Friday, January 31, 2014

What It Takes to Get Hired at One of the Best Places to Work

Guest Blog: China Gorman

I discussed before how companies on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list are experiencing huge amounts of growth in headcount. That post focused on how these outstanding workplaces are combating growing pains and dealing with rapid expansion.

Being ranked one of the best workplace cultures in the U.S. certainly helps feed the cycle of growth, as job seekers apply in droves.

The good news for job seekers? The Best companies are hiring, and they are hiring a lot!

Who are the Best Companies hiring?

Fortune reports that at least 24 companies on this year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list are planning to fill at least 1,000 (and for some, even more!) jobs in the coming year. From big tech companies like Google (ranked No. 1), Intel, and Cisco, to medical organizations like Houston Methodist, retail stores like Nordstrom, and markets like Whole Foods and Wegmans, the “we’re hiring” sign is posted out front.

What are these companies looking for in a new hire, and who is getting hired?

At Great Place to Work, the research and analysis firm that produces the lists, we’ve pulled together some hiring statistics from this year’s Best Companies to provide a little perspective.

The 100 Best Companies last year filled 6,297 positions, on average, for both new and already existing positions. The average number of these positions filled internally was nearly 30 percent. The average number of new hires referred by current employees was 28 percent.

This corroborates what we already assume, that internal referrals add significant weight to applications, so before all else, reach out to potential contacts!

How do you impress a Great Place to Work company?

There can be big benefits for the person referring you as well, so don’t automatically assume people might view it as a hassle. The average maximum bonus paid for a single referral at best companies in the last 12 months was $3,595!

How to impress in an interview? According to recruiters from best companies that are hiring (via Fortune), top ways to impress include:

  • Being able to articulate your alignment with the company’s mission and values (and explain why they resonate with you);

  • Doing exceptional “homework” and truly understanding the business and key competitors going into an interview;

  • Being able to discuss how you plan to impact the company; and,

  • Demonstrating passion, curiosity, and (a big one!) innovation.

For new college grads, the numbers may seem a bit less optimistic.

A tougher deal for college grads

Out of the average new hires in the last year (6,297) the average number of new graduates hired was 496, and the average percent of positions filled by college students at this year’s best companies is 9.9 percent. However, this shouldn’t discourage new graduates from applying, as they are automatically equipped with several highly valued skills beyond a basic degree.

Examples I’ve touched on before include that college students and Millennials are more likely to be passionate about social responsibility and attuned with an organization’s mission and values, be highly aware of technology and social media, and able to quickly assimilate with a company’s use of such tools.

via What It Takes to Get Hired at One of the Best Places to Work.

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What It Takes to Get Hired at One of the Best Places to Work

Top 30 Social Recruitment Tools [INFOGRAPHIC]

When socially recruiting you need tools – but which tools?

This infographic by Social Recruiting Strategies lists the top 30 tools you must use.


  • CRM is important – use a tool like Glassdoor or SmartRecruiters.

  • In terms of search tools, you could use or BranchOut.

  • Want an interview solution? Why not use TalentCircles.


via Top 30 Social Recruitment Tools [INFOGRAPHIC].

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Top 30 Social Recruitment Tools [INFOGRAPHIC]

Five Links: The Rapid Evolution of HR and Tech

These links point to a tidal wave of change. Jobs are being rapidly automated, new productivity tools are emerging, the science of psychology is finally maturing and basic HR functions are being used to drive financial growth.

The Future of Jobs: The Onrushing Wave

There is a ton of debate going on about the meaning of the pace of technological change. Optimists point to 200 years of history in which technology always provided improved circumstances. This piece from the Economist takes a dimmer view. You can see the emergence of the fear that automation will eliminate work all over the HR blogosphere.

“These jobs may look distinctly different from those they replace. Just as past mechanization freed, or forced, workers into jobs requiring more cognitive dexterity, leaps in machine intelligence could create space for people to specialize in more emotive occupations, as yet unsuited to machines: a world of artists and therapists, love counselors and yoga instructors. Such emotional and relational work could be as critical to the future as metal-bashing was in the past, even if it gets little respect at first. Cultural norms change slowly. Manufacturing jobs are still often treated as “better”–in some vague, non-pecuniary way–than paper-pushing is. To some 18th-century observers, working in the fields was inherently more noble than making gewgaws.”

What Jobs Will The Robots Take?

The Atlantic is generally more alarmist (sells more copies) than the economist. That explains the drama in the headline. This piece is a response to the Economist.


Originally, elevator music had roots in the idea that the sonic landscape was home to productivity improvement. Today, the idea is being taken to its logical extreme by services like focus@will. Of course this is HR software.

This nicely designed web magazine is a trove of material about human beings and being human. Why isn’t HR about this stuff?

Thinking Outside The Big Box

Should HR be advocating for higher wages in the workforce? How many HR leaders would keep their jobs if that became a ‘thing’? This piece, from the New York Times Magazine, is a puff piece for Kronos and its emerging approach to workforce management in retail.

While the author glosses over the hard work and analysis required to get this sort of data driven scheduling in place, Kronos is certain to be in the market with a better visualization. More than anything, the real story here is that any HR Department that isn’t focused on top line growth (making the company money) is a cost center headed for outsourcing.

via Five Links: The Rapid Evolution of HR and Tech | HR Examiner.

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Five Links: The Rapid Evolution of HR and Tech


Move over children, now it’s time for grown-ups and business leaders to play! The new buzzword is ‘Gamification’, and apparently it is no child’s play. We increasingly hear the term gamification bandied around in the business and technology world, and if you have ever wondered what’s behind the hype then here is my buzzword-busting lowdown on this new business trend.

In simple terms, gamification means applying some of the features we enjoy in video games to businesses, or indeed to any non-game-related area. The rationale is that people love playing games; they lose themselves in them for hours on end. Successful games such as Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft or even app games such as Candy Crush Saga have millions of passionate players, who on average spend 13 hours a week playing games. The 4% of extreme gamers spend a staggering 48.5 hours per week, which is more than most people spend at work!

So what makes games so appealing and how could we use this for business? What games offer people, and many real world situations don’t, is this intense competitive environment with constant challenges of trying to move to a new level and complete the next mission, where players get instant feedback, reward, collect points and badges, move up rankings, and see their status increase.

All this is possible because we play video games in a digital environment that can track and analyse everything we do. With an increasing digitization and datafication of our real world, we can now do the same in many business environments. Airlines, hotels and retailers have long used game principles in their loyalty programmes: Each time you fly, stay or shop you collect reward points and you might see yourself moving up the tiers to silver, gold or even platinum level. We all know that they work. People love colleting points and I see many who check their frequent flyer apps on their phone as soon as the plane lands to see how many points they collected, and once they reach a higher status level they can’t wait to put their gold or platinum badges on their luggage.

Deep inside we are all still children who crave fun, new challenges, achievements, rewards and recognition. I see how much my own children love to get a badge for doing well, they love competition, they love leader boards, and you can’t stop them if they can collect points. Their school uses it – my six year old loves to tell me that he got a ‘Super Brain’ badge from his teacher for work that was particularly good. Even our dentist uses it – he has given my 3 children a scorecard on which they collect points for cleaning, etc. and each time they have a check up the dentist scores them. Suddenly, brushing teeth becomes a competitive and fun thing to do!

Here are two more real business examples (one from a large and one from a smaller company), that illustrate the power of gamification:

Before Microsoft releases new versions of software it needs people to test them so it can find and fix bugs. In the past it simply invited Microsoft employees to test new versions of software but saw very low uptake. In the end, it takes some time to download, install, and run a new piece of software and everyone is busy enough. However, uptake went through the roof when Microsoft gamified the testing of one of their new operating systems. The difference: Microsoft published the names of employees on their intranet and gave people progress bars for e.g. downloading, installing, running a test for 48h, etc. It also created a leader board to show who completed most tasks and provided the most feedback. Soon everyone was talking about it, downloading and testing the software, and watching the leader boards change.

Bluewolf, a smallish consulting company, wanted to encourage employees to use more social media, build their own brands and develop themselves as subject matter experts and thought leaders. Even though the company knew that a bigger social presence would generate new leads, it struggled to make people do it. Then the company started to use their CRM system to track the blog posts people wrote, the amount of times people shared information on Facebook and Twitter, the amounts of reads, likes and comments people got. Each of these tasks would earn people points, which allowed Bluewolf to create dashboards with rankings and leaderboards. Needless to say, people became very social, which in turn tripled traffic to their website from social media, tripled blog readership, gave them an 8 times increase in blogger community, and increased collaboration internally.

via What the Heck is… Gamification? | LinkedIn.

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7 LinkedIn Hacks That Will Make Your Job Search Easier

Want to boost your marketability on LinkedIn – without spending hours navigating the site? Trying to get employers to notice your skills or get closer to a key contact?

There are many ways to promote yourself on LinkedIn and use your network wisely. Some require a significant investment in time, while others (like these LinkedIn hacks) are your shortcut to better LinkedIn results.

Here are seven important, simple-to-implement strategies that can give your job search a boost on LinkedIn:

1. Distinguish yourself from all the other John Smiths.

Frustrated by trying to stand out on LinkedIn, but you have a common name? There are a few ways to improve, if not outright resolve, this problem.

Place your name in your Summary section as part of a “signature block,” using your name and adding your e-mail address. By doing this, you’ll resolve three problems at once: bumping up your findability for your too-common name, achieving greater findability when someone knows your occupation or job title, and helping you be more easily contacted by employers.

Your signature block should look like this (and you can further personalize it with a phone number, if you want to share it publicly):

I welcome connections at

John Smith

Engineering Manager, IBM

Tip IconInsider Hack: The Interests section is heavily indexed on all fields. You can add a paragraph that shows your professional interests, followed by your “signature block” data or your name (“I’m interested in furthering my engineering career in management roles. John Smith, IBM”). Either way, your too-common name will get a little less common on LinkedIn.

2. Put your desired job title in your Headline.

By now, you’re probably aware that if your Profile isn’t keyword-optimized, it won’t be seen by the right people. But finding keywords sounds like a lot of work – and adding them to the Profile can also be time-consuming, right?

Wrong – simply add your job goal (CIO, Project Manager, Sales Rep) in your Headline. That’s it – no research required.

Here’s why this works: LinkedIn weights specific fields more strongly as “keys” to their user database, and the Headline is the #2 indexed field, right after your Name.

If you add your target job title to your Headline, it will “count” more than if you added it dozens of times in your Summary. (DO add it in other places, but keep in mind that the Headline is what saves the day!)

Tip IconInsider hack:  Add the same job title to other highly indexed fields, such as Job Titles, for even better ranking. Don’t take creative license with these fields, but add them as descriptors (“Technology Executive – CIO”), if accurate – to show your true career level.

3. Pursue employers who prefer to hire graduates of your alma mater.

Wondering where all your college classmates went? Wish you could quickly find companies who hire from the university you attended?

You’re in luck. LinkedIn’s buffed-up Education feature works wonders for answering these questions in a flash.

First, you’ll need to ensure you’ve added your college studies (even if you didn’t graduate) in your Education section. Then, use the drop-down menu under Interests to click on Education. The “Find Alumni” selection under the Network menu option does the same thing.

You’ll see a host of options, but click on the main one, called “See Your School.” Voila! The first page will show the top 3 employers and functions of your college cohorts.

Click on “Where they work” to get results sliced and diced by location, company names, and job functions.

Tip IconInsider hack:  Selecting any company will immediately show you what these classmates do, and where they live. So, if you want to find out how many Northwest University graduates work at IBM and live in San Francisco, you just found a whole new set of contacts, companies, and job types to target – at firms that already like the talent your alma mater has produced!

4. Get closer to key contacts – without paying for an upgrade.

Joining Groups is a great way to make yourself accessible to others, but it’s also a great way to get in touch with people YOU want to know.

If you want to send a message to someone who isn’t a first-degree connection to you, look at their list of Groups and join one of them. Now, you can send them a note for free (plus, you’ll be in a good spot to be contacted by someone else in that Group).

Tip IconInsider hack:  Joining Groups is one of the only ways you can allow recruiters to message you (or connect to you) for free. Recruiters pay significant premiums to LinkedIn, so they’re eager to contact professionals who belong to a shared Group and pay a little less, which is one of the site’s “loopholes” for easy connection.

5. Raise your visibility – and measure the impact – by participating in Groups.

By taking things a step further in your Groups, you’ll benefit significantly from attention in your industry – meaning that employers can and will see what interests you professionally.

This means you’ll need to start polls, answer questions, and generally have a continuing dialogue on your Group forums.

Thinking this won’t make much difference? Now you can find out exactly what happens with your Group activity: LinkedIn just released a handy new feature visible from your Home page, located just under the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” stats.

It’s called “Who’s Viewed Your Updates,” and it shows how many 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree Connections have looked at – and liked – your Group posts and Status updates.

It won’t tell you specifically what Groups generated your views (unfortunately), but looking at it is a real wake-up call, especially if you think sharing articles doesn’t bring traffic and employer interest.

Tip IconInsider hack:  If you actively participate – regularly – in a Group where many of your desired industry contacts also spend time, you could be raised to Top Contributor status, with your Profile and Headline posted on the Group home page for better visibility to all members.

6. Advertise your availability through Activity Broadcasts.

If you decide to leave Activity Broadcasts (under Privacy Settings) on while making changes to your Profile, a funny thing happens.

More and more people will pop on over to your Profile to see what’s up, because they’ve now been notified that you’re modifying your content.

While this isn’t advisable for a covert job search, LinkedIn users who are intent on stirring up interest will see additional Profile views every time they’ve made a change, even a minor one.

Tip IconInsider hack:  While you’re in the Privacy Controls, shift over to Groups, Companies, and Applications. Here, you can select “Turn on/off notifications when joining Groups” to show your new Group memberships (for the same purpose as your Broadcasts).

7. Get creative when finding users outside your network.

Stopped cold when trying to figure out the name of a 3rd-degree connection (and valuable job search contact) on LinkedIn – without upgrading your account?

First, log out of LinkedIn (or in Google Chrome, open an Incognito window by clicking on Settings and selecting New Incognito Window).

Use the Google toolbar to run a simple search with the person’s first name and employer name. Chances are good that you’ll quickly see the full profile of the user you’re trying to research.

Tip IconInsider hack: Spend some time on the Boolean Black Belt or SourcingHacks blogs to review advanced search methods used by recruiters to find talent on LinkedIn.


Of course, these hacks are just the beginning of your strong alliance with LinkedIn. There’s numerous ways to gain insider’s knowledge of the site, with fresh new apps and tools released continuously – and new ways to promote yourself as a strong job market contender.

via 7 LinkedIn Hacks That Will Make Your Job Search Easier | CAREEREALISM.

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7 LinkedIn Hacks That Will Make Your Job Search Easier

10 Rules to Writing Compelling Cover Letters

Does your resume go better with a cover letter? Some people say no, because nobody reads them. I agree to a point. Not all recruiters read resume cover letters. But I think many recruiters don’t because so many they see are a bit “blah blah blah.”

That’s when the resume cover letter says nothing new or exciting, nor does it say anything about why the candidate wants the job. In a sea of such banality, one way to make your resume cover letter stand out, is just to do a good one. You can do more than that, though. Here are 10 rules to help you.

Cover Letter Rule # 1.

Do your research, part 1.

Even if the job is advertised through a recruitment consultant you can still do your research. Call them and connect with them. They will probably not give you their client’s name but they may give you an outline of the challenges of the role as they see them. Your resume cover letter becomes far more engaging if you can tell the recruiter how they’ve inspired you to want to take this opportunity further.

Cover Letter Rule # 2.

Do your research, part 2.

If you know who the company is, then there is no excuse for not looking up the website, doing a thorough google and reading the linked in profile of their company executives. And that’s just as a start.

The aim of this research is for you to find some compelling reasons to want to work for that organization and some ways that you can add value. So many people forget to say this on their cover letters.

Cover Letter Rule # 3.

You cover letter should clearly show you have read the job advertisement. The way you do this is to pick the key criteria in the advertisement and point out how you meet this in your letter.

Also use key words from the advertisement, throughout your resume cover letter. That way it has a better chance of being picked up in screening software.

Cover Letter Rule # 4.

Try to keep your cover letter to one page and three or four paragraphs.

The only real exception to this rule is if you are asked to respond to an “expression of interest.” An expression of interest is a mini government selection criteria where you outline how you meet job criteria. Then your letter may run to two to three pages.

Cover Letter Rule # 5.

Don’t be boring. Try to keep your own voice.

Cover Letter Rule # 6.

Keep a logical format. I use “hook,” “book,” and “took.”

“hook” :- specific and memorable reasons as to why you want the role

“book” :- a coherent argument as to why you should be hired

“took” :- what you want to happen as a result of an employer reading your letter

Cover Letter Rule # 7.

Be personal. If you have someone’s name use it. Ideally a cover letter should start with a title Ms, Mr or Mrs.

The exception to this is when informality is invited. A first name is more acceptable in an informal email, perhaps if you already have had a conversation with the contact person.

Cover Letter Rule # 8.

Type it. This sounds so basic. But I have to say this next bit because I have been asked this question.


An application in writing generally means typed.

Cover Letter Rule # 9.

Plain white paper please. Pretty pink perfumed pages or something similar are never a good idea. Your letter will be unique, but for the wrong reasons.

Cover Letter Rule # 10.

OK I’ve crammed a few things here into one rule. A cover letter should not be:

- a repeat of your resume

- a standard letter that you send out to everyone

- hard to read

- full of spelling and grammar mistakes

via 10 Rules to Writing Compelling Cover Letters.

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10 Rules to Writing Compelling Cover Letters

How Big Data Is Influencing Hiring

We’ve been hearing a lot these days about how Big Data will change business. Its impact on the marketing and media world is being felt throughout the industry. Data collection and predictive analytics are being used for everything from hyper-local targeting to drafting baseball players. That’s old news.

What’s new is the impact of Big Data on hiring and recruiting. For most media companies, human capital is the biggest expense — and the most competitive asset. Estimates put the human capital costs in the U.S. at $1 trillion a year. “People Analytics” holds that making the best possible personnel decisions are among the most important issues a company faces. I’m not just talking about head count here, but hiring, evaluation, promotion, retention, and corporate culture. In today’s competitive market, your managers need to be making the best possible decisions on their human capital deployment. Every decision in your company — including R&D, finance, and technology —is made by an employee. It’s not just PowerPoints or pie charts, but people making these decisions. People Analytics are seen as the way to help inform that decision-making process by using data and algorithms.

For many, the term HR conjures up 20th-century practices, of bureaucracy, ironclad procedures, the place you learn about benefits and legal compliance. HR was seen as old-school and risk-adverse. This is not the image of innovators in business.

From the technology side, the HR market is exploding with new tech and SaaS products promoting the latest trend in data analysis. The past few years have seen major tech players — IBM, Oracle, SAP — move beyond attendance and payroll software. The same data collection and analysis principles we use in our professional endeavors are now hitting HR. Small firms are touting everything from video interviews to video games as predictive tools. A recent article in The New York Times knocked “Knack,” which uses its “Wasabi Waiter” game to assess an applicant’s multitasking and decision-making skills. It’s one of many new start-ups purporting to use video games as a hiring tool.

Google and Apple have been seen as leaders in People Analytics. Their “People Operations” department, a.k.a. human resources, has taken the evidence-based decision model and applied it to all aspects of employee hiring, training, evaluation, and retention. Google’s approach is “All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics.” Initial results are positive but time will tell.

Big Data has influenced job specifications. It’s an easy jump from measuring current employees’ success to using that as the criteria for your next hire. Quite compelling, isn’t it? It reinforces the idea that hiring is scientific, like the previous fads of skills tests, psychometrics, and personality tests. These technologies share a common approach: that analyzing the past successes and failures will predict success in the future. Some have questioned that correlation, pointing to the subjective bias that has been found in many supposedly objective tests. We all know that what gets measured gets done — and choosing what to measure is in itself a statement. The research on People Analytics is just unfolding now, and the ultimate model has not yet been proven conclusively.

One bit of “collateral damage” from the People Analytics model: some applicants who have gone through such data-driven interview processes have been turned off by the process. The interviews can feel mechanical, like taking a computerized test. For jobs that involve soft skills, like sales and some marketing, the personal touch is seen as the competitive edge. Top employees want to be more than a cog in the wheel. For now, humans are still better at computers in detecting the interpersonal components, the soft skills.

A current TV commercial depicts an applicant showing off his school socks, as he realizes the interviewer went to the same school. A nice edge up in on the old-school hiring approach. But in the People Analytics approach, it’s more about whether alumni of that particular school have performed well for that company in the past.

People Analytics has propelled HR to the forefront of today’s management and marketplace. HR used to be seen as a cost center. These days, it’s the strategic heart of the company — and data-driven decision making is taking its place at the table. No one can afford a bad hire.

via How Big Data Is Influencing Hiring.

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How Big Data Is Influencing Hiring

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Good Career Page is Like a Tasty Burger [INFOGRAPHIC]

Here at Undercover Recruiter we believe that content is (Burger) king! This delicious infographic from matchFWD shows the different parts (similar to a burger’s ingredients) which make up a great careers page (or burger).

Takeaways (not literally):

  • The bun of the burger is wholesome and good quality organization of the company.

  • The cheese is the community and vibe of the page and the company.

  • The tomato is the company team.

  • The lettuce is the workspace available to a job prospect.

  • The patty is the real, lean juicy job description

via A Good Career Page is Like a Tasty Burger [INFOGRAPHIC].

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A Good Career Page is Like a Tasty Burger [INFOGRAPHIC]

How to Make Your Cover Letter Grab the Employer"s Attention

Companies and recruiting agencies can get thousands of responses for job openings. Under such circumstances, they will be able to give each letter a few moments to get the gist of the candidate’s proficiency, qualification and experience before moving on to the next one. If you are making a serious bid for that job, your cover letter must have that unique element to hold the recruiter’s attention and make them go through the entire content.

How do I make my cover letter stand out?

Making your cover letter noticeable requires skill and creativity. Some type of customization such as a motto, creative catchphrase or a unique title can help you get noticed. There is no doubt that they are not to be used as a rule and are entirely optional. Yet, it is necessary to give these elements a try just to make your letter look exceptional and different from others.

Where should you put your creative bits?

The creative tag can figure at the top of the letter so that they can catch attention immediately. It should not be mere words but must reflect your value to the organization. You can visit the website of the company to get an idea of how you can word your slogan to sync them with company’s objective. If the job is for a school teacher for instance, the slogan should reflect something about caring for students or helping them learn better. Similarly a candidate for a marketing position can have a slogan that talks about dealing with challenges, creating more closures and meeting obstacles head-on.

What about testimonials and cover letters?

Testimonials are another way of getting your cover letter to be different than that of others. Testimonials can be in the form of lines from recommendation letters, vendor appreciation notes and by way of performance evaluations, memos issued to staff or other types of acclamations. When compiled creatively, they can create a powerful impact on your recruiter or interviewer. It can send a clear message to the company that they can do better by getting you on their side.

Should you include goals and objectives?

If you want to make a statement about goals and objectives in your cover letter, make sure they are specific to the opening or your professional objectives. It should be able to convince the employer about your commitment and the difference it can make to your potential employers. It must amply reflect the value that your skills and talent will bring to the company.

Bottom line

Cover letters are serious business and can be a game changer in a situation where competition for a particular opening is tough and the talent pool available is more or less of the same standards. A well written cover letter can help you get that winning edge over others and help you land that coveted job. Just remember to incorporate the above stated elements effectively and judiciously.

via How to Make Your Cover Letter Grab the Employer’s Attention.

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How to Make Your Cover Letter Grab the Employer"s Attention

How analytics is helping Indian IT companies maximize potential of their human capital

The quality of human capital determines the present and the future of any company. When top performers leave, they can not only impact the direction of the company, but also cause huge losses related to attrition replacement and productivity. This issue is more acute for the IT services industry, where the demand for highly skilled talent is a persistent issue.

“In any business, employee turnover is one of the top HR challenges. Employee turnover, if not checked, not only has an impact on cost but also impacts quality of service provided to clients. Additionally, every organization wants to hire employees that will stay for the long term, but at the same time those employees should also perform at productive levels. Improving employee’s productivity is always in focus,” explains Srikantan Moorthy, Senior Vice President and Group Head of Human Resource Development, Infosys.

Improving employee performance is also a critical factor, as every organization wants to hire employees that not only stay in the company for the long term, but also keep performing consistently at productive levels. Employees also have to be consistently engaged and motivated, which is highly crucial for organizations to remain relevant in a dynamic business environment. In the knowledge economy, the role of HR has become even more critical.

“Traditionally, across organizations, processes have been run based on set policies and with a focus on compliance. However, now the focus is on creating differentiators within these processes. That makes a significant demand on HR professionals’ time and they need to think innovatively rather than focusing on compliance alone. They also need to progress from a problem-solving mindset to innovation-oriented thinking. HR has now become a key enabler to business performance, more so in the knowledge industry. Therefore, meeting specific and varying needs of employees is absolutely important,” emphasizes Saurabh Govil, Senior Vice President– Human Resources, Wipro.

How can analytics help? Can analytics, which is being creatively used in a huge number of areas, be used to better manage human capital too? In the highly competitive IT services industry, where ‘human capital’ is the most crucial factor in impacting profitability, analytics can play a significant role. Not surprisingly, in India, almost all the top HR heads of IT service companies use HR analytics extensively.

Explaining the role of HR analytics tools, Ravi Shankar, EVP & Chief People Officer, Mindtree, says, “The role of HR analytics tools is reporting and analyzing the organization’s data and performance-related information, and then drawing meaningful insights for forecasting purposes. One such emerging area is called ‘turnover modeling’, which aims to predict/ forecast employee turnover (performance and engagement) level-wise, and category-wise, and then map them accurately so that the HR team can be better prepared to manage issues. We actively use turnover modeling at Mindtree.”

Shankar says that risk management of high-profile candidates is another area that effectively uses HR analytics. “Analysis of data using ‘regression analyses’ helps to determine the number of days/hours spent by employees on a task and repetitiveness of a job. Career aspirations of employees are factored in to arrive at an ABC risk model for high performers (high, medium, and low category risk). The HR team then uses these insights to create the right engagement and management strategy for the different risk categories,” states Shankar.

In a dynamic scenario, analytics helps companies better manage employee productivity, and analyze this with respect to revenues and margins. “Analytics allows HR to combine and compare raw contextual data, present it graphically to see historical trends and run “what-if” scenarios. This helps in visualizing how the movement of talent impacts hiring decisions, cost models, career-path initiatives, succession plans and risk management,” states Srikantan Moorthy of Infosys.

Moorthy believes that analytics provides the basis for specific action plans and workforce investments that address gaps or inefficiencies in an organization. “From a succession planning point-of-view, workforce analytics can view how many of the employees are nearing retirement stage. HR professionals can plan how those upcoming vacancies will be filled and how it will affect pay and performance throughout the organization. HR professionals can also identify employees at risk of leaving, build profiles of those most likely to leave or stay, and understand how risk is distributed throughout the organization. By analyzing skill inventory, HR professionals can track and analyze critical skills,” explains Moorthy.

With huge amount of data at their disposal, analytics allows HR professionals to combine and compare raw contextual data, present it graphically to see historical trends and run “what-if” scenarios. This helps in visualizing how the movement of talent impacts hiring decisions, cost models, career-path initiatives, succession plans and risk management.

HR analytics tools can help in predicting and forecasting attrition. Mindtree uses turnover modeling to predict employee turnover. “At Mindtree, the use of HR analytics tools has helped us to predict employee turnover for the next 90 days, create usable insights from data analyses that are fed into the forecasting model for the hiring teams (vacancy-based hiring). These tools are also used for high-risk employee management, using multiple policies of retention, preferences, etc. For example, for any opportunity inside the company, the high risk employees get to go for them first,” states Ravi Shankar.

At Infosys, analytics is used to better understand workforce structure and how inflow and outflow of talent at various levels impacts the structure. This analysis helps the firm understand its internal hiring and external hiring ratios for different roles and for different units. “We were able to identify roles which require more internal hiring and build in processes to facilitate these movements. This analysis also gave useful insights on patterns of movement outside a service line and movement of talent into a service line,” says Moorthy. Similarly, Wipro leverages analytics in multiple areas like performance management, retention, succession planning and talent management. “We design learning interventions for employees based on insights that we derive from analytics.

The competencies and the success profile for a role is decided based on the analysis of what kind of people have been successful in that role,” explains Govil. Wipro has also good experience in using predictive modeling — an area which is at the high end of analytics. “Predictive modeling can be used to understand the profile of people who may be at higher risk of attrition, and it can be quite accurate. The idea is to orient your efforts in the right direction,” says Govil.

From identifying talent to predicting attrition, and developing the next generation of corporate leaders, analytics is playing a major role in shaping the competitiveness of companies. As seen from the examples above, analytics can play a big role in predicting employee turnover, in improving employee performance, and most importantly in creating a consistent corporate culture.

via How analytics is helping Indian IT companies maximize potential of their human capital – InformationWeek – IT news & articles.

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How analytics is helping Indian IT companies maximize potential of their human capital

Why HR Should Bet on Technology to Find the Best Talent [INFOGRAPHIC]

When finding the best talent – what do you use? Sparkhire reckon that HR should bet on technology – and this infographic explains why.


  • 33% of recruiters reported a decreased time to hire when using technology/social media.

  • We are now crunching as much data every TWO DAYS as we did from the dawn of civilisation through to 2003.

  • By 2015, companies will spend more than $2 billion on gamification.


via Why HR Should Bet on Technology to Find the Best Talent [INFOGRAPHIC].

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Why HR Should Bet on Technology to Find the Best Talent [INFOGRAPHIC]

Hiring - When Human Judgment Works Well, and When it Doesn"t

Guest Blog – Andrew McAfee

My last post here, the descriptively-titled “Big Data’s Biggest Challenge? Convincing People NOT to Trust Their Judgment,” generated a fair amount of commentary. So I think it’s worthwhile to devote a couple follow-on posts to the reactions, questions, and objections raised in response to my contention, which was (and is) that we should generally be relying a lot less on the judgments, diagnoses, and forecasts of human ‘experts,’ and a lot more on the outputs of cold, hard, data-driven algorithms.

A good place to start is with the simple question of where this contention comes from — why am I so convinced that we should be relying less on experts and more on algorithms? The simple answer is that both the theory and the data support this conviction.

Let’s take the data first: In my previous post I highlighted that there have been a raftload of studies comparing the predictions of human experts vs. those of algorithms, and that in the great majority of them the algorithms have been at least as good as or significantly better than the humans. In a meta-analysis conducted by William Grove and colleagues of 136 research studies, for example, expert judgments were clearly better than their purely data-driven equivalents in only eight cases.

Most of these studies took place in messy, complex, real-world environments, not stripped-down laboratory settings. Commenter Sean Kennedy pointed out that “… many of our decisions have to be made under much less than ideal “big data” conditions. Data is often lacking, low-quality, or conflicting.” This is true, and what’s amazing is that these are exactly the conditions under which algorithms do better than people.

Why is this? Let’s turn to the theory.

A number of people noted that Nobel prize-winner Daniel Kahneman’s work, nicely summarized in his 2011 book Thinking Fast and Slow, influenced their thinking a great deal. Me, too: Kahneman made gigantic contributions, and his book should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand how to make themselves and their organizations work better.

For our purposes here, Chapter 22 is paydirt. It’s titled “Expert Intuition: When Can We Trust It?” Kahneman conducted a lot of the work underlying it with Gary Klein, who was and is quite fond of experts and their intuitive abilities — much more so than Kahneman. What’s really interesting, though, is that the two of them ended up in complete agreement about the conditions required for good intuition to develop. There are two of them:

an environment that is sufficiently regular to be predictable

an opportunity to learn these regularities through prolonged practice

Medicine meets the first of these criteria, since human biology changes very slowly, but (Kahneman contends) the stock market doesn’t — it’s just too chaotic and unpredictable. And within medicine, some specialties provide better and faster learning opportunities (the second criterion) than others. As the chapter states, “Among medical specialties, anesthesiologists benefit from good feedback, because the effects of their actions are likely to be quickly evident. In contrast, radiologists obtain little information about the accuracy of the diagnoses they make and about the pathologies they fail to detect. Anesthesiologists are therefore in a better position to develop useful intuitive skills.”

Kahneman drives this point about learning home with his conclusion that “Whether professionals have a chance to develop intuitive expertise depends essentially on the quality and speed of feedback, as well as on sufficient opportunity to practice.”

With this background, we can now see two main reasons why algorithms beat people. The first is that, as Kahneman writes, “Statistical algorithms greatly outdo humans in noisy environments for two reasons: they are more likely than human judges to detect weakly valid cues and much more likely to maintain a modest level of accuracy by using such cues consistently.” In other words, people often miss cues (i.e. data) in the environment that would be useful to them, and even when they are aware of such cues they don’t use them the same way every time. In other words, the fact that most real-world environments are messy and noisy does not favor human experts over algorithms; in fact, just the opposite.

The second reason is that fast, accurate feedback is not always available to a human expert. To continue Kahneman’s example, a radiologist won’t always know if the lump she was looking at eventually turned out to be cancer (the patient might have moved on to another care provider, for example), and she certainly won’t know quickly. Similarly, an interviewer won’t always get the feedback that the person he hired flamed out on the job two years down the road.

But well-designed algorithms can and do incorporate feedback and results over a long time frame, which helps explains why algorithmic approaches to pathology and talent management work so much better.

So where does this leave us? Well, if Kahneman’s theory is right, and if people don’t have any inherent data collection or processing superiority over automatic means, then we’re in this situation:


But if there is still something special about our innate data collection and/or processing abilities (and I think there is, at least for now), then we’re here:


Which one do you think it is?

via When Human Judgment Works Well, and When it Doesn’t – Andrew McAfee – Harvard Business Review.

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Hiring - When Human Judgment Works Well, and When it Doesn"t

How To Stand Out: Define Your Strengths

In the last article of our How To Stand Out series, life coach Bibi Caspari talked about how considering your passions can help separate any job seeker from the competition. Though passions are powerful, Caspari also finds that defining your strengths in order to articulate them to your potential employer is another way to help a job seeker stand out.

“Everybody has strengths,” said Caspari.

Caspari works with a lot of at-risk individuals, both youth and adult.  She’s found they typically feel they don’t have a whole lot to offer a company because they’ve been in jail or prison. They don’t think they can get hired, which sets them up for failure.

“A lot of people don’t see their own strengths,” said Caspari. “Whether you’ve done time or not, getting a fresh perspective from a life or career coach can help you notice things about yourself you never thought could be strengths in the workplace.”

But how does one even begin to define strengths or how to stand out? One of Caspari’s courses, “Looking at Strengths,” helps answer this question by asking five questions that help individuals pinpoint what they are good at.

The questions include:

  • What kind of activities do I like to do?

  • What makes me happy?

  • What are my talents and skills?

  • What are my accomplishments?

  • What are my best qualities?

In Caspari’s experience with this activity, the hardest question to answer for most people is, “What are your accomplishments?” She recalls a time when she was working with an at-risk kid who was having a hard time finding any accomplishments in his life. His aspiration was to be a professional soccer player, and he participated in soccer teams, but felt that wasn’t considered an accomplishment because it was something that was easy for him to do.

“It really broke my heart because here’s a kid who, very obviously, was beaten up by life,” said Caspari. “We don’t allow ourselves to see our wins or successes.”

She went on to say that a good way to get to know our strengths is by having an accomplishment story ready for an interview. “In our accomplishment stories we might think of one of our accomplishments that brings a number of our skills together and share it in a way that is a short story that brings those strengths to life,” said Caspari.

Saying things like, “I’m an organizer,” “I’m a team player,” “I’m adaptable,” and so on doesn’t tell employers what your strengths are. If you bring up a specific instance where your strengths really shined, telling that story will definitely help you stand out from the other people who tell employers the same old list with generic words that don’t really tell employers who you are.

“Depending on who you are, you want to highlight yourself in different ways,” said Caspari.

As a leader of a non-profit organization that teaches life skills, Caspari never considered how organized she really was. “I worked alone a lot,” she said, “and I had no one to compare myself to, but I’m really organized and because it comes so naturally to me I don’t even see it at times.”

It’s important to ask ourselves what our strengths are because the more we get to know ourselves, the easier it will be to show other employers who we are and what makes us stand out from other candidates.

via How To Stand Out: Define Your Strengths | CAREEREALISM.

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How To Stand Out: Define Your Strengths

5 Old-School Sections You Ought to Remove from Your Resume

There are many career networking opportunities available for job seekers. Networking opportunities prove useful however, at some point; you are going to be required to submit one of two documents. The documents required will be a resume. Resumes  are documents that should never be considered finished. They should be continuously updated in order to properly display pertinent information about your professional and academic careers. There are certain things that you should leave off your resume because they will look amateurish.

The following are five suggestions for worthwhile exclusions:

1. Leave photos off your resume

Discrimination suits prove rampant in the field of Human Resources and employment services. If someone presents a resume with a picture and that person is not hired, it leaves room to file a discrimination law suit claiming the person was not hired because their picture was not appealing. Most company Human Resource departments will just throw resumes with pictures away or save them to avoid the discrimination issue altogether.

2. References Available on Request

This statement should NEVER appear on your resume. Hiring mangers know that you need reliable references during your job search. Ensure that you have your “reference” list prepared upon request. You want the list to be updated with the correct contact and professional information. Do not forget to update your reference sheet before job hunting. It could prove embarrassing if one of your professional references is contacted and they no longer work at the same company. This can put uncertainty into the minds of hiring managers and could cause you to not get the job.

3. Unprofessional email address

Unprofessional email addresses should not be placed on resumes. Email address such as notsodumbperson (at) or likestoparT (at) will not impress a potential employer. It is highly recommended before you start job searches that you create another email address. The address should include a basic first name [dot] last name. Yahoo and Gmail are popular email servers that offer free email accounts. These accounts allow for creating professional email addresses to use for job searches.


4. Posting every job you had since high school

All of us remember working at the local theater or pizza shop during high school. You should leave this point out of your resume. It proves necessary to keep your job history accounted for, but you do not have to list every job you have held dating back to your high school years. It is essential to determine what jobs in the past proves relevant to the job(s) you are applying for. Re-read your resume and you should determine if the jobs listed fall into these two categories: Recent and relevant. If a past-job does not qualify for these categories, leave it out.

5. Avoid boring and inadequate language

Phrases such as “detail-oriented” and “team player” are no longer phrases that can effectively promote you. Instead, use terms that describe what makes you a team performer or how you pay attention to detail in making projects and company missions successful. Keep in mind that the “verbiage” you place on your resume is what catches the attention of hiring managers. Words do prove effective and can make the difference in obtaining an interview or a letter in the mail stating you are not qualified for the job.

via 5 Old-School Sections You Ought to Remove from Your Resume.

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5 Old-School Sections You Ought to Remove from Your Resume

How to Automate Your Job Search

OK, so imagine you are feeling unhappy in your present gig. So, what do you do? Flip through job ads on Dice, interview and wait for the offer letter to come in, right? Is that it? Sure, the grass is always greener in the cubicle across the aisle. But is it really? Before you accept any job offer, or any offer to interview, do a bit of research on the companies you’re talking to and automate whenever possible. Let me give a quick demo of what I mean.

If I were looking for a new gig I would focus my attention on companies that are making strides and expanding. And why do I say “expanding?” Well, there are times when a job is posted but that company is no longer hiring for that position. Since “real jobs” are hard to immediately recognize when you’re scanning job ads, I do a Google News search to bring them into focus. For example, this is what happens when I do a search for companies that are actively hiring or soon will be hiring.

Google News Job Search

When I review the search results, I find headlines and quotes like this:

HP’s Conway Growth Linked to Medicaid

Arkansas is also a beneficiary of HP’s work in health care: This year, the company will open a regional development center in Conway, where it already has a customer service and tech support facility. The new center will provide support for its commercial and state health care portfolio across the country, eventually hiring up to 200 employees there.


Online tutor marketplace WyzAnt gets $21.5M from Accel Partners

WyzAnt, an online tutoring marketplace, got a huge cash infusion from one of the most high-profile venture funds. The Chicago-based startup says Accel Partners is investing $21.5 million in the company, founded in 2005. The company says it will use the money to double its staff, hiring up to 50 employees in the coming year, most of them engineers.

Based on this information, I know (for sure) jobs are coming from HP and WyzAnt in the near future in Arkansas and Chicago, respectively. So, I hop over to Dice and create a job alert. For the sake of argument, I am interested in software development opportunities. I use boolean in the “Keywords” section (as shown by arrow “A” in the image below).

Dice Advanced Search

I refine my results further by choosing the option “Search telecommuting jobs only” as I have become quite spoiled, working from home since 2004. (See arrow “B” in the image above.)

Now, when new jobs enter the Dice database from WyzAnt, I’ll get a notification. Easy peasy. I also use another tool called Watch That Page.

Watch That Page

Watch That Page monitors websites for changes. I would watch WyzAnt’s careers page to learn when it adds new positions or updates the page in some other way. That would be a signal to me that the company’s gearing up to make active hires. (Which isn’t to say that it’s not hiring for the roles the page is promoting now. Just sayin’.)

Hopefully, you get the gist of what I am sharing. If so, below are a few more Google News searches you might want to try. Feel free to add in cities and job titles to your search as well.

  • hiring.spree | hiring.wave

  • “will create * new jobs”

  • “create * new positions”

  • “announces * new jobs”

  • “jobs will be created”

via How to Automate Your Job Search – Dice News.

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How to Automate Your Job Search

Data Analytics and the Benefits of Ignoring Gut Instincts (Part 2)

As we note in our previous post, there are myriad benefits to pushing aside gut instinct and relying on data analysis to forge ahead of competitors.

In that post, we cite new research that finds that 70% of the top performing companies have strong executive champions for analytics.

However, overcoming the human tendency to rely on judgment rather than data can be challenging.

In fact, as the amount of data goes up, the importance of human judgment should go down.

That’s the assertion of Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT Sloan School of Management.

McAfee acknowledges that the statement goes against the traditional business and management thinking of many because education management is largely based on teaching and refining judgment.

“And whether or not we’re in b-school, we’re told to trust our guts and instincts, and that (especially after we gain experience) we can make accurate assessments in a blink,” McAfee notes. “This is the most harmful misconception in the business world today (maybe in the world full stop).”

While he notes that human intuition is real, it is, however, very faulty.

For example, he points out that highly trained pathologists don’t do as well as image analysis software at diagnosing breast cancer and that procurement professionals perform worse than algorithms at predicting which suppliers will perform well.

When people apply their judgments to the output of data-driven analysis, they generally are less successful than the algorithms. But when human experts provide input to a data analysis model, the quality typically goes up, McAfee adds.

“So pathologists’ estimates of how advanced a cancer is could be included as an input to the image-analysis software, the forecasts of legal scholars about how the Supremes (court justices) will vote on an upcoming case will improve the model’s predictive ability, and so on,” he says.

Despite this argument, McAfee concedes that for many firms, adopting this paradigm shift will be challenging. Most people making decisions at companies today believe they are very successful and they fear that turning over decision making to algorithms will diminish their power and value.

Before they embrace this notion, companies will need to see many examples of how much worse human judgment is compared to data analysis so that employees begin to care enough about the faulty human decisions to turn to those made by computers.

He points to parole boards as support for his assertions. He notes that 18 states in the past 25 years have replaced parole boards with sentencing guidelines, and those that retain boards increasingly are relying on algorithms to predict the risk of recidivism.

“The consequences of bad parole decisions are hugely consequential to voters, so parole boards where human judgment rules are thankfully on their way out,” McAfee concludes. “In the business world it will be competition, especially from truly data-driven rivals, that brings the consequences to inferior decision makers. I don’t know how quickly it’ll happen, but I’m very confident that data-dominated firms are going to take market share, customers, and profits away from those who are still relying too heavily on their human experts.”

via Data Analytics and the Benefits of Ignoring Gut Instincts (Part 2) | Trends and Outliers.

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Data Analytics and the Benefits of Ignoring Gut Instincts (Part 2)

Data Analytics and the Benefits of Ignoring Gut Instincts (Part 1)

While the ascent to the ranks of the C-Suite may have historically been propelled by leaning on “gut instinct” fueled by experience, that trend is changing as executives increasingly depend on data-driven decision making.

Senior executives have long been consumers of the output from data analysis but those involved in the creation of the insight that can be gleaned from big data are more successful than their counterparts who are not.

That’s according to a new study from the Aberdeen Group that finds that 70% of the top performing companies have strong executive champions for data analytics.

The most important characteristics of an effective analytical environment are easy access to necessary data, timely delivery of information and the existence of easy-to-use tools.

In a survey of 116 senior level executives, the best performing companies have strong levels of satisfaction in all three of these requirements.

For example, 75% of executives from leading companies (defined by user satisfaction, customer responsiveness and operating profit growth ) report a high satisfaction with the analytical capability in place compared to 29% of executives from lower performing companies.

In addition, 93% of executives from leading companies report an increase in customer responsiveness in their firms compared with 42% of their peers in lower performing companies. Finally, 27% of those from the top performing group report growth in operating profit compared to 4% of their peers.

“Leading executives champion a corporate environment that vales data-driven decisions and effective analytical capability,” according to the report. “Having the right insight in-hand at the right time enables decisions to be made quicker, and in the best interest of the customer base. Additionally, with this effective data-driven environment in place, companies are able to arm their operational executives with more relevant insight on a tactical level, at the point of decisions, in order to boost efficiency and drive more profit to the bottom line.”

The report notes that what differentiates top performing companies from others is the mindsets and infrastructures that senior executives promote.

The report finds that:

  • 64% of executives from leading companies have time-tested processes in place for defining and communicating key performance indicators (KPIs) compared to 45% at lower performing companies.

  • 64% of leading companies have single central sources of operational performance information in place compared to 47% of less successful firms.

  • 56% of executives from leading companies note that they have established policies in place for governing/controlling end-user data access compared to 36% of others.

“Leaders are much more likely to have a layered approach to KPIs, where the company strategy is supported within each function by specific metrics,” according to the report. “In order for these metrics to be effective, they need to be crystal clear in their definition, thoroughly communicated to the workforce and consistently measured.”

The report recommends that companies:

  • Develop a formal data strategy that addresses accessibility, governance, cleanliness and timeliness of data.

  • Leverage a strong KPI framework – “Tactically speaking, the value of analytics is in its ability to recognize and alert users when adjustments need to be made. The effectiveness of those adjustments is predicated on a clearly communicated, frequently measured and consistently updated set of KPIs that ultimately map to the company strategy,” according to the report.

  • Explore different delivery modes – The report finds that leading executives should explore alternative ways to get the right insight into user hands including embedded analytics, cloud based BI or mobile BI.

via Data Analytics and the Benefits of Ignoring Gut Instincts (Part 1) | Trends and Outliers.

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Data Analytics and the Benefits of Ignoring Gut Instincts (Part 1)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hiring? Why Myers-Briggs Tests Are a Bad Idea

Hiring employees is one of the most difficult actions you can undertake. You work with little data and usually have to make a relatively quick decision that will have major implications for your company and cost you significant amounts of money on an ongoing basis. Few other things can improve or hurt your operations and bottom line so much.

It’s understandable then that you might turn to a personality evaluator like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which classifies people into 16 personality types, to hire the right employees for the right job. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right move.

What Myers-Briggs Can’t Do

According to an email from Myers-Briggs, CPP, there are many people who misunderstand and misuse the MBTI. The first and probably largest fallacy is that the evaluation can tell you whether a person is a good fit for a particular role.

In fact, the firm says that using the MBTI as part of hiring is unethical. An assessment is supposed to be voluntary. If you force people to take a psychological test, you’re essentially saying that you expect all aspects of their lives to be open to your scrutiny and use. It’s a great way to tank morale and scare off many talented candidates you might otherwise attract.

Even more, the idea of predicting success in a job from a set of psychological inclinations is a bit crazy. As Myers-Briggs states: “Furthermore, people of many different types excel at the same job for different reasons. Individuals should not be pigeonholed based on their personality preferences.”

For example, you might assume that introverts are poor candidates for stressful, high visibility jobs. Like Steve Jobs. Yes, the late CEO of Apple exhibited “behavior indicating a preference for introversion.” The introverted/extroverted scale is not about whether someone is shy or gregarious. It addresses whether people gain energy from being by themselves or among others.

Myers-Briggs argues that the “MBTI tool can’t tell you who to hire, but it can help you work with your team so that everyone gives his or her best performance.” And there might be something to that. Understanding how people communicate, interact, and collaborate should help you better run your company.

There’s just one problem. As the firm says, taking the test should be voluntary and the results belong to the test taker. So, if people are willing to take the MBTI and share their results, that’s fine. However, if you coerce them into participation, you’ve got the same problem as using the evaluation as a hiring tool.

Plus, there has been significant criticism of the test by psychologists for years, including a significant chance that taking it twice could show different results. So maybe the best thing is to give up on the presumptions and get back to the hard work of trying to get to know an applicant the old-fashioned way.

via Hiring? Why Myers-Briggs Tests Are a Bad Idea |

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Hiring? Why Myers-Briggs Tests Are a Bad Idea

5 HR experts share their favorite interview question to ask

There is no certainty on what questions you will be asked during a job interview. But preparing yourself in advance for how to answer those behavioral interview questions can make or break your job interview. Recruiters and hiring managers can put you on the spot by asking some of their favorite questions that you might not have expected! And how well you answer can help them know if you are a right fit or not!

Here are the favorite interview questions of 5 HR experts

  • Sharlyn LaubySharlyn Lauby, SPHR, CPLP

President of ITM Group Inc, Author of HR Bartender


Tell me about a time when you had to work with someone you did not personally like.

“The answer to this question can tell you volumes about the type of people the candidate enjoys working with, who they don’t enjoy working with, and how they handle uncomfortable situations. All great things to know when evaluating how someone will acclimate into your corporate culture.”, says, Sharlyn Lauby. Check it out, she wrote about it here in her blog, be sure to read the comments too!

  • Jay KuhnsJay Kuhns, SPHR

Vice President, Human Resources All Children’s Hospital, Author of the blog Noexcuseshr


Tell me about a conflict you had with a peer and how YOU resolved it?

Answering this can help the hiring manager know the candidate’s skills in problem solving and how important a work relationship is to them. It can also help us know the ability of the candidate in addressing a conflict, maintaining work relationship by openly discussing the issue with their peers, tackling the problem with a combined effort and how soon can he get back on track.

  • Tiffany KuehlTiffany Kuehl, PHR

Staffing Leader at Honeywell, Blogger at Performance I Create


Why do you want to work here?

I know people are interviewing for a job, but I want to know if they are truly interested in the company, not just the job. I want to see if there is a good fit culturally as well as with the candidate’s ability to perform the job. And, if they are just in it for the job, it is likely they will not last. Either they will leave on their own or be performance managed out. says, Tiffany Kuehl.

  • Melissa FairmanMelissa Fairman, SPHR

HR Generalist, Service Partners and Author of the blog HrRemix


Tell me about a time you disagreed with your manager, how did you vocalize your disagreement?

Answering this can help us know the candidate’s ability to voice their opinion and manner in which they would express their disagreement. Would he choose to put up with it/avoid it/openly disagree/address it in private with the manager etc. We can also know how well a candidate was able to articulate the issue in hand and how well did he communicate it.

  • Chris FieldsChristopher Fields, MLHR

Expert Resume Writer at


How much money do you want?” “When can you start?”

Although we downplay it..its the REAL reason why we go to work. If the boss stopped cutting you a check, you would quit! says, Chris Fields.

After all money matters. Most of us think it is a tricky one, whether to negotiate or go for more. You should know what is your worth and how well can you contribute. Check the standard salary for your role at And if what is proposed is reasonable, go for it. Preparing for this question in advance and communicating your expectations can help you avoid any salary negotiations risks.

via 5 HR experts share their favorite interview question to ask.

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5 HR experts share their favorite interview question to ask

Looking For Women IT Professionals? Stand in Line

Are there women in tech?

Yes, but the truth is, not many. Certainly no where near their proportion to women in the workforce. Women are barely a quarter of the IT professionals, yet they account for half the civilian workforce. Women earn 60 percent of the bachelor’s degrees, but fewer than 20 percent earn a degree in computer science. Twenty-five years ago, 37 percent of the computer science degrees went to women.

In some specialties — cyber security, for one — men outnumber women 9 to 1.

There’s no shortage of studies and theories to explain the imbalance. Everything from cultural influences to lack of role models, peer pressure, and even parental disapproval have been cited as contributing causes.

Lyla Perrodin, CIO of MRIGlobal,who was lucky enough to be encouraged by a high school teacher to enter the field, says :

Young females can encounter social pressure not to excel in math and science. They lack female role models to show them that you can be a “techie” and still be “cool.”

Recruiting tech professionals of any sex is hard enough; recruiting women engineers, as the numbers demonstrate, is so much harder still. Still, there is some light, though no one says it’s anywhere near the end of the tunnel. Dice, the tech career site, analyzed tech hiring data and found that through September, women filled 24,100 of the 39,900 new tech jobs.

“Companies have been focusing on getting more women into technology for a long time,” said Shravan Goli, Dice president of Dice. “Those efforts appear to be paying off.”

True enough. In the decade covered by the Dice study the number of women techies finding jobs each year has more than doubled. However, the number hasn’t changed appreciably since 2010. In 2012, about 30,000 women were hired into tech jobs. Men, though, got the other 55,000 positions.

To create a more diverse tech workforce, recruiters have to be more aggressive in both sourcing and selling, says Sarah Allen, CEO of Blazing Cloud, a software development firm.

“If you’re interviewing people for your job, and you haven’t interviewed a woman, don’t hire until you’ve at least interviewed one woman. And if your recruiter can’t get you resumes that are diverse, find another recruiter,” she told an NPR interviewer.

Her advice is not as harsh as it might seem. Wanted Technologies took a look at the Wanted tech analysis computer science gender gap finding that the percentage of women possessing the most in-demand tech skills is on a par — or nearly so — with the percentage of men. Numerically, there are far more men than women; 80 men and 3 women for every tech job opening, says Wanted.

Against those numbers, arts and crafts marketplace Etsy decided that training junior women made more sense, especially if it wanted to attract senior women coders. So the company partnered with Yammer and 37Signals to offer scholarships to a three-month long Hacker School summer session in 2012. Etsy hired six women from the class, which, in turn, cause other women to take notice of the Etsy culture shift. Now, Etsy has 20 women, a 500 percent increase from before the school. Better, but with 130 engineers, the imbalance is still there.

It should be obvious by now that creating a more balanced engineering and tech workforce is not only difficult, but requires a commitment to the long term. Training, mentoring, and relationship building are critical to supplement recruiting efforts.

Here are some places to look and organizations that can help:

The Society of Women Engineers: The organization has sections and local groups in most parts of the country, with many of them based on college campuses with engineering programs. The society also has an active job board.

Black Girls Code: As the name makes obvious, this is a site for black, female future coders. It’s intended to nurture young girls interested in a career in computer science. It is not a place where you will fill your job req, today.

Rails Girls: This international organization focuses on organizing teaching workshops for women coders with a special, but not totally exclusive, focus on Ruby on Rails. The next U.S. workshop is in February in Houston.

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: Organized by the Anita Borg Institute, this annual conference is reputedly the largest gathering of women engineers in the world. The Institute is a digital community for women in computing with multiple networks and its own career site.

GirlGeeks: Primarily a job board, but some additional features.

Webgrrls International: An online and offline networking organization that’s not exclusive to tech women, but counts a number of technologists among its membership. It has local chapters, some more active than others.

America’s tech schools are also looking to increase their enrollment of women in computer science courses. Twenty universities are participating in the National Center for Women and Information Technology’s Pacesetters program, which gives special help to women tech students. Though little more than two years old, the program has already added 1,600 female recruits to tech programs.

via Looking For Women IT Professionals? Stand in Line –

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Looking For Women IT Professionals? Stand in Line

5 (More) Obsolete Job Search Tips to Avoid in 2014

To help you decide which job search advice to ditch this year, here five job search tips to avoid in 2014:

1. Only Focus on Your Resume and Cover Letter

A common piece of advice you’ve probably heard over the last year is to focus on customizing your cover letter and resume to every position for which you apply. This is a very important piece of advice to follow (and you should always do this); however, there some other important pieces of the job search puzzle you’re missing.

During your job search, you must also focus on marketing yourself as a professional and the value of your personal brand. Your resume and cover letter definitely serve as tools for landing an interview, but what’s going to seal the deal is your credibility as a professional. In addition to crafting the perfect resume and cover letter, make sure you also have a stellar online presence.

This means making sure your LinkedIn is current and you’re utilizing the best social media platforms for your career. This not only will help you build credibility as a job seeker, but also help you become discovered by employers who want to hire you.

2. Make Sure Your Facebook Profile Is Unsearchable

If you’re worried about employers finding you on Facebook, chances are you’ve probably gone out of your way to make it private. If you’ve changed the spelling of your name on Facebook and applied every privacy setting to make it impossible to discover you, this could send a red flag to employers.

As a job seeker, you need to be as transparent as possible on social media. Why? Because employers want to feel confident that you have nothing to hide from them. Do your best to be your true self online and you won’t have to worry about blocking employers from your Facebook.

3. Keep Your Personal and Professional Online Presence Separate

You may have been told the safest way to utilize social media for your job search is to create separate accounts (such as two Twitter accounts). While this seems like sound advice, it could have a negative impact on your online presence. Employers want to see that you’re able to blend your personal and professional lives as one on social media. By blending the two, you’re able to show employers your experience as well as your personality online.

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to be transparent as a job seeker because you want employers to see your genuine personality. If you’re worried about employers finding dirt on you, make sure you are only posting appropriate content online. This will save you a headache from having to manage two separate social media personalities for yourself as a job seeker.

4. Apply to as Many Jobs as You Can

No matter how desperate you are to find a job, don’t apply to every job posting you think you are even remotely qualified for. People land jobs because they show employers they are qualified for the position through their experience, not because of a single qualification or skill.

If you want to land a job, you need to carefully research positions that would be a good fit for your skills and experience. Once you find some jobs you feel are the right fit, begin networking with those companies. When you’re ready to apply and you’ve made some connections, customize your cover letter and resume to each position. This will show employers you are serious about working for their company and will give employers a reason to want to interview you for the position.

5. Use as Many Buzzwords as Possible in Your Resume

You’ve probably been told to use as many buzzwords as possible such as “driven” and “innovative” to spruce up your resume and help you win over resume screeners. However, this is actually a job search tip you need to avoid. In 2013, LinkedIn revealed their top 10 list of resume buzzwords you should avoid using in your resume.

Regardless of how “responsible” or “analytical” you may believe yourself to be, no employer is going to believe you unless you can support your qualification with an accomplishment story. When writing your resume, make sure you are using relevant keywords that are tailored to the position. This will help you stand out to employers and make your resume appear more credible.

Today, your job search is more about making the right connections and being persistent and thoughtful when applying for jobs. Avoid these “tips” during your job search, and you’ll be well on your way to landing more interviews and jobs.

via 5 (More) Obsolete Job Search Tips to Avoid in 2014 | The Savvy Intern by YouTern.

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5 (More) Obsolete Job Search Tips to Avoid in 2014

Understanding Interviewer Questions and Techniques

Before you jump into the interview, it is crucial that we first take a step backward and try to see the interview purely from the interviewer’s point of view.

What is he looking for? What does he want? What qualities, skills and experience is he looking for?

If you can discover what he really wants – and match those requirements one-by-one, you’ll be amazed at how smooth and successful the interview can be.



Let’s not kid ourselves.

You can know all the tricks of the trade. Be an expert in every aspect of interview psychology. And even have the prettiest, hand-printed resumes – it really won’t make the slightest difference unless you have the actual skills and ability to do the job advertised.

This is any interviewer’s first objective: to ascertain if you have the ability to successfully carry out the functions you will be given if you get the job.

But during the interview, it is not only essential that you inform the interviewer of your qualifications to do the job, but that you can prove it to him there and then.

It is one thing being able to actually do the job – but quite another thing being able to convince the interviewer of this reality in a positive and enthusiastic manner during the brief span of an interview.

In fact, this ability is the key difference that separates the winners from the losers.

Let’s take an example.

Mr. Joe Ordinary is going for an interview for the position of computer programmer. The company is looking for a hardworking computer programmer who will help them develop a new software program.

The interviewer asks Mr. Ordinary, “Can you do the job?”

Joe Ordinary smiles: “Yes I can…….. It should be good……very interesting….looking forward to it……”

Now notice the difference when Mr. Joe Winner is asked the same question.

He knows he must not only tell his interviewer that he can do the job but prove it in such a way that the interviewer will not believe him but be excited by his potential.

But how?

The secret is, in fact very simple: for every skill you list, always recall an incident in which you successfully used that skill.

Paint a picture in words for the interviewers so that they can actually see you using this skill in their mind’s eye.

Before we get back to our computer programmer, let me give you this example:

Anne Malone desperately wanted the job of manager at her local florist shop. During the interview, the owner said she was looking for someone who was hardworking and very ambitious to look after and build up the business.

Most applicants would have said, “Yes, I’m determined and will definitely strive to increase your turnover and profits. Yes I can do it…..definitely.”

Anne, however not only made a similar statement, but she backed it up with a real-life practical example.

She brought her statement to life.

She recalled her part-time summer job in a florist shop when she was a student. She told the story of how when she started the job, she noticed that the shop looked ‘run-down – that it lacked ‘sparkle’ and a sense of ‘freshness’

So she told the interviewer how she went to the shop’s owner and how she managed to get her to agree that when she worked in the shop over the weekend, she would get an extra commission for all the extra customers she could attract to the shop.

So the following weekend Anne used her own money and managed to persuade her family and friends to help her re-paint and re-fashion the shop and deliver a single fresh free flower to every house in the surrounding area. And the shop’s sales blossomed.

Can you now see the difference between just saying to an interviewer ” I can do the job” to actually bringing such a statement to life.

And that’s how Mr. Joe Winner answers his questions. When he is asked can he do the job -he not only confirms his ability but he backs it up with personal examples of how, for example he programmed similar software for other High-Tech companies. In fact for every skill he lists he backs it up with personal examples. He paints vivid word pictures.

Yes, this seem simple.

Yet in the thousands and thousands of interviews, I have sat through the vast majority of people will simply answer such questions with a bland ..”Yes, I’m confident I can do the job… and leave it at that hoping the interviewer will be happy with that.

He may be happy but will he be impressed? After the interview will you stand out from the other candidates?

Remember: every time you detail a specific skill that you can contribute to the business don’t just make a bland statement, “I can do this and I can do that” – always back it up with personal real-life examples. Paint a picture of yourself putting these skills into practical and profitable use so that the interviewer can see this picture in his/her mind.

And, of course, always bring with you any documentation (neatly assembled in a smart folder) that will add weight and substance to your claims. Extra references, awards or prizes, for example you may have won or articles and reports that you may have written that stand out.

Proving that you can do the job is the essential first step of the interview and the interviewer’s first and main concern. Before he proceeds to the next stage of the interview, he will want to be sure in his own mind you are capable of doing the job. It is your job to convince him.


The interview proceeds.

The tone has changed. It has become more open, more relaxed. The original awkwardness you felt is beginning to dissipate. The interviewer is now happy that you at least have the necessary ability to carry out the basic requirements of the job. Now he’ll want to know more about you. After all, he and his fellow colleagues may be spending a lot of their lives working with you.

So he will now try to find out if you are personally suitable for the job. He’ll start to focus on trying to ascertain what type of person you are.

To do this, most interviewers will try to see how you measure up under the following headings.

Desire / energy: Do you seem energetic? A person who gets up and does things with enthusiasm. Do you seem the type of person who wants to get ahead – who’ll make a real difference?

Confidence / determination: Do you seem a relaxed, friendly yet confident person? Someone who’ll be able to get on with others? Also someone who’ll stick to a task until it is done.

Independent. What the interviewer is looking for here is someone who can be a team player and follow the directions of his supervisor but yet still have the maturity to be able to work unsupervised and direct and motivate herself. The employer is looking to see if you have this balance.

Motivation: Are you the type of person who wants to do well. To get ahead. To impress with your professionalism. To innovate. To build.

Power of communication: Have you the ability to mix and get on with people by communicating clearly and effectively. Will you be able to take extra responsibility in the future and be able to lead and motivate people through effective communication skills?

Likeability: Do you seem a friendly, OK person. This does not mean that you have to be perfect or the most popular person around. They just want to know if you are a friendly and easy person to get along with. Someone who will add to their existing team and not disrupt it.

How Professional Are You?

A new stage of the interview now starts to emerge.

The interviewer has now got to know you even more. There is a definite softening in the atmosphere.

An embryonic personal relationship seems to be developing between you and your fellow interviewers and you notice most of your pre-interview tension seems to have gone. You begin to allow yourself to relax a bit more.

The interviewer, too seems ‘more human’. At this stage, he is convinced you have the skills to do the job; he likes you; he feels you are personally suitable and he finds it easy to communicate with you.

In his own mind, he is now beginning to see you not as an interviewee but as a potential employee.

For the interviewer, this is an important turning point. And he’ll now want to take an even closer look at you from a professional business point of view.

He’ll want to make sure that you’ll be an asset to the firm, that you’ll act in a professional manner and be loyal, reliable and trustworthy and be committed to the company.

As you speak and answer his questions, he’ll now be trying to evaluate you under the following main headings.

Reliability: Do you seem honest, reliable. Someone who will do an honest day’s work? Someone who is straightforward and has enough respect and pride in themselves to always want to do a good job.

Honesty: Do you seem an honest, trustworthy person? Someone whom they can have full confidence in? Someone they could leave the keys to lock up at the end of the day?

Dedication? Do you seem hardworking and dedicated? Someone who starts a project and finishes it? A starter and a finisher? Someone who does not look for excuses to cover up failings and moans about everything?

Communication: As discussed earlier under personal suitability, are you the type of person who can get on with and communicate with all levels of the company from the tea lady to the M.D.?

Commitment: The interviewer is trying to judge if you got the job would you commit yourself fully to it?

For example, what would you say if you were going for the job as a middle- manager and the interviewer asked you: “As an employee, would you clean the floors?” What the interviewer really wants to find out here is how committed you would be to the team – how willing you would be to roll up your sleeves and do whatever is necessary to help your team get the job done.

Don’t only answer yes, but make sure you also give a personal example of a similar situation where you helped out to back up your answer.

The Last Check?

Let’s see how the interviewer’s thought processes are operating now.

He’s happy you can do the job and that you are personally suitable. He’s also confident that you’ll get on with most of the staff and that you have all the necessary professional commercial qualities that he requires from his employees.

You almost have the job!

The interviewer is now beginning to visualize you as a future colleague. Someone who he will be working with and someone he will possibly be responsible for managing.


All during the interview, this question will be at the back of the interviewer’s mind. How manageable will you be? The last thing a manager wants is an employee who he thinks might cause trouble in the future and cause him sleepless nights!

And so a lot of his questions will be aimed at helping him come to a considered judgment on your ability not only to work alone unsupervised but also on your ability to work with others. He will also want to judge your ability to take direction and criticism not only when it is honestly given but also when you may be treated unfairly.

The interviewer/manager knows that a lot of the time, in the real business world things go wrong, people make mistakes, deadlines and commitments are broken and tempers are ignited. The interviewer wants to consider how you might react to such circumstances?

So be aware of these questions when they arise and the real motivation behind them. Also when you sense such questions are being asked treat it as a positive sign that the interviewer is seriously considering you for the position.

Last thoughts

What we have presented here is only a very general outline of the interviewer’s possible thought processes as the interview progresses.

Each interview is unique and it’s structure and tempo will change and adopt to accommodate the different personalities involved.

However, it is very helpful to be aware of the key stages of your interview and to have a deepening understanding of what your interviewer is really looking for when he asks you certain questions.

via Understanding Interviewer Questions and Techniques.

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Understanding Interviewer Questions and Techniques