Posts

What your Candidate Experience is Missing

Meghan M. Biro of Talent Culture recently wrote a LinkedIn article on her top tips to improve candidate experience, and we at Aspen cannot agree more with her sentiments.

As a talent analytics company, we cannot stress the importance of two specific tips that Meghan mentions enough: 1) communication and 2) honest feedback. The job application process is a two way flow of communication between recruiter and candidate – so why do we so often see processes that make it easy for candidates to stay silent?

Like Meghan, we believe that collecting real-time feedback from candidates allows for a flexible and ever-evolving hiring process. One option is to monitor candidate experience all year long, and have in depth analysis on your business groups, functions, regions and recruiting processes on a quarterly basis. Another option is to have a dedicated team whose job is to make sure no candidate falls into a black hole – and guarantee that all of your special initiatives get the appropriate advocacy.

Give your candidates a voice- you might be surprised at what they have to say.

NYC – You think you know everything…oh wait – thats the other team…

David Wright of the NY Mets – arguably one of the best third base players currently, takes on the Phils in the 3 game series this week.

 

This is a continuation of a series produced by Aspen Advisors on improving recruiting progressively and systematically over the next six months, in parallel with the Major League Baseball Season. 

SERIES 3:  Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets @ Citi Field / April 13, 14, 15

IMPROVING EXPERIENCE

Testing and formalized assessment is a good thing.  Our Prime Group in Pando has some interesting behaviors when it comes to formalizing assessment. This group tends to use 1) additional online assessments during the application process, 2) has a copy of the resume handy during an interview consistently, 3) takes notes, and 4) uses formalized questions that are clearly prepared and observed during an interview.

Now other companies do share some or all of these behaviors – no question. However, it is interesting that those traits happen more consistently in companies that score better overall when it comes to experience ratings from candidates, new hires, and hiring managers. Oddly enough, they don’t necessary score “better” when interview processes are reviewed. All the scores are within margin of error, so don’t look for a quick upshot in feedback when you increase formality. In fact, the Prime Group picks up the same number of low scores for interview and assessment topics. That does not surprise me – its a candidate driven marketplace, and in demand talent may feel that some formalized assessment may not be required.

The takeaway? Make an effort to review your assessment processes and the perception of formality in those processes from both the candidate and hiring manager’s point of view.  Using the traits above long term mirrors the profile of companies that have higher experience scores from hiring managers reviewing recruiting’s performance, and candidate scoring on the recruiting experience. Formality isn’t a bad thing – in fact, I look my best in a tuxedo 🙂

IMPROVING ANALYTICS

Smooth or harden lines to reinforce your story.  “WHAT? What’s smoothing a line?” LOL. I know.

When you create a trend line, you have usually the ability to choose how the line is actually drawn. You can either have a connect the dots kind of look or a smooth look. However, you can see that the visual tends to tell to story. The smoother the line, the less volatile the trend appears.

Screenshot 2015-04-14 10.23.35

Example of chart 1 with SMOOTH lines, indicating within tolerances or targets

If I was to change the line to be straight line connections, it can show a jaggedness, which can be used to communicate that the trend itself has volatility.

Example of chart 1 with hard lines, indicating volatility

Example of chart 1 with HARDENED lines, indicating volatility

So when you tell the story, if you think the trend line is good or in compliance – give it a smooth line. If it is not, give it a hardened line. The audience will immediately understand that improvement is needed, or the trend needs correction.

IMPROVING COMPETENCY

Analysis / Problem Identification is a key dimension for any recruiters and recruiting leaders. Honing those skills means better understanding the competencies of that dimension, as listed below. There are probably one or more you can work on, but also one or more you are an expert in. Pick the ones you will develop, and pick at least one you can mentor somebody else on.

Recognizes the problem first; Stays ahead of the problem; Remains effective when another’s direction is uncertain; Persuades people to provide information to help resolve upcoming issues; Cites little problems before they become big problems

IMPROVING STANDARDS

Tracking Currency. You would think this is a straight forward concept – but there are global implications here for sure. In many cases, costs are allocated in the regional currencies, and then there is a global currency for a business. As an example, we have customers that track costs in over 10 different currencies, as they have several operating groups located globally. So local data on costs are collected in Rupees, Yen, Australian Dollar, US Dollar, GBP, Euro, and so on. Meanwhile, the global organization is has its headquarters in the EU, so they report to the markets in the Euro, but the US market is the highest growing market. What to do??

First – stop trying to convert everything. Market fluctuations allow for too much volatility, and after a year, what you converted from US Dollar to Euro then means something different now. Instead, report regionally first, in a regional currency. If you have an operating company in Asia, with a headquarters in Singapore – use the Singapore dollar as the regional aggregating currency, don’t covert to Euros – that does not mean much to the operators in Singapore or Asia.

Second – find out what the official company currency is. If you are public – you have one, but if you have several operating entities, you have actually have more than one (see if you are traded on multiple exchanges). If you are private, this could get ugly quick – so talk to finance on what they want you do to when aggregating costs. This is important for tracking expenses, cost per hire, relocation expenses, and so on.

Opening Day: A New Season for Recruiting Teams

photo.JPG

My brother Steve and I – 10 years ago. A couple of die hard baseball fans playing with major league players in Florida.

THE PINSTRIPES ARE BACK

A sign of summer – baseball is here. My favorite 6 months of the year. Another season, and I reflect on how things in the recruiting world are now since last April, and the April before.

As in baseball, the leadership and management is NOT solely responsible for the day to day experiences and results when recruiting talent. The responsibility is shared with the ones in the field, and the ones who play every day. The manager is not a catcher, pitcher, infielder, or an outfielder. The manager is not pitching the ball, or throwing to first. Now conversely, it is the manager that calls for certain pitches. Its the manager that creates the batting order and who plays each day. The manager is the one calling for certain plays. There is a back and forth on responsibility for sure.

Change CAN come overnight – but sustainable change takes more work, planning and adoption. Those improvements come with consistent effort and concentration. So I have prepared some ways to improve – all season long.

IMPROVE ALL SEASON LONG

The baseball season kicks off today. Its a long season, ripe with opportunity for players and managers to get better through that season. As such, I have written a post, like above, for each series that the major league baseball team Philadelphia Phillies play. Yes – I am a Phillies fan – a die hard Phillies fan.

Posts like this are set to release on the opening pitch of each series, the 2 to 4 games that the teams oppose each other over a 2 to 4 day period. Each post has content designed to enable recruiting efficiency. The posts will showcase which competencies one could improve as a recruiter or sourcer, will have methods on executing analytics, and data proven techniques to improve the recruiting experience for candidates and hiring managers. Everything is data driven or based on evidence from Pando, not just random set of editorials. Like baseball, we run things at Aspen by the numbers, so I did the same with the posts.

THE BEST PLAYERS and TEAMS

In addition, I will be traveling the country again through April to October. Some of these posts may coordinate with the many conferences associated with recruiting and HR. I will attend some baseball games with some great leaders in recruiting, so watch for those pics online. We will also be engaging with the TRU conference series (via Bill Boorman) and Future of Talent Institute (via Kevin Wheeler) to keep the work progressive and global. I will drop in some items from these conferences, viewpoints from all kinds of players, and those who judge the game (but don’t necessarily play).

I’m excited to share and participate in this “season of improvement” for recruiting. I am not convinced that my Philadelphia Phillies will make the playoffs (the odds are really against them) – but I am convinced that any recruiter or leader who wants to improve can when given the right tools and allowed the ability to give their best efforts. 

SERIES 1: Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies @ Citizens Bank Park / April 6, 8, 9

IMPROVING EXPERIENCE

Did you know that increasing the amount of hiring manager interaction with a candidate directly has been proven to increase candidate experience ratings? I bet you didn’t 🙂 We have all kinds of data like that in Pando.

The key communication points, such as interview scheduling, offer letters, thank you notes and so on have been a trait that companies with a higher rating of candidate experience have in common. That does not mean that recruiters should stop or are bad at those things – it just means the candidate likes interacting with the hiring manager too. In fact, hiring managers at companies with highly rated candidate experience are much more likely to execute such activities. So take a look at the process you do, and the one the hiring manager does, and move one or two of your interactions over to the hiring manager (this assumes that you don’t do a bunch of this already). Here are some suggestions – have the hiring manager leave a message or personal email about scheduling an interview; have a thank you come from the manager; have the manager follow up prior to an interview saying “please prepare a few questions”; have the manager extend the offer – even if that means all questions still go to recruiting for negotiation. Those are just a few, but candidates clearly state that those experiences occurred in companies they rated highly.

IMPROVING ANALYTICS

Track metrics in multiple time frequencies. Metrics are always required – but what is a “Metric” – and what is its “frequency”? A metric is a trend line – plain and simple. Its a measurement over time. You can use a bar chart or a line chart, or other visuals, but if the X axis is time…its a metric. Measuring over time and showing a visual of those results is one of the easiest ways to show how improvements are occurring. However, that X axis needs to be looked at several different ways. In Pando, we tracking metrics daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually and year to date. THAT IS MORE THAN MOST and because we can easily – so don’t get nuts. Most organizations have trouble tracking daily – so they don’t see how work is executed day to day or on the weekends. However, its likely you are tracking things monthly. So start tracking one frequency sooner and later – weekly and quarterly, so you can see consistency in how your team executes in these other intervals. Start with simply hires, then interviews. Then do time to fill. Then start segmenting by team, recruiter, division and so on…you will start to see differences you never saw before – and opportunities for improvement.

IMPROVING COMPETENCY

Planning and Organizing is a key dimension for any recruiter or sourcer. Honing those skills means better understanding the competencies of that dimension, as listed below. There are probably one or more you can work on, but also one or more you are an expert in. Pick the ones you will develop, and pick at least one you can mentor somebody else on.

multitasks appropriately; integrates with management effectively; improves manager efficiency; handles incompletion of tasks well; performs against intended plans well; uses good planning technique; handles missed deadlines well; use of procedures as intended; keeps track of activities and records; creates client schedules appropriately; arranges schedules regardless of difficulty; performs weekly planning effectively

IMPROVING STANDARDS

Time to Fill. We have seen several variants of “time to fill” because companies start measuring from approval, or posting, or first applicant and then stop at offer, hire, start date, blah blah blah…UGH. What a benchmarking mess.

We can only measure what is in the data. For Pando, “Time to Fill” is actually Time to Offer Accept (TTOA). It is the designated start date for active recruiting until the candidate has accepted the offer in the system. Your company can designate its own recruiting start date – when the recruiter was assigned, when the req was posted, when it was approved – whatever. That is NOT a standard company to company – but the concept of GO is. The reason we use offer accept is because its candidate driven. They are the ones who determine the date – not you. So you determine GO, they determine STOP. Its the cleanest, easiest to track, works globally, works across functions, and is specific to any business.

“But it should be when the requistion closes or is marked as filled”. WRONG 🙂 In some organizations, they have multiple positions on a requisition. So you have to track by when the position was available, and when it was filled, not the requisition. In Pando for these organizations we have to track both, and that can be an interesting variance in itself. Tracking TTOA is a sure fire way to have comparisons across industries, regions, recruiters, and so on.

Focus on Assessment – Integrity

INTEGRITY is a word that is used in many corporate behavioral constructs. It is not unusual for the 12 or 15 behaviors of a Fortune 500 company to have INTEGRITY listed either as a value on its own or to be weaved into that value system across the board. I do find it using that although INTEGRITY seems to be something that most corporations take great pride in, when I asked how do you measure for it during your assessment process they seem to be a bit at a loss.

There may be several definitions or interpretations of what INTEGRITY is, but in regards to assessment for a new hire, I’ll try to use a definition is broad enough so it can be assessed . INTEGRITY involves maintaining and promoting social, ethical, and organizational norms and conducting internal and external business activities. INTEGRITY is something that typically is not as such taught as much as it is reflected and were learned great care to be taken to avoid condoning behavior that indicates “low integrity”. If a manager exhibits the behaviors that are “low integrity”, it is likely that the team that reports about will believe that “low integrity” is approved within the organization.

It has been my experience that integrity is something very personal. As such, you may want to get a better understanding of the hiring manager in their style in general, so that you understand what integrity needs to know.  When considering competencies or experiences to measure in order to assess integrity, you may want to consider certain questioning based on the function specifically. As an example, if you are measuring integrity for sales personnel, you may want to measure how someone up sells the customer with a strong value proposition. If you are measuring someone who is in quality, you may want to better understand how to maintain accuracy consistently.

About Rounded Assessment and its Value to Recruiting

Assessment comes in many forms. Our contention is that competencies need to be identified for each position at an organization, and a level of mastery for some or all of those competencies needs to be identified for each candidate that has applied for the role – whether they are internal or external.

It is the hiring manager’s responsibility to then understand which competencies to leverage, which to develop, and which to avoid in order to have the new employee reach desired productivity in the desired timeline. Competence needs to be assessed, but assessing experience, work habits, cognition, intelligence, and other areas are also critical. We believe that the advocacy of a combined assessment, or “Rounded Assessment” is the job of every recruiter. It is not necessarily their job to assess everything, but rather make sure that the assessment is performed and documented so a hiring manager or business leader can make sound decisions.

This blog post is part of a series of posts that are set to release over a long period of time. In each, Aspen provides insight on the elements and assets within Rounded Assessment.

Focus on Assessment – Energy

Productivity is absolutely critical to forecast the success, as such understanding a candidates ENERGY in its capacity is absolutely critical. There are many positions that involve intense workloads, concentrated work hours over short period of time, or repetitive tasks over a long period time that some would find mundane.  If assessment on energy is not done for positions where productivity is absolutely critical and has to be compliant, is reasonable to assume that a long-term fit or immediate fit for that role will be difficult to obtain.

As such, ENERGY can be defined as consistently maintaining a high activity or productivity level or even be defined as simply as sustaining long work hours. It’s important to realize that the definition of ENERGY may be very specific to your own organization. When your organization defines as intense or long hours may be radically different than another company considers intense for long hours.

When assessing ENERGY, you may want to consider any number of competencies that could include the following–how a person puts in extra hours when needed, how they follow through processes tirelessly, or how they prepare for completion. It’s also important to measure if someone has awareness of their low energy and if they can persevere even though they have low energy.

About Rounded Assessment and its Value to Recruiting

Assessment comes in many forms. Our contention is that competencies need to be identified for each position at an organization, and a level of mastery for some or all of those competencies needs to be identified for each candidate that has applied for the role – whether they are internal or external.

It is the hiring manager’s responsibility to then understand which competencies to leverage, which to develop, and which to avoid in order to have the new employee reach desired productivity in the desired timeline. Competence needs to be assessed, but assessing experience, work habits, cognition, intelligence, and other areas are also critical. We believe that the advocacy of a combined assessment, or “Rounded Assessment” is the job of every recruiter. It is not necessarily their job to assess everything, but rather make sure that the assessment is performed and documented so a hiring manager or business leader can make sound decisions.

This blog post is part of a series of posts that are set to release over a long period of time. In each, Aspen provides insight on the elements and assets within Rounded Assessment.