Talent Circles

Friday, May 29, 2015

5 Ways to Target Your Diversity Recruiting Efforts

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Diversity recruiting is changing. There was a time when good faith, somewhat passive efforts were enough, but we’re in a time when diversity recruiting requires strategy and relationship building. The realm of diversity recruiting has also moved from strictly a compliance issue to leaders realizing it’s incredibly beneficial for organizations to be diverse. It’s no longer what a company must do – it’s what companies want to do. However, compliance is still an essential piece because it holds companies accountable and ensures that even companies whose leaders have less than favorable opinions about diversity in the workplace are giving everyone an opportunity.

Last year, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, or OFCCP, announced some changes to its regulations, including the Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974 (VEVRAA) and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. VEVRAA and 503 are just two of the many regulation changes enforced as of March 2014 by the OFCCP. The changes are complex and more than a year later, many of us are still left scratching our heads. Here I’ll share strategies for reaching and engaging diverse candidates, but if you are interested in diversity reporting and compliance, there are many experts in the field you can consult, including Candee Chambers with Direct Employers, an employer-owned association.

No matter what your focus, whether compliance or desiring a diverse workforce, it takes action. Building an affirmative action plan, maintaining compliance with the OFCCP and reaching diverse candidates calls for engagement, and relating to and establishing a connection with potential candidates within different diversity groups, both externally and internally. All companies should be considering using diversity recruiting programs to move beyond group-think, expand horizons and bring forth new ideas between employees, customers and the company as a whole. Here are five ways you can start doing just that:

Build Candidate Networks
Step outside the run-of-the-mill e-newsletter communications and build networks that engage candidates. Focus on technology platforms that give you autonomy, like TalentCircles, to help you engage targeted communities.

Focus on Diversity Verticals
Build specific content, conversations and resources for the communities you wish to reach. For instance, if you’re aiming to recruit veterans, hone in on the questions and conversations that veterans have.  

Provide Resources
Help candidates understand why you not only accept diversity but desire it. Provide materials online for candidates and their families, as well as current employees.

Get Engaged
No matter who you’re recruiting, there’s nothing more valuable than engagement. Find diversity-focused events that give you the opportunity to engage and foster relationships, such as an online diversity recruiting event or a women-who-code conference.

Ask questions
Ask your employees and candidates for feedback and recommendations on how to be better. They provide a unique perspective, so listen and make changes.

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

What the CHRO Needs to Know About Employment Branding and Recruitment Marketing

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Employment branding and recruitment marketing gained speed just a couple of years ago, but they’ve quickly blossomed into being the backbone of recruitment strategy at many companies. One of the biggest forces driving employment branding and recruitment marketing is the leadership at these organizations. As with almost all overreaching efforts, the leaders’ opinions, values and priorities guide whether or not a company will embrace these tactics or not. For CHROs, the power lies in your hands. It’s often up to the CHRO to guide and shape the strategy, so it’s vital that you’re equipped with the knowledge and understanding of these tactics to make the right decisions. 

What’s the big deal?
You’ve no doubt heard of employment branding and recruitment marketing, but I would almost bet that you’ve heard them discussed in abstract ways. This could be because there are so many aspects to these strategies and so many ways to put them into practice. In the simplest terms, employment branding is a long-term effort to manage how candidates, potential candidates and employees see you. Recruitment marketing is using real-world marketing tactics to recruit employees. These two strategies are strengthened by each other and when used together, are incredibly powerful in shaping how the outside world sees you as an employer and then moving those people to want to be a part of your company.

What you need to know
Knowing what these terms mean doesn’t exactly help you implement them in your organization. As a CHRO, you have a responsibility to also know the how and why behind these ideas. Here are four things that you need to know to answer the questions “Why do we need it?” and “How do we make it happen?”

  •           Opportunity abounds. Employment branding and recruitment marketing are emerging areas of opportunity for talent acquisition. It’s not often that something comes along that can revolutionize the way you recruit, but these strategies fall in that category. By aligning HR with marketing and corporate/internal communications, you can build a bridge between the areas and combine their powers for the good of your current and future workforce.

  •         Metrics are a must. Trust that these strategies work, but ask questions that verify you’re on the right track. Rather than viewing success in terms of social followers (since that doesn’t necessarily equal influence), look at candidates per source, hires by channel and the number of candidate engagements/traffic that each of these sources bring. It’s also important to understand the relationship these metrics have with each other. For instance, while source of hire is important, a single interaction is probably not the only touch these candidates had before making the decision to join your talent network or apply for an opening.

  •          Hire strategists. Since these are newer strategies for many companies, it’s possible that your team would be well served to bring in someone who is experienced in these areas. Senior level team members who know how to plan and execute employment branding and recruitment marketing can lead the charge. They are good at what they do, will bring results and should be paid accordingly.

  •         It’s a team effort. Branding and marketing in talent acquisition is driven by your employees. It’s an effort that starts from the bottom, with employees becoming brand ambassadors and believing they work for a great place. Your CEO can’t make your employees see the organization a certain way without real organizational and cultural change.

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Is Binomial Recruiting the Solution to a Better Quality Hire? Part Two

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Binomial recruiting may seem like the roulette of the talent acquisition world, but it’s actually much more of a game of strategy than sheer luck. This talent acquisition method is used by many companies that believe a larger number of applicants will increase the chance of finding the perfect candidate, but it presents both challenges and advantages. In part one of this series, I talked about why it makes sense to believe that probability has a place in recruiting, but I also mentioned that the way most people think of using binomial recruiting isn’t practical.

The problem
While binomial recruiting sounds like a great idea in theory, most recruiters and talent acquisition leaders who are managing multiple job requisitions for their company don’t have time to handle an increased number of resumes for each position. From requiring an enormous time commitment to the frustration of weeding through unqualified applicants, binomial recruiting in its purest form just isn’t practical. You may see an increased probability of finding “the one” when you receive 200 applications instead of 20, but if you do that with every position, you’ll be overworked and unimpressed by this method.

The solution
However, by changing the way we think about and use binomial recruiting, we can make the most of this method and use it to our advantage. Forget about it being a numbers game. Binomial recruiting should be a game of strategy. Put it to work for you by using these four solutions as part of your binomial recruiting:

1. Assess the situation
If you’re going to increase your recruiting, save yourself a headache and increase your assessments as well. Increased assessments, qualifying questionnaires and automated selection processes cut down on the manual labor necessary to weed out those who don’t meet the minimum qualifications. An important thing to keep in mind, however, is that the average application already takes 45 minutes to complete. Making the hiring process more involved might decrease the number of unqualified candidates but there is no guarantee it will increase candidate quality. Only use assessments that really get the job done.

2. Say what you need
While some candidates are guilty of not fully reading a job description, we have to believe that the majority will and provide them with more detailed job postings and specific descriptions. Say what you need and want in a candidate and trust that the description will be one of the tools they use to assess skills, qualifications and even abstract aspects like culture and work styles.

3. Empower your candidates
In order to improve my own candidate quality, I used to show candidates a seven-minute day-in-the-life video as they waited in the interview room to meet with the hiring manager. Candidates saw a realistic preview and as a result, a few realized the position wasn’t right for them and asked to no longer be considered, thus increasing my candidate quality. By providing your candidates with resources to evaluate the organization and job, you’re empowering and enabling them to make the call of whether or not it’s a good fit.

4. Get them in the group

One of the most powerful tools you can use to juggle a large number of candidates in a way that makes them feel important and considered is a talent network like Talent Circles. A talent network is platform owned exclusively by your organization where you can provide candidates with an opportunity to learn more about the organization while recruiters also learn about candidates. More importantly, the system offers CRM capability, ensuring that recruiters can input notes so that all recruiters can learn more about the interested job seeker party.

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Is Binomial Recruiting the Solution to a Better Quality Hire? Part One

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

As recruiters, we’re always on the search for a way to fill positions with the best of the best. We want to be efficient, we want to be effective, but most of all, we want the sought-after candidates with proven success and enormous potential. Sometimes this quest can feel like the search for the perfect formula. We try to determine what works, what doesn’t, which websites we had the most success with and which keywords stand out. Among these contributing factors that lead us to finding the perfect candidates lays another question: does quantity equal quality?

Binomial recruiting believes that it does. Binomial recruiting is the practice of reaching as many people as possible with the goal of receiving as many applications or resumes as possible. In statistics, binomial distribution evaluates how many occurrences of success there are among a given number. It’s the probability that something will occur. In talent acquisition, binomial distribution is the idea that the more candidates we have applying for a single position, the more likely we are to have a better-qualified candidate to fill our role.

Great in theory, great in practice?
On the surface, binomial recruiting sounds fantastic because we, as talent acquisition leaders, are always striving for the very best candidate to fill our job openings. However, it also presents a number of challenges.

The first and most obvious obstacle it brings is that many companies are already receiving a large number of resumes with each job they post. This may sound like a recruiter’s dream, but it’s both a blessing and a curse. The sheer volume makes the task of filling the position daunting and time consuming. Making this aspect of the hiring even more frustrating is the fact that a growing percentage of applicants aren’t even qualified for the position. From education requirements to experience level to not possessing a very specific skill needed for the role, candidates often breeze through a description and believe they’re qualified or see that they’re not but cross their fingers, and it takes a toll on recruiters who have to sort through an enormous amount of resumes just to narrow it down to those who meet the minimum requirements. Binomial recruiting can be a challenge for this reason alone.

The other thing that could be keeping companies from choosing this method of recruiting is that it costs more to reach more people. For many companies, it’s a smaller consideration than the time commitment, but it is important to note. Casting a wide net can be considerably more expensive than using a focused approach.

Using the technique practically
However, even with these challenges, many organizations and recruiters find that quantity does equal quality, making it worth the time, effort and expense of handling a large number of resumes just to find that one special candidate. On the other hand, there are just as many, if not more, companies that can’t see how this type of recruiting could make sense. Essentially, it can’t in the way most people use and think of it. More resumes may lead to better hires, but it’s not just a numbers game. Most companies that are seeing success with binomial recruiting are thinking about and using it differently than the average person, and they’re onto something.

Learn about the tricks of the trade in part two of this series to find out how your company can make use of the method in practical and effective ways.

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Jose Corona: CEO of Innercityadvisors, mass recruiter of local change makers

Jose Corona became the CEO of Innercityadvisors (ICA) in Oakland, CA, a little over ten years ago, and every year he becomes even more passionate about the mission of his organization. As summarized on their website: “ICA works tirelessly with entrepreneurs, advisors, employees and sponsors to create a more equitable and impactful economic ecosystem in the Bay Area. Our unique approach has developed many amazing companies who have created good jobs for local residents."

Jose has three of the most critical features of social entrepreneurs: Personal commitment to a cause, team-building capabilities, and result-orientation.

Personal commitment to a cause
Social entrepreneurs see the world around them and passionately want to transform it. For Jose Corona, social entrepreneurship deeply resonates with his own upbringing. When I asked him why he is doing what he does, his first reaction was to speak of his dad, who came from Mexico as a teenager to be a seasonal worker in Watsonville, CA, then ended up buying a piece of land there, creating his own strawberry farm and bringing over his family. "It was truly through his entrepreneurship spirit and how he tried to live the American dream that I asked myself how I could support businesses like my dad had.  I saw firsthand how he gave opportunities to others or helped others start their own business, family members and also some friends of his. Working with companies to create employment I feel like I am very much in line with these values I learned early on as a young boy: what people want is opportunities. They do not want handouts."

Jose's cause is to help people get jobs to be part of a community and strengthen the identity of that community. Dedicated social leaders understand that it's not because a company is located in an inner city area that it will automatically help the development of that community. "We actually found the opposite," Jose notes. "Most of these companies were relocating here, whether it was East Oakland or West Oakland because it was cheaper real estate. It was a business decision for them; it wasn't that they wanted to support E. or W. Oakland; only 27% of the employees were from the community. So we made the conscious choice to really work with entrepreneurs who are committed and have the values of the community. In a five-year period we turned that around to go from 27% to 73%. Our companies hire locally. The majority of the business owners are actually not from the community but what they are committed to is actually hiring from the community." How do you manage this? By bringing people together.

Team-building capabilities
ICA was founded in 1996 by Michael Porter as a project to revitalize distressed urban communities. It included Baltimore, Boston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Oakland. The Oakland branch is the only surviving entity, and it operates in dense communities primarily composed of Hispanics (40%) and African-Americans (30%) where graduation rates from high school are low and the poverty rate is about 20% higher than in the surrounding metropolitan area. "We made it work here," Jose says. Quite humbly, he emphasizes the fact that ICA is blessed with having a great entrepreneurial culture and socially responsible entrepreneurs in Oakland and in the Bay Area.

The key piece of the model, he underlines, "is that we have advisors, mentors and volunteers, in other words professionals with experience in growing a business. How do you bring the right tools and people to accelerate that path to growth?" That's obviously the hard part... because ultimately, and despite the gigantic resources of the Silicon Valley, there are actually very few initiatives comparable to ICA. This is where the exceptional wisdom and continuous involvement of a committed leader does make a difference: "We were able to figure it out. We were able to figure out how to match the right entrepreneurs with the right advisors the right touch, the right expertise, the right experience to have the right impact and help the entrepreneur grow their business."  

Jose is a born matchmaker, and part of that rare breed of recruiters who are able to select the perfect role models for new business owners. Talent is the glue of communities, and the key to success is ICA's talent management program:  "It connects people to jobs and people want to keep engaged. Companies do not want to exit our portfolio because they see the value." They feel compelled to give back. "Once the entrepreneurs start to see the value they realize 'you helped me, I want to help you too.'  You can become a mentor to an entrepreneur at an ealier stage. Now we have companies like Revolution foods and Blue Bottle that can give back." Just like leading social entrepreneurs, Jose is a "mass recruiter of local changemakers," to use an expression coined by Ashoka.

Result orientation
Success breeds success. Social responsibility isn’t just the dream of making a difference, it's the ability to change the world for the better, one place at a time through focus and attention to results.

 ICA is selective in the companies they support: "We take a lot of time in our due diligence process and are very careful in picking the right characters beyond looking at financial viability; we spend a lot of time trying to understand the entrepreneur. Do you want our services just because they are free or do you want them because you see the real value and will contribute to our mission? " As a result, some segments are more relevant than others. "We started to focus on particular industries such as consumer products, manufacturing, transportation, solar installations because the people running these businesses really value the community where they operate. Also, in these industries, people get opportunities in entry level positions and then advance their career within that company. We have many stories where someone started with working on the floor and five years later, became an operation manager. Giving a job is not enough, career path opportunities is paramount.”

Social entrepreneurs are all about the practical implementation of their vision. The ICA's accomplishments are nothing short of being stunning. "Over my 10 years we have seen around 2,000 companies and we have only taken 45." How many of those have failed? Jose paused. "I can count two," he said. "One of them actually didn't fail but got acquired and moved to Redwood City. They took the talent with them. It was a success financially, but the jobs were lost here. The second one was a real failure.”

The size of these companies varies; exponential growth is not necessarily the goal. “Revolution Foods is an exception – and grew from two people to 1,300 and from zero to 100M in revenue. The rest of our companies are companies that are sustainable and have anywhere between five to 50 or 100 employees. They are the typical SMBs that constitute the actual texture of our economy. ICA created 6,500 jobs over 10 years and 2700 in 2,013 alone.

What's next for Jose? Maybe the same work on a larger scale, without, however, diluting the vision and the mission: "Where we are now and how we sustain this movement is something that we are thinking about. How do we make a larger impact?” No doubt we’ll hear more about Jose Corona's pragmatic idealism and persistent ambition to positively impact the lives of people!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Difference Between Cost Per Applicant and Cost Per Hire

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Our industry has been gravitating toward metrics more and more in the last several years, and it’s served us well. They help executives understand what’s going on behind the scenes, allow us see what’s working and what’s not and give us a way to evaluate costs and benefits of our HR and recruiting practices. Cost per hire is one of the most widely accepted metrics, but there’s another measurement that can help us hone our recruiting strategies even further.

Cost per applicant is much more inclusive than its cousin, cost per hire. It evaluates how much our recruiting activities cost per applicant rather than per new hire. Simply put, it’s all the costs of internal and external recruiting divided by the number of total applicants you have for a position or during a certain period of time. While not used by companies as often as cost per hire, I would argue that it actually provides a clearer picture of whether or not your recruiting dollars are being used in the best way.

Where the costs come from
We know that it’s a misnomer that recruiting is basically free. Of course there are email blasts, social media and good old fashioned networking, but here in the real world, recruiting can be a significant expense for your organization. There are the traditional expenses, like your time, email marketing fees and attending recruiting events, but one of the most popular and effective ways of reaching candidates is a bit more complicated than just a flat fee.

Today, it’s all about the pay per click strategy. From job boards to job aggregator websites to search engines, companies are using cost per click to charge you for driving candidates to your job posting. These companies utilize networks, online ads and other media to promote your job listing. You’re paying each time one of those ads works and a potential candidate clicks on one. Essentially, these companies are making your media buys for you, which is much more efficient and cost effective than trying to do it yourself.

Pay per click is a smart way to use online media to reach candidates, but it is unknown territory in a lot of ways. The most significant is probably that the cost of each click can vary depending on how competitive the search phrase is, what traffic is like for the website you’re using and even the time of day. This can make it tougher to budget, plan and evaluate averages.

Why the strategy works
Even with the unknowns that come with utilizing a pay per click strategy, for many companies it’s the best possible strategy they can use. We are HR and recruiting experts, not marketing and media buying gurus. Pay per click takes a lot of the stress out of choosing where to advertise your job posting.

It also makes sense because it allows companies almost immediate feedback on what’s working and what’s not. You can see whether or not your ad is being seen, clicked and finally, whether or not people are making the buying decision to apply because of it. This allows you to quickly find out where things are going wrong and make tweaks accordingly.

Cost per applicant is an important tool in deciding where and how you’ll invest your recruiting budget, and pay per click is an important part of developing that strategy.

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.

Friday, May 15, 2015

3 Amazing Recruiting Compliance Resources

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Recruiting compliance is something we don’t give much thought to until it really affects us. It’s not a daily consideration. It’s only thought of in an “oh dear god” moment when we’re knee deep in an OFCCP audit or a potentially complicated compliance situation. It’s in that moment that we’ll wish we were more informed and more diligent with our recordkeeping. For most of us it isn’t something that we’ve purposely neglected. In fact, many of us think we’re doing everything right until it hits us that we’re definitely not.

As recruiters, we have so many daily tasks, and ensuring compliance doesn’t tend to be at the forefront of our minds. However, it should be! If you’ve been pushing it to the side, putting it off or just wondering how your compliance measures up, here are three amazing recruiting compliance resources to keep you on track.

OFCCP’s Federal Contract Compliance Manual
OFCCP is the agency that enforces the use of affirmative action and equal opportunity employment at companies that do business with the federal government. As you know, there are strict compliance standards, so chances are you may be missing a piece of the puzzle. This manual goes into great detail about OFCCP compliance and highlights the changes that went into effect in March of 2014. It’s worth reviewing since the last time major changes were implemented was 1988. This manual explains compliance standards and also joins the rest of the industry in addressing corporate culture and employee development. Get ready for 519 pages of pure bliss. Save a tree and read it online here.

Direct Employers Blog
DirectEmployers is a member-driven association that works to create a better recruiting space, leading to labor efficiencies, lower costs and better compliance. Their blog features a weekly compliance roundup, valuable webinars and other compliance and recruiting-related resources. What I love about this blog is that the weekly compliance roundup is unlike any other out there. It’s tough to follow all the updates and interpret how they’ll affect you, but their weekly post does just that. The DirectEmployers blog has a ton of resources, so come for the compliance info and stay for all the other great posts.

This online resource provides free corporate law information and can even customize a daily delivery of legal news to be sent to your inbox based on your company’s unique needs. Their free email newsletter that provides insights into employment law as well as OFCCP and compliance-related cases is what I appreciate most about Lexology. Their information tends to be in-depth, so this is one that will be especially valuable for directors, VPs and legal departments that really oversee compliance. However, everyone can benefit from being in the know about compliance and regulatory issues.

These are just a few of the many resources out there that can help provide a framework for your compliance efforts and keep you updated as laws and regulations change. Make it a part of your weekly routine to spend 15 or 20 minutes immersed in all things compliance. It will ensure that you’re in the know and that it’s on the forefront of your mind.

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.