3 questions to ask a hiring manager to find out if a company really values its workers

By Stacy Bolger

Many companies brand themselves as “employee-first.” But it’s hard for a job candidate to know if their potential employer will deliver on that promise.

Employee-first means much more than just having high ratings on Glassdoor or photos of fun company events on Instagram. It means the organization appreciates that employees are human beings with diverse goals and needs, some of which they’re achieving in their professional careers and some of which they’re pursuing outside of work (think family time, hobbies, and fitness goals, for example).

An employee-first organization aims to help employees integrate and thrive in both work and life by always considering the whole person, rather than reflexively enforcing one-size-fits-all policies.

This attitude must start at the top, with leaders who include employee experience among their performance goals and invest in ongoing training for managers about the practical application of employee-first values in the workplace.

That’s a lot for a job candidate to suss out and you usually can’t tell how an organization treats its employees from a job listing. The job interview is likely your best opportunity to determine where a potential employer’s priorities really lie—if you ask the right questions.

Your first clue about the company’s priorities will come before the interview itself. An employee-first organization understands that applicants invest a great deal of time and energy in their applications and may be waiting on pins and needles for the company’s response. They’ll reply promptly to your application and set an interview time quickly—or alert you that they’re not choosing to advance you as a candidate.

The interview itself should be a two-way exchange, where you get to learn about the company as much as they learn about you. If and when you get an opportunity to ask the hiring manager some questions, be sure to ask:

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Hiring in 2020

Recruiting and interviewing during the COVID-19 crisis with the stay-at-home order, remote interviewing has become a requirement, not a luxury. Tech tools for hiring such as Zoom, Skype and Go-to-Meeting, have been a boon to remote job interviews. Seeing the candidate is so much better than just interviewing them by phone. However, remote interviews can be more troublesome than in-person interviews.

We had the opportunity to tap into our network of professionals on both the corporate side (looking to hire the talent) and candidate side (the talent for new opportunities) to get their input and thoughts around new issues and processes that they have encountered – and how to improve the remote interview experience.

From the corporate side:

  • You want to show all potential candidates that just because the interview is remote, it is no less professional than if you were to meet face-to-face.
  • Introduce your company culture; your candidates might not have the opportunity to see your office and meet your team. Or maybe you don’t even have an office. So make sure candidates don’t miss out on finding out all about you.
  • Communicate the interview details when remote interviewing.  It is better to over-communicate: this may be your hundredth remote interview, but for the candidate it might be their first and the tools you’re using might be new to them.

From the candidate side:

  • Get to know your video platform beforehand. These days, a lot of different video platforms require a myriad of account sign-ups, app downloads, or permissions on your device.
  • Don’t just dress for where the camera can see. Professional dress codes are expected in video interviews. The best way to guarantee your confidence and seriousness in the conversation is to dress the part.
  • Hiring managers are drawn to candidates that show up curious, so come prepared with a list of questions that will prove you’ve done your research.
  • Control your environment. In addition to properly preparing for your job interview, you have the added challenge of preparing the right space within your home for this important meeting. Find a spot in your home that’s quiet, clutter-free, and well-lit. Download any necessary software or updates ahead of time and test the equipment with a friend to ensure your lighting, audio volume, and the positioning of your camera is just right.

 

 

Hiring in 2020 from your perspective

With the pandemic, the traditional face-to-face interview was suddenly replaced with video conferencing using tools such as Zoom, Skype and Go-to Meeting– leaving many in the interview space scrambling to figure out how to best assess candidates in an entirely new way.

Since everyone is adapting and learning in real time, we thought it would be helpful to crowd source ideas for improvement from our network of professionals. We can all benefit from understanding the challenges you have faced and the actions you have taken to foster improvement around interviewing.

Below are questions to consider. Please feel free to choose from them and/or contribute your own thoughts and insights.

For Hiring Managers

  • What steps have you taken to transition interviewing to a virtual environment?
  • What have you done to set the stage for professionalism in a virtual interview?
  • How have you conveyed the company culture when candidates don’t have the opportunity to see your office and meet your team?
  • How have you made it comfortable for candidates to be their best selves virtually, especially if they are unfamiliar with your conferencing tool of choice?
  • What have you learned by doing virtual interviews? What tips can you offer?

For Candidates

  • What steps have you taken to understand the company that you didn’t need to do for a face-to-face interview?
  • What tips on dressing can you offer to ensure you and your environment reflects a professional image?
  • What have you learned by doing virtual interviews? What tips can you offer?

Many thanks in advance for your contributions and please let us know if you would or would not like us to use your name in our published report.

Thank you in advance for your time and contribution to our blog. We will send you a link when we have compiled the results.

Please email us:

Larry Janis janis@issg.net

Jeff Bruckner bruckner@issg.net

Integrated Search Solutions Group

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6 tips for remote hiring success

By Sarah K. White

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only shaken up business as usual, sending large portions of the workforce to work from home, it’s also pushed companies to hire from home. Recruiters and hiring managers are now faced with the task of vetting candidates remotely, a challenging prospect for many organizations and roles, especially for technical interviews or for establishing a culture fit. While there are obstacles to this “new normal,” some companies have found positives in the new hiring process.

If your company is one of the many that will be hiring virtually, even temporarily, moving forward, here are six tips to help smooth the transition and ensure a strong candidate fit.

Bring structure to the process

Jocelyn Lai, director of talent acquisition at Duolingo, says her team had just 24 hours to completely revolutionize the company’s hiring process after the COVID-19 lock downs went into effect. Part of that included building out a structured process for recruiters and candidates to follow while the company continued to ramp up hiring.

Lai recommends establishing a quick guide for instructing candidates on how to run through their video and sound equipment ahead of time in case there are any compatibility issues and to give them a general sense of what to expect. The same goes for your recruiters, she says. Make sure everyone is using the same video conferencing software, that they have all the resources for quality video calls and that they are trained on any software or services you may use to conduct any technical interviews.

Bringing structure to the process not only helps your recruiters be effective, but it also alleviates potential added stress on candidates. Candidates may feel more anxious or stressed about a virtual interview, especially if they are new to the process. By “over communicating” with candidates, you can help them feel at ease, which will help avoid any potential performance issues during the interview, Lai says.

Re imagine the technical interview

Technical interviews can pose a unique challenge during the virtual hiring process. Engineers who are used to using physical white boards for technical interviews may have to embrace Google Docs or a third-party service such as HackerRank or CodeSignal. It’s important to take into account any potential limitations of your setup — and to consider giving candidates a chance for a do-over if they’re new to virtual technical interviews. Let candidates know in advance how you plan to conduct technical interviews — again, communication is key in helping ease anxiety and to get the best out of your candidate.

Embrace a new pace

While the current situation isn’t ideal, plenty of companies are finding positives in this new employment landscape. Orkideh Shahidi, vice president of people operations at SADA Systems, says her team had already conducted some virtual interviews prior to the lock downs, but the company’s recruitment process has now moved entirely online due to Covid-19.

One benefit Shahidi has noticed is that, with recruiters and candidates working from home, recruiters are no longer vying for meeting rooms or conference lines, and candidates also have more availability. More over, SADA hiring managers no longer have to wait weeks to schedule time to fly a candidate in for an in-person interview if they’re in another state or country.

“Candidates don’t need to rush to their cars to take a call and we don’t have to wait for them to take a day off to fly over here. It makes the interview process and the hiring process a lot faster,” says Shahidi.

Adjust your outlook on perks

Perks and benefits are big draws for tech candidates. Tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Google are well known for in-office perks such as unique working spaces, healthy snacks, free meals, on-site gyms and roof decks.

With new hires likely working from home for the foreseeable future, however, these perks are off the table, Lai says. If your organization leans on these perks to sway talent, you’ll need to find other ways to get candidates engaged in your corporate culture.

“Once you remove the perks, there is nothing to stand on, so it’s all about authenticity now. Now there’s another bar that companies have to hit in terms of candidate experience and it’s that authenticity piece because you have nothing to hide behind,” says Lai.

Source: CIO Magazine

How Do You Know If You Have The Right Talent To Be Positioned For Success?

by Larry Janis

Having the right talent in the right roles is essential for a successful business strategy. Strategy execution demands a thorough evaluation of not only people, but also of their roles and responsibilities, their impact and their alignment with the company’s business goals.

Corporate leadership and business leaders focused on strategy execution need a talent assessment program that functions as an extension of their strategy planning that addresses the following thoughts and processes:

  • An understanding of the talent implications associated with the strategy. Without this context, talent reviews may provide a false sense of security and lead to misaligned, well intended talent plans that actually work against the strategy.
  • Differentiation between important and critical roles. The successful execution of strategy requires talented people, more importantly talented people in the right roles. Without clear differentiation the people most likely to positively impact strategy may be in the wrong roles or not in the organization at all!
  • A facilitated talent discussion that evaluates talent in an integrated manner; standardizes the organizations’ talent “language” and calibrates talent between divisions, departments and teams.
  • A talent map that summarizes the organization’s talent “picture” in a simple, powerful format. The talent map can be easily referenced for future planned, or unplanned talent decisions.
  • A talent plan that captures the key talent actions required to support the strategy; assigns accountability for completion; encourages all leaders to accept responsibility for the organization talent pool; and provides a mechanism for tracking progress.
  • A partnership with an external recruitment firm that has a solid knowledge of your industry, your competitors and has the ability to react in a timely fashion to acquire the talent you have defined as essential to your business goals.

When planning changes to your staff, consider the following timing considerations:

  • Bringing in someone from the outside to fill a role lacking the talent required for a business initiative would typically takes four to six months.
  • Add in the time for onboarding, learning how your firm does things and understanding the capabilities of your firm: your talent acquisition time frame may extend upwards of one year for your new hire to be fully engaged and productive.
  • If your company operates in a competitive industry, factor in additional time to work through thinned out talent pool: your key competitors are likely seeking the talent they need to drive their businesses to the next level.

Talent processes linked to business strategies offer a considerable competitive advantage. Streamlining the implementation of the timeline, understanding the talent implications of your strategy and recognizing the talents you have and don’t have are critical to successful strategy implementation and differentiating your organization from the competition.