How Stereotyping Can Hurt Your Ability to Hire

The human brain is constantly stereotyping. They’re called “schemas” – connections that the brain makes in order to go through life with some idea of what to expect. Without these stereotypes, dark alleys would look as safe as bright public streets, and someone coming up at you with a knife would cause no more fear as a chef cooking sushi in front of you.

We do need schemes in order to not spend hours upon hours trying to figure out how to interpret everything we encounter in life. But when it comes to hiring, schemes can actually hold us back.

Productivity is Not Always Visible

You need to hire as objectively as possible. Yet this can be extremely difficult because you’ve created these stereotypes inside of your mind about what makes the right employee. These stereotypes are based on previous hiring practices, subconscious biases, the previous person employed at the position and more. Some of these biases you may even realise you have – for example, many people hiring for sales jobs look for someone that controls a room and is actively outgoing.

Others you may be completely oblivious to because your responses feel normal. Someone that fits your subconscious and bias view of what the “right employee” will be is always going to seem like the right employee, and liking them is going to feel completely unbiased – it’s going to feel natural, because your mind has created stereotypes about what you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, this can prevent you from finding the right employee. You don’t necessarily care about the person’s clothes, the way they look, their personality, etc. (although this does play a role in some jobs). What you care about is whether or not they’re going to be productive, and provide you with the skills the role needs.

How to Improve Objectivity

The best way to improve objectivity in your hiring processes is to use tools that objectively test performance. At Recruit Shop, for example, we use intelligence and skill based testing tools to provide an objective framework that discovers what the person is genuinely capable of.

You can also interview on knowledge and skill based questions to get a better idea of their genuine knowledge. You can also try techniques to better understand your own biases in order to eliminate them. Learn how to recognise your own first impressions, for example. If upon seeing the candidate you already like them, chances are you have some schema that are causing you to feel that way.

Eliminating Bias Isn’t Easy

This isn’t something that you’ll be able to master overnight, and in some cases, your biases may actually help you spot a candidate – especially when those biases are based on visible, recognisable criteria. But again, the trick is to make sure that you’re not overvaluing these stereotypes at the expense of a better employee elsewhere. That’s why trained recruiters can be so valuable, as their experience has taught them to ignore first impressions and make a judgment based on objective, measurable criteria instead.

Contact us at Recruit Shop today to learn more.

5 Challenges Recruiting in the SMB Market

Onboarding new employees is difficult in any organisation, but for those with limited resources, even hiring can be quite demanding. Because there’s frequently work that needs to be done or pressure to choose the right candidate, there’s more bearing on the decision making, for better or worse.

Recognising Hiring Obstacles

Most small to medium business don’t have the luxury of learning from their mistakes as there isn’t much margin of error when making the wrong choice. Knowing how to recognise potential obstacles ahead of time can save a lot of stress.

  •  Limited Brand Recognition

Recruiting well-qualified candidates can be difficult when other companies have had years to establish a name and reputation, particularly when it comes to IT. Newly-minted graduates may have a target employer in mind, whereas more experienced prospectives may not want to go with an unknown commodity. Overcome this by describing the benefits of working for your business, its culture and more in your job advertisement.

  • Difficulties in the Process

The vetting of potential candidates can be uneven if a business doesn’t regularly hire. In those cases, an owner may rely more on gut feeling than a thorough procedure when narrowing down a list. Added to that, there can either be a rush to fill a position or limited feedback as other issues compete for attention. Consider hiring a recruitment company to overcome this challenge, or putting a strategy in place that your HR staff can follow.

  • More Pressing Concerns

Many small business owners have to be involved in the day-to-day operations in order for anything to be accomplished. Hiring, in effect, ends up as no one’s “job”; certainly not one that anyone gets paid for. If a business has had poor returns on hires, they may be less eager to rush out to train a new person as well. Once again, a process in place can help you overcome these issues.

  • Masters of Nothing

One problem small businesses report is that there are too few qualified candidates applying. However, this may result from unclear job postings or asking for too much from candidates. A hard-to-resist temptation is trying to fill more needs with fewer people, asking new employees for more breadth in skills than is reasonable. Some type of dedicated, trained, and experienced HR staff or recruitment expert can assist with this issue.

  • Expansion Without Support

As a business begins to expand, it’s necessary to handle high and mid-level managers to oversee personnel. However, too often the company poorly plans its growth, leaving departments without definition or infrastructure. Managerial candidates more interested in maintaining than building may steer clear as a result. Try to work on your organisational hierarchy to make this less problematic with job seekers.

Preparing for New Hires

Recognising challenges in small business recruiting is the first step towards making the proper adjustments. If your business writes postings and interviews candidates with these concerns in mind, you’re more likely to make the right choice.

Are You Recruiting on the Lesser Known Social Media Sites?

Lesser known social media sites

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are some of the most highly recognised social networks in the world. Companies use these social media websites every day to find and evaluating some of the top talent in the local area and around the world.

But they’re also not the only social media websites out there. There are hundreds of others, all of which have their own unique user base. While many of them are still up and coming, companies that want to expand their talent pool may want to consider using these social media sites to find some of the talent that would otherwise be missed.

Examples of Social Media Sites to Target

There are social media sites for every profession, every type of worker – even every income level. There are social media accounts for different races, genders, ages, and so much more. All it takes is a bit of a search and you’d be shocked what you can find.

But for those that would like a good place to start, consider the following:

  • Angellist – Although better for marketing your open positions than it is for networking, Angellist is a very popular social media website for startups looking to improve their online presence and reach an audience that is specifically interested in Startup culture.
  • Makerbase – An interesting social media site useful for those in the tech world, Makerbase connects you to the people that worked on projects that you’re familiar with, so that you can see what they’ve done and who they are.
  • Xing – Xing is essentially a smaller LinkedIn. But it may have benefits for those looking internationally for new employees, especially if you want to reach German speaking countries and European talent.
  • Jobcase – Jobcase is similar to LinkedIn, especially their group feature. It is a social media site for people to ask and share information, almost like an advanced forum. You can often spot people that have significant expertise in their field.

You should also look for any websites that are tailored to the industry that you are most passionate about, and see if there are any difference makers that you can bring into your organisation. While of the people you want are going to be found on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other popular social media platforms, you may still find that the person you want most is in a location that you had never before considered.

7 Things to Ask Employees to Do Before They Resign

7 things to do before they resign

When an employee quits your company, they generally give their 2 weeks notice. Many companies use that time to have the employee complete their usual tasks as they look for someone to replace them as quickly as possible. But these employees are also a vessel of information that can help the person that takes their place.

That is why when an employee exits, you should have a list of work you need from them specifically related to their leaving, in order to make sure that the next person is ready for the challenges ahead. These include:

  • Have Them Write the Job Description – No one knows the job as well as they do. They should be the one writing about what the job entails, including breaking out the work that they complete, how often they spend performing each task, and anything the incoming staff member may need to know.
  • Have Them Consult on the Job Advertisement – You may know what you want in the next staff member, but the exiting staff member is going to have an excellent idea of what their replacement is going to need. Make sure they are consulting on the job advertisement to replace them.
  • Survey Their Reasons for Leaving – Employees that are leaving the company can provide you with highly valuable information that can help you avoid retention issues in the future. You can ask them about management, about engagement, and about any of the issues that may have affected their satisfaction levels during their time at your organisation. This information can be very valuable in avoiding similar problems in the future.
  • Let Them Create Training Manuals/Advice – If possible, have the employee complete training manuals to help future employees with the role. If it’s not possible to have them complete them manual, then have a staff member that is in charge of training new employees talk to them and see what trainings may need to be completed in order to ensure the next employee is up to speed.
  • Have Them Prepare a Schedule and Contacts – The incoming person is going to have a lot of work right away, especially if the previous employee was a great contributor. To help both management and the new employee know what to do next, the exiting employee should create a calendar of events for months in the future, provide contact information for anyone involved, and make sure that the person is ready to step in on day one.
  • Make Sure They Reorganise – Everyone has their own organisational system, but before the employee’s last day, everything should be standardised in some way. This is especially important for those that work with computers. Items should be very easy to find and manage, in order to reduce training time for the new employee.
  • Let Them Train the Manager – Often during an employee’s tenure, the manager tells them what to do. But before an employee leaves, it may be a good idea to put the manager through a training. By allowing the exiting employee to train the manager, the manager gets a better idea of what their workday was like, knows the job inside and out, and can better prepare the incoming employee.

In addition to the tasks you have them complete, you should also give them a great send-off. Treating employees well affects the entirety of your company’s morale, and is a good practice no matter your industry.

Learn From Every Employee

The key to great recruitment and better employee retention is to always be learning, and often there is a great deal you can learn from an employee that is in the act of leaving your company. Take advantage of every opportunity to get information, and make sure you take advantage of their knowledge of the role.

15 Questions to Ask as Conversation Starters for Recruiters at Networking Events

Questions to ask at a Networking Event

Some people excel at networking events. They are social animals, able to start a conversation with complete strangers and by the end of the conversation, the other person feels like they’ve just met their new best friend.

But for others, networking events can be a challenge. Visitors often go specifically because they want to be recruited – which is hard enough for the attendee, but can also be especially hard for the recruiter, who has to balance both the awkwardness of the candidate and the expectations they have about the events.

How to Start a Professional Conversation

If you have never been to networking event before, or you find that starting these conversations can be difficult, the following are 15 questions to ask that can help you start a conversation and learn more about them as employees and as people:

  1. Are you actively seeking work or are you happily employed?
  2. What do you think of your job right now?
  3. Are you on a specific growth path at your company?
  4. Do you take advantage of any of your company’s perks?
  5. Are you connected to your co-workers?
  6. How would you describe your company’s culture?
  7. Was this the career path you always wanted or did you find yourself here?
  8. Have you been to any other networking events in the past?
  9. Are there any training courses that you’ve completed? Did your company set them up for you?
  10. What kind of work environment do you like most?
  11. Do you have any professional goals over the next few years?
  12. Do you feel like your company is innovative and likely to keep growing?
  13. How do you feel about the industry in general?
  14. Do you feel challenged?
  15. Do you find much time to travel, for business or pleasure?

You’re also under no obligation to talk only about the professional. You may find that there is plenty you can learn about someone by talking about personal interests, hobbies, and so much more. All that really matters is getting the conversation started, and for that, there may only be one question you need to ask:

  1. Hi. What’s your name?

Are You Supporting Your HR Staff?

Supporting Your HR Staff

In recruitment, most time is spent talking about how to find the best possible candidates for an open job. There is a great deal of focus on hiring the right people, and how to make sure you have an effective hiring practice. If you’re not successful, or you feel as though you’re not bringing on the right people, most businesses overhaul their hiring practices to try to better identify the right targets.

While it is important to hire the right people, we have discussed time and time again the importance of investing in your employees as well. More companies have indeed started to recognise the importance of employee satisfaction on productivity and retention. But for far too many companies, that recognition has not spread to an important group – human resources.

Human Resources Needs to Be Supported Too

In many ways, it is the job of human resources to make sure that employees feel supported. But supporting your human resources may be just as important as supporting any new hires you bring on board, if not more so.

Every single person in your human resource department is an employee of your company, just like the people they are tasked with bringing on board. They are the first people in your company that new hires meet, and they are the people that are often responsible for the satisfaction of others.

You can support your human resource department by:

  • Frequent Open Check-ins – Have management check in regularly with HR to make sure they have every tool they can use to make work easier, find out if they have any challenges or ideas they want to implement, etc.
  • Have Them Meet Everyone – Some hiring managers are walled off in an “us vs. them” setting. This can make them feel disconnected from the rest of staff, and also create a dynamic where senior managers and lower level staff are sceptical of their work. Let them have an opportunity to socialise and get to know all staff members.
  • Prioritise Consulting Time – One department needs a new staff member. That department manager sends a list of what they need to the HR staff. The HR staff is then tasked with finding it. This can be inefficient. Having the HR staff and letting them collaborate with departments and hiring managers more often helps everyone on your team.
  • Similar Employee Engagement Strategies – Let HR be involved in the same engagement processes that you use on other employees. Whether it’s rewards for performance goals, gym memberships, or something more creative, make sure they feel that they are a part of your company’s growth.

They also frequently have needs that they may not even know they have, because of the work they’re in charge of completing. If your company is actively looking for ways to help HR staff as people, you may find that their ability to recruit is even stronger, because it comes from a place of having everything they need, feeling supported, and genuinely believing the company has the best interests of its hires at heart.

As you continue to learn how to hire new employees, make sure you don’t forget the employees you have. That is especially true of those in human resources, as they are the people on the front lines bringing new staff into your company.

Why You May Want to Always Accept Job Applications

Human resources may not like to admit it, but most companies hire at the last minute. They wait until a position is open, and then run to try to fill the position as quickly as possible. At Recruit Shop, we’ve written frequently about how beneficial it can be to use recruitment services before you even need to hire someone – when you’re not rushed:

  • You have more time to select the right candidates.
  • You can fill the position quicker.
  • You are able to select from a larger pool.

It’s why we actively encourage companies to consider using some of their hiring budget to get a head start on positions that may open, even though they may not open yet.

However, recruitment is only one of several ways you can advertise to potential job seekers before a job is open. Another strategy, which all companies should consider is accepting applications on your website all year.

Why You May Want to Always Accept Job Applications

Even if you have no specific job openings, and you are not sure what will open in the near future, it helps to have a page on your website where you accept job applications – for example, a page that talks about the benefits of working for your company, and an email address where potential job seekers can send resumes.

There are many reasons that this can be a highly valuable tool for your business:

  • It Attracts Those that Want to Work For You

It is in your best interest as an organisation to find people that want to work specifically for your company – not just those that see an open job and apply. When someone wants to work for you, it increases the likelihood that they know what your job entails, that they like your company, and that they will stick around. It also decreases risk. Keeping a page open to accept job applications means that the person chose you over all the companies that actually had open positions. That is always advantageous.

  • You May Need the Person Now

Sometimes an applicant fills a need you didn’t even know you had. For example, if you have someone that that applies for a position as a sales manager (with a very strong resume), and you have a sales staff that has been managed by the marketing department – not a sales specialist – you may find you want to consider them even if you hadn’t originally considered the need.

  • It’s Free and You May Need Them

Even though the position may not be currently open, you never know when it might be. Accepting applications on your website is free, simple, and doesn’t require much extra work from your HR staff. It’s a great way to collect names and plan for the future should the need arise, without having to seek out people later.

  • More Talent

Highly talented job seekers are not on the market that often. They may look for a job only a few days a year, especially if they are employed but still open to other work. There is an advantage to being able to collect their resume now. In the future, if they are employed, you can still send them an email and let them know that you have an open position. This allows you to find passive, rather than active job seekers on the market.

  • A Simple Website Change for Better Hiring

There is no guaranteeing that everyone that applies to jobs via your website is going to be worth hiring. You may still not find that difference maker you are looking for. But adding a page to a website is easy, and it does not necessarily require a lot of extra work from those on staff to organise the applications they receive. If you’re looking for a free, simple way to improve recruitment, it may be a strategy worth considering.

How a Third Party Recruiter Can Take Bias Out of Talent Acquisition

Objective hiring practices

No one wants to admit it to themselves. But we all have implicit biases. Implicit biases are biases and prejudices that we have instinctually that we do not know about or think about consciously.

Consciously we may know that all people are equal. Yet subconsciously, we all have feelings that we’ve created about men, women, people of different religions, people of different skin colours, young people, older people, and more. None of these are on purpose, nor do they imply that you are a hateful or prejudiced person. It is simply a human behaviour that we are still learning to control.

Implicit Bias and Professional Talent

Your personal biases and prejudices are your own business. But when it comes to building a successful company, what you need more than anything is talent. Whether that person is black or white, young or old, male or female, it doesn’t matter as long as they are going to bring you the revenue and productivity that you need from your staff.

Your goal is to hire the best of the best. But implicit biases are everywhere. So how do you avoid letting these biases affect your hiring practices?

  • You can have a staff member remove names from resumes before you review them. This helps eliminate any accidental bias towards someone whose name gives away something about their demographics. This is a good practice to implement.
  • You can have a diverse team provide independent scores for resumes. This can help reduce at least some implicit biases (though of course they can all have the same biases, so it’s not clear how much that would affect).
  • You can use a scoring system that tries to use objective scoring. These are very effective but they take years of experience to study and use.

Yet another strategy that can be very useful to implement is simply using a third party, like Recruit Shop, for your recruitment needs. We use our own unique methodology to ensure that we’re looking at people’s talent. We score resumes using a specific system, find the ones that make the most sense for you, and then send the list to you. You can be certain that each and every person on that list, regardless of their demographics, is qualified for the job. Then you can give each one a chance and see which one feels like the best fit.

When you work in recruitment, your priority is finding talent. Learning more about implicit biases and controlling for those biases by using a recruitment company (as well as some of those other strategies above), and prioritising talent above anything else.

5 Formatting Tips for Your Job Advertisement

The content of your job advertisement is important. But sometimes, one of the most important parts of creating a job advertisement has nothing to do with words. It’s simply about ensuring that you format your job advertisement correctly. Job advertisements – especially those posted online – have to follow some of the same guidelines as other forms of online writing, with special formatting rules that help to ensure your job advertisement is more visible to your audience.

Job advertisements – especially those posted online – have to follow some of the same guidelines as other forms of online writing, with special formatting rules that help to ensure your job advertisement is more visible to your audience.

How to Format a Job Advertisement for the Internet

On the internet, even with job seekers, there is a limit to how much of an attention span each reader will have, as well as where their eyes go when they are visiting your page. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that you have the right formatting, to help your job advertisement get noticed.

Tips for formatting include:

  • Utilise Bullet Points – Perhaps the most affordable formatting tip is to use bullet points to highlight your most important information. Bullet points draw the eye naturally, especially in online writing. They are the first location the visitor’s eyes will go. Use bullet points to talk about your company’s best features, your most important qualifications, etc.
  • Use Subheadings – Like bullet points, subheadings help make job postings easier to navigate. If the person wants to scroll down quickly to read what the requirements are before they decide to learn more about your company, they’re going to look for something, like a subheading, that signals where they should start reading.
  • Use Short Paragraphs – Large amounts of text are overwhelming to the eye. They naturally promote skimming, and can cause the person to lose interest in your advertisement or miss critical bits of information. Shorter paragraphs – ideally no more than 4 lines of text – help ensure that the reading is easier to digest.
  • Bold – Not every job board lets you add custom formatting, like bolding, but there are ways to use bold to your advantage. Use bold to highlight important information that you want applicants to notice. This might include specific qualifications or experiences required, location and/or salary information.
  • Use Everything in Moderation – All of the above formatting tips can help improve your job advertisements. But you should also make sure that you aren’t overdoing it. You don’t want more than maybe 5 to 7 bullets at most (with 3 to 5 ideal). You don’t want 15 subheadings. You don’t want to bold every other word. Use each one sparingly to maximise their impact.

You take so much time creating your job advertisement. The last thing you want to do is accidentally cause people to turn away from your ad because you didn’t use the right formatting. Think about your presentation when you create your job ad to ensure that more people see it and appreciate it

Benefits of Encouraging Your Employees to Take On Personal Projects

Companies today are frequently looking unique strategies to improve employee engagement. Some businesses do this through office parties, others organise volunteering opportunities, and others find that something as simple as a few extra hours off on Fridays is all they need.

But there is one employee engagement strategy that is work related, improves engagement, and possibly helps your company grow in the future, and that is allowing employees to work on their own personal projects.

What Are Personal Work Projects?

Personal work projects are projects that employees plan, manage, and execute all on their own – with no instruction from a manager. For example, an employee that works in marketing can try out a unique marketing strategy that they’ve always wanted to try, and see if it helps your company grow.

Examples of personal projects might include custom code design, graphic design that you didn’t know you needed, a unique email system for sales leads, and much more. It’s not important what the project is. What matters is that the employee gets to choose the project completely on their own, and execute it on their own.

Why Are Personal Projects Great for Companies?

Personal projects are amazing tools for employee engagement. Personal projects allow employees to feel like they’re bringing something to the company and are not just a cog in a machine doing what someone else tells them. It lets them be the ones trying to figure out how to help your company succeed, and giving them the chance to feel like they truly matter.

In addition to how personal projects improve engagement, they also have many benefits for the company:

  • They May Work – First and foremost, these personal projects are frequently employees thinking outside the box for ways to help your company, and it’s possible they may work. Rarely are the ideas of management the only successful ideas. You hired these employees for a reason, and you may find that they have brilliant, outside of the box ideas that help improve your revenue.
  • They Find Idea Makers and Leaders – It’s often very hard for management to figure out which employees are the diamonds. Is someone a mediocre performer or just not challenged? Can someone that goes above and beyond really make it to the next level? These questions are hard to answer when people do only the tasks you tell them.
  • They Offer a Break – Employees that have a break from the monotonous are very likely to find that they are less stressed and overwhelmed by the monotonous later. Personal projects can renew the energy the employee has for your business, while also contributing to its success.
  • They Teach New Skills – Even if an employee’s idea fails, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t successful. Every staff member that takes up their own personal projects is also learning new skills that may help them at your company in the future, such as how to come up with ideas, how to plan them, and more.
  • They Open the Door for More Engagement – Finally, an employee that has their own personal project and succeeds at it sets themselves up for other strategies that improve engagement and satisfaction. For example, if an employee brings a lot of excess revenue to your company with their idea, you can then give them a bonus, which in turn makes them feel even more a part of your company’s success and continues the cycle.

Personal projects are also one of the few employee engagement ideas that can actually help your company profit in the future. Employee engagement is always beneficial, but the fact that this type of engagement can also help you increase your revenue makes it especially useful in the context of your business.