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Posted June 26, 2016 by

10 career mistakes to avoid

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

One of your top goals is to have a happy and successful life.

Your career is the key to achieving this goal.

You’ve got a nice degree, have a lovely smile and are ready to work, but there’s one more thing that could stop you from realizing your dreams:

Mistakes.

Some mistakes could harm or even end your career. You have to recognize and avoid them at all costs if you really want to have a successful life.

There are 10 career defining mistakes.

1. Dressing badly at work

Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think. How we dress also affects how other people perceive us.

Sure, you deserve to get the respect you think you deserve and get people to listen to you. People should respect you because you know what you’re talking about.

So why should you wear expensive socks to get people to respect you?

Let me tell you a story.

One day I was on a bus headed to my friend’s house. It’s been a long time since I went to the neighborhood so I wasn’t so sure which stop to get off at. I was constantly looking out at the window, and the gentleman sitting beside me could not help but notice it.

He nicely asked where I was going and if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he said I should exit in two stops. I thanked him.

A few minutes later, another man sitting behind me said “Actually, you should get off at the next stop.”

I thanked him and exited where he told me, ignoring the advice of the first guy.

Now, you may want to ask me why I chose the second guy’s advice.

As I walk away from the bus stop, I realized I ignored my seatmate’s advice because he was wearing sweatpants, had a dark stain on his T-shirt, and looked like he skipped showering that day. I realized that I chose the second guy’s advice because he wore a collared jacket, well-polished shoes, and designer glasses.

When you dress well at work, people will notice you. Your superiors will notice you, and they would admire you for that. That would open up more opportunities for you.

2. Expressing a rude and negative attitude at work

Even if you’re a highly-talented employee but always express a bad and negative attitude at work, you’ll have a high mountain to climb to advance your career. Many managers hate working with employees who have bad attitudes because they decrease the team morale.

According to studies from Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with somebody with a bad attitude has actually made them want to change jobs. And as much as 89% of new hires who fail within 18 months actually failed because of attitudinal issues, not skills. Bad attitudes also include laziness, tardiness, inappropriate jokes, unresponsive to emails, etc. List all the bad and negative attitudes you have and make a consistent effort to overcome them.

3. Not building good relationships with your colleagues

Bad relationships are bound to happen from time to time. How you deal with them is the most important thing.

Your colleagues are the keys to your happiness at work. If you’re not happy with your coworkers, then you’ll certainly be looking for work soon. I’m a big believer of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want your coworkers to be kind and respectful to you, then you have to be kind and respectful to them.

Make sure you remember your coworkers’ names and address them by their names. It’s easy to say happy birthdays to your coworkers on Facebook when you rarely talk to them at work. Make sure you’re doing that important one-on-one conversation. Get on the phone and tell them “Happy Birthday.” Go an extra mile and surprise them with a gift. This little generosity will make you more likable at your workplace.

4. Writing unprofessional emails to colleagues

You know there are some unprofessional things you shouldn’t say to your colleagues in the workplace. The same is true for work emails.

For example, it’s not appropriate to answer a colleague asking you how your job search is going inside your work email. Another example is when your colleague complains about other coworkers and says nasty things about them.

These are discussions you shouldn’t allow inside your work email. I don’t think it’s good to allow it at all whether it’s your personal or work email. You should know that you don’t own your work email, your employer does. Your employer can monitor who you’re communicating with on your work email. You could be in trouble if you’re making inappropriate remarks about sensitive issues at your workplace.

In addition to that, there are some email mistakes that can make you look really unprofessional.

For example:

  • Using informal or curse words you’re not allowed to use at work
  • Rambling in your email instead of getting straight to the point
  • Forgetting to attach files when you say you’ve attached files
  • Spelling the person’s name wrong or using a different name to address the recipient

These email mistakes may not look big to you, but they are serious mistakes that can prevent you from accelerating your career.

5. Making career choices based on earnings

The love of money could lead you down the wrong career path.

I’m not saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

You need money to do a lot of things. You probably need money to pay student loans, buy some nice outfits and keep the roof over your head. So you definitely need money. We all do.

But when you choose a career or a job you don’t even enjoy based on your goal to make $90,000 per year, that’s when it becomes a problem. You need to ask yourself:

Does your desire for money match your passion and skills? When you choose a job you’re less passionate about, you’ll be pushing yourself to get things done. And this would be visible in your performance. You should choose a job where you have the skills and abilities to get the job done.

6. Not investing in yourself

If you strip Larry Page of his assets and dump him on the street, I can assure you that he would be back living a comfortable life within a week.

Larry Page has a ton of human capital.

According to Wikipedia“Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” In other words, human capital is a collection of resources—all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom that are possessed by an individual. If you want to achieve a lot of success in your career, you need a lot of human capital. Focusing on building your human capital is a lot more productive than worrying about “job security.

So how do you build your human capital?

You build up your human capital by investing in yourself through:

  • Improving your skills
  • Acquiring complementary skills
  • Reading educational books
  • Starting healthy habits
  • Building your personal brand
  • Getting a mentor

As you do these things, you’ll become irreplaceable in your organization. You’ll become the go-to person within your company. Many more people will start looking up to you. All these help you accelerate your career.

But when you stop investing in yourself, you become stagnant. Your skills become obsolete.

7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

A poor work-life balance is bad for both the employee (you) and the employer.

People who have a poor work-life balance are more stressed and experience more family conflicts. They also tend to have both mental and physical problems. If your private life is suffering, it will negatively impact your professional life. Your private life comes first. When you experience more problems in your private life, your creativity, engagement and productivity at work will suffer.

The only way to prevent this is to keep a work-life balance.

This may not look like a career mistake to you, but it’s a mistake that can have adverse effects on your career. You should set work hours and stick to them. Don’t work during times when you should be with your family or have set aside times for tending to personal matters which are a priority to you.

8. Not improving your communication skills

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt

The consequences of poor communication are great.

For example, if your communication skills are poor, your message would be hard to understand, and this can lead to serious confusion among your colleagues.

Too much information when it is not needed can also affect the concentration of the listener.

Poor communication becomes more serious when you communicate with customers. If customers are not serviced in the right manner, it would reduce sales, thereby affecting business goals.

Great communication skills help you do well at your job because you’ll be using these skills when requesting information, discussing problems, giving out instructions, and interacting with your colleagues. As a result of demonstrating good communication skills, you’ll enhance your professional image, build sound business relationships, and get more successful responses.

You have to continue sharpening your communication skills if you want to get and stay at the top.

How do you do that?

You sharpen your communication skills by:

  • Striking up conversations with strangers
  • Reading good books
  • Listening to others
  • And engaging in more one-on-one conversations

9. Not networking outside your company

Your network is your net worth.

Your network is your source of job opportunities, potential business partnerships and much more. Your network won’t only find your next job, but it will help you improve your current position.

NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”—Adam Small

One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to network when they are only looking for a job. You can’t only rely on people you already know within your current workplace to help you land your dream job. You must always be networking outside of your company, and even your industry.

For example, let’s say you’re a website designer; networking with other website designers alone would limit your opportunities. You should network outside your industry like in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Energy sectors. People in these sectors could be good references. They could become customers. They might know someone who needs your service.

LinkedIn is a very good place to start networking with people outside your industries.

But your conversation with those people shouldn’t be limited to the web. Take it offline. Do face-to-face meetings with them. That’s how you expand your network and increase your chance of career success.

10. Not serving your network

The truth is the people in your network needs you as much as you need them.

You can’t just expect people in your network to connect you with other people they know. You can’t just expect them to link you up with job opportunities without you giving them some value. You’ll appear selfish if you always expect people to do things for you but offer nothing in return.

The best way to keep people interested in you is to serve them. When you diligently do something good for people, they will want to return the favor, though, your major aim of helping people shouldn’t be to get something in return. The more people you serve, the more your network grows, and the more your network grows, the more opportunities will come your way.

Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

Need more tips for making the best career choices? Visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Michael Akinlaby is a freelance writer and SEO Consultant. He’s the founder of RankRain, an internet marketing agency that specializes in content marketing and Search Engine. 

Posted June 09, 2016 by

Taking onboarding to the next level

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Congratulations! You’ve landed your dream job – or at least the job that now represents a stepping stone on the path to that dream job. Either way, a new experience is on the horizon.

All companies, regardless of size, have an onboarding process. The onboarding process welcomes new employees to the organization. Some companies formalize the process and run it through a distinct human resources department. Others may have a more informal process that connects new employees with a more seasoned professional to help you learn the ropes.

Regardless of which process you encounter, making the most of your onboarding experience is a great way to begin your new career.

Since you never have a second chance to make the first impression, take the bull by the horn and rock your onboarding experience.

Be Punctual

This should go without saying, but show up on time – early even – when starting a new job. Showing up on time shows that you respect your colleagues’ time. They are busy professionals, and the onboarding process may be tightly scheduled in among a number of competing priorities.

If you’re unfamiliar with the area, take a dry run at locating the office in normal traffic to ensure you know the route. Above all, leave extra time for unexpected events.

Be Personable

A smile goes a long way when meeting new people for the first time. Dust off your most social persona and make it available during the onboarding process. Find out what you can about the company culture, important dates to consider, and what it takes to be a successful employee with your new employer.

Be Proactive

Many companies will assign workplace mentors to new hires. Mentors generally serve as someone who can help you get established, answer routine questions as you get settled, or direct you to the appropriate resources to find the correct assistance. If the mentoring program is not defined, ask your contact if they can recommend a senior employee and make the connection. Mentors are likely extremely busy, so reach out to a workplace mentor and set up a lunch meeting. Use that downtime to establish a relationship, seek advice, or learn more about the company’s culture or advancement prospects.

Be Pensive

Ask questions. Use the onboarding process to find out as much as you can about the new company, your new positions, and your new coworkers. If applicable, find out as much as you can about expectations for someone in your position. Learn as much as you can about training options available. Connect with any social or philanthropic organizations sponsored by your new company to connect with other employees and begin building your network.

Be Productive

While you were hired for a specific position, the onboarding process may expose you to a wide range of functions and opportunities available in the company. Gather as much information as you can. Look for opportunities to make your mark – even on your first day. If there are processes that can be improved or angles which can be exploited for cost savings or revenue generation, find out who would be the best person to submit those suggestions moving forward. Innovative ideas and process improvement strategies are valuable skills to help you stand out.

For more onboarding tips, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Guest writer Vera Marie Reed is a freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.

Posted June 07, 2016 by

7 tips for networking in the workplace

Did you know that 80% of workplace conflicts and problems arise from communication glitches? It’s true. You can do your part to prevent workplace conflicts—originating from miscommunication—by developing your soft skills, namely communication skills and networking skills. If you improve your relationships with your colleagues, clients, and supervisors via networking in the workplace, you’ll be much less likely to face problems at work.

As a new employee, particularly as a recent grad or intern, it’s also important to network with others at work in order to build rapport with the people you rely upon for help and information to perform your job duties well. If you want to succeed, you’ll quickly learn that it pays to maintain positive relationships with everyone around you.

Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, offers seven tips for networking in the workplace in this short video.


If the video is not playing or displaying properly click here.

1. Know yourself well.

If you can detect when you’re having an off day, take steps to prevent taking it out on everyone around you. Stay in your cubicle or office on those days if necessary or take more frequent breaks. Before you begin working, get an extra-large coffee and take some deep breaths or read some positive literature.  Look at some funny photos for five minutes. Find a solution that works for you. If you find yourself in a negative place due to personal circumstances, and you’re allowing your personal life to affect your work life, talk to your human resources officer confidentially to see if your company offers wellness benefits, including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

In addition, taking a DISC inventory or other personality inventory—ask your career services office about taking these inventories at no cost on your college campus—can help you to learn more about your work style. It might take one hour to take the inventory, but you’ll then be armed with information about how you work best, how you prefer to interact with others, and what to avoid when interacting with others. The sooner you learn this information about yourself, the better.

2. Treat others well.

Treat your colleagues and clients well regardless of their level of expertise, pay grade, or how much money they are spending with your company. When networking, your contacts will appreciate being treated with courtesy, kindness, respect, appreciation, and fairness. You’ll build a reputation of treating people well, and a great reputation goes a long way in the workplace. If you decide to stay with your present company, you may want to apply for an internal job promotion. If you’ve been networking with others at work and treating everyone well, your behavior will likely speak just as loudly as your resume, cover letter, and job application. If you decide to leave your company to pursue other job opportunities, you’ll be glad you treated others well when potential employers call to check your references and hear about how kind, thoughtful, and positive you were at work every day.

3. Don’t be afraid to collaborate and share.

Collaborating and sharing ideas and information in the workplace today is a great way to network with your colleagues and to show them that you want to help, not hinder the growth of the organization or team. Sharing your ideas with others also encourages others to share their ideas, and the workplace becomes a more creative place.

4. Don’t do halfalogues.

What’s a halfalogue? A halfalogue is when you only participate in half the conversation or dialogue because you’re holding your phone, scrolling through a text message or email, and aren’t able to fully participate and interact with your colleagues as a result. At work, you have to put down your phone if you want to make good impressions and build positive relationships with your supervisors, colleagues, and clients. It’s not just rude to play on your phone during meetings; it’s also important to pay attention when stopping by someone’s office casually to say hello.

5. Address people by name.

This is like networking 101. Referring to people by name during conversations or even in emails makes them feel more special, and that’s always a good thing. How long does it take to type out, “Bethany?” Maybe one or two seconds. It’s worth it to improve your communication skills and reduce the potential for future workplace conflicts.

6. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

Be a positive influence at work. When networking, whether at workplace events or during daily interactions in the workplace, keep conversations “light and polite” and focused on positive topics and on solutions, not problems. It’s inevitable at work that you’re going to be asked to discuss problems and conflicts during meetings. What’s important is that you find a way to discuss problems in a positive light and to focus on taking constructive action.

For example, if you’re discussing a challenge you’re facing as a new employee tasked with visiting with patients at a clinic, and you have discovered you simply cannot keep up with the volume of paperwork and still provide quality service to the patients face-to-face, you can be honest about the problem yet discuss potential solutions.

“I am really glad we have so many patients coming to the office. I like talking to them and helping them get set up to see the doctor. I’m just feeling overwhelmed by the documents to scan and know I’m getting behind. I think I need more time to scan documents, but I don’t want to offer patients a lower level of service either. Do you think I could work on documents for 30 minutes in the morning before I start seeing patients every day? Maybe this would help me to keep it managed.”

Presenting a potential solution—even if it’s not the solution your employer prefers or selects to implement—suggests that you’re not just belly-aching about problems. It also showcases your soft skills, including your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These are not just great networking skills but are great workplace skills any employer values.

7. Interact face-to-face whenever possible.

It’s not always an option, but interact face-to-face if you can. Face-to-face communication helps you avoid most communication errors and opportunities for miscommunication because it is channel rich. When you’re speaking with someone face-to-face, you’re provided with multiple cues that help you interpret meaning: voice tone, spoken word, facial expression, hand gestures, and many more. When you communicate with someone via email or text message, communication is channel lean, meaning you’re relying on just one thing–words. Have you ever received a text message from a significant other, and the intended meaning is not the meaning you interpreted? This likely caused some hurt feelings or even a huge fight. The same thing happens in the workplace.

For this reason, it’s best to hold meetings face-to-face. If you work remotely, consider hosting meetings virtually via Zoom or Skype. If that’s not an option, you can conference in by phone. At least you can hear voices rather than simply read words. Simply hammering out emails back and forth gives you the illusion that you’re saving time, when in fact, you often waste time because you create confusion which you have to clarify by writing three more emails. Save yourself the hassle—and build better relationships—by talking to people face-to-face when possible. You’ll probably find that your networking skills and communication skills will grow, and you’ll build great relationships, too.

For more networking tips, visit our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

Posted June 03, 2016 by

Onboarding benefits interns and new hires

Training photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Employers can take different approaches when it comes to their onboarding programs. Some companies focus more on management, while others concentrate on the social aspect. These approaches and others shape new employees into the company culture. Beverly Behrmann, Academic and Career Advisor at Keene State College, discusses how certain companies help college students and new hires succeed in the onboarding process.

“As for onboarding programs, bigger national companies like Liberty Mutual have extensive management programs that work closely with new hires to ensure success. There is a mentoring component and a rotation so new hires can see various aspects of the company and how divisions work.

Here in Keene, there are two local employers we work with often. They are Barton Associates and Electronic Imaging Materials. Both companies build in a social component to integrate new employees. This might include potluck lunches, games, and “fun” gatherings. Both companies also have extensive internship opportunities so college students can get acclimated to workplace scenarios and behaviors in a lower risk situation. If the internship works out, students may transition into full-time employees and have been “socialized” to a certain extent by the time they start as full-time employees.”

Looking for ways to build an onboarding program? Head to our advertising solutions page and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Beverly Behrmann, Academic and Career Advisor at Keene State College

Beverly Behrmann, Academic and Career Advisor at Keene State College

The Office of Academic and Career Advising believes in empowering students to develop lifelong skills that will serve them beyond their time at Keene State College. This philosophy is paramount in creating successful and meaningful outcomes and one Beverly Behrmann wholeheartedly shares. As career advisor, Beverly helps students gain essential skills needed to pursue their academic and career paths. By working with students through individual appointments and class presentations, she provides resources to help them navigate the career development process.

Posted June 02, 2016 by

Helping new hires through onboarding process

Male graduate in cap and gown with diploma photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

For some new hires like college students and recent graduates, starting new entry-level jobs might be intimidating. They can use some help in the onboarding process. New hires need to understand company culture, along with having clearly defined expectations for their positions. When employers communicate important information to new employees, they not only create effective onboarding programs, but they also give employees the necessary tools to succeed. Eden Chen, Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs, shares his company’s approach to onboarding.

“Our onboarding program is focused on trying to help employees understand our culture, making sure they have adequate support (especially in the form of mentorship), figuring out exactly what expectations new employees have in terms of where they want to see themselves grow and what positions they aspire to, and getting employees involved in a project as soon as possible. Our view is the best way to learn is by doing, so instead of spending time in lengthy onboarding processes, we make sure the above items are settled and then throw new hires into the mix, eliminating red tape.”

Want to help your new hires in the onboarding process? Check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Eden Chen, Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs

Eden Chen, Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs

Eden Chen is the Co-Founder of Fishermen Labs, one of the fastest growing software development agencies in the US. Eden is a serial entrepreneur and heads up various other startups including Knife and Fox (design agency), Ctrl Collective (co-working), Glo Bible (app with 3 million+ downloads), Zolo Studios (game studio), and Dev Crew (international software development).

Posted May 31, 2016 by

How new overtime laws will affect employers

How the new overtime laws will affect employers

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

The new overtime laws that go in place on December 1, 2016 will impact 4.2 million workers who will either gain new overtime protections or get a raise to the new salary threshold.

This is cause for concern for both employees trying to understand the new overtime laws as well as employers who are doing everything they can to understand how these changes affect their business, hiring plans, and compensation packages.

It could result in big changes for those who aren’t prepared, says Stephania Bruha, Operations Manager at Kavaliro, a national staffing agency that employs IT professionals, management, and administrative staff.

 

“We at Kavaliro expect to see many more of our clients limiting employees to 40 hours per week, or requiring executive approval to work overtime hours,” says Bruha. “Recent graduates and new employees may have an advantage here, as they are starting fresh and don’t have to overcome habits from the past.”

Bruha recommends employers get in front of this change. “We will be reassessing our employees more than a month before the new overtime laws go into effect to ensure that if status changes take place, they are well adjusted prior to the go-live date,” says Bruha.

Communication will be key, as in all HR and hiring matters, to ensure your employees understand how they could be affected.

“The worst thing that could happen is for your employees to misinterpret policies and think you are saying they are not allowed to report more than 40 hours a week,” says Bruha. “This is especially important for people who are new to the workforce, like new college grads, who may not know their rights, or have a little experience with labor laws. Employees need to know that you must report all hours worked, but they also need to understand if their company has set requirements for time entry.  Your employer may have severe penalties for violating the policy related to timekeeping because it is so strictly regulated by the Department of Labor.”

Small and mid-sized employers are going to take a hit

Employers – particularly small and mid-sized employers – are going to take a hit with the new regulations, says Kate Bischoff, a human resources professional and employment/labor law attorney with the Minneapolis office of Zelle LLP, an international litigation and dispute resolution law firm. Bischoff is co-leading a June 2, 2016, webinar titled Preparing for Changes to FLSA Overtime Regulations, discussing this topic and more. They will need to raise salaries over the $913 per week threshold or pay overtime.

“This may mean employers hire more people so the need for overtime is less or they raise the costs of their products and services to cover the additional labor costs,” says Bischoff.

New grads or interns looking for work typically don’t wonder whether their first post-grad job will be paid on an exempt (salaried) or a non-exempt (hourly) basis, points out Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant who works with small business owners and corporate clients providing HR strategy and management training. And it’s probably not a consideration regarding whether or not they take a particular job opportunity. However, since a new grad may find himself choosing between two job opportunities, employers need to realize that competitors may change how they present salary and compensation packages based on the new overtime laws, which in turn cold affect the decision an employee makes when deciding between two companies or job offers.

Exempt versus non-exempt employment offers

Let’s say Company A offers the grad $48,000 per year as an exempt position, and Company B offers the grad $46,000 as a non-exempt position. There is the potential that the resulting annual pay under Company B could be higher than Company A if the employee works overtime.  If the person is choosing a job based solely on compensation, this would be a consideration.  However, the real decision is whether the job is the right fit for the person, not whether the employee is eligible for overtime.

“From an employer perspective, all companies, including those hiring new grads, need to re-evaluate all their positions paying less than $47,476 to determine how to handle any job reclassifications to non-exempt status,” says Vernon. “This could impact all or some incumbents in jobs paying around this new limit.”

In making someone hourly, companies are not required to merely take employees’ salaries and divide them by 2080 to get an equivalent hourly rate.  Many companies will assess what overtime the person might be working and recalculate the hourly rate so that when the employee works overtime the employee’s final pay equals the full salaried amount, says Vernon, admitting that this can get confusing.  But in this scenario, the employee may be making less per hour, but the same or even more on an annual basis when you factor in overtime, depending on the employer’s approach.

Some companies will be giving certain employees raises to bring them to $47,476 and keep them as salaried. “This may ultimately cost the employer less money than paying overtime at the lower wage,” says Vernon.

Employers must educate employees

Employers should educate employees who are moving from exempt to non-exempt on what work can and cannot be performed outside of regular work hours, adds Vernon. Exempt employees are accustomed to answering texts and emails at night and during weekends.  They may work whatever hours are needed to get the job done.  As a non-exempt employee, they must track and get paid for any non-scheduled hours worked which will increase their pay, but may be against company policy. Typically hourly employees don’t get to randomly create their own work schedules, while salaried employees do.

“This practice needs to be unlearned by managers and employees,” says Vernon.

For example, are managers who email the now-hourly employees at night and over the weekend now authorizing the employee to respond to the email and inadvertently approving overtime?  Or do managers need to learn to save employee communication for the work week to control payroll costs?

These are among the many changes, challenges and questions employers are sorting out.

“December 1 will be here before we know it,” says Vernon. “This change will have considerable impact on all employers no matter their size and whether or not they hire one or more grads below, at or above the new FLSA range.”

For more career tips, check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Ready to begin your job search? Start at College Recruiter today!

Posted May 27, 2016 by

Onboarding should focus on new hire experience

Job, new, time photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

When creating onboarding programs, employers should consider the interests of their new hires. This means focusing on what makes new hires comfortable and engaged with the onboarding process. Companies can take steps to create a smooth transition into the workplace for new employees. Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany, shares ways employers can build effective onboarding programs for new hires.

“A strong onboarding program is created with the new hire experience in mind. Many employers fail to make the first few days for employees exciting or fun. Bring people on and get them excited immediately.

Onboarding starts before new employees ever step foot in the office. So provide them with plenty of information about the company, who they’ll be meeting in the first few days, and what to expect from the entire process of getting oriented with their workspace, team, and tasks. Create an agenda before hiring employees.

Make employees feel comfortable with a clean, new space to work and introduce them to their colleagues. Encourage the staff to build casual relationships with new hires by taking them out to lunch; it establishes trust and respect. Essentially, employers are assigning mentors, employees the hires feel comfortable reaching out to.

Training should cover all of the protocols and procedures, but it needs to be engaging and can even be fun. Make it interactive; create games like scavenger hunts or other competitions to break the ice while also being informative. Technology is great for onboarding because it provides a convenient, easily accessible resource for new hires to find basic information including the dress code, benefits details, and the like, and to see how they fit within the company as a whole.

Be clear about company expectations and invest in training new hires over several weeks. This makes it easier to offer feedback, and go over the first performance evaluation. Consistent feedback and constructive critiques will help them improve on concerns as they arise, resulting in better evaluations and improving the company’s quality of hire.”

Need advice for creating an onboarding program? Get onboard our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie, CEO and Co-Founder of ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Posted May 26, 2016 by

5 common onboarding mistakes employers make

Businesswoman dissatisfied with subordinate's behavior photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

The onboarding process should be a positive and productive experience for new employees. Employers who succeed during this process benefit in the short-term and long-term with satisfied employees who can help achieve company goals. However, if onboarding is done incorrectly, new hires won’t likely be effective for companies. Wesley Higbee, President of Full City Tech Co., shares five common onboarding mistakes made by employers.

1. Treating everybody the same. It’s important to have a process or checklist. Just don’t try to standardize it. Tailor what you do to the candidates you’re hiring. If new hires have accolades in sales, don’t put them through a sales training program.

2. Waiting periods for benefits. There’s nothing to gain by withholding vacation days, health care, etc. Waiting periods connote cheapskate and/or creates mistrust. If you don’t trust new employees enough to give them benefits on day one, why are you hiring them?

3. Not training new employees. Just throwing them to the wolves and of course, firing them when they don’t perform up to your expectations. The same expectations you never made clear.

4. Not including new hires in the process of assessing what they want/need to learn. Force feeding training and then throwing employees to the wolves.

5. Not learning from new hires. Assuming learning is a one-way road. There are plenty of candidates you might hire that have more to teach you, than you have to teach them.”

Looking for help with your onboarding process? Check out our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Wesley Higbee, President of Full City Tech Co.

Wesley Higbee, President of Full City Tech Co.

Wes Higbee helps organizations make the leap from today to tomorrow. Wes’s career has been a journey. He started out in software development helping organizations tackle business opportunities. In working closely with customers as a consultant, he realized there are many needs beyond the software itself that nobody was taking care of. Those are the needs he addresses today, whether or not technology is involved.

Along the journey, Wes has had a passion for sharing knowledge. He’s been a speaker at countless local groups, community organizations, webinars, and conferences. He speaks professionally to help organizations improve.

Posted May 19, 2016 by

Soft skills in the workplace: IBM offers tips to candidates

When entry-level candidates apply for jobs, they often claim to have great soft skills. However, after employers hire candidates, they may find that candidates don’t have the excellent soft skills they boasted about possessing. This creates a problem for employers in the onboarding process and afterward, too, as they are left to deal with new employees lacking basic soft skills required to adapt to the workplace and corporate culture.

Can the new employees interact well with their teammates? Are they capable of making strong decisions on their own without input from management every step of the way? Do new employees manage their time well, resolve conflicts as they arise, and communicate clearly, effectively, and appropriately with clients and coworkers? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ employers have big—often expensive–problems on their hands.

Pete Joodi, Distinguished Engineer for IBM, provides entry-level job seekers and employers with insight into why soft skills matter so much in today’s workplace, particularly in the field of information technology. In this interview by Bethany Wallace, Content Manager for College Recruiter, Pete Joodi discusses the soft skills dilemma.


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At IBM, Pete Joodi, Distinguished Engineer, focuses on research and innovation in information technology. He focuses on optimization strategies; his goal is to find ways software and technology can improve energy efficiency, cost containment, and compliance.

Pete mentions that within the last 50 years, the world has truly expanded thanks to technology. We need to know how to work with each other now more than ever. This is the reason soft skills are more important than ever before.

IBM conducted a study in 2014. One of its findings indicated that soft skills are in great demand by employers but are most lacking in students graduating from institutions of higher education today. Pete Joodi doesn’t see this as a negative finding, however. Instead, it indicates an opportunity for growth and improvement for employers.

At IBM, the focus is on leading and contributing to technological innovation in the ‘cognitive era.’ Candidates applying at IBM need the following soft skills in order to succeed: communication skills, teamwork and collaboration skills, problem-solving skills, adaptability and flexibility skills, language and translation skills, ability to interact well with colleagues and clients, critical thinking skills, and conflict resolution skills.

Truly, soft skills are highly relevant at IBM. The world is more complex than it was, but it’s also more rewarding to work in the world today. In order to create consumable products, IBM and other companies must hire candidates with excellent soft skills.

For more details about how to improve your soft skills, transferable skills, and non-verbal skills, visit CollegeRecruiter.com, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

 

Posted May 02, 2016 by

6 things to do before starting a new job

Welcome on board - businesswoman holding white sign with text in the office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

docstockmedia/Shutterstock.com

It’s the time of year when many college seniors begin thinking about what they will do after graduation. Most students focus on the interview process but may not have thought about what to do when they are offered full-time jobs. It can be both exciting and scary but starting a first professional job is now part of the imminent future. Although many students have worked part-time and participated in internships, starting a full-time job is a different venture. Student life is unique in many ways, so it’s important for soon-to-be graduates to make a few changes before they begin new entry-level jobs.

1) Look the part

College doesn’t have a dress code, but most jobs do. To be taken seriously, it’s a good idea for students to know what most of their colleagues will be wearing. Some offices will require a suit and tie, but most are now business casual. One of the most common mistakes new employees make is showing up to the office in attire that’s too informal.

2) Practice the importance of being prompt

Probably the most undervalued asset new employees can possess is promptness in communication. In addition to being to work on time or early, new employees should learn how important it is to stay in communication with the team. It’s fairly common for college students to forget about emailing professors or their peers because they’re mostly relying on social media to be in touch. However, new employees who don’t respond to a colleague’s or supervisor’s email or phone call will be viewed as unreliable. If something is going to take 24 hours to complete, be sure to send a quick note that communicates this information.

3) Get into a daily routine

College classes can be held at 7:30 in the morning or 10:30 at night, and most students will have significant breaks to work on self-study throughout the day. Most office jobs, however, are from eight to five (although flexible work schedules are becoming more common). It’s important to get into a routine of getting up early and dealing with the morning commute and also having enough down time later in the day to be prepared to do it all again tomorrow.

4) Gather paperwork

Once students graduate and start new jobs, they’ll be very busy adjusting to their new responsibilities. Gather any academic paperwork needed prior to the first day on the job. This can include official transcripts, letters of recommendation, references, networking contacts, or anything else that might be needed in a particular field. Many employers will ask for this paperwork, so it’s better to have it on hand and readily available.

5) Chat with your mentor

It’s a great idea to sit down with a mentor before starting a new job. A mentor will have specific and valuable insight into a particular field and perhaps even a specific company or manager. Take any advice available in order to be successful the first few months of a new career. Mentors can also help ease anxiety and build confidence that can make those first few weeks run smoothly.

6) Get organized

Graduating from college is a huge transition and can leave students feeling their lives are in disarray. Each person’s situation will be different, but it’s important to begin a new job feeling organized. Whether this means settling into a new home, moving across the country, or just getting paperwork in order, an organized lifestyle will help a person be more professional and help them focus on making a great impression in the workplace.

Want more advice for recent graduates going into the workforce? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.