Verified First Makes Inc. 5000 List for Third Consecutive Year

Inc. magazine today revealed that Verified First is No. 1328 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. This is Verified First's third consecutive year on the list-- a distinction only one in five honorees claim.

So today, you can bet we’re feeling like this:

"Making the list even two years in a row was a huge accomplishment for us," said CEO, Devon Dickinson. "Making the list three years in a row is a major testament to the growth mindset of our employees and dedication to breaking through with industry-disrupting tech solutions for our clients."

So how does a background screening provider achieve this award-winning year-over-year growth? Verified First has "cracked the nut" on delivering a better experience to organizations - one that’s faster, easier, more affordable, and more accessible. 

We help HR tidy up their tech stack by providing a delivery method so simple, even Marie Kondo would approve. Sure, Verified First offers a tried and true background screening experience via web-based portal; but we know that may be one-too-many disconnected systems for our clients to interact with. We thought, why not work with the HR systems our clients already have in place? So we built those background screening solutions too.

Our clients stick with us because we are focused on helping them achieve their hiring goals. We specialize in serving the SMB market of U.S.-based companies with a strategic partner approach - with our compliance, legal, SHRM- and NAPBS-certified experts - all stateside.

“There is a lot of excitement about what Verified First is accomplishing for its clients and the trajectory of the company,” said Dickinson.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

Volunteers are a critical part of many nonprofit organizations. Without enough helping hands, services can’t be provided, missions can’t be achieved, and important social issues can’t be addressed. In this scenario, everybody loses. According to research from Independent Sector, 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours of their time to improve and strengthen their communities. And with each volunteer hour being calculated at $25.43, there’s a whole lot of value to be had. Recruiting and keeping volunteers isn’t easy, and it doesn’t always deliver the ROI your nonprofit is looking for. If you’re feeling frustrated by a lack of volunteers, here are a couple key things that can help you find enthusiastic volunteers.

Get your message right

Your organization most likely has spent hours on crafting and fine tuning your company mission statement, value proposition, and brand messaging. Perhaps you’ve even spent precious budget dollars bringing in an expert to help. Well now it’s time to touch base with your marketing guru to ensure you’re reflecting that messaging in your call-for-volunteers communication efforts.    Many charities rely on donations to keep them running. Some have focused primarily on cultivating much needed donors and dollars. Unfortunately, this messaging may not be hitting the right buttons with potential volunteers. There are lots of people who would rather give money than time but if your nonprofit also needs volunteers, you’ll want to make sure you’re speaking their language as well. 

Is there a prominent volunteer page on your website? Take a close look at what it says and ask:

  •  Are you conveying your brand personality to give potential volunteers a glimpse into what your members are like? 
    • Goal: Be likeable so they want to work with your members.
  • Are you providing content that will allow potential volunteers to feel passionate about your mission? 
    • Goal: Elicit positive emotions among those considering joining your organization
  • Are you ‘painting the picture’ that gives potential volunteers a clear understanding of what they could be doing? 
    • Goal: They can visualize themselves helping out at your organization.
  • Are you including enough detail to ensure they have what they need to make a decision? To take action and quickly apply to your organization?
    • Goal: Get them to immediately apply to volunteer. 

 Include specific copy points on your website and/or other promotional materials:

  • Who the organization is, and it’s mission
  • How vital a role the organization plays in the community, and to achieving the cause
  • The volunteer roles available and what they entail
  • How these roles are critical to the mission
  • How volunteers are valued and appreciated 
  • Call to action: how to get answers to questions, and how to easily apply to volunteer 
Bottom line, make it easy for volunteers to ask questions, get details, see that good things are happening, and start the process of getting involved. Emphasize how vital, important, and appreciated volunteers are to your organization— and to the community.

 Ask for referrals

Why do your best volunteers consistently give you their time, energy, and passion? Because they believe so strongly in the work that you do! Why not let them be your best volunteer recruiting tool? Research has shown that people are four times more likely to buy from a particular business when referred by a friend. It’s worth finding out if the same is true for your volunteers.  Volunteers don’t always actively invite others to join in on the causes they support. They might assume their friends aren’t interested in the same things or that they are too busy to help. They may be intimidated to bring it up. Many times, it’s simply because it didn’t occur to them. Talk to your volunteers about bringing friends, family, or even their workplaces in on the fun. This doesn’t have to be a high pressure ask. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of planting that seed and watching it grow. In this scenario, everybody wins!   While messaging and referrals are key tactics for identifying the best volunteers, you'll also want to ensure that each of your volunteers undergoes a thorough background check. Volunteers are the face of your organization, which is why it's so critical to make sure you have the right people on your team. To learn more about background screening for nonprofits, click here.A Nonprofit's guide to background screening When you think about nonprofit volunteers, what comes to mind? You’re probably picturing honest, kind, and selfless people who truly love helping others. You know, the kind of people you can count on to come through for you. The kind of people you can trust. For nonprofits with little extra time and money, conducting background checks on these kinds of people would be a waste of precious organizational resources, right?  Wrong! 

Got volunteers? Make sure they check out.

It’s tempting to assume that your volunteers are all standup citizens who just want to make a difference in their communities. And quite honestly, this is probably true most of the time. That said, background checks are a very important part of making sure that’s actually the case.  Why should you do background checks? For lots of reasons! Key areas of concern include:
  • Public safety
  • Non-compliance
  • Liability and Litigation
  • Negative outcomes and publicity
  • Quality volunteers for quality output
Proactive background checks can help reduce the risk of something going awry by weeding out potential dangers before they become a problem.

Who are the right volunteers?

Let’s start with who is the typical volunteer. According to the most recent survey released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS), volunteers tend to be married, white, female, between 35-44 years old, with higher education levels and children under 18.  Many nonprofits rely on volunteers to keep their organizations running. No volunteers means no programs, no life-changing services, and no helping those who need it most. In some cases, it can also mean no funding. After all, if you aren’t able to carry out your mission, no one is going to be inspired to give you money. Unfortunately, not all volunteers are the right volunteers. Depending on the populations you work with and the things you need done, the volunteer pool available to you will change. Some volunteer opportunities can cast a wide net. Things like work parties, event help, and phone banking are accessible to lots of different people. Other volunteer needs are much more specific and can require close one-on-one contact, confidentiality issues, and working with sensitive populations like children and the elderly. The most common volunteer activity involves collecting and distributing food (USBLS survey). Great volunteers can help you accomplish your goals and make your community a better place. The wrong volunteers can do a lot of damage— causing harm to your clients, your staff, your reputation, and your organization as a whole. The right volunteers are those who believe in your mission and want to be part of it. They’re willing to donate their time - and the median amount of time per year spent volunteering was 52 hours either with one or two organizations (USBLS survey). They’re also willing to follow protocol and participate in any necessary background checks as part of the process. 

What are the right background checks for volunteers?

What kinds of things should you be looking for with a background check? That depends on the volunteer roles you are trying to fill. Will your volunteers be working with money? Are they interacting with children? Is driving a requirement? Common screening options include the following:
  •     Criminal history check
  •     Sex offender registry
  •     Identity verification
  •     Driving checks
  •     Drug testing
  •     Verification of employment 
Not every volunteer will need every screening, yet every volunteer should be screened. To be most efficient with your time and resources, you’ll want to consider what makes the most sense for each position or role you need to fill. The next step is to do your research and choose a verification service that can deliver what you need, when and how you need it.  Once you’ve made those determinations, commit to being consistent. That one time you decide to skip the background check could be that one time that gets you in trouble. This would also include rescreening volunteers annually, especially those who return to volunteer months later.  The right background checks aren’t the cheapest background checks, the one-size-fits-all background checks, or the randomly applied background checks. The right background checks provide a thorough evaluation to help you find the right volunteers to help you achieve your goals. That way, your nonprofit can get back to doing what it does best: making a difference.   Moving from unconscious bias to inclusive leadership As written by Dr. Shirley Davis,  In the previous issue I explained that everyone has bias and that when left unchecked, it can have a negative impact on everyday interactions and decisions, particularly as leaders. I also suggested that simply being aware that we all have bias does not let us off the hook—that given a more global, diverse, multi-generational, and multi-cultural society, we have to practice inclusive leadership.  Simply put, this means that leaders must: 1) value diversity and work to foster a more inclusive workplace culture;  2) they need to develop new competencies, skill sets, and a new mindset for leading the workforce of today and in the future; 3) they must recognize that great talent comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, preferences, backgrounds, and ethnicities;and 4) they must embrace the reality that inclusive leadership is becoming the new normal and a key lever for attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent and for achieving competitive advantage, high performance, and business success. Becoming an inclusive leader is not as easy as it sounds. It is much more than a title, giving a hug, and being nice. It requires intentionality. It demands a paradigm shift and openness to different ways of thinking and doing things. It means leaning in to some discomfort and demonstrating courage to embrace the unknown and the unfamiliar. These requirements of 21stcentury leaders are driven by the needs and expectations of the new generation of workers that will dominate the workforce and change the way the work gets done and the way that leaders lead. For example, we already have five generations working alongside each other; nearly half of the global workforce is comprised of women; nearly 10,000 baby boomers are exiting the U.S. workforce every day and in the next fifteen years, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce; 40% of the U.S. workforce today works part-time, remotely, and virtually; 60% of all degrees (from Associate to Doctorates) are now earned by women; and I could go on, but the heart of the matter is that amidst these demographic disruptors, the ability for leaders to lead across different work styles, world views, belief systems, time zones, communication styles, personality styles, and unique needs and expectations requires inclusive leadership. It’s been said by Marshall Goldsmith that “what got you here, won’t get you there.” And that couldn’t be truer today. The leadership traits and competencies that were needed in the 20thcentury won’t work for the workforce of 2030. So what are they? Combined with my 20+ years of HR experience and certification as a leadership coach as well as the latest research on 21stcentury leadership, below is a list of common skills and competencies (not in any order). Review the list and take a personal assessment of how effectively you demonstrate each of these. 21st Century Leadership Competencies
  • Adaptability
  • Passionate
  • Strategic (visionary)
  • Risk Taker
  • Decision-maker
  • Inspirational
  • People Skills
  • Empowering
  • Manage less
  • Technologically savvy
  • Trustworthy
  • Team-oriented
  • Results-oriented
  • Authentic & transparent
  • Self-Awareness
  • Accountable
  • Keeps it fun
  • Knowledgeable
The new generation of workers want leaders who connect with them, understand their individual needs, inspire them to grow and become better, treat them fairly and respectfully, and give them a sense of belonging and meaning at work. When leaders become more adept in demonstrating the competencies and traits that workers value in the workplace, they are building the kind of workplace culture that attracts top talent, increases engagement and productivity, fuels innovation and creativity, increases retention, and positively impacts the customer service experience. And most importantly, they are fostering a culture of inclusion and high performance that contributes to business success and long term sustainability. To learn more about how Inclusive Leadership contributes to increasing employee engagement, job satisfaction, better employer brand, team performance, talent retention, and drives innovation, please take my new LinkedIn Learning course titled, “Inclusive Leadership”. It’s a must-have for all leaders. About the Author Dr. Shirley Davis is a well-respected thought leader and keynote speaker on the changing global workforce and culture transformation.  She is the author of “The Seat: How to Get Invited to the Table When You’re Over-Performing and Undervalued.”  Learn more about her at www.drshirleydavis.comGreenhouse HRWins workplace intelligence report Based on findings from the HRWins and Greenhouse Workplace Intelligence Report On behalf of the HCM industry, many thanks to George Larocque, the mastermind of HRWins and the Workplace Intelligence Report, and to Greenhouse for making this thought-provoking report possible.  At Verified First, we found it incredibly difficult to select what we wanted to dig into more as a finding from this report, because we find so much of it highly relevant and fantastically valuable. We chose to focus on a report finding that we’ve heard from our own clients they struggle with.   ACTION: Give HR the tools they need to hire and retain employees. “We aren’t preparing managers to be good at hiring and retaining their teams,” concludes The Workplace Intelligence Report (pg. 72). In fact, LaRocque’s survey data shows that only 38% of survey respondents in the U.S. received training from their organization on how to interview (pg. 73).  Organizations need to put as much focus and energy into the tactics and flawless execution of the hiring process, as they do the higher-level, strategic hiring initiatives. Allowing employees without the appropriate training to interview candidates is putting your organization at risk—risk to a potential lawsuit for asking discriminatory questions, risk to losing a top quality candidate to your competitor, risk to not meeting your hiring goals. Now you might think the rest of this blog is about how to conduct an interview—nope, as interviewing depends on the hiring organization, the role and level they’re hiring for, the industry, the culture, and so on. Instead, we’re going to chat about what this report illustrates, that 62% of survey respondents do not receive training on how to interview candidates, and how you can immediately take steps to change that.  Interview training best practices: 
  1. Be sure to cover what not to ask. We cannot stress this enough! As an interviewer, you are not to ask questions to a candidate about their race, color, religion, sex including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy; national orgin, age, disability, or genetic information. (EEOC Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices: Application and Hiring)
  2. Content is king. 
    • Hiring must be compliant, so consider leveraging training and materials offered by the EEOC.
    • Ensure the training can be consumed easily and in an engaging way. To increase the likelihood that the tips and guidelines conveyed are put into practice, create dynamic content, with audio and visuals. For example, mock interviews that can be viewed on-demand.
  3. Timing is queen. Conduct training at the right time. Much of the training that takes place in organizations tends to be ‘one-and-done’, and too often not part of an upcoming interview schedule. Interview training should occur:
    • Before and near the date of the scheduled interview(s)
    • Reviewed or repeated with the next job opening and in a new month
  4. Make it scalable. From content creation to the training process, organizations need to be able to ‘rinse and repeat’. Ensure that the content created can be refreshed easily as time passes. 
  5. Make it reportable. Determine whether you want to track if interviewers have consumed the training materials, when, for how long, if they’ve completed the training, and how they’d rank its value. Consider what metrics are easy to track, report on, and most importantly, actionable for change.
Many thanks again to George LaRocque of HRWins and Greenhouse for the Workplace Intelligence Report, to help us all better understand how to serve our audiences better! Download the complete report here.  Unconscious Bias and its impact on leadership decision making blog image As written by Dr. Shirley Davis, Global Workforce Expert

It couldn’t be a more appropriate time to address unconscious bias at a time when we are experiencing significant demographic disruptions, polarization and divisiveness, globalization, and political discord. This two-part article attempts to introduce this topic as a leadership competency as well as an organizational strategy.

Everyone has bias. It’s a part of the human make up. We need bias to protect us from danger. Biologically we are hard-wired to prefer people who look like us, sound like us and share our interests. But when left unchecked, biases can have a negative impact in every interaction. With the vast amount of diversity that makes up our global workforce, including more women, people of color, LGBTQ, veterans, introverts and extroverts, immigrants, people with different abilities, thinking styles, and personalities, and five generations, to name a few, the level of complexity and potential conflicts that can arise from unconscious bias is sure to increase. Every day, decisions are made in the workplace — including sourcing, selection, development, pay, promotions, terminations, assigning projects, constructing teams and creating business strategy. Whether we recognize it or not, unconscious bias enters into every one of these decisions.

Having worked in Human Resources for over 20 years, I am intimately aware of how leaders think, behave, and make decisions about all aspects of the employee experience. In particular, I’ve worked with hiring managers as they reviewed candidates from diverse backgrounds and I’ve heard comments such as, “She didn’t look me in the eye or shake my hand with a firm handshake so I don’t think she’s cut out to lead this team,” or “We need a Millennial for this new project on technology,” or “This job requires a demanding schedule and I don’t think she could be available.” In other instances, leaders may assign special projects to team members who think like them, or invite only the guys to the golf outing assuming the women on the team wouldn’t be interested, or delegate administrative tasks such as note-taking or ordering lunch to the only female in the meeting. These are both overt and subtle forms of bias and both can have a negative impact on the workplace culture and perceptions of fairness.

Unconscious bias is an opinion, positive or negative, we have about a group or person. It occurs when we make spontaneous judgments about people or situations based on our past experiences, culture, background, or exposure to media. These spontaneous judgments occur within 3-5 seconds of encountering a person. The attitudes or stereotypes that develop early in life (as early as 1-6 years old)are reinforced over time, and affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

What Can Leaders Do

It is not enough to become aware that everyone has bias and therefore assume we are off the hook. All leaders, particularly people managers have a responsibility to ensure that their biases don’t negatively impact employment-related decisions. They should practice mindfulness—STOP, PAUSE, and THINK before making these decisions and be more intentional about valuing diversity and learning how to LEAD across differences. They should learn how to leverage the gifts and talents of ALL employees, recognizing that great talent comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, preferences, backgrounds, and ethnicities.

What Can Organizations Do

The first step in managing unconscious bias in the workplace is to ensure employees understand exactly what unconscious bias is, when it happens, and the ways in which it can impact the how they work and treat each other. Educating employees formally through training and informally through multiplecommunication methods is the start of what should be a continuous learning process. Employees should also know that they are a part of shaping the culture into an inclusive, welcoming, and collaborative workplace.

For more information on unconscious bias visit Verified First's diversity & inclusion resource center.

About the Author:

Dr. Shirley Davis is a well-respected thought leader and keynote speaker on the changing global workforce and culture transformationShe is the author of “The Seat: How to Get Invited to the Table When You’re Over-Performing and Undervalued.” Learn more about her at www.drshirleydavis.com

SHRM19 full event recap The SHRM Annual Conference took Las Vegas by storm from June 23–26. As one of the biggest HR conferences in the world with more than 20,000 attendees, it brought some incredible star power and provided game-changing insights. There were more than 300 sessions, but here are the ones that stood out. Opening General Session featuring Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP and Martha Stewart What other conference would start out with none other than Martha Stewart? She and SHRM’s president and CEO, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, talked about Martha’s incredible empire, including a magazine that was ahead of its time, how she recovered after legal missteps, to how she became one of Forbes’ “100 Greatest Minds,” and business partners with Snoop Dogg. “Learn, be curious and ask the right questions… Every day, I drive my driver crazy in the city because I won't let him go down the same street twice. We have to go down a new street because we might see something interesting.” She talked openly about when she was in a federal correctional facility after obstructing justice, among other charges. During her time there, she taught women entrepreneur skills. Now, she supports reform that encourages companies to hire people with criminal records. “Making the best of such a horrible event is hard. It's very hard,” she said. “You must have the ability to look forward and not look back.” Read more about Martha’s talk here. General Session featuring Brené Brown: Dare to Lead Brené Brown, an author and researcher at the University of Houston, gave an inspiring talk on leadership, and the fact that it takes a lot of courage to be a strong leader. She explained that there are four things that limit leadership:
  1. Rumbling with vulnerability, or working past our excuses like “I don’t have time,” or “I’m not qualified for that.” 
  2. Living into our values, or standing by what’s right, even when it means difficult conversations.
  3. Braving trust, or delegating in a way that trusts the team, and avoiding micromanaging.
  4. Learning to rise, or not letting inevitable setbacks stop you from achieving goals. “We spend 20 percent of our energy fixing it and 80 percent helping pull people out of ‘the shame s---storm,’” Brown said. “People have to be responsible for their own bounce.” 
Read more about Brené’s talk here. Beyond the Illusion of Inclusion: Leveraging the Talents of Employees with Disabilities Judy Young, Associate Director or the Scheinman Institute of the ILR School at Cornell University, and Susan W. Brecher, the Director of Human Capital Development and Legal Programs at Cornell University talked about the best practices and benefits of employing people with disabilities. They offered three main steps:
  1. Fight unconscious bias. We make all decisions in life based on a set of data we have in our minds. However, sometimes this data can lead to bias, especially toward minority groups like people with disabilities. “Bias clearly impacts productivity, morale, attrition, and it clearly impacts discrimination claims,” said Susan W. Brecher.
  2. Accommodate invisible disabilities. We all know that we need wheelchair ramps to be accessible, but according to Brecher, 72 percent of Americans with disabilities have an invisible disabilities, like mental health issues or medical conditions. 
  3. Go beyond the ADA. The ADA requires that employers make “reasonable attempts” to accommodate people with disabilities. Young and Brecher recommended going beyond that. For example, HR teams shouldn’t wait until someone asks for an accommodation—they should listen for signs that someone needs an accommodation, and offer it proactively.
The Critical Skills an HR Leader Needs in the Artificial Intelligence Era As more and more workplaces are looking at using AI as part of their human resources strategy, executives will expect HR leaders to know the ins and outs of AI. This is a difficult task, considering the fact that AI technology changes by the day. Ben Eubanks offered some clarity on this by explaining what AI does and doesn’t do, and how it can and can’t help your HR team. He explained that the clearest way to define how to use AI is by looking at the jobs AI and/or your team complete. For any jobs that are repetitive, and focused on one specific task, AI is a good option. This includes things like sourcing resumes, answering preliminary questions, and setting up interviews. But HR humans will always be better at jobs that require soft skills like intuition and creativity such as interviewing, reading cover letters, and recruiting diverse candidates. The Power of Giving: Conscious Capitalism and the Future of Business Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, gave a thought-provoking and emotional closing session. He talked about how his company was founded with philanthropy in mind, without relying on donations or charity. He also talked about how starting a company that skyrocketed to global success had personal repercussions; five years ago, Blake was diagnosed with depression, which he said he hadn’t talked about publically. Now, he’s focusing on teaching people how to be happy and successful at the same time, and he challenged SHRM attendees to commit to small changes, like turning off their phones more frequently, that can offer big health improvements. Read more about Blake’s session here. Now that the SHRM annual conference is over, we know that summer’s begun. It's the perfect time of year to apply background sunscreen and protect those employees of yours. Learn more about Verified First's background screening solutions here.  Greenhouse open 2019 recap The Greenhouse Open conference brought new data, rockstar speakers, and amazing insights to New York for two action-packed days. The conference’s theme, the “Talent Makers” focused on the attendees, from recruiters to CHROs to HR thought leaders. After all, these people are the ones finding, creating and fostering talent. Here were our favorite sessions from the conference.

How Great Hiring Builds Great Companies—The Warby Parker Story

The CEO of Warby Parker, Dave Gilboa gave a fascinating talk about why Warby Parker is known for being a great place to work. Warby Parker has a hiring strategy that focuses on soft skills and personality fits, but where their culture stands out is after they hire new employees. Dave Gilboa explained that they don’t follow the Golden Rule—treat people how you want to be treated. Instead, they follow what Dave Gilboa called the Platinum Rule—treat people how they want to be treated.

The Transformation of Recruiting: How Talent Becomes A Strategic Business Partner

People in HR have always been saying that their work is crucial to their company’s success, but business leaders are just now really listening to that. William Tincup lead a panel of leaders in talent to talk about this. They talked about how to convince C-suite leaders to listen to them, and how that can increase profits. William Tincup also stepped back to ask how people learn about recruiting. None of the panel members had an answer, which is a classic example of the importance of soft skills and learning on the job. 

Hype-Busting: How AI Will Actually Change the Future of Recruiting

Every HR conference is talking about AI these days—what it’s good for, what it isn’t, how many jobs it’ll replace, and so on. However, there’s lots of conflicting information. Ian Siegel, the co-founder of Ziprecruiter, added some clarity to the subject. He talked about the prevalence of AI in HR: 73 percent of recruiters use some form of AI. Ian Siegel said that AI is really good for sourcing candidates, and it can source more candidates faster than any recruiter can. However, he said that’s just about all that AI can reliably do. After AI finds candidates, Ian Siegel said that recruiters need to show their human side, by making candidates feel welcome

Talent in 2019: Employee Engagement Insights from the Workplace Intelligence Report

Before the conference, Greenhouse released a comprehensive report on the current state of the workforce, talking about metrics from engagement to diversity to transparency and more. Industry expert George LaRocque, who wrote the report, presented his research at the conference, along with actionable advice based on the report’s discoveries. Some of the stats that they emphasized included the fact that 66 percent of consumers want to buy from brands that have the same social justice values as they do. And, 51 percent of leaders spend less than three hours a month on people-related issues. Some spend even less: 37 percent spend less than an hour. This points to a need to define what leadership means. 

Keynote—From Intent to Action: How to Design an Inclusive Workplace

Chief People Officer at HubSpot, Katie Burke, talked about her company’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy, and why companies should focus even more on D&I than they do already. She left the crowd with five simple steps to take to improve D&I
  1. Increase the diversity of who you follow on LinkedIn and Twitter
  2. Drop the years of requirement or degree requirement from your job postings
  3. Commit to slate interviewing for every role—meaning, move your candidates through the hiring process in groups
  4. Discuss how you are and aren’t including women at work. Listen more than talk.
  5. Pay attention to tough feedback from diverse candidates—act on the feedback, if possible.

Next-Level Onboarding: Accounting for Your Remote & Distributed Workforce

As cost of living increases in large cities, the ability to work remotely is becoming increasingly important. Laurie Ruettimann discussed this along with how to onboard new hires, regardless of where they’re stationed. Our favorite bit of advice was don’t onboard employees on a Monday—it might feel like starting the week fresh, but it’s really just training people when they aren’t at their best. 

Learning How To Craft Better Job Posts

One of the most dull parts of a recruiter’s job is writing job posts. Katrina Kibben, founder of Three Ears Media and job post writing expert gave advice that made job posts anything but dull. She explained that job postings feel dull because we write them all the time, but that’s part of the problem with most job postings; they aren’t creative, they’re too one-size-fits-all and they don’t convey the job accurately. Instead, Katrina Kibben explained that job postings should be as personal as handwritten letters. She also had a bit of advice that one attendee said was her favorite line of the conference: “Do not meet a life in momentum, a life that wants change, with cliches and B.S.”

Elevate Your Talent Brand: How To Leverage Marketing in Recruiting (No Matter Your Company Size)

Industry expert Tim Sackett talked about how it’s important to consider your company brand, but it’s equally important to think strategically about the specific brand of your talent team. He advised talent leaders to remain empathetic to candidates, from thinking about diversity and inclusion to thinking critically about job postings. For example, Tim Sackett said that 70 percent of job descriptions have a male voice to them. Try to read your job posting with an outside perspective—when you read a job posting, who do you imagine writing it? If you think of a white man and you’re trying to attract diverse candidates, consider rewriting it to be more universally appealing. Are you a Greenhouse user? Learn more about how Verified First partners with Greenhouse to provide background screening services to recruiters in an easy-to-use interface.  Bullhorn Engage Verified First Recap The Bullhorn Engage Conference visited Boston June 12–14 with an overall theme of “The Power of People.” It touched on trends like AI and automation, constant concerns like unemployment and competition, and thought leadership on issues like emotional intelligence. Plus, Magic Johnson’s standing-room-only talk inspired everyone in the room. Here are our favorite sessions from Bullhorn Engage in Boston.  

Opening Keynote: Emotional Intelligence in Recruiting

Tim Sanders has an impressive list of titles: he’s a New York Times bestselling author, current CEO of Deeper Media, and former Yahoo chief solutions officer. His opening talk about emotional intelligence set the tone for the conference perfectly—we spend lots of time talking about tech and trends and efficiency in recruiting, but ultimately, if HR teams aren’t emotionally intelligent, they won’t be able to do their jobs. Highlights of Tim Sanders’ talk included:
  • It costs money to be mean. People who were yelled at lost time worrying about it, saw their performance and commitment decline, and some even left their jobs.
  • Every interaction is a sharable marketing event. Remember that your interactions with your candidates will represent your company’s entire brand. 
  • Integrate emotional intelligence into your interviews by asking questions like “What puts you in a bad mood? What about a good mood?”
  • Conference calls do nothing for emotional intelligence—lots of people report doing other work, making food, and even going to the restroom during calls. Tim Sanders recommended switching to video calls, so that everyone is engaged.

Five Actionable Strategies for Growing Your Talent Pools

Lauren Jones, Vice President of Talent Acquisition Resources & Strategy at Volt Workforce Solutions, and Robin Mee, President and Founder of Mee Derby had a “fireside chat” where they discussed how talent pools are external as well as internal. Lauren Jones focused on recruiting for external candidates—she recommended getting out into the community for visibility as well as public relations. Meanwhile, Robin Mee focused on how to get these candidates to want to apply. They both emphasized that companies should care about their brand, since they said 95 percent of job seekers are influenced by their potential companies’ brands.

Beyond Lip Service: Turning Culture into a Business Driver

Audra Jenkins, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Randstad, talked about Randstad’s diversity and inclusion strategy, as well as the climate of diversity and inclusion at the moment. She talked about the experience of diverse employees, which includes microaggressions like being called “aggressive,” being the only one of a particular identity in the room, and feeling ignored or dismissed in meetings. Audra Jenkins also said it’s particularly bad in the STEM industry—women make up 50 percent of the general workforce, but only 24 percent of STEM jobs. She worried there would be an uneven balance of power toward men as jobs move more and more toward STEM fields. 

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Fireside Chat

The one and only Magic Johnson gave a keynote that was full of incredible advice, chest bumps, and inspiration. From his experience in diversity to his success in his career after basketball with Magic Johnson Enterprises, highlights of Magic Johnson’s talk included:
  • You can do well and do good at the same time. (This was the most tweeted quote from the conference!)
  • Find a mentor.
  • It’s hard to become number one, but even harder to stay number one. 
  • Know your customer, and over deliver. 
  • Family is everything. 
  • Competition is important as long as you can collaborate with competitors to share skillsets.

Art Papas’ Keynote

CEO and Founder of Bullhorn, Art Papas gave an inspirational talk about trust and the future of recruiting. He talked about how unemployment is a challenge for recruiters, but there’s a lot of promise in upskilling current employees and candidates with potential through onsite training. He shared an impactful story about Timothy Faircloth, someone who had been previously incarcerated. He couldn’t find any jobs, until he found a job sweeping floors with ResourceMFG. He was an outstanding employee, and ResourceMFG wanted to give Timothy more responsibility, but they needed someone who could read blueprints. Then, the Penn Foster school agreed to teach him those skills for free. Art Papas explained that this is a model that all recruiters could use—look for quality candidates, and then teach them the skills you need. Are you a Bullhorn user? Learn more about how Verified First partners with Bullhorn to provide background screening services to the staffing industry.Talent 42 Conference Recap Recruiters know all too well that technology positions such as engineers and developers are always in demand. Talent42, which was in Seattle from June 11–12, was a conference dedicated specifically to recruiting in technology.

Family Feud—Survey Says!

Talent42 had an energetic start with a mock game show moderated by Chris Hoyt, president and co-owner of CareerXroads. The game had engineers and recruiters face off. Talent42 surveyed their attendees and contacts about the recruiting scene in technology, and then had competitors try to line up their answers with the survey’s answers. Though it was a lot of fun, it also offered valuable insights into why engineers aren’t responding to recruiters and what they’re looking for in new roles.

What Online Dating Can Teach Us About Recruiting and Why We're Bad at Both

Robert Coombs, Head of Operations at CredSimple, gave a lively presentation about how recruiting is like online dating; you start off with a broad selection, then do your best to narrow people down. That said, Coombs explained that recruiting isn’t always the typical funnel—sometimes recruiters bring in more candidates at different phases of the hiring process. He also talked about how we should treat candidates like dates by being honest, staying mindful of candidates’ time, and rejecting people kindly.

Recruiting Engineers (From An Engineer's Perspective)

One of the most valuable things about Talent42 was the fact that recruiters were able to talk directly to the types of engineers they’re working to hire. Lee Robinson, Senior Software Engineer for E-Commerce at Hy-Vee, talked about his experience as an engineer, and how he and his peers feel about current recruiting strategies. He talked about how companies in small towns will trade engineers like baseball cards, and that engineers often move to new locations for better jobs. This makes things difficult for recruiters, but Lee also explained what frustrates engineers about recruiters: they get too many messages on LinkedIn, they receive messages that are blatant templates, and they get messages that are incorrectly targeted.

The Critical Trends in Tech Recruiting Today and How You Can Leverage Them

Wendy Bloechle with DHI Insights - the parent company of event Platinum sponsor Dice - talked about her company’s most recent research into the trends of tech recruiting, including where the most tech jobs are (32% of tech jobs are in California, Texas, New York and Florida), what the highest paying tech jobs and skills are (which are in programming, big data and cloud technology), as well as best practices based on these trends and their other insights.

Sourcing and Hiring Senior Engineers

Sara Chipps, Director of Community at Stack Overflow, closed the conference with a great session on how to hire senior engineers. She explained that senior engineers are particularly in demand, which means they’re more difficult to recruit. However, if you know what defines senior engineers and what they want in a job, you can find them more easily. For example, she talked about how 41 percent of engineers have less than five years of experience. However, 53 percent of them have been coding for 5-14 years, and an incredible 71 percent of them code as a hobby outside of work. That’s a wealth of experience that, at the right company, could make strong senior engineers. They’re also less interested in perks like pool tables and company parties—41 percent of senior engineers have children, so they’re looking for flexibility and insurance benefits instead of a fun work culture. As recruiting and technology continue to interact, it’s more important than ever to use technology to help you find the best candidates, no matter what your industry. With a strong background screening provider, you can screen your candidates without increasing your time to hire. The HCI Strategic Acquisition Conference came to Denver from June 10-12, and it delivered powerful classes on hot topics while providing attendees HRCI and SHRM credits. They had an incredible variety of presenters, including HR thought leaders Ben EubanksKatrina Kibben and William Tincup. Here are some of our favorite sessions from the conference, with takeaways that are sure to improve anyone’s recruiting process.

AI, Machine Learning, and Talent Acquisition

Just about every HR conference talks about the relationship between AI and HR, and that’s a good thing. It changes so quickly that each session has new insights and advice. Sarah Brennan, the founder of Accelir Insights, emphasized the importance of setting up a good process before using AI. Lots of recruiters jump at the opportunity to use AI since it can make life easier. But without a clear recruiting strategy, AI can muddle results and you can end up missing out on good candidates. With a strong strategy, though, AI can find exactly the candidates you need.

Automation, AI and Economics: Preparing for the Future of Work

Tyler Cowan, economics professor and author, continued the conversation on AI by talking specifically about how it can affect candidates and employees as well as the economy at large. Tyler focused on what automation and AI can’t do: write creatively, speak interestingly, and pay attention to the people around them. Recruiters should remember that these three skills are highly important for employees, and that AI can’t replace the human aspect of jobs.

Internal Mobility for All

Denise Novosel, Vice President of Talent Acquisition for Global Operations, Corporate Functions and Internal Recruiting at Nike, talked about how an often overlooked group of strong candidates are current employees. She explained that recruiters should have a good idea of the talents and experiences that their current employees have. These traits can help recruiters in two ways: they can show recruiters what traits to look for in future employees, and they can predict which employees would be good candidates for new jobs within the company. For more on artificial intelligence, check out our articles: Is HR Ready to Apply Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting? and The Gender Bias in Artificial Intelligence: How It's Changing & How HR Can Reduce It.Objective hiring for diversity and inclusion Our pets can teach us a lot about objective hiring and inclusion in the workplace. If you’ve ever been to a dog park, you’ll know what we mean. Dogs will happily accept anyone who has the right qualifications (ie; a frisbee in hand), regardless of their pedigree. Talent acquisition professionals strive to embody these ideals; of being unbiased and eager in welcoming new members to their pack. But even with the best intentions, human error and machine learning bias can creep its way into the hiring process, reducing the number of diverse applicants that make it into your pool. Here’s how objective hiring impacts key HR metrics, and how we can follow the example of our pets by hiring for diversity and inclusion.

What is objective hiring?

When we talk about quality of hire, we often talk about hiring employees who fit a certain mold. Whether that be a personality fit, a culture fit, or a performance fit, every employer has their definition of the ideal candidate. While defining quality of hire is important for organizational strategy, hiring with a narrow mindset can curb diversity efforts. Maintaining objective hiring practices is critical to ensuring every candidate has the opportunity to win best in show. Pretend you're planning on adopting a dog. You go to the local animal shelter and find one that is well trained, great with kids, and loves the same adventures you do. Would you care about their pedigree? Probably not. And the same goes for candidates. Objective hiring removes barriers for diverse groups that are susceptible to biased hiring practices and focuses on what matters most: their qualifications.

Objective hiring practices include:

  1. Blind screening resumes. So you can ensure you're not choosing any candidate based on unconscious bias.
  2. Providing a pre-hire assessment. To quantify skills and experience to compare candidate objectively.
  3. Background screening every candidate. So you’re making decisions based on the facts.

What are the benefits of objective hiring?

When organizations implement objective hiring practices, they open the door for more diverse candidates to apply. With a more diverse workforce, organizations experience:
  1. Increased innovation. Josh Bersin found that companies with the most diverse workforces were 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their industry.
  2. Increased revenue. Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue.
  3. Better retention. Quality hires expect inclusive workplaces. Employees that experience bias and exclusion in the workplace are 40% more likely to say they aren't proud to work for their company. 21% said they were likely to leave because of it. To reduce the spread of bias and discrimination in the workplace, consider an anonymous reporting app like FirstVoice that allows employees to anonymously alert HR to instances of bias and toxic behavior in the workplace.
  4. More top quality hires. 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers.
Our pets remind us that we are better when we include others and celebrate what makes us unique. Let's follow in their paw-prints to implement more objective hiring practices and ensure equal opportunity for every candidate. For more information on hiring for diversity and inclusion, visit our pet-themed resource center. There, you'll find a pack of resources on how to attain diverse hires and implement objectivity into your hiring practices. REASONS DIVERSE CANDIDATE MAKE QUALITY HIRES A diverse candidate’s background is often what makes them a high quality hire. Their experiences and perspectives can offer a variety of benefits for any organization. Here are five of the top reasons why diverse candidates make high quality hires.

1. Candidates want to work with diverse teams

According to Greenhouse, 67 percent of candidates say they want to work on a diverse team. By hiring diverse candidates, you improve your employer brand and increase your chances of hiring quality candidates in the future.

2. Diverse perspectives inspire creativity

Diverse perspectives lead to better dialogue and ultimately, better results. According to Josh Bersin, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. People with cultural, racial and gender diversity all have lives that offer different experiences, perspectives and ways of thinking that will increase teams’ creativity and collaboration.

3. Different types of education improves problem solving

People from diverse backgrounds generally have a variety of ways to obtain skills. For example, some candidates might have gone to trade school, others might have gone to Ivy leagues, and others might have learned by working on the job. All of these education methods teach employees to problem solve differently so that teams can tackle tough problems from multiple angles.

4. Language skills allow people to think outside the box

It’s very likely that culturally diverse candidates will be bilingual. This is an obvious benefit for roles like customer service and translators, but you should see it as a benefit for any role. According to Psychology Today, people who are bilingual have better cognitive function, are able to solve problems faster, and are less likely to have internal biases.

5. Diverse employees connect with diverse customers

In a roundtable on Undercover Recruiter, Caroline Stokes, founder of headhunting firm FORWARD talked about why she looks for diverse candidates: “I have a marketing background with Sony and Nokia, and know that if you don’t have a diverse team, you end up getting the same ideas that may not appeal to the varied audience you’re marketing to. As I always say ‘from understanding comes growth’ and I believe there’s great ROI with a diverse workplace.” We’re living in an increasingly diverse world, and diverse customers have a lot of purchasing power. Your employees must reflect this purchasing power. Read more about employee referral programs here. Diversity and inclusion is about much more than doing the right thing, it’s about hiring high quality candidates who can improve your company’s culture, retention and bottom line. For more information about hiring high quality candidates, check out our Quality of Hire resource center. And, for more information about diversity and inclusion, visit our Diversity and Inclusion resource center.  Getting started with pre hire assessments According to Aptitude Research, 60 percent of HR teams said that improving quality of hire is one of their biggest challenges. Pre-hire assessments can dramatically improve quality of hire without compromising on time to fill. Here’s how to get started building an effective assessment that will help your company make better hiring decisions.

Types of pre-hire assessments

There’s a vast variety of assessments, and your job opening will define which types of assessments you should conduct. According to SHRM, the main types of assessments are:
  • Cognitive ability
  • Physical ability
  • Aptitude
  • Personality
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Polygraph tests
  • Medical examinations
There are thousands of individual tests that you can conduct for each of these types of assessments. However, for the sake of your time and your candidate’s patience, it’s best to condense these assessments as much as possible. We recommend creating an assessment that will measure general quality of your candidates, with room for added questions depending on the job.

Define quality of hire

In order to create an assessment that quantifies quality of hire, you need to first define quality of hire for your company. To start defining a quality hire, consider ranking the importance of the following:
  • Culture fit
  • Team fit
  • Performance
  • Retention
Consider the character traits of your top employees. Are they collaborative? Ambitious? Compassionate? Once you start to see patterns, you’ll see what quality of hire looks like for your company as a whole. Be sure to discuss this definition with hiring managers and get feedback from other employees. They will likely have a valuable perspective on the kinds of people they want to work with. For more tips and helpful hints, check out our research-packed quality of hire resource center.

How to build a pre-hire assessment

When you properly define your quality of hire, you essentially know the answers to your assessment. Now, you just need to write questions that address those answers. Scenario-based questions are ideal for getting straight to the point. For example, if you’re hiring for a customer service role and looking for someone who’s friendly, ask “How often are you the one to initiate a conversation with coworkers?” Then, have candidates list a percentage. By using numbers in your assessments, you’ll get a score that’s comparable across candidates. If you don’t have the resources to write your own assessment, there are lots of great pre-hire assessment tools available. RightHire creates assessments based on universally important skills and customizable traits. They administer the assessment to your candidates and give you up with a list of candidates organized by their assessment score.

How to administer your pre-hire assessment

The timing of when to assess candidates should be based on your hiring goals. Some companies include assessments in their job application, so that recruiters can immediately begin filtering them. Other companies wait until later in the hiring process, when they’ve already eliminated candidates based on their resumes. When analyzed with purpose, data is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to make better and faster hiring decisions. For more information on objective hiring practices, check out background screening with Verified First. For more tips and tricks on hiring high quality candidates, check out our quality of hire resource center.UNLEASH 2019 VEGAS RECAP PART TWO UNLEASH came to Las Vegas from May 14-15, and in just two days, it packed in more than 100 sessions, panels and roundtables, The conference talked about everything HR, from recruiting to employee engagement to C-suite transformations. If you missed UNLEASH, or just couldn’t choose between all of the incredible options, here are some of our favorite sessions of the second day.

Hey, HR: It’s not enough to be in the room

Best selling author Patti Fletcher started the second day of UNLEASH with an inspiring keynote about how HR teams shouldn’t just be in their company’s C-suite meetings, they should be leading those meetings. She explained that with the onset of technology in the workplace, HR teams are more important than ever for keeping the “human” in the workforce. She said, “It’s not enough to be in the room, you have to win the room.” HR teams should speak for their employees and their candidates and make the financial benefits of high-quality hires clear. Main takeaway: HR teams need to make sure they’re involved in C-suite level decisions, so that they can hire the right people and make life easier for the whole company.

Panel: From Atypical to Aspirational: Workforce Models Shaping the Future of Work

This dynamic panel, including John Bunch of Zappos and Sue Marks of Cielo, talked about the future of work and how employers can shape the future. The panel explained that employees want to be treated like humans, not just dollar signs. And yet, the gig economy is tempting a lot of employees from the traditional 9-5 jobs. The panel, moderated by China Gorman, explained how to meet employees in the middle of these options. David Mallon of Deloitte made a particularly strong analogy: that companies should move away from the latter approach of upward mobility, and instead look at things like a climbing wall-- sometimes employees will want to move side to side, but their ultimate goal will be to move upward. Main takeaway: Give your employees an opportunity to experiment in different roles.

The Give & the Get of Employer Brand: Repelling Talent by Design

Bryan Adams, CEO and Founder, Ph.Creative came to UNLEASH with a bold stance: Companies should work to repel candidates, instead of casting the net as wide as possible. At first this seemed totally counter-intuitive, but he made some solid points. He explained that cultures aren’t actually about benefiting the employee, they’re about letting the employee find what fits them best. For example, some companies have cultures of steep competition and fast paces. For some employees, this is a huge benefit and an exciting option. For others, this is totally unappetizing. Bryan explained that a company with a culture like this should make sure that their job openings should attract the former, and repel the later. This way, new hires will naturally be a better fit. The same goes for any culture. Main takeaway: Be upfront about your culture-- make sure that the people who love it apply, and the people who don’t won’t bother.

Impact and Inspiration: A Research Study of an AI in HR Pioneer

IBM ran a fascinating study on how AI can change HR, and Sheri Feinzig shared the results onstage at UNLEASH. One of the most fascinating numbers was that they found that AI helped IBM recruiters become 55 percent more efficient during their screening process. Interestingly, this echoes what a lot of other speakers were saying-- AI is most helpful during the HR stages which are repetitive and involve a large volume of work. AI can search social media for good candidates, it can score the candidates based on their resume and cover letter, and it can read those resumes and cover letters. This saves recruiters time, so they can focus on the more human side of their job. Main takeaway: IBM found that AI was particularly helpful in the earliest phases of the recruiting process: sourcing candidates and reviewing resumes.

Panel: The Evolution of the CHRO

Kelly Hartman of Flywire, Mai Ton of White Ops, and Ambrosia Vertesi of now PeopleTech Partners had a lively discussion moderated from Lars Schmidt. The panel ranged from how HR has involved, how to build inclusive teams, and organizational strategy. It also turned into a brief ranting session about buzzwords in job descriptions, and how HR teams as well as candidates are getting tired of them. Some of their least favorites were “Rockstar,” “Ninja,” and “Unicorn.” They also talked about how CHROs as well as HR teams in general should think critically about their strategy before adding lots of tech to the equation. Main takeaway: Stay away from the allure of buzzwords and too much fancy tech until you’ve refined your HR strategy.

Restoring Trust: How to Solve The Next Generation of Privacy & Security Dilemmas

UNLEASH focused on all of the benefits of AI, blockchain and other forms of big data. But at the very end of the conference, Edward Snowden talked about the dangers of not handling that data properly. Snowden, who arguably is one of the leading experts in the dangers of big data, Skyped in from an unknown location in Russia to talk infamous security lapses from places like Target, and how HR teams can avoid them. One of his biggest bits of advice? Don’t obtain or keep the data that you don’t need to. It might seem tempting to get as much information from candidates as possible, but this information becomes your liability. Main takeaway: Only keep the data you need about your candidates and employees-- any extra data is just a liability.   Have you read part one of our Unleash19 recap? Catch up on all the insights here.  UNLEASH 2019 Las Vegas UNLEASH came to Las Vegas from May 14-15, and in just two days, it packed in more than 100 sessions, panels and roundtables. The conference talked about everything HR, from recruiting to employee engagement to C-suite transformations. If you missed UNLEASH, or just couldn’t choose between all of the incredible options, here are some of our favorite sessions.

In Conversation with Kathryn Minshew: How Companies Should Adapt to Work Becoming Human

Kathryn Minshew, Founder and CEO of The Muse kicked off the conference with Charreah Jackson, author and media entrepreneur. Their conversation addressed the question on lots of HR teams’ minds: How do we adapt to technology while keeping the workforce human? She explained that technology is here to streamline work, but not replace humans. By efficiently adapting technology, humans can do what they do best, which is to be creative, act empathetically, and build genuine relationships. That said, she said there’s a gap between talent tech and finding quality talent. Considering the fact that she said 89 percent of candidates would consider moving for the right job, she said recruiters should focus on writing job descriptions that make candidates consider that in the first place. Main takeaway: Cater to your candidates like the humans they are, and use technology to increase efficiency

Reinventing Jobs: A 4-Step Approach for Applying Automation to Work

Speaking of technology, adapting it isn’t really a question of if you should adapt it, but how and when you should. John Boudreau and Kevin Oaks answered this question refreshingly simply, with four steps:
  1. Deconstruct the job. What aspects of the job can and can’t be replaced with technology?
  2. Understand the return on improved performance. Is it worth replacing these tasks with technology?
  3. Evaluate automation options. Each automation solution acts very differently-- do your research to figure out what works best.
  4. Reinvent the work. Once you integrate the technology, continue to adapt the technology to your needs.  
Main takeaway: Use technology in a way that allows your employees to worth with it, not against it.

Source of Hire. Sorting Through The BS. Making SoH Actionable.

It might seem easy to ask a new hire where they found out about the job, but the truth is it’s a lot more complicated than that. Gerry Crispin, Mary Grace Hennessy and Martin Burns talked about how to track source of hire, and then they offered actionable tips on how to source candidates. Our favorite idea was to keep track of your “Silver medal” candidates, or the ones who made it to the last round of interviews, but you decided to go with another candidate. They’re still good candidates, and you might have another role that is perfect for them. Main takeaway: Keep track of how new hires found out about you, and stay in touch with the people you chose not to hire.

Panel: Women in Tech: Are we there yet?

This was one of the most talked about panels, and for good reason. Charlotte Marshall, Jill Larsen and Brenda Reid are some of the top female executives in the HR world, and they were moderated by keynote speaker Dr. Patti Fletcher. They talked about how men don’t necessarily actively work to oppress women in the workplace, and oftentimes, women don’t actively feel oppressed. But, the workforce still has a lot of subtle barriers to women, and those barriers get taller for women in technology. They suggested that actions companies can take include: writing inclusive job descriptions that don’t only appeal to men, adding more women to boards, being transparent about pay, and following up with female new hires to make sure they’re comfortable in their new roles. Main takeaway: Take clear, trackable steps to make women feel like they belong in your workplace, no matter what your industry.

#InclusionIsHappening

Candi Castleberry Singleton, Vice President of Diversity Partnership Strategy and Engagement at Twitter continued the conversation on diversity by talking specifically about inclusion, and the efforts Twitter has made to improve their D&I strategy. She talked about Twitter’s ICD Council, which meets quarterly, publishes quarterly articles, and leads inclusion projects. She said her main focuses are decreasing bias in AI, discouraging candidates from self-selecting and essentially blocking themselves from progress, leading a strong social responsibility program, and demonstrating their successes to other organizations. Main takeaway: Consider creating a D&I board that can lead your organization’s diversity strategy, and listen to their suggestions.

What Business Leaders Can Learn About Workplace Dynamics From Couples Therapy

Esther Perel, therapist and best-selling author, ended the first day by building the case for why you should apply couples therapy best practices to your workplace dynamics. Considering the fact that we spend more time with our co-workers than we do our spouses, it makes sense that we should make an effort to invest in the relationships we have with coworkers. Esther talked about how to communicate expectations, how to trust coworkers, and how to navigate conflict. Main takeaway: Marriage takes work and communication, and so do relationships with coworkers.   Hungry for more? Check out our full recap of day two!
Verified First listed as a 2019 Inc. Best Workplace!

Verified First has made the prestigious Inc. Best Workplaces list for the second year in a row!

 
Employees from nearly 2,000 companies of all sizes and industries took part in a survey, conducted by Omaha’s Quantum Workplace, on topics including trust, management effectiveness, perks, and confidence in the future. Inc. gathered, analyzed, and audited the data. Then Quantum ranked all the employers using a composite score of survey results. This year, 74.2 percent of surveyed employees are engaged by their work-- besting last year’s 72.1 percent.
Verified First has a culture unlike any other, as we are constantly investing back into the lives of our employees, both at work and at home. We celebrate big, such as renting out movie theaters, or the Treat Yo' Self Day, where we bring in services such as massage therapists and caterers to pamper staff. We care about the well-being of our team members and want to see them succeed in both their professional and personal lives.
RecruitCon 2019 Recruiting Daily Advisor and BLR hosted the RecruitCon conference May 9-10 in Austin, Texas. Between keeping it weird and savoring brisket, conference attendees got the latest strategies and advice on recruiting. Twitter was particularly lively during this conference, so here’s a roundup of our favorite tweets from Austin. Giddy up! 1. This insight on how even if you don’t have an official social media program, you probably have an unofficial one:  2. This point that comes up time and time again at conferences: assessments are a tool, but they aren’t the tool.  3. What assessments are good for vs. what they shouldn’t be relied on for: 4. These questions for developing a recruiting persona--  the fifth one is our favorite:  5. This bit of advice for the importance of aligning your interviewing team:  6. Katrina Kibben, who spoke about building a recruitment story, came to Austin with one of her usual and oh-so-appreciated recruiting truths: 7. This gem from presenter Adriana Kevill highlighting the power of employee advocacy on social media:  8. This stat on employee referral programs: 9. This update on the bad news of low unemployment, but the good news of a high number of people open to a new job:  We’re looking forward to the next RecruitCon in Nashville! In the meantime, looking for a way to speed up your hiring process? Check out how background screenings can decrease your time to hire.HRO Today Forum 2019 Recap See which topic was most tweeted about, which session was the most ‘electrically charged’, and what HR has to do with art. HRO Today held its annual conference in National Harbor, Maryland from May 6-8. Technology, quality of hire and inclusion were the big themes of the conference, which balanced engaging sessions with fun social events and presentations. Here are five of our favorite sessions.

The Challenges and Opportunities of Quality of Hire

Curtis Grajeda, Founder and Managing Partner, LevelUP Quality of hire continues to be one of the biggest conversation topics in HR, and for good reason. A fast time to hire might get a new employee in the door quickly, but if that employee isn’t a good fit, your time to hire doesn’t matter. Curtis Grajeda, founder and managing partner of LevelUP, talked about how companies should focus on quality of hire during the hiring process. Then, they should continue to monitor quality of hire as a metric to see how to continue to improve the hiring process. Want to know more about Quality of Hire? Check out our check out our Quality of Hire Resource Center.

HR Debate: Can Robots Run Many HR Functions?

Lots of conferences have panels which turn into lively discussions. HRO Today took this a step further, and set up formal debates among experts. A group of HR executives talked about the question that’s on many people’s minds-- will robots replace HR jobs? Since HRO Today found that 57 percent of companies use some sort of AI, and that 54 percent of companies plan to implement AI technology, it indeed was a lively session. Some of the panelists argued that yes, it is a threat, and HR professionals should work on increasing their skills so that they’re not replaceable by AI. Other panelists said that HR professionals and AI will be able to work in tandem. Then, the panelists said that AI can’t function without HR professionals, so it’s a useful tool for recruiting, but it won’t take away jobs. The panel included: Roger Gaston, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Gates Corporation Rebecca Sinclair, Chief People and Communications Officer, American Tire Distributors Debbie Bolla, Editorial Director, HRO Today Nancy Hauge, Chief Human Resources Officer, Automation Anywhere Cindy Fiedelman, Chief Human Resources Officer, Digital Realty Trust

An Expanded Focus - Inclusive Engagement

Jacqueline Welch, Chief Human Resources Officer, Freddie Mac Jacqueline Welch, CHRO at Freddie Mac, talked about how to genuinely build a diversity and inclusion strategy. The majority of Freddie Mac’s employees are minorities, so Jacqueline had lots of valuable insights on how to recruit and retain diverse employees. She said it’s about much more than just hiring diverse candidates. Instead, diversity and inclusion is about a mindset that carries throughout the company. Her company hires diverse employees, yes, but then Freddie Mac uses the differences of their employees as tools by forming diverse and collaborative teams. They also actively work through unconscious bias to make sure they’re hiring the best people. Freddie Mac found that their employees were happier, and their business benefited from it.

Employer Branding: How To Attract The Next Gen Workforce

Kathryn Minshew, CEO & Founder, The Muse Kathryn Minshew, CEO and founder of The Muse, gave a talk during the Employer Brands Awards Breakfast that was the most tweeted about session at HRO Today, and for good reason. She talked about how to recruit millennials and Gen Z workers in a refreshing way that offered clear, actionable advice. She explained that millenial and Gen Z candidates research a company’s reputation and culture much more than Baby Boomers and Gen X. This is good news, considering Kathryn said that 88 percent of recruiters say that an informed candidate is a quality candidate. But it also means that companies need to focus on their employer brand more than ever-- what makes your company stand out, and how will you use that to attract candidates?

The Art of HR

Dan Dunn, Speed Painter HRO Today wisely balanced informative sessions with entertaining sessions with the help of Dan Dunn, a speed painter. The HR world knows that recruiting is an art, and Dan turned that into a literal statement at the HRO Today Forum. In an afternoon session, Dan quickly painted three paintings that were associated with HR. The crowd went wild, and three people got to take the paintings home! Technology, quality of hire and diversity are sure to continue to be a topic of conversation at other HR conferences. For a tool that combines technology with the ability to determine quality of hire and even the playing field with diversity, use a credible background screening company.  Ways to Manage Hiring Manager Expectations As the national unemployment rate hovers at 3.8% and candidate pools continue to shrink, recruiters are finding it more difficult to deliver high-quality candidates that meet hiring manager expectations. While open communication is always key, there are a handful of specific tactics recruiters can implement to drive hiring manager satisfaction in a candidate’s market.

Scenario One:

Hiring Manager Expectation:

The candidate should meet or exceed every requirement on the job description.

While hiring managers may assume the “purple unicorn” candidate is an easy find, recruiters know that isn’t the case. As experts on the front lines of the hiring battlefield, recruiters must feel empowered to push back on this expectation-- taking on more of a consultative role. A hiring manager may want a candidate to fit each of their expectations perfectly, but a recruiter knows this may drive up time to fill and even compromise critical business goals.

Recruiter’s Reality:

The candidate will fit the company and learn some requirements.

The truth is there are fewer unemployed people than there are job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that recruiters either have to get candidates to leave their current jobs, or they’ll have to recruit people from their current positions. The goal is to find candidates who have a strong culture fit, with enough transferable skills that they’ll be able to learn other skills on the job description.

Meet in the middle:

Prioritize requirements together.

However, according to CNBC, the most in demand jobs are software designer, medical services manager, and registered nurse. These jobs are competitive and highly skills-based. You can’t hire someone as a nurse just because they get along well with coworkers. In jobs like these, hiring managers and recruiters will need to determine which skills are absolutely necessary, like a nursing degree, and what skills are compromisable or trainable, like computer skills.

Scenario Two:

Hiring Manager Expectation:

We’ll easily get a handful of good applicants.

Hiring managers want enough applicants to have a good range of choices, but they don’t want too many candidates, since that will slow down their time to hire. Regardless of if there are too few or too many applicants, hiring managers might think recruiters didn’t post job openings properly.

Recruiter’s Reality:

No one applies…. or hundreds do.

There’s a huge range in the number of job applicants per job. According to SHRM, the average number of applicants per job opening is 36, but this ranges considerably across companies. Google can get thousands of applicants, while smaller businesses can get just two or three applicants to choose from.

Meet in the middle:

Post job descriptions broadly, but keep requirements specific.

Considering your job description as your first filter for candidates. It’s where you can make the biggest difference in how many candidates apply. In order to get fewer candidates, think critically about your job posting and the skills you list. You’ll want to list enough requirements to keep unqualified candidates from applying, but you’ll need to be careful not to alienate potentially good candidates. Balance this by listing technical skills and soft skills. Offer training on technical skills if their soft skills fit perfectly. In order to get lots of applicants, post your job description broadly, with particular attention to areas candidates might be. This includes traditional online job forums like Indeed and LinkedIn, as well as smaller areas like university and community job boards.

Scenario Three:

Hiring Manager Expectation:

The candidate will accept our offer no problem.

At the end of the hiring process, hiring managers and recruiters agree on the ideal candidate, and then offer that person a job. In an ideal world, that person jumps at the opportunity and says they can start the next day. If the candidate comes this far and doesn’t accept the job offer, it’s important to remember there are many outside factors at play.

Recruiter’s Reality:

The candidate gets scooped by another company.

According to MRINetwork, 47 percent of candidates who rejected offers said they did so because they accepted another offer. The second most likely reason a candidate rejects an offer? A quarter of candidates said they rejected a job offer because the pay was lower than expected.

Meet in the middle:

Keep your candidate experience perfect.

Sometimes a bump in salary is a worthwhile investment to get a quality candidate to reconsider. But before you get there, make sure your candidate experience is on point. This means treating all candidates like they’re the perfect candidate throughout. Candidates view your hiring process as an indicator of your company’s culture. If they’ve felt valued throughout the hiring process, they’re more likely to choose you in the end. Happy hiring! Conducting background checks is the most objective way to ensure your expectation of your candidates is the reality. To do so, use a credible background screening provider for your final candidates.

how to hire for quality in healthcare

As part of Verified First’s deep dive into quality of hire, we’re highlighting companies who are doing it right! Check out the quality of hire resource center for more best practices on improving quality of hire in your recruiting strategy.

CHG Healthcare has been on Fortune’s Best Places to Work list for the past ten years, and for good reason. The company matches nurses, doctors and specialists with areas and hospitals that have medical shortages. With generous pay, frequent celebrations and rewards for top performers, they often have hundreds of applicants for open positions. We talked to their Director of Talent Acquisition, Steven Huff, about their strategy for hiring for quality, which has lead to an 85 percent retention rate. 

Meeting with the hiring leader

Before a job description even goes up, a member of CHG’s talent acquisition team meets with the person who will eventually be the new hire’s supervisor, or the hiring leader. These meetings are called “Way of Hiring” meetings. Steven explained that these meetings are ways to truly understand what the hiring leader is looking for in a candidate. They do this for each job opening, even if it’s a position they’ve hired for before. Steven used an example of a marketing coordinator. If they hire one in January and an additional one in June, the job isn’t necessarily the same. Although titles are the same, the needs might be a little different,” said Steven. “That marketing coordinator may need to know a little more about email marketing or some intricate thing that.” The Way of Hiring meeting looks at compensation, specific skill needs, culture fit, personality, and more. Once they go through this meeting, the talent acquisition team has a solid foundation and mutual understanding of what a quality candidate will look like for each role.

Reviewing resumes

The Way of Hiring meetings help the talent acquisition team use their applicant tracking systems effectively. Using the new marketing coordinator example, the team would know to specifically look for candidates with email marketing backgrounds, so they can have their ATS filter resumes based on big priorities. Then, the team takes the remaining resumes and manually reviews them to narrow candidates down to a few. Marketing coordinator positions at CHG can often get hundreds of applicants, so this process can take a while, but Steven explained he likes having a good pool, because it means they can be pickier about the quality of their hire.

Phone screening

After Steven and his team narrow down candidates to a few, they conduct phone screenings. During these phone calls, they focus on situational questions, like “Tell me about a time this happened….” or “Give me a specific detail on…” or “Tell me about when you did this…” All of these questions would be customized to match situations based on the role discussed in the Way of Hiring meeting. “We feel that behaviors or past behaviors are a true indicator of future behaviors. So we want to know what you’ve done in the past to help us understand your fit for this potential future position,” said Steven. After the screenings, Steven and his team send notes to the hiring leaders, or they’ll line up a phone call to discuss the candidates. Based on that information, the hiring leader will decide who they want to bring in for an in-person interview.

In-person interviews

CHG candidates generally meet with the hiring leaders and people on their potential team. Steven and his team help the hiring leaders and teams prepare efficient questions to ask-- this guarantees that there won’t be overlap in the questions people ask in each interview. While some companies approach interviews as a test for candidates, CHG feels the opposite. The talent acquisition team preps their candidates as much as possible, by telling them what kind of questions there will be and who they’ll be meeting with. They also connect with candidates on LinkedIn to get a better understanding of their background.
“We are an advocate for our candidates,” said Steven. “We want to make sure the candidate is presenting their best self.”
Once the interview process is complete and the TA team and the hiring leader has a consensus on the top candidate, they make an offer.

Balancing quality of hire with time to hire

Steven’s team has a “right-fit” policy for their time to hire-- they’ll wait to hire until they feel they’ve found the highest quality candidate. Steven explained that he understands why recruiters and companies feel pressured to hire quickly, but that pressure might mean that a wrong person gets hired. Steven’s team once looked at the cost of a bad hire for CHG. He found that if he hired a salesperson who only stayed for a year, they would have invested more than $100,000 in that year alone. The business case for taking time to hire the right person makes complete sense. By focusing on hiring for quality, they have high retention numbers, incredible engagement and sales revenues that are at the top of the industry. “When people are engaged in the work that they do, everything else seems to fall into place," said Steven.

Quality of hire takeaways for talent acquisition professionals

All this said, Steven said it’s hard to convince company leaders that quality of hire is often more important than time to hire. He offered this advice to recruiters wanting to change their hiring strategy to focus on quality of hire:
  • Explain the numbers on the cost of bad hires to hiring leaders
  • Brace yourself for a big of a struggle-- it’s a difficult transition to go through.
  • Make sure the HR team has a consistent idea of what defines a quality hire
  • Keep your hiring process consistent, with standardized processes and questions
  • Employ a strong group of recruiters. Quality of hire will depend on the quality of your hiring team.
Want a team that’s as engaged as CHG’s? Hire for quality, and use a background screening company to make sure your candidates are a great match.  How to prevent and prepare for employee resignations Unemployment levels continue to hover at around 3.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With such a low number, recruiters have had to convince candidates who are currently employed to leave their current jobs and work for a new company. But what does this end up costing? Voluntary turnover costs U.S. businesses a whopping $1 trillion each year, according to a Gallup study. Here’s what that cost means, and how you can reduce voluntary turnover at your company.

How to calculate employee turnover

Nearly 27 percent of American workers voluntarily quit their jobs in 2018, which adds up to 40 million workers, as reported by LinkedIn. Calculating the cost of replacing these workers is individual to the company and role-- some places say it costs hundreds of thousands to replace employees. While SHRM estimates new hires cost approximately $4,129, this figure doesn’t consider the sunken costs of the employee that leaves. Gallup suggested that the cost of replacing an employee can range from one-half to double the employee’s annual salary. Whichever number you take for cost, when you pair it with the millions of people who voluntarily leave, it’s easy to see how these costs quickly add up to one trillion dollars for U.S. businesses.

Why employees quit jobs

There’s a plethora of reasons people voluntarily leave their jobs, but according to Work Institute’s Retention Report, there are five main reasons people leave:
  • 21% of employees left because there was inadequate career development. They didn’t see a way to grow at their company.
  • 13% of employees left because they wanted a better work-life balance, which includes a better schedule, shorter commute times and more flexibility.
  • 11% of employees left because of unsupportive or unprofessional managers.
  • 9% of employees left because of personal or family health issues.
  • 9% of employees left because of inadequate compensation and benefits.
Interestingly, none of these reasons state that employees left because they found a better job, but it’s implied-- employees are unlikely to quit their jobs if they don’t have something else lined up.

How to retain employees

HR should take note of these numbers and reasons for quitting for two reasons. First, HR should know what’s on their candidate's minds so that they can effectively recruit currently employed candidates. If your candidates are thinking about leaving their jobs because of career development, work-life balance, managers, and compensation, you should make sure that your company is the solution to those problems, not a continuation of them. Offer strong benefits that will feel like a breath of fresh air to your candidates. HR should also take note because their current employees are just as likely to leave because of these reasons. Build a benefits program and a company culture that doesn’t just encourage people to join your company, it also encourages them to stay. Last, communicate with your new hires. The Gallup study surveyed voluntarily exiting employees, and they found that 52 percent said that their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job. This is related to the fact that Gallup also found that 51 percent of these employees said their managers never checked in with them during their first three months at their job to see if they were satisfied with their job. HR can implement a system to check in with new hires to make sure they’re happy. If they’re not, you can make changes before they leave. For more information on hiring quality candidates and keeping them, visit our Quality of Hire Resource Center.  ERE Recruiting Conference 2019 recap The ERE Recruiting conference took place in sunny San Diego April 22-24, and in between playing recruiter bingo and enjoying a smoothie bar, recruiters were treated to all sorts of valuable hiring knowledge and insights. Here were some of our favorite sessions at #ERERC.

100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Talent Acquisition

Sarah Cooper wrote “100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings” and she was a former Google design manager. She brought her wisdom and humor to San Diego in an opening session that got the conference started off perfectly. Her insights went from dating in the workplace (“If you meet someone at work, at least you know he has a job”) to the subject material of her book, looking smart in meetings: Sarah also talked about recruiting cliches that are getting a bit stale, like company cultures that all sound the same, interview questions that don’t accomplish anything, and bizarre hoops candidates have to go through.

Legal Issues with Data, AI, and Recruiting: What Works and What to Watch For

Data and AI are some of the most promising tools for recruiters, but these tools are evolving so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up. Heather Bussing, an employment attorney, writer, and analyst, talked about the ethics of these tools and the legal risks associated with them. These risks include discrimination issues if your AI isn’t programmed right, security breaches if it’s not secure, and privacy rights associated with big data. She talked about these issues and how to balance them with the strength of data, making it clear that data and AI are to be taken seriously.

An Award-Winning Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Diversity and Inclusion programs are highly important for the workforce, yet these programs can’t be just a few boxes to check. True D&I programs should have good intentions, be planned thoroughly, and they should continue long after the hiring process. Julie Fletcher, Chief Talent Officer at AMN Healthcare talked about she and how her company’s recognized for their D&I strategy, which includes a constant dedication to equality before and after hiring, actively eliminating unconscious bias, and implementing strategies for recruiting, hiring and promoting diverse employees.

How to Automate and Improve Candidate Experience from Start to Finish

DigitalOcean went from 200 to 400 employees in a year alone, and they maintained a 92 percent approval rating from candidates on their interview experience. How? By using a balance of AI and candidate experience that the other AI speaker, Heather Bussing, would approve of. Olivia Melman, the manager of Recruiting Operations at DigitalOcean, talked about how her company preps candidates for screening interviews by providing resources, uses technology to streamline candidate travel for in-person interviews, and tracks promising applicants who didn’t get offers so they can nurture those candidates for future positions.

Nonverbal Tips for Attracting Top Talent

So many conference sessions focus on effective job postings, interesting interview questions, and efficient applicant tracking systems. We very rarely talk about body language, yet a recruiter can throw off the whole hiring process if they show they’re not interested by keeping their arms crossed or they can’t tell a candidate is nervous because they can’t make strong eye contact. Jeff Baird, a certified body language trainer and career coach, talked about how recruiters can improve their relationships with their candidates by controlling their own body language and recognizing their candidates’ body language. Speaking of top talent, check out our Quality of Hire Resource Center. What were your favorite sessions at #ERERC? With a well-executed employee referral program, each person in your company can act as a recruiter by encouraging their peers to apply for openings. In fact, 48 percent of recruiters said that employee referrals are one of the top channels for finding quality candidates, as reported by LinkedIn. Here is how to create a most effective employee referral program that will create a pipeline of high-quality candidates eager to apply for your openings.

Build the case for an employee referral program

Initially, it might be difficult to convince your company’s leaders that employee referral programs are worth the money and effort. Fortunately, there are lots of numbers to backup the benefits of employee referrals:
  • Employees hired via a referral have twice as high of a retention rate after the first two years, according to FirstBird.
  • According to HR Technologist, employees hired via a referral have a time to hire that’s 55 percent faster than employees hired via an online job site.
  • According to FirstBird, employees hired via a referral generate 25 percent more profit.
These numbers indicate that referrals are an effective means to acquire high-quality candidates. Even without the data I bet we all agree that chances are, a referral is going to be a good fit because the employee who refers the candidate knows first-hand who the company is looking to hire.

Create an incentive program

Your company might be an amazing place to work, but your employees are busy and they’re unlikely to actively recruit their peers unless they’re motivated to do so. You’ll want to implement a bonus program for referring candidates. According to WorldAtWork, employee referral bonuses most often range from $1,000 to $2,500. However, there are outliers with bonuses as low as $250 and as high as $25,000 for executive positions. Some companies also offer additional PTO for referring peers. Before you worry about a skyrocketing cost per hire, remember that you’re saving money on job postings and getting a higher likelihood of a top-quality candidate. Keep in mind that these bonuses are generally only awarded to employees whose referees receive a job offer and accept it. You don’t need to give out bonuses just because someone referred a friend. This will encourage employees to only refer someone they genuinely think would be a good fit at your company.

Give employees clear direction

Your employees won’t be able to refer high-quality candidates if you don’t tell them how to do so. You should communicate with your employees the following, and at three pivotal moments:
  1. When you launch your employee referral program. Tell all of your employees about the program. Make it clear why you have this program, and what you define as a high-quality candidate. Encourage employees to start thinking about the people in their lives who might be a good fit, even if there aren’t openings for their role at the moment.
  2. When you open a job. Get more specific when you’re looking for a role. For example, talk to your software development team if you’re hiring someone in that field, and encourage them to reach out to their previous coworkers or classmates. That said, make job openings easily accessible to everyone in your company, so that people outside of the related teams can refer people they know outside of their field.
  3. When you choose to hire or not hire a candidate who has been referred. It’s important to stay transparent with your employees. Even if it might feel awkward to tell someone that the person they referred didn’t quite fit, it’s better to communicate openly. This will encourage people to continue referring their peers.
Background screening is a great way to make sure you’re not wearing rose-colored glasses when it comes to referred candidates. To make sure your new hires are as high-quality as possible, use a credible background screening company.   For more ways on how to hire high quality candidates, check out our Quality of Hire Resource Center.SHRM Talent Conference 2019 SHRM hosted their Talent Conference & Expo in Nashville April 8-10. It was perfect for getting excited for the big show—the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, from June 23-26. Here were some of our favorite sessions of #SHRMTalent, and the sessions we’re most looking forward to in Vegas.

SHRM Talent Recap: Our Favorites

Employer Branding: Translating Your Story into a Recruitment Marketing Story

Katrina Kibben, CEO and Founder of Three Ears Media and recognized as a 2019 Top 100 HRTech Influencer addressed a full house about how recruiters should brand their organization. Katrina talked about the intangible parts of an employer brand—it’s great to have a snack room, but how do employees feel on Monday morning? Do they work well together? The audience loved Katrina for her refreshing recruiting insights, delivered with a perfect dose of realism and sass.

The Emperor Has No Clothes: How Pay Transparency Positively Impacts Recruiting and Modern Work Cultures

There’s always the debate about listing salary ranges on job descriptions. Do you list the range and give up your negotiation power? Or, do you risk missing out on candidates if you have a salary that’s not attractive to them? To make that even more complicated, new technologies like Google Careers require a single number for a salary, not even a range. Dawn Burke, Chief Operations Officer, Three Ears Media talked about this balance, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to post your salary range. According to SHRM, 61 percent of candidates don’t try to negotiate their salary, anyway. As a bonus, additional SHRM speaker, Tim Sackett had this no-nonsense insight on salary ranges:

Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Elatia Abate, Human Capital expert and thought leader on the future of work gave a closing session that left us with plenty to think about. She talked about how lots of conferences talk about the future—the future of work, the future of hiring, the future of screening, and so on. However, something that people don’t often talk about is the fact that, according to Elatia, 65 percent of the jobs that will exist in 10 to 15 years don’t exist today. This means a drastically different workforce that will keep recruiters busy for a long time.

SHRM Annual Conference Preview

What do Lionel Richie, Martha Stewart, and the founder of TOMS all have in common? They’ll all be in Vegas for the SHRM conference! Here are some of the sessions that we’re particularly looking forward to.

For the HR Department of Me, Myself and I

HR teams that are a one-man or one-woman show, rejoice! The SHRM conference has a whole series of sessions that are geared toward HR departments that are just one person. These sessions include tips on how to use data analytics to help your process, a case study of a company with 500+ people and a HR department of two and a half people, and how to work with executives to make your life easier.

Going From Military Friendly to Military Ready – Hiring and Developing Veteran Talent

The SHRM talent conference in April focused a lot on hiring veterans, and so will the big June SHRM event. As talent sourcing gets more and more competitive, lots of recruiters are focusing on hiring veterans, and for good reason. They have a record of hard work and discipline, yet they’re an often overlooked group. In 2015, Comcast NBCUniversal created a Military and Veteran Affairs team. Since then, they’ve been leading the charge for hiring and retaining veterans. Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President, Military and Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal will talk about their process and what they’ve learned along the way.

A Conversation with Martha Stewart

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President and CEO of SHRM will have a conversation with Martha Stewart, and we can’t wait. One of Forbes “100 Greatest Minds,” Martha Stewart has had a career in the spotlight since the early 80s, with a pretty famous downfall after insider trading, but her comeback was one of the strongest around. She’ll talk with Johnny C. Taylor about how she has rebranded time and time again, how she integrates diversity and inclusion in her companies, and how to embrace industry changes. We’ll see you at the conference! For more HR event recaps, check out the Verified first blog.verified first and jazz hr As written by John Barbato, Partner Marketing Manager at JazzHR.

In its widest definition, quality of hire is the metric used to understand how accurately your talent acquisition process predicts new hire performance. In reality, there is no one-size-fits-all definition of a “high quality” hire. Every company will have a different set of criteria based on overall business goals and company culture.

The quality of hire metric is a quick index on a new hire’s acclimation, and performance since joining a company, resulting in an improvement of processes. To define this metric, you’ll want to talk to stakeholders to distill what values and competencies are most highly valued and use these to shape your metric.

Though it may sound overwhelming at first, to get started you’ll have to decide which data points are indicative of a successful hire. Keep in mind, each hire, good or bad, costs time and money but with the right tools on-hand your HR team can reduce the overall cost.

The True Cost of a Hire

The Society for Human Resource Management reported that, across all industries, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129. However, that figure should be taken with a grain of salt. Average hiring costs can vary dramatically depending on the experience and skills required of the unique position. Hiring individuals for unskilled positions is always going to be less costly than hiring for the C-suite.

Respondents to a Dice Insights survey revealed that they spend more than a third of their recruiting budgets to fill eight percent of their open positions. Much of that spend goes to third-party recruiting agencies that tend to charge 21 percent of the position’s first-year salary.

For an accurate understanding of your organization’s average cost-per-hire, it’s best to run the numbers yourself. The reporting features in your recruiting software can help stakeholders track actual spend over time so that they can see where exactly those dollars go and thus determine where costs can be controlled.

How to Reduce Time to Hire

Engaged candidates make quality hires. Providing a great candidate experience isn’t difficult. With today’s breadth of automation services, employers have no way to excuse a poor candidate experience. Even companies that receive hundreds of applications per opening can use simple technology solutions to ensure every applicant feels heard.

Here’s an example: Before using an applicant tracking system, Danielle Richmond, HR Director at TrustHCS, and her team struggled to keep a pulse on their growing candidate pipeline. There was no repository to view resumes, candidate statuses, or easily respond with feedback. Now TrustHCS uses an all-in-one recruiting tool that keeps everything in one spot, giving their team a complete picture of candidates in just one click. The use of an applicant tracking system’s intuitive sourcing and candidate management software helped TrustHCS cut the time-to-hire in half.

It doesn’t take much for a candidate to consider his or her experience a bad one. 86 percent of candidates say that when they don’t receive a basic application confirmation, they consider the experience subpar.

So much of the candidate experience comes down this: Candidates want to feel heard. It’s likely that the individuals applying to your organization already feel lost, anxious or stressed out. By acknowledging them, hiring stakeholders benefit from an engaged pool of applicants, thus increasing the number of opportunities for making a great hire.

The value of quality talent

Determining the quality of a hire before a job offer is made can be a difficult challenge. It’s an important issue to overcome for many recruiters because there are so many intangibles and uncertainties. To have a better chance of recognizing top-tier talent, SHRM recommended measuring quality of hire metrics pre- and post-hire.

Examples of quality metrics include:
  • Time-to-hire/fill
  • Quality of referral channels
  • Turnover rate
  • Assessment scores

Taken individually, these metrics may not provide enough information to accurately determine average quality of hire. However, assessing these key performance indicators together can provide a window into how hiring processes impact the quality of incoming talent.

How JazzHR and Verified First work together to improve quality of hire

JazzHR is powerful, user-friendly, and affordable recruiting software that is purpose-built to help growing companies exceed their recruiting goals. JazzHR's best-in-class software replaces time-consuming and manual hiring tasks with intuitive software designed to help recruiters and hiring managers recruit, and hire the right talent, fast. To learn more about JazzHR, visit www.JazzHR.com or follow us at twitter.com/JazzDotCo.

JazzHR uses the Verified First integration to help talent acquisition professionals determine quality of hire, in any role. Click here for more information on Verified First's ATS integrations.
Recruiters likely know that hiring managers have two main priorities: hire the best candidates, and hire them quickly. However, these two priorities might feel like they directly conflict. If you’re rushing to hire someone, you won’t have time to get to know the candidates well enough to determine if they’re going to be a high-quality hire. Director of Talent Acquisition and Development at DDR Corp, Brad Owens made the point, “I could get you a recent college graduate to accept the CEO spot at a publicly traded company within a day or two but would you really want that type of candidate?” Considering that the cost of a bad hire can be up to $240,000 according to SHRM, taking the time to hire the right person is crucial. The tricky thing is that time to hire is all about measuring the hiring process before the candidate comes on board, while quality of hire comes down to measuring the candidate’s success after they come on board. This is more difficult than simply counting the days in time to hire. Plus, according to Aptitude Research, 60 percent of companies said improving quality of hire is their greatest recruitment challenge. The good news? With the right tools and strategies, you can still hire those high-quality candidates in a short amount of time. Here’s how.

Measure your quality of hire

According to Aptitude Research, only 26 percent of companies have a formal system to measure quality of hire. Many HR professionals think quality of hire is based on retention, or profits, or promotions and salary increases. The truth is that quality of hire comes down to a combination of all of these. Your recruiting team should keep track of these metrics, especially in a new hire’s first 18 months. But what about the qualitative aspect of quality of hire, like company fit, employee satisfaction, and teamwork? HR can measure this with surveys that asks employees to grade themselves and their coworkers on these traits.

Use your data

So now you have all this data on your quality of hire. Here’s where you can make an impact during your hiring process to hire quality applicants without increasing time to hire. Comb through your data to determine what traits stand out. What were the traits of the new hire who seemed perfect, but then they left a month later? Once you know what a quality hire looks like (and doesn't look like) in your company, you’ll have a better idea of what specific traits to look for in your candidates. Data is particularly helpful for working with hiring managers. If your managers want to focus on quality of hire, you can show them data that shows exactly what traits you should be looking for in your candidates. Numbers don’t lie, and when you’re on the same page with your hiring managers, time to hire will decrease. Our partner, JazzHR is an applicant tracking system that makes it easy to keep track of candidate data. By tracking candidates throughout the hiring process and providing a standardized interview process, JazzHR allows your HR team to keep things consistent among candidates in a way that makes the hiring process fast without compromising quality.

Invest in the right technology

Take your data and post-hire assessments a step further by using technology to measure quality of hire, as his helps reduce your time to hire in two ways.
  1. Your recruiters will have more time to source and hire candidates if they’re not busy measuring their current employees.
  2. Technology can take your data on quality hires and present it in a way that makes it easier to define who is a quality hire. There’s also tech solutions that can measure candidates before they come onboard.
For example, our partner RightHire has an assessment that combines general quality of hire measurements along with your company’s specific preferred traits and skills. This sort of assessment takes candidates just a few minutes to fill out, yet it can eliminate 40% of bad hires. Background screenings are a great way to determine quality of hire, regardless of the role. To hire for quality without increasing time to hire, use a credible background screening company.
HR Transform 2019 just wrapped up two days in Vegas that focused largely on how to navigate changing HR technology as well as how to recruit diverse talent. Here is a sample of our favorite sessions from the conference.

Emerging Technologies and the Impact on HR

There’s a race to obtain as much technology as possible in order to speed up the hiring process, yet not all of this technology is beneficial. A powerful group of executives joined a panel to discuss this balance. Bart Macdonald, CEO of Sapling; Justin Palmer, CEO of TopFunnel; Robin Rosenberg, CEO of Live In Their World; and Enrique Rubio, founder of Hacking HR talked about how AI can help find the best candidate pools, and virtual reality can help candidates role play before they get the job. These tools can change the hiring process, but only if the HR team knows why they’re using the tools. As Enrique put it, HR teams first have to have their hiring process nailed down, and then use technology where appropriate.

Automation First: Taking the Robot out of the Human

As technology increases in the HR sphere, some people worry about taking the human out of human resources. But Mandy Sebel, SVP, People-Americas, of UiPath takes that thought a step further. With technology, we can take the robot out of the human. HR teams have mundane tasks like reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews, and reviewing interview notes—but these are all things that robots can do, so that HR teams can spend more time on the human part of their job—getting to know candidates and collaborating with hiring managers. Mandy estimated that with the proper use of technology, HR teams can have 40% more time to focus on strategy.

Understanding Today's Talent

This session presented some of the newest stats on the current workplace. Noelle Codispoti, CEO of Gamma Iota Sigma; Andy Farver, University Relations Manager at Westfield; Tisha Leslie, Director of Employer Brand at T-Mobile; and Ilit Raz, CEO of Joonko, discussed stats including the fact that in 2018, the average American worker was 42.4 years old-- just 12.3% were under 25, and only 6.2% were 65 and older. So what does that mean? HR teams need to recognize these averages, but they also need to learn to speak to each generation-- within that age range, there are four generations that have explicitly different traits and therefore explicitly different working styles.

Untapped Potential

Though the average American worker is 42.4 years old, there’s some incredible potential outside of that age that recruiters are missing. Rajesh Anandan, CEO of ULTRA; Richard Bronson, CEO and founder of 70MillionJobs; Stela Lupushor, Chief Reframer at Reframe.Work; and Mike Slagh, CEO of Shift.org talked about this untapped area of potential. For example, women over 50 represent more than half of chronically unemployed people, yet these women are likely to have decades of valuable experience.

The Power of Authenticity

It’s a great thing that recruiters are now focusing on hiring for culture instead of just skills. But the term “culture fit” can end up excluding diverse groups, while “culture add” alludes to the fact that diverse candidates benefit their teams. A panel at HR Transform talked about how to rethink culture in a way that makes things inclusive to everyone. Natalie Egan, CEO & Founder of Translator LLC; Erica Johnson, VP of People at Nitro; Aliyah Powell, Founder of the Collegiate Network for The National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, discussed that companies need to create cultures that aren’t just fun and supportive, but inclusive to everyone, and this starts with the hiring process. Background screenings are at the intersection of technology and hiring diverse candidates. With a qualified background screening company, you can ensure your candidates have an equal playing field, without increasing time to hire.
#UNLEASH19: London Recap and Vegas Preview
UNLEASH just wrapped up its conference in London, and it will be coming stateside in May, with UNLEASH Las Vegas. UNLEASH London covered the latest HR technology trends with the most innovative companies, and the Las Vegas conference promises to do the same. Here’s a recap of the London conference, and a preview of Las Vegas. Spoiler alert! Edward Snowden (yes, that Edward Snowden) will be the keynote speaker in Las Vegas.

Recap: UNLEASH London

Because HR teams are increasingly using AI and other technology in their hiring process, it might seem like HR is on the way to making itself obsolete. UNLEASH London argued the exact opposite. Cassie Kozyrkov, the Chief Decision Scientist at Google talked about the use of AI in HR. According to Diginomica, she disproved the idea that AI drives humans, by saying, “It is always the human that is driving it. Yes, our tools extend our ability to do stuff, and some tools can extend us a lot. AI is just another tool.” Baroness Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist, warned about the use of too much technology in the workplace. According to HR Zone, she talked about how employees who are tied to their phones won’t be able to learn as quickly, because technology can slow down learning. She recommends encouraging employees to take breaks outside. Josh Bersin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte, talked about the overwhelming amount of HR technology available. He talked about how, although this technology is meant to make HR teams’ lives easier, they’re working harder than ever. This is partly due to low unemployment numbers, but it’s also partly because HR teams aren’t using the technology correctly. Bersin recommended that HR teams particularly focus on obtaining data, and using AI to analyze that data. “The employee experience problem is all about listening and gaining an understanding of what is tripping people up at work. If we can collect that kind of data and put that into an AI engine, we will make the workplace a lot better,” said Bersin, according to HR Zone. ​

Preview: UNLEASH Las Vegas

UNLEASH Las Vegas will discuss HR and technology, and how to balance the two. Here are the sessions we’re most excited about. Re-imagining Recruiting Ana Recio, the EVP of Global Recruiting at Salesforce will talk about how to recruit diverse talent. Salesforce was named one of Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For for the 11th year in a row. Recio will talk about how this strong culture has made her recruiters’ lives easier, but it doesn’t stop there. She’ll talk about how HR teams can make all employees, but especially diverse employees, feel included and valued in the workplace. Brain Drain Panel Discussion Todd Carlisle, the VP of People at Ipsy will talk with Aimee Meher- Homji, the VP of Talent Acquisition at Sodexo, about recruiting and retaining top talent. With unemployment as low as it is, recruiters have to convince employees to leave their current companies to work for them. But what does that mean for the companies they’re leaving? Carlisle and Meher-Homji will talk about what makes people leave, and how HR teams can build better employee retention strategies. Measure What Matters: Why Data Leads Global Talent Strategy Recruiters know that one key to hiring quality candidates is to maintain a talented candidate pipeline. But how do you create that pipeline? Arthur Matuszewski, Head of Strategic Talent Sourcing at Wayfair, and Sultan Saidov, President and co-founder of Beamery, will talk about how to use data to create a talented candidate funnel. Restoring Trust: How to Solve the Next Generation of Privacy & Security Dilemmas with Edward Snowden Using data to improve your HR strategy comes at the risk of causing privacy and security concerns among employees and candidates. Edward Snowden, Former CIA Officer, knows this more than anyone. Snowden, perhaps the most famous whistleblower of the decade will talk about how to avoid cyber security snafus. He’ll be joining UNLEASH via a remote and secret connection in Russia, as he’s still exiled from the United States. Right after the talk, he’ll answer questions in a live Q&A. You won’t want to miss this one. Can’t make the conference, but want to learn about how data can help the hiring process? Learn more about how background screenings offer priceless insights to your candidates.
The Good, The Bad and the Chatty: How to effectively integrate chatbots into your hiring process
HR technology was one of the main themes at #UNLEASH in London, and chatbots dominated the conversation. Chatbots can dramatically decrease your time to hire and make your company accessible to your candidates 24/7, but they can also require timely trial and error to perfect. Here’s what to consider about chatbots, and how to integrate them in your hiring process.

Candidates Like Them

Recruiters worry that chatbots may feel impersonal to candidates, but it’s actually the opposite. Candidates enjoy being able to ask your company any questions, without feeling like they're annoying a recruiter. In fact, according to Ideal, 58 percent of candidates are comfortable with recruitment chatbots in the first phases of the hiring process. Even more, 66 percent, are fine with chatbots scheduling interviews.

Recruiters Love Them

According to Ideal, chatbots can automate up to 80 percent of the recruiting tasks at the beginning of the hiring process. This includes obtaining resumes from candidates, scheduling interviews, and even conducting screening interviews. When your team uses chatbots for these processes, they can focus on the higher stakes part of the hiring process-- the final interviews, the negotiations, building relationships, and getting candidates to want to work at your company.

Attract More Candidates

The great thing about a bot is that you can have it running whether or not you’re actively recruiting for positions. If you have a chatbot on your careers page online, potential candidates can ask questions about future openings, they can send their resumes, and they can learn more about their companies. Bots can also send out inquiries to people with traits matching your company. According to SHRM, ESPN worked with a bot to recruit interns and find more diverse team members for their on-air presence. Using a bot, they attracted 560 candidates from 53 countries in six weeks. ​

How to Train Your Chatbot

Your chatbot is only as good as your HR and programming teams build it. A good way to start programming your chatbot is by taking your FAQs and converting those into automated answers that chatbots give when candidates ask the questions. Next, consider any scenario in which a candidate has a question. Are they looking for a job with your company? Do they want to know when your company is hiring next? Do they have questions about something they saw on an application? Consider as many of these scenarios as possible. Then, consider all the ways a candidate might respond to your chatbot’s answers. Also, be sure to program keywords that are relevant to your industry, so your chatbot can pick up on them. ​ Though your chatbot works best with lots of preparation, the first few months of using a chatbot will require lots of edits and improvements. In these first months, have your team closely watch the conversations, so that they can jump in and contact the candidates if there were errors.

Keeping the “Human” in HR

Bots are a great way to decrease your time to hire, but too much automation will make your hiring process appear ingenuine. It’s important for your HR team to monitor the chatbots, and reach out to candidates if the bots make a mistake. And, your team should decide what aspects of the hiring process the chatbot can handle, and which aspects are best for a human. The nice thing is you can always program your chatbot to redirect candidates to your HR team if candidates ask questions the chatbot doesn’t know the answer to, or if they ask questions that you’ve determined are best answered by humans. While chatbots can make the beginning of your hiring process easy, credible background screening companies can help you finish the hiring process strong.
8 Rarely Asked and Highly Effective Interview Questions
The two most common interview questions are “What are your strengths?” followed by “What are your weaknesses?”, writes Glassdoor. Any prepared candidate will have rehearsed their answers to these questions. Here are eight questions to ask to assess candidates’ skills, culture fit, personality, including a few that will throw curveballs to show who your candidates really are.

For determining skills:

​Interview question #1: Do something with this paper clip.

According to Business Insider, having someone come up with a purpose for the paper clip can give insight into their creativity. Considering that LinkedIn found that creativity is the soft skill that employers look for most, this is a good trick to keep up your sleeve.

Interview question #2: Would you rather fight a horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?

Chances are you might have asked your friends this question before, when you’re bored or looking for something to talk about. But according to Forbes, it’s actually a really good question to assess problem solving skills. For example, if a candidate chooses a horse-sized duck, it means they prefer taking on one large problem at once. If they choose the duck-sized horses, it means they prefer solving lots of smaller problems.

For assessing culture fit:

Interview question #3: What’s the most interesting thing about you that’s not on your resume?

LinkedIn suggests this one because it’s a way to get past a candidate’s polished persona. How your candidate answers this question says a lot about them—do they mention a hobby, a sport? Where do they like to travel? This question gets to the heart of what your candidate really cares about in life.

Interview question #4: What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?

Workplace cultures are increasingly focused on life outside of work, particularly because feeling burnt out decreases productivity, according to Forbes. This question can help determine how your candidate sees their work life balance. If they say something like, “I check my email,” you know they might be too connected to work, even if they’re just trying to impress you during the interview.

For insight into their personality:

Interview question #5: What are the qualities you like most and least in your parents?

In a column for the New York Times, Bob Brennan, a former CEO for Iron Mountain, said this is the best question to get to know a candidate’s personality, because you’ll find out what your candidate likes and doesn’t like in the people they know best. In fact, he said this question is so good at determining a candidate’s personality that it’s the question he’d ask if he could only pick one.

Interview question #6: If there were a movie based on your life, who would play the lead role and why?

This is a fun way to get people to talk about how they perceive themselves. They might show a sense of humor by saying Brad Pitt is the only person attractive enough, or they’ll show their soft side by saying Anne Hathaway’s relatability would be perfect.

For throwing a curveball:

Interview question #7: Why shouldn’t I hire you?

LinkedIn suggests asking this question. It might feel like an almost cruel question, but it’s one that will cause a candidate to pause and think about if they’re genuinely a good fit for the role. If they are, they’ll likely tell you that there’s no reason you shouldn’t hire them. Or, you’ll learn something new about a weakness of theirs. This question may also tell you how a candidate problem-solves in high pressure situations.

Interview question #8: When a hot dog expands, in which direction does it split, and why?

SpaceX’s Glassdoor listing mentions this particularly out-of-the-box question, but there’s actually a lot of logic in asking it. For one, it’s a good way to see if candidates will ask follow up questions—what type of hot dog? How are we cooking it? Where is it? For engineering roles, it’s a good test of scientific knowledge, and for other roles, it’s a test of problem solving that will also show creativity.
These interview questions will do a great job at figuring out who your candidate is, but background checks will give you the full picture. Work with a credible background screening provider so that you know exactly who your candidate is.
How to Declutter Your Hiring Process
Spring is in the air, which often means we’ll get a burst of energy to start cleaning our homes and offices. There’s something incredibly satisfying about clearing out the junk in our garages, deep-cleaning our cars, and getting rid of old clothes in a way that would make Marie Kondo proud. Why not take that energy to work and declutter your hiring process? Here are six easy steps to streamline your hiring.

1. Clear your mind

Before you start hiring someone new, it’s important to think it through before you officially start the hiring process. Clear your mind from the long list to tackle today and briefly reflect on what worked and didn’t work for employees in the role previously. Think about where you’ve found quality hires, how you attracted them, and how you kept them engaged throughout the hiring process. Visualize your ideal gameplan for this role with the best candidate in mind, then begin.

2. Polish your job description

Writing job descriptions is much easier said than done, yet with so much pressure on time to fill, it’s easy to feel rushed into completing job descriptions. However, if you write a job description that lists requirements that are too broad, your inbox will quickly be cluttered with job applications from candidates that don’t match the job at all. Job descriptions have a lot of room for improvement -- according to Allegis Group, only 35 percent of candidates think job descriptions are accurate. Take some time to think about the most important skills you need from your candidate, and focus on those in your job description. Then, during the hiring process, you can filter out candidates based on the additional skills you’d like.

3. Clear the air with your team

Everyone is busy, and unfortunately schedules rarely line up to make the hiring process streamlined. Talk to your team about who takes on what role in the hiring process before it begins. For example, can the hiring manager dedicate two hours a week to review your candidates? Will the HR coordinator schedule an hour each morning to sort resumes, and an hour each afternoon to line up interviews? Can the recruiter report in weekly meetings on leads they’ve found for future jobs? When your team knows who’s working on what and when, the hiring process is sure to go more smoothly.

4. Clean up your interviews

Interviews are the most important way to get to know your candidate, but they’re also what can clutter up the hiring process and frustrate your candidate the most. In fact, 50 percent of candidates surveyed said that rescheduling interviews is the biggest frustration during the hiring process, according to Glassdoor. There are two ways to declutter your interview process. First, consider how many interviews you actually need. Some companies like to have their candidate go through interview after interview with everyone on the team and in the company. It’s important to have team members meet their potential coworker, but it’s likely that they can all meet your candidate at once. Consider group interviews to declutter the process. The second way to declutter interviews is to communicate with everyone involved in the interview process that they’ll need to block off parts of their schedules for interviews. If you can get everyone to put aside three hours for back-to-back interviews, instead of half an hour interviews here and there, you’ll find your interview process will go much smoother. Don’t overlook background screening as a means to help HR make faster, more accurate hiring decisions. Select a provider with a clean, simple solution that allows you to quickly and easily complete background checks, compliantly.
How to Hire for Soft Skills
LinkedIn’s latest Global Talent Trends report found that a whopping 92 percent of recruiters said that soft skills are as important or more important than hard skills. Companies are moving toward the automation of traditional skills, and they’re working to improve their workplace cultures, so this number makes sense. However, hiring for soft skills is easier said than done, as recruiters now have to find candidates with great personalities, and they often hide those personalities during the hiring process. Here’s how to hire for soft skills.

The most in-demand soft skills

LinkedIn found that most employers are specifically looking for employees who are creative, good at persuasion, strong collaborators, adaptable, and good at time management. These skills are uniquely human, so employers know that AI can’t replicate them. Your company might need different soft skills, like personable for customer service roles, or a quick problem solver for technology roles. ​

How to determine what your company needs

The Global Talent Trends report found that 89 percent of bad hires had poor soft skills. So, as you strategize what soft skills your employees should have, consider why you had to fire people in the past. Were they rude to customers? Poor team players? Waited until the last minute?  It’s likely that your former employees were lacking the soft skills you need. Next consider what your employees do that AI can’t do. AI is making astonishing technological developments, but soft skills are irreplaceable, and individual to your industry.

How to screen for soft skills

If you ask a candidate if they are creative, or good at time management, or adaptable, and so on, they’re bound to say that they are. Unfortunately, talking about soft skills is much easier than proving one has hard skills, because it’s harder to put to the test. Candidates might even think they’re good at the soft skills when they are not. Some people are good at time management -- except when it comes to the work in your industry. To screen for soft skills, ask for examples of when people use those soft skills, without mentioning the skills by name. For example, if you want to know if someone is adaptable, ask them, “Tell me about a time when there was a significant change in a former workplace. What did you do?” For time management, ask them about a time they didn’t manage their time well: “We’ve all procrastinated too much once or twice. Tell me about a time you missed a deadline, and why. What did you do about it?” By asking for specific examples, you can see if a candidate had the necessary soft skills to manage an issue.

How to test for soft skills

The hard thing about soft skills is that, unlike any other sort of skill, you really can’t train employees on how to be creative, or friendly, or adaptable. But the good news is that with a bit of planning, you can test these skills during the hiring process. To gauge friendliness, have your secretary, or even parking lot attendants, take notes on how the candidate treated them-- they’re likely to show their true colors more then.To assess teamwork skills, give your final candidates a small project to work on with their potential team. This could be something as simple as strategizing on a hypothetical new product. The point is to see how your candidate interacts with their team. And, SHRM suggeststalking to their current or former co-workers. Candidates might list their supervisors as a reference, but to truly get an idea of their soft skills, talk to the people who work with them throughout the day.

How to balance the need for soft skills with other data

Your candidates’ soft and hard skills are both important in determining your next quality hire, but they shouldn’t be the only thing you screen for. Be sure to use a comprehensive background screening serviceto verify such information as education and work history, criminal and driving records, or more. Get the full picture to get the best hire.
Eight Hiring GIFs Every Recruiter Can Relate To With competition for candidates higher than ever, the increasing pressure to decrease time to hire, and hiring technology changing every day, the hiring process can be seriously difficult. To help you cope, here are all of the phases of the hiring process and the emotions that go along with them—in GIFs!

1. Writing the job description​

Writing a job description is so much easier said than done. It’s the first thing your candidates will see about your job position. It has to come across as an attractive job, and it has to be honest about the job roles. When you write your job description, make sure you’re only listing the essential job qualifications—if you write too many qualifications, you’ll lose candidates, specifically women. If the hiring managers wants something ultra-specific, work with them on striking that perfect balance so that promising candidates don't self-select out of applying. The University of Pittsburgh recommends grouping your qualifications into two to three sections, so that your job description is more digestible.

2. Posting the job description

The next step is distribution! For the best exposure, use Indeed and LinkedIn—according to Jumpshot, about 40 percent of job seekers go to Indeed, and 25 percent go to LinkedIn. You should also post the job in areas that will match your ideal candidates, like industry-specific job forums, colleges for entry level jobs, and networking groups.

3. Reviewing all the resumes

Now for the fun part. As the applications come in, the recruiting team has the pleasure of going through resumes. Whether you do this manually or with an ATS, you'll be plenty busy playing matchmaker for the hiring manager. Considering that each job opening gets, on average, 36 applications according to SHRM, this can be a lengthy task. Sometimes a cover letter will make you laugh, sometimes a blaring typo will make you cry, but nothing feels better than moving forward with a promising candidate pool.

4. Interviewing candidates

And we're off to the races! You've connected with several promising candidates and want to make sure it's a good fit all around. First-round interviews for candidates can take up a lot of time, but is a critical step in making sure the rest of the hiring process goes smoothly. You'll get to know their communication style, and double check that the roles and responsibilities are in line with what they're looking for. ​Whether it's a phone interview with the hiring manager or an onsite interview with the entire executive team, chances are, you'll be coordinating it. At this phase of the hiring process, you should start focusing on impressing the candidate with your company's "qualifications," instead of the other way around. Culture and team fit are key indicators of future job satisfaction and therefore retention so this is an important stage in the hiring process for more than just testing skillset. These interviews should have a human touch, and give the candidate an honest peek of what life in at your company would really look like. No pressure! Feeling overwhelmed with the communicating back and forth? Consider reaching your candidates in a way that's convenient for them with texting.

5. Verifying qualifications and conducting background checks

As you've narrowed down you candidate pool to a select few, background screening is the best way to make sure that your candidate is who they say they are before you seal the deal. It can be a bummer to get a background report that shows your candidate hasn’t been honest, but it’s much better to find out during the hiring process than it is once that candidate is an employee. ​ Read more about seven public officials who were caught with false resumes.

6. Making the offer

You’ve found the perfect match, and now you just have to offer the job! Negotiating salaries can be stressful for everyone involved. The good news (for recruiters, at least) is that most candidates don’t negotiate their salaries—according to Robert Half, just 39 percent of candidates do. Make sure you're setting your candidate up for success with a competitive salary and benefits package.

7. Reducing your time to hire

Let's be real, the entire hiring process can feel chaotic. You want to hire the best candidates and take the time to get to know them, yet competition is so high, that if you don’t hire quickly, you might lose your candidates to another company. With the increasing pressure to decrease time to hire, finding this blissful balance can be difficult to achieve. To decrease your time to hire, use automation and other software in areas that make the most sense (such as posting jobs, scheduling interviews, and background screening), so you can focus your time on phases that require more of a human touch (coordinating with the hiring manager, conducting phone screens, and creating an awesome candidate relationship strategy).

8. On to the next one!

They've accepted your offer! Time to celebrate a job well done. That is, until the next job opening. ​Looking for more ways to reduce your time to hire? Part of Verified First’s secret for our extremely fast time to hire is our patent-pending background screening technology. Learn more about it here. Where the Women Are: What HR Should & Shouldn't Do to Recruit Female Candidates Executives often tell recruiters to hire female employees, and for good reason. According to McKinsey and Co, companies in the top quarter for gender diversity are 21 percent more likely to have higher profits. But it’s one thing to want female employees—it’s an entirely separate thing to actively recruit them, and the difficulty of recruiting women often depends on the industry. Here’s where recruiters are sourcing female employees, and the dos.

Where are female workers being hired most today?

According to Monster, the top five industries with the most female employees at current are child care services (94% female), home health care (89% female), social services (85% female), veterinary services (81% female) and educational services (75% female). Of these, women experience the highest earnings as veterinarians, with the average pay of $87k, and the lowest earnings in home health care at just over $21k. Overall, women are employed alongside men, with 52 percent of women working in management level and professional jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this equality crumbles when it comes to leadership positions. According to CIO, there are 24 female CIOs in the Fortune 500. That’s just 4.8 percent. This goes across industries: In the legal industry, 45 percent of associates are women, but only 22 percent of partners are women, according to the American Bar Association. There’s a similar trend for women in medicine, academics, and finances, according to the Center for American Progress. ​

What recruiters should do to recruit female candidates:

The first barrier to getting female candidates is your job description. According to the Harvard Business Review, women don’t apply to a job unless they feel they meet 100% of the qualifications for jobs, while men will apply if they feel they meet 60% of the qualifications. You can get more female applicants by limiting your qualifications to the necessities, and saving the extra skills for your “preferred skills” section. You should also make sure your LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, reflect the diversity you want at your office. According to LinkedIn, 41% of women research the company they’re thinking about applying to. When they do that research, make sure your company looks attractive to them. That said, do this without tokenizing anyone-- women will know if you’re just posting photos of the one woman who works in your department. According to TrustSphere, women have networks outside of work that are about three times the size of mens’ networks. Recruiters should leverage this, by encouraging female employees at their companies to encourage their female friends to apply to jobs. There are also countless women’s networking groups that are industry specific. Recruiters should find their industry’s network, and get to know the women there. Recruiters have also had success in recruiting at women’s colleges, but the success of this depends on the industry.

What recruiters shouldn’t do to recruit female candidates:

At Facebook and Apple, just one in three employees is female, according to WiredAccording to a Stanford study, one of the main reasons there aren’t as many women in technology is because of tech companies’ recruiting sessions. In 84 recruiting sessions that researchers attended, they found a pattern of recruiters making sexist jokes and subtle references to male-dominated interests like video games. Plus, these recruiting sessions rarely included female engineers. David Perez (@Davidperezcr91) and Debra Ruh (@debraruh) hosted #CyberMindsChat on March 6th. Tackling questions such as "Is there a better model for the cyber security profession to encourage women?" and "How do we get more women into a field that is screaming for help?" Check out #CyberMindsChat for more ideas! No recruiter, including the recruiters for technology companies, would ever admit to trying to dissuade women from applying. But the point is that if people, regardless of gender, don’t feel welcome and valued as a potential employee, they won’t apply. Recruiters should make an active effort to welcome diverse candidates. This can start by hiring a diverse team of recruiters. One way to ensure a fair playing ground for candidates is by conducting background checks.
The Gender Bias in Artificial Intelligence: How It's Changing & How HR Can Reduce It
With unemployment at an all time low and time to hire more important than ever, more HR departments are considering artificial intelligence to solve their bandwidth problems. While AI may seem like the ideal solution for an overloaded HR department, there are actually many examples of gender bias. According to McKinsey & Company, many companies already know that stronger diversity leads to stronger business. So how do we achieve unbiased AI solutions for HR? Let’s start with the service providers themselves.

Let's be clear, AI won't solve every HR problem

In order to keep time to hire low, recruiters are turning to artificial intelligence. It’s why according to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report, 38 percent of companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) in their recruiting. However, there’s an issue with the data that’s going into the AI in the first place. In an interview with SHRM, Stephanie Lampkin talked about algorithmic biases, in which companies use resume filters or candidate rating systems that are biased against women. The main issue is that AI is only as good, and unbiased, as its developers are. Since AI can’t consider social context or ethical fairness in an algorithm, it oftentimes misses the mark.

When it comes to AI development, the more voices the better

When Amazon caught wind that their AI tool was penalizing female candidates, they reprogrammed it to ignore gendered words like “women’s”. Soon after they found that even implicitly gendered words such as “executed” and “captured” (which were highly correlated with men over women) were being used to penalize candidates as well. AI is a constant work in progress and can’t know what it’s programmers don’t program it to know. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, only 22% of AI professionals in the world are female. And in a field where perspective and problem solving diverse situations is critical, the more women who work in AI, the more unbiased HR software will be.

How HR can vet AI providers for gender bias

The first step to addressing algorithmic biases is recognizing they exist. But it’s an entirely separate step to do something about those biases. Here are steps you can take to qualify your AI provider:
  1. Find HR technology companies lead by a diverse staff.
  2. Ask your companies where they get their data to teach their AI programs.
  3. Test the different AI programs, and see how results differ.
AI has a long way to go before it’s perfect, but in the face of new hiring challenges, it may be a viable consideration for sparing your HR team’s bandwidth. Before requesting an AI platform for you hiring needs, do the due diligence to make sure you’re avoiding any potential bias. It could make all the difference in choosing the right candidate. Ultimately, what leads to unbiased hiring is objective information, like background screenings. To learn more about how background screenings can reduce hiring bias, contact Verified First.
Deciphering Fact from Fiction: How to Tell What's Behind the Resume Mask
Mardi Gras is next week, which means parades, beads, king cakes and, of course, elaborate masks. Mardi Gras masks have a long history, but in New Orleans, they were originally a way for people to join the parties on the streets anonymously. In New Orleans, masks are a fun and intricate way to celebrate Mardi Gras, but on resumes, masks are just ways to obscure candidates’ less than ideal traits. It turns out, lots of candidates use masks—a CareerBuilder survey found that 75 percent of hiring managers have found lies on resumes. Here are four ways to decipher fact from fiction and truly tell what’s behind the mask.

1. Line Up Dates

One CareerBuilder survey respondent mentioned a candidate who claimed to be a CIA agent while he was in elementary school. While the lies aren’t usually this elaborate (and badly thought out), according to Monster, the second most common lie candidates tell on their resume is lying about the dates they worked at previous jobs. Candidates know that recruiters get nervous when they see long gaps between jobs, so candidates will stretch how long they worked at their jobs to decrease that gap. During your hiring process, try to ask specific questions about the timing around candidates’ previous work experiences and even verify their work experience with a background screening company.

2. Skills Tests

Candidates also stretch the truth about their skills. This ranges from exaggerating their knowledge of Excel to lying about a language they can speak or a software program they can run. The best way to test a candidate’s skills knowledge? Literally test it! There are lots of software, Excel, language and typing tests out there. Google uses these tests, and they found that skills tests were the most effective way of determining a candidate’s true qualifications. Check out seven times public officials got caught lying on their resumes.

3. Ask Creative Questions

A smart applicant will be able to tell what you want in a candidate by thoroughly looking at your job posting. They’ll adjust their job titles and skills to the keywords you use. These masks aren’t necessarily lies, but rather expansions on the truth. There’s actually something to be said for a candidate who has the skills to know what you want, but you should also look for a candidate who is genuine. To test their personality, catch your candidates off guard. According to LinkedIn, Warby Parker asks questions like “What was the last costume you wore?” and Slack asks “What do you want to be when you grow up?” These questions force candidates to take off their mask and be genuine, in a way that is pleasant for both the candidate and the recruiter.

4. Background Screening

One CareerBuilder survey found that 33 percent of lies on resumes have to do with academics. Sometimes lies about a candidate’s education are something simple like a rounded up GPA. Other times, candidates say they went to Harvard when they’ve never stepped foot in Massachusetts. The tricky thing about education lies is they’re harder to catch during the interview process. The best way to determine the truth about a candidate’s education, and in fact, their whole history, is a background check. A thorough background screening will confirm their education history, check for any criminal background, and verify the timing of their previous jobs. To take a peek behind your candidate’s masks in a compliant, easy and timely way, use a qualified background screening provider.
Is HR Ready to Apply Artificial Intelligence in Recruiting?
As written by Karen Redetzki, Vice President of Marketing at Verified First
When “There’s no universally accepted definition of AI,” according to Ben Eubanks, principal analyst at Lighthouse Research and Advisory, you know there must exist some misperceptions and lack of understanding around artificial intelligence in recruiting. Being in the talent acquisition space myself, I made it my mission to uncover unbiased, credible resources to gain a better grasp around how HR is thinking about AI today, how it’s already in use, and and how we can help our clients - not to mention ourselves - prepare for it and apply it successfully.

Is artificial intelligence being used in recruiting today?

According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report, 38 percent of companies are now using artificial intelligence for their recruiting, and 62 percent plan to by the end of the year. The questions is, who are the AI vendors these companies are using? According to industry analyst John Sumser from HRExaminer in an interview with Dave Shadovitz, Editor of HRE Magazine, “There are 130 companies claiming they have an AI technology, and none of them have it.” ​

What are recruiters seeing as the benefits of artificial intelligence?

I think we all agree that time to hire will be improved -- according to a LinkedIn study, 67 percent of recruiters said AI has already saved them time. Where we haven’t seen favorable results is around how the candidate experience is affected, and whether the quality of hires and (new hire) retention rates will improve as well. This begs the question, how much will we allow AI to dictate hiring decisions that include job-fit? How can we ensure that we include our ‘gut-feelings’ in our AI-aided hiring decisions, or is there a future in which we create the perfect algorithms?

Before you apply AI in your hiring decisions... what should recruiters do first?

Andrew R. McIlvaine, senior editor for talent acquisition at Human Resource Executive, recapped the Recruiting Trends and Talent Tech conference AI panel in his article "Do Humans Really Have a Bias Against Algorithms?" The panel consisted of industry analysts Ben Eubanks, principal analyst at Lighthouse Research and Advisory, Madeline Laurano of Aptitude Research Partners; Erin Spencer, senior researcher at Bersin-Deloitte; and Kyle Lagunas, research manager at IDC—moderated by cornference chair Elaine Orler. Andrew noted that the panel discussed how, when leveraging AI to make hiring decisions, we must first understand where the recommendation came from—meaning, what algorithm using what data?  The panel referenced a great example of this when Amazon made headlines with its testing of an AI recruitment system, because it couldn’t stop the tool from discriminating against women, and suggested that all of us conduct the due diligence to learn from their case study.

What should recruiters using AI be aware of?

At a Recruiting Trends & Talent Tech interview, John Sumser said “If you force your [hiring] process to only consider the [candidate’s] qualifications, you won’t find your Albert Einstein… If you leave serendipity out of the process, that’s a probability the largest risk in this area [AI].” In other words, we still cannot rely on just the data when making hiring decisions, even if the “I” in “AI” means intelligence. This reminds me of all the questions I’ve asked either Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, many of which still remain unanswered.

HR vs. machine—who wins?

According to Ideal, 52 percent of recruiters say the hardest part of the hiring process is sorting through large applicant pools. In the new bookArtificial Intelligence for HR: Use AI to Support and Develop a Successful Workforceauthor Ben Eubanks talks about the SourceCon Grandmaster Challenge, in which the contest sought out to address this very challenge. In this contest, expert sourcers competed against an AI-based tool, to see whether humans or a machine would select the better candidates. The result? The expert sourcer found better people for the fictional roles in this contest over a third place AI-driven tool, yet time was on AI’s side, as the algorithm produced by Brilent took about 3 seconds, while the human contestants took 2 to 25 hours to research the candidate submissions. Ben commented on how the best solution lies somewhere between purely human to purely algorithmic.  Similarly, John Jersin, Vice President of LinkedIn Talent Solutions, said that AI is not a replacement for traditional recruiters. “I certainly would not trust any AI system today to make a hiring decision on its own,” he said. “The technology is just not ready yet.” So there you have it, my preliminary research shows that human decisions around hiring people are winning out over machines running solo, although not surprisingly, machines make decisions much faster. With time to hire as a critical need for all of us in the talent acquisition space - from recruiters and HR, to job candidates and technology providers - we won’t see the effort to deploy unbiased, artificial intelligence-based hiring systems slow down. If you’re the one in three recruiters looking for a background screening company (per Aptitude Research), we’d love to help you automate your background screening process using accurate candidate data, and in the most human of ways.
Five Tips for Recruiting Out of State Candidates
With unemployment currently at four percent, it’s a candidate’s market. Because finding the perfect candidate has become more challenging, recruiters have started widening their pool of applicants by recruiting out of state. This is a great way to get a good diversity of skilled employees, but snagging a great out of state hire requires additional logistics and considerations. Here are five tips for elevating your applicant pool and effectively hiring out of state candidates. ​

1. Be your state's ambassador

Recruiters in California or New York might have it easy in terms of their state’s reputation. Recruiters in smaller more rural states can have a bit more of a challenge. People from out of state will have preconceived ideas about your state, especially if they've never visited before. To strike down any misconceptions, provide visuals and create materials that highlight all the amazing things to do nearby. Does your city have amazing green spaces? A great food scene? Low cost of living? Call it out! Paint the picture for your candidate early on so that they can begin to really see themselves moving. Once your candidate is comfortable with the idea of relocating, they'll be more likely to accept your eventual offer.

2. Consider their family

With a local hire, you really only need to consider the candidate. When you’re hiring out of state, be aware that your candidate might end up moving their spouse and kids with them. Take the time to learn about your candidate’s family and consider inviting their spouse with them for the onsite interview. If your candidate has young children and your company has daycare benefits, be sure to make that clear. If the candidate has older kids, make a list of exciting after-school activities for them. Provide information on the local school districts that can help them decide which neighborhood to move to. Moving states is a scary change for everyone in the family. If your candidate can really envision their family in your city and know you will support them through that change, they’re more likely to make the leap.

3. Get tech-y with it

With out of state hires, technology can make or break your process. Choose a video interviewing platform that allows multiple lines so you and your whole HR team can meet with your candidate. Use this technology in a way that feels as personal as possible by spicing up the interview itself. Frame the interview as a chat over coffee, where you can drink your caffeinated beverages of choice while talking about more than business. Use video chats as an opportunity to find out what matters to a candidate in their personal life so that you can personalize their entire process. According to Psychology Today, body language is 55 percent of communication, and you lose this with phone interviews. Take the extra time to leave a great impression with your candidate by putting in the effort over video.

4. Secure the budget for a great experience

For high level positions, you’ll need to invest in flying the candidate out for an onsite interview. Video interviews, phone interviews and online assessments do an increasingly good job at determining the best candidate, but for high-stakes hires, nothing beats in-person. Give them a tour of your office and introduce them to as many people as possible. To really seal the deal, don't leave your candidate bored at their hotel. Invest in a full on-site interview experience by touring them around the city and taking them out for dinner. You'll get to know them better and they'll get a better feel for what life in your city is really like.

5. Check cross-state compliance

Recruiters often get close to the finish line of hiring out of state, only to be caught by state-specific compliance laws. Keep in mind that you need to abide by the candidate’s state’s laws, as well as your state’s laws. This can mean limits on background screenings, different discrimination laws, and more. Fortunately, most of this only becomes an issue in your final phase of hiring, when you’re down to final candidates. At this point, use a background screening company that has an in-house compliance team ready to help you hire the right way. For more tips on hiring and recruiting, visit the Verified First blog.
Keeping Your Candidate Experience Consistent During Technology Changes: K1 and Jobvite Acquisitions A recent report by Aptitude Research Partners found that 73 percent of recruiters said their top priority is to create a consistent candidate experience. This is a smart strategy, since candidates are more likely to feel positive about a company when they know what to expect throughout the hiring process. But as we’ve all seen in the HR industry, change is inevitable. With high-impact industry changes like K1 Investment Management acquiring Jobvite, RolePoint, Talemetry, and Canvas for a whopping $200 million, consistency is a difficult goal to achieve. Here are five ways you can keep your candidate experience consistent in the midst of technology changes.

Tighten your company’s internal processes

As a candidate goes through the hiring process, they will go through several rounds of interacting with different people at your company. From submitting an application to onsite interview, there are a lot of moving pieces involved and inconsistencies are bound to appear between these handoffs. Make sure that the communication within your recruiting team and with hiring managers is stronger than ever, so that no candidates slip through the cracks. This means meeting to discuss how each team member uses technology, what problems they’re encountering, and how to effectively transition your candidate through the various platforms your company uses.

Regularly assess your software and take action

While you have these meetings with your team, you might start to see gaps between your software or in the programs you use. For gaps between software programs, there are often additional programs that can fill that gap. If there are gaps within the software, it might be a good time to assess if there’s a similar software program that can fit your company’s needs. While assessing your software, candidate consistency is key. Make sure that when your candidate has to interact with your software programs, the experience feels cohesive. The more of your company’s branding that you can use throughout software programs, the better!

Find technology that integrates with each other

In light of the acquisition news, you may find yourself rethinking your current automation and tech solutions. As you’re researching new options on the market, you’ll want to consider how they work with other HR technologies. If you have a great software program, but it doesn’t sync with any of your other programs, your recruiting team will spend valuable time trying to transfer candidate data-- at the risk of human error. This slows down your time to hire as well as decreases consistency for the candidate. For the background screening component, VerifiedFirst has award-winning integration technology that plays nicely with more than 100 HR software programs.

Communicate with your service providers

In general, candidate consistency improves when recruiters have the ability to ask questions and troubleshoot with their HR software companies. During technology changes, a good software company will keep you updated on how any technology changes might affect you. They should take the initiative to explain changes to you, and they should be available to answer your questions in an honest and timely manner. ​

Use data for your decisions

During the chaos of hiring and the added stress of changing technology, it’s particularly important to go back to the basics of data during your hiring process. With all of your final candidates, background checks deliver fact based and objective information that add clarity to your hiring decision. Verified First's in-house, Boise-based, client care center prides itself in always being available to answer questions, to keep your work calm, collected, and consistent. Learn more about our background screenings here.
Does Your Service Provider Care Enough About You and Your Company - Verified First
Happy Valentine’s Day!  While you rightfully don’t expect to be gifted a heart-shaped box of sea-salted, dark chocolate truffles from your background screening provider today, you should feel appreciated by them. Like any good relationship, dependable client care starts with listening, follows with understanding, and feeds off of honest communication. Expert in client management Ollyvia Banda, Client Services Manager, Verified First shared her thoughts on how to deliver and maintain superior client service.

A greatest gift you can give a client is time

Many customer service organizations require that support staff end client phone calls in three minutes or less. The goal of these organizations is meeting operational costs over what should be priority -- client satisfaction. “If it takes 45 minutes to walk a client through ordering a background report or an hour answering a client question, that’s more than okay, as long as we answer and resolve that issue for our client,” said Ollyvia.

Learn and own-up to mistakes

No one’s perfect, which is why Verified First has a 98 percent client satisfaction rating for case resolutions. Seriously though, for every instance in which a client contacts Verified First, we apologize for the less-than-positive experience, work it until it’s resolved, ask them for feedback on how we can improve, and thank them with heartfelt words and a gift card. Every client engagement is a learning experience, and we embrace the opportunity to make it a delightful one for the client. ​

Client care from the heart

Sounds funny to tell talent acquisition professionals this tip, but here it goes: hire people with heart to build a team of authentic, caring personnel. At Verified First we screen candidates for this attribute that’s innate, vs. learned. It’s about hiring caring people who are not only great at, but are passionate about being great listeners, are generous with their time, strive to understand, and are highly motivated to solve issues, and quickly. “I’m fortunate to have a really great staff that genuinely cares about our clients and about the quality of work that they do. So taking care of our clients is just natural. It’s what we’re supposed to do,” said Ollyvia.

TIP: Find a background screening provider that’s got a big smart heart. Start with a conversation with the provider, then ask yourself:

  1. Do you feel like you could love working with them?
  2. Did they provide you with insights, or a new way at looking at something?
  3. Were they able to answer all your questions, and were they knowledgeable?
  4. Do you feel like if you were in a tough spot, they’d be there for you?

Today there’s one out of every three companies currently looking for a new screening provider, according to Aptitude Research. If you’re one of them, we hope we’ve helped you in your quest. And if you aren’t already working with Verified First, we’d love to help you! ​

Does Your Service Provider Care Enough About You and Your Company - Verified First
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and while it’s not likely you’ll be gifted a dozen red long-stemmed roses from any service provider, you should feel appreciated by them. Like any good relationship, dependable client care starts with listening, follows with understanding, and feeds off of honest communication. Expert in client success Sandra Burns, Vice President of Account Strategy of Verified First, shared her thoughts on how to deliver and maintain rose-bouquet-worthy client service.

They're considerate of their client’s time

Considering the fact that a successful business is expected to have happy customers, client services should be a top priority for any company. However, lots of companies cut corners by putting customers on hold for twenty plus minutes, or they outsource customer service to places outside the U.S. As a result, issue resolution is often delayed due to language barriers and working time zones. And despite the fact that so many of us can function just fine remotely, clients find that when support teams are not in close proximity with the company in which they work for, there tends to be a lesser understanding of how to address client issues and a subsequent time delay for issue resolution. This is especially evident when product/service issues occur unexpectedly, or when inclement weather slows business down -- case in point when courthouses are unable to provide the necessary information to complete a candidate’s background screening due to a storm closing courthouses down for the day.

“Taking care of our clients and getting them what they need in a timely manner will help them hire faster, and with better results,” said Sandra. Time to fill is one of the most critical hiring metrics a talent acquisition professional must deliver to, and if their screening provider is unable to deliver fast—and accurate—screening results, they risk losing candidates.

TIP: To help ensure you meet time to fill, HR pros looking for a new screening partner should ask:

  • What’s your average phone/email response time? Be sure they aren’t reporting answer time as when the hold music starts! For example, Verified First clients talk to an agent in less than 30 seconds.
  • Where is your customer support team located? Are they available during my business hours?
  • How do you communicate important news that may slow down my time to complete screening orders?
They’re a partner, not just a provider

Clients hire background screening providers for their expertise in background checks, not just to automate the process to make the hiring experience faster. In this highly-regulated industry, organizations need to find a provider that can help them be confident that the screening process followed, the steps taken, the forms filled, the decisions made and the responses provided aren’t exposing them to risk. It’s critical that the hiring process is consistent and the screening results are accurate, so clients can be confident that they can make the right decisions on every candidate.

Verified First conducts a thorough review with every client every six months at minimum to identify what more can be done for the client. “Most other screening providers will conduct an account review with the account only if they are a certain size, and typically, no more than once per year. We don’t leave clients out—in fact, the smaller the account, often times the bigger the need they have,” said Sandra.

TIP: It’s about finding a trusted partner, not just a provider, of background screening. To find the right partner for you, consider asking about:

The level of support you’d expect to get from the provider. Questions to ask:

  • How does your customer support team serve new vs. existing clients? Small vs. large clients?
  • How many employee screens do I need to order, to get assigned an account manager?
  • What’s your customer retention strategy?

Client satisfaction metrics:

  • How do you measure client satisfaction? What’s your customer Net Promoter Score (cNPS)? Verified First has made public the cNPS score (4.8 out of 5).
  • Have you made public any customer testimonials? Verified First shares over 300 customer testimonials.

Are you listed as a on the HRO Today’s Baker’s Dozen list? Note this ranks the best screening providers as voted by customers. You will find Verified First listed!

Check out the second part of our answer to "Does your Service Provider Care Enough about You and your Business?" to ensure you’re working with a background screening provider that’s right for you.
Latest Talent Research Surprise - Verified First
The latest numbers are trickling in. So far over 300, U.S.-based HR professionals have responded to the 2019 Talent Acquisition Report conducted by Aptitude Research. The research asks HR the question, “What are the top hiring challenges in 2019?”—place your bets! Do you think it’s quality of hire? Time to fill? Candidate experience? Good guesses as they’ve all been hot topics in the talent acquisition space. Chips down, here comes the surprising answer…

Founder and principal analyst, Madeline Laurano led the charge on this research, and excitedly unveiled the history-making finding in our webinar, which is that we’re in an era where HR is competing for talent across industries. HR is living this truth, as 67% of talent acquisition professionals responded that competing for talent across industries is their #1 hiring challenge in 2019.

Who’s feeling the most pain, and why?

  1. Financial and Business Services. This sector requires workers with lots of knowledge, and are finding there’s not enough of them with the needed comprehension out there. According to talent research by Korn Ferry, this sector is going to be the hardest hit, expected to experience a global worker shortage of nearly 3 million in 2020, and nearly 11 million by 2030—with the biggest impact felt in the U.S. The struggle is real as banks compete with those outside banking to fill digital and fintech roles to run banking-specific technology, according to CNBC.
  2. Tech, Media, and Telecommunications, collectively known as the TMT sector. The labor-skills shortage is expected to reach 1.1 million by 2020, and nearly 4.3 million workers by 2030, globally, with again it hitting the U.S. hardest—not surprising as the United States is currently the world’s tech leader, confirms Korn Ferry. It’s a dilemma as industries including financial and business services compete with the tech sector for candidates with knowledge of disruptive technologies, while at the same time the tech sector is fighting to hire and retain those with the same or similar skills. It’s even more catastrophic when world leaders are asking whether talent shortages could slow down the digital revolution.
  3. Manufacturing. Due in large part to the aging population in the U.S., manufacturing is expected to have a shortage of over 2 million global workers by 2020, and come 2030, nearly 8 million, and this time China is expected to take the biggest plunge. The question on people’s minds is, could talent shortages in manufacturing limit the growth of emerging markets? Korn Ferry’s Yannick Beinvel, the study’s contributor and President – Global Industrial Market gives hope, saying that “Automation may promise great gains for manufacturing; indeed, technology may replace some of the labor…”
To find out what else HR ranked as their top hiring challenges in 2019 and how to address them, check out our on-demand webinar as Madeline Laurano of Aptitude Research shares even more insights.
Let us help you score the perfect candidate with the perfect background screening solution. Request a demo of our patents-pending integration technology today!
Companies that leverage background screening are 3x more likely to improve their quality of hire So you’ve found the perfect candidate. They went to a reputable school, their work experience is unbeatable, and they’ve got a proven record of success. You’re ready to hire them, and your next step is to run a background check and you’re good to go. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t think of background screenings as simply ‘a step’, and more of a crucial element of your hiring process.

Background screening improves time to hire

This may shock some people that background checks actually shorten the time to hire. According to Aptitude Research, companies that do background screening on candidates are two times more likely to improve their time to hire. This is in large part because background screenings take the guesswork out of the hiring process and a decision can be made more efficiently, not to mention with greater confidence. And what better time take action on such information when time to hire is more important than ever! ​

Background screening improves the quality of your hire

Let’s go back to that ideal candidate. They’re perfect, and eager to join your team. Make sure this dream isn’t too good to be true by running a background check. Screenings aren’t just about confirming a candidate’s current and previous employment, education, driver record, etc., but can also help you make data-driven decisions, especially when facing indecision among competing candidates for the same role. Background checks will give you additional information that, regardless of whether it’s good news or bad news, will help you make the right decision, and be confident with it. This is why Aptitude Research found that companies who use background screenings are three times more likely to improve their quality of hires.

Data shows background screenings make hiring managers happier

We get it. Recruiting is fast paced, high stakes, and incredibly competitive. Lots of recruiters and hiring managers thrive in this environment, but that stress can add up. Background screening is a simple step to take that can reduce this unnecessary stress on hiring managers. According to Aptitude Research, companies that use background screenings are two times more likely to improve hiring manager satisfaction. Why? When hiring managers use backgrounds screenings, they have peace of mind knowing that their hires are who they say they are. Now that you know why background screenings are important, don’t miss Madeline Laurano’s SHRM webinar “Background Screening Mistakes HR Cannot Afford to Make and How to Avoid Them.” She’ll talk about how to effectively implement background screenings based on her latest talent acquisition research. We’ll see you there!