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Recruitment Strategies for Finding Candidates with Strong Communications Skills

image_20No matter which industry your organization is in, communications skills are critical to success. According to a survey of 600 employers in the tech industry, communications skills were the most important factor in hiring [1]. Every interaction with a potential customer can be made or broken by the quality of communications skills offered by your employees. When recruiting candidates, consider these three strategies for assessing and finding each person’s skills at communicating in the workplace.

Applicant Testing

Applicant testing is a good recruitment strategy for finding people who have strong vocabularies and written communications skills. As a part of an application to work in your organization, you can include a series of questions that require a written response. These could be solutions to a problem commonly faced by your organization or a subjective, situational question about how to handle an issue with a client. These answers will give you an idea of how the candidate communicates in written form.

Group Interviews

Group interviews are an excellent recruitment strategy for determining a candidate’s communication skills. During a group interview session, you can evaluate the candidate’s vocabulary. Consider whether the person directly answers the questions you ask or beats around the bush. You may also consider the tone of replies, such as whether the candidate is too casual or colorful in his or her responses, or whether he or she is too technical for the audience. Group interviews are also a good way to get a read on a candidate’s body language. Straight posture, regular eye contact and appropriate distance and dress are all important forms of communication in the workplace.

Reviewing Past Experience and Checking References

When your organization posts a job opening, you will receive dozens or perhaps hundreds of applications. Check out those cover letters and resumes for signs of communications skills. Poor grammar or excessive use of jargon suggests that a person has poor communication skills. When you find an applicant you are interested in, call his or her references and focus on different types of communications skills, such as oral presentations and written reports.

[1] http://www.mba.com/us/the-gmat-blog-hub/the-official-gmat-blog/2014/aug/employers-want-communication-skills-in-new-hires.aspx

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How Managing Your Organization’s Online Reputation Attracts Better Talent

image_30On a daily basis, one of your customers, employees, or potential job recruits is posting something about your company on the Web or a social media platform. Although the comments may not be accurate, everything that is written online contributes to the public’s opinion of your organization. The novel aspect of social media is their conversational tone: Knowledge sharing takes place through processes including discussion with questions and answers (online forums), collaborative editing (wikis) or storytelling with reactions (blogs) [1]. While you can’t control what customers or potential job candidates say, your organization can respond to posts online.

Many organizations have a social media specialist that is tasked with managing the company’s brand and reputation. This includes responding to online customer complaints, providing factual information when inaccurate information is online, and extending resolutions to unhappy customers.

Potential job candidates often search for reviews online before they make a decision about a job offer. Social media can be a positive tool for your company’s reputation if managed properly.

Enlist your current employees to be brand ambassadors. It is not necessary to forbid employees from posting on social media about your organization; simply providing some guidelines to your workforce can significantly improve what they post online. It is possible to respect their rights while requiring them to protect the reputation of your company.

The top talent has numerous job opportunities available to them. Competition is stiff, so your online reputation can encourage them to join your organization or not to join.

One powerful tool online is employee reviews. People truly take the time to read a credible review. If there are numerous negative reviews by customers, employees, and others, this is a red flag for a potential job recruit. If everyone is saying the same thing, something is probably wrong within your organization.

Being an employer who engages your employees, satisfies your customers, and creates a good corporate culture is the best protection of your online reputation. Top talent will definitely be attracted to a company that has a positive online reputation.

 

[1] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingsocialmedia.aspx

 

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Conducting Team Interviews

image_04When you are interviewing qualified applicants for a position in your organization, more than one manager or human resources specialist may need to converse with the applicant. Team interviews provide an opportunity to involve everyone in your organization who wishes to participate in the interviewing process. Before you get everyone seated at the table, consider these advantages and disadvantages of conducting team interviews.

Advantage: Creates a Teamwork Atmosphere

If you want to show that a teamwork atmosphere is important in your organization, a team interview allows you to highlight this. Each person on your interview panel will be able to show how his or her department functions with the others. This will allow you to gauge how well the candidate will fit into your corporate culture. Another benefit with panel interviews, says Meisenhelter, is that by participating in the interview process, team members gain a vested interest in the hiring process and in seeing that new employees succeed [1].

Advantage: Allows for Natural, Honest Responses

During a team interview, you will be able to ask more unusual and varied questions than in a traditional interview setting. Some candidates find the situation a bit stressful, which allows you to see how they respond to stressful situations. According to the Gainesville Business Report, this may lead to a more natural and honest response from the candidate [2]. When faced with a panel of interviewers, candidates will be able to offer less-prepared answers. These answers will give you an accurate picture of the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and demeanor.

Disadvantage: Takes More Coordination and Time

The managers and human resources staff will need to coordinate their questions. Even so, if each person on the panel has two questions to ask the candidate, the interviewing process could take a few hours for a single applicant. If your organization plans to interview 10 or more people, this could consume a considerable amount of your valuable time.

Disadvantage: May Overwhelm Some Candidates

Introverted candidates may feel overwhelmed during a team interview. Candidates who work well in one-on-one situations may clam up when faced with a group of people firing off questions their way. A naturally shy but highly skilled and qualified candidate may not perform or showcase his or her skills as well during a team interview when compared to an individual or paired interview.

[1] http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/interviewing-candidates/panel-interviews.aspx
[2] http://gainesvillebizreport.com/pros-and-cons-of-doing-group-interviews/

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Should You Seek or Avoid Recent Graduate Hires?

image_13When your organization has job openings, you may find that the applications include a slew of recent college graduates. As a human resources manager, you might be unsure of whether or not to take the risk of bringing aboard a recent graduate. Employers say they’re planning to hire slightly more fresh college graduates this spring than they did last year (5.8% more), according to a preliminary survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers [1]. Keep these pros and cons of hiring a new college grad in mind the next time your company needs to fill a staff vacancy.

Pro: Modern Skills

One reason to hire a new college graduate is that they are often familiar with current technology. New graduates are typically adept at navigating through complex software, apps and hardware. They may not need to be instructed on how to safeguard confidential data on their work-issued smartphone, tablet or laptop if they are already familiar with doing this. Recent college graduates are skilled at choosing the right piece of technology to do a certain task. Many college graduates also have relevant skills such as strong communication, a multilingual background and a broad foundation through their coursework, volunteer work and past related projects.

Pro: Salary and Benefit Expectations

Because recent college graduates usually have a shorter work history, they can be given a lower benefits package. Compared to a person who has worked for a decade or more, a new graduate may not expect a generous benefits package that includes things such as family health insurance or weeks of paid vacation. New graduates also command a lower salary compared with experienced workers. Enthusiastic graduates will often be happy to begin on a probation period or a paid internship, meaning you have some time to assess their abilities before committing to putting them on a full time salary [2]. The smaller salary and benefits expectations may make it more economical for you to hire a recent college graduate.

Con: Less Experience

New college graduates have less overall work experience. This means that they may not have developed the specific skills that your job opening requires. As a result, your current staff members may have to take time out of their busy schedules in order to bring the new hire up to speed. However, this may also be true for people who have spent many years in the workforce. Less experience may mean that new hires are more open to doing things in different ways, including the way you prefer.

 

[1] http://www.chron.com/local/education/campus-chronicles/article/Employers-plan-to-hire-more-graduating-seniors-10630079.php

[2] https://www.workitdaily.com/hiring-graduate-benefits/

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Promotion Versus Hiring: Deciding How to Fill Management Positions

image_28When your organization has a management position to fill, deciding how to hire for the opening can be a challenge. Promoting from within is often faster than looking outside of your organization. However, hiring from outside provides you with greater access to potential employees who may have a wider range of skills. However, there are many reasons to consider both options.

Promoting From Within

When you open up a management position to your current staff members, promoting from within can reduce the amount of time the position is vacant. There will not be a need for routine human resources activities such as checking on the applicant’s resume or references. This can reduce your hiring costs. Hiring from within means that you are already familiar with the employee’s personality, skill set and experience level. A study from Kelly-Radford found that senior executives fail, in general, 34 percent of the time when hired from the outside versus 24 percent when hired from inside your organization [1]. Promoting from within helps to boost employee loyalty, allowing your staff to do their best because of the potential to move up the corporate ladder.

Recruiting From Outside of Your Organization

Even if there are qualified candidates for a management position within your company, there are many reasons why you might want to consider outside recruitment. Bringing in a fresh perspective allows your company to increase its range of skills. Recruiting an outside candidate may also be easier on supervisors and staff who might otherwise develop a contentious relationship with internal promotions. Top talent is attracted to companies that are using best practices and offer the opportunity for growth, not companies that always want to stick with what’s safe and comfortable [2]. A new person may have more experience or relevant technological skills than the people you already employ. Outside recruitment allows you to capture the best talent from applicants locally, regionally and even internationally.

[1] http://www.ddiworld.com/ddi/media/white-papers/thecaseforinternalpromotions_wp_ddi.pdf?ext=.pdf
[2] https://www.ziprecruiter.com/blog/the-benefits-of-hiring-outside-your-industry/

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Building Your Talent Pipeline for Future Needs

Successful organizations include Human Resources as part of their strategic planning team. HR, as a partner in the company’s plan, can execute recruiting and employee retention plans, develop timelines and assist in budgeting for new hires. Ensuring that the talent pipeline contains an adequate number of qualified candidates requires workforce planning.

Identify Critical Skills

Identify critical jobs – jobs that must be performed well for the company to succeed. These positions often reside in the conduct of everyday business rather than in upper management. They could be new positions and skills based on future company initiatives. Companies need to identify, attract and develop candidates for the critical skills pipeline.

Assess Talent Pools

Now that you’ve identified current and future skills requirements, take inventory of what you already have. Once you’ve identified the critical skills the company needs, create a profile of the ideal employee for that position and take a look at current employees that could fill critical roles and those who should be included in the critical talent pipeline. Use the profile to identify external candidates as well.

Perform a Gap Analysis

When HR is part of the strategic planning team, they become aware of future plans to upgrade a computer system or to open new warehouses. Many of the initiatives mentioned as part of a five-year plan will require specific talent and staffing requirements. The qualifications and number of positions required to support future business development and the current expertise will expose the gap in staffing.

Track Development of Internal Employees with Critical Skills

Those candidates that fit the profile for specific critical skills should be offered development in order to reduce the chance of turnover and to make them more valuable to the company. Regular assessments can provide an indicator of critical skills development.

Create an External Critical Skills Candidate Pipeline

External candidates with the required skills and competencies should be viewed as potential hires for critical roles. The staffing challenges that come with new technology or economic fluctuations can be successfully managed with a well-tended talent pipeline.

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Education Versus Experience: Which Is More Important to Your Organization?

The debate between education and experience is one of the oldest in the hiring book, and it’s still relevant today. According to Glassdoor’s U.S. Employment Confidence Survey, 82% of U.S. college graduates said their level of education has been an asset to their careers [1]. Instead of wrestling between absolutes, start asking different questions. Every position has its own unique needs, and the right person for the job could come from either end of the spectrum.

The Benefits of Less

Never discount an applicant simply because they lack either education or experience. Taking on candidates fresh out of school with little experience gives you all the benefits of a freshly educated, malleable mind that can grow to exemplify your organization’s values. A candidate with little education but a mountain of experience will bring intuition and insight only the battle-hardened can boast.

Think Specifics

Rather than treating education and experience as broad subjects, look at the details. An applicant whose qualifications are specialized in the field you need is invaluable to a team and is often a better choice than someone with a more extensive but non-specialized background. The specifics may also reveal unexpected perks, like training that would benefit a major project your organization is working on or alternative viewpoints that add extra value to a candidate.

Consider Your Current Team

If your applicants will be working closely with other people, identify the gaps or imbalances in your current team and look to fill them. If your current staff is heavy on experience, bring in someone with a more extensive education. If your staff is well educated but lacks experience in the type of project you are about to undertake, choose someone with the right practical skills.

Seek a Middle Ground

When it comes down to it, academics and practical skill are equally important, and having a balance of both is ideal. Remember that you can use seminars and other training programs to polish otherwise perfect candidates with a few gaps in their resume.

As applications come across your desk, give education and experience equal weight. Hone in on specific skills and think about the assets you are lacking. Striking a balance will always serve you well.

[1] http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/view/story.jhtml?id=534357362

 

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Which Social Media Platforms are Most Effective When Recruiting Millennials?

Those born in roughly the 1980s and 1990s are defined as millennials, and a recent article in Time highlighted that these millennials are now officially the largest generation within the working class [1]. Recruiters need to know how to attract and retain the top talent in the millennial generation, and social media may be the key. Discover which social media platforms are most effective when it comes to recruiting millennials.

LinkedIn
Currently, LinkedIn occupies a 40 percent market share for those seeking jobs in the United States. While it may only have 300 million users annually [2], far less than other social media platforms, it may still be the best place to start when seeking millennials because existing users are focused on their careers. Recruiters in search of millennial talent should be prepared to hunt for suitable candidates as well as post job opportunities.

Facebook
Without question, the largest social media network on the planet is Facebook, with more than 1.49 billion users, many of them daily viewers [3]. Of that staggering number of users, approximately 42 million are between the ages of 18 and 24, and an additional 44 million are between the ages of 25 and 34. In terms of sheer reach, particularly when companies are recruiting a highly specific candidate, Facebook can offer the greatest potential to get as many eyes on your career opportunity as possible.

Instagram
When Instagram recently surpassed 300 million users worldwide [4], surpassing Twitter in the process, it highlighted how a younger generation prefers to use social media. Quick, to the point and highly visual, Instagram is a fantastic way to attract millennials [5]. Instagram can be used to create a corporate culture that appeals to millennials, and it can also be searched through hashtags to find specific users who may make ideal candidates.

Twitter
Thanks in part to the mobile nature of Twitter, more than 100 million users log in daily. However, the demographic is far younger, overall, than Facebook, with 95 million Twitter users under the age of 29 [6]. For recruiters targeting a demographic of millennials, Twitter can be an effective method of reaching the right audience.

[1] http://time.com/3854518/millennials-labor-force/
[2] http://mashable.com/2014/04/18/linkedin-300-million-users/#tmgMHMvoaZk9
[3] http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/
[4] http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/10/not-a-fad/
[5] http://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/a-powerful-way-to-use-instagram-to-recruit-employees.html
[6] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141118182103-28964915-social-media-user-statistics-age-demographics-for-2014

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How Much Flexibility is a Good Thing When Attracting Top Talent?

image_09Businesses are only as good as their employees. In order to be the best, companies must hire the best. Sometimes, acquiring top talent requires significant time, patience and a creative mindset.

The best employees on the market know their worth. They look for ideal positions and can usually demand that. Therefore, when a business is seeking one of these highly talented individuals, that business must offer more than what they currently have. The top choice for today’s companies is workplace flexibility.

What Is Workplace Flexibility?

A flexible work environment hands over the reins to employees. They may be able to set their own hours. Some may feel more productive in the early morning or late in the evening. Some employees may wish to work longer hours on a daily basis in order to have more time off each month or even every week. Still, others may opt to telecommute full or part-time. Offering this type of flexibility has been proven to attract and retain better employees.

Why Offer Flexible Hours?

Aside from being an intangible benefit to employees, a flexible work environment is smart money for employers. This is especially true when full-time telecommuting is an option. Workers who perform their duties at home save the business on the cost of supplies, energy and even insurance. Likewise, employers can hire all over the world. This broadens the pool of applicants, but it also can lower salary requirements. Whereas a top-notch marketing executive in New York City can easily command over six figures, that same employee in Mid-Missouri tops out at about $60,000.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Flexibility?

One issue that employers may run into is offering to be too flexible. Not every employee is cut out for telecommuting. Those that need to be managed closely, have difficulty meeting deadlines or are easily distracted may need the cocooning of a traditional 9 to 5 job. However, those employees also are unlikely to be among the talented few. It is far better for employers to risk offering workplace flexibility to attain and retain the best and the brightest than to risk losing them to a competitor.

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The Pros and Cons of Offering Moving Expenses to Recruit Top Talent

image_21When you’re recruiting top talent into your agency, chances are good that competitors of yours are also interested in the same candidates. According to the 48th Annual Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey released in April 2015, there has been a significant uptick among U.S. companies relocating employees since 2013 [1]. Recruiting nationally means that you need to have a competitive edge to your offer of employment.

While most candidates are looking at the hard numbers of their potential annual salary, they’re also increasingly interested in softer parts of an employment offer, such as vacation time and paid relocation expenses. Consider these pros and cons to offering relocation benefits:

Reasons to Offer Paid Moving Expenses

If you’re located in New York City and the candidate you’re trying to recruit grew up and just graduated from a university in Seattle, that person may not want to leave the area without a strong impetus to do so. Offering relocation expenses is one way to inspire such a candidate to make the leap and cross the country to join your organization. A new graduate may not have the funds to move across the nation, rent an apartment and get set up for a new job. People who live in housing markets that continue to be poor might feel as if they cannot afford to move for a new job. In this type of a situation, paying the person’s moving expenses can ease the financial burden of just starting out in a career or making a transition to a new organization. Employees who have their relocation expenses paid feel a sense of loyalty to the employer and are more likely to stay on the job for a longer period of time. This can lower your organization’s future recruiting costs.

Pitfalls of Offering Relocation Expenses

Paying for relocation expenses may seem like an empty investment, especially if you’re in an industry with high turnover, such as technology. If you’re offering a generous salary and benefits package, paying for relocation expenses may not be necessary. When your organization is recruiting many new employees, the costs of relocation expenses may be burdensome to your corporate budget.

Whether you are just starting to write a relocation policy or are re-evaluating your current policy, keep in mind that every relocation policy should answer: who is eligible for relocation benefits, what relocation benefits are offered, and what the tax implications are [2]. It’s important to evaluate your current strategy to make sure communication is clear as it’s critical for a relocating employee to understand if they’re eligible for relocation benefits, what they qualify for, and how to use them.

[1] http://www.helioshr.com/2015/08/top-5-considerations-in-writing-the-best-relocation-policy-for-your-business/

[2] http://www.urbanbound.com/blog/3-components-every-relocation-policy-should-have