in

Selection – a candidate moves through your selection process; your hiring manager and/or recruiters screen and interview the candidate

Hire – a candidate becomes your new employee; your hiring manager makes an offer, and the candidate accepts

Now that we’ve reviewed the stages of the candidate journey, let’s closely examine why it’s critical to provide a smooth, uniform experience for the candidates interested in working for your company. We’ll begin by telling a short story about a poor candidate journey from the perspective of the candidate. (img source)

The Candidate’s Story

A candidate comes across a job posting a recruiter from AnyTechCo put together on Indeed; it’s the first time the candidate has come across their employment brand, and after checking out the job description and requirements, they’re confident they could succeed in the role. Where do they go next?

They decide to check out their website first – the information they glean from the site lines up with what they saw on the job posting, so they reach out to an AnyTechCo recruiter and schedule a conversation.

Halfway through the conversation the candidate realizes the role described on the site doesn’t exactly match up with the position the recruiter is depicting – the responsibilities seem to be far greater than the job posting let on.

A slight feeling of uncertainty begins to creep in, and the candidate wonders – if the job description wasn’t accurate, how can I be sure that everything else I’ve researched about the company is?

Against their better judgement, the candidate continues throughout the journey, until the hiring manager makes an offer that’s 5k less than what the recruiter and the job description said the position would pay. At this point the experience has been so rocky for the candidate that they decide to drop out and pursue a position elsewhere.

Could you blame them?

As much as we’d like to believe that this isn’t a common occurrence, 60% of candidates report that they’ve had a negative candidate experience at least once, and 60% of employers have read online negative feedback about their processes.

An effective candidate journey lacks any obstructions or causes for concern; the candidate continues moving forward unworried because there’s no unexpected changes in the journey. This is what you want to aim for – the less diversions present in the candidate’s journey, the better the experience will be for them.

Next, we’ll move on to how a poorly-developed candidate journey affects your business’s branding and bottom line.

Branding and Your Bottom Line

A recent study found that 72% of candidates who had negative experiences had gone on to share their stories in person or online.

We all know that whatever’s posted on the internet will remain there forever, and that word of mouth from a trusted resource is an effective marketing tool. Negative reviews on sites like Glassdoor and Yelp stick around indefinitely – even years down the road, the candidates you failed to effectively guide through the journey will impact the number of candidates applying to your company.

Continuing with that, a study by LinkedIn revealed that 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job. By not prioritizing the effectiveness of your candidate journey, your brand suffers, and as a result you severely limit the pool of talent candidates interested in joining your team.

This limited pool of interested candidates has a costly ripple effect on your hiring process – you can expect an increased time to hire, increased cost per hire, as well as less qualified candidates overall due to poor reputation and branding.

The goal of your candidate journey should be to make every candidate an ambassador of your brand, regardless of whether they get the position or not. Need more convincing?

An incredible 64% of candidates won’t purchase from or recommend a company after a bad recruitment experience. Don’t forget, your candidates are your customers too.

If the point hasn’t been driven home yet, you’ll reap countless financial and reputational benefits by investing time and money into perfecting your candidate journey, which we’ll talk about next week.

Check in next Monday to read our new article on how you can build a more effective candidate journey for your business and delight your candidates along the way.

 

Do you have any stories of positive or negative candidate journey experiences you’ve had? Leave a comment on our LinkedIn or Facebook pages and let us know what you think! 

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If you’re in search of talent consulting or recruiting services and could use help determining your business needs, contact our team of experienced talent acquisition consultants now. 

3 Tips You Can Use to Hire Remote Candidates More Effectively

In 2018, 70 percent of professionals worked remotely at least one day a week, while 53 percent worked remotely for at least half of the week. 

The demand for flexible working hours and work spaces continues to rise, and understandably so – there are many benefits to implementing flexible working hours for both employers and employees. 

Just take a look at some of these impressive statistics:  (1,2,3,4)

Despite all of the positive changes that have accompanied employees’ ability to work remotely, a major challenge has risen – hiring managers are now expected to effectively and accurately screen candidates that could be sitting halfway across the county, country, or globe.

Getting a detailed read on a potential candidate without sitting face-to-face with them isn’t an easy task, so follow these tips to ensure that you’re choosing the right remote candidate for the job.

Administer psychometric tests and skill assessments

An incredible 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies currently use psychometric tools to assess the quality of incoming candidates.

Psychometric tests are assessments designed to determine a candidate’s suitability for a given role; generally, the psychological attributes measured on the tests include aptitude, achievement, personality, intelligence, and other performance-related variables. The results gained from these tests tell a hiring manager or recruiter how likely a candidate will be able to work effectively with others, cope with stress on the job, and fit in with their company’s culture.

Why are these tests so widely-used for recruiting purposes?

  • Objective results; a candidate will be judged according to their ability, negates unconscious bias from a hiring manager
  • Shown to be accurate indicators of future job performance
  • Expedite the recruiting process, saving businesses time and money

To further explain to the last point – if you’re hiring for a role that has a long line of interested candidates, you can reduce the size of the candidate pool by interviewing only those who scored within a certain range, saving your HR department time and resources.

The results from psychometric tests shouldn’t be the deciding factor as to whether a remote candidate gets hired, but they can be invaluable in helping you identify the candidates that are most likely to succeed in a position. 

Below is a short list of some of the more common psychometric tests – have you had experience taking any of these in the past? 

Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire – frequently used in career counseling and for employee testing and selection; measures personality in the professional and personal spheres by asking forced-choice questions where the test taker has to choose between three alternatives. A score between high and low personality trait extremes is derived from the results. Listed below are some examples of the personality factors measured – try taking the test yourself here.

Verbal, Numerical, and Logical Reasoning Assessments measure a candidate’s comprehension skills, their ability to work accurately with numbers, and their ability to use logic to craft arguments and draw conclusions.

Situational Judgement Test – measures a candidate’s suitability based on their responses to work related scenarios; designed to assess an individual’s ability to use effective judgement in solving problems in work-related situations.

Examine references very, very closely

Closely checking the references of any incoming candidate is a necessity, but it’s especially critical to get below the surface when conducting a reference check for a remote candidate. You won’t be seeing this employee in the office (at least not all the time), so it’s crucial that you have a detailed understanding of how effectively they’ve communicated and worked in past positions, especially if they were remote jobs as well.

It’s wise to begin the check by asking the reference how they know the candidate and how long they’ve worked alongside them – this will give you an idea of whether this particular reference is equipped to give you the in-depth answers you’re looking for.

Below are a few questions you can ask your remote candidate’s references to determine if they’ll make a good addition to your team:

  • What do you think the candidate needs to continue their career development and professional growth? 
  • If you had the opportunity, would you re-hire this job candidate? Why?
  • What advice can you give me to successfully manage the job candidate?

Remember to listen to the way the reference responds to your questions – make note of any changes in tone of voice, inflections or hesitations. In some cases, the way the reference responds can tell you more about the candidate than the actual content of their answer.

Another tip – don’t rely on asking questions a reference can simply respond “yes” or “no” to.

Rather than asking, “does the candidate have the time management skills and discipline needed to succeed in the position”, ask “what type of skills does the candidate have that makes you believe they’ll succeed in the position”. These types of questions will give you a closer look into how your remote candidate has performed in the past, revealing insights you may not come across during an interview.

In a recent Glassdoor article, Catharine Strauss, a manager at cloud computing company Fastly, describes questions she’d ask a remote candidate to determine fit for a position.

Assign a small project during the hiring process

Assign the candidate a small project that would be similar to the kind of work they’d be doing if you hired them, giving them a specific deadline to complete the task by. The candidate’s performance on this project can tell you much of what you need to determine whether they’d be a good fit for your company. 

Cruce Sanders, the founder of content intelligence company [A], explains his reasoning for offering a candidate test projects before moving forward with the hiring process.

We want to make sure there’s a good long-term match before we jump in to hiring anybody. So our recruiting and onboarding process has multiple steps, culminating in a test project.

The test project is a way for us to get to know each other by working together. We believe that too many times interviews do not give us enough of a clear idea of what it’s actually like to collaborate and work with someone. By working on a project with [A], applicants also get to know some of what the real world looks like behind-the-scenes and decide if it’s a good environment that works well with the way she or he likes to operate and experience life.

The projects given will take the shape of whatever the candidate’s responsibilities will be. Hiring a front-end developer? Have them code a small section of your site from scratch. Hiring a copywriter? Have them write advertisements for your new email marketing campaign.

As Sanders mentions, allowing a candidate to work on a small project before hiring them is an effective way to measure fit for both you and the candidate, which can save you time and resources down the road if it doesn’t end up being a great match.

Hiring and screening remote candidates effectively is something hiring managers will grow accustomed to as more employees begin working remotely; add these tips to your arsenal to ensure that you’re hiring only the most qualified remote workers for your business.

 

Do you have any additional suggestions for how hiring managers can effectively hire remote workers? Leave a comment on our LinkedIn or Facebook pages and let us know what you think! 

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If you’re in search of talent consulting or recruiting services and could use help determining your business needs, contact our team of experienced talent acquisition consultants now. 

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On Startups: The Key Considerations and Hidden Costs of Common Recruitment Solutions

Once your startup reaches the emerging or expansion stages of growth, you’ve got a tough decision to make – determining the most efficient and cost-effective talent acquisition solution for your venture. 

As you likely know by now, the process of hiring candidates demands a great deal of your most limited resources – time and money.

Choosing the right type of talent acquisition solution for your startup isn’t an easy call, so in this article we’ll briefly explain common talent acquisition solutions, examining their respective strengths and weaknesses along the way. We’ll then highlight the unforeseen or hidden costs you should expect to incur with each option.

In-house Recruiters

In-house recruiters are your own full-time employees that manage your company’s hiring efforts – they write job descriptions, source candidates, arrange interviews, and prepare employment offers for incoming candidates.

Depending upon location and industry, the average salary of an in-house recruiter is between 70 – 90k a year. This may seem like a cost-effective option early in your venture’s development, but there are a few things to consider before deciding to invest in this talent acquisition option.

Does the recruiter have leadership capabilities and expertise in a variety of industries? In early stage startups, recruiters often report to a CEO who has little experience using best hiring practices or effectively managing an acquisition function. Your in-house recruiter is essentially a one-man army responsible for any and all training, leadership, and guidance that goes on within the department. Simply put, your recruiting process will only be as good as your best recruiter.

Expertise in a variety of industries becomes a critical factor when you find yourself in the following situation – you’re looking to hire two data scientists, a content marketer, and a VP of sales in the coming months. Will your recruiter be educated in these disciplines enough to distinguish qualified candidates from unqualified candidates?

Will your hiring needs change dramatically over time? A significant downside of hiring in-house recruiters is that you’re paying an annual salary regardless of the amount of hiring that needs to be done. If you’re only hiring employees eight months out of the year, you’re still paying four months salary to a recruiter that doesn’t have any work to do.

It’s worth noting that you’re footing the bill for the applicant tracking system, data-mining tools, premium job boards, and any other equipment your recruiters require to work effectively.

These “hidden costs” can add up quickly – LinkedIn’s annual plan for corporate recruiters tops off at 10k alone, and when you consider the price of the other tools and equipment needed you’re easily adding an additional 20k to that 70 – 90k salary.

This isn’t to say that experienced and talented in-house recruiters can’t offer their fair share of value to your company, but there’s a reason many startups wait to build an in-house recruiting function until they grow into larger organizations – it can get costly, fast. (img source)

Contingent Recruiters

A contingent recruiter fills positions in your company similar to how an in-house recruiter does; they’ll source, screen, and communicate with candidates, sending them your way if they seem like a decent fit. However, there are a few major differences – they’re not your employee, you don’t pay them until the role you hired them to fill is filled, and they’re most likely submitting the same candidates to other clients they’re working with.

A benefit of hiring a contingent recruiter is that if they send you candidates you feel aren’t suited for the position available, you’re not required to interview them or pay the recruiter’s fee.

Because of this, contingent recruiters tend to source candidates more quickly than other talent acquisition alternatives – every minute they don’t place a candidate is a minute they’re not being paid for their efforts. Recruiters working on this “no win, no fee”  basis usually spend less time focusing on projects before they move onto the next client, especially if it’s not an easy role to fill.

Contingent recruiters also send large volumes of candidates to your door, hoping that out of the many candidates sent a few will be qualified for the position. Instead of taking an in-depth look at each person’s resume, they focus on sending you available fits for positions rather than best fits.

Do you have the budget to pay contingency search fees? As mentioned above, contingent recruiters are paid placement fees after they fill a position. This fee is agreed upon between the recruiter and the client, and is generally 20 – 25% of the newly-placed employee’s first-year salary. For example, if you pay your new employee 70k annually and your agreed upon fee is 25%, you also pay the recruiter 17.5k for the successful placement.

If you’re planning on filling more than a few positions, you can imagine how these fees add up.

Are you looking to add strategic value to your acquisition process? Contingent recruiters can find candidates for you quickly, but the buck stops there – they aren’t hired to improve the effectiveness of your acquisition function or grow your venture like your in-house recruiters or outsourced recruiting partners.

When you hire a contingent recruiter you’ll still be paying for an applicant tracking system, data mining tools, and any other equipment you’ll need to categorize and interview the incoming candidates. Even after you pay the recruiter’s fee, your investment isn’t over – you’re still responsible for interviewing candidates, making offers, and hiring employees, which can take up countless hours of your limited time.

Outsourced Recruiting Partners

Partnering with an outside acquisition firm allows you to transfer all or some of your recruiting process to an outside entity – they’ll overhaul the design and management of your recruitment process, implementing best practices they’ve learned from working with hundreds of other successful clients in order to fulfill your hiring needs.

Because talent acquisition isn’t commonly considered a core business function by many entrepreneurs, firms in earlier stages of development often benefit from the strategic approach to acquisition experienced recruiting partners provide.

A benefit of forming a strategic relationship with a recruiting partner is that you’re not paying for an applicant tracking system, data mining tools, equipment, or training and salaries for employees. Not only that, but you have the experience and brainpower of an entire organization at your disposal rather than one or two in-house or contingent recruiters.

Even with the aforementioned benefits, there are a few things to consider before choosing to work with an outside recruiting partner. (img source)

Do they represent you? Keep in mind that your partner will be the first face incoming candidates will see, and their successes and failures will reflect your company’s image. Whether your partner is stringing candidates along or providing an excellent candidate experience, candidates will associate your brand with your recruiting partner’s performance. Similarly, does your partner’s portrayal of your brand align with your own vision and internal culture?

Board members, entrepreneurs, and executives tend to retain their relationships with reliable recruiting partners, often bringing them to new ventures once they’ve proven their worth. Trust is a defining factor when it comes to building a strategic partnership with another entity, which is why strong recruiting partners obtain most of their business through referrals rather than through direct sales.

Are they transparent and collaborative with their decision-making processes? As with any working relationship, open communication and transparency is key. It’s critical that your partner keeps you informed of major decisions concerning your acquisition process, allowing you to decide what’s best for your business.

When you work with an outsourced recruiting partner, you pay on a per-project basis – they’ll hire however many candidates you need within your given time frame, and in return you pay the agreed-upon cost of the project.

Working with reliable partners ensures that hidden costs don’t come into play, but there may be unforeseen costs if your hiring needs dramatically increase unexpectedly. For example, if you have two recruiters working the project hiring four candidates a month and your needs jump to eight candidates a month, you’ll end up paying for the increased resources needed to provide the service.

Forming a relationship with an outsourced recruiting partner can be beneficial for emerging and expansion stage startups because they offer strategic value as well as financial value – not only do you save money on technology and equipment, but you also have the ability to scale your hiring process as your needs increase.

To conclude:

What talent acquisition alternative do you believe is the most effective for an emerging growth or expansion stage startup? Leave a comment on our LinkedIn or Facebook pages and let us know what you think! 

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If you’re in search of talent consulting or recruiting services and could use help determining your business needs, contact our team of experienced talent acquisition consultants now. 

3 Tips for Building A High Performance Culture in Your Workplace

If I asked you to describe your company’s culture in three words, which group of adjectives would you choose?

Engaging, innovative, and collaborative? Or inconsistent, rigid, and unforgiving?

If you’ve worked for an organization where the negative adjectives ring true, it’s safe to assume that you weren’t bringing your a-game when you showed up for work everyday. In fact, you and your coworkers may have been actively disengaged in your roles, unconcerned about the state of the company or whether it would succeed or fail in the long run.

If you’ve had the opportunity to work for an organization where the positive adjectives apply, you were likely motivated to perform your best work, striving to learn and grow in your position, caring genuinely for your coworkers and the long-term success of the company.

Which employee would you rather have working for you?

Culture is the key word here, and it can make or break an employee’s efficiency, effectiveness, and willingness to give their all. Though it’s a significant undertaking, you can increase the productivity, engagement, and performance of your employees by taking steps to improve the culture of your organization.

Here are a few tips you can implement in your workplace to build a high performance culture capable of achieving high performance results.

Create opportunities for open communication

A key component of a high-performing workplace is an employee’s ability to speak openly with managers, coworkers, and subordinates.

A recent Gallup article describes the importance of experiences of vulnerability in the workplace – particularly about how they’re perceived by one’s peers when they occur.

In the article, the author lists four types of vulnerable interactions called “meaningful moments”. How these moments are received by others in the organization make or break a company’s chances of attaining high performance from their employees.

As you can imagine, a culture where employees feel they can take risks and ask questions without facing unwarranted criticism is an environment that promotes high performance.

Take note of how these moments are reacted to in your workplace – are they met with dismissal, or genuine interest?

Brené Brown, a social science researcher from the University of Houston describes the importance of meaningful moments succinctly.

“When we leave an experience where we presented our imperfect selves yet felt belonging, we feel energized and at our best. When we leave an experience where we presented our imperfect selves and were ignored or ridiculed, we feel deeply disconnected and disengaged.”

Empower employees at all levels

Empowered employees are more likely to report stronger job performance, higher rates of job satisfaction, and greater commitment to the organization than employees who don’t feel they’re empowered.

Though empowerment is an easy concept to grasp, it can be difficult to define. How does a manager go about effectively empowering their employees? Here are a few common ways:

In companies with a high performance culture, employees are ingrained with a sense of accountability – a feeling of personal responsibility that the job gets done right, regardless if someone’s looking over their shoulder or not.

On the other hand, employees in organizations with a negative culture aren’t trusted to achieve objectives without constant direction, and their poor performance and lack of engagement reflects the distrust of their superiors.

Implement an effective performance management strategy

A SHRM report revealed that no more than 30 percent of managers and employees surveyed claimed that their performance management system effectively establishes goals, provides feedback and improves performance in their workplace. 

Interestingly enough, researchers behind the report claim that the problem doesn’t lie with the tools or processes managers use to conduct performance management, but rather the frequency that performance management processes are utilized – high performance workplaces tend to have frequent, ongoing performance reviews rather than quarterly or yearly ones. 

SHRM has broken performance management behaviors into “old thinking” and “new thinking”.

Each criteria has been updated to include aspects of ongoing, continuous development, which is of growing importance as increasing numbers of millennials join the workforce.

It’s a significant shift, but many employees now consider jobs to be opportunities for learning and growth, expecting to be coached by their managers rather than simply directed. It just so happens that that approach is one of the key aspects to building a more efficient, effective work culture.

To build a stable culture that fosters high performance, findings in the report suggest that organizations shift their focus from reinventing performance management systems – they’re fine just the way they are, they just need to be practiced more frequently.

At its core, effective performance management allows managers to accomplish goals by clearly explaining expectations and delegating responsibilities to their employees. An successful performance management system serves to help employees better understand what’s expected from them, while also assisting them in personal development and the advancement of their careers.

 

Do you know of any tips or have your own ideas on how managers can build a high performance culture? Leave a comment on our LinkedIn or Facebook pages and let us know what you think! 

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If you’re in search of talent consulting or recruiting services and could use help determining your business needs, contact our team of experienced talent acquisition consultants now.