Talent Circles

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Design Your Perfect Talent Community

Successful recruiting is difficult. If you want to do the job right, a good deal of work needs to go into the process. But that doesn’t mean you need to do all the work yourself. And it doesn’t mean there is only one way to do it.

At TalentCircles we realize that while we all have similar goals when it comes to recruiting—like hiring the best talent in the shortest amount of time—we don’t all need the same exact methods or amount of help to get us to that goal.

That’s why we’re focusing today’s blog post on our TalentCommunity platform: a complete talent acquisition & recruiting solution that is configurable based on individual need.

With this new modular format, we can provide you with all the tools you need to engage and screen your candidates, as well as capture and manage all their data—but you have control over designing your own community by using only the modules you want.

So, whether you are just getting started and need to build a new, diverse and information-rich talent community, or you have a legacy Applicant Tracking System that you want to be more robust and effective, TalentCircles can help. And with our open architecture, integration with any of your existing software is effortless. Our wide range of features syncs all of your talent acquisition and recruiting tools together onto one single platform to help you build your perfect talent community. One where you’re able to combine the ease of automation with the ability to build and maintain real relationships with all of your job candidates.

With this new configurable model, you can add any or all of the following modules to your TalentCommunity:

It’s all about responsiveness. TalentCircles helps you welcome candidates, grow your talent network and hire the best talent. With our Engage module we do more than get your jobs and branding noticed by job seekers. We combine the ease of automation with the ability to interact and build real relationships through the use of tools like:
·       Videos
·       Blogs
·       Meetings
·       Social sharing
·       Messaging
·       Automated email campaigns
·       Video resumes
·       Questionnaires
·       Diversity circles
·       Semantic job matching

By effectively utilizing the screening capabilities of our TalentCommunity platform, you can easily identify your best candidates and fill open positions quickly. Provide candidates with questionnaires or specific problems and score answers to rank candidates. You can also use video chat and hold online meetings that can be recorded so you can share everything with your team. This is a great way to quickly evaluate your talent pool and reduce hiring time.
Convert website visitors and job fair attendees into real candidates in less than a minute with our new and improved TalentCatch. With the touch of a button, you can import data into your talent network to begin the engagement process that will encourage candidates to register in your talent network with a complete profile and stay connected. Socially sharing all of your stories, job postings, webinars, and questionnaires will attract even more people and enable you to build a deep talent pool in no time at all.

We all know the importance of data for making the best decisions. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when using a variety of systems that don’t talk to each other. TalentCircles offers you one private, convenient place where you can manage all your people and every facet of your talent community. Use our Manage module for everything from importing and forwarding resumes to developing online reporting suites and accessing custom data feeds and analysis. Everything you need, from candidate history to the potential job offer can be managed with just a point and click.
Let our TalentCommunity help you build your perfect talent community. To find out how, contact us at 415-835-0202 or sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rethinking Recruiting: Mobile Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

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

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

So, what do job applicants want from potential employers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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

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

What are employers looking for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Recruiting Relief for Career Services and Employers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Older Workers Are More Valuable Than Ever

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

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

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

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

What older workers bring to the table

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

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

Things for older workers to keep in mind

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Are Employers Ready for the iGen?

Although the jury is still out on whether they are the iGen or Generation Z, the teens and young adults born around the mid 90’s show a lot of promise for employers.

Unlike Generation Y before them, Gen Z appears to be more realistic and career-minded. As this age group starts to enter the workforce, they have some strong attributes to bring to the table and hiring managers and business leaders would benefit from making an effort to get their attention. Here are some of the characteristics shared by this cohort to help you effectively focus your hiring campaigns.
  • They like their privacy. Being aware of the dangers of social media, they tend to be cautious about their personal information. Providing opportunities for this group to easily reach out to you, so they have the feeling of remaining in control of the situation, is likely to generate more interest than if you seem to be invading their space.
  • Human connections are very important to Gen Z. And they actually prefer in-person connections to those online. This is where local alumni have a good advantage over businesses who are reaching out coldly. That alumni connection holds a lot of weight when it comes to letting people in and making plans to meet up and discuss opportunities.
  • This group is willing to listen and learn. According to Susan Magrino, President & CEO of TalentCircles, “I am coaching several recent grads who are at the very start of this generation. They come prepared with questions, are eager to listen to what I have to say, and immediately take what they’ve learned and implement changes. They want to see if they can make a first-time position become a long-term career.”
  • Generation Z is more open to diversity than any generation before them. With all of the technology and social media this group has grown up with, they are used to a much broader range of cultural differences and interests than prior groups. They’re more likely to take a variety of viewpoints into consideration when making decisions and coming up with ideas. They will have a strong ability to leverage this world-wide connectivity, which helps them be more prepared to do business globally.
  • These individuals are focused on experience and fulfillment. The iGen wants to enjoy their work and feel they’re making a difference. They tend to look for opportunities to help out in their communities and gain relevant career-related experience before they even begin college. Colleges who have alumni start reaching out early to high school students to form bonds and be active together in the local community can bolster enrollment, develop a strong continuing alumni program, and help the companies the alums work for develop a strong talent network.
  • They have advanced technological skills. And advances in technology don’t seem to be slowing down. This group has grown up in a high tech world where they’ve become used to change and are accepting of new ideas. Their skills and openness will be very valuable to employers.

The iGeneration appears to be starting out strong. Start making connections with them now and they are likely to become excellent business partners for their older Gen Y counterparts.

For more information about hiring the best talent the iGen has to offer, please contact us at 415-835-0202 or via email sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

College Seniors Need to Make the Most of Alumni Resources—Now

Today’s post is the first in a four-part series that will focus on various stages of college alumni. This week we want to look at college seniors and how current alumni can help them – as well as how they can start planning now for their soon-to-be roles and alums themselves.
Many students don’t think about the services alumni associations offer until after they graduate but, the time to start using them is while they’re still in school. Alumni themselves and alumni services programs can be great for connecting current students with wonderful opportunities they may not even be aware exist. These include things like:
Scholarship Money – Many alumni associations have scholarship programs for students. Through fundraisers and donations, money is often awarded to students for stellar academic performance.
Internships – Alumni and alumni associations can get current students in touch with businesses who offer internships that aren’t readily advertised. This enables the student and the company a chance to take a “test-drive” to learn more about their likes, dislikes, and compatibility.
Early Career Networking/Job Opportunities – By contacting alumni early, students can get a jump-start on job hunting. Alumni associations and career services offices can often provide lists of alumni, including where they live and work. Reaching out to alumni can often lead to part-time jobs while still in school, as well as provide students with job opportunities not posted to the general public.
Being Part of a Talent Pool – Many alumni are also part of one or more talent pool databases. This keeps them connected with companies and communities so they stay in the loop when new job opportunities arise. Alumni can help guide students in joining worthwhile, relevant talent pools.
How to Connect
Alumni connections are often more important and useful than many students realize. So you really need to start leveraging them. Start with your campus resources. This is part of what your tuition pays for after all. Go to the associations or offices that interest you to explain what you want or just hear what alumni opportunities are available. If you get a list of appropriate alumni to contact, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.
Even in the age of social media, meeting face-to-face is still a popular option. It’s great to actually get together with someone over lunch and have a true social experience. So, if you connect with local alumni, try for the more personal, in-person get together whenever it’s possible.
That being said, obviously, social media is the easiest way to build connections. In fact, most schools have alumni groups or networks on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +. Students can start building relationships with alumni now so they’ve established ties they can reach out to upon graduation and beyond.
Career Services Offices are also very helpful in connecting students with alumni who are employed in companies that have internships available. This connection can help students get noticed rather than allowing them to disappear into the sea of applicants. It also gives students a chance to get the true inside scoop on what it’s like to work for the company.
Many schools also offer on-campus events that alumni attend to help with everything from interview tips to mentoring programs. Be sure to attend these events when they come up. In addition to the subject matter, it’s just a great way to meet and work with your school’s alumni.
And, remember, as you seek out alumni-related resources and begin making your connections, it’s also important to think about what you’ll be able to offer when you become an alumnus. Giving back in the form of donations is always encouraged and is a good way to show that you you’ve benefited from alumni connections. But you can also show support by being active in setting up and participating in alumni events.
Alumni can help you make connections, share their expertise and experiences, and aid you in understanding what it takes to be successful in your field. The time to start building these relationships is now.

For information on how we work with career services and alumni associations, as well as how to join a good talent pool, call us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How is Workplace Diversity Changing?

A diverse workforce isn’t simply a numbers game focused on how many members of certain groups of people you employ.  It’s about bringing the diverse perspectives, work experiences, life styles and cultures of those groups together to make your company a better place.


This starts with inclusion. Beyond just accepting people’s differences into your existing culture, the focus needs to be on valuing and respecting those differences in order to create a new learning culture. A culture that appreciates differing viewpoints and inspires healthy conflict rather than conformity. If you create an environment where people are comfortable being themselves and are encouraged to voice their opinions, you’ll be able to build a fully contributing workforce

Neil Lenane, Business Leader Recruiting at Progressive Insurance was quoted in a recent Forbes article saying, “If you do not intentionally include, you unintentionally exclude.” Time and again, research shows that businesses who focus on building diverse teams outperform those who don’t. A big part of that performance is due to the innovation that comes from combining all of those people’s different outlooks.

Diversity is something that makes us smarter

In fact, a recent Scientific America article, says that diversity makes us smarter. It cites several studies that show how social diversity brings unique experiences and input to workplace problem solving, which in turn leads to better decision-making and business outcomes. The lesson, the article says, is “when we hear dissent from someone who is different from us, it provokes more thought than when it comes from someone who looks like us.”

According to the article, just bringing different types of people together causes them to believe that they will automatically have different perspectives and this makes them work harder to explain their own viewpoints as well as to understand the outlooks of others. This ultimately leads to better outcomes.

In Scott Page’s book, The Difference, he says that “progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality.”

Extending beyond employees in the workplace
Something else to consider when it comes to including diverse groups in your workforce is how those different perspectives can be applied to your customers. The innovative ideas that come from these groups can open you up to new product, service or marketing ideas that you might otherwise have never thought about. You’re likely to find there are all types of opportunities to expand your market by reaching out to minority groups or capitalizing on niche markets.

If you want to learn more about developing a robust diversity and inclusion strategy, and how to measure the impact of a diverse, inclusive and culturally competent workforce, check out SHRM’s upcoming Diversity & Inclusion Conference & Exposition.

And, for information on how we can help you add diverse talent to your existing talent pool, call us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com.