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People want to be valued. They want to bring their whole self to work. And you know what? They’ve decided it’s okay to have a life outside of work, too. And so, you might not be able to offer remote work. But what can you offer?
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we help HR and business leaders embrace joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting, an HR consulting practice. Joining me is my co-host and dear friend JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink and Powered by Purple Ink, a professional network I’m part of.
Our topic today is how to source top talent. Inc.com had an article entitled, “Nine Ways to Source Some Great Talent for Your Company,” which cited eight methods that I have to believe most organizations in today’s world have been employing before and during the pandemic, which really continues to be an era of talent scarcity. JoDee, let’s talk about these tried and true eight ways, because I think they’re just good reminders for everybody.
Yeah. So the first one is referrals, you know, and I think a lot of times people maybe think about employee referrals, but also asking your customers, your vendors, associates, who they know and who might be a good fit for your organization and this particular role.
Yeah. And then number two, wisely using career sites and job boards. I think the days of just spraying and praying and getting it out everywhere you can are gone. You want to be focused. Make sure that you’re every year looking to see where did our hires come from. Which are the career sites or job boards that are really yielding the results for us? And then really invest in those.
Right. And so important that they track that so they know. Number three is social networks, right? Reaching out, posting it, having your employees post it on social media and giving them a toolkit that says, here’s what you can post, you know, so if you just say, we’re looking for a new controller, put that on your LinkedIn, well, then people have to create something to say. Give them the words and the messaging to post.
Make it as easy as possible. You’re right. Another one is making sure that as an employer looking for talent, that you’re attending events, and you’re constantly networking, letting people know you’re hiring, getting the word out, I’m a real believer that you got to show up, where the type of talent that you’re seeking what kind of events they’re at, and then let people know, you’d love to talk to them,
Right. And become and stay an employer of choice. You know, I’ve talked to so many organizations who’ve said, like, “We can’t hire anyone.” And there’s lots of reasons why that statement might be said, but one of them is… Are you a place where people want to be? They want to work there. And if you are, it’s likely you’re going to get more candidates, whatever the position is, just because they want to work for your organization.
Very true. And then you need to be really consistent in your communication with candidates. We’ve talked about this in other episodes. You know, you’ve got to be very responsive to candidates, you’ve got to keep them abreast of what’s happening all along the way. Always be thinking about that experience all the way through the onboarding and assimilation. You’ve got to be very present and very communicative.
Yeah, I’ve mentioned this a couple different ways already, but just the concept of leveraging your current employees, right? Having… paying them a referral bonus or giving them social media kits or asking them who they know. Let them be ambassadors for your organization just on an ongoing basis, right? Regardless of whether you have a lot of openings right now, put them in a position to be an ongoing ambassador.
And then the eighth suggestion this article raised was expanding your candidate pool, and that’s really identifying non-traditional candidates that you would maybe in the past have never thought of as potential competitors for your roles. It may be it’s considering who on your internal team could really be groomed and developed into the roles that you’re going to need in the future. And then, you know, clearly having a… less emphasis on degrees and more on skills and experience, really sitting down and expanding your thought process about qualified candidates.
Yeah, love it.
So we asked ourselves, what more could organizations do define success and top talent now that we’re closing in on the end of 2022? So lever.com offers up some thoughts on taking our recruiting efforts to the next level with these additional recommendations.
Number one, the recruiter needs to stay in lockstep with the hiring manager during the candidate sourcing process. You know, it used to be the recruiter might go out, beat the bushes, find some candidates, pass them off to… or pass off the best ones – maybe five to 10 are those – who are qualified to the manager, and then walk away and let the hiring manager take it from there. Well, if the recruiters are partnering with the hiring manager from the get go on getting responses, staying agile, tweaking the postings based on the results as you get them… Talk through candidate quality in real time so immediate pivoting is possible.
Yeah. Man, I think that will pay such dividends for companies that do it. Number two, sourcing candidates from your ATS is a really good first step. Think about it. You’ve got people who are already attracted to your company as a brand and they’ve applied for jobs in the past, maybe they weren’t the right fit. If you can reengage that… some of those candidates, and with jobs that are a better fit for the skills and experience they have, think of all the time savings you’ve got there and already people that are excited about your organization. I think it makes great sense.
Right. Number three, diversify your online candidate sourcing channels. Lever says that 52% of employers turn to their professional networks first, 25% turn to LinkedIn first, and the rest is all over the board. So in addition to your go-tos, they suggest considering targeting your candidates and go to wherever your talent spends their time. For example, going to Triplebyte for engineers, or Underdog Jobs, or AngelList for startups, or Hired for tech talent.
Yeah, and number four includes some offline recruitment methods. And you know, as HR departments tend to shrink, we’re all doing more with less, getting out and going to events, amplifying your face-to-face engagements. I know that can be a challenge, but it can pay such dividends. Being present and showing up could certainly maybe get you some new candidates.
Right. Number five, consider using candidate sourcing tools like Teamable or Simppler, which automatically recommends candidates to you based on your employees’ social networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub, etc. If your employees are willing to do so, when candidates surface that appeal to you, you can ask your employee to do a warm intro, and perhaps reward them as part of your employee referral program.
And then the final idea that lever.com offers up that I’ll mention is source candidates for roles that you don’t have open yet. Yep, it’s the age-old hire ahead. This is where companies realize it’s worth making the investment to bring in talent before you need them so they assimilate to your culture, they benefit from plenty of time to do knowledge transfer, and you get them in your organization, set up for success.
We’ve invited a top talent recruiting manager who’s in our own backyard to share her insights on sourcing top talent. I’m excited to tell you that we have Peggy Hogan back with us today. Peggy is the Vice President of Talent Services at Purple Ink and a co-author of “The JoyPowered® Team.” Peggy enjoys connecting the right person to the right place, whether she’s career coaching, recruiting, or working onsite with a client. Peggy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and English from the University of Michigan. She’s a SHRM Senior Certified Professional, a certified diversity and inclusion recruiter, and was named the HR Indiana Professional of the Year in 2020. Welcome, Peggy.
Thank you, Susan and JoDee. It’s great to be here as usual.
Yeah. Well, thanks for joining us. And Peggy, what are some reasons that companies are talking to you about or telling you why they are struggling to find top talent?
One reason I would say that they’re really struggling – but I don’t know that companies are necessarily thinking of it this way – is that there really just aren’t as many workers out there. There’s 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day, and so they’re calling it the Great Retirement or the Retirement Tsunami. So there just aren’t as many people at that working age, for one thing. And then I would say also certain industries are definitely struggling more than others. So we’ve got retail, you know, restaurants, hospitality, healthcare, construction, teachers, drivers, and of course the trades in general. So, you know, we’ve told our kids they all need to have a college education, we’ve kind of shamed them into seeing some of these, you know, like the trades really as viable occupations and great career choices. So I would say also, our frontline workers have experienced a lot of stress, and sometimes the general public isn’t very kind to those, you know, who serve us necessarily in the restaurants or stores, so I hear a lot of my career coaching clients saying that people just don’t want to work with the general public. Two more reasons I’ll give you – and you kind of alluded to it a little bit – but in recruiting, we call it the “purple squirrel.” And employers have really gotten picky about kind of who they want to hire. They want very specific qualifications, and it’s kind of like you’re looking for a purple squirrel. So I love that idea of hiring proactively, building your bench, and kind of training people. But they’ve gotten very specific. And then my fourth and sort of final reason that employers are telling me is that people are used to being home with their families now and maybe having that better work life harmony, so they don’t really want to report into an office every day, and those companies who maybe are mandating that have a little bit more trouble recruiting.
Yeah, I think that’s real. Peggy, what are some of the things that companies can do to kind of up their recruiting game?
Well, I think you guys gave some great examples earlier, but I’ll reinforce that sourcing talent is important. You’ve got to kind of think like that purple squirrel. Like you mentioned earlier, where do they hang out? Who do they know? What social media channels do they follow? What colleges did they go to? Do they belong to any associations? And even what benefits are important to them? So you have to go to where they are with your message would be one thing. Also be open to a more diverse body of candidates, maybe looking at workers in the disability community, veterans, older workers. You know, is this a job that can be done part-time? Skills-based hiring is gaining a lot of momentum, so you’ve got to think carefully about, Do you really have to have a college degree? What is trainable? Do they have to have advanced Excel skills? You know, could you send them to a class? Maybe think about how you can widen that pool. And then candidate experience is king. You’ve got to separate yourself from the competition by truly delighting your candidates, and let them tell that story and kind of spread that message about who you are. And you’ll probably even gain more applicants. And the easiest way, really, to do… kind of improve your candidate experience. So make sure that application process is super easy. They should be able to find the career page very easily. But they don’t want to fill out that long application that we used to kind of ask people to fill out when we’d have them write, you know, their application. And then communicate with them frequently and in a way that works for them. My kids do not check their email, they text. And texting is really the most effective way to reach a candidate now, any age. Kind of, you know, let them know where they stand, if they’re moving forward or not. And if they have an interview, try to give them information that will make that interview experience be more positive, like who they’re going to meet. And some people are even advocating for sending questions out ahead of time.
Ooh, I like that one. I was talking to a group of CEOs a couple of weeks ago about recruiting, and they were talking about ghosting and how often their… that they personally or their recruiters or hiring managers were being ghosted throughout the interview process, and I… although I know that super frustrating, I said to them, I said, “You know, companies have been ghosting candidates for years.”
Yeah, they’ve been, you know, applying to jobs and never getting a response or even interviewing and still never hearing back. And those days are over. Right? If that happens to candidates, they’re moving on and they’re telling all their friends they… they never heard back from them either. So we really have to up our game, I think, by doing many of the things you mentioned.
Peggy what technology is out there that might help companies be more effective either in sourcing or communicating with applicants?
A couple of quick ones that I’ll mention. A lot of companies are doing this, would be QR codes, making it really easy, you know, again, that candidate experience. You see the flyer and you can quickly go right to that website and learn about the job and even apply. Chatbots on career pages. The earlier that the candidate is engaged with your company, and even if it’s just a couple quick questions they want to ask, they’re showing really great results with that. Social media platforms, you know, where you can share who you are. There are some completely devoted to a company as an employer. Certainly recruiting platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, JobTarget, where you can actually invite people to apply or direct message them, do searches based on keywords, you know, share the opportunities, and basically they’re databases that you have to kind of search for those candidates. And then finally, and this is really the one… if you can afford to do anything, get yourself an applicant tracking system. There are large systems out there that integrate with payroll and whatnot, you know, for enterprise-sized organizations, and there’s medium type ATSs, and then some small, really affordable systems, some as low as a couple hundred dollars a month. But this will save so much time, it will pay for itself. And then beyond saving time, you’re kind of creating your own database of candidates that you can continue to reach out to. And then to your point, JoDee, as well, the candidate experience can be greatly improved, because now you’ve got this tool where recruiters are going to more easily be able to kind of communicate with those candidates, whether it’s email, you know, using some carefully crafted email templates that reflect the brand of the company, and even texting capabilities and other tools. So if I had to pick one, I would say do some research on applicant tracking systems.
How can companies know, Peggy, if they are doing all they can do in this competitive marketplace?
Well, I think you always have to be learning what’s next and what’s working. So attending webinars, working with people in your field or your industry to really develop the pipelines and even share candidates, see… you know, see what’s working for other organizations too. And then if you do try something new, see if it worked. If you did a job fair or open hours for interviews, really track and measure your results. If you’re purchasing job campaigns, again, you can measure how many applicants you got from which source, so really track and measure results. And then work on your employer brand and your employer value proposition. Who are you, and why should they work for you? Candidates want to do work that has meaning. They want to feel good about the organization they work for, you know, they’re doing things in the community. Is there diversity in your organization? These are very important values to candidates. And people have really gotten fixated on the concept that nobody wants to work anymore. I cannot tell you how many people, when they hear I’m in HR, they say, “Ah, nobody wants to work anymore,” or “No one will come to work.”
I totally agree. I hear that every day.
And it is not true. You know, people want to be valued. They want to bring their whole self to work. And you know what? They’ve decided it’s okay to have a life outside of work, too. And so you might not be able to offer remote work, but what can you offer? Flexibility is really what most employees want. They don’t want to have to use two hours of PTO because their child was sick or the refrigerator, you know, repair person is there. If you want them to work nine to five, what I heard from someone recently is, “Then I will work – nine to five.” So that was pretty meaningful to me, actually. But, you know, maybe you can have core business hours and let people choose if they kind of are an early morning person or second shift, as I call it. But you’ve got to think outside the box.
Yeah, I think that’s great advice. You know, nowadays, I think when we talk about flexibility, everyone’s thinking remote, and it doesn’t have to be remote. It can be some of those things like core office hours or flexible start times or, you know… and I know some companies or some positions aren’t able to offer that, but giving them the best experience they can when they are there is even more important then.
Definitely. Couldn’t agree more.
So Peggy, you’ve had so many ideas and so much good advice to help organizations throughout this recruiting and candidate experience process. If you could give them just one thing that those listening could do to be more successful throughout the recruiting process, what would that one thing be?
Well, I have been told that it’s very important to sleep in your guest room so you can see what your guest experience is. Along that vein, I would say, you know, go in and apply to a job. Now, you’re going to have a little more familiarity with it, because you work in the system, but truly see what it’s like and have a friend apply, have a few different people apply. You know, see how they’re treated. See how easy it was for them to navigate the career site, find the job, if there were any frustrating points along the way. That would be my best advice, is really step back and try to look at your candidate experience from kind of an outsider’s perspective.
Smart. So we always like to ask a JoyPowered® related question, so Peggy, what advice can you give our listeners on creating more joy at work?
Well, I’m probably going to be a broken record on this, but I would say really tap into your strengths. Know them, you know, whether you use CliftonStrengths or Enneagram or just things that people have told you that you’re really good at. Really know what you’re good at, and make sure that you get to use those strengths on a daily basis. And also leverage the strengths of your team, and really show gratitude to them for what they’re bringing to the table. We… you know, we can’t be all things to everyone, so everyone on the team is going to have things they do better than others, but people will really work with you, I think, if you appreciate their contributions and their strengths.
Nice. And Peggy, how can our listeners reach out to you if they want help with their recruiting processes or having a better candidate experience?
Yeah, I would love to hear from them. It is Peggy at Purple Ink LLC dot com. And that’s Peggy, P-E-G-G-Y.
All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. Great advice.
Thank you, Peggy. Hope you come back again.
You are welcome. Thanks so much.
Now a word from our sponsors.
As our listeners have probably heard many times, I’m a CliftonStrengths enthusiast, and I know you’re a fan of strengths also, Susan.
That’s right. I know you’ve been working on a strengths certification program with some of our friends at Powered by Purple Ink. JoDee, why don’t you tell our listeners a little about the program?
Yes, I’d love to because I’m so excited about this program. It’s called Power Up Your Strengths, and it was designed to help people become better equipped to bring out the talents of others. Inspired by the CliftonStrengths assessment, you’ll finish the program ready to help people do what they do best, and you’ll enjoy doing it yourself.
It sounds like a wonderful program, and the participants will benefit from the guidance of several strengths experts – JoDee and her partners. JoDee, how is Power Up Your Strengths formatted and where will it be located?
Well, it’s 100% virtual, so anyone can join us from anywhere. We’ll have some live sessions over Zoom, and in between the sessions, there will be some pre-work and practice for participants to complete through our online platform. It will be packed with information and experiences you’ll need to be a strengths champion, trainer, or coach.
If you’d like to learn more about Power Up Your Strengths, visit Powered by Purple Ink – with a k – dot com slash strengths.
Susan, a listener wrote in with the following question for us. “What advice would you have for someone who has the letters SHRM-CP after their name but doesn’t have the experience on their resume? Where should that person start to look for work?”
So this person must be a SHRM-CP, or SHRM Certified Professional. And I… you know, I’ve got a few ideas and JoDee, I’d love yours as well. The first thing I would do is I would get involved in my local HR Association, whether it be a SHRM chapter or perhaps some other type of local HR group. I would go to the meetings, I would volunteer at those meetings and get to know people, because most members are going to be working in HR in some capacity. They at some point are going to have other openings at their company or their firm or they’re going to hear about opening, so they’re just going to be, I think, good people to hopefully learn from, get to know, and could be good sources of jobs in the future. The second thing I would do, here in Indiana, we’ve mentioned before that we’ve got a Facebook group of HR professionals, and honestly, when anybody has an HR opening, they post it there right away, they might also post it on other places, but they’re always posting it there, so it’s a great opportunity for people locally to hear from other people when there’s an HR job. If you’re in a city or a country where you don’t have an active Facebook group, I would start one. There’s, I think, a really… it would be a great dividend for you personally, but also, I think it’d be great resource for your community so the HR people can talk to one another. And then the third idea I’ve got for this listener is we did a podcast in July of 2022 entitled “Career Paths in HR,” which I think’s worth taking a listen to if you haven’t yet, because we talk about a variety of HR roles. And I would listen to it and think, Is there a functional area that appeals to you more than some of the others? And let’s say it’s compensation, or let’s say it’s employee relations, then what I would do is I would go out and do informational interviews with people that are actually doing that work. They’re easy to find on LinkedIn. You could sort by your location, sort by their job title. And then I’d send them a note and ask if I could spend some time with them doing an informational interview, either in person or virtually. It’s a great chance for you to learn more about the specifics of those roles, ask the incumbents their suggestions about how can I break into that type of work in HR, and you’re also simultaneously expanding your network, you’re going to know people doing the kind of work you want to do. They might, in turn, have suggestions or ideas or might think of you when they have openings. JoDee, any other ideas you might have?
Well, I was just thinking about your idea about the Facebook group. You know, I know there are many national LinkedIn HR networking groups, and maybe there are some more local LinkedIn groups as well, too, that they might check out. So.
All right, so it’s time for in the news. There was a Wall Street Journal article dated September the 19th, 2022 entitled “The Price People with Hard-to-Pronounce Names Pay in the Job Market,” written by Cheryl Winokur Munk that caught our attention. The author cited a study by Stephen Wu and Qi Ge, a Professor and Assistant Professor of Economics, respectively, that found hard to pronounce names are 10% less likely on the average to land an academic job than those with easier to pronounce names. Looking further than just the academic world, Dr. Wu and Dr. Ge Found the bias against complex names is layered on top of earlier found racial bias with distinctively Black-sounding names versus white-sounding names and with Indian-, Pakistani-, or Chinese-sounding names. They said within minority groups, a difficult to pronounce name can reduce the likelihood of receiving a job candidate callback by 50% relative to someone in that same group with an easier to pronounce name. What these two economists recommended is, ideally, redacting names off of resumes and applications so people are compared based on their qualifications to help reduce conscious and unconscious bias, or, at the very minimum, make recruiters and hiring managers aware of this bias in the hopes they avoid acting on it. Gosh, JoDee, you know, I think about over 30 years ago when I was naming my kids, I really wanted unique names. I ended up with one unique one, and one other that is not so unique. But in spite of myself, knowing so much more now about how prevalent bias is in every aspect of our lives. I don’t know if I would strive for that kind of uniqueness in names, especially after this article, knowing that a hard to pronounce name could unfairly disadvantage the job seeker.
Yeah, it’s funny, I have two unique names and one not so unique, and I’ve never thought about this before. It’s a fascinating study, really, to think about that. But it is interesting too. And the thought of redacting names off of resumes… you know, a few years ago, candidates were encouraged to take their address off of resumes, so we see many of those now with no address on, but to think of not having a name on there seems so odd as well. But obviously, they’re making a point with the study.
I see the value in that, right? Because people may be unconsciously tuning out somebody and there could be a lot of deep layered reasons behind it. I think we’d have to figure out, How do we elicit the start with a company maybe saying we’re gonna take all the names off so there is no bias? But in the world itself, like on LinkedIn, on Indeed, it would be very difficult to, you know, be the one to start that, right? “No Name Applicant looking for a position in such and such,” would be tough. Right? But I see the value.
Yeah. Well, thanks for joining us today and make it a JoyPowered® day.
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