Category Archives: News

Resume Format-Best Practices

I have heard for years that the traditional resume would eventually be replaced.   Sites such as LinkedIn have certainly come close to replicating or potentially replacing the traditional resume.   However, the traditional resume still holds much value, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon.

resume-icon-png-4

So, if the resume still is an important piece in a candidate’s job search, what format is the best?

I am still a big fan of the traditional chronological format. Some resume creators champion the skills-based format; however, most employers don’t like this format as it can be used to cover employment gaps in a candidate’s work history.   I also don’t feel that a candidate needs to engage a Resume Consultant and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to develop a resume or online resume website.  There is a lot of free information and templates online that a job seeker can use to develop a resume.

My rule of thumb to candidates that I speak with is that you cannot have a “one size fits all resume”.   The job market is so competitive today and employers are so specific in what they want, that a job seeker needs to customize their resume for each job that they apply to. How is this done?   The job seeker can develop a resume, but then will need to “tweak” their resume based on the job posting that they are applying to.   Make sure to use the key words found in the job description as many internal company recruiters used Boolean based searches to locate candidates in their company’s Applicant Tracking Systems.   As long as you can back up anything that you put on your resume, this customizing is a smart move.

I am also asked by candidates on the proper length of a resume. There seems to be a misconception that you need to limit your resume to two pages.   While two pages would be ideal, it is very difficult for an experienced candidate to keep a resume to two pages.   Three pages is certainly fine.   For scientific or research candidates, the length of your resume would certainly be longer because you will need to include information such as patents, publications, or speaking events.

Make sure to include a descriptive sentence or two under each employer that you work for as many people may not know about each employer that you worked for.   Also, include the month and year for the start and end of each employment. It also doesn’t hurt to include GPA information under each degree that you have.   I am also a big fan of cover letters which can be tailored for each job that you apply to.

Remember, your resume is just a door opener for you.   A well-written resume should great improve your chances of success.

How To Maximize Work Productivity By Creating A Fun Workplace

Injecting fun into the workplace might seem contrary to common sense but a recent report proves the benefits. Creating a fun workplace boosts productivity and lowers staff turnover. Workers become more engaged and collaborate with each other more effectively.

Maximize Work Productivity By Creating A Fun Workplace
Maximize Work Productivity By Creating A Fun Workplace

Workplace Fun Survey
The study carried out by Robertson Cooper, surveyed 2,000 employees in 2015.
It found that play at work produced real benefits, leading to a more motivated workforce with lower absenteeism levels. Many employees take sick days as a result of work-induced stress or burnout. Having these employees attend the office more often, even if they’re taking time out to play, is more cost-effective.

According to the this survey, 79% of employees rated fun at work as at least moderately important. And 44% believed that workplace fun would increase their productivity.
Play and fun can mean different things to different people. Office fun activities can range from pool to karaoke to time out to talk about non-work topics. Crucially, fun should occur away from the desk or cubicle. A short, fun break away from screens every few hours keeps your workforce happy and motivated. Extended lunch breaks are a great idea, too, especially a Friday visit to a bar or a surprise office party.

Fun Heals The Mind
Fun in the workplace not only helps relieve stress but it also improves people’s ability to think. Happy employees who play tend to think more creatively, focus better on work tasks, and are more likely to come up with innovative ideas.

The belief that people will only work harder if rewarded with more money no longer holds traction. Today’s younger workforce yearns for an improved work-life balance. Add a little fun to the working mix and you’ll find your employees show more loyalty to your company and brand.

Humor & Friendship
There’s nothing like humor to rally your workforce. Try to prevent the working day from becoming stale and too serious. Begin each meeting with a joke rather than a lengthy speech. Keep things spontaneous, informal and friendly. Make work tasks competitive in a fun way, perhaps offering small prizes for the winners. Celebrate small project successes.

Encourage friendship between your employees. Learn about their interests and hobbies. Table tennis and X-box might not appeal to everybody as a fun activity for the office.
Try to get everyone involved in workplace recreation. Far from stifling commitment to work, play encourages focus and loyalty, and it will produce a much more productive environment.

Employee Referral Programs-The Best Way to Hire Stars!

Now that the talent pool for certain roles (for example software engineers) is very tight, it is time to create or dust off your employee referral program if your company has not already done so.

For those who do not know,  an employee referral program is a program, where employees recommend qualified friends, relatives or colleagues.  Such a program can be an excellent source of candidates and eventually hires. For the employee whose recommendation leads to a hire, there will be various rewards.

Hand writing Referrals with blue marker on transparent wipe board.
Hand writing Referrals with blue marker on transparent wipe board.

Setting up a program is pretty easy.  By researching the Internet, you will be able to find samples of guidelines used by other companies.  Also, you will be able to find software that can help you administer and manage the program.

Once your program is established, each company should make sure that the program provides enough incentive for your employees to want to participate. Referral awards should fall into the $1,000 to $5,000 per hire to make your employees hungry to make the referrals. In addition, it would be great for companies to set up two annual drawings at the end of the year; one for the pool of employees who had a successful referral hire and one for those employees who participated in the program but who did not have a hire. You should make the prizes substantial such a trips, iPads, etc. to encourage participation.

You will find a well-run employee referral program to be your most cost-effective hiring tool as well as the program that produces the highest quality hires.

So, turn your staff into a recruiting team and watch those tough to fill positions get filled!

 

When is it the Right Time to Hire a New Employee?

Starting up a business and growing it can be an epic journey. Entrepreneurs rarely undertake these tasks alone. At some point, the prospect of adding to the workforce arrives for every business owner, giving rise to several daunting questions.

Can You Afford A New Employee?
Try to forecast your sales figures a year or two ahead to see if you can afford a new employee. Making predictions can be difficult, though. The state of the economy offers few clues, with labor demands usually out of sync with current economic trends. There’s a danger of over hiring, which can lead to employees becoming disengaged by not having enough to do.
Taking on a new hire involves more than just paying another salary. There are taxes and insurance to consider too. You might need to rent extra office space to accommodate more staff and more furniture.

When is it the Right Time to Hire a New Employee?
When is it the Right Time to Hire a New Employee?

Can You Hire the Right Person?
Choose the wrong newbie and it might end up costing you in the long term. Finding someone with the right skills can be expensive.
Hire someone unsuitable and you might end up paying for their poor performance through shrinking profit margins.
If you get it right, however, your new employee can become an asset, returning significantly more than your investment.

Is the Time Right?
So when is it a good time to hire?
One sign is when you find yourself doing many low-skilled, manual tasks, such as packaging and delivery. These might be performed more cost-effectively by a new employee, leaving you more time for selling and networking.
And some work tasks don’t need to be fulfilled by permanent, full-time employees. Web development and marketing can be performed remotely during a set period. Even accounts can be handled part-time, or outsourced entirely.

What are Your Goals?
A lot depends on your business goals. Are you happy with a small business, or do you want to reach skywards? Hiring might trigger a shock to your business continuity. It may even restrict your growth at first.
The benefits of an extra employee will take time to appear, but a good hire can lead to real growth.
It might be time to hire when one or more opportunities threaten to pass you by because you can’t handle the workload. By getting some help, you can dedicate yourself to steering the company the right way, or mining that revenue stream you’ve had on hold.
With your workload shared, your customer service is likely to improve. Also, your business will be less prone to mistakes caused by overworked staff.

Running a small business can be like pushing a car up a hill. It takes a lot of effort to keep things moving, and who has the wheel while you’re pushing?
Get back in the driver’s seat where you belong. Speed to success with some help from a new recruit.

Considering An Unsolicited Job Opportunity From A Recruiter

Why should you consider an unsolicited job opportunity from a recruiter?

Most of the candidates that I reached out to for many of my openings are not active job seekers.  If I have done the correct research, my hope is that I am presenting them with an opportunity that is a great match for their background.

Cold Job Search

Candidates should, at least, be willing to speak with the recruiter to learn more about the company,  the specifics of the role, and also the compensation package.  Many times, the best opportunities come up when you are not actively looking to make a job move.  Also, you are in a much better negotiating position as someone who is actively employed versus someone who is losing  their job or has already lost their job.

I have seen too many cases where candidates “pass” on an opportunity because they are “comfortable” in their current job.  Unfortunately, some of the same candidates reach out to me months or even years later in a panic because their job is being eliminated because of downsizing or financial instability.

It never hurts to explore a job opportunity presented to you.  Worse case scenario is that you spend some time exploring the opportunity to find out that the role is not a match.  Best case scenario is that the unsolicited call presents you with a wonderful opportunity to enhance your career.  Time very well spent if this is the case!

What It Takes to Have a Successful Staffing Agency

Staffing agencies play the role of the middle-man recruiter for temporary and permanent jobs. The benefit of hiring a staffing agency for companies looking to hire is that they screen potential candidates to weed out those who are unqualified. Staffing agencies also benefit job seekers because they can have insight into job openings that may not have been made public yet and they can help you network with potential employers.

What It Takes to Have a Successful Staffing Agency
What It Takes to Have a Successful Staffing Agency

Operating a successful staffing agency isn’t as easy as it sounds, though. There’s much more to it than matchmaking employers and job candidates. Below is a list of things to keep in mind if you currently own or are thinking about starting a staffing agency of your own.

Know your target market

Don’t start off trying to build your employer or candidate database over a wide variety of industries. Start off with a niche industry based on what you know or people you may know working in that industry like biomedical engineering, financial planning or luxury retail.

Starting small in the beginning not only allows you to have a strong foundation but it also helps you to understand your clients’ needs and how the business works. Once you start seeing success in your niche, you will start to build a reputation for yourself. Eventually, you can branch out into other industry sectors if you choose to.

Market your services the right way

If your budget allows for it, invest on Creating a Company website, purchasing a Recruiting Software and posting job opportunities on job boards like Indeed.com, Careerbuilder.com or niche job boards can be a great way to build up a database of job seekers. With free social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, however, it is easier than ever to find candidates on the hunt for a job.

Research social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, networking events, conferences and professional meet-ups in your area in order to build relationship with prospect clients and market your services. Putting your agency out there is crucial to expanding your client base.

Make sure you have proper funding

Depending on a company’s hiring process, it could potentially take up to 60, even up to 90 days to receive payment for your services. Understand your cash flows and how this will affect your monthly expenses and revenues. You will also need to appreciate that with any business, certain expenses are to be expected, such as office space, insurance, and payroll if you plan on hiring employees.

Take the time to understand your clients

If you do not understand the needs of your clients, your business will go nowhere. Companies hire you to take the work out of hiring a new employee. If you can’t deliver qualified candidates to them, you will be wasting time and money.

When it comes to understanding what your clients need, ask a lot of questions. Find out what it is that they really looking for. Learn about the vacancy details, company policies and what it’s like to work there, it is all about quality over quantity. Never refer potential candidates to a company if they don’t meet their standards or qualifications.

Job Interview Preparation

In today’s highly competitive job seeking market, you need to do detailed preparation prior to any phone and/or onsite interviews with potential new employers. Solid preparation will permit you to stand out from the competition!

Job Prep

Thanks to the internet, you can quickly and easily review the company’s web site for information on the company’s products and services. Make sure to review press releases and news on the company as well. If the company is publicly traded, you should be able to find a wealth of financial data on the company with your internet research.

Use LinkedIn to review the profiles of anyone that you will be speaking or meeting with during the interview. Doing this will give you insight into their current duties and responsibilities but also may provide you with some “ice breakers” to start the interview on a light note.

Speak with any friends who either know first hand information about the company or interviewers to try to gain some insight or a competitive edge.

If you doing a phone interview with the company, make sure to have a pad and pen available in order to jot down your thoughts or to use the pad to solve a technical problem.

Take the time to review the description of the job that you are being interviewed. Write down your key accomplishments in current or past jobs that relate to this position. Make sure to highlight these accomplishments during your interview session. Ask the interviewer, “What are the key problems/issues that this role is looking to solve?” Once you know this information, you are in a great position to relate to the interviewer just how you handled these issues in the past and what solutions that you developed. Companies are looking to hire candidates who are not only sharp technically but who are good problem solvers and creative thinkers.

Detailed preparation to any interview is the key to success.

Steps on Writing a Job Acceptance Letter

On receiving a job offer, you will often receive a document to sign from your potential employer. If not, it is important that you write a letter to accept the offer formally.

Sending a job acceptance letter is the right way to ensure you are all on the same page about the terms of employment.

Steps on Writing a Job Acceptance Letter
Steps on Writing a Job Acceptance Letter

If you have never written one of these letters before, you may not know where to start, but an acceptance letter does not have to be complex.

1. Share Your Gratitude and Enthusiasm
Start your letter with appreciation for being offered the position. This allows you to thank your employer for extending a job opportunity. This starts things out on a positive note and reinforces the good qualities your interviewer previously observed.

2. Confirm Your Acceptance
The next step is to confirm your acceptance of the job, and reiterate the terms to which you have agreed, including your position, when it starts, and your salary, as well as other benefits.

Summarize your understanding of your role and responsibilities. This ensures that the employer has a chance to correct any misunderstandings before the job begins.

3. Conclude With Any Additional Information
You may wish to share your full contact information in the closing lines to make it easy for your employer to contact you. You can also use this space to reiterate your enthusiasm, and ask any questions that have not been addressed.

4. Double Check
Take a minute to double check the letter and ensure there are no mistakes in information, spelling errors, or other issues. Go beyond built in spell checking programs, and actually read the letter word for word to make sure it is error-free before you send it away.

5. Keep Things Brief and Cheerful
Remember that your job acceptance letter does not need to be very long. Keep your letter brief in the interest of clarity and ease of communication. It should retain a cheerful, upbeat tone throughout the document, without going overboard. As always, remain professional in your correspondence with the employer – this is not the time for casual writing!

If you follow these steps, accepting a job offer in writing should be easy. Once your letter is finished, you can email, fax, or mail it to your employer. However you send it, remember to keep a copy for yourself and a record of when you sent it, as these might be useful for future reference.

How to Negotiate Your Compensation Package

Receiving a job offer is exciting, but it is only the beginning!

When you are considering taking a job, the compensation package is important. This informs how your work will be rewarded. If you are a good prospective employee, you deserve fair compensation.

How to Negotiate Your Compensation Package
How to Negotiate Your Compensation Package

Many people shy away from negotiating their compensation package for fear of scaring their possible employer away, but you should know that it is acceptable to negotiate to get the benefits and salary you deserve.

Wait For the Right Time
In your interview, you may have discussed salary expectations. This means that you and your interviewer are aware of your expectations, which opens the door to further negotiation once an offer is extended. You should wait for the offer before you start bargaining, to ensure that the focus is kept on your qualifications, and your questions about the company.

Do Your Research
When it’s time to start talking about compensation, come into the conversation prepared. Research how much people in similar positions make, and use that to your advantage. You should be compensated fairly, so it helps to know what the average range is for that role.

Some companies make their range known during the interview process, so you can use that as a starting point to determine if you should be near the top or bottom of the pay scale to begin.

More Than Just a Salary
Remember that a compensation package involves more than just a salary. Benefits and other job perks are an integral part of negotiation, so even if you have to scale back your salary expectations, you could ask for benefits like increased vacation time, flexible hours, Sign-On Bonus, Profit Sharing or other add-ons that increase the overall value of your compensation package. Employers may be more willing to use their discretion in these areas.

Know Your End Goal
You should go into negotiations with an ideal scenario, and an acceptable scenario. Hopefully, your bargaining will leave you somewhere in the middle or better. You can go back and forth with an employer until you reach that satisfactory level of compensation, but bear in mind that you should not settle for a compensation package that will leave you unhappy. There is nothing wrong with walking away from a position that does not compensate you fairly, so be aware that you could end up having to decline the offer.

Updated Job Market Statistics (June 2016)

I updated the analysis (previously done on January 21, 2016 and March 24, 2016) using jobs posted within 100 miles of Philadelphia PA (MAS Recruiting’s office location) and then broke the jobs down by salary level. I gathered my data from jobs posting on Indeed and LinkedIn; two of the most popular job posting sites. Here is the new June analysis and the comparison to January’s and March’s data:

Chart3Chart2

The comparison data between LinkedIn and Indeed is remarkably similar until you get to the month of June. Up until June, the data showed that between 75% and 80% of all the posted positions are paying 80k or less in salary. The March data also showed that recruiting and hiring has not increased at all since January, and that we remained in a flat job market. However, June’s data from LinkedIn should a large drop in the overall number of jobs, but also showed that total percentage of jobs paying less than 80k dramatically jumped from 77.4% at the end of March to 90% on June 14.

The data from LinkedIn is probably a much better indicator of the health of the overall job market since it cost money to post jobs on the site as compared to Indeed where most of the job postings tend to be free posts. I would imagine that the job totals on Indeed would lag those on LinkedIn.

This data shows that companies continue to be extremely careful with their recruiting and hiring and are 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. I don’t see the job market getting any better soon since summer tends to be a slower time even in the best of job markets.