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Showcase Your Company Culture to Attract Top Talent

April 10th, 2015

When it comes to attracting talented applicants, you have plenty of tools at your disposal and plenty of aces in your hand. You offer fair and competitive salary rates, your benefit package is attractive, your workplace is safe and clean, your brand is respected, and your turnover is low (if any of these things don’t apply to your company, now is the perfect time to make some changes). But as valuable as any of these other selling features may be, you also offer a terrific company culture. Here’s how to make the most of this important detail.

Know how to Describe Your Culture

A “terrific” company culture means different things to different people. When you look around your office, what do you see? Are your employees quiet and diligent? Are they noisy and extroverted? Do they compete or collaborate? Are they driven or laid back? Any of these descriptors can be presented in a positive light…Just make sure you know which ones can honestly be applied to your workplace.

Consider Your Target Applicant

What kinds of candidates would you like to attract? Are you looking for bold risk takers who speak up even when their ideas haven’t been carefully considered? Or do you prefer cautious rule-followers who respect an established hierarchy? Are you looking for driven loners who will stay till midnight? Or would rather hire relaxed team players who watch out for each other and leave at five to attend to well-rounded personal lives? Before you try to pitch your culture as a selling feature, recognize who you’re pitching it to…and respect the kinds of social elements these candidates might prefer.

Go to the Source

Screen-focused millennial candidates who are online 24-7 can best be reached though appropriate social media channels. Seasoned corporate leaders at the mid-career stage can be best reached through industry organizations and higher level networking events. Trusted experts in narrow fields can be reached through specialized channels, and broad workers with general talents can be reached through national job boards. Keep in mind that workers in all of these categories are attracted to companies that emphasize productivity and show clear respect for their employees.

Let your Pride Show

If there’s something about your company culture that makes you proud, don’t hide that feature… Show it off! If you go out of your way to take care of employees at each stage of their working lives, from cultivating new graduates to supporting those who are planning families or preparing for retirement, make this clear. If you encourage your workers to laugh and socialize with each other, make this known. If your teams are driven to win at all costs, brag about this to your candidates. If they like what they see, then they represent the right matches for you. If not, they’ll self-select.

For more on how to show off your company culture to attract candidates who share your values, consult with the staffing experts at Merritt.

 

 

Interview Tips: Four Tricks That Make a Great Impression

January 23rd, 2015

Before you step into your next interview, add these four slick moves to your professional repertoire and you’ll increase your odds of making a positive impression. You already know that you need the basics: timeliness, neatness, preparation, eye-contact, and follow-up. But you may not know a few of these other strategies that can help you increase your likeability and establish a foundation of trust.

Enjoy the Process

Of course you’re nervous. All interview candidates are nervous, and all of them do their best to hide this fact. Employers are used to this and they expect it. A little sweat on your palm or a little restless tapping on the desk won’t hurt your chances. But if you can look past the moment, keep the entire day in perspective, and enjoy the ride, you’ll do two things: You’ll keep your nerves in check, and you’ll also put your interviewer at ease and help both of you create a positive memory.

Listen, Don’t Just Talk

Candidates often expect the interview process to resemble a kind of oral exam in which each question is followed by a polite (and correct) answer, a pause, and then another question. Interviews always happen this way in the movies. But in real life, interviews tend to take the shape of a conversation, and interviewers often take this opportunity to explain the nature of the job and the company. If you’re smart, you’ll listen while your interviewer talks. If you’re extra smart, you’ll take notes, and you’ll ask questions at the end of the process that show how well you’ve been paying attention.

Be Yourself

This sounds like a cliché, but during your interview, don’t try too hard to construct a persona that differs wildly from your real self. Unless you’re a professional actor, you won’t fool anyone; you’ll just confuse them and make them uncomfortable. Don’t flash your million dollar smile and try to tell jokes if you aren’t a smiler or a joke teller. If you’re naturally quiet and reserved, embrace that, and be the most professional and trustworthy quiet-and-reserved person in the room. If you’re naturally loud, that’s fine—use it to your advantage. If you’re a leader, be a leader. If you’re a follower, don’t hide it—be a follower, and a good one. Work with the grain of your real personality, not against it.

Treat the Interview Like a Date (Sort of)

Obviously, you shouldn’t make or accept romantic overtures with your interviewer, but the job search process and the dating process have a few things in common: In both settings, two parties come to the table as adults and equals, and both have something to gain from a potential partnership. Both parties are looking for the right match, and both benefit by presenting themselves honestly and expecting the same in return. Ask as many questions as you answer, and be polite but clear about what you’re looking for and what you have to offer.

For more interview tips that can help you relax, present your best self, and share information honestly with your potential employer, contact the staffing professionals at Merritt.

 

The True Cost of Turnover

April 11th, 2014

When an employee says goodbye and leaves your company to move on with the next chapter of her career, what are you really losing? What are your true costs in terms of upfront capital, and what about your opportunity costs, hiring costs for a replacement, and the time that your managers spend on this process instead of other responsibilities?

If you can answer right away, then you’re on the right track. Some degree of turnover is an inevitable cost of business, and if you know exactly what you’re losing and you’re staying in control of your staffing strategy, that’s fine. But if your answer is “I have no idea”, then you’re in trouble. It’s time to take a close look at your turnover numbers and start doing whatever it takes to keep your valuable employees on board. Keep these considerations in mind as you move forward.

Reducing Turnover: Best Practices

1. Don’t let great employees walk away without a word. When a team member decides to leave, meet with her right away (put everything else on hold) and ask what’s going on. Find out if she’s looking for something you haven’t been able to provide, and ask for 24 hours to counter her other offer. Use those 24 hours wisely. Attack salary, resources, training issues, insurance benefits and whatever else you need to make the relationship work.

2. If she’s determined to leave, glean for any possible information you can that might help you improve your hiring and retention practices. Provide her with an exit interview and detailed survey that can help you assess what went wrong and how you might prevent these issues in the future.

3. Compare this data with the data you gathered during her application and initial interview. Were there any mismatches or red flags that you missed and now see clearly in retrospect?

4. Put the lessons of items 1 through 3 into action. Don’t just document them and move on. As soon as you launch into the hiring process for a replacement, start applying what you’ve learned.

5. Hire strong employees from the start. And by strong, we don’t just mean skilled or experienced. In fact, employees who have too much skill and experience can actually be a poor choice and a detriment to your company instead of an asset. By contrast, the most promising employees are those who have the right attitude (not just aptitude) and who match the culture and personality of the workplace.

For more information that can help you make smart hiring decisions, choose the best applicants in the pool, and hold onto them for the long term, reach out to the staffing experts at Merritt.

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