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Determining Whether an Applicant Tracking System is a Necessity for HR Professionals

image_05Before you make a decision about whether or not to use an applicant tracking system, consider what has happened to give rise to their use.

Gone are the days when job applicants typed their resumes, wrote a cover letter, mailed it and went through the same process for the next job. Now, applicants can post their resume online, and in just a short session at their computer, they can submit their resume to 10, 20 or more jobs without even considering if they meet the job requirements. The result? Recruiters are buried in online submissions.

To counter the enormous influx of resumes, many from clearly unqualified candidates, companies have resorted to applicant tracking systems to cull the number of resumes by identifying keywords that must appear in the resume before an actual recruiter sees it.

Often, a company will receive 250 or more resumes for an open position. Their applicant tracking system will only allow about 25 percent of those to move forward, but are they the right 25 percent? While the numbers support the success of using these systems, when you dig a little deeper, there’s often a gap between the use of keywords and the actual skills required for the job. Just because an applicant’s resume is worded to “beat the system” doesn’t mean he or she is qualified.

Applicant tracking systems are increasing in use, and they serve a real purpose, but there are some characteristics that should be considered before purchasing and installing one:

  • Make sure the system you purchase is mobile friendly. If it isn’t, you could be losing qualified candidates who move on to a more mobile-friendly application process at another company.
  • Ensure that your system allows qualified candidates who aren’t hired to go into a recruiting pipeline.
  • The filters in your system should not be too restrictive. For example, while an MBA may be preferred, a master’s degree in another area might be acceptable as well.

Many HR professionals see more value in a well-trained recruiter who can scan a large stack of resumes and sort them quickly into “unqualified,” “maybe” and “call for phone screen.” As job seekers become more familiar with the system, they’ll get better at presenting themselves as someone who uses the right words instead of someone who can do the job.

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Ways to Minimize the Expense of Hiring New Employees

image_04Hiring new employees can be a substantial drain on profits for any business. The Wall Street Journal addresses an obvious tactic that could be of help: Reducing employee turnover [1]. Fewer departures mean fewer new hires, which can save a company money in the long run. Regardless of turnover, however, businesses will always need to make staffing changes. Here are key suggestions that can minimize the expense of hiring new employees.

Utilize Social Media to Attract Talent

A study conducted by the Center for American Progress shows that companies pay an average of 21.4 percent of an employee’s annual salary while trying to hire their replacement [2]. Part of this expense is the retraining period, paying a temporary replacement and setting aside time for interviews. To cut costs in other areas, consider utilizing free social media to attract talent. Posting about available jobs on a Facebook page or through Twitter and Instagram can reach a large audience and provide immediate feedback.

Hire From Within

Susan Adams, writing for Forbes, believes that hiring candidates from within rather than from outside the company can be a smart way to cut costs [3]. Not only will hiring from within mean less time recruiting, interviewing and processing applications, but internal hires often receive lower salaries. Promoting from within can create stronger company loyalty, which means fewer promoted employees heading to competing firms in the years ahead.

Limit Your Scope to Local Candidates

Limiting recruiting to a local area can feel like limiting the field, and it may not be recommended for top-level or niche positions. For the bulk of new recruits, however, it can be an easy way to cut costs. As an Inc article points out, recruiting from a local area means that checking references is simpler, and relocation costs won’t be a concern [4].

Reduce Time to Hire by Speeding Up the Interview and Screening Processes

An easy way to reduce cost per hire is by reducing the time per hire. Don’t drag out the process any longer than it needs to be. Screen applicants in bulk and schedule back-to-back interviews. Monster suggests giving recruiters lots of details and feedback so that they can source the top talent more efficiently [5].

[1] http://guides.wsj.com/management/recruiting-hiring-and-firing/how-to-reduce-employee-turnover/

[2] https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/report/2012/11/16/44464/there-are-significant-business-costs-to-replacing-employees/

[3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/04/05/why-promoting-from-within-usually-beats-hiring-from-outside/

[4] http://www.inc.com/john-greathouse/5-reasons-to-hire-locally-no-matter-where-you-are.html

[5] http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/managing-hiring-costs/reducing-time-to-hire-checklist.aspx

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How to Get Employees Excited About Your Company’s Brand Image

image_29Forbes reminds businesses that strong brands aren’t created exclusively in the marketing department [1]. Instead, every employee in the company contributes to its brand and image. Having employees who fulfill their contractual obligations is a far cry from employees who act as brand ambassadors even when they are off the clock. These suggestions help get employees excited about your company’s brand image.

Involving Employees in Social Media Campaigns

Employees have a unique and credible position in social media. Unlike executives or owners, who the public may believe have an agenda, employees can feel like a more realistic, friendly and legitimate source of information. That’s why it is so important to have employees feel free to contribute to and participate in social media campaigns. At Nokia, for example, employees are encouraged to talk about the brand on personal social media, and they have the freedom to give their honest opinions [2]. Social media expert Jenny Kuglin also suggests having staff take photos at work, during holiday parties or whenever something exciting happens involving the brand [3]. Using these photos on social media is a captivating way to show the genuine side of the brand, and it also excites the employee who took the picture.

Give Employees Product or Service Discounts and Perks

Small Business Trends pinpoints one of the key ways to generate interest in a brand: provide employees with discounts to offer friends and family [4]. This makes employees feel like an insider with valuable information, which in turn makes them more likely to speak positively about the brand. Those who receive the discount will have a better overall experience to know they got a deal, which keeps the positive momentum going.

Recognize Their Efforts

Turning employees into brand ambassadors and making them feel genuinely excited about the brand is not an easy task. When it does happen, reinforce what a great thing it is by recognizing the employee. According to Entrepreneur, this could be as simple as commemorative shirts for staff or a mention at a meeting if someone gets positive attention for the brand on social media [5].

Together, these tips can be integral in getting employees excited about your company’s brand.

 

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2013/10/08/three-steps-for-transforming-employees-into-brand-ambassadors/

[2] http://linkhumans.com/blog/how-nokia-employees-brand-ambassadors

[3] https://www.rivaliq.com/blog/expand-your-online-branding/

[4] http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/09/turning-employees-into-brand-champions.html

[5] http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241560