The End of the Cover Letter? Five Questions to Ask Your Applicants Instead

Whether you’ve written them many times or have spent hours reading through a pile on your desk from countless applicants, cover letters have been an expectation when applying for jobs for years.

But is a cover letter enough for employers to gain an overview of whether a candidate is suited to a role and workplace?

With certain roles attracting over 100 applications, it can be easy to ignore cover letters and not have time to review each one to a high standard. In recent years, there has been a shift towards swapping cover letters for screening questions that can save you time and allow for better candidate insight.

“Increasingly, we’re seeing that our clients are moving away from traditional cover letters and opting for screening questions through the Scout Talent: Recruit application forms”, shares Andrea Davey, Scout Talent General Manager.

“Having candidates answer the same set of questions allows you to accurately and easily make comparisons using the :Recruit rating feature. It also removes the risk of missing out on top talent because you skimmed over a cover letter.”   

Beyond asking candidates to outline the basics such as their experience, working rights and income expectations, there are other questions you can ask at the screening stage to help determine early on if a candidate is exactly who you’re looking for.

Here are our top five screening questions that will help you learn more about candidates in the early stages of recruitment: 

 

What are you looking for in your next role and what has encouraged you to apply for this role?

This question may seem straightforward, but it will help differentiate between those who are simply applying for any role and those that have seriously considered what they’re looking for. It will also help discover if what you can offer and a candidate wants are aligned.

If you were to be hired, what could we count on you for without fail?

It’s really important to include a question that asks about strengths. If an organisation has non-negotiable needs in their next hire such as unbeatable time management, organisation and leadership abilities then it’s most efficient to try to uncover this early on when shortlisting candidates for the next recruitment stage.

Describe three things about the communication within an organisation that must be present for you to work most effectively?

Communication is key, so knowing what a candidate needs in this space is a powerful understanding to have early on. This is a different way of finding out the importance of communication to a candidate and can provide greater insight than asking directly about individual communication skills.

When has your morale been highest at work? Why?

It’s so important to understand what makes a candidate feel great in their role – people do their best work when morale is high. A question like this will help you start to recognise where someone’s professional enjoyment comes from – whether it’s from personal accomplishment, team achievements or maybe organisational outcomes.

Tell us something interesting about yourself and why you’d be a great fit for our team?

Workplace culture is increasingly being ranked by people as something that’s most important to them when considering a job. With this in mind, including a question like this is a must-have. You will be able to recognise people who are suited to your culture and what they could potentially bring to the role beyond their knowledge and skills. It’s also an opportunity for a candidate to show their personality!

To ensure you’re selecting quality candidates to interview, it is vital to make the most of the screening phase of recruitment. Not only will replacing traditional cover letters for powerful questions help get more out of your applicants, it will take away the difficulty in comparing candidates and ultimately decrease your workload and time to hire.   

Editor’s note:  Scout Talent: Recruit allows you to personalise the candidate experience by including screening questions that provide you with powerful insights and allow you to easily compare and rate candidates accurately.  Talk to us today about how recruitment software can help you hire the best talent.

Personalise Your Recruitment – Ways to Ensure that Your Candidates Feel Valued

No one wants to feel they are the same as everyone else; treated as though they are one of many or just a number. In today’s recruitment landscape where certain industries are facing a talent shortage, employers need to offer the best candidate experience possible.

When thinking about recruitment, it needs to be kept in mind that candidates are essentially customers. They are consumers of your employer brand and are researching what you can offer them professionally.  Therefore, it is critical that you focus on personalisation to make candidates feel valued from the moment they apply for a role with you. If you don’t, chances are your competitors will.

So, how do you ensure the recruitment process is a personalised experience?

Communication is the key.

While it’s easy to imagine spending hours writing individual responses to every application, using automation to enhance how you communicate with candidates and improve their experience can in fact save you time.

Read on for ways you can ensure candidates are given a personalised recruitment experience that will make them want to join your organisation even more.

Personalised Emails & Auto Responders

First and foremost, it’s important to respond to all candidates in a timely manner. Not only is this a great thing to do for your employer brand, but it will ensure your applicants feel acknowledged. 74% of people say the worst part of applying for a job is waiting to hear back, so don’t disappoint your candidates.

With Scout Talent: Recruit, you don’t need to actively respond to each application you receive with a confirmation email.  The level of automation and customisation within the system allows you to create placeholders within email templates so you’re able to auto-fill information such as name, job title and other details relating to a specific role and candidate.

Make sure you’re not only focusing on the candidates you’re taking through to the next stages. Treat those you’re not wanting to interview with respect and respond to unsuccessful applicants, by name, after 48hrs so they don’t feel they were quickly rejected. Setting up a delayed unsuccessful response is simple to do and can go a long way in making candidates who don’t meet essential criteria feel like their application was carefully considered. However, if you have found a candidate to be unsuitable after they’ve already interviewed with you, it’s best to keep away from email rejections and contact them over the phone instead.

Share What You Can

Don’t limit yourself to using personalised automated emails for updates, confirmations, rejections or interview invites. Think outside the box and consider what information you could be sharing with candidates that will help them in the recruitment process and get them excited about what you have to offer.

If you’re hiring a marketing assistant, share with them a staff profile story from someone within the marketing team.  If you’re hiring graduates, share with them information about the company and the experiences you offer for young professionals. Maybe your organisation has a blog with plenty of industry content – share this with candidates so they can learn more about you and the world you operate in.

By creating emails that address the candidate by name and offer information that will be of value to them, they will feel supported through the recruitment experience and as though you’re truly encouraging them to succeed.

SMS Reminders & Updates

Don’t overlook the power of being able to send updates right into candidates’ hands. Get directly to the candidate with an SMS, sent within appropriate hours of course. Use SMS to thank candidates for their time after interviews, after they’ve completed required testing, or to confirm upcoming interview times. And don’t forget – use their name in anything you send! Beyond showing that you’re an employer who knows how to keep people informed, candidates will appreciate the extra effort you go to in making sure they’re recognised.

Move Away from Generic Questions

It’s easy to fall into the trap of asking generic interview questions, especially when conducting interviews with many candidates. However, it is vital that a high amount of effort is put into asking the right questions, and ones that specifically focus on the individual candidate. Without doing so, you’re putting yourself at risk of making an uninformed hire.

In addition to helping you make the very best hire, asking personalised questions will let the candidate know that you have invested time into understanding their application, the strengths they can bring to a team and where you’d specifically like to find out more about them.

Use the company names of past employers and include role titles in the questions you ask. Instead of saying “Could you give me an overview of your experience?” approach the question in a more candidate-centric way, such as “I see you’ve had experience at (organisation), can you tell me about what experience and knowledge you gained working here?”

Make sure you do your research – find out more about their most recent workplace and ask questions that relate to that industry or job. Show that you are listening to the candidate and don’t ask questions where they will need to repeat information they’ve already shared with you during the interview.  And remember to ask questions that relate to their aspirations and can help you find out more about them and their potential cultural fit within your team.

Editor’s Note: Scout Talent recruitment software allows HR teams and hiring managers to easily personalise communication with candidates to provide an unbeatable recruitment process.  Talk to us today about how Scout Talent can enhance and streamline your recruitment.

Why You Always Need to Be Recruiting

Take a look around your workplace. Who do you see? Hardworking and dedicated employees who are loyal to your organisation? Or do you see people who are seriously considering another job, perhaps with a competitor? Right now, 35% of your workforce is searching for new job opportunities on a daily basis.

What’s more, 70% of people are looking at what’s on offer elsewhere at least once a month. Recruitment can no longer be seen as a reactive process that organisations go through when a vacant position becomes available. In a candidate driven market, recruitment needs to be proactive with organisations on the front foot.

Read on to learn how continuous recruitment can benefit you and ultimately lead to better hiring outcomes.

1. Enrich your Employer Brand

To always be recruiting means to be actively engaging job seekers in your employer brand – creating interest in you as an employer of choice. Being present on job boards creates essential touch-points with potential candidates.

According to Glassdoor, 69% of job seekers said they are likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand and candidate experience (e.g. replies to reviews, updates their profile, shares news on company culture and the work environment).

Further to this, organisations who represent a strong employer brand are twice as likely to receive responses from candidates they contact. The first step to a strong employer brand is getting your name out there!

2. Benefit from Talent Pooling with Talent Pooling Software

If you are always on the search for candidates, you will always be developing your talent pool – and there are a range of benefits to nurturing a growing talent pool. By consistently collecting candidate information such as resumés, responses to screening questions and metrics on levels of skills and experience, you’ll be empowered to:

  •  Recruit faster. Of course, the main point of a talent pool is to have a first point of contact when a position opens up, significantly reducing the time to recruit. Research found that 50% of organisations using talent pools reduce their time to hire and significantly increase 12-month retention rates.
  • Realise your ultimate candidate. With the scope of skills and abilities of each member in your talent pool available to you, you’ll be able to see who pushes the limits and paint a picture of your optimum applicant. When it’s time to recruit, you won’t need to set the bar low – but can aim for the qualifications of the most outstanding members of your talent pool.
  •  Develop your business in new ways by employing someone you didn’t know you needed. A talent pool represents a shifting ecosystem of unique combinations of skills and experiences. For some hiring managers, this can flip the recruitment process on its head and they create positions within their organisation to take advantage of the unique skill sets appearing in their talent pool. Consider the most impressive candidates swimming in your talent pool – how can they be introduced to your organisation to drive your business goals? Be inspired by the skill sets and experiences of your talent pool members.
  •  Know what your candidates value and expect of you. Critical information about career goals and workplace expectations found at the top of resumes will empower you with the knowledge you’ll need to appeal to candidates and position yourself as an employer of choice.
  •  Be prepared for a tough candidate market. By always playing the recruitment game, you’ll know if a role is particularly difficult to recruit. Therefore, even if candidates in your talent pool are not necessarily the right fit for your role when it comes time to recruit, you’ll have the tools ready to undertake a long-term recruitment advertising strategy.

In short, continuous recruitment through talent pooling underpins a strong employer branding strategy and provides game-changing job seeker insights, giving you a must-have advantage in today’s competitive and candidate-driven recruitment market.

Editor’s note: Scout Talent provides leading recruitment software and cutting-edge candidate management technology and talent pooling software, empowering organisations to effortlessly grow and nurture candidates.

Tailored Training on Your Turf: Why It Works

Everyone knows the mixed feelings that come with using new recruitment technology. Although there’s excitement for something new, it’s easy to stress about having to navigate an unknown platform, all while managing your day-to-day work. In order for HR teams to hit the ground running and get the most out of their chosen recruitment system, they need comprehensive training that addresses the unique needs of their business.

Scout Talent is your recruitment partner, making your life easier. For us to achieve this, we don’t limit ourselves to training you via phone or video. We regularly visit clients to provide on-site training, across major cities, remote communities and overseas.

Here are some stories from Alex Hood, our Product Specialist, who has worked closely with clients to bring them the best results in the last six months.

Regional Tasmania

It’s not every day that you find yourself on a farm in the beautiful Tasmanian countryside.  I had the opportunity to travel to Cressy, just outside Launceston, to conduct HR user training with our client Emma Sutherland from Burlington Berries and the team (including the farm cat who decided to join in the training session).

Previously, Emma had been managing recruitment manually from her email inbox. With a rapidly expanding business, bringing in a candidate management system was a huge but necessary change.

By meeting with Emma on-site, I was able to facilitate an interactive session designed for a kinaesthetic learning style. Emma is very much a ‘hands on’ person having spent her life on a farm, so an online session would not have been as valuable. Meeting Emma face-to-face also allowed me to extend Burlington Berries use of Scout Talent:Recruit to allow the Event Scheduling feature to be used to organise inductions for successful candidates.    

On-site training resulted in an instant return on investment for Burlington Berries and it strengthens my relationship with the client on so many levels. Providing face-to-face support means I can get a true sense of how comfortable the user is with the technology at different stages throughout the training process. I can pick up on facial expression and body language to inform my training session in a way that just isn’t possible over the phone, and I can adjust my training session instantaneously.

In the feedback provided after training, Emma shared with me her confidence in using the system and how it had already made their end-to-end recruitment process stress-free.

New Zealand

As a global service provider, the Scout Talent team understands all clients require a streamlined implementation and training process to get the most out of their software – no matter their location.

Our local government client in New Zealand was in the process of overhauling their entire recruitment process. Despite these huge changes, they were ready to go live and confidently run the system after only one day of on-site training.  

I always find that on-site training removes the client from their day-to-day distractions and places them into an environment and mindset where they can focus on using the new recruitment software package. It allows me to train HR team members to the point they can become the in-house Scout specialist within their organisation.  

By investing in on-site training, I was able to help the client to clarify their recruitment process, and significantly reduce their need for ongoing support.  This ultimately allowed them to save time and money when updating their system and removed the stress caused by the challenges that come with large-scale change.   

Northern Territory

A great benefit that I know on-site training gives, is the fantastic opportunity for organisations to bring their human resources team and hiring managers together.

I travelled close to 4000km to visit a client in the Northern Territory and I was able to play a key role in assisting the HR team in obtaining buy-in from their hiring managers, all while they managed change and expansion in several areas of their organisation.  

I really enjoyed working closely with the client to facilitate a brainstorming session to maximise how the team would easily and intuitively use the system. By directly liaising with me to finalise their implementation, the client began using their new recruitment system quickly and confidently. On-site training removed the need for back and forward support from Scout Talent’s Brisbane-based client success team, which expedited the implementation process and saved the client time in the long run.

With our client experiencing a tremendous amount of change across several areas of their organisation, the on-site training session became a valuable workshop for the client to not only learn how to use Scout Talent:Recruit, but to brainstorm other changes to their recruitment process such as key roles and approval workflow.

At Scout Talent, we understand HR managers can feel apprehensive about the introduction of new recruitment software, which often goes hand in hand with additional changes taking place across their organisation.

I love meeting our clients. In my opinion, taking a new user through the system and making them feel at ease with the functionality is what it’s all about. They always get a lot out of their training investment and it’s an opportunity to forget about the numerous distractions around them and focus on mastering a solution that will make their professional lives easier.
Editor’s Note: If you would like a recruitment software provider that goes (thousands of kilometres) above and beyond, partner with the team at Scout Talent.

The Silent Killer of Your Employer Brand: Inconsistency

Today’s candidates are doing their research and they’re not settling for second best. With the average job seeker using 16 different resources to analyse a potential employer, job hunting has become the new online shopping. And it’s up to you to be in the jobseeker’s checkout trolley.

But how do you get there? The answer lies in a strong employer brand underpinned by a consistent and positive recruitment experience.

At no other time will your employer brand be experienced as intimately than when a candidate undergoes your recruitment process. This means every point of communication with your candidates is a critical opportunity for you to shape a positive employer brand.

Inconsistency is an obvious flaw of an employer branding strategy, yet easy to get right. Use the following checklist to ensure your candidates experience a positive and consistent recruitment journey:

 

  1.  Job boards and recruitment web page branding

The visuals

All too often, organisations have different branding colour pallets for their job ad compared to their website careers page. It sounds simple, but inconsistent branding is confusing and simply looks unprofessional. Make sure all your logos are up to date if you’ve recently undergone a rebrand.

Messaging

Know your employee value proposition to keep your voice consistent across platforms. For example, it’s important to draw attention to the same key information on your job board as your careers website. If you emphasise flexibility, positive workplace culture and extra benefits on your job ad, don’t simply emphasise salary on your careers page. Be confident in what you bring to the table and showcase it powerfully and equally on both platforms.

And remember – don’t isolate your candidates by using industry jargon. Position language in way candidates will understand and define acronyms!

  1. Consistency across auto-responders, email templates and SMS.

Throughout the recruitment process, you communicate with candidates using a range of mediums, so ensure your communication platforms have the exact same look and feel as one another.

Auto-responders and emails

From the letterhead to embedded images and email signature, auto-responders and email templates should contain your branding only – no recruitment agency logos! There’s nothing worse for candidates than feeling like they’ve received one of a million emails sent by a recruitment agency.

Include branded placeholders and customise your messaging to target job seekers according to their interests. For example, if a candidate expresses strong leadership skills, direct them to information about your company’s leadership development programs. Scout Talent: Recruit allows recruiters to send personalised branded email templates on mass, free of agency branding.

SMS

Be sure to adopt the same style and tone as your auto-responders and email templates. Due to the nature of this platform, keep your messages short and professional, and personalise the messages as you would with emails. Make sure you avoid emojis and remember; schedule texts to be sent at reasonable hours; outside work hours for immediate engagement but not too late – a midnight text is unlikely to be well received. With Scout Talent: Recruit, hiring managers are able to contact with their talent pool instantly using SMS.

  1. An interview experience that exhibits your employer brand

When it comes to consistency in interviews, the question is – does your interview experience align with the employer branding collateral your candidate has experienced so far?

It’s recommended the hiring manager conducting the interview has been a part of the business for at least six months and is well briefed on the company’s employee value proposition. The interviewer represents the company in this situation and should identify strongly with your workplace culture and values.

Take the interview as an opportunity to offer your candidate physical employer branding collateral. Can you show them graduate brochures? It’s a great idea to take your candidate on a tour around your organisation. The candidate will recognise aspects of your workplace culture they learned online and through the recruitment journey, and you can hope a positive employer brand will take shape in their mind.  

Consistent branding throughout the recruitment process is a simple but critical way to shape a positive employer brand. Focus on uniform assets across your platforms; colours and logos, key messages, and an outstanding interview experience that lives up to your employer brand.

Editor’s note: Scout Talent has empowered thousands of organisations to efficiently communicate with candidates and deliver positive and a consistent employer branding experience. Sign up for a demo today and learn how Scout Talent can enhance your employer brand through your recruitment process.

10.5 reasons you need recruitment technology

You can revolutionise your recruitment efforts with the backing of technology.

The pain points that many HR professionals feel when managing recruitment are associated with the complex and tedious tasks that need to be delivered manually. There is however a cost-effective solution to streamline the process and reduce administrative duties while saving time and money in the form of recruitment technology.

Learn our reasons why you need to use it now.

 

Scout Talent Brand Story

How to Avoid Resume Spam

Done! You’ve nailed your job description and your job ad is live! Now it’s time to kick back and await the applications. The first emails are starting to roll in. One. Two. Three. Before long, your inbox is bombarded with emails. It’ll be hours before you’ll sort through this lot to determine your shortlist. You’re suffering ‘Resume Spam.’

Before online job boards of course, it was harder for candidates to apply for a job – they had to physically deliver their resume to your door. However, fewer applications meant it was easier for you to assess who was suitable. Now, job seekers can apply for a role at the touch of a button.

Although job ads on sites such as Seek and CareerOne attract a large pool of skilled applicants, these job listings encourage a plethora of unqualified applicants to apply for the sake of it. In other words, it’s become too easy for any job seeker to apply to a position – and this means more work for you. With applications left, right and centre, you need to open every email, download each resume and read every one. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it?

Don’t be a victim of ‘Resume Spam’. Read on to learn how to streamline your recruitment process with leading recruitment software, Scout Talent: Recruit. The following cutting-edge tools ensure you secure the best talent – without the headaches of a flooded inbox!

Screening questions

  1. Determine both unfit and outstanding candidates

Screening questions allow you to automatically determine unfit candidates – before you even pick up their resume. These questions disqualify applicants who don’t meet essential criteria such as having an Australian working visa, full time availability, or a certain level of education or experience. Equally, screening questions can highlight outstanding candidates –those who are highly experienced, multi-lingual, hold a PhD or Masters, or have multiple working visas. With the most outstanding candidates on your radar at the start of your hiring process, you can set the bar high for your talent pool and arrive at your shortlist sooner.

  1. Compare apples with apples

With all candidates presented the same questions, you can clearly judge who puts in the effort and who can’t be bothered. Even small differences between answers can offer valuable insights into your candidates’ motivations.

  1. Get a snapshot of your candidate’s’ writing ability

With professional resumes being prepared by employment and training services, screening questions enable you to get a true understanding of your candidate’s written English, if this skill is essential for the role.

  1. Save time with automated emails

When auto-status detects unfit candidates, automatic emails can be triggered to communicate with unsuccessful applicants – and you wouldn’t have even read their resume. You can time emails to be sent a few days after you received the application, ensuring unsuccessful candidates feel their application was considered.

Auto-ratings and rankings

  1. Immediately gain candidate insights

Quickly gain extensive knowledge of your applicants by adding auto-ratings and rankings to closed screening questions. Assign different statuses to questions, and determine the percentage weighting for each answer. For example, you could give a higher percentage weighting to a candidate with more than ten years experience compared to someone who has less than two years.

  1. Determine your shortlist

Auto-ratings empower you with more options about how you will shortlist. For example, rather than skimming hundreds of responses to open questions to find excellent candidates, your shortlist could simply be the top ten per cent of candidates, as defined by points gained by auto-ratings.

Databases

Empower your hiring team with access to candidate information in one easy-to-use database with Scout Talent: Recruit. Search and edit candidate information, group applicants and craft unique candidate journeys. Stored in the Cloud, your candidate database is scalable, accessible from anywhere and is kept safe – with automatic backups every 15 minutes.

Talent Pooling

  1. Be prepared

Leverage your database to build unique talent pools that meet your future recruitment needs with Scout Talent: Engage. Keep candidates warm, save on advertising costs and improve your time to hire.

  1. Be informed

Export candidate data for a bird’s-eye view of your talent pool and learn more about the people who want to work with you. Use these insights to inform your recruitment marketing efforts and attract the right candidates to your business.

With Scout Talent’s cutting-edge recruitment, there’s no need to spend hours going through emails to find suitable candidates. Screening questions, auto-ratings and an efficient candidate database work together to effortlessly uncover your next hire sooner.

Editor’s note: To learn more about how Scout Talent can streamline your recruitment process and help you avoid resume spam, click to request a free Scout Talent demo. We provide easy-to-use, tailored recruitment technology to help organisations find the very best candidates efficiently.   

 

Employer Branding Guide

Tech savvy millennials in the marketplace, what can recruiters expect? 

Millennials will make up half of the global workforce by 2020, according to a 2016 PWC study. In order to reach this growing candidate demographic, hiring managers must keep up to date on how young applicants are searching for jobs. Now aged 17 to 35, millennials are tech-savvy and expect recruiters to deliver a streamlined candidate experience, made easy by modern technology.

Read on to learn how hiring managers can attract millennials in this digitally dynamic and competitive recruitment landscape.

Optimise.

Half of all job searches occur on a mobile device, according to a 2015 study by Indeed.com. A stagnant careers website, where job seekers must squint, scroll and zoom, is an easy way to turn off time-poor candidates and presents your organisation as lagging behind digitally. Ensure your website, and all your recruitment content, displays beautifully across all devices. Studies show job seekers use a variety of devices when job hunting – from PCs, to laptops, smart phones and tablets.

Advertise on social media.

Be where your talent is. According to a Vivid Social Media 2017 survey, almost 70 per cent of the Australian population use Facebook. A 2017 study conducted by Employment Office revealed that more than half of job seekers had applied for a role they had seen advertised on social media. Of those who had applied to a role they had seen on social media, half had applied to a role on LinkedIn and 30 per cent had responded to a job on Facebook.

Keep in mind the nature of the platform upon which you’re posting job advertisements. For example, job descriptions on Facebook should be visually captivating with a strong image and minimal text. Stick to keywords and highlight your EVP – what you offer employees in terms of career development and workplace culture. Interested job seekers will click to read more information – you don’t need to overwhelm them with too much detail as they scroll Facebook. On the other hand, job advertisements on LinkedIn can be more detailed as job seekers expect (and often search for) job listings. Don’t get left behind, a National Recruiter 2015 survey revealed 95 per cent of recruiters use LinkedIn.

Leverage the power of SMS

Today, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t use a smartphone (even the majority of baby boomers are using smartphones according to an E-Marker 2017 study). Frequent value-adding texts will keep candidates informed in real time of the recruitment process and significantly creates instant touch points with your talent pool to keep your organisation front of mind. Take advantage of this personal and instant mode of communication to build a relationship with your candidates from the get-go. 

Editor’s Note: Already using Scout Talent:Recruit? Speak to the Client Success Team to get SMS implemented!

Partner with a cutting-edge recruitment software provider.

Enjoy peace of mind knowing your candidates are receiving timely and informative communications across a variety of platforms. In a world where recruitment technology is inseparable from employer branding, the value of nurturing your talent pool with the latest recruitment technology cannot be underestimated.

Editor’s Note: Scout Talent is a leader in the recruitment software industry, helping organisations to deliver an outstanding candidate experience using the most up-to-date recruitment technology. Discover how we can streamline your candidate communication system here.