Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to Hire a Ninja

When we talk about hiring a ninja, we definitely don’t mean hiring a sword-wielding, nunchuck waving, fierce assassin…that would be awkward for everyone, not to mention a real liability in the workplace.

A ninja is precise.  A ninja is specialized.  A ninja has legendary abilities.  A ninja will get the job done.

Every company needs ninjas working for them.  The question is:  How do you go about finding a ninja?

There is a definite trend in employment applications.  The trend is that more and more people (a.k.a. ninjas) are heading online to fill out applications and find a job.  These ninjas are stealthy, they know where to look to find the best job, they want ease of application and they want employment pronto.

Ninjas, or the best qualified applicants, look for a straightforward online application.  Nothing complicated.  Fast.  Clean.  Precise.

Three Keys to Hiring a Ninja include:

  1. Karate Chop your Job Descriptions – Do your job descriptions pop?  Are they specific enough?  Are they using key words that will attract the ninja you need?  If not, you need to rewrite, revamp and give them a good “hi-yah” and make them say what you want them to say and attract who you want to attract.
  2. Power your Website Up and Keep Those Jobs Current – Ninjas are turned off by outdated information and less than stellar online applications.  Get your no-contract website with ninjagig.com up right now and start attracting ninjas.  Your job postings are never inter-mingled with other companies and you will attract the type of ninja you need in a flash.
  3. Track those Stealthy Ninjas – sometimes ninjas creep in and are a little too stealthy when applying for jobs.  Those too stealthy ninjas are ones we don’t want – job applicants with a past that is a little shady or ones that have embellished their resumes.  Do your homework, check social media sites for their profiles and ask for and check those references. Everytime.

Happy Ninja Hiring and may Good Karma Rest Upon your Company.

Keeping the Spooks Away from Your Office

When conducting job interviews, it’s hard to look through your crystal ball and make sure you’re hiring who you think you are.  When people submit online job applications, you can’t meet them and you don’t have the luxury of forming a first impression.  All you can do is hope that the words you’re reading on paper are an accurate portrayal of the job applicant.

To keep the spooks and freaks away…follow THREE simple guidelines:

1.  Don’t Just Call the References – call other places the job applicant has worked in the past.  Find out what kind of person they are by going the extra mile in your checking.  There is no “lemon law” with hiring employees – once you’ve hired them, you’re stuck with them!

2.  Check Social Media – every seriously considered job applicant should have a background check and/or drug test performed, but you should also check their social media sites.  Are there a plethora of drunk, partying pictures on their Facebook page?  If there is questionable material, run!  And run fast!

3.  Go With Your Gut – even if everything looks great on paper, you will be well served if you follow your gut instinct on a person.  If something feels “off”, then it probably is and you should follow that instinct and not be overridden by what looks good on paper.

Your Business Habits will Change Your Business

In his book, “The Power of Habits,” author Charles Duhigg cites many studies all relating to how habits shape our personal lives, businesses/careers and basically every facet of our lives.

It all boils down to the old adage, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

In business, if you are not happy with how things are going, then change the way you do things.

If you want to make your business more tech-friendly, then start using social media, start accepting online employment applications, get your website up to snuff, and basically change your business habits.

Businesses who don’t use social media or do online job applications can often seem antiquated in today’s world.  Changing a few things up will make a huge difference in the way things are perceived in your business.

Changing business habits may be hard to do, but having a fresh outlook will bring new energy to your business and improve things all around.

What Younger Workers Have to Offer

In a previous post, we talked about hiring more mature employees and what they can bring to the workplace.

On the flipside, younger employees also bring a different energy to the workplace and may just be the shot of adrenaline your business needs.

Younger employees sometimes get a bad rap due to supposed immaturity, irresponsibility and lack of discipline.  While this can be true in some instances, there is a lot to be said for bringing younger employees into your business.

Here is a top FIVE list of reasons why younger employees are an asset to any business:

1.  New, Fresh Ideas – workers that are fairly fresh out of college bring the latest industry ideas and information to the workplace.  They have been educated with ideas that are fresh and they can, in turn, bring those ideas into your business.

2.  Energy – let’s face it –  younger workers probably don’t have the stresses and time constraints that older workers have.  They are young, they have energy and can bring that into your business to infuse it with that extra “oomph” it might need.

3.  They are Responsible – we don’t buy into the idea that young people are irresponsible.  We believe that younger workers know how to work and know how precious employment is in this job market.  If expectations are given at the very beginning, employees (even younger ones) will rise to the challenge.

4.  Creativity – younger workers bring a lot of “outside the box” ideas to companies.  They have grown up in a different age than many of the other workers and they know social media, technology and new innovations backwards and forwards, inside and out.  They can come up with creative solutions faster than anyone else.

5.  Money – in a business, money is king and drives most decision-making.  Luckily for hiring managers, these younger workers don’t expect (or demand) salaries as high as some of their more mature counterparts.  If budgeting is a key concern when hiring someone, younger workers, fresh out of school might be the way to go.

Note to Younger Workers:  If you want a “grown-up” job, then always, always (did we mention always?) dress for the part.  Don’t dress down for interviews – always dress like a professional…not a professional on casual Fridays.

The Benefits of Hiring Older Employees

There has been a lot of debate over whether mature (older) workers are being overshadowed by their younger, flashier counterparts.

In a recent survey by Adecco, the results were a little surprising.  Over 500 hiring managers were surveyed by phone and one the key findings was that these managers prefer older, more mature employees.

Actually, these managers were 3X more likely to hire a mature employee than a younger one.

Here are some surprising details that came out of the survey:

  • Female hiring managers, are more likely to hire a mature worker (66 percent) than male hiring managers (52 percent).
  • Hiring managers think mature workers and younger workers possess different personality traits.  For example, hiring managers are most likely to associate mature workers with being reliable (91 percent) and professional (88 percent) while they say younger workers are creative (74 percent) and strong networkers (73 percent).
  • When it comes to skills that need strengthening, hiring managers feel mature workers need more technological know-how (72 percent), while that is the skill that younger workers need to develop least (5 percent).
    • Younger workers, on the other hand, need to improve their writing skills (46 percent), while far fewer mature workers need to do so (9 percent), according to hiring managers.

Fewer Barriers to Hiring Mature Workers

  • Hiring managers think that the greatest challenge in hiring a mature worker is their difficulty learning/adapting to new technologies (39 percent), while the greatest challenge in hiring a younger worker is their unknown long term commitment to a company (46 percent).
  • Hiring managers are also concerned that both mature and younger workers may resist taking direction from someone of a different age.
    • Hiring managers think that a challenge in hiring a mature worker is their resistance to taking direction from younger management (33 percent).
    • Similarly, 27 percent of hiring managers also believe that a challenge in hiring a younger worker is their resistance to taking direction from older management.
  • However, almost two in five (39 percent) hiring managers say they don’t find any challenges related to hiring mature workers, while more than a quarter (27 percent) say the same about the younger workers.

Hiring Managers Say Both Young and Mature Workers Need Interview Improvement

  • Hiring managers say mature workers’ biggest interview mistake is having high salary / compensation demands (51 percent), followed by overconfidence in their abilities and experience (48 percent). Younger workers biggest interview mistake is wearing inappropriate interview attire (75 percent), followed by posting potentially compromising content on social media channels (70 percent).
    • Interestingly, these younger worker mistakes are the two that hiring managers say mature workers are least likely to make—wearing inappropriate interview attire (24 percent); posting potentially compromising content on social media channels (19 percent).
  • While more than a third (35 percent) of hiring managers say that one of the biggest mistakes mature workers make during an interview is being unable to sell themselves, women feel this way more than men. Forty-two percent of female hiring managers felt this way compared to 27 percent of male hiring managers.
  • Three in five hiring managers (60 percent) say that one of the biggest mistakes a younger person makes during the interview process is showing a lack of interest in a job by not asking questions about the company or position.

These findings have a lot of valuable information for mature workers, and younger workers as well.

Mature workers need to sharpen their technology skills and maybe not be as demanding as far as salary goes in order to obtain employment. Salary negotiations can always come later and is not something that should drive a job interview.

For more details on this study, visit http://www.adeccousa.com/articles/Adecco-Staffing-Mature-Worker-Survey.html?id=204&url=/pressroom/pressreleases/pages/forms/allitems.aspx&templateurl=/AboutUs/pressroom/Pages/Press-release.aspx

Creative Job Interview Questions

What phrase or word best describes you?  What color best represents you and why? 

We’ve all heard weird job interview questions that make you think, “What does this have to do with anything?”

Well, sometimes the questions are posed just to see how fast people can think on their feet.  Other times, the questions are very telling.

For example, when asked the question, “what phrase best describes you,” one employee answered quickly and said, “the phrase the best describes me is ‘Rise and Shine’ because I rise quickly to any challenge and my performance shines.

This employee got the job.

Answers to weird and seemingly nonsensical questions may be the key to getting hired for a job over another applicant.

Here are a few questions that might be fun to ask during job interviews just to see what will come out the applicant’s mouth.  Or, if you are an applicant yourself, then formulate creative answers to these questions so you are prepared for whatever may come.

1. What drink are you most likely to order at a restaurant?

This answer could show some personality traits, but may also tell the company whether you drink alcohol or not. In order to keep health insurance costs low, the company may try to hire non-drinkers.

2.  What is the last book you read?

A book choice shows personality traits, interests and intelligence in one quick answer.  Employers like employees who are intelligent and also read industry-specific books or motivational reads that relate to their business.

3.  What was the last movie you went to see or what is your favorite song?

Again, these questions highlight interests and personality traits.

4.  If you won millions of dollars in the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?

This answer highlights the interviewee’s goals, planning, generosity, responsibility and creativity.

5.  If hired, what are the top three things you’d do on your first day at work here?

This answer will be very telling to see if the interviewee has a firm grasp on how to initiate themselves into a new environment and also how much they understand about what the job entails. 

6.  How would you describe yourself in three words?

This question may elicit more canned responses, but you can tell a lot by a job candidate by the words they choose.  Once they say the words, ask details about each word.  For example, if they use the word “resourceful,” turn it around and ask them to describe a situation where they were resourceful. 

Interviewing for a job can be a fun and fulfilling experience for both parties involved, and asking weird and off the wall questions if nothing else, will give you lots of humorous fodder for the water cooler discussions around the office.

Job interview questions were found at:  http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hub/Off-The-Wall

Using Social Media to Find a Job

The old adage, it’s “who you know not what you know” couldn’t be more true in a job search…at least it feels true a lot of the time.

In today’s job market, finding your dream job can seem just that – a dream.

Due to the explosion in social media, finding a job is easier than ever before.

When looking for employment after being fired from a job, or because of a layoff and other less than desirable scenarios, many people withdraw into themselves.  They are depressed.  They are worried for their future.  And they don’t want anyone to know about it.

People don’t want to look like a loser or desperate and so they say nothing to others around them.

This is a totally wrong approach.

Those around you, your friends and especially your contacts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter can help you, but they need to know how.

First, do a post that says something like, “Hey, I am currently looking for a new job (you don’t need to give details on why), in this industry (fill in the blank) and I would really appreciate any ideas you guys might have on fantastic companies who are hiring.”

People love helping people and if they know you are looking for a job, they will be keeping their eyes and ears open for you.

Also, keep people in the loop on your job search.  For example, after a job interview, post something like, “Just had a great job interview, but I don’t quite feel it’s ‘the one’ – I’m still looking for a great job in this ________ industry, any ideas?”

Keep people updated and keep it very positive and your social media buddies will be your greatest asset when trying to find a job.