Most companies have a phrase to capture cultural fit, such as “no jerks policy”, “no egos”, “no a**hole policy” etc. and as crude as they sound they are very subjective and typically administered on gut feel. For such a subjective judgment call that’s critical to every hire, how do organisations apply this consistently? Here are three key principles to selecting talent for cultural fit; 1. Understand the Authenticity of Culture Culture is the collective behaviours in the organisation, influenced by beliefs and practices. It’s the heartbeat and pulse of the organisation which ebbs and flows as the personality and character of people change. It is organic and blossoms from the people in the organisation. It can’t be forced – it needs to be authentic as Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh recently discovered when he introduced a new way of working to his organisation. The e-tailer bought by Amazon for $1.2bn in 2002 has long been admired for its unique culture, so much so that Hsieh penned a book on it called “Delivering Happiness” which has established him as an international guru on the topic. On March 24, 1,500 or so Zappos employees got a memo from Tony concerning their transition to a new way of working called “Holacracy” (a manager-free operating structure that is composed, in theory, of equally privileged employees working in task-specific circles, often overlapping). Hsieh began experimenting with Holacracy in 2013 as a way of maintaining Zappos’ lauded employee-centric environment as it continued to grow. On April 30th 2015, he offered an ultimatum: embrace self-management or we’ll give you a three-month severance package to leave. By May, 210 Zappos employees, or 14% of the company, had taken the offer. Although the jury is out on Holocracy, it was a costly lesson to learn (even for a guru) that culture can’t be forced – it needs to be authentic. The clearer it is defined, the easier it is to select for. 2. Values Have Value if they are Truly Valued and…Indicated If culture is the result of behaviours, what guides behaviours? Values alone won’t guide behaviours. Integrity, Communication, Respect, Excellence hung in the boardroom of Enron before its infamous collapse! Clearly defining indicators of values is what guides behaviour. Take Hubspot for example, who used one key guiding value, to scale from an MIT spin out to a $billion valuation in 2015, which was “use good judgment”. Understanding that peoples judgment varies, they gave a clear indicators of what they mean to act as a beacon around behaviours asking employees to remember the following hierarchy when making a decision: How does your decision positively impact (1) the customer (2) the company (3) your team and (4) you. Clear indicators align behaviour! Identify indicators of values and assess against the indicators. 3. Purpose Beyond Task Dan Pink emphasized the importance of purpose when he wrote about what motivates people to do their best work through his “Motivation Trifecta”: Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose! Author of the “Little Prince”, Antoine De Saint Exipery once wrote: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the people to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Culture is sometimes a blend of what you are and what you aspire to be as an organisation. If you clearly understand what you aspire to be, there is a point where your value indicators and purpose meet and this is where authentic values meet purpose! Probe candidates impact on values that align with purpose beyond task. Look for points in their career where they influenced the dynamic of a team through reflecting values with a true sense of purpose. Call it what you like, apply consistently and never compromise on cultural fit.
Getting the recruitment process and candidate experience right has a significant effect on company’s branding beyond the immediate result of hiring a well-qualified scientist or engineer. Candidates who are unsuccessful but perceive themselves to be treated fairly, given timely and genuine feedback, will speak positively about the firm involved. If the candidate has a memorable experience, feels like they were listened to and given genuine consideration, the organisation is building a reputable company brand on the market. And the opposite is clearly true as well: candidates may speak to others in the industry about a poor experience in terms of waiting a number of weeks for feedback, or an interview that seemed disorganised. There are a number of key stages in the recruitment process which can influence what impression candidates have of your organisation. These can be particularly important in terms of sourcing life sciences candidates as the scientists, chemists, quality assurance professionals and others often stress to recruiters that they care about the values of a prospective employer. Among the important stages are: Initial stage; firstly if multiple hiring managers are involved, the requirements for the job itself need to be agreed before sourcing begins or differing views could hold up decisions mid process or even at final stages. Planning together will minimise later disagreement about what different candidates might bring to a job and also keep to a minimum the number of meetings required with preferred candidates. Interview process; this needs to be timely and efficient with again a minimum amount of delay. Feedback to unsuccessful candidates should be prompt (within less than a week ideally) and with something specific they can take as feedback from the process. At offer; hiring companies need also to get across selling points of the kind of career and organisation they offer. Not selling the benefits of your organisation to a top applicant could mean they decide in favour of another organisation which is providing clarity on career opportunities, benefits and so on. As the market becomes a more difficult arena to source talent in, the impressions a company makes on applicants can be a powerful tool for generating interest from potential future candidates. A strong company brand in the life sciences sector will have received good feedback, referrals from satisfied candidates and become a resilient name among professionals.
Do you remember the days of placing a graduate advert online, receiving thousands of applications, spending weeks screening and interviewing, offering 20 people jobs (with all of them accepting) and most are still with you? While this may have happened pre-Celtic Tiger, most normal companies out there are experiencing the very opposite: Spending a fortune on an advertising campaign, using “social media”, spending most of your working week with the colleges trying to be a bit more hip, receiving 11 relevant applications, inviting 30 (including non-relevant applications), 6 turn up, 4 get offered, one starts… While this is a bit of an extreme example it’s designed to illustrate some of the frustrations employers are facing when recruiting graduates. Unfortunately, the market is saturated with companies looking for bright, clever and quirky graduates to join their business and the choice open to students these days means companies are getting more and more desperate in their attempts to secure the right talent. This in turn has created a very unhealthy culture in that graduates are often in the driving seat when it comes to decisions over which job to take. This shows a level of commitment on their part and will mean an employee likely to stay with your business a lot longer. Here are some tips on how best to evaluate your graduate recruitment and ensure you target the right talent: Career Site Is your graduate career site linked to you main website and if so, how are candidates able to identify the graduate culture from that of the rest-of-the-business culture? Make sure your graduate career page is different, interesting and has content that will genuinely engage those who visit it. Video content and blog content are incredibly relevant to what graduates are looking for now Social Media Who runs your Facebook page? Have you got a LinkedIn Careers Page? When was the last time Twitter was updated? If you’re going to use Social Media, make sure your content is up to date and edgy. Students these days spend so much of their time glued to some form of device so they can interact more fluidly with your brand if ensure you update and blog as often as possible. Talk to your marketing team and get their buy in. Culture This is the one thing that can make or break a recruitment campaign so get this right from the beginning. When you’re interviewing a graduate, look at their motivations as well as their capabilities. If someone gives the impression they may not agree with your company’s ethos, then take a step back. A graduate represents the very foundation of your future business and is the cornerstone of your succession planning so if anything, culture should be your number one focus Learning & Development Is your graduate programme challenging enough? Students these days have jumped through so many academic hoops companies should be rejoicing in the fact that graduates are brighter and quicker off the mark than ever. Taking a look at your training schedule, give it a shake up and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. If it works though leave it but you should always evaluate your programme every year to make sure you’re up to date with everyone else Running a graduate programme doesn’t have to cost a fortune and you don’t need to spend a lot of time in designing it but ultimately it will cost more if you don’t get it right at the start so put the effort in, figure out what you want, who you need to help you and go for it. Graduate recruitment has become one of the top routes to growing your company and it can help you as a business grow both in terms of stability but also culture and diversity. Marina Morrissey is Operations Manager for Sigmar Managed Services, the RPO division of Sigmar Recruitment Ireland. If you would like to find out more about the work carried out by her team, please feel free to contact direct at email@example.com or +353 1 4744611.
Social media plays a big part in our lives today. We use it to connect with friends, receive news updates and to interact with people and groups who share our interests and passions. It’s no surprise that more and more job seekers are using social media in their hunt for suitable positions. Why then should employers be any different? The most important thing is that candidates want to interact with people, not a faceless brand or company. It’s vital that you build rapport with your connections. This can be done by providing links to quality content, interacting with them and answering any queries they have about the company or specific roles within it. It also enables anyone interested in working with you to learn about what you do and your ethos and culture as a company. While you do need to adjust your approach to attracting candidates according to which social media platform you’re using, there are some common elements that can be utilised across all channels.This post focuses on the three social media platforms that are mainly used for recruitment; LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn LinkedIn is the number one social media tool utilised by employers and jobseekers alike as it is a platform that connects professionals to each other and to businesses. Ensure that your company’s profile is attractive and optimised with key words so people can find you easily. Any vacancy listed on your profile should include links to further information such as the job spec, skills required, company description and how to apply. While it is obviously important to have your company page optimised, it’s also a really good idea to encourage current employees to bring their own profiles up to date. If people are interested in joining a company they often like to hear what people currently working there have to say about it. Facebook Facebook is the most personal of the social media platforms allowing you to showcase the ‘human side’ of your organisation. Photos and videos of staff outings and events can help to portray your company as a positive, fun environment in which to work. Again you should include a link providing further relevant information. Something as simple as including a ‘job listings’ tab on your company’s page can lead to a significantly increased candidate pool. You can target potential candidates with Facebook ads. The ad feature on Facebook allows you to aim ads at a very specific audience through the use of filters such as education and work experience. Twitter Twitter may not be the first place you’d think of when looking to attract candidates, but there’s no doubt it can serve as a very useful recruitment tool. With its 140 character limit, it’s all about making an instant impact. Be aware of topical issues and areas of interest for suitable candidates. Create tweets around these areas and use the appropriate hashtags to attract the right people. Include links in your tweets to relevant content on your blog and website. Follow the right people and chances are they will follow you back. Comment on their tweets and always reply if they contact you. This helps to cement the relationship. A really great function of Twitter is that it allows you to group people together in different lists. Generate twitter lists of individuals that may be suitable for different roles. You can then focus on targeting them with tweets tailored to their interests. Social media has the ability to foster relationships with people who could be great employees for you. If you put the effort into developing your platforms, the rewards can be great.
What do Microsoft, Apple, Dell, HP, IBM, EMC, Salesforce, Oracle, eBay, SAP, Symantec, all have in common? They all have their European HQs in Ireland. This list is by no means exhaustive; most major technology companies have a major presence here and have done so for some time. But let’s not forget about the next generation in technology companies; such as Zendesk, Nitro, Qualtrics, Facebook and LinkedIn. Add all of this together and you have a technology hub that rivals anything that Silicon Valley has to offer. The reasons why these companies have chosen Ireland as their EMEA base is debated in bars, boardrooms and parliaments across the globe. The result of them being here however is quite clear; Ireland has become a magnet for people from across the globe. A study by LinkedIn has found that “Ireland is benefiting from one of its biggest ever surges of inbound talent migration with 20% more professionals coming to Ireland than leaving the country”. We here at Sigmar Recruitment are not at all surprised with these findings as this year alone over 30% of our total placements in the technology sector have been with candidates who were based outside of Ireland originally. Given the increase in demand for top talent this is only likely to increase over the next couple of years. This is good news for Ireland as for every candidate from abroad that secures a job in Ireland there is a multiplier effect for other jobs. As the number of highly skilled and talented people working in Ireland increases, so does competition and efficiency. Sourcing new talent from overseas also helps to keeps costs down as it militates against rising salaries among existing workers as more talent enters the market. It’s good for candidates too as practically nowhere else in the world offers the same amount of opportunities for talent in the technology sector in such as small place. As a recent candidate said to me, “if you want to develop your career in tech, Ireland is the only place to be!” Sigmar have been proactive in encouraging overseas talent to choose Ireland to settle. A recent project involved one of our consultants travelling to Croatia to meet a community of IT Developers and showcase the opportunities here. The result; 20 more highly talented and extremely sought after developers, now working in Ireland. Sigmar has set up links with universities across Europe to attract graduates, various networking groups for language specific candidates and even a VP level networking group to allow start-up companies to share knowledge with peers. So we say “Fáilte” or welcome and bring all your friends; the best companies in the world are here … and the craic’s not bad either.
Marketing is a crucial part of any business big or small and this is why hiring the right marketing person can be the key to success and growth of a company. Marketers can be both strategic and creative and they work closely with sales to drive the business to achieve its goals and to increase profits. There are a few factors to consider when hiring marketers. It is important to have a clear and detailed job spec and to have a good understanding of the skills you are looking for. Is industry knowledge important? Do you want B2B or B2C marketing experience? Are certain technical skills required? Digital marketing is still a big part of most marketing roles and there is a growing demand for marketers to have a good understanding of online and digital marketing tools such as SEO, PPC, web development and social media platforms. A good marketer should be able to communicate well and start with presenting a well written CV that outlines their expertise and fit for the job. They should be able to demonstrate their abilities by providing relevant examples at interview. A good marketer should be able to show examples of their work through portfolios or online links etc. They should be able to give measurable results and know where they have made a difference to the business. A recent survey by Sigmar polled 372 marketing professionals to gain an understanding of their career priorities found that 51% of marketing professionals were dissatisfied with their current position and open to opportunities but still sometimes finding the right marketer can still be difficult. With opportunities starting to grow employers need to diligent in their recruitment process and often it is a case of trying to attract and target candidates who are not actively seeking a new role but as our survey showed they are likely to listen to what you have to offer!
Last week we looked at how to plan an interview. In the second of our four part series on interview tips for interviewers we will look at how to structure and control an interview. Structuring an Interview 1. Introduce interviewers and explain the format of the interview. 2. Check that the candidate is clear about the job and give information about the organisation and the terms and conditions of service. 3. Ask the candidate to explain his/her interest in the job and suitability for it. 4. Clarify information in the candidate’s application form or CV. 5. Seek additional information about the candidate’s skills, experience and other details relevant to the person specification. 6. Ask the candidate further questions in order to assess the extent to which s/he meets the criteria in the person specification. 7. Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions or to add any points or further information. 8. Tell the candidate when to expect information on the outcome. 9. Thank the candidate and close the interview. Controlling an Interview These points provide a good framework for conducting effective and consistent employment interviews. However, in order for it to help you obtain the information you need to make a sound employment decision; you must have control over the interview. Establishing and maintaining control of the interview requires effective listening combined with good questioning techniques. You need to bear the following points in mind: The key to effective listening is for you to do minimal talking during the interview. After establishing rapport and describing the job and its requirements to the candidate, let the candidate do most of the talking. It is important that you pay attention to the candidate. Do not let your mind wander or think ahead to the next question instead of listening to what the candidate is saying. Occasionally, restating a candidate’s reply or observation in your own words may be useful. As noted previously, it is always a good technique to ask questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” answer. Your questioning should encourage the candidate to communicate information that will shed light on his or her capability to perform the job effectively.
Interviews can be just as stressful for interviewers as the interviewee. In our four part series on interview tips for interviewers we will look at how to plan an interview; how to structure an interview; interview questions and topics to cover; and following up after an interview. In this post we look at planning an interview. Part 1: Planning Good planning will reduce anxiety and therefore enable panel members to give their full attention to the actual interview. Before the interview, the panel needs to take time together to sort out the following: 1. Clarifying and agreeing selection criteria The selection criteria should be taken from the person specification. The panel need to take time to ensure that they are all agreed on these criteria with a common understanding of what they mean. Develop an interview marking form for each member of the panel with the names of the candidates and a list of the criteria. The panel should assess each candidate against each criterion. They usually do this individually directly after the interview. 2. Planning questions From their agreed understanding of the selection criteria then develop a limited set of specific questions pertaining to the essential duties and responsibilities of the position to probe for the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. The interview is for a limited time so it is essential that each question is focused and purposeful. The questions should be designed to make sure that the panel gets the information needed to assess whether this person will be the most suitable for the position. Interview questions should only relate to the job requirements. When framing questions employment and equality legislation should be borne in mind. Care should be taken to avoid questions whose content or wording might be perceived as giving rise to unequal treatment of one candidate compared to another of a different age, gender, marital status etc. Questions should deal with a candidate’s skills, talents, qualifications and help him or her demonstrate their capacity to do the job. The panel should decide in advance who will ask which questions and in what order. The panel also needs to clarify what information they should give to the candidates during the course of the interview, for example: – Terms and conditions: It is important that the panel is clear about the range of terms and conditions being offered. Be clear about the period of probation, if there are unsocial hours to be worked, the nature of the contract, permanent or fixed term, and the salary scale. – Making the decision: It is good to be explicit about the timing of the decision-making and how the decision is to be communicated to the candidates. 3. Interview practice If one or more members of the interview panel have not interviewed before it is helpful to practise agreed questions to check that they are clear and well communicated. Role plays are very useful for practising interview skills. 4. Roles on the interview panel The panel needs to allocate roles, responsibilities and question areas. It is important not to stereotype members of the panel in the process. It is advisable to have a chairperson of the panel. The four key tasks of the chairperson are: – To facilitate the panel in planning the interview process together – To facilitate and direct the interviews according to the agreed structure and timing – To ensure that the panel reflects on how they are working as a team throughout the day as necessary and make changes accordingly – To facilitate the panel discussion and decision making process 5. The panel as a team The panel needs to work together as a team so it is very helpful for members to consider in advance how they will deal with potential problems and disagreements. They also need to ensure that they have shared understanding of what equal opportunities interviewing entails. It is advisable to discuss how they can interrupt each other if they think it is necessary. It helps to take time after the first interview to evaluate how it went and how the panel are working together. 6. Structure of the interview The interview should be planned so that it relates directly to the job description, the person specification and the candidate. If it is a large panel it is important to ensure that the interview is not just a series of short, superficial exchanges with each member. It is useful to tell each candidate the plan for the interview at the outset. 7.Timetable for the interviews It is wise not to cram too many interviews into one day, six to eight at maximum. To make the best selection and to be fair to all candidates the interview panel needs to be able to maintain attention and remember all the interviews with equal clarity. There should be a copy of the timetable for the day, with the timing and spacing of interviews, breaks and running order with the candidates’ names, for each member of the panel and for the person working on reception. The length of interviews depends on the job and is usually from half an hour up to an hour. It is essential to give the panel adequate time to ascertain fully the interviewee’s skills and experience in each of the requirements specified in the person specification. If there are two sets of interviews for a position the first is usually shorter and the second is longer, giving the panel an opportunity to explore areas in greater depth. 8. Venue and physical environment The physical environment for the interview and for candidates waiting to be interviewed is very important. The furniture in the interview room should be arranged to help both the candidates and the interview panel concentrate, feel comfortable and be at ease. Put up notices that indicate the interview and waiting rooms are in use and ensure that there will be no interruptions during the interviews. Make sure that there is somebody to let the candidates in, get them a cup of tea or coffee and show them where the bathroom is. 9. Agreeing a decision-making procedure The panel also needs to agree in advance how they will make a decision. It is recommended that the panel takes time after each interview to score candidates individually according to each of the selection criteria and then to have a short collective discussion. Members should be reminded that in order to ensure fairness their assessments must be made on the basis of evidence from the interview rather than gut reactions or intuition. It is essential to have time for reflection and note-taking after each interview as people forget things easily. At the end of all the interviews, the panel should take time to make their decision by comparing their assessments and discussing each candidate. If the panel have used an interview marking form, the final decision may be on the basis of this. 10.Records The following official records should be kept for six months after the interviews are completed in order to be able to deal with any subsequent complaints: Job description Person specification Job advertisement Application forms Shortlisting procedure Selection criteria General framework for questions as planned in advance and where possible particular questions that arose during the interview Interview assessments for each candidate References Any correspondence with candidates Final decision and the reason for making it. 11. References It is important to clarify in advance what status will be given to references and at what stage in the selection process they will be sought. Generally references are not seen as a source of objective information so they should be weighted accordingly. References are most useful for checking out factual information, e.g. qualifications, length of service, sick leave record, attendance record, terms and conditions and reasons for leaving a job. It is advisable to plan what information is required of referees and not to ask for more than is necessary. It is important to consider the possibility that a negative reference may be due to personal bias. In the case of a negative reference about a candidate who the panel considers very suitable, it may be necessary to check it out further by discussing it with the candidate to get his/her version of events. One of the referees should be the candidate’s current or last employer.
As the economy improves, we can expect the competition for talent to become more prevalent in the Irish marketplace. With that brings recruiting challenges for HR departments, how do you ensure you can attract the talent you want to your company? Focusing only on what worked before such as job postings on jobs boards is not effective in this day and age. Today’s recruiting requires companies to advertise more than an available opportunity, the focus has moved from just sourcing to selling to candidates and this entails; employer branding, candidate experience and cultural fit. 1. Employer Branding Gone are the days when a jobseeker was looking for any old job, now candidates want more – a job with purpose, a work environment they enjoy, opportunity for progression etc. To compete you need to tell candidates your story, how you differ from your competitors and why your company is better to work for. Then make it easy for jobseekers to find this information! A career site is a great place to start – include stories from your current employees (your best brand ambassadors) and give a sense of the company culture. Videos can be a great way to showcase company personality. Then once your brand is in place promote it, share your stories and videos across your social media platforms. 2. Candidate Experience Once you’ve established your employer brand, don’t ruin all your effort with a poor candidate experience. This is one of the most common frustrations jobseekers have – lack of communication and feedback which can leave a sour taste in a candidate’s mouth and deter them from your recruitment process. An automated reply is better than no response at all but do try to give personalised feedback where possible. A candidate is investing a lot of time and effort in applying to your position so respect this and in return set expectations, establish a communication plan with timeframes as to when to deliver feedback etc. Don’t leave people waiting; let them know when you’ll be in touch. 3. Cultural Fit Finally, while by now you hope to be attracting the best talent available, you want to be sure you are hiring the “RIGHT PEOPLE”. A candidate may be perfect on paper but if they don’t fit with your company values, chances are they won’t work out as expected. When a candidate’s and company’s values align, an organisation gets a happier, more productive employee who is more likely to stay with the company for longer. Therefore ensure you are evaluating your cultural fit throughout the recruitment process. To compete for talent you need to give your best impression to candidates and if you can do all of the above, you are positioning your company for recruitment success.