Does Your New Hire Have Growth Potential?

February 26th, 2016

Coping with holes in your staff is challenging. It’s easy to wish for a new hire who’ll come in, do a good job, and stay there so you never need to fill that role again. But to benefit the company most, you should be looking for employees who’ll stay a while and then make a move—not move on, but move up.  That means hiring with growth potential in mind. When seeking employees who’ll excel over time, look for the following characteristics.

Core competency. The candidate has to do a solid job in the position they start out with, no question. Without baseline technical skills, they won’t get the job done. They also won’t earn the respect of their teammates and colleagues in other departments, which is critical for more senior jobs that require more interpersonal and leadership skills.

Interest in the industry. Moving up the ladder often means moving away from a hands-on technical role and gaining more knowledge about the business side of the work. Candidates who express an interest in the business problems being solved as well as the technology used in the solution will be more successful in filling other roles.

Desire to grow. No matter how much potential you see in an employee, it doesn’t matter unless they want grow into new opportunities. Look for candidates who are enthusiastic about the ways the current position will let them learn and grow. Especially look for candidates who are open to growing in new directions—not just learning the latest version of a technology, but learning entirely new subject matter.

Flexibility and adaptability. To succeed in multiple positions in your organization, the new hire will need the ability to adapt to different responsibilities and different ways of doing things. Look for someone who’s held multiple roles within a project, or who offers suggestions on how things could have been done better rather than holding the attitude that “that’s just how we did it.”

Good interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are needed for senior roles that are more about communicating and coordinating with others than doing work themselves. Beyond that, if the hire doesn’t have good interpersonal skills, they may not build solid relationships with others in the company—relationships that can help or hinder success over the long term.

InReach IT Solutions helps businesses keep an eye on the long-term picture while solving short-term staffing needs. Contact us to learn how we can help you find employees with the skills you need to solve problems now and the growth potential to solve new problems in the future.

Should You Praise or Criticize?

February 19th, 2016

There are two approaches you can take to getting the most out of your employees: You can criticize work that needs improvement, or you can praise work that was done well. Actually, managing effectively requires both.

Avoid Unconstructive Criticism

Negative feedback can’t always be avoided, and criticism has value when it’s done constructively. This means placing the criticism in context and making sure an action is being criticized, not the person. Constructive criticism should be specific and related to a particular situation. There should be suggestions on how to improve, but you should collaborate with the employee to come up with a plan.

If done well, constructive criticism will leave an employee feeling like you’ve partnered with them to help them improve, and they’ll see the value of the improvements to the business and to themselves.

The Benefit of Praise

Offering praise makes employees feel good and boosts morale and self-esteem, which in turn boosts motivation and commitment to their work. Public recognition of an employee’s good work makes a clear statement about the employee’s value to the organization.

Using praise effectively doesn’t mean handing out trophies just for showing up at the office every day. Praise can even be used as part of coping with negative behaviors; you can use a “positive reprimand” where you offer examples of how the current behavior doesn’t match up to the employee’s normal good behavior. (If the employee hasn’t had any good behaviors or results to point to, there needs to be a specific improvement plan or a termination).

Determine Your Goal When Deciding Your Approach

To decide whether to take the positive or negative approach in giving feedback, think about what you hope to accomplish. Negative feedback can change behavior, but it doesn’t motivate or inspire. Positive feedback and praise motivates employees to put forth their best efforts. In the long run, that may have the most value to your organization.

Looking for employees you won’t need to criticize? We can’t guarantee that, but with 20 years of experience in helping businesses hire top employees, InReach IT Solutions knows how to match candidates to the right position. Contact our experienced IT recruiters to find praiseworthy employees in our database of candidates.

Evaluating a Candidate’s Enthusiasm

February 12th, 2016

The skills and experience a candidate brings to the job are important indicators of how qualified they are to perform the task, and you’ll want to consider them seriously when you make your hiring decisions. You’ll also want to consider factors like the candidate’s personality and their enthusiasm. If two candidates are equally qualified, consider hiring the more enthusiastic candidate. If two candidates are not equally qualified, but the difference in qualifications is slight, you should also consider hiring the more enthusiastic candidate. Here’s why:

  • Enthusiastic candidates are more likely to pursue training and improvement. People who are excited about the work they’re doing want to get better at it. These candidates will invest time in training and learning, both on the job and on their own time, letting them develop new skills that bring more value to their work.
  • Enthusiastic candidates will do better work. When you don’t like what you’re doing, you don’t put much effort into it; you aim for the minimally acceptable level of quality. Enthusiastic candidates who enjoy what they’re doing take pride in their work and want it to be exceptional, so you can expect they’ll put more effort into it. You can also expect an enthusiastic employee to go above and beyond in other ways, looking for ways to contribute outside the strict boundary of their official role.
  • Enthusiastic candidates will fit in and be team players. If their positive, enthusiastic attitude carries over from the interview into the workplace, the candidate will be a positive, enthusiastic employee who is fun to be around. Their good energy will be beneficial to the team as a whole.

Finding an enthusiastic employee means paying attention to job candidates’ attitudes during their interviews. You shouldn’t expect them to be enthusiastic about their current job—they’re looking to change, after all—but they should be able to be enthusiastic about something they’ve achieved. They should also sound excited when asked about what they’re looking for in their next position; hopefully, what they’re looking for matches what you have to offer. You can also gauge enthusiasm by how thoroughly they’ve researched your company prior to the interview and the kinds of questions they ask.

It can be hard to maintain your own enthusiasm when searching for a new employee. Working with a staffing agency like InReach IT Solutions can help you stay positive by sending you top candidates to interview. Contact us to learn how our services can help.

Questions to Help You Understand a Candidate’s Employment History

February 5th, 2016

A resume presents a picture of a candidate’s job history, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Candidates present their work in the best possible light, and may mention projects and technologies where they had little involvement. Resumes that aren’t organized chronologically can make it difficult to see the progression of the candidate’s career. Because of these issues, it’s important to ask good questions during an interview to get a deeper understanding of the candidate’s work history. These questions will help:

Walk me through your positions and how your career has developed.

This question gives the candidate a chance to clarify the sequence of their jobs and explain how they’ve developed new skills through each new job.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

This question lets candidates tell you what they are best at. The technologies they mention are likely to be the ones they’re most skilled at; follow-up questions can help confirm that.

Why is there a gap between jobs?

As long as the answer isn’t that the candidate was in prison, the most important factor is that the candidate seems to have a prepared response. Candidates should expect they’ll be questioned about gaps in their resume, so if they stumble over an answer, it indicates a lack of preparation that might extend to their performance on the job.

Why are you leaving your current position?

This question will help you understand what the candidate doesn’t like about what they are currently doing and whether they will be happy with the work you have available. Don’t settle for boilerplate answers like “it isn’t challenging”; ask the follow-up question to find out why it isn’t challenging and what kind of challenge they hope to find in a new position.

Tell me about how you used technology X on project Y.

Questions like this let you probe whether a candidate really has experience in the technologies and business domains they claim, or whether they’re simply throwing buzzwords onto their resume. It’s appropriate to ask more detailed technical questions in the areas they claim expertise.

When you work with a staffing agency, candidates are prescreened to make sure they have a solid employment history. Contact the experienced IT recruiting team at InReach IT Solutions to learn how our screening process ensures we send you the best candidates to fill your open positions.