Focus on the Candidate Experience for Applicants You Don’t Ultimately Hire
The candidate experience can have an outsized impact on your bottom line; this isn’t surprising news. When applicants feel respected and their time and talents are valued, they tend to enter the relationship with a higher opinion of the company, and this pays off over time. New employees are happier, more loyal, more deeply invested, and more willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt during future disputes and misunderstandings. First impressions matter, especially when they mark the beginning of a long-term partnership.
But what about the candidates who are NOT ultimately hired? No need to worry about their feelings or their impressions because they aren’t sticking around…right? Wrong. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you interact with all of your candidates: those you hire and those you reject.
Your workplace brand doesn’t stop at the door.
If you treat rejected candidates with disrespect, they walk away with a sour impression of your business. Their feelings are just as meaningful and their voices are just as loud as those of your hired candidates…but unlike your new hires, you won’t be able to make things right or correct course with them in the future. If anyone asks what they think of the company, they’ll answer. And if a negative message takes hold, there will be little you can do to temper or counter it.
Give respect and you’ll get respect.
Your candidates won’t base their opinion of the company solely on the outcome of their applications. You may think that a yes will make them happy and a no will leave them sour…but people are not that simple. If your treat applicants with respect and consideration, they’ll appreciate it, offer or no offer. The reverse is also true.
No outcome is permanent.
You may say no to a candidate today, only to have them successfully reapply to a different department at some point in the future. You may say no today and find yourself asking your rejected candidate for a favor, a grant, a contract, or an opportunity two, five, or ten years from now. Someday you may even find yourself asking them for a job. The world is unpredictable. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
Feedback can’t hurt (usually).
If your rejected candidate is forthright enough to ask why you made your choice, you may assume it’s wiser and more diplomatic to simply say nothing. But this isn’t always true. Again, most people appreciate honesty and recognize respect when they see it. Sharing the (carefully worded) truth may work in your favor. Explain that your chosen candidate just had a little more to offer, or that the company had reservations about a specific skill gap in the rejected candidate’s resume. It’s possible to be diplomatic and honest at the same time. Adapt your decision to the circumstances.
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Should You Use Video to Recruit Job Candidates?
Videos can send a powerful message that written posts can’t necessarily convey, no matter how impressive the wording or how well-positioned the published post may be. You can write a job description that hits all the marks, and then post it where your ideal candidates can’t possibly miss it, and still not quite gain the attention you’d grab with a short two-minute video.
Videos can be expensive of course — Especially if they come with scripts and scenes and high production values. But pictures send a message that words can’t. And if your video involves just one or two winning elements — like humor or spectacle — there’s a strong chance your audience might share it with others or post/comment on it using various social media platforms. Here are few reasons to consider taking the time and trouble to create a video instead of just a standard post.
Videos are easy to consume.
If you keep your video post shorter than 60 seconds, you can vastly increase the chances that your candidates will hear and absorb your entire message. Sitting through a short, amusing video costs nothing and represents a pleasant diversion, even if your message just involves one person sitting behind a desk and reciting the same words that might appear in a written post. If you post your message on Facebook or Linkedin, active candidates will listen carefully for signs of a well-aligned position. Passive candidates may find the video interesting enough to share.
Videos allow positive aspects of your culture to shine through.
A professional video sends a silent message: you’re a well-established, well-funded organization and you aren’t going anywhere. A funny video also sends a message: Your company has a sense of humor and may be a great match for innovators, creative types, and fearless free spirits. A concise video sends a message as well: You respect your candidate’s time. An information-packed video can send a clear message about the nature of the position and the mission of the company. A video that checks all of these boxes can reach a wide audience and make a powerful impression.
Videos are easier to produce than you might think.
Of course, if you have access to professional scriptwriters, actors, and high-end lighting and recording equipment, your video can be a convincing work of art. But even with a cellphone camera and some inexpensive editing tools, you can assemble a functional video in just a few minutes that can give your other job post platforms and recruiting efforts a boost—at very little cost. Consider adding this element to your recruiting arsenal and measuring your returns. You may discover that a small investment goes a long way.
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Improve the Recruiting Process by Setting Priorities
An effective recruiting process involves a combination of speed, efficiency, and accuracy. But as experienced recruiters know, emphasizing one of these can often detract from the others. Speeding up the process and rushing candidates through screening and selection can cause teams to miss red flags or allow great prospects to get away. Slowing everything down and focusing on wise, measured analysis may mean the best candidates are left waiting and liable to be pulled away by other offers.
So what’s the secret? How do effective recruiters move forward at a steady pace without cutting corners or missing important details? The answer: They establish priorities. Here are a few moves that can help you do the same.
Give each task the attention it deserves.
Focus each hour of recruiting time on a specific task throughout the day. Make a schedule, and then follow the schedule from each hour to the next. Start by giving some unrushed thought to the role you’re trying to fill. What does this role entail? What will a given day look like for the employee who steps into this position? What might such a person enjoy doing? At what skills will they excel? What kind of environment will make them feel happy, productive, safe, and engaged? What conditions or benefits will bring them on board, and what conditions will make them stay?
What tasks will help you find your target candidate?
Before you begin moving forward and tracking down your ideal prospect, break this large goal down into smaller goals, and each small goal into actions. What exactly will you need to do to accomplish each task that lies in your path? What obstacles or distractions may stand in your way?
Generate a list of names and contacts.
You’ll need to arrange meetings and conversations with your hiring manager to review the needs of the business—That’s a given. But you’ll also benefit by having conversations with (or about) a list of others who can share their knowledge and contribute to the success of your recruiting efforts. For example, the team who will work with this person. What gaps exist in their shared workflow? Are there team weaknesses that could be shored up, or team strengths that can be leveraged or improved?
Look for alignment between long-term plans on both sides.
The company may need an account manager (for example) who can help launch a new branch in a new city. But what will the future hold for the role after the branch is up and running? Where will this position lead in three, four or five years? Your target candidate may choose to pursue that distant goal or may have other plans altogether. For the match to work, you’ll need to seek an element of compatibility.
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How Does a Recruiter Make Sure the Company is the Right Match?
Here at the ACCENT Hiring Group, we understand that recruiting is a multi-layered process, and simply finding a candidate who can handle the skill requirements of an open position won’t do the trick. In order for the match between an employer and a candidate to function, succeed and thrive, the two must be well-matched on several levels—not just one. Candidates have to meet the needs that have been specifically voiced by the company, for starters. They also need to represent a cultural fit, and the goals of each party should align over the coming months and years. So how do we find candidates who fit the mold? Here are a few of our proven approaches.
We start by asking the right questions and listening closely to the answers
Our clients are in the best possible position to tell us what they’re looking for, so we listen carefully and take plenty of notes. We discuss the demands of the position and the structure of the company in detail, and we ask critical questions to make sure we don’t miss a beat. Then the process officially begins.
Visits and more visits
Visiting worksites provides us with essential insight into a company’s culture and atmosphere. Sometimes a verbal description doesn’t provide us with a complete picture, so we schedule sessions in which our recruiters walk around the site, talk to employees and get a feel for the environment.
We create a map based on client goals
Some clients need candidates as fast as possible; some would rather spend more time to find a perfect match. We do our best to map out a plan that can bring the right candidate into the workplace on the right schedule—one that works for both the client and the future employee.
We apply a signature screening process
Our early communications with potential candidates involve a screening process that can help us spot red flags and signs of a match. Some warnings—like a lack of relevant skills or a history of relevant problems—can be recognized early. The same also applies to positive signs—like immediate availability, perfect skill alignment, and an excellent personality fit.
When we see top candidates that meet client requirements, we refer them so the employer can conduct their own analysis using their own metrics. By this point in the process, the least promising candidates (mismatches and those who are unavailable or uninterested) have been removed from consideration.
After the connection has been made, we revisit the site at a later date to ensure a quality hire. If anything isn’t working at this point, we strive to make it right. Otherwise, we make sure both parties are satisfied and on track to success.
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Improve Recruiting Efficiency: Tips for Small Businesses
Great recruiting can mean the difference between a dedicated, talented staff of committed employees and a pattern of high turnover. Strong sourcing, screening, and interviewing can get the job done right. But can it also get the job done fast? Make sure your recruiting strategy is efficient, not just effective. Save money and time while you identify and hire the best available candidates in the marketplace. Here’s how.
Avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen.
Before you even begin the staffing process for an open position, determine how many people you’ll need to have involved, and who those people will be. You can inform others of developments along the way, and you can keep them in the loop as you choose, but don’t get drawn into scheduling separate interviews between each candidate and each member of a sprawling team. And don’t factor assessments and opinions into the process if those opinions can’t contribute to a sound decision. Streamline your process by reducing team size.
Make sure everyone knows their role.
If you plan to have different people review the candidate for different skill sets, make that clear upfront. If Sally will evaluate the candidate’s coding skills and Steve will make sure the candidate can lead a team or meet a deadline, clarify each of these roles and don’t encourage too much overlap. If Steve doesn’t know anything about coding, he should not feel required to weigh in on this issue. Have him focus his energy on his own part of the process.
Establish a timeline and stick to it.
A sense of steady forward progress can help you land talented and high-value candidates. Even if your process is long, you’ll need to keep things in motion and provide the candidate with an update at each stage. Otherwise, top candidates will disappear along the way — either because they lose patience or because they sign on with other employers. Weaker candidates will stay in line until the end, since they may have few other options. Don’t allow a meandering process to create a form of adverse selection, and don’t allow staffing to become a low priority for the members of your chosen team. Keep everyone on pace, and if they need to shelve the project or go on vacation for a while, make sure someone else can step in and pick up the slack.
Share clear milestones.
Set goals at each stage. For example, establish a May 10 deadline for resume review, and then a May 15 deadline for interview scheduling. Again, teamwork and steady forward motion can keep the process from sprawling.
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For more on how to streamline your recruiting and hiring procedures, consult with the experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Hiring Employees? Use These Tips to Create a Strong Relationship
Hiring a new employee at the right time can take your workforce from overworked to overjoyed. However, not every workplace is prepared to work with new staff, and some employees or departments may have a hard time adjusting to the new dynamics. However, there are some ways you can make the transition a little smoother for all parties and make sure employees get along. Here are some important tips for creating strong relationships when hiring new permanent employees:
Coordinate Introductions on the Employee’s First Day
An employee’s first day can be overwhelming and may even trigger anxiety. Help a new hire feel more comfortable in their new environment by taking the time to introduce them to everybody in their department and those they will be working with on a regular basis. Share a few details about the individual’s role and tenure with the company so the employee gets a good understanding who is responsible for what in each department.
Invite New Hires Out to Lunch
Conversing with a new hire in a more casual setting can help break the ice and encourage them to connect with other employees. Be sure to coordinate at least one lunch with your employees and a group event or two to get the employee better acquainted with their team members.
Introduce New Hires at Employee Meetings
Make new hires feel welcome by including them in employee meetings and introducing them to the group at every opportunity. This can help them interact in a more professional setting and get a better understanding of group dynamics. Encourage employees to share some information about themselves so others can find some common ground.
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Does Your Candidate Sourcing Strategy Need a Reboot?
Your sourcing strategy may feel cutting edge, and maybe when you put your current model in place, you worked to take advantage of the most advanced digital tools available. But when did that happen? Was it back in 2008? Because if you haven’t reviewed and revamped your sourcing process in several years, you may be several years behind the curve and behind your competition. Sourcing tools evolve rapidly, and so does the candidate marketplace. Take a look under the hood and see if your system could use some updates.
Going back into your ATS
If your company is large (more than 100 employees at any given time) you probably rely on some form of application tracking system. And you probably use your system to cross-reference certain candidate traits with job requirements or search a resume database using job-specific keywords. But if you haven’t done so in a while, reevaluate the capabilities of your system and recheck some of your settings. A weak ATS can let stronger candidates slip through the cracks. If you aren’t using the right filters, you may be overlooking the job skills and credentials that matter most for the roles you’re trying to staff.
You may have proudly added social media to your recruiting and sourcing toolkit back when Facebook profiles first made their way into the job search process…but that happened more than ten years ago, and social media resources aren’t exactly what they used to be. Some excellent candidates don’t use them at all, or they keep their personal and professional lives rigidly separated with strong privacy settings. To find these candidates, you’ll have to look elsewhere for public information—Check industry sites for blogs they’ve contributed, run their names through a journal search, or check their testimonials on Linkedin.
Really reach out to referrals
The right referral can help you spot a truly talented and well-matched candidate in a sea of attach-and-send generic resumes. Through no fault of their own, candidates are compelled to keep up with the accelerating pace and breadth of the job market, and it’s no longer reasonable to expect a perfectly customized and lovingly tailored application from each hopeful candidate. 2018 candidates are more likely to submit 20 or 30 resumes at once to any job that meets certain search term criteria, regardless of how well they meet each of the requirements. Pursue referrals; it may be a more valuable use of your time than you think.
Use different parts of your network
Don’t spend all of your time in just one corner of your professional network. Go back to the same people over and over if doing so proves fruitful, but don’t get locked in a rut. Branch out and take a fresh approach to the search for new talent.
For more how to speed the search for great candidates, turn to the experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Identifying Empathy in a Job Interview
Empathy can be hard to spot during a quick 30-minute interaction with a potential candidate. Unlike assertiveness, friendliness, poise under pressure, and basic job skills, empathy won’t likely show on the surface or appear in the details of a candidate’s resume. But if you can’t measure or assess your applicant’s ability to see the worldviews of others, you put yourself at a strong disadvantage in the marketplace. Empathy is a must-have skill for almost every job in every industry, and candidates who possess it have the ability to drive their companies toward growth and success. Those who don’t tend to stand in the way of progress, teamwork, and forward motion. With that in mind, here are a few strategic interview questions that can help you get a sense of who you’re dealing with as you narrow the candidate pool.
What am I looking for/ What do I probably want?
Ask the candidate to put themselves in your shoes. What traits and skills are you probably looking for as you work to staff this job? What skills would the candidate value if they were sitting on your side of the table? If the candidate picks up the thread immediately and provides a meaningful answer or accurate guess, that’s a good sign. A blank stare or a litany of clichés (“You’re looking for a hard worker!”) may represent an area of weakness.
If you step into this role, what challenges will you and your team likely face over the next year?
Ask this question and give the candidate plenty of time to think about their response. In order to form an answer, they’ll need to review everything they know about the role, which may include information from the job post, their research of the company, their past roles, and their life experience. But their response will also be informed by their ability to assess the roles of others on a team and to back up and review how multiple people contribute to shared goals. They may face challenges for sure, but what about their team members in product development/ customer service/ IT/ marketing?
Present the candidate with a hypothetical problem to solve.
Give your candidate an imaginary problem to solve (an angry client, a negligent vendor, a planned event with an absentee speaker, an engineering failure, an unpopular product line) and ask how they might take steps to solve it. But as a catch, choose a problem outside her area of expertise. If they works in IT, draw their challenge from customer service, or vice versa.
As your candidate answers each of the questions above, read between the lines. Are they struggling to inhabit the worldviews and recognize the challenges faced by others? Or does the exercise seem effortless and even enjoyable?
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Help Your Recruiter and Gain Access to Top Talent
Skilled, experienced recruiters can approach an immense pool of candidates (for example, every job seeker in the country) and narrow that pool with speed and efficiency until they identify the best possible candidate for your open position. There’s an art and a science to the process, but with years of training, testing, trial and error, brilliant recruiters know how to target those elusive candidates and bring them on board. No matter how daunting your challenges or how hard-to-staff your position might be, your recruiter has probably seen worse.
But as skilled as they may be, your recruiter (or recruiting team) will still need your help and support. Here are a few ways in which a small amount of effort on your part can bring big returns.
Do your research
If you have a list of “required skills” in hand, that’s great. But if some of these skills look like Greek to you, do a little research—at least enough to identify the signs of a skilled expert, an intermediate learner, a new beginner, or a new beginner passing himself off as a skilled expert. In other words, know what the skill set looks like, why you need it, and what you stand to gain or lose by keeping it on your must-have list. Meanwhile, talk with the members of your team who possess the skill and ask them for tips that can help you evaluate potential matches.
Before you roll the dice and get ready to find and hire your new employee, think carefully about the future of your company or department. Look out over the short term and the long term and determine how you’d like this person to fit into the overall system. Do you want a newbie who will grow in the role as the company grows? Do you want a management level pro will take over the division within the next few years? Do you want somebody who can help you execute a key transition and then leave the role?
Stay involved with the recruiter during the sourcing process
Your recruiting may target her sourcing efforts at local universities, or industry-specific job boards, or referrals, or all three. If you trust these sources, provide encouragement and guidance. If you don’t, speak up. If you’ve relied on a source in the past and that source has never come through, share your experience with your recruiter and make sure you’re on the same page.
If you don’t like the candidates your recruiter is presenting, make your feelings known. If you think she should be targeting a higher or lower level of experience or skill, say so. Work together with your recruiter and keep the lines of communication open. After all, a successful candidate match means a win for both of you.
Contact the recruiters at the ACCENT Hiring Group for support in landing the right talent for your job openings!
Is Texting Part of Your Recruitment Strategy?
When you communicate with candidate prospects, which channels do you rely on the most? If you’re like most traditional recruiters and employers, you probably turn to email as a first resource and the phone for immediate issues, meeting confirmations, and initial candidate screening interviews. But you may be underutilizing a valuable tool: the text message. Texting can offer the benefits of both email (a written format) and the phone (informality and quicker response times). But here are a few reasons to rely on texting that may not have occurred to you.
Texting filters out some identifiers and can reduce hiring bias.
The further you engage with a candidate before knowing their age, race, gender, or ethnicity, the stronger protections you’ll have against unconscious bias, which still poses a serious burden to recruiters and hiring managers across multiple industries. Texting can keep certain details out of the transaction until a complete assessment can be made regarding their qualifications.
Texting gains more traction with introverts.
Introverts can be invaluable additions to the workplace, not just because of their specific skills, but also because of the traits that align with introversion: thoughtfulness, focus, intensity, insight, and big-picture thinking. Unfortunately, phone communication works in favor of extroverts who are better able to maintain rapid conversations. Balancing your phone contacts with text contacts can level the field and bring more qualified introverts in your door.
Texting can boost the candidate experience and improve the relationship.
Top candidates are more likely to sign on and more likely to stay if they consider their early interactions with the company to be positive. So if you work on ways to smooth out your first contact and make your candidate interactions more pleasant and less burdensome, you’ll gain access to exceptional talent. This starts with an open line of communication; most candidates like to be kept in the loop as much as possible during the selection process. Texting offers a quick way to provide an informal update, even something as simple as “No decision yet, but making progress.” Candidates like to know the position is still active and a timeline is more or less in sight.
Texting is just nice.
Texting carries a perception of informality and is still often associated less with professional communication and more with teenagers catching up with their friends. But this simply isn’t the case anymore, and rejecting a valuable communication tool as a result of this perception is probably a mistake. Don’t dismiss any resource that can help you gain a foothold in a competitive candidate marketplace. Your choice of emoji is up to you.
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Are you looking to attract the best possible candidates? Contact the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group today!