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Improve the Quality of the Employment Function

Kevin Wheeler

None of these recommendations need an investment in any technology other than the Internet and a recruiting website, and none of them should require a large amount of money.

As is true for so many things, it's your effort, focus, and time that really make a difference not money, equipment and technology. These can often get in the way and prevent you from seeing the important things for the sake of the details.

1.Survey all hires within the first three months and ask them why they said yes. Identify statements, practices, and behaviors that were particularly attractive to them as candidates. Also probe into what could have been done to make your brand stronger and your organization more attractive.

2.Use customers as a source. They can refer candidates who might be 'in tune' with the way you think and work. Customers can be as good a source of referrals as employees. Offer customers a discount, a freebee, or some small token of appreciation for every candidate referred.

3.Keep all potential candidates informed about their status and your company through email, electronic newsletters or a blog. This builds a relationship, develops communications, and instills an understanding of your company's philosophy and culture. It also shows respect for candidates.

4.In partnership with hiring managers, develop a definition and a way to measure quality of hires, hiring manager satisfaction, and time to hire. Cost per hire is of almost no importance to a hiring manager.

5.Do an internal customer satisfaction survey at least once a quarter. Find out what managers think about your function and your service and ask for suggestions on how to improve it. Add a periodic meeting with hiring managers to brainstorm ways to improve the quality of your service, and you will have all you need to make improvements.

6.Make the Internet the hub of your recruiting activity. Develop a website that serves you well, then use it to attract candidates, educate them, and communicate with them. Provide information on trends and emerging issues, and provoke interest in candidates about what your company does.

7.Make sure you benchmark your employment function with the competition. One way to do this is to ask new hires what their experiences were at competitors and what processes and practices they went through at other organizations. Ask them to recommend any practices they thought were effective. Know as thoroughly as you can exactly what any competitor is doing (or planning to do).

8.Focus on anticipating needs by developing some sort of workforce planning system. Usually managers have budgeted for a certain number of additions. You can predict turnover based on history. Together, you can draw up a model of the types and number of people you will need quarter by quarter and can put in place a strategy to get those people. The more variables you include and the more you get detailed data, the more useful the process will be.

9.Make sure you have developed "feeder channels" to bring new talent into the company. These can be intern programs, school-to-career programs, or other similar methods that will keep building relationships and talent.

10.Aggressively use an internal employee referral program. No matter what they cost, employee referral programs have proven to bring in more high quality candidates, at lower cost, than any other program.

11.Collect the email addresses of all candidates and get their permission to use that address for later possible tracking. Ask candidates who turned down your offer and find out why. Use a third party, if necessary, to gather that information. The information you get here may be the most valuable of all, because it lets you know what you can modify or improve to get more yes's.

12.Decrease the time to get a decision made on hiring. Focus on time to hire, not cost to hire! Find out why managers take more time than you feel is necessary to make up their minds, and then focus on developing ways to overcome their uncertainty or reluctance. The faster you can get a decision made and communicated to both successful candidates and the unsuccessful ones, the higher your close rate will be.

13.Sponsor Internet-based chat rooms or other forums for anyone to ask about whatever it is your company does. Sponsor school information programs. Get employees into classrooms as instructors or guest speakers to build a reputation and relationships.

14.Develop ways to attract, interview, and communicate with candidates remotely. Face to face is NOT necessary. It will take time to change the paradigm, but if you can do it you'll clearly have a competitive edge.

15.Track your recruiters. Who are the highest performers? Do you know why? Can you transfer skills? The same goes for hiring managers. Who makes decisions the fastest and has the lowest turnover? Find ways to communicate this and perhaps even give an award to the managers who make hiring decision quickly, who close the most candidates, or who have the highest employee satisfaction.

I suggest you use this as a checklist and post it in your office. As you end the year, see how many of these things you are already doing or can get done in the next few months. If you only pick a few of these, you will have begun to make some substantial positive changes in how you work and how the recruiting function will be perceived.


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