Practical Advice From Three Experts At HRMAC Meeting On The Candidate Experience

At the HRMAC (Chicago) meeting on “The Candidate Experience”, Diane Borhani, Director, Talent Best Practices and Innovation at Deloitte advised attendees to apply “rigor and discipline in how you look at your candidates. Treat candidates like you would your clients.”

Ms. Borhani was on a panel led by Eileen Timmins, a member of the Executive Leadership team at Allston Trading.  Also on the panel was Melissa McMahon, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition for CDW and Melanie Ditore, Recruitment Manager for Greely and Hansen.

Ms. McMahon recommended multiple talent communities be utilized to customize your message to the type of recipient. Of utmost importance, she says “it’s not about technology, but about differentiating your brand as you constantly evolve on how you attract and engage talent.” Ms. McMahon recommends, as you make offers of employment, analyzing data to calculate how dropout rates are impacted by a lack of engagement. To increase impactful, branded lines of communications, supply recruiters with Plug and Play Marketing Tools such as videos, brochures and case studies for recruiters to use when a subject (such as training or benefits or onboarding, etc.) comes up with a candidate. In this manner the recruiter can respond immediately with a well-prepared “high touch” tool.

Ms. Borhani agreed on the use of data. She strongly advocated “Prove –It Analytics” when meeting with management to propose talent acquisition strategies.  Her working credo is “What gets measured gets done.”

The use of social media for interacting with candidates and managing an employer reputation was discussed.  Ms. McMahon said what is being said and discussed about employers on sites such as Glassdoor, Vault, LinkedIn groups and the Indeed forums must be accessed.  She recommends recruiters proactively monitor Glassdoor and the other sites so are ready to respond to inquiries made by candidates based upon user-generated viral comments appearing on these sites.

Highly engaged employees should be encouraged by HR and their managers to participate on social media.  Ms. Ditore recommended using sites such as Twitter for employees to talk about their projects and thereby sharing appropriate, non-proprietary information with prospective candidates seeking information about expertise and skills valuable to both them as individuals as well as to your company.

Ms. McMahon told the audience of HR practitioners that our responsibilities are no longer just filling requisitions, but now we are expected to be like a General Manager, will insight and expertise regarding all aspects on how talent impacts a company’s bottom line.

Ms. Borhani added a recruiter needs to be business advisor to management, thereby a recruiter with an MBA has a valuable advantage to provide a savviness and analytical approach crucial to success in corporations big and small. At the same time a recruiter needs to be an enabler to new employees creating a bridge when the candidate moves from HR to their business unit managers.

“You need to show new candidates what it looks like to be successful,” said Ms. Borhani. “You forget what it’s like to be a new employee. Individuals don’t yet feel as if they are one of us. (Onboarding) technology is valuable, but cannot replace all aspects of personnel touch required for providing counseling and guidance.”

The strategic use of technology is a crucial to your overall success, said Ms. McMahon.  “If you team does not embrace change, no matter how ‘cool’, the initiative will fall flat.

You need to evolve in such a manner that you remain relevant to your candidates while you empower the capabilities and efficiencies of your team.

For example, Ms. Borhani said, “Video is going to penetrate everything we do. Companies need to figure how video will work for them.”  The mix of technology and personal contact must be sensitive to active and passive candidates, to diversity candidates, to candidates from different generations.  Each group of candidates will be attracted and engaged to messaging that speaks to their experience, values and perspective.  HR and TA must be perceived as approachable, interested and responsive to each candidate; even the candidates you will turn down. As said before, treat your candidates with as much respect and hospitability as you would show to clients (or customers).

But then there’s the question of how much candidate flow do you try to generate. Ms. Borhani said, “Workforce planning is still the struggle.  It’s the chicken and the egg dilemma.”  She feels she has not met anyone who has mastered workforce planning. But she does recommend using as much available information as possible to best calculate short and long-term needs including external data such as educational and occupational data from the Department of Labor and other sources.

When asked at the end of the meeting about their biggest eye openers, Ms. Borhani said the use of data for evaluating objective decision making and dismissing biases. Her example was data had shown that college recruiters more accustomed to recruiting students from certain schools or fraternities/sororities (possibly their own schools or organizations) did not always select the individuals from schools that were more aligned with the company and therefore provided more valuable (more revenue-producing) employees. Ms. McMahon said, and Ms. Ditore agreed, their biggest eye opener was how much is in your control.

The HRMAC Talent Acquisition Group meeting was hosted by the American College of Surgeons and held at their facility in Chicago.

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