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2013 Hiring Forecast: A Good Employee Is Hard to Find

January 25th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Will you be hiring employees for your small business this year? If so, you’re in good company–but you might face challenges as tough as looking for a needle in a haystack. More than one-fourth of hiring managers polled in the CareerBuilder Hiring Forecast for 2013 say their companies will be hiring full-time, permanent employees in 2013, up 3 percent compared to 2012. However, that doesn’t mean the hiring outlook is rosy.

Many businesses are still on the fence about hiring. Although more than 60 percent of employers in the survey say they are in a better financial position than last year, the slow pace of recovery is still affecting hiring plans, and the percentage of companies planning layoffs also increased, from 7 percent last year to 9 percent this year. Small businesses, in particular, show signs of indecision, with both the percentage planning to hire and the percentage planning to lay people off up 3 percent from last year.

If you are planning to hire, what markets will see the most competition? Sales (29 percent) and IT (27 percent) are the top areas where companies plan to hire. These are also the two areas that will see the biggest salary increases. Customer service, engineering and production are close behind sales and IT, with slightly over 20 percent of companies planning to hire for these roles.

While it may be hard to believe, in many industries and/or regions of the country, it’s hard to fill skilled positions, and employers are struggling to find workers. How are companies dealing with the shortage?

  • Temp time: More businesses are relying on temporary employees or using staffing services to fill in the gaps. Some 40 percent of companies surveyed report plans to hire temporary and/or contract workers in 2013, an increase from 36 percent last year.
  • Talent poaching: More employers are actively recruiting employees from other companies. Almost 20 percent of employees in the survey reported having been approached by a potential employer in 2012 even though they hadn’t applied for a job at that company.
  • Pay raises: Employers are concerned not only about finding skilled workers, but holding on to those they already have. No wonder many employers in the survey said they plan to increase compensation for both existing staff and prospective hires.
  • Do-it-yourself: Instead of searching for skilled employees, more companies are training their existing employees to move up to positions of greater responsibility or learn new skills that are needed within the business. Some 39 percent of employers said they will train current employees for new positions this year, up from 38 percent last year.

Image by Flickr user John Pavelka (Creative Commons)

Web.com Small Business Toolkit: Scavado (Talent Search Engine)

November 28th, 2012 ::


Looking to hire in the New Year? According to Manpower, 49 percent of U.S. employers say they have difficulty finding the right people for open jobs. Scavado is a simple talent search engine that connects recruiters with top candidates without complicated search algorithms. Built by a veteran recruiter who needed her process for sourcing talent online to be more efficient, Scavado finds relevant results from all over the Web. It’s easy; all you need to do is enter a few keywords. Scavado costs $99 per user per month and helps you target the top talent you need.

How to Recruit Star Performers—and Boost Your Profits

September 21st, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

What HR actions have the highest impact on your small business? A new study by the Boston Consulting Group found it’s not what you think. The study looked at how a variety of different HR functions, such as onboarding, retention and work-life balance, correlate with companies’ revenue growth and profit margins, and found that recruiting was by far the most impactful HR function.

What does this mean to you? While this study focused on larger corporations, as a small business, whom you hire to work on your team is even more critical than it is for a big business with thousands of workers. Here are some ways to improve your recruiting process so you can reel in star performers.

Narrow your focus. How are you currently recruiting for new employees? Do you take out ads on general job websites or post listings on community job boards? Advertising in a general-interest space can lead to too many irrelevant applications from people without the right experience. Instead, focus on niche job sites and boards targeted to your industry.

Get social. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all great ways to search for quality employees. Often, the best job candidates aren’t looking for work because they’re busily employed somewhere. Use social media to join groups related to your industry or follow people who have smart things to say. Create a relationship and then see if they’d be interested in working for you.

Cast a wide net. Networking offline is another great source of job candidates. Tell everyone you know what position you’re trying to fill and what kind of person you’re looking for. Whether it’s a business contact, friend or family member, or just a workout buddy at the gym, it’s a small world and you never know who might know the exact type of person you’re looking for.

Once you’ve got qualified candidates in the door, take your time with the interview process. Many small business owners rush through this stage due to shyness, inexperience or simply the urge to fill the job ASAP. The time to ensure a good fit is before the hire—not after. Consider having other members of your team join in the interview, having candidates complete real-life tasks they’d do on the job, and having them meet the other people they’d be working with. The more perspectives you get on each candidate, the more informed hiring decisions you will be able to make.

Image by Flickr user Tim Pearce (Creative Commons)

The Rules of Recruiters… and Why Commitment Matters to Them as Much as it Does the Guy You're Dating

March 29th, 2010 ::

by Allison Kapner

So rather than go in a boring step-by-step order and continuing with Step 2, I’m going to share a bit about working with recruiters… which, in the dating world, translates into dating guys that are just out for one thing.

For those of you who don’t understand the face of recruiting, times have changed. Employers used to hire recruiters for all levels and all functions. During the recession, companies began realizing how much they were spending on agency fees and started creating strategies around working with recruiters.

Internal HR staff are now trained to make cold calls and use social media to reach out for certain positions. So, for example, analyst roles most likely will not go through recruiters because of the number of applicants who apply on their own. Ask yourself, why would a company pay a VERY hefty fee for me when I can apply directly and not go through a third party?

So while recruiters who are experts in their field can be extremely helpful and add value, if you’re young and inexperienced, I wouldn’t count on a recruiter landing you your first job.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/randysonofrobert/ / CC BY 2.0

Recruiters – of the internal and external sort – can be your best friend or worst enemy. They can act as the gatekeepers to your dream employer, or can be the reason you don’t get your dream job. The genuine ones (such as me in my past life) care about you and put your needs first even if it means missing a deal. They do this because they know and respect good karma. The ruthless recruiters are only focused on you as a dollar sign. Recruiters, by nature, stay on top of their star candidates, the people who can actually interview successfully for the roles they are looking to fill. They woo you, keep you on their good side and walk you through the interview process. The second you mess up or the client decides to “pass,” you are back to the starting line until another job comes along that you’re the PERFECT person for.

The funny thing is, the worst thing you can do to a recruiter is work with other recruiters. They’ll say whatever it takes to keep you from others because they don’t make money if someone else places you…which leads me to a dating story and point that recruiters and men (sorry guys!) can in fact consciously or subconsciously share the same mentality.

I once met a guy – we’ll call him Aaron – who has an intense personality and acts as someone who is driven and motivated. For the first few weeks of knowing each other, he contacted me. I didn’t think much of it and didn’t respond much. In fact, he was upset that I wouldn’t friend him on Facebook. I was impartial. (Similar to how most candidates are in a good market when approached by a recruiter.) He persisted and we went out to a three-hour first date dinner. It was great. He wanted to know all about me (1st interview or “screening” per a recruiter) and I “passed” round one. He suggested going to get ice cream a few days later, and after going to four places and striking out four times trying to get ice cream, Aaron finally figured out a way to find us ice cream. I was impressed, he was creative and innovative. (Similar to a recruiter getting you a first round interview, if you’re a strong candidate, they’ll do whatever it takes.) This continued and things were going well. A few weeks into it, I decided it was time for me to finally give in and be nice and after him asking many times for a housewarming gift (weird, yes), I brought over cookie dough as a housewarming gift.

Stop the presses!! From then on, every time I received a text or spoke to him, the question was “how many guys do you bring cookies to?” Well, he obviously couldn’t handle the idea of me dating other people and he freaked himself out (later apologizing, then falling off the face of the earth). In his apology, he admitted he freaked himself out because he wasn’t ready for someone who would expect something out of him but he was too insecure to have me date others.

Moral of the story: If you can’t make a recruiter a quick buck or be a quickie to a shady guy, you’ll get dropped – and fast – which is probably for the better.

Second moral: Keep your options open until a recruiter asks you to only work with them (or until a guy asks you for a commitment). Don’t give either the satisfaction of being your one and only unless they prove themselves worthy.

Allison Kapner headshotAllison Kapner is a Relationship Manager in Career Services at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School where she is responsible for building partnerships with employers to ultimately create job and internship opportunities for students and alumni. She also advises and coaches students on job search techniques and brings a unique corporate expertise to assist candidates, as her past experience was as an Executive Recruiter in financial services in New York City.

You Have Questions… We Have Answers!

March 17th, 2010 ::

by Robin Ferrier

Question mark made of puzzle pieces

http://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/ / CC BY 2.0

I’ve said it before — in my “welcome” post and on our “about us” page — but I think it bears repeating: This blog is about you.

Why is this important? Because sure, we’re all experts at some level and can write about what we think you need to know. But you’re the ones out there every day living in this world of job searching, interviewing, etc.

So I want to encourage you to send us your questions. What do you want to know about this process? An etiquette question? Resume troubles? Cover letter confusion? No question too small!

So let us know. Email me your question and the appropriate blogger — or bloggers — will post your question (without your name) and a response. I promise!

Robin Ferrier is the editor of What’s Next, Gen Y? and Communications Manager for the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. She is also the President of the Capital Communicators Group and the co-chair of the Marketing Committee for the Tech Council of Maryland. She has inadvertently become a frequent career / professional / job hunt resource for friends and colleagues due to a career path that has included five jobs in 12 years.