We’ve all heard it. Your employees are your biggest expense. Which means that if we can maximize the return on our employees, we’ve just maximized the return on one of our biggest assets. And that can have a disproportionate impact on the bottom line.

To put it in perspective, Schmidt, Oh and Shafers 2016 Paper found that the output of an above average employee is twice that of a below average employee. And the difference becomes more apparent the more skilled the position.

So how do we fill our organization with above average employees so that we maximize the return on our employees? Well, it all starts with hiring top performers.

And predictive analytics can play a huge role in this process. But the factors we use in today’s hiring process are terrible predictors of future employee success, according to the same Schmidt, Oh and Shafers 2016 Paper. Let’s look at some examples.

Experience and references

Raise your hand if you’ve ever used experience as a way to predict whether a candidate would be a good fit for a role at your organization?

How about references?

I’m guessing there are a lot of hands up right now. And you’re not alone. In fact, one of the  go-to resources for HR professionals, SHRM, wrote an article a few years back titled “Reference Checking: The Most Important Step in the Hiring Process.

And on some level, it would make sense that these factors would be good predictors.

For experience, if you had to have a heart transplant, would you rather hire a surgeon who had successfully completed a dozen such surgeries over the past year or one who was fresh out of med school with no such surgeries under her belt?

For references, if you had to hire a photographer for your wedding, wouldn’t you want to talk to others that have used that same photographer for their wedding before committing significant sums of money for someone’s services on one of the most important days of your life?

But that which is obvious isn’t always true. Take, for example, the fact that most humans thought the Sun revolved around the Earth until Nicolaus Copernicus proved them wrong.

And just like Copernicus, I’m here to dispel your belief that experience and references are good predictors of employee performance. Because they aren’t. According to Schmidt, Oh and Shafer’s research, references only explain 7 percent of an employee’s performance and experience explains even less at 3 percent.

So what is good at predicting employee performance?

Top factors for predicting employee performance

The top three predictors, according to the Schmidt, Oh and Shafer research, are cognitive tests (26%), structured interviews (26%) and work samples (29%).

The common thread between these three is that each of these test how someone thinks and how someone problem solves. In contrast, references and experience are all about what someone has done or what someone says they have done. Just because someone says you have done something or just because you have done something, doesn’t mean you have the capacity to do a new job.

In a complex, ever-changing world, those that are able to adapt and problem solve are better equipped than those that succumb to repetition and consistency. And that’s why cognitive tests, structured interviews and work samples work so well at predicting performance.

From theory to application to conversation

So now that you know which factors to use to assess your candidates, the next question becomes, “how?”

For cognitive tests, there are a plethora of options. Here’s a comprehensive list of cognitive tests you can review to see what’s right for your organization.

For structured interviews, there are a few different ways you can set these up. The key is to remove all bias from the interview. That means asking the same questions to all candidates in the same order. It also means only having one interviewer in the room at a time. And it means assessing each candidate question by question as opposed to assessing all the questions for each candidate. For more details, Harvard Business Review wrote a great piece on the structured interview.

And lastly, work samples. The most common example of this is developers that are required to write code during the interview process. But this can apply to all disciplines. For example, for a marketing manager position, you may ask the marketing candidate to describe how they would overcome a situation where leads were down 10% month-over-month. Have them explain specifically how they would address certain parts of the marketing funnel like traffic and conversions. Or ask a customer service candidate how they would handle a call from an angry customer. There are plenty of work sample questions you can ask for every type of job you are hiring for. And it helps if you get the hiring manager involved.

All this should help you with predicting the work performance of your candidates. But one thing these tests cannot help with is actually finding quality candidates in the first place. And that’s why conversations with candidates at the top of the funnel become so important to your hiring process.

Conversations and prediction earlier in the hiring funnel

With application conversion rates on career sites sitting below 5% (Source: Appcast 2017 Recruitment Media Benchmark Report), it is more important than ever that recruiters find ways to engage with candidates at the point they are making a decision whether or not to enter your funnel.

And one way to increase this conversion rate is by providing your candidates with more options to engage in conversations. Engaging in conversations is important for two reasons. First, we have found that those candidates that engage in conversations are two times more likely to be qualified. So if you are looking for ways to predict your quality of hire at the top of the funnel, you’ll want to offer your candidates a way to start a conversation with your team.

Secondly, conversations are a way to speed up the hiring process. Why? Again, it relates back to predicting quality of hire. Whereas an application is really good at giving you experience and references (those factors not very helpful in predicting performance) meaningful conversations with candidates are really good at helping you assess for problem solving and adaptability (factors that are helpful in predicting performance). So when you engage with qualified candidates at the top of the funnel in meaningful conversations, your recruiters are naturally going to learn more about a candidate much more quickly and therefore move them through the funnel faster.

In the age of the candidate-driven market, the speed at which we engage with candidates in meaningful ways becomes the most important factor in predicting the impact our employees will have on the bottom line. That’s why meaningful conversations at the top of the funnel have become such a crucial part of the hiring process.

To learn more about how you can add conversations to your recruiting funnel, please click on the link below to schedule a 15 minute demo of Brazen’s chat communication software.

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Michigan Tech University (MTU), like many universities, is constantly trying to find ways to connect their highly in-demand STEM students with employers. This typically has meant in-person career fairs, because employers have traditionally focused their campus recruiting on, well, being on campus. But time and money spent conducting and participating in on-campus recruitment can add up. And very rarely do schools come together to lessen the strain on the employers.

Cue online career fairs

This is why MTU decided to move things online, and they are leading the way when it comes to online career fairs. Instead of simply hosting online events to connect their students with employers, they’re also teaming up with other universities, in order to open up their events to more students and employers; thus, creating a massive marketplace that benefits all parties. After just their first event in March 2018, MTU, the students and the employers are already seeing great results.

If you build it (online) they will come

Our current generation of college students grew up in a purely digital world. That means that they spend the majority of their communication online. From Snapchat to Facebook Messenger to Houseparty (never heard of Houseparty? It’s an app that allows you to connect with a group of your friends or family in video conversations. Up to 16 people at once. “Let’s hangout” has a whole new meaning.).

There’s just way too much momentum in online messaging apps to expect students to communicate any other way. Like at an in-person career fair. That’s why online career fairs are so attractive to the students. They can connect to the online event and talk with their future employer from the comfort of their dorm room, lava lamps and all. Here’s what the students had to say:

“[I liked] getting to know companies from the comfort of my room.” -MTU STEM Career Fair Grad Student

And the familiarity of the chat allows them to focus less on the environment and more on selling themselves, in a more efficient way. In turn, employers get a better idea of the student’s skills and experience.

“I liked the fact that I could stay in line for multiple companies at the same time.” -MTU STEM Career Fair Grad Student

After the online career fair that MTU held in March, they sent a survey to participating students and 80% indicated they had some level of interest in attending another online career fair (I’d be happy if just 10% of folks that read this article want to read another one).

And even better than the likelihood of students to return for another online career fair is the fact that 22% of the students got a follow up interview from the event.

So it works for students, but what about for the employers?

For the employers

After the event, we followed up with about a half dozen of the employers– from Ford Motor, to General Dynamic Mission Systems, to WSP– and the overwhelming consensus was that online career fairs are just as convenient for the recruiters as they are for the students. Less travel, less setup and no headache:

“It was nice to set up our virtual booth ahead of time, to post disciplines we are hiring in. It’s often difficult to go on-site and get a full day’s commitment from our teams. But by being able to sign into the event for an hour, from your desk, we got a lot more representation from our hiring managers.” -MTU STEM Career Fair Employer

Plus, the online career fairs give employers easy access to all the data. Depending on what questions the employers are asking in registration, recruiters can see information about the students, like what classes they’ve taken, their chat history and resumes. This helps recruiters quickly move students to interviews that meet certain requirements, while pipelining others who may have potential down the road but need more time.

And so far, the quality of students has been high. Employers tagged 58% of MTU’s STEM Career Fair attendees for actionable next steps: “pipeline,” “screen further,” or “interview.” This is consistent with what we’ve seen across all of Brazen’s online university career fairs in 2018 to date: out of the thousands of attendees to online career fair events, an average of 62% of candidates are tagged for actionable next steps.

All employers we spoke to said they would return to do another online career fair with MTU and their partners.

I’d take that. And that’s why employers and universities are taking it online.

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Brazen is helping top employers convert more candidates at the top of the funnel by offering candidates the option to chat in addition to the traditional apply now. Watch our video to learn more about how this works.

[Transcript] In the past few videos we’ve talked about your recruiting challenges and why conversations are the future of recruiting. Today, we’d like to take that one step further and dive into Brazen’s platform to show you how you can use it to attract more quality candidates.

Traditionally, recruiters have limited the number of interactions on the career site to just one. Apply Now. But passive candidates expect so much more.

The future of recruiting requires that you offer your candidates more than apply now. With Brazen’s platform you can offer your candidates the chance to chat online with your recruiters. By doing so you are improving the candidate experience and increasing the number of options the candidate has to interact with you.

Our customers are attracting twice the number of quality candidates by using Brazen. More quality candidates at the top means more quality hires at the bottom.

P.S. Can we send you an email with our awesome talent acquisition content every week or so?

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Tap into some of the world’s best talent at MIT with online career fairs – Brazen

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It’s practically impossible to tell if a candidate is going to be a good fit, based on their resume alone…that’s why many of my clients tell me they (used to) invite all the seemingly “quality” candidates to a phone interview. Why is phone screening upfront a bad idea?

Let me count the ways:

1. It increases your time to hire: Did you know phone interviews typically add 6 – 8+ days to your hiring process? (source: Glassdoor).  This may sound surprising, but think about how long it takes recruiters to first scan through multiple applications and resumes & decipher which candidates are possibly worthy of a phone screening. Then, there’s the inevitable back-and-forth via email to coordinate a time to chat, followed by hours spent conducting all those phone screens.

2. It’s not scalable: The best way to quickly identify if a candidate is a good fit is to talk to them, but that’s not always feasible–especially if you receive a high volume of applications every week or are simply short on time. Since phone interviews can take anywhere from 15-40 minutes per candidate, there’s only so many phone interviews you can realistically schedule in one day or week. (Have you ever found yourself “stuck” on the phone, talking to a candidate who you knew within the first few minutes of the call, wasn’t a good fit? Unfortunately, you can never get that time back.) This also means that…

3. It leaves candidates on the table: On top of any quality candidates that recruiters may have already missed in their resume scan (yes, good candidates can have poor resumes), there may not be time to reach all of the remaining “good” candidates quickly.  When you don’t follow up fast enough, you lose quality candidates to your competitors. According to Careerbuilder, 66% of job seekers said they would wait only two weeks to hear back until they consider the job a lost cause and move on to other opportunities. Add in the fact that the best candidates are off the market in less than 10 days, and you can quickly see how adding more time to your process is dangerous for your business. Becoming a “resume black hole” creates a terrible candidate experience, to boot…

This isn’t to say that recruiters should get rid of phone screens altogether, but it’s time to dump the inefficient “scan resume, then schedule phone screen” rinse and repeat process.  It’s not the best use of your time, and candidates would appreciate a faster, easier way to connect with you upfront, in a personalized way.

That’s exactly why we built our chat platform, so that recruiters could eliminate steps from their process and engage with candidates faster. Want to learn more? Check out how recruiters are revolutionizing their processes to reach more candidates personally and at scale, to make hires faster:

Click here to learn more about Brazen.

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Last month we invited 50 recruiters to our office to hear what challenges they are facing and ways they are overcoming those challenges. We also spent some one on one time with a select few to capture some sound bits for a video that we created so that we could pass on the learnings from our event to the rest of the recruiting world. Watch our video for some of the key takeaways from the #HRTX event and let us know if you are facing some of the same challenges in the comments below.


[Joe] Two of the most interesting things Ive heard today.
[Brian] Two of the most interesting things Ive heard.
[Jason] One of the challenges talent acquisitions professionals face.
[Joe] The talent that organizations need right now is very technical
[Jason] Oh my god, how do i find that data science candidate
[Susan] I recruit primarily for IT and I find it very challenging to find qualified people for some of my openings.
[Joe] Organizations are really struggling to connect and engage with passive candidates. And this all stems from the fact that the labor market is really tight right now and candidates are in the drivers seat and this is really putting a strain on talent acquisition professionals
[Jason] How do you find those individuals because its actually a walk in the park once you know how to do it.
[Brian] The number one pain point my clients are experiencing right now is process. Like what the recruiting process should look like. They don’t necessarily have a defined process. You’re flying a plane at 30,000 miles per hour and as unrealistic as that sounds you’re also trying to repair the plane mid flight
[Joe] So I think there is this huge opportunity in the industry to find ways to get recruiters outside this maintenance that they are doing. And i would say the other thing that compounds the problem is that recruiters and these professionals in talent acquisition are spending a lot of time with some of the more maintenance level tasks that come along with recruiting and talent acquisition so reviewing resumes and sending follow up emails.
[Joe] I think the challenges that recruiters and talent acquisition professionals are facing every day is something we’re working on with our clients every single day. It’s the same issues. And I’m hearing this over and over again at this event. And so I feel Brazen is really at the forefront of these challenges and helping recruiters, just like the people that are at this event, overcome.

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6 reasons employers should attend an online career fair or host their own online event to find top talent – Brazen

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Check out our video explaining how traditional recruiting is broken and why online chat software for recruiting is helping talent acquisition professionals find more quality candidates and speed up the hiring process.

[Transcript] Thank you for joining me today to learn about why conversations are the future of recruiting. But instead of me telling you why I thought I should show you so I brought in some special guests to help. In this first scenario, we see how candidates and recruiters currently communicate. Not much going on. Looks like the candidate is moving on. And the recruiter just sent an email. Just a bit too late. Now lets see what recruiting looks like when candidates and recruiters use a platform like Brazen to facilitate meaningful online chats. Well, it looks like this time the candidate and the recruiter are chatting with each other via Brazen’s chat software. And just as I say that it looks like this candidate is inching closer to the recruiter, open to hearing more. You see, the magic happens when you allow candidates and recruiters to chat online. Which leads to faster hiring. And that’s why conversations are the future of recruiting.

P.S. Can we send you an email with our awesome talent acquisition content every week or so?

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I spoke with 50 recruiters last week about their challenges and recruiting strategies and here is what I learned – Brazen

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“I hope that recruiters really start to optimize their day and get the most out of what they do best which is to assess candidates through having conversations” says Joe Matar at the #HRTX event in D.C. last week. Check out his full video on attracting passive candidates:

[Transcript] “I think two of the most interesting things I’ve learned today is that organizations are really struggling to connect and engage with passive candidates. This all stems from the fact that the labor market is really tight right now and candidates are kind of in the driver’s seat so this is really putting a strain on talent acquisition professionals. But even with all that being said, I hope that recruiters really start to optimize their day and get the most out of what they do best which is to assess candidates through having conversations.”

If you’re looking for more ways to find, attract and engage passive candidates, check out our blog post on “Top 10 ways to source passive candidates.

P.S. Can we send you an email with our awesome talent acquisition content every week or so?

We won’t overwhelm you and we’ll make it easy for you to unsubscribe if you ever choose to do so.

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