Talent Circles

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rethinking Recruiting: Mobile Matters

If you’re still thinking of your mobile website as just a smaller version of your desktop site, you need to think again. When it comes to recruitment, an optimized mobile site is equally, if not more important than your traditional site. The current workforce depends on their smart phones for nearly everything. And this includes applying for jobs. But if you want the best talent to apply, you need to make sure your mobile site is updated and easy to use. In recent findings from research firm Kelton Global Research, 70% of job seekers said they want to apply for jobs on their smartphones or tablets; but 60% said they wouldn’t proceed with a job application if they ran into technical problems. That amounts to a lot of potentially strong candidates taking themselves out of the running before hiring managers even get a chance to consider them.

So what makes a good mobile recruitment or careers site? Here are 5 key aspects to keep in mind.

Think screen size. Most good desktop websites have sidebars and white space strategically placed to capture attention and draw the visitor’s eye to the most important parts of the page. With Mobile sites, you still want them to be visually appealing, but they have to adjust to fit the screen of the device the person is using. This means the navigation becomes prominent and central, as well as easy to read without being too small or too crowded. Rule of thumb: Avoid frustrating your visitors.

Fingers vs. mouse. If you’ve been on mobile sites where you need to tap a specific line of text or place a check mark in a small box, you’ve likely encountered situations where you’ve inadvertently pressed the wrong spot on the screen. While a mouse arrow is a lot more accurate, people aren’t walking around with a mouse connected to their phones. So, it’s up to the design of the mobile site to offer more non-text based hyperlinks, and larger tiles, tabs and buttons for people to tap with more ease and accuracy.

Sliding and collapsible navigation. A good mobile site will forego sidebars and multiple menus and instead have all the main content headings visible in a top to bottom scrolling format on the phone’s screen. Viewers can expand those headings buy sliding a simple arrow, or tapping a collapsible widget. The goal is to have all the main topics or headings easily visible so people quickly find what they’re looking for and then give them the option to delve deeper with one swipe or tap.

Simple job applications. Remember, people use their smartphones to request more information or submit a form because they see something that captures their attention right now—and they want to take care of it right now. If that takes more than a couple of clicks, they’re going to lose interest and move on. The best mobile sites will have something like a simple, “I’m interested” button the candidate can click to apply using their LinkedIn profile or to provide simple contact information and the option for a brief greeting or message to the hiring manager. If you want them to upload a resume, it should be a simple one-click option to grab from cloud storage or another saved file. Anything more than one or two clicks will push candidates away. In addition, the applicant should quickly receive a confirmation that the information was received. Most expect a response within 24-48 hours. Even if you’re not sure you want to set up an interview, at least acknowledge that you’ve received the person’s information.

Mobile video conference interviews. Mobile video interviewing is a huge advantage for companies who use it. There are many apps for video conferencing available. Again, simplicity is key. The technology you choose should be easy to access and use. And you’ll find that you can greatly expand the available talent network. You can reach people globally with no travel required and are likely to appeal to employed individuals who might not be actively looking for a new job but might be intrigued by your opportunity.

So, go ahead and visit your website via your smart phone and assess your experience. Was it easy to navigate? Is the careers section obvious and quickly accessible? How intuitive is your job application process? Give your whole mobile method an honest evaluation. An optimized mobile site will go a long way toward achieving an optimized recruiting method.

For more information about the best recruiting strategies, contact us at 415-835-0202 or sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Are Employers and Job Applicants on the Same Page? – Part 2

Last week we talked about what employers are looking for as they search for new employees. This week we’re going to look at what job applicants want from employers during their job searches.

So, what do job applicants want from potential employers?

First and foremost, job applicants want consideration. And communication is a big part of that. Applicants want to be kept in the loop during all aspects of the hiring process, from application to interview, to hired or not hired. They expect to know where they stand within a reasonable amount of time, throughout the various steps in the process.

In fact, according to a survey from CareerBuilder, companies are likely to feel the repercussions of job applicants who believe they were treated poorly during the hiring process. The survey states: “Thirty-two percent of workers said they would be less inclined to purchase products or services from a company that didn’t respond to their application. Forty-two percent would never seek employment at the company again, and twenty-two percent would tell others not to work there.” And, in case employers don’t feel inclined to respond to applicants they are not interested in, they should be aware that eighty percent of job applicants expect a response from the employer—even when they are not interested in pursuing the candidate. These are important points to consider since when it comes to a company’s brand and reputation.

In addition to frequent updates and a reasonable time frame for the start-to-finish hiring process, job applicants also look for the following as a measure of a positive hiring experience:

  • A short, straightforward way to apply for jobs and learn about the company and the position. If it takes too long, or requires too many steps, applicants get bored and frustrated and move on.
  • A strong corporate website with engaging, interactive information, along with a robust, up-to-date social media presence.
  • An easy, online communication system that gives the applicants a way to track progress, learn more and stay in contact with the company. Again, communication is key.
  • Professional yet friendly interactions with company staff members. Applicants want to feel welcome and like company employees are knowledgeable and responsive to any questions.
  • An accurate depiction of the job they are applying for. Good details, job requirements and a clear explanation of how success is measured. Some examples of day-to-day activities and input from others who are currently or were previously in the same position are very helpful.
  • An honest portrayal of the company’s culture, values and vision. Job applicants want to know how well they will fit in with the organization and that what’s important to them is in line with the company’s principles. A clear description of the work environment up front can prevent unrealistic expectations and possible disappointment later if the applicant is not a good match for the company culture.
  • Feedback on why they didn’t get the job when a job offer is not being put forth. This shows a true sense of professionalism on the part of the company and is greatly appreciated by candidates. At the very least, candidates should be told they are no longer in the running so they can move forward with their job search.

Employers who put the time in up front to consistently and accurately communicate with job applicants will be much more successful at providing a positive candidate experience and eliminating the frustrations that turn away many job seekers. In fact, a good rule of thumb is for companies to treat job applicants with the same consideration and respect as they would their customers.

Ultimately, employers and applicants both want to be treated with honesty, respect and consideration. It can be easy to lose focus on the other party’s concerns when people feel overwhelmed by their own need to quickly fill a job opening or to procure a job offer. But being open to the bigger picture and considering the situation from the other person’s perspective will help the recruitment process—and the after-effects—go more smoothly for everyone.

For more information on building the best talent network, please contact us at 415-835-0202 or email sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Are Employers and Job Applicants on the Same Page? – Part 1

When it comes to the hiring process, both employers and job applicants enter the situation with some specific expectations and preferences. But are they aware of what’s important to each other? Maybe. Maybe not. Employers are primarily focused on ensuring that applicants are bringing the right foundational skills to the table. Job applicants are interested in companies that treat them with respect and consideration during the hiring process.
In today’s post we’ll talk about what employers want. Next week we’ll look at what’s important to job applicants.

What are employers looking for?

Whether dealing with recent college grads, seasoned employees, or mid-life career changers, there are certain skills employers want all of their employees to possess.

The “soft skills” that matter most to employers are:
  • The ability to work well as part of a team
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills—both written and verbal
  • The ability to analyze information, make decisions and solve problems
  • Strong organizational skills (prioritize)
  • The ability to take initiative and influence others
  • Project management skills

Employers want evidence that job applicants have these skills when they look at the resume as well as during interviews. They want to know that potential employees can see the bigger picture, process information and interact well with people. Many employers say that communication is just as important as technical skills.

For college grads specifically, employers are very interested in any internships, part-time jobs, volunteering, and extracurricular activities. This type of experience often supersedes the importance of college reputation, GPA, and courses taken. They want to hear job applicants discuss these experiences in the context of communicating, collaborating, organizing and making decisions.

Attitude and preparedness for the interview are also weighted quite heavily by employers. Employers want to know that this job and this particular company are important to the applicants they’re interviewing. A good employer has put a lot of time into reading through and paring down the piles of resumes, checking out applicants’ social media presence and preparing for the interview. They are going to expect the same from the individuals applying to work for their companies.

It is important for applicants to not only be able to answer questions about their resumes, work experiences and achievements, but also to articulate very clearly why they want the job. They also need to show that they have done their homework on learning about the company by asking in-depth questions of their own. Applicants should be able to show they’ve put their time into learning about the company but they should not come across as assuming they know everything. Employers want to see genuine interest when interacting with job candidates and appreciate well thought out questions about relevant industry issues. And, of course, they want people who show up on time, project confidence and would be considered good representatives of the company.

Be sure to check back next week when we wrap up this two-part post by exploring the other half of the equation—what job applicants want from employers.

For more information on building the best talent network, please contact us at 415-835-0202 or via email sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Recruiting Relief for Career Services and Employers

College campuses are, obviously, prime territory for employee recruitment. But the popularity of campus recruiting can put a real drain on career services resources. Employers want all the help they can get to be both visible and inviting to current students as well as alumni. So they turn to career services departments to assist with innovative ways to attract talent, and help with setting up programs like on-campus workshops, information sessions and meet-and-greets. With everyone wanting treatment that puts them front and center, and sets them apart from everyone else, career services offices are feeling spread pretty thin.

Roger Woolsey, Senior Assistant Dean and Director of the Center for Professional Development at Dartmouth College, explains, With accelerated recruiting taking place on college campuses, career development offices struggle to meet demand from employers. Notably, employers want as much interface with students as possible, which contributes to the resource drain. He goes on to point out, however, that there are very effective solutions, like those he gets from working with TalentCircles, that provide relief for both employers and career development offices. Woolsey says, “TalentCircles provides employers a recruiting platform that not only addresses affordability to recruit on college campuses, but also allows for continuing interaction with college students. Alumni and parent employers can now create brand recognition and actually recruit students from remote locations around the world, enhancing the value add to everyone involved. Opening up TalentCircles to recruiters relieves resource drain by giving employers and students ongoing opportunities to engage and share information freely.” 

In addition to the goal of getting students and alumni interested in their companies, employers are also looking for ways to ensure potential recruits have the skills and abilities they deem valuable for succeeding with the company. Woolsey says, “TalentCircle’s flexible platform allows employers and alumni to facilitate education on specific skills and abilities, and provides opportunities to mentor and conduct webinars as often as needed without over regulating from college and university career development offices.

College career services offices can be an invaluable resource for students, alumni and employers alike. Students get help with career exploration and preparation, while employers get access to individuals who could very well turn out to be some of their top talent. Of course, there are no guarantees that students will pick the perfect career or recruiters will always find the perfect employees, but getting as much clarity as possible about the options goes a long way in alleviating the stress associated with the unknown. “Career development is all about reducing as much uncertainty as possible,” concludes Woolsey. “To do so, we need to increase overall engagement with all stakeholders. TalentCircles empowers our students to match their profiles with industry experts, request a virtual chat or meeting and to easily apply for positions. TalentCircles is a game-changer in an area where there is so much demand on the use of technology to mentor and recruit college students.

Even with technology being such a prominent part of what makes TalentCircles so effective, relationship building is still at the heart of a successful recruiting program. Susan Magrino, President and CEO of TalentCircles, shares, “The ability to balance the speed and ease of technology with the power to build and maintain solid relationships is what makes recruiting work. I am so pleased that we have been able to build this relationship with Roger Woolsey and Dartmouth, and have, in turn, helped them create DartmouthCircles to build lasting connections between students, alumni and employers.”

For more information about how TalentCircles can bring some relief to your recruiting responsibilities, please contact us at 415-835-0202 or via email sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Older Workers Are More Valuable Than Ever

Last week we talked about how the iGen is showing a great deal of promise as they begin to enter the workforce. Today we want to look at the opposite end of the spectrum—namely the baby boomers and beyond—to show just how much value they are still able to bring to the table.

Hopefully your organization isn’t one of the many that has fallen into the unfortunate age discrimination trap; because if you’re pushing your older workers out the door, you’re losing some of your best resources.

Some of the negative stereotypes of workers in their 50’s, 60’s and older include things like not being able to handle change; being resistant to new technology; not working well with younger employees; slower to understand things; too tired and burned-out to consistently perform well; and are less creative and productive than younger workers.

However, according to Peter Cappelli and William Novelli, coauthors of the book Managing the Older Worker, the reality is that job performance actually improves as we enter those higher ages. These stereotypes are just unfounded.

What older workers bring to the table

Instead here are some of the positive attributes you can expect from the 50+ crowd:

  • Large network of contacts – with many years of experience behind them, older workers have had the opportunity to develop relationships with a large number and variety of people
  • Mentoring – young workers can learn a lot from their older counterparts who are often strong role models and motivators  
  • Greater sense of loyalty – they’re less likely to switch jobs than younger workers and that leads to less time hiring and training someone new
  • Good work attendance – many older employers actually have better work attendance than their younger counterparts for non-health related absences
  • Strong professionalism and work ethic – it is important to them to do well and this also makes them good with detail and organization
  • Care about community and have a sense of purpose – psychological and social fulfillment are strong motivators for this group
  • Decades of experience – in both work and life, often brings a more well-rounded approach to things
  • Patience – when dealing with stress and crises, older workers have developed the patience to think things through rather reacting emotionally   

Things for older workers to keep in mind

Of course, as with any age, older workers need to stay current. That means keeping your computer skills sharp, making good use of social media, staying on top of trends in your field, and staying in touch with contacts. In fact, reaching out to as many acquaintances as possible, like college alumni, past coworkers and members of relevant professional organizations, is more important in today’s employment marketplace than ever before. And, last but not least, staying active also goes a long way in keeping both mind and body strong.

Rather than pushing older workers out the door, we should be encouraging them to stay – and to introduce us to their friends.

For more information on building the best talent network, please contact us at 415-835-0202 or via email sales@talentcircles.com.