Job Skills to Look For In New Hires

June 29th, 2012

Most experienced hiring managers have a strong understanding of what they don’t know. Early in our careers, we approach the interview process hoping to capture every piece of candidate data and close down every possible element of hiring risk. But as we grow, we come to recognize that data can only take us so far. After that, it’s time to roll the dice.

In other words, we all take chances with our final hiring decisions. We have to, otherwise we’d become paralyzed by our options and our positions would remain unfilled. With that in mind, there are a few telling traits that managers can search for among potential employees. These traits suggest a host of more complex qualities that tend, more often than not, to lead to success regardless of your specific industry.

The Hiring Process: Search for These Valuable Characteristics


The working environment is complex, and adversity and setbacks lie around every corner. Many of these setbacks take the familiar forms of criticism, condemnation, embarrassment, obstacle, and failure. Does your candidate bounce back fast from these events? Does she learn from them and put them behind her? Or does she carry the sting of these setbacks indefinitely, allowing them to influence her future decisions and limit her willingness to take risks? Choose resilient, steady candidates who shake off rough moments and move forward fast. 


Can your candidate do her job (and even go the extra mile) with limited resources? Does she always have one eye on the company budget and is she genuinely interested in cutting expenses and strengthening revenues? Look for candidates who see the big picture and stay tuned in to potential ways to save money.


How do you imagine your candidate responding to a sudden budget cutback? A staff shortage? An unexpected schedule change? Flexible candidates are those who stay focused on long term goals, and when they need to, they can turn on dime and come up with completely new ways to meet those goals. Flexible candidates improvise solutions to problems, and they thrive even in the absence of predictable circumstances or clear directions. 


Empathy is a powerful business tool as well as a powerful life skill. Can your candidate easily place herself in the position of another person, be it a client, coworker, top executive, or member of your target market? Empathy allows a great candidate to navigate the world of complex human behavior and anticipate what others want and need.


Consider the candidate across the desk during your final interview. What does she really want? Is she just looking for a way to pay the bills? Or does she genuinely care about your line of work and the customers and stakeholders you serve? Passionate candidates take their work to heart and weave it into the fabric of their identities. If you see this passion in your candidate and you fail to act, recognize that your competitors won’t be so hesitant. Do you want her on their team or yours?

Are you navigating tough hiring decisions? Our team of expert HR pros can help. Contact The Palmer Group, your Des Moines, IA staffing specialists.


Recruiters: Win Clients and Influence the Hiring Process

March 30th, 2012

Managers measure the success of a new hire using industry and company-specific metrics, like long term assessments of the new employee’s productivity and adaptability to the culture. Candidates, of course, measure the success of the hiring process as a kind of pass-fail: they were either offered the job or they weren’t. But what about recruiters? If it’s your job to match candidates and employers profitably, then what metrics should you use to measure success?

New Versus Outdated Hiring Metrics 

In the not-so-distant past, recruiters often used short term analytics to measure success, like the days it took to fill a position and the cost of the hiring process per candidate. But for a variety of reasons, this is beginning to change.

First, managers are shifting their hiring strategies away from just-in-time staffing, in which candidates are sought, evaluated, and hired as positions become available. Many industries are now moving toward an approach that favors pipeline building, or cultivating existing employees and hiring from within. That means that external candidates (and the recruiters who promote them) are often at a competitive disadvantage, even when they possess excellent qualifications.

Recruiter success metrics are also shifting. Instead of short term measurements, like days-to-fill and cost per hire, recruiters are being held accountable for long term metrics, like overall quality-of-hire as determined after 3 to 6 months on the job.

Do your candidates measure up when put to the test? Do they prove themselves reliable and adapt quickly to the workplace cultures in which they’re placed? Because these subjective qualifications are steadily falling into the milieu of the recruiter, not the hiring manager. And if your career depends on your recruiting skills, then it depends on your ability to match the company with the candidate and predict the quality of long term relationships between employee and boss.

The Hiring Process: Matching Candidates and Employers

To flex your matchmaking skills, use every tool at your disposal, including social media and video technology. Here are a few tips:

Create an individual blog for each open position. Free blog platforms are available through Blogger and WordPress, and setting up a blog takes only a few minutes. Keep blog content fresh and make use of keywords and links to your website, the company site, and the posting on Monster/ Careerbuilder. This will keep the blog’s search engine rankings high and will draw maximum attention to the position. But more important, this step will provide potential applicants with a wealth of detail about culture and expectations.

Use social media to present the candidate to the hiring manger. Ask the candidate for links to any profiles that seem relevant, including those on LinkedIn, Facebook, and any industry-specific sites he or she may use. This often enriches the resume process and provides hiring managers with a clearer, more in-depth picture of a candidate’s personality and qualifications.

Film the hiring manager. With permission, use a hand held camera to record the hiring manger as she answers questions about the job, the company, and the culture. As she sits in her office or a conference room, ask her questions like the following: What does it take to be successful in this role? What does she look for in a candidate? How would she describe her management philosophy? Etc.

These are just a few strategies that can help recruiters improve their long term odds of success. For more hiring tips and matchmaking tools, contact The Palmer Group and discuss your needs with our team of staffing experts.