MMA Blog

Recruiting Trends - Employers Adopting New Approaches

In today's changing workforce, businesses are seeking competitive advantage wherever possible.  In the last five years, the role of recruitment has moved to the top of the list when companies are asked what activity plays the most important role in driving success. This is not surprising when you consider companies need to hire people who are adaptable, loyal, knowledgeable, dependable and confident, thereby creating a foundation for success. What is surprising are the latest trends that companies are implementing to find the best and brightest. Let's take a look at some of these approaches that are raising eyebrows-they should make every company stop to consider how far they will go to hire the "perfect candidate".

  1. Amazon.com - utilizes bar raisers who must sign off on would be hires. Bar raisers are skilled evaluators who, while holding full-time jobs at the company in a range of departments, play a crucial role in Amazon's hiring process, interviewing job candidates in other parts of the company. They can veto any candidate even if their expertise is in an area that has nothing to do with the prospective employee's.  There are several hundred bar raisers across the company which currently employs 110,000 employees.  Some employees shun the bar-raiser designation, a voluntary program that comes with no extra pay, even though it reportedly can lead to speedier promotions, because of the time demands. Bar raisers may be asked to assess as many as 10 candidates a week, for between two and three hours each, including paperwork and meetings - all while doing their regular full-time job, be it in finance, marketing or product development.  Most others, though, must endure an obstacle course of phone interviews and one-on-one sessions. The interviewers then write evaluations and then meet to discuss the candidate. Inside Amazon, evaluating an applicant typically takes five or six employees at least two hours each.
  2. Google - asks candidates their IQ's, and poses brain-teasers.
  3. Microsoft - relies on a team of senior executives known as as-appropriates in the late stages of considering some applicants to evaluate emotional and cultural appropriateness for jobs.
  4. Facebook Inc. - asks some job hopefuls tricky coding questions or solutions to business challenges such as "If you were a pizza-delivery person, how would you benefit from scissors?"
  5. BAE Systems - teaches staffers to recognize hidden biases or unconscious bias-defined as an implicit preference for certain groups (a.k.a. the "halo effect") - that often influences important workplace decisions. To date, this is the most requested and popular diversity-training topic in 2014. Aims at getting managers to identify where bias may have crept into their thought processes rather than blaming anyone for the scarcity of women and minorities in top spots.
  6. PepsiCo - discovered ninety percent of prospective applicants clicked through job-related emails from the company on their mobile phones. Saw an 800% increase in job applications that were started on mobile phones. PepsiCo's global talent HR group realized it needed to reach people from their pockets. Is rolling out a new career site that lets people hunt for jobs, and for the first time, apply for jobs using their mobile phones.
  7. Oracle - utilizes phone interviews, in-person interviews, mock presentations, personality tests and technical tests to verify that the skills exist that applicants claim to have.
  8. Silicon Valley High-Tech Startups - utilizes gamificationtechniques to identify employees who are susceptible to subtle influencing. The term refers to transferring the features that motivate players in videogames achievement levels, say, or a constantly running score into nongame settings. Gamification systems are possible because much of what we do in the workplace is conducted through software that can track our productivity, constantly measure our value and apply incentives that prod us to do better. There are several startups pushing the idea, and they offer only the barest evidence that game like systems might significantly improve how people work. But some gamification companies have grown rapidly, especially in systems for workers in sales and customer service. Game like techniques are being used to push employees to live healthier lifestyles (your company might give you a wearable health tracker that awards badges for your weekend activity), collaborate with their co-workers (get badges for engaging with the office-based social network), and improve interpersonal skills (customers and co-workers might award you points for smiles).
  9. Procter & Gamble - seeks out influencers, or those among their employees who are particularly well connected and trusted by their peers. Once found, the firms are harnessing these workers' clout to come up with new products, get workers on board with big changes like mergers, or spread information throughout the organization. Typically, such employees often went unnoticed, lost in organizational charts. But the rise of social media has highlighted the importance of networks, and companies are determined to capitalize on the power players lurking in their workforces. The influencers reap benefits, too: more money, promotions and opportunities to rub shoulders with top executives. Top influencer traits include: Outgoing; Empathetic; Accessible; Energizing; and Optimistic. They focus on solutions, not what can't work. To find these people, companies conduct surveys, asking questions like, "Who do you go to when you're having a bad day at work?" or "Who do you go to when you have a question that seems obvious?" They may also tap into email and calendar data, often stripped of content to preserve privacy, or internal messaging sites. The result is often mapped out as a spider web of connections. Executives say the influencers are sometimes already in jobs that reflect their skills such - as a project manager who works with several departments - but they say they have also been surprised to discover, for example, an IT worker holding together a tenuous connection between offices on two continents.

As you can see, it is a brave, new world when it comes to recruiting in today's job market.  Once upon a time, finding candidates meant posting a job description, and then waiting.  Today, everything is different:  Jobs are different; Jobseekers are different; and Technology is different.  After reading some of the current strategies above that companies are embracing, recognize there are great opportunities for developing new, comprehensive recruiting platforms that can help you successfully adapt to the new recruiting environment-and keep ahead of the competition in the race for high-quality hires that best fits your culture. 

Posted February 18, 2014

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