Category Archives: Recruiting

Is your recruiting function nearing extinction?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein

In one of my previous corporate recruiting roles, I had the above quote from Albert Einstein pinned above my desk. For me, the quote signified two things in recruiting. One, I believed that it depicted the flawed mindset of many hiring managers and recruiters who had a key role to play in the recruitment process. Second, I saw it as a stark reminder that we absolutely cannot treat the recruiting function as static.

Sadly, the perception of the hiring manager community of an in — house recruiting function is that it should deliver the same over and over again with the same methodologies and techniques that were used previously. Recruiters then fall into this trap and then end up on the wrong side of this and are blamed for failures in the hiring process. What you then get is a perpetual cycle of finger-pointing, mud — slinging and blame. It doesn’t help either party and just creates stress and animosity. In my view, this arises because of the ineffective structure of the recruitment function and the relationship between the recruitment function and the hiring manager community that has developed over time. The recruitment function has allowed itself to become subservient and this has resulted in a master/servant relationship which in turn has created not recruitment but an administrative function — taking orders rather than spearheading the hiring efforts. At its best, a recruitment function should be the engine room for talent.

With the proliferation in the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning in recruiting in the years ahead, companies with recruiting functions that find themselves stuck in this master/servant relationship run the risk of becoming defunct. Below are ten risks that are setting your recruitment function back:

Forecasting

Your recruitment function isn’t aligned with the line business (hiring managers). You are taking orders and instructions rather than providing consultative support to the business. You work reactively rather than proactively. There is no forecasting of talent requirements which means you can’t build talent pipelines and your recruitment team is always starting a search on the back foot. A modern recruitment function works collaboratively with the line business to forecast recruitment requirements so they can plan ahead of demand.

Skill sets

Your current recruiting team does not have the right skills to perform their tasks effectively. You aren’t investing in the right people. On a broader level, the structure of your recruitment department is inadequate to meet the needs of your internal stakeholders. The role of recruitment is changing so what you do internally must reflect that. The modern-day recruiter needs to be a trusted talent advisor to the business. If your recruitment team isn’t performing this role, then they’re just taking orders.

Time-consuming tasks

If your recruitment function is performing 70% of their recruitment tasks manually then they aren’t adding any real value to the business. Typical tasks include scheduling and rescheduling of interviews, sending interview reminders, booking interview rooms, capturing candidate documentation. A significant negative impact of having a manual system is that inevitably team members will suffer from burnout. Imagine running several recruitment campaigns concurrently, and then contacting all the shortlisted candidates for interview, booking rooms, etc. This is just unsustainable and is not the correct use of resources. I have personally been on the receiving end of this and can tell you that this is an extremely uncomfortable and stressful situation to be in. To be that trusted talent advisor, you need to automate the mundane tasks so your team can focus on delivering value.

Policies & Procedures

You need to be resolutely stubborn to enforce your recruitment policies and procedures to the letter. If you are constantly bowing to the pressures from hiring managers to bend the rules, you will never change the master/servant relationship. Your mantra, if you want to work collaboratively and effectively with the hiring manager community, should be, “our house, our rules.”

The above four are just baseline elements I believe that need to be addressed if you want to move away from a master/servant recruitment function to a collaborative and consultative one that delivers lasting value to the hiring manager community. The increasing uptake of artificial intelligence will put more pressure on recruitment functions to reform and restructure. Anything less than that will lead to a sure-fire path of extinction, and lead to the recruitment function being outsourced.

Photo by Umanoide on Unsplash

Assessing candidate fit – 5 alternatives for assessing a candidate’s suitability

The interview process is getting longer according to a survey by Glassdoor. With employers faced with increasing challenges of filling hard to fill positions, lack of highly skilled candidates and other competing organisations vying for that same quality talent pool, it is prudent to consider introducing alternatives ways of screening and interviewing candidates. Below are five methods that may have a role to play in the process:

Have them interviewed by the core team

Candidates going for interview at Google are screened by several people including the potential line manager, potential colleagues, a hiring committee and the CEO. However, before they even meet these folk, the candidates have to engage with the recruitment team that includes the recruiter, sourcer, coordinator and candidate host (meeter and greeter). One may argue that this will lead to an even lengthier process but there is merit in the method as meeting many individuals gives a more comprehensive view of a candidate’s suitability, and may result in a better quality of hire as well as improving the candidate experience.

Invite them to dinner

One major multinational I know off, invites candidates to dinner a day before their interview. The rationale behind this is that as individuals we are creatures of our own environments, and during work we have a tendency to behave in a certain (controlled) manner than we would if we were at home with family and/or friends. Taking an individual out of their comfort zone will allow you to better establish how they interact in a social setting, gauge their communication skills and style and how well they conduct themselves in general.

Site visit

If a company has projects in multiple locations, take the candidate out of the office and get them to visit the site and site staff. This will give them a preview of what it is like to work on site and also show the candidate the ‘work in progress or finished product and/or project’. It will also show how they interact with staff and give them the opportunity to demonstrate their attitude to work.

Social Media Profile

Find out if your potential candidate is online (on LinkedIn, Twitter etc). Their online presence may highlight their writing skills (if they blog or post regular comments), the type of content they share could indicate that they are switched on and really informed about their industry as they keep up to date with the latest developments.

Find out about who they work with/were mentored by

Focusing on who the candidates reports into and/or who they were mentored by provides a good indicator of the calibre of candidate. If they work with people who have a good reputation in the industry, this will indicate that they are working with strong people and will have probably received good on the job training – a definite plus for the hiring company! It is also worth looking into who their mentors are and/or who were the people who influenced their careers when they started out. A solid mentor may indicate a high performance candidate! Looking into these details will allow one to get a better view of the candidate’s potential suitability

In summary, contemporary screening and interviewing practices need to adapt to the growing recruiting challenges facing companies. There is a clear need to speed up the process but also to simultaneously strengthen it. The objectively ultimately is to assess if the potential candidate can do they job, will they love the job and can the company actually work with the potential incumbent.

Image Credit: cancsajn

Candidate Experience – The Final Frontier of Effective Recruiting!

The increasing automated nature of corporate recruiting should improve the candidate experience. Still, as numerous commentators in the human resources space have noted, the process is not great and more work needs is required to make it better. There are many key players in the entire process, but most importantly, it is the hiring managers that drive everything as they ultimately make the hire. The essence of this fractured relationship between corporate recruiting and candidate experience is candidly summarised by a post by editor and consultant Deborah Branscum who remarks that “if hiring managers were doctors, half of the new patients would be dead in 18 months.” This is a stark assessment considering we are in a fiercely competitive labour market with companies fishing in the same talent pool as every other competitor. Here are some (not all) of the common ills of the candidate experience:

  • Despite ATS’s, candidates are still falling through cracks, and it is taking longer to fill positions
  • Despite the commonly held belief that candidates are flexible on location, they want to work somewhere that is within commuting distance of the office
  • Assumptions are made regarding candidates salary expectations
  • Candidates are passed between pillar and post by different hiring managers – and that is just at the CV review stage!
  • Candidates are not correctly updated on their candidacy
  • Candidates aren’t interviewed promptly
  • Candidates don’t get the feedback they are looking for – responses are not constructive but general
  • Candidate experience doesn’t rank highly on a hiring managers list and is increasingly misunderstood altogether
  • The onboarding experience is falling by the wayside with an increasing number of candidates rejecting offers after they have accepted
  • The automated nature of recruiting results mostly in communication with the candidate via email
  • The employer brand is suffering

The reality is that as technology and trends have changed over time, behaviours have not. Recruiting is evolving, so should action and with that policies and procedures to reflect the changing nature of the labour market. To get it right, companies need to develop a service orientated mindset rather than being transactional. Hiring Managers and other key players need to become brand ambassadors for their company and become invested in improving candidate experience as they are invested in their day jobs.

Be the Hiring Manager that sets an example

The role of the Hiring Manager is central to getting the entire process to work correctly, so the following improvements should be put in place for Hiring Managers:

Holiday handover – When going on holiday, put a handover plan together updating the rest of the team on candidates, delegating responsibility for interviews and offer approvals. Don’t put things on hold when you go on holiday. Recruiting is essential business!

Don’t set false expectations – If a candidate is interviewed and you promised to get back to them with feedback within two weeks, do get back to them and don’t forget about them! Treat others as you would like to be treated. Failure to do so is a recipe for disaster, and you run the risk of bringing the employer brand into disrepute.

Interview feedback – When you do get back to the candidate with feedback, be constructive rather than general – give them the good, the bad and the ugly. Whether candidates are successful or not, candidates will value your insight as it might help them improve their interview performance next time they go for an interview, or might even help them address a weakness that was not apparent to them before. If they are the excellent candidate for future roles, welcome them to reapply, and keep in touch with them.

Work in partnership – Keep your recruitment department fully updated on candidates in the interview process, work with them on resourcing needs, and be fully aligned with them so they can go to the market to deliver the key marketing message(s) of why candidates should join your team.

Interview team – Have an interview tag team in place that can pick up the baton from you if you are going to be out of the office or tied up on a project. Delegate responsibility to them to continue the interview process in your absence, and have pre-agreed interview dates in the diary so that candidates are interviewed without delay.

Get everybody on the same page – Make sure resourcing needs are filtered down to all levels. Avoid scenarios where conflicts between workload and resourcing needs occur. If you have a hire to make, ask yourself – is there physical desk space available for them, which office will they be based in, what work will they be doing, do you need to hire in the first place? Addressing these questions will eliminate inefficiency and help to increase the speed of hire.

Time management – As Hiring Managers, you do have a day job. Still, you also have the responsibility to grow the team and contribute towards profitability so set aside ample time for reviewing candidate applications, providing feedback to the candidate, conducting interviews etc.

Improved processes and procedures

A periodic review of the effectiveness of current recruiting processes and procedures will help highlight any deficiencies but to create a recruiting model fit for purpose, and the following elements should be considered:

Return to traditional communication – To counter the behaviours triggered by ATS’s, less email more phone should be the order of the day. A personal touch goes a long way to improving the candidate experience.

Be social – An increasing number of candidates are on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. Hence, a dedicated social media strategy is a must for companies if they want to engage with the talent pool properly and effectively deliver the EVP. The employer brand will be rendered irrelevant if there is a lack of social media presence.

Careers site – Have a dedicated career site candidates can visit to obtain information on the interview process – i.e. what is involved and how long it takes, the work the company does, interactive employee testimonials, FAQs. A careers site will also play an essential part in communicating the EVP to the external market.

Recruitment model – As companies grow, resource needs will increase too, so a fundamental discussion around the recruitment model should take place – is the recruitment model geared up for a growing business, is it set up for volume recruiting, are there enough recruiters, do processes need to change to reflect growth? Honest discussions on the recruitment model will help create an effective in – house team.

Final thoughts

Despite improvements in technology and the rise of social media, companies still strive to create a positive candidate experience. Persistent issues exist which need to be addressed, but the focus needs to be on being proactive and hiring at a faster pace. Companies can’t operate at a reasonable speed but need to react faster on candidates as competition for candidates intensifies. At the Hiring Manager level, more management training should be put in place to help clearly define their roles, responsibilities and their understanding of the interview and selection process. A negative experience will turn off candidates, but a positive candidate experience will serve as a formidable recruiting sergeant.

Photo by Max McKinnon on Unsplash

Working with a Recruiter: A Checklist for Candidates

Recruiters are typical, but quality recruiters are hard to find. Before you entertain a call from a recruiter proposing a life-changing career opportunity, it’s worth posing some of the following questions to make sure you are talking to the right individual who you feel comfortable speaking to.

Find out about their work: Find out about the company they work for, i.e. what is the company’s track record, especially about the opportunity they have approached you about. Also, delve deeper into their relationship with their clients, i.e. in what capacity are they representing their client or how long have they been working with their client.

Are there any other candidates in the process? Most recruiters won’t tell how many other candidates are being considered for the role but some do. Also, try asking how urgently the position needs to be filled. If they respond with unclear answers, it’s probably because the role has just gone live or is challenging to fill.

What is the opportunity? Don’t be tempted by the job title alone but find out about the nature of work the successful candidate will be doing, about the reporting lines and level of seniority. Insist on receiving a job specification via email from the recruiter. Get as much information on the role as possible.

What is the salary? Instead of asking what the pay is, ask what the ‘achievable’ salary is? Don’t waste time on discussing salary in detail and cut straight to the chase by indicating to the recruiter what level of salary you currently get. The recruiter will then be in a better position to tell you whether or not the pay will be in line with your expectations.

What is their background?  An awkward question to ask directly, but if you want the recruiter to help you land your dream job, you need to know what the credentials of this person are. Nine times out of 10, recruiters will be on LinkedIn, so this should be your first port of call when carrying out your due diligence.

What is the average feedback time? One of the major frustrations of both candidates and recruiters is the amount of time it takes to find out about the outcome of an application which unfortunately neither can do much about as the client controls it. Nevertheless, ask the recruiter if there is an average feedback time or if there are going to be any delays in getting feedback.

What is the interview process? Most good recruiters will tell you this automatically but if they don’t, then ask them to break down the interview process step by step, i.e. how many stages to the interview, what is the nature of the meeting – telephone or face to face or both, who are the interviewers, where and when will the discussion take place etc.

Why is the role available? This question should be asked in tandem with ‘what is the opportunity?’ Find out if it is a new role or a replacement. If it is a replacement, then ask why that is the case. If you don’t get a clear cut answer here, it might indicate that the client has some deeper employee engagement issue(s) that resulted in the role becoming available.

In summary, a good recruiter will know their client’s requirements inside out. Even if the role they are speaking to you about does not materialise with an offer, do make a point of keeping in touch with them. You never know there might be an even better opportunity for you later on.

 

7 Bizarre Behaviours Demonstrated by Candidates in the Interview Process

From crazy interview questions at Google to nerve-shredding interviews on the BBC’s Apprentice, the interview process is a tense and daunting experience. While it is rare that candidates will be subjected to this level of scrutiny, what is certain is that interviews can either bring out the very best or worst in candidates. Here are seven bizarre behaviours demonstrated by candidates before, during and after the interview process.

The candidate is asked about motivations

Interviewer: So, what got you interested in this position?

Candidate: My parents told me to apply!

The outcome of this interview was not favourable. Despite the candidate ticking all the boxes on paper, the interviewer stated that this single response resulted in the candidate being rejected. Ill thought out answers is a sure-fire to destroy interview success.

Turning up at the interview at the wrong time

In this example, a candidate turned up at his interview at BST (British Standard Time) when he was supposed to turn up at the meeting at CET (Central European Time). The Hiring Manager wasn’t too happy about this and waited for the candidate for around 30 minutes. It wasn’t until the recruiter contacted the candidate on his mobile that it emerged that the candidate thought the interview was BST when in the confirmation email it was stated that the meeting was CET. When arranging interviews between client and candidates overseas, communication is essential. It’s always good to double-check and if one is pedantic triple check.

Telling a Hiring Manager during a telephone interview, they are not interested in the job.

In this example, the candidate had a full, transparent discussion with the head-hunter, and his motivations and aspirations were known. When it came to the telephone interview, the candidate told the Hiring Manager that they were not interested in the job but wanted to have a general discussion. So as a head-hunter when asking a candidate about their interest in a particular position, it is a good idea to ask them a questions along the lines of “on a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in this job” or “what is your level of interest going to be in a few weeks”. That will allow a better understanding of their exact level of interest.

No contact after the interview

In this example, the candidate interviewed with the client with positive feedback with the client inviting the candidate for a second (face to face) stage interview. The recruiter contacted the candidate for a meeting to make the necessary arrangements but despite repeated attempts was unable to get hold of the candidate via mobile email, text. Result = radio silence and even more strange was that this particular candidate was still active on a social media site.

Candidate attending another call at the same time of telephone interview

While it is understandable that unforeseen circumstances might prevent communication between the client and candidate, all other calls must be put on hold. The client has blocked out time to interview so common courtesy should be extended.

Quiet place during a telephone interview.

One of the golden rules in telephone interviewing is that a candidate must be in a friendly, quiet private place when speaking to a recruiter or client. Background noise or a lack of privacy will hamper the ability to give reliable answers and jeopardise chances of further progression in the interview process.

Failing to disclose information to the recruiter or client

One of the pet hates of head – hunters and clients is a candidate failing to update them on issues that may be critical to their candidacy. Common problems include not being transparent about salary expectations, failing to inform of competing offers, interviews with other companies, interview availability. A little foresight will go a long way to avoiding problems further in the process.

 

Don’t Be a Snob When It Comes to Hiring

The global economic crisis has triggered significant changes in the global labour market. Qualified people find themselves underemployed, mature workers are frozen out, graduates are struggling to get jobs, and disengaged workers are sitting tight in the hope that the market will rebound for them to make a move, and an increasing number of people choosing not to go to college/university .These are just a few of the trends that are reverberating the world over, especially in Western economies. Faced with an acute shortage of quality talent, Hiring Managers should not be too picky when it comes to making hiring decisions and instead think outside the box when sourcing candidates for job openings. Below are talent pools that Hiring Managers should not ignore:

Individuals returning to work: Mothers who have taken time off to have children and want to get back into work have high levels of motivation and desire. If you are willing to spend some time and effort to reintegrate them back into the work routine, they can prove to be useful hires. Similar applies to ill people who have recovered from an illness and want to return to work.

The unemployed:  Many experienced individuals have been frozen out of the market altogether through no fault of their own. This is evident in the banking and financial services sector that was the worst affected at the height of the financial crisis. So don’t make assumptions about the unemployed! You may just be able to unearth a gem.

Army veterans: Ask anybody who has been in recruitment and they will tell you that ex – army personnel make really good hires. They are highly disciplined, professional and can possess a wide skills set. If you are a small to medium sized business in particular, this talent pool can add significant value to your company.

The under qualified: Last year French engineering giant ALSTOM announced that they welcome applications from individuals who are only a 70% fit for the job. The company stated that it would pay for engineers to train up to a certain level – this is a game changer and an innovative solution to tackling skills shortages within the engineering sector. So next time you receive an application from someone working at McDonalds, don’t be quick to dismiss them as unsuitable. Successful and thriving companies develop and nurture talent.

Overseas candidates: Tight immigration rules in Western economies mean that companies will find it harder to attract quality talent. Multinationals such as Infosys have expressed concern that they will not be able to hire the quality talent they need for the UK. Draconian and restrictive employment practices have also rendered professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers from overseas doing menial jobs in the UK. If nothing is done to challenge these policies and practices, then Western companies will continue to suffer skills shortages.

The over – 50s: It is a widely accepted misconception that if you are over 50, you are on the scrap heap. As a result of this many companies turn a blind eye to CVs. A disconnect with reality prevails as companies are failing to understand that due economic pressures and the pensions crisis, the modern workforce will get greyer and older. Research has shown that over – 50s have higher levels of engagement and have a stronger appetite for work.

There will continue to be significant challenges to sourcing talent if certain attitudes do not change. Innovative thinking is required if the Hiring Managers really want to tackle the skills shortages.

4 questions you need to ask before contemplating a job move

Thinking - lampelina

Disruptive change has prompted many employees to reflect on their careers. As skills sets become scarcer in certain professions and sectors, individuals with particularly hard to find skills sets are increasingly in demand. Faced with increased probability of getting a call from a head-hunter/recruiter, here are three questions you need to ask yourself before considering a potential career move.

  1. Will the opportunity offered, improve my quality of life?
  2. If I chose to stay in my current role, what is the next step for me with my current employer?
  3. What isn’t working for me in my current role?
  4. Will the proposed role add value to my career in the long run?

Focusing your discussion on the above four questions will ensure that you cover the critical aspects with the head-hunter/recruiter. By doing this, you will keep the conversation flowing and allow yourself to make an informed decision about whether or not to progress discussions to the next level.

Photo credit:   lampelina

Answer the phone – your next job may just be a phone call away

Mobile phone biz man

Searching for a job isn’t fun, and if there is anybody out there who found it enjoyable, I would be most interested to hear from them. For most people, it is a stressful, time consuming and gruelling experience. The changing economic climate has only made it more difficult than ever before to look for a job with the average job search now taking six months, and even more depending on the type of industry.

The main challenge for companies is to find the right quality of expertise which is becoming harder to find. An ageing workforce and lesser quality fresh talent coming off the conveyor belt is making recruitment and retention a number 1 challenge for companies. We are now entering a whole new age of employee engagement and retention where companies need to be on the front foot in the identification, development and preservation of quality talent.

This challenge is now forcing many companies to become more innovative with their recruiting methods. Some companies have embraced social media and incorporated it into their recruiting apparatus, while others remain more loyal to traditional forms of recruiting via advertising in newspapers, job boards etc. Increasingly, many companies employ the services of a headhunter to help them find and attract talent. As we progress in this information age, technology is going to play an even more significant role. As individuals, we are going to be better connected, and that means we will be more visible to the outside world. If your name exists anywhere in print or online, the chances are you are likely to get an email or a call from a headhunter.

So if a headhunter called you, why should you entertain their call? First, they have probably contacted you about a job that isn’t advertised anywhere publicly. Headhunters have access to the ‘hidden job market’, so if they called you, it’s because they think you might be suitable for a new challenge. Second, even if you do not display a genuine interest in what they want to talk to you about, it’s probably worth keeping in touch with them as you never know what the future holds. A good headhunter will be a very well connected person who could put you in touch with potential future opportunities. So if you have a particular skillset and haven’t had a call from a headhunter, you should expect one in the not too distant future.

Photo credit:  CELALTEBER