Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Interviewing Smarter, Not Harder



We often talk about how expensive turnover can be for companies. It has been estimated that the cost of replacing a single employee can run up to 150 percent of that employee’s annual salary.
A lot of things factor into that estimated cost, not the least of which is the time commitment of those tasked with finding and hiring the replacement employee in the first place. The longer an opening remains unfilled, the more a company loses which makes refining your interview process a truly valuable endeavor.
Cut Your Applicant Pile Down: Far too many hiring managers make the mistake of leaving an opening posted for weeks at a time, accumulating hundreds of applications they then need to weed through.  For jobs that will be highly sought after, set an end date no more than two weeks out as the last day applications will be accepted. Then, create a list of “must haves” for the newly hired employee – and don’t hesitate to push resumes aside that do not adhere to that list. If you are still looking at a large pile of applicants after that process, add a few more “must haves” to your list and do it again. In the end, you should have no more than 10 to 15 applicants you are truly considering, depending on the job.
Start with Phone Interviews: Conduct brief phone interviews to get a feel for the applicants and an idea of who may be a good fit. Ask all the applicants the same questions, and be sure they are questions that relate directly to the job at hand. For instance, rather than asking these applicants over the phone what they believe their biggest strengths and weaknesses are, instead describe to them a difficult aspect of the job and ask how they would address those challenges. Consider the phone interview to be an extension of your earlier weed out process – this should be more about identifying the applicants that wouldn’t be a good fit, rather than about selecting the one who would.
Combine Interview Phases: A lot of companies conduct their interviews in phases. First, the applicant meets with a member of HR. Then, they meet with a hiring manager. Finally, they meet with the company president. Each of these rounds results in a reduction of applicants, and there may only be two or three who make it to the end. By combining some or all of those rounds into more of a panel interview, you can save company time and allow those interviewers to evaluate applicants as a team. Obviously, that may not always be possible – the company president may not have the time to sit in on the five interviews that make it past the phone interview round. But combining rounds one and two is usually doable – and your applicants will be appreciative of a more streamlined process.  

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Recovering Quickly from a Layoff




In our current unmanned environment, there is a mix of government downsizing, regulatory challenges, and venture capital indecisiveness that is making our job market more unpredictable than many of us would like.  I get calls regularly because people have gotten the news no employee wants to hear: layoffs that will find you unexpectedly out of work and looking. Sure, a layoff sometimes comes with severance pay, but we all know that doesn’t last forever – and there can be a growing sense of dread for workers who find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own.

They say that the best time to get a new job is while you are still currently employed simply because the longer a gap on your resume, the more likely a hiring manager is to discount you.  This is why it is important to get out there right away after a layoff - not only because you don’t know how long it may take to find the right position, but also because you are a more viable candidate if your layoff occurred recently than you would be if six months have gone by.

Stick to a Schedule: It can be tempting to relax into those first few weeks of severance pay bliss, telling yourself that you have all the time in the world to find a job. But what starts out as just a few days sleeping late can become entire weeks spent on your couch binge watching Netflix and wondering why no one is calling you with a job. Don’t allow that to happen to you. Instead, treat your job search like a job itself. Set a schedule that works for you, and then stick to it. For instance, you may choose to spend 9 to 11 every morning searching through job openings and submitting your resume, schedule lunches with your networking contacts between 12 and 2, and reserve your afternoons for some uplifting and notable activity.

Get Involved: What do I mean by uplifting and notable? Well, you can’t spend 8 hours a day submitting applications – all doing so will accomplish is increasing your frustration with the job search. Instead, schedule some time in your day to do something that will keep you active and leave you feeling valued or accomplished. You may choose to volunteer at a local food kitchen or finally begin training for that marathon you’ve always wanted to run. The point is to utilize that time for something worthwhile – the kind of activity you could learn and grow from, and that interviewers would be impressed by when they ask how you have been spending your time.

Utilize Contacts: You see how I mentioned lunches with your networking contacts? That’s because those contacts can be invaluable following a layoff. Reach out to them, plan get togethers, and put out feelers regarding any openings they may have heard about. In many cases, it is someone from within your network who will refer you to your next great employment opportunity.

Click here to receive future advice, tips, and trends on hiring and retaining employees in the unmanned and robotics industry.  

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