Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Creating a fantastic recruiting experience — even for candidates you won’t hire

The employee experience begins with the recruiting process. If you want employees to understand your culture and to appreciate the values of the company, to be inspired by the vision for growth and success and to feel excited about how their roles might contribute to that vision, it’s wise to begin that differentiation with the very first touch points. Some of those touch points are your employer brand, recruiting advertising, job fair materials and the career page of your website.

But the most important touch points, the human ones, will be created by the cultural realities of how people in your company treat other people. Especially the people they decide are not qualified job candidates.

In Tribe’s national study on hiring practices, 78 percent of respondents said they would discourage others from applying to a company that had treated them with a lack of courtesy during the hiring process. Are interviewees at your company left waiting in the lobby for their appointments? Do some of their interviewers turn out to be no shows? Or are they run through a marathon of interviews without anyone bothering to ask if they’d like a cup of coffee or a water or perhaps the rest room? If you treat people interviewing poorly, you can’t fault them for assuming that the company treats employees the same way.

But exercise a little common courtesy, and the company can create brand ambassadors from candidates you don’t hire. In the same Tribe study, an even larger number — 87 percent — said that if they were rejected for a job, yet had been treated with courtesy during the process, they would be likely to encourage others to apply to that company in the future.

Treating candidates with courtesy includes letting them know when the company decides to take a pass on hiring them. Candidates want to know the outcome of an interview, even if it’s bad news. It’s interesting – and disheartening – to see how often companies fail to send any further communication to those interviewees they reject.

In the Tribe study, respondents said things like:

“I realize companies get many applicants to positions, but it would be appreciated if they let those not selected for a position after an interview know, rather than leaving them hanging.”

“Contact people one way or the other, instead of just ignoring them.”

“Nothing’s worse than not hearing anything at all.”

If you’re hoping to create a great employee experience, extend your cultural reach to the hiring process itself. For the job candidates you do hire, those recruiting touch points are the first steps along their employee journeys. And for those you don’t hire, a positive recruiting experience can lead to those rejected candidates encouraging other talented candidates to consider your company.

Interested in improving your recruiting efforts or hiring communications? Tribe can help.

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Your EVP is also your RVP: Recruiting Value Proposition

Even though we call it the Employee Value Proposition, the EVP does double duty in recruiting top talent. How do you sell the best candidates on the big picture of choosing your company? How do you position your company as an employer of choice? An attractive EVP can help you land the best candidates and keep them. If strong enough, the EVP can even help lure employees to less desirable geographical locations or help overcome higher compensation packages from competitors.

The caveat is that whatever you promise needs to be real. If recruits find their experience as new hires to be wildly different from what the EVP claimed, they won’t stick around for long.

There are lots of right answers to the EVP question. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. So stick to what’s authentic about your company and attract talented people who will also be great fits. Here are a few thoughts on areas you might stress:

  1. Meaningful work and/or an inspiring vision: Sometimes the work itself is meaningful to a candidate. To engineers, that might mean being able to play a major role in developing new technology. To an interior designer in the hospitality industry, it could mean working on the launch of a boutique hotel. Other times, an inspiring vision is what creates the meaning, even for work that supports that vision indirectly. An ace accountant might prefer to work for a company with a vision of improving lives for children  than one with the vision of being the largest real estate investor in the strip center niche.
  2. Brand prestige or industry cachet: Think of this one as the cocktail party question: Where do you work? When an employee is asked that question, is the answer one that people recognize? If your company name happens to be a household word, that counts for something. So does being in an industry that’s getting a lot of buzz, like artificial intelligence, for instance. Claiming insider status can be a point of pride that’s valuable to the EVP.
  3. A culture of autonomy or teamwork: Recognize which style is more prevalent at your company and promote it as a strength. If employees consistently say the company feels like family and they value their experiences of working as a team, then that’s a strength to reflect in your EVP. On the other hand, if the company tends to run lean, maybe one benefit of that is employees having the autonomy to take on roles that might be beyond their job descriptions. There will always be pockets of both styles in any company, but be honest about which way your culture leans.
  4. Flexibility: Although a culture can provide flexibility in many different ways, most employees seem to value flexibility in terms of work accommodating their personal lives — whether that means being able to work from home when a child is sick or taking time out in the middle of the day to fit in a long run or fitness class. If your culture doesn’t support that sort of flexibility, look for other kinds. Is the culture flexible about allowing employees to make lateral moves into other departments or divisions? Is there flexibility in terms of a condensed work week? Do you offer unusual options and flexibility in your benefits?
  5. High stress/high rewards or laid back/life balance: An environment of high stress and long hours isn’t always a negative. Some people thrive in that environment, especially when they feel like they’re part of something big. Maybe your company is at the forefront of the Industrial Internet or a major player in Fashion Week or on the verge of finding the cure to cancer. On the other hand, maybe your culture is one where people put in a reasonable day at work and then get out the door on time to be with their families. Either way, that can be an appealing element of the culture described in your EVP.

How do you know what recruits will value about your EVP? Ask them. Don’t stop at doing focus groups and other research with existing employees. It’s easy enough to field questionnaires or focus groups with new hires from the past year or so. It’s worthwhile to explore the reasons they chose La-Z-Boy. Their answers might be different from the responses of employees who’ve been at the company for years.

Interested in developing or refining your EVP? Tribe can help.

 

Brittany Walker

Four tips to launch a successful ambassador program

You’ve got a great new communications channel, now what? In most cases the next step is to start producing news and information to keep employees informed. Establishing a successful internal communications platform like a well-rounded intranet, newsletter or digital signage is great, but the content shared through these channels is what keeps employees coming back for more.

Tribe recommends an ambassador program. Gathering, sorting and editing content from all segments of a company is a seemingly impossible feat, but we’ve got a solution. Here are four of our suggested tips for a successful ambassador program launch:

  1. Recruit the right team. A program of ambassadors positioned throughout the company can be a natural source of news across functional silos, business units or geographically scattered locations. However, the right employee is key. A successful ambassador is often a more junior employee eager to make a name for themselves. Energy level is more important than experience.
  1. Spread the word. Tribe usually recommends an announcement from management to reveal their team’s new ambassador(s). Communicating the news of the new ambassadors will have two purposes: letting employees know who they should go to with their news, and giving the ambassador the recognition they deserve.
  1. Provide the tools they need to be successful. Before ambassadors can become content managers they will need some guidance. Introducing training tools such as ways to find news, how to connect with newsmakers and what makes information newsworthy will go a long way in the successful launch of your program.
  1. Emphasize the WIIFM factor. The role of ambassador adds to the workload, so clearly outlining what’s in it for them is important. Good news for you, becoming an ambassador is a great opportunity for employees. Not only will they have the chance to stretch beyond their current job descriptions, they will be able to connect and learn from some of the people doing the most important work in the company.

Need help getting your ambassador program off the ground? Tribe would love to help.

 

Nick Miller

TRIBE TRIVIA: Provide a Positive Experience

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Question: Are denied applicants likely to recommend others to apply to the same company if their overall experiences are positive, despite not getting the job?

 

Answer: Yes, very likely. According to Tribe’s national research on thoughts and preferences in regards to hiring practices, 87% of respondents would be likely to encourage others to apply to a company from which they have been denied, as long as their experience was positive. In an age when word of mouth acts as a major factor when deciding where to apply, Tribe has found that it is of the upmost importance to interact with applicants in a courteous manner in order to not deter the best talent.

 

For more information on this study, see Tribe’s white papers and other resources on the expertise page of tribeinc.com, or shoot me an email.

TRIBE TRIVIA: Word-of-mouth impact of courtesy in the hiring process

Question: How does the level of courtesy afforded job candidates impact the company reputation?

Answer: In Tribe’s national research with job candidates, 78 percent of respondents said that if they experienced poor treatment or lack of courtesy in the hiring process, they would discourage others from applying to that company in the future. In contrast, even if they were rejected for the job but were treated with courtesy during the hiring process, 87 percent would encourage others to apply for positions at the company.

For more information about this and other studies, see Tribe’s white papers and internal communications resources on the expertise page of tribeinc.com, or shoot us an email.

TRIBE TRIVIA: Top three turnoffs for job candidates

Question: In the interview process, what are the things most likely to give job candidates a negative impression of the company?

Answer: In Tribe’s national research with job candidates, the top three negatives were:

  • A hiring process that is impersonal or even rude: 57%
  • Management that seems clueless or hard to trust: 55%
  • Employees who seem miserable: 52%

For more information about this and other studies, see Tribe’s white papers and internal communications resources on the expertise page of tribeinc.com, or shoot us an email.

Year-End Recruiting Evaluation

It’s getting close to the end of the calendar year, a time to look back and take stock of all that has transpired over the past 11 or so months. Who did you hire this year? Have they blended well with the company? Would someone else have been a better fit?

Many companies don’t do a lot of hiring at this time of year, but it’s a great time to develop a plan for how (and who) you want to recruit in 2013. You’re obviously going to look for the candidate that has the talent to do the job. While skill set and aptitude are important, it’s equally as crucial to find someone that would fit within the culture of your organization.

Does your company offer an employee value proposition? A compelling vision that provides meaningful work is not just for non-profits, but it does have to be something more inspiring than the vision of selling more widgets. How does your company help make a better world? How does it improve human lives?

Additionally, what makes you stand out among other employers? At Tribe, we recommend including at least one or two shiny hooks in your EVP. These are the benefits that capture the imagination. They’re the things people will talk about, both inside and outside the company. It could be something big like offering a sabbatical after so many years of service or something small but unique, like bringing your dog to work on Fridays.

Do you look for employees that share your values? One of the goals of your recruiting process should be to find individuals that blend with the core values of your company. Your values are what define you as an organization and shape your day-to-day business decisions. Employees that miss the mark when it comes to identifying with your corporate message may have trouble fitting in.

If you need help coming up with ideas on ways to communicate your employee value proposition to potential new hires, give Tribe a call. We’d be happy to help!

Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin

Passive Recruiting: Do Your Hiring Practices Create Brand Ambassadors?

Active recruiting for top talent is only one part of the equation. Perhaps even more powerful is the passive recruiting that’s happening all the time at your company.

Engaged employees speak well of the company, both in person and online. When candidates are considering your company, they’ll reach out to current employees, through  LinkedIn, or networking events, or even friends of friends, in order to get the inside scoop.

Those candidates you reject will also be sharing their opinions of your company. In Tribe’s proprietary research with current job seekers, 87 percent of those respondents who were not hired at a particular company — but had a positive experience, such as simply being treated with respect and courtesy — said they were likely to encourage others to apply to that company in the future.

Your hiring processes can lead directly to increasing your brand ambassadors — or quite the opposite. The American Management Association recently published an article on Tribe’s approach to maximizing the power of passive recruitment through hiring practices titled “Turning Job Applicants (Even the Ones You Don’t Hire) into Brand Ambassadors.” The article also includes tips on how to make that cultural shift in your organization.

Employee Engagement: Now More Than Ever

The past few years have seen article after article about the economy and the fragile state of employment. Recently however, a study by Randstad, a staffing and HR services company, revealed some data that represents a move in a positive direction. It was their conclusion that U.S. workers are feeling more secure in their positions and are less likely to sacrifice things important to them to keep their jobs. The study also concluded that 45 percent of the workers in the study plan on exploring new job options when the market picks up.

So what does this mean for you the employer? It means the battle for top talent is beginning. Now is the time to get ahead of the curve and make an investment in engaging your workforce so you retain the services of the employees you already have. And at the same time, you need to be on the hunt for star talent in search of a change. A stronger more secure economy allows people to reassess their careers and consider all of the different prospects available to them.

For companies with a goal of increasing engagement levels in their workforce, you should ask yourself: What is it about your company that will make people want to join/stay with you? Have you instituted a solid recognition program? Do your employees have the opportunity to develop themselves through internal and external resources? Does each employee feel like they’re doing meaningful work? Do they feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves?

The answers to these questions are what will help you keep your talent home, bring in new additions and allow you to build a fully engaged workforce. One full of confidence that maximizes and improves performance and productivity across the board.

Hiring the Right Fit

Talent isn’t the only thing. When it comes to hiring, you’re obviously going to look for the candidate that constitutes the best fit. While skill set and aptitude are important, it’s equally as crucial to find someone that would fit within the culture of your organization.

You may have a candidate that looks to be the ideal person for the job on paper. But as we all know, how someone or something appears on paper is not necessarily an indicator of how they’d do when they got hired. It doesn’t take long to see that the culture and the employee are not a good match and in many instances, the overall work is going to be negatively impacted.

So how do you determine if someone will be a good fit based off of just the interview process?

For starters, first impressions can go a long ways. Both personally and professionally you should never underestimate the importance of a gut feeling. Within the first few moments of meeting someone you can typically get a good read on their personality type and demeanor. If you are getting a good vibe right off the bat, keep the conversation going so that the candidate feels comfortable to show more personality the rest of the way.

Try to eliminate surprises. Be as upfront with the candidate as possible about not just what the job entails but also the office environment. If it’s important to you that employees get along and enjoy spending time together, don’t be afraid to say this. If they’re more of the clock-in, knock out my work and avoid distractions type of employee it’s better that they know these expectations beforehand.

Introduce, introduce, introduce. While your opinion may be the deciding factor, it’s important for others to weigh in as well. Introduce the candidate to as many people that they’d be working with as possible. Remember that they will end up spending a lot of time together if they’re hired so allow for both sides to have a glimpse of what work life together might be like. This can also be an opportunity for the rest of your team to separate two seemingly equal candidates and make the final decision a little easier.

Now let’s hear from you. What type of unique interview tactics have you used in the past to get to know a candidate a little bit better?