J Patrick + Associates Blog

The Bottom Line: Diversity is Good For Business

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

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At the most basic level, workplace diversity is important because it represents fair and equitable hiring practices. It's reflective of society and the truth of our demographics. After all, according to the US Census Bureau, Asian, Hispanic and multiracial groups will hit majority status by 2044.

Our businesses need to reflect who we are.

But there's another reasons businesses need to focus on building an inclusive workforce: a broad spectrum of talent and ideas is vital for success. Exposure to a variety of points of view can lead to more ideas and better decisions. Diversity pushes us to explore, rethink, innovate and push boundaries.

In short, diversity is good for business. 

We only have to look to The Renaissance for the perfect example. The Age of Enlightenment didn't just take shape out of thin air. It happened because technological advances (larger ships, navigation techniques etc...) enabled people to travel greater distances. When East met West all manner of ideas were exchanged. Creativity was ignited sparking the idea for countless, important innovations.

The same holds true for your business. If you're not attracting and retaining women and employees from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds then you're depriving your company of the full spectrum of available talent. And that is bad for your bottom line.

Let's explore 4 practical steps you can take to enhance diversity in the workplace.

1. Assess Yourself

In order to build an inclusive team you first have to take an honest look at where you are right now. To make any kind of shift, the organization needs to be willing to ask hard questions of itself and try to assess the situation with candor.

Some things to ask consider include:

  • What mechanisms have you established for offering promotions?
  • How are you managing your talent pipeline?
  • At what point on your corporate ladder are you experiencing the most drop off by women and ethnic minorities?
  • Are you utilizing exit interviews to gather information on drop off?
  • What, if any are you recruitment biases?

The best way to find positive solutions is to delve deep into your problems with an honest and unbiased approach.

2. Attract

Let's be clear, we are not speaking about quotas or hiring goals. This is about building teams that reflect a wide variety of experience, thinking style, personality type, and points of view.

But the truth is if your company culture does not reflect an inclusive mindset, all the quotas in world won't help you to attract the kind of talent you need to succeed.

Make certain that your brand aligns with your philosophy. Just as savvy consumers have learned to sniff out green washing, candidates will know when your commitment to diversity is superficial.

Hiring managers need to set their checklists aside. Rather than looking for candidates who can check off each box and fit the position profile to a T, look instead for team players who bring a new perspective or unexpected experience. What you want are broad thinkers who bring a spark of innovation to your team. And you're more likely to find that when you cast a wide net.

3. Retain

Now devote equal time and energy to getting new hires to stay. According to the 2016 Women in the Workplace Report by McKinsey & Co., women receive less access to the people, feedback and opportunities that lead to promotions. They are also less likely to receive the first critical promotion that will set them on the path to management. And that all adds up to higher attrition rates.

This is the time to lay the groundwork for the long run. It’s important to show your hires they have a future in the company. Establish mentoring programs to help build strong relationships and illustrate the pathways for advancement. The Women in Business, Turning Promise into Practice report by Grant Thornton revealed that providing mentors for female employees helps women to build their confidence, empowers them to speak up and to stand up for their ideas. It also provides a framework for seeing where they can go in the company.

As Kim Bohr, Executive VP Operations at Fierce, Inc. stated in the HR Daily report on 2017 workplace trends, "An objective within organizations should be to create an environment where all employees can feel at ease and capable of understanding differing perspectives that exist, regardless of gender, race, generation, religious affiliation, or any other aspect of identity." 

4. Inspire

Make certain that avenues for advancement are well known among all of your employees. Create an environment where innovation, flexibility and prudent risks are rewarded. And always highlight successes, both large and small. The confidence and appreciation you extend will be returned two-fold. 

In addition to focusing on current hires, also think about setting your sights on the future of the workforce. Get involved with organizations that mentor girls and minorities is another way support the diverse workplaces of the future. There are organizations devoted to girls and minorities in STEM fields, in Management and even programs geared toward encouraging girls and minorities to step onto the MBA path. Whatever your field, there's an organization promoting education for kids and job training for under served populations.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember about diversity, is that it's not just about numbers. It's about a company culture that values equality, and recognizes the inherent strength in a variety of perspectives and ideas.

BONUS: For an interesting perspective on how VR is broadening empathy and increasing cooperation across a broad spectrum, read here.

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Tags: HR and Hiring

Do Video Conferencing Interviews Save or Cost Your Company?

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

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More and more companies have begun using video conferencing to conduct the early stages of the interview screening process. What begun as a trend, has now become an industry standard, but is this really an effective use of a company’s resources? Let’s explore some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of video interviews from a cost/benefit perspective.  

STRENGTHS

Convenience

The need for two people to be in the same room is eliminated. Hiring managers and candidates both enjoy greater flexibility, meetings no longer have to be confined to the office, and both parties can meet from the comfort of their own office or home. 

Cuts Costs

Handling candidate screening remotely can cut traveling, scheduling, and costs. Money saved can be re-allocated to improving productivity in other sectors of the organization, or towards expansion. Similar to phone interviews, video feed can be one of the most cost effective ways to meet candidates.

WEAKNESSES:

No Face-to-Face Interactions

There’s no better way to get a feel for someone than shaking their hand and sitting across from them. Video can flatten out an interaction, allowing cues you might have picked up in person, to go unseen. When deciding to bring someone into your department, you want to be assured that there’s chemistry and a connection, something you can only fully experience in person.

Feel for the Space

During a face-to-face meeting, candidates are able to get a feel for the environment of the office. Remote meetings cut out the possibility for spontaneous introductions to different team members, while also eliminating the candidate’s opportunity to get a sense of what the office is like. A potential hire's first visit to the office is also one way of seeing if they are a good cultural fit for your organization.

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OPPORTUNITIES

Saves Time

Time is money. Instead of budgeting time to get to and from the physical location, all that is necessary is a block of time in front of a computer. Most importantly, video conferencing reduces the time it takes to fill an open position, as you are able to meet more candidates in a shorter period of time.

Broader Selection

Distance is no longer be an issue for first or second round interviews. You can connect with candidates all over the globe with a touch of a button, allowing you to reach out and discover the hidden potential in unexplored terrains. You don't have to miss out on discovering the final piece to your puzzle because the applicant lives too far away. 

Playback  

One of the prime features embedded in a virtual interview is the ability to rewatch or playback the meeting. After a face-to-face meeting, you are left to rely on memory and notes you took during the conversation. Video conferencing allows you to take a second look to analyze body language, or discover cues that might have slipped past you in the moment. You can dig deeper into the candidate's responses, and you can get more team members involved in the decision process.

THREATS

Glitches

For all of its advantages, technology can sometimes be unreliable. There’s always the possibility for hardware/software problems. Connection is a two way street, so the chances of an interference is doubled, and the wait time can be unpredictable. Lag and delay can both cause interruptions. Hardware problems such as microphone/webcam failures can make communication problematic. WIth video conferencing you’re buying into the possibility that complications can disrupt an entire interview, setting back your workday.

With the benefits of cutting costs and time, it makes sense to switch over to video conferencing for the early stages of the screening process. 

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring

5 Hiring Mistakes That Will Cost You Top Talent

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

6 Hiring Mistakes That Will Cost You Top Talent.pngWith top talent at a premium in sectors from cyber security to AV/IT, hiring great employees is more challenging than ever. And the last thing any company wants to face is hiring someone who doesn't work out. After all, replacing an employee can cost as much as 6 to 9 months of that employee's annual salary.

In order to avoid losing both time and money, or even worse not being able to find the right candidate at all, here are 6 hiring mistakesto make certain you avoid.

1) Chasing Perfection

All too often we see hiring managers clinging too tightly to their checklists. Of course there are certain prerequisites of any position, but if you are too set on an ideal you run the very real risk of missing out on a truly great candidate.

Or perhaps you are set on the idea of what your team should look like, the hiring equivalent of choosing from a take-out menu: one from column A, two from column B etc... But if you let go of pre-set ideals and consider candidates with diverse backgrounds and unexpected skills, you will enhance the team as a whole. An outsider's perspective can be refreshing and add the kind of new energy and boost you need to move the needle higher.

Remember: working with people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working.

2) Not Truly Knowing The Job

It's one thing to know what function you're hiring someone for, but it's another thing to really understanding how the role functions on a day-to-day basis.

One of the best tools at your disposal to understand any given role on your team is the exit interview. And while that might sound counterintuitive, it makes perfect sense. After all, what better way to understand what works and what doesn't than to hear from people who are on their way out?

Yes, certainly there will be those employees whose opinion you will have to take with a grain of salt, but if you take care to ask the right questions and really listen to the answers you receive, you stand to learn an awful lot about the job you are now faced with filling.

So before you go into interviews to fill a role, take the time to talk to the people who have done the job. If you do, you'll not only be able represent the position accurately, but it will also help you look for the candidate best suited to do the job.

3) Forgetting That Time Truly Is Of The Essence

Every search has its own parameters. Some jobs demand casting a wide net due to location, skill set or competition for talent. Others need to be filled as quickly as possible in order to insure that critical concerns are handled. But no matter the extenuating circumstances your company needs to have an established hiring protocol.

While it may seem an obvious system to have in place, too many companies do not have clear hiring policies in place. But taking the time to build a set of protocols not only makes it easier on your hiring managers, it also sends a stronger message to candidates that you are desirable company to work for.

In terms of how long you should spend on a search, that will depend on the job you're filling. But take care to never allow the process to go on for too long, otherwise candidates will either lose interest, continue to take meetings at other companies, or decide you are not interested in them and take themselves out of the running.

4) Trying To Get Away With Less

Trying to undercut the competition might look good on paper, but it will not help you to attract top talent. If you're offering compensation that is not in line with your sector you are not only going to be less appealing to candidates, but you're also selling yourself short.

The best guideline to follow is a candidate's current compensation package. If you are not able to meet what they are currently making or beat it, adjust the candidates you are considering. Otherwise you'll just be wasting your time as well as the candidates.

5) Forgetting You're Also Selling

It's easy to forget that while you're vetting a candidate, they too are interviewing you. They're looking to see if your company supports a culture where they'll feel at ease, supported and can foresee an upward path for themselves. Since more of our time is spent at work than at home with friends and family, the contemporary worker wants to know that they'll be spending their time somewhere they'll feel valued.

(For more on best practices for On boarding read here)

Just as college recruiters have become marketing machines, pitching students why they're the best choice for their education, you too have to sell candidates on why your position is the one that they should take. 

 

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Tags: HR and Hiring

Cybersecurity Sales Engineers Are in High Demand

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Feb 07, 2017 @ 11:10 AM

Cyber Sales Engineers are in High Demand.pngAccording to projections from Cybersecurity Ventures, the cyber security sector is on track to see $1trillion in spending between 2017 and 2021. With the refocusing of malware to phones, tablets and IoT devices (the internet of things), and the growing number and severity of attacks on consumer, institutional and government institutions in 2016, these projections might even need to be revised upward.

In essence, bad news for the security of our information is good news for the industry. And where there's a boom, there's a demand for talent. One field that's feeling the full effects of this expansion is cyber sales engineers.

With a salary range between $65,ooo- $200,000/year, sales engineers in cybersecurity are in the fortunate position of not only being in demand, but able to negotiate terms. And in an environment where talent is at a premium, and the demand is outpacing the supply, candidates who are in the job market often are fielding competing offers, as well as counter-offers from their current employers.

What this means is, if you're a sales engineer you have the opportunity to really consider your career trajectory and take the offers where you feel you'll be most challenged and valued.

If you're a hiring manager charged with hiring cyber sales engineers, you already know that the competition for talent is fierce. You also know that you might have to push your budget to get the level of talent you need to keep your company's and/or your customer's data safe. And you probably also understand there's tremendous value in interviewing candidates even when you don't have an immediate opening.

But there are a few other key issues to keep in mind.

Lose The Checklist

When you're faced with a competitive market and top talent comes at a premium, you have to be willing to look beyond your check list. The best candidate may not carry all the certifications you want to see, or they might carry ones you never considered important. They might come from a different sector or not have the years experience you're looking for.

Understand the Power of Soft Skills

As the bridge between the technology and the customer, a sales engineer's ability to manage and communicate effectively with customers needs to be a prime consideration. Since they are in daily contact with customers, they are your eyes and ears in the field, and having someone who is an agile communicator about the human experience (as well as the technical experience) is invaluable to you.

Hone Your Game

And speaking of soft skills, in order to attract the best talent, you need to have a company culture in place that both values and invests in their employees. We already know that the best retention and recruiting tool is to make employees and candidates feel valued.

When you're hunting for top talent in a crowded field, always make sure that you have the best position on offer.

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Tags: HR and Hiring, cyber-security, cybersecurity

Looking To Hire AV Techs? Make Sure To Look For Talent In These 2 Sectors.

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 @ 11:05 AM

Complex AV systems have Looking To Hire AV TECH-Make Sure to Look In These 2 Sectors.png become essential to corporations, government, education institutions, transportation and consumer outlets. Industry wide growth is steady and each year we are seeing the demand deepen. According to the NSCA's State of the Industry report, the majority of market sectors were projecting growth between 15-55% growth for 2016. These trends are borne out in our own practice here at J.Patrick, where we are seeing high demand for talent in all AV roles. See all our jobs listed here.

One of positions we see some of the heaviest demand is for AV Techs. And while candidates entering at this level might not need much prior experience in the field or certifications, the search for talent can still be tough. It's important to keep an open mind when vetting candidates, and considering those who come from parallel industries.

Let's explore a few such parallel industries we've found to be good sources of talent.

Music

The music industry is a natural place to search for AV talent as many of the skills and abilities are easily transferable to AV/IT. That the music industry can be a difficult place to make a living and/or to get ahead, makes it an obvious place to recruit for talent.

While many people enter the music sector for the passion and the love of music, they also realize they need an industry that can offer them career growth. AV/IT is a natural fit in that regard. We've found that the fact that techs can expect to work in a variety of settings (such as commercial locations, schools, corporations etc) with technology that is always changing and improving, is very appealing to these kinds of candidates.

It's worth noting too that video production is also a good source for talent.

Security Video

Once upon a time security companies simply offered alarm, call, surveillance, and sprinkler systems - the tent poles of basic home/office/institution security. But those days are long gone, and we've seen many traditional security companies expanding their offerings into areas that closely parallel AV/IT.

And as a result technicians from this field are well prepared to move into AV/IT. They come with a knowledge of cabling, installation, and the kind of troubleshooting that is required of AV techs. They're well accustomed to working on-site, crawling through walls and under tables in settings that can be sensitive, cramped or in use at the time of installation.

They also have a firm understanding of how to work efficiently all while being the face of the company with customers.

Just as with other in-demand roles, when it comes to the search for AV Technicians, being willing to set aside your check list can result in finding the best talent.

For more on how to start off as an AV Tech, read here.

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Tags: AV/VTC/UC, HR and Hiring

How to Do OnBoarding Right

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Jan 09, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

How To Do Onboarding Right.pngIt might be tempting to think that on-boarding new employees is all about insurance forms, office tours and parking passes. Or, you might think it's synonymous with training. But the truth is, knowing how to do onboarding right is so much more than the sum of it's parts, and it's also the key to ensuring you have an engaged, inspired workforce.

Here is a timeline to insure that your new hire not only gets "on-board" with your company, but that they become a long-lasting, successful member of your team.

It Begins Before The Offer

Onboarding begins long before a new employee signs their deal. In fact it begins before they arrive for their first interview. By taking the necessary steps to ensure that your interviewing and hiring processes are fluid, responsive and timely you're sending a clear message that you care about your employees and are dedicated to creating a healthy and engaging work experiencefor them.

And then it goes further into how you handle the negotiation of terms. Once again being responsive is key - no one wants to be left hanging or put on an extended hold, especially when their career is on the line. Transparent negotiation tactics and clarity send the clear message that you are invested in the candidates future and their long-term success.

Once the offer is made, the deal closed and the start date set, is when the active phase begins. Now it's time for the manager to reach out to your new hire with a friendly welcome and a letter clearly specifying the job objectives, expectations and strategies. They could also include package of suggested reading, a run-down of equipment used or even a big-picture view of how the team operates.

What's important is to open the channels of communication so that the new hire feels part of the team before they arrive for day one.

Day One

Regardless of the business at hand on day one (paperwork, insurance cards, key card, id photo session etc...) your responsibility is to be prepared and ready for your new employee's arrival.

Secure the proper building passes, alert the receptionist, make sure that the direct manager is in the office early, have all the necessary paperwork ready, and above all have a work station/office prepared, cleaned and ready to be occupied.

There's no worse feeling than arriving for your first day of work, a stranger in a strange land, and having no place to sit, no one to guide you and nothing to do!

Many companies utilize a mentor system for the first days and weeks, and we think it's a wise tactic. Even senior level executives need someone to touch base with regarding protocol and methods - appointing someone who is in either a parallel or senior role to be a touchstone not only smooths the way for your new hire, but it also helps to reinforce training, foster relationships and cooperation.

When someone leaves the office at the end of their first day at a new job, and are asked "How'd it go?" the only answer you want them to tender is "Great!"

Your job is to make certain you've done all you can to ensure that's the answer they give.

Week One

The first week is a time for your new hire to adjust to all the social and performance aspects of their job. Necessary training on everything from software to how to operate the espresso machine is taking place. But above all that they should be finding their feet socially now.

If you've fostered a company culture in which employees of all levels, from C-level to the support staff feel like they are part of the team, then they will be extending a warm welcome to the new player. A warm handshake, an invitation to lunch, even just a friendly introduction are key to helping the new hire "buy-in" to your company.

It's also during the first week that HR or the manager needs to make the review process known. By offering frequent check-ins and a schedule of formalized reviews (30 days, 60 days and 90 days), you are sending the clear message that you are invested in the individuals success.

Remember: Investment builds retention, not compensation!

Month One

While the new employee will likely have begun to find their feet at this point, it's important to keep some of the welcoming structures in place.

The Mentor relationships works best when it's ongoing and ever-evolving. At this point its not only serving to foster relationships and job clarity, but it also increases productivity and innovation.

The First 90 Days

The 90 review is an important tool for both employee and employer. Conducted one-on-one with direct supervisor, and/or team leaders this is the time to see what working, and what's not.

Not only are you reviewing their performance, but you must be open to hearing from them what's working for them, and what could have gone better. If the channels of communication have been open and available, there shouldn't be any surprises during this meeting, and if there are, then it's time to go back and review your process.

Taking care to handle onboardingproperly and thoughtfully, you are sending a clear message that you are invested in your employees happiness. And as we know, happy employees are more innovative, more loyal and perform better than workers who are just in it for the paycheck.

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Tags: HR and Hiring, onboarding

6 Reasons You Should Close On New Hires Before The End Of The Year

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Nov 21, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

6 Reasons You Should Close On New Hires Before The End Of The Year-1.pngThe run up to the holidays has begun, and now begins the full court press to the end of the year. Budget requests are either in or due, annual numbers are getting tallied and performance reviews being conducting.

Looking at the bigger picture it might seem counter-intuitive to want to get that new hire started before the end of December, but here are 6 key reasons you should be doing exactly that.

1) It's A Seller's Market

The talent pool in many IT sectors is, at best tight. You don't have to look any further than the Cyber security job market to know that top candidates are in demand. There's truly little need to sit around and wait for a company that's slow to pull the trigger for many IT professionals. And while you may have tantalizing benefits and an enviable company culture on offer, chances are so do your competitors.

2) You Risk Losing The Slot

Whether it's due to expansion in your sector, the growth of you customer base, or the loss of a team member, you have the opening for a reason. You didn't initiate bringing a new employee in on a whim, (although read here on why hiring managers should always be interviewing) you've got a need you need met.

And while you may be certain that the budget for the new year includes funding this opening, just remember: the only thing you can count on is change. There are any number of unknowable variables that might effect your budget for the new year - beat the uncertainty by getting the talent you need in place now.

3) Top Talent Waits For No One

This might be considered a corollary of #1 above, but the best candidates are simply not on the market for that long. Not only do they not need to wait for an offer, they won't.

While it is never advisable to make hiring decisions under duress, it's equally as ill-advised to surrender to a long and drawn out hiring process.

You've got to be willing to move decisively to get the talent you want. 

4) You Risk Surrendering To The Void

Once we hit the end of the year the harder it will be to assemble everyone you need to sign off on hiring decisions. Vacation schedules, end-of-year travel and meetings can make it near impossible to get decision-makers assembled and focused.

It's important that you get what you need to shore up your department before everyone scatters and decisions have to be tabled.

As for candidates, conventional wisdom counsels one pull in the oars and not think about looking for a new position until the other side of January. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year then becomes this kind of looming void which top candidates and valuable talent are looking to avoid like some kind of gaping sink hole that's temporarily swallowed up the job market.

What this means for you and your open desk is if you wait until after the holidays to start final interviews or moving toward an offer, it very well might be mid-to-late January before you get any momentum going.

Can you really afford to wait that long?

5) Shore Up Your DNA

Keep in mind the effect an unfilled opening has on the rest of your team. The more your team members are asked to pick up the slack, the more focus gets scattered and productivity goes down. The long term effects on your bottom line can be very damaging. Remember, one of the very best retention tools you have at your disposal is keeping employees engaged and stimulated. Over-taxed is the polar opposite of what you want.

On the plus side, new hires shore up your company DNA. They inject new energy, drive and focus. The contributions they add not only help drive success and profit as a direct result of the work they are doing, but also in terms of keeping your business a thriving place to work.

6) Embrace The Void

The end of the year is the perfect time to get a new hire on-board. With less distractions, fewer calls to be made, half the number of meetings on the docket, your new employee has the time and ability to get through the necessary trainingand/or certification processes they need to do their job well.

There's likely no other time of the year, not even August, that will afford you the same kind of a slower pace to get your new hires up to speed.

It's time to begin thinking of the end of the year as the perfect time to get your new hires on board so that you can hit the ground running in the new year.

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Tags: HR and Hiring

3 Reasons Why Hiring Managers Need To Always Be Recruiting

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

3 Reasons Why Hiring Managers Need to Always Be Recruiting.pngIf you’re a hiring manager with a fully staffed team, you might assume there’s no need to keep seeing candidates. After all, you’re busy and need to keep your focus on rewarding your top performers, continually training the guys in the middle and pushing the team members who are lagging behind. Why waste time interviewing candidates for a position that doesn’t exist?

Well, there are several important reasons why you should always be recruiting that transcend simply filling vacancies.

Gather Intel

Regardless of what business you’re in, you need to constantly be gleaning intelligence about your brand’s position in the marketplace. By always being willing to interview candidates with in-demand skills you are creating an awareness of your brand and stoking interest for openings down the road.

It's also an invaluable way to get all kinds of information about your place in the marketplace.

  • How are you perceived by your user base?
  • How does your brand stand up in the marketplace?
  • What’s your reputation out in the job market?

Additionally, it allows you to stay current on your competition. If you want to learn how other companies in your sector operate, you have to keep speaking to people on the inside. And who better to learn from than someone who is looking to move on.  

  • Where does your company stand against your competition in terms of pay structure, quotas, the tools they use.
  • How is the morale at your competitors?
  • Are they hiring?
  • Are they losing people?
  • Do they have a high level of management churn?

Building a fluid picture of your place in the industry is key to staying competitive.

Feed Your Pipeline

Even if you have your dream team in place and can’t foresee it changing anytime soon, you have to remember that life happens. People leave, they get promoted or maybe they’re unexpectedly moved to fill a hole in another group. And let’s be honest, not every hire delivers on their potential.

If you don’t have a pipeline of top quality candidates to draw from, then you’re stuck either with a mediocre performer or worse, with an empty desk. And if you’re in sales, you know that a vacancy is costing you not only productivity, but is draining your own quota. This is a high price to pay for not planning ahead.

Pop Your Filter Bubble To Stay Competitive.

When you look out over the same vista day after day, it’s easy to lose perspective. Just as you might talk to your mentors, attend conferences and keep up with with your peers in order to gain new insights into your sector, interviewing candidates allows you to see what’s possible.

It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that the team you have is the team you’ll always have. But if you are meeting candidates on an ongoing basis, you’ll see that you have options. You don’t have to tough it out with the salesperson who’s struggling to keep up, nor do you have to put up with the cancer in the locker room.

What it really comes down to is the difference between simply filling vacancies as the occur, and engaging in workforce planning. The first model leaves your team exposed and under pressure to cover the workload left behind by a vacancy. But if you always make the time to meet qualified candidates you'll be far more nimble and ready to act when you find yourself with an empty desk.

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, management

5 Tips For Writing A Killer Job Description

Posted by Alysa Wishingrad on Mon, Nov 07, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

5 TipsForWRiting A Killer Job Description.pngSEEKING: Job descriptions that engage and excite job seekers.

Dry, abstract, laundry-list style posts Need Not Apply.

Job descriptions tend to fall into one of a few categories. There’s the standard which can be a very dry, rote recital of responsibilities and data points. There’s the candy-gram style which was very popular with tech start-ups. Big bright, bold and poppy, filled with the countless perks you might find at the company, these job specs were long on style but short on substance. And then there’s the third, most common type that we see, which we’ll call the Purple Unicorn: hiring managers who have drilled down so specifically that they run the very real risk of missing out on some quality candidates.

We think the gold standard lies somewhere in the middle.

So, what should the ideal job description look like?

Inform

First and foremost your job descriptions need to effectively communicate with candidates the parameters of the open position you’re trying to fill.

And hopefully, they are written with a lot more energy, personality and life than the sentence I just wrote above.

You need to strike a balance between listing the essential skills and qualities you’re looking for with language that is representative of your company culture. And know that in order to reach the right people, you have to research keywords, convey what the future looks like for your organization, and leave the jargon out.

Inspire

Top candidates have options, lots of them, but what most of them are looking for is a position where they feel challenged, valued and that taps into their creativity. They also want to work somewhere that shares the same values they do. If you have a big green initiative, that needs to be part and parcel of your job descriptions. If your company does a good deal of charity or volunteer work, that needs to be made evident from the get go. Be certain to inject enough personality into the description so that candidates can clearly see what makes you unique.

Remember: the goal of any candidate search is to find people who will stick with you for many years to come - let them know who you are, what you can offer, and what you stand for from the very first interaction. (For more tips on recruting top talent, read here)

Focus on Success

First, include the nitty gritty

  • Title/Position
  • Department
  • The reporting structure (both up and down)
  • Essential duties
  • Salary range
  • Essential skills and work experience
  • Degree and certification requirements
  • Qualities and attributes required to fulfill the position

Second, infuse the description with meaningful details

  • If it’s a complex function, break it down into component parts
  • Paint a picture of what day-to-day looks like
  • Talk projects and problems
  • Use original headlines. Ex: If You Are: instead of, Duties & Responsibilities:
  • Describe what success looks like.
  • And, how will they be measured.
  • Think about not only what’s required now, but what are the possibilities down the road.

The description needs to emphasize how your organization can benefit employees lives, in both the immediate and long term. Studies have shown that ads that emphasis what a business provides to meet candidates needs get 3x more submissions. Those are the kind of numbers you want to attract.

Rely on Your Network

In addition to releasing a job description through your usual channels: HR, your contracted Recruiters, Job Boards, remember to encourage your staff to share it through their professional social networks. Provide social networking links on the description and make it easy for the job to be shared around. And remember, your reputation is your best recruiting tool. Happy and engaged employees are your best brand ambassadors.

The Endgame

A well written job description is the tool that enables your HR dept and/or trusted recruiter to go out and find you the best, most qualified candidates. It needs to tell the story of what it’s like to work at your organization and what long term success means. And finally, it has to leave enough room for your recruiter to bring you candidates that otherwise might not have gotten your attention. You’re looking to attract not only the active candidates, but also the passive ones as well.

Job descriptions are an advertisement, remember not to sell them short.

Are you looking to build your team or grow your division? J.Patrick and Associates has 25 years of experience in the IT Field with industry leaders and a long record of success. Let us headhunt for you!

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Tags: HR and Hiring

Will Video Conferencing Interviews Save or Cost Your Company?

Posted by Dylan Rivera on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 @ 11:30 AM

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More and more companies have begun using video conferencing to conduct the early stages of the interview screening process. What begun as a trend, has now become an industry standard, but is this really an effective use of a company’s resources? Let’s explore some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of video interviews from a cost/benefit perspective.  

STRENGTHS

Convenience

The need for two people to be in the same room is eliminated. Hiring managers and candidates both enjoy greater flexibility, meetings no longer have to be confined to the office, and both parties can meet from the comfort of their own office or home. 

Cuts Costs

Handling candidate screening remotely can cut traveling, scheduling, and costs. Money saved can be re-allocated to improving productivity in other sectors of the organization, or towards expansion. Similar to phone interviews, video feed can be one of the most cost effective ways to meet candidates.

WEAKNESSES:

No Face-to-Face Interactions

There’s no better way to get a feel for someone than shaking their hand and sitting across from them. Video can flatten out an interaction, allowing cues you might have picked up in person, to go unseen. When deciding to bring someone into your department, you want to be assured that there’s chemistry and a connection, something you can only fully experience in person.

Feel for the Space

During a face-to-face meeting, candidates are able to get a feel for the environment of the office. Remote meetings cut out the possibility for spontaneous introductions to different team members, while also eliminating the candidate’s opportunity to get a sense of what the office is like. A potential hire's first visit to the office is also one way of seeing if they are a good cultural fit for your organization.

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OPPORTUNITIES

Saves Time

Time is money. Instead of budgeting time to get to and from the physical location, all that is necessary is a block of time in front of a computer. Most importantly, video conferencing reduces the time it takes to fill an open position, as you are able to meet more candidates in a shorter period of time.

Broader Selection

Distance is no longer be an issue for first or second round interviews. You can connect with candidates all over the globe with a touch of a button, allowing you to reach out and discover the hidden potential in unexplored terrains. You don't have to miss out on discovering the final piece to your puzzle because the applicant lives too far away. 

Playback  

One of the prime features embedded in a virtual interview is the ability to rewatch or playback the meeting. After a face-to-face meeting, you are left to rely on memory and notes you took during the conversation. Video conferencing allows you to take a second look to analyze body language, or discover cues that might have slipped past you in the moment. You can dig deeper into the candidate's responses, and you can get more team members involved in the decision process.

THREATS

Glitches

For all of its advantages, technology can sometimes be unreliable. There’s always the possibility for hardware/software problems. Connection is a two way street, so the chances of an interference is doubled, and the wait time can be unpredictable. Lag and delay can both cause interruptions. Hardware problems such as microphone/webcam failures can make communication problematic. WIth video conferencing you’re buying into the possibility that complications can disrupt an entire interview, setting back your workday.

With the benefits of cutting costs and time, it makes sense to switch over to video conferencing for the early stages of the screening process. 

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Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring