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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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  • How to Avoid the Crush of Applicant Overload

    August 5, 2013
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    Some problems really don’t sound that bad, not until you’ve given them some thought at least. “I have too many kittens in my house”, for instance, brings to mind literal piles of the fuzzy little babes. Besides pushing the limits your ability to appreciate cuteness, the kitty carpet would still be a totally viable place to curl up for a nap. (Stay with me here!) But when the honeymoon afternoon is over and the patch of sunlight has moved on from the place where you where fitfully sleeping, reality crashes down. There are a lot of logistics to deal with when it comes to a lot of kitties, just like when you’re dealing with a lot of anything.

    When you have “too many applicants interested in my company”, it probably doesn’t conjure any images for you besides a massive pile of resumes. If the constant influx of resumes leaves you feeling like someone buried to the neck at high tide, there are a few things that you can do to keep you above water. Read More…

  • Unemployment drops to 7.4% in July

    August 2, 2013
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    Well, it’s the first Friday of the month, and you know what that means! That’s right, the employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is up for the month of July. It’s been a hot summer and some of that heat may have helped to thaw out the chilly hiring conditions of the last few months. Overall, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.4% or 11.5 million individuals. 162,000 jobs were added in July, mostly in Retail, Food Service, Bars, Financial Activities and Wholesale Trade. However, the total number of discouraged workers (unemployed people who have given up job seeking due to a lack of hope) is up by 136,000 from last year at 988,000. Though the progress has been slow — painfully slow at times — the job market continues to slowly but surely look better and better.

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  • Monster No Longer Seeks Buyout

    August 2, 2013
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    As one of the first major online job boards, Monster.com has long enjoyed the brand recognition that comes with being a household name. Not until the hiring freeze following the recent great recession did things turn from green to grim for the hiring giant. Read More…

  • Can Over-Hiring Help in the Long Run?

    July 30, 2013
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    In today’s economy, businesses are sitting tight when it comes to hiring. Though the unemployment rate has been falling steadily, reaching as low as 3.1% in North Dakota, most businesses are still hesitant to increase the size of their staff. As I’ve postulated many times on this blog before, this widespread hiring freeze has just as much to do with the overblown expectations of hiring managers as it does with the actual state of the labor force in the United States. Read More…

  • Cliques in the Workplace: High School Part 2?

    July 30, 2013
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    If you think that tossing your mortarboard on some June afternoon frees you forever from the horrors of high school social dynamics, think again. According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, 43% of workers believe that there are cliques present in their office. While you aren’t likely to catch many adult goths or cheerleaders in your local office complex, the principle is still very much the same: ingroups and outgroups. Not being “in” can be meddlesome to the worker that just wants to, well, work without any of the distracting social pressures. Read More…

  • Guest Worker Legislation Would Turn IT Surplus from Large to Preposterous

    July 26, 2013
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    For the IT industry, guest workers on H-1B class visas have represented the highest percentage of hires made in the years since the recession. For those of you unfamiliar with this trend, you may be surprised to find that the Tech industry has been lobbying congress to increase the number of H-1B visas issued each year. The peculiar thing about an increase of this size in the supply guest workers is that, according to an article from the PBS News Hour, the supply would exceed the number of IT jobs available by over 150%, both now and in the future. Read More…

  • How to Evaluate Big Talkers in the Workplace

    July 8, 2013
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    Most people are drawn to glamorous, promising prospective candidates before those that are understated or even hidden. This is because, of course, confidence inspires confidence. If an employee is articulate and animated in their presentation or in a team meeting, you would probably think that he or she is a “go-getter” and expect them to deliver on their promise of success. Well, according to a new article from Brad Tuttle in Time, these bright and shiny extroverts often receive the short end of the stick when it comes down to the results of their work. According to a study in the article, the larger than life effect that an extrovert can have on his/her co-workers and managers will generally lead to inflated expectations of that employee and ultimately to under-appreciation if they fail to live up to what they projected. The same study suggested that introverts, long thought to be dead weight in team-oriented environments, will actually work harder to make up for their inter-personal misgivings. The take away from this is to not judge a book by its cover. When evaluating employees, judge them by the work that they’re producing and try to stay objective (as always). Be careful of becoming blinded by who you think could be a rising star at the company. Over-valuing can only lead to disappointment on your end and frustration on the part of the vocal employee. To read the Times article, click the link below.

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  • Winning Back Your Employees is as Easy as Talking and Listening

    July 4, 2013
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    Employee retention is at an all time low. The reason for this phenomenon has a lot to do with both the volatility of the job market and the general deterioration of the employee-employer relationship. Okay, so that’s kind of a big claim to be making, but employers need to acknowledge and understand why employees are less interested in picking one company and showing up there every day until they retire. For one thing, the decline of job security requires prudent workers to keep their ear to the ground at all times. After the rise of layoffs and outsourcing, it’s no wonder that employees have a more jaded view on employment than in the past.

    The lost trust of an entire generation certainly isn’t an easy fix, but the good news is there are a lot of simple, small things that managers can do to keep people around for the long haul (or at least for a little longer than the 1.5 year national average). According to a Forbes article by Louis Efron, some of the main reasons that employees quit their jobs are a lack of connection to the company, a lack of a clear future at the company and a general lack of motivation (which understandably results from the first two problems). Managers, it’s up to you to connect with the people that you onboard and give them an idea of how what they do at their desk from 9 to 5 contributes to the grand scheme of the company. If employees can see the way that they fit in now and how their role can grow into the future, they will be more likely to stick with you and put in the work needed to advance in your organization. To read “Six Reasons Your Best Employees Quit You”, follow the link below.

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  • Excessive Interviews Kill Candidate Spirit

    July 3, 2013
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    Whoever said you can’t have too much of a good thing never had to go to 17 interviews for a single position. That may sound excessive (and you’d be right to think so,) but it is common practice in certain companies to subject candidates to multiple rounds of interviews, even into the double digits. Dr. John Sullivan refers to this phenomenon as “Death by Interview”. No, nobody has died yet from being asked too many questions, but the pain is real. Forcing a candidate to come back over and over again to answer the same questions as they did in the previous round turns even the most cool-headed people on their ear. Dr. Sullivan says that excessive interviewing puts an unfair amount of stress on the candidate, especially those candidates who are already employed elsewhere. Though interviews are always going to be a bit nerve-racking to candidates, they should still be a somewhat pleasant experience. If your company requires the new blood to come in for 5 or more interviews, you should put on the brakes and try to empathize with your prospective employees. To read Dr. Sullivan’s report on Death By Interview, click the link below.

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  • The Case For the Middle-Aged Unemployed

    July 2, 2013
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    If age comes with wisdom, then why is it still so hard for middle aged people to bounce back from unemployment? A large chunk of the long-term unemployed in America (jobless in excess of 27 weeks) are those 55 and over. The conventional wisdom (or the stereotypes) that contribute to this phenomenon is that Baby Boomers don’t have the technical skills required in the modern workplace and are expensive to train. As in, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Though this perception of the middle-aged unemployed has hindered their economic progress, it’s not all bad for the generation of erstwhile flower children. According to an article from the Harvard Business review, the average age of entrepreneurs in industries like technology, medicine and aerospace is 40. There are actually twice as many entrepreneurs over the age of 50 as there are under 25. These statistics show that the middle-aged unemployed should not be discounted merely to cut corners on training. They have drive, something that can’t always be taught, and are hungry to prove themselves in today’s workplace. To read the article from the Harvard Business Review, click the link below.

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