4 Times Employee Engagement Should Be a Focus

November 3rd, 2016

Research from Gallup shows that only 34.1% of employees are engaged. That means that nearly 2/3 of your employees are disengaged (which correlates with research from Jobvite that shows 66% of employees are open to new employment).

In other words, if you’re not focusing your attention on employee engagement, you could soon find your top performers jumping ship. Employee Engagement

But while your organization should consistently demonstrate its commitment to employee engagement through the design and implementation of a strategic plan, there are also certain times where employee engagement should be a focus.

Specifically, your organization should pay particular attention to employee engagement when:

1. Several employees have left in a short span of time. Turnover is inevitable in every business, but when several employees leave in a short span of time, it can subconsciously signal to the rest of your employees that things aren’t well (even if the employees leave for different reasons). Being proactive in these circumstances is critical. Exit interviews for departing employees can help you identify (and change) any employee engagement issues before they result in increased turnover. But more importantly, detailed steps for communication and reinforcement of your company culture should be implemented whenever an employee leaves to help ensure your remaining employees stay on board.

2. You’re expanding your team. There are many different reasons your company could expand its workforce. Perhaps you’re gearing up for seasonal changes. Maybe you’re out of startup mode and into growth mode. Growth is (typically) good news for an organization, but it can also cause unease in your current team. Without clear communication, your employees could guess at (or gossip about) reasons for the addition of new positions and employees. Fear of losing jobs or changing expectations could cause some employees to panic and look elsewhere for new opportunities. Communication here is essential, but in addition to communicating business plans and goals, taking initiative to engage your employees in the process (and make them a part of the process, involving them in new job descriptions, input on candidates, etc) can help them feel secure and engaged with your business in the short- and long-term.

3. You’re going through organizational changes. Acquisitions and mergers require the tying of many loose ends — your employees shouldn’t be one of them. Major organizational changes are, understandably, incredibly stressful for employees. As mentioned previously, ongoing, direct communication is essential in these circumstances. Activities and programs to keep employees engaged and confident in the direction of the company can help support open communication by providing a sense of stability and purpose for your employees, even when the direction of the company is somewhat in flux.

4. Work is slow/stressful. Are you seeing a trend here? Any time there is stress in your office, a focus on employee engagement is essential. Depending on your specific industry, the availability of work can fluctuate from season to season or month to month. Partnering with a staffing firm like Helpmates can help you staff up or down appropriately to handle fluctuations in work. But while your staffing partner can help you whether the workforce challenges associated with industry fluctuations, your HR team should focus on keeping employees engaged and confident in your organization.

While your organization is focusing on employee engagement, your staffing partner is focusing on providing you with new, exceptional talent to help you reach your goals. Here at Helpmates, we have an extensive network of candidates across Southern California who are ready to join your team and make an impact. Contact us today to learn how we can help your organization reach its goals.

Image courteous of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Career Tips to Increase Your Value at Work

October 26th, 2016

Thinking about your career goals for the rest of 2016 and beyond? A helpful perspective to take as you work to impress your employer and climb the corporate ladder is continuously improve and increase your value in the workplace.career tips

Standing out to your boss for the right reasons can put you ahead of the pack when it comes to raises, promotions and recognition. But knowing just how to stand out for those reasons can be a challenge. Here are six career tips to help you increase your value at work and make a positive impact on your career:

1. Ask thoughtful questions. Knowing where your organization would like to improve or how to make your clients or customers happier can help you chart a course for improvement to impress your boss. The best way to get these details is simply by asking! In meetings and one on ones, ask insightful questions of leadership to understand the larger problems facing your organization and challenges or issues facing your customers. This is a great way to demonstrate to leadership that you are invested in the long-term success of your organization >> something many employers consider when granting promotions.

2. Think about how to make things better. Now that you’re armed with critical business information, it’s time to get to work. Take your unique perspective within your current role and use the information you’ve gained to think of ways to either solve the challenges noted above or improve upon things as they currently stand.

3. Avoid complaints (focus on solutions). To build on the second point, building a positive reputation and brainstorming ideas to help your organization are key. But conversely, complaining can help you stand out for the wrong reasons. If you are aware of new challenges or problems within your organization, share them constructively with leadership; however (and this is a big “however”), follow up your observation with a potential solution. At a minimum, share any insight you have into why the issue may be occurring and offer something to help solve the problem. Rather than succumbing to workplace gossip and complaints, you’ll be seen as a problem solver. 

4. Ask for more responsibility. Few things more directly showcase your ambition and increase your value at work than asking for more work! Now, it’s important to note that you’re not necessarily asking for a promotion. Instead, you’re asking for increased responsibility, which will of course demonstrate your ambition and increase your literal value at work. But, it will also help you learn more about your company and can also “test” out new roles with increased responsibility, in essence, testing out possible promotions down the line.

5. Help your coworkers. Be the person who is constantly offering to join committees or help out on a project. You’ll gain valuable experience, but you’ll also demonstrate that you’re a team player and are invested in your organization’s success >> not just your own.

Showing employers how much value you bring can elevate your career, but you have to find the right job before you become invested. The Talent Relationship Specialists here at Helpmates are experts at matching your background and goals with career opportunities at top employers across Southern California. Search our open jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to take the first step.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creating a Candidate Experience That Gets Results

October 20th, 2016

Research from CareerArc shows that nearly 60% of candidates have had a poor candidate experience, and 72% of them shared that experience online or with someone directly. candidate experience

Whether it’s on Glassdoor, Facebook or another social media site, or in one-on-one  conversations with family, friends and colleagues, talent is talking about your organization and its candidate experience. Do you know what they’re saying?

Attracting top talent starts with candidate experience

It can be difficult to undo the damage of written or spoken criticism from candidates. The best solution here is prevention >> Creating a positive candidate experience can help build a strong reputation for your company and ultimately can help bring exceptional candidates into your talent pipeline.

Follow these seven steps to improve your candidate experience and start getting better results from your recruitment efforts:

1. Create a plan ahead of time. It’s one thing to say you want to improve your candidate experience. It’s another thing entirely to put a plan in action. Schedule a meeting with key personnel within your organization to identify and map out critical steps.

2. Involve your current employees. While you’re creating that plan, don’t be afraid to gather feedback from your current employees or if you’re currently recruiting for a position or positions, ask candidates for their input along the way. This feedback can help you gain important perspective on your process and where it’s missing the boat. Be sure to let employees know their candid feedback here helps everyone – some employees may fear punishment if they deliver constructive or critical feedback on your process.

3. Be specific in your job descriptions. Once you have a process in place that helps you find the best talent while providing a great experience for candidates, it’s time to review your job descriptions. Research from The Talent Board shows that job descriptions are the most important job-related content candidates look for when they are applying. Specifically, they want a clear description of the job duties and responsibilities, plus an overview of the essentials: salary, benefits, company values/culture and any perks (eg. working remotely, flexible schedule, education allowance). Your job descriptions should include all of this information within a quick, easy-to-read package.

4. Communicate throughout the process. In the previously referenced research from CareerArc, 60% of candidates said that better communication throughout and after the applicant process would make the most positive impact on their candidate experience. Yet, 65% say they never or rarely receive notice about their applications. This should be a part of your planning in Step 1, but it’s especially important to follow through. Let candidates know when they can expect to hear from you (even starting with the job description mentioned above). Then, be sure to call or email them at the right stages and times.

5. Consolidate multiple interviews into one visit. Speed of your hiring process can make a major impact on candidate experience. As we mentioned earlier this year in our blog, unnecessary steps can bloat your hiring process and lead to unhappy candidates. This is especially true with multiple interviews. Coming into your office two, three, even four times for interviews can be excessive and cause candidates to become frustrated (consider this: getting dressed up, printing out resume copies and travel time to and from your office can cause major stress). Align your schedules so that all critical personnel are able to meet with candidates on the same day. Your candidates will appreciate the effort and your hiring process will likely move much more quickly.

6. Follow up with EVERY candidate. To build on the point made in Step #4, communication throughout the process is essential >> But, that includes communication with EVERY candidate, not just those who are moving forward in your hiring process. Today’s “wrong fit” could be tomorrow’s super star (or could know him or her). Putting in the extra effort to follow up with every candidate in your pipeline can help ease disappointment at not getting the job and encourage a positive impression of your organization.

Creating a more positive candidate experience takes some time up front, but the results can make a major impact on your business. But before you can impress candidates with a great experience, you need the right candidates in your pipeline. Here at Helpmates, we have an extensive network of top talent across Southern California. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more about how our talent solutions can help your business achieve its goals.

Going the Extra Mile: 5 Things You Can Do at Home to Boost Your Career 

October 14th, 2016

Although we may leave jobs after our shift is over, our ability to boost our careers and get to the next level continues once we get home. Spending your time going the extra mile can help you whether you’re looking to get ahead at your current job or find a new, better career opportunity.stencil-facebook-post

Are you going the extra mile to take your career to the next level? 

It doesn’t take a herculean effort to go the extra mile. Here are five things you can do at home right now to boost your career:

  1. Refresh your resume. You should update your resume at least once or twice a year. Set a reminder in your cell phone calendar if you need to – this one can make a big difference on your long-term career success. If you’re able to update it more often, even better – your most recent accomplishments will be top of mind. Get specific in your accomplishments, include numbers and details about your successes to ensure you make the best possible impression on employers. Email your updated resume to one of our Helpmates Talent Relationships Specialists for targeted feedback and input to help you ensure your resume is at its most impactful.
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t touched your LinkedIn profile in the past six months, it’s time for an update. Now you may have just updated your resume, but your LinkedIn profile should NOT simply regurgitate your resume. Instead, take those key accomplishments and updates and include them, but weave them into your personal story. Taking a personal approach to your LinkedIn profile will help you stand out from the pack. And while you’re at it, ask a friend or relative to take a new headshot for your social media profiles. If your headshot is outdated, cropped from a casual picture — or if you don’t have a headshot — a simple but professional picture can help strengthen your personal brand.
  3. Get out there. Networking is an essential component of successful careers. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new job, attending networking events can open up doors at new organizations and at the very least, can help you boost your speaking and presentation skills. You’ll also get more comfortable talking about your strengths and differentiators >> a skill that will come in handy the next time you’re looking for a job! Not sure what networking events are scheduled nearby? Meetup.com is an excellent resource to find networking events in most cities. Your local chamber of commerce is also a great place to call. You can always call one of the Helpmates Talent Relationship Specialists for networking event recommendations as well.
  4. Curate your social media presence. LinkedIn is just one piece of the social recruiting puzzle. Recruiters are visiting ALL your social media profiles >> are they telling the story you want them to tell? We recently posted our top 10 social media tips for job seekers, which offers a great place for you to start. Be sure to focus initially on updating your privacy settings and completing your profiles. Also, scan your past posts and any posts you’ve been “tagged” in to remove anything that could be considered unprofessional or that could make a negative impression on recruiters.
  5. Build a new skill. The internet today is buzzing with free resources to help you boost your career skills. Want a job creating websites or apps?  Codecademy offers free HTML lessons. Always wanted to be a designer? Adobe offers free Photoshop classes. Udemy is another resource that offers free career classes – not all courses here are free, but you can often find many free courses (and others that are $20 or less) to boost your skills.

Putting in some extra time at home can pay off in the long run of your career. And when you’re looking for your next great job opportunity, call Helpmates. We work with some of Southern California’s top employers in a range of industries. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

7 Questions to Help You Recruit For a Team Fit

October 12th, 2016

When you have notions of the ideal candidate for a job, it can be hard to sway your thoughts from finding the “perfect” person. Hiring managers can sometimes get stuck in a “I’ll know him/her when I see him/her” mentality during the recruiting process. Or worse, some recruiters focus on one specific skill set or qualification, eliminating potential superstars until someone with a precise background comes along. A lack of clearly defined needs can add costly time to the hiring process and can ultimately cost you access to top talent.september-blog-2

Recruiting for a team fit can boost your organization

Taking a “big picture” approach toward recruiting for your business can help you identify and attract top talent. Research shows that terminating an employee due to poor culture fit can cost up to 2.5 times that person’s base salary. That’s an added expense most organizations cannot afford. Add in productivity and morale losses due to increased turnover and the cost of aiming for the “perfect” candidate instead of one who fits into your team adds up quickly.

How to focus your hiring process on team fit

Shifting your mindset and approach during the hiring process to recruit for team fit doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul. Asking these 7 questions during your next interview can help >>

  1. What’s your perfect take on work/life balance? If your team thrives while burning the midnight oil to finish the big project, someone who enjoys leaving work at the same time every day might not be a fit.
  2. What does your ideal workplace look and feel like? Directly asking about the type of workplace preferred by candidates can present insight into whether they will be a good fit (and can help you determine whether some internal changes should be considered).
  3. What has been the greatest work day of your life? Why? If there isn’t a match between someone’s best work day ever and what your organization aims to deliver for its employees, there might not be a fit.
  4. When have you been in a position and didn’t know what to do? Learning new things happens in most jobs. Some organizations encourage a more open, “learn as you go” system than others. Asking an open ended question here gains extra insight into whether candidates could struggle without specific direction at every turn.
  5. What does “teamwork” mean to you? From weekly meetings to daily rundowns and multiple, coordinated projects, the definition of “teamwork” can shift widely from organization to organization. Aiming for nuts and bolts-type responses here instead of theory can really help you zero in on a candidate’s potential fit.
  6. When have you been forced to adapt to change in the workplace? What happened? Some candidates prefer to have extreme consistency from day to day. If your business is gearing up for a big acquisition, is experiencing immense growth or is going through any significant organizational changes, the answer to this question could serve as a red flag.
  7. When has an employer NOT been a great fit for you? Why not? By their nature, candidates don’t prefer to speak negatively during an interview. But constructive input and thorough responses to this question can provide an excellent standard to use for comparison.

Recruiting for a strong team fit can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here at Helpmates, we have an extensive network of top talent across Southern California. We’ll help you find exactly the talent you need to get to the next level. Contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

3 Signs Your Interview Isn’t Going Well (And How to Turn it Around)

October 10th, 2016

You only get one shot to make a great first impression. Often times, that “one shot” with an employer is at a job interview. It’s a pretty simple formula, right? Prepare for the interview and put your best foot forward and you’re much more likely to land the job.september-blog-1

But it’s not always that easy. 

Many of us have left job interviews feeling like a million dollars, certain that we are going to receive a job offer…only to get turned down (or never hear back at all). Sometimes the reasons are out of your control; however, a strong interview is critical to increasing your chances of getting the call.

Look out for these signs your interview isn’t going well

Keeping your eyes and ears open during your job interviews can help you identify trouble and steer clear of it – potentially saving your opportunity at the job. These three signs can most often signal that an interview isn’t going well >>

  1. No one tries to sell you on the job. Today’s job market is incredibly competitive. Employers know they have to effectively sell you on their opportunity and company as much as you’re selling your skills and background! If you’re doing a solid job highlighting key parts of your background but the interviewer isn’t trying hard in return, it could mean trouble. Not sure what to look for? When interviewers start to take about company culture, growth opportunities, office technology and other job perks, it’s a good sign they’re interested.
  2. The interviewer doesn’t mention “next steps.” If you’ve ever applied for a job before, you’ve probably heard about “next steps” frequently during interviews. Those next steps could be signaled by anything from salary requirements/history, references or even scheduling follow-up interviews. Some interviewers will give you a timeline to expect follow up >> these are all good signs. If you don’t hear a peep out of your interviewer, it could mean things aren’t going well.
  3. You’re in and out of the interview quickly. Hiring for the right fit puts a huge burden on interviewers – make the wrong choice and it costs an organization significant time and money. That’s why many job interviews can take 20 to 30 minutes or more. Today’s interviewers are asking more detailed, behavioral questions than ever to gauge things like culture fit, ability to navigate challenging situations and emotional intelligence. Job interviews should rarely (if ever) be quick and easy. If you haven’t been asked any difficult or detailed questions, the interviewer might not be interested.

How to turn around a bad job interview

All’s not lost if you recognize some of the above signs that an interview isn’t going well. Keep these tips in mind to try and turn it around:

  • Be upbeat. Nerves can get the best of all of us. If an interviewer picks up on negativity or stress, it could send the wrong message and result in an interview that feels like it’s going downhill. A cheery disposition and genuine enthusiasm for a company and role go a long way toward impressing interviewers. Skills can be taught, enthusiasm and drive cannot – employers know this, so show them that you are excited for the opportunity.
  • Ask thoughtful questions. Don’t just wait until the interviewer asks you if you have any questions. This usually comes at the end of the interview and there isn’t much you can do about it at that point. Listen to what the interviewer is saying and explaining, think about questions before you answer them, then ask thoughtful follow up or probing questions yourself. Prepare some questions ahead of time, but also try to think on your feet and ask questions that demonstrate genuine interest and knowledge of the company and role.
  • Watch your body language. Nervousness really can make a big impact on the message you convey to interviewers. It’s natural to have some nerves, but be sure you’re overriding them and avoiding body language miscues like slouching, which can convey disinterest. A few other body languages “musts” include the basics like smiling, nodding and making eye contact.

Before you can ace your interview, you have to land one! Here at Helpmates, we work with top employers across Southern California. Search our available jobs or contact your nearest office to take the next step in your career.

5 Ways to Build Career Skills in Your Spare Time 

September 30th, 2016

In today’s competitive landscape, you should look for every opportunity to stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. Have you devoted time recently to honing your career skills to stay ahead of the competition? jobs in Los Angeles

Believe it or not, your hobbies and interests can help you boost your career and increase your chances of standing out with recruiters. In fact, these 5 hobbies can make a major impact:

  1. Indulging your creative side. Are you always creating funny memes or other images and sharing them with your friends and family? Your creative endeavors — both online and off — can help you build important critical and software skills. Even if the specific software you’re using doesn’t relate directly to a specific job, your ability to quickly learn and adapt to new software is extremely marketable to employers.
  2. Volunteering. Giving back to the community is great for your neighborhood and can even be good for your health, but it also offers benefits to your career. Many nonprofit organizations lack funding to hire full-time staff. They depend on volunteers for things like donor solicitation, administrative tasks and other mission-critical responsibilities. These types of tasks can provide excellent opportunities for you to learn new computer skills, grant writing skills and more >> earning hands-on experience with real results.
  3. Starting a Meetup. Meetup.com has become an excellent resource for clubs, professional networking groups and more to connect and unite over shared passions and interests. When you start a new group on a site like Meetup, you are not only nurturing your passion, you are demonstrating and building strong leadership skills. Promoting your group and expanding its reach will help you develop strong marketing skills. And when you present at your Meetups, you’ll hone important presentation and speaking skills that can help you in a range of industries and roles.
  4. Reading. One of the first hobbies many of us develop is also one of the most beneficial. Not only can you read books that help you learn new skills and aid in your personal development, reading any book helps improve communication skills. Focusing on business or personal development books can also give you some important leverage in job interviews. Many interviewers like to make small talk – this is partially to put you at ease, and it’s also often an assessment tool. Rather than talking about the latest TV shows you watched, talk about the latest important business book you read. That is MUCH more likely to get the attention of your recruiter and increase your chances of landing the job.
  5. Yoga. Yoga can help you avoid muscle injuries and stay flexible, but its effects can also help you at work. The focused breathing and mindfulness associated with yoga can help you better handle the daily stresses that happen at work. Most employers today are looking for a strong cultural fit. Employees who can keep their cool during stressful moments are highly desirable for employers. The next time an interviewer asks you about a time where you faced a difficult situation at work, mentioning your yoga hobby and the benefits it affords you in the office can show interviewers that you take your career seriously, inside and outside the office.

Today’s employers are looking for well-rounded individuals. Embrace your hobbies and their ability to impact your career! Here at Helpmates, we help professionals across Southern California match their skills and goals to job opportunities with some of the area’s top employers. Search our current job openings or contact your nearest Helpmates office to learn more.

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to Overcome Your Biggest Career Fears

September 27th, 2016

How to Overcome Your Biggest Career Fears

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Theodore Roosevelt

What are your biggest career goals? If you haven’t achieved them yet, what’s holding you back? Fear is a powerful component of career success, and it’s something that can prevent you from reaching new heights. overcome career fears

Your success depends on overcoming career fears.

If you sometimes freeze up because of fear, you’re not alone. Many of us share the same career fears and concerns. Overcoming them is key to reaching your goals.

Here are the four most common career fears and how to battle them:

  1. Being asked a difficult question during job interviews. Job interviews are intimidating enough on their own: Being asked to describe why you’re better than the hundreds (or thousands) of people who also applied definitely brings some pressure! “Freezing” after being asked a difficult interview question is a very common fear for job seekers. The definition of a “difficult” question varies from industry to industry and person to person, but the best way to overcome this fear is consistent. Think of the Key P’s: Preparation and Practice. Do your research into common interview questions for your industry or area of specialty. Then practice answering them. Be prepared to talk about everything on your resume. Preparation and practice ensure that you can handle any curveballs that come your way. Need someone to practice with? Call your Helpmates Talent Relationship Specialist >> He or she will walk you through the interview process and can help you master the P’s to feel comfortable during job interviews.
  2. Being negatively impacted by social media posts. Social media is a critical part of your job search. The Internet is filled with posts warning about the dangers found in posting questionable content. It could be tempting to avoid social media altogether, but employers want to learn about you online before the interview >> Avoiding social media could potentially raise a red flag and could actually result in fewer job interviews. The best way to alleviate this fear and avoid any negative fallout from social media mistakes is to remove anything that could be considered offensive or inappropriate. Then, follow the advice we shared a few months ago in our Top 10 Social Media Tips for Job Seekers. Pay particular attention to your privacy settings and build consistent, complete profiles. Follow those tips, then be sure to consider your career when posting any content in the future. If you wouldn’t post it at work, it’s better not to post it at all!
  3. Not getting a high enough salary. Depending on your industry, you could either be in a candidate’s market or a more competitive environment. In the tech industry, for example, some specialties are commanding increasingly competitive salaries. Other industries aren’t quite as swayed in candidates’ favor. Depending on your specific background and goals, you may have some fear that the jobs that most appeal to you won’t provide the right salary. Knowledge is power to help overcome this fear. Use tools like salary.com to research positions and salaries for ideal positions in your city. These tools can give you a good idea how much salary to expect. Be prepared to back up your salary expectations with real-world examples of results you’ve delivered in previous positions. RESOURCE: Our salary negotiation tips can help you land competitive compensation.
  4. Not finding the right job. Feeling stuck in the wrong job is not a great feeling. Struggling to find any job can also be stressful. A fear that the right job will never come along is understandable during your job search, but it doesn’t have to be realistic. Partnering with a recruiting firm like Helpmates can help in a few ways. First, your job search efforts will be focused only on those jobs that are most likely to help you reach your goals (no more dead ends!). Second, recruiters will work with you to understand which jobs are best suited to your strengths, background and goals. We’ll work with you to find the right job for YOU.

The recruiters at Helpmates are here to help you overcome your fears and find jobs across Southern California. We work with the area’s top employers — they trust us to match them with incredible professionals like you. Search our current jobs or contact your nearest Helpmates office to take control of your career.

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Searching for Passive Candidates? What NOT to Say.

September 23rd, 2016

Passive candidates are often considered the “holy grail” for employers – after all, who wouldn’t want to hire the competition’s best talent? But reaching passive candidates and enticing them to leave their current positions can prove challenging. passive candidates

Stop thinking like a recruiter to hire passive candidates.

Sounds like some difficult advice, doesn’t it? How can you NOT think like a recruiter? It’s important, though — thinking like an employee instead of a recruiter can help you understand and pinpoint what will resonate with passive candidates. But your work isn’t finished once you’ve opened up communication with passive candidates. Here is some advice to help you say the right things (and avoid saying the WRONG things):

  • Avoid going too far on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for recruiters, putting you within reach of just about any professional across the globe. But use LinkedIn incorrectly and you can quickly alienate (or anger) candidates, sabotaging your current and future recruiting efforts along the way. These quick tips can help you avoid LinkedIn mistakes:
    • InMail. Keep messages short and sweet. Remember that many candidates are reading their messages on smartphones. If you’re using LinkedIn’s recruiting tools, you can send InMail to just about anyone, but don’t badger candidates with every detail about your company or your jobs. Instead, start off with some positive feedback on the candidate and his or her profile. Quickly explain who you are and why you’re reaching out, then include a link to your specific job opening, if appropriate. Finish by including your contact information and a note explaining if you’ll follow up (and when).
    • Connection Requests. Once again, short and sweet is the rule here. Especially in certain industries (like tech), candidates are being inundated with messages from recruiters. Want to stand out? Keep your messages short and quickly explain what’s in it for the candidate. Don’t ever lie about why you’re reaching out or how you may or may not know a candidate. This may sound like common sense, but it can get cutthroat out there for talent – don’t ever be tempted to damage your reputation by lying.
    • Group messages. Sure, you may be able to send group messages through LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean you should. Yes, it takes longer to send individual messages to candidates, but group messages are the easiest way to get your name, company and job trashed by passive candidates. They’re already employed (and possibly quite happily so). If you can’t take a few minutes to craft a unique message to each person, how could passive candidates feel as if you truly value them and their potential contributions to your company? Remember: Think like the passive candidates. What would make you feel valued by an employer? Which leads to the final point on LinkedIn communication…
    • Get personal. Look at candidate profiles before sending InMail or a request to connect. Don’t cut and paste the same generic message to all the passive candidates you’re trying to reach. Pay close attention to schools and previous employers to see if you share an alma mater or colleague. Look at any portfolio work, project examples or LinkedIn Pulse posts, then comment on them in your message. Remember, you’re trying to “woo” passive candidates from their current positions. Flattery doesn’t hurt, and taking a genuine interest in someone by relating to items in their profile instantly helps you stand out from the pack.
  • Try weekends. It may seem counterintuitive, but candidates get tired of hearing from recruiters all week. Following the recommendations above (whether you’re using LinkedIn, email or another communication method) in communications on the weekend can help you stand out and open the door to more communication.
  • Work harder on referrals. Putting your effort into new, passive candidates is important, but it’s critical to value your current candidates and employees. Foster an environment where they want to refer more people to you. Recruiting and HR should be working together to build a strong culture that increases retention rates and supports an environment where your employees want to refer their friends and former colleagues. According to research from LinkedIn, referred employees have longer tenure and higher performance, so in addition to maximizing your recruiting efforts, getting more referrals just makes better business sense.
  • Go beyond social media. LinkedIn is a great option for reaching and communicating with candidates, but it’s just one option. It’s important to also go where passive candidates in your target industries spend time. Professional organizations, associations, college career centers and niche websites/forums are a good place to start. Build relationships by providing value there (not instantly recruiting or trying to sell candidates on your organization). Not only are your communication efforts more likely to be successful, passive candidates may start reaching out to you directly to look for new opportunities!
  • Change your approach. Just as your messages and communication should be quick and to the point, once you’ve gained the interest of passive candidates, don’t put them through your standard interview/hiring process. Instead, brainstorm questions that could help uncover hidden problems within their current jobs that your new jobs could somehow solve. These questions provide a strong starting point. Keep it simple for passive candidates throughout – avoid putting them through the wringer with a long online application or drawn out interview process. If you’ve identified passive candidates who are an ideal fit for your organization, make it easy for them to make the switch. Offer interview times outside normal business hours, accept a resume instead of a long application — do everything you can to simplify the process and make your organization an appealing choice.

Passive or not, top talent acquisition is a goal for every organization. Helpmates has an extensive network of top talent in a range of industries and disciplines across Southern California. We’ll help you find the best talent to impact your bottom line. Contact us today to learn more.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Why Telecommuting Might Not Make Sense

August 12th, 2016

Why Telecommuting Might Not Make Sense

Telecommuting is definitely on the rise. The Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently reported that telecommuting has increased threefold in the past 20 years, and more employers are beginning to offer the flexibility of working from home than ever to meet demand.

But does it really make sense for your business?

Telecommuting offers some distinct advantages for employers: mac-733178_640

While these benefits can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, there are some challenges your business must consider:

  • Nurturing a strong culture can be more difficult when several team members (or more) are working off site. Allowing employees to work off site can expose a weak corporate culture — or degrade one altogether. When your team is separated geographically each day, it can be difficult to build and nurture a sense of team. If your culture is strong; however, telecommuting can be integrated effectively. It’s imperative that your HR department work with leadership to establish clear methods for the ongoing nurturing of your corporate culture (through virtual happy hours, Skype or other video conferencing, regular phone time, intermittent office visits, etcetera).
  • Collaboration can be stifled when employees aren’t working side by side. This is especially true for smaller companies that thrive on new ideas. When employees are chatting by the water cooler or over lunch, great ideas can often result. Take away the water cooler and the lunch room, and you could miss out on game-changing innovations for your business.
  • Clients can sometimes become uneasy with a lack of face-to-face contact with your team. If your clients are accustomed to regular, in-person meetings with one or more employees who are now working from home, it could create an issue for clients that require a bit more hand holding. In today’s economy, virtual employees are becoming increasingly common; however, watching out for this potential roadblock is something you would need to do on a case by case basis.
  • Some employees may become angry if your organization decides to allow telecommuting for some, but not all, employees. Be prepared to decide just how many people can take advantage of telecommuting, and how often. Perhaps one or two days a week, or only afternoons, works for some employees and/or roles. If telecommuting is impossible for certain employees or positions, be prepared to offer some type of added bonus to compensate them and avoid hard feelings (or worse, an exit of employees en masse).

Is telecommuting right for your business? 

Careful consideration for your organization is necessary before moving forward with a telecommuting option for employees. Internally, you should have the right business structure, culture and managers to effectively lead virtual employees. Here are some key traits to ensure your managers possess before allowing telecommuting:

  • No reservations. If your managers are nervous about allowing telecommuting, they won’t be able to effectively lead. Everyone should be “all in” before making the switch.
  • Clear communication. The ability to set clear expectations and deadlines (and enforce them when necessary) becomes especially critical with telecommuting employees. Accountability is key to taking advantage of the productivity boost noted earlier. Your managers should be able to clearly communicate what is expected and when.
  • Trust. Ultimately, your managers must trust their teams in order to effectively lead them in a telecommuting environment.

Once you have the right managers in place, you’ll want to ensure the right employees are being afforded the flexibility of telecommuting. Look for these qualities:

  • Self starter. Personal accountability is critical to success in a telecommuting role. Employees should demonstrate the ability to work with little to no supervision and should be able to allocate their time effectively.
  • Strong technology. While you may provide a phone and/or laptop for your employees to use at home, you should ensure that any telecommuting employees also have solid wifi and other in-home technology to support their company technology.
  • Strong problem-solving ability. Telecommuting employees will often be on their own when it comes to solving problems. Both from a technical standpoint as well a a client perspective, challenges arise. The ability to think on their feet and get things done without being able to pop in someone’s office is key.

Before your business can consider telecommuting, you have to have the right employees in place. At Helpmates, we connect employers across Southern California with exceptional talent. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business achieve more.

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