How to Define Job Expectations for Better Hires – Instant Hiring Video Tip

Setting clear job expectations BEFORE you start recruiting ends up saving you a tremendous amount of time and hassles.


One of the keys to consistently making better hires time after time is knowing exactly which characteristics, attributes and skills you’re looking for and then making sure the candidate you ultimately hire has “it”. This requires a thorough knowledge of the position you’re hiring for.

Too often I see companies using outdated job descriptions in jobs ads and that leads to potential candidates and hiring managers focusing on irrelevant and unrelated criteria. And unfortunately that typically leads to bad hires.

First and foremost, it’s key that you have a good idea of which key skills and attributes will increase a potential hires chance for success. If you don’t already know, ask employees in your company who work closely with that position which skills or attributes they think are essential for success. During exit interviews ask departing employees what they felt made it easy for them to do well in their position if they’re leaving on good terms of course.

An updated job description is also must. Look over the job description. What are the key functions and duties the position performs? What key skills and attributes will facilitate that?

Does the person need to be organized?

Do they need to be detail orientated?

Do they need to be creative?

Do they need to be able to write code?

Once you’ve determined what key skills and attributes your ideal candidate will possess, I recommend placing your focus on finding candidates that have what you’re looking for. Your chances for finding employees who will perform well for you should be greatly improved.

How Many Job Applicants Does it Take to Find One Qualified Candidate?

While the question sounds like the preamble to a funny punch line, the answer is no laughing matter.

According to an article last week in the Wall Street Journal, it takes many more than most employers think (or at least want to accept.) I repeat – a lot more. The actual numbers are numbing.

For example, an infographic presented in the article revealed that it takes approximately 1,000 online views by candidates to get 100 candidates to complete the application. Out of that, 25 applications are selected for review, then 4 to 6 candidates are recommended for an interview. When all is said and done, companies may find their one diamond in the rough only after 1,000 candidates view the job posting. If those numbers hold up, it is clear that the impending war for talent is no longer imminent or pending. It’s here today.

Not one to rely only exclusively on hearsay, I was prompted by the article to review 25 jobs posted on our applicant processing system by clients during the last 3 months. The results don’t only confirm the findings presented in the Wall Street Journal but throw up an even bigger gauntlet to challenge employers. The best views-to-applicant scenario was 10 percent. But a more common scenario was as low as 1 percent.

Unfortunately for many companies, as good or bad as those results are, the job search does not always end when the one lonely qualified candidate is identified and offered the job. According to research presented by Talent Function Group, LLC, “the chosen applicant accepts the offer only 80% of the time.” That situation leads to two options – offer the job to your second choice (if there is one) or go back to the drawing board. Neither choice is desirable when a company’s productivity and competitive advantage are on the line and dependent on a minimum time to hire and high quality of hire.

To win the war for talent moving forward, nearly every employer will need to cast the widest possible sourcing net to attract, identify, and hire qualified candidates. In addition, operations and sales managers don’t have the time to waste interviewing candidates who can’t do the job.

The competition for recruiting qualified skilled workers poses a formidable challenge for most organizations. Management has a choice: deal with a “resu-mess” which will inundate recruiting and human resource staffs, which are already running lean; or insist on applicant processing automation to build a talent pool of qualified candidates, reduce the time-to-hire, and ultimately improve the quality of employees.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.


Administrative Assistant Hiring Tips – Instant Hiring Video Tip

Are you in the process of hiring an administrative assistant? Don’t make that job offer until you watch this tip. This one suggestion could change the way you think about administrative assistant requirements forever!

Today’s instant hiring tip is about hiring administrative assistants. Here’s one of the biggest mistakes I see some of my clients making throughout the country. It seems a lot of hiring managers are under the impression that administrative assistants need to be huge extroverts with really outgoing personalities. You know people that love to talk, are outgoing and just always seem to be at the center of attention.

I’m not sure how that trend got started but in my experience extroverts aren’t necessarily your best choice for administrative assistants. Unless, of course, they also act as a receptionist and interact with people on a continuing basis you generally don’t want an outgoing personality in an administrative assistant role.

In my experience an administrative assistant position is better suited for people that are bit more low-key and reserved and prefer to work behind the scenes. Extroverts make great sales people but in an admin assistant role they can struggle as they yearn for more social interaction. An extrovert with an outgoing personality may feel compelled to interact with others in the organization with they should be providing critical support.

Imagine yourself delegating critical tasks to your administrative assistant who would much rather be walking around the office chatting it up with co-workers than providing a consistent and reliable direct line of support to you.
When hiring personnel we just have to submit to the fact that certain people/personalities are going to be predisposed to certain behaviors and will be ideally suited for some positions and not so much for others.

Why Employers Have It All Wrong About Employee Motivation.

How To Motivate EmployeesEmployee engagement of American workers is pathetic. According to recent Gallup Employee Engagement Index survey, seventy-one (71) percent of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive. That leaves only one-third of American workers who are “engaged,” or involved in and enthusiastic about their work.

Part, if not most, of the reason why employee engagement is so bad is that employers go about motivating employees all wrong. The problem begins with a misunderstanding of the very basics of motivational theory. Most managers believe some people are motivated, and others are not. That’s wrong – plain and simple.

All employees are motivated. But people are motivated differently. Not only do they value things differently, but the sources of motivation can have both positive and negative influences. When the sources are positive, employees are productive. When sources are negative, employees exhibit counter-productive behavior. These differences in motivation are based on extensive research resulting in the Quality of Motivation (QM) Theory.

All motivation can be traced back to two basic ingredients: pleasure and pain. Motivation by pleasure shouldn’t require much explanation. But you must be asking why anyone would be motivated by pain?

Have you ever heard the phrase “no pain, no gain” or “nothing comes easy”? These beliefs drive people toward pain and self-defeating experiences respectively, believing a little pain now will reap pleasure down the road. Think about the marathon runner or the professional athlete. Despite the risk of chronic pain due to the constant pounding of their joints and extreme stress to body systems, these athletes are relentless in their drive to reach the finish line at any cost, even long-term crippling and incapacitating injury.

Other people constantly pass up opportunity to advance or improve their lot in life (self-defeatance) because they don’t think they have done enough to deserve the raise, the promotion, or the recognition. There is a fine line between self-defeating behavior and humility, and that difference separates employees from being productive and counter-productive.

Self-punishment is mistakenly rewarded in today’s workplace. Strong work ethic, commitment, and good work habits are positive characteristics – unless they are derived from counter-productive behaviors. For example, let’s look at workaholism. It’s rewarded and often encouraged by employers. Workers who show up early, stay late, are on call 24/7, and rarely take vacation are put on a pedestal for all other employees to admire. But while doing more with less is driving American productivity and admired as good old work ethic by managers, it is also driving the rates of employee disengagement and employee turnover sky high.

It is also raining havoc on employee health, and consequently medical and disability costs. According to another Gallup survey, only 2 in 10 actively disengaged American workers report they are in excellent health, about the same as those workers who are unemployed. “A little pain never hurt anyone” is apparently not always true. Workers who “tough it out” may have the short-term benefit of increased productivity but long-term negative consequence of burnout, injury and even premature death.

What can employers do to avoid motivating these counter-productive behaviors and ensuring they create a positively motivated workplace? Managers must first recognize that enthusiasm, drive and high-paced activity alone are ineffective measures of motivation. People employed in your business bring their own unique motivational sources and skills to the workplace. That explains why some people seem to run and run….and run – just like the Energizer Bunny. Think about it. Watching Robin Williams perform can make you tired. So can hyperactive, pencil-tapping, emotionally disengaged employees. Their activity and busy-ness uses lots of energy but their results aren’t always productive; their work habits are not necessarily efficient.

Rewarding hard work and a strong work ethic is one thing but when it inadvertently rewards self-punishment, the cost to the bottom line is devastating.

Self-punishment is just one of four maladaptive behaviors that motivate employees and shape a company’s culture. Motivation is more complex than just pumping up spirits and getting people to work harder. By understanding that motivation has both positive and counter-productive effects, employers can create work environments and employee incentives that get the business results they want and avoid the long-term debilitating consequences of encouraging the wrong behaviors.

It is therefore crucial for businesses positioning themselves as thriving businesses to select and develop employees who will become profitable, motivated, and highly skilled at providing value-added services. The business must engage the emotional energy and attention of the employees and provide the resources to help them cope with the emotional, intellectual, and physical demands of the job.

Want to learn more how to motivate employees? Check out this short YouTube video. The background music is horrible – but the content is quite good!

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.


Employers Need to Get in Touch with Reality: The Workplace of the Future Is Here!

The problem isn’t that 60 year olds still don’t talk – and even dream – about retirement. But a combination of lack of financial preparedness and mental readiness is keeping a lot of seniors working longer.

A recent article in Fortune Magazine, obviously written by a much younger reporter, wasted no time in drawing a dramatic picture of the workforce of the future might look like. She started the article with:

A man parks his bike and unbuckles his helmet to reveal baldness and salt-and-pepper eyebrows. A woman in orthopedic shoes makes her way into an office building, while another peers through her bifocal glasses at her smartphone, the font on the screen bumped up a few sizes for easier reading. No, this isn’t an ad for Celebrex. This is a glimpse at the workforce of tomorrow.

YIKES! This isn’t the future – it’s now! Worse, except for the bike and orthopedic shoes, it’s me! And I’m not alone. Currently 7.3 million American workers age 65 years and older are still working. (Fortunately I’ve got a few years before I’m included in that stat.) According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that number will nearly double to 13.2 million by 2022 as again Americans defer retirement, or as many futurists more aptly predict, they will re-define retirement. (In my opinion, these BLS statistics are grossly underestimated, just as predictions of a mass exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce won’t come to fruition. Yes, Baby Boomers may leave a job or career they held for several decades, but then many if not most, will start another.)

Contrary to the inferences of the article, the generational gaps between young and old are not distinct. It’s just as likely to see a young worker unbuckle his helmet and see a completely bald head as well as a “geezer” unleash a full head of hair, even a ponytail. Likewise, young and old workers now use smartphones, although it’s a foregone conclusion that most older workers can’t see a bleeping thing without those bifocals or large fonts. And in a digital typing race – or more accurately a keystroking competition – young workers will win hands down.

But regardless of how the similarities and differences between older and younger workers is portrayed, what the workplace looks like going forward will be undeniably different. Certainly a lot more gray hairs, bifiocals, and pictures of grandkids will be visible along with tube tops, flip flips, body piercings, and tattoos. Age spans of 40 and even 50 years will be common. This generational shift and age divide inherently will require every organization to address everything from healthcare benefits to ergonomics.

The major workplace transformation however will be driven by technology and globalization – and working with those conditions requires new skill sets. The definition of work has changed … and will change again sooner than later. Even basic workplace issues like accommodation for the physically impaired or disabled won’t matter because many jobs can function remotely -from a worker’s home, his winter domicile, and even a rehab or assisted living!

In preparing for the workplace of 2020, the reason to employ either or both young and old should have nothing to do with age. The critical criteria for hiring or retaining employees must be based on skills, experience, and knowledge. And in a world that changes so quickly and where change doesn’t always evolve as much revolve, age will become less of a reliable indicator of experience and knowledge.

Employers need to get a grip on reality and start planning for the future workplace. For many companies seniors will be an asset. For others it is young workers that will provide the horsepower and fuel to grow business. For most organizations, the blended generational workplace will be the right recipe. But it will take a lot more creativity to make it work than just saying “we hire regardless of age.”

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.