Top 5 Opportunities for your Remote Hiring Program

Jennifer Terry Tharp, who is VP of strategic initiatives at Joveo and previously in charge of talent acquisition for AT&T globally talks about opportunities for your remote hiring program with key insights in areas like employer brand, marketing, programmatic advertising and more.

Welcome to the recruitment hackers podcast. A show about innovations, technology and leaders in the recruitment industry. Brought to you by Talkpush the leading recruitment automation platform. 

Max: Hello. Today we've got a real treat. On the recruitment hackers with a presentation from Jennifer Terry Tharp, who is VP of strategic initiatives at Joveo and previously in charge of talent acquisition for AT&T globally, and for recruitment marketing there. She'll be presenting the opportunities for your remote hiring program with key insights in this hot area. Enjoy it. 

Jenn: Thank you so much for the kind introduction and thank you everybody for your time here today. I would like to share with you that, you know, I'm not the be all - end all, but there are some opportunities in your role in the talent acquisition process. You can maybe take action! 

So first a bit about myself, like Max said, I'm currently the VP of strategic initiative at Joveo, which is a programmatic job platform. And I'm going to talk just a little bit about that during the presentation. Before, I worked 20 years ahead of EA and employer branding, and also did some HR Tech works and diversity work at AT&T. I am a lover of board games, really bad reality TV and a huge college football fan. So if you connect with me on LinkedIn, you will hear lots more about all of those things. 

To get started. I wanted to start with employer brand, right? The handshake that we have with our candidate. So anybody who has worked in employer brand knows that we always struggle with: how to be true to yourself and to your brand?

And this is no different, right? A remote hiring initiative or moving to more of a remote workforce really still requires you to be you. If you're a more formal company, you need to probably show that, even in your remote workforce view. Right? So I hear a lot. I've worked remotely for probably 15 of the last 20 years and I hear all the time from friends.

Oh my gosh. It must be so nice to wear your pajamas for work. And I'm sitting there thinking, are you kidding me? I work for AT&T, I don't wear my pajamas to work. Right? Like I wear a jacket or a scarf or some nice jewelry. And so really one of the biggest things if you're an employer branding that you can take away from globalization and the work from home trend as it is evolving. Is to show what remote work is like for your company!

This is really your time to set mutual expectations. If the candidate is looking for that environment where it's really okay that they'd be on the beach while they're working remote. Like show that! But the reality is, if you're a more conservative company and working remote work looks like working from a home office, like I am today, it's really a good time to show that too. And some of the best ways to better show that is with actual employees. Do things like showing virtual offices, take tours that sort of stuff. 

The next thing is marketing. And this is really a big opportunity, but also a red. Right? So if you're going for having varying locations with specific talent pools, globalazing, and working from home, and having the opportunity to sort of spread your wings a little bit further, it allows you to expand your job search. If you're no longer reliant on hiring in Silicon Valley and you can hire anywhere, you can expand your job!

One of the things that becomes difficult in that for an employer is the thought of, well, I just have one job requisition. So where do I put that job requisition? Right? It's like a real tactical, but a real life problem. And the reality is with technology like Joveo or programmatics I've ever taken in general, you can take that single job and expand it to a multitude of locations where that talent pool might be richer or your cost to employee might be lower.

The other thing to be thoughtful with your marketing is, particularly if you're in an industry where a portion, let’s say, your corporate office, are going to move virtual, but you really still have sort of your point on sale employees. People that work in retail stores or maybe in a hospital or a lab. Really, you don't have the opportunity to globaliz! Right? They need to be where the people are. And so it's part of your marketing initiatives, and is also part of your employment branding. 

Keep in mind what your message says to those people that are still having to work in a location specific environment. And again, programmatic job advertising hits the right targets - to the right talent. So if they're local or if you have the opportunity to expand, you can do all that with one click, without having to open multiple job offers. 

The next area is interviews, you know, so this is when it's really interesting for me because in my time at AT&T I had a real position on this. And that was that you needed to lead with candidate experience, no matter what. Video interviews are just like phone interviews, which are just like face to face interviews. You do whatever is the most convenient to the candidate and to the process. Right? But now that we can really see each other face to face and we might want to get that communal feeling of being able to see someone before you hire them, that sort of thing. It's really important that you still lead with candidate experience.

If at all possible, don't require a bunch of complicated downloads!  You know, do what works best, it's sort of like, do I call you on your home phone or do I call you on your wireless? Right. So be flexible. But most importantly have empathy!

And I put this down and I'm going to have to explain this a little bit to the audience, because here's the deal. I don't know how many of you have kids schooling from home right now? My dogs are right out the back door barking, like crazy trying to get in, right? Like life happens! And when everybody's worklife is happening from their home, It's already a stressful situation to be in an interview.

Imagine being in an interview and just knowing that your two year old is like standing behind the glass door. Right? So just know as employers, it's really our opportunity to lead with empathy. And convey the need to hire. And then, all of that happens, and you find the perfect employee, and it's time to bring them on board but really they aren't going to go to an office to do this. Especially if you're globalizing your workforce on an ongoing basis.

So how can you make that new hire experience? Still feel like one of those top five moments? You know? Like when you're getting a job, it's a really big deal. So think of virtual ways to generate excitement. I think that things like leading up to the first day, things like emails, texts, maybe a video from the hiring manager or trainer. Consider a virtual live component.

I had to get huge props from one of my partners in a private agency. Heather O'Donnell. You can look her up on LinkedIn. If you're working on virtual onboarding, she did a great job even before this, on preparing a common experience for all employees, no matter their location or position. So something where in a virtual setting it feels like you're really in a live component of an onboarding. Right?

Like you get to come in, you get to see people that are obviously not recorded and talking and interacting, maybe some hand raising if you're using zoom so that people can get involved or things like that. Now the virtual live component really goes a long way in establishing community. And I would be remit. Right? That would be great. Even if you have the best onboarding virtual live events ever. If I can't get to it on my company issued laptop, that's a problem. Right? So above all else, one of the biggest challenges with onboarding in a virtual environment and being sure that everyone is getting ready to start work, and is excited to be there, and you've done all this work building up to this point. Make sure that they can get in and have access. 

And finally, once you have employees here, teaming in a virtual ways can be difficult! So like I said, for about 17 of my last 20 years, my team has been predominantly virtual and it's a different kind of dynamic, right? Like you see things that are happening in their real life in a much more accelerated fashion.

And that tends to accelerate personal connections because the reality is for all of you on this Webinar now, before the shooting ends, you'll know I have dogs. Right? And if I had kids, you would know that I have them in their school. Right? And so, because we are literally giving our colleagues a window into our personal home, it really accelerates those personal connections.

And there was a varied level of comfort in that, right? Like, I'm a pretty open book and I'm glad to have you in my home and to tell you that my dogs are outside. But different people have different comfort levels with that. And as a peer, a colleague, a leader, you have to just be cognizant of that and make choices that allow for everyone to exist in the virtual team where they're comfortable. 

A good way to do that is optional activities. We, here at Joveo. We have a lot of happy hours. We have a book club, we have some slack channels that are more for personal things. I was not afraid to share here on my screen that this is actually a virtual happy hour. I believe it was where I got introduced to the Joveo team. And you might notice I am the one with the giant pink wig. I just, I felt like it was the time for fun. And so I challenged people, you know, to put on a funny face and our head of sales. Dressed up like a little cowboy. We had a James Bond, a few others, but we also had others that just had their names on their screen or just their daily person in their place. Right?

 So knowing you can normalize all of that and to make people feel comfortable wherever they're at is a crucial component to sort of closing the loop from employment brand all the way to bringing people on. And if you do this part well, these examples are teaming and catering people where they're at. Those become the proof points in your employment brand, and you continue to go full circle and really represent what your company stands for with the remote workforce, all in a cycle. I thank you for the time today!

Max: There you have it. Hope you enjoyed the presentation from Jennifer and some key insights on employer branding, marketing, and interviewing. For remote hiring programs. I particularly liked how she talked about onboarding and how to make getting hired remotely a big deal, and different tricks on how to generate excitement from your new hire. Even if you're not going to see them face to face. Hope you got something out of it. And if you did, there's more to come, please sign up, follow recruitment hackers podcast, and share with your friends.

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