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    How to Build a Sustainable Tech Talent Acquisition Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide

    About this eBook

    Do you know anyone who’s used “talent acquisition” and “recruiting” interchangeably? Maybe you’ve done it, yourself! While organizations are moving towards a more sustainable talent acquisition strategy, they often confuse talent acquisition with recruitment. This misunderstanding may hamper your process and disrupt progress.

    A sustainable talent acquisition strategy encourages you to maintain a balance between acquiring external and promoting internal talent. A lack of career advancement opportunities is one of the main reasons people quit their jobs. Sometimes, current employees even feel neglected when companies enter the hiring phase.

    Although hiring new talent is important, doing so at the cost of current employees is detrimental to organizational growth and morale. Moreover, if you delegate all resources and money towards recruitment, there’s none left to invest in and retain your employees.

    Hence, a sustainable strategy is a win for all – companies can divide time and resources between current employees and new hiring with proper planning and implementation. While recruiting is essential for gaining employees, it can become a time-intensive and expensive endeavor without a TA strategy.

    Amidst a dynamic labor market, many organizations are exploring talent acquisition avenues to prepare for hiring surges and talent management. To help, we created an eBook to demystify talent sustainability and help organizations incorporate it into talent acquisition strategy.

    What You’ll Learn

    What constitutes a sustainable talent acquisition strategy in both candidate and employer-driven markets

    Actionable steps to take on the daunting task of building a robust talent pipeline, including 5 questions to answer before making a plan

    Strategies to nurture and engage candidates in the talent pipeline

    A look into the future of tech talent acquisition

    Plus, Why Core Values are Important to Talent Acquisition Strategies

    By integrating your organization’s core values into your talent acquisition strategy, it strengthens your employer brand. This pays dividends in multiple areas including candidate and employee experience. If you need help in this area, we’ve also created resources for both startups and larger enterprise companies. More

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    How to Foster Psychological Safety in the Workplace, from Interviews to Management

    Why it’s Important to Create an Environment for Employees and Candidates that Welcomes Feedback

    The workplace hasn’t always felt like a safe space to speak up or out. Because of that, issues can go unaddressed and ideas can go unmentioned. Savvy organizations know an environment strong in psychological safety is more conducive to innovation and employee satisfaction. Haven’t heard of psychological safety before or don’t know what it is? Learn why it’s important in the workplace from interviewing to managing teams. Find out how to establish and nurture it within your company.

    What Is Psychological Safety?

    According to Harvard leadership professor Amy Edmondson, “psychological safety is a belief that it’s absolutely ok, in fact, it’s expected, to speak up with concerns, with questions, with ideas, with mistakes.” Everyone feels comfortable being themselves at work. There’s no fear of punishment or humiliation for one’s thoughts or ideas.

    This doesn’t mean work is sunshine and rainbows all the time. Conflict will happen. The difference is people are willing to speak up. There’s mutual support with psychological safety.

    Psychological safety lays the groundwork for innovation and adaptive performance. This can occur at all levels of an organization. It establishes an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing concerns. They ask tough questions because everyone’s input counts. They’re not afraid to throw out ideas for fear of rejection. When team members feel safe, they’re more likely to take risks, share new ideas, and challenge the status quo.

    Anabel Morales, VP of Talent Acquisition at Worksome describes psychological safety in a nutshell as “really just having the ability to speak your mind and being open to candor.”

    Tyler Parson, Head of Talent at Chili Piper explains how creating this space stems back to the organization taking initiative. “If you create a culture where it’s okay to say those things, then it takes all the fear out of it, or at least most of the fear out of it.” 

    Company Values & Culture Foster Psychological Safety

    Reinforce and promote psychological safety through the company’s values. Doing so allows you to set the tone for its development throughout the organization.

    Worksome’s company values are “Speak data, be brave, and have fun.” Anabel Morales explains how these values work to build an environment of psychological safety. 

    “Being brave really connects to letting people be authentic, speak their minds, and have fun. I think it’s not just about social events and team building, but it’s also about actually having a passion for your work and having fun at your job because of what you’re doing.” 

    “Our cultural framework is made up of trust, transparency, and inclusion. We try to approach everyday interactions with our colleagues in this way and also throughout the candidate journey.

    Culture promotes psychological safety for internal employees seeking changes too. Tyler Parson shares how this works.

    “What we’re trying to build at Chili Piper and have been successful in doing so far is creating a culture where if you want something new, you always ask for it internally first. If it’s in the realm of possibility and our growth plan, then we try it.”

    With clear values and a positive culture, employees can feel comfortable expressing themselves in the workplace and building trust with the company.

    Psychological Safety in Interviewing

    For far too long, an interview hasn’t always felt like an opportunity to speak up without fear of backlash. Or worse, getting the boot from the recruitment process. Building psychological safety in interviewing will change that.

    Anabel explains why Worksome makes an effort to provide psychological safety in the interview process. “We want to ensure people feel free to speak up and share failures as well as successes because we know that’s really where the learning happens and that’s just important to share.” 

    This welcomes the opportunity for candidates to share the adversity they overcame to achieve success!

    So, how do you set a precedent of psychological safety for a candidate in an interview? It starts with the interviewer.

    Tyler shares that Chilli Piper ensures during “interview trainings, hiring managers are equipped with how to create a basic positive candidate experience. Part of that is understanding how to make candidates feel comfortable, welcomed, and [empowered] to talk about their experiences in a way that doesn’t shy away from talking about their failures.

    Gauge a candidate’s ability to foster psychological safety in the workplace. Ask questions focusing on empathy and respect. Assess if this person will be a good fit in a culture of psychological safety.

    How do you go about building trust with your team?Provide an example of how you showed empathy in your current role.How would you help someone progress after a failure?Share how would you respond if someone else’s view on a task or project differed from yours.

    Psychological Safety for Management

    Creating a psychologically safe workplace starts with strong leadership. Leaders need to model the behavior they want to see in their team members. They need to encourage open communication. Give employees the space to voice their opinions.

    Anabel believes “top leadership” setting a precedent has a ripple effect throughout the organization. “I think if they are living out their values then it will naturally trickle down to the rest of the company.” 

    “You can always use the values when you are trying to make tough decisions and when you reflect on the values, it’s [even] helpful in navigating your day-to-day.”

    “When we hire managers or if we promote somebody into a management role, right away we introduce them to our leadership principle, educating them on just how to live up to those values.”

    Tips to Build Psychological Safety

    Here are 3 important tips from Amy Edmondson to create psychological safety as a leader: 

    Frame the work as a learning problem, instead of an execution problem. Needing everyone’s involvement creates a rationale for speaking up.

    Ask more questions to invite sharingActively request opinions from those who tend to stay quiet

    Acknowledge your own fallibility to create more safety for speaking up. Tyler Parson supports this saying, “It starts with… you as a leader practicing vulnerability”

    Apologize when you make a mistakeAsk for help when you need it

    Model curiosity and ask a lot of questions to create a necessity for voice.

    Promote equal speaking time for everyone involvedEncourage feedback sharing and use it to build on ideas

    Psychological Safety Is the Foundation for Innovation

    Psychological safety establishes a baseline. Everyone can feel safe to speak up and feel heard when they do. In this sort of environment, innovation comes easily with the free flow of ideas. 

    Want more insights into recruiting tips and trends?

    Tune into Hired’s podcast, Talk Talent to Me, to learn about the strategies, techniques, and trends shaping the recruitment industry—straight from top experts themselves.

    Finally, want to listen to the full episodes featured in this article?

    Editor’s note: at the time of the podcast recording, Tyler was Head of Talent, in June of 2022, she was promoted to VP, People. Congrats, Tyler! Likewise, when her episode was recorded, Anabel was VP of Talent Acquisition, in August of 2022, she became VP, People and Culture. Congrats, Anabel! More

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    8 Ways to Hire Faster & Build a Better Employer Brand

    What You’ll Learn

    How to fill positions more efficiently through tools, templates, and moreThe partnership making hires an average of 11 days fasterThe strategy that took an offer acceptance rate from 60% to 88%

    About this eBook, 8 Ways to Hire Faster & Build a Better Employer Brand

    In a panel discussion led by Hired CTO Dave Walters, talent leaders from Gem, Tanium, NBCUniversal, and One Medical shared their thoughts on trends and best practices for optimizing the candidate experience.

    They reviewed how to improve the hiring process by strengthening the experience and by extension, the employer brand. Now, we are covering eight of their strategies to consistently help their teams fill tech and sales jobs efficiently. Use them to take action with your recruiting goals! More

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    Navigating Market Uncertainty: The State of Tech Hiring (VIDEO)

    Watch this webinar-on-demand to hear in-depth analyses of the hiring market today, based on the 2022 State of Tech Salaries data report. Listen to meaningful conversations regarding hiring strategies, including the structure of compensation packages, flexible working models, and other talent initiatives.

    Hear from:

    Hired CEO Josh BrennerVP & GM, Employer Solutions for General Assembly Catie BrandHead of People, Virtru, Conley (Henderson) McIntyre and Director, Talent Acquisition, Markforged, Bryan Robinson.

    Download this collaborative panel discussion to discover: 

    Salary trends by role and years of experienceChanges in industry benchmarks such as average time-to-hireKey opportunities to win over top tech talent efficientlyImpact of global remote on tech talent hiring More

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    How Smart Companies are Solving Post-Lockdown Working (4 New Trends)

    From ‘swarm teams’ to the metaverse, innovative ideas take on the challenges of the new world of work…

    In late 2021, Professor Lynda Gratton of the London Business School asked 150 executives from companies around the world for their take on the biggest challenge currently facing businesses. The answer came back loud and clear: “retaining people,” closely followed by “recruiting people.”

    It picked up on a problem destined to grow. The Great Resignation, the result of lockdown-fuelled dissatisfaction with our jobs was first. Then it was followed by the Great Reshuffle, as workers leapt from job to job in search of fulfillment. As we entered post-lockdown working, how would companies evolve?

    In May this year, the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed that there were more job vacancies than unemployed people in the country for the first time since records began. The marketplace has since begun to settle, but a July survey of 1,100 US professionals showed that 31 percent were planning to quit within the next 12 months. In other words, employers still need to focus hard on hiring and keeping the best talent.

    Post-Lockdown Working at Home vs In-office

    According to Josh Brenner, CEO of Hired, the largest AI-driven recruitment marketplace for tech workers, what is most likely to attract and retain employees is the offer of flexible working. In a recent Hired survey, less than two percent of respondents wanted a full, five-day return to the office.

    “We’ve seen really high rates of attrition when companies have forced people back to the office for a full five-day schedule,” he says.

    With that comes the need to make the best of hybrid work, potentially across disparate geographies. In order to retain employees, companies also need to work harder to engage them. They need to help them feel aligned with the organization’s values, Brenner believes.

    “When we hear about companies losing high numbers of staff, a lot of it is because employees feel disconnected. They lack a solid understanding of where the company’s going, and how their work  bubbles up and contributes to goals.”

    Throw in the need to prepare for a fast-changing world – technologically, geo-politically – and you have a cluster of problems for companies to solve in post-lockdown working. Those that do so most effectively stand to gain a competitive advantage – so what are the most innovative trending ideas? 

    In WIRED’s report, readers learn about the:

    AI company that has done away with managers marketing company making a four-day week pay dividends professional services company using the metaverse to engage its workforcerise of a new C-suite role that’s re-shaping business… More

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    10 Things You Can Do to Reach DEI Goals

    What You’ll Learn

    The first thing you must do to make meaningful progress on DEI goalsWhich talent pools many companies continue to overlookWhy culture “fit” is outdated and what’s important nowYou can make progress in many areas by testing a new tool, changing a policy, or saying “yes,” to a new idea

    About this eBook:

    After the #MeToo, #FoundersForChange, and #BLM movements, more companies prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Executives and hiring managers took a closer look at their current hiring models and recruitment practices. Employers created new positions and KPIs focused on DEI.And yet undertaking changes to improve DEI within your company can feel like an uphill task. Many of these issues are systemic, and not a quick fix. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. It’s especially tough for one person or a single team to push against a long-standing system and cultural norms.This eBook gives DEI officers, tech leaders, hiring managers, and talent acquisition teams insights into small but mighty tactics and strategies to improve the diversity of their teams and level up DEI hiring across organizations. More

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    What Happens When TA & Hiring Managers Unite? Best Practices from Walmart, One Medical & More

    Strategies for SMB, MM & Enterprise

    Key Takeaways

    Traditional hiring practices of SMBs, MM, and Enterprise level employersHired’s recommendations for each business sizeSpecific examples of tactics and strategies from talent leaders

    About the eBook:

    A common thread we’ve seen with some of our top employers on Hired is engagement with candidates from both TA and hiring management teams. In this piece, we’ll show how some companies are achieving new heights by inviting both groups to collaborate on the platform and in the process.

    In this robust ebook, we’ll also take a detailed look at how enterprise, mid-market, and SMB employers approach hiring talent, share our best practices for each, and how companies such as Walmart Global Tech, Smartsheet, One Medical, Tanium, NBCUniversal, Gem, Mercari, and more increased acceptance rates and sped up time to hire. In some cases, 11 days faster than the benchmark! More

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    How to Support Internal Candidates When They Don’t Get the Job

    Internal Mobility and Professional Growth are Key Retention Tools

    Good companies strive to support internal candidates and employee growth. But when push comes to shove, many organizations fall short in seeing this mission through. 

    In a recent Deloitte survey, almost 60% of employees polled said it’s easier to find a new role at another company than it is to change roles at their current employer. 

    According to Randstad’s 2021 career mobility report, “Employees aren’t optimistic about getting promoted within their company, with 43.2% saying they don’t have enough opportunities for internal mobility.” 

    Even when there are opportunities for internal mobility, talent teams still face inevitable challenges. A few of the hardest questions for HR leaders to grapple with are: 

    How should we respond when internal candidates are turned down for another role within our organization? Is there any chance of retaining them after that—and if so, what does that process look like?What’s the experience like for employees? Do they feel they’ve broadcast their desire to leave their current role? 

    To answer these questions, Hired’s Rob Stevenson sat down with Comcast’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Keith Friant, on the Talk Talent to Me podcast. Read on to learn the top insights from their conversation. Finally, we’ll explore an innovative approach to retention and internal mobility that went viral on LinkedIn.

    How Comcast Supports Engagement in Internal Candidates

    Expert: Comcast Director of Talent Acquisition, Keith Friant

    Focus on providing clear feedback

    A cookie-cutter rejection email is the last thing internal candidates want to see after applying for an open role. 

    Rather, they want clear and actionable feedback that sets them on a path of continuous improvement.

    “What’s the next step in your process, outside of candidates just getting a standard disposition email?” asked Friant. “It can really feel a little deflating if that’s the only type of communication they’re getting after investing time into the interview process.” 

    That’s why Comcast prioritizes providing internal candidates with personalized feedback when they aren’t chosen for a job. 

    “Feedback is really valuable,” said Friant. “That population is looking to grow and move into something different. We all clearly want to care for them, which is why it’s so important that they get timely and meaningful feedback.”

    Offer learning and development opportunities

    As a next step, Friant suggests asking questions like:

    What were the candidate’s skill gaps?How can we help them grow in these key areas? Can we put them on any stretch assignments?

    Stretch assignments have been especially instrumental to driving employee growth and engagement at Comcast. 

    “We’ve adopted this gig concept where employees participate in short-term or longer-term projects when another team needs help, someone is going out on paternity leave, or anything along those lines,” explained Friant. 

    Actions like this go a long way in making employees feel seen and supported. By offering learning and development opportunities, companies can encourage ongoing employee growth—and keep engagement high even after someone isn’t selected for the job they wanted. 

    Related: Survey data from the 2022 State of Software Engineers report revealed the number one reason software developers enter the field is for the opportunity to continuously learn and tackle new challenges. More than half said it’s important to them that their employer provide professional development opportunities. 

    In the 2021 State of Tech Salaries, tech talent listed benefits such as tuition reimbursement in their top 10 of compelling company benefits. Younger, more junior employees ranked this higher than senior talent. 

    Manage employee expectations

    Picture this: your company posts an open marketing manager role. Someone on the sales team sees the job post and submits an application, excited by the prospect of pursuing horizontal growth within your organization. 

    However, the job post disappears only days later—and the role goes to a marketing associate who had already been on a promotion track. The interested internal candidate never even got a chance to interview for the role, and got their hopes up for nothing.

    Disappointing, right?

    To avoid scenarios like this, Comcast takes a careful approach to sharing job posts. “We really only try to post jobs that are viable and open,” said Friant. 

    “If someone left the team and we know we just want to inline promote another team member into that role, we can do that without having to post the job and put everyone else through a process that wastes a lot of people’s time and energy.” 

    Listen to the full episode

    Why Transparency is Important to Support Internal Candidates

    Does your process call for roles to be posted internally or externally for a certain period of time? If a manager intends to hire or promote a specific candidate, is the rule still applied? 

    If candidates see a non-viable role, or worse, go through the interview process for the sake of checkboxes, it often leads to distrust in the organization. This ultimately damages the employer brand. 

    What If We Did Something Completely Off the Wall?

    It’s often jarring to lose employees with only the standard two weeks notice. It can take weeks or months to fill the role and onboard new hires. According to SHRM, the cost of a vacancy is reportedly three to four times the position’s salary.

    In the spring of 2022, a member of the recruiting team at Zapier had an epiphany after losing several teammates. Her LinkedIn post about it drew more than 16K reactions. 

    Bonnie Dilber asked the question, what if “we normalized letting our managers know we wanted to explore new roles? What if managers helped team members with resumes and interview prep, beside them, helping land the next role? It’s a win-win,” Dilber wrote. “The employee has a better experience, is more set up for success, and the manager and company have a better opportunity to prepare for departures.”

    Dilber originally posed her question internally in a Slack group. Then a few weeks later, she commented in a public forum that she wanted the recruiting team to provide this support for anyone needing it for internal or external opportunities. 

    What Happened Next to Support Internal Candidates

    A few people stepped forward. 

    Employee A was considering leaving, but the recruiting team identified roles opening in a few months that would be perfect. Instead of working on a resume for an external search, Employee A and the recruiting team collaborated on colleagues to speak to and experiences to gain to be competitive for the role when it opened. 

    Dissatisfied, Employee B worked with the recruiting team to identify why and map out a strategy to resolve their issues. Employee B is now on a path to greater contentment with their current role.

    Employee C worked with the team to upgrade their resume with clear metrics displaying their impact. “I don’t know if or when they’ll start looking,” said Dilber. “But I’m glad they felt supported even though it might take them away in the future.”

    Dilber goes on to extol the virtues of retention and professional growth. “Recruiting teams shouldn’t be used solely to fill roles. We can and should be true partners in retaining and growing our talent.” 

    After formally launching the program, Dilber admits, this may mean they help people plan an exit strategy but is okay with that.

    “I think it:

    makes our recruiting team better partners to the departments we support. will help us to retain our people in the long-run. opens the door to more honest conversations across teams to plan for attrition and support our people to go farther faster. makes Zapier a better place to work.” 

    Historically, dissatisfied employees lived a “double life,” working on resumes at night, checking personal emails or LinkedIn messages on the sly. What would it mean to retention efforts to have the psychologically safe environment to explore new roles – internally or externally? 

    Internal Mobility is a Smart Retention Tool

    More companies are exploring Web 3.0 initiatives but finding there are few engineers with specific Web 3.0 experience. Hired CTO Dave Walters offers this advice for companies planning these or any emerging technology projects: 

    “Rather than exclusively looking for candidates with Web 3.0 experience [for example], why not support internal candidates and potential new hires with the requisite foundational skills to make the transition.” 

    “Invest in a strong training and mentorship program. Find engineers with transferable skills such as security principles, peer-to-peer networks/distributed systems, and understanding of smart contracts. Source engineers with these Web 3.0 relevant skills for a significant competitive advantage.”

    Upskilling and new projects are great ways to retain talent, support internal candidates, inspire loyalty, and provide professional growth. 

    Related: Help current employees upskill with Hired partners like General Assembly, Educative, Blockchain Training Alliance, 2U, Sales Impact Academy, and more.

    What Would Greater Transparency Mean for Your Employer Brand?

    In Hired’s 2021 List of Top Employers Winning Tech Talent, takeaways included ‘strengthening the post-employee experience.’

    In summary, when an employee is ready to leave, or recently departed, don’t write them off. Invest in your employer brand and:

    Coach managers and teams to support them and respond positively. You helped them grow and they’re graduating to something new. They may even be taking a position of influence to use your product or service. Build and engage an active employee alumni network.Turn former employees into brand ambassadors by celebrating their wins and supporting them. They’ll tell others about their amazing experiences, share your open positions, and recommend your company as a great place to work. 

    Want More Talent Insights to Support Internal Candidates and other Topics?

    Tune into Hired’s podcast, Talk Talent to Me, to learn about the strategies, techniques, and trends shaping the recruitment industry—straight from top experts themselves.

    Need Help with Employer Branding? 

    We cover several examples of how to do this in recent eBooks for enterprise-level businesses and for SMBs and Mid-market companies. 

    One way is to host an event, virtual or in-person. Hired helps companies with a variety of events designed to help recruit talent with specific skills, like coding challenges. 

    Panel or “fireside chat” type events showcase members of your team discussing a certain industry topic or simply what it’s like to work for your company. These foster general brand awareness, of course, as well as boost recruitment marketing efforts.  More