Blog, Human Resources

Finding the right employee can be difficult in even the best of circumstances. Poorly thought out search criteria can make the job that much harder by making it difficult to determine who the best available candidate is. Whenever you’re looking to fill a position, consider the following before you make a hiring decision.

 

Define Job Requirements or Qualifications

 

Be careful that your job requirements aren’t exclusionary or discriminatory towards other cultures or religions. For example, a rule that your employees must be clean-shaven. This would prevent you from hiring someone from the Sikh community even if you did not intend for it to do so.

 

To avoid issues with discrimination, be proactive about designing job requirements in such a way that only the absolute essentials are included: things that are required to do the job. This will ensure that your requirements fall under “bona fide” or government approved and will protect you from lawsuits and unflattering publicity.

 

Prepare a Detailed Job Description

 

A good job description will communicate the role’s responsibilities as clearly as possible to job seekers. It also allows them to get a better understanding of what their most important duties will be, and how they will be asked to prioritize. Ideally, the job description should also establish how the goals of the position contribute to the overall mission of the company.

 

A clear, detailed, well-written job description is not only useful for discouraging applications from less qualified applicants, but it can also help hiring managers better identify who has the most desirable characteristics for the job. For example, companies can learn more about where an employee might need more training by gauging their attributes against the job requirements.

 

Tailor Your Interview Questions

 

Avoid using the same tired old questions and instead draft specific questions based on the most important criteria outlined in your job description. You want to leave the interview with a good idea about how well the candidate will perform in the role and whether they will be a good cultural fit for your organization. You want to avoid using generic questions, so that they don’t just end up giving you the answers you want to hear.

 

Establish Employment Tests

 

Thorough background checks will protect you and your company from litigation over negligent hiring or a “failure to warn” if the employee ends up doing something violent or controversial. You have a duty of care to your employees, which means you can be held accountable if you hire someone who harms or threatens them. Aside from running the standard criminal background checks, it’s always a good idea to conduct a Google search for their LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter accounts. By doing so, you may get some insight into what type of personality the candidates have and the kinds of associations they maintain. Some firms also utilize credit checks to better gauge how stable a person is in making important decisions.

 

Strong search criteria will allow you to quickly identify who has the most desirable traits by providing you with a system where the most important attributes are properly emphasized and the vetting process naturally requires the candidate to showcase the knowledge you need them to have. As your criteria becomes more and more well defined, the hiring process will become proportionately easier as well. Save yourself some work later by putting in the effort to develop the right criteria early.

 

Salman Allidina | Contributing Writer

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Blog, Human Resources

Consultants sometimes have a bad reputation with management experts, often face criticism regarding the cost of a few weeks of work (sometimes in the millions), or for being paid to tell leadership teams what they already know. However, there are a number of reasons why businesses benefit from consultants.


It can be hard for existing management and/or employees (busy with daily tasks) to take а step back and analyze a potential problem in their business or office. Consultants offer а fresh set of critical eyes that can help with measurement, analysis, and improvement. Critics might write this off as glorified common sense, but new insights and the ability to identify underlying issues can add significant value to operations. А fresh perspective is critical to а company restart, or to new business ventures where employees and/or management are too involved with the project to recognize possible issues.


Functions and Levels

In most cases, the consultant or firm will build а fact base over а period of а few weeks to а month. They’ll interview people across the board, as well as observe daily routines. Consultants will often start with the organization’s customers (if possible) and then work up through sales and line roles. This information offers lots of insights into the company that the executive team might miss or lack the time to investigate themselves. Interviewing people across functions can also help foster creative problem-solving (something that rarely happens in larger companies). It’s а good idea to have а consultant on board to unlock this kind of insight.


Problem-Solving Expertise

When you’re hiring а consulting firm, you’re hiring а dedicated group of people with one objective: to solve your problem. Having people who can focus their attention on а defined project is a valuable asset. In many ways, they’re better able to make observations, efficiently assess and improve the company than current employees who already have plenty on their plates.


Consultants have also likely served multiple clients before you. They can recognize problems quickly and apply lessons learned in previous cases. They possess an expanded knowledge base that can be valuable to your company. They also belong to networks and associations that give them access to resources you likely don’t have. Given their training and skills, consultants are quick learners, capable of understanding a problem and developing а strategy to solve it, helping a company achieve its objectives.


Impartial Advice/Observation

Consultants can give advice through а more objective lens. They’re independent from the organization, so there’s no hesitation to give unbiased observations and recommendations. This is partially why companies choose to hire outside consultants rather than rely exclusively on internal feedback; those within an organization can be conflicted and sometimes hesitant to give accurate recommendations for fear of being harsh.


External Change Force

It can be difficult for executives and CEOs to do what’s right for their company if it requires changes or reductions in benefits, major operational changes, or even layoffs. It may seem like an easy way out, but many companies hire consulting firms to do the “dirty work.” In а sense, the consultant becomes the scapegoat for those who want to distance themselves from making individuals unhappy while reaching the company’s goal. This provides political cover for senior management, and if something goes wrong, the consulting firm can take the responsibility.


Implementation and Training

As an executive, you have а lot of things on the go; you don’t have time to train everyone on adopting new technology or implementing new strategies. Almost every consulting project incorporates client training. This means whoever you hired to do your consulting will educate your employees on necessary skills, knowledge, technology, etc.


There’s no point in receiving recommendations if employees are unable to integrate and maintain suggested changes. In this way, consulting firms add enormous value to your company. Not only will they tell you what’s wrong, they’ll equip you with the knowledge required to overcome the problem and reach your goal.


There’s а reason why consulting companies rake in $2 billion а year. Generally, business consultants help companies and small businesses improve performance and streamline operations to become more efficient. They identify problems and create solutions, as well as provide objectivity. They’ll also do some unpleasant tasks for you, such as eliminate staff. They know how to get the ball rolling when it comes to revamping your company and offer much more value to a business than just advice.


Helen Jacob | Contributing Writer

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Blog, Human Resources

Finding a work-life balance is not easy. It’s important for an individual to have their employees’ support to achieve this. A person can only do so much if the company demands most of their time. In many cases, some businesses consider the number of hours the employees spend at work or their time-off to value their performance. Thankfully, more organizations are able to realize that the worker needs a work-life balance to be more productive. Helping your staff attain this goal will not just improve their daily operations, but also decrease the organization’s turnover rate. Listed are some of the benefits a business can offer to aid its workers.


Flexible Schedule

Create a program where employees can take a day or half day off by working extra hours during the week. This will assist your staff to have some time to work on personal tasks, be with family, or have an extra day before the weekend.


Telecommuting

Allow your personnel to work from home. It doesn’t have to be every day, but some days during the week will help. Nowadays, technology provides the option to authorize staff members to access the company network from home. They can also communicate with coworkers and managers from anywhere in the world as long as an internet connection is available. This will give flexibility to their schedule and allows for less time commuting.


Paternal Leave

In most countries, parents are entitled to a maternity/paternity leave when their baby is born. The length of the leave depends on the employer and government laws. But what most companies do not offer is a leave that allows parents to take time off when their children are in need of care, such as sickness or other emergencies. Employees always appreciate when management understands their needs and provides priority to family matters.


Lights Out Program

Establish a day during the week in which no one can work overtime. This policy ensures that staff members who often work extra hours take a much-needed break.


Vacation Time

Make sure your employees do not work for longer than 2 years without vacations. According to a Bankrate study, around 40% of Americans don’t take vacations. To avoid this, provide all the necessary tools, like work back-up to complete jobs before the absence.


Facilities

If your business can afford it, provide childcare and fitness amenities at work. These on-site services allow your personnel to spend less hours commuting and more hours taking care of their children or themselves.

Supporting your employees to achieve work-life balance will lead to a happier and healthier staff. Not to mention, higher productivity and lower turnover for the company. Create a win-win situation for everyone.


V.  Sanchez | Contributing Writer

 

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Blog, Human Resources

Understanding how your employer gauges your potential can have a major impact on your position at the company, and on your career. If you know what they’re looking for in an employee, you can improve your chances of advancement.

When a manager evaluates an employee’s potential, they consider factors like motivation, skill, experience, the willingness and ability to learn, as well as how that employee can or will impact the company as it moves forward into the future.

There is variation in terms of what different companies and management teams look at when determining an employee’s potential. But some factors are common, even if they may seem obvious. Still, knowing how your employer measures your potential can be valuable information both for your own personal development and for your advancement within the company. Here are a few commonly used indicators.

Quality of Work

There are many ways for an employer or manager to assess the quality of your work. It might be through a series of specifically stated goals they’ve set for you, or through subjective analysis from your direct supervisor or manager. There is also what’s known as the 9-Box Grid method of assessment, a graph with one axis representing an employee’s potential, and the other their performance. So, a high-performing but low-potential worker would be ideal in their current role, while a low-performing but high-potential employee would be in need of coaching to unlock that potential. Other factors that companies use to measure performance can be as simple as tracking the number of errors an employee has made or, depending on the nature of their work, quantitative statistics like the number of sales made or units produced.

360/180-Degree Feedback

The concept behind 360-degree feedback is for an employer to get performance feedback from a staff member’s direct manager, colleagues, subordinates, and customers. This can be done through specific questions or as a more general performance evaluation. Alternately, 180-degree feedback is similar, but is limited to the employee’s co-workers and manager, and is typically utilized when the worker doesn’t manage people and/or interact with customers.

Leadership Potential

Many businesses will also consider their employees’ potential to rise to a leadership position. Part of management is being able to observe when employees demonstrate a knack for managing others, delegating duties, and taking responsibility for projects. In a small or medium-sized business, it’s often easier for management to get a feel for an employee’s abilities and potential to advance by direct observation. (It also costs a business more to hire and train new employees than to promote an internal candidate.) Factors like drive, organizational skill, the ability to learn quickly and think on their feet, and empathy towards colleagues are some of the traits a good manager will look for when assessing an employee’s leadership potential. The Korn Ferry Institute, an authority on leadership and recruiting, has its own test for measuring leadership potential that takes into account many of these traits and more.

Once you have an idea of how your company measures your potential, you’ll be able to adjust your behaviour accordingly and focus on the right things. Whether it’s making a point of being in the office early every day, contributing in meetings, helping your colleagues with their projects, or just putting in the extra effort when executing your duties, demonstrating your potential to management is a sure-fire way to get ahead.

 

Justin Anderson

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Blog, Human Resources

Who thought that having too many job options could be a bad thing? While it may be a win for highly qualified job seekers, it can make a recruiter’s job even more difficult when looking to hire top talent.

Mobile apps from companies like LinkedIn and Indeed have put the job search quite literally in the palms of candidates’ hands. A Pew Research Center study found that 54% of Americans have taken their job search online, while 45% have applied for a job online.

Employers must now entice potential candidates with more than just the promise of a hefty salary, and below are some examples of how to go above and beyond to attract top-level talent.

Professional Development and Growth

A recent study by recruiting firm The Execu|Search Group found that the opportunity for professional development is the leading factor influencing a candidate’s decision to accept a job offer. Not only will this help attract quality people, but the more satisfied your employees are with the opportunities for growth that you provide, the less likely they are to want to leave you for a competitor.

Work-Life Balance

In terms of job desirability, work-life balance comes in a close second after professional development. Providing flexibility when it comes to your employees’ work schedules is critical. More and more companies are allowing employees to work flextime hours or remotely from home. Research has consistently shown that an overworked staff is actually less productive, so you have lots of reason to strive for a healthy work-life balance beyond just attracting talent.

Teamwork

They say there’s no “I” in “team,” so it’s no surprise that studies have found that team-building activities improve communication as well as morale. Some simple examples include weekly team meetings, open seating arrangements, regular off-site activities, or the hiring of a team-building firm or consultant.

Independence

Team talk aside, the luxury of hiring top-tier candidates is that you can trust them to work independently. According to findings in The Journal of Occupational Health and Psychology, employees are more likely to succeed if they’re self-motivated. Employees perform better, are more engaged, and have a deeper investment in the company’s overall success as a result.

Corporate Culture

According to Psychology Today, the average person spends some of 90,000 hours at work over the course of their life. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that corporate culture is critical to our happiness. A company and colleagues that share an employee’s values and are committed to that individual’s satisfaction and comfort, in turn, makes that employee happy, which improves their job performance.

Creative Thinking

Thinking creatively shouldn’t just be left to “creative types.” When all employees are being creative is when they’re at their most engaged and are therefore experiencing the greatest enjoyment from what they do. According to a Gallup study, 70% of employees are not engaged at work. It’s another reason to find opportunities for your staff to express their creativity.

Critical Thinking

Creativity and problem-solving go hand-in-hand and produce similar positive results in terms of job satisfaction. When there’s opportunity for employees to be challenged and think critically, it makes them more connected, and also encourages collaboration between team members.

Greater Purpose

With millennials now a major presence in the job market, purpose has become far more of a priority, by as much as 50%. Job seekers are increasingly likely to want to work for a company that will allow them to have an impact on causes and issues that are important to them – and may even pass up a job opportunity if they don’t feel they’ll be able to get this sense of fulfilment. Giving employees a sense of purpose makes them more loyal to you and your company.

Perks

While rewards and perks may not rank as high in importance to employees today as they did in years past, they can still be a compelling reason to join an organization. While not all companies can provide catered meals like some Silicon Valley firms do, little things do count. The occasional paid-for staff lunch, half-day Fridays, and performance incentives are a few ideas to keep employees performing at peak levels.

Health Benefits

A Glassdoor survey found that 57% of people consider benefits before accepting a job. Investing in things like health benefits for your employees ensures that they’re healthy, happy, and more productive. While it may cost you as an employer to offer benefits, the rewards of being able to lure top-quality talent by doing so will pay off in the long run with a strong team. Plus, it shows your employees that you care about them.

Everyone deserves to feel valued and to work for a company that puts their employees’ happiness and success first. Remember, if you want to attract top talent, your company has to be on top of its game.

 

Laura D’Angelo

 

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Blog, Human Resources

Finding the ideal candidate to join your company is a challenging task, but it’s gradually becoming easier thanks to advancing technology that not only speeds things up but helps with much of the minutiae of hiring. While many tried and true hiring tactics are still a must, like interviews and checking references, there’s been enough progress to save HR from wasting time on the wrong candidate.

Targeted Ads

Have you ever had those moments when you’re browsing the web, or just spending time on social media, when suddenly an advertisement appears for a product you’ve only thought or talked about? Imagine a potential candidate suddenly finding your job posting in the same manner. Although the reaction ranges somewhere between invasive and kismet, there’s no denying the potential reach of targeted recruiting ads.

These ads are one of the most useful tools in your hiring arsenal. If a potential candidate is on a hiring website, chances are that they know the type of job to search for, and your goal is to get to the top of the list. The simplest way is through targeted ads. Include the industry, job type, requirements, job description, and keywords, then let the algorithms do the rest.


SEO

You have targeted ads to direct potential hires to your website, and that’s great. However, according to a CareerXroads study, 98% of these visitors will leave your site almost immediately. Don’t let this stat dissuade you. The issue isn’t caused by a poorly written job description, it’s that it’s not the job that they’re looking for. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to solving this dilemma.

Your targeted ads are making the rounds, being seen by many eyes, just not the ones you need. Good SEO increases the visibility of your recruiting ads, and there are several ways to do this. First, make sure your website is mobile-optimized. Almost everyone who’s looking for a job is doing so on mobile devices at least in part, so it would hinder your chances of finding good prospects by not ignoring mobile users.

An additional way to improve SEO is by making use of effective social media strategies. Post on Facebook and LinkedIn Recruiter, all the while building an audience through engagement. Post relevant articles and actively respond to comments. This strategy both builds your company’s online presence and ensures that the right eyes are on the job ads you post.


Technology

Technological advancement in this field continues to increase at a surprising rate. Resume screening programs can help filter out the less qualified candidates while giving prominence to the stronger ones. The program does so by matching requirements and skills needed to each resume. In other words, it does the job of the recruiter.

Automated interviewing tools can also streamline the interview process, making it more efficient. They can analyze important data that factors into a good interview performance, such as facial expressions, speech patterns, and word choices. Once again, doing your very job for you.

Before you panic about a robot uprising, remember you’re the one at the helm implementing these strategies to find the best recruit. Remember that these tools and strategies are always advancing, you just need to be the one strategizing their uses.

 

Alex Correa

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Blog, Human Resources

Older generations have always been critical of the younger ones. From Socrates referring to youths as “bad-mannered tyrants with a lack of respect for their elders” to current young people being blamed for killing countless industries – the toxicity is real.

The current generation receiving the criticism flack is the “millennial,” currently between 21 and 37 years of age. The accusation that they’re the reason for the collapse of several businesses isn’t unfounded. They just can’t afford diamonds, houses, and sometimes even cereal. This comes as no surprise, as millennials carry an average debt of $42,000. As these debts soar and inflation continues to rise, it’s likely the deaths of once-booming industries won’t end any time soon. On the surface it appears as though millennials are doomed to fail, but is it all bad?

The average Canadian lifespan, as of 2011, is nearly 82 years. Compared to the 57-year average in 1921, Canadians are living approximately 25 years longer than previous generations. It was once believed that as people aged, they became more politically conservative. The millennial generation proves that it isn’t age that makes one conservative, but wealth – and millennials don’t have much of that. There’s a reason why money isn’t everything for the younger generation; they prioritize work that’s ethical and makes a social impact over a big paycheque, are more politically engaged, and more educated than any preceding generation (thus the heavy student-loan debt). Despite what some baby boomers might tell you, millennials are hard-working and motivated, making them an asset in the workplace.

Passion is what drives millennial ambitions. Previously, working hard at a job you hated wasn’t frowned upon. Now, you can work just as hard at a job you hate, just like your parents and their parents before them, and still struggle to make ends meet. Suddenly, working as a teacher might be just as risky as pursuing dreams of being an actor or painter.

But the ideal life is no longer built around a picket fence and a 9-to-5 job with benefits. In fact, millennials are dominating their side hustles, and putting their passions into overdrive on top of their regular work week. In the U.S., more than half of millennials are starting apps, freelancing their talents, or trying their hands at things like YouTube channels.

With all of this time and energy going towards work and passion projects, more and more members of this generation are waiting longer to have children, which also has its benefits. Having children later in life has proven to make you a more patient parent, and also makes you more likely to raise emotionally healthy adults. And, with people living into their eighties, waiting to have children doesn’t mean sacrificing time you get to spend with them.

All in all, millennials take a lot of criticism from previous generations, but obtaining multiple degrees and working longer hours doesn’t leave much time to dwell on those judgements. And eventually, we’ll turn our attention towards the entitled kids of the next generation.

 

Jasmine Cormier

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Blog, Human Resources

The vast majority of Fortune 100 companies use personality tests to separate the candidacy wheat from the employee-to-be chaff. What do these tests do? Are they worth the time and resources? And more importantly, are they effective?

Kathy Brizeli, the Senior Director of Member Services and Client Success at McLean & Company, worked in psychometrics for 12 years at Caliper. Psychometrics is one of many tests used to measure how an applicant’s traits relate to job performance. As an evaluator, Kathy interpreted assessment results and relayed them back to the potential employers for the candidate being evaluated.

“What we found out were the candidate’s innate tendencies – strengths and weaknesses,” notes Brizeli. “I would recommend their use as an additional piece of information, but never the sole determinant of a hiring decision; they should only be a piece of the puzzle. Assessments don’t necessarily consider experience or skill development.”

Personality testing is in the news: Merve Emre’s The Personality Brokers is the just-released book on how the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was invented by a mother-daughter team in the early twentieth century. According to Emre, personality testing is now a two-billion-dollar industry.

The New Republic weighed in on the topic, saying that Myers-Briggs, taken by two million people each year “is used by universities, career coaching centers, federal government offices, several branches of the military, and 88 of the Fortune 100 companies.” CPP Inc. sells it for $49.95US. On the flip side, organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote, “The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is better than a horoscope but less reliable than a heart monitor.”

Robyn Knezic, Delmanor’s Director of Human Resources uses the Wiley – Global Assessment Profile XT.

“We are able to see areas where a candidate excels, and where they may have challenges. Some of those areas are: verbal skills, verbal reasoning, numeric reasoning, energy level, assertiveness, sociability, manageability, attitude, decisiveness, accommodation, independence, and objective judgment,” notes Knezic. But this comes with a caveat: “I think it is important to keep in mind that the personality profile is only one piece of the process and should not be relied on solely when making a hiring decision.”

With fifteen years of testing experience, Maryann Romano, Vice President of Human Resources at Distinct Infrastructure Group, also worked with Caliper, which she says costs $600 per test. “If you are limiting it for one or two candidates, fine. If you’re filling ten candidates over six months, the costs can get significant, especially if things don’t work out for whatever reason.” She claims that personality testing has shone light on, “knowing the warts, deciding if you can live with them, how to manage them, and how they like to work.”

Meanwhile, Mardi Walker, VP of Human Resources for the Ottawa Senators shares similar experience with personality testing. “Personality testing,” she says, “has worked out well for store clerks and store associates.”

In addition to Caliper, Walker used Gallup’s StrengthsFinder Personality Test – what she refers to as “very intense”. “It tested arithmetic ability, a person’s honesty and integrity, and how likely they’d be to ‘help themselves to the merchandise’.”

Vered Lerner cautions if the test is not administered properly, or if the tested individual isn’t honest, “the results may be misread or misunderstood.” The CEO and Founder of Bizstance Services has been working in HR and management for over 20 years.

The employer, moreover, ought to understand that a test doesn’t reveal everything. “Not all roles require testing, and employees are complex individuals with emotions, and the ability to change and adapt, given the right conditions and support.”

By Dave Gordon

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