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First Advantage Recruiting Solutions News

Welcome to our monthly news and views page. We update this page regularly with news about our solutions, information about the industry, and editorial columns we think you will find interesting.

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Recruiting News Archives

Job Postings are Advertisements!

The Fine Art of Not Saying Too Much

Editorial by Keith Starling, Recruiting Analyst

In all honesty there are a lot of really terrible jobs out there: long hours, repetitive and boring work, no hope of career progression, or pay so measly that mice couldn't afford to fill their bellies off of it. These jobs need to be filled by someone, however, and as a recruiter, it's your job to find the best-qualified person to fill these vacancies. A solid start to drawing in candidates is to come up with an external job description that won't chase them away before you have a chance to put that silver lining on those dark rain clouds. Save yourself hours of direct recruiting time by making sure that your posting says enough to turn heads, but not so much that it turns prospective candidates away.

As an ethical recruiter, I will tell you that deceiving candidates about a job is wrong, and purposely misleading them will only result in the candidate leaving the position a week after they start. That being said, I believe it is also wrong to needlessly chase potential applicants away with long, in-depth descriptions of monotonous daily duties. Having an aggressive or overly authoritative tone in the job posting will leave the reader with a feeling that the company is cold, sterile, or operates with a drill sergeant mentality.

If at all possible, leave out statements like "Must sit still for long periods of time with no bathroom brakes" or "No socializing with co-workers while working in a close environment", as this information is not essential to the duties of the job. Statements like this give an immediate air of hostility, and can seriously affect the return on your job posting investment. If there are critical standards such as these that must be mentioned, it is best to bring them up later in the process - after you have maximized the effect of your posting investment.

What holds true in life also holds true in recruiting you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Just as an employer is examining candidates to assess what skills and talents they can bring to the corporation, candidates are examining companies to assess the benefits and perqs of working there as opposed to the competition. In my experience with even the most progressive companies out there, this view is overlooked. Many job postings continue to focus on the limiting factors of the position and fail to mention anything at all in regards to potential career advancement possibilities, health or retirement benefits, or even the progress of the company.

Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of a winning team. Use the job posting impression to show where the company shines and omit the parts where the actual job may not. Get the potential employee to be excited to come to work for a company that is just on the brink of greatness, or have them feel like they are part of a tradition with an honorable company that has withstood the test of time. Talk about the challenges the company has managed to overcome and how this particular position is essential to the forward movement of the business. Again, the key here is to not lie to the candidate but simply find the "glass is half full" angle that exists in even the most mundane positions.

Make sure the job summary covers the essential duties that the person will be responsible for but keep it concise. Too many times I see internal jargon that makes no sense to anyone outside of the organization, or sloppily-written half sentences with misplaced tenses. You can bet that if a candidate doesn't know what the job functions are, they certainly won't know if they are a qualified fit. Also, Be sure to spell-check the document and double check the HTML tags.

Taking the time to view the job description on the job boards as the potential applicants will see it might reveal formatting errors or font failures that can result in a significant decline in candidate flow. If it looks unprofessional, sloppy, or even poorly worded, chances are the candidate will get the same half-hearted impression of your organization as a whole.

Finally, once you've snared a big net of candidates, do what it takes to keep them excited about the prospects of working with your organization. While you have their attention, don't forget to let them know why the company you represent is great, even if the position isn't what they might typically consider. Change their view of the job and they just might end up performing the most monotonous duties with a grin.

Questions/Comments? Contact the writer directly.

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Know what you are up against?

Is your organization truly prepared for the reverse interview?

Editorial by Senior Manager of Recruitment Process Integration


Ladies and Gentlemen, if you haven't felt the war for talent, then welcome back to the world from that cave in which you've been hiding. What is your company doing in this battle? Top applicants will be evaluating your organization with a fine-toothed comb just as you are evaluating them. Organizations must put their best foot forward - dress the part, communicate deliberately, and be prepared for the reverse interview like never before.

Baby Boomers represent a large segment of the skilled workforce in the United States, and many are set to retire in just a few short years. This large exodus of employees will create a huge gap for many organizations. It has, and will continue to become, more and more challenging to attract and retain talented people. How will your organization stand out from the crowd?

How will candidates evaluate your organization? What will be most important to them when selecting their next employer? Answers to these questions will need to be ascertained quickly and communicated efficiently in order for your organization to remain competitive. Finding the answers to these questions should top the list of must-complete tasks for executive leadership and everyone in the talent acquisition value chain.

There are four overarching areas every company should focus on in preparing their battle plan: Compensation, Benefits, Organization, and Opportunity. Use the list below to benchmark your current situation.

What is your compensation strategy?
  • Salary: Is your compensation strategy below, at, or above the market? This information can be found using Salary.com or any firm offering salary survey data.
  • Incentives: Are your incentives based on individual performance, company performance, or both? How are they weighted?
  • 401(k): Is your 401(k) match percentage on par with other competitive organizations?
  • Pension: Does your organization offer any additional retirement compensation plans?
  • Stock Plan: ESOPP? Stock options? Stock grants? Can an employee build equity in the company? You would be surprised at the level of energy and effort an individual contributes when they view themselves as an owner and not just an employee.

Benefits: Does your organization offer

  • Vacation or PTO: Do you have a generous Vacation or PTO policy? Is it truly competitive with the market?
  • Time off for volunteer or community services activities
  • Flexible work schedules: Potential employees may be willing to accept lower compensation in exchange for a flexible work schedule (telecommuting, job sharing, etc.). A healthy work-life balance is becoming increasingly more important each and every day.
  • Wellness programs (health screenings and health club subsidies)
  • Continuing education program and tuition reimbursement

Corporate Stability: Does your organization have...

  • A good bill of financial health?
  • Sound and clear mission and vision statements?
  • Solid leadership (Executive and Middle Management)?
  • Open and effective communication?
  • Competitive products and/or services?
  • Recognizable brand / Brand awareness?
  • Good Public Relations? ("Best Places to Work" or "Fastest Growing Company" List): Does your company regularly sponsor community events or donate to a local charities?

Opportunity: Has the opportunity been... Does the opportunity have...

  • Advertised and marketed effectively with the proper reach?
  • Is the interview process organized and efficient?
  • Organized on-boarding program? Training program? Mentor program? Employee surveys?
  • Do your employees have a true voice within the organization? Are their issues and concerns heard and addressed?
  • Interesting and engaging assignments? Growth potential with increasing responsibilities?
  • Is there a defined career path for employees hired into the organization? Whether lateral or vertical, there should be one.

If your company has covered all of its bases � great! In addition to setting the stage for a robust employment offering, talent acquisition staffers need to ensure that every employee who has contact with candidates during the interview process is comfortable with the details of the employment value proposition. Make sure everyone knows what is most important to each candidate and address any areas concern. After all, if your hiring managers or executive leadership cannot communicate the upside effectively, how well do you think that will reflect on your organization in the mind of a top candidate?

Finally, get a good night of sleep, wear a nice suit and don't forget to shine those shoes! Remember, this war will not determine who is right; this war determines who remains at the end of the day.

Questions/Comments? Contact the writer directly.

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