ERE’s Recruitment Innovation Summit
is a good place to see what leading thinkers in the recruitment industry have on their minds. At this year’s spring conference, candidate experience was very clearly on everyone’s mind. Candidate experience was a topic of discussion by nearly every speaker and the startup competition was won by Mystery Applicant
, a startup whose sole purpose is to provide deep metrics on candidate experience. That’s fitting, as it was also recently on the mind of the Wall Street Journal
and a progressive HR group recently launched an annual award for candidate experience
, the CandE.
An astute attendee asked the question at one point, “What is a good candidate experience and how do you measure it?” It gave pause to the conversation, as it forced some specificity beyond, “you know it when you see it.” In answering that question, there was an opinion that in the recruitment industry’s rush to utilize technology, that we had neglected the candidate experience. That is, the pendulum had swung too far toward high tech and had moved away from the human element. While perhaps true in certain scenarios, the idea that high tech and high touch are on polar ends of a continuum is wrongheaded. In fact, good technology implementations should improve candidate experience, not detract from it. But technology can be only part of the puzzle. A positive candidate experience is the result of an integrated ecosystem of processes and technology working together. It is possible to be high tech and high touch.
Achieving high tech and high touch simultaneously requires a technological competency by all recruiters, smart project planning in implementation, and distinct choices on where to lean toward efficiency and when efficiency can be set aside in the name of a better candidate experience. The first step toward maximizing candidate experience is to take stock and understand the current state of your process. As HR professionals, how can we audit, improve, and measure our candidate experience?
- Have every member of your HR staff apply to a job and follow every step of the process. It seems obvious, but I’m astounded by the number of recruiters I meet that don’t understand the candidate experience. Be sure not to test only the “positive” experience of the candidate that ultimately gets hired. Read the “Thanks but no thanks” email from the eyes of a candidate and examine how it makes you feel about the employment brand.
- Work with experts. Build relationships with user interface or user experience staff within your organization. Though they’re likely working in IT, web development or another team, you may have experts in your own organization that can provide insight into best practices in user interaction.
- Think multi-platform. Only a few years ago, your website was consumed on a PC by someone using Internet Explorer. Today, about 20% of your traffic is mobile (and growing), coming from iPhones, Android devices, and other web-enabled phones being accessed on the go. At home or at work, iPads and other tablets are being used along with traditional desktop or laptop computers. The best candidate experiences are able to catch people on the device of their choice without losing functionality.
- Get data. It doesn’t have to be to the depth that Mystery Applicant provides (although it is cool), but get a sense from the candidates that you attract how they feel about your brand and your hiring processes. At the very minimum, survey your new hires, but if you’re feeling brave, get data from those that you don’t hire – they’ll likely have some of the most constructive feedback.
Unlike a lot of passing fads in the recruitment industry, the discussions on candidate experience are not likely to pass with time or the next wave of technology. Rather, the focus on candidate experience will drive the discussion, as employers continue to innovate with the candidate in mind.Post contributed by Adam GodsonFollow me on Twitter @adamgodson or connect with me on LinkedIn
Thanks to Pinstripe Social Media Specialist Brittney Horn for this timely post.
As the competition between Google+ and Facebook heats up, Mark and team are turning out revisions to stay at the top of the market. Like, love or despise the changes, we all have to accept and adjust. Much has been written about the new Facebook features and what they do. But what about what they mean?
At this point most companies have jumped on the Facebook page bandwagon, and smart companies have learned that using dedicated pages for recruitment can pay off. The buzz term “talent community” has taken off in the last few months, with most uses meaning nothing more than a replacement for the standard “sourcing pool.” But with the new Facebook, the best companies (that are truly trying to build strong communities of interested people with business-imperative skills) are being handed an amazing opportunity… if they have the content to take advantage of it.
This new Facebook can be a game changer when it comes to truly engaging fans and potential employees. Sharing a brand’s message is going to be simpler than ever, but so is ignoring it. With the redesign, company sites have the potential to be more “sticky,” in the words of Mashable.com. The “Subscribe” button allows people to fully control what comes up in their news feed. So if a company’s content is light, irrelevant or just plain boring, it isn’t going to be viewed, circulated or shared. To attract people into a talent community, companies need to drive engagement with their postings. Companies have to work harder than simply posting open positions and press releases. It is necessary in the new social environment to share news articles, engage in discussions, address comments and concerns, and encourage users to interact with your organization. Oh, and automatic responses and robotic postings isn’t going to cut it anymore. People want to share and be heard by a real human representing your organization.
500 million people log onto Facebook every day. The talent you are looking for is on Facebook. Facilitate conversation that is interesting to the talent you want to attract and they’ll share it, and they’ll share it, and they’ll share it, and they’ll…
(And yes, “investigating” latent candidates will be easier too thanks to the more transparent options for sharing, but that’s not popular to talk about publically, so you didn’t hear it here first.)
By Kara Baskett
We’ve recently discussed the technology talent landscape and how we, as recruiters and hiring companies, can help to build and find emerging talent. Today, I’d like to talk about some ways we can not only find, but present the best of the talent that is currently in the technology workforce. There are individuals out there with the skills we need, but they can be difficult to find.
Companies often hire based on an exact skill set that is necessary for the position instead of looking at candidates for what they are capable, given their current skill set. Because of the lack of jobs a couple years ago, hiring managers grew very accustomed to being able to hire someone with the exact skill set, technologies, languages, industry experience, etc. that they wanted to fill their limited open positions. Now that the market has opened back up, we should act as partners in advising our clients and companies on the new competitive landscape.
We should ask our hiring managers to remember back to how they were hiring prior to the recession. We should coach new hiring managers to look at candidates for what they have done AND could do, versus just their previous experience. I’m not saying to hire a candidate who isn’t qualified for a position, but looking at candidates from a different perspective can lead to finding qualified technical talent.
As recruiters, we can volunteer our time not only to our hiring managers, but also to technical candidates. We can offer interviewing and resume review assistance. Many technical candidates aren’t taught how to write a resume, let alone how to interview for a job. A candidate may be extremely intelligent and have the skill set that we’re looking for, but because they don’t have much experience in this area, their resumes are thrown in ‘No’ piles, and/or if they make it to an interview they clam up. By advising candidates, we may be reaching a talent pool that others have overlooked. One of my all-time best hires had one of the most poorly written resumes I’d ever seen. Fortunately, I met him at an event where we were doing resume critiques and was able to help him write a solid resume that resulted in multiple offers. He just didn’t know how to write a resume showing his strengths.
Building and cultivating relationships with talent is important. It’s important that we cultivate those relationships when hiring is hot and even when it cools down again. Candidates remember the recruiters who worked with them, reviewed their resume and offered advice, when hiring wasn’t as hot. When the good times return, these candidates will return to the recruiters who were helpful during the bad times.
What other thoughts do you have on finding the best technical candidates to present to our hiring managers?
By Kara Baskett
In my previous post, I addressed the hiring environment for technical talent. So, we know there are technical jobs to fill. But, as recruiters, how do we win the war on talent and get the best candidates for our hiring managers? We can start by working together. I know, I know. It’s a competitive landscape. Why should we work together?
In the technology industry there are positions that are going unfilled. One of the biggest challenges is finding qualified candidates, with the skills to do the job. Is there really a lack of qualified technical talent, and if there is how do we build up our pipeline?
One way technology companies can find more technology talent and strengthen the up-and-coming talent pool is by forming more robust and collaborative partnerships with universities. If technology companies are doing more outreach and sponsoring programs at Universities, this will help in the promotion and retention of talent in engineering disciplines. Perhaps we’ll begin to see a positive impact on the quantity and quality of talent coming from universities. More students graduating from quality engineering programs is good for everyone.
By helping future generations of technology candidates, we elevate the talent that is available to high-tech employers. Ultimately, this should lead to quality hires for our own companies and a stronger industry.
What, specifically, do you think our companies can do in our outreach and collaboration with universities to help grow the crop of computer science, computer engineering and electrical engineering graduates?
Helping future talent isn’t the only way to find the high-quality candidates we need for our hiring managers, we need to be able to uncover the hidden treasures who are currently in the technology workforce. The last post in this series will discuss ways of finding presentable candidates within this market.
By Kara Baskett
Technical companies seem to be ramping up their fleets of technical recruiters. If you’re a technical recruiter or have ever hired for a single IT position, you’ve probably heard from one of our peers regarding new employment opportunities. So why are tech companies hiring so many recruiters? We seem to be entering a battle that technology companies are all too familiar with: Finding enough quality technical talent to satisfy the demands of hiring managers. Companies are sparing no expense when it comes to going after and bringing in top talent. With companies like Google, Facebook and Zynga placing offices in technology hubs outside their Silicon Valley headquarters, what exactly is the war for technical talent going to look like this time?
How did we get here? Only two years ago we were in the middle of a recession, and now we have one of the most competitive landscapes we’ve seen – maybe ever. Are there too many technology companies in the market? Is there a lack of technical talent? Are we going to run into a situation like the .com bubble? Is the real answer shuffling talent from place to place? So many questions – I definitely can’t answer them all; however, it’s great to open the dialogue, to see how we can help one another and ensure that we’re all getting great talent for our hiring managers. Let’s step back for a moment and consider the pipeline of candidates. We’ve definitely grown into a global talent community, when it comes to technical talent. Many of the larger technology companies do not care where a candidate comes from, as long as they are the best candidate for the job. Smaller technology companies often don’t have this luxury, and some don’t have the budget to cover relocation of talent. Even with all of these companies recruiting from around the globe, recruiters are still direct sourcing into competitors. Talent seems to be on a consistent move from organization to organization.
In addition to the established players, we’ve seen the return of the start-ups. Not that they ever went away, we just seem to be hearing more about them and their hiring practices. Many of these organizations are luring top talent with promises of titles like CTO and potential stock options. Some start-ups are using developers’ desire to be part of a fun, cool, and hip culture by coming up with clever gimmicks and fun tricks. Larger companies in turn are raising salaries, offering larger bonuses, valet parking, and expanding ‘perks’.
As recruiters, there are few key methods we can use to bolster the level of talent we find for our hiring managers. In the next two posts in this series, we’ll discuss ways that we can help to win the war on technical talent.