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Since the dawn of Facebook, one of the biggest concerns among its user population is privacy and the accessibility of less-than-flattering photos affecting a public or professional reputation. Nobody wants a damaging photo of themselves exposed to a potential employer, and once the privacy settings on photos are changed, there's no reason for an employer to investigate further, right?

Wrong.

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Consider this: according to a 2017 study by HireRight, 85% of employers found applicants lying on their resumes. This doesn't mean you should throw all of your trust out the window, but be prepared to see some resume padding. Since potential employees are sure to put their best foot forward in an interview, and certainly will direct you to positive references, how can you peel away the predetermined layers and find out the true nature of a person?

Be a scavenger of clues when it comes to a potential hire's social media accounts. There are great indicators of a person's personality, social tendencies, and work ethic that can be found just by doing a quick sweep of a profile. Here's how it'll help you out:

1) You'll get to know their attitude.

Are they a complainer, or more of a positive poster? See what word choices they use frequently – if it's all unicorns and rainbows maybe you have nothing to worry about, but if you're sensing any negativity or hostility, there's a good chance that vibe would infect your workplace. If they are sharing articles about current events or tech trends, you can expect an employee who is well-informed and interested in freshening their skills.

2) You'll learn about their passions.

What do they care about outside 9am-5pm on weekdays? See what groups they belong to on Facebook, or what weekend adventures they're sharing on Instagram. Do they have a dog? Are they volunteering in the community on weekends? Do they make pottery in their free time? Knowing this likely won't affect your decision to hire them, but if you do, you'll have a better idea of their motivations.

3) It can lead you to a real reference.

If you're hiring an on-site candidate, there's always a chance you share mutual friends – ask them about your potential hire. Cut through the fluff to the candidate's core by bypassing their hand-picked references and get to the meat of the story. A candid evaluation will give you a more accurate representation of a person's character than you may get from references that have already been expected to give a positive review.

Getting to know a job applicant before they're part of the team is a crucial part of the hiring process, and exploring their social media accounts isn't considered snooping anymore. Anything online is the public persona of someone who could represent your company, and don't you want that person to be putting their best face forward? We think so.

Posted: 7/25/2018 2:09:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


One of the most difficult adjustments when moving into a management role is learning how to be on a different level as your peers. Your buddies, your confidants, your secret coffee-break complainers, you just get each other. And now you're up with the other management team members, trying to figure out how to balance reputability and likability. You want them to be a little afraid of you, but you also want them to genuinely laugh at your jokes.

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We understand, it's not easy. In our last post, we talked a bit about the importance of establishing a routine, paying attention to the Big Picture, and why you sometimes have to pretend you're on board with some tough decisions. Today we'll talk about how to work with your employees in a way that will keep them motivated and productive and still make them think you're kind of fun to be around. We swear it's possible.

4. Listen to your employees.

Know what makes them tick, what gets them excited, and everything in between. Tasks that are un-liked, irrelevant or impervious to a position, or tasks that keep getting pushed to the back burner, are clearly not motivating that employee. Make sure the work is being distributed appropriately and that you're utilizing your team's strengths, and spend some time getting to know how each individual works. If one person benefits from discussing things in person but another prefers written communication, honor that. It's not their job to cater to your management style, but vice versa. In order to retain the best employees, we have to be cultivating an environment that makes our employees the best they can be. Playing to everyone's strengths and working in ways that create ideal everyday working environments will take your team far.

5. Set expectations. 

Communication is key: tell your employees what you expect, right from the get-go. If you like to be kept in the loop on every detail in a project, say so. Tell them if you prefer to be more hands off but expect the work to be done when it's due. Be explicitly clear about the way the team will work together, what your involvement will be, and how your team's progress should expect to be measured. So much of a manager's success is dependent on setting the bar at a certain height and helping your employees hit that bar by giving them clear directions. Think about it – no one would thrive in a workplace where everything always seems to be up in the air. If an employee knows what to expect, then it's no surprise that there are consequences when goals aren't met. Which brings us to our next tip..

6. Manage performance.

Another difficult part of hitting the management level is the dreaded discussions about an employee's performance. If a team member isn't stepping up as much as they should, or if other team members are covering ground for someone, it's easy to want to wait it out, but this must be remedied quickly. As the old saying goes: give him an inch and he'll take a yard. Hold someone accountable for their work at all times, because once it slips, it's all downhill.

Now, it doesn't need to be a serious conversation every time, but a simple check-in about how things are going, and asking how you can help, will clue someone in that you're noticing they're slipping a bit. A later conversation can address specifics, and might be followed up by a readjustment of responsibilities or re-instituted goals for the employee. It's ok to readjust expectations throughout the year (we all have unproductive times), but the burden of this person's workload shouldn't be falling to the rest of your team's shoulders.

7. Go ahead, let your personality show through.

You are human. And while your employees are not your best buddies, it's great if they actually like you as a person, . Once you've established yourself as a leader, don't be afraid to let a little bit of your freak flag fly. Well, maybe leave the full-on freak flag at home, but let your personality come through a little bit. Common interests will bond your team together, so go ahead and mention your upcoming trip to Europe, or talk about the yoga class you've been taking, the baseball game you went to last night, or the new TV show you can't stop binge watching. Once the respect is there, it's ok to garner a little attention towards you as a person. Your team will like you in no time.

Give these tips a try, and we know you'll be reporting back in no time with a lean, mean, productive and enjoyable team!

Posted: 6/27/2018 11:52:41 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


As you know, we care about your career here at CM Access. It's never been about your next job, but about the next step on the professional staircase you're building yourself. So, it's fairly common for us to be finding candidates a new position that is a level up from their current job. What does that mean? Lots of first-time managers!

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The idea that employees are constantly paving their way on the road toward roles of authority is great news, but while they are often stellar employees in their original positions, even the most ambitious workers can find themselves fumbling in a position of power. The major problem arising is that most of these people are untrained, with little to no investment in their skills from their employer.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers with under 100 employees provided only 12 minutes of manager training per six month period. Organizations with between 100 and 500 employees only offered half of that in the same time period. How is a new manager expected to survive without the support of her company?

We can't give you a crash course in management training, but we can at least get you started. Here are some tips for killing it this year, your first time at the big desk.

1. Emphasize the Big Picture.

Think of yourself as a coach – it's your job to create an environment of productivity and motivation, so clue your team in. What is the reputation you want your team to have, company-wide? What sorts of achievements do you anticipate in the coming year and what should your employees consider to be their greatest contribution to these goals? Setting the scene for a season of success will keep the finish line in sight, increasing accountability and improving an employee's sense of autonomy.

2. Be the filter.

You already act as the middle man between the Higher Ups and your employees, but you need to be as much of a connector as a filter between the two. Don't blame your boss for decisions that have to be made, however unpopular, and own the successes and failures when there is any issue with your own team's unreached milestones. It will be challenging to make sure no one gets thrown under the bus when you're involved, but you ultimately earn respect and gratitude from both sides of the table. The only time to pass along info about a specific team member? When they have a stellar idea that should be taken seriously. Let them get the credit.

3. Establish a structure.

One of the most difficult parts of being a first-time manager is being left out of The Group – you're no longer one of the lower level team, you can't complain about management or mentally check out the second the clock strikes 5. You are, in a way, a representative of the company, and you have to embrace the changes that come with that. Many new managers adopt an easygoing attitude, thinking that being a Fun Boss is the best way to be seen favorably by their team . What they'll find is that it's easy to get high fives but much more difficult to earn respect.

So, get a structure in place. You are the boss, and it's your job to keep everyone on the right track. Human beings crave routine – set up weekly meetings, develop systems that will keep your productivity machine running, and keep projects moving along at a steady speed. If your employees aren't used to a structure it can initially be an adjustment, but will bring success in the long run.

More tips for new managers, coming in our next post!

 

Posted: 6/27/2018 11:24:04 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


We talked a bit last time about the struggles of the tech industry to be inclusive when it comes to building out their teams with women and minorities. Whether due to hiring based on the "best fit" for a company's culture or a lack of effort to change hiring methods, minority and female employees are severely underrepresented. Black and Latino workers make up only 5% of the tech workforce, and women comprise only 24%.

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Awareness of the issue should bring change to the industry, but companies must first trudge through acknowledgment of their unconscious bias.

How can changes be made in an industry that has a well-established homogeneous history? There are ways!

What can be done about it from the candidate side?

Hold companies accountable. Ask them about their diversity efforts, question them on their hiring practices, and demand that the process of hiring for "company culture" is updated to actually reflect modern culture.

Don't assume. Just because an employer appears to be a boys club doesn't mean they aren't trying to expand their team on the diversity front. Show them that any preconceived notions about the capabilities of a minority in this field are wrong, and that they'd be doing themselves a great disservice to turn you away.

 What can companies do?

Establish blind hiring practices. Have the names removed from job applications – if you don't have a system capable of this, incorporate a step before the hiring manager where someone fields the responses and removes names before passing on.

Address implicit bias head on. Larger companies have either been developing their own bias-busting training or bringing in outsiders to conduct workshops and attack implicit bias head on. Many people don't believe themselves to be biased until training opens their eyes to how ingrained it is already. Exposing the abundance of bias is the first step towards remedying an industry-wide problem.

Expand your recruitment efforts. When companies come to college campuses to recruit, for example, Hispanic and black candidates are more likely to attend a workshop for resume writing or interview preparation than they are to show up for an information session. Tailor your search process to be inclusive of all culture's professional tendencies and you might not miss out on your next great employee.

Make it a priority. The reasoning behind many managers lack of initiative in increasing diversity is simple: 41% say they don't have the time. Or, rather, they can't make the time. Big change won't happen overnight, so make efforts to put diversity at the top of the To Do pile, or schedule in some planning.

Look at the research. Ethically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to earn above-average revenue, and gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to do so. A team that is diverse brings together a different set of skills, perspectives, outlooks, and problem solving.

An industry so focused on innovation should push for fresh ideas and pay attention to the creative thinking that can be done by a team who doesn't bring the same ideas and life experiences to the table. Diversifying tech will only continue to bring out the best in everyone.

Posted: 5/31/2018 7:00:32 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


An article was published in the New York Times last week titled 'The Top Jobs Where Women Are Outnumbered by Men Named John.' It covers several different fields where men named John (or James, or Michael, etc.) outnumber women in the same positions: senators, federal judges, and even newspaper editors. At this point, many of us are well aware of the imbalance between women and men in positions of power, but it's a shame the article isn't more shocking, right?

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The inequality doesn't stop there – the tech world is notorious for under representing women and minorities, with questionably serious intentions of changing. In 2014, Google was one of the first to release it's diversity numbers, with Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Yahoo not far behind. They all had similar situations: one-third of their workforce was comprised of women, Asian workers were over represented and holding around one-third of the jobs, with black and Hispanic employees only making up a percentage or two. Their statements: we know this is bad, and we are working to change it.

What are the problems?

Implicit bias. When scientists and researchers at academic institutions were given identical resumes with either a female or male name and asked to consider them as job candidates, they were less likely to offer the job to the female candidate and even offered her, on average, $4000 less in salary than the male candidate. The only difference between the candidates was their name, so it's difficult to argue that the disparity could be related to skills or experience.

This type of bias crosses cultural lines as well, with candidates with white-sounding names being 50 percent more likely to receive a response than those with black-sounding names.

Hiring for a "culture fit." Silicon Valley and the tech world spearheaded the process of hiring someone who perpetuates a unified office culture. To maintain a blurred line between work and play, coworkers are closer to friends, and who are we more likely to hire as a "friend"? Someone who is just like us. Add to this a generous referral bonus for employees to pull from their current network, and there's almost no hope of bringing in an ounce of diversity.

The tech industry's reputation precedes it. Among computer science and engineering graduates with bachelor's and advanced degrees, 26 percent are Asian, 8 percent are Hispanic, and 6 percent are black, but technicaly workers at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter are 37 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent black.  Underrepresented minorities are more likely to take their technical skills to a business or administrative position, and for an understandable reason. Many qualified minority candidates simply aren't looking in tech because they consider it an unsupportive environment.

The good news is: once aware of this issue, there are things a company can do about it. Suggestions and strategies coming in our next post!

 

Posted: 5/15/2018 1:31:07 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments