New Recruiting Techniques: Video Interviews are in, Cover Letters are out!

Earlier this year, Peoplescape wrote a blog on the trends coming our way for 2016. One of these trends, as discussed by leader of talent acquisition at Amazon in Seattle, Danielle Monaghan, is clearly a reality now: mobile job application capabilities. From Indeed to Monster to Snagajob, companies are definitely moving in the direction of mobile everything! Here’s another twist…video interviews. Have you done one? Does your company use video interviews? What about cover letters? Are those still in or have you done away with these entirely?

Digital video interviews are an opportunity for candidates to reflect on how they present themselves, but literally giving them a one-way view of their side of the interview using videos, computers, and smartphones to record answers to preset questions. Candidates are usually given a chance to re-record if they are not happy with the way they answer a question, giving them time to process and handle interviews, as well as think about their responses to personality and situational questions. Video interviews also cut back on the lengthy and stressful process of first interviews, allowing for one final in-person interview for qualified candidates who have already been pre-screened digitally.

Cover letters are often a template that candidates use and copy and paste for each job, maybe changing up a word here or there, or inserting the specific job title. The video interview allows for a much more personal touch, face-to-screen interaction, a “read” on the candidate’s personality, presence, and communication skills – all things a cover letter simply cannot do. And let’s be honest; most recruiters are skimming through those cover letters, looking for a key word here or there even they bother to read it at all.

Video interviews arguably leave room for a more creative and meaningful content to emerge – something that the employer is tailoring to their needs, rather than the candidate tailoring a cover letter based on their perception. Savvy recruiters and executive search professionals, such as the ones you’ll always find on our team at Peoplescape, who truly have a knowledge of HR and the way that search works best for the candidate and the company, are always on the cutting edge of recruitment tools, and looking into engaging ways to make the recruitment process better for all parties involved.

Here’s an idea for candidates looking to get a leg up on the competition in today’s mobile world – why not record a short introductory video in place of a cover letter? You might surprise the employers who are really looking for a stand out in the crowd!

Google It! Finding and Hiring the Right People

As is the case with most things in the 21st century, leaders in the technology industry such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft are often the benchmark for what other companies should be doing in terms of innovation and creativity. For instance, Google and Apple have both recently remodeled their Silicon Valley offices to reflect a hippie commune of sorts. So how do we, as “regular” companies and leaders in the business world adopt some of these practices and follow the leader in innovation to have a successful approach to business practices? Let’s start with a piece of the puzzle that is manageable and relevant: hiring practices.

When looking at the methods by which these companies hire, it seems a top notch HR leader at Google has crafted a new plan of action for hiring quality every single time. Instead of allowing interviewers to make snap judgments within the first 10 seconds of the interview and follow up with routine questions that basically solidify that first judgment, Google has developed an interview method that allows for a deeper look into the candidate’s capabilities.

Here’s how to do it!

Bring different players to the game. Invite subordinates and cross-functional employees (outside of the department you are hiring in, nothing to do with the day-to-day functions of the open position) to be a part of the interview panel.

  1. Set a high bar for quality, and don’t compromise. Ever.
  2. Assess candidates objectively. By including new players (see #1 above) and requiring the interview panel to take good notes, you can then revisit the employee post-hire and see how things are going from an objective standpoint that correlates directly to the interview experience to see how valid your interview panel is in assessing a candidate’s job capabilities once hired.
  3. Give candidates a reason to want to be part of your team! Make it clear why you do the work you do, and expose the candidate to a variety of team members so that they can get a peek into the company culture as well.

Welcome to the Team: The Dos & Don’ts of Onboarding

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the grueling recruitment process, which can undoubtedly be as exhausting for the employer as it is for the new hire. Now what do you do? It’s time to welcome your new employee to the team via a process your human resources team will refer to as onboarding. But what exactly does this mean? And how can you avoid the statistics shared by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Foundation that 50% of new hires fail within their first four months, and 50% of senior management new hires fail within their first eighteen months? Here are a few tips and tricks for making the process seamless for all parties involved.

  1. Do have a written plan for onboarding.
  2. Do have team meetings for those involved in the onboarding process.
  3. Don’t drown your new hire in data. Piecemeal it in order of priority.
  4. Do start the process right away – don’t wait for the new hire to get it all handled without explicit directions on where, when, how, and why.
  5. Do provide clarity on the new hire’s direct supervisor, chain of communication, point person for HR, etc.
  6. Do offer and point out training opportunities – your Millennials will especially love this!
  7. Don’t be vague on your expectations. Be clear, be concise, be communicative.
  8. Don’t forget to ask for feedback, and do it often and consistently!

Onboarding is a bit like the honeymoon stage of a relationship. You want your new hire to have a full picture of the good pieces that your company has to offer, and have enough information to feel comfortable and capable of making it work. Honesty and communication are key to the onboarding process, and will go a long way to make those statistics come drastically down so that you are not spending time and energy on new hires that won’t stick around as long as you hope.



Blind Hiring: Genius Idea or Epic Fail?

As an HR professional, a resume is often my first introduction to a prospective candidate. As an employer, the resume is in many ways like a promise of what you can expect the candidate to bring to the table, how he or she might change your organization, and how she or he will perform as a member of your team. But what is all this talk of doing away with resumes entirely? Have you heard of this new craze?

Blind hiring is the idea of throwing out the resume as a critical tool in the selection process. Instead of accepting and screening resumes, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, some hiring managers are choosing to skip the paper altogether and go right to the task at hand! In lieu of resume reviews, hiring managers are assigning tasks to prospective job candidates and then proceeding with interviews for those who successfully complete the task. The only information that the hiring manager sees is the results of the task; the hiring manager is not aware of where the candidate went to school, what previous job titles he or she held, tenure at any one employer, or any other details about the candidate’s employment history and successes or failures. Interesting concept, right?

Here’s a few flaws that we can think of with this whole concept…but if these details were to be ironed out, maybe blind hiring could lead somewhere amazing. After all, blind hiring already eliminates the bias that comes with a prestigious school or a competitor in the industry.

  1. You may be eliminating a large section of the candidate pool who are simply not in need of work and don’t want to play this game, or who have other reservations about this innovative and out-of-the-box method.
  2. Hiring managers will have less of a “gut feel” input in terms of the culture fit for their organization (results will be more of a black and white task-oriented approach to hiring).
  3. The presentation of the resume, the details, the cover letter – these all add up to a 360 representation of the candidate before you even have to speak to prospective talent. If someone takes the time to have an impeccable resume, maybe that is a quality you’d like to have on your team.
  4. Basing interviews on tasks will eliminate some of those candidates who may not respond well to pressure or are having a bad day. Some may argue this is not a thorough approach to hiring and selection of quality candidates who will be in it for the right reasons.

That being said, we definitely think entertaining this idea has some merit as well. Removing bias before it has a chance to play into the selection process, rating individuals based on their ability to do a job-related task rather than their perfect resume, and eliminating details that could sway a hiring manager in one direction or another definitely has its positive points as well. What do you think of this new idea in the search for talent?

4 Tips for Posting Jobs and Attracting the Best Candidate

Composing the perfect job ad can be quite the daunting task for recruiters and HR professionals. How do you paint a picture of the company’s culture, the job requirements, and the “it” factor that will attract those top candidates? says employers should follow these four tips to ensure their job posting stands out and attracts the best candidate.

Review, Edit and Revise your Job Postings: Candidates spend an average of 50 seconds reading a job posting and an additional 22 seconds on postings they like and want to pursue. So how do you ensure your posting stands out? Make sure to convey your organization’s brand by describing what makes your workplace culture different. Then, step outside the box and include examples or a ‘day-in-the-life’ to the job description. Also, consider framing your job requirements as ‘preferences’ to entice candidates who may not check all the requirement boxes but could be a perfect fit for the organization.

Plan your Posting Time Accordingly: With the plethora of positions listed on job boards, it’s important to know when your posting will get the most views and engagement. So when is the best day and time to post, tweet and share your position? Job hunters are most active Wednesday from 11 am to 1 pm and again between 4 and 5 pm EST. To get the biggest bang for your buck on social media, schedule your Facebook post on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for the most engagement, ideally between 1 pm and 4 pm EST. For Twitter, tweet early in the week between 1 and 3 pm EST to receive the most views.

Get Creative, Add a Video: To go above and beyond, consider adding a video to your job posting. A video can capture what the typical day is like along with the culture of the company. A video allows your company to market themselves and sell the job like a product and will ensure that you stand out to potential candidates.

Be realistic: When creating the job description, set realistic requirements and don’t create a disparity between your expectations and the available workforce. Clearly communicate the organizational needs in the description and then imagine you’re a candidate reading the post. Be realistic, simplistic, and honest to ensure you are not relying on a “phantom workforce” to fill the position.

So when developing your recruitment plan, follow’s advice to accurately describe the realities of the position, convey your company culture, heed the best posting time, add pizazz to your posting with a video, and be realistic to ensure you land the rock star you need!

Sexism in Recruitment: Do Women Still Struggle with Equality in Hiring?

Recently, one of our favorite blogs from the UK wrote about sexism in recruiting, citing a case in which the hiring manager of a pharmaceutical company made remarks about only hiring beautiful women. In Lucia Pagliarone v. Immuno Biotech (2016), the plaintiff accused the hiring manager of keeping sexist notes on her resume following her employment offer with the company. The notes were to the effect of “high heels – good, wearing a dress – excellent”.  @MpmLegal offers a list of ideas to keep your company out of hot water when it comes to sexism in recruitment. Clearly with cases such as this still out there in the business world, the struggle for women facing equality in hiring does indeed exist even in 2016. These, tips can help protect your company from unequitable hiring choices.

  1. Start with a job ad that does not target certain demographics. Avoid the use of words such as “young” or “mature” and do not list high heels as a job requirement.
  2. Use standard interview questions for all candidates. Questions should be the same for everyone, and fair across the board. Don’t play favorites, and don’t change things up in the initial interview. In the U.S., several government employers operate under the merit system, in which all panel interview questions are exactly the same, scoring is done in one way for all interviews, and scores are calculated with a strict method. This ensures that everyone who goes through the selection process is treated fairly from start to finish, arguably ensuring that the most qualified applicant will be hired.
  3. Do not make any personal comments on interview notes. See example above. Dress, high heels, makeup, wrinkles, hemline, and clothing brands – all of these are hands-off topics (amongst many others!).
  4. Managers should receive training on what discrimination is, and how to avoid it. This is a must for all employers!
  5. Monitor email and the company website to make sure statements made on company property (including employee email and company cell phones) are not discriminatory.
  6. Make sure your social media policy is up to date and adequate for today’s technology-driven world.
  7. Construct a solid anti-harassment and zero tolerance policy for discrimination. Make sure it is included in the employee handbook and that all employees sign off on this policy. Signature sheets should be kept in your human resources records.
  8. Follow through with any complaints – do a thorough investigation or hire someone who knows how to do these investigations to make sure the job is done correctly.

Unfortunately, even in 2016, the struggle is real for women in the workplace. Of course, women are not the only targets as we have many categories of minorities and differences amongst our employees that can be subject to discriminatory behavior. Be mindful of the choices you make in hiring, and train your managers to do the same!     

Analyzing the Applicant: Employment Gaps, Education, and Self-Discovery

The struggle to find the perfect fit for your organization, whether it be in the warehouse shipping packages or greeting customers at the front desk or the top sales executive, can be intense and exhausting for everyone involved. The struggle is very real to recruit top talent that not only has the skills, knowledge, and experience required to succeed in the position but is also the right fit for your company culture. The perfect candidate for the leading pharmaceutical sales company nationwide will not be the same ideal applicant for a high-end boutique hospitality resort and spa. The characteristics that would lead one to success would possibly lead to failure for another.

In today’s fast-paced, media-driven, instantaneous information at our fingertips world, certain things that would be a major red flag fifty years ago are no longer such a huge cause for concern. The baby boomers worked hard to find a stable career path, and vowed their loyalty to one company for the vast majority of their working years. The Generation X’ers value education and seek a work-life balance while maintaining a pragmatic viewpoint of the world, while the Millennials question authority, demand challenges and want to find work that means something. So how do you, as the employer, seek out the perfect fit for any given role in your company? Here is a handy checklist for you to consider when evaluating candidates, and make sure you don’t let those employment gaps get in the way of your analysis. Just like a job hopper was viewed as disloyal and unable to commit to a job twenty years ago, employment gaps are not as detrimental to a resume as you may think.

  1. Does the candidate match your required skills, knowledge and abilities?
  2. Does the candidate meet your educational requirements?
  3. Does the candidate have the desired years of experience or background in the field?
  4. What employment gaps does the candidate show on his or her resume? When interviewed, what explanation does he or she have for each?
      1. Travel – travel and self-discovery are not bad things. A little time off between school and the “real world” may translate into a more determined and enthusiastic employee so dig deep on this one and consider the source.
      2. Education – keep in mind that community colleges in certain areas (especially Southern CA where Peoplescape is headquartered) are so overcrowded that many students struggle to earn an income and take a full class load due to scheduling conflicts.
      3. Family – time off may have been spent parenting or taking care of ill family members. From personal experience, I know those parenting years are no walk in the park, so a gap doesn’t mean the candidate was sitting home eating popcorn and watching soap operas. However, it could impact the candidate’s current knowledge of the field and recent legislature or other time-sensitive details so be mindful of this when recruiting.
      4. Economic downturns – even top talent is let go in layoffs so don’t scratch someone off your list because they were a victim of the economic twists and turns.
  • Conduct at least two interviews with different players involved. – Maybe the first one is done by HR, and the second is conducted by a panel of peers, supervisors, and potential colleagues.
  • What do the references have to say? – Although references should be people that the applicant feels would represent him or her in a positive light, by asking the right questions of the references, you can gain insight you would not receive from the candidate directly.

A thorough investigation is required for any great hiring decision. Make sure you complete your due diligence as the hiring manager or human resources expert or CEO. Making a hasty decision without analyzing the candidate may lead to unhappy parties all around.

Thought Leaders Series #4: Social Recruiting & Local Talent

As discussed in the previous few posts, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) issued a special edition of their HR Magazine earlier this year, featuring the world’s top experts on a variety of human resources topics. Today, we are going to take a look at the ways in which social media are changing recruitment across the world and how this phenomenon affects local talent and ultimately, your business. So, let’s jump in and take a look at what Danielle Monaghan, head of talent acquisition at @Amazon in Seattle, has to say about the coming trends.

  • Global recruitment takes on a mobile element – As more companies shift to using application platforms that utilize mobile technology, global recruitment will take place on a larger scale since it is now easier to reach candidates around the world.
  • According to data from Jobsite and other leading survey groups, roughly 75% of job seekers now utilize smartphones and other mobile devices to research companies, apply for jobs, and network with professionals in the industry.
  • Mobile job application capabilities (aka companies having the technology and utilizing these options will snatch up the star talent before anyone else can!) will no longer be nice to have. They’ll be necessary for success!
  • A widening skills gap will call for global talent acquisition strategies. In other words, because the skills gap will continue to grow in the U.S., companies will be looking overseas to find star talent with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed with little hand-holding.
  • Social professional networks will become a critical source for finding top talent. Think LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Makerbase to name a few. Don’t have a LinkedIn account? Now’s the time to set it up because by the end of 2016, this is predicted to be a huge source of networking for your organization!

Although we’ve seen it in other articles and blogs for the past several years, it seems 2016 is undeniably the year of mobile and social technology. Now’s the time to get connected and check into those mobile job application services. Position yourself and your company for success rather than trying to play catch-up too late in the game.

What Can Recruiters Learn from the NFL?

According to Chris Murphy at Glassdoor, the NFL made an estimated $12 billion, making it the top gross earning sports league in the world. One of the reasons is the way that the NFL builds up the lives of the star players, not just focusing on the sports stats but also bringing in the human aspect. Remember our blog a short time ago about personal branding and humanizing your company trademark? Here’s another layer to that argument, brought to you by the most popular sport in America in February.

According to the producer of Sunday Night Football, the show does not focus solely on the plays. We get a glimpse into the players’ personal lives, backstage pass to the locker room interviews, and a video of each player introducing himself. When we live in a world where roughly 40% of the population identifies with visual images over plain text content, it is critical for companies to promote themselves in a way (social media, anyone?) that will hit the mark for these audiences. Visual images and company trademarks and graphics (the world-famous Nike symbol and that gorgeous Carl’s Jr. model chomping down on a juicy burger) strike a chord with the audience, especially in today’s world of instant gratification and an overwhelming amount of information thrown at us from all avenues throughout the day.

So we’ve already touched on how you as a company can make use of this visual imagery in your company branding. But how can recruiters in your organization learn something from the NFL? Here are a few ideas on how to attract stars for your company in the recruitment process.

1. Recruit with a smile – do you recruit on social media platforms such as LinkedIn? Make sure your recruiters have a profile with a real personal feel, pictures help!

2. Online interviews via Skype or other platforms such as Spark Hire are another option for face-to-face even when the interviews are being done remotely.

3. Create stories that will attract top talent.

4. Share your brand and the face of your team on social media. People want to make connections with other people!

5. Fan identification is big in the NFL – why not stretch this across to your organization and develop your own fan base on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn?

For more on this topic, check out Glassdoor for Employers on Instagram @gdforemployers.

Do You Really Need a Recruiter Anymore?

Not that long ago, for critical positions, hiring managers would often reach out to recruiters to help them find those stellar candidates. Recruiters had the unique ability to find and connect with passive job candidates that would otherwise not respond to a “help wanted” advertisement. In recent years, however, with the rise of LinkedIn and other professional networking sites, employers seem to be able to reach passive candidates much easier without using a recruiter. This begs the question – Is the relationship between recruiter and HR Business Partner dead? #recruiter #careeradvice

The answer may not be as crystal clear as a “yes” or “no”, but we can certainly agree that the relationship is changing! Talent pools are changing. Yes, employers now have access to a similar online talent pool that recruiters use, but do they have the “in” with professional groups? Do they regularly attend networking events where passive job seekers may be more involved? My guess is probably not. Furthermore, if a member of your organization made a call to a direct Competitor to solicit talent and set up an interview, chances are the cat would be out of the bag pretty quickly. A recruiter can make that contact under the recruitment firm name and it’s a lot less taboo.

Recruiters still have a leg up on the time to fill. With all the other things hiring managers have to handle, do they have the time to commit to a proper lengthy conversation with job candidates about their bigger career goals? Sure, if it’s truly critical, all other processes could be put on hold to focus on finding the right talent, but going back to the
talent pool question, is the HR team as connected to available talent as a recruiter?

Remember that recruiters specialize in the art of finding and matching people to the right position. They have their hands on the pulse of the job market. They will be able to advise you on what is realistic for the search in regards to salary, skill set, available talent, and competition for similar positions. This is all information a hiring manager likely wouldn’t have by simply posting a job on a job board. Recruiters are instrumental in finding the perfect fit for a company because they offer impartiality that a company representative will not have. They can also help broker the
best deal between the candidate and the company, often able to see both sides of the story so to speak, without being biased one way or another in a way that would interfere with objective decision-making. Another great point as to why recruiters are beneficial to your screening process is the fact that recruiters can go into a competitor’s office and try to attract the best talent – where a company may not feel as comfortable doing this. Also, recruiters allow the candidate to speak first to an “outsider” without having to speak directly to the company on first sight. These reasons all make the process smoother for both the candidate and the company!

Recruiters increase the likelihood that candidates will say yes. Good recruiters put a significant amount of energy into understanding their candidates and their perspective employers. By having a middleman involved in the process, the recruiter serves as the perfect matchmaker after the first “date.” Recruiters ask both parties how did it go and can manage expectations of both parties in advance. Candidates will likely share info with a recruiter, like that they didn’t feel the culture was a good fit, that they wouldn’t share with a company representative. I think we can all agree how frustrating/disheartening it is to find “the candidate” and then get your offer turned down.

Ultimately, yes almost anyone in your organization can go online and start looking for candidates, but recruiters are specialists! So my answer is “NO” the relationship is not dead. Maybe for an entry-level position you may not call a recruiter, but for those key positions, they are a huge value-add to your organization.