Every month we pull together the latest, greatest, and most compelling HR think-pieces, articles, and insights. This month we examine an innovative recruitment marketing strategy, an 800lb gorilla in the job search space, and getting your hiring managers to devote more time to recruiting. We’ll also take a look at building employer brand and how to scale the agile, innovative “startup culture”.
Tim Sackett, Fistful of Talent
“Gallup tells us nearly 50% of people will leave a job at some point in their career to get away from a bad manager,” Sackett begins. “But I always found it interesting that these great leaders and managers never had an issue finding talent. Talent found them!” Yet for some reason, these great managers are never leveraged in recruitment marketing campaigns. Most talent acquisition departments are focused on a broader picture, one that shines light on the “employer brand.” “Most organizations have maybe 2-3 really strong leaders that 80%+ of the organization would say, “Given the chance to work for any boss, other than my current boss, I’d choose to work for: _(insert great leader name)_.”” Sackett explains. Making the most of these great leaders doesn’t have to be difficult. Quick, interview-style videos from current employees sharing what it’s like to work under that awesome leader will suffice. But what about the brand of the employer as a whole? This is where Sackett thinks a little implicit understanding can do the talking. “Candidates will think how great it would be to work for that boss, and in a way believe that all your leaders are like him or her,” Sackett says. By showcasing your great leaders, you’re catering to what most candidates actually care about: opportunities for growth and working under great managers.
This is a pretty innovative tactic to get the most of your current employees. There’s a compelling argument that big problems often do not require big solutions – they just need a little outside-the-box thinking. I think that’s what Sackett is on to here with his manager-centric recruitment marketing strategy. Sackett argues that the reason this strategy works is because it focuses on what top talent really cares about: growth and personal advancement opportunities. I think it goes a step further. More and more organizations (like Cisco, Facebook, Deloitte, etc) are seeing huge value in operating as a “network of teams” rather than a hierarchy. In the coming years, Sackett’s innovative strategy might not just be cool new tactic in the TA toolbox: it might be necessary.
John Zappe, EREMedia
Speculation around “Google Hire” has been circulating for the last few weeks (or years, depending on who you are). At their largest dev conference of the year, Google I/O, Alphabet revealed a job search service incorporated directly into Google Search. “The jobs search service pulls listings from across the Internet, providing access to millions of job postings. Searchers are presented first with matching jobs in their area,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained. “They can further refine the results by filtering in a number of ways including by job level, experience, title, full, or part-time, industry, and when the job was posted. A commute time filter will be added soon after launch.” Using Google’s search algorithm and AI, the new search function promises the ability to group jobs based on their actual duties, rather than the different titles often placed on similar roles. As part of the Google for Jobs search service, Google announced partnerships with LinkedIn, Facebook, CareerBuilder, Monster, and Glassdoor – Indeed was noticeably absent. Google for Jobs launched last week.
Since Google for Jobs just launched, we don’t have any solid numbers regarding its impact (though as a personal anecdote, I’ve noticed significantly more advertisements for Indeed on the radio and Spotify). While Google for Jobs is already bringing value to the job search space (by grouping jobs with similar duties but dissimilar titles) the question on everyone’s mind is: where do they go from here? A couple months ago we got some insight into Google’s own ATS, which is currently being piloted by a few smaller organizations. It will be interesting to see where the world’s largest search engine sees its jobs search fitting into those ATS ambitions.
Dr. John Sullivan, EREMedia
“One study found that recruiting’s relationship with the hiring manager was the No. 1 driver of overall talent acquisition’s performance and that it was four times more influential than the other 15 performance drivers,” Sullivan begins. “Unfortunately, most hiring managers act as if recruiting is a low-importance item that can be “put off until another day.”” He provides seven ways to get them to devote more time to recruiting:
- Show managers that slow recruiting causes the best candidates to drop out. The top 10% of candidates have probably received another job offer within 10 days of applying. Most hiring managers don’t know this – they see no harm in extending the hiring process. Sullivan recommends that recruiters sample the top 10% of the applicant pool and observe how long it takes them to drop out of the process. Your hiring managers want those top 10%, you need to show them how quickly they’re gone.
- Show hiring managers the dollars that they lose every day a position is vacant. “Work with the CFO’s office to quantify in dollars how much every vacancy day in key positions costs an individual manager,” Sullivan explains. “That dollar loss in revenue, productivity, and missed deadlines should be enough to motivate hiring managers to allocate more time to recruiting.”
- Quantify the dollar cost and the damage done by hiring weak and toxic employees. Again, work with the CFO’s office to estimate the dollar cost of retaining below average hires (productivity, turnover, etc).
- Quantify the dollar value added when a manager hires top performers and innovators. On the flip side of the previous point is the value of a top performer. By working with the CFO’s office to quantify the increased productivity and teamwork that come as a result of hiring top candidates, you should be able to present a business case for expediting the hiring process.
- Show hiring managers that they are the major contributor to slow hiring. “In many cases hiring managers simply don’t believe that they are a significant part of the problem,” Sullivan explains. “Every firm is different, but the largest delays generally come from a hiring manager’s slowness in scheduling interviews, followed by slowness in screening resumes, and finally slowness in making a final hiring decision.”
- Show them how they compare against other hiring managers. Most hiring managers are incredibly competitive, and won’t want to lag behind their peers. Compare each hiring manager’s average time to fill and quality of hire to those of their associates.
- Eliminate recruiter errors that frustrate hiring managers. “Having their top candidates drop out before the interview process or having numerous interview no-shows may also cause a manager to give up on the hiring process temporarily,” Sullivan says. “As a recruiter, it’s your job to minimize these frustrating events so that hiring managers continually maintain their focus on completing the recruiting process quickly.”
At the end of the day, most hiring managers prioritize one thing over all else: money. Attach a dollar value to their hiring decisions (both good and bad), and forecast the improvements that could be made when they make hiring a priority.
There’s a theme throughout this article by Dr. John Sullivan (and a good deal of his other articles): put dollars on your decisions. Much of the time we tend to make decisions by gut feel – needless to say, these aren’t always the most accurate. Many hiring managers might think that their “gut” is better than that of other hiring managers, and will continue believing so until presented with information otherwise. I like Sullivan’s approach here: he doesn’t advocate shoving hiring managers “bad decisions” down their throat. When it comes to creating long-term change, statistics often don’t cut it. Instead, he advises a gentler, more subtle approach that leverages each manager’s natural competitive spirit.
Lindsay Parks, Workology
“There’s no denying that an employer brand is crucial when it comes to attracting and retaining talent,” Lindsay Parks begins. “Though there’s no unwavering recipe in place for creating the perfect EB, there are definitely proactive steps and ingredients to consider before attempting to get yours off the ground.” She provides four sequential steps for getting your employer brand up and running.
- Start at the Top. Getting buy-in from senior leadership is mission critical for getting buy-in across the organization.
- Build the Team. Build rapport with the gatekeepers at the front line of employer branding.
- Take the Time to Do It Right. “Be sure to avoid over-extending your efforts, especially in the infancy stages,” Parks explains. “Conduct the research and figure out where it is your “must reach” audience spends most of its time on social media.”
- Create Infrastructure. Guides and playbooks are important before you go live. Have a plan in place for “what if” scenarios. Get all of your approvals in writing.
I do not think there is a “one size fits all” method for deploying employer brand. After all, your employer brand already exists, and some companies will have more heavy lifting to do than others. While steps 2-4 seem pretty universal, there is something to be said for a grassroots movement. Sometimes it takes a single, stellar employee with a dream and a following to get the attention of senior leadership. In cases where leadership is stubborn (“we already have a great brand” seems to be a pretty common rebuttal), it will come down to frontline recruiters and hiring managers to implement the change.
Meghan Biro, TalentCulture
“Hiring dilutes your culture unless, along with resumes and skill sets, you look at a candidate’s personal alignment with your company’s core values,” Meghan Biro begins. “What’s challenging is preserving and scaling your company culture as your business grows, as more people join the team and it becomes more successful.” Biro explores six ways to properly scale company culture alongside revenue:
- Never deviate from your mission. Biro provides the example of Netflix: they still use the same “culture” slide deck as they did in 2009. Stick to your values, and make sure they are front and center in everything from team meetings to company outings.
- Don’t neglect cultural fit during the hiring process. “Bringing a mismatched candidate on board can disrupt the entire ecosystem of your company, becoming a costly mistake,” Biro explains. “The job interview process should be less a sales pitch than a search for alignment between the company and a candidate.”
- Stick with a strong onboarding process. In the early days of a start-up, even the C-suite will be heavily involved in the onboarding process. As businesses expand, this duty becomes delegated to HR – but it’s important that leadership maintain an active role as new hires acclimate.
- Make sure your people own the culture. Facebook is a great example of what happens when all employees are encouraged to own the company culture. “Owning it” is so ingrained in new employee recruiting and onboarding that Facebook has scaled the start-up feel to a workforce of 10,000.
- Look for long-time employees to preach the culture. Early employees have an insight that newer employees do not: they remember what it was like “at the beginning.” These employees will be critical to keeping your culture stable as it expands.
- Identify the gaps, but fill them carefully. “It’s not just about hiring someone with a dazzling skill set,” Doug Bewsher of Leadspace explains, “You must be clear about who you are as an organization and what you’re trying to do, so that you can find people who align with your goals.”
Maintaining a unique, quirky, innovative start-up culture is one of an organization’s most difficult tasks as it reaches scale. Many leaders assume that larger numbers of employees inevitably require bureaucracy, but this is not necessarily the case. Encouraging employees to “own the culture” only works if they are trusted to fulfill their other duties. The over-supervision that tends to accompany bureaucracy will stifle the self-starters who should act as cultural linchpins. That’s what Facebook does so well: they trust their employees to do what is in the best interest of the company, and the culture thrives as a result – encouraging more self-starters to apply. It’s a virtuous cycle.