staffing

What #PlaidShirtGuy Can Teach Us About Recruiting and Hiring Best Practices

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Source: Twitter

Tyler Linfesty, better known to the internet as “plaid shirt guy,” became an overnight sensation because of his facial expressions at a Trump rally in Montana. According to the 17-year-old student from Billings, his reactions were a response to comments made by the President.

I’m not writing this to take sides politically; there’s already enough of that going on. What struck me was Linfesty’s choice—he chose not to take what he was hearing at face value. Instead, he listened and when he questioned something he was hearing it showed on his face.

His example is important for all of us who want to improve recruiting and hiring. We shouldn’t take everything we hear or read at face value. This includes news reports, social media posts, and even people in my line of work—speakers and writers.

It’s easy to believe someone who’s been invited to the stage or given space in a trusted publication. Speaking on stage or being featured as a writer elevates that individual’s perceived expertise. Many people listen to what these thought leaders communicate without questioning the applicability of that knowledge for their specific circumstances.

Case in point. I often hear speakers, panelists, and writers offer a best practice, proven method, or industry standard to solve a problem. Then, another thought leader in a different setting offers a different best practice for the exact same problem. Does this mean one of them is being dishonest? No. My experience is that most people are trying to be helpful.

The real issue is that best practices (and phrases that mean the same thing) are relative. From that individual’s perspective, the idea being put forth is what they believe to be the best. It’s up to you to be like #PlaidShirtGuy and question the applicability of that idea for your situation. Here are three ways to do that.

Idea #1
Check the label
Many ideas labeled as a best practice are in the eye of the beholder. Before deciding if it’s best for your organization, check the label.

To do that, I like to ask

Why has this been a best practice for your organization?  

Idea #2
Trust and verify
Trust that the thought leader is trying to be helpful (because most are). Then, verify that the results achieved using that best practice will be worthwhile in your situation.

Ask questions like

What specific results did that best practice achieve?
How long did it take to implement?
How long before you saw those results?
How much did it cost? And what was the ROI?

Idea #3
Validate the source

In the spirit of being helpful, people will offer up brilliant ideas. Ideas that are sometimes not their own and that they themselves have not tried. When this happens, it tends to occur during panel discussions.

To validate the source, try asking

When did your company implement this best practice?

You can learn where the idea came from, allowing you to go to the original source for details.

 

 

 

 

Scott WintripWhat #PlaidShirtGuy Can Teach Us About Recruiting and Hiring Best Practices
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Think Your Staffing Firm is Competitive? Take This Test to Find Out for Sure.

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Lots of staffing owners and execs will tell you that their firm is highly competitive, when it’s not. In this podcast, I share a story of one such exec. I also walk you through The Competitive Test. By answering these 10 questions, you’ll learn the level of your competitiveness compared to other firms and know what to do next to make improvements.

Scott WintripThink Your Staffing Firm is Competitive? Take This Test to Find Out for Sure.
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Want Hiring Managers to Pay Attention to Your Candidates? Do These 4 Things.

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We live in a world of swiping, scanning, and occasionally scrolling. Reviewing a daily news feed. Looking for new listings on a real estate app. Sifting through posts on social media. Sorting your emails. Finding love on a dating app. Our mobile devices allow us to quickly review lots of topics, messages, posts, and pictures. Every so often one grabs our attention prompting us to scroll through the details.

This common behavior has changed how we process information. And this includes how most hiring managers review candidates. These managers, regardless of age, swipe and scan through emails and resumes with ever-increasing speed. Only occasionally do they scroll through the details about someone who, after an initial glance, appears to potentially meet their needs.

As more of our interactions with information shift to our mobile devices, this behavior will only increase. Which is why people who present talent to hiring managers (including HR professionals, corporate recruiters, and staffing pros), must adapt how they submit talent. Here’s how.

Find the juicy relevant details
When do we go beyond swiping and scanning? When we see something that appears worthwhile. Could be an article offering five compelling solutions for a perplexing business problem. Maybe it’s a picture of the newest model of a popular device. Or it might include a combination of a picture and text, such as a snap of a yummy looking dish and a recipe title that promises low fat and big taste.

Take time to identify the juicy and relevant details about a candidate. Don’t just ask about her skills—have her tell you about the positive business outcomes created by those skills. Don’t just ask him how much experience he has—have him give you the specifics regarding how that experience was praised by bosses and colleagues. Attention grabbing details are there if you take the time to find them.

Create a compelling headline
Actress Renee Zellweger famously said to Tom Cruise’s Jerry McGuire, “You had me at ‘hello.’” That’s what happens just before we decide to scroll through a piece of content—the very first “hello” (what we see or hear) either grabs or repels our attention.

Your headline, be it your first spoken sentence, the voicemail you leave, or the subject line of an email, determines if the hiring manager keeps paying attention or swipes you aside.

When possible, add a picture
Pictures are powerful and are said to be worth a thousand words. We see this today in the success and growth of Instagram, along with the increasing popularity of video.

Presenting talent with pictures is an overlooked opportunity. No, this does not mean you send the candidate’s picture. You can send powerful visual proof of the value the candidate could bring to the job. Examples include a picture of

– a written performance review
– non-proprietary work created by the candidate
– an award plaque

Write an irresistible opening
What keeps us reading content beyond a headline or picture? When what we see next makes it clear that continued interest is worth it.

That’s what you’ll do with the additional juicy relevant details you uncovered in step 1. You’ll write a brief opening paragraph that includes that information. Want to be even more compelling? Tie these details into specific requests made by the hiring manager.

What does this look like in action? Here’s the opening spoken line (headline) and first paragraph from a voicemail message left by a recruiter at one of my clients last week. He also sent this same headline and paragraph as an e-mail after leaving the voicemail message. Included was a pic of the first page of her most recent performance review.

SUBJECT: I have someone for you who’s a combination of Joe Allen and Susan Habib

Hi Roberto. You told me to look for someone who has the skill of Joe and communication abilities of Susan. I have her! Because of her skill, Emily has eliminated $120,000 in expense from the departmental budget. Her manager praises her communication as one of the reasons for this. He also credits her abilities for solving persistent problems, much like those issues you’ve mentioned your department is facing.

Did this work? Like a charm. The hiring manager, who normally took days to reply (if he did at all) responded within three minutes, wanting to set up an interview as soon as possible.

Like it or not, we now live in a world that floods us with information from all directions. To help your candidates stand out, you’ve got to cut through that noise. Hiring managers will swipe and scan your candidate to the side unless you make it clear it’s worth their while to stop and scroll through the details.

Scott WintripWant Hiring Managers to Pay Attention to Your Candidates? Do These 4 Things.
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Build and Maintain a Strong Staffing Leadership Team

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podcast-sleeveSuccess in the staffing and recruitment business hinges on leadership. Yet, building and maintaining a strong leadership team is a constant challenge for many firms. In this conversation with Lisa Maxwell of Gerard Stewart, you’ll hear concrete advice and actionable steps that will strengthen your executive leadership team and also boost the quality of your entire firm’s management.

Scott WintripBuild and Maintain a Strong Staffing Leadership Team
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Practical Tips for Effectively Using Social Media to Recruit Top Talent

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I’ve often found that advice about social media, while well-intentioned, isn’t practical, actionable, or sustainable. Then there’s the advice of Chloe DiVita of Perceptive Presence. I love her practical insights because they’re straightforward. And they work! I had the opportunity to chat with her recently on how business leaders, HR professionals, and recruiters can better leverage social media to find top talent.

Scott WintripPractical Tips for Effectively Using Social Media to Recruit Top Talent
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How to Tell if a Job Candidate’s Ability Matches His Resume: 4 Tips to Help Weed Out Future Bad Hires and Choose the Best Candidates Every Time

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It’s always exciting when you receive a resume from a job candidate who seems like a great fit. It’s even more exciting when the candidate nails the interview. And there’s nothing quite like the relief and satisfaction you feel when the person accepts the position. Now you’ve got yourself a brand-new employee. Unfortunately, sometimes the fairy tale stops here when people who give great interviews turn out to be bad hires.

Most of us have experienced being blindsided when an exciting candidate turns out to be a really disappointing employee. It’s always discouraging when the person you interviewed is not the same individual who shows up to work. You find yourself wondering what went wrong. It usually comes down to a few mistakes that you can easily remedy.

This starts with the resume. Even the most impressive resume paints an incomplete picture of the candidate’s potential. Relying too heavily on a resume is no better than judging a book by its cover. To combat this common problem, here are four tips to help you avoid making hires you later regret.

Tip #1 – Develop clear hiring criteria.
Your excitement about a candidate’s resume can interfere with sound decision-making. We can select the wrong people for the wrong reason when our feelings get in the way. To counter this tendency, develop clear hiring criteria complete with a detailed list of skills and personality traits that the right person must exemplify. Also, be sure to list the undesired traits you need to avoid.

It’s important to remember that feelings are not facts. Emotions, left unchecked, easily become false evidence that candidates fit roles when they do not. Don’t let an outstanding resume blind you to the fact that the candidate is not right for the position you’re hiring for. Always refer back to your hiring criteria when you think you’ve found the perfect match. This step checks your accuracy and ensures that you seek proof that the talent matches the job you need to fill.

Tip #2 – Pose written questions to accompany the resume.
Resumes are a mere glimpse into someone’s experience, background, and skills, providing. An incomplete picture of the job candidate. Not to mention candidates want to put their best selves forward in a resume, and often this includes incomplete details, exaggerations, and sometimes outright lies. Asking candidates to submit written answers to several questions helps provide you with a clearer picture of who they are

What should you ask your job candidates? The best strategy is to pick key details from your hiring criteria and pose specific questions to gather those details. For example, for a sales position you could ask, “How do you sell? Be specific, but limit your response to two or three paragraphs.” Only those candidates who followed your directions and whose answers match your criteria should move on to the next phase of your selection process.

Tip #3 – Seek more proof of fit through experiential interviews.
Conventional interviews don’t really work because candidates are always on their best behavior. They say what you want to hear, only share the best parts of their backgrounds, and make promises of how well they will perform on the job. Unfortunately, these promises don’t always translate into quality work. Experiential interviews are the answer to this problem.

Instead of listening to a candidate’s promises, seek truth. Focus your interviews around having candidates perform sample work that demonstrates the skills and experience noted on their resume. This work should focus on key aspects of the job. Have salespeople demonstrate how they sell. Require computer programmers to write sample code. Set up a scenario where a customer service manager has to solve a real business problem. Watch carefully as they do the work. You’ll quickly see whether the candidate is a good fit, or not.

Tip #4 – Ask candidates about their work failures during phone interviews, then listen carefully.
Everyone has failed at some point in their careers. However, potential hires may be hesitant to share about their failures during interviews. This is a red flag you should watch out for.

When a candidate glosses over past failures, beware. This often indicates that they won’t be a transparent employee or leader within the company. But candidates who are honest, humble, and able to share openly about past failures will positively contribute to your company’s success. The failure question is a great way to identify the candidates that are willing to bring transparency to their role within your organization.

An impressive resume doesn’t always mean your candidate will perform as expected. And conventional interviews don’t work the way we wish they did. To hire the best talent each time you interview, you need to take a closer look at your candidates. Learn who they are, assess their performance and integrity, and then rate them with your specific job criteria in mind. These extra steps will help you gain a clear view of every applicant, so you know exactly who is showing up for work on Monday morning…and you won’t be disappointed.

Scott WintripHow to Tell if a Job Candidate’s Ability Matches His Resume: 4 Tips to Help Weed Out Future Bad Hires and Choose the Best Candidates Every Time
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Be Greedy

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It’s not often you’ll hear me say the words, “Be greedy,” as advice for salespeople in staffing and recruitment. But I just did in an interview. And it wasn’t about money. Hear this and more in this recent guest appearance I made on the Secrets of Staffing Success podcast put out by Haley Marketing.

Scott WintripBe Greedy
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Leading Change: How to Go from Being an A-hole to an A-Player

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podcast-sleeveEvery leader has to drive some type of change from time to time. Because changing things makes people uncomfortable, it’s common that leaders are viewed negatively, even when whatever is being changed is in the best interest of everyone. In this podcast, I walk you through three simple change management steps. By following these, you’ll no longer be seen as an “a-hole” and instead be viewed as an A-player by the very people impacted by change.

Scott WintripLeading Change: How to Go from Being an A-hole to an A-Player
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