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Job Offer Letters: Don’t Make These Mistakes

August 31st, 2012

You’ve had a difficult time staffing this position. It’s a mid-to-upper level role requiring a high degree of responsibility and a specific set of rare skill sets, but because of your company’s geographical area and budget constraints, you can’t offer a very competitive salary. Even when great applicants have come to your door—and they haven’t been flooding in—you’ve managed to get as far as the first interview before most of them slip away.

But now it looks like your troubles are almost over, since you have an excellent candidate lined up who seems sincerely excited about your company mission. You just have to seal the deal. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you complete the next step and draft an offer letter.

1. Mention both salary and benefits. Be clear about everything you’re offering, and don’t hold anything back for the sake of leverage at the negotiating table. Save that for circumstances like the one below.

2. Be enthusiastic. A robotic drone with no welcoming or complimentary language won’t put you ahead of the other offer letters this candidate is very likely sifting through. If you’re excited about bringing her on board, let it show.

3. Make things easy. If you can cover relocation expenses, do so. Even if you can’t afford moving fees, consider offering discounts and tickets to local businesses and entertainment venues. Just make her feel welcome and supported during the transition.

In a second scenario, you’re ready to bring an entry level candidate on board, but your circumstances involve a different set of challenges. In this case, your company is struggling with a shifting marketplace, and restructuring takes place almost every year. The position you’re offering isn’t stable, and it’s in your best interests to keep salary and expectations as reasonable as possible.

1. Be honest, and be ready to follow through on all written statements. Don’t make any claims, promises or suggestions in the offer letter that aren’t genuine.

2. Leave room for negotiation. Offer a salary a few notches below what you can afford, and be prepared for the employee to make a slightly higher counter offer.

3. Explain what happens next. Especially at the entry level, offer letters must be explicit and clear about the initial steps expected of the new employee. If her offer will be contingent on successful drug or aptitude test, for example, be clear about how the test will take place and what criteria will determine success or failure. If she needs to bring certain documents or items with her on her first day, clarify these items in the offer letter.

4. Give her a decision deadline. Ask the employee to respond with an acceptance or refusal by calling a specific person by a specific date, and provide clear contact information.

In both scenarios, offer letters should be accompanied by a phone call from a hiring manager or HR professional. For more information about what should and shouldn’t be included in an offer letter, contact your local staffing company in Fairfield County at Merritt Staffing. We can help you make sure great candidates don’t get away. And once they sign on the dotted line, we can guide you through a smooth, trouble free onboarding process. Call our Connecticut employment agency today.

 

Summer Job Hunting Tips

June 8th, 2012

There’s no specific legal season set aside for job hunting. Unfortunately, the job hunt happens when it happens, and when we’re out of work, most of us can’t just mark our calendars and wait for a more promising season to start the job search process. 

In the wintertime, we need to work the job search in around holiday preparation, cut back on seasonal indulgences for financial reasons, and choose a pair of slush boots and a thick wool scarf that complement our interview attire. In the fall, the job search may turn in our favor, since we’re often able to command the full attention of hiring managers when their minds are focused on work and not distracted by outside events. The spring is a time for growth, risk, change, and excitement, and this fever can give a much needed boost to our energy levels and our willingness to head into the unknown.

But what about the summer? Are there any special considerations we should take into account as we face the job search process in June and July?

Summer Job Hunting

1. Recognize that summertime work schedules involve large gaps. If you send an application and don’t hear back for a week, that’s normal. During the summer that period extends to about two weeks. After two weeks, it’s time to follow up.

2. As you choose your interview attire, a black wool suit might seem a bit much when the temperature climbs past ninety degrees. And it is. Tone it down a bit by reaching for grey if you can. For summertime interviews, women can easily skip the suit and wear blouses, skirts and light slacks as long as they suit the culture of the workplace. 

3. On the day of your interview, think ahead. Consider the weather and what it might do to your hair and clothing. Wear deodorant, and if you arrive a bit early (which you should), find an air conditioned lobby or coffee shop where you can wait comfortably.

4. Be ready to alter your plans on short notice. If you intended to head for the beach this weekend and not come back till Tuesday, be prepared to cut the trip short and head home for a Monday job interview if you’re called in. Don’t agonize. Just pack your bags.

5. If you have plans that can’t be cancelled, like flights or trips out of the country, explain this to your interviewer as clearly, simply, and politely as you can. Don’t make excuses or apologize too much. When and if you’re offered an alternative date, be as flexible as possible. (If you can avoid it, it’s best not to make these kinds of plans while you’re job hunting.)

For more help with the job search process in Connecticut during any season, contact the Connecticut staffing and employment experts at Merritt. We have the experience and resources you need to get your career on track.

Small Business Web Design Tips: Attract Job Seekers and Appeal to Customers

February 13th, 2012

Your website is the public face of your business, and depending on your industry, it may be the only thing customers take into account before making a buying decision. A company website can weigh heavily with potential employees as well. Chances are, unless your name is internationally known, talented job applicants will view your posting and then immediately visit your website. What they find there will determine their next move.

So how can a small business with a shoestring budget build a site that appeals to both customers and high quality job applicants? Here are a few quick tips.

Your Small Business Website: Appealing to Customers

We all know that a website should be clear, navigable, and visually attractive. So by all means, get rid of the confusing links and the ugly clutter. But once you’ve done that, what comes next? You may not have a degree in marketing or the budget to hire a professional digital marketing firm, but you do have your native wits and a deep understanding of your own business model. So try this thought exercise:

Say you sell furniture. Picture a customer clicking onto your site. Should the site convince him to buy furniture? Or should it convince him to buy furniture from you? Right now?

To answer this, you’ll need to understand your target audience. Determine which type of customer you specifically cater to—The shopper who already plans to buy something and has his wallet ready, or the browser who doesn’t know what she wants until she sees it. Once you’ve answered this question, make sure your shopper sees a professional, reliable furniture dealer he can trust. And make sure your browser sees beautiful images that invite her to settle into the elegant chase lounge in the sunny breakfast nook in the life she’s always wanted.

Your Small Business Website: Appealing to Job Seekers

To appeal to job seekers, apply the same principle. Understand your target audience. Or in this case, the kind of applicant you’d like to attract. Picture your ideal applicant in your mind. What is she looking for? Is she meticulous and intense? Or is she a laid-back free thinker? Is she outgoing or withdrawn? Innovative or by-the-book?

Tailor your website to appeal to this imaginary applicant. If you want employees with a sense of humor, make sure your text and images stay on the lighter side. If you want employees who are driven and relentless, your website should convey this kind of workplace philosophy.

To Appeal to Both Customers and Applicants

To get your message across to both applicants and customers, use every tool at your disposal. Each of the following aspects of your site should be chosen with care and attention:

The tone of all written content
Fonts, motifs, and elements of design
Specific photos and imported images
Sounds and videos
Testimonials

Review each of these items with your target audience in mind. The key to effective marketing is control, so be deliberate and make sure your site contains no accidents. Once your design is complete, stay open to change. Listen and respond to all visitor feedback. Contact a recruitment agency in CT at Merritt Staffing for more small business tips and advice.

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