Category

Recruitment

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.

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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!

 

 

 

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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.

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August 7, 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.

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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!

 

 

 

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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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using social media for recruiting

Social media is the second most effective source for hiring candidates after referrals. Using social media for recruiting purposes gives you access to a large global pool of candidates. Facebook has more than 1.86 billion users, Twitter has 320 million and LinkedIn has over 450 million. These channels not only allow your reach active candidates but also enhance your ability to reach passive candidates.

using social media for recruiting

using social media for recruiting

 

So if you don’t have a social media strategy in place, it’s time to make one. Here are some tips which you can use on the following social media:

 

Using Facebook for recruitment

Facebook has recently launched Jobs section which can also be there on your Facebook page.
Add a cover photo which depicts your company culture. Also, fill in the details about your company on your page.

Ask your employees to engage with your brand on Facebook.

Join groups and like pages which are relevant to your prospective candidates. For instance, if you are hiring Software Developers you can join a Python group and like a similar page. Look out for members who match your candidate persona. Don’t spam on these forums otherwise, you will be blocked from these.

Keep sharing images and videos about your company on your Facebook page. Usually, images and videos have more engagement on Facebook than traditional media. Share images with following resolution (in px):

  • Post: 940 x 788
  • In-feed ad image: 1200 x 628
  • Right column ad image: 1200 x 628
  • Carousel ad image: 600 x 600

Create a Facebook event whenever you are doing a hiring event. Invite people from your network, ask your employees to invite their relevant friends. Also, post about the event in groups and ask page moderators to share your event.

Hold Facebook Q&A with your employees talking about your teams and culture. Occasionally use Facebook Live to showcase your company.

Use Facebook Graph Search to find relevant candidates.

Dig deeper into your page audience using Audience. Understand their demography, interests to optimize your posts accordingly.

You can also run ads targeted to your target audience.

 

Using LinkedIn for recruitment

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site and is a gold mine for recruiters. You get to know candidates and all about their professional experience.

Create a LinkedIn company page. Add an image which tells about your company culture. Having an image on company page increases the chance of viewing by 14X.

Write a description of your company. LinkedIn uses this description to tell people about your company. Google also crawls this description to decide your order in its search result.

LinkedIn only shows 200 characters of your description above ‘See More’ and Google only shows the first 154 characters in its search result. Use your first 154 characters wisely and frame the rest to give desired information.

There are a number of professional groups on LinkedIn. Join groups relevant to you.

Ask your employees to mention your company name in their description.

You can also create a job ad on LinkedIn. LinkedIn charges for job ad and charges extra (CPC) if you want to boost it.

Always use boolean commands to search candidates on LinkedIn. It gives you a much-filtered result as compared to putting in a generic keyword.

Use Recruiterflow Chrome extension to actively source candidates and run personalized drip email campaigns on them.

 

Using Twitter for recruitment

Create a separate Twitter handle for jobs like Airbnb has done.

Social media recruiting using twitter

 

Tweet 2-3 tweets every day talking about your culture, open positions, and company.

Tweets are really powerful with hashtags. Use hashtags wisely! If you are hiring a back-end developer in Chicago your tweet can have hashtags like #pythonjobs #chicagojobs etc. Do research your hashtag before you use it, always see if it’s not there for any other messaging. Always use one hashtag for your company specific job (something like #yourcompanyjobs) which your accompany every job opening tweet.

Do a Twitter AMA between your employees and prospective candidates.Find people relevant to your job using search, lists, and tweets. Follow these people as there is a high chance they will follow back and will then subscribe to your tweets.

Find people relevant to your job using search, lists, and tweets. Follow these people as there is a high chance they will follow back and will then subscribe to your tweets.

 

Using Snapchat for recruitment

Snapchat is all about storytelling.  If you have never used Snapchat we advise you to use it first personally then create a business account. Alternatively, you can also ask someone who knows Snapchat in and out in your company to handle your company handle.

While using Snapchat for recruiting you can use some of the following ideas:

  • Give your followers an inside peek to your office culture using Stories. Share your office space, cafeteria, employee short videos, CEO desk, sessions etc.
  • When you are hosting a college event, guest lecture in your office or if someone from your team is speaking at some event, share stories. Do mention relevance of the story in each video/picture as your followers won’t have much idea about it.
  • Share snaps of office birthdays, parties, events etc.
  • Whenever opening a job, post a preview on Snapchat as well.
  • Ask questions from your followers through Snapchat and answer them through your employees by creating a story.
  • Always have a call to action where users can know more or apply for a job.
  • Always feel free to use filters.  

The above ideas only work when you have a good follower base on Snapchat. Use your other social media handles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to ask people to follow you on Snapchat.

 

Using Instagram for recruitment

Instagram with it latest update has become very similar to Snapchat. Memories in Instagram are equivalent to stories in Snapchat. You can also share images/short videos which remain on the platform until you delete it. Create a separate Instagram handle for your careers and keep sharing inside peek into your company culture, job openings, team members etc. Always have a call to action in the description. Hashtags are also popular on Instagram so they can be used here as well. You can follow the same methodology as that of Twitter.

Memories can be used to showcase an event, what’s happening at the office today, job opening or you can ask your followers to ask questions and then your team can answer them in form of memory.

 

There is no guidebook for social media recruiting. You have to constantly evolve as per your audience interests. Always experiment with content, images, videos, snaps and measure the result. Scale what you think works for your brand!

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with from social media and run super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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June 7, 2017
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data driven recruiting for organisations

Data today is what oil was in the 18th century. Data is present in an enormous amount and those who are able to extract it meaningfully can reap a huge reward. The same applies to recruitment as well. The massive amount of data is being collected in recruitment and related processes when used correctly can help organization decrease cost-per-hire and time-to-hire. As an organization, you need data driven recruiting process up and running yesterday itself!

What exactly is data driven recruitment?

In the 1990s, internet hit the recruitment head on and changed the way we recruit for better.  It was the time when online job portals came into existence, which gave candidates an easy way to apply to companies and companies could get access to large pool of candidates. There hasn’t been much change ever since. More than 23 years later (indeed got started in 1994!) a lot has changed and a whole lot has not. Emergence of newer mediums of communications have changed the way we recruit and in its wake, generated a tremendous amount of data. 

A vast amount of data is present and is generated every day around recruitment, be it during the application process, screening, communication or review. Organizations need to implement data driven recruitment strategies as it can always be tested, measured and improved.

However, you also need to make sure what data and analytics can do and what it cannot do.  As per HBRa number of organizations are trying to automate the screening process but it also possesses the threat of making a bad hire, or more importantly, missing on a great hire. Various studies have already concluded that prior experience and resume have no or very limited impact on a candidate performance after joining. So, the job of the data should be to figure out most effectively the leading indicators of a candidate’s success at your organisation. 

 

How do you move towards making recruitment data driven?

 

Log everything

Data driven decisions are effective only if data is logged religiously by the user. An incomplete logged data set only gives you an incomplete picture. Decisions based on such data is generally not be accurate. All the actions including communication, reviews, touchpoints, changes should be logged so that the system has a holistic view around the recruitment process.

 

Automate data capture

Many systems like Prosperworks (in sales) and Recruiterflow (in recruitment) offer a two-way sync with your email. This ensures that you don’t have to spend hours logging data. Data such as email, calendar invites, calls, SMS, Internal communications should be captured automatically. An organization can save 20% of their time which is generally spent on logging data into the system if they log it automatically.

 

Automate communication

Customer data platform Segment did an A/B test where one of the Sales Development Representative was asked send manual emails to prospects for 6 months. On the other hand emails were also automatically sent by the system for the same time. Surprisingly automated emails had both the better volume and efficiency. The open rate was as high as 55% and reply rate was close to 13% for automated emails. When it comes to recruitment, organizations can automate all the outbound emails sent to candidates while sourcing. The system can personalize the message and will be on autopilot based on rules unless some candidate replies. This not only saves recruiters time but immensely helps your sourcing efforts. 

 

Scorecards

All the stages in the screening process should have a scorecard corresponding to them. Candidates should be marked objectively against various relevant skills and binary decision (yes/no) should be made for the stage. Detailed notes for the stage should be maintained to dig deeper. After a certain stage organizations can also calibrate ratings given by various interviewers to remove interviewer bias. Skills should also be rated on an objective 5/10 point scale.

 

Measure hiring speed

Most of the organizations never move beyond funnel metrics when it comes to recruitment. However hiring speed is much more helpful when it comes to find bottlenecks in your recruitment process and to forecast talent supply. The number of days a candidate spends in a stage for a job is calculated across candidates. It helps you identify where candidates are stuck the most so as to allocate resources. It increases your hiring speed. This data is also helpful to forecast when you will be able to close a particular position. It gives you an inside view of hiring pipeline.

 

Source Quality

Sourcing candidates involves multiple channels. How many candidates does a channel provide or how many hires are made from one channel, gives you an incomplete picture. Say vendor A gives you 10 candidates, 9 of them are rejected in the first round and 1 is selected. On the other hand vendor, B gives you 9 candidates, out of which 4 were rejected in the final stage and 1 was selected. Vendor A gave more candidate and the number of hires was same for both the vendors. Still whom you would rate better? Vendor B any day. Source quality should be measured along two parameters, the number of candidates and the quality of candidates. Calculating source quality can be complicated without using a system (or at least Excel) but it helps you increase your efficiency and decrease cost per hire. You need to define the contribution of each stage in recruitment funnel to candidate quality based on your historical data. Say if a job has 5 stages you can start initially with giving each stage a value of 20%, however as you have more data about stage qualification and disqualification you can re-calibrate the distribution across stages.

 

Follow structured interview process

The ultimate panacea for recruitment process is unearthing the leading indicators of candidate’s success in the interview process. In order for the data to give you right kind of insights, you need to generate the right kind of data first and structured interview process is the best way to get there.  You can tie the recruitment data to the actual performance data of the hired candidates and see what are the characteristics that high performers share in their recruitment process. A structured interview process is your first step towards this goal.

 

May the force (of data) be with you!

With data driven recruitment force is always with you

With data driven recruitment force is always with you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use Recruiterflow to source candidates with super personalized drip email campaigns that convert 2.3X better.
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May 31, 2017
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More communication to enhance candidate experience

Candidate experience is an integral part of your recruitment process. Improving candidate experience helps you create a better employer brand. Bad candidate experience hurts your employer brand which results in lower inbound hiring, lower quality of candidates, lower referrals and higher cost or recruitment. 

A study by Harris Interactive found out that when a candidate has bad experience:

42% of candidates said they would never apply to the company again

22% said they would actively tell other candidates not to work at that company

9% said they would go so far as to tell others not to purchase products or services from that company

 

Candidates also share their experience with friends and family and in a lot of cases write about it on social media. Bad candidate experience not only affects your hiring but can also potentially hurt your bottom line.

Surprisingly 42% of recruiters don’t give candidate experience the importance it deserves.

 

Reasons for bad candidate experience

As per a recent study, major reasons for bad candidate experience arise from an ill-planned recruitment process and communication channel. According to candidates following are the major reasons for bad candidate experience

Reasons for bad candidate experience

Most of these reasons are a result of a poorly planned recruitment process and can be solved by creating a proper plan. Unclear instruction on the application process is the biggest reason for bad candidate experience. Recruiters can use a software like Recruiterflow to save these instructions and used it whenever they are posting a job.

Having candidates apply through relevant social profiles or just upload resumes takes care of extremely long job application forms. Recruiterflow also integrates to LinkedIn, Facebook to allow candidates apply seamlessly.

 

Improving candidate experience

Candidates feel better if recruiters pay attention and value their effort when they apply. A better line of communication and keeping them updated helps engage candidate experience. As per a study conducted by Software Advice more than 34% of candidates feel that better communication will help them have a better experience.

Improving Candidate Experience

ATS like Recruiterflow also help you give a timeline of the hiring process in advance to candidates. A well-defined recruitment process also helps you improve candidate experience. 

Recruiters should:

  • Redesign application process to make applying to a position seamless. Enable applying through resume or LinkedIn wherever possible
  • Create and send an employer deck containing details about the company, product, team before interview
  • Always communicate with the candidate
  • Always update the candidate about their status
  • Give feedback to the candidate after the process
  • Communicate clearly if they have been rejected
  • Send a tentative timeline and interview plan to candidates beforehand

 

Recruiters can also do something similar to NPS surveys to gauge their efforts of enhancing candidate experience.

Improving candidate experience through NPS

Automating the process with ATS solutions like Recruiterflow saves time and effort for recruiters by modernizing and streamlining the applicant workflow while helping to ensure that no candidate has a negative experience.

 

Use Recruiterflow to communicate with candidates, build an employer brand and enhance your candidate experience.
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May 24, 2017
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