Root Out These 7 Insidious Hiring Biases to Increase Workforce Diversity

Root Out These 7 Insidious Hiring Biases to Increase Workforce Diversity

Hiring bias limits efforts to increase workforce diversity. Companies that do more than pay lip service to diversity identify the types of bias in their process. After that, they create a detailed plan to eliminate it. To carry out their plan, they dedicate the necessary resources, measure outcomes and modify as needed.

Working toward demographic parity is not just the right thing to do from a moral standpoint. It’s the best thing to do from a business standpoint. At the end of this article, we discuss the benefits of increasing workforce diversity.

First, we’ll discuss seven insidious types of hiring bias. After that, we will outline an 11-step roadmap to eliminate the bias and build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

7 Types of Hiring Bias to Root Out

These are categorized as cognitive biases. A cognitive bias is a flaw in judgment. Think about a coin toss that comes up heads ten times in a row. While there’s always a 50% chance that the next flip will be tails–it seems unlikely.

hiring bias1. The Halo Effect

We all know that first impressions matter. This is related to the halo effect. Once we have a favorable opinion of someone, it takes a lot to change our mind. Another element of the halo effect is the idea that because a person excels in one area, he or she will also excel in others. For example, we might assume that because someone is an excellent public speaker, he will also make a good content writer. In reality, these skills don’t necessarily influence each other.

2. Expectation Bias

This is related to the Halo Effect discussed previously. A recruiter might read through dozens of resumes. One candidate looks particularly good ‘on paper.’ When that person comes in for an interview, the recruiter may be more likely to overlook obvious flaws. For example, the person doesn’t make eye contact or is inarticulate. If you expect someone to be something–whether that’s good or bad–he or she is likely to fulfill those expectations.

3. Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out information that validates your current opinion. For example, people who tune into Sean Hannity are typically more conservative. People who watch Rachel Maddow are typically more liberal. As a hiring bias, it’s the tendency to focus only on the aspects of a person that coincide with the recruiter’s pre-established opinion.

4. Anchoring Bias

Anchoring is a hiring bias in which the hiring manager fixates on one piece of information. As a result, they give it more weight than it deserves. Say, for instance, you have a candidate who is the president of the local Mensa Society. Even if the candidate isn’t the best for the job, it may be tempting to overlook her flaws because ‘She’s in Mensa!’

5. Social Comparison Bias

Managers hiring for their team are especially vulnerable to this one. The social comparison bias is the tendency to dislike or feel competitive with others who may have similar skills. For example, suppose you’re known as the company’s expert on a certain software application. You may feel reluctant to hire someone whose skills exceed your own. For decades, research has shown that this is a relatively common phenomenon. Therefore, it’s an issue you’ll want hiring managers to consciously avoid.

6. Ingroup Bias

Ingroup bias is the tendency to favor people who are similar to oneself. Those who are part of the same ‘group.’ Like sexism or racism–it’s blatantly unfair. But there are less obvious examples of ingroup bias. Some hiring managers, for example, might look more favorably on fellow alumni. You may feel a sense of camaraderie with a candidate who participated in the same fraternity or sorority. There are several types of ingroups, so make sure your team watches out for them.gender parity

7. Shared Information Bias

While this type of bias may not directly affect your candidates, it can certainly draw out the hiring process. Shared information bias is the tendency for members of a group to discuss information that everybody is already aware of, rather than focusing on hidden information that is only available to some. For example, if one interviewer notices an irritating quality in a candidate, he or she should share this with the group–even if it doesn’t seem relevant. All members of the team should have the full scope of information.

Now that we have discussed types of unconscious bias, hopefully you will consciously avoid them. Many experts suggest that AI is the solution. An applicant tracking system (ATS) can be used in many ways to root bias out of your hiring process. For example, an ATS can hide aspects of a candidate’s profile that you don’t want to consider. Also, you can use an ATS to manage gender- and ethnically-neutral job descriptions. Plus, you can decrease the shared information bias when everyone keeps notes in a central location. Lastly, tracking all candidates and hires in a centralized location makes it easier to track your diversity metrics.

An 11-Step Roadmap for Increasing Diversity Through Recruitment

Once you’ve identified the types of hiring bias going on, it’s time to make a plan to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate them. Use these steps to create a plan designed for your company. Many factors will affect your plan. For example; your industry, the size of your hiring team, the number of yearly hires, and your current level of diversity.

1. Set Measurable Goals

Firstly, assess your workforce. Consider gender, ethnicity, and age. Also educational background, socioeconomic status and geographic location if you have remote workers. (If you don’t have remote workers, why not?)

In addition, be mindful of not discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Though this information would be difficult and inappropriate to address in an assessment. (Under no circumstances should you ask any employee about his/her/their sexual orientation or gender identity! It would be illegal and in extremely poor taste.)

Secondly, create a diversity mission statement. Let your employees know about your diversity hiring goals. If you use an HR portal, remind your employees of your diversity mission frequently.

Thirdly–and this is most important–make a specific goal to increase your target hires in each underrepresented group by X in X months.

Lastly, include your diversity mission statement in your employee handbook and training materials. Put the statement on every piece of recruiting communication. Use it on internal documents so it’s always top of mind for your employees.

Keep in mind that diversity doesn’t just mean varying nationalities. It’s also important to hire professionals from a range of industry backgrounds and diversified levels of experience while paying attention to gender balance. The beauty of diversity is there is no perfect formula. Every team will look unique. (Sheryl Lyons, “The Benefits of Creating a Diverse Workforce,” Forbes)

2. Incorporate Employee Resource Groups

Make diverse candidates feel more comfortable by using employee resource groups (ERGs) during interviews. (Hopefully, you have ERGs. If not, encourage your staff to create them and support them in the effort.)

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with organizational mission, values, goals, business practices, and objectives. Other benefits include the development of future leaders, increased employee engagement, and expanded marketplace reach. (Catalyst)

workforce diversity

3. Review Resumes Blind

Studies show that resumes with white-sounding names receive more callbacks or interviews than those that seem non-white. Consequently, many candidates ‘whiten’ their names and backgrounds. But why should a candidate’s name affect whether he or she is a fit for an open role? You can use an ATS to remove names and hide demographic information. This will help your team avoid unconscious bias during the resume review process.

4. Diversify Your Hiring Team

Is your hiring team diverse? Applicants will notice. If minority candidates have several job openings to choose from, the makeup of the interview team could be a factor in their decision. Diversify your interviewing team. This will help them make better collective decisions.

5. Train Employees on Hiring Bias

You can’t increase workforce diversity if your employees don’t understand unconscious bias. Therefore, it’s important to conduct formal training. You can create your own internal training program, hire a consultant, or use online resources like Google’s unconscious bias training.

The Harvard Business School’s Implicit Project (requires registration) is an eye-opening exercise. It can help people recognize and measure their biases. At the start of training, consider having participants take a few surveys to learn what social stereotypes they may be harboring. Encourage them to challenge their assumptions.

6. Retool Your Job Descriptions and Job Requirements

Do you use gender-neutral terminology? Scrutinize your job descriptions and take out any gender-specific language. Instead of ‘he’ use ‘he or she’ or ‘s/he’. You can always use the job title in place of any pronoun.

Many words used frequently in job postings discourage women from applying.  Here is a free gender decoder tool. Just paste in your job description. Create job description templates after carefully crafting them to avoid bias. Manage them in an applicant tracking system.

Just as important as giving your job descriptions a makeover, consider your job requirements. If ‘corporate culture match’ is a hiring criterion, remove it. This is an easy place for unconscious bias to creep in. It will hinder your efforts to increase workforce diversity. Furthermore, if your company culture reflects a homogenous workforce, you don’t want to use it as a measuring stick anyway. Increasing workforce diversity will improve your company culture.

7. Use Structured Interviewing

In addition to retooling job descriptions, rewrite interview scripts to avoid bias. Train your interviewers to use them correctly along with EEOC guidelines. Manage your structured interviewing scripts in your ATS. Standardizing interview questions enables a consistent and fair experience for all candidates.

Lastly, remind employees to avoid asking questions that could lead to a candidate sharing his or her age, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or gender identity. This information doesn’t relate to a candidate’s ability to perform in the role and could bias hiring decisions. If the candidate volunteers the information, instruct your interviewers to steer the conversation elsewhere and discourage them from sharing the information with the rest of the panel.

8. Seek Diverse Referrals

In addition to revamping recruitment communications, use your employee referral program. Encourage employees to refer applicants from underrepresented groups. Our closest associates are likely from our same demographic group. When moving outward in our network, however, we find more diversity. Therefore, encourage your employees to look beyond their first- and second-degree connections.

Pinterest created a program designed to increase the diversity in their engineering teams. They asked their engineers to refer potential job applicants from target demographics. They discovered that if their employees made a conscious effort, they could find referrals from underrepresented groups. Pinterest’s diversity referral program was a success. They are taking additional steps to increase diversity in other departments. (Medium)

9. Improve Onboarding

You might wonder what onboarding has to do with workforce diversity. It comes after a candidate accepts the job, after all. The reason onboarding is key is because good onboarding reduces turnover. Hiring more employees from inadequately represented groups is the first step. Retaining them is the second step.

Consider the employees who have quit your company in the last five years. Identify whether minorities, women or older employees have shorter tenure. If they do, you’ve got problems with culture and management. Your company may not be welcoming to underrepresented groups. The topic of turnover leads to the next section.

10. Use Exit Interviews

Hopefully, you don’t have a lot of employees quitting. If you do, use exit interviews to learn why they are leaving. You may discover you have problems with your managers. Perhaps your company doesn’t support work/life balance. Maybe there are limited opportunities to progress along a career path. Are your advancement policies discriminatory? Find out what’s going on and fix it.

11. Revisit Your Benefits

Does your company recognize employees in different life stages? Do you support working mothers and fathers? Which holidays do you recognize? If your benefits are designed for a homogenous workforce, it will hamper your workforce diversity goals.

Offer benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules, and let new hires know that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays and diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) apparel choices.
Wall Street Journal

The Business Advantages of Workforce Diversity

Let’s discuss the benefits of workforce diversity from a business standpoint. A diverse workforce has increased depth of experience, knowledge. and skills. It is more productive and innovative. It’s impossible to successfully introduce a product into a new market if you don’t understand the culture. Diverse teams can better serve diverse clients.

Through 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets. And gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperformed gender-homogeneous, less inclusive teams by 50%, on average. (Gartner) 

The consulting group BCG found that organizations with above-average diversity on their management teams had higher innovation revenue. 19 percentage points higher, in fact, than companies with below-average leadership diversity. 45% of total revenue versus just 26%. Note that this study involved leadership teams. This underscores the importance of increasing diversity at the highest levels. If you focus only on entry-level positions, you won’t experience the same benefits.

In conclusion, let’s reiterate the steps to increase workforce diversity. First, understand the types of hiring bias. Second, identify which ones are inherent in your process. Third, create a detailed plan to eliminate the biases. Fourth, set a measurable goal for increasing diversity. Fifth, follow the plan and measure results along the way. Sixth, tweak the plan as needed until you reach your diversity goals.

Rebuilding Your Business and Need to Hire Fast? 9 Nifty ATS Tools

Rebuilding Your Business and Need to Hire Fast? 9 Nifty ATS Tools

Need to hire fast because you are getting ready to reopen?

Hire fast, hire strategically

There are more qualified people on the market than there have been since the 2008 era. Optimize your processes. Competitors who make talent sourcing a priority will snag the best candidates first.

What’s the best way to speed up hiring for re-staffing?

Get a cloud-based applicant tracking system (ATS). Hire from anywhere. While working at home, on the road, or at the office. Your team can work together while social distancing. A mobile-friendly interface lets candidates apply, interview, and onboard remotely.

Are you using manual hiring processes?

Spreadsheets? Multiple job board accounts? Paper applications? You can’t hire fast in 2020 with old processes.

Manual processes are inefficient. Plus, they are hard to analyze. If you can’t extract KPIs, how can you evaluate? Start gathering metrics.

What is an Applicant Tracking System?

An applicant tracking system is a specific type of recruiting software. It automates the hiring process from job posting to offer letter. ATS are cost-effective, easy to use, and quick to set up.

Why automate recruiting with an ATS?

  • Process applicants more quickly and efficiently
  • Pre-screen candidates when they apply
  • Manage many job openings simultaneously
  • Stop duplicating work
  • Collect and track hundreds of applications
  • Create branded templates for job descriptions, questionnaires, and emails
  • Post to job boards with single signon

Let’s talk about some key features of modern ATS.

1. Communicate faster with in-application texting

ATS recruitment texting allows you to text candidates from the software. It stores a record of the texts. Multiple members of the team can text as if from the same person. Include links in text messages. For example, link to an interview scheduling calendar. The morning of the interview, send a map link. Include parking instructions. Super. Easy.

2. Pre-screening questions qualify candidates immediately

An ATS allows you to add application screening questions. This ensures the applicant meets basic qualifications. Like education level or certifications. Apply scoring rules to questions. Higher-scoring applicants will automatically rise in your review queue.

Does pre-screening take out human evaluation?

No. It simply eliminates the need for unnecessary evaluation. It gives you more time to engage with the most promising candidates. Pre-screening plucks the best from the larger pool. When your ATS has identified them, start the human review. Send the resumes to the hiring manager. Do phone screens. Advance to in-person or video interviews. Your ATS supports your processes. Pre-screening lets you spend your time where it will have the most impact.

3. Mobile recruiting lets you hire from anywhere

Manage candidates using an ATS mobile app. Work on any device. How are your posts doing? Which applicants have done screening? Who’s interviewing tomorrow?

You have all that in your pocket. Around-the-clock. Recruiting superstars use mobile tools. You can too.

4. Post jobs faster with single signon

To hire fast, you need to post your jobs fast. With an ATS, your job posting gets immediate online exposure. Post to LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter and Glassdoor (just to name a few) with a couple clicks. While you’re at it, post to your social media sites. And careers page.

5. Accelerate hiring with self-service interview scheduling

Top candidates are on the market for 10 days or less. Slow interviewing scheduling can extend the timeline considerably. Self-serve scheduling makes everything faster and easier for the candidate and your hiring team. Let candidates pick an interview slot from a calendar. Eliminate a bottleneck by integrating with Office 365 or Google Calendar.

6. Interview strategically with structured interview templates

Structured interviewing is a best practice used by successful companies. It not only helps you hire fast, it helps you diversify your workforce. It makes EEOC compliance easier. It helps your hiring managers improve their interview skills. This brings us to a related ATS feature: candidate scorecards.

7. Hire faster with candidate scorecards

Standardized candidate scoring is fast and slick. And speed isn’t the only advantage. It improves the effectiveness of your evaluation process. This is how it works: 1. Create scorecards for each candidate. 2. Each member of the interview team fills one out. 3. Your ATS tallies the scores. 4. Sort on top scoring candidates.

8. Stage change email triggers

In your ATS, create a workflow with hiring stages. Base it on your team’s manual process. Create email templates for each stage. “We’ve received your application,” “Your interview has been scheduled,” etc. Insert merge codes to pull the candidate name, job position and other information. Then let automation do its thing. When you move a candidate to a new stage, your ATS sends an email. Keep your applicant informed and engaged.

Recruiters without auto-emails often ghost candidates. This is not only rude, it trashes your employer brand. Auto-emails are indispensable if you want to hire fast and protect your reputation.

9. Turn fast hiring into fast onboarding

It doesn’t make sense to re-enter information once an applicant is hired. Don’t go half way with your process upgrades. If your onboarding has been unstructured, automate it. You’re already making a major transition by automating the hiring tasks. Don’t disrupt everything down the line by waiting to implement onboarding software.

Want to learn more about how to hire fast with an ATS?

This is not an exhaustive list of ATS tools. There are a lot more! (We highlighted nine in this post because we thought it sounded good with “nifty” in the title.)

Get a free ApplicantStack trial for fast, smart hiring. ApplicantStack is SwipeClock’s affordable, easy to use ATS solution.

One silver lining of post-crisis rebuilding is the chance to create something better. The team at SwipeClock wishes you success as you move your business forward.

 

Why 2020 Hiring is Hopeless Without an Applicant Tracking System

Why 2020 Hiring is Hopeless Without an Applicant Tracking System

5 minute read. Updated March 1, 2020.

What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An applicant tracking systems is a type of HR software that automates the hiring and onboarding process

7 Sober Hiring Stats You Can’t Ignore

  1. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 670,000 more job openings than there are unemployed potential workers.
  2. About 7 in 10 companies reported talent shortages in 2019, the highest level ever. That’s more than three times higher than a decade ago. (Manpower Group)
  3. Top candidates are on the job market only 10 days only before accepting a job offer.
  4. 94% of companies with recruiting software report that it’s improved the hiring process.
  5. 35% of small organizations use ATS.
  6. Many companies are using recruitment texting. Some studies put text open rates above 90%! Compare that with around 45% for emails.
  7. 64% of applicants would share negative application experiences with friends and family and 27% would actively discourage others from applying.

11 Undeniable Benefits of Applicant Tracking Systems

1. An Applicant Tracking System Saves You Lots of Money

Applicant tracking systems provide an impressive ROI. How much? A small company can save up to $10,000 using an ATS.

Companies using applicant tracking system reap the rewards. New-hire turnover is 40% less on average, and they can fill vacancies 20% more quickly.

New Hires Generate Revenue More Quickly

ATS’ help you fill positions faster. This shortens the time it takes for the new hire to generate revenue. ATS with onboarding tools further shorten the time-to-productivity.

2. Hire Top Performing Candidates Before Your Competition

An ATS help you identify top candidates and present an offer before the applicant is hired by a competitor. These high-demand employees drive productivity and innovation.

3. Track Hundreds of Resumes With Ease

When it comes to administration, ATS automation is truly impressive. Systems can handle hundreds (even thousands!) of applications, resumes, and other workflows.

Not only do you save on the cost of labor for the hiring team, but you also free up their time.

They can use that time on improving hiring strategies. Improved hiring strategies can then help your business grow even faster

With the strategic use of an ATS, you can become the budget hero in your company.

4. An ATS Creates a Dynamite First Impression

During the recruitment process, your goal is to attract top people to your company. You aren’t just recruiting; you’re marketing. Shockingly, 69% of unemployed people wouldn’t take a job if the company had a bad reputation—they would rather stay unemployed!

Applicant tracking systems help you put your best foot forward. Automate communication with candidates, so no one falls through the cracks. Get your job listed on prestigious job boards across the internet. Brand your application portal so it’s unique to your company. This is how you communicate a professional image of your company to job seekers.

5. Your Competitors Are Using An ATS

If you haven’t implemented an ATS, take note. 98% of Fortune 500 companies and at least 66% of large companies use it. The adoption rate for small companies is lower, but growing quickly. Last year, it was estimated that 35% of small organizations use ATS.

Keep in mind that you are also competing with talent sourcing agencies. The ATS adoption rate for professional recruiters is nearly 100%.

6. Recruitment Texting is a Must in 2020

Many companies are using recruiting texting in their hiring operations. The open rates for marketing texts are legendary. Some studies put the text open rate above 90%! Compare that with around 45% for emails.

Consider this: if a person has set up texting notifications, they can see a preview without opening the message. If the text is short, they can probably see the whole message in the notification window.

If you aren’t engaging with your candidates through texting, you are falling behind. ATS texting helps you leverage the power of many candidates’ preferred method of communication.

7. Quickly Narrow Down The Application Pool

First, you create a job posting. Your ATS posts it to multiple online sites (of your choosing). The applications start coming in. The system collects and organizes them in a central database. It creates a profile for each applicant.

As you know, job seekers format their resumes in a variety of ways. The ATS extracts the information and organizes it in the same format for each candidate profile. In the profile template, there is a field for each relevant piece of data.

For example, there is a field for each degree earned, each previous job title, and each skill.

This type of organization gives you searching superpowers. You can analyze and compare by work experience, education, or previous employers. Or job titles, skills, or demographic variables.

Let’s talk about resume filtering. The software uses keywords from the job posting. It matches the keywords with those found in the resumes. Consider how long it takes you to read one resume. An ATS can parse thousands of resumes in seconds.

This process weeds out the candidates who don’t have the necessary qualifications and it delivers a pool of qualified candidates before you need to read a single resume!

8. Screening Questions Help You Find Better Candidates

When you’re reviewing resumes, you’re going to choose quality over quantity every time. No one wants to waste time going through dozens of unqualified applicants. An applicant tracking system allows you to add screening questions to your application to ensure applicants meet basic qualifications like education level or years of experience. Some applicant tracking systems let you create scoring rules that weigh certain questions more heavily, so better applicants automatically rise in your review queue.

9. ATS’ Can Post To Multiple Online Job Boards

With an ATS, your job posting gets maximum online exposure. Most will post to LinkedIn, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, and Monster (just to name a few) with one click. While you’re at it, post it to your social media sites and careers page.

You create the job posting in the ATS, and the software takes care of the posting. This is a huge timesaver for busy hiring managers.

10. Applicant Tracking Systems Improve Collaboration

You are more likely to find high quality candidates if multiple stakeholders can weigh in.

But if expanding the hiring team slows down the process, the top candidates will lose interest. They will seek out firms that move faster.

ATS databases enable effective collaboration. Each decision maker can enter notes and applicant ratings. (The rating system is customizable, by the way.) Mobile apps allow recruiters to access the ATS from any internet-enabled device. Some systems include video interviews that team members can watch at their convenience.

11. Applicant Tracking Systems Help You Comply With Labor Laws

To say that recruitment compliance is complicated is an understatement.

The laws are always in flux and they vary by location, industry, and business size. Small companies have fewer resources to ensure that processes are compliant.

ATS help you comply with regulations related to hiring. Vendors update SaaS systems to stay current with hiring regulations.

In addition, ATS generate reports to protect you in case of a legal challenge.

For example, suppose a rejected candidate alleges discrimination. Don’t worry. Your ATS has the documentation to validate your legal hiring criteria.

Who uses Applicant Tracking Software?

If you receive applications, you need an applicant tracking system. ATS software clients include:

  • Independent recruiters
  • Staffing agencies
  • Executive search firms
  • Large enterprises
  • Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB)

Typically, the applicant tracking software is managed by the human resources department or a hiring manager.

We’ve touched on a few ATS functions. Let’s take a deeper dive into the inner workings of applicant tracking systems.

What Does an Applicant Tracking System Do?

ATS systems perform a wide variety of functions to make the recruiting and onboarding process easier for managers as well as new employees. Any applicant tracking software should perform the following five functions.

Post Jobs

What is an Applicant Tracking System researching and applying for jobs online is nearly universalThere are incredible people out there just waiting to fill your positions – but if they never see the job posting, they won’t apply. A 2015 Pew Research study found that “researching and applying for jobs online is nearly universal” for job applicants. When selecting an ATS software, look for one that gives you access to critical job posting boards like Monster and Indeed.

In 2015, almost 60% of younger job seekers used their smartphones to search for job openings, and half of that population used a smartphone to fill out a job application. Those numbers are only expected to increase. Any of the ATS systems you look into should be mobile-friendly, creating job listings that allow applicants to submit documents via mobile phone and to bookmark jobs for later.

As any amateur job seeker will tell you, networking is the best way to find a job. Your applicant tracking system needs to sync with the most popular social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You don’t have to worry about unqualified applicants when you use applicant tracking software because they’ll be weeded out. You just want to get your posting in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Track

Inc. reports that for every job posting, companies receive an average of 250 applications. Larger companies will be flooded with applications for each job they offer, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. ATS software should allow you to quickly and painlessly sift through applicants, bringing the best-qualified people to your attention and automatically rejecting unqualified candidates.

Most ATS systems allow you to create pre-screening questionnaires. Applicants are required to answer certain questions, and ‘wrong’ responses will remove them from the candidate pool (while automatically sending a thoughtfully worded e-mail thanking them for the application). Some ATS systems go a step further, assigning value points to each question so you can sort candidates by score.

The best applicant tracking software integrates and automates resume parsing, resume storing, and reference checking. If it doesn’t have to be done by a human, why not automate it? The HR department or hiring manager shouldn’t have to sort through dozens of easily eliminated candidates. An applicant tracking system performs the menial tasks of analyzing dozens of candidates, so the hiring manager can focus on the few who really stand out from the crowd.

Communicate

Communication is key in every aspect of life, and that includes the hiring process. The way you communicate with a potential new hire says a lot about your company’s values, and knowing where they stand in the application process is essential for applicants.

ATS systems let you automatically update candidates with news about the job posting. Give stragglers a gentle nudge to complete an application, or let someone know that you’d love to conduct an interview. Past applicants will appreciate knowing if the job has been filled, and may opt to receive job updates from your company in the future.

Once you’ve narrowed down your applicant pool, applicant tracking software eliminates the back-and-forth of trying to schedule an interview by creating a calendar with open slots for preliminary phone or in-person interviews. Out-of-state jobs may require video interviews so you can analyze behavioral tendencies; some kinds of applicant training software offer this integration as part of the package. The hiring manager enters the times he or she is available, and the interviewee selects the option that works best. No more complicated weeks-long games of email tag to find a time that works for everyone!

Applicants want to know how they are doing throughout the process. One study shows that the key pain points are right after submitting the application, when 49% would like feedback; if not selected for an interview, when 39% would like feedback; and after the interview if they weren’t selected, when 43% would like feedback. Each of these is an opportunity for the HR department or hiring manager to show that the company truly cares about its potential employees. ATS software makes this easy to do.

Hire

Once you’ve found the best candidates, the applicant tracking system can streamlines the hiring process, particularly if you’re using collaborative hiring. Many jobs require input from multiple decision-makers. The ATS software consolidates reviews and reports from every stakeholder, so hiring managers can take in everyone’s opinions at a glance.

Candidates can be scored and rated separately, and a good applicant tracking software includes collaborative tools and reports so everyone is on the same page. Want a background screening? Your applicant tracking system should be able to provide that, too. After you’ve extended an offer to your prospective employee, many ATS systems offer additional abilities so you can onboard the new hire.

Onboard

The application process may be over, but onboarding is just beginning. Your new hire has documents to fill out, resources to review, and forms to e-sign. ATS software should have an onboarding portal where you can consolidate documents. Your new hire can sign in, review and securely sign necessary paperwork, and use the portal as a resource to check back on onboarding documentation and company guidelines whenever he or she chooses.

Your applicant tracking system may even sync with payroll, so you can quickly get your new hire into the system and properly compensated. Tasks can be created, edited, and managed for both the new hire and the hiring manager. And all of your documentation is secure and accessible in cloud storage.

The right ATS is your hiring manager’s best friend. Try ApplicantStack for free today. You’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

How Manager Feedback and Interview Evaluations Improve Hiring in 2020

How Manager Feedback and Interview Evaluations Improve Hiring in 2020

Updated February 17, 2020

If you aren’t using candidate evaluation forms, you aren’t collaborating effectively.

Candidate Evaluation Forms For Interview Feedback

What is a candidate evaluation form? It’s a tool that allows members of the hiring team to rate applicants based on the same criteria.

8 Ways Candidate Evaluation Forms Improve Recruiting

1. It ensures each interviewer is thorough in their evaluation
2. It speeds up the interview feedback process
3. It helps prevent bias in job interview evaluation
4. It measures hard and soft skills
5. It simplifies collaboration among your hiring team
6. It helps differentiate candidates with near-identical qualifications
7. It saves time when first-round rejected candidates are considered for future positions
8. The systemized scoring increases the usefulness of your talent pipeline database

The Interview Feedback Review Process

How do you evaluate candidates without a systematic way to rate them?

Let’s consider a common scenario.

You currently have a mission-critical position to fill and a fairly tight deadline to hire a qualified person. You have posted the position on your website and other outside resources like Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed and Craigslist.

What comes next is a stack of resumes. Followed by the interview process. In 2020, you’re competing with many other companies to find the best talent. You can’t afford a slowdown in your process.

The top candidate could be hired by your competitor. The most desirable candidates are off the market in 10 days.

But you need to proceed strategically so you don’t hire the wrong person.

You pick up the first resume and encounter some mission statements like…

  • “Motivated individual seeks challenging position for personal and professional growth”
  • “Industry expert and thought leader available to implement revenue-ramping methodologies.”
  • “Professional guru with proven track record of driving key performance metrics seeks next challenging opportunity.”

…and you then proceed to read through four more pages of the resume.

Buried in the resume amid the industry keywords and buzzwords is the information that is relevant to your open position. After reading about 10 of these resumes, you can’t remember which candidate had which qualifications. It’s a good idea to organize the applicants into categories like “Unqualified”, “Potential” and “Top Prospect” as you are reviewing the resumes so you can focus on the shortlist of more qualified candidates when you revisit them.

The next step in the process is to make every effort to forward only the best applicants to your manager for review, so you don’t waste the manager’s time and earn his/her confidence that you understand the critical needs.

Obtaining Interview Feedback

One of the most challenging aspects of the hiring process is about to occur… obtaining useful feedback from your staff during this review process. No matter how many employees you engage in the hiring process, it’s important that you gather the feedback in a consistent and meaningful way.

Let’s discuss how you use candidate evaluation forms filled out by your managers and staff during the review process.

Standardize Interview Feedback

Utilizing multiple choice, ratings or scale questions when requesting feedback may prevent receiving vague reasons they are not interested and emails that are difficult to interpret. While you will find feedback questionnaires helpful during the review process, you will find them even more necessary after the applicant has been interviewed.

When each member of the hiring team contributes to the interview feedback form, you elevate the entire process. Each person’s perspective and expertise improves the scoring.

The result? You will find best-fit employees quickly.

Job Interview Evaluation Comments Samples

Here are some examples of effective interview feedback evaluation forms. You can modify them as appropriate for the specific position. For example, if the position requires additional skills not listed here, add the skills to the first evaluation sample.

Interview Feedback Examples (Pre Interview)

Very often the manager reads the candidate’s resume and uses a gut feeling to determine if the candidate should be considered. They may even make a judgment based on the resume format, the number of jobs and where they went to school. If you ask the manager exactly what it is they liked or didn’t like, you will receive more meaningful information and can make a more informed decision about whether you should invite this candidate in for an actual face to face interview.

Pre interview questionnaire

Examples of Effective Manager Feedback Questions (Post Interview)

The feedback you receive from the staff involved in the face to face interview can also be based on more fair and factual information if guidelines for evaluation are distributed. It is recommended that the skills or competencies needed to be successful in the job are listed so the interviewer can explore these areas during the interview and rate each candidate effectively. Please note the two different examples below.

Negative/Positive Interview Comments Example #1

Post Interview 1-1

Post Interview 1-2

Post Interview 1-3

Negative/Positive Interview Comments Example #2

Post Interview 2-1

How Job Interview Feedback Fits in the Applicant Journey

Job interview evaluation influences other applicant touchpoints. As such, it can help you improve job descriptions, interview scripts, and other candidate communications.

It also helps members of your hiring team become better at evaluating candidates. It’s a key best practice for any company that is serious about improving hiring outcomes.

Benefits of a Structured Interview Feedback Process

  1. Avoids typical evaluations of candidates that may be filled with ambiguity, superficial statements, and generalizations.
  2. Your hiring decision is based on objective information that the candidate’s skills match your job or project requirements—not because they are an excellent resume writer.
  3. The standardized evaluation questions point out the different opinions of the interview/ evaluation staff and help raise any red flags about the candidate.
  4. Ensures your hiring process is in compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  5. Helps avoid costly hiring mistakes.
  6. Using multiple selection methods helps to ensure you are choosing the best candidate–No single technique on its own can predict on-the-job performance and success.
  7. Streamlines the process and ensure a better, fit—increasing employee retention and productivity.
How to Overcome the Top 3 Challenges in Tech Recruiting

How to Overcome the Top 3 Challenges in Tech Recruiting

Did you know there are more than 1 million unfilled tech jobs in the U.S.?

That might come as a shock to you, especially considering more teens and young adults are being pushed toward STEM fields to increase their odds of getting hired out of college. How can a field that’s growing so quickly struggle to fill so many vital roles?

The answer is that the changing landscape of tech makes it difficult for both companies and employees to keep up. This puts recruiters in an especially tough position as they’re tasked with finding unicorn candidates who check all the right boxes.

Understanding the challenge of tech recruiting

Recruiting is challenging enough as it is, but there’s something uniquely difficult about tech recruiting. If you’re recruiting in tech for the first time your usual strategies won’t work. You’ll need to adopt a faster timeline, open your mind to more unusual candidates, and more. Let’s dive into some common tech recruiting struggles and how you can overcome them.

1. There aren’t enough qualified candidates

As a recruiter, you’re probably already aware that this is a candidate favored market. The global talent pool is shrinking with record low unemployment rates. There are now fewer candidates with the skills required for technical positions and this gap is even wider if you’re looking to recruit for the tech industry. That means your recruiting strategy will need to change.

The tech industry is already short 1.1 million workers and by 2030 that number could be as large as 4.3 million. Where do you find qualified candidates when the number of skilled workers seeking new jobs keeps shrinking? The answer isn’t orthodox, but it does work.

Stop looking in college classrooms

Tech giant Apple has already taken the first step in sourcing new talent. Instead of insisting on a four-year degree in a related field, Apple announced they are no longer requiring a college education for job applicants. This has opened up the talent pool to self-taught software developers, people who have taken coding boot camps, and more.

That’s not to say that you should ignore candidates with a college degree, but rather stop ignoring those who don’t. When you limit your scope for who can and can’t be qualified, you limit your potential talent pool.

Look for transferable skills

You might be wondering how you’re supposed to judge candidates’ qualifications without a degree and the answer is by looking at their skills. And not just their specific technical skills, you’ll want to look at their transferable skills as well.

Transferable skills are any skills a person has acquired throughout their life, career, or hobbies that can be applied to different situations. As an employer, finding a job candidate that doesn’t fit the exact job spec can actually be a blessing in disguise. These job candidates can be taught on the job skills needed once they start while bringing unique perspectives and viewpoints to your company.

The runway time for teaching a new employee how to use new software is much shorter than you think. It’s time to start thinking of skills as assets rather than requirements. Don’t count someone out because they worked in customer success for twenty years and are looking to make a career change. Instead, see how their unique skill set might benefit your team.

2. Direct competition from larger companies

A few names probably come to mind when you think of tech giants: Google. Facebook. Apple.

While these juggernauts might not be your competition in business, they are direct competitors for global tech talent. Tech employees have the in-demand skills that these big companies are looking for and given the chance to work for a world-renowned company, most candidates will take the chance.

You’ll need a special strategy to out-recruit the likes of Google or Apple. The good news is that there are a few tricks you can use to seal the deal.

Rely on your employee ambassadors

When it comes to recruiting tech talent, your current employees are an untapped resource. Not only do they understand what it takes to be successful at your company, but studies show that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends or family over any other form of marketing. That means there’s a greater chance of success when you encourage your employees to refer people in their network or share jobs on social media.

Looking to up the ante? Offering your employees a bonus for referring potential candidates. These employee referral programs incentivize your staff to help you recruit new talent while filling the recruitment pipeline with fresh candidates.

Many companies take this a step further by using employee referral software to optimize the process. These solutions allow you to track which employees referred candidates, monitor their place in the recruitment pipeline, and post jobs to internal job boards. Streamlining your applicant tracking process will help you find qualified tech candidates faster. All of the perks with less work!

Offer incentives other than money

There’s a lot of money in tech. If you’re just starting out as a company you might not have the budget to throw at candidates the same way a big three tech giant might. Thankfully, studies show that employees are looking for more than just a paycheck. Flexible working hours, growth opportunities, and better work-life balance are among some of the more sought after perks.

Offering competitive pay is still important, but throwing in the option to work remotely or an extra week of paid vacation could sway them to sign with your company. Remember, there’s always something else you can offer a top tier candidate to seal the deal

3. Candidates expect an accelerated hiring timeline

Are you moving fast enough for top tier candidates? Unless your candidate life cycle is two weeks or less, you might be too slow. Research shows that more than 50% of candidates believe the hiring process should take between one and two weeks, while the actual time to hire hovers around 38 days.

That same study shows that 89% of potential candidates drop out of the recruitment process due to a prolonged timeline. Putting candidates on ice or waiting too long in-between communications is an invitation for them to ditch your company.

And don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ll just lose one candidate when websites like Glassdoor allow candidates to talk about their terrible recruiting experiences. An overly complicated or slow recruiting timeline is bad news for your hiring prospects.

Use technology to speed along the process

Your recruitment process is your first chance to impress high-value job candidates. If you’re using an outdated applicant tracking software (ATS) that slows down the recruitment process, there’s a good chance qualified candidates will just give up. Investing in a state of the art system that automates resume screening and manages all recruiting communications will save you and the job candidate time.

If you want to compete with the titans of your industry, ATS is not an option. There’s been a shift in the last decade in HR departments around the world. Applicant tracking software is no longer optional, it’s necessary to stay competitive. Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft and Tesla, use ATS in their recruitment efforts. You need the right software to keep up with companies pulling from the same talent pool.

Eliminate the stuff that doesn’t matter

If you had to eliminate 80% of your recruitment process, what would you keep? It’s a tough question but it’s one you need to consider. Job candidates are tired of jumping through arbitrary hoops in the hopes of catching your attention.

Ask yourself if you really need to subject a candidate to three in-person interviews with four different team leads or if the same thing can be streamlined with a video conferencing tool. Think about whether or not you need someone to fill about a 40-question personality quiz before uploading their resume. Are these checkpoints truly helpful in deciding on a candidate or are they arbitrary roadblocks?

You might think tasks like these weed out candidates who don’t have the drive or the work ethic but you’d be wrong. How you treat your potential candidates is a direct look into how you treat your employees.

Let’s get technical

Despite all we’ve said in this article, there isn’t a right way to recruit tech talent. You’ll need to take the tips mentioned and put your own spin on them. It’s going to take some trial and error but if you stick to it, you’ll be a tech recruiting titan in no time.

Inexpensive Hiring Software Solves Tiny Firms’ Hiring Challenges

Inexpensive Hiring Software Solves Tiny Firms’ Hiring Challenges

Tiny companies weren’t able to grow their workforces in 2019.

Are you struggling to keep your small business staffed?

Hiring is tough for companies of all sizes, but the smallest companies are having the hardest time.

Overall, U.S. firms with fewer than 20 employees didn’t add workers in 2019.

The Hiring Standstill for the Smallest U.S. Businesses: 5 Key Findings

  1. Last year, the number of employees in total at tiny U.S. companies (fewer than 20 employees) didn’t increase. (Wall Street Journal)
  2. Compare that with the fact that organizations with 500+ employees increased their workforces by 2.3%.
  3. 2019 was the first year since 2010 that tiny companies didn’t add workers to their payroll.
  4. Tiny firms aren’t tiny when it comes to their impact on the U.S. labor force. There are more than 5 million U.S. firms with fewer than 20 employees. They make up 89 percent of all U.S. companies. (Small Business Administration).
  5. Businesses with less than 20 workers employ 16.8 percent of the U.S. labor force.

Applicant tracking systems enable small businesses to grow

There are common misconceptions among small business owners and entrepreneurs that keep some from even looking into software solutions. One common misconception is that ATS solutions are too expensive for an owner-operator. Another that we hear a lot is that applicant tracking solutions are just for companies that add hundreds of employees every year. —Nonsense.

The truth is that hiring software is just as important for tiny firms. Possibly even more important.

7 reasons ATS’ are a must-have for tiny businesses and start-ups

  1. The business owner has to do all the hiring PLUS everything else
  2. They don’t have the name recognition of larger companies
  3. They need to have a super-fast hiring process to compete
  4. They need to automate manual hiring operations to process more applicants
  5. They need to automatically filter out unqualified applicants before spending time on them
  6. They need a way to incorporate best practices
  7. They need to provide an outstanding candidate experience to attract quality talent

How MRV Banks solved their hiring problems with ApplicantStack

Let’s look at a case study of a small Missouri bank that solved their staffing problems with ApplicantStack. ApplicantStack is an affordable applicant tracking and hiring solution that helps you find and hire the best candidate faster and with less effort. ApplicantStack is available as a standalone ATS solution from SwipeClock. ApplicantStack is also available as part of the WorkforceHUB HRMS.

Though MRV Banks is now slightly larger than ‘tiny’, they have the same challenges faced by smaller companies. (They were tiny just a few years ago.)

In the first half of 2019, the company grew from 35 to 44 employees across five locations. Finding and hiring the right employee for each open position is a key success factor for MRV Banks. With steady growth and continuous demand, hiring became difficult and time-consuming. MRV Banks turned to ApplicantStack to solve three critical issues.

We needed to reach more well-qualified applicants, get fewer unqualified applicants, and reduce the administrative time spent per job opening, says Lydia Sumner, MRV Banks Director of Human Resources.

Let’s break that down. MRV Banks needed to:

  1. Reach more well-qualified candidates
  2. Review fewer unqualified candidates
  3. Reduce the administrative time per job opening

ApplicantStack makes it easy to create and post job descriptions to popular job boards, social media and internal sites. This helps hiring managers reach a higher volume of qualified candidates in a shorter period of time. Applicants are automatically scored according to rules set by MRV Banks, helping them screen candidates before they are considered for an interview.

Knockout questions are included in their questionnaire to eliminate candidates based on specific requirements of MRV Banks. The candidate view in ApplicantStack makes it easy to see which candidates are qualified for the position before any effort is spent on reviews.

With ApplicantStack, we now easily post to multiple job boards and automatically prescreen applicants based on a required application and questionnaire. The most qualified applicants are easy to see in the ApplicantStack dashboard. We also get fewer unqualified applicants because they self-select out during the application process.

The company posted several jobs and hired a qualified Loan Processor within the first month using ApplicantStack.

EEOC Compliance

As the company approaches 50 employees it becomes increasingly important to document hiring history and protocol. ApplicantStack maintains a record of all applications, applicant history and communications.

ApplicantStack applies the same prescreening rules to all applicants and the scoring is transparent to auditors, proving our commitment to fair hiring and equal opportunity.

With ApplicantStack, employers create applications and questionnaires that all applicants complete. Each questionnaire has rules associated that assign a score to answers, making it easy to review at a glance. ApplicantStack also streamlines interview scheduling, interview feedback, and selection. All interactions during the hiring process are preserved for auditing and review.

HR Management Connection

ApplicantStack is part of a larger HR ecosystem at MRV Banks, including HUB and TimeWorksPlus. This integrated system provides an employee portal for new hire onboarding, timekeeping, paystubs, company directory, and employee engagement.

As an administrator, Sumner has single sign-on access to all functions of the system streamlining HR workflows and saving time and effort.

These tools help us find and keep the best talent while improving our efficiency. That combination fuels our growth and supports our commitment to delivering premium banking services.

ApplicantStack is affordable for the smallest businesses

Want to grow your business? Try ApplicantStack for free for 15 days. You won’t be tiny for long.

And it may be the most important decision you make this year.