How to Win the Job Search Competition

November 21st, 2016

When you talk about hiring an employee, sometimes it seems that a job applicant prevails because of a favorable convergence of the sun, moon, and stars.

Or, maybe hiring an employee is just like a crap shoot. Or, hiring an employee is like throwing a bunch of darts and hoping that one of them sticks in the target. I have heard all of these references to the process of hiring an employee.

But the fundamental question remains.

What makes one applicant the winner in the job search competition? Employees who were hired did a lot of things right. Better, they did almost nothing wrong. How did Mary get the job?

When comparing candidates, an employer has to differentiate between well-qualified applicants. Applicants who appear to have the qualities, skills, education, experience, and knowledge the employer seeks are invited to interview. One is selected. How do you get to be the one?

Your Personal Presentation Must Make You Stand Out

An effective, targeted, customized resume and cover letter got you in the door. Perhaps a telephone screen allowed you to highlight experience and interest that matched the employer’s needs. You’re on track, and an interview is scheduled.

From this moment forward, the potential employer is assessing your fit for the job, the culture, and the needs and strengths of the team. At this point, the employer is giving you every opportunity to blow your chance.

Your physical appearance matters. It’s the first thing the employer sees. Your clothing, hair, makeup, jewelry, and accouterments make an immediate impression. Make the best possible first impression. Your presentation of yourself as a candidate must be flawless. Unpolished shoes do sink job searches.

Your Interaction During Interviews Either Nails Your Job – or Fails

Your preparation for the interview needs to include formulating specific, professional answers to potential questions. You want to sound knowledgeable, competent, and experienced. You need to be prepared to cite examples of what you have accomplished, contributed, and believe is important. This is not something most people do well off the cuff. Prepare responses.

Pay particular attention to the physical parts of you that will be in evidence throughout an interview across a desk or conference table. Dirty fingernails matter as does that faint stain on your shirt. They send loud messages about your attention to detail and personal care habits.

Relaxed communication is critical. Talk about workplace issues and goals that are important to you. Ask questions to assess whether the culture is a good fit for you. You don’t want to join every organization you encounter in a job search. Trust me; sometimes it’s better to keep looking.

Your Past Will Come Back to Haunt You

Before making an offer, smart employers send out a wide networking inquiry to find people who have known you in your past jobs, professional associations, and community involvement activities. Smart employers also do extensive background checking. What people say about you matters.

You may find it difficult to believe that how you live your life and comport yourself in the workplace matters. But, your values and their manifestation in your work life do matter. Living with integrity, playing well with coworkers, leaving friends – not enemies – in your prior jobs will support you in your job search.

And, when the employer who has the job you really want casts his net to solicit feedback, ensure what people say about you will win you your dream job.

Prepare your references and former supervisors to quickly and professionally return the call of your prospective employer. Smart employers call them and ask many questions. References who are unreachable can torpedo your job offer.

Employers customarily “google” their candidate’s names and do online searches to do a background check of the candidate. If you have odd Internet references to your work, your life, or your background, beware.

If you blog or write a website, your comments will impact hiring decisions. You may never know why you were not hired for the job. The interested employer will ask about their concern, however.

Behave as if Every Interaction Matters – Because They Do

From the initial phone screen or the phone call during which an employer sets up an interview, every interaction matters.

The receptionist has a vote. She or he makes statements like, “I really liked that candidate. He was so nice.” “Did you see how late he was and he never even apologized?” “I didn’t like him at all.”

Additionally, if you are a favored candidate for hiring, the HR staff or the hiring manager will stay closely in touch to give you feedback. They will let you know how the hiring process is progressing because they think you may be the one. When these calls start coming, you still have competition from other job searchers, but you are definitely on the short list.

These interactions and the relationship building are critical to the employer hiring an employee. When the eventual offer comes, you already have a relationship with the new employer. Building the relationship matters.

  • By:  Susan Heathfield 

Take the Plunge – Pay More

July 27th, 2016

One reward strategy you can employ that doesn’t involve following the popular drumbeat of negative messages and takeaways.   Other functional departments (i.e., Marketing, Engineering, Advertising) have already taken a different tract to deal with the new realities.   Innovative minds set themselves apart, pushing brand identification to carve out market niches away from the beaten path.

HR can lead the way!

A Different Mindset!

Companies fear wasting money on employees who don’t perform, so they often limit the administrative increases so often granted by their reward programs.  They feel they can’t afford a strategy that increases payroll without a corresponding increase in ROI.  However, they could increase the amounts paid to key employees while restricting the level of those who perform . . . less well.  That would place the high achievers at a fair or even generous pay level, but these winners would be only those who deliver an ROI back to the company.  You can afford to reward high performers, can’t you?

Employees who produce results are worth the money.  If you’re fearful of overpaying those who aren’t performing, you hold the solution in your hands / policy manual.  All it takes is the discipline to hold employees accountable and to take action against those who aren’t performing, who aren’t worth the money you’re paying them.

But that’s easier said than done!

Do you know what percentage of your workforce is rated at an average or lower level of performance?  50%? 60%?   If you still grant every employee an annual increase, you won’t be able to differentiate and properly recognize your key performers.  You won’t have enough money.  In that case the reward bar is inevitably lowered to cover the most common performance level.  Instead, why not raise the performance bar and make the tough decisions for those who can’t keep up?

If a manager has $10,000 for annual increases and tries to balance rewarding both high and average performers, the increases won’t be enough to recognize key players.   While the merit spend is calculated on average performance high performers need larger increases to feel recognized and appreciated.  A request to grant more than $10,000 will be denied, so what do most managers do?  They trim the increases of their best performers, in an effort to spread rewards as broadly as possible and keep everyone happy.

Is this effective?

Nope!   High performers will be discouraged and may rethink their future efforts as well as their commitment to your company, but your “Joe Average” will be pleased.  As behavior rewarded is behavior repeated, by using this make-everyone-happy tactic you’ll have encouraged more average performance and less high performance.  Does that sound like your reward strategy?

Okay you say, but if this concept is such common sense, why is the practice of holding employees accountable so seldom used?

The Management Fear Factor

Some managers fear what would happen if they took a tough line on performance = reward.

  • They fear that employees are somehow “owed” annual salary increases.  “We have to give them something.”
  • They fear their ignorance over how to conduct effective performance appraisals.  “Do these forms really measure performance?”
  • They fear alienating  the majority of  average employees (see bullet #1)
  • They fear what would happen if they exercised  the discipline necessary  to manage employees – because they want to be liked.

With a process designed to monitor and weed out the lower performers, and at the same time pay the higher performers well,  over time your new practice would retain more of those you want and rid yourself of those you don’t.  The employee performance bar would rise, fostering a more dynamic work environment that will in turn feed business performance.

You can (must) afford to do this.  Consider the impact of increased performance levels on your bottom line.  Isn’t it worth the initial outlay of money to make that happen?

Be Advised!

The bean counters (Finance) are perennially afraid of spending a dollar to save two — or in this case, spending a dollar to earn three.  They believe that, while the dollar cost is real the suggested gains are “soft”; promises that can’t be guaranteed.

There’s no easy way around this phobia short of direct intervention from the top.  Lacking senior management support compensation practitioners will face a wave of passive resistance, if not outright defiance by managers tying to “help” the average employee.

Providing high performing employees with greater rewards can create a win-win scenario, a greater attraction for talented outsiders, an improved  team atmosphere focused on pushing the company forward — and less inequities to drag and drain the goodwill you’ve established.

Try it.  Spend a dollar and earn four in return!

Assessing Organizational Culture

August 4th, 2015

The Symicor Group believes that bank culture is an essential consideration to would-be employees.  Is your culture congruent with that of your next superstar?

In a recent posting on June 25, 2015 by Stephanie Reyes on tribehr.com, Stephanie hit the nail on the head concerning the importance of whether culture actually matters in the work place.  You can view her posting at  http://tribehr.com/blog/assessing-organizational-culture

As part of our placement process, we at The Symicor Group,  make it a practice of ensuring that our Clients and Candidates are a cultural fit.  To learn more about or processes feel free to email us or give us a call.

 

Reputation Management of Job Boards

January 5th, 2015

Finding the right job board is just as important as finding the right job, which is why reputable job boards are so important for recruiters and potential employees.

Whether it’s finding a job board with dependable listings or one where employers can seek out ideal candidates, reputation management can help.

Here are just a few ways reputation management is having a positive influence on job boards:

Providing the Best Results

Besides being some of the largest job boards on the Internet, sites like Monster, Indeed, and Career Builder have something else in common: inconsistent search results. The last thing recruiters want is to find themselves lumped in with less-than-reputable job posts or worse, spam posts.

In addition, the last thing job seekers want is to sift through hundreds of generic job postings just to find one that’s actually legitimate.

With reputation management, employers and employees alike can find job boards with the most reputable resources, which make the job posting and searching process more efficient.

Avoiding Outdated Listings

There’s nothing worse for job seekers than taking the time to track down a job post and fill out an application only to find out the position has already been filled. Not only is this a waste of time for the site’s visitors, it also makes the job board seem out of date and ineffective.

Cutting the Job Board Clutter

Although the larger job board sites suffer from it the most, even some niche job boards are plagued with clutter. This clutter comes in the form of paid advertisements, paid postings, and spam-like posts that don’t actually lead to the job offerings that are represented in the posts.

Reputation management is looking to cut the job board clutter by monitoring job boards and addressing problematic postings.

By using information based on search results and customer feedback, reputation management services can better represent job boards that pride themselves in clutter-free postings and up to date offerings.

Benefits of Reputation Management

Businesses and job seekers alike benefit from reputation management regardless of whether it’s through job boards or not.

Reputation management improves online job boards and hundreds of other websites in many different ways.

Among them:

  • Customer Satisfaction – Reputation management provides websites the insight they need to improve customer satisfaction. By making sure customer feedback is monitored and the goods and services websites offer are legitimate, reputation management is helping to make the Internet a better place.
  • Positive Perception – For those job boards that put quality first, reputation management services are helping to boost the online presence of sites that go above and beyond.
  • Identify Drawbacks – Through constant monitoring, reputation management services can help job boards pinpoint negative practices as well as website drawbacks. This gives job board sites and other websites an opportunity to provide the best services possible.

When it comes to job boards, reputation management is helping to get the job done more efficiently.

Social Recruiting – Thinking About 2015

September 23rd, 2014

If you’ve been thinking about using social networks for recruiting and don’t know where to start, let me assure you…it’s not all that hard.  It does take a bit of planning and preparation.  I’ve put together a list of things to consider when you’re trying to ramp up your social recruiting efforts.

1.   Determine your goal.

The effort will not be successful if the company doesn’t have a focused conversation about why they are using social media for recruiting.  Maybe it’s because of the perceived cost savings since many social sites are free.  Or possibly it’s because the company’s competitive set is using social and they need to keep up.  Regardless, make sure you have an honest conversation about why you’re doing it.  It will drive future decisions.

2.   Choose 1-2 sites to drive traffic to.

When you post something on a social networking site, often it’s a link to somewhere else. In the case of social recruiting, you might post a link to your LinkedIn company page where openings are listed. Or a link directly to your company careers page.  Figure out where you want to drive traffic. And make sure those sites are up-to-date!

3.   Test the application process.

Since you’re driving traffic to another site, it’s only logical to make sure the site works the way you want it to. There’s nothing worse than being redirected to another site only to discover it’s clumsy and slow.

4.   Find the demographic information for social networking sites.  

Despite what others might say, companies do not need a presence on every social media site. They do need a presence on the sites that fit their audience.  Since we’re talking about recruiting, chances are good that a company needs to be on LinkedIn.  But maybe not Pinterest.  Every social networking site shares their demographics – do a quick search and find the right site for your audience. 

5.   Prioritize social networking sites.

This is probably my personal preference, but I wouldn’t recommend starting a half-dozen accounts at the same time.  Once you know the sites it makes sense to recruit on, give them a priority order.  For example, LinkedIn first, then Twitter and last Facebook.  Pace your efforts, become proficient at one then move to the next.

6.   Create a social networking account.

Before signing up for your first account, spend time thinking about what you want to call the account.  Will each recruiter have their own individual account?  Or will there be one company account that recruiters take turns monitoring?  Decide what the avatar for the account will be.  If each recruiter will have their own account, maybe the recruiters need to agree upon a few guidelines or branding elements for their avatars.  If it’s a company account, will the avatar be the company logo?  And what about the introduction or bio for the account?  Depending upon your industry and your location, corporate counsel might have a couple of disclaimers that need to be included.  Lastly, agree upon what information conceptually can be sent from the account.  For example, it’s a given that you’ll send out job openings. But what else?  Remember, you don’t want to just disappear during slow recruiting times. Can you send out general articles that job seekers might find interesting?

 7.   Find other people and organizations to connect with.  

Many will tell you that the number of individuals and companies you’re connected with doesn’t matter.  And that’s true.  To a point. If you don’t connect with anyone, then you don’t get the benefit of others spreading the word about you.  The key is balance.

8.   Establish a few introductory metrics.  

This one is a toughie. Social media is incredibly popular but the value metric is still being defined.  But, like other forms of recruiting, establish a couple of social media metrics to gauge success.  Off the top, companies should track how much applicant flow they get from social sites.  No different than the old days when we tracked how much applicant flow we got from the newspaper.

9.   Find social distribution methods to increase productivity.

After getting comfortable with social recruiting, the company can look for ways to automate certain aspects. I wouldn’t say automate everything because there’s still a need to be engaged on social media. But applications exist that can increase your productivity.  Also check your ATS system capabilities.

10.   Commit to reading and staying current about social recruiting.  

The world of social media is changing all the time.  Applications change their offering.  Sites increase and decrease in popularity.  Once a company starts recruiting using social media, they should commit to regularly taking a pulse on their efforts (remember those metrics you developed in #8?).  Ask the questions: Is this networking site still giving us results?  Should we experiment with this new site? Think about all these issues in concert with the rest of your recruiting strategy.  Social recruiting isn’t the end all be all – it’s one tool in your recruiting toolbox.  And it’s a very effective way to reach a specific audience that maybe you’re not connecting with right now.  If you leverage it as the unique tool it’s intended to be, the results will happen.

Writing A Job Description – Inviting and Accurate

March 3rd, 2014

One of the most unenviable tasks of human resource managers is describing the job to prospective applicants. This is especially true if the job is being posted on social media websites. Some HR managers tend to be too creative, so much so, that the real intent is lost leaving the prospective hire confused. Sticking to standard descriptions without being too harsh on demands will certainly ignite interest in readers.

Yet another advantage to using standard words and phrases is that they make the description search engine friendly and therefore are more likely to be ranked on the top. The trick is to use words that are commonly used by job searchers.

1.  Stay with Standard Job Titles

Here are some common job title descriptions you can replace with standard ones: Replace Office Ninja with Administrative Help or Assistant, Deal-maker King with Regional Director for Sales, Magical Man with Human Resource Manager and Brand Trumpet with Social Media Specialists and so on.

2.  Give the Description a Conversational Tone

Generally it is better to keep descriptions at a conversational level though you may be advertising the job on many different media – social or print media for example. It is best not to use jargon. You can avoid using phrases like Job Overview, Job Requirement or demonstrate for example. Instead you can try to use words like “Why not join us?” or “Here is what you will be doing” or “Will be in charge of” and so on. These words will make your description more conversational and is more like to attract attention and response.

3.  Promote your Organization’s Brand Value

Though good salary and perks will attract many talents toward your organization, they are not the only incentives for prospective hires. Candidates like to be associated with well-known brands and if your business owns a popular brand, you can leverage the goodwill it enjoys in the marketplace.

Describe your company vividly but avoid saying things like when it was founded or how the business grew. Instead you can tell the prospective applicant what your organization’s endeavors are and where the business will be heading in couple years from now. This will help the candidate to visualize his participation in the process and how he or she will be able to contribute to the company’s growth.

4.  Tell the Candidate How they can make an Impact

Most candidates will want to know their working environment. If the position gives control over a large workforce, now is the time to tell them in very clear terms without mincing words. If for example the candidate will be controlling a big team or will be responsible for multiplying sales, you can tell that clearly. Say that they candidate will be responsible for multiplying sales upward of 10%, for example.

5.  Make your Descriptions Mobile Friendly

Little we need to remind HR Managers that the percentage of people who use mobile devices and phones is on the rise. If you are using social media websites for attracting talents, chances are your target audience is using it to read your message. It is therefore imperative to make your descriptions friendly toward mobile phones usage.

The Symicor Group stands ready to help in your recruiting needs.  We can help you write job descriptions, assess talent, formulate HR staffing models, develop compensation programs, and most essential, fill important senior level bank vacancies.  For more information give our office a call at (847) 325-5457.

Is your resume ineffective?

September 10th, 2013

We see it every day!  A candidate with outstanding qualifications not getting noticed or receiving that first call from the HR department.  You are an outstanding candidate and may have years of qualified experience.  You may even be the perfect fit for the opportunity you seek.  Still, no phone calls, no emails and no response from the HR department after sending your well-intended resume.

Well, the silent show stopper is likely your resume. Indeed, the construction and content of your resume maybe the only thing preventing you from even getting noticed.

The Symicor Group, and many other talent acquisition firms across the United States, receives feedback from HR Directors lamenting the fact that candidates continue to send them resumes that do not inspire or warrant further review.  These demanding HR leaders readily admit that many candidates may likely be a good fit but these candidates never reach a state of relevancy because of their substandard resume.

Bottom line, your resume must be value-based and enticing. Further, your resume should make irresistible!  It must quickly convey the notion that you are the solution your next employer has been seeking.

Now more than ever, it’s time for your resume to stand out among the sea of resumes competing against you.  A value based resume that is clear and compelling may put you at the front of the line. Call for your free consultation today.  It is time to get you placed with the company and career that offers you challenge and fulfillment.  Call Kelly or Tom today at (847) 325-5457 or email us at resumes@symicorgroup.com

Join The Symicor Group at the Lake Geneva Hope Walk to Fight Breast Cancer

September 9th, 2013

Join the Symicor Team on Saturday, September 28, 2013 at Library Park, West Main Street, Lake Geneva, WI between 7:00-9:00 a.m.  This is a non-competitive walk raises funds to fight breast cancer.  This year proceeds go to the Aurora Health Care Breast Treatment Assistance Program. This program helps educate women and defrays medical expenses for uninsured and under-insured women for mammograms.  The Symicor Group is a proud sponsor of this event.

If you cannot join us we ask you make a denotation to this worthy cause.

For more information about the event go to the even webpage at: http://lakegenevahopewalk.com/

See you there!!

Time for a Job Change? (Part 3)

September 4th, 2013

Part Three – Money and More

In this final part of our 3-part series “Time for a Job Change?” we are going to discuss a little about money, job offers and moving on with your career.

The Money Factor

We all know that money can be a motivating factor on your decision to changes jobs, but be very careful of changing careers simply because of the almighty dollar. Remember that you may make more money, but if you dislike your new career, you’ll probably be spending that money on stress and health related expenses. So before making a jump be sure that you do your research so you know that the new position will be a cultural and professional fit for you.

You Get a Better Offer

Out of the blue you get a call from an another company offering you more money, more flexibility or better benefits, all in an effort to convince you to join their team. If this does happen, remember that you are the one holding the power.  Ask tough questions about the company’s business and its work culture. If the answers you receive are not right for you, you can simply reject the offer and stay in your current position.

A solid outside offer may also put you in a position to ask for more of your current employer.  It is a common and courteous practice to give your current employer a chance to make a counter-offer and keep you on the team. With proper negotiations and you could end up receiving a raise, promotion or other benefits without having to change jobs. On the other hand if your employer won’t negotiate you should take that as a sign that you may be better off in a new job. 

Getting Help in Your Career Search

In this series we have discussed many factors to consider when thinking about a career change.  Once you have decided to make a change you may need help in jump-starting your search.  You may want to consider engaging a professional recruiter who specializes in your industry.  These professionals will work on your behalf to find a position for your unique skills and experience that have shaped what kind of professional you are. Professional recruiters can provide career counseling as well as helping with your resume and interviewing skills.

We hope this series has been helpful to you in your pursuit of your dream career.  The Symicor Group is here to help you though the process.  Please take a few minutes to scan our website to see all of the services we can provide you to help you with your banking career.

 

Time for a Job Change? (Part 2)

June 27th, 2013

Part Two – Personal Factors

In part-2 of our 3-part series “Time for a Job Change?” we are going to explore some personal factors that may play a part in the decision process on whether it is time to move forward in your career.

You Can Gain a Broader Base of Knowledge

Like with anything thing new you try there is a learning curve, the same applies to your job.  When you are first hired you are thrust into a face-paced indoctrination.  You have to learn the basics of your new position coupled with learning about your co-workers and how you fit into the organization.  That is then followed by a longer period of fine tuning your skills and mastering your position.  Experts express that this period of time is approximately 3 years for the typical worker.

But is that all that there is?  Are you capable of learning more? Is it possible that you can advance your personal base of career-specific knowledge by repeating this learning process in a new position? The answer could be “yes.”

Changing position within your industry may force you to gain new skills that can complement those you already have, allowing you to become a more well-round, and capable professional.  If this is something you personally feel is needed in your career it may be time to start seeking a job that will provide you that growth.

 Your Job Does Not Challenge You Anymore

Have you ever said to yourself “This job has become boring?”  You have mastered the requirements of your position and cruise through it day after day.  You find that your job no longer provides any challenges.  Working at a job that lacks challenges can often result in negative work habits such as surfing the web, playing games, etc. to kill time.  Lack of challenges can also often lead to a lower morale and a lack of enthusiasm on your part.

If you find yourself in this situation you should seek more challenging work assignments within your current organization.  If more challenging assignments are not available to you, you may want to consider moving to a new job where you are again challenged on a day-to-day basis.

 Major Changes in Your Personal Life

There are many different personal circumstances which may necessitate you finding another job.  They can range from wanting to shorten your daily commute time to your spouse has been offered a tremendous opportunity in another city.  Some employers may be willing to work to keep you, especially if you are a key employee, by offering you a transfer to another location.  The key is to keep your employer informed of any pending life-style changes so they are not surprised when your time comes to make a decision.  If however they unwilling or unable to help you in your situation you may be forced to seek out other employment.

The Symicor Group understands how these factors play a part in your decision to look for other work.  A very important part of our process in finding you an opportunity is we take time to get to know you.  Our recruiters spend time talking with you to understand you, your personality, and your unique situation.  Contact us today and let us help move you forward.

Next time in Part-Three of our three-part series we will wrap up the “Time for a Job Change?” series discussing earning and some helpful steps in moving forward.

You can view Part-One of the series at: http://symicorgroup.com/2013/06/06/time-for-a-job-change/