Ten Tips to Improve Your Company’s Recruiting and Hiring

loan#1 Always be recruiting

Having a deep bench is more than just sports wisdom. It’s good business practice. Not only will regular recruiting yield quicker hires when an entry-level need arises, but keeping recruiting open allows you to always be on the lookout for quality upper-level talent.

Heather Parrot, writing for LinkedIn, explains, “Your mindset should switch from recruiting to fill an open position to thinking about who your company will want and should hire in the future. Talent pipelining isn’t a short-term strategy and takes time to develop and nurture, but in the long term the benefits are worth the investment.”

#2 Have multiple candidates to choose from when hiring

This follows logically after building your talent pipeline. Having multiple candidates will allow you to evaluate the needs of your company and hire the candidate who is the best fit. Hiring the first available body out of desperation is accepting the risk of time-consuming and expensive employee turnover.

#3 Get feedback from other hiring managers and team peers in the recruiting and interview

The benefit here is multifaceted; essentially, current team members appreciate the utilizing of their skills and experience, and future hires are helped by initiation into a company via a team of people. A larger portion of the company is invested in every new hire, and that makes the often-rocky process of new-employee assimilation run more smoothly and the whole company function more efficiently.

“The best teams and smartest leaders all tend to have some reflection of collaborative hiring,” writes William Vanderbloemen in Forbes. “By adding more voices and input to your interview process, you’ll get a higher level of involvement and a more thorough evaluation of potential candidates.”

#4 Use Topgrading interview techniques

Brad Smart developed the Topgrading technique to provide companies with a more comprehensive picture of potential candidates. Beginning with a well-defined job description, the interview process is characterized by an extensive examination of a candidate’s work history. Learning why a candidate has moved from one job to another for the past ten years provides greater insight into who the candidate is than a resume which provides only the highlights of a candidate’s history.

Topgrading was the topic of Michael Lorence’s dissertation for Georgia State University, and his deductions are noteworthy. Writes Lorence, “All case studies experienced a rather dramatic improvement in hiring success from their pre-to post-Topgrading environments…This improvement in hiring success came with a commensurate, precipitous drop in mis-hire rates.” Or, if you’d prefer a number, “The overall average reduction in mis-hire rate from pre-to post-Topgrading environment was 85.1%.”

#5 Utilize screening questions during the application process

Here’s an easy-to-implement time saver. Whether candidates are responding to an online job posting or through your applicant tracking system, make sure to include screening questions in the process to ensure candidates are qualified. For example, if you know you will not hire a candidate without at least five years of experience in sales, let “years of experience” be a determining factor in whether a resume makes it to your desk for evaluation.

#6 Know your target market when marketing open positions

A little research here can save you a lot of time. The goal is to increase the percentage of applicants who could be a good fit for the job. If your target market is unlikely to subscribe to a newspaper, it would be unwise to spend your job-advertising budget on newspaper ads. Know your target market, and find out what they are reading, where they are spending their time, and how you can most effectively convince them that your company is the right fit for them.

#7 Be strategic in your planning and process

Don’t just wing it. Besides being an enormous time waster, setting out to recruit with no plan can actually do harm to your company. Clear communication and follow-through –

even in the early stages of hiring – contribute to your company’s reputation.

Additionally, your hiring process requires regular evaluation, because what works for one company may not work as well for another.

Take Google, for example. The New York Times published an interview in 2013 with Google’s Laszlo Bock, a senior VP. In it, Laszlo surprisingly confesses, “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation.” He continues, “Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything.”

#8 Remain open and flexible

Necessity is the mother of invention. Traditional techniques and business ideas may have been enough to get the company doors open, but it’s a business’s response to set-backs that determine its longevity. Closed doors require creativity – a forced flexibility that can ultimately make a company stronger.

Maybe it’s your list of absolute qualifications for potential candidates that could use a dose of flexibility (see #9); maybe the change needs to come in your employee compensation package, or in how you are marketing the job. Flexibility allows a company to adjust to and thrive amidst constant changes in technology and culture.

#9 Remember that unicorn candidates do not exist

A perfect employee would make our lives so much easier. Companies sometimes begin searching for the elusive unicorn candidate when exasperation over the lack of quality personnel takes over.

“Progressive employer seeks Harvard-trained neuroscientist and beauty pageant winner. Must be fluent in Mandarin and skilled at tribal basket weaving. Minimum of 10 years experience working for high-tech companies. Salary: mid-30’s.”

While obviously hyperbolic, the mock job description Nancy Collamer penned for Forbes stands as a warning. If frustration has set in, consider, instead, our final piece of advice.

#10 Use a professional recruiter for strategic planning, hard-to-fill positions, or when you have multiple roles open that you want filled quickly

No matter how well you plan, every company hits walls from time to time. When the pipeline isn’t flowing and the right candidates aren’t coming your way, when you have higher employee turnover than expected, when you need an updated business plan and don’t have time to fix the problem on your own, consider hiring a professional recruiter.  Whether you need help coming up with a new strategy or help finding qualified employees who are ready to close, we can help your business meet its goals.

Effective Recruiting Can Save Your Company Time, Money, and Headaches

shutterstock_286366157-700x467“Every part of your business boils down to people. And by understanding the human element, you’ll be more profitable, lead more effectively, create brand loyalty, close more deals and do better work.”  – Zach Ferres, writing for Entrepreneur

We recently posted an article (“Why Experienced Recruiters Should Always Be the Option”) that broke down the costs of employee turnover and explained how professional recruiters can save businesses time and money by helping you make efficient, excellent hires. Today, we’d like to talk about the importance of investing in your company’s personnel.

Business is a fight for profits. The greater purposes of business – making a difference in the world, caring about the community, contributing to the greater good – all fall flat if a business cannot make money.  Investing in your company’s personnel is no empty platitude or nice idea, it’s a wise financial decision.

Eric McNulty drew attention to Starbucks’ notably employee-centered business model in his article for Strategy+Business.  He surmises, “A customer’s experience is the sum of every interaction he or she has with a company, its products and services—and…its people. This is the true value of the brand. Those companies that view their employees as assets worthy of investment will reap the dividends.”

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Harvard Business Review’s April 2014 issue examined the financial benefits to “creating a culture of quality” – an environment where employees are “passionate about quality as a personal value rather than simply obeying an edict from on high.” They found that “a company with a highly developed culture of quality spends, on average, $350 million less annually fixing mistakes than a company with a poorly developed one.”

$350 million dollars is something to take seriously.  Such a large margin for financial gain or loss clearly comes with added pressure for businesses. Harvard Business Review goes on to suggest ways in which an organization can better promote this culture of quality in already-established employees, but we believe the process begins earlier on with recruiting excellent candidates and placing them in roles that are well suited to their skills.

People are a key element to the success of your business, and people are a professional recruiter’s specialty. Countless hours of working alongside companies and candidates teaches a recruiter how best to communicate effectively with both parties. One area where a recruiter can offer particular assistance to a company is helping them develop strategies for consistent hiring success. Job descriptions, for example, may seem like one of the simplest, least-critical scraps of information floating around a huge company. However, as Employer Flexible explains, “Inaccurate or outdated job descriptions can negatively affect recruiting and productivity, are a detriment to the employer-employee relationship and pose serious legal risks for the company.”

Job descriptions are all about communication. Businesses often struggle to make a job description accurately reflect the job for which they are hiring, and without clear communication at the beginning of the process, happy hiring is rarely the outcome. Professional recruiters can take every element of your business’s communication with new and potential hires and make real improvements.

People are a company’s real assets.  Professional recruiters want your company to succeed, and we believe that investing in quality employees makes a substantial difference in your financial success. We can save you the extra time, money, and headaches that come with bad hires. Let our expertise with people help you build a quality business. Invest in people by investing in an experienced recruiter.

Not Everyone is a Recruiter – Skills and Experience are a Must

20151120193252-business-team-working-laptop-executives-laptop-analyzing-planning-collaborating-designing-skillsA quick perusal of LinkedIn’s “10 Reasons You Should Become a Recruiter” leaves little to wonder at; fortune, freedom, and recognition are all promised to those seeking a career in recruitment. College graduates like the $60k starting wage, and 9-5ers from all sorts of fields are pulled in by the promise of family-accommodating flexibility.

“Far from mundane, [recruiting] is one of the most critical, exciting and central roles in business today” (LinkedIn).

“Earning potential is unlimited” (FPC National).

“Recruiters have a great deal of freedom over the ‘what and the when’ of their daily work” (ERE Media).

Who wouldn’t want to be a recruiter?

In all the excitement, however, we may have overlooked an important point of clarification.  New recruiters do not achieve greatness overnight, and some are simply not cut out for the job at all.  Experience, important in many fields, is crucial in this one; it is the secret to making a new recruiter great. And if you are a business looking to hire a professional recruiter, you want greatness.

Some level of crisis usually precedes a business’s search for a full-time or contract-based recruiter. Hiring is not going well. Maybe they are struggling to market their business to the right group of applicants, maybe they got lost in the wave of resumes they received after marketing, or maybe they’ve made regrettable hires in the past and are wary of repeating their mistake.

A professional recruiter should be a professional problem solver, not another failed attempt. So how can you ensure that your investment into a professional recruiter will be worth it?  Make sure that the recruiter you hire has the skills and experience necessary to get the job done. We want you to make the right hire; we want your business to succeed, so we’re giving you a run-down of the red flags we’ve seen in inexperienced recruiters followed by the qualities we think are most critical to look for in an effective recruiter.

The first red flag we see in newbie recruiters is a lack of understanding about the job itself. The beauty of a job without a boss is the freedom, but the danger of a job without a boss is that same freedom.  “Recruiting for Dummies” cannot replace the mentorship of a man or woman who has been in the game long enough to know how it needs to be played. Without the safeguard of a required training process, new recruiters must rely on trial and error to teach them the intricacies of the job.

And there can be lots of error. Effective recruiters have plans and strategies in place to make sure that excellent businesses find excellent candidates. Besides possibly having been contacted themselves as candidates by a recruiter at some point in their past, new recruiters often have no idea where to begin building the databases and connections that will be vital to any future success.

We recently heard of a situation where a global company hired a new recruiter to market and screen candidates. The hiring manager, having received no list of qualified candidates from his new recruiter for quite some time, asked what was causing the hold-up. The recruiter proceeded to hand over the entire stack of accumulated resumes to the hiring manager; he did not understand the expectations of a job in recruitment, much less how to go about implementing the proper techniques to produce a list of qualified candidates for the hiring manager to consider.  

Inexperience is not the only issue plaguing new recruiters. The pressure and excitement of closing on jobs can lead some novice recruiters into the more nefarious arenas of greed and dishonesty. Seasoned recruiters know that trust from businesses and candidates is essential to their own long-term success. The immediate gratification of a big paycheck is not worth the accompanying bad reputation, should the close have been made by cutting corners.

Maybe you’ve heard of the “bait and switch” technique employed by some dishonest recruiters. A recruiter finds a great candidate and uses him or her to market to several companies. The recruiter can then offer the candidate, not the job originally agreed upon, but the job that most benefits the recruiter. Trust has been lost.

Or perhaps you’ve heard horror stories from candidates who have been “stalked” by a greedy recruiter. The communication between the recruiter and the candidate, far from being open and professional, has become frantic and manipulative. The recruiter, desperate to secure the candidate, instead leaves the candidate feeling used and, again, distrustful.

What about on the business end of things? Jorg Stegemann’s Forbes’ article titled, “7 Things a Headhunter Won’t Tell You,” offered this confession: recruiters can be dishonest about their level of experience and understanding of the position you’re wanting filled. “Although we will gladly accept the assignment to search for a CIO,” Stegemann writes, “we might have no idea about what makes a good one.” How can a position be filled with the best-fitting candidate if the recruiter doesn’t have a good understanding of the position itself? Integrity is vital.

We don’t want you to hire a recruiter without the skills, experience, or character necessary to do the job well.  A great recruiter will be able to offer his or her expertise in screening resumes, sourcing, proper marketing, and candidate engagement. A great recruiter will have experience with similar companies and will be adept in delivering results tailored to your wishes.  A great recruiter will not have to resort to dishonesty, but will place high value on integrity and genuine communication.

A great recruiter is an asset to your company.

Why Experienced Recruiters Should Always Be the Option

1aa0ca8To say it simply, experienced recruiters save you time and money. And we can prove it.

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain and Glassdoor Research released a study in 2015, looking at the reasons behind the “dramatic” lengthening of the hiring process in recent years. Key findings revealed that businesses are putting much more time and energy into employee screening, testing, and interviews.

Why this new zeal for in-depth employee screening?

Because employee turnover is expensive. It’s costly for a business to lose an employee, costly for them to conduct a thorough search and hiring process, costly to train a new employee, and costly, once again, to start the process over if that employee turns out to be a poor fit.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) estimates that the average cost of replacing an employee is equal to one fifth of that employee’s salary. But the cost to a business is not isolated to the salary of a single position; employee turnover hits businesses in other ways as well.

For one, when an employee quits or is terminated and must be replaced, management productivity is slowed. Instead of managing the business, managers are sidelined as they search for and screen applicants. Towers Watson’s 2008 Global Research Study found that one of the two elements of “particularly strong influence” in employee engagement (and therefore, business productivity), was “strong manager performance.” The study went on to describe this behavior: engaged, focused, organized, tapped-into what is happening in the company and with the employees under their care. Take out your managers, and the business suffers.

Thousands of dollars to replace an employee, the piling up of additional costs the longer the position remains vacant, and the detrimental effects on the entire organizational structure of a business, and suddenly, all the extra effort businesses are putting into the hiring process makes sense.

Or at least, it almost makes sense.

Businesses are right to care about hiring quality employees, but without a professional recruiter, it is difficult to say if the benefit of good hires is worth the upsetting and slowing of the organizational structure required to compensate for the extraneous effort.

Let’s talk about what an experienced recruiter can do for you.

A position is vacated in a business and needs to be filled immediately. The first step for most businesses would be to start advertising the position and screening applicants.  A great feat in communication is being attempted here; the business is attempting to communicate their needs in a way that attracts a suitable candidate, and the candidates are attempting to communicate their skillset in a way that attracts a suitable employer. Resumes are the typical vehicle for this communication, and while not wholly faulty, they certainly have their drawbacks.

Regina Hartley’s September 2015 TED Talk titled, “Why the Best Hire Might Not Have the Perfect Resume,” illustrated the point well. Her example involved two qualified candidates, one with a perfect resume highlighting elite schools and relevant experience, and the other claiming a state-school education and varied work experience. She nicknames the two candidates “The Silver Spoon” and “The Scrapper,” respectively.

Hartley’s point is that a resume cannot tell the whole story, and it is difficult to discern which candidate would truly be the more valuable hire. She concludes by advising that companies hire more Scrappers, more candidates whose strengths are often undetected in a cursory resume scan.

The advice, trustworthy though it may be, is difficult to heed without a great deal of experience, discernment, and focused time and attention. It is unlikely to find a place in a typical hiring process, much less one that is in any need of expedition.

You need an experienced recruiter.

Not only would an experienced recruiter have the communication savvy to understand a business’s specific desires for a future hire, but she would know how to wade through the sea of applications available to her and, carefully and efficiently, find you a great fit.  The leg work is done and done well, and you are left with a shortlist of the best candidates available.  Instead of being stuck in the early stages of the hiring process, you can resume working with a full team of people who are dedicated to helping your business flourish.

An experienced recruiter is invaluable. The resume is not the only potential pitfall of the hiring process, and for businesses serious about finding and keeping excellent employees, contracting with an experienced recruiter is the best option.