Archives For Alicia Hall

“Making a big life change is pretty scary. But know what’s even scarier? Regret.” – Zig Ziglar

I have had the fantastic opportunity to work for NewHire formerly known as New Office Temps for over 10 years. In this time I have not only grown immeasurably professionally but personally as well. In my role as Staffing Coordinator, I have been introduced to an enormous variety of industries and business leaders from across the country, and I have learned firsthand what it takes to operate a successful small to mid-size business, from a recruitment perspective. From this standpoint, I have enormous gratitude that I have the great fortune of learning from the expertise of the President of NewHire, Chuck Smith and the Vice President, Leora Baumgarten, along with my wonderful colleagues turned friends.

The foundation of this organization combined with the numerous lessons I have learned as a Staffing Coordinator has contributed to me feeling ready to pursue a different passion, that of a Clinical Mental Health Counselor as my new career. Among many things, working as a Staffing Coordinator as taught me the critical importance of listening, taking a risk, going with your gut, and being prepared for the unexpected. With that in mind, I am aware that making any change can be scary but not doing so due to fear of it not working out is much worse. Many companies that I have worked with have been afraid to take a chance on candidates for a variety of reasons, and I am grateful that was not the case for me. NewHire has invested in me all of these years and in turn, I have invested in NewHire and in myself. I know that it will continue to be revealed to me the many ways that I have been influenced by the many impactful experiences had as a result.

I thank-you all for working with me all of these years. We are very excited to reintroduce you to Stephanie Lewandowski as a Lead Staffing Coordinator in the coming days by phone or by email.  Best wishes.

Alicia Hall

Quest Food Management Services in Lombard, IL recently utilized NewHire Professional services to hire for their essential Vice President of Operations role. The NewHire Professional service includes NewHire creating the customized advertisement and the screening questions, filtering for qualified candidates, conducting the initial phone screening of the applicants, and handling all of the interview set up and subsequent process follow-up.  This full service model was right for Quest’s recruiting efforts for the Vice President position because it assigns the bulk of the work to NewHire, while providing a consistent and dedicated partnership between NewHire and the client.

Our work with Quest’s President Nick Saccaro before the advertising campaign was created was strategic, focused and comprehensive. We spoke with Nick to establish a clear understanding of the Vice President of Operations role, as well as the type of individual that would be best suited to the role, and to the corporate culture. Quest was hiring for an excellent opportunity that met or exceeded similar Full Service NewHire Testimonialpositions in the industry and it was critical to highlight the unique attributes of the role. Once these priorities were established, we were able to craft an advertisement and application questions that targeted the type of high level candidates who would succeed in the role. As a result of the thorough preparation done at the start of the process, the position received a total of 233 applicants, allowing Nick the opportunity to speak to a variety of candidates.

The NewHire Professional service is well-suited to executives who are short on time or experience to do the bulk of the recruiting work themselves but it is even better suited for those who can make the time to be involved and are committed to the recruitment process as a whole, especially for key positions.  Despite Nick’s extremely busy schedule, he was dedicated to the process and focused on our continuously driving the process forward. He spent time searching through the NewHire software to identify candidates, utilizing the sort and search filter to save time, then he prioritized interviews in his schedule, and gave quick feedback about candidates. As a result, Nick spoke to the candidates that he wanted to speak with, and made the decision to hire within 4 months of advertising.

The NewHire Professional service is not a quick fix solution, and it should not be. We understand the immense need for the right person in key roles. NewHire Professional is for those who are looking for a supportive partner who will be there during all phases of this significant search.

Our Quest Food Management Blog Series:

Part 1: Overview

Part 2: Analytic Results Infographic

Part 3: A Professional Case Study

Part 4:  NewHire Advantage- Conclusion


Want to learn more about how NewHire can help your company hire better? Request a demo here, or give us a call at 877-923-0054.

Time Management“I don’t mind doing interviews. I don’t mind answering thoughtful questions. But, I’m not thrilled about answering questions like, ‘If you were being mugged, and you had a lightsaber in one pocket, and a whip in the other, which would you use?’ ” – Harrison Ford

Though Harrison Ford wasn’t referring to job interview questions, but rather questions he receives from entertainment reporters, the sentiment is still the same. The finite time that you have with a candidate during a job interview is extremely valuable. It is vital to make sure that time is spent wisely. Any time that you are able to spend with the person who could potentially fill your organizational need is an opportunity to learn valuable insight.

In addition, in the current employment climate candidates are not as plentiful. They will be scrutinizing your job interview strategy as much as you will be scrutinizing their answers. Below are some tips to steer your job interview in the optimal direction.

Will the person in the job interview meet your need?

There are a variety of ways to ascertain this information. You will never know for sure until that person is working in the role, but you can utilize the job interview process to develop an excellent guess. Is it a position where they have to have excellent Microsoft Office skills for instance? If so, have them create a spreadsheet in your office or dictate information that you need them to capture it in a Word document. Need an excellent Outside Sales person? Take them on an appointment with you, and see how they interact with the clients. There are a multitude of things to do in order to see first hand if they can produce the kind of work that you want in your organization. Some of these things can’t be seen in a traditional job interview.

Can you afford to work together?

It is a candidates’ market now. And candidates are quick to negotiate or even turn down an offer that does not meet their financial needs. Though the topic of money and benefits is traditionally found to be uncomfortable or inappropriate in the beginning of the job interview process, getting the compensation out in the open early can save an immense amount of time for both parties. You may have someone who is the right skill fit but is expecting twice as much as you are offering. It is key to be on the same page regarding deal breakers such as this, in order to move on quickly to those that are more aligned for the position.

Will it be a mutual culture fit?

A key issue to determine probability for a long term relationship is whether or not the company embraces the new employee and whether or not the employee will embrace them. A way to uncover that is to ask how the candidate enjoys spending their leisure time, and allow them to ask you questions as well. Have some additional staff interview your candidate, or invite them to a staff meeting so they can get a clear picture as to how your business operates.

These are a few ways to think about conducting your job interviews to get the information that you really need to make a successful hire. What are other things that you think are important to understand during the interview process?

list-a-salaryIn advertising an open position, it’s important to be as transparent as possible about the job at hand. A field’s top candidates have their pick of positions, and most applicants don’t consider guessing potential income to be a game worth playing. At NewHire we found that the number of applicants increases significantly when employers list a salary range, a dollar amount. This indicates that salary is a top factor when it comes to deciding whether to apply.

Some business owners and human resources professionals have concerns about posting salaries. But for the benefit of your recruiting efforts, consider changing your thinking when it comes to these concerns.

Here are three of hiring managers’ common concerns/questions when it comes to whether to list a salary range—and reasons to consider adjusting your strategy.

I don’t want my other employees knowing how much this position is paying.

It can be uncomfortable for employees to discover that a position is available within their company that is paying significantly more than they’re making, especially if they haven’t received an increase in their own wages. But employees may perceive salary information differently, especially if it’s for a different position than their own. They understand that each function in the company comes with a correlated pay. Also, with the accessibility compensation websites like, most people are no longer in the dark about what positions are paying.

To attract top candidates and keep your employees happy, be prepared to handle internal inquires about why a certain position commands more pay than another. Revealing salaries could also motivate employees to work toward higher-level positions, which could eliminate recruitment for those roles in the future.

What if I want to pay depending on their experience?

It’s common to receive a variety of resumes with varied experience levels when you have an open position. You may locate a standout candidate with little experience, or you may have a 10-year, seasoned expert. If you are open to both extremes, it is best to settle upon a salary range that would make sense for the respective candidates.

What if I absolutely cannot list a salary range under any circumstance?

There are instances where it would be out of the question for you to list a salary range in your advertisement. In these circumstances, it’s best to state that you are paying a competitive wage. Then, if you are using a NewHire application, create a customized question asking what salary the applicant would be expecting in your open position.

For budgeting purposes, it’s important for you to know what salary the applicant is looking for, and if you move forward with the candidate, they will know you have noted their requirements.

These are a few suggestions to get you moving toward advertising a compensation for your open positions. Do you have any other situations that you feel are preventing you from listing a salary range? Do you have any additional reasons why consistently advertising salary is a great idea?

Hiring the right person for your team can be a very difficult undertaking. It is costly, time consuming, and emotionally taxing if you do not meet the person you are looking for in a timely fashion.

The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner. – Richard Branson

hire skill set personality

It may seem that focusing primarily on skills set would be the best solution to simplify the hiring process. You have an open job, and you need someone to do it.

Though true, it is also important to think long term about the team you are trying to build. You may discover that the right personality is what you need to grow the performance of your team in the long haul.

Here are three ways to break away from the “exact skills” hiring trap:

Look for Transferable Skills Instead of Exact Skills

To save time on training it may seem that you need someone to jump right into the role with minimal supervision. Yet, people do bring their own way of doing things, and time must be spent on acclimating them to your procedure and processes. Could it be worth it to you to spend some extra time educating the right fit on more fundamental aspects of the job?

If you spend time examining their transferable skills you may find that the time to get them up to speed is much quicker that you envisioned initially.

Consider Team Morale

Bringing on a new team member is a change. And changes bring mixed emotions within an existing team. Even if they are stretched thin, your team will prefer to spend their time with someone who fits in rather than with someone who can do the job but is challenging to work with.

A Harris Interactive study shows that 51 percent of employees stay with their company when they like the people they work with.

So, include a couple of long term employees in on your interviewing process if it is not already part of your process. They will feel appreciative that you value their opinion, and both parties will get an early insight into their potential relationship.

Overall, keeping your existing team members in mind. Slow down your frantic search and instead invest careful time in a worthwhile search:

A New Skill Set Can Bring New Opportunities

If you tend to make hiring decisions based on the same skill-set formula, you may be missing out on a new direction for your company. Individuals who have different skills than what you are looking for have advantages. They most likely been in different environments, and have a new and different perspective that could be useful to your team.

Barring an extreme mismatch, someone who brings complimentary skills to an existing job could be just what you need to invigorate your organization.

These are just a few suggestions to keep in mind when in it comes to making your next hire.

Do you agree or disagree that it could be beneficial to keep personality as the focus for your next hire?


Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities or make the money that you want without becoming very good at it.” –Brian Tracy

improving company culture

Once you have completed the hard work of recruiting and hiring it is now important to create, or expand on the essential – and sometimes overlooked – process of team building. A team that garners an attitude of trust and respect is tantamount to success.  If your employees know that they are all working toward the same goal, the individual efforts can quickly turn into fulfilling group collaborations.  Here are some suggestions for improving company culture to bring your team together.

Physical activities

The engagement of physical activities with your employees is an excellent way to not only promote health and wellness, but also promote the bonding that is unique to exercising with others. The experience of joining together in this setting can easily translate to the work environment and allow for your employees to trust each other in a different way.

The range of physical activities is extensive and can range from an office hike (if you have a smaller team) to large interdepartmental softball teams. For example, the J.M. Smucker Company holds bowling nights and softball games for its employees, and TIAA-CREF employees can play up to six sports on site. Getting people to work together on teams outside of the workplace is awesome for improving company culture. 


Attend a Speaking engagement

There are a multitude of speakers that discuss topics that can be transformative professionally and personally. Choosing a speaker that will educate your team in your field or that will enhance their personal lives is an excellent way to join together and encourage collaboration. A great way to gauge interest is to poll the work-force to see what kind of speaker or what specific speaker would be most appreciated. Successful personal and professional speakers include Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis and Steven Covey.

Surrounding area tour

Touring the town or city that you live in by boat, bus, or walking is a great way to get to know your environment with your employees and explore common areas of interest. It is especially welcoming to employees that you have relocated or that are new to the area. If you’re in a city, visit the historical district. If you’re in a rural area, take a farm/woods/park tour.


Scavenger Hunt!

Working together on a scavenger hunt is an excellent way for your team to collaborate as well as allow individuals to reveal their different skills sets under the high pressure circumstances. Everyone’s strengths and innovations are clearly on display during this challenging and surprising game, and it is a great opportunity for your team to gain new perspectives of one another.

The most comprehensive scavenger hunts ask participants to take photos of certain items with team members and give points for each photo taken. High scoring photos might include, “Team members with a Speed Limit sign that is not a multiple of 5.” Low scoring photos might include, “Team members assisting someone with their groceries.”

For a great Chicago Scavenger Hunt, please visit NewHire’s valued client, Windy City Fieldhouse.


Supporting your team members personal endeavors

If members of your staff are pursuing acting, sports, or another personal hobby, attending their event is a great way to recognize who they are as individuals outside of work, as well as build camaraderie. A show of appreciation for your team after work hours is a great reflection on how much they are a valued not just for what they do but for who they are.

Not only does team-building drive growth and productivity, but it also makes hiring and recruiting much easier, as it helps your company gain positive reviews on websites which are often visited by job applicants. These are a just a few examples on how to foster team work in your organization. Do you have any fun things in mind for improving company culture?

As a Recruiter, I have spoken to many candidates over the years that are in full time positions but are actively seeking the same role at another company. Though I have not kept a tally, I feel comfortable stating that the majority of the people that I have interviewed have shared that even though they were satisfied with their compensation, they want to leave their role because there is no room for growth. They believe they have learned all that they can learn, and they are ready to move to the next phase of their career. Though an employee wanting a change of scenery may be inevitable and it could be just a canned answer that some use during interviews, there are things that can be done to delay or even squelch the wandering eye of the employee that you have invested so much time and money in.

Add responsibilities:

Employees like to feel that they are growing and moving forward in their role. They like their hard work to be recognized both monetarily and with an opportunity to decide if they would like an increase in tasks. Some are perfectly happy doing the same job to the best of their ability, but others are bogged down by routine and will quickly feel stagnant – prompting their next move. It is important that you recognize the needs in your employees and give them more to do if they have been successful thus far and would like to take it on.


Creating a relationship between yourself and your employees or pairing staff members together is a great move for building strong relationships in your company and rapidly increasing the development of your new hires. If new employees feel that they can safely and comfortably ask questions of your seasoned hires it will be beneficial to their confidence and growth. In addition, the ones that would like to be mentors will receive satisfaction from sharing their expertise.

Conduct anonymous feedback surveys:

It may be tough to do in a smaller corporate environment but this can be an excellent way to gauge how your employees are really feeling about their time in your organization. If it is made clear to them that there are no negative repercussions for honest and careful feedback it could do wonders for their relationship to their work, and it could be an opportunity for you to make your team stronger then ever.

Seek out career/professional development:

Working with your employees to locate relevant and interesting professional development conferences or classes is a very proactive way to show your employees that you want them to grow and are interested in them applying their new knowledge to their work.

Conduct quarterly or monthly conversations not reviews:

Holding more frequent conversations about your employees’ contribution to the team is a great way to let them know that you recognize their talents and are truly interested in their experience. It is a great way to have more informal conversations about their accountability and how you both feel things are progressing.

Spend more money, spend more time!

These suggestions may seem just like more time and more money, but the cost of losing employees to preventable circumstances far outweighs a bit more investment in your current hires. It is in everyone’s best interest to collaborate on lasting tenure in your company.

Do you have additional suggestion to maintain your hires? Please share below!

picture-deskThe in-person interview is the most valuable time that you can spend with a potential hire. It is the best opportunity that you have to get an understanding of whether or not continuing the hiring process with this individual will be right for you both. Be sure to maximize this time by being clear with yourself beforehand about the information that you need to gather from the candidate during the interview in order to make a sound decision. Utilize the interview questions below to make the most out of this point in the hiring process.

1) Please tell me about your education and work history in the last 5 years

Though you have someone’s resume in front of you, it is important to hear them articulate their background and experience. This will illustrate for you their ability to communicate a great deal of information, as well as provide an opportunity for accuracy, relevance and to garner further details.

2) What can you tell me about our company?

This question will determine how much effort the candidate has taken to research your organization. It could be a win-win if they spent time to learn more about your business.

3) Why do you want to work for our company, and why did you apply for this role in particular?

This question will allow the candidate to explain from their perspective why the two of you are a great fit. In addition, you can determine if the candidate has misread your organization or their potential place in the company.

4) How do you think your specific work skills can be an asset to our company?

This question provides an opportunity for the candidate to highlight the skill set that they find the most relevant in themselves, and will most likely be utilizing during their tenure with you.

5) What has been the most recent obstacle that you had to overcome to complete a project, and how did you overcome it?

This question provides an opportunity for the candidate to discuss a challenging work situation and how they utilized resources to overcome it. You will be able to get a glimpse into the candidate’s tangible problem solving skills and thought process.

6) Please tell me about a project that you worked on recently that involved a team and your role in that team.

This question will uncover the candidate’s recent history involving teamwork and whether or not they gravitate toward a leadership role.

7) Please tell me how you keep yourself organized with your planning system.

This question is vital in particular if the role at hand calls for managing multiple projects at a time. It can also be discovered if the candidate is successfully navigating new technology to keep things on task.

8) Tell me a time when you disagreed with your Supervisor.

This question reflects how the candidate deals with authority in conjunction with something they feel very strongly about. It will reveal how the candidate approaches a difficult situation and whether or not they are able to maintain their composure while dealing with this potentially tricky matter.

9) How does social media play a role in your career?

This question will reveal how the candidate will naturally use new technology to promote your business or themselves. If there are issues of privacy and image in your organization it is important to address them here.

10) What are your favorite aspects about yourself? What would you like to strengthen about yourself?

The best way to learn about someone is to let them tell you themselves. This different spin on an old question will allow the candidate to think differently in how they choose to communicate about themselves.

11) What do you do in your spare time for fun?

This personal question provides an opportunity for the candidates to relax a little bit after the pressure of the interview. You may also discover that you have things in common!

12)  What questions do you have for me?

This question will determine if the candidate has come prepared to learn even more about your organization; in addition, they will reveal their intentions based upon the questions that they choose to ask,

The most informative interview you can have is to pose open ended questions to the candidates. It does not allow room for yes or no answers and it will provide a wealth of information to you in the process. Please let us know what your favorite in person interview questions are!



As a Staffing Coordinator I have conducted numerous phone interviews and one of the questions that I find to elicit some of the most interesting answers is “Can you tell me about a difficult work situation that you handled, but looking back you would do something differently?” Though some candidates like to state that their professional experience has been conflict free, there are those who are quite candid about when they have experienced high emotions in the work place. This remorse is most often recounted by Managers who let an employee go due to a sudden stretch of poor performance or sudden change in attitude. The majority of the respondents wish they had known more about the situation before they made the decision to let the employee go.  Though one can not force anyone to share; it may be that your work conditions simply do not allow for certain interpersonal interactions that are necessary for an understanding workplace.  Here are strategies to put in place that may prevent you from losing your hire who typically has been a top performer.

1. Keep an open door policy

In order to make a truly informed decision, it is important that your employees feel that they can come to you if they are experiencing a personal matter, or crisis that may interfere with their work. If this information is out in the open, then a plan can be put in place for a temporary, flexible work schedule or a few days off.  In the long run the short disruption may prevent a stressed employee trying to keep it together, and save you from having to deal with under performance and ultimately restarting the hiring process.

2. Have clear procedures in place for personal issues

If you do not feel that you want to have an open door policy, then direct your employees to an appropriate person who can handle such matters. If there is no one in your organization that your employee can talk to, it is a recipe for repressed feelings and can open you up to misunderstandings about their change in work performance. By having someone official to talk to, employers can gather a full picture that can help you avoid a hasty termination.

 3. Don’t be afraid to intervene

If your employee does not come to you after a sudden change in work behavior or attitude, do not hesitate to have a meeting with them and address them directly. Fear or insecurity can prevent them from approaching you, but if you address them calmly and positively then it can open the door for a mutually beneficial discussion.

These are just a few examples of how you can maintain a positive working relationship when one of your employees is experiencing a personal matter.  If they are working through a short term change, there is no reason to let someone go. What are your methods to approach struggling employees?


Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.-Voltaire

A recent article from the New York Times states that even though companies have open positions, many hiring authorities are delaying their hiring process due to the fear of economic instability, as well as the fear that they have not located the “perfect” candidate. The millions of applicants available, coupled with unrealistic candidate expectations have led to a hiring paralysis. This leads HR Professionals to chase what the article refers to as the “Purple Squirrel”, and what we refer to in our office as the “Flying Mermaid.”

A comprehensive search for the best fit for an open position is imperative, but the quest becomes troublesome when an interview process that stretches for months and is rife with piles of assessments still does not yield a hire. It is easy to blame the candidate pool, or to reason that even if a candidate is a star, there surely must be a brighter star out there. In reality that logic may be as futile as blaming a restaurant for having too many enticing options on their menu, or as a single person railing against a dating world for having all of the wrong people. You have a need, and at some point you have to look at yourself and make a decision. If you don’t, the consequences for hiring inaction reach far beyond the empty desk: Many recruiting dollars have been ill spent, your current employees become stretched too thin, and the lines of people you have interviewed that were once full of hope are now possibly demoralized and angry. In addition, they could take their frustrations to Twitter.

As a current recruiter, I have heard in depth from both employers and candidates about the perils of the hiring process. I feel as though the hiring process is an exciting journey, that may be full of twists and turns, and one in which successful completion is unique in that it is a win-win for both the candidate and employer. Here are some suggestions that will help employers move through the process more swiftly and with unwavering confidence.

1.      Trust your process.

Most likely your company has recruiting processes and procedures in place to locate the right candidate for your open position. At best, you have first hand experience that it works since you have been through it or you have a current favorite employee. At worst, if you feel your hiring strategies need work, there are a variety of experts that can assist you in creating a new method. It is best to invest your time up front, so when you are in the midst of the hiring process the right candidate will naturally be revealed.

2.      Make a commitment to hire.

Hiring is no different that any other challenging goal you set for yourself. You have to ask yourself the hard questions at the start, so you can remain motivated to keep up with the endeavor no matter what comes along.  Do you really have the budget for this person? When do you want them to start? What tangible things do you need to see and hear in order to know that you met the right person, instead of going with your gut? Hiring takes careful planning, support, and most importantly action. If these things are not worked out in the beginning your open opportunity will remain just that- open.

3.      Move the best available candidates quickly through the process.

If you see a glowing resume or meet a qualified person you like right away, move them through the whole process immediately. They are not too good to be true, and most likely they are the right fit! Be sure to know that others will feel the same way that you do, and this person may not be available tomorrow.

4.      Accept the risk, and take the chance

No matter what you do, and how secure you feel with your hiring strategies,there is always a risk involved. There is never a guarantee that your choice will work out. But that is inherent in the process. The most you can do is know that you did your best. There are many variables in the recruiting process, but that must not lead to a hiring paralysis. If you have a genuine open position, and you have a genuine candidate, take a leap! Just make sure you do it with your eyes open.



If you have any tips regarding moving through the hiring process, please share below!