Recruiting Tips: Find and Retain Great Hourly Employees

May 31st, 2013

If you’re like many employers responsible for staffing small or growing companies, you depend on part time workers as a significant percentage of your workforce. Nearly 60 percent of the U.S. labor force consists of part time workers at this point. And yet, hiring, training and retaining these part timers can be far more challenging and often more expensive than hiring and training full time employees.

This is partly due to the fact that the cost of losing a part time employee can be equal to or even greater than the person’s annual salary, and it’s also due to some stubborn false assumptions and misguided approaches managers tend to take toward the part-time recruiting process.

Know Your Demographic

When some managers hear the words “part-time employee”, they picture a younger candidate, often a student, or a person who would prefer to work full time and craves as many hours as possible. But this picture isn’t completely accurate. In fact, statistics show that at least a third of part time candidates are between the ages of 25 and 45, and another third are over the age of 45. Also, many part time candidates are exactly that—part time candidates—and they aren’t looking for more than 30 hours of work per week. So when you source your candidates, make sure you’re pitching your position to the right audience. Be strategic.

Make it Easy for Great Candidates to Apply

If you want the best employees, treat every applicant with respect. Don’t make your candidates jump through hoops, don’t make them slog through a time-consuming online application full of broken links, don’t try to demean or cross-examine them during interviews, and don’t accept applications only during business hours. Many of your best candidates are already working and are juggling complex, busy schedules. Allow them to apply easily online or drop their applications off during evening and weekend hours. 

Focus on Retention

The best way to solve your hiring and recruiting problems is to keep the great employees you already have. Once you’ve trained and invested in an employee, recognize that this person represents your most valuable form of capital. Go the extra mile to make your workplace appealing and to encourage a positive culture. Every unwarranted criticism, unpleasant condition, or unsafe workstation means the potential loss of a hardworking, dedicated employee. Don’t let these small details cause disproportionate damage to your bottom line.

For more information on improving your workplace reputation and attracting the strong part-time candidates you need, arrange a consultation with the NC staffing experts at PSU.

Are Online Reviews Killing Your Business?

May 24th, 2013

Online reviews can be both a blessing and a curse for small business owners, but one thing is clear: they’re here to stay. And whether they’re a thorn in your side or the primary path customers take to reach your door, it’s a smart idea to actively monitor and control your online reputation. Here are a few tips that help you make the most of positive reviews and mitigate the damage caused by negative ones.

1. Know what’s out there.

The two most popular review sites are Yelp and Googleplaces. These are the sites potential customers are most likely to visit before they buy your products or make the effort to drive all the way out to your store. Periodically check in with these sites (or just run the name of your business through a search engine) so you know what your potential customers are seeing.

2. Control your online footprint.

If you maintain a webpage, blog, Facebook profile, and Twitter feed for your business, that’s great. But if you’re spending your days staring at these profiles instead of improving your product and interacting with your customers, that’s not so great. Use Hootsuite or a similar dashboard product that can allow you to monitor activity on all your social media sites at once. Or better yet, save time by enlisting the help of a digital marketing firm to handle these things for you.

3. Deal intelligently and diplomatically with customer complaints.

Better yet, keep them from happening in the first place. Do this by making it very easy for customers to handle their complaints and make their voices heard without going online. Leave an easy digital complaint form on your website, leave paper forms at your front desk, and train your staff to hear customer complaints and respond to them appropriately. Most of the time, negative online reviews happen after angry customers are left with no other outlet.

4. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.

If customers are especially happy with your product or service, remind them to go online and help you spread the word. But take note: it’s never a good to publish fake reviews (or insist that your employees publish them). This can backfire in a big way. And it goes without saying, but the same rule applies to fake negative reviews of your local competitors. Work hard to earn respect within your community.

For more information on strengthening your online reputation or hiring a digital marketing firm to handle this aspect of your growing business, reach out to the NC staffing and small business management experts at PSU.

Using Twitter to Support Your Job Search

May 17th, 2013

Are you making the most of every available resource, both online and off, while you search for your next position? It’s never a great idea to rely on any social media tool to do all the work of finding you a job, but if you act efficiently and place smart limits on your screen time, there’s no harm in taking advantage of the job search benefits your Twitter feed has to offer. Here are a few ways to use Twitter during your job search without wasting your energy or distracting yourself from more important moves.

Your Job Search and Your Twitter Feed

1.  Use Twitter to join communities and become and active contributing member. If you care about something, including the industry in which you’d like to work, Twitter can help you stay on top of conversations in that community and make your name known. What are the topics of the moment? What are the back stories on these pressing issues? What kind of language do people in your community use to discuss these things? Your Twitter feed can help you tune in.

2. Become a thought leader. Once you enter these ongoing conversations, start making intelligent contributions to the discourse. Don’t just retweet posts and articles you like—Instead, offer thoughtful commentary and share your informed opinions and insights. Show respect for other voices in the community and earn respect for your own.

3. Maintain control over who you follow. If you like certain companies and want to work for them, follow them so you can stay informed when positions open up. But don’t just indiscriminately follow every company in your industry. If a job post asks you to become a follower as part of the application process, that’s fine. But if this follow doesn’t add long term value to your life, remove it so you don’t get bogged down by a cluttered feed full of ads and marketing material.

4. Most important of all, use your Tweets as a point of entry. Periodically direct readers and followers to your website, your blog, and your online job search portfolio containing your virtual resume and work samples. This can help potential employers gain a wider appreciation of your skills and accomplishments than a one-page resume can provide.

For more on how to use social media resources like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr to your advantage during the job search, reach out to the NC staffing and employment experts at PSU.

Are You Guilty of These Common Interview Mistakes?

May 10th, 2013

On the surface, a job interview may look and feel like a pleasant conversation. It’s smooth, it’s diplomatic and professional, and those on both sides of the table are well dressed and making an effort to say the right thing, even if that means putting their real feelings and personalities on hold. But a blandly superficial and pleasant conversation doesn’t necessarily lead to a great hiring decision. To get real meaning out of your interviews and gather information that can actually help you run your company, watching out for these common mistakes.

1. Don’t be a chatterbox. It’s true that your role as an interviewer may involve plenty of talking, especially if this is an entry level candidate and you need to explain basic elements of your business model, not just the details of the position in question. But if you talk for an hour and don’t let her get a word in edgewise, you’ll end up wasting your time and learning very little about her qualifications.

2. Don’t send mixed signals. If you’ve gone out of your way to let the candidate know that this position is vital to the company and this decision is very important to you, don’t pause in the middle of the interview to answer your phone. At the same time, watch how you handle false hope, and don’t imply that the candidate is one of the top contenders or that you’ll make a final decision by the end of the week if these things aren’t true.

3. Don’t give a misleading impression of your workplace (positive or negative). Watch out for statements that suggest your workplace culture is “fun”, “collaborative”, “fast-paced” or anything else if this isn’t true. We all want to put a positive face on things, and managers often present a picture of the company that they think a candidate wants to see. But as soon as she comes on board and finds out that this place is actually serious, competitive, or quiet, she’ll regret the move and so will you. 

4. Don’t disrespect candidates. Ever. In an imbalanced job market, managers often assume they can make candidates grovel or jump through hoops with no fear of negative consequences. This is a bad idea for two important reasons: First, it’s just bad business. Unprofessional behavior benefits nobody, and what goes around comes around. Second, it alienates the most talented candidates who have plenty of options, and as they lose interest in you, they’ll turn directly to your competitors. At the same time, this move attracts and retains the desperate. Needy candidates who are willing to be humiliated, baited, cross-examined, or put through ten rounds of interviews are not the ones you want.  

To avoid these mistakes and find ways to make each minute of your interview process as valuable and meaningful as possible, turn to the NC staffing and business management experts at PSU.

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