Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Hire Qualified Bookkeepers

Hiring a qualified bookkeeper is important. After all, an audit by the IRS is never a fun experience. In fact, an audit should come with general warnings: may induce vomiting, dry heaving and/or the onset of ulcer-like systems.

This is why it is so important to hire a qualified bookkeeper or accounting manager right from the start. You need to know that your books are in order and the IRS audit will breeze right past you, like a light summer draft. The last thing you want to experience is spiraling out of control in the midst of a hurricane that is reminiscent of Katrina, holding on for dear life to the nearest streetlamp and praying to the gods that this nightmare will soon end.

Of course, life could always be worse, as my husband found out. He had a bookkeeper that he and his business partner employed for five years. Recently, they discovered she had “cooked the books” and stolen a whopping $100,000 from their small business. After filing sheriff reports, providing legal written and verbal statements, switching accountants, hiring a controller to thoroughly go through their books and having to answer half a million questions in a small town, they realized they could have avoided this pain and agony by listening to their guts.

Most companies know there is something wrong and suspect embezzlement, but they feel helpless or do not want to assume the worst. In business, it is important to monitor employees. This can include having potential employees agree on their employment application to submit to background checks. Background checks can unearth outstanding debt collections, unpaid bills and much more. These are all red flags that an employee may potentially have the hunger to begin “borrowing” money from the company.

In my husband’s case, the bookkeeper started using the company credit card for personal coffees, tank of gas and advancements. My husband and his partner immediately put a stop to these “fringe benefits,” but a year later, she had started embezzling more money than they could comprehend. The investigation took them weeks and her embezzlement scheme was advanced.

The point of this article is that Ninja Gig can help protect employers by making online job applications easy to customize. You can ask potential employees legal questions, which makes it easy to handle any potential legal issues, should any arise, from a Human Resources standpoint later on. The process is simple and businesses can literally start accepting employment applications within minutes. We offer a free trial, which means that companies have absolutely nothing to lose.

Additionally, there are no limits on the frequency of use in the system and no limit on the number of applications. We simply focus on helping take the headache out of Human Resources systems, which allows companies to hire the best possible candidates for jobs.

Ready to try us out?  Sign up for a 30-day free trial today!

Calling the Newspaper: Hire a New Editor!

Unrolling the local Saturday newspaper, I read no further than two sentences. Barely through my first sip of java, my fingers begin to contort, seeking the comfort of a red pen. My brain goes into primitive 80s robotic mode, “Error. Error.” Finding a red pen, my spasmodic grip loosens and I begin to edit the paper. Misspellings blind me, followed by the misuse of contractions, lack of gender-neutral language, incorrect formatting and absence of punctuation. The apology for misspelling names is simply unprofessional. Seasoned editors should demand accuracy from every reporter, not requests for forgiveness at the end of their exclusives. This is not an elementary school publication, but a professional career where reporters and an editor are receiving paychecks and benefits.

I call the local newspaper, but unfortunately, the editor does not seem interested in listening to constructive criticism. As a former Human Resources Manager, I find this more than off-putting. Managers and employees should want to grow, learn from their mistakes and flourish in their jobs. When a manager or employee has a closed-mind – controlling the big news stories that favor their friends’ accomplishments, while sacrificing editing and basic grammar for social parties, it is part of a bigger problem. Simply stated: the publisher has a bad apple. Unfortunately, these unpleasant, rotten apple seeds spread and cause poor work habits. This is not easy to contain and the ultimate resolution for close-minded managers or employees that produce sub-par articles, have poor customer service and continually lose publishing business is to fire them.

This is where Ninja Gig comes in. Companies can customize job applications, while tracking applicants. Featuring an unlimited number of questions, businesses that require applicants to have excellent English, grammar, spelling, AP, Oxford English or Chicago Style writing skills can easily ask questions, which helps narrow down the pool of qualified applicants.

Businesses are able to try our complete employment application system. There is no risk for signing up with Ninja Gig, as we offer a complimentary 30-day FREE trial. Unlike many job application companies, employers are not locked into any contracts and can cancel anytime without incurring any penalties. Excellent management that plants productive, healthy seeds will help a company grow over the years. This improves bottom-line revenues, boosts sales and gives companies more respect within communities.

Leaders or Followers

The following is a guest post from one of Ninja Gig’s many friends.

A business relies on having the proper amount of leadership in comparison to followers.  Too many leaders cause arguments and too many followers’ results in no committed leadership path.

I am a self-employed real estate agent and former HR manager. Recently, I was working with a brand new real estate agent. I soon realized that I would be doing all the “hand holding” – so to speak – on the transaction. What exactly does this mean? In layman terms, working with a rookie real estate agent generally means that a seasoned real estate agent has to do both sides of the transaction to guarantee a closing for clients. In situations such as these, I am not paid for both sides. As agents, we do what we have to do to get the deal closed and make sure our clients get the house of their dreams.

Yes, real estate agents are self-employed, but I started wondering, “Why don’t real estate agencies have more critical interviews for agents?” Basic follow-through concepts and reading contracts is not anything glorified or something only an expert can do. It is straight forward – reading paragraphs and following rules. Additionally, in Washington State, we have a requirement that makes a Managing Broker responsible for a first-time Broker for the first two years for their careers. So, as I lie in bed with my texts making audible non-stop noise bombs from the other agent, I began to wonder if this agent’s real estate mentor is simply lazy or perhaps, it is assumed that I will be her mentor even though it is not my legal responsibility.

NinjaGig.com would come in very handy in situations such as these. Real estate agencies’ reputations are made by their agents. Poor or unskilled agents can single-handedly ruin an agency’s reputation. To help hire reputable agents with skilled backgrounds, NinjaGig.com offers an employment application process that is completely customizable. Employers, or Designated Brokers, can create questions. There is no limit on the number of questions. In fact, questions are easy to tailor to specific scenarios, including how agents would respond to certain issues. This is extremely helpful for first-time agents. Questions may include, “For homes built before 1978, should a lead based paint disclosure be included?”, “How long does the buyer have to respond to the home inspection?” or “Should you provide the buyer with specific recommendations for home inspectors?”

If real estate agencies used employment programs to weed out applicants, we could have a significantly better base of real estate agents. This would decrease consuming “hand holding” time and we could simply focus on the professional aspects of our jobs – finding buyers the right homes.

Try our complete employment application system. There is no risk signing up for Ninja Gig, as we offer a complimentary 30-day FREE trial. Employers are not locked into any contracts and can cancel anytime without incurring any penalties. The benefits of having an intelligent workplace with active enterprising people are well worth the extra effort to have an uncomplicated, healthy workplace.

Star Wars … The Mismanagement of an Empire

I was so excited to see the continuation to “Star Wars” after a 32-year hiatus that I booked tickets two months in advance. I sat in the theater, watching Kylo Ren in 3D, who now leads the Stormtroopers. The Stormtroopers did not dare to disobey Ren, as they exhibited a lemming-like fear to defy his inhumane orders. I suddenly had this monumental, thundering thought, “How can we stop bullies in the workplace?”

While “Star Wars” revolves around science fiction, no one wants dictators going about any workplace, creating fear, strife and emotional turmoil. An unhealthy workplace is a setup for disaster – one that kills workplace comradery and healthy teamwork.

Ninja Gig offers job applicant tracking that offers customizable questions. This allows businesses to feature any questions they can think of, including subtle questions that can shed light on the signs of bullying. This can include revealing employee-related problems with deceit, intimidation, isolation/exclusion, diversion, undermining work, pitting employees against each other, constantly changing reactions, mood swings, withholding information, taking credit for other employees’ work and making employees feel useless.

Other overt signs of bullying including aggression, coercion, punishment, revenge, threats, offensive communication, blocking growth or advancement, belittling and many more types of “revenge.”

In “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” just like his predecessor Darth Vader, Kylo Ren has come to exhibit all the signs of being a bully. He treats the Stormtroopers with no respect and exhibits severe mood swings.

To help find the ideal applicants for jobs – and avoid hiring bullies, who bring teams down – try our complete employment application system. There is no risk signing up for Ninja Gig, as it offers a complimentary 30-day FREE trial. Employers are not locked into any contracts and can cancel anytime without incurring any penalties. The benefits of having a bully-free workplace are well worth the extra effort and your employees will thank you.

Job Application Template

If you are online searching for a job application template for your company’s employment opportunities, stop and think for just a minute.  You are online searching for a template for a paper application.  Seems kind of silly, don’t you think?

You may be looking to personalize your own employment application for your company, because some of the standard forms just don’t work for your business.  Or, you may be trying to save expensive printing costs.  Regardless of your motivation in searching for an application form template, think for a minute about the costs involved with accepting paper applications.  Besides the paper and printing costs, a much larger cost is time.  Think about how much time is spent in handing out, collecting, perusing, categorizing, and managing paper job applications.  I’d be willing to be you spend hundreds (or more) of dollars per month with your current application process.

Welcome to the digital age, where even the most tedious of tasks can now be handled electronically, including job applications.  So, stop searching for a sample employment application form template, and go digital!

For much less than what you are currently spending on your paper process, and definitely for much less than our competitors, you can streamline the hiring process with Ninja Gig.  And, with our 30-day free trial, you will have plenty of time to get comfortable with our services.  Go ahead and sign up for a free trial today; you have nothing to lose (except paper cuts)!

10 reasons recruiters suck (and how to fix it)

I debated whether to title this article “You lost me at hello”.  This week I received an email from a recruiter, which started out “Hello John”.  My name’s not John.  Obviously, this recruiter had sent an email template, forgetting to change the name of the recipient.  I responded to the recruiter and let him know this was the #1 reason people in my industry hate recruiters.

Since replying to the recruiter, however, I realized there are many worse sins recruiters do than the sin of using an email template.  Here is the list I came up with, in no particular order:

1- You don’t know me, aka we’ve never met.  Recently I have seen an uptick in emails from recruiters stating how “it’s been a while”, or “last time we spoke”, etc.  Liars.  Why would I ever respond to a recruiter who claims to know me, although I am confident we’ve never even emailed.  Want to fix it?  Try and meet me first.

2- Your industry is plagued with poo.  For every good experience a placed candidate has with a recruiter, there are at least 5 bad experiences.  Dishonesty, misrepresentation, under-bidding, over-bidding, etc. are very common practices by recruiters.  Want to fix it?  Cut out the poo.

3- Your English is crap.  Why would I want a recruiter representing me who can’t even type a sentence correctly I mean c’mon use proper punktuation and spelling Most of the time i think y’all are from a different country and your cuzzin is a exiled prince.  Want to fix it?  Speak my language, properly.

4- I can hear (or read) the script.  It’s obvious that you have spent a lot of time polishing your email to me and made every attempt to make your message as personal as possible.  What’s also obvious to me is that I received a script (see opening paragraph).  Want to fix it?  Be 100%, truly, personal with me.

5- Your lack of disclosure.  I often receive calls from recruiters who refuse to tell me the name of the company that this awesome position is with.  Why would I ever have discussions with you if you won’t even tell me the name of the company?  True, you might be worried that I will go around you, but get over it.  Want to fix it?  Tell me everything!

6- Car salesman questions.  When I buy a car, I don’t buy it based on my budget, because that is always negotiable.  Similarly, when I am looking for a job, it’s not all about the money.  However, one of the first questions I hear from recruiters is to find out my current salary.  Yes, salary comes into play, but it’s not the end-all.  Don’t ask me what my budget is.  Want to fix it?  Find out what I care about, first, and then ask the find-out questions.  Maybe salary is my #1 priority, but you’ll never know unless you know what I care about.

7- Abusing LinkedIn.  Want to fix it?  Stop it.  You know who you are.

8- You are out-of-state.  If you/your firm is not local, don’t contact me.  Seriously.  You might as well be from a different country.  Want to fix it?  Shop locally.

9- Your 6-month contract job is out-of-state.  Really?  Want to fix it?  Refer to #8’s solution.

10- I don’t know {insert technology or skill here}.  This could have been lumped in with #1, but this is so annoying, it can stand on its own.  Did you even look at my resume and/or LinkedIn profile?  If you are hiring for a Java developer, please make sure I even know what Java is, before contacting me.  Want to fix it?  Take the time to understand me and my skill set before you contact me.

These are a few of the many ways recruiters suck.  However, not all recruiters are bad, and I am in my current job, thanks to a recruiter who I had never met before he reached out to me.  However, he did everything right.

Recruiters, it’s up to you to fix things.  You can do it.

Equal Employment Opportunity Questions

Many employers wonder about this thing called “EEO” and whether they need to worry about it.  Short answer, “YES!”  From the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commision) website:

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered.

The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

Many employers are even required to ask specific, yet optional, EEO questions on the job applications to comply with their legal requirements.  If you wonder if you are required by law to ask EEO questions on your employment applications, we encourage you to research your business/industry at the EEOC website.

At the end of the day, you are better to be safe than sorry and offer the optional EEO questions on your job apps.  However, this could be quite painful, as the EEO text is quite lengthy!  No worries, here at Ninja Gig we have made asking EEO questions super easy!  With the click of a mouse you can add/remove all EEO questions to your job openings.  It’s that easy!

Ninja Gig makes customizing and accepting job applications for your small business a breeze!  Sign up today for a free trial to see just how simple yet powerful our software is.  We are sure you will be pleased with the results.

Don’t Go To Work Unless It’s Fun Day

April 3rd is national “Don’t Go To Work Unless It’s Fun Day”. Are you at work?

Usually, work and fun are not synonymous, unfortunately for all of us required to work. But, work can be fun, right? I think there are a few key things to making work fun:

1- Check your attitude at the door. If your attitude stinks, your work will never be fun, no matter how great your job is or how great the company is. If you show up for work unhappy or ticked off, guess how your day is going to go?

2- Do something challenging…to you. Maslow called this ‘self-actualization’, which means reaching your potential. I personally find that when I am faced with a daunting problem which I finally solve, I feel happy at work. Don’t be afraid to push yourself; you will be surprised at how happy to become.

3- Steer clear of office gossip. There is a fine line between having a discussion at work and participating in gossip. Gossip usually always goes negative, and it’s hard to be happy when talking about negative things.

Have fun!

Saving Time in Interviews

When hiring, you want someone fast.  You need someone fast!  Here are a few tips to save time during interviews.  You’re not cutting corners, just weeding out the less qualified even quicker!

Within a week of posting a job opening, you could have dozens of applications sitting on your desks – maybe even hundreds. How do you find viable candidates without wasting too many hours and resources? Here are some things you can try:

1. Have a concrete list of ranked requirements.

First, you need to have a specific list of requirements. What job experiences do they need to be good at the role you’re hiring them for? How many years of experience are needed? What educational background are you looking for? Also, apart from listing these requirements, arrange them according to priority. This makes it easy for you to decide on the current applications on hand.

2. Conduct an online test for both aptitude and soft skills.

Once you have a list of applicants that meet your requirements, send them to an online test. This could be an aptitude test, or a soft skills test. By seeing who has the scores you need, you can know which applicants would be worth interviewing and which ones to put in your waiting list.

3. Interview applicants with a panel.

When you’re ready to hold interviews, make sure that more than one key person from your organization is present. Include the applicant’s intended supervisor or colleague, so that they can ask specific questions based on their own requirements.

4. Use remote video interviewing.

Rather than wasting hours on inefficient scheduling and walk-in applications, schedule video interviews. This can be more efficient, since you can schedule several interviews in a row without making applicants wait for hours in your lobby. For a preliminary interview, this is more resource-efficient than in-person and even phone interviews.

5. Make sure you have a specific purpose for each interview question.

Don’t just ask random questions – make sure that you also have a list of answers you would like to hear. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting time asking questions that don’t really add to your knowledge of the applicants skills and capabilities.

By following these 5 steps, your company can have a more efficient application process that’s less time consuming and more cost effective for all parties involved.

References:

  • http://www.adlerconcepts.com/resources/column/newsletter/using_the_panel_interview_to_s.php
  • http://biznik.com/articles/how-to-save-time-and-money-in-your-hiring-process
  • http://www.comparebusinessproducts.com/briefs/how-save-time-and-money-your-hiring-process
  • http://www.entrepreneurship.org/en/resource-center/saving-time-by-outsourcing-the-interview-process.aspx

Social Media in the Workplace

In a recent report, it was estimated that workers spent an average of 7.5 hours during the week on social media…and that was just time spent during the work day.

7.5 hours is a full work day, which means that employers are losing out on 1.5 hours a day of productivity from their employees.

The most popular times for checking out social networks at work were between 10-11 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.

“Particularly for those with office-based jobs, it’s not difficult to see why they might get tempted to access their social network profiles when they should be working. Especially with the introduction of things like Tweet Deck and Facebook’s push notifications, it’s actually harder than ever to switch off,” said George Charles, marketing director at VoucherCodesPro.

Recent trends show that more than half of US employers are blocking social media access at the workplace. A variety of fears have led to this, led by certainty that time spent on Facebook or Twitter is productivity the company can never get back.

By implementing a complete block of social media, leaders and managers are able to rest easy, secure in the knowledge that their employees are spending their time doing the work for which they’re being paid, right?

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is…

  • Blocking social media access is a costly exercise that simply doesn’t work.
  • Employee use of social media in the workplace doesn’t necessarily adversely affect productivity.
  • There are distinct advantages to allowing — and even encouraging — employees to use social media sites while at work.
  • The future of business is a networked future. Employers who figure out the right balance will be more competitive. Those that don’t will be left behind.

The Futility of Blocking

Do you have a smart phone? An iPhone, an Android, or any of the dozens of other models available? You can surf the Web, access social networks, send and receive messages on Twitter and engage in all kinds of other online activities. So can your employees.

Blocking access to social sites via your company networks won’t stop most employees from engaging in the same behavior the blocks were designed to prevent.  It is often counterproductive, with the time employees spend finding a way to the sites they want to visit being more time-consuming than actually visiting the sites.

Productivity Trends Tell the Story

If worker productivity is at an all-time low, why do US Department of Labor statistics paint a different picture in which productivity continues to rise?

The answer is simple. Productivity is not a measure of the time employees spend at work engaged in non-work activities. It’s a measure of output. And the use of social media can actually help increase employee output.

A study conducted at the University of Melbourne found that employees with access to social networks were actually more productive than employees in companies that block access. According to Dr. Brent Coker, employees who can reward themselves between the completion of one task and the start of another with a visit to their Facebook page are more invigorated and get more done. According to the study, they get 9 percent more accomplished than their blocked counterparts.

Getting to the Crux of the Matter

There will always be employees who waste time. There always have been, long before computers were introduced to the workplace. Addressing this problem is a management issue, not a technological one.

There’s more to the productivity issue, though. Among workers, the fact that they are networked means they can work anywhere. Think about it. Do you check your email on your mobile phone as soon as you get up? That’s a work-related activity at home. Employees review reports while at their kids’ soccer games. They take overseas calls after dinner. They draft reports before bed.

How many of your employees arrive at 9 and leave at 5? An employee who arrives at 7:30 a.m. and leaves at 6:30 p.m. can spend two hours on Facebook and still put in a solid eight hours of work — plus the time they spend working when they’re away from the office.

It’s also worth remembering that the same productivity paranoia was raised over the telephone and email.

Blocking social media is now considered quite an antiquated idea.  The crux of the matter comes down to whether you’ve hired good employees or not.  If you have a hardworking employee, they are going to work hard for you. If you’ve hired a time-waster, then they will waste time no matter if social media is available or not.