One Last Summer Fling: A Longing Glance Back at August’s Workplace News and Trends

September 1st, 2011 Comments off

Relaxing on the porch in summer with a drinkWell, September’s arrived, in all its changing leaves and apple picking and perky back to school-ness. But while we’re eyeing fall hayrides, relationships, report cards, or menu overhauls, let’s savor the last of the warm summer breezes, sit on the porch swing with a cool drink, and take a moment to enjoy August’s workplace news, trends, and gossip. After all, quite a lot happened in the last month — let’s take a look:

Klout is getting more and more buzz — but when it comes to your recruitment, what kind of impact should Klout have on your decisions (if any)? We took a closer look at the pros and cons. While you trying to improve your real-life clout by rubbing elbows with Michael J. Fox or Tony Hsieh at 2011′s SHRM conference, you just might have missed SHRM’s best presentations. Don’t worry, we’ve got some of them for you here. And hopefully you didn’t miss our monthly #cbjobchat, but if you did, you missed a lot of great exchanges about tough interview questions — not to worry, though, you can catch the next one on Monday, Sept. 12 at 7:00 p.m. CST. Join us!

Speaking of interviewing, we went ahead and created an entire ebook dedicated to the subject, From Q&A to Z: The Hiring Manager’s Complete Interviewing Guide (PDF). It’s free, it’s all for you, it’s all about interviewing... go nuts. And while interview questions can run the gamet from great to horror-inducing, resumes have their fair share of memorable moments, too, from statements about the Moonwalk to deadly animal bites.

While we’re on the subject of deadly things, have you thought about your personal brand as a recruiter — and how not having one may actually be really damaging for your business? If not, it’s a good time to start — there are some really easy ways to get your name out and legitimize you with interested candidates.

As an employer or recruiter, finding new ways to brand your company is essential — and many companies are turning to online video. Did you know it’s the fastest-growing medium for consuming content? All types of companies are investing in video to help them attract better candidates, brand themselves as an employer of choice, and more — you can download our free video, Streaming Talent, (just by answering a few questions) to find out how it can improve your own recruiting.

Shortly before July’s BLS numbers came out, CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box to discuss job expectations versus job creation; the industry with the biggest skill shortage right now; the area hottest in wage growth, and more. When we did see the BLS numbers, we cringed a little. But then we realized the sky probably isn’t falling, so we hid that Chicken Little costume in the depths of our closets (you know, just in case). With finding quality workers a challenge for many employers, and unemployment still such a big issue, there are two worker groups that bring unique skills to the workplace and shouldn’t be overlooked: veteran employees and older workers.

We found out that while employers do value IQ, many are listening to their hearts (cue Roxette) and favoring emotional intelligence more strongly. But where does emotional intelligence matter most?

Many workers are also listening to their wallets — and finding them filled with empty promises (INFOGRAPHIC). Though the financial situation is improving for many, many workers are still living paycheck to paycheck — but there are still some things (cough Internet cough) they’re hesitant to give up.

 What did we miss? What was your favorite (or most cringe-worthy) August workplace news moment?









Managing the Older Worker — Why It’s More Vital Now than Ever

August 29th, 2011 Comments off

Older worker in the workforce“Ask your neighbor what they do,” said Peter Cappelli to the room full of us in the Managing the Older Worker session at 2011′s SHRM conference. Most people in the room complied. “Then,” he continued, “ask them how old they are.” People laughed nervously; no one moved.

That was how Cappelli, the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and co-author of Managing the Older Worker: How to Prepare for the New Organizational Order, started his discussion on older workers — and as he went on, he explained the current surge in older workers we’re seeing, shared his thoughts on ways in which older workers are better hires than their younger counterparts, discussed how employers can best engage the older generation, and more.

Why the big workplace shift?

The workforce is getting older — and it’s causing a lot of age-related changes in the workplace that many companies are ill-equipped to deal with. Why? Well, first of all, said Cappelli, we’re living longer — babies born in 2010 will live 10 years longer than those born in 1950. If your parents are 65, he added, there is a 50 percent chance that at least one of them will live to the age of 90.

Second of all, we’re also living healthier, and the percentage of older workers who need to work (to support living longer) is growing. And even they don’t have to work, many older people are healthy and want to keep busy; 84 percent say they would work even if they were set for life — not to work for the money, but to stay active.

As more people are increasingly working full-time and baby boomers are getting older, the workforce is also getting older. Basically, Cappelli said, longer life, baby boomers, and people working longer are the three main factors driving an older workforce.

What do older workers want?

Learning how to work with all the generations in the workplace is important for employers, but with a growing older workforce, it’s even more important that we examine what older workers actually want (hint: as mentioned above, it’s not really about the money).

  • A friendly environment — 94%
  • The chance to use their skills — 94%
  • The chance to do something worthwhile — 91%
  • To feel respected by coworkers — 90%
  • The opportunity to learn something new — 88%
  • The ability to help others — 86%
  • Adequate paid time off — 86%
  • Health care and insurance benefits — 84%
  • A flexible schedule — 76%
  • To do something they’ve always wanted to do — 75%

The problem? They’re not getting it — because they can’t find work

A whopping 75 percent of those workers approaching typical retirement age want to keep working — but of those workers, only about one-half actually do. Of those who do find new jobs, only one-quarter can actually get hired by somebody else. Many older workers become self-employed because they have a hard time getting anyone to hire them.

Why can’t older individuals find work?

After all, employers complain of not being able to find quality workers, but compared to their younger colleagues, older workers:

  • Quit less, are absent less, and have fewer accidents (even car accidents)
  • Have more knowledge and better social skills
  • Have better job performance
  • Are happier, as it’s shown that people get happier as they get older (you want happy workers, right?)

The only thing older workers are generally poorer at, said Cappelli, is solving novel problems under time pressure without aids (advice, calculators, or other help); for example, taking SAT tests — yep, that’s it.

What do employers say they want?

  • A just-in-time workforce that doesn’t need training and can “hit the ground running.”
  • Flexible workforce that isn’t expecting long-term commitments
  • Better interpersonal skills
  • Better “knowledge management” of tacit information

Older workers are a perfect fit for what employers say they want – more flexibility, better interpersonal skills and workers who can hit the ground running.

Do older workers cost more?

Quite simply, no. Though there’s a general misconception that this is the case, there’s no premium in the labor market for age – only for experience. Yes, older workers’ health care use is greater, Cappelli said, but they don’t have dependents to pay for (no pregnancies or little kids). In fact, doubling your percentage of 55-year-old workers raises your business’s total compensation costs by a mere 1 percent.

So why aren’t more older workers being hired?

To sum it up in a phrase, age discrimination. I was surprised when Cappellis said that age discrimination becomes apparent for 36.5 percent of older workers at the age of 50. As Cappelli pointed out, we as a society think certain topics or demographics are off-limits when it comes to comedy, yet the one topic deemed not offensive is making fun of older people, which suggests how common it is to hear, see, and accept people being disparaging about age. Age discrimination appears to be more common than gender or race discrimination, Cappelli added, and 67 percent say they’ve experienced or seen it on the job. In addition, 25 percent of employers say their organization is reluctant to hire older workers (and that’s only the percentage that admit it).

It’s even worse when it comes to the IT field: The majority of IT employers said they wouldn’t hire anyone over 40.

Older workers — and younger supervisors

As the workforce ages, executives are actually getting younger, and the percentage of supervisors who are younger than their subordinates is growing. It’s no secret that older workers and younger supervisors don’t exactly mesh all of the time — and as Cappelli said, this conflict is compounding the issue of older workers having trouble getting work.

We’re seeing retired workers coming back into the workforce and take lower jobs, because younger supervisors are acting as gatekeepers to keep many older workers out. But why?

  • 88 percent of employers worry about hiring older workers because of conflicts with younger workers (talk about a never-ending cycle), among them the fact that younger supervisors are less likely to give older workers feedback or hold them accountable.
  • Younger supervisors are also more likely to believe that performance problems with older subordinates can’t be fixed.
  •  Younger supervisors, many of whom rely on a “carrots and sticks” mentality that encourages a promotion for doing well and a demotion/getting fired for not doing well, are afraid of managing more experienced subordinates, because these things  don’t matter as much or go over well with older workers later in their careers. Older workers are less motivated by pay, and less afraid of being fired. The formal  “because I said so” or “because I know best”type of authority doesn’t work with them.
  • Younger supervisors are uncomfortable managing older workers — traditionally, it’s been flipped, and they just can’t shake their feeling that they shouldn’t be in a position of power.

Can we fix this?
The short answer? Yes. The solution, according to Cappelli, involves a different model of leadership and management practices, and in his presentation, he mentioned a few ways for organizations to better work with older workers in their organization:

  • Tailor your rewards and benefits to their lifestyle and interests: The promotion, bonus or stock options don’t matter as much to older workers, as mentioned above. Instead, provide motivation through meaningful work and social relationships; these factors are a bigger priority for older workers than financial- or career advancement-motivated rewards.
  • Consult and empower them: Older workers want to be consulted, so ask them to participate in the decision process on a project or challenge a bit more. They have experience behind them and wisdom to solve many workplace problems, so ask them to get involved.
  • Don’t ignore them: Older workers don’t want to be ignored, and they still need to be managed. Remember that managing someone older doesn’t mean you’re giving up authority; older workers must be held accountable, too.
  • Initiate mentoring/onboarding: Companies like Deloitte have taken advantage of older workers’ unique talents by asking them to share problems they see in the organization that they’d like to work on and fix. Their attitude is, “If you think it’s a good idea, we will too, almost without exception. We trust you.”


Sometimes, Cappelli said, older workers have to help younger supervisors understand how to best manage them — and to engage younger supervisors in different types of relationships by taking initiative and speaking up for things like what motivates them, the type of environment they want to be in, or their strengths.

How has your workplace found ways to better integrate older and younger generations?

The Best Presentations You Didn’t See at SHRM 2011

August 12th, 2011 Comments off

While you were busy hobnobbing with Michael J. Fox, greasing up with the Thunder From Down Under or singing along with da best singer in da world at Caesar’s Palace, here’s what you might’ve missed at CareerBuilder’s booth during SHRM 2011…

The following videos feature presentations given by our recruitment experts during SHRM’s annual conference in Las Vegas this past June, and they cover everything from social media, video and mobile recruiting efforts to the wonders of data intelligence, to what CEO’s really want from HR.

See below, or check them on our YouTube channel.

Emerging Media and Your Recruitment Strategy

Here, CareerBuilder’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Jamie Womack, discusses how and why companies need to utilize social media, online and mobile platforms for recruitment right now.

Your Company in 2020

Building an integrated recruitment strategy is a much different task today than it was three years ago. Here, Jamie Womack talks about how to build a talent pipeline to fuel your company’s future growth, pulling in aspects of messaging and emerging media and compensation.

Data Not Just For Data’s Sake

Personified’s VP of Development, Abdel Tefridj, demonstrated both the need and the opportunity for business leaders to use data – and use it more efficiently – as they make critical decisions daily in an ever-changing world.

What Your CEO Wants to Know

This year was particularly exciting for CareerBuilder, as our CEO, Matt Ferguson, presented during the SHRM official sessions. Here he is at the Las Vegas Hilton, discussing a recent nationwide survey of CEOs that highlights how the CEO/HR professional relationship has evolved over the last five years.

What’d you think? Anything we didn’t cover that you’d like to see next year? Let us know!


Why Gen Y? Plugging Into a Generational Powerhouse at SHRM 2011

July 22nd, 2011 Comments off


Gen Y workers in a busy office“What words come to mind when I say “Gen Y”? Aaron Kesher asked the many SHRM 2011 attendees packed into the room.  “Entitled!” shouted one person. “Job hoppers,” chimed in another. Soon, many in the room (many of them non-Gen Yers, with some Gen Y members sprinkled in) were shouting things like “smart,” “resume builders,” “technically savvy,” “stereotype,” “comfortable with change,” and “creative.”

Obviously, we all have specific words and phrases and ideas that match how we perceive Gen Y to think and behave in the workplace. Gen Y, made up of those born between 1980 and 2000, has their own notions of themselves, too. In Aaron Kesher’s “Why Y? Plugging Into a Generational Powerhouse” session at SHRM 2011, Kesher encouraged all of us in the room to rethink our notions of what we think Gen Y is all about, to consider the strengths they bring to today’s dynamic workplace, and to use this knowledge and understanding to more successfully recruit and retain Gen Y workers.

“Do not doubt that this generation will change the face of the American workplace as their parents did,” Kesher said. “In the next five to 10 years, Kesher said, the number of Gen Yers in the workforce will increase dramatically.”

As the number of Gen Y workers is only getting larger, it’s about time we as a collective workplace learn more about Gen Y so that we can understand them, appreciate their unique strengths, and more successfully integrate them with other generations in the workplace.

What is work from a Gen Y Perspective?

  • Work ethic: Job loyalty, for a long time, was shown by how long you stuck around and paid your dues — and older generations still think in line with this. Gen Y, on the other hand, says, “I show you love by how hard I work, not how long I stick around.”
  • Tech savvy: It’s not so much that Gen Yers are tech savvy, Kesher pointed out – they’re tech dependent.They’re the generation that’s come of age with the explosion of technology, so it’s natural that they would be comfortable with it.
  • Communication and teamwork: Gen Y is not necessarily entitled; they just feel comfortable asking for what they want. When it comes to communication, you can often count on Gen Yers to spread out the message fast and often. We need to realize, Kesher said, that throughout Gen Y’s public education, the majority of the work was done in groups, and that their role wasn’t usually as the leader of a group – instead, many were “equal” team members. Therefore, many Gen Y members function fairly well as a group and as “team players,” but some struggle in standing out as individual, assertive leaders.
  • Money:  Employers, listen up: Gen Y is talking to each other about the money they are (or aren’t) making at your organization. They are comparing how competitive your salary is with your competitors — and they’re not afraid to share their findings. One audience member mentioned recently hearing Gen Yers discussing openly the job offers and bonuses they were getting — and she was shocked.  After all, discussing how much money you make is one of the last great American taboos — yet Gen Y seems more comfortable with discussing this sort of information.
  • Recognition: Gen Y is a generation of the “there are no losers – everyone’s a winner” mentality. “But they didn’t make that up (boomer parents),” Kesher pointed out, to a round of laughter. Gen Yers don’t care how it gets done – they just want to get it done. And they want to be told they did a good job once they do it; recognition is very important.
  • Diversity: “Why do only white people work here?” might be something a Gen Y worker thinks while viewing a company site or sitting in the lobby while waiting to be interviewed and noticing the lack of diverse employees. Gen Y doesn’t embrace diversity – they expect it — and if your company says you believe in diversity, but then a Gen Y worker shows up and all workers look the same – they will think you’re not living up to your diversity message. This generation has grown up with a greater awareness of and comfort with diversity of all kinds. From home lives, to school experiences, to messages absorbed from pop culture, they often don’t see what all the fuss is. This can manifest as difficulty in understanding why others struggle with issues around differences. A question of whether gay marriage should be legalized, for example, is a non-issue for many Gen Y individuals — and this shift ties into a larger cultural shift in general.
  • Work versus life: “I love my job, but I love my life more” — that’s something you may hear a lot of Gen Yers say. One of the critical issues that will need to be ironed out at work in the future, Kesher said, will revolve around workplace flexibility. We’re increasingly seeing workplace flexibility issues evolving in the workplace, and Gen Y workers in particular (though they’re not alone) want to know how they can maintain their relationship with work while still having the flexibility to live the life they envision. As mentioned above, Gen Y has no problem with work, or with the idea of working hard — it’s just that their job will never be the whole of their identity. They raised with the imperative to “follow your dreams!”, and their job and life may intersect in new ways than we’ve seen in past generations. “Gen Y,” Kesher stressed, “doesn’t want a job – they want a life that hopefully includes a job.”
  • Being green: This is the generation that’s leading the green movement – so give them the power to build, make changes, and become leaders in your organization’s (existing or non-existing) green movement.

Why worry about Gen Y?

Ensuring that the different generations working together under one roof actually work well together is a big concern for many employers. After all, if knowledge isn’t able to be sufficiently shared from generation to generation, older generations will eventually retire — taking with them decades of experience. In addition, workers who work well together are likely to be happier, more productive, and better brand ambassadors for your company.

To effectively work with Gen Y workers, Kesher said, you don’t need to change who you are – just your approach. In a great reverse example of this, an audience member told the story of her (as a Gen Y worker) learning to compromise with a Silent Generation worker. The older worker, she said, took a long time to respond to emails, but whenever she had a printed piece for him to look at, he worked much more quickly. After figuring this out, she started printing out  her emails to him and putting them on his desk – and now his turnaround time on feedback to her is much faster. It’s small steps like this that can make a big difference between two generations that don’t always see eye to eye — or medium to medium.

By learning the “why” behind this generation’s interests, ideas, and behaviors, you will understand how Gen Y workers function best in the workplace, and you will be better prepared to recruit and retain them. Here are some ideas to get you started, courtesy of Kesher:

6 ways to more successfully recruit Gen Y:

  1. Have fun. Use the media to get your company message out there. Gen Y is all over social networks, and as mentioned above, they are very comfortable with technology, so get in front of them on various mediums — and get creative in your efforts. Speak their language; what have you learned about the things that matter to them that you as an employer are able to provide? Connect work to their lives; how do the two successfully intersect in your work environment? Are you able to offer workers a great work/life balance and opportunities for them to enrich their lives outside of the office walls? Show them.
  2. Challenge them. Gen Y workers are attracted to a challenge, so by providing your employees with interesting work that asks them to get outside their comfort zone and take risks, and lets them make mistakes and fail, you are likely to get these workers’ attention.
  3. Give them opportunities. Do you give your employees multiple paths to explore when taking on a project, or find ways for their work to have an impact on the organization as a whole? Demonstrate to job seekers that you encourage employees to do work that is meaningful and and makes a difference outside of your organization. Do you give employees opportunities to further their training, brush up on their skills, or learn new disciplines outside of their current role to help them grow both inside and out of work?
  4. Support their lifestyle. Recognize the importance their life outside of work has to them, and understand that they have often strong, close connections with their families (Kesher gave the example of parents calling to ask why their son or daughter got a bad review example, or dropping off a resume for their child — it happens more than you might think). Offer flexibility in your benefits, and realize that for many Gen Y workers, the line between work and personal life has blurred. Work happens at home, and vice versa — does your organization support a flexible workplace?
  5. Embody diversity. Show it, don’t just talk about it! Demonstrate to potential employees how diversity integrates with your organization’s mission – but be authentic. Job seekers can see right through empty words; be true to your values by actually being a diverse workplace.
  6. Reinforce your mission. Show job seekers the “why” – why is the work your organization does important to the rest of world? What is the larger context of the projects you take on, or of your core business? Reinforce your mission constantly, and help workers find connections to others in the organization through social media, your website, or in-person interactions.

… And 5 ways to retain them:

  1. Make them feel at home the first day. This does not mean simply showing them the employee handbook, their cubicle, bathroom code, and then leaving them alone. Plan on a longer orientation duration than in the past. Establish personal connections with employees — and continue building those relationships throughout your employees’ tenure.
  2. Give them feedback. They want more rather than less, and they want it sooner rather than later. Recognize everything employees are doing, and give them honest and open feedback. Waiting five years to get to the next step in an organization isn’t realistic anymore, Kesher pointed out — so provide them with the tools they need for success and career advancement. Give employees more chances for lateral development by helping them learn new skills, get new certifications, and expand their knowledge base.
  3. Allow them to fail! Define clear expectations for tasks and projects, give them incremental goals along the way, and find ways to connect the work they’re doing to their personal values and goals. Let them stretch their boundaries, make mistakes, and learn from them — and most of all, listen to your employees. They want to give you input, so make it easier on them by asking for it where you can, and being available as a resource and mentor.
  4. Again, listen. Pay attention to them (they’re going to talk to you a lot), be aware of their personal goals, and lead horizontally. They’re living in a world of connectedness and entitled communication; hierarchy isn’t as built into their mindset as it is in generations past. Try to be their leader without looking down on them.
  5. Connect with them. Get to know them and what they’re all about (and hey, maybe even their helicopter parents, too). If you want respect from Gen Y workers, you have to give it. Many Gen Y workers feel misunderstood by their peers or their leaders; by working to connect with them and encouraging other employees to do the same, you will begin to chip away at the negative Gen Y stereotypes that are actually hindering generational progress in the workplace.

 Moving forward, together

During the session, a Gen Y professional raised her hand and pointed out that as an HR professional, she’s noticed a lot of overly negative critiques of Gen Y workers. She wondered why we couldn’t focus on the positive traits of Gen Y to hook into as a great resource — a great point, and one that Kesher drove home in his presentation.

After all, every time we think another generation doesn’t have something we have, Kesher said, we’re stereotyping. Every generation has boundaries and a work ethic — they may just happen to be different than ours.

But isn’t the fact that such a multitude of perspectives, ideas, backgrounds and behaviors exist what makes the workplace so great?

Managing People You Can’t See: A Cheat Sheet

July 5th, 2011 Comments off

“You already possess the skills to needed to manage people you can’t see. I’m just going to wake them up for you,” Kyra Cavanaugh told the audience of human resources, hiring and recruiting professionals last week to open her SHRM 2011 session, Managing People You Can’t See.

Those “people you can’t see” to which Cavanaugh, President of workplace solutions firm Life Meets Work, Inc., was referring are the employees who work remotely, a part of the workforce that is increasing day by day.

Recognizing the need to address the challenges that come with either managing people who work remotely or working remotely oneself, Cavanaugh led a highly interactive – and highly engaging – session in which she provided eight tips for managing and working with remote teams.

Eight Tips for Managing People You Can’t See

  1. Identify and Acknowledge Discomfort.Regardless of your management style, you’re bound to feel a level of discomfort when managing people you can’t see. The solution? “We have to arm ourselves with knowledge and information to get more comfortable.” Of course, this requires some introspection. Consider your management style. (Do you tend to be more trusting or more controlling as a manager?) Then identify the challenges to that style, and finally, explore the various skills or tactics you can you use to fill the gaps.
  2. Evaluate Remote Work Requests Objectively. Remote work requests should be handled like any other business decision, says Cavanaugh. “It’s not about ‘Is this a good enough reason?’ It’s about ‘What does the business need?’” The following factors should come into play:
    1. Needs of business
    2. Nature of position
    3. Individual work style
    4. Department restrictions/limitations
    5. Individual performance
  3. Say either “Yes, and…’ or “No, and…”Always give a reason for your decision. If you say no, explain why, especially if it has to do with the individual’s work style or performance (Cavanaugh suggests saying something along the lines of “I’m not comfortable with this for these reasons, but if you improve in these areas, we can revisit this in a few months.”)On the other hand, if you say yes, make sure you explain any concerns you have going into it, and establish ground rules (e.g. “If we find in a few months that business needs aren’t being met, we may have to revisit this decision.”).
  4. Agree Upon and Document Team Values.  Create a “Virtual Teams Agreement,” a physical document – to be reviewed every six months – outlining a certain set of behaviors that everyone on the team helps create and agrees on.For example, the agreement should take into account all the ways your team interacts (e.g. “How often do we need to respond to emails? Check voicemails? Have meetings where everyone is physically present? Are conference calls mandatory? What’s optional?”) and ways to hold each other accountable.A VTA will not only create mutual understanding over expectations, but it will also “eliminate any feelings of jealousy over ‘why does she get to work remotely and I can’t?’” Cavanaugh says.
  5. Harness Technology. From project management software to CRM tools, to micro-blogging sites (like Twitter and Yammer), to Wiki’s, there are so many resources today that enable remote teams to work together–it’s just a matter of picking your poison (so to speak).“Every team has preference over which technologies they like.  Have that conversation with your team” to find out their preferences – and don’t be afraid to mix it up.
  6. Set Goals and Track Performance. Make sure you clearly communicate deadlines and projects. Everyone should know who is responsible for completing which part of the project when in order to “ensure everyone’s on same page.”One thing Cavanaugh suggests is utilizing is flash reports, short reports employees submit each week (or maybe or even every day) outlining three pieces of information: What they accomplished this week, what obstacles they encountered, and what they’ll do next week. Flash reports not only set expectations, but they hold people accountable for finishing their goals.
  7. Communicate Deliberately. “When we can’t see each other, we can’t read body language,” Cavanaugh says, and that can be dangerous, because body language tells us so much. We do not always know when someone is being serious or sarcastic in an email…but we also tend not to ask.  For that reason “we have to have those conversations we do not want to have.”
  8. Build a Strong, Cohesive Team. “People want to be participating in something bigger than themselves,” Cavanaugh says. For this reason, it’s important to build a sense of community by promoting teamwork. Team building among remote teams is certainly not an easy task, but it’s not an impossible one, either. It just requires a little innovation.For example, Cavanaugh suggests building a PowerPoint, wherein each person has a section in which they can talk about anything they want – from recent accomplishments to vacation plans.

Do you work with remote teams? What management tips have you found work for you?

Do This, Not That: Behavioral Interviewing Done Right

July 1st, 2011 Comments off

“Who here is hiring right now?” Nancy Newell asked the attendees of SHRM 2011 in Las Vegas this past week, before quickly answering her own question: “Every hand should be up. We’re always looking for great talent.”

To help the human resource managers and recruiting professionals in her audience do just that, Newell, SPHR and a principal at nth degree consulting, led the audience in a session called, “Beyond Behavioral Interviewing: Asking the RIGHT Questions, Evaluating the Answers.”

Newell discussed the following strategies for what to do – and what to avoid – when it comes to finding the right candidate through behavioral interviewing.

Do This: Look beyond interview skills.
Not That: Mistake a good interviewer for a good candidate.
Candidates today are more sophisticated than they used to be, Newell told the crowd. They know what interviewers want to hear.  “They’re good at interviewing, because a lot of them have had a lot of practice at it.” Someone who has been in the workforce for five, 10 or 20 years, however, will have rusty interview skills. That doesn’t necessarily predict what sort of employee that person will be.

Do This: Gather information during the interview.
Not That: Evaluate information during the interview.
The interview process is your data-gathering process. The assessment should come after the interview. “If you find yourself evaluating during interview, I’m not going to tell you not to do it, but I want you to be aware of when it happens,” Newell said.  Everyone has biases, Newell admitted, but theses biases create “a filter that isn’t necessarily there, and that precludes you from making an accurate assessment for how this person will live in your organization.” You can’t always help it when your biases come out, but be able to recognize them for what they are so you can move on and focus on the purpose of the interview: gathering information.

Do This: Ask about past behavior.
Not That: Ask about potential behavior.
Asking about specific past behavior will give you the most accurate predictor of future behaviors – and the more recent, the better.  A question that begins with “Tell me about a time when…” for example, is much more predictive than “What would you do if…” which tends to lead candidates to say what they think you want to hear, rather than give a real-life example that provides insight into their skills, personality and work ethic.

Do This: Get the information you need up front.
Not That: Give the milk away for free.
Ask the questions first, then talk about the job and the company. Start by coaching candidates through the interview process, explaining the format and that there will be time for questions at the end. But don’t lead them by talking up front about the job and the organization, which enables them to give you the answers they know you want to hear. Remember, what you say and when you say it matters.

Do This: Consider the skills and competencies needed for the job.
Not That: Consider ONLY at skills and competencies need for the job. “There’s more to a job than skills and competencies. There’s a whole team to consider,” Newell said. When interviewing candidates, consider what skills are needed to round out the team, which skills will work best with the manager, and which skills will work best for your organization’s customers. Also, be sure to consider the skills you’re willing to train them on, so you don’t waste time asking about those. In short: hire for cultural fit as well as skills and competencies.

Do This: Ask the same questions of every candidate.
Not That: Apply the above rule to follow-up questions
. “If we aren’t measuring candidates by the same yardstick,” Newell said, meaning asking the same questions of every candidate, “we have no reliability or predictability in the interview process…the yardstick doesn’t measure anything.” Follow up questions, however, can and should be different. Don’t be afraid to “pull the thread” to get the entire picture. Not only will you be able to ensure the behaviors your candidates talk about are consistent, but you’ll also be able to see whether or not their initial responses were genuine.

Finally, do this: Accept that there’s no “magic bullet” to getting the right answers from candidates and ensuring the right hire. If you invest the time, energy and discipline into the process, you’ll reap the rewards in the long term. According to Newell, “It’s not an easy process, but it’s so worth it.”

This is Heavy, Doc: Leadership Lessons from Michael J. Fox

June 30th, 2011 Comments off

Michael J. FOx at SHRM 2011I’m going back to the future to start my SHRM 2011 Conference recap posts at the end of the conference, because frankly, hearing Michael J. Fox deliver the final general session yesterday was the highlight of my SHRM experience. (Now had I won an iPad, this might be an entirely different post….)

Going into the Las Vegas Conference Center to hear Fox’s speech yesterday, I already had high hopes. After all, this is Alex P. Keaton, y’all!! Marty-effing-McFly! Teen Wolf – the original!

And if I’m being completely honest, part of me really, really just wanted to hear him tell the audience, “Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes.”

But what Fox delivered far exceeded my expectations. Articulate and inspiring, Fox charmed the crowd with his humor and honesty, giving a brief history of his childhood, explaining how he got into show business, before launching into his discovery that he had Parkinson’s Disease, until finally discussing how the disease became the greatest gift he never asked for.

“Don’t play the result.”
Fox opened by giving the crowd the first acting lesson he ever received as a child growing up in Canada: “Don’t play the result,” a lesson he now applies to life. “You can’t play as though you know how the scene is going to end,” he told the audience.

“For me, this saying is about opportunities…The script of your life is not yet written.” You can’t plan for every event that’s going to happen in your life, but that shouldn’t restrict you. In fact, it is those unexpected events that create opportunities to try something new.

“Loss doesn’t create a vacuum. It creates opportunities.”
Shortly after going public with his disease (“Here’s a tip: If you ever want to get a secret out, tell Barbara Walters and People Magazine,” he joked…I think), Fox said he heard about a fan who also had Parkinson’s Disease and explained it to people as “like what Michael J. Fox has.”

At that point, Fox realized that he had the opportunity to help others like him by becoming an activist and using his fame to promote awareness and find a cure. He decided to start an organization specifically focused on finding a cure for Parkinson’s, because while there are federally mandated initiatives geared toward medical research, “what we don’t have is a Department of Cures. There’s no Secretary of Cures…Cures don’t seem to be anyone’s priorities.”

In setting up The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease, Fox made it his mission to assure anyone who, like him, was hoping to be cured of Parkinson’s, that while there might not be a cure available just yet, “at the very least, we’re on the job.”

“The choice I didn’t make…”
In addition to new opportunities, Fox has also discovered the power of choice. He realized early on that Parkinson’s didn’t have to limit him – not if he didn’t want it to. “The only choice not available to me is whether or not I have Parkinson’s. Everything else is my call,” Fox told the audience. He then reflected on Dwight, the bitter, world-weary character he played on several episodes of the TV series “Rescue Me,” whom he said was easy for him to play because he identified so well with the character.

“I know Dwight. Dwight was the choice I didn’t make,” Fox told the audience. The result of not making that choice, he found, has been more rewarding than he could ever imagine.

“The gift that keeps on taking…”
Despite everything he has endured, Fox calls Parkinson’s Disease a “gift.” (“It’s the gift that keeps on taking, but it’s a gift.”) It was, after all, this disease that gave him the opportunity to give back with his foundation. On a more personal level, it opened the door to bond more closely with his children (he calls the day he disclosed his disease to his son “one of the best afternoon’s of my life”) and his wife, Tracy Pollan.

“Parkinson’s has always put me in a box,” he told the audience. “Tracy has become expert at folding it up, turning it over and easing me out…We’ve given more to each other than Parkinson’s has taken away.”

Initially, Fox might seem an odd pick as the person to give the closing speech at SHRM, but his determination to see opportunity where others might see limitations is clearly a lesson for leaders everywhere.

It certainly moved the crowd at SHRM.

Before walking off-stage to a standing ovation, Fox closed by repeating his opening statement for emphasis: “Whatever you do, never ever play the result.”

Recruitment Shouldn’t Be a Gamble: Join CareerBuilder at SHRM 2011 in Las Vegas

May 27th, 2011 Comments off

SHRM 2011Obviously, there are a lot of reasons the team over here at CareerBuilder is excited to be in Las Vegas this year for SHRM – spectacular food, shopping and shows, the chance to relive the epic skydiving Elvises scene from Honeymoon in Vegas, etc….but the chance to meet all of the conference attendees is at the top of that list. Honestly. (I mean, Vegas is great and all, but if you’ve seen one American Storm show, you’ve seen ‘em all…I’ve heard.)

SHRM, after all, provides us one of the best opportunities to get quality one-on-one time with you, the people who are the driving force behind our mission to match the right people with the right companies. That said, if you’re planning to go to SHRM this year, I highly encourage you to visit us at booth 2217 on the showroom floor.

Here’s a run-through of everything we’ve got going on:

Cash in Your Chips and Spin to Win Free Giveaways

All SHRM attendees will receive a mail piece with a custom CareerBuilder poker chip in the mail in the weeks leading up to the conference. Bring this chip with you to Vegas, where you can “cash it in” at our booth – booth 2217 – for a spin at our prize wheel. (Did I mention we’re also going to have a daily $1000 Grand Prize giveaway?)

Forgot your chip? Not a problem. You can earn additional chips by participating in any or all of the following activities taking place at our booth:

  • Check out an in-booth presentation on current recruitment trends. (Detailed schedule to come)
  • Participate in a social media video: Look out for our camera crew, who will be out on the showroom floor, shooting man-on-the street videos, gathering testimonials and asking job seeker questions that will be featured on our social media sites.
  • Stop by a workstation and speak with one of our recruitment experts.
  • Download the new CareerBuilder Mobile App.
  • Follow us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.
  • Attend What Your CEO Wants to Know on Monday, June 27 at the Las Vegas Hilton, featuring CareerBuilder’s own CEO, Matt Ferguson

Featured Presentations at Booth 2217 with Recruitment Industry Experts

Check back for updates about specific times and dates for the following presentations featuring our recruitment industry experts.

  • YOUR COMPANY IN 2020: CAPTURING TALENT TO FUEL FUTURE GROWTH - Monday June 27 from 10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
    Building an integrated recruitment strategy is a much different task today than it was three years ago. Human Resources executives have had to quickly adapt to a changing marketplace in which search engines and social media are becoming more effective platforms to source the best talent. But how do you use those platforms most effectively? This session will help you understand how you can utilize business intelligence to map out a recruiting strategy for long-term growth.
    As social media becomes more and more ubiquitous, there is an immediate need for companies to utilize these platforms to build brand awareness and recruit future leaders. This session will illustrate why social media is not simply a trend, used only by teens and college students, but a viable recruiting resource that is utilized across all demographics.  Participants will walk away with a greater understanding of how they can implement social media into their current recruitment strategy.
  • DATA NOT JUST FOR DATA’S SAKE - Monday June 27 from 1:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m. and Tuesday June 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
    Information Age business leaders make critical decisions daily in an ever-changing world. They have access to more data than ever before, which is only accelerated by Internet search, social media and mobile technology. This session will focus on how companies can harness this information to gain insight into the habits, preferences and behaviors of their current employees, job candidates and competitors.

Speak One-on-One with CareerBuilder’s Recruitment Experts

At booth 2217, you can take advantage of the opportunity to speak one-on-one with industry experts and get answers to your questions about bettering your recruitment process. You’ll also be among the first to test-drive our newest products and service enhancements, including the following:

  • Resume Database Enhancements
  • Talent Network/Work@ Employee Referral App
  • Niche Sites
  • Social and Mobile Solutions
  • Supply & Demand Portal

Finally, you can also learn about the many free resources we offer. Let us prove that we’re more than just a job board – we’re a partner in helping you become a better asset to your organization!

Special Guest: Rock DeMarco, The World’s Fastest Speed Painter

What would a visit to Vegas be without catching a show, amirite? Join us on Sunday, June 26 to catch renowned performance artist Rock Demarco, the “world’s fastest speed painter” as he transforms a blank canvas into a giant masterpiece. Attendees will also have the chance to win one of his completed art pieces!

Where: Booth 2217
When: Sunday, June 26, 4 pm – 7 pm

Featured Event: What Your CEO Wants to Know

This year, we’re proud to announce that our CEO, Matt Ferguson, will be a featured presenter at SHRM.  In What Your CEO Wants to Know, Ferguson will discuss a recent nationwide survey of CEOs that highlights how the CEO/HR professional relationship has evolved over the last five years. Attendees will walk away with the following insights:

  • What CEOs consider to be “must knows” and “don’t cares”
  • The most – and least – effective ways to get your CEO’s attention
  • What today’s CEOs expect as the economy continues to heal

Where: Hilton
When: Monday, June 27, 4 pm-5:15 pm
For more information or to add this presentation to your conference schedule, visit http://cb.com/shrmceo

Stay updated! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (follow the #cbbuzz hashtag too) and LinkedIn to make sure you don’t miss out on all the excitement CareerBuilder has to offer during SHRM 2011!

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