Tips for Building Rapport & Making Connections in an Interview

Filed under: Best Practices, Interview, Redfish Speaks

CONNECTING IN YOUR INTERVIEW
IDEAS FOR MEETING PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

By: Walker Cross, Senior Recruiter at Redfish Technology

 

Making connections in an interview

 

Business is made up of people working together on an activity for the benefit of all involved: boss, employee, customer, the society at large hopefully! And the interview is an interactive opportunity for both employer and prospective employee to evaluate fit and decide if they want to collaborate on the company’s goals.

 

While hard skills may need to be verified, such as a software developer being able to code efficiently, and while references should always be checked, the interview has other objectives beyond these.

 

People spend a lot of time together at work. All parties hope for a great cultural fit and personal flow with their colleagues. So how to you determine this in a single meeting? Here are some recommendations that might help.

 

PASSION:
What about the job excites you and spoke to you? Again this can be from either side, in the form or a question or simply offered up in the conversation. Ask/tell about the upcoming campaigns or projects that this role entails.

 

PROACTIVITY:
Ask/tell about the expectations for performance on the job, for example in the first 3 months on the job, and on a yearly basis. Setting clear expectations makes to easier to assess and fulfill goals, and introduces the opportunity to discuss accountability.

 

GRATITUDE:
Showing your appreciation says a lot about what kind of person you are. This is highly personal and contextual, but one might share their appreciation for their team or a project they’ve worked on; you could express thanks for the opportunity to meet, or gratitude for a mentor who helped further one’s career. There’s no shortage of things for us to be grateful for in this life.

 

HUMOR:
Laughter is the best medicine; a smile and a chuckle can go a long way to breaking tension, revealing personality, and fostering ease. Humor is a great way to warm people up and kick start an easy dialogue. Putting people at ease is a great way to show your likeability, and facilitate connection.

 

PERSONALITY:

All of the above should be clue you into the personality of the person you are interviewing with.

If they are a Power (Choleric) person, it’s better to focus on what you can do for the organization or what you expect of the candidate. The Power person is future-oriented, and wants to hit the high points and move on.

The Party (Sanguine) person is focused on the present and is very enthusiastic but not always constant. Passion and attention resonate with Party people.

The Peace (Phlegmatic) person is not an extrovert but is concerned with everyone getting along, they are not big risk takers. Like Power and Party people, Peace people like examples from the past to reassure them about the present; references, especially from people in their network go a long way.

The Perfectionist (Melancholy) is data-driven and organized, may be fairly reserved, and you may not notice the intensity at first glance. These people want to hear your quantifiable achievements but they also want to hear the ins and outs of the problem-solving you employed along the way.

 

Once you get an idea of the personality type you are interacting with, try to adapt to their energy and relational style in your dialogue and expression. Meeting people in their own style helps you to communicate with them and facilitate a meaningful connection.

5 Great Benefits & Perks to Attract and Retain Employees

Filed under: Best Practices, Hiring Strategies, Offers / CounterOffers, Redfish Speaks, Talent Acquisition

5 Great Benefits & Perks to Attract and Retain Employees

By: Jon Piggins

Director of Business Development, Redfish Technology

 

In today’s tight labor market, competition for top talent continues to heat up. We’ve seen some of our clients increase their hiring rates by offering benefits & perks beyond what’s now becoming standard, things like; unlimited vacation, “make your own hours”, 100% paid health/dental/vision coverage. Here are some of the best perks we’ve seen recently.

 

Vacation reimbursement: “Unlimited” vacation is great…if you use it. Turns out that many employees are so busy that they never wind up taking advantage of the benefit and the company winds up with stressed out, tired workers. One company we work with decided to solve the problem by creating “vacation reimbursement”, $3,000/yr per employee, can’t take it as cash & have to use it each year or you lose it.

 

Student loan paydowns: With 44.7 million borrowers owing more than $1.5 Trillion in student loans, the U.S. is drowning in school loans. Not just a financial burden, student loan debt can be stressful & limiting. We’ve had a few clients begin to offer monthly contributions to their employee’s loan payments, either by subsidizing the amount they had to pay or by matching payments (up to a limit) therefore helping to pay off the loan(s) sooner (sometime 7-10 years sooner).

 

529 accounts for employee’s children: Think of a 529 account like a “Roth IRA” for college. Contributions are invested & when it’s time to pay for college (tuition, room & board, books…) the money can be withdrawn without penalty or taxation. It’s a nice additional way to help employees beyond the traditional health savings & retirement plans most companies offer.

 

New baby fund: Have a baby, get $4,000. That’s what Bay Area based client of ours decided to start doing (diapers are expensive!). Seriously though, as wonderful as having a child can be, it’s expensive & stressful. Getting a nice chunk of change & a good break for maternity/paternity leave is a great perk for your workers.

 

Housecleaning & Laundry Services: Put in a 60 hour work week & then have to deal with cleaning chores and laundry…no thanks. We have a longtime client in LA who provides weekly laundry and twice monthly house cleaning services for their approx. 100 employees. Simply bring in your clothes in a big nylon bag on Monday, it gets picked up at the office & comes back on Wednesday cleaned and folded.

 

The great thing about these benefits is that they’re done in good spirit…yes they’re self-serving for a company in helping to attract & retain talent and increase productivity, but they’re also considerate towards employees with the goal of reducing their stress & burden and helping to make their lives a little easier.

5 Reasons Why Backdoor References Aren’t Always Helpful

Filed under: Best Practices, Redfish Speaks

5 Reasons Why Backdoor References Aren’t Always Helpful

By Leah O’Flynn, Chief Revenue Officer

Redfish Technology

 

At first glance backdoor references can seem strategic but there are some unintended consequences to consider in today’s marketplace. Our client’s increasingly ask for our opinion on doing them and we usually respond with what we’ve seen in the past. As a rule of thumb, be respectful of the candidate and start the relationship off with trusting that he or she can provide a solid number of folks to speak about his or her ability to do the job. Oftentimes our client’s assume it’s a good way to vet a skillset but there are more effective ways to evaluate a person other than a backdoor reference….

 

1.) In general, candidates are already pretty protective of the references that he or she offers up to a hiring manager. You run the risk of your potential hire getting put off if he or she finds out that their next manager went around their back. It makes for a rocky start to a professional relationship.

 

2.) We’ve had a situation where a manager within the candidate’s current company didn’t want to lose the employee. He gave a negative review and ended up offering the candidate a counter offer as a tactic to get ahead of the new offer & retain the employee.

 

3.) A backdoor reference can jeopardize the candidate’s current employment. Their employer was unaware that he or she was looking and is now privy to that information. A reference that would have been good is now skewed due to the circumstances.

 

4.) You reach out to someone who may have previously managed the candidate but you have no context around their working relationship or environment. It’s not a fair conversation to have with this said person. Also, that person isn’t familiar with the person now. References should represent the past and the present to help paint a more complete portrait.

 

5.) It could be a situation where the candidate left the company on good terms but the company never got over it because it was in the middle of a big project. The review isn’t reflection of the candidate’s working ability but rather disappointment of losing a good employee.

 

For more advice & insight into the world of recruiting, contact us HERE

Recruiting – Contingency and Retained Searches: Is there anything in between? YES!

Filed under: Best Practices

Contingency and Retained Searches: Is there anything in between? YES!

See Rob’s Accompanying Video!

You have a need. Maybe a GLARING need at one or more positions within your organization, and you’ve exhausted your network to no avail. You’ve posted on LinkedIN and tried job boards, but no luck. You’ve engaged in some contingent searches but recruiters seem to come and go – sometimes with a flurry of activity initially, but no sustained, steady flow of quality talent, and still the vacant seat remains. More and more often this question comes to us from our clients: “I need help with recruiting, but contingency searches haven’t worked and Retained Searches seem geared solely to Executive Roles – is there anything in between?” Funny you should ask…

The answer is Yes. As with most things, there are vehicles and approaches built for different tasks. While many of these have certain inherent benefits, most come with limitations as well. Contingency arrangements offer a low risk approach to engaging with recruiters as the hiring company is only obligated to pay for services once a hire is made and guarantee is met. This sounds promising until results are mixed, resume flow dwindles, and the recruiter fades. Why would this happen? Contingency incentivizes short, quick searches. Speed. Generally, a challenging position requires a campaign and a methodical, diligent execution of it. Without any commitment from the company, it is difficult to justify/risk this time-intensive approach for the contingent recruiters.

So the alternative is Retained? Possibly, yes, but it depends on your need. Retained is much more involved, mutually committed, and typically, much longer term. They include higher fees with ⅓ paid upfront, ⅓ paid upon completion of agreed upon milestones, and ⅓ upon completion of the search. For Executive Management roles, these are often the way to go since the compensation, the equity, the team fit and the impact of the role are all greater. With greater responsibility comes greater need for getting the hire right AND a greater time investment on both sides.

So where do we go when we have an important need, we want a partner in recruiting who has a vested interest in completing the search and yet don’t need something quite as involved or expensive as a fully Retained approach? We have an Engaged agreement. Similar to Retained, there is a mutually committed component to the search where ⅓ of the fee is due up front. However, the overall fee is reduced from 33% (Retained) to 25% of the candidate’s first year salary, and the remaining ⅔ of the fee isn’t due until after the search is successfully completed. This insures that both sides are invested, and gives the recruiter the opportunity to craft the recruiting strategy (who, what, where, when and why) correctly and approach the potential candidates with much more tact and professionalism. Success rates are much higher than contingent searches, and generally relationships between the hiring manager and recruiter are much more cohesive and partnered.

There is a bit of risk for taking on any mutually committed search, but between the time saved in not managing multiple vendors, and the quality of results from a search executed properly, the upside should justify the investment.

 

Rob Reeves / Redfish Technology
Founder/CEO
O: 208.788.8260
E: rob[at]redfishtech[dot]com
F: www.facebook.com/RedfishTech
T: twitter.com/RedfishTech
G+ plus.google.com/+Redfishtech
W: www.redfishtech.com

Building Growth-Mode Tech Companies with Hand-Picked Talent Since 1999

The importance of Onboarding – what to do after an offer is accepted and before a new hire’s start date

Filed under: Best Practices

The importance of Onboarding – what to do after an offer is accepted and before a new hire’s start date

Perhaps a sense of relief more than anything, it’s a great feeling to have a candidate accept an offer to join your company, especially in today’s competitive market. It would be understandable to be ready to move on to the next pressing priority once you’ve received a verbal acceptance & signed offer letter…but your job is not done! The importance of a comprehensive onboarding process for new employees can’t be ignored and it needs to begin when an offer is extended (or even sooner).

The time between an acceptance & a start date is a critical one in the hiring process. The mistake we’ve seen some companies make is to assume an accepted offer means the recruiting/hiring process is over and go quiet on their new hire, assuming they’ll just see them on their 1st day in a few weeks. They’ve failed to recognize that other companies & recruiters are continuing to court your employee to be, counter offers are often made by current employers, and human nature may kick in as “buyer’s remorse”. You want to do everything you can to reinforce a candidate’s choice to join your company & make them feel a part of your team…preferably starting with the interview process itself, but definitely once an offer has been extended.

It doesn’t take a huge effort or expense…here are some ways to help secure your new hires:

Have a personal touch: Have some of the people involved in the interview process reach out with a quick congratulations email, take your new hire out to lunch or have them join a company event (happy hour, training session, etc) before they actually start. It helps to reinforce their decision to join your team and solidify in their mind the thought of working for your company.

Make sure HR is involved right away: They should be providing important information about benefits & required paperwork shortly after the acceptance of the offer, so that it’s all completed & any questions have been answered before the start date.

Welcome package: Our clients who send out “welcome packages” to new hires say they get great feedback on the practice. Examples include; company branded gear (shirts, coffee mugs, phone cases), an info kit with articles about the company, stickers, balloons…they all go a long way in making a new hire feel special.

Have the hiring manager & peers reach out: A quick note from the person your new hire will be reporting to as well as from a peer/fellow team member welcoming them & offering to answer any questions or provide assistance (eg. How long does it take to BART in to their stop from the East Bay) goes a long way in making them feel welcome & supported.

Brag: Tell the world about your new hire, let everyone on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc know how excited you are to have brought them on board. It will make your new hire feel proud about their decision, it’s great PR, and its FREE!

Have everything dialed in for day one: Have their preferred laptop ordered & waiting for them, take a picture of their space once it’s all set up so that your new hire can think about how they might personalize it (and subconsciously, continue to think & imagine themselves working for you).

These are just a few ways to make your new hires feel like part of your team before their actual start date…and while they’re still being courted in today’s tight market. If you’d like to know more successful strategies we’ve provided for our clients, contact us today!

Jon Piggins

Jon Piggins / Redfish Technology
Director of Business Development
O: 208.450.9511
www.redfishtech.com
www.linkedin.com/in/jonpiggins/
Building Growth-Mode Tech Companies with Hand-Picked Talent Since 1996

Why Should Employers Bother with Social Media?

Filed under: Best Practices, Employer, Hiring Strategies, Social Media

Company Social MediaWhy Should Employers Bother with Social Media?

 

By now your company probably has 3 or more social media accounts, and it has for some time. It is not always apparent why besides the fact that all your consultants and marketers said you should, and all your competitors do.

 

Metrics

Knowing what the right metrics are and how to measure success is another challenge. If Coca Cola has 91 million likes/followers on their Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter page, and your competitor has 486: Which should be the benchmark for your company? And are views more important than click-throughs? According to AdAge, the correlation between that click and a conversion is virtually nonexistent. Ug, that’s no help! Read more »

Beating the Tech Talent Crunch: Ways to Shore Up the Talent Gap

Filed under: Best Practices, Employer, Recruiter / Recruiting, Redfish Speaks, Talent Acquisition, Talent Retention

Beating the Tech Talent Crunch

Tech Talent Crunch

Ways to Shore Up the Talent Gap

 

The tech talent shortage has been compounding for some years, to the point we are hearing about the return of the candidate king. Sectors across various technology industries, engineering, and finance are experiencing difficulty acquiring and retaining much needed talent. Big talent gaps exist in software development and data science/analytics, and all across the science, engineering fields as well.

 

So what can you do to find the skilled talent you need? Read more »

The Best of Best Places to Work …

Filed under: Best Practices, Hiring Strategies, Human Resources / Capital, Recruiter / Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, Talent Retention

The Best of the Best Places to WorkThe Best of BPTW …

 

If Best Places to Work is on your radar, you probably see it all the time. And BPTW comes in many flavors: the best in a State, the best in an industry, the best in the country, etc.

 

The latest flavor I noticed was the BPTW for Millennials. Congratulations to the top picks in each category: Ergodyne, Capitol Chevrolet Cadillac, Navy Federal Credit Union as well as all the companies recently selected from among 4,000 US companies for the best places to work for Millennial employees in America recognition. Given that Millennials are now the largest workforce in America, this is an important recognition.

 

The BPTW in the Bay Area celebrates companies that have exceptional workplaces that their employees value highly. Kudos to InfoObjects, ZenPayroll, SOAProjects Inc, PureStorage, and Workday for prioritizing practices, culture and values that drive engagement. When employees are happy to go to work and proud of their employer, they are more productive and Read more »

6 Reasons to Hire Now!

Filed under: Best Practices, Employer, Hiring Strategies, Human Resources / Capital, Talent Acquisition, Talent Retention

6 Pack of Reasons

6 Pack of Reasons

Whether replacing an employee or recognizing the need to grow your team, there’s compelling reasons to make that hire now.

 

It’s true you are saving on payroll and employer costs, insurance and perks, but these short-term gains effect a larger cost on long-term profitability, and can create unanticipated risks.

 

Making your necessary hire in a timely manner will:

 

  1. Boost Productivity

When shorthanded organizations strain existing resources and quality suffers. If overly strained, attention to detail and pride in work decrease, errors, illness, and accidents are more likely, factors which significantly affect productivity.

 

  1. Decrease Time to Market

Whether it is getting a new health gadget into consumer’ hands, or releasing the new version of your software, understaffing is going to impact project management and coordination, it risks delaying production and subpar quality, and can cause costly missed opportunities.

 

  1. Ensure Agile Happy Employees

Straining your team will increased stress. This impacts the entire work environment. Maximize your team’s performance by getting the right people on-board when needed and keeping a smooth, agile workforce who is happy to get the job done right.

 

  1. Lower Personnel Costs

Yes hiring when you need staff keeps your personnel costs down. When your employees are happy and stay invested: you spend less time and money on hiring new ones, you have less absenteeism and accidents, and there’s less training of new employees and less management involved in keeping things running smoothly.

 

  1. Increase Customer Satisfaction

At the end of the day, if your customers aren’t happy with your service or product, your business risks failing. Decreased customer satisfaction is almost inevitable if you can’t provide the level of service necessary. And we know unhappy customers are very vocal about their dissatisfaction, whereas happy customers can be the biggest brand evangelists out there.

 

  1. Stoke Competitiveness

When a company is fully staffed, completely concentrated on business, and everyone is on board tuned into the end goals, the company is primed to meet and exceed current commitments, as well as to identify and take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace before competitors who are dealing with staffing issues and not focused.

 

So get hiring!

 

Need help? – We make hiring top talent easy, it’s what we do!

Contact us today at 408-745-8260/208-788-8260, or fill out a job order online.

Redfish Technology: Building Growth-Mode Tech Companies with Hand-Picked Talent.         

Are You at One of the 90% of Companies that Does What Everyone Hates?

Filed under: Best Practices, Human Resources / Capital, Talent Retention

Yep, talking about the annual performance review.

Performance Review Time

It’s Coming Up. How Do You Feel About It?

 

Studies show that not only do employees generally dislike this exercise but so do managers and even the HR department. Time for some disruption – ya think?

The Perils and Perturbations of the Performance Review

 

There’s some great reading on the perils and perturbations of the performance review. As a recap, they tend to pit people against each other, and they are predominantly backward looking – two things no company ought to be focusing on at the detriment of building collaboration and communication, making forward-looking plans, and retaining top talent. These are some recommended reports/articles:

 

Behold The Entrenched — And Reviled — Annual Review

By Yuki Noguchi

“Performance review season is nearing, and if that makes you break out into a cold sweat, you’re not alone. Studies show between 60 percent and 90 percent of employees, including managers, dislike the performance evaluation. Some companies are starting to look at alternatives, but the performance review is pretty entrenched.”

 

Get Rid of the Performance Review!  

By Samuel A. Culbert

“You can call me “dense,” you can call me “iconoclastic,” but I see nothing constructive about an annual pay and performance review. It’s a mainstream practice that has baffled me for years. To my way of thinking, a one-side-accountable, boss-administered review is little more than a dysfunctional pretense.”

 

An Alternate Strategy: Cultivating and rewarding passion and engagement

 

So since performance management is important, but performance reviews aren’t creating the passionate and engaged people you want in your company, what is the answer?

Companies are trying different approaches. Here are some that might be of interest to you:

 

Juniper Networks is turning words on the wall into behaviors in action.

Juniper Networks replaced the performance review with a “conversation day” that has achieved a record 93% participation, and 66% of participants found it “helpful” or “extremely helpful”. The semi-annual conversation day has employees and managers sit down to discuss areas for improvement and opportunities for new growth, set goals aligned with employees’ career aspirations. And importantly, there are no rankings and ratings associated with performance measurement. One of the positive results is that Juniper retains more top performers now.

 

Why Adobe Abolished The Annual Performance Review And You Should, Too

By Drake Baer

“When Donna Morris joined Adobe in 2002 as a senior director of global talent management, she noticed that the annual performance review, such a central part of the human resources job she had been hired to do, wasn’t much of a resource to the humans it served.”

 

A Systems Thinking Alternative to Performance Reviews          

By Steve Rogalsky

“A refreshing discussion of what can be influenced and how much can’t by individual performance, and how to elicit it. An experiment with a conversation aimed at pulling out the performance goals of employees by having a conversation and asking: What are you proud of? What do you want to learn or improve this year? What part of our team’s system is preventing you from doing your job better? What should we improve or change? How is the company enabling or inhibiting you from achieving your best? What do you need from me? How can I help?”

 

Suggesting an Alternative to Performance Reviews

By Josh Patrick

“Instead of one annual review, I suggest setting up regular, one-on-one coaching sessions with your direct reports. The sessions should run from 15 to 45 minutes and should be held every three to four weeks. The goal is to have a continuing conversation aimed at helping employees become great at what they do.”

 

What do you think?

 

What kind of performance review does your company use?

Do you like it?

What would you choose to use if you had the choice?

If you think there’s a better way, share this!