The HR Policies That May be Keeping Great Talent Away From Your Business

HR Policies Social media and sites such as Glassdoor create greater transparency when it comes to your internal hiring practices. This can really complicate things for your business if it has HR policies that could potentially scare off top talent or are simply outdated. Here are some of these potential policies and ways to counteract them.

1. Excessive travel requirements

Many jobs require travel, and that is usually fine. However, there may come a point where business travel crosses from standard into overload territory. Employees have seen only snatches of their families here and there and they have traveled so much they are unsure which airport they are in at the moment. Extra monetary compensation is not necessarily the answer. Rather, aim for virtual policies where possible. Have video meetings instead of in-person meetings. Set up a standard that a person who has traveled for a certain number of days is not asked to travel again until at least two months or whatever reasonable time frame has passed.

2. Lack of trust

A lack of trust expresses itself via human resources policies that mandate accountability for everything, from an obituary notice for bereavement leave to counting keystrokes to overly strict attendance requirements. These attendance requirements may include tracking employees’ time at work down to a quarter hour or even per hour. A better approach is to trust employees to get their jobs done.

Another notorious example of lack of trust is requiring employees to get higher-up approval for many regular decisions or forcing them to wade into getting five signatures for a simple task. Again, employees should be trusted to make competent decisions. There is also no need for a dress code that goes into detail on skirt lengths and such.

3. Lack of respect for employees’ lives

A business that has a HR policy that work comes first is liable to send potential employees fleeing. A common practice in your business for supervisors to call employees on weekends or for employees to frequently give up weekend and holiday time warrants examination and adjustment. Business processes may need to become more efficient so employees can conserve their weekend time for personal matters.

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Experts Weigh In: Recruiting on the Mobile Web

Recently I contributed to an article for Jobvite, “The Shift from Web to Mobile Recruiting and Why You Should Care“. The article poses the topic of the increased use of mobile apps and mobile optimized sites as a significant shift in candidates application process. Is this an unnecessary fad to prepare for or a must do tactic to capture some of the best candidates today. Learn what I have to say on this topic along with 5 other seasoned professionals on Jobvite’s blog.

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What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Ask a Recruiter Before an Interview

interviewRecruiters often serve as a pre-interview tactic of sorts. Many companies use them to find good candidates and to weed out or reject unsuitable applicants. Communication with recruiters may comprise an unofficial first round of interviews. The fact that recruiters contacted you on a company’s behalf (or that you got their attention) gives you a chance to use them to your advantage. Here are some questions you should and shouldn’t ask a recruiter before an interview.

SHOULDN’T
How many hours will I need to work every day? Do I need to work weekends?

These questions risk coming across as whiny and like you only want to put in minimum time.

SHOULD
What does a normal workday and work week look like?

This question conveys the sentiment of needing to know a work schedule without the potentially whiny undertone.

SHOULDN’T
What should I do about the interview?

The recruiter is not your friend. Her purpose, especially if she is an internal recruiter as opposed to an external recruiter, is to help the company. Your questions should be direct and focused and not convey a sense of helplessness.

SHOULD
Who will I be interviewing with? What will the interview format be like, and about how long will the interview last?

These questions are clear and serve an exact purpose.

SHOULDN’T
How good do you think my chances are?

SHOULD
The job description mentioned a heavy emphasis on ABC skills. Is my interpretation correct? What else should I emphasize in my interview?

SHOULDN’T
If I get the job and perform well, how long would I realistically expect to be promoted?

SHOULD
In five years, I might like to be doing XYZ thing. Might that be possible with this company?

SHOULDN’T
Can I dress casually on Fridays?

SHOULD
What is the company or department culture like?

In addition to these questions, make sure you aren’t using any outdated methods to your job hunting as well.

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The 5 Common Questions You Shouldn’t Be Asking an Applicant

4606534129_cb61578b06_zJob interviews take up valuable time, and a big part of effective time management entails asking the right questions and bypassing many clichés.

1. Why are you interested in working here?

Instead, say something like: “I would enjoy hearing about what you might like to do here.” This statement is more practical and relevant. “Why are you interested in working here?” is more likely to bring up stock answers, while the alternative forces the candidate to think and prove her value.

2. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

As an alternative to this, ask something along these lines: “What is a challenge you had at a previous job, and how did you successfully solve it? What is a challenge you were perhaps not as successful in, and what/how did you learn from it?”

The strengths and weaknesses question has become trite and clichéd. Answers are often generalized to fit any company, but you need to know if this person is a good fit for YOUR company. Asking candidates to pinpoint and explain specific challenges does the job.

3. What makes you want to do well?

You should instead ask: “What would you need in this job to be successful?” This alternative question gives you an idea of how the employee might interact with others and whether her expectations are in line or unrealistic.

4. What were your previous jobs like?

Most probably, the applicant’s resume and cover letter has answered this question. Instead, ask: “We have X project going on right now, but we are having issues because of YZ. If you were to jump in the middle of the project, how would you resolve these issues?”

5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Instead, ask: “Where do you see the company in five years?” This question still lets the candidate prove she has done her research and gives you insight in her opinion of the company and what value she can bring.

If you find that you have more than a few of the above questions, then it may not just be interview process that is out of date; your general hiring process may be as well.

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Tips for Making Your Business Processes More Temp Friendly

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Many temps show up at new jobs and find that no one has prepared for them. What results is a lot of nonproductive, wasted time for both temps and regular employees. The good news is that your business can adopt some best practices to stay organized so that when temps come in, work keeps humming and everyone benefits. In fact, these steps help your business in general, whether or not temps enter the picture.

1. A straightforward, intuitive filing system, both digitally and with paper files.

Papers get reassigned, misplaced, duplicate files are started, and a hundred versions of a file in various formats live in scattered places on the cloud. Overhauling a filing system takes time, but it is worth the effort. A team of workers can clean up the digital and paper filing systems and develop best filing practices for employees and temps going forward.

2. Up-to-date, user-friendly software applications

If your company’s software is error prone and difficult to install, the experience can prove especially frustrating for temps who don’t have the time to learn the software’s quirks. A good rule of thumb for software is that a new user should need no more than 15 minutes of training or hands-on experience to operate it efficiently.

3. Labels in the office

It is aggravating for temps to have to ask every five minutes where the paper clips, staplers and other supplies are. Solution: labels. They should be colorful and clear. For example, “Office Supplies” may or may not work, depending on which supplies actually are in a drawer or closet. For generic labels such as “Office Supplies,” sub-labels such as “Staplers” in a closet or drawer are helpful.

The filing system overhaul should also include best practices for file labeling.

4. Straightforward, easy-to-understand workflow that lacks superfluous activities.

Rearrange your offices so that the workflow layout makes as much physical sense as possible. Cut out extraneous red tape (such as five approvals needed for office supply orders) when feasible.

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