Category Archives: Nepotism

Tips for Hiring Seasonal Employees

The busy holiday rush is just around the corner, and many companies are scrambling to hire seasonal or contract employees. Often this last minute hiring frenzy is stressful and daunting.

Here are some tips to help companies survive this busy time of year:

  • Concise Job Description – When creating a job description for seasonal work, accurately describe the duties and clearly state that the position is seasonal, part-time or contract.
  • Social Media – Having a strong social media presence that is supportive of employees and defines a company’s culture is also essential when trying to attract the best talent. Keep in mind that seasonal positions can help determine an employee’s work habits and value, and could lead to more long-term opportunities for advancement. Today’s teens continuously check their social media pages, which makes it an ideal application to post job openings.
  • Employee Referrals – Implement an employee referral program to help incentivize current employees to help refer potential applicants for seasonal and full-time positions. Whether it’s offering a cash bonus or a gift card reward, employers can disperse the referral incentives after the new hire finishes the season.
  • Job Fair – Job fairs are a great way to find seasonal employees and give employers the opportunity to meet many prospective applicants and communicate with them in a short time frame. If participating in a job fair, begin planning advertising approximately two weeks in advance to maximize the reach and exposure.
  • Vet Candidates – Once companies have a good pool of solid candidates, review each applicant’s resume, references and conduct a background check, if necessary. Remember to ask questions during the interview that focus on different scenarios or situations to find out how the applicants react under pressure.

Ninja Gig can make hiring seasonal employees effortless and painless. Sign up now for your free trial and customize your online job applications to save you valuable time by including sections for resumes, references, background check information and even an area for brief essay questions.

Tips for Interviewing and Hiring Cleaning Staff

If you have a cleaning company, chances are that you know the challenges of keeping and maintaining good housekeeping staff. Furthermore, you probably dread the interview process. If you fear a mountain of paper applications and what types of questions you can’t ask, Ninja Gig is here to help you simplify your interview process so you can find the right talent for your company.

Here are some examples of interview questions and how to phrase them.

  • Illegal: How many sick days did you take last year?
  • Legal: How many days of work did you miss last year?

 

  • Illegal: Do you have a vehicle?
  • Legal: How will you get to work?

 

  • Illegal: Have you ever been arrested?
  • Legal: Have you ever been convicted of theft or fraud?

 

Here are some different, yet insightful questions to ask when interviewing potential applicants.

  • What type of books do you like to read? – This question can help you gauge an applicant’s hobbies and social activities without directly asking.
  • What was the last movie you saw on TV or in the theater? – This gives insight into their personal preferences and hobbies. If they give details about the movie, it shows that they have comprehension skills that may prove valuable when taking directions.
  • Tell me about yourself. – This measures how well an applicant does when put on the spot as well as how detailed they are in answering the question. Avoidant personalities may try to ask, “What would you like to know?” but that is not the question in this exercise.
  • What types of clubs or activities did you do when you were younger? – Children that are involved in activities may grow up to have a better work ethic. In this exercise, you are looking for team sports or groups, such as 4-H Club, etc.

 

Other interview tips include:

  • Telephone Calls – Conduct the initial interview via telephone. This can help eliminate applicants before they even see you face-to-face. Remember that applicants need to earn interviews. Even a three-minute conversation may be enough to ensure that the conversation is understandable and that the applicant is serious about applying for the position.
  • Interviewing in Groups – One benefit to interviewing in groups is that you can conduct your initial interviews in one session, which is excellent for time management. Additionally, followers in groups will chime in, “That’s what I was going to say.” These activities can also establish leaders and followers when identifying potential applicants’ personality types.
  • Meals – Interviewing the final round of applicants over breakfast or lunch is also a good option because you can see their manners and etiquette firsthand.

 

By employing these helpful interview tips into your next recruitment session, you can easily identify qualified housecleaning candidates for your company.

 

Ninja Gig offers online job applications, which makes it easy to avoid a mountain of paper employment applications. Additionally, you can advertise for open housekeeping positions on your website or social media pages, while complying with all state and federal employment requirements. Sign up today for our 30-day free trial and see how easily you can improve your hiring processes.

Double Check Yourself: Do your words detour female candidate?

Research shows that if companies use the wrong words in a job description, it may detour highly qualified female candidates from applying.

It’s important that companies write job descriptions and applications in a gender-neutral tone. For example, remove all feminine or masculine vocabulary to help increase the likelihood of qualified men and women applying for positions.

For example, studies show that male applicants prefer applications that use the word “exhaustive,” while female applicants respond better to the phrase “loves learning.” Additionally, men are more likely to apply with stereotypical phrases such as “competitive salary” or “best of the best.”

Additional words that may turn off female applicants include:

  • Ambitious
  • Analytical
  • Assertive
  • Autonomous
  • Boastful
  • Chairman
  • Dominate
  • Foosball
  • Ninja
  • Hierarchical
  • Rigid
  • Stock options
  • Strong
  • Takes risks
  • Workforce

While it’s acceptable to use some masculine-skewed terms in a job description, it’s important that companies balance these out with gender-neutral or feminine terms.

It’s not that one term can necessarily turn women off from applying to jobs. It’s when companies scatter several of these hot-button words and terms into a description that it may raise subconscious red flags to women not to apply.

On the flip side, these are words that may help attract more female applicants.

  • Adaptable
  • Choose
  • Collaborate
  • Creative
  • Curious
  • Excellent
  • Flexible schedule
  • Multitaking
  • Health
  • Imaginative
  • Intuitive
  • Plans for the future
  • Resilient
  • Self-aware
  • Socially responsible
  • Thoughtful
  • Trustworthy
  • Up-to-date
  • Wellness program

It’s important that companies use gender-neutral words when creating job descriptions. While solving the gender diversity puzzle is not straightforward or simple, this small step can help companies potentially attract better-qualified candidates.

Ninja Gig offers online job applications that are easy to customize so your organization can focus on gender-neutral wording.  Ready to start?  Sign up for your free trial now and see how easy our software is to use!

Reshaping Negotiations: How Salary History Bans Affect Your Company

Many state and local legislatures are creating a new ban: one that prohibits employers from asking candidates about their past pay. This will forever change salary negotiations.

For as long as companies and applicants can remember, the most common initial hiring question is past salary. These numbers gave companies insight into determining who made more than the position offered, helping eliminate them from further screening, and offering less money to those candidates that have lower salary histories.

However, policymakers are rethinking this question, believing that it may be helping perpetuate both gender and racial disparities that are present in today’s compensation scale.

Even in 2018, the gender pay gap remains wide, with women only earning around 80 centers to men’s one dollar. Of these women, Black and Latinas see the most significant discrepancy, making approximately 55 to 60 cents for every dollar earned by white men.

This has prompted several states, including New York and California, to move towards banning salary questions in the interview process.

The reviews on whether this will help narrow the gap and create equal pay are mixed. Some companies say that it will improve, while others say that it will have minimum impact on pay equity.

While more states and localities are joining the nationwide trend to ban salary questions, it’s a good time for companies to reevaluate their practice of inquiring about candidates past pay. Consider revisiting company compensation strategies and hiring practices. Rely on the market data to help set the pay rates for positions, which gives companies time to focus on the candidate’s qualifications.

Fines for violating this law vary. For example, Delaware’s law outlines civil penalties that may go up to $10,000 for each offense. New York City is proposing stricter penalties that may go up to $250,000.

To help make sure that your company complies with changing times, check to see if your state or local district has enacted any laws that pertain to restricting questions about salary history. It’s always important that Human Resources departments and company managers know the law.

If your state prohibits discussing salary histories, make sure to update all paperwork that may ask these types of questions.

Here’s a quick list of states that have or are going to be instituting salary history bans: California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, Puerto Rico, New York City and San Francisco.

Ninja Gig offers affordable solutions for traditional job applications. With their online employment applications, employers can quickly alter forms to best apply to local and state laws.  Sign up now to start accepting job applications online immediately!

Biggest HR Challenges

Today’s companies face ever-evolving workforce threats – ranging from cyber breaches, workplace violence to mental health issues and employee well-being – today’s HR professionals must comply with a myriad of laws.

Here are some of the top HR challenges that companies face in 2018.

  1. Harassment – Courtesy of Harvey Weinstein, harassment has plagued America in both the entertainment, political and media industries over the last several months. Employers must have zero tolerance harassment policies, which are in print to protect employees.
  2. Drug Testing and Substance Abuse – Opioid addiction dominated the headlines in 2017. Managing and addressing drug use and testing is a challenging issue many employers face. Employers should implement a drug-free workplace, putting policies in effect that prohibits the use of drugs on work premises and during work hours.
  3. Employee Handbooks – An employee handbook should contain workplace policies, the employer’s mission and goals, and information about discrimination, harassment, leave and paid time off and employee benefits. Handbooks should remain up-to-date at all times, being closely monitored for changes to federal, state and local laws.
  4. Well-Being and Mental Health – To ensure that workers are productive and have low absenteeism rates, physical and mental health needs to be addressed by companies. It is important that HR professionals employ sensitivity, as well as FMLA and ADA rules when it comes to dealing with physical or mental ailments. Employers may also wish to add substance abuse services and behavioral health treatments that extend beyond what medical insurance plans may cover.
  5. Workplace Violence – In a day and age where mass shootings, terrorist attacks and bomb threats are becoming all too common, employers should implement a safety plan to help protect the workplace should one of these unfortunate incidents occur. Additionally, consider requiring background checks on applicants, implementing a zero-tolerance workplace violence policy and not allowing weapons on the premises.
  6. Recruiting – Employment numbers are low, which means that it is an employee’s market for job hunting. This is putting the burden on employers to attract and find the best talent for their organizations. Use online job applications to help manage and organize information for candidates. Additionally, companies can easily post their job openings online and on social media outlets, creating personal job applications that match the skill sets of an ideal candidate.
  7. Cyber Breaches – 2017 saw some major data breaches. As cloud-based systems become more popular, companies will need to ensure that private and confidential information is protected in the event a cyber breach occurs.

Ninja Gig offers customizable online job applications. Sign up today for a 30-day free trial and see how much easier your recruitment efforts can be!

12 Human Resources Hot Buttons

Today’s job market has some fierce competition, which is why employees need to stand out more than ever.

Ninja Gig highlights the latest 12 hot button subjects for human resources’ departments to incorporate into their interview questions.

  1. Results – The bottom line is any interview is to determine what the applicant has accomplished. Listen to action and buzz words, such as: initiated, developed, led or increased.
  2. Figures and Numbers – Don’t settle for vague assertions. Ask questions so applicants deliver concrete statistics, numbers and figures. Did they help decrease spending or increase revenue? Ask the hard questions to get the best and brightest employees.
  3. Awards – Make sure that applicants highlight their accolades and awards.
  4. Staying Power – You want to see an employee that has the staying power your company needs to succeed. Look for employees that have stayed at companies for several years and received promotions before moving on. These are signs of candidates that will help reduce your turnover and build your business.
  5. Website or Blog – Blogging and personal websites have become very popular. Reading someone’s grammar and writing style can also highlight good communication skills. This is also an opportune time to see if the potential applicant shared too much about his/her personal life or details about past jobs.
  6. Skills and Education – If your company requires specific certifications, make sure that applicants have kept up with any requirements or necessary education. An applicant that stays up-to-date on the latest technology and industry trends is someone that wants to succeed.
  7. Attitude – You want employees that are flexible, positive and enthusiastic. Avoid hiring applicants that criticize current or past employers or co-workers. Remember that a positive attitude is contagious in the workplace.
  8. Leadership Skills – Many companies think that leadership skills are only reserved for management positions. However, you need to think again. New employees that demonstrate leadership skills can help influence your company and have room for growth. Look for potential leadership by listening to how candidates improved a product or process, came up with solutions to problems or contributed ideas to their workplaces.
  9. Initiative and Ideas – Listen for applicants to tell you solutions and ideas that can solve your business’ current problems. Not only will you be more interested in hearing their proactive solutions, but chances are you’re looking for a candidate that has the potential to hit the ground running.
  10. Growth Potential – You want people that don’t just commit to their job descriptions, but are willing to go above and beyond to ensure your company’s success. Ask candidates about their past experiences where they have operated outside their comfort zones.
  11. Hobbies – You know that all candidates have interests outside of work so why not ask them about their passions. Someone that is devoted to hobbies or has special interests shows he/she is committed to success.
  12. Creativity – You want to hire employees that are creative problem solvers that can easily think outside the box. See if the candidate has a track record for solving problems using innovative solutions.

Ninja Gig can help companies implement a reliable online job application system. You can quickly and efficiently target advertising to potential online candidates and then search through their online job applications. Once you have a narrow list of potential candidates, you can focus on interviewing, asking the right questions and hiring the employee that will help your company succeed.  Sign up today for your free trial and you can make your life so much easier.  Start accepting applications within minutes!

Human Resources Management: Top Essential Skills

Human resources professionals are always interviewing candidates and assessing qualifications and skills. But what does it take to be successful in human resources management? Let us take a closer look.

  • Multitasking – Human resources professionals have to be able to multitask and deal with a wide variety of duties, ranging from FMLA leave questions, employees’ personal issues, developing recruitment strategies, advertising jobs on social media, keeping employees engaged, retaining employees and much more.
  • Organization – Successful human resources managers have to maintain well- organized files and have very strong time management skills. It is important to be able to have excellent files and documentation in place before disciplining or firing employees.
  • Negotiation – Human resources managers need to be able to negotiate, or at least be able to objectively look at two or more opposing viewpoints. It is important for human resources to remain as the middle ground during negotiations.
  • Communication – HR professionals need to communicate with management, potential employees, managers and employees. Whether it is in writing or in-person, it is important that HR managers be caring, believable and convincing.
  • Grey Issues – Sometimes personnel issues are not simple or straightforward. For example, is something considered harassment or discrimination? What is the definition of a “reasonable accommodation?” What is the appropriate way to handle intermittent leave? It is also important that HR professionals realize when a legal issue is beyond their scope and know when to contact an expert or attorney.
  • Dual Focus – While it is important that HR advocates for their specific concerns and issues, it is also necessary to enforce management’s policies. Sometimes it can feel like human resources departments are balancing different tasks, which also includes prioritizing the protection of the organization. Dealing with difficult tasks is part of the job. Employees can misunderstand human resources managers, but in an attempt to explain their actions, they could be compromising confidential data and information.
  • Confidentiality – HR professionals are required to maintain confidentiality for both management and keep track of employees to make sure that regulations and policies are followed. Human resources departments are required to maintain order and be firm. This is not an easy responsible.
  • Problem Solving – Human resources managers have to be able to problem solve and aid in conflict management. People have to work together in a civil manner, and sometimes HR gets involved in employee or manager conflicts. Having excellent problem-solving skills help HR professionals.
  • Roll with Change –Human Resources has to be able to handle states of change, whether it is hiring large groups of employees or managing a major layoff.

Human Resources professionals that can handle these types of tasks will be able to flourish in their careers. It is not a profession for the faint of heart, as there are times when they have to be the bad person and enforce rules and order.

Ninja Gig specializes in online job applications. This enables human resources departments to stay organized, distribute more job notices online and keep track of qualified applicants.  Sign up today for a 30-day free trial to start accepting job applications online.  It’s easy!

A Guide to Rewarding Employees

Cash is a short-time employee motivator. Don’t get us wrong; it’s still important to show your employees you value their performance by paying them a competitive salary and offering benefits, but there are other ways to appreciate your employees throughout the year.

We have compiled a list of our favorite ways to reward employees and best of all, they’re not expensive.

  • Flexible Hours – More employees report that working flexible hours is worth more to them than extra money. This is because many people can save their valuable time and money by not commuting during peak traffic hours, arranging alternative child care services, etc.
  • Day Off Pass – Let each employee select his or her special holiday every year. You simply give them a day off with pay.
  • Thank You Notes – In an electronic era, the value of handwritten thank you notes is underestimated. Bosses can write a thank you card to employees. Managers can be selective, yet authentic when writing these notes, which will let employees know they are valued.
  • Parking – Consider offering top employees excellent parking. Not only is this motivation for other employees, but also it makes good employees shine at work.
  • Cake and Pizza Parties – Offer office parties to reward employees. Whether it’s for birthdays, milestones or achievements, small and short gatherings help increase employee morale.
  • Gourmet Coffee – Instead of the run of the mill burnt coffee, consider upgrading the coffee station with a gourmet makeover. Small attention to details can make a significant difference at work.
  • Tours – If your business works with many vendors or suppliers, consider asking those companies if you can schedule a tour for your employees. This can help employees become better acquainted with products and services, while also giving them a fun field trip out of the office.
  • Adult Education – Consider paying for one adult education class per quarter or year. Let employees choose the class that interests them, whether it’s crafting, cooking, woodworking or even yoga.
  • New Chairs – Employees sit at their desk for an average of eight hours a day. Consider allowing them to pick out a new, comfortable and ergonomic chair to help make their days a little easier.
  • Pets – More businesses are recognizing the importance of pets in the workplace. Consider allowing your employees to bring their pets to work with them, provided they also bring a crate or cage, so pets don’t disturb others.
  • Employee of the Month – Reward an employee of the month with a special parking space, longer lunch or flexible hours.
  • Special Causes – Have a designated area where employees can post cards, forms, flyers or photos about special causes or groups they support.

Ninja Gig allows employers to accept job applications online. This helps keep HR departments organized, giving them the ability to archive applications for future reference.  Ready to make your life easier?  Sign up now for your 30-day free trial!

10 Tips for Avoiding Workplace Negativity in 2017

We have all experienced the impacts of a negative employee. They can be pessimistic, uncooperative or even hostile at times. It is important to make sure negativity does not spread within a workplace, as this can be as harmful as a contagious disease taking over and spreading.

To help prevent negativity from taking roots in a workplace, follow these helpful tips.

  1. Setting Standards – While you can’t please everyone with company policies, if an employee doesn’t follow the rules, you can discipline him/her for insubordination. Make sure that company standards are very clear. This can include gossiping about policies, which can influence employee’s morale.
  2. Avoiding the Negative Mindset – Some employees are just negative. You can listen to their points, but don’t let this affect your optimism.
  3. Asking Questions – Ask employees what specifically is making them feel negative towards something. Often, communication is the key to establishing an emotional base.
  4. Avoiding Arguments – Unfortunately, negative people thrive on negative energy, which is why many of them love to argue. Avoid getting into arguments and maintain poise under pressure.
  5. Role-Playing – Try putting the shoe on the other foot. Ask the employee to pretend he/she can resolve the problem that is bothering him/her. Involving the employee may help create positive feelings towards the outcome of a solution.
  6. Listen – Always use active listening techniques to make sure you understand what the employee is saying. This also helps the employee feel as though he/she is being heard, which can also create positive feelings.
  7. Empowering Employees – Employees need to take responsibility for both the good and bad. This reinforces positive behavior so they can try to replicate these events in the future. Bad behavior needs to be pointed out, so it doesn’t reoccur.
  8. Do Not Lower Expectations – If you have a problem employee, remember that a negative attitude doesn’t equate to poor performance.
  9. Feedback – Consider asking employees for their opinions about how major decisions may affect them. By taking an active listening approach to employees’ concerns, studies show negativity decreases.
  10. Hiring Good Employees – Try to identify negative employees during the hiring process. Consider asking the following questions to identify problem employees: “Do you feel you have been treated unfairly in the past?” and “If you were the manager at your last job, what would you change?” Also, consider asking, “What management problems did your last job face?”

Ninja Gig works with employers to create online job applications. These employment applications make it easy for HR Managers to weed through a variety of resumes and applicants, potentially flagging problem employees.  Ready to simplify your hiring process?  Sign up now for your no-obligation, 30-day free trial.

Where Companies Fail: The Most Common Employee Lawsuits

Surveys show that most companies think they follow the law. The reality is that many businesses are unknowingly breaking state and federal laws, which can result in expensive and time-consuming lawsuits and litigation.

Ninja Gig compiles a list of the most common types of employee lawsuits and how you can prevent them.

Discrimination

Discrimination is the most common employee lawsuit. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 89,385 charges in 2015. During that same year, they secured settlements of more than $356 million for victims that experienced employee discrimination. The EEOC focuses on protected categories, including nationality, race, sex, sexual preference, religion, disability and age. They also tackle cases related to discriminatory discharge, which is when someone’s employment terminates for falling into a protected class or category.

Retaliation

Retaliation and whistleblower claims are a huge expense. Retaliation can occur when someone files a complaint that relates to discrimination, and he/she then receives a layoff notice. Companies cannot fire employees that help participate in discrimination claims. Additionally, companies cannot ask employees to lie about discrimination claims and then fire them if they are not willing to be dishonest.

Harassment

We have all seen headlines that relate to harassment – Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, the Navy Tailhook Scandal and Senator Bob Packwood, to name a few. Harassment lawsuits lead to messy litigation and expensive settlements.

 

Harassment encompasses a wide variety of offensive behavior, including offensive objects, jokes or pictures, physical assaults, name-calling and threats. If this type of conduct creates a hostile work environment, an employee may have a harassment case.

How can employers avoid lawsuits?

It may be difficult to prevent all lawsuits, as some employees may only be looking to cash in on settlements. However, businesses can help to avoid lawsuits by practicing state and federal employment laws.

 

Federal employment laws include the following:

 

  • Equal Pay Act – It is against the law to discriminate between women and men that perform the same job and same duties.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – You may not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This section also extends to include the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Employers may not discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act – You may not discriminate against employees’ age 40 and older. Please note that some states expand this and decrease the age to 18.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act – You cannot discriminate against parents and pregnant women. This also includes prohibiting discrimination against employees with serious health conditions.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act – You may not discriminate against qualified employees due to a disability.
  • Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act – Employers may not discriminate against employees based on their genetic information. This includes prohibiting health insurance companies from discriminating against genetic information obtained through tests.

 

The best way to avoid lawsuits is to educate employees to create a healthy, positive work environment. Businesses need to practice harassment prevention by establishing complaint and grievance procedures. Always take action when employees complain about harassment. Most importantly, companies always need to stay apprised of the latest employment law changes.

 

Ninja Gig allows companies to accept employment applications online. Employers can easily include a non-discrimination notice during this application process, which can include a nondiscrimination statement.