Quantity vs. Quality: The Group and the Panel Interview

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Wed, Jan, 28, 2015 @ 09:01 AM

Looking ahead for what the "Next Big Thing" in hiring will be, we should consider what this year’s recruiters have at their disposal. More specifically, 63% of recruiters will have a higher hiring volume in 2015 (up from 43% in 2013), and 46% of them will have a larger hiring budget. Recruiters will have more people to hire, a higher volume of candidates to hire from, and more resources to work with.


How do you deal with the increase in volume? How do you adapt the growing number of candidates? How do you make the most of your newly-found recruiting funds?

One area for you to improve is the interview. In the last few years, it took employers 71% longer to secure a new hire and to conduct more interviews for each successful hire. Candidates are finding it harder in the process as well, with 52% of them saying the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

Tweet This: 52% of candidates say the job interview process is more difficult now than it was five years ago.

So how should you deal with your hiring difficulties while making the process easier on the candidates? Well, it depends on your situation.

When You’re Overwhelmed: The Group Interview

If you need to fill multiple positions and have too many applicants to fill them, a group interview could be your best bet. Managers, as well as recruiting staff, are more willing to conduct a single one-hour interview than conducting several one-on-ones with candidates that may not even want the job or may not be qualified. If you only need to conduct one (or, depending on the volume of candidates you may have, two or three) interview, chances are you’ll be more focused on the task, asking the right questions, and have the energy to not zone out while a candidate is speaking.

The group interview also has a way of separating the wheat from the chaff. In a group setting, a good candidate stands out by being relatable, being personable and overall being attentive throughout the process. If they’re lively during the interview process, it shows they want the job. Those who don’t exhibit much enthusiasm in this group setting may not be as interested in the job.

Introverts might be wary of this group interview, since louder candidates can dominate the process. But if you’re in a skills-based industry, try adding a training exercise that candidates can complete alone or with a group. This will show you who can work with a team and produce results, and the introverts in the group will feel more confident when presented with the opportunity to prove themselves.

When You Need to Nail It: The Panel Interview

Maybe you don’t have a plethora of new hires, and have the time and resources to dedicate if it meant getting the right hire, such as in a high-level or executive position. In these cases, you’re going to get the best possible interview experience from a panel interview. A white paper from the revenue consulting firm Gendreau Group found panel interview to go far beyond any interview process when it came to nabbing the best hires:

"Based on our 25+ years of hiring, managing, and consulting experience, we have found that organizations that use a team approach to interviewing and candidate selection tend to make much smarter hiring decisions than when decisions are made by individual managers based on one-on-one interviews.”

A panel interview, according to Adler Group CEO Lou Adler, eliminates the biases of the individual interview, since one superficial feature of a candidate that could favorably sway one interviewer could sway another against the candidate. This leads to a larger emphasis on performance, leading to a 20-30% increase in interview accuracy. If you’re looking for the absolutely best person for the job, having a more accurate interview is invaluable.

2015 is already looking like a busy year for recruiters, and with more funds and candidates at their disposal, the tried-and-true group and panel interviews could prove some of the most valuable assets in a recruiter's toolbox.


Tags: candidate experience, applicant management

How to Cast a Vision for Your Company in 2015

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Thu, Jan, 22, 2015 @ 08:01 AM

After a few weeks into the new year, it’s easy to turn your back on your New Year’s resolutions. However, in order for your business to accomplish its goals this year, you must persevere. In order to make a real and lasting change, you have to understand where the weaknesses are in your company so you can actively plan how to change them in the future. 




Recognize Weak Spots

The first step in creating goals for your organization is assessing the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Understanding where frailties are and how they affect productivity in the office. Now, not all organizations have the same strengths, nor do they have the same weaknesses. That’s why it’s important to take time to evaluate your own. Take example from other industry professionals, but any change or analysis has to be adjusted to fit your company ethics and culture.

Anything from optimizing a website, to increasing employee engagement, to leadership interaction among the team - and anything in between - can be areas for improvement. Leadership is a hot topic for development as Millennials are beginning to enter leadership positions. Gwen Morgan (@gwenmorgan), contributor to FastCompany and EntMagazine , said:

“But how does an individual get a glimpse into the areas that need shoring up in order to develop maximum leadership potential? If you don’t have access to sophisticated feedback and mentoring programs at your company, you can do some sleuthing and data-mining on your own to get more insight.”



The ever popular system is popular for a reason. SMART goals are easy ways to set, maintain, and reach goals effectively. Use Specific language to explain how and when you plan to reach the goal. That goal has to be Manageable, however. If the objective isn’t measurable, it’ll be difficult for the team to stay on task and engaged until the deadline. The goals can’t be too big that they are difficult or impossible to achieve, so make them reasonable enough so the team can Attain the objectives. These goals need to be meaningful to all of your employees, so make them Relevant to not only the organization but the team as well. Set a hard deadline so the goals are clearly time-based; however, set that Time frame so it is doable rather than stressful.

According to Leadership IQ, only 15% of employees feel SMART goals are useful. However, it’s probable that the goals set weren’t actually smart. These goals can only effectively be used when the company leadership closely examines what the original issues were and critically think about how to fix them. Quick fixes are not blanket solutions, nor are SMART goals cookie cutter objectives. 


Why the change is necessary

Children function better in an atmosphere that is structured. No, I am not saying that your employees are like your children and they most certainly shouldn't be treated as such. However, growth is best fostered within an environment that has a sense of formal structure. A team that has this type of base is more likely to grow in a unified direction. That's what goals do for your organization. Clear and consistent goals over a given period of time trends towards higher productivity rates within your employees. Take a large, quarter-end project for example. Setting a stream of consistent goals for a larger end goal is more likely to be motivating than one massive and daunting goal at the end of the quarter. Immediate and realistic goals reduce diminishing returns (for each unit invested, less is produced).

SMART goals help to ensure your employees are growing both personally and in line with what your organization needs for healthy development. Without goals in place, fixing problem areas or departments in the organization can become a muddled mess. SMART goals help to keep the entire team aligned to help accomplish the necessary change. 

Your team needs an end goal, but they also need guidance to get there effectively and on time so you can achieve the vision for your company in 2015.



Tags: Sean Pomeroy

Hiring 101: How to Hire Even If You Have No Experience in Hiring

Posted by Sean Pomeroy on Thu, Jan, 15, 2015 @ 07:01 AM

Medium and small businesses don’t always have the dedicated HR staff of large organizations. With that said, recruiting and hiring are often performed by individuals who don’t have the same training and experience as most HR professionals. Even if you’re new to the hiring and recruiting processes, there are tools at your disposal to better your understanding and your practices. 


Turn Employees into Ambassadors

Job boards and social media outlets, while a substantial source for candidates, are not the insider’s only trick for best sourcing. Word of mouth in combination with technology remains more powerful in attracting candidates to a position. Use Employee Referral Programs (ERPs) in addition to the use of job boards to attract potential candidates based on the experience of employees who are employer brand ambassadors.

Don’t Ignore Job Boards

Although ERPs do bring in valuable new hires, that doesn’t mean hiring managers should ignore the job board channel. Make the best of the job boards by researching the sites that fit your needs and target your ideal candidates. Research the audiences so you can gain a better understanding of the niche groups. Sites like Indeed, which gets 30% of all job-search traffic, are good sites for mass employment efforts. However, when you’re hiring for a specific position such as a creative director or programmer, niche job boards provide a narrower search field with more qualified candidates.

Look Internally First

Job boards will lead you to external candidates, but first, have you taken the time to observe internal candidates? During their first two years, external candidates make more money but don’t perform as well as internal candidates. In fact, 60% of external hires are more likely than internal hires to be fired or laid off, and another 20% are more likely to leave a job. It’s not always a possibility to hire internally, however. If you don’t have the internal candidate base, then look to external hiring measures.

Tweet This: 60% of external hires are more likely than internal hires to be fired or laid off.

Is Your Ideal Candidate Ideal?

It’s not enough to examine the quality of a candidate’s work experience. Employers have to understand a candidate’s fit in the company culture. However qualified a candidate might be, the fact is, 89% of all new hire failures happen within the first 18 months because of attitudinal reasons. You have to assess job-specific qualifications and personality matches to the company culture and stresses of the job. Even the best set of technical skills just won’t cut it. 

Tweet This: 89% of all new hire failures happen within the first 18 months because of attitudinal reasons.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Quantity

“Logically, you may assume that the more people you interview, the better your chances of finding that perfect new employee. But when it comes to smart recruiting, it’s candidate quality - not quantity - that really matters.” - Berks & Beyond (@berksandbeyond)

Due to the growth of developing businesses, they have an added pressure to assess candidates quickly. However, don’t hastily sacrifice quality for quantity. Attempting to sift through the pile of resumes at warp speed can leave those in charge of recruitment and hiring vulnerable to mistakes and disorganization, not to mention the potential to miss great candidates. Doing so can damage the employer brand and reflect poorly on the organization.

Look at Work Samples

Want a reliable way to assess candidates? Look at real examples of their work. Those in hiring positions can ask for examples of work as part of an application requirement. For writers, ask them to bring writing examples; for programmers, ask them to bring examples of coding. If the examples of work match your expectations of a new hire’s work, then you can assess for cultural fit.

For those who aren’t HR professionals but still have to recruit candidates to their small business, assessing them can be a daunting task. However, utilizing employer brand ambassadors to spread the word of job openings is a good place to start if you’re unfamiliar with the territory of job boards. Even looking internally before looking for candidates outside the organization can ease some of the pressure. Regardless of where you decide to begin your candidate search, it’s essential that the assessment is a combination of skill and cultural match. Use samples of work to help determine the candidate’s functional fit. Then, the interviews can be saved for assessing a cultural match. Despite the novelty of hiring new employees for the non-HR savvy, you can use these practices to guide you through the process. 



Tags: cyber recruiter, cyber train, Hiring

What Are Good Communication Skills and Why Do We Need Them?

Posted by Mary Sue McClintock on Thu, Jan, 08, 2015 @ 09:01 AM

Recruiters and job seekers alike see the words “Communication skills” plastered on just about every job ad they read or write, and with good reason. It’s cited as the #1 desired soft skill among employers in a recent survey by the NACE. Everyone wants an employee that can communicate well in the workplace. But what does “communicating well” really mean?


Speaking Well

Online course-taking website Udemy’s blog offers a good rundown of what communication skills employers find most valuable.  They include:

  • Listening - using active listening to better understand what someone else is saying
  • Empathy - being aware of the needs of others through what they say to you
  • Patience - not losing your cool the second you send an email and don’t get a reply
  • Clarity - making sure your message gets across the first time
  • Honesty - be honest about your expectations of someone what they should expect from you
  • Self-improvement - being able to properly take criticism
  • Positive attitude - letting other people feed off your positive energy

We need to also consider body language, since it can often dominate a conversation more than our tone or words. Making sincere eye contact, dressing well, and having good posture can make the difference when asking for a raise, making a pitch, or working with a client, and employees aren’t getting a handle on it either.

Employers look for these skills because they can’t be easily taught in the workplace. The qualities that make up communication skills might seem simple to learn, but employers don’t see them in the workforce as much as they’d like to: 60% of employers noted in a recent survey that many applicants lack the communication and interpersonal skills needed to thrive in the workplace, and 44% noted in another survey that those same skills are the biggest skill gap they want to close. 


Tweet This: 60% of employers say many applicants lack the communication skills needed to thrive in the workplace.


Communication skills are valuable, employers know that, and not enough candidates have them. But why are they so important? 

The Importance of Communication 

Communication is vital to getting work done in any field, and employees are recognizing this as well. Of the people who’ve identified their workplace as a bad place for communication, 34% of them have cited communication as a bottleneck for productivity. 30% say that they don’t have the information necessary to perform their job as best as they can. 86% say a lack of communication leads to project failure. If your workplace doesn’t have enough people who recognize the value of communication, chances are they won’t be able to disseminate the right information to the people who need it on time, leading to people waiting on emails and time wasted on employees answering follow-up questions.


Tweet This: 86% of employees say a lack of communication leads to project failure.


It’s a problem that not’s going away, but not many employers are doing much about it besides actively looking for those skills when they hire. Only 27% of employees get communication training once they’re on board, and as few of them are confident about their ability to communicate in the workplace. It gets worse: only 18% of employees get evaluated for their communication skills during performance reviews. Employers clearly think communication skills are important to working in their offices, but they’re not affirming or reversing their first impressions of a candidate as much as they should. 


Tweet This: Only 18% of employees get evaluated for their communication skills during performance reviews.


Implementing communication skills training is more than just a small-scale solution. 60% of employers who train employees in People Management Practices (PMP) see a positive ROI within three years. Even executives looking at landing jobs need to evaluate their communication skills.

Share on LinkedIn: "I like to ask people what they’ve read, what are the last three or four books they’ve read, and what did they enjoy about those. And to really understand them as individuals because, you know . . . you have to probe a little bit deeper into the human intangibles, because we’ve all seen many instances where people had perfect résumés, but weren’t effective in an organization.” — Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines (@Delta)

So we know that communication skills are, why employers value them, why employees need them, and have identified the problems they both have in learning, teaching, and developing them.

What’s the best way to find communicative clients and train the ones you have? 




Tags: Communication Skills

The Skill No One is Talking About… Yet

Posted by Kimber Crumlish on Tue, Dec, 30, 2014 @ 10:12 AM

Tech, interpersonal communication, and teamwork skills are just some of the prerequisites for many jobs. But there are other attributes that should deem a candidate worthy of further consideration. The paramount trait of these unspoken skills is creativity. It’s more than the chair you made… it’s how you made it.

Creativity spawns innovation in the work place. Tech skills and interpersonal communication skills are the current industry buzzwords, but companies like 3M and Hewlett-Packard are one step ahead of the recruiting competition. They allow employees to develop their creative skills in unique ways. Inspiring creative confidence in employees yields products like 3M’s Post-It Notes.


3M Magic

Since 1948, 3M has encouraged their employees to spend 15% of their time at work on their own projects. Not just using work time, but work resources as well, to create teams in “pursuit of problem-solving.”

It took Spencer Silver, chemist for 3M, years to perfect his idea. He was tasked to develop the biggest and best adhesive yet. However, his innovative thought was an idea for a bookmark. The bookmark needed to be able to stick to the page without ripping the paper. “It was part of my job as a researcher to develop new adhesives, and at that time we wanted to develop bigger, stronger, tougher adhesives,” Silver said. “This was none of those.” Silver had created sticky microspheres in the first step towards his non-damaging, sticky bookmark. It wasn’t until a collaborative moment with colleague Art Fry that the microspheres welcomed a practical application. Post-It Notes are found in nearly every office and home office in the United States. They are the brainchild that was the result of time spent dedicated to creativity.

Allowing employees time and resources to work on their own projects not only increases employee engagement, but also company loyalty. Only 18% of employees have the capability to think creatively or strategically at work. Give your employees time to work on their own projects and see what innovation your company can inspire. After all, without that 15% of time dedicated to working on personal projects, we wouldn’t have the Post-It Note.


Tweet This: Only 18% of employees have the capability to think creatively or strategically at work.


Hewlett-Packard Imagination

For the last 45 years, HP has provided labs for their employees to be innovative. These research facilities are “where vision, passion, and ambition become life-changing reality.”

The Machine is HP’s answer to the overwhelming amount of global data. Where did The Machine come from? The HP labs. Computing standards have changed in the last 60 years due to HP lab-founded innovation. It started with a re-imagination of the physical structure of computers. In response to the explosive need for data storage and concern for global protection, HP developed a way to connect data in the cloud and on site. The Machine uses lasers, photons, ions, and electrons instead of copper wires. The first computer took up an entire room; The Machine is merely the next step in saving [virtual] space.

Personal creativity at work leads to corporate innovation with projects like HP’s The Machine. Although Google is touted for dedicating 20% of work hours to professional innovation, they weren’t the first ones. Hewlett-Packard and 3M were the original companies candidates applied to for creative freedom during work hours.

There’s a chance creative employees will leave their organizations if they are not given freedom to explore their creative sides. A surprising 36% of adults leave jobs in pursuit of employment opportunities that give them innovative freedom. 29% of these adults would even take a pay cut in order to have the ability to be creative at work.


Tweet This: 36% of adults leave jobs in pursuit of employment opportunities that give them innovative freedom.


Allowing for creativity in the workplace sets these companies aside from the rest. Economic and recruiting success comes from an amalgamation of creative talent, technological skill, and an organizational acceptance of both during work hours. While soft skills and training are still important to the relevancy of a candidate during the recruitment process, look towards personal hobbies and interests. These candidate attributes can indicate innovative thought processes. Your organization can foster this creativity by allowing work hours and resources for project development. Creativity is the skill up to bat… get ahead of the game and start recruiting for creativity as a soft skill.

Recruit like the elite; target the skills not yet on the radar. We can help you pinpoint these candidate characteristics.

Tags: cyber train, Employee Training, Creativity