Social Media Screening: Here’s How to Use it in Your Hiring Decisions

Social Media Screening: Here’s How to Use it in Your Hiring Decisions

by   on Dec 5, 2012, 8:10 AM  | TLNT

You’ve probably had friends whom you wished would stop using Facebook or Twitter for just five minutes.

After all, who needs to see 12 new pictures of someone’s dog every hour, or hear about how so and so’s love life is still on the rocks? A hiring and staffing manager who’s trying to make hiring decisions, that’s who.

People use social networks to share snippets of their personal lives with friends and family, but hiring and staffing departments also view the material. According to CareerBuilder, 37 percent of companies use social networks to research job candidates, and 12 percent of businesses use the websites to look for reasons not to hire someone.

It’s all about making the right distinctions

Would the woman who wears a skimpy outfit on Facebook dress in a way that’s too risqué on Casual Friday? Does the guy who criticizes his boss on Twitter have a legitimate beef, or is he the office troublemaker?

Some companies don’t care to know – a little slice of raw humanity from someone’s social media life is all it takes to make them toss out a resume faster than The New Yorker rejects a poetry submission.

But that’s not how it should go.

When hiring and staffing departments use social media screening as a tool for employee selection, they should have strategies for distinguishing between candidates who occasionally post questionable content and applicants who could pose a real problem in the workplace.

Tips for using social media screening right

Here are some tips for making the distinction:

  • Consider comment responses. When someone tweets a message like “Everyone can jump off a cliff and die,” he usually gets one of two responses: people seem concerned and ask him what’s wrong, or they act like he’s being himself and tweet a response like “chill, dude.” If you’d rather not hire a verbal hit man, avoid people whose friends indicate that they’re acting normal when they blow up – but give the person who occasionally speaks his or her mind a break.
  • Count photos. A candidate seems perfect, but then you delve into his Facebook photos and see him drinking liquor. Yes, it’s the hard stuff, but ask yourself this: is it just a photo of the man holding a glass of scotch at a cigar bar, or does it look like he tipples at every dive in the city? If it’s just a single photo, be careful not to overreact.
  • Be fair about social associations. Say that one of your applicants likes Motley Crüe’s Facebook page. Does that mean that he likes to “Shout at the Devil” and thinks of women as “Girls, Girls, Girls?” Likely not. He’s probably just a fan of ’80s glam rock. If he likes skinhead punk bands, on the other hand, there’s a good chance that more than musical taste is at play. When you evaluate someone’s social associations, try to be skeptical without being morally judgmental.

Social media sites are useful screening tools for the employee selection process, but hiring and staffing managers should be careful how they use social content to make hiring decisions.

While some types of content can indicate that an applicant would be a bad hire, other kinds are just evidence of the free-spirited behavior that hardworking people have always engaged in. Those things shouldn’t stop anyone from getting a job.

How does your company use social networks to make social hiring decisions?

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

Don Charlton is a Web entrepreneur, developer and speaker. His company,,, helps employers hire with confidence. Contact him at

The Can’t-Miss Social Media Trends for 2013 — ARE YOU ALIGNED?

I wonder if all our companies are aligned with these 2013 trends…..

The Can’t-Miss Social Media Trends For 2013



NOVEMBER 29, 2012

Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, crystal balls the future of social so you’re not stuck with–gasp–Twitter 101-level skills.

Will Facebook continue its reign atop the social hierarchy? Will businesses get better returns on their social media investment? Will your CEO finally learn to tweet? Here’s a look at the biggest social media trends set to unfold in the year ahead.

Mobile social media usage continues to soar: In September, Facebook made a monumental–if little noted–revelation in a quarterly SEC filing: “[We] anticipate that the rate of growth in mobile usage will exceed the growth in usage through personal computers for the foreseeable future.” Mobile Internet users are set to overtake wired Internet users by 2015 in the U.S., but this shift is happening far faster on social platforms.

What does this mean for the future of social media? Networks that make engagement on the go easy–especially visual platforms like Instagram–are at a significant advantage (Instagram, in fact, already has more mobile users than Twitter). Meanwhile, traditional networks must work to better differentiate their desktop and mobile experiences–ensuring that mobile interfaces are streamlined and fast-loading, while also taking full advantage of GPS, near field communication (exchanging information by touching smartphones) and perhaps evenambient location functionality.

At the same time, developing viable advertising options for mobile platforms is more critical than ever. Finding ways to squeeze ads onto tiny mobile screens has thus far proved a serious Achilles heel.

Social advertising grows and evolves: To solve the mobile revenue puzzle, social networks will push ahead next year with new social ad models. Traditional banner and interruption ads will decline, replaced by innovative offerings like Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Stories. What makes these so-called native ads unique is that they don’t look like ads at all, apart from small disclaimers. They appear in-stream and read exactly like another piece of user-generated content.

While some users resent this intrusion into their home streams, natives ads potentially enable brands to reach clients on their own turf and on their own terms. Behind it all is the concept of convergence–the idea that ads and content can be interchangeable. Companies, for instance, are already sending out Tweets to followers on their social media channels. Using analytical tools to identify which are most read, they can selectively amplify the best of the bunch as Promoted Tweets, turning content into ads and reaching an even larger audience.

International and niche social networks experience dramatic growth: Total social media users are forecast to grow by just 4.1 percent in North America in 2013. Compare that with growth rates of 21.1 percent in Asia-Pacific (including China, India, and Indonesia), 12.6 percent in Latin America, and 23.3 percent in the Middle East and Africa.

The major networks will continue to make impressive inroads internationally: Facebook users grew by 47 percent in Latin America alone last year. But localized social networks–especially those geared for mobile users–are also experiencing dramatic growth. China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging platform recently surpassed 400 million users (nearly doubling its user base in one year), while two-year-old competing upstart WeChat already has 200 million users.

Meanwhile, niche networks, which offer deeper, more focused functionalities overlooked by the bigger players, will continue to experience truly explosive growth both in North America and internationally. Riding the wave of its acquisition by Facebook, Instagram saw its share of social media traffic grow by 17,319 percent this year, while Pinterest grew by 5,124 percent.

What does this all mean for brands and businesses? To maximize reach, it’s critical to keep up with an expanding array of social networks both in North America and abroad. Anticipate increased demand in 2013 for social media management systems that streamline monitoring and posting across multiple networks.

Social media moves beyond the marketing department: In the year ahead, expect enterprises to embrace social media tools–including internal networks, real-time chats and wikis–for uses that go way beyond the familiar applications for marketing and community building. At stake is a potentially enormous boost to the bottom line: Last year, McKinsey published an eye-opening report that pegged the untapped business value of social technologies at $1.3 trillion–and most of that comes from improved office productivity.

We’re already seeing HR departments applying social media to streamline application processes, sales teams cultivating leads and monitoring the sales funnel via social channels, and operations and distributions teams tracking supply chains at a granular level. Deeper still, internal networking tools like HootSuite Conversations are enabling companies to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. (Conversations is sold by my company.)

At the same time, the way social media is rolled out at large companies is fundamentally changing. Until now, adoption has been fueled from the bottom-up, by front-line social media and community managers. But increasingly CIOs, CEOs, and CMOs who have seen the business value of social media are taking the reins. As the C-suite formalizes top-down social media strategy, expect to see social media management systems become as commonplace as office productivity suites and customer relations management software.

Big data grows but gets more manageable: Social media has given companies access to unprecedented volumes of information about their clients and buying trends on an aggregate level. The challenge, which confronts everyone from data giants like Facebook to small businesses active on social media, is how to process all of this and turn it into actionable policy. Case in point: 93 percent of North American executives surveyed by Oracle believe they’re losing revenue by not leveraging available data.

“We need to build robust systems for analyzing the huge amounts of data flowing in from social media and how they then link to all the other touch points consumers have with the brand,” explains digital analyst Marita Scarfi.

The coming year will see the emergence of new software and tools to do just that. Using new-wave social media command centers capable of tracking multiple social stats in real-time, from tweets and Likes to customer sentiment, companies will be able to radically improve customer service and predict future buying patterns, not to mention streamline internal communication and increase productivity. This kind of social data is already being harnessed by Nestle to boost customer sentiment, GE to speed up repairs to the electrical grid, and Wall Street to forecast stock prices.

Social media education gets formalized: A recent Harvard Business review survey showed that only 12 percent of companies using social media feel they use it effectively. Given the expanded business applications of social media, maximizing impact increasingly requires specialized training. Just knowing how to send a Tweet or friend someone on Facebook is not enough. In 2013, expect to see more social media coursework at universities, as well as dedicated social media MBA programs, as schools rise to the challenge (Syracuse, NYU, Columbia, Harvard Business School, and dozens of other higher ed institutions are already leading the pack here).

At the same time, companies will begin to double down on social media education for their existing employees as the entire workforce gains an added level of social sophistication, similar to the Internet 1.0 skillset that was on-boarded a decade ago. Social media skills will join email as part of basic business literacy in the digital age. Perhaps most critical of all will be social media compliance training to ensure that workers in sensitive industries from finance to healthcare uphold regulatory standards while taking advantage of social media’s benefits.

This year has been widely regarded as the year social media made the jump from dorm room to boardroom. In 2013, expect to see companies who have taken the plunge begin to reap expanded returns from their social investments, with help from improved social technologies, innovative ad models, and an expanded user base around the globe.

Learn more about the future of social media by subscribing to the Fast Company newsletter.

–Ryan Holmes is CEO of Hootsuite.

[Image: Flickr user Len Burgess]



Promote yourself!

02SundayDec 2012

Although individual users were the first to use social media, only companies have given a strategic role to these new tools, integrating them into their marketing plan. However, not being the director of a company doesn’t mean that we cannot promote ourselves. These are the four principles that will help you achieve this:

Myself Inc

1. You are your own business

Actually, you are the director of the company Myself, Inc. As a company, you have designed a business model. You have specific professional and personal interests and you are aware of your abilities. You know how you differ from other people, what products or services you offer and what problems you help to solve.

Obviously, you need a strategic plan. You have a personal and professional goal in the medium/long term that points the next phases to follow and the resources you will need in this journey.

2. The company you work for is your client

If you are your own company, the company you work for is, therefore, your client. The time when people joined a company at age 20 and left it at age of 65 is over. The company is not a second home, but a client we offer our services to help them grow up.

This approach is useful to always maintain a professional relationship with our company. Some workers tend to think that, by the fact that they have worked for a company for 10 years, they can take certain liberties and neglect professionalism. This is a mistake.

Obviously, this relationship with the company demands a higher level of self-demand, but at the same time, it also offers a higher degree of autonomy because we know that our job security doesn’t come from the company but from ourselves.

3. Invest in yourself

Like any business, you have your own program of Innovation and Continuing Training. With an open mind, you are always willing to improve, learn and explore new fields.

Your training program is not limited to the training offered by the company you work for. Your goals go far beyond because they are related with your own business model and your strategic expansion plan.

Try to be aware of new trends, identify what knowledge and skills could make you more competitive. Attend seminars, conferences, trade shows. Identify the leading experts and learn from them. Search your competitors and analyze their offer.

4. Create your own brand

Obviously, you also have your own marketing strategy. Use all the knowledge and know-how accumulated over the years in your daily work and other activities to make yourself known and to create a reputation.

Design a blog and offer your knowledge, take care of your LinkedIn profile and try to join groups related to your professional interests, engage with your community, advice other professionals.


Some companies may feel threatened by those employees who adopt this strategy of self-promotion. They may prefer traditional employees, who are nothing more than pawns. However, this perspective, besides being wrong, is negative for the own company.

Employees who promote themselves, who are a referent, are not only getting notoriety for themselves, but they are also helping to promote the company they work for, because a company with great employees is perceived as a great company.

5 Ways Assessments Help You Avoid Bad Hires: Human Capital Advantage Newsletter


From the desk of…

Valerie Oldre

5 Ways assessments help you avoid bad hires

Bad hiring decisions cost money but the real loss may be in the time wasted managing poor-performing employees. A recent study by Robert Half International found that supervisors spend 17 percent of their time each week overseeing poor performers. The study also found that 60 percent of CFO’s believe bad hiring decisions somewhat affect team morale and one in three said it greatly affects team morale.

Poor hiring decisions clearly have high costs. Many managers like to blame chance for these decisions but Max Messmer, CEO of Robert Half International, said that the most common reason for bad hiring decisions is that managers “failed to give proper attention to the hiring process.” Assessments are a useful tool to ensure you are giving the hiring process the time, objectivity and analysis it needs. There are many different styles of assessments. When used in the right sequence, they can be extremely helpful in employee hiring. Here are five ways assessments can help you avoid bad hiring decisions:

1) Assessments help you determine if a person fits a particular job. Total-person or job-fit assessments like the ProfileXT® can help you determine how well a prospective employee fits a particular job in your company. Job-fit assessments are typically based on performance indicators, behavioral traits, interests and aptitudes. Managers often hire people because they are hard-workers. This can be useless if their aptitudes and interests do not match the requirements of a particular job. Use assessments to help you keep a narrow focus on the requirements of the job before considering more general personality traits.

2) Assessments help you remain objective while selecting employees. The importance of networking in today’s society has created an “it’s not what you know but who you know” mentality when it comes to hiring. Networking is very important but far too many people get jobs because they are a friend or a relative of an employee. When certain candidates are given priority in hiring due to their connections, hiring managers can be more lenient about making sure the candidate has the necessary skills and aptitudes to do the job. A desire to hire a friend or acquaintance is never an excuse to rush through the hiring process. Requiring the candidate to take an assessment benefits the company by avoiding a potential bad hire. It also benefits the candidate by saving him or her from ending up in a job where he or she would not succeed.

3) Assessments help align talent with business needs. Every company has different human capital needs. Some companies place more value on an innovative workforce and other companies may have a strong need for employees that are expert written communicators. Hiring managers must know what particular skills contribute most to the success of their companies. Business needs should be the foundation of the hiring process. Assessments can help managers eliminate candidates that do not have the critical skills the company needs to move forward. Managers can easily fall into the trap of admitting that a candidate does not have a core skill but hiring him or her anyway because of perceived potential. Potential is great, but the skills your company needs to be successful are more important.

4) Assessments can help you measure hard skills. We have talked a lot about necessary skills being the foundation of any hiring process. But how do you measure whether or not a prospective employee has those skills? Any candidate can put a skill on his or her resume but that does not indicate expertise. A skills assessment, like the Profiles Skills Test™, can measure specific skill sets. The results of skills assessments will be the meat of your hiring process. If a candidate does not have the necessary skills to do a job, there is no need to waste time and money measuring job-fit and personality traits.

5) Assessments help you learn how to better manage your employees. Once you are certain you have hired employees who have the necessary core skills, personality assessments like the Profiles Performance Indicator™ can help you develop them. These assessments help you understand how to motivate and manage employees with various personalities. Every employee has strengths and weaknesses. Assessments can help you identify the weaknesses in particular and address them so employees do not become bad hires due to lack of training.

When used correctly, a combination of assessments can be your best hiring tool. They move candidates along the hiring process based on skills and job-fit, the two most important factors to employee success. Bad hires happen all the time but they do not have to happen in your company. Implementing assessments into your hiring process is the first step to bringing in qualified employees who are able to effectively do their jobs.

Told You’re ‘Overqualified’ For The Job? Here’s What They Really Mean – Careers Articles

Told You’re ‘Overqualified’ For The Job? Here’s What They Really Mean

overqualified job what it means

Have you ever had an employer or recruiter say you’re “overqualified” for a job? Honestly, how can you really be “overqualified” for a job? You can either do the job, or you can’t. How can having more experience than required be a negative, right?

So, what does “you’re overqualified” really mean?

First, it’s important to know that it’s a catch-all excuse that hiring managers, recruiters and HR use to politely eliminate you from the candidate pool. Why do they use it? If they said what they were really passing on you for, it would seem silly, petty, or down-right discriminatory. In fact, here are nine most common reasons they are saying it:

1. Your personality isn’t a match for the office/department culture.
You were either too upbeat or too low-key and came across wrong. Or your personality would clearly rub an existing employee the wrong way and the employer doesn’t want to deal with the drama that hiring you would bring.

2. You don’t look like you would fit in.
Your attire indicated that you weren’t the type of person that would be a fit for the organization. (Yes, what you wear matters. People discriminate on clothing all the time!)

3. You seem like a slow worker.
Your voice speed was slow, methodical, and gave off the impression that you wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace of the work environment.

4. You have too many degrees and/or were paid too much previously.
The assumption is that you’ll quit when a better job comes along, leaving the employer to have to start the search all over again.

5. You didn’t seem reliable.

Your answers to questions made it appear like you had health issues, personal life challenges, or attendance issues that would cause you to not be on-time and accountable.

6. You acted like a know-it-all in the interview.
You said, “Well, at my old company, we did it this way…” one too many times. Plus, you oversold yourself. As a result, you gave off the impression that you weren’t ready to learn something new, nor ready to adapt to a different environment than the one you were in.

7. You didn’t seem like you really knew what you were talking about.
You came across as not having as much expertise as your resume indicated. You didn’t answer questions in the way expected.

8. I don’t like you, can’t see working with you every day, and I just don’t want to be rude.
You didn’t connect with the hiring manager, and maybe even rubbed them the wrong way. Employers assume that if they didn’t feel comfortable with you in the interview, it will only get worse over time.

9. I already have the candidate I want and interviewing you is just a formality.
Some hiring managers by law, or company policy, have to post and interview for jobs. Many times, they already have who they want to hire. So, they just go through the process to cover their bases.

Notice There’s No “Fear of Competition” in the List
When people see this list, they often say, “J.T., what about the fact that the hiring manager probably realized I was more qualified than them and was scared that I’d take their job?” My answer is: It’s not on the list because it’s not usually what they are thinking. That’s more of an excuse job seekers use to justify why they didn’t get selected. It makes them feel better to put down the employer who didn’t pick them. I won’t deny that there are some insecure hiring managers out there. But, for the most part, the average hiring manager who is looking for a new employee generally feels good about their status in the organization and has a clear sense of the kind of person they want to bring on board. Trust me, if you are more qualified but can convey sincerely to the employer that you respect their position and don’t want it, you can get hired. In fact, I know many hiring managers who like to hire people whom they feel are smarter or more accomplished than them in certain areas, as a way to strengthen the abilities of their team.

Can You Overcome the ‘Overqualified’ Objection?
When you get told you are “over-qualified,” ask the manager the following question:

“What is your concern with respect to my experience in terms of how it will hurt my ability to do the job?”

This question will force the manager to articulate how they see being “overqualified” as a bad thing. If they are honest, you just might have a shot at giving them a response that could change their mind. For example, if the concern is about your degrees or former pay grade, you can say, “I can assure you that my goal is not to leave a new job for a different one. I applied here because I like the company and see being able to work in an environment I appreciate and respect worth more than money alone.”

When we get the “overqualified” objection to our candidacy, we have to do what we can to understand what’s really making the hiring manager say “no” to hiring us. And, if you are getting it a lot, it might be time to work with a coach who can be honest with you and see if the way you are presenting yourself is really the reason for the excuse that they are giving you. Often we don’t know how we are appearing to hiring managers and can use a little “interview intervention” to help us send the right message. I work with job seekers daily inside my Career HMO to help them present themselves better in interviews. They are always shocked to learn what they were saying was giving off the wrong impression. Interview prep that helps you anticipate the objection and deal with it effectively can make a big difference.

Don’t let the “overqualified” reason get the best of you. See what you can do to improve the chances of you being a fit by getting feedback and assistance on your interview skills. It could make all the difference!


How to Screen Potential Candidates Online – Top 7 Tips

The Undercover Recruiter

Recruitment and Career Secrets Revealed

How to Screen Potential Candidates Online [Top 7 Tips]

There are many terms for it in the corporate recruiting world: data mining, identity research, online screening or social recruiting. No matter the term, more than 90 percent of employers say they use social media to find employees.

For most employers, this online screening is an important part of their due diligence – using public information posted by the candidates themselves. If you, like most employers, are planning on looking into the Internet presence of your potential hires, here are a few ways to make sure you do it right.

1. Start With a Search

GoogleYou may be surprised just how much information you can find with a Google search, but it would be your first step when digging into a potential employee. Of course, a search can become clouded with results if a candidate has a common name, so dig a bit deeper into their resume to cross-reference employment claims, association membership or volunteer work. Google can supply a wealth of information if you can target your search properly. Opening a Google Alert on each of your candidates’ names can provide ongoing monitoring throughout the application and interview process.

2. Don’t Wait to Check Their Profiles

If you want to get an accurate view of a candidate’s social media profile, it is important to be proactive. Start researching them before your first contact to arrange an interview or call. Though they are actively searching for jobs, many candidates can be short-sighted in regards to their online personas, only cleaning them up once they know someone is interested. However, a 2010 Technisource study showed that 50 percent of applicants would not change or delete content from their profiles, even if they knew a potential employer would be checking their page.

3. Look for Repetitive Behavior, Not Isolated Incidents

Taken on their own, some pictures or status updates should not immediately invalidate an applicant. It’s important to be realistic about employee behavior. Look beyond occasional images and posts to see if the applicant has a personality or sense of humor that would fit with your company. Only if the candidate shows a pattern of objectionable behavior should you consider losing their application.

4. Find Candidates Who Build a Brand

While too many potential employees may torpedo their job hopes with inappropriate pictures, political rants or dubious associations, just as many will be responsible administrators of their online persona. These candidates will be readily identifiable with even modest digging. Here are a few things to look for on major social networks:

  • Facebook – Look for candidates who share content related to their industry, rather than updates about where they partied last night. Even better, just stick to the Info Page to get a sense of how the candidate portrays themselves. This might not show you who is a party animal, but it will help you avoid some ethical and legal gray areas.
  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn should be every recruiter’s dream. Many people will use it just to share their job status and resumes, but with the wide range of discussion forums and online networking tools, LinkedIn makes it easy to identify candidates who are engaged in the industry and looking to advance. Of all the social networks, searching LinkedIn should give the clearest snapshot of what sort of employee a candidate might be.
  • TwitterTwitter gives much more visibility for online screening, and it can say a lot about any candidate. While Facebook pictures can tell you a lot about someone, how a candidate interacts with a global audience can be more telling. Look for people who engage positively and intelligibly with people and companies.

5. Don’t Penalize Responsible Candidates

It can be tempting to respond negatively to prospective employees who have their online presence so locked-down (or nonexistent) that you can’t find any information on them. Is this candidate too good to be true or just hiding something? More often than not, it just means that the candidate is a responsible manager of their online presence.

Negativity bias is a natural thing for recruiters who are denied information, but a potential employee who is responsible enough to tend their social media will probably make a responsible employee. Rather than penalizing employees who show little information, dig into the information they have provided. Call their references, dig through their contacts on LinkedIn and prepare some extra questions for an interview.

6. Be Consistent With Your Screening

While these public online searches may not be as regulated as a background check, employers should still be careful with what they find. It’s easy to discriminate with information found online, especially since people willingly provide so much through social media. Make sure that you are only screening candidates to see if they would be an appropriate fit for your company culture and work ethic. It is much harder for a candidate to prove discrimination occurred following an online search, but creating inconsistent screening methods is an easy way to land in hot water.

7. Follow Up With Candidates

Finally, don’t let your screening be the end of the story. If a candidate looks like a great employee on paper, don’t let a few online indiscretions rule them out. Follow up on their interests and passions in an interview and ask for reasonable clarification of any concerns you may have.

Cara Barone is the Social Media Marketing Manager at Kforce, a provider of staffing and solutions. Cara also manages Knowledge Employed, a career advice blog for job hunters, seasoned employees and hiring managers. Follow her on Twitter: @CaraBarone


photo by: Juancho 507

Guest Blogger

This post is written by a guest blogger. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, check out our Guest Post Guidelines – we look forward to hearing from you!



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Filed Under: Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Recruitment, Screening, Twitter Tagged With: Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, online, screening, Twitter

Employee Resolutions for 2013: They Want a Raise – and Maybe, a New Job

Employee Resolutions for 2013: They Want a Raise – and Maybe, a New Job
by John Hollon on Nov 30, 2012, 10:20 AM | 0 Comments

When was the last time you actually kept a New Year’s resolution?

If you are anything like me, you probably go into the new year with all sorts of great intentions and plans for how you are going to change for the better. But life goes on, other things happen, and you find you’re lucky if you can even remember your New Year’s resolutions anytime after April 1.

That’s why this new survey from Glassdoor and conducted by Harris Interactive about employees work-related resolutions for 2013, although entertaining and fun, should be read with a bit of a skeptical eye.

The younger you are, the more you want a raise

According to Glassdoor, “One-third (32 percent) of employees said that a salary raise is their top work-related resolution for 2013, followed by looking for a new job (23 percent), improving their performance/rating by their supervisor (21 percent), attending work related training (16 percent), taking/using all their vacation days earned (13 percent), and socializing with work colleagues more (9 percent), among others.”

Then, there was this bit of additional detail: “Younger employees are more focused on securing a salary raise in 2013, as 40 percent of 18-34 year olds say a raise is their top work-related resolution, compared to 33 percent of 35-44 year olds, 20 percent of 45-54 year olds, and 27 percent of 55+ year olds. While most employees favor a salary raise in 2013, employees 45-54 years old say their top resolution for 2013 is looking for a new job (24 percent). Also, 2 percent of employees said their top work-related resolution in 2013 is to help get their boss/supervisor fired.”

Well, I fear for the 2 percent who want to help their boss/supervisor get fired, because that can be a pretty perilous business and more something you would see in Dilbert than actually happening in real life. On the rare occasions when I have seen somebody try this, it almost always ended with the employee, and not the boss, getting shown the door.

Here’s what Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor’s career and workplace expert who has led global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo, had to say about the survey results:

As employment confidence gradually improves, it’s no surprise to see employees looking to wrest back control over their own destiny, which is why we see their focus on more money, a new job or a fresh commitment to their on-the-job performance. But good economy or tough economy, adequate and expected take home pay is always top of mind and employees are sending a clear message that they want this most – not only during this holiday season, but next year, too.”

What extra perks would employees prefer?

The Glassdoor survey also asked employees about what extra perks they would most want to be given during the holidays. Again, the list isn’t all that surprising, because money and time off (predictably) top the list above.

The only thing that jumped out at me was that “holiday party with open bar” made the list of something employees might want. Now, I like a good party as much as anyone, but who asks for that rather than a bonus, raise, or more time off? Glassdoor’s Rusty Rueff puts this into perspective when he says:

When it comes to holiday perks, be sure to communicate and draw a line of sight to what made the perk possible. For example, are we partying tonight because the company achieved its annual goals? Did a specific department surpass projections? It’s essential to explain to employees what made a perk possible so they understand their hard work is appreciated and recognized, as well as providing history and context if next year isn’t as good.”

Yes, it is important that employees know what behavior helped them to get rewarded, but isn’t that the basis of a good rewards and recognition system, anyway?

Glassdoor’s 2012 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Glassdoor from November 8-12, 2012 among 2,059 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,066 are employed full-time/part-time. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

New Year’s resolutions are fun to make and talk about, but unless you have super human willpower, you probably have a hard time keeping them just as I do. When I read this survey of employee wishes and resolutions, what jumps out at me is less about the specifics of what workers are thinking about and more on what direction their thoughts are heading.

In other words, if you look at this another way, this survey tells you again that employees are largely dissatisfied — with their jobs, their pay, and where they are in their working life. No wonder so many employee engagement surveys come back with such bad results.

But that’s just my take. Your view may be a little different.

So again, take this list from Glassdoor with a grain of salt, because like most resolutions, these ones will probably be long gone and forgotten by the time February 2013 rolls around.

John Hollon is Vice President for Editorial of, and the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and An award-winning journalist, he has written extensively about HR, talent management, and smart business and people practices. Contact him at, and follow him on Twitter at
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3 Things You Need to Do to Close the Prize Hire (Confessions of a Recovering Headhunter)

Some good ideas here for corporate recruiters…..

3 Things You Need to Do to Close the Prize Hire (Confessions of a Recovering Headhunter)


Adem Tahiri

 Nov 28, 2012, 6:21 am ET

I’ve always thought corporate recruiters could learn a lot from “headhunters” — not because I’m biased due to years spent in third-party recruitment (both as a recruiter and manager). It’s just that when I came to the “other side” I noticed one glaring weakness.

Corporate recruiters are very “process driven” and not very good, well, “hunters”; at least that tends to be the case for corporate recruiters newer to the profession. They get the procedures down quickly but they just haven’t been exposed to the world of recruiting and closing higher-level talent. More senior corporate recruiters, on average, have been exposed to both sides and may already use some of the principles I’ll discuss.

A few quick facts about recruiting top talent in the U.S. Currently in the U.S. unemployment is hovering around 8%, yet, more than 52% of employers (according to the Wall Street Journal) say they cannot fill their positions. How can this be? How can we have, in this economy, a jobs gap of nearly 4 million?

We have a lack of talented folks out there. In the U.S., we graduate nearly five times as many liberal arts majors as we do engineers. What this means for you (Mr. or Mrs. Corporate Recruiter) is that top talent is hard to find, and it’s only going to get harder. Before the “great recession” one of the greatest worries in recruitment was the “coming shortage of a skilled workforce” due to retirements of baby boomers. With Wall Street and 401(k)s rebounding, it’s no surprise to see that, in this market, a machinist can essentially “write their ticket.” Stop for a moment, read that again and let it sink in. Wow.

What this means for you, the corporate recruiter, is that Jane Engineer is in demand and knows it. Yes, unemployment is high, but for a Petroleum Engineer? It’s less than one half of one percent; wow. Your organization is depending on you to find these skilled folks and to close the deal on an offer. This is where “thinking like a headhunter” will help you. Headhunters only know recruiting the skilled, the sought after. If they didn’t, no one would pay their outrageous fees. While we can’t go over every trick and tool to snag top talent, here are three simple things you can do in your next interview to land the “prize hire”:

Ask Open-ended Questions

There are two types of questions (as anyone in sales can vouch): open- and closed-ended. Closed-ended questions are “yes/no” questions like, do you have a dollar to spare? Open-ended questions are of the philosophic variety (call me the recruiting Socrates!) and have no definite answer.

The reason this is so important to landing the “prize candidate” is the same reason it’s important in sales: open-ended questions get people talking. Ask questions that are pointed, but open, like: “If there were a handful of things you could change about your current position, what would they be”?

You can’t be afraid to ask that. As they indulge you, take notes, as these are what I call “doctor questions.”

Just like a doctor asks you “where it hurts,” you want to find the pain and write it down. The pain is what you will use to close the deal.

Side note: open-ended questions are great tools in general. Not just in landing a “prize candidate” but in increasing the quality of your talent pool and avoiding mistakes. They essentially give bad candidates “enough rope to hang themselves,” which is good for you.

The Most Important Words in Recruiting Are…

A mentor (and a boss) of mine, years back, found me on a day when I was unusually ornery. He wanted to know why I was feeling so melancholy. When I told him I had had yet another in-demand candidate back out of a job on me, he gave me invaluable advice in this simple phrase: “the most important words in recruiting are: If, Then, is that Correct”.

I can’t tell you how much those words have helped me. In the short term, I stopped feeling like a victim but in the long term they meant much more.

Likewise, I hope they will for you too. The reason these words are so powerful is because it not only “closes” the candidate but it finds any objections they may have while you still have a chance to overcome them.

As you ask your open-ended, “pain” questions and find the pain along the way, you should try minor closes: “so it sounds like, Mr. Candidate, if you had a job with XYX then you’d make a change, is that correct?”

Those small yes’s will lead to the big one at the end when you finally ask for the offer. Just remember to use those magic words: “If, then, is that correct.”

Let Me Paint You a Picture

Finally, you’ve done it. You closed the “prize hire.” They’ve accepted. Well done. Your work is still not done, since 1 in 4 employees making over $60,000 accepts a counteroffer. Know the math — don’t fool yourself. Before I end an interview I always address the issue of a counteroffer; again it goes back to those “pain questions,” which are like ammunition.

This isn’t exact, but my conversation to a candidate is kind of like: “Mr. CFO tomorrow, you’re going to go into work and tell your boss you’re quitting, so let me paint you a picture of what it’s going to look like. All of the sudden all will be well, the XYZ issues you told me about will be solved, and your boss will probably offer you a raise. When he does, I hope you ask yourself, ‘why didn’t he or she offer me this before? When this happens, what do you intend to do?’”

It’s not a comfortable conversation, but I’d rather put the very real scenario that they probably haven’t thought about in their head before they get there. When they do, I don’t want surprises.

No recruiting process will ever be perfect, and there are tools that both corporate and third-party recruiters could learn from each other. However, a lot of the corporate recruiters I’ve managed tend to treat interviews like interrogations. They focus on questions directing a candidate to proving themselves, such as “why did you leave your last job” or “why should we consider you?” They’ll mention some selling points about the company, but the real psychology of a sale lies in asking questions and listening, and then using that information to close your target.

If you’re a corporate recruiter and take anything away from this article, I hope it’s that in order to get the “prize hire” you need to sell them (and close them) as much as they need to sell you. If you take nothing else away, you’ll be a better recruiter for it. Best of luck.

Subscribe to the ERE Daily for all the latest recruiting news.


  • November 25, 2012, 12:10 PM GMT

Ways to Be Happy and Productive at Work

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The Source has teamed up with the iOpener Institute for People and Performance to find out how happy and fulfilled readers of the Wall Street Journal are at work. The institute has designed a survey to help you establish how happy you are at work, and along with the article below, you can figure out how you can increase your happiness and be more productive. Complete the questionnaire now.

What in the world is happening in the workplace? Economic data over the last couple of years shows a confusing picture of productivity. The U.S. reported a modest increase due to downwards wage pressure, while the U.K., outperformed by France and Germany, has reported more employment but less output.

South African productivity has hit a 46-year low, while even China and India which have been fueling their economies with cheap labor are seeing costs rise as investors eye up cheaper countries or territories in which it’s easier to do business.

Productivity is a combination of many things: traditionally it includes investment, innovation, skills, enterprise and competition. But there’s one key ingredient missing here.

The happiness of employees.

Employees who are the most productive are also the happiest at work.

We know this because the institute has gathered data since 2005, tells us that when you are unhappy or insecure at work you withhold your best effort. You are simply less productive when you’re looking to balance the psychological contract between you and your employer. Which is the reason it matters for both bosses and employees.

So where are you? If you want to assess what’s affecting your performance,complete our questionnaire to get a personalized mini report.

And what do we know about employees who are happiest at work? Our research tells us that they are:

  • Twice as productive
  • Stay five times longer in their jobs
  • Six times more energized
  • Take 10 times less sick leave

And we’ve found other benefits.

Happier workers help their colleagues 33% more than their least happy colleagues; raise issues that affect performance 46% more; achieve their goals 31% more and are 36% more motivated.

If there’s a positive effect, they demonstrate it. Every organization needs happy employees because they are the ones who effectively tackle the tough stuff and turn ideas into actions.

So what should organizations, bosses and individuals do? Our research show that everyone needs to focus on the five drivers of individual productivity because they propel performance and ensure that employees are happy in their work too.

Driver 1: Effort

This is about what you do. You’ll never be productive without clear goals or precise and well-articulated objectives that lead to those goals and without addressing problems that arise on the way. That means the ability to raise issues and have others help you solve them too. That’s what leaders need to make happen and what employees need to push for.

Constructive feedback helps you contribute even more while personal appreciation goes a long way to boosting productivity. Interestingly, negative feedback which is poorly given doubles sick leave, according to our data, and increased sick leave of course affects productivity levels. So one practical thing organizations can do is teach their managers how to give great feedback.

Driver 2: Short-Term Motivation

This is about staying resilient and motivated enough to maintain productivity levels. Our data shows that resilience hasn’t taken a knock over the past few years, but motivation has. It dropped by 23% during 2010 and climbed back by 17% during 2011 but there has been no improvement in 2012.

Of course reduced motivation means it’s harder to maintain high performance and maximize output.

Good organizations encourage motivation by helping employees own issues and take responsibility. And they do that at a level that fits with an individual’s skills, strengths and expertise levels. Those employees are encouraged to work on what they are good at, to prioritize what they do and to build efficiencies into their work.

Driver 3: How Well You Fit Into a Firm

Performance and happiness at work are both boosted when employees feel they fit within their organizational culture. Believing that you’re in the wrong job, feeling disconnected from the values of your workplace or disliking your colleagues is dispiriting and de-energizing and all of that feels much worse if decisions in your workplace feel unfair.

Our investigation of fairness at work doesn’t tell a good story. It tumbled 19% in 2010, rose 9% during 2011 and has been flat-lining during 2012. According to the U.K.’s Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, fairness is connected with discretionary effort: if decisions feel fair, work gets done. If they don’t, employees look for other ways of getting what’s missing, which is when equipment gets broken, work gets sabotaged and things go missing.

Good firms can address this by being as transparent as possible about why decisions are made, explaining why resources are allocated in the way they are and making sure that their approach is as equitable as possible.

Driver 4: Long-Term Engagement

This is about commitment and the long-term engagement you have with what you do and your organization. Having to work hard in a job you feel stuck in is energy draining at best and, as we’ve found, associated with higher illness at worst.

Our data reveals that one of the key items that creates commitment is a belief that you’re doing something worthwhile. And this is particularly important to Generation Y — those born in the early 1980s. If your digital natives, those familiar with digital media and technology, don’t feel they are doing something worthwhile, they’ll be eying the exit and intending to leave within two years; and our numbers clearly tell us that money won’t solve this problem.

In fact more than other generation, Generation Y need to believe in the strategic direction that their employer is pursuing. The more Generation Yers believe in the leadership’s corporate strategy, the less likely they are to leave.

This tells employers that they need to regularly and convincingly communicate the corporate strategy, along with tangible proof of how that strategy is being implemented and the contribution it is making not just to the bottom line.

Driver 5: Self-Belief

If you’re not confident you won’t make decisions, take risks, or spend cash. Confidence is the gateway to productivity and our data shows that a primary indicator of confidence is that things get done. We also found that things get done better, faster or cheaper because people are confident of the outcome.

Right now confidence has a significantly lower average than the other four drivers and that’s a problem because you can’t have confident organizations without confident individuals.

And productivity works in the exactly the same way.

When we collect data, we ask employees how much time they spend “on task” or engaged with their work. This ranges from 78% for those who are most on task, to 41% for the least.

Just to be clear, the people who are most on task also have the highest levels of all the five drivers as well as being the happiest employees at work. In real terms, that 78% is equivalent to about four days a week while 41% is just two days a week. This represents a huge productivity cost to any organization.

In effect an organization is losing about 100 days of work a year for every “unhappy” employee.

If leaders, organizations and industries want to manage productivity and move it in the right direction, it’s time to understand these five drivers, investigate the numbers and to recognize the serious outcomes that happiness at work can bring.

For the second year running, The Wall Street Journal (Europe) is running a global happiness at work index in conjunction with the iOpener Institute to see who’s happiest at work. If you want to take part, click here to get a self-assessment in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, Hebrew, German, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish. The iOpener Institute will be reporting back on the results of readers clicking through in six weeks’ time.

The iOpener Institute for People and Performance is an international consultancy which conducts research to find practical solutions to workforce issues.





The New HR Competencies  by Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR

This past summer at the SHRM National Conference, hosted in my fair city of Atlanta, GA, the new HR Competencies were announced.

I personally had been waiting on these for awhile as I remember participating in the research for the project.

Here are the 9 competencies as determined by SHRM:

1) Technical HR Knowledge (like comp, talent management, recruiting, etc.)
2) Ethical Practice
3) Impactful Communication
4) Consultation
5) Critical Evaluation
6) Global and Cultural Effectiveness
7) Relationship Management
8) Organizational Leadership and Navigation
9) Business Acumen

I was very happy to see that “Critical Evaluation” made the list because I have felt that a competency that included measurement and analytics had been sorely lacking in other models.

I LOVE Organizational Leadership and Navigation as I believe that is what HR people are supposed to be doing.  Here is the formal definition:

The ability to lead or maneuver initiatives and processes within the organization with great agility.

I think the “with great agility” is the part we as HR professionals need to concentrate on.  The ability of HR professionals to ebb and flow with the business is key.

The rest of the list I had pretty much seen no big surprises there.

What do you think about the new list?  Any competency missing?