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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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  • 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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  • Evaluating Hiring Managers

    July 1, 2013
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    Evaluating a hiring manager must be based on more than just their claims of getting a “special feeling” from promising candidates. Sure, they can be personable, professional and even savvy enough to bring some nice talent to the table; but what are the concrete qualities that make an excellent hiring manager? For the answer to this question, here’s an article on how to “Develop a Hiring Manager Scorecard to Make them More Accountable”. This article goes into depth about the key metrics that you should use in evaluating the success of a particular manager. Unsurprisingly, the first metric that you should always look for in hiring managers is the one that effects your business the most: quality of hire and retention rate. Quality of hire can be evaluated in several ways. If you want evaluations by the numbers, simply compare the output of new hires onboarded by the manager in question and measure it against the output of other recent additions to your company. Other methods of evaluating the quality of new hires involve surveying the manager’s superior or the head of the department where these new hires are going. Though this method isn’t as exact as the previous one, it will still give you a good idea about how good the manager is at picking quality talent. Retention rate is the second most important metric, because high turnover is a costly phenomenon. Make sure that your managers are picking talent that’s committed to more than just 6 months on the job.

  • Social Networks as Second Highest Talent Source

    June 28, 2013
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    One of the most important sources for talent in 2013 is social networks. Not only do professional networks such as LinkedIn provide a simple and mostly visual interface for people searching through high volumes of potential hires, but they also have used their popularity to gather key data about their more successful users. In fact, for 2013, recruiters said that social networks were their second largest source of talent, just a few percentage points behind employee referral programs.

    Social networks have also proven to be quite useful in establishing and strengthening employer brands. The ability to push out content as well as interact on social networks builds a company’s web presence faster than ever before. According to a LinkedIn report on 2013 recruiting trends, most US based recruiters see employer branding as a threat to their business, fearing that their competitors will create stronger brands than they can. Even though US recruiters put building their employer brand at the bottom of their list of priorities, 85 percent believe that “employer brand has a significant impact on ability to hire great talent.” Like I’ve been saying for months, employer branding is key. It’s who your company is to potential hires. To read the recruiting trends from LinkedIn, click the link below.

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  • How to Keep Your Top Employees

    June 27, 2013
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    Today’s job market is in a constant flux. This can make retaining top talent a challenge for some companies. Factors such as an employee’s estrangement from the company culture, or working under a manager that they don’t get along with/don’t respect, can lead to that person looking for a new place to work. This isn’t to say that you should fear your office walking out after every performance review, but just remember that for many employees, the grass is always greener. So you need to maintain your lawn! Be aware of how your employees feel about working for you, and also of what they may want to be done differently. A survey from Forbes reveals that 70% of employees don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer, and 30% believe they’ll be working somewhere else within the next 12 months.

    It’s true that you can’t stop everyone from leaving, but by making sure that you engage your employees on a personal level about what they want and need out of their job, you’re making progress toward greater retention. The same Forbes article lists the top reason for employees jumping ship: management’s failure to engage their talent’s passions, intellect and creativity. Basically, don’t box your people in. If a little creative control makes them more engaged, then, well…what are you waiting for? To read the “10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You” from Forbes, click the link below.

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