Camden “Likes” the Potential of Facebook and Video for Hiring Practices
February’s Apartment Careers Month may serve as a reminder to hiring managers that finding the right person for the job can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.
The number of job seekers per opening in the U.S. has reached some of its highest levels. According to one recruiting intelligence company, each corporate job opening receives an average of 250 resumes. And of every 1,000 people who view an online job posting, 100 will apply.
Apartment companies have their share of resumes to sift through, especially for entry level positions in an industry that largely builds workforces through a ground-up mentality. So when it comes to hiring leasing agents and maintenance team members, the 18-25 market becomes a desirable commodity. Attracting and digging down to this demographic can be a tedious process that in the past has occupied a wealth of time for hiring managers.
However, when the resumes stack up, technology becomes a hiring manager’s best friend, at least that’s what Houston-based Camden Property Trust is banking on.
Camden Tailors Hiring Practices to Reach Millennials
Camden is focused on reaching the 18-25 market by tailoring its hiring practices toward the digital communities in which younger workers live and play. The neighborhood and the vehicle? Social media, specifically Facebook, and mobile applications.
Job websites like Indeed.com are some of the company’s best resources for attracting applicants of any age, but better canvassing the younger demographic through social media and video technology is worthy of a look.
In recent months, Camden has engaged potential recruits for entry-level leasing and maintenance positions using Facebook. Job openings are posted and applicants can send resumes without leaving the site. The company also has been testing a video interview application to screen finalists for leasing positions, and making it easier for applicants to apply and respond to questionnaires on their mobile phones.
The first step, says Camden Vice President of Employee Development Margaret Plummer, is to reach potential candidates through visibility on Facebook, and to keep them engaged in the application process without leaving the site. A third-party app allows job seekers to upload resumes and cover letters and send on the spot.
“If they have to leave Facebook, they may not follow through on application,” she said. “So using a vendor that allows our post to appear on Facebook so they can immediately apply through Facebook is a very important function of that software program.”
Camden has been using the technology for about a year and hasn’t fully assessed the results. Kevin Smith, the company’s chief recruiting manager, said the percentage of new hires that originated through the app seems to be low but that Camden intends to better track results in 2014.
Candidate Videos Streamline Hiring Process
The company is also testing a video interview application to screen the multitude of applicants who apply for leasing agent openings and other positions. Camden receives about 100 applications for each leasing agent opening and 50-75 for property manager positions. Culling the mound of resumes, no doubt, can be a daunting task, Plummer says.
The video interview system offered through a third party is designed to narrow the field to a manageable number for the hiring manager after other layers of screening have been completed. Applicants receive an email inviting them to take the video interview, which can be done through a traditional computer or mobile device.
The candidate is asked about a half-dozen questions relevant to the position and culture of the company so Camden’s hiring managers can get a good visual on how well the applicants handles himself or herself.
“It allows our people to look at them very easily,” Plummer said. “What happens is that our managers will go through the applications, and if the resumes are a good fit for the job and who we are, they will essentially push a button that sends an email request to the applicant to do this brief video interview.”
The video finalists are then called in for personal interviews, and a final decision is made on the hire.
“You can imagine for leasing positions, sales positions how important that is to very quickly see how a candidate presents themselves, and if they’re professional and dress professionally,” Plummer said. “It’s a very convenient tool that saves a lot of time on pre-screening and interview process.”
Pilot Results for Video Interviews Prove Positive
The program, which has yet to be rolled out, was tested for three months and offered Camden an inside look at how to best use the software. The company discovered, for example, that adding a personal touch goes a long way. Camden noted that candidates were more likely to respond to a video interview requested through a phone call rather than just a “cold” email, Plummer said.
Also, making the video interview process available through mobile applications sweetened the potential for saving hiring managers time.
“We found that ease of use of mobile application is also very important to your success rate in getting people to take your interviews,” Plummer said. “These kids don’t want to take it on their computers. They want their phones.”
Plummer said the convenience of the technology should help hiring managers to find the right person for the position without a lengthy, exhaustive search that may not produce the right candidate in the first round.
“We don’t want managers to focus so much on efficiency that they fail to select the right person,” she said. “We talk about finding the right person for the job, not just the best person from the pool of applicants. You may not get that right person in your first round. Using technology to reach potential applicants and efficiently identify top candidates will help you find the right person more efficiently.”
(Image Sources: Shutterstock, Camden Facebook Page)