Does Your Company Have an "Unconscious Bias" Problem?

Do you believe that "Unconscious Bias" exists?  Let's start with some definitions:

Psychologists tell us that our unconscious biases are simply our natural people preferences. Biologically we are hard-wired to prefer people who look like us, sound like us and share our interests. Social psychologists call this phenomenon "social categorization‟ whereby we routinely and rapidly sort people into groups. 

This preference bypasses our normal, rational and logical thinking. We use these processes very effectively (we call it intuition) but the categories we use to sort people are not logical, modern or perhaps even legal. Put simply, our neurology takes us to the very brink of bias and poor decision making.

Neuropsychologists tell us unconscious bias is built into the very structure of the brain's neurons. Our unconscious brain processes and sifts vast amounts of information looking for patterns (200,000 times more information than the conscious mind).  Bias

The problem with unconscious bias is it happens in the background.  You don't get to choose, it's part of who you are.

Most modern companies have done a decent job of talking about what's legal as well as "right" when it comes to bias vs all types of people.  The problem is that people can still have unconscious bias and make decisions without being aware.

That's why a company called TalVista is attempting to provide tools to help control the power of unconscious bias inside your company.  Here's more about the product that TalVista created when it comes to controlling for unconscious bias:

TalVista focuses on mitigating unconscious bias through the use of automated and sophisticated algorithms to ensure job descriptions are appealing to all candidates rather than having them self-select out of a less inviting job description. According to Scot Sessions, CEO, TalVista, the core of its offering is helping hiring managers stay focused on key job skills and core competencies needed to perform the job without regard for race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation. “As humans we have inherent bias,” said Sessions. “While we can see bias in others, we have a difficult time seeing it in ourselves, which is known as ‘unconscious bias.’ With the right tools, recruiters and hiring managers will excel at their hiring duties while staying focused on the experience and traits each candidate may possess and is required to do the job.”

TalVista will continue to expand on the development of the platform, including enhancements to:
1- Job Description Analysis with further optimization
2 - Blind Resume Review with additional redactions
3 - Structured Interviews with interview scripts

I think most of us agree that unconscious bias is real.  When I look at the solution that TalVista has created, here's my reaction:

1- Job Description Analysis with further optimization - It's interesting to note that the team at TalVista fully believes (supported by research) that your job postings are full of things that turn diverse candidates away - they see your job description and even though they're a fit, they don't apply based on some discrete problems with the language and wording of the posting.  TalVista believes it can identify those problems and give you guidance on how to improve them.  I think this is very interesting.

2 - Blind Resume Review with additional redactions - This is what you would expect.  TalVista can connect with your ATS and redact parts of resumes that cause unconscious bias to activate, leading to more qualified, diverse candidates to make it deeper in the recruiting funnel process.  If you're going to attack unconscious bias at your company, this is a tool that is a must.

3 - Structured Interviews with interview scripts - TalVista can provide interview guides for managers designed to mute unconscious bias from the interview experience.

TalVista describes itself as hosted in the Cloud as a SaaS offering with an unlimited annual subscription best suited for Fortune 1000 companies.

My take on this product is pretty simple - reasonable people agree that unconscious bias is a real thing, so if your company is looking to address it as part of your talent plan, Talvista is a great place to start.

I expected the resume review redaction with integration to your ATS, and was pleasantly surprised by the job posting analysis and improvement tool.  The interview guides are a nice touch, but let's be honest - adoption to get your managers to use those is more difficult that getting the full impact of the first two features.

I suspect we will hear more and more about unconscious bias in the future.  Take a look at a post I did awhile back related to bias in AI and machine learning by clicking here.

 


SIMPLE HACKS: Your Initial Call to a Passive Candidate (One Who Didn't Apply)...

I'm not going to lie - I had a couple of rough "first" calls earlier in my career as a young professional.

The first one was doing customer service as a youngster for a wireless company while I was going back to get my MBA.  I went through three weeks of professional training and then the first live call came to me when I was on the floor on my own. Phone

I froze like a deer in headlights.  Couldn't even say my intro.  I disconnected them and gathered myself.  I'm guessing that didn't help the NPS scores, right?

I was young and relatively dumb.  But still, c'mon.  I froze.

Flash forward to my first call working as a recruiter for a contingency firm.  Still remember the call.  I cold-called a candidate from the database and proceeding to blather way too long to some type of IT Administrator, back in the day when that position had a form of market power.

I went on and on.  The candidate - a female - was way too nice and allowed me to do it.  It was as bad as just hanging up, maybe worse.  

Which brings me to the point of today's post.  What's a simple call strategy in a seller's market to connect with a passive candidate in the first 30 seconds of a cold-call to them?  After all, if you get them to pick up the phone, you're likely a nuisance in the course of their day.  You've got to say something in the first 30 seconds that makes them want to talk to you.

For me, it's simple - here's what I would do to hook a passive candidate in the first 35 seconds (I gave you an extra 5):

1.  Tell them why you are calling - 10 seconds.  Who you are, who you work for and what the your company does.

2.  Tell them about the job - 15 seconds.  Name of position, location and some company details - even if you can't give them the company name (for my recruiting agency friends).

3.  Tell them one thing you see on their resume or LinkedIn profile that makes them different from other candidates you've talked to - 10 seconds.

The key, of course, is blazing through #1 and #2 and getting to #3.  Vanity is the key, my friends.

Nobody wants to talk to a robot.

Nobody wants to talk to a transaction.

Everyone is willing to spend a little bit of time with someone who understands that something in their background is unique. 

To tell them who you are and about the job in 25 seconds requires a script, rehearsal and discipline.  But it's required.

Imagine getting through that in one breath and then saying, "I saw your resume and absolutely loved the fact you worked at <_______>.  My experience is that people who spend 2+ years at <________> end up doing some great things in their career."

Lead with that, then stop talking.  But it can't be bullshit - you actually have to have a take.

Try it on your next passive candidate call, and if you don't call anyone who doesn't apply for you job - how about trying to sell your job to someone who doesn't apply?

KD out. 

 

 


4 Ways to Determine If a Candidate Has Ambition...

“I’m tough, ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” 

— Madonna

Ambition. As much as many of us are uncomfortable saying publicly that it’s a value/feeling/potential factor we want in our organization, ambition is needed in your company to get great results.

You know your high-ambition employees. They are the ones that often do great things and occasionally put tire tracks across the back of some teammates in the process. Are you better with or without these people? And if everyone is happy with their current status, who moves the company forward?

I'm up over at Workforce Magazine giving you 4 Ways To Determine if a Candidate has Ambition... Get that whole article by clicking here...


The Art of Rejecting/Approval: Automatic Action Means You're a Complete ##$ - Or a Robot...

The problem with tech, machine learning and A.I. is that we can at times do things too fast.

This seems like a good problem to have in a world where most candidates for jobs go into black holes and never get feedback, right? Delete

Never getting action on something important to you is a HUMAN problem.

Getting action within 1-5 minutes on something important to you is a TECH/A.I problem.

Need some examples? Here you go:

1--I wrote a review on Amazon for Tim Sackett's book last week.  It may have been the first review I ever completed on Amazon.  What was interesting about what happened when I clicked "submit" was the speed at which approval moved.  I was surprised to get a landing page and a follow up email from Amazon telling me that my review was pending approval.  After all, this is Amazon - can't they figure out that I'm not a evil-doer by a systems/computer/IP scan of my review?  My surprise was soon muted when 5-7 minutes after I submitted the review, it was approved.  Think about that for a second.

2--I was speaking at a Jobvite function in Atlanta last week to a room full of recruiters, and I asked the following question - "how do candidates judge you as a recruiter?"  One quick answer that was provided was "speed".  My audience said what you already know - that candidates expect speed from recruiters.  But one voice was quick to point out that in the art of rejection, too much speed could be harsher than never hearing your status at all.  Example - recruiter has manageable workload and is committed to keep her ATS workflow clean.  Candidate comes in that is obviously under-qualified and not right for the job.  You see the application 4 minutes after the candidate pushed send.  Do you reject them that soon?  My audience said no, you needed to wait to spare the candidate's feeling. I agree.

In both circumstances, world-class speed to the next action was available.  Amazon's tech obviously approved my review - there's too many reviews flowing through the system for it to be handled any other way.  But someone decided that auto-approving my review didn't show the proper level of consideration.  Same thing with the recruiter - rejection within 5 minutes was too harsh.

Someday soon, your ATS will scan a resume and tell you whether it's good or not, much like Amazon did to my review.  You won't have to decide on whether to reject each candidate individually, but you will have to decide on how much time passes before rejection feels like you gave a resume proper consideration.

What's proper consideration mean time-wise before you reject a candidate?  I'm thinking 4 hours minimum.

What do you think?

 


Jobvite 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report: Source of Hire Report!

If there's one ATS that does a nice job reporting trends, it's Jobvite

Every year they release a Recruiting Benchmark Report offering a unique combination of data and guidance: summary and analysis of industry benchmark data, along with strategic advice to help you measure, improve and optimize every step of the recruiting funnel.

They've got the data - the report is based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of 2017 data from Jobvite’s massive database of more than 55 million job seekers and 17 million applications and includes year-over-year benchmark data by company size, by revenue, by source of applicants and hires, and by industry. The report is objective, it’s free, and it’s your guide on how to improve your recruiting process.

Go download the Jobvite 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report by clicking here!!!!

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The greatest lie the devil ever told the world was that you could get accurate Source of Hire info.

Let's start with what Source of Hire info is - Source of Hire, when done correctly, is data that tells you where a hired candidate first found out about your open position - the source of that lead, if you will.  Once you have accurate Source of Hire data, you've got the world in your hands, because you can add the cost of each channels and suddenly, you have cost per applicant, cost per interview and cost per hire by source.  

The holy grail.  I spent $21,000 on Indeed, and here's what I got for it.

That's great, right?  Too bad it's elusive as hell.  Getting source of hire right is like herding cats.  It assumes that you've got the technology down cold and you have a digital token on all your recruiting sources to the point where the data is 98% reliable.  For the sources you don't pay for, it assumes that candidates are good about telling you where they first heard about the role.

The technology described above doesn't exists for most of us, and candidates suck at accurately telling you where they heard about the opportunity.

This stuff is so hard that one of the titans of the industry - Gerry Crispin - stopped doing his annual Source of Hire report because he was tired of heading cats and had reservations about the consistency of the data across the large employers who participated in his survey.

Good news - Jobvite is looking at all the activity across their ATS solution and publishing their own Source of Hire data.  While this data likely suffers from the same limitations I describe above, it represents one of the cleanest looks at source of hire you'll find in our industry today - across 200,000+ hires.

Take a look at the chart below and click on it to blow it up (email subscribers may have to click the title of this post to see the chart).

Jobvite - 2018 source of hire

Looking at the 2017 data, most applicants still come from Job Boards and Career Sites (which account for almost 90% of all applicants), followed by Referrals and Agency (job placement agencies.) However, looking only at the absolute numbers can be misleading if you are trying to find the most effective source.

The sources that deliver the highest percentage of applicants don’t necessarily translate to the highest percentage of hires. After all, it’s not about the quantity of candidates, but the quality of hires.  While most applicants still come from Job Boards (51.20%) and Career Sites (36.37%), the percentage of hires from these sources is much lower: 19.75% for Job Boards and 30.39% for Career Sites. Referral and "Entered by Recruiters" account for 27%—nearly 8 percentage points more than Job Boards.

The most efficient source of hires are Custom Campaign, Social Media Shares and Internal Hire. Compared to 2016, hires resulting from Referrals decreased slightly—with the power of custom, targeted campaigns and social efforts to build talent pools, referrals are no longer the number one source for finding high quality candidates.

Go dig around in the data and make sure to download the report at the top of this post.

The data in this report isn't perfect, but I applaud the effort -go check it out now!  Download here!


When Your Last Job/Company Was So Terrible You Can't Get Hired Again...

There's a lot of opinions about the companies around you - in your city, in your industry, etc.  When recruiting, some of these companies are net positive for candidates related to their ability to be the final candidate, some are net negative and most are neutral - because you've never heard of them in your life as an HR pro or recruiter.

"Wow, she worked at Google.  That is so cool"

"Ugh.  He worked at HealthSouth - didn't the FBI raid that place for fraud?"

"What the #### is Zenecom?"

Positive/Negative/Neutral.  Those are really the 3 choices related to the impact a current or past company has related to a candidate's prospects to get hired at your company, unless you're a complete ass and are skeptical of companies you've never heard of - in which case you should unsubscribe to this blog and/or delete this page from your history. Haspel

Eventually, even a negative perception of a company fades into something neutral over time, which is good for all the decent people that get branded by working at a company that goes through a big scandal, fraud or court proceeding.  HealthSouth DID get raided by the FBI one fateful day in the early 2000's.  The company survived and now no one blinks an eye at hiring someone with HealthSouth on their resume.  Even decent folks working at the Weinstein Company (true company, 150 employees, I'm sure not everyone there is answering the door at their office or hotel in an open bathrobe) will eventually be forgiving for working at a place where bad stuff happened.

Are there any companies or positions you can't recover from?  Probably, but they have to be really bad.  I found one - how about running a black-site prison where torture was the normal?

Oh boy - here we go - more from the Daily Beast:

"Long before Donald Trump ever nominated Gina Haspel to run the CIA, a memoir from a former CIA top attorney contained a line with the power to do serious damage to her chances.

Haspel’s informal nomination ran into immediate jeopardy last month over her 2002 supervision of the agency’s first secret black-site prison, located in Thailand, where two early detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri, were tortured. (She directly ran the black site, though after Zubaydah’s most intense period of torture that year.)

But in his 2014 book, John Rizzo, a longtime senior CIA lawyer, indicated that Haspel was responsible for the incommunicado detention and torture not of two men, but of dozens, potentially. Former intelligence officials interviewed by The Daily Beast have portrayed Haspel’s experience similarly.

Haspel, if confirmed, would be the first director to rise from the CIA’s operational ranks with uninterrupted service since William Colby in 1973, which helps explain her depth of support from within the agency. But she’s also the first potential director from the CIA generation involved in post-9/11 torture, making her nomination inescapably a referendum on a dark period of history that the agency wants definitively resolved and human rights advocates say demands vastly more accountability than it’s received. 

Imagine that resume making into one of your searches.  "RAN BLACK SITE OPERATION DESIGNED TO MAXIMIZE INFO GATHERING FROM DETAINEES.  EXCEEDED ANNUAL MBO BY 39%. INCREASED EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SCORES BY 17%"

The whole Haspel for the CIA job underscores the art of hiring the candidate who's operated in tough backgrounds.  We value people who have been in tough environments who have done tough things, but at some point they get branded to the extent we might not be able to hire them.  

You've ran an outsourced call center?  Hey, you might be the gal to help us get more accountability and rigor in our "customer success" center (code for call center with no discipline).

Wait, you spent 3 years in Bangladesh developing sources of information and you can't provide the address? 

We're going to have to get back to you about this position. [Says something generic about keeping resume in system if something good comes up]

 


WEBINAR: I GOT YOUR TEXT: 5 Ways Smart HR Pros & Recruiters Use Technology and Communication Style to Close More Candidates

OK, stay with me here HR friends...

It’s never been harder to gain the attention of the best candidates on the recruiting trail. After all, we are in peak economic cycle, the best candidates are gainfully/happily employed, and it’s easy for them to ignore your pitch for the open positions you’re working.

Never fear, the gang at Fistful of Talent (my other blog) is here to help. If you’re not getting FOTcanvasthe response rate you’d like on your initial candidate outreach, join us April 24th at 1pm ET/Noon CT, 10am PT for “I GOT YOUR TEXT: 5 Ways Smart HR Pros and Recruiters Use Technology and Communication Style to Close More Candidates,” and we’ll hit you with the following goodies:

A rundown on how the smartest HR pros and recruiters are bringing Text/SMS and other tech platforms to their game to provide the immediacy every candidate, generation, and recruiting department craves.

How the best HR pros and recruiters take it a step further and maximize their image by letting technology take care of early stage process and screenings.

How world-class HR pros and recruiters use recruitment marketing elements (from their company and under their individual brand) to show candidates they are a “recruiter of choice”

Why the best HR pros and recruiters never forgot to spend time looking great on more analog tools – voice mail, email – and a plan to stay connected with candidates between offer acceptance and start date.

The hot economy we’re living in means it’s hard to get the attention of the candidates you need. Join us on April 24th for “I GOT YOUR TEXT: 5 Ways Smart HR Pros and Recruiters Use Technology and Communication Style to Close More Candidates” and we’ll show you how to interrupt the pattern and get the talent you need for your open reqs.

REGISTER NOW BY CLICKING THIS LINK!!!


POOL OR THE POND: When Candidates Insist On Coming To The Office - But You Just Want a Phone Call...

You've been there if you recruit for a living or as part of your role.

You make contact with a candidate to set up a conversation.  The candidate is really friendly, maybe even a little too frisky.  He/she wants to come into the office to have a conversation - it's like they just got out of a sales/career seminar and have been told they need face to face conversations to break through the slump they're in related to finding a job.

You have more experience than that. You know that having them in before you determine whether they are a potential fit over the phone is a sucker's play.

Still they push to come in.  You deflect and encourage them to take the phone call without dismissing them entirely.

I call this the "Pool or the Pond" moment from a classic scene with Billy Murray and Chevy Chase in Caddyshack (note, the aggressive candidate would be Carl, you are Ty - see diaglog below):

Carl: But, seriously, no b.s...if you ever want to rap or just get weird with somebody...You know...buddies.
Ty: I'll drop by. You drop by my place any time.
Carl: What's your address? You're on Briar, right?
Ty: Briar, yeah. Number 2.
Carl: Do you have a pool?
Ty: A pool and a pond. A pond would be good for you. Natural spring water.
Carl: Anything would be good.

The pool is what the candidate wants - a live visit to your office.  The pond is what you want - a phone call to make sure you're not dealing with someone that can't do the job or fit what you need - before you have to offer them a Fresca and an hour of your life.

The pond would be good for you - Natural spring water and all... 

Classic video below - email subscribers click through for the video.


PODCAST: Recruiter Confessions from FOT and Canvas...

Joined Tim Sackett from FOT for the podcast below - enjoy!!

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Welcome to Recruiter Confessions! Sponsored by Canvas (gocanvas.io) and brought to you by the talent pros at Fistful of Talent (fistfuloftalent.com), this podcast is made for recruiters, by recruiters. Every month, host Tim Sackett will bring on a different recruiter co-host to share:

--Hiring horror stories
--The secrets recruiters keep to themselves during the hiring process
--Silver bullets you can take back with you to your recruiting shop

For our premiere episode, Tim Sackett sits down with Kris Dunn, founder of Fistful of Talent. Kris shares a recruiting story for the books, involving a Christmas Eve offer and unbudging hiring manager. Together they discuss the judgments passed on candidates' social profiles and the ways recruiters can use things like email marketing and texting to increase their applicant pool and boost their candidate experience.


Jobvite 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report: How Do Your Funnels Look?

If there's one ATS that does a nice job reporting trends, it's Jobvite

Every year they release a Recruiting Benchmark Report offering a unique combination of data and guidance: summary and analysis of industry benchmark data, along with strategic advice to help you measure, improve and optimize every step of the recruiting funnel.

They've got the data - the report is based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of 2017 data from Jobvite’s massive database of more than 55 million job seekers and 17 million applications and includes year-over-year benchmark data by company size, by revenue, by source of applicants and hires, and by industry. The report is objective, it’s free, and it’s your guide on how to improve your recruiting process.

Go download the Jobvite 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report by clicking here!!!!

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Now onto my analysis form the report.  Based on companies that use their system, here's what Jobvite shows as the benchmarked state of the Recruiting Funnel - namely, how many applicants companies are getting and how many they interview to get a hire on average.  

Here's the 3 year tracking data from Jobvite (email subscribers click through if you don't see the image below):

Jobvite2018funnel

What's it all mean?  Here's what I see:

--Applicants per job are down, which makes sense given the hot economy.

--Companies are interviewing an average of 3.5 candidates per job to get a hire, and 90% of the offers are being accepted. 

--Time to fill is down slightly even as the economy continues to heat up, which may mean companies are settling for less than stellar talent at times.

This data matches what we saw at Kinetix (my recruiting company) across 4500 hires for clients last year.  At Kinetix, our data follows our Show/Screen/Hire model, which goes something like this:

Need an overview/executive summary metric that makes sense?  Here's a metric you can provide that's part metric, part statement and part "please look at the big picture."  I call it "The Screen/Show/Hire Statement", and it's designed to take all the noise out of your recruiting metrics.  Here's a real life example of how that plays out at Kinetix (my recruiting company):

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 3.17.43 PM

So that's the recruiting funnel for a single department in an RPO relationship, and it could also be an annual report overall for a smaller RPO engagement.

There's a lot of info in that picture, but the lead is what you see in box at top - "We screen 49 candidates, show you 7 to 8, you hire 1."

That's The Screen/Show/Hire Statement, and it's designed to show you how healthy a search process is.  Those numbers mean for this client we would make 7 submittals, and out of those 7 submittals, the hiring manager would make 1 hire.  

The Screen/Show/Hire Statement is more of a headline than a metric, but it belongs in the metric family because I haven't seen it.  It's designed to report the number and say, "how do you feel about that?"

The recruiting funnel we show for one of our clients is pretty average - we generally show 6-7 candidates via submittal, our clients interview 3 and hire one.

So the missing link to the Jobvite data - and a question you should ask from a recruiting service level perspective - is how many resumes/submittals are your recruiters providing to your hiring managers?  If it's more than our number (6 to 7), odds are your recruiters are asking the hiring managers to do the real work of recruiting, which isn't great from branding perspective for your HR/recruiting team.

Great data in this report -go check it out now!  Download here!