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An Easy Hiring Process Can Attract Better Candidates

October 26th, 2012

Are you exhaustively tweaking your recruiting strategy and still not attracting the qualified applicant pool you need? Are you publishing your postings to a carefully identified target audience and still letting great candidates slip away? If you’re doing everything right, but still generating only a thin trickle of candidates while your competitors wade through an avalanche of resumes, it might be time to take a closer look at your application process. Keep these considerations in mind.

1. Keep things simple. Unemployment rates are high, but that doesn’t mean all candidates are desperate or willing to jump through hoops for your company. Nor should they be. If you think that a long, tedious submission process will thin the herd and bring in only the best, think again. This only selects candidates with a high tolerance for nonsense. Talented candidates who have other options will stop after the first or second online submission form you make them fill out… Or after the third time your website application tool freezes.

2. No unconventional file types. Don’t insist that candidates submit their documents as Richtext files, PDF files, blog URLs, or anything else. Just a resume and cover letter in Word will do. Even if a file conversion only takes two minutes, the message you’re sending to candidates is clear: You aren’t familiar with common technology or standard hiring practices, you aren’t sure what you’re doing, and you don’t mind wasting a candidate’s time.

3. Re-examine your overall hiring process, not just the way you accept submissions. When candidates apply, send them an automatic message letting them know their documents have been received. Keep them updated at least once a week throughout the interview and selection process. Don’t leave them in silence, lose their materials, subject them to five rounds of interviews (three at the most will do), or send mixed, confusing messages about their chances.

4. Respect your candidates. Don’t ask demeaning or baiting questions during interviews, and don’t ask candidates to submit “samples” of work unless you intend to pay for them. Setting up obstacles like these will only weed out the strongest candidates. The ones who stay in the running are the ones with high levels of desperation and questionable self-respect.

5. Act fast once you’ve made a decision. If you like a candidate, never let her dangle on the line. Put the hiring wheels in motion right away. And follow through—don’t tell her over the phone that she has the job and then wait two weeks to send a formal offer letter. By the time you finally act, your candidate may have signed on with a faster moving competitor.

For more tips on keeping your hiring process lean, efficient, and candidate-friendly, contact the Connecticut staffing recruiters at Merritt Staffing . We’ll help you build up a strong applicant pool and attract the top talent you’re looking for.

Three Marketable Skills You Didn’t Know You Had

August 24th, 2012

Your job search is a kind of campaign, and like any good campaign, it starts with the answer to a simple question. What do you have to offer? What are you selling, and why should anyone buy it?

The first part of your answer is obvious. You’re a competent CNC programmer. You’re a great marketer with an uncanny ability to identify a target audience. You’re a brilliant music teacher who can turn nervous beginners into confident virtuosos. You’ve been immersed in your field for so long, there isn’t a question on the subject that you can’t answer. Or maybe you’ve been in your field only a short time, but your passion and hard work make you a stronger contender than those with twice your experience.

But what else can you do? To get a foot in the door and land your dream job, you’ll have to excel in the core competencies of the position. But you’ll also need to have something else that your competitors may not have, an additional set of qualities you offer as a person, and an employee, not just as a programmer/marketer/instructor, etc.

Marketable Skills That Can Help You Stand Out

Here are a few skills you may not realize you have. Are you a force to be reckoned with in these areas? If so, make sure your interviewers know about it.

1. Planning. Can you put an event together that goes off without a hitch and leaves every participant with good memories? Not everyone can do this, and very few can do it well. But it’s a skill with applicability across almost every field. Planning isn’t easy, and it requires a high degree of energy and attention to detail. If you’ve ever organized an event (wedding, block party, fundraiser) then you may have an important talent that people typically lack.

2. Negotiation. Most of us secretly believe we’re brilliant debaters, but some of us actually are. If you have a history of successfully negotiating contracts or helping friends and family overcome seemingly impossible personal conflicts, you may be great at this. And you don’t have to be working as politician or federal attorney to show that you can hold your own in a high-stakes discussion.

3. Taking care of people. When you’re in a room with others, do you actively think about what those around you need and want? Can you tell what they’re afraid of and what they’re trying to accomplish? If you can predict the needs of others and anticipate their moves, you have an invaluable skill that can help employers in every field from medicine to business to product development.

Don’t let your valuable skill sets go unnoticed. Contact a Connecticut employment staffing service at Merritt Staffing and find out how your unique, inborn strengths can support your job search and help you excel.

Preparing for the Internal Job Interview

August 10th, 2012

You’ve been working your way up through your company’s marketing department for a while now, and as you’ve transitioned from junior associate to senior, you’ve learned all kinds of new things about the art and science of marketing. You’ve also learned something else interesting: You don’t like marketing. At the same time, during your years with this company, your team has worked closely with the team from product development, and every time you meet with your development counterparts, you gain a deeper respect for what they do. You also happen to know they earn more, enjoy more flexible hours, and have more opportunities for growth within the company.

As it happens, a development position has just opened up, and with the support of your boss you’ve decided to apply. Your interviewer will be a senior manager who knows you well. But you won’t just be walking into the position; the other candidates in line all have degrees and years of experience in the field, while you’ll be relying on your winning personality and your existing track record. What can you do during the interview to make sure the odds are in your favor?

The Internal Job Interview: What to Expect and How to Prepare

1. First and most important, take the interview seriously. Follow your interviewer’s lead in terms of tone (there’s no need to pretend you don’t know her or act like a robot), but err on the side of professionalism. Don’t enter the room in a joking and relaxed state of mind as if the job is already yours. Focus on the competition lined up outside the door, not the friendly face across the table from you.

2. Dress for the part. This is a powerful move that’s often overlooked. Remember the old saying and dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Ditch the everyday work clothes and step it up a notch.

3. Be prepared for challenging questions about your reasons for making a departmental transition. Have more to talk about then just the better pay and hours. If you have a real passion for development, be ready to explain why and have something to bring to the table aside from your own interest.

4. Curb any impulse toward negativity. Focus on what you like about development, not what you dislike about marketing. And it goes without saying, but don’t imply or even suggest anything negative or critical about your current boss, your coworkers, or the company as a whole.

An internal interview resembles a regular interview in some ways, but because your interviewer already knows you, you can actually expect tougher questions and a higher level of scrutiny. Be ready, and make sure you have the tools you need. Your local Connecticut staffing firm, Merritt Staffing, can help. Contact us for tips, guidance, mock interviews, and answers to your most important questions.

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