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4 Skills to Showcase to Stand Out to Hiring Managers

January 26th, 2016

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. You’ve listed a vacancy, and the resumes have begun to pour in. As you read through the stack, you notice that the majority of the candidates have degrees from solid colleges, skills that are relevant to the position, and experience working in the industry. Basically, everyone is equally qualified. When this dilemma presents itself (and it often does) hiring managers have to look past hard credentials and evaluate candidates based on character and personality – soft skills. There are the four soft skills that you will want to showcase in order to stand out from all the other candidates:

Manageability

You might be a top performer, but if you are hard to manage, you will only be a disruption to a team. Hiring managers want to know that the person they hire can take direction, respond to criticism and feedback, accept assigned roles, and defer to the decision of superiors. Candidates can demonstrate this skill by highlighting instances when they met goals and earned extra responsibilities.

Communication

You can have tons of great ideas, but if you can’t communicate them, they don’t do anyone any good. Conversely, if you can’t hear and digest the ideas of others, then you will cause a lot more problems than you solve. Hiring managers will hesitate to hire anyone who can’t communicate clearly in all formats and all settings. Candidates can demonstrate this skill by submitting a polished resume/cover letter and turning in a great interview performance.

Cooperation

You don’t get hired to work on your own; you get hired to work as part of a team. That is true regardless of the position or setting. If you can’t be a team player, you will hold everyone else around you back and put the biggest and most important plans in jeopardy. For obvious reasons, hiring managers don’t want to hire people who can’t work with those around them. Candidates can demonstrate this skill by highlighting team accomplishments and describing their individual contribution.

Resilience

You might do great when things are going smoothly, but if you fall apart in stressful situations you’re not much of an asset to a company. In business, the unexpected is inevitable and stress is unavoidable. Hiring managers only want to bring someone onboard who can perform during the good times and the bad. Candidates can highlight this skill by describing moments of adversity and how they overcame them.

Rather than explicitly stating that you have these skills, prove that you have them using anecdotes, metrics, and demonstrations. Those carry a lot more weight with hiring managers. Find more resources to help you catch attention by contacting the Concorde Group.

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Does Your Performance Review Process Really Work?

January 12th, 2016

When done well, a performance review is a chance for you to provide guidance, set expectations, and improve productivity/efficiency. When done poorly, a performance review is a waste of time for all parties involved. In order to avoid missing out on a major managerial opportunity, look for the signs that indicate your performance review process may not be working.

You Barely Prepare for the Review

You have a lot to do already, which can make it difficult to spend much time preparing for performance reviews, especially if you have a big team. But ultimately that preparation is the substance of the review. If you don’t make the effort to fully survey an employee’s performance, output, and attitude it’s impossible to provide them with an honest or meaningful critique.

You Don’t Prepare the Employee

Too often, the performance review process lacks transparency. The employee doesn’t know exactly what they’re being appraised on, what period of time has been reviewed, what benchmarks they’re being compared to, and how the appraisal was conducted. This uncertainty naturally puts the employee on edge and makes them suspicious of the process. Start your review by clearly laying out your agenda and methods.

You Have a One Way Discussion

A performance review should be a discussion, not a lecture. If you’re doing all the talking, you’re missing out on a lot of valuable information and making the employee feel like they’re under attack. Provide your perspective, but make sure to ask the employee how he feels about his own performance, what goals were and were not met, and what changes he would like to make in the future.

You Hesitate to Offer Praise

Performance reviews should provide a balance of positive and negative feedback, but that doesn’t mean you should temper your praise. If an employee has turned in an outstanding performance, let her know about it and be sure to offer your gratitude. Recognition can be a powerful motivator, and a valuable resource to draw on when you can’t offer more tangible rewards.

You Shy Away from Criticism

More common is the opposite of the previous point. In an effort to provide balance you tone down or walk back from criticisms you planned to address. You shouldn’t be aggressive, but if there are clear performance issues this is the time to point them out and establish a clear plan for improvement. Let the employee know what you expect, when you expect it, and what kind of consequences are on the table.

You End Early

Make sure not to end your performance review until both parties are on the same page. If an employee is unclear about what is working, what is not, and how things will operate moving forward, then the whole process has been a waste. Take some time at the end of the review to address any confusions/concerns.

You probably just completed end-of-the-year performance reviews, which makes now a natural time to reflect on the success or failure of the process. Be honest about what is not working and your next review cycle will be your best one yet. Learn more about effectively managing your team by contacting the Concorde Group.

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What Does “We’ll Keep Your Resume on File” Actually Mean?

December 28th, 2015

All job seekers have heard it before – “We’ll keep your resume on file.” Most of us interpret this as a polite way to say “Thanks but no thanks,” but there is always the tantalizing possibility that someone will reference your resume in the future and offer you a job out of the blue. So what does this overused phrase actually mean? Should you look elsewhere or hold out hope? It all depends on the job and the company, but usually this phrase means one of three things:

“We Like You as a Candidate, but Not for This Job”

There are some job seekers who have a lot of impressive credentials and interpersonal skills but simply aren’t the best fit for the job they’ve applied for. In this case the hiring manager may be legitimately interested in keeping you in the recruiting orbit, but doesn’t have a job to offer right now. You should only come to this conclusion if you have had at least one interview that you felt went well and received warm sentiments when you reached out to the hiring manager subsequently.

“There Was Never Really a Job Available”

Too often recruiting is more about optics than efficiency. Companies will often initiate a perfunctory recruiting process knowing the entire time that an internal candidate will be tapped to fill the role. That means you likely haven’t been vetted very closely and the offer to keep the resume on file is simply a polite sentiment. The good news, however, is that while you didn’t dazzle, you didn’t make a bad impression either. You should feel welcome to apply for future opportunities and can use your previous experience to demonstrate a longstanding interest in the company.

“Please Do Not Contact Us Again”

After an interview, it’s appropriate to follow up once but not more than that. There are a number of professionals, unfortunately, who haven’t learned this lesson and incessantly reach out to hiring managers post-interview. They will often get the resume on file line simply as a way to sever the string of contact. If you proved yourself to be a bit too eager (be honest with yourself), you should give up on this opportunity and look elsewhere. Use the experience as a learning opportunity and find a better way to demonstrate your enthusiasm.

No matter which of these responses applies to you, one thing is clear – you’re going to need to continue your job search. Don’t be deflated, just do things better. Access resources from The Concorde Group to help you find superior job opportunities in Westchester NY and get your foot in the door faster.

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Using a Staffing Firm Will Get You Talent, Not Just a Body

December 14th, 2015

It’s a common misconception that staffing firms only supply low-level candidates who fill temporary roles in times of an emergency vacancy. The reality is just the opposite. Staffing firms work with accomplished talent who have versatile skill sets, often supply candidates who grow into full-time employees, and support the strategic staffing initiatives of the county’s top companies. If your recruiting is costing too much, taking too long, and producing unimpressive applicants, partnering with a staffing firm is likely the solution. Here’s why:

  • Access the Entire Candidate Pool – Staffing firms work with both active and passive candidates (professionals currently employed). Since more professionals are included in this group, your candidate pool is both larger and more dynamic.
  • Enhance the Vetting Process – Since staffing firms recruit on a limited basis they can dedicate more time and resources to vetting candidates. The candidates they deliver to you tend to be of a higher caliber overall.
  • Connect with Top Talent – Top professionals have learned that working with a staffing agency is a great way to find more career opportunities and move up the ladder faster. That means the candidate rosters these firms have built have a lot of impressive talent among the ranks.
  • Speed Up the Recruiting Process – When you need a qualified candidate fast, the resources of a staffing firm directly support your interests. They can dip into established candidate pools strategically and find you the professional you need in a fraction of the time.
  • Find Talent to Meet Real Needs – Staffing firms succeed by understanding the real needs of client companies and hiring managers, and the real abilities of the candidates they source. That makes these firms uniquely capable of delivering employees who can make an immediate impact.
  • Shrink Your Candidate Pool – For the most part, staffing firms get paid when they make a placement, not when they produce a flurry of candidates. That creates a powerful incentive for them to locate a limited number of highly qualified candidates. You have the luxury of selecting the best of the best.
  • Lure Away Passive Candidates – It stands to reason that professionals who are gainfully employed will have more to offer than professionals scrambling for a job. Unfortunately, recruiting this talent is a time – and labor-intensive process that requires a lot of finesse. Most corporate recruiters simply don’t have the necessary resources, but staffing firms do.

If you’re intrigued by the opportunities that come from partnering with a staffing firm, have a conversation with the team at The Concorde Group today to work with a top staffing agency in Westchester!

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Are You Burned Out? Do You Know What It Feels Like?

November 30th, 2015

We hear the term “burned out” all the time, and it’s often the culprit that gets blamed when a person decides to suddenly walk away from a job. But how do you tell the difference between being burned out and simply having a bad day or week? Differentiating one from the other is tricky but essential for your personal and professional success. With that in mind, we’ve listed some common signs of burn out.

Sleeping Habits

  • You hit the snooze button over and over every morning before going to work.
  • You get home from work feeling exhausted and having no motivation to do the things that you like.
  • You have trouble sleeping or find yourself sleeping at unusual times.
  • You constantly feel like you are overwhelmed and at risk of collapse.

Work Problems

  • You feel especially liberated by the thought of a weekend away from work.
  • You dread the thought of Monday morning and feel depression and anxiety on Sundays.
  • You are hesitant to talk about work with friends and family and describe everything with one-word answers.
  • You avoid spending time with coworkers outside of work.
  • You often fantasize about quitting and plan the imaginary moment out in lurid detail.
  • You can’t remember the last time you felt proud of one of your work accomplishments or satisfied by your professional life.
  • You feel stuck in place and lost in a loop of endless repetition.

Personal Behavior and Reactions

  • You have become more cynical than normal, and your cynicism begins to express itself at inappropriate times.
  • You often lose your temper and begin to lash out at coworkers, friends, family, and strangers.
  • You spend too much of your time complaining about your job to the people close to you.
  • You want to move on from your job but you feel completely unmotivated to look for something new.
  • You notice that your coworkers seem to be walking on eggshells when you are around.
  • You often get asked by coworkers and friends if you are doing ok.
  • You are annoyed when people ask you what you do for a living.
  • You begin to treat coworkers, clients, and customers with disregard and open hostility.

Exhibiting a few of these symptoms is probably not a sign of burnout. But if this list seems particularly familiar then it should raise some red flags. The good news is that moving out of your current job and into something better is likely faster and easier than your expect. Work with The Concorde Group, a leading staffing agency in Westchester County, to get to a place you would rather be.

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Will Competitive Salaries Lead to Better Job Candidates?

November 18th, 2015

As a hiring manager your ultimate goal is to attract the best and the brightest. Unfortunately, competition for top talent is fierce, and the best available professionals essentially have their pick of employer. If you have struggled to attract these elite workers the problem may be simple – you’re not offering high enough salaries. Money is a powerful motivator, and investment in talent is one that pays dividends down the road. Learn what kind of impact competitive salaries can have on your recruiting efforts and decide for yourself if it might be time to loosen the purse strings.

Eliminate the Negotiation Process

In a perfect world, a top candidate would accept your very first offer and get to work immediately. But when you offer them less salary than they expect, it’s only natural for them to hesitate, look for other offers, and eventually initiate a bidding war. This is good for the candidate but bad for you because heated salary negotiations can push compensation levels higher than you ever intended to offer. By offering a fair and generous salary at the start, you show the candidate that you value their expertise and are eager to bring them on board. Once that respect is established the candidate is a lot less likely to go looking elsewhere.

Establish Yourself as a Top Employer

When you’re trying to attract top talent, you need to sell your company to them as much as they need to sell their credentials to you. Companies that are able to offer competitive salaries project an image of success and confidence. By contrast, companies that low ball candidates appear middling, back of the pack, and manipulative. No one wants to go to work for a company that seems to be struggling to stay afloat.

Gain a Bargaining Chip over the Competition

In the conversation around recruiting today, people like to talk about alternative perks, the work/life balance, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. All of these are nice to have in a job, but the simple fact is that compensation remains the single most important reason for going to work. Your competition may be trying to steal your candidates away by offering abstract benefits, but you can easily re-establish yourself as the top contender simply by offering more money. When asked to choose between a higher salary and flexible scheduling, most smart professionals will opt for the salary.

Competitive salaries are an important part of your recruiting efforts, but they shouldn’t be the only part. Learn about other effective, low-cost ways to attract talent into your orbit by contacting The Concorde Group, the premier boutique staffing agency in Westchester County.

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Three Tips to Improve Your Ability to Hold a Conversation with Anyone

October 29th, 2015

There are few skills absolutely essential for success in business no matter what role you work in. Right at the top of that list is communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively helps you sidestep common problems, identify hidden opportunities, and increase your value to your company. Conversely, having poor communication skills can put your career on hold, even if you have talents elsewhere. With that fact in mind, we have identified three tips that can help anyone hold a better conversation no matter who they are talking to.

Watch Your Body Language

You communicate with a lot more than just your voice. If you are having a conversation with someone but you are constantly fidgeting while your eyes are darting around the room, your audience won’t feel like you are invested and engaged. When you are speaking to someone, be sure to make eye contact, to use expressive gestures (but not too many), and to give the other person your undivided attention. When you are speaking, talk slowly rather than rushing to the end of your sentences. Basically, be the person you wish you were talking to.

Look for Detail

One of the hardest things about having a conversation is that small talk is boring by definition. You have to get through it to connect with a stranger, but you can only spend so much time talking about the weather. For that reason make sure to keep your eyes out for details that reveal something about your audience. You might notice a wedding ring, a pin for a college or sports team, a candid photo on a desk, or a movie reference on an office wall. Make the effort to get to know the other person as a real person.

Study Your Vocabulary

The reason that a lot of people are poor communicators is that they simply use the wrong words to say what they want. They use 10 words when two will do, or try to express big, complex ideas in clipped, confusing sentences. That habit can be a conversation killer, and it can get you into hot water in a business environment. In most cases there is one perfect word that will be descriptive but brief, expressive but appropriate, and surprising but understandable. Study your own word choices, and you will likely unearth some room for improvement.

Communication skills really can be learned, developed, and improved. If you’re not great in conversation now, there is no reason you can’t be later. Start developing those skills, and when you’re ready to leverage them to enhance your career, contact the Concorde Group.

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Passive Candidates Might Be Your Best Option

October 14th, 2015

Let’s start with a definition – A passive candidate is simply someone who is not actively looking for a job. They may be employed elsewhere, semi-retired or simply not actively looking for work. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be lured back into the job market or away from their current employer. And in certain circumstances this might be exactly the kind of talent you want to be recruiting. Here’s why:

Access the Top Talent

You may be struggling to find qualified talent and trying to patch over holes in your workforce with little success. Rather than carrying out an endless recruiting effort, why not go straight after the candidates you know have the skills you need and the character you want? Sure, you might have to put a little more into the recruiting effort, but you also made a major upgrade to your workforce in a lot shorter period of time.

Gain a Recruiting Advantage

Since passive candidates are not actively looking for work, they are not actively being pursued by recruiters. That puts you at a significant advantage when you find a truly impressive professional you want to work with. You can get their undivided attention and make an offer without worrying about getting in to a bidding war. Compare that with the feeding frenzy that often results when top talent makes the decision to go back on the job hunt.

Get an Accurate Picture

When you go through an open recruiting process, everyone you meet with comes to you carefully prepared and varnished. You get to see their best side, but not necessarily their complete or even honest side. That makes it hard to make hiring decisions with absolute certainty. Passive candidates are just the opposite. They don’t have to tell you exactly what you want to hear or hide their warts because they already have a job to fall back on. When you find someone that can fill a role at your company, you can invite them in with total confidence.

So how do you recruit for these passive candidates? There are a lot of ways, but in almost every case it involves a lot of leg work and a lot of wining and dining. Or you can choose to work with a specialized staffing agency that already has bridges to these candidates built. If you prefer to work with a staffing agency that can help recruit passive job candidates, contact the Concorde Group today!

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Create a Complete and Effective Reference List

September 30th, 2015

Hiring managers get paid to be suspicious. Every candidate they vet claims to have extensive experience and impressive credentials. It is the hiring manager’s job to figure out how many of those claims are true. That’s why assembling a list of references is such an asset to job seekers. These references can provide independent, objective conformation of a candidate’s credentials – the kind of information that hiring managers consider closely. Use the following tips to help you put together a complete and effective reference list.

  • Be Brief and Relevant – Rather than listing contacts for every place you’ve worked, limit your list of reference to three or four entries and pick the ones that are most applicable to the job you’re applying for. The best policy is to condense everything to one page.
  • Stick to Bosses – You may have had a close and cordial relationship with former co-workers, but their opinions won’t carry much weight with hiring managers. As you are assembling references, limit it to supervisors and bosses.
  • Don’t Eliminate Friends and Family – Typically, you will not want to put friends and family on your reference list. But if you have a professional connection to them, listing them as a reference is perfectly valid. If, for example, you worked at a family business or had a close friend as a boss, these would be valid references.
  • Stay Recent – It will raise red flags with hiring mangers if your reference list doesn’t include any contacts from jobs you’ve held in the recent past. As much as possible, try to populate your list with the most recent entries possible.
  • Notify Your Choices – You should always notify a reference that you have included them and alert them that they may be contacted. You should then explain the position you are seeking and request that the reference highlight certain aspects of your hard and soft skills. You don’t have to dictate their answers – and they should never be dishonest – but don’t hesitate to give them some guidance to follow.
  • Rotate and Refresh – If you are applying for a lot of jobs, you won’t want to include the same references over and over. They could find themselves fielding daily calls and quickly grow resentful. Try and rotate your entries to avoid this fatigue, and be sure to constantly update your list when new references become applicable. This is a document that should be constantly evolving throughout your career.

Assembling a list of references is an essential part of the application process. But your resume, cover letter, and portfolio need to be just as polished. Learn how to put your best face forward by working with the team at The Concorde Group who can help you find Stamford jobs and more!

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Should You Start Using Video Interviews?

September 15th, 2015

Thanks to advances in technology, the feasibility of holding video interviews has improved greatly in recent years. And with recruiting being such a time- and labor-intensive process, utilizing video interviews can add a helpful tool to the process. So, should you start using video interviews? Ask yourself the following questions.

Have You Struggled to Attract Top Talent?

Every company is desperate to recruit top talent, meaning that these impressive performers are often being actively courted by multiple companies at once. One way to differentiate your company from the competition is by making the hiring process faster and more efficient, and using video interviews is one way to do that. You can introduce your company and your job offer to the candidate without putting a strain on the candidate’s time or schedule. That’s a thoughtful touch they will appreciate.

Do You Spend Too Much on Travel Costs?

The cost of flying a candidate into town and putting them up in a hotel is significant. And if your company is not shouldering this cost, the candidate is – meaning they will be less inclined to pursue your open positions. Using video interviews is an easy and effective way to eliminate this cost entirely. You get the same benefits of having a face-to-face interview, even when you are located on opposite coasts.

Would You Like to Recruit Internationally?

Some of the today’s top talent is coming from abroad, and recruiting internationally can connect your company with a huge new pool of truly exciting talent. Unfortunately, the fiscal and logistical challenges of trying to interview international talent makes it a prohibitive process for both the candidate and the employer. Video interviewing gives you a fast, cheap and flexible way of connecting with this talent, without trying to coordinate international travel.

Has Traditional Recruiting Become Ineffective?

Just because something is established doesn’t mean it’s effective. This is especially true in the case of interviewing candidates. For decades we have conducted the process in the exact same way – but it continues to produce uncertain, sometimes disastrous results. Video interviewing allows you to combine the features of a face-to-face interview with intriguing multimedia enhancements. Both parties have the ability to send files back and forth, deliver rich presentations, reference information online, and more. In practice, this represents a significant upgrade over the way we currently conduct interviews.

Are you ready to start holding video interviews? If so, you first need to begin assembling a candidate pool. Find resources to help you connect with better candidates faster for White Plains jobs and more by partnering with The Concorde Group.

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