November 20th, 2013
While social media has seemingly made reference checking obsolete, many organizations still regularly perform this once-critical step in the hiring process. But should you?
The truth about reference checking.
Many companies still ask for references, but they might not be conducting real reference checks. Some companies use them simply to verify employment. Others ask for references as a sort of protocol or natural step in the process, without following up on them. But those companies are missing out on a valuable hiring tool.
Reference checking can still be incredibly useful to hiring managers. Its value lies in the fact that:
- It offers additional insights. In today’s job market, candidates are extremely prepared for the online searches hiring managers conduct. So much so, that they often prepare a well crafted social media and online presence. While this can definitely give you great insight into a candidate’s professionalism and communication skills, reference checks can offer additional insight into how a candidate performs on the job, or about specific personality traits you wouldn’t gather from a well-crafted online presence.
- It can protect you. While social media offers great opportunity for research on candidates, it also comes with potential liability concerns over protected information. While reference checking isn’t without it’s own liability concerns, it still offers a formal process for gathering specific information, versus social media – where you could inadvertently be exposed to protected information that could compromise your hiring decisions. (Hint: Get more information on protected data and its impact on the hiring process here).
- It can help differentiate. Some employers may look at reference checking as a validation step – the last step in the process before making a hire. This outlook can cause you to miss out on incredibly helpful data sources in the hiring process. The right questions and insights can help you differentiate between candidates and benchmark skills against job descriptions.
Reference checking can be an incredibly helpful tool in the hiring process – but it has to be done correctly for the best results (and for liability protection). Here at Helpmates, we conduct professional reference checks that offer you the insights you need with our experienced, professional recruiting staff. Contact us today to learn more about our extensive staffing services for Southern California.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Danilo Rizzuti
October 30th, 2013
The call center industry has been growing consistently across the world over the past decade, and with growth expected to continue well into the next decade, call center professionals are in demand with employers across Southern California. With this increased demand, employers are struggling to identify and hire the most experienced candidates. Your resume offers an opportunity to demonstrate your value to employers within this competitive market.
Get Your Resume in Shape
Depending on your area of specialty, your call center career background may fall into a range of categories, including: customer service, technical support and sales. But to stand out in the current call center job market, you’ll need a resume that effectively “sells” you to employers. These tips can help:
- Focus on numbers. For most call center jobs, numbers are critical. Whether its call duration, sales percentages or call resolutions, your previous call center jobs have likely focused on achieving specific numbers. Showcase your specific accomplishments on your resume – using those concrete numbers wherever possible. All businesses speak the language of efficiency and accomplishments, so be sure to make them a focal point of your resume.
- Avoid a task list. Most call center jobs feature the same primary tasks. Potential employers can tell what your day-to-day life was at a previous job simply by looking at the title – don’t waste valuable resume space by rehashing daily tasks. Once exception to this rule is to include specialty software or technologies you may have used or are familiar with. You can include this information within each position, or in a separate section. But eliminate tasks and other “fluff” that can dilute the effectiveness of your resume.
- Keep it brief. On average, recruiters spend five to seven seconds looking at your resume before determining if they want to move forward with you in the hiring process. The first two bullet points will help make your resume more impactful (numbers especially pop to recruiters), but the final tip to help make your call center resume more effective is to keep it brief. Your resume should rarely be longer than one page, and you should avoid long paragraphs or especially long bulleted lists.
What To Do Next
Here at Helpmates, we match experienced call center professionals with employers across Southern California. Our experienced team can help you hone your resume and prepare for interviews for leading call center jobs that will help you reach your career goals. Contact us to get started.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stockimages
October 4th, 2013
When it comes to long-term planning for your business, regardless of its size, succession planning should be a key part of the process. Key benefits of succession planning include:
- Time and cost savings. If your top employees suddenly left tomorrow, your organization could lose valuable time and resources while scouring for replacements. Succession planning can reduce the burden of sudden departures.
- Identify areas for improvement. Taking an objective look at your organization during succession planning can help you identify any strengths and weaknesses in your business.
- Helps HR be more proactive. Rather than hiring or responding to management reactively, succession planning allows HR to be more proactive, making your company a better place to work.
While succession planning is integral for every organization, there are some best practices to keep in mind so that your investment is maximized:
- Evaluate everyone. Yes, everyone. When it comes to the long-term stability and success of your business, strong leadership is imperative. Today’s mail clerk could be tomorrow’s CEO.
- Look beyond CEO. Succession planning is critical for all key roles within an organization. While you’re looking at all of those employees we mentioned above, be sure to consider their best potential roles. To determine which roles need succession planning, ask yourself this question: “If [blank] left tomorrow, what would we do?”
- Think about mentoring. Extensive preparation is needed by all successful leaders. Once you’ve identified successors, it’s imperative you give them the preparation they need to succeed once their opportunity comes.
- Identify talent needs. When it comes to succession planning, a strong talent pipeline is critical. Now’s the time to assess your talent and identify any current or potential future gaps that could hinder your succession planning.
Taking the time and resources for succession planning now can mean a much more stable and successful organization in the long term. The team at Helpmates is experienced in talent strategies and assessments. We are here to help businesses across Southern California with their succession and talent investment planning.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/jscreationzs
October 1st, 2013
Is onboarding a high-focus part of your hiring process? It should be! In addition to having a dramatic effect on job performance and satisfaction for new employees, onboarding is also an important team-building tool for your current employees. Put simply, onboarding is a relatively cost-effective tool for employee retention – one that you shouldn’t ignore.
Developing a successful onboarding plan.
If you’re struggling to understand where to start when it comes to your onboarding plan, here are five tips to help you get the ball rolling:
- Set a formal plan. Regardless of size, all businesses should have a formal onboarding plan for new employees. This ensures all employees have the same experience and are equally prepared for success in their new positions. This can be as simple as a Word document saved on your team hard drive, or it can involve a full orientation and engaging process. The call is yours – just be sure to formalize and document it.
- Be prepared. You expect your new employees to come to work prepared; be sure to offer them the same courtesy. This includes things that seem simple but can often be forgotten like, a functional desk chair, office supplies, a working computer and computer login(s), among other things. Designate one or more employees to be in charge of new employee setup, and ensure everything has been completed at least one business day before new employees are scheduled to begin.
- Make introductions. This may be a challenge for larger businesses, but be sure to introduce new employees to their co-workers as close as you can to the beginning of the day. From receptionists to the CEO, new employees should feel welcomed by the entire team, or at least their immediate team and key personnel. While new employees won’t remember everyone’s name right away, introductions can immediately set new employees at ease and make recollection easier.
- Set immediate, measurable goals. Starting a new job is overwhelming to most people, but it can feel a bit less stressful when employees have concrete goals they can work toward from Day 1. Determine these goals before employees have begun, and communicate them as early as possible. Then, provide regular feedback so that employees can make adjustments where necessary (and can hear regular praise from the earliest days of their employment).
- Keep in touch. Direct managers should schedule regular meetings with new employees to answer any questions or address any concerns that should arise. This can also save managers time by setting expectations for when non-priority questions arise. Rather than a constant barrage of emails and phone calls, employees and managers can prepare notes for regular meetings.
With the right preparation and execution, onboarding can make a big impact on your performance and retention. If you’re looking for ways to maximize your talent investment, contact Helpmates. Our range of staffing services help businesses across Southern California reach their goals through human capital.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/David Castillo Dominici
September 20th, 2013
Interviewing can be hard. For HR professionals and recruiters, it can be a challenge, but for managers and other professionals who don’t ordinarily conduct job interviews, it can be terrifying. Yet, effective job interviews are critical for making good hires and retaining top talent.
You can conduct more effective job interviews.
Understanding interviewing basics provides you with a solid start, but to conduct truly effective job interviews you need skills beyond the basics. Here are three types of questions to ask that will get you better candidate insights:
- Behavioral questions. Behavioral questions are gaining in popularity because they offer insights into how employees would act in real-world situations. Working several behavioral questions into your job interviews can help you determine which candidates are more likely to succeed in your real-world working environment.
- Purpose-based questions. In a world where 80% of employees are unhappy in their jobs, employee retention is a critical problem facing HR departments. One of the most important keys to retention is hiring the right people. Purpose-based questions revolve around “Why” – Why you get up in the morning, what keeps you motivated and drives you throughout the day. Purpose-based questions can help you identify candidates who are aligned with your mission and purpose. Employees who are more likely to be happy working for you – and more likely to stay with you long term.
- Open-ended questions. Have you ever been in a conversation punctuated by one-word responses? They never really go anywhere, and they certainly aren’t very interesting! In job interviews, yes or no questions offer little to no insight into the candidate. Don’t fall into the trap of asking easy questions. Instead, focus on open-ended questions that require a candidate to formulate well thought-out responses. These six examples offer a good start.
The talented recruiting professionals at Helpmates have extensive experience conducting job
interviews with a range of professionals. Using these questions and other skills gained during years of experience, our team finds only the most talented and qualified professionals to meet your staffing needs. To learn more, check out our client resources or contact us today.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ambro
September 17th, 2013
A recent study found that nearly 40% of employers use social media to screen potential job candidates. Potential employers are looking for you on social media, which means two things: 1) If you’re not actively searching for jobs on social media, you’re missing out, and 2) You should be carefully honing your social presence to put your best foot forward for employers.
Those are two of the “cardinal rules” to consider when it comes to your social job search. To ensure your social media accounts aren’t working against you, try following these tips:
- Update (and check) your privacy settings. Social privacy settings are there to protect you from unwanted eyes on your personal information, but they can be tricky to maintain. In particular, Facebook frequently updates its privacy settings, and often times your settings are set to their default after the changes are made (often leaving your posts and pictures public until you update them again). Stay diligent about privacy settings and check them frequently.
- Expect zero privacy. Are you absolutely certain that there aren’t any pictures of you online that are publicly available? Maybe you wrote some online reviews a few years ago for your favorite band? The fact is, whether you have updated your privacy settings or not, employers can still find plenty of information about you to make decisions on your hirability and character.
- Understand you have (limited) protection from the law. Employers are prohibited from making hiring decisions or discriminating because of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy status, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. However, you are not protected from an employer drawing conclusions regarding, for example, your professionalism or good judgment based on what is publicly available about you online.
- Take control of your name. If you’re not on all social media sites, you could potentially lose “your name” on those sites. So go into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and About.me and set up basic profiles (using the same professional image for each profile). This prevents confusion if someone else by your name is the first person to show up in a search by recruiters (and also prevents someone with a poor reputation from potentially affecting your job search).
What other tips or tools have you used to enhance your social job search? Here at Helpmates, we work with candidates to put their best foot forward, online and in traditional resumes and job interviews. To find your next career opportunity, search our available jobs in Southern California or contact us today.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Pixomar
August 6th, 2013
In an unstable economy, businesses are striving to find unique ways to achieve more. While strategic planning is a critical component of any business plan, there are a range of pieces to be placed in the strategic planning puzzle. One piece of the puzzle you may not have considered is career planning.
Career planning is essential to effectively manage your human capital investment.
Career planning is, in essence, a set of very simple steps. Yet the potential impact is profound. Here are some of the benefits of career planning on your business:
- More invested candidates. Here at Helpmates, we meet with talented professionals across a range of industries. Higher-level candidates, and even some entry-level candidates, often have expectations or a desire to understand the “big picture” of a position. Demonstrating how your organization will support a candidate with their career plan can help engage well qualified candidates by showing how they might fit into the longer term vision of the organization.
- Better talent management. Sure, every business wants talent that is excited for their positions, but wouldn’t it make your life easier if you also knew what your talent wanted and expected in five years? As your senior team plans to fill strategic gaps in your organization down the road, understanding the expectations, goals and plans of your talent can make filling those roles (and grooming talent for those roles) significantly easier.
- Highly engaged talent. Career planning can also be an incredible retention tool. Employees who have a clear understanding of their roles and paths within a company are much more likely to work toward their goals, rather than toward the end of the day. Likewise, employees are less likely to be lured away to a shiny new career opportunity elsewhere, when they know that an exciting opportunity exists for them at your company. Productivity increases, and your talent is much more likely to stay long term with your organization – minimizing turnover and getting results for your business.
Tips For Career Planning in Your Strategic Plan
- Start at the end. From a staffing perspective, take a look at your strategic goals and how talent figures into those goals. Start at the end, and take steps back to assess the types of people you have in place, who you’ll need, and then how to get to the right balance of talent (using career planning to take your current employees where they need to be, and for staffing planning to fill in any gaps).
- Get your managers on board. It’s integral for your managers and ground-level employees to buy into career planning as an effective tool and not just another round of paperwork and meetings. The career planning process should be collaborative, and both sides should have clear goals and steps to take afterward.
- Make it an ongoing process. Here’s the thing about plans of any kind: They change. This goes for career planning too. Sometimes the decisions we make or steps we take fluctuate, even after the best of planning – there’s nothing wrong with that. If you ensure that career planning is an ongoing process, your plan (and your employees’ plans) will reflect any changes that may have occurred, and will be updated to take the most current information into consideration. We recommend that individuals revisit their career plans every six months in order to stay on top of their progress toward their goals. For company staffing plans, revisiting plans twice per year should also do the trick, but your organization and employees may necessitate more or less frequent assessment.
- Don’t assume your employees know where they want to go. For those with a concrete idea of where they’d like their careers to go over the years, career planning may be an easy process. But many of your employees may not have a clue where they fit into your organization long term – or how to get there. Your managers and leadership should take a coaching approach to career planning, helping employees realize where they may want to be, but also recognizing strengths and attributes in your employees that can help lead to suggestions and realizations of where they could go within your company some day.
Career planning can be an effective tool in your strategic business planning. What else is your organization doing to more strategically manage your human capital investment? Contact Helpmates for best practices!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles
July 11th, 2013
Engaged employees are more creative, more productive and more likely to stay with your company – getting all those great results. In an especially competitive market for top talent, employee retention should be a key goal, and engagement is a critical factor. To put it simply, employee engagement is critical to your short- and long-term success.
Employee engagement is a cost-efficient way to retain talent.
Creating an engaged workforce doesn’t have to mean massive budgets and initiatives. There are creative ways you can keep your employees engaged, motivated and retained, including:
- Flexible work arrangements. Research shows that remote workers can benefit employers as well as employees, but telecommuting situations aren’t always a fit for every role. Still, it’s a highly desirable benefit for many employees who struggle to balance their work and home lives. Whether it’s split shifts, work sharing, or telecommuting, assess various positions within your company to see if the potential exists to offer more flexible work arrangements for your employees.
- Continuing education opportunities. Investing in your employees’ futures with your company demonstrates a commitment to their success and longevity within your company. Who wouldn’t want to feel valued and invested in by their employer? Continuing education opportunities offer an easy way to demonstrate that long-term commitment your employees need. If you can afford tuition reimbursement for college credits, that is certainly an excellent way to do it, but it certainly isn’t the only way. Online training in various disciplines is an easy way to offer education opportunities (and it can be completed outside of the 9 to 5). Lunch training sessions can be a great way to cross train between departments or offer advanced training to specific teams. You could even start your own library of materials for employees to “check out.” The point is to keep your employees learning and to show them that you are invested in their futures.
- Keep them informed. Big business decisions like mergers and acquisitions mean advanced employee communications – that’s a no-brainer. But keeping your employees informed on what your company is working on is another way to help them feel invested in your future (and your “now”). Quarterly or bi-annual “state of the business” conference calls are one way to include employees in news and company happenings. You could also send out an email in lieu of the call (but it should come from someone in leadership). You could even start an employee newsletter or e-newsletter, with contributions from within the team. Keeping your employees informed on company news helps them take ownership in your company, and can often make them feel more secure about their careers and futures.
How are you creatively developing an engaged workforce? What other ways have you found create a more invested team environment? Here at Helpmates, we work with talent to help determine the right cultural and skills fit within your organization. We place talent that is committed to your short- and long-term success. Contact our team to learn more about our staffing services in Southern California.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/stockimages
June 27th, 2013
Branding is a popular buzzword today. Companies use it to effectively market themselves to customers. Candidates build and manage their online brands to attract employers. But what about your company’s branding…from an employment perspective?
Differentiate your company’s employer brand.
There are many levels to who you are as a company, and from an employment perspective, you can and should be leveraging your company’s brand as a recruiting tool. This way of thinking may be a bit new to you, but we’re here to help. Here are answers to three common questions companies have about leveraging their employer brand:
- Why does differentiating my employer brand matter? This answer is incredibly simple, yet understanding it is essential to successfully leveraging your brand. Regardless of the hiring market, competition for top talent is always fierce. Your competition is taking steps to land them, and you should too. One of the easiest ways to differentiate yourself to candidates is to leverage that unique employer brand that makes your company a great place to work!
- My budget is gone; how can I worry about differentiating my employment brand? For those companies who think that leveraging your employment brand means large-scale, snazzy marketing campaigns with billboards, commercials and bus advertisements – think again. Identifying and leveraging your employment brand is much simpler than that (really!). Sure, candidates like high salaries and lots of vacation time, but for the most part, many employers are offering similar compensation packages. Where you can really stand out is in the support you provide employees. Career paths are a hot topic right now, and many new employees are looking for that sign of stability and investment in their future. When creating job descriptions for new hires, work out a basic career path as well and outline it during the hiring process. Share your organizational vision and mission with candidates – in the job description, in the interview – make who you are a key component of every step of the hiring process.
- How do I know what candidates are looking for in an employer? The answer to this question is right in your office, literally! Talk to your employees about why they decided to accept a job with your company. Go to long-term employees and ask them why they’ve stayed. There’s no need to guess what people want from a prospective employer – you have plenty of people who can provide you those answers! If you fear that your employees won’t be totally honest by one-on-one conversations, a simple, brief and anonymous survey can also get you the answers you need.
There’s one final tip that can make a big impact on how candidates perceive your employer brand – be genuine. Don’t put out messaging that supports who you want to be…take an honest look at your organization and support the culture and benefits that make you a great place to work. That authenticity will come through to candidates, and will help you win the competition for great talent.
Finding great talent can be a time-consuming challenge, and attracting that talent can be even harder. Here at Helpmates, our hiring process has been carefully honed for more than 40 years. We take the time to fully understand what makes your organization unique, and then we put our process to work, finding you the best talent to make an impact on your business. Contact us to find out how we can help you differentiate your employer brand and attract top talent.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/David Castillo
May 28th, 2013
Numbers make good decisions
It can be pretty easy to argue with a person. It’s harder, however, to argue against data. Cold hard facts stand up well to scrutiny, particularly in the workplace. Data can provide a company with the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. By bringing more data analysis into human resource and workforce planning, you’ll set a course for a more predictable, effective future.
Test with numbers
When there’s a decision to make, it’s easy to rely on your gut instinct, or perhaps your boss’s gut instinct. That’s the traditional method of deciding: take a peek at the limited information available, and then make your best guess. In the changing world of data-driven decisions, however, you can do better.
It’s becoming much easier to collect data—even on areas that can be hard to analyze like workforce productivity or whether a department is appropriately staffed. The information gathered can tell you in what areas your business may have room for improvement and you can then turn those numbers into a plan for the future. Data can point the way to success, and that success reinforces the usefulness of the data.
Tips for making analysis work for you:
- Start small — consider which data points would be most useful in making fact-based decisions to support your organization’s top three initiatives as they relate to human resources and staffing program management.
- Review current systems and operational processes to determine at what point this data presents itself in your normal workflow.
- Make it easy for your team to comply with your request for data by making the reporting process as easy and efficient as possible — automation through software systems etc can be particularly helpful in accomplishing this.
- Rely on outside experts to support you — leverage relationships with vendor partners and/or consultants to support you in gathering the data and providing the analysis to help you make the best decisions for your organization.
Helpmates works both with our current staffing clients and other organizations to analyze workforce planning and effectiveness through a uniquely detailed and insightful method. The specific recommendations and innovative solutions that our consultative team provide have earned Helpmates national awards both from client organizations and from an independent market analysis firm. Contact Helpmates today to learn more about how you can leverage our expertise for the success of your organization’s future.