How to Take a Proactive Approach to Employee Retention

December 28th, 2016 Comments off
employee retention

Ben Brooks, CEO of PILOT

That faint knock on your office door or that ominous 15-minute “catch up” meeting scheduled on your calendar by one of your star performers. Then comes the news you’ve feared and have been avoiding; they’re resigning. You remain calm on the outside, but inside you panic. Experienced managers have seen this horror film many times, and it usually results in the manager trying to convince or even beg the departing employee to stay. This is both likely a bad idea and symptomatic of a lager people management and employee retention issue.

If you do convince them to stay (likely by offering more money) you’ll be setting up an unfortunate power dynamic. You may have (temporarily) succeeded at preventing them from leaving, but you’ve likely only bought yourself limited time. During this time your colleague will likely have sub-par performance, knowing they were never really appreciated since you only acted once they said they were quitting. Plus, you’ll signal (yes, everyone does talk) to other staff that quitting is how you get a raise and attention. All bad dynamics to create.

Here’s what you must admit: Your best people will eventually leave. If they are great they have lots of options beyond your organization (even if not visible to you), so you need to act as if they are surrounded by opportunities to leave. Second, the labor market is rapidly shifting, both due to changes in talent development strategies at firms (moving from build to buy) and generational preferences. This means that switching companies fairly frequently, once shunned, is now viewed as advancing one’s career without much stigma.

So what do you do instead?

  1. Upgrade them: In short, be proactive and eliminate reasons for your best people to quit. Start by upgrading their job without asking them. Isn’t it a rush when an airline or hotel gives you an upgrade? Give your employees that same sense of importance and delight by engaging them one-on-one to let them know they are appreciated. Reinforce your commitment that they love working for you. Do this by asking about their unmet needs and identifying what barriers they have to doing great work for you. Most importantly, take what you hear and do something about it.
  1. Treat them like customers: Most successful companies do a good job of treating their customers with respect, making them feel appreciated and engaging them in an empathetic manner. Guess what? The same best practices you use with customers work great with your employees. Remember the golden rule – how would you want to be treated if the roles were reversed? Take on their perspective and have empathy when you make decisions and communicate. Show them they’re appreciated by surprising and delighting them, perhaps with an unexpected team outing, a nice gift or even bringing in food. Additionally, invest in their development and growth both with your time – setting clear expectations, giving meaningful feedback, and thoughtfully assigning work that will help them grow, and your resources – by sending them to conferences, on business trips and to trainings.


“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” rings true when it comes to employee retention. Being proactive is simply smart business. We all know how painful and costly it can be to lose good people. Yet most companies fail to manage talent attrition as a major risk, as they would cybersecurity or changes in their supply chains. When you know something is a risk to your company, in particular if it is likely, has material impact, and can be mitigated, you do something about it. Your best people leaving should be no different.

As a bonus, when you do prevent attrition risk you get the upside of increased engagement and productivity, literally like being allocated additional headcount to get more work done. Plus, it is far easier to raise expectations of staff and hold them accountable when you have a significant goodwill “deposit” from showing them you care and being thoughtful.

As you start to think about what being a great manager in 2017 looks like, I strongly encourage you to take on the satisfaction and retention of your best employees as a top priority.

Ben Brooks is the Founder & CEO of PILOT, the NYC-based tech startup focused on helping managers retain their best people. Leveraging on-demand and engaging technology, PILOT mimics working with an executive career coach by fusing process and content together into an action-oriented and insightful digital experience. PILOT’s newest invention is called “The Brand Crafter,” an interactive workshop designed to help define and expand your professional brand. Learn more at www.pilot.coach, say hello at hello@pilot.coach, or tweet Ben at @benbrooksny.

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6 Steps to Using Workforce Analytics in Your Recruitment Strategy

September 29th, 2016 Comments off
How to use workforce analytics in your recruitment strategy

Workforce analytics plays a crucial role in helping you find the right people at the right time. The truth is, you’re likely sitting on piles of big data, but that data is worthless if it’s not accurate and applicable to your organization’s specific needs. To stay competitive in today’s rapidly evolving labor market, you need to get creative in the way you recruit candidates, and that involves finding and applying workforce analytics in new ways.

If you don’t feel comfortable using workforce analytics in your recruitment strategy or don’t know where to start, don’t stress: Our six-step list below, created in conjunction with Tony Stemen of Novo Group, Inc., will help you break down your own strategy and ensure you’ve checked each crucial data point in your process. Tony shares six steps his own company uses when incorporating workforce analytics and intelligence into their recruitment strategy. These steps are broken into “external data” for the first part and “internal data” for the second (explanations for each are below). Use these steps as a template to start applying workforce analytics to your own recruitment strategy.

External Data: This type of data helps to kick off a candidate search and influence your organization’s search strategy. It can also be helpful in client conversations to let the client know if salary is out of line or something seems off.

Tony says: “We look at competitive intelligence as the very first thing, and normally that’s in the geographical area where the new project and new search is going to be based.”

Steps in the external data phase include supply and demand, compensation, and diversity. Here are questions you should think about for each of these steps:

  1. Supply and demand: In this phase, Tony says, you should ask things like where your ideal candidates are located. Who is the competition, and which companies do passive candidates work for? Are there passive candidates in the position’s location, or will you need to look at relocation? Who are your competing companies who may be within the industry, and what companies are hiring for similar positions to yours outside of your industry?

These kinds of questions give us the immediate landscape of where you need to go to pursue passive candidates to get the most immediate results.

  1. Compensation: Is the salary that you’re offering, or that the client is offering, competitive and in line with the market? If it’s not, knowing this upfront enables you and your team to reevaluate and adjust early on in the process so you don’t lose valuable time and miss out on a wider range of candidates.
  1. Diversity: How can you attract a diverse set of workers and increase your candidate pool? What other associations and memberships can you network with and add into your recruitment mix to increase your candidate pool within your desired location?


Internal Data: This data, looked at after external data is analyzed, often occurs mid-process. Internal data influences conversations during and after the candidate search, enables you to make needed adjustments and influences your strategy all the way through.

Steps in the internal data phase include applicant drop-off, talent drain, and relocation.

We ask questions like, ‘Why are candidates declining? Why are we not converting candidates? Are we losing candidates as we hand them over to the hiring team?’

  1. Applicant drop-off: Are you attracting the right candidates, but losing them during the application process because of a delayed candidate response time, or for other reasons we should be taking a closer look at?
  2. Talent drain: Which companies do your employees typically leave to come work for you?
  3. Relocation: Are job seekers willing to relocate? Sometimes, you can’t get all the puzzle pieces at the beginning. Example: plant closing in 6 months- target those individuals that are going to need a job


Now is a great time for data – but it needs to be easily understood and interpreted before using it to influence your strategy; otherwise, it’s of no use to you.

And remember: Any piece of applicable, accurate data is better than no data at all.


Learn how a tool like Supply & Demand can help you and your entire team start using the right data in your candidate search strategy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tony Stemen has been a sourcing and research recruitment and technology professional for the past 10+ years.  He started at the ground floor in the RPO industry and has progressed to now manage all recruitment technology implementation and partnerships for Novo Group, Inc. When he is not working in human resources technology, he enjoys spending time with his family, and providing contractual public relations management to the YouTube video game community. He currently has two YouTube clients who hold a massive 2.5 million-person subscriber base.

The Art of Rejecting Candidates

September 15th, 2016 Comments off
The Art of Rejecting Candidates

When you’re in the market for a new job, every trip to the mailbox or peek into your inbox can be an emotional event. Will I get any news today? Will the news be positive? The sheer number of “what-ifs” seem endless.

Early on in my career, I found my own stomach filled with butterflies as I progressed along in the hiring process for a job. I was informed that I’d made it to the final three candidates. I had several different interviews — each one better than the last. Then, on a rather uneventful day, I reached into my mailbox to pull out a letter from the organization of interest.

I carefully opened the envelope and pulled out the tri-folded piece of letterhead. It began with, “Dear Michelle, Thank you for applying…” and my hopes of obtaining the new role were immediately quashed. More painful, however, was the brevity of the letter. I’d met with countless people in the organization over the course of several months and formed some good relationships, yet they sent me a denial letter containing three quick lines.

Obviously that wound healed and I moved on with my life, but the experience led me to a vantage point that I believe all of us in the recruitment/hiring world should consider.

The recruiter did their job and let me know I was not getting the offer, but because of how they did it, my view of that particular organization was forever tainted. Only one person will be hired for any given position, but the way we let candidates down really does matter.

Here are four tips you can use to notify candidates that they didn’t make the cut — without negatively impacting the relationship:

Set the bar.

As you pull together your list of potential candidates and begin to line up interviews, it’s important to set expectations. Let the candidate know the general process flow and when they may expect the various stages of the hiring process to occur. Additionally, as the process progresses, make sure to update accordingly — has there been an event that is pushing things out several extra weeks? If so, letting candidates know will keep them engaged and not have them running for the hills. Most importantly, lay out a candidacy communication plan. This will probably look different depending on when in the process a person is excluded. If you don’t plan to contact all the initial candidates with a rejection letter, set this date for “sunsetting” early — something as simple as, “if you are not contacted within two weeks, we were not able to move forward with your application.”

Be swift.

Don’t leave your candidates hanging in the shadows of uncertainty. Once the decision has been made to not move forward, you should let them know right away. Closure is an important part of the hiring process, and leaving someone in the dark not only creates unnecessary stress, but will also create negative feelings about the organization as a whole.


If you’re reaching out to late-round candidates, any rejection should be personalized. Receiving a form letter after hours, days and weeks of an interview process is a sure way to guarantee that a high-potential candidate will avoid applying in the future… thus costing your organization a great hire down the road.

Help them grow.

While you should maintain honesty, providing feedback to a candidate is a great way to help them grow in their career pursuit. Maybe it’s as simple as suggesting some additional training, or a certificate. Whatever the area of improvement is, make sure that your feedback is constructive. Try to include tips and, again, remember to keep things positive. There’s a reason they made it this far in the interview process, and when the next opportunity is available, your honesty and feedback could be the difference-maker for the candidate next time.


Communicating rejection is never a fun part of our jobs — many times there’s just as much stress on the person communicating the news as there is on the person receiving it. That said, taking the opportunity to put closure on a lost opportunity is beneficial to both the candidate and the perception the candidate will have of your organization.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the editor and content manager at ResumeEdgeMichelle Kruse has helped countless job seekers find success. With more than 10 years of experience recruiting for companies like Novartis and IBM, she has firsthand experience of what recruiters are looking for, and she shares that insight with those who need it most. She writes regularly to provide advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it’s her job, but because it’s her passion.

The Lies That Will Ruin Your Candidate Experience

September 7th, 2016 Comments off
The Lies that Will Ruin Your Candidate Experience

There’s no denying the struggle is real when it comes to finding great talent. Companies are putting more and more effort into how they find, attract, and hire the employees they need. They do the best they can to create the perfect employer brand that job seekers just can’t resist. There’s just one problem: Job seekers now do copious amounts of research before they even consider working for a company.

The 2016 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior study found that only 36 percent of job seekers apply for a job without looking into the organization first. While that means they’re more likely to learn about all the great things your company has to offer, it also makes it inevitable they’ll find any skeletons you have hidden in your closet.

Poor management, a less-than-stellar company culture, outdated benefits package, and more are all things they’ll sniff out before the interview. And the more you try to downplay the negative parts of your organization, the worse it’ll be when they discover the truth.

It’s better to be open and honest from the beginning instead of trying to hide the information. Because, if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that job seekers will always figure out these dirty little company secrets:

  1. High turnover.

A 2015 CareerArc survey found that 62 percent of job seekers turn to social media to learn about a company’s culture. Unfortunately, for organizations with high turnover, unhappy employees often vent their frustrations on social media, making it easy for candidates to find out how many people have left — or want to leave — the company.

Having poor employee retention is a red flag for job seekers. If they see employees running from your company, it tells them there are issues in the workplace. Instead of letting their minds imagine the absolute worst about your company, get ahead of the situation.

Be honest about why so many employees have left recently. For example, maybe you’ve had a string of hires that turned out to be bad cultural fits. Let them know you’re aware of the issue, and more importantly, let them know what you’re doing to fix it. Tell them the plan that is place and how you’re progressing so they are assured that the situation is improving, not getting worse.

  1. Less-than-competitive salaries.

It’d be wonderful if we could pay every great candidate who comes our way exactly what they want. But, that’s not always possible. To hide the fact that their salaries are less than average, many organizations just avoid the subject altogether during the hiring process. They give vague ranges of what the salary might be, and candidates quickly begin to suspect the offer they’ll receive might not be anything to write home about.

Yet, here’s what’s interesting. CareerBuilder’s Candidate Behavior study found that 77 percent of candidates will accept a lower salary after a positive hiring experience, and a 2016 Payscale report found that 82 percent of employees would actually be happy with a lower-than-average salary as long as they were given the reasons why. That’s how much employees value salary transparency.

Have clear criteria for how pay is determined and be open and honest about that with candidates. Explain why certain skills are given higher salaries than others so they know you’re not just low-balling them because you don’t see what they’re worth. You might be surprised how much they thank you for your honesty.

  1. Lack of career advancement.

Understandably, candidates’ professional future is important to them. In fact, a 2016 LinkedIn survey found that 43 percent of people have left their job because it lacked career advancement opportunities. So they want to know to know that a new company would be able to provide them that growth.

And don’t think you can hide your lack of career development until after candidates are hired. The same survey found that 26 percent of job seekers talk to current employees before deciding to take a job. With one question they can find out the truth about how much you focus on employees’ futures.

If the employees in your company feel like there’s no room for them to move up, that’s a topic for a different time. When it comes to job seekers, however, the best thing to do is to begin a discussion about their future options during the hiring process. Talk with them about their professional goals and let them know if and how they can accomplish them with the company.

  1. Bad leadership.

Nothing impacts a company more negatively than terrible management. A 2015 Gallup report found that 1 out of every 2 employees had left a job because of a bad boss. And thanks to employer review sites like Glassdoor, it’s now easier than ever for job seekers to find out the truth about a company’s leadership.

If you’ve been plagued by bad employer reviews online, don’t act like they don’t exist during the hiring process. In fact, give job seekers the chance to meet and spend time with prospective managers so they can form their own opinions on whether or not the management style will be right for them.

Candidate experience is incredibly important when it comes to attracting talent. And if you’re anything less than honest with your job seekers, they’ll figure it out. So you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it to lie.

What are some other lies that can spoil the candidate experience? Share in the comments below!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.


3 Ways to Stretch Your Sourcing Muscles

June 29th, 2016 Comments off
Stretching your candidate sourcing muscles

Today, recruiters have more access to more people than ever before, which makes finding potential candidates easier for everyone. With the barrier to entry for sourcing at its lowest point, anyone can put together a basic search string and pick the low-hanging fruit. While it’s easier than ever to find people, however, as the volume of human capital data grows, it becomes more difficult to find the best people. Because these people often aren’t at the top of search results, they can actually be excluded from basic queries. If you want to find all the needles in the haystack and uncover the best talent in the same sources as your competitors, you need to take a different approach than most.

The good news? Your best weapon in the war for talent isn’t expensive, or even something you need to buy: It’s all in your head.

The ultimate candidate sourcing hacks center around the way you think. Though people often ask me about the “right” or “best” way to search, it really comes down to critically thinking about the different levels of talent mining, rather than a specific search string or particular formula.

You must first appreciate that human capital data in the form of resumes and social media profiles is user-generated content, and as such, will always have limitations and pose challenges to your sourcing efforts. Second, you need to be aware that the very way you think about approaching your sourcing efforts and crafting your queries may limit you to finding and reviewing only 20-30 percent of all people actually available to be found by you.

So how can you gain a competitive advantage when you have the same data set as many of your competitors?

1) Focus on being more inclusive.

The people you’re looking for an choose words to describe their skills and experience using terms you typically don’t search for, and if it’s not included in your search string, the only way you can retrieve these results (and find these candidates) is by pure luck. You must also be aware that when you search for specific titles and keywords, you are actually excluding results of people who may be just as qualified, but who use different titles and terms. It is critical to take the time to think of all of the various ways your target talent pool could describe their experience, as well as all of the various titles companies might use for the professionals you’re seeking. By doing this, you can craft more inclusive queries, giving you access to more people and making better use of your data assets.

2) Start searching at the bottom of the list.

Inclusion limitations aren’t restricted to the types of queries you run – they can also come from how you process results.

If you’re like most people, you probably only look at the people at the top of your results. Just because someone is on page 5 or 20 (or 40!), it doesn’t mean they’re worse than a candidate on page 1. In fact, they may even be better! Great people don’t always have super keyword-heavy resumes and social media profiles. After all, unless you’re searching for professional resume writers, don’t expect your target talent pool to have resumes that jump out at you as super obvious matches mentioning all of your keywords many times. Some candidates will only mention a particular keyword once in their resume, while others will stack the deck. Neither method is necessarily right or wrong – but keep in mind the results you’re seeing at the top of your list are there primarily due to keyword frequency, which has nothing to do with the quality of the candidate’s experience. I often recommend starting at the bottom of search results for this very reason, and an added bonus is that these folks typically have a higher response rate as they aren’t seen and reached out to as often as those that crowd the top of search results.

3) Think and act outside your comfort zone.

While you don’t have to start at the bottom of your results or with the least likely candidate with respect to the number of keyword hits, it is imperative that you examine and challenge your assumptions and deliberately change your sourcing behavior from time to time. Indeed, critical thinking is perhaps the ultimate sourcing “hack.” If finding the very best talent is really your priority, you simply must invest time into continually improving your sourcing behaviors and methods to figure out new and different and more effective ways of finding and recruiting the best people available. Comfort and routine can be the ultimate impediment to achieving top-tier sourcing effectiveness and results, so it is essential to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

Bottom line? If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.


Put these sourcing strategies to use with CareerBuilder Search, a database of resumes and social data that gives you access to over 100 million candidate profiles. Learn more. 

What Does a Recruiter Owe a Candidate?

June 10th, 2016 Comments off
What Does a Recruiter Owe a Candidate?

Empathy. Honesty. Respect.

Many candidates think they are a recruiter’s client — but they are incorrect.  A client, by definition, is someone who pays for a good or service. Candidates do not do this. Corporations and nonprofits that hire a recruiter pay fees. They are the client. The job of a recruiter is to find the right individual(s) to fill the position for which the organization is hiring.

If you hire a contractor to do an addition to your home, you are the client. The lumberyard from where they buy the wood is not their client. The contractor may go to four different lumberyards to find the right kind of wood at the right price. The lumberyard does not pay the contractor. They are not his/her client; you are the client. While not a perfect analogy, I hope it helps explain the relationship between recruiters and candidates. The house cannot be built without lumber (the job cannot be filled without a candidate). However, there are many different kinds of wood and places to buy the wood for the construction (and maky different candidates who can fill the job). If the contractor is rude to the lumberyard, or doesn’t communicate what they need, that business may not be so receptive to help the next time the contractor needs something. The same goes for recruiter interactions with candidates.

A recruiter should treat every candidate with respect. And really, shouldn’t every human treat every other person with respect? Is this a unique obligation? I think not. However, it is one of the three things a recruiter owes a candidate:  Empathy. Honesty. Respect.


I’ve been in recruiting for over 20 years and I don’t think there is a recruiter on the planet who hasn’t looked for a job. It’s disheartening to get rejected. It’s frustrating to not hear back when you apply. It’s maddening to not know why you aren’t getting interviews or offers. It’s depressing to stand in the unemployment line. It’s atrocious to have to work for a terrible company or manager. As recruiters, we can never forget these feelings. We must show our candidates empathy.


Recruiters need to give feedback to candidates. Even when it’s not fun. If a candidate comes off like an arrogant jerk, they need to hear it. Otherwise, they never know to change it. I’ve asked candidates if they consider themselves arrogant, and you would be amazed how many times they agree and say that’s their personality. Many times candidates already know. What they don’t realize is that it’s the reason they didn’t get the job. When they interview poorly, call them and tell them. Offer to help coach them. However, you must be honest with them.


Lastly, let’s talk about the one I touched on already: respect. It’s how you should treat everyone, but particularly someone you need. Candidates are your product. They represent your brand: Both the brand of your company and your personal brand. If you can’t show them the respect they deserve, you should consider a job where you don’t work with people. Return calls. Document with emails. Send them articles to help them help themselves. Show them respect, and if you can’t help them, or if you don’t want to work with them, tell them that too. It may hurt their feelings, but it’s a form of respect to be truthful. And bear in mind, your candidate may one day become your client.

Recruiters are crucial to the hiring process, just as salespeople are to revenue. The good ones stand out because they do things the right way. The bad ones make us look better.

Remember: Respect. Honesty. Empathy.

Learn how to give candidates the kind of experience that will make them want to work for you with in-depth insights from CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior Study

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Gimbel is the Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. Gimbel is an expert on organizational development, securing a job and hiring successfully. He’s been featured on CNBC, The Today Show, Fox Business Network, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business and Crain’s Chicago Business.

5 Red Flags To Watch for in Your Next Candidate Interview

May 12th, 2016 Comments off
5 Interviewing Red Flags to Watch Out For

In Hollywood and pop culture, the rite of passage into adulthood is often characterized by a myriad of zany events. In reality, most of us face the transition when we move out from under the wings of our parents and begin to live our own sovereign lives. For me, what I remember most was a sit-down conversation I had with my father. It began with him beckoning me from my bedroom into our kitchen, where I found him sitting at one end of the table with a seat pulled away for me at the opposite end.

Over the course of about two hours, we meandered through topics ranging from paying my bills on time to tips about where to find the best bargains on food and furniture. For the most part I entertained his conversation, nodded my head and pretended to be interested. Then, in the last 20 minutes or so he laid out some important warnings that I still reflect on to this day. He discussed various situations in which I could put myself in jeopardy. “Don’t ever leave a drink unattended,” “Always remember to be polite and act like a lady,” and finally, “Heed the little voices in your head, as your gut instincts will usually be the correct ones.”

Over the years, his final point of guidance in particular has proven useful, both personally and professionally. As a recruiter, identifying and acknowledging potential red flags a candidate may exhibit has helped me to hire better employees, as well as continue to sharpen this important skill set.

As you head into your next interview with a candidate, here are five red flags to look out for.

Where’s the Focus?

There is a symbiotic relationship between every employee and the organizations for which they work. The employee earns a living and is provided benefits, while the employer is able to generate profit, thus creating a give-and-take cycle. If you find the person on the other end of the phone or table is too focused on their own personal gain, your “Spidey senses” should begin to tingle. While candidates should definitely be interested in the opportunity on a personal level, there should also be a strong interest in how they can contribute to their potential new teams.

Earnest Enthusiasm.

Yes, the candidate should be jazzed about the opportunity; however, any recruiter worth their salt should be able to see through overly fake enthusiasm. Of course, job seekers will show interest, but pandering in order to get the offer often leads to quick turnover. In order to dial into and get to the bottom of your suspicions, directly inquire about their passion. If they cannot describe why they have passion, you may be best advised to move to the next candidate.


“Time and tide wait for no man.” Sure, Mr. Chaucer uttered these words hundreds of years ago in reference to man’s inability to stop the clock, but modern professionals should, at a minimum, be respectful of the clock. There are circumstances outside of our control (car accidents, deaths in a family, and so on), but unless there is very good reason, a candidate who is tardy to an interview needs to be evaluated carefully. Consider that within functional teams, breaking deadlines can often have rippling effects on the bottom line. Additionally, over the years I’ve found that those who are late to an interview typically continue a similar pattern in their daily work lives.

Lack of Preparation.

As professionals, we prepare for each interview we conduct. A candidate has a similar responsibility. If they show up to an interview without having done their homework, it suggests that they will likely lack preparation in their day-to-day role within the organization.

Inability to Admit Weakness.

Not every interview conducted contains a question around weaknesses and failures — and it certainly isn’t an absolute necessity. That said, on the day of the interview, if your counterpart is unable to cite examples  of where they have made mistakes, it’s a good indication they haven’t yet realized how to learn on their own. We all make mistakes. Those of us who realize this move forward and work to improve our performance.

Filling our organization’s ranks with great candidates is a difficult role. It takes patience, countless hours of work and a desire to make the organization better with each and every hire. Paying attention to these sometimes subtle red flags will help you to be that much more successful in all that you do each day.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the editor and content manager at ResumeEdgeMichelle Kruse has helped countless job seekers find success. With more than 10 years of experience recruiting for companies like Novartis and IBM, she has firsthand experience of what recruiters are looking for, and she shares that insight with those who need it most. She writes regularly to provide advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it’s her job, but because it’s her passion.

How Long is Too Long for a Candidate to Wait?

April 13th, 2016 Comments off
How long is too long for a candidate to wait?

I’ve recently re-entered the job market in search of my next career challenge. As a recruitment specialist, I might be a bit critical when it comes to a company’s careers website, social media presence and application process. What has surprised me is that — in a world of professional profiles, applicant tracking tools and smartphones — the application process can still take so much time. It does make me wonder if the recruitment manager or head of HR have actually put themselves in the candidate’s shoes to see if they emerge from the process feeling positive about the company (or feeling like they need to lay down in a darkened room).

When designing your application process, you may want to consider:

1. Do you absolutely need this information in order to shortlist candidates? 

If the information is not fulfilling a legal requirement or isn’t essential to the role itself, then why is it being asked? I was asked on an application for my passport number and work permit number, which seemed a bit over the top. A simple “Do you have the right to work in the U.K. without employer sponsorship?” would have been sufficient.

2. If you accept a CV, then accept a CV. 

If you allow an applicant to upload a CV, it is repetitive to then ask the applicant to fill in their education, professional qualifications and work history information in another section of the application. All of that can be found on the CV.

3. Save the interview questions for the interview.

 Some short-answer questions can be helpful for you to understand the interest the candidate has in the role, but asking them to detail what skills and experience they possess compared to the job spec is a question best left to a phone or face-to-face interview.

4. Online assessments. 

SHORT online assessments integrated into the application process can really provide some basic insight into targeted skill sets. There are some handy assessment tools out there that will integrate with your ATS. Otherwise, you may have the facility to create your own within your ATS. The emphasis should be on short, though. Applicants are oftentimes working full-time and perhaps have a family to look after, and if your application takes them more time than they are able to spend, you may lose a quality candidate.

5. Are you mobile? 

With more and more people ditching their laptops and PCs for tablets and mobile devices, can your process cope? People expect to do just about everything on their mobile or tablet these days, including banking, booking a holiday and applying for a job. If your current process or ATS does not allow candidates to apply with their LinkedIn profile or upload a Google doc or Dropbox file, you might want to think about a new solution.

We are all getting increasingly busier with heavy workloads, long commutes, family commitments and outside-of-work activities. Is your recruitment process throwing up obstacles to quality candidates? With the battle for talent, can you afford to be putting skilled applicants off? Don’t make your process so long that you are losing people along the way.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Bustos, originally from Colorado, began her career in HR and recruitment with some iconic global hotel and hospitality brands, landing her on the South coast of England. Now, having lived in the U.K. for 10 years, she focuses on transforming recruitment functions into high performing, commercial machines. Some of her notable projects include launching new careers websites, implementing ATS systems and designing and delivering interview skills trainingShe is most passionate about making a positive influence on the community, traveling and cake. 

Crafting a Shrewder College Recruiting Strategy With Emsi Data

April 6th, 2016 Comments off
Crafting a shrewder college recruiting strategy with Emsi data

EMC, a global leader in enabling business and service providers to transform their operations and deliver information technology as a service (ITaaS), currently employs 60,000 people in 86 countries around the world. Prior to fall of 2014, EMC was sending its recruiters to 125 different schools to recruit college students — a logistical nightmare that left recruiters complaining about terrible events where they couldn’t find the talent EMC needed.

In fall of 2014, that all changed. EMC began using Emsi data to bring objectivity and clarity to its unfocused and frequently emotion-driven college recruiting strategy. Marie Gunning, senior manager of university relations at the Boston-based company, began using Emsi data to develop a shrewder college recruiting strategy.

With detailed data on program completions, ethnicity and gender information, and students’ home states for every college and university in the nation, Emsi provided exactly what Gunning needed in order to focus her teams’ efforts, save time, and hire with confidence.

“I now finally feel like I have someone backing me,” Gunning said. “I am a big fan of this tool. I love this tool. I can’t say enough about it. It has literally changed my life.”


EMC’s challenges were typical. Far from being an untapped market (as many companies mistakenly assume), the world of college recruiting is actually tighter than the talent market outside higher education—and it grows tighter still. In a survey of U.S. employers released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers said they posted an average of 148 jobs for new college graduates in the 2014-2015 academic year, compared with an average of 99 jobs for the previous one.

It’s clear that companies are looking for graduates to hire. And graduates are looking for jobs. In the face of this rugged competition, recruiters need to know:

  • Where should they recruit?
  • Where should they not recruit?
  • Which schools are growing/declining in the skills they need?
  • How many students might they be able to hire at X school?
  • Where do the students at X school come from? (Where might they be likely to return home after they graduate?)



Gunning found the answers she needed in Emsi’s Web-based college recruiting tool, which first helped by whipping EMC’s uneven recruiting process into shape. Gunning knew EMC couldn’t afford to waste time with such a scattershot approach to covering college ground, but before using Emsi, she had nothing to go on besides gut instinct as she sought to weed out schools not relevant to her search.

“There’s a lot of emotion,” Gunning said of typical college recruiting. “A lot of people go back where their son or daughter is attending, or they may be an alumni from this particular school, but they don’t actually have the real data points.”

By providing clear, comprehensive data on the number of regional students equipped with the skills and training EMC was looking for, Emsi removed the guesswork and helped Gunning determine which schools to target and which to avoid—including schools that EMC had naturally assumed were prime targets. “Before,” Gunning said, “I would have to have a lot of meetings with management to explain why we weren’t going to that school, and I never actually had real facts… [Now] I can get all the data points so I can prove why we should be attending or not attending this school.”

Emsi data also helps her defend what might appear to be very odd hiring choices. “Sometimes I’d have management coming down on us, saying, we only hired 10 students from a particular school; why aren’t we hiring more? And now I’m actually able to pull up the data points and say, actually, there were 27 graduates that graduated out of that computer science department. I would say that we got our fair share.”

Having access to such compelling data has boosted both Gunning’s and management’s confidence in her decisions – and enabled EMC to target more relevant candidates and fill critical positions faster.

If you would like to learn more about how Emsi college recruiting data can help your company find the college talent you need, contact Jon Williams at jwilliams@economicmodeling.com.

This post was originally published on the Emsi blog.



4 Ways to Rethink the Skills Gap

March 23rd, 2016 Comments off
4 ways to rethink the skills gap

The skills gap. It’s something we talked about a lot last year, and something the workforce is continuing to battle in 2016. We recently did a study among hiring managers at LaSalle Network, in which 44 percent of respondents cited the skills gap as the biggest obstacle they expect to face this year. The latest ASA Skills Gap Index identified 73 occupations as “hard to fill” for the fourth quarter of 2015.

But here’s the reality. Times change. Industries change. Roles change. It’s not a bad thing; it means society is progressing. So rather than worrying about the skills gap and leaving positions open for months or even years at a time because you can’t find qualified candidates, consider taking a different approach.

Here are four ways to rethink your approach to the skills gap this year:

Hire for culture fit.

Companies with great cultures have happy and engaged employees and see less turnover than companies who don’t. Instead of focusing solely on technical skills, focus on hiring candidates who fit the culture. They’re the ones who will be your brand advocates, expand the business and support the people around them. When you’re meeting with a candidate, ask yourself: Do you enjoy talking with them? Will they get along with others in the company? Do they share the same values and beliefs as the organization? Remember, hard skills can always be taught — but you can’t teach someone to want to work hard.

Look for people who want to grow.

Just because someone has a sales background doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t right for a PR role. What matters is how hard they’re willing to work and how badly they want it. Are they reading about the industry? Are they coming into the interview prepared with ideas on how they can help grow business? The person with no prior experience who’s ready to dive in, learn, contribute, and gain skills they are lacking will likely be more successful than the person with five years of experience who thinks they know it all by now and aren’t willing to learn.

Offer contract roles.

If you have a candidate you’re uncertain about because they lack certain technical skills, give them a three-month test run. That way, you can see how quickly they pick things up and adapt. Are they learning new programs or software? Are they taking classes or getting certifications to become better in their field? If they do well and exceed expectations, they could be ready to take the role on full time. If not, you part ways and avoid the cost of a permanent hire.

Gauge emotional intelligence.

Emotionally intelligent people have strong communication skills and work well together. They’re empathetic and have the ability to build long-term relationships with co-workers and clients. A candidate may not know how to do all technical aspects of the role they’re applying for, but can they represent the company well and attract new business? Do they have a good sense of right vs. wrong? Emotionally intelligent people can gauge and handle uncomfortable situations that may come up at the office or with a client, and that’s a skill all companies should want employees to have.


Want to learn more about the 2016 staffing trends and how they affect you? Download CareerBuilder’s Q1 2016 CareerBuilder Staffing & Recruiting Guidebook for exclusive industry research and expert recommendations for overcoming your biggest staffing challenges.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Gimbel is the Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. Gimbel is an expert on organizational development, securing a job and hiring successfully. He’s been featured on CNBC, The Today Show, Fox Business Network, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business and Crain’s Chicago Business.

How to Nourish In-Office Learning

March 15th, 2016 Comments off
Recruiting for the love of learning

There was a time in history when employees were at the mercy of their employer in terms of fringe benefits. A great package in the early 20th century might include a steady paycheck and the day off on Christmas — unless you were employed by a gentleman with the name Ebenezer. Things have certainly changed; so much so that it is now employers who must fight to offer the greatest benefit packages in order to attain (and retain) the best and brightest employees. One of the most popular benefits for employees is an opportunity to learn.

Whether through tuition reimbursement programs, paid professional certifications or free continuing education credits, fostering employees who have a deep love of learning is beneficial to all those involved. With this in mind, it’s important for managers to create learning opportunities within the office. Most programs focus on opportunities outside regular business hours; however, if you’re a people manager, there are things you can do today to help cultivate great learning environments without the need for employees to seek such opportunities during their free time.

Here are four ideas to foster a love of learning:

Call It Out.

As you look to initiate any learning program, it will be important to make sure those who report to you are aware of the level of importance you place on learning. You may be thinking, “Shouldn’t my team already know this is important to me?” The truth is, most employees don’t expect or assume that an organization or their managers value learning above learning the in and outs of their particular roles and focusing on what they brought with them through the doors.

Invite Experts.

Expert guests may range from senior members of other teams with which you work, to professional educators. Picture these events as in-house conferences or seminars. If there is a particular certification that would help the members of your team perform more effectively, having an outside instructor come to you each week and working through the course as a team is a great way to build camaraderie, as well as ensure your employees have the specific qualifications you need to ensure long-term organizational success. For example, if you’re managing a group of project managers, there could be an opportunity to work as a team toward earning a Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate.

Set up a Laboratory.

Whether you want to call it a workshop, a lunch and learn — or another term people may be buzzing at the moment, having proctored learning sessions is a solid method to employ to edify your teams. The frequency of these sessions can be flexible, though in most office settings, monthly or bi-monthly works well.

Involve your employees! Don’t just pick a topic and hope for the best; there should be a dialogue around what skills and knowledge your people are interested in improving. And remember, not everyone on the team will be, or needs to be, in attendance at every session. One month you may focus on communication, another on organization skills or time management, and so on.

Carve out Time.

Providing the time to foster a love of learning doesn’t have to be a detriment to the bottom line and productivity. A mere 30-minute block for employees to focus on learning initiatives adds up to over 20 hours of annual, in-office learning. Think about it: Perhaps it’s the last 30 minutes of every Tuesday, or the first half hour on Fridays. By making it a point to provide specific time solely for the purpose of education, most teams can accomplish a significant amount of self-betterment.

Learning is an important piece of individual growth and development. This goes above the standard on-the-job training; that’s still essential, but it focuses only on the skills needed to complete the tasks employees were hired to perform today, rather than helping them grow within the organization and become the leaders of tomorrow. There is no right or wrong methods. Anything you can do as a manager to help your employees grow will both benefit the organization, as well as help demonstrate your people skills. These suggestions are a great start, but there should be no limit on learning, as there is no finish line. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Learning never exhausts the mind.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the editor and content manager at ResumeEdgeMichelle Kruse has helped countless job seekers find success. With more than 10 years of experience recruiting for companies like Novartis and IBM, she has firsthand experience of what recruiters are looking for, and she shares that insight with those who need it most. She writes regularly to provide advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it’s her job, but because it’s her passion.

Give Your Staffing Clients The Data They Actually Want

December 11th, 2015 Comments off
Give Your Staffing Clients They Data They Actually Want

Even with the most effective sales process, you will not close deals if your client’s bill rates are substantially below market, their decision-making process is too slow or they continually hold out for the perfect candidate. Providing industry data and crafting a story out of this data is the new sales imperative.

When it comes to using data, people generally get hung up or stumped when trying to answer these three questions:

  1. Why use data?
  2. What types of data should I use?
  3. How do I craft a story with this data?

But don’t give up! One of the first steps to using data with your clients in the sales process is ensuring that your sales team is comfortable doing so.

One in 3 staffing employees are not comfortable using recruitment technology, according to the 2015 Opportunities in Staffing study. Most agree, though, that adapting to new technology will set the best staffing firms apart.

Why Use Data?

If you’re not using data or your people aren’t comfortable with it, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Did you know? When selecting a staffing firm to work with, the number one factor clients seek is demonstrated industry knowledge, NOT the lowest price, according to the 2015 Opportunities in Staffing study.

Image 1

Some of the largest gaps in client service involve the use of data — what’s being done by your people might be different from what’s actually being delivered to customers. Information can help bridge that gap.

Image 2

Nearly 3 in 4 firms claim to provide hiring trends on open positions; however, only about half of clients report receiving this information. Since this data is not difficult to obtain, closing this gap in client service is fundamental.

Nearly 4 in 5 firms claim to educate clients on competitive salaries for open positions, but fewer than 3 in 5 clients are actually receiving this data. These aren’t hard gaps to address if you equip your people with the information your customers are requesting.

What Kind of Data Do Clients ACTUALLY Want?

Clients are most satisfied when they select a firm that helps them improve their own recruiting.

  1. Industry data and trends. Although demonstrating industry knowledge is important, helping to improve your clients’ own recruiting efforts and demonstrating you know more about their company than the competition will result in the highest satisfaction levels.
  2. Time-saving data. When it comes to recruiting, time is a luxury. Saving your client time will save them money. Proving to them that you have the data they need to recruit more efficiently is key in the sales process.
  3. Compensation and competitive data. Do you know the best places to recommend your client look for available candidates? Do you know who your client is competing against for the same talent in their target markets? If you can bring this information along with compensation data, your client will not only value your relationship, but they will also feel confident they have chosen the best firm to help them attract top talent.

How to Craft a Story With Data

Eric Gregg, CEO of Inavero recently published an article with the American Staffing Association in which he laid out a formula to successfully use data to increase sales:

  1. Keep it simple. Even the best data in the world will lose impact if your sales team or client prospects can’t easily understand it and make the connection between the data and how they run their business.
  2. Go beyond data to insight. Don’t assume that your prospects — or for that matter your sales team — see why the data you’ve presented is important to their organization. The data makes you credible, and the insight and interpretation shows your unique value.
  3. Keep it focused to keep it valuable. Instead of attempting to create expertise widely, create it within a niche where your information can stand alone as the source for clients and prospects. For example, data on hiring trends within a job type or industry is far more valuable to prospects than the same information across all employee types.
  4. Don’t forget about your candidates. In many sectors and job titles, attracting high-caliber talent is more challenging than getting new orders, yet few people target educational data-driven content toward their candidate pool.

By utilizing recruitment analytics reports, you can quickly craft a story by comparing data sets and looking at a few keys points. As an example, we looked at the mobile developer position in the markets of Los Angeles and San Diego.

Click here to download the Los Angeles and San Diego reports.

Take our quick quiz to gauge your data-story crafting skills:

Question 1:

1. Looking at the summary (on page 2 of both reports), which market would you recommend your client start their recruitment efforts for a mobile developer?
A. L.A.
B. San Diego
C. No Idea

Question 2:

2. Looking at L.A. compensation (on page 7), if you were presenting a mobile developer candidate to a customer in L.A., would you recommend someone with 6 to 10 years of experience or someone with fewer than 5?
A. 0-2 years
B. 3-5 years
C. 6-10 years

Answer 1:
While you can use data to tell multiple different stories, most would argue that with more active candidates in L.A. (1,956 versus only 541 in San Diego), it would be the stronger market to focus on. Furthermore, the hiring indicator score (37 in L.A. versus 39 in San Diego) is essentially the same in both markets, so looking at the total active candidates is more important.

The Supply & Demand Hiring Indicator indicates the level of difficulty in recruiting for a specific skill set or position based on available talent and the hiring landscape. The Hiring Indicator score shows a number between 1 and 100. A lower score reveals a more challenging position in that market. In the example above for mobile developers in the L.A area, a score of 37 out of 100 indicates that it’s very difficult to hire because the score is under 50. In comparison, San Diego has a higher score (39), which means that you’ll have a slightly easier time recruiting in San Diego than L.A., but it’s still very competitive. You’ll need to invest more resources to recruit or identify another city that has a higher Hiring Indicator score and look for candidates there.

Since access to the data was easy, how long did it take you to pull that information?

Answer 2:
Again, multiple answers could still be correct, but many agree that you can utilize the data to show that focusing on candidates with 6 to 10 years of experience may be the best way to advise your client. Candidates with this level of experience are being compensated nearly $30,000 less than candidates with 3 to 5 years of experience. Why? These older candidates may not have direct experience developing with the latest in mobile technology; however, they have the experience and framework to understand it. It’s really a question of hiring and re-skilling or hiring someone with less aptitude — it’s a decision for you to make in the end.

Take the Next Step and Craft Your Data Story

You can see by the sheer volume in the data packet examples that you have many choices on the story you tell. I encourage you to look page by page and identify which data would be key for you and your clients. Looking at the top job posters (page 4) and at graduates (page 9) are also great places to start crafting your data story.


Hard-to-Fill Jobs and the Skills Gap Paradox

December 10th, 2015 Comments off
Hard-to-fill jobs and the skills gap paradox

Employers have been complaining about skills shortages for at least 25 years. While some labor leaders and academics say the so-called skills gap is a myth, the chorus of employers has been persistent. On average for the past 10 years, more than one-third of the thousands of U.S. employers surveyed by ManpowerGroup have reported experiencing difficulty filling jobs, and of the top jobs they had difficulty filling, most required skilled workers. To help employers better understand the dynamics of skills shortages in the United States, the American Staffing Association (ASA) introduced the ASA Skills Gap Index in 2014. Designed to identify hard-to-fill occupations, the ASA index data reveal a paradox: Most hard-to-fill jobs require at least some advanced skills, but a small yet significant number of those jobs are low-skill occupations. This article describes the ASA Skills Gap Index and the implications of this skills gap paradox.


The ASA Skills Gap Index is derived from two key inputs. The first is a categorization of jobs in the Standard Occupational Classification system of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The second and principal input is a metric derived from the supply of job candidates relative to demand. Supply and demand is based on more than 90 sources utilized in CareerBuilder’s Supply & Demand Portal.

CareerBuilder calculates a hiring indicator score for all jobs. The difficulty to fill those jobs is scaled from 1 to 100, with higher scores for those jobs that are easier to fill. The hiring indicator scores take into account the following: (1) demand for the occupation (job openings), (2) supply of active candidates, and (3) the occupation population. The ASA Skills Gap Index focuses on jobs with a hiring indicator score of 50 or lower (i.e., jobs that are harder to fill). The ASA Skills Gap Index also incorporates a demand threshold, which is set at 2,000 job openings nationally per occupation. The demand threshold effectively screens out relatively uncommon jobs that lack wide appeal, whether to employers, job seekers, or policymakers. For example, it may be hard to fill a farrier job, but the demand for people who shoe horses is limited these days. Still, there are relatively low-volume occupations that have surpassed the demand threshold (albeit narrowly), ranging from choreographers to physicists to wind-turbine service technicians. The ASA Skills Gap Index is issued quarterly. The number of hard-to-fill jobs and a top-10 list nationally are publicly released and widely published. ASA also prepares lists by U.S. region (Northeast, South, West, and Midwest) and occupational sector ( engineering, information technology (IT), and scientific; health care; industrial; office-clerical and administrative; and professional-managerial). These specialized lists are made available to ASA members.


In the first quarter of 2015 — the most recent period for which data were available as of this writing — the ASA Skills Gap Index identified 181 hard-to-fill occupations in the United States for the 12 months that ended in March. The 10 most difficult jobs to fill nationally were:

1. Occupational therapists
2. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
3. Physical therapists
4. Photographic-process workers and processing-machine operators
5. Occupational-therapy assistants
6. Speech-language pathologists
7. Family and general practitioners (physicians)
8. Merchandise displayers and window trimmers
9. Nurse practitioners
10. Physician assistants

Seven of the top 10 hardest-to-fill occupations nationally were in health care (i.e., skilled occupations). The remaining three required little or no job-related training (i.e., low-skill occupations). Among the 181 hardest-to-fill occupations, 71 were in the professional-managerial sector; 53 were in health care; 32 were in engineering, IT, and scientific; and 25 were in industrial. No office-clerical or administrative occupations were hard to fill at a nationwide level in the first quarter of 2015. Geographic distribution among the 181 hardest-to-fill occupations was similar across U.S. regions, with 177 (98 percent of the national figure) in the West, 164 (91 percent) in the Northeast, 155 (86 percent) in the South, and 154 (85 percent) in the Midwest.

In the professional-managerial sector, sales and marketing occupations figured prominently in terms of being both harder to fill and in greater demand. Seven of the top 10 hardest-to-fill jobs in this sector were insales or marketing occupations. Six of the top 10 in demand volume in this sector were also sales or marketing occupations, totaling nearly 7 million job postings.

In health care, 10 of the 53 hardest-to-fill occupations were physician jobs. But registered nurses are by far the occupation most in demand in this sector, at 2.88 million job postings. That single occupation accounts for more than one-third of the total demand for hard-to-fill occupations in health care.In the engineering, IT, and scientific sector, 15 of the 32 hard-to-fill occupations were in engineering and 14 were in IT — with the demand of 1.27  million for application software developers well above any other occupation in the sector.

In the industrial sector, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers leads the list of hardest-to-fill occupations. It stands out among all difficult-to-fill jobs because of its extraordinarily voluminous demand: 9.46 million — more than three times the demand for registered nurses, which ranked second overall.


Today, more than 8 million people are actively looking for work. Meanwhile, more than 5 million jobs go unfilled. Numerically, there are more than 1.5 job seekers for each job opening. The mismatch between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings, employers say, is largely due to job seekers lacking the skills required for today’s job openings. The mismatch is likely to worsen as the economy grows, the unemployment rate declines, and the labor pool shrinks. Only six of 10 working-age individuals are currently employed or even seeking work. As baby boomers retire, they take their skills with them. New entrants into the workforce are ill-prepared for the real world of work, employers say. Too many teenagers drop out of school. Too few go to technical school to learn skills in high demand. Too many go to college to earn degrees in fields with meager employment opportunities. Although there may, indeed, be a shortage of candidates with particular skills in the workforce, employers must shoulder some of the blame for this skills gap. Too often, employer expectations are unrealistic, specifying rare skills that may not really be required or that could easily be learned on the job. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs have been terminated as job descriptions have become elongated with detailed requirements. In addition, employers too often fail to pay wages sufficient to attract the talent they seek.

 ASA compiled recent examples, described as follows, of strategic solutions employers can use to help bridge the skills gap.

Reassess Position Requirements
A client in the health care sector had difficulty filling surgical technician jobs. The client’s position description required Level I trauma, orthopedic, neurological, and teaching-facility experience. The client’s staffing firm assessed the candidate market and convinced the client to revise the position description to require either ortho or neuro experience, not necessarily both. The client then no longer had difficulty filling the position. In the industrial sector, clients seeking construction professionals may insist that candidates have “commercial-only” experience. Knowing that the supply of such candidates is limited, the staffing firm advised its clients to at least interview candidates who have applicable multifamily or residential
construction experience. Those clients have since improved their hiring success.

Consider Skill Development
In the engineering, IT, and scientific sector, a client wanted a Web developer with experience in Angular.js, a relatively new and popular JavaScript library. The client’s staffing firm successfully made the case that dedicated front-end Web developers with Ember, Knockout, Node.js, or comparable JavaScript experience, or with jQuery experience, could easily learn Angular.js on the job. In the office-clerical and administrative occupations sector, a client needed office support staff to be experienced with SAP software. This skill set was rare in the client’s locale, and the client was unwilling to pay relocation costs for administrative positions.

What was the solution? The client’s staffing firm agreed to offer free SAP (systems application products) training for candidates who met the other necessary criteria for the positions (i.e., clean criminal background checks and who passed competency tests for Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word). In the health care sector, a client required registered nurses to have experience with EPIC software. Considering how difficult it is to fill nursing vacancies, the client agreed to consider candidates lacking EPIC experience but who were otherwise qualified for the position and, if hired, to provide full training in EPIC.

Make Compensation Attractive
A staffing company in the industrial sector had been advising clients to offer a wage premium for specialized skills. In other words, don’t expect to get a higher skilled employee if you’re paying only average wages. Average wages equal average skills. Employers requiring above-average skills need to pony up with above-average pay. For example, a welder averages $13 to $14 per hour, but one with fabrication experience gets $20 to $25. Similarly, a maintenance mechanic might earn $20 to $22 per hour, but to get one with programmable logic controller (PLC) programming experience, companies should expect to pay at least $8 more per hour. Employers with professional-managerial job openings — the sector with the most hard-to-fill occupations — may be keen on variable compensation packages. But staffing firms are reporting that candidates for hard-to-fill jobs may be reluctant to even consider positions without guaranteed salary and benefits. To attract talent to difficult-to-fill positions, employers need to be flexible in crafting their compensation packages, perhaps guaranteeing a bonus to boost the candidate’s total compensation.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology labor economist David Autor cites a decades-long trend that significantly intensified during the Great Recession: the polarization of job opportunities in the U.S. labor market. U.S. employment growth is becoming increasingly concentrated in high-skill, high-wage jobs and low-skill, low-wage jobs, while the middle ground is shrinking. Since the mid-1970s, Autor says, the rise in U.S. education levels has not kept up with the rising demand for skilled workers. The slowdown in educational attainment has been particularly severe for men, and the result has been a sharp rise in wage disparity. In 1980, he notes, workers with a four-year college degree earned 50 percent more per hour than those with a high school diploma. In 2008, they earned 95 percent more.

An important factor behind the widening wage gap is the polarization of job opportunities: They are either high-skill, high-wage professional, technical, or managerial occupations, or they are low-skill, low-wage food service, personal-care, or protective-services jobs. Middle-skill, white-collar clerical and administrative occupations, and middle-skill, blue-collar production, craft, and operative jobs are in decline. Employment losses during the Great Recession were more severe in middle-skill white- and blue-collar jobs than in either the high-skill, white-collar occupations or in the low-skill service jobs. This phenomenon is not unique to the United States; it is widespread across industrialized economies.

Key contributors are the automation of routine work and, to a lesser extent, the international integration of labor markets through trade and, more recently, offshoring. This polarization explains the skills gap at the upper end. Demand for some high-skill occupations is growing faster than supply, making them hard to fill. But what explains the skills gap paradox at the low end? If the supply of low-skill labor is plentiful and growing, why are some low-skill jobs hard to fill? Could it be pay? Of the three low-skill jobs in the most recent ASA Skills Gap Index top hardest to-fill jobs, two typically require no more than a high school diploma and one (truck drivers) requires some job-specific training.

New research from ASA provides important recruitment and retention insights for employers with hard-to-fill jobs. In short, work-life balance trumps pay for many employees. Quality of life matters in retaining current employees. Compensation matters most in recruiting employees to change jobs. The ASA Workforce Monitor, a study conducted by Harris Poll to identify workforce trends and issues, found relatively few adults engaged in the job hunt. In the March survey of 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 and older, 62 percent of those employed expressed little likelihood of seeking new job opportunities this year. Work-life balance and schedule flexibility rated higher than pay or wage potential in what employed adults value most about their current jobs. But pay or wage potential and benefits would be the most important considerations in deciding to change jobs. Moreover, the findings suggest that employers need to be realistic in attempting to tap the pool of unemployed. Four in 10 able-bodied, working-age unemployed adults (38 percent, excluding retirees) have no plans to look for a job this year. Relocation for new employment is an unlikely factor, too. More than 7 in 10 survey respondents reported they are unlikely to relocate for a new job. Among those unlikely to move, half said they prefer where they live and don’t want to change, and 4 in 10 don’t want to leave family and friends. Two-thirds of those more likely to move for a new job say pay or wage potential would be most important in deciding whether to relocate, with benefits close behind as another consideration.

For employers with positions in the 181 hardest-to-fill occupations identified in the ASA Skills Gap Index, the ASA Workforce Monitor suggests two key strategies:

  • To retain employees, companies need to focus on work-life balance and schedule flexibility.
  • To recruit new employees, companies are going to have to pay more. Certainly, they need to reassess the job requirements and consider skill development to expand their talent pool, but ultimately, compensation will probably be the most powerful lever to get someone to budge.


This article was originally published on American Staffing Association’s website.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steven P. Berchem, CSP, chief operating officer of the American Staffing Association, has general management responsibilities with principal oversight of the association’s research, publications, public relations, marketing, corporate alliances, information systems, and meetings and events operations. He is frequently consulted by business executives, industry analysts, government officials, and academics for his expertise in industry research, data, and economics. Before joining ASA in 1998, he held executive positions with Washington, DC, think tanks and associations.


China Gorman on the Past, Present and Future of HR

December 7th, 2015 Comments off
China Gorman on the past, present and future of HR trends

What’s the future of HR? At the same time HR technology is rapidly evolving and companies are relying on workforce data to streamline their organizations, HR’s role has been transforming into “strategic business partner.”

No one recognizes this more than China Gorman, who has effectively established herself as one of the industry’s most distinguished thought leaders. Gorman recently sat down with CareerBuilder to discuss how far HR has come in the past few decades, where it is headed — and what these changes mean for the future of work as a whole.

An Interview with China Gorman on the Past, Present and Future of HR:

CareerBuilder: What will HR look like in 20 years?

China Gorman: Millennials will be ruling the world. From a commerce and economy perspective, the millennials will be the largest cohort – or they’ll be splitting almost every position with Gen Xers. Because Gen Xers and millennials have grown up in a world fueled by technology – coupled with their comfort with transparency and their ability to demand different dynamics from their work experiences, a new business culture will be created. That’s going to impact HR.

We already see the leading edge of that. Millennials report, more than any other generation, that they want their employers to be good corporate citizens. They want to do good by being good. They don’t want this hard-line delineation between work and personal life. They’re demanding and going to expect more and more of an integration between work and personal life.

CB: How do you think the average role in HR will change? What day-to-day responsibilities are going to be different in 20 years?

CG: I think we’ll see further delineation between the high-level strategic work of HR, workforce planning and business planning and the business administration, regulatory, “keeping the lights on,” [aspect].  We could possibly see the growth of really high-level strategic roles – really working with the data, predictive analytics and workforce planning.  There will probably be a bigger chasm between the beefing up of the strategic work and the mechanization of the basic, “keeping the lights on” work.

CB: How do you think HR practices have evolved in the last 20 years?

CG: Most of the basics of the employer-employee relationship that HR has managed have changed because of technology. We thought eliminating all that would enable HR practitioners to dive into more strategic tasks, [such as] long-term strategic planning, understanding the data and analytics and making stronger predictions.

That has happened at the very top of the employer pyramid – those companies in the Fortune 300, such as GE, IBM and Unilever. Those organizations have CHROs who sit at the right hand of the CEOs and their HR budgets are enormous. They’re actually pushing strategic HR practices.

At smaller companies, however, the CHRO isn’t often at the right hand of the CEO. They don’t have the budgets they need to move the organizations forward from a data-driven perspective. I think there’s going to be a broadening chasm between organizations that are able to invest – those where the CHRO has the influence to move things forward – and then there’s everybody else, who will be struggling because they don’t have the people or budget.

This is where I think the next 20 years will see a profound change. As baby boomers retire and they’re replaced by Xers and millennials, those folks who grew up in a world of technology, in a world of social technology, who grew up in a world of data analytics and predictive analytics are going to have an entirely different style and agenda when leading businesses. They’re going to have an entirely different agenda when managing talent in their organizations. I think that’s the hope for HR moving forward. It’s a real opportunity.

CB: Human resources used to be called “personnel.” Do you think HR will receive another name change in the next 20 years?

CG: What’s really interesting to me these days is a movement toward making work experiences and company cultures more human. Organizations are beginning to understand that, if we want to engage folks as employees in terms of acquisition and retention, we have to start understanding and treating them like full people… and relate to them as whole people. It doesn’t really matter what we call HR. The move from personnel to human resources was a symbolic message to the business world that these personnel or HR employees were starting to deal with other employees in a different way.

What matters is behavioral change at the top of the organization. If we are successful in understanding that people are not just a construct of skills who show up at the beginning of a shift and leave at the end of a shift, and if we can create fully human relationships, where we care about their kids, what’s happening to their parents, their financial pressures, et cetera, it becomes a stronger, more productive relationship on both sides of the equation.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For more than 25 years, China Gorman has held strategic business leadership roles in the human capital management sector. Read her blog at ChinaGorman.com, and contact her at china@chinagorman.com.


6 Budget-Friendly Ways to Engage Your Employees

November 30th, 2015 Comments off
6 ways to engage employees without breaking the bank

Thanks to an improving labor market, people are feeling more comfortable exploring their job options – which means companies are having to work that much harder to retain top talent and keep them engaged.

As the CEO of a staffing firm, I know there are countless reasons for staffing firms to keep their recruiters engaged and happy, not the least of which is the fact that the recruiting industry has a notoriously high turnover rate. It’s also been found that longer recruiter tenure leads to better relationship development with clients and candidates.

There are extravagant ways to keep employees engaged. Though my advice draws from my own staffing-specific experience, what I’ve found to work for us can really work for any type of business.

Here are six of my tried-and-true tips:

1. Set the tone.

It’s not all about offering free lunches or half days on Fridays. Rather, it’s about the culture and ensuring employees feel valued and respected. If you develop a culture of hard-working, driven people, make sure your recruiters fit that mold. Invest in them early, before they even start contributing. Encourage them to attend conferences and seminars. Show them there’s always room for improvement and more to learn about this business, no matter what level they’re at.

2. Give staff your time and confidence.

Share techniques that have made you successful. Talk to recruiters about their candidates and clients, and have companywide meetings to discuss job orders and difficult placements. Brainstorm creative ways to fill roles. Encourage your recruiters to ask candidates and clients new questions. Role play and offer tips along the way. Perhaps most importantly, make this a part of your weekly routine.

3. Get to know people on a personal level.

Recruiting firms are fast-paced, but don’t just talk about work all the time. Take time to ask about employees’ kids or spouses. Find out what school they went to or where they grew up. Text them on their birthdays or anniversaries. Let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Showing you remember the little details really goes a long way.

Don’t eat lunch in your office! Try eating with others in the break room. Or, bring a staff member out to lunch sometime (it would make their week). Encourage the firm’s upper management to develop relationships with newer recruiters. At large firms it’s difficult to do this, but when management take a few minutes out of their day, they’re showing employees they’re invested in them.

4. Start a mentorship program.

Pair new hires with experienced, successful recruiters. I always make sure our mentors work in a different department from their mentees. That way, they can share a unique perspective. Pair a recruiter with a member of the finance team; put a scheduler with member of the marketing team. Encourage the pairs to collaborate and see how the different parts of the machine come together. Mentors and mentees should meet once a week for 6-8 weeks. Encourage them to grab a cup of coffee or go for a walk, and to discuss everything from the new hire’s role to what’s going on in their personal lives. When mentees have someone they can confide in right from the time they start at your company, they’ll feel a part of the culture.

5. Celebrate everything.

Clap, cheer, fist bump and congratulate someone when they do a great job. Whether it’s winning an award, placing a candidate, getting a new client or hitting a sales goal, share that information with the company, team or department. Send companywide emails encouraging one another. If you’re not getting excited over every single win, you’re losing your passion, and that will rub off on your employees. When something exciting happens outside of the office, celebrate that too! If an employee gets engaged, send them a card and flowers. When someone buys a house, send a small housewarming gift. These gestures go a long way.

6. Mix it up.

Have employees sit somewhere other than their desk from time to time. Put a salesperson next to a recruiter, or an office assistant next to a scheduler. Encourage recruiters to listen to each other and talk about the candidates and clients they’re working with. This will give them a better opportunity to get to know one another and allow them to see how other departments operate.

One more thing…

Increasing engagement doesn’t need to break the bank. When staffing firms are engaging and supporting their recruiters and helping them succeed, they’re creating an effective workplace culture where recruiters will want to stay and grow.


Like this? Read up on other opportunities to make a difference in the staffing industry at www.opportunitiesinstaffing.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Gimbel is the Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. Gimbel is an expert on organizational development, securing a job and hiring successfully. He’s been featured on CNBC, The Today Show, Fox Business Network, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business and Crain’s Chicago Business. Gimbel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and is on the Board of Directors at Ounce of Prevention. He is an active member in the Young Presidents’ Organization, Economic Club of Chicago, American Staffing Association and Entrepreneurs’ Organization.


19% of Workers Could Not Make Ends Meet Last Year

September 21st, 2015 Comments off
Talent Factor

The recession is over, but times are still tough. According to a new CareerBuilder survey of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 67 percent said they couldn’t make ends meet, and 49 percent said they had to work more than one job to make things work.

But it’s not just minimum wage workers who are struggling. Nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) of all salary levels were not able to make ends meet last year.

On top of that:

  • 65 percent of all workers say they’re in debt.
  • 18 percent of employees have reduced their 401(k) contribution and/or personal savings in the last year.
  • 28 percent of workers didn’t set aside any savings.


What Can You Do To Help?

Studies show that workers who aren’t distracted by financial worries and have the opportunity to have quality time with their families are more productive at work — and tend to stick around longer. There are a number of ways you can help employees make ends meet, but to choose appropriate offerings you need to know what will benefit your employees most. Some suggestions:

1. Appropriate parental leave: Even as employees are increasingly tethered to their work, a workplace culture that doesn’t urge new parents to hurry back to their cubicles makes life a bit easier for mothers and fathers juggling the demands of work and parenthood.

2. Paid sick days: Many workers, worried they will have to take an unpaid day off work, feel unable to take the time they need to recover from an illness. Further, many parents are forced to choose between taking off work — losing much needed income and potentially threatening their jobs — and sending a sick child who should be home in bed to school.

3. Affordable child care: When parents can’t afford to pay the market rates of high-quality child care, they make alternate choices that might risk their careers. By assisting working parents in sourcing child care benefits, employers provide a benefit that not only increases workers’ productivity through reduction of stress — it also helps create happy, loyal employees.

4. Boosting medical and retirement benefits: You can’t always raise salaries and wages, so offering a well-designed, generous employee benefits package including medical and retirement benefits can help cut some costs for employees. Consider increasing your company’s contributions toward health insurance or contributing toward the cost of insuring dependents.


Your employees are the ones who set you apart from the competition, and they are the ones who will pull you through challenging times. We’ve offered a few suggestions, but what else do you think HR can do to help cash-strapped workers?

6 Ways to Build Trust with Your Candidates

September 11th, 2015 Comments off
6 ways to build trust with your candidates

With five million job openings in the U.S. today, candidates have more options than we’ve seen in years.

To get the best talent, hiring managers have to do more than simply post a job and schedule interviews; they also need to communicate and build relationships with candidates to draw them to their company. The best way to start building those relationships and establishing a great candidate experience is to build trust. If trust isn’t there, candidates will move on.

Here are six ways to establish trust throughout the hiring process:

1.     Confirm the application has been received.

This should be a no-brainer, but there are still companies that don’t do this. Every online transaction today has a confirmation email: receipts, tracking information, and so on. Candidates expect the same follow-up after they apply to your job. Even if it’s through automated emails, let candidates know their résumé has been received. Companies that miss this step fail to build a good line of communication and trust early on.

2. Explain your timeline and process.

Every company works differently. Different positions get filled at different speeds. Is there an immediate need for the role? Which employees should candidates expect to meet with? What’s the expected start date for the position? Forty-two percent of hiring managers say they don’t communicate the length of the application process to candidates in the early stages of the process. Be accountable and stick to the timeline you give candidates.

3. Be honest about your company.

Don’t tell a candidate your office is laid back if it’s a fast-paced environment. Set expectations from the start. You’re interviewing candidates for culture fit. But they’re interviewing you too. Give candidates an opportunity to self-select out if the fit is not right. Clearly explain what the role is. You don’t want to hire someone who won’t want to do the job. Just because your company’s culture is right for one person doesn’t mean it is for someone else. Is it an open, team-based environment? Or is it a quiet office with cubes and closed doors? Share this information with candidates to ensure there are no surprises later on — on either end.

4. Offer constructive feedback.

This can be as simple as providing feedback on on a candidate’s résumé. Candidates should always take something away from the interview process — even if it’s not the job itself. Seventy-three percent of candidates report that the company they interviewed with didn’t offer them an explanation when they weren’t given the job.

5. Let them know when it’s filled, and why they weren’t selected.

During the interview process, a lot of companies stop communicating with candidates they aren’t moving forward with. But that’s a mistake. It’s still important people have a good experience.

Some companies send automated emails alerting candidates if they’re not moving forward. The best companies take it a step further than that. Don’t just tell someone they didn’t make the cut. Discuss the qualities you are looking for and tell them what they can do to make themselves a stronger candidate in the future.

6. Ask for feedback.

Glassdoor has interview reviews. Companies should utilize those or create their own surveys. Use that feedback and talk to candidates about it if necessary. If a candidate has a bad experience with your company during the interview process, listen to what they have to say. Ask what you could have done better. Apply that feedback to future interviews, and show you want to get better.

What types of things has your company done to build trust with your candidates? Let us know in the comments below.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tom Gimbel is the Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. Gimbel is an expert on organizational development, securing a job and hiring successfully. He’s been featured on CNBC, The Today Show, Fox Business Network, Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Fortune Small Business and Crain’s Chicago Business. Gimbel holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and is on the Board of Directors at Ounce of Prevention. He is an active member in the Young Presidents’ Organization, Economic Club of Chicago, American Staffing Association and Entrepreneurs’ Organization.


Learn more about elevating the candidate experience with CareerBuilder’s e-book on how to use HR technology to humanize your process, and check out “10 Tips to Create an A+ Candidate Experience and Improve ROI.”


Millennials May be the Lever that Forces Change in Health Care

September 11th, 2015 Comments off
Millennials impacting health care 9.9

By Paul Barr, H&HN Senior Writer

As millennials start to become consumers of health care in a significant way, their online habits and social ways could be a catalyst for transforming health care.

Yes, the baby boom generation continues as a potentially big problem for health care, as the throngs of boomers get older and sicker and, at the same time, reduce the size of the health care workforce.

While the aging boomer challenge might seem more immediate, a new survey reinforces the possibility that the millennial generation threatens to force an even more fundamental — and rapid — change in the way health care is provided.

The survey, conducted by Nuance Communications Inc., shows that those people roughly of millennial age use online ratings and their social networks for selecting a physician at greater rates than do the two earlier generations, Gen Xers and boomers.

For example, even now when the availability of online ratings of physicians is somewhat limited, 18 percent of those ages 18–24 and 24 percent of those 25–34 use such ratings for choosing a doctor. For groups 35 and older, the percentages range from 7 percent for retirees to 17 percent for those 35–44.

No surprises there, really.

And millennials, of course, are more likely to share their experiences with their peers, be it via Snapchat, Facebook or text. “Clearly, they’re using social media,” says Tony Oliva, M.D., national medical director for Nuance.

Other factors come in to play. Like the boomers, millennials have the power of numbers. The U.S. Census Bureau shows that millennials, those born between 1982 and 2000, total 83.1 million people, which now is greater than the boomers’ total population of 75.4 million people.

But combining millennials’ numbers, inclination to share, willingness to use the Internet for research with the growing transparency taking place in health care, and explosive change could be coming.

Already, outcomes data are becoming available that weren’t before. Oliva says that the detailed surgery ratings unveiled this summer on the ProPublica website should not go unnoticed. “I really think that’s a game changer,” he says. “This is the first time [physicians] have seen their names in lights.”

And ProPublica is working with Yelp to find more ways to rate health care, while more health systems are publishing physician ratings on their own websites.

Millennials are more likely to use that information going forward and, once that ball gets rolling, there will be no stopping it.

Some physicians think this is a fad that will go away, but it won’t, Oliva says. “This is just going to accelerate,” he says.

This article was originally published on hhnmag.com. HOSPITALS & HEALTH NETWORKS is a B2B brand intended for hospital system executives and emerging leaders. Through peer-to-peer guidance and analysis of best practices, innovative strategies and real-world solutions, H&HN identifies emerging trends and presents hospital and health system leaders with ways to transform their organizations to meet the Triple Aim: better health, better health care, more efficient costs. The content of every issue is also available to subscribers globally via the online digital version and the website.

5 Simple Steps to Recovering from a Mistake at Work

September 8th, 2015 Comments off
5 ways to recover from a mistake at work

There isn’t a person on this planet who wakes up from their slumber, stretches out their arms, lets out an audible yawn and says, “I can’t wait to make my first mistake of the day!” As a matter of fact, we spend the majority of our lives dreading those inevitable missteps, doing everything in our power to remain absolutely perfect. The problem is, that’s not realistic. At some point in time — likely more often than we hope — we will all err.

I know that’s not what you want to hear — and this isn’t going to be a checklist on how to live a perfect life. No, the topic I’d like to delve into is one that makes most people squirm: making mistakes at work. And not just any mistakes, but those mistakes that leave you wondering if you should just grab a box and start packing.

So here you are, reading this article while still sulking over that huge blunder you’ve just caused. Don’t go burying your head beneath the sand — instead, take a look at these five steps to help you recover from (most) mistakes in the workplace.

1.     Breathe.

I’m not saying this because you’re likely hyperventilating — but if you are, please breathe for that reason as well. I want you to realize that Albert Einstein spoke the truth when he said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” And that’s the truth! Understand that even if you’ve just committed the godfather of all mistakes, there is likely someone who, in turn, has simultaneously committed the godmother of mistakes. You’re not alone… you’re just human. In order to move forward, you must be able to maintain composure.

2.     Own It.

Once you’re able to think rationally, the next step is to be able to call the mistake your own. Identify what went wrong and what role you played. If you were part of a team, were you the lead? Were there other members with equal responsibility? I’m not suggesting that you lay down as a martyr, but I am telling you that you must be able to admit to wrongdoing in order to start to move forward.

3.     Make a Plan.

The beauty of all mistakes is that each one is an honest-to-goodness learning experience. Your parents knew what they were talking about when they said the best part of a mistake is the ability to learn from it. Analyze how you could have prevented the mistake and what you are willing to do to make sure you avoid something similar in the future.

4.     Have “The Talk.”

Now that you are comfortable admitting the mistake, go to your manager to discuss the incident. First and foremost, say you’re sorry. If it really was a mistake, you should be sorry, so this should be easy. Be prepared to explain the circumstances that led to the issue, no matter the severity. Your manager should have no doubts that you understand what led to the error. Additionally, if you have an action plan to help avoid the mistake, lay it out, step by step. While you may have done a thorough root cause analysis, don’t be alarmed if your boss offers a few additional suggestions as to what you could have done better.

5.     Set it in Motion.

The biggest way to shove this behind you is to follow through on the plans you’ve drawn. Failure to follow through — or even worse, repeating the same mistake, will not bode well for your integrity and the trust you want your employer to have in your abilities.

While I can’t speak to any one manager or organization, I can safely say that good — and even great — employers know that all employees have the potential to make mistakes. Some will be small, some will be large, but in the end, they are a part of life. Remember that, with time, even the greatest of mistakes can be overcome.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Kruse has helped countless job seekers find success as the editor and content manager at ResumeEdge. With more than 10 years of experience recruiting for companies like Novartis and IBM, she has firsthand experience of what recruiters are looking for, and she shares that insight with those who need it most. She writes regularly to provide advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it’s her job, but because it’s her passion.

Five Ways to Use Your Expertise to Give Back

July 7th, 2015 Comments off
5 Ways to Use Your Expertise to Give Back

By Michelle Kruse of ResumeEdge

I recently had the opportunity to meet with a group of young professionals. Still fresh with the glow of college graduation upon their faces, I smiled as they recalled the rigors of college life — sleeping until noon, dining on gourmet ramen and partaking in those always-fun late-night cram sessions.

While some of our own college memories are still crystal clear, the reality is that they become increasingly foggy as we settle into our careers. My meeting with these recent college grads triggered me to realize that now, in a comfortable place career-wise, it’s pretty easy to forget what life was like when I was just starting out.

Sure, we all need to fall on our faces and make mistakes; trial and error is the crux of human learning. When I was starting out, I was fortunate to have people around me who helped lessen the impact of those falls and even point out the perils of paths I was considering. Over the years, these experiences have led me to seek out similar mentoring opportunities to ensure that this evolutionary cycle continues. Luckily, the opportunities to give back are plentiful.

Here are five ways to give back to those who are starting out in the workplace:

  1. Homegrown Opportunities.

    If you’re unsure of where to begin, check to see if your workplace hosts a mentor program. Early on in my own career, through a mentoring program, I was paired with a wonderful woman who was within a year of retirement. Our meetings were regularly scheduled, but they were informal in nature. Sometimes we’d meet for coffee; other times we’d catch up in the break room. The venue never really mattered. Instead, those hours spent together proved to be priceless — and not in a networking sense, either. I was given the vantage point of someone who’d seen nearly everything and had survived. Looking through her lenses at the world helped me rethink how to react to different scenarios. I also learned to recognize when I was wasting my efforts and redirect my energy to be more productive.

  2. Schools.

    In a manner similar to nonprofits, many schools have programs that have a huge need for volunteers. From Junior Achievement programs and career seminars to young professional or business clubs, it’s almost certain that a school near you would love to have you share your experiences to help youth grow.

  3. Blogging.

    Maybe you don’t have time to be physically present, but that doesn’t lessen the knowledge you’ve gained while earning your tenure. If you have a penchant for writing and a desire to put your wisdom to paper (or rather, a webpage), then by all means, sharing through a blog may be your ticket to helping those who are coming up behind you.


    If you’re able to volunteer your time during business hours or evenings, a nearby nonprofit may have just the opportunity you’re looking for. In my city I have been fortunate enough to connect with a local nonprofit that focuses on helping at-risk youths. One evening each month, I spend about three hours discussing how these soon-to-be graduates can best dive into the workforce. As a recruiter, I offer insights on how their resumes should be crafted and how to knock an interview out of the park. Other times, we simply have open, candid conversations about their hopes, dreams and fears as they set out to tackle college and careers. It’s been immensely rewarding to see the smiles, and sometimes joyful tears, as these young adults return to tell me about the new job they’ve just landed.

  5. Keeping the Door Open.

    Too often, as we enter that comfortable zone in our careers and learn the ropes of networking, we forget that networking is not solely an upward event. By simply making yourself available to your junior peers, you may quickly find yourself providing guidance.


While this list serves as a general guide, there are plenty more ways in which tenured professionals can share their expertise and give back. Nobody, short of heirs and heiresses to royalty, starts out at the top — and even kings and queens have stories to share about how they were able to succeed. It’s important to help empower those who will one day fill our trail-worn shoes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the editor and content manager at ResumeEdge, Michelle Kruse has helped countless job seekers find success. With more than 10 years of experience recruiting for companies like Novartis and IBM, she has firsthand experience of what recruiters are looking for, and she shares that insight with those who need it most. She writes regularly to provide advice on resume writing and interviewing not only because it’s her job, but because it’s her passion.

Competitive Pay and Training on Agenda for the Class of 2015

April 28th, 2015 Comments off

by Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder

The class of 2015 has one more reason to celebrate: In the best outlook since 2007, 65 percent of employers are planning to hire recent college graduates this year, according to a new survey from CareerBuilder. Even better, one third of employers will offer higher pay than last year, and 1 in 4 will pay $50,000 or more. This year’s graduates are certainly entering a competitive workforce, with employers and candidates on more equal footing after the recent economic shake-up and subsequent recovery.

That’s not to say these grads won’t face challenges in the job market, though, and hiring new graduates means embracing their capabilities—and building on their fresh slate. CareerBuilder’s college hiring forecast reveals how.

In-demand majors and complimentary industries

A college degree has become more and more common in the twenty-first century, changing the workforce’s demands and priorities. Hiring managers surveyed are primarily looking to fill positions in information technology (30 percent) and customer service jobs (28 percent), as well as finance/accounting (22 percent), sales (21 percent) and business development (19 percent).

Filling those vacancies means looking for the top of the class. New grads enter the workforce with a beginner’s knowledge of their industry, and employers can capitalize on that energy and ambition. Of the most sought-after grads, employers prioritize interviewing and hiring:

  • Business and technical majors (38 percent)
  • Computer and Information Sciences (27 percent)
  • Engineering (18 percent)
  • Math and Statistics (14 percent)
  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (14 percent)
  • Communications Technologies (12 percent)
  • Engineering Technologies (12 percent)
  • Communication and Journalism (10 percent)
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (9 percent)
  • Science Technologies (8 percent)
  • Education (7 percent)

Payday prospects

Along with a growing job market, lucrative entry-level opportunities are becoming more prevalent. One third (33 percent) of employers who plan to hire recent college graduates will offer higher starting salaries than they did last year. Fifty-seven percent expect no change in salary offers.

Offers before graduation are growing, too, as nearly half of employers (48 percent) say they will make offers to students before they graduate. Expected starting salaries for recent graduates break down as follows:

  • Under $30,000: 26 percent
  • $30,000 to less than $40,000: 28 percent
  • $40,000 to less than $50,000: 20 percent
  • $50,000 and higher: 26 percent


These numbers, however, are not set in stone: The majority of employers (65 percent) say they are willing to negotiate salary offers.

Preparing for challenges

With such bright prospects, it’s tempting to say recent grads will easily transition to the workforce. However, one in five employers feel colleges do not adequately prepare students with crucial workplace competencies, including short-comings like:

  • Too much emphasis on book learning instead of real world learning (46 percent)
  • I need workers with a blend of technical skills and soft skills gained from liberal arts (38 percent)
  • Entry-level roles within my organization are more complex today (22 percent)
  • Not enough focus on internships (15 percent)
  • Technology is changing too quickly for academics to keep up (14 percent)
  • Not enough students are graduating with the degrees my company needs (10 percent)


These are challenges that employers and educators can work together to fix, bridging the gap between the training educators can offer and the soft skills employers are prioritizing. For instance, when asked which skills they think recent college graduates lack for the workplace, most of these employers cited interpersonal or problem-solving skills:

  • Interpersonal or people skills (52 percent)
  • Problem-solving skills (46 percent)
  • Oral communication (41 percent)
  • Leadership (40 percent)
  • Written communication (38 percent)
  • Teamwork (37 percent)
  • Creative thinking (36 percent)
  • Project management (26 percent)
  • Research and analysis (16 percent)
  • Math (15 percent)
  • Computer and technical (13 percent)


Being aware of these common concerns means looking for grads who showcase excellence in these areas, or customizing job descriptions and advertising around the type of entry-level employee you’re looking to bring onboard. With 2015’s impressive forecast for college hiring, recent graduates are a strong asset that can bring new resources and energy to your team.

3 Ways to Leave the Employer Branding Up to Your Employees

April 14th, 2015 Comments off
Employer branding

By Kelly Robinson, founder and CEO of Broadbean Technology

Tim Sackett (@TimSackett) brought up a great point about employer branding in his post, “How Fake is Your Employer Brand.” Tim said:

I think most employment brands are completely fake. The reason I feel this way is because HR and executives approve the messaging. We, HR and executives, are the last people who really know what our employment brand truly is.

Is Tim correct? Well, it depends on who you ask – 36 percent of HR departments manage the employer brand. If you ask HR, execs and marketers who have worked so hard to build out employer branding strategies and campaigns, you’re probably going to get a little bit of backfire. However, if you ask an employee who was completely duped by his or her employer’s branding facade then you’ll find some agreement.

How do we get HR, execs and marketers to be more transparent with their employer branding initiatives? Well, let’s try leaving the branding up to the employees (with a little bit of HR’s direction and marketing’s creativity).

Here are three ways to cut the BS on your employer branding strategy and ensure that your company is honestly represented to job seekers.

  1. Forget the staged, produced video interviews with employees.

Encourage employees to document glimpses of what a typical day in the life would be like at your company and find a way to creatively portray it. Use these videos to show what it’s really like around the office instead of using staged, produced videos … what a snooze.

What do job seekers really want to see? Well, 29 percent of job seekers believe employers don’t do a good enough job reinforcing why their company is a good place to work. One of the best ways to show how your company is a good place to work is through honest, raw footage of your employees in their day-to-day activity. Is Sue always in a good mood and loves to give compliments? Show it. Does Jeff hold the door open for anyone and everyone? Show it. Is Melissa always putting together little contests in the office? Show it, because there are no rules. While these are small acts within your organization, they are what job seekers want to see.

  1. Create specific social accounts that are strictly for employees to use.

Allow them to upload pictures from around the office, team meetings, lunch outings and events that highlight the unique makeup of your workforce. Tumblr and Instagram, photo sharing sites, are growing faster than Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Tumblr is seeing a 120 percent increase in active users, while Instagram is seeing a 64 percent increase. It’s the perfect time to jump on these social networks and show off your employees’ crazy, but hardworking sides.

  1. The employer brand isn’t bound by office walls.

Eighty-eight percent of Millennials want a better work-life balance, so why not show how your employees do just that. Like it was mentioned in No. 1; there are no rules. Start an initiative within your company to find unique stories about the people that make up your workforce. What do they do in their free time? Are they painters? Do they play on a sports team? Have they overcome an enormous obstacle? What differentiates them from the rest of their team and how do they all come together to build an amazing workplace? Job seekers want to see that these employees on your career pages are real people, not actors for your employer branding marketing strategy.

It’s been determined that 2 out of 3 candidates will accept a lower salary if the company gives off a good employer brand. In the candidate-centric recruiting landscape we are in today, employers are fighting for candidates’ attention. Job seekers see through staged initiatives, so instead of being like everyone else… try showing off your brand in a completely genuine way.

This article originally appeared on Broadbean.com.


Kelly Robinson is the founder and CEO of Broadbean Technology, a sourcing and recruitment technology company. Broadbean Technology has created a strong global presence with offices in the US, Europe and Australia The company remains true to the core fundamentals of its inception: “Keep it light and fun while getting the job done!” Kelly writes about leadership and culture, as well as reducing friction in the candidate experience.

Want to Recruit Better? Write Better Job Ads

March 30th, 2015 Comments off
Job ad

By Kelly Robinson, founder and CEO of Broadbean Technology

Today’s recruiters have so much to do. When I started in the business, my job was to find people, qualified people, and there were a few ways to do it. Now it feels like there are multiple ways to find a person; each one more complex and complicated than the last. I know that these more complex solutions are a boon to the recruiters that are working the phones (email?) today but it does seem to add some friction to the process and in doing so, add a touch of frustration to both the recruiter and the candidates they serve.

It’s a recurring theme actually, when you see much of what’s being presented and written in today’s blogs and conferences; that people are trying to take the personal touch out of the recruitment process and replace the recruiter with a machine, algorithm or database. Is this true? If true, is it bad? Let’s look at a place ripe for innovation, and not in the classical sense. No algorithm or new software can do this, let’s look at job advertisements.

Also called the requirement, the job description, the JD, the job advertisement and in its latest iteration, recruitment marketing; this humble, yet powerful piece of the recruitment process often goes so far overlooked as to be a joke. If someone is on an employer branding campaign kick, it’s usually the last thing to be “innovated” after the new career site, the added social accounts, the mission/vision/values piece, even after the new job boards and distribution has been selected. But when it comes to connecting with candidates, standing out from the competition, creating a frictionless…yes “experience,” nothing beats a well-written job advertisement.

Impactful and Ignored

Job advertisements are the first thing your candidates will see. Yet often, they’re short and terse, with little to no discernible personality or information. Many are simple copy and paste jobs from the job requirements the recruiter receives from the hiring manager. But the difference between the job requirement and the job advertisement is as different as the size and color on the side of a shoe box and a Tom Ford magazine ad. One is designed to inform (you…the recruiter); the other is designed to sell, capture, attract. Do your job ads do that? Or do you simply do the bare minimum? Would you respond to this: java expert, 12 years exp, Philadelphia area, $80/hr.

Of course not.

Standing Out From the Crowd

The good news is, if you’ve been phoning it in when it comes to job ads, you’re not alone. Thousands of other recruiters are doing the same thing and therein lies the beauty of taking just a little more time to craft a compelling job advertisement. It will set you apart, particularly in the agency world. In fact, in a recent CareerBuilder survey, 75 percent of job seekers reported that the look and feel of a posting influences their decision to apply.

There’s an obvious way to make your job postings better. Getting out-recruited and out-marketed by a rival? Look at their job advertisements and career site to see where you could use some help. There is still room for the short and sweet job ad, but it belongs on Twitter.

Let’s Get Practical

At the very minimum, a more verbose and descriptive job advertisement helps with SEO. This is very attractive from a corporate and employer brand standpoint, because over time you will start getting found for favorable terms like “great compensation,” “marketing talent” or “fun culture” — particularly if you use these terms repeatedly. Practically speaking, unless you’re being charged by the word (and we aren’t anymore, this isn’t newspaper recruiting) you should be descriptive.

But don’t go on too long. Giving your readers (candidates) a hankering for more is a time honored advertising trick. Why shouldn’t you use it when trying to sell applicants on a job?

Bells and Whistles

While recruiters are more pressed for time than ever before, we also have access to more tools and technology than ever before and much of it is free. From video to simple user experience and readability tricks, take the time to make your posting attractive. It only takes a minute:

Even if you don’t have the time or the money to create a video for every job posting or to run it through the copy department when you need a new hire, job advertisement writing is fast becoming a required skill for those involved talent acquisition. So, at the minimum, use bullets and bolded copy to draw attention to important words, state the obvious when it comes to salary and duties, focus on outcomes and expectations and ease up the laundry list of “nice to haves”. Finally, when crafting great job advertisements, focus on what your company has to offer as well.


  • Company logos or slogans can increase applications by 13 percent to 21 percent.
  • Job postings with video icons are viewed 12 percent more than postings without video.
  • Postings with compensation listed (even a ballpark!) get a higher rate of applications.


This article originally appeared on Broadbean.com.


Kelly Robinson is the founder and CEO of Broadbean Technology, a sourcing and recruitment technology company. Broadbean Technology has created a strong global presence with offices in the US, Europe and Australia The company remains true to the core fundamentals of its inception: “Keep it light and fun while getting the job done!” Kelly writes about leadership and culture, as well as reducing friction in the candidate experience.