Monthly Archives: September 2013

Make Your Job Posting Count

Make the most out of your time, effort and money while ensuring that you will find the best candidate for your position.  These simple tips will help you find the perfect candidate for your jobs:

  1. Use common titles.  While many companies are coming up with creative and fun titles for their employees, the job posting isn’t the place to implement this.  Use clear and concise titles to show specific functions of the position.  For instance use the title Sales Associate as opposed to the futuristic possibility of Retail Jedi.
  2. Have clear and detailed job postings.  Use easy to understand language to write your job postings, but make it exciting and enticing.  Break up the text with bullet points.  Use underlining, bold type and italics to highlight the most important aspects of the job.
  3. Use keywords in your postings.  Be sure to utilize as many keywords as possible that relate to the position for search engines to use.  For instance, if you were posting an elementary school science teaching position some keywords would be:  education, classroom, K-12, curriculum, and science.
  4. Set-up alerts to be notified when a potential candidate uploads a resume with the skill set you are interested in.  Be proactive and contact these applicants if they appear that they will be a good fit for your company and position.
  5. Share your job postings on your social media sites and invite your fans to share them.  The more you spread the news the more likely you will be to find multiple good candidates to choose from.

Remember, it is all about informing possible candidates and standing out from the masses.

Tips to Hiring and Retaining Employees

A company relies on employees to be contributing to a profitable bottom line.  While some employees will have a significant impact, others may be smaller, or at least less noticeable, but all of them are important.  Recruitment and employee retention can benefit a company, providing an edge if done properly and strategically.  Here are some helpful suggestions to help attract and retain the best employees.

  1. Always be Recruiting:  Have a good sense of the talent that will best benefit your company, and always be on the lookout for a person that will be able to advance your company.  Even if there are no current openings, you never know when something will come open, or growth will happen.
  2. Build a Standardized Hiring Process:  Don’t count on your conversational skills to choose between candidates. At a basic level, your standardized hiring process should include criteria-based screening of an adequate number of candidates, a background check, standardized assessments and structured interviews.
  3. Make your Job Post Matter:  You should tell candidates about what your company does and stands for. Include your mission statement. Make clear what your expectations are, from the start. You want potential employees to proactively identify with what you’re all about–before they even submit an application.
  4. Interview Multiple Applicants:  Commit to meeting and interviewing a specific number of people, don’t hire the first person you like.  You never know if the next person will be a better fit for the company.
  5. Ask Probing Questions:  Use the interview to find out an applicant’s attitude, energy level, life goals, ability to take on responsibility, track record, and ability to work with the flow of your organization and your work culture.
  6. Check References:  Often we get too busy and assume that we won’t get a thorough reference regardless, but take the time to try.  You may find out enough to narrow down your choices.
  7. Train your New Hire: Recruitment doesn’t end with the offer letter. You’ve got to give new people the tools to do the job well.
  8. Keep Expectations Clear:  From day one make sure that employees understand what is expected of them, how you will measure it and what the benefits are for achieving their goals.
  9. Offer Compensation:  Offer talent an attractive compensation.  Be fair and recognize effort by rewarding with benefits or salary.
  10. Continue Development of Employees:  There is so much potential that frequently goes underutilized in organizations, offer employees feedback, coaching, cross training and opportunities for advancement.

You are sure to reduce your turnover and increase proper hiring by utilizing these tips!

What Interviewers Wish They Could Tell Every Job Candidate

by Jeff Haden

In the best interviews, job candidates say a lot and interviewers very little – after all, the interview is about the candidate, not the interviewer.

But there are a few things interviewers would like to tell job candidates well before the interview starts.

1. I want you to be likeable.

Obvious? Sure, but also critical. I want to work with people I like and who in turn like me.

So: I want you to smile. I want you to make eye contact, sit forward in your chair, and be enthusiastic. The employer-employee relationship truly is a relationship — and that relationship starts with the interview (if not before.)

A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond. You may have solid qualifications, but if I don’t think I’ll enjoy working with you, I’m probably not going to hire you.

2. I don’t want you to immediately say you want the job.

Oh, I do want you to want the job — but not before you really know what the job entails. I may need you to work 60-hour weeks, or travel 80% of the time, or report to someone with less experience than you… so sit tight for a bit.

No matter how much research you’ve done, you can’t know you want the job until you know everything possible about the job.

3. I want you to stand out….

A sad truth of interviewing is that later I often don’t recall, unless I refer to my notes, a significant amount about some of the candidates. (Unfair? Sure. Reality? Absolutely.)

The more people I interview for a job and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely I am to remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.

So when I meet with staff to discuss potential candidates I might initially refer to someone as, “the guy with the bizarre stainless steel briefcase,” or “the woman who does triathlons,” or “the gentleman who grew up in Lichtenstein.”

In short, I may remember you by “hooks” – whether flattering or unflattering – so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be your clothing, or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Better yet your hook could be the project you pulled off in half the expected time or the huge sale you made.

4. … but not for being negative.

There’s no way I can remember everything you say. But I will remember sound bites, especially the negative ones – like the candidates who complain, without prompting, about their current employer, their coworkers, or their customers.

So if for example you hate being micro-managed, instead say you’re eager to earn more responsibility and authority. I get there are reasons you want a new job but I want to hear why you want my job instead of why you’re desperate to escape your old job.

And keep in mind I’m well aware our interview is like a first date. I know I’m getting the best possible version of “you.” So if you whine and complain and grumble now… I know you’ll be a real treat to be around in a few months.

5. I want you to ask lots of questions about what really matters to you…

I need to know whether I should hire you, but just as importantly I need you to make sure my job is a good fit for you.

So I want you to ask lots of questions: What I expect you to accomplish early on, what attributes make our top performers outstanding, what you can do to truly drive results, how you’ll be evaluated… all the things that matter to you and to me and my business.

You know what makes work meaningful and enjoyable to you. I don’t. There’s no other way to really know whether you want the job unless you ask questions.

6. … but only if the majority of those questions relate to real work.

I know you want a positive work-life balance. Still, save all those questions about vacation sign-up policies and whether it’s okay to take an extra half hour at lunch every day if you also stay a half hour late and whether I’ve considered setting up an in-house childcare facility because that would be really awesome for you and your family.

First let’s find out if you’re the right person for the job, and whether the tasks, responsibilities, duties, etc. are right for you.

Then we can talk about the rest.

7. I love when you bring a “project.”

I expect you to do a little research about my company. That’s a given.

To really impress me, use the research you’ve done to describe how you will hit the ground running and contribute right away – the bigger the impact the better. If you bring a specific skill, show how I can leverage that skill immediately.

Remember how I see it: I have to pay your salary starting day one, so I’d love to see an immediate return on that investment starting day one.

8. At the end I want you to ask for the job… and I want to know why.

By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so and let’s figure out how to get what you need to make a decision.

If you don’t need more information, do what great salespeople do and ask for the job.

I’ll like the fact you asked. I want you to really want the job — but I also want to know why you want the job. So tell me why: You thrive in an unsupervised role, or you love working with multiple teams, or you like frequent travel.

Ask me for the job and prove to me, objectively, that it’s a great fit for you.

9. I want you to follow up… especially if it’s genuine.

Every interviewer appreciates a brief follow-up note. If nothing else, saying you enjoyed meeting me and are happy to answer any other questions is nice.

But “nice” may not separate you from the pack.

What I really like – and remember – is when you follow up based on something we discussed. Maybe we talked about data collection techniques and you send me information about a set of tools you strongly recommend. Maybe we talked about quality and you send me a process checklist you developed that I could adapt to use in my company. Or maybe we both like cycling, so you send me a photo of you on your bike in front of the sign at the top of the Col du Tourmalet (and I’m totally jealous.)

The more closely you listened during the interview, the easier it is to think of ways to follow up in a natural and unforced way.

Remember, we’re starting a relationship — and even the most professional of relationships are based on genuine interactions.

Things to Avoid as a Job Seeker

When you are ready to look for work, really ready, take the time to put your best self forward.  There are many opportunities for error on a resume and in an interview, so here are a few tips to help you stand out in a positive manner.

Ensure the individuals you recruit as references for your resume:  a) know that you are using them as a reference, b) know what position you are applying for and what your expectations are of them as a reference c) think highly of you as a professional.  Too often job seekers list references without first checking with them.  Put a lot of thought into the people you put down.  Make sure they are articulate, think highly of you, and are professional on the phone.

Stay positive.  When an interviewer asks you about a past employer, or why you are looking to leave your current position, it is important to not state the negatives about the job.  It is easy to say that you don’t like the supervisor, or you have a co-worker that always calls in sick, or perhaps that you keep getting skipped over for a raise.  But DON’T.  Instead say that you have always been interested in the company you are applying to, or that you have been working toward this position.  Refrain from saying anything negative about your past/current employer and turn the tables to where you are seeking out this position because it is the perfect fit for you and you are the perfect fit for the company.

One more piece of advice, when you arrive, shake your interviewers hand, firmly, while looking him or her in the eyes and smiling.  Do not give the limp fish handshake.  A firm handshake exudes confidence and power.  That is the goal of the whole interview, to show that you are confident that you are the perfect fit for the company and position.

The interview is your ticket to the position.  Research the company, know your stuff and be prepared and confident.  Your future just started.

Volunteering and Community Involvement

When looking for a new job, many people begin the process by reflecting on their career path, what they have done to get to where they are.  Each person prioritizes past accomplishments differently.  Many are proud of their education, whether it is the level completed or the institution that they attended.  Others are proud of the work they have done, perhaps a project that they managed that achieved success and publicity, or taking a starter company to great heights.  What many people overlook are their accomplishments outside of their specific career area.

Many employers and hiring managers find value in a job applicant who is active within the community they live in.  Whether it is serving on a non-profit board, a member of a church organization, regular blood donations, or volunteering at the humane society, let that shine on your resume.  These involvements will show the hiring decision maker that you have passion and drive for not only work, but for your life and your community.  Your involvements can speak volumes about your work ethic and character, so let them!