The Beginner’s Guide to Social Hiring

It’s a candidate’s job market and, if businesses hope to compete, it’s imperative that they can attract top talent. A huge portion of the talent pool today is, at most, “passively” looking for new opportunities. This means that you can’t just post your open jobs to a job board and hope that the right candidate applies; you must actively engage even passive candidates if you have any hope of winning the “war on talent.” While most organizations today are aware that social media can be a powerful hiring tool, a surprising number aren’t using it to its fullest, or even at all. Social media can be a brilliant source of recruiting potential if used well. So where to start?

  1.       Be Consistent

Consistency is key to developing a successful social recruiting process. You may not need a dedicated social recruiter posting on your behalf day and night, but the sporadic posting of jobs to LinkedIn, Facebook, and their ilk will not be very impactful. You should be posting content regularly, ideally daily, to attract and grow a potential candidate pool. Your “voice” and “tone” should also be consistent. Figure out how often you want to post and how you want your social messaging to sound, then make sure you consistently strive towards your goals for both.

  1.       Be Engaging

Easier said than done, volumes have been written on the topic of audience engagement. The whole thing is liable to feel overwhelming and overly technical to a social hiring novice. It’s important to remember that there will be some trial and error, but in time you will figure out what works to engage your audience.  Try out different strategies; do you get more reaction when you ask questions? Do people respond well when you share photos? Whatever you do, make sure you tailor your message to your target audience – the people you’d love to have working for you – as much as you can.

  1.       Be Diverse

While you obviously want to use your social hiring efforts to fill your open jobs, if you truly want to get the most from social recruitment, you should try to connect with your audience on many levels. This isn’t just your chance to advertise job openings, it is your opportunity to showcase the great things about working in your organization.  Share useful content, post about your successes, and connect with your future and current candidate pool beyond just the scope of filling a req.

  1.       Be Targeted

There are a mind-bending number of social media platforms in regular use today and attempting to maintain a diverse, engaging, and consistent footprint on all of them would likely require much more effort than it was worth. For that reason alone, it pays to be targeted in your approach. Go to where your audience already is. It may require some research and a bit of trial and error, but determine who you’re looking to attract to your organization, and then find out which platforms they use the most. If you have the biggest need for seasoned executive talent, you’ll probably find them in a different place than you would new grads. Figure out the type of talent you want to attract and then make sure your efforts are targeted to reach them.

While there is certainly plenty more to creating a successful social hiring strategy, these four steps should help you create a great foundation.  By creating a presence that is consistent, engaging, and varied and then targeting your efforts to the places they’ll be the most impactful, you will have a scalable and customizable process that can be used to supercharge your recruitment efforts and meet whatever talent needs you may have.


A Good Problem: Choosing Between Two Great Candidates

It’s an enviable position to be in; you have a surplus of great candidates who are willing to join your team. The hard part is over and your only remaining job is choosing between them. Enviable as it may be, it still poses a problem. In a perfect world, you’d have the budget to hire all the qualified candidates that you come across. However, that usually isn’t a real possibility and you may have to make some tough choices. What is a hiring manager to do? If you find yourself forced to choose between two equally weighted candidates, take some time to think through the following to determine who the best addition will be. The plus side is, you know no matter what your decision, you’ll get a talented employee.

Hire for Runway
While you are screening candidates for a position, it is important to think ahead. Could you see either of the candidates moving up in the organization in the future? The candidate with the most potential to advance in their career with you will be the more strategic hire. Not only will you be making a great pick for your current role, but you’ll be improving your succession plan for the years to come.

Hire for Eagerness
You may want to hire both candidates equally, but do both candidates equally want to be hired? Most of the time, the candidate who is the most excited about the opportunity will be the more successful in the long run. After all, isn’t it better to work with someone who really wants to be there? Think back over your interactions with both candidates throughout the process and try to determine how eager they each were to move on at each step of the way.


Hire for Fit
While both candidates may seem equal on paper, cultural fit is much harder to discern from a resume. Take a beat to define and describe your organization’s culture. Chances are that one of the two candidates will be a more organic fit for the environment. The person you hire should share the values and ambitions of the company, so cultural fit can be crucial to a successful hire.

If all else fails, you can always make an old-fashioned pros and cons list. Just make sure that you are taking runway, eagerness, and cultural fit into account before you make your final decision. When you have two great candidates to choose from, there really isn’t a wrong answer. However, every hiring decision is important, so be sure that you carefully consider every angle. When in doubt, bring others into the process and ask them to rank the candidates against the above criteria. Once you’re sure that you have a candidate who has the most runway for promotability, the most ambition to be a part of your team, and who is the most appropriate cultural fit, you’ll know you have the best candidate for the job.


4 Ways to Quickly Boost Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is something that many organizations take very seriously. It has been a growing focus among leaders and is the driving force behind many strategic initiatives undertaken by major companies in recent years. Despite all this, one look at employee engagement scores in the workplace at large will show you that there is still a lot of room for improvement in most cases. So what is a leader, looking for quick and impactful ways to boost engagement, to do?

  1.       Conduct Engagement Surveys

This may seem like a pretty obvious first step, but a surprising number of companies are not conducting these surveys. Among Fortune 500 organizations, as many as 96% are utilizing these tools. However, among midsized companies, this number drops to just 65%. Not only are these surveys vital to understanding where you stand with your employees, the simple act of giving your employees the chance to feel heard can have immediate impacts on your engagement overall.

  1.       Recognize Achievements

One of the fastest ways to lose the interest and attention of your employees is to let good work go unnoticed. You don’t necessarily need to build a formal employee recognition program (though that is certainly an option), but it is critical that you take the time to recognize and reward the accomplishments of your employees in some way. This will incentivize them to keep making an impact and help ensure that they feel appreciated.

  1.       Provide Growth Opportunities

One of the biggest reasons why employees leave their jobs is a lack of growth opportunities. When your workforce does not feel challenged, they will inevitably begin to lose interest. It’s not always possible to promote employees continuously, but it is important that you find ways to offer your key talent projects which test their abilities, opportunities to learn new skills, and a variety of experiences to keep them engaged.

  1.       Offer Guidance

Offering employees mentorship can be an invaluable way to build loyalty and drive positive engagement. Providing your employees with guidance shouldn’t only be restricted to the performance improvement plan. If you give your workforce the chance to take advantage of mentorship – whether formally through a program or informally through access to great leadership – they will become a more engaged and better-skilled workforce overall.

Employee engagement is multifaceted and complex. There are countless factors that contribute to how engaged your employees are, and no one solution will be the end-all-beat-all to building a culture of engagement. However, these four tactics can go a long way in making a positive impact on your engagement scores. When you take the time to listen to your employees’ concerns and needs and provide them with appropriate recognition, development, and mentorship opportunities, you lay down the foundation for an engaging workplace culture.


The Anatomy of the Recruiting Process

Finding the perfect candidate can be an arduous process. It involves a lot of investment in the way of time and energy, but it’s an entirely necessary evil. Understanding what makes the process tick can go a long way to demystifying and streamlining things, however. By understanding the clear delineation between the phases of the recruitment process, you will be better able to manage expectations and timelines for all parties. From the beginning to the end, knowing what is happening behind the scenes at each phase will enable you to react more nimbly and make better decisions at every turn, whether you’re doing the hiring yourself or working with a recruiting partner.

Phase One: The Intake

During the intake phase, it is critical to get consensus from all stakeholders. Never assume that everyone is on the same page and has the same candidate profile in mind. If you fail to have these discussions at the outset, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time, money, and effort going after the wrong candidates. Make sure you ask for input from everyone who will be involved in the hiring decision, including any “must haves” or “can’t dos” so that you have a clear picture of who you are looking for. If you are working with any external recruiting partners, share as much of this information as you possibly can, so that they will be able to find you the best candidates for the job.

Phase Two: Candidate Sourcing

The second phase generally involves a lot of research and legwork on the computer and/or phone. If you are working with a recruiting partner, a lot of this legwork will hopefully be their burden to bear. This part of the process can be one of the longest, so don’t be surprised if it takes a bit of time before you start seeing resumes that fit the bill. If you post your job description online, you’ll have to spend a fair amount of time weeding through resumes. Sourcing candidates should ideally also include the strategic outreach to passive candidates whose backgrounds would be a great fit. It is critical not to stop this phase once you’ve started. Even if you think you have the perfect candidate, there are any number of ways that falloff could occur, so even if you ramp down a bit, be sure to keep the sourcing going until you have your hire made.

Phase Three: Interviewing

The interview phase is different for every organization and may even differ from position to position. In some cases, one onsite could be all it takes to decide to make an offer. In others, there are flights to arrange, calls to schedule, and a host of stakeholders for potential candidates to meet. Make sure you have a clear roadmap of what the interviewing process will look like before you start looking to schedule. Set candidates’ expectations ahead of time and try to minimize the time that elapses during this phase.

Phase Four: Making an Offer or Starting Over

After phase three comes the moment of truth. Either you have a viable candidate who’s emerged, or you must start over. Sometimes, unfortunately, it may be both. Even if you make an offer, you have no guarantee of acceptance; this is why it is so critical to continue sourcing candidates even as you progress through the other phases of the recruitment process. If you don’t find yourself with a viable candidate, revisit the intake stage and see if there are any areas where you were perhaps too specific or where you may have missed the mark on the ideal profile.

While this may be a somewhat oversimplified version of the work and the time that goes into successfully navigating the recruitment process, it does give you an idea of what you should be focused on at each juncture. From the moment you realize you have an opening until the moment your new hire walks through the door, you should be fully engaged in this process. Be sure to keep your recruiting partners in the loop at each phase as well. If you can manage to do all of this, you’ll find that the process runs much more smoothly and you will insure against any costly lulls.


5 Reasons Your Job Isn’t Getting Filled

Finding the right candidate for a role can be a daunting endeavor. It takes time, patience, and a good deal of legwork to successfully source, screen, and hire the right person for the job and any number of things can go wrong along the way. If you have found that your roles aren’t being filled in a timely fashion, there could be any number of factors to blame. The following five issues are some of the more common culprits that can cause the recruitment process to break down, leaving you with an empty role.

  1.       Your Budget is Too Low

This is one of the biggest hurdles to jump when it comes to filling a role. If there are internal equity issues restricting your budget, it can pose a serious problem. However, if you simply aren’t offering the right amount of money for what you’re looking for, you are going to have a tough time attracting qualified candidates. If you think you might be off the mark on the compensation, market surveys can help you determine if you need to make an adjustment. If the dollars aren’t in the budget, then you may have to lower the scope of the role itself to find the right fit for the right price.

  1.       You Are Being Too Specific

If you find that your budget isn’t the problem, it could be the job itself. While of course there is a required level of experience for any role, if you narrow your candidate pool too far, you will have a tough time finding anyone who happens to be qualified. Make sure that you don’t narrow your search too far and try focusing on high-potential talent who can be trained in any skills they might be lacking.

  1.       You Are “Posting and Praying”

This is a very common mistake when it comes to sourcing talent. It is an incredibly competitive market out there, so talent can be choosy and companies must get creative to find the talent they need. If you simply post your job description to the big boards and screen the candidates who apply, you may find it takes much longer to find what you’re looking for. Instead, be proactive. Take up the mantle of seeking out that great talent and actively work to recruit them, rather than hoping that they come to you.

  1.       You Are Taking Too Long

Time is never your friend when it comes to the recruitment process. Candidates get cold feet, accept competing offers, or just generally lose interest if you drag the process out for too long. Make recruitment a priority, and if you find a candidate that you like, move quickly!

  1.       You Aren’t Screening Well

If you find that you keep getting pretty far into the process, only to determine that you don’t have the right candidate, you are likely dropping the ball somewhere in the early screening process. This can cost valuable time and leave you with an unfilled role, despite a lot of effort. Make sure that you are asking key questions early on, that you have the right people interviewing candidates, and that you have clear guidelines about what qualifies a candidate for the role.

            While there is certainly no shortage of places where the recruitment process may break down, by focusing on these five areas, you will eliminate many of the common culprits. If you have a role that you just can’t fill, it pays to take a beat and ask yourself if you may be making missteps in these areas.


The Beginner’s Guide to Working with a Search Firm

For hiring managers who have never had the opportunity to partner with a search firm, the idea can seem a little foreign. It can be confusing trying to determine what the recruiter’s role will be, what information you need to provide for them, and what to expect from the whole partnership. If you are considering working with a search firm for the first time, there are a few foundational things that you can do to ensure a meaningful partnership.

Be Forthcoming

This can’t be stressed enough. Your recruiter should be your partner. After all, it is in their best interests to find you the right candidate, so you truly have a common goal. For this reason, you should be comfortable telling them everything that they need to know about the position they are helping you to fill. You should tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly. Give them any relevant background about your organization. Tell them about the personalities of those they’ll be working closely with. The more information given to your recruiter, the more effective they can be in getting you the talent you are looking for. Don’t hold back!

Ask for Advice

Many times, hiring managers don’t take full advantage of the consultative resource that a good staffing partner can be. Recruiters focus on talent all day every day, so if you have any questions about the process, the search, or the market in general, don’t hesitate to use them as a trusted resource. If you’re uncertain about how you should handle any part of the search, asking your recruiter for advice can be a simple and effective way to gain perspective.

Set Expectations

Setting expectations early and often is critical to a mutually beneficial partnership. It is especially important if you aren’t accustomed to the process of partnering with search firms.  Tell your recruiting partners what you expect from them and what they can expect from you (your response times, your availability to interview their candidates, etc.). Clarify and qualify as much as you can, and continue to revisit these expectations as you progress through the process. This act alone should go a long way towards helping you demystify your new partnership.

By following these few guidelines, you are setting yourself up for success in working with a search firm. Your new recruiting partners will be thankful that you have been so forthcoming and communicative. They will clearly understand what is expected of them and will be able to help you understand what they expect from you. You may even find that they can be a fantastic resource, not simply a candidate generation tool. These steps are ideal for those new to the process, but even for veterans, they are good habits to revisit and engage in. As you consider working with a search firm, set yourself up for success and ensure that you get the most out of the experience.


3 Steps to Selecting the Right Recruiting Firm

There are certainly no shortages of choices available in the recruitment marketplace. There are mega-firms, boutique firms, regional firms, industry-specific firms, and so many others to take your pick from. Most hiring managers receive a high volume of phone calls from these recruiters, all vying for their business. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’re just trying to figure out where to get started. While there is no shortage of volume out there, it can be quite a task to sift through the competing firms to find the one that best suits your business and your talent needs. However, with a few simple steps, it will be easy to narrow down the numbers and target the firms which will be most effective for you to partner with.

  1.       Follow the Reputation

One of the quickest ways to discern a great firm is to ask your colleagues who they would recommend. This will help you to feel more confident in making the connection, and because you came to them on referral they will have a bit of extra motivation to deliver for you since they are certain to want to receive more referrals down the road. Whether you ask your coworkers or others in your network, be sure to find out who has provided the best talent they’ve seen, and ask if they have been placed by any great firms in the past.

  1.       Get Specific

Recruitment has become increasingly specialized over the years. While some of the big firms still handle the full gambit of searches, most small to midsized firms have some areas of specialization. Ask any firms you are considering if they specialize by region, function, level, or industry. You may find that it’s best to have several different recruiters who you use for different types of positions, so it can be helpful to compile a pipeline of reputable firms who have a variety of focus areas.

  1.       Ask for Metrics

Search firms employ a variety of metrics as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). One of the fastest ways to determine a firm’s effectiveness is to ask them about some of these measurements for success. One of the most telling metrics is the time-to-fill, which indicates how long it takes from the start of a new search until successful placement. Likewise, asking about their offer acceptance rate will give you an idea of how well they close offers once they’ve been made. Any reputable firm should track some kind of metrics, so ask for the numbers when you’re introduced.

By following these three steps, you should be confident in your chosen recruiting partners. Depending on your needs, you may even work with multiple firms simultaneously – it all depends on your business and the roles you need to fill. Use your network to your advantage in narrowing down the options, find firms who have full candidate pipelines in the specialties you’re searching for, and make sure you ask them to quantify their success to ensure that you are making the perfect match every time.


4 Key Questions You Should be Asking Candidates

Every hiring manager wishes they had a crystal ball. Hiring a new employee is a big investment, and there is a certain amount of risk involved any time you make that decision. There will inevitably be times when a poor hiring choice is made, and it’s only natural to wonder if there was some way you could’ve seen it coming. While you probably aren’t going to find a crystal ball that will work for you, there are ways to tell if candidates are going to be the right choice. You simply have to ask the right questions!

  1.       Is there any reason why you wouldn’t take this job?

       This question is a powerful way to uncover any hidden reservations a candidate might have about the role. It is direct and to the point, giving the candidate the opportunity to express any hesitations they might have and you the opportunity to pick up on any potential causes for concern. Asking this of candidates before making an offer can also put you in the best position possible to get an acceptance since you’ll know in advance what obstacles you may need to overcome.

  1.       Walk me through your career – how did you get to where you are today?

       Asking for a step-by-step walkthrough of a person’s career can tell you a lot more than just what they’ve done; it gives you insight into why they have made the moves they made. Have they simply drifted along aimlessly, or has their career been deliberate? Do they seem to be the “victim of circumstance” too often, or have they chosen to make moves on their own? This simple question can give you deep insights into the background and intent of the candidate you’re interviewing.

  1.       Where have you made the biggest impact in your career?

       This is a great question because it gives the candidate plenty of room to maneuver. The subject matter is open to interpretation, leaving your interviewee to speak to what they found most meaningful in their careers without the burden of an overly specific topic to speak to. Their answer should help you gauge what is most important to them and where their strengths have been best applied.

  1.       In a perfect world, what would you do next?

       It’s another open-ended question that can help you draw out the candidate’s motivation further. Asking what they are looking for is also to-the-point enough to help zero in on whether the role you’re considering them for is aligned with their objectives and needs. Giving a candidate the opportunity to speak about their wants can also give you a lot of valuable information that can help you set them up for success if they join your team.

       The common thread that these questions share is that they are all thought provoking and designed to solicit meaningful responses. Communication is the key to discovering potential roadblocks before they can become an issue. From the first interview to the offer letter, you should make it a goal to engage your candidates with meaningful questions that give them the opportunity to tell you what matters to them and to define and qualify their accomplishments.

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Use These 5 Words to Energize Your Business Writing

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Those words were written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton over one hundred years ago. Just like the art of fencing requires practice, so does the art of using the pen. Choosing to utilize its power can bring great results.

Most business communication, like presentations, various business documents, and emails are just plain boring. But just like you dread reading that text, so does the person on the other end of your email. It’s time to get a little risky. There are words that you can use that will give some life to that otherwise yawn-worthy email. The person on the other end will thank you.

Here are some words to get you started:

  1. Immediately.

This word conveys quick and swift action that is effective. In our microwave world where instant gratification is the norm, we’re looking for things to be accomplished or to happen with swiftness. Maybe the person receiving the email will receive the benefits of a certain desired action immediately or you’ll immediately see to their request.

  1. Guaranteed.

No side door or backup plan is allowed with this one, and that’s why it appeals to people. The responsibility is placed on you so that there is little to no risk for the other person. This word is guaranteed to get your recipient’s attention and ease any concerns they may feel.

  1. Proven.

Be careful how you throw this one around. People are used to hearing companies talk about their ‘proven’ methods when in reality they’ve never actually been proven. Show exactly how your method is proven and how that will benefit them. This shows them that not only are you confident, you’re also trustworthy.

  1. Relevant.

No one likes getting a generic email that really has nothing to do with them or adds no value to their day or their goals. Likewise, any business writing you may be doing or may have to consume can become pure torture if it has no relevance to you and what you’re trying to accomplish. First of all, make sure that what you’re trying to communicate is relevant to the person on the other end, whether it’s a coworker, supervisor, or customer. Then use this word—sparingly and succinctly—to highlight the value that you’re adding to the other person’s life.

  1. Refresh.

If you’ve refreshed a plan, you’ve given it a new energy, a new vitalization. You took what had worked before and gave it new life, new energy. Use this word to communicate the benefits of your plan and the overall feeling it will result in.

It’s not all semantics. If you can harness the power of the written word in your business writing and emails, you’ll find the responses that you desire. Being able to spur someone to a desired action because of an email or a well-written business article isn’t just going to happen. You’ve got to put in the forethought and effort. These five words are just a springboard, any word can have powerful results if utilized correctly.


3 Signs You’re Using the Wrong Recruiting Partners

Recruiters are so plentiful these days, it can seem like they’re a dime a dozen. Hiring managers the world over are inundated with a ceaseless stream of voicemails from recruiting firms eager to provide their services. Not all recruiters are created equal, and with so many competing firms it can be hard to discern whether you have the right staffing partners at your side. If you have found yourself questioning the relevance of your current recruiting partners, there are a few sure-fire ways to know that you haven’t chosen the right fit.

  1.    You’re seeing too many candidates

Of course you’d like to see a good number and variety of candidates during the course of a search, and it is important to keep in mind that there tends to be a period of calibration with any search, during which your recruiting partners are fine-tuning their screening process and discovering a bit more about what you are looking for in candidates. However, if you find that you are seeing a huge volume of candidates – particularly if many of them are missing the mark in some way – it may be a sign that your recruiter doesn’t quite understand what it is you’re looking for. A recruiter who takes the shotgun approach may get you a good candidate occasionally, but it is certainly not the most effective approach and it will ensure that you spend more time than is necessary screening resumes yourself. Isn’t that why you work with staffing partners in the first place?

  1.    You aren’t learning anything

While the primary goal of a recruiter is to match the right talent with the right opportunities, that shouldn’t be all that a trusted recruiter can do for you. A great recruiter can be an invaluable resource for you, providing insights into the market, actionable and applicable information, and guidance during your decision-making process. A true partner will be consultative and helpful, and you should find yourself better for having engaged them, even if you don’t hire their candidate.

  1.    You’re doing too much legwork

Your staffing partners aren’t your secretaries, so you shouldn’t expect them to do an undue amount of paperwork or to run errands for you. However, you will find that most firms are very accommodating and will be happy to help remove some of the burden of the screening process from you. If you are finding that, too often, you must chase your recruiters down or take time out of your day to follow up on something they have promised to do, it is a clear indicator that you don’t have an invested partner by your side.

The next time you are evaluating your relationships with your staffing partners, make sure to think a bit about those three topics. Ask yourself if you are seeing an overabundance of resumes, if you have learned anything helpful from them, and if you are doing an appropriate amount of the legwork in the relationship. If the answer is no to any of the above, it might be time to return some of the countless voicemails left by their competitors.