attract-top-talent

Advice for Companies Looking to Attract Top Talent

 

The beginning of a new fiscal year always brings new project budgets, additions to headcount and unexpected turnover — all resulting in the need to identify good full-time and temporary talent. As a 20-year veteran of the staffing industry, I’ve been approached many times by companies to discuss what attracts good candidates. There are many factors that can influence a prospective candidate’s decision, including salary, benefits, location of company/potential commute, off-site work options, and work-life balance. Companies have gone to great lengths to put together great packages and attract good talent, only to lose them due to a very simple reason — the hiring process takes too long.

There’s an old expression in business: “Time kills all deals.” And this holds very true for hiring top candidates. Think about it — top candidates are consistently being recruited (even when they may not be exploring a new job). Often they are juggling opportunities with multiple companies. A lengthy interview process and the inability to make quick hiring decisions can impact the odds of landing a top candidate.

It seems the hiring process has become more drawn out since the Recession of 2008. For several years afterward, companies redefined roles to keep headcount down, and many employees took on additional responsibilities. Employers wanted candidates who fit every criterion of a job description — from industry experience to very specific software skills — and, of course, they also had to be a cultural fit with the organization. This added steps to the interviewing process, from executives scheduling interviews with non-direct reports to panel interviews with various team members. Today it’s not uncommon for the average role to take three or four steps between phone screens, in-person interviews and skill assessments. The average life cycle of an open position is now typically about three months or longer.

And it’s not just full-time roles that have developed a long hiring cycle — it takes much more time to on-board temporary help than it did five years ago. Many assignments of three months or longer in duration require an interview process very similar to that of a direct placement. At the very least, there are two interviews: a phone screen and an in-person. Add on skill assessments, waiting for hiring managers’ feedback and pre-employment screenings, and it can easily take up to four weeks just to start a temporary employee. Working in the creative, interactive and marketing niches, we staff a variety of roles in which talent is in great demand — especially anyone with digital experience. Often these candidates are sought out weeks before finishing a contract and have little or no downtime before starting somewhere new. They won’t be available long enough to endure a month-long interview cycle.

My advice for companies that are looking to obtain top talent more consistently is pretty simple: Go back to the basics and examine your hiring process. How long does it take you to vet resumes? How many people need to be involved in a new hire? How efficient is your company at getting quick feedback after interviews? How quickly can you make a hiring decision?  

While taking time to appropriately vet potential hires is very important, be aware of the parts of the interview process that stall. Try to structure interviews so candidates don’t need to come on-site more than twice during the hiring process. Block interview days and times so multiple candidates can go through the process at the same time and comparisons/feedback can be drawn more quickly.

And if you identify the perfect candidate early in the hiring process, don’t stall things by comparing that person to others who are not as far along in the process. Candidates are very aware of companies that move too slowly. Good talent tends to have strong networks, so word gets around. And good candidates appreciate companies that move the process along quickly and show consistent interest in them. Again, “time kills all deals” — so once you identify a good candidate, don’t let them get away!

From the desk of Matt Crook, smartdept. inc. President

stretch

Interview Don’ts – Stre-e-e-e-tch!

from the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal, Eric Pairitz

3. Stre-e-e-e-tch!

Yup! We’ve all done it. And, most of the time, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. For instance, during a traffic stop, when a police officer asks, “How fast you were going?” Or when the nurse’s assistant at your regularly scheduled check-up asks, “What’s your height and weight?” (I always say 6′ with shoes on.) Oh, and my favorite, “How many baseball cards do you have?” Okay, that one is more specific to me. But you get my point. Every single day, we’re asked a dozen questions that allow us the opportunity to “STRETCH” the truth.

But what about during an interview? Can we “STRETCH” a tiny bit there? You know — make four-and-a-half years of experience into five? Maybe bump that previous salary up a bit? Stre-e-e-e-tch!? Just a little? Well, I’m not your mother, so do what you think? However, creatives, beware! There’s one place for certain that you should never make a “STRETCH.” And that place is during a portfolio review.

That’s right! You should be up front in every case about your level of participation on a particular piece in your portfolio. If your contribution to a piece was more production and less conceptual, let your prospective employer know. Maybe it was a collaborative effort? If so, give credit to your partner (they’d like that). Lastly (and this seems obvious), never represent someone else’s work as your own. If you convey to a prospective employer that you possess a particular skill set, you can expect to be put in a position to use that skill set if you’re hired. Stretching the truth may set you up to fail in your new environment. Worse yet, it could cost your employer time and maybe even money.

So remember, if you’re a creative with an opportunity to show off your work, it’s best not to “STRETCH” the truth. Oh, and how many baseball cards do I have? I’d say, “About a million.”

the-zombie

The Zombie

from the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal, Eric Pairitz

1. The Zombie

Okay, it’s true, zombies are as popular as ever. Movies, shows, conventions about movies and shows — it goes on and on. Hey, for the purpose of entertainment, I love them too. But there’s one place that zombies are not welcome (anyone?). That’s right. In an interview. In this context, a “zombie” refers to a person who continually gives one-word answers and generally refuses to engage in a “conversation” during the interview.

There are many elements involved in successfully navigating the interview process. The most obvious is having the exact skill set the prospective employer is seeking. But perhaps the second most obvious is communication — being able to talk through a solution you’re offering in your portfolio, for example. Or, your approach to a difficult situation you encountered at another job and how you worked through it. Clear, concise communication can leave a prospective employer impressed and can sometimes be a difference maker if other elements of your interview come up short.

Besides, think of all the money you’ll save not having to buy zombie make-up! All by simply being conversational with your approach to an interview.

 

interview-donts_03

Introducing our new blog series – Interview Don’ts

from the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal: Eric Pairitz

I would like to formally (or informally) introduce smartdept’s new blog series — cleverly entitled, Interview Don’ts. This eight-part series was created to help give potential candidates an edge by making light of a few “don’ts” that we occasionally see while interviewing.

Accompanying these short bits of useful knowledge are video performances depicting, in a (not so) real way, how these scenarios might play out.

In addition, I am pleased to introduce, The Not Ready For Bedtime Players, a small, but mighty group of performers who took the stage in these budget-busting depictions.

Stay tuned for the first installment tomorrow, and enjoy!

 

 

 

Holiday Job Hunting

Our very own Senior Creative Consultant Meghann Kern was recently quoted in the Seattle Times! She lent her expertise to a fantastic article about looking for a job during the hectic holiday season.

“Timing is everything,” Kern says. “If you keep at it and are consistent with your search, there’s a good chance you could have your résumé reviewed by a hiring manager who’s sitting at her desk three days before Christmas and just got budget approval for a first-quarter hire.”

Read the full article on jobs.seattletimes.com!

New LinkedIn Job Search App

LinkedIn added another new app to its collection on Thursday.

The professional network unveiled the LinkedIn Job Search app, its sixth standalone app and the fourth unveiled in the last 18 months. The app is intended to do one thing very well: help users find and apply for new jobs.

The app includes job search filters like seniority level, industry and location, and both searches and individual jobs can be saved for a second look down the road. The Job Search app will also recommend positions to you based on openings you’ve viewed and saved job searches.

You can also set up notifications and alerts for jobs you’re keeping tabs on. LinkedIn says that applicants who reply to a posting on the day it goes up are 10% more likely to actually get the job.

Read the full article here | via Mashable

Job Search Traffic Surged in January, Putting Indeed.com on Top

What’s the most trafficked site by Americans searching for a job? Turns out it’s Indeed.

Last month, says comScore, the web traffic measurement company, 17.3 million different visitors from the U.S. clicked into Indeed to look for a job. That translates into a 29% increase over December’s job search count.

Overall, January saw a 24% increase in the job search category, ranking comScore’s broader Career Services category among the fastest growing of all website groupings.

Jeff Hackett, executive vice president of comScore, noted that in addition to big jumps in tax and travel sites, “We also saw a very seasonal spike in the Career Services category, including Job Search, Training and Education, and Career Resource sites, as Americans looked for ways to grow their careers and expand their skill sets in 2013.”

Read the rest here!

Job Tenure: A Millennial’s Perspective

To stay at my current job or not to stay, that is the question. Here are the facts:

-According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2012, today’s average worker stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.6 years, a .2 increase from the median tenure two years earlier.

-According to the Future Workplace Multiple Generations @ Work survey, a whopping 91 percent of Millennials — those born between 1977 and 1997 — anticipate to stay at a job for less than three years. As Future Workplace Partner Jeanne Meister put it, “That means they (Millennials) would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!”

-According to the 2012 Candidate Behavior Study by CareerBuilder and Inavero, 81 percent of Millennials are either actively searching for new jobs or are open to new opportunities, regardless of their current employment status.

So, the notion out there is that Millennials are “job-hoppers.” I’ve heard it all: Millennials lack work ethic, we aren’t ready for “real” jobs, we’re spoiled, we don’t want to pay our dues… the list can go on and on.

Read the rest on recruiter.com!

Top 9 Job Sites to Bookmark for Your Career Search

(mashable.com) – Approximately 84% of employees in North America plan to look for new jobs in 2011, according to a recent survey by global talent management firm Right Management. Put them alongside those who are unemployed, and you have a whole lot of people searching for work.

If you happen to be in either of those positions, it’s essential to get organized about your job search by understanding what information and resources are available to you on the major job sites.

Over the years, job boards have become more than just job search sites — many now offer additional resources and functionalities to job seekers. Here are nine of the top job sites, including a few of the basics, that boast valuable services beyond job postings.

Read the full article here!

LinkedIn Reveals the 10 Most Overused Job-Hunter Buzzwords

(mashable.com) – LinkedIn has just posted the 10 most overused, tired and trite buzzwords that get slapped onto resumes and professional profiles around the U.S. and 11 other countries. According to our LinkedIn profiles, a great many of us tend to describe ourselves as motivated team players with extensive experience. Ironically, “innovative” is the second-most clichéd word found in LinkedIn profiles. You’d think we’d be able to be more innovative with our vocabularies, no?

Read full article here!