Hiring

Interview Prep Isn't Just For Job Applicants

Everyone knows the importance of being well-prepared for an interview with a potential employer. However, how much do YOU prepare before you are interviewing candidates for a new position in YOUR organization? There are several things you can do that will help to ensure that you have productive meetings with your candidates, and you can ensure that you are not exposing yourself to any unnecessary legal risk. 
 
Over the next several weeks, we will be reviewing some important elements of an effective interviewing process. Many of these reminders come from feedback from our candidates after returning from interviews. Just a few extra minutes on the front end and a few minor changes can help to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward and that you select a person who will be a great addition to your team.
 
We believe reading through these tips will be helpful as you grow, and you can always keep them on file to review again before your next search process begins.
 
Today's Interview Element: Determine WHO You Want To Hire
 
We know this sounds elementary. Of course, you have thought about the skills and experience you need for the open position in your company. However, there are some extra steps you can take that will make a huge difference in the success of your hiring efforts.

Write a good job description.  Having a specific and thorough outline of what a candidate will do on the job makes it easier to assess an applicant’s previous experience and skills and how they line up with what you need. Make sure you list your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves.” Some things are essential in order for a new employee to be able to hit the ground running while others can be trained.

Know the intangibles that you need/want.  As you have probably learned the hard way over the years, skills do not typically cause an employee to fail in a position. However, it is more typically issues related to work ethic, personality match, being a team player, etc. Ask yourself these questions, as the answers will lead to a great hire. 

  • “What makes a person successful in this role?”  
  • “What type of behaviors/ attitudes make a person a great member of my team?”  
  • “Who on my team would I like to clone and what is it about them that makes them so valuable to me?”

Write down some specific questions.  Based on your must-have skills/experience and the answers to your intangible questions, write down some specific questions that you will ask each candidate. It’s okay to move off-script and go with the flow of the conversation, of course. But by making sure you ask each candidate 10 or so of the same questions, it will make it a lot easier for you to do your evaluations once the interviews are over.
 
Behavioral Interviewing Questions are one of the best ways to get to those “intangibles” that you are looking for in your next hire.  Stay tuned for some easy ways to implement those in our next post!

A Billionaire wants to mentor YOU!

Imagine this! You just received an invitation to meet weekly for coffee with one of the 100 wealthiest people in the world, a billionaire investor and philanthropist. He is taking a special interest in you, and he wants you to fully grasp all the important things he has learned in his 68 years of life and work.  He will mentor you by tracing his footsteps and missteps, his successes and his failures.  When your mentoring sessions are completed, you will be equipped to carry that spark as a blazing torch, enlightening your personal life and your business.

While it may not be an actual “talk-over-coffee,” Ray Dalio’s #1 New York Times bestseller Principles: Life & Work is the ONE must-read book this year, both for your business and your personal growth. Even if you are not a “book” person, there is just too much great stuff here to let this one slip by another day.

RAY DALIO is the founder and co-chairman of the best performing hedge fund in the world.  He’s made the list of the most influential people in the world by Time and Bloomberg Markets. Even if you have not a stiff of interest in hedge funds or investing, the stories he tells and the life principles he shares will keep you hanging on his every word.   

There are two overarching themes that ooze through the richness of Dalio’s wisdom.  

  • Principles are ways of successfully dealing with reality to get what you want out of work and life, so identify and use your principles as a measuring stick for all you do.
  • In applying these principles, be radically open-minded and radically transparent.  This will assure that you learn quickly, and that you don’t get hung up on what things “should” be like, but what is reality.

It is impossible to highlight the favorite parts of this book, but from a staffing perspective, let me jump right to Part III where Dalio hits the very heart of building a business based upon solid work principles.  Because there is just so much rich information, Dalio does us a tremendous service, and begins this section with a summary and table of these principles, indexed to the pages where each topic is covered in more depth.  He begins by saying, “An organization is a machine consisting of two major parts:  culture and people.” Then he proceeds to itemize how to get the culture right, and how to get the people right.  These are not pie-in-the-sky ideas, but instead he outlines specific steps.  For example, to support his principle that you need to create a culture in which it is okay to make mistakes, but unacceptable not to learn from them, Dalio provides five specific steps any business leader can follow to assure this happens. 

After learning how to get the culture right, my favorite section explains how to get the people right:

  • Remember that the WHO is more important than the WHAT
  • Hire RIGHT, because the penalties for hiring wrong are huge (then he adds eight steps to assure you succeed in this)
  • Constantly train, test, evaluate, and sort people (and he gives you very specific strategies to accomplish this)

As a reader and a business leader, you are challenged to manage your business like someone operating a machine to achieve a goal. Just as a machine operator knows the components that produce the product, “…know what your people are like and what makes them tick, because your people are your most important resource.”

Ray Dalio admits that he is no different from you. "Whatever success I’ve had in life hasn’t been because of anything unique about me—it’s because of principles that I believe anyone can adopt."

So grab a cup of coffee, open the book, either hardcopy or audio, and enjoy a few moments each week as Ray Dalio fills you with the inspiration and wisdom that may make you think differently about your life and work.  Oh, and Part III of Dalio’s book — that’s our sweet spot, so Innovative Outsourcing would be honored to come along side you to put these principles in motion as you build your team at your company.

Listen to Ray Dalio’s Ted Talk 
Watch the Animated Series (30 minutes divided into 8 short episodes) 
Book Summary Outline 

Your next new hiring task just got easier!

Assembling an ideal staff is no small task. And when you need to replace or add an employee, the rest of your work can't just be put on hold while you devote time to this critical team-building part of your company.

You need high-performing team members that fit into the culture that you’ve so painstakingly built over the years. Finding the perfect fit can be an exhausting, time-consuming process, typically taking an average of 60-80 hours per hire.

HERE IS HOW THIS WORKS

When you make the decision to allow our experts to do most of the really time-consuming work for you, Innovative Outsourcing will source and present fully vetted top candidates. All you have to do is choose your favorite from the cream of the crop.  This reduces your time investment to about five hours instead of 60-80.  

Businesses just like yours have been relying on us for over 24 years. Innovative Outsourcing has been taking the hiring pressure off business owners and helping them build the teams they need for ultimate success. This short video highlights the steps in our proven process so you’ll know what to expect when you partner with us on your next hire.  Have an opening in your company?  Then let’s get started finding a great addition to your team now! Or better yet, let us get to know you now so when are are in a pinch for a new hire, we are all set to get to work for you. Give Matt Filer a call, and we will get started.

Matt Filer
Business Development
phone | 404 259 6449

Take it from the hens!

Business Culture:

  • It's what makes your best employees choose to stay with you or take another job offer.
  • It's what makes some companies 12% more profitable than their competitors
  • It's what creates a line outside your door “just in case you have an opening”.  
  • It's what good small businesses spend time maximizing
  • It's what small business owners usually have no idea how to create.  
  • It's what you are creating (good or bad) even if you don’t know you are - THIS SHOULD MOTIVATE YOU!

Take a look at this Ted talk.  The health of your business may depend on it. 

Do you know what your culture is in your company?  Is it positive, negative or neutral?  Are you sure?

IO considers culture incredibly important as we help you hire and retain your best team.  We have a new product that can help you determine what your culture is and the things that you must do to create the culture that you want.

If you are interested, please contact Matt Filer, mfiler@innovative-outsourcing.com, 404-259-6449.

http://bit.ly/2ow1WDo
Image Credit: http://www.wildhenfarm.com.au/

Advice from a sage businessman

This is Alan Ketzes. Alan is a chair at Vistage International with the role of business coach to over 60 CEOs in the Metro Atlanta area. He thrives on bringing executives together through peer groups, giving one-on-one coaching, and has driven many executives and their businesses to new heights. 

In this 2 1/2 minute video, Alan offers a time-saving suggestion that he gives to his clients, and he believes this can help your business as well. We personally loved his answer and hopefully you will, too. Enjoy Alan Ketzes! 

https://youtu.be/rtwLe6pVsko

Selecting the Best Interview Questions

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I am often asked to suggest good interview strategies. What questions are the best? To help you make the most of the interview experience, consider using some of my favorite questions:

QUESTION: Tell me about a situation in a past job or organization where you encountered some conflict, and how did you address or handle it?

This question reveals these important indicators: 

  • This is a fairly complex question. Can the candidate recall a situation on the fly, and then provide a cohesive answer? Their response helps me understand if they can think on their feet, can handle something quickly, can determine a good answer, and then deliver a well-considered reply.  
  • How they have handled conflict in the past is a predictor of how they will handle it in the future. If they answer that it was all the fault of the other person, and the supervisor had to handle it, or the candidate simply left the company, that is probably not a good response. If their answer includes how they addressed the conflict directly with the person and talked it out with them, meeting halfway to handle the situation, that is the preferred response.
  • If they say they have never had a job with any conflict, that is a big red flag. This candidate is either not truthful or they can’t think on their feet.

QUESTION: At XYZ company, we value helping fellow employees and we are FOR each other. When in a previous position, have you been able to help a coworker get recognized for something they have done or help them achieve success?

Here’s what I am looking for here:

  • This is a good one to figure out if they are FOR other people or FOR themselves. To me, this is a significant factor in evaluating a candidate. If they can never remember a time that they helped a peer, then you don’t want them on your team.
  • This might give the candidate a glimpse into who you are as a future employer. They may not believe in this value. They may be such a self-centered driver that it is all about them. In this case, your environment would not be good for them, and they might self-select out. 

QUESTION: What is one thing that you would like to be better at in five years?

Look for these things:

  • I like someone to be self-aware. Do they know where their weaknesses are, and are they willing to share one with you?  If they answer this quickly, that’s a good indicator. If they don’t, that means that they haven’t thought about this lately and are not trying to self-improve. Ask me this question right now, and I have a list of five things in my head that I am trying to improve upon. That is what you would like to see.
  • I am looking for a humble employee. If they are open to share their developmental issues with you, then they are likely humble and this could signify a good candidate.  

Searching for more questions?  Here are 30 you may also want to consider.

When you work with Innovative Outsourcing, we provide you with the finest candidates. Work with us for your next open position. Our outreach identifies the best candidates, and then we use personality testing, phone screening, and in-person interviews to select the best two candidates for your review. Then, we schedule the interviews, and you simply ask some of these good questions.  It’s easy when you let us help!

New I-9 Form. Did you meet the deadline?

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No one likes to hear the word "audit". However, like Mondays, they always seem to come around eventually. Make sure your records are flawless by reviewing these newly released guidelines from USCIS regarding the I-9 form.

USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on July 17. Effective Sept. 18, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17 N at the bottom. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9. There were some minor changes to verbiage on the form. But the more significant changes relate to the List of Acceptable Documents.

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) was added to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
  • All the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) were combined into selection C #2 in List C.
  • All List C documents except the Social Security card were renumbered. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

All these changes are in the revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), which is also easier for users to navigate than before. Please visit the USCIS website for more details.

We know it's important to you to maintain a legal workforce. While the changes to the new I-9 form are minimal, failure to comply effective with the September 18th implementation date can result in significant fines for your organization. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced increases in fines for Form I-9 violations last year. So make sure all employees with hiring responsibilities in your company have scrapped the old form and are using the new one. 

Please reach out to you Innovative Outsourcing Account Manager if you need additional information or if you have any current staffing need. We are hear to help you.

So Dec 1 is the new April Fools' Day for the Dept. of Labor

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Cindi Filer, CEO of Innovative Outsourcing updates you on a new court ruling that may affect you.

Over the past few months, we have been keeping you up-to-date on the December 1 implementation of the Department of Labor’s White Collar Overtime Exemption, raising the minimum annual wage (salaried or hourly) for overtime exemption to $47,400.  

But it is 2016, and in keeping with the year’s theme of “expect the unexpected,” last week a federal judge blocked the rule, siding with 21 states and an organized business group, siting that the “rule is unlawful and granted their motion for a nationwide injunction,” according to Reutters.

This means that this regulation has been delayed, as the Department of Labor now files an appeal.  In light of the changing political climate, even a successful appeal could be “Trumped” by new legislation, or the incoming Department of Labor may withdraw it all together.

What does this mean for you?

The December 1, 2016 implementation is no longer required, and at this moment, no one really knows what will happen.

What do we recommend?

If you have procrastinated and done nothing, this is one time that you might actually be reaping the reward. Keep an eye open for a new date and possible implementation, but this may never happen.

If you have made pay changes already in anticipation of this, you will need to make a decision to pull back or continue.  Again, we have no way of knowing when (or if) this will be enacted.

Plans for tracking and reporting hours

I know that many of you have put in place a method to report hours for all employees due to this implementation.  My recommendation is to keep this in place. For many reasons, it would be a good idea to have all employees report hours.  It is a safeguard for you in this litigious climate.  And it is also a prudent practice for your employees to view the hours they spend in an ongoing self-evaluation of their time management.

The bottom line

For many businesses like yours, this means you may have earmarked money for overtime that now can be channeled into staff expansion instead.  Consider hiring a part-time employee to help ease the work load of your full-time staff. We have great talent waiting for an opportunity to bring their highly professional skills to work for you part time.  Just give me a call, and we can talk about your specific needs.

So the calendar says December 1, but when it comes to raising the overtime exemption minimum compensation, it feels more like April Fools' Day instead!

How to craft a plan to keep your best employees

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Cindi Filer, CEO of Innovative Outsourcing, offers her advice.

Your best employee may have just accepted a new job offer, and the resignation letter is heading to your desk.

In our message last week, and continuing today, I’d like to share with you some alarming statistics on employee turnover, and then offer some equipping advice that can hopefully buffer you from this trend.  A recent Forbes article sited two research sources indicating that 74% of current workers would consider finding a new job, and 35% of those workers are actively seeking a new job. Your business is not insulated from this alarming trend, but there is a strategy you can implement now to improve your chance of retaining your talent. 

So last week, my message asked you to sort the names of your direct reports onto three lists  1) Excellent Employees, 2) Worst Employees, and 3) Everyone in Between.  Then your assignment was to ponder the names on your Excellent Employees list.  It is for those people that we will now be crafting a retention plan.

First, let’s consider the reasons people leave their job.  For each person on your Excellent Employees list, fill in their name as you read each reason:

  1. __________ doesn’t feel valued
  2. __________ feels they have a bad manager
  3. __________ perceives there is a lack of communication
  4. __________'s efforts aren’t recognized (pay)
  5. __________ did not get a deserved promotion
  6. __________ feels a perceived or real lack of training
  7. __________ thinks that there is no chance for promotion
  8. __________ has too much work
  9. __________ doesn't trust management 
  10. __________ doesn’t connect to the mission (purpose)

Did this raise some red flags? For example:

  • Do they love words of encouragement and due to busyness, those have been few and far between?  
  • Has that person stayed at $28/hr for the past three years without a pay raise?  
  • Have you increased her workload because she is the most trustworthy, with greatest follow through, so now she works 50 hours a week?  
  • Have you not painted a path upon which he can progress in his career and his pay as he develops within your company?  

Identify at least two things on this list of ten that stick out right now as a potential issue for each of your Excellent Employees. In our last message, I asked you to assign a rank from zero to ten of how likely that person is to resign, (remembering that a great employee for whom you think the flight risk is at zero may resign tomorrow).  This will help you assess the urgency of your necessary action. Then construct an plan for those two critical areas.  For example:

  • Raise her pay to 5% above market rate by six months from now
  • Send her to a leadership development program each month so that she feels you are investing in her and she is becoming more valuable in leading the company.

Now you have at least two action steps in place for each Excellent Employee, and you can prioritize each step based upon pending urgency.

Do you feel this seems rather simple? Actually, I have seen time and time again that this deliberate and consistent approach slows the leak of a company’s best talent.  When you focus on retaining your excellent employees, you can RETAIN MOST OF THEM.  When you consider the expense of employee turnover, even while considering your preventative investment (of your time and company resources), the savings is huge.

Remember those other two lists, the Worst Employees, and Everyone in Between? Stay tuned!  I’ll be sharing some helpful suggestions for those employees, too.  

image: womensday.com

Speed-hiring in today's job market

Does this hiring scenario sound familiar?

"Our company needs a part-time executive assistant:
        7 days = candidate search
        5 days = find time to act on this and conduct interviews
        5 days = waiting until CEO can meet top candidates
        2 days = discuss and decide, offer Candidate A the job

But Candidate A just accepted another job.  So we offer Candidate B the position, only to find that she has been snapped up by another company, as well. Almost three weeks have passed, and we are back to square-one in the hiring process."

Wait... wasn't it just yesterday that you and I were learning the technique of hire slow and fire fast?  Yes, I even spoke on that very topic to CEO groups when this was the “winning” equation. But it seems that times are changing.This is a CANDIDATE market.  

In many job categories, we are seeing a shortage of great candidates.  This means that to “win” the best ones, we all need to take a look at shortening our hiring timeline.  Never before has a "hurry-up offense" been such a determining factor in filling a vacancy with the very best person. USA Today recently reported, "Employers who took their sweet time making hiring decisions just a few years ago, are scrambling to snag candidates in as little as a day for fear of losing them to competitors in a tight labor market.” (Read that article. It's an eye-opener!)

What does it mean to quicken the pace of hiring? No, don't skip steps. You need to still run background checks, reference checks (in detail), do personality profiles, and hold multiple interviews.  But the time between these steps must be compressed. Here's how...