Category

Recruitment

Asking the right interview questions that give you insight into someone’s personality, ambitions, biases, and fears is a difficult task. Especially because interviews are designed as a mating dance for both sides, it is difficult to measure them accurately.
Recently, co-founder of Wingify, Paras Chopra started a really interesting tweet thread about favorite interview questions different people like to ask.  It’s a great exercise to help you take a peak in the interview practices of the smartest and best. Here are a few that we found really interesting.
Aakrit Vaish – Co-founder & CEO, Haptik
What do you like to do outside of work and spend half the interview discussing this.
Aakrit goes on to explain that following this question, he spends roughly 50% of the interview discussing this. It helps him understand the person holistically.
Ruhi Mahajan – Talent Acquisition – Kayako
Tell me about the last thing you did for the first time and when was it?
Ruhi works in talent acquisition at the leading support desk software makers Kayako. This helps her understand how readily can people go out of their comfort zone.
Gautham – Co-founder – Startup Village
What is the most important thing you completely reversed your opinion on when compelling arguments where presented?
It’s a sign of an intelligent and humble person who can absorb evidence and overcome the mental resistance of changing their opinion about something.
Anand Bhardwaj – Pocketaces
Our customers at Pocketaces are extremely creative with their questions! One of the questions they ask is
What is something you do better than your current manager and something that you manager does way better than you?
I am personally a fan of this questions. It gives you a great idea about a person’s proclivity to learn, their views about authority and humility.
Ofcourse, then there are some legendary founders who through their varied experience with the best and a diverse set of people, have developed models and questions to judge candidates. Here are a few we find incredible!
Peter Thiel – Co-founder of Paypal and Founders Fund, Author – Zero to one

What important truth do very few people agree with you on?

 

Peter talks about this in his book Zero to one. It is the single most incredible book that I have read about startups and technology.  To quote “This question sounds easy because it’s straightforward. Actually, it’s very hard to answer. It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon. And it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular. Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.”
Brian Chesky – CEO, AirBnB
Give me an elevator pitch of your life
Brian asks the candidates to comprise their life in an elevator pitch and summarise it in three minutes! On the spot. He’s got a great reason.
I’m trying to figure out the formative decisions and experiences that influenced who you are as a person. Once I figure that out, I’m trying to understand the two or three most remarkable things you’ve ever done in your life. Because if you’ve never done anything remarkable in your life until this point, you probably never will.
Source: NYT
Neil Blumenthal – Co-CEO of Warby Parker
What was a recent costume you wore?’

One of our core values is to inject fun and quirkiness into everything we do. So we’ll often ask, “What was a recent costume you wore?” And the point isn’t that if you haven’t worn a costume in the last four weeks, you’re not getting hired. It’s more to judge the reaction to that question. Are you somebody who takes yourself very seriously? If so, that’s a warning sign to us. We want people to take their work seriously but not themselves. We also ask, “What do you like to do for fun?” The answer always speaks volumes of who that person is.

Source: NYT

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January 17, 2018
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proactive recruiting

What is Proactive Recruitment?

Proactive recruitment is focussed on sourcing, engaging and attracting candidates ahead of hiring demand. With the ever-increasing time to hire and cost per hire, it makes sense for recruiters to engage their candidates proactively and stay ahead of the hiring demands.

Unlike reactive recruiting, proactive recruiting doesn’t depend on candidates applying for a position after it’s open. Instead, proactive recruitment focusses on identifying talent before its demand, establishing contact, nurturing relationships and ultimately making the candidate interested in an open opportunity.

Proactive recruiters are much more like marketers and/or salespeople and tend treat their candidates like customers. Candidates once sourced enter into your sales funnel or rather a series of stages ultimately resulting in the candidate working for your company.

 

The Proactive Methodology

The best way to convert great talent into candidates and promoters for your recruiting process.

 

Proactive Methodology

Proactive Methodology

 

Proactive methodology covers the entire five phases (Find, Engage, Nurture, Attract and Convert) which turns strangers into employees and promoters of the company. Tools like Recruiterflow help you adopt proactive recruitment at your organization.

The Five Phases of Proactive Recruiting Explained

 

Find

You don’t want to just reach out to anyone. You would probably want to reach out to only those people who are most likely to become candidates and ultimately happy employees. But the question is how do you find them?

You need to talk to your team and respective hiring managers to know more about the ideal candidate and create an ideal candidate persona. It helps you narrow down your search for relevant candidates. (Checkout our candidate persona template used by more than 350 amazing recruiters around the globe!)

Find these people on various social platforms, your own candidate database, relevant communities, events and channels.

Always create candidate segments or pools within your passive candidate database. These pools can be based on skill set, years of experience, education, past companies or any other trait which makes targetting candidates at scale, better.

 

Engage

Finding a relevant prospect is just one part! Your proactive recruiting engine would be no good if you aren’t able to attract their attention. Your first touchpoint is really crucial and it helps you start a new relationship with the prospect. Remember, they are not your candidates till now, they are just prospects. You should never try to oversell your company or a job to these prospects. A well-drafted first touchpoint should talk more about the candidate than your company. It should be super personalized with a clear call to action.

Have you ever seen a venture investor making the first contact with a startup? It’s never about funding. It’s more about how well the startup is doing and that they would like to know what the startup is up to. Do the same with candidates! Opening up a conversation in whatever way works best for them – with emails, call, or meetings.

 

Nurture

One of the most critical parts in proactive recruiting is nurturing your relationship with candidates. This very similar to sales, where salespeople try to create and nurture relationships with their probable customers.

As salespeople have sales cycle, which depends upon the complexity of the product (and various other factors), proactive recruitment also has candidate interest cycle, duration of which depends upon the difficulty of filling a position. A junior-level business position will have a shorter candidate interest cycle than a senior data scientist position.

Nurturing your relationship with candidates is really important during the candidate interest cycle. It keeps you as a recruiter always at the front whenever they are considering a job change.

Nurture your relationship with candidates using content, occasional emails, sharing interesting insights, recent achievement or any other campaign idea which strengthens your relationship. Use a candidate relationship management software like Recruiterflow to create talent pools and nurture your relationships with them.

 

 

Attract

You’re on the right track. You’ve found the right people and converted the right prospects, established a relationship with them but now you need to transform those prospects into candidates. How can you most effectively do this? The proactive recruiting tools available at this stage to make sure you’re closing the right candidates at the right time, faster and easier.

Using Recruiterflow, you can know in which stage your candidates are. Engage more with candidates in later stage who have more chances of joining your company. Create a series of recruitment emails focused on useful, relevant content which builds a relationship with a prospect and helps them become more ready to apply.

 

 

Convert

Once a prospect applies, make sure they have a remarkable candidate experience. They have a much higher awareness of your business and they have built a relationship with you. So, it’s even more important to delight, and make your candidates happy. If you do, they will not only apply and join themselves but also refer their friends who might also be an ideal fit for your company.

Be transparent with them, help them prepare for the interview process and even if they get rejected, be good with them. No matter what the outcome of the process is, you should keep these candidates in your talent pool. You might need them or their friends later 🙂

 

So, the next time when you are hiring don’t rely on job boards, careers page and other reactive sources. It’s useless! Instead, build a proactive recruitment engine where you have engaged prospects in your pipeline way before the job opens. Hire faster and quicker with the proactive methodology.

 

 

 

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November 26, 2017
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great candidates

The ideal candidate — sorry, let me rephrase that, the “perfect candidate” is like a unicorn. They are extremely elusive, if not completely imaginary. You have heard about them in meetings with the hiring managers and read about them in your candidate persona documents but probably haven’t seen them. Now I am not saying they don’t exist, they probably do but they are extremely hard to spot.

I have seen lots of friends making the mistake of passing on the best breed stallions in search of the unicorn and only realizing the folly later. The stallion who once starts looking for a move in their careers don’t stick around too long and you most definitely will end up losing them. Now you are a bit desperate. The position has been open for quite long and its going to reflect poorly on you and your hiring manager. So you mutually agree to lower your hiring bar and end up hiring a suboptimal candidate, let’s call that candidate “the pony”.

Does the narrative ring a bell? If only I had a penny every time I went through this myself. This is a systemic problem that plagues so many founders and recruiters we work with. The fundamental problem is the one where all of us are greedy to do better without realizing what actually is better in the longer run. If you are going through this same cycle again and again, here are a few practices that would help.

Know the why?

The purpose of the entire recruitment process is not to find the best candidate out there, it is to get a great candidate for the job at hand. Make sure that your hiring manager and senior executive team is in sync with this. It doesn’t necessarily mean lowering your hiring bar. What it does necessarily mean is to move fast when you find a great candidate who can do the job well.

Structured Interview Process

Interviews are not very good leading indicators for the candidate’s success at the job. This has been established again and again, including google! Communicate this very clearly with your hiring manager and interviewers. I am not saying that interviews don’t serve a purpose in the recruitment process. They are probably the most important part of the recruitment process. It is essential that the candidate gets to meet your team and people sit down with each other and determine if the person can be effective at their jobs and if they will be able to contribute positively to your culture.

Just do away with brain teasers during interviews

I think its about time I lay out one of the most ineffective and annoying interview practice. Asking brain twisters in interviews, especially engineering interviews. Let’s be real here. Even google, (in)famous for its tough puzzles asked during the interviews acknowledged that brain twisters are pretty much useless and did away with them. DHH, founder of Basecamp and creator of Ruby on rails recently created quite a stir by tweeting this. It generated more than 7000 responses from developers denouncing some interview practices.  Can we just be done with this utter waste of everyone’s time already?

Interviewing

Most interviews are like an arranged mating dance ritual. These are the worst interviews you can be part of. They don’t have any material impact on informing your decision about a candidate. Interviewing is a fairly stressful exercise for the candidates. The candidate wants to be seen at his/her best and knows that interviewer is there to judge them. Every move they make and every word they utter is going to be judged.

So what should you do the stop this from happening? Nudge your interviewer towards having a “conversation” with the candidate and ease the candidate into the flow of the conversation. Write down detailed interview instructions. Inform your interviewers about what they are supposed to measure and what would be the best way to do that. Email these instructions to the interviewer 24 hours in advance so that they have sufficient time to prepare for it.

Missing out on a stallion while you search for the elusive unicorn will have a severe cost on your business. Speed up and hire your stallion before anyone else does.

Use Recruiterflow to find your next stallion.
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August 16, 2017
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Ogilvy on Branding

The father of advertising, David Ogilvy rightly describes branding a creation of genius, faith and perseverance. Creating an employer brand is no different! Your employer brand is central to your recruitment process and defines the people whom you recruit.

 

Why do you need to create an employer brand?

Today the power dynamic between the candidate and employer has changed. The unemployment rate in the US is at 4.6%, the lowest in 10 years. A number of experts have defined the current labor market as ‘candidate-driven’. Today, candidates have more options than ever and this trend seems to be growing. Having a bad employer brand can cost you more than 10% per hire.

 

Candidate driven recruitment market

Candidate driven recruitment market

 

Employer branding is now a company wide priority. More than 60% CEOs handle employer branding themselves. Employer branding helps them secure long term recruitment needs and differentiate them from their competitor.

 

Future of Employer branding

Future of Employer branding

 

Finding the employer brand

Before you go into creating your employer brand, you need to identify it first.

Research is an important aspect when it comes to creating an employer brand. It gives your company it’s true voice and helps you attract more candidates. Following are some of the questions you need to ask yourself, your team members and your candidates.

 

What’s your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

Talk to your team and know what is it they love the most about your company. Your EVP is at the core of your employer branding activities.

 

What do your candidates think about you?

Today candidates are more aware than ever. Before even applying to a company they would check reviews on Glassdoor, social media and various online forums. Talking to your candidates would allow you to know where your current reputation stacks.

 

Is your team onboard?

Creating an employer brand is a team sport. You need to get everyone including your leadership team onboard. You should also get to know what percentage of your employees would recommend your company to someone they know. Just carry out an NPS survey among your team.

Creating an employer brand is really similar to creating a story, a voice as an employer! Heineken created ‘Go Places’ employer branding campaign in over one and a half year. Gathering information was a critical part of the campaign and the video highlight the EVP at Heineken.

 

 

 

Creating the Employer Brand

Creating an employer brand requires a strategic approach towards how your company attracts, engages and retains talent. It’s a continuous and iterative process which involves everyone in the team.

 

It’s not your candidate database! It’s your candidate community.

The candidates who apply or are interested in your company are more than an entry in your candidate database. The form a part of a much larger candidate community. You should try to engage with your community time to time, even if they are not actively looking for a job. Many companies like McKinsey, Facebook, P&G and Google are taking community approach in their employer branding strategies.

Engage regularly with your talent community.

You should regularly engage with your community. Send them monthly newsletter talking about the latest update, blog, achievement of the company. You can also run drip email campaigns to reach out to a large number of candidates automatically.

 

Match your employer brand resonate with candidate persona.

To hire the right talent, you need to build candidate persona for your open positions. Your employer brand marketing should target candidates with this persona. The Heineken ad above also talks about candidate persona through a series of interview questions and what they expect from the candidate. It attracts the right kind of talent to apply to the company.

Employer Branding is a team sport!

Always involve your team in your employer branding campaign. They not only define your EVP but also help you expand your reach. Your leadership team should be involved as it’s the difference between an average and great employer branding. When your leadership team publishes or shares about it, it sets the tone of the entire company.

Communicate directly with the candidate

You should always send the right message through the right platform to your candidates. A number of employers have started using Snapchat to attract millennials to their company. Creating employee stories and sharing it on your website and social media pages gets your message directly to the candidate. You should always focus on ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ across all platforms.

UPS did it brilliantly in its employer branding campaign showing the human side of the job.

 

Use multimedia to get attention

Feel free use images and videos as collateral to enhance your employer brand. They do not help get more attention but are also widely share over social media. You can also create your culture deck like Netflix and put in on Slideshare where your prospective employees get a chance to know more about your company.

 

 

Data is the key

You should measure data at each point. Always measure the candidate experience with NPS. You can also use the same methodology for measuring employee happiness and compare it against your candidate community. Track metrics like hiring speed, pipeline status, ROI of sources to get maximum results.

Use Technology

Today thanks to technology most of the work can be automated. Tools like Recruiterflow help you expand the reach of your employer branding efforts. You can use tools like Buffer to schedule and measure social media posts across platforms. Always try to add a layer of automation wherever you can without compromising the human side of it.

 

Creating a great employer brand needs a lot discipline and work. Having a product branding roadmap will help you get results. Some of the companies who did it exceptionally got more than 5X quality applications in a span of 6 months. It also decreases your cost of hire as your sourcing engine becomes self-sustainable.

 

 

A good employer branding is the essence of your recruitment engine!

 

 

 

Use Recruiterflow to communicate directly with candidates, make hiring a team sport and enhance candidate experience.
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August 12, 2017
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Candidate persona

Do you know that Ian is the perfect candidate for your Software Architect position? Or that Mary is the Digital Marketing person your are always looking for?

Ian and Mary aren’t real people.

They are candidate personas: a representation of an ideal candidate for a vacancy.

But why do you need Ian and Mary?

 

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

– Albert Einstein

Recruitment is a complex process. Designing a sourcing strategy for a generic audience is like shooting in the dark. You may get lucky once or twice but chances of missing the target are really high. You end up wasting both time and money.

Creating a candidate persona is worth your time! Ideal persona helps you identify the traits of the right candidate and design your sourcing and recruitment strategy accordingly. Candidate persona helps you:

  • Get a deep understanding of requirement from various stakeholders
  • Devise your sourcing strategy to source right candidates
  • Create recruitment collateral (Job Description, Application Form, Introductory materials, emails) to get more applicants

Personas have been traditionally used in marketing and they have helped a number of marketers increase the efficiency of their marketing campaigns. Ardath Albee defines marketing persona as:

A marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience.

On the same lines, a candidate persona can be defined as:

A candidate persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your candidate pool. For recruitment purposes, you need personas to help you create strategies that will be most useful and relevant to source ideal candidates for a vacancy.

 

Creating candidate persona is not rocket science! Here is a step-by-step guide to creating candidate persona.

 

How to create a candidate persona?

Before you creating candidate persona, you need to do some groundwork first. Creating persona starts with gathering information from various stakeholders, analysis the pre-existing data to find trends and then storifying them.

 

Gathering information

Here are 4 ways in which you can get more information.

  1. Interview Stakeholders


    Before creating a job, it’s important to bring all the stakeholders on board. This makes sure that everyone on the hiring team is on the same page.
    You need to interview the stakeholders to get an idea of traits they are looking for in a candidate. You should be interviewing hiring managers, recruiters, sourcers and interviewers with a list of predefined questions. Some of these questions can be:

    Job Title: Different companies have different job titles for the same role. If you are hiring someone to lead growth, they can be called Growth Hacker or Customer Acquisition Manager or even Growth Ninja in a lot of cases. However, when choosing a job title try to make sure that the role is SEO friendly and can be discovered on Job Boards, Search Engines, LinkedIn etc.

    Company they work for: Hiring Team in a lot of cases already has a list of possible target companies where the candidate could be working. Ask your hiring team which are the companies they are looking at to source?

    Target Designation: It’s really important to know what are the possible designations of your target candidate persona. Since various companies have different designations, it would help you have a list of possible designation which will have the similar profile. You can always expand this list by doing more research.

    Target Demographic: What should be the demography of prospective candidates? What should be their age and experience? Where are they located? What’s the expected salary for the position?

    Skills: You should ask your hiring team what are the different skills the candidate should have. This helps you narrow your search criteria when you are sourcing. Try to get an exhaustive list and iterate it as you move along your sourcing journey.

    Educational Qualifications and Certifications: Is your team targeting specific courses or degrees or universities? What should be the educational background of the candidate? Should they have any certification? If yes, from where and in what?

    Driving factor: What should drive your prospective employee? Should they be excited about certain technologies or driven towards a certain vision. The primary value or fears which probably drive them.

    Answers to the above questions give you the stakeholders perspective on candidate persona.

     

  2. Interview team members


    The traits of team members are a really good indicator of candidate persona. Studying team members effectively will help you understand what the ideal candidate should have to succeed in the role. You typically need to interview 2-3 team members to get to these traits. There is no fixed number but you should stop when you feel answers to questions are now repeated. Ask your team about:

    Motivation: What motivates your employees on the job? Why did they apply to your company in the first place and what keeps them going?

    Goals: Ask them about their career and personal goals. Where do they want to be after certain years? What do they want to achieve in their life? Are there any specific personal goals like children’s tuition, marriage, mortgage etc which is a crucial part of their personal life.

    Interests: What do they want to in their free time? Do you visit any specific website or a meetup? What do they like to read? Where do they read it? Where do they spend time online?

    Skills and Culture: What skills help them succeed in the job? What do they like about company culture?

     

  3. Interview candidates


    Interviewing stakeholders and team members helps you create a hypothesis on the candidate persona. But an untested hypothesis can cause disasters. You should cross-check these hypotheses within your pool of candidates.
    Ask the above questions to you candidates, both good and bad. Bad candidates were typically the ones who were unsuited for the role for various reasons.

    Why did they apply to your company? What do they feel will be different here from their previous job? What do they like? Where do they spend time online?

    Understanding your candidate pool helps you map your company’s internal persona in the real world. your hypothesis is true then most of the good candidates will follow the persona. You should also look the at the response from bad candidates and see what went wrong in persona.

    Remember, it’s an iterative process.

     

  4. Use data to find insights

    Your pre-existing data is also a valuable source of creating candidate persona. Dive deeper into your candidate data and find insights. What source provides you with more quality candidates? Which set of candidates are more responsive? Which universities did they go to? What kind of companies did they work for?

 

Using your research to storify the candidate persona

 

You have gathered enough raw information from your interviews with stakeholder, employees and candidates. You also found out some insights from your data. But how do you storify so that everyone on the team can gain from the gathered data?

You need to find trends and similarities across the collected data to come up with a candidate persona. You can have a single candidate persona if the vacancy is less and can create multiple personas in case vacancies are higher in number. Following is a template of candidate persona which we will fill step-by-step.

Use our free candidate persona template to create your own personas and source candidates effectively.

 

Section 1: Who is your candidate?

The first step is to give your persona a name to personify the traits. Based on your interviews and data collected fill out demographic details like possible designations, current company, skill set, educational background etc.
Talking to your candidates and employees will give you a clear picture about the candidate’s skills and interests. This process also highlights where do your candidates spend time online. These channels can be really effective when it comes sourcing.

Candidate Persona - Who is your candidate?

Candidate Persona – Who is your candidate?


Adding a picture to the persona helps you and your team envision how the ideal candidate might look like.

 

Section 2: What defines your candidate?

This section is subjective and has to be interpreted from your interviews. You need to figure our goals, objections, driving factor and culture fit based on your collected data.Identifying patterns across responses will help you achieve so.

 

Candidate Persona - What defines your candidate?

Candidate Persona – What defines your candidate?

 

 

Once you have created the persona, it’s really important to bring your team on board as everyone has a different perspective. Also, creating the persona is an iterative process and you should refine the persona further as you go along the recruitment process.

Creating persona not only helps bring entire team together but also helps you figure out sources which would work best for a position. This also helps saves time otherwise wasted on sourcing and recruitment process of wrong candidates.

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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August 7, 2017
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Interviews are useless

In the mid 50s, when Israel was still an infant state, a 21 year old bright student of psychology was assigned to set up an interview system for the entire army! The student, unknowingly opened doors for other researchers to find the most effective way of interviewing and making interviews a leading indicator of candidate’s success. The young student was Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and the method is the structured interview process.

 

The simple goal of the interview process was to assign each candidate a score on general fitness for combat and to find the best match of his personality among various branches. The problem was that interview scores showed almost no correlation with the future success of the soldier and this is what he had to solve! Being a follower of Paul Meehl, Kahneman believed that simple linear statistical rules are more accurate than human “intuition”. He went ahead and tested it. The interviewers were supposed to rate the candidates in several independent personality traits and score each separately. The final score would be computed using a standard linear equation. Kahneman faced a lot of push back on this, taking the human element out of interview process. Kahneman finally conceded that at the end of the interview, interviewers could “close their eyes, try to imagine the recruit as a soldier, and assign a score from 1 to 5”.

A few hundred interviews later, the correlation between interview performance and performance as a soldier improved significantly from “completely useless” to “moderately useful.”

Kahneman inadvertently opened the door to a large body of research and paved the way for actually figuring out how to make interviews leading indicators of candidate’s success on the job. What’s worse is, as we later found out that interviews actually end up compromising the recruitment process, undermining the more useful methods of assessing candidates.

What’s wrong with the way we do interviews?

Quite predictably, interviews are the worst predictors of success on the job. Most interviews are completely useless and has been documented and validated by research multiple times. However, interviews serve a very critical filter. That of human interaction. The decision of hire or no hire is too critical to be left to algorithms(atleast for now) and they are an important cultural fit filter.

Evaluating someone in a 60 minute interview is an impossible task. So, interviewers when asked “Do you think this candidate is fit for the job?” replace the questions with “How much do I like this candidate?”. It’s a fairly normal psychological process where our brains substitute a hard question with an easier one and answer that one.

We are also naturally biased to see “likeness”. Interviewers end up preferring people who are “like” them. This is hugely problematic for everyone. Instead of creating a diverse and best at their job team, you end up building a team of homogeneous people “alike one another”.

The most reliable predictors of success

Past performance and the candidate’s score on a take home test or a trial project are the best predictors of candidate’s success at the job. Both of these evaluations don’t involve much human “intuition” to come in the picture.

Human judgment, while weak, is not completely useless. It is probably the most critical filter where you find the candidate’s cultural fit and answer “whether is this the kind of person who can fit well in the team or not.”

Your recruitment process is as good as the worst interviewer you have. So you need a nudge for the interviewers to think objectively and become better interviewers. Structured interview is a process to nudge interviewers towards taking more objective decisions and probably the best way we have found to eliminate the substitution of a hard question by an easy one.

How to do structured interviews?

  1. Define the traits you want in the candidate: Create independent traits that are essential to a candidate’s success at the job. It is important that these traits are as independent of each other as possible. Let’s say you are hiring a product manager. You are probably looking for, a person who is “detail oriented”, “analytical”, “has an eye for design and aesthetics”, “good with people”, “a great communicator”.  Ideally, you should limit the list of traits to 5 or 6 independent traits.
  2. How to measure:  Figure out how you are going to analyze each of these traits. Create a bunch of questions to figure out each trait and what answer should be rated 5 versus what answer should be rated 3. Decide on the what’s the score a candidate needs to get in order to get the job. Minimum threshold to clear for each trait and the minimum overall score to get the job done well.
  3. Interviewer instructions: Write detailed instructions about these traits and questions for the interviewers. Stick to the pre decided order of questions. Make sure that interviewers take detailed notes in the interview.
  4. Getting feedback: As a policy make sure that interviewers submit the feedback within 24 hours of the interview. Interviewers will not remember the things discussed in the interview after a day. If they submit the interview feedback later, we get back to the same problem of our brains substituting a hard question with an easier one.
  5. Move fast: Before Once a candidate exceeds your expectation of what would it take to do the job, extend the offer. This might even be the first candidate you interview, don’t wait around to find a “better match”.

In the age of data, it is surprising how little data we have generated around recruitment. The dearth of data does not allow leaders to accurately measure what’s working and what’s not working with recruitment and you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Structured interview is your first step towards bringing measurement to the otherwise black box of the interview process and make your recruitment process data driven.

Use Recruiterflow to structure your interview process.
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August 2, 2017
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Game of Thrones and Recruitment

Winter is coming this season (7) and we all can’t wait for 16th July to watch the first episode. Game of Thrones never ceases to surprise us and I am sure this season will be no different. While we anxiously wait for these unexpected events, there are few lessons which Game of Thrones gives us on recruitment.

 

Remove Bias and Bring Objectivity 

Flashback to Season 1 when Robert Baratheon was fatally wounded while hunting and named Ned Stark Protector of the Realm, to function as regent until his “son” Joffrey comes of age. Cersei after Robert’s death chose Joffrey as King and charged Ned with treason. Joffrey always lacked the skills to become a King, but thanks to Cersei’s lack of objectivity and biases, he became the King. The rest is history!

Cersei chose Joffrey over Ned

Cersei chose Joffrey over Ned

Just imagine the world where Cersei after evaluating both the candidates free of bias and objectively, names Ned as the King. We probably wouldn’t have needed Season 2! Sounds bad for entertainment but when doing recruitment for your company always choose objectively and remove any bias. You don’t want to start a GOT season in your company. Do you?

 

Always Focus on Employer Branding

Night’s Watch, an 8000-year-old army which holds and guards the Wall, once comprised of volunteers from noble houses and people with exceptional skills. The watch was highly regarded and a number of good people volunteered to join. However, Robert Baratheon ignored the wall and Watch lost its brand. Most of the people in Night’s Watch are now criminals avoiding sentences, noble people under exile, who have nowhere no else to go.

Night's Watch and decrease in candidate quality

Night’s Watch and decrease in candidate quality

 

If you don’t focus on building creating an employer brand, your quality of candidates and ultimately your hire will drastically decrease no matter how big or famous you are.

 

Identify the Right Hire by Creating Candidate Persona

Who is your favorite character in GOT? Mine is Tyrion Lannister any day! Tyrion can be extremely cruel to his enemies and be compassionate to people he loves at the same time. He is smart, witty and his problem-solving skills need no introduction. Yet, he was never recruited for a proper position before he met Daenerys. He was neglected and humiliated by Cersei, Joffrey, Tywin and a number of people in power.

Daenerys had perfect persona for Tyrion

Daenerys had perfect persona for Tyrion

What made Daenerys choose Tyrion even though he was from the House of Lannister? Daenerys had lost both of her advisors, Selmy and Sir Jorah, and really needed someone to advise her while she continues her quest to the throne. She needed someone who knows about the geography and politics of Westeros, is not loyal to the throne, is smart, knows about Dragons (whom she is not able to control) and can compensate for the inexperience which Daenerys has when it comes to ruling the kingdom. This is the candidate persona which Daenerys had in mind and Tyrion was a perfect fit for the role.

Next time while hiring someone for a role, do make an exhaustive candidate persona like Daenerys.

 

Cost of a Bad Hire is Just Too High

After her father’s death, Cersei arrested the High Septon and recruited High Sparrow as the High Septon. Cersei gave High Sparrow more power by reinstating the Faith Army and allowing them to bear and use arms. It’s no secret that how that bad hire played out.

Cost of bad hire for Cersei

Cost of bad hire for Cersei

The High Sparrow challenged the power of throne at various instances and made Cersei (his interviewer and hiring manager) do the Walk of Shame. That was the cost of bad hire for Cersei.

Always avoid making bad hire while recruiting. Better wait than take decisions in a hurry.

 

Hiring is a Team Sport

A wonderful trait which Daenerys possesses is her openness to decentralize power and make the governance process a team sports. She rarely takes decisions without consulting her advisors, totally opposite to Cersei. Even Jon Snow wasn’t able to defeat Ramsay Bolton alone and needed Sansa and Littlefinger to the rescue.

Daenerys with her advisors

Daenerys with her advisors

Recruitment also when done alone has various challenges and it’s always better to involve all the stakeholders in the process.

 

Do you feel there are any more similarities between GOT and recruitment? Feel free to drop in a comment. 

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July 10, 2017
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Proactive Sourcing using CRM

Recruitment has fundamentally changed. We live in a world where 43% of American workforce between the age of 22–34 is freelance. In a time where the most major cultural and economic shock that we are trying to deal with is machines and AI taking over more and more human jobs. In the middle of all of this, as contradictory as it sounds, hiring has never been harder. The equation of recruitment has changed and now

Recruitment has become decidedly candidate centric.

The change has been a gradual one but irrefutable. There are three powerful macro forces trying to change the way people find work and look at work in the larger perspective.

  1. Economics of supply and demand of talent

We earlier believed that team performance distribution is a normal distribution. Now, we positively know that employee performance looks more like a power law function and not a normal distribution. Your top performer is not 2x of the average but closer to 100x of the average. The race is to find, attract and retain this 100x candidate. This limits your choices and makes the job infinitely more difficult.

       2. Great talent can’t be found at the usual places

The 100x candidate that you are looking for is sure as hell not looking for you. They might know you, but they aren’t looking for you. The traditional sources of hiring are drying up and new sources with their new ways are emerging.

        3. Gig economy makes sure that talented people can be really picky about what they want to do and achieve with their lives. There are hundreds of companies vying for their time. To be able to attract them, you need to stand out. 

This changes a recruiter’s job. It is no longer going to be about getting a bunch of resumes in and managing the process. Attracting 100x talent and building and nurturing relationships with them is going to be critical for the success of talent acquisition leaders.

The candidates you need to go after are passive. Although 80% of them, (according to LinkedIn) are open to talking about new opportunities, they aren’t looking for new opportunities. That means, they aren’t coming to you, you have to get to them. To put this in perspective, world’s leading inbound marketing SaaS company HubSpot announced that 70% of their hires were passive candidates! This is an enormous challenge for recruitment. The challenge is to

  1. Consistently deliver brand message and employer value proposition to differentiate and attract the best talent
  2. Plan and execute strategy to engage with talent and nurture relationships with them
  3. Get a grip over candidate’s journey to provide a refreshingly unique and amazing experience
  4. Explore more innovative and unconventional channels of generating leads of better candidates

Why is just an ATS not enough?

Using an ATS to attract largely passive candidates is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. ATS, while critical to your hiring success, are not designed for engagement and relationship management. A system of engagement focuses on enabling you to engage with your candidates(or customers) and records all of those touch points. It gives you a better control over the journey and minimizes the effort and time required to create engagement at scale. To give it a name, CRM system for recruitment.

What are the telltale signs that maybe an ATS isn’t cutting it for you and you need a talent marketing and CRM solution?

  1. You actively source candidates on various channels who are mostly passive
  2. You have hard to fill positions that stay open for more than 2 months
  3. You are not able to attract great qualified candidates through traditional sources
  4. You are consistently losing candidates to competition
  5. The candidates you want are generally passive and don’t come to you via traditional job boards and job ads.
  6. Candidate experience and candidate engagement are critical to your success.

The organizations that will succeed at recruitment are the ones that have created a compelling brand and have nurtured relationships with the candidates. This is exactly what a talent CRM can achieve for you.

One of our partners, a venture funded Bangalore/SFO based company was having a hard time filling a few engineering roles that had been open for more than 5 months. Taking a CRM approach to the recruitment with automated touchpoints and carefully crafted campaigns, they were able to close the position within 40 days with an exceptional hire who scored top grades in all of her evaluation rounds!

Recruiterflow is a dedicated talent marketing and CRM solution that allows you to truly treat your candidates like customers. You can signup for a demo with us here.

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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July 1, 2017
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Attract candidates by laying recruitment framework

Talent management and recruitment have been the top priorities of global CEOs for years now. Unfortunately, talent acquisition also stays on top of the list of things that keeps founders and CEOs awake at night. One of the foremost reasons for this is startups don’t think about setting up a recruitment process on day zero. It is imperatively clear that the best time to create a recruitment process for your startup was yesterday. There are a lot of theories and frameworks around how to create a great recruitment process. The major problem with them is that they are very process driven that can impede a young organization’s ability to move at supersonic speed.   So we decided to make a small framework for fast growing companies that is suited for their culture and size!

Prioritise:

If you think your team can become your competitive advantage, make it abundantly clear to your senior management team. There is no better way to make it clear other than including team building as a critical performance measure for them. This way you are making senior leaders own the recruitment for their teams and companies in general.

  • Make recruitment a critical performance indicator in your senior management’s performance ratings

Know

When startups are growing fast, processes are overlooked in favor of speed. This causes startups to open positions without due consideration and over-hire. To help startups deal with this problem, we came up with a  framework that will help you grow fast and keep everyone on the same page for recruitment. The framework is bare bones and focuses on the job to be done as quickly as possible while still avoiding traps of over hiring. 

  • Define what the incoming person will achieve in 3 months, 6 months and 1 year. You can do this for different time duration but we have found these three will give enough clarity to your team and set expectations from the candidate.
  • Create a compelling recruiting persona. 
  • Write down the set of skills and values you deem desirable in the candidate and feed this into your interview plan.
  • While making the interview plan for a position, carefully select which skill to be tested at which stage and how would you test them. 

Writing so much isn’t that difficult for a hiring manager! Is it? The benefit of putting persona down on paper is that it will give clarity of thought and purpose to everyone involved and will create a practice that every hiring manager can follow.

 

Be FAIR  

Institutionalize processes that are fair to everyone including your existing employees and candidates vying for a job. Of course everyone believes that they are fair in their thoughts and fail to recognize the inherent biases they have. Now certain biases are healthy and are essential to build epic teams but a few biases can hold you severely back. Proactively check for your hiring biases and keep them in check. 

 

 

Focus on Candidate Experience

Treat your candidates the way you would treat your most valued customers! Of course, it is easier said than done but a hey, you have read till here cause you do really want to make a great recruiting organization. A great candidate experience goes a long way in creating a great employer brand. Besides, we are a firm believer in good karma. The good karma you bestow upon your candidates will only do good for you!

The good karma you bestow up on your candidates will pay you back multifold!

 

recruitment good karma

 

Proactive and not reactive

Once your team has settled with the fact that recruiting is a top priority, get them to become proactive rather than reactive. You can’t expect to get a barrage of great candidates the day you open the job. You need to create a great employer brand, build and nurture relationships with great people who you think might be a good fit at some point of time! Being proactive means that you are already half way done when you create the job opening!

 

 

 

Use Recruiterflow to create a recruitment framework for your business.
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June 21, 2017
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Hire faster with outbound recruiting

According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, only 25% of the candidates are actively seeking a job. The majority of the candidates are out of the market. Your success as a recruiter is contingent on how effectively can you reach the 75% who isn’t looking.Out of the passive candidates, 15% are “tiptoers” who aren’t actually applying for jobs but are preparing to move, gently asking their networks about new opportunities. Astonishingly, 80% of candidates responded that although they aren’t looking but are open to talking to a recruiter or hiring managers and want to know about new and better opportunities. 

 

Active vs Passive Candidates

Active vs Passive Candidates

 

How to do outbound recruitment? 

 

How not to do outbound

 

A perfect outbound strategy helps you target first two parts in the above figure. Candidates who are open to new opportunities and account for 60% of passive candidates. However, organizations waste a lot of time on targeting the wrong candidate and sometimes a good candidate is lost in the process. An ideal outbound strategy should be personal as well as efficient. Outbound sourcing can be divided into two parts:

  • Creating a talent pool
  • Reaching out

 

Creating a talent pool to speed up outbound recruitment

Before you start reaching out to candidates it’s really important to focus on building a quality talent pool. Creating the right talent pool starts from understanding about the job and creating an ideal candidate persona. Creating a dependable talent pool takes years of diligent building and nurturing of relationships and maverick level social sourcing skills. But you gotta start somewhere and here’s how you should get started. 

 

Find the perfect platform

Most of the recruiters rely primarily on LinkedIn Search for finding prospective candidates. This generally doesn’t work very well. Apart from you, hundreds of other recruiters are looking at the same candidates on LinkedIn. There is an immense amount of competition for that great candidate on LinkedIn. Today prospective candidates are present on numerous platforms where you can find them. Understanding candidate persona helps you find these platforms and then find relevant candidates. Following are some of the platforms which might come in handy to source candidates:

  • Software Engineers: Github, StackOverflow
  • Designers: Behance, Dribble
  • Product Managers: ProductHunt, Growthhackers
  • Content Writers: Medium, Quora, Twitter
  • Digital Marketing: Inbound.org, GrowthHackers

Apart from the platforms above you can also look at relevant Meetup, LinkedIn groups and slack channels to find prospective candidates. For instance, if you are looking to hire someone in construction in Vancouver with a simple boolean search (discussed later) you can find meetup groups like The Vancouver Construction Meetup Group.

 

Use Boolean to source faster

Boolean is an effective way to use a search engine (like Google) to find relevant people on various platforms and on the web. Some platforms like Facebook don’t need you to login to view data and hence cannot be found using normal boolean strings on a search engine. However, you can easily go through public sites like StackOverflow, Behance, Instagram (for public profiles), LinkedIn (where members have kept data public) to get a relevant profile.Boolean also helps you find resumes and cover letters that are stored within personal websites and job boards by using a unique set of search commands. Boolean commands a search engine to find information (candidate profile in this case) based on parameters passed in the boolean search string.

Resumes and cover letters that are stored within personal websites and job boards can easily be found using boolean using a unique set of search commands. Boolean commands a search engine to find information (candidate profile in this case) based on parameters passed in the boolean search string.A boolean search string can be created really using on Google using the following operators.

A boolean search string can be created really using on Google using the following operators.

OR

OR commands returns a result if any one of your specified keywords or phrase is present.

For example if you are looking for ‘Developer OR Coder OR Python’ it returns results containing any one of the keywords and not necessarily all of them.

 

AND

AND commands returns a result if all of the specified keywords or phrase are present.

For example, if you are looking for ‘Developer AND Python AND Java’ it returns results containing all of the specified keywords.

 

NOT

NOT command excludes results which contain specified keywords or phrase.

For example, if you are looking for ‘Developer NOT JAVA’ it returns results containing Developer but excludes results containing JAVA.

 

“”

“”(Quotation) command is used to return results containing the exact phrase specified between the quotation.

For example if you specify “Product Manager” it will return results containing the exact phrase Product Manager, however if you specify Product Manager it will return results containing either Product or Manager.

 

*

* (Asterisk) is used as a placeholder or wild card within your query in a boolean string.

For example “MBA in *” returns results containing MBA in Marketing, MBA in HR, MBA in Operations, MBA in International Business etc.

 

()

() (Brackets) are used for grouping boolean phrases to build complex boolean strings.

For example searching (Engineer OR Developer OR Programmer) (Microsoft OR IBM OR Google) results in links having both job title keyword and company keyword.

 

Site:

Site: command is used to search pages within a certain website.

For example searching site:stackoverflow.com (python OR JAVA) AND “San Francisco” will result in profiles from StackOverflow mentioning either JAVA/Python and living in San Francisco.

You can create boolean strings for platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, StackOverflow, Dribble, Google+, GitHub and Xing.

 

Find Contact

Once you have identified the platform and used boolean to find a relevant candidate, the last step to finalizing the talent pool is finding the contact details (email, phone etc) to establish the contact. A number of profiles on platforms like Dribble, StackOverflow, GitHub, LinkedIn contain the email id which can be used. Tools like SellHack enable you to find the email address in case it’s not available publically. These tools are not 100% correct though and your email addresses might be wrong.

You can also look at the company specific email addresses and try to guess the prospect’s email. For instance, if Jack Grant works at Recruiterflow and you know someone named Robert Winters with email address robert.winters@recruiterflow.com, there is a high chance Jack will have jack.grant@recruiterflow.com as his email id. There are some services which let you know if the specific email address exists for the company or not. You can use them if you have multiple email addresses. Hubspot also provides you with a tool which can match an email address to various related social profiles.

 

Reaching out to increase conversions 

Finding quality candidates is one part but making a passive candidate response is a different game altogether. A data-driven outreach strategy helps you increase conversions. According to MailChimp, one of the biggest email marketing services globally, the average response rate is between 2%-3%. You need to reach a larger audience to get enough eyeballs but at the same time, you don’t have enough time to customize each and every email. Following are some of the things to keep in mind while reaching out to prospective candidates:

 

Don’t spam: 

Never send a generic email message to all the candidates. Always personalize emails sent to various candidates. Do some research about their previous work and talk about it. The candidate will feel important and chances of response will increase. Try to avoid HTML items in your email, keep it short and crisp.

 

Follow up:

Always follow up to your first email if there is no response. As per a study, the highest response rate of candidates is when you send the second email.

 

Track events:

Track email opens, link clicks, time spent on links (if possible). It will help you optimize your content and ultimately increase your response rates. You can use tools like Yesware for doing the same.

 

Use tools to make your life easier:

Tools like Recruiterflow help you create candidate pool, personalize the message for each candidate using custom fields and track email open/reply/link clicks. You can also set an email automated email workflow where you can set rules if a candidate doesn’t respond then send them mail after specified days. This works like auto-pilot and you only talk to candidates who are interested in your company while the tool handles the rest.

 

Outbound recruitment should be driven by numbers and be a critical part of your recruitment engine. Always experiment with sourcing strategies, communication and log this information. You can use a solution like Recruiterflow to automatically log data while you experiment.

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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June 14, 2017
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