Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for September, 2013

I need more time!

Today we’re going to review a few tips on how to manage your time more effectively.

Most of us respond to rising demands in the workplace by putting in longer hours, which inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, high turnover rates, and raised medical costs among employees.

Whether you’re new to management or an experienced leader of people, these tips on time management for managers will help you improve your productivity and profits

  • Get yourself organized Before you can manage a team, you need to get your own house in order. That means getting in early and making time to organize your workspace
  • Less time wasted searching for what you need, means more time is available to get on with what really matters — managing your team so they can produce the best possible results.
  • Learning how to get organized with your papers, emails, files and folders takes time, but it’s an investment that will always pay off.

Know what matters

Okay, you’ve cleared the decks. Your mind is clear and free from mental clutter.

What will you do now?

  • It is important to clarify exactly what work is expected of you and your team. Does everyone know what they are working towards?
  • Clarifying who does what also means establishing who doesn’t do what. Learn how to delegate work tasks so you can focus on the work only you can do.
  • Schedule some quality time for yourself.
  • Every day you need to know that you can work on what creates the most value without fear of distractions or interruptions
  • Identify a time and a place when you can routinely put aside an hour or more when you can think, plan and work with total focus. Learning how to wake up early and start working in peace before everyone else arrives is a useful strategy for many people. Or you may prefer to work at another time in the day when your energy levels are high and you know you won’t be disturbed.
  • The point is your most important creative work happens when you can give it concentrated time and attention.

Set limits

  • Effective time management for managers means knowing when to stop.
  • There are only so many hours in a day, so you need to put time limits on all open-ended tasks and events.
  • If something has to be done that day, see it through to completion. If not, put a stop to it and continue tomorrow.

Use a To-Do List system to process work

  • ‘What gets measured gets managed’ applies to projects and tasks as much as it does to performance and people.
  • To get things done, people write to-do lists. They identify what they want to do and then add those things to the list.
  • Time management for managers never gets to the point at which it’s ‘done’. But your skills can be sharpened and gradually improved each day.

Start today and see what happens seven days from now…


I want to become a better Manager…but how?

Management is a skill that can be learned. You can improve as a manager by working every day to get better. Here are a few things you can do to become a better manager:


Human beings do things because we want to. Sometimes we want to because the consequences of not wanting to do something are unpleasant. However, most of the time we want to do things because of what we get out of it. It’s no different at work, people do good work for the pay, or the prestige, or the recognition. They do bad work because they want to take it easy and still get paid. They work really hard because they want to impress someone. To motivate your people better, figure out what they want and how you can give that to them for doing what you want them to do.

Build your team

It is not enough that people are motivated to succeed at work. They have to work together as a team to accomplish the group’s objective.

Be a leader

 Motivating a team is worthless unless you provide direction; unless you turn that motivation toward a goal and lead the team to it. It is the ability to lead others that truly sets a manager apart from their peers.

Improve as a communicator

Communication may be the single most important skill of a manager. After all, all the others depend on it. You can’t be a leader if you can’t communicate your vision. You can’t motivate people if they can’t understand what you want. Communication skills can be improved through practice.

Get Better at Managing Time

The one thing you will probably have less of at work than money is time. The better you get at managing time, yours and others, the more effective you will be as a manager.

Pick one. Do it today. Pick another one for tomorrow. In a few weeks you will be on pace to becoming a better manager.

How to Retain High Potential Employees

While researching employee engagement, I came across an article written by author Jeana Quigley from the blog.

Please read the following as I know you’ll find value in this one!

A company is only as good as the people it keeps. And lately there has been talk about talent shortages in business. However there is talent already sitting dormant on your team. Here are some tips for ways you can identify and tap into that talent and keep it right where you need it to be- with your company. Focus on:

Shining Stars

As a manager, you should be able to identify those who are performing not only up to par but going beyond. These employees are willing to learn something new and are constantly improving. It’s important to make note of and track this in employee records for future reference. While these employees are finding ways to improve on their own, you can also give them a chance to move or grow. If you don’t, they might look to another team.

Retaining the Best

Retaining employees with insatiable learning appetites is a huge priority, probably even more important than hiring new talent. After all, it saves you more time and money to keep a hard-working employee on the books than to go searching for someone who hopefully works out. As a manager in an SMB, you may feel you don’t have a ton of money to nurse these employees into all-stars, but the following several ideas require little to no extra budget:

  1. Job shadowing which allows      employees to follow an employee in a different department or higher      position. Employees can learn first-hand how a leadership position or      position in another wing may help them move or grow within the company.
  2. Coaching which pairs a      senior employee up with a less-experienced employee in an audit-like      situation. The “coach” may offer up advice or guide the “coachee” to      improve abilities.
  3. Mentoring which is similar to      coaching but allows the professional relationship to go just a bit      further. It is an ongoing process that includes continual learning,      constant dialogue, and may even include challenges over a longer time      period.

Promoting From Within

Most important is letting a high-potential employee move up when your company has an open position. Be sure to let hiring managers know which current employees could succeed in open positions. Looking outside the company for a position that could be filled with a capable, inside employee is akin to letting a perfectly thrown football slip through your fingers. Not only will the employee feel unappreciated and undervalued, but they may be discouraged and feel their hard work has gone unnoticed.

Stretching It Out

If you don’t have new job openings, why not give high-performing employees a title upgrade or some stretch assignments? Make sure to set boundary criteria to help them succeed but allow them to make mistakes. As long as they learn from these mistakes and correct the process for future opportunities, you will have a strong employee who is gaining valuable experience resolving difficult situations.

Letting each employee know his contribution is valued makes for a satisfied, happy team. Ensure your employees know the team needs their best efforts. Just as a company doesn’t need 20 CEOS, a football team doesn’t need 20 quarterbacks. If you want to win games, you have to have a good offense, defense, and special teams. Every role in a company is valuable, and every player wants to do his very best. Now go out there, and win the game.

Do your homework before Interviewing

Before you go on a job interview, it’s important to find out as much as you can about the company. Company research is a critical part of interview preparation. It will help you prepare to both answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions. You will also be able to find out whether the company and the company culture are a good fit for you.

Is Research really all that important?

Yes, even sports coaches regularly name preparation as the reason their team won a game. Scouting – finding out as much as possible about an opponent prior to a game – is an accepted practice.  This same researching process is necessary for a job seeker to win in the job interview.

Why not wait until the interview to learn about a company?

As a recruiter, and having a candidate participating in an interview only to withdraw because of information you could have obtained beforehand is a waste of time for the employer and you.  One employer told me, “When an applicant shows me they don’t already know the basics of my business, I don’t waste time with them.  I cut the interview short; I don’t want them. “One job seeker who did not do this research told the employer, “What do you mean work weekends? That’s my party time.”- This may seem like an exaggeration but you get the point.  Research saves both us timeJ

Another reason to do your homework

Knowing the pay scale for the company you’re seeking employment from is important because you can under-sell yourself or price yourself out to the market by not having the information need to properly negotiate. Sometimes you will be given the pay scale information in the classified ad or by your referral source such as the employment office or career service center. Normally, an entry-level job seeker can get information about pay scales of a local business by networking or simply asking a friend who works for the company.

What is the most effective way to research the company I’d like to work?

According to the NY daily news, many people are finding the below recommendations to be the most helpful when scouting a potential employer.

Visit the Company Website -Visit the company web site, review the company mission statement and company history, products and services, management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site.

Use LinkedIn-Company profiles are a good way to find, at glance, more information on a company you’re interested in. You’ll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. Take a look at your interviewer’s profile to get insight into their job and their background.

Use Social Media-Check Facebook and Twitter. Become a Fan of the company on Facebook and follow it on Twitter. You’ll find information you may not have found otherwise.

So take some time, in advance, to discover as much information as you can about the company. Spend time, as well, tapping into your network to see who you know who can help give you an interview edge over the other candidates.


Hiring the Right Employee

Hiring good employees can be challenging. While prospective recruits may have the right skills to match the job- education and work history – there are multiple characteristics beyond what’s outlined on paper that will determine if an employee is right for the job. And determining whether a person will be the best fit for an open position during the interview process can prove to be difficult.

If you are in the process of hiring, consider that skills alone do not guarantee that you will hire the right candidate. Prospective employees should have a combination of skills and characteristics which are more challenging to measure. Here are some things to consider when recruiting:

  • Does this person have the necessary skills, experience and education to successfully complete the tasks you need performed?  This is the first factor to consider.
  • Can this person get along with colleagues, and existing and potential clients?  Another important component to also remember is the person’s willingness and ability to be harmonious with you- his or her boss.
  •  Will this person complete not only the easy tasks but will he or she also find ways to solve problems and take initiative?  A capable employee has potential for growth and the ability and willingness to take on more responsibility.
  • Does this person have values that align with your company’s?  Are they honest; do they tell the truth? Are they above reproach? Are they team players?

Remember; take your time to hire. The urge may be to bring on candidates quickly if you are in need to fill open positions, but taking the time to interview, assess and properly evaluate candidates will better ensure that you hire the right employees with the right skills.