Category Archives: HR

Breaking Hiring Rules Can Get You in Legal Trouble

Walking the Minefield

Anyone involved in hiring and human resources is aware of the need to regularly monitor the constant changes in laws and regulations in their fields. From federal to state to local governing bodies, these entities often produce changes that affect a wide spectrum of policies pertaining to the hiring process, compensation and benefits, and company work environments.

The frequency and significance of these modifications require that businesses respond and update company policies and practices to remain in compliance at all times. The penalties and consequences that result from ignoring these issues are often quite significant and far-reaching.

To aid in this process, human resources departments and company recruiters have available to them a number of modern tools and resources. Platforms that continually provide updates on these issues are now considered essential to the process. Others, such as effective applicant tracking systems, are also rapidly gaining traction as important tools. A recent article by Fox Business points out some of the ways in which small businesses can avoid some of the tripwires involved in the hiring process.

Essential Hiring Tips

In the article, Charley Moore, the founder of the successful online legal service Rocket Lawyer, shared that a recent survey by his firm indicates hiring issues rank in the top five of all legal concerns of business owners. To help with this process, Moore addressed six points for all small businesses to review and utilize.

The first of these is a good rule for all aspects of business: Put things down in black and white. It is a simple fact that verbal agreements don’t suffice in personnel issues. Every hire should involve a detailed and compliant employment agreement that is in writing and signed by both parties. The details of a proper employment agreement will address all the issues of position, title, salary, benefits and other key items.

Closely related to this is the importance of having a fully-compliant and updated employee handbook. It is the first document that opposing counsel will request in any employment dispute. A constantly updated and effective handbook is specific in providing employees with information about all company policies and attitudes towards the work environment. This document should be written in a clear and concise way and detail all benefits, such as sick time and vacation.

Moore also makes a point in the article that all business owners and their human resources must take to heart. You can’t obey the law without knowing the law. Maintaining a detailed familiarity with the Fair Hiring Practices and Job Discrimination Laws for Employers is an essential discipline for small businesses. There are many proactive requirements, such as keeping the work environment free of racist and sexist elements.  Part of these regulations are governed by the OFCCP (office of federal contract compliance programs) – ensuring that your hiring process runs to offcp regulations is an essential part of smart hiring and recruiting.

The article closes with strong advice concerning the provision of workers’ compensation. Overall, these insights provide real value to any company’s approach to hiring and human resources.


How to Hire The Best Tech Talent

When it comes to finding/hiring the best tech talent out there, many recruitment assumptions and strategies need to be abandoned. For one thing, techies are different in many ways from so-called “typical job seekers.” In spite of a bad economy, for example, experienced, talented technical professionals are still in high demand.

These people are not as desperate as others to find a job; additionally, they are “different” personality-wise and job-expectations-wise. Christine Lagorio, for example, in her article 7 Unconventional Ways to Hire the Best Tech Talent suggests that companies not overlook candidates with autism/Asperger’s Syndrome symptoms. The funnel-like, intense attention necessary for software development makes such persons ideally suited for the job.

Looking at Resumes Doesn’t Cut it Anymore

For one thing, many of the most talented technical professionals are already employed. Those that are not will fall into one of these categories: educated but inexperienced; recently graduated and young (and, therefore, easily overlooked); freelancing; or not able to survive the traditional job applicant pre-screening protocols.

As one recruiting expert pointed out, talented techies are more likely to be working on their craft than on coming up with a perfect resume. Recruiters/employers, knowing this, should employ unconventional methods and, in essence, disregard the resume. Paul Sawers, in fact, suggests that looking at a candidate’s “hobbies and interests” may be more useful than simply looking at listed skills/previous job responsibilities. He also suggests infiltrating online communities (e.g., GitHub, Dribbble, and StackOverflow) where you can informally assess potential job candidates .

If Not through Traditional Channels, Then How?

As Lary West (in the article “How Big Companies Recruit and Hire for IT Skills”) points out “There is no magic app for attracting top talent and ensuring employee satisfaction, yet a few leading technology companies have succeeded in creating a winning combination of salary, benefits, and work environment and company culture.” The idea is to study how some of these companies have done it and then, as closely as possible, imitate them.

Some of their recruitment best practices include:

  1. If possible, buy a smaller company (“acqui-hiring”), thereby acquiring an already trained staff (e.g. PayPal buying Critical Path, Inc.)
  2. Attract employees from competing firms.
  3. Implement hacker competitions; competitors are potential employees.
  4. Give rewards for useful referrals.
  5. Be willing/ready to train new personnel.
  6. Pair inexperienced developers with seasoned programmers.
  7. Use HireLite—in essence, a “speed-dating” applicant-interviewing service.
  8. Attend technology conferences/seminars; they are recruitment opportunities.
  9. View universities as on-going rich candidate resources.
  10. Utilize information code streamlining/analyses systems like HireVue to sift out best candidates from pools of applicants.
  11. Employ job applicant tracking software/services.

Without question, the companies that will come out on top in terms of finding the best technical talent are those that avail themselves of the newest technologies and best job applicant tracking services/systems.

An Applicant Tracking System Can Promote Great Hires

With the economy the way it is, you see a huge increase in the amount of resumes you get with job listings at any level. It’s all that the HR department can do to try to keep up if they’re handling these resumes by hand. This takes them away from other essential duties in the workplace, or it means they’re working twice as hard to keep on top of their duties. Instead of making them do things the inefficient way, it’s time to invest in an applicant tracking system.

Applicant tracking systems provide valuable features to your HR department or your employees handling hiring. And if you handle hiring directly, it’s going to be one less worry for you to deal with. You input the resumes and applicant information into the software so that everything is available in one standardized, searchable format. The searchable part that provides easy access to any of the applicant information is the important factor here.

You can search through the entire resume pool or a select group of resumes by keywords. If you’re looking for someone with a specific specialty, you can hunt that down without looking through all of the resumes individually. This also allows you to search through previous resume submissions if you think someone who has applied to a different job would fit perfectly with what you’re looking for now.

Applicant tracking systems don’t lose their usefulness after you begin the interviewing process either. You can track your applicants through the entire hiring process, and input information on how they’re doing through each round of interviews. When you’re looking at a big hiring investment that involves many interviews with different departments and individuals, this is quite useful.

An applicant tracking system pays for itself rather quickly. You spend less time going through the resumes you receive, you make your HR department more efficient at the hiring process, and instead of trying to go through a hundred resumes you can quickly pinpoint the applicant who’s right for you and your company. Since you have more time to focus on whether or not the potential employee would be a good fit, you’ll be able to find the highest quality hires available. Applicant tracking software is available from several vendors at various price points. When you purchase the software, determine which best fits your budget and needs. Whether you’re a small business or an international corporation, you’ll benefit.

How Important is Design for an ATS?

Many HR vendors don’t consider form and design in their product….just how important is design for an ATS?  Check out this interesting article on how design plays an important role in building efficient HR software.

Newton’s Applicant Tracking Software

Newton Applicant Tracking Software

Back when IBM was referred to as International Business Machines, they would fill up an entire office floor of computers just to handle the most basic of computations. Now all that power and much more can be carried around in your cell phone. On some level, the same advancements have been made in the  recruiting sector. There was a time when it would take several file cabinets to hold the paperwork of various applicants for any given position. Add to that the numerous work hours needed to sift through even a simple hiring project and it’s easy to see how recruitment was associated with a bog down of efficiency.

The days of old are gone –  with Newton Software, the applicant tracking process has never been easier or more efficient.  Whether you’re running your own in-house recruiting program or you are a recruitment process outsourcing company, you’ll be able to access a state of the art applicant tracking program from anywhere in the world.

Newton Software has long been the leader in developing smart recruiting software that is extremely adaptable no matter how big or small a  company’s needs are. Of course every hiring process starts with the solicitation of qualified talent.

As the resumes start to come into your Newton applicant tracking program, you’ll be able to instantly sort through them and select the most qualified applicants. With Newton Software, you’ll be building a complete database of all your potential hires. This recruitment database can be categorized in the manner that best suits your company’s specific needs.

Following up is key to any successful business and that’s the same in the recruiting arena. With Newton’s Applicant Tracking Software, you can customize a series of e-mail drafts that will let you send out requests for interviews or a polite “thank you for your interest” response. It’s this level of professional courtesy that will help you generate a positive response for your efforts.

Today, running a successful hiring process also means having the ability to launch a careers site across a variety hiring portals. Newton’s Applicant Tracking Software helps you manage and control your customized careers site without the need of any IT support.

With Newton, you’ll also be able to incorporate real-time analytics with the talent information you’ll be gathering and assimilating.  This can help you make sure that your can continue to make your hiring process more efficient.  Nowadays, you’ll also need to make sure your company is in compliance with EEOC/OFCCP guidelines.  This requires thinking ahead and gathering the correct information so when the time comes to file you’ll be ready.  Newton’s Applicant Tracking Software makes sure that EEOC compliance is an integral part of your hiring database.

Software is no good to you if it’s hard to setup or manage on an everyday basis. With Newton’s Applicant Tracking software you can be setup and operational in no time. There is no excessive training needed because the interface is extremely user-friendly.  The day to day operations of the software are a breeze.

Your goal is to find the most qualified talent for any given position without having the hassles associated with hiring back in the day.  That’s what Newton Applicant Tracking software is all about: competent management of the applicant process to provide you with the best hires.  And if you’re hiring the best, shouldn’t you be at your best?

Business Resolutions for 2010

So 2010 is almost here.  Just as individuals make New Year’s resolutions – lose some weight, spend more time with the kids, finally clean out that part of the cellar – companies across a variety of industries also make resolutions for the New Year.  This New Year is especially symbolic as the recession’s clouds begin to part and we can begin to see some sunshine.

As companies take this opportunity to get back on track, management is sure to make a number of decisions for the New Year.  I’d like to take a moment to scope out some of these potential business resolutions that could benefit an organization going into the new decade.

Keep Things Trim : The recession may have hurt, but it also showed many businesses how to run a bit leaner.  Some of these lessons learned may not only apply during a recession.  Try and glean some of the more efficient tactics from the downturn and apply them to a regular year in business.   The best business officers should always be looking for places to cut costs.

Circle Back: Many ‘deals’ of 2009 may have fallen through due to the survival of the fittest conditions that companies faced throughout the year.  Whether you were trying to close a sale or create a partnership, circle back and reach out to some potential contacts from 2009.  These people may be more willing to listen to your pitch now that they’re out of the fire.

Think Re-branding : Think about your target market’s view of your company going into a new decade.  Are you still relevant?  Has your target market changed – is it younger or older?  If so, how can you re-brand your company to reach out to these people?  Re-branding doesn’t always mean hiring an expensive marketing firm, it simply requires logical and creative thinking combined with a bit of elbow grease.

Hire Intelligently: There are certain positions  and people within a company that are absolutely integral, and 2009 has allowed these people to stand out.  Your company needs to continue to attract this type of key talent, people that fit perfectly into a given role and make your business that much more successful.

So how do you intelligently hire?  A cost efficient way is to utilize cutting edge applicant tracking software.   Many modern day hiring solutions offer simple yet incredibly efficient ways to improve your company’s hiring process by providing features like analytics, collaborative tools and automated job board posting.

Reward Your Employees: After a tough year that saw far fewer company parties and perks, let your employees know that you are glad to have them on-board by giving back.  In 2010, it will be well worth the cost to reward employees every so often with perks that let them know they are appreciated.  Whether it be a new espresso machine in the office or a outing to wine country, employees could surely benefit with a bit of relaxation after the grind of 2009.

How Small Business can compete in Big Recruiting

big dog small dogIn today’s economy, as industry giants are faltering, much of our hope rests with the small and medium sized business owners across the country.   Small businesses have the ability to adapt to the current economic environment and provide consumers or other businesses with exactly what they need at this integral moment.   Small businesses can rapidly change direction and point their bottom-line at goals that fit niche necessities.   Big business wears the iron-clad boots of shareholders, age-old assembly line processes and unwavering corporate management;  they are hardly in the right position to navigate the narrow straights of this economic downturn.

The question is:  how can small and medium sized business (SMEs) stay competitive with larger firms, who posses far more resources to hire the best talent out there?  It is in the talent acquisition arena that SMEs need to utilize every advantage that they can get their hands on to lasso the brightest minds available.  They must guarantee that productivity is at a constant increase and that all of their human capital is being utilized to the utmost.  This is harder said than done, considering that the pool of job applicants for SMEs is dwindling due to international outsourcing.  It is a never ending challenge for SMEs to increase the quality of their hires, while at the same time keep their costs at a healthy minimum.

The key to an SME’s advantage is the utilization of technology- more specifically web technology.  Web 2.0 is a term thrown around quite a bit, but for small businesses it has a very specific meaning.  New web technologies symbolize the new-found ability for SMEs to compete with big business in various arenas – from hiring and recruiting to mass production and advertising.  Need to get out a press release?  No longer does a small business need to hire a fancy PR agency.  They just need utilize a web product like PR Web, which enables a business to blast out news to thousands of online sites for a fraction of the cost.   Need to design some brand apparel like a T-shirt of coffee mug?  No longer does a business need to outsource to an expensive design firm.  Online start-ups like Cafe Press or Zazzle enable SMEs to mass design and produce apparel on pre-set molds.

The situation is no different for hiring.  New web technologies enable SMEs to handle their applicant management, applicant tracking, and recruiting needs for minimal costs.  Cutting-edge, yet easy-to-use,  new Recruiting and Applicant Management solutions enable small businesses to manage and track a a central database of potential candidates.  Many of these solutions live completely online, much like their Web 2.0 brethren, which cuts down the barrier to install and access hires.

Also like modern Web 2.0 social networks, new recruiting software solutions promote collaboration.   The ability for hiring mangers and recruiters to collaborate with one another with the end goal of finding the best hire is probably the biggest advantage that web technology bestows on SMEs.   Even though big businesses have more resources to put towards hiring, modern recruiting technology allows small business to gain the edge.