Archives For Sean Little

Millennials are the conundrum of the employment market today. The US economy spends millions researching, reporting, and trying to solve the puzzle of the millennial worker. How do we attract and retain the precious millennial, who will be over half of the workforce very soon? It’s a question that’s on everyone’s mind.

The problem? Millennials aren’t any different than any generation before them (and here’s the IBM study to prove it.) The players haven’t changed. It’s the game that has changed.

Think back to 25 years ago. You might have gotten a job by walking into a building with a “Help Wanted” sign in the front of it. If you happened to catch the boss after lunch, you were hired. Or maybe you typed out your resume on a typewriter and responded to classified ads in the newspaper. Regardless, there was very little information in the marketplace about the experience of working at a given company. Workers were just happy to have a job that paid well and was relatively steady.

What has changed since those days? Everything.

The way we find jobs has changed.

If you thought your job was kind of boring, and maybe it’s not going anywhere, what would you do? Well, you might look around and see what else is out there. And now, in the new age of employment, you would find a ton of options. You could type in your job title online and find 500 listings within 100 miles of you looking for someone like you.

Data from Indeed says that 58% of adults in or looking to enter the labor force are looking at online job listings monthly. Not only are there more options available to the workforce, but the workforce is increasingly aware of those options.

The way we change jobs has changed.

What’s more? The internet tells you what it’s like to work at any company you’re interested in. From former employees to on-demand Q&A’s with employers, there are tons of places to find out how green that grass is on the other side of the fence. The players haven’t changed, but the game has. People don’t want to leave jobs any more or less than they used to. But other companies certainly want your most talented employees to leave their jobs in search of greener pastures. And the competition for talent gives companies incentives to employ more creative tools to get people interested in working for them. From dedicated candidate webpages to video content, changing jobs has never looked more enticing.

The way we create jobs has changed.

Alongside the internet and all the advances in the way we communicate with people has come more opportunity for entrepreneurs. According to the US Small Business Administration, the number of small businesses has increased by almost 50% in the United States since the 1980s. If you walked out of an advertising agency 50 years ago, it would be career suicide to start your own agency with no other employees. Today, that type of “I’ll do it myself” attitude is commonplace, because resources are available for any person to start their own business with a cell phone and an internet connection. It’s much easier to get your name out there, market and advertise products or services, and start making money on your own than it once was. Again, the players haven’t changed. The game has.

The way we do jobs has changed.

Cold calling, door-to-door sales, even print-mail marketing all had their chance in the sun for decades. The way people bought and sold has changed a little bit over time, but employees could pretty much rely on the company’s plan to attack the market. Since the rise of the internet, we have gone through pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, blog marketing, and social media marketing in pretty short order. Where once a boss could compel her sales representative to just make more phone calls in order to get more sales, today’s world requires a company to be more nimble and willing to embark on different methods for acquiring business.

With that comes a different kind of stress. Where before employees might complain that they were being forced to hit their head against the wall with little to no result, now they might complain because they are being forced to hit their head against the wall AND the company won’t let them finish their ladder.

The market for ideas is competitive one, and often represents a more equal playing field than the market for experience. A company that doesn’t keep it’s eyes and ears open, especially when it’s their own employees shouting and waving their arms, runs the risk of losing business and talent in one fell swoop.

millennial game changer

So what can we do?

You know now that it’s not the people who have changed. It’s the market around them that has changed. The first thing you can do to improve the way you attract talent, retain talent, and improve your business is to stop trying to change those things about people that can’t be changed.

You can’t hire someone who just doesn’t like leaving.

If you can’t get employees to stop leaving after 5 years, then build a recruiting process that allows you to replace the ones who leave with other employees who have the same training and skills. Become consistent in your recruiting and hiring efforts. Make the process by which you find people repeatable. That magic headhunter might get you the person with 10 years of experience once, but it will be less expensive and more reliable for you to build a business that doesn’t have to rely on that magic.

The players haven’t changed, but the game has. Now is the time to start reacting to those changes in the game. Look at the way people find jobs, and make the path to your company the easiest and most promising one. Look at the way people change jobs, and make your company the hardest one to leave. Look at the way we create jobs, and find a way to profit off all of you old employees who will leave and start their own thing. It will take time. It will be difficult. But it will be a heck of a lot more effective than complaining about the next generation of employees and how different they are.

 

broadcastWith all of those potential employees out there looking at job ads every month, an attractive job advertisement just might be your ticket to hiring the next superstar employee at your company. Request our Crafting Effective Recruitment Advertising Guide to learn more about how to get ahead of your competition for talent. 

Machine learning in recruitingIf you haven’t heard about how machine learning is changing the entire landscape of recruiting, it might be time to call your real estate agent and get them to put “For Sale” sign on the rock you’ve been living under the past three months. Just kidding, but seriously: everyone is talking about it. If you want to do some catching up, here are a few good places to start:

How Machine Learning is Revolutionizing Recruiting: “Recruiters can start to recognize pure data points of candidates’ contact information, their profile, their work history, etc. and be able to match those with opportunities. Machine learning does not automatically select the best candidate, instead it narrows the field of search and allows us to focus on analyzing the intangibles.”

What Machine Learning Can Bring to Corporate Recruiting: “So using historical data to predict what a human being will do or like isn’t that new but it is only now that the world’s HR departments are realizing how valuable it can be. Combining employee and candidate data in the right way can help companies get more out of their most important assets: human capital.”

With to all of the hysteria surrounding the topic, I considered titling this blog “This Millennial just used Machine Learning to destroy the Fake News about Recruiting.” I surely would have had more clicks. Machine Learning is the buzzword flying around in the recruiting world today. It’s the mystical, magical solution to all of your problems. The fact of the matter is, like all buzzwords, the idea behind machine learning in recruiting comes from a place of relative truth and good science. Using a computer to analyze the processes and outcomes of recruiting will allow you to make better recruiting decision, given a quality dataset and a well-engineered analysis.

Unfortunately (you knew a “but” was coming), the blog-o-sphere got a hold of this idea, and now you need a facial recognition software, a Google-sized recruiting budget, and an in-depth understanding of quantum mechanics in order to have a shot at hiring the right person for a job. While one of those things was a joke that no blogger has ever recommended for hiring better, all three are equally unnecessary for success in recruiting. Recruiting and hiring is hard, and any blog claiming that a robot is going to make it less hard is peddling you the same rubbish that applicant tracking systems have been pushing for years.

How you can replicate machine learning in your recruiting process

The fundamental idea behind machine learning in recruiting is a rock solid one. Instead of relying on your shortcuts – reading resumes, throwing out the ones with goofy names, throwing out the ones who misspelled something, keeping all of the ones who went to the same college as you – you are forced to rely on a computer’s analysis of a candidate. The computer has a quality dataset with information about the candidates who have already been successful at your company. Essentially, it is benchmarking your set of candidates against the criteria it thinks has led to success in the past.

A computer’s benchmarking, given a quality data set and a complex algorithm, will be better than your resume search. That’s a given. But it will never be without mistakes. If you learn nothing else from this blog post, learn this: recruiting is hard. There is no magic pill.

There is, however, good process. Take anybody at your company who has been in the position you are trying to hire for and had success and ask them as many questions as you can think of. Ask them things you might ask a candidate who is coming to work at your company. How many years of experience did you have when you started? What skills did you come to us with? What work behaviors do you possess that you think lead to successful outcomes for yourself and for our business? What motivates you?

Once you have their answers, figure out which ones you can identify during your recruiting process. If your best sales representatives came into the company with zero sales experience, you’ve just learned something about what makes a person successful at your company. If your best customer service representatives are motivated by the positive feedback they receive from your clients, you know how your best future CSR’s ought to be motivated.

Here’s the important part: once you’ve got some criteria set aside, ask your candidates these questions while they apply. Don’t sort through your candidate pool using their resumes. Don’t sort through them based on who submitted a .pdf resume and who submitted a .doc resume (trust me, it has happened.) Ask them the questions that you asked your current employees and use their answers to decide who to talk to. If all of your best sales reps are motivated by money, you should be molding your recruiting process around hiring candidates who love making money. Ask a multiple choice question about what motivates them to be successful in sales, and interview the ones who chose “Money!”

There! You did it. You’re a recruiting machine. Again, this is not the magic pill. In order to reap the benefits of this system, you have to commit to it. Contact everyone who answered your questions the right way. No shortcuts. By setting up our process this way, you will be eliminating 90% of the fluff – those candidates who answer every employment ad and aren’t qualified for your position; they won’t answer your questions the way you want them to. The rest is up to you. Happy hiring.

Small businesses hire sales people. Big businesses hire sales forces. There’s a very important distinction there. Given that only 1 in 4 sales people have the competence, the behaviors, the beliefs, and the motivations to be elite in a given organization, hiring a sales force is a numbers game that small businesses can’t afford to play. And yet, everyday we see small businesses doing the same things as their larger counterparts. They throw out a job description, collect resumes, find people with experience and that “sales” personality, and make a hire based on unreliable criteria.

Here’s a good example. These are two real candidates for a sales job for which NewHire recently recruited. The employer needed a business-to-business sales representative to sell software to CEO’s and owners of small and medium-sized businesses. The position required a salesperson to do mostly over-the-phone sales, where some leads would be provided, but the salesperson would have to supplement via their own prospecting. I will refer to two of the candidates in their applicant pool as Candidate A and Candidate B, and describe their sales talents in the same depth that we discovered them:

Candidate A, according to her resume:

Selecting Sales People

  • Worked in sales for 8 months before leaving the company and taking a job as a social media marketing manager for a research consulting agency
  • Had a 3 month gap in her work history, and not much information on experience beyond that one sales job
  • Has a bachelor’s degree from a small liberal arts college
  • Describes herself as “talented and results focused”

Candidate B, according to his resume:

  • Been in sales for 7 years and has just recently taken a sales management role for a “burgeoning technology company”
  • His sales experience was mostly business-to-business with some business-to-consumer experience
  • Has a bachelor’s degree from a Big Ten school
  • Describes himself as “loyal”

Given the above information, you might take a guess at which candidate is the better sales representative. Candidate B clearly has more experience. He also fits the industry that the employer works in, and has even moved up into sales management, right? If you’re like most companies, you would phone screen Candidate B and toss Candidate A in the resume shredder. Luckily, NewHire didn’t rely on this information alone. When we took a closer look, the picture of each candidate became a lot clearer.

Based on their answers to our careful questioning and an OMG Assessment, here’s what we learned about each candidate.

beliefs

sale-behaviors

truth-resumes

After further review, Candidate A clearly has the competency, skills, and behaviors that fit the employer’s need and are correlated with sales success. Here’s the deal: given a phone interview and a few in-person conversations, the employer probably never would have hired Candidate B anyway. Despite the attractive resume, they would have uncovered that he was not a fit and moved on — wasting only their valuable time in the process. The problem is not that Candidate B would have been hired… It’s that Candidate A would have never even been interviewed given the contents of her resume alone!

She was the perfect candidate and ended up being a very successful hire for the employer. Had they relied on her resume, she wouldn’t have had a chance at even talking to the employer on the phone. That’s the impact that the average hiring process has on the ability for a small business to hire successful salespeople. In some jobs, you can get by just screening for experience (although I would argue that including behaviors, motivations, and skills in the early stages of any recruitment search is ideal.) In sales, failing to uncover appropriate information about your candidate before ruling them out of the process is the number one way to miss out on your next superstar.

Imagine the impact a salesperson from the top 10% could have on your business this year alone. Can you afford to continue hiring the same, dangerous way just because resume screening is how you’ve always done it? No matter how you do it, a small business in search of a sales superstar must find out about a candidate’s sales behaviors and beliefs before making a yes or no decision on the candidate. Setting up a process that is specific to your company by which you can learn relevant information about a candidate before ruling them out will yield better results every time. There are plenty of tools out there to help save you time in building a custom process, but clearly it must be built. The old guess and check method for hiring salespeople is unsustainable, as the example above shows.

If you’re interested in learning more about the sales behaviors and beliefs that correlate to success in sales in all positions, and finding out which things to look out for that will make a difference for candidates at your company, check out Dave Kurlan’s White Paper on Sales Selection.

Maybe you’ve heard of the commonly cited word problem made popular in the psychology and behavioral economics field by Nobel prize winning economist Daniel Kahneman and his late colleague Amos Tversky. It goes like this:

Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Which is more probable?

   a. Linda is a bank teller.

   b. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement. [1]

The obvious answer is B, right? Based on that 3 sentence description, it’s pretty likely that Linda is active in the feminist movement. Heck, she’s probably a vegan, too! Am I right?

No.

I’m actually very wrong.

Let’s do the math real quick. How many people are bank tellers? Let’s represent that number of people with the variable x. Now, of that group of people who are bank tellers, how many are also active in the feminist movement? Well, since this group must meet both the conditions (feminist and bank teller), we know that it is a subset of x. With that in mind, clearly it is more likely that Linda is a bank teller than it is that Linda is a bank teller and some other thing. But, the feminist narrative fits her so well. Our unconscious biases take one look at her description as a social justice warrior and become vulnerable to the presumption that she, like so many of the people we know with similar descriptions, is an active feminist. 

This is an example of the conjunction fallacy. And if you were one of the people who was saying B was the correct answer, you’re in the majority. In one study, 85% of respondents said B, even though it is quite literally impossible for B to be more likely. [2]

Hiring is so broken

So? What gives? What’s at play here? And how does it relate to hiring?

Well, that story you just told yourself about Linda. It’s the same kind of story that’s keeping you from finding the right person to fill your open jobs.

Let’s say you are hiring for a Sales Rep. At some point in time, you’ve collected a stack of resumes. You look over the first few and start a Yes pile, a Maybe pile, and upon reading the third resume, you decide to start a No pile… in the trash. What was wrong with the third resume? Well, there was this gap in it. And usually when there’s a gap in a resume, it means the person did something bad that kept them out of work for a while.

The reason hiring is broken

I hear this “gap” story all of the time. There are hundred of other stories as well, ones that land your target candidate in the trash instead of at your doorstep. The problem with these “stories” is that they force us into thinking that what might be true must  be true. Heck, if we didn’t have some short cut for sifting through resumes, we’d be reading them for hours! But when it comes to a talent market that is already so tight, can you really afford to throw away someone with a gap in their resume without first confirming why there was a gap? Not to mention, if you had to defend your hiring process to a group of your peers, do you really think that focusing on “gaps” rather than focusing on sales skills, behaviors, and motivators would pass the eye test? The fact of the matter is, the biases that are inherent in resume reading give you about a 50% chance of failing the hiring process before you even pick up the phone and call someone for the first time. [3]

Now this might be the point in this article where you’re saying to yourself, “Okay, I get it. A lot of people are biased. The resume isn’t perfect. But I am certainly not as biased as most people.”

I’d like to introduce you to another form of bias called “the bias blind spot.” According to a Princeton University study, in a sample of 600 Americans, only 1 person considered herself more biased than the average American. That’s right — only 0.2% of the population actually believes they are in the top 50 percentile of bias. 85% of people believed they were less biased than the average American. [4] That is to say, not only are we extremely biased, but we also tend to underestimate just how biased we are.

The reason that hiring is broken has much less to do with a skills gap and much more to do with the fact that humans are the ones in charge of doing the hiring. And humans, by their very nature, are fallible. But where humans have shown immense progress is when we recognize our own fallibility. Think about some of the most important inventions of the modern era — airplanes, computers, and sliced bread. None of these could have been invented if we didn’t first recognize that we were unable to compute complex algorithms quickly, we were unable to slice loaves evenly, and we were unable to grow wings and fly. When it comes to hiring, we need to stop trying to grow wings and start building the darn airplane.

Where do we start?

At NewHire, we believe that every time you recruit, you follow a six step process. Those six steps start with Preparing to Recruit. This means sitting down and ironing out the profile of your target candidate. Who are they reporting to? What challenges will they face? What behaviors and motivations are going to be significant in reporting to that person and facing those challenges? What are the specific skills necessary for success? If you aren’t answering these questions before you start looking for candidates, then when it comes time to make decisions, you are bound to be comparing candidates against one another rather than comparing them against the ideal. Figure out what your ideal candidate acts like, and then hold yourself accountable to finding that person.

There are a handful of great methods out there for sourcing candidates. If you’re not an expert at this, there is help everywhere you look. So ask around (heck, ask me) and you should find what you need. [5] This is the piece of the recruiting process that has advanced a lot since the days of “Help Wanted” signs in the window. The next piece of the airplane that we need to build is the screening method. This is crucial. Instead of using resumes as your screening agent and inviting all of that bias into the process before you ever get kicked off, I think it makes sense to use a short questionnaire. Some multiple choice and short answer questions that are aimed at getting the right person to answer questions that prove they’re the right person. If you keep this questionnaire short, candidates will appreciate the opportunity to prove they’re right for the job. This will change everything. Now, instead of finding reasons not to call someone, you’re going to be finding reasons why you should call people. They have the years of experience. They have skills x, y, and z. They prefer to work autonomously rather than being closely managed.  And if you have it set up right, you’ll be able to search your results based on the answers to these questions, making your Yes, No, and Maybe piles automated, saving you tons of time and holding you accountable to the things you said were important at the start.

If you do these two things, your hiring is guaranteed to improve immediately. Not to mention, you might actually start to enjoy the process. The final piece of the pie is the interview stage — which would require another 1200 words. Maybe next time…

Interested in learning how to attract those top candidates? Check out our guide for Crafting Effective Recruitment Advertising. It’s a great way to ensure that your talent pipeline stays full of qualified candidates in an increasingly competitive market. 

 

Back to the Future of Recruiting

“Your kids, Marty. Something has got to be done about your kids!”

Doc Brown had a point when he took Marty to the year 2015. Something had to be done about us, residents of the year 2015. And although Doctor Emmett Brown may not have been the strongest recruiting mind of our time, I must give credit where credit is due.

Imagine you are in the year 1985 searching for a job. You are laboring over the typewriter to craft a perfect resume, knowing that you will probably have to drive around in search of “Help wanted” signs in the windows, drop a copy of that perfect resume off, and sit anxiously by the phone awaiting a call. There is no email. There is no internet. There is facsimile. Oh the glorious fax machine, invented over 20 years ago and beyond reproach — the greatest technological advancement since the telegraph.

And then, lo and behold, in the middle of your job search a disgraced nuclear physicist who you may have hung out with a time or two comes by the house with a piece of equipment a million times more advanced than your precious facsimile device. In a time machine, the two of you travel forward in time to the year 2015. Not only are their hoverboards and self-driving cars, but there is a magic box with keys and a screen that allows you to connect with anyone in the world with the click of a button. These “computers” not only have the power to communicate across thousands and thousands of miles, but they also allow a user to input, store, process, and output information in fractions of a second.

These machines have become the center of the universe. People everywhere in the futuristic 2015 world are staring at miniature computation devices meant for phone calling, communicating via electronic mail or text message, and playing games. Walking aimlessly on and off sidewalks into the and out of the danger of traffic, so engrossed in these devices that they are relatively unaware of the physical world around them, the humans operating these miniature computers need no location. Humans can be truly present without being physically present.

But alas, you can’t just exist in the year 2015. In order to stay, you’ll need money. And due to astronomical rate of inflation, the old Nickel and Dime stores have become — what is that? — A DOLLAR? Great Scott! That pocket change from the year 1985 will be of no use around here.

A job. You need a job.

But, this is going to be disastrous. The people of the year 2015 must find jobs in a way that has advanced far beyond the old “send and pray resume” method. Given these “computers” and all of this “software,” someone must have found a way to attract, filter, and select talent seamlessly.

What then, will you do with your resume? It’s so bland. It’s so non-specific. It’s so… old.

Hold on. You sir, what’s that you’re doing? You’re just sending in your resume to that employer electronically? But, what about the softwares and the computation devices? They’re not being used to make the resume a thing of the past? People are still asking for you to fax in your resume?

Despite computers and software that give us the tools to match employers with specific candidates for employment that meet their criteria in the click of a button, almost everyone has taken this “send and pray resume” method and simply put it online?

Man, this is heavy. But, couldn’t you send out questionnaires with queries meant to narrow in on ideal criteria? And now that everyone has a device meant to communicate with anyone at any time, if my calculations are correct, these questionnaires could be available en masse via independent landing pages shared across the internet in certain hubs where job seekers hang out. This way, when looking for a job, a candidate can prove their worth to employers in terms that are mutually understood. Heck, this futuristic world could go beyond mere experience when deciding on whom to interview. You could develop methods to understand an employee’s behaviors, their motivations, and their very skills.

Recruiting is an essential business function. How could you, the hyperintelligent beings of the future, have left such an important piece of your lives in the hands of a mere resume? Something has got to be done. Dear employers of the great future, in 2016, I beg you to trust in the one page questionnaire and compare candidates against the same criteria. Rid the world of the resume. Unless… what are you? Chicken?

 

broadcastWant to know more about the changing world of recruiting and hiring? Check out our Webinar series, where you will learn to take complete control of the 6-Step Hiring process that defines who fills that next open seat. 

Chess pieces recruiting game

Great Job, Great Company

Recruiting is an endgame. A lot of businesses see their inability to retain top talent as a product of their recruiting practices (“I hire people who tend to hop from job to job, so I will fix it by hiring people who prefer to stay put.”) I could go on for hours about the misuse of the “job hopper” label to disqualify candidates, but I will spare you the word count. Businesses can improve the approach of their recruiters and hire people whose behaviors, motivations, skills, and experience fit the company and the job, which is something that NewHire helps our clients with everyday. Recruiters must be sure to include appropriate language in job ads and sell the job itself to potential candidates. But the fact of the matter is, recruiting is an endgame, and if the company isn’t doing the work to sell the company to top talent, it may be a difficult one.

Here’s what I mean: the market for talented individuals is a complex one. The employer is both buyer and seller, as is the potential employee. In order to win over the best talent at a fair price, the employer must create and market a desirable work environment. Then, the recruiter must communicate what makes the job unique to other available jobs. Finally, they must select from the available pool of interested talent and negotiate a price that doesn’t break the bank. All the while, the potential employee walks the tightrope between expressing interest in a new company and looking out for their needs as an individual (“I want to work for you, so long as you meet these requirements for me.”)

This isn’t just happening with the employees you’re looking to hire. The employees already in place at your company are playing the same game, and it benefits you as an employer to remember this. Your employees are consistently (if unknowingly) aware of what other options are out there. Job boards send daily email reminders, recruiters consistently bombard them with InMails, and friends or peers are always talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of their own work environments.

Whether they are looking for a job or not, sometimes hearing a buddy talk about his job at an ad agency in the city can get the gears turning in your best employee’s head. Not to mention, if your employees are badmouthing your company, word is likely to get around. So as an employer, you must recruit and re-recruit the people who you have already employed.

But how? 

Keeping your existing employees engaged and employed is not a simple task. If you’re looking for a few things you can tweak at your business to motivate people to make you the next Google, now would be a good time for a reality check. This is something that is going to take some time, some thought, and maybe some professional help.

Okay. Here’s what I think it boils down to: employers need to understand why they are in business, who they are in business for, and where their business will be in the next 10 years. Then, they need to communicate those things to employees, and fulfill the expectations they set.

For example, I work with a lot of small manufacturing companies whose sole purpose is to build widgets. All day, every day, 10 people in a 12 person company sit in a factory and build the pieces that attach to the other side of industrial bolts. They are in business because people need lock-nuts. That’s why they are in business.

These manufacturers usually say, “We are in business for our clients. Everything we do, we do for them.” And that’s a great sentiment for selling widgets, but it’s not a great sentiment for pleasing your employees. The idea, then, is to have a message that is compelling for your employees that is just as visible and consumable as the message you have for your clients.

If you’re in the right industry, both messages can be the same! Because quite frankly, I don’t really care that the person I buy my widgets (or burritos, or dental floss) from is “dedicated to my happiness.” What if my widget supplier said to me, “Listen, I sell widgets because I want to build a better life for myself and my employees. Widgets are the vehicle in which we approach that goal . We’ve built something great here, because we know that the better this widget is, the better education our children get. You understand that?”

Heck yeah I get that! Now you’ve got a message for your clients that says “We’ve got a personal stake in the success of that widget,” and a message to your employees that says, “We do this all for you.” And if you back that message up and actually provide your employees with an improved environment and lifestyle (and dare I say have a little fun once in a while), do you think that they’ll want to stay? Do you think that talented individuals will want to join them?

That’s the why and the who of it. The final task is to set up processes for communicating to employees where you’re going. This includes lofty goals (see: Google) as well as shorter term goals. Giving your employees a road map for where you’re going as a company is a great way to ensure that they’re focused on bringing you there. If you say it for long enough — and loud enough — the employees who will make the biggest difference will hop on board.

 

In closing, people want good jobs at good companies. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, but each piece needs to be defined and communicated in a compelling way in order to find success in the search for talent and beyond. In order to win at the recruiting endgame, you will need to build a great foundation for your recruiting strategy. This falls conveniently into Step 1 in our 6 Step Recruiting Process — Preparing to Recruit.

As a kid, the phrase “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!” always stood out to me as kind of silly. The idealist in me said, “But if they’re all in one basket, then I can carry them all at once.” And, yesterday, as I stood looking at a dozen shattered eggs sprawled out over my kitchen floor, the idealist in me was very, very silent.

I don’t know if I’ll start  keeping my eggs in more than one carton, but at least now the essence of the adage is not so lost on me. Especially when it comes to your business, employees, or products, having a back-up plan is essential for those things in life that are difficult to replace. As careful as you are in everything you do, at some point, you’re bound to drop a carton of eggs on the kitchen floor.

Step 6 - Sean's Blog Copy

The place in the recruiting process where most employers forget to diversify is during the final offer – Step 6 in our 6 step recruiting process. A business has done all the up-front work necessary. That includes developing a compelling Employee Value Proposition, writing a great recruitment ad, and assessing the candidate pool adequately. They bring in some fantastic candidates, interviewed them, and found a few that fit the position and company culture. Finally, they choose one. What now? The business sends an offer letter to the top candidate, and when that candidate accepts, the business forgets about the other great talent they just spent months trying to find. Or maybe if the HR Manager is feeling polite, he or she sends the top few candidates an email that says, “Thanks but no thanks, we’ve filled the position.”

Perhaps you see where this is going. Top Candidate starts on day one, picks things up pretty quickly and is enjoying the company after a few weeks of working there. But then Top Candidate gets a call from her last employer. After some groveling, and a tremendous salary increase, Top Candidate goes back to her old company, and we are left standing in a pile of egg yolks.

In sales, a company would never let a qualified prospect off the hook because they found another qualified prospect to sell to. So why do we throw away good talent so quickly? Especially given the understanding that retaining great employees is so difficult, why throw all of our eggs in one basket?

That moment when your top candidate accepts an employment offer is a wonderful moment. Especially for a business that’s been searching to fill this position for a few months, or even a few years, it can be liberating. But it is also a crucial moment in the hiring process, and one that most small businesses can’t afford to get wrong.

Keep a clear head and check your optimism. Take the good talent you found during the first 5 steps in the hiring process, and just like you would in sales, continue to engage with them. When good talent comes around, remember that “not now” is always better than “no.” A great way to express this to a candidate is as follows:

“We hired a person for this role, but we are always looking to add great people to our team, and throughout the interview process we recognized that you are immensely talented. We would love to add you to our team once we have the capacity to bring on more people. Would you mind if we stayed in touch over the next few months to see if we can do that?”

Imagine hearing that kind of a “no” as a job candidate. The worst the candidate could say is that he or she does not want to hear from you, in which case you are no worse off than you were before. A recruitment process that works like a sales process ensures that once you’ve found good talent, you don’t let them off the hook until they give you an absolute, definite, no. This way, you’ll never be left standing in a pile of cracked eggs with a recruiting emergency on your hands, and your company will continue to add great talent with every hire.

As Quest Food Management Services of Lombard, IL has discovered, NewHire’s Advantage recruitment solution is an ideal fit for a rapidly growing food service management company. For over a year, Quest has successfully used NewHire’s Advantage service to continually recruit across the region and across the company’s diverse range of open positions. Advantage is not only the regional management team’s recruitment software, housing candidate’s applications, sorting out those who match the company’s qualifications, and allowing Quest to easily tag, track and share candidates. More importantly, Advantage is the team’s recruitment process, complete with expert help as needed.

NewHire’s Advantage service is well suited to the good, bad and the ugly of food service management recruitment. That’s true not only for the seasonally-driven K-12 market, but for food service management companies (FSMCs) serving higher education, business and industry, healthcare, senior and corrections clients. As a FSMC, you need to hire quickly, for many different job titles and dozens of positions, in a short time frame. If you are working in the education market, you may need to hire again after the first school or semester break, to recover from mid-year attrition. You need to hire for a wide range of positions: regional management and sales roles, corporate positions, food service directors and perhaps most importantly, the food service workers who interact daily with your clients.

Here are just a few of the ways NewHire’s Advantage can organize food service recruitment into one ongoing process for all of your job titles, positions, regions and client facilities.

One cost effective process, for everybody.

Advantage offers you unlimited users and unlimited job titles. From one dashboard, all of your staff involved in hiring will be able to post jobs, create applications that accurately screen applicants according to your requirements and priorities, and search for, sort and select candidates. We’ll get you off to a good start, too, with the attention-grabbing ads for your first three job titles written by our recruitment experts, and three ad packs provided to you at no additional cost.

No more unqualified resumes. And no more stacks of any resumes.

Our powerful screening tools help you easily identify candidates who match the qualifications you define for each job. NewHire saves you hours of time spent reviewing unqualified resumes, and with custom applications and screening questions for each job title, allows you to instantly sort candidates based on the qualifications you consider most important, so you’ll never have to print another stack of resumes for review. You can tag and track candidates, make notes, and share candidates with other users right in the software.

What sets your company apart – right there in your ad.

We’ll work with you to articulate what differentiates your jobs and your company from others in the business, and talk with you to clearly understand what makes your FSMC a great place to work. Then we will build that great company image – that Employee Value Proposition that makes your jobs great opportunities – right into NewHire, so it’s front and center for every applicant.

Client service and specialized expertise just like you give to your clients.

We know that food service management providers know and value good client service and the coaching and guidance that only experts can provide. We do, too. When you choose Advantage, you’ll be assigned to a recruiting professional who will work with you throughout the hiring process. We will also provide training for your entire HR team, and additional phone support, on-demand, when you need it.

Read about the recruitment results the Quest Food Management Services team has achieved using NewHire Advantage here and about their experience using NewHire’s Professional solution to successfully hire the right person for an essential executive position here.

Still not sure Advantage is the right fit for your organization? How about a cost-effective trial run? Check out our Elements solution. Elements offers you all of the services of Advantage for a single job title. Try one job title, for as many people as you need to hire in that role, and judge by your own results.

Our Quest Food Management Blog Series:

Part 1: Overview

Part 2: Analytic Results Infographic

Part 3: A Professional Case Study

Part 4:  NewHire Advantage- Conclusion

 

Want to learn more about how NewHire can help your company hire better? Request a demo here, or give us a call at 877-923-0054.

Recruiting Q&A

During a conversation in May with some of the top executives at small and mid-sized businesses nationwide, NewHire asked them to write down what questions they had about recruiting. Many of the questions we received in response fell into categories that we define in our 6 Step Recruiting Process.

Below is part two of a two part blog series outlining answers to those pressing questions. To see Part One of this blog, and the first three steps to the recruiting process, click here.

Step 4: Interviewing

Q: How do I interview to know if someone will fit in sales?

A: The recruiting process for sales reps should mirror the selling process for your sales reps as closely as possible. Be polite during an initial phone screen, but don’t be afraid to tell a candidate, “I’m not so sure this is going to work.” Their answer to that comment will give you an idea of how good they will be at handling objections.

Also, if you think you have the right candidate, give them a chance to close. Forget about the candidate for a day or two and see if they call you to follow up.

Finally, there are a variety of sales assessments available on the market that can pre-screen candidates for you so that you’re only talking to people who will fit in sales. Do some research, think critically, and decide if you want to invest in one that will help you find the right people.

Q: How can you match personality to company culture – during an interview, when people often don’t show their true personality?

A: We try to gauge “personality” or work behaviors, motivations, and personal drive in every step of the hiring process. From the initial application to the phone screen to the in-person interview, collect as many data points as you can about a candidate. If you still think they’re not showing their true colors, be up front with them. Ask them if you can expect to see the person they are presenting once they start with your company. Make it clear that if they’re not, both parties will be negatively affected. Being up front, even this late in the process, can definitely save you some headaches (and money) a few months down the road.

Step 5: Assessing

Q: When hiring for outside sales, how much weight do you give to sales assessments like Sandler?

A: This is very dependent on the job you’re advertising. If it’s a really good job in a talent-rich market, you’ll have enough candidates where you can afford to only talk to the candidates who pass the sales assessment that you subscribe to.
If it’s a really competitive market and you don’t have a wealth of candidates, it’s possible that you’ll have to make some exceptions or extend your search in order to find the right person. If you are having a difficult time getting enough recommended candidates from your assessment, look more carefully at the rejected candidates. Are there some that are close to right and have weaknesses that you can work with?

Q: How can we really find out how they performed in previous jobs?

A: Reference checks are good. But the word “really” in this question makes me think that person who asked might have been burned in the past. Sometimes, a bad reference check just serves as a peace-of-mind facilitator for the hiring manager.

Asking a candidate for proof of success can work. How many times has a sales candidate told you they were leading their previous company in sales and exceeding margins by 40%? A good response to this would be, “Hey, I’ve heard this from candidates in the past and ended up getting burned. I’d like to believe you, but I’d be more comfortable if you provided proof of your success. Can you?” They don’t necessarily have to, but their answer to this question can be a valuable indicator of success.

Step 6: Making an Offer

There were no questions about extending an offer to a candidate. However, things can definitely go awry if you’re not thinking this step through. Making a good offer that reflects the nature of the conversation you’ve been having with your top candidate is important. Be prepared to negotiate, though, especially with top talent.

Other

Q: What’s the path of least resistance in recruiting, no matter the position?

A: I’m tempted to say, “Call NewHire!” Look, recruiting is not easy. It takes planning and execution, just like everything else in business. Easy processes with bad tools yield less than desirable results. You’ll pay for those results down the line.

Doing some work up front to define your target candidate and employee value proposition, write a killer job advertisement, and advertise it widely will get you good results when it comes time to narrow the candidate pool, interview the top 10% and finally make an offer.

The path of least resistance is still going to be difficult, but it will also be worth it. Great companies big and small have one thing in common: they put a great deal of energy into hiring well. They understand that in order to get the bus going in the right direction, you have to have the right people on that bus. That means hiring well should be hard. But it will be worth it.

Recruiting Q&A

 

During a conversation in May with some of the top executives at small and mid-sized businesses nationwide, NewHire asked them to write down what questions they had about recruiting. Many of the questions we received in response fell into categories that we define in our 6 Step Recruiting Process.

Below is part one of a two part blog series outlining answers to those pressing questions.

Step 1: Preparing to recruit

Q: When making a new hire do you think hiring for experience is of greater value or lesser value than their potential?

A: This is a question that recruiters have argued over for years. When hiring, I think about four things that really define the candidate I want to hire:

1. Work Behaviors
2. Motivations
3. Skills
4. Experience

You will notice that experience was last on that list. Most of the time, we hire people for what they can do and fire them for who they are. A good way to look at the experience vs potential dichotomy is to use the 80/20 rule. I want to make my target candidate the person who has the behaviors and motivations that the job needs and around 80% of the skills and experience necessary.

Here’s why: in order to get someone to leave what they’re doing and come work for us, we have to compel them to make a change in their lives. We have to show candidates how they are going to earn more, learn more, and do more at our company TwitterLogo_#55acee than they will at any other company. Most of the time, we’re better off hiring someone who can perform the job well enough to start and can grow into the more difficult parts of the role and expand it as they get comfortable.

Q: How do you determine current salary/wage range for a given job/position in a specific region of the country?

A: One of the NewHire Staffing Coordinators, Conor Roach, wrote a blog about this question recently. You can find that here. There are a lot of online resources for this that are inexpensive. A final note in that blog is that you can be broad in the way you list salary on your job advertisement. In doing so, you can ask your candidates specifically what they think this type of job ought to earn. Jotting down their responses in a central location is a good way to benchmark whether the salary you were thinking of paying is competitive.

Q: How do we get our hiring manager and others in the interview process not to hire themselves? (understanding that differences create stronger teams)

A: This boils down to how you prepare to recruit. If the hiring manager is a part of the conversation in which the target candidate is identified, you’ll be able to challenge that person to think about which behaviors, motivations, and skills are important (and that they’re not necessarily the same ones that the hiring manager has). When it comes down to narrowing the candidate pool and making an offer to someone, the hiring manager will be more open to “others.”  Defining a process with your team and holding them accountable will trim some of these biases out of the process.

That being said, not all hiring managers are willing to drink the Kool-Aid. That’s something you’ll have to have a serious conversation with them about. Here’s a clip from a pretty mediocre movie that might help with that conversation.

Q: How do you overcome an undesirable location? (50 mile commute from the city)

A: A handful of ways. I’ll knock off “pay more” and “move” from potential solutions, because if those were options, I’m sure you wouldn’t be asking. Not to mention, pay is just one of the reasons people come to work each day. For certain people, it’s not even at the top of the list.

Still, if you have an obstacle like undesirable location to overcome, I encourage you to think long and hard about your value proposition to the candidate and put it in the job advertisement! More on this in a second…

Companies with built-in recruiting issues like yours also need to plan in advance for a more continuous recruiting process, hiring good candidates when you find them and not just when you need them.

Q: How do you appeal to the best people to get them to even apply for a job?

A: Employee Value Proposition. Write it down and put it in the job advertisement. Everything from compensation to work environment to how darn good your company softball team is will motivate candidates to come work for you. I asked one of my account managers what he likes most about working in the office, and he said this:

  • He enjoys the people he works with
  • There is a place to park his bike indoors
  • There’s a shower in the office

Having trouble defining your EVP? Ask your employees! And, request our EVP checklist here.

Q: How to hire not just for the current opening but for the potential to step into the next role?

A: I like this question, because I like the underlying philosophy it reveals. It is often cheaper and more efficient to hire for an entry level position and train your employees into bigger and better roles with your company. If you need to fill an administrative role now, but you want the candidate to eventually move into sales, make some of those sales competencies part of your hiring process today. Add those competencies to the list of skills that your target candidate ought to fulfill. Look at the cognitive abilities of your candidate (by testing them), and seek out their behaviors and motivations in order to identify future leaders.

Later in the process, ask the candidate where they think they ought to be with your company in 5 years. Often, they will tell you if they are motivated to move into a management role, or a sales role, or whatever.

Step 2: Recruiting/Sourcing

Q: Where do you find good qualified applicants?

A: Short answer: I often find them here, among a variety of other places (referrals, etc.)

Longer answer: You never know where or when the right candidate is going to be looking. Sometimes they come referred from someone you haven’t talked to in years who saw your posting on LinkedIn. Sometimes they come from Craigslist. Sometimes they come from Indeed. The point is, the only way you’ll know if your job is competitive enough to appeal to those qualified candidates is if you put it in as many places as you can. If you’re still not finding those qualified applicants, maybe you need to take a few steps back and redefine your Employee Value Proposition or your target candidate. Problems later in the hiring process often stem from problems with the first step: Preparing to Recruit.

Q: Do you recommend different venues for advertising a job based on the type of job that it is?

A: To an extent. LinkedIn and Salesjobs.com are great places to find sales talent, because that’s where sales talent is motivated to go. I often hear, “We don’t want the type of candidate that comes from that website.” I want to combat this line of logic up front.

If you have a tool for sorting through candidates so that you don’t waste time on candidates who are unqualified, what does it matter where they come from? There are CFOs who search for jobs on Craigslist just as there are CFOs who search for jobs on Indeed. No one website is guaranteed to provide only specific types of candidates. My suggestion is always to get the job out to as many places as is feasible and narrow the pool from there.

If the job specification is narrow, industry job boards, LinkedIn groups and association websites may be helpful. These won’t produce large quantities of candidates however they could yield the right one.

Q: How do I train future and current leaders to be good at selecting talent?
Q: How do we train and educate hiring managers to look beyond skill to rather looking at competence and job fit?

A: This is something that NewHire often helps our clients do. You’ll have to lay out a hiring process that you believe in, make it clear and logical so that your current leaders understand it, and hold people accountable on following through on that hiring process.

Our own 6-Step Process is no secret, and it works very well. Most of the time, getting those leaders to understand how to select talent falls into the first step in recruiting, preparation.

Step 3: Screening: Identify Top Talent

There were no questions on Screening talent. That concerns me! Because having an efficient and objective screening process that relies on information about the candidate is important when there are a lot of candidates to sort through. Trusting your intuitions about a person’s resume can often lead to mistakes. Even the President of NewHire misspelled his first name on a job application once upon a time. Are you passing up the perfect candidate because of something small and insignificant?

For more questions and answers on pressing recruiting questions, see Part 2 of this blog post here.