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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 “OK” Performers Can Kill Your Start Up

    February 11, 2013
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    When fighting to get your start up off the ground, you need a team that is just as driven in the pursuit of the venture’s success as the original entrepreneur is. You need a squad of heavy hitters who can consistently put out good work under make-or-break conditions. As much as it might ruffle your old roommate’s feathers, not replacing him with a better performer can really shoot you in the foot. In today’s source article, Jon Soberg explains why jettisoning both the dead weight and the so-so employees at a start up is critical to making it in the long term. He calls these “so-so” performers “B Players”  meaning that they do their job satisfactorily, but are lacking in initiative or the ability to make independent decisions that help the company. In a start up, you want to minimize the time it takes to manage people and maximize the time that workers do their job. If there are B Players at the head of any aspect of your emerging company, seriously consider the potential for lost opportunities that they may have on your business. To read the full article, click the link below.

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  • Is There a Talent Shortage or a Hiring Deficit?

    February 7, 2013
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    One of the many peculiar paradoxes involved in the way that humans function is that, generally, a person presented with fewer options is more able to choose one and be satisfied than a person with a whole range of possibilities for selection. Red tie or blue? Enchilada or taco? A brusque secretary with 10 years of experience or one with a sunny disposition and only 3 years on the job? In a recent opinion piece from ere.net, this classic chooser’s dilemma is examined in the hiring world, specifically the so called “talent vacuum” that employers across the country are lamenting. According to the source article, as much as 49% of employers in the US complained about being unable to find properly qualified candidates for open positions in their company. With millions of professionals remaining unemployed in the US, a 49% dissatisfaction rate may have more to do with hiring practices than candidate ineptitude. If a staffing department can review 25,000 applicants for a standard engineering position and not make a hire (true story), it is clearly a case of indecision brought on by the abundance of applicants. To read the full article and get some more insight into this phenomenon, click the link below.

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  • Job Seeking in 2013: Survival of the Quickest

    February 6, 2013
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    For job seekers who have been on the hunt for some time, the start of a new year is a great time for a re-appraisal of your strategy for getting back into the working world and enjoying the security that comes with it. The uneven distribution of labor in the United States and large job seeker population creates situations in which every job opening is flooded with applicants. These days, it’s all about practicality: the skills that you can showcase to prove that you are a valuable asset to your prospective employer. Today’s source article from Mashable.com discusses the 5 ways for job seekers to get an edge in the 2013 job circus. One of the most important take-home messages in this article is about specializing, or “Going Niche” as the article calls it. This means honing your skill set for a field or maybe even a few specialized jobs within these specialized fields, so that you can go out and try to find your place at a company that you admire. To read the full article, follow the link below.

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  • Government Jobs in Trouble as Massive Cuts Loom Closer

    February 5, 2013
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    For those who follow the continuous inter-party squabbling that we somehow still call political discourse, the Fiscal Cliff is a term that you’ve heard a lot about. This was a sort of fail-safe for agreement in the Senate, an economic pitfall that would force the bipartisan politics of the past to float away like cherry blossoms and we’d all get along happily ever after. While potential calamity can definitely bring out good qualities in people, it has not spurred our representatives on to any great acts of compromise. In fact, the way in which we avoided the fiscal cliff may have an unintended effect on up to a million government employees. This new threat to government job security is called the “sequester” and it entails a $55 billion reduction to defense spending and $27 billion reduction in non-defense governmental spending. What ever your politics, jumping a few points in unemployment after the sluggish recovery of the last few years seems a whole lot like two steps forward, one step back. Yes, it’s true there is no magic solution to the deficit, but this massive cut in spending may end up causing more harm than good. Today’s source article is from the New York Times outlines the situation and offers some useful figures:

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  • Employment Report For January: More of the Same

    February 1, 2013
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    January’s jobless report comes to us today via the New York Times. Alright, drum roll please…and I’m being handed the envelope now…here it is! In the United States, employers added 157,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained constant at 7.9 percent. There was also a discovery that there were 335,000 more jobs added in 2012 than previously thought. Industries that have been hiring heavily in the last few months include: construction, retail, health care and wholesale trade. While we the economy is making steady positive progress, it has been an excruciatingly long recovery after the bursting of the housing/banking/everything bubble. According to the Times, “Economists are forecasting job growth of around 170,000 a month for the rest of 2013, comparable to what employers have been adding over the last year.” While stability is heartening after a dire situation, a lack of upward velocity where the economy is concerned can have an unfortunate effect on any chance of faster economic growth. Simply, a watched pot never boils. To get the full report on January’s Employment Report, click on the link below.

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  • Tech Professional Shortage in Chicago

    January 31, 2013
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    IT and other tech professionals have some of the most valuable and sought-after skills for employers in the US. This demand follows a general trend of applicable skills or specialized trades gaining value to employers as well as, according to many of these employers, growing in scarcity in the hires that they make. One place where the demand for tech professionals with practical experience is exceptionally high is Chicago. According to Wanted Analytics, there are over 10,000 job listings for positions such as (in order from most to least common): Java Developer, Project Manager, .NET Developer, Senior Java Developer, etc. Basic economics time: low supply = high demand. Higher than the national average of difficulty per hire. Wanted Analytics uses a scale of hiring difficulty up to 99 (the most difficult) and ranks the national average at 79 and Chicago at 83, or in more concrete terms a 39 day posting period for Tech positions in Chicago. For recruiters, this means a bit more of a head ache in the windy city, but fear not, today’s source article has some suggestions for candidate sources in nearby cities. For job seeking tech professionals: get your butt to Chicago! To read more statistics about and solutions to Chicago’s Tech drought, click the link below.

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  • The Expansion of Global Leadership

    January 30, 2013
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    As markets across the developing world start to grow stronger, ever more companies are seeking to expand in these emerging hot spots for global business. The boards of many Multinational Corporations (like Nestle) are now starting to look a lot more multinational with executive board members from all over the world. Indeed, in business schools across the US and abroad, those in training for leadership positions are being drilled in “global leadership” as a the best model for success. These students are being encouraged, or in some cases required, to spend years of their education in foreign countries in order to get a feel for the foreign. This is globalization today, fully realized and still spreading as markets in the developing world merge with global trade. While it will always probably be viable to do business and hire domestically, the head honchos of the world are looking outward, anywhere and everywhere. Today’s source article in the Economist discusses (somewhat critically) this emerging figure of “the global leader” and the state of international business in general.

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  • Interview Questions for Marketing Positions

    January 29, 2013
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    When interviewing a candidate for part of your marketing team, it can be very beneficial to evaluate this person on more than just their employment history. You want to get a feel for them, what their practical, on-the-job presence will be like. According to HubSpot’s CMO, in today’s featured article, you’ll want to take this practical evaluation one step further and actually test the interviewee’s ability to think on their feet. The article went on to divulge some carefully-honed interview questions that are designed to test different areas of expertise in candidates for inbound marketing positions. One of the questions he suggested involved presenting the interviewee with an Excel spreadsheet containing thousands of listings for companies (including basic information) and asking them to produce a lead score. After this, follow up by pushing them for specifics. How will they analyze the data, specifically? What metrics do they think are important and why? I highly encourage anyone who is interviewing applicants for a position in marketing to check this article out for some great interview questions.

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  • Creative Resume: Amazon Product Page

    January 28, 2013
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    Getting noticed can be hard for job seekers, especially when it comes to differentiating yourself from the competition when you’re all competing with the same tools. A candidate with the right references, resume, or even a lucky tie can potentially be lost amid hundreds of similarly qualified candidates. How then to go about getting noticed? Setting yourself apart from the crowd is easy, it just has to be done with tact and just a pinch of cheekiness, the most important thing being to have some point to your deviation from the norm. The notoriously strict conventions of the resume produce a homogeneous applicant pool on paper, flat like the medium. One of the easiest ways to attract attention is with an unorthodox resume. Just check out this creative resume in which the job seeker made himself an Amazon product page to showcase his work skills. It’s funny, clever, and still has the basic information for employers. To see this outside-of-the-box resume, click the link below.

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  • Robotics Industry as a Future Job Creator

    January 24, 2013
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    For this week’s Fun Friday featured article on the Accolo blog, we have some New York Times coverage on a widely discussed topic in the employment world: automation. A typical argument against the expansion of robotics in the United States always involves the claim that more robots in the workforce (how weird does that sound?) would adversely affect people with manufacturing or even white collar jobs, and that technological advancement will make certain positions obsolete. According to Dr. Christense of the Georgia Institute of Technology, the robotics industry will actually be beneficial to both job seekers and industries the world over. The Times article talks to several small American Manufacturers who stand by their decisions to ramp up their use of robots, saying that it has allowed their companies to expand and compete with other companies internationally. Whether or not the robotics industry will create millions of new jobs worldwide over the next decade remains to be seen, but the testimony of these American robotics engineers and the manufacturers that use these machines certainly is heartening. To read the full article on how robotics will potentially be a job creator, click the link below.

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