9 Experts Share the Best Hiring Advice They Learned in 2016

December 22, 2016 at 6:39 AM by Kathleen de Lara

coffee-desk-notes-workspace-1.jpgWord of mouth is a powerful thing.

Whether the best advice you've ever heard came from a mentor or a stranger, good words of wisdom stick because they're relevant to something you believe in, and maybe inspire workarounds to certain challenges.

The year's end tends to be a time of reflection and evaluation, and the same applies in recruiting! We reached out to a handful of people in the talent acquisition space to learn what transformed the way they hired this year. 


bill boorman.jpgBill Boorman, Founder, #tru Conferences

"Neil Morrison spoke at #HRTechFest in Washington and said that the role of HR today was to enable temporary workers to give their optimum performance whilst they were with you. This got me thinking about the impact of the average length of service dropping year by year, and what this actually means. It’s also changed my thinking from emphasizing employer brand to job brand. Also, Olivia Hosie at HRTechFest in Johannesburg, spoke of having 6,000 employees, and only 2,000 connected online. This reminds me that we don't all live in the same digital world, and a digital approach is not always the only solution in the developing world."


jacqui maguire.jpgJacqui Maguire, Recruiting Manager, Greenhouse

"Make your point with data. Whether it's to get buy-in from a hiring manager, to receive budget increase from Finance, or to make the case for hiring a new recruiter on your team, the most effective and impactful way to do it is with numbers. Data has empowered the Greenhouse recruiting team with the argument to make more hires to support our business needs. By creating a point-based system for roles based on their difficulty to fill, we're able to determine the recruiting team's bandwidth, and in which areas we need additional heads." 


maisha cannon.jpgMaisha Cannon, Global Talent Strategist and People Ops, GitHub

"'Great talent isn't attracted to mediocre recruiters.' – Wade Burgess

This reminds me how essential it is to be well-researched before an initial phone call with a sourced candidate. To attract great talent, I must set myself apart as an exceptional recruiting professional. I do this by being an active listener and by familiarizing myself with emerging trends in the candidate's field of specialization." 


katiegsquare.jpegKatie Gechijian, Lead Consultant, Proactive Talent Strategies

"A solid, working knowledge of recruiting fundamentals will always be more effective than the very best recruiting tool. You should know how and why a tool works versus what it may be able to do – capabilities like understanding Boolean or navigating Facebook’s unicorn search. Educate yourself so you know what you did that made the search successful and conversely, how to fix it when it is not successful. Hat tips to Jackye Clayton at RecruitingDaily and Holly Mallowes at Raytheon for the advice!" 


MeghanMBiro_Picture-300x300.jpgMeghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

"One of the most effective points I've heard is to really shore up your employer brand on all fronts, not just one or two. Social, mobile, portals, websites, everything. The biggest gap I see is that employers spend lots of energy and resources on their own website, and a bit on a portal like LinkedIn, and then they neglect other sites. The problem with transparency is that if there's a mark on the glass, so to speak, it really stands out. So you also have to attend to how other people are presenting you. Glassdoor is critical in that way: Reviews of employers are really easy to come by, and people – press, potential customers, candidates – read them. So you'll want to ensure that you're not being portrayed as a one-star. That starts internally by listening to employees' feedback and building a work environment that supports professional growth and development. And yes: Social media remains key. Always. The best advice: Think of what the candidate is looking at and start with that perspective. I think the nature of social and mobile has really changed the way we all connect with and hire candidates. And that's why employer brand is so critical." 


matt hughes.jpgMatt Hughes, Recruiting Manager, Hired

"Throughout my career, I've always lived by a piece of advice that our SVP of People, Kelli Dragovich, shared with me in a discussion about winning the war for talent. It's something that becomes increasingly important to remember year over year as Hired continues to scale: You can no longer just rest on high salaries and free artisanal cold brew coffee on tap to attract the best people. She said, 'Our own research shows that only 14 percent of people got their current job through a recruiter or a staffing agency. And once you get a candidate in the door, competitive salary alone isn’t enough to entice top talent to make a switch. We believe that it is incredibly important to highlight things like culture and opportunities for growth. Ultimately people want a job they love, and a big part of that is finding the right fit.'"


jason medley.jpgJason Medley, VP of Talent, Imgur

"I have this quote on a post-it note on screen. Live by it!

'Outrageous Care Breeds Outrageous Loyalty' – Brett Trapp, marketing exec and personal friend

At the end of the day strategies come and go. Our people is where we place our bets. This quote has guided me this year not only with our candidate experience but also managing my own team. People do their best work when they know they are trusted and cared for. Equally, people everywhere are looking for companies that invest in their people."


jennifer kim.jpgJennifer Kim, Head of Employee Experience & Development, Lever

"We all know you should keep your hiring bar high as your org grows, but how can we translate this abstract principle into practical, actionable advice? I love how Katie Burke of HubSpot phrases it: 'The shoulder-shrug hires are the death of an organization.' In every single addition to the team, Lever aims to hire people who are bar-raisers. If you ever find yourself saying I can see myself working with this person or I guess we should hire them you should pass. Wait for someone who makes you want to fight for them. It's not easy to be the defender of the high bar, but it's what the rest of the company counts on recruiters for." 


britt-ryan-square.jpgBritt Ryan, Head of Recruiting, Entelo

"Metrics are great but they aren’t the only measure of success. I like to give recruiters the freedom to do things they way it works for them and if they are filling jobs with great candidates, I don't really care if they reach out to hundreds of people or two. Recruiters need to have the freedom to be creative. The flip side is that if you have a manager who is not feeling that a search is doing well, you need to be able to peel back the layers to show them what you’ve done to build pipeline. Another point: Unconscious bias is real. When you get feedback that someone is not a 'culture fit' or if your gut unwarrantedly tells you a candidate is not a fit, it’s time to make sure all your interviewers are aware of unconscious bias, and trained to assess candidates’ fit fairly.

Also, the absolute best advice I got? Entelo is a great place to work. You should join their team. ;-)"

What'd we miss? Share in the comments the best hiring advice you learned in 2016. 


Related articles:

4 Can't-Miss Moments from Hiring On All Cylinders
Building a Mature Talent Acquisition Team, with Bersin by Deloitte’s Robin Erickson
From Branding, Sourcing, and Diversity to Data Analytics: Five Talent Powerhouse Takeaways

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