The coronavirus pandemic has made companies all over the globe rethink the way they do business. Many companies have gone on a hiring freeze, or taken it one step further by laying off or furloughing employees. One question that’s top of mind for most entrepreneurs is: “How can we recover in the post-COVID landscape?”
In a recent webinar, we got to listen to Aaron Delgadillo, Head of Customer Success at Workstream, as he talked about how companies are gearing up to reopen and hire once the coronavirus crisis has been resolved. Read on for a condensed transcript of this insightful discussion.
Aaron: Over the past two years, we've had a lot of rich conversations with our customers on how to engage with their applicants in an efficient and effective manner. And it goes without saying the coronavirus has flipped everything around. However, the reason why we're here today is because of this number – 22,000,000.
In the past few weeks, there have been over 22,000,000 people who are unemployed, successfully wiping out a decade’s worth of job gains. Now, that number is really big, however, in the next few weeks, everyone is going to be competing for that same bucket of applicants that need to join their organization. In the session, we're going to go over 4 main things to revisit and optimize inside of your hiring strategy. That includes your individual job descriptions, your sourcing strategy, communication strategy, as well as your interviews and how you want to structure them moving forward.
Creating Great Job Titles and Descriptions
Now to get started, we want to chat really briefly about your job description and job titles. When we're thinking about your individual job title, you want to make sure you reframe it so that you're grabbing your applicant’s attention, but it's not spamming. We want to move away from language such as, “Hot Hires Now!,” and we want to move towards setting healthier expectations – setting healthy expectations not only in a job title, but also in the job description.
Having a great overview of your company and of the position really goes a long way. And you have to take into consideration: a lot of people who will be applying for these jobs will be on their phone. We want to make sure that your information is scannable, so that your applicants can quickly go from an individual job board to an individual careers page, and get to that information that they need, and in a way that they might be walking and looking for jobs.
So with the customers that we're working with right now, this is something that we're doing right at the beginning, where we’re revisiting this so that we can go after it head-on.
Honing Sourcing Strategy
The next one that is really important is your sourcing strategy – where are your applicants coming from? The path of least resistance is job boards, and really defining which job boards do I want to be on, and when you're ready to go to those job boards, who is going to be that person assigned to copy and paste all those individual job boards.
On top of that, do you have signage inside your stores? When social distancing will be a thing of the past, in the beginning, there will only be very few shops open, and we want to make sure if those people are being filtered into those individual points, to grab their attention there. Make sure you have some great signage so that if they’re visiting a Jamba Juice or if they're visiting your McDonald's, they know that they can apply even directly from the signage. Think of other high traffic areas, think about other areas that are going to be open in the near future, and do you have signage there?
What is your social media plan? If you do have an active social media account, sharing your jobs there in a periodic manner is good. If you do have people visiting your pages because they want to share feedback – they want to share feedback about the experience that they have, there is a great medium to go after as well.
The last two require a little bit of work, and that's reaching out to your current and past staff, as well as past applicants. When it comes to sourcing, are you reaching out to these people? Are you reaching out to your current staff? Because your current staff is the best source of really amazing talent that your organizations need. On top of that, your past staff. If a staff member has come and gone, but they were an A+ person, reach out to them. Reaching out to them is going to be a great way to get more of the top talent. And let's not forget about those people who have applied in the past. There are some people who applied to your positions right when COVID was starting. We should still have a way to reach out to those individuals, to ensure or to keep a pulse on them – are you still interested in moving forward with the job in question?
Keeping Communication Open
Switching gears a little bit and moving to the next topic, which is communication. Now this list is very much entry-level to the journalism of who, how, and when, but it brings up a really good point. Living in the time of coronavirus we are experiencing something new, something unprecedented. Moving forward after this is all said and done, who is going to be following up with the applicants? When are they following up with the applicants, and how? What mediums are you using?
And overall, we have seen some great feedback and some great results with text messaging applicants. That way you can get to a medium that has a very high open rate of over 80% when it comes to an individual text message.
Taking a step back and talking about who - who needs to be followed up with? Is it the individual at the store, the hiring manager, or the GM? Or do we have someone at the home office who will be doing that communication? Making sure you define these individual communication mediums, as well as accountable individuals, during this time is going to be important. So as you start rolling out, everyone knows exactly what their job is.
And finally going down this linear process of sourcing your applicants and communicating with them, the next thing is the interview. You're getting those applicants closer and closer to getting them to chat with you. The real question is: how are you scheduling these applicants? Is it an efficient and effective manner to have them go down the hiring process? And where are these taking place? We have coached a lot of our customers to switch their interview process to a phone or on a Zoom call. Is that practice going to continue as you roll out this post-coronavirus time frame? And if the answer is yes, maybe you want to interject the phone call right before you move them over to an on-site interview.
Again, these things need to be taken into consideration right now. And at the heart of this, is eliminating that friction. Eliminating that friction to go from application to interview. So, when we need to sum it up, what is the key to all this?
Getting Up to Speed
The key to all of this can be summed up in one word, and that’s “speed.” We want to make sure that with everything that we covered today, everything has to fit together in a tight and cohesive package. So that again, the applicants can go from maybe finding you on the job board, applying, answering some questions that you need them to answer to see if they're a great applicant for your organization, and then moving them to an interview stage.
All of that should be the target goal – it should take about 30 minutes. And as you work on this in the next few weeks, ask yourself: are we hitting that 30-minute mark? Are we hitting that 30-minute mark to go from, “Hey, I just discovered a really great job that I want to apply for,” to an interview? That's going to be the main differentiator between those organizations that can fill that 4X growth that they need to find, and those who might be struggling in the near future.
This is probably easier said than done. Now, from a Workstream perspective, I do want to do one customer success plug. We are talking with a lot of our customers right now about this. If you haven't scheduled your hiring process review, please feel free to reach out to your customer success associate.
For those who are new to Workstream, I wanted to show each of you how we do it here at Workstream, how we help out our individual customers be successful in engaging their applicants.
What Workstream Can Do For You
When you get to Workstream, you get access to a comprehensive dashboard. It doesn't matter if you're a hiring manager, or if you're the director of HR, this page will give you some very pertinent information about how many people applied last week, how many new positions, how many new hires that you have in your hiring process. On the left-hand side, you're able to see how many people have scheduled an interview so that you'll be able to keep a pulse on your work. If you're a hiring manager, or if you are the head of HR, you can see how everyone else is doing as well.
Going into positions, here we will be able to see everything that you're hiring for, including your locations on the left-hand side, as well as the positions. And when I click on the team member position, this is the hiring process people will go through for the organization. Applicants will come in from the individual sourcing methods, being a job post, or their own initiatives that they put together such as in-store signage.
After applicants fill out some information, you'll notice that there are two stages right after: additional information and availability. In this case, they are collecting the pertinent information in order for them to be successful with bringing prospects into an onsite interview. Let's say you're looking for someone who's available on Sundays for opening, with this hiring process, you'll be able to get all that information. And of course, this is something that Mary, Ben, and everyone within the customer success team can help you out with. Again, taking this concept into frictionless applying, there is, in this case, no stages to block the applicant. They go directly into an on-site interview stage, that way you can get those applicants very quickly.
Clicking in additional information quickly should give you more details. You can see the applicants that are in each of the individual stages, and you can see information that is pertaining to that individual, so then you can make a decision if you're going to be moving forward with them. You can also message them directly, write some internal feedback saying, “Hey, Aaron's great and I want to move forward with him,” and see any files I think I have sent over to.
Customizing Dashboard Settings
Going to go into settings, for those people who really want to explore the applicant journey, this is where you'll be. This is a one-stop shop so that you can make changes to your individual job description, your job title, as well as the individual stages that applicants are moving down the line with.
And here at Workstream, as I quickly publish this position, we will post your jobs to many, many job boards. Gone are the days of having someone copy and paste repetitively, and keep track of all of these individual job boards. And if you do make any changes, to the job details for example, which include your job description as well as your title, it will automatically update.
The last thing that I want to show you is taking a step back and looking at some of the analytics. Now, I did mention that this is a great tool for not only hiring managers, but also for those HR individuals, for when we want to look at how a job is performing. For example, we see this team member position, there's 371 applicants and 371 are still in process, so there's something going on with the hiring manager there, that maybe they're not moving applicants to those interview stages. And of course, this gives you the information that you need to make sure that you're hitting your goals when it comes to hiring.
A great question that came in from John is: “What industries does Workstream focus on? Sounds like it's mostly restaurants.” Thank you for that great question. Overall yes, we have focused on restaurants in the past. However, at the end of the day, it really is about those organizations that have a monthly hiring need. If you have a consistent hiring need and you need to bring people into your organization in a fast and efficient manner, Workstream is a platform for you. Our customers aren't hiring one or two people a month, they're looking to hire 5 to 20 people on a monthly basis. So again, if you have that monthly need, you know we're here for you.
We have another question from Linda: “I'm worried about having to hire 50 people in a city when all stores are opening at the same time. I have a few franchises; what are the best job boards?” First and foremost we want to make sure that the pieces that we talked about today – the job description, the communication strategy, sourcing strategy – are squared away now. And when you're ready or if you anticipate going live with your franchises again, maybe 2 to 3 weeks before, that's when you should start making everything live. Again, reaching out to those applicants now from the past as well as present will definitely go a long way. Going back to Workstream to give us a visual perspective of what to expect, it’s that frictionless hiring process again. Can your applicants go from learning about your organization to getting an interview in less than 30 minutes? That's going to be the big differentiator in filling your roles in a very heavily dense area.
Question from Jackie: “Can you show me the text messaging part of the platform? How does that work?” Being inside of Workstream, I do want to mention that although we're only looking at the individual platform on the web today, we also have a phone app that's compatible with iOS as well as Android. But going back to the web platform, here we will be able to see all of the messages that we sent to the applicant in both manual as well as an automatic way. So, let's take Isabella as an example, so we can see all of the individual messages that we've sent. On top of that, we can come here and send this applicant not only a text message but an email too, or maybe both. And being that this is all linked together, you might say, “Oh man, who is Isabella?” You know, maybe you were working with a lot of people, you can quickly click an applicant profile to quickly see who this person is and say, “Ah, now I remember, Jamba Juice.” Now you know exactly who this person is.
So the next question that came in is from Ben: “I run a chart at a nursing home and I need to hire now. Does Workstream coordinate background checks, and how would I set that up in Workstream?” Yes, we do facilitate background checks as well. Going back to settings in the dashboard, which as I mentioned before is a one-stop shop when it comes to your job description as well as your hiring process, I'm going to quickly add a new stage. We have a forum stage to collect information from your applicants, we have a quiz stage which can be used to give a quick quiz, maybe show a video on top and ask questions about the video as well. You also have the individual scheduling stage. Scheduling stage is to set up those interviews. And then to go towards your question, we have background checks as well as online signing. So, when applicants go to these background checks stage, you have a plethora of background checks that you can choose, and in which our partner for background checks is Checker. As soon as you get to that stage, Checker will then take the next steps to send the information necessary to do that background check. And we also have an online signing stage. If there are some federal or state files or documents that need to be filled out digitally, we also facilitate as well. Or if you have a handbook that needs to be signed, we can do that too.
The next question is from Jackie: “I'm not the most tech-savvy person. If I tell you my current hiring process, can you set up these stages for me?” Definitely! Overall, we've worked with a lot of people on all ends of the spectrum and we can actually help facilitate that. Not only can we provide guidance, but we also provide some great training on how to get up and start with Workstream. Our onboarding process does include a great needs assessment, and during that needs assessment we want to learn from you what kind of information you are looking to discover about your applicants. How many interviews are you currently providing? Is it just a phone interview? Is it on-site? We help discover that during the onboarding process so that we can provide you with the best possible experience for your applicants.
Joe from New York asked: “How are people doing interviews during coronavirus? I want to start hiring before I can technically reopen. But I don't know if I feel comfortable meeting people in person since I’m in New York.” Let me go back to the hiring stages. In this case, yes, some organizations want to meet their applicants in person, but that's not necessarily the case for everyone as Joe can attest to. Going into adding a new stage, you can quickly add a scheduling stage. We support different types of interview: phone call, on-site, video conference, or other. Out of everyone who's gone through a video conference or a phone interview, how are they doing? Are they in fact moving forward? We’re collecting that data so that in the future, we can show you what exactly are the interviews that are working for you.
Anne is asking about a huge problem and that is about ghosting. Ghosting is a huge problem. The way we have addressed ghosting here in Workstream is by giving some healthy nudges. And by healthy nudges, we mean some reminders. Inside the platform, we have built out a few automated messages that will go out to the applicants if they're starting to become stagnant – not only in like a form stage to collect information but also during those interview stages. We definitely recommend reminding those applicants an hour and even a day before that an interview is coming. So, hose are some of the passive ways that you can go and fight people who are not showing up. On top of that, we also provide a fantastic engagement platform for you to also reach out. You know, it goes a long way to say, “Hey Anne, your interview is in five minutes, I was curious if you have any questions.” And of course, if it's on-site versus a video versus a phone interview, cater your message for that.
The next question that came up: “Is there a way to post a job now even though we won't be hiring right away and let the applicants know that we will be looking to hire in the near future?” That is a really great consideration: should we be posting right now? Overall, our position is that if you will be hiring applicants in the next 2 weeks, we want to make sure that you are getting ahead of the game. Now of course, if some of your operations or some of your shops have closed down permanently, we definitely recommend not to turn those on. Having those healthy expectations and telling your applicants the entire story will definitely go a long way, so that you can move them closer to hire.
To wrap it up: Aaron discussed some great ways to prepare for hiring once the current crisis has passed, and different methods to ensure that your company is top of mind for your target applicants. In the end, it all boils down to being ready to take on hiring challenges and having solutions on hand to address any concerns. Workstream is here to help! Chat with us today to make sure you’re ready for that next step in getting your business up and running again.
Aaron is the Head of Customer Success at Workstream. Having a growth mindset- he loves to learn, grow, reflect, and be in a collaborative environment that is challenging. He has a fond appreciation for cultures, languages, and food.