Insightful Hiring: Looking Beyond the Obvious to Uncover Right-Fit Candidates

Wednesday, March 02, 2016 General Employment News

A hiring manager posts an opening, describes the ideal candidate, and resumes come flooding in. After doing some interviews, the manager has to decide who the best person is for the job. Research shows that more often than not, managers pick someone whose qualifications most closely match the exact criteria for the job or whose background is similar to theirs. Using this process, frequently poor hires are made, and competent and qualified people don’t get the job – or sometimes even an interview – because they do not fit the preconceived notion of the right fit. This reality presents a great opportunity for companies to reconsider and potentially improve how they view, screen, interview and engage with talent.

“People with responsibility for hiring have a tendency to see what they’re looking for, especially when they are primed and ready to look for specific things,” says Nancy Halverson, vice president of global operations for MRINetwork. “Focusing too much on set criteria for the ideal candidate or being blind to red flags can lead to serious hiring mistakes, especially when everybody on the hiring team is looking at applicants through the same lens.”

Cultivating the ability to identify and recognize the right people for the job, even individuals with non-traditional backgrounds or with skills outside the exact criteria, can be a tremendous advantage for a business. “You get multiple perspectives for problems or challenges, and fresh perspectives in your day-to-day operations,” Halverson observes. “Although there are instances when hiring candidates who don’t fit the exact profile isn’t feasible, that is less of an issue than many hiring managers may think.”

However, there’s a reason many companies don’t take risks when hiring new talent. Employees with traditional backgrounds and similar skill sets yield predictable results. The tricky part about expanding the hiring horizon is finding the right fit even if the candidate’s background falls outside the range of the safe, defined criteria.

Halverson suggests several ways to avoid mistakes while widening the candidate pool:

Focus on the candidate’s potential. Pay close attention to the personality of the prospective new hire. While having the right skill set may seem essential, skills can be acquired, but personalities cannot. Social intelligence – being able to navigate social situations and work well with others – should be under scrutiny during the interview. Don’t become pigeonholed into thinking the person with the exact necessary experience is the right person for the role. Give equal consideration to communication skills, thought processes and emotional intelligence.

Ask the right kinds of questions. While your interview format should retain some standard questions, you can uncover good candidates by adding non-traditional questions into the mix. Asking candidates what they see as the most effective approaches for managing them, for example, can provide insight on both cultural fit and working style – whether they’re low-maintenance and function best with minimal guidance, or perform well under detailed direction and support. Depending on the existing managerial style at your organization, the response may signal an ideal fit or a potential problem aligning with your leadership.

Provide personal insight about the company culture. To help both the organization and prospective candidates determine if they are right for your company and the particular position, it’s important to discuss the company’s work environment. Be open and honest about what it’s like to work at the organization, and talk about the positive aspects or even perks that have personally made your job more enjoyable. Replacing canned corporate responses with insight about your individual experience allows you to connect better with candidates, and both parties can more clearly ascertain if the applicant will thrive in the company culture.

Cover all the bases. Probably the most important step in deciding to extend an offer to a candidate who has a different type of experience or education from the set criteria, is making sure the company has covered all its bases. This includes determining the business rationale behind the hire, what skills and qualifications the candidate has to offer the company, and if the decision will ultimately produce the desired result.

“In today’s competitive world of business, no organization can risk the expense and productivity drain that a bad hire brings, and yet bad hires are surprisingly common,” adds Halverson. “Being open-minded to looking outside of your defined criteria or even your industry can yield a more diverse but equally qualified short list, and may result in a better fit between the successful candidate and your organization.”

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Executives’ main staffing concern revealed to be retention

 Friday,  April 12, 2013 Regions

Almost 40 percent of Chief Financial Officers (CFO) say that employee retention is their number one staffing concern for the next 12 months, according to an April 2013 survey developed by executive staffing firm Robert Half.

“Professionals with specialized skills have more opportunities available to them, which has led to talent shortages in some areas and made replacing valuable employees even more difficult,” said Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald. “Employers will need to pull out all the stops to retain their best and brightest.”

The survey showed worker retention was more highly valued than maintaining productivity, which was the top concern of 27 percent of respondents. Recruitment and improving staff morale both represented the top staffing concern for 13 percent of CFOs.

Retaining employees may prove to be a difficult task. A poll by USA television that revealed the vast majority of Americans are unsatisfied with their jobs. Among poll participants, 79 percent said their job does not reflect their career passions, 86 percent said they work solely to pay bills and 63 percent admitted they would seek a different job if money were not a factor.


Monday, April 01, 2013
According to purchasing managers indices (PMI) released by financial data firm Markit and The Institute for Supply Management, employment in the manufacturing sector saw an uptick in March 2013.
Markit’s employment sub-index hit 54.6 in March 2013, compared to 53.5 the prior month. The pace of employment activity in March was also quicker than the average for all of 2012. The ISM employment index showed increases during the same period, growing from 52.6 in February 2013 to 54.2 in March. Any reading over 50 is considered a sign of expansion for on indices.
The two PMI readings diverged, however, in their measure of overall manufacturing sector growth in March 2013.
According to Markit’s figures, PMI slightly increased between February and March 2013, going from 54.3 to 54.6.
The ISM index, on the other hand, showed slowed growth in the sector experiencing a decline of 2.9 points between the February 2013 reading of 54.2 and the March 2013 reading of 51.3. March’s numbers were also below analyst predictions of a smaller 0.2 point decline to 54, reported to LA Times.
According to the Wall Street Journal, since diffusion indices such as ISM and Markit’s ask respondents about whether things are improving, not their absolute level, fluctuations should be viewed in light of consistent readings above 50, as they are indicative of growth.



Wednesday April 10, 2013

The Deepest Source of Motivation

Forget the carrot and stick. Motivation and innovation come from a desire to help.

For decades, bosses have assumed that the best way to motivate workers is by promising financial gain and threatening financial loss. With one hand they dangle a carrot of more pay while brandishing in the other, the stick of “get to work or you’re fired.”

However, according to a recent article in the New York Times, research in organizational psychology strongly suggests that people are more innovative and more successful when motivated by a desire to help other people.

This is a vast departure from the management theories of the past which have assumed that success in business is “the survival of the fittest.” Under this way of thinking, helping others is a waste of time and effort… except insofar as it’s self-serving.

What Do You Like Best About Your Job?

Over the past 20 years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of successful people, mostly top executives and top salespeople. I start nearly every conversation with a simple question: “What do you like best about your job?”

In every case, these highly-successful individuals have responded to that question with some variation of: “I like helping people.” When I probe, I usually discover that they’re not just talking about customers. They want to help coworkers, too.

When I look at the different types of writing I’ve done in my life, there’s no question that I’ve been happier, more productive, and more innovative in exact proportion to the likelihood that what I’m writing will help others be more successful.

I’ll bet if you honestly review the jobs you’ve done in the past, and the job you’re doing right now, you’ve accomplished more when you were certain that you were helping others than when you weren’t quite sure.

The lesson here is simple: when you focus on helping others rather than helping yourself, you draw upon your deepest sources of motivation. It frees your creativity and energy while developing simultaneously developing both empathy and patience.

It’s not a dog-eat-dog world out there. It’s a “let’s make this happen together” world.

Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on, the world’s most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Experts. @Sales_Source


Wednesday April 10, 2013

By Lauren Weber

In a depressed economy, employers play it safe. A new survey shows that nearly 42% of 185,450 open positions at 37 large firms were filled with internal hires last year.

This number “rises during bad times when perhaps firms are more willing to give their own employees a chance to fill an opening (even if not the perfect fit) rather than cutting them and hiring to exact [specifications],” according to the 2013 Source of Hire Survey released today from CareerXroads, a human-resources consulting firm based in Kendall Park, N.J.

One glimmer of hope for outsiders: that figure is down from a peak of 51% in 2009, which suggests that employers are feeling more confident about looking outside for talent, said Gerry Crispin, one of the firm’s founders.

When asked about their hiring plans for the coming year, respondents said they plan to increase hiring in the U.S. by 17.5%, compared with 2012. In 2012, they said, they hired 8.6% fewer employees than in 2011. “This is the biggest upswing I’ve seen in ten years,” Crispin said.

In the age of LinkedIn, it is easier than ever to find connections at companies, and those ties are valuable. Employee referrals were the top source of external hires in 2012. Of the positions the respondents filled with outside candidates, a quarter were attributed to referrals.

The other top sources of external hires were career sites (23.4%) and job boards (18.1%). Only 2.9% of new hires were attributed to social media, touted as increasingly valuable avenue for recruiters and job-seekers alike.

But those statistics don’t tell the whole story, since candidates are making many stops on their way to finding a company. The data is less a definitive statement of how employers find their best candidates, said Crispin, and more of “a guidepost for making decisions within the company as to how candidates interact, to help you invest in the combination of sources that give you your best value,” he said.

For example: An applicant enters Company X’s talent database through its employee referral system. But it’s likely that the employee was not the starting point for the candidate, Crispin said. Instead, that person may have spotted a company’s job listing online, then logged into her LinkedIn account to find connections there, and then asked a connection to submit her resume through the company’s internal referral system.

Similarly, a candidate may apply for a job through Company Y’s career website, but may have initially heard about the opening through a tweet.

Companies’ methods of tracing these paths – usually through an ATS, or Applicant Tracking System – don’t yet register all of the interactions that precede the submission of a resume.

Job seekers should read this data to understand what factors help them get a foot in the door, Crispin said, adding that referrals clearly stand out: “If in fact you have a referral, you’re four to seven times more likely to get the job than if you don’t.”