5 Genius Interview Questions

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It is difficult to get to know someone in the average 40 minutes it takes to conduct an interview. Sure, you may have spoken on the phone once or twice, but assessing a candidate’s worth to your company in the time it takes to conduct an interview is no small task.

As a hiring manager, you have to be creative on this front every day. You have to read between the lines of candidates’ answers to your questions to ascertain their potential. Most candidates will come prepared with stock answers to the most common questions, so you need to ask questions to engage them in real conversation. Here are a few suggestions:

1. What is one thing you would change about your last job?

There is much to learn about a candidate in this one simple question. Their answer will shed light on how they view management, how well they work as part of a team, and how much they invest in their company. It will also reveal some creative problem-solving skills. There are ways to improve any workplace, and employees who exhibit the ability to see a problem and come up with a constructive solution are a valuable asset.

This question also reveals potential leaders. Candidates who complain about an aspect of a past job they resented are likely going to do the same thing in your company. Those who come up with creative solutions, on the other hand, are likely to help your company grow. These are future managers and project leaders; people who can potentially make an incredible contribution.

2.  What is one thing you are interested in doing that isn’t in this job description?

The answers to this question will demonstrate how closely a candidate has read the job description and the amount of time they have spent considering how well they will fit. It will reveal skills the candidate may not have included on their resume, and different directions their career could take in your company.

Multi-faceted employees thrive when they are not pigeon-holed into one set of tasks, and the interview is a perfect time to find out how they might be creatively utilized in the workplace.

3. Why do you think you fit within our company culture?

This is a great question to ask if you want to know how a candidate will fit into your company culture, which is as important for you as it is for them. A good company culture is the second highest priority for most job seekers, second only to salary.

A candidate may be surprised when you ask this question, but a valid answer shows they’ve done their research, and further that they are interested in your company for more than just a paycheck. They’re interested in the lifestyle and culture of your workplace.

4. What did you learn from your greatest professional failure?

Most interviewers ask candidates to expound upon their greatest professional accomplishment. It is just as crucial to know how a prospective employee deals with failure. Some may hedge around the question, or give an example of a minor slip-up. This is indicative of a person who is ashamed of of failure and fearful of recounting examples to a prospective employer.

An honest candidate will not be afraid to tell you exactly what went wrong and the valuable lesson they took from it. Everyone makes mistakes, but those who learn from those mistakes experience professional and personal growth at an exponentially faster rate. You want to hire someone who will grow with your company, not someone who will shrink away from possible failures.

5. Are there any members of the current management you are interested in working with?

If you want to know how well the candidate has done their homework on the company, this is the question to ask. The candidates most dedicated to getting your job will know the management team and their backgrounds.

Further, this gives you an opportunity to suggest further training or mentorship if you hire the candidate. If you invest creatively in the professional growth of your hires, you will see your efforts rewarded in the form of a dedicated, loyal team member.

The interview process is your singular opportunity to asses the potential of a candidate, and making the wrong choice will result in the dissatisfaction of both the new hire and your management team. To avoid this, ask questions to engage the candidate in dynamic conversation. This will give you the information you need to find the perfect person for the job.

What do you think? What are your favorite questions to ask candidates during a job interview?


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.

Why Recruitment Software Doesn’t Pick the Top Candidates

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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.

Should Social Media Be Allowed At Work?

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Over recent years, social media has quickly integrated its way into the every day life of Millennials.

Social media is no longer just a tool of connecting with friends and family, but also it has become a strategy for building relationships at work. An astounding eight out of 10 Millennials are connected to at least one social media network — and 90 percent of Millennials even use Facebook for personal and work-related reasons.

Millennials don’t want to just have a job these days, they want to have a career where they can make a difference. Millennials are creative thinkers and innovators — so of course, they are going to want to implement technology into their daily lives at work. Social media allows Millennials to engage with coworkers, build relationships with clients, and simply stay connected throughout the work day. While social media has both its advantages and disadvantages, it’s transforming the workplace into a more creative and social environment.

Social media boosts employee morale.

Allowing social media in the workplace is a great way for employers to boost employee morale. It presents employers with the opportunity to build a sense of community while also giving employees the freedom to stay connected during the work day. Employers can create Facebook groups to help employees stay connected and inform them about internal events within the company. Social media can also serve as a virtual water cooler, which can help build the culture of your company. Overall, embracing social media in the workplace builds trust between the employer and their employees. This type of trust shows employees that management trusts them to be productive while simultaneously having the freedom to use social media on the job.

It’s an essential tool for Gen Y.

Social networking has become an essential communication tool for Millennials. Not only does social media allow Millennials connect with friends, family, and coworkers, but it has become the center of much their day-to-day activities. Fifty-six percent of Millennials use social media as a source of communication and 26 percent of Millennials check social networking sites during their breaks at work. Social media in the workplace is essential for Gen Y’ers because it creates transparency and allows them to stay connected, even when they’re at the office. Plus, employers who hire social-savvy Millennials can boost the communication process internally, as well.

Gen Y can educate their company about social media.

Employers who welcome social media in the workplace can definitely grow their company internally and externally. Social media has a huge impact on sales, consumer relations, and the overall brand for a company. By allowing Gen Y employees to bring their knowledge of different social networking tools to the workplace, you can grow your company, reach new customers, and improve employee engagement.

However, social media can decrease productivity for employees.

Whether you’d like to think you’re good at multitasking, you really aren’t. Surprisingly, only two percent of the population can successfully multitask. This means that the other 98 percent of you cannot and social media is often a cause for poor multitasking. Social media can create a distraction for employees, especially when 61 percent of workers spend approximately 15 minutes per day in the office checking Facebook. Although social media is a great way to stay connected, it can create a barrier between accomplishing tasks and productivity in the workplace.

It can also stir up inappropriate online behavior.

This year, we have see many employee blunders on social media. Probably the most memorable employee incident with social media was the Taco Bell employee who posted a photo of himself licking taco shells on Instagram. Now, these silly mistakes aren’t the only ones that happen on social media. Some employees have also been accused of bad-mouthing coworkers or complaining about their jobs. Millennials need to remember that whatever you decide to say on social media, it will always come back to haunt you.

The bottom line, is employers need to embrace social media. 

Social media in the workplace isn’t just beneficial for employees alone, it can actually boost the company’s culture. This is a tool that allows companies to build a community within the workplace and encourage open communication between management and employees. Gen Y employees are quickly filling the workplace and employers need to embrace how social media is essential to their employees’ success.

Do you think social media should be allowed in the workplace? Share your thoughts below!

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

Show Me the Money: 5 Tips to Negotiate a Raise

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Asking for a raise can be a bit tricky. There’s that sentiment akin to asking your parents to tack on a few extra bucks to your allowance; and then there’s the walking-on-eggshells feeling you get in trying not to overstep your boundaries with your boss. But asking for a raise is OK, and it’s a two-way conversation that you can navigate tactfully if you keep a few things in mind:

Do Your Time

Although rightly deserved in some cases, a raise is not going to present itself on Day 2, no matter how convincing you are in presenting your case to your boss. The fact is, in order to rationalize paying you more money for the same work, an employer must see that you have made progress and remained loyal to the company. A company can find any old schmo off the street to do the work for a starting level salary. But go above and beyond, and they may be inclined to attach a few more dollar signs to your value.

Determine Your Reasons

In order to present a convincing case to your boss, it helps to understand why you are asking for a raise in the first place. Is it because your living expenses have gone up? Are you expecting a new addition to the family? Don’t misunderstand; simply desiring a higher salary for your excellent work is a completely valid point. But if you can present these motivations to your employer, you may find that they’re more likely to side with you on this one.

Be Reasonable

Of course you’re going to sound like a child when you put forth the whole “I want a million dollars” offer. That, and you’re going to get shut down very quickly. In order to be taken seriously, present a sensible figure to your boss, one that is on par with the work that you complete. This will get you much farther in negotiating with you boss.

Practice Savvy Negotiating Tactics

Alright, that said, you may want to present a number to your employer that is a bit higher than the actual raise you wish to receive. The boss didn’t get to where they are by being a pushover. They’ll likely try to bargain you down, trying to take you at your bottom limit. Before you propose anything, then, figure out what your bottom limit is. Give your boss a number that is higher than this – but not too high – and once negotiating begins, don’t allow yourself to go below this bottom line. Hopefully, the two of you will settle on something in the middle.

Understand Your Value

Logically, a company wishes to pay as little as they can while still employing reliable employees who complete great work. At the same time, their great wish is to keep their workers happy, which is equally – if not more – important to business. You may view a large corporation powerful and yourself lucky, in that they decided to give you a job in the first place. But it’s crucial to realize that you are equally as vital to them as they are to you. You are valuable and they know it. If you’re doing a great job, bring this up in a negotiation. Present numbers, graphs, or work samples when you go in to speak to your boss. Tell them that you’re worth it and show them why. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

Keep these 5 things in mind when negotiating with your employer and you’ll be more likely to get your point across, make a favorable impression, and walk away with what you deserve.

Is There a U.S. Talent Shortage?

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Companies throughout the U.S. are reporting difficulties in their search for new talent to fill positions. In fact, in a survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, 39 percent of companies in the U.S. report difficulties filling open positions. While some industries seem to be harder hit than others, it does seem to be a shockingly high number — particularly in light of the number of Americans out of work and having difficulty landing even one interview.

If you are among those many companies having difficulty filling gaps in your workforce, you might consider asking yourself these questions as you approach the search for a new candidate:

What Makes a “Perfect Candidate?”

When you review applications for an opportunity at your company, what makes you give one resume a second glance and toss away another? Are you looking to fill the talent gap with exactly the credentials of the employee who formerly filled that role? Flexibility and creativity during the hiring process leads to casting a wider net in your search for top talent.

Failure to consider a variety of candidates is common. In fact, 87 percent of companies reporting talent shortages are not seeking new sources for talent. Consider looking at different kinds of candidates for your position. Perhaps one applicant doesn’t provide the exact skills you are looking for, but that candidate might bring other valuable skills to the table. As long as they possess the fundamental core skills for the job, there is potential for an excellent addition to your team.

What Am I Doing to Develop My Current Workforce?

One of the first places you should look to deal with a talent shortage is within your existing workforce. Not only is it less expensive, it promotes incentives to work hard in order to earn upward mobility within the company. By investing the time and effort to foster the talent you already have, you may find those glaring talent gaps in your workforce shrink considerably.

Should I Be Using a Search Firm?

You might also consider using a search firm to find exciting candidates for your position. The benefits of using a firm are varied. They have both the expertise to weed out unqualified candidates quickly and a knowledge base of untapped talent pools you may have missed. During a talent shortage, a search firm can be a valuable resource.

How Am I Conducting My Search?

Another mistake companies make when trying to fill open positions is putting all of their proverbial eggs into one or two baskets. Where are you advertising your position? While posting on a handful of the largest job search websites may seem like the best way to attract a huge number of applicants, this should only be the first move.

From there, narrow the field by seeking out places to list your position that target certain industries. There are many specialized websites out there with large talent pools specific to your industry, and you should be taking advantage of them to increase the visibility of your position to the top talent in your field.

Finding the right candidate to fit your job may not be an easy task in the wake of a burgeoning talent shortage in the U.S. You can, however, execute your search with flexibility, creativity, and utilize unique resources to find the best potential hires on the market. The question is, will you ask yourself all the right questions?

What do you think? How does your company respond to gaps in your workforce?  

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.

10 Skills that Baby Boomers can Learn from Gen Y

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While Generation Y is sometimes criticized for having a sense of entitlement and a less than stellar work ethic, this generation may bring more to their careers than you think. If you are part of the Baby Boomer generation, you might want to pay attention and take notes. Here are 10 skills that you could learn from Gen Y:

    1. Multi-tasking. Though you may be irked when you see a Gen Y-er downing her lunch while discussing social media trends via FaceTime[i] on her smartphone and simultaneously tapping away on her iPad, you should admire her ability to accomplish multiple tasks at the same time. As a baby boomer, you could try and do the same for a day. See if you are able to boost productivity and save time.
    2. Speaking of productivity . . . Gen Y doesn’t seem to experience ‘information overload’ since they don’t appear to feel it. They were typically brought up tapping away on a computer and using the Internet so it’s no big deal for them to crowdsource while making the most of social media sites, too. Combined with multi-tasking and working anywhere—like in coffee shops, home offices, or planes—productivity could make them vital team players.
    3. Connectivity. Gen Y is connected—whether on LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook or Twitter. They often take social media to the next level and make the most of it by networking professionally. For example, they might send an invite to connect on LinkedIn right after introducing themselves to a new employee at a meeting.
    4. Reaching out. Gen Yers don’t seem to be intimidated when connecting with top executives in their company. While Baby Boomers might see these moves as brazen, Gen Y workers may view it as effective networking which could help their careers down the road.
    5. Job mobility. Baby Boomers may not feel comfortable with Gen Y and their job hopping. However, Gen Y doesn’t seem to view moving to the next employer negatively. Instead, they recognize that many people could be laid off without any forewarning and they take whatever opportunities present themselves to enhance their career skills.
    6. Smartphone love. Gen Y apparently loves smartphones. This tool is one which allows them them to multi-task while waiting at the doctor’s office or when they are standing in line to be seated at a restaurant. Multi-tasking may mean increased productivity since Gen Yers don’t seem to mind accessing the Internet at all hours or when they have a few spare minutes.
    7. Communication. Since Gen Y appears to have grown up on the Internet and is comfortable writing online, their communication skills may be more effective in reaching larger audiences. Baby Boomers could get more involved with online communication by beginning a blog and publishing their articles to their readers. This way, they may gain more practice writing for groups and become more comfortable receiving feedback in the form of comments on the blog site.
    8. Job resilience. Gen Y often makes the most of entrepreneurship to provide themselves with a job safety net. They might start a new business in their parents’ garages or their childhood bedrooms. They might view their careers as more than just paychecks and, by coming up with Plan Bs, they could be creating safety nets in case they get laid off unexpectedly.
    9. The environment. Gen Y seems more concerned about the environment. They could find it more important than a Baby Boomer to work in a green setting and in an office that incorporates green energy use.
    10. Diversity. Gen Y-ers appear to be more comfortable working with other people from different cultures and backgrounds than Baby Boomers. They do not appear as phased by fellow employees or clients with diverse ethnicities.

If you are a Baby Boomer, maybe it’s time to stop and take a hard look at how you could benefit from incorporating some of Gen Y’s helpful work practices into your own career. You may be surprised by positive results.

About the Author: Written by Mandy Fricke and edited by Laura Morrison. To learn more about online programs, click here.

How To Ensure Qualified Candidates Sign The Offer Letter?

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5 Essential Lessons for Recruiters Who Are Eager to Fill More Positions

Are you a recruiter who’s battling to find new employees to fill position after position?

A staggering 3.8 million open jobs are up for grabs, yet 70 percent of hiring decision-makers say it now takes longer to find a qualified candidate to fill these roles, according to a new Aerotek report, Retain or Recruit. In July 2009, it took an average time of 15.4 days to fill a position, and by December 2012, the average had risen to 23 days.

So what can you do to reduce the time it takes to find the ideal candidate and retain them once you’ve got them?

1. Make an offer they can’t refuse

Retain or Recruit found three out of five employees would leave their current role for a competitive offer.

That doesn’t necessarily mean offering more money, although that definitely makes an offer competitive. It could also mean offering wider and more comprehensive benefits, more vacation leave or opportunities for travel abroad. It’s worth taking the time to find out exactly what job candidates are looking for.

2. Tempt candidates with training

Of the employees who were not likely to be tempted by a more competitive offer, the prospect of employee training and development was enough to make them consider the option.

It’s not always about more money in the bank; young professionals in particular often prioritize their long-term personal and professional growth. That’s why another way of hooking them isputting your money where your mouth is and offering to…

3. Provide the training

While every single one of the hiring decision-makers surveyed agreed training is important, only half have a formal employee engagement program focused on employee development. Worse, a third don’t have a training program and don’t plan to have one.

Opportunity for growth is essential for GenY workers, so why not think about setting up a program or two?

4. Team up

“But I haven’t got time,” you’re probably screaming at the screen. It’s true that investing in training and development programs will cost you time as well as money, but it’s likely to pay dividends in the long run.

By identifying partners that can alleviate the time spent locating and interviewing candidates, you can use this time to focus on training and developing the employees you already have. Not only will it keep them happy and engaged; it’ll make your offer all the more tantalizing to potential recruits.

5. Manage your expectations

When it comes to new hires, one third of hiring managers expect more from the new kids in the office, despite half of respondents saying they have less time to train new employees.

You can’t have it both ways! Yes, you should expect your new recruits to be ready for action, but if you don’t invest in developing their skills and inspiring them professionally, you can’t expect this to happen overnight, if at all.

Bear in mind that graduates may not have extensive experience in the workplace, but they are fresh, hungry and keen to learn, so capitalize on this enthusiasm and make use of it!

About the AuthorAmy Noble is a freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and general grammar-obsessive living in London, England.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Brazen Life. 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!

Employers: 7 Ways To Prepare for an Interview

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Hopeful job applicants know it takes skill and preparation to nail an interview. They research the company, practice the most unexpected questions and stress over what outfit will make them look both professional and likeable. A substantial amount of time and energy is put into the job before they even know if they will get an offer.

In contrast, many employers don’t go to the same lengths to prepare themselves for conducting the interview. Though it may seem to be an unnecessary use of skill and time, employers who are unprepared can send top talent walking right out the door.

According to new research, more than three-fourths of candidates would turn down a job offer due to a bad interview experience. It’s their first face-to-face interaction with a company, which makes it all the more important to create a positive impression. It’s about more than just creating a pleasant interview experience for the candidate — preparation ensures employers obtain the information they need to choose the best person for the job and reinforces a positive brand.

Here are seven ways every employer should prepare for an interview.

1. Pre-Screen Candidates

Pre-screening job applicants is a critical part of interview preparation. Before you sit down with a candidate, you want to be sure they possess the most important and non-negotiable qualities needed for the job. Such qualities might include a particular level of education or years of experience you just can’t budge on. Even if this is explicitly stated in the job listing, unqualified applicants will still apply. The pre-screening process gives you the chance to weed out the obvious no’s before offering them an interview.

2. (Really) Read their Resumes

One of the most basic ways to prepare for an interview is to closely read the candidate’s resume and cover letter. Still, many employers won’t dedicate more than a few minutes to this task — in fact, the average employer spends just 30 seconds scanning these materials.

Reading a resume on the spot doesn’t provide nearly enough time to absorb the information and do a little fact checking if needed. It also wastes valuable interview time because it promotes using canned questions rather than those tailored to the individual candidate’s experience and unique qualities. Employers should thoroughly read each resume in preparation for the interview and use the research to spark tailored interview questions. Candidates will be able to tell if you’ve familiarized yourself with their information or not.

3. Identify Key Questions

It requires skill to prepare for an interview while still leaving flexibility for the conversation to develop naturally. Candidates don’t want to be asked pre-formatted questions in rapid fire succession, but the interview needs to begin with some structure and planning.

As mentioned above, employers should use the resume and cover letter to identify a short list of key questions that should be asked during the interview, each tailored to the candidate. Just as much as a candidate can freeze on the spot, and interviewer can also encounter a mental block and forget to ask critical questions about past experience or skills. Adequate preparation provides organization and consistency across all interviews.

4. Search for Skeletons

One out of every ten candidates is rejected because of unacceptable use of social media. In preparation for an interview, be sure to check up on your candidates’ social media activity with a quick Google search.

This will help to uncover any skeletons in the closet and and give the candidate the opportunity to address and refute the negative representation. This isn’t something you want to be blind-sided with later on, so don’t turn a blind eye to it during the interview process.

5. Be Familiar with the job Description

It can take months between developing a job description to hiring a candidate to fill the role. This leaves much time to blur the focus of the core responsibilities of the job you’re trying to fill before the interview takes place. Employers should brush up on the job description before entering an interview, and have it on hand during the meeting. This will help to tailor questions to the information that’s most important for this particular role.

6. Prepare Candidates

Failing to prepare the candidate is one of the biggest mistakes employers make before an interview. You’re wasting both the candidate’s time and yours if you don’t explicitly express your expectations of the interview process. Should the candidate bring a paper portfolio? Will a grammar test be required? Do you expect formal or casual dress? Will three people be interviewing the candidate or just one? Is a group interview required?

Think about it: students score best on an exam when they’re informed of the specific information teachers expect them to have prepared. An interview is no different — it’s most effective when candidates are informed of your expectations in advance.

7. Test Their Listening Skills

Listening skills and attention to detail are among the most important qualities of any candidate. While many list these soft skills on their resume, employers should put them to the test prior to conducting an interview.

Test your candidates’ listening skills by asking them to complete a simple task with very specific directions. Maybe you ask them to include a certain subject line in an email or to address the cover letter to someone specific. If candidates fail to follow these simple instructions, it’s a clear indicator that they do not possess the highest level of listening skills or attention to detail.

Employers who prepare prior to conducting an interview reap many benefits. They are able to extract the most important information from job applicants and create a professional first impression of the company. Ultimately, a prepared interviewer will be able to choose the top candidate for the job with clarity and certainty, making it a worthy investment of both skill and time.

Employers, how do you prepare for the interview process? Candidates, how can you tell if your interviewer is prepared?

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.

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

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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

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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.

— Post Jobs for Free at Doostang.com/hiring


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.

— Post Jobs for Free at Doostang.com/hiring —

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.