Sep 28

Sometimes new hires leave after only a few days on the job.  Some of the most common reasons are easy to avoid with simple communication.  Here are three tips from a recent HR Communication article:

  1. Match personalities.  This doesn’t mean that you can only hire employees that are extroverts because the boss is one.  It DOES mean that clear lines of communication and expectations between the potential hire and his or her manager need to be established.  Sometimes great job candidates feel uncomfortable with their employer’s management style.  This is important to know before the initial hire.
  2. Match the culture.  An engineer who feels at home in a corporate environment like Intel, for example, might feel ill at ease working for Disney in the same role.  Culture is a huge contributor to workplace turnover, so it’s worth considering a candidate’s ability to acclimate to your workplace environment.
  3. Clearly specify roles.  If the job title states, “Marketing assistant, must have bachelor’s degree in marketing,” a candidate might not be enthused to find out that their role will really be making cold-calls.  Be clear about expected job responsibilities to keep your talent longer.

Even when every precaution is taken, there are still circumstances that cause new employees to leave.  The good news is that taking small preventative steps in the hiring process can greatly eliminate these types of situations from happening, leaving HR managers and staffing recruiters to do their jobs more efficiently.

Sep 06

Every company has a dress code, whether it is strictly enforced or just implied.  However, what may seem acceptable to some employees may offend others.  According to a survey by digital media firm Captivate, offensiveness in workplace varies drastically depending on demographic.  For example, the majority of employees 50+ found tattoos “distracting” while the majority of 35 to 49 year-olds surveyed thought they were “acceptable.”  Regarding the study’s findings, the president of Captivate stated, “Companies must navigate the shifting definition of what’s acceptable to wear in the workplace to minimize distractions without turning employees off with overly stringent policies.”

With that said, here are 3 ways to avoid workplace discomfort and discrimination related to dress code.

  1. Put it in writing.  The wording can be tricky, but it needs to be clear so every employee understands expectations.  The less vague the wording is, the better.  For example, Disney has clear and strict expectations when it comes to their dress standards.  Tattoos must be covered and piercings are limited.  While companies don’t want their dress codes to deter talent from working for them, it is important to draw the line and protect the workplace environment.
  2.  Enforce.  If the policy states, “No graphic t shirts,” then it needs to be enforced.  When employers and companies get selective, discrimination can come into play.  If the same policy is enforced with every employee regardless of religion, race, or other demographic, legal issues can be avoided.
  3. Avoid Harassment.  Most workplace dress standards are in place to prevent harassment.  If a company has a clearly established dress code in place, that company is creating a culture of respect among employees and those they do business with.  By stressing this aspect of workplace culture, companies can preserve their relationships and maintain dress policies that make them look and feel professional.

Dress code does not need to be inhibiting.  By explaining the importance of protecting company culture and public image, companies can demonstrate their commitment to harassment free, clearly defined dress standards.  As a result, employees will know what to expect at work and come dressed to succeed!

Mar 27

Recently the media has caught wind of a few employers that are asking potential job candidates to provide them with their facebook login and credentials.  Supposedly, this gives employers a more personal “look around” at the person they may potentially hire.  Positions that have required this breach include Virginia state troopers and North Carolina police officers, and the city of Bozeman, Montana was using it a standard procedure.  Is this ethical or necessary?  The answer to both is no.

Because of the recent news on the topic, Facebook’s privacy policy now includes the following note:

“We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their private information and communications just to get a job.…That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.”

The American Civil Liberties Union Legislative Council, Chris Calabrese, stated:

“Congress should pass legislation prohibiting any employer or school from accessing your private social networking information. It’s an egregious privacy violation, comparable to poking around in your house or reading your personal email. In a time when we share so much through new technology, we need clear rules to makes sure that we can keep control of our own information. One of them should be that a password means “stay out” — whether you’re an employer, a school or the government. And end-runs around password protection, like asking an employee to login so someone can take a look, are also unacceptable.”

The ACLU of Minnesota recently filed a lawsuit when a student’s login information was required for an investigation.  Connecticut Senator Blumenthal has announced that he is writing a bill that would prohibit this practice.

So if you are looking for a job and your potential employer asks you to give your login, here’s advice from the closing line of the CBS article on the topic: “…if you can afford to, dismiss intrusive job interview questions. You don’t want to work for someone who has such bad judgment.”

Feb 20

The Society of Human Resource Management released a survey that polled 495 randomly selected HR professionals on the topic of personality tests.  The results show that personality tests may begin to be standard employment procedure. As a human resources professional, you may already have an opinion about the effectiveness of personality tests in the job placement arena.  Whether you believe personality testing to be a must have for long-term job placements or just an expensive gimmick, there are a few points you should consider:

  1. Testing can reduce turnover.  An article from Fox Business interviewed Scott Erker, a senior VP for a HR consulting firm.  He was confident that testing can reduce costly turnover for companies.  Replacing an employee can have huge hidden costs that may equate to as much as 6-12 months of salary, stated the article.  A personality test might just save a recruiter the trouble of finding a second replacement later on.
  2. Testing can help  small HR infrastructure.  If you’re a smaller company without a huge best practices manual and weeks of conferences for the HR team each quarter, personality tests may be the way to go.  While some of the tests can be costly, there are less expensive options online. An HR team can narrow down a list of candidates and make better informed decisions from a customized rubric they create themselves.  This way, a small business is not spending too many precious resources for one position.

If personality testing is a technique your company has yet to try, take a look at the facts (click here to access results of SHRM survey from 2011).  Maybe using them will build your business in a smart and efficient way.

Dec 07

Formal education provides a lot of opportunities, but does it teach one how to write a proper résumé?  For the most part, the answer is no.  One knows how to edit for typos and keep things concise, but what about the things that are sure to get a résumé noticed?  Of course, every employer is looking for something different in his or her candidate search, and this makes it difficult to find the perfect formula for a great application.

An article from a communications blog had some great pointers that can assist in the process of perfecting the résumé:

  1. Don’t use a goofy email.  Get a professional address, enough said.
  2. Theme your document.  Search engines and hiring managers are looking for enough key words to see if you match what they are looking for.  Make sure the key words are there to speak for you and that you have a résumé catered to the specific jobs you are looking for.  This may mean having a few different ones.
  3. Don’t put an objective statement.  Times have changed, making this old resume tradition obsolete.  Employers want to know what value you will add to their company rather than what value you hope to gain.
  4. Put awards at the top.  Employers want to know why you’re better than other candidates.  Make it easy for them to see why you excel.
  5. Use month/year format for employment dates.  This shows honesty and is a huge draw for many employers.
  6. Don’t just list job duties.  As the article put it, “It isn’t about listing what your job duties were, it’s about what explaining what you did. Employers will read that laundry list and then say, “So what?”—that’s the nugget they are really after. A great résumé tells a story that catches the employer’s attention while showing value.”
  7. Keep up to date.  Make sure the résumé is updated and your skill set is updated as well.  In a competitive job market, you have to be able to compete in skill sets with the very best and up to date candidates.

While the formula for a perfect résumé is still somewhat vague, this list is sure to narrow down a few of the common mistakes that cause a résumé to get overlooked.  Make the small changes necessary and rise to the top of the sorting pile!

For more resources to augment your job search, check out our candidate resources page here.

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Nov 17

The process of hiring can be time consuming, full of paperwork and little details that must be done correctly to avoid any legal issues down the road.  One of those pieces of paper is the infamous I-9.  While the document itself may seem self-explanatory, there are a few behind-the-scenes items of business every employer should know.  Thanks to, I have a few of their tips paraphrased below.

#1.  Complete in Three Days.  Section 1 of the I-9 should be complete by the first day of work and section 2 must be completed no later than 3 days after that.

#2. Keep the records.  Employers are obligated to keep the I-9 documentation for either 3 years after the original date of hire OR one year after employment is terminated

#3. Periodically reverify.  Stay on top of work authorizations and expirations to ensure complete legality.  Note that US citizens and noncitizen nationals will not need reverification.   (Check our this previous post about an easy way to keep track of expiration dates.)

#4. Don’t discriminate.  This one may seem obvious, but it happens.  One way to avoid discrimination in the I-9 process is to keep a copy of each employee’s documentation.  What you require of one employee, you must do for all employees that you hire, so don’t let any individual be the exception to this rule.

Hopefully the I-9 part of your hiring procedure will flow a little more smoothly with these little bits of advice.  Happy hiring!

Oct 28

As of October 1st, new legislation was passed in the state of Nevada protecting transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace.  The new laws also protect them from discrimination in housing and public accommodations.  As the Review Journal put it, Nevada is now the 15th state in the US to “extend the same legal protections to transgender people as it does to others on the basis of their race, creed, age, sex, religion, disability, national origin or sexual orientation.”

This new legislation directly affects an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 people in Nevada who will now have the right to discrimination-free environments at work and in public.  The Nevada Equal Rights Commission will also begin investigating any discrimination complaints lodged by transgender individuals.

There is speculation that this new legislation will boost tourism and increase the number of transgender people that visit Las Vegas and other areas of Nevada.  Similar laws protecting the rights of gay individuals were passed in 1999 and seemed to have a similar outcome for our state’s economy.  Hopefully these new laws will not only increase the quality of life for transgender residents but also spur the state’s economy.

Apr 22

The HIRE Act was recently passed into law.  The act’s primary purpose is to create an incentive for employers to take on new employees by relieving some of the economic burden that is placed on employers this year.  Basically, the act makes it possible for certain employers to qualify for tax credits and even get a tax holiday from certain types of taxes if they “HIRE” a new employee between February 3rd of this year and January 1st of 2011.  Employees don’t even need to be hired for full time to take advantage of HIRE.  Newly hired, part-time employees are also covered in most circumstances.

There are certain requirements that these newly hired employees must meet for the employer to benefit from the HIRE Act.  Each new employee must sign an affidavit, and the IRS just submitted an example form that can be used to guide employers in this new process.   Also, the company hiring the new employee cannot claim tax credits through the HIRE act and simultaneously benefit from WOTC, or Work Opportunity Tax Credit.  Some study will be involved in determining which method creates the most savings for each individual company.   More information about the IRS’s input on the act as well as guidelines to help employers benefit from HIRE can be found at

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