Tag Archives: hiring process

Economy

Six Tips for Hiring Right

I think the hiring process is broken.

Over the last few years, we’ve let resume scrapers, personality tests, and other technology take too big a role in how we process resumes, interview candidates, and hire new people. Successful candidates today write their resume and cover letters to keywords and search terms to hopefully help them float to the top of the hundreds of resumes they are up against to fill a single job opening.

I know the technology goal is to help Human Resource and hiring managers weed out those applicants who wouldn’t be a good fit for their organizations. And, although it may have streamlined the process of determining who should move forward through the interview process, I think in many instances it’s pushed the wrong people through.

I’ve been at Lendio since spring. I’m here because a former colleague knew my capabilities and was in a position to tell me about a possible role for me when I asked about it. He was also in a position to speak for me when it came time to make a decision about whether or not to hire me. Although I had a very successful track record where I was when I started to think about making this change, I can’t help but wonder if I would have received any serious consideration had I been an unknown commodity.

I have other friends who haven’t been so lucky.

Although this isn’t intended to be an advertisement for my friend Geoff, there will likely be some who think it is. I’m putting his name to the story because it’s real and it’s happening right now.

Geoff Crane is a project management friend I’ve known and worked with virtually over the last several years. Not too long ago, he determined that he needed to finish his education to better his career, so he went back to school. Since graduating, the pickings have been pretty slim—despite a 22+ years long successful career and a recent degree. So not long ago he offered a $25,000 finders fee to anyone who could help him find a job. Again, I’m not interested in the finder’s fee nor is this an advertisement for a job (nevertheless, I’m sure he’d talk to you if you’re interested). But it’s a great example of what a broken system has forced a highly skilled and talented professional to do to find a job.

Unfortunately, aside from getting some airtime on his local TV station, a couple of articles in the news, and some interesting PR, he’s still looking for a job.

I recently read an article written by Evernote CEO Phil Libin on how they hire and keep their best talent. Although most of it is real common sense (and doesn’t rely on a resume scraper), I think it bears repeating here. Here’s the list:

  1. Recommendations from close friends (or just hiring close friends) is the best way to start: I currently work with a number of colleagues and friends I’ve worked with before. Many of them where here before I was. They knew what I was capable of, and knew how we would work together. The logic of this is pretty straightforward. Evernote offers what Libin describes as a “generous bonus” if they end up hiring someone referred by an employee.
  2. Hire people smarter than you (or at least smarter about their particular job than you are): Several years ago, when I was leading the creative team at Response (a local ad agency), we made it a point to seek out the right talent. If we didn’t find a good fit, we wouldn’t hire. We thought it was more important to hire the right people and wouldn’t settle for the best person of those who had applied. It often meant waiting, but as a result, we got to work with some incredibly talented people.
  3. Make them write: Although I had never thought of this, I intend to do this in the future. Libin argues that you can fake it in person, but your real personality is revealed pretty quickly when asked to write a few paragraphs. This is great advice.
  4. Make sure they talk sense: The ability to communicate and collaborate is so important, this should be a no-brainer. Regardless of the technical prowess a potential candidate might have, if they can’t communicate with you or their colleagues, they aren’t going to be the right fit. It reminds me of my high school trigonometry teacher, he was brilliant—he just wasn’t very good at sharing his brilliance with me. I soon abandoned math never to return (thank heavens for calculators).
  5. Be generous with benefits that help the team get stuff done: Assume your people want to do a good job and give them the tools they’ll need to do it. This might sometimes mean buying lunch, being flexible with work schedules, or any number of other things. You know your people and what they need to get the job done.
  6. Don’t hire anyone you’re not willing to also fire: This is a tough one. Nobody likes to be the guy to drop the bomb and tell somebody they’re fired. Particularly if you’ve hired a close friend as suggested in #1, but sometimes one bad player can quickly ruin morale, end collaboration, destroy productivity, and even cripple an organization. Most people don’t show up to work with an “I wanna suck today” attitude, but if they aren’t willing or are unable to learn the skills they need to make a good fit, it’s better to act swiftly—much like ripping off a Band-Aid, you know it’s gonna hurt for a little while. But it’s much better than suffering through a bad hire that’s going to have long-term negative consequences.

My grandmother used to say, “Well begun is half done.” I think that’s true of hiring people too. Hire the right people and you’re half done, hiring the wrong people and you’re in trouble. What are you doing to ensure that you hire the right people—and then keep them?

 

As a Main Street business evangelist and marketing veteran with more than 25 years in the trenches, Ty Kiisel writes about leading people and small-business issues for Lendio (www.lendio.com).

Social media sites are no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends or college roommates.

Social Media And The Hiring Process: Your Profile Can Sink Or Save You

Social media has set up camp in the professional world and is there to stay.

Social media sites are no longer just places to reconnect with childhood friends or college roommates. Companies now use social media websites to do unofficial background checks on potential employees.

A Cross-Tab Marketing Service study, released earlier this year, reveals that 70 percent of companies have rejected a candidate based on an inappropriate social media website posting.

This is a scary reality for everyone who uses these sites as a harmless way to catch up with friends, but may have crossed the line by uploading funny, yet work-inappropriate pictures. In today’s world, a world inextricably tied to the Internet, anything posted on a public page can and will be found by potential employers, says Lew Clark, an attorney with Squire, Sanders and Dempsey.

However, there are ways to prevent shooting yourself in the social media foot and, if you’re smart, work the system.

There are a few obvious things not to have on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube or other social media websites — including inappropriate photos or conversations. Poor grammar, spelling or writing skills, use of profanity, and poor people skills also can turn off a potential employer, Clark says.

“One of the huge no-nos that we discuss with folks … is to never, ever post anything negative about a former boss, co-worker, employer. It creates the wrong image. No matter if it’s true, valid, anything else, you just do not want to go there,” says Cindy Jones, vice president of human resources at Synergy Seven.

Don’t despair. Companies aren’t just looking for reasons to disqualify you. They’re also looking for reasons why you’re perfect for the job, Jones says. Especially on professional social media sites, such as Linkedin, companies look to see prospective employees’ connections.

If used properly, social media can be an effective marketing tool, Jones adds, providing a real-world example of how to use social media as an advantage.

When a woman decided to switch careers from Realtor to sommelier, she changed both her professional — Linkedin — and personal — Facebook — social media pages to reflect her new career path. She posted her excitement about passing tests toward receiving sommelier certification and changed her main picture to one of her toasting with a glass of wine.

While this type of online makeover won’t work for all fields, Jones says it’s an example of using social media to one’s advantage.

“There’s nothing at all improper with a prospective employer (looking) on someone’s public Facebook page, their public Twitter page, or any other online networking website that you can access publicly,” Clark says.

However, accessing a potential employee’s private page by figuring out the password, accessing it through someone else’s page or by pretending to be someone else is illegal, he adds.

Aside from accessing a page illegally, employers can find themselves in other sticky situations.

Employers may find information about a person’s religion, health, age or personal life that they wouldn’t otherwise learn and can’t legally take into consideration in the hiring process, Clark and Jones say.

“The risk to the employer is that someone could allege that you used information that is legally protected to decide whether to hire somebody or not,” Jones says. “Our guidance with most companies starts at the place of there’s nothing illegal about it, but be careful.”

Clark adds: “Employers are looking for whatever resource they can to try to get information about candidates so they can make a good hire.”

Background checks, including checking social media websites, can reduce costs, encourage honesty among employees and ensure the best person gets the job, says Marcia Rhodes from WorldatWork, a global human resource association.

Although using social media in the hiring process offers many perks, Jones and Rhodes say they’ve seen a trend in which companies are limiting social media background checks on possible employees, contrary to the report previously cited.

Kim Magyar, an attorney with Snell and Wilmer, says she doesn’t see the number of companies using social media decreasing, but companies are being more targeted and cautious with their searches.

Some companies wait until they’ve already interviewed a candidate to check social media, while others check before they conduct an interview, says Magyar, who has given presentations on social networking and the workplace.

Many companies believe social media can be a treasure trove of information; information that might not always be accurate, Magyar says.

“There’s nothing to prevent an employer from making decisions based upon what they see (on social media sites),” Clark says.

Nothing, except the awareness that public social media pages are fair game and the preparedness of prospective employees to maintain their pages in a way that represents them in a respectable, hire-able way.

Woman in medical clothing sitting at a laptop

AzHHA Expands Its Online Job Board To Encompass The Full Spectrum Of Health Care Jobs

At a time when economic news is dominated by downsizing and layoffs, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) is expanding its efforts to recruit new employees for positions ranging from janitor to physician.

Although the state’s unemployment rate hovers at just under 10 percent, Arizona health care facilities added 1,700 jobs in January alone. To meet that continuing need, the association launched an enhanced interactive Internet job board — www.AzHealthjobs.com — that reaches from coast to coast.

Originally launched about 10 years ago, the Web site was created by AzHHA to enable member hospitals to post open positions, much like Monster.com and Jobing.com, but was targeted strictly to hospital positions. Now, with an expanded scope that was launched on Feb. 1, the Web site is open to all segments of the health care industry, including nursing homes and doctor’s offices.

What’s more, posted jobs don’t necessarily have to be in the medical field. For example, CPAs and others who want to work in health care facilities are encouraged to post their resumes.

“The more that we get the word out for our enhanced Web site, the more jobs will be available,” says Patricia Weidman, director of work force and staffing services for AzHHA and who oversees the job board. “This is how we’re helping people who are looking for jobs. A lot of people don’t know about it, because previously it was limited to hospitals. We have marketed the Web site at conventions. We tell people to check it out. Hospitals use engineers, CPAs, janitorial, housekeeping, laundry positions. A lot of non-clinical positions are listed.”

Health care used to be considered recession proof, but that changed somewhat during this past brutal downturn. Weidman says the expanded job board can help make the hiring process more cost efficient for health care providers.

“We’re very excited about the enhancements of AzHealthjobs.com,” she says, “because we know how critical it is for employers in the health care industry to attract first-rate talent with a minimum expenditure of time and resources. And it’s important for us to help enable smooth career transitions for those seeking health industry jobs.”

Weidman says the job board has been a valuable tool for Arizona hospitals, which currently employ 73,000 people and generate $11.5 billion to Arizona’s gross state product.

Job seekers pay nothing to post their resumes on AzHHA’s Web site, but fees are paid by employers with positions to fill. Positions can be posted for 30 days for a fee of $350. At any given time, hospitals and other employers list 1,000 to 1,500 jobs, with direct links to individual career sites, Weidman says.

As part of the expansion, AzHHA joined the National HealthCare Career Network (NHCN). The NHCN partnership brings together the best sources of highly qualified talent from leading professional and trade associations representing skills in all sectors of health care.

AzHHA also is partnering with Boxwood Technology, a leading provider of career center services for the association industry. Boxwood, which administers and manages AzHHA’s jobs site, is the only such provider endorsed by the American Society of Association Executives. Boxwood also provides technical support, customer service, accounting, content management and ongoing product development. Weidman says Boxwood has a network of more than 185 leading health care associations and professional organizations.

Any money generated from the Web site goes back to the nonprofit side of AzHHA and helps keep dues down, Weidman says.

“So hospitals are benefiting, even though we are opening the Web site up,” she adds. “Some hospitals had expressed concern, but we were able to reassure them.”

It’s still too early to tell how effective the newly expanded Web site will be, Weidman says. It will take time to get the word out, which she does on a monthly basis at nursing conventions and job fairs around the country.

“I tell everyone to get their resumes on there if they’re looking for a health care position in Arizona,” Weidman says. “This is the place to be.”

Especially for nurses. In the past, some nurses Weidman met at conventions would say they didn’t want to work in a hospital, but preferred something else, such as a nursing home. For a nurse, working in a hospital is not the same as in a nursing home, school, doctor’s office or prison. Different skills are required, and the pace is much quicker, for example, in emergency rooms and intensive care units. With the expanded Web site, nurses looking for a position can zero in on specific career opportunities.

And despite the sorry state of the economy, hospitals, not as hard hit as other industries, are still hiring nurses.

“Hospitals have been using a lot of temporary staff, some nurses are taking additional shifts, and some part-timers are going full-time to fill any shortages,” Weidman says. “We wouldn’t have this program if they weren’t still hiring.”

A recent survey indicates that one-third of the RNs in Arizona are 55 or older.

“When they retire, we still will have a nursing shortage,” Weidman says. “We’re telling hospitals that this is a perfect time to build their own resume database, so when those positions do come up, they can tap into that database and be ready to go when they have the need.”