Tag Archives: hr technology

Get Real & Rate Your Candidate Experience


If you want to get real about your candidate experience, ask yourself these questions about your hiring process:

  1. Do my job postings contain complete information about the duties of the job, the requirements, and the conditions of the job in easy to read language?
  2. Do I communicate the length of time and the information required to fill out an application?
  3. Am I only asking only relevant information from the applicant via the online application?
  4. Do I give information to the applicant about the next steps in the hiring process?
  5. Do I provide timely status updates to my applicants?  And ideally, a way for the applicant to check their status online?
  6. Am I offering ways for my applicants to connect with my organization via social media or other communication methods?
  7. Do I disposition the candidates during the hiring process, and especially once the requisition is filled?

Then, apply to one of your own jobs and validate that everything works the way you think it should.

After you’ve done that, enter the Candidate Experience Awards and get even more insight on how to create a positive experience for your candidates.  You might even win some nice recognition.


Usable HR Technology Doesn’t Mean Less Clicks

In the late 90s when usability first came to software developers’ attention, a lot of focus was made on the number of clicks a user made and the tracking of the eye on a software interface to reduce user memory.  While these are still important considerations, the science of usability has advanced to include the persuasion of a user to accomplish a specific goal.

In recruiting, the goal is to find a good match for a job.  While efforts to reduce the number of clicks for an online application are admirable, they are not necessarily meeting the end goal of the application.  The focus should be on an easy to use interface that allows an applicant to show whether or not he fits the job.

“The future of design is about creating engagement and commitment to meet measurable business goals.” – Dr. Eric Schaffer / Founder and CEO Human Factors International, Inc. in his white paper “Beyond Usability”

When applicants are polled regarding what they do not like about online job applications, they don’t complain about the number of clicks, but rather the lack of information about the job, the irrelevancy of the information collected,  the limited data formats accepted and the lack of follow-up.  Most of these are soft areas that relate more to content than technology.  However, in both applicants and recruiters minds, all of it is technology.

candidate experience

From The Candidate Experience Monograph by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler, with others.

HR tech vendors can help assist their clients by providing suggested content, best practices information during implementation and staying on the cutting edge of consumer focused technology.  The end goal of a talent management application must be to find the best fit for the job, while leveraging technology to save as much time and effort as possible, and to enforce compliance.  The end goal often gets lost within the latest industry buzz words and trends, but it must stay in the forefront in order to create truly usable hr technology.

Takeaways for HR Tech from SXSW 2012

SXSW Interactive 2012 was my first time at SXSW, and I found inspiration for making HR Tech better from a number of channels including film, gaming, media agencies, and consumer focused start-ups.

Treat applicants like a consumer and let them be social

  • Let applicants be social about the jobs they are applying to, potentially letting them share the  fact that they are applying with friends, ask for recommendations
  • Help applicants sell themselves – they have a difficult time demonstrating their passion to an  applicant tracking system
  • Let applicants link to their rich online content, if applicable to the job application

APIs are a growing trend

  • Companies are making millions off just API transactions
  • APIs are now primarily written in REST, not SOAP
  • Well-document your API and make the documentation public
  • Create tools for programmers to build transactions with your API

Mobile is huge and is not being replaced by tablets

  • It is now an appendage to people, and everyone was a “cyborg” during SXSW12, per Amber Case
  • Mobile has become notebook, internet, phone, map, entertainer, camera, video cam and more, in one
  • Video and photos are the new “text”

From the gaming world we learn the importance of incentivizing users = goals & metrics

  • With gaming, people are incentivized to complete tasks
  • People like to see visually that they are making goals
  • Users by nature have a hard time figuring out metrics and are embarrassed by it
  • Requirements for a user to get into a good flow with software:
    • Goals, then challenges,  then skills, then feedback, then control

Relevance more important that simplicity

  • In user’s mind, relevance = usability
  • No matter how simple you make something, it isn’t usable to the user unless it does what they wanted to do
  • In the case of job applications, less clicks does not = user satisfaction.  Rather, the right questions and truthful feedback = user satisfaction.

10 Technology Commandments for HR When Hiring In 2012

1.  HR shall not be intimidated by IT folk who talk in big, scary words.

2.  HR shall not let their software lead them, but shall lead the software to help meet their goals.

3.  HR shall not collect a bunch of superflous information from applicants via an online application, just because they can.

4.  HR shall not allow their marketing department to place the link to the career section anywhere but on the home page of the brand web site.

5.  HR shall not let resumes slip into the infamous black hole, but rather should get to know their ATS and use it.

6.  HR shall not buy any software without first understanding why they need it.

7.  HR shall not assume that the software companies with the biggest marketing budgets have the best software for their needs.

8.  HR shall understand and walk through their hiring process as an applicant from beginning to end at least once a year.

9.  HR shall not waste their applicants’ nor their recruiters’ time with extraneous information gathering and unncessary form validation.

10.  HR should keep asking questions of technology experts until they gain the understanding they want and need.

Sneak Preview of New Mobile Job Application

Next week myStaffingPro is releasing a new mobile job application. I thought I’d share a sneak preview of the new technology. When released, hundreds of organizations will immediately give their applicants the gift of a mobile friendly career site.

Designers and developers were given three goals for this application:

  • High usability
  • Integrated employment branding
  • Robust online application functionality

 The career site, accessed directly from the employer’s corporate web site, launches with a career search page that looks and feels like an app, and showcases the employer’s brand:

Designed for “fat fingers”, applicants can select a job with just one touch:

Social networking tools are embedded into each job posting. Information the applicant actually cares about is presented in a simple layout:

Only minimal information is requested in easy to use form fields (again, with the small screen in mind):

Full prescreening functionality supported – customized to each job:

The applicant is given the opportunity,via an email in his inbox, to attach additional documents, like a resume and/or cover letter, to the application by using his personal computer.

I’ve seen a lot of hype out there about mobile applications. Many companies are just tweaking the width of their web site and calling that “mobile.” To create a truly mobile experience, developers need to take the time to design and develop an application that is easy to use on a small screen, contains only the information that is important to the user, and has the look and feel mobile users have become accustomed to. If you’ve created a mobile web site you’re proud of, please let me know! I’d be very interested to take a look at it, and maybe even highlight it on my blog.

5 Hiring Process Time Killers (And How to Fix Them with Technology)

Sometimes it just feels like there’s a lot of waiting during the hiring process.  Does this sound familiar?  Applicants apply online.  Someone in HR reviews the applications and pushes them to the hiring managers.  HR waits for feedback.  HR calls the hiring manager to try to speed the feedback process along.  The hiring manager decides on an interview.  Now we need to coordinate schedules.  Got the interview scheduled – great applicant!  Submit a background check.  But wait, we need more info from the applicant.  Wait for the applicant to fill out the forms.   Wait for the background check to be complete.  Try to get a hold of the applicant to submit the offer.  Wait for the applicant’s response.  Wait some more.  You get the picture.

A good applicant tracking system has tools to help speed all this along, and that will make everyone involved happier.  Check them out:

Time Killer # 1: Waiting for Feedback from the Hiring Manager

OK, so you’ve got a great career site and the applicants are flocking in.  HR shares some great applicants with hiring managers, but getting good feedback can be painful.  To speed things along HR can use email and an online portal to automatically push the best candidates to the hiring manager(s) for feedback.  The hiring manager simply clicks a link in an email, reviews the applicant information, then fills out his feedback about the applicant on a web portal.  All the feedback is recorded, and immediately submitted back to HR.  If the hiring manager takes too long to reply, he’ll receive an auto-email reminder. 

Time Killer #2:  Coordinating Schedules for an Interview

At the same time the hiring manager submits her feedback about the applicant, she can also indicate if she wants an interview scheduled.  If so, she can immediately enter her scheduling availability into the feedback portal.  An email is generated to the applicant, inviting him to an interview, and asking him to pick the best time available.  He picks a time, receives directions, information about what to bring, and an email reminder.  Both HR and the hiring manager are notified via email about the appointment that has been scheduled, and can easily add to the appointment to their calendars by clicking a link.  Multiple days are shaved off the hiring process by automating the feedback and interview scheduling.

Time Killer #3:  Collecting Information for a Background Check

Getting a signed background release form can be a major time killer, but it doesn’t have to be.  Upon scheduling an interview with the applicant, ask him to complete an online background check collection process before his interview date.  The applicant can enter his previous addresses, contact information, date of birth, SSN, and electronically sign the background release form, all in a secure, private online repository.  The information is ready and waiting to electronically submit to the background vendor after an offer is made.  NOTE:  Depending on state laws, the information might have to be collected after an offer is made, but it can still be automated.

Time Killer #4:  Communicating the Offer

Now you’ve found a great candidate and you want to make an offer.  Sometimes it feels like a game of cat and mouse to effectively communicate the offer to a candidate and get an absolute response.   Solution = build an offer workflow into your hiring process.  Not only can you configure a more traditional internal Offer Approval Workflow, you can also deliver the complete offer letter to the applicant through an Offer Portal.  Simply give the applicant a call, letting him know you would love to bring him on board, and instruct him to expect the offer letter via email.  He can then review it at his leisure, contact you for a counter offer, or electronically sign the offer letter, saving a lot of time and voice mail.  Plus, you end up with a complete, signed offer letter attached to the applicant’s record.

Offer Letter Review 

Time Killer #5:  Ordering the Background Check

Integrate the background check ordering process into your ATS.  If you’ve collected the information ahead of time, it can be pushed to a background vendor without having to duplicate data entry.  Results can be imported automatically into your system, making the process even slicker.

These are just a handful of pain points in the hiring process that can be addressed with technology.   Be creative, research technology providers, and ask their support teams to help you solve problems.  Often software providers have built in solutions you haven’t even heard of yet.  Tackle one problem at a time, and one day you’ll realize you have shaved days or weeks off your hiring process!

Your Job Applicants Don’t Like Entering Sensitive Info Up Front

You’re busy. You’re hiring.  And you’re trying to reduce your time to fill.  You think, “Well, if I ask my applicants to give me their SSN, previous addresses, criminal history, and all that during the initial application, that will cut out the time to do that later.  I’ll be ready to run a background check at any time.  I’ll really cut down my time to fill!”

Yes, you will cut down your time to fill.  But you might lose some great applicants in the process.  What if I told you that you can cut your time to fill just as much, while still being nice to your applicants?  Asking for sensitive information up front erodes the trust you are trying to build when an applicant applies to your organization. Plus, it’s really time consuming for the applicant.  Instead, try this:

  1. When you invite the applicant in for a face to face interview, send an email to the applicant confirming the date and time.  (You should be able to configure your ATS to auto-generate the email upon a status update – if you can’t, see myStaffingPro.)
  2. In the body of the email, include instructions on filling out your phase 2 application.  Provide a link the applicant can use to fill out the application online.  Ask the applicant to complete the information before the interview.
  3. Configure the phase 2 application to present the information needed for a background check.  Include the ability to eSign the FCRA/ background release form so you have that on hand.

Because the applicant is excited about a face to face interview, he will be inspired to fill out the application.  His trust in your organization will not be eroded, because he has communicated with a real person.  Your time to fill is the same as if you had asked for the information up front.

Everyone wins!