The Biggest Hiring Challenges of 2016

January 8th, 2016

Your company is growing, your retirees are packing their bags, and you plan to staff several open positions during the year ahead. Are you ready for the challenges and opportunities the new year will bring? Balance caution and care with optimism and positivity, and as you do so, prepare to tackle these potential staffing obstacles in 2016.

The market will thin out slightly.

During the peak of downturn in 2008 and 2009, brilliant-but-unemployed candidates hustled for positions that offered half of what they were worth (if these candidates could find them at all). Some employers took advantage of the bounty, sending candidates through ridiculous hoops and subjecting them to ten rounds of interviews in exchange for absurdly low offers. But now the tables have turned. If you’re still picking your candidates apart or offering lowball salaries, stop. At this point, pressing your candidates too hard will not attract geniuses; it will drive them away. The best will accept offers elsewhere and only the desperate will remain.

Candidates are abandoning mainstream job boards.

The biggest job boards like Monster and Careerbuilder are still popular, for sure. But the best candidates aren’t searching there anymore. They’re searching geographic and industry-specific sites where the odds are more favorable, the lines are shorter, and the jobs are a better fit. Adopt the mindset of your ideal candidate as you approach your sourcing process. Enlist the help of a recruiting firm that understands your target audience.

Linkedin is fading.

Like the biggest global job boards, Linkedin still has a place in the staffing world, but it’s no longer the best place to find the savviest and most ambitious candidates in the marketplace. Again, a recruiting firm with an educated, youthful, and ambitious network can connect you to the talent you need.

Employees move faster.

A generation ago, employees often stayed with a company for decades after they were hired. But this is no longer the norm, and the stigma associated with “job-hopping” is becoming a thing of the past. If you want to retain your candidates longer than the average relationship of 2.5 years (and falling), you’ll need to tighten your staffing program and take a hard look at your workplace culture.

Passive candidates.

If you’ve been leaning back and expecting candidates to knock down your door and beg for your approval, reconsider this approach. Studies show that a surprising number of highly talented and happily employed workers are quietly open to new opportunities. Take advantage of this silent marketplace, not by pulling employees away from your competitors, but by raising your online profile and actively networking. If you have opportunities to offer, these passive candidates should know about them.

For more on how to find and attract the best candidates on the market in 2016, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.

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Five Things You Can Learn From a Reference Check

October 9th, 2015

You’ve narrowed your candidate pool down to a handful of contenders, and you’ve asked each finalist to submit a list of references. And now you have a choice to make: Should you ignore these reference lists, or should you invest time, effort, and company resources in a series of phone calls and emails in order to inform your final decision?

Too often, managers choose the first option. At this point in the selection process, most employers already have a positive gut feeling about their preferred candidate, and they’d rather avoid a conversation that only confirms what they already know. Besides, most references tend to give uniformly glowing reports that add little substance to a candidate’s profile. But before you ignore your candidate’s reference list, recognize that a simple phone call can help you verify these five critical details before you make a commitment.

Is your candidate honest?

If his references are genuine, their stories check out, and they really are who the candidate says they are, great. You expect nothing less. But if they aren’t, now is the time to find out.

Is your candidate a trailblazer or does she toe the line?

By posing an open ended question about your candidate’s general approach to life and work, you can learn plenty about her willingness to break boundaries and try new things. Word the question like this: “Would you consider (candidate) to be more of a leader or a follower?” or “Can you tell me about a time when (candidate) broke a rule, tried an unconventional approach to a project, or pushed an idea that others didn’t immediately embrace? What were the results?”

Can your candidate handle the most difficult aspects of the job?

Identify the rarest or most challenging skill set that this job entails, such as CNC coding, public speaking, complex technical writing, or high level event planning. Ask the reference if he or she has direct experience with the candidate’s abilities in this area. Ask the person to speak freely on the subject, and read between lines of whatever you hear.

In what areas does the candidate NOT excel?

This is a tricky question, and it’s a difficult one to ask without seeming disrespectful of the candidate, or disrespectful of the relationship between the candidate and the reference. Try phrasing your question like this: “Can you name one task that you would rather assign to someone else instead of (candidate)?”

How can you bring out the best in this candidate?

If your reference is a former manager or supervisor, learn more about the kinds of tactics and management styles that can help you bring out the candidate’s best work. Frame the question as a simple request for advice. For example: “Can you offer me any management tips or guidance that might help (candidate) thrive in this position?”

For more on how to attract, select and retain the most talented candidates in the marketplace, reach out to the staffing team at Personnel Services Unlimited.

Contact us today


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