Hiring for Your Startup and Beyond

December 22nd, 2014 by David Rothschild No comments »

As a human resources professional, your recruiting efforts will naturally be different when arranging for personnel for a well-established company that is already known to the public, press, investors and the available talent pool as compared to the work you will do to fill positions at a startup firm. You’ll need to hire people with the specific skills needed to take an idea from zero and turn it into a thriving concern.

What Stage Are You At?

It’s important to recognize what stage you are at in the startup lifecycle, noted a recent report by Henry Kim at The Next Web that describe growing a company from zero to $1 billion. As you start out, you’ll be hiring eager, dedicated individuals who have multiple skills to fill in where needed. You will likely be focusing recruitment efforts on less experienced and younger members of the workforce at this point to bolster product development and acquire new customers as rapidly as possible.

Once you approach the $20 million to $100-million scaling phase, you need to turn your attention to important categories such as branding and marketing, sales, finance and HR to give management a solid infrastructure to accelerate growth. By the time you reach the $100 million to $1 billion scale, it’s time to shift your focus on attracting leaders who have already demonstrated success in growing firms on a massive scale.

The early stages of recruitment can be likened to drafting a team in fantasy football, according to a recent post by Ann Diab at Tech Cocktail.

This means having a solid game plan and knowing what traits you will need the most in your new hires. What’s more, you’ll have to build your team for the long haul. You shouldn’t hire based primarily on who is available as much as you should look for people who will obviously fit in well with your team.

Strategies for Growth

When faced with a lot of competition for new recruits, it pays to have strategies for growth, noted Keith Rabois in a recent TechCrunch post. This includes polishing your mission and selling recruits on the idea of having an impact in the world.

You will want to recruit from outside your normal sources, such as finding prodigies straight from the university or industry geniuses who are not wrapped up in launching their own startup but would welcome the opportunity to be a part of your founding team.

There is so much excitement surrounding companies during their initial startup phase, and you can harness this energy to great effect as you search for your first recruits. Human resources professionals will fulfill their duties much more effectively when they have a concrete plan for cultivating a team that can not only hit the ground running but will have the skills and endurance to ride out the inevitable bumps and shakeups that come as you build the business.


Considering all the Facets of Discriminatory Hiring Practices

December 8th, 2014 by David Rothschild No comments »

One of your primary goals when interviewing promising new candidates for your organization is to keep an open mind and evaluate each person on his or her merits without letting any biases influence the recruitment process. Key to this is making sure that you are not engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. Of particular concern is bias based on racial, family, age or gender characteristics.

Racial Bias in Hiring

While great strides have been made in racial harmony, human resources professional need to remain on guard against discrimination, both overt and inadvertent.

For example, recent research by a group of economists shows that some recruiters, even though they are not biased themselves, have a fear that their customers do hold racial bias and will make their hiring decisions accordingly, noted a recent report at Fortune.

The economists sent in 9,400 false resumes, using “typically black” names in half and “typically white” names in the other half to determine the rate of discrimination in the job market. It turned out that there was more evidence for hiring bias when it came to customer service jobs as compared to jobs focusing on coworker interaction (managers, coordinators and so on).

Familial Nepotism in Hiring

What about nepotism? It’s not illegal, and bosses can fire an employee to free up a spot for a son or a niece, for example, according to a recent post at AOL Jobs. However, nepotism may be prohibited in government positions, or under conditions when your company is subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Businesses that hire mostly family members may get into hot water if they consistently turn down more qualified candidates who also happen to be of a different race or nationality.

Gender Discrimination in Hiring

Recruiters may harbor a bias against genders based on old-fashioned stereotypes, such as the idea that women are unsuited for physically demanding jobs or that men cannot work as nurses or flight attendants.

While these are particularly egregious examples of discrimination, you need to be aware of unconscious bias as you examine resumes for the best match for the position in terms of background, experience and accomplishments.

Age Discrimination in Hiring

There are a number of ways where age discrimination can crop up during recruitment. Does your organization ever advertise open positions while using phrases such as “young-thinking” in the job description?

You may not realize that this can lead to age discrimination, noted a recent report at CNN Money. It cited research from Clemson University that indicated 30 percent of people aged 53 and up have faced discrimination because of how old they were. Making mattes worse, people who lose their job at the age of 45 may never get another job, noted researchers at the University of Sydney.

Factors leading to age bias include holding the idea that older workers are not good with modern technology or that they might miss work more often because older people tend to get sick more frequently than younger workers.

Recognizing the potential pitfalls of discrimination and taking steps to address these concerns head-on will help you avoid lawsuits due to unfair hiring practices. It’s also important to remember that by avoiding discriminatory practices, you open up your available talent pool to a greater degree, which can only help to boost your organization’s bottom line.


Hiring Managers: Be Empathetic To Applicants, Even Those You Don’t Hire

November 18th, 2014 by David Rothschild No comments »

When you are feeling rushed, harried and otherwise stressed out while performing your duties as a human resources professional, it’s not hard to see how your actions or even inaction can be interpreted as rudeness.

Many business professionals keep in mind the adage about being nice to the people you meet on your way up, because it’s always possible that one day you’ll be encountering them on your way down. This is not exactly the Golden Rule, but it’s a good rule of thumb when doing business.

It’s important to remember to be empathetic to all applicants who cross your threshold, even those you don’t wind up hiring.

Hurry up and Wait

Job applicants are finding themselves having to produce more material than they may be accustomed to during the tryout phase of the recruitment process. Then, after they generate a stack of documents in a brutally short timeframe, they are dismayed because the employer takes months to respond. It’s perfectly reasonable to request materials to get an idea of what the recruit has to offer, but you have to treat them with the same respect you would give a hired consultant or an existing member of your team.

Avoid asking potential employees to rush with unexpectedly fast turnaround times on sample materials, proposals, advises Anne Kreamer in a recent post at the Harvard Business Review. Instead, allocate a reasonable time for deliverables, and make the timing of such requests transparent from the beginning.

Be Honest from the Start

Have you ever prolonged an interview with an applicant because you knew he or she was just not going to be a good fit, but you didn’t have the courage to say so from the outset?

This is an example of being discourteous, noted a recent report by Roberta Matuson at Forbes. You don’t want unsuitable applicants to take up too much of your time and resources. Consider then, that applicants don’t want you to take up their time with a pointless interview just because you are afraid of hurting their feelings.

The Courtesy of a Reply

When you engage with a recruit over the course of weeks or months and then let things trail off without giving them a response about the status of the position they interviewed for, it can leave a sour taste in applicants’ mouths.

Set aside sufficient time in your schedule so you can give everyone a response, and customize your message instead of sending out boilerplate whenever possible.

If you think there is a chance that you may not have been as empathetic as you’d prefer when dealing with job applicants recently, you have the upper hand over other HR professionals in that you are sensitive to the issue and are interested in making a change. Putting yourself in other people’s shoes while evaluating whether they might be a good fit in your organization will make a big difference.


Free Big Recruiting Data Bootcamp: The Myths, Hype and Opportunities

November 5th, 2014 by jpassen No comments »


Join the leading provider of applicant tracking software for a free online Bootcamp on November 18th and explore the myths, hype and opportunities of big data for recruiting.

Register now, space is limited.
Register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/652723222

The era of big data recruiting has arrived. Or has it? While some organizations are capturing and analyzing vast pools of recruiting data to gain insights and strategic advantages, these early adopters are few and far between. For the rest, big data recruiting is arguably still a pipe dream. That’s not to say there aren’t opportunities for employers to make data-driven hiring decisions. The challenge, of course, is where to begin.
Join recruiting industry insiders Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group and Joel Passen, Newton Software’s Co-Founder, for a passionate discussion about the myths, hype and opportunities of big data recruiting.

As a part of Newton’s ongoing online recruiting Bootcamp series, Kyle will join Joel to debunk the biggest myths about big data recruiting and examine the difference between which opportunities are realistic and which ones are just hype. The session will also provide HR practitioners and corporate recruiting professionals with tips on how to better manage recruiting analytics and prepare for the future.

When: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014?Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm PST
Register: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/652723222

Newton Online Bootcamps
The Newton Bootcamp Program is a FREE online educational series designed to help corporate recruiters achieve maximum results with Newton’s corporate recruiting platform and to share innovative ways to improve the recruiting process in general with experts from the industry.

Sign up to be alerted about monthly online Bootcamps here: http://eepurl.com/3×505

About Newton: 
Newton is an applicant tracking system designed to organize and improve internal hiring programs for small and medium-sized employers (30-3000 employees). The company was started in 2009 by corporate recruiters with the goal of developing hiring software that improves recruiting processes by offering powerful products that are easy-to-use, easy-to-purchase and easy-to-activate. Today, Newton is used by nearly 1000 employers that enjoy great customer service, free support, an intuitive product and constant innovation.  For more information visit http://www.newtonsoftware.com

What’s Unique About Hiring for a Startup?

November 3rd, 2014 by David Rothschild No comments »

startup hiringRecruiting and hiring candidates for a position at an established firm with a proven track record is different than finding good prospects for a startup company. If you have recently begun handling human resources to help a new firm gear up or are considering working at a startup, keep in mind that you will be evaluating recruits using different criteria than you would at longer-lived firms that have reached some measure of stability.

Determining the Best Candidates

You might be tempted to hire workers that have been employed at one of the major technology companies, since they must have great qualifications to get past the HR departments at such firms.

However, the skills required to do well and thrive in the stable environment of an established firm are different from what’s needed when an organization is still in startup mode, noted a recent report at Forbes.

Rather than considering inexperienced people who are fresh out of college, though, you would do better by looking for candidates who worked at other startups that have gone onto some success and are ready for another position that requires creativity and tenacity rather than one based on making small improvements to an existing platform.

Look for people who have exhibited a high level of competitiveness, as they will be the ones most willing to stay late and do what it takes to reach your organization’s goals. Many startups have done well by hiring people who play sports or who are former athletes, noted a recent report at Entrepreneur. The competitive nature of sports and the need to set goals and remain mentally and physically resilient are good preparation for working in a startup.

Other traits that are worth considering in candidates for startups include having a sense of humor and fitting in well with your corporate culture, according to an article at Mashable. After all, you are putting together a team whose members will be spending long hours together, and you need recruits who can integrate well with others.

These new workers should be flexible as well, since startups usually require people who can wear different hats every day. They will be able to take direction and then work independently to carry out their mission as effectively as possible. Risk-takers who are ready to hit the ground running and show passion and endurance will be more capable of dealing with the unrelenting grind of startup mode.

Your job hiring for a startup will go more smoothly if you focus on the chief characteristics required for success in a dynamic and sometimes chaotic environment. Selecting candidates who are curious and enthusiastic and who demonstrate a passion to compete while maintaining high standards of business integrity will serve you well during the birth of your new company.

Software Engineer Salaries Exposed

October 19th, 2014 by jpassen No comments »

Hiring software engineers? Get ready to pay big salaries as demand continues to soar.

Gigaom, a leading blog dedicated to emerging technologies recently released data that sheds light on the most popular technology skill sets. They aggregated data from Payscale surveys on the top seven job descriptions associated with a software coding languages. The languages included iOS, Android, Node.js, Java, Python, .Net and JavaScript. Not surprisingly, the highest paid developers are those that build apps for Apple’s iOS with a principal software engineer earning on average $128,250 per year.

Mean software engineer salaries by title and skill

In addition to exploring trends in salaries for different programming languages, Gigaom also examined data comparing software engineer salaries across major cities in the US. It’s no surprise that the Bay Area ranked #1 in salaries. The nearest competitor to Bay Area was Seattle which still trails the Bay by nearly 15% comparatively. The most surprising find in the survey likely opened some old wounds for the tech community in New York City where software engineer salaries are nearly 25% less than in the Bay Area. Sorry Gotham. Or, should I say congratulations?

Average software engineer salaries by city

For folks that are interest in exploring more on software engineer salaries, visit https://tech-salaries.silk.co/.  On this site, they’ve created a dataset made possible with salary survey data from Payscale. A selection of skills were compared for mean, average and top salaries.

Is the Online Job Application Experience Improving for Job Seekers?

October 17th, 2014 by David Rothschild No comments »

It’s always a good idea to periodically assess the state of any technology or system that your organization relies on to function efficiently. Widespread access to broadband has revolutionized how companies present job offerings as well as how individuals discover new jobs and apply to them.

HR professionals have found that applicant tracking systems make their workflow much easier. However, does this convenience come at a cost?

One often overlooked question is whether the online job application experience has been improving for job seekers.

Consider that many industries have taken to using online intake forms to make things easier for their clients and customers. It’s worth noting, then, that 60 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Kelton Global and Jibe indicated that online job applications are harder to complete than other typical online applications, including health insurance as well as student loans and mortgages, according to a recent post at the Fox Small Business Center. About 80 percent of those surveyed also said that their job search was stressful and took too much time.

You should take those sentiments to heart and make sure that you go with an online job application system that is easy and fast for your applicants to fill out. Completing an application shouldn’t have to amount to a technology test when you are trying to fill some vital positions in your organization.  This will not only improve the quality of the incoming candidates, but will also ensure that those that are turned down for the job don’t leave with a sour taste about your brand.

New cutting-edge ATS solutions such as Newton Software’s Cloud Apply, help small-to-medium sized businesses offer applicants a convenient way to upload their CVs, storing their resumes in a secure cloud site, while letting the data auto-populate into an online job application when the time comes to fill it out.  Most applicants will be quite satisfied when they learn that they don’t need to fill out another long application, especially after they’ve already answered all the pertinent questions in their resume.  The addition of support for mobile devices, such as with Newton’s ZenApp, gives applicants even more flexibility, enabling them to apply for positions while they’re on the go.

It’s clear that you need to select the best online job application system for your budget while also taking into account the fact that job seekers are growing weary at the amount of time they sometimes have to spend submitting their details over and over. The more efficient your online application process is, the better chance you have of recruiting promising new talent and promoting a positive image for your company’s brand.

Newton Adds Cloud Apply and Auto-Fill Employment Applications to Applicant Tracking System

October 10th, 2014 by jpassen No comments »

Cloud Apply and ZenApp provide employers with a competitive advantage by offering their job applicants the easiest and most flexible way to apply to jobs, from any device or computer.

2F5B9818-D4E6-44D3-AF50-80DB23E0B37FRead this press release on PRWeb

Newton, the leading provider of applicant tracking systems and recruiting software for small and medium-sized employers, announced today the release of their Cloud Apply and ZenApp solutions, functionality that empowers employers to provide job seekers with user-friendly careers websites. The new tools provide job applicants with the ability to apply to jobs using resumes stored in cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox. Once resumes are uploaded, Newton’s new solution will also auto-fill the online employment applications for job applicants, creating an easy and expedient user experience.

About Cloud Apply:
These days not every job seeker is using a desktop computer to apply to jobs online. Newton leverages next-generation cloud-based file services like Google Drive and Dropbox, enabling job applicants to upload their resumes to employer’s careers websites with one click from any computer or smartphone.

“It’s no secret that job seekers have long been frustrated with the accessibility of employer’s online job applications. Now with the prevalence of personal cloud storage and the undeniable rise in mobile usage, the timing for Cloud Apply and ZenApp is perfect,” said Joel Passen, Newton’s Head of Sales and Marketing. “With this release, Newton continues to solve the real problems that plague both employers and job seekers. It’s a win-win.”

About ZenApp: Job Applications that Auto-Fill
In conjunction with Cloud Apply, Newton’s product team has significantly enhanced Newton’s smart document parsing capabilities. Available to employers now, the new enhancements will automatically fill out job applications in real time when job seekers upload a resume from any mobile device or desktop.

“You see a job. You upload a resume and the employer’s careers page takes the information and fills out the job application in real-time for you. As an applicant you can do this from a phone or computer. That’s meeting job seekers where they are. That’s making a first impression,” says Passen. “You don’t need to be a sophisticated technology company to use the best recruiting solutions these days. Newton is building smart, affordable solutions for any employer that wants to improve recruiting and hiring processes.”

Earlier this year, Newton released the first completely mobile, responsive applicant tracking system for employers. And now, with the release of Cloud Apply and ZenApp, Newton becomes the most comprehensive, fully-featured mobile recruiting solution for small and medium-sized employers of its kind.

About Newton: ?Newton is an applicant tracking system designed to organize and improve internal hiring programs for small and medium-sized employers (30-3000 employees). The company was started in 2009 by corporate recruiters with the goal of developing hiring software that improves recruiting processes by offering powerful products that are easy-to-use, easy-to-purchase and easy-to-activate. Today, Newton is used by nearly 1000 employers that enjoy great customer service, free support, an intuitive product and constant innovation.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Old vs. Young Employees

October 3rd, 2014 by David Rothschild No comments »

old vs youngAs a busy hiring manager who needs to be able to quickly assess the capabilities of applicants and determine how well they might fit in your organization, how does the age of potential recruits figure into your decision making process?

Issues of talent, enthusiasm, expertise, wisdom, judgment and working habits all come into play as you consider each potential recruit. Of course, you don’t want to get into trouble by favoring one applicant over another based just on his or her apparent age. However, there are some pros and cons of hiring old versus young employees that you will want to keep in mind.

Young Blood and Exuberance

With youth comes excitement and exuberance, and enthusiastic new employees are revved up, looking for challenges and a chance to prove themselves, noted a recent post at Fast Company.

Younger workers typically are more accustomed to working with technology, having used it all their adult lives, often becoming adept during their formative youthful years. This means you may not have to spend as much time training them compared to more seasoned workers.

When you hire younger workers, you also have an opportunity mold them from the start instead of taking time to weed out the bad habits that some older employees develop.

However, younger workers may seem to be less vested overall with their jobs, wanting to leave once they have put in their hours for the day, compared to older workers who have more experience staying later to finish something because they are motivated by a sense of pride, according to a recent article posted at Entrepreneur.

Older, Wiser and Experienced

It’s very likely that older employees will behave more responsibly, having learned through hard work and experience what happens when you fail to show up on time, as well as the consequences of being careless when checking details on a project.

One negative aspect to hiring older workers is that they will often expect higher salaries than younger workers because of their experience and expertise. While the cost is often justified, your organization may prefer to hire greener workers for less and then spend more time in training.

The maturity and (hopefully) wisdom that comes with older workers is beneficial not just because of what they do themselves each day to boost your bottom line, but also the examples they can set for younger workers on your payroll, noted Entrepreneur. The magazine also cited the fact that older workers are typically better at communicating (and knowing when not to speak) because of their advanced understanding of office politics.

As long as you continue to be honest in your assessments of candidates and steer clear of discriminating against potential hires for being “too young” or “too old,” you can help build a better workforce at your organization when you pay attention to the pros and cons of hiring old versus young employees.

Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try in Hiring. Or Is There?

September 19th, 2014 by David Rothschild No comments »

It’s not always possible to determine whether a candidate will be a good fit for a job in your organization, no matter how rigorous your screening procedures are. This is why human resources directors are turning to bringing in candidates on a trial basis, to see how they will fit into the company culture.

If you’re not already doing so, you might find it beneficial to begin arranging for contracted work on trial basis to help you evaluate potential employees, using a temporary-to-permanent status hiring process.

This tactic is appropriate for organizations that have particularly high turnover, especially those with smaller workforces, such as a 15-person shop where a single bad hire can be disastrous for team morale, according to a recent post by Sarah Max at the New York Times.

Contract Work Before Permanent Status

One important thing to keep in mind when considering offering contract work is to make sure it doesn’t interfere with candidates’ current jobs, assuming they are already working. In such cases, you could let them work on a specific project on a trial basis over the weekend or for a set amount of evenings.

A single project that lasts a week or two will give you a better idea of how a recruit will fit in with your team. When you offer them work on a contract basis, you’ll want to set specific goals, so that candidates can only advance to permanent status after they pass a series of milestones.

Max cited the case of website hosting firm Weebly, where nearly every one of the 150 employees went through a trial workweek before getting hired permanently. Approximately 75 percent of candidates who go through a trial period at Weebly wind up getting hired, according to company CEO David Rusenko, who told the New York Times that the remaining 25 percent of people would have either been fired or damaged team morale if they had been hired.

HR Managers, Pay No Mind to Yoda

If you grew up watching the Star Wars film franchise, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the diminutive master Yoda telling his trainee Luke Skywalker to “Do. Or do not. There is no try,” when learning the ways of the Jedi and how to control the Force.

The idea behind Yoda’s characteristic clipped expression is to trust yourself and to listen to your instincts when encountering obstacles and difficult situations. However, in the world of human resources, relying on your gut instincts alone is not always going to be sufficient when evaluating possible job candidates.

For example, whatever you hear during the initial interviews with a promising candidate, you won’t always be able to determine his or her organizational capabilities, noted Adriana Gardella in a recent New York Times piece about hiring on a trial basis.

She pointed out that HR professional Jennifer Blumin of the corporate events planning company Skylight Group doesn’t search for people with event planning experience. Instead, she keeps an eye out for intelligent candidates who solve problems creatively without getting stressed out under deadline pressure.

So, it seems clear that focusing on “doing” rather than “trying” can be detrimental to your organization. Hiring more or all of your future employees on a trial basis may be just what you need to improve efficiency and keep your teams stable and happy going forward.