Archive for October 2013

Effective Hiring in the 21st Century

October 22, 2013

                                                            by Garrett Muston

When I think about effective hiring and what it means today, I can’t help but think about old hiring processes and how much has changed.

It reminds me of a time in the mid-2000s when I was job searching, by no motivation of my own, and my father would get upset with me if I wasn’t visiting potential employers by eight o’clock in the morning. He instructed me to introduce myself to the manager and ask for an application, which I would fill out and return on the same day. After a few days of following my father’s guidance, I was left with virtually no applications and had wasted much of my time. About nine out of ten businesses I visited informed me that I had to apply online, and sent me away empty-handed.

My father didn’t realize that the days of paper applications are gone, and the effective hiring practices of his generation are no longer valid.

Fast-forward to 2013 – by now the digitization of the job market is common knowledge. We have established that the application process has changed, but that isn’t the only aspect of hiring that has evolved.

Candidates are researching your company.
Remember the “Now Hiring” signs? They aren’t as commonly seen as they once were, and there’s a good reason why. With nearly one-fourth of the world’s population on social media, websites such as LinkedIn and Facebook have become a critical asset for recruiting job prospects. However, it’s important to be aware that candidates are looking for you too, so make yourself available and give a good impression. Every manager wants to attract great talent, but when your ideal candidate has thousands of options just a “click” away, you have to stand out.

For many candidates, the first impression of your company is received through some form of social media. What impression is your company sending?

It’s hard work keeping your social media audience engaged, but it pays in talent. The candidates who visit your social media pages are looking for a representation of your company culture, and what they can expect from employment with you. A good starting point might include a highlight of the best reasons to work for you and a creative, entertaining video about your company. Most importantly, develop a personality to represent your organization and ensure that it is equally displayed throughout job listings, social media, the company website, and any other web content your business publishes. Personality sets you apart, and it plays a major role in the impression you present to the 1.7 billion social networking users around the world.

Candidates want to feel valued.
As an employer, you may be sifting through hundreds of resumes each week, but when you’ve chosen a few distinguished applicants for interviews, it’s important to let them know that their accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed.

Candidates want to know they are valued, but you don’t necessarily have to put your money where your mouth is. A recent study suggests that workers value the opportunity for growth, status and recognition much more than a higher salary. According to Gallup’s engagement research, while employees have basic salary needs that must be met, there is no correlation between engagement and pay level. Employees want their egos stroked, and by showing the interviewee that you are willing to do that, you are indicating that they will be valued and recognized for their work at your company.

In addition to giving the interviewee praise, it’s necessary to let them know what your company has to offer its employees. If you offer great benefits or bonuses, highlight the value of these programs. Don’t sell yourself short. Mention all the perks – no matter how big or small – because you never know what may appeal to a candidate. Some perks may be more important than you think. For example, many employers restrict online freedom at the workplace, but according to Cisco’s second Connected World Technology Report, 45% of young professionals would accept a lower-paying job for more access to social media, more choice in the devices they use at work, and more flexibility in working remotely. Another modern perk employers are offering is a company phone, which is usually the latest and greatest smartphone. Access to technology in the 21st century work place has become a deciding factor for many candidates in their job choice, so perks that fall into this category should be in the spotlight.  Other common perks include free lunches, casual dress codes, and international work opportunities.

Company culture is key.
Engagement shouldn’t stop at the application. You’ve attracted top talent to apply for your job opening, and you just finished interviewing a rock star candidate that you can’t let get away. It’s likely that there is tough competition eager to have him or her on their payroll, so how can you compete? Company culture.

After the interview, take your top contender for a tour of the work place. As you tour, you should be introducing the candidate to your most experienced employees, mentioning their role in the company and a few of their accomplishments. Top performers typically thrive in competitive environments, and are eager to expand upon their skills through the mentorship of other accomplished professionals.

Don’t forget to explain any traditions your company has, including yearly events and social gatherings, and give a brief history of the company. Make sure that the candidate has a good idea of what they can expect for a work/life balance for the job position, and how they will fit into the big picture with the company. Talk about the steps your company is taking to remain “cutting edge” and modern in regards to the latest technologies and trends, including any remote working opportunities, flex time and technological tools available for use in the work place. Additionally, one of the most important aspects of a company’s culture is the cohesiveness of the team and how they function. Let the candidate know how they will mesh into the office “family.” They want to be part of something bigger than a nine to five time card.

Familiarizing a special candidate with the company culture can give them a sense of involvement and help them picture themselves as a part of your team. These factors are often unknown until employment has begun, so taking these steps post-interview is a great advantage in securing your candidate.

While some general hiring principles remain largely unchanged in the 21st century, the tools and processes involved in hiring have drastically evolved, and so have candidates’ needs. If your company is still handing out paper applications and relying on walk-in talent, it’s time to re-evaluate your talent acquisition tactics, build your online presence, and allow your company culture to evolve through technology.