Hiring Mistakes and How to Recover

October 1st, 2014

BThere was a recent article posted on LinkedIn stating examples of hiring mistakes and how you can recover from them.

Mistake: Overlooking culture fit.

Recovery: Culture should be part of the interview process. An ideal candidate for a job has the skills and qualifications, as well as the cultural values that are important to the company. When interviewing them, ask questions about their activities outside work.

Mistake: Hurrying through the interview because you are pressed for time.

Recovery: Take the time to get to know each candidate, and be efficient with your time. Ask the right questions or make your candidates complete tests. Give each person a rating based on qualifications, likeability/culture fit, and long term potential.

Mistake: Hiring family and friends.

Recovery: You may think you are doing someone a favor, but if the job doesn’t work out, you might lose more than an employee. If you decide to hire family and friends, make it clear in the beginning that personal life stays outside of the office. It would make other employees uncomfortable if someone was getting preferential treatment just because of the personal relationship.

Mistake: Not enough clarity on a job description.

Recovery: Going through job applications from interested candidates is hard enough without confusion about job duties and expectations. Be clear about what you are looking for. Be specific enough so the perfect candidate will reveal themselves in a cover letter or an interview.

Mistake: Onboarding process is limited or nonexistent.

Recovery: Inadequate training for new employees makes the job harder for both of you. The new employee process doesn’t stop after hire. Proper onboarding includes a transitional period. There is always a learning curve for the new hire, such as learning new names and faces, internal processes like file handling, and introduction to day-to-day operations (to name a few).

To view the original article, please click here.

Have you recovered from any recent hiring mistakes? We would love to hear them in our comments section below.

What’s the Most Revealing Interview Question You Should Ask?

September 23rd, 2014

When you are interviewing for your next hire, you may be ready to ask the standard questions, but what is the most revealing interview question you should ask? “Tell me about your friends.”

I am sure you can find an exception or two, but for the most part, good people hang out with good people. High performers usually associate with high performers. Whether it is at work or outside of work, high achievers tend to stick together. The same is usually true for people who do minimum work, gossip and complain.

When you ask this question, truly listen to the answer as it can reveal a lot about the person. Learning more about their friends will also help you discover more like their organizational skills and personality traits you would like to have or not have on your team.

What do you find is your most revealing interview question?

To read the original article, please click here.

It’s an IT Employee’s Market

September 16th, 2014

You’ve probably heard the real estate terminology “it’s a buyer’s marketing” or “it’s a seller’s market.” These phrases allow you to figure out if you should buy or sell property based on factors affecting the real estate market such as lending interest rates, size of the market, supply and demand, the ability to qualify for a mortgage, etc. Just as in real estate, in the business world there are similar factors that influence the equation when determining if it’s an employer or employee market. These factors include: the amount of economic expansion, production, demand of goods, skilled labor force, fixed costs, projected revenues, etc.

As you can see in the infographic below, the evolution of the employee from past to present has taken quite an interesting progression. In IT specifically, it is an ever-changing environment where anything is possible; breaking the norm and liberating the constraints of hierarchical organizations. Now, technological advances improve creativity and collaboration that unleash new opportunities and allow for more innovation within organizations.

it employee market

To view the original article, please click here.

Are You Overpaying New Recruits?

September 9th, 2014

Dishonest BusinessmanDeciding what to pay a new hire is one of the hardest parts of the recruiting process. Generally hiring managers will start by asking what the candidate is currently earning then add 10-30% based on what they feel is reasonable.

Someone may be getting overpaid or underpaid, thus they should not be entitled to only earning a certain amount on top of that.

The following list will help guide your decision on what to pay new recruits:

1. Be realistic- the minimum you should offer is market rate. Companies who try to hire talent on the cheap are sending the message that they don’t value their employees, and their competitors do. Your employees are your most important asset so it is crucial to treat them as such.

2. Decide on a pay range beforehand and stick to it. As a hiring manager it is your responsibility to do research before the interview process to be sure your pay range get attention from the right candidates.

3. Pay people what they are worth- not based on what they currently earn. The last thing you should do is base a new hires salary on what they are currently making. This penalizes those who were underpaid and rewards others who may be undeserving. As a result you will send the message that you do not treat all candidates equally and take advantage of another person’s situation.

4. Realize to attract top performers you will need to pay significantly more. More often than not, top performers are not looking to change companies and are being paid very well. The likelihood of them switching companies without a considerable upside for them is slim to none. This is something all hiring managers should be aware of before entering serious conversations with these candidates.

5. What is the cost of not filling the vacancy? Instead of saving money on hiring, never lose sight of the importance the role plays in the organization. Ask yourself: Will not filling the role cost us money? If we hire a top performer could they bring significant revenue? Don’t be afraid to pay aggressively if the new hire can bring value to your company.

6. Be consistent with your current team or be prepared to change. Hiring managers should be aware that bringing on new people who make more than current team members is bound to upset a few of them. Only pay top performers if they genuinely deserve it.

7. Remember one excellent employee is worth more than 2 average ones. Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg are both news companies that do around $2.5 billion in profit. However, Thomson Reuters has 60,000 employees and Bloomberg has only 15,000. How do they achieve the same profit with a quarter of the staff? Bloomberg pays their staff approximately twice as much as Thomson Reuters. Never be afraid to pay top performers top dollar, they will product better result, increase your profit and use less management time. In essence, paying for themselves.

8. Don’t negotiate salary too hard. Be realistic when it comes to salary negotiations. If you have done your research beforehand you know your limits and what you can afford. Be fair and straightforward.

9. Smaller companies need to offer more (but not necessarily more money). The less a company can offer against a candidate’s current employer, the greater the upside has to be. While the obvious choice is to offer more money, there are other options. These include a more aggressive bonus structure, stock options, flexible working schedule, etc. As a hiring manger, you need to stay up to date with what your company can offer to attract top talent from the market.

10. People don’t move for less money. Less than 5% of people who are currently employed move for less money than they were currently earning, and only 15% made a lateral move. Be realistic and remember that people will rarely make the move for less money.

11. Remember it is not all about the money. Be cautious of candidates who are only moving because of money. These candidates will be on the hunt as soon as they are offered a better deal. Candidates who put compensation before job satisfaction, opportunity and career development should be pursued very carefully.

A large percentage of hiring is due to salary related issues. This can be easily avoided if hiring managers do their research, prepare and understand market value.

At TopLine Strategies we offer our clients a blended job description and compensation report based on industry standards with geographic data cuts for the most accurate salary ranges. This helps our clients recruit and maintain the best talent at the best rate which ensures longevity of new hires. In addition, we technically screen candidates prior to submitting them to our clients to confirm each candidate has the desired level of technical skills. Lastly, we assist in the negotiation stage and make sure each potential new hire fully understands the benefits and overall compensation of the offer including: commute, PTO, bonuses, stock options, medical, vision, dental benefits, etc.

To view the original article click here.

The Magic Six – Traits to Seek Out & Nurture

September 2nd, 2014

When you are making your next hire, there are certain traits that you can seek out and use as a guideline for the culture you company is striving for—employees that are competent, hard-working and truly care. The key mix includes applied solving and natural empathy which can be referred to as left brain and the right, in harmony.

Infographic_the magic six

Why are some positions so hard to fill?

August 27th, 2014

Sometimes there are positions that are harder to fill than others, but why? Here are some answers:

“We want one just like the last one.”

It’s not uncommon for a job to evolve over time around a current employee’s skill set.

In the IT realm, there may be a .NET developer that also has additional skills like graphic design and since they had an added bonus on their resume, it may be something you will not find in another .NET developer and therefore, the position can be harder to fill.

 “I’m leaving, but I can’t let go.”

Ownership can be a double-edged sword. We all want our employees to take ownership of their jobs. But this can become a problem if an outgoing employee is involved in the process of hiring their own replacement. Some people may feel so possessive of their job that they can’t imagine anyone else taking their place.

“They have worked at too many companies.”

In this changing world of work, traditional career paths are becoming less common. Fewer people are working for the same company for five years or more. Especially in IT, many employees may even work in temporary, part-time and project-based jobs as independent contractors. Do not dismiss these types of candidates as job hoppers you may miss out on some very talented prospects.

“They don’t have a degree? I’ll pass.”

Before you require a degree for a position, ask yourself whether it’s really necessary. Could a certain amount of related experience be substituted for a degree? Many of the IT skills that someone needs are not always learned in the classroom, but through on-the-job training.

“They don’t have all the skill requirements.”

Don’t treat a job description like a checklist! You need to understand the essential job requirements that the candidate must have, and which ones you can train them to do.

“We don’t really know the full duties of the position.”

Jobs that are poorly defined, or that have no real job descriptions, can be very hard to fill. And employees in those roles can be set up for failure. Unless you can find a true jack of all trades (and don’t forget the rest of that saying, which is “master of none”), you’ll probably have a revolving door.

“Java Ninja can be a job title.”

Make sure that the job title accurately and professionally represents what the position entails. If you are trying to be clever, it may work against you and not people may not apply or you will get people who don’t fit the role.

“They seem over-qualified.”

Many people shy away from a resume with too much experience, assuming that an overqualified employee will be unhappy and leave their job quickly. Before you make that assumption, talk to the candidate!

“I want it all and I want it NOW!”

When you find a great candidate who is currently employed, it’s important to realize they need to give their current employer sufficient notice. You’d appreciate that if they were leaving your business. Don’t pass them up simply because you have to wait a couple of weeks. After all, you’ll hopefully have them in your business for a good long while.

The wrap-up:

If you see yourself, or your business, in any of these scenarios, it’s probably time to reassess what you’re doing. Be aware that while your job sits vacant, and is advertised week after week, great talent is getting quickly snapped up by your competitors. On top of that, active job seekers who see a job advertised endlessly begin wondering just what is wrong with the position or with your business and stay away.

To read the original article, please click here.

 

 

Never Have I Ever…

August 19th, 2014

Have you ever hired what you thought was the perfect candidate and then find out that person lied on their resume after it was too late? This is an ever-increasing trend that has been a major problem that many businesses face each day.

Hiring the wrong staff is one of the biggest challenges a start-up venture or really any company for that matter can face. A poll conducted by Harris Poll alongside CareerBuilder found that 60 percent of hiring managers have caught people lying on their resumes and it’s only getting worse. Ever since the recession in the United States, hiring managers have seen a substantial surge in the amount of people embellishing their resumes in order to stand out in the sea of competition.

Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, recommends if you want to enhance your skills, it is a better idea to embellish tangible examples from your professional experiences instead of lying on your resume and breaching the trust with the hiring manager from the very beginning.

common resume lies

 

industries most likely

Most Memorable Resume Lies:

  • Applicant claimed to be the assistant to the prime minister of a foreign country that doesn’t have a prime minister.
  • Applicant claimed to have 25 years of experience at age 32.
  • Applicant claimed to have been a construction supervisor. The interviewer learned the bulk of his experience was in the completion of a doghouse a few years prior.
  • Applicant applied twice for the same position and provided different work history on each application.

What are some of the most memorable lies you have encountered?

Click here to view the original article.

Need to Hire an IT Project Manager?

August 12th, 2014

Hiring any position in the IT field can be challenging, especially if you are not as familiar what you should be exactly hiring for.Project Management Flow Chart Red Marker

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind for your next IT Project Manager hire:

IT Project Manager Credentials:

  • Because project managers’ responsibilities are both technical and organizational, employers may accept credentials from either domain.
  • Many organizations look for a certification such as Project Management Professional and some level of PMI or Six Sigma certification.
  • Some organizations seek candidates with a certification in Agile or SCRUM software development methodology.
  • In order to make sure candidates have proper credentials, working with a firm such as TopLine Strategies who is a well-established IT engineering firm has its advantage in that we are able to truly test for the required credentials.

IT Project Manager Skills & Experience:

  • Specification and planning of software development projects.
  • Tracking of project progress, change management and risk management.
  • Software development life cycle management.
  • Several years of project management experience, preferably in software development or IT infrastructure.
  • Significant experience facilitating communication among technologists and line-of-business managers.
  • Budgeting, cost control and risk management experience is desirable.

How to Source IT Project Managers:

  • Projects managers can be sourced through a variety of organizational affiliations.
  • Recent recipients of relevant certifications may be ready to change companies.
  • Using a firm, such as TopLine Strategies who has relationships with IT professionals, who are not accessible through websites such as the job boards, allows for you to obtain high-quality candidates.

How to Interview IT Project Managers:

  • Ask the candidate to address complex hypothetical scenarios that involve technical, organizational and interpersonal challenges.
  • Candidates should meet with the full range of prospective colleagues: managers, peers and reports. Be sure your staff knows how to conduct an interview.

Closing the Deal and Retaining IT Project Managers:

  • The challenges of project management vary widely from one company or IT department to another; sell the match of the candidate’s aspirations with the company’s business and company culture.
  • Directly address a concern of many project managers: a dearth of upward mobility.

Sources:

http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/attracting-job-candidates/how-to-hire-an-IT-project-manager.aspx

http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/employee-sourcing-strategies/how-to-source-interview-an-IT-project-manager.aspx

Non-tech Skills Necessary to Succeed in IT

August 6th, 2014

IT has the lowest unemployment rate across the board and these workers possess some very difficult to find skills that are essential to helping businesses function properly. Although finding someone that possesses every technical skill you are looking for is very hard to do, you may want to consider hiring a candidate with less technical experience that you teach on the job. Many of the following technical skills experts believe that the skills below are what truly makes someone successful working in the IT field.one in crowd

Analytical skills
Analytical skills are crucial for IT professionals. Viewing multiple trends and problems while having the ability to cultivate a solution that solves more than one issue is a skill that is not easy to come by.

Empathy
Compassion and understanding of the clients and end-users problems will allow for clarity of their problems. It also allows IT workers to take ownership of the problem and cultivate a clearly defined solution that is best for all parties involved.

Communication
Good communication is imperative to the success of IT projects and must be paid close attention to in emails, presentations, phone conversations, meetings, etc. Clear, open communication that allows for input from all parties involved will create a better environment for problem solving and in turn a better solution.

Presentation
Being able to communicate the technical solutions to the not so technical users increases the chance your audience understand your solution to their problem. In turn, your ideas will be implemented, thus bringing in greater revenue for the organization.

Ability to listen
The ability to listen to the requirements and needs of clients aids in determining the best solution to accomplish goals. This will build trust and foster long-term relationships with exceptional results that exceed their expectations.

Business sense
IT professionals should possess soft skills that will help them stand out to potential clients. These will help them to better communicate ROI as well as how their skills and knowledge will contribute to the organizations overall goals. Furthermore, how their work will impact the bottom line goals.

Entrepreneurship
While this is more of a mindset than a skill, an IT professional with an entrepreneurial perspective will help clients view problems as opportunities and transform opportunities into innovation.

Click here to view the original article.

8 High Paying Jobs with Happy Employees

July 29th, 2014

Can you truly have it all—a happy career and a large paycheck that comes with it? Many people don’t tend to think so, but recently, CareerBliss.com compiled a list of jobs that can make you happy and pay you well by analyzing more than 50,000 independent company reviews from 2013 and 2014.

The reviews are from employees all over the U.S. who evaluated 10 factors that affect work happiness on a five-point scale:

  1. One’s relationship with one’s boss
  2. One’s relationship with coworkers
  3. Workplace environment
  4. Job resources
  5. Compensation
  6. Growth opportunities
  7. Company culture
  8. Company reputation
  9. Daily tasks
  10. Job control over the work performed on a daily basis

Four out of the eight jobs just so happen to be in IT! See the list below:

Capture

To read the original article, click here.