Why a Casual Dress Code Might Be the Best Work Perk of All

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Office dress code policies are changing with the times, and it’s not just Silicon Valley tech startups getting in on the trend. Goldman Sachs made waves recently when it announced it was ditching the mandatory suits and ties in favor of a more flexible dress code.

More and more companies are moving away from formal business attire and embracing casual dress in the office. In fact, 50 percent of the respondents to SHRM’s “2018 Employee Benefits” survey said their companies allow workers to dress down whenever they want.

While everyone likes to be comfortable at work, many don’t realize that a casual dress code has perks far beyond convenience. From serious financial savings to happier employees, here are some of the biggest benefits of working for a company that doesn’t have a strict dress code:

1. You’ll Save Money

“The most obvious benefit is avoiding the cost of an elaborate wardrobe,” says workplace expert and author Lynn Taylor. “Also, the dry-cleaning costs can add up to the point where you’re paying more in dry cleaning than you are for the actual clothing.”

Buying work clothes isn’t a one-and-done deal. Yes, you’ll feel the upfront investment most, but maintaining a professional wardrobe requires sprucing up your closet as you move through your career. That’s on top of having to buy everyday clothes to wear outside of work. The average American household already spends a whopping $1,833 annually on apparel and clothing services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When you take away the need for a whole separate workplace wardrobe, you can cut that bill significantly.

Moreover, female employees are often hit harder than their male colleagues by strict dress codes. A now famous 2015 New York Department of Consumer Affairs report found that adult women’s clothing costs, on average, 8 percent more than adult men’s clothing. In a sense, then, a casual dress code can also be perceived as a step toward workplace equality.

2. It’ll Make You Happier at Work

Research suggests clothing has a direct impact on our mood, our thoughts, and our behavior. A study from Northwestern University found that people perform better on attention-related tasks when wearing a doctor’s white lab coat. When participants were given the same coat but told it was a painter’s coat instead, they did not get the same performance boost.

The suggestion here is that the clothes we wear appear to influence how we think and act. If you were to don an outfit that made you feel more confident, you just might begin to act more confidently. Not all of us feel that confidence in traditional business attire, so a casual dress code gives more people the chance to wear clothes that do improve their moods.

“People just want to be comfortable, and it’s just a more empowering feeling going to work and knowing that you can be yourself and not feel uptight in restrictive clothing,” Taylor says.

Taylor also notes that feeling physically unrestricted can potentially improve how we relate to others in the workplace: “About 10 or 15 years ago, most men and women had to wear blazers to work. That kind of physically restrictive feeling can sort of stretch into feeling restricted interpersonally.”

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3. You’ll Feel More Connected to Your Company

Dress codes reflect company cultures. A more relaxed dress code implies a more relaxed office culture — which is no small thing, according to Taylor.

“When you apply to a company and it has a more casual and relaxed dress code, that tells [employees] right away it has a more open, friendly work environment,” Taylor says. “It sort of sends an underlying message that as an employer, you might care about your employees. It’s a good feeling.”

It’s little wonder that dressing down appears to go hand in hand with employee retention. A 2017 survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam found that 56 percent of employees prefer to wear more relaxed clothing at work. What’s more, when it comes to accepting a job offer, more than 50 percent of job seekers see a company’s dress code as either “very important” or “moderately important,” according to Salary.com.

Dress Code No-Nos

A company may be super relaxed with its dress code policy, but that doesn’t mean there are no standards. Opting for beachwear, cut-offs, or ripped denim is never a good idea, according to Taylor. The same goes for T-shirts with offensive language or religious undertones.

One other thing to keep in mind is client relations. Just because your company embraces casual attire doesn’t mean everyone else does.

“It’s always good if you’re in an office situation to have a blazer and pants handy, just in case you’re called into a client meeting last-minute,” Taylor says. “At first, err on the side of conservatism with clients. If a client makes a wisecrack or says, ‘Boy, you’re dressed up today,’ and they’re always in jeans, then you can start shifting.”

Marianne Hayes is a longtime freelance writer and content marketing specialist.

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9 Tips on Avoiding Loneliness When You Work From Home

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Article by Jamie Friedlander

Makeup done? Check. Laptop fully charged? Check. Matcha latte in hand? Check.

I’m working from a coffee shop for the first time in months, and I can already feel a deep sense of energy bubbling up inside of me. I haven’t experienced such motivation in ages.

I’m self-employed as a freelance writer, and day after day of waking up and rolling over to my home desk began to grow old. By 2 p.m., my shoulders would hunch, my eyes would grow heavy, and I’d lose all will to keep typing.

A self-professed introvert, I don’t mind spending time alone. It’s part of the reason I became a freelance writer. But after my husband, a medical resident, began working 70-hour weeks (including many overnight shifts) — coupled with the fact that I had a falling out with my mother and my grandmother passed away — I started to feel lonely. I was isolated; I had no one to talk to when work got slow. Some days, I’d go six or seven hours without speaking to anyone, save for the occasional texting with friends.

More than 5 percent of Americans work from home full-time, and that’s not to mention the countless others who work from home part-time or have flex time at work. I’ve chatted with other work-from-homers, and the consensus is clear: The freedom is awesome, but the loneliness can be pervasive.

Below, you’ll find a guide to avoiding loneliness when you work from home, including tips from writers like myself and other professionals who’ve learned the best ways to be social without an office to visit or coworkers to chat with.

1. Grab Lunch With a Friend

This has been one of the best ways for me to combat loneliness. I try to schedule lunch or coffee with a friend once a week in order to put a little socialization on my calendar. I aim for Wednesday or Thursday, when my work motivation begins to wane.

Hilary Billings, a speaker and podcast host, calls these “supercharged interactions.”

“Set up weekly routines that involve being around other people who energize you,” she says. “Whether this is creating a standing lunch appointment with a close friend, joining an after-hours workout class, or Skyping someone for a daily 15-minute power conversation, having those connection moments to look forward to releases thought patterns of loneliness.”

2. Volunteer Once a Week

I know several freelance writers who get out of the house by having a part-time job. Although this can be a great way to socialize once a week, I didn’t like the idea of being beholden to an employer. (That’s why I became a freelancer in the first place.) Instead of getting a job, I began volunteering at a local Head Start preschool once a week for two hours. Playing with a group of 5-year-olds every Wednesday afternoon gives me a much-needed pick-me-up.

Jodi Womack, an author and speaker, also volunteers to shake things up.

“I volunteer with a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that connects professional women writers with at-risk girls,” she says. “I’ve been a volunteer for WriteGirl for seven years. It’s a great program for the kids, and it’s a great opportunity for me to connect with other writers.”

3. Head to the Library

Many people eschew coffee shops because they can be noisy and full of distractions. If you fall into this camp, consider heading to the library instead. You’ll get out of the house for a bit, and you’ll have a quiet setting in which to crank out some work. It’s a win-win.

4. Keep Meaningful Photographs on Your Desk

Lucy Harris, CEO of Hello Baby Bump, says one way she fights the work-from-home blues is by keeping photographs of her loved ones near her workspace.

“Even though I may be alone, I look at the pictures to reminisce on the memory or the people in it, and suddenly I don’t feel as lonely because I know there are others around me and in my life,” she says.

5. Foster Your Weak-Tie Connections

In life, we have both weak-tie and strong-tie connections. People like your parents, spouse, and friends are strong ties, while weak ties are people who aren’t strangers but aren’t friends, either: the front-desk clerk at your gym, the seafood guy at your grocery store, the barista at your favorite coffee shop. It turns out these weak ties can have an immense impact on your mental health. Some research even suggests they’re as important as our strong ties.

Business coach Stacy Caprio says she always makes a point of getting out of the house once a day.

“As you do, smile and say hi to everyone you see, including your building’s door manager, the janitor, any neighbor walking outside, the person taking your order at the restaurant, or anyone you happen to see,” she says. “These small social connections and conversations will go a long way toward making you feel connected and less lonely without being a huge time draw or anything you have to plan in advance.”

6. Put on a Podcast

“I listen to podcasts during work,” says Sharon Rosenblatt, director of communications at Accessibility Partners. “While not ‘real people,’ it provides a nice background that is humanizing.”

7. Join a Coworking Space

Thousands of people in big cities across the country pay a fee each month to rent desks and offices in shared workspaces. These spaces can provide a sense of community for the work-from-home crowd, but there is one caveat: They can be pricey, with membership running up to $500 per month depending on the space and the city you live in.

8. Exercise

No list of ways to avoid loneliness when working from home would be complete without mention of exercise. We all know exercise has countless benefits, one of which is improved mental well-being and focus. If you’re not doing so already, head to the gym or join an intramural sports league to get some much-needed mental energy.

9. Adopt a Furry Friend

I spoke with countless people who work from home for this article, and more than one touted the benefits of having a pet nearby. Their advice is shrewd: Research has shown having pets can combat loneliness.

“I have four rescue dogs, and they help me address loneliness in so many ways,” says psychologist and neuroscientist Sabina Brennan. “They have to be walked every day, so that forces me out of the house, and dogs are a great icebreaker. People will often stop to say hello to you and your dog.”

Brennan also says simply smiling at her pets improves her mood: “Smiling is critical for our health. It boosts our immune function, it lowers blood pressure, and it releases hormones that make us feel good. It’s a natural stress buster. Many of us see smiling as a reaction to something funny or in response to someone else’s smile, so if we work from home, we can forget to smile, which can compound feelings of loneliness. My dogs always give me something to smile about.”

A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.

Jamie Friedlander is a freelance writer based in Chicago and the former features editor of SUCCESS magazine. Her work has been published in The Cut, VICE, Inc., The Chicago Tribune, and Business Insider, among other publications. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found drinking matcha tea into excess, traveling somewhere new with her husband, or surfing Etsy late into the night.

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Returnships: How Organizations Are Helping More Professionals Return to Work After Extended Absences

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When asked to picture an intern, you may imagine a young, coffee-fetching, paper-stapling, fresh-out-of-college 20-something. However, a new group is entering the internship scene, and they’re not so inexperienced. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I’m speaking of seasoned professionals who have taken extended career breaks and are now reentering the workforce through “returnships.”

A returnship is a higher-level version of an internship. It acts as a bridge back to mid-to-senior-level roles for professionals who left the workforce for an extended period. The most common example is a woman who has taken a few years off to raise a child, but many other individuals may benefit from returnships as well, including those recovering from injury or illness, retired military members, and those who took time off to care for ill or elderly relatives.

Goldman Sachs first introduced the concept of a returnship in 2008 (and the company has since trademarked the term, so you may want to name your program something different). Other firms have since followed suit with similar programs of their own, such as the Return to Bay Street program offered by the Canadian professional women’s network Women in Capital Markets.

What a Returnship Is Like

Typically lasting a few weeks or a few months, returnships are short-term, paid placements that may lead to permanent employment. During a returnship, returners usually work full-time in order to get reacquainted with the 9-5 rhythm.

One of the trickiest parts about taking an extended leave is that it’s difficult to stay relevant. Technology keeps changing and the job market keeps evolving, even while you’re out of the game. This is why most returnships allow participants to attend workshops that help them both brush up on old skills and learn new skills they’ll need to succeed in the current economic landscape.

The other challenge that comes with an extended absence is the collapse of a person’s professional network, which can restrict their access to career opportunities going forward. In addition to skills workshops, many returnships also make time for returners to attend professional networking events to help them rebuild their networks.

Aside from the paycheck, the foot in the door, and the training opportunities, perhaps the greatest value of returnships is that they provide support and a boost of confidence to returning talent. Gone are the doubts about getting hired with a lengthy employment gap and the anxieties over outdated digital skills. Entering their programs with a cohort of individuals in similar situations, returners get the chance to be trainees again, allowed to learn, make mistakes, and grow.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

What Employers Get Out of It

Similar to an internship, a returnship provides employers with a “try before you buy” solution to hiring. It’s one thing for hiring managers to say they will hire without bias, but it’s another thing to actually take the risk. Recruiters and hiring managers are constantly worried about bad hires, and for good reason: Making the wrong hire can be incredibly costly, and it can sully a hiring manager’s reputation forever. Thus, many hiring teams feel it is safer to keep doing what they’ve always done.

However, returnships can help address this. Since a returnship program has a set end date, there is no pressure to offer employment at the program’s conclusion if the fit isn’t good. This gives hiring managers and recruiters more incentive to take risks and tap previously overlooked talent pools. Returnships, then, can be key ways to build diversity and fill especially niche positions. There is also huge potential for savings, as returners bring years of industry experience and thus will need less time to get up to full productivity.

The Elephant in the Room

Conversations about returnships often gloss over the fact that the need for these kinds of programs is driven by the hurdles working women have long faced. Women have typically carried the duty of caring for children and loved ones. Once on the so-called “family track,” women often earn less and face more discrimination when it comes to assignments and promotions.

Furthermore, there is a bias, often unconscious, against hiring people who have taken time away from their careers for any reason. These people are perceived as less committed and less driven. While not directly targeted at women, this bias against employment gaps affects them especially heavily, as they are usually the ones assuming extended leaves to act as caregivers.

While returnships are praised by some as positive steps to help women regain footholds in their careers, others caution these same programs can undermine a participant’s experience and value while distracting them from a search for a permanent position.

Overall, returnships seem to be satisfying a demand in the employment market. They have especially gained popularity in the tech industry, where representation of women has been historically low. But regardless of the sector, returnship programs can offer many benefits for both employers and returning employees alike.

Henry Goldbeck is the president of Goldbeck Recruiting, Inc.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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The War for Talent Is Raging — Are You Defending Your Turf?

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If you’ve turned on the news lately, you know that US unemployment rates are at an all-time low. Good news, right?

Well, maybe.

With many of the most talented professionals already employed, recruiters have had to adopt aggressive hiring techniques to source new talent around the country. But there is much more involved in the hiring process than the time and money it takes to find people with the required experience. It is essential that the candidates you hire are the right fit. Mishires can be deadly to companies: In Topgrading, Brad Smart estimates each one can cost a company 4-8 times the employee’s salary to replace.

The economic impact of the US’s accelerating job market is monumental, yet this changing tide brings added pressure to established businesses and could end up costing them in terms of talent, market share, and revenue.

How can a business defend its turf as competition grows fiercer in the talent market? It all comes down to attracting, retaining, and aligning your team by knowing what attracts people, why people stay, and why people leave.

What Attracts People

A players: You know them, you love them, you want them. It’s no secret A players are attracted to companies and people who do meaningful work. Does this mean your company has to be saving the world? No, but it does mean you should be able to articulate how your company has an impact on the world. Your employees should know what that impact is, and they should be passionate about the work they’re doing.

To attract A players, you need to define your core purpose and values. Your core purpose is why your company exists, the reason why your organization was started. Core values set the standards for how your company delivers its services and how it interacts with team members and customers.

Chances are your employees decided to work for your company because they align with your core purpose and values. If your core purpose is unclear or your employees don’t believe in it, they will eventually search for a purpose that piques their interest elsewhere — and it could be your competitor across town.

Once you have your core purpose and values established, you must protect them at all costs. You should be hiring and firing based off them, and you should have consequences for breaking them. A candidate’s alignment with your values should be considered above anything else when making recruiting decisions.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Why People Stay

Team members must know how they are contributing to your organization’s success. Make sure you have a BHAG, or “big hairy audacious goal.” Company priorities and important numbers should be visible to everyone. Team members must have a line of sight from their roles to the overall goal of the company, and they should know exactly how their individual contribution helps the company achieve success.

Clear job descriptions and key performance indicators will increase accountability and build trust. Trust is the foundation for success in business and among teams. When roles, responsibilities, target objectives, and how progress is tracked are all clearly defined, no one can hide and quality work is rewarded. A players will shine and work together to meet your goals, and your revenue per employee will rise.

Why People Leave

Employees aren’t always looking for the highest salary; they will leave for reasons other than money. In The Trust Edge, David Horsager argues that “the top two reasons why most employees leave an organization are underappreciation and not trusting the leadership. It turns out four times as many people would leave because of a lack of appreciation than because of annoying coworkers.”

Authentic compassion and appreciation start at the top. From there, these behaviors should cascade throughout the organization. We often judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. Start thinking about your intentions versus your actions, and make sure you truly demonstrate your authentic appreciation to your team early and often!

Make celebrating your team consistent and fun by implementing a kudos board where employees can write notes of appreciation and highlight big wins. When a culture of gratitude and recognition is the standard, employees are motivated to go above and beyond, knowing their work is noticed and appreciated.

Culture starts at the top. CEOs and their executive teams must be healthy and aligned. Alignment creates trust, transparency, and scale. By cultivating a strong culture, creating a line of sight for every team member to the company’s goals, and showing appreciation authentically, both new and established businesses can attract and retain talent and increase market share and revenue.

Jennifer Faught is a Petra Coach and entrepreneur.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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The Consumerization of the Job Hunt: How Recruitment Marketing Automation Makes Life Easier in a Candidate’s Market

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Contemporary job seekers are more like consumers than they used to be. Furthermore, the vast majority of quality candidates are not actively seeking employment at any given moment, and in order to reach these folks, you need to provide personalized attention in multiple places at once.

These are all significant challenges, but recruitment marketing automation (RMA) can be an incredibly powerful tool in overcoming the obstacles of a candidate-centered talent market — even beyond the obvious fact that it takes rote, time-consuming tasks like data entry and update emails off your team’s plate.

The Consumerization of the Job Hunt

Traditionally, businesses have treated consumers and job seekers very differently. That used to make sense: In the past, businesses needed consumers to buy their products, whereas job seekers needed businesses to hire them.

Today, things are different. Job hunters know they have leverage now that there are more job openings than there are unemployed people. As a result, candidates are acting more like consumers. They are making measured decisions based on all the available data. Rather than taking the first job offer that pops up, they’re shopping around for the best deals.

In light of these developments, employers need to treat job seekers more like consumers. Much like a business sells its products to consumers, it must now sell its employee value proposition to potential employees.

Recruitment marketing already borrows heavily from the world of inbound consumer marketing, and it’s about time that recruitment marketers follow the lead of consumer marketers in using automation to find and engage hard-to-reach audiences.

Approximately 80 percent of the workforce is not actively seeking new employment at any given time. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t join your company if the right opening became available. Rather, the onus is on you to get the word out and ensure the right people know how great your company is. That takes work.

Promoting your employer brand through the right channels may be key to reaching passive candidates, but employer branding activities are also time-consuming. How do you present your employer brand to the right people in the right place at the right time when you can’t be everywhere at once?

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Automate Without Losing the Personal Touch

Candidates have the power and are hard to find — and once you do find them, they demand one-on-one attention. Your recruiters can’t be stuck doing data entry when they should be ready to field that phone call and coach that candidate through preinterview jitters.

RMA is what allows you to refocus your energy on those personal touchpoints instead of rote administrative tasks. That way, you can keep candidates feeling supported, engaged, and ready to talk you up to all their friends. A properly configured RMA solution should be able to send email updates, enter new candidates’ information into your applicant tracking system (ATS), post new openings on Facebook, and follow up with candidates after phone screens. In the meantime, you’re free to prioritize those human-centered activities that make or break the candidate experience for today’s consumer-style job seekers.

“But what about the personal touch I put on all my emails?” you ask. Find an RMA solution that will integrate with your ATS or candidate management system. That way, you can personalize every automated email with the candidate’s name, the role they applied for, and even information about the team they’re looking to join.

Automation Lets You Be in Multiple Places at Once

To keep the applicants rolling in and your passive talent pool engaged, you need to be on social media. This is where many of your candidates spend their free time online, so it’s the best place to talk about your employer brand, show off your employee value proposition, and interact with your (hopefully) adoring public.

But, again, the question rears its head: How can you be on all these channels at the same time?

By now you know the answer: RMA. Automate your social media accounts to post job updates, share interesting content, and even respond to frequently asked questions, all without you having to lift a finger. This frees you up to listen to the conversation and interject your brand’s voice live when the time is right. You also have more time to engage with candidates’ posts and answer their tougher questions. All of this activity raises your profile in the eyes of potential applicants.

The Latest Technology on the Scene: Robots

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an emerging technology set to make huge waves in the recruitment marketing world. Unlike AI or machine learning, RPA doesn’t involve complex algorithms or tons of computing power. Instead, it offers the ability to automate repetitive tasks like scraping data off a website or conducting the first few exchanges in an online interaction with a candidate.

RPA is often used to power rudimentary chatbots designed to greet users and ask them for their email addresses and other information that will speed things up when they’re transferred to a human. However, that’s only one example of its capabilities.

For our purposes, RPA is important primarily for reporting and for automated post scheduling. The bigger platforms like Facebook and Twitter tend to offer APIs for automation tools, but what about your Stack Exchanges, Reddits, and small niche forums you might be using to court a specific subset of your audience? Such sites don’t always offer the same APIs, meaning there is no interface for your automation technology to directly interact with.

Without relevant APIs, you would normally have to post your content by hand and then analyze the results manually. Thanks to RPA, however, you can now turn to the bots. Bots can be configured to enter information in the exact same way a human recruiter would, giving you a way to automate social media functions without an API. That’s huge.

By automating your basic posts in these niche channels, you ensuring your audience members get the information you need them to get, and you can still give them the same personal touch you give to your followers on bigger platforms like Facebook.

In the age of the consumer candidate, what matters most is showing job seekers your care and concern for them as individuals. That’s how you ensure their allegiance — and an application as soon as the right position opens up.

Adrian Cernat is the CEO and founder of SmartDreamers. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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The Dos and Don’ts of Mobile Recruiting

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Mobile recruitment is no longer a nice-to-have strategy — it’s a must.

Among today’s job seekers, 89 percent see their mobile devices as critical to the job hunt, and 45 percent use their phones to search for jobs daily. It’s clear that candidates now expect to be able to research, find, and apply to jobs from a mobile device, and that means any recruiter without a solid mobile recruiting practice is missing out on a huge swath of excellent talent.

As an added bonus, a mobile-first recruitment strategy doesn’t only benefit the candidates. It can also shave time off of lengthy recruiting cycles, putting your team members in a better position to engage and win over top candidates. Tools like real-time mobile chat allow communication to move faster, cutting out the typical lag time between emails. Additionally, features like one-click apply provide simple and speedy ways for candidates to join your talent pipelines.

Whether you are a mobile recruiting veteran or just dipping your toes into the mobile recruiting world, you need to understand some key dos and don’ts in order to successfully attract, engage, and hire candidates via mobile devices. Here’s some advice, based on our experiences implementing mobile strategies for LOCALiQ clients:

DO Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices

Your mobile site must be more than a miniature version of your desktop website. An effectively mobile-optimized website should function and feel like it was made for on-the-go devices. Simplicity, speed, and usability are key.

Like consumers, job applicants are notoriously unforgiving when it comes to their online experiences. Case in point: If a website takes more than three seconds to load, 53 percent of users will abandon the site. Similarly, mobile navigation has to be intuitive, with compelling visuals and clickable buttons so candidates can easily get where they need to go on your site.

Remember: Your candidates expect a mobile job-seeking experience akin to popular social media and gaming apps. Design your mobile recruiting site with this in mind.

DON’T Force Candidates to Leave Their Mobile Devices to Apply for Jobs on Their Desktops

If you list a position on a mobile-friendly job board or careers site, then you should also allow candidates to apply to that position on their mobile devices. Consider implementing a one-click apply feature. Sixty percent of job seekers will fail to complete a job application if it is too lengthy or complex. Avoid this problem by giving job seekers a simple way to apply without much effort.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

DON’T Assume Mobile Recruiting Only Attracts Young Candidates

While 92 percent of millennials own smartphones, Gen. X-ers and baby boomers are right behind them, with 85 percent and 67 percent of those generations, respectively, owning smartphones. Gen. X-ers and baby boomers don’t lag far behind in social media use, either.

The takeaway here is that job seekers of all ages use mobile devices. Rather than tailoring your mobile recruiting strategy for one generation, make it inclusive. The more demographics you can connect with, the better your chance of finding the best candidate.

DO Incorporate Real-Time Chat, Text, and Short-Form Communications Into Your Mobile Recruiting Program

As with applications, on-the-go candidates want quick and easy methods to connect with employers and recruiters. Companies benefit from the use of such channels as well: They are able to capture a prospect’s attention more quickly and guide them to the next step of the recruiting process.

Don’t stop at text messages. Make popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger part of your recruiting lexicon as well.

DON’T Overlook the Significance of Social Media

According to a survey conducted by LOCALiQ Recruitment, active job seekers are likely to visit social media sites like LinkedIn when researching a prospective employer. That means your mobile recruiting strategy should include social media as a key channel for sourcing candidates and boosting your reputation as a desirable employer.

DO Leverage the Right Mix of Digital Tools to Make Your Mobile Recruiting Strategy a Success

Each organization has its own unique recruitment needs and is looking to attract a specific audience. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting, especially not when it comes to mobile recruiting. You’ll need to determine which specific tools work best to achieve your recruiting goals. When used in the right combination, the tools and techniques outlined above can help you connect with today’s best candidates and get the right people through the door.

Dan Dugan is vice president of sales at LOCALiQ Recruitment.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Recruiting Business Thriving in a Tight Talent Market

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Growing a recruiting business is extraordinarily difficult in the best of circumstances. This historically tight talent market makes it even more difficult. The traditional methods you have relied on for years may not cut it in this environment.

To keep your recruiting business thriving in this challenging economy, consider the following tips:

1. Become a True Hunter

The days of post-and-pray are long gone — though, in truth, they never really existed. If the only value you supply as a recruiter is posting ads for your clients, collecting the best resumes, and submitting them, you are not doing anything your clients couldn’t do on their own.

Truly effective candidate sourcing means leveraging all the resources and hunting through all the networks you have developed as a recruiter to find passive talent. This includes deep dives into your ATS database; pinpointing ideal candidates on LinkedIn; scrubbing Monster, CareerBuilder, and similar sites; and leveraging your personal connections all to match the right person to the right opportunity by direct recruiting.

Get creative! Post jobs in online groups and chat rooms. Share details about the talent you seek on social media. Plant seeds everywhere you go, and your network will grow organically, yielding more candidates with each passing day.

2. Network, Network, Network

Speaking of your network: There is simply no substitute for getting out and networking directly with people in your local market. Join local associations related to your niche and attend their meetings. Better yet, offer to sponsor one of their meetings. In doing so, you can get the chance to speak to the group about your company and the services you offer.

Attend local professional events. Make a calendar of conferences and trade shows where the talent you seek will be present. Hand out your business cards and buy people drinks. Look for ways to connect with other tradespeople who work with your talent pool. Offer to make introductions to prospective clients and candidates for them.

3. Focus on Clients in Local Markets

Spreading yourself too thin is a classic mistake in recruiting. Employers work with local recruiters because these recruiters know who’s who in the market. Make sure you measure up to that expectation.

Be the expert in your specialty in your geographic district. Know all the biggest employers in your niche that are headquartered in your area, even if they are not your clients — yet. See what jobs they are posting. See whom they hire. See what companies the people they hire come from by reviewing their profiles on social media. Reach out to those companies, as they will surely be looking for replacements. Own your market, always ask for referrals, and become known to the talent in your niche.

4. Optimize Your Website

When people search for recruiting specialists in your niche and locale on Google or Bing, do you come up in the results? If not, it is time to review your website.

Make sure you have pages on your website that specifically mention your specialties and the locations in which you work. This makes it more likely that people searching for recruiters in your specialty and location will actually come across your website.

You may want to hire a search engine optimization (SEO) expert to research which keywords will produce the best results for you. Then, you can develop your website using those specific keywords.

Remember to be genuine in your intent! You’re not just trying to lure in the masses — you want the companies and candidates most relevant to your business to find you. One good tactic: Create blog posts centered around keywords that drive your SEO. That way, you can provide value, show off your expertise, and catch the eyes of potential clients and candidates all at the same time.

5. Be a True Partner to Your Clients and Candidates

Nothing is more important in the recruiting business than trust. It is paramount to build honest, constructive partnerships with those you are representing, on both sides.

Candidates value recruiters who go the extra mile. If candidates can trust you to be straightforward regarding the positions and companies you represent, they will return to you each time they are in the market for a new role.

Employers, too, will turn to you again and again if they know you are organized and diligent in your pursuit of presenting only the best candidates. Show them you deliver substantial value by only submitting candidates you have fully vetted who meet all their requirements.

Being a true partner to clients and candidates alike will make your recruiting business a magnet for the right people.

Allegra Highsmith is the director of recruiting at Goodwin Recruiting.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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While Companies Make Strides Toward Diverse Workplaces, Political Diversity Is Lacking in Tech

network

Despite increased pressure to create more inclusive workplaces, many companies still struggle with diversity. Preexisting lack of diversity in hiring teams, limited recruiting strategies that fail to reach broad candidate pools, unconscious biases, and a misguided focus on quotas rather than cultural change all pose significant challenges for diversity hiring initiatives.

It’s not that companies aren’t trying. Many organizations have implemented specific programs to improve workplace diversity and inclusion. Businesses are making concerted efforts to look for top talent in nontraditional spaces and tailoring job posts to attract more diverse candidate pools. Some business have even dropped four-year degree requirements for certain jobs in an effort to tap new audiences of job seekers. Companies are diversifying their interview panels and implementing blind recruitment processes, all in an effort to remove unconscious bias and let candidates’ skills shine, regardless of their backgrounds.

Why Diversity Matters

Why are companies pouring so much effort into diversity and inclusion initiatives? To put it simply, the benefits of a diverse workforce extend far beyond good PR.

For starters, more diverse companies are better able to attract top talent, as 67 percent of job seekers take diversity into account when considering employment opportunities. Diversity can also drive employee engagement and reduce turnover. Employees who feel accepted and valued are happier and less likely to leave.

Deloitte found inclusive companies perform 80 percent better than their less inclusive counterparts. A more diverse workforce also has access to a wider range of perspectives, which increases innovation. According to Josh Bersin, inclusive companies are 70 percent more likely to be innovation leaders.

It’s clear that businesses should be thinking about diversity, but that raises another important question: What does diversity look like?

Traditionally, people have thought of diversity largely in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender. However, these may not be the only areas of diversity in which businesses are falling short. Recent complaints from conservative employees about perceived liberal biases at their companies suggest political diversity may be lacking in certain industries as well.

Political and Ideological Diversity

Is political diversity really an issue in some industries, or is it all bluster? We aggregated political donation data from Zippia to see how businesses from different industries and categories stack up in terms of political diversity. Here’s what we found:

wallstreet

While Wall Street has a reputation for being a bit on the conservative side, these banks are highly politically diverse. In fact, almost all firms hover around a 50/50 split between the two parties. Citibank has the most significant majority, with 60.4 percent of its employees being Democratic Party supporters and 38.8 percent aligning with the Republican Party.

largeenterprise

The largest companies companies also seem to welcome political diversity among their employees. While they are less balanced than the Wall Street banks, these big companies have high representation of both political parties. The largest majority is at Target, where a little more than two-thirds of employees are Democrats.

tech

The tech industry shows signs of a significant lack of political diversity, as all of the featured companies are predominantly Democrat. HBO has the least political diversity, with almost 95 percent of its employees reported to be Democrats. Employees’ political affiliations are most varied at IBM, but there is still a nearly 70 percent liberal majority. These numbers are likely not a surprise to anyone in the world of tech.

highgrowth

These high-growth companies show extreme political homogeneity. The most politically diverse company here is Slack, but 90 percent of the employees are still Democrats. Two of these companies, Etsy and HubSpot, lack Republican representation entirely.

So What?

While larger companies and Wall Street banks are more mixed in the political leanings of their employees, high-growth businesses and tech companies appear to lack political diversity. Companies in both categories have very limited representation of Republican employees.

It is also significant that the largest Democratic majority (97.4 percent at Etsy) is much higher than the largest Republican majority (63.7 percent at Exxon Mobil). Furthermore, in all four categories, the largest majorities are Democratic majorities. In other words, companies that are the least politically diverse tend to be majority Democratic.

Overall, it seems as though the tech industry and many high-growth companies have a ways to go in terms of political diversity. Improving political diversity in these industries is important because having such political homogeneity can be isolating for the few employees who do have differing views. These feelings of isolation can lead to unhappiness and, ultimately, hurt your employer brand in the long run. Also, employees with different political affiliations may have different ways of thinking and unique approaches to problem-solving that could allow them to offer some invaluable insights.

Ultimately, talented people come from all racial, ethnic, gender, and even political backgrounds. Cultivating diverse perspectives allows your business to grow and thrive.

While political diversity is something your business should strive for, support for political diversity should never be understood as allowing any form of intolerance or discrimination. No matter how your employees vote, your company’s ultimate goal should be to foster a culture of respect and inclusion by acknowledging an individual’s right to their own opinion while ensuring all views that are expressed are respectful of all people. HR pros and company executives alike should aim to create workplace environments where people are treated as equals regardless of their differences.

A version of this article originally appeared on the SelectSoftware blog.

Phil Strazzulla is the founder of SelectSoftware.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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For Better Onboarding That Boosts Retention, Copy the Marine Corps Model

steps

A failure to retain employees causes tremendous expense for a company. Replacing a single worker can cost 6-9 months’ worth of their salary when you factor in advertising, interviewing, and training. Moreover, new employees tend to be less productive and make more errors than seasoned employees simply because they do not have the same amount of experience in the role.

For large companies, high turnover is a burden; for smaller companies, it can be utterly debilitating. Despite this, retention failure is common throughout the US. According to Gallup, more than one third of employees changed jobs between 2014 and 2017, and more than half of employees are looking for new opportunities. Though some of that mobility can be written off as the result of increased economic opportunity, a new trend, employee “ghosting,” speaks directly to how many workers feel about their employers today.

Ghosting is when an employee quits a job without giving any notice. They just don’t show up, leaving the business to deal with the loss. That is a direct refutation of the company’s culture.

The 3 Phases of Effective Onboarding

Conventional wisdom holds you only get one chance to make a first impression. For a company, that first impression is the onboarding experience, during which a new employee learns how the company operates and how well they fit in with the workplace culture. The onboarding experience permanently influences an employee’s outlook on their new job and their desire to stay at that job. When a company’s onboarding process inadequately integrates an employee, it greatly diminishes the company’s chance of retaining that employee.

To make the kind of impression that gets employees excited about staying for the long term, organizations must consider onboarding from a more strategic perspective. By breaking onboarding into three phases — preboarding, onboarding, and follow-up — employers can get new hires off to a strong, successful start that increases the chance of retention.

1. Preboarding

Employee onboarding can begin before the new hire’s first day; this is the phase marked “preboarding.” Preboarding allows a new employee to familiarize themselves with company values, safety codes, and other important policies before they ever sit down at their new desk. This gives the employee a deeper understanding of the company and allows them to arrive more confidently at their first day of work.

Additionally, preboarding is a good time for new hires to complete important paperwork surrounding payroll, benefits, and other necessary items. This paperwork can be tedious and doesn’t really require the employee to be in the office. When the new hire completes paperwork ahead of time, the in-office stage of onboarding can be dedicated to more engaging and more valuable pursuits.

Consider also having an assigned mentor in the new employee’s department reach out during the preboarding phase. That way, the employee maintains some kind of direct connection with the organization in the time leading up to their start date. The mentor can also appraise the new hire’s strengths and opportunities for growth, allowing for the creation of a more tailored training process when the new hire starts their job.

For more expert HR insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

2. Onboarding

The proper onboarding phase takes place during an employee’s first few weeks on the job. Rather than putting all new hires through the same generic experience, companies should collaborate with each employee to create a unique onboarding phase based on the information gathered about the employee during the preboarding stage.

The new hire’s mentor should have taken the time to get to know them during preboarding. They can use this knowledge to pace the new hire’s development and tailor their training and acclimation processes. An essential part of this phase is the development of the new hire’s personal road map. In a frank conversation, the new hire and their superior should lay out what the employee hopes to achieve in the next few years at the company and what the employee needs to do to reach those goals.

Along the way, make time for the new employee to socialize with their coworkers. Far from detracting from the onboarding process, this time has tremendous value. People who have friends at work are more likely to be engaged at work, and higher engagement is correlated with all kinds of gains in employee performance and productivity.

3. Follow-Up

Follow-up is an important part of the onboarding process for the organization and the employee. The organization needs to solicit feedback from the employee regarding which aspects of the onboarding process worked and which need improvement. Meanwhile, the employee needs to follow up with their supervisor regularly to check in on their progress along their personal career road map. These regular check-ins will help retain the employee and steer them toward success.

Break It Down Further: The Marine Corps Model of Onboarding

Onboarding is a missed opportunity for many organizations. About a third of companies have no structured onboarding process, and three-quarters of HR leaders believe their existing onboarding process is not utilized to its full potential.

That is not to place blame on any one individual or department. In an era where employees are consistently told to do more with less, it can be difficult to find the time and resources to create and maintain the kinds of robust onboarding programs that drive new hire success and retention.

Still, a successful onboarding process is worth the cost. An outstanding example of the onboarding process can be seen in how the United States Marine Corps onboards its civilian hires.

The Marine Corps employs more than 35,000 civilians as part of its support staff around the world. When onboarding these employees, the Marine Corps breaks the process into five distinct steps:

  1. Before You Arrive
  2. Your First Day
  3. Your First Week
  4. Your First 90 Days
  5. Your First Year

Each step comes with its own set standards and clear goals. Throughout the process, new hires are guided through every key item, from completing the correct paperwork to navigating building security and gaining access to essential accounts. Crucially, the onboarding program also lays out the continuing education programs available to those who stay for more than year. It should also be noted that the Marine Corps’s onboarding program offers a pathway for reasonable accommodations for workers with a disability — something many organizational onboarding processes lack.

The Marine Corps onboarding process offers a model that can be easily copied and adapted by any company looking to boost its long-term retention rates. Rather than starting from scratch, simply follow the lead of the Marine Corps.

Kevin Johnston is a contractor and technical writer working for the Headquarters Marine Corps Talent Management Oversight Directorate. The views expressed within this article are his own.

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Research Reveals the 5 Things Successful Business Leaders Have in Common

rope

At the helm of nearly every thriving business you will find an effective leader. They’re responsible for steering the ship to prosperous new lands, for rallying the crew to work toward common goals, and for tackling challenges head-on in order to prevail.

While their leadership styles may vary, the most effective leaders all tend to share a few key qualities. A new survey of small and medium-sized business owners by small business insurer Hiscox unearthed some of these commonalities. Check them out below, along with some expert insight from Tom Froggatt, director at recruiting firm Singular Talent.

1. They’re Great Communicators

It takes strong communication skills to lead a workforce to success. Enthusiastic and passionate communication goes a long way, as does knowing when to talk and when to listen.

Employees want a leader who is vocal about their vision for the business and is going to inspire them to reach their goals. Crystal-clear conversational skills are also essential for selling the business’s products or services to clients and customers, as well as for building the positive professional relationships necessary for growth and development.

While qualifications certainly matter, an individual’s character can play a significant role in their success as a leader, according to Froggatt.

“There are some positions that have qualifications as a prerequisite, but most don’t,” he says. “Running a business is about having vision and influencing people — both internally and externally — and neither of those can be learned academically.”

The survey results also supported this theory, with 46 percent of respondents saying they had lots of friends at school, which suggests they had strong interpersonal skills and the ability to forge strong relationships.

2. They’re Confident

Business leaders must have confidence, not only in terms of their interpersonal skills and outward demeanors, but also in their own abilities and the direction of the business. Leaders need to feel empowered enough to put their ideas into action, and they should know the business’s worth when it comes to negotiating deals.

Forty-seven percent of the small and medium-sized business owners surveyed by Hiscox were involved in school performances, perhaps suggesting they had the confidence to stand up in front of an audience at a young age.

“Not all successful people are incredibly smart, or lucky, or talented, but they are, almost uniformly, confident,” says Froggatt. “That doesn’t mean they never have doubts, but that they back themselves to deal with challenges that arise and to find solutions.”

For more expert career insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

3. They’re Creative

The survey also unearthed that many business owners were creative students, with art and design topping the list of their favorite subjects at school. While creativity is often associated with the arts, it can be put into practice in numerous ways in the business world.

No business will grow and develop without innovation, and it takes a creative mind to come up with new ideas that will set the business’s products or services apart from the competition.

Building a successful business is hard work, but keeping up the momentum after many years in the industry is even harder. Sometimes the approaches that worked a decade ago no longer work today, so fresh new strategies and outside-the-box thinking may be required to propel the business forward.

4. They’re Team Players

“What the most successful businesspeople realize at some point in their careers is that leadership isn’t about the leader, it’s about the people they lead,” says Froggatt.

The best leaders understand that business success is a team effort, and they respect the contribution that each and every employee makes. They’re able to cultivate positive relationships throughout the company, and they encourage employees to get involved in decision-making and brainstorming.

The Hiscox survey found this team-player trait was embedded in many business owners from their school days, with 40 percent of respondents saying they were part of a sports team. This early introduction to a team environment could have contributed significantly to the leaders’ abilities to work cooperatively and effectively with others later in their careers.

5. They’re Challengers

The best leaders are go-getters, so an optimistic attitude about challenges is an absolute must. Obstacles will arise — it’s simply the nature of business — but a great leader understands there is no reward without risk. They’re not afraid of challenging the status quo in order to disrupt the market and get the business on the map.

“Successful businesspeople tend to be passionate about the problem they’re solving,” Froggatt says. “If they focus on that, they know the career progression and rewards will follow.”

The Hiscox survey results suggest that business leaders have had a tendency to go above and beyond from a young age. Thirty percent of respondents said they volunteered for school responsibilities, and 36 percent started their first jobs between the ages of 16 and 18, demonstrating an eagerness to get out there and prove themselves in a professional capacity.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the traits that make a successful business leader, and you certainly don’t need to have every single one to flourish. That said, these soft skills are attainable for anyone with the drive and self-awareness to achieve them. At the end of the day, success isn’t necessarily the upshot of an extensive education, but that of a positive attitude, strong relationships, and open-mindedness.

Hannah Waters is a freelance writer from London.

Master the art of closing deals and making placements. Take our Recruiter Certification Program today. We’re SHRM certified. Learn at your own pace during this 12-week program. Access over 20 courses. Great for those who want to break into recruiting, or recruiters who want to further their career.
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