Are You Losing Great Candidates to Other Offers?

July 31st, 2014

What’s happening to all your top choice candidates? Why are they all mysteriously disappearing during that quiet gap between the end of the interview process and the delivery of the final offer? As soon as you finally find a candidate with all the credentials and experience you’re looking for, he or she seems to be lured away by your competitors before you can close the deal. Why does his keep happening, and how can you keep it from happening in the future so you don’t keep investing in an expensive, prolonged hiring process that ultimately goes nowhere? Here are a few tips that might help.

1. Stop scheduling interviews.

In a perfect world, you could keep scheduling round after round after round of interviews, gathering and parsing data ad infinitum until the right choice became clear. But in the real world, you can realistically stage three interviews (including the initial phone screening). After that, it’s time to roll the dice and make your decision. Too many interviews are an expensive annoyance and a turn-off for talented candidates with plenty of other options.

2. Cut through red tape.

Once you’ve settled on your ideal candidate, choose a runner up, and then let both candidates know where they stand. You can do this verbally and informally, as long as you deliver the message right away. But don’t assume that once you’ve made the call, you can keep the formal offer sitting in purgatory while you wait for key HR personnel to return from their vacations. If you need sign-offs, get them quickly—find work-arounds if specific players aren’t available. Just get the offer into the mail as soon as possible.

3. Give a warm welcome.

Let your chosen candidate know that you’re excited to have her on board and you’re looking forward to her first day. (For example: “Dear Katherine, Our team is very impressed with your credentials and we’re pleased to formally offer you position of Associate Manager…”) Don’t send a message that suggests resigned, conditional acceptance (For example: “Dear Applicant, Please review the enclosed offer for the position of Associate Manager. This offer is contingent upon an extensive background check and may be withdrawn at any time for any reason in accordance with the company’s discretion.”)

Remember that you haven’t officially landed your top candidate until the day she signs on the dotted line. For more on how to make this happen, contact the staffing and management experts at PSU.

Assessing Your Hiring Needs

July 25th, 2014

You’ve been avoiding the issue long enough and now it’s time to face the truth: You need to start the hiring process. Your small company is growing, and as orders pile up, your talented, invaluable employees are becoming increasingly overworked. Right now, you’re still making money, but if any of your current team members are pushed to the breaking point and they decide to call it quits, you’ll be in over your head. So before that happens, you need to bring on some new hands.

But what exactly should you be looking for? You’ll need to determine the exact nature of the job (or jobs) you’d like to offer. And once you’ve done that, you’ll need to launch your search in the right direction and track down the specific credentials and personality traits you’re looking for. These considerations can help.

1. Enlist your current teams.

If they’re ready to share the workload, ask your current teams what they need the most. Ask for open ended feedback and encourage them to simply tell you how to make their jobs easier and their days more productive. In the meantime, solicit feedback about the kind of person (or people) they’d like to work with.

2. Research the marketplace.

It’s one thing to ask what you need, and it’s another thing to ask what you can afford. If you need accounting help, for example, are you willing to take on a fresh graduate and provide on-the-job training and experience? Or do you need a mid-level pro who can step in and take the wheel immediately? Keep in mind that the difference can have a staggering impact on your payroll budget.

3. Create a job description.

Exactly what will this new person need to contribute to the organization during her first month, her first year, and her first three years? What will she be doing each day and what responsibilities will she be expected to take on in due time? What problems will hopefully disappear when she arrives on the scene?

4. Target your search.

Before you publish your post and start collecting resumes, determine how best to approach your ideal candidate. Will you find on social media? Will you meet her at a networking event? Will she be a friend or family member referred by a current employee? Answer these questions before you launch your search.

For more on how to find the perfect employee teams for your small business, reach out to the staffing and business management experts at PSU.

Candidates: Use Nonverbal Communication to Send the Right Message

July 18th, 2014

It’s often said that the first five seconds a candidate spends with an interviewer can determine whether he or she lands the job. This may not be entirely true—after all, interviews are very complex and subjective process, and no two are ever quite the same. But there’s no doubt that a first impression creates a lingering impact. If the first introduction goes well, it takes a lot to derail an interviewer’s interest. And if the first few seconds go poorly, the opposite applies, and even the most brilliant and qualified candidates may have a hard time climbing back into their potential employer’s good graces.

So if you’re in the candidates chair, start the process off right by keeping these nonverbal tips in mind.

1. Relax.

Tension is not your friend. If you’re struggling to remember your mental list of nonverbal cues (make eye contact! Sit up straight! Etc, etc), that’s fine. But leave this list behind as you step in the door. From this point forward, you’re just two people having a polite conversation. Your elaborate choreography won’t help you if it isn’t already ingrained. A few practice sessions beforehand can make your posture, your eye contact and your smile seem less forced and more natural.

2. Engage.

Show interest in what your interviewer is saying. But just as important, show interest in what she’s thinking and feeling. Read between the lines. Tune in and ask polite follow-up questions as she speaks. As for clarification when you need it. Don’t turn her off by sitting in a self-involved bubble, practicing your next comment in your head when you should be listening and paying attention to those around you.

3. Lean forward.

Literally lean forward, or at the very least, keep your body posture inclined toward the person who is speaking to you across the table. If she decides to lean back in her chair, you can consider yourself momentarily released and you can arrange your body as you choose, but as soon as she straightens out, you should too.

4. Be mindful of your hands and arms.

Most of the time, your hands and arms should be relaxed at your sides. As you speak, you can move them forward and use them for emphasis. But at no point should you let your hands rise up to touch your face or cover your mouth. This is recognized as a gesture people use when they have something to hide.

At all times, make a good faith effort to stay open, honest, thoughtful and warm and your natural gestures will follow. If you close down, stiffen up, or don’t believe in your own words, this will also show in your gestures and posture. For more on how to send the first message and avoid the second, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.


Use Nonverbal Communication to Attract Top Candidates

July 11th, 2014

Hiring managers are constantly coached to keep an eye on non-verbal cues during interviews. As interviewers have heard over and over again, slouching, disinterested, fidgety candidates may be displaying red flags or indicators of trouble, like hostility, rigidity, dishonesty, or inexperience. A candidate’s eyebrows and body posture may reveal more than his or her words, and wise mangers take these indicators into account during the selection process.

But as it happens, these nonverbal cues travel in two directions. Just like managers, candidates are assessing these signals and using them to make decisions about the company. So before you meet with your talented applicants, think carefully about the message you may be sending with your clothes, your expressions, and your demeanor. Keep these considerations in mind.

1. Dress the part.

When you’re meeting with a candidate for the first time, look sharp. Your candidate will be gathering impressions from everything he sees around him. And even if you can’t do much to make your building or your reception area more impressive, you can still polish your own personal presentation. Your clothing and appearance should tell the candidate that this is a serious, legitimate, successful company with a promising future.

2. Radiate welcome and warmth.

A cold, forbidding welcome won’t awe or impress a confident candidate. It will only turn them off. And in fact, this approach may backfire, since it tends to appeal to desperate candidates who don’t have many alternative options beyond this job. When you meet your candidate for the first time, smile warmly, chat pleasantly, and show him the same respect he’s showing you by applying for a job with your company. If you’re seated when she walks into the room, stand up and shake her hand.

3. If you like it here, make this known.

If you’re happy with this company, you like your job, and you feel fulfilled and respected in this place, let this show. Your candidate will pick up on subtle signals that suggest burnout or mistreatment. If you’re not happy or you don’t believe in this company’s product or service, they’ll know, and won’t want to work here.

4. End the meeting gracefully.

When you’ve completed your series of interview questions, ask the candidate if he has anything to add or if he would  like to know more about the company and the job. When it’s time to say good bye, stand up, shake hands again, thank him sincerely for his time, and let him know what to expect from you in terms of follow up.

For more on how to use your posture and body language to make a strong impression during your interview process, contact the staffing and hiring experts at PSU.


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