How will #hashtags on Facebook impact staffing and recruiting professionals?

#Hashtags are here to stay. The organizational tool that gained popularity on Twitter is now officially on Facebook. The social media network announced that it began to support the categorizational tool on June 12, reported Wired. This is all well and good for marketers, but what does this mean for staffing and recruiting professionals?

The new hashtag system can improve the efficiency of tech-savvy staffing professionals using social media for candidate sourcing and targeted recruiting. Recruiter reported that the hashtags will allow a staffing professional to search for an individual phrase or see what a group is talking about in real time.

Recruiting professional Peter Linas told the news source that the inclusion of hashtags on Facebook will allow recruiters to quickly identify trends and tailor job ads to attract the right type of candidates.

“Recruiters will now be able to quickly identify trends and tailor their vacancy placements appropriately. The potential is exciting,” he told Recruiter. “Imagine if a marketing recruiter was dealing with a series of advertising job orders; they could use the momentum generated by a popular related television show – like Mad Men, for example – to push their vacancies in front of an already engaged audience. But the introduction of hashtags doesn’t change the fact that recruiters need to be careful not to clutter potential candidates’ newsfeeds with excess job vacancies.”

CNN reported that the hashtag, as we know of it today, was created by Chris Messina. Twitter adopted the organizational system to allow users to search, organize or promote certain ideas or phrases. The increasing use of the tool has sometimes gone beyond an organizational purpose. Some Facebook users have been using the hashtag in their posts before it was even a functional element of the social media site. According to the news source, several other social sites already use hashtags, including: Flickr, Tumblr, Google and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Hashtags will ease the search process for trends and potential hires – especially among passive candidates. Staffing professionals will now be able to more directly see how one term or another is gaining popularity. Now, implementing that information into staffing software will make everything more searchable.

Healthcare reform is changing employee tracking requirements for the staffing industry

Healthcare reform is making significant changes to the way small- to-medium-sized businesses are conducting internal affairs besides upgrading to recruiting software. The Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 is making sweeping alterations to the healthcare system, and impacting staffing and recruiting firms. The biggest concern is the requirement for employers to offer health insurance coverage to full-time employees or face paying tax penalties. For staffing companies, it means more tracking of employees.

However, according to the American Staffing Association, the new “look-back” rule that was recently approved by the Obama administration is intended to reduce the penalties a staffing firm could face. As a result of all the confusion, the ASA has created an online calculator and documents that will outline the possible paths a recruiting firm may take to comply with new regulations. The rule requires staffing companies to add or enhance the tracking of their employees to ensure eligibility and compliance. This is something that their staffing software should be able to handle with efficiency so that it does not adversely impact internal staff productivity.

New healthcare act compliance principles released
“The ASA Statement of Principles demonstrates the staffing industry’s firm commitment to compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its ongoing commitment to the well-being of the individuals staffing firms employ every day,” said Richard Wahlquist, ASA president and chief executive officer. “Staffing firms will work closely with clients and human resource professionals to help them understand how the health care law applies to their use of staffing services. And staffing firms will work closely with their temporary and contract employees to ensure they understand their rights, opportunities, and obligations under the ACA.”

The principles drafted by the ASA are intended for staffing firms to share with clients when a discussion must be had over the additional costs associated with compliance. Employers must remember to keep track of the compliance calendar to prevent the accrual of various fees and taxes due. A Medicare or Medicaid standard has also been added to the list of required compliance standards. As of January 1, 2013, employers were required to cap flexible spending account contributions at $2,500, the withholding Medicare tax increased from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent on high-income taxpayers and a new 3.8 percent Medicare tax was imposed on unearned income. So far, according to the ASA timeline, these are the only standards put into place.

However, by October 1, 2013, a staffing and recruiting firm and an employer will have to determine who is taking charge of certain responsibilities. In addition, employers will be required to notify current employees and all new hires following this date about the employer’s health insurance offerings. In addition information about whether there is an available insurance marketplace for public health and whether an employee is eligible for either option is required.

What staffing firms will have to focus on determining in 2013
Those are only the changes made this year that are altering the healthcare industry – others are scheduled to start in 2014. What most staffing companies will have to determine is whether the recruiting organization or the client is the employer of the worker. The law does not specify the entity responsible for healthcare coverage options.

“Common-law rules will determine who are employers and employees. Staffing firms should be viewed as the employers if they assume, and properly discharge, the employer responsibilities under the law, but certain types of staffing arrangements may be scrutinized to prevent abuses,” according to the ASA guidelines.

The next year will bring interesting changes for staffing and recruiting firms that are faced with potentially making changes on how they classify workers. Agencies looking for further clarification can consult with the ASA and visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Good news for staffing and recruiting professionals: More Americans are quitting their jobs

As a staffing and recruiting professional, what constitutes good news? Could it be more new clients signing on for your services? Or, could an increase in the number of Americans quitting their jobs be the positive news you are looking for? A recent report from the U.S. Department of Labor claims that more Americans are quitting their jobs, which suggests to experts that people are growing more confident in the job market. And that means that your potential pool of candidates could be growing.

The Associated Press reported that the number of workers who quit their job in April 2013 increased 7.2 percent to 2.25 million. This increase in the number of workers who quit their jobs in April is less than February’s level, which was the highest recorded in 4.5 years. While more Americans decided to quit – more also found new career opportunities. Overall hiring also increased in April 2013, as employers filled about 4.4 million jobs during that month – a 5 percent increase from March.

The report from the Department of Labor indicates that the number of professionals seeking new opportunities is on the rise and more employers are looking to either expand their staff or replace roles that have been left vacant. While the economy has not reached the positive level seen before the Great Recession, it is showing signs of steady improvement.

Employers are still cautious of the state of the economy, however, staffing companies are seeing more orders for temporary positions as employers look to bring on staff to handle their short-term business needs without committing to full-time employees.

“We’re still stuck in this labor market where employers don’t have a lot of conviction,” said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey, according to Bloomberg. “You’re still talking about levels that are bouncing around in a range without a whole lot of upward tilt to it.”

Staffing and recruiting professionals who are noticing the uptick in the number of candidates looking for new opportunities on the market may find that they need more capable recruiting software. As has always been the case in staffing and recruiting, reducing your ‘time to fill’ ratio is a key measure of your success in a competitive market, and high performance staffing and recruiting software plays a crucial role in this.

As the economy continues to improve, investments in the right process-management tools will become increasingly important. How is your recruitment firm prepared to deal with the influx in business?

Are online job boards impacting your staffing and recruitment business?

Is your staffing and recruitment business impacted by online job sites? While online job sites for temporary workers are nothing new, changes in the marketplace and improved user experience on assignment boards are growing in popularity. So much so that websites like TaskRabbit have created new components that specialize in connecting workers directly with small- and medium-size businesses, reports

“Small businesses are already our fastest growing customer segment,” Anne Raimondi, TaskRabbit’s CRO, told the news source. “They account for over 30 percent of our revenue. So this move is about listening to our customers as they tell us what they want and also seeing how they use our platform.”

The economic downturn is largely being attributed for the rise in popularity in job boards that offer temporary or contract employment opportunities that may reduce the role of the ‘middle-man’ – staffing firms – from the recruiting and hiring process.

“People have said our success is partly due to the economic downturn and while that may be true, something deeper is happening,” Raimondi told the news source. “We have highly educated people – 75 percent of them have at least a bachelor’s degree. They are choosing this because they don’t want a full-time job. They want a lot of flexibility and diversity in their lives and control over their destiny.”

It’s important to note that just because online opportunities are gaining more traffic, staffing and recruiting professionals are not seeing a downtick in the number of potential candidates or clients. According to the American Staffing Association, U.S. staffing and recruiting companies employed an average of 2.86 million temporary and contract workers per day in the first quarter of 2013 – up 2.9 percent in a year-over-year comparison. In fact, the first quarter of 2013 was the 13th consecutive quarter that demonstrated staffing job growth since the recession ended in 2009.

“Temporary and contract employment is a good indicator of where the economy is today,” said Richard Wahlquist, American Staffing Association president and chief executive officer. “Most staffing firms expect to see slow but steady growth in the months ahead.”

Why are staffing professionals not feeling the burden of online job boards? It’s simple. While online networking sites are simple and typically free, they don’t offer the same quality of services that a staffing professional can. Using recruiting software, you’re able to track a candidate’s progress through the entire recruiting process and match them effectively with the specific needs of your customers so that they have a higher level of confidence in the performance capabilities of the candidate.

The right combination of tools, skills and experiences make a staffing and recruitment professional the go-to source in the employment industry.

Three interview questions staffing and recruiting pros should always use

Even the strongest staffing and recruiting professional can brush up on his or her skills. Reviewing one’s interviewing techniques can help a staffing professional gain the necessary knowledge he or she requires to determine whether a potential hire is the right person for a job. To ensure that the information contained in your staffing software is complete and as fully fleshed out as possible, use a combination of questions in an interview. These three questions will help you better determine the strengths and weakness of a potential hire.

So, tell me about yourself
This is often the universal way any hiring manager or staffing professional will begin an interview because it allows the interviewer to take a step back from the process and see how the potential hire takes control of the conversation. A mumbled or disjointed answer can indicate that a potential hire is unable to think on his or her feet and even complete the simple task of communicating who they are as a professional.

Why do you want to work here?
This is a tricky question, but one that a potential hire should most likely understand. What this question really asks is “how much do you know about the company?” As a result, it is the ideal opportunity for you to examine how much effort the person has put into the interview. Youtern reported that researching both the company and the interviewer is a recommended step in the meeting process, which means that a candidate who fails to do either or both shows a lack of commitment and dedication.

“Answering this question also allows a candidate to give a confident response that basically says, ‘I picked you!'” Vickie Austin, business and career coach, told the news source. “Without being presumptuous, the person can boldly attest to the fact that they screened this company, then express the desire to make a difference working for them.”

Tell me about a challenging situation that did not end well
If a recruiter really wants to gauge how a person will react in the workplace, sometimes it’s best to understand his or her faults before their strengths. By specifying that the situation had to end poorly, you are setting the person up to describe a situation in which he or she failed to perform well. If the individual says no situation like this exists or can’t think of one, he or she is most likely inexperienced or brushing over the truth.

Staffing and recruiting professionals like you are probably already using questions like this, along with a variety of other tools, such as video interviews, personality assessments, and staffing and recruiting software, to help you find the candidate that best fits your customers’ needs. It’s up to you to stay on top of your game to fill the order first!

Staffing and recruiting pros get it right: Google admits its famous “brainteasers” are useless for hiring

Back in March I wrote about how Google used a special algorithm to aid in hiring. Now they’re making hiring news for a different reason. Really, does any other company make as many headlines concerning hiring in traditional media sources as Google? The answer is most likely no, which is why when the tech giant admitted that its famed brainteasers, which were used to determine the qualifications of candidates, weren’t the best practice, both staffing and recruiting professionals took notice.

Brainteasers found useless in hiring at Google
The New York Times reporter Adam Bryant interviewed Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people and operations at Google, and there were some surprising clips. According to the news source, Bock claims that internal studies the company has done have found that brainteasers were pretty useless and more traditional hiring methods are actually worth their salt – surprise!

“On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time. How many golf balls can you fit into an airplane? How many gas stations in Manhattan? A complete waste of time. They don’t predict anything. They serve primarily to make the interviewer feel smart,” Bock told the news source.

Bock went on to say in the interview that structured behavioral interviews are a better method for assessing potential candidates, according to the news source. The real key to the entire process is consistency to determine which individual is the best for the position.

“Behavioral interviewing also works — where you’re not giving someone a hypothetical, but you’re starting with a question like, ‘Give me an example of a time when you solved an analytically difficult problem.’ The interesting thing about the behavioral interview is that when you ask somebody to speak to their own experience, and you drill into that, you get two kinds of information. One is you get to see how they actually interacted in a real-world situation, and the valuable ‘meta’ information you get about the candidate is a sense of what they consider to be difficult,” Bock told the news source.

GPAs fall out of grace with Google
A Google study has found that brainteasers are worthless in determining the candidate who will best perform. In addition, the company’s past reliance on grade point averages is also a waste unless a person is just a couple years out of college.

“After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different,” Bock told the news source. “You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.”

The company also found that selecting leaders from outside the organization required a more detailed approach.

“On the leadership side, we’ve found that leadership is a more ambiguous and amorphous set of characteristics than the work we did on the attributes of good management, which are more of a checklist and actionable,” Bock told The New York Times. “We found that, for leaders, it’s important that people know you are consistent and fair in how you think about making decisions and that there’s an element of predictability. If a leader is consistent, people on their teams experience tremendous freedom, because then they know that within certain parameters, they can do whatever they want. If your manager is all over the place, you’re never going to know what you can do, and you’re going to experience it as very restrictive.”

Besides providing an “AHA” moment for hiring managers who may have been reluctant to forgo traditional interview methods for the less-orthodox options Google touted for its success, this may also demonstrate the evolving trends in hiring. But I think that staffing and recruiting pros, with their deep experience and recruiting software can and do beat Google at the hiring game with great regularity.

Recruiting and staffing firms express optimism about hiring

The Great Recession has undeniably left its mark on the employment sector. Following the dip in the economy, many companies laid off workers and decreased hiring – leaving millions of professionals scrambling to find work. However, the economy has steadily been progressing since 2008. New reports show that staffing and recruiting professionals’ clients are optimistic about hiring and their staffing software is filling up with new clients signing on and looking for workers to fill positions.

A recent study from Top Echelon has found that 70 percent of recruiters believe their clients are optimistic about hiring throughout the rest of 2013.

“It’s not surprising that companies are optimistic,” said Matt Deutsch, Communications Coordinator at the Top Echelon, according to the press release. “What’s a little surprising is that they’re this optimistic. When you combine the two categories of ‘very optimistic’ and ‘somewhat optimistic’ in this survey, nearly 70 percent of recruiters are optimistic to some degree, a rather substantial figure. “Ideally, the percentage of companies that are optimistic about hiring and embrace it more will continue to grow throughout the rest of this year and into the next. This survey is indicative of a positive trend within the recruiting industry, both for recruiters and for those who are seeking new employment opportunities.”

According to the survey, over half of all staffing and recruiting professionals (52.1 percent) believe their clients are “somewhat optimistic” about hiring, 16.9 percent are “very optimistic” and 26.8 percent are “neutral.” Only 2.8 percent of recruiters report that their clients are “somewhat pessimistic” about hiring and 1.4 percent claim their clients are “very pessimistic.”

This news comes on the heels of last month’s jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor, which found that the total number of nonfarm employment rose by 165,000 in April 2013. The agency reported that the unemployment rate has declined by 0.4 percentage points since January 2013 to 7.5 percent.

The economy is on the rise and staffing and recruiting professionals are finding that this is improving clients’ outlooks on hiring. As the number of jobs being handled by recruiters continues to rise, the right tools will become an even greater necessary investment. The right staffing software can help a recruiter stay up-to-date on the latest movements of his or her candidates and track the hiring process on any mobile device thanks to cloud technology.

Top Tips – CRM System

ThumbsUpThinking of changing your CRM system? Toby Conibear, Business Development Director, Bond International Software offers five tips to consider…

Overhauling the business’ CRM system is no easy feat, yet many recruitment consultancies underestimate the scale of the task. Indeed, many are under the impression that they can simply unplug one CRM system and seamlessly move to the next. A dangerous move when the potential risks to the recruitment business can be devastating.

For instance, if decisions are rushed on which particular CRM system to implement, or configurations are made without an appreciation of exactly how the business requirements will be met, the system will not meet the recruitment consultants’ needs, will not be used and productivity may  be reduced.

Quite a dilemma therefore, for recruiters who are constantly trying to keep ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Here are some top tips of things to consider when making the change:

Define your business case at the outset

Before recruitment businesses can decide what new CRM solution they want to implement, they need to identify exactly what it is that they want to achieve. If business objectives are not spelt out from the beginning for instance, it is likely that the end product will be entirely different to what was envisaged – and needed – at the outset. This will prove to be hugely costly for the investors, and frustrating for the consultants on the front line.

Technical expertise will get the job done

Whether project managing in-house or through the supplier themselves, seeking technical advice from someone who can translate the key business requirements into a functional specification will make it easier for the system provider to configure the right areas of the software in the correct fashion first time.

Generally speaking, recruiters are not IT experts, but they need to ensure that the tools they are equipping themselves with are sure to deliver their requirements. Take advantage of your supplier’s technical consultancy and expertise to give yourself the greatest chance of meeting your needs and therefore improving your processes and ongoing performance. In identifying the business requirements, organisations need to understand just how technical it can get, and so leave the job to the experts, by putting your trust in experienced heads that can translate those needs into meaningful technology deliverables.

Invest the time to define your objectives

Recruitment agencies must be prepared to dedicate sufficient time and resource to changing the CRM system, and before the project is even started, they must consider whether they can indeed afford to spend such time away from the main business.

People often underestimate the amount of time that they will have to dedicate to ensure that the project is a success from the outset. Putting the hours in is essential, so start early, define your objectives and confirm your initial selection and configuration processes.

All CRM systems will claim to offer you the best functionality and tools for your business – the trick is working out what the business actually requires to run in the most efficient way, focusing less on the latest bells and whistles and concentrating on the principle requirements of the CRM – function, ease-of-use, flexibility and scalability.

Opt for flexibility and ease of configuration

In such a volatile and fast-moving market, recruiters must take a flexible approach to their processes and therefore their CRM systems to maintain their competitive edge. Configurations therefore have to cater for current and predicted needs. Selecting a CRM package that can be immediately configured in any area of the software or workflow possible will allow the recruiter to stay ahead of the curve, deploy the latest technologies and offer their clients the very best of services.

Make intelligent investment decisions

Recruitment businesses can get bogged down by always aiming to have the latest technology and software updates, but unless the investment delivers true value to the consultants actually using the product, there is little point in purchasing so frivolously. Instead, have open conversations with your teams and investigate what would make their lives easier and more productive – their involvement in the process helps deliver a useful end result, and ensures their buy-in from the outset.

So don’t just invest in CRM systems for the sake of it – the economic instability we find ourselves faced with today determines that “nice-to-haves” are no longer an option. Instead, identify the solutions that are guaranteed to directly benefit the individual consultant and the ways in which they are working, and make this intention the motto of the entire project.

The Global Recruiter

Social media identifies the passive job seeker

Social media networks are such an ingrained part of the cyberspace community that it is almost hard to believe that there was once a time when they didn’t exist. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all become an essential cog in the machine of proactive user engagement, with millions of people happy to post thoughts, photos and life status updates at a moment’s notice.

This willingness to share experiences or like certain events or brands has seen a subtle shift in the way that companies approach the retail marketplace, drawing on the rich seam of user-provided data to enhance their own business objectives and goals. While the focus has been primarily on selling concepts and products to an online consumer population, the staffing software sector has also seen the value in identifying potential job seekers through social media activity and targeted recruitment techniques.

“It’s giving employers a lot more information to act on,” said Ray Wang, CEO and principal analyst of Constellation Research Inc., according to

Turned upside down
Social media has, in the opinion of industry analysts, turned the recruiting world upside down, in many ways shifting the employment search from a potential candidate to the recruiter or company themselves. With millions of job openings not only being posted online everyday but also being sent directly to both active and passive job seekers, the social network is no longer just a conduit for displaying an individual lifestyle.

“Social media features will become a permanent part of recruiting software systems, but the transformation is far from complete,” said Chris Gould, senior director of the talent acquisition solutions group for Aon Hewitt, according to the news source. “We are seeing a lot of consolidation in the marketplace as HR vendors try to gain traction in this space. But they are still figuring out how to integrate them into their talent suites.”

The challenge for recruiters and human resource managers is to ensure that social media networks are able to to provide the information or data that will identify whether a prospective candidate is right for the job, and (conversely) if there is anything in a user’s history that runs a red flag up the virtual flagpole. With virtual interaction no longer limited to the PC or laptop, recruiting software has to be flexible enough to cover mobile devices and other established electronic communication tools, all of which ensure that the job seeker is constantly connected, and by association, available for contact.

Virtual launching point
According to the BBC, social media is now a crucial tool in the recruiting software field, with hiring managers increasingly using professional sites such as LinkedIn as a means of checking out a candidate profile. A recent survey of the human resources sector showed that 65 percent will use the information presented as a means to determine relevant experience, with a virtual presence deemed to be essential as a “launching point for job seekers.”

The study also revealed that educational background was an important facet of the data mining process, with 38 percent of those surveyed citing this as what they looked for first, although for 37 percent of respondents, references and not activity was key. However, there are some signs that despite the high-profile nature of social networks and their potential relationship to recruiting, they may still be lacking in translating job search to successful employment, with the BBC reporting that only 2.9 percent of hires could be directly attributed to social media.

“My anticipation is that we will see more ‘social sharing’ applications that will integrate with mobile, social media and customer relationship management or applicant tracking solutions,” said Gould. “These apps will make it easier to share jobs and will provide the ability to track click-throughs and sources.”

Hiring trends: Accounting professionals can expect a receptive industry

As a staffing and recruiting professional, you know the trends that are impacting the industries you specialize in. If you’re particularly immersed in the finance industry, there’s positive news. Accounting Web reports that while most employers are expecting to decrease the number of new college grads they are hiring in the next 12 months, more than 50 percent of those same organizations are pursuing graduates who majored in accounting, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Accounting majors are offering employers the right combination of skills. According to the industry news source, hiring in the industry has remained steady – even during the worst periods of the Great Recession.

“All industries in the accounting sector fared relatively OK through the recession, though they were impacted. Accounting is a back-office function – not revenue generating – so those jobs were a place where companies could cut back. Now that we’re in a recovery, companies are hiring back into their accounting and finance departments. In the accounting sector 48,000 jobs were generated year to date in October – which is a positive sign that accounting is coming back,” said accounting industry professional Janette Marx.

With all of these accounting jobs being filled, a staffing professional will need to stay on top of what companies are hiring and who is looking for new career growth. This is where a high-quality and versatile recruiting software comes into play. Cloud-accessible software provides you with the ability to track your accounting professionals as they are entering the job market and traverse the rocky road of finding new employment.

From entry-level accountants to those who have been in the industry for a considerable time – everyone is looking for a new job and with the right staffing software you can end their search and serve your clients. According to experts, right now experienced accountants are being sought by many organizations.

“One of the big things that we’ve been seeing of late is that demand is high for that five- to seven-year senior accountant, typically a CPA private/public mix. But the supply [of job seekers] tends to be either junior accountants just entering the industry or senior accountants with more experience,” Marx went on to say.