Blog Post

Your Most Pressing Questions About Recruiting in the Digital Age, Answered

Cornerstone Editors

There's a storm brewing in the realm of recruiting. Today's employees have to grapple with an always-on, mobile-enabled environment, filled with new technology. But with up to five generations represented in the workforce at the same time, not every employee is armed with the skills needed to keep up with the fast pace of today's work. The skills gap is palpable, and while L&D teams focus on helping close it internally, the pressure is on recruiters to attract outside candidates that can hit the ground running, says Thomas Boyle, principal consultant at Cornerstone OnDemand.

According to a report by PWC, 72 percent of CEOs are concerned about the availability of employees skills. In an environment where organizations are competing for limited top talent, there is no room for subpar candidate experiences. Boyle and Josh Zywien, VP of marketing at SmashFly, discussed this challenge in their most recent webinar—but when time ran out, some questions remained.

Here, Boyle and Zywien answer some additional questions to help organizations create a framework for recruiting that helps close the skills gap.

What are some examples of transparency during the hiring process?

Boyle: Candidates are looking for transparency throughout the entire hiring process. Here are some simple ways to boost transparency:

  • Clearly define job descriptions.
  • Share your hiring process and timelines.
  • Provide self-service tools so that candidates can check the status of their application.
  • Share your interview process and selection timelines.

What is a 'talent community' and how can it help build a recruiting pipeline?

Zywien: Think about the last time you stumbled on a new retailer or e-commerce brand. Maybe you checked out their products and liked their brand, but you weren't ready to buy. If that company didn't offer you any other way to engage other than to buy, you'd walk away and you'd be a lost lead for that company.

Recruiting isn't much different. The reality is that most candidates are passive and unready (or unwilling) to apply. If the only call-to-action you give them is to apply (e.g. buy your product), then those passive candidates will walk away—and you'll have to pay to attract them again later. An online talent community (built through social media, an e-newsletter or recruiting software) is a marketing tool—a simpler, less committal way for candidates to stay engaged with a company they're interested until they're ready to apply to a job. This way, when they are ready to change jobs, they think of your company first.

When a job-seeker applies multiple times at the same company, but gets rejected every time, how can you ensure that this person still has a great experience?

Boyle: The best way to ensure a positive experience is to provide candidates with as much detail as possible. Start by clearly defining the basic minimum qualifications on job descriptions, measuring candidates against these requirements them during pre-screening and providing meaningful feedback.

Zywien: One of the benefits of a CRM system is that it can trigger emails to candidates based on specific behavior — and to change up the message in those emails over time so that no candidate is getting the same, repetitive message over and over again.

For a serial applicant, rather than triggering the same old rejection email from the applicant tracking system, why not set your CRM to follow-up with an invitation to join your talent network. Change it up. Just try something that'll make someone walk away not feeling flat-out rejected and ignored.

Do you recommend notifying candidates that they have not been selected?

Boyle: Chances are your candidates aren't waiting three to five months to hear back from you—at least not the good ones. I would recommend shortlisting your top candidates down to the top five and notifying everyone else of their rejection immediately. For the remaining five, I would be extremely transparent in terms of the process and length.

What are some industry benchmarks to follow with regard to how long it takes or how much it costs to hire for different roles?

Zywien: Gartner's TalentNeuron (formerly CEB Talent Neuron and Wanted Analytics) is an excellent tool for analyzing talent supply and demand for a particular job. It provides a hyper-local look at how long it typically takes to hire for a role in your region, and offers average cost-per-hire benchmarks.

For a free resource, SHRM also publishes annual benchmarks for talent acquisition, which include broader time-to-fill and cost-per-hire metrics.

Do you find many companies are not prepared to offer a well-planned on-boarding experience for new employees?

Boyle: Absolutely. In fact, if you asked your candidates, most would agree that the on-boarding experience is indicative of the broader employee experience. All too often, on-boarding is seen as a one-time tactical process meant to manage forms and compliance during a new hire's first few days or weeks at work. But this is the wrong approach—organizations should start on-boarding before day one, and continue throughout the first year of employment, creating a more continuous on-boarding process that lends itself well to mobility and growth through the organization.

Do you see HR teams becoming key content producers?

Zywien: I see HR becoming more of a publisher and internal communicator. Increasingly, HR teams are sending monthly internal newsletters to keep employees up-to-date on what's happening in the business, telling stories about employee growth and wins or maintaining an internal blog to showcase the company's culture. There's so much goodness in most companies. HR seems like the natural conduit for telling those stories.

These questions were submitted during our recent webinar, "Next Generation Framework for Recruiting in the Digital Age." View the webinar here.

Photo: Creative Commons

Related Resources

Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.

The Modern Workforce Favors Flexibility and Digital Collaboration

Blog Post

The Modern Workforce Favors Flexibility and Digital Collaboration

This is the third in a series of articles we’re doing around our annual State of Workplace Productivity survey. Read a summary of the full survey here . And for our findings on extreme workloads, click here. The always-on, always-working mindset has caught on, largely due to the rise of technology and the demand for more flexible workplaces. While initially introduced to boost employee satisfaction, flexible policies and technology use actually have a greater impact on productivity, and ultimately business performance. The environment in which people work affects how productive they are. Nearly two in three employees think a flexible and remote work schedule increases productivity, according to a recent survey by Cornerstone OnDemand. The most productive work environment is an enclosed office, followed by partitioned cubicles, open desk layout and working remotely, accordingly. While working in an enclosed office is the most promising for productivity, a good chunk of employees — 19 percent — say working remotely is the most productive environment, likely due to the fact that they can control the distractions around them. Forty-three percent of employees say impromptu visits by colleagues are distracting, according to the survey. Digital Communication Enables Remote Workers Even though some employees prefer work from home policies, only one in five are allowed to work remotely. True, employees can’t communicate with colleagues in-person, but the majority of workplace communication happens digitally anyway. Nearly two in five employees believe emails and instant messages allow them to be more productive than having in-person or phone conversations. The percentage of employees that prefer in-person collaboration compared to digital collaboration is decreasing — 63 percent this year compared to 71 percent last year. But there’s a fine balance for using online communication to boost or destroy productivity. Some employees find emails, social media alerts and instant messages to be distracting, so be sure that employees know what kind of communication their colleagues prefer. The key to high productivity and flexible work schedules is arming employees with the right technology. Almost two out of three employees agree that given the right technology, in-person meeting can be replaced completely. Digital natives are demanding a more flexible workplace, and companies are listening and changing accordingly, but more need to put their employees first and do so faster. To read more findings from The State of Workplace Productivity Report, click here. And take a look at our infographic on how workspace matters:

Preparing Your Workforce for Digital Transformation


Preparing Your Workforce for Digital Transformation

Make talent development a priority in the age of digital disruption Ready or not – digital transformation is here. With technology developing more rapidly than ever, the way we do business is changing and it affects everything from customer acquisition and our product offerings, to our tools and processes, to our workforce and work environments. To succeed in a rapidly changing market, organizations must adapt their talent management practices to reflect new digital innovations and processes. Constellation Research discovered that industry-leading companies' ability to adapt to digital disruption was a key factor in their long-term success. As many organizations begin to radically reimagine how they leverage technology and processes, a need for a new talent development strategy arises. No organization wants to be left behind because they failed to adapt well enough or fast enough to the changing digital landscape. So, how can organizations disrupt their talent development strategies to help succeed in the age of digital transformation? How to futureproof your organization in the age of digital transformation It's a sobering fact: Talent development strategies that worked in the past may no longer work in the near future. Human Resources (HR) and Learning and Development (L&D) teams must become true business partners and create a continuous, hyper-connected development experience for people that aligns to the ever-shifting goals of the business. This eBook offers research-backed strategies that will show you how to create a digitally centered, learning-focused talent development environment that will help your organization keep its competitive edge in the era of digital transformation. You'll gain insights into: Determining your organization’s level of digital transformation preparedness Coaching strategies to prep your workforce for digital transformation How to champion a culture of learning to enable ongoing employee skill development Download our eBook to discover the talent development best practices you – and your people – need in order to futureproof your organization while putting your people in the driver’s seat of their own experience.

5 Tips for Crisis Management in the Digital Age

Blog Post

5 Tips for Crisis Management in the Digital Age

Crisis management is a tool many leaders keep in their toolkit, but secretly hope they never need to use on a grand scale. While minor situations arise regularly in the course of business, larger scale issues can end careers and destroy entire corporate profiles if handled incorrectly. We need only look to Equifax and their epic data breach, which called for the release of their CEO and launched a Department of Justice investigation, to see the sweeping impact of poorly handled crises. Many of us might say what we "would" do if we were in such a situation, but until it happens, we really have no idea. This is where crisis communications becomes incredibly important, and HR plays a pivotal role. It's been said failure to plan is planning to fail, and never is this old adage more true than ensuring a strategy to handle a large-scale public relations disaster. As we now live in a time now where cloud-based technology is more prevalent, the digital realm is the new marketplace, and crises of this magnitude and type will happen more frequently, leadership must be prepared in advance to manage crisis in the digital age. Establish Personalities in Advance of the Crisis One of the benefits of social media and the 24/7 news cycle is that it provides opportunity to raise the public profile of anyone and everyone. While it's not necessary that all corporate leadership be incredibly active on social media from a personal perspective, it is extremely important that the company be proactive in building trust from the beginning. Get your leadership in front of your customers and communicate frequently across traditional and social media. It creates a personal connection with your company and shows there are people behind the issues. Gather Around the Message Immediately When the world of communication works on a 24/7 cycle, so must your leadership team. Have emergency communication protocols in place and ensure that they're followed. Your team must get on board with a strategic, unified message immediately and follow your crisis communication plan, which should be in place and reviewed every 3-6 months. Communicate with Employees Your best course of action is to communicate immediately and to arm all those involved with everything they need to communicate that not only are you on top of the matter, but that it won't happen again. This not only encompasses conversations with external media, but also includes conversations with your employees to ensure they can pivot with the leadership team and remain connected to your overall vision. Deploy Your Leadership Brand An established leadership brand is one of the greatest corporate assets during times of corporate strife. Your leadership brand usually emanates from your CEO, but it's more about what your leaders are known for in your organization, and it informs how your employees should act at all times. It also means that individuals at all levels instinctively know how to conduct themselves in a crisis because it's ingrained in the corporate culture and everything they do. They put the customer first, they protect the corporate identity and they remain focused on the cause. Practice Humility Finally, one of the greatest assets in our leadership arsenal is also the oldest in the book: be humble. In this fast-paced world, mistakes are bound to happen. Admitting fault and owning up to one's mistakes quickly is something that separates great leaders from those who inevitably fail. Photo: Creative Commons

Schedule a personalized 1:1

Talk to a Cornerstone expert about how we can help with your organization’s unique people management needs.

© Cornerstone 2022