Job Shadowing as Part of the Interview Process

Recently, some business contacts and I were discussing some of the issues that HR and companies face in terms of turn-over. Of course, we dissected the many reasons why employees decided to voluntarily leave: pay; lack of advancement; culture issues; and so on. One of the other issues that I had mentioned was the fact that employees feel like they weren’t given a realistic preview of the job before accepting the role. This had us all thinking about our interview processes. Many interview processes have extended from a simple face to face into a longer interview cycle. These cycles can include phone screen, face to face meetings with several members of the team/organization, and presentations. Even after all of those different scenarios, employees still feel that this is the case. So what could we do better?

I thought about all of the interviews I’ve been a participant of over the years and considered the details. Many of the interviews were informative, both over the phone and face to face. The recruiters and hiring managers took the time to interview my skill-set and was also open to answering questions I had about the company, the day-to-day, and the expectations. And although that might seem sufficient, I realized it really wasn’t.

It wasn’t until I experience an interview that involved a 2 hour to half day job shadowing session that I really felt like I got a good sense of the job. In this session, I took time to sit down with multiple people in the organization: people I’d work directly with on a team; people that I would support; and department managers. In each of these instances, the person I was shadowing would take time to show me what their role entailed in a hands-on way. I was visually able to see their to-do lists, the systems they used, their processes, and so on. Additionally, I was able to take notes, ask them questions, and get a better understanding of how it all worked. This also allowed the person who was “interviewing me” to see how much I truly understood about the job and really actually see if the experience I claimed to have was legitimate.

In addition to getting a realistic view of the role, the company, and the people I would potentially be working with; this also gave the company an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of how I would fit in. They tested my knowledge, they saw how I was responding, and they saw how I interacted with different members of the organization. This was a fantastic way to not only see if the role/candidate was a match but if the candidate/company also had a cultural and value match. It helped me feel extremely confident when it came to deciding whether or not it I would be happy in this role and company. It ensured that surprises were limited and I knew what I was getting myself into. And vice versa.

Although recruiting and interview processes are extensive as it is, I would love it if more companies took the time to include this in their interview loop. I would be curious to know if this could help limit the turnover of employees, whether voluntarily or not. I know it made a huge impact and difference in my candidate experience.

Photo Source

Advertisements

You’re so Vague- You Probably Think This Post is About You

Let’s face it, interviewing is tough. And it’s not just tough on the candidate’s end, it can also be tough on the interviewer. It can be long, tedious, and exhausting. Even after you put in all this time and effort, something ends up shifting, causing you have to go through the steps all over again. Unfortunately, some of these situations are out of our control. We can’t change policies or laws overnight nor can we change economic and financial shifts that can influence the outcome or length of these hiring practices. However, interviewers could definitely make the interviewing process less painful simply by being open and honest. This can help candidates get a better understanding and hopefully limit some frustrations they experience.

First off, let’s stop being vague: No one likes playing guessing games, especially when it involves their career and financial security. Before going through the recruiting and interview process- get the facts. Simplified and generalized job descriptions aren’t good enough. Sure, it’s opening up your candidate pool because a large number of candidates could say, “Oh, sure, I could do that/I’ve done that.” But we’re trying to focus on the specifics. Recruiters complain about being overwhelmed with unqualified resumes, but part of the issue is because their job descriptions are too ambiguous that these candidates might actually believe they are qualified. Let’s present the position properly straight off the bat.

If you’re going to ask tough questions, be ready to answer them, too: Candidates are interviewing your company just as much as you’re interviewing them. Before interviewing candidates, make sure you have all the details and know what questions are safe to answer and which information you are allowed to provide. Choosing an employer is tough and candidates are weary of getting themselves in a bad situation. If you plan on asking candidates detailed or hard questions, do not shut them out when it’s their turn to ask you things about the job and company. It wouldn’t be fair to ask them to make a decision of whether or not to take a position with you if they don’t have a realistic idea of what they’re getting themselves into.

Make sure you’re on the same page for timelines: Nothing is more frustrating than going into a job interview (especially when you are hurting for work) and finding out that either the interview process is extremely extensive, the position isn’t open, or that there isn’t a huge rush for the job to be filled. Explain to the candidate from the beginning all these details. Let them know how long the interview loop is, the typical timeline, what each interview entails, and a timeframe they should expect to hear from you at the end. This is even truer for positions that aren’t officially open. I’ve been in those shoes before- I’ve interviewed for a company who said the position isn’t open yet but it will be fairly soon. I had my heart set on it so I rejected other offers to ensure I was ready to start ASAP… 6 months later, the position still wasn’t open, I still had no idea when it would be even after asking several times, and my savings account was almost depleted.

The candidate experience is important and it isn’t fair to hook and hold candidates without their knowledge. Be open- tell them all the details you can about the position so the candidate knows if it’s something they want to continue interviewing for. Be honest about interview timelines or hiring timeline expectations.  I understand that we are trying so hard not to let quality talent turn away from us, but you should let your candidates make informed decisions. I’m sure they will appreciate the fact that you aren’t wasting their time or giving them the run around. It could even help build a better relationship and retain potential talent even if the job isn’t available right then.

More Links:

Your Hiring Process Repels Candidates.

Photo Source

Helping our Veterans Enter the Civilian Workforce

Just in time for Veteran’s Day! #Tchat hosted a great discussion last week in regard to helping veterans enter into the civilian workforce. Once again, the contributors had some great suggestions on how we can help veterans prepare for job hunting, gain transferable skills, and format their resume so it can be easily read by recruiters in civilian companies. I was happy to see the passion that these recruiters and human resources professionals had for helping the veterans get where they need to be when it came to landing a job.

Here are some great take-aways and suggestions from this chat:

  • It would be wise for military branches to take a few months to properly prepare the veterans for the change between military life and civilian life. This includes helping them build necessary skills that will transfer into civilian work.
  • RPOs, organizations, and staffing firms should take the time to partner with military branches and prepare available jobs for transitioning veterans.
  • Veterans should seek help when it comes to gaining appropriate interviewing skills, job hunting skills, and resume writing skills. Companies should be open to helping them with this, even if it’s as simple as helping them reformat their resumes so they will have appropriate keywords that recruiters look for.
  • Veterans should be taught how to build on their networking skills.
  • Veterans should be educated on how to create a personal brand that they can use in face-to-face networking events, interviews, and even social media branding.
  • Companies and veterans need to take the time to collaborate and bridge the gap between military verbiage and civilian business language so they can have equally understandable communication with clear messages.
  • For mentoring and coaching opportunities, companies should pair new veteran employees with others who have made the transition in the past.
  • Companies should make special efforts to seek out veterans, help them become aware of job openings they could be a fit for, and create social opportunities to discuss how the job and candidate would be a fit.

There were so many great ideas in this chat that I simply could not name them all. We all hoped that these suggestions were inspiring and hopefully had started a helpful trend in this respect. You may review more of the suggestions, the recap, and additional tweets on this subject below.

If you are interested in topics like this, be sure to join #TChat on Twitter- Wednesdays at 7pm EST

More links:

Employing our Veterans by Meghan M. Biro

Smart Mission- Hire Vets by Kathleen Kruse

Recap Slide Show

Photo Source

Assessments to Find the Best Candidate/Job Fit

Over the course of the last month or two, I was networking with a contact I met via LinkedIn named Bob Gately. We had connected through a discussion post I had started on the LinkedIn: HR group. This post talked about some of the issues that candidates experience during the interview process. One of the main issues I had brought up was: whether or not the rigid interviewing process was potentially causing companies to lose quality talent. After months of commenting on this discussion, Bob introduced me to an assessment called the ProfileXT.

As the discussion post grew longer and longer with comments from various HR professionals, it became apparent that there seemed to be a lot of conflicting views and practices. Although there was a lot of great information, it also became clearer that no one seemed to be on the same page. Everyone seemed to have different interview criteria and practices. Also, no one could determine the most effective way to interview in regard to pinpointing the right candidate/job fit.

And then Bob chimed in.

Bob had mentioned an assessment that he had been using for several years called the ProfileXT. Because I was sincerely intrigued, I spent time discussing the details of this assessment and I was completely blown away. This assessment measures candidates’ personality traits, and their math and verbal competencies. It then takes the results and compares it to the criteria that a company determines to be the qualities that lead to higher success rates. Basically, the assessment works like this:

• Company determines their current best employees for each job function and has them take the assessment. Assessment results will give a range of certain qualities and traits that these employees have. This sets the bar for what would make a future employee successful at this job.

• Candidates going through the interview process take the assessment. The assessment involves a series of questions that measures their personality traits, as well as their math and verbal competencies.

• After the assessment is completed, a report will be generated that shows where the candidate falls on a scale of 1 to 10 for each criterion (there are a ton!)

• The scales can then be deciphered against some literature that explains what each criterion means and what their score translates to in that regard.

• Once the scores are translated, they can be compared to the company’s “Successful Employee” range and determine if the candidate possesses the necessary qualities and traits that the company believes would make a nearly-ideal employee.

Although this explanation is extremely general, I’ve attached some documents that Bob provided to give more detail on how this assessment works. Some of the main benefits of this assessment are as follows:

• The assessment can identify the talent that is ideal for the job and company.

• It allows candidates to find out their strong/weak qualities so they can determine which jobs would be best to apply to.

• It can help candidates understand themselves better so they can sell themselves with supporting documentation.

• It can reduce turnover.

• It can make the selection process less biased and can conform it in a way so that everyone’s on the same page.

I really thought this was a great tool. I was able to test it out and felt that the results were very accurate. It was also amazing to see the success percentages that were generated when I compared my results up against jobs that I’m interested in doing. Mind boggling!

I suggest that companies consider giving this assessment a trial run. I’ve attached more information on it and also Bob’s contact information so you can get additional insight on how it would work for your company. If you’ve used it (or are planning on using it) I’d love to hear how it’s helped you during the talent acquisition process.

PII Case Study SOS Reducing Turnover

PII PXT Users Guide

Internal Mobility is Good for Your Company

Last night I was involved in another weekly Twitter #tchat (yes, it is my new obsession). Once again, this chat had some great contributors and some interesting information to consider. The chat’s subject discussed how companies and recruiters should focus on internal mobility for filling job openings. It seemed that a lot of the “chatters” felt strongly about this topic and believed that there were many benefits of this promotion track. The common believe was that a solid internal mobility program can be very good for your company.

Here are some informative and useful take-aways I got out of this chat:

Internal mobility can fuel employee engagement. The common theory behind this is: if you invest in your employees they are more likely to invest in you. If you want your employees to be more engaged in their work, make them feel like their contributions have a purpose. Make them know you’re taking notice of them and their efforts. Take time to discuss career goals and offer suggestions on how they can reach them. These things can put a little more pep in their step.

It can reduce turn-over. A good portion of people have admitted to leaving their employer because they felt they had no place to go. Sometimes that may be the case, but a good amount of time there are plenty of lateral or upper positions employees can move into. The issue is: employers don’t educate them on these opportunities. Make your employees aware of this to avoid losing your talent. And if you’re feeling really crazy, allow employees to create and pitch new positions that could be useful to the company (Hello, accountability!).

It can cost less to hire from within than externally. Recruiting and hiring processes are time consuming and expensive. This can be even truer if the candidate that was selected didn’t work out within the first few months. Looking at internal employees might reduce these issues. After all, these employees already know your business expectations and have met them. By now, I’m sure you’ve determined that the employee is a fit for your company. Instead of wasting time looking for diamonds in the rough, consider the gems you already have in your workforce.

Training time can be reduced. Like I mentioned above, the current employees already know your business. They know your systems. They know your managers. They know your clients. They know your mission. Basically, they know everything other than the general duties for the new position. Training them on those duties can be a piece of cake because they already have a clear understanding of how certain procedures affect the company. Think about how quick it would be to train them on those few things rather than an external hire who could take months before they completely understand the business in order to do their job well.

It can increase morale. Nothing can kill an employee’s morale more than watching a position they worked hard for be filled by some random outsider. This situation could even cause some resentment towards the newbie and the company. It is reasonable to say that not all positions can be filled internally. However, to keep the morale up, make sure you offer feedback and mentoring to those not chosen. Even if they don’t get the position, taking time to help them professionally progress can keep their positive feelings about the company intact.

It can make employees feel like they have a goal. Most employees want a job that makes them feel like they’re doing meaningful. They want to be accountable and have a sense of responsibility. However, these feelings can dwindle down if they don’t clearly see how their efforts are contributing to their professional growth. Talk to them about what they want and set a path that helps them progress towards their goal. Productivity could increase once they see how their work is directly correlated with their progression. Moreover, make sure you set realistic timelines and expectations so they don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen right away.

I know that not all job openings can be filled internally. Companies need to throw some new blood into the mix to ensure the workforce does not get stale from recycled perspectives and ideas. External people can bring something fresh into the workplace. However, your internal employees may be able to do the same if you give them a chance to prove it.

If you find this topic interesting, be sure to join in Twitter’s #tchat on Wednesday nights at 7PM EST. Additionally, leave a comment regarding this topic either on here or on the chat.

Links:
Recruiting as an Inside Job- Internal Mobility
Internal Mobility- An Inside Look at Talent