Talent Acquisition Interviews
From the SHRM Talent Management Conference & Expo, conversation with Loretta O'Connor, Staffing Director at Princeton University.
"I liken our organization to a small city. We recruit for security officers, cooks, nurses, financial professionals, athletic coaches, fundraising professionals, research assistants, I've even recruited for chaplains in our office of religious life."
Thank you for joining us for a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio, this is Peter Clayton reporting. My guest today is Loretta O'Connor - the director of staffing at Princeton University, one of the largest employers in central New Jersey, with approximately 6,000 employees. The world-class teaching and research university comprises a diverse workforce in a broad array of occupations. Founded in 1746, Princeton is one of the nine Colonial Colleges established before the American Revolution, as well as the fourth chartered institution of higher education in the American colonies.
In her current role, Loretta leads a team of staffing professionals responsible for the full cycle of recruitment, selection, and onboarding of administrative staff for the University. She is currently leading the optimization and transformation of the staffing function at Princeton - to that of a more strategic, consultative talent acquisition model. Now, you would think that recruiting for Princeton University, an Ivy League school with an endowment of over $18.2 billion would be easy. But guess what? It's not. I was delighted to have Loretta O'Connor take time to sit down with me in the press room at the SHRM Talent Management Conference & Expo - for this in-depth look at recruiting in higher eduction.
Loretta O'Connor, Princeton University - SHRM Talent Management Interview Transcript
This is Peter Clayton reporting from the SHRM pressroom at the Gaylord Opryland convention center. Joining me today is Loretta O'Connor, Director of Staffing Princeton University.
A quick program note before we get started, you'll find a complete transcript of this podcast on Loretta's feature page, located in the 'Newsroom and Events' link on rivieraadvisors.com and in the talent acquisition channel of TotalPicture Radio; and if you're one of the first 10 listeners to tweet about this interview, using the hashtag #SHRMTalent in your tweet, we'll send you a copy of RecruitCONSULT! Leadership: The Corporate Talent Acquisition Leader's Field Book' written by Jeremy Eskenazi, SPHR, Managing Principal of Riviera Advisors.
Thank you for joining us today for a special talent acquisition channel podcast here on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting, my guest today is Loretta O'Connor. She's the Director of Staffing at Princeton University, one of the largest employers in central New Jersey with approximately 6,000 employees. The world-class teaching and research university comprises a diverse workforce in a broad array of occupations. Founded in 1746, Princeton is one of the 9 colonial colleges established before the American Revolution, as well as the fourth chartered institution of higher education in the American colonies. Before transitioning into higher education, Loretta held HR generalist positions in the corporate sector. She was employed in the pharmaceutical industry with Pfizer and in the financial services sector with Quotron Systems, a division of Citigroup.
She began her professional career in human resources with Drexel Burnham Lambert, a Wall Street investment banking firm. In her role, Loretta leads a team of staffing professionals responsible for the full cycle of recruitment, selection and on boarding of administrative staff for the university. She is currently leading the optimization and transformation of the staffing function at Princeton, to that of a more strategic, consultative talent acquisition model.
Now, you would think that recruiting for Princeton, an Ivy League school with an endowment of over $18.2 billion would be pretty easy, but guess what; it's not.
I'm delighted to have Loretta O'Connor here with us today at the SHRM Talent Management Conference and Expo for this in-depth look at recruiting in higher education.
Peter: Loretta, great to meet you here in Music City.
Loretta: Thank you Peter. It's a pleasure to join you.
Peter: Let's start off by having you tell me about your career and what brought you to Princeton University.
Loretta: Terrific. I first became exposed to a career in human resources while I was an undergraduate student at Rutgers University, and there, I had an opportunity to work part time in the HR office at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, assisting a nurse recruiter.
What appealed to me about the prospect of a career in HR was the ability to work across any industry. I wasn't sure that I wanted to be in a corporate setting per se, and so HR is a way to get exposed to a lot of different types of organizations. I found that HR was an area in which I could learn about all aspects of an organization, the different business units, etc., and I saw HR as an opportunity to build relationships with people across an organization and those were the reasons that I chose to pursue a career in HR and in many respects, it's what keeps me engaged in the profession today.
As you mentioned earlier my career, I worked in other types of industries. In addition to pharmaceutical industry, I worked in financial services on Wall Street in the late 80's, when things were a bit crazy there.
Peter: You know Loretta, I think everyone in the New York metropolitan area has worked in financial services at one point or another in their career.
Loretta: You're probably right, and in my experience I found that was a good foundational opportunity to really learn sound HR practices. However, I also quickly realized that I wanted to work for an organization whose mission, vision and values was more aligned with my personal beliefs, and began to seek out opportunities with nonprofits and higher education as an area of focus.
So I made the transition into higher education by joining Columbia University in Manhattan, a very large urban environment with over 20,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate students, a medical center and hospital, a really vibrant bustling community. There I managed the employment center at the time as it was known, and we did high volume recruitment primarily for nonexempt support services positions at the university; and we were very much engaged with the surrounding community, serving as a pathway for residents in Morningside Heights neighborhood and Harlem neighborhood in upper Manhattan to become staff members at Columbia.
Through professional networks I met the folks at Princeton, and an opportunity presented itself for me to join Princeton University. I knew I wanted to continue in higher education and found the appeal of Princeton to be in part, that it was in many respects the antithesis of Columbia University. For those who aren't familiar with the Princeton University campus, it's in a very small town in central New Jersey; it's a very idyllic setting in many respects. It's a much smaller organization and it had very strong sense of community and I found that that was missing for me, being part of a much larger organization.
Peter: I'm curious to know really, what type of roles you and your team recruit for?
Loretta: That's a great question. Often when I tell people I work in recruiting and staffing at Princeton University, they immediately assume that we recruit for faculty and teaching positions; and the reality is that that's a misperception and in fact, we recruit for a wide variety of positions.
In many cases I liken our organization to a small city, so we recruit for positions including security officers, cooks, nurses, doctors, IT professionals, finance professionals, athletic coaches - that was an area I never imagined that I would be recruiting for, a football coach or a lacrosse coach. We recruit fundraising professionals; our institutional advancement and development organization is critical to the university. We recruit research assistants; neuroscience is a hot field now. I've even recruited for chaplains in our office of religious life.
So I think that gives you a pretty good sense of how broad and diverse the opportunities are, for a career in higher education. So it's what makes it interesting and also challenging, because the positions in many cases are very unique, it requires that we source candidates for very specialized positions.
I think one of the other challenges we face, again because the positions are unique in their different populations, is that it's difficult to create a standardized process and standardized practices across the organization, because the needs can vary considerably.
Peter: Considering your experience, is the process of recruiting different than that in private industry?
Loretta: Some of the practices are, in fact, the same across higher education and corporate. Where I find the real distinction, is around decision making. In universities and it's certainly true at Princeton, we work in a very collaborative culture and decisions, particularly hiring decisions, are made through consensus building.
Many searches have search committees comprised of faculty, staff and sometimes students and they serve in an advisory capacity to the hiring officer. And as you can imagine, we have many people at Princeton who have very distinct opinions and can be very vocal about their opinions, and so reaching consensus in making a hiring decision can be a challenging endeavor.
Peter: Wow. So given that scenario that you just laid out there Loretta, who ultimately pulls the trigger, who makes the final decision on who gets hired?
Loretta: So like many things at our university, the answer is 'It depends,' and that's a favorite saying of our Vice President for Human Resources.
Peter: So it's political.
Loretta: It can be. In many cases, as I said, the search committees or other stakeholders serve in am advisory capacity and our recruitment and staffing specialists make it clear to those individuals participating in the process of that fact. So that our hiring managers ultimately do make a decision, but it's important for them to gain buy in from the campus stakeholders.
Peter: What tools and resources are effective for you? In other words, job boards, career portal, social networks, do you use things like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn in your recruiting process?
Loretta: We are using many of those tools that you suggested. Around job boards, we use both major job boards that many of your listeners would be familiar with, as well as a number of job boards that are specific to higher education; and depending on the nature of the role, we find that one source may be more effective than another.
We've also invested significantly in utilizing niche or industry-specific job boards with mixed success, again, depending on the nature of the position. We have made an initial venture into utilizing LinkedIn, and our early experience has been that it's been more successful for positions across industries, such as IT, finance, human resources. Surprisingly to many of your listeners, there are fewer higher education professionals using LinkedIn than you might imagine, and so that's been one of our efforts on campus, is to raise awareness among our colleagues around the value of using LinkedIn, not only for job seeking, but for professional networking.
Our organization is very much relationship based, and that extends beyond the campus community, and so our faculty and staff have many relationships in a more traditional sense. We've been working with them to transition those to online relationships and leveraging those more through social media, particularly LinkedIn.
We have not yet embarked on a more robust social media strategy and in fact, that's in part why I'm here at the conference is to learn a bit more about what some success practices have been in other organizations. So from my perspective, higher education has been much slower to embrace the use of social medial in recruitment and we're looking to change that.
Peter: Here at the conference what are some of the things you're trying to learn more about during the SHRM Talent Management?
Loretta: One of the other areas of interest to us is around metrics and data analysis. We have traditionally relied on anecdotal information to make decisions; we are now embracing the use of metrics and data driven decision making, and again I think higher education is a bit behind the curve as compared to other industries in doing so.
Peter: What do you think are the biggest opportunities for change in higher education recruiting and staffing?
Loretta: Overall I would describe the biggest opportunity for change is to evolve our staffing and recruiting functions from transactional customer service focus models to more strategic and consultative function and in fact, that was the impetus that led us to engage Riviera Advisors to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our recruitment and staffing function. So we've been working with them for about four months now to undertake this assessment, and as we embarked on the project, we quickly realized that we were leading within higher education in taking this on. We reached out to peers across the higher education sector and really couldn't point to any other colleges or universities that were doing this.
Peter: Interesting. Can you share with us, Loretta, perhaps some of the recommendations you've received from Riviera Advisors to improve your talent acquisition process?
Loretta: Absolutely. So those findings are still in a preliminary format, but I'm happy to share a few of those with you. So one of the a-has for us was, that we were under investing in our recruitment and staffing function; and I think we intuitively knew this but didn't realize the extent to which that was true. And I suspect that that's the case for many colleges and universities as well.
The university board of trustees convened a working group on diversity to look at the population across all segments at Princeton University - faculty, students and staff - and there was a comprehensive work that was completed over about an 18 month period, and the outcome of that report is that for our senior level staff positions we need to be doing a much better job in terms of recruiting more diverse individuals. We have a significant representation of women in our senior leadership roles and need to improve on our representation of minorities and other underrepresented individuals.
Peter: Loretta, employer branding has been a very hot topic at most of these HR and recruiting conferences over the last couple of years and of course, companies like Google and Apple and Facebook are the usual suspects. I would have to assume that Princeton University has a sterling brand, so what impact has employer branding had on recruiting at Princeton?
Loretta: Princeton undeniably has a strong brand as one of the world's top universities and we are able to attract top talent for many positions. Our university's reputation is that we are excellent in teaching and research, that we have a strong focus on the undergraduate experience, we have a long and storied history with many prominent alumni and the strong sense of community that I referenced earlier as one of the motivators for me to join Princeton.
That said, some misperceptions exist about Princeton University, because of the fact that we are a very old institution over 250 years old, so for many people that conveys notions of an old school population. We have the perception of being elitist, when in fact we're still a very competitive university in terms of admission for students, but that elitist label certainly does not apply to the vast majority of our population on campus.
So we need to do a better job of creating awareness of Princeton University as an employer, outside of the higher education sector, and frankly outside of our immediate geographic area in central New Jersey. So one of the changes that we've made to our recruitment practices is to expand our efforts to attract individuals outside of higher education. So when I was describing to you the variety of positions that we recruit for I mentioned IT, finance, etc.
Peter: Those are all highly competitive positions.
Loretta: Highly competitive, and that's true at Princeton as well. And for me in some respects I feel like I've come full circle; I started my career very early at a medical college, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey where they were having difficulty recruiting nurses. So Princeton does not have a medical school or a medical center per se, but we do have an on campus healthcare clinic for students and are still having trouble to this day recruiting nurses.
You mentioned IT and finance, so central New Jersey has a very vibrant corporate sector and we're recruiting against financial services companies, pharmaceutical companies to employ talent in those sectors. We're also within the New York City metropolitan region, so that adds another layer of competition for high caliber talent.
Peter: What are some of the things that you do in staffing now, that you would like to trade out for something else? What would be that something else?
Loretta: With the wide variety of positions that we recruit for currently, there is little differentiation in how we go about recruiting and staffing for those positions. We need to focus our efforts more on our high impact positions and figure out a more efficient way to recruit for our high volume positions, and Jeremy and his staff at Riviera Advisors have been instrumental in helping us to think more critically about how we can do that with the limited resources that we have. We engaged in an exercise with them as the first step in creating that segmentation and differentiation and will be developing a strategy for introducing perhaps, service level agreements or different approaches to recruiting for different types of roles.
I think in our organization, one of the real challenges that we will have is around change management, because we are an institution with many longstanding practices, change management can be particularly challenging. So we will have to figure out how to engage our stakeholders in bringing about the change. We have many long service employees; our average length of service is over 16 years. We recently held a staff recognition luncheon where there were several individuals who had over 50 years of service.
Peter: 50 years?
Loretta: Fifty years. So that, I think, compounds the challenges associated with change management. I think it also underscores the importance of investing in our recruitment and selection process, because people come to a place like Princeton and they stay for, in many cases, the entirety of their career.
Peter: One last question for you. What do university leaders have to say about the importance of recruiting and staffing?
Loretta: We have tremendous support from our Vice President for Human Resources and our Executive Vice President for Administration, who ultimately we report in to. They have been very engaged with the assessment project that we have been working with Riviera Advisors, and they are excited about the preliminary recommendations and the plan for moving forward. So we are in a very fortunate position to enjoy their support.
Also I mentioned the trustee's report on diversity is another opportunity where our senior university leaders have recognized the importance of recruiting and staffing. So as one of my colleagues has described it, it's the perfect storm for us right now. There is a lot of interest in our recruiting and staffing function, and support for bringing about the changes that we've been discussing.
Peter: Loretta, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me here at the SHRM Talent Management Conference in Nashville. It's been great to have an opportunity to meet you.
Loretta: It's been my pleasure, Peter. Thank you for the opportunity.
You'll find a complete transcript of today's interview in the Newsroom and Events link on rivieraadvisors.com and on TotalPicture Radio, that's totalpicture.com. This special talent acquisition channel podcast from the SHRM 2014 Talent Management Conference and Expo is sponsored by Riviera Advisors.
To learn more about how your organization can benefit from Riviera Advisors internal talent acquisition consulting services, visit rivieraadvisors.com or call 1800-635-9063. STARoundtable Press offers RecruitCONSULT! Leadership: The Corporate Talent Acquisition Leader's Field Book written by Jeremy Eskenazi, SPHR CMC, Managing Principal of Riviera Advisors.
Visit recruitconsult.net to download a free sample chapter from the book. Riviera Advisors is a member of the Asher Talent Alliance, a global alliance of talent acquisition providers working together to benefit the unique and individual needs of their clients.
This is Peter Clayton reporting, thanks for listening.
If you don't manage your employer brand, then someone else will write the story for you.
Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton. I just returned from the Recruiting Trends Conference in Alexandria, Virginia - one of the many interesting people I connected with at the Hilton Mark Center you'll meet today - Alison Hadden, Director of Product Marketing for Glassdoor.
Alison lead a session at the Recruiting Trends Conference titled "Assemble, Arm and Amplify: Next Level Employer Branding Strategies to Stand Out from the Pack"
As the resident Talent Solutions Evangelist, it's Alison's job to help shape Glassdoor's job advertising and employer branding products to best meet the needs of today's HR leaders and educate companies on how to effectively manage their employer brand to attract and retain top talent.
Alison Hadden - TotalPicture Radio - Recruiting Trends Interview
Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast here on TotalPicture Radio. This is Peter Clayton reporting. I just returned from the Recruiting Trends Conference in Alexandria, Virginia. There were many interesting people and ideas discussed at the conference, and it was certainly nice to see the flowering magnolia trees at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center. One of the speakers I connected with at the Recruiting Trends Conference, you'll meet today, Alison Hadden, Director of Product Marketing for Glassdoor.
Alison led a session titled Assemble, Arm and Amplify: How to Build An Employer Brand That Attracts Rockstars. Before we get to the interview with Alison, I wanted to mention that I'll be covering the Fall Recruiting Trends Conference at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, October 28th through the 30th.
And now, here's my conversation with Alison Hadden.
Peter: Alison, thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today on TotalPicture Radio.
Alison: Sure thing, happy to be here.
Peter: You had an interesting session this morning and you started out with a bunch of statistics in your session that were published by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. One of them was 84% jobseekers would change jobs for a company with a better reputation, employer branding and 69% would not take a job with a company with a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. Really?
Peter: Dig deeper into this for me please and give me some of the background and research that you guys have been doing over at Glassdoor.
Alison: Over at Glassdoor, the research we've been doing, we're able to survey over 22 million jobseekers that we have in our community and it helps us understand some of the trends in jobseeker and candidate behavior. What we've seen is that employer branding today matters more than it ever has before because of social media, the Internet and the pace of information and all the things that are going on that wasn't really there a couple of years ago.
So what's happening with candidates today is they're requiring a level of transparency and authenticity from employers that they've never really asked for in the past because their reputation of a company is really weighing and having a tremendous influence on a jobseeker's decision to take a job or not.
Peter: So is this across the board or is this mainly Millennials that are disengaged in social media and really care that much about transparency? Or is it also Gen-X and Boomers?
Alison: That's a great question. I think definitely when it comes to social media and going to some of those channels and really being active in the conversation, we're going to see it skew a bit younger in terms of the Millennial set. But we're seeing Boomers. We're seeing across industries, we're seeing across generations and across regions and even globally, people starting to want to take place in the conversation and that idea of what is it really like to work somewhere, is really universal.
I believe that even some of the older generations are still looking for that transparency because one of the stats I mentioned this morning, 51% of new employees today say that they have buyer's remorse.
Peter: Yeah, I found that really surprising, when you consider the amount of vetting that's going on today before people even get a job offer and also sites like yours, like Glassdoor, where it's pretty transparent that most jobseekers today are going on to your site, they're going on LinkedIn. They're just Googling the name of the company to see what they can learn about an organization and its culture before they join.
Alison: Yeah. I think that, as you just mentioned, there was a recent study that was done, I mentioned it this morning by Software Advice. They put out a report in January of this year, in 2014, and they found that 48% of jobseekers are using Glassdoor at some point in their search. And again, this is crossing all generations, industries, regions.
So I think this is a universal need and I think with the tools that are out there, we're even seeing a number of employers sort of open the kimono themselves and say, we are a transparent and open employer. Come to our career site and you're actually going to see a direct link to Glassdoor so that you can see openly about what people are saying about our company.
I think the employers that are leaning into the conversation and really embracing this era of transparency are seeing the benefits in the form of right candidates and the candidates that are going to stay at the company from a retention standpoint.
Peter: I know on Glassdoor, you can go in there and the CEO is rated. Other than that, what else is rated?
Alison: We've got 6 million pieces of content that have been submitted by current and former employees across 300,000 companies worldwide. That content consists of everything from as you said, a CEO rating, a company rating, and our average company rating across the site is anywhere between a 3.2 and 3.3 out of 5. So we're seeing that most people are actually pretty satisfied with where they're working.
Other pieces of content that can be submitted are interview experiences. So it might not be an employee. It could be a candidate that goes through the process. Facebook for example has iPads at the end of their interview process on site. They hand it to candidates and they say, we encourage you to go onto Glassdoor right now and post a very candid experience of what this process was like.
So interview experiences, also salary reports can be posted anonymously so that people can get an idea of a range when they're researching that company. You can also post photos; that's another piece of content that could be submitted as well.
So we're really going a level deeper. We started with just the review and the rating piece; now we're getting into not just an overall company rating but, would you recommend the company to a friend? Do you believe that this company is going to have a more positive outlook moving forward, stay the same or it's going to basically go down? Would you recommend the CEO?
We're really going a level deeper too with things like work-life balance and the salary and compensation benefits so that we can then deliver to employers this fantastic data around how their company brand and their reputation stacks up against their talent competitors.
Peter: Right after your session, we had lunch today and I was sitting with an executive from Mass Mutual and she said that was really interesting. She was in your session and she said that, 'if a company wants to create a company page on Glassdoor, how do you know that person actually works for the company or is the designated representative for the company, that they really want to be managing their Glassdoor presence?' Can you talk through how that whole thing happens?
Alison: Sure. When a person signs up for a free employer account, they are submitting their email address which has to be validated on the backend after they submit it, to ensure that that is the case and that is a company email.
Peter: In the case of Mass Mutual, it would have to be someone who actually works at Mass Mutual and has that email address.
Alison: Correct. They also have to submit their first and last name. They have to submit their own personal email address. They have to submit also their title. So there's a series of sort of backend algorithmic things that go on from a technology perspective to ensure that that information's correct. But then that person is also, by submitting their information, they're saying yes, I am a representative of the company.
The nice thing is that there can be multiple people who sign up for their company's account and if I didn't know and I'm working for a large multinational - if I work at Shell and I didn't realize that Shell, we already had an employer account and I sign up for one, it's going to merge the accounts, and then you have the opportunity to determine who can, on our team, just view information, who can respond to reviews, who can edit some information and who can just be sort of a viewer of things. So there's different levels so that we can ensure...
Peter: So it's sort of like a content management system.
Alison: Exactly. That's actually one of the permissions, is you would tag someone as a content manager and they would have the ability to edit information but other people would just be sort of a reader of content.
Peter: Another question that came up during your session which I'm sure you get all the time, when you think of people posting online reviews, I often think of it as sort of bifurcated markets. So you either have people who are just in love with you, think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread, or people who hate you. So how do you get that middle ground of employees that work for your company? How do I get my engineering department to go on to Glassdoor and post a sort of day-in-the-life review of working at my company?
Alison: Yeah. That's a really great question. We hear it all the time. Employers saying, help us. So just the first thing, when you look across the 300,000 companies, as I said the average is actually a 3.2 or a 3.3 out of 5, which is slightly above average, right?
Alison: And that last time we surveyed our 22 million members, 70% said that they were okay or satisfied with their job. So 70% said okay or satisfied. So in terms of the two ends of the spectrum, across the board and aggregate, it's actually more of the middle. Like, Hey I really like the place where I work for a couple of these reasons and this stuff can be improved.
So we don't really get too many ends. For those companies that are saying we want a more balanced perspective here, there are a couple of things that they can do to get more employees engaged in a conversation on Glassdoor.
We have a number of resources that are on our website. If you go to glassdoor.com/employers, in the top right-hand corner, it says Resources. We've got two fantastic ebooks on how to encourage reviews from your employees. We've also got a fantastic section that says Managing Reviews and there's a ton of FAQs.
There's even an email template that companies can send out in a way that says we want more of you to tell your story. It's not saying we want you to post good reviews here or we want to incentivize you because that's not a best practice. But we want to be able to really share with people why this is a place they should work so that we can help vet out the people who are going to be the right fit.
So a ton of things that people can do, I encourage people to reach out to me directly too if they want some more ideas.
Peter: One of the things that really surprised me in your session today, and you had a good-sized audience and you said something to the effect that, how many of you in here are really satisfied with your career portal. I'm sure you were expecting half the room to raise their hands. Not one person in the entire room!
Peter: That's really surprising. As you said, I meant that's really where you need to start if you really want to have an employer brand that means something out there, first of all you've got to have a decent career site.
Alison: Yes. I definitely think that's the first place to start, Peter. And I was surprised too. Usually that's the - at least 75% will raise their hands and say, yes we've got 'why work for us' messaging or 'why we're an employer of choice,' or we might have some photos or some videos. We're speaking to our ideal candidate on our website. It's not just a static page that we update once every 5 years with just job postings. So I was surprised because most people know that that's really the first place to start.
Five years ago, six years ago, that was really the only place other than a job description that someone could find out about what it's like to work somewhere. The difference today, as I mentioned previously, is candidates are still going to your career site which I encourage everyone to make that sort of the centerpiece.
But then what you need to do is mirror that same content and push it across multiple different channels so that you can really amplify that message. But it begins there.
Peter: Right. Absolutely. I totally agree with you and it's really surprising sometimes with large organizations, you'll go to their career site and then you'll go to their Facebook page which is being managed by an outside agency. It has a completely different look and feel, a completely different messaging, and there's no relationship at all to their career portal.
Alison: Yeah, and what that says to a candidate, again a candidate today that is looking for that transparency and authenticity, they're going to sniff it out. They're going to go, the message that you're promoting here is not the same message you're promoting here, which tells me that communication internally or that you're hiring someone else to promote that message, it's going to kind of cost their trust alarm to go off a bit. That's not what the candidates want. They want to see that consistent message. They want to feel like there's good internal communication and they want to feel like the employer sees the importance of this communication so much that they are putting resources and putting time towards getting this message out consistently across channels.
Peter: So how do you go about measuring your employer brand out there? How do you know how effective your career portal is or whatever you're doing on Facebook?
Alison: So when it comes to your career site, a very easy way that's totally free is to use something like Google Analytics to measure the traffic that's coming to your career site and your career portal. I also would encourage companies to see if there's a way that they can also track that traffic to their career site, if that's coming in through desktop but then also through mobile. So what we're seeing today is that a significant amount of traffic is essentially coming through mobile, to companies' career sites and as a result, they're potentially missing out on the significant percentage of candidates because their career sites aren't mobile optimized.
Peter: That sure is true and everything that I've been seeing in the last year at any of these conferences, you look at companies like UPS; half of their applications are over a mobile device and that makes sense if you think of the drivers out there, right?
Alison: Right. And the challenge is, is it's as if you were hosting a recruiting event or a career fair and you did all this work to market the career fair to the ideal candidates and all of a sudden, there are a bunch of candidates that try to get in but the doors were locked, you don't know how many candidates were outside the door.
That's the challenge today, I think, with this mobile opportunity is there's a ton of candidates and a ton of applications that companies are missing out on because they can't see how many people are locked out. They can't see how many people get to their career site and go, oh this mobile process is confusing. I'm on the BART in San Francisco and I'm looking up jobs and I found a job. and I click on Apply Now but it's not a good experience for me as a user so I guess I'll just do it later. And then we have that drop-off rate.
I think it's a huge challenge that it's really not for any one function within this industry to fix. Definitely the ATSs and the companies that are using those ATSs need to really push them to further develop because the buck stops right there. It's still an education process that most people aren't aware of.
Peter: Yeah. The other thing Alison is the companies who have mobile optimized their websites to the extent that you can now actually apply through a mobile device have a huge competitive advantage over those companies that they're competing with who do not have that. With most companies today, you get to a certain point and it says and now you have to jump off and get on a PC to actually finish the application.
Alison: Yeah. It's incredibly accordant. We realized this at Glassdoor. In the last year, what we've done is we've had to obviously get in front of the curve and we've further developed our mobile apps and our native platform on mobile to ensure that the companies that advertise their jobs on Glassdoor, that those jobs get pushed out through those mobile devices as well because if upwards of 30, 35, even 40% of activity is coming through mobile, which is not unique, it's pretty consistent now across the board and it's growing at a hyper speed, we want to make sure that the employers that need to hire and are using Glassdoor to do that are getting their jobs in front of people where they're looking for it, which is now on their mobile device.
Peter: Exactly. So you bring up something that I think a lot of people don't realize about Glassdoor, is that there is a lot of companies who are now advertising their openings through Glassdoor. What are some of the advantages that they're finding and using your platform for job advertising?
Alison: Yeah, that's a great call. As to your point, most people know us for ratings and reviews. I think the industry understands that they can use Glassdoor to help promote their brand. What many companies are now realizing, we've got over 1500 employers that are advertising their jobs on Glassdoor as well because it's not just about the candidates that already know about your company; it's how do we get the jobs out in front of the rest of the qualified, engaged, informed candidates on Glassdoor by promoting your jobs to those that don't have you top of mind.
So for companies like Facebook, Box and VMware in the Bay Area where I'm from, to also companies that people maybe wouldn't think would fall into our bucket, companies like Nordstrom, like 1-800 Contacts, like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, helping them with management trainees. Because the candidates on Glassdoor really aren't just limited to also white collar but blue collar, hourly, retail, seasonal, we're having a tremendous amount of success across different industries here helping companies hire.
What they're telling us is that when they advertise their jobs and promote their brand on Glassdoor, they're seeing significantly higher applicant quality for two reasons. One is because the candidates are doing their research on Glassdoor. They're getting sort of the good, the bad and the ugly, similar to an internal employee referral. They're highly selective.
They're going to learn about a company and then say, "You know what, yes that management consulting job, it's going to be long hours. But you know what, I'm an A player and I thrive in that environment. I know the good, the bad and the ugly. It's the right place for me. So what we're finding is that it's taking up to 2 times less résumés to get to a hire with the candidates that people are sourcing from Glassdoor.
The other reason is with our behavioral targeting. So the way that we serve up the job advertisements that are posted by the employer clients is uniquely targeted to the right members on Glassdoor, based on what they're doing on Glassdoor. When they're logged in and 80% of those that are searching for jobs on Glassdoor, they're logged in. We're able to take every single piece of information...
Lou Adler this morning was talking about LinkedIn and kind of knowing the information. We do a similar thing on Glassdoor. We just do it to benefit the employer so that we know so much about the candidates that are on Glassdoor that we can tailor the jobs that are going to show up throughout the site for them based on their background, based on their Facebook profile and based on the behavior on Glassdoor.
So this is all resulting in significantly higher applicant quality, which is helpful, and significantly less unqualified résumés because all I keep hearing now talking to people across the country is, I don't want more applicants. It's not about more, right?
Peter: Right. It's about the right ones.
Alison: Exactly. And I hire myself, the last thing I want to do on Sunday morning is sit in bed with my coffee and go, great now I've got to go through 150 résumés and maybe I want to phone screen one of them.
Alison: So that's what we're trying to do with Glassdoor. We're trying to ensure that it's not about quantity; it's about delivering a better quality applicant that is going to turn into the right fit hire and is going to end up staying at your company longer, and then becoming a fantastic brand ambassador for your company.
Peter: I want to return a little bit and talk about what is involved in a company page on Glassdoor, which I understand you can set up a company page for free. And what do you get in return for that as far as stats? What kind of information can you glean by having an active company presence on Glassdoor?
Alison: Most organizations are going to already have a company profile that's up on Glassdoor. We either pulled information from a publicly available source or someone submitted a review about that organization, which then kind of created their profile. Any company that's a representative is able to create a free employer account and get access to their profile.
A free employer account gives them really three things and frankly, I think we give away a lot because we just want employers involved in the conversation, kind of money aside. What they're able to do first is they can edit basic company information, so they can go in and make sure is the CEO name correct, is our headquarter location correct, employee size? They can do things like add a company description and add a company mission. Make sure that they're in the right industry so that when people search for them, it comes up. Then what they can do is they can even add photos. They can add awards. Again, all of this is free. So they can edit that basic company information.
The second thing that they can do is they can respond to reviews publicly. This is something that's incredibly important that getting back to that transparency, this is what today's jobseekers want. They want to see an employer that's highly involved in the process.
I told the story this morning about a public company CEO that we can't share because he thinks it's a competitive advantage. He's a public company CEO who contacted us and said, I know for a fact, because I spoke to them, that four hires that I got in the last couple of weeks said, what swayed us was when we got on Glassdoor and saw that you, the CEO of this large public company were taking the time to respond to reviews on Glassdoor. They said that's the company I want to work for, somewhere where the CEO is that engaged in the process. So that's the second thing that employers can do; they can respond to reviews publicly.
The third thing, as you mentioned, is the data and the analytics. We give away a lot of fantastic data and reports completely for free. We can show the brand awareness in the form of page views and traffic to a company's Glassdoor profile month over month. You can even select up to two other companies, any companies that you compete with so that you can actually see in real-time what your traffic is compared to them.
So if I am Facebook and I want to look at Google and I want to look at Microsoft, I'm able to actually track month over month what my brand awareness looks like and how that's changed.
I talked this morning, we talk with companies regardless of size. If they basically start hiring, they go through a hiring push or it's a certain time of year, we can see the trend and the spikes in their Glassdoor traffic that shows us when candidates were more actively researching them on Glassdoor.
We're also able to show a side-by-side comparison of demographics. We can show these are the number of people who have been actively researching you, this is who those people are. This is the age breakdown. This is the education they've received. This is the gender. This is the age, and we can again compare it to up to two other companies. We can look at the number of locations, the types of locations, the types of jobs and the other companies that those candidates have been actively researching.
It really gives you an idea of who you need to sort of message to and where those candidates are potentially looking, other than just you.
The other thing that we're able to provide for free with our analytics is show really a ratings trend over time. So we're able to show a breakdown of the amount of content that they have on their page, but we can show what the CEO rating has trended over time and we can show the overall company rating over time.
All of those things we give to anyone who wants a free employer account. You can go to glassdoor.com/employers and you can see the call to action button that's right there.
Obviously you're going to get a lot more enhanced reporting analytics when you chose to enhance your profile and purchase our employer branding. That would enable you to see things like a word cloud which our employers love. It basically pulls out a word cloud of pros and one of cons that pulls out the most common things that are cited in the reviews in aggregate.
We're able to show a company reputation heat map comparison where I can take a look at work-life balance, salary and benefits, compensation and I can see a stack ranking of me versus four other companies and how people are rating us, things like that.
When it comes to jobs, I'm able to track job click activity. What jobs are people clicking on the most? Where am I getting the most job click traffic? Is it coming directly to my profile or am I having people that don't really think about me, see my job, showcased throughout Glassdoor, and then they click on them and they find us that way?
A big key of how we do our job advertising is it's one click directly to a company's career site as opposed to clicking on a job that you might see on a job board, getting sort of hijacked to a third party site where you've got to register or log in to view the job and by that point, you're like, forget it.
Peter: Forget it, exactly.
Alison: The candidate drop-off rate is something like 90% with each individual step. On Glassdoor, every job that's being advertised directly on Glassdoor, it's a one click apply. They click on the job. They go directly to the company's career site. We pull directly from their ATS all of their jobs because the whole point of branding and promoting your jobs is to get those hires. We don't want there to be any barriers to entry.
Peter: Another lunch time question here.
Peter: Someone else said, you know what I worried about with Glassdoor is - you brought up VMware. Let's say a competitor to VMware wants to juice their rankings down so they go in and they post all of these negative reviews about VMware. How do you vet all of this content that's being brought in and published on your website to make sure that it's legitimate and valid and it's not a competitor out there trying to juice somebody else?
Alison: Juicing! You bring up a great point. So I think one thing that's important that I'm not sure people are aware of is how our content moderation works, which is different than other kind of ratings and review sites that are out there in different industries.
We have a multi-tiered review process that involves both technology and human touch. The technology aspect of the moderation includes algorithms on the backend that search for bots to ensure that they're actual human beings and not kind of spam programs that are built to create automatic reviews.
We do things like we look at IP addresses and we see if there have been multiple user accounts that have been created from one IP address or if you have multiple reviews that are going out that say different things from one IP address. There are a number of other things that I'm not able to share that we do to ensure that there's no gaming of the system.
But because technology can't kind of solve everything as I mentioned this morning, we also have a content moderation team of human beings.
Alison: Yes! That's based in Ohio. So their job is to take a look at every single piece of content, every photo, every review, every rating, every interview experience and before it goes on the site, it has to go through that team who says, yes this does meet our community guidelines or no. And when they say no, that piece of content does not get posted live on the site.
Our community guidelines are things like no profanity, things like no calling out the C-suite by name. The way we even structure our content on Glassdoor which helps us with quality is we're asking for pros and cons. We're asking advice to senior management. We're asking, where do you think this company will go? We're really creating an environment for constructive feedback that's going to help jobseekers.
When we see those ratings across the site, we recognize that most people are here because they really do want constructive information that's going to help them make a decision about a job, and as a result, we're seeing that they're kind of submitting content the same way.
So hopefully that answers your question. It's a common one. One thing we do tell employers is if they feel like something should go through further moderation, they can either flag the review so that it goes back through the cycle. They can respond to a review publicly like I talked about or they can contact us directly.
It's always trying to find that balance between being the largest transparent and trusted place for candidates to search for jobs and research companies and then also ensuring that it's a constructive environment. As I've said, I think we've done a really good job but it's evolving over time.
Peter: I think the moral of the story here is that if you want really engaged employees and if you want a stellar employer brand, as a leader of your organization, VP and above, you have to be engaged as well.
Alison: Yeah. You don't have to but I believe that if you don't, you are going to be missing out on, as you said, the candidates that everybody says that they want. There's a missed opportunity there. The ostrich head in the sand, you can do that as long as you like, but there's a world that's going by above the sand that you can leverage as an employer and use it to your benefit when it comes to really recruiting and building out company reputation.
Peter: Great. Alison, thank you very much for taking time to speak with us here at the Recruiting Trends Conference in Alexandria, Virginia. It's been very nice meeting you.
Alison: Thanks Peter. I appreciate it.
Peter: Thank you.
Thank you for tuning in today. You'll find this podcast in the Talent Acquisition Channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's totalpicture.com and of course on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and many of the podcast aggregation sites. This is Peter Clayton reporting. I'll be covering the SHRM Talent Management Conference and Expo, April 28th through the 30th in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 2013, Talent Board evaluated survey responses from 46,000 candidates who applied to approximately 95 forward-thinking companies eager to look in-depth at their candidates experience
"Winners of the 2013 CandE Awards were more likely than non-winners to set expectations and describe key components of the application for their candidates, had more job-relevant components in the application, and were more likely to seek feedback from their candidates."
If you lead a company, a business unit, a team; are involved in talent acquisition, human resources, recruiting, employee engagement or retention, or aspire to any of these roles, today's podcast will be particularly relevant to you.
This is Peter Clayton reporting with a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. I've been privileged to be a Council Member of the Candidate Experience Awards (the CandEs), founded in 2010 by Gerry Crispin, Elaine Orler, and Ed Newman. Talent Board, "the founding non-profit behind the CandE Awards, truly believed then, as we do now, that a business that treats its candidates well - even those candidates who are not hired - benefits in measurable ways and should be recognized for their success." On today's podcast, Elaine Orler provides an inside look at creating the 2013 Candidate Experience Benchmarking Report -- along with some of the results that may surprise you.
In addition to the awards, (which will be presented this September in Chicago), each year, the Committee analyzes the data collected to publish an in-depth benchmarking report which serves as a blueprint and guide organizations can use to evaluate their talent acquisition process as it relates to the candidate experience. There is NO COST to receive the report. The North American Candidate Experinece awards program has grown to a significant dataset: In In 2013, Talent Board evaluated survey responses from 46,000 candidates who applied to approximately 95 forward-thinking companies eager to look in-depth at their candidates experience and see where there was room for improvement. "The expansive response from companies and candidates alike highlights the growing importance that both parties place on the candidate experience."
The 1st Annual Recruiting Service Innovation Awards (the ReSIs) Recognizing Innovators & Game Changers in Hiring in the New Economy
"By the end of 2016, the employment services industry is projected to grow to an annual value of $490.1 billion"
The 1st Annual Recruiting Service Innovation Awards (the ReSIs) will be presented on June 25, 2014, following the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida. Joining Peter Clayton for a special Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio is Kara Yarnot, Chair of the 2014 ReSI Selection Committee and founder of Meritage Talent Solutions.
According to a recent press release announcing The ReSIs, the new initiative "sponsored by Boxwood Technology and Simply Hired, are the first accolade to recognize ground-breaking sourcing and recruiting products and services that help employers "optimize their recruiters' experience." Why is that important? Nan Weitzmann, Americas Talent Acquisition Leader at Hewlett Packard and a member of the ReSIs Selection Committee, explains: "The ReSIs recognize those solutions that provide a value-add to improve the recruiter experience. When recruiters are more effective and productive, the hiring process moves more quickly and enhances the overall candidate and hiring experience."
Peter Clayton interviews the sourcing master, Shally Steckerl, at the Recruiting Trends Conference in Las Vegas.
"It's easy to find a needle in a haystack - you use a magnet. But finding a needle in a stack of needles is another kind of challenge." Shally Steckerl
From outreach through social media to specialized Google commands, The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook is a dynamic weapon for recruiters, professionals, and sourcing specialists wishing to compete in the global marketplace.
Our special guest today on TotalPicture Radio, Shally Steckerl, is often credited with being one of the founding fathers of the Talent Sourcing specialization within Recruitment and Human Resources. A globally recognized recruiting thought leader, over the last two decades Shally has helped build sourcing organizations for companies like Microsoft, Google, Coca Cola, Cisco, and Motorola among many others. Today, as President of The Sourcing Institute and Director of the Board for The Sourcing Institute Foundation a 501(c)(3) public charity, Mr. Steckerl advises recruiting leaders on successfully embedding key sourcing initiatives into their current efforts, improve the performance of their existing sourcing teams, and establish sourcing functions from the ground up.
Shally is a highly sought after speaker who has presented at every major recruitment conference worldwide including SHRM, ERE, Sourcecon, Recruiting Trends/Kenndy-Onrec, and Talent 42 among many others. His presentation topics have ranged from Recruiting Social: Leveraging LinkedIn to The Top Four Cures for Your Sourcing Slump. He also serves as adjunct Faculty at Temple University's Fox School of Business where he is the first professor to teach an HR capstone course entirely dedicated to recruitment and sourcing.
Often compared to a shot of adrenalin for recruitment organizations held back by confusion, hesitation or fear Shally's unparalleled obsession for talent sourcing continuously drives him to probe for practical solutions where nobody has looked before. He delivers the courage recruiting leaders need to walk the edge to success in today's over-informed world.
Covering all the latest trends, tools, tips, and tricks, the focus of The Talent Sourcing & Recruitment Handbook is placed on practical applications that improve the acquisition, onboarding, and management of employees-sourcing them better, smarter, faster, and cheaper than the competition.
Stay tuned -- The Video Version Our exclusive interview with Shally will air soon! Happy Holidays!
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