Archives For Recruiting Best Practices

Hiring & recruiting best practices for small and mid-sized businesses.

Today’s Wall Street Journal lead editorial focuses on “America’s Growing Labor Shortage.” The text is 14 paragraphs long, 13 of which detail the problems – construction and farm labor shortages – and one paragraph recommending somebody do something about it.

Every word of the editorial is true, yet stunningly insufficient. The recommendation? “… the U.S. will need to improve education and skills in manufacturing and IT.” The “U.S.” doesn’t “do” anything! Business leaders, state and federal leaders, academic leaders all need to “do” a number of specific actions to start to solve these shortages.

For instance, Hands-On CNC Training, a program in northern Illinois run by the TMA (Tooling and Manufacturing Association) is matching entry level candidates to CNC manufacturing jobs, providing an hourly wage, on-the-job and classroom training and the promise of a full time job on graduation. Funding comes from multiple sources (including the businesses that will benefit most from the investment).

Labor shortageI know that “union” is a dirty word for the WSJ. However, looking backward, it seems obvious today that union busting has had the negative consequence of reducing the pool of trained construction (and other) workers. Yes, unions may create additional expense for employers, but at least some of that expense paid for unions to train new members. This ensured the perpetuation of union and the availability of skilled workers to business. No institution has stepped forward to replace this training function, hence a shortage of workers. Companies that work collaboratively with unions to ensure a trained workforce suffer fewer labor shortages.

Another type of failure we see is a failure of imagination. Whether the open positions are in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, high-tech, or healthcare, employers do a poor job of helping potential employees picture what a career in their industry will be like. When employers spend time and money looking for “experienced” workers in fields that have shortages, they waste effort. Spend time and money educating future employees on the benefits of a career in their field. Spend effort identifying the work behaviors, motivations and skills required for the jobs and then find matching people regardless of experience. Then hire, train, and help new employees grow. Waiting for others to train your workers is a recipe for shortages.

And finally, in agreement with the WSJ editorial, bring in more, not fewer foreign workers for skilled and unskilled positions. Don’t restrict work visas.

At NewHire we believe “Every Job Deserves the Right Person,” and we work hard every day with employers all over the U.S. to help them hire better!

As a kid, the phrase “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!” always stood out to me as kind of silly. The idealist in me said, “But if they’re all in one basket, then I can carry them all at once.” And, yesterday, as I stood looking at a dozen shattered eggs sprawled out over my kitchen floor, the idealist in me was very, very silent.

I don’t know if I’ll start  keeping my eggs in more than one carton, but at least now the essence of the adage is not so lost on me. Especially when it comes to your business, employees, or products, having a back-up plan is essential for those things in life that are difficult to replace. As careful as you are in everything you do, at some point, you’re bound to drop a carton of eggs on the kitchen floor.

Step 6 - Sean's Blog Copy

The place in the recruiting process where most employers forget to diversify is during the final offer – Step 6 in our 6 step recruiting process. A business has done all the up-front work necessary. That includes developing a compelling Employee Value Proposition, writing a great recruitment ad, and assessing the candidate pool adequately. They bring in some fantastic candidates, interviewed them, and found a few that fit the position and company culture. Finally, they choose one. What now? The business sends an offer letter to the top candidate, and when that candidate accepts, the business forgets about the other great talent they just spent months trying to find. Or maybe if the HR Manager is feeling polite, he or she sends the top few candidates an email that says, “Thanks but no thanks, we’ve filled the position.”

Perhaps you see where this is going. Top Candidate starts on day one, picks things up pretty quickly and is enjoying the company after a few weeks of working there. But then Top Candidate gets a call from her last employer. After some groveling, and a tremendous salary increase, Top Candidate goes back to her old company, and we are left standing in a pile of egg yolks.

In sales, a company would never let a qualified prospect off the hook because they found another qualified prospect to sell to. So why do we throw away good talent so quickly? Especially given the understanding that retaining great employees is so difficult, why throw all of our eggs in one basket?

That moment when your top candidate accepts an employment offer is a wonderful moment. Especially for a business that’s been searching to fill this position for a few months, or even a few years, it can be liberating. But it is also a crucial moment in the hiring process, and one that most small businesses can’t afford to get wrong.

Keep a clear head and check your optimism. Take the good talent you found during the first 5 steps in the hiring process, and just like you would in sales, continue to engage with them. When good talent comes around, remember that “not now” is always better than “no.” A great way to express this to a candidate is as follows:

“We hired a person for this role, but we are always looking to add great people to our team, and throughout the interview process we recognized that you are immensely talented. We would love to add you to our team once we have the capacity to bring on more people. Would you mind if we stayed in touch over the next few months to see if we can do that?”

Imagine hearing that kind of a “no” as a job candidate. The worst the candidate could say is that he or she does not want to hear from you, in which case you are no worse off than you were before. A recruitment process that works like a sales process ensures that once you’ve found good talent, you don’t let them off the hook until they give you an absolute, definite, no. This way, you’ll never be left standing in a pile of cracked eggs with a recruiting emergency on your hands, and your company will continue to add great talent with every hire.

Here at NewHire we work in a collaborative work environment with an open office space. Naturally, ideas come to life as we chat and learn more about co-workers by sitting right next to them with no barriers! One of the great things about working this way is that you can find exciting things to do weekly that are fun that most people will participate in as they are always nearby. All of us at NewHire have found that exciting thing to be food! Who doesn’t love a snack shared by the group?

We set out on a journey to find the “best of” in Chicago. We couldn’t randomly choose foods every week, we wanted it to have a solid end result. So, we focused in on a favorite breakfast treat: DONUTS!

Each Friday, either a co-worker volunteered to bring donuts from a different place, or the office collected donations and one person volunteered to pick them up. Depending on the cost, we purchased an assortment of 6-12 donuts per Friday. But how could you share just a few donuts among a big group of people? Well, we figured out pretty quickly that the best way to share and judge was by sampling each donut. So we cut all the donuts in small pieces, tasted, and then, yes, we rated each donut individually on a shared spreadsheet. We enjoyed eating donuts for 8 weeks!

Check out our rankings for the best donuts below!

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What’s next for NewHire? Pizza! We enjoyed the weekly treats so much that we decided to continue with an improved plan. Now we are setting out to find the tastiest pizza in Chicago! What are you doing that’s fun for your office? Please comment and let us know what you think makes your business a great place to work!

Recruiting Q&A

During a conversation in May with some of the top executives at small and mid-sized businesses nationwide, NewHire asked them to write down what questions they had about recruiting. Many of the questions we received in response fell into categories that we define in our 6 Step Recruiting Process.

Below is part two of a two part blog series outlining answers to those pressing questions. To see Part One of this blog, and the first three steps to the recruiting process, click here.

Step 4: Interviewing

Q: How do I interview to know if someone will fit in sales?

A: The recruiting process for sales reps should mirror the selling process for your sales reps as closely as possible. Be polite during an initial phone screen, but don’t be afraid to tell a candidate, “I’m not so sure this is going to work.” Their answer to that comment will give you an idea of how good they will be at handling objections.

Also, if you think you have the right candidate, give them a chance to close. Forget about the candidate for a day or two and see if they call you to follow up.

Finally, there are a variety of sales assessments available on the market that can pre-screen candidates for you so that you’re only talking to people who will fit in sales. Do some research, think critically, and decide if you want to invest in one that will help you find the right people.

Q: How can you match personality to company culture – during an interview, when people often don’t show their true personality?

A: We try to gauge “personality” or work behaviors, motivations, and personal drive in every step of the hiring process. From the initial application to the phone screen to the in-person interview, collect as many data points as you can about a candidate. If you still think they’re not showing their true colors, be up front with them. Ask them if you can expect to see the person they are presenting once they start with your company. Make it clear that if they’re not, both parties will be negatively affected. Being up front, even this late in the process, can definitely save you some headaches (and money) a few months down the road.

Step 5: Assessing

Q: When hiring for outside sales, how much weight do you give to sales assessments like Sandler?

A: This is very dependent on the job you’re advertising. If it’s a really good job in a talent-rich market, you’ll have enough candidates where you can afford to only talk to the candidates who pass the sales assessment that you subscribe to.
If it’s a really competitive market and you don’t have a wealth of candidates, it’s possible that you’ll have to make some exceptions or extend your search in order to find the right person. If you are having a difficult time getting enough recommended candidates from your assessment, look more carefully at the rejected candidates. Are there some that are close to right and have weaknesses that you can work with?

Q: How can we really find out how they performed in previous jobs?

A: Reference checks are good. But the word “really” in this question makes me think that person who asked might have been burned in the past. Sometimes, a bad reference check just serves as a peace-of-mind facilitator for the hiring manager.

Asking a candidate for proof of success can work. How many times has a sales candidate told you they were leading their previous company in sales and exceeding margins by 40%? A good response to this would be, “Hey, I’ve heard this from candidates in the past and ended up getting burned. I’d like to believe you, but I’d be more comfortable if you provided proof of your success. Can you?” They don’t necessarily have to, but their answer to this question can be a valuable indicator of success.

Step 6: Making an Offer

There were no questions about extending an offer to a candidate. However, things can definitely go awry if you’re not thinking this step through. Making a good offer that reflects the nature of the conversation you’ve been having with your top candidate is important. Be prepared to negotiate, though, especially with top talent.

Other

Q: What’s the path of least resistance in recruiting, no matter the position?

A: I’m tempted to say, “Call NewHire!” Look, recruiting is not easy. It takes planning and execution, just like everything else in business. Easy processes with bad tools yield less than desirable results. You’ll pay for those results down the line.

Doing some work up front to define your target candidate and employee value proposition, write a killer job advertisement, and advertise it widely will get you good results when it comes time to narrow the candidate pool, interview the top 10% and finally make an offer.

The path of least resistance is still going to be difficult, but it will also be worth it. Great companies big and small have one thing in common: they put a great deal of energy into hiring well. They understand that in order to get the bus going in the right direction, you have to have the right people on that bus. That means hiring well should be hard. But it will be worth it.

Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago

NewHire spent half of the day Monday, January 19 at the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago.

NewHire is a recruiting software company. When you think “software company”, you think “computers”, not people. Computers are great. But, when is the last time you saw a computer do THIS?

Bob Framarin dog kiss

Bob, a NewHire account manager, and Seymour, a Chihuahua, hanging out at the Anti-Cruelty Society.

Eddie accountant puppies

Eddie, a numbers guy, is also a puppies guy. Who knew?

Awww.

That’s right. At NewHire, we do things a little bit differently. We’re not just a few lines of code that make life a little easier. We are also real, reliable people. When you call us, a human answers the phone. Unless, of course, we’re at the Anti-Cruelty Society spreading the love with these adorable little furballs.

dog behind bars smile

Eagle Eye is an adult Saint Bernard. He was so happy to see us that he smiled for a photo!

mad cat stare

Pandora, a calm and cool female adult Shorthair mix, was less impressed.

cute Chihuahua wink

Seymour, a 2 month old and part of a set of triplets (aptly named Phillip, Seymour, and Hoffman,) joined us for arts and crafts time!

Conor Roach puppies

Here’s Conor, a staffing coordinator at NewHire, with Phillip and Hoffman.

The Anti-Cruelty Society welcomed NewHire with open arms, not just to play with the pets they have up for adoption, but to help provide them with easy-to-make beds, tug-toys, cat-scratchers, and various other play-things.

Chihuahua homemade dog toy

Seymour even made off with one of his own…

dog covered in fabric

…and he got a little tied up in the fun.

As happy as we were to give back, we couldn’t have done it without the kindness and welcoming help of our friends at The Anti Cruelty Society.

NewHire anti-cruelty society team

The afternoon group (left to right) Bob, Alicia and Sean, with some of the supplies we helped make.

If you wish to visit the Anti-Cruelty Society to adopt a new pet, help care for the facility, or donate, visit them online at http://anticruelty.org/

Anti-Cruelty society dog paw

See you soon!

If you’ve been to a café, bike shop or microbrewery recently, you were probably struck by the thought that the young folk sure love their tattoos and piercings. And you’d be right. One in five Americans has a tattoo, up from 14% in 2008. So how does all of the ink and jewelry affect your recruiting process, and where should you draw the line? And if you’re thinking about getting a tattoo or piercing yourself, how can you do so without limiting your career choices?

On the hiring side, Karla Dobbeck, President of Human Resources Techniques, Inc., says there are no known HR policies that forbid tattoos or piercings in the workplace. However, often times something considered to be “distracting” to clients or coworkers will be recommended to be covered or removed. Which brings up the question: Who defines “distracting?”

How Do Tattoos and Body Piercing Affect Your Career

Unfortunately, for candidates or employees with tattoos, “distracting” body modifications will inevitably be defined by your employer and your clients. Highly visible and customer facing roles, such as Sales Representatives and Account Managers, are roles where your employees will be speaking with clients that don’t necessarily share your views or the views of your company when it comes to tattoos and piercings.  These roles often come along with a need to have any polarizing body modifications covered.

Policy aside, not all body modifications are created equal when it comes to the stigma they carry in the workplace. Jeffrey Paetzold, renowned and award winning tattoo artist and Reconstructive Areola Tattoo Professional with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, believes that the stigma around tattoos in particular has changed due to options.  When Jeff started his work 14 years ago, “you were limited to what you could find on a wall or from a book, whereas now tattoos are completely customized…. A beautiful custom piece with meaning is something that is or can often be regarded as an impressive piece of artwork.”

When it comes to piercings however, Jeff says, “You don’t see many eyebrow piercings anymore.” While stigma over alternative styles of ear piercings has dwindled, the remaining discomfort some people feel when looking at facial piercings has limited some employment opportunities for piercing junkies.

So how does all of this change recruitment efforts?  Most companies, culturally speaking, will have a fairly clear and open idea of what their clients would accept and what candidate would be a good cultural fit.  For candidates and employees, University of California Psychology professor Ross Avilla says “if a person really wants to get body art, they likely will, even if it makes them a bit of an outcast…the easiest trade-off is probably to get a tattoo that isn’t normally visible, or can be easily covered up at work.”

This is a trend that Jeff has also noticed, and he says that tattoos are no longer just an indicator of an “alternative” lifestyle – in fact, he has many clients that suit up for work, covering their full sleeves and back pieces for the navy or black of a business suit.

This article is a guest post by Melonie Boone at Boone Management Group. Melonie has a passion for business and education. She currently holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management from Loyola University of Chicago, a Master of Business Administration in Management from Florida Metropolitan University as well as a Master of Jurisprudence in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Loyola University Law School.  Her comprehensive experience in optimizing strategic planning initiatives to achieve organizational goals allows her to work as a trusted adviser to entrepreneurs, business owners and senior management teams. Melonie has the ability to create, implement and execute strategic plans for every area of our clients business.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/76029035@N02/

 

So you have the perfect candidate and you want to check them out online. Most of us almost instinctively conduct a Google search or check out their Tweets, Facebook or other social media outlets trying to get the inside scoop on a candidate. What we don’t realize is the risks associated with taking adverse action based on what we find. Social media sites can give you protected information like age, ethnicity and race. It can also include political affiliation, religious beliefs, disability and other personal information that if used in a hiring decision can be seen a discriminatory.

Before you make a decision to deny a person’s employment based on something you find on the web, please refer these following steps and read the article at the links below.

Tips to minimize your risk:

Ask some basic questions:

1. Why do you want to use social media?
2. What is the utility of doing the search?
3. What information are you hoping to find?
4. Is candidate use of social media a plus or a minus?
5. Is it critical to the position? (For some jobs, you may need someone thoroughly familiar with online sites and procedures; for others, there is no need.)

When Should You Search?

Do your search after the interview but before the offer, or make the offer contingent on passing the check? Before the search, get prior consent from the applicant.

Who Should Search?

“For sure,” says Meyer, a partner with Dilworth Paxson LLP in Philadelphia, “don’t let the person making the hiring decision do the online check.” Consider using:
• A third party
• A member of the HR department
• Another non-decision-maker

How Should You Search?

“The ad hoc approach is stupid,” says Meyer. Be organized about your search:

  • Have a policy.
  • Train people on your policy. (“Hiring managers, resist the temptation to go to Google.”)
  • Develop a checklist. Write out a list of what you want to know, says Meyer.

For example:

• Expressions of hate
• Drug use
• Sexual content
• Disparaging comments about work
• Mean things about customers
• Volume of online activity (updating status every 10 minutes, tweeting every 15)
• Good judgment
• Good writing

The checkers go down the checklist and only the checklist. They don’t report on protected characteristics.

Document your procedure so that you can show consistency in your checking activities.

It only takes a second to make a costly mistake. If you choose to use social media as a source for screening a candidate remember Meyer’s tips, use sound judgment and measure the entire interview process before making an adverse decision based off of what you find on the web.