Tried to find a new job lately? It’s easy to feel like a rat in a wheel, running faster and faster yet getting nowhere. Despite this being a candidate’s market, it’s easy to feel like you are never going to get ahead of the game.

In today’s conversation (click here to listen), Ben Eubanks interviews Terry Terhark, founder and CEO of randrr. randrr is a recruiting technology firm that is focused on meeting the needs of candidates and individuals by providing highly targeted job opportunities and career insights.

During the conversation, Ben and Terry discuss what’s wrong with recruiting today and how to meet the needs of today’s job seekers. In addition, Terry talks about the issues he sees that bleed across generational and demographic lines, hampering each company from being both efficient and effective with their recruiting efforts. Ben also points to some recent data from Lighthouse Research that focuses on talent acquisition priorities for 2017 and why they matter within the context of the conversation.

Here’s a brief snippet of the conversation:

Ben: So, would you say then that we’re in a candidate’s market?

Terry: I definitely think recruiters understand that today. And it’s not just in high pressure fields like we’ve seen traditionally such as nursing, software, etc. Now it’s crept into skilled trades, sales, and other areas.

There’s tremendous pressure. Recruiters understand that it’s a candidate’s market, but from a company perspective they don’t necessarily realize that opinions have changed. Even today some of the statistics that we have gathered show that the process for job search or recruiting is disappointing and frustrating. Nearly three in four polled individuals said their online job search is frustrating. Company behavior and recruiter behavior has to change to fit that.

Ben: This definitely reminds us of the recent case study with Virgin Media. The company was losing tons of revenue because it treated its “silver medalists,” or candidates it didn’t select, so poorly. Those individuals wouldn’t even shop at the company after that treatment, but the company turned it around and really points to that as a huge revenue opportunity today.

Terry: That’s the issue. We see that companies are getting an average of 150 resumes per posting. That’s virtually impossible to qualitatively sift through, yet many technologies people use encourage more applications/submittals both for candidates and for employers, which compounds the problem…

Click here to listen to the episode and find out what the answer is to this and other problems facing companies today.

To find out more about randrr, be sure to check out http://randrr.com

Thanks everyone, as always, for checking out We’re Only Human. If you’d like to hear previous episodes just check out our archive at http://upstarthr.com/podcast

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Enterprise Florida. All opinions are 100% mine.

Within the United States, there is an incredible amount of innovation and value driving local and national economic trends. One of those areas where this is happening in a notable fashion is Florida. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the interesting trends in the state as well as some of the companies that are doing interesting work.

Diverse People and Talent

The pipeline of Florida Talent is incredibly diverse. For instance, the number of technology firms in the state virtually ensures that the working population is going to have relevant, high quality skills.

Another high quality source of talent? The military. A few years ago I hired a team of individuals for an international project and picked a former Air Force pilot from Florida to lead the crew, because there was nobody else as qualified for that leadership role. In addition, universities across the state are pumping out highly educated workers ready to make their mark on the world.

We know that diversity drives business results, according to McKinsey’s research, and Florida clearly has the capability to field a truly diverse workforce.

Powerful University Partnerships

Speaking of universities, the higher education system in Florida is keenly focused on partnering with in-state businesses to ensure that graduates have the necessary skills for success, not just a bunch of outdated knowledge. This is key to driving Florida Innovation across the entire state. For instance, two of those partnerships that are connecting the next generation of students to the groundbreaking innovation happening at two enterprise firms:

  • GE Wind Energy in Pensacola + UWF College of Engineering
  • SAFT in Jacksonville + UNF College of Engineering

The partnerships are incredibly valuable for all parties involved, and it’s clear that this is a core element of success for these firms.

Thriving Hi-Tech Businesses

Finally, the Florida Business sector is full of innovative firms that are leading high profile projects. Some of the names you might recognize:

  • Blue Origin-rocket manufacturing and launch facilities
  • SpaceX-rocket facilities
  • EA Tiburon-video game software development
  • United Launch Alliance-joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin

Additionally, startups are opening in Florida due to the business-friendly tax climate and the availability of talent. For instance, randrr, a recruiting technology firm focused on matching individuals looking for their dream career with companies seeking high-quality talent, moved from another state to open its headquarters in Jacksonville.

Keeping the talent at these firms is a priority, and that’s why the state encourages a high touch focus for employers. From the recruiting and onboarding to the training and development aspects, each step along the way is an opportunity to engage and create a valuable employee experience.

Growth Potential

Not only does the state already have a wide variety of resources and successful enterprises–it’s also poised to grow. For instance, Florida is ranked fourth in the nation for high tech employment opportunities, according to CompTIA. Employers that are looking to expand and grow should consider Florida’s track record and credentials when considering new locations. The video below offers additional insights into the state’s value proposition.

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Employee referrals are not a new topic in the HR and recruiting space. But the truth is that many companies phone it in when it comes to referrals, often leaving them with lackluster results. It takes a little time, effort, and intention to get a referral program into good shape, and the benefits are far-reaching.

Hiring A Players with Referrals

Data from one study shows that referrals are the best source for finding quality hires. Another expert says that referrals should be one of the top metrics that talent acquisition leaders focus on. And our own data at Lighthouse Research says that more than 80% of companies believe that referrals are important for measuring sourcing performance. Yet more than four out of ten employers are measuring nothing or only anecdotal information when it comes to referrals as a source of hire.

Referrals as a Talent Channel

You don’t create a great place to work. You defend it. -CEO of a firm with multiple “Best Places to Work” credits

Let’s face it. Many employees have not had the opportunity to work at a company with a great culture. But when they find one they inevitably become protective of the culture. This is a great tool for ensuring a strong referral program without having to constantly weed out poor performers and poor fits. It’s been said that A players hire A players, but B players hire C players, and companies of all sizes, industries, and geographies are trying to find those critical A players to remain competitive.

The right referral program needs to not only prioritize referrals as a source of hire, but it also needs strong technological underpinnings to help manage the volume and variety of referrals. Systems like MintMesh and others provide that functionality and help companies to get a grasp on what is typically operated as a “shoot from the hip” type of program. From an analytics perspective, being able to track quality of hire, time to fill, and other metrics and tie them back to the referral source is an incredibly valuable practice. Gathering the right data to support your referral practices is going to generate higher quality hires, ensuring those A players end up at your organization, not at the competition.

Using Referrals to Improve Diversity

Diversity has become an HR buzzword, thrown around in meetings and leveraged for positive PR, but what does diversity really mean?

Legally, diversity refers to the age, socioeconomic background, gender, race and ethnicity differences in your workforce. However, the concept of a diverse workforce encompasses more than that, capturing more nuanced elements such as religious and political views, social status, personality, communication styles, and cultural values.

Diversity sourcing, by extension, is a dedicated effort to attract, engage, and hire a diverse slate of candidates. An interesting twist on the diversity sourcing discussion is in referral practices. Anecdotally, it’s often believed that referral hiring will diminish diversity, encouraging people to refer their friends and colleagues that are just like them. In reality, diversity sourcing can be vastly improved with solid, intentional referral practices.

While virtually all companies say they encourage diversity, and the evidence for diversity as a business performance enhancement is clear, the question remains – how can we source and recruit a diverse workforce? There are three keys to success:

  1. Building a Diversity-Driven Culture-Having the best diversity programs possible won’t matter if your culture doesn’t support it. Diversity begins and ends with your company culture. It should be part of who you are as a company.
  2. Expanding Your Diversity Definition: In a conversation last month with the head of human resources for a U.S.-based construction firm, the leader said that the biggest challenge was filling a key technical role with diverse candidates, because the company had come to see the value in not just diversity of gender or skin color, but in diversity of thought. Candidates that entered the role from diverse backgrounds performed better, connected more thoroughly with their customers and peers, and lasted longer than more traditional candidates.
  3. Employee Referrals: Current employees are living, breathing advertisers for your company. Their testimonies about your organization provide an authentic initiative for potential hires. Missing out on their referrals could be the difference in being a market leader or a laggard. And as mentioned above, this allows your company to target more diverse hires in a way that traditional job postings and advertising just can’t.

Referral Benefits for SMBs

While referrals can help any company, I see the benefits to small and mid-sized businesses as being some of the most valuable.

Referrals are the most powerful tool in recruiting. A provocative statement, sure, but also proven to be true. Recruitment is the lifeline of all organizations and referral programs can deliver top talent to your door at a fraction of the cost of traditional recruiting. According to Dr. John Sullivan, if 50% of your company’s hires aren’t coming from referrals, then you need to get proactive with your referral program.

This is even more true for small and mid-size businesses. With tight recruiting budgets, limited organizational agility, and a need for highly engaged workers from day one, the SMB market can benefit from referrals by reducing costs, lowering time to fill, and ensuring long-term retention and engagement.

Cost

Costs for traditional recruiting sources far exceed those of referrals.Traditional recruiting can cost anywhere from $4,000 to well over $18,000 per hire, but recruiting with a referral program costs closer to $1,000.

Even offering financial incentives to employees for referrals is still a small price to pay for creating an army of talent scouts. Offering a $1000 bonus would still keep the referral hire cost far below that of other methods.

Other cost savings associated with hiring referrals include lower spending on advertising, job boards, and agency fees. Meritage Talent Solutions founder Kara Yarnot found that the typical agency charges a fee of 20 percent of a hire’s first-year salary, equaling $20,000 for a single $100,000 hire. If we’re comparing that to the referral program cost per hire data above, your organization could have hired 20 people for the same cost of one hire through an agency.

Referrals save costs and benefit the bottom line.

Speed

In today’s fast paced workplace, speed is crucial. Referrals can significantly increase hiring speed over traditional recruiting methods. Referrals are the fastest method to hire with an average of 29 days for referrals. Compare that with 39 days for job boards, and 45 days for career sites, on average.

This is due in part to the fact that you have a broader network when you’re prioritizing referrals. Your employees know the company better than anyone and with the rise of social media, employees have networks of contacts at their fingertips ready to tell their peers and friends about openings at your organization.

To get a sense of the size of this potential network, consider this: Pew Research estimates the average person has more than 600 social connections. If your business has just 100 employees, that’s a potential 60,000 people that can learn about your openings with a good referral program.

Not only do referrals start faster–they also onboard faster. A key part of onboarding, beyond understanding the workplace policies and requirements, is assimilating into the social fabric of the organization. By having a social connection already in the firm, the referral can onboard faster. This equates to higher productivity and performance from day one, which is critical for SMBs that don’t have extensive resources to train and develop competencies in new hires.

Referrals are faster to hire, start working quicker and out perform non-referrals.

Retention and Engagement

One third of new hires quit their job after about six months and 32 percent of employers say they expect employees to be job hoppers. This demonstrates the “revolving door” attitude employees have towards companies, but referral programs can increase job loyalty.

Referral programs are proven to decrease turnover and increase retention. 46% of referral hires are retained after one year as opposed to 33% for non-referrals. With referrals producing 25% more profit than their peers, this is doubly valuable for employers.

As mentioned in a recent blog, great companies are made up of great people, and referrals are the best source for bringing those great people to your front door.

[Email subscribers click through to listen to the episode]

Sourcing isn’t a new activity in the talent acquisition world. There have always been hard to fill jobs, but we’re seeing more of this kind of issue than ever before. In fact, a recent CareerBuilder study puts the cost of open positions at nearly $800,000 annually, tallying up costs that ultimately hurt business performance. Organizational leaders say these are the top problems caused by jobs they can’t fill:

  • Productivity loss: 45 percent
  • Higher employee turnover: 40 percent
  • Lower morale: 39 percent
  • Lower quality work: 37 percent
  • Inability to grow business: 29 percent
  • Revenue loss: 26 percent

In addition, our Lighthouse Research study of talent acquisition priorities pegs sourcing as a top area that business leaders plan to focus on in the coming year (just 1% behind onboarding, which was the highest priority).

In this episode of We’re Only Human, host Ben Eubanks is joined by the amazing Madeline Laurano, co-founder of Aptitude Research and co-host of Research on the Rocks, another HR Happy Hour network show. She and Ben discuss some of the key aspects of sourcing, such as employment branding, recruitment marketing, and technology’s role in the process. Madeline shares some great insights in this episode, and she stumps me at the end with a question that shouldn’t have been that hard to answer!

In addition, they examine the impact of AI, machines, and algorithms on the sourcing world, breaking down some of the hype and illuminating an amazing competition that pits recruiters against robots to see who is the best at sourcing great candidates. Not to spoil the surprise, but the real story here exemplifies that to get the best results, we need humans and machines working together. Get all this and more in the latest episode of We’re Only Human on the HR Happy Hour podcast network.

*Please note, if you like the show topic and want more in-depth discussion of sourcing and recruiting in a future episode, please feel free to comment below or email me!

Check out our other episodes in the We’re Only Human podcast archive.

The new year brings new challenges and opportunities as we attempt to whip our HR and recruiting functions into shape. One of the new projects we’re working on at Lighthouse is our Global Talent Acquisition Sentiment Study. With more than 400 votes, we are helping to narrow down the most pressing priorities and topics across the talent acquisition function. The infographic below offers some insight into what those priorities are, and my forthcoming report on the topic will delve into how the data shows differences in US and non-US populations, what trends are driving the relative importance of each of these issues, and what to expect in the coming months.

I’m also delivering a presentation on this topic in March and would be glad to share these insights with your group in a lecture, workshop, or webinar. Just reach out via my speaker page and we can discuss. 

Below are some of the noteworthy findings.

Key Priorities are Not Function-Related

Some of the key priorities in the study that came out on top were focused not on specific practices in recruiting, but on more broad aspects, such as process improvement and business alignment. This is a positive finding, because all too often when I’m working with clients I see that they have a great onboarding or branding program, only to find out that it’s working in opposition to their goals and business strategies.

Onboarding, Sourcing, Candidate Experience Top the List

It consistently surprises me when I see a group of talent leaders prioritize onboarding. Not because it is unimportant, but because it seems like so little effort is placed on it in reality. It’s possible that 2017 is the year we turn that around, making this a strategic differentiator for growth.

Next up is sourcing. I see a great divide between the highly capable digital sourcing professionals and the rest of the HR and talent leader community. This is so pronounced that it almost seems like a different profession, akin to marketing or customer acquisition more so than HR.

Finally, candidate experience was barely edged out for third place. In our recent research on the candidate experience, we pointed out some not-so-obvious ways to improve this practice with assessments, video interviews, and more. This discipline is steadily becoming more of a concrete science for talent leaders, which means we can find what works, make specific process improvements, and deliver higher value to our future employees.

One final note: you’ll notice that not much room separates any of these in the infographic below. This is good in that companies have their priorities in order, but it is also challenging, because when we have competing priorities it means we’re going to be less effective. It is critical to find the specific talent practice your team needs to work on and make it happen before attempting to move to other opportunities in the list.

Lighthouse 2017 TA Sentiment Study Graphic