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These Interview Questions Will Reveal The Most About Candidates

When interviewing candidates, not every question is created equal. If you’re referencing an outdated list of interview questions that you found on the internet, you’re doing yourself (and your candidates) a disservice. A focused list of purposeful questions can reveal a lot about a candidate and how they’ll fit into your open position.

Behavioral questions

These questions typically begin with, “tell me about a time…” Your aim is to have the candidate explain past situations and how they handled them. Try to customize the question to accurately represent situations they would encounter if they were to join your team. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict while working on a team. How did you handle that?
  • Tell us about a time when you did not meet a customer’s expectations. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
  • When you’re working with a large number of customers, it can be difficult to deliver excellent service to them all. How do you go about prioritizing your customers’ needs?
  • Tell me about a time you failed. How did you deal with the situation?
  • Explain a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities.
  • Tell us about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it was a hit.
  • Describe your proudest professional accomplishment.

Personalized questions

Questions that directly relate to a candidate’s resume and experience will always reveal a lot about them and how they’ll function at your company. Try asking them to expand on statistics listed on their resume. Additionally, choose projects they’ve worked on that are especially pertinent to the role they’re interviewing for and ask them to elaborate.

We encourage you to continue asking personalized interview questions throughout your entire meeting. If something a candidate says sparks your interest, don’t be afraid to follow up and ask for more information.

Application questions

Every company and every team has unique situations that your employees run into. Be sure to ask your candidates real-world application questions that could be a part of their everyday life if they secure this job. Maybe there’s a project that your team is currently brainstorming. Ask the candidate about their ideas or how they would approach that particular situation.

Easter

How to Fill Your Easter Basket with Great Candidates

Easter

Today’s competitive job market is a lot like an Easter egg hunt. Many employers are on the hunt for fantastic candidates. And in this competitive market, it can be challenging to find the “golden egg” of a candidate. According to the latest JOLTS Report, there were 7.1 million job openings in the US in February. That’s a lot of job openings! But the tricky part here is that there are currently only 6.2 unemployed Americans. In other words, there are not enough eggs (candidates) to fill your basket.

No matter how hard employers search for qualified candidates to fill their open roles, they are coming up empty-handed. If you want to efficiently find great candidates to join your team, here’s how to ensure your search doesn’t result in an empty basket.

Stop hunting for golden egg candidates

Like with an Easter Egg hunt, there is often a golden egg; an egg that everyone is after because it’s filled with candy or has some grand prize in it. But in this market, employers cannot afford to be searching for that special egg. You can’t wait around for the “perfect” candidate to walk through your door.

If you find some good candidates that cross off most of the requirements on the job description, take a chance on them. If they have the right soft skills and a great attitude, you can easily teach them some of the hard skills that they may need to acquire.

Take a page out of Peter Cottontail’s book

There’s no time to casually stroll down the bunny trail. You have to swiftly hop down the trail to find the talent your team needs. In other words, you must move candidates along quickly. With more jobs than people to fill them, it’s a candidate’s market. Your team doesn’t have the ability to take your time throughout the hiring process.

Put together a competitive offer

In this market, you have to put together an attractive offer. You have to offer a competitive wage to ensure you keep your prospective candidates on the hook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, hourly wages have increased 3.2 percent over the last 12 months, for a total hourly rate of $27.70. Wages have steadily been increasing the last year and if your company isn’t offering a strong compensation package, you may be missing out.

Now, we understand that you may have budgetary constraints when putting together offer letters. However, there are other things you can offer besides money to entice candidates. If you can’t offer more money, try offering better benefits, including more vacation days or better work flexibility. In fact, Millennials, the largest growing workforce population, are willing to take an annual pay cut of $7,600 for a more desirable work-life balance and better work culture. So, if offering more money is out of the question, there are other ways to gain the interest of candidates.

Don’t go hunting alone

In this market, it may be difficult to fill your basket with the candidates your team needs. But you don’t have to go hunting alone. Partner up with a professional! Johnson Search Group is here to assist you with your search. Team up with a recruiter who knows the ins and outs of your industry, your organization, and your community. Let’s work together. Happy hunting!

labor market

2019 First Quarter Labor Market Roundup

labor market

In 2018, the labor market was intense, for both candidates and employers. Last year, the unemployment rate nearly fell to a 50-year low, more than 2 million jobs were added, and wages continued to grow month over month.

However, before we entered 2019, there was a lot of mixed projections for the labor market this year. Many people were feeling discouraged about what is yet to come. And some economists were even predicting a downturn or a possible recession.

But over the last three months, the labor market has continued to look strong! In the latest JOLTS Report, it was reported that there were 7.6 million job openings across the country, but there are only 6.2 million people unemployed. And in March, the average hourly wages rose $0.11 to $27.66. The unemployment rate is also back below 3.8%, another strong indication that the labor market is fierce.

We had the opportunity to sit down with the three divisional managers of Johnson Search Group and hear how the first quarter of 2019 was for the Healthcare, Mining, and Banking industries.

First Quarter Labor Market Roundup

Speed up your hiring process

Regardless of what industry you’re in, the biggest trend our teams are seeing is the need for employers to move quickly. Many employers are missing out on fantastic candidates because their hiring process is too slow. If you have an inefficient process, you may be getting edged out by your competition.

In fact, all three of our Division Managers have worked with clients this year who lost out on a candidate to their competitor because they didn’t move fast enough. In this candidate-driven market, employers don’t have the luxury to drag their feet with making hiring decisions. You need to streamline your processes because if you take too long to pull the trigger, your candidates will move onto the next offer.

Throughout the first quarter of 2019, the market was busy and it’s looking like it will be even more competitive than last year. If you need help identifying inadequacies in your hiring process, let’s work together to see how we can improve that.

It won’t be a candidate-driven market forever

The labor market is sure hot right now. But it’s not going to be that way forever. We understand that as a candidate, you may be entertaining multiple offers. You have many options at the tip of your fingers. We don’t see the market dying down anytime soon. But when it does, we caution you to remember that it’s a small world.

If you ghost an interview or completely fail to show up on your scheduled start day after going through the entire hiring process, it will catch up with you one day. Hiring managers and recruiters will remember you if you leave them hanging. And there may be a time in the future where you need to rely on them to help you find your next position.

If you need help finding your next career move, check out our job board. We have dozens of fantastic opportunities that may be perfect for you and your career.

hiring process

Take the Luck Out of Your Hiring Process

hiring process
Over the last three months, the U.S. has averaged job gains of 186,000. The unemployment rate also ticked down to 3.8% and the average hourly wages increased 11 cents, a 10-year high. Simply put, the job market is hot.

If you don’t have a streamlined hiring process, you and your team may be stuck looking for that lucky four-leaf clover of a candidate. However, with St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, we thought we’d help you take the luck out of your hiring process. Here are three steps to improve your process to find the candidates your team needs.

Time is of the essence

If you’re a hiring manager or HR professional in this labor market, you don’t have time to drag your feet. When you have a critical role that needs to be filled, you must act quickly! It’s a candidate-driven market. Do you know what that means? Candidates have options (and lots of them!).

The longer you take to move candidates through the hiring process, the greater the chance of you being ghosted by a candidate. Since candidates are entertaining multiple job opportunities, you have to move quickly. If you have steps in your process that eat up too much time, you may be missing out on stellar candidates. And if you extend an offer to a candidate, don’t make them wait two months for their start date. It doesn’t take much time for a candidate, even if they have accepted your offer, to find a better (and more time sensitive) down the road.

Stop waiting to find that “leprechaun”

If you find yourself being picky over candidates, you need to cut that out right now. If this is truly a critical role for you, you can’t sit there and wait for the magical leprechaun (or perfect candidate, in the recruiting world) to show up on your desk.

When you find someone who is qualified for the position, give them a callback. They may not have every single criterion on the job description. But if they can do the job, have a great attitude, and have the soft skills necessary to learn the ins and outs of the role, at least have a conversation with them. You may even be surprised! They may end up being that lucky charm you’ve been dreaming of!

Team up with a recruiter

If you’re still struggling to identify areas in your hiring process that need improvement, don’t panic. Trying to change your hiring process can seem daunting and it varies from company to company. But that doesn’t mean you have to go at it alone!

At Johnson Search Group, we’ll help find areas in your hiring process that could use some changes. We can suggest ways to speed up your process so you can avoid the unfortunate event of yet another candidate ghosting you at the last minute. We know you’re busy, so let us do the legwork. Partner with a recruiter and let’s work together to find that pot of gold on the other end of the rainbow.

HR Department

Is Your HR Department at Odds With Your Expectations?

HR Department

I recently had a conversation with a healthcare organization looking to fill a critical role. We were talking about the needs of the organization and what the impact would be if the position isn’t filled. The conversation was going along just fine until I asked how long it would take to make an offer after a successful interview.

The hiring manager stated that their Human Resource Department’s policy is that once the hiring manager interviews candidates and identifies a talent pool of three or four finalists, the HR Director would generate an offer to the most qualified. I had to tell them that this is likely why they continue to have so many open roles; this cannot be the reality in today’s current labor market. I ended the conversation with, “I am sorry, but I am not the recruiter for you.”

It’s a race to the finish line

The above example is an all too common story, especially for organizations that have a plethora of job openings. Today’s job market is the tightest it has been in over 50 years and is shaping up to get worse (or better if you are looking for a new job). As 2019 progresses, I believe it will literally seem like a race to get qualified candidates to sign on the dotted offer line.

We continue to hear hiring managers mention their crazy workload and that they just can’t seem to fill their roles. They repeatedly say that they have exhausted all their options, and just can’t figure out why. In most cases, like the first example, the reasons are internal.

The conundrum of HR

One common theme for many hiring managers is that their hands are tied in pulling the trigger on a hire due to the authority that many HR Departments wield. They often have to wait endlessly for offer letters or compensation calculations to come back. And during the wait, their candidate takes a job elsewhere or just bows out in frustration.

Another challenge is the assumption from many hiring managers that the primary function of HR is to find them talent. So, they assume their roles are being actively recruited on internally, and just can’t figure out why they haven’t seen any resumes. And as you can guess, the common theme here is simply lack of communication and a process that isn’t working.

Better understanding your HR Department

So, what is the solution? While I don’t profess to have all the answers, there are some basic thought processes that could help. First, find out what the responsibilities are of your Human Resource team. Recognizing that they are continually working on onboarding, schedules for new staff, background checks, scheduling drug screens, calling references, tracking changes in compensation, writing job descriptions, keeping track of job boards, website postings… well, you get the idea. Do their other responsibilities allow for the time necessary to get your candidates hired?

How effective is the recruiting and onboarding functionality of the department? Especially, when this one role that you’re trying to get filled is in competition with every other job opening and a full schedule for your HR staff to boot? Given this thought process, ask yourself and teams the following questions to analyze whether your process needs to be revised:

  • Do you know how your HR department functions?
  • Are they doing the best job they can?
  • What incentives does your HR department or internal recruiter have to fill your open roles?
  • And a two-part question: what are their priorities, and are they achieving the results they are primarily tasked with?

However, you cannot answer these questions without also asking the following questions:

  • What are the desired and expected outcomes of your HR department?
  • And more importantly, if you were to compare notes with your HR team, do you both have the same playbook?

Get help meeting those expectations

If you would like a review of your process, feel free to reach out to one of the experienced recruiters at Johnson Search Group. After all, we live by the motto ‘your success is our success.’

social media

To Post or Not to Post? That is the Question!

social media

I have heard the argument on both sides about social media. On one side are those who support that social media is a personal, and therefore, private expression. It’s an online journal of sorts or a way for the timid to share their opinions without judgment; in a sense, letting everyone be able to just let it all hang out. And if you don’t like what you see, then don’t look.

And on the side, the internet is public, not unlike Grand Central Station, where all can come to congregate, share ideas, and as an all-age audience, should be toned down and posts should always be polite and acceptable with the utmost respect.

There is some merit to both sides of the equation. After all, if you’re an employer and don’t like what you see from a prospective candidate, you could opt not to look, and on the other side…. Yeah, not going to happen. Novel concept, but shock and awe will usually trump civility. Especially when over 70 percent of employers now use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes

Now let’s look at the subject logically. No matter how much you want it to be considered private, the internet is a public forum and therefore any privacy is removed the second you hit send, post, or tweet. With that in mind, take a look at the image that you are portraying online.

As a recruiter, the thought process I always have is, if a future employer were to look you up on social media platforms, what message would you be sending? Would they be turned off by what they see and read? Now I am not suggesting that you can’t be yourself, or share your opinions, but my recommendation is to take a look at yourself through a prospective employer’s eyes. Would you hire you? If the answer is no, then make some adjustments…. Your future (employed) self will thank you.

Basketball Isn’t the Only Thing Mad This March

March Madness

Whether you’re a candidate or client, you can relate the job search to the exciting 18-day roller coaster ride of March Madness. It’s inevitable that when you’re applying for a job, you’re trying to win each step or “game” of getting that offer letter.

The more games/steps in the job process you win, the closer you get to the championship round bracket! Companies and candidates are hoping they both can win in the end. And lucky for you, the only difference between March Madness and the craziness of this candidate-driven market is both parties can win at the end of the day! A candidate finds a job and a company finds a great employee. The main thing is though, you want to effectively navigate the madness of this job market so you can reach the championship round! And whether you’re a candidate or an employer, here’s how you can do it.

Make Job Descriptions Concise and Clear

As a company looking to hire a great new employee, one of the most important things you need to do is find them. The way you can do this is by making your job descriptions concise and clear. It will help you find those winning candidates through the madness of this job market. Make sure to focus on what they will do, the fun things about your company, and of course, the experience and skills they need to have.

Only apply for a job you really want

Being a candidate in this market can be overwhelming. Even though it’s good to see what other opportunities are out there, it’s stressful. There are so many jobs to choose from and it can be hard to narrow down what you’re truly looking for when you’re ready to move. But the first step is knowing what you’re looking for in a new job.

Are you wanting more freedom or maybe a company that has an amazing culture? Are you looking for more money or a different location? These all are questions you need to answer before applying. It will help you weed out the jobs you may like but wouldn’t be a great fit for you. Because let’s be honest, you’re moving because you want bigger and better. Don’t bog yourself down by applying for jobs you wouldn’t absolutely love!

And if you’re having a difficult time finding a job that’s a good fit, that’s where a recruiter, like one from JSG, comes into play. We’ll help you match your skills to a position that you will be successful in!

Make your hiring process quick

When it comes to this tight job market, you have to have a quick process! There are tons of different ways you can do that and sometimes relying on a recruiting firm, like Johnson Search Group, can be the biggest money saver and helping hand you could ask for. An efficient process will prevent your bracket of good candidates from busting and not leave them vulnerable to receiving other offers.

Prepare for interviews

As a candidate, you have to be prepared. Just because you may have a lot of job options, it doesn’t mean you want to slack on being ready for an interview. A company doesn’t have to hire you, even if they may need to. They still have a choice but so do you! So take this time to find out information about the company.

What are their reviews like? Do they have cool accolades? Are they involved in community service? All of these things will help you understand a little bit more about what this company does and how they treat their employees. And remember, in an interview, they aren’t just interviewing you, you’re interviewing them as well.

Find the Best Candidate

After you’ve gone through the madness of resume reviews, interviews, and on-site tours, you’ve probably had the opportunity to find a great candidate; the one you want to extend an offer to because you know they will truly be a great fit and add a great amount of value to your organization. This is the fun part; you’ve made it to the championship!

Find the Best Company

After going through the wringer, you’ve made it! You’re now onto the championship with a company you’ve found passion in. The ball is now in your court and if you say yes, you’re ending this game with a slam dunk!

Today’s job market is overwhelming not only for companies but also for candidates. If you’re struggling to find the right people or the right job opportunity, Johnson Search Group would love to give you an assist in hopes of finding you your perfect matchup!

Get an assist from JSG to help you navigate this crazy job market.

recruiter

What Kind of Help Do You Need

recruiter

You’ve decided to hire a recruiting firm that can get it done for your organization. However, when do you pull the trigger to seek assistance from a professional? Do you try for months to fill the roles yourself, and eventually, call a recruiter only after you’ve exhausted all your efforts? Are you going to wait until you see the strain taking effect on the rest of your staff and now you have multiple positions open? Do you think that candidates just haven’t seen the posting?

They do and have seen the posting for months. It sends them red flags as to why the position is still open. The reality is most of the candidates you’d want to hire are never going to be hitting the job boards. From past experiences, they believe their resume will just sit on someone’s desk in HR. Maybe the resume gets stuck in a keyword checking system, or candidates are worried that HR will call their current employer for a reference. And the best candidates for your open positions are not even actively looking for a new position. These are the type of candidates a great recruiting firm, like Johnson Search Group, has in their network.

You get what you pay for

Obviously, the fee using a recruiter is an important part of the equation. If your organization has service agreements with recruiting firms for a lower fee percentage, or you require a vendor’s list for recruiters, but they are not filling your critical roles, why would you expect to get better service for the same price? The reason the other firms are likely not filling your position or presenting resumes may be that they are just incapable, or they are filling your competitor’s roles instead, as they have a better agreement with them.

Ever heard the expression “you get what you pay for?” And isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? I am not saying go crazy, and there are things like budgets to consider, but have you considered the cost of vacancy for each day an open role remains unfilled?

The strain on your staff

Are you relying on someone else in your organization who has their own desk to run, to get your needs met? I can’t tell you how many hiring managers I’ve talked to that tell me to call HR when I have the perfect candidate they’re looking for.

Why would I want to do that? HR will just assume it’s a salesperson the hiring manager wants to pass off. If you want to see a candidate, let your HR department know that you want to work with a professional that can bring you the candidates you need.

You need a specialist who knows the criticality of your unfilled positions; a recruiter that specializes in your industry. Plus, one that has a great process, and can bring you qualified, pre-screened candidates who will actually start. Acceptance ratios, fill rates, references from candidates about their experiences… these are all things to focus on, not just the fee.

Think about it like going to prom. Would you go to an assembly line haircut company to get a memorable hairstyle? Just like with a critical role, wouldn’t you want to go to a specialist who will give you exactly what you want?

If you want to work with a recruiter that specializes in your industry, let’s have a conversation.

hiring process

Your Hiring Process is Everything

hiring process

I recently had a conversation with a healthcare organization who is looking to fill a critical role. We were talking about the needs of the organization and what the impact would be if the position isn’t filled. The conversation was going along just fine until I asked how long it would take to make an offer after a successful interview. The hiring manager stated that once they were to identify a talent pool of four or five finalists, they would make an offer to the most qualified.

While this may sound like an ideal option for hiring the best candidate, it is not a reality in the current labor market. Basically, I ended the conversation with, I am not the recruiter for you.

A winning hiring process

In the world of attempting to secure top talent, your hiring process is literally everything. A winning process consists of the following:

Reviewing and responding to a resume within 48 business hours. This is vital, as the race to the finish line of getting a candidate to sign on the dotted line of an offer is very competitive.

Secondly, the response if you like the candidate’s background, is to schedule an interview, with the first phone interview taking place in the next few days. If that is not possible, I highly recommend finding a way to make it possible!

After a successful phone interview, schedule the next interview. If it’s a second phone interview, the same maximum of two or three days applies. Whatever the next interview step is, making those arrangements within the next 24 business hours is critical. It shows the candidate you are excited about them and gets time removed from their calendars when they could be interviewing elsewhere.

The final interview should be scheduled immediately and should take place no later than one to two weeks out, depending on travel. However, if it’s a local candidate, schedule it no later than one week out. If you can, schedule a Skype interview and if it is mutually agreeable with the candidate, make your offer! Essentially, the more efficient your hiring process is, the easier it will be for you to attract great candidates.

Urgency is essential

Make your offer within 48 business hours of the interview. If you need to do background, reference checks, etc. make the offer subject to successful background, references, etc. I cannot stress strongly enough, if you like the candidate, do not wait. If they would be a good fit for your team and the skill set you are looking for, don’t wait!

Do not wait to see if there is possibly a better candidate out there; do not wait for a few days or weeks in case you get lucky and someone applies directly so you don’t have to pay a recruiting fee; and the numerous other reasons and excuses that are possible. And for heaven’s sake, the excuse that HR is too busy to complete the compensation and offer letter just does not fly.

Your Human Resources department wants this role filled as well, as it takes one more thing off their plate. It just takes a bit of communication to your HR department that this is a candidate they need to expedite.

The final step in selecting the best recruiting firm. And here’s some things to consider when seeking the help of a professional.

hiring process

You Must Improve Your Hiring Process in This Tight Market

hiring process

At the halfway point in 2018, I have noticed several reoccurring themes, some spilling over from 2016 and 2017. The most glaring trend my team and I have noticed is the urgent need for permanent maintenance and reliability personnel. It’s safe to say every company I am working with has had a need for an I&C, reliability, or maintenance professionals throughout the first half of the year.

This is becoming more important as candidates with this skillset are in high demand and are earning larger salaries. Here are a couple situations that illustrate how you must improve your hiring process in this tight job market.

It’s a candidate-driven market

The first situation I want to share involves a mining organization that specializes in industrial minerals in a very remote area. After a week of searching, I found an outstanding Reliability Engineer who met every qualification and was excited about the opportunity. I knew the candidate was entertaining several different job opportunities and wouldn’t be on the market long.

I encouraged the hiring manager to move quickly as they arranged interviews and onsite visits. After three interviews in a four-week span, he has presented a generous offer. One day after the offer was received, my candidate received another job offer with a total compensation of about $40k more from a competitor. I have seen companies engage in a bidding war over a candidate before but never anything of this magnitude! The market for skilled technical leaders appears to be at an all-time high.

You must speed up your hiring process

In another instance, a different organization I work with reached out to me in critical need of an I&E Manager. I knew this position was of great importance after discussing it with the hiring managers. As I began my search, most candidates I spoke with were being heavily recruited by multiple organizations and asking for base salaries well over the current “market average.”

I submitted three candidates for the role I&E Manager position. They interviewed two of the candidates I submitted and selected one for an onsite visit. The candidate I presented made an outstanding impression on the hiring managers; he received a verbal offer directly after the interview and a written offer later for $13k higher than expected. The whole process took a total of two weeks from submittal to offer. As you can image, both the candidate and company are ecstatic with the result!

Let’s work together

This year I have noticed companies raising their salary ranges and speeding up their hiring process as the market for top-talent tightens. With an unemployment rate of 3.8%, this trend isn’t ending anytime soon. If you are a mining professional, whether in maintenance or not, I would love to have a conversation with you. And if you’re a hiring manager who understands the market and has a need for talent, let’s connect and discuss how I can bring professions to your organization.