Shiny! New! SmartRecruiters integration

Well, the product team are looking a bit dazed but it’s all in the name of success! We’ve launched the first in a series of recruitment tool integrations: Number one on our list? SmartRecruiters.

Making sure the different HR technologies you use play nicely with each other is vital. For Weirdly, that means making sure you can use us within (and alongside) your current ATS or candidate management system.

A SmartRecruiters integration was a natural choice for our first biggie. They’re on a mission to make hiring easy. We liked the sound of that. The fact that they’re one of the world’s fastest growing Talent Acquisition Platforms doesn’t hurt either. They grew over 500% between 2014 and 2015, and this year looks like it’s shaping up well too.

We’re super chuffed to be connected with these cool guys and featured in their assessment marketplace.

This particular integration has also allowed us to add a new offering to the Weirdly stable.

New Culture Screening Surveys

Our team (led by our new psychology head-honcho, Jeff Godbout) has used years of collected data to pull together a few off-the-shelf screening assessments. While these aren’t matched to an individual company culture, they can screen candidates for the common attributes needed to be awesome in certain types of company or team. These new off-the-shelf screening assessments are:

SmartRecruiters integration: For assessing startup culture

StartupCulture: There are common attributes needed to really succeed in the high-pressure world of startup. This screening assessment will help check whether your candidates have what it takes.

 

Better off Tedteam

Innovation Culture: Creating a culture of innovation is still ranking high on most larger company priority lists. Creating a team that captures a bit of the startup innovation culture, while still being able to operate in a larger corporate environment requires a special kind of screening survey.

SmartRecruiters integration: Assessing graduate culture

(Coming Soon) Graduate Culture: Screening graduates on their resume is, well, often sort of redundant. This survey will help you understand if your candidates have the qualities you look for in grads, even if they don’t have a lot of experience in a particular role.

So how does this SmartRecruiters integration actually work?

As part of our new integration, these screening surveys are available in the SmartRecruiters marketplace.

SmartRecruiters users can then send them out to candidates without ever leaving their dashboard. Once the candidate completes the screening survey, their score is displayed on their candidate profile, and a pdf copy of their answers is automatically attached.

There’s a handy link on each candidate report incase you want to know more about what the screening assessment is measuring. We’ve even kept it really clear and concise – no-one’s got time to wade through loads of confusing babble!

Finally, for people who are keen for something more customized to their specific company culture, Weirdly’s full custom option is just a click away.

We can help you design your dream screening assessment. Customised so it looks and feels like your brand, with an awesome candidate experience, video integration and a tailored question bank written by our in-house data/psych team. Once you’re happy, we can load it up into your SmartRecruiters account so it’s only accessible to you and your team.

You can check out more about how this SmartRecruiters integration works and put your hand up for first access when we go live later this week.

What’s next for Weirdly integrations?

This is just the first of many integrations we’ve got planned over the coming weeks and months.

Those of you who use Lever, Greenhouse as your ATS, and who use video or Slack somewhere in your process – keep your eyes peeled here.

And if you’re using another HR technology or software in your recruiting and want us to add it to our integration hit-list, flick us a tweet or join our People-people slack channel .

2016 HR Trend report: Deloitte’s global predictions

Deloitte released their annual HR Trend report this week and it’s a doozy.

To download the whole thing, click the link at the bottom of this page. For a TL;DR version, here’s a summary of some of the top trends that stood out to us:

The Network of Teams:

One of the big shifts predicted isn’t solely an HR Trend at all, it’s a growing movement in organisational structure. Going from the familiar old triangle hierarchy (with tidy departments locked away in silos), to a more fluid team-based structure assembled around projects. For recruiters and HR people, this means big changes. From basics like job titles, to more complex operational ecosystems, the very concept of a team member is changing. The gig economy is here.

“Businesses are becoming more like Hollywood movie production teams and less like traditional corporations, with people coming together to tackle projects, then disbanding and moving on to new assignments once the project is complete.”

Splitting out “engagement” and “culture”:

The hot trend for 2015, we usually saw these two words locked together, spoken as if they were actually one word with too many consonants. Cultureandengagement. Now we’re seeing them considered (and measured) separately. This allows companies to come up with really targeted strategies and solutions to build culture and improve employee engagement. And those are increasingly complex (and vital) goals for any teams that balance generational differences and remote workers.

“Culture describes “the way things work around here,” while engagement describes “how people feel about the way things work around here.”

 

Workplace learning is the new ping-pong:

We used to attract talent with snazzy office furniture, pingpong tables and a fully stoked kitchen, but now we’re shifting to a more valuable (but less rock’n’roll) carrot: On-demand learning programmes. Some are doing this really well, and some (63% according to Deloitte) could be doing it better. Either way, there’s a clear focus on creating opportunities to upskill, re-train and generally explore passions in the form of easily accessible, online courses. This is not your traditional Learning and Development process. Say goodbye to heavy, expensive proprietary L&D programmes, and hello to integrated, participant-initiated web courses. YouTube, MOOC’s and design thinking approaches are gaining in popularity.

So bored of pingpong

Using design thinking to redefine the HR role:

Simplifying the crazy web of processes and tech used in a typical recruiting or HR role is high on the agenda for 2016. More people-people (HR, recruitment and culture heads) are using design thinking to redefine the way they do their jobs. This means the flexibility to redesign complicated processes. Finding ways to simplify, streamline and put candidates and employees at the centre, rather than conform with ye olde traditional approaches. Technology is becoming more intuitive and fun to use. And richer data means awesome new tools that integrate seamlessly and make your job easier (seriously, you should see some of the amazing stuff our product team has planned).

“Design thinking casts HR in a new role. It transforms HR from a “process developer” to an “experience architect.”

 

You can download the full 2016 HR Trend report here and read about these (and loads more) trends in detail.

And if you like the sound of streamlining your process with clever new HR Tech, give a free Weirdly trial a try.

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Customer loyalty: The goose that lays those golden eggs

You know what’s good for business? Loyalty. That’s where the big bucks are people, or at least, the predictable bucks (which are the best kind). And nothing creates customer loyalty like awesome frontline staff – people who bring your brand to life and go the extra mile for your customers everyday.

There aren’t any shortcuts to building loyalty – you have to earn it, just like trust. But it IS possible to boost it by stepping up for customers in their moments of panic. If you can make things better for a customer, when everything’s going wrong, they’re more likely to stick by you when competitors come knocking.

Your customer-facing staff ARE your business: A tale of new teeth

A couple of months ago, my wife Helen got some new front teeth. When you get crowns, there’s a wait period while your molds are sent off to the New-Teethery. In the meantime you have temporaries fitted – they look the same as your old teeth, but they’re a lot more… porous. She knew this, but kind of forgot, until she was on her way to meet with new, quite-important clients.

It was a busy day. She’d wolfed down some lunch while scrambling to get her things together, then ran out the door without looking in a mirror. Stopped at the lights, she glanced in the rear view mirror and did a double take. It looked like someone had swapped her front teeth for the nibs from some yellow highlighters.

Guys, the photo doesn’t do it justice.

They were Yellow, with a capital Y; very noticeably, distinctly fluorescent. The culprit? Her lunch: home-made curry with lots (and I mean lots) of turmeric.

 

Helens teeth are yellow

Tumeric, meet new teeth.

Her first panicked call was to the dentist’s office and Sharla, the practice manager answered, like she always does. She stopped Helen hyperventilating by sharing her similar experience with American mustard. She recommended lemonade (or champagne) to take some of the colour out, then waited around until after Helen had finished her meeting and could pop by the clinic to remove the rest of the colour.

Practice manager isn’t the role that gets all the glory, but it’s Sharla who checks in the day after an appointment, and helps you judge whether those niggles are just in your head. She tells you how long you can leave things between appointments, or what to watch for when you’re expecting a sensitive tooth to get ugly.

Dr Matt, our dentist, is technically excellent, has a calming bedside manner and his nurses and assistants are also brilliant, but if I had to name one thing that kept me loyal, it’d be her. Outside of the chair, she drives the patient experience, which, let’s be honest, is the part that makes me rebook.

Just like your front-line teams, Sharla is the face of the business.  It’s through those customer-facing staff, your buyers are building a relationship with your products and loyalty to your brand.

This makes it even more important that you’re recruiting people who align with your core brand values – that have the soft skills and traits you need to perform highly and build loyalty with your customers.

How do you find the staff that make customers desperately, fanatically loyal?

The truth is, great employees make businesses great, but it works the other way too – great businesses make employees great. We’ve talked about this before – how shared purpose or values is far more important that personality or competence.

Most customer-facing organisations out there would claim to hold customers at the very centre of what they do. Very few actually deliver on that. Not because they’re liars or because they don’t want it enough.

It’s because truly putting customers first is complicated and expensive. And it starts with prioritising your internal culture.

The equation is simple. Take care of your people and they’ll take care of your customers.

So much of taking care of your people is about building a healthy culture in which people are pulling together. They’re bonded by a shared mission and shared core values. A culture that provides enough structure to be practical, but allows opportunities for freedom. Empowering your teams to go the extra mile for customers and feel responsibility for that relationship.

Take our dentist example: The management has consciously set a tone – they’re genuinely driven by giving people a good experience. More importantly, they’ve managed to create an environment where Sharla can live that culture too. Her boss can trust her to be wonderful, and then gives her the resources (and freedom) to do it.

But plop Sharla down into another environment, where she’s not supported and trusted the same way and where her values don’t align so strongly with the company and things might be different. She’s likely to be just as efficient and personable, but she may not get the chance to display the extra layer of wonderful that creates that magical customer loyalty.

So, it’s not Sharla herself laying the golden loyalty eggs; it’s the synergy between company culture and an employee that perfectly fits that’s the real goose.

Culture fit, ya’ll, it’s crucial to a company’s success – and I recommend never going to the dentist without it.

 

If you want to build teams that’ll drive loyal customer relationships, talk to us about how Weirdly screening assessments could fit in your recruitment process. 

Why Google reckons ‘Fit’ beats personality assessment

Ever heard the phrase “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” Now, for the record it’s not a good idea to talk about people like that. But even though the words aren’t quite right, in the world of hiring the essence is true; a person who doesn’t work well in one team, can absolutely soar in another. That’s why Google (and more of the world’s leading companies) are assessing “fit” to find the people who’ll be treasures in their businesses, rather than relying only on the traditional personality assessment.

We’re (finally) moving away from the idea that some people are good and some people are bad, and instead recognizing that anyone can be good, given the right environment.

Is that a personality assessment I spy - says winky Mad Men

Back in advertising days, I worked with a creative – an art director – who was really struggling. We were both really young, just starting out and in those days, the agency we worked in was a pretty intense place. We were a big shop, with major global brands and a Big Agency reputation – that meant huge egos, high expectations and, if I’m honest, a culture that valued success so hard it verged on bullying. I remember sitting in the boardroom, surrounded by dark wood and intimidatingly expensive chairs, watching this young art director visibly shrink as his work was (literally) screwed up and thrown back at him. I remember thinking at the time, ‘this guy just isn’t cut out for advertising’.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I saw him again a few months ago, he’s working in another agency now. Smaller, more niche, but still with its share of global brands and just as highly awarded. He’d just been internationally recognized for his art direction and illustration skills, and was about to accept a huge promotion – leading the agency’s creative department in one of their largest offices.

The problem wasn’t that his personality or skills weren’t ‘right for the role’, it was just that he didn’t fit the company culture and the team (and vice versa).

That same agency that was terrible for him, was brilliant for others. I have friends who thrived there – for whom the ultra-competitive environment was exactly what they needed to push and develop.

But for this guy, he found success when he found a team and company that shared his own values and had a culture that gave him what he needed.

In the crazy busy world of recruitment, we often get trapped in our own process. Source the candidates. Screen for basic skills. Conduct a personality assessment. It’s a flow designed for efficiency, but that means we’re spending the bulk of our time looking only at a person’s innate qualities – trying to discover who this person is in isolation, when we should be focussed on who they are in relation to our teams. When it comes to getting the most out of your people and building super-productive, happy teams, the fit is more important than anything else.

 

But what does Google think? They’re all over personality assessment, right?

In this recent interview with Google’s People Operations Analyst, Julia Rozovsky, she talks about a specialist HR task force that’s been working within the global talent magnet for the past two years. Its job? Identify the exact mix of skills and personality traits required to build “the perfect team”.

In the end, Rozovsky admitted, they discovered the traits of the individual were not a good predictor of high performance. The real success factor was fit within the team.

“Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions,” said Rozovsky. “Essentially, the best teams are made up of people who respect one another’s emotions, can depend on each other and actually care about what they’re doing.”

It’s a great sign when Google’s smartest People-people apply some of the best data capture and analysis skills in the world in a dedicated, two-year-long project, and arrive at the same conclusion: fit is the most valuable indicator of performance.

And, hopefully, that’s awesomely encouraging for any struggling art-directors out there.

If you want to be like Google and put alignment first, give Weirdly a go. Our customised screening assessments will help you quickly find the candidate who complements your team – and we do all the set-up work for you!

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Diversity, meet happiness (finally): How to build diverse teams who also like coming to work

Ever since people started researching this stuff, the message has been clear: diversity and happiness go together about as well as oil and water.

Diversity makes for populations – or workplaces – that are less settled and happy. They’re useful, productive populations, sure, but not as, you know, jolly. And that makes sense, right? It’s so comfy in your little bubble, where everyone looks like you and likes the same craft-beer and goes to the same music festivals every year. It removes the challenge from your relationships.

But hang on a minute. Is challenge bad? We need challenges to refine our ideas. It makes us better people. It improves our businesses and products (and ultimately, balance sheets). And, even though it might make us less comfortable, it actually makes our team relationships stronger.

When we think about diversity in the workplace, we need to think beyond just race, socioeconomic status or culture and also consider things like gender, worldview, and thinking styles.

I think we’ve all read enough articles and reports to say that diversity in the workplace is a really good thing – diverse boards oversee richer companies, and diverse teams are more innovative and better at problem solving. Chucking a creative thinker in the middle of a process-driven team (or vice versa) breaks open people’s horizons and opens up more possibilities. The results are nearly always more awesome than if you’d left those people to be comfortable and unchallenged in their bubble.

But the downside of that? Diversity is challenging.

That’s sort of the point really. Improving on ways of doing things, or challenging established ways of thinking means boundaries get pushed and hackles are raised. In the past it’s been a trade off – shake things up and get better output, but be prepared for the fall out of frayed tempers and simmering conflict. For companies who are also investing heavily in the wellbeing of their staff, that can be a really big call.

But, oh boy, have we got a revelation for you. A new study came out this month, and it blows the lid off things just a bit. Rather than simply comparing happiness levels in diverse groups with those in a comfy bubble, they added another metric: whether people chose the diversity or not.

The upshot (and we’re like, ‘duh, of course.’) is that if people choose to live in a diverse neighbourhood – if they move out of their bubble or proactively seek to make their bubble more welcoming to other kinds of people, they’re actually just as happy as those living in a same-same bubble.

So whether you’re talking about a neighbourhood or a workplace, it’s not really the diversity itself that makes people less happy – it’s the lack of control. It’s the feeling of being forced into something. And it means the difference between people developing empathy for each other and just putting up with things.

Say for example, you’re a middle-class family living in a quiet, city fringe suburb. You’ve been there 10 years, when a population shift means suddenly houses are being snapped up by professional hipsters. They play loud music in their cars, have people over at all times of the night and plant their berm out in corn. Eventually, the constant challenge to what you consider “the right way to do things” is going to have you throwing a full blown, three-year-old-style tantrum.

Diversity and happiness challenges make for tantrums

But if you and your family are the new ones to diverse and colourful neighbourhood, the exact same behaviour won’t bother you at all – it’s part of the charm of the place and probably part of why you moved there in the first place.

Give people more control over diversity, and happiness will follow. It’s that simple.

So what does that mean for business? It means you can have your diversity cake and eat it too. Hooray! All you have to do is bring your teams on the journey – involve them in the decision to bring in new kinds of people and ways of thinking. Practically that’s doing stuff like getting people onboard with diversity as a concept in the first place. Then allowing them to participate in decisions about what that diversity could (and should) look like.

Have conversations about the value in it – why should they welcome that challenge? Once you have people’s buy-in on the concept, get them talking about ‘gaps’ in their team – are they lacking in female or male team mates? Could they do with some people who bring a different ethnic, cultural or socioeconomic perspective, or from a different generation? Are they all zany extroverted creative types who’d benefit from a bit of hard-nose process thinking?

Have your teams create the brief for new members – and even better conduct peer interviews – and watch the (diversity and happiness) magic happen.

diversity and happiness managed right makes for more group hugs

When that analytical whipper-snapper starts calling your creative thinking Gen-Z’s on their inefficiencies, instead of crossed arms and muttering, they’ll instead feel just a bit satisfied in their own wise choice. When an outgoing, creative women blazes a trail through an introverted mostly-male team, instead of raising their hackles, they’ll think “Isn’t she perfect for this role? She’s just what we needed!”

Have some faith in your people. If they’re given the opportunity to understand how diversity is valuable, and they’re contributing to the building of that diverse team, they’re more likely to welcome the challenge. They’re happier and more inclusive, the new additions to the team are happier, productivity goes up and your wellness programme gets a real boost.

Everyone wins.

 

Weirdly’s diversity module gives you visibility over who you’re attracting and screening for (or against) in your application process. If you’re keen to improve your visibility and reporting in this area, choose a time to talk to one of our team.

Checking each other out 😉: How to integrate video into your recruitment process

It feels like people have been talking about video as “the next big thing” in recruitment for ages. Everyday there seems to be a new zoomy ad about how many hours of YouTube video we’re creating and video-based social media channels are being picked up by recruiters like, well, booze at a conference.

We’re all getting the message; Video is important. But it can be kind of hard to know exactly how (and where) to start. We’ve broken down some of the best ways we’ve seen video incorporated into a recruitment process in the past couple of years.

For the purposes of keeping to a word count, we’ve restricted these examples to “traditional video formats” – where you record a thing, put it on YouTube or Vimeo or your own site and share it with a group of people. We’ll do a follow-up post about new video formats (snapchat, periscope, VR) later on. 

Why is video so awesome?

In short, people are looking for more efficient ways to check each other out. You want to get a deeper understanding of your candidate, faster. And the people applying for your jobs want to understand what working for your company feels like before they invest too heavily in a long recruitment process.

Video is also awesome as a way to get more of your team involved. Videos can be shared and reviewed when everyone is available – that means you’re not herding cats, trying to get everyone into a room at once, or asking people to come in over and over to meet with different members of the team.

And it can be used as a way to get the hiring manager (and their people) excited and involved in finding this new teammate.

In short, ladies and gentlemen, video; If you’re not using it already, you should.

So how are the cool-kids doing it?

On-Demand Interviews: There are a couple of reasons this works well. The most obvious is your own time saving. Let’s face it, we’re never going to find more than 24hours in a day – no matter how hard we look. You’re busy and being able to cut down time-to-hire and pre-screening time using video interviews is a godsend. It’s also great for the wider recruiting team though – letting them get to know candidates better during the early screening stage. And if you’ve ever applied for a job yourself, you’ll remember how hard it is finding time to fit interviews into your day. Being able to just record your interview yourself in your own time is pretty rad.

Showing off your culture/employer brand: This is a way you can use video before you’ve even got a specific role you’re trying to fill. Deloitte did this most famously with their “Deloitte Film Festival” way back in 2008. Rather than the glossy, over-produced hype videos you often see from these big corporations, Deloitte asked employees to make videos showing people what it’s REALLY like to work for the brand.

More recently, our mates at Lever made a similar “get a real look inside our culture” style video by recording one second every day for a whole quarter. For a person considering a role in company, it’s an awesome way to get a glimpse of what life could look like if they join the team.

Introducing the role or campaign: This is a brilliant way to elaborate on (and bring some life to) that job description you just wrote for the listing on your careers page. This is a especially effective if your role is unusual, or if your company is just a really awesome place to work and you want people to get a sense of what makes this opportunity special.

Derek Handley’s “Shoulder Tap” campaign used video really effectively in this way. The role was unusual – people were going to be asked to not only determine their own remuneration package, but also help define their own job description – and Derek himself is a really inspiring character. Using a custom skin, we hosted a handful of videos (produced by the clever guys at Augusto) on a campaign landing page. Then, before candidates completed the Weirdly screening assessment, they watched a video from Derek, inviting them to come on a journey toward making the world a better place.

DEREK HANDLEY – ‘I’M HIRING’ from #theshouldertap on Vimeo.

Letting applicants shine: But what about the candidates, you ask? Video gives them an awesome opportunity to flip it around and show you what makes them tick. Alongside Derek’s The Shoulder Tap campaign, Fletcher Building has used video in exactly this way.

In Fletcher’s case, their top 50 graduate programme candidates created and uploaded a video answering the question. By doing this through Weirdly, videos sent in by candidates were automatically added to that person’s assessment response.

For Derek’s Shoulder Tap campaign, we asked the top 100 to send us videos with their solution to a major social issue they feel passionate about.

The results were, predictably, awesome.

Comfort Zone from #theshouldertap on Vimeo.

Our new video integration will make this all automatic. People apply for the role through a simple Weirdly screening quiz, on completion they’re automatically sent an email asking them to record a video and copy their link into a dedicated field. This video is then automatically added to that candidate’s assessment results – so you can see everything related to that person in one place.

If you reckon that’s pretty cool and want to try out our video integration in your own recruitment process, give us a yell here.

A truly great recruitment process should be efficient, and should also give candidates a feel for your culture and let them really showcase the things that could make them a rockstar in your team. Video is an awesome way to achieve all those objectives – like, if you were into killing birds, you’d be doing it with one stone.

If you’re keen to give Weirdly a go (with, or without our snazzy new video integration), jump in for a free trial here

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4 free online tools you haven’t thought of using for recruitment

Generally speaking, recruitment tech kind of sucks. With the notable exception of a few cool bits of kits out there, HRTech is often big, expensive and ugly to use. So it’s really exciting to come across tools you can use as part of your people-hiring, team building suite that are fun, simple and useful.

What’s even more exciting is when these tools aren’t specifically created for recruitment. You become one of the intrepid, creative types – finding clever ways to improve your process and wowing everyone with your thinking-outside-the-box skills.

So to help you out, we’ve collated our top-four list of clever tools you should be (but probably haven’t thought of) using in your hiring process. You’ll notice a common theme running through these tools; they’re all super easy to use, fast to set up and (mostly) free to start with:

 

1: AskNice.ly

Price: Free for base plan (50 surveys per month)

Time to set-up: 2minutes

 

Ask Nicely is the most beautiful, easiest-to-use example of a Net Promoter Score tool we’ve ever come across, and it can be really easy retro-fitted to work as a Candidate Promoter Score tool. Super simple to set-up, this is a great way to assess your candidate experience.

The survey consists of just two questions (in one email), and gives you insight into a) how much the candidate enjoyed the application process and feels positive about your employer brand, and b) what parts of the candidate experience they particularly liked or think you could improve. That data is like gold dust. And to top it off, the whole thing is beautiful to look at and people actually enjoy filling it out.

AskNicely candidate promoter score mockup

2. Buffer

Price: Free basic package

Time to set-up: 5mins (incl linking social accounts)

We all know about sourcing through social media channels. It’s a great way to reach an engaged community that are already (hopefully) engaged with your brand. Remembering to post job ads at peak times can be hard though. And if you’re recruiting globally for a role, waking up super early (or staying up super-late) to share jobs in different timezones is kind of a nightmare. Enter, Buffer. This is an awesome platform used by marketers all over the world to easily schedule social media posts with one click. Instead of clicking to share your jobs to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn immediately, you can select the green Buffer button and schedule the post for anytime in the future. You can even stack these up – pre-loading four or five (or ten or a hundred!) messages to go out over the course of your campaign and letting Buffer do the hard work for you.

Buffer twitter share button

 

3. Biteable

Price: Free for a basic, animated video (Choose from frame-templates, customise text, colours and soundtrack)

Time to set-up: 15-30mins depending on how decisive you can be!

Ever wanted to make one of those snazzy recruitment videos the flash companies use but don’t have the budget? Biteable makes it super, super easy to make something that looks polished and will help you stand out from the crowd. You can pick from a huge selection of templates – just like you do in a keynote or powerpoint theme – then customise with your own text, colours and soundtrack. The final video is emailed to your inbox and voilà! the Oscar goes to you.

Recruitment video example still frame

 

4. TapeACall

Price: $7.99 p/year

Time to set-up: 1min to download from the app store

Ever wanted to record your phone screening interviews? Audio files can be handy to attach to a candidate’s profile in your ATS (or in Weirdly) and the rest of the team can then listen in and add their feedback to yours. TapeACall is an iPhone/Android app that makes it super easy – no silly headsets, weird delays or complicated dialling-in numbers, and it doesn’t charge you by the minute. You click a button before you make your call, then afterwards you can download or email the recording as an mp4 audio file. Just make sure you tell the person on the other end of the line that you’re recording because, you know, the law says you have to.

TapeACall phone app

 

 

And of course, in a bonus dose of self-promotion, you should check out Weirdly. OK, it’s a slight cheat because it is a dedicated recruitment tool, but if you’re looking for a fun, easy and simple piece of tech to add to your hiring suite it doesn’t get much better. Designed to give candidates an awesome taste of your employer brand, while automatically generating you a faster, better quality shortlist. Weirdly only takes 30seconds to setup – you choose a handful of characteristics you’re looking for in your next team member, and we’ll generate a customised screening quiz for you on the spot.

If you’re keen to give Weirdly a look, jump in for a free trial now.

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When fitting in, means standing out: Why hiring for diversity AND culture fit makes the best startup teams

Driving to work this morning, the radio DJ (Yes. Sometimes I listen to the radio, like a grandma) was talking about David Bowie, and what he taught us about valuing people who are different.

It got me thinking about the inherent value in difference. Diversity of Thinking and Building the Perfect Team seem to be the hot topics of 2016 so far and (awesomely) lots of those conversations are revolving around the idea that difference is something we should be actively hunting.

Is that a weird thing for a culture fit tool to be excited about? We don’t think so, and here’s why:

Culture fit isn’t about sameness, it’s about finding the right recipe – the right mix of personalities, perspectives and ways of thinking – to make a team that fits together productively. We’ve talked about this before (here, here and here if you’re interested), and we’re seeing more people sharing this “same-same + different” message.

In a Forbes article published last year, Erika Anderson painted a brilliant picture of how hiring for culture fit can actually make room for more productive, valuable diversity. She asked us to imagine a CEO, building a business based on the core belief that delighting customers and keeping things simple and efficient is the best path to success.

Then she poses two scenarios. In one, the CEO hires a person who is super-smart, with exactly the right skill set, but who believes increasing profit is more important than customer service. In the other, the CEO hires someone who is also smart, but who shares the core values of the business – that delighting the customer and efficiency are the greatest things ever.

In both scenarios, there’s room for diversity hiring – you could apply all kinds of different genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, lifestyles or ways of thinking to those characters, but our CEO’s chances of success in scenario two are much higher.

Why? Well, if our awesome, extroverted, ex-circus performing, Fijian, lady software engineer joins a team full of people who all look and think and approach challenges differently, there’s bound to be the odd difference of opinion.

This kind of conflict can be great – it breeds creativity. Productive disagreement is how you challenge the status quo and find new, innovative ways to approach challenges.

The key is making sure the whole team trusts each other to be pulling toward the same goals, so you get the creative, “I’ve got a different idea that I think could work better” kind of conflict, not the “oh god this is so frustrating I can’t work with these people” kind.

 

So how should we define culture?

Culture is an organic structure. It’s the meeting point between your core brand values and mission, the combined force of individuals, your company policies.

Culture is team personality plus company policies plus core brand values and mission

Your culture is kind of an evolving, living thing – the whole being impacted as each element changes and grows. As you hire new people and add new personalities to the group dynamic, your culture will evolve. You may adjust your policies as you grow – changing remote or flexible work-week structures, or shifting the way you address performance reviews. You might even revise your mission and brand values as you and your consumer market grow.

All these little things affect each other, and, ultimately, help shape and evolve your culture.

 

How do you know if someone’s a good fit?

A montage of things that fit perfectly

When we talk about “fit” we mean:

– The new person shares a passion for your mission. They care so much about the impact your business is trying to make in the world that they’re excited to spend hours every day working toward it.

– They understand and are drawn to your brand – where you sit in your competitor market, what makes you different, and your core values. Some people are great at articulating this stuff, some not so much, and that’s cool. It’s more about getting a sense that they really get the brand and that they feel comfortable representing it in public.

– Your company policies work with the way they like to live. (eg. do your structures mean you need people to be sitting in your physical office between 8:30 and 6? That’s cool. Someone who’s looking for a more flexible, remote working environment might not be for you). This is a tricky one. We all want to set policies that are totally inclusive, but you also need to be realistic about what your business and current team can handle at the moment.

– They fit the skills gaps in your team that you need filled – whether those are hard or soft skills. This means they might throw a new perspective in with a team of people with awesome skills, but quite homogenous experience. Maybe you’ve got lots of process thinkers and you need someone a bit more conceptual and unstructured to shake things up and unleash your team’s creative potential.

 

The highest performing teams in the world find balance. That means when they’re building teams, they’re looking for the right kind of difference, alongside the right kind of alignment.

That’s the recipe we should be looking for when we’re building startup teams and creating diverse, creative, energetic companies.

If you want to start walking the culture fit talk, adding a Weirdly quiz to your hiring process is an awesome way to do it. 


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Always be recruiting. Even if you’re not hiring (guest post by Greg Savage)

This is a guest post by the awesome Greg Savage, originally written for his blog, “The Savage Truth“. Apart from having a killer name, this blog is a wealth of expert ideas and commentary on the recruitment industry as a whole.

 

If I had a dollar for every time a recruiting manager told me they cannot find high-quality consultants, I guess I would be a wealthy man.

Equally, when I talk to corporate hiring managers, they constantly bemoan the shortage of quality talent.

Yet, when I ask what they are doing about capturing the best staff to ensure competitive advantage, they often stare at me blankly, or mumble platitudes about job boards and posting ads on LinkedIn.

In the knowledge economy, and in an era of systemic skills shortages, reactive recruiting is not going to work.

Owners and managers of recruitment agencies need to build recruitment activities into their daily agenda, whether they are hiring right now or not. Indeed, anyone seeking to hire ‘hard to find’ skills, needs to get with the program.

If you only start your recruiting activities once a vacancy emerges, you will lose the talent battle. And doom your company to being a ‘B’ grade business, at best.

In 2001, I inherited a small unsuccessful operation in Singapore, as part of the Aquentbusiness when I became International CEO. The team comprised three or four modest consultants under the leadership of an inexperienced manager. I resolved to invest in that manager, but realised that a change might be required.

On that basis I began to speak to likely candidates in the market, very confidentially, even though I did not have a vacancy there and then. I made proactive calls, and I met a number of people, one in particular, let’s call him Kevin. And Kevin looked like an excellent fit.

But I was not ready to hire, and Kevin was not ready to move.

Thereafter began a prolonged two-way seduction. Every time I went to Singapore I met with Kevin and we talked about what the job could look like for him. What his responsibilities would be, and what the salary structure might comprise. It turn, I used those conversations, to track his performance, assess his management style, and got to know him as a person.

Kevin came to Sydney and we went for a few beers. We swapped e-mails. Over the course of 18 months I must have had more than 10 meetings or telephone conversations with him.

In the end my inexperienced Singapore manager couldn’t cope, and resigned. I phoned Kevin, and the deal was done in eight minutes. Literally. Everything had already been discussed. Trust and buy-in was secure on both sides. We had both done our due diligence and were champing at the bit.

Kevin indeed joined Aquent in 2002 and built Singapore office to 18 people and a pre-tax profit of US$1.5 million. When he inherited the business it was making a loss. He was with the company 7 years and subsequently took on a regional role, helping me open several other Asian offices.

One of my better hires.

Do you think my investment in a few coffees and the odd phone call paid off?

For both of us?

The point is this. If you are serious about getting the best talent, you need to work at it everyday. This means constantly interviewing. It means coffee and conversations with a wide range of potential employees. You will be honest and transparent at all times, of course. The message is, ‘We don’t have a vacancy now, but adding the best people to our business is our number one priority, so we would be honoured to chat with you’.

Set yourself a goal to have ‘100 cups of coffee’, with potential hires over the next 12 months.

That is 2 meetings a week. Sure it’s an investment. But think of the return!

All your staff must be given the same brief. The whole company should be constantly in recruitment mode for internal talent. If necessary, reward your team for finding good people who you subsequently hire.

Celebrate the efforts of those who attract talent your business. Build it into your cultural DNA.

Create a database of potential recruits and set notifications to make sure that you find a reason to keep in touch. Make those conversations frank, address issues that will either attract then to your business or knock them out as a potential employee.

Then, when the day comes that an ‘unexpected’ vacancy occurs, you will be ready, with four or five pre-qualified, pre-warmed, top performers, ready to engage.

The truth in recruitment is that the people with the best people always win in the end.

But it won’t happen by chance.

I don’t care if you are hiring now or anytime soon. You should still be recruiting.

Hard.

 

If you’re keen to adopt the “always be recruiting” mentality, embedding a standing “Work with us” Weirdly quiz on your website is a great place to start. It takes just 30secs to set up (even if you’re a totally techie noob) and it free to trial. What’s there to lose?

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Christmas recruiting tips: the pre-hiring, recruitment checklist

The year is winding down insanely fast – shops have all changed their soundtracks to the aural-assault that is Snoopy’s Christmas and the office dog is dressed like an Elf. If you’re anything like us though, your winding down is partnered with a healthy dose of prepping for the new year.

If you’re planning to hire in the first quarter of 2016, it’s worth running through a quick pre-hiring checklist while you’re still this side of Christmas, just to make sure you’ll be ready to dive straight in when you get back to the office come January. There’s nothing worse that getting stuck into hiring, just as the year is starting to ramp up and realising you don’t have your ducks in a row.

So we’ve thrown together a quick check list you can use to flag any things you might want to get sorted this year, so you can get down to the important business of lying on the beach (or snuggling up near the fire for our Northern Hemisphere pals) over the break. Have a read, jot some notes or print it out and stick it on your fridge if that helps. And I recommend giving this post a read – it’s about how to build a pool of talent now and halve your hiring time in the new year.

 

Questions to have answered BEFORE you think about hiring:

Who do you actually need? This should cover what exact skills they need (for the role and to complement your current team), who they’ll be working with, and who they’ll be reporting to.

What constitutes a good “culture fit” with your team or business?

Where will they sit and who will on-board them – it sounds simple, but you’d be surprised at how often these two important things get overlooked!

What kind of relationship do you want? Full-time? Part-time? Contact? Whether you need someone full or part-time or contract – plot out some scenarios. If you get a full timer, how will it work, what will it cost and what will you achieve? Now do this for part-time and contract scenarios.

Exactly what will this person be doing? Jot down a list of day-to-day tasks and projects they will be responsible for. This will help form the basis of your job description.

 

Checklist: Things to have prepped before recruiting

    Your team – Do they know you’re hiring? Do they know who and why? Get everyone excited about it and make sure they’ve got their eyes peeled for people in their own networks who might be a good fit.

    An email/message for your team to forward on to any friends that might fit – Now you’ve got them excited, make it really easy for them to share the word. And don’t forget to include a link to the job/quiz.

    The application process – Are you using a Weirdly quiz? You totally should. But either way, make sure you know how this process is going to run and you’ve scheduled key dates with your team.

    Job board ads – If you’re advertising on TradeMe, you can create and post ads directly from your Weirdly dashboard. For other job boards, it’s a good idea to pre-write these. Also, if you hate writing ads, don’t be a martyr. Ask around your team, there might be some creative whizz-kid who LOVES it and can take the job off your hands.

⊗    A job description – This is a pretty basic one but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this worked out in heaps of detail before they start looking for people.

    The remuneration package – Having a fairly clear idea of what you want to (and can!) offer before those conversations crop up is obviously a good idea. Sometimes this means having a couple of different structures up your sleeve so you can be flexible around the applicant’s ideal scenario.

    An employment agreement – This is the really important legal part of your hiring process so it’s a good idea to have it pretty much ready to go before you start. That way if there are little tweaks you need to make you won’t have a hold up at the lawyer’s office.

    Social media posts linking to the job/weirdly quiz – pre-writing these is a good idea. You can also load a number of posts (incl links) up onto a tool like Buffer and schedule them to post at strategic times over the course of a week or two.

    Interview process and questions – Who’s going to be involved in interviews from your end? What questions are you going to ask? This’ll help you prep your team for the process and may help with how you’re wording your ads.

 

If you’re looking to hire next year, consider building a talent pool with Weirdly – it takes 30secs to set up and you can start capturing people’s details straight away. Best of all, it’s totally free to trial!

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