10 Steps to Become a Self-Employed Consultant

Have you ever wondered  What does a consultant do? Well, the answer is simple – a consultant. The answer, though true in its basic sense, is much too vague.  If you want to become a self-employed consultant, you need to have a better idea about the business and the way to set it up. Let’s try to define the role of a consultant.

Consultant

The task of a consultant is to provide advice to an individual or organization about matters in a specific niche. Still sounds vague; right? You need to dig a little deeper into the area before you plunge in to establish your business as a consultant.

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you start off as a self-employed consultant.

How To Be a Consultant: 10 Steps to Self Employment

Step 1: Identify the Niche in Which You Have Knowledge and Experience

You may have an interest in computers. However, this does not mean you can become an independent computer consultant (though it can give you a head-start in this field). Knowledge and experience coupled with interest is the only way to begin.

If you have knowledge about computers (hardware or software), have worked with these for a considerable period of time and have the latest detailed, information about them, you can plan to start a computer consulting business.

Step 2: Acquire the Certifications and Licenses

Some consulting businesses do not require formal training and certifications (e.g., gardening consulting). However, if you are planning to work as an accounting consultant, you need to get professional certifications from recognized accounting institutions.

Also, consider the licensing requirements to start a consulting business. The local or state legal guidelines may require you to get a particular license to work as an independent consultant in certain specialties.

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Step 3: Decide Your Short and Long Term Goals

If you excel in a niche that has a good prospect, such as business consulting, computer consulting, career consulting and so on, you may paint a rosy picture of clients waiting for your advice within a week of starting your consulting business.

It’s not magic.  If you have such unrealistic expectations, you are sure to be disappointed. Every business takes time to grow and become known and established. If you lack the time and effort to start and establish a business, you may end up headed towards failure.

Step 4: Choose Your Target Market

If no one pays for your ideas and advice, your business will face failure. It will also face the same result if the recipients of your ideas do not have the money to pay you. The first thing you need to do is to decide whether you will advise individuals or companies.

Every niche in the consulting business provides these options. For example, if you are working as a career consultant, you may help individuals plan their careers. You may also work with a large corporation to help the employees excel in their chosen fields.

Step 5: Research Your Target Market

Individuals and organizations need consultants for a number of reasons. A tax consultant can help a millionaire plan his/her taxes. A computer consultant can help the employees of a large company learn software basics. A human resource consultant can help a big business implement a change in a policy.

After you determine the target market that will hire you for your expertise, you need to find out the various ways in which you may help them. This will help you market your consulting business. You need to tell your clients why they need you.

Step 6: Consider a Home Office

If your local laws permit this, it can work to your advantage in more ways than one. You don’t spend any money to buy or rent an office space to start your business as a self-employed consultant. You don’t need to pay for utilities separately. You don’t need to pay for a regular commute.

Along with the money, you also save time and energy when you work out of your home. You may acquire new premises after you have established your business and employed associates; but more on this later.

Step 7: Build Your Network

If no one knows you and you know no one in your field, you may find yourself in the midst of a disaster soon. It is important to start building your network as soon as you have decided to be a consultant. A strong contact base ensures that you have the sources to find work.

A professional network, coupled with a social network, can help you market and advertise your business. References are also important ways to find work in the niche. Rely on your initial contact base to build your network.

Step 8: Fix Your Fees and the Way to Bill Clients

As a beginner, you may not receive high fees as a consultant. Your charges increase as you become known as a consultant. Keep in mind your credentials and experience as well as market conditions, your target group and your competitors when you fix your fees.

Also, decide how you will bill clients. Hourly billing may seem to be a convenient method; the problem is many clients think that you charge too much for your time. It is best to use the project-based billing method when you start your consulting business.

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Step 9: Arrange for Advertising and Marketing

You are not selling a house which, by the way, is much easier than selling your advice. Many of your clients may not be even aware that they need your ideas and advice. How do you market and advertise something so difficult? Believe it or not, you have a lot of choices – print media, cold-calls, online ads and many others.

Before you choose any avenue to advertise, decide your budget. If the costs go out of hand, the chance of success of your business plummets. Newsletters and brochures, advertisements in niche-specific journals, websites and blogs offer the best options.

Step 10:Determine Whether You Need to Outsource Certain Tasks

You may find it easier to handle all tasks of your business on your own when you start. But after your consulting business is up and running, you may need the help of others and you may decide to employ people. Check both legal and tax details before you do this.

You may also outsource some tasks that do not require your immediate attention. Make sure that the tasks are not connected to your consulting business. For example, you can outsource auditing for a career consulting business but not when it is your niche.

Consultant Cover Letter Samples and Writing Tips

Consultant When applying for a job as a consultant, your cover letter should include your career history and key accomplishments, as well as providing a glimpse into your personality. If you do not have previous consulting experience, highlight relevant projects completed in college or graduate school.

By its nature, consulting positions call for flexibility. Not only do consultants frequently travel for work, visiting businesses around the world, but they need to be able to quickly understand how companies do business, identifying problems and proposing recommended improvements.

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What to Include in Your Cover Letter

Make sure your cover letter demonstrates your flexibility, along with other skills that are essential for consultants, such as communication and leadership skills. As well, mention any specialized skills related to your area of consulting. Here’s more information on consultant job titles, skills, and career paths.

Cover

The following is an example of a cover letter for a graduate-level consulting job. Also, see below for an entry-level cover letter sample. Use these sample cover letters as a guide, but remember to adjust the details to fit your situation and the specific position you are applying for. You’ll find more advice on how to craft an effective, successful consultant cover letter below the examples.

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Consultant Cover Letter Sample

You can use this cover letter sample as a model. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.

Tips for Writing a Successful Consultant Cover Letter 

In your consultant cover letter, as in any cover letter, you are making a case for your candidacy. Follow these strategies to make an effective case:

Personalize the letter you send. While it may seem like a timesaver, avoid creating a generic form letter and sending it off with every consultant application. Your cover letter will be more persuasive if it’s targeted to the specific company and job at hand. In your letter, explain why you are eager to work for this company in particular. For instance, maybe the company specializes in helping businesses based in Asia expand to the United States, and you wrote a thesis on that very topic. If you have a connection at the company, you can mention the person’s name (with permission) to strengthen your cover letter.

Reference your relevant experience and skills. But don’t just write a list of positions and responsibilities (that’s what your resume is for) or make statements about your abilities and skills. Instead, tell a story — follow the classic writing advice of “show, don’t tell.” Instead of saying, “I’m a hard worker and good with the details,” provide a specific example of a time when you demonstrated grit and follow-through with a project.

Check and double-check your cover letter for grammar and wording. Before you hit the send button on your email or place your letter in an envelope, read through it carefully. Make sure it follows the correct cover letter format. Proofread carefully, checking for typos and grammatical errors. Confirm that any attachments mentioned in the email are indeed attached and that the recipient’s name and the company name are spelled correctly.

How to Send an Email Cover Letter

If you’re sending a cover letter via email, list your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message. Include your contact information in your email signature, and don’t list the employer contact information. Start your email message with the salutation.

Production Controlling Reduces Costs and Quality

Planning plays a major role in manufacturing. Manufacturing and assembly are often divided into individual steps that have to be linked together in a multi-stage planning process.

Production

But good planning is not the same as fighting half the battle. After all, discrepancies can occur during production that influences the due dates, quality, or costs of the end product.

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Get a handle on manufacturing with business intelligence

Business intelligence solutions help your employees to identify discrepancies like these at an early stage in the manufacturing process by monitoring, consolidating, and evaluating the key performance indicators of all production resources. This means they can keep an eye on all relevant information and react immediately if any of the following factors deviate from the plan:

  • Machine utilization
  • Order status
  • Adherence to schedules
  • Material costs
  • Produced quantities
  • Quality

You can also refer to time-series comparisons and “what-if scenarios”. The transparency and resilience of the data significantly contribute to reducing reaction times in the event of difficult situations. In the long term, this also improves the information base for management decisions and provides new potential for process optimization. No manufacturing company can afford to operate in the dark these days.

Concerns are unfounded

Medium-sized companies in particular commonly start off by asking the following questions:

  • Do we even meet the prerequisites for implementing business intelligence software?
  • How do we get the required production data into the system when we still partially work on paper?
  • Are professional analysis tools like these not much too expensive?
  • What if our employees reject the new software?

The answer is that a lack of overview and delayed reaction times will sooner or later result in competitive disadvantages. Burying your head in the sand and doing nothing is not an option.

Important planning data, always accessible

The BI solution from COSMO CONSULT for manufacturing companies stands out with pre-defined data models and reports to consolidate and evaluate information from Microsoft ERP or other data sources such as Microsoft Excel. The implementation time is also relatively short.

Your employees are then able to evaluate and visualize data in real-time in so-called self-service procedures in order to draw the right conclusions. No in-depth programming or database knowledge is required for this – a short user training session is all that is needed. The simple, intuitive user experience ensures a high level of user acceptance.

With professional BI software, you can start concentrating on those key performance indicators that may have received little or no consideration until now. Have discussions across departments to decide which are particularly relevant to you. Jointly define the most important determinants and involve the management team in this decision.

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Grow your prospects with data

If data is missing from an evaluation or you discover incorrect information, you need to identify and rectify the causes of this. You can also fall back on tried-and-tested household remedies: If, for example, accurate information about the machine set-up time is missing, this can also be measured manually using a stopwatch if necessary and then entered in Excel.

The data exists, you just need to make sure that it is also available. Business intelligence projects usually start off small, often with just five issues – but development is dynamic, meaning that you reach more than 50 decision-relevant factors within a very short space of time.

Become a Consultant: 5 Steps to Doing it Right

A consultant is a person who’s an expert in a particular field who gives professional advice to individuals and businesses in their area of expertise.

Consultant

Here are some of the most common types of consultants:

  • Business consultant
  • Sales consultant
  • Marketing consultant
  • Accounting consultant
  • Technology consultant
  • Legal consultant
  • Public relations consultant

Do you have an area of expertise to advise on? Here are nine steps to become a consultant. Follow them closely and you’ll build a strong foundation for future work, repeat clients, and expanding your reach and reputation.

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1. Identify your area of expertise.

Be honest about where your strengths and expertise lie — and consider strengths outside your nine-to-five focus. Maybe you have a landscaping side hustle with enough clients’ demand to take it full time. Or perhaps you’re good at closing difficult deals in the medical sales industry — so good that your colleagues are always asking for help.

Ask yourself three questions to identify your niche:

  1. Do I have a unique point of view?
  2. “Do I have the experience necessary to be authoritative in this field?
  3. Is there a demand for this service?

Being a consultant requires you to be organized, self-motivated, and good at boundary setting. Before launching your website and accepting your first client, consider your ability to meet these demands. You might identify the perfect niche, but if you can’t meet independent deadlines or manage a billing cycle, you might not be ready to become a consultant.

To find your consulting specialty, consider areas you excel in at work, projects you’ve gotten high marks on in performance reviews, or hobbies you’ve mastered outside the office. You should also factor in what you enjoy — if you’re doing this full-time, it needs to be an activity you’re passionate about.

2. Set goals.

Setting goals helps you know what you’re working towards. Do you want this to stay a nights-and-weekends project? Do you hope to turn it into a full-time business? Do you want to hire employees someday? Answer these questions and plan accordingly.

Once you’ve identified broad goals for your business, narrow your focus to more immediate needs. To do this, make sure your goals are SMART:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to accomplish
  • Measurable: Identify targets and milestones to track progress
  • Attainable: Keep goals realistic and manageable
  • Relevant: Set goals that fit with your business model
  • Time-Based: Identify deadlines for your goals

Here’s an example of SMART goals for a consultant who coaches sales teams to be better at cold outreach:

  • Specific: I will coach SMB sales teams on how to make better calls, send higher-quality emails, and follow up in an effective manner. The result will be more qualified opportunities for reps resulting in more closed business and higher revenue for the organization.
  • Measurable: Success will be measured by increased client pipeline and percentage of client deals closed as well as referrals for my business.
  • Attainable: I have three clients already and bring in an average of one new referral every month. I know there is a demand for my service, and this cadence is manageable for my workload and operating budget right now.
  • Relevant: This business model fits my skillset and allows me to benefit from my success with sales outreach as identified by myself, my coworkers, and my supervisors.
  • Time-Based:
    • November 15: Website goes live
    • December 1: Review previous month’s work and ask for at least one referral
    • December 5: Send client bills for the previous month’s work
    • December 15: Have all coaching sessions scheduled before this date in anticipation for holiday schedules

As your consultancy grows, so will your plans. Revisit your SMART goals on a monthly or quarterly basis and adjust them as needed.

Maria Marshall, an associate professor at Purdue University, researches small and family-owned businesses. She recommends including visionary goals for your business as well. Marshall outlines four main areas of focus for visionary goals:

  • Service: How can you improve customer satisfaction and retention?
  • Social: How can you give back to the community through philanthropy or volunteering?
  • Profit: How can you increase profits by X percent?
  • Growth: How can you expand your company (i.e., new employees, more clients, office space)?

3. Make a website.

Think you can get by without a website? Think again. A recent Local Search Association report finds that 63% of consumers use websites to find or engage with businesses, and 30% of those consumers won’t consider a business without a website.

Also, if you have a site, Google gives your business more authority in local rankings. Creating a Google My Business profile isn’t enough. A website that’s optimized with backlinks, domain authority, and views will encourage Google to display your website in relevant searches.

Don’t think website creation is in your wheelhouse? Services like WordPress and Squarespace make it easy to build a website, and GoDaddy allows you to lock down a domain name.

And if you want a tool that’ll help you do everything from tracking incoming leads to booking meetings and will grow with your business, try HubSpot. Your website is the first impression of your business. Invest time here and see the returns for years to come.

4. Get certified.

Are there certifications that will give you an edge? For example, if you’re a consultant for medical sales professionals, consider pursuing accreditation in one of HIDA’s Medical Sales programs. If your specialty is coaching teams to be better at outreach, consider getting an Inbound Sales Certification from HubSpot.

Whether software-, skills-, or subject matter-specific certifications, find out what’s important in your industry and invest in expanding your knowledge base. As a consultant, it’s crucial to remain cutting edge and competitive in your niche, and certifications are a concrete way to demonstrate your drive.

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5. Choose a target market.

Once you’ve identified your niche, be clear about who your target audience is. For example, if you help startup sales teams navigate early-stage scaleup, hone in on your target market by answering these five questions:

  1. Where is my target audience located?” (Will you serve local clients only? Will you accept national or regional clients? Will you exclude international clients?)
  2. What are their biggest pain points?” (What has driven them to search for your help? What are their daily roadblocks to suggest? What are their scaling challenges?)
  3. Who is competing for their business?” (Who are your biggest competitors and how do your services measure up? What sets you apart?)
  4. Am I targeting startups themselves the individual sales managers?” (Will you reach out to businesses or network to individuals through local meetups or LinkedIn outreach?)
  5. What motivates my target audience?” (What is your audience’s end goal by choosing your services? What do they hope to achieve for their team and for themselves?)

Getting specific about who your customer is and what’s important to them allows you to provide superior service and reach clients who are the perfect match.

Job Search Success: Finding a Consulting Job

Job Search of all ages and stages of their careers can enjoy the benefits of a consulting job. Consultants are often hired due to their expertise in niche areas. They can offer advice to organizations regarding specific problems areas, and provide solutions on how to maintain and maximize efficiency. Although consultants might work in a traditional office, many consultant jobs can be done remotely!

Job Search

If a flexible consulting job sounds like something you’d be interested in pursuing professionally, check out these seven FlexJobs members’ success stories. From a job seeker living in Mexico to a new dad looking for a way to support his family (and find some work-life balance, too), their testimonials just might give you some serious job search motivation!

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Jennifer L., hired as a data quality professional at CLIENTSFirst Consulting LLC:

“This is an awesome site. All the jobs are legitimate, and you don’t have to worry about weeding through scams. I found exactly what I was looking for as a stay-at-home mom, and I only subscribed to the site for several months. My main focus was to find a part-time, 100% remote job with a good company, and that’s exactly what I found on this site.”

Chrissy M., hired as a CEO at Aringo:

“You are awesome! Arigno was the first company/position that FlexJobs matched me to, and I was invited to interview immediately. It took several months to work out details, but I started my job as CEO of the Americas on Monday. I never would have found this position if it weren’t for FlexJobs. Thank you so much, and keep up the excellent work.”

Melissa H., hired as a marketing operations consultant at Dell:

“I signed up for FlexJobs in April and got my job offer in July! I was looking for a full-time, work-from-home job and found a great job on FlexJobs. I tell everyone looking for something part-time or work from home to check out FlexJobs. You can ditch your long commute, avoid scams, and support your family.”

Sara A., hired as an independent consultant at Appen:

“Thank you so much for helping me find a job! I didn’t think I’d be able to get a job because I live in Mexico, but one day I got an email from Appen, they sent me a test, and then I was hired as an independent consultant!”

Beth K., hired as a business strategist at PFSweb:

“Since FlexJobs did all the prospecting and I could set my own search filters, the subscription price was an extraordinary value. FlexJobs fills a vital need for job searchers who have much to offer and need to make a change, putting me, the applicant, in the driver’s seat.”

Vincent C., hired as a metaforce contractor at Crawford Media Services:

“I’m an IT professional and a new dad. My wife and I made the decision for her to stay home while our children went through their early years. This meant losing the income she’d provided via her job. I was in need of a way to bring in extra income, while not being out of the house and away from my family all the time with two jobs. FlexJobs gave me that opportunity. I found a part-time job that I enjoy, and I get to do it from my home office. For that, I’m grateful.”

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Patricia M., hired as a cruise and tour consultant at American Express:

“You rock! Before discovering FlexJobs, I had a less than satisfactory experience interviewing with a major travel company. I was discouraged and skeptical. I signed up for FlexJobs at the recommendation of a coworker and immediately started receiving job listings I didn’t see anywhere else—not jobs that didn’t apply to me, but great jobs. I applied for a job, and four interviews later, I got it! It is my DREAM job. I am beyond happy. Thank you, FlexJobs, for providing truly great leads.”

Why Do People Hate Recruitment Agencies?

Recruitment There’s no denying that recruitment agencies get some pretty bad press at times, and there’s also no denying that unfortunately, some of it is entirely deserved.

There are still some recruiters who play a dirty game and give us all a bad name, and some of us practice hard-sales recruitment practices that don’t help our public image either.

Recruitment

Anyone working in this market will know how crazy it is at the moment, so we really can’t afford to keep up this negative image. We need our candidates and clients to trust us and enjoy working with us if we want to futureproof our industry.

So here are a few reasons people think recruitment agencies suck and what we as an industry can do to shake this bad reputation off once and for all.

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“Recruitment agencies just hurl CVs at you until one happens to be good”

Why people think this:

A lot of people think recruiters just spam clients with irrelevant CVs because unfortunately, this is what a lot of recruiters do!

Most of the time, clients can easily find these candidates themselves, so it’s understandable they think recruiters don’t provide any value for money. This type of ‘service’ doesn’t have any value at all.

What you can do about it:

Never be tempted to hedge your bets and send your client loads of CVs in the hope that one will stick. This will just damage your reputation as a recruiter and your agency’s reputation too.

Only send across profiles that actually meet your client’s needs, even if that means you only send them one CV. This way, you’ll see your CV-send-to-placement ratio increase and show your client you’ve really listened to their needs.

Speccing CVs to prospects you’re trying to win business from is still essential in today’s candidate-driven market, but you need to do your research first and the only spec in relevant candidates that will actually pique your prospect’s interest.

“They don’t know anything about the jobs they’re recruiting for”

Why people think this:

All too often, when consultants take on a new role, they won’t gather enough information about the job so they can’t identify the candidate the client is looking for. It’s no wonder recruiters who do this don’t make placements as they’re guaranteed to send over profiles that don’t fit the business’s needs.

What you can do about it:

One of the most important skills to learn in recruitment is how to take a detailed job description from your client and ask all the right questions.

Early on in my recruitment career, I was taught to ask clients this question:

“Can you take me through a day in the candidate’s job role?”

This will tell you what a candidate needs to do on a daily basis so you can fully understand the requirements of the job, not just the generic info given to you on a job spec.

Don’t be afraid to manage your client’s expectations and tell them if you think their dream candidate will be tough to find – this will show them that you actually understand the job brief.

“They say they’ll call back, but they never do!”

Why people think this:

Recruitment is a fast-paced industry, so it’s inevitable that recruiters will concentrate on the candidates they think will convert into placements. But adopting this tunnel vision makes it easy to forget your obligation to the candidates who don’t get placed this time round.

Ignoring rejected candidates isn’t just bad practice, it’s also counter-productive to making placements. You’ve already built a relationship with this candidate and they could be perfect for the next job you have on. Do you think they’ll be interested in speaking to you next time round if you don’t return their calls?

What you can do about it:

You might think the answer to this is obvious: Always call a candidate back when you said you would – but there’s more to it than this.

Managing your candidate’s expectations from the start is key to overcoming this problem – if you’re not going to call them for a while, just tell them that. They’ll appreciate your honesty and it’s important that candidates learn to value your time too.

If you know you’re not going to be able to place a candidate, be honest with them and point them in the direction of somebody who can.

The candidate you didn’t call back today could be a future candidate, so face these uncomfortable conversations now – you could benefit from them down the line.

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“Recruiters take a fat commission check for doing a bit of admin work”

Why people think this:

Agency recruitment is one of the toughest jobs out there, so the idea that we expect a huge pay-out for doing nothing is ridiculous.

The problem is that the job is so fast-paced that we don’t have the time to show our clients all the work that goes into filling our roles. If our clients only ever see the results and never the effort we put in to getting there, it’s no surprise they think we’re overcharging them for our services.

What you can do about it:

If your client could fill the jobs that you’re recruiting for them, they wouldn’t be asking for your help in the first place. So remind them that you are an expert in your niche by finding the candidates that no one else can.

Show them the data on how many candidates you reached out to, interviewed and vetted before you sent over your shortlist. Your CRM should make it easy for you to pull all of this data into a report, so it’s an effective way to show your client how much work you put in, without taking up loads of your precious time.

Recruitment is a busy job, so it’s easy to cut corners and fall into bad habits that can land you with a bad reputation. But it’s not too late to switch those bad habits for good ones. This eBook will teach you nine habits to become more effective (and well-liked!) recruiter.

Top 10 HR Technology Predictions for 2020

HR Technology As we enter a new decade, we’re also entering a new era of digital transformation – particularly in human resources technologies.

HR Technology

The market of HR technology continues to grow and will likely top $30 billion in the next five years. Capterra predicts that by the end of the year, 70% of small and medium-sized enterprises will be utilizing HR technologies.

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality training, the way we hire, manage, and work is changing at a rapid pace. Which ones will become an essential tool for HR professionals, and what fads should be avoided? Keep reading to find out!

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10 key HR technology trends

In this post, we’re going to try to predict what technology will make it big this year. Here are the top 10 technology trends HR leaders should watch in 2020:

  1. The continued growth of AI

  2. Increased use of virtual reality

  3. Expansion of cloud-based HCM tools

  4. Employee self-service

  5. Use of specialized HR tools

  6. Growing need for digital adoption tools

  7. Chatbots

  8. Virtual and remote work technologies

  9. Better integrations

  10. New wellness technologies

HR tech trend 1: Continued growth of AI

The use of Artificial Intelligence is expanding rapidly, and you can expect its application in human resources management to continue to grow in 2020 and beyond. So, where is AI being used in HR tech?

One of the most common uses is in the hiring process. What is the role of AI in recruitment? AI can help identify top candidates for a job opening. Does your software give you a candidate job-match score or help you analyze your recruiting efforts? AI drives that score.

Hilton, IBM, and GE use AI-driven algorithms as a part of their screening process for job applicants. The technology can analyze anything from work samples to social media posts.

In 2016, Unilever started using AI to screen all entry-level employees. Job applications first submit to a video interview, answering a generic set of questions. Their responses are analyzed using AI. Candidates will complete an in-person interview if they move to the next step in the process.

Although AI and recruitment are a perfect match,  artificial intelligence isn’t just for hiring. AI will also play a more significant role as more HCM systems expand their data analysis and information discovery tools.

HR tech trend 2: Increased use of virtual reality

In 2020, you can expect more companies to jump on the virtual reality training wagon. It sounds far fetched and futuristic, but many companies are seeing positive results. Walmart and FedEx started using virtual reality training and plan to expand their programs. The technology has actually been around for quite some time.

Pilots have been training on flight simulators for decades. The difference is the new surge in virtual reality products for consumers, like Oculus. The hardware is cheaper, and content production is easier, making it an excellent option for corporate trainers.

HR tech trend 3: Expansion of cloud-based HCM tools

Most companies are using some HCM software, but perhaps not the latest versions. As more companies look to upgrade their IT infrastructure, expect to shift to a newer cloud-based HCM system this year. Between 2018 and 2020, the percentage of HR leaders who said their technology was a cloud-based SaaS model doubled.

Many larger companies were slower to adopt cloud-based technologies out of concern they couldn’t support their complex needs. However, more technology leaders now view cloud technology as stable and mature. Making the switch to a cloud-based system will likely continue to be a top choice and priority for 2020.

HR tech trend 4: Employee self-service

Newer cloud-based systems also tend to have more options for employee self-service, decreasing the burden on HR associates for processing routine changes like address, tax withholding, or benefit changes.

Self-service is a popular feature with employees. Nearly three-fourths of full-time workers in the U.S. expect employers to provide high levels of self-service for HR tasks. More technologies will focus on self-service in 2020 because it helps companies save money and offers a better experience for employees.

HR tech trend 5: Use of specialized HR tools

Some companies are finding their legacy HCM systems are no longer a good fit and are opting to purchase separate systems for various HR functions. A system that excels in letting you process payroll and scheduling PTO might not be the best fit for recruiting top talent.

By focusing on a narrower niche, such as recruiting, newer software providers can innovate at a much faster pace. You can expect more frequent releases and better support for the modern mobile-driven workplace.

HR tech trend 6: Growing need for digital adoption tools

With the shift to newer HCM tools and an increased reliance on employee self-service, comes the need to show employees how to use the tools. Self-service tools will fail if employees aren’t adequately onboarded and guided through how to use them.

Digital Adoption Solutions, like Apty, help companies onboard new users to web-based applications faster. On-screen guidance shows users where to go and what to do next. The tools also can be used to walk candidates through completing your application process. Some of the benefits of a digital adoption tool for HR professionals include:

  • Decreased training costs,

  • Increased employee engagement and satisfaction and

  • Faster onboarding.

HR tech trend 7: Chatbots

You can also expect to see more chatbots in HR technologies as the emphasis on self-service increases. Many companies already use chatbots to interact with customers. Why not use them with employees or prospective new hires? Chatbots, when deployed correctly, can help quickly resolve issues and provide answers instead of waiting for a phone call or email.

AI-powered chatbots can solve many simple HR issues without tying up an HR associate. Updating personal information or making other data changes can be automated with the use of chatbots.

HR tech trend 8: Virtual and remote work technologies

As more companies expand their use of remote workers, you can expect to increase your investment in the technologies to make it possible. Utilizing remote workers requires you to change the way you recruit.

Your candidate pool goes from local to global. You’ll also need ways for employees to interact virtually, including video conferencing and other collaboration tools.

HR tech trend 9: Better integrations

One shortcoming of a lot of HR technologies is getting employees to use it. If an employee has to remember a separate login or go to a ridiculously long URL, they won’t use the tool. To solve this challenge, look for more tools that closely integrate with the tools employees use every day.

Employees are more likely to use something if they can access it from their Outlook inbox or in Slack. Through the use of APIs, more tools are opening themselves up to enhanced integrations. When you’re evaluating new technologies, look to see if and how it integrates with your existing tools.

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HR tech trend 10: New wellness technologies

More employees expect companies to offer wellness benefits. Employers and technology companies are paying attention. Nearly 80% of businesses say employee well-being is a critical part of their business plans.

There are new apps to help with fitness goals and virtual access to therapists and mental health professionals. G2 reports there are more than 30 major corporate wellness tools on the market.

But are they working? Several of the tools are too new to measure their long term impact on employee wellness, but the increased emphasis on wellness does appear to help. According to Aflac, about two-third of employees report making healthier lifestyle choices because of their company’s wellness program.

5-Steps Recruitment Marketing Action Plan

Recruitment Need to create an effective recruitment marketing action plan? In this detailed, step-by-step guide you’ll learn how to create it – from scratch. Great recruitment marketing tips and tricks included. Are ready to put them in action?

Recruitment

Why do you need a recruitment marketing strategy?

If you’re an HR or recruiting professional in today’s candidate-driven job market then you already know how hard it can be to fill open positions with great candidates.

Candidates are now in demand. These days, they are in control and they get to pick and choose where they want to work.

And with so many other companies competing for these same candidates, it can seem impossible to get top talent’s attention.

But with a well-rounded recruitment marketing strategy, it can actually be quite easy to build your talent pool and keep it filled with a steady stream of great candidates.

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What is recruitment marketing all about?

It means using marketing methods to get candidates interested in your company and eager to apply for your open positions.

Recruitment marketing is focused on the first three stages of the candidates’ journey:

1. Awareness

In this first stage, your aim is to build awareness of your company and your employer brand.

2. Consideration

In this stage, your goal is to get potential candidates to start considering you as their next employer.

3. Interest

In this stage, your goal is to convince candidates to take action and apply for your open job positions.

Using proven marketing tactics, you can attract candidates attention and get them to apply to your open job positions.

In the following text, I will explain exactly how to create an effective recruitment marketing plan.

Follow my step-by-step guide and learn how to master recruitment marketing!

How to create a successful recruitment marketing plan?

Here is how you can create an effective recruitment marketing plan in 11 easy to follow steps:

Step 1: Define your recruitment marketing goals

Think about what you want to achieve with your recruitment marketing strategy.

Of course, your overall goal is to attract great candidates to apply to your open job positions.

However, you should also define precise specific goals that can be measured.

Some of the common recruitment marketing goals include:

  1. Get more job applicants
  2. Get more high-quality candidates
  3. Increase candidate engagement
  4. Increase employer brand awareness
  5. Get more career site visitors
  6. Get more applicants from social media
  7. Increase employee referral rates
  8. Increase offer-acceptance rate
  9. Increase the number of diversity applicants
  10. Increase the number of recruitment events attendees.

Step 2: Identify your candidate persona

Identify your ideal candidate by defining your candidate persona.

A candidate persona is the semi-fictional representation of your ideal job candidate.

Who is your ideal job candidate?

Think beyond your job requirements such as education, experience and skills. Dig deeper to really get a sense of this person.

Try to pinpoint their interests outside the work, habits, motivation and goals. 

Some of the characteristics you may want to think about when building your candidate personas are:

  1. Sex and gender
  2. Age
  3. Likes
  4. Dislikes
  5. Hobbies
  6. Geographical location
  7. Motivations
  8. Frustrations
  9. Brands they may associate with
  10. Current job
  11. Family
  12. Personality type
  13. Introvert/extrovert
  14. Analytical/creative

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Step 3: Define your employee value proposition

An employee value proposition is a message you will target your candidate persona with.

Why should your potential candidates come to work for your company? What can you offer them that other companies can’t?

The employee value proposition is so much more than just a great salary.

It also includes opportunities for career advancement, challenging work, working on interesting projects and with cutting edge technology, great company culture, attractive workspace, etc.

Step 4: Create recruitment content

One of the best ways to attract your candidate persona’s attention is by presenting them interesting and useful recruitment content.

Great recruitment content will help you target the best candidates at the right time with the right message.

And no, your job ads are not enough – no matter how great they are!

There is a myriad of different types of recruitment content for each step of the candidate’s journey.

Here are a few examples of different types of recruitment content you can create:

  1. Blogs
  2. Emails
  3. Newsletter
  4. Videos
  5. Webinars
  6. White papers, case studies and eBooks
  7. Infographics, diagrams, flowcharts & graphs
  8. Checklists
  9. Mini-games and competitions.

Step 5: Optimize your career site

Your career site should be the hub of your recruitment marketing activity.

When potential candidates land on your career site, they should immediately find all the information they need to determine whether they want to work for your company.

perfect career site explains who your company is, what you do and contain information about your company culture, values and work environment.

It also invites potential candidates to browse your open job positions and makes it easy for them to apply.

Finally, make sure that your career site is mobile friendly and optimized for SEO.

You can find detailed information on how to optimize your career site in our guide Best Tips for Optimizing Your Career Site & Generating More Job Applicants.

Top 7 Recruitment Challenges to Tackle in 2020

Challenges we wanted to know what challenges will HR professionals face in 2020, so we did extensive research. We talked with our customers, CEOs’, recruiters’ and other HR professionals, asked around the talent acquisition community and consulted global talent acquisition studies and research.

Challenges

From there, we have identified some of the major challenges in the world of talent acquisition and came up with this list of the top 20 challenges HR professionals will have to tackle in 2020. However, we didn’t stop there!

We also wanted to know how the most successful HR professionals plan to tackle these challenges. What are their best practices and expert tips?

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Top 20 hiring challenges and solutions

Here is the list of the top 20 recruitment challenges, followed by practical tips for solving them:

1. Building a strong Employer Brand

An overwhelming majority (75%) of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, according to LinkedIn. And if they don’t like what they see, they won’t apply or accept your job offer. Corporate Responsibility Magazine has found that 75% of people would not take a job with a company that had a bad reputation – even if they were unemployed!

Solution

💡 What?
In order to build your employer brand, you need to define and implement an effective employer branding strategy. You need to tell a compelling story about your company, showcase your company culture and get candidates excited to join your team.

✔️ How?
Create an attractive, responsive and branded career site and career blog, where you can present your employer brand and show candidates why your company is a great place to work. You’ll do that by presenting photos of your employees and your office, sharing employee testimonials and writing about the interesting projects and new technologies your teams are working with.

2. Lack of qualified candidates

The talent shortage is the No. 1 hiring challenge today. A study by the National Federation of Independent Business has found that 87% of HR professionals reported “few or no qualified applicants” for the positions they were trying to fill.

Unfortunately, this problem will only get worse. According to the McKinsey Global Institute study, in 2020 companies in Europe and North America will need 16 to 18 million more educated employees that are going to be available.

Solution

💡 What?
You will have no other choice than to enter the war for talent and compete with other companies to snatch those candidates that are qualified.

✔️ How?
92% of people would consider changing jobs if offered a role with a company with an excellent employer brand, according to CR Magazine. The problem is, all your competitors will be bombarding the same qualified candidates saying they are the best employer. How can you stand out? The answer is – through employee referrals! Qualified candidates trust their friends more than your recruiters.

3. Expanding candidate reach

Due to the lack of qualified candidates, employers who want to fill their open positions with great candidates will have to look beyond their employees’ social networks and local communities. They have to find a way to expand their candidate reach in order to find those rare hidden gems.

Solution

💡 What?
In order to reach a wider pool of talent, you’ll have to extend your presence across all the possible channels and places. In other words, you should start building a multichannel recruitment strategy.

✔️ How?
Make sure that job openings will be advertised across different places and channels, including multiple free and paid local and global job boards, different social networks, internal and external employee referrals, your career site, career events, college and professional networks’ newsletters, forums, etc.

4. Targeting passive candidates

The way things are going, soon there will be no job seekers – only passive candidates. According to LinkedIn’s research70% of the global workforce is made up of passive talent who aren’t actively job searching and the remaining 30% are active job seekers. Scary statistics, ain’t it?

The good news is that most (up to 90%) of these passive candidates are interested in hearing about new job opportunities, as reported by LinkedIn.

Solution

💡 What?
Since passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a job, you won’t find them checking out your career site or job boards. Instead, you have to go where they are – on social media. According to the LinkedIn survey, half (49%) of all professionals are following companies on social media with the intent to stay aware of their jobs.

✔️ How?
You need to utilize the power of social media and start promoting your employer brand on social media. This doesn’t mean just posting your job openings across different social media networks. You should also share stories, photos and videos that present and promote your company as a great place to work. You should also organize different recruiting events (such as meetups, hackathons, workshops, etc.) and invite potential candidates to attend them.

5. Attracting the right job candidates

As reported by Glassdoor, 76% percent of hiring managers admit attracting the right job candidates is their greatest challenge. They are wasting their precious time by going through tons of applications from candidates that are not a good fit for their open positions.

Solution

💡 What?
You need to refine your hiring process in order to attract the right type of candidates from the start. You need to attract the right job candidates to apply, and discourage all the rest from applying!

✔️ How?
Start by stating clear and precise job requirements in your job descriptions and job advertisements. Use your career blog to write about your company culture and present everyday life at your office. That way, potential candidates will be able to select themselves in or out of your hiring process by themselves. You should also add qualifying questions to your application form. It is a simple, but effective way to weed out candidates who are not a good fit for your job opening.

6. Building talent pools proactively

talent pool is a database of candidates interested in working for your company. By building a talent pool, you can fill your job positions in less time with less money, because you already have candidates to choose from. The question is – how to build a high-quality talent pool filled with great potential candidates?

Solution

💡 What?
Invite potential candidates to join your talent network and learn more about your company as an employer and stay up to date with your company’s open job positions.

✔️ How?
Create a simple (and short!) application form for your talent network. Add “Join our Talent Network” form to different places (for example: top of your career site, end of your career blogs, social media posts, Facebook career page, LinkedIn company page, next to your job openings, etc.) to reach potential candidates and ask them to join your talent network.

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7. Inefficient talent sourcing

The right candidates are out there. However, without an efficient talent sourcing strategy, HR professionals spend countless hours and invest a lot of effort trying to find them, but with poor results. Recruiters find it very difficult to find high-quality candidates and obtain their resumes and contact information.

Solution

💡 What?
If you want to find high-quality candidates, you need to apply advanced talent sourcing strategies and proactively reach out to your potential candidates.

✔️ How?
Stop wasting time on manual sourcing and invest in powerful sourcing technology.

How to Recruit on Reddit : A Beginner’s Guide

Guide Reddit is a massive online community forum where users share news, images, and video content so other users can comment and vote on the content. Popular content rises to the top, while content that is downvoted becomes less visible on the site.

If you’re not already familiar with Reddit, it might surprise you to learn it has 330 million active users (that’s 100 million more than LinkedIn, by the way!). Reddit is the sixth most popular website in the world – falling only behind giants like Google, YouTube and Facebook.

Let’s take a look at some reasons why you should be recruiting on Reddit if you aren’t already, plus some tips on how to get started.

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3 reasons to recruit on Reddit

If you still need a bit more convincing about the benefits of using Reddit in your recruitment strategy, here are three major bonuses that should do the trick!

Reddit1

1. It’s full of highly skilled passive candidates

In this candidate-driven market, anything that gets you in front of top talent before other recruiters is a real blessing.

As mentioned, Reddit has a massive audience (1.6 billion visits in July 2019 alone) but it also has a busy, text-heavy layout that’s confusing enough to put a lot of recruiters off using it – making it an untapped candidate goldmine!

Reddit’s userbase also tends to be pretty well-educated. The majority of Redditors have a degree or some higher education.

With this in mind, Reddit is the perfect place to find top passive candidates that haven’t been approached by other recruiters – essentially, because they don’t even know they exist.

2. It’ll help you get to know Gen Z

Gen Z (candidates under 25) have started entering the workforce and they’re very different to the candidates we’re used to working with. They have different needs and desires, and the more you get to know them now, the easier your job will be recruiting them.

To attract this newest workforce, you need to be authentic and show you understand the things they care about. Reddit is a perfect platform to do this as it actively promotes authenticity and gives you the chance to interact with other users on any topic imaginable – whether.

As much as 34% of Gen Z in the UK are active on Reddit, meaning there’s an untouched pool of Gen Z candidates that you can dip into and nurture good relationships before other recruiters get to them.

3. You can learn a lot about niche industries

There’s a huge tech audience on Reddit. And you’ll find these candidates spending time in tech-related ‘subreddits’ (what Reddit calls discussion pages) out of office hours, sharing memes, opinions and inside jokes about their industry.

These subreddits are the perfect place to brush up on your industry lingo and familiarise yourself with the kinds of challenges that would make candidates in your industry look for a new job (and what would draw them to a new opportunity!)

For more help on writing engaging ads for niche candidates, download our job ad templates for hard-to-fill roles here.

How to get started recruiting on Reddit

So, now you know why you should consider using Reddit to attract those gold dust candidates, how do you actually get started?

These three initial steps will help you get the ball rolling!

Reddit2

Step 1 – Set up your profile

Set up your Reddit profile using the ‘sign up’ button on the homepage using your personal email. Your first stop will be choosing a username – it should go without saying, but don’t choose anything that hints to your recruiting background!

Anything that implies you have a motive to use the platform for personal gain will get you seriously down-voted – or even blocked! – so choose a generic name to be safe.

Unlike other social networks, Reddit encourages anonymity, so you can’t upload your favourite selfie to let people know who you are. Instead, you get your very own ‘Snoo’ (Reddit’s alien mascot) to use as your alias.

Step 2 – Find your threads

No matter how obscure you think a subject is, people will be talking about it on Reddit – that’s the beauty of this platform!

Posting and engaging is the only way to build up your Karma (points assigned to your profile based on how active you are on the site) so taking part in the community is essential to prove you’re legit and build up your credibility.

Your ‘Cake Day’ (the day you joined Reddit) is also visible on your profile for everyone to see, so be aware that seasoned Redditors will know if you’re a fresh newbie just joining to scope out the talent.

Which is why you need to provide some value before you jump straight into sourcing…

Step 3 – Provide value

Reddit’s culture is all about giving before you can expect to get anything back, and this is something you should practice across all social media platforms when building your personal brand as a recruiter.

So, once you’ve set up your profile and taken part in some high-brow meme-sharing, take a look at some subreddits like r/GetEmployed or r/resumes, where you can provide your industry knowledge and expertise (without being salesy) and start adding value to the community.

You might even get some gold (a special reward that allows you premium features) from a grateful Redditor if you’re lucky!

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Things to avoid doing on Reddit

Redditors don’t take kindly to rule-breakers, so those candidate goldmines could quickly turn into landmines if you don’t behave appropriately.

Follow these dos and don’ts to make sure you stay on the right side of the Reddit community.

Reddit3

Spamming

Reddit is strictly against any form of spamming – whether that’s sending unsolicited messages, posting irrelevant content into subreddits or linking out to promotional content.

Moderators are everywhere on the platform, keeping an eye on your posts to ensure they are following the rules and there are even bots sweeping through threads looking for misbehavers – so don’t try your luck!

Self-promotion

Redditors are not afraid to block any users who break the rules or appear to have ulterior motives for using the platform. In some threads, you even need to have a certain number of Karma points before you’re allowed to post!

Unlike LinkedIn, promoting your company or newest vacancy is seriously frowned upon – unless you’re on subreddit that explicitly allows it.

Beware: If you get caught out, you’ll be hung up to dry and no one’s exempt! Even tech tycoon Elon Musk had a job offer ruthlessly declined by a Redditor for not following the rules.

Tips for success

Follow the rules

Each subreddit has its own set of rules determined by the OP (Original Poster). So before you dive in, make sure you’ve familiarized yourself with the specific rules set out for that thread, and respect them at all times.

Tap into an existing resource

Building your credibility on Reddit can be an extremely time-consuming process.

However, it’s possible you already have some experienced Redditors within your company! If you’re looking for a new developer, why not see if someone in the team with a well-oiled profile would be interested in helping you fill your jobs.

And most importantly… be patient

Recruiting on Reddit is a slow-burning strategy, and it’s important to take the time to find your way around the platform and really understand what makes this community tick. If you do it right, it can bring some serious rewards.

Start building relationships and your Reddit authority first by posting your ‘two cents’ in a relevant subreddit, and build a solid reddit candidate hit list before making any moves.