The widespread availability of high-speed internet and the digital platforms that run on it have transformed virtually every aspect of our lives. From paying bills to watching shows to selling attic ware, many of our transactions take place in the form of strings of ones and zeroes.
Digital platforms are also important tools for HR teams. Not only have they transformed how we work, but they’ve had a hand in reshaping where we work. And for recruiters, they can shape who we can reach.
Today’s HR professionals are fortunate to have a wide range of digital platforms and apps at their disposal to bring greater efficiency, and better outcomes, to the hiring process.
1) Bring candidates in from anywhere…
When we hear “digital platforms,” we might think of the obvious social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. However, there are a wide range of additional digital tools and resources available for HR departments, many of which are radically changing how they approach recruiting and hiring.
For example, video conferencing helps HR teams interview candidates from virtually anywhere around the globe. Tools range from the common, popular—and free—tools like Skype or Google Hangouts to more expensive, but also more powerful platforms that carry a fee. This SHRM article offers some excellent advice on choosing the right platform. Whether hiring from within your own geographic area, or from afar, video conferencing offers options that can help you readily screen candidates while saving both time and money.
“My all-time favorite tool for recruitment is Skype,” says Jen Teague, a staffing and onboarding coach to small and growing businesses. “I like to use it as a first interview after a phone-interview to decide on whether or not to move them on to the next steps,” she says. Many people of different generations understand Skype so it is easy to interview for many skill-levels, Teague says.
In addition to video conferencing, there are a wide range of additional recruiting tools and apps that make this process easier, and less expensive, than ever before. Emily Clapp, the lead talent architect for Veterans United Home Loans, points to four innovative and useful tools she uses in the recruitment process:
- Glassdoor Enhance Employer Profile. This tool, says Clapp, offers more customization and analytics than a typical profile, the ability to promote job openings without ads or jobs from competitors, and the ability to target competitors with jobs on their profiles. The result, she says, “has been quality hires and increased brand awareness.”
- CareerArc, says Clapp, “auto-distributes our job postings on a custom Twitter page with unique hashtags that are searchable.” A custom Facebook tab lets Clapp see LinkedIn and Facebook connections who work for the company.
- HireSelect by CriteriaCorp provides pre-employment assessments to test for cognitive aptitude, personality and skills with customizable test packages available, by position. It is, says Clapp, “an amazing tool to be able to learn more about candidates and verify abilities.” She adds: “We’ve been able to identify benchmarks and red flags on the results specific to positions. In turn, we can identify higher quality candidates before even bringing them in for an interview, saving us time and money.”
- SkillSurvey Pre-Hire 360 Feedback. This is an online reference tool that can be customized by position to seek direct and specific feedback from managers and other references. “Anonymity for the references increases their honesty about the candidate,” says Clapp. “Two open-ended questions give references the chance to voice their experience working with the person.”
Don’t overlook the power of pay-per-click when recruiting candidates online. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook—and even Pinterest and others—can be a rich source of candidates and offer an opportunity to narrowly target users based on specific demographic and psychographic characteristics. Google Adwords is another popular, and effective, option. Max Robinson, a freelance HR consultant based in the UK says: “Recently I’ve been running PPC (pay per click) adverts for a range of clients that I’m recruiting for, simply because they’re incredibly effective.” Most jobseekers, says Robinson, and particularly millennials, will head to search engines like Google to look for new opportunities, and the PPC adverts that appear at the top of the results tend to have very good visibility.”
An added benefit for recruiters, says Robinson, is that “you can track who is clicking on the adverts, then you can retarget them across other platforms like social media with more adverts.” While simple in concept, Robinson recommends those not familiar with PPC turn to experts to help them develop and run campaigns. Otherwise, he says: “You will waste a huge amount of time and money before you get it right.”
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) can also provide big benefit especially for those organizations that recruit frequently and find themselves managing a wide array of applicants. Thomas Duffy, a talent recruiter for Blue Fountain Media, points to tools like Greenhouse Recruiting and Bullhorn and says: “These apps allow you to check your pipeline and process of candidates from your phone, which is convenient for those who are on the go. You’re able to change the status of a candidate if you’ve been in contact with them, communicate internally, among other features that are useful for recruiters who are not always at a computer.”
2) …or bring the work to them
The power of modern devices is completely overhauling how—and where—we can work. Some knowledge-workers are even eschewing the traditional 9-to-5 for temporary, freelance gigs, while some companies are outfitting their labor pool with devices to allow employees to work remotely.
In September, XpertHR Legal Editor David Weisenfeld interviewed Portland, Oregon-based Fisher Phillips employment attorney Rich Meneghello, for a podcast on how the gig economy is changing the workforce.
For HR teams, understanding this trend can lead to a new wave of great workers—organizations can tap talent across states, or across national borders, generating much broader candidate pools. While it’s a conversation that needs to take into consideration the policy and strategy of the organization, introducing the idea of dedicated remote workers might be something worth exploring when trying to find the perfect candidate.
Communication is important with any employee group, but becomes increasingly so when working with remote workers. Finding the right tools to connect with, engage, and allow collaboration between remote workers and other staff members is key to a long-term, positive relationship. Some commonly used tools for collaboration include Slack, Basecamp, Dropbox and Google Docs.
3) Once hired, onboard new hires through digital platforms
Digital platforms don’t stop working for HR teams when the candidate is hired. Company documents, forms, notifications, and other important literature can be distributed to new hires through digital means, allowing them to consume this information at their leisure and reference it easily when they have questions. As with other digital platforms and apps that can expedite the hiring and onboarding process, there are a wide range of options available. Capterra, a site that offers reviews of a wide range of digital software options, offers a list and reviews of the top onboarding software products available.
Importantly, points out Matt Doucette, director of global talent acquisition with Monster, having a strategy behind the tools is critical. “If your digital recruiting ecosystem is fractured, it will be very difficult to align a standardized strategy to drive success,” he says. “As a talent leader, data is my life blood, and without it, it is impossible to articulate success and allow me a seat at the table.”
When Doucette took over the leadership of Monster’s talent acquisition, he says: “I realized that although we utilized the products, we were not using them optimally. The team and I embarked on a journey to implement our products on a platform to help track activity and source success. As our team got more technically proficient and our tools aligned better on a platform, we experienced a 300 percent increase in overall applies which helped us with our 30 percent year over year reduction in time to fill.” Those are the kind of talent metrics that can really resonate with the C-suite.
Of course, while these platforms are fantastic tools, holding many benefits for HR departments, it’s important to keep them in perspective—and to be aware of potential legal risks and pitfalls.