Portland Hiring How-To: A Sunny Day Hiring 101 Event with Mac’s List

We enjoyed co-hosting with the Mac’s List team the Hiring 101 session, for clients and friends on the newly completed roof-top patio of the Power & Light Building, Boly:Welch’s headquarters. The questions and debate generated in this intimate setting were proof that we all need help navigating the hiring process!

Boly:Welch, Portland, Oregon
Boly:Welch, Portland, Oregon

Our big takeaways from the event:

1. “It’s a courtship.”
Panelist Carla Balen, VP of HR at Dr. Martens, said it best when she drew comparisons between the recruiting process and dating. You want applicants to be excited about you, and you want to be assured they’re the right fit before you move the relationship forward. It’s important to consider the search through a candidate’s perspective and make sure they feel the love at every stage of the process.

Our panel of experts recommended moving quickly, asking top candidates “What else do you need to hear?” instead of only “Do you have any questions?”. It’s also important to be transparent about key functions of the job, including the salary range and difficult aspects of the role at the very beginning of the process.

2. Set the scene for applicant success.
The job search process can feel very adversarial to the candidate, Mac’s List representative Ben Forstag pointed out. The panel discussed ways to move beyond frustration, nerves, and canned answers, such as giving the candidate background and context on both your company and the role at the very beginning of the interview, rather than putting them on the spot by asking the dreaded first question: “Tell me about yourself.”

We also recommended reviewing your website and collateral to make key points about your culture very obvious, rather than expecting candidates to have read what is likely a dry recitation of the company’s history or to have found your core values buried five or six pages deep on the site.

Boly:Welch, Portland, Oregon3. Question every step of your process.
A common thread that surfaced during the Q+A session was frustration with candidates not completing steps in the application process correctly, dropping out, or accepting other positions before a decision had been reached. Boly:Welch’s Abby Pfeiffer asked everyone to take a long, hard look at their process before assuming that casualties were a failing on the candidate’s part. Ask yourself: what am I learning from these steps, questions, tests?

If your process takes 6+ weeks, requires multiple forms of testing, or asks a candidate to fill out an application that takes an hour to complete before a preliminary interview, you’re likely asking too much and giving too little. With unemployment edging near 50-year lows, candidates have more choices and access to information than ever. If candidates aren’t excited enough throughout the application process by your culture and employer brand, by adding multiple barriers to your application process, you could be losing out on talent.

4. Use new tools, but come back to relationships.
Portland is, at its core, a networking town. There are some great new recruiting tools out there like Textio and Google Jobs, but referrals and networking still produce the best results.

Be part of the hidden job market, by leveraging all your resources to find and retain top talent!