Talent Circles

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Veterans Series: Embracing the Learn and Grow Veterans' ethos to understand leadership: Conversation with Rhonda Stickley

Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PST. Click here to register & learn more. 

This post is part of a series that already includes conversations with:

Rhonda Stickley started her second term as President of the DirectEmployers Association (DE) in October 2013 and although focusing on technology, her heart is very close to an area where DE is extremely active: Military/Veterans-related initiatives. These initiatives are designed to help the Association’s members understand the importance of employing America’s veterans and provide them with the information and resources they need.

The extent of training and real-world experience of America’s Veterans is foreign to the vast majority of employers.  By meeting and talking to Veterans, or simply reading about their experiences you will better understand why Veterans' skills are often far easier to translate into civilian jobs than commonly assumed.

Companies over the years have learned to embrace diversity. Building up your Military Circle could be part of your efforts. You will realize the value of hiring Veterans by taking full measure of the level of responsibility that the Military ends up giving to its recruits. Sometimes, it's astounding — as is demonstrated profoundly in Rhonda's case.

Why did you join the Military?
I volunteered during a time when there were not a lot of women entering the military. I had started college and was not enamored with working at minimum wage jobs to pay for College, so I went down to the recruiter's office. I explored several opportunities in order to take advantage of a program offered at that time called VEAP (Veteran Educational Assistance Program) that would allow for both dollar matching and up to full payment for your education based on the number of years you committed. I had to take a number of exams and I tested very high, which provided me with the opportunity to have the pick of which career field(s) I would enter, and I chose to join the Military Police Corps (MP). I had some requirements however: I wanted a “guarantee” for education dollars, my chosen Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) – MP, and I also wanted to see the world.  They agreed, in writing, that I would be stationed somewhere in Europe, that I would be a Military Police Officer, and that my education would be paid for. They met all my requirements and I joined. When I graduated from Basic Training and my Advanced Individual Training (AIT) course (that is Military Police School), I became an active-duty MP. I did my One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort McClellan, Alabama.

What did you do?
In 1982 I was assigned to the 7th Army NATO and I spent 3 years in Central Europe, based in Miesau, Germany. I flew all over Europe as part of NATO and the initial deployment of the Pershing II missiles throughout Europe.  While I was there our unit was repeatedly on alert for the high amount of terrorism at the time and we toggled between responding to those alerts and ensuring the safety of our NATO sites. I flew on hundreds of missions with NATO using Boeing equipment and though it did not seem like a big deal to me at the time, it was a lot of responsibility for a 20 year old.

During my off hours I focused my attention on taking classes at the local base through the University of Maryland. My education gave me points towards promotion, which combined with my weapons skills, being very active physically, and being very goal-oriented, allowed me to be identified as someone with leadership potential early in my career.  As a result, I moved quickly through the ranks and a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) or Sergeant/E-5 at the age of 21.  With that promotion to Sergeant, my responsibilities also increased and as a result, I was managing a platoon of 30 men and 3 women. While stationed in Europe, I competed for and won the US Army, Europe and 7th Army Battalion Soldier of the Quarter and a Schutzenhaus Medal for a M-60 machine gun competition between the US and German military.  I attended advanced training in NATO Nuclear Surety Management and when I was reassigned to the United States at Fort Lewis, WA, I worked at the Battalion S-2 and Brigade G-2.  My responsibilities centered on managing a team responsible for the classified documents which directed the military operations of our unit. While stationed at Ft Lewis, I was awarded an Army Achievement Medal for meritorious service and selection as the 1986 Ft Lewis Non-Divisional, NCO of the Year.  This was the first time the award had ever been presented to a female NCO.  Because of my prior assignments with 7th Army and NATO, I also had a Top Secret/Special Background Investigation (TS/SBI) clearance.  I was assigned to the role in S-2/G-2 for approximate 18 months, then transferred within the Battalion to plain clothes investigator, investigating crimes on base while also performing the additional duty of Battalion Ethics Officer.  I held this last role for a little more than a year until I transitioned off active duty. I needed to make a decision to stay in or get out and ultimately chose to leave active service and finish my time in the reserves and Officer Candidate School.

How easy was it to get a civilian job?
For me, it ended up being quite easy. At the time Boeing was hiring and I applied for a position they were unable to tell me details about due to its classified nature, but I was ultimately hired. I worked on a program that was called Project WILO. Part of the reason I was hired was because I possessed the degree, skills and TS/SBI clearance level required to work there.   These clearances often take six months to a year to obtain and they needed help immediately.  At the time it was a classified program and it was widely unknown to the world what we were working on.   Ultimately the project I was working on became more commonly known as the B2 bomber program. Project WILO (What’s It Like Outside) was named so because you had to go through several levels of security to get in the building, and there were no windows. They were looking for someone with my background, skills and security credentials, so I was fortunate to have a level of responsibility in the workplace that aligned with what I had experienced in the military.  They say luck is merely preparation and timing coming together, and I felt very lucky to transition so quickly when many others did not.

Why do you think recruiters are so skittish about hiring veterans? Are they afraid that Veterans, especially young Veterans might be too difficult to manage because they had experienced a lot at a young age? Is it ignorance?
I think it may be more just ignorance of what veterans bring to the table because often times people don't have any experience working directly with the military. They do not necessarily understand the translation of skills. Products like the Military Crosswalk may help, but it is truly a foreign experience for many recruiters. When you do not have and understanding, context or shared experience to draw on, it's hard to imagine how even the core skills that are learned in the military translate to a civilian role. So when you don't know, it may be easier to stick to stereotypes drawn from one bad experience or one story, or to the cliché that if you are in the military, you are inflexible, a rule follower or unable to think independently.  The truth is that the drills you go through in the military are not the same as the drills you go through in the work place. Soldier often have multiple responsibilities and many complex situations simply become autonomic. Based on my firsthand experience I think, of course, that a young military person has more ability to be flexible and adapt to changing situations than someone who hasn't been in the military.

Corporations place a large value on what you've learned. The reality is that it's not what you know; it's what you need to know, which is always changing. It's about the ability to acquire knowledge fast enough to move business forward and that's a different skill set than checking a box saying "I went to ‘x’ university and got my 4-year degree in ‘y’." In the military everyone has to continue to learn and adapt. You may not know something today, but you can and will learn it for whatever assignment is next and continuous learning is key.

Many of our countries most prestigious university and executive training programs come straight from the military.  Think of GE and their leadership development program. Much of it was based on some of the learning and development techniques used by the Military. For example, the GE Work-out is a form of the military’s After-Action Review (AAR) process! Don't get frozen! Adapt and grow!

Thanks, Rhonda, and as we spoke about the GE Work-out, I recommend that you read a great book that was published over 10 years ago: The GE Work-out: How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy and Attacking Organizational Problems-Fast!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

FMLA & Military Veterans: Know the Rules

Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PSTClick here to register & learn more. 

Since 1993 the Family and Medical Leave Act was established to help provide employees job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.  It’s went through a series of changes, updates and growing pains over the years. FMLA also entitles eligible employees who work for a covered employer (50 employees or more) to leave and care for a family member who is a covered veteran with a “serious injury or illness”. FMLA leave for this purpose is called “military caregiver leave.” You can read more about the FMLA from our friends at the DOL by clicking here.

Knowing the Rules Behind the FMLA and Military Caregiver Leave

As an employer it’s important to understand all the rules regarding FMLA to prevent company-damaging lawsuits and frankly bad PR. According to the U.S. Department of Labor military caregiver leave allows an eligible employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin of a covered veteran with serious injury or illness to take up to a total of 26 workweeks of unpaid leave during a single 12-month period to provide care for the veteran.

While payroll tracking and resources exist to help you track the number of FMLA used hours for compliance purposes, I remember the days where I used nothing more than an excel spreadsheet.  I used a series of formulas and leave type codes to account for the 12 month rolling periods and hours tracking when it came to FMLA tracking.

Determining Serious Injury or Illness

A serious injury or illness means an injury or illness that was incurred by the covered veteran in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces or that existed before the veteran’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty, and that is either:

1. Continuation of a serious injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated when the veteran was a member of the Armed Forces and rendered the service member unable to perform the duties of the services member’s office, grade, rank, or rating; or

 2. Physical or mental condition for which the veteran has received a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Service-Related Disability Rating (VASRD) of 50 percent or greater, and the need for military caregiver leave is related to that condition; or

3. Physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the veteran’s ability to work because of a disability or disabilities related to military service, or would do so absent treatment; or

4. Injury that is the basis for the veteran’s enrollment in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

Any of these definitions meets the FMLA’s definition of a serious injury or illness for a covered veteran regardless of whether the injury or illness manifested before or after the individual became a veteran.

As an employer it’s important to not only learn the benefits the federal government gives to veterans, but everything that’s covered under different U.S. regulations. FMLA is one of the biggest in the U.S. Department of Labor and understanding that you just can’t fire someone based on a medical emergency. 

Visit the U.S. Department of Labor website to learn the rules and regulations that all employers must adhere to in order to prevent federal action. This information and more can be found using the Fact Sheet #28M(b) of the U.S. Wage and Hour Division.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a leading voice in HR and workplace technology. She’s an author and founder of  Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Employment Laws Companies Should Know Regarding Veterans – USERRA

Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PSTClick here to register & learn more. 
By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Not to long ago I was talking with a non-profit who called me for some HR advice. They were looking for suggested job sites and social networks to post their new job opening for a key position in their company.

While making some suggestions and talking to their CEO I also got a back-story about why they had the opening. Their current employee in the soon to be open position was national guardsman and was being called into active duty. He was set to go overseas. They were making the decision to terminate him and bring in a new member of the team.

They were wrong.

USERRA is short for the Unified Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and requires re-employment of employees who leave work for military service, prohibits retaliation and discrimination against employees because of their military service, and prohibits termination because of military service. According USERRA, the CEO from the non-profit above couldn’t terminate the newly activated National Guard member. They were required to place him on military leave and hire a temporary replacement employee.

Unlike many employment laws, there isn’t a minimum employee threshold for employers to adhere to USERRA. All employers regardless of the size from 1 to infinity, public as well as private sectors are obligated to abide by USERRA fully.

USERRA is one of the most common employment law offenses for employers mostly due to the fact that employers are in violation and unaware like the CEO I described. Fines and penalties for employers vary and may include lost wages, benefits and even liquidated damages all for willful violations.

USERRA keeps military members, active, veteran and National Guard free from discrimination. Employers can’t deny these individuals any of the following:
  • Initial employment
  • Re-employment
  • Retention in employment
  • Promotion
  • Any benefit of employment
A year later when the employee from the non-profit returned from his military tour of duty, USERRA guaranteed that his job was there when he returned and his employer returned him from military leave. He received salary increases and was also eligible for promotions if he would have received one if he had been an active employee.

This is part 1 of our veteran and military employment law series. You can read more of our military and veteran articles on the Talent Circles Blog.

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, January 20, 2014

3 Ways to Elevate Your Military and Veteran Recruiting Efforts

Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PSTClick here to register & learn more. 

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Our nation’s heroes should be welcomed into the civilian world of employment. They went to incredible lengths to protect our country serving tours overseas and training in some of the most treacherous and dangerous environments in the world. Given the challenges they faced protecting our great nation, one would think that finding civilian employment would be a piece of cake in comparison. While job searching our military veterans aren’t in physical harms way, they are facing a challenge that is more difficult to understand. Vets are challenged in finding employment and being hired after their tours of military duty.

Finding the right job fit for military veterans at your company is equally challenging for the recruiter. Work skills translation between military and civilian is extremely complex making it a time consuming task for recruiters to understand. This extra work is often unwelcomed as the average recruiter spends less than 6 seconds viewing a resume. It is by far the most challenging and critical for the future success of your military recruitment strategy.

Develop an Understanding of Military Skills & Abilities

Seventy-two percent of hiring managers admit it is difficult to ascertain the skill sets by evaluating a resume of a job candidate who is prior military. One great way to get a better understanding of the skills and qualifications of a candidate who is veteran military is to use a military job and sill translation tool. There are a number of tools recruiters can use to gain a better understanding of the skills obtained and navigate the complex military speak. One such tool I recommend is One Net Online’s Military Crosswalk Tool. If a candidate applies for a job, and their MOS was a 13 Bravo, this tool will help you better understand their military area of expertise and types of skills and responsibilities they did every day. One Net’s resource is great for military veteran job seekers as well as recruiters and hiring managers who are trying to understand specific skills, qualifications and abilities as a result of their time in service with the military.

Provide Job Seeker Resources of Military Veterans & Their Family

Content, information and resources are crucial to reach and attract military job seekers using a combination of talent networks, social media channels and company career pages to engage the military community. A number of companies also offer military translation tools for job seekers and job search aids as part of their own corporate military recruiting efforts and career pages. Here are a few of my favorite examples of how companies are targeting military.
Additionally, companies can create resources and information for the spouses of active military or veterans who are job seeking. Doing so positions your company as a family organization that resonates with spouses, job seekers and speaks to your unique value proposition for everybody.

Build Skills Profiles to Target Transitioning Military

Research, strategy and preparation are the keys to great hiring regardless of the position, job role or responsibility. Skills profiles provide a way to build a database of skills, qualifications and experiences a specific MOS might have for the role you are recruiting for. The Department of Labor’s Career OneStop provides an invaluable Skills Profiler in your research efforts allowing you to develop a great understanding of the military role. By developing individual skills profile by specific MOS, you can quickly identify and target veteran candidates you want to consider at your company.

Recruiting and hiring post separation military can be extremely rewarding. By planning and building a strategy to hire and recruit military efforts, your organization will reap benefits that also positively impact our military’s currently recruiting efforts. By ensuring that we provide our veterans with careers after they serve, we are improving the quality and number of recruits who sign up to protect our great country.

Of course, you can include MOS translators into TalentCircles. Skill translation is not enough. What you also need is the ability to build a relationship with the Veterans who are interested in your company and whom are interest to you. Ask for a demo of TalentCircles with a focus on Veteran hiring.

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, January 15, 2014

How to Add Instant ROI to Your Veteran Hiring with VOTC

Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PST. Click here to register & learn more.

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Aside from the obvious benefits of hiring military veterans at organizations, companies often forget about a 2011 tax benefit program that encourages them to hire prior service members and military called VOTC. VOTC stands for Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit. Companies complete forms 8850 and 9061 as part of the WOTC or Work Opportunity Tax Credit program to receive tax benefits for veteran hiring.

Working in HR and recruiting, finding quantifiable and direct metrics or ROI can be challenging. This tax credit provides a monetary reward of up to $9,600 per hire for our veteran and military recruiting and hiring efforts that directly impacts our company’s bottom line.

This tax credit is common for companies to receive when they hire job seekers who have received government assistance. In 2012, Obama signed into law a different type of tax credit for Veterans and military what is referred to as the VOTC or the Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit. Also know as the Returning Heroes Tax Credit, it is designed to for companies to receive a tax credit of up to $5,600 per veteran. The Wounded Warriors Tax Credit is another piece of this program. Companies who hire disabled veterans can receive a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran. These are all pieces of the American Jobs Act , which was signed into law November 21, 2011.

In 2013, the American Tax Payer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law further extending programs like the Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit as part of WOTC until December 31, 2013.

Congress has yet passed legislation to extend the program into 2014. However, the Department of Labor is directing state workforce agencies as of January 2, 2014 to continue to process WOTC and VOTC applications until further notice is given. What that means for employers, is that we can still submit and receive the tax credit benefiting further from hiring veterans to our companies.

There is no time limit associated to when a veteran leaves their service under VOTC. And recently, qualified tax-exempt organizations can also receive the tax credit incentives. Additionally, there is no benefit to the tax credit. Whether you hire 1 veteran or 25,000, the tax credit program has no boundaries. Here are direct links to the two forms used as part of the tax credit program – Form 9061 and Form 8850v.

Often overlooked, the program and its tax credit apply to all veterans regardless of the year or time in service. If you are hiring any veterans who have been unemployed for four weeks or more, your company can receive the tax credit. The tax credit applies to every and all veteran regardless of if their time in service was 1965 or 2013.

And voila – instant ROI in the form of veteran hiring.

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, January 14, 2014

Veterans Series: I Can Knock It Out of the Park! A Conversation with Arron Daniels

Learn more about best practices in recruiting veteran and military job seekers by joining a Talent Circles sponsored webinar on 2/13/14 at 9:00 PM PST. Click here to register & learn more. 

This post is part of a series that already includes conversations with:

More to come! Meanwhile enjoy my conversation with Arron Daniels!

Now a Senior Sourcing Analyst at Insperity, Arron Daniels is passionate about what shaped his life forever and for the better – the Army National Guard, with which he has 13 years of service. Having joined as a junior in high school, upon graduation, he undertook specific job training in signal communications.

Arron’s family has a long history of military service since the Civil War, including his father’s service in the Air Force. Now at age 31, Arron belongs to the early tier of Millennial Veterans. His story is the antithesis of over-generalized and caricatured views of Millennials, also known as Generation Y. As evidenced by multiple research papers (and interestingly summarized in a Wikipedia article), Generation Y is not always characterized by entitlement, but more often by high expectations driven by dedication and hard work – what David Burstein refers to as “pragmatic idealism.”

Arron Daniels’ career path is an inspiration to a new generation of veterans. This generation is represented by a large group that will re-enter civilian life within the next few months during a high unemployment rate. It is equally inspirational to recruiters who are seeking top talent, as it is critical for them to understand the traits of younger veterans, and how they differ from Baby Boomer Veterans.

What was your job in the Army?

My job was the AT&T of sorts for the Army. My team was responsible for setting up encryption phones, computers and radio signals. When a large unit was deployed forwardly in a combat situation, we would go along for the ride to support their encrypted communications needs. When I got into a more senior leadership role, my First Sergeant called me into his office. He said, “Hey Sergeant Daniels, we’ve got something else for you to do that needs to get done, and no one else really wants to do it.” I became an Equal Opportunity Liaison for my unit’s command structure. That was my first real taste of human resources. I was also introduced to recruiting in the military. In 2007,  I went to recruiter school and attended a six-week-long training program to learn how to interview, make phone calls, set appointments, screen applicants  and ask more in-depth questions – all the recruiting basics. Things you would expect a first- or second-year recruiter to know, but more targeted toward the military. That class helped me immensely, especially when I transitioned from the military into a civilian job.

How did you get a job at Insperity?

I left recruiting command and continued to serve in a reserve status. I was interested in a recruiting job and came across a posting on the Insperity website for a Government Sourcing Analyst. Although I wasn’t familiar with the term sourcing, the position was in the recruiting department. I knew a thing or two about government contractors from working within the signal field, and I was well versed with the security clearance process and lingo from recruiting human intelligence collectors and satellite communications soldiers. In addition, I had become a senior recruiter for my team where my focus was on hard-to-fill positions. Since I still didn’t know what sourcing was. I assumed that Insperity wanted somebody to recruit in the supply chain for government contractors. Of course, I was completely wrong, but I unknowingly applied for the position.

About a year and a half after I was hired, the Insperity recruiter admitted that she wasn’t completely convinced that I was a good fit for the job based on my resume alone, but I was definitely worth a phone call because she thought I had transferrable skills. A successful phone interview resulted in a face-to-face interview. Apparently the recruiter also liked my attitude and personality, so she thought I would be a good culture fit. I didn’t know anything about sourcing, so she took the time to personally train me. She gave me just enough to whet my appetite and told me to “dive in and be a sponge.” I was assigned a mentor who periodically checked on my progress and pointed me to the sourcing greats in the industry. I took to sourcing like a duck to water. In June 2011, I began training my team on Google custom search engines, which blossomed into a secondary role as a trainer for sourcing within our department.

I am very grateful that Insperity gave me an opportunity to demonstrate my abilities and grow within the company. Great recruiters have the ability to see beyond an applicant’s resume. They look at skills, but most importantly, they also look at a candidate’s potential so that a company  does not overlook great talent.

“You give me a chance and I can knock it out of the park!” That’s what any good veteran will say, even when they’re missing one or two required skills. Of course, you need to find the civilian recruiters who understand that!

Would you make “I can knock it out of the park” part of the warrior-in-transition ethos?

Yes. We are veterans, but we are not entitled to get a civilian job just because we are veterans. It’s also our duty to continue to apply what we learned in the Army. For me, it’s two things.

The first thing is to always learn and grow. Within the Army leadership structure, you have to attend a professional development school and pass practical and written examinations. It’s 12 hours a day or more of constant learning. Both enlisted soldiers and officers have to attend these courses for every level of progression. Those who don’t have the will to keep growing and learning either get out or get forced out. So the military is actually retaining the best and the most driven. Learning and growing is a principle that has stayed with me. I always try to attain some kind of certification or attend classes because I need to keep learning.

The second thing is the warrior ethos. “I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade.” Any service member reading this may think it’s a bit cheesy, but it’s true. In the end, the warrior ethos is all about work ethic. If you give a veteran a chance just as Insperity gave to me, they’ll move heaven and earth to get the job done. They’ll execute, plain and simple.

In 2012, Arron wrote a great post for Blogging4Jobs.com entitled Why Employers Don’t Hire Veterans.” It provides practical information about the VOTC, WOTC and the American Jobs Act. The article stresses that it’s easy to translate a military job into a civilian job using an MOS translator. Yet, an employer will know a veteran when they have him/her talk about his/her “implied responsibilities,” and this may be the knowledge that will enable the employer to evaluate the true potential of a veteran for their company.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Candidate Retargeting Through Content Marketing (Part 4)

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at parts one, two and three from this series, click here to start at the beginning of what candidate retargeting is, why it should be a tool you utilize and which strategies bring results.

So far in this series, I’ve talked about several strategies that organizations can utilize to attract and retarget candidates who have visited their careers page without taking the plunge and applying for a position. The fourth part of this series looks at the ultimate retargeting, the type that seeks to pull candidates back to your site who have not only visited before but also have previously worked for the organization.

We all know it’s almost inevitable that employees will make the choice to leave your organization at one point or another. Whether it’s for a new opportunity or challenge, higher pay or even location, most employees stay with a company anywhere from two to six years and then move on. The majority of the time, it’s not personal, meaning employees aren’t angry or bitter at the organization. This is good news for companies who are open to re-hiring candidates who have previously quit because these former employees are actually the ideal candidates. They know your company, expectations and what it takes to perform there.

How to track them 
Obviously it would be virtually impossible to track when former employees visit your careers page, which means that any retargeting that occurs wouldn’t be strategic in nature but would be the same as a first-time candidate visiting your site. In order to facilitate keeping in touch with and retargeting former employees, you’ll need to create an alumni network where these people can connect. There are a number of ways to do this, including creating an alumni page on your website, launching a new web site just for alumni, password protecting the site or creating a group on a social networking website. These alumni networks are completely customizable based on your company culture but often have message boards, profiles or spotlights, a blog and a company news section. Creating this network allows you to retarget those who visit the site later on, using strategic advertisements that are more specific and unique than your general retargeting advertisements.

The strategy
When retargeting these former employees, there are three main things to keep in mind: Be transparent, play to your strengths and remind them of the company culture. Remember that these candidates already know what it’s like to work for the organization, so they’ll see through exaggerated statements. At the same time, they’ll have real experiences to relate to the words you write, creating a valuable connection to your advertisement. Feature the company’s culture and positive aspects of being employed there to remind these candidates of what they loved about your company.

Another aspect of your strategy to consider is successfully retargeting without spending an exorbitant amount of money and seeing minimal results. Retargeting can become expensive, so it’s important to conduct intelligent recruiting that involves creating a network of passive candidates so that every time you have a position open up, you’re not spending more of your budget to retarget passive candidates you’ve already connected with at some point. Rather than scrambling to seek out former employees with whom you haven’t connected since they left your company every time you’re ready to hire, you can simply tap into the network you’ve created that offers passive candidates who previously worked at your company and may be ready to come back.

The perfect candidate to retarget
The most important thing when analyzing your retargeting is that you’re seeing a return on your retargeting investment, which is why former employees are the perfect candidates to reach with retargeting. They have made the effort to join or view your alumni network, meaning that they likely view the organization in a positive way, so they’ll be open minded to the idea of working for your company again. As you continue to retarget these candidates, you’ll have immediate brand recognition and need fewer impressions to remain at the forefront of their mind than with new candidates.

Have you had success with an alumni network or retargeting former employees? Let us know 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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