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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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  • Why it Pays to Recruit Internally

    October 23, 2013
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    When a position is freed up or created in your company, your first thought as a hiring manager might be to immediately begin writing a job description or contacting a recruiter. While it’s great to get the ball rolling as soon as possible, we would encourage you to take a good look at your own staff before starting down the road to external recruitment. Internal recruitment is a great opportunity to both reward promising members of your staff and eliminate any redundancies that might exist by spreading out the work load. Looking at in another way, why hire a project manager (who would have to be brought up to speed and get to know everyone) when you could fill the position with one of the most promising members of the team?

    Just take this Cinderella story of internal recruitment at the Cheetos company back in 1976. Richard Montañez was a janitor with a passion for spicy foods. When he wasn’t mopping floors, he was developing a spiced blend to cover his beloved Cheetos, which was a big hit with his friends and family. Encouraged by their local popularity, Richard decided to try and run the idea for “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos” past the CEO of his company. Miraculously, he got a chance to pitch his idea and (as you probably guessed) it was a hit. Today, Richard Montañez is teaching leadership to MBA students and is executive vice president of multicultural sales and community activation for PepsiCo North America.

    The point here is that some of the staff that you already employ could have the potential within them for leadership and innovation. By recruiting internally before looking for external talent, you could be discovering your own Richard Montañez.

  • How do You Tell if Recent Grads Will Stick Around?

    October 21, 2013
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    Hiring recent college graduates is tricky. If you’ll think back to whenever it was that you were first on your own in the “real world”, you might remember the disorientation and the added stress of all the little responsibilities Mom and Dad used to take care of. You may also remember wanting to do something completely different than what you ended up with in your career. Today, this confused and transitory mind state is still alive and well in young professionals.

    One of the greatest concerns that employers have about this most recent generation is their reputation for job hopping. They might be in contact with a talented engineer since sophomore year at college only to loose them 9 months into employment when a project deadline happens to impede their ability to attend Burning Man that year. An article by Austin Merritt at The New Talent Times and Software Advice says that one of the best ways to assess the longevity of  a hire is to get an in depth  understanding of the candidate’s interests. By leaning what other jobs they’re applying to and their similitude with your own company, you can at least tell where they are professionally focused.

    Additionally, discovering their goals (both short and long-term) is a good way to assess whether they’ll be sticking around or not. If a candidate’s goals are defined, then you’ll know you’re hiring someone who will be able to conceptualize and appreciate the prospect of growing and advancing in your company as working towards those goals. Ultimately, people will do what they want. But, by getting an understanding of how forward thinking young candidates are, you’ll be more likely to get grads who factor your business into their future.

  • Managing Employee Turnover

    October 18, 2013
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    Employee turnover is unavoidable. In some industries such as retail and food service, high turnover rates (80-100%) are accepted as the proverbial “rules of the road”, immutable conditions of the business landscape. In other industries, turnover is much more costly and, ostensibly, easier to control. But what do you do if, despite your best efforts, employees continue to walk out the door a few months or a few years after they join your company?

    There are a few main reasons that employees choose to leave a company. The most common is that the employee has some sort of conflict with their manager. According to an article from, “8 Questions You Need to Ask to Turn Around  Employee Turnover”, it is important to discover what sort of conflict the outbound employee had with the manager before they walk out the door. If it was merely a personal problem, opposing temperaments for example, it need not necessarily reflect badly on the manager. If, however, the employee or several employees complain of poor management skills, this should be a red flag. Making sure that your managers are adequately trained to lead a team is imperative in ensuring that the people you invest in stick around and put in the time. If you are having high turnover in a particular department or under a particular supervisor, take a good look to see if poor management is spinning the revolving door at your company.

  • How do You Choose Between 2 Great Job Offers?

    October 17, 2013
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    Having a lot of options is a good thing, right? Well, the short answer is yes and the long answer is something more like yes with a big “but…”  Yes, having a lot of options (especially professional options) is a very lucky situation to be in…but, it is a circumstance that can lead to a good deal of indecision and maybe even some anxiety. “How do I know I won’t regret this in 6 months?” you might ask yourself. When given the choice between several appealing positions, how do you go about figuring out which is the right choice for you? How should we
    handle situations with tradeoffs, but no down side?

    Hunter Walk (formerly of Google) says that the most useful thing that you can do when unsure about how to proceed in your career is to examine what attributes your “ideal job” would have. Would the company be on a unique mission to better the world in some way? Would the commute be less than half an hour? Would you be working with people that you admire in your field? What would the pay be like? Be honest with yourself. Even if it’s something like simply enjoying the company of your co-workers or having a boss that listens your ideas, it’s what would make you satisfied professionally and personally.

    Once you have some criteria, the next step is to narrow them down to the 2 or 3 qualities that you desire the most in your next job. Once you have your priorities prioritized, deciding which offer to take or where to take your career next should feel a lot more like what it actually is: a great opportunity.

  • Why the Government Shut Down is the Years Biggest Recruitment Opportunity

    October 15, 2013
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    As the government shut down the middle of its second week, one can’t help but sympathize with all of the government workers that have been furloughed, fired or are waiting on paychecks. No mater what your political views may be, you can probably agree with me that that, with most government agencies operating with 10% or less of their full staff, there has been a good deal of collateral damage from the political impasse.

    Now, if we were to view the Federal Government as just another struggling organization in the post recession age, this would be the perfect time for a recruiter to start reaching out to some of the top disgruntled talent in that organization. According to an article from Dr. John Sullivan, approaching the employees of an organization undergoing furloughs, hiring freezes and other such disruptive factors is known as “right time” recruiting. With millions of government workers feeling uncertain about their job security, top performers that would previously have been opposed to the private sector might now be quite receptive to the idea. According to Dr. Sullivan, it may be possible to recruit entire functioning teams in one fell swoop.  The government employs large numbers of IT professionals, engineers and scientists which are some of the toughest private sector jobs to fill. By reaching out to top government talent while the iron is hot (so to speak), you gain access to a massive passive applicant pool that is frustrated with their current employer.

    To find out how to start reaching out to top government talent, follow the link below.

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  • Staff Amputations in the Health Care Industry

    October 14, 2013
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    The health care industry, which has been a stable job creator both in the recession
    and during the recovery, is showing signs of slowing or even grinding to a
    halt. According to USA Today, the healthcare industry announced 8,128 layoffs last month, more
    than any other industry in the country. This brings the yearly total for layoffs in healthcare to 41,085, so far. There are several factors that explain the sizable staff amputations at hospitals all around the country.

    First and foremost, Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies are all slashing re-reimbursements for hospitals. This combined with the government cuts to Medicaid and a 5% reduction in funding from The National Institutes of Health, has forced many hospitals to fire hundreds and eliminate most of their research. The cuts in Medicaid, in particular, are an issue because it means that low income Americans that visit the ER remain uninsured and unable to pay their hospital bills upon release. John Howser, assistant vice chancellor of Vanderbilt University Medical Center said that this reduction in Medicare coverage was responsible for a full 1/3 of the staff cuts he had to make.

    This most recent case of industry downsizing is just another reminder of the fragility of our economic recovery. For those of you recruiting in the health care industry, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act will likely trigger re-staffing to compensate for the increased number o ensured patients visiting hospitals. It’s just a matter of waiting to see how strong the Medicaid program is after all is said and done in Congress.

  • Interview To Dos and To Don’ts

    September 30, 2013
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    Photo of people interviewingWe have all been nervous at an interview, and wondering if we are doing the right things to get the job. At Accolo, we understand that just getting to the interview process is a trek, so here are some tips on making that interview a success!

    ‘Shoulds’ and ‘Should nots’ can plague a person, especially on an interview. Thankfully, Lou Adler, the author of The Essential Guide for Hiring  & Getting Hired wrote a great article on LinkedIn on Interview Do’s and Don’ts is there to advise us!

    He goes over great ways of saving yourself, from well… yourself. Adler also discusses the best methods of getting a foot up on the interview and making yourself more appealing to the company. From being specific in your accomplishments to pre-interview prepping, he gives awesome insight in his article: “The Five Things You Must Not Do in an Interview and Five Things You Must”.

    On top of that, Accolo provides great insight from the interviewers side. Watch the on-demand webinar: “How to Conduct the Perfect Interview“, and then download a free copy of “Accolo’s Guide to Interviewing and Hiring” to know how you are being critiqued. This way you have all the tools to assure you are performing at your best! Check the article out, watch the webinar and then take a quick glance at the listed jobs on Accolo to get the application process started! We look forward to hearing about your success!

  • Using Social to Ease Your Recruiting

    September 26, 2013
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    social PhotoIn order to keep up with our fast changing world today, the method more companies are recruit new talent is the Social Network. Forbes’ Magazine Susan Adams interviewed Eric Chandler, a professor of New York University, about helping students bring their profiles to a professional level and lift interest of recruiters at companies. In doing so, Chandler is helping new graduating students and companies find the right person for the right job. From the hiring standpoint, companies are trying to find the right balance of personal interests to job cultures, and social media is helping pave a road to a better understanding of who they are hiring.

    Sara Roncero-Menendez, from Mashable, blogged an article “Job Seekers Recruited via Social More Likely to Be Hired” and wrote about the growing use of social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter to find appropriate hires. The use of social media to hire new employees has been leaping and bounding to greater heights. She continues to state that hires from social recruiting tend to be better employees and stay employed longer. This in turn reduces the costs of the hiring process.

    Understanding this new trend, Accolo has researched the best methods and practices for Social Recruiting. Recently, we were able to present this information in a webinar. Check out Accolo’s Free On-Demand Webinar below to learn more about Social Media Recruiting and how it can help you ease your recruitment process.

    [wpspoiler style="wpui-blue" name="view the webinar & download the slides"]

    Let’s get to know each other a bit, then sit back and enjoy the show…



  • How To Keep Your Cool With Charismatic Candidates

    August 28, 2013
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    Appearances can be deceiving. One of the most common situations in which this phrase carries weight is on interview day. We’ve all been there: short staffed, vulnerable, looking for that certain someone who just “gets” what the position is all about. And then, as if it were destiny, in walks that engaged, charismatic guy or gal that seems to just slide through the interview like a fish in a river. Well, the reason that this Mr/Ms Perfect might be acing the interview is because you’re letting them. No matter how badly you need an extra set of hands around, it’s always much better to hire with the head than the heart. Nothing is worse than having to eat your glowing praise of your new hire 6 months down the line when they turn out to be nothing more than a shirker with a sparkle in their eye.

    Using your gut reaction to a candidate can be very useful in determining their fit for your team, but this feeling shouldn’t supersede warning signs like a quick temper or a sporadic work history. According to an article from, there are a few things you can do to avoid relying too heavily on instinct for finding the right employee. The first thing you can do is self evaluation. Do you really know that much about hiring or have you just been thrust into the position? If you feel a little lost, seek advice and pay attention. Hiring is an art and a science and not everybody is a born natural. If you feel at the mercy of charming candidates, set up multiple interviews to get some other, less misty-eyed opinions on the candidates. In closing, using your gut can be useful, but we all get indigestion sometimes.

  • Social Media: Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy

    August 27, 2013
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    Social media is a powerful marketing tool. No other marketing platform has the capability to market directly to customers in the way that you can with social and no other platform has the same potential for a campaign going viral. This capability for far reaching campaigns is a double edged sword, however. When mismanaged, an unintelligent or inappropriate post can spread like wild fire, forcing the company to go into full on damage control.

    Besides PR disasters, there are some more subtle ways that social marketing can hurt your business. One of the biggest pitfalls for an online presence is if it does not engage users. According to an article from Entrepreneur, your company’s social sites must consistently deliver “entertainment, information and share-worthy content” in order to entice users to interact with your online presence. The article also strongly discouraged the entrusting of your company’s online credibility to an inexperienced intern. Though these sites are free to use, they are some of the most important marketing tools at your disposal, too important for a single new-b who’s skills include “Facebook” and “living my life”. To read “5 Ways Social Media can Destroy Your Business.”

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