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Great Hires Go The Distance

March 22, 2013 Leave a comment

great hiresHiring the right employees is the first step to building a great company. But finding the right people is only half the battle, you also have to make sure that you can keep them. It doesn’t do your business any good to find and train great new employees, only to have them turn around and leave for something else.  In fact that type of hiring practice can end up sinking a company.

Attracting and keeping great employees is all about innovation. That means learning and adapting to changes and challenges in every aspect of the business, from including the way you hiring and recruit new employees. Hiring the right employees can be a big part of that innovation and making sure that your employees stick around

Hiring the right employees is not just about hiring the employees who have the fanciest credentials and the most degrees. It is also about making sure that those employees fit in well with your company. That means your new recruits must be just as excited about the work your company is doing as you are about hiring them. If they are not excited about the work, chances are they won’t stick around long enough for it to be worth hiring them.

It’s also important to for the company to create an atmosphere of excitement and enthusiasm. If the employees who currently work at your company aren’t excited to come into work or at least act like they are excited to be there, it will be next to impossible to find enthusiastic, committed new hires who want to stick around and grow with your company.

But figuring out which applicants those might be can be just as hard as attracting them. This is why it is so important to stay up to date with the latest hiring techniques and practices in order to stay innovative and have a leg up ahead of the competition. Your competitors also want to hire the best most enthusiastic employees without having to try and poach them from you later. They are sure to be using up to date, state of the art technology and techniques to find and hire new recruits, and you don’t want to be left in the dust just because you are using the same tired old tricks.

Many companies are using some form of applicant tracking system to help them find, recruit and hire the best applicants for the job. This technology is a database filled with names, resumes, and other important information about applicants and potential applicants.   The top of the line ATS makes your hiring process more efficient – it lets your company become a lean, mean hiring machine.   By staying on top of hiring technology you are ensuring that your company will find and retain the best employees, and therefore stay healthy and productive.

Make Your Hiring Manager’s Job Easier

February 22, 2013 Leave a comment

A HR (Human Resources) manager has one of the more complicated jobs in any office environment. The person in this position is often tasked with staffing the office and keeping track of benefits and programs for employees. In large offices, the HR manager may have an assistant or assistants helping him or her with this job, while in smaller businesses this is a one-person job. No matter how big or small the company, the HR Manager can use some help to get the job done right.

Luckily, there are many programs and tools available to a HR Manager that will make the job easier. There are simple programs and spreadsheets that nearly every company can utilize as well as more complex programs that may only apply to the largest firms. One of the most useful tools for an HR Manager is an ATS system. ATS, or applicant tracking system helps automate many of the recruiting tasks that an HR manager has on his or her plate.

What Does an ATS do?

While each of these programs is slightly different, the basic idea is that it collects data about potential employees, either through applicants or data mining efforts and spins it into an easy to read and understand format for the HR Manager.

In many cases, this system can take care of the process from beginning to end. This may mean that the system posts recruitment information and applicants can provide information directly to the system. After a set period of time, the system mines the information and provides it to the HR Manager.

What are the Benefits?

The main benefit for the HR manager is it saves him or her from sorting through endless resumes looking for the couple that may actually be valid candidates. Those candidates who are not qualified will never cause the HR manager any difficulty. This is very important when the HR manager is hiring for several positions at the same time. Without a doubt, it can make a big difference. According to the SearchCIO website, it’s estimated that around half of all medium sized businesses use these tools to streamline the hiring process for HR managers.

As you can see, there are many things that a HR manager needs to do to keep his or her company well-staffed and all employees happy. Utilizing tools, such as an ATS system, is one way to make the process easier and improves the process for everyone involved.

Smart Corporate Hiring using Cutting Edge Software

January 8, 2010 Leave a comment

There was a time back in the day, when folks looking for jobs circled the help wanted ads in the classified section of the newspaper. They then showed up at the job site to fill out an application and were called in for an interview. Today, the help wanted ads have been replaced by online job sites like Monster and Craigslist. Companies have turned to outside firms to fill their staffing needs. And smart recruiters are utilizing professional hiring software programs to streamline the applicant process. With the constant need to be competitive in this global marketplace, the demands of company and industry staffing have never been more crucial. A qualified recruiter should meet those demands head on with an expert hiring software system.

As companies downsize and reorganize in these turbulent economic times, they are going to need a staff that can keep up with increasing levels of productivity. This might mean current employees taking on more assigned tasks. More importantly for recruiters, it could also mean identifying those prospective applicants who can rise to the challenge of a new diversified workplace environment. If hiring software provides easy access to complete information about a new hire then you’ll be able to meet the needs of management without wasting anyone’s time.

Here’s what you should look for with a complete hiring software program:

  • Ability to Integrate Databases and Contact Information: Hiring software should help you merge the data you collect from applicants into easily accessible formats. This will help you instantly target specific areas of staffing needs from upper management to service.
  • Defines Personal and Interpersonal Competencies: As any human resource representative will tell you, technical competency is not always the primary reason for terminations. At lot of the success of an employee is based on their ability to work with others, manage effectively and maintain a professional attitude. A hiring software program should provide you with the resources to evaluate those qualities and track them through the employee’s performance history. This information is also helpful to have on hand after you’ve evaluated prospective applicants and keep them on file for future hiring possibilities.
  • Aids in the Interview Process: A decent hiring software program should provide you with a complete interview tracking system which will allow you to focus in on the specific areas of needs for your clients. Making the initial applicant interview as simple and as complete as possible can help facilitate what will surely be a large number of applicants for a few positions.
  • Manage Evaluation Conclusions: A solid hiring software program should also allow you to easily correlate all the  information you’ve gathered. You should be able to categorize and target those  applicants who have shown the highest aptitudes.

Just as an auto mechanic needs to reeducate themselves about hybrid car engines, a successful recruiter needs to stay ahead of the curve with the best tools at their disposal. Hiring software that allows you to perform your role as recruiter at peak proficiency will insure you own job security.

A Decade in Software

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

When 2010 rolls in it will mark the end of a decade that truly welcomed internet technology.  Think back to the turn of the millennium  and the software tools that you primarily utilized online:   things sure have changed.  Whether it be the advent of ‘the cloud,’ the rise of mobile devices, or a change in philosophy to ‘simpler is better,’ this decade has truly changed the way that people interact with the internet.

I’d like to take a walk down memory lane and look at internet software at the start of the millennium, and then survey where we are now in three distinct yet intertwined arenas.

Email

Email was one of the original hallmarks of the internet – a simple yet efficient way to demonstrate the power of the web by digitizing the long-standing concept of mail service.

During the last decade, free email services like gmail and yahoo mail have perpetually dominated the arena – providing large amounts of data storage for free to the masses and proving that ‘online only’ applications can be a viable alternative to local email software like MS outlook.

As we head into a new decade, email seems yet again ready to morph, as inboxes are perpetually fill with spam and people clamor for new modes of communication.  Google Wave claims to have an answer, but can it really replace email?

Online Media

The last decade has been a Topsy-Turvy roller coaster for online media – from the tiny startups that became media moguls to the media conglomerates that desperately sought out new models of business.  The year 2000 marked the height of Napster- a new breed of P2P network that allowed people to download pirated MP3 music files.  Since then, illegal networks like Napster have both flourished and fallen, eventually paving the way for legitimate music hubs like itunes.

Online video also has gone on quite a ride, highlighted by the creation of YouTube in 2005.  The viral video boom has not only changed the way that people consume and publish video, but also has disoriented the TV and film industries.

As the decade comes to a close, we are still seeing  industry experimenting with new models of business that can adapt to online video culture. Although some methods of providing free, high quality, syndicated content online (ala Hulu) have garnered popular approval, a stable revenue source still remains elusive.

Business Software

The way that businesses, both small and large, interact with one another and an online consumer base has drastically changed due to various facets of evolving business software technology.

Sales departments can now more efficiently give online presentations through Webinar technology like Dim Dim.   Salesforce has pushed the boundaries of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, allowing companies to improve their communication with customers and sales prospects.  Hiring managers and recruiters can now efficiently track and manage job applicants online through solutions like Newton Software. Paypal has revolutionized online payments, allowing web stores and companies with Software as a Service (SaaS) business models to easily install a revenue stream.

All in all, this past decade of software has enabled tech savvy businesses to perform their functions more efficiently, honing in on niche models that add value for both consumers and other businesses.


The Hiring Slump is Over. Now What?

December 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Obama’s job stimulus package will target several fronts to create more jobs for Americans, including green incentives to retrofit homes, building energy-efficient infrastructure and providing relief to small businesses across the country.  Between these initiatives and a bevy of other job stimulus strategies, it seems like a surefire plan to get the US job market back on track.

However, once this happens, and there is a surplus of job openings and available talent – then what happens?  For the past year and a half businesses have been in hibernation, attempting to run as lean as possible due to the economic downturn.

Downsizing has been the norm and hiring has definitely become somewhat of a rarity for the majority of US companies. When the job market picks up, and we have a surplus of talent as well as openings, how can businesses best get back on track and manage their resources for the hiring onslaught?

Open Up the Gates

Whether you are a small business that receives help from the stimulus or a larger company that suddenly gets a ton of green contract work; open up the gates to let the talent out there know that you are hiring again.  For the past year and a half you’ve probably let many of your new talent funnels get outdated – whether it be the employment section of your website, or a job board you regularly post to.  Take the time to make sure you are up to date with all the previous resources you utilized, as well as some new tactics that have emerged since you’ve been out of the hiring game.

Hiring Software

One new management resource for hiring that is constantly evolving is hiring software.  Modern day hiring software can make the lives of hiring manager and recruiters within your company far easier.  Not only does hiring software make recruiting simpler, it makes it more efficient.  Whether it is tracking a large number of job applicants, auto posting to job boards, sending out automated thank you letters or keeping up with a variety of statistics, hiring software can pretty much do anything nowadays.

Don’t Overdo It

Learn something from the past two years.  Running trim and slowing down your hiring lets you hone in on the important parts of your business: the cogs that are integral for survival.  Although the lean, mean days are starting to disappear, don’t suddenly jump into needless spending mode.  Get a hold of some statistics to determine what worked and what didn’t and capitalize on this newfound knowledge.

Improve your Company’s Interview and Applicant Selection Process

October 28, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s an understatement to say our team spends a lot of our time thinking about hiring and recruiting. Over the last decade we’ve gained experience by heading recruiting companies and corporate recruiting departments, which eventually lead us to start a company that builds recruiting software. Team building has always been an integral piece of our experience.

When we started our first company an important piece of advice we got was to develop a detailed selection process. This process involved creating a framework to evaluate our applicants efficiently and rapidly to keep up in an extremely competitive market. We even enlisted the help of an industrial psychologist to streamline our interview process, which still works today.

One thing we’ve noticed is that most of our customers are also in very difficult environments for finding good people. Engineers, IT guys, sales stars, marketing masters and various other talent is hard to come by. In addition, the recovering economy makes this pool of top talent even smaller than usual.

So how do you make your hiring process more efficient? First, get your hands on some simple and amazingly efficient applicant tracking software.

Second, start interviewing smarter. It is clear that finding the top talent is becoming harder and harder, so you need to adapt. Instead of only looking to increase your hiring throughput, try to build on the skill-sets of current employees to increase their value. Think of it like a baseball team’s farm system, structured to build talent over the long run. A well run interview process won’t only prevent bad hires, but it will also prepare for a long tail recruiting efficiency.

We practice creating simulations of real-world situations during our interviews to reduce the risk of bad hires and also to allow us to measure a candidate’s ability to adapt. Overall, there are three key characteristics and metrics that that we often refer to during interviews:

Start with Ability

Obviously, if the potential candidate does not possess the ability to do the job at hand, none of their other qualities matter. It doesn’t matter if this person can fit into the corporate culture or the long term picture if they aren’t able to complete the task at hand. There is no point in wasting your time, as well as the candidates’, if they can’t pass the test of basic requirements for the job. That is why we always start with a measure of the candidate’s ability, which most often is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.

Move onto Talent

Talent is most often gauged through posing problem solving situations to the candidate and seeing how they react. This will tell us how this person’s skill set can be optimized for our company’s long term objectives, like scaling a product or expanding to new vertical arenas.

Finish with Character (last but not least)

If a candidate is extremely skilled, has all the abilities to complete the job, and fits into a company’s long term objectives, they would seem like a shoe-in. However, if their character doesn’t jive with your management practices and work culture, they shouldn’t be a sure hire. Character is symbiotic with employee retention: employees that don’t fit in, probably won’t last.

Some ways to measure character are interview questions that test a person’s behavioral and psychological disposition. The person’s responses can be measured not only with the content of their answer, but also on their delivery (body language, inflection, etc.)

Even if you have the best tools in the recruiting business, your interview process needs to be polished to make good hires. This ‘balance’ between an efficient process and wise assessment requires training, feedback and strategy on all fronts.

Government Needs to Play Catch Up in Hiring

September 16, 2009 Leave a comment

861513_interviewThe US Federal Government is about to undertake one of the largest hiring initiatives in its history.

According to the Wall Street Journal, over the next three years, the government will attempt to attract nearly 270,000 talented specialists in various fields across the board, including the health, financial and administrative sectors.  The difference between this government hiring initiative and the recruiting processes of old, is this time Uncle Sam will be actively seeking qualified candidates instead of passively sitting on his laurels.

What has prompted this large scale hiring campaign?  One factor is certainly Mr. Obama’s ambitions to take on such looming problems like health care reform and the economic downturn.   And what better way is there to combat long-term problems than to get the younger generation’s  brighest minds involved?  How else can we expect to positively affect the future of our government than to actively seek the best talent for the jobs of the future?

In order for this massive job overhaul to occur successfully, our government will need to implement some much needed change to its hiring process.  ‘They’ are already on their way to cleaning out some dusty corners, but just to make it clear, I’ve listed two points that can help us move toward a new breed of government hiring.

Branding

The brand marketing of the various government sectors seeking qualified candidates will be integral to attracting talent.  We don’t often hear about ‘branding’ in reference to government work (outside of the military).  When the younger generation thinks about a federal employee, they most often picture a white-collar bloke sitting in a musty office with no windows, slowly filing through a stack of paperwork.

The bad stigma that goes along with federal jobs is a major hurdle that the government needs to overcome in order to compete with the private sector for the best talent.  Why was working at Google such a hot commodity at the start of the decade?  Company branding: they were known for a laid back work ‘campus,’ rife with badminton courts, plush bean bag chairs and organic gardens.   Today, many other companies looking to attract younger talent have also implemented the ‘Google Campus Model.’

Our government needs to concentrate on marketing to a new generation of talent.  Good benefits and patriotism are not currently enough to compete with the private sector.

Technology

Sure, the US government is known for some of the most innovative, expensive and mind blowing technologies the world has ever seen.  But when it comes to a new generation of internet tech, they are still playing catch up.  The Obama administration has certainly made big steps between its acceptance of social networking tools and the current planned overhaul of .gov portals, however it needs to concentrate on other specific tools that are giving the private sector a big advantage in talent acquisition.

New applicant tracking and hiring software solutions are allowing private companies to better announce job openings, track qualified candidates, and analyze source data to optimize the recruiting process.   Newton Software, a leader in applicant tracking software, is one such application that boasts a simple to use interface which also provides the utmost efficiency in streamlining the recruitment process.

If the government really wants to compete with the private sector for top talent, they will need to embrace the technologies currently utilized in the private sector.