What if We Hired the Wrong Person?

b loehr - bad hireThe first week went off without a hitch, and you’re basking in the warm glow of yet another terrific hire. Obviously that tiny doubt that wedged itself in the front corner of your mind meant nothing because things have worked out A-Okay.

Week two zooms by in similar fashion and you forge ahead with the next hiring decision. Then it happens; the department manager where the new guy works flags you down as week three commences. “Uh, we need to talk … about Employee X.”

Over lunch, you learn that tiny doubt you dismissed at the end of week one, has lodged in the department manager’s mind. But it’s no longer tiny. You’re appetite vanishes as the story unfolds. “He’s a great guy. I’m just not sure he’s the right guy for the job,” he concludes. “I guess time will tell.”

You decide to be pro-active and not wait for the customary 30 day new hire check-in. Okay, while we’re being honest… that new hire check-in isn’t as customary as it should be. Time flies by and if things appear to be going well, too often it simply doesn’t happen.

You meet that week with the department manager and Employee X who expresses some concerns of his own. He’s struggled to meet expectations that he wasn’t aware were part of this position. Several inconsistencies emerged as his training shifted between several people within the department, and he feels as if he’s floundering. “I really want this to work out,” he shares candidly.

Well, that makes three of you.

An honest, detailed conversation takes place. The inconsistencies in the department will be addressed, the specific job expectations are discussed and tweaked. Relief and hope mingle as a follow-up meeting is scheduled for next week.

Will things work out? Hopefully, yes. The dread that consumed you when the department manager shared his concerns has been replaced by cautious hope. The strategy of early intervention and honest conversation could very well save this hire. You’ll definitely make brief early check-ins as well as official 30 days check-ins a priority from now on.

It happens to every business owner and hiring manager at some point. They face the very real possibility that they hired the wrong person. For a myriad of reasons, often no one person’s fault, not every hire results in a satisfactory working relationship. The good news is some situations can be turned around with early intervention and strategic steps to address areas of concern. The bad news: not every scenario will have a happy ending. The truth is that some hiring situations will end in termination.

It’s of utmost importance to be well versed in the termination laws governing your state before you find yourself in the position of having to dismiss an employee. Knowing the legal ramifications will insure you handle terminations properly, so as not to leave yourself vulnerable to legal action at a later date.

Information may be found at the Compliance Tools for HR Professionals site and the United States Department of Labor. Contact information for each state’s Department of Labor may be found here.

As the largest independent and locally owned and operated staffing company in the St. Louis metropolitan area, the B. Loehr name has been synonymous with excellence in the employment industry since 1898. Our focus has always been, and always will be, on getting it right–the first time! Contact us today for assistance with all your hiring needs.

 

 

 

5 Recruiters’ Pet Peeves to Avoid

b loehr - peeves 2Recruitment consultants play a key role in matching qualified candidates with positions at their client’s companies. As the scope of their job includes perusing stacks of resumes and conducting hundreds of interviews, recruiters have a unique perspective on the habits of job candidates. Some of those habits are to be applauded while others… well, let’s just say some candidate’s habits end up on lists of the not-so-favorable kind.

Hear ye, hear ye, job seekers, one and all! Ye would do well to avoid these issues and situations that tend to prick a recruiter’s skin.

 

  1. The “perfect” candidate syndrome

A job candidate who reports nothing but huge successes, perfect attendance, exemplary co-worker relationships and a list of perfections that goes on and on will wear on a recruiter’s nerves. People who see no room for improvement within themselves are probably covering up insecurity. Hey, everyone has shortcomings. We’re human. So admitting, “I’m working to improve this… or that…” says you are grounded in reality. And, just so you know, those “perfect” candidate’s reference checks rarely reflect the same “perfect” story.

  1. The desperation approach

A sure sign of a desperate job seeker is when his/her resume shows up for every open position available with the recruiter. This cover-all-the-bases approach seldom nets a well-suited match, in part, because mass mailings don’t contain the position-specific details that will pique the recruiter’s interest. And besides screaming desperation, this practice sends a lazy vibe as well. Save everyone’s time and energy by targeting specific positions that fit your particular skill set.

  1. The picture me option

While a minority of recruiters give a nod to resumes that include a photo, most recruiting consultants admonish job seekers to skip the personal photo. Not only does a photo take up valuable page space, but a host of issues present themselves when the gender and race of the candidate is immediately presented. Skills and qualifications, not personal appearance, should guide a recruiter to seek additional information or contact the applicant. Note: this is referring to your resume – not your LinkedIn account. Social Media should always include a professional photo.

  1. A lack of familiarity with the Boy Scouts’ motto – “Be Prepared”

A candidate’s preparedness is expected to include such key items as what the company does/produces/services, what position is being interviewed for and oh, yeah, the company’s location. Can you imagine that candidates actually telephone for directions, begin an interview with “Now what position are we talking about today?” or otherwise appear completely clueless about the company? It happens.

Learn as much as possible about the company—an easy task in today’s age of internet accessibility. Do your homework and be informed.

  1. About those resumes…

… the jury’s findings are somewhat inconclusive. Personal preference plays a role in the length of resume a recruiter might deem to be the perfect resume. While a one-page resume is thought to be adequate by most, a percentage of recruiters hold staunchly to a one-page maximum length, with a lesser percentage lighting up at the prospect of a two, or even occasionally three, page document. But any longer than that, and no one will take the time to wade through it. The jury has concluded that clear, simple, concise always wins over elaborate, complicated, or cutesy.

B. Loehr Staffing’s recruitment specialists take their responsibility to fill clients’ positions with candidates that meets the companies’ skills and expectations while also matching the candidate’s employment needs and desires seriously. Contact us today so that we may assist you in reaching a successful conclusion to your employment search.

 

3 Fall Job Search Tips

bloehr - jobsearchAs the shortened days of fall signal the end of summer fun and the fast approach of winter, it’s time to kick your job search into high gear.

Recruiting often picks up in the fall for a variety of reasons. If year-end hiring targets have yet to be met, or salary money remains in the budget, hiring will get top priority to ensure those goals are reached and to avoid risking reduced salary money in next year’s budget.

Now is not the time to slack off or let discouragement zap your search.

  1. Freshen up your resume

Pull out a fresh copy of your resume and look at it through the eyes of a hiring manager. While past work experience, accomplishments and responsibilities should be noted, it’s so important that employers come away with a keen sense of what you can do for their company. A resume has to “market” you to your next employer. So much rests on this one document that it’s wise to consider some outside assistance. Consider investing in yourself with a solid resume writer or coach.

  1. Get serious about networking

With school back in session, schedules settle down and return to their pre-summer norm. All sorts of groups – business associations, community groups, volunteer organizations – resume their meetings and events, presenting a plethora of networking opportunities. Even school programs, sporting events and parents’ activities provide settings that encourage people connections. And we all know that many jobs get filled before they’re advertised because someone in the know told someone who jumped at the opportunity.

So, take advantage of every opportunity to mingle and make connections. Invite a former co-worker to lunch. Make an appearance at the community social. Every conversation has the potential to plant a seed that could reap a harvest in the not-too-distant future.

  1. Review your online presence

Now is the perfect time to check out your digital footprint. Google yourself to discover exactly what a prospective employer will find when he/she searches your name. Because you know they will. Check for inappropriate comments or images on your social media accounts. Peruse with an eye for anything offensive or unprofessional. Fun is okay. Suggestive innuendos have to go.

Review your LinkedIn profile. You have one of those, right? This easily accessible mini-resume should market you and the abilities you’d bring to a new employer just as your traditional resume should. Freshen it up and include new information. LinkedIn is also a great place to “hang out”. Ask questions, engage in dialog or join a group.

Make your job search a priority this fall. Fill your calendar with specific, job-search related strategies and zero in on the perfect new position.

Loehr Staffing specializes in matching qualified candidates with positions in the areas of administration, accounting, clerical, office support, housekeeping, factory work, call center, medical office support, reception and warehouse. Contact one of our staffing experts for assistance in attaining the job that’s best suited to you. You can depend on our expertise. We’ve been in business for more than 100 years.

 

Job Interview Prep: 4 Strategies to Get You Ready

b loehr - interview prep

Job Interview Prep: 4 Strategies to Get You Ready

Preparation is the key to facing a job interview with confidence and the calmness that will allow your best qualities to shine through. And the swarm of butterflies racing around your stomach? The proper prep can tame that fluttering flurry as well.

These 4 steps will ready you to ace the interview.

1. Research the company

Delving into the company details is critical to interview preparation. The more you know about the company with whom you’re interviewing, the more prepared you will be to both answer questions and to formulate your own questions. Digging into company information will also give you a feel for the company culture and help you determine how well you would fit within their structure. Give your interview day confidence a boost by arming yourself with all you can discover about this potential employer.

2. Leverage the info your search uncovered to formulate answers to these common interview questions:

  • “What do you know about our company?”
  • “Why should we hire you?”
  • “What specific qualifications would you bring to this position?”
  • “Why do you want to work here?”

Oh no, not those questions. 

Yes, those questions. Many questions you’ll face stem from this line of thinking: “What can you do for us?” The very question that, truthfully, is at the heart of most hiring decisions. Companies are seeking candidates who will be a positive addition to the company, not only by filling an open position, but also by contributing to the overall company culture. Be prepared to demonstrate the positive impact hiring you would make.

3. Prepare a list of questions to ask the interviewer

Study the job description carefully and tailor a set of questions that relate specifically to the position. Formulate additional questions that will delve into the company’s culture and structure. Examples might include:

  • “How would you describe a typical week/day in this position?”
  • “What is the company’s management style?”
  • “Who does this position report to? If I am offered the position, can I meet him/her?”
  • “How many people work in this office/department?”
  • “What will be the most important things for me to accomplish?”

 4. Be prepared to sell yourself

Come to the interview equipped with specific examples, experiences, and scenarios that will demonstrate how your unique qualities and characteristics match up with this particular job. Include volunteer opportunities and responsibilities that relate to the tasks included in this potential job. Mention hobbies that pertain to the skills needed for this position.

Long, drawn out accounts are not warranted, nor will they be appreciated. In a concise, succinct manner, summarize all experiences that are pertinent to this opportunity. This is not the time to brag or gloat. Simply be honest, backing up your list of attributes with solid evidence.

The interviewer may respond with another of those dreaded questions:  “What are your weaknesses?” We all have them, but it can be difficult to come up with a suitable answer if you haven’t prepared for the question. So, put some thought into how to respond in a sincere, truthful manner.

Time spent preparing for a job interview will allow you to enter those important meetings with confidence and offer the best chance for success in securing a new job.

“As hundreds of people learn each year B. Loehr Staffing’s assignments can lead to job offers without an interviews.  Let your work for the company answer all the interview questions.”

 

 

When the Pieces Fit in the Puzzle: Selecting Employees Who Fit your Company’s Culture

b loehr - puzzleSkills and qualifications are certainly significant parameters for framing a hiring decision. But how a potential employee fits in the company culture –the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of the organization’s management and employees – is playing a greater role in hiring decisions these days. As employers see the benefit in gauging how an employee will fit into the culture of the company, they are adopting practices that deliver this information.

A myriad of reasons supports this trend toward more attention to culture. For instance, a potential employee with basic skills can be trained in the specifics of a particular job. It happens successfully every day. But attempting to “train” a new hire to fit the company culture doesn’t work nearly as well.  In fact it falls somewhere between very difficult and impossible.

It’s an established fact that candidates who mesh culturally are much more likely to stay on the job. Everyone knows how costly employee turnover can be—in dollars and cents of course, but replacing employees depletes energy and morale while it piles on stress and frustration. A 10 to 15 percent attrition rate may be seen as normal or expected, but do the math. Over four years, this “normal” loss of employees could result in a company losing over 50 percent of its work force. Ouch. Who can afford that?

Ideally, employers should strive for both a “job fit” and a “culture fit”, equaling a “total fit”. But what determines if a candidate is a “total fit”? A two-step process will deliver the best results. The questions to be asked and answered concerning job skills are fairly routine.

  1. Does the applicant have the skills, knowledge, and aptitude to perform in this position?
  2. Have past experiences prepared the applicant for this job?
  3. Are his/her strengths compatible with the requirements of this position?

The cultural fit litmus test is a bit trickier. The answers to questions like those below will give insight into a candidate’s potential cultural fit.

  1. How would you describe yourself using just three words?
  2. What is your ideal work environment?
  3. What do you like best about your current position?
  4. Would you describe yourself as a collaborator OR a pioneer? In other words, are you a team player or a lone ranger?
  5. How do you define success?

More companies are adding this additional layer of questioning as they realize the importance of cultural fit.

Personality testing is another tool that can assist hiring managers in finding culturally fit candidates. For example, when one company  began administering a test online, it not only reduced turnover, but also increased their ability to accurately select applicants who fit the job. The testing process has helped the company determine what makes a great reservation sales applicant, thereby enabling them to hire candidates most suited to the job.

Job shadowing can also be an important step in discovering candidates who are a “total fit”. Let’s say two applicants present with almost identical skills, qualifications, previous job experiences and both interview well. Not a bad dilemma, actually, but one that can leave you stumped and fearful of making the wrong decision. Arrange for each applicant to spend a few hours shadowing in the department where the opening is. Watch, unobtrusively of course, as they interact with the team and following the job-shadow time, seek the input of those in direct contact with the potential hire. Such an experience is bound to produce valuable insights that can assist in the hiring decision. It’s even possible the candidate will bow out if he/she determines a cultural fit does not exist.

It’s a win-win situation when the organization’s values and priorities line up with those of the employees. At B. Loehr Staffing, we recognize the importance of the employee “pieces” fitting into the company “puzzle.” We understand that creating the perfect team doesn’t happen by accident. Contact us today for assistance in completing the employment “puzzle” for your company.

Take Your Customer Service Skills from “Ho-Hum” to “Amazing”

b loehr - customer serviceOf course, you want to provide good customer service. That’s your job. But, what if you could leave every customer thinking “Wow, that was an awesome experience!”?

Attention to these five steps will help you do just that.

  1. Tone is everything

Create an atmosphere of caring from the first moment. When assisting in person, make eye contact and address the customer with a pleasant voice. Over the phone, speak with “a smile in your voice” and an “I’m happy to be serving you” tone.  That’s right – it’s possible to “hear” a smile or a frown.

Choose words that emphasize the positive. For example, “Sorry, that’s back-ordered and not available until next month,” leaves the customer with a negative let down. However, “I can place the order for you right now so that when the product is available next month, it will be sent to you immediately,” leaves a positive impression.

  1. Empathy equals caring

It’s almost impossible to fake empathy – a genuine understanding and concern for the customer’s situation. But if you care enough to take a moment to step into their shoes and experience the issue/conundrum/complaint from their perspective, your ability to successfully and satisfactorily meet their need will soar. The customer will feel your responsiveness and appreciate the efforts you’re extending on his/her behalf.

When appropriate, a sincere “I’m sorry for your inconvenience/experience/situation, and I’ll be happy to assist you today,” will make the customer feel valued and lift his/her expectations of a satisfactory outcome.

  1. Listen, Listen, Listen

Attentiveness to the customer’s explanation of their dilemma is crucial to a happy ending. Listening requires patience to “hear out” the details. It also requires reading between the lines and uncovering the important facts that are missing. Attentiveness requires sorting the useful information from the unnecessary verbiage a chatty customer may choose to include. FACT: Zoning out while the customer rambles on and on will not result in the desired outcome.

  1. Communication is key

You’ve discovered the perfect solution to the customer’s situation. Great. But unless you can communicate that solution in terms the customer can understand and, if necessary, with easy-to-follow instructions, you might as well be speaking a foreign language. Understand that industry terminology often goes over the consumer’s head. While it’s crucial you understand the proper terms and the intricate details, the customer needs user-friendly, “layman’s” expressions and labels.

Employ a patient tone and swallow back the deep sighs and eye rolling, even if a second, third or fourth explanation is necessary. If the customer can repeat the solution back to you, that’s a good sign.

  1. Knowledge is power

The more you know about the products, services, procedures, policies inherent to this position, the better – for everyone. Few things are as frustrating for a customer as an ill-informed customer service rep who stumbles over, under, and around the question or situation with an obvious lack of true knowledge. Worse yet, is the rep who distributes wrong information that leads the customer on a dead-end journey.

When you seek to be as informed as possible, your goal to provide amazing customer service will be less stressful to achieve and will definitely net better results.

Put your customer service skills to work with B. Loehr Staffing. Contact us today about joining our pool of excellently qualified reception, call center, and office support candidates. Join the team of the largest independent and locally owned and operated staffing company in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Remember, we aren’t the best because we’re the oldest; we’re the oldest because we’re the best.