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Interview Questions that Reveal Everything

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You have thirty minutes to gather all the information you need to make the perfect hire. You’re aware of the negative impact that a bad hire has on a company and you want to leave confident knowing you made the right decision. Where do you start? Our own John Younger offers up his top three interview questions that reveal everything about the candidate.

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  • Holding Out For Perfect Hires

    May 7, 2013
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    Settling for less than you want is never the right course of action. Unless you’re settling for less debt, conventional business wisdom says to stick to your guns and hold out for a better deal. While this can make your company strong, the flip side of resilience is stubbornness, which doesn’t help anybody. Sure, we’d all like the highest quality in the people we hire, but is it really feasible for your company to attract perfect, superstar candidates? Are they even necessary to seek in the first place? According to Kieth Halperin at ERE.net, the key for a successful hiring model is to hire for the tasks you need accomplished, not for some unrealistic standard. By understanding your company’s employment brand and public image in a pragmatic way, you can see what level of candidates you are going to be able to find and retain. Holding out for dream talent can waste time and money, so don’t get caught up in the search. Instead, think about who you need to get the job done. To read the article on Robust Recruiting Models from ERE.net, click the link below.

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  • Visa Debate in the Tech Industry

    May 6, 2013
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    People with degrees and training in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM for short) are some of the most sought-after job candidates on the market today. STEM jobs have also come under the national spotlight recently in the congressional debate over immigration, specifically in regards to the proposed increase of H-1B work visas. Opponents of the visa increase suggest that tech jobs that might otherwise go to Americans will go instead, in ever greater numbers, to foreigners.

    STEM industries, specifically technology companies, have some of the most highly-publicized employee shortages in the nation. Companies like Microsoft continue to complain of a talent shortage while thousands of qualified graduates and job seekers languish in unemployment. These companies are relying more heavily on foreign talent, such as Facebook with 15% of its staff on visas. Naturally, these companies are some of the most vocal proponents of the new legislation. What do you think? Should the most qualified candidate get the job no matter what, or should considerations be made to help lower American unemployment? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion. To read the full article click the link below.

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  • US Economy Adds 165,000 Jobs in April

    May 3, 2013
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    Analysts were surprised by April’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was contrary to many projections of doom following March’s uninspiring numbers. And speaking of numbers, 165,000 jobs were added in the month of April. Getting back into the triple digits after March’s dip into doubles bodes well for the continued strength of the recovery. Despite a recent payroll tax increase, global financial uncertainty and the government’s sequestration, the recovery continues on, more or less uninterrupted. The industries that hired the most in April were Hospitality (43,000), Temp Services (30,800), Retail (29,300), Health Care (19,000) and Professional and Technical Services (22,800). The sectors that performed poorly in April were in the government and in Manufacturing/Construction. We all knew that major government lay-offs were on the way due to sequestration, so it was no surprise to see 11,000 jobs lost from the federal work force. Construction lost 6,000 jobs and Manufacturing had a net gain of 0 jobs. To read the report from the BLS, click the link below.

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  • Getting Past the Cold Shoulder in Cold Calls

    May 2, 2013
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    Forming a connection or even getting someone’s attention over a cold call can be challenging. There is a good chance that you will be brushed off initially or, even worse, after giving your all in a passionate pitch. A dismissal may not be the end, however. According to an article from ERE.net, if you are dismissed in a knee jerk sort of way right from the start of the call, you should not give up. Instead, hear the person out on why they aren’t interested and then try to engage them in conversation with a less direct line of questions. By letting the person that you’re calling do some of the talking, you are transforming a pitch into a dialogue, forming a connection with this person that you’ve known for 60 seconds. Even if trying to engage the candidate or potential client doesn’t work, politeness and an open ear can form relationships that could translate to a new hire a few years down the line. To read the 10 steps in building rapport in cold calls, click the link below.

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  • Interviewing for Motivation

    May 1, 2013
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    Evaluating a candidate’s level of motivation, and the conditions under which they will perform at their best, seem like difficult things to figure out for sure during an interview. According to Lou Alder, it’s not only these things that you should aim to learn by the end of an interview, but also a candidate’s aptitude for the primary tasks that they would be completing at your company. This can be done most effectively by starting with an outline of several concrete performance objectives, and defining the work for the candidate from the start. Once you have defined the work, you ask the candidate to relate comparable accomplishments to these primary tasks from their work experience. This method requires hiring managers to go further than just listening to these answers, as patterns in the candidate’s answers can reveal the conditions under which they can work best. Ask questions as they relate these comparable accomplishments. How closely did they work with their team? With their managers? Did they ever go above and beyond what was asked? To get Lou Alder’s advice on interviewing for motivated candidates, click the link below.

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  • Recruit With Technology, Not Against It

    April 30, 2013
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    When it comes to recruiting technology, there are products that work and products that don’t. Sure, there may be a great deal of theory suggesting that this or that program will deliver a pipeline of top candidates, but it’s what happens in practice that matters. Don’t cling to outdated programs just because they’re the “standard”. In today’s recruiting world, it’s all about embracing change, not struggling to work with tools that are broken. If the online hiring software you use is clunky, cut the dead weight and side with innovation over stagnation. Companies like Accolo are developing new technology-driven recruiting strategies that will help the talent acquisition industry keep pace with the ever-fluctuating job market. According to an article from ERE.net, the most important thing to keep in mind for recruiting in 2013 is that technology will only take you as far as finding the right candidate. It is still up to the recruiter to take the next step and form the connection that gets the talent where they were meant to be. To read the full article click the link below.

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  • How The Interview Before Yours Affects You

    April 29, 2013
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    There’s a lot that you can and should do to prepare for an interview. Brush your teeth, bathe, dress nice and do your homework. These are things you can control. Even during the interview, you still have a certain level of control on the outcome thanks to your engagement and preparedness.

    But what about those things that you can’t control? You can account for traffic; but can you account for the mood of the interviewer? According to a new study from the University of Austin, the quality of the candidates that an interviewer has seen in a given day has a large effect on the score given to subsequent candidates. One theory for the thinking behind this correlation is that interviewers become unsure after evaluating a string of high quality candidates. The study shows that someone seen after a string of similarly highly qualified candidates suffers a worse score. The take-home message for interviewees is to get an early interview to avoid an unlucky time slot. For interviewers, trust your gut and don’t let a string of good candidates sully the last one of the day.

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  • How to Spot High Potential Candidates

    April 26, 2013
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    How do you measure potential in a person? Is it in their presence when they walk into the room? Is it in their education and experience? A special sparkle in their eye? Yes, all sorts of things can lead us to believe that the person we just met is going places. While charm and presence make for a good interview, the real indicator of their future potential is in the way they’ve gone about completing their work in the past. According to an article from ERE.net, there are a few key indicators in a candidate’s work history that will let you know if they’ve got big plans ahead of them. The first thing you should look for in a candidate’s work history is if they were assigned more challenging tasks than their peers. Were they taking big responsibilities or just taking up space? Similarly, seeing what role they played in a team setting is also useful in determining if the candidate is a high achiever. Were they in a leadership role, or even a silent tech mastermind? Basically, you’re looking for people who are ahead of the curve. To read the full article, follow the link below.

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  • Recruiting Effectiveness from Staffing.org

    April 25, 2013
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    When it comes to recruiting, the reputation of an entire company is worth more than ever in today’s applicant-flooded job market. Just like the talent that they represent, recruiters need to focus on putting forward their company’s best possible professional image. According to the new Recruiting Effectiveness and Retention Report from Staffing.org, the building of a good reputation can be achieved over time through a company’s retention of top talent. Highly talented individuals know that they are in demand and seek to work at companies with other highly talented individuals. By making sure that your company effectively facilitates the hiring of such in-demand professionals, other high caliber candidates will be drawn to you as well. Simply, top talent wants to work with other top talent. This phenomenon leads to what the Staffing.org guide calls a “Virtuous Spiral” — which is quite the opposite of a downward spiral. The difficult part is gaining momentum in the first place. To read the article on staffing spirals or get the report for yourself, follow the links below.

    Read “Staffing Spirals, Virtuous and Not

    Recruiting Effectiveness Report

  • How to Evaluate Your Employee Evaluations

    April 23, 2013
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    Though employee evaluations can sometimes seem like a tiresome formality, they are a really great opportunity to have candid discussions with your workers about their performance. While a conversational tone in these evaluations can help to open a dialogue between you and your employees, getting too relaxed or disorganized can lead to small mistakes that have big consequences. According to a article from CEO.com, the most important thing to keep straight is the details. Never make a statement about how an employee should improve without having concrete examples of where their performance is lacking. Vague statements about “getting better” can leave an employee confused and frustrated, wanting to perform better but not knowing how to proceed. If you want to use employee evaluations to your benefit and the benefit of your employees, go into each eval with clear talking points and the goal of establishing an honest and constructive dialogue. To read about the other 9 things to avoid saying during employee evals, click the link below.

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