• Lessons learned from an expert in pre employment assessment

    October 11, 2017 by

    Recruiters at large organizations constantly struggle with the challenge of hiring a high volume of candidates who have the excellent quality they need to drive business forward. Pre employment assessment is one tool that employers have at their disposal to balance the need for speed and quality. We interviewed Dr. Marc Wenzel, who is VP of Business Development and Strategy at Shaker, developer of the Virtual Job Tryout. He had deep insight into how assessment, if done right, can apply more rigor to the hiring process, resulting in better hires in less time. Continue Reading

  • Work engagement: Millennial expectations of inclusion and concrete tips for managers

    October 09, 2017 by


    To engage at work, an entry-level employee needs a lot of support at first. Managers play a crucial role in work engagement, and it isn’t an easy job. Two talent acquisition experts share their advice here on how to engage new hires, how that relates to inclusion, and what employers can do to retain their talent. In part one of this conversation, we discussed how engagement impacts the bottom line, and how to measure it.

    Watch our discussion here, or read the takeaways in the blog below.


    Janine Truitt is Chief Innovations Offer at Talent Think Innovations, and Alexandra Levit is a workplace consultant and author of the new book “Mom.B.A.: Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next.”

    Engaging managers check in with entry-level employees very, very often

    Truitt says that entry-level employees “come in with a set of high expectations. And so for that reason, in the very beginning, accountability to engage them falls more on the employers, specifically a manager, to touch base with them very, very often.” She contrasts today’s entry-level employees’ expectations with those of older workers. They don’t want to do grunt work just to pay their dues “the way we used to when we were kids,” she says. Instead, millennials “want to do meaningful work and make a contribution right away, and so we have to make sure that we are setting reasonable goals that allow them to do that.”

    Managers should meet often with entry-level employeesTo engage entry-level employees, managers must be willing to touch base with them very frequently. As Levit puts it, “no news is bad news. If they don’t hear from their manager a lot, then it means they’re doing a bad job.”

    Employees are also responsible. “The employee is responsible because they decide how they want to show up daily,” says Levit. “That is to say, if you are unhappy with the circumstances, you have options. Speak up and be heard. Allow for, and provide, a solution—or find a new place of work, understanding that it isn’t the right fit for you.” For entry-level employees, the onus is more on the manager, but “as tenure goes on, it becomes more of a shared accountability.”

    “Tour of duty” hires may increase work engagement

    Levit likes the idea of hiring entry-level or young professionals on for a term commitment. For example, each hire might agree to a three year “tour of duty”, to use LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman’s language. During that time, the employee and manager both agree on specific goals that will further their career and the organization. “It’s an understanding that you are going to be accountable during that time. But once that project is done or once the goal is accomplished, you then have to choose again. Do you want to find another project within the organization or do you want to leave?”

    This practice is a new way of looking at this. Levit thinks it’s great for the younger workers who know they won’t stay at an organization for 20 years, like their parents did.

    Engagement and inclusion go hand in hand, but millennials think your inclusion plan is strange.

    Inclusion means that different people can “show up as they are,” says Levit, “and be heard, seen, respected, and valued.” If everyone in the C-suite is invested in a set of values that allow people to be great when they come to work, says Levit, “I’m not sure that a plan is needed.”

    Companies who care about their employees’ well-being, including their lives outside of work hours, “tend to squelch the employee engagement crisis by focusing on the whole of the person.”

    For inclusiveness to positively impact engagement, it has to be about more than just getting a bunch of diverse individuals in a room. Those individuals have to be heard.

    Work engagement for millennials is inclusiveEntry-level employees, adds Levit, find the idea of an inclusion plan very strange. They question its authenticity and wonder why inclusion isn’t just “a regular part of what everybody’s doing.” Resources like affinity groups that many employers see as best practice in inclusion, don’t resonate with millennials. For them, says Levit, inclusion should be a given. You should be able to walk into the lobby of an organization and see all different types of people that have different experiences, expressing different perspectives.

    If your entry-level employees don’t feel they can express their perspectives, and that their opinions are valued, then they will not be happy with their organization, and will disengage. This is something that managers have to adjust to, “especially baby boomers who are more used to having young professionals basically keep their mouth shut until they’re in a position of authority,”

    What’s missing is individualized attention

    Ultimately, says Truitt, “if your goal is to be profitable and be the best in your industry, then you want anybody—whomever they may be—to come into your organization and help you achieve that goal.” She agrees that there is too much emphasis on surface identities because that doesn’t address real inclusion. You shouldn’t spend all your time calculating how many Blacks, how many women, and how many differently-abled hires have you made. That’s the wrong focus, and millennials get that intuitively. They don’t want to be identified by some protected class.

    Join the group to hear more talent acquisition advice


    What’s missing is individualized attention to people. “We can make really good statements all day about Gen-Xers. We can make blanket statements about Gen-Y. Ultimately, however, they’re not true of everybody,” says Truitt. And there’s no checklist for all the possible differences that people bring into your organization. The solution has to be treating everyone as an individual. “When they walk through the door we’re going to treat them as such and treat their needs and their wants and their motivations as such.”

    In Levit’s research with the Career Advisory Board, they have found recently that “it’s a myth that people don’t want to stay with organizations, that they want to jump around from place to place,” says Levit. If they are satisfied and they feel valued, they want to stay. Like any human beings, your entry-level employees like reliability and stability. So if your company demonstrates that you care, they’re going to want to stay there.

    Also read: Touch points during an employee’s tenure that can tell a story of engagement 

    Examples of companies that engage well

    1. Microsoft. Truitt points out how much she loves Microsoft’s tagline. It is Come as you are. Do what you love. This is engagement in a sentence.

    2. Not many, actually. When you look at the numbers that 87% of people are disengaged globally understanding, we see that no one is doing this particularly well, Levit points out.

    3. Netflix is an example, says Truitt, of a company that takes engagement seriously. They don’t want disengaged employees to linger and influence their environment. They have policies that essentially say, “hey, if doesn’t work for you anymore we’ll actually pay you to leave. Rather than have you sit here and be disengaged and drag down the workforce.” With a policy like that, people who stay tacitly opt in to engage. It’s a mental agreement where they decide to stay because they want to be there.

    4. Companies who care. In Truitt’s consulting work, she finds that the companies that achieve high engagement are “the ones that not only care about what they get out of people at work, but how their people are doing outside of work.” They care about their kids, their health and personal hardship.

    [Video]: How GSE succeeds in engaging their entry level employees

    Concrete tips for managers to engage entry-level employees today

    Tip for managers to increase work engagement

    1. Leaders should listen more than they speak. There is nothing worse than a manager who loves to hear themselves speak and believes they are the brightest person in the room.

    2. When there a small to complex issues to sift through encourage your team to offer up ideas either individually or as a collective. Ensure that there is a myriad of ways that team members can contribute their thoughts.

    3. Often times, the employees who are more vociferous by nature get to shine because they are first to speak up and the boldest. Create a safe space for the more introverted employee who may have great ideas, but do better in sharing ideas in a one-on-one environment.

    4. Don’t just ask for feedback, try to incorporate it.

    5. Customize career goals for each individual and map them to the big picture.

    6. Be accessible and talk to employees about what’s going right, not just when something is going wrong.

  • Work engagement: Engaging entry level employees part 1

    October 02, 2017 by

    Employee and work engagement affects the bottom line. You can measure it quantitatively, and you can get a qualitative story about your employees. We checked in with two friends who are experts in talent acquisition. They share the resources they use to stay on top of trends, and offer real advice for reshaping how you see and measure engagement.

    Watch our discussion here, or read the takeaways in the blog below.


    Janine Truitt is Chief Innovations Offer at Talent Think Innovations, and Alexandra Levit is a workplace consultant and author of the new book “Mom.B.A.: Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next.” Part two of our conversation will touch on who is accountable for employee engagement, and how it relates to inclusion.

    Need to prove to leadership that employee and work engagement affects the bottom line? Check out these resources.

    Engagement drives innovation, growth, revenue, and other key markers of organizational success. When your talent disengages, that is when productivity plunges and customer satisfaction plunges. Both Truitt and Levit keep their eyes on a few resources and reports that keep them informed of how and why engagement matters. Among them:

    • State of the American Workforce Report by Gallup. This is a comprehensive guide that evaluates the raw data around engagement, but also shines a light on how it is impacting the bottom line. Gallup measures this several times a year.
    • Deloitte Human Capital Trends
    • Silk Road’s resources on engaging and retaining employees
    • CEB: reports and surveys around employee engagement and what C-suite leaders are looking at from year to year.
    • Bob Kelleher’s book, “iEngage” explains the ebbs and flows of engagement

    Truitt also draws from her own workshops. She listens to what attendees have to say, especially during team building exercises, “about reasons why they may be engaged or disengaged, and you can’t get any more raw than that.”

    Given all these resources, it’s easy to spot trends. Levit and Truitt agree that disengagement at work is a concern. Levit says she sees some reports that measure 75 percent of employees who are currently not engaged at work. She has seen over and over that organizations manage to hire top talent, and yet that talent often disengages from their jobs, company culture, or mission and values. Then their productivity and customer satisfaction plunge as a result.

    “Engagement” is satisfaction, not necessarily smiling faces.

    Engagement at work is not just about happiness“Engagement is really how satisfied and invested your people are in your company and their jobs.”

    That is Truitt’s definition. She adds, “It doesn’t hurt if they are smiling and socializing too, but those aren’t good enough indicators.” You can have a disengaged employee who is plenty social. The difference is when that employee spreads their disdain for the company, environment or their position. “Ultimately, behaviors become really important in ascertaining whether a person is engaged or not. An example is a person consistently aloof during team conversations and meetings.”

    This is not a happiness measure. You should be more concerned with employees being satisfied and their investment in the company and their work. For instance, says Truitt, “there are some people who are just typically not happy-go-lucky, and that’s just how they are. As a manager, you can be making a grave mistake by thinking you should have a conversation with them based on what their disposition is.”

    Related: 10 ways managers can engage millennials

    One thing that’s important to keep in mind, says Levit, is that “sometimes disengagement is actually out of the organization’s control.” Engagement can and can ebb and flow, depending on your employees’ personal lives. If someone is going through a hard time outside of work, they can still be activated to get the job done.

    This notion of talent activation refers to someone who is really motivated to do their job and do the best they can, leveraging the resources they need to be successful. “But they might not be what we traditionally look at as engaged,” says Levit. Sometimes people just don’t have an engaging personality, and that’s not what matters.

    Measuring engagement tells an employee story. Yearly surveys don’t cut it.

    A story of work engagementA true measurement tells a whole story of an employee. Truitt advises employers whose employees are disengaging, to “look at turnover numbers and not just the overall turnover, but turnover at the department-level, upticks in litigation or employee relations complaints, productivity levels and absenteeism. These can all tell a story about your workforce’s engagement.”

    Employers should measure engagement regularly, not just by sending out a survey every two years. According to Truitt, “everything from pulse surveys down to weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one’s and team meetings, are all opportunities to assess levels of engagement and actively work at it.” Levit agrees that measuring engagement should happen all the time. Ideally, she says, “every few weeks by the manager, and definitely at major employee transitions. Yearly surveys don’t really cut it.”

    A survey is an obvious way to gather information, but we focus too much on surveys. Truitt says, “there are so many points of engagement between the employee and the people that they report to you” that measuring engagement can happen in meetings—a manager can just take a pulse on sentiments. If issues are cropping up, you can take stock of who is speaking up, and who is saying certain things.

    All of these touch points start to tell a story about real-time employee engagement. On top of that, you can add the results of your survey. Exit surveys should definitely count, but of course they are too late to engage that particular employee.

    Recruit entry level So much of these touch points are siloed, says Truitt, and she tries to move companies towards looking at it holistically. Especially in the era of Big Data, employers can really get a whole sense of an employee’s ongoing engagement story.

    Employees journey along a continuum of experiences. “Employee experience is a buzz phrase within the HR and talent management community” says Levit, but in order to really understand engagement, she says you have to look at it as a series of experiences that take place throughout the entire employee life cycle. That is, “from being a candidate who’s recruited, to someone who’s being onboarded, to learning and development, to having your performance measured and monitored.”

    Each touch point along the way is an opportunity to connect employees to organizational goals.

    When you ask about engagement, you’re asking employees how they feel. This isn’t just about what they did, but how they feel in a particular moment. Take the opportunity to relate each person to the big picture. Do they feel like they are a part of the organization? Relate their individual goals to organizational goals. Truitt says that when you look at those things over the entire trajectory of an employee’s tenure with an organization, “you’ll find you don’t need to have these annual or semiannual surveys.” Engagement will improve naturally “as you as you move to more agile performance management.”

    Continue Reading

  • Entry level business jobs: Your business major isn’t a shoo-in.

    September 27, 2017 by


    Business is the most popular major on college campuses today. Many students believe a business degree gives them the best shot at employment and a successful career, but according to the Washington Post, many employers disagree. Below we provide a list of entry level business jobs, but first, business majors should read what you are probably lacking and how to make yourself more employable. Continue Reading

  • HR metrics: Surprising truth about reducing reduce cost-per-hire

    September 25, 2017 by


    Do you take all costs into account when you measure cost-per-hire? That is, staff time, travel costs, etc. If you do, Steven Rothberg is guessing that you’ll notice something about on campus recruiting versus online recruiting. Rothberg is the president and founder of College Recruiter and has both depth and a breadth of knowledge of employers’ HR metrics, and how they tend to use cost-per-hire, as well as how smart employers reduce it.

    Think cost-per-hire is the best way to measure the performance of your recruiting team? Think again. Read Steven Rothberg’s insight below about the best key performance metric, and more. Continue Reading

  • Job openings are more open to some than others: A guide for entry level job seekers to combat bias

    September 20, 2017 by


    With limited professional experience, it’s hard to know how to act when an employer is considering you for a role at their organization. We believe strongly in fair hiring practices. While employers can find plenty of advice for reducing bias in their hiring practices, job seekers should also be prepared to fight bias. Here we provide six tips for entry level job seekers who are nervous that their chances at job openings might be lower, due to bias against their gender, race, ethnicity, ability or other dimension of their identity.

    1. “They’ll see me for my skills, right?” Um, yes… But realize that bias exists.

    Continue Reading

  •  Recruiting solutions for salary negotiation: Tips for recruiters

    September 18, 2017 by


    If your employer is like the vast majority, you try to keep your candidates in the dark about salary range until you’re ready to discuss it.  This is not the best recruiting solution that results in top talent. It is a disservice to both you and the candidate, so we are providing tips for recruiters to prepare proactively for these conversations with candidates. Continue Reading

  • What if your interview invitation email wasn’t an email?

    September 13, 2017 by


    If you text with your candidates during the hiring process, you will likely see things pick up speed. The technology is available, and candidates are waiting for you to use it on them.

    Millennial candidates appreciate employers who text with them

    Sending texts to candidates has the added benefit of increasing your cool factor. At least for now (before all employers start doing this), this is one way to distinguish your employer brand. Continue Reading

  • How and when technology can help reduce hidden bias in hiring

    September 12, 2017 by


    Technology can help facilitate the awareness of hidden bias, but the tools themselves are not the solution. We spoke with two talent acquisition and workforce planning experts to discuss recruitment technology. Our conversation went far beyond the tools available for recruiters.

    Bruce Soltys is the Head of Talent Acquisition Sourcing Strategies at Travelers, and Janine Truitt is the Chief Innovations Officer at Talent Think Innovations. They are both members of our Panel of Experts.

    Watch our discussion here, or read the takeaways in the blog below. 
    Continue Reading

  • Online jobs for students and other tips to balance school and work

    September 07, 2017 by


    Balancing school and work is a game of time and money. First, you need to create a budget (this is easy) to figure out how many hours per week you have to work in order to pay your bills. Then, manage your priorities by thinking through how many hours you have each week and what you have to accomplish. If balancing everything  stresses you out, there are solutions. If you haven’t thought about online jobs for students, or about asking for a raise, we have tips for you below.

    First, create a budget for yourself

    The point is to know how many hours you have to be at work each week.

    This is easy, really. Continue Reading