* Why is the candidate seeking new employment?
If the answer is more money, you may want to pursue another candidate. After you have spent valuable time and money training him or her, a candidate who is simply money-motivated may leave your organization in the short term for a few more bucks.
Make sure the candidate is excited about your organization and wants to join your team for the right reasons. More challenge, greater opportunity and a desire to gain specific experience all are sound reasons. More money is not.
* What immediate positive impact will the person have on your organization, and what are his or her potential long-term contributions?
This can be pretty straightforward when a candidate possesses a unique skill or specific talent that you desire. If the candidate lacks some distinct capacity, it can be difficult to answer these questions.
However, when comparing candidates for a position, answering these questions should prove useful during the decision-making process. It also forces you to examine what each candidate can potentially offer from both in both the short term and the long term. Immediate impact may not outweigh long-term potential.
* What will a candidate bring with him or her?
The answer can be interesting. One candidate can bring habits that are destructive to your organization. This is bad. Another candidate can bring customers, positive energy, knowledge of an industry your organization would like to penetrate or wisdom from years of experience that your organization or team lacks. These are all good things that a potential candidate can offer.
Ponder this question with respect to each candidate, and you will find positives and negatives regarding a candidate that may not be present on the resume.
* Does the candidate possess the capacity to grow with or within your organization?
A candidate should have the ability to grow with an organization as well as within an organization. This allows the person to not only contribute immediately but also long term. When analyzing candidates and trying to establish who you will select; asking this question affords you the opportunity to, again, think long term.
Chances are, you will invest extensive time and money in a new hire throughout that person's career. The longer an employee stays with your organization, the more valuable he or she becomes. Make sure that the candidate will be happy long term.
Is the candidate a fit from a cultural standpoint?
In today's world of "lean and mean" organizations, when employees are expected to do more with less, organizations are leveraging teams. Multidiscipline teams work together to successfully accomplish their goals. Introducing someone into a team who comes from an organization with a radically different culture may prove disastrous.
Diversity is important among team members. That has been demonstrated again and again. You should be attempting at every opportunity to inject diversity within your organization. Investigate your team's dynamics and ask the question regarding the candidate's cultural fit.
Hiring someone from a higher performance workplace environment may assist you with your endeavor to supercharge a team. On the other hand, hiring someone from an organization where independent achievements were trumpeted and politics ruled the day may prove fatal.
By answering the above questions, as well as questions more specific to your organization, your ability to select the right candidate is made easier. Developing a matrix listing the candidates, the questions and the answers is a valuable tool to utilize when making this tough decision.
Many things go into selecting a candidate and no matter whom you select, make sure you have a backup with whom you are comfortable. This will lessen the probability of having to start the search process again from scratch.
Ask the above questions, select the candidate to pursue, then hire that person.
Shawn Fier is vice president of operations for Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8006 or email@example.com.
In today's world, with a premium placed on attracting, hiring and retaining quality employees who make a positive impact on the company's bottom line, those who hire should spend time reflecting on how they interview and learning to become better interviewers. While interviewing styles may differ, successful hiring authorities possess qualities that are consistent. They have a plan and a list of questions, they remove emotion and they are an ambassador for their company.
Develop a plan before you begin interviewing candidates to ensure that you maintain focus throughout each interview and remain consistent when interviewing multiple candidates. Outline what you are looking for in a candidate, such as past duties, responsibilities, significant accomplishments or key skills.
A good interviewing plan lends structure to the process, allowing you to get all pertinent questions answered in a timely fashion while demonstrating to the prospective employee that you are taking the interview seriously.
As the development of an interviewing plan gives structure to the interview, composing a list of questions delivers substance. There are certain questions you will ask in every interview.
- What are your strengths?
- How will you contribute to our company?
- Why did you leave this or that job?
While some questions are unique to a specific job function -- asking about experience with Java or about how a salesperson has impacted his or her sales organization's success or asking a candidate to describe his or her management style -- you know what you are seeking and have constructed a list of questions that will elicit answers that give you the information to make a solid judgment on whether the candidate is right for the job.
The emotion factor
The goal of an interview is to give the information needed to make an objective decision on whether a candidate possesses the necessary qualifications based on past or current performance.
The objectivity of your decision will be tested if your emotions enter the process. Judge candidates on what they have accomplished and remove your emotions from the interview.
Making a plan and a list of relevant questions is easy when compared to this task. Check yourself throughout the interview to make sure you are finding out about the person's abilities and remaining unbiased.
An interview is a two-way street. The candidate will, in some fashion, be interviewing you as well, and have his or her own plan and list of questions in an effort to make a good judgment on whether the opportunity you are offering is the right choice.
This requires you to be a good ambassador for your organization. Answer questions respectfully and instill a positive perception of your organization, realizing that an interview may turn into a courtship if the candidate is superior to his or her peers.
Your time is valuable, and finding that superior candidate is crucial. Evaluate how you are conducting your interviews. Make a plan, construct a list of questions, remove your emotions from the process and remember that during the interview, that you represent your organization.
This will allow you to get your questions answered, be more consistent, make objective decisions and leave your candidate with a positive impression of you and your organization.
Shawn Fier is vice president of operations for Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reasons are numerous. They could have they been running a lean organization and now need to increase headcount due to a demand for their goods or services. They may see changes in their markets and want to be prepared. Or, the employer simply may be reacting late and trying to play catch-up.
This is where we are at with this economy. So where are you?
Permanent hire or temporary employee?
During the late 1990s, when the demand for labor was high and five-figure sign-on bonuses were common, did an organization need to make all of those hires permanent or should it have used temporary employees?
You would have paid above-market value for this talent, but with the costs for hiring permanent employees on the rise, it would have been wiser to use temporary employees, allowing your organization to remain nimble and making it easy to shed costs quickly.
Today, when you're looking to hire, ask yourself whether you need temporary or permanent employees. Is the talent needed for the long run or for a nine-month project? Should you limit your exposure by utilizing a temp-to-perm option? Consider all these questions before hiring a new employee.
Know what you need
After determining the type of candidate you are seeking and establishing a job specification, act decisively. As the labor market's demand increases, your sense of urgency during the hiring process should match the increase step for step.
The last two or three years have permitted employers to be selective. They have been able to take their time, interview multiple candidates and invite them back for a third or fourth interview. But those days are gone.
Know who you want and act quickly. There is competition now for talent, and you must be prepared. If you hesitate or are caught in a situation where your hiring team is not on the same page, you stand to lose out on an individual who has the capacity to make a difference in your organization. And losing this person could be the difference between success and failure.
Get them started
Another way to lose a candidate is to not pay close attention to the start date. Once you have acted decisively and hired the candidate you desire, get the hire on board as soon as possible.
If the new hire is employed elsewhere, he or she should start within two weeks at the most. If the person was unemployed, one to two days should be sufficient. Once a candidate has accepted an offer, he or she has nothing to lose by interviewing or checking out another opportunity.
A lot can happen in a short period of time in this market. By having a candidate start sooner rather than later, an organization will get the new hire's mind off the job market and focused on the new position.
The time is now
The economy is accelerating. The reality is that many organizations should have made a strategic decision last year to hire qualified candidates. If an organization had done this, it would have top talent in position, trained and poised to contribute at a high level to an organization's success.
But many organizations did not hire qualified candidates last year, as they should have. Now is the time to act decisively to put the right people in place. Shawn Fier is vice president of operations for Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8806 or email@example.com.
Below are some important tasks to consider when establishing long-term, successful hiring practices.
* Have a comprehensive hiring plan taking into account both short-and long-term objectives.
* Establish consensus among leadership regarding not only the type of candidate you are looking for but also the inherent duties and responsibilities for the position.
* Develop a solid job specification.
* Understand the current employment market.
* Act confidently and decisively.
Having a hiring plan in place that takes into consideration both short- and long-term objectives can enable an employer to capitalize on the employment market. The plan should go beyond headcount; it should identify the type of individuals and skill sets the organization will require for future success.
By recognizing the human capital necessary for a competitive advantage, an organization may source the best talent and profit from employment market trends and dynamics. Knowing what you require in the future may allow you to capitalize today.
Consensus among leadership is critical when staffing an organization. Everyone involved in the hiring process should share the same desired outcome. During the interviewing process, candidates should not receive mixed signals regarding their potential future role in the organization.
Make sure the leadership, as well as everyone participating in the hiring process, agrees upon the duties and responsibilities of a prospective employee. By establishing consensus, your interviewing team will send a message that your organization is united and committed.
The development of a job specification that outlines and defines what you want in the prospective employee is very important. This should not be confused with a job description that outlines the inherent duties and responsibilities.
The job specification will give your team focus and direction during the hiring process. By allowing others to share in the development of the job specification, you may also establish consensus. By taking the time to develop a clear job specification that is shared and agreed upon, you'll go a long way toward ensuring a successful hire.
Knowledge of current employment market conditions is crucial during the hiring process. An organization's hiring plan and needs may be dictated by market conditions. Failing to understand the market may lead to a job specification for an individual who does not exist in the current employment market.
Offers of employment and compensation plans are derived from your familiarity with the employment market. Avoid offering too little or too much, do your homework and research the market. Understanding market conditions can also allow an organization with a plan, consensus and specifications of future needs to capitalize and attain the type of professionals it needs.
The actions taken by the leadership during the hiring process demonstrate its ability to make decisions and display confidence. Decisive action is significant when conducting any transaction, and hiring is no different.
Time destroys all deals. Talented candidates are extremely perishable, with new opportunities constantly becoming available to them.
An organization that has defined who it wants and developed consensus needs to act in order not to miss out on the hiring of a key contributor or become a victim of paralysis by analysis.
An organization's greatest asset is its people. Your ability to make strategic hires will define you as a leader. Failing to attract and hire talented professionals can result in failure for an organization.
Successful leaders understand the importance of surrounding themselves with talent. Develop a realistic and shared plan that takes into consideration your human capital needs today as well as anticipates your needs for tomorrow.
Then act. Shawn Fier is business unit manger of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are several ways a search firm can help make your dream team a reality.
Best in class
Your dream team requires the best candidate for the job at hand, not the best candidate looking for a job or the best unemployed candidate.
This is imperative because your company's future depends on it. There's a good chance that the best candidate for your job is currently contributing his or her skills to another organization's success.
Partnering with a successful search firm can provide you with the opportunity to interview and hire the best talent, because it will tap into its vast network and market knowledge to search out, qualify and deliver the best candidates in the work force.
No stone left unturned
Where are the candidates who are going to make a difference for your team and give you the advantage you're seeking?
A knowledgeable search firm understands the current market conditions and industry specific talents and skill sets. Recruiters identify industries, companies and departments that employ the candidates you seek. Then they proactively deliver those qualified candidates to your office.
A search firm will quietly deliver to your doorstep individuals who represent the finest in their fields.
You're seeking a competitive edge, so your competition doesn't need to know you're staffing up for a new product launch or marketing campaign. There's no reason to advertise your plans or strategies.
And, if you want to replace an individual within your organization, running an advertisement is the last thing you want to do. When Monday comes, you'll no doubt have to answer questions if an employee sees you're advertising his or her position in the Sunday paper.
Money in the bank
Time is money, and a search firm can save you both. You're busy, and have projects, deadlines, a hectic travel schedule and numerous individuals tugging on your sleeves.
A search firm can help manage your search, introducing you to the qualified candidates you're desperately trying to meet while eliminating the stacks of resumes, e-mail, phone calls and voice mails of unqualified candidates.
Your team's success is a direct reflection of you, so you need to hire the best. By establishing a relationship with a search firm in the same way you partner with other professionals, such as banks, accountants and law firms, you'll save time and money, and be well on your way to building that all-important dream team. Shawn Fier (email@example.com) is vice president of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8006.
Today, both still exist, along with myriad niche job sites that allow you to search for resumes and advertise open positions. But despite great promise, the shortcomings of these sites have become more apparent.
One of the most glaring shortcomings becomes evident by asking two simple questions: Who is participating? And whom do you want to attract? The answers reveal these sites are not much different than the Sunday newspaper Help Wanted ads.
In the old days, when you placed an advertisement in the newspaper to fill a position, who's resumes did you receive? And, what had to take place?
First, the candidate you desired had to be in search of employment or seeking a new place to work. And, they had to see your ad.
So what's changed?
In the past, you received stacks of resumes. Of those, 95 percent or more were not qualified. You sought a general manager and received resumes from fresh college graduates and machinists, as well as from the window shoppers who float their resume every time they are up for a review, just to check the market.
Today, if you advertise on a job board, you get the same results - just magnified beyond belief. You receive e-mails, phone calls and faxes from countries you didn't even know existed. And, the bottom line is, are you getting the candidates you need? Candidates who will make a difference for your company?
My experience in this industry says that approximately 80 percent of the candidates qualified for a particular position are working, contributing to their employer's success and not actively seeking a new place of employment. Only the remaining 20 percent are qualified candidates who are actively seeking either employment or a new employer.
That means that the odds are stacked against you when you simply advertise on a job site.
Ask yourself, whom do you really want? If you want the best, solid contributors who can impact your business, candidates who represent the finest in the field of endeavor, you need to find them. Where are those candidates?
Consider this. The last time you had a layoff, did you lay off employees who were indispensable to your business? Did you ever lay off an employee who was making a significant contribution to the company's profitability?
Probably not. You want to attract and retain these candidates. You did not attract them with any great success or efficiency with the Sunday paper, and you are not going to attract these candidates by utilizing job sites. The people you want are working and are too busy contributing to their employer's success to be logging onto these sites perusing jobs and e-mailing resumes.
It takes a skillful recruiter to find these candidates and inform them about an opportunity that may interest them. They must be proactively recruited. And this is where the shortcomings of job sites become glaringly obvious. Sure, you may feel you are in greater control of the search process and sourcing the best candidates. You may feel as though you are being proactive and skillfully recruiting. But you are not. You sift through resumes benchmarking against candidates representing less than 20 percent of the qualified candidates, just as you have done in the past.
If you want to hire the best, those are represented in the 80 percent of employees who are still employed and busy contributing to their companies' successes. Monster.com, Careerbuilder, Hotjobs or any of the many niche sites are not going to provide these employees. But a professional recruiter will. Shawn Fier is vice president of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8806 or < href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" />email@example.com
There are many instances when utilizing a temp-to-perm hiring process is the correct choice. Situations can range from budget and project considerations to the confidence a hiring authority has in a potential employee.
Candidates have a built-in incentive to perform early and impress, knowing that their hard work may result in them becoming a permanent hire. They are going to want to make an immediate impact on your organization.
Here are several situations in which a temp-to-perm arrangement may be the best means to a successful hire.
Desire to maintain conservative capital spending
Due to some previously lean years, budgets may still be slim while a team's workload is escalating. Until the resources become available to increase headcount, using a temporary employee with the option of hiring permanently may be the most practical fiscal solution.
The temporary employee can easily be released if the workload ceases to increase, thereby not creating new hard costs for your company. At the same time, he or she will be well-trained and understand his or her duties and responsibilities should the resources become available to hire a permanent staff member.
Unseasoned HR manager
When new to hiring, using the temp-to-perm process may give the hiring authority the confidence he or she needs.
This will also provide the hiring authority, whether an HR manager, department manager or president, the necessary time to evaluate the temporary employee and ensure the correct choice is being made. If it is evident that the wrong decision was made with regard to hiring, the temporary employee can be released, saving the expense of a permanent hire and the possibility of a poor full-time employee on the books.
Multiple job specs
The temp-to-perm process can also be beneficial when it is uncertain who will succeed based upon the job specification. For example, a position may require both extensive technical skills and a strong marketing background.
Current market conditions dictate that the ideal candidate possessing both skill sets is not available, so the hiring authority is forced to make a choice between a candidate possessing extensive technical skills and a candidate with a strong marketing background.
Utilizing the temp-to-perm hiring process in this instance gives the hiring authority time to assess the candidate selected, ensuring that the candidate has the necessary skills to perform at a high level in his or her position and help the team succeed.
Unknown long-range needs
Often, companies take on opened-ended projects or programs that require additional resources. The project may last six months, but if all goes well, it could last years.
With an uncertain future, leveraging the temp-to-perm hiring process could prove very beneficial to the project's success. A company can also limit its exposure by bringing additional workers on board on a temporary basis and only hire them permanently when it is evident the project's length and scope substantiates it.
When looking to add staff to your organization, take the time to evaluate the temp-to-perm route. This may give you the opportunity to evaluate the candidate on the job to make sure you make the right hiring choice.
Whether it is budgetary constraints, confidence in a potential candidate, lack of potential candidates or uncertainties surrounding a project, chances are, staffing up by utilizing the temp-to-perm process is the correct choice.
Shawn Fier is vice president of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dynamic economic growth, unemployment trending downward and consumer confidence on the rise -- the recovery is here. Have you assembled a team that is capable of competing within your industry?
Defining a need, establishing a plan, sourcing, selecting and closing are necessary steps for a successful strategic hire.
Defining your need by creating a job specification will help you to establish a framework for the hiring process.
The job specification should outline and define what you are looking for in the professional -- skill sets, specific technology, a particular industry experience. By establishing or re-establishing specifications for a position, you will function more efficiently during the hiring process and ensure that the final result is an individual who will contribute to your team's success.
How are you going to find or attract the professional you desire for your team? What's your time frame?
If you desire the best possible candidate available, your first call should be to a search firm that understands your company. Chances are that the professional you desire is currently contributing to another team's success.
Internet recruiting, advertising and jobs fairs can attract candidates, but not top-notch talent. A search firm will be able to source candidates who represent the finest in their field of endeavor with a sense of urgency.
You've defined a need and sourced candidates. Now it's time to commence interviewing.
Three things have to take place for the interview to be successful. First, through your questions, you have to determine if the candidate can perform the position as outlined through the job specification as well as fit within the team's culture. Second, will the candidate be happy in the position and a long-term contributor?
Finally, if the person can do the job, fit within the team's culture and has the capacity to contribute to the success of the organization, then a certain degree of courtship must take place. The candidate should leave your interview excited about the opportunity.
Selecting a candidate
Myriad issues are involved in selecting candidates, from their current compensation to their enthusiasm and interest in your organization. Depending on the position and its inherent priorities, you want to establish various weights.
What is the most important quality you are looking for? Technical strength? Experience? Industry knowledge? When you've made your selection, don't rule out a second-place candidate if he or she has the necessary qualifications.
If your offer is not accepted or you've misread a candidate's interest level, having a backup candidate can save you valuable time.
Offer and acceptance
Once you've selected a candidate, extending the offer and getting an acceptance can be a daunting task. This is an area where a search firm can offer assistance. It can pre-close the candidate, saving you the embarrassment of extending an offer that is not accepted, avoid an acrimonious negotiation process and decrease the susceptibility to a counteroffer.
A search firm is rewarded when the search is successful. It has a vested interest that the candidate will be there to contribute to your team's success.
With a promising 2004 on the horizon, make sure you have a team capable of competing. Making that strategic hire could make the difference between a success in 2004 and missed opportunities.
Shawn Fier (email@example.com) is vice president of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8006.
So when partnering with a search firm, look for the following attributes to avoid failed searches and wasted resources.
What type of searches has the firm successfully completed?
This is a very broad question, but one that is important to get answered. You do not want the search firm cutting its teeth on your search. Find out if it conducts retained or contingent searches and in what industries, as well as the type of professionals and at what level.
You want a search firm that possesses a high degree of market knowledge. Getting an indication of the type of searches it has successfully completed will enable you to ensure you're making the right choice.
What markets does it work in?
You want an understanding not only of the types of professionals it has successfully recruited in the past, but also the industries and geographic locations in which it works. Strong market knowledge translates into a more expeditious and efficient search.
A search firm's knowledge of a particular market will also afford you the opportunity to interview the best candidates available, offer competitive compensation packages and hire individuals who represent the finest in their field of endeavor.
Who are you working with?
A search firm's employees -- as with your organization -- are among its most valuable resources. You want to find out the number and average tenure of the recruiters, as well as how many years the firm has been in business.
The larger the agency and the more years of operation, the larger its network and greater its sphere of influence in a particular employment market. A tenured staff of recruiters can offer insight into the search process, help you understand market dynamics and ultimately enable you to hire the key professionals who will contribute to your organization's success.
A search firm works for you -- make sure it will be a solid ambassador -- representing your organization properly and sharing your core values. The misrepresentation of a position or company will lead to future problems.
A successful search firm will take your assignment, aggressively attack the market and deliver qualified candidates to you. This is what you want, but not at all costs. Professionalism and candor should be adhered to throughout the search process.
Partnering with a search firm that shares your values and employs a tenured staff of recruiters who understand market dynamics and the type of professionals you desire is important. Search firms provide more than just a commodity -- they provide helpful insight into the employment market that will benefit you and your organization when building a new team or making a strategic hire.
Shawn Fier (firstname.lastname@example.org) is business unit manager of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847)585-8006.
With the possibility of one or all of these positive effects becoming a reality, it is important to invest time and reflect on your hiring process to ensure that you are giving yourself the best chance to hire the right candidate -- one who will join your team and make a positive contribution.
All hiring authorities want to hire the best possible talent available. But you have to interview them before you can hire them. So how can you guarantee that you are interviewing the best?
One way is to partner with a well-known, established search firm that shares your values and has the capacity to understand your business. Demonstrate to them that you are serious about filling your position and communicate via timely feedback on resumes and interviews, and you'll get their attention and interview the upper echelon of talented and qualified candidates for your requirement.
Take the time to establish a face-to-face meeting with the search firm, preferably at your company, and communicate the importance of the position, as well as the related duties and responsibilities. Allow the search firm to get a feel for your company's culture and structure. The more it learns about what finding the right employee will mean to you, the position and your company, the better it will to be able to service you.
By taking the time and sharing pertinent information with a search firm, you are communicating the investment that you and your organization are making. This helps the search firm allocate the proper amount of resources to conduct an efficient search.
Put yourself in their shoes, particularly a search firm whose business is primarily contingent. Search firms make value-added decisions on where they should utilize their resources. With the present surge in the demand for talented professionals, search firms are being sought after now more than ever. (Sometimes offering up a small retainer of approximately 10 percent of the fee, negotiated so that it will be subtracted from the final invoice, is another way of demonstrating your company's desire to interview the best the employment market has to offer.)
Once you have established a pipeline for talented candidates to be interviewed, it is time to look internally at your processes. Investigate how you are interviewing and make certain you are asking the proper questions based upon the job specifications, the duties and responsibilities.
Establish consensus among the interviewers and confirm with the team that you are not precluding anyone from participating in the interviewing process who could potentially add value. Also, try to take a nonbiased look at your organization and consider how a candidate will interpret you and your organization.
Think back to when you first went through the hiring process and developed your initial perception of the organization. This should include everything from the location of the business to the first person with whom a candidate will come in contact with from your organization. Use your imagination. The more aware you become about the perceptions that candidates will generate, the better prepared you will be to answer their questions and attract them to the organization.
By taking the time to examine your hiring process both internally and externally, you may find ways to improve your hiring, which will undoubtedly lead to improved opportunities for you and your organization. SHAWN FIER is vice president of operations for Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8006 or email@example.com.