Should You Be Hiring For Skills or Personality? 

Google “hire for skills or personality” and you’ll find more than 12 million resulting pieces of content – many of them recent. It’s a hot topic in hiring today, and it’s one that has the potential to make a big impact on your business. Poor hiring decisions can cost your business mightily – many estimate the cost of a hire at around 150% of that employee’s salary. Can you afford to make a bad hire?

Your business can make better hires.

Here are three things to consider around skills and personality when it comes to your hiring decisions:SkillsPersonality

Every industry (and role) is different. This may seem like a no-brainer, but what works for Richard Branson and Virgin might not work for your industry. In highly technical industries, a specific skillset is likely necessary to comprehend even the basic requirements. Of course, outside of industry, specific roles are also highly variable.

Skills are about more than technical ability. When considering skills during the hiring process it can be easy to laser in on technical skills. But, soft skills are just as important when making a hiring decision. Applying technical skills in human contexts is a critical component of successful employees. Flexibility and communication are some of the most important soft skills that impact performance in a range of roles, but there are others that may be important to your organization. Talk through this with your team first to identify the core soft skills that are critical to success within your organization.

It’s all about balance. A candidate could have the best personality in the world and still not be a culture fit for your organization. Or they could have a ton of skills and have zero personality. Like with all things, good hires are all about balance. Rank the importance of specific skills or experience in order of importance, then take those into consideration during the hiring process. A candidate with great personality and a strong foundation of skills epitomizes what this trendworthy topic is all about, really.

Ultimately, a smart team of recruiters who understands your business and its goals will source, vet and hire the best talent for your organization. Here at Helpmates, that’s what we do best! Contact us today to learn more about our temporary and permanent staffing solutions.

Image courtesy of FreeDigialPhotos.net/pakorn

Is Reference Checking Obsolete?

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.

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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

Conduct More Effective Job Interviews

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.

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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.

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Spotlight on Financial Staffing: CPAs–Avoid Emergency Hiring with a Strong Retention Strategy

The hiring process can be painful and uncertain for employees and employers alike. Unfortunately, many accounting firms may not have a choice. The American Institute of CPAs reports that 61% of executive CPAs expect business growth over the next year—but only 12% are eager to hire now. If your firm is anticipating growth, one of the best things you can do is to focus on employee retention. The ability to keep your best employees on board not only helps you avoid the stress of emergency hiring, but also strengthens your company as a whole.

What can employee retention do for you?

Accounting professions don’t typically have a high turnover rate. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the financial industry’s business-employer separation rate was 2.8% in August of 2012. However, this rate can be higher on a firm-by-firm basis, depending on what your company has to offer employees. A study from the American Institute of CPAs finds that 91% of accountants cite career growth opportunities as the number one reason for selecting an employer—or for leaving an employer with a lack of opportunities.

Employee retention strategies are vital for your organization’s success. With strong retention practices in place, you can attract and keep top talent, and give your company a competitive edge.

Tips for retaining your top accountants

What is your firm doing to keep your employees satisfied? Here are some steps to consider in fine-tuning your retention strategies:

  • Hire for the future. Most employers limit hiring to positions that need to be filled now, or in the immediate future. However, considering your hiring needs for the next three to five years and “hiring ahead” is a great way to improve employee retention. Employees who are hired for long-term needs feel valued and sought-after, and will plan to contribute to your company for years to come.
  • Understand employee motivation. Do you know the real reason why your employees are working for you? If you’ve made assumptions, you’re probably wrong. It’s essential to engage continuously with your employees and ask them direct questions about what motivates them to perform well. Because a majority of accountants look for growth opportunities, you should also set clear, established goals for advancement within the company that your employees can work toward.
  • Provide an exceptional environment. Employees will succeed when they’re given the tools they need. Make sure you’re providing office equipment and computer resources that will make your employees’ jobs easier—instead of frustrating them with outdated software and malfunctioning equipment. Invite employee suggestions for tools or technologies that will help them perform better, and implement the requests whenever possible and appropriate.
  • Offer outstanding benefits. Salaries keep your employees coming to work, but additional benefits help ensure they’re happy to be there. Consider the demographics of your employees, and come up with appropriate perks that will keep them motivated. For example, employees with families might prefer health insurance, while single employees may be interested in stock options or company shares.

We’re here for you

Helpmates Financial Staffing can help you develop a long-term hiring strategy to boost employee retention and give your firm a competitive edge. Our exceptional client service, as evidence by client satisfaction and loyalty scores of more than twice the industry average, combined with our focused approach in Southern California offers a unique experience for our clients and candidates alike. Contact us today to find out how we can ease your hiring concerns and help you attract and retain top talent.

When to Start Your Job Search

Job seekers have plenty of details to worry about, like what to include on resumes and cover letters, how to dress for interviews, and what to say when they’re asked the tough questions like “Why do you want to work for this company?” But there’s another concern that many job seekers don’t even consider: when to start looking for a job.

For some, the answer seems obvious: when you’re unemployed. However, there are many underemployed and unhappily employed people who are searching for something better—and if this is you, it’s important to factor timing into your job search.

So, when should you launch your search? These tips will help you figure out the most beneficial time to start sending out your resume for the career you want, instead of the job you need.

After you’ve done your homework

There are three keys to a successful job search: research, research, and research. You should be spending a significant amount of time looking into the industry you want to enter, the companies you’re thinking of applying with, and the position itself.

Hold off on sending out resumes until you’ve learned everything you possibly can. This not only helps you prepare for interviews, but also ensures that you’re pursuing a position you’ll truly enjoy.

Before you get sick of what you’re doing now

You may not need a new position right now. You might even enjoy your current job. However, unless you landed a fast-track career at your favorite company in an industry you love, and you’re already halfway to CEO, chances are you’ll eventually want to branch out, even if only within your current company.

Spend some time reviewing your long-term goals. Are they achievable in your current position? If not, start looking for opportunities inside and outside of your current employer that will allow you to get where you ultimately want to be, even when your employment situation is stable. This way, you’ll be prepared when you’re ready to make the change.

Once you’ve completed a major project

Work experience is a great thing to have on your resume—but responsibility and results are even better. If the future of your current position includes a big project in which you’ll have a primary role, it’s a good idea to stick around and get the experience before seeking greener pastures.

Potential employers are impressed by candidates with proven results. Make it your goal to achieve major project experience in your current job. If you’re ready to move on afterward, use that experience as leverage to get your foot in another door.

We’re here to help

Helpmates Staffing can help you hone your job search and place you in the career you’ve always wanted. We’ve worked with top employers throughout Southern California for more than 40 years, and we have access to unique career opportunities that aren’t available anywhere else. Contact us to find out more about how Helpmates can further your career.

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