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11 October 2019 by Nikki Nixon
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An In-Depth Look At Atlanta’s Best Places To Work: Everything You Need To Know About Culture and Employment Brand​ - Part 1

Recently, we gathered the brightest minds in corporate recruiting and people operations to explore one perplexing question Why Your Top Candidates Aren’t Calling You Back.” There were so many incredible insights from our panel that we decided to make this recap a series of posts to ensure you don’t miss any of the great insights.

You can watch the whole video below (and keep scrolling for the recap):

The panel was moderated by Kyle Tothill, Managing Director at eHire and included the following panelists:

Kyle kicked off the session with some interesting statistics that really helped set the stage for the topic at hand:

  • 80% of CEOs say that talent acquisition and access to skills are a top priority for their company (source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers)

  • Unemployment is currently at 3.7% of the population and Atlanta’s unemployment is slightly lower at 3.5% (source: US Department of Labor)​

Additionally, Indeed surveyed 900 employers and over 4,000 job seekers and found that

  • 83% of companies that were recruiting said they’d been ghosted by candidates.

  • Nearly three-quarters (69%) of them said that this is a recent phenomenon that’s sprung up in the past two years.

  • Among the thousands of job seekers surveyed, only about a fifth actually admit to ghosting.

  • Half of job seekers report they’ve ditched the process as early as the interview stage

  • Nearly a quarter (22%) have simply taken the offer and failed to show up for their first day.

  • Sixty-five percent of employers report no-shows on their first day of work.

  • 94% of job seekers experience little to no negative consequences of ghosting.

And perhaps the most startling statistic from Indeed’s survey was “only 29% of employers have strategies to stop ghosting before it starts.”

​Wow! If that doesn’t make your heart stop, you may want to check your pulse.

​That stat alone is what prompted us to host this event and even write an entire eBook on the subject.

​Before we dive into the insights, it’s important to define the term “ghosting.” In the past, you might have known it as “flaking.” Essentially, it means that a job seeker you were interacting with either suddenly stops.

​This could mean they don’t respond to your phone calls or text messages. Perhaps they don’t show up to an interview and provide no explanation. They may even accept the job offer and fail to arrive on their first day, again, with no reason why.

​This can leave you, dear hiring manager, feeling very frustrated and confused.

​To ensure you never have to experience ghosting again (or at least not as much), here are the top insights from our expert panel.

​Defining and Managing Culture

​Culture needs to be authentic and represent where you are today. It needs to embody how people behave in the day to day at your company.

“Culture really manifests from all the people. It can't just be the top, it can't just be certain groups, it comes from all the places. And it starts with values. - Amy Zimmerman, Kabbage”

SalesLoft was founded on culture first, product second. The founders, Kyle Porter and Rob Forman, were very intentional about the type of company they wanted to build from the beginning. Even though the product has evolved since the company’s founding, culture is a critical part of their hiring process today. ​

“If we think about how many candidates that are in the market and how many candidates apply to SalesLoft, we only hire 1.2% and that is because we make our core values a part of the filter of the interview process. And we adamantly think it's all about fit. Because we are so adamant about the culture fits, we have a turnover rate of half that of the industry average. - Christine Kasubski, SalesLoft”

BlackRock is a global company but it was critical that their Atlanta innovation hub mirror the population of Atlanta and Georgia. Their culture is centered on helping people retire with dignity and they want to ensure their Atlanta team members are able to do that, as well.

“We really want to look and feel like the community. And we want to create a place that has a sense of belonging. - Joe Crowley, BlackRock”

One important area of culture that our panelists mentioned was transparency. They are intentional about ensuring that the flow of communication stays open between management and team members.

“Our CEO has a meeting with the entire company every other week. He sends out an email about the state of the business completely transparent every Sunday. - Carly Jones”

“We have an every other week meeting as well, and we call it our town hall. We have WebX for all of our remote offices, so they're able to WebX in. We did that every week, but we realized that it was probably too frequently. But every other week feels like its the right cadence, and I don't see us ever stopping that. So we're 600 plus now, I think 1,000 will be no different. - Amy Zimmerman”

“We have a stand-up meeting every Monday morning at 10:30, where we share things very explicitly with everyone, but we also create an opportunity for people to say hello and ask questions. - Joe Crowley”

Tip: Define a communication cadence with your team members and don’t be afraid to test it until you find what works for your company

Hiring For Culture

Amy spoke about the importance of hiring for culture fit and screening for it in the interview process. ​

“To me, the interview process is a two-way street. We've fired some really smart people over time because we've hired some really smart people and then realized they weren't a good fit. But we wanted to badly for them to be a fit. They had great experience and worked at the top companies. And we're like, well if they were good enough for them, then they're good enough for us. And it's not that they weren't smart enough, but they weren't a fit. - Amy Zimmerman”

BlackRock also includes a culture fit assessment in their interview process to ensure new hires will fit well into the company culture. Their environment is unique and they want people to enjoy being there. ​

“There are amazingly brilliant, smart, creative, all the adjectives people, but they aren't all going to be a cultural fit for BlackRock. Our market is driven and we have a respect for what we have to do for our clients. It's very fast-paced, you have to be agile, it's not for everybody. It just isn't. And we meet people who are super great, but if they just want to do one thing every day, they can have a peach tea and whatever, but they're not going to fit. Joe Crowley”

SalesLoft is also very intentional about doing culture interviews and involving people from around the company in the process. ​

“Speaking about candidate experience, I love that we're all doing culture interviews because that was something unique to me when I went through the interview process, that every single candidate regardless of level, entry to C level, has to go through a core values interview at SalesLoft. That is comprised of a male and female of two different departments, could be completely different levels from the candidate they're interviewing for, and it has to be out of department. So it can't be the same department the candidate interviewing for. We train them thoroughly on all things interviewing, how to lead a well-structured interview, which we will talk about because I really believe in structuring interviews to avoid unconscious bias, and they are the ones who get to have a say on whether these candidates are going to both fit in with our values as well as be valued. Because I do think that bringing in diverse ways of thinking and diverse backgrounds is what's going to continue to make our organization even better. - Carly Jones”

Tip: Be intentional about culture and structure your interview process around your core values

Employment Brand

​Employment brand is a subset of culture. It is the set of perceptions that your community and employees share what it’s like to work for your company. The panel of experts offered some great insight on how to build an employment brand and why it’s important.

Kabbage pays a lot of attention to Glassdoor to keep a pulse on employee sentiment. They care about how the team members are feeling and what they are saying externally to their peers regarding company culture.

“Ultimately, the brand is the differentiator. It's what brings people to the door. And by the way, if you're not authentic, it's not going to matter. People are going to see right through that. So you've got to be true to the brand, and you've got to represent who you are because people will see it fast. They see through it. - Amy Zimmerman”

​BlackRock prefers to take a different approach to employment brand. Because they operate in the financial services industry, they need to be known where it matters while still keeping a low-key public profile. ​

"People will talk to each other. How you partner, engage and participate in the community is super important. We are being very deliberate in creating partnerships, on creating engagements. Like I said, there were seven of us in February and there are hundreds of us now. We just spent the last month doing volunteering activities. We volunteered and we got involved with the community. The way our company works is if everyone volunteers, then the company makes financial donations on top of that. So we are trying to create from the very beginning this ethos of if you work at Black Rock, volunteerism is paramount to your engagement. - Joe Crowley”

SalesLoft takes an organic approach to employment brand. Because they have such a strong company culture, their team members are naturally happy to share with their friends and peers.

“33% of our hires are actually derived directly from employee referrals. So having an internal culture that does promote that we've already mentioned and will continue to talk about, and making sure that our employees love working at SalesLoft, means that they are going to be our advocates on the street. In addition to that, I firmly believe that the candidate experience you provide to the candidates, it's great if we hire them, and they are going to buy into our culture. - Carly Jones”

Carly made a great point that the most important part of their employment brand initiative comes from the talent they don’t hire.​

“Because at the end of the day, we are hiring 1.2% of all applicants. I want every single candidate that goes through our process to say, I'm so bummed I didn't get that job, but every single person that asks me about my experience interviewing with SalesLoft, that was the best interview experience I've ever had, and I firmly believe that you should go apply there. And I think that's the best grassroots way to get people to continue to apply to SalesLoft. - Carly Jones”

Tip: While there is no cookie-cutter approach to employment brand, you should approach it with intentionality and realize that each and every interaction with current and future team members builds your employment brand over time

Having a strong employment brand and approaching it with intentionality is so critical to being able to attract the best possible team members to your company. It’s multi-dimensional and the stakes are so high for getting it right. But we believe in you!

Check back soon for part two of this series for more great insights on curating a great employment brand.