It’s a long and gruelling process to hire new people...

Published by: Bryan Tan

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... said my friend Alex, who works in the HR department for one of the big banks in downtown Toronto. A lot of HR people whom I met this past couple of months resonated a similar tone.

First, you need to sit down with the hiring manager to define the job description and requirements. “What frustrates me is that sometimes the hiring manager is so caught up in his/her own biases with no room for us to recommend something based on our HR knowledge,” another friend added. If you are not clear with what the role entails, garbage-in-garbage-out is what you’ll get.

After the job is posted on LinkedIn or Indeed, then the recruiter has to deal with hundreds of applications. Based on the research conducted by Glassdoor, on average, each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes. How would you sort that out? Keyword parsing which can be simplied defined as businesses using software to filter resumes that match their keyword search criteria.

“I personally hate keyword parsing. A lot of people put the ‘supposedly correct’ keywords in their resume and when you get to interview them, a lot of what they wrote are fluffs,” Alex explained. Personally, it’s so frustrating for me to see someone whom I’ve worked with, who has really bad work ethics, hardly contributes anything, and is always late to meetings, got a job at a 4-star airline just because his/her perfect resume hits all the right keywords. This is one of the main reasons all of us at Naudix meet every Sunday morning to work on a better solution. There must be a better way to evaluate someone than just keyword parsing. We recently found a website that actually tries to workaround the business filters customizing your resume using the descriptions posted on a job board!  Basically they want to trick the existing systems and the hiring managers to get that first interview.

Jobvite statistics mentioned that one in six candidates who applied for a job was asked for an interview. That’s approximately 40 candidates to call. Scheduling a phone interview must be a nightmare. If a phone screening interview lasts for 20 minutes, then a recruiter has to spend 800 minutes to call the candidates. Conducting a phone interview can add 7 to 8 days to the recruitment process, a recent Glassdoor study pointed out.

And then, of course, there’s a group panel interview that can add 6 to 7 days to the recruitment process and a one-on-one interview that can add 4 to 5 days to the process, before the candidate rejects the offer and you have to start all over again.

In our research process, we have found a better and more scientific way to assess a candidate, even predict his/her future job performance. Guess what? You don’t need resumes or phone screening interviews to do that. That alone can already cut minimum 10 days of your recruitment process. Intrigued? Stay tuned for more as Naudix work to reimagine the hiring experience!

 

Published by: Bryan Tan

 

Stephen BehComment
I fired someone to get my first real leadership role
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At the age of 28, I got my first real opportunity to lead a team.  I had been a people manager already for 4+ yrs, managing smaller teams but this was the first time that I would be solely responsible for the successes and failures of 24 individuals.  You're never really prepared for all this role entails until you're the one actually sitting in the chair.  However, there are a few important tests that you can do to prepare yourself.  I actually recall my old VP asking me to do this before I could actually takeover a team.  What was it you say?  I had to fire someone.

No joke.  There was no real interview for the role as I had the required experience to take on the role.  They had been grooming me for years, so I had the benefit of working with great managers who I learned a lot from.  But the final test to see if I could cut it was to fire someone from my existing team.  It's not like we chose someone randomly, we had actual cause to let go of this person.  In this case, it was related to sales performance issues as this employee was definitely not suited for a sales role and had consistently missed her quarterly targets.  She was given every opportunity to succeed through coaching support from myself and team members, but she just didn't get it and we didn't see any improvement.  

You can’t help those who can’t help themselves

So step 1 was already in process.  I had been coaching the team member more frequently and documenting those coaching sessions.  During those meetings I would also provide candid feedback (or as they like to call it in tech "radical candor").  The expectation had been set out early on that her performance wasn't where we wanted her to be.  The last thing you want to do is fire someone without any warning or any opportunities to at least try to improve themselves.  There's a big difference between going through the motions to actually following through with the "I'm going to have to let you go" conversation.  I had been quite honest with my expectations of her and how she was not meeting those expectations.  But I also began to help her self discover if a sales job was even something she wanted to do.  How does this job help you get to where you want to get to in your career?  Why did you want to do sales in the first place?, etc.  She wasn't a bad person, it wasn't personal, but I could just see that she didn't enjoy the sales role or was as hungry as my other team members.  This reflected on her poor sales and poor customer service.  The toughest part was that she herself had blinders on and couldn't see my perspective and thought she was doing a decent job, thought her customers all loved her, etc.  I had slowly started to chip away at that narrative through the weekly coaching sessions where I would provide the critical feedback.  

On the day I decided to let her go and give her the paperwork to sign, the 15 min meeting turned into a 1.5 hrs conversation.  She was providing excuses, shifting ownership for her lack of results, crying, etc.  But I held steady and kept my composure and just laid out the facts that I had been documenting throughout the process.  

This was really the best option for everyone, although she may not have seen it that way at the time.  For me it was a valuable learning experience that I've used time and time again.  Not the having to fire someone all the time thing, but the ability to have this these tough and uncomfortable conversations with people.  Only with radical candor can you be an effective leader who is able to give feedback to employees to help them learn and be better.  

Stephen BehComment
You've made the wrong hiring decision... now what?
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If you're a people manager, you've probably been in this position before where you hired someone who you thought would be an excellent fit with your team.  On paper they looked great!  In-person, they were fantastic during the interview and answered all your behavioural questions perfectly!  What could have happened!??!

Even when firms realize they have make a hiring mistake, they are slow to take action. On average it takes 27 weeks to fix.

Well it's too late to start diagnosing what went wrong and how you could have been so off on your assessment about this person. Your immediate concern is to handle the problem at hand first as you've been hearing some rumblings from your normally friendly and welcoming team.  Or maybe someone from your team just came straight out and told you that there's something off with your new hire because they did this, reacted like this, etc.

A bad employee can be toxic to a work environment.  The thought being from your existing employees "if so and so doesn't care and the manager is letting them exist, why should I care?".  You need to get ahead of these situations sooner rather than later.  The ability as a manager to have tough conversations at work (also a great skill to have in life) is so important.  You'll be seen as a more effective leader overall.

One of the best executives I worked for before taught me this lesson.  He was charismatic, incredibly sharp and intelligent, and  knew how to motivate and get the best out of people.  Even he was prone to a hiring mistake.  A few years ago, his newest hire was having trouble meshing with the team and so feedback got back to him.  He addressed his employees and set the expectation that everyone deserves a chance but told them he would be keeping an eye on the situation.  He took ownership and organized subsequent weekly chats with the new hire and eventually after a month, he cut her loose.  Although it reflected badly that he was the one who hired her in the first place, he got over his ego quickly.  His reputation after he took ownership and handled the bad hire, gave him even more respect from his team around him.  If he had let that person hang around longer or done nothing, the resentment from his existing team would have festered and eventually affected the morale.

Among small and midsize business owners and managers polled, 86% admit making a bad hire.

We are all human and we make snap judgements, especially when interviewing someone in 30 min (maybe 45 min) and trying to assess how successful they'll be in a job.  Our decisions are not always based on facts but rather assumptions we make due to our human nature.  These leaves us open to making errors when judging people for jobs, even if you're one of the smartest execs that I ever worked with.  But how you react, take ownership and resolve the situation, is almost as important in making the right hiring decisions.

Stephen BehComment
Hire first, ask questions later?
 Hiring is the most important thing you do.  If you're reactive to your hiring needs, then you're already too late.

Hiring is the most important thing you do.  If you're reactive to your hiring needs, then you're already too late.

 

This is kind of what it feels like when you're under the gun and need to hire.  Let me paint you the scenario.  Someone has just given their 2 weeks notice and you as the hiring manager are now scrambling to look for a replacement.  Your talent acquisition duties have been done at the side of your desk as you have so much on your plate already.  You don't have anyone in the pipeline currently.  Oh crap!

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
— Chinese Proverb

This is a great quote.  In this specific case I associate it with talent management and hiring needs.  Being proactive with your talent management and putting in the effort to meet and cultivate future employees will pay dividends. 

I used to to this all the time at the bank.  I had a team of 16 sales managers and was under the impression that any one of them would be promoted or move to a different department.  How did I manage to stay ahead of the curve?

  1. Always be selling - Everyone I talked to, I would sell my team and my department.  Any opportunity to talk to anyone else was an opportunity to put someone in my talent pipeline.  Or perhaps, they would refer someone else.  Hiring and talent management is a proactive activity and everything else can usually wait but we get caught up in the work that feels busy.
  2. Regular touch points with candidates - I would schedule 15-30 min once a month with each potential candidate.  It would be an informal coaching session and a way for my to get to know them better and provide feedback that would make them more effective in their current role.  I would meet people in my day to day and any person who I thought had potential I would put in my calendar.  I had a busy job already and this only added to my volume, but I knew that the effort would help me in the long run.  I used to actually make them do takeaway assignments as a way to gauge their thinking and interest in being part of my team.
  3. Interviewing is a formality - If you get the above two steps done, then interviewing is really just a formality.  The current interview format hasn't changed in year.  Phone screening, then interview using behavioural questions that last maybe 30-45 min, in the hope that you can really get to know a candidate and what makes them tick.  Unfortunately, as humans we are extremely biased in how we assess others.  We think we know the best based on our previous experiences of based on our assumptions.

At Naudix, we're automating a lot of these manual functions through the use of artificial intelligence.  You can never truly remove the human element from hiring but there's definitely a better way to make the process more proactive and easier for a hiring manager.  It's about hiring the best candidates but also the best candidates for your company.  

If you know the pain involved in hiring talent, then join our beta test at https://naudix.com/ as we work to reimagine hiring.  

Stephen BehComment
How hiring managers can sell their company brand/culture to attract talent in an already crowded hiring space
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Posting a job on job boards is a given.  You need to hire so post the role on LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. to get the word out that you're hiring.  But do you want to do something differently to standout?

Competition is for losers - Peter Thiel

If you've read Peter Thiel's book "Zero to One" he mentions this concept a lot both from an entrepreneurial perspective and also from a career perspective.  I like to take his thinking and apply to various other things.  In this case, I'm taking the concept and applying it towards hiring talent.

Try pitching your company via a video you put on instagram or YouTube.  Here's the format you can follow in a 30 second video.  Don't make it overly complicated or fancy if you don't have to.

  1. Promise - Say something like "Today i’m going to tell you about my company and the opportunity to work in something dynamic and exciting and at the end of the video you will be so excited to be a part of our growth."
  2. Picture - Paint the picture of the future vision of the company and the opportunity to get in to something that is either new, exciting, game changing, etc.
  3. Proof - Have testimonial from employees sharing their experience joining and working there - Ex. new employees who have joined, etc.
  4. Pitch - One call to action - one thing you want them to do - Ex. If you like what the company is about, reach out to via LinkedIn, email, etc. and let's chat!

If you want to attract the right type of talent and go after the right type of candidates and standout from the crowd, give this a try!

Stephen BehComment
Helping small businesses attract talent (yes, you can actually do it!)
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Recently, I was contacted by https://www.alignable.com/ to help share some of my expertise on hiring.  They had polled their small business network and had come up with a list of commonly asked questions.  

Here’s a bit about my background before we get into it.  I have over 12+ years of experience as a people manager at a large financial institution, where I took on roles of increasing responsibility.  My success was derived from my ability to build winning teams.  I was able to recruit and talent manage both small and large scale teams into highly motivated and engaged employees.

Here are the questions that were provided by https://www.alignable.com/ that focused on advertising open positions and reaching the right audience:

Finding people with the right skills (address both hourly workers and professionals)

  • Hire for the will, not skill is an important mindset when hiring (unless you’re hiring for a very technical position). Most people will get good doing any job if they’ve done it for 5-10 yrs, so asking for someone with previous experience isn’t always the best strategy.  We have to be aware of our own confirmation biases as a hiring manager, which is in the first 5 min of an interview we’ve already made a decision on the candidate and spend the rest of the 25 min attempting to confirm those biases.  That is not a logical or efficient way to hire especially if you are a smaller business without the advantage of a large brand name.  

How important is creating a job description before starting to hire?  

  • The job description should describe exactly what the role entails.  Your day to day, your expectations on where the role can lead to, etc.  I’ve seen too many job descriptions with generic language or catchy words, trying to be different.  Just tell it like it is.

When creating a job description what’s the single most important question to ask yourself?

  • As mentioned above, the job description should describe exactly what the role entails.   I would also include the fact that you need to sell the company and the culture.  Not sure what your company or culture is?  Doesn’t matter the size of your business, every company should have something.  

How do you convey “non-negotiable” elements of the job description up front without scaring away potential candidates? (eg. required hours of availability)

  • You have to be honest about it.  No one wants to find out day 1 that the hours are different or whatever that may be.  Being honest about the expectations and the why is the best way to convince someone.

What are the best ways to incentivize current employees to help recruit others?
 

  • Definitely not by paying them for referrals.  That is a terrible idea and never gains traction or gets half hearted attempts at sending referrals for the sake of sending one in.  If you create an environment and culture in your company that is fun, transparent, allows for growth, etc. then your people will want to refer other good people to work at the company.  It’s easier said than done but if you are about the team and building that culture you can accomplish this.  Again, doesn’t matter the size of the company but as a leader if you can build and sustain a workplace where people enjoy coming to work, then you should have less recruitment problems.
Stephen BehComment
My job search experience so far...
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Who can relate?

I left the comfort of my big corporate bank job in June 2016, took a severance package and decided I wanted to travel for a bit.  I can't remember the last real vacation I had that didn't consist of me flying home to Vancouver from Toronto, to visit my family and friends.  For 8 months, I had the time of my life visiting cities in the US, Europe and Asia.  It was about Feb 2017 onwards that I thought I might want to reenter the workforce and get a job.  I wanted to share my job search experiences that eventually led me down the path to trying to fix the process through Naudix.

The various stages so far...

#1 - Your Resume - Update your resume, realize your formatting is way too old, search for another template on google and spend hours trying to recreate it.

#2 - Job Boards - Join LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, etc.  because everyone else is doing it as well.  Get spammed with daily job postings that you don't want to apply to.

#3 - Throwing Away Money - You realize you still don't like your resume so you pay a service to revamp it and they say it will increase the number of interested hiring managers.  Pay for LinkedIn Premium ($30/month) and realize there's no difference from the free version.

#4 - Endless Online Job Applications - Spend time to create cover letters and apply to roles via the job boards.  Wait 4 weeks to maybe get a response but most of the time when you do get something back you don't even recall applying for it because its been so long.

#5 - Interviews - You manage to get one or two interviews where you know your experience would be a great fit.  You think you do well during the interview but you're rejected because "you're not the right fit".  You think wtf does that mean?  I'm trying to join a tech startup and the guy interviewing you worked for a hotel before.  #smh

#6 - Your Resume (again) - Redo your resume again as the original one hasn't been working.  Pay for another service to help you accomplish this.

But here is where my story ends different as I have been lucky enough to find my purpose.  These pains that I have experienced has fuelled my desire to change the entire hiring process.  

At Naudix, we have a team of 9 working very hard towards reimagining hiring in order to help you find the job you'll love.  Visit www.naudix.com to join our beta test group today!

Stephen Beh