Candidate Experience Part III – Tools

In the first two articles of this series we discussed the role of people and process in the success of the candidate experience. Without getting alignment in your organization with these two components first, the tools you choose will have limited impact.  The tools you choose for your candidate experience may already be part of the enterprise-wide solutions offered by your company, or point solutions you choose as a recruiter that match your personal best practices.

This article is intended to provide a framework for how to think about the tools you use to enhance your candidate experience.  Very simply, we will parse looking at candidate experience tools into three parts:

  1. Measurement – How are we doing?
  2. Priorities to improve
  3. Tools to solve the priorities

Note: Talent Tech Labs produces an excellent quarterly map of the recruiting ecosystem if you are looking for an overview of the key players grouped by segment in the talent acquisition field.

measuring hiring success

Measurement – How are we doing?

Benchmarking the current state of your candidate experience should be your starting point. To do so, you need to act like a marketer.  Not only do you need to listen to your customers, candidates, but you also need to watch and measure their behaviors.

Listening to candidates is relatively simple and can be done qualitatively via follow-up interviews and anecdotal comments and quantitatively with surveys that include standardized measurement techniques like the Net Promoter Score.  There are hundreds of vendors who offer a variety of survey tools (e.g. Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, Formstack etc.), the challenge is less about the survey, and more about a) getting it to candidates in a timely and automated way and b) aggregating and analyzing the data.  Integrating the survey into your contact management tool with candidates, whether it is as simple as email or the auto-generated messages sent from your ATS is critical to capturing the data you are trying to collect. In addition, spending time figuring out what the data says about your people and process should be driving your priorities to improve.

Thanks to digital technology it is much easier to measure candidate behavior when it comes to talent attraction and the application process.  By applying online marketing practices to these stages in your candidate experience, you can quantify exactly how effective your candidate experience is.  The recruiting process is very similar to the sales funnel for an online service (e.g. ecommerce site or SAAS solution).  Near the top of the funnel, when a candidate comes to your landing page (e.g. the job description), you should be measuring the click-thru-rate to start the application process.  From there you can measure abandonment rate at each step of the application and your final conversion rate (completed applications). This is no different than what a marketer would do using Google Adwords to sell a specific product on an ecommerce site.  There are a variety of tools to help measure and optimize click-thru rate and conversions.  A few well-known vendors in this space include Mixpanel, Optimizely, Qualaroo and KISSMetrics and can be used for both desktop and mobile experiences.  At the end of the day, if you are seeing very low application completion rates, it is very clear you have a problem, but at least you now have visibility about where to look to determine the root cause.

priorities to improve

Priorities to improve

Now that you have collected both qualitative and quantitative data on your candidate experience, you need to pick the opportunities to focus on first where you can get the biggest bang for your buck.  This should not just focus on the talent attraction and application process, but end-to-end, including the other  three phases described in the Candidate Experience report:  Screening & Dispositioning; Interviewing & Selection;  Offer, Onboarding & New Hire.

Tools are meant to solve a problem, so there must be specific problem you want to focus on. Your measurement techniques should identify them.  Research shows the most common sources of negative candidates experiences are the following:

  1. Job details don’t tell the candidate enough information
  2. Application process is too long or complicated
  3. “Did you get my application?”
  4. Poor interaction(s) between candidate and the hiring team
  5. Speed of decision making
  6. “Where do I stand?”


Tools to solve the priorities

If you are only using your corporate HR/Talent acquisition tools have made available to you, you probably aren’t winning the battle for talent. Whether you are using an old-school, clunky enterprise ATS or one of the new-wave of recruiter-friendly solutions, it is very unlikely your ATS offers a complete set of features needed to solve your high priority candidate experience problems.  This creates the natural tension of using your integrated ATS solution vs. point solutions which would typically require double-entry of information and aggregating multiple sources of data for analysis. Unfortunately, this is the reality of recruiting tools in 2015, but a little extra effort on your point can differentiate both your candidate experience and yourself as a recruiter.

Now let’s review the tools to solve the most common candidate experience gripes:

  1. Job details don’t tell the candidate enough information

This can be solved by both making the information easy to find and consume by making your job details . In addition to providing additional information about the job or company which can include videos and other types of rich media.  There are a variety of ATS and point solution companies that can help with employer branding, job distribution and mobile recruiting (e.g.  CEB, Jibe, Smashfly).

  1. Application process is too long or complicated

We previously discussed optimizing the application process to only focus on value-added activities when applying.  The challenge is usually in the lack of flexibility of your online application form tool or a “corporate recruiting tax” that requires all applicants to supply information that really isn’t needed at this stage of the process.   Take the time to figure out which steps/fields truly add value to the application and update your tools accordingly.

  1. “Did you get my application?”

This is really about people and process and making sure your ATS (or whatever tool you use to manage your applicant database) has the ability to respond automatically to a submission, but also provides additional information about the full hiring process, the company and what to expect next.  This is pretty standard stuff and should be considered table-stakes for your application management tool.

  1. Poor interaction(s) between candidate and the hiring team

Depending on the types of challenges you find, it can be anything from interviewers showing up late, poorly prepared interviewers who don’t know enough about the job or candidate, or ask poor questions during the interview.  Beyond email and embedding calendar event with pdfs and blue links, there are various interviewing tools already available in your ATS and there are others that can help with scheduling and interview guides.  Another source of a bad candidate experience are hiring team member who basically exhibit behaviors the lead the candidate to believe that they just don’t care – this is a people problem that no tool can solve.

  1. Speed of decision making

The data you collect about your complete candidate experience should reveal the causes of delay in decision making.  A couple of the more common sources of slow decision making are firstly, slow compiling of interview feedback from the hiring team. Typically, less than 30% of interviewers submit digital feedback whether by email or completing a standardized form.  Mobile friendly feedback forms and automated nag reminders from your interview management tool are simple ways to accelerate decisions and reduce time-to-offer.  Secondly, delays can be caused by the natural timing challenges that occur when you have multiple good candidates in parallel processes with  but one candidate is a week or two ahead of a second.  The first candidate typically does not enjoy stewing while they wait on you to figure out if you like the other candidate more than them.  A specific tool likely won’t help solve this challenge, rather your people and process should kick in.  Engaging with the candidate that is on hold to give help with transparency and also to make sure you keep you in synch should they may move on to another opportunity while you play the waiting game.

  1. “Where do I stand?”

Having a good candidate relationship management tool to track exactly the status of each candidate is the only way to make sure they are getting a personalized experience. In an ideal world your ATS would be make this super-easy. However you may need to find a point solution of your own if your specific candidate management needs aren’t being met. Instead you may consider more generic CRM tools like Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Zoho or Avature. These tools tend to be easier to use and you can configure the various fields and notifications to match your own recruiting practices.

There are literally hundreds of tools available to help you with your candidate experience.  Some designed specifically for recruiting, others designed for sales or marketing that can be applied to your process.  What matters most is that they solve a high priority need and give you bang for your buck. Given the many self-service solutions now available, trying them out for 30 or 60 days will give you enough data to see if they are worth your investment of time and energy.

Great Hires - Candidate Experience Software
Great Hires – Candidate Experience Software


About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Interviewing Experience platform for both candidates and hiring teams.  Great Hires was named as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Brilliant Companies of 2016 where it was ranked #2 in Business Tools.  Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Candidate Experience Part II – The tip of the iceberg

Part I of this series focused on the people aspects that drive the Candidate experience. Now we will discuss the processes that drive the Candidate Experience.  Managing the processes to deliver a great candidate experience is a balancing act of competing needs where you try and strike the right balance between the candidate and organizational priorities.

The most fundamental question to ask yourself is:  ‘Is the candidate at the center of each of the recruiting stages of your candidate experience?’.   What does it mean to put the candidate at the center?  It means that you are optimizing for the candidate throughout the process by either  a) finding creative ways to meet both the candidates and your needs or b) you are making a tradeoff that prioritizes the candidate’s needs over your organizational needs.

Here are some of the top complaints by candidates about their experience:

  • Your career site isn’t mobile friendly
  • You didn’t provide all the information I want to know about the job (e.g. salary range and benefits information) before I take the time to apply
  • Your application is too long
  • Did you get my application?
  • When will you let me know about your decision? Is the job filled?
  • How long will it take to get me the offer, because I need to give an answer to another company?

caniddate waiting

Great – we’ve identified the most common sources of negative candidate experience. Whoop-dee-doo.  These are well known complaints. But why do these things keep happening?  No one intentionally wants to create a bad candidate experience, do they?  What is driving these outcomes?

Well… it’s complicated, right?  At least that is how it can be rationalized.  What the candidate sees is just the tip of the iceberg compared to what is actually happening during the recruiting process. Beneath the surface company values, compliance, talent acquisition philosophies, the job details and hiring team behaviors drive what the candidate sees and experiences.

Candidate Experience Iceberg

Why would you collect more information than you really need during the application process? Is it for compliance reasons? Is the data being collected just in case it is needed during the screening stage you would want that information already available? Is it to help your recruiters do less work during the screening process – then you are shifting costs that your recruiters could absorb to the candidate.

For example, if you click on the ‘Apply’ button for a Fortune 50 company, this is what you will see:

What a great way to begin the candidate experience with this company. Or not.  Creating an account with a company just to apply for a job seems doesn’t seem like it solves for the candidate.

As a recruiting organization, does your company prioritize cost-per-hire and time-to-fill over quality of hire and candidate experience, then very likely you have a large range in how candidates will be treated because you are more focused on making filling the role quickly and making the hiring manager happy. As a recruiter, how much time do you spend keeping candidates informed on their status.  Do you make yourself readily available and respond to their inquiries in a reasonable amount of time?  Or do you just invest your time in the most promising candidates and ignore the ones on the backburner until it suits your needs? One well-known technology company we work with aims for their rejected candidates to have the same Candidate Experience Net Promoter Score as those they will make an offer to.  This mindset and measurement dramatically changes recruiter behavior and the process they follow to engage every candidate they bring in for an interview.

So how can you take a systemic approach to your candidate experience process?  To start, map the end-to-end candidate experience. Specifically only look at the world from what the Candidate sees, by stage, and by decision status (yes, no, maybe, not reviewed).    Look at each activity (or inactivity – e.g. not following up with every candidate).

How much of the process that candidate’s experience is due to the internal demands of the iceberg?  How much is due to limitations in the tools you use?

hiring process

Once you have mapped the process look at all the sources of friction that the candidate experience.  Whether forms to fill out, periods of ‘where do I stand’ or gaps in information required to be well prepared for an interaction.  Collecting data on each of these sub-experiences allows you to apply lean manufacturing principles to the candidate experience.  Basically, evaluate if each one is adding value for the candidate and how can you only focus on activities that add value to the candidate experience and reduce candidate experience waste.

Finally, many aspects of the candidate experience are driven by the tools you have available.  Part III of this series will dive into the details on this subject, but in a nutshell there are two ways to look at tools. The first are the set of tools that enable the process which both candidate and hiring teams work with. The reality is that all tools have their limitations and they may not have the flexibility to perfectly align with both candidate and your organizational needs. So figuring out where automated tools fall short and how to the hiring team can close those gaps is key to candidate success.

digital tools

The second is to look at the tools which measure the process. Whether it is something as basic as measuring your candidate experience Net Promoter Score or more robust, like applying digital marketing techniques to measure abandon and  conversion rates at each stage of the application process.  Without measuring the process effectively you cannot optimize and improve.  Instead you are working with anecdotal data and cannot properly apply lean manufacturing principles to reduce friction in the end-to-end process.

Once you examine you candidate experience from the candidate’s perspective and understand the internal and externals factors the drive the each activity in the process. From there, you can begin to making optimization trade-offs.  With the tidal wave of recruiting tools now available, next up we will explore how to deal with all the noise to ensure that the ‘people’ and the ‘process’ align to your technology choices to deliver a great candidate experience.


About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Interviewing Experience platform for both candidates and hiring teams.  Great Hires was named as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Brilliant Companies of 2016 where it was ranked #2 in Business Tools.  Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Candidate Experience – Do You Really Care?

Recently I met with the head of talent acquisition at a 200-person startup with about 40 open reqs and asked him how important the candidate experience was to him and his company.  He said it was important but not high on his list of priorities because they already do a good job on the candidate experience. I asked him what measurement he used to make this conclusion. He told me the main source of feedback was by asking new employees about their hiring experience soon after they started at the company.   This made me realize that there is a large spectrum of what it means to really care about the candidate experience.

I have spent quite some time analyzing the Talent Board’s Candidate Experience 2014 report.  As you probably know, the survey compiles very detailed, behavior based data from 95,000 candidates who applied to approximately 140 companies.  It is clear these companies are trying to transform their recruiting process to be more candidate-centric.  Like any business improvement initiative, in order to have a great end-to-end experience, a company must successfully align their people, process and technology.  However getting each of these components to effectively deliver for both candidates and the company is no easy task.

This is the first of three part series that focuses on each of these factors which drive a successful Candidate Experience capability for your organization, starting with ‘People’.  What is clear from the CandE report, that behind the numbers are all the people involved in each stage of talent acquisition that drive the bus – and without whom, process and technology don’t really matter.

The question is, when you start peeling back the candidate experience onion, what are the key components to set your regular employees and recruiting teams up for success?  From what I have seen the major drivers are:  company values, empathy, rewards and being tech savvy.

why I should care

If your company doesn’t really care, why should you?

Many companies state that “people are their greatest asset”, but is that reflected in their behavior? If your company has a high unwanted turnover rate, then it is not easy to sincerely tell a candidate that the company is a great place to work.  How involved in the selection process are the leaders of your organization?  How do they measure recruiting success beyond financial metrics?  The companies who truly care have Quality at the top of their recruiting Key Performance Indicators with Cost-Per-Hire and Time-to-Hire a fair distant behind.  As a result, these companies understand the importance of the candidate experience starting at the top of the funnel.   All you need to do is go to the Zappos , Capital One or Enterprise career pages to see how much they care about their people and who they hire.  An excellent contrast would be Mass Mutual , a Fortune 500 company, who is ranked #1 for the least loyal employees.  It is impossible to even see a list of job postings on their career site unless you complete a form with your personal information.

It is apparent which companies who have ‘attracting and retaining great talent’ in their DNA from your first experience with them.  If you are a recruiter who works at a company where people are secondary to other priorities, then you are probably facing challenges getting the leadership focus and resources you need to be successful. It is hard to expect a recruiter to a deliver great candidate experience if their company doesn’t truly support them in their efforts.


Empathy: Do you feel like we do?

Do you treat candidates as you would want to be treated yourself? That is essence of a recruiter who really cares about the candidate experience.

Here are some basic questions to compare yourself to some of the best practices of CandE award winning companies:

  • Do you pretend that you are a candidate and apply to your own job to see how easy it is to apply?
  • Do you set expectations (whether directly or indirectly through via your job posting) and meet those expectations – such as calling a candidate when you said you would.
  • How much time to do you spend with a candidate helping them through the interview process by either explaining the end-to-end process or prepping them for the people they will be interviewing with?
  • Do you decline candidates who came in to interview directly by phone or with a form email?  Do you provide any feedback?

Displaying these types of behaviors really differentiate top candidate experience recruiters from those only focused on filling job reqs.

The effort required by recruiters requires a significant time investment and tremendous attention to detail. If you have 30 open reqs assigned to you, it is nearly impossible to give the attention needed to all candidates. So, either you care and are willing to go the extra mile, or you are going to skip steps and short-change candidates so you can focus how you are measured and rewarded.

say do ratio

Rewards – aligning the Say/Do ratio

The bottom line is, what gets measured gets done.  Recruiting metrics need the right balance between short term operating metrics such as Cost-Per-Hire and Time-to-Fill and long term balance sheet metrics like Quality of Hire and retention rates.  If companies aren’t measuring and rewarding quality metrics related to the Candidate Experience, then they are ignoring the impact it can have on both recruiting KPIs and corporate financial metrics. The latest Candidate Experience report states that 24% of candidates are more likely to buy from a company if they have a positive experience while CareerBuilder found that 69% of interviewed candidates are less likely to buy if they had a bad experience.

However, let’s not forget that recruiting costs time and money. A recruiter with the right incentives can’t do it all themselves, they need the right balance of workload, tools and cross-functional support. Companies that measure and reward both talent acquisition and hiring managers based on quality of hire may have above average candidate experience metrics but they typically also invest disproportionately more in their recruiting and retention programs.


Tech Savvy – Your personal competitive advantage

There are a lot of great tools to help recruiters and the candidate experience – some need to be implemented by the company, but there are many point solutions any individual recruiter can use on their own. Whether it is as basic as Google Docs or using email tools like Tout or Yesware to improve your candidate management – the options are out there, but it requires you to figure out which ones actually work and have real candidate impact.  Your company probably already has tools that you can use to help you be more successful, however there is a good chance they are not dead simple to use and require you to invest in both getting set-up and learning how to use the application in a way that works for you.  Your average recruiter would just give up and stick to their existing behaviors.  A recruiting innovator (or even an early adopter) is comfortable learning new technology and testing what works best for them so they have a competitive advantage in converting top prospects.

When it comes to the candidate experience, it all starts with people.  Without an engaged recruiter with the right incentives, no fancy process or tools will magically make your company a CandE award winner.


About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Interviewing Experience platform for both candidates and hiring teams.  Great Hires was named as one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Brilliant Companies of 2016 where it was ranked #2 in Business Tools.  Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

5 reasons why it’s hard to solve the recruiting tools conundrum

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of recruiting tools to help improve the end-to-end recruiting process.  The solutions are out there, but why does it have to be so hard to be able to use them? Why do enterprises only leverage a fraction of the excellent offerings on the market to optimize the full hiring and candidate experience?

Here’s why:

  1. Recruiters and Recruiting Coordinators hate friction in their tools
  2. For better or worse, the ATS is the data engine that drives the recruiting process.
  3. ATS companies have traditionally been slow to innovate and resistant to 3rd party integrations
  4. Point solutions can innovate faster and solve more recruiting workflows than the large ATS companies
  5. Point solutions/3rd Parties need to prioritize who they partner/integrate with


  1. Recruiters and Recruiting Coordinators hate friction in their tools

Recruiters and coordinators have more than enough to keep them busy, the last thing they are looking for is one more thing to do or tool to use. Adding another step to their process without a significant improvement to their productivity or business results will be met with significant resistance.  Unless it is drop-dead easy to see the benefits, adoption will not happen.  Here are the pet peeves that drive recruiters and coordinators nuts and cause unnecessary friction in their daily work process:

  • Needing to sign into multiple systems to manage the hiring process. Tools need to be one click away with single sign on (SSO).  Don’t make them sign in to each tool and ensure ease of access to an application via a simple click on a button, tab, link, or icon.
  • Double entry of data that already exists elsewhere. Information that already exists in your ATS should not need to re-entered or copy/pasted. As will be discussed in #2, integrating data between tools can be non-trivial.
  • Poor usability. Given the overhead burden put into the process due to compliance, traditionally, usability has been compromised to make sure that all the ‘cover your butt’ features have been crammed into each step in the process. The latest generation of ATS companies have included the consumerization of recruiting tech into their design, but still, there is a long way to go to make most tools easy to use and mobile-friendly.
  1. For better or worse, the ATS is the data engine that drives the recruiting process.

For nearly every company the ATS is the central database for all job and candidate information.  While some larger companies have created their own master HR database, they are more the exception than the rule.  Nearly every significant task for sourcing or selection uses information from the ATS database as the content source. As mentioned above, recruiters and coordinator know what information already exists for a Job or Candidate and they have no interest in re-entering data that they know already resides in another system.  Doing so is frustrating and naturally causes frustration and increases adoption issues for new tools. Thus not being able to easily synch data between tools can be a deal-killer for recruiting teams.  Given the importance of the data stores in the ATS database, ATS companies exert tremendous power over what is possible for your team to adopt.  The constraints your ATS puts on your capabilities and the implications of access to job and candidate data are something to seriously understand for your hiring and candidate experience process.


  1. ATS companies can’t build everything themselves and they traditionally have not been open to 3rd party integrations

Taleo and other first-generation ATS companies started as products to apply supply-chain management operational efficiencies to recruiting. Furthermore, government-required compliance reporting acted as a catalyst to accelerate large enterprise adoption.  While these systems had appeal to HR executives by focusing on organizational productivity and keeping themselves out of jail, they did not focus on the real ATS customers and users:  candidates and recruiting teams.

Given these design priorities, the end-user experience primarily focused on work-flow management and exhaustive data capture – none of which resulted in a great user-driven experience. In recent years, much of the focus has been on getting some of the table-stakes such as a decent search function to treat the database like a CRM tool.  Also, basic performance issues and creating mobile-friendly tools.

If job or candidate related information needs to be used or updated by a 3rd party tool, then it requires some integration to allow for data exchange.  The challenge with first-generation ATS systems (e.g. Taleo, Kenexa/Brassring) is that they are pretty much closed system with poor (non-RESTful) APIs to allow for easy integration. Even worse, these incumbents charge multiple tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of being an integration partner, deterring any small or medium sized company from working with them.  Newer ATS companies (e.g. Workday, iCIMS and Greenhouse) are much more open, simpler to integrate with and trying to become ecosystems, but the challenge for developers is the effort needed to create custom integration points for each platform integration (similar to creating an app for both iOS and Android). Aptitude Research Partners just published a phenomenal review of the current prominent ATS systems and details the strengths and weaknesses of each platform.

  1. Point solution tool companies can innovate faster and solve more recruiting workflows than the large ATS companies

You would think with all the resources of Oracle and IBM, Taleo and Kenexa/BrassRing would be leaders in talent acquisition innovation.  Instead they are not only laggards, but they also seem handcuffed to their old-school enterprise software mentality and business models.  Social, mobile and cloud are not in their DNA which has caused them to be slow in reinventing themselves and their platforms. An easy example of this is the emergence of the recruitment marketing category with companies such as Jibe, Smashfly and Phenom. In recent years as both the economy and hiring have rebounded, a solution for nearly every recruiting task has been created.  Whether it is for job description optimization, big data applied to resume analysis or a new twist on social, mobile sourcing there’s an app for that.  By not having a one-stop-shop platform provided creates the need for a ‘best-of-breed’ recruiting technology strategy and then a plan to figure out how to make all these solutions to work together. For leading edge companies with sophisticated talent acquisition organizations like Google and Amazon, they have responded by building their own integrated platforms to match their unique recruiting methods. However, most companies do not have the resources or skills to build their own recruiting ecosystem themselves.


  1. Tool companies need to prioritize with whom to integrate

 In an ideal world there would common standards that any recruiting tool company could use to integrate into any ATS ecosystem.  While the HR Open Standards consortium is making progress, there is still a long way to go to meet the needs of most recruiting technology companies.

With over 200 applicant tracking systems, none of which have a dominant market share, having a fragmented ATS market is forcing recruiting tool companies to individually choose which ATS company to choose as an integration partner. Without common standards and well supported APIs / partner programs, only a few ATS companies will likely have the scale needed to support a deep ecosystem. Companies like iCIMS, SmartRecruiters and Greenhouse are trying to get there, but there is still a long way to go to make a full suite of recruiting tools as easy as plug-and-play. Until adding any recruiting tool to your ATS is as simple adding an app like your iPhone or Salesforce, there is no effortless solution.

The good news is that recruiters have some powerful tools available to them to solve their acquisition challenges .  However, unless these new technology solutions can overcome the hurdles that the dynamics of the incumbent enterprise platforms create, it will take many years for talent acquisition professionals to be able to fully take advantage of them.

About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Selection platform for both candidates and hiring team success. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit. Ray holds an MBA from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from McGill University.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

The only two recruiting metrics that matter

It’s been over two years now since we started Great Hires and since the beginning I have been bombarded with all the different ways to measure recruiting success. While many of them are interesting and good indicators of how efficient an organization is at sourcing and hiring top talent, in the end I have concluded that organizational leaders only need to focus on two strategic metrics: Quality of Hire and Candidate Experience.  Everything else is details.


Let me explain, as I learned very early on in my career, the two primary outcomes a business leader is solving for are a) building organizational capacity and b) building the business.  All other metrics are either efficiency metrics on measure input values. This is similar to baseball where there are several dozens of statistics collected on every player.  As the book Moneyball pointed out, it is on-base percentage that is a significant predictor of wins and yet most experts focused on other statistics (e.g. slugging percentage) which did not correlate with the ultimate outcome objective of a baseball team.

Hiring and retaining great talent is clearly what a talent acquisition function is all about and directly responsible for building organizational capacity.  If you were to pick a single measurement for how a TA organization contributes to building organizational capacity it would be Quality of Hire (QoH).  While Cost-Per-Hire (CPH) and Time-to-Fill (TTF) provide good operational indicators for the effectiveness of the hiring team (similar to hits and batting average in baseball), the ultimate objective of recruiting is to bring on qualified personnel into the organization.  Rarely will you hear organizations willing to compromise on QoH in order to drive down their CPH or TTF. It is only when they are looking to optimize the process while at a minimum keeping the outcome measurement fixed that hiring teams should then focus on CPH, TTF or any other recruiting efficiency metric.


Now, there is no industry standard for how to measure QoH since each organization is unique and there are multiple leading indicator metrics which can provide a reasonable proxy, but none is exact.  Whether you believe the hiring manager satisfaction, one year retentions or staged (e.g. 2 weeks, 2 months, 1-year sometimes called First Year Quality) employee performance evaluation is right for your company, it is not an exact science. However, what matters is having consistent, multi-dimensional metrics which provide a holistic representation of hiring success.

By now you might agree that QoH is the most important measurement for recruiting, but you are probably asking yourself ‘Why would Candidate Experience be the other metric that matters?’. Very simply, in most cases it impacts business results. Keep in mind that 95% or more of the people that apply to your job won’t get hired and 75%-80% of the finalists that you brought in to interview won’t be joining your organization. If these candidates either buy or influence purchases for your company’s offerings, you might want them to still like you at the end of the process. There has been a lot of research that shows that both a negative and positive candidate experience directly impacts a company’s bottom line. Consumer-brands like Starbucks,  Delta Airlines, Hilton Hotels and others have specific use cases detailing how their focus on improving their candidate experience had a positive business ROI.


And what about all those other commonly used metrics, do we just ignore them?  Absolutely not.  If you work in the talent acquisition function or are a hiring manager you definitely care, measure and prioritize factors like TTF and CPH.  They make up the trinity of Cost, Quality & Time.  And you optimize for all three. Always.  As a TA leader you are solving for each of them by leveraging people, processes and tools.  In addition, you need to be able to measure individual recruiter performance, and these input & process metrics provide good indicators to understand differentiated individual and department performance.

Similar to baseball, your primary objectives are to having a winning team that also makes money.  In addition, while there are plenty of measurements which will help you “peel-the-onion” on where to focus and prioritize, you need to know where to start.  When it comes to talent acquisition metrics it starts at the top and they are Quality of Hire and Candidate Experience.  Focus on these first and use the other metrics to optimize the process or their inputs.

About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Selection platform for both candidates and hiring team success. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit. Ray holds an MBA from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from McGill University.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

10 things I learned researching the ATS platforms used by the Fortune 100

Last week I decided to research the applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by the Fortune 100. The analysis was prompted by a fellow recruiting startup founder who suggested that Great Hires invest in becoming a partner for a newer ATS company’s marketplace.  This made me want to estimate the size of the opportunity based on the volume of candidates that pass through the ecosystem of these providers.  Despite how fragmented the ATS market is, I was surprised that there are only two ATS system providers who serve more than two companies of the F100.

  1. Taleo/Oracle and Kenexa BrassRing dominate the Fortune 100

2. The number of jobs flowing through the top systems (Taleo/Oracle, Kenexa/BrassRing and homegrown) dominate everyone else.

3. The average number of job openings of the Fortune 100 is 2,172. These firms must have very large talent acquisition organizations to keep up with their hiring needs.

4. Many companies have started using a second platform such like a recruitment marketing system (e.g. Jibe or Smashfly) or even a second ATS-oriented company  (e.g. Smartrecruiters or Jobvite) to deal with CRM, Recruitment Marketing or Talent Community needs. However, these “second” platforms have less than 20% penetration in the F100.

5. Six firms built their own ATS: Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, Statefarm. What makes Statefarm unique is that they aren’t a technology company, but they seem to have unique needs with a franchise-like recruiting model.

6. Only one Fortune 100 company has adopted the Workday ATS in the two plus years since its release.

7. Amazon has 17,000 job openings and 230,000 employees. They are a much bigger organization than most people think and ranked #20 of the F500 by number of employees. For comparison, Wal-Mart is the largest employer with 2,300,000 employees.

8. Oracle has 8,000 open job reqs. I wonder how much input/feedback the Oracle recruiting function has provided the Taleo development team about their ATS?

9. Three of the top 6 companies with the most job openings are healthcare related and combine for nearly 43,000 openings

10. American Airlines gives candidates the option to apply using their Yahoo credentials. Not LinkedIn, Facebook, Google or Twitter.  Are they signaling applicants who they are really looking for?


Note:  Berkshire Hathaway was not included in this analysis since it is really a holding company, and was replaced by #101 DuPont.

3 Steps to Systemically Build Your Company’s Candidate Experience Competency

Over the past couple of years I have spoken to many companies about their candidate experience efforts.  When I ask them to describe their strategy usually they either talk in generalities saying it is ‘a priority’ or they describe specific tactics they have implemented.  However, very rarely do I hear a cohesive, integrated organizational strategy which includes cross-functional engagement.

In many cases, a company has an identifiable problem or a galvanizing event (e.g. a top-talent rejection) which triggers a renewed focus on investing their candidate experience. For Scott Weaver at Cumming Corporation, a 2015 Candidate Experience award winner, the metric that stood out was ‘time-to-fill’ and his team was looking to move faster.  As a professional services firm, every day a req goes unfilled is lost revenue for their organization.  Their candidate experience journey started with a process improvement and optimization project.  For many other organizations, it starts with solving a specific activity during the recruiting process. However, many companies, like Cummins,  are realizing that they need to take a more holistic perspective on the end-to-end candidate experience.

candide experience award 2015

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Gerry Crispin about where a company should start if they wanted to systemically build a stronger Candidate Experience-focused organization.   He described a 3-step framework on how to build a sustainable candidate experience competency.

Step 1:  What’s important?

Company OKRs

If the candidate experience is not listed on the priority list for either the organization, HR or the Recruiting Function, then the Candidate Experience really isn’t ‘important’. It is just one of the many things an organization does that they try not to screw up. What do I mean by that?  It means that everyone generally knows that the Candidate Experience is one of the aspects of recruiting and everyone tries to do well.  It is no different than Product Quality or Customer Service.  But if you do not have it clearly listed as a goal or objective at some level in the organization, then it is just another strategy based on hope. And hope is not a strategy.   And it certainly isn’t part of the corporate culture.


The first step to developing sustainable organizational Candidate Experience capability is to make it a priority by including it in your company or department’s objectives.  Without organizational alignment, buy-in and engagement, it is just a bunch of individuals who are ‘doing the right thing’ but not necessarily with the support of their leadership.

Candidate Fairness

According to Gerry Crispin, one of the biggest drivers of delivering a good candidate experience is the perception of fairness by candidates.  “If candidates think the fix is in then their perception is reality.” Examples include not hearing from anyone after applying or being told they would hear back in two weeks, the no one follows up or answers their call.  In addition, Crispin sees the following drivers what drives the best candidate experience-driven organizations:

  1. Setting proper expectations (for both the job and the hiring process)
  2. Listening
  3. Accountability
  4. Perception of fairness
  5. Closure

At Cummings Corporation, increasing transparency to candidates to the process has been a big focus that helps with perceived fairness. Improved communication with both the hiring team and the candidate has allowed them to go faster. For Scott Weaver’s recruiting team, this starts when an application is received and candidates immediately receive an email describing the process in detail. The email includes specific expectations about what happens next and how to get answers if there are concerns or unexplained delays.   Their philosophy is about treating the candidate with respect, but without over-investing precious recruiting team resources.

Step 2:  How are we doing?

Once you have everyone bought in that the candidate experience is a priority, you need to know where you stand.  Gerry Crispin says collecting data is a critical starting point. “First and foremost you need some form of baseline.  There is no point in starting to work on your candidate experience capability if you don’t have some sense of where the context is going to be.”   Determining a baseline measurement on where you are starting from will help you track your progress.  Ideally, everyone you tough from the beginning of the sourcing process to onboarding are part of your measurement.  And there are many milestones during which you can measure the candidate experience (as described in detail in the Talent Board’s CandE report ), but to start, Gerry Crispin recommends just measuring the Net Promoter Score of the finalists and the candidate you hired.  Over time you can expand your measurement to candidates earlier in the process to include the application and screening process.


Ultimately, the most important recruiting metrics is quality of hire since it is the process outcome for the talent acquisition function.  But to measure the quality of the entire process, candidate experience metrics are the best indicator of how the various stakeholders are committed to bringing on the best talent.


Step 3:  Priorities to Improve

The insights you gather from baselining your candidate experience metrics will point you to where the issues are.  Once you see all the different areas that need work, you will need to pick your spots and prioritize which to work on first.  How you choose to address these priorities will depend on what you think the best plan of action will be; whether it is people, process or tools.
improve process

At Cumming, they looked at the 16 touch-points they have with candidates, mapping their journey and benchmarked themselves after the hospitality industry for how to deliver a concierge-like experience.

Given the number and complexity of milestones, from sourcing to onboarding, just picking one or two areas to improve can be resource and time intensive depending on the size of your organization. Both from a financial and change management perspective.  Throw in any change in technology and you quickly realize that systemic change will not happen overnight. However, small, incremental tweaks can make a real difference, like removing unnecessary fields in your application process or tailoring your rejection emails to give candidate better insight into why they were not selected to move forward.

From several of the Candidate Experience Award winners I have spoken with, improving their candidate experience capability is an ongoing investment, but at any time they are clearly prioritizing where they point their limited resources to have the biggest impact on their overall outcome: hiring success for both hires and their company.

About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Selection platform for both candidates and hiring team success. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit. Ray holds an MBA from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from McGill University.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Recruiting Coordinators: The unsung heroes of talent acquisition

If you ask the average hiring manager what a recruiting coordinator (aka candidate success coordinator, talent acquisition operations specialist etc.) you will probably get a perception that they are just someone in HR or a recruiter.  Most people on a job’s hiring team think stuff just magically happens when a candidate arrives for their interviews and are clueless that a talent acquisition coordinator is working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly. Then the cherry on top is that recruiting coordinators tend to only get noticed when things go wrong.   But the truth is that recruiting coordinators are the secret weapon of hiring success and they do not get enough credit for the value they add in the recruiting process.


Recruiting Coordinators + Candidate Experience = Hiring Success

Recruiting coordinators are focused on giving candidates a concierge-like, white glove experience. Beyond greeting candidates, making them feel comfortable, giving tours, providing water, coffee & snacks, coordinators also set up all the technology whether it is a projector, dialing into Webex, or recording a presentation.  However, that is just table stakes for the role.  Talent acquisition coordinators are like the Chief-of-Staff for a job (Note: “a job”, not the hiring manager, recruiter or candidate).  Their role is to manage all the logistics for the recruiting process, including travel arrangements and expense reimbursement.

It’s very easy to think interview scheduling is pretty simple. But the reality is that finding a date and times when everyone on the Hiring Manager’s interview list is available is non-trivial.  When you factor in how everyone’s schedule appears as ‘busy’ in Outlook or Google calendar and is likely out of date, the battle has just begun.  No one sees the relationships a coordinator needs to build with executive assistants to sweet-talk them into finding a mutually agreeable slot to interview a candidate.  Then factor in that over 50% of interviews get moved, rescheduled, rooms changed, or have last-minute interviewer cancellations…who has to deal with the consequences of each change? You know who.


Of course being a coordinator requires you to strike the right balance for all stakeholders (hiring manager, recruiter, interviewers and candidates).   Coordinators are the front line troops for the candidate experience.   Being thoughtful of putting together an interview schedule where the candidate stays in the same interview room and having interviewers come to them is much more candidate friendly than having the candidate go from office-to-office or building-to-building to find each interviewer.  In addition, making sure the candidate and interviewers have the latest information is no simple task. Between resumes, travel information, interview guides, the latest schedule, company information etc. there is a huge amount of information that needs to be distributed and tracked.  When something gets missed or forgotten, who do you think gets a call or email?  You know who.

 Untold Recruiting Coordinator Stories

Here are a couple of examples of where coordinators go above and beyond to deliver a great candidate and hiring experience.

Kari Scheidt from Salesforce describes the importance of the coordinators relationship with the candidate. She explained how coordinators can be an advocate for the candidate to the hiring manager or interviewers, especially when the candidate has shared something important the team should be aware of in their decision process.  Kari highlighted the importance of candidate empathy with a story of super-hero effort that most hiring team’s don’t see. One winter day, Salesforce was flying in a candidate from the east coast which was experiencing horrendous storms.  The candidate was freaking out that they would not make their interview.  Despite all the flight delays and being oversold, she was able to beg the airlines to find a way to re-route the candidate and get them to the interview on time.  The candidate really appreciated the effort that was taken to go above and beyond to make it all happen. “People forget that the way you are treated as a candidate is how you think you will be treated as an employee.”


John Tran, a Talent Acquisition Ambassador at Yahoo!, takes great pride in seeing someone he brought in as a candidate and then helped onboard, turn in a superstar.  Many times, it all starts with a tour John gives to prospective hires of the Yahoo! campus to help reinforce the emotional bond they already have with the Yahoo! brand.   Once hired, he enjoys seeing their success and relishes the feeling that comes with having helped pave the way for folks he helped hire to accomplish great things in the company.

At a previous company, Phyllis Yoshimoto (currently a talent coordinator at Pharmacyclics) woke up one morning to find out a top candidate had received several offers and her company needed to act fast if they wanted to still be considered. At 8 am she confirmed with the candidate, who was based in Seattle, they could fly to the Bay Area that day for a slate of interviews.  Phyllis was able to both coordinate the candidate’s travel and pull together the full interview schedule to start at 2 pm that day.  In the end, it all went perfect and the hiring team was able to make an offer to the candidate that day.  The candidate accepted and turned into a great hire.

What you can do to help your recruiting coordinator

So now that you understand the importance and value of your recruiting coordinator, here are 5 things you can do immediately to help coordinators be even more successful:

  1. Make sure your hiring team responds back in a timely manner (within 24 hours) to attend an interview
  2. Prepare your interview team on which competencies to evaluate and questions to ask
  3. Provide timely feedback about each candidate
  4. Pass along any insights your learn from the candidate that would help with any information to be distributed to the hiring team or logistics for the interview day
  5. Reinforce to your hiring team the importance of the candidate experience, and that showing up late or being disrespectful to a candidate has a big impact on the entire recruiting team

Finally, if you don’t do so already, thank your recruiting coordinator every time you make a hire.  They are truly the unsung heroes of talent acquisition.

About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Selection platform for both candidates and hiring team success. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit. Ray holds an MBA from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from McGill University.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

7 Things I learned examining 199 recruiting startups newly added to AngelList

Several times a week I get asked if I’ve heard of some new recruiting startup, and I jokingly respond that there is new one started daily and it is impossible to keep track. Well, it turns out I was off by a factor of about three.  There are 2800 companies that are tagged as Recruiting Startups on AngelList , of which 199 were added in August and September 2015.  I decided to take a look at each of these recently added companies to see what trends can be gleaned from them.  After ignoring 31 firms that weren’t really recruiting-related, here is what I found about the remaining 168 companies – so almost three per day.

AngelList Recruiting Companies

1.       Is recruiting broken?

One theme I saw consistently in either the company description or on their website is some form of the statement “recruiting is broken” and their mission is to either reinvent how companies and candidates find each other or improve the process. Inefficiency and friction plague end-to-end recruiting. Companies are trying new methods to match candidates with companies like having candidates bid on being able to apply to a company or a tool for candidates to supply a form for recruiters to complete about the role before being allowed to contacting them.  Who knows if any of these companies will truly reinvent talent acquisition, but at least there are many that claim to be trying.

2.       Niche marketplaces are very popular

Nearly half (80) new companies reviewed are trying to bring recruiters and candidates together more effectively. In particular, niche market places for any type of narrow market you can identify is being created.  Examples include two marketplaces for the cannabis industry:  Hemployed and Greenseek;   hyper-local job boards   and sites for professional specialists to connect like healthcare and cyber security experts.  For any marketplace, the challenge to is to get enough traction with both job posters and candidates to have a reasonable size marketplace and achieve some level of network effects. If nothing else, each of these sites should at least appear in the top 3 organic search results for ‘{name of the niche + jobs}’.

3.       Big data is a big deal for sourcing candidates

Fifteen different companies using some form of big data and secret sauce algorithms to find the right match for your job. Terms like AI, machine learning and predictive analytics showed up several times.  Each of these companies claim to be able to look at resumes, LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub and other social sites and crunch all the data and then be able to spit out the winning candidates using their magical secret sauce tool.

4.       Next generation digital resumés:

Given the dominance of LinkedIn, many candidates feel there are better ways to project themselves online and provide a more accurate portrayal of their capabilities.  There were seven new companies trying to integrate great visual design, multi-media and social media to give candidates more opportunity to showcase their personality and experience.

5.       Not another ATS company

As if there aren’t enough Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) companies already out there, another seven declared their intent to reinvent managing the recruiting the process from job req to onboarding.   While this industry segment is not yet a complete commodity, given how poorly most companies rate their ATS, the level of competition is so high that taking a truly different approach will be the only way any of these companies stick around for a meaningful amount of time.

6.       Point solutions solving specific needs

The companies that interested me most were the 20 or so companies trying to solve well know challenges in the recruiting process in a more efficient manner. Whether it is targeted skills assessment, new tools for interviewing or a new wave of mobile social recruiting and referral apps, several of these new companies are trying new ways to leverage your personal network to find the right match.

7.       AngelList can be challenging when looking for real recruiting startups

Many companies have their industry misclassified or Recruiting is clearly a secondary element to their primary strategy and therefore shouldn’t really be tagged as such. In particular, College Admissions should be a distinct tag, separate from College Recruiting.

It is also amazing how many typos and grammar errors there are in company descriptions. Finally, if you are service company like a placement firm, you really should not be putting your site on AngelList;  many companies or people are using Angellist for SEO juice/ link building rather than using Angellist for its intended purpose: to connect startups with investors and potential employees


The good news for recruiters is that there is a lot of innovation taking place in the space and a handful will surely bubble to the surface and be successful. The challenge for companies and talent acquisition folks is being able to pick from the many solutions out there that match their specific needs.


Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Experience platform for both candidates and hiring teams. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Should you have Bar Raisers at your company?

‘If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, Ogilvy & Mather will become a company of giants.’

– David Ogilvy from “Ogilvy on Advertising”



Recently companies like Amazon and Google have challenged the traditional methods of giving full control of candidate offers to the hiring manager.  In order to remove hiring manager bias in the process (such as trying to solve a short-term hiring need), other hiring team members are given the power to either make offers or veto the hiring manager offer recommendation. At Amazon, these individuals are called Bar Raisers.

What are Bar Raisers?

Bar Raisers are involved in each step in the candidate selection process. They help with filtering and screening candidates.  They help the hiring manager and recruiter select interviewers with a range of experience for on-site interviews. Bar Raisers work with the hiring team to define the competencies and divide and conquer them across the team to ensure full coverage of the evaluation criteria.

The main raison d’être for Bar Raisers is to ensure that a new hire is accretive and not dilutive to the overall organization capacity.  Bar Raisers have the power to veto a hiring manager’s offer if they believe the candidate would not ‘raise the bar’ at Amazon.  Of course, they must have well-substantiated reasons for such a decision. Bar Raisers can also help find a different opportunity for a candidate elsewhere in the company even if they were rejected by the interview team or hiring manager.

At Amazon, Bar Raisers can spend 10-20 hours per week across several jobs on top of their daytime job. There is no explicit reward system for Bar Raisers in their performance management process, but it is considered a prestigious role earned by only to a select few.

Is your company ready for Bar Raisers?

First off, does you company have a problem with the quality of your hires?  Do you feel that you are making too many bad hires? If not, then there may not need to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

If you do have concerns with your quality of hires, what are the sources of the false-positive signal that led to the offer? Was it the wrong skills or a company fit issue?  If it was a skills issue, does your company have a structured interviewing process? Do your hiring teams define the skills or competencies required for the job ahead of candidates being interviewed? If it was an issue with fit, have you defined your company values and cultural traits that you are seeking? Once again, without some structure for the hiring team on what to evaluate, inconsistency is bound to permeate your hiring process. If your hiring process does not plan ahead with competency and culture/value fit evaluation, then your organization may have more fundamental issues that Bar Raisers alone would not be able to solve.


When it comes to interviewing, almost everyone thinks they are an above-average interviewer.  Most hiring managers and interviewers have an inflated view of their evaluation capabilities. Having candidate selection experts who are regular employees solves a real problem by bringing experience, best practices and consistency to every job req.

When hiring managers have an immediate need that needs to be filled, they are much more focused on their short-term goals than the overall health of the company.  Hiring someone that partially solves a near term problem for the hiring but then creates downstream organizational issues. Bar Raisers are specifically responsible for ensuring this short-term pressure is minimized.

In fast growing organizations that are hiring thousands of new employees each year, it is very common for a relatively new hiring manager to be less familiar with the company culture and organization work norms.  Bar Raisers ensure that new hires will fit in well with the company’s values and adapt well to their new environment.


What is average? In a company with thousands of employees, determining if a candidate would be in the top 47% vs the top  53% is very subjective.  Given a natural bell curve distribution, being able to make that kind of judgment call with such accuracy is very difficult even for someone who is familiar with hundreds of employees. This leads to the next concern…

Are bar raisers really above average at picking winners?  Another large high-tech company is testing their modified version of the Bar Raiser program, but will not give Bar Raisers veto power until they have collected statistically significant data which proves that a Bar Raiser has shown to have a better hiring recommendation-to-good-hire batting average than hiring managers and regular interviewers.  While it is nice to assume that Bar Raisers are better at drafting great team members, each Bar Raiser will be different and you may find that not all Bar Raisers have the golden touch.

One additional item to consider is to ensure the proper context of the specific functional role and business team.  Google now has over 50,000 employees.  It is very difficult to see how an ad support specialist in their customer operations group is raising the bar for the company compared to a software engineer working on the next big idea. In large companies sometimes you just need someone who wants to come to work and do their job really well without bigger aspirations or greater organizational impact. This is good for both the company and the employee, even if the role does not require someone to be an above average contributor when compared to the entire organization.  Not every role requires demonstrated leadership and creativity skills in order to be successful.


Introducing a Bar Raiser program is a big investment for both the company and the Bar Raisers.  The key to hiring great employees is ensuring consistency in how the job-specific competencies and cultural fit attributes are evaluated. This can be done in many ways. At Procter & Gamble, a ‘promote from within’ company, all managers are expected to be able to have these abilities – so the responsibility is shared amongst the hiring team. Picking the best practices that are right for your company’s stage in its lifecycle and your specific culture is most important.   What is probably most important is senior level commitment to a structured candidate selection process and ensuring that there is a data-driven system in place to continually improve your hiring capability.

About the Author: Ray Tenenbaum is the founder of Great Hires, a recruiting technology startup offering a mobile-first Candidate Selection platform for both candidates and hiring team success. Ray has previously spent half of his career building Silicon Valley startups such as Red Answers and Adify (later sold to Cox Media); the other half of his career was spent in marketing and leadership roles at enterprise organizations including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Booz & Co. and Intuit. Ray holds an MBA from the University of Michigan as well as a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from McGill University.

Follow Ray on Twitter @rayten or connect with him on LinkedIn.