By Michelle Silverstein, Director of Corporate Marketing at Criteria
Looking back on 2020, the year was challenging in so many ways. Yet challenges present an optimal time to learn from experience and improve for the future.
In the middle of 2020, Criteria, surveyed over 400 hiring professionals to learn about how their hiring processes had adapted to COVID-19. We published the results in our annual Hiring Benchmark Report, and the responses were illuminating. From that data, we uncovered some interesting takeaways about hiring that can be used to improve and grow as we cruise into the new year.
1. Remote Work Is Here To Stay
According to our survey, 69% of organizations transitioned to remote work at some point last year. As a result, organizations had to establish remote hiring processes that were just as effective as in-person processes.
For those who were fortunate enough to be able to work from home, we were curious how they felt about remote work. In our survey, we asked: “Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, how has your opinion of remote work changed?”
What we found is that the majority of respondents, 54% said that their opinion of remote work has become more positive. Meanwhile, 42% said their opinion had stayed the same, and a paltry 4% said their opinion had become more negative.
On the whole, remote work has left a remarkably positive impression on those who had the opportunity to try it. From that same survey, respondents said that the key benefits of working from home were:
Less commuting (95%)
Flexible schedule (76%)
Better work-life balance (75%)
Fewer office distractions (72%)
More time with family (68%)
More productivity (64%)
What’s clear is that employees like and appreciate working from home, and that it can actually be more productive than working in an office. This suggests that even after the world returns to a “new normal” and offices begin to open back up, we don’t expect to see everyone go right back into the office. Instead, we expect to see a hybrid workforce model that combines a blend of remote and in-person work.
With remote work likely to play a major role in daily life moving forward, organizations need a way to optimize their remote hiring processes. Remote hiring has the same goal as in-person hiring: to find the best person for the job. Ultimately this means that organizations need a way to accurately and efficiently identify top talent without meeting them face-to-face.
2. The More Candidates, (Not Necessarily) the Better
2020 saw a sudden and massive rise in unemployment early in the year. The result was an influx of candidates flooding the job market. This represented a significant shift in the hiring landscape. Before, the hiring landscape was characterized as a candidate-driven market where qualified candidates were scarce and employers had to put forth greater effort to attract and retain top talent. But with more job seekers looking for opportunities, employers were faced with a welcome challenge: too many candidates.
The result? Hiring professionals started to perceive hiring as “easier” in 2020 than it was in 2019. In our survey, we found the following:
Across nearly every dimension, hiring professionals were having an easier time in 2020 than 2019. This may stem from the feeling of greater choice among a bigger candidate pool.
Nevertheless, the biggest challenge that hiring professionals face continues to be finding high quality job candidates. While more candidates may seem like a blessing, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to find that one person who is right for the job. On the contrary, a high volume of candidates can create problems of its own, with the need to efficiently and accurately identifying the candidates who demonstrate the highest potential to succeed.
3. Diversity Is a Priority Now More Than Ever
In our 2020 Hiring Benchmark Report, we also asked hiring professionals if increasing diversity in the workplace was a priority for their organization. What we found was that, for the majority of organizations, it was.
32% said increasing diversity in the workplace was a top priority at their organizations. 46% said it was somewhat of a priority, and just 22% said it’s not a priority. What’s clear is that most organizations are invested in hiring and retaining diverse teams. The question is, how are they going to achieve that goal?
Unconscious bias is pervasive in the hiring process. One way to combat it is by incorporating more data-driven elements that are tied to job success. The goal is to identify the right person for the job based on their abilities, not based on their connections or background.
4. There’s Reason for Optimism About the Future
There’s no denying that 2020 brought with it a lot of reasons to be pessimistic. However, when it comes to the future, hiring professionals are largely optimistic. In our Hiring Benchmark Report, we asked hiring professionals how they felt about the future for their organization, and the results were surprising:
The data painted an extremely optimistic picture. 66% of respondents were positive about the outlook, while 20% were neutral. Just 6% were negative and 9% were unsure. Despite the setbacks of 2020, hiring professionals are seeing the opportunity for growth in the future.
Ultimately this is a lesson in resilience and adaptability. Setbacks don’t have to debilitate any forward-moving progress. Even in times of strain, organizations can keep making plans for the future and building towards those goals, even if the vision has to be altered due to changing circumstances.
How Criteria Can Help
Criteria’s assessment platform is designed to help teams hire and grow. If an organization is the sum of its people, then each new employee has an important role to play. When assessments are incorporated into a long-term hiring strategy, organizations can start to see incremental improvements in everything from performance and productivity to employee retention and engagement.
By administering assessments early in the hiring process, organizations can quickly identify which candidates are most likely to succeed in the role. This can save invaluable time in screening and interviewing candidates, making it easier for the hiring team to maximize their time and efforts towards finding that right person for the role.
Criteria’s assessments are designed to help organizations hire diverse, high performing teams. Through a rigorous validation process, Criteria’s team of industrial and organizational psychologists ensures that the tests are non-discriminatory and accurate. And when assessments are administered early in the hiring process, they help to highlight candidates who may have been overlooked based on resume alone.
About Michelle Silverstein
Michelle Silverstein is the Director of Corporate Marketing at Criteria, a leading provider of pre-employment assessments. With a background in B2B, SaaS and HR Technology, Michelle is a passionate advocate for helping companies make more informed talent decisions through evidence-based hiring practices.
Welcome back to Week 2 of our Halloween Monster Mash Blog Series! This week we are talking about the Ghost, and Frankenstein! Spoooookyyyy!
The Ghost – A person involved in the recruitment process who ghosts a candidate after he or she has advanced to the interview process.
What is ghosting? It is the practice of suddenly withdrawing from all communication without explanation.
Anyone who has tried to find a job in a fast-paced market has likely been ghosted at some point. An astounding 65% of job seekers say they never (or rarely) receive a rejection notice from employers.
On the flip side, anyone involved in the recruitment process knows it can feel overwhelming to personally respond to everyone who expresses interest in being hired to your company. Even more so if you are processing hundreds or even thousands of applicants.
In today’s tech savvy world, we have applicant tracking systems that can send an instant, automated response stating only candidates being considered for the role will be contacted. This is a great way to level-set on the front end.
But what about the candidate who spends hours of their time, often juggling a busy schedule for phone screens, video interviews, face-to-face, and even call back interviews, only to then be ghosted if not moving forward? Not only is it a terrible feeling, but it’s a drain on the time and energy they could be putting into other areas of their job search.
You might be thinking, if the company doesn’t plan on moving forward with a candidate, why should it be concerned with their candidate experience?
Today more and more job seekers are leaving negative feedback regarding their candidate experience on job search sites such as Glassdoor, social media and social networking sites, or sharing by word of mouth, making company brands more public than ever.
According to Glassdoor, 58% of job seekers consider a positive experience to include clear and regular communication, 53% clear expectations, and 51% feedback regarding rejection.
Additionally, 40% of applicants state they would pull out of the recruitment process due to a poor first interaction with the Recruiter or Hiring manager, this is only 4% less than the number one reason given, which is the announcement of a recent layoff.
This means it is important that some type of response be given to all that have taken the time to apply and interview. While automated responses are a useful tool for candidates not being recommended for interview, anyone who advances to the interview stage should receive timely follow up on the status of their candidacy. It may not be a comfortable conversation, but by creating a personalized interaction, it’s sure to help you stand out as a true professional and be a good reflection on your employee brand.
The Frankenstein – a group of HR systems that have been ineffectively pieced together resulting in inefficient business processes or data integrity issues.
Typically, when deciding on HR software the choices are between a best-of-breed approach or a comprehensive package. Either can be successful if approached with a strategic plan.
Best of breed typically offers custom solutions that can cater to complex program designs and provide a more granular level of function reporting, but little in the way of HR Analytics or cross functional dashboards. Additionally, systems can get bogged down due to multiple integration points.
Purchasing a comprehensive package is generally considered to be very user-friendly, with features like single sign on, and the benefit of robust reporting capabilities. Older versions offered little in the way of granular level customization, but rapid advances are being made in this area.
At times, companies will start with one “base” system and as the business grows, systems will be added based on individual department needs in an ad hoc way with no real strategic design. This is what we call the Frankenstein.
The Frankenstein will drain your team of valuable time and resources and increase the potential for error. It often involves pulling multiple reports to get all the data needed for comprehensive analytics.
Automation and streamlining processes mean more than simply adding technology to a current process. It’s important to understand what problems you want the system to solve, what is working with the current process, and what is not.
You’ll want to consider what you need for customizations and at what level, create a list of required features, narrow the list of solution providers, maybe ask a few trusted resources for recommendations. Consider scheduling demos for the top 3, discuss the system pros and cons and then select the one that meets the majority of your needs and provides the best overall price.
Implementing the right system can redesign how your HR department does business, streamline interdepartmental processes, and potentially provide a high return on your investment. You may even be able to accomplish more with a smaller team! Take that, Frankenstein!
Thanks for reading this week’s installment, we hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to check back next week for more of our twists on HR processes.
Let’s face it, recruiting today is tougher than ever and finding top talent is like finding a needle in a haystack. Unemployment is at an all-time low, it is a job seeker’s market and they’re going to play hard ball when you do find them. However, is it really that hard or any harder than it has been in the past? Maybe we just need to take a different approach and look for talent in another way. Maybe the talent you seek is already available and you just forgot where to look.
Statistics show that 62% of the talent you need is readily available to you and are twice as likely to accept cold emails if they have interacted with your company brand before. That’s right, 62% of the top talent you’re looking for is already in your database, just waiting for the right opportunity to join your company. That is why it is more critical than ever to create a proactive recruiting strategy and ensure Talent Pools are an integral part of that strategy.
But it doesn’t end with just creating talent pools, you also must establish a relationship with the candidates in those talent pools and build their trust. You need to stay engaged and encourage candidates to keep their resume data current and accurate. You must show YOU’RE still interested long after they’ve applied and that there is future opportunity for them.
What does ‘establishing a relationship’ mean? By definition, a relationship is the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected. The way we each view a relationship can differ broadly, but at the core it still means the same thing. To have a relationship with someone means being connected at a deeper level than a mere association. Talent Relationship Management is the engagement between recruiter and candidate; it is building trust and maintaining interest on both sides so that time to fill future awarded projects can be reduced exponentially.
Talent Pools and Talent Relationship Management (TRM) can work lockstep and create an immersive experience for your candidates. They can help you develop and maintain relationships with your candidates and stay engaged with your top talent, nurturing that talent early and often. The ultimate goal is that you are never behind the 8 ball when projects are awarded. You have the talent to fulfill any project need with the right skills, competencies, certifications, and experience level, you just need to remember where to look.
Capitalize on your existing candidates with Talent Pools and TRM campaigns! An engaged relationship = opportunity for both you and your candidates. Win/Win!
Are you feeling overwhelmed by trying to keep track of open requisitions, or the candidates you have in the interviewing process? Not to mention the candidates with unanswered offer letters or those that have accepted or declined an offer. There are a lot of moving pieces in the acquisition process, now add to that the expectations of the candidates themselves and you could end up spending more time writing emails and making phone calls than actually recruiting anyone!
In their book “The War for Talent,” Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod tell us more about the new reality created by the war for talent. Within the old reality, people needed companies; machines, capital, and geography were the competitive advantage; better talent made some different; jobs were scarce; employees were loyal and jobs were secure; and people accepted the standard package they were offered. However, within today’s new reality, there is a shift more towards focusing on and keeping employees because companies need people; talented people are the competitive advantage and better talent makes a huge difference; talented people are scarce; people are mobile and their commitment is short term; and people are demanding much more.
While the employee/employer relationship of today impacts every type of business, it has an even more profound impact on project based organizations. You rely on your people to deliver world class projects every day. Without them, your projects suffer, your customers suffer, and ultimately, your bottom line shows the negative consequences. BUT, there are better ways to cope with the challenges of talent acquisition.
With this new reality in mind, let’s cover what you can do to stay ahead of the curve and secure the strongest candidates in the marketplace. Firstly, you need to expedite the talent acquisition process, secondly, understand how talent pools can help you keep track of those highly specialized roles, and finally, how optimizing employee branding and the candidate experience can make a huge difference for your organization.
Expediting Talent Acquisition
The days of candidates flocking to your website to apply for positions is over. Remember, if they are a great employee, you can bet you are not the only one trying to convince them that your organization is the best place for them. Mindsets have shifted. The dialogue is no longer “why should we give you a job”, instead it’s “why our organization will be a great place for you to build your career.” This means we need to rethink our hiring process completely to understand how to present a strong value proposition to prospects. People want to work where the culture is strong and the projects are interesting. How are you communicating that to prospective employees?
All this change gets a whole lot easier when you leverage technology to track and adjust your processes.
To get a clearer picture of your talent acquisition process, take a look at it and break it down into intervals of time between each of the steps between the job posting and the first day on the job – from when a candidate was sourced, to when they were screened, to when they were interviewed, etc.
Considering you have this information available – both the steps and time to fill – a part of the equation you might be missing is how long it takes you to complete each step. This piece of information lets you know right away if there are any steps that are consistently taking longer than others, and gives you a chance to evaluate your processes to make them more efficient. According to Dr. John Sullivan, the steps that tend to hold up the process the most are:
Approving new job postings
Each of these steps can be tracked in an ATS, a great tool to aid you in the reporting of this information. Reporting on the average amount of time in each step can help to identify blockages and where to focus to improve processes and efficiency for future hires. At the end of the day, it’s all about having the right people available at the right time to keep your projects staffed and running smoothly.
For example, through reporting you can identify if you are indeed struggling with approvals of job postings, where to make improvements to the process and if the changes you are making are improving the timing.
How Brilliant HR’s Talent Acquisition solution can help:
When creating a requisition, approvers for that requisition can be established. These approvers then receive email notifications to accept or reject the requisition, with reminders if they do not take action.
You application process can include screening questions that score applicants as they apply to the requisition. These can be used to auto-screen candidates, or you can review these responses as a part of your initial review.
When it is time to interview a candidate, the Brilliant HR ATS gives you the ability to select dates and times to send to the candidate, which they can then accept or reject online.
You can also report on how long each of these steps takes, and evaluate if there are areas you can improve.
Another area an ATS can assist with is in building and maintaining talent pools. Deltek’s Clarity research shows that finding qualified talent is a top challenge for project based firms and establishing talent pools can really help to flag candidates that you want to stay in touch with for future opportunities.
As resumes are added to your ATS, you can review and then flag those that would be a good fit for future openings.
Maintaining talent pools by continuously accepting and flagging resumes from strong applicants can help you move faster when you win a new project, or when someone leaves unexpectedly and a succession plan for that individual is not in place. In his post The Smart Move for Growing Companies Is to Always Be Recruiting Talent, David Ciccarelli further expands on how having a pipeline in place can help, and some techniques for expanding the pipeline.
In the example of where someone leaves unexpectedly, this is where having a pipeline of candidates can be critical, filling that gap sooner rather than later. There is nothing worse than having to delay a project start date because you lack the appropriate resources!
How our Talent Acquisition can help:
When you review a resume, you can add that resume to a pool so that you can easily find them in the future.
Pools enable you to keep lists of candidates with specific requirements, helping you stay in touch with those job seekers with email communication. These lists can be generated manually or through the use of search agents that automatically add to the list. They can also be shared for easy access to information. Inviting job seekers in these pools to apply to job openings they are a good fit for and have the appropriate skill set. Again, potentially filling a position quicker by already having the talent defined by using Talent Pools.
Employee Branding and Candidate Experience
It is very important that you are attractive to candidates as an employer; their experience moving through your online application and hiring process can have a huge impact on this perception. An ATS can help you identify areas where applicants drop from the process and make it easier to keep in touch so that your organization avoids giving candidates the “black hole” experience.
A recent Forbes article gives some insight into some of the things that job seekers found negative in the process.
60% of employers “never bothered letting me know the decision after the interview”
43% of candidates found out during the interview “the job didn’t match what was written in the job ad”
34% of the candidates said the company representative “didn’t present a positive work experience”
This is where a focus on your branding and candidate experience aided by an ATS help to ensure that your offer is the one that gets accepted!
How our Talent Acquisition can help:
You are able to create your own email templates for notifications, and then tie those to different steps in your recruiting workflow to make sure that you are keeping candidates informed.
You can access your listing of job descriptions when starting a requisition, and use those descriptions to fill in your job description and requirements within the requisition form.
Talent Acquisition can assist you with your career center – the Brilliant HR and Deltek teams work with you for a branding experience that matches your company’s needs, while providing you with the ability for applicants to find and view jobs online (including on their mobile device). This also includes an application process, where you drive the steps and information collected from your applicants.
Have you heard? Gen Z (1996-2012) is already making their way into the workforce. While some of this generation are still too young to enter the workforce, the eldest of them are around 22, and may even be one of your colleagues. How are Digital Natives different than the Millennial generation? That’s just it – they are truly Digital Natives. They don’t know a world without digital devices or social media. Their attention span can be shorter than Millennials; technology comes very naturally to them and they are used to switching between apps and multi-tasking at all times. Which is why in today’s post I want to discuss your job descriptions, with a focus on the length of them. Did you know in a recent study by CareerBuilder that 60% of job seekers said they have quit an application due to its length or complexity? Looking ahead as more candidates begin to come from Gen Z – this is going to become even more relevant. Where are these Gen Z candidates now? They’re on social media, and especially on visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. Expect your recruitment efforts for these new candidates to change. Lengthy job descriptions are not going to be a huge hit, as well as long email conversations. Short video and voice messages will be much more effective at keeping in touch. To get applicants excited about working for your organization, try making short videos of a job description, and keep the visual elements enticing. Post these on your company YouTube channel to encourage engagement. Remember that keeping candidates informed with constant communication about their status and potential next steps is critical. The iGeneration doesn’t like being kept in the dark and appreciates real time feedback, especially in-person or video versus a text or email. Here are some more tips about how to make your video job descriptions stand out:
Have someone that is currently in the position or very similar one talk about the role, that way the potential applicant gets a realistic idea of a day in the life.
Create a corporate overview brand video as well, with an overarching theme that stays consistent with each video.
Keep your video job descriptions around 2 minutes to 2 and 1/2 minutes long.
Make sure there is a call to action in your video, such as “email us to apply” or “click the link in the description box to apply” or better yet, embed your video on the job description of your website so it is easy to apply after watching.
Create a style guide/notebook that can be updated over time with phrases and tips on how you set up the last video to make it easier for the next video.
The competition for great talent is fierce, just as it is on the ice or mountainside.
Great Candidates, just like athletes, are few and far between. Every candidate has a goal in mind when they interview at your organization, whether that is “Get the Job” or “Just seeing what’s out there”.
Finding good candidates and hiring fast still retain their positions as the top 2 challenges when it comes to recruiting. Consider what happens before and after the job application, as well as the risks and opportunities these findings pose to employers who compete for top talent.
The Impact of Social Media. 74 percent of interviewers will check candidates’ social media as part of their interview preparation. This is in contrast to the expectations of candidates, however, as only a third expect their social media to be screened, meaning many could be caught short online.
Time is of the essence. Just as our Team USA athletes compete in timed races, the dash to hire top talent is crucial. Today’s candidates want a faster process and to communicate via social channels such as texts, WhatsApp, Twitter or even Instagram. Luckily, with the growing presence of Artificial Intelligence, top recruiters are increasingly able to streamline into one single sign-on platform accessing virtually all aspects of recruiting and following up with candidates for future opportunities. With technology taking the brunt of the more cumbersome work, your recruiters have more time to invest in high-value areas, like giving candidates a high-quality experience and hiring managers impactful advice. On average, filling a vacancy takes 45 days and that’s 45 days of lost productivity. When your organization builds upon a solid technology foundation, you have a winning strategy!
Keep your players engaged. Take a minute to think about the difference between a happy employee and an engaged one. Though they might sound similar, they aren’t necessarily the same thing. Engaged employees feel their work is valuable, have a sense of connection to their co-workers, and want to be part of the company’s operations. Focus on getting potential new hires ingrained in your company culture as quickly as possible and keeping it throughout the recruitment and onboarding process. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much better your employees will perform, and your retention rates will decrease as well. Here’s something to consider: people will never remember what they were told or what they read on their first day at a new job. They will always remember how they felt at the end of the day. You want your employees leaving work like they just won that gold medal, the best job ever.
Think like a head hunter. Just as athletes are always thinking about their competitor, how they’re training, how often they are practicing… you should be too. You know there are executive recruiters out there with their eyes on your top talent. Do they know things about your best people that you don’t know? Better catch up or someone may recognize that star player and make an offer that’s tough to turn down.
To learn more about Going for the Gold in Talent Management, be sure to tune in to my webinar next week with Deltek. Click the button below to register.