Recruitment technology: Using clever, techy tricks and tools to streamline your hiring

You use technology to make things easier, right? Like, now you can watch tv on the bus and order pizza without ever talking to a human being. It’s pretty awesome. So why not apply that idea to hiring? Too many startups still see hiring as a waste of their precious time and energy – and that’s largely down to the way they manage it.

Using recruitment technology to smooth out the hiring process makes it easier for you, and hopefully less painful for your candidates too. In this market, where many companies – particularly startups and small businesses – struggle to find the right people, that’s crucial.

Here are a few basic, easy ways to create a more streamlined hiring and onboarding process.

Dog working from home

1: Finding the right people

Finding people can take forever. Technology can help of course. Job board and recruitment sites – like Seek and Trademe Jobs – are a good place to find people. Don’t ignore social recruiting through sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, or specialist platforms like StackOverflow (for developers) or Behance (for designers).

This is one of those times where technology is a double edged sword – it means you have access to thousands of people through the internet, but it also means you have to sift through those thousands to find the right ones for you. Thats where the next point comes into its own.

2: Screen and save

Screening candidates pre-interview saves you time – but only if your screening process is designed to find people with the skills and talents your startup needs. If you rely on looking through a pile of CVs, you’re could miss the perfect person.

Using a pre-screening survey – like Weirdly – cuts out the old school CV process altogether. With a Weirdly quiz, candidates answer some quick (but revealing) questions, tell you a bit about themselves, and get an idea of what your brand stands for at the same time.

3: Talking the talk

If you’ve screened candidates for cultural fit using a tool like Weirdly, interviews should be a chance for you and your candidate to get to know each other better, rather than a chance to grill them about their biggest weakness (it’s always perfectionism anyway).

Technology comes into play if you need to interview remotely, via Skype or conference call. You can also use a digital interview form (or just the notes function in Weirdly) to quickly record a candidates’ answers and your impressions, and share them with your wider team.

4: The best of the best

If you’re lucky, you’ll interview a bunch of people and find it hard to choose just one. This is when testing and assessment comes in. This used to be a slow, tedious process which required HR to pore over tests written on paper. Now, of course, the process can be quick and entirely paper-free. People can take personality, skill and even behavioural tests online or in your office. The software compiles results instantly, so you can see the stand out candidates at a glance. Tests4Geeks and Skillmeter are two options for testing technical or developer skills in your applicants.

5: Checking the details

Even if everything seems above board, it’s a good idea to do background and reference checks for your candidates. It’s a bit faster these days, with companies like Verify.co.nz offering online checking of criminal history, qualifications, Visa entitlements, and even credit history. They’ll even call references for you.

6: Welcome aboard

So you’ve found a candidate with the right cultural fit (and skill set). And they’ve decided to work for you. Hurrah! The next step is getting the paperwork sorted. Plenty of companies still use paper-heavy onboarding processes guaranteed to bore your shiny new hire to tears.

Putting it online doesn’t make the form filling more entertaining, necessarily, but it does make it faster. You can include a digital signature so everything is legal, and link to your intranet and any internal social networks, so they can start getting to know their colleagues.

7: Getting started

Finally, your newbie actually has to learn to do the job. Training videos can be unintentionally hilarious, but they’re not usually very useful.

Taking people through an induction online isn’t just easier – it’s more engaging. With a virtual training portal, people can work through videos or quizzes at their own speed. You can also track their work. This means you’ll be able to see when they complete each training module, rather than handing over a dusty folder and hoping they read at least some of it.

A really easy, free place to start with this is Trello. Setting up your induction steps as cards, new team members can systematically work through the things they need to get set up and learn the ropes.

 

Want to make your hiring process less painful for everyone involved? Weirdly is a good place to start. You get a free trial and it only takes 30 seconds to set up – how’s that for simple?

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#HRTF15 Day Two: The last day of the best HRTech festival we’ve seen for aaaages

With a slightly later start to day (maybe on account of the scorching 36+ degree heat!) the room was buzzing with HR professionals who’re keen to kick in to another day of information download.

Our eagerly anticipated first speaker of the day – Paul Block, Global HR Operations Manager, Twitter (USA) couldn’t make due to a back injury. But this just gave us all more time to network and spend some quality time checking out the Vendor/Partner halls.

There were over 20 vendors participating this year. The usual folk from various ATS platforms but also some cool new guys who we don’t often see around these HR parts. Fitbit and Obvious Choice were real standouts in this respect. There were discussions during the day around the role that HR plays in our people’s health and wellbeing as well as encouraging more collaboration around online self-learning so having these two cool tech companies represented made real sense.

The Broadbean and HROnboard team are always good value. With integrations being a key theme yesterday, it was awesome to find Vendors who’re keen to move in this direction.

Once the speakers got underway, everyone was ready and raring to go – prepped for the next wave of inspiration, challenge and interactivity for Day Two:

 

two guys eager and ready for an HRTech meeting

 

Tim Sackett (HRU Technical Resources): Tim hit the ground running with his claim that candidate experience is the biggest lie being sold today. As you can expect, that kicked off a lively debate in the room. Another interesting point Tim made was that candidates have such low expectations when it comes to recruitment that it’s easy for us to meet the benchmark. To us, that presents a really exciting opportunity for brands to stand out. If everyone’s content with hitting the benchmark, exceeding it becomes a really fun opportunity! What was great about Tim’s session was how interactive it was. We heard from some people in the audience that for their Graduate recruitment process they show the actual reality of the opportunity – warts and all. They WANT to provide every opportunity for candidates to withdraw or not even enter the process. As you can expect, we were “Bravo!”ing all over the show.

 

Andrew Culleton (Commonwealth Bank of Australia): I was gutted to miss Andrew’s apparently very excellent session, “A Journey to Value – Out of the Fog and into the Cloud”. It was running at the same time as Tim’s session (the one with all the debate, mentioned above), but all reports point to it being brilliant and insightful.

 

Bill Boorman (Founder of #Tru, Social Recruiting wizard): Gravity kept pulling me into Bill Boorman sessions at this conference – they’re just so full of great stories and funny analogies, I can’t seems to stay away! This time he was speaking on “Data for Good and Data for Evil and the Aggregation of Everything”. He reminded us that the way that our staff consume content has evolved a lot. He outlined which time of days that we consume the most content and drew a correlation to when we go to toilet at the office (and the architectural repercussions on office bathroom fit-outs). He spoke about the need for HR to stop using data to police behaviour and develop more understanding of the value and opportunity social-media active staff can present. He also talked about the need to consider how our people are making career decisions – from grads to current employees to alumni. People are having multiple careers and staying with a business forever is no longer appealing.

 

Matt Alder (Chief Strategist Metashift UK): Matt ran a session on Social Media and Employer Branding – Driving the Workplace of the Future. I love a good interactive session and this one didn’t disappoint. As we all shared and discussed our own stories, the overarching message was that as HR professionals we still need to embrace Social Media even more. Consider making social media a part of everyone’s every job. Got some nervous adopters in your team? Provide training. Matt talked about a Coffee chain that takes a photo of each staff member who receives a promotion, holding a one-word sign sharing how they feel. This photo is shared on the internal Facebook page so staff from other stores can engage and say congrats. Nice and simple and helps with employer brand. He urged us to not over think it, but to make sure we create a simple strategy and stick to quality content over quantity every time.

 

So, Weirdly’s 3 key outtakes from HRTech Fest 2015:

 

  1. There will not be a Lord of the Rings style “one system to rule them all”. It’s no longer possible for one system to deliver all requirements for HR. Instead we need to be looking at an opensource API model. Ease of integration with all products is essential for any tech out there. Vendors will not longer be able to have long legacy contracts. Businesses need to be able to be more agile.

 

  1. HR teams are still sitting a bit in the dark ages. We need to be looking for more state of the art technology to keep ahead of the game. Not just waiting for it to come to us, and land in our laps. Get out there more and find out what’s going on.

 

  1. We need to experiment more. Don’t wait to see what others are doing. You don’t have time. We need to act faster otherwise we will just be left behind.

 

This was definitely one of the best HR conferences I’ve attended in recent years (awesome work to the crew at The Eventful Group). It was, obviously, exciting to hear that NZ is regarded as one of the most innovative countries of the world in the adoption and creation of clever HRTech (thanks Bill). Overall, it seems we’re all moving with the times a lot faster and enthusiastically than we were 12 months ago. Our questions have moved on from Why to How can we change, and that’s really encouraging for a little HRTech startup here in NZ.

#HRTF15 Day One: Summary of the best HR Tech festival ever (that we’ve been to this year)

This is my first time attending HR Tech Fest in Sydney and if Day One’s anything to go by, it’s shaping up to be one of the best HR conferences I’ve attended in a looong time.

Exploring the changing role of HR as Digital disruption continues to impact and drive business. We’re being challenged to shift the way we operate and communicate or we risk meeting the same fate as the dinosaurs.

The calibre of the speakers has been really high. Like, genuinely inspiring and insightful. It’s awesome (and refreshing) so hear so much variation in the themes covered from a really excitingly diverse range of speakers. And heaps of breakout time for networking – starting the night before the actual conference kicks off!

The Eventful Group have put together a very slick and interactive event that sticks to the timetable. Important when there’s so much to cover and so many great speakers to hear from. But for those who couldn’t make it this year, here’s a bit of a summary from day one:

 

Anchorman delivers the news

 

Anders Sorman-Nilsson (Futurist and Innovation Strategist): Andres took us on a journey through time using the heart warming story of his mothers traditional clothing business. Her business is approaching the 100 year old mark and the past 10 years have been challenging as she has faced the transition of face to face retail to online. He drew the typical comparisons between traditional businesses like Mariott Hotels and AirBnB, but with particular attention to the speed at which their billion dollar valuations happened. The rate at which companies are growing exponentially is radically different than before the Digital age. The impact for HR is that the way we engage with everyone has had to change too. We need to be using social communities, and be open to collaboration.

 

Michael Molinaro (Barclays Bank, UK): A specialist in big data and analytics, Michael’s biggest piece of advice for HR was to start using the data we capture or can access – it’s rich and valuable and should earn HR a place at the table. He encouraged us to start small and use it wisely. Examples included tracking workforce productivity, engagement against turnover, attrition and recruitment. He had a cool idea around releasing a “metric of the month” that was relevant to a business outcome being delivered. Another interesting thought-bomb he dropped was the idea of rewarding staff differently depending on their engagement levels. Love a bit of controversial challenge this early in the morning!

 

Brian Sommer (Vital Analysis, USA): This guy turned the Modernisation of HR into the funniest, most engaging talk of the day. Do you have a Digital CEO? Brian says watch out. It will be like going from one mile per hour to warp speed for your business processes (and then your performance). He told a great story about about the changes that happened with Graduate recruitment on a university campus. Gone are the days of putting up fliers. Now all students can be sent messaging via SMS or emails at the same time. And you would imagine that they’d respond pretty rapidly but this wasn’t the case. Instead they asked all their friends what they think on social, they looked up the company on Glassdoor. Their behaviours have changed – they’re investigating the companies more thoroughly before they choose to engage. He highlighted that we shouldn’t be thinking that technology is starting to change HR processes. It’s already happened and you need to be playing offense now, not defence. He also challenged the employer brand process by asking us to apply as a candidate through our own process and then do the same with our competitors. And oldie but still a goodie to test our candidate experience.

 

Bill Boorman (Founder of #Tru and Social Recruiting Expert): Bill is always awesome and yesterday was no exception. He gave us an overview of his “slight” paper (see what he did there?) after interviewing 99 each of hiring managers, recruiters and candidates. Some very interesting insights:

  • Feedback from the right people (hiring managers to recruiters to candidates) at the right time is pretty much non-existent.
  • The average ATS has an 47% abandonment rate on the first page with a two minutes of a candidate landing there.
  • We should be looking to Facebook style feedback options from candidates as they go through our processes. Just a like, dislike or a few comments. Usually we get feedback from lovers and haters but not those in the middle of the road. And that is actually who we need to hear from.
  • Another interesting tidbit was his thoughts on EVP vs IVP (Individual Value Proposition). When a person understands their IVP as it applies to their job with an organisation then you’re on to a winner.

 

Silvia Damiano (CEO of About My Brain Institute): I was stoked to catch Silvia twice on day one. Taking brain science and making it immediately relevant to us HR/Recruitment types is an awesome super-power. Her closing keynote on creating a culture that is good for our brains was obviously right up our ally. She broke down why we perform better and are better leaders when our brains are healthy. It can start with small things like eating your lunch away from your desk. Or making time for imagination. She showed images of brain activity when someone was using their imagination vs when they were not. Fascinating stuff. A particularly useful slide was one that show behaviours we demonstrate when our brains are healthy vs not. One side is very positive, one not so much. She said that anger and grumpiness can just be a glitch in the brain. We need to look after ourselves so that we can be the leaders we were meant to be.

 

Weirdly was lucky enough to be part of the Startup Showcase: Featuring…drumroll please…us! We were really chuffed to be invited to present alongside other clever HRTech startups like Workometry.com and ShieldGEO.com. It was a rad opportunity to be up on stage in front of an attentive crowd whose minds were already hungry for innovation. Our favourite kind of crowd.

So there you have it. Day One highlights. Check in tomorrow when we breakdown Day Two for all you guys playing from home.

If you’re keen to have a play with the clever tool we featured at Startup Showcase – click below and jump in for a free, no strings attached trial.

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What makes an awesome startup employee? The 8 attributes you need to work in a startup

You hear people talking about what makes a great startup founder all the time: A great sense of vision, clarity of purpose, relentless drive, a strange balance of over-confidence and insecurity.

There are whole books written about it.

But what makes a great startup team-member? The people who join and thrive in early start startup teams are an equally special breed. In fact, the best startup employees aren’t necessarily the best fit for working in more established businesses – some of the most brilliant startup people I’ve worked with find the traditional business work impossibly frustrating.

“It’s so SLOOOW!”

“I’m just doing the same thing every day – I want to be more in touch with the other stuff going on in the business!”

There are a whole range of attributes that are uniquely suited to these small, high-growth, high pressure companies, but it can be hard for founders who are hiring teams (and people hunting for jobs) to know what those are. So we’ve smooshed together our recruiting AND startup running experience and made a list of the top 8 attributes we’ve found to be the most valuable:

 

Passion, enthusiasm, motivation for what you’re doing – Must buy into your vision and your big “Why” – what it is you’re trying to do or create in the world. They’ve gotta care about the problem you’re trying to solve, otherwise it’ll be hard to stay motivated.

 Curiosity – They’ve got to love the process of finding better ways to do things – especially when it comes to challenging assumptions about the only way to build products. Being curious about why you’re doing this, who it’s for and how they’re going to use it is vital across all roles in a startup too.

 Pace – They’ve got to be great at making decisions and acting on them quickly. The old adage of succeed quickly or fail fast is the day to day life of a start up. You need people who thrive and are excited by this.

 Fearless/Audacity – try the impossible, challenge more than just the status quo, be prepared to push the boundaries, limits of what we believe

 Grit – /resilience – your resilience will be consistently tested and challenged in a startup. That thing you just spent a month working on? It’s not working, we need to abandon it and try something else. The reality is that it will not be a smooth ride. People who have made it through a few tough life experiences, who have demonstrated Grit, are more likely to survive.

 Hunger and willingness to sacrifice – Founding a startup requires sacrifice. So does working in one. You’re going to get chucked in the deep end often. You’re going to be asked to work longer hours, more often. It’s a high pressure job so you’ve got to be hungry and prepared to make sacrifices.

 Sense Of Humour – You’ve got to be able to laugh and realise that tomorrow is another day. The sun will set, the sun will rise. Late nights, too much pizza and endless bug squashing is only bearable if it’s also fun. You want to be able to laugh with the people you sit next to.

Flexibility – The only constant is change. Get ready to develop skills you don’t have. Although you may be employed for a specific role, the nature of start up means that everyone leans in the direction that the business needs to be focused on at that time. If its sales this month – then get ready to help out in that area. Anyone who defaults to “that’s not in my job description” isn’t suited to a startup life.

We reckon filtering for these attributes right at the beginning of your hiring process is smart. If you agree and want to give it a go yourself, try Weirdly. It’s free and only takes 30secs to set up. 

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Talent Pooling before Christmas: Build a database now, and hit the ground running in the new year

Greg Savage spoke at very official, businessey event yesterday. He turned a room of pinstripe suits and pale blue ties into revolutionaries. They were left buzzing about radical shifts in the way we think about bringing people into our businesses and teams.

Rather than hunting down candidates with skills to perform a specific role, we should be attracting people who share your mission. There are two key points we took away from his session:

  1. Most awesome people aren’t looking for jobs all the time. That means you need to be focussed on building relationships with passive candidates – building communities of great people who one day might become your team members.
  2. Those communities should be filled with people who align with your culture and mission, not those with the skills your organisation needs.

Greg talked about it as shift in focus. We should stop fighting for candidate attention and start seeking to understand their intention.

It’s an interesting twist and totally in line with how we’re seeing the people-market move.

The future is going to be about candidates choosing which businesses they want to work for, not the other way around. And we’re not talking about a future far away: this is happening right now. People are demanding a different relationship with companies and that means we need to look at a different way of attracting and engaging our potential workforce.

 

Talent pooling: collecting people who share your vision and mission?

Talent pooling isn’t new, or particularly revolutionary, but it’s a really brilliant way to create a database of people who are the right fit.

Start by creating an easy way for people to tell you they’re interested in working with you. This could be a Facebook page, but there are other, more sophisticated ways too (if we do say so ourselves). Build a talent pool with a Weirdly quiz, and your database of awesome candidates will also be automatically filtered by how aligned they are with your big mission. They’ll be ranked by how well they share and reflect your company culture.

This is especially smart to do at this time of year. It means that when the new year rolls around, you’ve got a database of brilliant candidates all ready to go.

This is the first step to building a talent community. Not all of those people will be looking for jobs now. Not all of them will be people you have roles for now. But now you know there’s a bunch of people who love what you’re doing, who fit your company culture, will help push you toward your mission and are dead-keen to jump on board when you ARE ready to hire.

Even better, they know you’re a company who cares about things like culture fit, and pulling people together to work toward a common goal.

 

What questions should you ask when building a talent pool?

Other than questions designed to uncover a culture fit and shared values, you need to get a gauge of how keen and available these people are.

These don’t have to be complicated. Better to play it simple with questions like:

Are you interested in being in our talent pool? – make sure you explain what this means (eg. we’ll contact you regularly to update you on jobs)

What type of role are you interested in?

What salary are you looking for?

What is it about our company that interests you?

What is your notice period?

What is the most unique thing we should know about you?

 

It’s a more enjoyable, streamlined process for you AND the people you want to hire.

When you have a talent pool, you’ll be starting the year with some warm leads for new candidates. You know some vital information about them – what kinds of role people are looking for, what their notice period is, why they’re a good fit with you AND they are happy for you to contact them.

The candidate will already feel engaged with you and your brand, so will feel great about hearing from you. Isn’t that much better than a cold-call from a headhunter? The future of employment sure thinks so.

 

If you want to give talent pooling a go and give yourself a headstart in the new year, sign up for a free Weirdly account today.

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How to improve retention: Keeping employees around for the long haul isn’t (always) about cake.

You spend a lot of time finding, interviewing, and training your employees. So it’s not ideal if they up and leave 6 months after starting the job. You have to go through the whole tedious process again from the beginning, and there’s no guarantee you’ll find someone as good. For a tech startup, that can be the death-keel. We’re all growing too fast with targets that are too high-pressure as it is, without losing precious months to finding and re-training newbies on our systems every five minutes.

So it makes sense to put a bit of effort in to keeping your team-members happy and engaged, so they stay around. If people feel that the company cares about them, they’re more likely to care in return.

With that in mind, here are our tips for improving retention. Or more accurately, looking after your people (so they look after you):

 

Get the right person in the first place

OK, so this is about hiring rather than retention – but it’s one of the most important things you can do to keep people happy. If you hire based on cultural fit, new employees are more likely to slot into your company culture without an awkward transition. They’re also more likely to feel comfortable and happy in their jobs (and therefore less likely to look for opportunities to leave).

Don’t push too hard

Of course you want your employees to work hard, but having unrealistic expectations about hours and deadlines can be disastrous. People are generally happy to work hard and even put in extra time when there’s a big project on, but the fact is, it’s unsustainable to expect people to put in long hours every single day. Also, being selective about who you push and who you care about doesn’t work here. If your engineers see you employing a “burn and replace” attitude to your sales people, while treating your product team like golden gods, it’s not going to win you loyalty. Eventually they’ll realise this is the 4th “Gary from sales” they’ve met this quarter, decide you’re being a bit of a dick and start responding to those recruiters who are always hanging around the git hub forums.

Be generous with high fives and rewards

When you do expect people to stay late or work through the weekend, a little recognition goes a long way. Even something as small as a positive comment or pat on the back can make people feel appreciated – rather than hard done by. Find ways to reward employee contributions – awards and bonuses are the obvious ones, but smaller things like vouchers or celebratory cakes are good too. And remember, if your team’s just pulled an all-weekender getting a new feature shipped and you start getting awesome customer feedback rolling in, share it with everyone.

Show you care (but actually)

You don’t have to hug everyone or bake personalised birthday cakes. You just need to truly care about your employees. Show this by being a bit flexible and sympathetic if they have a personal crisis, giving them the odd perk just because, and listening to and then helping them achieve their goals at work. And actually, birthday cakes do help.

Don’t be afraid to challenge 

Being happy at work doesn’t necessarily mean being comfortable all the time. People want to improve themselves, so push them to work on challenging projects, encourage and reward professional development and training, and help them set ambitious professional goals.

Help them with the boring stuff

Everyone has parts of the job they hate. Boring, repetitive admin tasks tend to be top of the list, along with the usefully vague “things I have to do heaps but are always hard and confusing” (read: bug fixes). Automating as many of these tasks as possible helps people enjoy the job more – and cuts out a lot of human error. Depending on your business, a CRM platform could be a good way to eliminate some of these tasks and improve your employee engagement stats. Having a policy of flagging challenges early and an openness to asking for help (in every level or department) embedded in your culture is useful here. Just knowing that your boss is totally open to pulling in someone on a short-term basis to help puzzle out an impossible challenge is often enough to give you the confidence to work it out yourself.

Do social media:workplace edition

An online platform can also be an easy way for employees to engage with each other, bond the team together and encourage collaboration. Slack is obviously good for this, but if you’re prepared to commit startup treason you could use one of the hundred other options. Whatever you do, choosing something your teams actually find useful is key. A tool that helps streamline processes, share important data (eg. sales), and provides a bit of social stuff can make a huge difference to people’s sense of investment in the company and each other. It’s also good for in-jokes.

 

In the end, it comes back to caring – and showing it. If you don’t give a toss about your employees, it shows, and people won’t wait around til you do. Investing time and money in your employees’ happiness is the right thing to do – and the best part is, you’ll improve retention with loyal employees who feel so invested in your business they’re impossible to poach.

Want to find people who fit your business? Generate a free Weirdly quiz in just 30 seconds, and you’re halfway there.

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Seven questions to ask in an interview (so you’ll get the job you actually want)

You know the word ‘interview’? It originally meant “to see each other”.

These days it’s become a bit more one-sided than that. Instead of that equal idea of two people seeing each other – checking each other out to work out if there’s a good fit – we’ve let the interview morph into a situation where one side has all the power, and the other is left sort of hopping from foot to foot nervously.

Interviews suck

Nowadays it’s more about candidates putting on a snappy suit and trying to convince the hiring manager that they’re right for the job. But really, you’re there to interview them, as much as they’re there to interview you. You don’t just want any job: you want a job that you’re going to happily excel in.

That means you should be walking into interviews armed with questions for your interviewer. Things that’ll help you understand who they are, what the company is about and whether you actually want to work there.

It also doesn’t hurt that asking interested, interesting questions will give you the edge – you’ll stand out as someone who cares about doing a good job, and that you’ve homework.

So, when at the end of the meeting, they ask “do you have any questions?” that’s your chance to find out whether you even want this job or not. We’ve jotted down a list of the top questions we love seeing candidates ask in interviews. You don’t have to ask all of these, or even any of them – you might have dreamed up something else you really care about and want to know. But use these as a starting point. Have a think about which ones feel the most important to you and make sure you go in armed with those.

 

  1. How would you describe this company’s culture?

Make sure you prep some follow up questions for this one. Many people won’t know how to explain things off the top of their head. They’ll say vague things like “friendly”. Ask questions about how long people stay at the company, how long people genereally spend at the office and much time people tend to spend hanging out together outside of work.

  1. What do you like about working here?

Hopefully you’ll get answers about the interesting work or shared values. Other answers – or lack of answers – will be telling too.

  1. What things does this company do to encourage learning or development?

This is a biggy – not just because training is such an important part of growing in your career, but because it shows how much the company is willing to invest in their people.

  1. What do most people here do on their lunch breaks?

This gives you clues about the social life in the office. Also, if they look at your blankly and say something like “lunchbreak? watchu talkin’ ’bout willis?!”, that’s a warning bell of both a really intense working culture and terrible taste in pop-culture references.

  1. What are some of the biggest challenges facing the team at the moment?

This gives the hiring manager a chance to be a bit more honest with you than a job ad. Listen for the way they attribute any challenges – if there’s a whiff that the manager blames his or her staff, that’s a massive red flag.

  1. What was the biggest thing the team achieved last year? Any awards or big projects they’re proud of?

This is a great follow up question to the one above. It gives you a good insight into how the company recognizes and celebrates wins.

  1. How do you evaluate employee performance? How do you decide if I’m winning or not?

Performance evaluations are actually a positive thing for the employee – if you’re killing it, it gives you the chance to start conversations about pay-rises and more opportunities. If you’re having a hard time of it, it allows you and your manager to take an objective view of the situation, so you can find solutions together. Having a process in place shows that the company recognises their role in helping their people excel.

 

If you’re interested in candidates getting a better idea of your culture before the interview even starts, give Weirdly a go. A free trial takes just 30secs to set up.

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Building high performing teams: Things we can learn from the All Blacks

Business and sports teams aren’t all that different really – people coming together to achieve great things. So it makes sense to look to the world’s best sports teams when building high performing teams in our own workplaces.

I admit it. I’m what you’d describe as a “sporadic rugby fan”. And by sporadic I mean, every four years for the final two games of the World Cup.

But at 5am on the morning of the Rugby World Cup final I was sitting in the dark, dressed in black, glued to my tv along with the rest of New Zealand. And what we got was the perfect example of a high performing team in action.

The seamless way they worked together made the game look almost choreographed.

Nehe was right where Richie needed him to make that first try – like magic. And how was Dan getting that drop goal away while being charged down by the Aussie front line. Insane.

Individually, they’re all incredible athletes, there’s no denying it. But that’s not what won them the cup. What they displayed was teamwork in its truest sense. It’s what wins World Cup finals – and what business people everywhere are breaking their backs trying to replicate.

Because, let’s face it, if our teams operated with that kind of seamless singularity, we’d all be driving heaps fancier cars.

 

Nice black uniforms and a shared mental model

It’s not a coincidence that sports metaphors feature so heavily in business-talk; things are par for the course, we don’t drop the ball, we make a game plan, we touch base… Businesses know they’d like to be more like winning sports teams.

So what is it that the All Blacks have that most businesses don’t? Well, other than nice black uniforms and motivational messages written on their wrists, the All Blacks have only one goal. They need to “stop the other team from scoring points, while we ourselves score many points”.

 

How to sports with or without high performing teams

 

 

That clarity and simplicity of ambition means they’ve developed what scientists call a Shared Mental Model. This gives team members a clear understanding of the task, what part they need to play and what everyone else will be doing. That’s where they get that choreographed feel. It also gives them instinctive flexibility – when Ben Smith was sin binned, the AB’s shifted immediately to their one-man-down plan.

 

Winning with high performing teams (in your own business)

Like a sports game, your business needs a bunch of people who aren’t just skilled, but who also want to play your way.

They agree on your definition of “winning” and are emotionally invested in pushing towards it. And, to be honest, that’s the trickiest part. What if a few of the All Blacks viewed success as “trying our best”, “giving the fans a good show” or “being spotted by managers of other, richer teams”. These are all valid ideas of “winning” but would mean the individual All Blacks would be playing quite different games of rugby.

That’s what happens a lot in organisations. You might think winning is turning a profit while also protecting the environment. Meanwhile your sales team are off trying to rake in the conversions at any cost. Maybe winning to you means being number one in sales – but the marketing team are focussed on producing ads that make consumers love your brand (but don’t necessarily push them to buy). Again, all valid ideas of winning that would see your company pulled in opposite directions.

Building high performing teams with a shared mental model is hard, but not impossible.

The key is to consider a candidate’s personal values, goals and personality as carefully as you do their skill set. Think of questions that will give you a clue to what they really care about, what motivates them and how likely they are to get onboard with your company’s game plan. Because in the business world, you need people who aren’t just wearing your colours, but are actually on your team.

Want to recruit some All Blacks? Or at least, some awesome people who’ll help your team win their own World Cup? Use Weirdly to start building your own high performing teams with a shared mental model.

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Quirky questions: They’re not just a recruitment gimmick

You are Hercules. Zeus has asked you to move 300 boulders from the Pantheon to Mount Olympus, do you:

a) Enlist a team of your jacked friends to help you transport all the boulders.

b) Devise a system to float the boulders through the aquifers.

 

Sound like an odd question to be asked during a recruitment process? Good.

It’s one of the brilliant Weirdly quiz questions created and used by our mates at Paysavvy. Designed to jolt you out of the same-old/same-old job application mindset and get you answering honestly, this style of non-traditional questioning is being used by the most innovative companies in the world.

Not just a gimmick, these quirky questions do actually have a useful purpose. As well as helping candidates break out of that “how can I make myself look better” mindset, it can demonstrate their ability to think on their feet. Showing you how they go about logically coming to an answer to an unexpected question is great and, especially in an interview, demonstrating a willingness to attempt an answer is actually often more important than the answer itself.

But we reckon this is something that ALL businesses can embrace – not just the usual creative or techy-types.

It’s stuff like this that helps your recruitment process stand out; It can give less well-known brand a bit of pizazz or snazz or jazz.

Here are a few fun questions that might whacky up your own recruitment process a little, as well and helping you get to know the real person behind that CV:

 

Weirdly Revealing insightful questions

 

1.What do you want to be when you grow up? This question always disarms the applicant a bit. Talking about aspirations this way frees us (and them) up to consider bigger possibilities, . You will nearly always get a smile, so it’s also helpful if the interviewee is having difficultly warming up.

 

2.What would you do if you had $100,000 and 1 hour to spend it? This question can uncover charitable tendencies, or someone who has financial goals. There’s quite a bit of pressure with this question as it has constraints from the get-go so seeing how someone reacts to that can be really useful.

 

3.What is your favourite saying? Or What saying do you live by? This can be tricky because not everyone has one of these. If they don’t respond quickly you could flip it to something slightly more universal (like question 4).

 

4.What is the best lesson your mum or dad ever taught you? This gives you some insight into one (or more) of their base personal values. It’s a super useful question for trying to align them with the culture of your business and hints at the qualities and attributes they value in friends or workmates.

 

5.What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Or What is one crazy thing that you want to do before you die? Everyone has a different shaped comfort zone so “stepping outside of it” isn’t the same for all of us. This question isn’t really designed to find out the candidate’s level of crazy but more that they are prepared to get outside of their own comfort zone at some point. Finding out how they feel about that crazy thing can be very interesting. Are they nervous? excited? reluctant? What’s holding them back? It’s especially important to find out when they are considering a job in a new place, with new people and in a role that might require some personal stretch.

 

These aren’t as kooky as your typical “you’re a tiny guy in a giant blender” question, but they’re a big break away from the standard behavioural ones we’re all used to.

The key thing to remember is that there aren’t any right or wrong answers to these questions. It’s about trying to gain a bit more insight into who these people really are. And, lets face it, it’s about making the interview (or your Weirdly quiz) a bit more fun and interesting for both parties.

 

If you’re keen to inject a bit more life into your recruitment by asking interesting, insight-producing questions like this, give Weirdly a go. 

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Just add jazz-hands: 5 ways to improve your candidate experience

For all this chatter about clever graduate campaigns and feel good stories of people finding work holding cardboard signs, this is anything but an easy job market for employers.

When you need skilled people, you have to fight for them. Many of the best people aren’t even looking for work. To get them on board – and keep them – money isn’t enough. These candidates will get paid well where ever they go. So, the trick is to make sure they love you, they really love you.

Everyone loves Weirdly

It used to be job seekers who had to dust off their best outfits, and practice their firm, but friendly handshake. Now it’s your turn.

If you’re a recruiter or hiring manager, you need to start that relationship off with a bang.

Think about it. What’s it like to apply for a job with you?

If you’re making people deal with confusing long-winded processes, stale form letters, or even worse – getting no reply at all – then you’re losing your chance to choose from the best talent. Asking them to trudge though a dry, traditional process is like saying, “Welcome to Office Space. You will wither and die here”.

Weirdly means no more unhappy candidates

The good ones are clever. They know what they’re worth and they know they can pick and choose. So if your candidate experience is lacking, maybe because of vague job descriptions or information that’s too hard to find, they won’t even bother. And on top of that, these people are also more likely to share their experiences on social media, or over a glass of wine with friends (who you probably also want to hire sometime).

So even if you have a million billion dollars and heaps of perks to lure people to your business, the candidate experience is still super important – and often overlooked. So that’s awesome news for those of us who don’t have big budgets and a ping-pong table in every corner. If everyone else is offering a really meh candidate experience, it’ll only take a teeny bit of effort to impress those impressive applicants.

 

So, are you jazzed up about making your candidate experience more jazzy? Here are five ways to do it:

 

Make sure people can find your job ads. 

This is in the derp-you-don’t-say basket, but it’s one that heaps of people fail at. So, put the link where people can find it – social media channels are great for this. Your own website is good too – although make sure it’s on a page that’s easy to find from your home page. When you’re posting it on job boards, use clear descriptive headlines and try to make these things your ideal targets are actual searching for, otherwise people will scroll merrily on past.

 

Kill the forms  

Maybe there’s someone out there who loves filling out forms, but I’ve never met them.

So, forms are the enemy. Kill them.

You need to gather info, sure, but either make that process super fun, or think carefully about what you really need to know. We’ve had people get in touch with us because they’ve had such an amazing time doing a Weirdly quiz, they want to know who else is hiring using Weirdly so they can apply for those jobs as well. Yay for us, but also, more importantly, awesome for our clients – when candidates start seeking you out because of your recruitment process, that’s a proper win.

 

Test for culture-fit

How well a person fits with your team and your vision is often the difference between a good hire and one that doesn’t work out so well. So, think about ways you can prescreen people. This won’t just cut down on the time you spend sifting through CVs – it’ll also attract people who care about a company’s culture and vision. And guess what? Those are the people you want to hire – the ones who could get a job anywhere, but are looking for a role they can feel passonate about. You can use Weirdly to help you do that, but making sure your job ad reflects your culture (rather than standard recruitment or HR speak) is also important.

 

Make it mobile.

70% of people are looking for jobs on a mobile and almost half of people won’t bother with application process they can’t access through a mobile. Add those numbers together and you’ve got an answer: make sure you’re mobile.

 

Reply. Nicely.

Don’t be the black hole of recruitment. It costs exactly zero dollars to write a friendly “thanks for your application” autoresponder. That way applicants feel acknowledged- and reassured that they did everything right. Be friendly, be brief and tell people about the next steps.

Then, if they’re unsuccsessful, don’t leave them hanging. This is another chance for you to leave an awesome impression of the company.

And that’s what this is all about really. Hiring the right person right now is important, sure, but building and keeping a reputation as a great place to work is going to make your job way easier in the long run. So when those hot-shot employees are sitting around over that wine talking about where they’d love to work, yours is a name that comes up.

Want to jazzy up your own candidate experience? Give Weirdly a go today – it takes just 30secs to get started

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