Talent Circles

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to Create a Convincing Brand (Part 2 of 3): Managing impressions

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

In part one of How to Create a Convincing Brand I talked about the importance of sharing your story as an employer across multiple platforms. The importance of having a consistent brand when it comes to your career site, corporate blogs, and any video used to convey your employer’s brand cannot be underestimated. Employment branding is showcasing what sets you apart from all the other brands out there. This week we will cover the importance of understanding the touch point intersections in relation to where candidates spend their time both online and offline and why these “channels” are the key to growing and establishing your employment brand.

In most organizations, brand ideology is embedded into some activities more than others. For instance, it is usually a standard practice of each new employee to learn the history of the company and its beliefs. It’s in these moments that employees learn this is how we do things here lessons about the brand. It’s easy to overlook day-to-day processes and the implications it has on your brand. With recruiters brushing off a phone call or ignoring someone at the monthly AMA luncheon affects your brand without even thinking.

The three major touch points in recruiting and human resources help define the type of experience each of your candidates have with your specific brand. In order to recruit more effectively and increase your overall employment brand it’s important to follow these simple employer touch points:

Pre-employment experience: One of the first and most important touch points is the pre-employment experience. We’ve heard candidates submitting their resume into the black hole, recruiters being unapproachable, and laborious processes that discourage candidates from applying for open job requisitions. Creating an atmosphere direct communication will enhance the candidate’s pre-employment experience and increase your employer’s brand image, in other words, create a mutual "first impression."

On-boarding experience: The on-boarding experience is a candidate’s first impression of a company as an employee. Company history and culture are at the forefront of your new employees' mind and how you handle their on-boarding will determine how long they stay. The on-boarding experience should be considered as a critical "second impression" because it’s how the employee will view everything about the company.

I remember when I started at my first job, the first week was amazing and learning new processes and how everything worked was a utopia. I instantly told all my friends how great this company was and that everything about it was perfect. This is a touch point that many people miss, but should be looked at as one of the most important.

Post-hire experience: The final touch point for recruiters and human resources should be the post-hire experience. Once a candidate has jumped into a specific routine it’s important to keep them engaged and feel like they’re apart of the company and have an impact in the workplace and provide a positive "third impression." Without this touch point candidates may lose interest and become disengaged. In a 2012 survey, over 18% of employees are disengaged which costs the United States alone, $450 – 550 billion dollars in lost productivity.

Although day-to-day operations vary from company to company, the overall root processes don’t change much at all. Each candidate has a pre, current, and post experience with a company and how you handle it will determine the success of each candidate turned employee. This will help you not only build a convincing employer brand, but will end up reducing turnover rates which could save your company millions each year.

On Thursday we will discuss how employers can take the candidate experience one step further by developing a platform that offers real transparency and works with candidates to recruit better within your organization.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Art of Lean HR (Part 2): Leveraging Past Applicants

By Marylene Delbourg-Delphis

On a previous post, we discussed a lean approach to talent acquisition: Eliminating Waste by reducing the drop-out rate of candidates who come to your website (sometimes up to 90% of those candidates). Today we discuss another way to eliminating waste: By enabling you to leverage extremely valuable assets, past applicants.

Over the years, your company has accumulated a lot of information about potential candidates. Most of them applied for a job you posted months or years back — but they never heard back from your company, because for one reason or another, they were filtered out of the top of the pile. What if you started to take a closer look at these people who were quietly stored away on your traditional corporate repositories (ATS, CRMs, or other databases), in countless folders on your desktop, in Outlook, or in boxes of papers?

A new dimension of "Inside sourcing" is about the art of leveraging this huge pool of untapped potential. Past candidates may have gained valuable experience since they originally applied and can be interesting candidates for today’s open positions or great connectors to other talent through their own networks. They sometimes represent huge investments that you may over the past few years.

Just calculate... Information about past applicants obtained from various means represent significant acquisition costs. Although these costs vary depending on the company and the type of talent sought, an empirical analysis performed by Marty Brack and published by ERE in December 2009, shows that the average cost per resume through LinkedIn (which is the least expensive source) is $18. Based on this number, the value of 20,000 resumes is $360,000. Supposing that all these resumes are of lower quality or related to easy to find talent and of no higher value than a regular "like" on a Facebook page by unqualified leads usually estimated to be $3, the value of these resumes is still $60,000, which is not trivial for cost-conscious organizations.

TalentCircles enables you to leverage these valuable assets at a negligible cost by allowing you to:
  • Mass import the candidates' records stored in a corporate repository (CRM, ATS, or any other database).
  • Import electronic or paper resumes.

In all these cases, TalentCircles automatically creates a profile for the candidates. Once these candidates are imported, you can send an email to these candidates offering them to opt into your talent network. While opting into your network, candidates can use their favorite Social login, which helps you keep their contact information up-to-date. At least a portion of these candidates will be telling you that they still (or again) interested in your company — which means that you do not have to re-source them.

The ROI is clear...  especially considering that this capability of TalentCircles is just a small feature of the platform! The immediate benefits are obvious too. By doing so, you:
  • Expand your live corporate Rolodex;
  • Show candidates that you care by inviting them to opt into your network (and eventually make them forget their disappointment about the fact that you didn't interact with them when they originally connected with you).

For more information, request our white papers:
— TalentCircles: ROI of a talent engagement platform
— TalentCircles: Leveraging Past Applicants

Send an email to : info@talentcircles.com

[1] http://www.ere.net/2009/12/02/just-one-look-at-cost-per-resume/

Friday, July 26, 2013

How to Create A Convincing Brand Part 1 of 3

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

The popularity of social media has accelerated the convergence between HR and Marketing, and attracted special attention on employment branding. Employment branding is all engaging candidates, looking at them as potential customers and transforming them into brand advocates. Employment branding is a new dimension of marketing and is the most advanced form of social recruiting.

Companies have started to flock anywhere and everywhere they see potential candidates and customers. Whether they are tweeting out open job listings, hosting virtual career fairs public networks creating compelling videos on Youtube, or pinning company branded material on Pinterest, recruiters are everywhere. No longer do they stay behind the veiled curtain and are inaccessible to the everyday candidate, but recruiters are now seen as the first line of defense (or marketers).

According to a report sponsored by Jobvite.com, over 51% of job seekers are using social media to land their next opportunity and like marketing you better be where the customer is or they won’t purchase your product or apply for your job. Human resource professionals no longer are responsible for process payroll or benefits: they are now in charge of attracting the best talent to their organization. To do so they must be able to share their story across different platforms. Here are some of the top places that recruiters and HR professionals should be in order to successfully brand their company:

Career Site: One of the top places a candidate will be visit on their search for a new job will be your company’s career site. This is considered the hub for sharing your company’s story and should be used to highlight employees, your company’s culture, and everything that makes your company stand out from your competition. However, you can't put everything on your career site: candidates can be lost. Offer them to enter your talent network and within your talent networks, create "circles" targeted as your various types of candidates.

Corporate Blogs: Blogs are one of the best places to share your message. My favorite employment branded blog is Nuts About Southwest where the marketing and public relationships department showcase everything big happening at Southwest while highlighting their employees. Using TalentCircles, you can create blog posts in each of your circles and, here again, offer your audience very targeted messaging.

Video: Well written employment videos will help your company truly relate, engage, and tell a story about the company culture and environment going beyond your standard careers page. Job postings with video icons are also viewed 12% more than postings without video. This should encourage your staff to get creative and start posting more videos to go along with open job requisitions. From a candidates perspective they’ll be able to see what is happening in your company and be enticed into joining your talent network and eventually work for you.

Employment branding is not one single message that you broadcast to everybody with catch phrases that company would be able to come up with. It's the art of showcasing what makes you different and more interesting!

Next week we will take a deeper look into the employment brand and the importance of candidate engagement through various touch points.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

How New Data Can Transform Your Tired Recruiting Strategy

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

One of the benefits to a talent network like TalentCircles is the ability to keep candidate data and information fresh versus legacy approaches to hiring and recruiting, which rely on the ATS or applicant tracking system as candidate storage and database system. This old model of recruitment is one of the reasons why companies are spending millions of dollars each year seeking outside "new" candidates — although many of them might already be in their various data repositories...

With TalentCircles, candidates opt into into your network, and thus they have clearly signified that they are interested in your company. Because they are interested in your company, they are also interested in updating their information at all times — and they can do so on their own terms and time. So give them reasons to remain connected with your company network, and post interesting information (news, jobs, blog posts) or organize events on a regular basis. The benefit is obvious: your candidates' information is never stale or outdated.

Whether it be a new job or new skill a candidate’s updated information can be the difference between the perfect fit and a wrong hire. New data is extremely important in the recruiting process and can help recruiters in several ways. When you have outdated information, it’s hard to find a candidate who would be a perfect fit for a specific job. You will be far more effective if your candidate pool has offers accurate data.

Working together in a talent community allows recruiters and candidates to maintain a tighter relationship, which is benefitial to both parties. Potential candidates feel they are kept in the loop, and recruiters know of the candidate's career path right away.

Fresh data will transform any recruiting strategy simply because a recruiter will know they have up to date information and will take it to hire more effectively. If you’re in HR and you’re working with outdated information it might be time to invest in solutions that offer a more comprehensive look at the candidates you’re recruiting. It’ll not only save you time; it will also improve the candidate experience by allowing candidates to always provide you with their latest information.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

3 Old Recruiting Technologies Made New

(sample screen showing report from TalentCircles skill assessment test)

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

With the introduction of technology into the HR space there have been several recruiting technologies that once quasi-extinct are making a comeback into the space. You hear the saying that technology changes so much that we constantly have be on our heels and be ready to change with it or we’ll be left behind. That’s the truth with these older recruiting methods.

Here are technologies or applications that are now on a comeback streak and they do so because they are incorporated into a bigger context — where companies simultaneously focus on the impact of their brand and try to leverage this brand to attract more relevant candidates.

Online Communities – One of the great things about Talent Circles is their ability to capture relevant, real time data in one easy to use community. For years the message boards and forums have been dwindling, but in Human Resources the comeback has never been greater. Having one centralized place to store candidate information and allow the candidate to join in the conversation is happening more often in the HR space. With the Talent Circles platform you’re able to do all of that and more. Job seekers are now able to join a branded platform and talk directly with recruiters. If you’re a candidate and your dream company is using Talent Circles, I’d recommend joining the Talent Community of a brand using TalentCircles --- even if you aren’t looking for a job.

Assessments – For the candidate it meant sitting down on a computer that was probably built in the 1990s and taking a multiple choice questionnaire not knowing if your answers were what the recruiter wanted. For the recruiter it was being able to test candidates on a non-bias series of questions that helped determine what each candidate’s strengths were. Assessments are making a comeback and allowing recruiters information that isn’t available from an interview or pre-screening type questions — or can be performed before an interview. With TalentCircles, you can attach a skill assessment test to a job posting, and then sort candidates by scores and/or types of questions. The benefit is clear: as a candidate, you may not have the perfect response to all the questions, but compared to other candidates, you may end up being on top or part of the best candidates and be considered for the next open job vacancy. Meanwhile, recruiters are able to take a more global approach and have an immediate understanding of the respective strengths and weaknesses of multiple candidates at once.

Resume Parsing – One of the oldest tricks in the book is resume parsing. This is making a comeback due to all of the benefits like more useable data, reduced costs, and improving the overall candidate experience. For the candidate being able to craft a finely tuned resume and simply upload it to a database saves them hours on filling out mundane applications. Resume parsing doesn’t only help the candidate, but streamlines the job of a recruiter when it comes to searching through unlimited resumes. A recent CareerBuilder statistic said that one-in-four HR managers receive over fifty resumes per open position and some receive hundreds.

As a recruiter it’s important to pay attention to technologies that can be leveraged in a new context to streamline the entire process. The candidate is the most important person in the entire process and making it easy for them to find you, apply for jobs, and be objectively reviewed will increase the overall candidate experience process. After all, you want to hire the best and unless you make the candidates job easy, you won’t even stand a chance against your competitors.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

Thursday, July 11, 2013

3 Ways Business Leaders Can Measure the Success of Human Capital at Your Workplace

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

As recruiters and business leaders, I’ve said that we must hire and recruit for employees for jobs that have yet to be invented. There’s a lot of controversy on measuring human capital or even calling employees human capital, as it is not measured accurately on the balance sheet and other financial statements. Great workplace performance is often intangible.

Where is human capital measured on financial statements and where does the human element of your workforce come into play? These are the kind of things I think as part of my workday. All managers, HR and business leaders should be too. In fact there are questions that should be keeping you up at night.
  • How do I measure hiring, employment and human capital success?
  • What do I need to do to continue recruiting, training and developing employees for the long term?

Employees and Employers Reinventing Work

As an employee, the best way to protect yourself from being outsourced is by making yourself indispensible. The challenge lies in determining what being indispensible actually is, how to revive the workplace artist in you and if your business leaders will recognize your place once you become what Seth Godin refers to as a linchpin at work.

Measuring the Value of Human Capital

Simply put, human capital is hard to measure. Since there is no one size fits all to determining the value of your employees, it’s critical that employers focus on measuring the value of their workforce in four distinct key areas. The combined analysis will begin to help demonstrate the true value of those indispensible employees.

  • Employee survey results and regular focus group meetings. Studies show that workplace leaders that are well liked and humble bring out the best in their employees. Measuring employee satisfaction ratings should be directly tied to employee turnover, absences and productivity.
  • Online social activities and peer recognition of employees. Do others see this employee or employees as a valuable internal resource in ways your manager’s may have missed? Think Klout for the workplace.
  • Performance metrics and goals met by department, division or region. We need to start tying performance to more than just results. Results happen when employees are motivated to perform by team as well as country and geographic region.
  • The future of how we view the workplace starts with business leaders like you. By reinventing how we measure employees, we can truly understand how they impact the success of our business.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Applying SWOT Analysis in Recruitment

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Your company just announced that they are expanding into new territory whether it be state-side or global and your recruiting team is now tasked with recruiting for this new market. It’s no longer enough to take a look at competitors and decide you’ll try this way or that way to attract new candidates because the amount of time and money you’ll throw away will be enormous. When moving into a new market it’s essential that your recruiting department perform a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method that is used to evaluate Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or business operation. Used in a business context, a SWOT Analysis helps carve a sustainable niche in your market. Recruiting teams need to use it for the exact same thing. Having insight into what your competitors offer will allow you to recruit more efficiently.

Strength Overview:

When it comes to recruiting, a recruiter’s toolbox involves the type of benefits, compensation packages, and anything that could be used to attract a candidate to apply and ultimately work at any given company. When performing a SWOT Analysis the first step in the process is to find out the strengths of your competitor. Ask yourself the following questions to help determine the right information:
  • What type of benefits does the competitor offer to new hires?
  • What makes this competitor attractive?
  • Where does the competitor stand in regards to “Best Places to Work” or any other type of ranking system?
  • Does the competitor focus on one specific operation or have a unique focus in the industry?
  • How well is the company performing in current market conditions?
Asking these questions will give you a better sense of what you’re up against when making an offer to a candidate who might have the same offer on the table from one of your biggest competitors.

Weakness Overview:

Being unbiased at this stage of the SWOT Analysis will help your company gain insightful knowledge into areas that your competitors need to improve, which gives you an edge. Take a look at the most influential aspects of a company and find out where they struggle to compete with your organization. For instance:

Company Culture: One of the biggest influencers on whether or not to work for a certain company depends on the overall company culture. You don’t have to be a startup technology company to provide an amazing atmosphere for your employees. When deciding to work for tech giants there are clear differences in how they operate. Take a look at Yahoo vs. Facebook. In recent news, Marissa Meyer canceled the work-at-home policy. For some, that might be a deal breaker, for others it won’t matter or even be a good thing.

The best way to gain insight into a company's culture is to go straight to the source, your competitor’s employees. Most will give you honest feedback on how they like working for a specific company. Sites like Glassdoor and other workplace review sites give you an anonymous POV of working conditions at a certain company.

Knowing your competitor’s weaknesses will allow you to make better decisions with determining your company’s opportunities.

Opportunity Overview:

The opportunity overview combines the knowledge you’ve acquired from the strengths and weaknesses part of your SWOT Analysis. Once you have a full understanding of what your competitors are stronger and weaker in its time to take a look where you can create a competitive advantage. Here are just a few questions to ask yourself when determining where your competitive advantages lie:
  • How does your company’s career placement track align with competitors? Are advances easier or harder to obtain? Is pay comparable?
  • How does your company’s benefits package compare? Is it on track with the average or do you offer things above and beyond what’s required?
  • Who is the competitor’s primary target?

Threats Overview

The last part of the SWOT Analysis allows you to forecast what’s ahead for your company. Determining where your competitors are and where they’re going will allow you to be on the forefront of change and stay competitive in highly competitive market. Take a look at the growth of your competitors, if they’re expanding, their current industry rank, among every other facet of their business that’ll prove a challenge in the future.

Performing a SWOT Analysis keeps companies from spending millions on competition. In the recruiting industry it’ll allow your department to make smart hires and know what must be offered to attract the top talent. How well you prepare for the war on talent will show in the amount of research and time you take in developing a smart SWOT Analysis of your competitors in a new or existing market.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

5 Steps to Creating a Fail Proof Corporate Recruiting Strategy

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Recruiting just like Marketing and Operations is about striking a balance between conservative and risky. Your boss or hiring manager wants a guarantee of success in hiring to fill the seats in a new location or building a candidate pipeline of those hard to fill positions. As a recruiter you are asked not only to meet deadlines, but bring the best quality talent at the littlest cost and time to the organization.

Executing a strategy like this takes time, research and effort and that’s likely not something your hiring manager or boss really wants to hear. We agonize over what seem to be simple decisions like job board distribution, job seeker email marketing, banner ads, and other traditional advertising options. Finding the perfect candidate could take months, but once you find that candidate their ROI will make it all worth it. Albert Einstein once said, “If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.”

We’ll walk you through 5 steps in creating a fail proof corporate recruiting strategy.

1) Research – Whether it’s the industry, location market or specifics of the position. This is the first place in which to start. Arming yourself with information lends to making better recruiting and hiring decisions in the long term.

2) SWOT Analysis – What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats exist in the current marketplace? Performing a SWOT Analysis will assist the company’s recruiting team with valuable insight and information that will enhance your recruiting strategy, making it easier to improve candidate sourcing efforts. By knowing the answers to these important questions your recruiting team is able to recruit more competitively with direct competitors.

3) Develop a plan of action. There are several intricate parts of the recruiting process from writing the actual job description to knowing where to post and advertise. With a plethora of job boards out there and LinkedIn groups which area will give you the best ROI and which is worth the continuous effort of monitoring. Developing a plan beforehand for open requisitions will not only save you time, but the cost of being everywhere at once. When a two-week notice is issued be able to pick up and instantly have candidates in mind for critical positions in your office.

4) Define goals, milestones and what success looks like. One of the pitfalls in the hiring process is not knowing what your ideal candidate looks like. Without knowing what you want will make it difficult to find whom you want. Find an employee in the company who exemplifies the characteristics you want in your next hire. Once you’ve set that expectation, set benchmarks and goals 3-5 weeks out and commit to finding 3-4 candidates who fit within your guidelines.

If you define success in the beginning of your search you’re more likely to worth towards the goal. It can be finding, interviewing, hiring, and training a candidate within a two-month period. This will also help you from searching for months and months without finding the perfect fit.

5) Create pivot points. Being nimble and flexible keeps the competition on their toes. Develop a plan to present and quickly execute on opportunities for change using the market research to guide you.

Developing a fail proof recruiting strategy takes time and involves several parts. Being able to pull this off successfully will take effort from not only your Human Resources department, but the organization as a whole.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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