Presidential Debates

Every four years we as a nation sit in front of televisions, computers, tablets or smart phones devouring every sound bite and snippet of news on candidates that are trying to win our votes. It’s democracy at it’s finest, that allows a country’s populace to elect those that will represent us to the world. And today, the day after the first of three Presidential debates, every news outlet, pundit and blogger will be dissecting the words and phrases uttered by the two candidates that the major parties have chosen as our representatives for the next general election.

That is not what you’ll find here. Your politics, and our, are our own. I won’t be telling you who won, that is for you to decide, and I won’t be endorsing any candidate over another. The debate is left for politicians and those still undecided on who they want in the office of the President.

What I will be discussing here is a topic that was discussed at length yesterday and has been for the past eighteen months.Jobs and the growing of our economy through increased growth of the business that have been our country’s back bone for the past two centuries. Small business and businesses that are based in the United States are the only topics that concern all of us, every single American.

As the news and other media outlets fawn over this one liner or that zinger, we as hard-working people come to work this morning doing our job of providing a better life for our families. Yes, policies and laws, the state of other nations, and the threat of war are all important and do affect us. However, no other topic or issue is as important to the population as a whole as the state of our economy, and it’s only solution, growth.

So, how do we combat the issue? What can I do that will change the course of direction for as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time? How can one business or even one person make a difference in the economy of a nation? The answer is simple, not complex and really has no need for debate or discussion or parsing of meaning behind what is being said.

Jobs.

By creating jobs for your companies, by putting the population to work, every day, you as a business owner, manager, executive or entrepeneur have the power to effect change at the most basic level. Hiring people and creating product is the only thing that will change the course of people’s lives for ever. Read that again, and understand that by hiring employees you are doing so much more than increasing company revenue. You create a better way of life for all of those that you hire. You enable employees to contribute to the economy through the purchasing of goods and services that drive our nation forward. You allow the children of your employees to grow up healthy, with opportunity to be positive influences on the future of our country. As the needs of company’s grow, so does the communities that they serve. Housing, retail, service providers and manufacturers all benefit from companies that grow their staff. The results are undeniable, irrefutable and are the crux of why we choose new leaders during the elections. Who will enable us to grow and continue to lead the world in our way of life? These are the questions asked last night, they were just asked to the wrong people. These questions should be directed to the business owners that create the only methods of growing our economy. These are the questions we ask of people like those of you reading this.

Hiring is the biggest contribution any business can make to the community and to the country as a whole. Continuing to grow and add to the talent that you have is our only weapon in combating the increasing cost of living. Filling positions that are vacant, that are newly created, that are necessary for the growth and sustainability of our organizations and those that rely on these business to provide for their families.

So, discuss the debates, the gaffes the outright lies or deceptions that were stated. Vote on the candidate that you feel represents your interests the best. That is what makes this country as great as it is, and it is our right and responsibility as citizens to do so. Just remember, to effect change directly, to alter the course of your business and the lives of those you employ, keep hiring. Grow your organization through it’s most important asset, its people. No matter the outcome in November, you will have the power every month every year, to do what no politician can do for you. Change the lives that matter the most to you personally, and change the communities we live in for the better.

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Job Search

Today most professionals are on LinkedIn, and other networking sites. Most employers are there as well, after all this is why the site was created. To put companies and candidates together. Of course, networking and sharing ideas were all part and parcel of what people do on these sites . Unfortunately, being heavily active on these sites myself, most people are now treating these sites as another Facebook. Seeing many posts pass my screen that involve politics, family photos, or useless meme’s that waste time but don’t help in my career or in growing a professional network. For those people looking to find a new opportunity on these sites, it not only muddies the water on content but can completely distract hiring managers, they are only human after all, from seeing your branding and message. The real question we all should be asking here, when looking for a new position, is how do I cut through all the clutter and get the attention of the right people at the right time? In essence, how do I conduct the most efficient and effective job search?

The answer to this question is as diverse as the people asking it. The one common thread to any of the answers is to know and understand your audience. Who are you trying to speak to and what interests them to start with. Seems relatively simple doesn’t it? However, this is the point that most candidates miss and it’s the most direct path to finding the opportunity that they are looking for. Twenty five years ago I started taking my career seriously. I knew I had an aptitude for relaying information to people and solving needs. So I went into sales, I walked into companies with a resume and asked if they were hiring. It took time and shoe leather, but it showed initiative and got the attention of hiring managers. Today, that doesn’t work anymore. The internet has changed the way we do everything. Now you post or email your resumes, there is nothing personal at all about the process.

Even back then there were recruiters. I didn’t know any and it is doubtful they could have helped someone like me just starting out. Had I known there were people, whose only job it was, that put companies in contact with applicants, I would have sought out there help in addition to my own efforts. For anyone that is serious about results, the use of many means to complete any goal, there is no reason to not use everything at their disposal.

Today the personal touch goes further than ever. Just sending a resume in does nothing for your brand, your talent or what differentiates you from the competition. There is no way to demonstrate what you bring to the table, your personality or problem solving abilities. If you are lucky enough to get your resume in front of the hiring manager, you’ve won half the battle. In reality, for most job postings, companies receive on average over 300 resume per posting. Most have the same skill set, same education and same format. Most companies spend less than 3 minutes on looking at the resumes. Is this a chance you’re willing to take? Is this a chance you can afford to take? Most will say no it isn’t, they need every advantage they can get in the market. Yet, most will never seek out a recruiter, or worse, most will never even entertain the thought of using one. Reasons vary from person to person, the most common are: recruiters never call back, they call too much, they are unprofessional and don’t understand the intricate details of what I do. While there are some recruiters that don’t take the time to hone their craft, just like any industry, there are many, many others that are professional and have backgrounds in the exact work you do. Using a good recruiter puts you back in control of your search. Recruiters are proactive, not reactive, to the market. They are networked with hiring managers and can speak to them about your background, personality and accomplishments. Just like you could if you walked in the door and presented yourself to the company. They have access to companies that you could never have, and they have a reputation of providing top-tier talent to those companies they work with. All of these factors benefit you the candidate in getting more opportunities to interview. That is the point after all, to get past the initial review of background, skills, and education and get to the place where the job is won, the interview. Branding yourself is important on all social media, but it is all for nothing if it doesn’t attract the right people. Recruiters work with you, on your goals, on your side, to present you in the best light and get you to the interview.

In looking at all the methods you have in presenting yourself in the workforce, none is more powerful than a vocal advocate that has the ear of the companies you want to work with. None. It’s like having a personal referral to every opportunity you are interested in. Trusted by the company, hired by the company to find the best talent in the market, and a tireless cheerleader for your career, a professional recruiter is essential to any serious candidate today. Sure you can do it on your own, there is no question of that. The real question is should you do it on your own?

Labor day and why we celebrate

This weekend marks, for most of us, the end of summer and the beginning of colder weather. Growing up it marked the start of the school year and new adventures with new friends. Having spent the majority of my career in recruiting and helping businesses grow I have found that this weekend means so much more than just an extra day off or reason to hold a bar-b-que. I thought that looking into why we have this holiday and what it means to us today would be a great way to start this weekend.

Labor day in the United States is a celebration of those that worked so hard to build our country into the economic success it is. It is a time to reflect on those that sacrificed everything so that we could have a better working environment. This weekend celebrates all those things we take for granted every other work week.

Minimum age requirements, seems simple doesn’t it? It wasn’t always so, we have all seen pictures of children working in mines, factories and farms and have been angered or astonished that this happens. We forget that it wasn’t long ago that we had those same conditions here. Children put to work to help their families survive. Put to work for companies to make a profit. As recently as 1924, we had no laws regarding child labor. Less than 100 years ago.

Safe working conditions, also seems to be something of a common sense issue. Laws weren’t passed until the 1970’s. Less than 50 years ago. 40 hour work weeks weren’t common until the laws were passed in 1938. Even though some companies like Ford realized that working over 40 hours decreased productivity as early as 1914.

All of these were issues families fought against and fought through daily. The people of that time struggled to survive and struggled to make a life better than the ones their parents had. Because they fought for these issues we have a better quality of life through our work and we have the ability to spend our time with our families on holiday’s like this weekend.

So When gathering with family and friends this holiday, take a moment to remember why we have this time. Look at the reasons we all go to work every day and understand that there was a time, not so long ago, that weekends like this didn’t exist. We all work our hardest to achieve the goals we have set for our lives and careers. We take this weekend to spend it with those reasons, to take time away from the daily grind and to remember what those that came before us fought and struggled for. Enjoy your weekend and make the most of the time we have everyday. Make the changes in your career that will pave the way for your family to have more balance in their lives. And maybe just maybe we can all achieve what many have struggled for, happiness.

Why use an Agency?

With the economy in full rebuilding mode and projects being added at a break-neck pace, the use of outside agencies to hire and retain employees is more important than ever. The challenges faced by the construction industry begin and end with the quality of the people being hired. Here are just a few of the key reasons why bringing in subject matter experts is the best choice for our industry.

From placing an ad to onboarding a new employee, costs are one of the biggest issues cited by companies that contribute to their reluctance in using an agency. Unfortunately, the true cost of hiring is elusive and needs to be looked at. There is more to cost then the dollars spent on an ad to a job board. When you use this method, the true costs associated with hiring are as follows:

  • Time, how long will the position be unfilled? Every day means lack of production dollars from that position.
  • Advertising cost, the actual price paid to the job board or newspaper.
  • Administrative cost, the time spent sorting through the resumes sent to the job board and prescreening those that meet the criteria. This cost increases if done by someone who has a different function within the company, i.e. managers, administrative staff, HR, or company executives. Their actual jobs are either being put off while hiring or hiring is being put off while their jobs are being done.
  • Interviewing only active candidates. To put it in perspective, is the person looking for a job actually the best person for the job? You have no access to passive candidates with this method, so while you may find the best active candidate, it may not be the best candidate you could have seen. There by taking more time to fill the open position.
  • Background checks, drug screens, and reference checks all add to the bottom line.

Agencies that are dedicated to partnering with your company on the hiring process have costs associated with them as well. There is a fee involved, usually a percentage of the guaranteed first year’s salary for the position being filled. Those costs are usually a fraction of the above mentioned costs. Here is why:

  • Time- A dedicated team of recruiters will take far less time to source and prescreen candidates then the usual method of ad placing.
  • Advertising cost- None to the client. Any ads placed are paid for by the agency you have contracted.
  • Administrative cost- minimal to the company in that all resumes are sourced and screened by the agency. You will have to review the candidates submitted so there is some time required from you.
  • Passive candidates- this is the true value from an agency. You now have access to candidates who may have never seen your ad. They are happy and productive where they are. The agency can tap into this resource and bring these candidates to you. Which, in turn, reduces the time to fill.
  • Drug screens are the only cost here as the agency will vet the background of a candidate as well as check references at your request.

Employee retention is the next biggest advantage in using an agency. Because the agency builds relationships with you and your company, as well as learns what drives the candidates they present to you, making retaining those hires much easier. When you hire through job boards you rarely get a true feel for what motivates a specific candidate. By building the relationship with the agency, they learn your company’s culture, mission and direction. Then they match those with candidates that have the same motivators.

The best part about using an outside agency, it’s free! Yes, it’s free. Reputable agencies work on a contingent basis. You pay nothing until you hire one of the candidates they present. Because of this, you can do what all the top company’s in the country do. They always hire. An agency that you have partnered with will always bring top talent to your attention. Always. Even when you aren’t looking to add to staff, you can be assured that once an agency understands your company and the types of talent you value, they will present the best candidates they come across to you. Again, at no cost to you, unless you hire them.

Bottom line, if you want to lower costs of hiring, retain the talent you work so hard to attract, and be made aware of top candidates in your industry, find an agency that you can partner with and use their expertise to grow and add value to your organization.

 

Vacations and productivity

Vacations, an important summer ritual that allows employees time to enjoy the weather and family. It gives employees renewed energy and focus and a much-needed reason to disconnect from our digital world. Vacations also give small business owners sleepless nights and worry over maintaining project momentum and revenue.

However, there really is no cause for concern if, as an owner or executive within an organization, you have hired the right people. The big question is, who are the right people for you and your company?

The right people are those that share your company’s vision, culture, goals and direction. Not like lemmings, but that bring a focus and energy that drive the organization forward with positive results. Hiring is the number one priority in your company bar none. All other activity is a direct result of who you hire and how you cultivate those that have joined you.

I started this by saying vacations, why did I chose that subject? It’s because everyone has seen the worn down employee that returns from vacation with drive and energy. The end result of the vacation, and it’s effect on the attitude and productivity on employees is what we are looking to capture. It can be found in those employees that maintain an inner desire to grow the company and make a positive difference in their position. You can have that same energy and productivity everyday, if you hire the right people.

No one knows your company and it’s culture and direction better than you do. That’s why you opened in the first place. You are the expert in what you do, the reason you are successful. If hiring was your expertise then you would have opened a recruiting firm. Knowing when to bring in experts in a field is the mark of successful owners. Finding a firm that wants to be a partner, not just a vendor, is essential to a long-term profitable relationship. Just as you took the time and energy to research your niche in your industry, you need to take the time necessary to add a partner that shares your vision and helps you bring on the best talent and people in the market.

Being a leader is knowing when to ask for help, who to ask and more importantly taking the steps needed to always grow, even when on vacation. Enjoy the summer!

Hiring all the time

Successful businesses have several key activities in common, one of the most common threads that is found is the practice of hiring all the time. It is very rare that successful companies pass on a talented candidate because they don’t have a space for them.They create the space, either through expansion or replacing a poor performing current employee. Mediocrity has no place in success and has no place in your company’s hiring strategy.

Many of you will have seen the meme that has been shared on various social media sites that states the following:

CFO to CEO= ” What happens if we invest in our employees and they leave us for another company?”

CEO response= ” What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

This is a real fear of company management, how do we invest in our employees, and at the same time, ensure that they stay with us. The answer, in part, is to surround them with high achievers, goal setters and performers. Study after study has shown that the best of the best bring out the best in those they work with. How often have you seen a poor performer de-motivate the team they are on? The saying of  bad apple spoils the bunch holds true. Hire the best, those who share your goals and tackle the challenges that move your business forward. In doing this you invest in your team and show them that they matter to you. This translates to a more satisfied team, a happier workforce that sees these additions, not as a detriment but as a motivator to achieve more.

You can’t make this happen by hiring only when someone leaves, this is reactive and doesn’t impress upon your team a willingness to invest in their success. If anything it is the symptom of a possible problem in morale. People leave when they feel unappreciated, overworked or that their contribution is worth more than they are receiving. Hiring top talent and the morale boost those candidates make in the team gives everyone the message that you as the employer want them to be successful. No single investment you make as an employer provides you with a more direct return then hiring the best.

Attracting the best is an effort you as an employer need to make on a daily basis. This means looking for the best, challenging them and building a foundation that rewards those employees that make a difference in your team, your goals and your bottom line. Always be hiring and the positive changes that happen will be overwhelming.

 

A Resume

A resume is one of the biggest staples in a professional career. It’s an overview of your entire professional life and is often times a first impression of yourself. With that being said, it can be difficult fitting one’s entire career and experiences on one sheet of paper. However, there are few guidelines that can help when you’re trying to decide what should be included.

For young adults entering the workforce who may be making a resume for the first time, it can seem like an immeasurable task. Between the formatting and wording, this could take hours. Definitely call on the experience of family members and friends. Have them send you their resume and use it as a template. For college students, the Career Centers on your campus it a great resource for formatting a resume. They’ll have multiple templates and know exactly what should be included and excluded. When in doubt, always ask for help. Never submit your resume to a potential employer without having someone you trust review it first because a poorly written resume, or one that does not have all the proper components, can cost you a job.

It is important to always have an updated resume. You’ll want to include experiences in the professional field that pertain to your desired field. Catering your resume to a position your interested in and applying for can help narrow your ideas of what to include on your resume.

When first compiling a resume it is important to reflect on all past experiences, not just employment. Volunteer work, organizations you’re apart of and leadership positions you’ve held in organizations are also important components of a resume. These experiences can sometimes better showcase who you are as an individual and can set you apart from the rest of the applicants. It gives potential employers a well-rounded idea of who you are.

Once you’ve listed all of your work experience as well as leadership positions and organizations you’re apart of, it is time to organize it. The top of your resume should have your name in a font size larger than the rest of your resume. You should have your address, email address and phone number so that it is easy for potential employers to contact you. After your header, the next section should be Education.

In the Education section of your resume, you should include the farthest you went in your pursuit for your education. Whether that is completing college, high school or getting your GED. This gives your employer an idea of your background. Be sure to include the duration of your time at any institution. Be sure to include your GPA and any honors you received while there. After the Education section, the Work section should follow.

The Work section of your resume should be on top of your resume. It should be listed from most recent job opportunity and work backwards. Each sub-point should have a small description of the experience and what your responsibilities were while you held that position. Each opportunity should be clearly labeled and include the duration of your employment there.

After the employment session, the next section should be entitled “Leadership Experience”. This is where you will have an opportunity to showcase what you take real interest in and organizations you were apart of and were leading. It should be formatted the same as the Employment section.

The last section can be added depending on the space you have left. The community service aspect of a resume is something companies really look for. They want to see that you care about the communities you’re apart of and that you help others. Philanthropy is a great aspect that people often forget to include. If you are/were a member of a fraternity or sorority in college this is a great place to showcase it on your resume.

Resumes can often seem overwhelming and impossible. However, when breaking it up it can be way more manageable. Definitely ask for other business professionals you know in your everyday life to look it over and for suggestions before sending your resume off to anyone. A typo or wrong diction can cost you a job opportunity. Be sure to include your contact information on top of your resume so it is easy for employers to get ahold of you.