Maren Hogan

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The 5 Most Avoidable Hiring Mistakes

Posted by Maren Hogan on Wed, May, 14, 2014 @ 11:05 AM

7636476418 dd47f55e4fYou’ll never hit the mark 100% of the time, but it is important to always look back and reflect on your hiring successes and failures to identify their common traits. We have been in the recruiting and hiring business for a while now and have identified some common hiring mistakes that are totally avoidable.

Stop hiring resumes and start hiring people.

How a person looks on paper is only part of the equation, yet many recruiters rely solely on CVs and resumes to base their hiring decisions off of. For starters, this in no way allows the recruiter or hiring manager to gauge cultural fit. When you consider that 89% of hiring failures are due to problems fitting the company culture, as revealed by, it makes a whole lot of sense to shift the focus from paper, to person.

How’s that wider net working out for you?

Recruiters were hearing it from all angles --in blog posts, articles and conference sessions, “Cast a wider net”. They got darn good at social recruiting, mobile recruiting and all different types of tactics to get the resumes rolling in. Then they started coming in by the dozens and hundreds, and no one knew what to do with them all.

Stop biting off more than you can chew. This isn’t just about finding the right candidate in that huge stack of applications. Each candidate expects to be followed up with and communicated with in a timely manner. You are more likely to be able to offer a great candidate experience and decrease your time-to-fill with fewer applicants.

Don’t ignore your internal talent pool.

It’s so easy for recruiters and hiring managers to forget about the talent pool that they see everyday. Sometimes a company hires for more hands on deck, but sometimes they just need a skill gap bridged. Look internally for those positions. An internal hire has already established their cultural fit, work ethic and ability to learn. It will be more cost effective to move employees internally, than to hire new ones. Dan Schawbel (@DanSchawbel) author and consultant said:

“At companies large and small, the hunt for top talent never ends. Lately, amid efforts to cut costs and increase the odds of employees being successful in their positions, many businesses are finding talent in a place that may have been overlooked in the past — within the company itself.”

Stop going with your gut and start looking at the numbers.

Trust your gut in a dark alley way or on bad date; not in hiring. There are so many tools with built-in analytics and metrics that there is simply no reason not use that information to make more sound hires. Hiring is no longer an intuition game; it’s a science.

Embrace the idea of trial periods or consultant options.

While time-to-fill is an important metric, stop rushing into the solid hire. Instead, offer trial periods for the benefit of the organization as well as the candidate. This sets up a transparent relationship in which both parties can be honest about their satisfaction. Candidates have the opportunity to gauge their own fit and employers aren’t locked into a bad hire. This also gives both sides the opportunity to prove themselves.

Hiring mistakes are so costly, but many of them are totally avoidable with a little reflection on current practices. Identify your bad hires and find out what and whom they had in common. You can find out the weaknesses and strengths in your hiring team and processes. Want more information on making better hires, faster? We want to chat with you about just that!

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Tags: cyber recruiter

Are You Creating The Worst Job Ads?

Posted by Maren Hogan on Thu, Nov, 07, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

small  3426737689From clichés to common sense, so many job ads out there are filled with some pretty stupid stuff. At first glance, some of the requirements listed below seem imperative, but it is often relative to the position. Job ads take time, they cost money and they will ultimately gauge the caliber of talent that you attract. Please beware of these all too common, dumb job ad requirements and descriptors.

“Must work well with others.”

Well duh. Unless the position is for a tollbooth operator, the candidate knows that they are going to be working with human beings. If you mean that they should be ready to work closely with a diverse team on a daily basis, say that. If their projects will be mostly team-based, that’s what you should say. Describe the job; don’t waste room with common sense clichés.

“Minimum two years experience.”

Sometimes a position will genuinely call for experience, but it seems that all too often, entry-level positions are requiring a minimum of two years experience. This will send the message to quality and relevant candidates that will learn little to nothing by joining this organization.

If a company isn’t at all interested in mentoring and training their employees, they will miss out and a lot of great candidates. Entry level specifically is an area in which companies need to concentrate on hiring for cultural fit and training for skill set.

“Need a great communicator.”

Again, duh. No one considers himself or herself a horrible communicator. This does absolutely nothing to describe the job or the person who would be best suited for the job. Descriptors should be used as both an advertiser for the position, as well as a screener for irrelevant candidates. This does neither.

“Bachelor’s Degree required.”

This one is all relevant. It does say a lot about a person when they have spent 4 year of their life completing something, but that should hardly be a determining factor. Turning candidates away that may not have a degree, but have rather spent that 4 years collecting real world, hands on experience, doesn’t really make much sense.

Instead of using this as a giant screen, get more detailed with expectations, skills, and experience. You may just end up with a debt free, totally qualified employee.

The Novel

Putting all of these cliché and common sense terms with descriptors and job duties can ultimately make a scroll of information that will only turn candidates away. First of all, no one is going to read all of that, and secondly, candidates will only find themselves to be under qualified and quickly move on.

Yes, the job ad should be used as a screening tool, but the goal isn’t to eliminate everyone. Keep it simple, informative and realistic.

Job ads are your foot in the door. They are just as much about informing candidates about your company as they are about informing candidates about the position. Formulating job ads that sell the company culture, screen candidates and attract quality talent, means steering clear of these space wasting, generic job descriptors and requirements. 

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You Have an Exit Plan, But What About a Growth Plan?

Posted by Maren Hogan on Tue, Nov, 05, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

small 2450468197There are several metrics that small business owners can use to gauge their success, but growth has always been a strong indicator of how a small business is doing. Hiring has and always will be the strongest indicator of growth, which is in turn an indicator of success.

Regardless of automation and technology taking over roles in business, the addition of employees to a business adds the possibility of expansion and increased productivity. Demand for products and services are the number one factor driving small business owners to hire.

So many businesses have an exit plan. They know exactly what they will do if and when the time comes for their business to downsize or come to a finish. You would be hard pressed to find a business that was or is ready for the success or growth of their organization. A growth plan is something that small businesses overlook far too often. When supply rises, can you actually keep the promises that you’ve made? It isn’t as simple as hiring. You must find the right people at the right time to drive success. This is what makes a growth plan so necessary.

24% of small businesses are hiring full-time workers right now, and that is up 3% from last year. While supply and demand is the leading factor in hiring in small business, there are several reasons to get to hiring.

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved quality of products or services
  • Adding or expanding services
  • Competitive edge
  • Increased efficiency
  • Higher revenues
  • Sharing workload

Success, and transversely growth, can be just as scary as failure. As supply goes up, there is a need to hire more people and spend more money in order to be able to deliver on higher demands. This can mean expanding services, opening new locations or taking on more clients. Whatever growth means in your industry, are you ready for it?

Keep a finger on the pulse of your current workforce and their workload. Experts at Intuit suggest hiring once your company is working at 80% capacity. This is considered the crucial point at which productivity and efficiency can and will start to decline. Intuit supplies us with several helpful indictors that it is time to hire:

  • Employees are vocal about being overworked.
  • Employees claim to have insufficient time to spend on the completion of certain tasks.
  • There is a steady and/or significant increase in the demand for your company’s products or services.
  • There is opportunity for growth in your industry, but you don’t have the support to implement a move.
  • Revenue is consistently meeting and exceeding goals.

If you are a small business leader, please consider that a plan for success is just as important as a plan for failure or even maintenance. If all signs are pointing toward growth, you shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to make those hires. You can always transition employees, it is much harder to earn back a reputation for being able to supply and support in a timely and quality manner.

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Recruiting Software and Email Hell

Posted by Maren Hogan on Fri, Oct, 25, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

bigstock Heaven And Hell 10224365As a recruiter, you probably spend a good deal of your workday, sending, receiving and decoding emails. The more you read, the more that come in. The more you send out, the more that need replies. This is called email hell, and it’s a vicious cycle. We know that we need to have constant communication with our clients and candidates, and this is one area in which many of us waste a whole lot of time.




  • We receive an average of 304 business emails on a weekly basis.
  • We check out inbox dozens of times per hour (literally).
  • A huge chunk of our workday is devoted to refocusing after handling email.

Technology to the rescue!

If for no other reason than to get out of email hell, recruiters need to start automating much of their communications. This is where good recruiting software comes into play. For every step in the recruiting process, there is an email, and it can be murder to keep up with. Let your software keep up with it, and get on with your actual job. The goal of technology is to make our lives easier, by automating routine tasks and organizing data in meaningful, useful ways.

The Lengthy Applicant Routing Email

So you’ve narrowed it down to a select few and these candidates and all their information need to be sent to the hiring manger. The right software will easily grant the hiring manager access to all of that relevant information. Instead of time-consumingly crafting each email, you can share information with the click of a button.

Once the hiring manager receives the information, a volley of emails will ensue. Instead of this back and forth, use a system that will allow managers to easily rate candidates and share those ratings and notes. This will save time and sanity.


Scheduling accounts for many an email, but the right recruiting software can drastically reduce the number of emails and time spent on coordinating calendars, scheduling interviews and soliciting feedback from hiring managers. The interview process can end up being responsible for dozens of emails. All communications exchanged throughout the interview process can be tracked more easily with recruiting software, producing a better candidate experience by ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. From the interview offer, to the follow-up email, automation can greatly help recruiters.

The Offer and Approval

Using software during the offer and approval can really help assist recruiters all of those tiny, but important, details. Hiring managers can make easier and faster approvals when information is shared in an easy to digest format. Once approval is received by the recruiter, this software should alert the recruiter of any necessary new hire documents to complete the process.

The annual productivity cost of unnecessary emails per employee is $1,800. Not every department can be as automated as HR, but that is one less department wasting this time and money. The recruiting function, with its many administrative tasks and large volume of data, can benefit significantly from the application of technology and solutions to help Recruiting Departments reduce workload on staff while ensuring vital details are not overlooked.


Our Favorite Training Moments from the Greats

Posted by Maren Hogan on Tue, Oct, 22, 2013 @ 11:10 AM

small  6216642784Managing the training for your organization can be a tough task, complete with data entry, tracking and griping employees. Although we’re in the business of offering simpler solutions through technology, there are humans behind this software curtain, and we’re interested in the human part of the training equation.

Even the greatest training management software won’t do the inspiring for you; that’s up to management. The following are some quotes we’ve pulled from the far corners of the internet to bring you a little training inspiration from the greats.

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

“Whether you have 30 employees or 300, creating a culture of opportunity at your business will make a huge difference for your staff. Learning won't be restricted to set training periods, but will happen in all areas of your business, all day long.”

Tony Hseih, CEO of Zappos

“Our vision is for almost all of our hires to be entry level, but for the company to provide all the training and mentorship necessary so that any employee has the opportunity to become a senior leader within the company within five to seven years.”

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple

“Watch, listen, and learn. You can't know it all yourself. Anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.”

Marie Artim, Assistant VP of Recruiting at Enterprise

“You need a commitment from the top down to implement such a comprehensive program. Our training program is tied to our resources and mission statement. It really focuses on the company’s long-term success. The level of buy-in from top leadership has made the program what it is today.”

Magda Yrizarry, Chief Talent and Diversity Officer at Verizon

“Having a highly trained and skilled workforce is good for our employees, customers and shareholders, and helps build strong leaders for the future across all of Verizon’s business units.”

Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote

“We implemented officer training at Evernote. The program is voluntary. If you sign up, we will randomly assign you to any other meeting. So pretty much anytime I have a meeting with anyone, or anyone else has a meeting with anyone, very often there is somebody else in there from a totally different department who’s in officer training. They’re there to absorb what we’re talking about. They’re not just spectators. They ask questions; they talk.”

A Navy Seal Member

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” 
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