Three tips for recruiters to identify poor workers before you place them.

As a staffing professional, a client is trusting you to identify the potential candidates who will demonstrate strong performance in a given role. You’re given a lot of responsibility and are a key player in the hiring process. As you are often the first line of defense against a poor hiring decision, you’ve got to craft a way to identify the low-performing workers.

Your cutting edge staffing software will help you track candidates, organize who’s who, and identify which worker is best for what job. At that point, you still have to weed out the undesirables, the unqualified, the cultural miss-matches, and the chronically poor-performers before they ever get the chance to enter your system as a potential candidate. Here are five tips for identifying under performing workers:

1) Ability to meet goals. First and foremost, you need to know whether a worker is able to complete tasks in a timely manner. Take a deeper look into their portfolio of work or the tasks they were charged with in a past position. Were the responsibilities given to this person on par with industry standards? Next, you have to determine if the person under or over achieved due to unfair standards set at that company or personal failure. This can sometimes be hard to do, but with questioning it is possible. Always check references, and don’t be afraid to ask probing questions of those references.

2) Responsible with communications. How well does the individual interact with you over the phone or in person? While a bit of nerves may be expected and forgiven when interacting with a stranger (depending on what industry the person is in), the inability to communicate effectively is often a deal breaker in an employee-employer relationship. In addition to checking a person’s skills when talking over the phone or emailing, you will also have to ask yourself if they are responsible communicators. Does the person get back to you within an acceptable amount of time? Does the worker spell your name correctly or even remember to use a proper salutation? These are critical skills in the workplace and employers want to be able to trust their workers to handle simple phones calls and emails without direction.

3) Proper attitude. When you have decided to evaluate a potential worker for a position, how did they react? Are they courteous and confident, or are they rude and inept? The right attitude in an evaluation and while completing everyday tasks is important. A client is going to want you to identify a worker who will seamlessly integrate into the corporate culture, but still not be afraid to speak up if there are improvements or strategies that can be developed.

As a staffing professional, what methods do you use to identify who is going to be a strong and productive worker or a potential problem in the office? Some professional recruiters have a system in place, while others rely on a gut feeling. Are you using any technologies, like your recruiting software, to help your make your decision on who to show to a client?

The importance of the human element

It seems that we can’t do anything without a digital presence anymore. Our phones are now gadgets that can handle a million and one tasks – or waste our time with a game of ‘Angry Birds’. Our televisions have become computers and even remotes are getting a facelift with touch screen applications. You and I are increasingly identified by our digital presence, but are you also remembering to keep a human element to your social strategy?

With miles between us and communication being done in 160 characters, it can sometimes be easy to forget that the audience we are talking to is just like you and I. However, the most successful social marketing or branding strategies enable the human element. The strategies remember the individual amidst the collective.

For example, actor Zach Braff from “Scrubs” is making headlines this week for the quickly rising popularity of his Kickstarter film “Wish I Was Here.” The film is expected to be somewhat of a sequel to the popular RomCom “Garden State,” and Braff wished to fund the project and show his backers how a film is made in a step-by-step process. His goal is to give the audience the ultimate inside look. In less than a week, Braff has managed to raise about $2,491,848 (past his $2 million goal) with about 35,000 backers.

You may think to yourself, that’s great, an actor who has a following, but what does this have to do with me in the staffing industry?

Braff has a history of engagement with his fans. He has over 1,092,000 followers on Twitter and 1,334,421 Likes on Facebook, as of May 8, 2013. Amidst that huge following, instead of talking at his audience, he has remembered to talk with them by creating conversations about projects and mundane tasks and sharing funny GIFs. Instead of talking to his fans about his latest clothing line, he is remembering the human element and trying to create conversations as an individual instead of a brand (consequently increasing his brand’s street cred).

As a staffing professional, you don’t have to be as cool as Zach Braff (even if it might help), but you do need to remember to engage your audience with a sense of integrity and honesty. If you’re slightly nerdy, let that come out a bit in your profile. You can still remain professional, while giving a hint of your overall personality.

Top three things to avoid in your staffing and recruiting office

We all have our vices and little character flaws that can come out in the work place, but what actions can get you in the most hot water or interrupt your productivity? As a staffing and recruiting professional, you are working under constant deadlines so any unnecessary fluff that isn’t contributing to your happiness or professionalism should get shown the door.

1) Office gossip. Yes, we realize that everyone talks about everyone. However, if you don’t let yourself get caught up in office chatter you can spend more time on completing tasks and avoid becoming engrossed in unhealthy commentary. Gossiping about coworkers behind their backs about failing to correctly complete a project or what they looked like as they rushed into the office late one morning is not only unkind, but it poorly reflects on your ability to be a leader in the workplace. Also, the same professionalism applies to your candidates and contingent employees. Remember that getting them into good working situations with your clients keeps you employed and profitable! Keep a more positive outlook and demonstrate to everyone that acceptance and kindness are positive virtues by walking away from office gossip. You will decrease the negativity in your life and increase the amount of time you have to focus on work and succeeding as a recruiter.

2) Focusing on the past. Focusing unduly on your past actions in a negative light is going to get in the way of your ability to succeed at work. Instead, try and turn every mistake into an opportunity. Learn from your past social faux pas or lack of organization by using tools like recruiting software more effectively and re-strategizing your approach. Use your software as a tool to measure your progress over time and improve your recruiting and staffing processes to reduce errors. Every day does not have to be a repeat of the last. You can learn and advance your career and outlook on life by being willing to change and adapt.

3) The Blame Game. Just like when we were children and trying to foist off the repercussions to our actions on our siblings, no one likes to own up to making a mistake. However, in the workplace, it will often make you a stronger employee to own up to your mistakes and offer potential ways to fix whatever negative outcome came about as a result. Playing the blame game shows a lack of maturity. Hold yourself and your team accountable for the results and you’ll be able to cheer on the victories that come from a better understanding of your complementary strengths and weaknesses.

As a staffing professional, your job is to strategically evaluate the strengths and weakness of a potential candidate for the job your client is looking to fill. Turn those skills inward and try and determine how you can better your career. Do you have any key strategies for avoiding unhealthy or unproductive actions during the workday?

Temporary agencies seek ways to improve margins as job growth continues

The most recent jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor was full of positive news for the nation’s economy. Based on a seasonally-adjusted basis, the nation added 165,000 non-farm jobs in April 2013. Significantly, the FordyceLetter reports that temporary workers accounted for 20 percent of all of April’s job growth. That’s 30,800 jobs – almost one in five positions. With this improving employment picture, temporary staffing agencies are seeking ways to improve their margins even as they face new challenges to their business.

The shift in employment trends
In addition, revisions to the previous month’s jobs reports signified that employment growth was greater than reported. New job estimates for February and March 2013 increased by a combined 114,000 – on top of previous numbers. This brings the employment growth for the first quarter of 2013 to 618,000. This is only slightly behind the 208,000 monthly job growth average of last year. While some economists or officials lament the decline, it’s important to remember that any additions are progress and the rate of employment growth is remaining steady – instead of jumping up and down and creating uncertainty in the economy.

The increase in the contingent workforce is a new trend that is picking up speed. A wide variety of industries are showing a preference for hiring temporary workers for some positions. As a staffing professional, this may mean a change in how you conduct business in order to improve your margins. For example, you may find yourself contacting potential job candidates who are experienced working as a freelancer or contingent worker, which is more common in the tech and creative industries. Or, it’s very possible that you could find yourself working to convince a passive job seeker to consider leaving a full-time, permanent position for a contract job. Passive job seekers embody the portion of the workforce not actively looking for a new position, but are not opposed to greater opportunities. By seeking out and recruiting high-caliber candidates you can offer these to your clients for positions that require fast ramp-up times – and so generate higher margins for your business.

What you may need to handle the shift in employment trends

Because of the changing trend in the employment industry and the rapid growth, you may find yourself being inundated with requests from clients and potential job candidates. Especially if you find yourself with a steady go-to group of workers in set industries who specialize in contingent positions, you will have to gain instant access to where these people are in the hiring process. This includes knowing who is under contract when and whether an individual worker and his or her temporary employer decide to turn the position full time.

A cloud-accessible recruiting software that enables you to better understand the situation an employer or potential job candidate may find him or herself in will become necessary. In the fast-paced industry of staffing, missing the right candidate or being unable to have information on hand can be a detriment to your job performance and to the margins you would like to generate. Are you seeing a change in the number of clients who are requesting for contingent workers? Do you think you have the right tools in place to handle this trend?

Making the Case for the 140 Character Twitter #Résumé

Can you describe all of your distinctive attributes in 140 characters or less? Better yet, can you sum up your entire job résumé into one “tweet”?

Many people are starting to speculate that Twitter, the social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read short messages, has the capability to transform the world of recruitment and staffing.

With more than 200 million active users, Twitter certainly has the scale to become a fundamental recruitment tool.

“Twitter is becoming the new job board. It is also becoming the new résumé,” states Rachel Emma Silverman and Laura Weber in their article for the Wall Street Journal. “Fed up with traditional recruiting sites and floods of irrelevant résumés, some recruiters are turning to the social network to post jobs, hunt for candidates and research applicants. Job seekers, in turn, are trying to summarize their CV’s in 140 characters…”


So how will recruiters use Twitter to find the best candidates? erecruit just announced a partnership with MBLAST, which will provide extraordinary social media intelligence, including alerts about a potential job candidate’s Twitter activity, to all users of erecruit’s enterprise staffing software.

Despite the format of a “twesume” being restriced to a limited character count, it is evident that the concept of landing a job via twitter is #trendingworldwide. Even the Twitter Spokeswoman, Alexandra Valasek, believes that the social networking site, “Allows you to develop a certain rapport with recruiters and companies you otherwise would not have access to. A tweet is much easier to send than an email or a phone call.”

Prafful Sharma, Co-Founder of HireRabbit, fully explains through statistics why the staffing industry should be using Twitter as a recruiting tool in his article for

  1. 39% of all job seekers are on Twitter
  2. 23% of all job seekers (71% of those with a profile) have leveraged Twitter in their job hunt
  3. 8% have updated Twitter with their professional information
  4. 6% have received a job referral through Twitter
  5. 8 million Americans credit Twitter as a source that led to their current job

So how does a jobseeker go about creating a 140 character tweet that encompasses every aspect of their résumé?

According to an article by Joe Turner, a veteran recruiter for The Ladders, every Twitter résumé should include the following four major elements:

  1. Desired job title
  2. Desired location
  3. Keywords with hash tags
  4. Link to résumé, personal homepage or your social-networking profile page, such as LinkedIn.


RT #Donna Molinari seeks a LEAD/SR QA ENG JOB @teTalentNetwork – @TweetMyResume #resume #QA-Jobs-CA

Since we live in a society where the use of online social networking is becoming more prevalent by the day, should Twitter readjust their service to better target the needs of the staffing and recruiting industry? With thousands more people signing up every day to share announcements, images, videos, and thoughts maybe Twitter should get the ball rolling on incorporating the “new elevator pitch” into their business model.

LinkedIn now lets your candidates share more

LinkedIn, the largest professional social media networking site on the market, has just added the ability to share photos and videos. This new addition will go a long way toward the creation of a more creative-friendly interface. Those professionals who work in the creative industry as a photographer, videographer, presenter or UX designer, will now be able to publish their latest projects in a portfolio format directly on their LinkedIn profile.

“There are hundreds of ways for us to express ourselves in our daily lives. From the clothes we wear to the words we choose to use, the pictures we share and the music we play – the possibilities are endless,” wrote LinkedIn Project Manager Udi Milo, according to the news source. “This is equally important in the professional context, as no two professionals are alike. For the first time, you will now have the ability to showcase your unique professional story using rich, visual content on your LinkedIn profile.”

In the past, many professionals who work in more visual fields were forced to place links on their LinkedIn profile to an outside website to direct potential employers to demonstrations of their skills. This new update will allow staffing professionals to find all of the information they need about a potential job candidate in the creative fields in a streamlined manner – saving time and making recruiting software data creation more complete.

However, the challenge for staffing and recruiting professionals may be overcoming the subjective judgments that come with viewing visual content that may in turn affect your ability to find the right candidate for your customer. What do you think?

Are you a likeable person?

Are you striking the power pose in every meeting? While it might be great for your own self-confidence, it may not be the best way to boost your business. People enjoy interacting with likeable individuals. If you’re a strong, professional recruiter who gets the job done and is also likeable, you’re more likely to get their business.

However, not everyone has a natural ability to build camaraderie with new acquaintances. This doesn’t mean you’re not likeable, just that the natural ability to put someone at ease and establish a rapport may not be your strongest talent. Here are a few tips for boosting your likeability factor:

1) Keep a positive attitude.

It’s easy to remain positive when things are going your way. However, the true test of a person’s character is her or his ability to keep things positive when work is getting tough or a project is not succeeding. By reflecting a more positive outlook, people will be more inclined to do the same back to you.

2) Let people talk about themselves.

As a staffing professional, a majority of your interactions will be with clients or potential job candidates who are telling you about their needs, skills and experience. As a result, most of the time you should be encouraging individuals to talk about themselves. However, open this up to a more general conversation that is a bit less structured. Take a few minutes here and there to open the discussion up to more personal items. Just remember to make sure no lines are crossed with potential job candidates that could get you into hot water! You’re trying to get the most information about a person to appropriately fill his or her profile in your staffing software, but you’re also trying to identify what type of work environment they would be best in. That ‘cultural fit’ can be extremely important to the long-term success of your placement.

3) Show a bit of holiday cheer.

Regardless of what time of year it is, try and keep goodwill in your heart. Not every missed call or gaffe is intended to make life hard for you. Keeping the warm feelings associated with the winter holidays and other special moments throughout the year will allow you to feel happier and encourage others to also be kinder, more likeable to their peers.

Finally, remember that ‘likeability’ is nearly synonymous with ‘responsiveness.’ Make the effort to return every call and every email from a candidate or employee. Don’t rely on canned responses. Let them know you are interested in their success, and you will be rewarded with trust and a big thumbs-up ‘like’.