Free COVID-19 Employee Pulse Survey by Debra Corey

Set in motion this HR-specialist’s convenient process and benefit from its actionable insights, free of charge for the first three months.

Now, more important than ever

Your employees are facing a wide range of new emotions and challenges impacting their well-being and their ability to get work done. The time is now to connect, understand and support your people and your business.

Zero hassle, we know you’re busy

Your COVID-19 survey is ready to use. You only need to upload a spreadsheet with your staff’s emails, and the results will show you your prioritized areas of improvement.

Don’t worry about your budget

We’re giving you access to the COVID-19 Employee Pulse Survey and the rest of our platform free of charge for the first 3 months. No strings attached. No credit card needed. No automatic renewals.

About Debra Corey

Debra is a highly experienced and award-winning HR leader, world-class speaker, three-time author, and was recently named one of the top 101 global employee engagement influencers. She’s had a varied career, working for global companies such as Gap Inc., Honeywell, Merlin Entertainments and Reward Gateway, where she’s developed and delivered HR strategies in a rebellious way, pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo to truly drive employee engagement.

About Starred

Starred is your People Experience feedback tool of choice. We help you understand how to improve your Candidate and Employee Experience through our respondent-friendly, automated surveys, so you make your talent heard, from hire to retire. Your prioritized insights will show you what areas of improvement you should focus your efforts on first.

The Survey

During these unprecedented times it is absolutely critical to understand how your workforce are feeling, and what challenges and concerns they are facing. This special COVID-19 Employee Pulse Survey has been developed as a tool to help you quickly and easily obtain this information, giving your employees a voice and delivering quick and actionable results to help your people and business get through the crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it really free? What’s the catch?
    Yes, it’s completely free and there is no catch. Debra Corey has the knowledge, and we have the software – this is our way of helping others during this crisis.
  • What is the length of the free license period?
    We set the free license at three (3) months from the date in which you register your account. If the health crisis requires a longer period of time, Starred will communicate this well before the expiry date.
  • What happens after the three months?
    Nothing! If you don’t do anything to renew your account, it will automatically expire, and Starred will delete your data.
  • What if we wish to continue using our Starred account?
    If you wish to use the service further, contact Starred and ask for a Starred license that will suit your needs well before the expiration.
  • Who can see the results?
    Besides you, your account lets you invite up to four (4) other individuals as users. You can manage their user rights. That makes it five users in total.
  • Is the survey flexible?
    The survey is specifically made for this health crisis and is standardized to offer you benchmark data from other companies that use it too. If you need other types of surveys please contact Starred for an offer of a Starred license that will suit your needs.
  • How many invitations for feedback can we send?
    The free account is capped at 1,000 invites. If you need more, please contact a Starred representative and ask for a Starred license that suits your needs.
  • In which languages is the survey available?
    Currently, the survey is available in English and Dutch. If you need it in a language that is currently not available, please let us know – we might be able to offer it on short notice.
  • What does the survey measure?
    The survey measures the likelihood with which your employees would recommend you as a place to work, giving you your Employee Net Promoter Score. You can read more about NPS in this blogpost. The follow-up questions will be around the themes of communication and trust, as well as leadership and recognition. In addition, there will be more general questions addressing expectations, flexibility, and autonomy. The questionnaire has been created by Debra Corey.
  • Will the results be anonymous?
    Yes, we believe that anonymity is the best way to get the most honest feedback. You want more than just get the overall picture, so we recommend you add some extra properties to the employees when you upload the file. For example, you could consider including which department they work for, the name of their manager, and their location. Properties are tags that you can use to filter your results. In order to guarantee anonymity, we show you results when there are at least seven (7) responses that meet the filter criteria.
  • Is my data safe?
    Your data are super safe, and securely encrypted and hosted on AWS. To verify for yourself, you can check Starred’s security measures on
  • Who is the owner of the data?
    You are and will be the owner of the data. This is clearly stated in our T&Cs (Art 8.3). There is also a Data Processing Agreement (DPA) to clearly distinguish between the responsibilities you have as being responsible for the data, and the responsibilities that Starred has as the processor of the data. You can find the T&Cs and DPA here:

Need for Speed: 3 tips to increase recruitment efficiency

With organisations seeking opportunities for growth and job markets heated up, both demand and competition for qualified talent are at an all time high. With the war for talent being very real again, hiring experts are increasingly being challenged to find improved methods of candidate screening and increase recruitment efficiency. The need for speed in hiring is more pressing than ever before and it’s time for companies to hit the accelerator.

Time to hire is still one of the most used methods to measure recruitment success. Ironically, hiring processes are taking longer and longer. According to research by Glassdoor the length of interview processes has increased globally over the past few years. In the U.S., the average process now takes 23.8 days (five years earlier, this was only 13 days). In Europe, the average hiring process takes even longer. French job candidates report the longest duration at 38.9 days, followed by Switzerland at 37.6 days, Italy and Belgium (both 36 days).

Fast track recruiting

As today’s top talent comes and goes in the blink of an eye, these long processes are holding companies back from filling needed roles – resulting in higher cost, lower workforce productivity and frustrated hiring teams. Enough reasons to see why this trend should be reversed. Here are 3 tips to help you increase recruitment efficiency and speed up your hiring process.

#1: Communicate a clear and authentic candidate profile

Make sure that the job profile is crystal clear from the very beginning. A good job description is the basis for every following step of the recruitment process. Work together with the hiring manager to define the candidate profile and make sure to not limit yourself to required skills and competences. Pay increased attention to other important facets like experience, personality traits, and cultural fit. Effective hiring starts with knowing whom to look for and communicating this clearly. Why not make a video vacancy to give candidates an authentic impression of what you have to offer? It will not only allow you to identify candidates faster, but also to advertise the role better or source the right talent, leading to better matches – and a faster hiring process.

#2: Utilise your network

Why start from scratch when you have an internal referral network that you can easily utilise? Notify your employees about the job opening. This way you don’t only give them a chance to apply themselves, but you also encourage colleagues to help identify potential new hires from within their own professional networks. Whether you choose to promote the job internally or decide to focus on creating a strong employee referral program, both methods will significantly cut down recruitment time. An article by HR technologist indicates that employees hired via referrals come in 55% faster than those sourced through career sites. Take initiative and invest in building a talent pipeline to find the best talent faster and speed up your hiring process!

#3: Create a streamlined process

Have a critical look at your hiring process to identify the bottlenecks. Which steps are causing delay and how could they be improved? Modern technologies offer great opportunities to improve processes and increase recruitment efficiency. The pre-selection phase is often one of the most time-consuming parts of the hiring process. A proven method to enhance and accelerate this part of the process is the use of video recruitment. Video interviews allow recruiters to screen more candidates in less time while still gathering a complete impression of the candidate to identify the best talent. It allows you to place a higher emphasis on the actual personality fit and adds flexibility to the process for both recruiter, candidate and hiring manager. Video interviews will help you accelerate talent acquisition and provide a more engaging process for all parties involved.

In order to land the best talent for your company, speed is of the essence. Taking steps to streamline your process and cutting out the inefficiencies will help capture the best talent, staying ahead of your competitors. Start with a clear candidate profile and utilise your network to source potential hires as fast as possible. Then optimise your interview process to connect with candidates faster. In recruitment, every day counts. Speed up your hiring timeline and help ensure you get the talent your company needs.

Happy Hiring!


Video: The secret superpower for your career page SEO

Your career page is one of the first touch points that introduces your organisation to potential candidates. It’s clear that making sure that it is easily accessible should be among your top priorities. Yet, when was the last time you checked the ranking of your career page in Google? Or tried to find one of your vacancies via a search engine?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It describes all processes and strategies aimed at generating organic (not paid) traffic to a website by being easily accessible via search engines. When thinking about SEO of any website, for many people terms like: keywords, meta descriptions and backlinks come to mind. Of course it is still vital to get the basics right. However, there is no chance to get your career page or vacancy in front of your strongly contested candidates by simply adding a certain keyword a couple of times, or generating some backlinks via industry directories. Via continuous updates, Google aims to prioritise the most reliable sources available. That happens by identifying pages that demonstrate qualitative content and relevance to someone’s original search terms.

So what makes video a secret superpower in career page SEO?

  • A mix of content types is a indicator of quality content
  • Video can be a traffic and link generator
  • Video boosts CTR and time spent on your site

Mixed content = qualitative content

Ever since the “Panda” algorithm update, Google search results are highly focussed on prioritising high quality content. To determine the quality of your content and the relevance to the original search query, Google looks beyond the texts on your career and vacancy pages and values a blend of different content types. A great variety of original images, audio, podcasts and videos are an indication of informative content and that’s exactly what the algorithms are looking for!

Video can be a traffic and link generator

There are several facts and statistics circulating online about video being a downright link and organic traffic magnet for every website. However, when you give those articles a closer look, you will find that they date from a time when the video marketing boom was just in it’s starting phase and not too many organisations had jumped on the bandwagon yet. I think SEO specialist Neil Patel describes the 2020 reality of link and traffic generating videos far more accurately by stating:

“The problem is there’s so much online video content that unless you create an exceptional video and have a great outreach/marketing plan, its success is going to be limited.”

So ask yourself what would make your video different, more funny, more engaging or more informative than any other one. Can you find a way or presenting your vacancy that’s never seen before? Can you capture your colleagues describing the company culture in a hilarious quiz that everyone would love to share? Can you give a behind the scenes look into a work field that everyone always asks you about during birthday parties?

Video boosts click through rates and time spent on your site

In the world of SEO there is a long lasting discussion on the impact of the CTR on search results. The click through rate is the percentage of people who click on your link after seeing it in the search results. Some experts are convinced that it is an essential factor for search engines to rank a certain page, others think it is rather part of machine learning and quality control and some others think it is a mix of both. No matter which camp you chose to believe increasing the amount of people that click on your link, whether it affects your position in the search results or not, does not seem like a bad idea anyway.

Again there are many case studies, metrics and reports circulating online describing how the power of video content has boosted click through rates in various industries and contexts. Those range from a B2B company that increased their email CTR by 189% by adding videos, to a report by Smaato and Liftoff stating that average CTRs of video ads are 7.5 times higher than display ads. The general theme that occurs in all of these examples is that people are more curious to click as soon as they are confronted with video content. Once people have found their way to pages that include a video they spend on average 2.6 times more time than on pages without a video (according to Wistia). That’s great news, because it means more people get to see and enjoy your videos. Metrics like the time spent on a page are indicators of high quality content for search engines, which means you will conquer higher spots in the search results.

How to get started with videos on your careers page?

Have these facts and figures convinced you to get to work? Here are a few tips on how to get started:

Define a clear goal

Adding videos to your career page can give your page a boost in the search engine results. That should never be the only reason to start creating videos: whether it’s creating an authentic impression of your company culture for future candidates, explaining the application process, or generating awareness for certain roles among graduates, the goals of your video content creation plan should be clearly defined before you start.

Set out a plan of action

Now that you know what you want to achieve, think about the best ways to go for that gold. Are you going for one employer branding video or a series of videos? Will you create interviews or vlogs? What’s the style and tone of voice of your videos? Where are you going to place them on your page and how are you going to promote them on social media? How do you get colleagues to spread the word? The more thought you put into those questions beforehand, the quicker your wins will be once you go live.

Get the technical details right

In order to achieve optimal SEO outcomes with the fresh video content on your career site, you need to explicitly let Google know that there is a video on your page. This happens by submitting a video sitemap. This is a file that collects all the URLs on your website and presents additional information that is needed to list your video in the search results, such as a thumbnail, video title and description. You can use a plugin to create a sitemap or check out this article on video sitemaps.

Measure and evaluate

After your career page video strategy has been in place for a while, take the time to take a step back and evaluate. Did you get the SEO results you were hoping for? Did people enjoy and engage with your content? Once you get the overview you can fine tune and repeat!

Looking forward to your video content & SEO success stories, until then…



The ‘magic formula’ of success in the recruitment industry

After rapid expansion over the past few years the staffing and recruitment industry is slightly anxious about the future and possible economic uncertainty. The majority is however still cautiously optimistic about 2020. The number of placements is expected to increase and 71% of staffing recruitment professionals also expect an increase in revenue for the year ahead according to the global recruitment insights and data study. At the same they are struggling with skill shortages, pricing pressure, fierce competition and accelerating pay increases. To overcome these challenges staffing and recruitment businesses around the globe see digital transformation as an essential and inevitable step.

Some quick facts:

On average, the operational budget of staffing agencies is expected to grow by 50% (GRID). A large part of this budget will be allocated to candidate engagement, client experience and digital transformation. In order to come up on top in the competition for talent, agencies are highly focused on the human factor, investing in their relationships with both customers and candidates. When it comes to increasing their overall competitive power, agencies are planning to invest in tools that help scale up business without growing the team and automate time-consuming and repetitive tasks. According to the PWC HR Technology Survey, industry leaders believe that tools focussed on talent acquisition, employee experience, skills mapping and intelligent recruitment are the most promising areas for HR tech investments right now.

Video recruitment offers an out-of-the-box solution for success in the coming years. Without having to replace its recruitment system, an agency can add this innovative functionality to their service offering through a simple integration. Agencies use video recruitment to speed up their process and to select better-matching candidates for their clients. A video of a candidate can easily remove the doubts a client may have, as video offers a personal and comprehensive first impression of a candidate. This increases competitive power and offers a clear service to candidates and customers alike.

Here are a number of success factors that shall continue to be important beyond 2020, where video recruitment plays a clear role:

#1: Specialisation

The agencies that survived the previous crisis were mostly the agencies that specialised. With economic uncertainty being cited by staffing and recruitment professionals as the biggest macroeconomic challenge in 2020, clear focus is important. This enables you to develop your market knowledge and create a stronger network with each placement. Databases become outdated rather quickly. Specialisation ensures an updated network where you can find new candidates through your existing ones, because knowledge, people, and networks in a specialised setting are linked to each other. This way, you always have access to talent. Video lowers the threshold for getting- and staying in touch with people. With video, the time investment required to get to know each other is minimal. The scarce candidates don’t have the time to visit every recruiter. But they can do that online!

#2: Speed and efficiency

Many employers would like to find talent themselves. To this end, they invest in building internal capacity and skills. This wish is not new. On top of that 31 % of staffing professionals are listing competition form freelance platforms as one of their main concerns for the year ahead. Agencies are thus activated at a later stage and, therefore, must be able to deliver candidates increasingly faster in a market where they do not get exclusive assignments. Because of this, it’s handy if your candidates have already taken a video or if you are able to facilitate an online video introduction to your client. This can often happen in a short timeframe. And that speed delivers more results!

#3: Innovation

The market has developed with, for example, a demand for leased employees, interim recruitment and increased flexibility. As a result, many agencies are revising their proposition, pricing models and technology, including revamping their recruitment systems. Added value and the ability to remain successful in the coming years through the use of the newly acquired technology are now decisive factors, as 8 out of ten struggle with adoption challenges according to PwC. In their services, agencies look to the wishes and behaviour of their candidates, who have already adopted video en masse.

Here are some concrete examples of how agencies use video in their recruitment process:
» The specialised Recruitment & Selection Agency Rennecke Consulting in Düsseldorf recruits candidates throughout Europe for sales positions in Germany by using video.

“We used to work with a competitors solution but switched to Cammio in 2014. Video interviews have always been an important key to success for us. Thank you for the many years of support and inspirational partnership.”
– Patricia Rennecke, Rennecke Consulting

» The Belgian agency AT Recruitment specialises in IT Recruitment and uses live interviews to reach their candidates. They find that by using live interviews they have a higher response rate of candidates, as there’s no more travel involved.

» The Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) provider EN-HR Solutions successfully selects candidates for T-Mobile by using video interviews.

Agencies will have plenty to do in the coming 10 years. A prerequisite, though, is that the proposed processes and technology will fit the needs of the candidates of 2020 … and those of 2030. Video is here to stay!

Happy Hiring!


How to hire collaboratively – even remote

Hire like bees, not jaguars!

Would you associate yourself rather with a tiny, noisy insect or with an elegant predator patrolling the Latin-American forests? Unfortunately, the less sexy option applies. The reason why is exciting though: just like bees, humans are social animals, unlike the extremely anti-social jaguar species. It is therefore a characteristic of humans to live in societies. Within these societies we then gather into organisations. The actual definition of an organisation is, according to the Cambridge Dictionary (2020): “a group of people who work together in an organised way for a shared purpose”, for instance a company. This means that employees are as bee as can be: driven by their social instinct they work together with other employees to reach a collective goal. So, if teamwork is such an important element of any job, why are most team members excluded from the hiring process? They are, in the end, the ones that have to collaborate with the new bees.

The answer to this question is actually quite obvious. Doing every job interview with the entire (sub)team would normally already have been a logistic nightmare for your company and a chaotic experience for your candidates. But today, when remote recruitment is the only option, it is even impossible to physically involve the team. Yet, it is tricky to only involve the recruiter and hiring manager. Apart from the collaboration aspect, it is also the team that knows the actual job and its tasks the best and could therefore deliver valuable input in the selection process. Fortunately, the concept of collaborative hiring, also known as team-based hiring, is getting more popular. As mentioned by Vanderbloemen (2016) in Forbes Magzine, the smartest leaders use teams in the interview process, populated by both members above and below the candidate on the organisational chart.

Xpress Analytics in the cammio video recruitment platform

But how can you apply this team-based approach without the logistical hassle and chaotic interview processes, or when it is not possible to meet on-site? Well, this is where technology comes in. Video interview technology to be specific. It allows entire teams to review candidates using an evaluation method selected by HR, giving recruiters and hiring managers a clear overview and average score for every candidate. Whether it is a synchronous or asynchronous video interview, everyone involved has the ability to rate individual answers and to give an overall impression.
But there’s more to collaborative hiring than involving the team in the interview process. Remember that your candidates are also bees (and not jaguars), so they too would like to know with who they are expected to cooperate intensively. Vanderbloemen (2016) again fairly mentions: “The team around you is what makes up your company, and they can be great salespeople to new hires for your company.” A traditional job description, however, is limited to qualifications, responsibilities, objectives of the job and general information such as hours and pay ranges. This does make sense though, as a textual job description isn’t ideal for introducing the team.

So, what could be the solution? Well, again technology. Video vacancy technology this time. With the right tool, HR again remains in charge and has the ability to invite team members to introduce themselves and explain their tasks with video. Having a clear format with a call to action to increase conversion, but no need to do any editing, authentic video impressions are no longer limited to professional producers.

Cammio Stories live in action

Like in many other situations, technology can be, paradoxically, the driver of adding a human touch to a process. In this example, the right tools enable HR professionals to implement a true collaborative hiring method, from attraction and engagement to assessment and selection. Even now, when remote recruitment in the only option.


Remote recruitment for beginners

It’s March 2020 and many recruiters are probably finding themselves in a completely new situation. Schools, restaurants and bars are closing and all over the world people are asked to work from home. As a consequence, most conversations that we usually have face-to-face are now taking place online. While some recruiters might be used to video interviews, for example because they recruit for positions in other countries, this might be the first time that you take on the role of the remote recruiter. We have collected a few tips to guide all first-time remote recruiters.

Consider data privacy

For many people, booting up Skype, Google Hangouts or even a Whatsapp video call can seem like an easy way to start. Those services all allow for easy online communication and interaction via video. At the same time, these online communication tools also come with some important limitations when compared to dedicated video recruitment platforms. Most importantly, they lack a built-in functionality to deal with data privacy laws such as EU-GDPR when being used in recruitment. A video recruitment software is built-for-purpose and observes the highest technical and organisational standards, allowing you to meet candidates all over the world with their explicit consent in a safe and secure environment. If you are not in a position to use such a platform, be aware that data privacy needs to be addressed.

Be a pro on screen

Let’s be honest: Almost everyone I know does not get out of their yoga pants when working from home. No one will ever know what’s going on below your desk, so that’s all good! However, do not get tempted to let other things slide as well. Make sure you are just as well prepared for a video interview, as you would be for any other personal encounter:

  • Getting in front of a camera for the first time might be a little awkward if you’re not used to it. Check out these tips to get over your camera shyness, if the camera makes you nervous.
  • Have the necessary paperwork in front of you (CV, LinkedIn Profile, Job Description, etc).
  • Prepare your script with clearly guided competency-based questions and discuss your game plan with your co-interviewer.
  • Make sure the portion of you that is visible on screen is interview-ready.
  • Everyone who has seen the clip of the reporter whose children came running into his office in the middle of his interview on BBC news, will agree that the background matters too! Positioning yourself close to a wall and being aware of what’s (in)visible behind you are top tips for setting yourself up.
  • Not to forget: be on time! Actually, be early! Compared to a face-to-face interview, a remote interview can sometimes come with a little more variables (eg. connection, audio or webcam connectivity) for candidate and recruiter. Being on time gives you a head start to get your own setup right and then help your candidate towards the virtual interview room without any panic attacks.

Set out your remote recruitment strategy beyond live interviews

It makes sense that as a beginning remote recruiter, you might start off by only moving your job interviews to the virtual world. Yet while you’re at it you might want to consider powering more parts of your employer branding and talent acquisition with video technology. Did you know that for example video vacancies can dramatically increase candidate conversion and that automated video interviews make your pre-selection more efficient, as well as more fun and fair?

Feel free to reach out if you have more questions about remote recruitment with the help of video recruitment technology. We hope you all stay safe and healthy in this crisis and therefore wish you HEALTHY HIRING this time!


7 telling signs you are in dire need of a video recruitment system

Considering a video recruitment system? Well, that makes you and just about everyone else.

According to the COVID-impact survey by Bullhorn 91% of staffing and recruitment companies are investing in and utilising video interviewing technology since the start of the crisis. Yet the use of smart recruitment tech has become a necessity for all companies wanting to have any chance of securing top talent remotely. But how do you know which software to choose? And how do you separate the tools from the toys?

Any trouble identifying the best talent? Loosing candidates before you could make them an offer? Ever considered to set up camp in the office because you still have too much work to do to go home? These are clear signs that you need to be rescued by a video recruitment platform.

Video recruitment? Yes, video recruitment. Enabling businesses to create a more efficient, reliable, and engaging process to better connect with top talent, day in, day out. Check out the below signs to find out if you are in immediate need of a video recruitment system. (Hint: you probably are).

#1. ‘My head is spinning. I’m so busy… Too busy, always. When does it stop?”

Your job seems overwhelming.
Using video interviews in your process allows you to regain valuable hours in your working day. Time you can actually spend with candidates rather than admin in systems. Candidates can be invited remotely to conduct a live (panel) interview, submit a video pitch, or complete an automated interview, without wasting valuable time and resources. This enables you to screen more candidates in less time, and allows hiring managers to easily participate in the selection process at a time and place that is convenient f-or them, further increasing your recruitment efficiency.

#2. “Oh man, ‘Are zoom/Whatsapp/teams/Skype interviews actually compliant with our data security policy?’ has been an action item on my to-do list for months.”

Your processes are not fully adapted to remote hiring.
For many organisations looking to implement video into their hiring process just booting up Zoom, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, Teams or Skype is often an ‘easy’ way to start. They all allow for easy online communication and interaction via video. At the same time, these online communication tools also come with some important limitations when compared to dedicated video recruitment platforms- the most important being data privacy! Generic video conferencing tools do not offer a built-in functionality to deal with data privacy laws such as EU-GDPR when being used in recruitment. A dedicated video recruitment platform is built-for-purpose and observes the highest technical and organisational standards, allowing you to meet candidates all over the world with their explicit consent in a safe and secure environment.

#3. “Not again. Not another mismatch. We just filled this position 6 months ago.”

Your process is being ‘plagued’ by mismatches
Adding a more human quality to the selection process, the use of video interviews can help to reduce the risks of a bad hire and actually start predicting the good hire. Since skills alone are no guarantee for future job success, finding the ‘perfect fit’ goes beyond the assumptions of the CV. Video interviews allow you to go gain valuable insights in a candidate’s motivation, personality and culture-fit earlier in the process – allowing you to make better informed decisions on who should move forward in the process.

#4. “What? Really? That’s too bad. We had just decided to invite you over for an interview?”

You’re losing candidates in the process
Video recruitment offers a great way to enhance your candidate experience and strengthen your employer brand. Providing a strong candidate experience means offering a professional and sophisticated hiring process that keeps your candidates engaged throughout the process. Using video, candidates can easily participate in the process at their own convenience, get the opportunity to properly present themselves, and allows recruiters to connect with candidates in a more meaningful way – preventing candidates from backing out.

#5. “So, let me get this straight – You want me to recruit more people, is less time, with less budget?”

Your recruiting budgets are tightening
Online interviews can help you to streamline your processes and cut down on recruitment cost significantly. An online procedure allows potential matches to conduct their interview at a remote location, which can then be viewed, evaluated, and shared by hiring professionals at their leisure, without wasting valuable time and resources. It takes scheduling, availability issues, and traveling out of the equation completely, which not only results in reduced costs, but also in shorter recruitment cycles.

#6. “Do you want a new colleague, or don’t you? I can’t do this alone, you know!”

You are butting heads with your hiring manager
Building a great relationship with your hiring manager doesn’t happen overnight. However, adding video interviews to your process can help to facilitate a genuine collaborative relationship between both parties. Using video, recruiters are able to gain more insights into their candidates earlier in the process, enabling them to deliver their hiring manager with better potential matches from the beginning. At the same time, hiring managers can easily be involved (and participate) in the selection process, resulting in better hiring decisions.

#7. “One of our main goals is combat unconscious hiring bias – but how can I de-bias my interview process?”

You are struggling with bias and diversity challenges
One of the actions recruiters can take to reduce unconscious biases from their process, is introducing a structured and consistent interview process. Video interviews are an ideal delivery mechanism to provide structure in the interview process. While automated interviews allow you to create a template of video questions to be sent to your candidates, live interviews offer the opportunity to add to the validity by comprising a panel. Scripting your interview questions beforehand ensures that each candidate you interview is answering the exact same questions, and evaluated based on the same criteria – creating a structure that helps you select better candidates with a significantly higher predictability.

Your turn!

If one or more of the above scenarios hit a little close to home, it’s time to take the next step and start looking for a video recruitment platform for your business. Don’t ignore the signs – immerse yourself in the possibilities and see what video recruitment could do for your business.


What Happens to Employee Recognition When Your Team Goes Remote?

When you’re a few desks down, congratulating a colleague for a job well done is as easy as walking a couple steps and saying “nice job!” Congratulating that colleague looks a little different when a few feet becomes a few miles (or more) between remote employees.

That’s the situation many teams find themselves in today as a result of COVID-19 and the protective social distancing measures it’s brought with it. In this newly remote situation, normally embedded social norms have disappeared — things like walking to your colleague’s desk, for example.

Small as they may seem, the cumulative impact of these little gestures of recognition affects your team’s morale, focus, productivity, and more. That means you need to find ways to achieve the same outcomes in more innovative ways when your team starts working remotely.

The recommendations shared in this article are inspired by the workforce’s recent shift en masse to remote work due to COVID-19, but the best practices are not crisis-specific. These strategies for how to practice effective virtual employee recognition are applicable in any situation involving remote work.

Why Employee Recognition Matters

In general, employee recognition is a highly recommended management practice because it comes with a slew of associated benefits. Before delving into the best practices for virtual employee recognition, we’ll share some of the most compelling reasons for companies to be intentional about making sure their team members feel appreciated:

Keep in mind, these are benefits that arise during normal times. Add on the fact that many employees find themselves unexpectedly in the throes of remote work and regular recognition becomes a practice that not only adds value to your organization, but mitigates loss.

The low morale, struggle to focus, and feelings of isolation all known to be associated with remote work can also be combated by employee recognition. That means now more than ever it’s critical to make sure your program is effective. Here are 5 of the most effective strategies for effective virtual recognition that you should keep in mind as you adjust to this new situation.

5 Strategies for Effective Virtual Employee Recognition

1. Keep It Simple

Because COVID-19 has thrown the world on its head, you can count on the fact that your team is dealing with all manner of disruptions to their day-to-day routine.

Whether it’s learning to balance a suddenly integrated family and work-life or adopting new precautionary procedures due to the threats associated with COVID-19, employees are probably near the limit in terms of patience and cognitive capacity.

If you implement an employee recognition program that feels like one more thing to keep track of in the never-ending list of changes employees must juggle, it might be received less than warmly. On the flip side, if you design your program right, it can be a fantastic tool for actually recognizing all that extra work they’re doing now — not an addition to it.

The key here is to make sure that sending recognition is no harder than writing a text or tweeting a tweet. To make this possible, you’ll need the right platform.

Look for something with plenty of room for customization and granular analytics on the backend, with a clear cut, easy-to-use UI. Not only will your employees have the best attitude about the program if you do this, it also makes them more inclined to participate meaning you get the most value out of what you invested in the program.

2. Have Managers Take the Lead

Newly remote employees tend to develop a sometimes unhealthy focus on proving their productivity under the adjusted circumstances — and even more so now that companies are enduring mass layoffs.

As a result, it’s possible an employee recognition program could be perceived as trivial, and might be mentally bucketed into the category of ‘things that distract from real work.’

Of course, this is a misconception—recognition takes hardly any time at all, and the benefits it brings make it far from a detriment to your company. So how do you send the message to employees that your recognition program is more than just a nice-to-have in a way that inspires them to participate? Have senior executives lead by example.

Whether you’re launching your employee recognition program for the first time or revamping it to keep your team engaged through COVID-19, you should encourage managers to take the lead.

Make it easy by setting up custom recognition occasions and eliminating manual tracking. If senior executives regularly recognize their peers, other employees will soon follow suit.

3. Recognize Regularly

For recognition to be maximally effective, it can’t be an every-now-and-then kind of thing. That’s the cultural equivalent of lifting weights once or twice a month and expecting to see significant changes to your fitness. In both cases, minimal effort delivers minimal returns.

The point of supporting employee recognition at a time like this is to keep company culture alive through genuine moments of peer-to-peer appreciation, delivered virtually.

The practice literally has the potential to revolutionize your team’s day-to-day working experience, but in order to exercise its impact at scale it needs to happen regularly. 

The standard recommendation is one recognition per employee per month. This keeps your recognition feed active enough for employees to stay engaged, and helps everyone feel included without setting unrealistic expectations around the frequency of recognition.

Once again, having a streamlined platform and executives who lead by example is critical to hitting this benchmark successfully.

4. Get (Virtual) Face Time

In-person face time might no longer be an option but that doesn’t mean you can’t get any face time at all. Most of these recommendations are centered around ways to practice employee recognition via a publicly accessible online feed, but your program will be most powerful if it’s punctuated with periods of face-to-face appreciation.

As long as the world continues to social distance, this will (of course) have to happen through screens, but even so, letting employees hear their colleagues clapping for them and see their smiling faces can lead to a significant spike in morale.

You can bring this recommendation to life by scheduling a virtual awards ceremony, or create a weekly tradition where outstanding performers get shoutouts from their peers.

It doesn’t even need to be its own separate meeting — face-to-face recognition can also be a practice you tack on to something in an existing recurring meeting, like monthly team check-ins. It only takes a couple minutes, but will elevate your recognition program by reminding employees that their colleagues are more than usernames and slack statuses.

5. Tie It Back to Your Culture

Finally, recall that a major goal of launching or revamping an employee recognition program at a time like this is to ease feelings of loss that employees might experience as a result of not coming into the office.

Although your company culture might have been alive and well in-person, it’s more challenging to inspire the same feeling when everyone is in a different location — but that doesn’t mean you can’t inspire it at all.

An employee recognition program that ties back to company core values is one of the best ways to do this. Your core values are (or should be) the central tenets of your company culture. As you adjust to remote work, be sure to recognize employees who continue to live up to them even in a virtual context.

For example, say you have a core value of transparency and one employee readily admits to a challenge they recently struggled with. You should recognize them for this show of transparency. This communicates that even when you aren’t in the same office, your company culture and the values that define it persist.

Look for an employee recognition program that allows you to set custom recognition occasions, and set one for each core value your company has. This way, you make it easy for employees to keep core values top of mind whenever they recognize a colleague, which in turn furthers the objective of keeping culture alive virtually.

Final Thoughts

Implementing these strategies is more than a short-term investment; they’re best practices for a flexible workplace that will continue to serve your company long after the peak of the pandemic has passed.

These are high-level best practices that you should keep in mind for an employee recognition program under any circumstances — they’re just especially important now, as employees need active, intentional recognition more than ever. Follow these recommendations and you’ll set your company down the path to having a powerful, cohesive culture that transcends physical distance.


Top Corporate Social Responsibility Trends in 2020

According to a recent report from Aflac on corporate social responsibility (CSR) report from Aflac, consumers, workers, and investors are putting increasing pressure on American corporations to make meaningful contributions to the greater social good.

The report finds that 77% of consumers say they would be more willing to purchase a company’s products or services if the company demonstrates a commitment to addressing social, economic and environmental issues; 73% of investors agreed.

Furthermore, nearly half of respondents said companies need to “make the world a better place,” compared to only 37% who claimed it’s more important for businesses to make money for shareholders.

Younger investors and consumers report the strongest belief in corporate responsibility. A 2019 survey of millennials conducted by Deloitte found that climate change and environmental protection sit at the top of their concerns. Corporate responsibility, in other words, is not only the ethical thing to do. It’s also an expectation of most workers, investors, and consumers.

Many corporations have firmly committed to making socially responsible business practices a hallmark of their brand. In November of last year, Newsweek released a report entitled America’s Most Responsible Companies 2020, which is arguably the most rigorous examination of corporate responsibility efforts to date.

The study consisted of a four-phase process that began with over 2,000 corporations and included over 6,500 surveys. CSR was measured in three areas:

  1. Environmental
  2. Social
  3. Corporate Governance

Based on their analysis, Newsweek ranked America’s top 10 most responsible companies as follows:

  1. HP
  2. Cisco
  3. Dell
  4. Intel
  5. Microsoft
  7. Citigroup
  8. General Mills
  9. Comerica
  10. Jones Lang LaSalle

How do American firms stack up to their international counterparts? In 2019, The Reputation Institute, a reputation measurement and management services firm, carried out a similar study and ranked the world’s most reputable companies for CSR.

Their methodology included surveying around 230,000 individuals across 15 countries and their analysis focused on the reputation—i.e. which firms have the best reputation, when it comes to CSR–of each company.

Their top ten are:

  1. Lego
  2. Natura
  3. Microsoft
  4. Google
  5. Disney
  6. Bosch
  7. Havaianas
  8. Intel
  9. Lavazza
  10. Ikea

Any one of these organizations offers a great model for how businesses can meaningfully commit to making CSR essential to their operations.

For LEGO, which sits atop the Reputation Institute’s list, children, the environment, and local communities comprise the three pillars of their CSR efforts. In response to earning the top ranking, Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group, commented: “Everyday, employees at the LEGO Group are empowered to make decisions to do what’s right for children, our fans, our partners, the environment and our local communities.”

Their RE:CODE events, for example, use LEGO education products to “host hundreds of children who participate in activities that deepen learning on real-world themes while helping to boost 21st-century skills.

The events are fun learning environments that steer children toward STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) subjects while inventing, creating and coding robotic models that solve real issues, mostly around sustainability.”

Lavazza puts sustainability at the center of their CSR efforts. According to their CEO, Davide Riboni, “At Lavazza, we are committed to the development of a sustainable future and are charting a course to provide actionable solutions that tackle the sustainability challenges of today while also looking ahead toward the challenges that may be present tomorrow.”

Lavazza’s sustainability efforts are enacted by the Lavazza Foundation through projects like the Farmer Field School the company established in Vietnam in order to improve irrigation, reduce emissions, and help manage climate change.

Social Responsibility at SmartRecruiters—Reverse Recruiting

Here at SmartRecruiters, we’ve made Reverse Recruiting the foundation of our CSR efforts. Introduced Last February by our CEO, Jerome Ternynck, Reverse Recruiting connects overlooked candidates to jobs at scale. In particular, the initiative offers assistance to immigrants, veterans, formerly incarcerated folks, parents, caregivers returning to the workforce, seniors, and other discouraged workers who’ve struggled to find work. 

Good ideas are only effective if they’re followed by a solid plan to achieve desired results. So we put our Reverse Recruiting strategy into action by holding pilot sessions last spring in locations throughout the world—San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, Spokane and Krakow—aimed at helping workers who have struggled to find work improve interview skills, polish resumes, and expand their networks.

The events were met with great success, which prompted us to hold our inaugural International Reverse Recruiting day last October, in tandem with partner companies and nonprofits, in addition to two large scale sessions at our Hiring Success conferences in Amsterdam and San Francisco.

The following video, detailing the story of one Reverse Recruiting participant from The Netherlands, is just one encouraging and moving example of how transformative the initiative can be.

Ultimately, we believe that by helping discouraged workers improve their chances of getting hired, we’re contributing to far more than their economic well-being. A recent Gallup report shows that the unemployed suffer disproportionately from depression. Unemployed Americans are significantly more likely to suffer from depression than those with full time jobs.

Nearly half of respondents reported feelings of shame and embarrassment and social isolation. The impacts of depression persist beyond a person’s unemployment period. Workers with histories of depression miss roughly 68 million more work days per year than those who do not, which amounts to an estimated 423 billion in company losses.

Economic health and mental health, in other words, are inextricably yoked to one another. By doing our best to provide ways to help keep workers from feeling discouraged, we believe we’re positively impacting both areas and creating a “win win” situation for workers and our company.

Scaling CSR Initiatives During an Economic Downturn

Economic downturns create challenges for businesses to remain committed to their CSR efforts. Declining revenue, fewer jobs, market volatility, and so forth are all reasons organizations may be tempted to roll back their CSR efforts and reallocate those resources elsewhere.

However, trying economic times are when companies need to find ways to strengthen their commitment to CSR, rather than weaken it. If, after all, your firm believes in contributing to the greater societal good, those efforts are rarely more needed than during a recession. Hard times are when your business should make good on its commitments.

An economic decline is the time to innovate your CSR efforts in order to find new ways to reach your CSR goals and tailor them to address the specific impacts of a given crisis.

A recent article in Harvard Business Review outlines some very creative and highly impactful ways organizations can address the current crisis. The author, Mark R. Kramer, a member of the Harvard Business School faculty, details strategies businesses can help out both inside and outside their organization. Some of Kramer’s suggestions are specific to our current health pandemic. Nonetheless, many apply in any economic crisis. They include:


  • Maintain wages, even at less than full pay. This not only helps your workforce pay their bills, it also reduces future rehiring costs.
  • Lend money to employees. Credit cards, payday loans, etc. have interest rates in excess of 20%. Your employees may never be able to recover from that. Businesses, on the other hand, can borrow money at 2-3% interest. Issuing low or no interest loans can help your employees address short term financial needs without ruining their long term financial health.
  • Cover healthcare costs for all employees without health coverage. Very few will ultimately need it, but without your help those who will may have to make the decision between medical treatment and bankruptcy.

Health Care Providers

Our current health pandemic has created a critical shortage of essential healthcare equipment throughout the globe. Kramer posits that companies can and should purchase desperately needed health equipment and ship it to where it is most needed.

Now, this suggestion is specific to the current public health crisis. However, it’s an excellent model of how an organization can adapt their CSR efforts to most effectively address a particular crisis. Future crises may not look like the current one, but they almost certainly will create a need for supplies, resources, equipment, etc.


Community-oriented efforts provide opportunities to think of ways to help out in your company’s own backyard. What specific impacts are a given crisis having on the communities in which you do business, where your employees live, etc.? How can your organization help address those issues?

As Kramer concludes, “No one expects or requires major companies to take extraordinary measures to help their many stakeholders, but the bold and creative steps they take today to deliver immediate assistance will define their legacy tomorrow.”

A strong corporate responsibility strategy requires a blending of bedrock values with adaptable practices. What commitments are in place to address the needs created by any economic crisis? In what ways are you set up to respond dynamically to the particularities of each crisis?


As more and more consumers, investors, and forward-thinking corporations place emphasis on CSR, it will become increasingly important for other companies to follow suit. For these initiatives to be successful, they must be founded in sincerity and demonstrate a genuine commitment to the greater good—individually, locally, and globally. In order to pass the test of time, they must uphold this precept unconditionally, in both good times and bad.


How to Build the Best Business Case for a New ATS

When it comes to cost savings, few software applications can compete with a modern, sophisticated applicant tracking system. Demonstrating those savings in the form of a sound business case is half the battle.

Economic downturns pose unique challenges to Talent Acquisition. Recent research from the Fosway Group, Europe’s pre-eminent HR Analyst Group, makes clear that our current crisis has exacerbated every organizations’ ability to find candidates with key skills and has highlighted the need for companies to boost agility. The Fosway Group’s study also found that increasing investment in recruiting in the coming years is a top priority for businesses.

Add to this that a 2017 McKinsey survey found that 82% of Fortune 500 executives don’t believe their companies recruit highly talented people.

Therefore, a plan to transform your TA platform needs to enhance hiring success within the constraints of given economic challenges.

What does hiring success actually mean? Many company’s use metrics like time-to-fill and cost-of-hire to measure hiring success. But a lower cost-of-hire and shorter time-to-fill just means cheaper and faster. Cheaper and faster does not account for quality. Therefore, time-to-fill and cost-of-hire are not adequate indicators of hiring success. We define Hiring Success as the ability to hire amazing talent on demand.

In our recent webinar, “Building the business case for your TA Transformation,” SmartRecruiters’ CEO Jerome Ternynyck urged organizations to “step up” their TA efforts in response to a recession. In our current downturn, there are two important ways to do so.

  1. In the wake of layoffs, transform your TA team into an outplacement agency.
    • AirBnB is a commendable model, in this regard.
  2. Improve internal mobility—enhance transparency, fluidity, communication, etc.
    • Send a clear message to your employees about how you are enhancing your commitments to internal mobility.
      • For example, “We will not hire externally for x period of time. We are instead stepping up our efforts to improve internal mobility by x, y and z.

Building Your Case

In an economic crisis businesses face two TA challenges:

  1. How to speed up innovation
  2. How to control the associated costs of innovation

No company has unlimited resources to allocate to innovating their TA platform. In most cases, firms have to innovate TA with less budget during an economic slump. Cost-neutrality is a best case scenario and an increased TA budget is highly unlikely. Firms therefore have to identify ways, in other words, to do more with less.

So, let’s be honest: Your CFO is unlikely to approve of a business plan to transform your TA infrastructure unless you can demonstrate hard cost savings. Simply enhancing candidate experience isn’t good enough.

The best way to improve your TA platform and lower costs is to focus on your applicant tracking system (ATS).

In many instances, ATS’s are outdated and those used by companies often resemble the Frankenstein monster—multiple programs acquired over an extended period of time piled on top of each other in a patchwork fashion. TA teams therefore have difficulty sourcing candidates because these systems don’t work effectively. This can deter hiring managers from using the ATS altogether, creating further inefficiency in the hiring process.

There are three potential areas for ATS improvement and savings and a modern TA suite provides value in each of these:

  1. Technology: Consider moving to a single, pre-integrated system that integrates everything from ATS, CRM, marketing, job integration and so forth.
  2. Sourcing: Reduce your reliance on costly external agencies and find ways to standardize and streamline your hiring process.
  3. People: With more efficient technology and sourcing operations, assess whether you can reduce the size of your TA team.

Your proposal to transform your TA process should clearly detail how your plan offers hard savings in each of these areas. Take a “spreadsheet approach” that shows both short-term and long-term cost savings (or cost-neutrality, at the least).

You can download a free ATS ROI calculator here. Detailed instructions on how to use it can be found in the video below with guidance from Phil Strazzulla, founder and CEO of SelectSoftware Reviews.

Your plan should also offer a timeline for this transformation. How long will it take to fully modernize the TA platform? What are the phases of this transformation, and so forth?

Lastly, don’t forget quality. How will your plan improve the quality of applicants, enhance candidate experience and increase velocity?


Improving your TA operations is essential in any circumstance, but an economic downturn places both added urgency and challenges to doing so. Modernizing your TA platform is an essential way to actualize the resiliency necessary to keep your business running during challenging financial times.

Interested in upgrading your ATS? Let’s talk! For a limited time, SmartRecruiters is offering eligible companies a below-market-rate offer for a complete and flexible talent acquisition platform that is easy to use and can help drastically reduce software and service costs