Challenging Top Performers to Keep Them – Yes, You Read That Correctly
“Challenging” isn’t usually considered a positive descriptor. When a person, situation, or environment are flagged as challenging, it usually means they’re a problem. They’re an obstacle to be navigated around or an issue that needs to be overcome.
When employees face challenges at work, for example, that usually means one of two things: 1.) they feel enough personal motivation and love for the company that they work to resolve the challenge, or 2.) they don’t. Challenges push engaged employees to excel, but they also push unengaged employees out the door.
So if you have a top performer on your team who seems disengaged, bored, or ready to look for work elsewhere, it may seem counterintuitive to deliberately place obstacles in the person’s path. But think twice. This may be just the thing that he or she needs to buckle down and face the job with fresh eyes. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Challenges help us learn, and learning feels good
Your employee wants to learn new things; she doesn’t just want this because learning feels positive and meaningful. She also wants to build out her resume and achieve her career goals. Difficult projects, new skills, and exposure to new aspects of the industry can all be considered challenges…but facing them can build an employee’s sense of accomplishment and rekindle a fading sense of ambition. Giving a glazed-over employee a difficult project can spark a transformation.
Challenges make us feel alive
We don’t always love adventures while we’re having them. And there are some activities we enjoy having done, even if we really don’t enjoy doing them. There’s something magical about looking back on a harrowing ride after it’s over. And when you offer this feeling to a checked-out employee or disengaged team, there’s a strong chance they’ll want to get back on the ride and go through it again.
Challenges should be appropriate; choose them wisely
Push your employees toward challenges that make use of their rarest and most valuable skills, not toward busy work or manufactured hassles. Just because a task is awkward, miserable or tedious doesn’t mean it will make your employee feel engaged and connected. Before you overextend an employee or push them into the deep end, make sure you’re choosing the right employee, for the right task, for the right reasons.
Again, the wrong task and the wrong reasons may push a detached employee further out the door, so be careful. Before you move forward, sit down for a conversation about what your employee wants to accomplish or learn while they occupy this role.
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For more on how to find the right team members that are ready to be pushed and help grow your business, turn to the experts at and work with a leading recruiter in Scottsdale!
Hiring is Hard: Three Areas to Focus on to Improve Retention
As experienced managers eventually learn, hiring is difficult, tedious, expensive and risky. Reviewing resumes and meeting with a long line of candidates can wreak havoc on a manager’s schedule, and it can pull interviewers and other employees away from critical tasks that require focus and attention. And the stakes are high; a poor hiring decision can have lasting consequences for everyone involved.
Fortunately, the best way to get around these hiring obstacles is simple: spend less time hiring.
Once you find and onboard talented candidates, don’t let them get away. Work together with them, help them grow their careers, and keep them stay on the team so you won’t have to face the hassle of saying goodbye and searching for a replacement. Here are three moves that can support your retention efforts.
If you’re like most employers, you probably conduct a formal performance review with each employee about once a year. Performance reviews can help employees stay on track to success, but once a year won’t do the trick. In fact, negative feedback gathered in July and dropped on an employee in January can feel like an awkward ambush, and it can undermine the relationship in ways both subtle and obvious. It’s not pleasant to be criticized, but it’s especially unhelpful to have that criticism delivered six months after the fact. Meet with your team members on a regular and informal basis to check in with them, let them know how they’re doing, and allow them to return the gesture.
Compensate with more than money
Of course, you’ll need to pay your employees a competitive salary in order to keep them on board, but a little extra effort goes a long way. In addition to your base transaction (a week of work for a week of pay), make your office feel like a second home and your teams feel like a second family. Small gestures like free lunches, fun events, softball teams, and Friday happy hours make an employer much harder to walk away from.
Talk about what they’re getting, not just what they give
When you meet with your employee during your regular sessions, don’t just talk about how well she’s performing and what she’s contributing to the company. These things matter, but they only represent half the relationship and half of the equation. Make sure your employee feels satisfied with how this job supports her career plans. Is she receiving the training and exposure she needs to build her resume and carry her to her next destination? If not, how can you help? What resources can you provide? What kinds of projects and challenges will benefit her the most?
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Retention Strategies: Talk to Your Employees Every Few Months
In a rapidly evolving job marketplace, the best way to protect your company’s bottom line starts with one word – stability. Lower churn can help you save money on hiring, training and onboarding costs, and the longer you keep your employees within your walls, the more you benefit from their growing store of institutional knowledge. So, stability matters and stability starts with careful selection and high effort dedicated to retention.
Hire the right people in the first place, then keep them on board if possible by cultivating management strategies that build loyalty and commitment. Start by meeting with each employee on an individual basis each month and discussing topics like these.
What’s working and what isn’t?
Is your new hire comfortable with the processes and procedures related to her work? Do your software systems and workflows support their productivity or stand in their way? Think about how you phrase your question and don’t imply that it’s their responsibility to adapt to the system (not the other way around). Make it clear that you’re listening, willing to consider their suggestions, and willing to change or fix elements of the process that don’t work for them. If they feel heard and they see the path toward success and productivity as a mutual goal, they’re more likely to stay for the long haul.
Are you happy with your current jobs/responsibilities?
Ask the employee to assess his general comfort levels with the job and their specific responsibilities. Does the job resemble what they expected? This question doesn’t just apply to their first weeks and months; it should be asked again, and again, year after year. When employees lose patience or burn out due to misaligned expectations, it doesn’t always happen right away. Sometimes this drift can take years.
How can the company improve?
Encourage the employee to be open and generous with her constructive criticism. Most employees – especially recent hires – won’t answer this question honestly unless they feel safe and respected, so make it clear that their insights have value and you genuinely want to hear and implement them. Clearly explain the purpose of your monthly chat sessions (improving retention) and explain that the company puts concerted effort into making employees feel valued and deploying their skills and talents in the most expedient way.
You want your employees to thrive, find meaning in their work, and stay if possible. So, make this clear. Encourage them to help you with these goals. As always, company success will result from a team effort between employees and managers.
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For more on how to use simple moves and cost-effective tools to retain your talented workers, turn to the management experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
Diversity and Culture Support Innovation
Countless management guidelines and tips emphasize one word over and over again: culture. A strong culture, we’re told repeatedly, means a strong staffing strategy and a strong and thriving business. If employees feel engaged with their work and they feel a sense of pride and confidence in each other, this positive attitude will spread, and if they don’t, negativity and distrust will pervade the atmosphere, with detrimental results.
But too often, “shape your culture” is misheard and misinterpreted to mean “hire people who make you feel comfortable.” If hiring managers don’t examine their feelings and they respond to candidates based on “a sense of connection” alone, they tend to unconsciously hire people who look, speak, and act like they do. The result isn’t a great culture; it’s a mess. Diversity is what makes a culture strong, and building a diverse workplace requires effort, thought, and strategy. Keep these considerations in mind as you move forward.
Gut Responses and Warm Feelings Won’t Get You There
People are often wired to behave in ways that run counter to their best interests. We want to stay healthy, but we eat donuts because they taste good. We want a thriving, functional, innovative company culture, but we choose the candidate who looks like us because there’s “just something about him” that puts us at ease. Look past the easy impulse and aggressively seek candidates that DON’T fit prevailing patterns and demographics in your office. The path to growth starts with an assessment (What is our age distribution? How many people with disabilities work here? How are our employee backgrounds similar and different? Where are the missing voices?) and a conscious effort to depart from homogeneity.
Act on Opportunities to Learn and Grow
A candidate who represents a minority in your company has registered a complaint about the culture. They feel unwelcome, unappreciated, or maybe even threatened by some aspect of the workplace. Do you coach, soothe, and silence the employee so the workplace won’t have to change? Or do you change the workplace and solve the problem? The second path is often more difficult, but it’s the path to success. The first option brings only toxicity and stagnation.
A Rainbow of Faces Isn’t Enough
For diversity to actually have an impact on your bottom line, you’ll need to embrace and cultivate it, not just tolerate it. If you look out over your workforce and see different faces, ages, and backgrounds, that’s great, and it’s a meaningful accomplishment. But not if you encourage your workers to leave their differences at the door and behave like robots from nine to five. Celebrate and leverage the different perspectives employees bring to the table—don’t downplay or encourage employees to hide them. That helps no one.
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For more on how to attract, hire, and make the most of a wide variety of voices and perspectives, reach out to the top recruiters in Scottsdale at the ACCENT Hiring Group.
How Do Recruiters Create Candidate Profiles that Attract Top Talent?
Accent recruiters know that the difference between a winning candidate and mismatch can be highly nuanced, and without years of experience, great listening skills, and evidence-based interview strategies, these important details can easily be missed.
With that in mind, we conduct a thorough, multi-stage candidate profiling process with both the client and the candidate in mind at every step. Here are some of the detailed steps that set us apart and help us match the right candidate to the right position.
We start with pre-screening.
The most efficient way to narrow the candidate pool starts with the very first step: pre-screening. When you ask the big questions first, you can get to the truth before either party wastes valuable money and time. Since we recognize the coarse-grain details that can turn candidates away (commuting distance, misaligned industries, misaligned expectations, etc), we ask about these details upfront. Candidate who can handle the biggest initial challenges (such as relocation) stay in the pool and move onto the next stage.
If the candidate shows interest in the role, the next stage involves personal interviews with Accent staff. We’ll invite applicants in for a sit-down meeting in which we discuss aptitude, work history, and goals.
Analysis and number crunching.
At this stage, the in-depth evaluation process begins. We create a data-enhanced resume for each candidate and factor in the details gained through the interview, the candidate’s behavioral profile, and a close examination of skill-work adaptability.
At this stage, if the candidate’s interest levels and the evaluation process reveal a match between company and candidate needs and abilities, we begin verification of key details. We’ll confirm references, education, and publicly available salary information. Then we’ll move on to optional reviews, which may include a criminal background check, drug screening, or handwriting analysis.
The final stage
At this point, after the candidate has passed each of our evidence-based reviews, we’ll double check to make sure the candidate can meet the specific needs requested by the employer during our consultation process. For example, if the employer needs qualified accounting pro, we ensure a skill match. But if they also consider second language fluency a plus, we’ll confirm that detail.
Find the Best Talent to Fill the Best Jobs in Scottsdale
At every stage, our process is tested, proven, and carefully designed to ensure a successful hire. But we know that times change and industry needs fluctuate. So when a certain data marker, skill test, or behavioral interview question no longer brings success, we adjust our process accordingly. At every turn, we apply the evaluation procedures that bring you closer to the talented new hires you’re looking for. To learn more, contact the team at the ACCENT Hiring Group today!
Focus on the Candidate Experience for Applicants You Don’t Ultimately Hire
The candidate experience can have an outsized impact on your bottom line; this isn’t surprising news. When applicants feel respected and their time and talents are valued, they tend to enter the relationship with a higher opinion of the company, and this pays off over time. New employees are happier, more loyal, more deeply invested, and more willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt during future disputes and misunderstandings. First impressions matter, especially when they mark the beginning of a long-term partnership.
But what about the candidates who are NOT ultimately hired? No need to worry about their feelings or their impressions because they aren’t sticking around…right? Wrong. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you interact with all of your candidates: those you hire and those you reject.
Your workplace brand doesn’t stop at the door.
If you treat rejected candidates with disrespect, they walk away with a sour impression of your business. Their feelings are just as meaningful and their voices are just as loud as those of your hired candidates…but unlike your new hires, you won’t be able to make things right or correct course with them in the future. If anyone asks what they think of the company, they’ll answer. And if a negative message takes hold, there will be little you can do to temper or counter it.
Give respect and you’ll get respect.
Your candidates won’t base their opinion of the company solely on the outcome of their applications. You may think that a yes will make them happy and a no will leave them sour…but people are not that simple. If your treat applicants with respect and consideration, they’ll appreciate it, offer or no offer. The reverse is also true.
No outcome is permanent.
You may say no to a candidate today, only to have them successfully reapply to a different department at some point in the future. You may say no today and find yourself asking your rejected candidate for a favor, a grant, a contract, or an opportunity two, five, or ten years from now. Someday you may even find yourself asking them for a job. The world is unpredictable. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
Feedback can’t hurt (usually).
If your rejected candidate is forthright enough to ask why you made your choice, you may assume it’s wiser and more diplomatic to simply say nothing. But this isn’t always true. Again, most people appreciate honesty and recognize respect when they see it. Sharing the (carefully worded) truth may work in your favor. Explain that your chosen candidate just had a little more to offer, or that the company had reservations about a specific skill gap in the rejected candidate’s resume. It’s possible to be diplomatic and honest at the same time. Adapt your decision to the circumstances.
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If you need help on finding the right candidates for your company, contact the ACCENT Hiring Group today to help fill the best jobs in Scottsdale.
Should You Use Video to Recruit Job Candidates?
Videos can send a powerful message that written posts can’t necessarily convey, no matter how impressive the wording or how well-positioned the published post may be. You can write a job description that hits all the marks, and then post it where your ideal candidates can’t possibly miss it, and still not quite gain the attention you’d grab with a short two-minute video.
Videos can be expensive of course — Especially if they come with scripts and scenes and high production values. But pictures send a message that words can’t. And if your video involves just one or two winning elements — like humor or spectacle — there’s a strong chance your audience might share it with others or post/comment on it using various social media platforms. Here are few reasons to consider taking the time and trouble to create a video instead of just a standard post.
Videos are easy to consume.
If you keep your video post shorter than 60 seconds, you can vastly increase the chances that your candidates will hear and absorb your entire message. Sitting through a short, amusing video costs nothing and represents a pleasant diversion, even if your message just involves one person sitting behind a desk and reciting the same words that might appear in a written post. If you post your message on Facebook or Linkedin, active candidates will listen carefully for signs of a well-aligned position. Passive candidates may find the video interesting enough to share.
Videos allow positive aspects of your culture to shine through.
A professional video sends a silent message: you’re a well-established, well-funded organization and you aren’t going anywhere. A funny video also sends a message: Your company has a sense of humor and may be a great match for innovators, creative types, and fearless free spirits. A concise video sends a message as well: You respect your candidate’s time. An information-packed video can send a clear message about the nature of the position and the mission of the company. A video that checks all of these boxes can reach a wide audience and make a powerful impression.
Videos are easier to produce than you might think.
Of course, if you have access to professional scriptwriters, actors, and high-end lighting and recording equipment, your video can be a convincing work of art. But even with a cellphone camera and some inexpensive editing tools, you can assemble a functional video in just a few minutes that can give your other job post platforms and recruiting efforts a boost—at very little cost. Consider adding this element to your recruiting arsenal and measuring your returns. You may discover that a small investment goes a long way.
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For more on how to expand your reach while you search for talented candidates, contact the experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group to work with the top recruiters in Scottsdale.
Improve the Recruiting Process by Setting Priorities
An effective recruiting process involves a combination of speed, efficiency, and accuracy. But as experienced recruiters know, emphasizing one of these can often detract from the others. Speeding up the process and rushing candidates through screening and selection can cause teams to miss red flags or allow great prospects to get away. Slowing everything down and focusing on wise, measured analysis may mean the best candidates are left waiting and liable to be pulled away by other offers.
So what’s the secret? How do effective recruiters move forward at a steady pace without cutting corners or missing important details? The answer: They establish priorities. Here are a few moves that can help you do the same.
Give each task the attention it deserves.
Focus each hour of recruiting time on a specific task throughout the day. Make a schedule, and then follow the schedule from each hour to the next. Start by giving some unrushed thought to the role you’re trying to fill. What does this role entail? What will a given day look like for the employee who steps into this position? What might such a person enjoy doing? At what skills will they excel? What kind of environment will make them feel happy, productive, safe, and engaged? What conditions or benefits will bring them on board, and what conditions will make them stay?
What tasks will help you find your target candidate?
Before you begin moving forward and tracking down your ideal prospect, break this large goal down into smaller goals, and each small goal into actions. What exactly will you need to do to accomplish each task that lies in your path? What obstacles or distractions may stand in your way?
Generate a list of names and contacts.
You’ll need to arrange meetings and conversations with your hiring manager to review the needs of the business—That’s a given. But you’ll also benefit by having conversations with (or about) a list of others who can share their knowledge and contribute to the success of your recruiting efforts. For example, the team who will work with this person. What gaps exist in their shared workflow? Are there team weaknesses that could be shored up, or team strengths that can be leveraged or improved?
Look for alignment between long-term plans on both sides.
The company may need an account manager (for example) who can help launch a new branch in a new city. But what will the future hold for the role after the branch is up and running? Where will this position lead in three, four or five years? Your target candidate may choose to pursue that distant goal or may have other plans altogether. For the match to work, you’ll need to seek an element of compatibility.
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For more on how to map out a clear path to a successful hire, talk to the experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group – a top recruiter in Scottsdale!
How Does a Recruiter Make Sure the Company is the Right Match?
Here at the ACCENT Hiring Group, we understand that recruiting is a multi-layered process, and simply finding a candidate who can handle the skill requirements of an open position won’t do the trick. In order for the match between an employer and a candidate to function, succeed and thrive, the two must be well-matched on several levels—not just one. Candidates have to meet the needs that have been specifically voiced by the company, for starters. They also need to represent a cultural fit, and the goals of each party should align over the coming months and years. So how do we find candidates who fit the mold? Here are a few of our proven approaches.
We start by asking the right questions and listening closely to the answers
Our clients are in the best possible position to tell us what they’re looking for, so we listen carefully and take plenty of notes. We discuss the demands of the position and the structure of the company in detail, and we ask critical questions to make sure we don’t miss a beat. Then the process officially begins.
Visits and more visits
Visiting worksites provides us with essential insight into a company’s culture and atmosphere. Sometimes a verbal description doesn’t provide us with a complete picture, so we schedule sessions in which our recruiters walk around the site, talk to employees and get a feel for the environment.
We create a map based on client goals
Some clients need candidates as fast as possible; some would rather spend more time to find a perfect match. We do our best to map out a plan that can bring the right candidate into the workplace on the right schedule—one that works for both the client and the future employee.
We apply a signature screening process
Our early communications with potential candidates involve a screening process that can help us spot red flags and signs of a match. Some warnings—like a lack of relevant skills or a history of relevant problems—can be recognized early. The same also applies to positive signs—like immediate availability, perfect skill alignment, and an excellent personality fit.
When we see top candidates that meet client requirements, we refer them so the employer can conduct their own analysis using their own metrics. By this point in the process, the least promising candidates (mismatches and those who are unavailable or uninterested) have been removed from consideration.
After the connection has been made, we revisit the site at a later date to ensure a quality hire. If anything isn’t working at this point, we strive to make it right. Otherwise, we make sure both parties are satisfied and on track to success.
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Would you like to know more about our process at the ACCENT Hiring Group? Contact our team to work with the top recruiters in Scottsdale.
Improve Recruiting Efficiency: Tips for Small Businesses
Great recruiting can mean the difference between a dedicated, talented staff of committed employees and a pattern of high turnover. Strong sourcing, screening, and interviewing can get the job done right. But can it also get the job done fast? Make sure your recruiting strategy is efficient, not just effective. Save money and time while you identify and hire the best available candidates in the marketplace. Here’s how.
Avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen.
Before you even begin the staffing process for an open position, determine how many people you’ll need to have involved, and who those people will be. You can inform others of developments along the way, and you can keep them in the loop as you choose, but don’t get drawn into scheduling separate interviews between each candidate and each member of a sprawling team. And don’t factor assessments and opinions into the process if those opinions can’t contribute to a sound decision. Streamline your process by reducing team size.
Make sure everyone knows their role.
If you plan to have different people review the candidate for different skill sets, make that clear upfront. If Sally will evaluate the candidate’s coding skills and Steve will make sure the candidate can lead a team or meet a deadline, clarify each of these roles and don’t encourage too much overlap. If Steve doesn’t know anything about coding, he should not feel required to weigh in on this issue. Have him focus his energy on his own part of the process.
Establish a timeline and stick to it.
A sense of steady forward progress can help you land talented and high-value candidates. Even if your process is long, you’ll need to keep things in motion and provide the candidate with an update at each stage. Otherwise, top candidates will disappear along the way — either because they lose patience or because they sign on with other employers. Weaker candidates will stay in line until the end, since they may have few other options. Don’t allow a meandering process to create a form of adverse selection, and don’t allow staffing to become a low priority for the members of your chosen team. Keep everyone on pace, and if they need to shelve the project or go on vacation for a while, make sure someone else can step in and pick up the slack.
Share clear milestones.
Set goals at each stage. For example, establish a May 10 deadline for resume review, and then a May 15 deadline for interview scheduling. Again, teamwork and steady forward motion can keep the process from sprawling.
Work with a top recruiter in Scottsdale
For more on how to streamline your recruiting and hiring procedures, consult with the experts at the ACCENT Hiring Group.