Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Marketing instrument by HR service provider, Randstad

As buyers of human resource services, human resource professionals are pampered with diverse give-away articles. Cups, pens, notepads, key rings and chocolates are the most frequent promotional items brought to business meetings by recruitment agencies’, hr software providers’ and other service companies’ representatives.

All those items are meant to deepen customer contact, combined with the aim to generate customer loyalty. They give not only eye contact with the service provider, but present something "tangible" in the hand.

Towards the end of the year, Randstad, the second largest HR services provider in the world, implements personalized calendars as their marketing instrument which reminds that b-2-b is done by individuals and not businesses. Check a few pages below:

This calendar definitely increased my attention far more than any other promotional item. And as a person making buying decisions, I am precisely the target group. Usability of calendar and maximum individuality is given. Furthermore, the calendar does not only become a possession but a memorable "gift" with a high potential to strengthen word of mouth. Randstad successfully conveyed the feeling of being cared for individually by their company as a customer.

Well done!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hiring Funnel - Candidate Pipeline

Applying the principles of sales funnel to recruitment process can not only bring more accountability to HR, but also help HR to monitor how well they stay on track to deliver results.

With help of historical values and input recruiting metrics, a hiring funnel can be designed in order to understand candidate pipeline anytime.

It all starts with the target hires per month (i.e. hires needed to execute the business plan). Then, a conversion rate hire-to-interview is reviewed to find out, how many interviews must be conducted in order to hire one person. Next, conversion rate interview-to-candidates is examined to learn, how many candidates must apply in order to select one for an interview.

Let’s look at an example. Say, 3 sales persons need to be hired at the beginning of the month. With the hires-to-interview ratio of 1/6, HR must interview 18 candidates in order to hire 3 of them. With the interview-to-candidates ratio of 1/8, HR needs to receive a total of 144 applications, or an average of 4.8 applications per day.

The figure below showcases the number of applications received in a given month against the daily target of 4.8.

As long as HR receives at least the specified number of applications per day, they know they stay on track. If the number is lower then the target, HR should take additional actions to fill the top of the hiring funnel, e.g. arrange new posting and/or refresh of job ads, wider candidates mining, new programs to encourage employee referrals, etc.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

English Human Resources terms in Germany

English Human Resources terms in Germany

As many would advocate German job titles only, more and more English terms related to workplace, recruitment and HR are in everyday use in Germany. Here are some examples, with their German counterparts.

Assessment Center - betriebliches Auswahlverfahren, Personalauswahlverfahren

Burnout - Erschöpfung, Ausgebranntsein, ausbrennen

Casting - Darstellerauswahl, or generally Mitarbeiterauswahl

Director (English phonetics) - Leiter (director human resources - Personalchef, Leiter (des) Personalwesen(s))

Employer Brand - Arbeitgebermarke

Feedback-Gespräch - Mitarbeitergespräch

Generation @ - (Internet-)Generation

Hiring Freeze - Einstellungsstopp, Einstellen aller Einstellungen
Home-Office - Büro zuhause (BZH), Heimbüro

Incentive Bonus - Leistungszulage

Job - Arbeit, Arbeitsplatz, Beruf, Posten, Stelle
Job-Hopper - Springer, Wechselarbeiter (jemand, der durch häufigen Arbeitsplatzwechsel Karriere machen will)
Job-Hopping – häufige Abreitgeberwechsel
Job-sharing - Arbeitsplatzteilung

Keypeople - Personen in Schlüsselpositionen, Schlüsselfiguren
Know-how - Fachwissen, Sachverstand

learning-by-doing - Einarbeitung, Lernen in der Praxis

Mystery Jobber - Testkandidat

Newbie - Anfänger, Grünschnabel, Neuling

Onboarding - Mitarbeiterintegration, das Einstellen und Integrieren von neuen Mitarbeitern

Powerfrau - Kraftfrau, starke Frau
Patchwork-Lebenslauf - Lebenslauf mit vielen Berufswechseln und Unterbrechungen

Recruiting - Anwerbung, Personalbeschaffung, -einstellung, -suche

Shared-Service Center - unternehmensinterner Dienstleistungsbereich
Start-up - (Firmen-)Neugründung

Team - Mannschaft, Arbeitsgruppe, Gruppe
Team Player - Mannschaftsspieler
Top Management - Führungsspitze, oberste Führungsebene eines Unternehmens

Work-Life Balance - Arbeit und Freizeit im Einklang

Source for German counterparts is the website: http://www.vds-ev.de/aindex-thema

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

English Job Titles

Job ads are the most classical example for the intersection of human resources and marketing disciplines. Every day, human resource professionals are challenged with the task to phrase job titles in such a way that they catch job seekers attention and push the job ad to the top of search results in the job boards.

In non-English speaking countries like e.g. China, Germany and Poland, using English job titles is a common strategy to overcome this challenge. This recent practice goes however beyond the linguistic borrowings known in the past due to industrial developments. Consider for example the job title stewardess. As the passenger air traffic emerged, human resource professionals in different countries opted for the loanword to lessen pressure to come up with a suitable name in their local language quickly. In Polish, we adapted the word to Polish rules of job titles and still call a woman working in this profession a "stewardessa". In German, after years of using the English title, the new German title of "Flugbegleiterin" is now widely used, especially to underline the safety aspect of the role. Interestingly, the original English word has been replaced by newer job titles such as “flight attendant” or “cabin crew”.

But, how is then the today’s use of English job titles different?
Well, first, English job titles are being used for established professions for which local language equivalents exist. This has been often done by multinational companies implementing global HR agendas with standardized positions and hence position names. Secondly, by using English job titles companies hope to increase the value of jobs and thereby attract talent more effectively. This is especially true for less attractive positions accordingly to the job board Talent Frogs. Their research found out that 34 per cent of 865 job ads analyzed referred to jobs in lower salary range or primarily on a commission basis. Third, on the opposite, English job titles and for that matter the entire job ads phrased in English aim for discouraging applicants unable to understand them, provided high command of English is essential to the job duties. In similar fashion, German companies occasionally post job ads in German in China or Poland.

In order not to intimidate the job seekers, human resource professionals may be using following advice to guide their approach to using English in the job ads in non-English countries:
* Find a real good reason why to use a foreign language in your job ad,
* Prioritize understandability over commercialization,
* Do not assign job titles based on the fact that they sound nice,
* Phrase the job title in the way that it reflects key duties,
* Do not confuse the applicants, if the role does not foresee any direct contact with the customers do not call the position customer representative,
* Accurately describe the job itself,
* Avoid unnecessary sales talk,
* Invite job seekers to contact human resource department to inquire about the specifics of the position to alleviate their lack of understanding,
* Measure the performance of your job ad.

Last but not least, keep in mind that the most applicants do not appreciate English job titles accordingly to recent research by monster.de. Some 42 per cent of 2394 candidates interviewed in Germany consider using Anglicism as annoying and unnecessary. Only 10 per cent believe that they ease the communication.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Social Interview

The following case study shows how to recruit social media savvy minds.

The Social Interview is a new kind of job interview. Questions posted e.g. on the Facebook wall are not for candidates to answer, but for their friends to answer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Recruiting metrics

Some recruiting metrics include: “Response time”, “Time to fill”, “Cost per hire”, “Offer acceptance rate”, “Quality of hire” and “Satisfaction index”. Emre Kavukcuoglu contributed one of the best post on that matter, with clear formulas and examples. However, as Marie Larsen rightly points out, recruiting metrics can be costly, inaccurate, and not actionable.

Does it then make any sense to suggest a few more such as input recruiting metrics?

Capturing these metrics can be helpful for many reasons. With these metrics, HR can better:
* evaluate the effectiveness of the job advertisements,
* assess the effectiveness of recruitment channels,
* understand the candidate pipeline, as well as quality and quantity of candidates,
* explore strength of the employer brand,
* estimate the resources needed to process applications received.

Some input recruiting metrics may include:
* Apply-to-view ratio – Number of job seekers who applied for the position/Number of job seekers who viewed the job ad on a job board
* “A” Player-to-candidate ratio - Number of job seekers who applied for the position with an “A” Player potential/ Number of job seekers who applied for the position
* Interview-to-apply ratio - Number of candidates who were interviewed/Number of job seekers who applied for the position
* Hire-to-interview ratio - Number of candidates who were hired/Number of job seekers who were interviewed
* Hire-to-apply ratio - Number of candidates who were hired/Number of job seekers who applied for the position
* Withdraw-to-interview ratio - Number of candidates who withdrew their application/Number of candidates who were interviewed

Companies may also consider capturing candidates’ reasons for withdrawal of their applications.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trendy German neologisms and concepts

Recrutainment stands for experience-oriented recruiting. It is an example of an English sounding word that does not exist in English. It was created by the Cyquest GmbH, a German company specializing in e-Assessment tools and Human Resources Advertising and Marketing solutions.

Casting originates in performing arts and refers to a process for selecting a cast of actors, dancers and other talent for a live or recorded performance. As neologism in German language, casting stands for selection of employees independent of an industry (Auswahlverfahren von Mitarbeitern) and is used internally to probably pay justice to one’s need of being cool and trendy. Fortunately, recruiters are still called Recruiters and not Casting Directors.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Customers’ Feedback as a Component of Performance Appraisal

Feedback is an important component of performance appraisal. Involving customers in performance appraisals remains however a rarity in Germany. Generally, customers are also not involved into performance management.

Scouting China or Poland for that matter shows however a handful of examples how a feedback on customers representative performance can be an integral part of any interaction with the client. Banks clientele can assess tellers on a three point scale using a feedback devise right at the counter. Similar machines are placed next to immigration officers at Hong Kong borders. Next, some restaurants are fitted with communication devises with the staff including commands such as “We’d like to order”, “Please bring me some water”, “We’d like to pay” and “I enjoyed eating here today”. Furthermore, a feedback on a five point scale via text message is sought by travel sites after every call with the hotline representative. In Poland, the largest polish job board is bringing direct customer feedback into B2B world.

After posting an ad, one is asked to provide an assessment of cooperation with the sales representative.

The rating system has a high relevance to all client facing roles. As any other performance appraisal system, customer feedback must be linked to rewards. Otherwise, the process lacks impact. However, multiple advantages of customers’ ratings exist:
* Applying customers’ ratings at the point of contact produce reliable and consistent measurement of performance.
* The customers’ rating system is especially valuable to the employees’ development and satisfaction as it allows setting up objective goals more easily.
* It provides a simple format, it is brief (not time-consuming), easy to understand, and elicit useful information (customers’ satisfaction level with the service).
* It is designed to provide timely, impersonal and regular feedback, so that the employees can immediately know how their work is perceived by the customers.
* Employees can directly adjust their behavior to costumers’ expectations, thereby influencing the ratings.

As more and more, human resource professionals consider themselves in service to the internal clients, I wonder either they would welcome such feedback loop every time they deliver the service to company’s employees and managers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Application Feedback

Research done by Shaker Consulting Group shows that all candidates despite their potential to hire have the same expectations in terms of information received about their application process. The key questions rated as critical need to know (by 80% or more of the survey respondents) include:
1. Do you receive my application?
2. When will I hear back from you?
3. Have I been knocked out of the process?
4. What is the time frame for filling the job?
5. What is the next step in the process?
6. Has anyone actually looked at my application?
7. Where am I in the process?

Human resource departments can extend some common courtesy by meeting the timeline expectations of the candidates.

A good way to do so is informing the candidates electronically
* when the company will be in contact with the selected candidates
* when the interviews will be held, or
* when it is planned to fill the job.

The information can be placed in the job ad or email correspondence to the candidate (with help of auto-response functionality) or in application process overview when utilizing online application tools.

A standardized note suffices
* We reserve the right to contact selected candidates no later than DATE.
* Interviews for candidates advancing in our process will be conducted by DATE.
* This position will be filled by DATE.

Leaving an applicant without any sort of response is a no go.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Who are German HR Professionals?

Accordingly to Human Resources Manager, a German trade magazine for HR pros, one HR professional serves on average 100 employees in German companies.

By analysing data on a salary benchmarking site gehaltsvergleich.de we can understand better who German HR professionals are.

In March 2011, 308 HR professionals shared demographic information, information on their educational background and experience, as well as the employment details. Some 121 of them were male, 187 female. The average age of males was 41, of females 37.

Female are the majority of workers in HR departments in the age group younger then 44, male dominate in the age group 45+.

Males in HR department have on average higher level of education. In contrast, females attend further training and development workshops more frequently. At the same time, females completed their studies rather recently, while males are out of school for several years.

HR Professionals who have maximal five years of professional experience are mostly female (85 percent). The share of male and female among the professionals with 10+ years of experience is about the same.

Female HR professionals work more often part-time then their male counterparts. Among workers working more then 40 hours a week (most frequently 42 hour week) the share of male HR professionals is twice as large as the share of females.

Females usually work in companies with less then 500 employees. In companies employing between 501 and 999 employees, males prevail. About the same share of female and male HR professionals work at companies with 1000+ employees.

Some 70 percent of HR professionals work in small HR departments, staffed with 1 to 5 HR employees.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You can call me Jack

When speaking with someone formally or informally in English, the “you” is used and there is no other alternative. The only difference is how the person can be addressed, for example, "Mr. Smith" or "Dr. Smith" or “Jack”.

German language differentiates between the formal (duzen) and informal (siezen) communication. Traditionally, the formal way was reserved for professional and business settings. Nowadays however, colleagues increasingly tend to be on a first-name basis even as communication with the customers remains formal at all times. Businesses often go about it without any policy while human resource departments swing back and forth between formal and informal communication. Hence even with a single company, an employee can experience the following throughout the employee life cycle:

* Formal (intending to exhibit professionalism) and informal (trying to attract youngsters) job ads
* Formal candidate communication
* Informal communication from the moment of contract signing to voluntary departure
* Formal communication in warning and dismissal letters

So, deliberately or not, the choice of communication mode depends on the message. As consistent communication fosters development of trust and creates a level of loyalty to the employer, companies should align the way to address their people, i.e. have guts to address informally any candidate (a stranger at first) despite how senior they are in their careers or any employee to be dismissed. It is just too ridiculous to call an employee by name when they are good employees, but go over to communicating with them formally once problems occur.

Failure to instill a consistent communication has a detrimental impact on the business as a whole, and makes very difficult to retain and nurture employees.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Informal Job Ad a trend - Informal Application a taboo

There is a trend in Germany to edit job ads in an informal way. Those job ads utilize informal ways of communication (duzen) and hope to attract "young" and cool candidates as well as display company culture.

There is no research showing how these job ads are received by the candidates. I suppose many candidates are at ease with them as they do send in their applications. Maybe some are rather turned off, but this is the risk the company takes.

What's most interesting for me at this point is whether any HR staff hopes to receive job applications utilizing the same code of communication.

Does Mrs. Elke Schneider, an imaginative recruiter at a company X for the purpose of this blog post, look forward to receiving cover letter starting "Dear Elke" (Liebe Elke)?

Does she appreciate to be called Elke by an applicant calling to find out more about the advertised position?

Does an informal cover letter boost one's application or disqualifies an applicant?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dating employees

Do you remember the song „All you need is love” by The Beatles. Love can make a person’s life more fulfilling. But companies, couple run companies excluded, are seldom proponents of this maxim. On the contrary, companies are not enthused by staff dating. Restrictions if imposed may refer to bosses dating direct reports, co-workers in the same department or generally any employees. Though most will not put a formal policy to govern this issue, very few are probably really happy about such developments.

Dating employees is a good sign and acknowledgment of HR. The hiring process accomplishes what it intends to do. It brings on board people who are alike, are a fit and have some commonalities. And above all they enjoy working with each other so great that they want to hand out after work as well.

Given Valentine’s Day, I won’t bring up the downside of employees’ dating.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Job Titles to attract Career Changers

Talent shortage pushes recruiters to seek talent in other industries then their own. Niche job boards enable them to do it effectively.

With the recent job ads, Enterprise, a car rental company, seeks talent with hospitality background for their management training program. Enterprise looks for qualities associated with hospitality industry such as high service attitude, guest care skills and experience in ensuring customer satisfaction.

What makes the ad different? Well, it is their job title.

A high level of attractiveness of a job title is one rule of thumb when phrasing successful job ads. Candidates are attracted to jobs that have titles they aspire to, present some sort of professional enhancement, possibly are higher in the job hierarchy or simply are associated with a greater status (e.g. personal assistant as opposed to secretary).

Enterprise’s job titles is not a “next role” that candidate might be interested in, but precisely candidate’s “current role” or generally her educational background. Enterprise attracts attention by easy identification among their intended audience (“this is me” instead of “could this be me”). The job ad itself plays on a common note, suggesting a poor satisfaction with the current role, and hopes to motivate the candidate to change their career.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Candidate Surveys

Does is then make sense to hear what your particular candidates actually have to say? Should you run candidate surveys to gather feedback on your particular hiring process?

When candidates comment on recruitment processes by various companies, they uniformly criticize a lack of communication on the recruiter side. Updates on applications are rare, feedback almost non-existent.

At the same time it seems to be obvious what needs to be done to improve the candidate experience in regards to all human (as opposed to technological) aspects of the recruitment process. Treating candidates well, providing status updates of the application, doing what has been said (“you hear back from us within two weeks”).

Running candidate surveys can be beneficial. With this tool, companies can get candidate feedback on their experience with the company’s career website, their perception on length and complexity of the application and selection process (rounds of interviews), turn-around time of hiring decision and offer making process.