Talent Circles

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

5 Staffing Trends Holding Strong in 2016

As we hit the halfway mark of 2016, these five staffing trends appear to be holding strong. So, if you’re not already focusing on them, it’s time to start.

·       Branding matters – A brand is more than a logo and an external appearance. Ultimately, it’s the identity of everything the company embodies. When you think about the purpose of your business, along with the core values and beliefs that drive it, you are getting at the heart of your brand. Candidates want to see that heart to determine if a company’s values and objectives are in line with their own. This is actually a good thing because it helps lay the groundwork for ensuring the candidate and company are a good match for each other. Once you’ve clearly defined your brand, you need to promote your business through social media and actively network and build relationships.  Whether you do it electronically or in person, be authentic and clear about what you believe in, and you’ll attract likeminded candidates and colleagues with whom you can build lasting alliances.

·       Revisiting the use of social media for recruiting – There’s no question that social media and online professional networks are necessities when it comes to a good recruiting strategy. But many employers and recruiters have taken a step back to reevaluate the way they’re using them. While placing hiring ads on popular social sites is still useful, staying on top of new developments and options within these sites can help you more effectively leverage social media. Focusing on niche community sites within an industry can get you in front of more relevant candidates. And, with each new in-app function the popular social sites come up with, there are more ways to engage with your audience. With a more sophisticated approach to social media, you can do things like create exceptionally targeted ads that will only appear when a user meets your specified criteria.

·       Struggling to find quality candidates – Unfortunately, plenty of recruiters and hiring managers are still seeing a skills gap and are having trouble finding good people. While the Internet has given us the ability to reach a larger number of potential candidates than ever before, there is a need to balance quantity and quality. With a good applicant tracking system you can determine which recruiting campaigns and efforts yield the best candidates. Recruitment analytics software can provide incredible insights for developing specialized recruiting campaigns that will get you not just quantity, but, most importantly, quality candidates.

·       Focus on passive candidates – Given the skills gap and the difficulty in finding qualified people to fill jobs, reaching passive candidates is more important than ever. Fortunately, it’s also easier than ever. In addition to traditional networking, which you should still be doing, social media networking provides a natural path for getting in front of people who aren’t actively looking for a new job but might be open to the possibility. Starting conversations based on shared interests, mentioning connections and building relationships is the key to filling your talent pool with strong candidates for current and future positions.

·       Investment in new technology – Without a doubt, if you haven’t replaced outdated recruiting practices and technologies with automated systems, you will struggle to stay in the game. The mountain of information now available to recruiters and hiring managers is a powerful asset in the hiring process, but it can also be overwhelming if you have to sort through all the data manually. That’s where applicant tracking or customer relations management systems come in. Being able to integrate all your information across a variety of platforms, and then easily search, organize and evaluate candidates isn’t a “nice to have” option, it’s a must have to compete in today’s market. Let technology organize data and crunch numbers while you bring the humanity to build relationships and make the best decisions.

To learn more about the best hiring and recruiting practices, call us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Using Video Interviews to Attract Top Talent

While a phone call, email and social media can provide a cursory view of the personality and skills of a potential hire, most hiring managers wouldn’t consider extending a job offer for a significant position without an actual face-to-face meeting with the candidate. Why? Because non-verbal cues and cultural fit are too important to overlook.

Technology has made the world a much smaller place in terms of our ability to instantly communicate with people electronically regardless of location, which is great. Until we can actually teleport, however, location does present some challenges for recruiters and hiring professionals in terms of the face-to-face aspect of interviewing. A good deal of time and money can wasted be when recruits, who end up not being a good fit, are flown in for in-person interviews at the company’s expense. And, if left to the applicant to handle travel expenses, some exceptional talent may choose to walk away rather than invest the time and money early in the interview process. And this is where video interviews come into play.

What is a video interview?

Video interviews offer the benefits of in-person interviews without the scheduling hassles or travel time and expenses.

With a good video interviewing platform, you’ll be able to choose different video options depending on your needs. The two most common video interview styles used by recruiters and hiring managers are live-video interviews and one-way video interviews.

Live-video interviews are the most similar to an in-person interview. You still need to schedule a time that works for all parties involved, but with everyone being able to “attend” the interview from a remote location, there is no need for anyone to travel and scheduling becomes much easier. The interview interaction very closely mimics that of actually being in the same room with each other. You’re able to see and hear responses in real time, but it also gets recorded so the interview can be shared with other stakeholders who weren’t present during the live version. The recordings can be scored or ranked so the best get first priority when collaborating with stakeholders.

In One-way interviews, candidates are emailed a link they can access at any time that’s convenient for them. They are provided with text or video-based questions that they will answer via recorded video. In their video recording, candidates will demonstrate their personalities and discuss their skills. Depending on the video platform you use, you can customize options like how long someone can sit and think before hitting record to answer each question. And you can standardize questions for each job so comparing applicants is easy. After a candidate submits his or her video, the recruiter or hiring manager can view the interview whenever it’s convenient and can share it with others on the team who have a vested interest.

A good platform will also have tech support available to help with everything from set-up to viewing and sharing recordings to troubleshooting technical problems. 

Why use video interviews?

There are plenty of reasons to incorporate video interviews into your standard hiring practices.

·       One of the best aspects of video interviews is how much time they save. Rather than being at the mercy of travel arrangements for candidates who live a long distance from the job location or interview site, video interviews can be done almost immediately and without the expense of airfare, hotels, etc. In addition, hiring managers can review and make decisions about a multitude of video interviews in the amount of time it normally takes to schedule and conduct just one traditional, face-to-face interview. And, with the ease that video interviewing provides, recruiters and hiring managers can get more in-depth information from candidates early in the process, rather than waiting until later to set up an actual interview. Overall, getting through interviews faster shortens the length of hiring time. Quicker hiring means less chance of losing good candidates.

·       Collaboration also improves with recorded video interviews because every member of the team or group of stakeholders can see the interview first hand without actually having to be present at the exact time and location of an in-person interview.

·       Job applicants like to know they’re dealing with companies that are up on cutting edge technology. Using video interviews sends a positive message and is likely to help attract top talent.

·       Being able to sort through a large talent pool quickly provides the opportunity to interview many more people than standard interviewing would allow. And with more people available, the more options you have for better hires.

·       Video interviews allow you to continually add to your talent pool. Even if someone isn’t a great fit for the current job opening, you’ve got an interview already on file for consideration when other job opportunities arise.

To learn more about getting started with video interviewing and other cutting edge recruiting practices, call us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Can Employers do About the Skills Gap?

Although there has been some back and forth about the severity of the employment “skills gap” problem, it looks like enough people are feeling the effects of it to make it an issue that needs addressing.

As might be expected, employers are still seeing shortages in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, but, according to a recent study from CareerBuilder, plenty of other occupations, such as those in the management, legal and service sectors are struggling to find skilled workers too.

And this struggle can be costly. The CareerBuilder study found that for each job vacancy lasting three or more months, a company loses, on average, more than $14,000. And one in six companies loses $25,000 or more. The study goes on to point out, “Considering the fact that 54 percent of employers currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates, and 35 percent of all employers have positions that stay open for 12 weeks or longer, those costs can add up quickly and have broader implications for business performance.”

The specific reasons for the lack of qualified workers varies somewhat, but one recurring theme is that colleges are not preparing students adequately for jobs in the real world.
Sometimes this stems from in-demand jobs just not seeing enough graduates in the appropriate majors. Other times, students might graduate with the right major but the college curricula just haven’t been able to keep up with how quickly technology changes. 

This leads to students lacking the critical, job-specific skills needed to handle leading edge technology.

If companies require specific new skills that colleges don’t teach, recent college grads aren’t finding the jobs they expected to upon graduation. In the last two decades, underemployment (referring to recent college graduates working in jobs that don’t require bachelor’s degrees) had pretty consistently measured around 33%. In 2012, however, that number rose to 44%, according to the New York Fed paper, “Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?”

Colleges shouldn’t be expected to handle all the blame and burden alone, however. Academia and business need to work together. Academic institutions should be talking to employers about what they need; which will likely lead to colleges and universities having to reevaluate the process for creating and updating course curricula. At the same time, with technological advances seeming to impact the pace at which we do just about everything these days, companies need to be more willing to pick up where college leaves off and take an active role in training employees.

One Harvard Business Review article points out that apprenticeships are a great way to get new employees up to speed. In fact, it states that “Graduates of apprenticeship programs enjoy an estimated $250,000 increase in lifetime earnings, and employers get a 38% return on their investment.” The article also suggests that employers in similar sectors join together to the address skills gap issues. It encourages them to work with educational institutions to design training initiatives that focus on career pathways while integrating classroom education with real-life or simulated work sessions.

Remember, when companies invest in training their employees—and offer truly competitive compensation for workers with in-demand skills—they engender employee loyalty.

In addition to businesses and academia working together, job seekers need to do their part in actively keeping up with the latest innovations and changes in their field. They need to be willing to seek out and ask for training when necessary and ensure they have, or are at least working toward, marketable job-specific skills. Not only that, but companies also want to see that they have the necessary “soft skills.” Many employers mention that it’s equally challenging finding people who can communicate effectively, get along well as part of a team, have confidence and a good attitude, are flexible, and can be resourceful problem solvers.

It will take a true joint-effort on the part of academia, employers and job seekers to bridge the skills gap and ensure a real, long-term solution to the problem.

For more information about finding the people with the skills needed to succeed in your current job openings, contact us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Making the Tech Industry More Attractive to Women

It’s no secret that the tech industry has a substantially higher number of males than females. But what is surprising is that rather than seeing an increase over the past few decades in the number of females getting tech-related college degrees, the number is actually decreasing. In 1984, 37 percent of all computer-science graduates were women, but today that number is just 18 percent. Not only that, but a mere 0.4 percent of high school girls express interest in majoring in computer science.

So, what is keeping more women from entering the technology industry? If Silicon Valley is any indication, maybe the fact that men with bachelor’s or graduate degrees make 52 - 61% more than women with the same educational attainment level has something to do with it.

Or, maybe it’s the tech culture. ComputerWeekly.com shared a recent survey citing women’s top three reasons why the technology field is less appealing to female recruits:

1 - The masculine/“macho” culture
2 - Being the only female on the team
3 - Women having to work harder to succeed

Interestingly, “Women having to work harder to succeed” was near the very bottom of the list of reasons men gave for the tech industry’s lower appeal to women. Men considered the industry’s “geek” or “nerd” image as the main reason that keeps women away. And that, too, seems to be valid.

According to a post on Forbes.com by Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of the non-profit organization, TechGirlz, which teaches middle school girls about opportunities in the tech industry, she has had a lot of opportunity to understand the decline in the number of females entering the technology field. “The facts are clear: girls think computer careers are boring, the media portrays techies as nerds and geeks, schools offer few programming or tech classes, and parents do not fully understand all the choices that tech offers for careers.” She points out there needs to be a change in the way technology, as a career, is being presented to girls. If tech jobs are explained in ways that make them appealing to girls, then girls will pursue them.

In order for more women to seek out opportunities in tech, girls need to start being exposed to them early on. And in a positive, interesting light. Taking the focus away from something that may seem like drudgery for some (perhaps programming) and shifting the focus to include creative problem solving, can make a big difference in generating interest. This is what spurred the quadrupling of women computer-science graduates at Harvey Mudd College.

Hopefully, the curriculum at elementary, middle and high schools will start containing more resources for introducing computer science and technology-related career ideas as early (and intriguingly) as possible. Schools and parents need to stress the importance of women in technology fields and nurture that message throughout the school years.

Even if that happens, it seems that the tech environment itself has quite a bit of work to do if employers want to retain the women that actually do enter the field. Presently, they are underpaid, often passed over for promotions, feel isolated, and seem to struggle more than in other industries when it comes to work-life balance and gender biases. In fact, compared to their male peers, women are more likely to leave the industry within a year. As more women leave the tech industry, fewer positive role models for girls remain and this only perpetuates women’s reluctance to enter the tech field.

As an employer or recruiter in the tech industry, here are some things to keep in mind in your efforts to attract more women to your company and keep them once they’re there:

  • Revamp your job descriptions to make them more creative and interesting
  • Get involved in tech organizations for women to learn more and recruit potential hires
  • Pay women better
  • Demand gender equality throughout your company
  • Actively recruit more women across all job levels to prevent the feeling of isolation
  • Groom women for leadership and promote them fairly
  • Listen to female employees’ ideas and suggestions
  • Institute policies for better work-life balance
  • Avoid hiring in your own image and actively encourage diversity

Remember, having talented women in key leadership roles shows that you support women’s career advancement, which will be very attractive to future female recruits.

And, in addition to better departmental communications, organization and innovation potential when you add more women to your tech environment, here’s one more important fact to consider: according to the index provider MSCI, companies with strong female leadership see a 36% higher return on equity. So, what are you waiting for?

Call us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com for more information on successful recruiting strategies.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Are Your Job Descriptions Compelling Enough to Recruit College Grads?

Compelling job descriptions

Consider that your job posting might be the first impression a person has of your company. If you look at your current listings, do they convey the image you want? Does yours stand out among other job postings? Today’s college graduates are looking for exciting opportunities with a company they can feel good about. As an employer or recruiter, it’s up to you to “wow” your audience—or at the very least, intrigue them.

Obviously you need to be honest and realistic about what someone can expect from the job, but there are ways you can keep it real while also making it compelling. Here are some ideas to help you get noticed.

Grab the reader’s attention immediately. Treat your job description as an ad, because it is one. And just like with any ad, you need a great headline. Rather than the job title being the first thing people read, think about some ways you can draw people in. Try something like, “Want a job that has you looking forward to Monday mornings?” Or, open with something fun and unexpected about the company. Give people a reason to want to get to know more about your company and the job you’re hiring for.

Give your job descriptions a personality. Even if you’re able to capture attention with a great headline, your audience will lose interest if the actual description of the job is dull. A dull, uninspired job description equates to a dull, uninspired job. Convey your company culture and use a voice that sounds inviting. Sell people on why it’s a good job and why the company is a great place to work. And stay away from tired language like, the qualified candidate will possess… Try something with more flavor like, Looking for someone with a passion for design or with a powerful intellectual curiosity.

Don’t go overboard on the details. Keep the job posting on the short side. Around 600 words is a good length, although a more complex job might require something a bit longer and an entry level or very straight forward position can be a little shorter. The goal is to cover the key points so potential candidates are informed, but you don’t cause strong applicants to glaze over and lose interest.

Know your “Must have’s” versus your “Would be nice to have’s.” It’s important to list the top four or five critical qualifications of the job. What skills or qualifications (any licenses or degrees, for example) are you absolutely unwilling to compromise on. List these as non-negotiable. This will weed out the truly unqualified individuals. Then, think through what other qualities or skills you would want someone to bring to the table and why. Do they play a major role in doing the job successfully? Perhaps there are things that really aren’t all that essential. You need a good balance between enough and not too many when it comes to required and preferred qualifications. You don’t want to risk pushing away talented individuals because of too many unnecessary restrictions.

Include graphics/pictures – Make it visually appealing. No one wants to wade through tons of text to decipher what the job and the company are all about. Here is a fun example of a job listing that combines personality and visual appeal quite nicely: Job Description - Be Awesome

Include videoYouTube has over a billion users (almost one-third of all people on the Internet) and every day they watch hundreds of millions of hours of video on YouTube. Additionally, growth in watch time on YouTube is up at least 50% year over year for three straight years. In other words, YouTube is somewhere you want to be. Here are some ways to incorporate video with your job listings.

  • Use candid interviews with employees about why they love working for your company.
  • Show the unique benefits your company offers.
  • Show the diversity of the people who are employed at your company.
  • Talk about exciting projects employees get to work on.
  • Do your employees get to make a difference in the world? Let them talk about it.
  • Define the qualities of the types of people who are successful in your company.
  • Talk specifically about the work potential employees would be doing.
  • Create a fun video that emphasizes your company culture so you can attract other employees with similar attitudes.
  • “How-to videos” on a technical topic posted on YouTube can be a great way to introduce your company to potential job candidates

Make it easy to apply. Think Amazon’s “Buy now with 1-click” option. It’s clear, direct and super simple. Don’t turn people away by requiring them to complete excessive forms and jump through hoops in order to apply for the job.  And make the call to action inviting. You could use something like, Click here to join the crew! Using video to conduct interviews after people apply (with Skype, for example) is also an appealing option. Mention that in your ad if it’s an option for you.

And, just a reminder, don’t forget the essentials. While it’s important to give your job listings personality and pizzazz, don’t get so caught up in the creative side that you neglect to include the necessities in your posting: Job title, job summary, main responsibilities, mandatory qualifications and skills, preferred qualifications and skills, location (including if travel will be involved), instructions for applying and contact information.

Call us at 415-835-0202 or email us at sales@talentcircles.com for more information on successful recruiting strategies.