How well do you prepare for interviews? A lot of stress is placed on the importance of applicant preparation, but it is also important for the interviewer to be well-prepared in order to hire the best employees. An interviewer could easily miss an “ideal” applicant, or be unaware of an applicant’s talent if he or she does not ask the right questions. Monroe Personnel Service, LLC and Temptime prepares for and conducts many interviews to hire the best candidates for our clients. To help make your interviews more effective, we would like to share the following article for interviewers.
“How to Prepare as the Interviewer”
By Alexandra Levit, Job Dig
It’s that time again. You need to interview for an open position on your team, a position that you need filled yesterday! Giving advance consideration to the questions you will ask your candidates will go a long way in terms of making the process as smooth and streamlined as possible.
While it’s appropriate to tailor some of your inquiries to each candidate, it will be easier to compare apples to apples if you develop a core set of questions that all interviewees are required to answer. Create at least two questions for each of the criteria identified in your job description. Each question should also have a rating scale attached to it. For example, you might determine that an answer will be rated from 1-5 (with 1 being poor, and 5 being superior), providing a description of what encompasses a “superior” response and a “poor” response.
What are the best types of questions to ask? Several full-length books have been devoted to this subject, but I’ll share some guidelines from Martin Yate, author of Hiring the Best:
Adaptability and suitability questions
These show the candidate’s skill set and test his understanding of the problems that must be solved, the problems he is there to avoid, and what he’s there to produce. Examples: What would you say were the most important responsibilities in your previous job? What was the most difficult project you tackled in your previous job? With all of your responsibilities, how have you planned and organized your workload?
These demonstrate whether the candidate will be someone who comes to work with the intention of making a contribution and wants to spend the day engaged in focused activity. Examples: What personal qualities do you think are necessary to make a success of this job? What have you done that you are proud of? Think of a crisis situation in which things got out of control. Why did it happen, and what was your role in the events, and their resolution?
Teamwork and Manageability questions
These showcase whether the candidate will be a cohesive influence, and whether her work style will mesh with your management style. Examples: Describe the best manager you ever had. In what areas could your last boss have done a better job? Tell me about an occasion when there were objections to your ideas. What did you do to convince others of your point of view?
These illustrate that the candidate will be successful at hiring and training, as well as getting work done through others. Examples: How do you quantify your results as a manager? Tell me about an occasion when, in difficult circumstances, you pulled the team together. What are the common reasons for resignations in your area of responsibility?
These test a candidate’s potential ability to do the job when she has little or no prior work experience. Examples: How did you spend your vacations while at school? What have you done that shows initiative and willingness to work? What job in the company do you want to work toward?
The passion variable
Richard Chang, CEO of performance improvement consulting firm Richard Chang Associates, also recommends that you ask questions that get to the heart of an individual’s passion. Look for people who have demonstrated that they have pursued experiences they were passionate about as they have matured –particularly with their own professional development.
Involve existing team members
It’s a good idea for multiple people on your team to evaluate each candidate. Organizational psychologist Ben Dattner suggests that you look for interviewers with the following attributes:
Knowledgeable about the role, the team, and the organization
Representative of diverse groups within the organization
Reluctant to jump to conclusions
Open-minded and able to revise opinions
Self-aware and able to account for their own biases
Accurate in their predictions of candidate success over time
Your team should be coordinated on the roles that each interviewer should play. If a candidate is interviewing with four people, each person should be designated specific questions so that all four people aren’t asking the same things.
In today’s competitive business environment, individual high-level skills are valuable, but a synergetic effect is the key to success. At Monroe Personnel Service, LLC and Temptime, we take great opportunities to communicate our insights to each other. We do this by sharing ideas in meetings, taking time to show our appreciation for each other, and making our communication and teamwork more effective by really thinking about what we say. Marla Tabaka shares 4 important things to say for effective communication in the following article.
4 Surprisingly Effective Things To Say
by Marla Tabaka, Inc.com
We all make mistakes, say the wrong things, and misjudge a situation from time to time. But not everyone will admit their errors, especially in a competitive environment.
Perhaps legendary leadership author and pastor John C. Maxwell said it best: “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”
I learned that very important lesson early in my career at NBC-TV. As the assistant to the vice president of sales I reported to an amazing mentor who relied heavily on my judgment and diligence. But on one occasion I had a terrible lapse in common sense and fell short of her expectations. I really screwed up.
Naturally, my boss was livid. She immediately called me on the carpet for my error in judgment. My defenses reared up; my fight or flight instinct screamed, “Fight to survive!” Thankfully, in a moment of sanity I took a more sensible approach. Here’s what I said.
I was wrong. I’m sorry. I know that I still have a lot to learn. Please let me fix it.
Apparently, this reply from a young, ambitious employee was far from expected. I will never forget the series of internal responses reflected in my boss’s eyes: surprise, confusion, acceptance, and something that may have been admiration. Whew! In that moment I knew I’d done exactly the right thing.
This experience taught me something I’ve carried with me through the years: a little honesty and humility go a long way in life. It enriches relationships, prevents unnecessary confrontation, saves time, and builds trust. What could have destroyed my career instead earned the trust of a powerful and successful woman and opened the door to growth, learning, and many promotions over the years.
The next time your defenses are up you may find instant relief in one or more of these surprisingly effective, yet simple statements. Give it a try, the only thing you have to lose is a little ego!
A short and sweet apology lowers the levels of resistance and anger in the room. Diffuse the situation with these simple words. The conversation will become less stressful and a solution to your problem or challenge is more likely to surface.
I was wrong.
Admitting your mistake is cleansing. No need to defend yourself, no need to create a litany of excuses. How freeing! Admit it and correct it. It’s that simple!
I need help.
Go ahead. Accept that you don’t know it all. A great entrepreneur surrounds herself with people who know more than she does. Reach out to your army of supporters and save yourself a lot of frustration and time.
I don’t know.
Do you think you have to have all the answers? Well, you’re wrong. Even “experts” don’t know it all. Any true expert will tell you is that no one is expected to have all the answers. Let’s face it, if we knew everything life would be boring! This is an opportunity learn and grow; something every entrepreneur loves to do!
A lot of people feel nervous and afraid by job interviews. Because a candidate’s attitude is one of the most important factors for an interviewer to evaluate it is vital the candidate maintain his confidence and not let his nerves overwhelm him. Even if a candidates’ ability is not stellar, a positive attitude and confidence can invite a job offer. Employers want to see candidates at their best so they can get a clear read on whether the candidate can thrive in the environment their company can provide. Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime tries to make a relaxing atmosphere so candidates can express themselves fully in an interview, but it is not always easy for people to feel positive and confident. Here is an article we ran across recently which has some tips for setting yourself up for a successful interview.
Remember, If you think you Can or you think you Can’t… You’re Right.
How To Look Confident In An Interview
by Hassam in HubPages
Prepare Your Mind
Always think positive and feel better. If you will think about the thing that will go wrong then you will feel bad during the interview and lose your self confidence. To increase your self-confidence sit quietly before the interview and think about the positive things that are going to happen. Imagine yourself as a successful person.
Take Care Of Your Body Language
Pay a lot of attention to your body language. It is the posture which shows your level of confidence. Always sit straight and make good eye contact with the interviewer it leaves a good impression.
Prepare For The Subject
To be confident in an interview you must be aware of the subject you are going to give an interview upon. Read the stuff prior but do not over prepare. This helps in answering the questions for you can answer very easily if you have knowledge about the subject. Avoid repeating memorized sentences. It must not sound like you are too rehearsed. You don’t need to be word perfect but all you need is to have knowledge to speak about.
Whenever you go for an interview try to be friendly with everyone you meet at the interview site. An interview begins with the very first contact you make there even if you meet a custodian at the parking lot. Then comes the receptionist, or the interviewer. The employer may seek opinion, of every person you met, after you leave. If you gave a short shrift to the receptionist or the custodian it may make you seem arrogant.
Give A Shake Hand
Remember to shake hand with the person who will be interviewing you. It gives a positive impression and shows that you want to work there and are suitable for the job. Don’t let this happen.
If you maintain a proper eye contact then it will give an impression that you are confident and will have acceptance for the other person. Lack of eye contact leads to the impression of mistrust and low interest.
Always Give A Smile
Sometimes a smile works a lot as an impression on the interviewer and is very powerful. A smile shows that you are well prepared and in a good mood. It also affects the mood of others and makes their mood good. A smiling person if felt warm and friendly and this put the right mood for conversation.
Beside your posture and impression, the thing which matters a lot is the way you speak. This can make you misunderstood easily. If you speak in a shy and a low voice it can deter your impression. You must speak in an energetic and lively voice which sounds good and friendly to the interviewer. Make yourself understandable.
Don’t Show Urge To Have The Job
Never give an impression that you desperately need that job. Be real and give the impression that you would have another chance to show your skills and work out with the complete ability of yours. Everyone has to start from somewhere so it doesn’t matter if the job is not exactly the one you wanted. Consider the recent job as best for you. Wait for a better chance that will make you shine.
Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime, like many recruiters, receives a large amount of resumes from candidates every day, making it impossible to read all of them carefully. Even if a candidate has significant accomplishments in his or her career, that candidate could still be easily passed over. With such a high volume of resumes, getting a recruiter’s attention is the key to get a job offer.
So how should candidates do this? Chelsea Gladden raised pertinent tips in the following article.
4 Tips To Make Your Resume Stand Out
By Chelsea Gladden, Mashable
There it is: a stack of 150 resumes, received in the first hour of posting a job, piled up in the hiring manager’s email inbox. How will you stand out? These four tips for creating an effective, well-organized resume, should help you stay at the top of the pile and in the top of the hiring manager’s mind.
1. Stick To a Standardized Font
For most positions, HR reps just want a resume they can read and that captures the skill sets they are looking for. Fonts such as Times New Roman and Georgia are your best bets for making it readable, as well as a 10- to 12-point size. Acceptable sans-serif fonts include Arial and Tahoma. Whichever your choice, make sure to stick to one to keep it presentable versus using a few different fonts that can crowd the page and make you appear disorganized. On the other hand, if you are applying for a creative position such as graphic design, your resume will likely be expected to bend the rules and show your creative pizzazz.
2. Keep Important Points at the Top
Assume a hiring manager is going to skim your resume quickly, in 15 to 20 seconds, and will concentrate mainly on the top half (much like you might skim the headlines in a newspaper). They will want to see immediately that your experience is a fit instead of tossing out your resume to get to the next in the pile because they didn’t see that you are a match. Highlight your most relevant skills and experience first and then work your way down to other pertinent information. The following resume subheadings could be included: Contact Info, Summary of Core Qualifications, Relevant Work Experience, Relevant Volunteer and Other Experience, Education and Honors & Awards.
3. Don’t Be So Stiff
Resumes are not just a showcase of your experience and skills, but also of your personality. Speak with confidence and ease when describing your accomplishments. Try to come across as friendly and open, professional but personable, and super-knowledgeable in your field to add depth and interest to an otherwise rather boring document.
4. Clean Up Your Resume Regularly
Again, go for a resume that will be easy on the eyes and is formatted well, with plenty of white space. Attempt to keep it to one page (or two pages if you have more than five years experience in your field) and be absolutely certain there aren’t typos or grammatical errors — these will instantly land your submission in the trash. Be sure to review your resume often and make changes and updates as needed. There’s nothing like a last-minute job application and an outdated resume that gets a too-quick scrubbing instead of an in-depth cleaning to derail your chances at being hired.
Though you spend hours on your resume to stand out, hiring managers just want to be able to easily weed through their very large pile as quickly as possible. Sending in a clean resume that gets straight to the point will be your best bet at landing the interview.
Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime strives to recruit the best employees in the market, regardless of their age. However, as Baby Boomers approach retirement, members of Generation Y, now in their 20s to early 30s, are becoming an increasingly important part of the recruiting pool. Generation Y is looking for different things in their careers than the Baby Boomers, or Generation X. In order to recruit and retain the most qualified employees from this younger generation, it is important to address these differences. Here’s a look at 7 secrets for recruiting Gen Y-ers.
#1: Gen Y Wants More Flexibility
Work life balance is more important to this generation than any other generation before them. These professionals want to work hard – but they also want to enjoy life and spend time with their young families. So offering a flexible schedule or the option to telecommute part-time will go a long way in recruiting this demographic.
#2: Gen Y Wants to Work in a High-Tech Environment
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that computers and the Internet made their way into work environments. And today’s young professionals expect nothing less than the best when it comes to technology. They’ve grown up with it and place a high value on it in the workplace.
#3: Gen Y Wants Help Advancing Their Careers
Gen Y-ers want support and guidance on how to advance their careers, especially in those important first few years. They were raised in a bubble of constant praise and recognition from their families and constant positive reinforcement and recognition is something they expect. So offering a coaching or mentoring program will certainly appeal to them. They do seek out employers that have a plan for their success. Employers should examine and create new ladders to guide younger workers through a steady progression in the organization.
#4: Gen Y Wants to Be Challenged
Many times, when young professionals quit and move onto greener pastures it is because they don’t feel challenged in their positions. They also tend to get bored easily and seek out new things. So if you think one of your younger employees is up to the task, then offer them a chance to prove themselves with added responsibility and challenging assignments. Also, study after study show that Gen Y-ers have an extremely strong entrepreneurial focus. Employers should develop intrapreneurship programs and opportunities so as to retain workers longer.
#5: Gen Y Wants a More Casual Work Culture
Jeans and t-shirts are not necessary, but young professionals prefer a work environment in which they can wear comfortable clothing that expresses their individuality, instead of buttoned-up. Besides being more relaxed, Gen Y-ers find workplaces that are family friendly incredibly important.
#6: Gen Y Wants a Nurturing Corporate Culture
Gen Y-ers view having strong friendships with co-workers and bosses as extremely important to them. There is much anecdotal support of workers staying longer in jobs simply because they loved the people they worked with — and did not want to leave them. Management styles must be Theory Y for Gen Y. Consider too a formal or informal organization-wide mentoring program.
#7: Gen Y Wants Competitive Salaries
Gen Y-ers — especially younger ones fresh out of college — have more debt (both student loans and credit cards) than any previous generation, and they demand a salary that not only recognizes their contributions, but also helps them pay down the debt. Some employers even have programs in place to help these workers pay off student loans.
This list was compiled from “5 Secrets for Recruiting Gen Y Workers”by Adams & Garth, and “How to Recruit, Hire, and Retain Best of Gen Y: 10 Workplace Issues Most Important to Gen Y” by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime has been coaching candidates to shine during job interviews for years. Today we are sharing strategies for great interview techniques in the last installment of our Interview package series. This article offers a technique to help the candidate relate their abilities to the needs of the company to which they are applying. Increase your chances of receiving a job offer by incorporating the following suggestions into your interview preparation. Good luck & Happy job hunting!
INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE THE FREQUENCY THE JOB OFFERS
The following is a formula that should increase the probability of a job offer. This technique, as a game of chess, has three stages: beginning, intermediate and end.
Setting the stage of a good interview is a critical step. It sets the precedent for the dynamics of a future business relationship. It is generally best when the tone of the meeting is light and up beat. The mention of a non-controversial topic such as the weather, the facilities, etc. should break the ice. From that point on, allow the interviewer to take the initiative and carry the conversation.
At that time, make your assessment of the interviewer. Determine how articulate, technical, bright, etc. he/she is and maintain a continuity of dialogue with him/her.
We found the basic exploratory meeting need not last longer than one hour. The initial probing should determine the following:
Are the chemistries of the potential manager and the employee compatible with one another?
Is the candidate technically qualified to do the job?
What is the candidate’s intermediate and long-range potential with the firm?
What kind of benefits package does the company offer?
The first thing to be discussed should be technical qualifications. In most cases the candidate’s background is more diversified than the responsibilities of the position require this point, inductive logic from the specific (job responsibilities) to the general (candidate’s background) should be applied.
That is, many interviewers may ask a general question, “What kind of experience have you had?”, which may circumvent the actual requirements of the position. The best way to handle a general and leading question of this type would be to answer with a counter question, “(interviewer’s name), my background has spanned 12 years, 3 industries, and 4 companies. In order that I may better integrate my background to your need, what are the three most important functional responsibilities, in priority, that I would be charged with, should I be offered the position?”
At that point, the employer will give you an insight into what you will be required to do on the job. While he is giving you this information, you should be making notes of your past education, experience and achievements and relate them to his description. When he is finished describing the position, you may have to ask further questions for clarification.
Your reply at this point is most crucial during the interview. Your ability to articulate, communicate, and detail past experience and performance are the litmus test of technical ability, and that, in fact is the commodity the employer is seeking to obtain. Your inability to convey your technical abilities at this time may diminish your chances for an offer if communication skills are a strong requirement.
Most important of all, be energetic, enthusiastic and assertive. Maintain a continuity of excitement throughout the interview so you will have credibility at the close when saying, “(interviewer’s name), I really enjoyed the chance to discuss this opportunity with you, and I’m very much impressed with your organization. I am interested in the position, and I would like to pursue it to it’s conclusion.”
You have not committed to anything in asking to pursue the position. You have just let the interviewer know of your level of interest in your voice. This is just a guideline on how to successfully handle the interview process. There are really no hard and fast rules, just suggestions. Make sure you communicate your feelings to the interviewer, in order that they may give the company immediate feedback.
If you follow these guidelines, your ratio of offers to interviews should increase and after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Last week Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime posted pointers for phone interviews. Today we offer a list of questions a candidate may be asked, a list of questions which will not be asked but should be answered and a list of questions a candidate may want to ask. Next week we will go into depth about interview techniques. If Temptime sends candidates out for interviews we prepare them. We welcome interviews as invigorating opportunities for a meeting of the minds.
A. Questions You Should Be Prepared To Answer:
These are some of the most general questions that employers ask candidates during an interview. The more prepared you are the better your answers will be.
1. What would you consider to be your major accomplishments at your present position or previous positions?
2. What are your major strengths and weaknesses? Why should I hire you? Why do you want to work here?
3. From what you know of this company and the position, why do you feel you are a good candidate for this job?
4. Professionally speaking, where do you see yourself in three to five years from now?
5. What aspects of this job do you feel will be most challenging?
6. How long do you think the challenges of this job will interest you?
7. Why do you want to leave your present position? Why did you leave previous positions?
8. What are your salary requirements? What was your previous salary history (when entering and leaving)?
9. What are your computer skills (hardware and software)?
10. What criteria would you use in evaluating your subordinate’s performance?
11. How would you deal with a subordinate who does not appear to measure up to increasing demands of the job; whose motivation and performance are declining; who seems under personal stress?
12. What are your hobbies?
13.How do you deal with stress, tension and boredom?
14. What does your company do (sales, service, revenues)?
15.Who are your customers (where does your work go)?
B. Questions That Won’t Be Asked But Need To Be Answered:
These are the subjects that all employers wants to know but generally doesn’t ask. Answer these by providing positive examples in the questions they do ask you.
1. Do you get things done? Do you meet deadlines? (Show proof)
2. Are you resourceful? Can you improvise? (Show proof)
3. Can you work independently in a team-oriented environment? (Show proof)
4. Can you work effectively with a variety of personalities? Are you flexible? (Show proof)
5. Can you work effectively in either a looser or structured environment? Are you flexible? (Show proof)
6. Can you be an effective spokesperson for the department/the company? (Show proof)
7. Are you a dedicated individual?
8. Can you switch gears in a moments notice and still remain focused on your original project? (Show proof)
9. Are you good at asking questions when you don’t know or are unsure about something?
C. Questions You May Consider Asking The Interviewer
This is a list of some questions that you as a candidate might consider asking. There are two major reasons why you should ask questions during the interview: 1) to find out more information about the company, the position and the employer, which can help you decide whether this is the right job for you, and 2) impress the interviewer by asking the right questions.
1. What, specifically, are the day-to-day responsibilities of this position, and which are most important?
2. In what manner will we interact on a regular basis?
3. How do you like to operate in terms of assignments/delegation of responsibilities?
4. What kind of person do you feel is best suited for this position?
5. What are the company’s goals – short-term and long-term?
6. What short and long term problems/frustrations do you think exist for the company? For your department?
7. What do you hope I would accomplish within three, six, twelve months?
8. What do you perceive as the major challenges/rewards of this position?
9. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the subordinates?
10. With whom will I be interfacing most frequently and what are their responsibilities?
11. What are the limits of my responsibility and authority?
12. What particular things about my background, experience and style interest you – make you think I’ll be successful?
13. What opportunities are there for growth in my area of responsibility and advancement in the company, on what kind of timetable, 2-3 years from now?
14. How long have you been with the company and what do you find most satisfying?
Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime often sets up candidates for interviews as a way to introduce them to San Francisco Bay Area companies. We have an interview package which we would like to share with you as a three part series. This, the first segment, offers our suggestions for doing well on a phone interview.
Do your homework on the position/company/industry prior to the interview. Interviewers are bothered by candidates who know little about the company and don’t ask enough or any questions (or asking the wrong questions) during the interview.
Be prepared to adequately justify past job/career moves and the quality of your accomplishments (colligate and professional level).
Keep your materials in front of you so you can reach them quickly- a pen, a hardcopy of your resume, cover letter and job description. To sell yourself clearly, refrain from using the phrase “as it says on my resume…” Web access may also be an advantage during a phone interview in case you want more information.
Make the call from home or from a place where the environment has little noise and where you can speak at a reasonable volume without distraction.
Treat the phone interview just as you would a face-to-face interview. Be enthusiastic, responsive and display a good attitude. If you are non-attentive, withdrawn, passive or arrogant during the interview, an interviewer will assume that you would bring similar
negative qualities to the job if hired. Even though it is a phone interview, be sure to smile and use positive body language- it will make your voice expressive and energetic.
On the phone, it is more difficult to understand what people are saying because you can’t see their face and mouth. Speak slowly and clearly and don’t talk too much. If you can’t hear the interviewer, drop hints that he isn’t speaking clearly or loud enough by politely asking him to repeat himself.
Respond to questions with integrity and honesty. Your answers should be based on the truth, not on what you feel the person wants to hear.
Be focused and direct in what you want; especially in how the position fits into your career path and personal goals. Ask questions about the job. Interviewers discount candidates who don’t show serious interest in the position’s duties and responsibilities or the company.
Show interest in what you can do for the company. Questions about salary and fringe benefits indicate that you are more interested in what the company can do for you. There will be adequate time to address this once the interest is established on technical and career goals.
Use common sense in your answers and demeanor.
Keep a glass of water close by in case you get thirsty.
As a leading Bay Area staffing firm Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime is a great source for talent when your company needs to supplement it’s work force for a short time. Optimize your operations when it’s time to bring in extra hands. John Rossheim has some pointers to help you assemble a superlative workforce when it’s time to meet a rush in business.
Any season may be the season of your discontent — if you don’t take care to source, hire and onboard seasonal workers who represent the best that your business has to offer.By:John Rossheim, Monster Senior Contributing Writer
Many pitfalls plague employers that must supplement their full-time staff for the summer, for tax season, or for any other portion of the year when business peaks. Most of these troubles stem from a failure of the company’s leadership to devote energy and resources to assembling an optimal seasonal workforce.
Are you willing to take a fresh look at your seasonal operations to see where you might improve your staffing? Consider these 11 approaches to fielding superlative workers when the annual rush is on.
Don’t assume that high unemployment will make your seasonal hiring a cinch. In fact, “we’ve experienced pockets of the country where it was very difficult to hire,” says Jennifer Lemcke, chief operating officer of Weed Man USA, a lawn-care franchisor. “It’s been hard to hire in Detroit.” Michigan has very high unemployment; the catch for seasonal employers is that extensions of Federal jobless benefits have made many Michiganders eligible to collect for up to 99 weeks, reducing the motivation to find work, according to Mark Perry, a professor of economics at University of Michigan in Flint.
Use sourcing channels that offer a high yield of candidates who only want seasonal work. You’ll make better seasonal hires faster if you can mine rich veins of candidates who just want to work for the season. “We have tapped into graduating university students who are taking time to figure out what they want to do,” says Lemcke.
If your seasonal staff is large, dedicate substantial resources tosuccessful onboarding. Giving seasonal employees the sink-or-swim test could hurt your bottom line at season’s end. “One of the most common mistakes is throwing seasonal hires on a sales floor with minimal training or onboarding, viewing them as a way to fill a schedule rather than as company representatives to serve your customers,” says Nels Wroe, partner and product director atSHL Group, a vendor of talent-assessment tools.
Take time to ensure that job descriptions for seasonal hires are accurate, complete and up-to-date. “We have clients using job descriptions that are four or more years old,” says Wroe. Consider asking the author of the job description to spend a few hours shadowing an employee in the relevant position. Your customers won’t forgive poor service simply because it’s rendered by a seasonal worker.
Consider tools for high-volume hiring and screening. If you’re hiring for hundreds or thousands of seasonal positions, you’ll probably benefit from talent-management systems. “Our candidates have doubled or tripled over the last few years, so we need tools to manage the flow,” says Kyle Martin, manager of talent acquisition at Vail Resorts Management Company in Broomfield, Colorado. Wroe says that with seasonal hires, “you have a very limited window to get a return on your hiring investment. Assessments let you select workers who will get up to speed more quickly.”
Hire for attitude as much as aptitude. Most seasonal work is about being flexible and getting up to speed quickly, rather than bringing to bear an elaborate skill set. “All of our training is so in-depth — we don’t necessarily need someone with experience,” says Lemcke. “We’re looking for dependable workers who emphasize safety and customer focus,” says Martin.
Give preference to “same time, next year” candidates. If you’re able to select for candidates most likely to return for another season, do so; it’ll streamline your hiring next year. “We’ll hire 10,000 seasonal workers in 2010, including about 5,000 who are returning,” says Martin.
Don’t shortchange HR and related processes for seasonal employees. You may be tempted to save short-term costs by bypassing some HR processes for seasonal employees. This can bring you trouble on many fronts, from fielding confused workers to running afoul of labor laws. So keep your seasonal workers on your regular HR platform, and disseminate systems and knowledge to branch offices that are hiring for the season. “We supply franchisees with information on how to interview and evaluate candidates, with orientation and training programs, and with all the forms they’ll need,” says Lemcke.
If you use staffing vendors, consider giving just one an exclusive for your seasonal hires. Staffing agencies may be swamped filling the seasonal needs of many clients at once. If you promise one agency all your business, they may be more willing to go the extra mile to bring you the best seasonal workers.
Don’t assume that all your seasonal hires are just for the season. Many of your seasonal workers will never be candidates for permanent positions, but some of them may be. Tag potential permanent hires early on, keep close tabs on their performance, and at the end of the season, evaluate their fitness for full-time employment.
Don’t neglect your end game. Never assume that your workforce will remain intact through the season; it most likely won’t. “No matter how much we plan, we still have to hire some people toward the end of the season,” says Lemcke. Consider structuring compensation to reward seasonal workers for staying as long as you need them. “Our lawn-care technicians get a bonus based on production if they complete the season,” Lemcke adds.
Monroe Personnel Service, LLC & Temptime has been a “happy workplace” for over 26 years. We enjoy adjusting to different personalities and workstyles as different people come and go and as people go through different phases of their life’s journey. Each person brings their unique vision, rhythms and gifts to the mutual goal of serving our clients, candidates and community with efficiency and courtesy. We enjoy making the most of what is available and in large part this is why this small, woman owned business has been able to weather economic storms through the years.
How do companies boost morale and improve their bottom line? Here, Lydia Dishman makes a case that “a happy workplace is one that is committed to perpetual improvement”.
Secrets Of America’s Happiest Companies
BY LYDIA DISHMAN
JANUARY 10, 2013, Fast Company
Disengaged workers cost the U.S. economy $350 billion a year in lost productivity. Here’s how the happiest companies boost morale and the bottom line.
In her book It’s Always Personal, Anne Kreamer points to recent research from Sigal Barsadeof the Wharton School of Business that indicates positive moods prompt “more flexible decision-making and wider search behavior and greater analytic precision,” which in turn make the whole company more willing to take risks and be more open. On the flip side, analysis conducted by the Gallup Organization found that disgruntled employees disengage and cost the American economy up to $350 billion a year in lost productivity.
Happy employees don’t stay in one role for too long. Movement and the perception of improvement create satisfaction. Status quo, on the other hand, creates burnout.
There is a strong correlation between happiness and meaning; having a meaningful impact on the world around you is actually a better predictor of happiness than many other things you think will make you happy.
A workplace is far likelier to be a happy place when policies are in place to ensure that people regularly get acknowledgement and praise for a job well done.
Recognize that employees are people first, workers second, and create policies that focus on their well-being as individuals.
Emphasize work/life integration, not necessarily “balance.”
What exactly makes those staffers whistle while they work? CareerBliss just released its findings on the 50 happiest companies in America. The data, based on employee-submitted reviews, evaluated the key factors such as work-life balance, one’s relationship with his/her boss and coworkers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and job control over work performed on a daily basis. The answer to what makes a happy company is an amalgam of all these different factors, which might indicate that companies perceived as innovative would consistently snag the top spots. Not so. Apple and Google dropped from their top 10 spots down to #42 and #18, respectively. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer climbed from #11 to take the top slot, followed by NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Steve McClatchy, founder of Alleer Training and Consulting, whose client list includes top-ranked Pfizer, says a happy workplace is one that is committed to perpetual improvement, and not just as a line item on the balance sheet. “It’s one that supports employees in achieving goals, letting them fail, and learn from that,” he says. McClatchy believes happy employees don’t stay in one role for too long. “When there is movement in your life, there is satisfaction. Status quo is what creates burnout and ruts.” He says at companies such as Pfizer, staff achieves a balance between improvement, growth, and maintenance. Work burnout isn’t about too many hours spent on the job, he contends, it’s about feelings that come from improvement, or lack thereof. McClatchy points out that Pfizer regularly checks in with staff through employee surveys. “It’s a commitment to finding out obstacles to being happy. They don’t wait for exit interviews; they are proactive and continually assess their culture.” McClatchy believes a happy workplace isn’t necessarily free of conflict, either. At Pfizer, he says, management addresses conflict constructively. “It’s not with discipline but an approach that is solution-oriented.”
Another way to reduce grumblings is to cultivate a culture of mindfulness and meaning, according to Jennifer Aaker, General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “New research shows there is a strong correlation between happiness and meaning–in fact, having a meaningful impact on the world around you is actually a better predictor of happiness than many other things you think will make you happy,” Aaker says. “When we can cultivate mindfulness and meaning in all that we do, including our work, we have the opportunity to influence not only our own well-being, but also the well-being of our family, friends, coworkers, and wider community.”
Steven Cowart, manager for Visual Display Systems at NASA, agrees. “The projects I get to work on are incredibly interesting, challenging, and critical to the success of an experiment or mission. The research facilities are unparalleled in their capabilities and the accomplishments they’ve helped achieve. The tools we get to work with are the best. Our simulators and trainers are like “E” ticket rides at entertainment parks. Especially the centrifuges. We get to do things I would never have imagined had I not been hired here. Things that matter. Things that inspire people. Things that change our perception of our life on Earth and our place in the universe.”
Not surprisingly, another part of joy comes from a simple pat on the back. Globoforce, a software provider of social-recognition solutions, said 82% of employees it polled said that receiving recognition makes them more satisfied with their jobs. “A workplace is far likelier to be a happy place when policies are in place to ensure that people regularly get acknowledgement and praise for a job well done, and where people feel that their happiness at work matters to their employers,” says Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-sellingHappiness Project.
Dana Stocks, head of HR for Philips North America, says that the company (ranked #25 on the CareerBliss survey) took this concept a step further to make recognition more personal. “Philips has come to understand that recognition for a job well done is often more meaningful when coming in the form of peer-to-peer acknowledgment than expected manager-to-peer rewards. As a result, Philips has put in place programs and ‘culture drivers’ that help individuals create a legacy that is meaningful and energizing, beyond cash bonuses or award vouchers,” he explains.
Two programs help to reach this goal. “We are Philips” is a peer-to-peer recognition program that highlights the accomplishments of fellow employees and how they are modeling the key values and behaviors. Three times per year, winners for each behavior are announced and then showcased throughout North America to inspire others to succeed. Stocks says Philips also uses social technologies to engage with employees like the app called Connect Us (available as a desktop app and for mobile devices) to unite its global workforce by sharing knowledge insights, collaborating, and publicly showing appreciation with Thanks badges. “Any employee can show personal recognition of colleagues’ achievements,” says Stocks. Virtual high fives are limited to five per week, and the boss gets looped in, too. “Managers of employees who receive a Thanks badge will be informed by email,” he adds.
As the director of happiness at Lamp Post Group, Shelley Prevost, PhD, contends that the happiest workplaces are the ones that seriously honor the humanity of their people. “When you ‘get’ that employees are human beings first and worker bees second, you say something about their worth. Companies with happily engaged employees laugh at the rules that are more about upholding policy than caring about the well-being of others. They hire people with a capacity to care for one another, foster connectedness at every level of the company, give an inspiring vision not laced with b.s. platitudes, but about real possibilities. You want to work in these places because they make you feel purposeful, connected, and valued.
That isn’t always tied to a paycheck. Staffing and recruiting agency Adecco ranked #16 on the CareerBliss survey, even though its average salary was in some cases up to $50,000 lower than the average paycheck at companies at the bottom of the list. “Our people have a tremendous pride in Adecco and what they do for a living,” says Mark Eberly, senior vice president of human resources, Adecco Group North America. “Especially in this economy, knowing that you are in the business of putting people to work is extremely gratifying, which no doubt makes for happy employees.” David Adams, vice president of learning and development, Adecco Group North America, adds that the agency gives employees opportunities for growth and flexibility. “Our commitment to professional growth includes developmental and skills training for both colleagues and associates. Additionally, we offer flexibility, including the many choices available to our temporary associates as to the times and duration they can work.”
One thing to keep in mind, says Delivering Happiness at Work’s CEO James Key Lim, one of the first employees at Zappos, is that there is no one magic bullet to guarantee happiness in the workplace. “We talk about work/life integration instead of balance,” he explains, especially when a study found that 90% of people send email on the weekends. By aligning people with their passions both on the job and in the rest of their lives, Lim says companies stand a greater chance of cultivating happy employees. “From an organizational perspective this really takes time,” Lim says, and clear, co-owned values are a must, along with consistent checks to ensure that everyone stays aligned. “The annual review is dead,” he asserts, “Happiness is a daily journey.”
What does your company do to keep you happy (or not)?