Though overall hiring is still sluggish, highly skilled candidates are still in demand and the counteroffer can be a factor in retaining them.

“Recently, because of the economic uncertainly, it’s a little bit harder for us to get candidates to change jobs,” says Michael Stanley, a recruiter at The Daniel Group. “They’re a little less willing to make a move if they are fairly comfortable in their current position.”

Conversely, many companies are willing to make a counteroffer to retain existing employees, often because it’s cheaper and easier than replacing them, he says.

Smart Business spoke with Stanley about using counteroffer strategies to acquire and retain employees.

What steps can you take to avoid losing a job candidate to a counteroffer?

You can’t prevent a counteroffer, but you can prepare candidates to expect one. Throughout the interview, when speaking with candidates currently employed elsewhere, gauge their likelihood of making a change by asking, ‘What would your current employer have to do to keep you?’ This shows where they stand and gives insight into what an acceptable counteroffer looks like.

Also, ask about their true motivation for leaving, which can be easier to find when working with a recruiter. Candidates are usually more guarded with future employers, whereas conversations with a recruiter are much more open. It’s also important to get a full picture of their current benefits and total compensation so you know how that aligns with your company’s offering.

Additionally, it’s absolutely imperative to stay in contact with candidates because they typically provide their employer with a two-week notice before leaving. Keep them engaged during this time to lower the chances of a successful counteroffer by their current employer. Have an itinerary of the onboarding process, such as when you’re sending an offer letter and paperwork and doing background checks. It’s also a good idea to have the job candidate’s future manager take him or her to lunch.

Once a job candidate tells you about a counteroffer, what should you do?

Ask a lot of questions, such as the nature of the offer and how likely they are to accept it. Open up the lines of communication. This is when you can leverage your initial conversation that uncovered their motivation for making a move. If the candidate said there was no room for advancement and the counteroffer gives a 10 percent raise, you can start putting holes in the offer by pointing out the disconnect.

What if you can’t give more compensation to counter the counteroffer? 

Use your knowledge of the candidate’s motivations, current benefits and compensation to tailor a nonmonetary incentive. Some examples are a flexible schedule, more vacation days or a guaranteed pay review after six months. An employee’s decision to leave is rarely based solely on compensation.

It’s important to know what the market is currently dictating for the open position and to not go outside of that range. If you overpay on the front end when hiring, you may not be able to provide expected raises down the road. A staffing firm, which is dialed in to compensation and benefits, can help with this.

If a current employee is leaving, should you make a counteroffer? 

If the reason the employee is leaving is easily addressed, it may make sense to make an offer. But ask yourself, ‘Is this something for which I could justifiably make a concession?’ You also might learn something, as the employee leaving is likely not the only one who feels that way. In such cases an organization-wide change could improve employee morale, such as using flexible scheduling to improve work-life balance.

However, counteroffers should be used sparingly as they can create a toxic workplace environment. If other employees find out someone was given more money to stay, they may resent management and could threaten to quit. Additionally, if underlying issues aren’t resolved, you have just postponed the inevitable and the employee may end up leaving anyway.

Michael Stanley is a recruiter at The Daniel Group. Reach him at (713) 932-9313 or mstanley@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

 

Published in Houston

Many businesses may have taken a step back from hiring, especially when faced with uncertainty from the fiscal cliff changes, health care reform and overall budget costs.

However, Sarah Finch, business development manager at The Daniel Group, says even if you’re not hiring right now that doesn’t mean you should lose track of planning for the future.

“The current landscape of your business environment may not dictate adding to your work force, but it’s important to be proactive and plan accordingly with a staffing company if that’s the route you choose to go,” she says. “Communication is key so be very open and honest with your staffing company. They can help save you time and money by creating a plan that fits your budget and then sourcing qualified candidates to stay within that budget.”

Smart Business spoke with Finch about how to create long-term relationships so your staffing representative is always aware of your company’s hiring needs and can build a strong candidate pipeline accordingly.

Why should you always be aware of the current talent pool in your industry when planning for future needs?

It is a tough market right now for finding qualified candidates. While the demand for jobs is there, the supply of strong candidates actively seeking new jobs is low. Candidates who are actively seeking new positions move quickly, so forecasting what your future needs may be in advance and discussing that with your staffing representative gives you an advantage when it comes time to hire. Staffing companies will be aware of the current market and supply based on location and industry.

Working with a staffing firm allows communication lines to stay open between the candidate and the client. This can easily prevent losing excellent candidates because of delayed feedback or lack of candidate involvement.

How critical is it to hire quickly? 

It’s imperative to acquire the talent your business needs quickly. Strong job candidates, especially for higher-level positions or with niche industry experience are always in high demand. If the candidate is interviewing elsewhere, he or she is more likely to take another offer if they do not hear a response from the hiring manager in a reasonable amount of time.

Therefore, be open and honest — ‘that position is on hold,’  ‘we’re looking to fill it in two months,’ or ‘the position was canceled or filled by someone else.’ If working with an agency, it can be as simple as letting your representative know the candidate is a top choice, but that the hiring manager isn’t available to make a decision.

What can employers do to leverage the best relationship with their staffing firm?

It goes back to keeping the candidate warm and being open with your staffing firm. Let the staffing company know every step of the hiring process so they can relay the feedback to the candidates. In all aspects, communication is most important. The staffing firm will also try to gain as much information from the candidate to relay back to the client.

Having a relationship with the staffing agency, even if not currently hiring, allows the agency to know your business and what type of people you typically target. Once each division has created its budget, meet with your staffing firm, even if just for a few minutes, to discuss your goals and evaluate your upcoming needs. The agency can work with you to help create different options to build the best candidate pool while staying within budget. Doing this in advance also allows the staffing firm plenty of time to build a strong pipeline specifically for your industry needs.

What if you are unsure of whether your budget allows for the assistance of using a staffing firm?

The staffing agency can discuss alternate options to accommodate your budget, such as hiring a contractor and allowing the agency to cover workers’ compensation, unemployment and benefits. Staffing firms deal with companies of all sizes and budgets so firms will do their best to suit your needs and cut costs simultaneously.

Sarah Finch is business development manager at The Daniel Group. Reach her at (713) 932-9313 or sfinch@danielgroupus.com.

Website: Visit www.danielgroupus.com to access more information on this subject.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston

An effective screening process tailored to each job opening can help eliminate candidates who are unsuitable for a position early in the hiring process and minimize hiring mistakes. And in today’s sluggish economic environment, the process of pre-screening applicants is more critical than ever.

Lisa Deramo, branch manager at The Daniel Group, says taking the time to create individualized assessments is worth the effort.

“You need to be thorough with your interview questions and your screening process,” she says. “Make sure you’re setting somebody up for an assessment or pre-employment test based on the kind of job for which the person is applying.”

Smart Business spoke with Deramo about the importance of assessing a job applicant’s skills, knowledge and personality through testing.

Why should employers use pre-employment assessments?

Tests and other selection procedures screen applicants by gauging skill levels, which helps determine the most qualified candidate for a particular job. A number of assessment tools can be used, including cognitive and personality tests, medical exams, and credit and criminal background checks.

Pre-employment assessments are important for high-skill jobs such as machinists or welders in the manufacturing and oil and gas industries. A welder applicant, for example, might be required to take a welding test and demonstrate his or her ability to read a blueprint. For other jobs, such as receptionist, the applicant should take a software test to prove they can utilize common programs like Excel.

How should the interviewer approach the interview?

As an interviewer, you should tailor your interview questions to each candidate and ask probing questions. It’s important to investigate any gaps in the resume and discover the applicant’s exact experience. For example, if the job opening is for a machinist, it’s important to determine what kinds of products or materials the applicant has worked on.

In addition, look at the candidate’s social skills, personal presentation and other contextual factors while the interview is being conducted. How are they presenting their self? Are they twitching or not making eye contact? Are they outgoing or just sitting back as if they don’t care?

If an inexperienced employee is doing the hiring, it is a good idea have an experienced mentor help throughout the process and possibly sit in on the interview.

How essential are testing or screening measures?

They are important and are commonly used to screen out unsuitable applicants and minimize hiring mistakes. You might do drug and personality testing as well as aptitude and integrity tests. It’s worth taking the time to create the best tests for the job opening.

With aptitude tests, it’s a good idea to have job applicants take both written and performance exams. For example, if the job requires driving a forklift, applicants should be qualified by a skills test, where they’re asked to successfully perform certain commonly used maneuvers, and a written forklift safety test. It’s surprising how many applicants aren’t as strong on the forklift as they claim to be, which can be shown by how they do with the safety questions.

Personality testing is used a lot. Does it make much of a difference?

Personality testing can make a difference. Maybe you’ve got a number of quiet people working in an office and then someone with a strong, dominant personality comes in, making a big impact.

The personality tests are customized, based on what you’re looking for, and give an indication of how people will likely work with each other. Outside sales is a good position for employers to apply that type of test because it can offer clues as to how successful a candidate is going to be.

Lisa Deramo is a branch manager with The Daniel Group. Reach her at (713) 455-6600 or lisa@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Dallas

Training really sets a foundation for your staff as to what you’re trying to get accomplished — your goals and visions. In addition, it gives employees an idea as to what’s in the future, because as an employee goes through the interview and training process, he or she wants to know what he or she gains from taking the position.

“Specifically in Houston, there are so many competitors here that if we don’t have a good training program in place — if we don’t have a good development program in place — we can lose some of our good talent to our competitors,” says Jeremy Wilcomb, the operations manager at The Daniel Group.

Smart Business spoke with Wilcomb about some best practices to follow when implementing an employee training and development program.

Why might some employers hesitate to put formal training or employee development in place?

Maybe in the past, you’ve hired experienced employees or didn’t have the manpower to put forth a formal training program or dedicate anyone to training employees. You just trusted that those you hired had enough experience to develop themselves. You might hesitate because of the time and effort that goes into putting a program in place. With any company, you want to see an instant return on your investment, and that isn’t always clear with a training and development program.

Also, employees sometimes have the tendency to hop to the next best paycheck, so it’s hard for companies — small companies specifically — to put a lot of money into training or development with the fear that trained employee will inevitably leave. However, that’s why it’s so important to set the standard up front with employee training, career development and constant education throughout the course of an employee’s employment. It will help the employee feel more valued and assist with retention.

What training and development opportunities should employers make available to employees?

Industry-specific training is always good to have, whether employees have been in the industry for a long period of time or are new to the industry. Make the training specific to their job so they are constantly getting educated about changes. That constant training will help keep them up to speed and potentially allow them to think ahead of the curve.

Even if it’s just little tidbits here and there, you can try to do some sort of continuing education quarterly. A lot of the continuing education is very minimal in cost — maybe someone comes up with a new idea that you can share. As long as someone is taking some sort of nugget away from a training session, you can consider it to be successful.

What type of training you should implement depends on the employee and situation. A lot of companies do online training. It can be inexpensive and really effective, but there’s no one-on-one interaction and it’s hard to ask questions. It’s more of an information dump, which works with busy schedules and provides people time outside of the workplace to continually educate themselves. With open forum topic training, there’s a dialog that is created between the trainee and the trainer so you can dive a little bit deeper into a particular topic. There are also webinars, which always open up to questions at the end.

You can create a combination that works for you. For example, it’s great to have some sort of roundtable or open forum training quarterly, with other supplemental training as necessary.

How should you deal with the cost while ensuring employees are making the most of the training?

There’s never a perfect science to that. However, you can have anyone who undertakes training write up an overview of what they learned — what they took away from it, what they liked, what they didn’t like. This can help you decide whether it was worth the cost. If you’re sending employees to a conference, which is expensive, that’s always the big question: Is it worth the cost, and which employees are ‘A players’ who can get the most out of it?

You should set up goals and parameters that you want your staff to meet, while budgeting additional training costs for new employees up front. As long as they are bringing some sort of piece out of any type of training and using it in the field to some success, the cost often will justify the means.

What are some common mistakes employers make when creating an employee training and development plan?

Some of the common mistakes include reading too much into it and putting too much information in it, or being too vague by rushing through it and saying, ‘Hey, here’s a pamphlet. Go get ’em, tiger.’ It’s like training your kids; there’s that medium level that you need to have to make sure that it’s comprehensible and that they can retain the information, while bringing in different inserts into the ongoing training. Another mistake is if there’s no followup.

The plan should have a small overview, a table of contents, as well as go over company values and all of the pertinent information of whatever area they are in. Then later, you can do the ongoing education and training and key in on specific points of their position. This keeps them from information overload.

Jeremy Wilcomb is the operations manager at The Daniel Group. Reach him at (713) 932-9313 or jwilcomb@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston

Your staffing agency should be much more than an order taker. Instead, an effective agency can serve as a partner to your company, creating a relationship that develops over time, similar to those with other professional partners you may have whom you rely on for advice when making a business decision.

As the relationship develops, your recruiter will learn about your business culture and, most importantly, what your hiring managers are looking for regarding their current staff, future projects and even potential layoffs, should that be the case.

“Companies need the best candidates to fill an open position, not just warm bodies,” says Jacque Myers, senior engineering recruiter with The Daniel Group. “When we have the opportunity to develop a partnership with a client, we can understand their challenges and help them resolve these issues with one of our hiring solutions.”

Smart Business spoke with Myers about making the most out of your relationship with your staffing agency by developing a strong partnership for the long term.

Why is it important to form a long-term relationship with one staffing partner?

Companies with a consistent and sizable need for temporary staffing stand to benefit from forming a long-term relationship for several reasons, including having access to a broad, specialized pool of employees who can be qualified to meet the specific needs of your industry or business; having a single point of contact who can handle all of your staffing needs; and realizing the potential cost savings that comes from working with someone who has knowledge of your business and your industry.

From the agency’s perspective, having a long-term relationship helps your recruiters build familiarity and a knowledge base that will help them prepare a cadre of pre-qualified candidates for you to review and consider. Doing this means that when your project begins, your recruiters should be prepared to provide you with better-qualified candidates in a much shorter period of time.

However, failing to establish a long-term relationship with your recruiter can result in a ‘revolving door’ situation with hires that can lead to frustration on the part of the hiring manager and co-workers, as well as a delay in the completion of the project.

Should you be looking for direct hire placement, the staffing partner who, once again, understands your culture, long-term goals and the industry in which you work, will be much better able to find a candidate who fits within your organization.

What should you expect from your staffing partner in addition to resumes?

Your staffing partner can begin finding and earmarking potential contract and direct hire candidates long before your business enters its crunch time. Let your staffing agent know what you are dealing with, both from a budget standpoint and in regard to the long-term goals of the resource they are looking for.

This will put your staffing partner in a position to advise you of the best way of getting the right talent and ultimately realizing staffing success. It will also help to make sure that you do not have any skills gaps by implementing the right mix of direct hires and contract consultants.

The qualification process is equally important. Having a staffing partner who understands your culture and is clear on where your employee or contractor will be spending their time gives you a much better chance of accomplishing your goals through the hires that are made.

To determine if you have a strong relationship with your staffing agent, ask the following questions:

  • Does the agent have true ‘partnership’ aptitude? Is the service built around the need to invest sufficient time toward understanding your business, your hiring managers, key drivers, value proposition, and both the hard and soft skills of the candidates?
  • Does the agent provide scope, reach or expertise that complements what you are able to do yourself? For example, can the agent identify and penetrate strategic talent populations that are out of your current reach or otherwise not on your radar?
  • Will your agent be a true consultative partner who is willing to share constructive feedback and provide recommendations instead of telling you only what you want to hear?
  • Is the staffing agency prepared to be your partner in this for the long run and not just the one-time placement?

How soon should you discuss your staffing needs for 2013?

Now is the perfect time to begin meeting and discussing your hiring challenges for the coming year. It is important to share with your staffing agent what you expect your budget for staffing might be, as well as the overall challenges you expect to face so that your staffing consultant can determine how he or she can best accommodate your hiring needs for the upcoming year.

Once all of the information is gathered, the right staffing partner will help you reach your goals by making insightful, timely recommendations and determining the best staffing arrangement that will be most effective for you and your company or department. <<

Jacque Myers is the senior engineering recruiter with The Daniel Group. Reach her at (713) 932-9313 or jacquemyers@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston

A hiring plan provides your company with a path forward to reach its goals through its staff. It’s designed to answer questions such as, ‘How do we realize our vision and whom do we need to help us get there?’ Without such a plan, a company may make hires that don’t fit into the overall goals of the company.

“People are a company’s No. 1 asset,” says Jarrod Daniel, CEO of The Daniel Group. “You have to make sure that asset can help your company achieve its goals.”

He says that once a company has set its vision, it should create a hiring plan that outlines who should fill each of the roles that are necessary to succeed. But it is a perpetually evolving task.

“You have to continuously examine your hiring plan and the staff that you currently have in place to determine what can be improved,” Daniel says.

Smart Business spoke with Daniel about comprehensive hiring plans and how they can help a company realize its potential.

What are the elements of a comprehensive hiring plan?

There are quantitative and qualitative elements to your hiring plan, but it starts with knowing what your vision is as a company. You want to bring in the right people and align them with a plan that lays out what you want to achieve as a company, which is your overall vision.

A good hiring plan involves onboarding, sourcing people to determine the right qualifications and setting their career paths within the company. Part of onboarding occurs during the interview by letting people know what is expected from them to help the company reach its ultimate goals. If they know the expectations up front, they can always be working toward that, regardless of the time it might take to get there. Having a career plan for individuals that incorporates what they can potentially do for your business down the line is an important element of hiring.

Otherwise, you have to balance a person’s technical skills with their ability to fit within your company culture. It doesn’t do much good to hire a smart, technically sound individual if that person can’t gel with your company’s culture.

How often should a company revisit and adjust its hiring plan?

You should adjust your hiring plan every single time you want to hire somebody. Things change within your hiring plan, so it has to be flexible. There are many divisions within a company, each with different strengths that help meet the company’s overall goals. Further, each department has a distinct hiring plan, as does each position. It is important to continuously adjust the short-term goals of your plan to stay on track with your long-term goals.

In addition, every time you hire someone, you will also need to plan out your expectations for his or her development in that position. If you continue to have to hire to fill that position, you need to review your plan and your past hires to determine what is going wrong.

How far into the future should the plan project?

That depends on the size of the company and the type of position to be filled, but generally, any time you plan for growth, you have to have a strategy. Say a large company has hiring needs that are project based, in which case, its plan might look four months ahead to determine the manpower necessary to complete a job.

However, if it is a cultural hiring plan — a company looking to hire a new vice president or CEO — it could take a few years because, as you go up the hiring triangle to a position that requires more specific skills and experience, it will takes longer to find a qualified candidate.

A company might also be in a position where it needs to hire to the gap, which refers to the difference in age you have between the people in management — say they’re in their 50s — and the next in line who can do the job, who we’ll say are in their 20s. That’s a significant age gap, so it’s important to make a plan to hire to fill it, say with someone in his or her late 30s.

Who determines the course and goals of the hiring plan?

Management and ownership usually collaborate on the hiring plan. Ownership will determine the plan when a company is just getting started, then management will take over this duty once its members are clear on the company’s vision and can align a hiring plan to meet company goals.

Management and human resources should have a forecast for hiring for a period covering three months, six months and one year. In that forecast, they need to have a hiring plan in place so when the time comes to bring someone onboard, it can happen quickly.

Companies should be working on their hiring plan on a daily basis because things could be going great while you are fully staffed, but anything can happen tomorrow to change that.

How can a staffing firm help a company with its hiring plan?

A staffing agency can serve as a third party that can consult with a company without the bias that might exist from within a business. It can go in and look at the situation from a counseling standpoint to give an objective perspective of the culture and the technological skillsets of the staff and offer clarity.

Staffing firms have seen many hiring plans, and this broader perspective and experience can be applied to companies that are just forming their plans by compiling best practices into a custom strategy.

Jarrod Daniel is CEO of The Daniel Group. Reach him at (713) 932-9313 or jarroddaniel@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston

When it comes to hiring, staffing agencies are the experts. They know what it takes to create lasting employment relationships and can find a qualified full-time candidate quickly and efficiently, saving you the hassle of wading through hundreds of applications, says Rachel Ferguson, a recruiter with The Daniel Group.

“Agencies have a database of applicants they’ve screened and know what potential candidates are looking for in a company, job type and pay,” says Ferguson. “A recruiter will save you time and money, working to place the right candidate quickly so you don’t have to repeat the process if an applicant doesn’t work out due to a poor hiring decision.”

Smart Business spoke with Ferguson about how staffing agencies can help companies with their full-time hiring needs.

When working with a staffing agency to find a permanent employee, what is the first step?

The first and most important step is providing a detailed job description to the staffing agency you’re working with. The more information you can provide up front, the easier the process will be for everybody involved. When an agency only receives a barebones description of what is needed, the result can be multiple rounds of interviews to flesh out precisely what skills an employer needs, and that can result in frustration.

A clear job description allows the agency to get to work locating candidates. As the employer, you should expect applicants to be thoroughly screened and qualified before they are presented to you by the agency. You may only see three to five resumes out of hundreds screened in the search process. These are the candidates that your recruiter believes to be the best fit for your opening. You should consider your recruiter as a business partner who can guide the hiring process and who has the best interests of your organization in mind.

How does a staffing agency screen candidates?

With today’s technology, traditional interviews are not necessarily the only means of prequalifying applicants. Candidates may live out of state or have a demanding work schedule that can limit their ability to travel to an office for an interview. Skype interviews are increasingly common, and it’s not unusual for recruiters to talk to candidates multiple times per day by phone to gather more information.

Social media is also making a mark on the screening process. Recruiters can research any public profile the candidate has on sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn to get a better impression of his or her personality. Personality and skill assessments are great tools to gauge whether a candidate will fit a company’s culture.

What characteristics indicate a candidate could be a good choice for permanent employment?

Always look at a candidate’s tenure when evaluating a long-term fit. However, given the current job market, many people have been forced into working contract positions, so it has become tougher to judge work history based on tenure. A general rule is that the fewer jobs someone has held, the better indication of that person’s long-term employability.

Recruiters also look at whether a person has made multiple, broad, cross-industry career changes, which can be a sign the person doesn’t have a clear vision of career progression and may be more likely to leave a job when it gets tough.

Asking a candidate about hobbies can give a recruiter a broader picture of personality and help determine if he or she will fit with your company’s culture in the long term.

Is conducting interviews enough, or should there be on-the-job observation?

That depends on the company and the type of position it is filling. For many professional, senior-level roles, recruiters are interviewing candidates who are employed but considering new opportunities. For these, it’s much less common to see temp-to-perm strategies. It may be considered too risky for the applicant to leave a permanent position with benefits for a temp-to-perm role that could fall through. It is important to have candidates interview with key staff members they will potentially interact with and get detailed feedback.

Many characteristics can be discovered through a trial period, but if your recruiter is experienced and thorough, these can be uncovered before the candidate is hired.

What level of involvement should a company expect to have in the hiring process when working through a staffing agency?

Expect to be engaged from beginning to end. During the process, your recruiter may need to regularly follow up with you to fine-tune how candidates are selected. Communication is vital to ensure the right person is hired. Give feedback after interviews to discuss with your recruiter what is and isn’t working. Many times, hiring managers will make the mistake of interviewing and then falling silent for too long without feedback. Candidates in today’s market expect quick feedback, and an unresponsive client can leave a bad taste in an applicant’s mouth. While the employer has the final say in who it hires, your recruiter is responsible for narrowing the field, and communication is the best way to build trust.

Once a candidate is chosen, how can a company improve its chances of that person accepting the job offer?

The job offer is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. You may have conducted great interviews, but if you don’t have a lucrative job offer, you could lose the candidate. Undercutting a strong candidate at this stage says that you don’t value what they can do for you. Not only is the salary you offer important, but a strong benefits package goes a long way.

Also, secondary benefits such as health and wellness packages, contests and other perks can be appealing. Make sure you communicate to the candidate what special offerings your company has and build excitement to improve the chances that your preferred candidate will accept your offer.

Rachel Ferguson is an engineering services recruiter with The Daniel Group. Reach her at (713) 932-9313 or rferguson@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston

Hiring can be a difficult, time-consuming process, but failing to take the time to do it right can be disastrous. Using a direct hire recruiter can assist an employer with the hiring process. These recruiters can serve as consultants and their immense knowledge of the local labor pool can help you choose the best candidates to fill your particular needs.

This investment can not only help prevent hiring errors, it can save time by eliminating the need to devote resources to screening candidates.

“A company may not be hiring every day of the year, whereas a direct hire recruiter is constantly talking with candidates,” says Michael Stanley, a recruiter with The Daniel Group. “This gives recruiters an expert level of knowledge of the pool of potential hires, compared with the snapshot that an employer might get during intermittent hiring periods.”

Smart Business spoke with Stanley about how to select a recruiting firm among the many that are vying for your business.

How do recruiters choose employees for clients?

Recruiters should work to discover the particular skill sets its client is looking for in a candidate to ensure the new hire matches an employer’s needs. This requires working from more than just a job description. Your recruiter needs to understand your culture and general atmosphere to gauge the intangibles that a potential hire might need to fit in, such as personality.

To achieve this, it’s important that the recruiter visit with an employer to get a feel for the environment. Have your recruiter meet with the hiring manager and visit your location to get a more detailed picture of the total work environment. This will greatly improve the chances of finding the right person for the job.

Also, during initial meetings, it’s important to convey to the recruiter what career path you expect the candidate to progress through. This will allow a recruiter to best match what the candidate is looking for with what you expect.

How can a company work with its recruiter to ensure it is getting the best employees for the position?

Ideally, companies should reach out to a recruiter during the planning stages of their hiring process, or about six to 12 months before they expect to bring additional employees on board.

When talking with your recruiter, be honest in terms of what you need in a candidate. The more information a recruiter has about a company, the position, and its short- and long-term goals for the employee, the better chance he or she has of finding the perfect candidate.

What if an employer is dissatisfied with the candidates being referred?

If the candidates being presented are not in line with what you’re looking for, be honest and offer feedback as to what needs aren’t being addressed. A recruiter will then reassess its approach and work to close the gap between what is being provided and what is needed.

In the event that a hiring decision has been made, some recruiters offer a guarantee that if the employee doesn’t work out, for whatever reason, within the first year, he or she will be replaced without charge.

What responsibilities does a recruiter have regarding the employees it selects for clients?

Recruiters take candidates through a full screening process that can be standard — criminal background check, salary verification and reference checks — or catered to the particular needs of an employer. Once the candidate has gone through screening, a recruiter will give the client a basic description of the potential hire’s skills and qualifications, as well as an off-paper account of the person.

While a recruiter works for the client, meaning its primary responsibility is to meet the client’s needs, a relationship is also established between the recruiter and the candidate. This means that not only will the recruiter be honest and up front with the person about the company, the position and what it entails, but candidates tend to be more honest with a recruiter than they are with an employer. This can help a recruiter dig deeper and discover personality traits and experiences not listed on a resume that can help determine who might be the better fit.

What cost savings are involved by working through a recruiter?

There are a lot of resources devoted toward filling a position, including personnel, time and money. Employers should do what they do best, which is run their business. The cost savings realized from working with a recruiter come from allocating resources that would otherwise have to be tied up in hiring to more critical functions.

Time saved is also a significant consideration. Recruiters can distill the candidate pool down to the top candidates for a position, rather than the employer having to review hundreds of unscreened resumes, which is incredibly frustrating and time consuming. Why screen 200 resumes when a recruiter can provide you with three or four that match the exact skill sets you’re looking for?

How can employers drill down to find the right staffing firm?

There are lots of staffing firms and they all deal in people. What sets staffing firms apart are the individuals who work for them. Having that direct relationship with a person you can trust and have had success with is important.

Also take into consideration the firm’s history, how long it’s been in the market and its successes in your industry. While an Internet search can offer an initial list of staffing agencies, it’s a good idea to ask a firm for client references to get a sense of its performance.

Michael Stanley is a recruiter with The Daniel Group. Reach him at  (713) 932-9313 or mstanley@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston

When choosing a staffing agency, culture, size, location, industries served and services provided are factors to consider. There are many to choose from in any given area, so you need to do your research to ensure you choose the right one to fit your needs.

“The biggest thing is being open to the idea,” says Sarah Finch, business development manager with The Daniel Group. “There are so many advantages to using a staffing company because, bottom line, the company’s success is all about the type of people you have working for you. And whether the company is overloaded with openings or is having difficulty filling niche positions, staffing firms are here to help for those reasons.”

Staffing agencies can help a company gather all the necessary details to determine its hiring needs, then determine which candidates fit that company’s culture, work environment, industry and position.

Smart Business spoke with Finch about how to choose the best staffing agency for your needs.

What is important to consider when choosing a staffing agency?

Before you think about which staffing agency to call on and which you are going to use, you have to define your needs to better determine how an agency can help you.

For example, consider whether you would prefer to hire a candidate based on education or experience. Many positions require either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, for example, for a lot of IT jobs, a bachelor’s degree isn’t always as significant because many who work in the field have a niche vocational, associate’s or technical degree, in addition to years of experience. Decide first what you’re going to require because you may pass up many excellent candidates just because they don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

Also determine what projects you have upcoming. Many staffing companies can help you solve hiring needs on a per project basis.

Location is also a consideration. Some companies prefer to use local staffing companies when looking for people from that area, as opposed to national agencies that aren’t rooted in those states or don’t have the capability to meet the candidates in person.

You should also look for a staffing company that will consider your business’s culture when selecting candidates. It can matter whether you have a huge corporate environment as opposed to a smaller mom-and-pop shop, where personality might be just as important as skill set. That can also apply to your decision when selecting what kind of staffing company you want to work with. Do you want a boutique firm or a big national firm?

Also consider the level of customer service you expect. Getting the right sales rep or recruiter who returns your phone calls, who is able to get in touch with candidates quickly and who can provide you with strong resumes soon after receiving an order is key.

How can a company benefit by working with an agency that specializes in a specific field?

Specialized agencies have recruiters who have worked in a specific industry and with those candidates for some time, which means they have a large pipeline of people to choose from. This can be a benefit because the candidates, while possibly not looking for a position themselves, often know someone with similar experience who is.

In addition, an agency that specializes becomes an expert in that field by keeping up with developing trends, mergers and acquisitions, and hiring trends. An agency with that industry insight can quickly become more of a consultant to its clients than just a staffing agency. When the market for candidates gets slim in a particular industry, it’s good to have a recruiter with experience because candidates who have been placed by these recruiters often return when they’re ready to move on.

What services can a staffing agency provide?

Some staffing agencies offer candidates who can work in different capacities, including temp-to-hire and temporary. And while companies don’t have to take advantage of all of these, some prefer to have the choice.

Contract hires fill a position temporarily. You could have these employees for a day, a week or for years, but this is typically used for project-based work. The employee’s payroll is handled through the staffing agency and the agency provides an invoice to the client.

Temp-to-hire means bringing in a candidate with the intention of transitioning that person into the position full time. Companies will use this service when they want to fill a position permanently but first want to try the person out. The staffing agency will set a time limit that the candidate will work as a contractor, and payroll and benefits are handled through the agency. Before the candidate has completed the predetermined amount of hours, the client can decide to hire or not.

In direct hire, the staffing agency qualifies candidates and passes them on to the client. The agency has nothing to do with payroll, benefits or time sheets and will typically charge a fee based on the first year’s salary.

Payrolling is also an option in which the client company chooses the candidate but the staffing agency performs the hiring procedures and pays through its payroll and benefits service. This often comes at a lower markup rate because the agency didn’t have to spend time searching for the candidate.

How can a company get information about a staffing agency?

Companies can take staffing agencies for a test run, requesting that they send resumes for a position they’re trying to fill. That allows an agency to prove its skills and allows the company to see what the agency can produce. Staffing agencies also get business through referrals from companies and divisions within a single company. Ask the agency what other companies it is working with to see if it has filled staffing needs effectively within its industry. And request a client list of the businesses an agency is working with to see if there are similar companies to yours.

Sarah Finch is business development manager for The Daniel Group. Reach her at (713) 932-9313 or sfinch@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston

Familiarizing new employees with your company and with their role through on-the-job orientations quickly creates a feeling in them that they are part of the group, says Sarah Bell, a consultant with The Daniel Group.

“It makes them feel more at home and more at ease with what they’re doing,” says Bell.

Conversely, by not providing an orientation, you’re putting them into place without much of an idea about the politics, culture, policies or procedures of your company.

“As a result, they’re going in based on the little bit of information gained from the interview or on research they have conducted on the company ahead of time, which makes the transition into their new role more difficult,” says Bell.

This can also cause problems with employee retention and could potentially lead to litigation against the company down the road if employees are not made aware of certain safety procedures up front.

Smart Business spoke with Bell about the importance of orienting new hires with programs that provide them with all the information they’ll need to hit the ground running.

What should employers address with new employees during orientation?

When introducing new hires to the business, be sure to cover the history of the company, its work environment and its culture, as well as company policies. In manufacturing, for example, it’s especially important to address any safety considerations that employees need to keep in mind as part of their jobs.

Try to be as thorough as possible. Make sure to clearly describe the type of work the employee will be doing, as well as the working conditions they will face. For example, it’s important to discuss the temperature of the working environment, the type of clothing that is appropriate for the work floor, the number of employees that person will be working with and the new hire’s interrelation to others so that they can understand where they fit in to the organization.

In the manufacturing world, it’s important to walk new employees through the facility. By giving them a walkthrough, they can see the entire plant and can better understand where they’re going to be and where they might expect to go as they progress within the company.

Also cover the details of their benefits plans, such as how many days of sick leave are available and whether the dental plan covers families, and go over as much of the employee handbook as possible so that they hear it from you, in addition to having a copy of it to refer to.

PowerPoint presentations and safety videos can also be helpful, and it’s important to have employees sign off on each policy to ensure that they understand it and that they have a record indicating that they’ve been through it. Part of the purpose of orientation is to not only make sure that employees have the right skills but also to help them adapt.

Getting more in-depth into your company’s policies prepares employees better for the job, lessens the possibility of overwhelming them and ultimately improves retention. A thorough orientation can also alert employees early that the company may not be a good fit for them if they were not entirely aware of all the working conditions in the interview.

What are the benefits of having a strong orientation program?

Starting employees off with a strong safety orientation program can save a company money in the long run. By presenting employees with all of the policies and procedures, you’re covering yourself if there are issues later.

If employees violate policies, you then have grounds to terminate them and deny their unemployment claims, especially in right-to-work states. This is again a good reason to have employees sign off on each policy so that it’s clear they were presented with the information, which can also serve as protection against possible lawsuits.

How much should companies expect to pay for an orientation program?

It depends. You can conduct a solid orientation within two hours and with little expense. The only expenses are the creation of safety training videos, printed materials and the employees’ wages for the time they’re in orientation, which could be as few as one hour to as many as six.

Most insurance companies can provide safety training videos in a number of different categories and job functions as part of your existing coverage. Contact your insurance provider to see what it has available.

Who at the company should conduct the orientation program?

Human resources department personnel should conduct orientations. However, if a company doesn’t have such a department, it should be whoever controls the hiring, such as the person responsible for processing the benefits.

Those people are very familiar with the benefits because they go over them often and they are typically involved in implementing company policies. Those are also the people who usually handles confidential documents.

What if a company doesn’t have a human resources department?

If you don’t have a human resources department, consider bringing in a consultant. Look for someone with strong experience in the field who can come in and assess your human resource policies and possibly implement an orientation program.

There are many consulting firms that could perform a human resource audit, as well, which will assure that a company has policies and procedures in place for I9s and E-Verifying and to ensure that you’re in compliance in a number of different areas. The firm can review your employee handbook, examine existing policies, advise you on what you might be missing and help devise new programs you can implement moving forward.

Sarah Bell is a consultant with The Daniel Group. Reach her at sbell@danielgroupus.com.

Insights Staffing is brought to you by The Daniel Group

Published in Houston
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