I’ll staple those applications

This is a story about a time I when I had a great idea.

Sit-down-let-me-tell-you-a-story

The year was two thousand and seven. I was all of 21 years old and very ambitious. I had been working my first “grown up” job for a year now and had been exceeding all expectations. I had learned so much in that time, but I knew I needed to find ways to manage my time better and increase efficiency.

I was the youngest person working in the office at the time with three other ladies. Two of which were older than my parents, but not quite old enough to be my grandparents and one was probably close to my parents age. The two older ladies worked upstairs while me and the younger of the other three worked downstairs. Her and I saw a lot of people every day coming in to fill out these lengthy paper applications. Her and I were the first round of interviews, screening them to see if they were good enough candidates to send upstairs (as I type this, I realize that process was also ridiculous). We handled the drug screens, scheduling, applicant flow, filing, answering phones, etc. The other two ladies handled payroll, delivering checks, extra screening, meetings and one of them did sales. All of that to explain that they weren’t always up close witnesses to the dated process of the paper applications and how long it took.

Process at the time: take paper application, interview candidate, send candidate upstairs for further interview, make candidate an offer, drug screen candidate, on-board candidate, enter new hire information into our system. YEAH, we took their info from their application and entered it into the system so we could pay them. They wrote out all of their info and then someone would take that info and manually key it into the system. Manually. key. it. in.

YALL… one day I was playing around and found out that the software we used to enter applicant data in and administer payroll was in fact a fairly sophisticated ATS! IT COULD TAKE ONLINE APPLICATIONS… We had this product we were paying for that could take applications and here we were handing out all these dadgum paper applications like it was 1982. YALL… I started crunching some numbers, because even in my early days I knew data was the way to make your case. How much were we spending ordering these paper applications, shipping the paper applications to our office, and then stapling all of the separate sheets together? How much time did it take an applicant on average to fill this massive thing out, how much time did it take to file it, how much time did it take to enter it in once we hired them, etc.? How much would it cost to set up 4-6 computers in the office for applicants to use to fill out the online version of this application? THE. NUMBERS. SPOKE. FOR. THEMSELVES.

As you can tell from this typed out blog post about a story from over 10 years ago, I was EXCITED! I had everything I needed to make a case for why we needed to change our process immediately and I couldn’t wait to tell somebody. I remember telling the ladies who worked upstairs about this idea and how simple it would be for me to set it up for us. I talked about streamlining the process, saving time, $$, I hit all the key factors BUT those two ladies only heard “you’re inefficient, I can do it better, I’m replacing you.”

face
This is my “really, that’s all you heard?” face…

I didn’t know what to do with that. I was floored because that’s not what I was saying at all. I wasn’t sure where that was coming from and I didn’t know how to dispute it. I let it go. When given the chance to run another office for the same company I eventually implemented all the upgrades I wanted to do in my office. When my office became the biggest billing office in the company, other offices were instructed to do what I was doing. It wasn’t about replacing anyone, it was about improving our efficiency and service. I didn’t know how to refine my message back then or have a conversation with peers who were afraid I viewed them as a non-factor and replaceable. I could have done a much better job of pitching my idea, my mistake was not taking the time to understand that I might need to.

Learn how to talk to people of all levels. Approach issues with the other persons perspective in mind. When all else fails, shut up and listen.

Advertisements

Pick up the phone

You remember that awesome recruiting workshop I just talked about a couple of days ago? yeah… I’m going to talk about it for the next 6 months probably. I get excited when respectable, experienced pros start talking about social media and its role in todays work place.

The most obvious thing Tim talked about that made me go durhhhhh was the Facebook page for Facebook recruiting. Facebook is a little scary to personally recruit with because there are a bazillion creepers out there. At a previous job I made a page just for my office hello is it leads your looking for(to avoid creepers), but why didn’t I think of just having my own page and having each of my recruiters have their own page? Hindsight. This totally just reminded me of another thing that I had been introduced to for Facebook recruiting: the monster.com BeKnown app. Two problems with it: 1) Monster is not my favorite and 2) Just reading that it keeps your personal and professional life separate exhausts me.

Separating your personal and professional life is another topic that we touched on. I’ve been asked before “Why do you use your twitter for personal and professional? Why don’t you just have two separate accounts?” I use the same account for everything because it’s exhausting to have multiple accounts on the same social media outlet. For the most part I am completely myself on my social media accounts and the fun thing about that is, I’m not such a terrible person that I need constant censorship AND I am a recruiter 24/7 so it is part of my personal life.  The one thing that I’m not as careful with, though, is making sure I’m sharing relevant information for my targeted audience. It’s okay to share stuff you like, but if it’s not relevant to the people you are trying to attract to connect with you don’t be surprised when you are not making those connections, ya dig? The biggest thing you can do to be successful in this arena is make sure you are giving your audience more than you are taking from your audience. I’m the worst about sharing things irrelevant to my targeted audience these days because I will share something that I think is funny in a heartbeat, or an HR article in half a millisecond without thinking about those EEs or CEs that don’t care about that stuff. This is where my social media recruiting needs improvement, lots of it. (See, its okay to not be perfect with your #SoMe efforts from day one. Don’t let that scare you).

By all means, avoid just sharing job posts. Always give more than you take. And reply to people!
By all means, avoid just sharing job posts. Always give more than you take. And reply to people!

The main thing you need to know about using social media for your recruiting efforts is that it does not replace the telephone. Those of us who push social media recruiting push it because it helps you, not because it replaces anything. It’s a form of marketing to attract the talent you need. It works for you when you’re not working. Much like HR technology it is just a device to make your recruiting work faster. It is another tool in your tool belt! It is not the end all be all. It is not a replacement for the telephone. Just in case you are confused, NO it does not replace the telephone 🙂 . Pick up that phone and call people! Social media does not take the social function out of recruiting, you still have to develop relationships with people and have voice to voice conversations.

I love social media and I love it when other HR folks love social media. If you have been thinking about taking that social media step, but you have questions or you are worried, email me (hutto.ipad@gmail.com)! If I don’t know the answer I bet I know someone who does! If you have a great tip, please feel free to leave it in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you’ve found works for you.