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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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? Book a Weirdly demo and you’re halfway there.