Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Things Not to Do When Interviewing for a Job

Job interviews are a daunting process. You’re putting yourself in an unfamiliar situation, meeting new people, and knowing you are being evaluated based on a conversation of an hour or less. Still, an interview is often the only way you’ll be offered a job, so it’s to your benefit to practice, prepare, and know the dos and don’ts of interviewing. If you can avoid these 5 interview pitfalls, your talent, personality, and experience will better shine through, hopefully landing you an offer.
  1. Don’t be late

Time management is a basic skill of any job. An employer wants to know you can reliably be on time to work. Being late for a job interview doesn’t just signify that you might be late to work occasionally - it also shows that you’re not willing to make an effort to be on time when things are important. What if you have a big client meeting, an important conference call, or project with a tight deadline? Being late is an easy way for prospective employers to gauge your reliability - or lack of it.

To make sure you’re on time, take a “dry run” of the route to the interview. Do this practice run at the same time of day you will need to commute to the interview. For example, if your interview is at 9 AM, you will likely have to deal with some rush hour traffic, so a practice run at 3 PM on a Sunday afternoon might not give you a clear picture of how much time you’ll need.

Once you have established how long it will take you to get to your interview, give yourself plenty of extra time. Build in at least half of the time it takes to get there. If you can easily get from your front door to the interview location without rushing in 30 minutes, give yourself at least 45. In the worst case scenario, you may want to sit in your car for an extra 10 minutes, and walk in 5 minutes before your interview. You’ll be glad you built the extra time in, though, if you encounter an accident, have a wardrobe malfunction, or forget where to park.

If, despite your best efforts, you know you will be late, call as soon as possible to let your interviewer know. Don’t be surprised if they cancel the interview or move it to another time or day. Calling, however, is better than letting people wonder where you are, and letting them assume you think it’s acceptable to be late for the interview.

  1. Don’t ignore the dress code

With many companies embracing a business casual, or even a regular casual, dress code these days, it can be confusing to know how to dress for an interview. While there can be a few exceptions to this rule, the best idea is to always dress up. Being overdressed for an interview is better than being underdressed. Most interviewers will also appreciate that you know what  proper interview  attire is, and it will make a good impression, even if you are more dressed up than anyone else in the office.

So what is the best solution to being dressed for an interview? Typically, a business suit is the go-to
solution. For men, this involves dress pants with a matching jacket, button-down shirt, and coordinating tie. Be sure not to get too fun or funky with your tie. Hopefully, you’ll be able to let your personality shine through later on, but keep your shirt and tie to neutrals, solid colors, or simple and traditional stripes or dots. For women, a pant suit or skirt suit with conservative blouse or button-down shirt is appropriate. For business casual or casual office environments, men can wear dark dress pants paired with a sports coat, while women can wear a sheath dress or pencil skirt along with a coordinating blazer.

If an office insists that they are a casual environment, you should still dress up slightly. Dress pants with a button-down shirt, a skirt with a blouse, or a conservative dress would be appropriate options. At some places, like Silicon Valley technology companies, a suit may be seen as too old-fashioned, and dress pants and a button-down are the normal interview attire, but this is very rare. If you’re in an industry with this standard, you will likely already know the expected dress.

You should also make sure you look neat and tidy - not just that your clothes are the appropriate type. Iron your clothes the night before your interview if needed. Make sure your hair, face, and nails are clean and well-manicured. For women who choose to wear makeup, ensure it is subdued. You don’t want people paying more attention to your eyeshadow than what you are saying! Perfume or cologne should be minimal if worn, but it’s best to leave it off entirely.

Looking neat and presentable in appearance isn’t enough. You also need to mind your presentation. Don’t slouch, fidget, or put your feet up. You ironed that shirt after all: you don’t want to wrinkle it by the way you are sitting. Try to be mindful of your posture and movements.

  1. Don’t forget to prepare

In the age of Google, there’s no excuse for not knowing basic information about the company. Most companies you will interview with at least have their own website, often with an about page that will outline their services, if not their entire history.

If a company doesn’t have a website or the website doesn’t clarify anything for you, customer reviews on Google or Yelp may yield results. Check review sites like Indeed and Glassdoor to see what employees and other interviewees have experienced with the company. LinkedIn can be a great resource since you will usually be able to find at least the executives or people on the management team and get a feel for their current role and past experience. Try to find the person you will be interviewing with to see how long they have been in their position and where they came from. Do they have an educational or professional connection to you? That’s something you can play up in the interview. Have they been promoted within the company, perhaps from the job you are now interviewing for? Asking about the company’s retention and internal promotion strategy may be informative.

When you do your research beforehand, you will look well-prepared and make a great impression on your interviewer. You will also be able to ask intelligent, well-thought-out questions about the company and the role. Perhaps most importantly, you can determine if the company is actually the right fit for you!

  1. Don’t get too personal

It’s a difficult balance, trying to make yourself memorable in an interview while maintaining a professional demeanor. Ideally, your experience, education, and talent will stand out and be what makes the interviewee remember you, not inappropriate personal details! The interview should concentrate on what you can bring to the role. You may be going through a difficult time at work or home, but the interviewee doesn’t need to know this. Again, if you are bringing personal issues into the interview, there’s an assumption you may cross boundaries once you are working there, as well, both with your colleagues and with customers, if applicable to your role. An interviewer wants to see the right level of professionalism.

Of course, don’t be so accommodating that an interviewee doesn’t think you have any principles or
opinions of your own. Difficult or controversial topics should be avoided if at all possible, such as political affiliation. Many people also choose not to discuss any kind of classification that could open them or the company up to questions of discrimination, such as religion, sexual orientation, or family status. While these things can’t be used as a basis for hiring or not hiring people, it can be difficult to prove discrimination in this instance, so they are topics that are best avoided in the interview process.

You should also avoid speaking negatively about your current position or previous jobs. You may be leaving a bad boss or toxic department, but the interviewer will question whether you will trash talk them or the company at a later date if they offer you this job. Consider the benefits you want to gain by taking on a new role rather than the downsides you want to leave behind.

Otherwise, an interviewer does want to get to know you to determine if you will be a good fit for the team. There is something to be said for having the right mix of personalities and hiring people who will like each other and work well together. You may want to practice a few anecdotes that highlight your personality and thought process, while also relating to the type of work you hope to do and what you think you can achieve in the position.

  1. Don’t talk about money or benefits

Whether or not you love what you do, your main reason for doing it is undoubtedly the fact that you get paid for it. Employers, however, want to know that you are enthusiastic about the position and what you can bring to it. Your priority should be on demonstrating your fit with the company and your ability to do quality work. Once you are offered the job, a salary offer will accompany it. Many companies also include a salary range in the job description. If you are new to the industry, you can do outside research to see what kind of range to expect.

Some companies attract candidates by touting their amazing benefits. Google comes to mind as an example of a company that disrupted the traditional benefit structure by offering employees free cafeteria meals, snack stations, on-site dry cleaning, and more. Of course, most companies aren’t Google, with the size, budget, and competitive atmosphere needed to provide those things, but benefits like catered lunches, on-site gyms, and flexible schedules aren’t uncommon ways to make sure a company is attracted lots of desirable candidates.

It may not be as fun to discuss the “adult” benefits like health insurance or 401k matches, but many job seekers are interested in those options as well. In fact, those types of financial benefits can add an additional 30% value to a salary offer.

Just like salary, though, benefit specifics are not something that should be discussed in the initial interview phase. Most companies will send you an official offer letter outlining your salary offer as well as benefits such as medical, dental, and vision insurance, retirement benefits, and any additional optional benefits.

Need interview help? Contact us.

If you follow this list of what not to do, what you do in an interview should help you perform well! If your interview skills are rusty, though, contact us. We’ll have you talk to our top recruiters and pair you with a job that fits your skills. Just fill out this form and your nearest office will contact you.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Job Quality vs. Job Compensation: What’s the Deciding Factor?

A big component of any job is the salary or wage. After all, most people work in order to earn money for the things they need and want in life - though enjoying your job is certainly a bonus! When evaluating a job offer, what you will be paid is most likely your key consideration, but it shouldn’t be the only deciding factor.

Possible drawbacks of higher pay

You may think there are no downsides to finding a higher paying job. Everyone likes more money! Before saying “yes,” though, you should consider if there are reasons they are offering a higher wage. Job quality versus compensation is a big factor in employee job satisfaction and overall quality of life. Make sure to investigate if a higher hourly wage is making up for the following downsides.

  1. Mandatory extended hours


Some companies, especially those who go through periods where their work surges, such as a busy holiday time or seasonally-dependent work, build forced extended work clauses into their employment contracts. This means you may be mandated to work extra shifts with little to no notice if work levels require it, and refusal can lead to termination.

Imagine coming in for your 4 hour shift only to be told you need to stay an additional four hours. If your shift was from 8 am to noon, it might not be so bad. Now imagine you have to pick your daughter up from daycare at 1 PM and take her to a piano lesson at 2 PM. Or this is a second job you work from 6 PM to 10 PM, and now you’re being forced to work overnight, even though you need to go to your office job the next day. You may even need to stay more than eight hours - 12 hours or longer isn’t uncommon in a busy season.

Sure, you’ll earn more money by working additional shifts, and perhaps even “time and a half” pay (1.5 times your hourly rate) for overtime, but is your time worth it?

  1. Additional manual labor

In exchange for a higher pay rate, a company might also have very high expectations - some they may be criticized for if they seem impossible to meet. Highly paid, hourly shift work is often in manufacturing or a warehouse-like environment. Unlike other jobs where you could be on your feet a lot like retail or food service, warehouse workers may routinely walk up to 12 miles each shift, and sometimes they can be penalized for not maintaining a certain speed when it comes to stocking or retrieving items.

Performance metrics can be hard to achieve and maintain. Not only can it be difficult to get up to speed when you are hired, but being with the job for years doesn’t guarantee your performance metrics get easier or that you won’t be penalized for not making them. Plus, this kind of performance metric doesn’t depend on your attitude, sales skills, or customer service, but simply repetitive manual labor.

  1. Lack of creature comforts


Office environments are nearly always divorced from the outside weather. Inside solid structures with central heat and air conditioning, you can almost forget what month it is while you’re sitting at a desk. Not so with some jobs!

Shift work, seasonal employment, and other jobs often take place in warehouses or temporary facilities that don’t provide basic accommodations like climate control. In the Mid-atlantic, this can mean freezing temperatures for several months in the winter, with humidity and temperatures in the 90s throughout much of the summer. Again, you will be expected to meet your performance metrics while possibly battling the elements, especially if your job is outdoors or involves moving between buildings.

For jobs like warehouse work, there are also very few breaks for you to sit, eat, or drink. Security measures may mean you spend part of your 30 minute lunch break in line, waiting to pass through metal detectors or security scanners - and that’s after you cross a giant warehouse to get to the exit!

  1. High demand means high turnover

Despite the downsides already discussed, the high pay means these jobs are in demand. This can create a disincentive to actually take the job, though! Rather than cultivating new hires and promoting quality employees, a system of high demand means employers can fire an employee for any reason, knowing they can easily hire a replacement. Employers like to say that higher wages mean they can have their pick of quality candidates, but many jobs they are filling are unskilled. shutterstock_216580801.jpg

With high employee turnover, it can be difficult to cultivate relationships with coworkers. Often, the social environment of an office is an incentive to work there, with many companies working to develop their workplace culture and use it to attract new talent. Not being able to eat lunch or talk with coworkers you consider to be friends can lead to a lot of disatisfaction with a job on the whole.

The alternative to difficult part time work

If you or a friend are looking for a part-time, seasonal employment, or even a full time job at this point in the year, look to J & J Staffing. We specialize in placing employees with successful local companies. Even better, these companies are looking for workers who are individuals. Do you have what it takes to succeed in a position and achieve a promotion? J & J Staffing Resources is probably for you! Contact us today to be put in contact with one of our eight local offices.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

5 Reasons to Job Search in the Fall

5 Reasons to Job Search in the Fall
The summer is coming to a close and people are ready to take their final vacations before the change in season. No employer is looking to hire you directly after Labor Day vacation, right? Wrong! No more excuses. September is the start of the fall hiring season; there’s no better time to put yourself out into the job market. Here are five reasons you should start your job search now.

  1. Get Ahead of the Crowd
Don’t hesitate, send out your resume! Sure, your potential employer might still be on vacation, but if you submit your resume, cover letter, and information now, you’ll be on the top of the pile when they return to work. If you pause your job search during the start of September, you’ll be competing with everyone else who did the same when the hiring boom hits later in the season.

If you thought the summer was a slow-paced time to get hired, employers and recruiters also tend to be less active directly around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sending out a slew of resumes right around the time businesses are starting their holiday breaks is a bad idea. Your resume will end up in a pile, buried under emails and paperwork, as people tend only to focus on the essentials so they can spend time with their families. Want to stand above the fray before the holidays arrive? Contact employers and recruiters sooner rather than later.
  1. Recruiters are Looking For You

Just because you’d rather squeeze in one last beach trip before the summer ends, this does not mean that recruiters and employers have stopped looking for candidates. According to the third quarter 2016 Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, opportunities for job seekers remain favorable with employers, particularly those in the Wholesale & Retail Trade and Leisure & Hospitality sectors, who say they intend to hire new employees from July to September. Landing a job before or at the start of the fourth quarter allows you to settle into your new workplace and start receiving paychecks before the hectic holiday season hits.
  1. Jobs are Out There

Start applying!

We’re in the digital age, but skilled trade and service occupations are not in decline. Machinery needs to be repaired. Goods need to be moved across the globe and through warehouses. The public requires medical and food services at all times. Carpenters, welders, plumbers, electricians, masons, nurses, and material handlers are in demand, according to the Manpower survey. In fact, one of the largest-growing fields of employment is food preparation and serving related occupations. This area is expected to generate 1.4 million new jobs by 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  1. Turnover Can Mean Higher Pay

Each year, the number of quits and voluntary separations rise each year, as recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that not only are employees seeking better opportunities, but employers have to fill even more roles. In fact, job openings are occurring faster than people entering the workforce or quitting their jobs—this means that now is the best time to get hired. Not only are employers looking for new hires, but there is a surplus of positions available with not enough candidate to fill them.

This surplus will give you more flexibility in your job selection, and possibly a larger salary and benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released another study that showed wages have increased by 1.5% for the past five years. As employees leave to pursue other opportunities, employers are feeling more pressure to increase wages to compete for the best talent. By contacting employers now, not only could you be hired for a job relatively quickly, but you could end up negotiating for a higher salary.
  1. A Seasonal Position Could Become Full-Time

The fall is a prime time for seasonal work. Students are back to school, opening up many opportunities in retail, food service, and entry-level jobs. Retailers are starting to look for new staff and material handlers to assist during the impending holiday rush—Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Last year, NRF reported that stores hired between 700,00 and 750,000 seasonal workers in 2015. This spike in employment offers jobs not only in retail but transportation, manufacturing, and fulfillment. Granted, many of these jobs are temporary, but a seasonal opening can turn into a full-time position. Seasonal jobs allow you to get your foot in the door, make a good impression, and create lasting connections to help you further your career path.

Still not motivated to keep your job search going?

Don’t get discouraged! No matter the time of year, don’t talk yourself out of applying for a job because you lack experience. Companies are increasingly looking for employees with the right traits and motivation. Smart employers realize that skills can be taught, but a poor attitude is difficult to change. A positive outlook and a can-do spirit opens doors and can keep you in a new job longer than technical skill alone.


According to a study by Leadership IQ, 46% of newly hired employees will fail within 18 months, while only 19% achieve success. Out of that group, only 11% were let go because they lacked the necessary technical skills.The majority of new hires failed because they couldn’t accept feedback, were unable to manage emotions, lacked motivation, or had the wrong temperament for the job. If you’re willing to be a motivated team member, the statics are in your favor that you are more likely to succeed in your new job and learn the skills you’ll need along the way.

If you’re ready to start your job search, but need help with the hiring process send us your resume or use our job listings to find openings in your area. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about your employment.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Is Your Company having trouble hiring and retaining talent?

What is your company selling to new prospective employees?

Every week I meet with companies who are having challenges finding and retaining good employees.  This challenge is not unique.  All businesses have dealt with this same issue.  And it does not help that the employment marketplace is constantly changing.  As I write we, are in the middle of one of the largest recruiting changes that we have experienced in the last decade.
Recruitment and retention does not always have to be complicated.  In fact I ask my clients who are struggling a very simple question to begin the conversation, “What are you selling to your prospective new employees?”  This question puts a Hiring Manager in the proper frame of mind to discuss recruitment challenges.  At the end of the day, the good candidates have options.  The economy is moving very quickly from the employer driven marketplace of the last decade to the candidate driven marketplace.  Like a consumer selecting the best car for their family, candidates are weighing all the options available to them in the employment marketplace.  Why would a candidate want to work for you?  You and your recruitment team should have an answer to this question?
What makes you stand out in your marketplace?  5 of the most common candidate considerations.

High Pay

One way to attract candidates is to have the highest compensation in your employment marketplace.  Those candidates who are driven by compensation, and we all are to some level, will gravitate to your company.

Excellent Work Environment

Do people love working at your company?  If they do, make sure you leverage that to attract and retain those candidates who know a good work environment will trump compensation.  Experienced candidates will appreciate those quality of life benefits that your company brings to the table.

Flexible Work Schedule

Sometimes all that is standing between you and the best candidates is flexibility.  If you can be somewhat flexible in start time, end time, or days of the week worked, you may be able to attract an excellent candidate at a discount.  Be very specific about your company’s requirements up front and then work out a schedule that is a fit for both parties.

Experience and Training

Excellent workers without lots of experience may be willing to work for a little less if you’re your company’s culture is focused on training and advancement.  The benefit of this methodology is you will build the perfect employee for your company and culture.

Excellent Benefits

If your company offers a top of the line benefits package be sure to make that a prominent part of
your recruitment pitch.  Experienced candidates know the financial and quality of life advantages of having top flight benefits.

Each company has a mix of the above candidate considerations.  You company may have lower compensation but offer a flexible schedule.  You can make that work.  Where companies run into trouble is when they are on the lower end of ALL these considerations.  When a candidate is desperate to find a job so they can pay their bills, they may take the first offer that comes along.  If that offer is not competitive they will begin looking for another job the same day they begin working for you.

So bring your hiring team together and talk about what you are selling to new prospective employees.  The answer to this question is a great starting point to understanding your recruitment and retention challenges.

Let J & J Staffing know if we can help! We have over 40 years of experience recruiting and placing employees in prominent businesses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Contact us for more information on how we can help with your hiring needs. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Through a Candidate’s Eyes: Improving the Applicant Experience

Long gone are the days where companies assumed they held all of the power in the hiring process. Smart employers know that recruiting is more of a give-and-take. In order to hire the best candidates, you can't just expect the recruit to sell you on themselves -- you need to sell them on your business.

One of the best ways to do this is by controlling the entire experience of the recruit, from the moment they find your job listing until they accept your offer. Investing in user experience for online applicants and ensuring the entire hiring process is smooth can make your company more desirable, attracting top talent and ultimately leading to a better, more productive workplace.

Here are three things to keep in mind when guiding your recruits through your hiring process:

Start with your first contact - which is going to be online

The first time a potential employee hears from your company, it's likely not from an recruiter, HR representative, or executive. Either they have seen a job listing on a site like LinkedIn, Indeed or Monster, or they are familiar with your company from elsewhere and have checked the careers page of your site for listings directly.

Mobile recruiting is more than just a buzzword. Three-fifths of all candidates interact with job listings on mobile devices. Ask yourself: Is your website responsive? Is it clearly presenting information to job seekers in all formats? Make sure the websites and other recruiting tools you use to post job listings are also mobile-optimized.

Aside from being able to find company information and job descriptions quickly and effectively, a great user experience depends on ease of submission. A 15-page mobile application won't get many takers, especially from currently employed and highly desirable applicants who don't have time to fill out page after page of information for one job. Be sure your forms are not just easy to read, but short. Only ask the information you need to qualify a candidate up front. While having them fill in their education and job history into a form might be easier on your candidate processing database, it's onerous and repetitive, since it's included in their resume. Invest in software that can scan candidate resumes for that information. Some companies have even begun looking at social media profiles in lieu of resumes at early stages of recruiting. Eliminating points of friction will help you attract a higher volume of candidates and, inevitably, better recruits.

Present the right kind of information

It's not enough to just present the information in a pleasing and clear manner -- your content must contain substance. Avoid evergreen job listings that are too vague to be useful for all but bottom-tier candidates.

Your job description should not only be clear and descriptive, it should include additional information candidates need to know about making a decision whether or not to apply, such as office hours, regular benefits, and salary range.

Additionally, candidates will want to know the answers to these types of questions, either from your website or from the interview process:

  • What is the company culture like?
  • How does this company distinguish itself from the competition?
  • Will I be doing work I'll enjoy and learn from?
  • What are the other employees like?
  • How will my role benefit the company?
  • Is this business good at work-life balance?
  • Do I want to work here?

Follow up, follow up, follow up

At every stage of the process, following up with potential employees will eliminate possible frustration (due to not knowing where they are at) and ensure candidates that there's a human side to the recruiting process.

Applicant tracking systems are useful. They can automatically send a confirmation to a candidate that you received their application. They can remind recruits to submit more information or complete evaluations. Don't use them as a crutch for all communication, though. At worst, they can become robotic and impersonal. Don't let candidate think they're resume was swallowed by a black hole when the applied to your company. Let me know you got it. If they aren't being considered for the position, let them know when it has been filled. Above all, communicate with candidates you have actually contacted about or brought on site for an interview - not only the candidates who are offered the position.

Follow up doesn't have to end after an employee accepts the job. Onboarding, including benefit information and forms, is yet another point that can make or break your company reputation with job candidates. Make the training process as easy as possible while still being thorough. Consider checking in with your new employees at 30 days (or perhaps even three or six months) to not only get feedback on the hiring process, but to make sure their transition has gone well.

Building your company can also mean building your brand

In the end, good recruit experience is all about good relationship building. Every interaction, from an online portal to a manager's phone call, can positively or negatively impact a candidate's perception of your company. Remember: they're also evaluating you to see if your company is a good fit for them.

Every few months, review how a recruit will interact with your office by staging a mock application process. Go to your website and try to see it through their eyes. Implement processes to make the hiring process as fast as possible. Most of all, engage with your recruits so that, whether or not they are offered or accept a job with you, they come away from the process feeling positive about your entire business.

For more information on how J & J can help you with your hiring process, please contact us. 

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Are you sure you're recruiting the right people?

You have an application process, maybe even a personality test, and a recruiting professional who screens candidates before they get to the interview stage. Your employee retention is okay, and productivity is average for your industry. You may have good people for each role, but are you sure you have the right people? The best people?

Finding the right employees can be more difficult than you might think. The right employee for your company might not be the right employee for your competitors and vice versa. Rather than relying on a strict set of guidelines, use the following questions to determine if a candidate is ideal for your company.

Who do you want to attract?

While you might want to attract people with sales skills or design experience, figuring out who fits with your team is a greater challenge, yet the more important one. Learning to ask the right kind of questions is key to determining who the right people are for your environment. Does the candidate seem bitter about their last job? Do they claim they prefer to work independently rather than as a team? That might not be an automatic disqualification, depending on the role and the company, but it will certainly tell you more about the person you're thinking of hiring.

Who do you want to attract?

It might be tempting to post job listings on your own website and call it a day, but that won't get your noticed by the best candidates. Craigslist might be great for finding a band to perform at your party, but may not be the best tool for long-term recruiting strategy. In addition to major job sites like Indeed or LinkedIn, consider branching out to other social media platforms. You may also want to use targeted sites, like HigherEdJobs or Idealist, that attract candidates in your industry. If you're really seriously about targeting the right candidates you'll want to go with an external recruiter -- preferably one who has developed many relationships with potential job seekers. The best recruiters have top performing, specialized individuals in their databases. These people are likely to already have a job and may not be actively looking for a new one, but would leave for the right opportunity.

What is the candidate's potential?

It might be easy to find the person with the best skillset to fit the position, but does that always translate to the best fit? Many skills can be taught and experience can be gained by anyone. What matters are things like personality traits, like emotional intelligence and empathy, and innate skills, like interpersonal communication and time management. While not all employees will be outgoing, a candidate should be well-prepared to answer interview questions, ask follow up questions, and elaborate on discussion topics. If the potential employee seems quick to learn or has a passion for your industry, even better!

Does the candidate find your company desirable?

Aside from parsing the candidate's interests via interview questions, you should also let the candidate ask as many questions as he or she needs to get a good feel for the company. Great companies remember that potential hires are also interviewing you. They need to get a good enough feel for the company to determine that they want to work there - and that they will be a good fit. Be open about your business's culture and expectations. Be honest, as well. You not going to do yourself or the candidate any favors by making false promises or stretching the truth about work hours, benefits, or culture.

Can you create the job around the employee?

You never know - you might end up filling a niche you didn't think you needed. If a candidate blows you away in the interview process, but his or her skills and experience don't quite fit the mold of the jobs you're searching for, don't worry about it! You can make up a new job description together. As long as you have the money for expansion, you might as well take a chance on someone who seems bound to be a rockstar on the job.

It's important to remember when hiring to think outside the box. A candidate may not look the part. She might not fit the demographics of your current team. Maybe he won't work out. In the end, without taking a chance on those with potential, you might miss out on moving your team from mediocre and safe to amazing and innovative.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is Your Hiring Process Too Long?

Hiring can be a long process. You want to find the perfect candidate, not just the first person who applies. You also want to ensure their long-term success at your company, so you hold multiple interviews, set up different qualification tests, check references, and run background checks. Of course, you also want to let them get to know your company culture and make sure they think it's the right fit, too.

Across the board, the hiring process has gotten longer and longer. According to a report from Glassdoor, the average job interview process now takes 23 days, up from just under 20 days in 2009.

While applicants should expect some time to evaluate and review their candidacy, is there such a thing as too long of a hiring process? Here are some ways to determine if you are going overboard on the recruitment timeline.

Your candidates accept jobs at other companies before you can offer them a position.

A potential employee may be in different stages of the interviewing and hiring process at several companies at once. This is especially true of highly-qualified candidates who are serious about finding a new position. Top tier management candidates may only be on the job market for a few days before being offered a position, putting them in the awkward circumstance of deciding whether to accept the job offered or wait for your hiring process to run its course.

Think about this from your own position as a company. When you find a great candidate, you'd probably like to extend an offer as soon as possible. There may be little incentive to continue reviewing other applicants at that point. When a desirable candidate receives a quality offer, they are in a similar mindset and more likely to take the immediately available job rather than wait around for your (possible) offer. Although it's not uncommon for candidates to get other job offers while they are still interviewing with you, if you frequently have candidates drop out mid-process, you should review your timeline and compare it to other businesses in your industry.

In the long run, this means the best candidates may be grabbed up by your competition, leaving you with a subpar team. Statistics also show that, contrary to what many think, a longer hiring process results in less qualified or more mediocre candidates -- because top prospects are siphoned off by other job offers before they can be hired by you.br />

Your job descriptions are unclear.

If you keep the same stale job listings up all the time in order to attract candidates under a generic job title, you're simply delaying the tough choices when it comes to selecting candidates. Open-ended job listings attract candidates who either desperately want to work for your company in any capacity or candidates who aren't especially qualified or experienced in specific roles. While these types of listings can work well for entry-level jobs, or might even inspire you to create a non-existent position within your organization, they do a poor job of recruiting top-level, experienced talent or filling specific holes in your team.

Being more specific with job postings will also keep you from needing to restructure and repost the job in the future. Candidates who see jobs constantly being reposted may be wary that your company either doesn't have a defined hiring strategy or is not serious about filling a position in a timely manner. Constantly running open-ended job postings makes it seem that you don't have a timeline for hiring, and most job seekers are interested in finding a new position as soon as possible.
If most of your current job listings are open-ended, change your strategy. Post updated, clear job descriptions that target candidates for the specific roles you need to fill, and only when that need arises.

You're waiting on confirmation to move ahead from accounting. Or legal. Or marketing. Or...

Many job seekers have stories of awkward situations they've encountered while going through an interview process. A common one that comes up is when a job is eliminated after a company advertises for it and begins the interview process.

Much like having evergreen or open-ended job listings, if you're not confirming the state of the job listing prior to posting, it draws out the job process and can paint your company in a negative light to applicants. Is the recruiting and human resources department even communicating with the departments its hiring for? At best, getting approval after-the-fact from various departments is time consuming and tedious, and only draws out the process, frustrating your candidate and increasing the likelihood they will take a position at a different company. Not confirming the scope of work for the position or the budget for salary only slows down your hiring process. It can also be frustrating for top candidates who are offered a position with a lower salary or different requirements than they were expecting.

Your process involves too many interviews or site visits.

When discussing the length of the hiring process, you must consider the literal length of the interviews. A good rule of thumb for a non-executive position is two or, at maximum, three on-site interviews. A phone screen prior to scheduling the first interview can also help narrow the candidate pool down to your top contenders, so you spend less time interviewing on site, moving the process forward more quickly.

If candidates need to meet with more than one person, try to schedule back-to-back sessions for the same day. It will take less time for both you and the candidate to go through one, 2-hour interview session than to have to come back on subsequent days, possibly taking off more time from their current job, for additional hour long meetings.

When administering tests and screenings to candidates, keep in mind that each test adds a significant amount of time. Over the past few years, the percentage of companies using background checks, drug tests, and personality questionnaires has increased substantially. Not only do these assessments represent a greater investment of time on behalf of the candidate (and perhaps make them wonder if the job is worth it), they take more time to organize and evaluate on behalf of the company - not to mention the increased costs in possible testing fees and the time investment of your hiring staff.

The solutions to speeding up your hiring process:

Make it easy for candidates to apply
  • Redesign your website or candidate portal to make it easy for job seekers to find the appropriate listing and submit their application.
  • Confirm receipt of applications by automatically sending an email response when you receive a resume.
  • Post in several locations, such as on your website and major job seeking sites for your industry to allow the largest candidate pool possible to see your listing, increasing your likelihood of finding the right candidates more quickly.
Communicate constantly
  • Keep candidates in the loop by using their preferred form of communication: either email or phone.
  • Give feedback after the interview, even if it's simply to thank the candidate for coming on site.
  • Let them know what the next step is and then follow through. If you expect to let them know about a second interview or a hiring decision the following week, stick to your timeline. If the decision is delayed, let them know that as well. It's also best practice to let a candidate who has interviewed know if they are not being offered the position.
Streamline your job posting and interview process
  • Have a clear need when posting a position and aim to fill it as soon as possible.
  • Get pre-approval for the position from the relevant departments, set a scope of work, and approve the salary range.
  • Schedule back-to-back interviews if needed to both speed up your internal process and decrease the amount of time a candidate needs to spend on site prior to the hiring decision.
By decreasing the amount of time you spend on the hiring process, you can increase your productivity and lower costs. Not only will your hiring staff be more efficient with a shorter and more organized process, your managers and other interviewers will feel their time is more valued, you'll attract better candidates and be able to extend job offers to them in a more timely manner, and job seekers will have a better impression of your company overall.

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