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Recruiting

Moments That Matter in the Candidate Experience

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Moments That Matter in the Candidate Experience

Recruiting has fundamentally changed with the rise of the social web and technology. Candidates expect to easily access information about your company through a variety of resources, as well as more personalized communication, interaction and transparency. Candidates scrutinize your company in new ways and make more informed decisions than ever before.

This means you must work smarter to meet your candidates’ needs without knowing when they’re ready to make a decision or influence someone else’s. Today, it’s more important than ever to build a strong employer brand and provide a positive experience for candidates to compete for top talent.  And that means you have to be just as detail-oriented and scrutinize every element of the employment experience. Just like a candidate.

In comes the moment of truth …

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When Experience Is No Longer Relevant

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When Experience Is No Longer Relevant

I was listening to a radio show on NPR the other morning, and the debate was around the “Sharing Economy,” which is disrupting the way consumers purchase certain services. Uber and Airbnb are two major players in this new way of selling to consumers.

The debate around these companies right now is that they are circumventing the highly regulated industries they are touching. City taxi cabs are under strict state and local regulations. Cities are trying to find how Uber fits into the rules. Some people argue Airbnb should be taxed the same way hotels are taxed.

On this radio show, they spoke about how cities are approaching these new entrants. They spoke of panels made up of people who had decades of experience in each respective industry. It got me thinking about the value of all that experience in an era where the old rules don’t apply anymore. That “experience” comes from a time that is completely irrelevant to the current situation.

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How to Think Like a Marketer

It all comes down to marketing. When a political candidate is lobbying for votes, he’s campaigning. I would argue he’s marketing. When a lawyer makes it to partner, she’s no longer practicing law, she’s marketing the firm’s services to bring in new business. When a recruiter is seeking out candidates, he’s recruiting. I call that marketing. We could all use a lesson or two in marketing because it applies to a heck of a lot. Most professionals in the HR space are not trained marketers. But so much of what we do involves the core of marketing. Instead, we think marketing is all consumer facing, but it’s just as important to market a company to both candidates and employees (and even alumni!) as it is to consumers.

We’ve talked about the importance of the link between HR and marketing. To help speak the language a little better, here are some tips to help you think like a marketer when marketing your employer brand.

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Great Recruiting is Not a Supply Chain

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Great Recruiting is Not a Supply Chain

Most job seekers don't brag about the application process.  They hate it--the black hole of recruiting, the time it takes to hear back from recruiters and the length and complication of the process. But they don't always have insight into recruiters' woes either: heavy requisition loads, corporate processes and rules, and inappropriate candidate behaviors.

Case in point: last week, a recruiting leader posted the following...

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How Recruiting Can Manage Change And Be A Partner

Many people will insist that the most important part of having a corporate recruiting team is to have a clearly defined structure, utilize metrics to drive business decisions, and to gather as much buy-in as possible throughout the organization to move initiatives forward. Most of that is absolutely correct. But what about when all of your best laid plans start to.....change? While having the clearly defined structure is important, it’s key to remember to be flexible and open to integrating change on an ad hoc basis. It’s critical to ensure that your teams are flexible with your recruiting programs, SOPs and approach to projects. There will be almost certainly be situations where you may need to change based on unexpected situations or business needs. 

For example, within your recruiting team there may be a certain process or chain for approving requisitions or offers. But department heads or other executives may determine that a different course of action may be required based on headcount needs. The process-driven recruiter in you wants to continue to instill process and order, but that just may not be feasible at the current moment.

Having a level of flexibility in situations like these actually helps you more than you might think. Executive teams recognize when they have team players who can be highly adaptable, and perceive them as strong business partners. Being viewed in such a way can be critical when you are trying to "sell" your department's initiatives. What I’ve learned over the years - sometimes the hard way - is that you just need to “play ball” sometimes and see how things turn out.

There are a few things to keep in mind the next time you encounter a situation where your recruitment team is having some change thrust upon it.

1. Keeping good metrics can help to draw tangible conclusions as to whether an experiment or pilot actually worked. It can also help to identify where the most/least successful areas are for making changes. As one of my former bosses told me “facts are our friends”. Feelings are not. People tend to ‘feel’ a lot of things in the hiring process : “it feels like this req has been open for 4 months” (and its been 17 days). This is the opportunity to influence change through facts.

2. Ask questions. Be sure to ask probing and clarifying questions when changes to your program are being suggested. This allows you to accomplish two things. First, it allows you to understand what the motives are behind the change, which could lead to additional solutions or parts of the solution. Secondly, it shows the other party that you are genuinely interested in how you can assist.

3. Remember that exhibiting flexibility puts you in a good light with your peers and executives. Executives tend to gravitate to those that they feel can be open-minded and those that they perceive are able to see the ‘big picture’.

4. Manage the change down. When working with your recruiting teams – if you want real buy-in – be sure to give them both the political side of the change and the action that needs to be taken in order to be successful. Challenge them to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone and you may be surprised how many people embrace the change. Be approachable and willing resource who can answer questions throughout the change process.

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Pete Radloff is a Lead Consultant with exaqueo. You can connect with Pete on Twitter.  exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

 

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Startup Culture: Q&A with Trupanion’s Darryl Rawlings

Dog A recent Wall Street Journal blog post talked about the fight for talent at startups. The blogger, Neil Blumenthal (Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Warby Parker), said, “The first step toward finding the right people is to have a deep understanding of your company’s identity.” This couldn’t be more true.

Darryl Rawlings, CEO of Trupanion (a pet insurance company whose mission is to help pets receive the best veterinary care possible), believes this to be true as well. Continuing with our Q&A series with startup leaders, today I’m sharing Mr. Rawlings  views on startup culture in his growing company and the role of Trupanion’s identity in hiring talent.

exaqueo: Does your company have a stated set of cultural values?

Darryl Rawlings, Trupanion (DR): Yes. They are: 1. We do what we say; 2. Simple is better (which is why we have one simple pet insurance plan); 3. Do not punish unlucky pets (meaning pet owners and their pets do not get punished with fees, restrictions, etc. for making claims. We want them to make claims! That’s what we’re here for!); 4. Do not be insurance-like. Be innovative and fair; 5. and We love our pets! And if you don’t, it was nice meeting you; however, you’re not a good fit for our company.

exaqueo: Can you describe your corporate culture in three words?

DR: Original, Fun, Passionate.

exaqueo: When you have made an effort to understand and strengthen your culture, what did you learn the most?

DR: I learned that the stronger the culture, the happier the team. And the happier the team, the happier they’ll make your clients.

exaqueo: What have you learned about the importance of culture that you can apply to the work you do for your clients?

DR: In my business it’s extremely important for every team member from the bottom to the top to be passionate about pets. Their passion for pets makes them passionate for clients pets. When you care about your work like we do, you do better work.

exaqueo: How do you manage having the right talent to meet rapid growth?

DR: When you’re growing as rapidly as we are, you don’t just find good leaders; you find leaders who will strive to create other leaders. Team work is important too, we only hire team players. We’re constantly on the lookout and keeping our eyes peeled for good talent. We spread the word about our company and network our tails off. It’s paid off over the years as we’re getting more people excited about our company and wanting to work with us. It helps our recruiters with candidates knocking on our doors versus the other way around.

exaqueo: Why does talent + culture fit matter?

DR: For Trupanion, the talent absolutely has to fit our culture (pet-friendly culture) or they simply won’t be able to fully understand the value we are offering pet owners. You don’t get the same high quality work from workers who don’t fit well. Quality is low and that worker’s future opportunities in the company are low too because they simply don’t fit our values. When I was raising capital for Trupanion, I brought a variety of big hitters into a room together. I asked them all to raise their hand if they had a pet. For those without their hands raised, I asked them to leave, because unfortunately, they just won’t get what we do. And I made them leave. I require everyone who joins our Board of Directors to own a pet.

Lexi Gordon is a Lead Consultant for exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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HR and Talent News Roundup: Scaling Your Workforce Edition

As companies scale, culture and growth go hand-in-hand. This means founders and leaders have to be more and more creative about how to ensure they continue to sustain culture so it doesn't get lost in the forest of growth. This week we share multiple examples of ways you can think about scaling the talent side of your business in the right way. 1) Why Zappos CEO Hsieh Wants To Enable More Collisions In Vegas from Forbes

" "When a city doubles in size, innovation increases by 15 percent,” he says. “But when companies get bigger, productivity goes down.” To avoid that destiny as Zappos expands, he aims to organize the company “more like a city and less like a large company” with densely populated workspaces, and, when it comes to navigating them, a preference for “collisions over convenience.”

2) Small business advice: How to set your firm up for long-term, sustainable growth from The Washington Post

"Hire the right sales people for the right positions and set performance expectations early. Having a well-developed sales culture from the get-go is essential in setting the stage for incoming talent, and it will keep the existing representatives inspired for the long haul...It is much easier to maintain a good culture than fix a bad one. If your once-thriving sales culture becomes stagnant, consider adding fresh talent. Bringing in new, hungry individuals to any team can ignite productivity among existing members."

3) Supercell's CEO reveals the culture he built to produce a £2.5 billion company in 2 years from Wired

"Despite this [success], all Pannenan wants to talk about is company values, both in terms of organisational structure and "the power of small." It is a manifesto for building a better company and he is conscious the world is now listening.  "The best people make the best games," says Ilkka Paananen, founder of Finnish gaming startup Supercell. "It sounds simple and perhaps naive, but if you truly believe it then the only thing that matters is getting those people and creating the best possible environment so they stay." "

4) 4 Ways to Build On Your Company Culture from Momentum

"When you’re not a startup anymore, it can feel like company culture is something that’s already set in stone — not something you can adapt father and improve. This couldn’t be any farther from the truth. Culture can be developed and molded over time, especially with new leadership at the helm."

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Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce strategy that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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The 3-5 Year Gap: Finding Talent With Actual Talent

There’s no shortage of college graduates searching for jobs–some have internship and project experience, but they’re still new, and entry-level download (1)talent has to be trained. Programs like Nashville’s Software SchoolApp Academy, and Hackbright Academy are helping to fill the gap. But that doesn’t help when you have jobs that require experience now and you can’t find the talent. You can take a newbie and try to train them up quickly, but sometimes a role requires more than just skill–things like decision-making ability, patience under pressure, or team management experience that takes a few years to cultivate. In these situations, it’s tempting to outsource the problem. After all, you’re busy running companies, bringing in new business and customers, running beta tests–you don’t have the time to devote to a recruiting strategy. Thing is–neither do most external recruiters. They’re going to focus on sourcing the position like you did and then charge you a sizable percentage when you choose one of their candidates. Not that you should avoid external recruiters completely, but what if there were a way to save that fee without exceptional effort?

Experienced talent is out there–they’re just often already employed, aren’t aware of your company, or don’t think a small company would hire them. Here are five ways to find that experienced talent using the resources you already have.

1) Recruit nationally

Look outside your city for experienced talent. You love your city, right? Surely you can make a pitch for others to consider moving there, too. Use the jobs or careers page on your website to host a “why live and work in [your city here] page.”  Include details on benefits that would be attractive to candidates: low cost of living, commuting options, networking or entrepreneurs’ groups, community events, etc.  Feature employee transplants talking about where they came from and why they love the city now, too.  And when you post jobs, indicate an option to provide relocation assistance–it’s often much cheaper to do that over paying a recruiter.

2) Consider the alumni connection

We may only think of universities when we’re recruiting new grads, but most career service offices have alumni functions to help experienced alumni looking for a new gig.  Shoot off your job description to the alumni contact at your own alma mater or other target universities. Oftentimes they’ll do the sourcing for you to help eager, unemployed alumni find jobs. Ask your employees to share it with their alma maters, too, and reward them with university-themed gear if the hire is made.

3) Poaching from big companies

There are thousands of employees stuck inside big companies who are dying to get out and work for a startup or high-growth company. They just may not realize it or know your small company even exists.  Advertise in places these employees flock, and use targeted language to suggest you’re a good respite from the big company dramas. Sure, you want to screen big company candidates to make sure they can work in a more ambiguous, fast-paced culture like yours, but an opportunity to work in a different way, have more responsibility, and be a part of something could be just the ticket. Plus, talented employees from big companies often come full of ideas that a scaling company needs–systems, processes, programs.

4) Revisit job descriptions...

Continue reading this post over on Tech Cocktail.

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Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce strategy that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

 

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Recruiters, Why Don't We Scrum More?

Timely. Detailed. Manager. Feedback.

When you read that, you have one of two likely reactions. They are probably either "I'm sorry, what did you say? Was that English?" or "Oh, you mean when a manager says 'hmmm, Not a fit'". Let's face it, regardless of whether you are an internal or external recruiter, getting timely and detailed feedback and information is usually a challenge. Feedback and a solid heads up can very much resemble the purple squirrel we're all always in search of. So what can we do? We're all at the mercy of the hiring manager who makes the final call, right? Well, what if we turned the feedback model on it's head?

Many of you who recruit for technical and/or engineering roles are familiar with the Scrum development methodology. Not familiar? NO PROBLEM. It's not just for engineers! Scrum is a methodology that incorporates the idea of fast development cycles, frequent releases and quick stand-ups versus long, drawn out, "Death by Powerpoint" meetings. Hmm, maybe the developers are on to something here.

If we start to think and work like the client teams we're supporting, there's a greater chance of success of us getting what we need. For our purposes, let's focus on the quick standup here. Consider these outcomes as part of moving toward a more Scrum mentality when working with hiring managers:

Quicker Feedback

By scheduling 10-15 minute stand-ups on the books with hiring managers, you can get detailed feedback on phone interviews, submitted candidates, and any tweaks they want to make to the profile in real time. Also, with their schedules, 10-15 minutes is easier than 30-60 minutes. Now you can get the info you need to pivot, or to keep the trains moving forward with candidates. And at the end of the day, quick feedback is an integral part of any candidate experience.

Work How They Work

Eternally, recruiters are trying to move to a model where they "have a seat at the table" so that they can be seen as business partners versus order takers. This is an ideal way to show that you get it. You understand how quick they need to move, and you want to work within those parameters.

Client Service & Personal Touch

Scrums are a much more effective way to have a personal touch point with your managers. Seeing their recruiter frequently helps build familiarity, and familiarity breeds trust. Respecting their time, and still getting what you need is a win-win for both sides. And let's be real.....no one reads emails. A harsh truth, but a truth nonetheless. And isn't 15 minutes talking better spent than say, 4 hours a week playing email tag?

Stay On Top Of The Needs

In addition to having your Scrum meeting with your managers, try to join in on a couple of the development scrums. Sure, most of what is discussed will not apply directly to recruiting. But during those meetings, occasionally the future needs are discussed, or they talk about where they are bottlenecked and may need additional heads. This my friends, is proactive recruiting at it's genesis. Again, it's part of building a sense of trust among not only the managers, but the team as well.

This might be most useful in the technical arena, but it can definitely be parlayed across multiple business units with some modifications. And, since we're all looking to show that we can help drive the business, this is a potentially helpful way to demonstrate that to you teams.

Have you incorporated this at your organization? I'd love to hear your take on this.

Here are a couple of fun takes on incorporating Scrum in your process:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oheekef7oJk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBKuYzqvZmI

 

Pete Radloff is a Lead Consultant with exaqueo. You can connect with Pete on Twitter.

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exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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The Value of Local Learning: RecruitDC

imagesRegardless of the business you're in, learning has to be a regular part of your routine. Otherwise you miss technology, innovation and quite simply, what's happening all around you. It's one thing to engage in online content, but another to hear it live, engage, ask questions and hear what others think about what you just heard.  But while conferences have value well beyond our online selves, they're often overwhelming or hard to navigate. That's where local comes in. Every locale, every geography has its own set of challenges that make doing business there hard. And DC is no different. Besides the government shutdown, (the small issue you might have heard about on the news), the uniquenesses about where I live and work most days play heavily into how I do business.  While understanding what global colleagues face is important, it's often more productive and easier to learn here at home.

Case in point: if you're a recruiter or recruiting leader here in DC, your candidates have a different combination of challenges than they might somewhere else. Commute + security clearances + transience. Oh, and did I mention income? Six of the ten wealthiest counties* in the United States are in the DC-metro area. Consider how that impacts your compensation strategy. And that's why local learning matters and why I'm proud to be a part of RecruitDC.

A local, grassroots conference, RecruitDC takes universal challenges local. And this Fall is no different. Our sell-out conferences (2x a year) highlight the classic needs talent leaders face here.  November's event will feature big data, mobile recruiting and building influence and trust on the job. If you're a local HR leader, it's a can't-miss event. So the next time you're creating your professional development plan and trying to learn on a small budget, think local!

And if you're local to DC, I hope you'll join me on November 14. Grab your tickets before they sell-out!

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*The latest Census data puts the top five median incomes by county as DC-area counties. I'd show you the data of their latest study but it's not available because of...you guessed it, the government shutdown.

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exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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5 Reasons Recruiting Is Like Dating

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 2.19.58 PMThere's a great scene in Sex and the City where Charlotte proclaims she's exhausted with dating. Constantly trying to find "the one" is tiring. And while there's no real limit on the time we can take to find the right spouse or partner, if you're a recruiter, you don't have the luxury of taking your time. The proverbial clock is always ticking. It's a constant game of matchmaking and starting over again. Sometimes a good metaphor can be the best training. So when founders, new CEOs or leaders in growing companies toil over hiring, I encourage them to think about it like dating. It makes it easier to understand the struggle, the exhaustion and the hilarity of it all.

Here are five ways recruiting is like dating and the accompanying lessons you can learn.

1. Good looks only get you so far

When you're across a room or a bar, you need a reason to approach. And attraction is often it. But once the target opens his/her mouth, it could be all over.  Or, maybe the good looks carry for a few months before you realize you can't stand to be in the same company as him/her. Sometimes it takes a little time to figure it out. But when you do, you know it, and you wonder why it took you so long.

Lesson: A great resume doesn't mean anything without a conversation. Credentials may get your attention but they won't (and shouldn't) keep it.

2. A little feedback goes a long way

Ah, the relationship that ends for no reason. Or at least you have no idea what the reason was. A few great dates, flirty conversations and then bam. Suddenly, you get a thanks but no thanks text, email or post-it note with no other explanation. Hours upon of hours of Sunday brunches and girls' nights are spent discussing the "why" factor.  Most of us aren't interested in begging for a relationship life jacket, we just want to know why.

Lesson: You don't need to write candidates a long rejection letter, but at least share a snippet of clarity around why they weren't selected. No one ever wants to swim in an unknown ocean of self-doubt. A quick plunge is easier to recover from and then you can adjust your search strategy next time.

3. You can't ever have it all...

I'm a well known neat freak. I obsess over the Container Store and am known to often exclaim "everything has its place!" when referring to my home. My husband on the other hand...not so much. But six months into the relationship I decided that didn't matter.  All of the amazing things about him outweighed his inability to be able to help his clothes find their way into dresser drawers. It's not that we don't find ways to um, manage this drawback, but there are so many other awesome things about him. (And yes, I know. He can hate my neatness too).

Lesson: a long laundry list of must haves in a job description means it might take a long time to find the one. Consider what you're willing to give up to fill the role sooner rather than later.

4. ...but, being specific is always better

Sure you can't have everything, but having some clarity about what you must have is key, right? If you're asked "what's your type?" and your answer is vague, those blind dates are going to have a low success rate. Sure, your roommate can find you a 5'6" blonde who likes sports. But how does she react in public at the game when the ref makes a bad call? You'll yell "that's my girl" or slunk down so no one sees you.

Lesson: Fit is everything. Be clear on the criteria that are non-negotiable and actually influence performance. Do you need someone in your newsroom who can handle pressure. Absolutely. Is it crucial they also have a ten years of experience in the industry? Maybe not.

5. The honeymoon period eventually ends

Ah, the blissful six months when your new infatuation can't do anything wrong. And then she has a meltdown or you find out about the ex-girlfriend he might still have feelings for or he looks at other guys in a way you had never noticed before. Perfection fades and reality sets in. And how you handle reality is the real test of long-lasting bliss.

Lesson: Everyone is on their best behavior in the beginning--from interview to week one on the job. So ask about a candidate's worst qualities, how he handled failure or what he thinks of the worst parts of the job he's applying for. Get the reality on the table up front.

Whether you're on the market or blissfully settled down, it's all about information, communication and being clear. You don't need a self-help book, just a real, honest assessment of what you want and need. And then say it.

We're the ones that have to save ourselves.

http://youtu.be/-JVeFRRLdAc

 

exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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Caring About Employees Isn't a Talent Strategy

Almost every founder has the same mentality: talent can make or break your business. From finding the best talent to maintaining a strong culture, founders regularly wax poetic about how much they care about their people and their culture. We all know that people and culture matter. The real question is what are you doing about it? 

Founders and leadership teams talk culture and people but rarely have an actual strategy in place.  They’ve got values, cool perks, and equity packages to offer.  But ask what the strategy is, and they fall silent.

Let me be clear: caring about employees isn’t a talent strategy. Imagine if you rolled out new product features just because you thought they’d make your users happy. Engineers everywhere know there has to be a roadmap.  You don’t add new features to make users happy if they’re not part of a plan to grow your user base or you know they’ll be outdated in six months.  Product development conversations are tied to revenue, growth and vision.

So why don’t startup leaders think about talent in the same way? Founders and investors don’t know how. But when they do, it changes everything.

Enter Dan Berger, CEO of Social Tables. Unlike most founders, Dan has both work experience in HR and has sought out mentors with HR experience. He uses terms like “hiring yield” and “employer of choice” regularly in conversation. More importantly, he doesn’t just care about his employees and culture. He can answer the question, “What are you doing about it?”

Social Tables is putting rigor into their hiring process. They’re starting to track employee satisfaction and aligning business goals directly with individual employee performance. They’re building out a competency model for their sales team so they can hire, coach and develop around specific success drivers.

Sound too corporate? Too formal? Too focused for a startup that should be spending time on product and growth. Try again and ...

Read the rest of this post over on Tech Cocktail.

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This post originally appeared on TechCocktail written by Susan LaMotte, the founder of exaqueo. A workforce consultancy, exaqueo helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Forget Millenials, It's All About the Baby Boomers

In 2007, the unemployment rate was just 4.6%, we'd just begun to talk about millenials and the major workforce concern was the aging boomers getting ready to retire. Enter the recession. Boomers everywhere started going back to work as they struggled to make ends meet. That was just the beginning. Older workers have struggled--and continue to struggle with both finding work and getting laid off. Yes, there are laws to protect older workers, but more importantly, when you ignore the value of older workers, you're missing out. NYAMAs recruiting and talent leaders we spend an incredible amount of time focusing on affinity groups based on gender, ethnicity and veteran status.  We can't stop talking about millenials. And diversifying our workforce is exceptionally important. But why have we forgotten about older workers? And why do we think that they can't add value in our innovative, technologically forward workplaces?

They can. But you have to be part of the solution.

First, look at the value that older workers bring. Sure, they may need some technology training, but they're mature, have a strong work ethic and don't expect a promotion every six months.

Second, create programs to help attract and support older workers just like you do for every other affinity group. And get recognized for it.  For example, in New York City, over 700,000 workers are over 55.  And employers based there can get rewarded for supporting them through the New York Academy of Medicine's Age Smart Employer Awards.

“Today, 700,000 of New York City’s workers are over 55 and they hold a disproportionate percentage of jobs that support the sectors and industries that drive NYC’s economy,” according to Nancy Ploeger, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. “It is important for New York businesses to plan for population aging and to take action to enhance the contributions of older workers as a key competitive advantage. NYAM’s Age Smart Employer Awards will rightly recognize those organizations who are leading the way to use every employee’s best abilities.”

You can also check out AARP's Best Employers for Workers over 50 and learn how they have benefited from hiring mature workers.

I know firsthand how hard it is for older workers to find a job--I helped my Dad through a job search when he was forced into retirement and it killed me to watch the bias. So look at your data, your surveys, your reports. Are you making a conscious effort to recruit and support older workers in the workplace? These are your parents and grandparents.

 

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exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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5 Ways to Save Money on Your Hiring Strategy Now

Ask your average corporate recruiter, and they’ll scoff at startups having trouble hiring great talent. But what they don’t realize is the numerous obstacles that face growing companies when it comes to hiring the best people. Startups are burdened by a lack of time to devote to the hiring process. And in many cities, they often have trouble finding highly skilled technical talent willing to take a risk and join a startup – even one with incredible potential.

Plus, it’s really hard to compete against big, local brands offering higher pay, fewer hours, and better benefits. And technical talent often prefer the flexibility of freelance roles where they can manage time, costs, and the type of projects they work on.

Startups often turn to headhunters in desperation. But there’s one problem: headhunters cost an arm and a leg. Specifically 15-30 percent+ of the new hire’s salary. For a developer, that can run more than $10,000 or more based on the level and the city. Plus they aren’t always looking out for the startup’s best interests. They want to make the placement and get the cash. They’re not incented to care about long-term fit or performance.

Instead of passing the buck and sucking up the contingency fees, there are cheaper and easier ways to find the talent you need:

1. Hire an Internal Recruiter or Two

If you’re going to hire at least two people in the next 12 months, it’s a worthwhile investment based on what you’ll spend for a headhunter. It takes the burden of managing the process off of the leadership team, and the recruiters can also begin to help you manage the team and growth.

2. Use Sourcing Tools and Searches

Forget expensive job boards. Use your current developers to use unique search strings and do some advanced online searching for candidates you wouldn’t find otherwise. For example, one of Facebook’s best engineers came from a small, no-name web shop in Maine who wouldn’t have been found locally.

Or, make a small investment in a tool like RemarkableHire that combs niche tech sites like StackOverflow and Dribbble to find actual evidence of performance and tech knowledge rather than the self-professed Hadoop expert you find on LinkedIn.

3. Get the Whole Team Involved

This isn’t an employee referral contest. Require team members to participate in the search for every new hire and offer up three candidates for each open position...Read More Over on TechCocktail.

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This post originally appeared on TechCocktail written by Susan LaMotte, the founder of exaqueo. A human resources consultancy, exaqueo helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Recruiting in the Relationship Economy

This post originally appeared on Talemetry's Blog Talemetry Today. Advertise job, receive resume, email candidate, process offer — our recruiting processes have become more transactional than ever. That’s not a bad thing! We have more tools than ever to source, track and manage candidate, and that technology has made life as a recruiter more productive and efficient.

But as technology has sped up the process, candidates are clamoring for attention. They want more interaction and engagement. They want to connect with the people behind the company. And companies are answering.

The best companies are paying close attention to how they can improve the candidate experience, by emphasizing relationships rather than transactions. There’s even an award devoted to recognizing those who deliver candidate experience exceptionally well: the CandEs.

It’s a new relationship economy. Are your recruiters ready?

In this new relationship economy, we’re relying on networking more than ever. We’ve evolved from tracking resumes to proactively sourcing candidates and researching how they behave and participate in networks.

We’re building talent communities that require actual engagement with candidates. We’re conducting video interviews and hosting live career chats, and that requires more interaction from brand ambassadors, hiring managers and recruiters.

eHarmony is even getting into the game, using their match technology in a job board: “Technology company seeks engineers for long walks on the beach.” Imagine what that email exchange might look like.

This is changing the role the recruiter plays. The opportunity to hide behind process is gone. No longer can recruiters simply follow a phone screen script or negotiate an offer by playing middleman with the hiring manager. It’s all about deep engagement.

Specifically, we’re talking about three key engagement levers: information, access and personalization.

A careers site or booth at a careers fair was once all you needed. Now candidates want more. They want more information about the job, the company’s vision, the products, the compensation, and their potential office space. They want every piece of information they can get to make a decision. And who can blame them? We’ve been groomed in business to believe that data drives good decisions.

Developments in technology means candidates can find out more easily who does what in your company, the careers they’ve had and the work they do. They want access to their future boss, team members and executives. They want to be able to talk to them directly, ask questions and understand their day-to-day work, politics and potential.

With information and access comes a feeling of me, me, me. Candidates only make a limited number of job changes in a lifetime. So their job search is a deeply personal, high-priority item and they’re demanding attention. And that attention comes in the way of personalization—make the job seeker feel like you’re catering to their individual needs and wants. Make them feel special.

All of this means recruiters need a new set of skills and behaviors to keep up.

First, they have to be the company librarian—they have to really know what’s happening. They have to be on top of company trends and innovations. They have to be the press secretary — speaking on behalf of their leaders and the company in a way they never have before.

Recruiters also have to be the best networkers in your company—internally. They have to be the connected beyond the coffee machine to all levels of professionals in the company at all locations. If a candidate has a specific question or wants to connect with a specific person in a remote function, the recruiter can’t be making an internal cold call. He has to already have the relationship–and the permission—to make the connection.

Finally, recruiters have to get better at unearthing detail about candidates beyond sourcing and profile review. They have to be able to pick up cues on a candidate’s interests, hobbies, or personal details from conversations and regularly use them to customize the experience. From onboarding and welcome gifts to recognizing special days and family needs, these individual touches matter to candidates. Imagine receiving a personalized offer package catered just to you, your family and your interests.

The technology is there to support this shift. Like marketers, recruiters can take advantage of data mining software to comb customer profiles, networks and reviews for social cues and ways to cater to individual needs. Applying this level of personal research to candidate data and employer brand will mean recruiters become anthropologists and psychologists—well beyond the skills they have now.

So what type of development are you providing?

The same conferences, sourcing seminars or process training? Or are you looking at the future and the skills your recruiters need now and 10 years from now.

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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Why Hiring the Best Can Make Your Company Fail

I once had a very successful startup founder say to me, “I don’t get it. I hired all of the smartest people I could find. And they all hate each other now.” There’s a clear path to startup success: killer idea, strong funding, high growth, impressive valuation. But many startup founders get to that point and finally turn around and look at the company they’ve built with disappointment. The culture’s not there. Teamwork’s sorely lacking. And debates are getting more heated and more personal.

Your problem is that you’ve hired too many good people.

Founders often hire to one principle: get me the best. They want the programmer or developer with incredibly mad skills. The ones who are sought after by bigger, more established startups. The ones who are so good at what they do, founders let everything else slide.

There’s a risky proposition to hiring stars...read more of my post over on Tech Cocktail.

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This post originally appeared on TechCocktail written by Susan LaMotte, the founder of exaqueo. A human resources consultancy, exaqueo helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

 

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How to Hire for a Startup

How to Hire for a StartupIt's a pivotal moment, really. The point when you finally hit the magic budget number and you can add to your startup team. But chances are you have no idea how to hire. No offense, but it's true. Sure, you've worked in companies before and added to your team. You've interviewed before. How hard can it be? Talent is one of the biggest challenges in startups -- and most of us know how much it matters but we don't make any effort to learn how to hire for a startup.

Hiring can be one of the most important -- and oft overlooked parts -- of any startup or high-growth business. It seems easy: write a job description, post it and wait for the masses to apply. Interviews are just conversations and offers are easy. Who wouldn't want to work for you?  But, there's so much more to it, and as a leader, it's your duty to know the major aspects of your business -- especially before you're able to hire all of the experts in sales, marketing, finance, product development, engineering, etc. You may still be doing some of that on your own.

And recruiting? Well, sure, you can farm it out to an agency. But if talent is one of the most important ingredients to your growth, don't you want to own the process (and save money)?

Here's how to hire for a startup:

Know the Legal Basics

It's really important to know what laws apply to you before hiring. There are federal and state laws (depending on where your company is based), laws that apply to companies based on size and those that apply to companies with federal contracts.

You also can't discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Some states also laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.  A basic legal immersion for you and your leadership team can help to minimize risk.

Understand Your Finances

Can you afford that next hire or hires? You don't know until you really run the numbers.

You need to have a good sense of fair market value for compensation (see the "Know the Numbers" section in this post I wrote for The Daily Muse), and then add 20%. You're not paying them more, but an employee typically costs about 20% more than their salary once you factor in additional costs, such as benefits, taxes and insurance.

Budget first before jumping to post that job description.

Be Clear About Roles

Speaking of job descriptions, you may be eager to share how cool your startup is, and how much fun the team has together. That's all good, but what really matters is the jobs themselves.

Candidates want to know what they'll be doing and what a typical day might look like.  You don't have to describe every specific task but even if the role has some ambiguity, spell out major responsibilities so expectations are clear. The best job descriptions include responsibilities, behaviors (how the successful candidate might behave or handle certain situations), what the company culture is like (strengths and weaknesses), and future prospects for both the position and the company.

It may be tempting to get cheeky or creative, but don't do it at the expense of the job itself. Otherwise you'll be wading through hundreds of resumes attracted to the cheeky instead of the work -- many of whom won't be qualified.

Create a Defined Hiring Process

What are the steps in your hiring process? It's important to be clear, define each step and the desired outcome. If you're doing phone screens, what are you hoping to learn in order to determine who moves forward?

Don't let interviewers ask whatever they want either. Have a set of questions that clearly gets at the job itself -- both skills (Do candidates have the level of programming proficiency they claim?) and behaviors (When a crisis happens the day before a major launch, how would they handle it?).

It's important to ensure that you never ask any questions that address:  arrest records, garnishment records, marital status, child-care provisions, pregnancy or plans for future childbearing, physical or mental disabilities, age, nationality, race or ancestry.

And ask similar questions of all candidates so you can compare them fairly.

Create Clear Rules for Selection

I once had a startup leader tell me she hires with her gut. Don't do that, ever. It's risky, unfair and leads to bad-fit decisions.

Instead, have a defined set of criteria to determine who moves forward in the hiring process and why. Compare candidates to that set of criteria rather than to each other. Who's the better fit?

And if you're doing background or reference checks as part of the hiring process, make sure you get permission from the candidates to do so.

Ask for Help, But Don't Pass Off Responsibility

You've got an accountant to do your taxes, programmers to make sure your product launches successfully and a sales manager to drive revenue. Why are you trying to create a recruiting strategy alone?

It's not to say you can't recruit yourself -- you CAN. But get some guidance and advice to create a hiring process that works for your business and your market.

On the flip side, don't just hand off the process to an outside agency. This is YOUR company. You have to have a vested interest in the process and a long-term stake in the game. Agencies can be expensive, and it's hard for them to really get to know your business.

Want more help and guidance on this topic or a list of laws to consider? Contact us and we're happy to help.

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

 

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