BY JON-MARK SABEL
As companies explore new ways to tackle new HR issues such as improving Millennial engagement and negotiating the gig economy (and its effect on building teams), they’re also uncovering new solutions to the age old problem of finding new talent. In particular, some are taking a closer look at how candidates interact with companies and modifying their application and hiring processes in response to those preferences. As a result, these organizations are finding talent that may have been overlooked by more traditional outreach methods.
HIRING IN THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY
Molly Weaver, the talent acquisition director at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, decided to tackle the application process prevalent in the healthcare field. A traditional online application typically requires an applicant to create a personal profile before he or she can see relevant job openings, and the entire process can take over 30 minutes to complete.
Also, application forms usually aren’t mobile-optimized, even though around 40% of the hospital’s job seekers conducted their searches on mobile devices last year. Weaver found that, when faced with an application experience that wasn’t very applicant friendly, 30% of job seekers exited the application before finishing it. She wondered if the Children’s Mercy Hospital application process was so inconvenient and frustrating to applicants that it was causing the organization to miss out on the best caregivers for children who needed it most.
INTRODUCING “INTRODUCE YOURSELF”
First, Weaver examined the traditional hiring pipeline, which follows a predictable path: a candidate looks for job openings, fills out an application and submits it with his or her resume, attends two or more interviews, and (if all goes well) is finally offered the position weeks or months after the process started.
Then Weaver had a novel idea: what if the first and second steps of that process were flipped? Under her lead, Children’s Mercy Hospital implemented a new application procedure called “Introduce Yourself.” First, candidates introduce themselves to the organization via brief video introductions. Those who are deemed a good fit are then directed to the appropriate application. “Introduce Yourself ” solves two of the main problems endemic to the traditional job application process:
The hiring process becomes much more personal. The traditional job search leaves candidates feeling neglected: too often, submitted resumes seem to disappear into a virtual black hole, and candidates never hear from the organization again. Additionally, resumes can’t adequately express personality, worldview, specific experience, and other factors that are essential for fulfilling the requirements of a position.
Employers can match candidates to jobs (instead of the other way around). Most job postings are full of industry specific jargon, making them incredibly difficult for the average candidate to navigate. In their mission to acquire gainful employment, most candidates will apply to any position for which they are remotely qualified (even if they have to trawl through countless irrelevant job descriptions). The “Introduce Yourself ” program turns this process on its head by prompting candidates to reflect on their professional background and education. Recruiters can then use this information to match job hunters with the positions that seem the best fit for them.
So far this innovative hiring program has been a big success at Children’s Mercy Hospital. For example, one of the first people to submit an application through “Introduce Yourself ” had previously applied without success for more than fourteen other positions at the hospital. Because the traditional job listings were laced with jargon specific to the industry and to the organization, she had inadvertently applied for jobs for which she lacked the right qualifications. In her “Introduce Yourself ” video interview, the job hunter revealed her interest in being a point of contact for patients and their families. Consequently, the hospital’s HR department was able to match her to a position called “access representative” that she probably would not have found on her own.
Reflecting on her own success in hiring innovation at Children’s Mercy Hospital, Weaver identifies five steps that organizations can take to provide a better hiring experience for their applicants:
· Don’t wait to optimize the application and hiring process for mobile devices. The Pew Research Center reports that “28% of Americans have used a smartphone as part of a job search, and half of these ‘smartphone job seekers’ have used their smartphone to fill out a job application”—and those numbers are increasing each year.2
· Meet candidates where they are. Feed your social media machine: create content and publish material that engages potential new hires. Then communicate with candidates via their preferred medium, be it e-mail, text, or social media message.
· Pull back the curtain around recruiters. Because they may be required to deliver bad news, recruiters are often afraid to engage candidates on a personal level. Keeping candidates at arm’s length this way can decrease their engagement, though. So it is important to remove the curtain of anonymity surrounding the hiring process and give potential new hires insight into the lives of their employment liaisons.
· Experiment with social media. Use a variety of social media to engage with potential applicants. Don’t overlook smaller social media platforms that aren’t yet well known or financially successful—one of them could lead to a connection with the perfect hire.
· Celebrate success. Gala events aren’t necessary; even small celebrations can have a huge impact. (To celebrate the 100th hire through “Introduce Yourself,” Weaver bought ice cream for each employee who had come on board via the program.)
As Children’s Mercy Hospital’s “Introduce Yourself ” program demonstrates, digital interviewing has enormous potential for innovation in hiring. The traditional hiring pipeline is an arduous process for both applicants and talent acquisition specialists. Combining new technology with a little outside-thebox thinking and a reconsideration of the usual hiring process can help an organization find great talent that might have been overlooked by traditional methods.
This article was originally published by HireVue (www.hirevue.com).
1. Figures provided by Molly Weaver.
2. Aaron Smith. 2015. “Searching for Work in the Digital Era.” Pew Research
Trust website, November 19, www.pewinternet.org/2015/11/19/