Tagged screening

Job Seeker: 7 Annoying Things To Expect From Your Job Search

Looking for a new job can be a daunting, draining, soul crushing experience. However if you establish realistic expectations you can approach the rejection and struggle philosophically rather than personally and alone-62253_640hopefully not succumb to depression.

Please consider the following before you start pounding the pavement so that you don’t start pounding your head against it.

You might suffer through a long application process – So you’ve just found a great job online you feel is perfect for you? You apply and find that you’ve entered an arduous process that little helps your job seeking fatigue.  Fifty-four percent of HR professionals report that their organization’s application process takes over 20 minutes to complete!  Keep in mind that on average every online job posting receives about 200 resumes.  Before you enter into 20 minutes of online hell and compete with 200 other blokes, ask yourself, “Do I really want this job?” and “Am I really qualified for this job?” If you can’t answer “yes” to either of those, then don’t waste your time.

You probably won’t find a job online – The majority of open positions aren’t advertised online and according to a 2014 survey by CareerXroads, only 15 percent of jobs were filled through job boards.  Most candidates are sourced from within or from referrals.  Networking therefore may be a better use of your time.

You probably won’t hear back from the employer – A Careerbuilder survey suggests that three-fourths of job candidates never hear back from the employer after applying or they receive no more than an automated response after hitting “submit”.  Yes, though this lack of employer action may be unprofessional, you should not take it personally. If you are holding your breath with crossed fingers and refreshing your inbox repeatedly, you will be disappointed if not frustrated.

You weren’t rejected because of who you are – Automated systems often filter out about 75% of the candidates who apply through them and much of this rejection is based solely on the lack of keywords in your resume. If a company shows no interest in your online application, don’t take it personally. Chances are a human never saw your resume to begin with and even if they did, they spent on average only six seconds getting to know it.

You may not have been rejected for lack of skill – You may have all the skills in the world but today, as unfair as this sounds, cultural fit is given more consideration during the hiring process.  A study of 500 organizations found that 82% felt cultural fit was an important measure in the hiring process while seventy-five percent of respondents believed cultural fit was a good predictor of success.  Understand though that fit is a two-way street.  If they don’t feel you are a fit for them, they may not be a fit for you either. Learning that up front is perhaps best for your career.

Hiring managers barely look at your resume – Hiring managers and recruiters look at your resume, as mentioned above, for a mere six seconds.  During that time they only look at your name, current position, previous position and education. Make sure your resume is formatted in such a way that this information can be accessed quickly to best maximize the time they spend on you.

You may be requested to take a video interview – Dozens of video interviewing providers now litter the hiring landscape as employers seek to hire more efficiently and effectively. If you are invited to take a video interview, do not panic and certainly do not feel slighted you weren’t immediately invited into the office.  You have been invited because your resume interests them.  You have passed the skills audition and the video interview is your chance to let your personality shine.  Read, “4 Reasons Why Job Candidates Should be All Over Video Interviewing.”

A job search is more a marathon than a sprint. Understand these six points and you just may have the endurance to make it to the finish line.

Recruiting Trends: Anonymous Resume Screening & Blind Interviewing

Dr. John Sullivan published recently an article titled, “Recruiting Trends for 2016 And Their Supporting Best Practices, Part 1 of 2.”  Part one lists recruiting trends twelve through six while the six highest impact censored-297442_640trends are reserved for part two to be released at a later date.  Curious to see if video interviewing made the cut, I was momentarily floored from the get go when I read trend #12, “Anonymous resume screening and blind interviewing.”

In an effort to bring more diversity to recruiting, recruiters are not only being trained to recognize their unconscious biases but also are being trained in best practices to hide “irrelevant” information.  Best practice number one includes hiding information such as the candidate’s name, address and grades which are not seen as accurate predictors of success.  Best practice number two suggests reducing the number of visual biases.  These visual biases are not detailed but using more telephone interviews is encouraged.  Another suggestion offered was to hide the candidate behind a screen.  The third best practice was to reduce voice bias by offering online questionnaires.  The best practice of reducing voice bias seems to contradict the best practice of conducting more phone interviews.  In summary a trend is forming that recruiting should be done blind and deaf.  You don’t know the candidate’s name, gender, age, and additionally can’t see or hear the candidate.  Imagine the Dating Game where the woman asks written questions of her suitors, they in-turn write down their responses on an index card, and then toss them over the curtain to her without revealing any hint of their charm or charisma.  Perhaps this isn’t a fair analogy.  Hiring should be more scientific and based on the candidate’s skills not the emotions they invoke in you, correct?  But what becomes of cultural fit if we remove a candidate’s face and voice, or is “cultural fit” just a euphemism for discrimination, as an HR professional once put it to me?

Google is mentioned in the article as one of the firms experimenting with blind resumes and though Google’s site does promote diversity, their culture is important to them as well.  As is written on their careers page, “Lots has been written about our great perks, but read on to find out what our culture is really all about.”  Cultural fit is important not just in determining if the candidate is right for the company but also in determining if the company is right for the candidate.  Is the effort to hire a diverse workforce based on skills alone ignoring the cultural fit factors necessary to increase employee retention? Trend #10 promotes the use of recruiting videos such as video job descriptions and video job offers to better show off the excitement and passion of an organization.  Perhaps such a practice will better help organizations promote their culture and improve fit with candidates.

I concede that a candidate’s name and grades aren’t accurate predictors of success.  In fact data that Google derived from their recruiting processes suggests G.P.A. truly is irrelevant several years post-graduation.  Location to me though seems necessary perhaps not for fit but just to know whether the candidate requires re-location or sponsorship to work at your company.  I will assume the recruiter understands the job specs and is providing the appropriate resumes to the hiring manager.

Eliminating bias in hiring is certainly a desired goal, but are employers losing the ability to find and hire the best candidates by going blind and deaf? Only if you believe that cultural fit won’t make your organization more successful.  We have to ask, is diversity more important than every other objective and will diversity alone optimize your workforce?  Are diversity and cultural fit mutually exclusive?

The extent to which extreme measures to decrease bias and increase diversity are necessary points to a larger problem that these best practices cannot circumvent.  Prejudiced managers exist and even if the candidate is hired sight unseen they will reveal themselves the first day they report work.  If the employee comes from a class, race, ethnicity, etc. to which the hiring manager is biased, you aren’t doing the candidate or your company’s retention rates any favors.

The other big unknown is will flying blind and deaf actually result in a more diverse workforce?  What do you think?

Here’s What Ticks Job Candidates Off Most About Your Application Process!

A recent survey of 95,000+ job candidates and 150 companies revealed what is going right and what is going wrong in the job application process.  For many months since my last blog post on this subject, I was led to believe that one of the largest turnoffs for candidatesAngry smiley face during the application process was its length and many cumbersome hurdles.  A recent report by Talent Board on the candidate experience tells a different story.  The results show that dissatisfaction was not correlated to the length and complexity of the process but rather to the lack of information provided to candidates before, during and after the application process.  Additionally candidates wanted a clear means to demonstrate their qualifications relevantly and to provide feedback. Continue reading “Here’s What Ticks Job Candidates Off Most About Your Application Process!” »

Hire-Intelligence To Address Video Interviewing At Annual American Psychological Association Convention

The first ever research conducted to determine the validity of web-based video job interviewing will be presented on August 10th in Washington D.C. at the 2014 Annual APA convention.

Titled, “Exploring the Validity of Asynchronous Web-Based Video Interviews” the session will address research sponsored by Hire-Intelligence and conducted by GCG Solutions principal Dr. Charles “Allen” Gorman. The study sought to evaluate the ability of video interviews to provide valuable, job-related insights for employers who use video to screen job candidates. The research found that ratings of the applicant, applicant characteristics, and video interview responses all predicted job performance and associated work outcomes. Continue reading “Hire-Intelligence To Address Video Interviewing At Annual American Psychological Association Convention” »

Are Your Candidates “Sponge Worthy”?

Last week I was engaging in a discussion on Linkedin with one of our competitors about how video interviewing screens candidates into the hiring process and she brought up a point about screening candidates that I had not given consideration.  Here is what she said.  “In my own hiring I have also found that I can be more open-minded about including candidates in the screening round even if their resumes are not strong, because recorded video interviewing is so much more efficient.”

Basically she is saying that in the past she was more selective about which candidates she considered because she did not want to waste time screening unworthy candidates.  A recent study by Sarah White Associates points out that for 35% of the companies she surveyed, just scheduling a phone screen took up to 30 minutes.  Combine that with the time it takes to actually conduct the phone screen and for some organizations screening candidates is taking nearly an hour.

This reminded me of the old “Sponge Worthy” Seinfeld episode.  We are all adults here and at the time Seinfeld was the number one show on television so I’m sure I won’t be offending anyone.  Basically Jerry’s friend Elaine learned that her favorite female contraceptive, the Sponge, was being taken off the market.  She thus ran out and stocked up on all the remaining Sponges she could find.  However, now that she had a limited supply, she was much more selective of who she invited into the bedroom.  She actually put her potential partners through a screening process to determine if they were “Sponge Worthy” because she did not want to waste her limited supply of contraceptives on just any old schmo.

Now that the hiring process has become so cumbersome for many recruiters and hiring managers, we find them being much more selective of whom they even choose to invest time in phone screening, much less who they  bring in for a tete-a-tete.

So, do you implicitly test to see if your candidates are “Phone Screen Worthy”?  More to the point are you eliminating good candidates who did not list on their resume every last qualification you have required for your job?  When considering the high costs of employee turnover, hiring good candidates is essential.  With so many candidate applications flooding corporate inboxes, trying to efficiently screen them all often leaves many qualified candidates out in the cold.  You simply can’t invest the time.  However if you can implement a more efficient process such as video interviewing to cut that time in half then you can take more risks on viewing marginal candidates you might have otherwise rejected.  In essence more candidates are now considered “sponge worthy”.

More time to screen candidates means more opportunity to find your organization’s potential soul mate.

Want to Discover a Black Hole? Just Apply to an Online Job Posting.

Do you know what a black hole is?  Basically a black hole is a spot in space that is so dense it creates a gravitational pull so powerful that not even light can escape.  In other words, once you get sucked in, you’re not coming out.

Until recently black holes could be examined only through literature, movies and the theoretical imaginings of scientists far smarter than I.  However, startling research in the last twelve months has uncovered the existence of black holes much closer to home than originally hypothesized.  As it turns out black holes have been forming within HR organizations for some time and have grown steadily bigger as the job market has worsened.   A direct correlation appears to exist between the number of unemployed workers and the intensity of the black hole’s gravitational pull.

Let’s break down this phenomenon and clearly examine what is occurring.  As the economy worsens, more and more unemployed people hit the job market and apply for the scarce number of job openings.  These online job postings, whether posted to a job board or on a company’s website, are then inundated in some instances with hundreds of resumes.  Qualified candidates are clicking “submit,” but their online applications are often drawn into a void from whence corporate replies rarely come.  According to a survey conducted by The Talent Board, a non-profit seeking to improve the job application process, only 1 in 10 employers say they respond to every candidate. “You’re submitting your résumé to a black hole,” concurs Dr. John Sullivan, a human resources consultant for large companies who teaches management at San Francisco StateUniversity.

Some companies like Google, Proctor & Gamble and Starbucks, which alone had 7.6 million applicants last year, have 150 to 500 people apply to each open position.  Perhaps the largest known job black hole on record was described by Peter Cappelli, a Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at Wharton.  His continuous research into the job market revealed a black hole at a staffing firm so large it swallowed 25,000 job applications for a “general engineer” position.  Though the belief is that a small percentage of the applicants did receive a reply of some sort, not one resume out of 25,000 resulted in a hire.

Can job candidates do anything more than click “submit” and say a prayer when sending their resumes into the abyss?  “You need to have (current) employees make referrals for you if you want to find a job,” suggests John Sullivan.

Black holes affect not only the candidate but also the hiring organization.  Top talent enters but fails to exit the black hole on the hiring manager’s side seemingly disappearing into an ATS wormhole of sorts.  Job openings then remain vacant.  As a result big companies like Ernst and Young are adopting Dr. Sullivan’s referral suggestion and are increasingly using their own employees to find new hires.  Employee referrals now account for 45% of their non-entry hires and they hope to reach 50%.

The referral behaves much like a homing beacon or tether between the applicant and referring employee.  The resume can journey through the black hole quicker and with greater success.  Riju Parakh, for example, a passive candidate not even looking for a job, was hired by Ernst and Young within three weeks after receiving an employee referral while thousands of other weekly applicant resumes wallowed untouched in the darkness.

Though I write this post with a bit of jest, resume black holes are very real and increasing.  Be careful not to let your resume blindly go where thousands of others have gone before.

Hiring Managers: 6 Symptoms of Poor Interviewing Syndrome

Bad hires cost your company a truck load of money!  According to a recent Careerbuilder study, 41% of surveyed companies indicated that bad hires cost their organization more than $25K while an additional 24% claimed bad hires cost them more than $50K.  This is a serious issue especially if you are the hiring manager responsible for these poor hiring decisions.

Now there are many reasons why bad hires occur.  The hiring manager might have poor interviewing skills, the hiring decision might be rushed, background and reference checks could have been overlooked, or perhaps the hiring company just has a poor image and can’t source top talent as a result.  For the purposes of this post I would like to focus on one of the main culprits of bad hires and that is poor interviewing skills.

Poor Interviewing Syndrome as I like to call it, or P.I.S. for short, afflicts thousands of U.S. hiring managers annually and costs organizations millions in organizational costs.  Tony Hsieh, President of Zappos, believes that hiring mistakes have cost Zappos over $100 million since the company’s inception.  Recognizing the symptoms of Poor Interviewing Syndrome can help you combat this affliction and get you back to better hiring.

Below are six symptoms of Poor Interviewing Syndrome:

Symptom #1 – Believing you are the Mike Wallace of candidate interviewing:  Most all interviewers, even the ones who haphazardly wing the interview, feel they are great.  Repeating in each interview, “What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?” doesn’t make you Morley Safer.  If your employees are failing to adequately perform their duties or are not interacting well with others (the two most cited reasons for employee failure) you are failing as an interviewer.  You must first acknowledge your condition before you can begin to treat its symptoms.

Symptom #2 – Deciding too quickly: Within five minutes of meeting a candidate, sufferers of P.I.S. often decide whether the candidate is a good fit for their organization.  Too frequently this decision is based on the hiring manager’s subconscious or not so subconscious biases for or against the candidate.  Researchers from HarvardBusinessSchool found that the greatest sufferers are those who allowed their insecurities or unconscious biases to propel the process, which can have a worse effect on hiring decisions than if a candidate were chosen randomly.

Additionally, hiring managers who make final decisions early in the interview are often disengaged or act bored for the remaining portion.  This prevents them from gaining further valuable insight into the candidate’s true personality and reflects poorly on the company.

Symptom #3 – Inconsistency: “Winging” it as mentioned above often leads to inconsistent interviews.    P.I.S. sufferers need a game plan of what they want to achieve in the interview and a list of questions that all candidates must answer.  Structured interviews are cited as being an optimum method to reduce bias and discrimination in the interview process.

Symptom #4 – Not listening enough:   According to Manny Avradmidis, Head of Global Human Resources at the American Management Association, the candidate should get 80% of the air time.  Poor interviewers tend to speak more and listen less.

Symptom #5 – Asking silly questions: “Why are manhole covers round?”  Have you ever heard of this question being asked?  How about “how many golf balls can fit in a school bus?”  Severe sufferers of Poor Interviewing Syndrome often feel clever by offering up ridiculous questions to job candidates.  These questions are off putting to the talent they are trying to hire and have no significant bearing on the candidate’s ability to perform their duties.  By the way, these questions were once asked by Microsoft and Google respectively.  No one is safe from P.I.S. it would seem.

Symptom #6 – Not knowing the law: Similar to asking silly questions, P.I.S. sufferers also ask inappropriate questions that can expose the company to discrimination lawsuits.  For instance asking a woman if she plans to have children in the immediate future could imply you might not want to employ a pregnant woman for fear she will take maternity leave.  Though the question might seem more harmless than say asking what a candidate’s religious beliefs are, it is no less damaging.  Non-sufferers are actively aware of what is and is not appropriate.

To prevent P.I.S. from spreading through your company all those involved in the hiring process must be diligent in not only recognizing the symptoms within themselves but also in those around them.  Failure to do so could cost your organization thousands!

The One Chart Best Depicting the Great Recession’s Impact on Hiring

Chart of Unemployed Per Job Opening

This chart, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is worth way more than a thousand words.

It hints at the real impact of 8 million jobs lost. It shows the human toll of the unfettered greed and avarice in our financial system and depicts in meaningful terms the challenge before us.

Take a close look. First, examine the “ordinary” recession that preceded the Great Recession.

If you were a job seeker in early 2001 things were pretty good. Numerically there was almost one job available in the United States for every person who was looking for a job. Sure, that doesn’t mean there was a one-to-one fit, but it does speak to your odds of finding a job if you were looking for one.

Then, starting in March of 2001, the U.S. economy entered a nine-month long recession. During that recession the number of job seekers for every job opening essentially doubled from 1.2 to 2.3. Ouch, that hurt. Even worse, after the recession ended the job market continued to deteriorate for job seekers, and by September of 2003 reached almost 3 job seekers per opening. How am I ever going to find a job?

Fortunately things finally turned around and the market improved steadily from September of 2003 until early in 2007 reaching 1.5 job seekers per opening. Then someone decided the real estate fueled boom was going bust. Welcome to the Great Recession, the worst downturn since the Great Depression!

What happened next is what we call a “hockey stick” effect for its similarity to the way the end of a hockey stick juts up from the handle. From the time the 19 month long Great Recession started in December of 2007, until its end in December of 2009, the number of job seekers per opening did something not seen in recorded history. It grew from 1.8 to 6.1 job seekers per opening! And, like the previous recession, after the Great Recession ended it kept growing to almost 7 job seekers per opening.

Can you imagine how that must of felt? During the Great Recession job openings fell (from 4.5 million to just over 2 million) while layoffs and discharges increased (from 2 million to a peak of 2.5 million). It was like the reverse of an old saying, the rats didn’t flee the sinking ship but rather kept getting on the hiring ship as it was going down.

Where are we now? In September of this year the number of job seekers per opening had declined to 4.2, still almost three times the ratio before the Great Recession.

This bulge of job seekers presents human resources professionals and hiring managers the challenge of identifying the most suitable candidates from among large numbers of applicants. We’re seeing success dealing with this issue though the use of video to screen and interview job candidates. The benefits of video screening improve both time-to-hire as well as quality of hire.

Is a Lack of “Executive Presence” Impeding your Career?

Is A Lack of “Executive Presence” Impeding Your Career?

            A report from the Center for Work-Life Policy, a non-profit research organization recently found that though they are highly ambitious and motivated, Asian professionals are unable to reach senior positions at their companies.  According to Asians in America: Unleashing the Potential of the ‘Model Minority’, sixty-three percent of Asian men feel stalled in their careers.  Forty-one percent of Asian men said the bias issues they faced were severe enough that they’ve scaled back their work efforts and nearly twenty percent said they plan to quit within a year.

            These biases, labeled as the “bamboo ceiling”, occur as Asians move up the corporate ladder and are held back from executive positions through the perception that they don’t have “executive presence”.  This presence considers factors such as appearance, self-confidence, poise, authenticity and an individual’s ability to “look the part” as defined by the corporate culture.

            The bamboo ceiling and this assumption that Asians lack executive presence brings up yet another set of criteria for which job candidates are assessed.  Today job candidates are screened for not only their qualifications and skills but also a number of behavioral characteristics most candidates don’t consider, and for which many hiring managers don’t even realize they are subconsciously screening.  These may include is the candidate “likable”, do they appear “healthy”, are they dressed appropriately and well groomed and now, do they have “executive presence?” 

          Job candidates should try to be aware of all the criteria for which they are now evaluated.  Is your lack of self-confidence hurting your chances at securing that sought after leadership position, as is allegedly occurring with Asian professionals?  Are you discriminated against based on your weight or appearance because companies fear paying the health care costs associated with overweight individuals?  

         While no hiring manager may admit to eliminating a candidate for anything but a lack of qualified skills, a myriad of other issues influence the hiring manager’s decision.  Actors with years of experience and training must still audition for roles for which they are suited based on criteria such as their age, weight, and height, not just their comedic and or dramatic ability.  So too must qualified job candidates with years of experience now “audition” for executive positions based on a number of similar criteria that could make or break their role as superstar employee.