Digital Skills Shortage: Why Candidate Experience Matters in Tech Recruitment
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

A digital skills shortage is taking over the recruitment space. Could improving the candidate experience be the answer?

 

With more businesses requiring digital skills than ever before, and the number of candidates not meeting demand, companies are having to think hard about their recruitment process. In an ‘employee’s market’, it is up to companies to prove to individuals that they are the right place for them to work.

 

The candidate’s experience is a huge part of this. A good candidate experience can help a candidate understand that this is the right company for them, whereas a bad candidate experience can not only put off talented staff but actually cause bigger problems for your business.

 

Here, we take a look at why the candidate experience is so important, especially in overcoming a digital skills shortage in tech recruitment.

 

Candidates are in Short Supply

It has been well established that there is a problem with a digital skills shortage – and this has been apparent for a number of years. For example, a recent report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) revealed that the recruitment pool for cybersecurity professionals has a yearly shortfall of around 10,000 people.

 

 

This is affecting not only tech companies but also businesses across almost every industry that want to invest in IT or tech staff. Given the fact that the world is becoming increasingly digital, almost all businesses have a need for this kind of technical expertise, and it simply is not as available as it needs to be.

 

Given this challenge in recruiting staff with digital expertise, it puts the impetus on businesses to ensure that they are doing everything they can to make candidates come to them. Their experience as they apply for a job with you and make their way through the interview process can affect how they come to see your business, and this will impact whether they take the job or not.

 

Top Talent Positively Impacts Your Business

It is not just the fact that talent is relatively scarce that makes the need to have a great candidate experience. Remember that your staff is almost always the truly key part of your operations. Recruiting the right candidates can have a huge impact on your ability to provide your products and services.

 

In highly complex jobs such as software developers and project managers, it has been shown that high-performing individuals can be up to an incredible 800% more productive than average performing staff. This shows that it can make a truly enormous impact on your organisation to be able to recruit the best talent in a field.

 

Digital is a Competitive Market

There can be no doubt that digital is a highly competitive jobs market. As has already been alluded to, almost every business in every industry has a vested interest in hiring high-quality technical and IT staff. This pushes up salaries and forces employers to think more about what they can do to attract and recruit staff.

 

The candidate experience is an underrated element to overcome the digital skills shortage. Candidates for digital roles will likely have a lot of places that they can go as they are in demand. This means the feeling they get when they attend an interview at your business can make a huge difference. With salaries already pushed up, digital staff is often looking for intangibles.

 

In general, staff wants to work for a company that is going to appreciate them, and you can really show in the candidate experience that this is the case.

 

Word Gets Around

It is not just the single candidate you need to think about when you consider your candidate’s experience. Remember that if individuals have a bad experience when applying to a position at your business, they are likely to tell their friends, colleagues, and partners in the industry, and this, in turn, can make it harder to provide a positive impression for other candidates.

 

Ultimately, this can have a negative impact not just on your ability to recruit but also on you as a brand. With sites like Glassdoor offering publicly available insight into the way your company operates, this can negatively affect your brand.

 

Minimise the Risk of Alienating Staff

It is absolutely essential for tech businesses to focus on keeping their team happy. This all starts at their interview stage and through their onboarding, as this sets the tone for how they view the company. Treat them well and they will be loyal and treat the business with respect. But, if they feel underappreciated it can lead to them considering the company in a negative light.

 

 

Not only can this have issues for productivity and efficiency, it can also potentially make them a risk for insider attacks. Tech staff typically have a great deal of agency over aspects of the business that few people oversee. This can make the business especially vulnerable to them on the whole.

 

“Disgruntled current or former employees that steal intellectual property or commit intentional sabotage are among the costliest threats to organisations,” says George Glass, Head of Threat Intelligence at cybersecurity specialists Redscan “the mistake that many organisations make is to focus purely on threats originating from outside. However, with the number and severity of breaches caused by insider attacks continuing to rise, this can often be a very costly oversight.”

 

What Makes a Great Candidate Experience?

There are many different issues that can affect the candidate experience, and you’ll need to get them all right to impress the best staff. It is often the little things that add up to a big difference for staff. So, what are some of the things that make a great candidate experience?

 

Clear and consistent job descriptions

Nothing is more frustrating for a candidate than applying for a job based on the job description, and then finding out in the interview that the specifics of the role are somewhat different. Use simple language and leave no room for ambiguity and be genuine about the ‘must have’ attributes of a suitable candidate.

 

Make applying easy

Applying to a job should feel positive and easy – but so many organisations choose to make the system far more complicated than it needs to be. Asking candidates to register and log into the system, for example, is time-consuming and frustrating for them.

 

Keep candidates informed

It is still surprisingly common that candidates for roles will feel in the dark after they have submitted their applications. It is the least that an organisation can do to send an email confirming having received the application, and then letting them know if they have been unsuccessful.

 

It would be even better if emails could be sent at each stage of the process – letting them know with each email when they should expect their next correspondence by.

 

Provide feedback

Candidates love to hear feedback. If they are being rejected for a position, it is genuinely helpful for them to understand why.

 

 

Let them know what to expect in the interview

Businesses are sometimes unnecessarily coy about what the process of the interview will be. Candidates will be able to show off their skills and knowledge far more effectively if they are given to prepare, and understand what they are preparing for.

 

What can you do?

If you’re facing a digital skills shortage in your business, improving your candidate experience is a big part of the puzzle. If you’re wondering where to start, using recruitment technology is a great way to quickly put some of these tips into practice.

 

The Smart Recruit Online platform is designed to make your candidate experience better, with job advert copywriting, automated candidate communication tools, and more, all from one, easy-to-use platform. Interested? Get in touch today.

Smart Recruit Online


We offer an award-winning talent acquisition platform, that combines an ATS with a powerful job board multi-poster. Our platform helps you quickly find and hire the best talent online for less with a range of tools designed to help you run a successful recruitment campaign. We use extensive research and an understanding of human behaviour to keep our business and technology at the cutting edge.


5 Candidate Experience Technologies that Boost Performance
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The candidate experience is more important than ever – luckily there are now plenty of candidate experience technologies to help.

 

Since the Great Resignation, there has been a huge increase in candidate availability. Providing a great candidate experience was a priority for many businesses prior to the pandemic. However, since then, now that we find ourselves in a predominantly remote world, it is necessary for organisations to be forward-thinking and proactive when it comes to providing an unforgettable candidate experience. After all, with so many people looking for new job opportunities, the competition is fierce.

 

In this article, we will be sharing the 5 candidate experience technologies that help your organisation stand out from the crowd.

 

Video Conferencing

Since there has been such an uptake of remote workers as a result of the pandemic, video conferencing technologies have become a necessity. With video conferencing, you can interview potential candidates from all over the world, rather than being restricted to certain radiuses that allow for in-person meetings and acceptable office commutes.

 

If you want to boost the candidate experience, it’s important to offer high-quality video conferencing as part of the interview process. Video conferencing platforms such as Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are all excellent tools for helping connect companies with interested candidates.

 

View of six people on a video conference

 

The benefits of video conferencing are numerous. However, the most significant ways video conferencing tools boost candidate experience are by offering greater flexibility, reducing anxiety and burnout, providing more convenience, reducing expense, and a low-pressure interview environment.

 

Recruitment Software

Advertising for jobs, sifting through the applications, and whittling it down to a handful of interviews can be a time-consuming process. When your time-to-hire is high, the risk of your candidates having a poor experience and dropping out of the process increases.

 

Recruitment software can give you access to candidate experience technology that manages everything in one place, and makes these processes much easier for your team.

 

Smart Recruit Online provides the ideal solution. With the help of our easy-to-use recruitment platform, you can generate job adverts, screen applicants’ CVs, and make quality hires.

 

What’s more, having all the information you need in one place ensures you don’t miss applications or forget to reply to candidates, providing them with a much better overall experience.

 

Message Automation

The candidates applying to your job advertisements take time out of their day to submit their applications. So, the least you could do is send a reply. However, that’s easier said than done when you have received hundreds of applications!

 

View of a person working on a laptop outside on a benchAccording to Flexjobs, “Not responding has become a common practice since many employers are reticent to reach out with a “thanks, but no thanks” response, no matter what stage of the job application process they are at with a job applicant. But it’s also one of the biggest complaints professionals have about the job search process, and it doesn’t help your company’s reputation.” Thankfully, candidate experience technology in the form of message automation is here to help.

 

Message automation technology allows you to send a response to each one of your applicants, without taking up hours of your time. Automated messaging can be a helpful tool to connect with your candidates, let them know their application has been received, and set an expectation for response times.

 

A good example of this would be: “Thank you so much for applying for X position. Your application has been received and is being reviewed by our team. If we are interested, we will be in touch within the next 2 weeks to schedule an interview. If you do not hear from us within this time, we are sorry but your application has been unsuccessful.”

 

Reach Out to Previous Candidates

If you represent a large organisation, it’s likely the same jobs come up time and again. So, it’s very possible that candidates you turned away previously might be a good fit now. Many organisations store the contact details of rejected candidates on a database so they can reach out if another role becomes available.

 

When the time comes to scour your database for previous candidates, artificial intelligence can search through your database and find candidates that match your specified credentials. It’s a fast and effective way to find candidates who might be a good fit for the job so that you can get in touch as soon as possible.

 

Reaching out to previous applicants is a great way to boost candidate experience. It shows you weren’t making things up when you said you’d be in touch about future opportunities. Using rediscovery technology in this way can create a positive impression and help your organisation stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

 

Incorporate Gamification

Gamification is becoming an increasingly popular way to interview potential employees and evaluate whether they are the right fit. Through gamification you can gain an understanding of a candidate’s skill set, you can evaluate how they work with a team, and you can engage candidates with your company.

 

Quote that gamification in recruiting makes the hiring process more interactive and fun

 

According to Workable, “Gamification in recruiting makes your hiring process more interactive and it may also project a company culture that’s enjoyable and fun, thus attracting more quality candidates.”

 

Gamification is a fun and engaging way to boost the candidate experience. Most job applications require cover letters, detailed CVs, and the filling out of lengthy forms. Gamification offers candidates a fresh and exciting job application process that helps generate engagement and interest in your company.

 

Final Words

The way we work is changing for the better. Remote working has fast-forwarded the adoption of new and emerging technologies that help to streamline your processes and boost candidate experience.

 

We hope the technologies outlined in this article help strengthen your application process, attract more experienced candidates, and secure you the right person for the job.

 

If you want to adopt these candidate experience technologies more seamlessly, our talent acquisition platform is designed to provide them all in one place. Simply get in touch with our team to see how we can help.

Gemma Hart


Gemma Hart is an independent HR professional working remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Since graduating in 2016, Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts.


Employee Retention Strategies for Small Businesses
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Whether you’re a large or small business, retaining your best employees is crucial for success. This article covers the most effective employee retention strategies for small businesses, and how you can start implementing them today. 

 

One of the most common challenges discussed in recruitment is hiring the best talent for your business. With the job market being so candidate-driven, attracting and hiring the right people is harder than ever.

 

Luckily, there’s plenty of information and recruitment technology to help you make the right hires, but what about once you’ve made those hires? We all know how vital it is to have talented people working for you, and you want to keep those people on board for the highest chance of business success.

 

Your employees are ultimately your most valuable asset, and care must be taken to retain them just as much as generating sales or managing finances. Employee retention strategies for small businesses are particularly important, as here every member of your team really will make or break the business.

 

Why is employee retention important?

When you don’t retain your employees, the outcome is of course a higher turnover rate. A high turnover is bad for any business, but the cost of it can be highly damaging to smaller companies.

 

 

Turnover can cost employers 33% of an employee’s annual salary, a loss that can significantly impact a smaller business. But why exactly is the cost so high?

 

Recruitment costs

When you lose an employee, it’s not cheap to advertise a new role, particularly if you want the right candidate to apply.

 

Whether you’re advertising your roles through a recruitment agency or hiring directly, the costs add up. Recruitment agencies can take between 15 – 20% of the candidates’ first annual salary, even going up to 30% for harder-to-fill roles. Posting jobs directly on job boards and other advertising channels can also become an expensive option if you’re doing it frequently.

 

And let’s not forget the more indirect costs like your recruitment team’s time and resources and the consequences of making a bad hire.

 

If you’re having to go through these processes frequently, the loss to your business is staggering. So it’s best to make sure you’re making the right hire in the first place and then retaining them.

 

Loss of productivity

It’s only natural for a new employee to take some time to get familiar with the business and get to grips with their new role. This means they may not produce the same level of work as their predecessor for a while, creating a loss of productivity.

 

A loss of productivity can come at a great cost, particularly for small businesses where the environment is fast-paced. The amount lost depends on the role, however; for example, replacement staff at a restaurant may not need as much time to get up to speed as a senior lawyer position.

 

Onboarding and training

Once you hire the right candidate, you need to properly onboard and train them. Tasks like putting together a welcome book with their offer letter, contract, details on the company, and an employee handbook will be necessary.

 

 

Inductions with new employees will take time – even if it’s just a few hours this is a valuable time within your business. If you are making new hires frequently, this time will add up, and lead to a significant loss.

 

Training for new employees depends on the role, but this could range from a quick chat to hours spent training on how to sell your product. If this employee leaves soon after, this is essentially wasted time and money.

 

Employee retention strategies

So what exactly can you do as a small business to ensure your staff are less likely to leave and save on the cost of a high turnover? Here are employee retention strategies for small businesses to help.

 

1. Avoid making bad hires

This one might seem pretty obvious, but avoiding making bad hires for your business in the first place is essential for employee retention.

 

Hiring the wrong candidate can cost your business at least 30% of the employee’s first-year earnings, and can go up to as much as double this. This is because either the bad hire will realise they aren’t right for the business and leave, or the company decides to let them go.

 

The two most common factors that create a bad hire are poor cultural fit and underperformance. Ensuring you get these two aspects right throughout the hiring process is essential, and there are a few ways you can do this.

 

Write effective job adverts

How you write your job adverts is a vital part of attracting the right talent online. Your advert should be as clear and focused as possible, whilst engaging and exciting a prospective candidate.

 

A simple job description isn’t going to cut it. The most talented candidates are often already employed and passively searching for roles online – if you want to have any chance of hiring these people, you need to stand out, and sell the role and opportunity to them.

 

Some good practices for this are:

  • Use the right job title
  • Avoid too many ‘essential’ bullet points
  • Outline the role responsibilities accurately
  • Include information on career progression, working environment and culture, and potential rewards
  • Use a question in your opening paragraph

 

For more tips on writing effective job adverts, download our Job Advert Writing Checklist.

 

Download banner for the job advert writing checklist

 

Advertise in the right places 

In order to reach the right people, you need to select the right job advertising channels that they will be searching on.

 

A simple Google Search of the job title and location you’re advertising for will reveal the top results of where candidates are most likely to be searching. Simply select the top channels displayed.

 

You also want to make sure your advert is shown across and large enough number of these channels. There are now tools that can help you do this, such as job board multi-posters.

 

These increase your job’s visibility by posting across numerous relevant job advertising channels at a reduced fee. This saves your recruitment team both time and money that would be spent researching and posting on each channel individually. This is great if you’re a small business with limited resources.

 

2. Create a positive candidate experience

Attracting the right talent is one thing, but retaining them throughout the recruitment process is key. In-demand employees are less likely to accept a job offer if they’ve had a negative candidate experience.

 

A disappointed candidate may also share their experiences, with a CareerArc Survey revealing that 72% of candidates who have a bad experience will openly tell others about it. This can give you a bad employer reputation, and discourage talent from joining your company in the future.

 

An efficient hiring process 

Keep your hiring process as simple and efficient as possible. Research has shown that candidates quit job applications when they’re too long or complex, so make sure you’re doing the following:

 

  • Avoid lengthy candidate screening
  • Use recruitment automation tools where you can
  • Keep track of your candidates with an applicant tracking system
  • Avoid redirecting applicants between platforms in the initial application process

 

Candidate communication 

Poor communication with candidates is one of the biggest reasons for talented people dropping out of your recruitment process. Communicating properly increases your chance of winning over the best and retaining their interest.

  • Communicate at vital points in the recruitment process using automated emails and SMS messages
  • Communicate as quickly as possible from the point of application
  • Be courteous in all your communications
  • Ensure you provide adequate information on your company, opportunity, team, and the steps in your recruitment process

 

The interview 

Once you have shortlisted your best candidates for an interview, follow through with a carefully prepared and organised meeting. It’s amazing how many companies invest time and effort into recruiting candidates, yet blow their chances on the day. A good candidate will know if they’re being fobbed off with an ad hoc interview.

 

You are selling your company, so you should put your best people in front of the candidates that you want to impress. Confident, ambitious job seekers will have plenty of other opportunities on the table, so do your best to woo them.

 

  • Make sure your interviewer is properly trained
  • Avoid interviewer fatigue by not booking too many interviews in one time period
  • Ensure you follow best practices when conducting remote interviews
  • During on-site interviews give a tour of the facility & introductions to members of staff

 

3. Enhance your benefits package

Before you start thinking about hiring new employees, ask yourself – are you offering attractive benefits as part of working with you? While providing adequate pay is a vital employee retention strategy for small businesses, offering a superior benefits package is another sure-fire way to keep top talent (and attract new hires!).

 

 

Benefits are important because they make your employees feel valued, and give them what they may not be able to otherwise afford. In fact, research has found that 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay rise. In a job seekers’ market, it’s not just job seekers who are being harder to please. Your existing staff may consider changing jobs if they feel more valued elsewhere.

 

Not only does an attractive benefits package keep talent in your business, it also contributes to increased productivity in the workplace. Keeping your employees productive is one of the most important parts of keeping your business profitable, so this is vital.

 

Some key benefits to consider are:

  • Private healthcare
  • Flexible hours
  • Remote working
  • Training and development
  • Wellness packages
  • Professional financial advice
  • Time off for mental health
  • Rewards for performance

 

4. Training and development

Are you providing ongoing staff training and development as part of your business? According to a LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, a huge 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.

 

Training and development have become an expectation by talented employees. It shows that the business values them and their career progression.

 

Here are just some of the ways you can develop talent from within your business.

 

Use of micro-learning 

Traditional skill-developing techniques like seminars and in-person courses can eat up employee time and productivity. As a result, e-learning has become increasingly popular, as it can be done flexibly in a micro-learning format at the employee’s own convenience.

 

Offering learning opportunities in bite-sized time periods can be easily weaved into the normal workday. This may include:

  • Social media learning
  • Video learning e.g. webinars or training videos
  • Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) that create a personalised, online learning experience for employees from a singular platform that they can revisit at any time

 

Internal training 

Experienced members on your teams can help get new and existing hires up to speed through internal training programmes. There are a few ways to boost your internal training processes, which may include:

  • Mentorships with senior staff
  • Creating a talent development programme that focuses on certain skills staff lack in
  • Performance reviews to monitor staff training progress

 

Upskilling & reskilling programmes

Upskilling and reskilling programmes are a great way to improve your employee engagement and help retain talent within your small business. They’re also effective for attracting new talent and speeding up the adoption of new trends in the business.

 

These programmes may require more investment from you, but the payoff is huge. Some examples of techniques to use are:

  • Job shadowing or swapping between teams
  • Investment in industry courses and qualifications
  • Time away to attend relevant seminars and events
  • Group sessions with external training providers

 

5. Rewards and recognition

A study from Office Team found that 66% of employees would quit a job if they felt unappreciated. Giving your employees rewards and recognition is a great employee retention strategy for small businesses, but what can you do to give them this?

 

Written & verbal praise 

Praising your employees can boost their self-esteem, and motivate them to continue to do good work. It also has the potential to motivate other employees to work just as hard to get the same level of recognition.

 

A simple thank you card or email can have more of an impact than you’d think and is tangible proof of an employee’s contribution.

 

Verbal praise is again quite self-explanatory, but ensure you’re making a conscious effort to give it in an ad-hoc format as and when it is necessary.

 

Employee appreciation events & days 

Calling out your employees in a highlighted event or day is a great step to showing appreciation for them. Some examples include having an employee of the month/quarter/year to identify and celebrate your top performers.

 

Additionally, celebrating birthdays, new additions to the family or other notable out-of-work events can have a positive impact too.

 

 

Employee milestones

Celebrating employee milestones such as work anniversaries, project completions, and quarterly reviews can actually have a big impact on your employee retention.

 

In fact, research by Harvard Business Review found most workers change jobs in the first year, spiking around work anniversaries. Acknowledging this milestone has the potential to help the employee feel valued, and perhaps reconsider leaving.

 

These recognitions don’t need to be costly, with something as simple as a thank you card or company-wide announcement. Even the smallest gesture can have the biggest impact.

 

Bonuses & gifts

Showing your appreciation in the form of a bonus or gift is a good tactic to reward your employees and contribute to retention.

 

Bonuses and gifts can range from small to large. Monetary bonuses can be given frequently for a job well done, and show employees they are valued and that their hard work is helping the company. Giving this kind of reward for a specific job well done can have the biggest impact, as the action is rewarded almost immediately when it’s top-of-mind.

 

Gift certificates can have a similar impact, and even something as simple as a free lunch once a week can also go a long way.

 

6. Career advancement

The opportunity for career advancement is an extremely effective employee retention strategy for small businesses. It may be challenging to develop a clear path for a promotion in a smaller business, as this usually means smaller teams and fewer senior positions available. However, you can still provide alternatives.

 

More responsibility 

Offering your strongest performing employees more responsibilities as a way to grow their careers is a viable option.

 

This offers employees the chance to get additional experience, hone new skills, and become more satisfied. Having these new experiences then sets the employee up for a promotion and a better salary in the future.

 

This is also a good time to get employees doing the extra training and development discussed in this guide.

 

Promote from within 

If the need does arise to create a new senior position, begin your search from within the business with your existing employees.

 

Consistently searching for new candidates and promoting from the outside can cause frustrations with your current employees. They may stop trying their best, or even leave your company as they don’t see any opportunity to grow within the business.

 

Promoting from within your teams is a key employee retention strategy for small businesses, as it shows the time and effort they’ve put into the company is valued.

 

7. Invest in your company culture

A Deloitte survey found company culture is a big and growing topic you cannot afford to neglect, with 86% of CEOs and HR Leaders seeing it as increasingly important to businesses.

 

It’s a magic formula that goes like this: Get your business model and your internal culture right, and you’ll be surprised just how quickly word gets around that your company is the place to be.

 

When your candidates, employees, customers, and the public interact with your business, what’s their experience? The way your company is perceived hinges on its internal culture and how this is managed. Everything follows from here – from team engagement and productivity to employee happiness, staff retention, and business success.

 

Identifying and developing your company’s brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be done. Here are four things you should be doing:

 

  • Build authentic and meaningful recognition and reward into your company culture to meet your employees’ needs to be recognised for their efforts and achievements, and drive performance, staff retention, and employee engagement.

 

 

  • Build strong teams that collaborate eagerly, communicate openly, trust each other’s views, and are motivated to engage in the best performance. Team building shouldn’t be a one-off activity, day-to-day reinforcement may be needed to create a collaborative work culture.

 

  • Build a flexible work environment, allowing and trusting your staff to choose when, where, and how they work. This freedom coupled with personal accountability strengthens your work culture by encouraging happier, higher-performing teams.

 

  • Create a caring culture that genuinely looks after its employees and goes beyond the norm. X, Y, Z generations want to know that you will look after their best interests and care for them, especially in their hour of need. Employees now prefer healthy food and access to help and advice over a beer fridge or pool table.

 

Final thoughts

Retaining top talent is vital for your business’ success. A high turnover is ultimately bad for morale and adds numerous costs to the business. Whilst retaining every employee isn’t always possible, implementing these employee retention strategies for small businesses will create a much more desirable place to work, and your employees are likely to stay for longer.

 

Ultimately, talented employees who know the ins and outs of your business over time are the ones who will bring the most value. But you need to ensure you’re hiring the right people in the first place. This is where Smart Recruit Online can help. Our talent acquisition platform comes with the latest candidate screening tools and software designed to attract and hire the best talent online.

 

Interested? Check out our platform yourself, or book a demo with one of our talent acquisition specialists who will show you how we can help.

 

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Annie Button


Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, recruitment and career development.


Building an Employer Branding Strategy
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

This guide teaches you why employer branding is critical for your business, and how you can build an employer branding strategy that works.

 

Recent research on employer branding suggests that “Over 90% of people would consider leaving their job if offered a position in a company with an outstanding corporate reputation.”

 

90%! This shows just how crucial employer branding is for any company looking to bring top talent on board and keep them.

 

Excellent branding can absolutely help you in the recruiting and hiring process when done right. From attracting quality candidates to providing a memorable hiring experience, employer branding can make or break the strength of your internal teams and operation overall.

 

Before we help you build your own branding strategy, let’s explore the definition of an employer branding strategy and why it’s important to improve continually.

 

Employer Branding Strategy Definition

Experts say, “At its most basic, employer branding is how you market your company to job seekers and what employees say about your company as a workplace.” An employer branding strategy allows you to shape the conversation about your brand and what it’s like to work for your company into a more positive one that makes you more appealing to potential employees.

 

An employer branding strategy differs from an employer branding tactic. A strategy is an overall plan to achieve a goal, while a tactic is an action taken to achieve that goal. However, both are vital for a solid employer brand.

 

Next, let’s explore why an employer brand strategy is worth improving.

 

Why an Employer Branding Strategy is Worth Improving

An employer branding strategy is worth improving because it directly impacts your ability to attract top talent, bring down hiring costs, and significantly reduce employee turnover.

 

A strong employer brand can also help you reduce candidate dropoffs in the hiring process and create an experience that candidates remember as positive, low-pressure, and seamless. In addition, you’ll be able to fill your teams with members that are a perfect match for your company’s culture, organisational direction, and preferred experience in candidates.

 

Furthermore, an employer branding strategy could result in lower spending on recruitment. Recent research on branding revealed that “Having a great brand can bring the expenses related to hiring and training down by as much as 50%.”

 

Read on for how to build an employer branding strategy that works for your company.

 

Building an Employer Branding Strategy

 

gif of a man saying he likes to plan a strategy

 

Building an employer branding strategy isn’t as complicated as people believe. By making a few crucial considerations and taking your time drafting the details of your strategy, you can be well on your way to an employer brand that stands out.

 

 

Here’s how to build an employer branding strategy:

 

What do you want your brand to communicate?

First, a considerable part of building an employer branding strategy is finetuning exactly what you want your brand to communicate to potential workers. In other words, what makes your company a desirable place to work? Why would someone love going to work every day at your company?

 

Be sure to polish your employee value proposition so that what’s expected from the company and prospective candidates during the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes is out in the open. Ultimately, you want to ensure you’re highlighting your company’s unique culture, mission, vision, and values.

 

With a clear understanding of what you want your brand to communicate to the outside world, move on to defining your ideal applicants.

 

Who are your ideal applicants?

Defining your ideal applicants is essential. To bring on team members who are perfect for the company, you must know who they are, how to communicate with them, and what will make your company attractive.

 

five people sitting in a waiting room

 

Instead of a buyer persona, create an ideal applicant persona. Map out the details of your perfect applicant and how they would move through their journey with your company, from introduction to hiring to onboarding. This way, you can craft a strategy and content tailored to the people you want to work for your company.

 

Next, define your employer branding goals.

 

Define employer branding goals

What do you want to achieve regarding employer branding? For instance, are you looking to reduce your hiring costs? Do you want to decrease candidate dropoff during the application process? Are you hoping to better your employee retention rate?

 

Whatever employer branding goals you have, write them down and make them visible to the entire HR team. You’ll also want to attach Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to your goals so that you can easily track your progress toward them.

 

Choosing suitable tools is next on the list for creating a killer employer branding strategy.

 

Choose suitable tools

Implement tools and platforms that help you find and hire the best talent out there. This will help free up your HR team’s time so that they can work on more pressing needs. Be sure your tools help keep your branding consistent and streamline your efforts throughout the hiring and recruiting process. They should do things like:

 

person typing on a laptop with faces in the background

 

  • Organise your branding elements
  • Help you find the most talented candidates online
  • Create job advertisements that help your company stand out
  • Post to job boards and sites automatically
  • Automate communication during vital parts of the process
  • Organize your relationship with a candidate so that you always know where you are with them
  • Screen resumes and covers letters
  • Video interviewing and virtual onboarding

 

Now it’s time to draft your strategy.

 

Draft your strategy and develop employer branding materials

Once you’ve defined your goals, draft your strategy either on paper or digitally. Be sure to include details like what communication channels you’ll use, your budget, who’s in charge of what, deadlines, content calendar, and how you’ll make the strategy visible to everyone in the company.

 

You’ll also want to address the content you create and employer branding materials necessary to carry out your strategy. For example, you’ll likely need extraordinary brand photography to give people an inside view of the atmosphere and culture in the workplace. Or maybe you’ll need to create employer branding videos to showcase a genuine and exciting side of your company.

 

Lastly, be sure to track your strategy’s performance.

 

Track your strategy’s performance

Implement analytics tools so that you can monitor the performance of your employer branding strategy and pivot when necessary.

 

Analytics tools can help you take advantage of new opportunities, address weaknesses in your strategy, and ensure you’re still meeting your company’s needs.

 

Do ample research on any analytics tool you’re considering. Be sure it’s the right fit for what you’re trying to track and the people who will be working with the data. Ultimately, it’s all about refining your approach to ensure your employer brand is the best it can be.

 

Conclusion

Creating a killer employer branding strategy is one of the best investments your company can make. Not only will you have a better chance at attracting top talent, but you’ll also create a company culture that’s a joy to work in.

 

The strategies discussed in this guide are made easier when you use the right recruitment technology. Why not get in touch and find out how our recruitment software can help you make better hires with a great employer branding strategy?

Luke Smith


Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. When he isn't writing you can find him travelling, hiking, or gaming.


How to Use Onboarding Automation Effectively
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Onboarding automation has become an essential part of the recruitment process. This guide gives you the top areas you should focus on for successful onboarding.

 

Strategic employee onboarding continues to be a major focus for many businesses, and yet, research has found only 12% of employees agree their company does a great job at it. This leaves a staggering 88% that don’t think there is room for improvement in their company.

 

As a positive candidate experience becomes more and more vital for successful recruitment, its importance is clear even after you’ve made a hire during the onboarding process.

 

The benefits of effective onboarding

Businesses that invest in improving their onboarding experience see numerous benefits. An effective onboarding programme can increase employee engagement levels, foster quicker productivity for new hires, and decrease employee turnover.

 

In fact, research by Brandon Hall Group found companies with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%. It’s no secret that an engaged workforce is a key driver of business success, so it’s important to engage and retain employees from day 1. An effective onboarding process is the first step to achieving this.

 

Why automate your onboarding?

Over the years, automation has become one of those business buzzwords you hear tossed around at almost every meeting. And yes, it can be just a buzzword if you don’t implement it into your organisation, but it can also be a solution that transforms every department and every process in your company.

 

 

Automation encompasses a myriad of software and hardware solutions that aim to cut extraneous business costs, elevate efficiency and productivity, improve compliance and security, and bring numerous other benefits to the table. This includes improving the employee onboarding experience. 

 

When you implement onboarding automation, you can turn newcomers into productive team members in no time. But that’s just one of the ways that automation can improve the onboarding experience.

 

Let’s take a look at how you can automate onboarding to achieve better business results in the years to come. 

 

1. Ensuring data security and confidentiality

Let’s start with one of the benefits of onboarding automation that managers tend to forget about – the security and confidentiality of new employee data.

 

Data confidentiality is another broad term that encompasses the security of personal devices, new accounts, and all the software that your new employees use to get the job done. Remember that newcomers are inexperienced with your processes and how you use all of these devices and software, so they might inadvertently create potential security holes while they’re getting the hang of things.

 

You can’t be expected to check for these security risks manually, especially when you don’t even know if they exist. So, a big part of onboarding automation is to automate password creation, implement early warning systems, and automatically balance access rights. The last one is super important for controlling which employees have access to which data stores and features in your system. You can use automated access rights to delegate access easily according to their level of clearance.

 

2. Personalised and comprehensive welcome packets

Welcoming a new employee into your organisation is nowadays much more complex than a firm handshake and a smile. Whether your employees are working in a physical office space or if you’re currently hiring remote workers only, the way you welcome them can make all the difference.

 

You should use this opportunity to create a personalised welcome package that will boost onboarding and help make the newcomer into a productive team member as quickly as possible. This package can be completely digitised, thus automating this part of the onboarding experience, and you can drop it into their inbox.

 

It can contain a heartfelt message from you or the team lead, but more importantly, it should contain all the information, guides, and materials the employee needs to learn the ropes quickly. Take the time to craft these packages for every employee and their position in your company and you will invariably improve their productivity from day one.

 

3. Automated background checks 

Many employers may choose to conduct background checks on new hires post-offer as part of the onboarding process. With automation, you can get these checks sent out to the new hire before they start, so their first day can be spent with introductions and training, rather than going through paperwork.

 

Some centralised recruitment systems allow you to send automated requests for background check authorisation, driver’s license copies, and anything else you may need ahead of time.

 

Webforms, email and eSignature tools can then be used to make the process easier for the candidate, and the completion of these tasks is automatically tracked on the system. This makes the screening process much more efficient for HR and hiring managers, and creates a seamless candidate experience.

 

4. Monitoring time, work, and attendance for new hires

One of the biggest productivity killers for new hires and the reason why it takes so long for them to get a handle on things is that managers fail to monitor them and their work.

 

 

Remember, one of the secrets to successful onboarding is making sure that you have real-time visibility of all your teams. This allows you to make better decisions quickly, support newcomers in their work, and delegate more efficiently.

 

Of course, this is not something you should try to do manually, because it’s time-consuming and financially impossible. Instead, you should automate the process with the right time and attendance solutions that give you comprehensive team visibility along with real-time insights into their status, location, and work.

 

This allows you to automate various different parts of the onboarding process and better manage your new employees no matter where they are in the world.

 

5. Improving productivity and efficiency

As you might have guessed, one of the biggest benefits of onboarding automation is improved productivity and efficiency in general.

 

If there is anything that newcomers rightfully struggle with, it’s maintaining high levels of productivity, especially if they are new to the tools and processes you use. If you want them to be engaged and motivated, automation should be one of your priorities. 

 

That said, the more intuitive tools you use and the smarter the software, the easier it is for newcomers to get the job done without making any mistakes along the way. So, using a project management tool with a variety of intuitive and automated features, for example, allows new team members to handle tasks more easily and consistently, track progress, and stay in touch with their colleagues. 

 

6. Providing continuous guidance, training, and support

Last but not least, there is no way to avoid an occasional blunder or getting your inbox flooded with questions from newcomers on a daily basis. Don’t blame them, they’re new to your organisation, so it’s natural that they have a lot of questions.

 

Continuous support and guidance on your part are instrumental in making them independent and successful in their work, but it is time-consuming. That’s why you should automate these processes as much as you can.

 

By crafting detailed FAQs, video tutorials, and even integrating a chatbot into your internal support tool, your employees and new hires will have an easier time resolving every issue they come across without bugging you. It saves you time, but it also makes the whole workflow more efficient.

 

Wrapping up

Automation is a big deal nowadays, and when it comes to onboarding, it can be a lifesaver. Be sure to automate onboarding and employee management as much as you can to create a more efficient and productive employee collective.

 

Looking for more ways to automate your recruitment process, and save yourself time and money? Our talent acquisition platform can help. Get started by booking in a chat with one of our experienced consultants.

 

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Lauren N Wiseman


Lauren is a regular SRO Blog and Bizzmark Blog author that has many articles published with the main focus on clients who want their brands to grow in the fast-changing and demanding market. Her personal favorites are successes of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. She goes through life with one strong moto - Kindness, always.


The 8 Biggest Recruitment Challenges for 2022
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

 

When you’re looking to hire the best talent for your business, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into a few recruitment challenges along the way. Here we discuss what some of these biggest challenges are, and some useful tips that help solve them. 

 

1. Market Fragmentation

One of the biggest recruitment challenges is understanding the different tools are services out there, and which are most effective for improving the recruitment process. This can be a daunting task, with hundreds of potential solutions out there that claim they can get your job filled, making it hard to distinguish which are best for your recruitment needs.

 

From job boards and aggregators, to social media, sponsored advertising, agencies and RPOs, it can be hard to know where to start, as amongst the very good solutions, there are some very poor ones too. Each job will need a different set of solutions, so finding the ideal combination of advertising media, technology and processes is the best way to get your job filled efficiently and cost-effectively.

 

Solutions 

Luckily, there are now recruitment services available that let you centralise all your recruitment activities. Many of these services have integrated 3rd party tools so you can get several recruitment solutions in one, giving you better value for money.

 

A key tip to establish which is the best service for you is to first list your company objectives, then you can think about the tools you need to achieve them. For example, if you want to reduce recruitment costs, selecting tools that reduce your dependency on agencies could be the best option.

 

2. Efficiency During The Recruitment Process

Inefficient administration processes and duplication of effort are what soak up the vast majority of a recruiter’s time. For example, sourcing potential applicants and reviewing CVs and profiles can take hours, if not days.

 

When lots of time is spent inefficiently on recruitment admin, it can actually create a substantial cost to your business. Yet, when calculating the cost-per-hire metric, many businesses don’t factor in the time and resources spent on these kinds of tasks.

 

Creating an efficient recruitment process is essential for getting high-quality applicants into your shortlist, as quickly as possible. It’s also important for managing efficient ways to reject unsuitable applicants quickly, while protecting the corporate brand.

 

Three efficiency graphs

 

Solutions 

A good recruitment management system is essential for improving your recruitment efficiency. Recruitment management systems let you coordinate all your processes from one single platform, where you can easily identify what tasks are the most time-consuming, along with many other tools that automate and simplify the recruitment process.

 

This will dramatically reduce time spent on manual admin tasks, and save on long-term costs to your business. For example, you may notice screening applicants is taking far longer than necessary, so you could benefit from implementing tools like behavioural assessments, video profiling and technical assessments.

 

3. The Candidate Experience and Protecting the Company Brand

Company brand is all about reputation, and this can be significantly affected by the candidate experience throughout the recruitment process. This can be seen in research that found 80% of candidates who have a bad recruitment experience will openly tell others about it, with many proactively doing so.

 

A poor candidate experience can damage your brand image, impacting how both candidates and customers may see you in the future. Yet understanding how to execute a positive candidate experience seems to be one of the biggest recruitment challenges.

 

Solutions 

Improving the way you communicate with candidates is one of the best things you can do to improve their experience and protect your brand. This can easily be done with personalised automated email and SMS responses at each stage of the application process, acknowledging applications and providing additional information about your job opportunity to keep them engaged.

 

This is important even for candidates who aren’t suitable for your roles. According to a PwC survey, 61% of candidates have experienced recruiters withdrawing from all communication suddenly and without explanation, even after they have had an interview. This can leave candidates feeling negatively towards your brand, increasing the chance of negative word-of-mouth.

 

Download banner for eBook on ways to improve the candidate experience

 

4. Avoiding Bad Hires

The person doing the recruitment may be under pressure to get the job filled quickly above anything else. This can lead to unsuitable candidates being selected, and bad hires being made. Bad hires can cost your business almost a third of the employee’s first-year earnings, and affect your team’s overall performance and productivity, so naturally this is something you want to avoid.

 

Solutions 

Applying due diligence even in the earliest stages of recruitment is key for avoiding bad hires. This can be done in the form of sophisticated candidate screening tools, such as CV parsing, behavioural assessments, and video profiling. Tools like this will help closely match candidate experience, behaviour, and cultural fit to your role and business.

 

5. Direct Applicant Quality

Every recruiter is looking for the secret sauce to this recruitment challenge. Attracting quality candidates is important, but something many businesses struggle with. This isn’t helped by the fact that the typical drop-off rate during the application process is 80%, and this tends to be the strongest applicants passively searching for a new role.

 

Speech bubble with the words 'we are hiring'

 

Poorly optimised job adverts that don’t include appropriate keywords are often the centre of this problem, as the right candidates aren’t discovering the role. Many job adverts are also poorly written to convert, creating the challenge of turning a view into an actual application.

 

Solutions 

There are short and long-term solutions to this challenge. A short-term strategy would be to ensure your advert will be displayed by search engines like Google by using the most effective job title and relevant keywords that your ideal candidate will be searching for. Make sure to include these keywords in your ad copy, page title and meta description.

 

Once candidates find your job ad, making it engaging and well-written will help improve conversions more than a simple job spec.

 

More long-term strategies that will help improve direct applicant quality are to improve your company brand and reputation using the tactics mentioned for improving the candidate experience.

 

We also recommend building your talent pool and establishing relationships with quality candidates ahead of trying to recruit them, for example those that have previously applied at your company, follow you on social media or have joined groups you manage on LinkedIn.

 

6. Improving Time to Hire

With 81% of candidates expecting the hiring process to take 2 weeks at most, improving time-to-hire is a recruitment challenge increasing in importance. This is because candidates are far more likely to drop-off the application process if it is taking too long, or get snapped up by another company.

 

Solutions 

Instead of measuring your time-to-hire, use the time-to-offer metric instead. This is much more sensible to assess your performance on, as things like candidate notice period are beyond the recruiter’s control.

 

If you find that your time-to-offer is still too long, then you need to start looking for ways to speed up your recruitment process so you don’t miss out on talented candidates.

 

Some ways to do this include posting your jobs to a wide enough network, writing optimised ad copy, communicating with the best applicants continuously, and automating manual processes through technology like CV parsing, to name a few.

 

Woman shaking hands with a man at an interview

 

7. Measuring Performance and Results

What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t improve. Tracking data like application completion rates, drop-off rates, and declined offers is important for identifying areas where you might need to improve your recruitment process. It’s also useful for spotting what campaigns perform well, so you can replicate these in future and save on the cost of weak recruitment.

 

Recruiters need to generate simple, accurate reports that give this kind of information, and the recruitment challenges lies with what tools are most effective for doing this.

 

Solutions 

A good recruitment management system is once again an easy solution to this challenge. These systems provide you with detailed reports across all your recruitment activities that you can then analyse for performance and pinpoint areas for improvement.

 

8. Reducing Recruitment Costs

Perhaps the most prominent recruitment challenge concerns reducing your recruitment spend. Many companies look to cut back on agency costs, which is unsurprising given standard fees range between 15 – 20% of the candidate’s first annual salary. Hiring directly in-house is one of the most effective ways to reduce these costs, but hiring the right candidate is what will repay that cost several times over.

 

Solutions 

Having the right tools, systems, and processes in place is critical to improving your in-house recruitment process, and reducing overall recruitment costs. Our Guide to Reducing Recruitment Costs covers this in more depth, and will give you all the tips you need to do this.

 

Many fixed price solutions are able to offer extremely good value for money when it comes to your media advertising, and some come with outstanding management systems that can help you to address many of the other challenges that recruiters face.

 

Gif of woman saying 'I'm not paying that much'

 

Ready to solve your recruitment challenges?

You may have noted that many of the biggest recruitment challenges can be solved using recruitment technology and services.

 

Smart Recruit Online offer free online demonstrations of our talent acquisition platform. Our platform comes fully equipped to solve the challenges we’ve spoken about here, with recruitment management software, candidate communication tools, screening tools, job advert optimisation tools and so much more available on one, easy-to-use platform. So, why not book a demo with us today?

 

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Mark Stephens


Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years. His key focuses are how recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science can be used to optimise recruitment performance. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce 'Innovation in Business' award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell).


9 Essential Questions to Ask About an Applicant Tracking System
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Are you looking to switch your ATS system but aren’t sure what software is best for your business? Or perhaps you’ve never used one before, and don’t know where to start? Here are 9 essential questions to ask about an applicant tracking system before you take the plunge.

 

One of the best ways to figure out if an ATS system is right for your business is to book a demo to be shown the ropes. While useful, this can feel overwhelming if you’re not completely confident in what you’re looking for, or what questions to ask.

 

The ATS expert on the other line is there to help you, but only your recruitment team knows what you truly need to focus on. This list of questions to ask about an applicant tracking system is a good starting point for the key basics to decide if a system is right for you.

 

1. Does it come with CV parsing software?

woman holding magnifying glassIt’s no secret that automating parts of the initial candidate screening process is growing in popularity. This of course comes with the benefit of freeing up recruiter time and fast-tracking you to the best candidates. There is now plenty of technology available to help with this, and CV parsing software is incredibly effective.

 

CV parsing technology automatically scans CVs that enter your pipeline, pulling out important information on candidate skills and experience. This helps identify how suitable they are for your role, in a way that avoids human bias and error. It also avoids the need to send applicants additional questionnaires on their experience, which can often lead to a higher drop-off rate.

 

2. Does it come with a credible multi-poster included?

Posting your job adverts in the right places is essential for increasing your brand visibility and recruiting the best talent into your business. This is because the best candidates are more likely to see your opportunity if it appears more frequently, and on the right kind of job boards.

 

A good ATS system will ideally have access to a wide enough network of job boards to get your role noticed, and asking if it includes a job multi-poster is a good way to ascertain this.

 

Multi-posters will post your role across numerous job boards, often at a reduced cost compared to posting on each board individually. This may include a range of boards, from those free to charge to premium and niche channels.

 

3. How long does the ATS system take to go live?

ATS system implementations can take anywhere from 2 hours to over 3 months. This is because configuring, testing, and training can take up a lot of time, depending on the software you choose.

 

Gif of woman saying 'go live'

 

This is why it’s a good idea to ask this question during your ATS demo, particularly if you have a desired timeframe in mind. The software provider may be able to suggest ways you can make the implementation smoother, so that you can meet this timeframe (if it’s realistic!). This may include things like simplifying your hiring process, and being specific on any customisations you’d want ahead of time.

 

4. How easy is it to use?

Using an applicant tracking system is supposed to make things easier in your recruitment process, so asking how easy it is to use is essential. Hopefully this should lead to a demonstration of an easy-to-use interface so you can see for yourself how easy it is to navigate.

 

Ideally, you want to be able to seamlessly find out where each candidate is in your recruitment process, any tasks set and completed, and other insights into how well your campaigns are running. Additionally, if the ATS has job posting capabilities, how simple this is to do.

 

After all, if these processes are lengthy and complicated, the whole reason behind considering an applicant tracking system is negated.

 

5. How is the system priced?

The cost of the ATS system is of course an important question when considering a provider. In a time when many recruitment specialists are looking to cut recruitment spend, it’s a good idea to compare this question among providers to fit in with your budget.

 

Applicant tracking systems can come with different pricing models. The most common tend to be the cost per user, cost per number of employees, cost per hire, and cost per feature. Alternatively, some providers may offer their system on a flat fee basis, charging monthly, quarterly, or yearly. Simply decide what is best for your business, and go from there.

 

Person using a calculator and holding a phone

 

6. Can you request customisations and 3rd party integrations?

Every business runs differently, and because of this it’s a little unlikely that an applicant tracking system will match your needs exactly. This is why it’s very useful to ask if you can request customisations and 3rd party integrations as part of the system.

 

Maybe you want to include more company branding, a custom reporting function, or display information in a different way. To ensure the best fit for your business as possible, and even speed up the time it takes to integrate, it’s worth introducing this question early.

 

7. Does it come pre-integrated with screening features? E.g. AI grading, video profiling, form building, behavioural assessments, background checkers?

Appropriate screening is now a huge part of finding and hiring quality candidates into your business. The most impactful applicant tracking systems come with pre-integrated screening features included as part of the software.

 

View of coding on faded background

 

Whether it’s automatic candidate grading, video profile requests, or behavioural assessments, it’s worth asking if candidate screening functions can easily be requested and stored in an accessible location for each candidate.

 

8. Will you receive proactive support for the system?

Using a new applicant tracking system can feel overwhelming, particularly if people on your team have never used one before.

 

Asking if your team will receive proactive support from your system provider is a must, whether that’s during the initial system training, writing and monitoring your job adverts, or configuring and customising the system.

 

You will know best the level of support your team will need, but typically the more open your provider is to helping you along the way, the better.

 

9. Is the ATS regularly upgraded with new features?

With the recruitment space ever-evolving, it’s natural for applicant tracking systems to follow suit. Asking if the system is regularly upgraded is a good way of finding out if your provider stays up to date with current recruitment trends.

 

This question ties in nicely with whether you will receive ongoing support from your provider, as it would be good for your team to be made aware of such updates, and have the opportunity to talk through them.

 

How can we help?

So, there you have it, 9 essential questions to ask about an applicant tracking system. Why not get started now?

 

The Smart Recruit Online applicant tracking system gives your team everything they need to run successful recruitment campaigns. From creating and advertising jobs, attracting talent, screening candidates, and making the perfect hire.

 

With our platform, you can do all of that in one place in a quicker amount of time and at a lower cost. Simply book a demo to get started!

 

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Smart Recruit Online


We offer an award-winning talent acquisition platform, that combines an ATS with a powerful job board multi-poster. Our platform helps you quickly find and hire the best talent online for less with a range of tools designed to help you run a successful recruitment campaign. We use extensive research and an understanding of human behaviour to keep our business and technology at the cutting edge.


How Blind CVs Impact the Recruitment Process
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Blind hiring, along with blind CVs, are a new solution for the recruitment process that has stepped on the scene. But exactly how effective are they? 

 

What is a Blind CV?

So what exactly is a blind CV? It is the basis of blind hiring, and a CV that doesn’t have any identifying factors. This includes things like a candidate’s name, gender, age, or race. The long and short of it is that there is no information present that isn’t related to the candidate’s working capabilities.

 

Areas like academic background, work experience, and contact information are all able to appear, as these create fewer issues around recruiter bias.

 

This type of recruitment has been introduced with the purpose of eliminating any type of conscious or subconscious bias. By evaluating the candidates more objectively, the companies will be able to hire diversified candidates who are truly fit for that job position. But the question is how does blind hiring affect the recruitment process?

 

Bias in the Recruitment Process

As much as we would like to live in a world without discrimination or favouritism, the reality is that they are often present, especially in the world of business. While this is not always purposeful, any type of preconceived idea or discrimination can hugely impact the candidate ultimately selected for hire.

 

There are many pieces of research and academic studies that prove that bias is widespread in the hiring process. Take a look at the following facts:

 

Bias building blocks that blind cvs help get rid of

  • According to a 2017 UK study, just a third (32%) of HR managers felt confident that they are not prejudiced when hiring new staff. Nearly half (48%) admitted that bias affects their candidate choice, while 20% said they couldn’t be sure if bias affected their decisions.

 

  • A report by the Women and Equalities Committee from 2016 showed that Muslim women are three times as likely as women in other social groups in the UK to be unemployed.

 

  • In a US study, universities seeking a laboratory manager were randomly given CVs with male or female names. Those with ‘male’ names were rated as “significantly more competent and hirable.”

 

  • As a part of their study, the US National Bureau of Economic Research sent out 40,000 fictional job applications and found that the fictional workers aged 49-51 received 19% fewer responses than those aged 29-31. Those aged 64-66 received 35% more interview invitations than those aged 29-31.

 

Such a discriminating attitude towards potential candidates enables companies to find the best candidates. The characteristics which employers subconsciously value more don’t necessarily depict a better candidate. That is why blind recruitment was introduced.

 

The Introduction of Blind Hiring

It all started in 1952 when this method was used by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The musicians were asked to play behind the screen during their audition which increased the number of women who were accepted to the orchestra. According to later research, blind auditions by 50% increase a woman’s chance of being accepted by an orchestra.

 

The problem with bias is that it happens subconsciously so people don’t have control over it. Even those who claim that they are completely objective while going through the candidate’s CV, they still might choose a male candidate rather than a female.

 

How Does a Blind CV Work?

In a recent podcast about unconscious bias, Ksenia Zheltoukhova the CIPD’s Head of Research said, “Anonymising CVs is an effective intervention for increasing diversity in organizations and reducing bias in recruitment.”

 

Therefore, it all starts with censoring the CVs. You can’t really make the whole recruitment process anonymous but CV censorship will help you pick the best of the best without subconscious bias.

 

A blind CV can be executed in more than one way. It all depends on how much you want to emit. One option is to just eliminate the basics such as name and gender. Another option is to remove other personal details as well such as the educational background.

 

Man vs woman graphic with both of them on laptops

 

The reason why some recruiters opt for the second option – that is eliminating educational history – is to prevent favouring candidates who have a similar background to their own. For example, if the recruiter went to Yale, he or she might identify and feel closer to those candidates who also went to Yale.

 

The steps you need to take to make the blind CVs work are:

 

1. Decide which information you want to remove from the CVs: Based on how unbiased you want to be, you should decide what information you want to omit from the CVs. You may decide to simply opt for removing the candidates’ names, or if you’re more concerned about age discrimination, their date of birth and some background information.

 

2. Anonymise the data with an automation tool or colleague: There are now automation tools out there that let you anonymise the CV data, simplifying the process. Alternatively, you can ask a colleague who won’t be involved in the recruitment process to take your chosen information off the CVs.

 

3. Review your blind CVs: Review your CVs as you normally would, so as not to impact your entire recruitment process too substantially. Once you invite your selected candidates to interview, you will find out who they are.

 

The Advantages of Blind CVs

Blind CVs can definitely improve your recruitment process. To summarize all the positive impacts:

 

  • They eliminate initial bias: Bias can occur in the very early stages of recruitment, and this can be avoided.
  • They limit the impact of personal information: Personal information can affect the recruiter’s judgment, leading to screening out potentially suitable candidates.
  • They discount race, age and culture: The best candidates can be singled out without these often discriminated against elements coming into play.
  • They help with a diversified workforce: Recruiters are arguably more likely to hire a diverse workforce if unconscious bias can be limited.
  • They show company values: Blind CVs can show that the company isn’t discriminating.
  • They boost the employer brand: If it’s clear that the employer cares about equal opportunity, this can be positive for the employer brand and help attract talented candidates to the business.

 

You might think that your recruitment team is already as objective as it can be, but you’ll never know unless you give blind CVs a chance.

 

The Potential Issues of Blind CVs

While the positive sides of blind CVs are notable, we can’t forget that there are two sides to every story. Some of the limitations and drawbacks of blind CVs are:

 

  • Gender and race quotas: Those who have quotas for gender and race might not be able to fulfill them if they eliminate personal information.
  • Cultural fit: Without knowing personal interests, the recruiters won’t know if the candidate is a match to their company’s culture.
  • Bias at interview: It only eliminates bias from the initial stage of recruitment, so the bias can reappear during the interview.
  • Not all information is limited: The recruiters can still form bias based on other information; e.g. the experience can reveal the age of the candidate.
  • An incomplete picture: Eliminating personal information can lead to an incomplete picture of the employee. If someone has a gap in their work history, a blind CV won’t give the explanation why and therefore it can harm the candidate’s chances.

 

Five people in an interview waiting room

 

Undeniably, using blind CVs has its issues as much as it has its advantages, but it can bring some innovation and improvement to the hiring process. It all comes down to what the company finds to be the best for its progress.

 

Final Thoughts

Using blind CVs can improve your company’s diversity and help you choose the best candidates by putting bias aside. Besides using blind recruitment, you can also emphasise your commitment to diversity by stating on the job post that you are interested in forming a diverse team.

 

Also, make sure that everyone on the hiring committee is ready to put their differences aside and accept the blind hiring process as the best choice for the company’s progress and success. By building a team of diverse people, you are building a better tomorrow for future generations.

 

Blind CVs are just one of the ways you can potentially optimise your current recruitment process, and make better hiring decisions. For more tips on how to create a great recruitment process, download our eBook on 10 Ways to Optimise your Recruitment Process!

 

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Diana Nadim


Diana Nadim is a writer and editor who has a Master degree in Marketing. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research and creates thought-provoking content in various fields. Besides working as a contributor writer for TrustMyPaper and WowGrade, Diana also runs her own blog. What inspires her the most in her writing is traveling and meeting new people. Follow her on Twitter.


How to Advertise a Job Effectively in 8 Steps
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Here is our simple 8 step guide on how to advertise a job effectively, and attract and retain talented candidates for your roles. 

 

The mere thought of recruiting a new member of staff and creating a new job advert may fill you with excitement or even trepidation. Regular recruiters will tell you that there is something very satisfying in running a successful recruitment campaign, but most will share with you far more horror stories about how it can go wrong.

 

It is not so much an art as it is about making the right decisions and following the right processes, but if no one ever showed you, that might be why it goes wrong.

 

1. Create A Job Description

The first thing you need to do is create a job description/specification for the role you need to recruit for.

 

This document should be comprehensive and should include the details of all the responsibilities for this role. This includes areas like where they’ll fit into your existing team, along with details of the key skills and education you’d like them to have.

 

Creating a job description at the beginning of the process like this can really help you to figure out this new employee’s role within your business and will come in handy later down the line when you have to draw up the employee’s contract.

 

It’s also useful for your HR department, who can use the job description later on measure employee performance, and whether they are fulfilling their role duties after hire.

 

2. Research The Market

The next thing you need to consider with how to advertise a job, is researching the market. This means looking into what your competitors are doing, and what candidates seem to be looking for in a role.

 

2.1 The job title

word cloud on how to advertise a job with different job titles Researching what the most appropriate job title is, and what other job titles candidates might be using, is a huge part of the job advertising process. The title you choose can ultimately have a dramatic impact on the number of prospective applicants you attract and apply to your role.

 

You should try and avoid using internal job titles that are unique to you, as candidates may not be using these same search terms. You can even ask the job boards or your recruitment partners to help you choose an appropriate job title based on evidence they have seen.

 

2.2 The job salary

A Glassdoor study found salary was the top factor jobseekers look for in adverts, so it’s worth noting this in your advert. You may benefit from looking at what a similar job in your region might be offering salary-wise. This is because you want to make your role attractive to potential candidates, and offering an attractive and competitive salary does just this.

 

3. Create The Job Advertisement

Once you’ve chosen your job title and salary, it’s now time to design your job advertisement.

 

Let’s be clear; your job advertisement should be very different to your job description – and yes, you do need both! While your job description is extremely detailed in regards to what you are looking for, it is more used for internal purposes. Your job advert should be shorter and focus on selling the opportunity to potential applicants.

 

Your advert can be much less formal and can convey your business’ personality and values.

eBook Download Banner on how to write a job advert

 

4. Optimise your advert for keywords

Candidates search for jobs using job titles and keywords, so it is essential that you factor this into your job advert writing. Candidates generally use a combination of the most generic job title and location as the key components in their search string, but technology jobs may also include a technical keyword too.

 

Ensuring you include your main keywords throughout your advert increases the chances of your ad being displayed higher up in the search results of your chosen job boards, as their algorithm will pick up on keyword use. Considering 75% of internet users never scroll page the first page of results online, this is essential.

 

5. Choose Your advertising channels

There are obviously lots of job boards and other advertising channels to choose from. Some are generic, others are niche, and others are geographically orientated. Prices can vary from £0 up to £900 per advert, so choosing the right option for you will ultimately depend on your budget, level of difficulty or importance, and the sector.

 

Over 70% of all candidates that search for a job start in Google, so this is a good place to start looking. Try running a few searches as if you were the candidate and see what channels come out on top. We recommend that you select at least 2 or 3 channels to get maximum coverage, especially for senior, hard to fill, and critical positions.

 

The best solution for getting maximum value for money might be to select a multi-posting job advertising and management service, where you pay a single fee and enjoy maximum exposure across multiple advertising channels.

 

6. Manage The Applications effectively

The options here tend to be:

 

  • Use a 3rd party or a recruitment agency to manage all your applications
  • Have them sent to your inbox by email
  • Use an Applicant Tracking service
  • Use a free Online Campaign Management tool

 

It is important to remember that a well-written advert distributed across the right advertising channels is likely to attract a reasonable number of good quality candidates who are currently in work and only tentatively looking. Therefore, it is critical that you manage the recruitment campaign efficiently if you do not want to lose good candidates throughout the process. This is both annoying and unnecessary, especially when there are free recruiting platforms out there to help you.

 

The other important aspect of managing the recruitment campaign effectively is all about protecting your corporate brand. A poorly managed campaign can lead to delays in the recruitment process, which can negatively affect your candidate experience.

 

According to a CareerArc survey, 72% of candidates who have a negative experience will tell others about it, so ensuring you provide the best experience is vital to protect your employer brand. 

Gif of woman saying 'protect at all costs'

 

7. Establish your Screening process

Most of us working in the recruitment industry are familiar with the statistic that over 80% of people that leave a job in the first year, do so for behavioural reasons, and not because they couldn’t do the job.

 

When you consider the real cost of making a bad hire is likely to be £30 – £60k after you factor in initial recruiting costs and time, induction and training, salary, impact on the business and other staff members, you start to realise the importance of performing proper due diligence and behavioural and cultural assessments.

 

This might sound scary, but in fact, can be relatively straight forward and not too costly either.

 

8. Measure and record

Last but not least, always record and measure how you did on each recruitment campaign! Keep a record of each job advert, where you advertised it, the amount of responses you had, the number of interviews and the time that it took you to get to offer. This will help you to pinpoint where your process could be improved, and replicate campaigns that perform well in future.

 

Over 98% of all business owners believe that the recruitment of new staff is by far the single most important part of effective company growth. Get it wrong and it can kill an organisation, but get it right and you can enjoy the rewards of your endeavours.

 

Want to get started?

The points we’ve covered here are just some of the ways on how to advertise a job effectively. If you’re looking for extra tips that are proven to work, and attract talent to your roles, download our eBook on this topic!

eBook Download Banner on how to write a job advert

 

Don’t feel like doing it yourself? A talent acquisition platform like Smart Recruit Online can help you effectively advertise your roles, with built-in multi-poster technology across thousands of job boards and channels, optimised job advert generators, and many other features that help move your candidates all the way from attraction to onboarding.

 

Interested? Book a demo with us and we’ll show you how we work.

 

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Mark Stephens


Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years. His key focuses are how recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science can be used to optimise recruitment performance. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce 'Innovation in Business' award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell).


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