Streamlining the Hiring Process in 2016

At the heart of most great companies is an incredibly strong emphasis on the hiring process. During recession periods companies could afford to use long hiring processes to find the absolute best candidate for their open positions. Not so in today’s world. Growing competition for skilled candidates penalizes companies with longer time-to-hire cycles.

The lengthening hiring process is the result of a tightening job market that favors well qualified job seekers rather than the companies seeking them. Waiting for the candidate who is the perfect match for a job opening can result in not finding anyone close to what is needed.

Streamline the Hiring Process
Streamline the Hiring Process

Many companies are reporting a lack of quality candidates in the candidate pool. This in itself lengthens the hiring process as companies continue searching even after identifying suitable, albeit not perfect, candidates.

What are some ways to staff up in a shorter period than currently in use without making costly hiring mistakes?

Review and Reduce Your Company Hiring Cycle

The first thing to review is the company approach to hiring. It should take a formalized approach including requiring that any requests to hire include a clear definition of the position and the position’s requirements. Clearly defining a job and position in terms of education, experience, knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes necessary to be successful makes the interview process easier, faster and more effective.
During the initial interview focus on evaluating a candidate based on the road map clearly defining what is required. Choose several candidates then test them in whatever manner is appropriate to the job in question.

Test Potential Candidates

To ensure someone has the skills they say they do, test them. These can be written tests, role-plays, or simulations such as asking a PR candidate to write a press release for a make-believe product or asking a marketing candidate to explain the key components in a marketing plan. These tests don’t need to be elaborate, but they do need to be able to differentiate the candidates who have the necessary skills from those who don’t.

Before Making an Offer Check References and Perform Background Checks

Due diligence should be a standard procedure in most companies, yet it is often done poorly or not at all. It is important to verify what a person is saying about past employment to the extent allowed by law. It is also important to do background checks to ensure that critical information about a person’s character has not been left out.

Use An Applicant Tracking System

Avoid costly hiring mistakes by hiring mindfully and using a system that allows you to manage the hiring process. Large companies in particular need a way to track the process of hiring and checking references and onboarding. The best candidates will rise to the top during the process especially when you are able to effectively track them through the interview and evaluation process. The more often you exercise mindful hiring, the better and faster you’ll be able to find the best candidates to fill any open positions.

Conducting a Job Search-Best Practices

So, you are ready to begin looking for a new job?   Many of the best practices in conducting the search are the same whether you have been forced to undertake the search or have just decided that it is just time to  make a move.  Here are some of my thoughts on best practices:

Conducting a Job Search-Best Practices

1.  Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

These steps are the foundation of the job search.  Make sure to take the time to completely and accurately update your resume and LinkedIn profile.   Also, make sure that both the resume and LinkedIn profile contain the same content as companies will, in most cases, review both of them.  It could be an embarrassing situation if one does not agree with the other.  As far as the content, make sure to list your specific accomplishments for each job and be prepared to talk about these accomplishments during any phone or in-person interview.

2.  Tap into Your Existing Network

It is very important to let your network know that you are on the job market.  This network would include former (and maybe current) co-workers or associates, LinkedIn connections, and recruiters that you know.  Many candidates find their next position through networking as opposed to answering a job posting.

3.  Work to Expand Your Network

Letting your current network know that you are on the job market is the easy part.  Expanding the network is tougher.  Asking for referrals from your current network is a good step.  Also, search LinkedIn to locate recruiters who may specialize in placing candidates with your skill set.

4.  Check the Job Boards for Suitable Openings

Check all the major job boards like Indeed. LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc. for any suitable postings.  Apply only to the jobs that you feel that you are strongly qualified.  In today’s very specialized job market, it will be a longshot for a company to consider you for a role if you don’t have direct experience in their respective industry or the specific discipline. Companies are generally looking for candidates who can hit the ground running with very little ramp-up, so candidates who are not ideal fits generally don’t get contacted.

5. Contact Companies Directly

Develop a list of companies in both your local area and specific industry where your skills may be in demand.  Use a tool such a LinkedIn to identify people who may potentially be hiring manager for someone such as you.  Craft a very specific cover letter which highlights your skills and fit and send it (along with your resume) to the potential hiring manager.  Timing could be on your side.  At worst, you should be able to make a valuable contact.

Job hunting is never an easy process and, most likely, will take a longer time that you originally determined.  Hopefully, these practices will be the process a bit smoother.

Uneven Job Market

There has been a lot of press regarding the low employment rate in the US (reported by the government as somewhere in the 5% range). Certain sectors of the job market are hot, such as IT positions. However, in many other sectors of the job market, things are pretty tough. Many of the advertised positions are lower-paying jobs. I recently did a somewhat unscientific analysis that proves that this is the case.


I surveyed posted positions on two very popular job posting sites, LinkedIn and Indeed.  Many of you already know that LinkedIn Jobs is a popular, but paid site and Indeed is very popular job posting site and is generally free to post.

I did the analysis using jobs posted within 100 miles of Philadelphia PA (MAS Recruiting’s office location) and then broke the jobs down by salary level. Here is what I found:

Total Posted Positions in last 90 days: 315,996 as of January 21, 2016

80k+ Jobs: 37, 782 (12.0%)
100k+ Jobs: 15,752 (5.0%)
120k+ Jobs: 7,453 (2.4%)
140k+ Jobs: 3,384 (1.1%)
180k+ Jobs: 1211 (0.3%)
200k+ Jobs: 518 (0.2%)

Total Posted Positions in last 90 days: 289,687 as of January 21, 2016

80k+ Jobs: 39,107 (13.5%)
100k+ Jobs: 20,048 (6.9%)
120k+ Jobs: 9,451 (3.2%)
140k+ Jobs: 4,439 (1.6%)
180k+ Jobs: 971 (0.3%)
200k+ Jobs: 359 (0.1%)

The findings are remarkably similar and show that between 75% and 80% of all the posted positions are paying 80k or less in salary.  To me, this shows that company are very careful with their hiring and willing to add lower salary positions to fill some needs, but will not generally hire higher salaried roles unless absolutely necessary.  All of this ties in with what I have seen in my business since Q4 2015.


Hiring Forecast for 2016

A number of recently released surveys forecast strong hiring in the first half of 2016. A strong job market will pressure wages as employers boost pay to lure top workers their way.
Hiring will be swift and competitive especially in two sectors, namely tech and health care.

Hiring Forecast for 2016
Hiring Forecast for 2016

In the tech world developers of applications and systems software, database administrators, cyber security experts, and all manner of artificial intelligence specialists will be in great demand.
In health care physician assistants and nurse-practitioners are in high demand as are doctors, pharmacists and dentists. Also in demand are respiratory therapists and cardio radiological technicians, which are both good jobs that pay well with a two-year associate degree.
The transportation sector has a critical demand for air traffic controllers which has actually become chronic and, if not solved, will cause increasing flight delays in the coming year. There is also a high demand for professional truckers as we begin 2016. The financial services arena is experiencing a heightened demand for financial planners as the number of people nearing retirement is increasing.
Teaching position in pre, elementary, and secondary schools are expected to increase sharply in 2016 as these areas lack sufficient teachers. However, the greatest demand in the education sector will be for teachers with expertise in science, math, and bilingual education.
Jobs that will continue their sustained decline in 2016 include printing press operators whose ranks are being depleted by the digital printing age and factory workers across the board. Factory jobs in the United States are systematically being replaced by increased automation and a shift overseas.
This year, 2016, will require employers to find and keep good workers in the fast growing and critically understaffed job markets. Recruitment will look to adjacent industries for people with skills that can be adapted with training to fill open positions. Employers with established internship and apprentice programs will look to these programs to tap and groom younger candidates while also welcoming back former employees wanting to return.
Internship and apprentice programs will give employers insight into the traits and motivation of potential employees as well as their ability to fit into the company culture and learn on-the-job.
This year college recruiting will be more prevalent than it’s been since the great recession. Companies see grads as a strategic asset – they bring new, fresh thinking, are drivers of innovation and change, and can immerse themselves and ‘seed’ the culture of the organization, making them ‘home-grown talent.’ If they don’t have all of the needed skills and experiences, they can be trained on the job. In addition, graduate hires can create a sustainable managerial/executive pipeline of high-potential talent.
In 2016 candidates are in the driver’s seat, often entertaining multiple job offers, workers are choosing the employer whose values align with their own and one that lays out a clear path to career advancement for them – making a strong employer brand critical to winning the best talent. Companies hiring Millennials face the fact that they often demand to be advised of their proposed trajectory for several career moves within the organization, before accepting the job.

Networking: Still the Best Way to Find Your Next Job

I am asked all the time by candidates , “What is the Best Method for Me to Find My Next Job?” I am a big believer that candidates need to “cast a wide net”. By casting a wide net, I mean use all available resources such as:

  • Reviewing job postings on sites like Indeed, SimplyHired, and LinkedIn
  • Reviewing job postings on various company career sites
  • Posting your resume on jobs boards such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Ladders
  • Contacting various recruiters; especially ones that specialize in your area of expertise
Networking: Still the Best Way to Find Your Next Job
Networking: Still the Best Way to Find Your Next Job

However, the number one best method for someone to find their next job is through networking. Networking should include friends and former colleagues to other connections that you may get from these friends and colleagues. LinkedIn is a great tool to build and grow your network as well as stay in touch.

Networking also greatly improves your odds of finding a new position. For example, once a company advertises an opening, either on their career site or a job board, they are generally swamped with resumes. Under these conditions, it is usually very hard for candidates to stand out. By networking with a trusted friend or colleague, you may be brought into a search that has just started, or is not advertised, or is a confidential search. The odds of you being considered for the role have now greatly increased because of the small pool of candidates. In addition, since you would be referred by a trusted source to the hiring entity, this is also huge to make you stand out.

Networking is not just something that you do when you begin your job search. Networking should be a constant endeavor. Many times, candidates are brought great opportunities when they are NOT active job seekers It is valuable to always stay connected with friends, former colleagues, and recruiters.

Ways to manage work stress

Work stress is incredibly common, affecting people in all industries and levels of work. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t experience any work stress at all! Whether you’re just dealing with a bit of work stress, or feel like you are under far too much pressure, these tips can help you. If you feel completely overwhelmed, talk to a professional and/or your employer.

Ways to manage work stress
Ways to manage work stress
  • Make a schedule and stick to it. Leaving things up to chance is a good way to feel anxious and overwhelmed as you will not have the stability and predictability of a schedule.
  • Treat yourself kindly outside of work. If you eat well, sleep right, and avoid stress as much as possible in your personal life, you will be better suited to handle anything work throws at you.
  • Delegate as you can. If you have too much on your plate and it’s acceptable to share the load, don’t feel bad about doing so.
  • Set up times during which you will not be interrupted. Tell your colleagues that you are busy and unable to respond to emails, messages, etc., unless they are highly urgent. Make a plan to deal with any interruptions that come through anyway.
  • Consider setting up specific office hours during which people can come in and talk to you — this leaves the rest of your time free to work without the stress of interruptions.
  • Take breaks, especially if you feel particularly challenged. A quick walk outside or a similar activity gets you away from your desk, energizes you, and changes your perspective.
  • Let go of self-induced stress. If you can worry less about things that don’t truly matter, you’ll feel better.
  • Set priorities and stick to it, make a list of what is most important.

How to manage and work with your virtual Employees successfully

A virtual workforce can be great for your business, cutting down on overhead costs and maximizing on the flexibility of employees. However, there are certainly some management considerations that are far different from what traditional workforces require. When all or most of your staff do not work in the same location, you must adjust your management style.

How to manage virtual Employees successfully
How to manage virtual Employees successfully

The best managers have lots of trust in their virtual employees, allowing them freedom to work individually without allowing the company to be taken advantage of. Assume the best of your employees, remembering that they do not have to be chained to their desks (much like they would not have to be in an office work environment!). Keep an eye on results, and if your employee is missing the target, then you can have a discussion about time management and trust.

Make sure that virtual employees are able to self-manage to an extent. You need virtual employees that are trustworthy and motivated, in order to trust them to do their work without having someone physically there watching. Make hiring decisions carefully.

Keep in regular touch with virtual employees and make sure that they are kept in the loop. Check in with them to discuss their work, and any overall company goals. Be sure to share any good words you have about their projects to keep morale up.

To keep everyone happy, make sure that all of your technology is up to date and capable of handling a virtual workforce. When something breaks or becomes too obsolete to work well, it can greatly hinder the entire workplace. Talk to your virtual employees about what they need to do their job.

With teamwork and preparation, a virtual workforce can be a huge benefit to your company.

5 Steps to Motivate Yourself Daily in Order to Excel at Work

Every job is different, and every job has its own challenges and obstacles to overcome. Staying motivated at work is essential for professional outcomes and overall job satisfaction. When you are having a difficult time, realize that there are often small things that you can do to increase motivation and productivity.

Here are five steps that you can take to be a more motivated employee or employer:

5 Steps to Motivate Yourself Daily in Order to Excel at Work
5 Steps to Motivate Yourself Daily in Order to Excel at Work

1. Try to work closer with or closer to people who are motivated, productive, and demonstrate the attitudes and abilities you aspire to. The people that you surround yourself with can make or break a workplace experience. In every workplace, there are unhappy people who enable toxicity, and productive, positive, motivated people who inspire others and get the job done well, and in time. Which of these colleagues do you think you should you be working with?

2. Keep the big picture in view. Knowing the bigger, overarching purpose, and recognizing how your work is linked with that purpose can help when you feel frustrated.

3. Stay positive, and pay attention to that little voice in your head! If you constantly tell yourself ‘I’m miserable’, you will feel miserable. If you look at the positives, however small or random they may seem, you will appreciate them and as a consequence feel better about your day and your job overall.

4. When taking big projects that seems overwhelming or impossible, try to break it down into series of smaller, more achievable steps. Make a list of all things that you need to do in order to start tackling the big project. The challenge will seem much more achievable when you break it down!

5. Be good to yourself. Eating nutritious foods, getting physical exercise daily, and taking regular breaks for stretches and fresh air can change your overall outlook, as Alexander Pope said: “Strength of mind is exercise, not rest”. In addition, make sure that you also note your achievements and successes, and find a way to share them with your work colleagues, friends, and family members.

The Value of Engaging a Boutique Executive Search Firm

When most people think of the Executive search industry, they think of the big name firms. These large firms typically cater to the Fortune 500 world. While there is value in working with a big name firm, unless you’re a Fortune 500 company, I don’t feel that you will get the attention that justifies the large fee that you will pay for the service.Engaging a boutique executive search firm may be the answer because you generally receive a better level of service, expertise, and fee structure. How so?

The Value of Engaging a Boutique Executive Search Firm
The Value of Engaging a Boutique Executive Search Firm

When you engage a boutique executive search firm, you are dealing directly with the person who will conduct the executive search and also be the one who will reach out, screen, qualify, and submit the candidates for your consideration. At a large executive search firm, the work may be directed by a senior level partner, but a majority of the work is done by lower level employees who are less connected to your company and probably less able to articulate to the candidates what you are looking for in the role.

Boutique executive search firms generally specialize in just a few industries or type of roles. Large firms’ expertise tends to be very broad. Boutique firms tend to know their industries very well and, therefore, have some strong connections with a variety of candidates. Boutiques firms typically work on fewer projects, devoting far more time and attention to each one. Large firms have many ongoing projects and will not be able to devote the necessary time required for tough searches.

Boutiques have higher search completion rates than big firms. Completion rates at big search firms are generally in the 60% to 65% range.

Bigger is not always better in executive search. In many cases, client service suffers by using a large firm. Boutique firms tend to know their clients much better and are interested in building long-term partnership arrangements.

What’s happening to Obama Care?

President Obama’s signature legislation will go down in history as his signing into law what has become known as the Affordable Care Act. This was done to bring on board all those who don’t have health insurance, and to make the health system a more simplified arena for all.

Why are things still so wrong?

Six years into his presidency, and there are major criticisms of ObamaCare.

What’s happening to Obama Care?
What’s happening to Obama Care?

1. Millions of Americans Stand to Lose Their Health Insurance. The president emphatically told everyone “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Not exactly true. More and more middle-class people will see their health coverage not get extended, and they will have to join the ACA.

2. An individual mandate system means that ALL Americans are mandated to have health insurance. It has been argued that this goes against everything free America stands for.

3. Health Care Coverage Will Change No Matter What. Even if you continue to get your health care insurance through your employer, they will have to conform to new federal benefit standards, like it or not. These upgrades will cost more; hence, higher premiums for you.

4. Health Care Costs Have Increased. Now, while you may not be able to see your favorite doctor anymore, the costs of office visits, lab tests, procedures, prescriptions, and everything else is increasing. Monthly premiums have also increased as well as yearly deductibles, which mean you pay out of pocket until that threshold has been met.

Other problems have been identified by critics of the Act, such as who pays for what, procedures that are not paid for and once were, who makes the medical decisions and no savings seen for the majority of American middle-class families.

This landmark legislation is also the first of its kind. Obama has begun the process of trying to bring an equitable form of health care to all Americans, and it is still going to take some time to iron out the wrinkles and get it right.

For Recruiters

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