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Lever’s Summer of Sourcing Recap: How to Improve Recruitment and Retention

We just wrapped our annual Summer of Sourcing webinar series. Our speakers had so many insightful things to say about recruitment and retention, and we couldn’t wait to share them with you.

Our second session, Gathering Feedback to Improve Your Hiring and Retention Strategy, had so many incredible insights from our panelists:

  • Amanda Bell, Director of Recruiting at Lever at Lever.
  • Bart MacDonald, CEO of Sapling. Sapling provides a next generation people operations platform that helps companies empower their people to reach their potential with data automation and connectivity.
  • Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster. Checkster is a collective intelligence platform that captures data and feedback on reference tracks. Along the way, their reference insights open up a new pool of qualified talent to opt in.
  • Sasa Ferrari, Head of Talent Acquisition at SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey for HR enables you to collect feedback at every stage of the employee lifecycle. It gives you the insights that you need to create a winning employee experience that attracts, engages, and retains top talent.

Here’s what our panelists had to say about gathering feedback to improve your recruitment and retention strategy:

How to screen and source the best talent quickly

We’re in the midst of a candidate-driven market. Amanda shares that the best candidates are off the market in 10 days, but the average time to hire is 29 days.

Candidates will pursue other roles or stay in their current roles when faced with a lengthy hiring process. It’s important to understand your most efficient sources of hire so you can double down on those. Lever’s 2019 Talent Benchmarks Report shows that sourced candidates are twice as efficient as applicants. It takes an average of 43 sourced candidates to make a hire, compared with 109 applicants. Reviewing and screening fewer candidates can speed up your process from the beginning.

Sasa shares that a long hiring process can also be due to slow scheduling and decision making. SurveyMonkey takes several actions to combat this:

  1. They use Slack for quick decision making. Recruiters quickly get a hiring manager’s feedback on a candidate profile, rather than waiting for an email response or scheduled check-in.
  2. They ask hiring managers and interviewers to block off time on their calendars at the start of the search. This allows for more efficient scheduling.
  3. They hold pre-games before onsite interviews, where they get everyone in a room and ensure they’re all calibrated around what they’re looking for. 
  4. They hold debriefs within 24 hours of on-sites to collect feedback and make hiring decisions quickly. This avoids the ambulance chasing that typically happens within recruiting organizations.

One last piece of advice from Sasa? Every element of the recruiting process should be carefully planned. Candidates have a shelf life and if you snooze, you lose.

Yves suggests tracking your pipeline speed to determine where candidates may be getting bottlenecked in the process. These metrics can be useful to bring to hiring managers who blame the talent acquisition team for a long vacancy. When they complain that candidates aren’t being delivered, you can show them that they’re just not moving fast enough.

Amanda adds how important is to set expectations with hiring managers around what an effective, quick recruitment process should look like. You’re the expert in this area, and your hiring managers need your guidance.

How to leverage and implement feedback from candidate surveys

Amanda shares that her team collects feedback through candidate surveys when people are hired, as well as when they’re not successful in the interview process or they withdraw. But there’s an art and science to choosing the right questions, and influencing how much feedback you receive.

Sasa shares how her talent acquisition team partners with their survey research team to select the right questions to help improve their candidate experience. Her top three tips:

  1. Use close ended questions with pre-populated answer choices. This makes it easier for candidates to fill out surveys. 
  2. Make sure the survey isn’t too long. Remember, respondents are doing you a favor by filling out the survey. 
  3. Avoid words like very or always (i.e. absolutes) in your questions. This will improve the quality of your answers.

Amanda stresses the importance of then implementing feedback, so you can improve your processes. 

Curating employee feedback to refine your sourcing strategy

Once you’ve sourced the best talent, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Bart suggests making employee feedback part of your employee experience. This can happen through informal manager check ins, or through formal surveys.

It’s also important to maintain open lines of communication around employee career goals. Career mapping, succession planning, and employee development can benefit both the employee and employer. Amanda shares how important internal mobility is at Lever, not just for sourcing, but for retention. Employees want to be considered for internal roles so they can progress in their careers with your organization, rather than going elsewhere. This can help organizations hire faster and save on onboarding costs.

Internal mobility can also help organizations improve their employer brand and increase employee referrals as positive feedback gets out into the world. Candidates like to see organizations that invest in their employees, and will seek them out.

Creating an exceptional onboarding experience from day 1

We’re dealing with a very competitive talent landscape, and employee retention is continuing to nosedive. Bart shares that companies doing onboarding well see increased job tenure, increased employee engagement, and increased productivity, among other things.

However, onboarding is often overlooked. We’re so busy finding and hiring the right candidate quickly that we drop the ball with onboarding. 

Our panel has some tips to maximize this key transitional period:

    • Ensure a smooth handoff: Bart suggests employee preboarding to ensure a great experience as they transition from candidate to employee. With the recent ghosting phenomenon, this increases the chances they show up for their first day of work.  Amanda shares how Lever recruiters do a one month check in with their candidates to see how they’re adjusting and if the role was what they expected.
    • Welcome your new hire: Let your new hire know how excited you are to have them on the team, and share next steps. Bart loves how Leveroos send each new hire a fun gif to welcome them to the team. 
    • Review employee expectations: Amanda shares how only half of employees strongly agree that they know what’s expected of them at work. Lever uses their impact job descriptions throughout the interview and onboarding processes to ensure employees are clear on their responsibilities and expectations. 
    • Check in with new hire surveys: Sasa says her team sends new hire surveys on days 5 and 90. These help them guage early employee satisfaction, gather feedback around their onboarding process, and learn what could have made the new hire experience better. Bart suggests checking in on days 1, 7, 30, 60, and 90 with a few short Pulse surveys and a few more in-depth surveys. Yves suggests asking, “Knowing what you know, would you still accept this job?” Bart agrees, adding the question, “Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? How would you redesign your onboarding program?” 
    • Check in with managers: SurveyMonkey sends a 90-day hiring manager survey. They want to understand how onboarding prepared and inspired new hires, and whether the manager felt prepared to onboard new hires. Yves also shares the importance of measuring quality of hire to ensure new employees are happy and performing as expected. Understanding this early allows you to rectify mistakes before they cause other problems.
    • Implement feedback: Yves says that, too often, people participate in surveys but nothing changes. This can lead to survey fatigue and less feedback. Implement changes to improve your organization, and show employees that you value their feedback so they keep it coming. Bart adds that employees are sharing their feedback either way, through platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Opening up a two-way dialogue can help you rapidly act on that feedback.

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us, and to our partners: Checkster, Sapling, and SurveyMonkey. We hope to see you all on another webinar soon!

Looking for some more ways to improve your process today, and spot problems in the future? Download our Streamline the Interview Guide for a five-step approach to creating more efficiency.