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A new hire is a big deal. A piece of an unfinished puzzle. A chance to add valuable skills and great energy to your team. Meeting a candidate in an interview is a great first impression, but let's be real: you're meeting their Best Self, not necessarily their Real Self. A potential hire will tell you everything you want to hear, but trying to cut through the fluff can be a challenge.

Enter: the reference.

A reference, usually a former boss or coworker, is your key to getting the real story on your potential candidate. They have shared workspace, email correspondence, and project managements with them, and probably know a thing or two about what makes them tick. With such a valuable resource at your fingertips, make sure you use your time wisely – asking them these questions will offer a glimpse into this new hire.


1) What motivates them?

Are they driven by deadlines? Pushed by penalties? Encouraged by esteem-boosts? Find out what gets them going from someone who knows, and ensure you're pushing your new employee to their full potential in a way that works.

2) What was their role on the team?

In this case, we aren't talking about their technical role, but more or their social role. Every workplace has its own dynamic, and employees naturally find their place from the start. Are they the idea initiator or more likely to let the brainstorm session sit and simmer? Maybe they keep the mood light in meetings. Maybe they're a bit of a morale drag. Who knows? You'll have to ask.

3) In what area would they need support during their first few months?

This is a crucial question for planning your next quarter. Get a sense of your potential hire's problem areas and you won't be caught off-guard when some subpar skills show up later.

4) Can you name a situation when this candidate has gone above and beyond?

The answer to this question won't be as revealing as the speed at which it is answered. If an instance is recalled quickly, you can assume the candidate goes beyond their expected duties fairly often.

5) Would you hire them again?

Perhaps the most important question to ask, the answer to this sums up the reference's overall impression of the candidate and indicates whether this person is worth hiring or not. Whether the answer is yes or no, be sure to press for an explanation.

6) What conflicts did they have? How were they resolved?

As they say, "beautiful sunsets don't exist without cloudy skies." There's a chance even the most attractive candidate has had some clouds in their professional past. Learn more about how your candidate responds to pressure and conflict with a question that's bound to get an interesting response.

When dealing with a potential new hire, don't make any assumptions. Put some effort into your discussions with references, and get the valuable information for making your decision!

Posted: 9/24/2019 12:29:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Give your workplace a hard look and you'll see it – there's often someone who is less than a perfect fit. Maybe they don't communicate well, they're somewhat unprofessional, or simply put – they just aren't as efficient as you had hoped.

What does it take to find employees who will show up with the skills, savvy, and seriousness to make you satisfied with your decision to hire them? It doesn't take much, but we'll help get you started.

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Pay close attention to their Job Application Self.

In theory, everyone would present an accurate version of themselves throughout the hiring process, but besides lying on resumes (which ___% of the population has admitted to doing), people do much more. Have you ever described yourself with qualities you are hoping to have or wish you had already mastered? Candidates do the same thing by presenting a potential employer with their aspirational self instead of their true self. This unintentional phoniness leaves employers with only one option: pay close attention to what they DO instead of what they SAY.

Do they claim to be excellent communicators but have some confusing wording in their emails?
Do they flaunt organization skills but their portfolio filename ends with "final_FINALreal2.pdf"?
Are they pitching themselves as a people-person but have trouble connecting in the interview?

In all of these instances, there is an opportunity to cut through claims of perfection to get to the meat of a person. What they do is who they are, and you can't assume that good intentions will become long term qualities.

Give them a trial period.

There's only one way to truly know how a person will act in your workplace, and that's to pop them right in! Set up a trial employment period at the beginning of the hire, trying anything from 2 days to 1 month. And don't underestimate what three days in an office can tell you about a person's work ethic and general demeanor.

Ask their references informative questions.

"Did you enjoy working with them?" might give you a clue that the person will be a culture fit, but how much does it tell you about their professional abilities? References will provide glimpses into your potential hire's professional life, offering evidence of their work habits, strengths, and flaws. Asking them the right questions can address your future concerns before they even arise. Skip over the general questions and ask what motivates them, what their communication style is like, etc. We'll have more suggestions in an upcoming blog post!

Listen to your colleagues.

If anyone else at your organization met the candidate, what did they think? Different people can offer a new perspective on a prospective hire, especially from those they'd be working alongside. See what others think, and be open to the possibility that a candidate might put on a different face for a future coworker than they would a future boss.

Be clear about the rules.

In many cases, an employee that appears to be somewhat lacking is just an employee who hasn't been told the rules. When you're on-boarding a new team member, have a team-wide meeting to refresh on company policies like vacation time, lunch breaks, and the like, or review the employee handbook with them. Then there's no question about your expectations..

Assuring the new hire that shows up on day 1 is the same person you interviewed can be a tough task, but hopefully these tips get you one step closer to keeping your team strong!

 

Posted: 8/27/2019 2:06:05 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


This week, media outlets announced that unemployment applications are at their lowest since 1969. With sluggish consumer and business spending, this is a promising sign, suggesting companies are retaining employees.

In a market that leans heavily in favor of candidates, companies have to sell themselves as a desirable place of employment. Stocked fridges, company outings, and above-standard benefits are one thing, but there are better ways to attract top talent than throwing perks in their direction.

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Know what you want from a candidate.

If you want employees to be in it for the long haul, offer benefits that reflect this. Incremental increases in vacation and sick time, generous parental leave (or any parental leave, these days), and opportunities for candidates to advance at the company all favor a longer term employee. Mile marker incentives can also be very effective: try a bonus week of vacation for the fifth year of employment at the company, or something similar.

If you're in search of a continuous wave of fresh-faced innovative candidates, emphasize the importance of their role in current projects. Offer opportunities to travel and tell them about your post-work happy hours.

Be good at what you do.

The best way to attract the best people? Be the best company. We know, we're oversimplifying, but having a successful business will attract better candidates than adding ping pong tables to your break room. Simply put: people want to work at companies that are doing well. If you're the best that's out there, you won't have to work hard to emerge as a frontrunner for top talent.

Be straightforward.

A job posting should be detailed, clear, and concise, putting all requirements and responsibilities at the forefront. The actual position should meet any expectations made from the job description, to allow candidates to identify opportunities for their skills to really shine. They know what they could bring to the table, and being aware of all facets of the job beforehand means they can provide insight into their purpose and strengths in the role.

Check with your own Top Talent.

You know who's perfect for bringing in great candidates? Great employees! Offer a referral bonus to your team and have your best people scour their networks to fill the open position. They're aware that any referral reflects on their judgement, so no worries about your team suggesting just anyone in hopes of bringing in some bonus money – only their top choices will make it to your desk. Asking them to connect you shows you value their opinion, but compensating them somehow shows just how much. Plus, you'll be hiring someone who already gets along with at least one person on your team!

It can be a challenge to attract stellar job candidates, but we'll help you make it easier! Have you tried any of these tips?

Posted: 4/11/2019 11:25:25 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
- Vince Lombardi

From a young age, most of us are quickly familiarized with the phrases "in a perfect world..." and "practice makes perfect." We spend so much time and energy becoming the perfect student, getting perfect scores. It would be difficult to argue that achieving perfection is the highest level of success, it seems.

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When we were all in school, hitting this target was more obvious – grades, class rankings, and evaluations all told us how close we were to being the "best." But years and years later, here we are, wondering how we measure up compared to others. As a job candidate, are we a "perfect fit"?

Well, there's good news, for candidates as well as hiring managers!

Job seekers – you can't be "perfect"!

Every position has slightly different requirements, and being excellent in school won't always help you here. Show off your skills and display your talent, but don't dismiss an opening just because you don't think it sounds like a perfect match. Apply for positions just outside of your exact skill set and you might be surprised  at what you find – employers are willing to train the right candidate or shape the position to fit your strengths.

Hiring managers – there is no "perfect."

If you're holding out for the "ideal" candidate, it's time to stop. Last year was the first in almost two decades where the number of U.S. jobs available was equal to the number of job seekers. There's no shortage of open positions, so don't continue to tell yourself the next interviewee will be The One – the grass is not always greener. Instead, take a deep look at the habits, strengths, and personality of the candidate sitting in front of you and consider them for your company as well as for the specific position. Are they eager to learn? Diligent? Responsible, adaptable, and talented? They could be the perfect person for your team.

There's no telling what an adjustment to your thinking could do to your professional career or your business. If you're lucky enough to score an interview or meet a great candidate, you should count your lucky stars and stop holding out for something better – nay, perfect.

 

 

Posted: 3/21/2019 10:24:15 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments