The Waiting Game May Not Be The Card To Play

As the recession impact is lessened with signs of recovery, firms seem to be competing more and more for qualified individuals and are disappointed when an offer is rejected because of a counteroffer.  If a choice job seeker becomes available you can bet they will be exploring other opportunities at the same time as they are dealing with your organization. Indecision can be costly.  Human resources managers are becoming acutely aware that when taking too long to make offers, often the quicker-moving competitor has already employed their perfect candidate.

The people who have been shortlisted are very likely the best available. Beware of falling into the trap of waiting for a better candidate to appear, when the strongest contender has probably already interviewed with your firm. A quick decision will not only make a candidate feel valued but also reinforce that they are receiving an offer from a business that they want to work for.  Those firms that have managed to streamline their selection process and move it along more quickly have a distinct advantage.  To paraphrase an old proverb “dragging feet won’t get you very far, very fast!”

Making Yourself Indispensably Indispensable

New management can often bring remarkable changes in an organization and within a short time one can look around and wonder where all their cronies have gone.  But, some may say, “better them than me!”  A number of managers hang on to their jobs because they know somebody who knows somebody, and others simply because they are indispensable.

Now, about being indispensable, I have a few suggestions:

The secret of success is sincerity; once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

Let people see clearly that it is in their best interest to promote yours.

If there is a problem with communication don’t discuss it with the staff.

Have meetings, everyday, until you find out why no work is getting done.

Keep asking the same question until you get the answer you want.

Use big words to impress when diminutive ones would suffice.

If everyone agrees with you, then reconsider.

If you must groan, do it to a rhythm your employees can dance to.

Occasionally, share the credit with the person who did all the work.

Resist any mad impulse to do something nice for your staff.

Remember, the person who knows “how” will always have a job. The person who knows “why” will always be the boss!

Effective Recruiting Strategies

Recruiting is one of the most crucial roles of any human resources professional but it can be a game of chance if it isn’t done correctly. An organization’s success can largely depend upon hiring the right individuals. Therefore, the investment in time and effort in creating an effective staffing strategy can prove to be very valuable.

Where to Begin.  The first step is to determine exactly what the requirements are of the position to be filled.  The next stage is to define the best strategy for obtaining candidates. Advertising on  job sites, social networking, referral programs, and job search engines may be used to gather as many candidates as possible. However,  cost effectiveness must be evaluated as HR departments in conjunction with other managers will devote time outside their normal duties reading and screening resumes.

In-House Recruiting.   If done internally, it is important to keep track of several very important parameters like where candidates are coming from, which source provides the best candidates and how many applicant submissions it takes to develop an interview pool. Measuring this will help show the best way to recruit for positions in the future.  Applicant tracking software is a way to stay organized throughout the hiring process.

Using a Recruiter.  Placement services are often able to provide the right employee in the shortest time. A professional recruiter has the ability to search, read and screen resumes, interview potential candidates and deliver a select group for consideration.  It is also cost effective in a way that saves firms from having to maintain large internal recruiting departments.  Moreover, contingency staffing agencies don’t get paid until a candidate is successfully hired, and thus the risk is shifted almost entirely to the placement firms.

Putting it all Together.   Measuring results can quickly ascertain which methods are the most effective.  This will increase the chances of finding better candidates and reduce the time to hire and the costs involved.  In short, developing and following through with an effective recruiting plan should pay off significantly.

Recruiting Trends That Will Impact Hiring in 2012

After a long wait the job market is set to get a boost in the next quarter. The economy appears to be heading in the right direction and the employment outlook is positive according to the media and government reports. Most businesses are optimistic and have hiring plans for both management and support personnel in the New Year.  The following comments may provide insight on a few current trends according to an informal survey we recently conducted.

Flexible hiring will grow.

Employers who are on the fence about hiring are considering alternative solutions, such as temp-to-hire, temporary or part-time workers. With a high unemployment rate, many job seekers are more than willing to consider alternatives to full-time employment.

Diversity hiring will impact business.

In this global economy many organizations will continue to see the need to diversify their workforce. This means bringing in the right talent that can adapt to different cultures, languages and skill sets.

Further retention challenges ahead.

Some people feel trapped in their current jobs and may seek employment elsewhere – and look for a new position in the coming months. Growth strategies will sputter without retaining current talent in addition to adding “fresh eyes” to implement new business plans.

Difficulties in sourcing even with large candidate pools.

The complexity in finding the right people to fill positions is increasing. Organizations are getting more resumes from less experienced applicants than compared to the past.  Even though there are a lot of unemployed individuals, those firms surveyed feel there is a scarcity of truly qualified candidates.

Taking advantage of better benefits.

The survey suggested that firms would not be an employer of choice without providing a good benefits package and this could be the determining factor in the acceptance of an offer.

Ghosts, Ghouls & Goblins

Employer-sponsored Halloween parties are a great way to invite some fun into the workplace and can be good for employee morale. However, as much as we’d like to think employees would use good judgment, often they don’t, and show up in costumes that seem clever but are inappropriate.

Figuring out what’s suitable or not is a challenge.  We asked some of my clients and they provided me with a list of what they deemed to be major masquerade faux pas that could cause recurring nightmares.  Of course I embellished them just a bit.

  • Flashers are scary on the street but even scarier at a Halloween party, too much danger of being over-exposed.
  • If one’s idol is Lady Gaga give it a try, but under no circumstances is the meat dress a good idea.
  • Okay, so you’ve been working out and are completely “Nutrisystemized,” you probably still can’t pull off that full body spandex outfit. If you think so, you are wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • Don’t dress up to make fun of the boss if you like your job.  If you are planning to quit anyway then go all out!
  • Very few people have a flat enough head to look like Herman Munster and the Burger King mask is just too creepy.
  • There is no excuse for wearing only a pink slip…as you might wind up with one the next day.
  • Diapers don’t look good on anyone over two feet tall.  Get away from me weirdo.
  • Dressing up as a bottle of bootleg Valium implies that you use them. Expect a “random” drug test tomorrow.
  • You might end up going to mandatory psych evaluations if the Bernie Madoff costume doesn’t get you fired.
  • Going as oneself could be considered by some as scary enough!

Performance Evaluations

Performance evaluations are a very important means of communicating to employees what the future may hold, not only for them as individuals, but where the organization is headed.

Too often, staff members who are in lesser support roles, particularly in larger firms, are not made to feel that their contribution is significant to the success of the organization. Management will benefit greatly from using evaluations to bring each employee closer to the core… and make each person feel that they are important to the long-range goals of the group as a whole.

Performance evaluations are often eagerly awaited by employees, as many, who are dedicated and loyal, feel comfortable in using that period of time to express themselves without the risk of their frustrations being misunderstood.

We should periodically have a time (preferably when there is no crisis) to discuss our goals, aspirations and concerns with our bosses. Management has an obligation to encourage conversation, which is mutually beneficial.

Subordinates are encouraged to improve their listening skills; but, as we advance in management roles, some of seem to become increasingly hard of hearing.

Social Recruiting

Given all of the media hype about social networking lately, it would be easy to feel out of step if you weren’t actively trolling the profiles of candidates on social media outlets for your next staffing need.  However, recruiting exclusivley on these sites may not necessarily be the best strategy for every organization. The Internet isn’t connecting us as closely as we think it is.

The reality is that not all social networks make it easy to build relationships with people.  A person can appear to be a rock-star on-line, but that doesn’t tell  you if they are capable of engaging in a one-on-one conversation, making eye contact, having a good handshake or if they would be the right fit for a firm’s culture.

Social media, in all of its glory, is still in its early stages. The general candidate population simply doesn’t equate LinkedIn, for example, with “job search”, at least not yet.  Social networking is important, but it’s not always the most successful method for recruiting.

The best talent is often difficult to identify and not everyone is on a social network; there are still great people that cannot be found online.  Our teams do use Twitter, Facebook, Spoke, Jigsaw and other popular sites, but we also attend truly ‘social’ events.  This means we go to outings such as job fairs, conferences and community gatherings of networking gurus.  We meet people who refer people to us who would never go public with their job search.

So,  yes…we may tweet, update, link, connect, follow, blog, fan or whatever else can be done on these sites but that’s not how we spend most of our day.  Our talent lies in furnishing our clients with first-hand knowledge about candidates that help them make successful hires.  We do all of this so you don’t have to.

Simple Solutions For Careers That May Be Bogged Down

We can all get trapped into career complacency if we are not careful.  Instead, it may be a good idea to put into place our own personal goals and evaluate, from time to time, the things we could do better – or for that matter – the things we shouldn’t do at all that might give our careers a more positive trajectory.


  • Being well informed
  • Balanced career and personal life
  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Generosity
  • Encouraging others
  • Volunteering for civic activities
  • Doing more than called for in a job description
  • Having realistic expectations
  • Always prompt
  • Acknowledge mistakes


  • Shallow thinking
  • Being one-dimensional
  • Never acknowledging another person’s accomplishments
  • Disorganized – never planning ahead
  • Acting as a loner
  • Criticizing others
  • Lack of appreciation of peers
  • Self-righteous attitude
  • Belaboring a dissatisfaction over and over
  • Giving too little and expecting too much

You Are Not Alone

As a matter of fact, you may be interested in knowing that even though you may screen more carefully than any other HR manager, many other organizations are just as baffled when new-hires sometimes work a week, or even just a day, and simply decide to walk out.  No good-byes, no tears, no regrets, and certainly – no explanations!

Sometimes they leave for a better offer, but most often, with no other job in sight, they just decide to walk.  One can’t help but wonder about this level of mentality.  When clients express their bewilderment, you can’t help but think that common courtesy has become obsolete.  I share this tidbit with you, knowing that it happens to others might help keep us from feeling so isolated.

Staffing In Today’s Economy

The various industries we serve are showing renewed optimism and we have seen a positive increase in hiring in the cities where The Specialists Group has offices.  Professional service sectors are seeing a much higher volume of workflow and in response; employers are stepping up the competition when it comes to attracting the best candidates in the job market.  Salaries have remained flat but are now beginning to edge up stretching already strained budgets.

There is an increasing demand for administrative and other support personnel.  For example, temps with in-demand skill sets are being offered direct-hire positions, sometimes after just a few days on the assignment. With the growing demand for temporary or contract employees, some firms are reluctant to end the assignment of an exceptionally qualified person.  Many of our best applicants for direct-hire positions are now going on two or three interviews in a week.  It is important to point out though that these truly qualified candidates are not plentiful in supply and lengthy hiring processes, when necessary, can mean that employers lose out.

We have also seen an upturn in the need for accountants as well as billing assistants with around two year’s solid experience.  Increasingly, there are more requests for experienced receptionists – a critical role for many organizations as this is the first point of contact for their clients.  Additionally, as marketing and staffing budgets have increased, event planning, graphic design skills and advanced Excel and PowerPoint ability are back at the top of the list of requirements.

While there may be the perception that there are a lot of candidates on the job market, some of their “Qualifications” are often questionable.  A number of firms expect it to be a market with many people looking for jobs however employers are still reporting difficulty in recruiting for the right skills.  There are under-qualified applicants who apply for positions that they are not suited for in an effort to gain just any employment.  The role of a recruiter in sorting the quality from the quantity is therefore likely to continue to be an invaluable resource.