KEY TRENDS IN RECRUITING TO IDENTIFY, ENGAGE, AND HIRE TOP TALENT

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by BLR

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Here are some of the top trends in recruiting that promise to change the way organizations identify, engage, and ultimately hire top talent in the coming years and how employers can adapt procedures to these changes to ensure a successful recruiting program.

There are three major trends in how companies connect with top talent in today’s challenging recruiting landscape. These include:

 

1. Increasing role of the employer brand

Two-thirds of HR leaders surveyed say their organization is more focused on employer branding than they were 5 years ago. Additionally, more than half (57%) attribute their company’s ability to attract top talent to a strong brand. Not only does an enhanced employer brand help draw in qualified candidates, but it can also lead to improved corporate awareness and reputation.

Moreover, the top three reasons why organizations succeed in attracting top talent were found to be a pronounced reputation and brand, strong industry appeal, and competitive salary and benefits. These factors further drive the need for companies to continually enhance their brand to stand out as an employer of choice.

 

2. Culture and aptitude fit win over skills

Company culture has an enormous impact on attracting and retaining top talent, which explains why many of the companies noted for their unique, enjoyable work cultures are also some of the most profitable. Investing in the creation and continuous improvement of a differentiated company culture should be a priority for C-suite executives. At the same time, aptitude, personality, and cultural fit will emerge as key factors in the talent selection process, favored over traditional hiring factors, such as specific qualifications.

Focusing on aptitude and attitude to do the job, and investing in learning and development to build needed skills and qualifications, will enable organizations to expand their talent pool and enhance their culture.

 

3. The rise of online talent communities

More employers will build robust talent communities throughout 2015 to engage with a larger talent pool. This will provide access to passive and active candidates, past applicants, current and former employees, and other members who help employers find the talent they’re looking for.

Overall, the company found that 50% of employers plan to invest in social media and online community management in 2015 to better tap this source of talent.


 

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/154-key-trends-in-recruiting-to-identify-engage-and-hire-top-talent

Preemployment inquiries under the FMLA and ADA: What’s prohibited?

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by BLR 

What questions are employers prohibited from asking a job candidate under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

Preemployment inquiries and the ADA

ADA FMLA leave interplayUnder the ADA, an employer may not ask about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability until the employer has made the applicant a conditional job offer.

However, an employer may describe to applicant what the hiring process involves (e.g., a written test) and ask him or her whether he or she will need a reasonable accommodation for the hiring process.

An employer may also ask a job applicant if he or she needs a reasonable accommodation, if the employer knows that this applicant has a disability—either because it is obvious or the applicant has voluntarily disclosed the information—and could reasonably believe that the applicant will need a reasonable accommodation.

Likewise, an employer may inquire about an applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions, with or without reasonable accommodation. This can be accomplished by describing a particular job duty (e.g., carrying 50-pound bags from a loading dock)—and then asking whether the applicant can perform that function or demonstrate how to perform it.

Preemployment inquiries and the FMLA

There are no specific FMLA statutory or regulatory requirements regarding preemployment inquiries. However, it is not advisable to ask about leave previously taken, because the question could indicate discriminatory intent or an intent to retaliate against the employee’s protected exercise of leave rights.

http://trendpersonnel.com/administrator/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&cid=153

Look Behind the Credentials: Find Candidates with Multiple Skillsets

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by Julie Long | BLR

Thoughts of IT, engineering, and computer science don’t normally conjure up images of people who are the life of the party. Or even those who enjoy exchanging pleasantries. But, these unicorns of the tech world—those that have technical talent and people skills—do actually exist. You just have to know how and where to find them.

Look beyond credentials on resumes

What’s in a name?

The first instinct of any recruiter or HR professional is to look at the title. This can be a grave misstep because titles are often misleading. Titles like Field Engineer or Systems Administrator may not imply the full extent of the candidate’s experience working with others. While technical-sounding, candidates with these titles actually have to work alongside staff and clients on a consistent basis. What’s a good way to make sure that you fully understand someone’s communication ability through his or her resume?

See if they have any consulting experience. The word “consultant” doesn’t have to be in the title, either. For example, an applicant with experience in website coding design probably has had to communicate with clients and staff to deliver the desired result. Producing designs that are aligned with a company’s brand requires a high-level understanding of what a company’s culture is all about. Awareness of company culture is usually an indicator of someone who can appreciate the value of a company’s people.

So they can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?

Once you’ve found someone who appears to have all the skills on paper, how do you know if they can walk the walk? A technical skills screen is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but it isn’t the only thing you should be doing.

It’s crucial to make the most out of group interviews and phone screens. Seeing how people interact with others is a good way to gauge overall social skills, so is asking questions about what they do and don’t like about their current or previous positions. And then there’s the all-important question: would I enjoy going to dinner with this person? If they seem like someone you’d enjoy spending time with outside of the office, it’s likely they’ll be just as interesting to work with.

Hold the phone, social media is important too?

The phone screen doesn’t have to be brutally difficult. It can actually be quite the opposite. In addition to observing how easy they are to communicate with over the phone, asking people simple, casual questions—such as what they like to do outside of work or what they’re truly passionate about—can give insight into their like or dislike of social interaction.

You can tell a lot from a phone call, but you can tell a whole lot more about an applicant by their presence on social media and in their professional networks. People who have robust, but appropriate, social media profiles and who regularly attend networking events are usually people who enjoy the company of others.

However, even the most people-oriented of tech talent may not be on LinkedIn. The reason is simple—tech talent is in high demand and many of the people with those skillsets don’t want to be bombarded by recruiters. If you do find a qualified applicant through LinkedIn with a strong profile and a few solid recommendations, chances are you’ve got someone with potential.

You may have found the perfect candidate, now what?

So you’ve found the illusory candidate with a mix of tech talent and people skills online. How do you woo them? By being personal. All too often, recruiters search strictly by title without doing any research about the individual before reaching out. Even though you may be searching for people with hard technical skills, they probably are driven by more than just a paycheck.

Take time to figure out what someone’s previous work experience is and allude to it in your initial email. Be sincere when you ask them about what they want their job to look like, or what their passions are. A smart recruiter and HR professional shouldn’t just be looking for a technical skills fit—they should also be looking for potential employees who are looking to advance their careers over the long run.

Searching for candidates with both the right technical skills and a big personality may seem like a lost cause. However, the more effort that’s put in to get to know the person behind the credentials, the more satisfied the person—and the company—is going to be with the job fit.

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/152-look-behind-the-credentials-find-candidates-with-multiple-skillsets

The Cutting Edge of Employment Branding

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by Stephen Bruce & John Sullivan  | BLR

Trusted-Brand1[1]During a recent webinar, BLR® asked Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, a number of questions about employment branding. Today we present a portion of that interview.

Q: Would you help us understand the importance and impact of employment branding in today’s business environment?

A: Employment branding is the only long-term recruiting and retention strategy, so you [should] use it to build what employees … and others say about you. Seventy-five percent of people in the U.S. would not take a job with a company with a bad employment brand even if they were unemployed, and 87 percent would consider leaving their current job if they were offered a job at a company with a strong brand.

Well-branded firms can improve applicant quality by 54 percent, quality of hire by 9 percent and, in some cases, the firms with a strong employment brand [see] their stock prices increase as much as 10 times more than the standard employer. You get higher offer acceptance rates, so when people know positive things about your company, they just say “Yes” to your offers more.

If you have a negative internal brand, it turns out your employees talk to your customers, and they don’t say nice things. Therefore, having a negative internal brand costs you money. In a highly competitive marketplace with so many firms competing for the same talent, your image is everything.

Without an image, or without managing that image, you’re certainly not going to have great results. Especially in recruiting, we target fully employed people—people that are doing really well—innovators. Well, those people are not attracted to job postings. The only way to get them is to write a branding message, or [to] have your company written up., Amazon [learned] how important a brand is. Well, they just went through a lot of turmoil because some employees said some negative things—[that’s] a current example of the impact on sales, on recruiting, [and] on retention.

Q: Maybe you could share some thoughts on what actions can help companies be successful with their internal branding?

A: Well, the first thing you have to realize is that we’re in a very connected world. So when you have an employee who is unhappy, not only will they know, but every other employee will know—whether through mobile phone or text. They’ll also post it externally. So if you want to improve retention and certainly as I mentioned earlier, sales, if your customers are unhappy, and someone says, “Oh, tell me about that,” [your employees are] going to say negative things, and it’s going to hurt your sales.

The first thing you want to do is measure your…internal brand strength. What [things] do your employees say about you, both positive and negative? You want that ratio, obviously, to have more positives than negatives. Anonymous employee websites or surveys allow employees to have complaints [and] to say things without their name[s] coming up. That helps them vent, which means that they won’t say bad things to others and customers if they get a chance to vent—especially if someone answers their question or gives them information.

Spreading stories is one of the best ways to get referrals, but it also impacts retention. So, if you have what we call a “story inventory” of all the great things and practices your firm does and employees see it when they are in the process of making a referral, they build their pride, they build their knowledge, they build their understanding and say, “Hey, our firm is pretty good.”

Getting on lists of best places to work—LinkedIn, Fortune, those kinds of things—also builds image because everyone asks them “What’s it like to work there?” And, you know, people at Apple, for example, get hundreds of people asking, “What’s it like to work there?” Where, at a less-desirable firm, you wouldn’t get that.

The last thing you need to realize is that only 20 percent of the information that people get about a firm comes from the firm. The other 80 percent comes from some other place, and that other place is not owned or controlled by you. You can have an employee newsletter where you can say all these things that are great, but it’s getting 80 percent of its information from some other place, which might cite something [contrary].

Q: To what extent do you recommend gearing programs toward high-performing employees, or do you recommend it at all?

A: I definitely do—it’s critical. When you look at all employees, you know, Homer Simpson just doesn’t produce as much as a top performer. Apple found … that top performers produce between 10 and 25 times, not percent, but times more [than average employees]. So obviously, you want to focus your internal and external brand message on your top-performing employees.

It turns out that most of the people you want to attract are currently treated well [and] are currently employed. So an employer brand can bring people who work at another firm and get them to consider your firm. But top performers have different requirements, so they might want to create work, or they might want to innovate where Homer might want donuts or something. If you want to attract top performers it turns out there’s data that show they will bring 3 to 5 other people with them [to your firm]. When you count the ROI of branding [not only do] you get a top performer [and] an innovator but also 3 to 5 people.

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/151-the-cutting-edge-of-employment-branding

Why Conduct Background Checks on Potential Employees?

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by Bridget Miller | BLR

Does your organization conduct background checks as part of the hiring process? Many organizations do, but the type of background check—and the extent of it—varies considerably. Let’s take a look at some of the most pertinent reasons so many businesses opt to perform some type of background check on any potential new employee.

Some of the Reasons for Conducting a Background Check

Probably the biggest reason employers choose to perform background checks on potential employees is safety and security. Employers have an obligation under OSHA to provide a safe workplace—one that is free of known hazards. It can be easily argued that hiring an individual with violent tendencies—tendencies that could  have been discovered with due diligence—would represent a disregard for that obligation. As such, many employers opt to perform at least a criminal background check on potential employees before finalizing any offer of employment.

Similarly, if an individual causes harm to anyone—such as a customer or vendor—the employer may be liable if there was an opportunity to learn about this tendency, such as the existence of a public criminal record.

Security is another concern, especially for jobs in which an individual is responsible for cash or for making decisions that affect the company’s profitability or reputation. For any individual in these roles, employers often consider doing a background check that confirms the individual does not have a history of fraud, negligence, or theft, for example.

Background checks can also be done on a more limited scale. Technically, even calling references is a form of background screening. In these situations, an employer is trying to gauge what the potential employee is like to work with, to better ensure it will be a good fit. These can also be done as a means to try to uncover any fabrications or exaggerations on the application, résumé, or during the interview.

Conducting Background Checks: Some Caveats

Despite these very good reasons to conduct an employee background check, there are limits to what an employer can discover and use. For example:

  • Employers should be careful not to make decisions based solely on arrest records. An arrest is not the same as a conviction, and some protected groups may be disproportionately affected by a policy that disallows a perspective employee due to any arrest—thus making such a policy discriminatory.
  • Credit checks and other background checks require employee consent. Without consent, such checks can be illegal, depending on what type of check is conducted. Consult legal counsel and get advance permission before conducting background screenings. Additionally, if you use an employee’s credit rating as part of the background screening process, first be sure there is a legitimate business purpose for doing so. Otherwise, this alone can be a form of discrimination if potential employees are excluded based on credit. This is because lower credit scores disproportionately affect some protected groups, and eliminating on this basis alone would create a disparate impact on these groups. Even with a legitimate business purpose for checking a credit score, the employer must also be sure to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rules.
  • Background checks can inadvertently turn up information that discloses an employee’s inclusion in a protected class. Even if this information is not used in the hiring process, it is risky for an employer to have such information at this stage because it raises the possibility of a discrimination claim. For this reason, many employers use third-party services to conduct background checks—and those service providers only turn over information that is relevant to the hiring process, insulating the employer from knowledge about protected class inclusion and other information that should not be used in hiring decisions.
  • There are many federal, state, and local laws that limit the type of information that an employer can seek out—be sure to consult local laws and understand the limitations.
  • Be sure any background screening is relevant to the job. For example, there is probably no need to get a driving record for someone who will not be driving for the company in any capacity.
  • Be consistent in conducting background checks. Do not conduct background checks only for certain applicants but not others who are up for the same job. It’s OK to only conduct background screening after you’ve made a short list, but it’s not OK to only conduct background checks on individuals of specific groups, such as minorities or immigrants. Be consistent in the hiring process for each job opening.
  • When something is uncovered during a background screening, consider giving the applicant the opportunity to share more information about the situation. While you still need to be consistent in how the situation is handled, it’s always possible that there’s a mistake that can be rectified or there are extenuating circumstances that change the view of the situation. Of course, if you’re going to give the opportunity for explanations, be consistent and offer this opportunity every time the situation arises.

Does your company conduct employee background checks? What advice would you provide based on your experience?

*This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/150-why-conduct-background-checks-on-potential-employees

Keeping Those Candidates on the Line

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by Stephen Bruce | BLR

Business-[1]This crucial moment can play out in so many different ways, and most of that is up to you. Consider these Do’s and Don’ts.

DO:

  • Clearly introduce who you are, and be sure to include the name of your company.
  • State your purpose for calling.
  • By all means, flatter your candidates. Let them know you have specially picked them from a large pool of candidates. After all of your sourcing and preparation, this is very true!
  • Take your time and add a few short pauses here and there. Candidates should feel in control of the conversation and have enough time to think. If they didn’t expect a call from you, they might be on-guard or suspicious. A little space in a conversation can put them at ease.

DON’T:

  • Do not offer them an interview for the same day, or even the next day, even if you really want that position filled quickly. Give your candidate time to do some research. Besides, rushing the process makes you seem desperate.
  • Never forget to explain in detail how the interview process works. Let them know what time and where they will be meeting, and with whom they will be meeting. Make sure to give them time to write it down, and if there are any other steps involved, let them know. Give them clear, easy steps to follow. This helps eliminate uncertainty.
  • Never misrepresent your company or the position. If candidates ask about the company, use clear terms to describe it. Also, make sure to tell them the job duties in accurate, straightforward terms. The candidate should arrive at the interview ready to talk about the actual job you want them to fill. If their interview doesn’t match the initial phone call, you are likely to lose the candidate.
  • Do not answer any questions about pay during the initial phone call. Sometimes a candidate will want to talk pay up front. Unless you work for a company where positions come with fixed pay, it’s best if you don’t mention any numbers at this time. At this point, your guess might not align with what they could see down the road in an offer. Experts agree that failure to be honest about pay can cost many companies good candidates.

Always Follow Up

So, you’ve made the call and hopefully you have an interview scheduled. The candidate knows what he or she is supposed to do, and when. So why would you follow up? This business practice is polite and it helps put the candidate at ease. Just shoot the person a quick e-mail shortly after you talk summarizing what you talked about. Send another e-mail the day before or early the day of the interview confirming the time and location. Make sure the candidate knows that he or she can contact you with any questions. In fact, some form of communication should take place at each step of the entire process. Employees expect this, and when it doesn’t happen, they feel adrift.

What if you decide not to go with that candidate? What if someone else gets hired before the interview? If this ends up being the case, you should still send a note gently letting the person know what has transpired. It may be hard to give someone bad news, but it is worse not to contact them at all. Studies have shown that people who are cold-shouldered by companies at any point during the interview process will often bad-mouth the company to their friends and family, as well as on social media. You may not see it directly, but a bad reputation gets around, and it may cost you in ways you didn’t anticipate.

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/149-keeping-those-candidates-on-the-line

First Contact with the Candidate: Tips for Success

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by Stephen Bruce | BLR

Your technique may vary, but you should have a basic process to follow when getting ready to call your candidate. First, prepare what you need to make the call. Next, rehearse what you have prepared so your words sound natural when you say them. Now you are ready to make the call. Regardless of what happens when you call, don’t forget the crucial step that many ignore—following up.

A Matter of Perspective

When you pore over résumé after résumé , especially if you work for a recruiting company, the candidates can seem like just a bunch of files or a set of numbers. But remember, on the other end are living, breathing people who have no idea you exist. Furthermore, if they are searching for jobs, it’s possible that more than a few less-reputable companies have tried to take advantage of them already. They could be on guard. They could be suspicious. Or they could be a delight. The point is, you won’t know until you call—and putting the wrong foot forward could cost you a perfectly good employee. Perspective counts, and taking a moment to remember that really helps.

Prepare and Prevail!

Again and again, experts underline the absolute need for preparation before you make a call. Calling without preparation makes you sound unsure and might cause a potential candidate to leave the recruitment process before you have a chance to assess his or her potential or attract him or her to your organization.

Here are some good ways to make sure you’ll be ready for whatever happens when you call your candidate. A little bit of homework can make all the difference.

  1. Know what you are going to ask. Even spending a short time jotting down some general questions you want to ask is better than no preparation at all. If you have the time, a complete list of questions works best.
  2. Keep it concise. Summarize who you are and what you want with a few sentences and have it on hand. This way, if someone other than the candidate picks up, or, more likely, the call goes to voicemail, you’ll have a quick, to-the-point response ready to go.
  3. What do you already know? Construct a fairly detailed list of everything you already know about the candidate. This serves two purposes: first, you can tailor your conversation around those points; second, simply confirming these points with the candidate is a decent good way to organize an interview.

Rehearse First

You’ve done your preparation. So you’re ready to pick up the phone right away, right? Well, if you want to sound natural (and unlike a telemarketer), you might want to take a few moments to read what you wrote down. A few quick things to consider at this point.

  • Make absolutely certain you can pronounce the candidate’s name. It’s amazing how well a call can go when the candidate’s name smoothly rolls off your tongue. It’s equally amazing how defensive candidates can become if you botch their name.
  • Be ready to go off-topic. While you may have an agenda for the conversation, sometimes you can learn a lot about a candidate based on how they direct the conversation. Don’t become annoyed if they wander; instead, take notes. However, try to stick to business and the job at hand, as casual conversation can lead to finding out things you don’t want to know, for example, race, religion, or disability.

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/148-first-contact-with-the-candidate-tips-for-success

Great Questions to Ask During Interviews!

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project-management-interview-questions[1]Of course we all are looking for the best fit for the job, right? But how often do you think about their ability to handle your particular management style? This is often an area that managers overlook when asking the candidates questions during an interview.

Here are some questions that you should consider asking in your interviews to help assess the candidate’s adaptability to different management styles:

  1. Describe the perfect manager.
  2. Based on your past employment, who would you choose as the best manager you’ve had the opportunity to work for? Why were they good?
  3. Based on your past employment, who would you choose as your least favorite manager? Why were they your least favorite? How did you adapt?
  4. How do you handle conflict with your managers? Disagreements? How do you resolve issues?

By asking questions similar to the ones listed above, you’ll find a greater understanding of how the candidate feels about different management styles. If you find that you’re for the most part the ideal manager described by the candidate then you can have confidence that you’ll work great together should you decide to hire them for the position. On the other hand, if you really like the candidate but worry about being similar to the manager that was their least favorite then you can consider ways to adapt to ensure a smooth and successful relationship if you decide to hire them on.

You shouldn’t base your hiring decision on whether or not they can or cannot handle your management style but rather use these questions to help prepare yourself for building and maintaining successful relationships with new hires.

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/145-great-questions-to-ask-during-interviews

Job Interview Best Practices

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S291200216520[1]by Bridget Miller | BLR

Many of the items on this list are meant to keep the hiring team on the right side of the law and avoid situations in which an applicant could assume any type of discrimination or bias. Other tips are meant to ensure the hiring team is effective and consistent in order to find the best applicant for the role. Here are the tips:

  • Be sure that anyone involved in the hiring process is trained in and fully understands the laws that relate to hiring and the implications for each step of the process.
  • Avoid behaviors that could imply a discriminatory bias. For example:
    • Do not ask about disabilities. Focus on the ability to do the job.
    • Treat all applicants the same. in other words, don’t require some groups to meet higher criteria than others for consideration.
    • Don’t ask about medical issues or other personal information.
    • Don’t ask any questions that could serve to gather information about:
      • Marital status;
      • Whether the applicant has children; 
      • Race;
      • National origin;
      • Age (besides confirming the applicant is over 18, if necessary);
      • Religion;
      • Sexual orientation (in many states it is illegal to discriminate on this basis); or
      • Protected activities, such as past filings of workers’ compensation claims. 
    • Don’t imply there is any type of problem or bias related to the applicant (e.g., “Our customers may react negatively to a woman in charge”).
  • Be consistent in how applicants are assessed. For example: 
    • If an applicant must prove his or her ability to perform the job (such as via a performance test), this should be required of all applicants, not just a few. Requiring it of some but not others can appear discriminatory.
    • Stick to enforcing minimum education and experience requirements that are truly consistent with job needs, and do not vary this assessment for certain individuals. If the minimums are realistic, it won’t be necessary to make exceptions.
    • Be consistent with the questions you ask to avoid the appearance of biases. It can seem biased if some interviewees are required to pass a higher threshold than others.
  • Be well-prepared.Before interviewing a candidate, you should:
    • Have questions ready, and know what you’re trying to learn from each of the questions you choose to ask. The questions should be related to the job or the person’s ability to perform the job. 
    • Know what the next steps in the hiring process are and advise the applicant of such either during or at the conclusion of the interview.
    • Review all of the information available about the applicant, including the details of how previous interviews went (if applicable). 
    • Plan to be in a space that is appropriate for the interview, free from distractions, noise, and interruptions. 
  • Be aware of subconscious biases. We all have biases that cloud our judgment, but it can help to simply be aware of this in order to take steps to ensure it doesn’t affect the interview process. For example, how an individual dresses or styles his or her hair may create an instant assumption, but it does not necessarily mean that person is not a good job candidate. 
  • Allow silences. Sometimes interviewees need time to formulate an answer. By filling in silences too quickly, you may lose the opportunity to hear what the applicant has to say. Always give the applicant time to talk—in fact, he or she should do the majority of the talking—so that you can get a clear understanding about the applicant and how he or she will fit with the organization. 
  • Ensure everyone involved in interviewing and hiring knows the next steps, knows who is authorized to make an offer to an applicant, and what processes must be completed before an offer is made (such as conducting background checks, reference checks, and so on). Know what applicable conditions the offer is subject to, such as passing drug screening. 
  • Remain objective in your assessments.
  • Remember to assess soft skills as well as specific skills required to perform the job tasks. The issue of cultural fit is often just as (or even more) important as skills that can be trained. 
  • Be sure that the interviewing team, especially the person making the offer, knows to avoid making any kind of reference to a contract in terms that could be construed as an implied employment contract. (Unless, of course, you’re offering an actual employment contract, but this is the exception rather than the norm in the United States.) This might mean avoiding phrases like “permanent position” or “long-term role” or anything that implies that the applicant cannot be fired without cause. 
  • Give the applicant the opportunity to ask questions.

What would you add to this list?

http://trendpersonnel.com/en/news/item/143-job-interview-best-practices

Why You Can’t Afford Not to Hire College Graduates

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By Krista Williams | BLR

I have been working with college students … well, since I was in college. In most, if not all, of my positions I have had the fortune of working with interns, new graduates, placement offices, faculty, and students. My support has not only been to assist in job placement but also to support the transition of students from the life of ramen noodles and 10 a.m. classes to meeting the demands of a completely connected work environment with high expectations.

I enjoy the aspect of the students being full of life, holding huge aspirations, and having absolutely no idea how to get where they are trying to go. I have partnered with placement offices at several colleges and managed college hiring programs for several organizations. Over the years, some things have changed and some things haven’t at all. Here is what I have learned and what I would advise hiring managers to keep in mind:

Students have very limited views of the types of positions they can actually perform once they graduate.

They need to speak with a lot of people in various industries in order to be able to make an educated decision about where they should be focusing their career search efforts. There are several places that we are able to assist and make an impact on college graduate entry into our desired markets.

As a prospective employer, you can offer internship programs, volunteer to be a guest speaker, participate as a guest panelist, and/or sign up for career day involvement as a start.

Companies should hire for potential, not experience.

A pickle we often get in is that if we do have entry-level positions, we think we are too busy to slow down enough to train someone without experience. I disagree. This is an opportunity to take someone without any preconceived notions about what it is like to work for an employer—someone who has not developed any bad habits yet—and completely mold him or her into the type of worker we would like. This particularly helps in high production environments of companies with really elevated goal structures. If you are able to attract highly talented, motivated, bright, competitive staff, they will only have one another to compare themselves to—not a slower paced previous past place of employment.

Provide training and opportunity.

Whether it is on the desk or in the training room, make sure you are providing an environment where your eager, fresh graduates can continually learn. They are coming off many years of absorbing lots and lots of information and let’s face it, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Make sure that you keep your new hires challenged, interested, and involved.

Don’t worry about whatever path you thought was good enough for you or others several years ago. Allow effort, production, and results to speak for themselves and reward based on performance.

Although I will be the first to admit that sometimes time is the best teacher, as you get to experience lifecycles and events recurring, don’t let too much time go by and allow the next best opportunity to come from an outside employer. The first several moves or promotions for fresh graduates (once earned) should be made in shorter time intervals their first 2–5 years of work. Otherwise, you may stand to lose your rising leaders to competitors who may appear to value their worth sooner than you do. Stay abreast of talent, how marketable they are, and make sure they are rewarded appropriately.

There is a great amount of opportunity for everyone if we work together and have the right frame of mind. So, next time you think you must have 3–5 years’ experience in a hire, think again. And take a close look at the advantages of hiring a fresh college grad.

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