Tutorial: Tags

Welcome to the JobScore Tags Tutorial. Tags are designed to make the pre-interview sourcing phase and post-interview candidate relationship management phase easier. While tags are very powerful, they can also be misapplied. Before we jump into the tutorial, here are a few disclaimers about common tag pitfalls:

Tag Disclaimers

Tags vs. Workflow Stages

JobScore is first and foremost a system to drive candidates through a structured review, screening, interviewing and hiring process for specific job opportunities. This process is managed through your company's candidate workflow (learn more here) and templates (learn more here). All of the reports in JobScore are based on setting up and tuning your candidate workflow stages like "screening," "interviewing," "offer," and "hired." We strongly encourage you to invest time in your candidate workflow and templates before you start using tags. Please don't try to use tags to keep track of your standard candidate workflow and pipeline for specific jobs, that's what candidate workflow stages are for.

Tags vs. Ratings

JobScore includes the ability to collect structured ratings when your team adds candidate feedback. Structured ratings include a rating criteria (e.g communication skills) the rating value (thumbs up!) and the user who entered the rating (Stevie). When you use ratings you get a pre-built set of reports to track and analyze how your team is assessing candidates. This is simply not possible with tags. Tags are not meant to be used to collect feedback from your team or rate candidates on specific skills as part of the interviewing process.

Tags vs. Disposition Codes

Disposition codes are a JobScore feature that extends your candidate workflow to capture the reason candidates aren't a fit for a specific job. For compliance reasons disposition codes are hidden to most users after they are entered. Disposition codes are baked-in to a few reports, including the disposition report and the applicant log detail compliance report which is used for United States OFCCP compliance and auditing purposes. Tags are not meant to be used to capture the reason that candidates don't work out for a specific job. Using them in this way is likely to cause problems for your organization over time.

Tags vs. Sources

JobScore auto-magically pre-populates the source of each candidate that applies for your jobs as well as those that you add directly into your account. JobScore includes a pre-built source quality report that shows how many screens, interviews, offers, and hires are generated from each source. Every candidate has it's own unique source and you can customize the list of sources in your account here. Tags are not meant to be used to track the source of candidates and you won't be able to get an accurate source of hire and source effectiveness reporting should you use them this way.

Tag Basics

  • Sometimes referred to as "labels" or "folders," tags are a flexible way to sort and manage candidates. Tags allow you to group and classify candidates independent of which job you are considering them for.
  • There is only one set of tags in your company's JobScore account. All tags are global and visible / usable by everyone in your company who has access to JobScore.
  • Anyone can create new tags and add/remove tags from candidates. Only users with administrative privileges can delete tags, edit tag names and merge tags together on the tags admin console page.
  • Tags are their own organization system. Tags are completely independent of tasks, notes, job assignments and all other candidate data.
  • Tags can only be assigned to candidates. You can't assign tags to jobs, users, or anything else in JobScore.

7 Ways to Use Tags

  1. Category Tags

    The most common use of tags is to categorize a candidate so you can easily look them up and find them later - most frequently when you open up new roles and need to build a pipeline. Developing the habit of categorizing candidates will make it so that you aren't starting from scratch when you open up new jobs. Categorization often happens when you decline candidates - when you determine that they aren't a good fit for a role you have open right now, but might be good for a role your company will open in the future. Common ways to categorize candidates include:

    By location: "china" "scranton" "foz do iguacu"
    By job function: "designer" "engineer" "recruiter"
    By skill: "photoshop" "iOS" "QuickBooks"
    By availability: "May 2012" "Q4 2013" "2016 intern"

  2. Sourcing Project Tags

    Tags are a great way to manage the research phase of recruiting, commonly known as "sourcing." To use tags for sourcing, when you identify a candidate, add them to JobScore and tag them instead of assigning them to a job. Try adding a tag "DevOps" instead of assigning them to an open job called "DevOps Engineer." Contact the candidate. If you reach them and they express interest in an open job, then assign them to the job so they show up in pipeline reports. Typically you'd create a sourcing project tag for each specific research project you start and then tag every lead, similar to how you might put a series of resumes in a folder. Try not to delete sourcing project tags - that way you can go back and revisit your research later if you need to.

    Examples: "devops 2014" "Q3 interns" "rhodes scholars""

  3. Outreach Tags

    Adding a sourcing project tag to a candidate is really just the first step. After you identify a prospect, you need to start recruiting them! Outreach tags are used to keep track of whether you've contacted a candidate to generate interest -- and how often. For instance, when you send the first email to a prospect you might add the "email1" or "voicemail1" tag. If they don't respond and you email them again, add the "email2" or "voicmail2" tag.

    Examples: "email1"  "email2"  "email3"  "voicemail1"  "voicemail2"

  4. Workflow Tags

    Workflow tags can be used to manage exceptions or modifications to your standard candidate workflow. For instance, if you had a unique step for a specific role where you ask candidates to complete an IQ test, create a "sent IQ test" tag. When you send out the test using an email template add the tag. The tag means you've sent the test to but haven't heard back from yet. When a candidate returns the test, simply delete the tag.

    Examples: "sent dev test"  "requested portfolio"

  5. Quality Tags

    Sometimes you meet someone who you think is exceptional, but who isn't a good fit for any job you are trying to fill right now. Adding quality tags to candidates makes it easy to keep track of these great people you know you'll want to hire in the future. Quality tags that keep track of great people are a great way to build lists for email campaigns designed to keep important prospects warm and interested in your company.

    Examples: "rockstar" "quarterly newsletter"

  6. Event Tags

    Events are a great way to drum up interest in your company and are an excellent way for prospective hires to get to know your team. You can use event tags to keep track of who you want to invite to events, but they are also useful to keep track of who you invited and who attended events or career fairs. By using a set of event tags, you can avoid creating and maintaining a set of spreadsheets outside of JobScore. You can add and remove event tags to track who you want to invite, who you've invited, who confirmed and who actually came to each event.

    Examples: "holiday party" "holiday party - invited" "holiday party - confirmed" "holiday party - attended" "summer bbq 2015" "hackathon14"

  7. Flag Tags

    Sometimes you have a history with a candidate that your colleagues need to know about. Flag tags signal your team that there's something up with an individual and that they should pause before engaging with them. Flag tags aren't always bad, but they definitely signal that someone should think twice and ask around before reaching out and contacting someone.

    Examples: "warning - red flag"  "warning - yellow flag"  "caution - ask mary"

Do you have a unique and useful way of using tags? Please email us at support@jobscore.com so we can share it in this tutorial.

Tag Tips & Tricks

Multi-tier tag conventions

If you anticipate using tags actively we recommend pre-pending your tags with their tag type. For example, if you had a skill tag for java you'd use "skill - java" instead of "java" or "event - holiday party" instead of "holiday party". As your list of tags gets longer, this makes it easier to click-to-type to find tags from a longer lists. If it feels like your list of tags is getting out of hand and you don't know which way is up anymore, admins can edit, merge and delete tags on this page - it's never too late to edit your list and add multi-tier conventions to tags over time.

Download lists of tagged candidates and send them email

JobScore makes it easy to download information about candidates you've grouped together using tags and send them an email using any email client. For instance, you could tag people you want to invite to your holiday party with a "holiday" tag. When it's time to send out the invites just click the tag, download the list. Open up the downloaded .csv spreadsheet, select all of the email addresses and cut and paste them into your email program. When you send out your email blast make sure to add bcc@inbox.jobscore.com to the bcc line in your email client - this way a copy of your email message will be added to each candidate's record in JobScore. (learn more about email inboxes here) Monthly or quarterly newsletters are a great way to keep candidates warm and engaged over time.

Per-user tags, if you must

In our experience, it's best to create tags that everyone on your team understands and uses collaboratively, so we don't recommend creating tags that are only used by one specific user. However, if your team members insist on having personal tags, we recommend that you ask them to pre-pend their initials on their tags. For instance, if the user Buster Wegley wanted a bespoke tag for QuickBooks his tag would be "bw - QuickBooks" instead of just "QuickBooks." Again, we do not recommend using tags in this way as things can get unwieldy and confusing very quickly!

Browser bookmarks are your friends

Have lists you want to use all the time? Click on a tag to see your list of tagged candidates and use your browser to bookmark the page. All tag list pages in JobScore are bookmarkable. When you make the bookmark, we recommend writing a longer description of the list is and what you are supposed to do with the candidates in the list... For instance, if your tag is "email 2" for you on the "DevOps" tagged research project the name of your bookmark might be "DevOps: Sent 2nd outreach email." If you use tags extensively for sourcing projects these bookmarked lists can end up becoming the primary way you navigate through JobScore.

Most modern browsers include the ability to create folders, put bookmarks into them and re-name and re-sequence them. This combination of tags in JobScore + Bookmarks/folders in your browser allows you to create your own mini-navigation for sourcing activity so you can easily build lists, pop through your different projects and quickly get a lot done.

Tips on rolling-out and managing tags

To kickoff or not to kickoff

If your company already uses tags in other systems (sales in your CRM, engineering in product planning, support in your ticket system) it's likely each team will have opinions about how they want to use tags. Tags in JobScore are deliberately flexible and universal to everyone in the company and are not customize-able for individual people or groups.

There are two approaches you can take to rolling out tags - let everyone use tags on their own for a while and see what happens -- or very deliberately have kickoff meeting with your team about how they want to use tags and establish some guidelines. If this is your first time working with tags, perhaps suggest a few guidelines, get everyone's buy-in, then review and update tags as your team gets more experience using them.

The tag spreadsheet:

Guidelines usually end up taking the form of a tags spreadsheet with two columns, one for the tag name and a second column that describes what the tag means and how it's intended to be used. Almost every company that widely uses tags ends up with a document that outlines the tagging process. People will come and go & your spreadsheet will help new folks get up to speed quickly and help them keep from reinventing the wheel.

If you want to have more control over tag usage and roll-out, a good way to do it is to have a primary owner who monitors and updates the tag spreadsheet as tags are added and your usage changes. This usually happens monthly in the beginning and eventually slows down to quarterly or even yearly as your usage stabilizes. The person who owns the spreadsheet will eventually likely be described as the "tag sherpa" or the less flattering but potentially more accurate "tag police." Despite the moniker, helping the team stay organized & use tags pays big dividends over time for your talent acquisition efforts.

Hosting a tag cleanup meeting

If you choose to let things happen organically, after a month or two it's likely you'll have a lot of overlapping and similar tags. People will have questions about which tags to use, and new hires who start using JobScore might think the inmates are running the asylum. If you're getting a lot of questions, it's probably time to clean up your tags.

Editing and deleting tags that users have already become accustomed to can be a challenge... Here are a few pointers on how to get things framed correctly so you can clean up your tags and help your recruiting process humming:

  1. Start by scheduling 8 minute one-on-one interviews with the people on your team who actively use tags. Consider doing these meetings standing up so they go fast and have lots of energy.  Create a copy of your tags spreadsheet that you can edit it for each interview.
  2. Start each meeting by explaining hat you've been put in charge of updating and changing all the tags in JobScore. Explain that the goal is for tags to be universal and collaborative and how ultimately this will mean less work for everyone because the entire team will understand what each tag means and they can be reliably used by everyone.
  3. Pull up a copy of the full list of tags on your computer (the tag spreadsheet you created for this 1on1). Have them call out each tag they recognize as their own and document what the tag means and how they use it. The number of candidates who have a given tag is shown on the Admin > Tags page. If the list is really long, focus on the most widely used tags first.
  4. Ask them if there are tags they've put in that aren't frequently used that they can delete. Deleting is good.
  5. Ask them how they think tags should be used by other team members.
  6. After all of your 1on1 interviews are completed, compile the raw data from all of your different spreadsheets into one "master" one with the best definitions you can. In the new master spreadsheet create two new columns called 'New Name' and 'New Definition'. Add the new tag names and updated definitions that you feel make sense while doing your darndest to honor the spirit of what people currently use. Sometimes you'll want to merge tags which means you'll have values repeated more than once in the "new name" and "new definition" cells on multiple rows.
  7. Schedule a follow up meeting for everyone who cares about tags. Bring a flak jacket to the meeting and open up the spreadsheet. Duck. Consider sending the spreadsheet to all attendees in advance for them to review and come to the meeting with notes. You may even want to ask everyone to read this tutorial to keep things civil and on track.
  8. After some debate, try to build a consensus about what tags you are going to keep and what they mean, likely sharing the spreadsheet so everyone can see it and udpate it in real time as decisions are made.
  9. Before you wrap up make sure to agree on a timeline when you are going to review the tags spreadsheet again. A few months will likely feel right.
  10. After you build consensus go ahead and edit, merge and delete tags on this page in JobScore until they match your spreadsheet. By the way, the tag sherpa will need to have admin rights in JobScore to be able to edit, merge and delete tags.

Include tags in JobScore training for new employees

If you are the type of company that wants to maintain a "clean" set of tags, we recommend incorporating a review of your tag spreadsheet as part of how you train new team members to use JobScore. This way you'll promote an ongoing understanding of what tags mean and how tags are used by everyone involved in the hiring process.