Episode 60: 69% of Job Seekers Would Not Reapply After a Negative Experience

What if your candidate pool shrank by 70% after every job you filled? According to new research, seven out of 10 job seekers would not reapply with your company after a negative candidate experience. So, how do we prioritize it?  

In today’s discussion, Ben speaks with Dwaine Maltais, CEO of Talentegy. Dwaine shares some stats from his company’s new research study as well as some ideas for employers on why candidate experience is such a big deal in today’s market. Plus, Ben shares a personal story about his best and worst candidate experiences he created as a recruiter (including the time he told a candidate off in the hiring process). 

If you enjoyed the conversation and want to learn more, check out https://www.talentegy.com/

How HR Teams Can Use Pre-Screen Calls To Increase Candidate Quality

You might not have ever heard about a pre-screen call before. That’s okay! In short, it’s an effective way to ensure that before you begin the candidate interview process, the person is ready and willing to consider potential employment.

A few of the biggest reasons why it can take so long to find a candidate with high enough quality to offer employment happens to be related to that professionals personal life. For example, are they currently employed and truly wanting to make a change? Are they willing to relocate (if relocation is required)? What are some of their salary expectations and what kind of budget are we working with to hire for that role?

Questions like these, if asked too late in the interview process can leave us asking ourselves why we didn’t ask these earlier. A more senior candidate might have too high of salary expectations or we could find out a more junior candidate doesn’t have enough experience. And if we waited until after the phone interview or the on-site interview, we would have spent considerable amounts of time with that candidate when we could have known earlier that it wasn’t the right fit.

What’s the answer to this problem? Pre-screen calls.

What Is A Pre-Screen Call

Put simply, a pre-screen call is an informal interview that happens over the phone. It should be between the hiring managers, HR representatives or the team leader who is hiring for the position. In these calls, informal questions should be asked so that your team lead and the candidate can get onto the same page.

Questions like these are going to be very helpful:

  • I see you’re currently employed, are you looking to make a change?
  • Did you have a salary range that you are looking to stay within?
  • Are you passionate about this company?

The phone call should be between 15-30 minutes. And very informal, meaning a simple conversation should unfold. Any question that seems pertinent to the candidates background can be asked. It’s important that you tell the candidate that you are having a pre-screen call with them and that it is an informal conversation, so that they become more comfortable and honest with you during the call.

Why Is A Pre-Screen Call Beneficial

Informal questions like the ones above help ensure that this candidate is going to take the interview seriously and that both your expectations are in alignment. By doing this, you can ensure that if there’s an imbalance of expectations, you can cut the cord quickly and save your team considerable amounts of time.

Most companies will have 4-5 team members interview with candidates now. Meaning, if you send a candidate through the interview process, you’re spending anywhere from 6 hours to 7 hours reviewing a potential hire. That’s a lot of time for the company to spend hiring when you are performing 10 interviews or more.

By utilizing these pre-screen calls you can make sure each candidate that goes into the interview process is a promising prospect. And that the time that your team will be spending with them is worth it.

Are There Any Downsides To The Pre-Screen Call

The biggest downside is that someone on the HR team is spending 15-30 minutes in advance of interviews. Though, like mentioned above, spending 30 minutes to find out a candidate isn’t a great fit versus spending 5 hours with them is a massive benefit for the companies utilization of time.

Pre-screen calls should be handled by someone on the HR team in most circumstances. The only time when that should be different is if the position is an operational role or a special role like strategy. When hiring positions like that, you may want to have someone from the leadership team help perform the pre-screen call when you find a candidate worthwhile.

Recording Your Pre-Screen Call In An ATS

Most HR teams deploy applicant-tracking systems or some type of hiring tool that helps them move candidates from the early stages of the interviews all the way through the employment offer. How do you handle pre-screen calls in terms of tracking when most ATS (Applicant-Tracking Systems) don’t provide that option? The answer is that you perform the pre-screen call and then either move the candidate into the next phase (like a phone interview) or move them back into the candidate pool. However you mark that in your ATS should be applied. Ideally, you aren’t having pre-screen calls with more than 15-20 candidates. Making tracking and reporting feasible to manage.

Deploying Pre-Screen Calls Within The HR Team

Educating your HR team about pre-screen calls is easy. They’ll understand what they are almost immediately. You may have to educate the team on questions that they shouldn’t ask in the pre-screen call, like questions that could be leading to the future interviews or questions that specific team members may want to cover. Ideally, the conversation is about the candidate’s willingness and expectation alignment with the job requirements and what it offers. Anything other than that shouldn’t be asked.

You should be able to deploy pre-screen calls within a few weeks of knowing this technique. You may even find a way to track pre-screen calls in your ATS using tags or another status type. But in general, you’ll find that by utilizing pre-screen calls your team will be spending more time with candidates that have already been vetted for the position, increasing your chances by more than 40% that the candidate will be one that receives an offer letter.

Good luck with your pre-screen calls and happy hiring!

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. He writes more articles like this one over at Algrim.co.

We’re Only Human 59: Stomping out Stereotypes with AARP’s Heather Tinsley-Fix

When we think AARP we think retirement, but with more workers staying in the workforce even longer than ever before, the organization is increasingly focusing on careers and employment conversations to guide its members. The tip of the spear in those educational efforts is Heather Tinsley-Fix, Ben’s guest on the show today. 

Heather is particularly interested in AI, bias, and how to eliminate ageism in the workplace, but she has an amazing knack for snackable sound bites that can change your thinking. In this discussion Ben and Heather not only discuss diversity and inclusion and age bias and AI, but also how both enjoy cooking, or baking, or whatever kind of kitchen activity is all the rage these days. 

Connect with Heather: https://www.linkedin.com/in/htinsleyfix

Learn more about AARP’s employer pledge: aarp.org/employerpledge

exit interview

How Can We Fix the Exit Interview Process? [Reader Question]

When I left my last job, I had an exit interview where my employer asked me all kinds of questions about my satisfaction and why I was leaving, but I didn’t answer honestly because I was already leaving. Do they actually use that information or was the exit interview a waste of time?

exit interviewThe Value of Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are the process by which employers talk with exiting employees anywhere from a day to a week before they depart the company, asking questions about their satisfaction, issues, or areas to improve.

As an employer, I very much appreciated exit interviews. They gave me insights that were tough to get from the day-to-day interactions with people. While I did hate having to have conversations with people who were leaving, I tracked each answer they gave and created a system that categorized the information to make it as meaningful and actionable as possible.

Sample Exit Interview Questions

  1. Why did you begin looking for a new job?
  2. What appealed to you about the new job, company, and/or culture?
  3. What could have been done for you to remain here?
  4. Did you share your concerns with anyone here prior to leaving?
  5. If you could change anything about your job or the company, what would it be?
  6. Would you consider coming back to work here in the future? In what capacity? What would need to change?

The Issues with the Exit Interview Process

The biggest problem with exit interviews is that people are not often honest in how they respond to questions (which can make the data useless). For instance, asking someone why they were looking for a new job will often net the response of “I’m just looking for a new challenge” or “I needed career growth.” Those can sometimes be code for “My manager is a terrible person and I can’t stand it anymore.”

So, why are people sometimes less than truthful, since they are leaving anyway? The biggest reason is a fear of burning a bridge in case the new job doesn’t work out like they hope. If it turns out to be even worse, the person might want to come back, and answering the questions truthfully may seem like they are slamming the door, locking it, and throwing away the key forever.

Potential Solutions for Fixing Exit Interviews

That said, there are a few techniques I’ve learned over the years to improve exit interview data collection and the experience for the person on the receiving end as well. If you want to have a great exit interview, here are a few of my go-to requirements these days:

  • Send a survey form via Google Docs (it’s free!) at least two weeks AFTER the person takes their new job. They are already rooted in their new role and will usually give you more honest answers, especially if they don’t have to do it face to face or via voice.
  • Do a follow up phone call a month later asking deeper questions and reinforcing the responses they already gave with any additional detail. By now they are six weeks into their new job and they know if they are going to stay and be happy, for the  most part. This means they can be more open and honest about the conditions and experiences at your company, offering more helpful data points to support decision making.

The other important piece is to try and use the data you get. If a manager is consistently losing people but nobody will say the manager is the problem, you need to dig deeper, because statistically managers are responsible for 70% of an employee’s satisfaction on the job. It may be pay or it may be benefits, but the majority of the time it’s actually their direct supervisor that is the issue.

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long!

Do I Have to Buy a Standing Desk for My Employee?

Spoiler alert: people have a love/hate relationship with standing desks. Some people swear by them, others can’t stand the thought of standing all day long on top of their otherwise demanding job.

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long!

With a standing desk you can practice these kinds of awkward standing poses all day long! :-)

But this is a real issue that HR teams are dealing with almost every day. Managers are bringing up the question: do I have to buy this standing desk just because the employee wants it? What about more nuanced questions, like “do you need a doctor’s note for standing desk requests?”

Well, if you experience pain or other associated issues from sitting at a desk, there are legitimate medical reasons for standing desk usage. Below, I talk about some of the medical benefits of a standing desk and how to build a solid business case to get your (or your employee’s) request approved.

The Anatomy of Reasonable Accommodation

Continue reading


5 Secrets for How to Be a Great Place to Work

One of the annual occurrences here in North Alabama is the “best place to work” competition. It’s a regular staple for HR leaders and employers to try and prove they are, well, one of the best places to work. One of the firms that I know fairly well has actually won the contest multiple times, walking away with awards virtually every year.

I recently had a chance to connect with their VP of Employee Experience and took away five tips and ideas on how to be a great place to work. The video is below–I’d love to hear your thoughts on which tip resonates for you! Continue reading

We’re Only Human 58: Open Sourcing the Recruiting Playbook from Northwestern Mutual

What if you had a way to continuously research and qualify candidates, creating a never-ending pipeline of interested individuals ready to take the jobs your company is hiring for? That’s the vision of Paul Shane, a talent acquisition and onboarding leader from Northwestern Mutual. 

In this interview, Paul opens the sourcing and recruiting playbook at Northwestern Mutual, sharing how his team targets, identifies, and connects with the right candidates over and over again. It’s a powerful story and one we can all learn some lessons from.

Plus, Ben tells the story of the time he almost hired a candidate with no pants. Yes, really. 

Connect with Paul: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulshane1

Connect with Lighthouse about the research: http://lhra.io/contact