IT Department Staff Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Staffing challenges in the IT department can cause problems across the office. Despite being part of the back-office, staff that isn’t interacting directly with clients and customers, IT staff manages emergencies both major and minor on daily basis. There’s simply no IT department where IT staff sit around waiting for something to do. Here are a few common IT staffing challenges and options for solutions.

IT Department Staff Challenges
IT Department Staff Challenges

IT Staff Departures
IT employees tend to have incredibly specialized knowledge, not only about technology and systems, but about the particular technology and systems that your office uses. Replacing an IT staff member can require a long training period and a slow catch up as problems which are particular to your office are re-learned and re-solved.

In order to avoid losing IT staff, it’s best to ensure that they remain engaged and don’t feel overwhelmed or undervalued. Plan to show appreciation on a schedule and pay attention to workload.

Workload Management
Far from the lazy and bored staff member, IT departments are often under staffed and over worked. This can cause both frustration and disengagement from IT staff that feel they can never get on top of their workload.

IT staff should be given opportunities to voice concerns about workloads and the solutions that they feel would make a difference. Because of the specialized environment they work in, IT staff will probably have suggestions for how to change things to be more efficient which management wouldn’t have thought of. Make time to listen and implement changes and improvements which are suggested.

Skills and Training
Because the nature of IT is to innovate and change constantly, it can be hard for busy IT employees to keep up-to-date with training and technological improvements. You don’t want your firm to be at a disadvantage and you want to ensure that your employees have the time and opportunity to stay on top of changes.

IT associations can be a resource for great courses and seminars as well as a way to help fund additional training. Training opportunities not only help your company to stay at the cutting edge of current technology, they also serve as a great engagement opportunity for staff members. IT staff that is given the chance to grow and learn will see that their employer values them and is willing to invest in their future at the company.


How to Engage Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are great candidates for a number of reasons. They will be honest about their work experience and skills because they’re not dying to leave their current position and they’re probably not interviewing with other companies. Plus, if they’re content with their current employer, they’re probably the type of person who will be content with a new company if you can engage and entice them away.

How to Engage Passive Candidates
How to Engage Passive Candidates

Built a Relationship
Passive candidates don’t want to be bought and sold so don’t treat their recruitment and hiring as a transaction. They should be given opportunities to become familiar with the benefits of potential changes to their employment situation. Get to know what it is that they value in a workplace and where things could be improved in their current situation.

Offer Something in Return
You’re probably digging for information with passive candidates, but there should be a give-and-take in this relationship. Social media and networking can be about more that just jobs, it can be a way to exchange information, share insights about work strategies, or even a way to offer contests, insider info, and training opportunities.

Be Unique
While sharing information is good, simply being an information recycler isn’t interesting to passive candidates. Make sure your engagement is through various networks and media and offer a unique perspective. Try to demonstrate how your organization stands out.

Think Like the Passive Candidate
Passive candidates are more likely to take a new position if it will improve work/life balance and the culture of their new company will be an improvement or better fit than their current place of employment. In order to engage them from their perspective, use these features of a company to entice the candidate. For example, if current employees are engaging in company events or can demonstrate how their employer is helping them with their work/life balance, make sure those employees are sharing. You can create a forum for this kind of enthusiasm by doing employee features on your social media sites.

Use a Range of Social Media and Connection Tools
Stay connected in a number of different ways so that you’re not always approaching passive candidates from the same direction. Create opportunities for referrals from within their trusted network. Use a light touch so that they don’t feel pushed or pressured.

Remember that passive candidates are happy with their position. The only thing that you can do is demonstrate that they would be happier in a new position.


The Value of a Robust LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn has been a tremendous step forward in the evolution of recruiting. From the days of snail-mailed resumes to job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder to LinkedIn, we have seen ability of job seekers to get their background in front of recruiters greatly enhanced. This is especially true for “passive jobseekers” who are generally willing to listen to a targeted job opportunity that seems appealing. The best way to do this is to make sure you have your LinkedIn profile up to date and completely filled out.

The Value of a Robust LinkedIn Profile
The Value of a Robust LinkedIn Profile

Before LinkedIn was developed (and even today), anyone who posted their resume on a job board risked someone at their current company finding out. With a robust LinkedIn profile, you have the opportunity of being approached about a tremendous job opportunity without it being apparent to your company that you would consider other options.

LinkedIn makes it very easy to develop your profile everything from your experience, education, skills & endorsements, publications, and recommendations. You can also attach documents such as your resume.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, develop one as soon as you can. If you have an existing profile, take the time to update it.


How to Re-engage Employees Who Might Be on the Brink of Leaving

The process of hiring someone new is a time and resources burden for every employer out there. If possible, wouldn’t it be better to just keep the well-trained and experienced employees that are already doing their jobs? It turns out that there are a lot of things that employers can do to help keep employees from disappearing because they’re burnt out, bored, or simply not doing as good a job as they’re capable of doing.

Unhappy Employees
How to Re-engage Employees Who Might Be on the Brink of Leaving

Disengaged employees make up as many as 9 in 10 staff members, according to Forbes. That not only means many people may be thinking of leaving, but the entire office is not doing a very efficient job. Here are a few important considerations for employers who want to re-engage unenthusiastic employees.

Know Your Staff
Managers that take the time to understand the specific skills and interests of their staff are more likely to fit the right employees to the right tasks. When employees are doing the things they’re good at and they’re interested in, they’re much happier.

Talk About Goals
Long term goals should be a part of conversations with staff members. When managers and leadership take an interest in the future of an employee, that employee feels that they are working towards something bigger and better. That feeling can keep them engaged and motivated.

Show Appreciation
Disengaged employees feel that their contribution doesn’t matter, that anyone could come in and do their job. When you take the time to appreciate their work, they realize that they are doing a good job and that management has noticed. Being noticed can lead to motivation and enthusiasm for better performance.

Cultivate Pride and a Positive Office Culture
A lot of disengaged employees don’t feel that the company they work for is special in any way. Some offices encourage positivity by using teamwork that requires cooperation. Others offer volunteer opportunities or perks like gym memberships. Little things can make a big difference for employees, giving them the sense that their job is different and better than other jobs.

Some employees are going to leave because they’re motivated to find another job or a better position. But all too often, their lack of enthusiasm for their current work has more to do with disengagement than a lack of opportunities. Creating those opportunities and staying engaged with employees on an individual level will help to keep staff from leaving.


How Employers Do Facebook “Background Checks” (and Why You Shouldn’t)

While it’s certainly a good practice for all of us to be discerning in what we choose to share on Facebook—versus what we choose to keep to ourselves—it’s interesting that these warnings assume that all employers are looking at social profiles as part of the job screening process. Indeed, there is a perception about the employment industry these days that so-called “social media background checks” are now a key tool for employers trying to make tough hiring decisions. In the minds of many, social media checks have joined resume reviews, interviews, and criminal history checks as a standard part of all hiring policies.

Now, say you are an entrepreneur or business owner, and you are looking to hire new employees for the first time. You need to design a screening process that will filter out the weak applicants, eliminate unsavory individuals, and find you a perfect candidate. And because you’ve heard so much about social media checks over the years, you decide that you might want to implement them as one step of your hiring process.

How Employers Do Facebook "Background Checks" (and Why You Shouldn't)
How Employers Do Facebook “Background Checks” (and Why You Shouldn’t)

How Social Media Checks Work

After you begin considering doing social media checks of your applicants, your first question will probably be about how to go about doing them.

It should be a clue to you that no background check company offers a service for social media checks. These firms will do virtually any kind of background check that is legal and fair, from searching criminal records, to checking financial history, all the way to verifying educational credentials and checking references. They will not do social media checks, though. If you want to do these checks, you are on your own.

Most employers that do social media background checks don’t do them until after an interview. They use resumes and job applications to choose the candidates they are actually interested in. The pool is then narrowed with interviews. After that, a social check may be used to see if any top prospects have any obvious online red flags. In other words, these social media checks aren’t really a key component to the employee screening process. Instead, they are a way to see if an applicant is indeed the person they presented themselves as in the interview.

All told, this means that most hiring managers will only ever be doing social background checks of a few applicants. How these checks are done, then, is more or less what you would expect: an employer goes onto Facebook; searches the name of an applicant; finds that person’s profile based on name, photo, location information, etc.; and then browses the profile for potential red flags.

3 Reasons Why You Should Skip The Social Media Check

The concept of a social check sounds pretty simple, right? You narrow down your applicant pool, pick a few people you’d seriously consider hiring, and then see if there are any inappropriate photos or statuses on their Facebook profile. But while there can certainly be benefits from seeing how an applicant behaves “in the real world,” the risks and cons of social checks outweigh the pros. Here are the three primary reasons why you should skip the social media background check in your employment screening process.

1. They reveal information that employers are not supposed to know

When you draft a job application for your company, there are a number of rules to which you must adhere. You are not allowed to ask, for instance, about an applicant’s age or marital status. In some parts of the country, where ban-the-box legislation is on the books, you aren’t even allowed to ask about criminal history. These rules are there to prevent discrimination or bias in hiring.

When you check an applicant’s social profile, you are almost certainly going to learn about some of these pieces of information that no employer is supposed to have. Facebook profiles disclose a lot of personal information: age, race, native language, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, marital status, whether or not the applicant has children, whether the applicant smokes or drinks, etc. Learning this information can make it difficult for employers to make unbiased hiring decisions.

2. They are frowned upon by the EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission frowns upon social media background checks for the reasons laid out above: they increase the chances of bias and discrimination entering into the hiring process. And while social media checks aren’t illegal themselves—at least not yet—they can lead employers to breaking EEOC laws without even realizing it.

For example, let’s say an employer looks at the Facebook page of a female applicant. The action of simply pulling up the webpage is legal. While browsing the profile, though, the hiring manager notices that the woman has just announced that she is pregnant. Due to concerns about maternity leave, the employer decides not to hire the woman and goes with an equally qualified male applicant for the job. The employer has thus committed an employment discrimination crime, and can be sued by both the EEOC and the female applicant they unfairly rejected.

3. They can be a big waste of time

The last reason to skip social checks is that, plain and simple, they can lead to a huge waste of time and a substantial loss of productivity. When an employer sits down to look at applicant profiles on Facebook, there are plenty of reasons that the endeavor could end up being fruitless. Perhaps the applicant doesn’t have a Facebook profile, or has implemented extensive privacy settings to keep non-friends from looking at their page. Or maybe the person goes by a different name on Facebook than the one they wrote down on their application. Either way, there are better uses of time than chasing phantoms on a social network.

Instead, use those hours to find a reputable background check firm for criminal screenings, or even to interview a few extra applicants You’ll get more out of your time, and won’t have to worry about accidentally breaking any hiring laws.

Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for a background check company. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.


Most Influential Career Sites in 2014

Can you really put your resume on every job site out there? And is that the best strategy? Sorting the good advice from the misleading can be time consuming and frustrating. Here is a list of some of the most influential and useful career sites of 2014, all of which are updated regularly, see plenty of traffic, and are easy to access through various social media channels.

Most Influential Career Sites in 2014
Most Influential Career Sites in 2014
Indeed, launched in 2004, is the most visited job website in the world. 140 million unique visitors check the site every day. Part of its success is due to the fact that it’s actually an aggregator, providing job listing from many other websites, all in one place. It’s operating in 50 countries.
Next on the list is familiar named Career Builder. Partnered with AOL and MSN, it provides a huge selection of jobs and operates in 60 markets over 24 countries. They also own and operate other smaller sites that cater to specific markets, including and
Despite the size, and in fact partially because of it, Monster is an important career site to use. It’s one of the largest online job markets in the world, and it continues to grow every year. With about a million jobs and a million resumes, plus over 63 million job seekers accessing the site per month, it’s a great place to start your job search.

Simply Hired
This website may be simple, but it is not small. With over 8 million job listings, it is the largest independent job search engine. It is so extensive that it is used as an economic indicator by some economists.

LinkedIn isn’t a proper job search site, however it is an important networking tool and does lead to a lot of job placements. By connecting with your friends, co-workers, previous co-workers, and the broader network from there, you might get that personal introduction to the perfect job.
Beyond is another search engine for job sites. They’ve provided a different kind of tool, which gives them a leg up in certain ways. Some compare Beyond to LinkedIn, because it offers a unique way to display your resume and has online communities for professionals to join and benefit from.
This website offers many internships and entry level professional jobs as well as plenty of sound advice about landing that first job. It includes many helpful and encouraging success stories from those who are entering the job market and land permanent positions via internships.
Glassdoor broke ground last year by creating a tool that helps you connect your skills with jobs that you may not realize you’re qualified for. Their Job Explorer feature allows you to map potential jobs which you might overlook on a different site. The rollout in July exposed a few quirks which are mostly smoothed out by now.

Mashable Jobs
Mashable Jobs was launched only four years ago, but already boasts high traffic and over 3,000 employers who consider it a top destination, along with over 11,000 job postings in its extended network.

The mission of this site is to fundamentally change the way that people find professional opportunities and the ways that employers find talent. It’s used by thousands of companies, universities, and membership organizations.

While searching career sites does not replace the work of improving your actual resume and applying for jobs, you can learn a lot about the market and your opportunities by scouring the sites that appeal to you. You don’t have to use all 10, but make sure at least a few of these are on your list.


How To Use Your Company Culture to Attract Top Talent

Every professional recruiter knows that a huge part of success in placing a candidate involves finding a company whose culture meshes with the work style and goals of the job seeker. This is simply human nature—we seek social groups where we feel at home and we seek job situations where the culture is familiar. There’s a good reason for this—we can often be more productive in an environment where we know our strengths are recognized, and where we don’t have to expend energy “fitting in” or translating our ideas to fit with a foreign corporate culture.

Company Culture to Attract Top Talent

To top it off, more and more talented job seekers are prioritizing company culture when they go to look for a job. Google, for example, receives a staggering 2 million job applications from very talented job seekers every year. Why? Employees are drawn to the very publicly promoted culture of the company.

Hard To Define Culture

Recent studies show that in regular spoken communication, it is only 15% what we say to each other that is “heard” and 85% how we say it. Similarly, corporate culture can be difficult to define and words may fall short.

Culture is a set of values, but also an aesthetic, as well as a specific way of presenting yourself in the world and marketplace. A successful recruiter knows that you have to go beyond what is being said sometimes, and matching a candidate with an appropriate culture often means interpreting unspoken language of both company and candidate.

Company Culture Is Not A Façade

It’s one thing to create a company culture, but it’s another to keep it up to date as the company grows. Google’s culture is, in part, focused on innovation and they’ve built that into their workforce in such a way that it’s now organic to the growth of the company. In other words, as the company grows, and it grows constantly and quickly, innovation is part of the growth and integral to it. In this way the company’s culture is never something static but something real that grows with the company. Another way to look at it is that the company grows in part because of the culture.

Look For Keys

Companies often use key indicators to communicate what they actually stand for. For example, they may have various ways of encouraging employee growth. They may emphasize teamwork in the way the office is laid out or in extracurricular activities.

Some companies emphasize philanthropy through community service days. Surveys of millennial talent indicates that Gen Y workers hold volunteer work and giving back as a very important factor when it comes to looking for a place they want to work. Other companies are green companies with policies aimed at having a low impact, environmentally. Millennials also seem to favor companies with an eco-friendly approach. Family friendly companies have great health care and even daycare on offer and you may see children in the workplace.

Take the time to discover what the actual, not just stated, culture of your client’s company is.

Making Matches That Work

Company culture is not just a superficial definition or brand. Culture can define the way that employees interact, the ways that conflicts are resolved, and how business problems are solved. Just as with any human culture, it permeates daily experience and therefore how a company does business.

Find out what is really most important to the top talent that you are looking for. Ask about life goals, not just career goals. Is friendly competition between employees attractive or intimidating to top talent? Think about the things that make a workplace unique or welcoming and match candidates with the environments that they like and thrive in.


5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Recruiter Should Make

New Year’s Resolutions are notorious for being short lived. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them. This year, consider what you can use this opportunity for. A Resolution should be something that reminds you of things you often forget. In other words, consider your New Year’s Resolutions as an opportunity to keep great advice at the forefront of your mind. In the recruiting business we all know that hard work is an absolute requirement, but with all the dashing around, trying to be the first to snap up a great candidate or fill a great position, it’s easy to forget the things that create a great base for strong recruiting skills over time. Here are a few New Year’s Resolutions to consider for 2015.


1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
As a recruiter, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the competitive side of the job. Stop doing that this year. Remember that you are your own worse competition and focus on doing your job as well as possible.

2. Value Honesty and Sincerity
Recruiters are usually some of the most confident and enthusiastic people in a room. It’s easy to let those skills – which are absolutely necessary for the job – run away with your mouth. We can all afford to step back from time to time and re-focus on the importance of being sincere and honest.

Enthusiasm can all too easily look like insincerity, and sincerity is what builds a great relationship, whether it’s between you and a client or you and a great candidate. You want people to like you, and you’re confident they will, but honesty and sincerity are the groundwork for a really powerful relationship.

3. Set Goals with Dates
A lot of people use New Year’s Resolutions as a time to set goals. That’s fine and it’s a great start, but you’ve got to put a date on a goal. Put yourself in a position to succeed by resolving to set the kinds of goals that have an expiration date. Measurable goals are real goals. Come up with goals that are reasonable for you to accomplish. If you’ve averaged 3 placements per month this year, make a goal of having at least 4 per month. At the end of each month you’ll know whether you’ve reached your goal.

4. Join a Group, Learn to Use a New Tool
Extend yourself a bit this coming year by doing something specific which will increase your tangible skills. Joining a group will help you to extend your network and may lead to educating opportunities. Using the tools available to recruiters is required, but with so many out there and new ones being added all the time it’s easy to just give up and say you like what you work with now. Make a New Year’s Resolution to teach yourself to effectively take advantage of a recruiting tool that you’ve brushed past or only learned the very basics about.

5. Get Over Bad Days
It’s something we say again and again, but it bears repeating. No matter how many times or how often you have bad days, you must be able to get over them quickly. If you let bad days, or bad weeks, slow you down, you’ll be wasting even more time than you already feel you have. When something falls through, let it go with grace and get on to the next thing.

Write yourself a letter about the things you’d like to see yourself do over the coming year. Seal it and put it somewhere so you can open it at the end of the year. New Year’s Resolutions are hard to keep, but they’re still an opportunity to make promises to yourself about how things will get better from now forward.


How to Be a Great Recruiter

Recruiting is both a skill and an art when done well. There are layers to the skills required and it can feel like an uphill battle, especially when you get a couple of matches that fall through in a row. But being a great recruiter is about more than knowing how to do the job. You’ve also got to be confident, relentless, circumspect, and you can’t let the bad days get you down.

Networking: Personality and Relationships
Recruiters are responsible for building relationships with their clients, who simply want to hire the best person for each open position. But they also have to be able to build relationships with the candidates that they’d like to place. You’ve got to be able to work with the people on both sides of an equation, and you’ve got to know how a candidate’s personality will mesh with the corporate culture of a client. A match is only good if it lasts, so you can’t simply convince people that they’re a good fit. The fit has to actually be good.

recruting software

Fluency with the Tools of the Trade
Building up that network of great clients and excellent candidates will require that you know where to find them. The ways that candidates search for jobs and the short cuts that clients may take are changing all the time. You’ve got to stay on top of all the best options and learn how to use them in a fluent, comfortable, and fast way. Develop a workflow that includes checking social media, online marketing tools, job sites, and resume listing sites. Use modern recruiting technologies like recruiting software that helps you to keep all those contacts organized and at your fingertips.

Balance Confidence with Listening Skills
Recruiting requires confidence. You’ve got to have an eye out for what you think is going to work best for others, which means you can’t waffle about and say things like ‘maybe this’ll work out’. There’s no room for matches that are just okay. Enthusiasm and confidence will help your clients and candidates to feel confident about you.

But there’s a balance to be struck, because with over-confidence come foolish mistakes. Being a good listener is also part of the job. Great recruiters aren’t always looking at their next great match, they’re listening closely to what candidates and clients are actually asking for. Sometimes the client or candidate isn’t able to communicate what it is they want, but if you listen closely you’ll start to understand what would be a great match for them.

Patience, Speed, and Resilience
Why lump patience and speed together? Because a recruiter has to be the first one out of the gate when a great position opens which might be perfect for a candidate. The competition is high and that means you can’t wait around to make that match.

At the same time, you’ve got to be patient as you wait for that perfect match to appear. Putting together a company with a candidate who simply won’t thrive within the corporate culture will not be good for anyone. Even if the candidate is hired, if they don’t last you’re putting your reputation on the line. If you’re impatience, you’re risking your networks, relationships, and the work you’ve done to get where you are.

Finally, a great recruiter must be resilient. Not every placement will work out. Not every candidate will find a job through you, no matter how hard you work. And there will be times when a placement falls through and you feel like you just can’t get back on your feet. Recruiting is a job that has built in ups and downs. When you’re down, remember that you have to go back up eventually. Keep going or you’ll never get there.


Calculating The Average Cost per Hire

Hiring new employees is costly, and most companies and recruiting agencies know that by now. It’s much less expensive to hire from within or promote current employees than it is to hire someone new. The main costs are associated with the cost of recruitment services, skills training, slow adoption of corporate culture and norms, costs associated with adding employees to programs, in-house HR costs, background and reference checks, referral bonuses, uniforms, and credit checks. Indirect costs include things like recruiter travel expenses, time at employment fairs and other hiring events, and advertising.

Cost Per Hire
Cost Per Hire

Depending on the position, length of the hiring process, and the job sector, among other factors, a new hire can cost between $240 and $10,000. And that doesn’t include executive new hire which can be much more expensive. With all these factors and such a range of numbers, talking about the average can be a bit misleading. It’s better to look at the averages for specific industries or positions in order to gain an understanding of what is normal within your field.

Typically, we can point to numbers around $4500-$5000 as a reasonable average cost per hire. But depending on the source you may find numbers closer to $8000-$10000. Do these numbers mean anything to your company?

Calculate Your Own Cost per Hire

A more valuable number these days is the cost per hire that you can calculate from within your company. While you can calculate how much it costs in expenses, a more valuable number is the cost to your company for having a vacancy within the company.

The first number you’ll need is annual sales. This can be from your division or entire company, depending on size and variety. You’ll also need to know an average number of days it takes to hire a new employee. If the recruiting department has specific costs, you can add these in.

Start by finding daily revenue per employee by dividing the annual sales by 250. Multiply your result by the number of days your company takes to hire someone new. If you have additional costs, add those to your result. The result is the cost to your company of hiring someone new.

As you can imagine, the length of time to hire someone new is in fact a key factor. By reducing the length of time it takes to hire someone new, you can ensure you’re bringing in the maximum revenue possible within your company.


For Recruiters