It’s natural for hiring managers to make their decisions based primarily off experience. After all, if an employee crashes and burns, it’s a lot more comfortable to be able to say, “But they had such a great resume!” instead of admitting that you took a risk. When someone looks good on paper, you feel confident justifying your recommendation. However, a traditional resume is likely to get you traditional results. If you’re thrilled with your current employees, then that’s not a problem – keep doing what you’re doing. But if you’re looking to make a change in your organization, then you need to change your hiring practices. If you need new blood, someone with a fresh perspective, then it might be time to look outside the box for an unconventional superstar.
The Benefits of Unconventional Hires:
1. Unconventional Hires Are Cheaper
When you go head-hunting for a proven all-star, you’re going to pay a premium. When you take a chance on someone who may be young or inexperienced, but who possesses a wealth of unconventional skills, you may get an incredible employee at a bargain price.
2. Unconventional Hires Are Loyal
If you have to steal a producer from another company, you’re hiring someone who has proven they’ll move on to greener pastures. When you take a chance on an unconventional hire, you demonstrate your trust, and you are very likely to earn their loyalty. When you give an opportunity that no one else is offering, your employees will stick around to meet the challenge.
3. Unconventional Hires Provide New Solutions
Employees with identical educations and experience are likely to approach problem-solving in a fairly uniform manner. If you want someone with a completely unique perspective, you should look for employees with experience and skill-sets outside the norm. In Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book “David and Goliath”, he talks about how perceived disadvantages like dyslexia can actually be beneficial and how perceived advantages like wealth can actually cripple development. Consider that a community-college entrepreneur might provide skills and ideas not found in your average ivy-leaguer.
How To Hire Unconventional Superstars:
1. Consider Candidates For All Positions
When you hold interviews, consider your candidates for all positions at your company. When someone interviews well, when they obviously have a strong personality, passion, intelligence, and drive, see if you can find a place for them. They may not be suitable for the position they requested, but you should never let an outstanding interviewee slip through your fingers.
2. Differentiate Personality Positions From Experience Positions
As mentioned above, most hiring managers consider relevant experience first and foremost in hiring, but that’s not actually important for all jobs. Looking for a neurosurgeon? You probably want someone with experience. But if you’re hiring for a less technical position like sales, then interpersonal skills, ambition, perseverance, and loquaciousness might be more important than years on the job.
3. Know Which Characteristics Are Integral To Each Position
Examine your most successful employees to formulate a template for your new hires. Only you can determine which characteristics are most important for each job at your company. Bethany Perkins, HR Director at Software Advice, is a huge proponent of finding “diamonds in the rough”. Her personal criteria is as follows:
I look for a history of hard work and achievement. I hunt for candidates who understand that success is the result of hard work. I also look for candidates that demonstrate a passion in some area of their life, whether personal or professional. We think that the ambition and drive required to pursue your life’s passions are qualities that transfer nicely to our workplace. Another key characteristic I look for is if the candidate takes pride in their work. We don’t care whether they were a bartender or barista, what piques our interest is if they see the value of a job well done. We also keep an eye out for candidates that are optimistic, have a positive attitude and are looking for a job that is both challenging and rewarding…I’ve trained myself to look beyond the resume and read between the lines. I focus less on what company they’re currently working for and instead look for signs of achievement. When we are looking to hire a diamond in the rough, we care more about the skills that can’t be taught — we can always teach the role-specific skills.
4. Hunt In New Locations
If your traditional job postings are pulling up the same type of candidates over and over, look somewhere new. Explain the type of characteristics you are looking for to your employees and request referrals (with bonuses for successful hires). Give your card to anyone you meet who is outstandingly impressive, and encourage them to apply to your company. Post your job listings in new forums and in local social centers.
Not all unconventional hires will pan out, but those who prove to be exceptional may become your most productive and valued employees. If you want exceptional results, then you have to take a chance on a new kind of hire.
Countless studies have shown statistical evidence that employee recognition programs and employee incentives will benefit your company. The money you spend on recognition and encouragement is an investment that will pay dividends over and over in the performance of your employees and the profitability of your company. In today’s post, I want to summarize the findings from an extensive study by the Forum For People Performance, Management, and Measurement, the Incentive Research Foundation, and the Human Capital Institute.
The Value And ROI In Employee Recognition:
Why Do Employees Need Recognition?
Humans have an intrinsic need for incentives, recognition, and positive feedback. Without regular incentives, our motivation tends to wane. Without recognition, we doubt our value to a company and our relationship with upper management. Without positive feedback, it’s easy to become discouraged and focus on the negative aspects of work-life.
During my years in the employee engagement industry, I've seen a lot of strategies for employee motivation, some good and some horrendous. So today I've compiled a list of some of the most effective and some of the most damaging techniques I've seen applied to employees.
The Best And Worst Techniques For Employee Motivation:
1. Give Your Employees Decision-Making Power
For many years, the retailing giant Nordstrom had an extremely simple guidebook for their employees. It encompassed a single 5X8 card, and this is what it said:
Welcome to Nordstrom
We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.
Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.
“Employee engagement” has become a buzzword in the modern business world, but what does it actually mean? What is an engaged employee, and why is it important for your business?
What Is Employee Engagement?
And “engaged employee” is someone who is involved in and enthusiastic about their work. They are committed to their company and their job.
On average, only 6.9% of new hires come from referrals. This is unfortunate, because referrals are the most valuable type of employee. Employees hired through referral tend to perform at a higher level, stay longer with your company, fit better in your corporate culture, and require termination much less often. Employment experts like Dr. John Sullivan recommend that companies should strive to garner 50% of their hires from employee referrals, instead of a measly 6.9%.
The Benefits Of Hiring Referrals:
A 2011 CareerXRoads study showed that 46% of hires at top performing firms are referrals, vs. 28-39% of hires at average performing firms. Dr. Sullivan says:
New hires from well-designed referral programs routinely produce the highest on-the-job performance of any recruiting source.
According to a 2012 Jobvite study, referrals are the most likely employees to stick around at your company. After 2 years, referrals showed 45% retention, vs. 31% of hires from career sites and 20% from job boards.
Hiring employees who mesh well in the corporate culture can be extremely difficult, because it's hard to garner detailed and accurate information about personality from an interview. Your current employees are much better at determining “fit” amongst their friends and acquaintances, so their referrals tend to more accurately select for personalities who will mesh well. Plus, referral hires will already have at least one friend on the staff to help ease the transition.
4. Low Termination Rates
Some studies on referral programs have shown that employees hired through referral have a 350% lower chance of requiring termination. Firing and rehiring can be one of the most destructive and expensive processes at your company, so this can save you a lot of money.
There is a common myth that the drawback of referral hiring is a loss of diversity. In fact, the opposite is true. Referrals are actually the #1 source for diversity hires, beating out even diversity career fairs in a 2011 study by CareerXRoads.
The benefits of increasing your hiring percentage via referral are obvious. But how can you encourage your employees to aid in the hiring process?
How To Get More Hires Through Employee Referral
The answer is incentivize, incentivize, incentivize. Employees will do what they are incentivized to do. If they receive a generous bonus for referring friends and acquaintances, they will certainly go out of their way to do so. This incentive can be cash, points, or prizes – if your employees genuinely want it, it will be effective. The average incentive for a hiring referral at a major company is $2000. That may sound like a lot, but it's barely more than the average cost of hiring through a job board ($1634), and it will save you exponentially more money in the long run.
Early this year, digital researcher John Seely Brown made headlines when he declared he would rather hire a high-level World of Warcraft player than an MBA student from Harvard. The statement seems eccentric and even absurd, but Brown isn't the only person beginning to see the workplace benefits of video games. Google is one of the many tech companies allowing their employees to play video games during work hours, not just as a perk or for relaxation, but as a focused, deliberate pursuit.
So is it just a silly trend, or are there genuine benefits to video games at the workplace?
29 Aug 2013
Google is considered one of the most desirable companies to work for by a huge host of young and talented individuals. Google receives over 1.5 million applications per year for only 6,000 positions. This means they can select from a massive pool of candidates, accepting only the top 0.04%. Thus Google manages to cull many of the most intelligent and inventive individuals on the market, strengthening the company and creating a positive feedback cycle where they become ever more productive and ever more desirable a place to work.
Your company may not be Google, but you can steal a page from their book to make your business more attractive to applicants. The better your pool of candidates, the stronger your employees will be and the more your company will prosper.
Google hiring process boasts a second point of strength: it shuns traditional interview questions, using quirky challenges to separate the creative brains from the conventional. This helps Google build an inventive yet homogenous culture of unified and like-minded individuals.
Can you tell when a job applicant is being honest with you? You probably answered yes, but the unfortunate truth is that lying during the hiring process is becoming increasingly common, and increasingly difficult to detect. Entire websites are dedicated to helping candidates falsify details of their resumes, and a whopping 56% of resumes contain embellishments and outright lies regarding previous dates of employment, job descriptions, education, and more.
To help you avoid getting scammed by job seekers, here are a few of the most egregious hiring horror stories, and a few lessons we can learn from them:
Hiring Horror Stories:
1. Candidate Listed Himself As CEO Of The Company He Was Applying For
I was screening applicants for a mid-level position at a Fortune 500 company. As part of the process, we checked the candidates' profiles on a variety of social media and networking sites. One applicant had himself listed as CEO of our company on Facebook. Judging from his Facebook page, I wouldn't have hired him for the mailroom.
08 Aug 2013
There's a lot of common knowledge about what constitutes “good management” and “employee motivation“. But common knowledge is simply that: common. It's not necessarily accurate or effective. In fact, there are a number of myths about employee engagement that I'd like to dispel.
3 Myths About Employee Engagement and Motivation:
1. You Should Always Put On A Good Face For Your Employees
Positivity is important, but you know what else is important? Truth. There's a reason why “The Matrix” was such a popular movie, and it wasn't only the pleather bondage gear and Keanu Reeve's deadpan delivery. “The Matrix” offered a basic dilemma: would you rather live in a carefully constructed fantasy, or the terrifying real world? Would you rather have happiness or the truth? Keanu took the red pill, and most of your employees want the same. They want to know what's going on.
Earlier this year, Accu-Screen released a study showing that a whopping 78% of resumes include misleading information, while 54% are padded with outright lies. Job candidates lie about all kinds of things including fraudulent degrees, inflated job titles, altered dates of employment, and excised criminal histories. It's sad to say, but the majority of resumes contain exaggerations or lies. Accu-Screen has been charting this kind of data for over 15 years, and they say that resume falsification peaks in times of economic distress and tough job markets. That means that companies hiring today need to be especially vigilant so they don't get duped by disingenuous job applicants.
The cost of hiring a dishonest employee is steep: not only is the person likely to perform badly and possibly even swindle your company in other ways, but your company could be on the hook for damages if incompetency or an undisclosed criminal history causes problems for clients and co-workers.
5 Tools For Finding And Hiring Honest Employees:
1. Background Checks
An extensive background check is the most important step you can take to suss out major issues like criminal history. Your business can and should hire experts to perform a full background check on every employee you hire.