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A new hire is a big deal. A piece of an unfinished puzzle. A chance to add valuable skills and great energy to your team. Meeting a candidate in an interview is a great first impression, but let's be real: you're meeting their Best Self, not necessarily their Real Self. A potential hire will tell you everything you want to hear, but trying to cut through the fluff can be a challenge.

Enter: the reference.

A reference, usually a former boss or coworker, is your key to getting the real story on your potential candidate. They have shared workspace, email correspondence, and project managements with them, and probably know a thing or two about what makes them tick. With such a valuable resource at your fingertips, make sure you use your time wisely – asking them these questions will offer a glimpse into this new hire.


1) What motivates them?

Are they driven by deadlines? Pushed by penalties? Encouraged by esteem-boosts? Find out what gets them going from someone who knows, and ensure you're pushing your new employee to their full potential in a way that works.

2) What was their role on the team?

In this case, we aren't talking about their technical role, but more or their social role. Every workplace has its own dynamic, and employees naturally find their place from the start. Are they the idea initiator or more likely to let the brainstorm session sit and simmer? Maybe they keep the mood light in meetings. Maybe they're a bit of a morale drag. Who knows? You'll have to ask.

3) In what area would they need support during their first few months?

This is a crucial question for planning your next quarter. Get a sense of your potential hire's problem areas and you won't be caught off-guard when some subpar skills show up later.

4) Can you name a situation when this candidate has gone above and beyond?

The answer to this question won't be as revealing as the speed at which it is answered. If an instance is recalled quickly, you can assume the candidate goes beyond their expected duties fairly often.

5) Would you hire them again?

Perhaps the most important question to ask, the answer to this sums up the reference's overall impression of the candidate and indicates whether this person is worth hiring or not. Whether the answer is yes or no, be sure to press for an explanation.

6) What conflicts did they have? How were they resolved?

As they say, "beautiful sunsets don't exist without cloudy skies." There's a chance even the most attractive candidate has had some clouds in their professional past. Learn more about how your candidate responds to pressure and conflict with a question that's bound to get an interesting response.

When dealing with a potential new hire, don't make any assumptions. Put some effort into your discussions with references, and get the valuable information for making your decision!

Posted: 9/24/2019 12:29:26 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Give your workplace a hard look and you'll see it – there's often someone who is less than a perfect fit. Maybe they don't communicate well, they're somewhat unprofessional, or simply put – they just aren't as efficient as you had hoped.

What does it take to find employees who will show up with the skills, savvy, and seriousness to make you satisfied with your decision to hire them? It doesn't take much, but we'll help get you started.

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Pay close attention to their Job Application Self.

In theory, everyone would present an accurate version of themselves throughout the hiring process, but besides lying on resumes (which ___% of the population has admitted to doing), people do much more. Have you ever described yourself with qualities you are hoping to have or wish you had already mastered? Candidates do the same thing by presenting a potential employer with their aspirational self instead of their true self. This unintentional phoniness leaves employers with only one option: pay close attention to what they DO instead of what they SAY.

Do they claim to be excellent communicators but have some confusing wording in their emails?
Do they flaunt organization skills but their portfolio filename ends with "final_FINALreal2.pdf"?
Are they pitching themselves as a people-person but have trouble connecting in the interview?

In all of these instances, there is an opportunity to cut through claims of perfection to get to the meat of a person. What they do is who they are, and you can't assume that good intentions will become long term qualities.

Give them a trial period.

There's only one way to truly know how a person will act in your workplace, and that's to pop them right in! Set up a trial employment period at the beginning of the hire, trying anything from 2 days to 1 month. And don't underestimate what three days in an office can tell you about a person's work ethic and general demeanor.

Ask their references informative questions.

"Did you enjoy working with them?" might give you a clue that the person will be a culture fit, but how much does it tell you about their professional abilities? References will provide glimpses into your potential hire's professional life, offering evidence of their work habits, strengths, and flaws. Asking them the right questions can address your future concerns before they even arise. Skip over the general questions and ask what motivates them, what their communication style is like, etc. We'll have more suggestions in an upcoming blog post!

Listen to your colleagues.

If anyone else at your organization met the candidate, what did they think? Different people can offer a new perspective on a prospective hire, especially from those they'd be working alongside. See what others think, and be open to the possibility that a candidate might put on a different face for a future coworker than they would a future boss.

Be clear about the rules.

In many cases, an employee that appears to be somewhat lacking is just an employee who hasn't been told the rules. When you're on-boarding a new team member, have a team-wide meeting to refresh on company policies like vacation time, lunch breaks, and the like, or review the employee handbook with them. Then there's no question about your expectations..

Assuring the new hire that shows up on day 1 is the same person you interviewed can be a tough task, but hopefully these tips get you one step closer to keeping your team strong!

 

Posted: 8/27/2019 2:06:05 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


The daytime temps have tipped past 80. Happy hours and weekday friend hangs have become the norm once again. You know the feeling: summer has returned!

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Your personal life might be thriving, but your work life is probably taking a bit of a dip. Navigating a sea of Out Of Office notifications leaves many projects at a standstill and makes scheduling meetings a game of whack-a-mole. Looking for someone in the office on a Friday afternoon? Forget about it. With the school year break, the beautiful weather, and weddings and graduations, it's no wonder the common belief is that companies slow down their hiring in the summer.

But we're here to tell you: the summer can be one of the best times to look for a job!

Why, you ask? A few reasons.

Everyone else takes a step back.

Yes, this answer seems a little roundabout: it's great to job search in the summer... because other people think it isn't? But, think about it. If others have abandoned their job searches under the assumption that it's not a good time to apply, it opens up the field for you. Plus, August is prime vacation time, and Americans are taking more vacation days than ever. There's a good chance your competition would rather be poolside than hitting the pavement for a new job.

To top off a smaller applicant pool, hiring managers aren't caught up in year-end obligations or tax season, so they have more time to review and meet with candidates.

It's Easy Season for networking.

There's no worse feeling than being stuck under fluorescent lights, plodding away on last month's expense report, when just outside your window is a cool breeze and a bright blue sky. Everyone wants to be outside. Now is the time to take a chance on that happy hour rooftop networking event or arrange a lunchtime meeting with an old colleague.

Your own network is essential when searching for a new gig, and taking advantage of the August slow down can be a great opportunity to make connections while getting in some time in the fresh air. It's a win-win.

Taking time off isn't suspicious.

The moment you set up an interview with a hiring manager can be one of confused elation and dread. You've nailed down a time to chat, but what sort of lie do you have to concoct to sneak out of the office unnoticed? Summer PTO requests are expected, so summertime makes it much easier to avoid the fishy, "third dentist appointment." No one was believing that anyway.

You are your best self.

Sunshine exposure increases your serotonin (your feel-good neurotransmitter) levels, so summertime = more happiness. Warm weather, and longer days mean more fresh produce, more exercise, better immune systems, and generally more fun. This season makes all of us the most refreshed version of ourselves, so don't wait to show your best side to a potential new boss.

Nice weather can do a number on morale, and the summer months can leave openings for new employment to come easily. Take advantage of the good vibes and sunshine and find yourself a new position before fall foliage starts to turn. Don't shy away from looking for something new!

 

Posted: 6/25/2019 8:01:12 AM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


When you're deep in a job search, it's not always easy to find exactly what you're looking for. You've probably considered altering your ever-changing checklist of "wants" to accommodate a less-than-perfect position at a great company (or vice versa), but would you be willing to change the job type you seek?

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2018 was the first year that contract workers at Google outnumbered direct, full-time employees. If Silicon Valley continues to set the trend, it seems that contract work is the future. The flexibility and easy connections to top talent is appealing to companies and candidates alike.

If a new full-time position is on the horizon, it can be very beneficial to your career to consider contract work. We'll tell you why!

1. Get hired full-time

More and more employers are treating a contract term as a trial period rather than utilizing it as a temporary position. Given the chance to prove yourself, you could easily secure your future role as full-time employee in a matter of months. A company may also need more staff but lack the established budget for a new full-timer, instead filling a contract role to prove the payback to the business.

2. Try out a company

This period is as much a trial period for an employer as it is for you. Avoid that usual nagging question during the interview – "Will I like it here?" – the pressure is off! See how you're feeling about the management, workplace, and position. If you aren't sold after the contract ends, you're able to move on to something different.

3. Add big names to your resume

Spice up your resume – let's put something impressive on there! A big name company will attract the eyes of a hiring manager, but full-time employment is tough to come by. A rigorous interview and hiring process (not to mention a huge applicant pool) leaves many worthy candidates in the dust, but contract positions can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

4. Receive full-time benefits

If a lack of time off or health insurance is plaguing your brain, you don't have to worry. Many employers are realizing their contract workers play a vital role in the success of the company, and they've begun to offer benefits comparable to a full-time employee. Also, contract positions available through a staffing agency are sometimes provided with benefits like paid time off, or medical, vision, and dental care.

5. Add new skills, or revamp old ones

Use the opportunity of a new job to bulk up your creative tool belt. Add some new skills, get comfortable with different programs, and familiarize yourself with a different department than usual. Temporary employment is a great time to get some experience (on paper) in a territory previously uncharted.

6. Make new connections

You know what they say: network, network, network! This is an  easy in for a new group in your web of contacts. Even a quick project can get you added the contacts list of a handful of new people. With estimates that over 85% of open positions are filled through networking, it's one of the most important facets of your professional career.

Posted: 5/31/2019 4:29:32 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments


Workplaces are constantly in flux, adjusting to new team members, new skillsets, and differing habits with each new hiring. With huge advancements in technology in the last 40 years, it was only a matter of time until a generation of graduates raised on technology hit the workforce, and the wait is over – Generation Z is here. As the population born between the mid-'90s and 2010, they've surpassed Millennials as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Gen Z is creeping its way into office spaces everywhere, and it's time we all prepared.

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Forget what you've heard about Millennials, Gen Z has traits of their own. Once you get past the easy stereotype that this generation could swipe a screen before they could crawl, you realize: they really have grown up in a world that has always had the internet. Digital devices have trained an entire age group to expect frequent updates and instant responses. It's no surprise that the attention span of a Gen Z-er is a mere 8 seconds. Their willingness to look elsewhere could easily translate to frequent job hopping if they aren't finding an employer that fits the bill.

Older colleagues will need to adjust to the trends of this new workforce, tweaking the tactics adapted for working with Millennials, while Generation Z should realize that a workplace can't always conform to their ideals. Recalibration on both sides of the hiring desk will ensure success for the company as a whole. We're here to help.

Tips for Companies

Meet in person.

Say goodbye to Millennials' obsession with emails; Generation Z is more into face time than FaceTime. Yes, they grew up in a digital world, but all of their instant communication's slang, "brb"s, and shorthand leave Generation Z excelling in in-person meetings rather than in writing. In fact, 3 out of 4 Generation Z-ers (74%) would prefer to communicate with their colleagues face-to-face.

Be straightforward.

Perhaps related to their preference for in-person interactions, where integrity can be easily determined, Generation Z places huge value on transparency and honesty in a workplace. They lack a blind trust in authority and have been raised to demand clarity and authenticity from the brands and companies they care about, so why would their employer be any different? A manager who fails to be direct and "real" with these employees will find themselves with a lot of open positions.

Create some healthy competition.

Much of Gen Z follows the saying "If I want it done right, I'll just do it myself." They embrace a challenge and like proving themselves, earning respect and authority in a genuine way. Introducing some healthy competition among your staff and you'll keep your Gen Z employees stimulated while developing some great work in the process!


Tips for Generation Z

Ask for what you want.

According to a Robert Half research report, the top job search priority for Generation Z is growth opportunities. Behind professional development, upward mobility is the second most important factor when looking for a job. Throw out the ping pong tables: you're looking for stability, professional advancement, and compensation. Make sure your millennial or Generation X managers are aware.

Embrace the inbox.

Email isn't going anywhere, at least not in the immediate future. If your manager prefers it, there's a chance you'll have to be open to emailing. Think of it this way: if accountability is something you value, written words are the ultimate proof of commitment.

With a population of over 60 million, Generation Z's presence in the workforce is undeniable. Their differences may seem stark in a sea of Millennials and Generation X-ers, but a recalibration of expectations for both managers and Gen Z-ers will keep things in your workplace as business as usual.

 

Posted: 5/9/2019 3:38:32 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments