Category Archives: News

How to write an effective self-performance review

A good self-performance review allows employees to assess their effectiveness in their areas of responsibilities by reflecting on:
a) what they accomplished
b) what they learned, and
c) what they need to learn.

When done effectively and honestly, management can use this tool to close the gap between the employee’s expected and actual performance.

How to write an effective self-performance review
How to write an effective self-performance review

Most employees find self-assessments difficult because they have to write their learnings and accomplishments to sound impressive without sounding conceited. However, a self-performance review is a vital process for the success of the company and for the employee’s continuous improvement.
Here are four tips on writing an effective self-performance review:

Highlight your accomplishments
The main objective of a self-performance review is to emphasize your achievements. Your manager may not know everything that you accomplished, so this is a chance to remind him or her of tasks that you performed well. Emphasize the value of your work by stating its impact to the business. As much as possible, these accomplishments should align with the goals of your manager and the company.
Share your learnings
Identify the things that you learned but also how you learned them. Include the skills you have acquired, how it helped you, and describe real situations where you have applied them to your work.

Suggest improvements
Admitting that there are still some areas that you need to improve gives an impression of maturity. It shows your desire to learn and become better at your job. Let your manager know what areas you are aware that you need to work on. Be specific and don’t be afraid to suggest ways that you can improve. This may include asking for training. Again, keep what you say relevant – make sure that your objectives align with those of the business.

Ask about your career development
A self-performance review is also an opportunity to ask your manager about career-development opportunities. Let your boss know what part of your job you are most excited about so that they can look out for tasks that match your skills and interest areas.

Including these four factors in your self-assessment allows you to show a complete picture of your performance as an employee.
Additionally, remember to be honest. If you had roadblocks and challenges, don’t try to hide them. Let your manager or managers know about these difficulties and, more importantly, tell them what you did to overcome them.
Avoid criticizing your boss’ leadership style or your colleagues’ performance. This is about you. You risk seeming unprofessional and troublesome if you complain about or pick on others. Be specific and straight to the point.
And make sure that you check your spelling and grammar. Present your document in such a way that it demonstrates how important it is to you and that you take it seriously.

Creating Job Advertisements to Attract Stars!

Think of your job postings  the same way that you think of any advertisement that you see on TV, online, or in print.  Boring advertisements won’t catch the eye of the intended consumer, much the same as a boring job posting won’t catch the eye of the stars that you are trying to attract.  You need to give these stars a very good reason to want to interview with your company and leave the relative comfort of their existing jobs.

Creating compelling job advertisements will take you some time and effort, but in the long run, this time and effort will really pay off as the quality level of the applicants should significantly improve.

Below are some best practices that I have put together to assist you in crafting job advertisements that will attract and excite potential star applicants.

1. Research What Leading Companies Are Doing

Want some ideas of how other industry leaders are crafting their job advertisements? Then, look online at various job posting sites to see what your competition and leading companies are doing in developing their ads. It seems like a pretty easy way for you to get some general competitive intelligence as well as some great ideas for your advertisements.  Doing this research also may assist to get your creative juices flowing!

2. Know Your Target Audience

What type of skills or background are you trying to attract with your job advertisements?  Job ads which try to attractive information technology applicants or engineering applicants should not look the same as ads which try to attract sales applicants. Technology and engineering applicants are generally excited more about your technology versus sales applicants who may be focused on both the technology as well as your customer base.

3. Why Do I Want to Work For Your Company?

This is probably the most important piece to your job advertisement.  Stars will generally only leave their current company if they see another company who has a more exciting technology or product as well having as a smart and passionate team that is working to develop and sell such a technology or product.  Stars don’t leave to go to a boring job!  Stars sometimes hit a “rut” in their current job and may poke around to see “what else is out there”.  The opportunity to become part of an exciting company and work as part of a smart and creative team would be very appealing and exciting.

You need to be able to point out all the pluses with what your company is doing (e.g. describing your exciting  technology or service, some background on your workforce, any awards that your company, product or work culture has won, etc.)   Don’t be shy in your description!  Feel free to brag!

4. Develop a Descriptive Job Title

Boring job advertisement titles (such as Senior Engineer or Sales Representative) won’t tell your target audience anything about your company or the actual job itself.  A sharp title such as Senior Engineer-Designing Cutting Edge Consumer Electronics Technology will certainly catch someone’s eye; more than likely these will be the top folks that you are seeking for the role.  A secondary reason for having a more descriptive title is for SEO purposes as people search for the jobs online.  The more keywords in the title that correspond to the type of candidate that you are seeking will raise the odds of the top stars spotting your ad.

5. Creative Description of Duties, Projects

Too many job advertisements read like boiler plate job descriptions.  While you need some “job description verbiage” in any job advertisement, you need to take the time to specifically and creatively describe the role’s duties and describe any products or projects that the role will work on.

One other pet peeve of mine as I see this a lot is don’t include a sentence at the end of the duties that says “Other Duties As Required”.  What does this tell anyone?  It is quite boring and actually takes away from any creative flow to your ad.

6. Accurately Describe Essential versus Nice-To-Have Skills

Again, just like the job duties section of the ad, take the time to accurate describe what are the ESSENTIAL Must-Have skills to be successful in the role versus the NICE-to-Have skills.  I see too many job advertisement skills sections that contain a long list of must have skills that makes it virtually impossible that your company will find some who is a master at all these skills.  In fact, not separating the must-have skills from the nice-to-have skills will be a turn off for many applicants applying for the role.

By following these six steps, you can optimize your job advertisements and help ensure a higher level of applicant quality.

10 Steps to Become a Better Recruiter

Many recruiters find themselves going through the motions of searching, interviewing, and hiring. It’s smart to take a step back and think about your process. Determine areas where you could be more efficient.

10 Steps to Become a Better Recruiter
10 Steps to Become a Better Recruiter

If you really want to step up your game and evolve into an expert recruiter, follow these 10 steps and re-evaluate your recruiting strategy.

1. Understand your client’s organization and its needs.

In order to become a better recruiter, you need to thoroughly understand not only the organization and the job details but also the kind of candidate that will fit in with their company culture.

2. Focus on quality of candidates over quantity.

This goes without saying, but it’s worth highlighting. It’s much better to have a few excellent candidates than many that are suitable but average.

3. Network and foster relationships with clients that you represent.

Keep in communication with the hiring manager throughout the process. Determine not only what they’re looking for but also the kinds of candidates that they want to avoid.

4. Collect and analyze data regarding successes and failures.

Come up with a system to measure how often your candidates are hired and how frequently they are rejected. Identify patterns to help you fix flaws in your search process.

5. Be assertive and concise when attracting potential candidates.

Avoid putting people off by being too aggressive. When you reach out to your prospects, always explain exactly why you have taken an interest in their skills.

6. Don’t limit your search to the obvious platforms.

Everybody is looking there. Go further than other recruiters by connecting with industry experts who may know excellent contacts that would otherwise slip under your radar.

7. Act as an advisor to your candidates.

Treat candidates with care. If you can make your candidates feel comfortable and relaxed when interviewing, they will know that they can contact you with any questions or concerns. A transparent approach and trusting relationships can save you time and money in the long run.

8. Require your hiring manager to define the job with specific expectations.

Top candidates will expect clear job details upfront. As well as a specific job title, make sure that you can tell them what tasks they will be responsible for, the company’s goals, and what they are expected to achieve.

9. Conduct a preliminary phone screenings to narrow down your prospects.

This is an extremely effective technique, because you will save yourself a lot of time by weeding out candidates who do not pass your phone screenings.

10. Don’t let yourself get too attached to end result.

Accept the fact that some of your candidates will be hired and some will not. If a candidate is not a match for your client, this is not a failure. Learn from the experience to understand your client’s needs better, to improve your search process, and to help your candidates secure roles.

Every job is an opportunity to learn. Even if you consider yourself an expert recruiter, with the right attitude you will learn from every decision you make. There is always room for improvement! Keeping up with new industry information. By also reminding yourself of the basics of good recruiting, you will ensure that you are continually improving your game.

The Cost of Employee Turnover and How to Reduce it

Even though losing an employee can be beyond the organization’s control, it is crucial for businesses to find and retain top talent to succeed in the current economy. This is especially true for smaller businesses that compete with companies with larger budgets.

There are many reasons why an employee may decide to quit their job. They may find a better position, decide to go back to school, or they may be unable to continue working due to personal reasons.

The Cost of Employee Turnover and How to Reduce it
The Cost of Employee Turnover and How to Reduce it

According to the Society For Human Resource Management, replacing an employee can cost your business anywhere between 50% to 60% of an employee’s annual salary. That means that if you have to replace a position that is worth $80,000 a year, it could cost you up to $48,000 to hire someone new. If these numbers seem high to you, consider everything that goes into hiring a new employee, including recruitment, training, and HR hours. Factor in some delays in production and you’ll see how the costs add up. The list of expenses may go on (and on), depending on how large your company is.

How to hold onto your staff
The study further explains that there are specific variables that managers should monitor closely to predict when an employee may be thinking about leaving. These include:
• attitudes of job commitment and satisfaction
• quality of relationship between the employee and their supervisor
• clearly defined roles and expectations
• promotion and growth opportunities
• workgroup cohesion

These factors play a big role in an existing employee’s decision to leave or stay. If an employee scores any of these areas low, they might have one eye on the door.

Links, Fit, and Sacrifices
Work on these 3 factors to “embed” an employee in your company.
Links – These are connections that the employee has to other people or groups within the organization. The more relationships your employees have with one another, the less likely they will want to leave because doing so may risk those relationships.

Fit – This describes how an employee fits in with the company culture. If the employee does not feel comfortable in their work environment, or if the company does not cater to their wants and needs, then that employee won’t have a hard time leaving.

Sacrifices – This refers to the balance between work and personal life. Employees need to have a happy medium between the two. If not, they may feel like they are sacrificing too much and not being compensated enough.

As is normally the case, preventative measures can save you a lot of time and money. Employers should not wait until they see the whites of their employee’s resignation letters before they take action.
Focus on links, fit, and sacrifices to foster a satisfying working environment. This will lead to improved employee performance as well as improved employee retention.

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.