Talent Circles

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Real Power of Pre-Recorded Introductions and Interviews

Human resource professionals are busier than ever before recruiting and hiring for their companies, so timesaving measures are a necessity to doing their jobs. One of the hottest timesaving methods right now is pre-recorded videos that serve as introductions to the company or even as an interview method. While videos are nothing new, it’s all about the way in which they’re used that makes them the go-to method of the day. 

As your company sets out to create and utilize pre-recorded videos (called Questionnaires by my friends at TalentCircles), it’s also important to recognize the relationship between videos, candidates and HR professionals. Videos are a tool that HR professionals use, but they certainly don’t replace the role HR plays in recruiting, building relationships and connecting with new employees. However, when utilized as a one of many tools in your HR toolbox, they are invaluable improving candidate quality while also saving you time and money. And who couldn't use more of all three? 

Take a look at these three ways pre-recorded videos just make sense:


Pre-recorded videos make sense for a lot of reasons but one of the most significant is the fact that there is no limit to when or how often they can be utilized. When used for interviews or orientation, pre-recorded videos act as the HR professional that is always available. This is especially valuable for companies interviewing many candidates in a short amount of time, even allowing them to interview on the spot at career fairs and similar events.


Companies looking for a cost-effective solution for large-scale interviewing or a solution to a low number of HR staff should consider pre-recorded videos. Even larger companies that can afford to produce quality videos will likely find it’s a worthwhile investment. Another great thing about utilizing pre-recorded video is that there are so many ways you can create them, from doing so internally to hiring a videography company, to having one member of your HR department present or 10 different employees appear in a video. This provides quite a bit of wiggle room to customize a video to fit your budget.

Employment branding

Introductory, interview and onboarding videos each provide an opportunity to establish your employment branding before a candidate even starts working at your company. In the same way you can customize videos to fit your budget needs, you can tailor videos to fit your employer brand. That means that the tone, feel and look is all up to you. This is a real asset as there is no limit to the customization options available. Whether your company is most accurately represented by a formal, corporate tone or a fun, loose atmosphere, videos are easily tailored to fit each organization individually. This can be one more significant piece of your employment branding.

TalentCircles also offer the ability to add questions (text, multi-choice with one or several answers). Responses of types (included video-answers) can be scored. In the event you have hundreds of responses, you can sort candidates par scores. 

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, November 21, 2013

Diversity Starts with a Customized Candidate Experience

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

A diverse workforce is key to a successful, well-rounded organization. A work force made up of employees of all religions, races, disabilities and even military service is a value to your company. By bringing people into your organization that are different from one another, you are inviting new and unique perspectives, varying and experiences, an understanding of different cultures, traditions and values, all of which are vital to understanding your customers, no matter what service or product you offer.

The tricky part about creating one is that such a work force doesn’t appear automatically and even more importantly, doesn’t thrive automatically. One reason for this is that outside of job boards geared specifically to diversity groups, there are not many resources for employers to utilize in creating a diverse work force that runs well, is welcoming to all new employees and understands the value of what they have.

To begin building your successful, diverse work force, take a look at these four tips for catering to these valuable but often overlooked candidates:

Seek out specific communities and resources

To recruit a diverse workforce, start by diversifying your recruiting methods. The majority of diversity groups have communities and resources specific to them, from veteran organizations to church groups, both online and in the real world. Additionally, there are hundreds of specific job boards you can utilize. Connecting to these groups can be a worthwhile way to seek out diverse candidates that you wouldn’t reach through your tradition job board.  

Utilize targeted communication methods

Something that marketers discovered long ago is that varying groups of people respond differently to the same advertisement. Your candidates or employees are no different, so catering to what they prefer will yield the best results. For instance, your seasoned workforce may not be as comfortable with electronic communication as your younger workforce is, so you may find that offering both print and digital produces higher readership. This is just one example of the many differences between diverse groups you can cater to.

Create a personalized and unique experience

A diverse work force starts with a customized candidate experience. The methods and manner in which your company recruits, welcomes and retains these diverse groups sets the stage for how they fit in your work force. As the department that welcomes employees in and helps to get them acclimated, you have the power to create a positive onboarding experience and establishing the expectation of how they will be welcomed among co-workers and supervisors.

Go beyond the status quo

While a diversity job board provides a place for candidates to seek job openings, the responsibility of creating a welcoming and accommodating work force lies solely with you, the employer. While many employers fulfill the legal requirements of employing certain diversity groups and making reasonable accommodations, an employer that seeks to build a truly successful work force with go the extra mile, not only customizing the candidate and onboarding experiences but also continuing to support employees throughout their tenure with your company. This continuing piece truly makes the difference between simply recruiting a diverse work force and retaining it as well.

What do you believe is the most important part of creating a diverse work force? Let us know in the comments sections below.

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, November 19, 2013

The True Social Referral Happens with the Passive Candidate

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

When you think of social referrals, you likely picture someone who is working their way across every social network, posting rapidly as they go. However, it may be a surprise to hear that social job referrals actually come from those you may never even notice on your social networks. Lying in the shadows, hiding in plain site, passive candidates are the ones to watch for social referrals.

To fully see why passive candidates are to thank for many of your social referrals, it’s important to understand exactly what defines a passive candidate. Some would say a casual job seeker is a passive candidate but in all reality, a passive candidate isn’t a true job seeker yet. The passive candidate hasn’t updated their LinkedIn profile or vented to their best friend that they’ve had enough, and they may not even realize yet that it’s time for a change, though they are likely feeling the itch. The passive candidate knows there are other employment options out there and knows their skill level and experience will make way for their next employment opportunity. Rather than jumping in with both feet, they dip a toe in the water and are educated on what’s available before they ever become active in the job search marketplace.

Knowing what a true passive candidate is, it makes perfect sense that they utilize social networks as their jumping off point before entering the job search. The very nature of social networks is such that browsing, reading and learning can all be done behind closed doors and without anyone knowing.

The non-search search

The first act is usually very innocent, meaning passive candidates don’t set out to search job openings, but somehow found themselves coming across them. It could start by visiting a specific company’s Facebook page, reading a company’s Tweet that catches their eye or by seeing an article in their LinkedIn feed and wanting to know more about the organization.

Safe zone

For passive candidates, the Internet is their playground. They can view to their heart’s content, allowing their search to wander through numerous organizations with just a few anonymous clicks. It requires no commitment, no sign up or applications and is often the starting point of their future job search. The Internet, and social networks especially, are extremely appealing to passive candidates because there is no risk involved in hopping from page to page and seeing what’s out there. The news won’t get back to their boss and their family and friends won’t ask questions yet because aside from their browser history, no one knows about their search.

Information all in one place

Privacy isn’t the only reason passive candidates start their search within social networks. Social sites such as LinkedIn provide a convenience factor that is nearly unparalleled when it comes to hopping from page to page for company and job opening information. Social networks provide bite-size information, educating newbies on what they need to know, rather than requiring them to sift through a website. Each network has it’s own advantages, from the candid posts on a company’s Facebook page to the opportunity to see what the company’s culture is like through images on Instagram, but all provide value to the passive candidate as he or she steps out into the world of the active job search.

Does your organization capitalize on the opportunity to recruit passive candidates online? Tell us how you do it and what challenges you’ve faced in the comments below.

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, November 14, 2013

Why Brand Ambassadors Are Key to Your Recruiting Strategy in 2014 – Part 2

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Read Part 1 of this series by visiting the Talent Circles Blog

Brand ambassadors sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve. As I said in part one, brand ambassadors are the Robin to an HR recruiter’s Batman. In fact, they are probably unknowingly very similar to many of the unsung-hero sidekicks throughout history. They take their superheroes to a new level and support them as they venture into new opportunities, but sometimes their potential goes unrealized. Don’t let that be the story of your brand ambassadors. Make the most of all they have to offer your organization.

What can brand ambassadors do?

As a recruiter, you must cover both the long-term recruiting strategy and the short-term efforts, all at once. Brand ambassadors can greatly assist with the individual actions involved in each of those. They can help to spread the word about your company, reputation and open positions to the outside world. Their strengths lie in referrals of new employees for your organization and elevating your company culture.


Referrals are a major area of consideration for companies actively hiring new employees. In fact, The Handbook of Social Economics reports that 50 percent of workers say that a friend or family member referred them to their current job. Additionally, the majority of companies now have a referral program to harness the power of their brand ambassadors, which also saves a significant amount of time and money. Brand ambassadors are replacing all other recruiting methods as the most successful way to bring in new employees. There are so many benefits to hiring referrals, from saving 10-15 days per new hire, to increasing retention rates by more than 10 percent, that it’s no wonder why developing brand ambassadors is truly a worthwhile investment.

While some brand ambassadors are promoting your company without even knowing it, there are also some who are actively recruiting, typically for one of a few different reasons. The first is that they may be seeking incentive, such as a bonus offered through a referral program. Many companies offer anywhere from $50 to $1,500 for each successful new hire referred by a current employee, which provides a significant motivation for becoming a brand ambassador. The second is that hiring a new employee would benefit their work, for instance if a new employee in their department would take some of the workload off their shoulders. The third is that a new hire would benefit their career or benefit them socially. For example, there’s a certain pride that comes with recruiting the new rock star employee or being the friend that helped someone within his or her social circle land a great new job.

Elevating your culture

Brand ambassadors have a significant impact on employee morale, company culture and company reputation. Brand ambassadors are by their very nature passionate about the company they work for. Passionate employees are engaged employees who are willing to go the extra mile to see the company succeed. They encourage a culture of hard work, loyalty and success and offer a level of service to internal and external customers that cannot be taught, but comes from a desire to produce the best service or product so the company excels.

Brand ambassadors make a big difference in every area of the company because they are found all throughout, from administrative assistant to mid-level management to the CEO. No position is too small or large to benefit from being occupied by a brand ambassador. Overall, they save money and time, promote a positive reputation both inside and outside the company and care about your organization’s success.

Does your company hire a significant amount of referrals through brand ambassadors? Tell us how you your organization makes the most of your brand ambassadors in the comments section below.

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, November 12, 2013

Why Brand Ambassadors Are Key to Your Recruiting Strategy in 2014 – Part 1

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

As recruiters, we sometimes like to think of ourselves as superheroes. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, build a log-term pipeline of candidates and still recruit for a position at a moment’s notice. Much like a superhero’s job, it’s a demanding but rewarding job that requires strategic thought yet also relies on quick action to get the job done. In a lot of ways, recruiters are superheroes but as any superhero knows, it’s a job that just can’t be done alone. Batman has Robin, The Tick has Arthur and recruiters have brand ambassadors, their partners in crime and secret weapon.

What is a brand ambassador?

A brand ambassador is a person that represents your employment brand in a positive light. Their work ethic, attitude, appearance, values and loyalty reflect that of your company and you leverage that outside your company walls. Whether with family, friends, colleagues or even acquaintances, they quietly promote your company, maybe without even knowing it. They provide a silent example of the benefits of working with your organization and those around them unknowingly develop an expectation of your company. In short, they are your field staff, an extension of your marketing and recruiting efforts.

Your built-in sidekick

Brand ambassadors are the sidekicks to your recruiting efforts. They make it possible for recruiters to do all that they need to do administratively and strategically, while having a constant presence out in the world. Everywhere they go, they represent your employment brand, allowing you to focus on the long-term recruiting strategy. In fact, your brand ambassadors are a part of your long-term strategy (or should be!).

They are particularly valuable to your organization because while your HR department or recruiting team may only have a handful of people, the number of your potential brand ambassadors is enormous and includes current employees, former employees, past candidates, family and friends of employees and more. This team of people is only limited by your organization and the actions it takes that make a difference to brand ambassadors and potential brand ambassadors. It is essentially up to you how many loyal representatives you have and to what extent they lobby for your company among their peers.

How, where and when

Brand ambassadors are not walking billboards for your company, they do not walk around the mall shouting their list of reasons they like your organization and will not be the ones setting up booths at career fairs. Brand ambassadors are your silent marketers and cheerleaders, planting positive seeds about your company with each work story they tell among friends, promotion news they post on social media and chat they have at their professional development luncheon they attend. They may even be a silent testimonial to the success of your company, but rest assured, brand ambassadors are worth their weight in gold.

Companies sometimes take their brand ambassadors for granted or don’t fully understand how to harness the power of them, but it’s an invaluable thing when done right. Watch for part two of this three-part series, which will show how brand ambassadors elevate your company culture and will explain the role they play in referrals.

Does your company take advantage of its brand ambassadors? Tell us how in the comments section below.

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, November 7, 2013

Hiring Manager Feedback is the Key to Great Hiring

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Recruiters and HR regularly serve as the project manager of the hiring process where 3-5 final candidates are carefully selected for the hiring manager to evaluate and interview and hopefully offer. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go as planned. Hiring and candidate feedback is the key to not just a good but also a great hire. We’ll discuss how this feedback is reciprocal and among parties including recruiter, hiring manager and often the manager’s hiring team.

Working with hiring managers can be a frustrating process if you aren’t aware of what skill set they’re looking for when making their final selection. When going through the entire job interview process, despite the size of your company, there are usually more then one hands involved in candidate selection. In order to develop a robust hiring process there has to be distinct connection between the front lines and the final hiring decisions. I’ve come up with a few steps that’ll help you develop a process to void the disconnect between those working on the front lines and the ultimate decision maker.

Create a list of competencies: When you aren’t the one making a final decision about a candidate it’s important to understand what the final decision maker looks for in candidates. Normally the front line recruiters are going to be walking a candidate through the entire process before handing them off to a hiring manager who makes the decision whether or not they’ll be hired. To prevent wasted time sit down with your hiring managers and make a list of core competencies that they’re looking for. This’ll help you weed out candidates that you know aren’t going to pass the final inspection. There is always wiggle room in this process, but be selective.

Create a rating system: When you initially have a stack of candidates you’ll want to see what different qualities your hiring manager saw in each of them to know how close or far away you are from finding the right candidate. Look at qualities such as skills, education, experience, you may also want to include things like professionalism or personality. Once you’ve broken down these categories have your hiring manager rank each individual based on those categories.

Final feedback on candidates: Once you’ve found a candidate that possesses the core competencies that you’re hiring manager is looking for as well as seeing what each has been rated in multiple categories, sit back down with your hiring manager to discuss individual feedback on each candidate. This will help you mold your recruiting to be more in tune with your hiring manager’s opinions. Don’t waste their time with candidates you know they aren’t going to like.

Recruiters need to start working closely with hiring mangers to make realistic recommendations for new hires. When it comes to companies with above and beyond expectations it’s important to not only do your job efficiently, but with your hiring manager’s thoughts and ideas of the perfect candidate in mind. Show them that your able to maximize the amount of time you spend on recruiting well thought out candidates and you’ll see that next promotion in the future.

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, November 5, 2013

The New Social Job Referral Starts with Great Content Marketing

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Last week, we discussed the power of digital storytelling introducing the importance of content marketing. Just like consumer marketing, the power of reach, resonance and influence is not in the power of the job distribution itself, it’s in the success of another word, the referral.

Candidate and job referrals have been a staple in the recruiting and hiring process since the dawn of employment. Our word of mouth and job advertising tactics can only do so much, which is where the social referral comes in. The social referral is a powerful tool especially with the advent of social media but the referral only goes so far. Its lifespan is short until you add in another powerful element content marketing.

Great content marketing, blog posts, video, photographs and other mostly online mediums helps elevate and extend the power of your social job posting and opening especially when there isn’t a specific job posting to promote, just a category or an evergreen position allowing you, your recruiters and especially your job seekers to share, promote and recommend your company and the job regardless of if you are hiring right now or sometime in the future.

The cornerstone of great marketing isn’t how big and flashy you make a campaign, but the content you develop. Job seekers have one goal in mind when they visit your career site and that is to get hired. Without great content job seekers will fly by your site (and if they’re wanting a job in the same field, they might even go to a competitor of yours). When taking a look at the different moving parts of your career site what they all must have in common is great content.

Here are three top moving parts of a career site that must have great content marketing in order to be successful:

Video: Most good career sites now contain some type of video marketing to persuade a candidate that their company culture, benefits, or overall company is the best. When developing a video you not only need to catch the job seekers attention, but you must have great content marketing in order to persuade them to hit that “apply now” button.

Social Integration: A good career site will let the candidate apply for a job in the quickest fashion possible. Not because you want them to apply and move onto the next job, but because the overall candidate experience is determined by not only finding a job that fits your specific needs, but the ease of applying. Consider social integration as a major content piece for your careers page. Allow candidates to apply for jobs by connecting their LinkedIn account is the future, if not already the present.

Job Matching: You might not consider this a big part of content marketing, but it really is. Take a look at all the content that is displayed for a job seekers to see and become intrigued with your company – matching them up with the perfect job is content marketing at its finest. Searching for a job that a candidate might be qualified for should be super easy. Make sure your search process is brining back significant results and not just sending back junk to candidates.

How is the content on your career site taking referrals and making them employees?

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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Friday, November 1, 2013

4 Ways to Add Content Marketing to Your Employment Branding Campaign

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Building on our earlier blog post of the digital story, we will explain 4 different ways to add content marketing and design associated strategies with your current employment branding efforts. Most HR professionals don’t think of them as content marketers, but in reality HR is the new marketing. Employers are scouring the Internet to find and source the best candidates available and in order to accomplish this task they must have a strong employer brand. You’re no longer just throwing out a job listing on a board and hoping people will flock to your company; now it’s essential to sell your company to recruit top talent.

Here are four ways that HR can add content marketing to their employer brand:

Custom content for individual positions: Add value to your job postings by customizing the type of the content you place on each page. This means optimizing each listing so that when job seekers are searching they don’t get frustrating with keyword stuffing techniques or postings that say “Marketing Associate” when they’re really sales positions. Each page should be uniquely tailored to fit the exact job responsibilities and description of the job itself. This’ll give you better metrics on those who visit the page compared to those who apply.

Press releases to tap into mainstream media efforts: Most companies don’t think of press releases as a method of getting news out about current job opportunities or career sites, but Chase did. They took advantage of a network of publishers to get the news out about their new career site. When a company launches their new career site with newer features it’s important to get the word out. Send a press release or submit a blog to a popular site in HR about what you’re currently doing. Start up the buzz both organically and paid. The type of feedback you’ll get will be extremely successful in the first few months of launching.

Ebooks and resources for targeted job seekers to grow your pipeline: It’s not that job seekers want free advice, but they want to feel like you care about them finding a job. Even if your company doesn’t have a fit for the candidate right away keep them by providing them with free resources. By keeping these job seekers interested you’ll be able to maintain a successful pipeline of candidates for when you expand or new positions open up. Don’t look at these resources like you’re wasting your time and money, but its money you don’t have to spend sourcing new candidates.

Online webinars presenting: Webinars have become quite popular in the HR space. Vendors are spending tens of thousands of dollars each month on utilizing the power of a webinar. From this you’re able to show what you know about HR and popular trends in the space. Becoming a knowledge leader in the space will do wonders when looking for new candidates. I’ve seen a lot of companies present webinars and find candidates through their interested in what that company is doing. Spreading the news about your product or service will enable you to track and source candidates effectively without having to look very far.

In what ways has your HR department used content marketing to recruit top tiered candidates?

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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