talent acquisition

Eliminate This Common Issue That Undermines Effective Recruiting and Hiring

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Most leaders agree that implementation and follow-through are required for business success. Organizations that execute their well thought out plans succeed, those that don’t fail. So why don’t people follow through on plans, especially for something as important as recruiting and hiring the right people? The answer may be staring you right in the face.

Take a look around your office or cubicle. Do the same when you get home tonight. When’s the last time you paid attention to the art or decorations you’ve put up at your home or office? Not just a quick glance, but really taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of a piece or remembering what attracted you to it in the first place. Most people admit that the only time they take notice is when someone asks them where they acquired a particular object or its significance. Simply put, after a while everything blends in, even things that are especially meaningful to us.

This is commonplace blindness. Once we get used to something, it becomes commonplace. We stop noticing it.

Smart product manufacturers understand commonplace blindness, which is why they change their packaging from time to time. They want us to keep paying close attention to their products. Last year, I remember seeing a soft drink can that had the colors of a well-known competing product. Just above the label on the can were the words “Great new look. Same great taste.” Did the new packaging work? It got my attention enough to mention it here.

Commonplace blindness happens every day in organizations across the globe, and it’s not only the art that’s being overlooked. Those signs espousing your recruiting best practices haven’t been noticed in months. The hiring process document that you ask people to keep on their desks is collecting dust. The interview checklist that was put on tablets for convenience is ignored after just a handful of meetings. Seeing these items becomes part of the routine. These items blend in, causing us to take them for granted and stop paying attention to them.

Leaders often have to remind people to do the very things noted on the walls, process documents, or screens because of commonplace blindness. The cure is relatively simple: change the packaging. You do that by altering the look, location, or liability.

You can alter the design, color, or formatting—the look. Moving the location, just like moving furniture, often recaptures attention. To shift the liability, delegate responsibility to team members for regularly modifying the look or location of key items of workplace significance.

What happens when organizations counter commonplace blindness by changing the look, location, or liability? Check out these recent successes:

  • A large tech company all but eliminated turnover during the first 90 days of employment as interviewers consistently followed every written step of the hiring and interview process.
  • A boutique ad agency tripled its flow of top talent when managers remembered to follow their proven and well-documented recipe for writing job posts.
  • A mid-market staffing firm doubled the number of candidates placed on assignment each week when staff stopped overlooking the very simple and powerful workflow for taking and validating job orders.
  • A global manufacturer sourced more quality candidates than they needed for hard-to-fill roles when the talent acquisition team stopped relying on their memory and followed their checklists for tapping into all of the streams of talent.

You’ve worked hard to build a company with hiring processes and interviewing systems that drive your business. By avoiding commonplace blindness, you’ll have your recruiting and hiring best practices doing what they are supposed to do.

Scott WintripEliminate This Common Issue That Undermines Effective Recruiting and Hiring
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3 Steps That Will Improve the Productivity of Your Recruiting or Staffing Team

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Are you struggling to improve the productivity of your recruiting or staffing team? Struggle no more because in this episode I’ve got 3 steps that will make that problem go away and stay away.

Scott Wintrip3 Steps That Will Improve the Productivity of Your Recruiting or Staffing Team
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Improve Candidate Experience and Engagement by Asking Better Questions

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We all love to hear ourselves talk, and we appreciate when others listen to us. In interviews, we can use this to our advantage by asking better questions. Questions that swiftly help us spot and avoid bad hires while also improving candidate experience and engagement.

What makes a question better? When it’s easily understood. Too often, our questions are confusing. We use too many words, overwhelming the listener.

There’s a science to asking great questions. Questions posed in the right manner are easily understood, allowing listeners to think carefully about their answers. You can actually see this happen. When people are asked compelling questions, they pause, think, and then respond. Their response is more thorough, accurate, and satisfying for everyone in the conversation.

The most effective manner of querying candidates is using “launching” questions. These provocative, open-ended questions are 12 words or less. Their brevity ensures that they are easily understood, launching people into giving detailed answers. Launching questions create conversational quid pro quo: The questioner wants to understand, and the respondent gets to be understood. Every response by the candidate can be turned into a new launching question, allowing you to develop an even deeper understanding.

What do launching questions sound like? Here are three such questions often used during a telephone interview.

“Why us?”
Motives are important. Knowing if your candidate is inspired by your company’s mission or just needs a job will help you pick the best people.

“Why now?”
When a candidate is actively searching for a job, knowing what’s driving that decision is important. Is the candidate desperate to make a change, ready to leap at the first offer? Or, is she simply open to a new opportunity that could make life even better? Knowing what’s driving someone’s behavior is vital in choosing the right people for your company.

“What job suits you best?”
Too often, interviewers ask candidates about their perfect job. Such a question sets the candidate and the employer up for failure since jobs and companies are rarely perfect. Instead of asking about perfection, ask about personal fit.

The mutually beneficial experience created by these questions has a number of payoffs. In a matter of minutes, you’ll gain insights as to what’s driving the candidate’s interest in the opportunity. You’ll quickly experience her listening skills and hear how effective she is in responding to your query. Her personality will show up, letting you begin to determine whether or not she’ll fit your culture. At the same time, she has a positive and engaging of experience of being thoroughly heard, especially as you take her responses and ask additional launching questions.

Launching questions are particularly important when you speak with passive candidates. Since these individuals aren’t actively looking for work, engaging them in a meaningful conversation can be a challenge. Not so when using launching questions. For example, when someone says they aren’t looking for a job, you could ask, “Under what circumstances would you consider something new?” If someone says they’re happy in their current role, you could pose, “What would make you happier?” Both examples engage talented people in a conversation about possibilities.

Many efforts to improve candidate experience and engagement are time consuming and costly. Some of these efforts work well, creating a positive ROI. Others fall short, wasting time and money. Launching questions are a quick to implement cost-free way to create guaranteed ROI. The investment of time in asking better questions will inform and inspire both interviewers and candidates, creating an engaging and memorable hiring experience.

Scott WintripImprove Candidate Experience and Engagement by Asking Better Questions
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Interviews Are Rooted in Lies. Here’s How to Stop Participating in the Deception

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It has been said of some salespeople that you can easily spot when they’re lying–their lips are moving. Salespeople aren’t the only ones giving lip service to the truth. Job interviews are frequently built on one or more lies.

The lying is happening on both sides of the table. Candidates misrepresent their abilities. Companies overstate the facts. Both parties omit details.

The farcical dance that defines many interviews undermines effective selection. Candidates accept ill-fitting jobs based upon incomplete information. Companies end up having good interviews that turn into bad hires.

Are the lies told by candidates and companies intentional? Sometimes. Often the deception is unconscious. People are simply doing things the way they’ve always been done, unaware of the consequences.

Stopping the deception requires understanding and interrupting these lies. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of lying common in the hiring process.

Omission
Lies of omission are the most common as people leave out details they believe could become a deal breaker. Candidates choose not to share a past mistake they think could end their chances. Interviewers avoid talking about negative aspects of the job out of fear they’ll turn off a talented person. Both parties neglect sharing the full truth hoping it will bolster their chances of a positive hiring outcome.

Exaggeration
Rooted in the truth, lies of exaggeration bend the facts in an effort to make someone or something look better than it is. Employers amplify advancement opportunities; candidates magnify the depth of their experience; both sides distort details. Instead of painting an accurate picture, companies and candidates take liberties that misinform and mislead.

Deception
Lies of deception are a form of hiring magic. Like a magician who diverts your attention to create an illusion, deception in hiring is an attempt to divert attention away from negative details. Jobseekers change dates on resumes to cover up employment gaps. Companies misrepresent job details to make a role seem more attractive. Candidates and companies engage in a hiring version of fake news out of fear of the impact of the truth.

Promises
It has been said that promises were made to be broken. That’s being lived out daily in interviews. Managers openly acknowledge an organizational problem, promising it will soon be rectified even though they have no authority to keep that promise. Candidates commit to improving weak skills if hired, knowing full well they lack the time and resources to keep the commitment. Promises in interviews are a common workaround for real issues that aren’t really going to be resolved.

Plagiarism
When in school, using ideas or work that is not your own will get you a failing grade. When hiring, plagiarism will get you a failed hire. Hiring-related plagiarism is being perpetrated by both parties. Jobseekers provide work samples that aren’t their own and have friends take online skills tests. Employers copy and use other companies’ well-written job descriptions knowing that these documents are a far cry from the job they’re offering.

White Lies
Believed to be harmless, white lies are relatively minor omissions, exaggerations, deceptions, promises, and plagiarism. Although minor, white lies still distort the facts thereby undermining sound decision-making.

Accuracy in hiring requires accurate information. Without that, companies and candidates end up making choices they later regret.

You can put a stop to these regrets by taking three steps.

Step #1
Commit to rigorous honesty
Teach everyone involved in hiring about the 6 types of lies, making it clear that these are often unintentional habits. Share how you’ve made these errors; your vulnerability can elicit the same from your colleagues. Support one another in a commitment to a hiring process that is grounded in rigorous honesty.

Step #2
Be appropriately transparent
Rigorous honesty doesn’t mean engaging in blind transparency. A productive hiring process should give candidates (and you) the details needed to make a prudent decision. Take time to determine the information that a candidate needs to know including job responsibilities, role expectations, company culture, compensation, and career development and advancement opportunities. Appropriate transparency that is rigorously honest will help them make an informed choice. 

Step #3
Clean up mistakes
You’re human and you’ll make mistakes, including when you’ve been in the practice of unintentional deception. Breaking this habit may take time, which means you may make some missteps along the way. Seize this as an opportunity. When you tell one of the 6 lies acknowledge it and clean it up. Remember that mistakes are your chance to demonstrate your excellence at problem-solving.

In a world filled with fakery your organization’s commitment to stopping all forms of deception is an opportunity. An opportunity to strengthen your brand, improve the hiring experience, and deepen engagement from the very first interaction. Those benefits alone are worth letting go of the lies.

 

Scott WintripInterviews Are Rooted in Lies. Here’s How to Stop Participating in the Deception
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What Winnie the Pooh Can Teach Us About Improving Recruiting Performance

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Improvement ideas for recruiting and hiring can often come from surprising sources. One such source is Winnie the Pooh.

The staying power of Pooh and friends isn’t just because they’re adorable. They’re relatable. Each character is emblematic of the types of people drawn to recruiting and staffing.

So imagine if you will these characters as part of a recruiting team. How could each improve their performance? Which of these ideas applies to you?

Winnie the Pooh
Does he really lack smarts?

On several occasions, Pooh refers to himself as a “bear of little brain.” I can imagine Pooh as a recruiter saying things like, “Oh bother, I just don’t have the brains to learn all of this jargon” or “I was not made to make so many calls. I get started and end up all muddled and confused.”

Does Pooh really have little or no brains? Let’s look at some of his assets. He is loving, loyal, a great friend, and ends up on top even through all of the bumbling because he always tries to do the right thing.

One of the biggest obstacles Pooh needs to overcome is his tendency to bury his head in a big pot of honey when things aren’t going well. If a hire starts falling apart, Pooh’s immediate reaction would be to immerse himself in finding a “smackeral” or two of the sweet stuff.

Here are some constructive alternatives to help Pooh (and you Pooh-like recruiters out there) deal with confusion, disorganization, and those times when things start going awry:

  1. First and foremost, he needs to get organized. A great way to start is by writing out his plan for tomorrow the day before.
  2. His confusion may indicate a need for additional training and practice. Just like the real world, the 100 Acre Woods offers many options including workshops, books, and articles.
  3. Pooh needs to identify his destructive patterns, such as overeating or burying his head in a pot of honey. Then, he can replace them with a positive and constructive alternative. For instance, when something goes wrong, Pooh first needs to consider the options. Is there something he can do or is it best to let it go and move on to something else? Sometimes the best option is to let go of a situation, especially if you have done everything within your power to remedy the problem.
  4. Like many of us in recruiting and staffing, Pooh has great colleagues and friends to turn to for advice and support. In addition to their suggestions and insights, role-plays and practice sessions can help him to improve his skills and discover ways to enhance his recruiting abilities.

Tigger
Focusing all of that bounciness and energy.

Tigger lacks focus. What he does have are bundles of energy and a positive nature that will carry him far. But his inability to harness that energy in a focused manner trips him up. Tigger also needs to be completely honest with himself. He tends to be so positive that he doesn’t recognize when he needs to regroup and isn’t aware that things may not going as well as he thinks.

Some tips for Tigger:

  1. A daily action plan would be a great tool for Tigger, just as it is for Pooh (in fact, I have yet to meet anyone who would not benefit from a daily plan). To stay focused in the moment, the more detailed this plan, the better. If Tigger could focus completely on one task before moving to another, the quality of his work would improve almost immediately.
  2. A strong dose of reality from time to time would do Tigger a lot of good. Bouncing ideas off colleagues, asking for honest feedback from co-workers, and occasionally taking a few moments to assess his own progress would give him clarity about where he is and the next step to take.

Eeyore
Could he be a lost cause?

Things just never seem to go Eeyore’s way. Whether it is falling into a briar patch or losing his tail (again), he seems to find himself in one unpleasant situation after another.

Eeyore reminds me of people I have met in my life that I call the “doom and gloomers.” They believe that bad things are going to happen and inevitably create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Most of us are not at this extreme, but ask yourself, “Am I, like Eeyore, sabotaging myself with negative thoughts?”

Ideas for Eeyore:

  1. It’s hard to think your way into new behavior. But you can act your way into a new way of thinking. The key is action. Eeyore needs to have a pre-planned list of actions he can take the moment gloom starts to kick in. Immediately getting into action will him feel better about himself instead of spiraling further and further into self-defeating thoughts.
  2. Negativity breeds negativity. Eeyore needs to look for and remove the negative people, situations, and possible stressors that are around him. By surrounding himself with positive things and people, it will become very natural for him to rise to the level of those around him.

Rabbit
All of those carrots gave him an eye for too many details.

Rabbit takes playing by the rules to an extreme. Can you see him ever coloring outside the lines? Rabbit’s organization skills and intelligence are fantastic, yet they sometimes cause problems because he can’t think outside the box. Rabbit could greatly benefit from lightening up and having more fun.

Here are some tips for Rabbit:

  1. Rabbit needs to play (all work and no play make Rabbit a dull and stodgy furry critter). He overwhelms himself with responsibility. Rabbit needs to find something that brings out his playful nature such as swinging on playground equipment, playing in a sandbox, driving go-karts, or anything that is all about having fun.
  2. Just say “no” to the need to be perfect. The best thing Rabbit can do for himself is to accept and be okay with the fact that he is not perfect and mistakes will happen. This is not only okay; it is a part of life!

Piglet
Mustering the courage to be a great recruiter.

Wouldn’t it have been great if Piglet could have gone to Oz with Dorothy and gotten some courage? One of Piglet’s biggest stumbling blocks is his lack of confidence when communicating with others.

On the plus side, he is extremely honest. What a salesman of job opportunities or candidates he could be if he were to combine his honesty with a strong dose of self-confidence.

Here are some tips for Piglet to build a reserve of confidence in himself:

  1. Practice the tried and true “act as if” principle. If he practices being confident he will eventually act his way into a confident way of thinking.
  2. Journaling is a powerful tool for uncovering what is really going on. If Piglet spends time each day journaling in detail his thoughts and feelings, there is a good chance that he will uncover the source of his self-doubt.

Do you see yourself in Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit, or Piglet? Just like the recruiters of Honey Pot recruiting team, you have a choice to stay where you are or grow into your potential. Looking beyond what you do to who you are will give you insight into the changes and improvements necessary to increase your success in recruiting.

Scott WintripWhat Winnie the Pooh Can Teach Us About Improving Recruiting Performance
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Get Jobseekers to Help You Speed Up Hiring

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Quickening the pace of hiring remains a hot topic and rightly so. The time it takes to fill a job grows year after year.

Many ideas on faster hiring are focused on the employer. But what about jobseekers? Sustainable speed can only be achieved if both sides of the hiring equation are addressed.

Here are 4 things jobseekers can do (and you can suggest they do) that increase hiring speed and improve selection accuracy.

Eliminate misinformation
Recurring media reports from a variety of sources indicate that two-thirds or more of resumes contain misinformation. This frequent inaccuracy has elicited a knee-jerk response by companies—it’s assumed that resumes have exaggerations or flat-out lies and that these lies continue during interviews. To manage this, companies slow down the process and dive deep to find these erroneous details. Instead of hiring being built on trust, it’s a tedious process filled with suspicion and doubt.

Combat this misinformation head on. Inform jobseekers that you’re not seeking perfect people, but people who perfectly represent themselves on paper and in conversations. Share examples of how you’ve hired less than perfect people and helped them advance their careers. Make your company a place where potential hires can be safely transparent.

Avoid spraying and praying
Like a farmer spreading manure to fertilize plants, many job candidates are spraying their resumes far and wide, praying one will take root and land them an opportunity. Employers end up buried in a pile of resumes, many of which are a crappy fit (pun intended). Sorting through this takes time, and time kills making good hires. Especially when a talented person, who was at the bottom of the pile, is snapped up by a faster competitor.

Encourage jobseekers to take a more targeted approach to their search. Start by setting and communicating boundaries early. For example, in the content on your job opportunities landing page make it clear that you’ll only consider and respond to candidates who match required qualifications. Repeatedly reinforce and re-communicate this boundary. Popular places for doing so are on the page where candidates enter work history and just above the final “Submit” button for their application.

Offer proof instead of promises
Talk is cheap, especially when answering questions during interviews. Answering an interviewer’s questions may create a feel good moment, but these answers offer nothing in the way of proof of fit. That’s why so many good interviews turn into bad hires. Candidates talk themselves into the role, one that wasn’t a fit after all.

Have each candidate offer proof in place of promises that he or she will fit in. Instead of letting a candidate tell you how she’d solve a problem, have her show you in a role play. Rather than asking about his top skills, have him demonstrate those skills by performing sample work. Require the candidate to go beyond sharing stories of how she works well with others and let her show you how she’ll collaborate with your current team. Showing, instead of telling, provides proof for making an informed decision.

Make better choices
Searching for a job is an emotional experience. Too often feelings trump facts, prompting the jobseeker to accept a role because if feels right versus doing so because it is truly the right fit.

Teach jobseekers how to make decisions rooted in facts instead of feelings. One approach is to ask the candidate to make a list of dealmakers (must-haves) and dealbreakers (must-not haves) and send it to you for discussion during a phone interview. Compare the list to the job and your company. Let people know where things match up and where they don’t. With eyes wide open, you both get to make an informed choice of whether to move forward or not.

Helping jobseekers should be a top priority for everyone involved in hiring. Putting people to work is one way. Guiding them in how they seek work is another. Seize every opportunity you can to inform and educate jobseekers about their role in increasing speed and improving accuracy during the hiring experience. Your role in hiring gives you a unique opportunity to exert your influence beyond just filling the next job. Use that influence to make jobseekers better at their part of the hiring process. You’ll be giving them a gift that serves them the remainder of their careers.

Scott WintripGet Jobseekers to Help You Speed Up Hiring
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Shahid Wazed–Hiring Hero of the Week

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A common trait among the Heroes of Hiring is how they work tirelessly to improve results. This week’s hero, Shahid Wazed, is the embodiment of this attribute. Shahid is a recruitment automation pioneer, having developed sourcing strategies that have reduced effort, increased hiring speed, and cut costs (he recently brought in top talent for hard-to-fill position for just $52). He’s also the Host of the Top Talent Summit, a talent acquisition event in its sixth year serving the Canadian talent acquisition community. If that weren’t enough, he’s a Forbes Contributor, a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council, and an award winning podcaster. Thank you Shahid for your tireless efforts and the heroic work you do each day!

P.S. Be sure to connect with Shahid on LinkedIn.

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ABOUT THE HEROES OF HIRING

We’ve all heard it said that a company’s most important asset is its people. When we say we love a company, what we’re really saying is we love the work being done by the exceptional people in these organizations. Talented employees who do outstanding work are the secret ingredients that make their companies great. That’s why recruiting and hiring is so important. Each person involved in the hiring process is influencing the future of their company. These individuals are also impacting one of the most important aspects of people’s lives—their careers. The individuals who play a role in the hiring process are changing companies and lives, making hiring a heroic act.

The hiring heroism of a select group of people goes above and beyond. These unsung hiring heroes are making a lasting difference on a grand scale. That’s the reason for this distinction—the Hiring Hero of the Week. The hope in bestowing this honor is that people across the globe can celebrate and learn from these truly amazing human beings.

Scott WintripShahid Wazed–Hiring Hero of the Week
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An Unexpected Way to Improve Your Recruiting and Hiring Process

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Process improvement is an important leadership responsibility. This episode features a method for improving your recruiting and hiring process…a method many leaders haven’t yet considered.

Scott WintripAn Unexpected Way to Improve Your Recruiting and Hiring Process
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What Recruiters Should Invest Their Time in This Year

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Time is more precious than money, so how recruiters invest their time should be a top priority. In this episode, I share one of the most important ways to invest time this year.

Scott WintripWhat Recruiters Should Invest Their Time in This Year
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