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If you’ve ever interviewed anyone, you know that the focus is usually about how the candidate is perceived by the interviewer, but have you ever thought about what the candidate thinks of you? Well, it’s a great starting point to evaluate your employee engagement. The reality is that a smooth, appealing candidate experience from the onset of your relationships can make or break new employee engagement. And while there are many ways to bolster candidate and employee engagement, a great place to start is as simple as rolling all features of the talent acquisition process together into what’s called an end-to-end recruiting framework. The best practice is to combine employer branding, candidate sourcing, recruitment advertising, career portals, hiring, and onboarding into one process. As a complete system, end-to-end talent acquisition shows candidates, and new hires, that their engagement, readiness, and overall experiences are top of mind, and it all starts with the ‘pre-hello.’

The concept of the ‘pre-hello’ is to connect with candidates before they find you. It’s fairly simple and can truly be a game changer when used effectively. It starts at the very beginning, and the goal is to provide them with a strong, unified experience that will continue throughout the employee’s career. Businesses that incorporate the ‘pre-hello’ strengthen the candidate experience and help forge a strong, lasting relationship. The ‘pre-hello’ can be different for every company, but there are some elements that should remain the same for all: a candidate-friendly career portal, accessible, approachable advertising, and a quality pre-boarding program.

More than half of companies cite the need to engage new hires in company culture as the top pressure influencing their onboarding efforts. Employees are more likely to stay at their place of employment if they are engaged; however, they need a reason to stay. That’s why it is so important for employees to feel connected to the business from the start. By establishing strong relationships with candidates from the onset, companies give their new talent a clear look into what they can expect from their employer. It gives them an opportunity to interact with future colleagues, to better grasp future day-to-day activities, and what to expect from their new employer to ensure they are ready to contribute from the very first day. If your new employees don’t feel engaged from the beginning, what’s to say they don’t leave altogether? After all, 90% of businesses believe that employees make their decision to stay within the first year.

Hang on to top talent within your organization by starting your relationship with candidates on the right foot forward. Join me on November 5th at 2pm EST to find out more the ‘pre-hello,’ why an end-to-end talent acquisition framework is a necessity, and how leave a lasting impression.

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Each year, the iCIMS crew heads out to the HR Technology Conference to network and meet with thousands of HR Professionals from all over the world. Attending a trade show of this size provides several benefits for an organization, everything from the branding exposure to top sales opportunities. On my back from the conference this year, I noticed the same benefits are true for attending recruitment events. Here are some easy-to-use tips that your team can put into action to help stand out in the crowd.

Give Them Something to Talk About

At HR Technology, everywhere you look, people are posting pictures to Instagram, tweeting out facts from interesting sessions, and keeping the event alive on social media. The same holds true at recruitment events. Always be sure to ask the career fair coordinator if there is a specific hashtag that you should be using at the event – if not, make one up! Or you can use the school’s name to promote. This way, people following the school will see your company participating in the conversation on social media, furthering your reach.

Being active on social media is important, but be sure to keep the messages engaging and give people something to get excited about. Just telling students to stop by your booth may not be enough, let them know what you have to offer them and why they should spend their time with you.

Another way of winning the social media game, is to offer a really creative and fun giveaway that will get attendees talking for you! Here at iCIMS, we were excited to give the HR Technology attendees a ‘Suite Dreams’ room drop package – complete with fuzzy Ike slippers and a sleep mask! People were thrilled with the gift and shared their excitement on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Giving away some fun, creative promotional items to students can provide the same results at recruitment events.

Express Your Culture … Creatively

Many organizations hand out flyers or folders at college fairs that may say what a great place their company is – but showing them first hand is much more valuable. At HR Technology, some vendors used their booth atmosphere to mimic aspects of their corporate culture such as ditching the business wear and having team members wear their jeans and sneakers to demonstrate their casual dress code at work. This helps your company stand out, and gives booth attendees an idea of what it’s like to work at your company – just by passing by the booth. 

This tip can easily be used at recruitment events to physically show potential candidates what type of organization they could work for. For example, if a perk at your company is free healthy snacks to employees, you can fill your table with fruits and granola bars for students to snack on. If you have a strong community focus around green initiatives – perhaps you can have small plants on your table to hand out to students when they come to learn about your organization. These are all ways to stand out by showing your company culture, rather than just writing it in a pamphlet.

Get Digital

Walking through the aisles of HR Technology, digital devices are EVERYWHERE. Whether it’s iPads, monitors, video walls, or interactive touch screens – every booth is showcasing their products on screen.

Basically paper is becoming obsolete at these events – people don’t even bring business cards anymore! All information is collected through electronic scanners and other devices so that attendees don’t need to worry about bringing anything with them.

This is a trend that is also present at recruitment events by using mobile-optimized recruitment marketing automation tools which are used to collect students’ information. Companies with monitors or iPads are much more likely to get attention from students, than booths with flyers and a stack of resumes. Giving students a way to electronically submit their resumes, shows that your company is up-to-date with technology and the student will appreciate not having to carry a stack of paper resumes around with them. Additionally, it creates a pool of candidates for recruiters to engage with after the career fair. By having the candidates’ information already imported in a recruitment marketing automation tool, recruiters can easily send email communications and keep interested candidates updated on company news, job openings, and more.

These are just a few ways for your organization to stand out at upcoming recruitment fairs. What other strategies are you using to achieve success at your events?

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During my post college job search, one of the most effective networking strategies I utilized was the informational interview. For those unfamiliar with this term, an informational interview is a candidate’s conversation with an employee that serves as a way to get their foot in the door. The catch? The candidate is not vying for a specific job requisition which can make this conversation a little tricky.

After understanding what the informational interview entails, many current job seekers may see it as a waste of time. What’s the point of going on an interview when there isn’t a specific role attached? It’s a fair question, one that I even asked myself prior to my first informational interview experience. But once I opened myself up to the process, I was able to understand how valuable it was in establishing connections and showcasing my abilities outside of my resume and cover letter.

The informational interview is a great networking tool for anybody, but is especially valuable for someone looking for a new job or career transition. Here are three reasons why you should include informational interviews in your job searching strategy. 

It Gets You Out of the Resume Black Hole

Any former or current job seeker will tell you that the most irritating part about their search is the “resume back hole”, a common term used for a candidate’s resume getting lost amongst the many applications.  Many talent acquisition professionals are looking for different ways to rectify this problem. In the meantime, job seekers can utilize informational interviews to give their application an edge over the other candidates contending for the same jobs.

Job seekers should also keep in mind that more than half of all available jobs are not being actively advertised. If this personal one-on-one conversation goes well, it could lead to an employee referral for a “secret job” or a job not open to the public. Remember the old saying: “it’s not what you know, but who you know.”

It Will Give You an Inside Look at a Company or Industry

Probably one of the biggest advantages of the informational interview is the opportunity to get to know a company or industry. This type of inside look is something that a quick web search cannot provide. If done right, candidates will not only get the scoop about a company’s culture or projects, but they will be able to receive guidance that may help them navigate the industry.

The two keys to a successful informational interview is thorough research and asking the right questions. Just like a regular job interview, candidates should spend time before the interview researching the company and the person they are interviewing with. Then, they should use this research to compile pointed questions. One of my personal favorite questions I’ve asked in previous informational interviews is “What do you like about the company and what is something you would like to see improve?” Many professionals I’ve interacted with loved that question because it gives them a chance to provide their own unique insight.

It Could Lead to a Potential Mentorship Opportunity

When I describe the informational interview to others, I like to call it “the building blocks to a professional relationship.” What’s important to remember is that this opportunity is just a starting point to a strong connection. If the informational interview is done right, meaning, there’s a mutual strong connection, it can lead to a mentorship. This tight-knit relationship can create big waves for a job seeker throughout the rest of their career.

As a professional who never had a mentor but always wanted one, I always give informational interviews my all, just like I would do with a regular job interview. More importantly, I always make sure I stay fresh in the person’s mind with a “pleasantly persistent” follow up strategy. So far, my informational interviews have given me a great network of go-to connections I can turn to for questions, information, or advice. Though I am still in the process of building stronger relationships with my connections, I have a few professionals in mind that I could inquire about a mentorship opportunity, and that’s all thanks to this simple exploratory conversation.

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Thirty years ago, employees weighed their job satisfaction based on vacation time, medical benefits, retirement plans, and salaries. All of those factors still matter today, but workplace perks have taken on a new meaning. The modern workforce is looking for more than general compensation, they want an atmosphere that will enhance their overall work experience and make the grind of the workday enjoyable. Recently, I joined our recruiting team at a college job fair and asked students what was important to them in their search for a career. Confirming my presumption, an overwhelming number expressed the importance of incentives and perks that extended beyond the salary. As an employer, the right perks go a long way in an effort to provide a positive work experience to the staff. In this blog, I discuss several successful endeavors that worked at my company, but I encourage each employer to seek the feedback of staff members in order to decide what perks are most beneficial at your organization.

Free Food Tastes Better

Here at iCIMS, we have an abundance of drinks, lunch, and snacks provided by the company for employees. We half-jokingly coined the phrase “The iCIMS 15”. Similar to freshmen year in college, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds between the pot lucks, lunch and learns, bagel Fridays, and other company events. These events feed more than just a hungry stomach — they promote a much-needed sense of community that ties departments together. For example, in my role, I rarely come into contact with our software developers. However, I still have a great working relationship with the team since we can easily stay in touch during frequent company events. Each month, the company provides a great opportunity to mix and collaborate with departments that may not interact together regularly.

A Workforce that Hoops Together, Stays Together

I once heard the phrase “I would never leave the company until we win a championship with the company basketball team.” Certainly an exaggerated statement, but the perks derived from a workplace team (soccer, softball, basketball, golf, etc.) do wonders for an organization. It brings a sense of comradery and teamwork to a company. In addition, these type of perks promote healthy lifestyles which is a win for all. Company sports teams also provide a unique way to showcase the brand to the community. At iCIMS, we have even seen it as a recruiting tool on occasion. For example, players on opposing teams become interested in a company with such a great culture, then research the company,  and end up applying.

Passionate Outreach Projects Do Wonders 

Our company vision promotes responsibility to our community and our environment. This can be exemplified with projects such as park clean-ups, community volunteering and fundraising. It’s so powerful to watch the collective workforce rally for a cause they believe in as a unit. When Hurricane Sandy devastated our area, iCIMS collected over $30,000 for the Raine Foundation. Through this endeavor, our team directly impacted the lives of struggling families in an immediate and obvious way. This proved not only to be an impactful way to support the community, but also provided each employee with a sense of gratitude and the opportunity to assist in a quick and meaningful manner.

Bring Your Kids to Work Day

Perhaps no single event can be more rewarding for employers than Bring Your Kids to Work Day.  The day provides a chance for an employee to have their workplace family meet their real family. Children get to see behind the curtain into where their parents go each day, what they do, and who they interact with. It’s a fun-filled day for all, and most importantly, it can bridge the delta between home-life and work-life in a positive and educational way.  

 

 

In summary, small steps can be taken with little or no cost that can provide tremendous benefit to your employees.  The benefits are endless as morale will improve, employee turnover will be reduced and you will have a happier & more productive workforce.  Most steps taken can be simple, inexpensive and easily deliverable.  We encourage you to develop an action plan with input from your employees to add some amazing perks that will be sure to take your organization to the next level.

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According to a survey conducted by GlassDoor, 89% of job-seeking respondents said they plan on using their mobile devices to help find employment. As a millennial, taking advantage of mobile technology when looking for your next, or first, job allows you to get more done in less time, and just might help you land a coveted position before someone else does. However, that's only true if you use the right strategy.

1. Safety First: Protect Your Mobile Search
Before you get started on your job search, make sure your device is protected, this way your important information used when completing job applications is safe. Create a password for your mobile device, if you don't already have one. To reduce the chances of identity thieves or hackers accessing your device remotely, install antivirus software. As a final step, make sure the remote wipe feature is enabled and that you know the procedure to quickly erase your device in the event it's lost or stolen.

Additionally, when applying for jobs, you may be asked to share sensitive information, like your social security number. Take mind to your internet source and avoid public wi-fi hotspots which can be vulnerable to criminals. The best practice is to use a secure internet source that you trust when applying for jobs on your mobile device, so your information is safe.

2. Download Apps of Preferred Job Listing Websites
If you're currently using Monster or CareerBuilder for your job search, be sure to download the mobile app. If you're using another job search website, as the saying goes, most likely, there's an app for that, as well. Other, more generic apps can be useful in your job search, too. Apploi, which takes advantage of the GPS features on your device, lets you locate job opportunities near you. Download JobJuice to prepare for interviews. And, Evernote Hello can help with business card management.

3. Include a Professional Email Signature
Go into your email provider's settings function and make sure you create a solid email signature for use on all job-related messages. Make it more descriptive and professional than the typical "Sent from my iPhone."

4. Set-Up Text or Email Notifications
Be sure to set up email or text notifications to receive alerts of newly posted jobs. This way, you can avoid having to check your mobile device repeatedly throughout the day, and you’ll be the first to know about new job postings for positions that may interest you.

Final Thoughts
The website TheLadders recently conducted a study claiming that if you wait longer than 72 hours to apply for a position after it's been posted on the Internet, the chances of your application even being viewed by an HR professional or hiring manager drop by roughly one-half. That's where your mobile device can come to the rescue. Start using it for your employment search today, and you just might get that dream job before you know it.

Do you know of any other ways millennials can use mobile technology in their job search?

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No doubt about it, the war for talent has begun. Companies are finding it more difficult to source qualified candidates. However, organizations are realizing that in order to keep applicant flow at acceptable levels, they need to do two things: 1) keep their employment brand visible and 2) create a candidate experience that is engaging.

The “candidate experience” is defined as the way a candidate perceives the hiring process. It’s different than candidate “service” which is what the company does to help a candidate. Service is a part of the candidate experience but, it doesn’t define it. Candidate service focuses on what the company does, and the candidate experience draws attention to what the candidate thinks.

Step 1: Create a Great Career Site.

Today’s candidates are doing research before they apply with an organization. They want to see what it’s like to work at the companies they’re considering applying to.  Having a strong and realistic employment brand tells candidates what the organization is all about. Penn National Gaming, a leader in the gaming and racing industries with over 25 facilities in the U.S. wants candidates to know that working at Penn National Gaming means “working happy.”

Once a company has a great career site, they need to optimize it. According to research conducted by DirectEmployers, Google has approximately 12 billion queries per month and over 330 million of them are job related. Unfortunately that old saying, “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t hold true when it comes to career sites. Career sites need to employ Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies so candidates can find them.

Step 2: Add Mobile and Social Integration.

According to Simply Hired, 86% of job seekers would use their mobile devices in the process … if they could. Candidates want to find, apply, and share job openings. Given the number of mobile devices today and how much time we spend using them, it only makes good business sense to engage with candidates on their mobile devices and social accounts.

Penn National Gaming gives candidates a way to connect on LinkedIn and Facebook, right from their career site homepage.

Step 3: Build Talent Networks.

Not everyone who visits a career site will want to apply immediately, but they may want to stay in touch with the organization for future opportunities. For example, if a candidate searches for a job on the Penn National Gaming career site and decides not to apply, they can still connect with the company and receive notices about other opportunities. This allows the company to stay in touch with the candidate and hopefully they will apply when the time is right for them – or share an opening with a friend, or maybe even both.

A positive candidate experience starts with the company’s career site. A well-thought out site gives people a good impression of the organization. It provides companies with a competitive advantage. These things translate into a reduced time-to-fill and lower cost-per-hire.

If you would like to hear the more about creating a world-class candidate experience, check out the archived webcast “Taking Your Company’s Candidate Experience to the Next Level”. Holly DeMuro, iCIMS Hire Expectations Institute Curator, and I share tips and examples you can implement in your organization. The program was approved for recertification credit by the Human Resources Certification Institute.

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Last night, a few friends and I watched Jumanji in honor of the late Robin Williams. According to the Netflix loading screen, this is what Jumanji is about:

Example 1: When two siblings discover an enchanted board game that’s a portal to a magical world, they meet a man who’s been trapped inside the game for years.

And … that’s it. After we finished the movie, I found a number of stronger alternatives, and realized what, in my opinion, was missing. My issue with the synopsis on the Netflix loading screen is that it completely neglects the emotional journey in the movie and doesn’t really give the viewer a reason to watch it. Consider the following alternative from the Netflix DVD page for Jumanji:

Example 2: When two siblings discover an enchanted board game that opens the door to a magical world, they unwittingly invite into their living room a man who's been trapped inside the game for 26 years -- and whose only hope for freedom is to finish the game.

The reader can tell from Example 2 that the core tension in the movie is the need to “finish the game.” This is what entices the viewer to watch the movie, and since the tension is completely absent from Example 1, the synopsis doesn’t really motivate the viewer to watch the film.

Why do I mention this in a blog related to talent acquisition? The same lesson is very important for both job seekers and hiring professionals, and it is related to the idea of the Elevator Pitch:

It’s not enough to tell people about yourself (or your company).
You also need to give them a reason to care.

This advice will work both for job seekers looking to pitch themselves to potential connections or employers, and for recruiters looking to pitch their jobs to potential applicants.

For the sake of efficiency, I’m going to split this article at this point, Choose Your Own Adventure-style:

 

For Hiring Professionals

Consider the following two potential LinkedIn messages to send to applicants:

Example A: I am looking for a Marketing Coordinator to work on our team. There is a large amount of ongoing work that this person would handle.

Example B: I came across your LinkedIn profile and found your work at your current organization interesting and your marketing skills impressive. Would you consider a job which offers better pay and the chance for your contributions to make a true impact?

For Job Seekers & Employees

Consider the following ways someone might pitch herself when meeting someone who could be a valuable business connection:

Example A: I have 3 years of experience in the retail industry and am looking to grow my skills as an account manager for a software company.

Example B: I have 3 years of experience exceeding the expectations of customers in a B2C role and am looking to bring this determination and drive for success into a B2B role as an account manager for a software company.

 

In each of these cases, Example A is a fairly straightforward synopsis that does not give the audience anything powerful to react to. Specifically, each Example A represents the speaker focusing so intently on his needs and desires that he forgets to give the audience a stake in the encounter.

The alternatives, Example B, show the beginning of an elevator pitch that has an awareness of audience. The person speaking begins by translating his needs and desires into a narrative specifically designed to resonate with the right audience.

With a clear, targeted elevator pitch, you do most of the “heavy lifting” for your listener. Once you reach this level of clarity about your message and the value you can offer, your elevator pitch changes in one key way: No longer are you just asking someone else to do you a favor. Now you are positioning yourself as someone who could potentially do a favor for them.

So take some time today to practice your elevator pitch. You may be looking to “sell” jobs at your organization or yourself as a strong contributor in the workplace. Choose one “pitch” to practice, and complete the following exercise:

 

  • Spend five minutes drafting a basic pitch for the idea you are trying to sell. (Keep it short!)
  • Think of what type of  people might be appropriate targets for your pitch.
  • Choose one of these “profiles” and put yourself in her shoes. Spend five minutes writing down ideas and things that you think matter to this person.
  • Revisit your pitch by including one or more of the central ideas that you identified in order to tailor your pitch to your target audience – make it clear what their stake in this encounter should be.

 

There is no time like the present. Go out there with confidence in your value and message — and finish the game!

If you’re interested in learning more, visit these resources from our thought leadership website, iCIMS Hire Expectations Institute:

Craft Your Perfect Elevator Pitch | Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch | The Push and Pull of Recruitment

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This is my 14th year as the unpaid Mobile Phone Admin for my family. Years of different brands, providers, and operating systems have resulted in endless questions, hours of internet research, and immeasurable levels of frustration. Two years ago, I managed to convince everyone in my family to switch to the same phone with the same provider. My master plan came together… for a few months. Avoiding new versions of the OS and all of our apps brought me back to my original problem: inconsistency. It was difficult to troubleshoot problems with the devices and almost impossible to keep all my family members happy and connected. It wasn’t enough to have my “clients” almost aligned, I needed them all using the same and newest versions, so my "job" would be easier.

This is also in my 14th year working at my day job: a Product Specialist at a software company. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with potential customers on a similar topic. They’ve all been through years of painful upgrades and poor customer service from their software providers. The message is consistent; staying on their custom built platform for the past few years makes it costly to upgrade, risky to make changes, and inhibits proper troubleshooting. Both the customer and the provider are experiencing the same challenge. The solution to improving their experience is to have everyone on the same platform and the newest version at all times.

"I'm going to change some settings, so your phone automatically upgrades."

As the family IT person, I am now able to troubleshoot with the knowledge that everyone is using the same set-up that I’m working with. If I can find the solution on my phone, I can easily walk my "client" through the same steps. Having everyone automatically on the newest version of the OS and the most recent set of apps has removed the challenges I faced.

On the other hand, as a Product Specialist for a software company, I am convinced that the best way to provide a platform to customers is to maintain a single version. Being a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider is important, but it has to be Pure SaaS. A Pure SaaS company offers free configurations, free upgrades that maintain existing changes, improve functionality, and includes a responsive helpdesk knowledgeable on the version all customers use. Without Pure SaaS, customers could be wasting dollars on customization, paying for upgrades which break those customizations, and being told the service teams 'no longer support their legacy version.

Here’s an easy checklist of questions you should ask to ensure you won’t end up in the same position as my family or those unhappy customers.

  • Do you offer a single software platform?
  • Do you have a single source code base for all clients?
  • Are changes made at no-cost configuration?
  • Are all of your customers on the latest release?
  • Is customer service included at no cost?

By using these questions as a guideline, you’ll be able to identify if your software provide is Pure SaaS if they answer yes to all of the above. By choosing this delivery method you’ll have access to better customer service, and reap the most benefits out of the software you choose. 

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As a Sales Manager there are a few things that keep me up at night; bad dreams where I am on a Sales call, and no matter what I say, the prospective client still says no – and the fear that one of my top Sales Representatives will leave the team. While I make a conscious effort day-in and day-out to ensure my top Sales producers stay with the company, it still makes me anxious to think of what would happen if I lose a key player.

While this fear is still real, over the years I have implemented a few sourcing strategies that provide me with comfort as a hiring manager. The idea is to have a talent pool ready to be brought on board, in the case that I lose a Sales Rep.

In this blog, I’d like to share my experience using a combined strategy of mentoring and networking to build talent pools for potential employees in the future. It’s a simple strategy that can be used by hiring managers across all industries and all specializations (not just sales).

Mentoring

Coaching, mentoring, and staff development is a paramount piece of a manager’s responsibilities. After speaking with a trainer a few years ago I came up with a concept that, at first, I thought was radical, but when I started to work on it, it became second nature – coaching and mentoring others that are not currently on my team, so that when they entertain a career move, I’m first on their mind. For example, take a look at employees at competitors in your space, individuals in other departments/segments of your company that you like – even people in your social network. Reach out to the people you consider reputable talent and start talking to them about their careers, what they like/dislike about their current position and let them know that if they would ever be interested in making a move… they can contact you.

Networking

When I first was promoted to management, I was immediately tasked with making my first hire, a backfill for my old territory. This was my first important decision as a manager and I wanted to make it a good one. 

The following week I was on a sales call with a client who interviews and recruits Sales professionals in high volume. I decided to pick his brain on the process of hiring for Sales and also let him know that I too was looking for a great candidate. I told him to keep me in mind if he came across someone that may not work for his organization, but may be a good fit for my company. By the next week, he sent over three candidates, one of which I hired. By networking with professionals in my field, or in this case my client base, I was able to have a very successful first hire and proud to say that this individual had a very fast ramp-up period and quickly became a leader and top producer on my team.

Capture Future Considerations in a Talent CRM

It’s also important to capture the contact information of the people you network with as a part of this strategy. To build talent pools of future candidate considerations, place them in a talent CRM tool, like iCIMS Connect, so you can nurture these relationships. By staying in touch through email communications tailored to your employment messaging, you can keep your passive candidates interested in positions at your company.  

A.B.R. … Always Be Recruiting

While these tips do apply to all trades, as a Sales Manager I have to close my blog out with some Sales lingo and analogies right?

Ok here goes; similar to the speech in the movie, ABC … Always Be Closing, in order to hire the best possible talent to your team you should keep ABR in mind: always be recruiting. As you add to your network, be sure to utilize a talent CRM to organize these great future candidates. This way, when a position opens up on your team, you have your next top producer already waiting on deck.

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In 2005, Discovery Channel started airing a show “Dirty Jobs.” Host Mike Rowe set about to touring the country and checking out some of the… well, grossest jobs you could imagine. Despite the cringe-worthiness of the occupations, most of these workers seemed nonplussed by their responsibilities. I was intrigued by the persistence of these employees in carrying onward through the literal muck. 

Certainly for the host, it was easy to endure for only for the day – and there was an audience following, but what about those men and women who do the jobs on a regular basis – what keeps them motivated? While the need for income was a driving force, I’m sure, many of these workers did not express much dissatisfaction, if any at all, with their roles. They spoke of the things that made the job tolerable and in some cases even enjoyable – and that is the reality. There are driving forces that encourage us to do our best and accomplish goals, even when the task at hand is much less than pleasant. 

The best company leaders recognize that they have the power and responsibility to create a workforce of highly productive and dedicated employees – no matter how difficult or unglamorous an employee’s job responsibilities may be. The key seems to be a linked effort between employers and employees to create a great corporate culture. While employers can create workplace perks, the most important part of that is delivering a message that says, “You are valued and appreciated, and I want to do what I can to show appreciation for the work you do.” This translates to a powerful return on investment, as the funds put into the perks bring back increased efficiency and quality of work being produced – and a great culture that everyone can enjoy.

Workplace perks have the ability to:

  1. Build company morale
  2. Maintain the health of employees
  3. Encourage team building
  4. Establish company loyalty

In addition to an increase in productivity and reduced turn-over, all of the above lead to employees speaking positively about the company, translating to a great opportunity for your brand. This helps on both the recruiting front and the sales front. Discontented employees do not make good advertisers, but those who feel valued at their jobs, speak with natural confidence about the companies they work for.

The perks that pack the most punch are varied and depend on personal preference and what is a fit for the company’s structure and culture. For example, iCIMS allows employees two paid days off in exchange for volunteer work. I’m a huge fan of the perk because it gives me a chance to do something that I am passionate about, while feeling that the company supports my growth and value as member of our society, and not just our company. That matters to me.

In order to truly establish an employee-centered culture, an effective selection of perks needs to reflect what would make sense for the workforce. Free food and drink are a generally easy option, along with recognition for a job well done through rewards, but the perks have to stand for something and come with a focused message to employees. In the past few years, there has been a sizeable insurgence in flexible hours and the ability to work remotely, as a result of steadily developing virtual capabilities. These perks let employees know that they value their time and their work/life balance. Workplace gyms, game rooms and after-work socials are perks that keep employees connected to one another outside of the day-to-day work tasks and provide an outlet for stresses. An August 2013 article by Forbes magazine concluded, “Luxuries like childcare, on-site dry cleaning and generous medical benefits make employees’ personal lives a bit easier and allow them to be more focused at work.”

So what perks should your company offer? Polling the employees on what they would like to see is a great way to get the process started, keeping in mind that providing suggested options to select from might be better than an open question, in order to make sure expectations are maintained. Whatever the perks you choose, be sure to communicate the reason behind the perk – to reward and support the well-being of employees.

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