A Simple Answer To How To Provide Real Benefits To Candidates Online

How can Social Media or media enriched careers pages help to offer candidates real benefits? In my opinion, Jobsite UK provides a really appealing and simple answer to that with “Be My Interviewer”. Their ambition reads as follows: “We’ll provide you with valuable and practical advice to prepare you for the toughest questions and interview scenarios you are likely to face. Most importantly, we want to help you feel confident and ready to answer any question thrown at you.”

Jobsite UK - Be My Interviewer: Welcome Page

On the platform you will more than 20 recruiters and HR professionals from companies such as Shell, Ernst & Young or Accenture, introducing typical interview questions they use. Moreover, with click on the “Answer” button you gain some insight into what the question aims at and how you could prepare for it. Such a service should actually be a mandatory resource for jobseekers as there are still lots of questions related to interview questions coming up in communities and forums every week (e.g. in the German scholarship community e-fellows.net).

Societe Generale - Coaching Room I came across another example when following the presentation of Franck La Pinta during Social Recruiting Conference 2011, London on livestream (the slides can be viewed here). He pointed at the fact that Société Générale offers a “Coaching Room” on their website, “specially designed by professional consultants external to Société Générale, in order to help you in your job-hunting efforts, irrespective of your chosen sector of activity”. One of the applications, for instance, is a Virtual Coaching, which provides users with an interactive tool to follow interview tips while being able to take notes at the same time.

The activities on both sites aim not specifically just at regular Jobsite UK users or candidates who want to join Société Générale – infact, they put the candidate first! And this could lead to an overall increased Candidate Experience with a very positive effect on your company’s Employer Brand (of course the overall recruiting and onboarding process has to be engaging as well). Companies of all size should consider at least whether they would like to offer more transparency regarding their own requirements, thus providing the tools or insights relevant for their desired target group to perform well during the application process.

An example of the latter would be “BNP Paribas Backstage” (in French). I already wrote about that platform in one of my earlier posts (in German).

Volontärssuche per Video – Zeit, Bilanz zu ziehen

Ende März hat die HypoVereinsbank neue Wege beschritten, um eine Volontärin bzw. einen Volontär für die HR Kommunikation zu finden. Das Team um Florian Amberg produzierte zu diesem Zweck ein Recruitingvideo. Hier auf “Employer Branding & Recruiting” hat Florian das Projekt vorgestellt und im Interview davon berichtet, was die neue Kollegin oder den neuen Kollegen bei einer Zusammenarbeit erwarten würde. Nach nunmehr drei Monaten ist es Zeit, Bilanz zu ziehen. Wie erfolgreich war das Projekt? Wie geht es weiter? Hier die Details und ein Resümee:

Überblick: Auswertung der AufrufeEigene Darstellung

Florian AmbergFlorian Amberg ist verantwortlich für die HR Kommunikation im Team HR Strategie, Prozesse und Change Management der HypoVereinsbank. Zuvor war er am Aufbau der unterschiedlichen Social Media Angebote auf Facebook und YouTube beteiligt, die vor allem potenzielle Auszubildende ansprechen sollen.

Habt ihr von den Kandidaten Feedback zum Video (und Interview) erhalten?

Zahlreiche Bewerber haben sich in ihrem Anschreiben zu dem Recruitingvideo geäußert, auch in den telefonischen Anfragen haben einige darauf Bezug genommen. Alle fünf Bewerber in der finalen Auswahlrunde hatten das Video gesehen, viele auch das Interview gelesen.

Inwiefern wurden eure Erwartungen an das Pilotprojekt erfüllt oder vielleicht sogar übertroffen?

Egal ob auf Facebook, Twitter oder offline: Mit dem Video sind wir ins Gespräch gekommen mit Bewerbern und vielen Usern, die sich für Recruiting 2.0 interessieren. Dieser intensive Austausch hat unsere Erwartungen genauso übertroffen wie die Zahl der Videoclicks und der Bewerbungen. Auch unser wichtigstes Ziel haben wir erreicht: Durch das Video hat uns unser aktueller Volontär kennengelernt, der in der HR Kommunikation hervorragend unterstützt.

Auffällig ist die hohe Zahl an Suchanfragen, die auf den Artikel geführt haben. Habt ihr damit gerechnet?

Die Anzahl ist in der Tat erstaunlich; wir freuen uns sehr darüber. Wir glauben, dass diese Suchanfragen einem sehr klassischen Verbreitungsweg zu verdanken waren, nämlich dem Mund-zu-Mund-Phänomen: User sind auf das Video im Netz aufmerksam geworden und haben der Studienkollegin auf dem Campus oder dem Freund in der Kneipe von dem Jobangebot berichtet. Per Google haben sich diese dann auf die Suche nach unserem Video und dem Blogbeitrag gemacht.

Welche Schlüsse zieht ihr aus diesen Erfahrungen?

Erstens: Bewegte Bilder sind für die Kontaktaufnahme mit potenziellen Bewerbern ein hervorragendes Mittel. Das Feedback unserer Bewerber hat uns gezeigt, dass Videoclips einen echten Mehrwert bieten gegenüber der bloßen Stellenausschreibung. Daher gehen wir diesen Weg konsequent weiter: Wir verlinken bereits jetzt alle Ausschreibungen von nationalen Trainee-Stellen mit einem Videoclip, der über das Programm in der HypoVereinsbank informiert. Bald werden wir außerdem einen englischsprachigen Videoclip online stellen, der über das internationale Programm informiert.

Zweitens: Die zahlreichen Suchanfragen über Google machen deutlich, dass neben den digitalen Netzwerken, in denen die Nutzer das Video mit einem Click weiter verbreiten können, die Bedeutung der persönlichen Offline-Netzwerke weiterhin enorm ist. Wir möchten deswegen beim Recruiting im Web 2.0 passende Angebote an die User machen, ohne die Netzwerke jenseits der digitalen Welt aus den Augen zu verlieren. Es gibt wunderbare Möglichkeiten, beim Recruiting Online- und Offline-Angebote ineinander greifen zu lassen.

Drittens: Informationen aus erster Hand wirken, das zählt diesseits und jenseits der bewegten Bilder. Bewerber möchten zum ausgeschriebenen Job am liebsten von denjenigen etwas erfahren, die am allerbesten Bescheid wissen – weil sie ihn selbst ausüben. Schon mit unseren Azubis auf Facebook in der Gruppe HVB First Contact haben wir hier sehr gute Erfahrungen gemacht. Auch die Rückmeldungen zum Videoclip machen deutlich: Das Video war relevant und glaubwürdig, weil unsere damalige Volontärin Kerstin darin selbst von ihren Aufgaben berichtet hat.

Wir glauben an diesen Ansatz; deswegen berichten nun zum Beispiel auch unsere Praktikanten aus dem internationalen Praktikantenprogramm in einem virtuellen Tagebuch von ihren Erfahrungen. Der Videoclip zum Programm ist übrigens schon in Arbeit…

Hier der Link zu dem ersten Interview: Die HypoVereinsbank sucht eine/n Volontär/in für die HR Kommunikation – per Video

Before thinking about using Social Media Recruiting in your Company…

Christoph Athanas asked a great question on metaHR back in April: Is Social Media Recruiting still being hyped or already producing real profits? According to the Gartner Hype Cycle he presented three theses: Social Media Recruiting either approaching the “Peak of Inflated Expectations”, the “Trough of Disillusionment” or the “Slope of Enlightenment”. While some people followed only one of these options, others – including me – were hesitating when it came to simplifying the overall assessment of this question.

Wikipedia: The Gartner Hype CycleI would speak of hype whenever the major bloggers/players in external Employer Branding Consulting place “best practices”. It appears mostly as preparation of the market for their services. Companies following this hype without reflecting thoroughly on their future Social Media Recruiting needs and activities will find themselves disillusioned – especially compared to major brands. The third group are companies with attractive products and/or a supporting “cultural framework” (to be found in eCommerce, IT sector, etc.). Social Media Recruiting might feel more natural for them and also for their target groups.

Source: Wikipedia

So it is not that easy to proclaim that Social Media Recruiting might just work well for every company under any circumstances. The approach of people in HR/ Recruiting/ Employer Branding towards Social Media should be individual, well-informed and well-planned.

After having identified the suitable target group of prospective employees, the next step should not be to start thinking about how you could communicate with them. You are not the target group. You do not know! Of course you might possess studies about Generation Y, telling you to approach these young people in the web. Maybe you work closely with agencies providing ideas on what to do and the kind of messages to send. But these sources are not sufficient! Imagine you are a supplier for automotive companies desperately looking for female employees. So what would you do? Maybe you would create a visual for this very target group as shown in this example. In my opinion, this idea could go terribly wrong. How would you feel being addressed on basis of gender clichés? Would you consider this message to be an appropriate way to attract you to this company as employer of choice?

You should identify needs, interests and habits of your target group. And you should do that as thoroughly as possible. Are future Investment Bankers looking for a job on Facebook? Or might it be a better idea to address them on career fairs with focus on Finance?

Recently, Henner Knabenreich presented the results of a study about “Career + Social Networks” on both PR-Blogger and personalmarketing2null. Most of the respondents used Facebook regularly in private life, so one could argue that it might be a good idea to approach candidates on this platform. It is only half the truth, though. When it comes to the students’ habits, they are primarily using the careers website to learn more about a potential employer. Moreover, they prefer personal contact, and still print media, online job portals, employer rankings and career fairs to private as well as business-focused social networks. Personalmarketing2null: Which media do you use to gather information about an employer?

 Source: Personalmarketing2null

Are companies overestimating the online affinity of their target groups? In my opinion, they do not. But companies lack two things: (a) students that are well-informed about the possibilities they have in the social web to learn more about a potential employer and (b) reasons for the target group to approach the company’s Social Media profiles.

(a) On 11 May I was invited as a speaker to Jobmeeting Torino for the “Personal Branding Live Act”. Italian students had the opportunity to experience first-hand how they could put the Social Web to use, becoming visible to and learning more about potential employers. They were pretty much irritated by all the possibilities to get in touch with employers – be it on professional networks or on Facebook. But why should they use a business network without having a job first? Why should they look for careers pages on Facebook – a private platform where they fear the risk of recruiters screening their profiles? It is still a long way to go until the majority of students in Germany, Italy and probably additional European countries will really start using the social web in a natural manner to get in touch with employers, aside from specific jobs and industries.

(b) For one week, Andrew Blakeley exposed himself to all the brands that asked him to like them on Facebook (must-read!). This is how he describes the essence of this experiment: “As social networks slowly become the default online presence for brands to drive their consumers to, adverts, marketing and packaging has started telling us where to go. However, it hasn’t yet started telling us why to go there.” Andrew also discovered that great content on several sites just did not get the attention it deserved. His ultimate tip for brand managers is very simple: “Consider telling them why” – without a reason people would not bother following your Social Media activities. Nina Kalmeyer and I agreed that this observation also applies to potential employees and careers pages on Facebook.

  1. Before thinking about using Social Media Recruiting in your company...Get to know your target group first: You are the ones to define it as close as possible to your company’s specific needs. Start your own research!
    (for some hints you can also stick to the study mentioned earlier)
  2. Based on this research, does it make sense at all to use Social Media as one element in your HR marketing mix?
  3. If so, what can you realistically offer to the target group? What is the value added to follow your activities?
  4. And when you finally arrive at this point, you might start to push the idea of Social Media Recruiting within your company.

The Candidate Experience – The Next Big Thing?

Some days ago, a group of authors and editors released a “virtual monograph” aimed at explaining “The Candidate Experience: What they say it is; What it really is; and, What it can be“. Gerry Crispin, Mark Mehler and others provide an overview of scientific studies about how applicants and jobseekers perceive the application process as well as blog entries out of the last few months. Being highly ambitious, they plan to refine the document at least quarterly. Moreover, they are even up to creating an Award for the Best Candidate Experience!

But what is this Candidate Experience? Here is the definition that Gerry Crispin proposes on page 11 of the monograph: The Candidate Experience are

“The attitudes and behaviors of individuals who aspire to work for a firm about the recruiting process, the stakeholders in the process, the work and the company itself as a place to work.”

So the experience of the candidate is stated to begin “when they have hit the ‘submit’ button”. But the employer can already do something to support the potential applicant before submitting his or her CV: Joseph P. Murphy has posted a video recently, referring to the project of Crispin and his colleagues, which has the goal to inform HR people and hiring managers how to “help the candidate make a more informed decision”. Randy Hood’s video commentary is summarized in four points (see the screenshot below).

Source: Embedded YouTube-clip by VirtualJobTryout on http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/candidate-experience-what-is

Now that sounds a lot like Employer Branding, doesn’t it? As far as it seems, the Candidate Experience is an issue to be adressed by both Employer Branding and Recruiting professionals – but not so much out of a sales perspective. There is a need to put oneself in the position of a potential candidate. The fourth point is also connected to using “Realistic Job Previews” , a topic which was also elaborately discussed in Germany (e.g. on Recrutainment blog).

The authors’ research indicates a third and probably the most important group of company representatives when it comes to influencing the Candidate Experience to the better or the worse: the hiring managers. Therefore, HR professionals do not only need to provide a great Employer Brand, a streamlined and efficient application process, they do also need to establish a corporate culture aimed at treating a candidate as if he or she would be a future and welcome colleague. Well, recruiters can at least have a positive influence on the experience when they act enthusiastic, empathetic and helpful – in addition to being knowledgable about the job. But, as the group of authors explicates, recruiters only appear as the first point of contact and their efforts are in vain once the process takes too long or a hiring manager acts inappropriately.

On page 5, referring to Corporate Executive Board’s Recruiting Roundtable, best practice companies were analyzed in 2002. Those companies met “candidate needs as their expectations grew by providing status, interview prep kits, interview process primers and other resources”. Such additional information may still prove to be helpful – but also missing – on most career websites.

Employer Branding, Recruiting, Career Websites, Realistic Job Previews, … – the Candidate Experience is quite successful in integrating several important topics of current discussions in HR. You can also add “Social Media” to this list. Why? The authors are looking for a reason to care for the candidate experience out of business perspective. They find an approach developing some ideas out of “The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage” by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. This book comes to the conclusion that the next step after the Service Economy would be the so-called “Experience Economy”, which is demanding from companies to “render authenticity” in order to be the most successful, as memory itself would become the most sought-after product. And this “authenticity” is also pretty much a trending topic for at least a lot of German blogs dealing with HR and Social Media like, e.g., (once more) Recrutainment, soziales Brand:Marken or personalmarketing2null.

Source: http://www.careerxroads.com/news/the_candidate_experience.asp – page 13 of monograph

Crispin and the others decide to evaluate the Candidate Experience “by describing four types of experiences – Educated, Entertained, Enthused and Engaged” (page 12). These four types of experiences will be provided by the potential employer on its Social Media platforms, career website, during the recruiting process, on job fairs, etc. To tie in with the idea of “rendering authenticity”, authenticity may expand the matrix to a third dimension. All these provided experiences can only be successful as long as they appear to be credible and true.

In my opinion, this new monograph may be a catalyst for a more elaborate and scientific as well as empirically confirmed discussion about the Candidate Experience. And such a discussion would definitely help in improving the remake of career websites, using Social Media for Employer Branding and Recruiting as well as finding the right talent for your company. It would help to plan and carry out activities on a well-grounded concept instead of just following trends, buzzwords and advice from consultants…

What they say it is; What it really is; and, What it can be

Lean Just-in-Time Recruiting – Traum oder Albtraum?

Der HR-Bereich verursacht praktisch und in der Wahrnehmung des Managements erst einmal nur Kosten. Das Business findet woanders statt. Da verwundert es kaum, dass in vielen Unternehmen immer weniger Ressourcen zur Verfügung stehen, um  immer mehr Serviceleistung für das Kerngeschäft zu erbringen. In diesem Kontext wird HR zuweilen mit dem Konzept des Supply Chain Management in Verbindung gebracht: Ein erster Ansatz ist die Porter’sche Wertkette. Nachzulesen in Bezug auf HR z.B. bei Wolfgang Jäger (2009,18ff: Talent Management ist Personalmanagement. In: Jäger, W./ Lukasczyk, A. (Hrsg.): Talent Management. Strategien, Umsetzung, Perspektiven. Köln: Luchterhand. S.15-23.). Im gleichen Herausgeberband führt Peter Cappelli (2009,39ff: Talent Management for the Twenty-First Century. In: Ebd. S.39-49.) den Gedanken weiter. Als größte Herausforderungen identifiziert er die Risiken einer zu weit reichenden Bedarfsplanung sowie die Unsicherheit in der Beschaffung neuer erfolgskritischer Mitarbeiter. Über die Anwendung von Methoden aus dem Bereich des Supply Chain Management möchte er die Wunschvorstellung “Talent on demand” erreichen (S.49).

Klassische Wertkette nach M. Porter (Quelle: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wertkette)

Klassische Wertkette nach M. PorterAm weitesten hat diesen Gedanken meines Wissens bisher Glen Cathey getrieben: In seinem Blog “Boolean Black Belt” stellt er die Frage “What is Lean Just-in-time Recruiting?”. Die Anwendung der Supply Chain auf Recruiting beschreibt Glen wie folgt: “In recruiting, human capital supply chain activities transform relationships and data (ad responses, resumes, social networking profiles, etc.) into candidates that are delivered to hiring managers.” Nach einem kurzen Hinweis auf Lean Production bei Toyota formuliert er den gleichen Ansatz wie so manches Mitglied der Geschäftsleitung bzw. Bereichsleiter in Unternehmen: “The primary focus of Lean is creating more value with less work, and considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customers to be wasteful.”

Glen Cathey beschreibt anschaulich und selbstverständlich auch nachvollziehbar, wie ineffizient es ist, mehr Bewerbungen als notwendig zu generieren. Im gleichen Atemzug hinterfragt er das proaktive Bereitstellen einer Pipeline an Kandidaten für den zukünftigen Rekrutierungsbedarf des Unternehmens. Auch die Nutzung von Online-Jobbörsen führe tendenziell zu Überproduktion, einem von sieben “Übeln” bei Lean. Im Prinzip passt für ihn auch Talent Relationship Management nicht in die Wunschvorstellung eines schlanken Recruitingprozesses. Jede ungeeignete und nicht weitergeleitete Bewerbung, die angeschaut werden musste – davon kommen so einige, gerade bei in Online-Jobbörsen ausgeschriebenen Stellen – ist unnötige Arbeit, die anderswo besser hätte eingesetzt werden können. Auch unnötige Wartezeit ist ein Mangel des Recruiting-Prozesses und verschlechtert die Candidate Experience und hat damit wieder negative Auswirkungen auf die Employer Brand.

Das Ziel eines Just-in-time Recruiting-Prozesses ist das gleiche wie bei Peter Cappelli: “Talent on demand”. Im Vordergrund steht nunmehr das Active Sourcing – und das ganz besonders unter dem Einbezug von Social Media, etwa Business Networks: “JIT recruiting has a primary focus of tapping into “raw material” candidate inventory (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, your network, etc.) and contacting, qualifying, and delivering candidates only in direct response to a hiring need.” Der Gedanke klingt verlockend – und auch ließen sich die Kosten viel besser rechtfertigen, wenn die Arbeit der Recruiter direkt im (internen) Kundenauftrag stattfindet und praktisch auf diese abgerechnet werden kann. Dennoch ist zumindest in Deutschland – und das auch schon aus arbeitsrechtlichen Gründen – das Active Sourcing noch nicht in dem Maße angekommen wie es etwa in den USA schon Standard ist.

Just-in-time Recruiting scheint die Lösung für die Forderung an HR zu sein, mit weniger Ressourcen mehr (oder zielgenauer) Leistung zu erbringen. Aber erlauben die rechtlichen und kulturellen Rahmenbedingungen in Deutschland bereits einen solchen Ansatz? Oder werden eher falsche Erwartungen geweckt, denen die Recruiter in der momentanen Situation gar nicht standhalten können?