Find a Candidate Who Fits Well with Your Company Culture

March 10th, 2017

As you search for a candidate who can handle the challenges of your open position, take the culture of your workplace into account as well. “Fitness”, or the level of alignment between the candidate and the role, can be the product of a complex and delicate equation. The right candidate isn’t just ready to handle the daily tasks that come across his or her desk; she’s also ready to handle the kinds of clients your company work with, the coworkers who sit to her left and right, and the unique style adopted by the company’s upper management.

Are these managers hands-on or hands-off? Are these clients easy-going or edgy and demanding? Are these coworkers collaborative or competitive? No matter what the answers may be, here are some tips that can help you spot a promising match.

First, know what you’re working with.

Before you can find a cultural fit, you’ll need to understand the psychological and social fabric of your workplace. Look around, conduct surveys, and gather data points before you begin the sourcing process for an open position. Collect some statements that seem reasonable and plausible, like: “This is a fast-paced environment”, “Employees here are reserved and can seem cold at first”, “Mistakes and risks are not only tolerated here, they’re encouraged.”

Evaluate your candidate sources.

If you’d like to find seasoned employees who are experienced, level-headed and worldy, don’t recruit on a college campus. If you’re looking for young, ambitious dreamers and experience levels don’t matter so much, that’s a different story. Go where your cultural matches live, play, and search for work.

Explain your cultural challenges and watch what happens.

During your interview process, explain some of the challenges your candidate will face here and watch how he or she reacts. You might say, “We prioritize deadlines over everything else”. Or you might say, “Some of our clients can seem rude and unreasonable at times”, or: “We wear multiple hats here, which means you might find yourself sweeping or taking out the trash sometimes,” or “Our culture is demanding and rigid.” Ask how your candidate feels about these things and when as responds, read between the lines.

Rely on behavioral questions.

If your workplace is deadline driven, as your candidate to describe the most difficult deadline challenge she’s ever faced. If your workplace is collaborative, ask your candidate about the last time he had to work together with a team. Again, read between the lines. You’ll learn more if you keep your questions open-ended and encourage your candidates to answer by telling a story.

For more on how to use your screening process to find cultural matches, not just skilled employees, turn to the professional Charlotte recruiting team at PSU.

Are You Managing Millennial Talent Effectively?

January 6th, 2017

As an experienced manager, you already know that not all employees will respond the same way to the same communication styles and coaching techniques. Some employees appreciate criticism, some resent it, some prefer a hands-on approach, and some thrive when their managers take a step back and allow them to take full ownership of their projects. These preferences and quirks don’t always correspond perfectly to certain identity factors, like age or background, and it isn’t easy to divide employees along clear lines (for example, it’s never wise to assume that men like to be treated one way and women another). But in some ways, millennial employees tend to stand apart from their gen X and baby boomer counterparts, and taking note of these differences can help managers to understand the needs of this unique demographic. Here are a few tips that can help you maintain productive relationships with your younger workers.

Treat them like adults but respect their lack of experience.

Generations ago, a 22-year-old person could be considered a fully realized adult, but in today’s complicated world, that expectation just isn’t reasonable. Respect your millennial employees by recognizing the limits of their experience. When they make mistakes, coach and teach, don’t berate. Help them grow; don’t insist that they step into the workplace already knowing everything they need to know in order to succeed.

Technology is great, but it isn’t everything.

Just because your millennials have mastered social media does not mean they’re “tech-savvy”. It doesn’t mean they can manage an SQL database or update a legacy IT system or even confidently connect their own devices to the company network. Again, keep your expectations and assumptions under control, and keep communication channels open. Explain what needs to be explained, and ask what needs to be asked.

Recognize the way they’ve been raised.

Studies show that when compared to their gen x and baby boomer peers, millennials tend to be more empathetic, more comfortable with supervision and oversight, and more willing to take innovative risks. Some of these “millennial” traits are simply products of age; everyone goes through similar growth phases during their early twenties. But some of these traits are unique and have not appeared prominently in previous generational cohorts. This may be due to rise of the internet, hover-parenting, a 24 hour news cycle, a cultural shift, or any number of other factors; we may never know for sure. But if you keep an open mind and listen carefully when your millennial employees tell you who they are and what they need, you get the most out of these relationships, and you’ll attract and retain a group of hardworking, ambitious future leaders who will choose your company over the competition.

For more on how to build strong relationships with valuable young employees, turn to the Cleveland County staffing and management experts at PSU.

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Building Rapport Between Full-Time and Temporary Employees

October 3rd, 2016

Maybe you need a bit of extra help during your busiest season, or maybe you need to replace a departing employee but you haven’t yet settled on a full-time candidate. In either case, you’re about to welcome one, two, or several temporary workers into your office or onto your job site. What can you do to encourage positive relationships between these temporary newcomers and your regular full time staff?

Recognize the issue.

Too often, temporary employees are ignored by busy, distracted full time workers. Since temps won’t be staying for long, regular staff sometimes don’t even both to learn their names. And even if interactions are polite and civil, they tend not to blossom into genuine workplace friendships. In this atmosphere, full-time workers hesitate to trust temps with meaningful assignments and real responsibilities, which can defeat the purpose of their employment. Fostering trust can foster productivity.

Announce arrivals well in advance.

Long before your temps appear in the office, let your full time staff know who they are, what they’re going to do, and what they’re qualified to handle. Generate some excitement before the big day. Let your staff know about some of their personal details, backgrounds, hobbies and special accomplishments so they’ll have topics to talk about.

Make all expectations clear.

Every person in the office—both temps and full time staff—should know exactly what you’d like them to do. If you want one staff member to greet the temps when they arrive and show them around, make this known. If you want certain staff members to train certain temps to use your data management system, clarify who, what and when. Too often, temps don’t know exactly what they should be doing, and they turn to the nearest full time employee for guidance. Make sure they aren’t met with a shrug.

Insist on respectful treatment.

Hold your full-time staff to high standards regarding civility and manners. Expect nothing but the very best, friendliest, and most welcoming behavior, and that’s what you’ll get. Remind your staff that your culture is the pride of your workplace.

Make sure temps know where to turn with questions.

When temps need information, make sure help is available. Creating a respectful integration process means making sure your full-time teams aren’t constantly distracted and pulled away from their work by questions they can’t answer and requests they can’t accommodate.

Don’t worry if your temps don’t acclimate perfectly within the first five minutes. Most transitions are bit bumpy at first. But if you take steps to smooth the way, you’ll soon have two sets of productive, happy employees. Turn to the Cleveland County staffing experts at PSU for more guidance.

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Three Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

March 11th, 2016

While your resume may take center stage during the review process, a strong cover letter can mean the difference between landing the job and missing the mark. Your cover letter can add supporting detail to your claims and accomplishments, and it can help you explain some of the omissions or credentials that don’t shine as brightly as you might like. Most important, your cover letter helps your reviewers put a human face on the facts and details listed in your resume. So as you draft and edit your document, don’t miss an opportunity to stand out, and watch out for these common mistakes.

Length issues

Don’t push your cover letter past the limits of about one page of printed text or 400 words in an email. If you go on too long, your readers might tune out before they reach the end, which is bad. But worse, they might read all the way to the end and then forget half of what they read two minutes later. Keep your message tight and concise. At the same time, a message that’s too short represents a missed opportunity. Use the entire page to make your case and share your background.

Wooden sentences

As you complete your cover letter, try to share your information in the form of a story. Make yourself the protagonist, or your reader. Talk about a problem your employers need to solve and how you can help. Talk about the moment you first developed a passion for this work. Talk about your recent career history and the ambitions that drove you to apply to this company. But tell a story; don’t just list a set of random facts or sentences that all start with “I”.

Studies show that message are far more effective and memorable if they’re structured as a narrative, or a series of events that flow into each other. Use this approach as you present who you are, what you can do, and what you want.

Weak beginnings and endings

The most important sections of your letter will be your opening paragraph and your final closing statement, so give these sections more attention than the rest. Keep them interesting, respectful, and fluid. Imagine your letter falling into a puddle and the middle section becoming unreadable; if this happens, will the beginning and ending still be able to stand alone? The answer should be yes. Use your first and last statements to show enthusiasm and readiness for the job.

For more on how to create a cover letter that stands out and grabs the spotlight, contact the staffing, career development, and job search professionals at PSU.

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