Hiring During the Coronavirus Pandemic: 3 Ways to Compete With Amazon and Walmart

Hiring During the Coronavirus Pandemic: 3 Ways to Compete With Amazon and Walmart

If you are an HR director, it’s boom or bust right now when it comes to talent management. Essential businesses are in a hiring frenzy. Others, regrettably, are laying off or furloughing workers.

We hope you are in the former category.

But how do you compete for talent with Walmart, Amazon, Fed-Ex and CVS?

Let’s look at 3 ways creative HR directors are hiring during the COVID-19 crisis.

3 Ways to Hire During the Coronavirus Chaos

1. Partner With Your Customers and Vendors

Are you a talent acquisition specialist for a B2B company? Have any of your customers or vendors recently let employees go? There’s no reason you can’t follow the lead of CVS and source partners’ recently laid off employees. If you are a professional services company, you may have relationships with hundreds of organizations.

CVS is embarking on one of the most ambitious hiring drives in its history with plans to hire 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary workers—and it has decided to tap directly into its customers’ workforces by taking on furloughed workers from the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains. The drugstore chain said it would use a “technology-enabled hiring process that includes virtual job fairs, virtual interviews and virtual job tryouts.” Market Watch

Most SMBs don’t have the resources of CVS but you can use the same techniques on a smaller scale. Talk to colleagues who have business relationships with your partners’ or customers’ recently laid off employees. These may include account managers, event planners, buyers, and supply chain managers.

These potential employees have already been vetted by companies you know and trust. They probably have a favorable view of your company. Passive recruiting is a lot easier when you are trying to source talent that is currently unemployed!

2. Host Virtual Job Fairs

Create an event using chat rooms, video conferencing, company videos, and webinars. Assign each hiring manager a presentation. Enlist your best brand ambassadors (current employees who love your company) to engage with job seekers.

A virtual job or career fair is perfect for attracting both onsite and remote workers. For telecommuting positions, you aren’t limited to job seekers in a geographic radius.

If you are looking for employees in your community, you can tailor the event to a specific demographic. If a local employer just cut workers, be straightforward about targeting their former workforce.

Who do you invite?

Use your applicant tracking system (ATS) to search for resume keywords in your talent database. Chances are, some of these people have recently been laid off. Create a job fair email template in your ATS and email an invitation to qualified candidates in your pipeline. Include a link to your registration page.

Request employee referrals. Each of your employees probably know several people out of work right now. Don’t forget to advertise on your social media sites. Ask your vendors and business partners for referrals. Talk to career counselors at schools in your community. Make the sign-up process fast and easy.

Virtual job fairs speed up hiring

For the recruiter, these events [virtual job fairs] compress the time to first engagement and ultimately the time to hire. Candidates are given the opportunity to engage with an actual recruiter from the company they are interested in on a specific day and time. That’s something you normally don’t have that early in the process. (SHRM)

3. Offer Flexible Schedules

Schools are closed. People are caring for sick family members. Workers need flexible schedules as much as they need steady jobs.

There’s never been a better time to offer flexible and non-traditional schedules—for both onsite, mobile and at-home employees.

Flexible schedules allow smaller companies to compete

Flexible schedules aren’t just an attractive perk for job seekers. They help SMBs be more competitive in multiple ways.

  • Flexible scheduling reduces labor costs
  • Reduced absenteeism increases productivity
  • Engaged employees drive business growth
  • Improved work/life balance helps retain experienced employees

What’s the easiest way to provide flexible work schedules? Cloud-based employee scheduling software is your answer for flex scheduling.

Employee scheduling software lets you create standard schedules in seconds—and flexible schedules in minutes. You create templates for each department, team, or location. You can also create templates for specific shifts or seasons. When the base schedules are in place, it’s easy to drag and drop employees into shifts.

Flexible schedules reduce healthcare employee burnout

Employee burnout is an issue for many industries, especially healthcare. And especially now. When employees have more control of their shifts, they are less likely to suffer psychological stress. Workers with improved mental health are more effective and make fewer mistakes. There’s never been a greater demand for experienced healthcare employees. If you don’t offer flexible schedules, your workforce can easily find positions at competing healthcare employers.

A Refresher Course on Best Practices for Hiring

1. Use an Applicant Tracking System

An applicant tracking system (ATS) allows you to reach far more candidates and track them through the hiring process with smart automation.

The software manages postings in multiple venues, receives and filters applications, parses resumes, and store applications for future openings. Since preliminary screening is automated, it narrows down applicants to a small pool of promising candidates. An ATS is a smart investment for any small business owner who is serious about competing in today’s job market.

An applicant tracking system doesn’t just make your life easier. It is an important tool for attracting top talent and onboarding them when they are hired.

Did you know that desirable candidates will probably find a job within two weeks? If your application system takes weeks, you are losing quality employees to companies with modern, efficient systems. Job seekers have plenty of options. The best applicants will move on if your recruiting system is antiquated.

2. Rethink Educational Requirements

Many employers have discovered that real-world experience can be more valuable than a degree. In a tight job market, you can’t always get college grads. Consider candidates with tech certifications and applicable work history.

3. Fine Tune Job Descriptions

Enlist your managers and employees to write accurate, detailed job descriptions. These don’t need to sound like they were written by a professional headhunter.

Include the salary range. Many applicants don’t waste their time applying when they don’t know what the job pays. Save yourself time by weeding out candidates who are looking for a higher salary.

When creating job descriptions, lessen the emphasis on qualifications the candidate must possess. Consider what your company can do for the employee. Candidates who respond to a benefits-first approach are often the most ambitious and competent.

You can create, store, and update job descriptions with recruiting software. Centralized access makes it easy for teams to collaborate.

4. Shorten Your Applications

Only the most desperate candidates will struggle through a lengthy application. Carefully-designed applications contain only the essentials. Recruiting software has templates to get you started.

5. Define Your Hiring Criteria

Answer the following questions: 1. Who must sign off on the hire? 2. What specific qualifications are necessary? 3. What is the deadline for making a decision?

6. Treat Applicants Like Customers

We’ve all had bad experiences job hunting. These include automated “we received your resume” emails (or worse) no notification that the company even got your application.

Be clear about the timeline. Keep candidates informed during the entire process. Your hiring methods reflect on your company. Respect your applicants as if they were your customers.

7. Formalize Your Interview Process

Create an interview script and make sure managers follow it. Ensure that it meets anti-discrimination requirements. Workforce management recruiting software helps you create and manage interview scripts. Update the questions as job roles evolve.

Good interviewers don’t dominate the conversation. They let the candidate do most of the talking. Pay close attention to the questions the candidate asks. They will yield valuable insight into the job seeker’s priorities and personality.

8. Monitor Employee Reviews

Have you read the online reviews from current and former employees? Smart employers take them seriously and make changes when necessary. Evaluations by actual employees carry far more weight than your website. Good job candidates do their research. Negative reviews hurt your hiring chances. You can’t remove reviews on most sites, but you can respond to them and describe steps you’ve taken to address the complaints.

Does an ATS Create an Impersonal Hiring Experience?

Does an ATS Create an Impersonal Hiring Experience?

Automation has changed the face of hiring.

Why is it easy to automate hiring with the right software?

Job applicants apply online. They enter their information. This starts an end-to-end online process. An applicant tracking system (ATS) leverages the magic of digital automation. It lets computers do what they do best.

Does this create an impersonal machine-driven applicant experience?

Now to the question posed in the title. Short answer: no.

Let’s discuss why.

An ATS creates more time for personal attention. You can still call an applicant or meet them in person for an interview. The system doesn’t eliminate personal face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) communication.

Do you process a large volume of applications? You don’t have time to call every applicant personally.

If your ATS has texting, you can text right from the software. Keep a record of your text threads. Team members can text as if they are one user. This is personal, yet professional.

An ATS Reduces Abandoned Applications

Why do applicants abandon their applications? Poor communication. Many hiring teams can’t keep applicants apprised of their status. Regardless of their best intentions. They’re just too busy.

ATSs have auto-emails. You can send as many updates as you want. Let candidates know immediately when you’ve received their application. Keep them updated every few days.

When you’ve narrowed it down to a short list, you can call them personally.

How does an ATS know when to send an email?

To answer this question, first we need to talk about stages. You move applicants through the process with stages you’ve created. For example, you might have the following stages: Application Received, Awaiting Interview, Extend Job Offer.

Choose which actions are triggered by stage changes. For example, when you move an applicant to the Interview stage, it can trigger an email. The email invites the candidate to schedule an interview. (If your ATS is integrated with Google Calendar or Office 365, you can include the calendar link in the email.)

Give your applicants more attention, not less

You don’t need to send generic, impersonal emails. Create email templates. Use creative language that reflects the personality of your company. Tailor the email to the job description. Change your templates as often as you like.

Merge codes insert the applicant’s name and other information. The applicant gets a personal email addressed to them. They don’t know that it was sent automatically.

An ATS helps you communicate continually. In other words, you give your applicants more attention, not less.

What are some other ways an ATS frees up your time for more personal attention?

Make your system work for you

Let’s talk about organization. Every hiring team has their own system. The beauty of an ATS is being able to customize. Match your workflows.

This ApplicantStack user explains his process in a G2 review:

I enjoy the layout where applicants are marked in stages. A common issue with organizing applicants is the way you can sort them in your process. ApplicantStack allows you to keep candidates in different stages and advance them in your process based on where they fall. This is especially important when you have 2nd and 3rd tier candidates that you like, but are not as qualified as other top tier candidates. The stages allow you to label them in your system and then come back to them as you sort through other candidates you have reviewed and removed from your process. (G2)

They also appreciate the email delay feature:

I also LOVE the option where you can fair a candidate and schedule the email communication to go out on a future date. This allows me to create the task, but be tactful in communicating with those candidates without failing them immediately after their interview. In addition, when you have multiple raters the feedback option is collaborative and extremely useful.

This Senior Home Care recruiter mentions a couple more custom settings:

I love the amount of customization ApplicantStack allows (eg: adjusting the work flow, adding new documents to Onboarding, changing email triggers, etc.). The ability to make adjustments that better suit your company’s needs has been a huge benefit for our agency. (G2)

ATS data security

Everyone in HR worries about data breaches. Most cloud-based ATS vendors provide a high level of security. That said, before choosing an ATS, verify their security protocols.

This HR generalist explains how this improves hiring and onboarding:

I like the ability to easily get sensitive information in a secure way. There are a lot of scammers out there and I want my new hires to feel confident that they can trust that their information is secure and protected. I also like that they can fill out and sign documents easily from their phones. I hire a lot of people remotely and getting paperwork done is always a pain. I also use this for acknowledgements of policies. (G2)

An ATS makes your job easier

We’ve discussed bells and whistles. Now, let’s take a holistic view. The tools don’t mean anything unless the entire system fundamentally improves your operations.

This customer lists several ways an ATS has transformed their job (G2):

It made my job easier in many ways. The best part I would say is that a) It has been integrated with job boards and this made it easier to source resumes b) It can trigger emails to candidates automatically c) I am able to set the workflow and follow that easily d) Everything that is needed for recruitment in one system e) Automatically updating candidate details while just uploading resumes or emails f) Allocating tasks to other users g) Generating customized reports.

Would you like to test drive a simple and affordable ATS? We offer a free 15 day trial of ApplicantStack. Create some email templates. Design a hiring workflow. Post to several job boards without signing into each one.

Discover how an ATS frees up your time to give your applicants personal attention.

By Liz Strikwerda

 

Why an Applicant Tracking System is More Important Than You Think

Why an Applicant Tracking System is More Important Than You Think

Are you skeptical of applicant tracking systems? Misconceptions persist due to outdated stereotypes.

Today’s post is for business owners and HR professionals who have resisted using an ATS. Perhaps you had a bad experience with a first generation system. Maybe you’ve heard stories of ATSs that made hiring harder, not easier.

In this post, we are going to explain the advantages of applicant tracking systems.

First, let’s look at some key statistics. Then we will discuss how they relate to our objective: explaining why an ATS is a necessity.

5 Recruiting Statistics You Need To Know

  1. 75% of hiring professionals use an applicant tracking system.
  2. Of those, 94% believe that it has improved their processes. (Only 5% report a negative impact on their company.) (Capterra).
  3. 98% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS. For all companies, that number drops to about 40%. (Harris survey for Glassdoor)
  4. 47% of companies have HR software that is over seven years old. (Bersin by Deloitte)
  5. 80% of surveyed HR employees found that using HR technologies improved employee attitude toward the company. (G2) 

Let’s discuss why these numbers matter to your organization.

Your competition is using an ATS…

Clearly the majority of companies use some type of hiring software. Most use an ATS combined with other HR applications. These hiring teams are more efficient and more effective than those who use manual processes.

..but it might be from the dark ages

A Deloitte study found that almost half of companies use HR software that is over seven years old! Companies with legacy systems that haven’t been updated are missing out. 2020 applicant tracking capability is light years ahead of 2013 premise-based technology. Cloud-based providers (like ApplicantStack) perform regular software updates. We also continually add new features requested by our customers.

The latest tools include texting, custom questionnaires, resume parsing, video interviews, and single signon job board posting.

Use a state-of-the-industry ATS to gain the competitive advantage.

Integrations expand ATS capabilities

Today’s ATSs also integrate with hundreds of other types of software and services. This allows you to find the perfect combination for your hiring needs.

Let’s talk about ApplicantStack integrations.

When new clients look into our software, the first thing they ask about is job boards. We integrate with the top job boards like Indeed, Monster, Google for Jobs, and Careerbuilder.

Social media sites are just as important to today’s job seeker and we have you covered there as well. Post to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn from our platform.

Interviews are an important applicant touchpoint with your company. Many companies are having success with video interviews (we integrate with Spark Hire, a video interview service.)

For self-service interview scheduling, take your choice of Google Calendar or Office 365.

Trouble uploading a resume increases the risk of a candidate abandoning their application. Candidates can use Dropbox and Google Drive to upload to our system.

Assessments are becoming increasingly important in talent sourcing. Recruiters use assessments to measure a broader set of skills. These soft skills are difficult to convey in a resume.

Assessments allow companies to cast a wider net. They can look beyond the basic job requirements. If you are having trouble filling skilled positions, consider using assessments designed by experts in your industry. You can screen non-traditional candidates using the same technology used by mega-corporations.

Few hiring teams do in-house background checks. ApplicantStack partners with five background screening providers (for an additional fee). Background check services have access to multiple databases. It saves time and money to use your ATS integration for background screening.

8 Disadvantages of not using an ATS

Companies that don’t use an ATS will struggle to find quality candidates. Especially in highly competitive industries and job markets.

Not using an ATS has a negative impact on the following:

  1. Longer time to hire
  2. Lower quality of hire
  3. Higher cost per hire
  4. Poor applicant experience
  5. Negative employer brand
  6. Decreased onboarding effectiveness
  7. Longer new hire time to productivity
  8. Higher employer turnover

If you are using an old ATS that isn’t working for you, try ApplicantStack free for 15 days. Discover what current generation hiring technology can do for your organization.

By Liz Strikwerda

Full Life Cycle Recruiting For Beginners

Full Life Cycle Recruiting For Beginners

Are you in charge of the entire recruiting process? Are you in charge of one small slice of the process? Are you a beginner?

Whichever camp you fall into, you need to understand full life cycle recruiting.

What Is Full Life Cycle Recruiting?

Full life cycle recruiting goes by many names: 360 recruitment, full circle recruiting, end-to-end recruiting, and full cycle staffing.

Regardless of the name, this term defines the entire recruiting process from job requisition to onboarding.

Why Is It Important To Understand Full Life Cycle Recruiting?

You can’t execute a process successfully unless you understand it from a high level. Recruiting is more complicated than it may appear at first glance.

The steps in the hiring process are inter-dependent. They build on each other sequentially.

If you don’t understand the hiring manager’s needs, the candidate persona won’t be right. If you mess up the candidate persona, your job description will be off-target. If your job description is off-target, your applicant pool won’t contain suitable applicants. And so on…

Any process with a lot of moving parts can get off track.

An HR director who understands the recruitment life cycle from a holistic perspective will be more successful. I will go even further regarding that assertion: an HR director who doesn’t understand full life cycle recruitment cannot be successful.

Regardless of which step you are in charge of, you need to understand the entire process so you know where your task fits.

All Companies Need A Full Life Cycle Recruitment Approach

A common misconception among small business owners is the idea that business management theory only applies to large companies.

Many small business owners are too busy just trying to keep the lights on.

This begs the question: ‘How do small businesses become big businesses?’

One predictor of growth is whether the business is able to establish and follow effective processes. Life cycle recruitment is one of those processes. One could argue that it’s the most important process because the people you hire create and execute all the other processes!

How Does Full Life Cycle Recruitment Help My Business?

What are the ultimate goals of full life cycle recruitment?

  1. To fill each position with the perfect employee in a timely manner
  2. Employees are productive, engaged, and loyal
  3. Employees execute the business strategy and create ongoing value

How Do I Design A Full Life Cycle Recruitment Process?

Following is the full life cycle recruiting process.

  1. Hiring Manager Submits Job Requisition
  2. Create The Candidate Persona
  3. Create Job Description
  4. Source Job Applicants
  5. Screen And Filter Candidates
  6. Interview Selected Candidates
  7. Perform Background And Reference Checks
  8. Extend The Job Offer
  9. Onboard The Employee

Let’s break it down.

1. Hiring Manager Submits Job Requisition

  • Verify company job requisition policy is followed
  • Identify and understand the job requirements

2. Create The Candidate Persona

  • Understand and interpret the hiring manager’s needs
  • Create a fictitious candidate persona(s) based on the hiring manager’s needs

3. Create Job Description

Job descriptions aren’t a simple laundry list of qualifications. They need to describe both the job and the company culture. They must articulate what the candidate needs to bring to the table as well as what the company will bring to the table.

A successful job placement meets the candidate’s as well as the company’s needs. Recruiters who fail to appreciate the competing interests and employer-employee relationship will fail.

4. Source Job Applicants

  • The candidate persona and job description help you choose the sourcing channels
  • Use different techniques for sourcing active and passive candidates

For example, your company social media sites are a good place to attract passive candidates.

If you have a highly-specialized position, proactive sourcing on LinkedIn might work well.

Posting the job to the job boards and other online sites is a critical part of the sourcing step.

5. Screen and Filter Candidates

You don’t have control over who applies for your job. If your job description was spot on and you advertised on multiple forums, you will build a pool of good candidates.

There is an art and science to candidate screening. When and how you screen makes a big difference.

Reading resumes is tedious and time consuming. Each resume is formatted differently. It’s not always obvious whether or not the candidate has the necessary skills and experience.

Creating a custom questionnaire in a good applicant tracking system is the best way to do first-pass filtering. Instead of scrutinizing all the resumes first, filter out poor-fit candidates with a questionnaire crafted for the job description.

This will narrow your candidate pool considerably. You will be left with a smaller group of top applicants—each of which has the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience. Now you can start reading resumes to distinguish the applicants from one another.

Your time is better spent reading resumes for a small group of candidates. An applicant tracking system (ATS) with custom screening questionnaires automates first-level screening. When the ATS has eliminated many of your applicants, you perform the critical thinking that software can’t do.

6. Interview Selected Candidates

Effective interviewing is another learned skill. And preparation is just as important as the actual interviews. Structured interviewing scripts are an accepted best practice.

Structured interviews reduce unconscious bias, protect you legally, and help you find the best applicant for the position. ATSs with structured interviewing tools are invaluable.

7. Background and Reference Checks

This process is fairly straightforward. You can’t extend a job offer until you’ve thoroughly vetted your candidate. This workflow is also simplified brilliantly with hiring software.

8. Extend The Job Offer

When you’ve made your choice, you can’t complete the cycle unless the candidate accepts your job offer. If they decline because they accepted another offer, you’ve got to back up and repeat the last two steps with your second choice.

9. Onboard The Employee

When the new hire arrives for their first day, you’ve invested a lot of resources to get to this point. You can’t drop the ball with onboarding. The stakes are too high. You need to nurture the new employee with a structured, carefully-designed onboarding process.

That’s it in a nutshell. Whether you are in charge of the entire process or one component, understanding the whys and hows of each step is key to success.

ApplicantStack For Full Life Cycle Recruiting

ApplicantStack is designed for the entire hiring process. It was created by recruiting veterans who understand the mechanics and theory of full life cycle recruiting. That’s why it has tools for each critical operation in the recruiting process.

If you are researching ATSs, evaluate them from the standpoint of full life cycle recruiting. Successful recruiters and hiring managers use systems like ApplicantStack that simplify each step in the cycle. With ApplicantStack hiring software, the solution is greater than the sum of its parts.

In our How To Hire Your Next Employee Series, we explain how to use ApplicantStack for full life cycle recruiting.

ApplicantStack Recruit handles job descriptions through hiring. ApplicantStack Onboard takes over once the employee is hired. The products are integrated so you won’t have to re-enter any information.

Recruit and Onboard help each member of your hiring team perform their tasks in the full life cycle process.

Here is how one of our clients described how ApplicantStack has transformed their life cycle recruiting:

‘Excellent hiring software. The ability to follow and track an applicant from the initial inquiry through the entire hiring process. ApplicantStack not only sends our job ads out to the most prominent sites, but allows us a stellar tracking process all the way to hire.’

Full Life Cycle Recruiting For Beginners

Let’s go back to where we started. This post is directed to beginners. Because ApplicantStack was designed for the entire process, you won’t be a beginner for long. There is no quicker way to become a pro at full life cycle recruiting.