Recruitment Software: Why It Doesn’t Pick the Top Candidates


Recruitment software and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are must-haves in today’s recruitment world. We rely on technology to increase efficiency in nearly all other aspects of our lives, so it only makes sense that we now have software to automate recruitment tracking by handling job applications and resumes electronically.

Using an online recruitment system or ATS allows companies to better organize and streamline the hiring process. But while recruitment software is designed to help save time, reduce errors and ensure proper tracking, it is still unable to perform the single most critical part of the hiring process — picking the top candidate. Technology can only take us so far. In the end, the hiring process will always require a human element to pull the most qualified candidate from a stack of applications.

Email applications still carry an advantage over recruitment software and ATS. They require personal interaction from both sides throughout the entire hiring process. While accepting email applications requires additional time and organization from the employer, in the end, it helps you to more easily pick the top candidate for the job. Employers and candidates alike should take note of the following limitations of recruitment software and ATS:

They act as a funnel

Each new job posting will trigger an average of 1,000 resumes submitted. That is a staggering amount of paperwork, especially if you’re hiring for multiple positions at any particular time.

Recruitment software and ATS act like a funnel, taking in a large amount of applications in the beginning, but quickly narrowing them down to a mere few. This may sound great, but the limitation lies in the software’s ability to accurately determine what qualities and soft skills would make a candidate the best suited for the job. As a result, you end up eliminating qualified applicants who may not have used the exact words or descriptions the system was looking for, sending good talent right out the door.

They force candidates into boxes

People aren’t made to fit inside boxes, and their resumes don’t translate well into such rigid form fields, either. An online recruitment system breaks down the information on an application and organizes it into different “buckets.” If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t get recorded, and it is never seen by the employer for consideration.

Sometimes the most unexpected information on a resume is the hidden gem that really makes a candidate stand out. For example, maybe a candidate is a certified yoga instructor or holds a national title in chess, but they’re applying for a marketing job. Holding a title in chess displays critical thinking skills, and being a yoga instructor shows the candidate works well with others. But if ATS don’t know to look for these words and identify them as valuable skill sets, they’re sure to be overlooked. One of the most important components to bring to the hiring process is an open mind. ATS do quite the opposite. They use a set of blinders to only focus on the exact keywords that have been pre-established.

They lack the human element

Many of the limitations of online recruitment system is is lack of human interaction. Nearly three-quarters of resumes will never be seen by human eyes.

In order to choose the best person for the job, candidates need to be evaluated much more personally. This is yet another reason why recruitment technology will never be able to fully replace the human element within the hiring process. A computer will tell you who looks best on paper, but only you can decide who possesses the interpersonal skills and personality that makes them the right fit for your company.

They encourage candidates to play the system

When it comes to applying for a new position, the emphasis has shifted. Candidates now want to know how to carefully craft an application that avoids recruitment software and ATS pitfalls. Learning how to “play the system” has taken precedence over simply submitting the most positive, honest representation of yourself.

Worse yet, ATS reward such tactics by bumping candidates with phony, keyword-laden resumes to the top of the stack, regardless of whether they are truly the most qualified. This is yet one more reason why recruitment software doesn’t pick the top candidate.

They discourage great candidates from applying

We can’t overlook the limitations of recruitment software and ATS that so many companies rely on for their hiring process. Sure, they make accepting and sorting applications a breeze, but
picking the top candidate is a subjective decision that no amount of technology can accurately automate. This will always remain up to the employer. Hopeful applicants should also be concerned with these limitations, as they affect whether their resume ever makes it before human eyes.

In the HR world, the hands-on approach still proves to be the most accurate. Stay involved in the hiring process and don’t rely on recruitment software to make one of the most critical decisions for your company!

What do you think? What limitations have you experienced using an online recruitment system as either an employer or a candidate?

About the Author:
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.


7 Ways to Improve Job Ad Response Rates

7 Ways to Improve Job Ad Response Rates

Your company may be doing amazing things for your industry, but are your job ads reflecting your awesomeness?

Too often, companies hash out quick job ads with little care as to how it translates to the job seeker. Is the ad telling a compelling story? Does it attract the type of worker you want to see apply? Is it visually appealing?

In the Internet age, advertisements are everywhere, leaving plenty of job seekers to be disillusioned with or untrusting of this medium. Companies looking to ramp up their recruitment process need to pay careful attention to the specifics of their paid job ads.

Here are seven ways to improve your ads and attract the best job seekers for your company:

1. Remember AIDA

AIDA is a selling format used by marketers and advertisers to describe what should occur when a person views an ad: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Keep this in mind when writing your job ad. First, get the job seeker’s attention with great branding and compelling copy. Create interest by establishing your company’s relevance, and foster a desire to join the team. Finally, compel the job seeker to take action by applying.

2. Don’t overbrand

Your brand should be present in the job ad, but not overbearing or distracting. This is particularly true if you’re a small or medium-sized company. You want to include your company logo and colors, but keep the focus on the job seeker and the open position.

3. Ensure your ad copy is professional

Avoid too many exclamation points and skip the sensationalism. You want your open position to appear compelling and exciting without being a downright lie. Don’t fool job seekers into thinking your company or open position is something it’s not — you’ll attract the wrong candidates, and your company will suffer as a result.

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4. Think simple

Ensure the text of your online job ad is clear and readable on any browser. Ensure you’re not over-explaining the position — pick out the key points, and keep the description simple. Too many words will bog down the ad and make job seekers lose interest.

5. Avoid over-designing

Your ad should be visually appealing and draw the reader’s eye, but resist the urge to ad fancy fonts, bright colors, or patterned backgrounds. You want to draw the job seeker in and keep their interest, not throw them off with harsh or distracting visuals.

6. Keep the focus on the job seeker

Your ad doesn’t have to include a full list of benefits and job responsibilities — you can link to a more detailed description on your company website. Keep the focus on the person and how they’ll benefit from the position. This shows your company is focused on worker needs first — an attractive element for any job seeker looking for fulfilling work.

7. Include key points

Key information to include in a job ad: a job title, the employer or recruitment agency, location, a concise employer and job role description, and an outline of the ideal candidate. But don’t be afraid to get creative — you can keep your ad even simpler by adding a catchy headline and including a few short sentences to get click-throughs to your company website. Be careful with this strategy, and make sure to run it through a few eyes or a focus group first to gauge what works.

Job ad responses can be tough to gather. Keep your copy concise and your visuals compelling, and you’ll attract the right job seekers in no time.

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Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.



6 Ways to Weed the Best Job Candidates From the Rest



There are more candidates out in the job market than ever before. For every one job opening there are three unemployed people looking for work. So it shouldn’t be surprising that, on average, you’ll receive about 250 resumes for every open corporate job posting.

This is certainly a lot of talent to sort through, and obviously not everyone is going to be right for the job. Weeding the best from the rest can often feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack, except this needle is important for your company’s survival.

Here are a few simple ways to cut down on your candidate pool and separate the job seeking superstars from the office duds:

Include Application Instructions

A great way to do a little preliminary pruning in the early stages of the hiring process is to include application instructions in your job description. This can be as simple as instructing job seekers to include a certain phrase in the subject line of an email or requesting the candidate provide a salary range. What application instructions are really for, however, is to weed out candidates who aren’t detail oriented.

The candidates who ignore your instructions might be the same people applying to dozens of jobs at once. They’re not excited about the position, they’re just looking for any job at all and wallpapering their resume around cyberspace. You’re looking for more than a warm body in your office — you’re looking for your company’s next superstar hire. Someone who can’t even follow your simple application instructions is probably not the right talent for your position.

Ask For A Work Portfolio

Depending on the position and your industry, a work portfolio can give you a great idea of the candidate’s actual skill level. Showing off the goods can be a great way to evaluate everyone from writers to marketers to tech wizards to graphic designers.

The best part of requesting work samples is that it helps you save time in the preliminary steps of the hiring process. If you’re not impressed by the work sent along, most likely you won’t be overly impressed by the work done in the office. Keep in mind candidates sending their work portfolios are passing along their best work. If you’re not blown away, it might be smart to move on to the next talented candidate.

Check Out Social Media

Social channels are a great way to gauge the personality and professionalism of the candidates applying for your open positions. Look at their pubic social media accounts to see how they communicate with others and present themselves. If they’re sharing inappropriate messages and pictures, perhaps the candidate doesn’t have the level of professionalism you need in your organization.

Ask The Right Questions…

If you’re past the preliminary stages and you’ve whittled down your list of candidate to the best and brightest, it’s time to start thinking about the interview. While 92 percent of job seekers are scared about some aspect of the interview process, you know the interview is the best time to connect personally with candidates and see what they’re made of.

You need to think critically about the questions you ask in the interview process. You don’t want to ask too many cookie-cutter questions, or you’ll end up with well-rehearsed answers that ultimately tell you little about the candidate. Instead, ask situational questions about the candidate’s previous employer and working style.

For example, ask about your candidate’s proudest accomplishment, their biggest mistake and how they work in a team environment. The answers to these questions will give you insight into how the applicant works under pressure and solves problems.

…But Don’t Get Too Wacky

Every year a list of the wackiest and most oddball interview questions is compiled, and huge companies from Amazon to Google appear with some truly strange questions. But are these brainteasers actually useful in determining the best candidates? The answer to that question is far from determined.

Google, one of the earliest proponents of the weird brainteaser questions, has actually abandoned the practice. Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, told the New York Times, “On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time.”

You need to know if job applicants can work well in your company culture and do the job at hand, not whether they know how many golf balls would fit into a commercial airplane. While you’re focusing on outside-the-box questions to avoid by-the-book answers, make sure your interview questions still give you insight into how the candidate would fit into your company and how well they could perform job functions.

Look For Passion

Perhaps the most important thing to look for while evaluating job seekers is sincere passion for your industry, company or the position in question. If you find someone with genuine motivation and passion for the job, you’ll be hiring someone willing to work hard and bring real value to your company. You’ll also be hiring an employee likely to stick around for the long haul, reducing costly employee turnover for your organization.

Separating the superstars from your packed stack of resumes is far from easy. If you utilize some of these simple tips, however, you can weed out the very best for your open positions.

What do you think? What are some ways you weed out applicants and find the very best? Share in the comments!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.


How To Make A Job Offer They Can’t Refuse


You might not be The Godfather, but you still need to make your best job candidates an offer they can’t refuse. Still, many companies drop the ball during the job offer stage and lose out on the talent they need.

You can’t afford to lose the war for talent because you couldn’t seal the deal. The best and brightest will have plenty of employment options, so don’t make the mistake of thinking a candidate will accept your offer just because you put it on the table. Instead, you need to dedicate the same time and care in the offer stage as you did when finding and interviewing talent.

Here are six tips on how to turn a job offer to your top candidate into a great new employee for your company:

Don’t Hesitate

The hiring process itself often takes way too long, and deciding to make the job offer is part of this never-ending process. According to the Society of Human Resource Management, hiring someone for a new position can take anywhere from an average of 29 to 43 days. You know what your competitors are doing while you drag your feet for over a month? They’re hiring all the best people out from under your company.

If you’ve found a great candidate, it’s time to streamline your approval process. Get everyone who needs to sign off on the same page and do it as quickly as possible. Making a quick offer to a candidate not only undercuts your competitors, it also shows how excited the company is about the candidate. Everyone wants to be wanted, and making a quick offer is likely to make a big impression on the best and brightest.

Connect Personally…

Before you hit send on your email offering the job, stop and think for a minute. What will leave a bigger impression on a great candidate: an email or a phone call? If you’re offering a job to a top-notch candidate, it’s important to do so in a personal manner.

Candidates don’t want to feel like just another cog in the machine, so picking up the phone shows you care enough to deliver the good news on a more personal basis. It also allows you to gauge the interest level of your candidate and answer some important questions they may have about the position.

…But Then Put It In Writing

Now that you’ve placed a phone call with your offer, it’s time to send out the formal job offer in writing. Make sure you include everything the candidate will need to know about the position, such as salary, time off, office attire and perks.

The letter should be formal and legal, yet it should also give the candidate another glance into the company culture and how their work will contribute to your corporate goals. You should also include a deadline for how long you’re willing to wait for the candidate’s answer — around three days is a typical wait time.

Be Excited

When you’re speaking to a candidate about the position and the future at your company, don’t try to be so professional that you skimp on the excitement factor. Allow your natural excitement about the candidate and position to shine through, and don’t be afraid to express why your company is a great place to work.

You’ve been selling your company all along, from the job description to the interview, so now is not the time to stop telling the story of why your company is the best place to work. If you’re passionate, you’ll showcase a positive company culture and some of your enthusiasm will rub off on the candidate.

Put Benefits On The Table

Candidates want to know their salary and what tasks they’ll be completing on a day-to-day basis. But they also want to know what kind of perks they can expect at your organization. Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty gritty of specific benefits and company perks.

If your company offers a great healthcare plan, let the candidate know. If your company offers a flexible work schedule, now is the time to detail how this program operates. Get specific about your company’s benefits and put them in writing so candidates can see exactly what they’ll get when they sign on the dotted line.

Get Real

Every company has its pros and cons, and your company is no different. Candidates are going to have some tough, specific questions for you to answer before they accept your job offer. Don’t soft pedal the answers, even if the reality is less than rosy. You need someone who is willing to jump in and hit the ground running.

This means taking the good with the bad and knowing what to expect. If your company has long hours and overtime because it’s a small organization, don’t hide this information. You want to be passionate and excited but also realistic and transparent so you end up with employees who will stick around for the long haul.

You’ve almost made it to the finish line with your top candidate, so now is no time to take a breather. If you make your best candidates an offer they can’t refuse in a timely and personal manner, you’ll likely end up with the top talent your company desperately needs.

What do you think? How do you make a great job offer? Share in the comments!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.




How to Have a Successful Video Interview

With more and more recruiters using video interviews to assess candidates, it’s important for both recruiters and employee hopefuls to understand how their body language, tone of voice and word choice effect the overall impression they give off. You may be sabotaging your video interview without even realizing it.

Luckily, PGi/iMeet put together this great infographic to help both sides of the interview table (or, in this case, screen) understand the rising importance of video interviews and how to make sure you nail them:

Video Interviews

Have you participated in a video interview before (on either side of the screen)? What tips do you have for others?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Brazen Life

Infographic by PGi/iMeet.

Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work. Be Brazen!


Should You Hire Job Hoppers?


Conventional wisdom tells HR managers and recruiters to avoid hiring job hoppers. After all, these people have demonstrated they don’t stick around in a job for long, so why run the risk of turnover? You don’t want to go through the trouble of investing time, energy, training, and money into a new employee just to watch them hop away. For this reason, avoiding job hoppers has become second nature to many of us making hiring decisions.

But when we dig a little deeper, is it actually smart to avoid job hoppers when looking for your next superstar employee? Maybe not. Here’s why:

What Does Job Hopping Actually Tell You?

It’s not a great idea to judge a candidate by their previous employment lengths, as many factors often contribute to the decision to switch jobs. Often, they had concrete reasons for leaving that led them to find perfect potential match with your company. Perhaps the candidate didn’t enjoy the work environment, dealt with an unfair boss, had too heavy of a workload, didn’t receive benefits, or had to deflect office gossip. Maybe they simply decided it was time to switch career paths, needed to move, or their dream job came along and they just couldn’t justify letting it slip away.

It’s impossible to know the story behind a job hopper or if they will hop along again. Look at the facts: A recent study by Evolv looked at 100,000 call center employees and isolated candidates who had job hopped recently. Researchers then went back further in their work history to see if this behavior was part of a pattern of job hopping.

They found job hoppers and non-job hoppers held about the same amount of jobs. This means former job hopping isn’t actually a good predictor of job stability in the future.

Everyone Is Hopping Along

Here’s another reason you should rethink your avoidance of job hoppers: everyone is hopping now. In fact, the employment marketplace sees more hopping than frogs and lily pads.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years a worker stays in the same position is about 4.4 years. The days of 20-year tenures and the “company man” have most certainly passed, especially in today’s tough economy.

Not even an economic miracle is likely to turn the tide when it comes to job hopping. This is because Millennials are even more likely to abandon ship than their older coworkers. According to statistics, the tenure of young workers is only about 2.3 years, and 91 percent of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years.

Following this logic, the average young worker will have between 15 and 20 jobs throughout the course of their career. A study by PwC showed only 18 percent of university graduates expected to stay with their current employer for the long term. Job hopping is a phenomenon not likely to go away soon, so it’s time to adjust to the new reality of the employment marketplace.

So Why Hire Job Hoppers?

All these stats and figures on the impossibility of avoiding job hoppers may have you feeling backed into a corner, but there are plenty of reasons former job hoppers will be a good addition to your organization. Here are just a few:

Better Cultural Fit: Job hoppers are looking for an organization in which they feel at home. Once they find this workplace home, there will be little motivating them to hop again. In fact, a study by Net Impact found 88 percent of workers consider “positive culture” essential for their work. Contrast this with the 86 percent looking for job security, and you’ll see just how important it is for workers to find a place to call home.

Learning: It doesn’t matter how many times a candidate has hopped from job to job — what matters is what those hops say about the candidate’s career passion. Perhaps the candidate was feeling stagnant in a former job, unable to take on more responsibilities. Perhaps they hopped because they wanted to learn new things. After a few years on the job, a worker’s learning curve flattens out. But this isn’t so for the job hopper, who will continually add skills and experience by bouncing from role to role. By the time this candidate bounces over to you, they likely have a wide-ranging and highly-developed skillset that adds value to your organization.

Passion: In the same Net Impact study, 58 percent of workers agreed they would take a 15 percent pay cut if it meant the organization they worked for shared their values. This means workers want to be passionate about the company they work for and the job they do. They don’t just want a 9-to-5 promising security and a steady paycheck, they want to work for an organization they can believe in. Communicate your organizational goals and cultural expectations clearly, and workers will be more likely to engage with your mission statement and stick around for the long haul.

Just because a candidate has job hopped in the past doesn’t mean they will do so in the future. Understanding the prevalence of job hopping and the benefits of job hopper candidates means you can find the best people for your open positions, even if their resumes aren’t perfect.

What do you think? Would you hire a job hopper? Share in the comments!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.


How to Boost Employee Morale


How to Boost Employee Morale….Without Breaking the Bank

Engagement is important, yet your employees might already have one foot out the door mentally. According to the “State of the American Workplace” study by Gallup, 70 percent of the workforce isn’t engaged in their current position. This explains why a 2012 study found 74 percent of employees are actively looking for a new job or are open to new opportunities.

If you can’t engage employees, those talented workers will be out the door the first chance they get. The cost of employee turnover averages about double an employee’s salary, so it’s not exactly a cost you can afford to keep shelling out each time a disengaged worker leaves for greener pastures.

One of the problems is too many companies assume you need the budget of Google or Facebook in order to keep the best people. If you can’t afford an organic juice bar or nap pods, why even try, right? You couldn’t be more wrong — and the success of your business hinges on getting back in touch with your employees.

So how do you boost morale on a budget? Here are a few ways to get your employees engaged again:

A Stitch in Time Saves Rehiring

The old saying, “A stitch in time saves nine” is just as important to hiring as it is to making a really nice scarf. If you hire the right people with sincere passion, you’ll have to worry less about a lack of engagement. The ugly truth is that 46 percent of small business new hires fail within the first 18 months, and in 89 percent of cases, this is because of a company culture mismatch.

So before you hire the great candidate with the stellar resume, take a second to ensure this person would actually enjoy coming into the office every morning. Skills are important, but you can always train for specific abilities. The ability to fit into the company and the passion to care about your mission statement are intangibles you just can’t teach.

Never Stop Challenging

Employees don’t like to be complacent and they certainly don’t feel any accomplishment from doing the same old boring tasks day in and day out. This explains why a global study of employee engagement by AON found access to increased career opportunities was the number one driver of employee engagement.

Employees want a challenge and they want to keep learning. This doesn’t mean piling work on top of employees, since this only leads to more stress and health issues. Instead, a new challenge could be anything from offering an interesting project to promoting professional development training initiatives. Spending a bit of your budget on training your employees is a smart way to save in the long run, as your employees gain more high-quality skills and bring more ROI to your organization.

Don’t Make Your Goals A Secret

How are employees supposed to be engaged by the company’s mission statement if they don’t even know what it is? This might seem extreme, but numbers back up the fact many employees don’t even know what they’re working toward. One study found only 40 percent of the employees surveyed knew the corporation’s goals, strategies, and tactics. It’s hard to be engaged if you have no idea what broader goals your hard work is achieving.

The fix for this engagement problem is simple communication. Make sure to make communicating goals and strategies a big priority when dealing with your workforce. Don’t just tell employees what they need to do, tell them why they need to do it. This will show employees in a more concrete fashion how their parts fit into the whole of the company. It will help them pinpoint how their individual contributions help the company to succeed.

Recognize and Reward

Speaking of individual contributions — recognizing and rewarding hard work costs zero dollars and can really pay off with more engaged and positive employees. In fact, 43 percent of highly engaged employees received feedback at least once a week, according to a Towers Watson study.

Giving employees feedback ties into clearly communicating goals and strategies. If an employee is working hard and coming up with great innovative ideas for your company, you need to recognize these contributions. It could be something as simple as a “well done” at a meeting to something more substantial like added perks.

Feedback is important not only to your superstar employees, but to your workers who find themselves floundering a bit on the job. If given in a helpful and nonjudgmental fashion, feedback will allow them to focus on the aspects of their job performance that need improvement.

Have Fun

Engagement doesn’t have to be a drag! Get employees involved in fun activities both in and outside the office. This could be anything your workforce is interested in, from after-work drinks to in-office parties, or even healthy initiatives like a daily walk or yoga break. Find out what would make work a little more fun for your employees and implement these cheap, easy fixes into your company culture.

Employee engagement can mean the difference between success and failure for your company. Even without a big budget, however, you can still implement little changes through clear communication and smarter hiring decisions, which will lead to higher morale and increased engagement.

What do you think? What are some ways you improve employee engagement on the cheap? Share in the comments!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.


How Can I Find the Best Candidates?


4 Crazy Perks To Nab You The Best Candidates

In the war for talent, the victor is often the company with the best perks. Great company culture perks attract great candidates, especially for high-demand industries and positions. Talented candidates often find themselves with their pick of potential workplaces, which is why a few great perks can make all the difference.

It’s not enough, however, to offer a great benefits package. Some companies are going above and beyond offering normal, everyday company benefits. They’re offering crazy, wacky, and outside-the-box company culture perks to attract and retain the best people.

Beyond just attracting the right candidates, the right company culture perks can actually help you reduce employee turnover and improve productivity. How? Many of the craziest company culture perks are aimed at reducing stress for workers.

According to a study by Com-Psych, at least half of employees said it was harder to focus when under the gun. Another 20 percent said stress made them more likely to make errors and miss deadlines, while 15 percent blamed stress for interpersonal problems in the office.

So what are some outside-the-box company culture perks to fight stress and help you attract the best candidates? Let’s take a look at four perks companies are using to win the war for talent:

Bring Your Furry Friend To Work

Dogs might be man’s best friend, but they can also be your company’s best bet for a happier workplace. Allowing workers to take their pets to work, like Google does, can keep spirits up and fight stressful emotions. Even the Centers for Disease Control agree, claiming pets can help decrease your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Pets can also lower your blood pressure. A study of highly-stressed New York stockbrokers showed those who got dogs and cats had lower blood pressure and heart rates than the control group. After the study finished, most of the participants in the non-pet group went out and got pets.

Pets can keep us focused and help manage stress. Studies have shown simply petting an animal can work as effective stress relief. Other studies have shown that when completing a stressful task, animals are actually more effective stress relievers than friends and family.

Tired? Take a Nap

Do you get enough sleep? Probably not, since the CDC considers insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. When the organization surveyed American adults, it was shocked to discover over 35 percent were getting less than seven hours of sleep a night.

When workers don’t get enough shuteye, productivity decreases and workers make more mistakes. This is probably why more companies are allowing employees to sleep on the job. In fact, a 2011 Society of Human Resources study found 6 percent of companies had a dedicated nap room, while a National Sleep Foundation survey found 34 percent of employers allowed workers to nap in the office.

Offering nap pods or other sleeping arrangements for workers can help them catch the z’s they need, so they can come back to their work refreshed and reinvigorated.

Namaste: Offer Yoga and Focus On Wellness

Even if you can’t allow pets in the office, you should definitely consider the benefits of giving employees time to get into downward facing dog. Offering yoga and other physical fitness programs is a great way to keep employees healthy and happy.

Not every organization will have the funds to install a gym in the building, but you don’t need a fat wallet to help employees get slim. Yoga, aerobics, and most cardio can be done without spending money on expensive exercise equipment. Start a group walk on lunch breaks or even consider offering discounts to the nearest gym.

When it comes to yoga, the meditation and mindfulness aspect of the exercise can help workers let go of stress and refocus. More active employees usually means healthier employees, which translates to less productivity loss from sick leave. Studies have shown employees who exercise earn 9 percent or more on average, most likely because they’re more focused and productive.

Get A Life…Coach

Most people are better workers when their life is in order and they have clear-cut goals. But life can get messy, and sometimes career goals are the last thing on the mind of your star employee.

This is why online shoe retailer Zappos, known for having great outside-the-box perks, began offering free life coaching to employees. This perk landed Zappos on CNNMoney’s 100 Top Companies to Work For list.

But the real benefit of offering your employees a life coach is the renewed energy and focus workers will bring back to the organization. By helping your star employees set goals and push through personal and professional problems, life coaching can result in a more motivated and productive workforce.

Offering “crazy” perks can help you establish a fun, positive, and productive company culture. This culture will allow you to not only attract but retain the talent your organization needs to continue moving forward, innovating, and chasing success.

What do you think? What are some crazy perks you offer employees? Share in the comments!

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.



Stop Hiring the Wrong Candidate! 5 Interview Warning Signs


When it comes to hiring great people, the interview process is often more of an art than a science. A candidate who’s great on paper can be a mess in person, and someone with thin credentials can really blow you away in the meet-and-greet. Once your candidate has made it past the initial resume screening, the interview can tell you a lot of what you need to know about a potential hire — that is, if you’re paying attention.

You know what qualities are on your wish list when it comes to the perfect candidate. In the interview process, you’re most likely looking for someone well-groomed, well-spoken and knowledgeable about the position. But it’s a smart idea not to focus so much on your list of “do’s” that you completely overlook your list of “don’ts.” Considering a bad hire can potentially set your company back as much as $50,000 (or more!), it’s important to look for signs your supernova candidate might actually just be full of hot air.

Many candidates are telegraphing huge red flags without even realizing it in the interview process. Here are some of the major warning signs to help you avoid hiring the wrong person for the job:

Your Candidate’s Nonverbals Are Speaking Volumes

As a hiring manager, you’ve become adept at reading between the lines. Nonverbal communication is a huge aspect of any interaction, but it’s an especially large part of interviewing a candidate. In fact, 33 percent of recruiters claimed to know within 90 seconds whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the position.

You don’t have to be The Mentalist to pick up on sketchy nonverbal communication. Just watch closely how the candidate acts and reacts during the interview. For instance, eye contact is a huge nonverbal cue, with 67 percent of hiring managers citing failure to make adequate eye contact as a nonverbal deal breaker.

According to an old myth, there’s a correlation between eye movement and lying. While this has since been debunked, good eye contact can still give you a better feel for a candidate’s personality, professionalism and confidence level. Look for candidates who have no trouble looking you in the eye and being direct about their experiences and qualifications.

Your Candidate Isn’t Filling In The Details

One of the biggest problems for employers in today’s job market is the skills gap. By 2020, the difference between the skills employers are searching for and the skills candidates possess could create a gap as large as 21 million workers.

Clearly, it’s important to make sure you’re hiring candidates with the right stuff. But that might be easier said than done — for every corporate job opening, employers are inundated with approximately 250 resumes.

The best way to avoid falling in the skills gap is to pay close attention to what candidates are saying in the interview process…and what they’re not saying. Avoid candidates who don’t delve into specifics when talking about their skills and experiences.

If candidates are willing to get concrete about what they know, you can feel confident in their skill level. Candidates who spend their whole interview being as vague as possible about their specific skills probably aren’t the superstars they want you to believe.

Your Candidate Is More Interested In The Perks Than The Position

Great company culture perks can help you attract the kind of top-notch candidates you need in your organization. However, once in the interview your candidate should be much more interested in the position than the perks. A big interview warning sign is when your candidate’s questions revolve more around vacation and benefits than day-to-day activities.

The questions your candidate chooses to ask in the interview process can tell you a lot about their priority levels coming into the position. Candidates who ask about job functions are thinking about their role in the company. Candidates who ask about the next rung on the career ladder are thinking about their future with your company. Candidates who ask about your company’s generous vacation policy are thinking about their next vacation, not their next project.

Your Candidate Has No Questions

Speaking of questions, a flashing neon warning sign goes up whenever a candidate doesn’t have any questions after an interview. You might have answered many of their potential questions while discussing the company and position, but the candidate should have still come prepared with specific, tailored questions.

As we’ve mentioned, these questions can help you evaluate what’s important to the candidate. But the question portion of the interview can also work as a period of time to evaluate just how much the candidate knows about your company, culture and mission statement.

Smart, prepared candidates will ask you about a recent news item, an overseas expansion, or a new policy you’ve implemented. A candidate with no questions to ask is someone who didn’t do their homework before showing up at your office.

Your Candidate Is Holding A Grudge

While this might seem like an obvious warning sign, it’s still important to watch out for vengeful candidates. People with a bone to pick with a former employer can let their hurt feelings get in the way during the interview. If you’re talking to someone who was downsized, fired, or left their last workplace on bad terms, it’s important to watch closely how they handle the subject.

Candidates who handle the topic with grace and poise have learned from their experiences. Candidates who fly off the handle and begin ranting about their former workplace are hotheads you’ll want to avoid. If these candidates are comfortable disparaging their former employers, one day it might be your company they’re complaining about in an interview.

The interview is a great testing ground to see what skills, confidence, and poise candidates bring to the table. While looking for items on your ideal employee wish list, make sure you’re not ignoring these interview warning signs.

About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.



The Candidate Experience Faux Pas

Last week on #tchat, we discussed the importance of the candidate experience. A few job seekers and candidates were very interested in hearing what this all meant. Some have been out of the job hunting scene for several years so they didn’t realize how the whole interviewing experience had changed into something more than simply submitting a resume and having a quick interview or two. These days, landing a job is a process and candidates may come into contact with several different people throughout the interview cycle. In the end, a candidate may decide whether or not they accept employment at your company due to their experiences. If this is the case, how do you think your company would stack up?

There are so many scenarios that a candidate can face while applying and interviewing for a job. Is your company an offender of any of these things:

  • The black hole: a candidate applies to a job posting and never hears back from anyone. Several months still pass by and there is not even so much as a generic email letting them know the status of their resume.
  • The disengaged recruiter: sometimes, recruiters are so overwhelmed with candidates that they only have a few minutes to chat to each one before determining if they’re going to move them forward or not. Sometimes, recruiters may realize within the first few minutes of their conversation that the candidates are not a match. In these circumstances, there are plenty of times that candidates can blatantly tell that the recruiter is rushing through the interview, not completely listening, or only half-heartedly conversing with them.
  • “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”: a candidate might make it to the phone interview round or even make it through several steps of the interview process. The recruiters or hiring managers will promise to give them an update, provide feedback, or set them up with the next step and suddenly fall off the face of the earth. A candidate may reach out to find out when to expect an update and the recruiter becomes unresponsive, leaving the candidate to come up with their own conclusions.
  • The unrealistic job preview: candidates may speak to the recruiters and hiring managers about the job, expectations, company culture, and so on, which may have been displayed in a glorified version. The candidate gets hyped up about the opportunity and excitedly accepts a job offer only to discover that it was not at all like it was advertised.

Although there are plenty of other situations that candidates experience aside from the ones listed above, the important thing to remember is that none of these things are good. A candidate experience is crucial when it comes to attracting talent. This experience can even affect candidates other than the ones that have applied to your jobs or have interviewed with you. A candidate’s experience with you can define how external individuals review your employer brand. What’s more, their experiences can be easily shared with others thanks to social media, blogs, technology, and sites like Glassdoor.

So maybe that candidate wasn’t a fit for your job. That’s completely fine, not everyone is going to be. But how did you treat them? Did you leave them feeling positive about your organization or job regardless if they didn’t get it? Do you feel like they would tell others to apply to your company? Would they want to give you referrals?

If they did accept a job after having a bad experience, how do you think they would perform? Would they lose respect for your organization? Would they be disengaged? Would they already be looking for other opportunities, ready to abandon ship once they found something better?

How you treat your candidates matters in more ways than just for those who you’ve directly interviewed with. It affects your organization’s brand and reputation. It affects your internal employees’ morale. It can help or hurt your engaged and interested talent pool. It can aid or hinder your ability to reel in passive candidates.

Being a job seeker is tough these days. Keep this in mind and think of how you would feel if the roles were reversed. It can help you provide an experience that these candidates deserve.

About the Author, Ashley Lauren Perez: After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in human resources and organizational management, Ashley pursued her passion and secured a career path in the human resources industry. She is currently a Sourcing Specialist for WilsonHCG, as well as a Brand Ambassador for WilsonHCG and #TChat.  Additionally, she uses her experience and knowledge to write a blog focusing on an array of Social HR topics. Even if you aren’t in the Charleston, SC, area, you can easily connect with Ashley onLinkedIn,Twitter and Facebook