Tag Archives: Hiring

It’s Not You, It’s Me…

By: James Caan, originally published on LinkedIn

Have you recently left an interview feeling demotivated? Disappointed you didn’t get the job, or unhappy with your interview performance?

As an investor, I’ve had to learn that not every deal succeeds. The same is true of interviews. I would love to guarantee you 100% success, but not every interview will end with you getting the job, because some things aren’t meant to be, and for whatever reason, you’re not the right candidate for that role.

The important thing is not to dwell on your misfortune, it’s okay to fail, failure doesn’t mean you need to give up, it’s just another experience to learn from.

Instead of wallowing and losing hope, immediately look for what you can learn from the experience and come away stronger.

Make sure you ask for feedback

If you fail to get selected, assess why you weren’t chosen and be prepared to deal with any issues you can identify.

Let’s say you receive an email that says “Thank you for coming in, but unfortunately you haven’t been selected”.

The first thing you should be thinking about is finding out why. Nine out of ten interviewers won’t give you a reason in the email, and most people accept that.

This is where they go wrong. If you don’t know why, how are you going to improve?

Find out what went wrong

Don’t be afraid to call your interviewer directly and pose the question. The trick is to handle this conversation carefully to ensure you get an answer you can work with, and not a bland, generic ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ response.

Be polite, yet forward. Show your appreciation, thank them for their time, trigger their memory by referring to something specific you discussed – something that will help the interviewer put a face to your name.

Then it’s time to make your move…

Ask: “I interviewed for the marketing role recently. I fully understand you found a better suited candidate, but just out of curiosity, could I ask what did you think made me unsuitable for the job? What do I need to work on?”

Initially, the interviewer will be taken aback by your question, and will probably try and give you a generic “you didn’t have the right experience” approach.

That’s the time to push harder.

“What area in particular did you feel I lacked experience?”

When you have an answer you can work with, you can either take this opportunity to push back and pitch yourself again, or thank them for the feedback and ensure you take this particular point into consideration next time you’re interviewing.

Constructive feedback can highlight weaknesses you weren’t aware of. Don’t see this as a bad thing, understanding your strengths and weaknesses is vital for future success, and it’s a skill many of us lack.

Take it from me, as an employer and businessman, this approach is guaranteed to leave a good impression.

Tips for a Better Interview

Are you ready to wow hiring managers during your next job interview? If you aren’t sure, you better keep reading. Here are some excellent interview tips:

Have an outstanding resume.

Impressive qualifications are a must on any resume, but a list of key accomplishments may not be enough. Your resume appearance is important, as well as your attention to detail. An error free resume is absolutely necessary.

Gaps? Get rid of them.

Life happens, but you don’t have to broadcast it on your resume. If you went through a time that you did not have a full time position, fill the void with volunteer work, projects related to your field that you worked on or even unrelated work. Hiring managers are looking to hire a productive person.

Be honest

Most people have worked in a position that they don’t wish to highlight, or a company they are less than proud of, but have to include the information for resume continuity. If an employer asks you about this position, even if was less than positive, be honest. The worst thing you can do in an interview is to be caught telling an untruth.

Prepare for interview questions.

There are many questions you know you will be asked. You will be asked to tell the interviewer about yourself, you will be asked about your work history, your greatest accomplishments, your weaknesses and so on…be prepared. There will also be questions that take you by surprise, making it that much more important to prepare yourself for the standard interview questions.

Show who you are.

It may not be a good idea to enter with a joke right away, but a little personality will go a long way in an interview. Employers are working to determine if you will be a good cultural fit with the current team. Don’t be too rigid that you aren’t showing who you are. Find common interest points to discuss.

Follow up, follow up, follow up!

Always take the time to send a thank you note or email (determine which is best during the interview process, some companies don’t use a lot of technology) within 24 hours. Missing this step could make all of your effort thus far a waste. During the interview be sure to ask for an appropriate timeline to call to follow up about the position.

Hire the Right Qualities

With an extremely low unemployment rate, hiring can be a battle!  To circumvent the possibility of making poor hiring choices based only on passing filters through met qualifications, it is important to look for quality employees, and not to lose a possible perfect organizational fit due to an outdated hiring filter.

With Nebraska unemployment rates extremely low, employers can make a tough situation worse by applying unnecessary hiring screens to their processes.  These filters could be based on degrees, work backgrounds and disqualifiers such as credit scores or criminal backgrounds.

With certain jobs, degrees are absolutely necessary, IE: nurses, doctors, layers, etc.  However, just because you have previously hired individuals with bachelor degrees, that should not preclude you from giving thought to looking at individuals with associate degrees, or perhaps no degree, but with similar experience.

Nontraditional work backgrounds can offer a transferable skill set.  Success comes from ability and experience, not strictly one or the other.  With drive and passion, employees can exceed expectations; adversely, with lack of these, an employee can fall short of hopes.

Some disqualifiers are mandated by federal law, such as care workers being unable to have a criminal history.  However, some are company policy and could be outdated or irrelevant.  To screen out potential hires based on a criminal history, credit score or reference, could be a misstep.  Many applicants are working toward bettering their lives and are looking for a chance to prove themselves.

In the end, removing hiring filters may increase the length of the hiring process, due to more resumes and more choices.  However, if you find the best possible fit, it could reduce your turnover and increase your employee satisfaction.

Building Your Corporate Brand on CareerBum

Job boards are very useful when an employer is looking to fill a position. One overlooked key action for employers is to use job boards to actively shape and manage their employer brand. After all, what do job boards tend to excel at? Focusing and revealing a candidate audience to the employer! In essence, CareerBum acts as a marketing outlet for employer branding.

How can employers use job boards for branding? Here are several ways:

  • Develop and use a consistent look and feel for all company job postings
  • Send targeted emails to candidates that promote the core reputation, benefits, and uniqueness of the employer
  • Own some of the job board’s  ’real estate’ – a consistent home page presence, or ongoing messaging inside the job alerts or an advertisement
  • Use repetition and multiple delivery methods (email, web, text, career fairs, etc.) to build the employer brand in the job board’s audience. Make those candidates yours.

Running Background Checks When Hiring

Make Your Employee Background Check Reasonable

Running an employee background check can not only be helpful in better understanding the applicant, but can also be useful in protecting a business from liability. Employers must still be very careful about what kind of information they ask for and look into, however. If an employer goes too far, he or she may face a lawsuit. Here are some things to keep in mind when performing an employee background check:

  • Be reasonable: The best advice for an employer running a background check is to keep such an investigation reasonable. Running a credit report and checking up on references makes a lot of sense, but combing court records, interviewing neighbors and requiring physicals for all of your applicants may not make much sense and may get you in trouble.
  • Make your investigation business-related: Part of being reasonable is ensuring that your background check is really business-related. If you are hiring a security guard, then digging heavily into a person’s criminal background may be extremely relevant and justified. If you are hiring a part-time janitor, you may not need to go to such lengths. In order to avoid being sued, make sure to tie what you’re asking for directly to the job at hand.
  • Get the applicant’s consent: Another way to avoid liability in general is to get the applicant’s consent before accessing potentially sensitive information. Some things, like credit checks, expressly require you to get the applicant’s consent, but even if you might otherwise have access to sensitive information, it pays to be careful and get the applicant’s consent in writing. The easiest way to do this is to simply ask for the consent on a job application.

Records an Employer Can Likely Consider when Performing an Employee Background Check

Some of the records below, such as credit reports, drug tests and driving records, require the consent of the applicant, but are still considered routine records to be used when performing a background check. As discussed above, regardless of the record type, always make sure that such an inquiry is related to the job. Asking a pizza delivery man for his driving record makes sense, but asking a software engineer for his or her driving record may not be as relevant.

Here’s a list of the types of records routinely involved in an employee background check:

  • Drug tests
  • Driving records
  • Social Security number
  • Court records
  • Character references
  • Property ownership records
  • State licensing records
  • Past employers
  • Personal references
  • Sex offender lists

Records You May Not be Able to Consider when Performing an Employee Background Check

  • Criminal records: Whether employers can access criminal records varies greatly between states, but in many states such records can only be used by certain employers such as public utilities, law enforcement, security guard firms, and child care facilities. Even if employers cannot access criminal records, whether employers can ask about past criminal activity also varies greatly between states, but some states allow employers to ask about a criminal past even if they won’t allow employers to access criminal records. This is probably a potential employer’s biggest area of liability and it is highly recommended that you consult a lawyer to find out the rules applicable in your particular state.
  • Bankruptcies: Although bankruptcies are a matter of public record, employers generally cannot discriminate against applicants because they have filed for bankruptcy.
  • Worker’s compensation: When a person files a worker’s compensation claim, the case becomes a public record. An employer may usually only use this information if the injury might interfere with the applicant’s ability to perform the work required by the job, however.
  • Medical Records: Medical records are confidential and generally cannot be released without an applicant’s knowledge or authorization. Employers can require a physical examination for the job if it makes sense, however, in which case the employer will have access to those results.
  • Military Records: Under the federal Privacy Act, military records are confidential and can only be released in very limited circumstances
  • Educational Records: Generally, transcripts, recommendations, discipline records, and financial information are confidential and cannot be released without consent. If the applicant gives their consent and it makes sense for the job, however, transcripts can be, and often are, requested.

Source: Essential Screens, Running Employee Background Checks

Tips for Hiring the Right Employee

Hiring the right employees can make or break your business. Employee recruitment is about managing stress, as you will constantly be judged on your selection, and you obviously cannot please everybody in your organization.

However, there are certain rules that you can use to hire the right employee for your business every time:

1.    Look for Someone With a Commitment to Their Career

A person committed to his or her career is the candidate you want to hire. You don’t want to hire an employee who switches careers or jobs frequently, just to get a higher salary. If a candidate is not loyal to any company, hiring this person could definitely be a problem for your business.

Always check the candidate’s previous job duration and if he or she is switching jobs constantly, this is definitely not the right person for the job.

2.    Test for Excellent Learning and Analytical Skills

Try to use different methodologies to assess the learning and analytical skills of your candidates. Testing candidates might be tricky, but don’t evaluate candidates merely on the basis of their resume and their confidence because a resume can contain lies.

A candidate with confidence is great, but what you really want is a candidate that has the right skills and educational requirements. Satish Bakhda from Rikvin.com believes that a candidate with confidence is great, but what you really want is a candidate that has the right skills and educational requirements.

3.    Check Compatibility

You want to find an employee that will fit in with your company’s culture. Check whether the candidate has social skills to get along with others, especially with current employees and managers. Ask how he or she is managing current business clients to judge compatibility skills.

Remember, willingness is one of the primary things a candidate must possess to work with you. And if a person cannot get along with his or her current clients or previous bosses, it’s not such a great idea to hire that candidate.

4.    Keep Improving Your Hiring Process

Whether you are hiring employees for a big organization or looking for some potential candidates to build your start-up, the hiring process is the first and foremost factor you need to focus on. Make sure you are following these steps in your hiring process:

  • Instead of asking magic bullet questions or irrelevant questions, you always need to focus on getting to know the capabilities, knowledge, skills, confidence, attitude, and potential of the candidate.
  • When you advertise job vacancies for your company, make sure that all the job requirements such as responsibilities, required education, experience, knowledge, and skills are clearly mentioned. It will help you in evaluating candidates and attracting applicants that fulfill all of your responsibilities and requirements.
  • It’s also a good idea to involve other people in the evaluation process, since more opinions can lead to finding the right hire.

5.    Don’t Forget to Hire Interns

People may disagree, but this is one of the best ways to hire the right employee for your business. You know all of their strengths, weaknesses, skills, knowledge, attitudes, behavior, confidence levels, and even practical evidence of work. What else do you need to know?

You’ve already done the hard work in picking an intern, so why not hire from this potential pool when looking to fill permanent positions?

6.    Get Social With the Candidates

Asking personal questions won’t get you anywhere, and could be awkward and uncomfortable for both parties. Rather, you or your human resources team should be analyzing the candidates’ presence on social media. This can be a great strategy, especially if you want to hire employees for tech businesses. You’ll be surprised what you can find out about a candidate by researching their social presence.

Source: Forbes: 6 Tips For Hiring The Right Employee by Steve Olenski

Now Seeking Interns

Summer is quickly approaching and many college students are starting to think of landing an internship. Some students most likely have already secured one, but if you haven’t, there is still time. Here are some tips on how to secure your summer internship.

Start now.

The ideal time has passed to start seeking an internship, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities out there. Start now. Think about where you want to be and what type of internship you are interested in. To help you narrow your scope, ask yourself: Do you want to work for a company or nonprofit? Do you want to work for the government? Can you accept an unpaid internship? Do you want to look where you are now, or in a different location?

Research and gather applications.

After you know what you want to do and where you want to be, start to seek opportunities that closely match your goal internship. Some processes will require written essays, letters of recommendation and resumes. Find all the opportunities you can and begin collecting the necessary pieces of each application. Keep these in one spot and develop a spreadsheet for tracking. Be aware of any deadlines looming.

Develop a network.

Networking is always a good idea. Whether you are looking to land a job or an internship, or even if you have a job, a professional network can be very supportive. Speak with people who are already in the industry you are looking to enter. Try to gain insights that will help you understand what you need to do to enter this career field and connect with individuals who could possibly help you gain an interview.

Be interview ready.

Interview processes are greatly varied these days. Some may be focused on your resume, some may have you take assessments to understand your ability to be a “cultural fit” and some may be technical. Be prepared. Research as much as you can online and don’t be afraid to ask employees who currently work at the organization. Stay current with any industry developments, changes or advancements.

Retention as a Top Priority

You go to Workforce teamwork within an organization - Conceptconsiderable trouble and expense to identify, interview, and hire great employees for your organization. So retaining them should also be a top priority. Luckily, most good retention practices are inexpensive to implement.

Effective retention

To understand how to retain good employees, you first need to know what they’re looking for. Today, the best employees want:

  • Career development opportunities and a chance to grow in their chosen field
  • Regular feedback on how both they and the company are doing
  • A chance to contribute directly to the organization and be recognized for doing so
  • Flexible work schedules that recognize their need for work/life balance
  • A good salary or wage and an opportunity to increase it over time
  • Benefits tailored to their individual needs

Key strategies

Good retention starts from the time you hire employees to the time they leave your company. See how tweaking some of your employment practices can have a big impact on employee retention:

  • Recruitment and hiring. It’s worth spending time and effort on recruiting. When there’s a good match between employees and your organization, retention is less likely to be an issue.
  • Orientation and onboarding. Again, it’s worth having good practices in place. Treating employees right in the critical early stages of employment has been proven to enhance retention.
  • Training and development. Training and development are key factors in helping employees grow with your company and stay marketable in their field.
  • Performance evaluation. When employees know what they’re doing well and where they need to improve, both they and your organization benefit.
  • Pay and benefits. While today many employees tend to rate factors such as career development higher than pay, good pay and benefits still count.
  • Internal communication. Effective communication can help ensure that employees to want to stay with your company. Employees need to know—and be reminded on a regular basis—how the organization is doing and what they can do to help.
  • Termination and outplacement. Employees who leave on good terms are much more likely to recommend your company, and in doing so, help you attract and retain future employees.

Engage employees to increase retention

Engaging your employees—that is, making sure that they are committed and productive in their work—can benefit you as much as it benefits employees.

If you hire the right employees, chances are good they’ll be engaged—committed to your business and happy in their work. But to ensure ongoing engagement, you as an employer must play a major role, particularly when it comes to communication. Consider these five strategies:

  • Be clear on what your business stands for. Your company’s mission and vision and brand must be front and center in everything you do.
  • Communicate well and often. Your employees need to know—on a continuous basis—how both they and your company are doing.
  • Understand generational differences. To get the best out of all your employees, know what motivates different generations.
  • Find out what your employees need. Ask your employees on a regular basis how they’re doing, and be ready to follow up on their input.
  • Empower all employees to do their best. Provide the leadership, resources, and training your employees need to realize their potential.

Understanding what engages employees can help during all phases of the employment cycle—from recruitment to training to performance assessment and beyond. It’s also much easier to retain employees who are engaged and committed to your company’s success.

Source: CareerOneStop Business Center, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor

Put Your Best Self Forward

photo_32260_20140621When 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.