Trends in HR: Keeping it human

Looking for a glimpse into trends in the human resources industry, the Business Journal sat down with Tim Harrington, managing director of the Petaluma office of Kavaliro, an Orlando, Fla.-based employment agency.

What can businesses do to catch the attention of potential hires?

TIM HARRINGTON: The first thing a candidate does is look at the company's website on their phone. A company has to stand out and attract talent with a really strong mobile presence. With job seekers pressed for time and job-hunting while on the move, recruiters and employers need to think mobile first, ensuring their web pages are optimized for display on mobile screens.

Standout job ads on the website will play a huge part in recruiting talent in as the competition to attract quality candidates increases. Money isn't the be-all-end-all for today's job seekers demanding that employers show personality and benefits in their job advertisements.

How can recruiters and hiring professionals sift through all the data on potential hires that's available, including LinkedIn, and social media platforms, to find the right person for the job?

HARRINGTON: There is so much information out there. Recruiters and hiring professionals … put all that information together to find the right cultural fit. HR technology tools and sites, like, let a recruiter pull public information on a passive candidate to find out where they network, for example, or if they work for a nonprofit. Focusing on a candidate's journey that way can be the key element that makes it easier to try to meet up with the candidate faster.

With large companies like Google focusing a lot of money on recruitment and in ads for jobs, what can smaller companies do to compete for talent?

HARRINGTON: Today, companies like Netflix are offering things like unlimited vacation. Nothing is off the table now; it's that kind of crazy. So, strategic branding makes a return as companies spend buckets of cash to help spread a positive image and healthy place to work. Tools like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, for smaller companies aren't enough.

Brand strength, employee treatment and better-than-average compensation become the most important initiatives for emerging companies. There is a way to say, “We're small but we take really good care of our employees” and “Here's who are team members are and what we are doing.”

Big recruiting budgets mean creative ways to say, “We aren't Google.” And with no limit vacation days, car allowances and free rent already on the table, could we be looking at the rebirth of pensions? How far will your shareholders go to get talent?

What role do job boards have anymore?

HARRINGTON: Traditional job boards that resist innovation die on the vine. Successful recruiters learned a long time ago that the sort of candidates with a resume on a job board, like,, or, aren't necessarily the cream of the crop and are aggressively looking for a new job or career.

So, if you make a living of finding passive candidates (who are not looking for a job) online, where do you go? Savvy employers are wise to what LinkedIn offers, and some have even paid their employees to stay off LinkedIn. After all, if you're in the tech world, for example, why do you need to be on LinkedIn?

What about long-distance candidates?

HARRINGTON: This is not your grandpa's interview panel. The use of technology to shorten the internal hiring process will not only increase but also become the standard. Live video interviewing and online candidate assessment is gaining acceptance. With more jobs than people to fill them, companies pull candidates from outside the area, and (interview via) Skype with a couple of teammates.

However, there is still the need for the element of human contact during the hiring process, for both the employer and the hiring candidate. Even with all the data and technology out there I still think it comes down to human contact. That's a saving grace for me. You still need to meet somebody, shake hands, and look in their eyes, notice body language.

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