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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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  • What Can HR Learn from the Life of Robin Williams?

    August 22, 2014
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    By Randi Curhan

    Since the announcement of Williams’ untimely death, news and social media have been flooded with accounts of the kindness he exhibited over his lifetime. Robin’s willingness to go to bat for everyone -from his closest old friends, young co-stars, US troops, the homeless and random strangers he encountered – stands out in stark relief to today’s self-centered, narcissistic, celebrity pop-culture and anonymous online “social” interactions.

    Living in the Bay Area, there have been countless stories of his down-to-earth accessibility to everyone from shop owners to car valets. Robin was willing to use his comedy, Patch Adams style, to put a smile on the faces of those around him, especially those who were in pain. While his body of work was genius, Robin Williams’ kind deeds and humanity will be as large a part of why he will remain one of the most 
    beloved and revered actors of all time. Read More…

  • Active and Passive Job Seekers Prefer to Apply Through Facebook

    August 21, 2014
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    How many hours do you spend on Facebook at work every week? A few minutes here and there while munching on a bagel? An hour or two over the course of a slow afternoon?  If your answer is 20+ hours, you’re either: every boss’s worst nightmare or a recruiter/hiring manager utilizing one of the fastest growing candidate sourcing tools at your disposal. Social media, the one-time bane of workplace productivity, has, over the past ten years, transformed into one of today’s fastest growing recruiting channels. By maintaining a worthwhile social media presence (posting updates about company news and accomplishments, posting interesting 3rd party or original content and posting job opportunities), you’re presenting both active and passive job seekers with a chance to engage with your brand through a platform that they use every single day. Besides the fact that you don’t have to pay to post about your open jobs through social media; studies suggest that social networks, and Facebook in particular, are one of the best channels for businesses to bond with potential employees. Whether its high rate of conversion, (from someone discovering a job listing on Facebook to that someone applying for that job) has to do with its user-friendliness or the wide array of content that can be featured on the site, the bottom line is that Facebook is your best choice for pushing your open jobs out onto social networks. Read More…

  • Optimizing Your Job Description for the Candidate Search

    August 19, 2014
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    When you’re feeling thirsty, so thirsty that you’ve just got to pull over at the nearest convenience store, so thirsty that you’re feeling light-headed as you browse all of the refrigerated beverages that the modern age has to offer, which drink do you grab? While the drink that a particular person finds to be the most refreshing will vary, you can bet that the vast majority of people have a similar set of criteria for a cool beverage on a hot summer day. For instance, let’s consider two groups of Gatorade bottles: one group arranged neatly behind a layer of frosty refrigerator glass and one group that’s sitting on the bottom shelf of the last aisle in the store, nestled between cans of cat food and instant ravioli. Now, tell me, which drink are you more likely to pick up on your mission to quench your thirst?

    Though the product (Gatorade) is identical, the drinks that are presented in the place where we expect them to be, the way that we want them to be (ice cold), will get a lot more attention than those sitting in some obscure corner, gathering dust. The same goes for marketing your open jobs. Today’s job seekers will head to the internet for some or most of their job search, utilizing everything from Google searches to niche and industry job boards to try and get their next big break. Just like on the tightly packed shelves at your local convenience store, there are a finite number of job ads that can fit on the first few pages of search result and just like most people head to the refrigerated drinks, most people won’t go further than the first few pages of search results while on their job search. Because so much of the job seeker’s process relies on search engines, it’s important to make sure that your job advertising is search engine optimized. More than anything, it’s the number and relevance of the keywords in your job ad that will determine how many job seekers come into contact with it. This means that, above all else, you want to make sure that your job ad is properly packaged and sitting pretty in a place where people are actually looking for what you’re selling, not next to the cat food. Read More…

  • Metrics to Test the Health of your Hiring Function

    August 15, 2014
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    Back in school, getting to stay home sick was one of the luckiest things that a kid could hope for. Instead of a day of busy work and staring at the spot just above your teacher’s bald, bald head; you’d get to wile away the hours watching daytime TV and eating a few bowls of chicken noodle soup. Sure, you might have to make up a test you missed, but it was a break, a free pass to drop everything and recuperate.

    In the working world, however, there is rarely a chance to rest. Unlike in school, there are rarely free passes and just because your team has a vacancy in a position critical to operations, doesn’t mean that you get to spend your days sipping Gatorade and hooting at the latest antics on the Jerry Springer Show. When an employee with an important skill set leaves or is terminated, it means that the people that they’ve been working will have to pick up the slack, even if they have no idea where to start picking that slack up. In other words, just because there’s nobody to do the work, doesn’t mean that the work doesn’t still need to be done. Read More…

  • Mapping the Talent Gap

    August 13, 2014
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    Getting your first big break is one of the defining moments in any great career. It’s that moment when someone takes a look at you, at the work you’ve been doing and then decides, “Sure, she may not be that experienced, but boy, does she got heart. I think I’ll hire this kid and invest in making her the most useful employee that she can possibly be. Even though she needs to learn some more, I think she’s got a bright future ahead of her.” Well, that’s what the nicest boss on earth might be thinking when a bright eyed young professional comes a’strolling into his office, but, unfortunately, not every boss is the nicest on earth. Perhaps as a result of the low overhead models that so many companies adopted to survive the recession, perhaps as a result of too much time spent watching “The Bachelor,” many companies believe that their dream hire is just around the corner and that hiring someone who falls short of this imagined perfection is not worth their time. Besides deflating the hopes of an entire generation of college graduates, this predilection for hiring people only when they’ve had years of experience in the exact same job title as the open position or similarly stringent requirements has brought attention to something that we’ve all been hearing a lot about: the talent gap. Read More…

  • Trouble Hiring? Try Tapping Alternative Candidate Sources

    August 11, 2014
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    There are few things more frustrating than false advertising, especially when it comes to people. Though you might get mad at your self-buttering toaster for not living up to your wildest breakfast dreams, I’m sure you’d get even madder at the guy who sold it to you if he came a-strolling into your kitchen, talking about how great the toast you must be having must be. When people employ false advertising for their own ends, we usually call them liars, fakes, frauds, sleaze-balls, cheats, snake oil salesmen or…candidates. According to a survey from Statistics Brain, 53% of the resumes submitted to employers in this country contain false information of some sort or another. This varies from being generally “misleading” (78%) to straight up fabrications like including fraudulent degrees (21%), showing altered employment dates (29%), giving falsified references (27%) or inflating the salaries listed in previous positions (40%). If you’ve been wondering why your efforts to source good, qualified workers have been delivering hires that just don’t seem to cut it, you may be a victim of this pervasive candidate misrepresentation.

    But who can blame them, really, for trying? In today’s job market, listing any lengthy period of unemployment can be the kiss of death for a job seeker’s attempt to get back on the horse. Read More…

  • Turning the Tables on Turnover

    August 7, 2014
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    When you get down to it, the true limits of what goals and initiatives your company or your team can reach lie at the limits of the abilities of your employees. No matter how fantastic you believe your idea for a new product to be, no matter how much time and money you throw at its development, the truth is that: if you’re asking for something that’s beyond the abilities of your employees to create, then it’s beyond your reach. Though these limitations exist as surely as gravity, it’s easy for people who occupy higher positions within a company to undergo a bit of selective memory loss in this department. Instead of seeing a team working toward the completion of an objective, they see problems and solutions.

    Problem: the launch of our new product has fallen 2 months behind schedule, due to the recent resignation of the lead developer.

    Solution: Devote more man hours to development.  Hire a new lead developer.

    While this is a totally pragmatic approach to getting back on track with a product launch, it’s a fairly 1 dimensional approach, one that assumes the delay to be a black and white issue, easily countered with additional resource allocation. The only problem is that, assuming that they’re successful in hiring a new lead developer, that the new hire would be the 4th such person to occupy the position in this product’s short lifespan. If your company or a particular department within your company has been experiencing a high turnover rate, the cost of sourcing and hiring replacements for key positions is just the beginning of the impact that “revolving door retention” is having on your business.  Read More…

  • Attracting the Next Generation of Talent

    August 6, 2014
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    When you go to a party, be it a birthday party for one of your kid’s friends or a crazy one in a warehouse with people on stilts and crazy lights, you’ll probably end up talking about work at some point. You meet someone or are introduced and then you stand there for a few minutes, futzing through the “who the heck are you” questions with all of the grace of a zebra on roller skates. If you’re lucky, you’ve got a cool job for a cool company, which allows you to say something like, “I’m just in town to repair the space shuttle,” or “I’m a flavor designer for Crest Toothpaste” or  ”I’m the guy who tells Kanye West when he’s gone too far. You know, his official apology coordinator.” However, if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll probably say something like, “I’m a Product Operations Facilitator for a company specializing in drainage…nozzles…um…so…what was it that you said about Kanye again?” Read More…

  • Developing A Local Presence to Find Local Talent

    June 27, 2014
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    Who do you compete with for talent? Are your best people frequently approached by local competitors or even national or global companies in your industry? If you were following this blog last week, when we were discussing “The State of Hiring,” then you’d know that many employers are opposed to hiring both recent graduates and the unemployed, people that are currently in abundant supply. Instead, businesses are holding out for “qualified” hires, those nearly-theoretical super employees who have the plethora of advanced skill sets and the years of experience to really fill that functional role. Unfortunately, most of these star employees are already employed.

    So, not only are you competing for talent on a local or even national scale, but you’re also competing for control over the employees that you already have. The good news is that, because your company isn’t as bulky as your larger industry competitors, you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to your recruiting strategy. By mixing up your job marketing strategy and appealing to talent within your company’s local community, you can appeal to community minded professionals in a way that these larger companies simply can’t.  Read More…

  • Closing the Talent Gap Through Practical Education

    June 26, 2014
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    This week on the Accolo Blog, we’ve been discussing the state of hiring in the US and how these trends have been affecting employers and job seekers alike. One of the largest concerns that employers have expressed is concerning the skill gap that exists in today’s talent marketplace. Though recent graduates are practically chomping at the bit to get out in the working world, employers see the majority of this age group as unprepared or unqualified for the jobs that they need filled the most. And this phenomenon isn’t limited to recent grads. Across the country 40% of businesses report having trouble finding qualified applicants for key positions. Further, 55% of these businesses reported that these talent issues were impacting their ability to meet client needs. Clearly, the lines are getting crossed somewhere. With over 9.8 million Americans out of work at the moment, it’s hard for me to believe that this “talent gap” isn’t due, in part, to employers being unwilling to invest in training or being unnecessarily choosy with candidate requirements. In order to close this talent gap, once and for all, businesses need to start working proactively to make sure that they’re getting the talent that they need. Read More…