I hate recruiters.
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I hate recruiters.
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Hard and fast rules about hiring could be hurting your ability to attract talent, especially if they seem arbitrary or exclusionary.
That issue came to the fore in a Twitter thread in early April. Business Insider Managing Editor Jessica Liebman tweeted out a link to her story on the BI website with the long and attention-grabbing headline “I’ve been hiring people for 10 years, and I still swear by a simple rule: If someone doesn’t send a thank-you email, don’t hire them.” If you do, she assures readers in the story, you’ll probably regret it.
Every recruiting and hiring manager has specific traits and personality types in mind when they start vetting job candidates. But many people responding to Liebman’s tweet pointed out how unconscious assumptions can hurt efforts to find and hire the best and most diverse possible workforce.
Liebman argues that failing to follow this point of etiquette tells her that prospects don’t really want the job. The organization and effort and “manners” demonstrated by hunting down an email address and sending the thank you puts people on her “good egg” list. Liebman reiterated that she stands by her policy to use “the thank-you email as a barrier to entry.”
The twitterverse, or at least one small corner of it, reacted quickly and strongly. The apparent consensus was not positive.
Workplace advice blogger Alison Greene tweeted from her @askamanager account,”Hard disagree. And it’ll discriminate against candidates from backgrounds where they don’t get this kind of job search training, which has nothing to do with skills & ability to excel on the job.”
Software company Glitch’s CEO Anil Dash chimed in with, “The only thing a thank you note represents to me is what the norms are for the social class and cultural background of that candidate. It’s nice to get one, but literally doesn’t factor into the decision at all, and shouldn’t. I’ve been hiring people for 20+ years.”
Others took issue in a sarcastic tone. Freelance writer and artist Christian Fox’s Twitter persona Goth Ms. Frizzle offered a slightly higher barrier for applicants: “I’ve been hiring people for 100 years and I still swear by this simple rule, if you can’t descend into the labrynth of eternal night and retrieve the silver knife that slit the throat of god as he slept in his garden you’re not getting the job.”
Other responses pointed to cultural norms, socio-economic status, or cognitive differences as possible reasons that an applicant might not send a thank you after an initial interview. Many questioned any link between sending a note and ability to do a job well or work well with others. And many tweeters saw the policy as a gatekeeping measure that, intentionally or not, was likely to disproportionately exclude people of color and applicants with less access to career advice.
A lawyer tweeted, “I have non-professional parents and I didn’t learn that thank you notes were an unspoken requirement/tool for filtering out the unwashed until my first year of law school. ”
As of April 8, Liebman had not responded directly to any of the thousands of comments her tweet elicited, but Business Insider Global Editor in Chief Nicholas Carlson took the time to tweet out his own take on the article, saying, “I’m surprised how many people are surprised by this excellent advice” and “For their sakes I hope it’s a helpful wake up call.” To a suggestion that his response showed a lack of introspection, Carlson added “Lol, no. I don’t think that’s it.”
As negative reaction to the article and ensuing tweets gathered steam, Carlson later responded more seriously to a tweeted request from @writersofcolor for “recent staff diversity stats in order to provide some context for this hiring practice?” by stating, “Thank you for this question. With respect to race and ethnicity, 28% of our teammates identify themselves as people of color. Three years ago, this percentage was 20%. Within our newsrooms, 30% of staff identify as people of color, up from 25% three years ago.” Carlson said “For context, according to Pew, 22% of people who work in US newsrooms are people of color. This is in no way ‘mission accomplished’ for us; we continue to prioritize hiring people of color.” He did not address Liebman’s specific hiring record.
Whatever HR pros think of the original tweet — including whether it was just a successful “clickbait” campaign for the publisher — the reaction highlights how important it is to continually re-examine interviewing and hiring procedures for unintended bias that might limit diversity and opportunity.
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It’s a job-seeker’s market right now, and hiring and recruiting are more complicated than ever. Those difficulties go beyond just finding the right person for the specific opening you have.
What about candidates who are well-suited to your company, not just to your current positions? Keeping track of those candidates, as well as all the others you’re considering, gets confusing.
And in today’s world, using haphazard spreadsheets of applicants or relying on past email exchanges won’t cut it. Luckily, an applicant tracking software (ATS) solution can help.
These solutions allow your hiring team to visualize the entire process, from a candidate’s first application up to the first day on the job.
The benefits don’t only apply to new hires. Knowing how your recruitment process works and getting data on what’s going well and where improvements can be made helps with retention.
So what key insights can an ATS solution identify at your workplace?
Bottlenecks in the hiring process lead to lost time and productivity, and slow down your search for the best possible candidates. Figuring out where those bottlenecks are and how to fix them can streamline your hiring process.
One common bottleneck is a flood of unqualified candidates applying for a posting. You know to make the posting as clear as possible, but sometimes people who don’t meet the key requirements make it through. With an ATS solution, candidates are sorted and removed from the job pool based on their qualifications, saving your hiring team time. After all, there’s no point in interviewing people who aren’t a good fit.
In addition, you can include knockout questions that’ll immediately eliminate candidates who answer incorrectly, further refining the hiring process.
You can also automate communication with candidates, setting up rules within the software for emails to both disqualified candidates and those you’d like to learn more about. In addition, mail merging allows you to craft emails that look specific to each person, without you having to go through the trouble of typing individual emails.
The hiring process is often unwieldy, and involves many different people and departments. Getting all of those people on the same page about the position and job posting is hard enough. Once you find candidates, managing the team can feel almost impossible.
An ATS solution allows your entire team to use the same platform and be on the same page about what you’re looking for and which candidates have those qualities. You can also see which managers are behind on their hiring duties and which ones need additional resources to ensure the position gets filled.
This is especially helpful for first-time managers who might not have much experience with sorting through a range of candidates, scheduling and conducting interviews, or keeping track of which candidates are at what stage of the process. Because an ATS solution automates all of these aspects, those managers are able to breathe a little easier. As an added benefit, your more experienced managers can spend less time training new ones on how to conduct a job search and focus instead on their own tasks.
But we all know it’s not just inexperienced hiring managers who have trouble with the process. Other managers can be less flexible in the hiring process, which causes bottlenecks and slows down the search. Recruitment analytics allow you to see which managers are struggling and where in the process they’re having trouble, whether it’s selecting appropriate candidates for an interview or following up with them as necessary.
Because recruitment analytics take the entire hiring process into account, from the first time an applicant interacts with your company to the first day in the office, you can get a bird’s eye view of the process. You’ll be able to track how long your search lasts and your team’s efficiency, which can help you make improvements when you’re hiring for the next position.
Analytics don’t stop there, however. An ATS solution can help you track how new hires feel about their jobs and the organization overall, which provides a window to see whether the hiring team was effective and chose someone right for the position. This also ensures you’ll know about any obstacles right away, so you’re not caught off guard by negative feedback or employees looking to transition to different roles.
Also, an ATS solution can help you see where your process lags. If it’s due to issues with a specific manager, you’ll have solid data to back up your claims when discussing the problem. This data will make it more likely that the person will take you up on offers for help.
You can use your ATS to improve collaboration across your hiring team, so one person isn’t responsible for contacting every applicant updating the system each time an interview occurs. Multiple people can access and edit the information, providing new insights and perspectives on candidates and processes.
The candidates you find are only as good as the places you’re looking, but recruitment analytics can make sure your sources are up to snuff.
Your team may think all the best candidates are coming from major job boards because that’s how it’s always been. But with the increase in social media use, candidates are coming from all over the place. You want to know where your candidates are finding open positions, and an ATS solution provides that insight.
If excellent candidates are coming from social media like Twitter or Facebook, you can reinvent your hiring strategies to devote more attention to those platforms. Seeing where you can cut back is also helpful – if fewer candidates are coming in from sourcing agencies or specific recruiters, you’ll want to spend less time on those.
Refining your sourcing also helps improve the efficiency of your team, since hiring managers might be struggling due to issues with sources rather than their own mistakes.
Knowing your company’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to hiring is essential for making the best choices in new hires, and an ATS solution can help you figure those out.
No matter how quick and easy your hiring process may be, there’s always room for improvement. Using recruitment analytics gives you the tools to make positive changes and ensure only the best candidates are getting through to your organization.
Top ATS features
Now you know why you want an ATS solution. But how do you know what makes an ATS solution worth your time and money?
First, you’ll want the option to import data you already have. No one wants to be stuck re-typing a list of candidates from a spreadsheet to the software. This keeps all your candidate information in one place and allows for easy sorting and tracking of each individual.
On the other side, it’s also important to have an export function so you can use that data outside of the ATS solution. You may want to share certain information with someone or use it in different ways, so you’ll want to be able to export the data easily and quickly.
Another helpful function is a universal search, where you can see candidates by more than just their name. You can search for certain biographical data and use that information to sort applicants as well. For example, you could search to see which candidates speak a second language or majored in a certain subject.
Any ATS solution should also be able to integrate with the other systems you use in your office, such as Google Apps or Outlook. There’s no point adding software that can’t interact with the rest of the tools you use to hire and recruit candidates. Plus, the time-saving potential of a solution that can take information from emails and immediately input it into the ATS solution can’t be overstated.
Customization is another key tool your ATS should provide. Each company’s hiring and recruitment process is different, so the same ATS features won’t work for everyone. If you don’t conduct phone interviews, you don’t need a section for them – same with writing tests or other aptitude measures.
Looking at a list of biographical info doesn’t actually give you good insight into each candidate. Most applicants will have similar qualifications and skills, which is why an aggregation tool is helpful in an ATS pick. Being able to see a picture of the person, along with links to their social media accounts and any published work, humanizes their data and offers a more well-rounded look at a candidate.
Most importantly, any solution you pick should have a robust support team to help with implementation and troubleshooting. Software is only as good as it works, and you want to have a range of options if something goes wrong.
Some of these features may be more important to your business than others, so be sure to do your research and search for a solution that works for your process.
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The first days and weeks when new employees come to work are a make-or-break time for their success with you.
A positive welcoming experience puts them at ease and reinforces that joining your company was a good choice. That breeds loyalty – a key component of a stronger workforce, and an essential characteristic of what keeps organizations going strong.
Thankfully, loyalty is contagious. On the other hand, just a few crucial early missteps can leave newcomers second-guessing everything.
Today’s best onboarding efforts:
Depending on the position and how long it takes to find a qualified candidate, companies can easily expect the cost of turnover to be 150% of the departing employee’s annual salary. That doesn’t include non-tangibles, like the impact on morale.
With that kind of value on the line, the incentives for keeping them makes onboarding even that much more of a worthwhile effort.
After a candidate accepts your offer, send a written communication welcoming them aboard. Let them know what to expect on their first day and what their first few days will be like.
Be sure they know the simple stuff, like
It’s a good idea to make a checklist. Include all the things you’ll be discussing with them, need them to sign and want them to do. Include a list of names and titles of the people they might be meeting with.
It helps to have a recently hired employee look over the list to see if there’s anything missing, since it’ll be most fresh in the mind of someone who’s just been through it.
The first day for new hires should be a highly energized and positive experience. You’ve already picked them! What was it about this person that made you say yes? Think back to the things that stood out and try to highlight some of those things on the first day. Then send out a welcoming email to staff, announcing the new hire;s arrival, with a brief professional bio and maybe a personal note, such as a hobby or interest.
The typical next step for welcoming an employee on board is the building tour. “Here’s the printer, here’s the bathroom,” etc.
OK, that’s good information to have. But is it really going to stick out in an employee’s mind? A better bet is to give them the “insider’s tour.”
You’re not just showing them the way, you’re showing them how things get done.
Introductions should be inclusive, but not overbearing.
Try this: Don’t introduce people based on their title. Introduce them based on their working relationship with the employee.
For instance, instead of, “Meet Bill. He’s our payroll clerk,” say, “Meet Bill. He’ll collect your time sheet every week and he’s the person to see if you have any questions about your paycheck.”
There are plenty of documents and papers employees will need to do their jobs.
Again, making sure everything is already organized for an employee is key. Place all the crucial documents in a digital or paper folder, so they have them all in the same place.
Be sure your mission statement is right up front. “We’re a company that respects all our employees – from new hires to established veterans – and are really looking forward to having you contribute in a meaningful way! Welcome!”
In addition to these standard items, try including some of the following sections as well:
When you hear stories like these, share them. Write a short paragraph about it, then include it in a “News & Notes” or “Success Stories” section of the onboarding material. This way, new employees will feel as if they’re getting to know their co-workers right off the bat.
Each workplace has its own set of terms and lingo that is specific to the company. It’s not a bad thing, these shortcuts are real time-savers when people know their meanings. But until workers are up to speed on the office language, provide a list of terms and definitions. Put it in plain English so they can see what they should be looking for when you ask for “a DBC report.”
Of course, all the documents in this packet should be available on the company intranet as well. But having a one-stop resource for employees on- hand will be a good way to keep them in the loop from the very start.
At the end of the employee’s first day, be sure to close it out strong. Schedule a one-on-one to review what they did and whom they spoke with.
This shouldn’t be an in-depth meeting: Just take 10 to 15 minutes to see if they have questions and to touch on and reaffirm what they’ve learned. Keep it light and reassure them with any positive comments you may have gathered from people the new employee interacted with.
Then, send them home.
It’s like not much “work” was accomplished, and that’s OK. First days are for first impressions. The time for time real work lies ahead.
For now, leave them feeling good about their experiences and inspired for tomorrow.
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Every HR pro’s been here before: You find a candidate with all the right qualifications, only to have them slip away right before closing the deal.
After having done your best to woo them and offer a strong salary, you can be left scratching your head, wondering what you could’ve done differently.
Most HR pros have spent a great deal of time revamping their recruitment strategy in this candidate-driven job market, so it can be frustrating to continue to lose out on top talent.
To combat this, successful companies are turning toward unique perks to seal the deal and sign a great candidate.
So what kind of unconventional benefits are job seekers looking for the most?
A recent report by FitSmallBusiness revealed the best unique perks, ranked by what candidates desire most, that employers might want to consider implementing in 2019:
1. “Paw-ternity” leave. With more and more people putting off having children and getting fur babies instead, offering “paw-ternity” leave – time away from work to get a new pet settled in – will appeal to almost everyone.
Currently, only about 5% of companies offer this perk, with an average leave time of one week for a new furry friend. Adding this benefit is a great way to woo animal lovers.
2. Fertility treatment coverage. Over 6 million women in the U.S. have difficulty getting pregnant on their own. Offering help with fertility treatments can change your employees’ lives for the better.
FertilityIQ conducted a study and found 62% of employees who received this perk were more likely to stay at their company, and 22% actually worked harder.
3. Life coaching and counseling. It’s no secret that employees’ mental health is just as important as their physical health. Having counseling and coaching services readily available will help support your people no matter what they’re going through.
Some types of these services companies currently offer include outside counseling, healthy living programs and work-life coaching that helps employees with both personal and professional goals. A perk like this will ensure your people come to work ready to focus.
4. International retreats. Here’s a fun spin on your run-of-the-mill team-building exercise. Full blown companywide vacations are becoming a more popular perk.
About 20% of companies offer a domestic retreat, but a few are taking it international. Not only does this benefit give your staff the opportunity to travel, but it’ll improve your employees’ professional relationships at the same time.
5. In-office drinks. It’s easy for co-worker bonding to happen over a few beers. One big up-and-coming perk is free in-office alcohol.
About 11% of employees currently enjoy this perk, and it can lead to a happier, connected workforce that’s more dedicated to the company.
6. Wellness services. Employees regularly deal with stress, so some companies are offering relief through on-site wellness services and spas.
Yoga, massages and acupuncture are just some options employers are offering their staff, who greatly appreciate the relaxation.
7. Nap rooms. Tired employees cause a whopping $63 billion in lost productivity. Napping areas are a great way to assist workers who struggle to get in their full eight hours every night.
Google is known for its nap pods, which staff can use on their breaks. Nap rooms are a great option for companies with overnight staff, too. An important aspect of this benefit is creating a culture that encourages napping so employees can take advantage of this benefit guilt free.
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