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How Is HR Evolving?

May 13th, 2016

June 1

HR has never been a static industry, but the scope and pace of recent evolutions is arguably more significant than ever before. Thanks to challenges and opportunities that are unique to the 21st century, companies of all sizes and across industries are having to rethink how they find, attract, recruit, and retain talent. Here is a quick overview of some of these new HR practices.

Moving into Social Spaces

In the past, it was enough to write up a brief, boring job description and wait for candidates to come flocking. In order to connect with today’s talent, companies are increasingly using social media to advertise vacancies, source candidates, refine the vetting process, and create an employer brand.

HR in the C-Suite

Most companies, particularly those in STEM industries, suffer from a talent shortage and a skills gap. These companies also understand the deep, long-term value that top talent can bring to an organization. In order to introduce efficient, effective, optimized staffing strategies, HR is increasingly being treated as part of the core management function. Some companies has even created a Chief of Human Resources position.

Introducing New Technologies

Automation has changed the way that companies approach HR. Everything from recruiting to onboarding and even ongoing training is now easier, faster, and more cost effective thanks to a wave of new applications. This trend will only accelerate, especially as the capabilities of big data improve and enable a form of empirical recruiting that has never been possible before.

Emphasis on Culture

It’s no longer enough to offer a generous compensation package. Employees increasingly want to work for companies that reflect their own goals, interests, and values. This is especially true for millennial talent that now makes up the bulk of the workforce. In response, HR professionals are now responsible for defining, establishing, and maintaining company culture, and leveraging that culture as a recruiting resource.

Willingness to Change

The first HR department was established at The National Cash Register Company in 1901. And for much of the next century, the focus and strategies of HR stayed the same. That is changing quickly as companies realize that the old ways of doing things become less effective every day. Right now there is a wave of innovation transforming HR departments worldwide. And for the first time in a long time, those departments are eager to embrace the change.

Partner with a Leader in Staffing in Westchester

A final point to consider is that HR is not nearly as insular or self contained as it used to be. In order to improve outcomes, HR departments are outsourcing some core functions and taking on strategic partners, namely specialized staffing firms. These firms have the focus and resources necessary to accelerate the hiring process and produce higher-quality hires. If you envision a partnership like this as part of the future of your HR department, contact The Concorde Group.

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Is Your Cover Letter Ready for a Job Search in 2016?

April 27th, 2016

June 3

Your resume and cover letter are equally important but completely opposite kinds of documents. Your resume is basically an outline of your skills and experiences. It gives hiring managers an easy way to scan your credentials. Your cover letter is where you make the case for why you’re fit for the job and better than any other candidate. It frames your credentials in the most relevant and enticing way possible. That’s why it’s so important to craft and revise the document carefully. Watch out for these common mistakes:

  • Bad Writing. Your cover letter must be impeccable. Typos, grammar mistakes, and awkward phrasing all make you look unprofessional. If you don’t consider yourself a strong writer, have a friend or family member help you edit.
  • Too Long. The goal is to make the biggest impression in the least amount of time. You cover letter should not be longer than one page, and should ideally be only three paragraphs. Make sure every sentence communicates something important.
  • Too General. It’s never a good idea to rely on a stock cover letter. Start each one from scratch, and be sure that the language and details you include relate directly to the company and available job. Show them your the best fit for this
  • Being Humble. Your cover letter is not a place to qualify your credentials, downplay your accomplishments, or be brutally honest about your strengths and weaknessses. In the short window of time you have, make yourself look as good as possible, just make sure you don’t lie.
  • Being Arrogant. The opposite is just as big a problem. If you were a totally perfect, one-of-a-kind professional, you would either have a job or have recruiters beating down your door. Don’t make it sound like you deserve a job without being fully vetted.
  • Over Explaining. You may be tempted to describe why you quit or were laid off from your past job. In most cases, this information is irrelevant and will only hurt your case. Focus on the positives and focus on the future.
  • Bad Formatting. Something that looks great on a printed piece of paper may not look great in an email, inside a form, or posted on a social network. Make sure that you format your cover letter so that it makes an equal impact across platforms.
  • Stopping Short. Most cover letters end with a pledge to follow up with the employer. End yours the right way, and then actually follow up. This helps demonstrate your interest in the position and keeps your name fresh in the hiring manager’s mind.

A great cover letter is important, but remember that it’s only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to have a polished resume, and turn in a great interview performance. Find resources to help you through every step in the process by working with The Concorde Group, a top staffing agency in Westchester.

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Are You Sure You Want to Refer a Friend?

March 30th, 2016

May 26

Referring a friend for a job seems like a win-win situation. You help someone you know and like find work while also helping an employer fill a vacancy on their staff. Plus, you could be eligible for a referral bonus or reap professional rewards down the road. Be warned, however, that there could be consequences for you if the person you refer doesn’t perform as well as promised. Always ask yourself the following questions before making a recommendation:

“What is Your Link to the Employer?”

If you happened to come across a random job listing and you think a friend might be well suited, don’t hesitate to let them know about it. You have little-to-no relationship with this employer, meaning that your friend’s performance won’t reflect on you. It’s up to the hiring manager himself to determine if this person is a good fit. If, however, you are closely linked to the employer or currently employed by them, you need to give the referral a lot more thought. Your professional reputation could take a hit if the person you refer doesn’t live up to expectations.

“How Close are You to Your Friend?”

There are different degrees of friends. Some people are merely acquaintances, while others are your oldest, best, and closest connections. For obvious reasons, you will be willing to do more and stake more on the latter than the former. Keep in mind that by referring a friend you also become a part of the recruitment process. You will likely be fielding questions from both your friend and the hiring manager throughout. It may be worth spending that time to help a close connection, but not worth it to help a distant relative or someone you barely know.

“Do You Honestly Know Your Friend’s Work Habits?”

As a general rule of thumb, don’t presume to know or understand a person’s work habits until you have worked with them directly. Everyone claims to be a smart, capable, hard worker, and no one is willing to admit that they are lazy, irresponsible, or unmotivated. If you haven’t actually seen your friend in action, you can’t accurately vouch for their credentials and character. It’s not inappropriate to ask your friend for a copy of their resume and to do some online research before agreeing to make the referral. Remember that you also have something to lose if this doesn’t work out.

It’s never a good idea to rush into decisions that impact you professional life. Find more advice, guidance, and resources to help you throughout your career journey by contacting our team of great recruiters at The Concorde Group. Partner with a leading staffing agency in White Plains today!

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A Diverse, Welcoming Workplace Leads to More Success

February 10th, 2016

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Diversity is more than just a buzzword. In all things, and especially in the character of your workforce, diversity is an asset that has a measurable impact on productivity, efficiency, and innovation. Just consider a Forbes survey of 321 companies with at least $500 million in revenue in which 85 percent of respondents agreed that diversity in the workforce is an essential consideration. So why does diversity lead directly to more success? Just consider these overarching benefits:

  • Rely on Multiple Skill Sets – A person’s skills extend beyond their schooling and career history. They also relate directly to the person’s background. Homogeneous workforces tend to have identical and overlapping skills, which is great in some situations but not in all of them. A diverse workforce, by contrast, is made up of professionals who each have something unique to offer. When you need to meet a new challenge, that multiplicity of skills proves to be an immediate asset.
  • Improve Your Recruitment Efforts – Today’s’ employees, especially those from younger generations, are motivated by more than just salary and benefits. They are eager to work for companies that share their beliefs/values and commit to a mission they want to be a part of. A diverse workforce can help retain vibrant talent – both minority and otherwise – and encourage that talent to stay with your organization for longer. Rather than adding an extra wrinkle to your recruitment process, diversifying could be the solution to many of your recruitment woes.
  • Build More Vibrant Teams – No one likes to feel like an outsider. But if your organization is only slightly diverse and has a large majority of a certain demographic of employee, it’s likely that someone feels left out. Making it a priority to build difference and variety into your workforce can lead ultimately to stronger, more cohesive teams. Everyone, regardless of demographic, feels like an important participant and learns to work more effectively with people unlike themselves.
  • Attract a Diverse Customer Base – Much like 21st century employees, 21st century consumers want to patronize businesses they believe in. If your company has a reputation as an all-white boys club, you’re likely losing a lot of minority business. Making a real investment in diversity and making that investment part of your public face can help to change the perception of your company and attract huge new swaths of business.

Understanding the benefits of diversity is easy. Actually diversifying your workforce is much harder. As you work to recruit a different kind of employee, rely on the resources of a staffing firm with a diverse pool of candidates already established. Contact The Concorde Group to find your next great hire from our recruiters in Westchester and throughout Connecticut.

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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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The Secret to Changing Your Career After 20 Years

May 31st, 2015

July 5th Candidates

Everyone knows about the anxiety of not having a job. What gets talked about much less is the anxiety of feeling trapped in a job. Professionals who have worked in one position, company or field for 20 years or more often feel like it’s impossible to make a career change after so long doing the same thing. As a result, they come to hate what they do. The good news is that a career change is possible at any stage – if you prepare in advance and handle the transition intelligently. Use these strategies to make a bold leap into something new.

Stay Current and Relevant

Employers are often unconsciously biased against older job seekers because they assume their skills and technological fluency are reaching an expiration date. Show potential employers that you can still make an impact by learning the technologies of today and tomorrow, picking up new trainings, certifications or degrees, and follow along closely with the issues and ideas that affect your industry.

Freshen Up Your Look

Several decades into your career, it’s easy to become complacent about your professional appearance. But if you look like an employee from another era, employers will be a lot less enthusiastic to offer you a job. You don’t have to make drastic changes, just make sure your professional image establishes you as someone modern and vibrant.

Take Advantage of Your Network

This is one area where you actually have a leg up on younger job seekers. Since you have likely built up an extensive professional network over the years, turn to those contacts when you’re ready to make a change. This is a great way to learn about unadvertised vacancies, and insider recommendations carry a lot of weight with hiring managers.

Optimize Your Application Documents

Your resume and cover letter don’t need to cover your whole career. Rather than listing jobs and responsibilities from the distant past, focus on the last 5-10 years. This gives recruiters the most relevant look at your present skills and potential value, and helps to draw attention away from the length of your career.

Use Your Age to Your Advantage

There are some companies that actively recruit older professionals. For example, someone like you with a lot of experience would make a great trainer/educator for a company with a young, inexperienced workforce. Find ways to turn your experience and industry expertise into an asset.

If you’re ready to start the next phase in your career, make the transition as smooth as possible by working with a professional staffing firm. They have extensive resources available to help you find and connect with companies eager to hire professionals just like you. Start accessing these resources by contacting The Concorde Group, a leader in staffing in Fairfield and Westchester.

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How to Negotiate Better in an Interview

February 25th, 2015

If you are entering into a salary negotiation, congratulations! It looks like your job search is over. But just because you’ve secured an offer doesn’t mean the hard work is over. The salary negotiation process can be long, confusing, contentious, and especially consequential if you accept a disappointing offer. Make sure you get what’s fair while staying in good standing with your new employer by following these strategies.

Do Research in Advance

It’s fairly easy these days to figure out what similar professionals in the same part of the country earn, and then factor in cost of living differences. Determine what the average level of compensation is before the first negotiation so you know if the offer is high, low, or about normal. Use sites like Salary.com to find the average wage for your industry.

Highlight Your Value

Clearly you are qualified for the position. But what kind of extra value can you bring to the table, and how will that affect the company’s bottom line? You can make the case that you deserve more because you can offer more, but you need to back it up with concrete statements.

Focus on Professional Matters

You might be eager to make more because you have unpaid medical bills or a kid heading off to college, but it is never appropriate to bring up your personal finances during a salary negotiation. Stick to the level and volume of work you will accomplish when justifying an increased salary.

Value Your Time

It’s common for companies to counter a salary offer by offering more pay for more work. Ask yourself if you have the time and drive to take on the extra work, and make sure that the additional pay is fair compensation for what’s being required of you.

Consider the Total Package

It’s important to look at health benefits, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, and other perks in addition to salary when calculating the value of an offer. And if the company holds firm on salary, you can negotiate other variables to improve the offer.

Be Reasonable

You might be tempted to throw out a wildly inflated figure and then expect to negotiate it down, but this only makes you look unprofessional and unrealistic in the eyes of your new employer. Shoot instead for the mid-to-high range of the average salary.

Remain Professional

No matter how the negotiations go, it’s important to remain cordial, civil, and perfectly professional throughout. If you reveal yourself to be petty or greedy, the employer has every right to withdraw their job offer.

The team at The Concorde Group is here to help you find the right job opportunity, get in front of the hiring  manager, ace the interview, and coast through the salary negotiation. If you’re ready to improve your job search in Fairfield CT, contact us today.

 

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