Hiring Advice

Employment Industry News
Mar 23, 2012

Enhance the Appeal of Your Listings with These Five Inexpensive Job Perks

People like perks. It’s a proven fact. They’ll spend countless thousands of dollars in interest on a credit card to get a $200 perk or reward. With the same line of thought in mind, employees will take jobs that offer less money up front if the right perks are dangled in front of them as an incentive. The really great news for employers is that these perks do not necessarily need to be expensive perks for you to offer.

Here are five inexpensive job perks your employees are sure to love.

  1. Flexible work hours. Believe it or not, everyone isn’t at his or her best at 8:00 am every day. Some people would love the opportunity to begin their work days at 10:00 in the morning and leave two hours later in the evening instead. Others might like the ability to go in an hour or two early in exchange for leaving an hour or two earlier in the evening. You’re getting the same number of hours from them but they are much happier because they get to choose the hours that fit their schedules and lifestyles best.
  2. Consider a four-day workweek. This is one perk employees can really sink their teeth into. Most of the time you’ll see that employees are excited about the possibility of working two extra hours four days out of the week in order to get an entire other day off work for the week. You still get 40-hours worth of work from your staff but you benefit from improved morale and it didn’t cost you one extra penny to get it.
  3. Recreation equipment for break rooms. Everyone needs to let off a little steam once in a while. It’s amazing how much a basketball goal in the parking lot or an X-box or pool table in the break room can do to help employees let off steam and get back to work. You don’t have to invest in a lot of expensive equipment in order to enjoy an excellent ROI.
  4. Concierge services. Believe it or not there are some companies that hire out concierge services to employers. It’s a fast growing industry because it has proven to be so popular. It involves having people available to “run errands” for employees so they can focus on work and not on buying birthday or holiday gifts, or countless other odds and ends things they need to do. It can even be for simple tasks like finding a reputable plumber, electrician, or mechanic. There are all kinds of reasons employees can really appreciate services like this.
  5. Casual workdays. While there are some professions where “image” is everything, there are a lot of employers where going to a “casual workplace” could save employees time and money – not to mention make them more comfortable and productive during the workday. While there will always be standards to exactly how casual you’re willing to go, the modern workplace doesn’t have to be buttoned up all the time in order to be productive. This is another perk that employees will appreciate that will cost you little, if anything at all, in order to initiate.

If you want to bring in bigger and better talent without an impressive arrays of money, bells, or whistles; little perks like these can make a huge difference in your “buying” power.

Mar 16, 2012

Why you Shouldn’t Discriminate Against Hiring the Unemployed

It’s a sad truth that there used to be a stigma against hiring the unemployed. It was thought that the unemployed job candidate had more weaknesses or deficiencies than someone that was gainfully employed. In other words, somehow being unemployed equated to being less valued in the eyes of recruiters.

But in today’s economy, that argument simply doesn’t hold water. With the recession, massive company layoffs, and the highest unemployment rate seen in recent years, unemployment — and quite often lengthy unemployment — is common in the current society.

Unfortunately, some companies are still holding this black mark against the unemployed. The Chicago Tribune[1]  published a story recently where companies are placing qualifiers in their job opening advertisements requiring job applicants to be currently employed. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received similar reports of said unemployment discriminatory job ads.

While the ethics of this practice may be questioned, technically it’s not currently against employment discrimination laws, since the unemployed aren’t listed as one of the protected class of people. But this could change very soon.

Several proposed legislative measures are looking to do something about this discriminatory practice. Adding barriers to getting the unemployed back to work isn’t going to help the economy. In fact, it’s a hindrance. Government officials see employment discrimination against the unemployed a particularly thorny problem. In most cases, it’s the state of the economy that result in an applicant’s unemployment — not his or her skills or performance on the job.

Why Discrimination Against Unemployed Candidates Hurts Business

Currently, there are an influx of candidates who are unemployed. That’s hard to avoid with some 9 percent of the workforce still without gainful employment in Arizona. These candidates are just as valuable as their employed counterparts, and there are several advantages to consider with unemployed candidates:

  • Unemployed candidates are ready, willing and able to go to work immediately.
  • Many unemployed workers have gone back to school so they have up-to-date skills.
  • There is less risk of employee turnover with unemployed candidates looking for stable work.
  • Those without work are primed to learn new tasks and take on more challenges.

Not choosing to consider unemployed candidates can hurt your business. First of all, you’re missing out on a demographic of highly skilled individuals who are ready to accept new assignments right away. This can save you significantly in time and money to search for specialists in some industries where there are shortages. Additionally, you could be violating EEOC guidelines if your hiring practices do not consider all candidates equally.


In Conclusion

If stricter legislation is passed in the future, to protect unemployed individuals from discrimination,  it would be a welcome sigh of relief for job seekers, particularly ones who have suffered from long-term unemployment. Any steps that can be taken to help get the nearly 10 percent of the American workforce back to work, will only strengthen our economy. As part of your hiring strategy, consider how including unemployed candidates in your pool may help your business to become part of the revived nation.


 [1]The Chicago Tribune

Mar 7, 2012

Red Flags to Watch out for During an Interview

The job market today, in many ways, is a buyer’s market. It’s one of those rare times when there are far more qualified candidates for every available position than there is demand for these quality candidates. Still there are also many people out there who might not be the best choice to make when it comes time to consider people for employment. Here are a few “red flags” you’ll want to be on the lookout for during your hiring process.

Confidence Outstrips Experience

There are rare occasions when this warranted but for the most part over-confidence can translate into real-world problems when it comes to listening and learning. You want the people who work for you to be willing to listen, ask questions, and learn the way things are done in your company. You don’t want them to walk through the door believing they have nothing left to learn.

The Candidate Hasn’t Researched Your Company

In this job market you should expect a candidate that makes it to the interview process to do a little homework and learn a little about your company ahead of time. If he or she doesn’t know anything beyond what the website says then it’s a good idea to take a pass or wait for a candidate that has gone the extra mile to learn a little more.

Lack of Humor

While it’s normal for candidates to be nervous during the interview process you should make a point of finding out what kind of sense of humor the candidate has and if you believe it’s a good match for your company. You don’t have to go for “comedy central” material but some sense of humor is often required just to get along and converse with coworkers.

Excess Negativity about Previous Employer

It says much more about the candidate than the previous employer when a candidate has nothing at all positive to say about his or her last place of employment. Take this to heart because you could be picking up another company’s former headache if you aren’t careful. While there are some companies that mistreat employees, it’s better for them to leave without airing the dirty laundry.

The Interview Process is like Pulling Teeth

Everyone has had one of those conversations in life. You know, the conversations where trying to get feedback from the other party was about as painful as pulling teeth – one by one. One critical role of the interview is to determine the communication skills of the potential employee. That can’t be accomplished if you can’t get the candidate to contribute to the questions being asked.

There are other signs and red flags you will want to be on the lookout for as they pertain to the specific corporate culture you’re trying to generate in your business. These “red flags” are wise to consider before hiring employees that might not be a good fit for your company.

Feb 29, 2012

5 Things to do When an Employee Resigns

Whatever the reason for an employee’s resignation may be, taking the proper actions after the resignation has been received is vitally important. Not only can taking the proper actions help protect your company from future potential legal action but also can make the separation process much less painful for the company and the leaving employee. Here are five important tasks that should be at the top of your list.

1)   Get it in writing. It’s really important that you have a verifiable reference that includes the date notice is given and how far in advance the notice is delivered. This can help avoid any disputes over contractual issues regarding notice and length of contract or terms of resignation.

2)   Grab a copy of their original contract. You particularly want to look up information regarding notice, severance pay packages, and any other information that can help your company make sure the right moves are made at this critical time. You should also check to see if there is a non-compete agreement or clause in the contract that would prevent the employee from working for a competing firm or company. Remind the employee if that is the case and thoroughly explain the provisions of this agreement.

3)   Plan an exit interview. This is an important part of the process and it needs to be done as quickly as possible. This isn’t about gathering all company property. This is about finding out where the employee stands on any projects that he or she is working on. It’s about sharing knowledge on cases or projects that are unique to this employee with other company employees so that knowledge isn’t lost once the employee leaves. Get a written update on the status of all projects the employee is involved in and his or her role in these projects as well. This will make it easier for the next person to step in and get things rolling again.

4)   Decide how the news will be delivered. It’s often best to make a company-wide announcement rather than allowing rumors to fly. Rumors can become fast problems for the company if there is discontentment at worst and many distracted employees for a few days while the news spreads at best. Either way, it’s often to tackle the issue head on. Also, be cordial when saying your own goodbyes. It’s much better for everyone involved if leaving can be seen as a positive experience.

5)   Calculate what the final payment should be. This is one instance where you must be accurate in your calculations. Check the numbers and then double check them. Make sure you take into account any and all outstanding overtime, vacation pay, severance packages, etc.

It’s never easy losing employees but if you handle the situation properly you can avoid turning a difficult time into something that will leave everyone involved with a sour taste in their mouths. Get support for your replacement personnel needs when someone resigns from Accent Hiring Group.

Feb 23, 2012

Are Phone Interviews the Best Option for Narrowing Down Candidates?

Job openings today are few and far between. In a market where there is considerably greater supply than demand, employers are willing to consider new and creative means to narrow down the field of candidates to find people who are best suited for the job at hand. When you’re dealing with a wide range of candidates from across the country, phone interviews may seem like the most expedient choice. But, are they the best choice to help you narrow down your long list of candidates?

Here are a few of the pros and cons you’ll want to keep in mind as you explore whether or not phone interviews are a valid method for you to use to narrow down your field of candidates.

Pros of Phone Interviews

Saves time. This can be a huge benefit for employers who are strapped for time and attention because they need new workers to come in and take up the slack. Of course this is almost every employer operating at the moment.

It provides a quick rundown of skills. There are some things that simply do not always come across on a resume or cover letter. A brief interview over the phone can help you determine whether or not a specific candidate is worth further review due to a specialized set of skills or if you should pass because he or she lacks the skills needed to perform the job.

Cons of Phone Interviews

They can be cumbersome. Depending on the number of people you’re interested in talking to, it can become a time consuming process. The odds are that you’re trying to whittle down a fairly large field of seemingly qualified candidates. You know you can’t hire them all and you don’t necessarily have time for a face to face interview with each and every one either. But it can still be difficult to find the time to make all the calls and ask all the necessary questions for a larger group.

It’s difficult for anyone to really stand out. The other problem with conducting large-scale interviews is finding one or more candidates to really make an impression and stand out from the crowd over the phone. There are certain qualities that just do not come across over the phone lines that can make a person an ideal employee, team member, innovator, and/or motivator. There are some things you still need to see to believe or understand.

Phone interviews are not for everyone or even every hiring need. That doesn’t mean they do not serve as a valuable tool in today’s hiring process when used properly. If you’re struggling with a long list of qualified candidates that are scattered across the country there’s no reason not to consider using this valuable tool to help you find the few candidates worth further consideration.

Feb 14, 2012

Seven Hiring Trends We Expect to See in 2012

2012 is shaping up to be the real start of the economic recovery – at least as far as the job market seams to be concerned. For the first time in a long time we’re beginning to see a little bit of silver lining the economic storm clouds that have been hanging overhead since 2009. Those who have been out of work for a long time are really feeling the pinch and good news about the economy can’t come a moment too soon at this point.

Here are seven hiring trends you’re going to want to know about in 2012.

1)   Starting salaries for college grads have remained consistent since 2008 and ¾ of employers surveyed have no intentions of raising them in 2012. This isn’t a slight against new grads however. Salaries across the board have remained fairly consistent since 2008 and companies are reluctant to increase them until they are more confident that the recession is officially over.

2)   Companies are looking for more flexible options and reluctant to take on full-time employees who will expect benefits packages and increase operating expenses for the company. This means that there is likely to be an increase in the hiring of consultants, contractors, and other temporary or freelance staff.

3)   Companies that do hire will do so with great reluctance. They are still going to try to get more production from fewer employees whenever possible and resort to hiring new staff as a final option. They are also going to seek new employees who have flexible attitudes about what their roles in the business are going to be.

4)   Wages that do increase are likely to do so over the course of the next six to nine months and not immediately. Companies want to believe things are getting better but they are reluctant to commit to hiring new employees or offering increased hours or wages until they have greater confidence that this isn’t a temporary upswing that’s going to quickly slide downhill again.

5)   Job seekers need to be aware that automation is quickly replacing many of the jobs they were once hired to do. They need to adapt, evolve, and overcome the challenges this presents by learning new skills employers are likely to find. They also need to look for ways to be flexible in a manner that will attract those same employers by developing cross-over skills or willing to roll two job functions into one “umbrella” position.

6)   The biggest growth fields for 2012 are expected to be: health care, retail, transportation, insurance, finance, energy exploration, and scientific research. College grads and people with experience in these fields are poised to experience the greatest degree of career potential in the coming year.

7)   Many employers, a full nine percent as a matter of fact, are switching over to wages that are either solely or partially based on commission. This will be difficult for many new grads as well as those who have been out of work for a long time but it makes sense from a business perspective. We may see more of this throughout 2012 and beyond.

2012 is a year full of promise and hope. If these trends are an indication it may be the start of a long journey back to the way things were done before the “Great Recession”. Find out how Accent Hiring Group can help you manage your recruiting and staffing needs in 2012 and beyond.

Feb 7, 2012

Treat Your Candidates Right: Build Good Will with Rejection Letters

As a hiring manager, you understand, all too well, that no one enjoys being rejected for a job. That’s part of the reason it’s so difficult to write a rejection letter to candidates that simply aren’t a good fit for the position you have available. It’s not fun being the bearer of bad news, after all. This leaves many businesses skipping the important step of touching base with job candidates who do not “fit the bill” for whatever reason to let them know they did not receive the job. That practice, or lack thereof, has led to a growing amount of dissatisfaction among job applicants.

Some employers believe that time is a valuable resource and that something as simple as sending out letters letting job candidates know they did not get the job is a waste of that precious resource. However, it doesn’t take that long to write a letter and place it in the outgoing mail pile. The good will and respect this action generates is well worth the investment of time and resources that are spent in the process.

Why is sending rejection letters so important?

It lets the candidates who didn’t get the job know that you respect the time and effort they invested in applying for the job first of all. But, it does more than that. It also boosts the reputation of your business and corporate image.

However, there is an unintended benefit of investing in this practice for your business. While you may view it as a time consuming process on the front end, so is fielding countless calls from candidates who didn’t get the position and are checking on the status of their applications. Sending out one simple email can save their time and yours allowing you both to move on to positions and/or candidates that are better suited for the positions at hand.

What should you say in your rejection letters?

Rejection is something people don’t like receiving. They don’t like being the one delivering it either. There are very few people who sit around practicing kinder gentler ways to deliver the rejecting “blow”. Here are a few points you should keep in mind in order to soften the blow while building good will.

  • Break the news gently– Rejection is hard enough to deal with. There’s no reason to be abrupt or overly harsh.
  • Tell the truth – Don’t offer to keep them in mind for other positions if you have no intention of doing so.
  • Be timely – There’s no need to send one after a certain amount of time has passed. Try to send these letters out in a reasonable amount of time in relation to your decision not to hire the candidate.

While the initial rejection may sting initially, job candidates who didn’t get the position will respect and appreciate the fact that you took the time to send a letter letting them know the position has been filled. This allows them to refocus their attention on other areas of the job search, and find an opportunity with another company they are more suited for.

For more HR and career advice, please come back often to the Accent Hiring Group blog. We welcome your comments and suggestions below!

Jan 29, 2012

Top Employers of 2011 – How Can You Be the Best in 2012?

CNN Money recently released a list of the top employers of 2011. If your company did not make the list, it is time to find out why. The winners were those companies that offered great benefits, big paychecks and created an environment people wanted to be a part of each day. Many of these companies are hiring. For those who are their competition for talent, it pays to find out what they are doing and what you should be doing to lure in the most talented professionals.

SAS

Still at the top from last year is SAS in Cary, North Carolina. The company has been on the list for the last 14 years. Their benefits include: an onsite healthcare and a high quality childcare that costs only $410 a month. Car cleaning services, beauty salons and even camp for the kids in the summer. The company offers a big employee gym, too. As a business, it may pay to offer services like this. Instead of spending more on hiring and training employees, SAS put the money into developing a company people wanted to build their career at for the long term.

Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group moved up from a rank of 8 last year for the number two slot. The company’s biggest draws are its higher pay than the competition and its passion for helping others. The company features a Social Impact Practice Network which allows employees the opportunity to with the UN World Food Program or Save the Children. The company has a heart – when Haiti’s earthquake hit, the company pulled off its consultants to help on the ground.

Wegmans Food Markets

Third on the list remains the same as the previous year. Wegmans Food Markets in Rochester, New York proved to be a high-ranking company on the list for several reasons. The business is very customer oriented, which helps to create a work place people like to be a part of each day. More so, the company offers challenges and campaigns for employees. For example, it promoted its health screenings, flu shots and HINI vaccines to 8000 employees last year. Add to this campaigns that push employees to walk 10,000 steps a day and eat five cups of fruits and vegetables helps the company show it cares.

Making Your Move

As a business or hiring manager, creating an atmosphere like any of these companies’  can help to change the way people see your business from an employee point of view. By showing that you care, by offering great perks and paying well, helps to encourage people to want to work for you. Even more so, these companies have very low turn around rates and many did not struggle through the recession. Those facts really make an impact when you consider the bottom line of any business.

Jan 23, 2012

The Current State of the Employment and Economy in Arizona

The recent economic downturn initially hit Arizona hard. In fact, areas like Phoenix were hit with a nine percent loss of area jobs. Phoenix was among the hardest hit cities in the US. Phoenix certainly wasn’t alone in taking on huge losses of private sector jobs. Among the nations 938 metropolitan and micropolitan areas, 91 percent of them experienced job losses during the heart of the crisis in 2008 and 2009.

Fourth Quarter 2011 Job Growth

But things are beginning to turn around for the great state of Arizona and the city of Phoenix. Things are beginning to look up and some businesses are taking deep sighs of relief while turning thoughts towards hiring new employees. In October of 2011 we began seeing real signs of improvement with unemployment dropping down to nine percent. That may not sound like much but it was one full tenth of a percent down. It’s a definite sign that things are improving for the Arizona private sector job market. In fact, private sector jobs have 91 percent of the 44,700 non-farm job gains this year in Arizona. 12,700 of these jobs were added in the month of October to account for the drop in unemployment.

Small Business Gains in Arizona During End of 2011

Further signs of life came when the November numbers arrived. Arizona saw an increase of 0.3 percent growth in small business jobs – at least according to Intuit. What this proves is that October’s growth is not a one-shot deal. There are significant signs of improvement for Arizona’s economy ahead.

The really good news is that the Arizona job market has shown quarterly gains for four straight quarters. This means that people are hiring. However, payrolls have been cut drastically throughout the recession and they remain 10 percent below their levels prior to the recession.

While there are signs of life and this is welcome news it by no means indicates that good times are here again. In fact, there are still some segments where things are showing little, if any signs of improvement. The housing marketing is chief among them. There were only 13,000 new homes started in the month of August in comparison to more than 85,000 beginning construction in 2006.

What does all of this say about the state of employment and the economy in Arizona? It actually says plenty. Jobs are up. That’s great. Small businesses are finally beginning to hire again. The fact that more people are working is a good sign for progress. But the state was hit hard by the recession and recovery is going to take time.

Four straight quarters of gains in the job market is cause for optimism and even celebration but it isn’t a sign that it’s time to go back to the way things were before. Salaries are still down across the board. Real estate and new home construction industries are still fairly flat-lining. We have come far but there is still a long, long way to go.

Jan 13, 2012

10 Incentive Ideas for Short-term Employees

What do you do to encourage your short-term employees to perform their best on the job? While many companies have long-term employee bonus programs or incentive offers, many do not implement short-term employee opportunities fearing these are too expensive or limiting. However, doing so could boost productivity and enable you to choose the right employees to hang on to long term.

Top Incentives for Short Term Employees

Short-term employees deserve a pat on the back for a job well done. The following are some of the best ways you can reward these employees for the job they do for you.

1.    Gift incentives work well for these employees. Purchase gift cards or even small tokens of thanks. You can use them as incentives for meeting goals or for fun contests. Those who reach a set objective, earn a gift.

2.    A simple, straightforward bonus can work, too. A percentage of earned sales commission or another bonus structure provides a benefit to the employee. Most people respond well to this type of financial gain structure.

3.    Time off incentives can work as well, if they fit your business model. Having just a few hours off with pay (rather than days or weeks) can show your appreciation for the employee that achieves goals.

4.    Team-oriented programs can also help. The key here is to ensure that the group is working as a team and, if so, the group earns recognition of some type for doing so. This encourages teamwork.

5.    Non-monetary incentives can be highly effective. Sometimes, just putting out a suggestion box and allowing employees to vote on an incentive can help motivate your team.

6.    Simple things, such as having pizza for lunch or getting a birthday cake for the employee working on his or her birthday, go a long way for many employees. They should that the company does care about them, even if they are just short-term employees.

7.    Flexible schedules can be a big plus. For example, if your employees need a day off due to a family event or perhaps a child’s school function, giving it to them will allow the employee to feel appreciated. They may not be paid for this time off, but it still offers them the flexibility to choose what is right for their needs.

8.    Provide learning experiences. This costs your business nothing but allows an employee to learn something new that could help them in the future with your company or another company. For example, you may allow them to work with another team to learn a new skill if they complete the assigned skills first.

9.    Allow the employee to use creativity and skills to do the job the way they want to after they have mastered it your way. As long as it is within the guidelines you set forth, giving them this incentive will help encourage the employee.

10.    Show appreciation. A simple “thank you” can be the most valued form of incentive. By showing that you appreciate the work they do with a handshake and a sincere smile, you will be giving the employee everything he or she needs to succeed.

Short-term employee incentives are incredibly helpful in improving productivity and giving people what they long for the most – appreciation. Invest time in these programs to make your work atmosphere more enjoyable.

For additional ideas to make your workplace happier and more productive, please contact the career experts at Accent Hiring Group today!