It’s new year. I am not one for resolutions, but I know it’s popular to spend the time between Christmas and the New Year drinking too much and dreaming of better days.
For a lot of people, that might include a new job – one that’s closer, pays more, has a better boss or a better mission.
Canada has a pretty strong economy right now and the employment market is tight which means that number of vacancies is up and the number of candidates is down. According to the federal government, 94,000 jobs were filled in November giving us the lowest unemployment levels since 1976.
This does not mean that anyone who wants a job can get one. As always, there are pockets where there is a greater demand and pockets where it is shrinking.
For example, you could be the best customer service person alive, but if you want to answer the phones for Pizza Pizza, it will be tough. Their ordering app for mobile phones is terrific and has a high rate of adoption by customers.
If, on the other hand, you are the person who made the Pizza Pizza app, you have it made in the shade. Lots of prospects for you – as long as you can network and let people know about your successes.
Other areas of growth:
- Health care
- Social Assistance
- Transportation and Warehousing
There are a lot of good possibilities to explore in this list. If you want to spend some time thinking about these industries, you can start with www.jobbank.gc.ca
You can search for occupations and read about their longer term outlook, wages and education requirements. It’s pretty dry but it is reliable information that will give you enough to decide what you want to pursue.
I know that being a better hiring manager is not at the top of everyone’s list of resolutions, but it should be.
If your organization has plans for 2019 that include growth, change or innovation, you are going to need some new people. People with fresh energy, ideas and perspectives. This is not to say that you have to ditch the loyal folks who got you to where you are today. Rather, to replace people who move on and to augment those who stay.
Hiring does not have to be a long and painful process. Here are seven tips to make it better next year.
- Have clear job descriptions that are in real time and properly aligned to the business.
- Actively solicit internal candidates. Don’t just rely on posting the job where people can see it.
- Pull together the stakeholders and commit to a timeline. Look ahead and block off times for interviews. If you wait until you have candidates, you will add weeks to the process.
- Provide timely feedback to candidates. Protect your brand by communicating clearly and often.
- Streamline the interview process. Candidates who are working will have a hard time getting away for seven interviews. Three should be enough – book ahead and get the hiring people lined up early.
- Prepare an interview guide before you start. Outline the specific skills and experience you need and build questions around them. Take a copy of the guide into each meeting. This will improve your accuracy, thoroughness and consistency.
- Have fun! It is exciting to see the passion and confidence emanating from a candidate across the table. Interviewing new people is a great way to feel energized about your team and if that is not your current experience, call your favourite head-hunter. We’ll take care of it.
Sometimes you meet a candidate and you just know that they are they person for the job. They seem to understand exactly what’s going on without a lot of preamble. By the end of the interview, you are practically finishing each other’s sentences.
But there are other times when you are just not sure. You know they are smart and have relevant experience but you are just not certain they will be a fit.
What to do about this?
You can kick them to the curb. It sounds mean but if you really have serious doubts, then you don’t need to invest any more time in the process.
You can have the candidate meet with other people who would interact with them in the organization. The manager once-removed, peers and members of the team are all possible sources of input. You can line up a few meetings and then collect the feedback. You can even share your concerns or provide some of the questions.
References will also provide some insight into how the person will perform. I am not a fan of back door references (when you talk to someone who knows the candidate without the candidate’s knowledge or consent) but they can be an effective way to gather real information. You can learn about how they show up everyday and how they deal with stress.
Finally, you can consider using a formal assessment. I don’t mean a quick and dirty online thing but a real assessment. One that includes input from the hiring manager, an interview with the candidates by a knowledgeable person and a formal debrief with the hiring team. This type of formal information from someone unrelated to the hiring process may provide real comfort about the person joining your team.
The bottom line is that you should take as much time as you need to make the right decision. It will be worth it in the end.
I don’t know about you but the next two weeks on my calendar are sprinkled with pot lucks, lunches and cocktails. This is generally where I roll my eyes and find other things to do.
But this year is going to be different. I am looking at each get together as an opportunity to learn new things.
I am going to try not to gossip about people in other departments or complain about the weather, Instead, I am going to positive and maybe even interesting.
For example, when someone asks me how things are going, my response is not going to be “busy”. Of course I am busy. Everyone is busy. We would not have jobs if we were not busy.
Instead I am going to talk about one of the search projects I am working on. This opens the door for much more interesting conversation than “I am so busy”.
I am also going to avoid asking about people’s plans for the holidays. There are lots of people who are not going skiing in the Swiss Alps or dining with celebrities. While it can be fun to hear about those adventures, it can be depressing too.
I am going to ask about Netflix instead. I plan on some heavy binge watching over the holidays and I need some recommendations.
If I can stick to this plan, I should be able to come away from this holiday season with lots of new ideas and information which will be an excellent foundation for my big plans in 2019.
It’s that time of year again – the time of year when we fill the malls looking for the perfect gifts. Is there a job seeker on your list? It’s unlikely you can find them a job to wrap up and put under the tree but here are some things you can give that they might really appreciate.
- A new dress shirt and scarf/tie – these are things that are bound to make them feel better as they step into their next interview
- A month of LinkedIn Premium – you can read about that here.
- A couple of hours with a career coach
- A compilation of the best career podcasts or TED Talks
- A gift subscription to a magazine. A real magazine that comes in the mail. That way when they go to the mailbox, there will be something good to look at instead of just bills.
- A gift certificate from Vistaprint for business cards or personalized thank you notes
- Resume review with an experienced resume editor
- A fancy pen or folio to complete the accessories for their interview outfit
- Guest passes to a couple of yoga or meditation classes
- Coffee gift cards. There will always be time to use up before interviews and wrapping your hands around a hot cup of coffee or tea is a lovely way to deal with that. As an added bonus, if they meet someone randomly, they can offer to take them for coffee without worrying about having cash.
Have fun shopping!
People keep saying the job market is tight. What they mean is that there are a lot of interesting jobs out there for people who want them.
I see this change in two ways. The first is that almost all of the candidates I am working with on searches are employed. They are not necessarily unhappy but they are open to hearing about roles that might different or better in some way.
The second thing that has changed is that people who are unhappy and actively looking at new roles usually have two or three solid (ie real) opportunities on the go and will likely be presented with one or two job offers within a matter of weeks.
This does not mean we need to panic about hustling people through the interview process or start throwing around giant bonuses. Those are not solutions. They are band aids at best.
The main thing people are looking for is satisfying work with people they like. They want the chance to learn, grow, develop and be appreciated.
Look around your place and your team. Are you offering that?
When you meet new candidates are you able to talk about those qualities and how important they are to your organization?
Can you name three people on your team who have earned promotions or moved into lateral roles to get different bits of experience?
It is common for candidates to ask about this in an interview. Along with compensation, they want to know what the future might hold. They are not looking for a guaranteed path to the corner office (which is good, because those don’t really exist anymore….).
They are looking for shiny experiences that they can share with their friends and be proud of what they do.
If you don’t offer that, maybe it is time to start rewriting your playbook.
This week, I had two clients ask if it is still possible to hire this year. They were deciding whether they wanted to interivew now or put the whole thing off until January.
Of course you can hire now!!
Think of the consequences of holding off until January. That likely means you not have the problem solved by late February and the new person will not be up to speed until the end of March. That’s the end of the first quarter. That is a long time to wait for a solution.
We have six weeks until the end of the year and unless you have a 15 step interview process, that’s plenty of time to line up conversations with decision makers.
If you make an offer next week and the candidate gives two weeks notice, they could start on December 10. They could meet everyone at the holiday cookie exchanges and spend time learning what to do and where to go. They would take the Christmas break and be back in the new year ready to work.
There’s nothing wrong with a December 28th job offer either. That would really brighten up someone’s New Year’s Eve festivities (and possibly your own!). They could resign on the 31st and get started on the 14th of January when everyone is in full swing.
How much does it cost to have a seat unfilled? Think about lost revenue, lost productivity for the team members who are providing stop-gap coverage and the time you are spending worrrying about the fact it is not filled.
Don’t just throw up your hands and put hiring off until January. Make an informed and defensible choice. Your holidays will be better for it.