Sponsored by

Employers: Click on the RecruitiFi Grapic and save $50 on your first Jobcast!

TotalPicture Radio Podcast

Newsletter

HTML | Text | Mobile

Become a Sponsor

Info!

Information on becoming a Sponsor for TotalPicture Radio podcasts is available on our FAQ page, or feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Suggested Podcasts

Best Recruiter Program

In 2008, CleardJobs.Net launched the "Best Recruiter Program" providing the spark for the Candidate Experience Awards

 
Kathleen Smith, Chief Marketing Officer of ClearedJobs.net, interviewed by Peter Clayton -TotalPicture Radio Kathleen Smith

When a CFO asks you, "what is the ROI?" what to you tell her?

Over the past few years, The Candidate Experience has been recognized as an integral part of a talent acquisition strategy - and as the economy improves and the demand for talent intensifies, more companies are realizing there's a real cost to the lack of communication with candidates as well as the proverbial black hole created by many corporate ATSs.

More than six years ago, ClearedJobs.Net launched the Best Recruiter program to inspire recruiters to bring their "A" game to Cleared Job Fairs.

This is Peter Clayton, welcome to a special Talent Acquisition Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. As many of you know who regularly listen to this podcast, I'm proud to be a member of the Candidate Experience Awards - CandE Council. Now in its fourth year, 150 companies participated in the 2014 award competition, 95,400 candidates responded to the detailed candidate experience survey, and 62 companies became 2014 CandE winners.

Joining me today to discuss the candidate experience and the recruiter's role in elevating what for many job applicants is a nerve-racking and depressing ordeal is Kathleen Smith, Chief Marketing Officer of ClearedJobs.Net, a veteran owned company headquartered in the heart of the defense and intelligence community, Washington, DC. As its name implies, CleardJobs.Net is focused on providing support to cleared facilities employers and security cleared professionals.

Kathleen Smith, Best Recruiter Transcript

Over the past few years the candidate experience has been recognized as an integral part of a talent acquisition strategy and as the economy improves and the demand for talent intensifies, more companies are realizing there's a real cost to the lack of communication with candidates as well as the proverbial black hole created by many corporate applicant tracking systems.

More than six years ago, Clearedjobs.net launched the Best Recruiter Program to inspire recruiters to bring their A-game to Cleared Job fairs.

Hi this is Peter Clayton. Welcome to a special talent acquisition channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. As many of you know who regularly listen to this podcast, I'm proud to be a member of the Candidate Experience Awards, The CandE Council. Now in its fourth year, 150 companies participated in the 2014 award competition, 95,400 candidates responded to the detailed candidate experience survey and 62 companies became 2014 CandE winners.

Joining me today to discuss the candidate experience, and the recruiter's role in elevating, for what many job applicants, is a nerve-racking and depressing ordeal is Kathleen Smith, Chief Marketing Officer of ClearedJobs.net; a veteran owned company headquartered in the heart of the defense and intelligence community, Washington D.C. As its name implies, ClearedJobs.net is focused on providing support to cleared facilities, employers, and security cleared professionals.

Kathleen, welcome to TotalPicture Radio.

Kathleen: Oh it's so wonderful to be here.

Peter:: You and I met last month at the International Association of Employment Websites, the IAEWS congress out in Las Vegas, and as a member of the CandE Council, I was really of course, interested in learning from you about your Best Recruiter Program. So give us some background of why and when was this initiative started.

Kathleen: This initiative was started because a component of our business is doing Cleared Job fairs. Even though we are a job board, we do have a component of our business that is Cleared Job fairs. An integration of online with offline is really important in our niche community because we deal with security cleared professionals. Those security cleared professionals are wary of putting their information out online. So we make sure that many of the professionals who want to check us out beforehand that they have an opportunity to come to one of our Cleared Job fairs. It is also something that many of the employers in our space are more comfortable working with a job fair as part of their overall talent acquisition strategy, because sometimes having those one-on-one conversations before the recruitment process starts really helps both parties.

One thing we had started doing Cleared Job fairs in 2004 and we started to see toward the end of 2006-2007 this negative trend happening, where many of the employers were really singling out only one type of candidate that they wanted to interview. For example, you would have 10 to 20 different candidates come to one employer booth but they would only speak with one of those candidates because that one candidate had a very highly specialized security clearance. It was starting a trend of job seekers not wanting to be part of the overall recruiting engagement process because they felt 'I'm not going to be attractive to this employer because I don't have this highly specialized security clearance.' It was also a negative impact on our community because many of the job seekers who did have that highly specialized security clearance had been always told do not advertise the fact that you have this security clearance. So it was not creating a win-win situation for both of our customers, our job seekers, and our cleared facilities employers. So we really went back to the job seekers and asked them what they wanted to do as part of this process, and they really wanted to provide feedback and have a conversation.

We actually started the Best Recruiter Program where we had just a very qualitative statement on our surveys that said which teams provided the best overall recruiting experience. What was great was seeing that the job seekers really felt that they had a voice in this engagement process rather than it being solely recruiter driven. It was also meeting halfway between the recruiter and the job seeker. What was nice about this is as we rolled out the program, more recruiters were starting to realize that they needed to be more engaged with the candidate rather than singling them out at the first stage of the process and saying I don't want to talk to you.

One of the benefits of this has been the word of mouth. A lot of the job seekers in our niche community of security cleared professionals really rely on word of mouth. They really rely on the experience that other job seekers have had at career events to say 'I really enjoyed talking to this recruiter at company A,' or 'they really provided me good feedback at this other company.' What was interesting is watching the recruiters responses to saying 'wow, I can actually have fun with this, I can actually enjoy this process.' A lot of people say career events are not fun, they're not enjoyable.

What we found is as we rolled out the program, the recruiters were really beginning to realize that this presence that they had at the Cleared Job fairs was part of promoting their personal brand and also the overall brand of their company, and it really became more about sharing their brand experience, sharing their candidate experience and engaging a larger community.

It was very interesting in the beginning we had one or two companies that I will just say are one of the larger companies in the Beltway space and they had said 'oh no, we only want to talk to one type of candidate,' and I said 'do you realize that you are narrowing your talent pipeline by putting it out there that you're only going to talk to one kind of candidate.' I said why don't we do it this way, why don't we take down your sign that says you're only going to talk to a certain kind of candidate; why don't we have you come out from in front of your table and why don't you just have conversations; engage with everyone and engage with all the candidates, talking to them one-on-one.

What was interesting is at the end of the event, the recruiters came back and said they had a great time, that they had actually found four candidates that they never would have found before if they had sat behind their table like they planned to, and they also won best recruiter.

So it's interesting once we were able to explain the benefits of the program from the job seekers' standpoint and present that to the recruiters, they really got on board with the program. We've seen so many wonderful benefits from the program since launching it.

Peter:: So wait a minute here Kathleen, at your job fairs people actually had signs up 'we only want to talk to you if you have this type of clearance'?

Kathleen: Yes.

Peter:: {laughs} Well that's sure going to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy.

Kathleen: Yes, as I said, it was starting to have a real negative impact on the community at large and you're talking about a talent pool that is responsible for supporting our country and supporting the overall mission of protecting our country. These are people that we would want to engage positively and we were really noticing, as a company, that this particular habit was negatively impacting the community. So we were really happy that since we started this program we're seeing less and less of those kind of behaviors.

Peter:: Can you share with us some other tangible results from starting this program with some of the other companies who have sort of gotten the message here that you want to talk... they're there anyway, why not talk to the candidates that show up at this thing?

Kathleen: Well, just like there are so many different job boards, there are many different job fair companies, and what we do with the Best Recruiter Program is we share with each one of the recruiters when they come to the event that there is this program. Then we share with the job seekers that they have an opportunity to vote. At the end of the job fair, we tally up the top three companies that were voted best recruiters and we tell them, and it's great to see them sort of jump up and down and get excited. We then send them a Best Recruiter certificate. We also send that to their senior management, so their senior management knows that hey, frontline recruiters and the hiring managers are really putting forth the brand of the company. We then also share that over social media; Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. At the end of the year we actually bring all of the recruiters together for what's the Best Recruiter celebration. We just had ours last week. This is an opportunity where all of the recruiters get to support each other. They get to see the other recruiters in this space that are voted best recruiter. They all have their picture taken by a professional photographer that's then used for their social media. They get a Best Recruiter t-shirt, and then we also bring in a national keynote speaker because many of the recruiters in this space don't have the opportunity to go to any of the national recruiting conferences. We've had Peter: Weddles, Kelly Dingee, Jenny DeVaughn, and Gerry Crispin, just to name a few, who have come in to sort of share what it is to be a best recruiter and really recognize our teams of companies who have been voted Best Recruiters.

It's been great seeing what a lot of the companies have done to be receptive of this program. Several of the managers called me right after their recruiters were voted Best Recruiter and asked me more about the program so that they could put in for those recruiters getting bonuses. Several of the recruiting managers now wait for the phone call at the end of the job fair to see if their team won it or not. There are one of two companies that tell their recruiters if they don't win Best Recruiter they have to work late that night. We have several recruiters who actually put on their LinkedIn profile and their résumé that they are Best Recruiters and they actually move on to other companies, share the program and then those companies bring their A0game to the job fairs and they're voted Best Recruiter.

So those are just some of the great benefits the companies have seen from being part of the program.

Peter:: There's something I'd like to sort of emphasize here in which you were just talking about and one of the things you told me out in Las Vegas is that this Best Recruiter Program, the recruiters who, in some of the companies, who have received this, it impacts their yearend bonus, so there's a financial reward in being a good recruiter as well.

Kathleen: It's not only a financial reward but I think it's... which is we'd all like more money in our checks at the end of the year, but I think it's also making sure that these recruiters who have always provided this good experience know that this is part of the trend rather than bucking the trend. A lot of recruiters think it's only about metrics, it's only making sure that I meet my quota or getting butts in seats but as we've seen, when a recruiter is able to bring in a good candidate and be able to share the overall company brand then that resonates with the job seekers so they know this is the kind of company I want to be part of.

Because a lot of times what happens is right before our events, all the best recruiters now know each other; we've built this little community and they actually talk to each other before the event and say 'what are you looking for, what contract did you just win, do you need one specific type of skill set,' so if I talk to a candidate and I don't have anything for them, they will refer them over to another booth, which in the old days, if you had talked to companies that were at a job fair they would be fighting over the same talent. Now they're all sharing the talent within the community.

Peter:: There's something else that I think people who are listening to this need to understand about the kinds of people that you, your companies are looking for and the challenges that they have. Because all of this is government contract work, oftentimes companies will put out proposals and bids for very, very large contracts and then sit and wait to hear whether they won or not but in the meantime they have to have a pipeline of people that they've identified if they do win the contract because they have to go up to speed immediately to start satisfying that contract. So there's a real challenge there.

Kathleen: There is a real challenge because as you said, the government contracts can take several months to submit a proposal, then win the award and then all of the sudden when the award is won, the butts have to be in the seats within 21 days. That's really hard when you're talking about an extremely specialized community, and a lot of these people are - many of them have loyalty to specific contracts, specific agencies, just specific companies. So unless you've really built a very good rapport with these candidates, you're not going to be able get them to move rather quickly.

This is one of the communities, like there are many out there, that really don't like the 'I've got a hot job, I've got this immediate need.' You see that all the time and it's an immediate turnoff to any of the talent in our community because they're really looking for a company that's stable but also a recruiter that understands the industry and has built their pipelines.

Peter:: When a CFO from one of your sponsor companies asks you what is the ROI of doing this Best Recruiter Program, what do you tell them?

Kathleen: Well I, unfortunately, don't have exact quantitative metrics, but I can definitely tell you that as the recruiters are able to say they're able to bring in more hires through the job fairs, we're definitely seeing a positive ROI on that. On average we'll see between five and nine hires per company per job fair, which is pretty rare within the industry, but the recruiters are able to say that because they've built sort of this pipeline. What's nice is, in this community, a lot of the job seekers will come back to the job fairs to be able to say, 'hey, how's things going,' just sort of keeping in touch, which contracts are you bidding on, proposals... So it's actually just an ongoing offline networking. There's so much online networking that goes on, but in this community, online networking really hasn't caught up to the way it is in the rest of the recruiting world.

As far as the ROI, it's also the additional marketing benefits that we provide, as far as this program. So many of the customers in our space are slower to adapt in social media. So being able to share these company names over Twitter, over Facebook, over LinkedIn repeatedly throughout the year and also in the press release and on the wall of fame, it is a third party recognition of these companies and what they're doing. This is such a competitive space that being able to say 'hey, our recruiters are voted Best Recruiter.' That really has a significant impact as far as the candidates looking at that company.

What was said - Similar to the Candidate Experience Awards, job seekers are really looking at those as okay, I'm used to seeing this company, I have my own certain image of what they're about, but if they're getting these Candidate Experience Awards, if they're getting this Best Recruiter Award, maybe I need to look at them again.

Peter:: I think that's really interesting and certainly the experience that we've had with the Candidate Experience Awards and the candidates themselves and of course, like I said, at the open of this thing we had over 96,000 candidates submit very detailed surveys this year. Of course, most of those were candidates who did not get the job at the company that we're inquiring about. So candidates really care about this stuff and are willing to put the time and effort in to try to make this experience better.

Kathleen: Well job search is a personal process versus it's not as personal for recruiters. So this is part of a way of having that conversation, and I think that job seekers have really responded very well to this program over the seven years that we've been doing it.

What's interesting is I know that in social media and in blogs a lot of companies are hesitant about being out there in this space because they're afraid they'll get negative comments or they'll be spammed or something like that. I can say we've only had a handful, a very, very small handful of negative comments over the years and they've really have been more constructive criticism versus anything really negative about the company.

So when you look at how many surveys have been submitted over the years, how many companies have won, and to have less than five negative comments, I really don't think that companies should be hesitant about having that conversation with job seekers because I think you're going to get more constructive criticism versus all negative criticism.

Peter:: One last question and comment; you're in a very specialized market obviously and a unique sort of value proposition in that your job board really drives your job fairs and they are integral and work together. The only other example that I can think of that would relate specifically to the way your business works are companies who are specifically in college recruiting because so much of that is through job fairs, and their job boards again are driving candidates to these job fairs.

Kathleen: Well I think that if you step back from it, you can actually see that while we're all very interested in being more efficient and effective online, at the end of the day we do want some kind of offline interaction.

One thing I talk to my recruiters and my job seekers about is this is eventually going to be a face-to-face conversation, why not have it at the beginning of the process rather than at the end of the process or somewhere in between.

Yes, having the job fairs is big within the college space, many on the campuses, but I can see this working in the healthcare industry, I know oil and gas... you have other than something that's highly IT, at the end of the day you're always going to want to know can your candidate fit within your company culture. That is so important in our industry because not only do you have the hiring manager and the program manager but you have the end client that you also have to match that culture. That's sort of the intricacies of our business, but I think that we've seen this rise in meet-ups and a variety of offline meetings that have been instigated by online; I think we're going to... I would like to see us doing more offline interactions with job seekers because at the end of the day, it's people to people rather than online to online.

Peter:: Absolutely. Kathleen, thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today here on TotalPicture Radio.

Kathleen: It's been my pleasure Peter:, thank you.

Peter:: Kathleen Smith is Chief Marketing Officer of ClearedJobs.net. Kathleen, how can people connect with you on social media?

Kathleen: My personal Twitter feed is YesItsKathleen. We also have our main Twitter account which is ClearedJobsNet. If you're involved in the military, we also have ClearedMilitary. We are on Facebook and we are also on LinkedIn. You may also reach us at www.clearedjobs.net.

Peter:: Great. Thank you so much.

Kathleen: Thank you.

Hey employers, if you're having trouble finding qualified candidates for your mission critical openings, crowd source with top recruiters who have vetted highly qualified candidates ready and willing to interview now. With RecruitiFi, you can fill your positions in a matter of weeks, not months, at a fraction of the cost of using a full service executive search agency. Remember use the link on Kathleen's show page on TotalPicture Radio; that's totalpicture.com, and your first RecruitiFi job cast listing is on the house. RecruitiFi, the next generation in recruiting.

This is Peter: Clayton reporting, thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio.

Questions Peter: Clayton asks Kathleen Smith in this Podcast:

  • Kathleen and I met last month at the International Association of Employment Web Sites - IAEWS Congress in Las Vegas - and as a member of the CandE Council, I was, of course, interested to learn from Kathleen about their Best Recruiter Program - so give us some background - why and when was this initiative started? The Best Recruiter Celebration, an invitation only event to those recruiters who have been recognized as Best Recruiters, was recently held in Washington, DC From your perspective, what have you been able to accomplish?
  • The Best Recruiter Celebration, an invitation only event to those recruiters who have been recognized as Best Recruiters, was recently held in Washington, DC. How was this year's event in comparison to years' past?
  • Initially, how did recruiters respond to this idea?
  • What have been some tangible results you can share with us?
  • From your perspective, what have you been able to accomplish?
  • When a CFO asks you, "what is the ROI?" what to you tell her?
Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

Discussion

Posting advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
ads by google
Posted in:
Interview Channels,
Talent Acquisition Interviews