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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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  • 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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  • Big Data Nails Complex Attributes of Successful Employees

    April 22, 2013
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    Big Data, aka the record of everything everyone does, has become integral to companies such as call centers for tracking the characteristics of their best employees. Through analysis of these metrics, the company can save on both time and money by eliminating guesswork and making hiring a process governed more by numbers than subjective methods. According to an article from the New York Times, this new approach to hiring is called “workforce science” and it has already challenged several conceptions on hiring that have held true under conventional wisdom for some time. For instance, workforce science studies have called into doubt the avoidance of candidates who have either switched jobs frequently or been unemployed for some time. Apparently the numbers say that this just not as relevant to work performance and retention as some think it is. Though data analysis is still focused on positions that are easy to quantify, the findings that Big Data are producing may likely become more important than gut feelings on a hire in more and more industries. To read the article from the New York Times, Click the link below.

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  • Breaking the glass ceiling…and getting paid fairly for it

    April 19, 2013
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    Equality is simple in math. It’s defined as two things that are an equal set in relation to one another, marked with one of these things: “=”. For example, on a web design project, 40 hours of work = 40 hours of work. Simple enough, right? The part that doesn’t make sense is when 40 hours of the exact same work = more pay for one person than another. I am speaking of course about the discrepancy in pay that still exists between men and women that hold the same or virtually the same positions.

    Though many factors, such as seniority, can cause a discrepency in pay between two workers of the same job, the fact is that pay discrepancies based on gender is still alive to this day. According to a new government equal pay guide, women in the United States are payed 81 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts, even when controlling for factors such as experience, education and skill sets. This great, straightforward guide details the gender inequities that linger in 2013 as well as the appropriate ways in which to address this problem if you are a woman who believes herself to be being paid unfairly. There is also a guide for employers so that they may be conscious of the issue and get updated on issues of legality and fairness. By this point in history, we all know equality between genders to be the truth. Let us all keep the pay gap in mind and work to make this truth reflected in the paychecks of the women of America.

    Employee Guide

    Employer Guide