/Managing People

Hiring the Best Candidates: 3 Filters to Add to Your Interview Process

Some studies estimate that the cost of hiring someone is approximately six to nine months’ of their salary. An employee making on average $40,000 might cost $20,000 or more to find if you factor in the time to recruit, screen, hire and train new employees. With so much on the line for finding a great candidate, it’s critically important to do your best to screen potential employees as rigorously as possible.

Weeding out those who aren’t qualified is easy, but screening the final group for the star performer in the mix is difficult. These three filters to add to your interview process can help.


Three Filters to Add to Your Interview Process

The typical hiring process includes:

  • Creating (or updating) a job description for the vacant position.
  • Writing and placing a help wanted ad.
  • Receiving resumes.
  • Screening resumes.
  • Telephone interviews to screen candidates.
  • In-person interviews with the best candidates.
  • An offer and someone hired.

Keep in mind, that selecting the right job boards to find employees online is important to your hiring process as well. Of course, at any point in the process, you may add steps or people, which lengthens the process but helps hire better candidates. Many companies now ask that a potential employee’s manager, coworkers and subordinates interview candidates so that they can assess how well candidates get along with people throughout the organization.

Adding the following three steps to your interviewing process won’t slow it down too much, but it will help you narrow down the candidate pool to the best-qualified applicants. This will actually save you time later since there will be fewer resumes to review and consider.


#1 Enhanced Job Description

When you start with a specific, enhanced and updated job description, you already start the process of being specific and choosy with your applicants. A highly-specific job description immediately attracts only those with such specific skills, while turning away others who do not possess them. The enhanced job description should detail every aspect of the position, including educational and experience requirements, specialized skills, and more. Take this information and include it in your job posting to encourage candidates with the best fit of skills to respond. When you are posting to job sites, the enhanced position description will make it easier to set up your job posting so that only the best-qualified will respond. This significantly cuts down on the number of unqualified candidates who apply, and saves you a great deal of time reviewing resumes.


#2 Pre-Employment Survey

After you receive resumes and cover letters from the initial job postings, it’s helpful to ask the most promising candidates to take a brief survey. You can ask them after the telephone interview or before it via an emailed response to their application. You can even add it to the application itself, before they even submit their resume. The survey can be created on a site like Survey Monkey to make it easier to collect the information. Ask questions pertinent to the job you’re hiring for, and make them specific so that it is difficult to fudge the answers. Provide scenario-based questions to see how potential employees would handle difficult situations, or ask questions that only someone with the right skill set can answer. The survey shouldn’t take too long to complete, but it will yield insights into the candidate’s’ qualifications and knowledge, so that you can save yourself time by scheduling telephone interviews with only the most promising candidates.


#3 Give homework.

A paid test assignment, or a homework assignment of some sort, is the final task that many employers can add to find great candidates. If you’re hiring freelancers, always offer compensation for their time completing a paid test assignment; many professionals won’t touch a free assignment even if the actual gig is promising. The test assignment can be a small sample of a larger project that the candidate would be expected to complete if actually hired for the job.

For full-time employees, a simple ‘homework’ assignment demonstrates several things. First, it shows you how committed and interested they are in the job. Next, it provides proof of their ability to complete work independently. Lastly, it provides you with insight into how well they can meet deadlines. These are three tasks that are difficult to assess from a resume but critical for job success.

See how the candidate responds to the test assignment. Those who are eager for the job will respond positively. Also listen for how well they negotiate deadlines and the questions asked about the assignment. This yields important clues about their work habits, ability to understand direction, and interest in the position.


Don’t Settle for Second-Best

It’s tempting to rush the hiring process along. A vacancy means lost productivity and extra work for your current team. However, rushing the hiring process never yields the best candidate. Take your time to find the best fit for your business and your business will prosper.


Should You Hire Temporary Employees for Your Business?

30s young hipster man style working at office with ambient lightDoes this sound like you? You need help handling all the duties of your business, but you don’t want to hire additional permanent employees. Whether you’re looking ahead to holiday shopping season or suddenly need summer staff, temporary workers might be able to fill the bill.

Temporary workers can help a small business in many situations:

  • You are faced with sudden, unexpected demand for your product or service, but aren’t sure how long it will last.
  • You need workers to help with seasonal tasks, such as employees to help your accounting firm get through tax season or retail employees to handle the holiday shopping rush.
  • One of your permanent employees is on an extended leave, such as maternity or medical leave, and you need someone to handle their position.

The rise of the “freelance economy” has made temporary work more appealing for many people. Last year, the number of temporary workers in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 2.9 million, according to the Commerce Department. But temporary workers are also appealing to small business owners for several reasons:

  • Hourly temporary workers typically are paid less than hourly permanent workers in the same roles, the Commerce Department reports.
  • You don’t pay the workers directly, which saves you time and headaches dealing with payroll, withholding, insurance and benefits. Instead, the temporary agency handles payments to the workers. (However, keep in mind that the total, or “bill rate,” you’ll pay to the agency includes a fee for this service and any benefits the workers receive.)
  • If business slows down, you can let temporary workers go immediately, without having to provide any type of severance and without the emotional strain of laying off a permanent employee.
  • If a temporary employee doesn’t work out as expected, you can generally just request a replacement. No need for the time-consuming and costly process of advertising a job, conducting interviews and hiring a new employee.
  • If the temp does work out spectacularly, and your short-term need becomes ongoing, you can offer the temp a permanent job.

Most temporary workers are in industrial (37 percent) or office/administrative/clerical roles (28 percent), according to the American Staffing Association. But 13 percent work in professional/managerial roles; 13 percent work in engineering, IT or science fields; and 9 percent work in healthcare jobs. This growing specialization in the temp industry means it’s easier to find the exact type of temp you need.

Nor are temps just entry-level workers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Many skilled employees prefer temporary work for its flexibility and as a way to try out potential employers in hopes of getting a permanent job offer. (More than one-third of temps have received a permanent job offer from an employer according to the American Staffing Association.)

If you think temporary employees might be right for you, here are some steps to ensure a successful temporary hire:

  • Be clear with the temporary agency about your needs and expectations. The more specific you can be, the better fit they will be able to find for you.
  • Be sure you understand all the terms of the temporary agreement, including the fees the agency receives, whether you can make a job offer to a temporary employee and whether there are additional fees for doing so.
  • If you know going in that you want to hire temporaries with the potential to become permanent employees, ask about “temp-to-perm” arrangements. Not all temporary workers want permanent jobs, and you don’t want to find the perfect worker only to discover that he or she prefers being a temp.
  • Once temps come on board, treat them as you would any new employee — provide a work space, training and appropriate tools to do the job, and make sure they’re made to feel at home.

Is your business growing and you still need to Incorporate or form an LLC?  Call CorpNet anytime for a free business consultation at 888.449.2638. We would love to help you incorporate a businessform an LLCfile a DBA and more across all 50 United States!

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+  and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

Image: Adobe Stock


Five Ways To Keep Your Business On Track When School’s Out For Summer

A super happy boy is smiling at the camera while on the beach, isolated against the sky, with vintage style color.

School’s out for the kids in the summer, but there’s no such thing as a summer off from work for people starting a business or running a business who have school-aged children. Entrepreneurs like you and me, who want to do stellar jobs as professionals and parents, often struggle during this time of year. I thoroughly enjoy having the kids at home, but I admit it’s sometimes daunting to find ways to occupy their time and give them the attention they deserve while also focusing on my business.

Sound familiar? I’ll bet it does!

Here are a few ideas that might help if you’re struggling to figure out how you’ll manage family and work responsibilities this summer:

  • Take advantage of your ability to set your own schedule. If you run your business from home full-time, consider starting work earlier in the morning and/or working later into the day or night so you can take breaks during the day to spend quality time with your kids. If you have another office location, you might think about splitting your time between the office and home. For example, I usually work in the office Tuesdays through Thursdays and then from home on Mondays and Fridays during the summer months. When at home, I work super early in the morning before the kids wake up and then at night after they go to bed—that schedule allows me to stay on track professionally while giving my children lots of time, too.
  • Enroll your children in day or overnight camps. I’m amazed at all the options available. There are camps devoted to nearly every interest or activity—sports, theater, band, nature, church, etc.—and they give kids a wonderful opportunity to expand their knowledge, skills, and circle of friends while you keep your nose to the grindstone.
  • Get a membership to your local public pool. Depending on the ages of your children, you might feel comfortable dropping them off for a few hours of fun with their friends while you go back to the office. Or why not go to the pool with them and soak up some sun while you tackle some work on your laptop or tablet?
  • Let them spend time with friends. Even if their friends visit your kids at your house, it’s possible to accomplish some work tasks from home while they hang out. I love this option because you know where they are, who they’re with, and what they’re doing—which frees your mind to get things done.
  • Plan ahead! Your best bet for successfully juggling having the kids at home and tackling your business obligations this summer is to prepare for the change in working M.O. Don’t fly by the seat of your pants from day to day. Plan ahead for each upcoming week (ideally for each upcoming month) so you’ll have an agenda secured for your kids—and in turn, the ability to plan your work more effectively.

The key to keeping your kids happy and satisfied and not missing a beat with your business in the summer will depend on several variables—unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Consider the ages of your children, their level of independence, and their interests while also assessing your business goals, workload, resources, and client expectations. It may take some trial and error to figure out your secret formula, but have patience. The best of both worlds can be yours each summer.

Ready to take your business to the next level this summer? Contact the CorpNet.com team to incorporate, form an LLC, file a DBA and more across all 50 states! Call anytime at 888.449.2638 for a free business consultation

Image: Adobe Stock

How Being A Mom Makes You A Better Business Owner

FullSizeRender-22While many people may think that parenthood and running a business collide like oil and water, I can tell you from direct experience they’re mistaken.

My family has always fueled my successes rather than stand in the way of me achieving them. And as Mother’s Day 2016 approaches, I’ve been reflecting on the many ways being a mom to my four children has made me a more effective and intuitive entrepreneur. I want to share them here because I believe other entrepreneurial moms (and moms-to-be) out there should feel confident in embracing how motherhood strengthens them professionally, too.

How Can Being A Mom Make You A Better Entrepreneur?

  • You learn to listen.

As a mom, I’ve become more adept at actively listening, so I truly understand what’s happening with my kids and how I can guide them. Listening, of course, is a critical skill for earning the respect and trust of clients, too.

  • You develop patience. 

Yes, children can and will test your patience from time to time. I can vouch for that. But over time, I’ve learned that getting frustrated or angry never helps. As a parent, you’ve no choice but to work on becoming more patient—and that’s a characteristic that helps immensely when working with customers, as well.

  • You become more punctual and organized.

Whether you have one or ten children, parenthood demands that you have your act together. As a mom, I’ve become better at planning, paying attention to schedules, setting priorities, and keeping details in order.

  • Your public speaking skills improve.

When talking to children, you need to keep the message clear and you need to make your point before their short attention spans expire. That’s very similar to what you’re dealing with when speaking publicly. I’ve found that when I’m speaking—whether at large events or in small group settings—I’m more direct and clear as a result of being a mom.

  • You learn to establish boundaries.

While it’s tempting to try to be your kids’ best friend, that can have devastating effects in the long run. The same can be true if you put being a best friend ahead of being a good leader to your employees.

  • You open your mind and learn not to overreact.

While I’m happy my children appear to feel comfortable telling me anything and everything, I admit that I’ve been caught off-guard on occasion. Rather than overreact, I’ve learned to keep an open mind and calm demeanor so as not to alienate them or betray their trust in me. Applying that same objectivity and composure in challenging business situations can help lead to solutions faster than getting caught up in the drama.

  • You realize the importance of setting a good example for others.

Seeing how my children look up to me as role model, I’ve become more in tune with and aware of my actions and reactions. This helps in business, too. Actions really do speak louder than words. Lead by the example of how you conduct yourself rather than telling people what you expect of them.

As you can see, there are many correlations between being a mom and being a business owner. Whether you have a family and are just starting a business or have a business and are just starting a family, embrace how the two entwine to make your life—personally and professionally—all the richer.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Small Businesses & Retirement: What You Need to Know

Top view of male hand assembling the word Retirement with white cards over textured rustic wooden desk.

Did you know that 68 million employees don’t have a retirement savings plan at all? This is often due to the fact that their employers — often small businesses — don’t offer employer-sponsored retirement plans. And small businesses aren’t eager to offer retirement plans for employees, either because they don’t know how to go about doing it or they can’t afford to.

But that may soon change. Illinois is leading the pack with recent legislation that will make it easier for small businesses to offer retirement planning to employees without a lot of paperwork.

Why Hasn’t This Happened Sooner?

Illinois isn’t alone in its concern over this topic; about half of the US states are considering similar plans. But what’s held them back is fear of being sued under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which puts the U.S. Department of Labor in charge of regulating retirement plans.

Illinois’ plan will reduce liability for states and employers and make it easier for other states to follow suit. It’s still early days, and the guidelines likely won’t be implemented until sometime in 2016. The retirement savings plan will be provided by the state, not employers, which takes the pressure off of them. Continue reading “Small Businesses & Retirement: What You Need to Know” »

By | December 14th, 2015|Business Finance, Managing People|0 Comments

HR-in-a-Box: Which is the Best for Small Businesses?

Human resources spinning wheels conceptThis is a guest post by Meredith Wood.

As a small business owner, you may not have enough revenue to justify hiring a full-fledged human resources department. But this doesn’t mean you can overlook the importance of HR-related tasks. Luckily, there are many companies out there whose mission is to help young businesses like yours tackle the complicated world of HR (without costing you a fortune).

There are many benefits of working with an HR service. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • You save major time by handing these tasks over to an outside service
  • You save a ton money as you don’t have to hire as many (if any) dedicated HR professionals
  • You can have peace of mind in knowing that you are in the hands of an experienced team
  • You’ve got somebody to answer all those insanely difficult HR questions
  • It’s easy to scale your business without any HR-related concerns

Hopefully you’re excited about these potential benefits. But, where do you start? Which “HR-in-a-Box” service is best for your small business? Continue reading “HR-in-a-Box: Which is the Best for Small Businesses?” »

By | August 25th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

How to Hire the Right People

705_3508905At CorpNet, we pride ourselves on having a stellar team of employees. Many of our staff has been with us since we launched in 2009. We treat our staff like family, and in return, they do everything they can to help make CorpNet a success.

As a leader, I’ve learned a few strategies for finding the right people from the start and cultivating their skills so that they become long-term assets for our company.

1. Know What You’re Looking For

When you run a business, it’s challenging to be able to focus on any one part of your business for long. But if there’s one area I’ve found you can’t skimp on, it’s really thinking through your job description. If you hastily jot off a list of qualities you think you want in a new hire and then add to that list once that person starts training, you’re being unfair to the new employee by pulling the rug out from under her. Continue reading “How to Hire the Right People” »

By | July 27th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

5 Tips to Creating Loyal and Long-Term Employees

609_3770018One of the things that I’m most proud of in running CorpNet is how long our staff has been with us. Many were there at the start. Our turnover is incredibly low. Clearly, we’re doing something right to keep our employees happy! Here are a few of the ways we do that.

1. Make the Job Fit the Person

Sure, when we first post a job description, we are looking for a specific set of skills in our next hire. But as we get to know each individual, their strengths begin to shine. We look for ways to enhance what they’re already passionate about. So if Katie in our Sales department is also adept at managing social media, we’re happy for her to take that over.

We want our staff to love what they do, as well as to be able to take on more of what they really enjoy doing. We don’t let those initial job descriptions limit them.

2. Implement Their Ideas

Around the office, our team knows if they have an idea on how we can run CorpNet smarter, they can bring it to me or Phil. And we don’t just smile blankly and say, “Uh huh. Great idea. We’ll take it into consideration.”

We actually use our employees’ ideas for improving productivity, marketing better, and overall being a smarter company. They appreciate being a part of the brains behind the company. Continue reading “5 Tips to Creating Loyal and Long-Term Employees” »

By | May 27th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments

5 Tips to Smarter and More Efficient Business Meetings

430_3140256Nobody likes business meetings. So why do we have so many? Unfortunately, they’re a necessary evil when it comes to running a business. Having led my fair share of meetings at CorpNet, believe me: I hate it as much as my employees when I see them glaze over and stop listening to what I think is essential material. So I’ve devised my own strategies for waking them up and making the meetings more productive.

1. Meet More, Not Less

I know how this sounds, but hear me out. When you meet once a month (even once a week might not be often enough), your meetings tend to go on and on. People stop listening 15 minutes in. So while you have plenty of material to cover as you try to minimize your meeting frequency, you’re actually less productive when you try to get it all covered in a single meeting. Instead, opt for more meetings, but keep them short. Like: 15 minutes short. More on that next.

2. Keep Those Meetings Brief

I know, you’re still reeling from me suggesting that you hold a 15-minute meeting. Crazy, right? Hear me out. If you’re holding more frequent meetings, you don’t need them to all be an hour long. You’ll keep your staff’s attention span for such a short meeting, and they’ll be more likely to be productive as a result of the meeting. Set a timer if you have to, otherwise the meeting will go on and on. Continue reading “5 Tips to Smarter and More Efficient Business Meetings” »

By | May 15th, 2015|Business Operations, Managing People|0 Comments

5 Ways to Show the Administrative Professionals in Your Life a Little Appreciation

643_3419272There’s an important holiday on Wednesday, and it’s likely one you’ve overlooked. It’s Administrative Professionals’ Day, and a day that you need to make sure you show support to the people in your office that help you run like a well-oiled machine.

Where Would We Be Without Them?

Whether it’s your secretary, your assistant, your receptionist, or anyone else that makes you look good, keeps you organized and on time, and acts as the backbone of your company, you owe a lot to your administrative staff. Imagine a day without them. I bet you’re sweating at the thought!

A Round of Applause, Please

Let’s look at five ways you can let the admins in your office know how much you care. Continue reading “5 Ways to Show the Administrative Professionals in Your Life a Little Appreciation” »

By | April 20th, 2015|Managing People|0 Comments