Having Recruiting Problems? Here’s the Secret…

(Check out Miranda Horton’s Riviera Advisors Internship Video here)

I’ve noticed a few things over the past year when I tell people that I work for a Talent Acquisition (or HR, depending on the audience) consulting firm. Everyone always has two questions:

  1. Well what does that mean? or What do you do?
  2. What’s your advice for fixing my recruiting problems? or What are your top best practices?

So, I’m here to answer those questions once and for all.

“What do You Do?”

This one is easy… Riviera Advisors is a global Talent Acquisition consulting firm. We focus on helping many types of organizations improve and optimize their internal recruiting functions through a variety of services, specifically assessment and recommendation programs and recruiter training programs. With our help, our clients can gain a new perspective of their Talent Acquisition function and learn how making some changes can really improve many areas within the function.

My role within the organization as the Talent Acquisition Analyst is to do a wide variety of jobs. My most prominent role, and the one that correlates with this article, is that of an Analyst. I handle the data analysis behind our client projects. This means that I am sifting through hours of interviews and surveys as well as hard hiring data (sources, jobs, functions, etc.) and learning everything I can about the clients’ recruiting function. By analyzing all of this information, we can learn the ins and outs of the clients’ recruiting processes, and function, and make recommendations as to how to improve and optimize them. Over the past year, I have done the analytical work for many client projects across varying sizes and industries, including: biomedical engineering, pharmaceutical, consumer products, entertainment, and many more. This has allowed me to develop a knowledge base to compare Recruiting functions across multiple organizations. Which leads me to the second question I always get…

“What’s Your Advice?” or “How Can You Fix My Problems?”  

We all know that there is NEVER a “quick fix” to every recruiting problem. So, I can’t give you all of the answers, or even most of the answers. I can, however, give you the top two areas where your Recruiting function may be going wrong (without knowing anything specific about your Recruiting function).

In my experience, any issue with the Talent Acquisition process or function always stems from two things:

  1. Communication
  2. Candidate Experience

Communication is key! It’s not just something people say, it’s really true! Every time I sit down to look at a client project, there is always evidence of a breakdown in communication across the Recruiting process. Somewhere along the lines, there is either overcommunication, under communication, or just plain lack of communication. You may be thinking “that doesn’t happen in my company”, but trust me, its an issue somewhere in your process.

Good news though! Once you identify the issue, you can take steps to correct it. By getting to know more about your internal process, and understanding where the breakdown of communication is happening, you can start to build your fixes. One of the main ways to start mending the issue is to adopt the concept of setting and managing expectations with every stakeholder in the Recruiting process (including: Hiring Managers, Candidates, HR Business Partners, TA, vendors, everyone!). By setting and managing expectations effectively, you are clearly communicating with others to really understand and agree on what each party is expected to do.

There are two main pieces of setting and managing expectations effectively: write it down and follow through. Document the expectations! If you don’t document, there is no proof of what you are supposed to do. Documentation can be done through a formal SLA (service level agreement) or merely just an email stating what’s expected of each party. Follow through! If you say you are going to do something, do it! Plain and simple. Following through is a huge part of both setting expectations and communicating where you stand on your responsibilities. This is especially true when it comes to speaking with candidates and creating a positive experience for them!

Every Recruiter should be focusing on the Candidate Experience! As a recent graduate who is completing the end of her internship year, I started my own job search around 3 months ago and believe me when I say it’s evident that many Recruiters are not thinking about candidate experience at all. I have experienced  inconsistent treatment with companies throughout my job search, so here’s why its important…

  • It’s the candidate’s entire impression of your company – if you don’t treat them right from the beginning, they won’t come back and you could really lose out on some top talent.
  • It’s a candidate’s market! With the current unemployment rate so low, most people who are looking for a job already have one. They can afford to wait it out and find the right role for them.
  • They can tell others! With social media being such an integral part of our lives, word of mouth spreads quicker than ever before. Negative candidate experiences can be shared with the click of a button. Anyone ever heard of a little something called Glassdoor?
  • It can affect your cost of Recruiting! Leaving candidates with a bad impression means you’re losing out on talent, especially if they spread the word – and as we all know, losing out on talent costs time and money.

So, what should you be doing? You should be focusing on how to make your candidate’s recruiting experience a positive one! This is very similar to communications issues in that you want to set and manage expectations with your candidates. First, follow up with them – let them know when you will be contacting them! They don’t want to be left hanging. Second, if you tell them you will follow up with them by Thursday, actually do it! I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have had Recruiters or Hiring Manager say “I’ll get back to you by the end of the day on Friday” and not do it (I’m still waiting to hear from some of them, months later).

Another way to make sure the candidate has a positive experience is to give them information! Tell them who they are meeting with and give them a schedule. Candidates like to know the who, what, where, when, and why. The more information they have, the more prepared they can be to show that they are the best person for the job. You may be missing out on talent because they feel unprepared going into the interview and can be thrown off. Think about their time and effort. They wouldn’t be coming in if they didn’t want, or at least need, the job. If you can help the interview go smoother by giving them the basic information they need, when they need it, everyone will thank you in the long run.

Simply put, the candidate experience is a representation of your organization to every person who applies. You want to start out on the right foot with candidates because you need top talent in your organizations. And you may need them as customers!  By really thinking about how you would want to be treated during the recruitment process, you can start to build a candidate experience that candidates will share with others – for the positive!

Now, I’m not considering myself an expert in these areas, because I’m certainly not. However, after performing these assessment and recommendation programs for over a year, I can tell you that communication issues and the ability to deliver a positive candidate experience are the two largest problems facing those in the Recruiting or Talent Acquisition world today. If you think about it, almost every issue that you have come across in Recruiting can usually be boiled down to communication. So, these are the areas you should be focusing your time and efforts on. By clearing up communication issues and really setting and managing expectations with both candidates and other stakeholders in the recruiting process, you can change your process for the better! Take a good look at your recruiting process – make the necessary changes – and thank yourself for it later!

Miranda Horton is the 2017-2018 Talent Acquisition Analyst Intern for Riviera Advisors, Inc. She recently graduated from California State University Long Beach with a BS in Business Management, Human Resources Management, and Event Planning Management. To watch a video summarizing Miranda’s experiences at Riviera Advisors, watch this!