Are you prepared for the new Facebook Timeline?

It’s happening again – Facebook is changing its Timeline. In a move that has brought on sighs, confusion and anticipation, Facebook, the most popular social network currently on the market, is tinkering again at its design.

At the end of the day, though, businesses may want to rejoice at this latest version of the social media giant. Less than a week after Facebook announced that it is redesigning its Timeline and News Feed, changes are already being rolled out. According to Mashable, the Timeline navigation swaps places with ads that are currently residing at the top right of the page. A new about “About” section design that is more heavily customized has also been added as well as a more intrinsic integration of what a consumer reads or views.

So, what does this mean for staffing professionals? It means you will need to prepare to switch to the new Facebook design by March 30. The Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that social media experts believe the shift to the new design will provide companies will more tools to reach and engage clients.

“When it comes down to it, (Timeline) is not terrible for brands if you use it right,” said Adena DeMonte, director of marketing at Menlo Park-based Badgeville Inc., which makes software to help companies use games and competitions as part of their business. “But the problem is most brands won’t have the resources to use it correctly.”

To handle this effectively, a staffing firm could better leverage their brand on the social tool to attract not only potential clients, but also job candidates. In addition, the new about “About” section included on each person’s profile will allow you to more easily determine whether a person has the “right” brand for a client. You won’t have to spend precious time exploring and pulling down multiple tabs to get at vital candidate information that you may want to add into your staffing software. The new design will make the entire practice easier and give you a more direct sense of who an individual is.

Tips for saving time at work

Meetings, phone calls and emails – you can’t seem to get a moment’s rest at work. It’s go, go, go in the workplace and you’re just trying to keep up with the items adding themselves to your checklist.

Well, with a few simple tricks and tips you can better economize your time.

1) Avoid unnecessary meetings. Sometimes meetings are a great way to communicate an idea or brainstorm on a project. However, the corporate culture of scheduling back-to-back meetings has created huge inefficiencies in the workplace. People get sidetracked, other issues crop up and sometimes all a meeting will lead to is another meeting. Keep necessary meetings short and sweet and leave out those that aren’t allowing you to accomplish your tasks in a timely manner.

2) Get organized. A recent survey found that an estimated 76 working hours per person per year are wasted as a result of disorganization and looking for lost items or documents, reports Start Up Nation. By calculating the average hourly wage of a part-time and full-time office employee, the source found that approximately $177 billion is lost annually as a result of searching for documents or items in the workplace. You can prevent this waste as a staffing professional by using staffing and recruiting software to track, organize and manage all of your resumes and contract documents. Instead of trying to search for a file, you know exactly where to go to find the information you need.

3) Batch your tasks. Sometimes it’s best to keep a few items grouped together. Tasks like answering emails and voicemail messages use the same part of your brain and the same skills, which means that you can keep on checking items off your to-do list. Set aside time to manage these tasks at designated intervals to make sure that everything is getting done, but also that messages and emails don’t overrun your entire day. Remember that leaving a few messages for tomorrow is not the end of the world and could improve your work/life balance.

4) Create a physical to-do list. It’s not unheard of to forget to do things every once in a while. Therefore, creating a physical to-do list is the best way to keep track of what needs to be done. There are a number of mobile applications, calendar desktops and organizational tools that can be accessed using the cloud and synced between multiple devices.

Looking for more tips to save time and effort at work? Check out, where Verne Harnish, author of “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” offers up a host of tips and techniques to improve your business time management.

Jobs report points toward improving economy 

The news is out – the latest jobs report showed that the pace of job creation last month reached levels not seen since November. And that’s not all. Hiring was seen across multiple sectors – allowing for people in all industries to rejoice with new job prospects.

According to the Department of Labor, the biggest increase in hiring was seen in professional services – with 73,000 jobs added in February. Construction added an additional 48,000 jobs, healthcare rose by 32,000 and retail added 24,000. Overall, the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent – a welcome sight for all.

The number of people added who found jobs in February easily topped estimates made by economists. The Wall Street Journal reported that economists predicted that 160,000 jobs would be created during the month, and the unemployment rate was forecast to remain the same.

So, what does this mean for us in the staffing world? It means that the percentage of people who have a job or are looking for one fell to 63.5 percent – the lowest it has been in 32 years (not an exaggeration). While fewer people are looking for work, companies are still looking to hire skilled professionals.

However, it’s not too uncommon for employers to report that they are disappointed by the lack of skilled labor they are seeing in the marketplace. Jobs are left open all the time because companies can’t seem to find the workers who know the right systems or have expertise – and the experience to back it up.

The improving economy also means that many professionals that might fit a client’s needs are not on the unemployment line. Often they are working for another company and so are part of the passive job-seeking force. Recruiting and staffing firms often have to work hard to attract these professionals to new opportunities with the offer that most resonates with the candidate. In addition, you know your clients are going to feel better being presented with candidates who can have a positive impact on their business in a short period of time.

Recruiters like you know this well. After all, it’s your job to pinpoint the needs of clients and then, using your resources, find the right candidates from your candidate pool for a position or even multiple positions. That’s where your recruiting software comes into play. When your software enables you to effectively grow, track, and manage your candidate pool, it allows you to better find and select the candidates that clients want to see.

The future of staffing: Where the cloud comes into play

As we look into the future of the staffing and recruiting industry, it’s important to identify some trends that will likely take hold. As is the case with many other industries, recruiting will likely be – and already is being – revolutionized by the cloud.

In this field, we’re already seeing it affect staffing software solutions being used by recruitment agencies, and the advantages of cloud software solutions are becoming clearer and clearer by the day. Most importantly, cloud-hosted recruiting and staffing software can increase the efficiency of front and back office operations, which ultimately leads to greater productivity and a more streamlined recruitment process.

Staffing Industry Analysts recently explored the topic of the future of recruiting, and noted that the idea of the “cloud” is one that will take on an even greater meaning.

“Work will expand from “supply chain” to “human cloud” models,” offered Staffing Industry Analysts President Barry Asin. “The human cloud includes online staffing as well as crowdsourcing where a large task is broken down into several smaller micro tasks that are farmed out to online workers.”

In October, ERE Media’s Matthew Jeffery wrote that the cloud is changing your recruiting process in general. Jeffery offered the example of staffing agencies potentially receiving job applications and weighing a plethora of data based on the individual’s cloud footprint. This data would include the basics like skill sets and experience, but also delve deeper and possibly even explore things like behavioral patterns and the strength of a candidate’s social media networks.

With companies’ budgets stretched and hiring strategies becoming more critical every year, Jeffery’s suggestion may ultimately stick. As cloud technology continues to improve, staffing companies will have access to greater amounts of data in a more streamlined fashion.

Networking quick tips

Regardless of what position you hold, whether you have a job and you’re happy, employed and looking for a job, unemployed or a business owner looking to hire people, networking is crucial. Professional networking is more than just getting someone’s business card or connecting on LinkedIn though, it’s an entire exchange between you and another person and could impact your future.

Now, as a staffing professional, you may thing to yourself, “I know the importance of networking” or are even asking yourself “Why do I need to network?” It’s simple – the more people you know, as job candidates, potential clients or just other industry professionals – the more prepared you are to serve your purpose – making connections.

Recruiting software will help you keep those connections fresh, organized and detailed so that you can pull information at a moment’s notice. However, it won’t help you make that initial contact – that’s all on you.

Here are a few quick tips for professional networking:

1) Take your time. If you’re at an event and are constantly looking over your shoulder to find the next “important” person to talk to, the people you are conversing with are going to be insulted. Take the time to build a quality connection with an individual that goes beyond the “Hi, how are you and what can you do for me” mold.

2. Show confidence. People typically gravitate toward others who are confident. Take charge in a conversation if the discussion is muted and faltering. Direct it to topics that you feel everyone can get excited about – or at the very least participate in.

3. Learn to research. Once you’ve left an event with business cards in hand, remember to go home and schedule a time to reconnect with people. A quick message and connection on LinkedIn or Twitter may be appropriate depending on the business and how close you felt the connection was.

Should you encourage employees to try and fail?

In today’s competitive marketplace, failure is often feared. After all, no one likes to lose at something – especially in the dog-eat-dog world of business, regardless of the industry. However, does the fear of failure mean that your employees are unwilling to think outside the box?

A fear of failure can bring upon any number of negative consequences. For example, Kim Kovacs, founder and CEO of the software company OptionEase, claims that failure is her favorite word at her company and that sometimes an employee’s fear of failure can actually be detrimental to the organization.

“People are so concerned about being successful all the time that sometimes they take shortcuts to be successful. I had a salesperson who would basically do anything with the client to get the deal. It was killing our company…she always had to sell something that didn’t exist. She couldn’t sell what we had. [I told her] you’ve got to fail. You are going to lose deals. You’re going to fail and you’re going to learn how to overcome those failures with the next deal and sell what we have, not what we’re going to have in six months… It’s OK to fail. If you can recognize the failure before it becomes epic, that’s a really good thing. You’re going to learn way more every time you fail at something than when you are succeeding,” Kovacs told Inc. magazine.

Employees need to be able to accept their failures and know that going back to the figurative drawing board is not a bad thing – sometimes it can even result in an even better solution.

“If (Roger Bannister) had run a four-minute mile the first time out of the gate, would he have run for nine years? Probably not. He might not have recognized that it was the wind behind his back, that it was the training he was on, the shoes he was in, he may not have had an opportunity to test all those failure points,” Kovacs told the news source.

Interestingly enough, new reports from Google and advice from Kovacs all support a new trend of hiring people who were once either fired from a job or who failed to get a perfect grade. It seems that the ability to take a punch and keep on rolling and the courage it requires to throw out an idea, make an employee a stronger candidate for future success. Recruiting software helps allow a staffing professional find these qualities in a potential job candidate and determine whether the person is the right fit for a company.

Should hiring and recruiting be reduced to an algorithm?

Do your hiring practices use strategic algorithms? Google does. The mega-force company has created a unique, and albeit eccentric, way to search for talent among the more than 100,000 job applications it receives each month, reports The New York Times.

Google’s growth is exceedingly unique – even by Silicon Valley standards. The company has more than doubled its number of employees in the last three years. With its growth and special needs, the company is forgoing traditional hiring practices in search of candidates that may typically slip through the cracks because they didn’t receive a perfect 4.0 GPA or don’t have certifications that read like the alphabet following their last name.

As a result, instead of traditional hiring practices, Google has created an algorithm to explore people’s personalities and what makes them tick in order to determine if a job candidate fits the people management profile the company is looking for.

Applicants are asked to fill out an elaborate survey filled with questions that cover topics like attitudes, behavior, biographical details and personality. It’s the test of all tests and is leading to some interesting hiring decisions.

“As we get bigger, we find it harder and harder to find enough people,” said Laszlo Bock, Google’s vice president for people operations, according to the news source. “With traditional hiring methods, we were worried we will overlook some of the best candidates.”

“We wanted to cast a very wide net,” Bock told the news source. “It is not unusual to walk the halls here and bump into dogs. Maybe people who own dogs have some personality trait that is useful.”

According to the news source and Google’s findings, dog ownership could impact an employee’s personality.

“You have to know or at least have a hypothesis why having a dog makes a good computer programmer,” Professor at the University of Oklahoma Michael Mumford told The New York Times. “If you ask whether someone started a club in high school, it is a clear indicator of leadership.”

As a result of Google’s research, the company is looking to expand its hiring practices.

“More and more in the time I’ve been here, we hire people based on experience as a proxy for what they can accomplish,” Bock said. “Last week we hired six people who had below a 3.0 G.P.A.”

Google is hardly the only company looking to innovate its hiring and recruitment practices. The Global Assessment Trends report claims that only 41 percent of companies are currently confident that their human capital strategy is truly the right solution. Most senior executives are looking to update hiring practices to create a more effective implementation of capital investments in human resourcing. The rapid rise of social media and mobile technology is providing staffing professionals greater resources and flexibility.

Companies are increasingly using assessment practices, either designed internally or externally, to get a better feel for a job candidate. Organizations looking to better leverage these hiring practices can invest in staffing software that integrates with psychometric analysis testing to facilitate the successful placement of candidates and employees. The right tools that incorporate the use of innovative and traditional hiring practices and assessment algorithms allow recruiters to better meet the demands of their customers and help to ensure the success of the candidate/employee on the job.

Generational diversity in the workplace Part 1: How it could impact your staffing decisions

For the first time ever, four generations are working together and having to blend their individual talents and the general qualities that typically mark each group. As you can imagine, there’s now a lot of age diversity in the workplace!

You have the pre-baby boomers, sometimes referred to as “traditionalists,” who may have experienced World War II rationing and then the baby boomers who were born between 1946 and 1964 and lived through post-war consumerism. Up next is generation X who were born between 1965 and 1985 and saw the beginning decline of U.S. manufacturing due to outsourcing and technology. Generation Y or Millennials were born after 1985 and were the first to relate their entire lives through technology.

Most developmental theorists believe that shared events will define and influence a generation and how they act in the workplace. Certainly every baby boomer is not the same, but the commonality of experiencing significant events together will create shared values and behaviors, according to a University of Minnesota paper titled, “Generational differences in the workplace.”

Those very same differences in shared experiences that make us interesting as individuals can lead to friction in the workplace. Older generations like baby boomers may be either mildly confused or outright dismayed or angered by Millennials, according to the whitepaper. In contrast, Millennials are often either openly or silently railing against typical office infrastructure and are sometimes bewildered or angered by older generations’ lack of flexibility or high expectations.

Of course, these differences or scenarios are not perfect and not every office is the same. However, there is an overall trend in the workplace that workers of all ages are experiencing either outright disdain or confusion.

Work ethic
One of the most talked about generational divide topics is the perceived decline in work ethic among younger workers. According to the paper, generation X was largely labeled the slacker generation, while boomers were considered workaholics. However, there is no concrete evidence that this is true. One Tang and Tzeng study from 1992 found that as age increased, reported work ethic actually decreased and these results were backed by further research. However, studies are conflicting on this. Because there is no clear cut answer on whether a worker’s productivity decreases as they age, businesses are creating long-term strategies that compromise between the advantages and disadvantages associated with workers of all generations. For example, the Work World Journal reports that companies are creating varying incentives for workers to choose from because not all people will be motivated for the same reward – especially across generational divides.

Loyalty toward an employer
Another disparity between the ages comes across in perceived loyalty toward an employer. Most baby boomers are perceived as highly loyal to their company and will only have one to three employers during their lifetime. Generation Xers will often have twice the number of employers and more particularly, feel loyalty to their peers and coworkers over the company. This variation results in greater job hopping for the younger group and demonstrations of fairness between the employer and employee is seen in example situations of providing two-weeks notice before leaving an organization. In contrast to both of these groups, Millennials are expected to have 15 to 20 jobs during the course of their working lives and only stay at an individual employer for less than three years.

After all those years spent dismissing frequent job hoppers, your staffing firm may be looking at this trend on an applicant’s resume as a plus or just a generational norm. What a change!

The disruptive changes that occur in the workplace due to personnel leaving can be leveraged for good. By creating a flexible office that thrives on changing dynamics, a cohesive department can pick up the slack that is created when one person leaves a position until another is hired and ramped up to pace.

Respect and authority
When discussing the differences and attitudes in the workplace between the different generations you can’t forget the issues that are cropping up regarding respect and authority. Traditionalists and baby boomers largely were brought up with the concept that an employer should always be respected and authority is created by age and time spent at a workplace. Boomers are comfortable with a top-down approach to management and regard those in authority positions with a certain level of mystique. However, younger generations, especially Millennials interact with authority figures in a more natural and casual way and don’t find it unusual to question upper management.

Because ageism in the workplace is both illegal and can harm productivity, it is important for a business to create the systems in place that will better support a clean more collaborative environment between various generations. Staffing and recruiting companies can play an important role in helping business’ achieve a highly productive, generationally diverse workforce. While staffing and recruiting software cannot help select candidates or employees by age BY LAW, it can enable staffing agencies to select by experience, qualifications, and other criteria important to business success.

The importance of photos and social media

Images hold power on social media and by using them properly, a staffing firm can better attract superior professional candidates. If an image is worth a thousand words, make the message worth hearing. There are a number of image-showing applications and social services currently on the market. Some of consumers’ favorites are Instagram, PicPlz, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook. On Facebook alone, there are up to 250 million photographs uploaded every day, reports Social Media Enquirer.

“People love to capture a moment in time with their friends and share it. We saw a lot of photo-sharing-type companies at Pepsico 10… [Instagram, and other photo-sharing apps] present a big opportunity for consumer marketers,” Pepsico’s Josh Karpf, told Mashable.

As a staffing professional knows, the right tools make the job easier! You’re already organizing and facilitating the matchup of job candidates to clients with your staffing and recruiting software. Now, amplify your use of social media image sharing to attract the candidates and clients you really want. A professional trusting you with their image and the direction of his or her career wants to know where you’re coming from. Your customers are trusting you to provide them with the team members that will bring success to their projects. So why not give all of them an in-depth look?

Platforms like Instagram can provide you a new window of communication with potential clients and job candidates. They aren’t just judging you from your written words – they are also looking to see something.

“We’ve now entered a phase in which visual communication is supplanting the written word,”said Bob Lisbonne, CEO of Luminate and former SVP of Netscape in the 1990s, according to Social Media Examiner. “What some are now calling the dawn of the Imagesphere.”

People are demanding that businesses show them “who” the company is.

“Society responds more to visual stimuli and storytelling than any story we read in a magazine or on a website. And the same goes for status updates and content curation. It’s not enough anymore to live tweet from a conference or corporate event. Customers are now saying: ‘Don’t just tell me. Show me.’ And brands better listen. Or 2012 will be the year they got left behind,” digital strategist Juston Goldsborough told the source.

From a marketing standpoint, a staffing firm could boost its name in the industry with clients and job candidates looking for a company they can trust. Businesses are already taking advantage of social image platforms and are finding success. For example, the American jean company Levi’s found that creating a social sharing competition asking people to submit images of themselves wearing Levi’s jeans made customers interact more with the brand. The contest was wildly successful and it seemed like everyone was going out to buy a pair of Levi’s to take part.

A staffing firm can take advantage of the power of photo sharing by creating a campaign that demonstrates the human aspect of the business. One idea, consider making a campaign picturing the workers you’ve placed in their “natural” habitats. Not only will this show how a staffing firm is successfully filling positions in a wide range of industries, it could also prompt the creation of more than a few funny images (so long as care is taken not to create or show images that could be misleading, dangerous, illegal, or offensive). Tailored, professional images are great for some things, but in the social sphere, sometimes letting the amateur photographer in all of us is the way to go.

Avoiding hiring mistakes

Your clients have reviewed resumes, Googled candidates’ names and taken the time to interview each candidate. When they have finally made a decision about who to hire it seems like they’ve found the perfect candidate. However, just six months after making this decision the new hire is gone and they’re forced to begin the search all over again.

What happened?

It’s hard to tell. But, it’s proven that hiring and retaining the right employees is a crucial component of running a successful business. As a result, it’s up to a company to kickstart the process, get to the bottom of the issue and brainstorm a number of possible solutions.

The ability to match employees or potential candidates with the roles that are right for them and the business is fraught with confusion. As a result, many companies turn toward staffing and recruiting firms to provide clarity and solutions to the problem. After all, as a professional in this industry you’re trained to deal with the bumps that come up in the hiring process. You’re fine-tuned recruiting processes, instincts and ability to find and identify qualified candidates that best fit your customers’ needs makes you the right solution for customers who are tired of going through the rigmarole.

Here are a few of the problems many of your clients may have faced:

Hiring process flaws

Yes, it’s not a surprise that your clients may be making a few faux pas while conducting their own hiring process. It’s such a common flaw. After all, how is a piece of paper and a brief interview really going to tell them if a job candidate is a person who is going to put all of his or her effort into the job and deliver consistent results. It’s an inherently flawed system that a customer has to deal with, which is why it often makes sense to hire a staffing firm. As a staffing and recruiting professional, you have experience and tools in your recruitment and staffing software to provide you a more flexible and in-depth analysis of a candidate’s skills. You can facilitate the hiring process in a highly customized manner that fits everyone’s needs.

Unstructured entry procedures

Once a candidate has been selected, it is the onboarding entry process that is going to better solidify his or her opinion of an organization. If the hiring process is unruly and lacks the necessary steps that protect the worker and the company, he or she may feel uncomfortable from the get go. However, if the entry process is overly structured – perhaps even automated with no touch of personality or a welcome air, a worker is going to feel like just a number and that hardly instills a sense of trust and loyalty. You can create a positive experience by having a system in place that is structured, while also making sure the new hire is meeting new people and being welcomed into the fold.

Customized performance measurements

A company does have to work on some form of unified metric. However, not every person, situation or department is the same. The world just wasn’t made to fit “the one size fits all” module (except for baseball caps. Those seem to always fit!). A company needs to be sure that its performance metrics are not only objective, but that they also clearly identify and differentiate between top and bottom performers. Then, upon evaluation, it should be clear why the person has either thrived in a position or fell behind. Later discussions with the individual in question should provide both parties a sense of positive momentum on where each side can come together to better the situation on behalf of the worker and the company.