Why Your Job Candidates Want You to Text, Not Call

Yes, it’s true: job candidates much prefer a text from a recruiter than receiving a phone call.

You probably can guess why from your own experience: a phone call is very disruptive. You don’t know if the call will take one minute of your time or 20. You don’t know if the caller is bringing bad news or good. If you don’t recognize the number, you probably think it’s a scammer, so you ignore it.

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The good news, for recruiters….

Texts have an open rate of more than 90 percent within the first three minutes of being received.

That said, here are some additional great reasons to move from a phone call to texting, at least for your first few contacts that aren’t filled with details (detailed information is best heard and understood via a phone conversation, so that the recipient can ask important questions, etc.).

  • Messaging shows candidates you value their time.

Time, even though it feels to pass so slowly during the pandemic, nevertheless feels quite precious right now. We have so much on our plates and answering a call when we don’t know how long we’ll be engaged in conversation just feels as if the caller is asking too much of us.

  • Candidates can look at the message — and reply to it – when THEY feel ready.

Answering a ringing call now feels so disruptive, as if we have to drop everything. And what if it’s bad news or we’re asked for information we don’t have. What if we don’t answer it right away? Have we lost out on some great opportunity?

But texting etiquette has evolved: We used to feel we had to answer a text within mere moments, but we now feel more and more comfortable looking at it and then replying later. This thus gives them the chance to respond in a more professional way, when they’re not in a meeting with their boss, etc.

  • Younger candidates actually feel a text is more personal.

Millennials and members of GenZ have come to think of text as more personal: after all, it’s often how they “chat” with their friends and family over the course of  a day.

This personal touch can really help a recruiter since many people think of the recruiting process as impersonal (having to jump through a website application’s hoops, for example….).

  • You can say goodbye to taking “too long” to acknowledge a candidate’s application.

A big pet peeve of job candidates is that they apply for a job and then they hear…nothing. Sure, they may receive an automatic email, but many people (younger ones particularly) barely look at email anymore and only if necessary (such as for work).

Instead, setting up an automation tool that allows you to text someone that your company has received their application is often (as mentioned above) seen as a “personal” response to their candidacy: it helps make for a much better candidate experience.

If your Southern California company needs workers for temporary, temp-to-hire and even direct-hire assignments, call the Helpmates office nearest you for information on our recruiting, staffing and placement services.

When It’s Raining Job Candidates

Before the pandemic struck, employers were struggling to find people to fill open positions. But the pandemic has changed that in many respects. There were almost seven million jobs available in October (latest figures available), but in November (latest figures available) nearly 20 million people were getting some sort of unemployment benefits.

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What this leads to is more people applying for openings, and companies faced with more candidates to screen. Moreover, many people are simply sending in applications for anything that looks remotely like something they might be qualified for. This causes a lot of headaches for recruiters and hiring managers and results in hiring processes taking longer than they should.

So, in the midst of this glut that is clogging the hiring pipeline, what can companies do to improve the process and improve their hires? The answer is to provide clarity and openness – about the requirements for the job, the duties, the pay, the application, and the hiring process itself.

  1. Job Requirements

When posting job ads, most companies frame job requirements in terms of education and experience, which actually may have little to do with the actual skills needed for the work. Moreover, requirements are often expressed in abstract terms whose meanings may be clear to the hiring manager, but no one else.

Rather, the job requirements should focus on the skills, knowledge and abilities the person actually needs to do the work and how these skills will be measured.

  1. Job Duties

Too often this is a general description filled with language that sounds more at home in a courtroom than a job ad. Companies need to show what the job is really like. To do this, they should include things such as photos, videos or a podcast to describe it. Candidates need to see all aspects of the job, both the good and not so good parts.

  1. Salary

There is no reason to keep salary information hidden on the assumption it will strengthen the company’s negotiating position. This is not a useful approach. Nor is discounting candidates who ask about salary early in the process.

Again, companies need to be open about salary, including a pay range in the job posting.

  1. Application

Too often the application is long and detailed, prompting many qualified candidates to simply look elsewhere. Sometimes companies ask candidates to upload a resume into an applicant tracking system and submit an application, which is a recipe for candidate frustration.

Applications should be as easy as possible to complete. You need to consider what information you really need at this initial stage of the process. Do you really need a Social Security number and references at this point? The simpler the application, the more likely the candidate is to complete it.

  1. The Hiring Process

The hiring process at many companies is often rather mysterious. Not many understand how it works, why it is set up the way it is, or how long it should take.

Companies need to be transparent about the hiring process. In fact, some recruiters advocate putting it online, offering regular email updates as to where things stand. Moreover, hiring managers need to be accountable for evaluating candidates according to established criteria. They should not be allowed to kick the can down the road, to hold candidates in limbo. They need to review resumes and applications with an eye toward skills and not simply education and experience.

Changing these things will make the whole process less of a numbers gambit, but rather an effort focused on finding someone who can do the job and add value to the company.

Helpmates can help you sort through “too many” job applicants so that you interview just the top candidates. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more.

Follow These Steps to Create a Great Apprentice Program

Companies are constantly complaining that they cannot find enough qualified people to fill all of their openings, saying that job candidates just don’t have the skills that are needed.

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A survey earlier this year revealed that the problem is worse than ever – talent shortages at a ten-year high, with two-thirds of companies surveyed saying they were having trouble filling positions.

Workers also are frustrated. Only about one-third of college students believe their institutions are giving them the education and skills they need to prepare them for the job market and a good career. More students are complaining that a college degree isn’t worth the high cost.

This crisis is causing some companies to take action to solve it. In an effort to bring workers’ skills more in line with the needs of employers, some companies are establishing apprenticeship programs.

When most people hear the word apprenticeship, they think of an educational program associated with the trades.

But companies are now also using apprenticeships for professional jobs so that they can shape people into the kind of workers they need. Twenty-first century apprenticeships are work-based training programs used in a variety of jobs, including cybersecurity, healthcare, data analytics, engineering, hospitality management, and manufacturing.

Companies that offer apprenticeship programs report higher productivity, innovation and retention among their workers.

How Apprenticeships Work

One salient feature of this new kind of apprenticeship is that it is highly targeted toward specific individuals and specific jobs. These apprenticeships are customized to fit the particular needs of a company. A worker is paid while they get on-the-job training. As the worker advances in skill level, their pay increases proportionally.

While apprenticeships are tailored to specific needs, there are some general guidelines that organizational experts recommend to ensure the programs are as effective as possible. They are the following:

  1. Put together a team to develop the apprenticeship program and get it off the ground. Team members should include a cross-section of company employees, including people who provide services to customers, mid-level management and leadership.
  2. If looking for external support, identify any educational institutions, such as community colleges or universities, or other nonprofit organizations or state apprenticeship organizations that can help run the program.
  3. Have coaches in place to work with those in the program.
  4. Develop clear, measurable goals for the program, as well as determining exactly what skills and core competencies each apprentice needs to master, along with a way to measure these skills.
  5. Create a curriculum that is tailored to the core competencies and skills.
  6. Establish training schedules and wage levels.
  7. Put a process in place for evaluating the program and making changes as needed.

Industry Recognized Programs

If you want your apprentice program to qualify for national recognition within your industry, you can register it with the U. S. Department of Labor. There are three general criteria that must first be met in order to register – identifying a specific occupation that the program is designed for, developing a training plan and listing a training provider for the classroom element of the program.

When you register, you will have access to federal resources and technical assistance, qualify for state tax credits and the program also will offer a nationally recognized credential for apprentices.

It’s not too early to start finding newly-minted members of the Class of 2021 for your job opportunities. Contact the recruiters at the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

Looking into Our Crystal Ball: Predicting the Future of Remote Work Post-Pandemic

Waaay back (in late 2019), about 7 million of us worked remotely full-time, which was about 3.2 percent of the entire workforce. In addition, about 43 percent of us worked at home at least part time.

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Now, during the pandemic? Gallup in mid-March began polling people regarding working from home and reported that 39 percent of those polled said their employer offered “flex time or remote work options.” That number increased to 57 percent in polling conducted between March 30 and April 2. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s more, now (late July, when we wrote this post).

What does the future hold? Our guess is that remote work is here to stay!

Not everyone can work from home, of course, but for those who can, it’s looking more and more as if they will want to continue doing so, at least one or two days a week. This particularly could be the case if the COVID-19 crisis remains with us for the remainder of the year and into early next. That is, the longer people get to work remotely, the more they’ll want to.

Most remote workers LOVE to work at home!

The Gallup research article linked to above mentioned that 59 percent of people polled who are working from home because of the pandemic said they’d prefer to do so as often as possible once health restrictions are lifted.

In fact, folks working from home like it so much that they told pollsters that they’d be willing to quit their current employer to find another remote position if their current company did away with remote work.

Remote workers ARE more productive

A recent survey conducted by CoSo Cloud found that 77 percent of remote workers said their productivity grew when they started working from home. (Fifty-two percent also said they were less likely to take time off.)

Some might be thinking: “Well, of course the employees will say they’re more productive! But are they really!?” Yes they are. Data are showing a 47 percent increase in employee productivity this year.

The future isn’t here yet and therefore nothing is absolutely certain…

…but it appears as if more of those employees who can work from home, will.

Gartner, for example, believes that about 48 percent of employees are “likely” to work remotely at least part-time post-pandemic, up from 30 percent before COVID-19 turned the world upside down and shook it vigorously.

Not everyone agrees, of course: other experts believe workers will return to the office. Working from home can be very lonely; therefore, according to the research firm Gensler, “only 12 percent of people want to continue to work from home full-time after the pandemic  subsides.” In addition, Gensler reports that of those who would like to work from home at least some of the time, that some of the time amounts to no more than two or three days per week. Possibly less.

Our prediction?

We believe a good number of people will continue to want to work from home full time. Whether this number is more than those who prefer to work in an office full-time will depend on how well the physical office meets their needs as well as their child care requirements and arrangements.

Still, we believe a lot more workers than before the pandemic will want at least the option to work remotely full- or part time. Savvy employers will understand that this option could well become a required employee benefit if they want to attract top talent – and what employer doesn’t want to do so?

If you’d like to offer remote work to potential employees who normally didn’t work remotely before the COVID-19 crisis (call center workers or customer service representatives, for example), contact Helpmates. We recently helped two of our call center clients move our specialists to full remote work, and we can do the same for you.

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