Archives For Candidate Sourcing

confidential job listing

There are good reasons that employers might want or need to have a confidential job listing and conduct a confidential search. Here are some common reasons we hear from employers:

  • We need to let the person who is currently in this role go, but can’t do it until we have a replacement in place.
  • We don’t want to get calls or emails from every applicant who applies – keep our name off the ad!
  • We don’t want our competition to know we’re hiring.
  • We don’t want other employees to know the salary range or other details about this position

As an owner and employer I empathize with all these concerns and feel they are reasonable. But (you knew it was coming, right?), there are a few important reasons to think long and hard about the decision to execute a confidential recruiting process. Posting a confidential job listing or ad can have several unintended consequences which need to be considered before the final decision is made.

You may not be able to win the war for the best available talent if the ad is confidential. Loosing a few candidates wasn’t much of a concern just a few short years ago, when very few companies were hiring. But today, competition for candidates is heating up. A confidential job listing can hurt your ability to attract top talent.

Candidates are sophisticated consumers and will do research on the employer, looking at employee reviews and LinkedIn before they invest time in the application process. If the candidate can’t verify what they see in the ad, they may not invest their time and effort to apply. You could get a much lower candidate response rate with a confidential ad and recruiting process.

In order to maintain confidentiality, the ad is likely to be less specific and won’t include identifying information like key products, key markets, projects or attractive details about your work-place and culture. Omitting this information may make the ad less attractive to the top tier of candidates.

You will also miss out on valuable free advertising. (the largest and currently most important job board) doesn’t allow organic ads (free) for confidential jobs. You can advertise on Indeed, but you’ll have to pay for it. Additionally, you won’t be able to post the job on your own website, losing important free access to prospective candidates.

Remember that secrets are hard to keep, even when you run an ad that is stripped of most identifying information. In today’s interconnected, hyper-communicating, social-media-minded, technology-driven, nothing-is-private world, the employer might not remain private; especially if the person you want to replace sees the ad.

We’ve seen it happen! The employee sees their own job advertised and marches into the boss’s office in a huff. “Why are you advertising my job? Am I getting fired?” They demand information, they are mad. The conversation can be difficult, poorly timed and extremely disruptive.

How did this employee even find out? Typically, if you, the employer, are unhappy with this employee’s job performance, they are unhappy too. Unhappy employees are on the job market. Job seekers often set up automated alerts. Notifications of open jobs arrive daily in their inbox, and they recognize their own job, even if you’ve stripped out most of the company specific information.

If you are planning to recruit confidentially and let someone go once the new person is on board, I’d like to suggest an alternative approach. Have the hard conversation BEFORE you start recruiting. This strategy puts you in the driver’s seat, controlling the timing and tone of the conversation. You are more likely to have a better outcome, a better, more amicable separation and likely a smoother transition. Additionally, now you can include company specific information in the ad, improving the likelihood of attracting top talent.

If you’ve thought long and hard, weighing the risks and benefits of launching a confidential search, and you’re willing to take the risks, move forward with the confidential recruiting and post the confidential ad. But if you’re having second thoughts, maybe it’s time to explore an alternative approach.

Using a recruiter can be a great way to save you time, energy and resources when hiring. We all know it’s not a quick (or easy) process, but sometimes you just need a little help. Is using a recruiter hurting you more than helping you? That scenario is definitely possible. Keep reading to figure out if your recruiter is a pro or a con.

using a recruiter hurting Quiet, monotone, unenergetic, negative, mean and even down right rude.  These are the perfect adjectives to describe the next Bond villain but maybe they aren’t perfect adjectives to describe your recruiter. If the aforementioned adjectives could be used to describe your recruiter, it’s highly likely using a recruiter is hurting your chances.

As a candidate who is interested in a position within your organization, I want to work with a recruiter who I wouldn’t mind seeing in the office every day. If your recruiter is kind, friendly, helpful and really organized, you can bet they are helping you hire. Remember, job candidates are screening you too. You need to put your best foot forward from the very beginning.

A recruiter within an organization can wear many hats, but their number one job is to present you with qualified candidates.  The recruiter was hired to hire!  Through a set of processes, they present qualified candidates to the decision makers of the company. There are a number of pro tips and tricks we’ve compiled over the years we’ve been helping small and medium businesses hire.

Let’s look at the things that will hurt you more than help you:

  • Your recruiter has a bad attitude or bad vibe
  • The recruiter isn’t excited about the company or position
  • The recruiter isn’t selling the opportunity
  • The hiring managers don’t trust the recruiter’s decisions
  • The hiring managers aren’t seeing qualified candidates
  • There is no recruiting process or organization
  • The recruiter isn’t following up with candidates

If any of those sound familiar to you, using a recruiter is hurting you when trying to hire. But don’t worry too much. Using a recruiter isn’t always bad, and it can actually be extremely efficient and helpful!

Here are the things that will making using a recruiter helpful to your organization:using recruiter helping

  • The recruiter answers the phone as if they are the one interviewing
  • The recruiter always has a positive attitude
  • The recruiter presents the company in a positive and professional manner
  • The recruiter keeps detailed notes in a database
  • The recruiter is excited about the job and company
  • The hiring managers trust the recruiter’s decisions
  • The recruiter gives the candidate feedback
  • There is an outlined and consistent process including follow up

Does that sound familiar? We hope so. Because that means your recruiter is absolutely helping you make the right hire!

Using a recruiter is something many people are on the fence about because they don’t want to find themselves resonating with the first list. The question isn’t necessarily whether or not you should use a recruiter, because clearly they can be very helpful, but it’s about finding the right recruiter. You want one that’s going to help, not hurt. They’re out there. You just have to be selective.

This is the second of a three-part series that’s designed to help you answer the question “why is it so hard to hire an employee?” 

Last week, we addressed why no one was applying for your position, but that’s not everyone’s issue when it comes time to hire an employee. Perhaps people are applying, but you’re simply not getting well-qualified applicants. Or maybe you’re being inundated with entirely too many applicants. Let’s dive into why you might be experiencing these problems when hiring.

Why isn’t anyone well-qualified applying for the position?

You’ve been advertising the open position in all the right places, and candidates are responding. But when you review the resumes, none look attractive.  None of applicants meet all the qualifications and requirements you set.

Unqualified Concept

You don’t want to waste time on interviews with people who are unqualified, overqualified, or don’t look like a good match for the company, so you don’t follow up with anyone. That’s understandable, but it’s not going to help you hire an employee.

It is reasonable (and advisable) to be worried when none of the candidates who apply appear to be a good fit.

Why does this happen? Here are a few possibilities:

  • Your job description doesn’t accurately reflect the work or qualifications you expect. Candidates only know what you tell them so give them the information they need to know if they are well-qualified for the job.
  • The expectations for the job changed between the time you advertised and the time you start screening. If this is the case, you need to revise the job advertisement and accept new applications. Changing expectations during the hiring process will lead to frustration for both potential employee and employer.
  • You are looking for a flying mermaid; a rare creature indeed, and likely one you will not find. The combination of experience and knowledge, duties and responsibilities you set are not realistic. To be attractive, the job must be doable. Just because the founder or owner did all that stuff at some point – doesn’t mean an employee can or will.

It is hard to admit it when we’ve experienced any of these problems. It could feel like a personal failing. Admitting to a mistake is hard.

The first step in solving the problem is pinpointing the issue. If you think you’ve experienced one of these challenges, take a step back, take a deep breath and remember there is a solution. In many of these cases a little research or competitive intelligence can go a long way to solving the problem and moving forward with a fresh start.

Why are so many people are applying for this position?

Some employers find themselves overwhelmed by the candidate response. When you have too many candidates to review, it’s overwhelming, and hard to figure out how to identify the best candidates. When that happens, you may find yourself procrastinating reviewing any at all because it’s human nature to put off things that seem daunting.

Before we figure out how to eliminate this problem, let’s figure out how you got to it in the first place.

hard to hire an employee

There are a few circumstances that typically lead to a barrage of resumes.

  • If the position you are hiring for is entry-level or lower skill level, you will inevitably get more applicants than when you are hiring a more senior-level employee.
  • If the position is very attractive – the employer has a great reputation, competitive wages and benefits, and an excellent employment value proposition — you’re going to get a lot of applicants. Pat yourself on the back. You deserve congratulations as that is no easy task and deserves recognition.

If either of those are the case, you need to be prepared to see a lot of applicants. If you’re not prepared, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and start procrastinating. That is absolutely not how you want to feel when trying to hire an employee. If there is no screening system, plan of action, or objective hiring criteria in place, you’re probably going to feel that pain. But don’t worry. There are things you can do.

If you’re feeling the pain from either of these problems, you might need some tools and coaching to get you over the hump. You also may need a system that allows you to quickly identify the best qualified talent, without reading every application because we know the pain of reviewing applicants. 

If you want to learn more read Part 1 or Part 3 of this series.

Mad computer

In the digital age, consumers have more information available than ever before. One increasingly popular source for such information is opinion and review platforms with non-professional/user-generated content. Whether it’s ranking a restaurant (Yelp), movie (IMDb), book (Goodreads), or even college professor (RateMyProfessor), it has become more and more frequent for everything and everyone to fall under anonymous Internet raters’ scrutiny.

And while much has been written about employers’ ability to use social media to check candidates’ backgrounds, the web has also enabled job seekers to research prospective employers based on past and current employees’ reviews. These employer reviews can play a major impact on the recruiting process, whether positive or negative, and are becoming increasingly important to track when looking to a make a hire.

Where are jobseekers going for Employer Reviews?

The two largest employer review websites currently are Glassdoor and Indeed. While smaller employers could have zero to a few dozen reviews, large employers, such as Coca-Cola, have over a thousand. On both sites, current and former employees rate companies on a 1 to 5 star scale.

Glassdoor allows reviewers to get a little more specific and asks reviewers to rate companies’ Culture & Values, Work/Life Balance, Senior Management, Compensation & Benefits, and Career Opportunities. Both sites allow reviewers to leave comments to accompany their rating, which is frequently where the most insightful information resides.

When a possible applicant uses these sites to research an employer and sees an overwhelming number of negative comments, their desire to spend time applying for that position shrinks. No one wants to work for a bad employer.

Do these reviews really have an effect on recruiting?

How frequently have you seen a restaurant proudly displaying their high Yelp or TripAdvisor rank? Some service sites put enough credence in user reviews that they use them for quality assurance.

For example, Uber, an increasingly popular transportation start-up does not allow drivers who fall below 4.7 stars to continue to drive under the company name. While goods and services providers have known for a while that online review sites affect business, when it comes to recruiting, many small- to mid-sized companies may overlook online reviews’ influence on attracting applicants and hiring people to fill positions.

When consumers turn into candidates, they don’t stop utilizing the web for information gathering. Time Magazine reported that nearly half of employees polled in 2013 said that a company’s online reputation matters as much as the job offer.  For personal evidence- all three of the most recent employees at NewHire (myself included) looked at online employer reviews during our job hunt. Finally, one possible extra perk keeping high reviews: saving money. Most candidates are willing to accept a lower salary if company reviews are favorable.

In their 2013 Candidate Behavior Study, CareerBuilder discovered that 67% of the over 5,500 job seekers polled said they would take a lower salary at an exceptionally reviewed employer online. That’s a lot of people.

Employer reviews are key to making good hires at the rate you want. So now that you know how important they are, what can you do about poor reviews? Stay tuned for part 2 and I’ll let you know.

keywords for recruiting



It’s no secret; one of the toughest parts of recruiting is finding the right candidates, and helping them to find you. According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 4 million open jobs in March of 2014! With all those options for candidates, it’s important to do everything in your power to make the job you’re hiring for stand out in the crowd. Using strong keywords in every recruitment ad is one way to make it easier for the right candidates to find your ad. So how do you know which are the best keywords for recruiting the type of person you want?

The goal of an effective recruitment ad is to help candidates who are a good match for the open position find your ad and apply for the position.  There are several factors other than keywords which make an ad successful. You can read the keys to successful recruitment advertising in our other blogs here.

Today, candidates use a variety of websites to find open jobs.  The number of job boards and search options available to candidates continues to increase. Candidates use job boards (Indeed and CareerBuilder etc.), search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter).

Including keywords in a recruitment ad is a little like doing SEO-lite. Using keywords for recruiting will improve the likelihood that the ad is findable on the web. Keywords are like a homing beacon, attracting the right candidates to the open position. So what are the best keywords for recruiting to include and how should they be used?

Keywords are the common words or phrases that provide information that is most important to candidates you want to attract – don’t use company jargon or esoteric, cryptic, or otherwise confusing terms. Your top candidates will focus on what’s important to them when they’re searching, and the more keyword categories you include the more you increase your chances of reaching those candidates.

Keywords fall into several different categories that include all the primary aspects of your open position: Job Title, Location, Salary range and perks, Industry and product specifics are all important. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal candidate; imagine how they will be searching the web to find their next job.

The job title is super-duper important. If you use the wrong job title, the right candidates might not find the ad. Worse yet, the right candidate might not identify the job as appropriate to them. For example if you call the job “Customer Service Representative” but expect candidates to be able to share accounting expertise with customers when providing service – you might find that you aren’t able to build an appropriate candidate pool. Once you’ve decided on the appropriate job title you can include a few variations peppered throughout the ad text.

Inducing industry information is also important. All sales jobs are not the same. After all, selling specialty software to legal firms might be a tad different than selling cars on Parkway Avenue, or selling capital equipment in the manufacturing sector. Include the industry of the company, and the types of products involved. Find ways to get that information into the ad more than once.

Salary, benefits, and perks count too. You might be surprised how often candidates search for “sales jobs with company car”. Be sure to tell the candidates what’s in it for them, be as specific as possible. You might even find two places to include this information in the ad, for example include compensation information once in a sentence in the first paragraph of the ad and once in bullet point list later in the ad.

Geography also matters. Does this position require the best candidate to be at your work site or office? At a client work site? At their home office? Travel to a different location each month? While big box national retailers may have openings in every city – smaller employers likely have a more specific work location in mind. Let candidates know where they will be expected to work. And tell them twice!

Repeat keywords a few times in the recruitment ad text. But be careful! Don’t just repeat the keywords again and again at the bottom of the ad. Instead use the words in context, a few times. Use similar words, variations, synonyms and common abbreviations to add variety.

Keywords should be included in your recruitment ad to help candidates find the dream job you are advertising. Use keywords in your recruitment ad to grab the attention of your ideal candidate AND to help them find the job using job boards, or by Google searches. Use keyword several times through out the recruitment ad to be sure that where ever your ideal candidate is searching for their dream job – the job ad they see will be the one you are recruiting for. Lastly, if you are planning to share the job by social media, don’t be afraid to use the #hashtag (#hiring #location #industry #jobtitle), it can only help get your job found.

Follow along as we hire for open positions at NewHire.

We’ve been steadily interviewing for a couple of different positions at NewHire, but now the urgency of the need has increased. We have you, our wonderful clients, to thank for that. So, thank you!

We thought it might be interesting and informative for you to follow along as we hire (and we thought you may know someone who would be a good fit). We are currently in the process of building a candidate pool for several different roles. Here are the jobs we are looking to fill:

Staffing Coordinator:

As you know, Staffing Coordinators deliver the NewHire recruiting process to our clients. We have an internal, written job description which details reason the job exists, the duties, responsibilities and rewards of the job. Actually we have three of those job descriptions, because each Staffing Coordinator wrote their own job description. Now we have a NewHire application here. 

Account Manager:

This is a sales role. The job description focuses on learning NewHire products and services and learning our clients’ needs and wants. Our goal is develop Account Manager into recruiting experts. We distinguish the role from the job title “Sales Representative” because Account Managers don’t cold call. They do go out on sales calls, sell over the phone, network, attend trade shows, do demonstrations, write blog posts and provide post-sales support to clients. We are looking for two people and you can see the NewHire application here.

Administrative Reception:

This is our entry-level position and we have promoted most of our current staff from this role into others in the company. We look for the “best available talent” measured by intelligence, behaviors, motivations and aptitude. If you know a recent college grad interested in a growing web-based software and service company, please send them here.

Building a candidate pool is no easy task. It’s important to advertise to the right people, get a good pool to choose from and then screen them to see who you want to interview.

Each process will rely on NewHire to advertise, source and screen candidates. We’ll phone screen the people who are the closest fits and give assessments to the best of the phone screens.

Follow our blog for more updates on the process. We look forward to introducing you to the newest members of the NewHire team once we have finished building a candidate pool, screened our candidates and selected the best person for the job, because we believe every job deserves the right person.


Having experienced thousands of job openings and millions of candidates at NewHire, one lesson is clear: Every recruiting project moves from the “ideal world of the job description” to “the real world of the people actually interested in your job.”

Perfect candidates are an extremely rare breed. This Harvard Business Review article (link: calls them “purple squirrels.” We tend to call them “flying mermaids.” However you think of them, there’s nothing wrong with finding the perfect candidate — if you can do it in the time frame required to meet your business objectives. When you find a candidate like this, think of it as a happy accident.

As in most of life, timing is everything. The bigger your hurry, the more compromising you must do. The higher the stakes, the more careful you feel you must be. Let’s look at two real-life scenarios to illustrate what we mean:

Scenario 1.

You have an opening for a sales representative (I know… you always do) on your team of five. People are a bit stretched covering the open position, but not impossibly so. Your Sales Manager is spending measurably less time coaching and more time selling, so this hurts the overall sales effort. Given the cost of the hire, the initial training and a significant ramp-up time, you’re looking at an investment of $50,000 to $60,000. You’ve seen six candidates who have been through a multi-step recruiting process, including a positive result on a sales assessment that you believe in. You’ve been at it for 90 days. Each of the candidates has significant pros and cons. Do you pick the best of the bunch or keep looking?

Scenario 2.

You own the business and it has been good, growing, and modestly profitable. You’ve been at it for six years and now you are thinking it’s time to bring in a General Manager or COO who will help you to the next level. You want to add more professional management experience to your organization. You want time to work on new products and spend more time with customers. People tell you that you’ll have to pay $110,000 to $130,000 to get the right person. Having mentioned your interest to a few colleagues, referrals are trickling in and you’ve met with three candidates. You liked one of them a lot, but she’s in demand and likely has other offers. Do you take the plunge and hire her?

Here are our answers:

Scenario 1: Pick the best of the bunch and get a sales rep hired.

Yes, it’s a significant investment and you want to get it right, but the cost of doing nothing exceeds the risk of hiring the wrong person. It’s difficult to calculate lost opportunity, but you know it’s there. Without a fully functioning sales machine it’s difficult to grow. Use 30, 60 and 90 benchmarks to measure whether your new hire is on the path to success. Keep sourcing, screening and interviewing candidates… there’s never a wrong time to hire a purple squirrel sales rep. Build the cost of sales rep turnover into to your annual budget so that you don’t fret every time a sales rep fails… it happens.

Scenario 2: Slow down! Back up and start over.

We are not opposed to “opportunistic hires,” but the business owner in this scenario has not spent any time clearly defining the role and responsibilities, nor have they thought about the behaviors and motivations that the GM or COO job would reward. What is the owner’s behavior profile? Should the new hire have the same kind of profile or should it be different, filling in leadership and management gaps. Would a hire coming from a large organization with a strong history of implementing corporate best practices be a good idea? Is the referral he liked, “the best available talent?” He doesn’t know WHO he doesn’t know, so expand the pool of candidates dramatically. Kiss a lot of frogs. It helps you identify when you’ve found your prince.

How many people do you interview for each position before you hire?


Some positions can be very difficult, time consuming, and expensive to fill. However, if you have a good process in place and creatively apply your resources, there are some ways that you can reduce the cost of hiring. Here are a few tips:

Optimize the search terms in your ad

Make your ad easy to find. If you are hiring a sales rep but internally refer to the position as a “market warrior”, use the title that people are likely to enter in the search bar. Candidates need to find the job before they can apply. By thinking about your ad from the prospect’s perspective, you can maximize the return on your advertising investment.


You have a lot to do, and your time is valuable. Consider enlisting help for the front end work in the hiring process – writing the ad, answering candidate responses, qualifying and screening prospects. Professional recruiting tools can make your process more efficient and timely, but even if you don’t require outside assistance, deploy your internal resources. Having a junior employee handle the administrative work will mean a lower hourly pay rate is dedicated to those tasks.

Take advantage of your individual social network

You know lots of people and have connections within your industry. Share the job on LinkedIn, and encourage your staff to do the same. The right candidate might find you through the grapevine and arrive complete with references that you trust.

Tap into your organizational affiliations

If your company is associated with any trade organizations or industry groups, there may be advertising benefits included with membership. You may already be paying for them, and not using those benefits is a waste. See if you can post your position on their websites, or have the job listed in the next newsletter.

Don’t Delay

Develop an efficient hiring process, talk to qualified candidates as they arrive, and be prepared to make your offer of employment. In an increasingly competitive job market, the best talent will find other positions. By being decisive and following a plan, you will demonstrate organizational competence (which candidates like to experience) and reduce the risk that your top prospect joins someone else. The best way to minimize the cost of hiring is to avoid going through the whole process a second time – buying more ads, interviewing a new pool of candidates, and having to further compensate for having a vacant position.

happy employees

Candidates are doing it too. They are finding out about employers’ reputations using the very same social networking tools.

Not long ago we were contacted by a candidate who was through a second round of interviews at a manufacturing firm. He called to let us know that he was no longer interested in the opportunity. Why? He had found a former employee using his social network, and inquired about the employer. He reported to us that he had heard enough negative information to cause him to withdraw from consideration for the job!

Here is another scary one: check out a website called: . This site is filled with postings from employees venting about their employer. Granted, disgruntled employees are not a reliable source of information but…damage is done to the employer reputation in the eyes of the prospective hires. The take away: Candidates are talking about employers – publicly.

So remember that your recruitment advertising and hiring process touch lots of candidates and even some potential customers. As you recruit, be as mindful of your corporate image and value proposition as you are in every other marketing communication you use.

Employers are also using social networking to attract candidates to open positions. This can be a cost effective strategy that dovetails with your traditional recruitment advertising and your corporate job board.

In September we made the decision that it was time to hire for NewHire. Since we provide companies all over the US with the candidates, tools and coaching to help hire better, you might think that our internal recruiting is boiler plate. But from my perspective as an owner, hiring has complex emotional, strategic, and tactical implications.

Here are some of the things that I was thinking about.

My Excitement list:

  • Cool, business is strong, we’re growing and we need additional capacity.
  • We’ve meet key strategic goals!
  • It will be fun and interesting to add someone new to our team.

My Fear and Worry List

  • Which job title should we hire for?
  • What if we mess this up? That could be an expensive burden!
  • Who is doing the work?
  • How much is it going to cost?
  • When’s the right time to start recruiting
  • When’s the right time to for a new person to start?

You might notice that my Worry list is twice as long as my Excitement list.

For several years we’ve been committed to a strategy of promoting proven talent and hiring entry level candidates. We typically hire for an administrative role, looking for recent college grads who demonstrate personal motivation, a willingness to learn, work hard, and have some past work history. Since we are in a “people business” I care that their job had lots of opportunity to interface with a variety of people. Sometimes past recruiting experience is important, but not this time around. This is the strategy that guides me.

What about the tactics? Perhaps I’m lucky. I admit. We have a step-by-step recruiting process (including tools) ready to go. I also have a solid idea of the advertising cost. All I have to do is assign the project and sound that starting gun.

Because I have a hiring strategy and tactics, in place I was able to get started with our recruiting even though some worries remained.

What keeps you awake at night when you are getting ready to hire?