Hess Associates

View from the Recruiting Front

The three most disturbing aspects of the employment situation from a recruiting point of view over this last year have been (1) Turnaround Time – not just the time it takes a client to start the interview cycle, but the amount it takes for the company to place the assignment to the time it finally decides to make an offer. (2) Candidate Attrition during this cycle, and (3) re- interviewing candidates again – see below.

A specific client started the interview cycle last January and by March knew exactly whom they wanted to hire. Fortunately the candidate was working because they finally made them the offer in June which was accepted. But it took over a month to get the interview process rolling and then through a change in the organization reporting structure, all of the candidates, or at least those that who not found other positions if they weren’t working, were re-interviewed. From a recruiter’s point of view, this triples the amount of time spent on the assignment as all parties need to be kept interested in proceeding further and also finding replacement candidates for those that drop out of the process.
Another client kept changing HR contacts and so the process kept on being repeated again and again as the new person was brought up to speed. As similar situations kept occurring I thought it might be a good idea to check with other recruiters to find out if they were having similar experiences. So I called half a dozen long term recruiters and found out that this does not seem to be the exception, as they are encountering very similar types of delays with a subsequent loss of productivity.

Many of the companies we deal with have a cost per hire metric that they use to determine the frontload and backload costs:
(1) Upfront – I have been told that the upfront costs of hiring such as sourcing and hiring (even using recruiting services) are the least expensive,
(2) Hidden Upfront Costs – the cost to the company of not having that needed employee.
(3) Onboarding – the built in costs (post hiring) such as creating the new employee processing records (administrative), the company orientation procedures, on the job training, and eventual productivity increase, are more expensive than the upfront costs. (4) Most expensive of all are the costs of poor productivity and turnover.

The delays that we have seen would seem to add to the upfront costs (1 and 2) of employee acquisition and I would be most interested if there were any companies that determine this metric. Does your company measure the less visible upfront cost of delay in the cost per hire Dollars? Please contact me at Herbert@hessjobs.com .

Tips on Conducting Video Interviews with Candidates

In order to save on initial interviewing expenses, many hiring managers or HR managers are now conducting initial and even follow-up interviews using Facetime or Skype. Some companies are making hiring decisions based entirely on video interviews.

5 main related technologies are used:
1. Facetime is excellent but only if each party has a MAC/ Apple product.
2. Skype which is owned by Microsoft offers free video services for both MAC and PC, and of course, if both the interviewer and interviewee have Skype user names, the services is free any where on earth. The software, while free, does have to be downloaded. Some employers will choose to videotape the interview – using Skype on a PC, this is done with auxiliary software (www.supertintin.com).
3. Google+ technology works on many platforms but one must open a Google account.
4. Video services which are 2 way – managed by proprietary software, not free, including recording of all interviews, if desired – similar to 1,2, and 3 but offering an organized setting and easy recording. These include but are not limited to www.hireview.com, www.montagetalent.com, or www.interviewstream.com.
5. If the interview is for a very high powered position, it is possible that this will be conducted in a video conference formal setting. For most positions however, webcams associated with PCs or MACs or iPad suffice.

A few precautions for the hiring company:
1. Ensure that your iPad, formal teleconference room set up, or webcam/computer set ups are ready to go – that the internet is working, the sound is right, passwords are set up. This includes video and audio tests that are easy to run.
2. Be aware of where the eye of the camera is, in order to look directly at the candidate – this gesture is very important and just as hard for them as for you.
3 .Have a clean, dedicated, professional appearing work area – part of your job. In addition to determining if this is the best candidate, the other part of your job is to present your company in the best light, so that the candidate will want to join your team.
4. If at home, make sure no people, animals, radios, TVs, outside traffic will interrupt. Most hiring managers will not carry out interviews at home, but with global considerations and time zones, this is a possibility. Make sure the area behind you is clear and clean.
5. Done properly, this form of interview should still give you an idea of the candidate’s personality, body language, ability to look you in the eye. This can be hard though as people want to look at the speaker on the screen and if they do this, they cannot look at the camera – this is probably the biggest pitfall of the process. Conversely, your body language will speak to the candidate as well.
6. As with traditional interviews, have your list of questions ready and organized,
7. Be prepared to describe your company’s physical layout and location, perhaps even size of offices, cubicles, loft or not, elevator or stair access, windows – all things candidates having on site interviews will be exposed to.

Whichever platform is chosen, the interview process using video may not differ substantially from a more traditional process. It is still the candidate on one side, the potential employer on the other, either singly or as a group.
Note that 80% of major US employers (100 – 10,000 employees) take advantage of live video interviews somewhere in the hiring process. One assumes similar statistics for Canadian companies.

Interestingly, some employers will choose to use software whereby they can email the candidate a link to a series of questions they must answer by video. Then the hiring manager or HR specialist can review their answers when convenient – either all candidates at once, of separately. There are a variety of such applications, – such as www.hireview.com, www.montagetalent.com, www.interviewstream.com, www.wowzer.com
– where candidates can be prescreened via pre-recorded video interviews.

For further information on videoconferencing software, please refer to http://interviewingsoftware.com/, which does a pretty good comparison of mutltitudes of choices.
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I would be very interested in hearing from companies or candidates who have used this technology – paula@hessjobs.com.

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