Archive for January, 2013

Recruiters – An Easy Strategy To Separate Yourself

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Whether you are an Agency or Corporate Recruiter, you have tremendous competition to get the best clients and candidates.  There is an easy and unique way that is rarely used (and almost never executed properly) to separate yourself and your company from the masses.

Think about the last time you browsed in a bookstore. If you looked at a new book that you knew nothing about, where did you look for guidance? Why, the back of the dust jacket of course, where experts in the field tell you about the wonders of the volume conveniently sitting in your hand. Publishing companies actively pursue such blurbs because they know that glowing testimonials add to book sales. The same method can be used to build up any service-oriented business if implemented properly. It may sound simple but success lies in the execution.

Like referrals or basic sales, the biggest trick to getting testimonials is to know when and how to ask for them. Recruiters can request testimonials when their business with a client is completed. The client should be happy with the placement from the start and thus willing to comply with your request, but if not, offer to check back with them in a few weeks to get their reactions. Once the client has agreed to write something for you, make it easy for them. Use a three-question technique. Question 1 should ask about how they decided to use your company, question 2 asks about how the process worked, and question 3 asks how they would describe their experience to a friend. Tell your client that they can answer any or all of the questions, and ask their permission to publish their quotes.

Now it’s time to tell the world! Your closest equivalent to a dust jacket is the front page of your company website, your social media pages and your email signature. Just like a publisher, you don’t want people to have to search for these testimonials. Make them easy to find.  If the testimonials are good enough, your readers will have immediate increased interest in working with you.

Here’s the dilemma! Online testimonials are often perceived as fictitious which greatly reduces or nullifies their impact. The best way to thwart this perception and to validate a testimonial is to have a third-party company verify the information. A company called eEndorsements offers that service for businesses and jobseekers and it couldn’t be easier. Customers use eEndorsements’ seamless online platform to solicit their referrals or customers to submit their testimonials. eEndorsements follows up automatically and verifies all of the information. The person offering the testimonial is identified only by first name and home state. And if the testimonial has negative information, the customer is given the opportunity to rebut, with the possibility of having the testimonial removed. eEndorsements also provides seamless ways to promote your testimonials by providing a link which will stream your testimonials on your website and social media pages.  You can even (and most certainly should) add this same provided link to your email signatures which will show your verified testimonials to everyone you communicate with via email.  Imagine how this would separate you from the countless ordinary approaches: the other 99%.

Whether you are a Recruiter or any business wanting to separate yourself from the masses, seamless integration of verified testimonials will do just that.  Be different and get started by clicking here: eEndorsements.

Recruiter Phone Interviewing Skills

Monday, January 21st, 2013

No matter how many stages you have in your current interview process, it’s important to be prepared and to be thorough. If you have others working with you with the interviews (obviously, this can be other employees from the same company or a recruiter working with a client), arrange a meeting and start by discussing the important characteristics of the open position and the type of person you want to fill it. These might include detail-oriented, team player, flexibility (both in scheduling and attitude), positive attitude, required experience, work ethic, etc. Next, create a set of questions that fit these characteristics. Some companies have pre-written questions for interviews. These can be very helpful in structuring an interview, but be sure to examine (and tweak) each question to be sure that it will fully answer the subject. When compiling your interview questions, be sure to exclude questions that relate to age, gender, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, disability, pregnancy or marital status. These are strictly forbidden by the EEOC and if asked, could lead to job discrimination lawsuits.

Once you’ve selected the candidates you want to interview, call them to schedule a time for a phone interview. While some candidates might be willing to talk to you right then, it’s best to give them time to prepare for the interview. Many sources recommend that an interviewee find a quiet room for their interview, that they smile while speaking, and refrain from vocal fillers like “um”, “ah” and the like. Of course, this is precisely on-target, since presentation is the key to a successful phone interview. After all, most of us do some of our business over the phone, and as an interviewer, you should be listening for the way the interviewee presents themselves (just as if you were a potential customer).

The interview itself should be structured. Think of a typical college exam: it starts with short answers and finishes with essay questions. In an interview, the short answers are the opening light conversation, the description of the job and its requirements, and a review of the candidate’s job history. As in an exam, the short answers shouldn’t take up too much time, so that the majority of the allotted time can be used to answer the essay questions. These are behavioral questions and as discussed in a previous blog entry, they should deal with specific instances that are common with the position being offered. Throughout the process, take detailed notes of what is said and how it is said. Be prepared to ask follow-up questions if the answers fail to address what you want to know. Maintain a constant speech flow throughout the interview so that there are no “dead spots” and keep the tone conversational so the candidate can feel comfortable in formulating their answers. The interview should close with a summation of the interview process in your company, and when the candidate should expect to hear back from you regarding the next step.

After the call is concluded, take time right away to review your notes and the interview. If you have found reasons why a candidate should not move to the next step, write them down! Don’t go by a “gut feeling” or expect to remember the reason for it later on. Having a list of negative and/or positive points will give you a solid reason for your decision, especially if you must defend it to other members of the hiring team.


Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

With the New Year, several experts have come out with their latest predictions for hiring trends. Some of these predictions are based on surveys from hiring managers, while others seem to be based on gut feelings and political viewpoints. However, most of these prognosticators agree that 2013 shows potential for guarded optimism.

Career Builder’s 2013 projections are the most optimistic, showing growth in most areas, but specifically sales, IT, customer service, engineering and production. Forty percent of employers plan to use outside recruiting agencies within the next 12 months, and 42 percent of those employers plan to transition contract workers into full-time employees. In all regions of the US, employers plan to add more workers to their staffs, with the greatest increases coming from companies in the South and West. Career Builder reports that companies in those regions have jumped up 4 percentage points for the New Year. They also report a trend for employers increasing their unsolicited recruiting. Sales, Professional Business Services and IT professionals seem to be the targets for these offers. But in an effort to retain employees, a whopping 72 percent of employers plan to increase salaries for current and prospective staff members. Not everyone agrees with Career Builder, though. John Zappe of ERE cites Glassdoor’s quarterly survey of workers which shows a decrease of responders expecting improvements in their company’s futures. Consumer confidence is also down, and some employers seem anxious over increased taxes and expenses related to the implementation of Obamacare in 2014.

The unemployment rate remains in the high 7 percentile. Those numbers are not expected to go below 7 percent in the next year, and few prognosticators hope for any help from the Federal government. Time will tell, of course, but there may be reason to expect better things from the new 113th Congress considering the public’s overwhelming dislike of the do-nothing 112th. While the divisions of political parties was basically unchanged from the November elections, the aversion of the fiscal cliff and the less-than-enthusiastic re-election of John Boehner as Speaker of the House may indicate that a spirit of bipartisan cooperation may return to Capitol Hill. No one is holding their breath on this one, but there is always the possibility that this Congress may be able to pass a jobs bill and/or fund a stimulus package to encourage job growth in the private sector.

There seems to be little doubt that social media and mobile platforms will continue to be important methods for finding new employees. LinkedIn’s star continues to rise and job boards such as Monster and the Ladders have had to restructure their offerings to remain competitive. Facebook has also stepped up their recruiting efforts with a new Social Jobs app. However, there seem to be a few technical issues with the program, and at least for now, the Facebook app is not likely to replace other job search methods. That could change, however, so keep an eye on this program as it develops.

Of course, we should caution all readers to take these predictions with the proverbial grain of salt. All of the educated guesses in the world cannot predict the impact of outside events (acts of God, terrorism and heaven knows what else). In a way, it’s just best to remember the pseudo-Latin phrase Semper Gumby: always flexible.  -Thomas Cunniffe