Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding are the three stages in the path to acquiring a happy, productive employee. At its core, each is about making a connection. A thorough understanding of the psychology of communication is the greatest tool one has in ensuring the success of this process.
How to Recruit
Find Job Candidates
Potential applicants typically fall into one of three groups: active candidates, passive candidates, and current employees. While recruiting tactics differ for each, most candidates are motivated by the same basic needs. However, the avenue for finding each type of candidate will differ.
About 30% of the global workforce is made up of active candidates. These are people who are pounding the pavement (or the keyboard) in search of a new job. They may be unemployed or unsatisfied in their current position. Active candidates are more ‘traditional’ in that they can be found at career fairs and on Internet job boards. They’re checking out careers pages to see what’s available. And they’re highly motivated to find something, often as quickly as possible. Although active candidates are often seen as less desirable than passive candidates, there are plenty of brilliant people out there who are looking for a new career. A layoff or temporary unemployment shouldn’t give hiring managers pause unless there are larger problems.
This type of candidate has been on the rise largely due to social media channels. Social networking has given companies access to the information and professional details of people who aren’t necessarily looking to find a new career. It offers an entirely new area of recruiting, and there are new and different rules for how to recruit these passive candidates. The first step in recruiting a passive candidate is getting that person’s attention. In order to do that, you’ll need to understand the intrinsic motivation of that person. How? By starting a conversation.
Promoting a current employee isn’t typically thought of as “recruiting,” but the same techniques and strategies often apply. A current employee who is happy in his or her position may take some persuading, so the same techniques apply. These candidates can be among the easiest to recruit, and it’s one of the best ways to fill positions. Other employees will see that their colleague’s work has been rewarded, and will be motivated to work harder in pursuit of their own professional goals.
Assess Job Candidates
The usefulness of personality tests for corporate recruiting is hotly debated. While it shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor, it can provide advantageous information if a company knows what it is looking for. The best corporate personality test provides insights into the strengths and potential weaknesses of a candidate.
Cultural fit plays a huge role in the success of a new hire. If a candidate doesn’t feel like he or she fits in, it will be difficult to prosper in the position. Corporate culture doesn’t happen by chance. It has to be defined by stakeholders and promoted internally and externally. Potential applicants will judge a company based on the culture it portrays, which is why a clear and appealing brand persona is a must.
Hiring managers should be aware of any propensity they have for unconscious bias in hiring. Bias is an inescapable part of being human; everyone harbors some kind of bias. Recruiters and managers need to know about any bias they are particularly susceptible to, so that they can avoid flawed logic when assessing candidates.
How to Hire
Know the Market
The job market has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. Corporations no longer hold all of the cards. Instead of remaining lifelong employees, Millennials change jobs frequently, often in as little as two to five years. Employers have to sell themselves just as much as candidates do. The key to a successful sales pitch lies in knowing one’s audience.
Know the Candidates
So what, exactly, are today’s job candidates looking for? There are dozens of articles out there covering the broad strokes. Employees want to work for companies that care about work-life balance, that are giving back to society, and that share similar values. There are also basic needs the recruitment process must meet. Will the candidate make enough money to live nearby? What kind of job security is offered? Once these essentials are guaranteed, recruiters must figure out how to recruit a candidate based on that person’s unique goals.
The hiring process should be a dialogue. The company and the potential new hire are each seeking something out of the relationship. Want to know how to get a candidate to accept a job offer? Make sure the offer is tailored to what that person wants from a career. The only way to discover that is to ask!
Know the Needs
It can be tempting to cram an incredible person into a role that just isn’t the right fit. That’s not to say that a brilliant person shouldn’t be snatched up when one is encountered. However, that person may need flexibility within the role to exercise his or her brilliance.
By the same token, companies often tend go overboard on their lists of ‘requirements’ when writing a job posting. This can discourage wonderful candidates who may be perfectly qualified for the position. Assess the needs of the position with a critical eye and determine which qualities contribute to success. Does the receptionist really need a college degree, or is an outgoing, people-pleasing personality more of a priority? Be realistic and open to candidates who don’t precisely fit the profile to find those diamonds in the rough.
How to Onboard
Onboarding is an ongoing process. But those first few weeks are key to successfully integrate a new hire into a company. Onboarding new employees is a group effort. A new hire is taking on not just different job duties, but finding his or her place within a small group. “Office politics” aren’t optional, as much as one might wish them to be. Instead of fighting it, companies should teach new employees the informal norms as well as the written rules.
Mentoring programs, lunch and learns, and socialization opportunities are critical to help new hires find their niche within the larger spheres of their departments and the company as a whole. Onboarding can start well before the first day of work. Onboarding software takes care of the paperwork, signatures, and information dissemination so that the new hire can get going from day one.
Like corporate culture, onboarding is going to happen whether it’s intentional or not. Companies need to control and formalize the onboarding process so they can help new hires succeed. When a company develops strategies around how to recruit, hire, and onboard a new employee, the processes should be seamless and cohesive. The trick is to retain the human element. Human resources and hiring managers are not going to be automated anytime soon. Give each applicant a chance to stand on his or her own merits, tailor an offer to the individual’s needs, and check in frequently for a successful onboarding experience.
Ten Tips to Succeed
- Sell the Company. Applicants have options. What’s the unique selling proposition? And how does it match the needs of the applicant?
- Try Multiple Avenues. Superstars can be found on LinkedIn, at career fairs, and in the office.
- Use Data. A flooded inbox is overwhelming. Online applications, pre-screener questionnaires, and resume keywords can score and rank and unqualified candidates. An applicant tracking system does much of this automatically.
- Stay in Touch. Communication is key. (Did we say that already?). Stay in touch with past applicants. Respond to current applicants to keep them abreast of what’s happening. Thank applicants for their time.
- Avoid Bias. Bias takes many forms. Recruiters need to be aware of their own.
- Don’t Underestimate Active Candidates. Motivated, interested applicants take time to reach out to the company. That’s worth a second look.
- Communicate. Candidates shouldn’t slip by just because they aren’t getting what they way. Encourage applicants to talk about what works (and doesn’t work) for them.
- Analyze Needs. Know what the company wants before listing the job. Job postings overloaded with must-haves rule out candidates who may be perfect.
- Promote Corporate Culture. Company values can be a determining factor in whether or not someone applies for or accepts a job. It can persuade someone to accept an offer. And it sets the stage for successful (or unsuccessful) onboarding.
- Stay Engaged. New hires need nurturing. Check in regularly with the employee, manager, and colleagues to ensure that everything is going well.
- Following these simple tips can make a difficult situation easier all around. The power dynamic isn’t easily navigated, but mutual respect (and communication!) can lead to happier outcomes.