HR professionals need to balance a couple of very big essentials during the recruitment process. Speed and proper communication are two of those that can be challenging to implement at the same time.
Effective communication, however, plays a role in boosting effectiveness. By zooming in on the right candidates and making the onboarding process seamless.
Talent shortage is a massive issue today and almost 73 per cent of employers report difficulties in filling positions. At the same time, employee engagement is lower than ever before. Disengaged employees cost businesses up to 550 billion dollars per year – a massive amount that can be reduced through better communication about expectations and roles on both parts.
So, what does it take to make the recruitment process more informative, more tailored and more effective? Here are some of the strategies that HR professionals can rely on to improve their communication efforts.
Good communication is heavily dependent on going into every meeting fully prepared.
Luckily, various technologies can be employed today to gather relevant data.
The recruitment process needs to be digitized and optimized, reducing the paper clutter that HR professionals go through. When the right HR software is utilized, it can also analyze current metrics and candidate trends. This will ensure better preparedness over the course of the recruitment process.
Gathering information about candidates to advance is equally important and there are multiple strategies to employ for the purpose.
Everyone is online – a fact that recruiters need to account for when communicating.
If seniors can meet each other online on dating websites, recruiters also have to be present across platforms to streamline and speed up the collection of information.
Social media platforms like LinkedIn have already pretty much become the standard in the recruitment realm. It’s also common for companies to employ live streaming and video calls, making it easier for candidates to schedule interviews in a comfortable way.
The current worldwide situation and the coronavirus pandemic are changing the way we live and the way we work. It is anticipated to have a profound effect on the ways that interviews are being carried out and onboarding is occurring.
Making use of digital technologies right now will exponentially maximize communication capabilities in a cost-efficient, tailored way that all businesses can benefit from.
Certain aspects of recruitment process communication can be automated, freeing up human resources for the more strategic tasks at hand.
When a human being has to go through every single step, some processes can be needlessly prolonged. This is why tech can be employed once again to automate a few steps and give HR professionals a breather.
Here’s a very simple example of how communication automation can occur.
After a person has sent in an email with their application, they could receive an automated response. The automatic email can shed a bit more light on the company culture, the onboarding process and the additional steps that the candidate will have to go through in case they’re considered relevant for the position.
While this is a very basic example of how recruitment communication can be automated, it paints a clear picture of how everything can be sped up and simplified for the purpose of simpler, quicker and more efficient processes.
Many people who apply for specific positions complain that they never hear back from recruiters or that they hear back too long after the initial contact.
Every recruiter needs to set strict timelines for responding and for staging out the recruitment processes.
Having automation in place will take a lot of the administrative burden off your shoulders. This way, you can focus on setting a timeline for responding and completing every single step of the candidate filtering out process.
While such timeframes are more or less guidelines, they create a sense of urgency and move the communication forward. Our minds are wired to perform better when a deadline is in place and the rule does apply to corporate communication.
The final tip is purely organizational but it can have some impact on the quality of communication within the recruitment team itself, as well as with candidates.
It’s very important to clarify the role of every single member of the human resources department.
Very often, there are implied roles and responsibilities that may be taken on by more than one person. Not only are such processes ineffective, but they can also lead to reduced productivity and serious mistakes down the line.
If there’s a lack of clarity, the department will need to address this internally before a recruitment campaign is initiated. What’s the role of the hiring manager? Does the team have a senior leader at all? Who’s leading the interview process and how are they communicating with everybody else?
These are just a few of the key questions that need to be addressed for proper responsibility allocation. When recruitment team members have a clear idea about their role in the department, they can start communicating more effectively with everyone involved in the process.
Improved communication can speed up recruitment and save a company tons of money. The recruitment team must work to address any ambiguities as soon as possible. Such processes are far from expensive and when carried out correctly, they can contribute to profound operational efficiency in the future.
Ben Brown is a freelance writer and a content manager at dating site DoULikeSenior
Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To discuss what we can to for your recruitment strategy, and find out more about our fully integrated communication tools, book a demo by clicking here.
Are you looking to recruit a ‘dynamic leader’ or a ‘committed people person’? Chances are you’re just looking for the best person for the job. But the choice of language used in the job description could be alienating and dissuading the best – and most diverse – candidates from even applying.
Recent research from Adzuna revealed that 60% of businesses showed significant male bias in the wording of their job adverts. This research was based on a study by academics Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, which found that job descriptions with more masculine wording were less likely to appeal to female applicants. It wasn’t for the most part that female candidates assumed they weren’t up to the job, the research found. Rather they – consciously or unconsciously – were less likely to feel they’d belong at such an employer and didn’t want to work for a company whose first impression was one of being biased in favour of men.
And so the debate on the issue is hotting up. The UK government recently announced a trial of gender-neutral language to define science, technology, engineering and maths apprenticeships to encourage more women to apply. A pilot will apply gender-neutral language to 12 apprenticeship standards.
But while most HR leaders are aware that biased language exists in job descriptions, many don’t know how to fix this. Part of the problem is an inability to identify biased language because of its subtlety. Words that seem innocuous are often rooted in societal conditioning.
A 2017 analysis of 77,000 UK job adverts by Totaljobs revealed ‘lead’ to be the most common male-gendered word used in job specs, while ‘support’ was the most used female-gendered word. According to Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, popular recruiting adjectives such as ‘ambitious, assertive, decisive, determined and self-reliant’ are male-gendered. While words like ‘committed, connect, interpersonal, responsible and yield’ are considered female-gendered. For instance, in a male-gendered job description, a company might be described as ‘a dominant engineering firm that boasts many clients’. Whereas the female-gendered version could read ‘we are a community of engineers who have effective relationships with many satisfied clients’.
So how can HR de-bias a job description to make the language gender neutral? According to Andrea Singh, HR director of BAM, the first step is to focus on gender-coded words. Job titles should be neutral and descriptive language should give equal weighting to male- and female-coded descriptors, she explains. However, Singh also points out that de-biasing a job description goes beyond replacing adjectives. Employers need to make sure that the requirements listed are actually necessary, because “women will typically only put themselves forward for a job when they meet 100% of the criteria”.
But with unconscious bias ever present there are questions around whether it’s possible for humans to conduct this de-biasing. Singh believes that with the right training it is. But she admits the best results come when software and learning are combined. “Technology brings information and suggestions to the fingertips but job specs need to feel authentic. The people writing and editing specs need to be trained to spot the bias too,” she says.
However, Richard Marr, co-founder and chief technology officer of Applied, doubts whether training a person to remove biased language can be as effective as relying on dedicated software. “The evidence is pretty weak that training is effective,” states Marr. “Processes trump training and tools trump processes. With training, you’re just expecting people to do the right thing.”
That said, the trouble with using software is that neither Applied nor its competitors AdPro and Textio currently extend their job description analysis beyond gender to include other demographics such as ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disabled or economically-disadvantaged candidates. Applied is working with Google to expand its analysis tool to incorporate ethnicity (and other dimensions). But until such tech is available removing gendered language from job descriptions can still have a positive impact on other diverse groups, Singh believes.
“I think language can be looked at in the same way. Masculine phrasing might also be off-putting for candidates from particular ethnic backgrounds where their culture doesn’t typically fit with this type of approach,” she says.
It’s a view shared by Marr. He explains that a job analysis tool will also assess the readability and density of a job description, scoring it for how many syllables, words and sentences it contains. His thinking is that the more readable the job spec, the more inclusive it is likely to be.
“There are heavy socio-economic correlations,” notes Marr. “If you look at people who have low incomes they will have less access to desktop computers and are more likely to rely on their phones and to live in a distracting environment. Each of those things adds a cumulative layer that results in something quite substantial.”
So there are certainly steps that can be taken. But, in an age in which many urge the need to move away from binary definitions of men and women, is so-called male and female language really meaningful anymore? Or is it just another theory to get bogged down by?
Adrian Love, recruitment director for the UK and Ireland at Accenture, certainly feels male and female language is still a ‘thing’. He points to Accenture figures showing an increase in female job applicants from 34% to 50% since 2014, thanks in part to the de-biasing of job specs.
“The impact has been very positive. But there are no silver bullets here. It has to be part of a wider inclusion and diversity programme,” he says.
It’s a similar story from Applied, with Marr reporting that the tool has helped trigger an estimated 10% to 15% swing towards female candidates. Singh also reports a significant increase in female applicants since implementing de-biasing.
“This shows that [using] gender-neutral language is affecting the talent we can attract,” she says, adding that de-biasing could now be taken further. “We now need to delve into the data in more detail… and analyse the next stages in the process to see if we have more women being shortlisted, interviewed and ultimately selected.”
After all, a gender-neutral job description can only go so far if, when a candidate is successful or unsuccessful in their application, the language in the feedback or job offer sees a return to bias.
Both Singh and Love concede that their job description writing tools are unable to analyse interview feedback. But this is where training comes into play, they say.
“Software raises awareness and can point out bias that people may miss,” says Singh, but it’s also important teams are trained to spot it elsewhere in recruitment materials.
Love agrees: “[It’s] not just about one action, it’s about looking at every element throughout the recruitment process. There are opportunities to drive inclusivity end to end, but job descriptions are important because they’re a gateway for candidates.”
Later this year Bank of England governor Mark Carney will stand down. He’s the 120th white man out of 120 individuals to have ever filled the role, and so the institution has been heavily criticised for embodying a ‘stale, male and pale’ image of finance. By its own admission, it will fail to meet any of its diversity targets this year. So with calls to appoint a female to the position for the first time is the language in the role’s job description gender-biased?
Not according to Applied’s job description analysis tool. Following the appointment of diversity specialists to head up the search for Carney’s replacement, HR magazine analysed the job description to see if the bank’s commitment to diversity extends to its recruitment materials. It scored a respectable 84% for inclusivity and contained an equal amount of male-gendered and female-gendered words.
Marr says that language falls into two categories: agentic and communal. Agentic language is considered male coded. In this advert, agentic traits found were words like ‘confidence, decision, lead and determination’. The communal traits were female-coded words such as ‘responsibility, commit, communicate, and understanding’.
Marr argues that performance evaluation and leadership development should also be defined in a way that balances both sets of traits. “Companies often define success for leaders along agentic lines and measure performance and promotion that way, even though communal traits are just as valuable in leaders,” he says.
Written by Sarah Ronan for HR Magazine.
Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy. Our service also includes a dedicated copywriting service to advise on content and structure, and help you get the most out of your job adverts
To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.
In today’s candidate-driven market, a positive, definite employer brand is important for attracting and retaining top talent. With an employer profile, you have numerous opportunities to showcase your companies’ unique brand and culture. Including online videos in your profile is a brilliant way to communicate your employer brand to candidates due to the rise in video.
The rise in video is quickly increasing and radically shifting as the main source of how we consume our information compared to text-based and image-based content.
Research undertaken by Wyzowl found that where both video and text are available on the same page, 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service.
As of May 2016, YouTube reported more than 1 billion users; growth in viewing time is up at least 50% each of the past three years. For 2015, Cisco reported 55% of all mobile data traffic came from video, and predicts video will account for 82% of mobile data traffic by 2021.
How exactly can an employer branding video support a company in the recruiting process? Why does it work so well? Here are some top tips on how employer branding videos can support your hiring process.
A video is a great way to showcase your employer branding to candidates. 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job (CareerArc).
They want to know what the company culture is like, will they fit in, will they love going to work every day, will they want to get involved in after work activities like tag rugby. Therefore, video is the best way to do this. Potential candidates will be to assess if working at your company is what they are looking for.
Not only does video catch the attention of your potential job candidates, but it is also a brilliant way for convincing candidates to apply to your open job vacancies. CareerBuilder research has found that job postings with videos have a 34% greater application rate.
Basically, by including video in your job postings you can get a vast increase in the number of job applicants you can choose from.
Research undertaken by TheLadders showed that potential candidates are only reading jobs ads for about 50 seconds if they don’t feel the job is a good fit and around 75 seconds for ads that seemed to match their skills and interests.
Considering the time and effort that goes into writing up a good job description, they hardly seem a worthy investment. In contrast, studies have seen candidates spend over five minutes viewing job ads containing video.
This is an increase of almost 490% in time spent. A CV-Library poll of thousands of candidates also revealed that nearly 80% of job seekers would be more likely to apply for a job that contained a video in the job description. Thus, you will considerably shorten your whole hiring process and better your time to hire.
The way millennials consume information is different from previous generations.
Millennials watch more videos online than anybody else. Therefore, searching for and finding young talent should incorporate video as part of the recruitment strategy. Otherwise, you will fall behind other companies.
In fact, research on Millennials shows that 54% visit YouTube every day. It is believed that by 2030, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. This, in turn, means that your recruitment should be focused on this generation. For this to transpire, the old traditional recruiting mechanisms need to be replaced with more modern alternatives such as the use of video.
Creating a compelling employer brand video that showcases your mission, your vision and your values will be easier if you’ve done your research and have a clearly defined employer brand.
is the Founder & CEO of Rezoomo.com with over 5 years in the online marketing and web development industry & over 3 years in the recruitment industry. Specialising in employer branding and recruitment marketing.
Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.
We also offer a customisable Careers Page that can mirror your company branding and be fully integrated into your website.
To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, including using video to promote your company culture, book a demo by clicking here.