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Finding the Best Talent in Industries That Aren’t Really Hiring February 8, 2013

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking software, Applicant Tracking System, recruiting software, recruitment tracking software, small business, top applicant tracking systems.
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how to find talentCompanies and recruiters, who are attempting to find the best talent in industries that aren’t really hiring, know a secret. It is discovering how to use the right Applicant Tracking System to take the overwhelming task of filtering through stacks of resume’s and highlight the cream of the crop.

When the job market tightens, it becomes a hiring company’s dream with skilled applicants flooding human resources hoping for a career. However, a recent survey by Towers Watson revealed that almost 72 percent of employers say they are having difficulty attracting skilled and qualified employees. Recruiters and corporations are successful when they use the latest cutting-edge technology of tools available.

Here’s five industries projected to be among those who aren’t really hiring in 2013:

 

  • Non-Profit and Religion Work
  • Journalism and Publishing Jobs
  • Legal Work
  • Electricians
  • Data Processing and Entry Level Computer Work

As a recruiter looking to fill these positions or a hiring manager within one of these industries, it’s time to streamline the process. Learn how to implement and use an Applicant Tracking System to stay on top of the competition. 

Non-profit and religion work thrives when the economy supports the ability for members to make donations. When the economy turns sour, these organizations don’t have any money to throw away on charity paychecks to employees with hearts bigger than their abilities. The right Applicant Tracking System filters criteria making your job or hiring less burdensome and more productive.

Trading in the printed word for an electronic version online is a convenient trend that has caused a steady downturn of journalism and publishing jobs. This means skilled writers are looking for placement and turning to sites online where Applicant Tracking Systems are noticed and successfully draw in the best applicants.

Hiring has slowed gradually in the once prosperous field of law with 2013 projected, in some states, to be the worst law job market in decades. Tap into this pool of talented and well-trained specialists before these licensed graduates give up their hunt to land a fulfilling job. Use strategically placed ads linked to an Applicant Tracking System on professional law journal sites.
The housing market is expected to one day pick up the pace, but is currently leaving skilled electricians behind. Create a conduit through which job placement can flow with the right Applicant Tracking System. Properly advertise it to spark the necessary connections between potential electricians who notice and take the time to apply.

As entry-level technology jobs narrow, don’t be left stagnate with an analog hiring process in a digital world. Use an Applicant Tracking System in computer-related recruitment where it is already readily understood among those applying.

 

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Effective Job Applicant tracking leads to higher Customer Satisfaction June 1, 2012

Posted by Darwin in applicant management, applicant tracking, recruitment tracking software, small business, top applicant tracking systems.
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What is the most common complaint you hear from your customers? Chances are it’s not about your products. If merchandise is sub-par or unsatisfactory to consumers, they generally just go elsewhere. Complaints are usually about service, the actions or attitudes of your employees. Fortunately, with the documentation provided by properly using a job applicant tracking system, you can cut down on those complaints and increase customer satisfaction. ATS applicant tracking systems provide a better way to index and evaluate resumes. Reviewing resumes will filter out the majority of the “bad” candidates before the first interview for the job.

Making that first interview a phone interview could save you even more time. Once you’ve narrowed the field down to a few select candidates, you’ll want to have further measures in place before taking the next step. Screen candidates thoroughly before you invite them in for a second interview. Don’t wait until after you’ve invested hours and money into someone before bothering to check their references. A pattern of poor customer service skills is easy to see if you make the calls and speak with former employers and personal references. A good recruiter can read between the lines, even on a non-committal or evasive response. Be thorough and log thoughts and input into the appropriate sections of your recruitment tracking software.

Once you’ve screened candidates by checking their background, create “what if” or role play exercises to do during the second interview. Most web based recruiting software has customizable fields where you can enter input or grade these exercises on a scale system. Engage with the prospect as much as possible in non-dogmatic situations. Looking for a text book answer to questions won’t tell you what you need to know about their customer service skills. Only spontaneous decision making reveals a person’s true character. Be the nightmare customer and measure the candidate’s response under pressure. It won’t be 100% authentic because they know they’re being tested, but it should give you some valuable insight.

Be open to what others think. When hiring new employees, be sure to include other management and training personnel in the recruitment process. This is easy to do if you have web based recruiting software because others can access the files from anywhere, even at home after work if they need to. Make your notes as you go through the first and second interview process, and have others add their input after they meet, speak to, or in other ways evaluate a prospect. Multiple eyes are better than just two. A person working solo on an individual hire could get fixated on one positive or one negative characteristic of a person.

Once the right candidate is selected, be sure that all of their data is entered into the recruitment tracking system. As they move through months and years of employment, schedule regular evaluations and be sure to make those a permanent part of the employee’s records in the system. There may come a time when a promotion is due or a complaint is lodged against the employee. Proper documentation will guarantee that you can make informed decisions on either of these situations.

Does Investing in Applicant Tracking Guarantee Hiring Success? February 24, 2012

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking, Applicant Tracking System, small business, technology, top applicant tracking systems.
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In considering whether or not investing in the leading applicant tracking system guarantees success, it is important to define what success means to you. If you are asking this question of yourself while deciding if these types of software and systems are worth your investment in terms of your overall business success, it may be best to break that question down into parts. After all, the quality of your employees, while certainly being a huge part of your business success, isn’t the only part of your success. Your good business sense is the foundation that everything else rests upon.

Reframing the question may be more useful to your decision making process. Can using a high quality applicant tracking system or recruitment software guarantee success in finding the most suitable applicants for the positions in your business that are key to its overall competitiveness and success? When you invest in this type of software or system, you gain a system of applicant information management that would be impossible to replicate in a human resource management department via hands-on labor hours at any cost.

The reach of a quality applicant system goes far beyond the region your business operates in, allowing you to scour the nation, even the globe, for applicants with the specific skill sets you need to bring your business to the next level of success. This type of information management helps to ensure that you are looking in all the right places for your recruits eliminates the waste of time in sifting through applicants that do not meet your specific requirements, helping you target the best suited applicants quickly and efficiently.

Labor hours matter in the overall cost of doing business. If your definition of success includes getting more done at a reduced cost, then the leading applicant tracking system may be just the right move for you. There’s a lot involved in successful applicant tracking, from first contact, to the interview process, to the actual hiring to maintaining employment law compliance. That is an awful lot of information to be dealt with, requiring a great deal of labor hours to do well, if placing those responsibilities and tasks in the hands of a human resource team is the way you choose to go. Technology can slash those hours and greatly reduce the costs involved with finding the right people for your organization.

Putting a high quality job applicant tracking system to work for you can virtually guarantee your success in quickly and efficiently finding the best solutions to your staffing challenges. Using your good business sense to make the right choices when it comes to selecting the means, methods, and tools to increase your success in attracting the type of applicants you need to achieve your business goals will enhance the potentials of you achieving the success you desire. In the end, it is your choices that matter the most. Choosing applicant software to help you obtain your goals can be one of the most important step you make for the overall well-being of your business.

Applicant Tracking Databases for Seasonal Employee Issues May 18, 2011

Posted by Darwin in Applicant Tracking Database, recruiting, small business.
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It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re reading this. There is a seasonal situation looming in front of you that will require the hiring or laying off of employees. The size of your company doesn’t play a part in this, aside from the level of your economic impact on the local community you draw your workforce from. Everyone is affected by the ebbs and flows of consumer purchasing, the price of petroleum in winter or summer, or the environmental conditions that allow some businesses to thrive and others to struggle. If you’re in business, you’re dealing with one or two of these, maybe all of them.  

How can an applicant tracking database help you in times when seasonal employee issues arise? If you’re a seasonal landscaping or snow removal firm it should be obvious. At the beginning of your season, you hire a bunch of new employees. At the end, you let them go. You’ve been using different systems for years to keep track of it all, but how many times have you sat back with a group of your regulars and said, “Gee, I wonder whatever happened to so-and-so. He didn’t apply this year and I can’t seem to find his number.” If you had applicant tracking software, you’d have that number on hand.

Smaller companies can keep track of former employees with paper filing systems or standard databases, but what about those candidates who applied for work before, went through screening and reference checks, and were refused for some reason that isn’t likely to change in a few years? They eventually apply again and you go through the same process, drawing on the money and resources you don’t have to come to the same conclusion. Why waste all that time and energy when you can invest in applicant tracking that will tell you this person is a “Do not Hire”?

Companies that hire large numbers of seasonal employees tend to overlook the small details about the hiring and firing of former seasonal employees. The right software allows you take notes during the recruiting and hiring process. Did the candidate show up on time for his or her first interview or did they reschedule? Were those behaviors present on the job once they were hired? At the end of the season, did the candidate finish up the job or take off a few weeks early to go to school or another job?

These questions are important, especially in a tough economy where potential employee pools are so large. You can continue to do business as usual and just plug in warm bodies until the job gets done, but how much are you losing by doing that? All industries have their superstars and deadbeats. You want the former, yet somehow end up with too many of the latter. Applicant tracking databases can help you avoid that and get you ready for your busy season with the right people by your side. Wouldn’t that be a better and more profitable way to do it this year?

Create a hiring flow with Applicant Tracking March 7, 2011

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking, applicant tracking software, corporate recruiting, human resources, small business.
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A company is as good as its workforce — the employees are the productivity backbone and lifeblood of any business and managers need the right people in the right positions for optimal performance. Logically, employers should do all they can to find the best talent available in the marketplace. As the qualities employers seek have multiplied, the process for recruiting suitable applicants and finding the best fit has become more technologically sophisticated.

An inefficient hiring process has considerable amount of overhead attached and can affect the bottom-line significantly. Any business trying to increase the efficiency and efficacy of their HR department can streamline their hiring process with applicant tracking software (ATS). These applications help automate administrative tasks while bringing the benefits of transparency and collaboration to decision-making. Recruitment software makes the process simpler and more cost-effective while helping companies sort through suitable candidates quicker and at a low cost.

The system follows a particular workflow which can often be customized to a company’s changing needs. The front end of an applicant tracking software can consist of a dedicated website or a sub-domain of company website. This portal is where openings can be listed and candidates can post their resumes. Resumes can also be imported from databases on affiliated online job boards. Resumes then go through multiple checks against skill requirements and job descriptions at company. Powerful search algorithms identify attractive candidates from the available data. The next important feature in the system facilitates communication to selected candidates on their selection and schedules probable dates for interviews or other preliminary steps. Interview management including pre-screening questionnaires, FAQ documents and resource allocation are managed with a great deal of automation. Post-interview, desirable candidates are again informed about their status and provided with next steps leading towards an offer.

Automated applicant tracking helps both the employer and jobseeker connect faster. Sophisticated search and aggregated business intelligence data speeds up assessment and considerably reduces turnaround time. This helps candidates know quickly if they are actually being considered for the job. An automated system also flattens the playing field for all applicants. The software makes decisions purely on the merits of the resume. While resume data is not the only criterion, it provides an important foundation for keeping the process quantifiable and ethical. This systemic transparency eliminates some of the “who you know” aspects of landing a job.  Storage and retrieval of applicant information is also important. This information has a shelf life and can be expensive to obtain anew for every company opening. The ability of the system to identify previously suitable candidates at a later date is invaluable.

As companies become more competitive over resources, the use of applicant tracking software has become a business necessity. There are many Enterprise, SaaS (Software as a Service) and open-source software applications on the market differentiated by company size, feature variation, and level of customization. As companies continue to realize that their human capital is more precious than any other, the care and administration of new hires will continue to evolve resulting in better choices and better long-term employee relationships.

 

Gaining a Small Business Edge in Marketing, Hiring & Services December 8, 2010

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking, small business.
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Small businesses are the backbone of the economy.  They not only account for a large proportion of our country’s production and service sector, but they also are a major part of job growth.  Across the US, small businesses in a variety of niche sectors are hiring talented employees so that they can compete in competitive markets.

Even though small business owners make a big difference, they also have a very difficult time getting a ‘piece of the pie.’ Whereas large companies already have their foot in the door in many cases, the smaller guys need to make a name for themselves in order to start selling.  Here are some tips and tricks in different departments for small businesses to gain an edge against bigger corporations:

1.  Marketing – Being a small business in the marketing world is like being the person in the room with softest voice.  All of the big companies are screaming about products and services by spending tons of marketing dollars across a variety of mediums.  So how does a small business, who doesn’t necessarily have a huge marketing budget, get their name out there?  One great way is through social networks and services like Twitter and Facebook.  Using these free technologies, a small business can build a grassroots fan base that is local, relevant, and scalable.

2.  Products & Services – How can a smaller company possibly outperform a big company when it comes to sheer production or service volume?  Obviously quantity should be thrown out the door in favor of quality and niche market adaptation.  Whereas big corporations move extremely slow in regards to fluctuations in market demand due to their organization hierarchy, small companies can easily adapt to the smallest changes.  Using this advantage in speed and adaptability, a small business can outperform a big biz and gain traction in viable niche sectors.

3.  Hiring – Big companies have a huge advantage in the hiring game by offering more competitive salaries and perks.  Using these benefits they can often attract the best job applicants available, while leaving nothing for the smaller competitors.  Luckily, technology once again can even the playing field for small businesses.  Cutting edge applicant tracking software allows any company (small or large) to find and attract top-level talent by utilizing the internet.  Using these hiring tools, a small biz can land the quality hires that have the potential to lead  a company into the big leagues.

5 Holiday Gifts for Small Business Owners November 25, 2009

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking, business software, small business.
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As we enter the holiday season our minds will start to drift to family, turkey, presents, and relaxation.  For small businesses around the country though, the holiday season often means a ramp up in production and hiring.  Essentially, small businesses can use their mobility to take advantage of times when larger industry shuts down for the holidays.    When millions of Americans are sitting by the fire roasting marshmallows, small business owners will be ardently pushing their companies towards success.

Sounds stressful, huh?  That’s why I’ve created a holiday gift list for small business owners: odds and ends as well as cutting edge products that can take a bit of stress off their backs.

1. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine: The Rancilio Silvia has been continually voted by consumers as one of top espresso machines over the past several years.  What can help a small business owner in a time of need more than a hot, steaming espresso pick-me-up?  This well-crafted stainless steel and brass appliance not only looks great, but also makes a top-notch espresso or cappuccino, with an incredible foaming capacity.

2.  Zazzle.com Gift Certificate: Zazzle provides a great interface for a small business owner to create branded paraphernalia like coffee mugs, t-shirts, and business cards.   Although some of these items appear somewhat trivial, having branded equipment can be essential for a growing business that is still searching for its identity.  Having a sweet logo, catch phrase, or design to show off to the world can boost a team’s solidarity and collaborative abilities.   Zazzle’s business card UI is simple but effective, and provides an easy interface for a startup’s first business cards.

3.  Applicant Tracking Software: When a small business begins to grow, an owner will embark on a difficult and complex applicant tracking process.  Finding the best suited talent for a small business requires a great deal of organization and detail management.  Luckily, there are applicant tracking software solutions that can drastically increase the efficiency of a company’s hiring process.  Many hiring solutions are easy to use, effective, and priced at a point that allows small business owners to compete with the big boys in the corporate recruiting arena.

4.  Herman Miller Mirra Office Chair: For those small business owners that work on a computer all day, this ergonomic king of office chairs will offer some necessary comfort and support to their aching backs.  The Herman Miller Mirra was voted by consumers as one of the best ergonomic office chairs with a one size fits all saddle as well as adjustable lumbar support and arms.

5.  Frog O Sphere: The Frog O Sphere is a self-contained eco-system for two dwarf african frogs, sold by Brookstone.  You’re probably asking how the heck frogs can help small business owners.  Budding entrepreneurs spend many, cold, lonely nights in the office, finishing reports, sending out packages, and preparing presentations.  It’s unrealistic to have a dog or cat at the office, but a self-contained and easy to maintain Frog Ecosystem can fill the need for a healthy distraction and great conversation topic.

Convenience and Accessibility over High-Tech Features August 24, 2009

Posted by Darwin in applicant tracking, collaboration, enterprise software, small business, technology.
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1148064_metal_nutsWired Magazine recently published an article that describes the current ‘low-tech’ revolution that is reshaping the technology sector. The article highlights several recent examples of how the ‘quality’ of technology is being redefined to favor accessibility over high-tech features.

Wired describes the MP3 as the classic example: the music format first broke ground as an accessible and portable file that users could share and publish online. Music aficionados and record companies denounced the MP3, saying that it provided inferior sound quality to the CD. What the music industry didn’t understand was that ‘quality’ was in the eye of the beholder; internet users around the world used MP3s because of their accessibility, which was more important to them than an apparent decrease in sound fidelity. Today, the MP3 has surpassed the CD because of its convenience.

The Wired Magazine article goes on to point out several other products and sectors that are riding the ‘low tech’ wave, from point-and-shoot Flip Video Cameras to the easily accessible Google Documents. Each of these products could be considered inferior to their competitors in a side-by-side feature comparison, however, they have proven successful due to their lack of bells and whistles. I’d like to take this opportunity to share several other unmentioned products and industries that are benefiting from convenience over features.  Feel free to add to the list if you think of anything else.

1. Documentary Film

The documentary is the polar opposite of the special effects-laden blockbuster movies that we became accustomed to in the 90s.   In the place of A-listers and huge explosions, documentary film utilizes real people and relatively simple editing to tell a convincing story. In the recent decade, documentary has proved not only to be a durable art form but also a cost-effective box office draw.

Films like ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ grossed huge numbers and cost a fraction of what a typical blockbuster takes to produce. Documentary film is on the rise and represents a low-tech and efficient way to connect the audience with relevant stories. Off-shoots of documentary, like reality TV, have also proven to be incredibly successful despite the cliche formatting and relatively low production value.

2. ‘Back to the Basics’ Sports Philosophy

In the past decade we’ve seen championship teams arise not based on their huge star power but on teamwork and a philosophy in succeeding at ‘the basics.’ Whether it be getting that extra base on a sac-fly or finding four different receivers with an array of screen passes; the little things are what have been winning games.

The New York Yankees, with an all-star-studded lineup and astronomical pay grade, have failed in many respects to live up to their ten year potential due to a lack of concentration on the details.   The Yankees are akin to a high-def. video camera that touts numerous features, but lacks the basics to make it convenient and usable.

3. Applicant Tracking

In the world of corporate recruiting, there is a complex maze of collaboration and applicant tracking steps that proceed a hire. Many software solutions for this in-depth process offer a wealth of features to improve a company’s ability to track potential job applicants. These many bells and whistles often only slow the process though.

Some software developers took a different route and decided to cut out the extra features and instead concentrate on accessibility and collaboration: the basics for a more efficient applicant tracking solution. These simple but convenient solutions are quickly making headway due to their ‘get-to-the-point’ nature and ‘anytime, anywhere’ online accessibility.

4. Twitter

In a world where we have social networks for every possible niche, many laden with high tech features to ‘increase social communication,’ Twitter has proven again that simplicity is king.  Essentially, you can follow, be followed and tweet. Twitter is successful because it has latched onto our basic need to ‘publicize’ even the most menial events of our lives.

Essential online business software for startups May 27, 2009

Posted by Darwin in applicant management, applicant tracking, business software, enterprise software, human resources, recruiting software, small business.
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free businessYou’ve decided to take the plunge.  Finally go off the deep end.    You swing open the door to your manager’s office, walk back to your desk and begin to sweat.  A cocktail of stress and jubilation spills down your body from head to toe.   Your feet start to move and then you are walking, out the door, down the elevator, into the city, and then out into the world.  You’ve decided to start your own business- escape the grind and finally pursue your dreams.     You’re free.  You’re screwed.

Then comes the details.  You need to strategize – figure out what needs to be done to get it rolling.   What kind of paperwork do you need to fill out?  How are you going to find your employees- designers, developers, sales, recruiters?  Where will your office be?  Where can you find advice from those who have already gone through this chaos?  What if you have a patent to submit?  How will you collaborate with your contractors?  How can you keep track of money, prepare for taxes?  What about business cards, business plans, PR initiatives and exit strategies?

These are just a fraction of the questions a small business owner needs to answer when forming a start up.   Fortunately, there are a host of new and cutting edge Web 2.0 software tools that have been created to help answer these questions.  Today’s entrepreneur can utilize a variety of enterprise software applications that will help them get on their feet without giving away an arm and leg of their nest-egg.  I’ve created a list of some of my favorites- feel free to contribute with any others that you know of.

Basecamp: For your project management and collaboration needs, basecamp is a web tool that allows a small business to interface with clients and collaborators.  It has an incredibly intuitive UI that allows an entrepreneur to keep their head on straight while managing several projects at once.

http://www.basecamphq.com/

Dropbox: A nifty web application that rids you of need to carry around USB flash drives or larger external hard drives.    Dropbox allows you to synchronize various computers to common accessible folders.   Its as easy as drag and drop, and allows several collaborators to share files wherever they are, without the hassle.

http://www.getdropbox.com/

Google Docs: Google Docs provides a suite of online MS-office-esque applications that all are extremely accessible and easy to utilize.  Whether you want to create a spreadsheet that tracks potential clients, or an online word-doc business plan, Google Docs allows multiple collaborators to contribute simultaneously, instead of the tediously sending a document back and forth via email.

http://docs.google.com/

Odesk: Odesk is an online web tool that allows a small business employer to outsource work to freelancers around the world.  While an entrepreneur must be weary about those bidding to do work from overseas for a fraction of the cost, very often Odesk provides a great interface for a variety contract jobs.    The online application allows an employer to adeptly track their freelancers, from up-to-date progress updates to an actual live webcam feed of their hire.

http://www.odesk.com/

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the most popular and free social networking tool for business professionals.  You can essentially post your online resume and qualifications, as well as list your current business venture and why its great.  One useful feature on the social-networking side of things is the ability to get in touch with other local small business owners, who may have helpful advice for you.  It also provides a great forum to let your client’s tell the world about all the great work you’ve done for them through the recommendations engine.

http://www.linkedin.com/

Newton On Demand: Newton provides an online software service for your company’s recruiting and applicant tracking needs.   Easier to use than many of your favorite websites, Newton’s online recruiting software enables your entire hiring team to access, manage and share recruiting information across your entire company.  The great thing about this piece of software is that it is extremely intuitive to use, allowing hiring managers and recruiters to easily collaborate from wherever they are.

http://www.newtonondemand.com/

Zazzle: Whether you want to design your company’s business cards, coffee mugs, or kickball Tees, Zazzle provides a great online tool for enterprise branding.   Although things like these may seem ephemeral when trying to make deadlines, some branding can go along way for your small business identity and marketing.

http://www.zazzle.com/

Twitter: If getting some attention in your niche is what your small business needs- Twitter is a great tool to keep fans, clients and family alike updated with the latest news.  If utilized effectively, Twitter can be a modern day PR agency, minus the headache of management and associated costs.

http://www.twitter.com/

QuickBooks:  This time-tested financial software package is still as relevant as ever.   I recommend getting set up with QuickBooks from day one to track every dollar going in and out of your business.  The intuitive interface and online access makes it a breeze to create invoices, track payments and manage your small business expenses.

http://www.quickbooks.com/