Corporate Blog

It’s All In The Words

A job description is not only about marketing an open job at your company—it’s your first point of contact with job seekers and the eventual perfect candidate. It’s a sales pitch to captivate the attention of professionals, and urge them to apply. You want to brand your organization as a lively, productive, and engaging one to work for, so be sure to provide the correct impression!

Writing a perfect job description can be tricky, but following these tips can help your description stand out from those of other companies and to market your job opening and organization in the most effective way.

Keep it cool with job titles: Using titles like Rockstar Biz Dev, Web Marketing Guru and Resident Hacker won’t generate more views or attract applicants. Not only will these confuse readers, they will most likely encourage applicants who are not the best fit. Instead, keep it succinct with titles like Business Development Manager, Digital Marketing Manager, and Network Security Engineer.

Simple job titles and search-friendly keywords will encourage more people to interact with your job openings and advertisements.

Define the career path: Make an impact! Highlight how a new hire will grow within this job. Market the position by illustrating how important this role is to the organization and how the position will grow over time. Describe and provide examples for what success will look and feel like in this role.

For example: Instead of writing, “The incumbent will provide leadership to the direct sales team,” try, “You’ll be responsible to lead and motivate a sales team to increase the revenue by 20% in your first year.”

Prioritize skillsets: Describing the main skills necessary to succeed is essential in attracting qualified applicants, but avoid a laundry list likely to confuse the applicant into not understanding which skills are a priority for the particular job.

Consider the industry background and duties. Note all skills, roles and responsibilities needed. Create two columns or sections for reference. Identify the mandatory requirements and nice-to-have skills, and decide which are important to include in the job description.

Share your company culture: Your job description should include a window into your organization’s culture and personality. Provide a snippet of your company’s vision and values so the applicant can envision themselves at your organization. Photographs and videos are often simple and effective means with which to illustrate company culture, if you have them to which to link.

Mobile first: Today, it’s all about small screens! More than 50% of jobs over LinkedIn are viewed through mobile phones, which means every word counts. Keep your description short, concise and bulleted for easy reading. Before posting, test the job description on your own mobile phone to ensure that it does not require more than three scrolls down screen.

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What Golf Tells Me About You

As the 2018 Masters come to a close, Jason Hatch, an Account Executive in our Minneapolis branch, reflects on what you can learn about a person from their golf game.

Having grown up on the golf course, the game has molded my personality in various ways. Golf is known as the “gentleman’s game,” and is quite different from other sports. In my career as a sales professional, I have taken clients, coworkers, managers, and prospects to the golf course. Through these experiences, I have realized that I can learn important facts about someone just by spending four hours with them on the course.

Golf has a way of exposing weaknesses. For example, I discover whether or not you have a temper. You are by yourself, with no teammates to back you up or pick up slack when a mistake is made.  This can lead to frustration, anger, cursing, and sometimes even club breaking. I have witnessed all of the above, and cannot stress enough how much respect I have for players who remain calm and collected when adversity arises.

A competitive nature is also easy to spot. When you engage in sport, you will discover quickly if your opponents enjoy competition or are simply there to have fun. I am the type who attempts to figure out the game and stakes before we arrive at the first tee. I both live for and feed off friendly competition. I don’t dislike those that feel differently, but it is a valuable point of reference when evaluating someone’s character.

When spending four hours with someone, you will also discover whether or not this person gravitates toward introversion or extroversion. It helps when getting to know a prospect or client to understand their level of personal preferred engagement. You can learn quite a bit about them and their personal life if you spend time together on the golf course.

There is something in golf referred to as the “gimme,” or an “agreement” between two players who cannot putt. Knowing the right circumstances in which to give an opponent a putt can create friction in a round of golf. I respect those who try their best and appreciate when given a freebee. I cannot stand, however, when someone expects a freebee and becomes upset when they don’t get it. I prefer my team members to want to earn it! I suppose that’s the competitor in me.

Finally, integrity is uncovered through a golf game. Cheating occurs, whether it’s small (propping up a ball in the rough) or large (writing down a 5 instead of a 6). Regardless, those who behave in this way are looked at differently both on and off the course. Someone willing to cheat when the stakes do not matter all that much is a person I’d keep a close eye on when stakes are high. Don’t develop a reputation for untrustworthiness either on the golf course or in your professional life.

The game of golf often reveals character. If you want to get to know a professional colleague, I encourage you to play a round of golf with them. Share a cart and observe them both as a player and as a person. You may be surprised at the friend connection, professional and personal, that may develop!

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How Recruiters Compare to Casting Directors

Recruiters are often compared to film and television casting directors.  These are experts who select actors not only as the right “fit” in terms of versatility, talent, and charisma, but who also possess a pleasant off-screen personality sure to cause minimal drama. Corporate recruiters are often presented with similar requests from their organizations. They are tasked with finding a person who not only fits the hard skills—such as talent, education, and abilities—but also soft skills preferred by a specific department.

Corporate recruiters help to create a company brand. Their focus is on building rapport with candidates to ensure that new hires fit both the corporate culture and a given department. Certain departments have a specific ambiance. Some are outgoing and collaborative. In others, employees work independently, but catch up through weekly meetings. A recruiter may be asked to find a new hire who can perform the necessary duties while also fitting the existing departmental vibe, ensuring a smooth transition and quick camaraderie. An example of soft skills may be a sense of humor, a self-starter mentality, or the ability to blend with strongly opinionated personalities.

How does a recruiter narrow down candidates for a given position? What qualities grab their attention? How do they become convinced of the right fit?  Aleron recruiter Robert Longley shares tips that shed light on the process.

Clarity and organization are your introduction. “An organized, clearly-formatted resume catches my eye,” Longley says. “Recruiters sometimes view one hundred or more resumes for each position, so easy-to-read resumes do stand out. A candidate’s work experience is the immediate draw.”

Re-familiarize with your own background. Many candidates do not take the time to brush up on their experiences and skills and, therefore, cannot explain them in an organized, linear fashion. Longley adds, “Interviews are opportunities for candidates to learn, and also sell themselves as a candidate. Those who exhibit enthusiasm and provide clear, interesting examples of skills and experiences have an advantage. Be confident of what you bring to the table and prepare to discuss it.”

Listen well. Soft skills can make a difference. “Hiring managers share the qualities they wish for in a candidate. Certain personalities are a better fit than others. A recruiter uses behavioral and situational questions to gain a better understanding of a candidate’s demeanor.” Pay attention to tone and wording; find and utilize examples that illustrate how your personality is a good match for a potential team.

Preparation = interest. Remember, your goal is to feel fulfilled and happy within an organization. Assess the personalities of your interviewers. Do they seem stressed? Happy? Eager to discuss your background? Do they smile easily? Do you feel at ease with them? Longley suggests researching the company and preparing questions about the department and people you would be working closely with so if the job is offered, you feel confident in your decision. This process is just as much for you as it is for the organization looking to fill the role.

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Fake It ’Til You Make It: 4 Transferable Skills That Help When Tackling a New Industry

Abby Sabol, a recruitment specialist at our New York City branch, reflects on how she navigated her career shift by focusing on her strengths.

At the age of eighteen, I was dead set on conquering the fashion industry.

While studying visual communications and marketing at the Los Angeles Fashion Institute, I attended a handful of impressive internships before securing a position managing a jewelry boutique and its respective online store in Philadelphia. Two years later, I celebrated my 24th birthday and realized something important about my adult self… I had no true interest in the fashion industry.

Where to now?

Four years, three part-time retail merchandising jobs and two bartending stints later, I discovered the staffing industry. I was excited to help people find jobs and assist clients in procuring top talent. However, I still faced one hurdle:  I had no experience with the industry itself. After interviewing at a few firms, I accepted a position as an entry-level Staffing Coordinator.  How could my past retail experience be utilized in the corporate world?  When I began in my recruiting role, I admittedly knew very little, but felt that success would follow if I learned as much as possible.

Four skills have never failed me, even when my confidence did:

Networking – Maria Rodale of the Huffington Post says that “networking isn’t always at the top of our priority list. It can be awkward, time-consuming, and after a long work week, much less appealing than the couch.” Try to meet new corporate friends in a social setting. This can help advance your career, build relationships, increase your knowledge base, and create new business opportunities.  Networking is a great way to feel at home in your new industry, and free appetizers are a bonus!

Flexibility/Adaptability – Adaptability is the nature of changing or creating modifications to suit a new environment, such as being open to new ideas while functioning and performing with a positive attitude and accepting unforeseen challenges. Flexible people are easily approached and often accept new challenges to expand their industry knowledge and learning.

Poise – “The customer is always right” is a mantra that echoes from every sales and operations teams’ walls, and it is a beneficial attitude for placating an unsatisfied corporate client. Maintaining poise in stressful situations earns trust and creates strong interpersonal and business relationships.  A smile and positive attitude can clear your mind in difficult situations, making it easier to communicate and reach a common goal.

Resilience – A new industry can be overwhelming. New work, a new environment, and new ideals—you’re bound to hit more than one road block.  Rich Fernandez of the Harvard Business Review says that he’s seen over and over again that the most resilient individuals and teams aren’t the ones that don’t fail, but rather the ones that fail, learn and thrive because of it.”  Bouncing back and encouraging others to do the same benefits any challenging business situation!

Always focus on your strengths, and work on your weaknesses.  If socializing and networking come naturally, stack your calendar with events.  If positivity is your strong suit, use it to your advantage!  For me, it was natural to utilize my retail and service experiences.  I prioritized flexibility, retained a positive attitude, and focused on the goals I wanted to achieve.  Fake it until you make it!

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Inside The Interview

Kelly Daniels, a Recruitment Specialist from our Chicago office, shares some of her own interesting interview tactics after watching an episode of “The Job Interview.”

While flipping through channels, I discovered a TV show called “The Job Interview.”  This show helps companies to identify qualified candidates and showcases the interview process for various positions. I was quite impressed that CNBC aired a program so real and related to what I do as a recruiter.

“The Job Interview” offers a great way to learn how organizations interact with job seekers and examines the process a company may use.  It also illustrates which industries are hiring talent, and provides insights into pay rates offered.

Some hiring managers’ ideas were very creative.  For instance, one had each candidate walk into a room in which no chair was provided for them. The idea was to observe how candidates responded to an uncomfortable situation.  Did they find a chair for themselves?  Stand?  Circle uncomfortably?  It provided insight into candidate reactions, problem solving, and the ways individual responses may influence an ability to succeed in specific positions.

This reminded me of interesting interview tactics my colleagues and I have adopted or witnessed on-the-job:

Honesty is the best policy. To get at just how genuine and self-reflective a candidate is, a simple question can help:  “Think back to a situation that, after reflection, you realize you could have handled things better.  What was that time, and how would you change things?”  Watch to see how much the candidate struggles with the response, and is the response heart-felt?  Does it feel like a real ‘lesson-learned’ moment from which the candidate learned?  Or does that candidate give a non-response, e.g., “I went through this project and realized that my perfectionism really cost me a lot of time in my personal life, but it helped get the job done.”  If you get one of these lazy non-responses, don’t be afraid to professionally call the candidate on it:  “I can see how that would have been a challenge, but could we dig a bit deeper and talk about a time that you now feel you made a genuine mistake in a decision you made or the way you addressed a team member?”  Hopefully you get a meaningful response, and it sheds light on personal values and character.

The barrage. Posing questions  in rapid succession helps you to observe how a candidate’s mind works under pressure.  For example, “out of your previous jobs, which was your favorite?  Do you like working in teams or individually?  If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?  If there was one thing you could change about your current job that would make you want to stay, what would it be?”  Moving quickly between questions helps to map a candidate’s comfort with change.

The secret interview. Who else interacts with a candidate during the interview process?  Perhaps the receptionist has some insight!  A receptionist’s observations of the candidate while he or she waited can be quite telling. How did the candidate treat the receptionist and those with whom they sat?  How did that behavior correlate to the experience you observed in the interview?

Discovering and finalizing the best candidate is a challenge.  A recruiter should always think outside of the box to discover new and interesting ways of discovering what each candidate brings to the table.

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Want a new job? Position for success.

Alison Lewis, a Recruitment Specialist out of our Buffalo branch, shares her tips on how to position yourself for success if you are hoping to land a new job in 2018.

The third month of 2018 has begun—that makes it a great time to check your progress against your 2018 resolutions and goals! Is one of your goals landing a new position? If so, make sure that you do everything you can to cast yourself and your credentials in a positive light.

That means staying away from the following:

Rude and Negative Behavior – How you behave at social events or over the phone reflects on you. You alone control your behavior and reactions, and there is always a chance you may interact again with a specific person. How you treat a recruiter is how you will be imagined interacting with teammates. If you treat the person who has power to get you in front of an employer poorly, a recruiter will question how you would treat coworkers or a manager.

Beware of gossip.  It is negative behavior!  Good rule of thumb: someone quick to lend a listening ear is also often a running mouth.

Outdated Skills and Materials – When actively seeking a job, prepare by reading articles, practicing interview questions/answers, researching companies, attending networking events, providing correct contact information, and updating your resume. It confuses a recruiter when people submit an out-of-date resume or provide incorrect information. If you describe yourself as detail-oriented, reliable, and successful, be sure that your resume and cover letter reinforce that.

Passivity – Growth opportunities are born of hard work, productivity, results, and a positive reputation. Answering questions without specifics or descriptive examples will not help a recruiter or interviewer understand how you will perform in a position or contribute to a company.

Also, be precise and know what you want. Applying for a job is a big deal and a reflection of yourself. Do not apply to every job under the sun—that makes it difficult for a recruiter or employer to take you seriously.

Ghosting – This one should go without saying, but you’d be surprised. When a potential employer reaches out to you, respond. When you set up an interview, show up. Recruiters know other recruiters; don’t get yourself blacklisted.

Full Voicemail – It is amazing how many people who apply for positions don’t set up voicemails or have mailboxes that are always full. How will a recruiter feel comfortable believing that you are detail-oriented and organized if you cannot maintain your voicemails? Also, your voicemail greeting—just like your email address—should be simple, identifiable, and professional.

The future of your career is in your hands.  Be mindful about always representing yourself as a detail-oriented, courteous, and conscientious candidate, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving those 2018 goals.

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For a Great Team, Focus on the Roots

Jason Hatch, an Account Executive from our Minneapolis office, shares his thoughts on how to lead a team to success.

Many articles explain the duties of an efficient manager, but do not shed light on what specific personality traits a true leader exhibits, and in what ways he or she goes beyond the ordinary steps.

Imagine that your employees are trees. Most sales managers focus on what that tree is producing, i.e., the fruit, representing sales/results. They focus so much on the fruit that they fail to notice the branches, trunk, or—most importantly—the roots. If you ignore the roots for too long, the tree will die and yield no more fruit.

In this analogy, the roots of the tree are the motivators for each team member. Each is unique. It is the manager/leader’s job to focus on and nurture these roots.

One method is to simply take the time to learn about the members of your team as people and discover what motivates them. If asked, most people will cite “money” as a main motivator. That may be true, but what we do with our money is the true motivator. For example, the money I earn goes towards taking care of my wife, daughter, and daughter-on-the-way. It also enables me to play golf, which is my greatest passion outside of my faith, family, and friends. Learn these details about your team members and you will better understand how to engage and motivate them.

Doling out blanket rewards is NOT a good motivator. There is nothing worse than exceeding goals and receiving an irrelevant or generic reward in return. As a manager, you may love free lunch or happy hours, but what if your team member packs a lunch and has a family to get home to after work? Personally, I’m happy to pay for my own food and, at day’s end, I want to be with my family.  But if you were to offer a half day on Friday to play golf?—I’d be all in!

Many great workers fail to realize their full potential, because their managers never invested in learning about them as people. I have been blessed with a company who exhibits a warm and invested leadership team. What can you do to create or encourage this type of team? If you are a manager, focus on the roots. It will bring not only a harmonious, professional environment, but also a tree with stronger productivity.

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Superior Group’s Marissa Testa on the Woburn Spotlight

Marissa Testa, an Account Executive out of our Boston branch, spoke with Tyler Gates at the ‘Woburn Spotlight’ regarding Superior’s mission statement and tips for both business and job seekers. She describes Superior’s consultative approach and its aim to serve as a “connector,” bridging a gap between workforce and the local talent pool.

The interview illustrates Superior’s abilities to:

  • evaluate a company brand and visibility
  • examine the positioning of open jobs to candidates in the market
  • create a more exciting job description, attracting the attention of jobseekers
  • evaluate company social media
  • discuss feedback from jobseekers to improve candidate experience

In addition to Superior’s many solutions, Marissa discusses ways in which a business can position themselves as interesting and attractive to job candidates in the current market.

  • Disruption – Is your service revolutionizing the market?
  • Purpose – What value does your company offer candidates?
  • Growth – Have you recently acquired new business or accounts?
  • Advancement – With hard work, can candidates move forward in the company?
  • Voice – Are employees shown to be valued?
  • Total compensation – What compensation, besides financial, is offered?
  • Culture – What is your work ambiance? How are employees made to feel involved?

To see the full interview, watch here:

 

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Show the Love

Valentine’s Day may be a time to share appreciation with personal relationships, but February works for considering and reconnecting with professional contacts, as well.

The movie Sideways (2004) reminds me of my professional network through a touching scene in which main character Miles explains his fondness for pinot to love interest, Maya.

“It’s not a survivor like cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and thrive even when it’s neglected. Pinot needs constant care and attention …. only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression.”

The scene’s power stems from the fact that Miles is really talking about himself and the connection he hopes for in a partner. You can tell from Maya’s expression that she understands how much of a chance Miles is taking by opening up to her.

The scene resonates because of its emotional honesty and the use of pinot and cabernet as symbols of interpersonal and social connections. Pinot represents those you know well, including coworkers, customers, and professional colleagues. Cabernet, conversely, represents weaker connections formed after an initial in-person or online introduction.

In a professional network, a mixing of both muted and strong connections is natural. However, while many of us are adept at building networks, we often don’t spend time nurturing them. Think of your LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers. With how many connections have you had limited or no direct contact in the past year?

Residual connectivity exists via status updates, but it can be difficult to break through a typical day’s millions of tweets and updates. Fortunately, there’s more we can do to engage network contacts. February is known as a time to encourage relationships and bonding, so why not engage with professional connections as well?

Here are 10 ways to nurture your network:

Congratulate. When someone is promoted or changes professions, send a congratulatory note and inquire about the change. Use the opportunity to catch up and provide updates.

Provide Professional Leads. Let appropriate contacts know of a professional lead. Think beyond jobs and referrals to everything from committees, board positions, speaking opportunities, writing assignments, and special projects. Offer to provide an introduction.

Mail. With so many materials now sent in electronic form, a handwritten exchange stands out. To hold someone’s attention, hand write a note and mail it. Finished a good book or interesting article? Mail it with a note expressing why it made you think of them.

Ask Their Opinion. Your contacts are in your network for a reason. Respect others time, but take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Reach out when you have a need and know your contact can assist. Inquire about their lives and thank them for helping you.

Meet in Person. Remember to periodically meet local contacts. This may not be possible with remote connections, but—if you travel—do try to meet up.

Send Links, but Personalize. Discover a link that a contact might appreciate? Send it with explanation of why you felt it might be useful.

Introductions. Many connections could be of service to each other. When you feel an introduction would be beneficial and both parties have agreed, introduce them.

Check In. You don’t need a specific reason to reach out to a contact. Send a short note inquiring about professional developments.

Reintroduce Yourself. We connect with so many people on various networks that we can’t always remember why or when it first occurred. Perform periodic network housekeeping and reach out to contacts.

Let Them Breathe. Wine connoisseurs like Miles from Sideways understand that aeration, warming from the surrounding air, and letting the wine breathe will bring out aromas and flavors. Professional networks also need time and air to flourish.

This February, take time to show your network a little love!

 

 

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6 Tips for Landing a Dream Job

Scott Fiege, a recruiting manager out of our Buffalo branch office, shares his tips on how to land the dream job you are after.

You catch wind of the perfect job. Whether you are underpaid, underappreciated, would prefer a shorter drive to work, desire an elevated job title, or are soon to be relocating, this job could be a great fit for your needs.

You should know, for every position we post, we receive anywhere from 25 to 50 applications through sources like Indeed, Zip Recruiter, CareerBuilder, Monster, etc.  We identify another 50 to 75 from our pipelines, and from job boards and LinkedIn. With all sources combined, there’s over 100 people interested in one job.

Considering these numbers, the odds of being granted an interview are not high. Even if you meet the required skills/education, hard skills alone won’t secure you the position. In most searches, the manager reviews at least 10 profiles to select for interviews, with a subsequent three to five candidates scheduled for appointments. And finally, only one receives the offer.

  • What qualities set a preferred candidate apart?
  • How do you increase your chances for an interview?
  • What is the best way to secure a job offer?

My ten years spent in recruiting have taught me some tips of the trade that may help better your experience and move you toward your goals.

Be interesting!

I’ve seen a lot of resumes and cover letters, and have sat through many interviews and phone screens. If you—as the applicant—cannot gather enthusiasm for your background, neither will I or another hiring manager. Is your resume up to date? It should reflect not only your experience, but your personality.

Motivation and excitement for the job challenge will set you apart during conversations with a recruiter. Keep ego firmly in check, but do illustrate your accomplishments with a friendly smile and attitude. Keep answers to no more than a minute in length and try your best to not interrupt the interviewer. Exhibit enthusiasm and mention the ways in which you are a team player with a broad interest in helping a department.

Prepare

Are you aware of the most common interview questions and techniques used by hiring managers? Have you given thought to the financial compensation you would need in order to leave your current position? Are you confident of your market value? Are you clear on the manner in which you would decline a counter offer at your current employer? Have you familiarized yourself with the company websites and/or researched the background of the hiring managers prior to the interview?

This is where an applicant exceeds his/her competition. You should know, for example, that the company name is Sealing Devices, rather than Hearing Devices. Investigate the background of the hiring managers in case there is a friendly and common connection to mention during the interview. Dress for success in your most flattering and recently dry cleaned outfit. Practice answering questions in front of a mirror and role play with a helpful friend.

Use your connections or find common ground

Companies and hiring managers feel at ease hiring someone they know or referred over to them. They hire candidates with whom they share an alma mater, sorority, volunteer/community group, or other common connections. Some call it politics. I call it “well played.” Check out LinkedIn, or touch base with your network to determine whether you already have a valuable connection at the company for which you’d like to work.

Remember, interviewers are often nervous

Their job during the interview is to be tough, yet fair. Parts of the interview may feel disappointing or nerve-racking. True story: interviewers are sometimes as anxious as you are. They may not know the best questions to ask or feel they have an adequate handle on the type of candidate a department is hoping for. Your game plan may not go as expected. Roll with the punches, remain confident, and focus on what qualities paint you the best candidate for the job.

Become the solution

The most attractive candidates bring solutions to a void a company hopes to fill. Keep this in mind during the interview. Bring polished examples of your work and share wins from the past that could add to the organization’s productivity and contribute to a positive office culture.

Keep emotions in check

Interviewing can become emotional. You’ve spent money adding to your education, and time and effort in building your network and resume. I’ve heard many stories that inspired me to write up an offer that very second. We appreciate emotion—it illustrates to the hiring managers that you’re passionate about what you do. However, stay calm and present in the moment. Keep in mind that they are investing in you, and will prefer to move forward with a candidate driven not only by passion, but also by a calm and mature rationale.

There is a lot of talent out in the world, and we hope this helps you position yourself as a top candidate for your dream job.

 

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