Humans of HR: Multiple Position Recruiting

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What do you do if you're inundated with applicants, both qualified and unqualified, when you post a job opening? In part two of our interview series featuring Bonita Sonderby, HR director for Visit Denver, we get her insight about multiple position recruiting and how to make an impact on every applicant.

How Often Do You Recruit for Multiple Positions?

About 50 percent of the time when I have one position open, I have a second position open, although the second position is a lot of the time a part-time position for one of our information centers. I've never had more than two at the same time, and rarely do I have multiple key leadership positions open at the same time.

What Are Your Recruiting Challenges?

I like to respond to people individually because we're an organization that is front-facing in the community. My biggest challenge is finding the time to respond to people and indicating alternatives for them that they may want to look at if they're really trying to get into this industry.

So You Aim For a Pretty Personal Experience for the Applicant?

We're sensitive to that because of our position in the community. We have the mayor, the city council, big business leaders in the city and our board interacting with us all the time. It's important that we maintain a professional and open communicative style. To me, it doesn't matter if someone's a tourist, a conventioneer or someone who's applied for a job, they're all treated with the utmost respect and provided whatever support we can give.

Have You Had Any Feedback?

When it comes to people who have been rejected for an opening, I receive a lot of email responses with appreciation for communicating with them and offering suggestions.

The other thing we see a lot of is the candidates who we interview — from a phone to a personal interview —even though they're not selected, we always get positive responses about how welcoming and engaging everybody was in the process.

To me, it's good that they felt it was a personal experience versus just going through routine steps.

What Advice Do You Have for HR Leaders Handling Multiple Position Recruiting?

Pay attention to the skills you're looking for in each position and keep your eyes on whether an applicant is better suited for another opening — whether it's something you currently have or know will be available. The only way to do that is to immerse yourself in candidates and resumes.

I've had situations where I've had two positions open and a person applied for one of them but was far better suited for the other. Well, they actually got the other job because of me thinking, "Wait, they'd be better over here." So I communicated with them and said, "You know, we have these positions open, are you okay with going for the other position? I think you'd be better suited there."

You have to pay attention when you're doing multiples, because sometimes they all get jumbled together. I keep very detailed records of skills and individuals and how they've responded to internal questions in our integrated talent platform. That's how I track and determine whether someone may be a better fit elsewhere.

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