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July 3, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Smart recruiting tips for small to mid-sized businesses

shutterstock_180384815Quality employees are an indispensable resource that directly affects a company’s bottom line. Hiring the right talent is particularly important for small to mid-sized businesses that rely on fewer employees to get jobs done efficiently and effectively. That’s why recruiting should be a key part of every SMBs business strategy.

Modest-sized companies may find the hiring process rather daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The investment of time and money into finding the right employees is well worth it. Good employees will help build a brand’s reputation, boost productivity and ease internal stresses.

Furthermore, recruiting right the first time around is a wise decision financially. If that new employee doesn’t work out, you lose out on time and money. In fact, it costs 20 percent of an annual salary to replace an employee who makes $75,000 a year or less, according to a study by Center for American Progress report. That can be a big expense to make up for many SMBs.

Consider these smart recruiting tips that all small to mid-sized businesses can easily use:

1. Create a clear job description

A job description should be clear, concise and informative in order to attract the right applicants. Start by defining what your company does and why, then go into the details of the job duties and responsibilities. Include daily tasks and how the role fits into the company’s overall mission. Also include benefit information – a major part of an employee’s compensation package. Always be open and honest.

2. Specify essential qualities

Knowing the main duties of the open position is a good start, but before you begin interviewing, identify the qualities you’d like to see in candidates. Define required versus desirable skills so you can see where each candidate falls on the spectrum. Keep in mind personal qualities that might be beneficial as well – like a candidate who is organized, good at multi-tasking or has great writing skills.

3. Advertise effectively

Getting the word out about an open position is like casting a fishing line – first you need to know where the fish are, then you need to get your lure out there in front of them. Select the best advertising outreach options and only post on quality job search engines. You don’t just want to reach people, you want to reach the right people – five awesome applications are better than 50 mediocre any day. To learn more about LinkUp’s solutions for small to mid-sized business click here.

4. Convey company culture

Contrary to popular belief, recruiting is a two-way street. Not only is the candidate vying to impress you, you should be trying to put your best foot forward as well. Highlight the company’s culture and make the values and mission of the organization clear. A good candidate will have more than just professional skills – he or she will have a personality and work ethic that aligns with the how the company operates.

5. Never stop recruiting

Perhaps the most valuable tip for all SMBs when it comes to finding the best talent: never stop recruiting. Even when there are no job openings, remain alert for potential candidates who might be a good fit in the future. Anticipating hiring demands and tracking talent on an ongoing basis can put you one step ahead of the competition.

 

July 1, 2014 / Toby Dayton

Net Gain Of 195,000 Jobs In June Will Disappoint On Thursday But Job Gains In Q2 Still Solid; July Job Gains Will Start Q3 On Sour Note

After last month’s pretty horrific miss in our forecast, I’ll err on the side of keeping this month’s forecast commentary to a minimum. But one of the things we’ve started doing each month in our jobs forecast webinar is giving our prior month’s forecast a grade, so I’ll do the same here (which is particularly painful when the grade is an F).

Last month, with a healthy dose of trepidation and much anxiety (obviously well-founded), we forecast net job gains of 350,000. The BLS reported last month that the U.S. economy added a net gain of 217,000 – a decline of 65,000 from the gain reported the prior month. Despite the fact that the BLS could end up revising its numbers for May in the next 30 and/or 60 days, we have to give ourselves a grade of an F at this point. So for the year, our forecast grades are as follows:

Grade through May

With the solid performance in February and April, I’d still say we’re at a B for the year, but we’ll see how things progress.

In any event, the pendulum has swung quite a bit the other way with our jobs opening data and things are looking decidedly more bleak these days as we assess what’s going on in the labor market. In May, the blended average of new job openings in our job search engine (which lists 2.2 million jobs indexed directly from 50,000 company websites) fell 5.5%, while the blended average of total openings rose just .3%. In our forecasting model, we take a blended 50/50 mix of the new and total job openings in the prior month to predict net job gains in the current month, relative to the net gain in the prior month. So for June, the -2.6% blended decline in new and total job openings gives us a forecast of a net gain of only 195,000 jobs in June, down from the 217,000 added to the U.S. economy in May.

June 2014 jobs forecast

Unfortunately, our job openings data didn’t get any better in June. Looking at the data by state, new jobs in our search engine fell 5% in June, while total job openings rose just 1%.

Jobs by State June 2014

Looking at job listings by category, the data is exactly the same, with new job openings falling 5% and total job openings climbing just 1%.

Jobs by Category June 2014

Based on our tepid data in June, our preliminary outlook for job growth in July is not encouraging. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that we’ll get another set of data points for June when we compare July to June at the end of July, and the picture could change to some degree. But our initial assessment, at this point, is that net job gains in July will be disappointing.

If there is a positive spin to put on our assessment of the labor market, I’d say it is worth pointing out that even with the distinct possibility of a weak number on Thursday, the total jobs gained in the 2nd quarter should end up being the highest in any of the previous 13 quarters. Q2 should also break this horrible streak we’ve been on since 2011 in which the job gains in the 1st quarter of each of the past 3 years (with single exception in Q4 2011) were not exceeded in any subsequent quarter during that year (and Q4 ’11 just barely beat Q1 ’11).

jobs by qtr thru june

So there’s a bit of good news to keep in mind as you’re eating your hot dog and watching fireworks on Friday.

Happy 4th of July.

 

 

June 25, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Generation mix: Managing and motivating baby boomers

shutterstock_182373320Picture this: You’re 35 and just got a new job managing a 10-person team. You arrive at work and learn every member of that team is as old as your parents. How can you remain positive and create a work environment that embraces a generational mix of employees without any negativity or backlash?

First, consider the many benefits of having a workplace with employees of different generations. Working alongside baby boomers has many potential benefits. Their long life experience brings new perspectives to the table. Their business savvy can ensure a well-rounded approach to projects. Boomers are notoriously hard workers, too, and when given respect they often reward a company and their team with remarkable loyalty.

The Great Recession and increased expectations for standards of living has caused many boomers to work later in life. Boomers are working past 60 and many plan to work up to 70 or beyond. If you’re tasked with managing members of the baby boomer generation, consider these insights that can help smooth the process and ensure a productive, collaborative team.

Technology
While younger generations grew up with technology readily available, baby boomers needed to learn tech skills much later in life. While some are completely up to speed and just as tech savvy as their millennial counterparts, others may need extra time to learn new technologies and use them efficiently at work. Exercise patience and offer training as needed.

Communication
For younger generations, email and texts are the quick and easy way to communicate. Boomers, in general, thrive on more personal approaches to communication. That’s not to say everything requires a formal conversation, but know when it’s appropriate to send a quick email and when a phone call or in-person meeting is better. When praise and kudos are due, always opt for face-to-face conversations in order to make a bigger impact.

Approach
Managing boomers with a steady yet gentle grip is the key to building solid workplace relationships. Don’t walk in and proclaim to be the boss; rather, take the approach of being a facilitator. Few things are worse than an arrogant supervisor, and this is even more off-putting when there is a big age gap. Good bosses will focus on streamlining processes and removing obstacles. Establish and maintain an open-door policy, be proactive with discussions and get input before making big decisions that affect the team.

Change
The one constant in life and in business is change, but for boomers, adapting to change can sometimes feel daunting. If you need to change something, especially if it’s been in effect for multiple years, first practice open communication and get input. Then clearly communicate the change (new process, updated equipment, etc.) and why it’s taking place. Offer training and support as needed. These steps will help ensure change is adopted without a hitch.

Challenge
Not challenging older generations in the workplace is a mistake. Some managers assume boomers feel settled and happy where they are, or are just working a few more years until retirement. Don’t dismiss their valuable skills due to these assumptions! Boomers appreciate new challenges and career growth as much as younger generations. Increased responsibility and the chance to have a voice in the workplace will motivate this generation greatly.

June 11, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Warning: Avoid the resume black hole with these simple tips

Sending out countless resumes only to sit, wait and ultimately hear nothing is a frustrating process for job seekers. What really happens to all of those finely crafted resumes? The answer: they go to die in the resume black hole.

Today’s hiring managers are inundated with so many resumes and out of necessity many of them are missed, skipped or simply tossed out – sent to the resume black hole. To ensure your resume avoids disappearance and makes it to the top of the pile, past computer filters and in front of a real person, here are a few steps you should take.

1. Polish your resume
Skip the generic jargon and customize your resume for any job you apply for. Slight tweaks help the copy align more with one position over another, which can help you get noticed. Don’t forget to have someone proofread your resume – typos, run-on sentences and poor grammar can make it an instant candidate for the resume black hole.

2. Use keywords
Industry buzzwords and keywords from the job listing should always be incorporated throughout a resume. This will help ensure it passes any computerized filtering and tracking systems. It also helps grab the attention of the hiring manager who is looking for the perfect candidate. Warning: never copy the job posting verbatim – it’s a big red flag. Instead use your own words and phrasing to create the copy.

3. Utilize your network
Your professional network is your best asset when applying for a job. If you know someone at the company, make sure he or she knows you submitted an application and kindly ask for an endorsement. That contact can send an email with your resume to the hiring manager or meet with HR directly – this almost guarantees that your resume will be reviewed more closely.

4. Apply early
Each company accepts resumes differently. Some will filter every resume that is submitted. Others will review until they have enough applicants to start interviewing and then dismiss any that come in later. To avoid losing out, apply as early as possible. Being one of the first applicants for a job opening might mean a better chance at getting noticed.

5. Go directly to the source
Cluttered and confusing job postings can leave you wondering who is really handling your resume. That’s why you should use a job search engine that indexes only the jobs that come directly from company websites, like LinkUp! You can then feel confident that your resume is going directly to the source and that it will skip the scammers and middlemen.

6. Understand the hiring process
Some companies hire very quickly while others have long, tedious hiring processes. When does the posting close? How long will it take before interviews are scheduled? Who will be contacting candidates? Although it is not always possible, having an idea of what to expect can reduce stress.

June 10, 2014 / Molly Moseley

LinkUp’s job search engine reaches 2 million jobs

Today the LinkUp offices are buzzing with excitement over the most recent milestone our organization has achieved: 2 million job listings indexed exclusively from company websites throughout the United States!

Let’s say that again – 2 million job listings!

If this isn’t cause for celebration, then we don’t know what is. While fist-bumps and high-fives are plentiful throughout the office, this is more than just a massive number of quality job openings – it represents a major milestone in our mission to become the best job site online.

LinkUp 2 Million

Team LinkUp celebrates the 2 million job milestone

Why? Over the years, we’ve never strayed from putting the job seeker first. Doing so sets us apart from the competition and explains why so many people prefer our site. We index only real jobs from real companies by indexing more than 50,000 reputable employer websites. No job boards, no duplicates, no scams, no phishing, no expired posts – ever!

2 million jobs is a big deal because we reached this number by taking the high road. Other job sites cannot make the same claim.

This growth has been possible thanks to the hard work of an amazing team of people and a steadily improving economy. Every day, we work diligently to build our employer partnerships, and we are confident our quality job listings will continue to flourish. Additionally, we have many initiatives happening behind the scenes. For example, adding new companies that recruit veterans and partnering with organizations that offer quality internship programs are just a couple initiatives we are passionate about.

We’re proud to be blazing a new trail in our industry, and hitting 2 million job listings is just one step toward our goal of becoming the best job site for both employers and job seekers. The future certainly looks bright.

Read more about the milestone in our official press release here.

June 5, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Is LinkedIn eliminating the traditional resume?

A LinkedIn profile is a must for today’s savvy business professionals. It provides a critical way to network and build a positive online presence. It’s also an important tool for hiring managers who want to review a candidate’s interests and experience. Does this mean resumes will soon be a thing of the past?

While LinkedIn has proven it’s here to stay, the traditional resume is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Both social media and good old resumes should be separate, complementing elements that represent a person’s professional background.

“As a recruiter, I use LinkedIn to scout for talent: who has done what I am looking for, who are they connected to that could advance my company’s mission or get us to our vision, [and] what activities are they involved in,” says Dethra Giles of ExecuPrep. “When I look at a resume, I am looking for solid experience, tangible projects, education…”

While it’s ideal to have both, some professionals opt to have just a resume. This is better, of course, than deciding to have only a LinkedIn profile and no resume at all.

“I have hired top-level executives who did not have a LinkedIn profile; I have not hired a top level executive who did not have a resume. Is the resume changing? Yes. Is it going away? Not any time soon,” says Giles.

For professionals, an up-to-date resume is a must, but LinkedIn can be used to expand on experience and stay connected on deeper levels.

“LinkedIn provides an opportunity to not only list your employment history, but display links to previous projects,” says Natalie Bidnick, a digital strategist and recent job seeker. “Unlike a traditional resume, which flourishes with brevity, LinkedIn allows the user to be found through strategic keyword placement. By keeping my profile updated and switching out my keywords regularly, I both grew my network by 15 percent and gained a new position within a few short months.”

Professionals should consider these tips to ensure their resume and LinkedIn profile work together to best represent their experience:

1. LinkedIn shouldn’t necessarily mirror your resume, but there shouldn’t be any discrepencies between the two. Ensure information is accurate on each.

2. A resume provides succinct information on one or two pages. A LinkedIn profile should expand upon the information on a resume to provide additional insight about who you are and what your talents are.

3. A well-written resume will be shorter, feature bullet points and use a third-person tone of voice. LinkedIn copy can be longer, more casual in tone and use first person.

4. LinkedIn is public, therefore it is subject to peer and colleague review. While neither a resume nor a LinkedIn profile should be embellished, the public nature of social media means online information must be honest and forthright.

5. Use LinkedIn to highlight skills, build connections and gain third-party endorsements. It’s not always what you can do – it’s who you know and who will vouch for your skill set.

6. Recruiters use LinkedIn to source candidates prior to an application. They then share resumes with hiring managers after the application is submitted.

7. Use LinkedIn to increase your network. Always keep information up to date and be active on your profile at least once a week.

8. Resumes do not typically include a photo, but LinkedIn profiles benefit from a head shot. In fact, LinkedIn profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed.

June 3, 2014 / Toby Dayton

Expect A 100-Year Flood On Friday; LinkUp Forecasting Net Gain of 350,000 Jobs In May

The economic debate these days, when not focused on Thomas Piketty, centers almost entirely around whether the economy, both in the U.S. and globally, is getting better or worse. As the WSJ pointed out this morning:

As stock indexes hit records last week, the bond market was waving warning flags. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both closed at record highs Friday, with the Dow at 16717.17. But bond investors have been shifting towards havens, notably U.S. Treasury bonds, a preference that often points to expectations that economic growth will falter.

The trend can be seen around the world, in the government bonds of Germany, Britain, Japan and many other countries. Demand for bonds is pushing prices up, which sends yields lower. This is disconcerting to many economists and money managers, who say the economy is rebounding after a first quarter depressed by bad weather. Better growth should stimulate demand for money, pushing interest rates and yields higher, not lower.

Falling yields are also unsettling the investment world, causing big losses for the many bond traders who bet the other way, and sowing concerns that the economy may not be as strong as people had hoped. “I am baffled and a little concerned. It makes me nervous,” said James Paulsen, Chief Investment Strategist at Wells Capital Management.

When Jim Paulsen, the most consistently bullish investor on the planet, expresses concern about the markets, it might be time to quickly head back down into the potato cellar. I’d even advise running over walking. And yet the same WSJ article indicates that Paulsen is still forecasting stronger economic growth and higher yields. Paulsen’s conflicting sentiments are well justified given the shifting winds swirling throughout the economy and the markets these days. Despite rising consumer spending and continued gains in industrial production, GDP growth actually shrank 1% in the first quarter. Most economists brushed off the negative growth as a temporary blip, perhaps weather-related, in an otherwise rosy outlook. But there remains a pervasive, nagging sense that we’re once again heading down the same rocky road we’ve travelled before. Uncertainties surround housing, inventories, the ability to sustain crazy corporate earnings, Russia/Ukraine, China, and the impact of tapering.

And in the labor market, decent job gains over the past year or so have been heavily discounted by the fact that the jobs being filled are disproportionately part-time and/or low-wage positions. Wage growth across the entire spectrum has, for the most part, been nonexistent and long-term unemployment is proving to be virtually intractable. And as we’ve pointed out in this blog over the past few months, the record for the past 3 years has been solid job gains in Q1, only to be followed by disappointing numbers in each subsequent quarter. Is this year finally going to be the year in which that cycle is broken? Who the hell knows. It’s no wonder that Paulsen and others are baffled by the current state of the economy.

Unfortunately, we’re not likely to add much clarity as to whether the tide is coming in or going out. In fact, our forecast for May is likely to further cloud the picture with our wildly bullish forecast for Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Despite the first monthly decline this year in new and total job listings last month, we’re predicting a net gain of 350,000 jobs in May. WTF?!?!?! We’ll explain.

Let’s start with the forecast for May.

As the chart below indicates, new and total job openings on LinkUp’s national job search engine, with an index of over 2 million jobs from 20,000 corporate websites, have risen sharply and consistently between January and April. Given that a job opening is a strong indicator of a future job being added to the U.S. economy, the gains seen on LinkUp foretold very strong job growth, which is exactly what we’ve seen for the past 4 months, capped off by a very strong net gain of 288,000 jobs in April (a number that surprised everyone but us).

May 2014 Forecast 2

 

With 15.9% and 7.7% increases in new and total job listings respectively in April, we are forecasting a net gain of 350,000 jobs in May. Admittedly, a forecast this bullish causes a bit of anxiety given how rare an occurrence it is to see job gains north of 300,000. It has only happened 3 times in the past 136 months.

Monthly BLS 2003-2014

With full recognition that such a number is, to some extent, the 100-year flood (or more accurately, perhaps, the once-every- 3-year flood), we are sticking with our prediction.

Unfortunately, however, the streak of consistent monthly gains in new and total job openings on LinkUp came to an abrupt halt in May, with a 7% decline in new job openings and a 2% drop in total job openings. Those declines were spread evenly throughout the country, with 40 states showing a decrease in new job listings and 38 showing a drop in total job listings.

Jobs by Sate May 2014

The picture of jobs by category is equally as sobering, with a similar drop of 6% in new job openings and a 2% drop in total job openings. Again, the vast majority of categories showed declines in new and total job listings.

Jobs by Category May 2014

Given the drop in job listings on LinkUp in May, we are predicting that job gains in June will drop from what we expect to see in May to a gain of roughly 250,000 in June. To be sure, those are still very solid numbers and would cap off a fantastic quarter with a net gain of 888,000 jobs.

Quarterly BLS 2003-2014

 

That would be a 100-year flood. But then again, we’ve seen equally bizarre things lately.

Bog_O-jCQAEUqAp

We will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, June 4th to walk through our current views on the labor market, our jobs data, and our forecast for job growth through the 2nd quarter. If you would like to register for the webinar, please do so here.

 

 

 

May 29, 2014 / Molly Moseley

Is Relocation Assistance a Must for Attracting Top Talent?

The Great Recession hit the employment landscape hard, and while new hires dipped in companies across the country, so too did the benefits used to attract new employees. Relocation assistance became much less common, but recently companies are realizing again how a competitive program can help fill open roles with quality people.

Why should a company offer relocation assistance? Because top talent doesn’t always reside in your backyard. To secure the best of the best, you often need to broaden your reach. If you’re trying to lure a candidate from one coast to another, it’s a given he or she will ask about relocation funding.

Think about it – moving is a timely and costly affair, especially if it’s long-distance. An employee may not have thousands of dollars to fund the move in order to start a new job, and furthermore, even if they have the money, they might not want to use it for that purpose.

Companies may need to consider a relocation program just to stay competitive. 41 percent of companies saw relocation volumes increase in 2013, according to Atlas Van Lines’ corporate relocation survey. On average, companies relocated 10 to 19 employees in 2013. Volumes are expected to continue at similar rates or increase in 2014.

If you don’t currently have a relocation program, now is the perfect time to consider implementing one. Keep in mind that relocation programs can vary from a basic bonus meant to help offset the cost of a move to full assistance that includes hiring packers, movers and even purchasing the employee’s current house.

Consider these ideas when establishing a new employee relocation program or evaluating the current one:

  • Specify a distance threshold which must be met before qualification. For example, assistance is provided for all employees who live 100 miles or more from the office space.
  • Require a signed repayment agreement that states employees agree to repay the relocation benefit if they choose to leave before reaching a certain amount of service time. Many employers choose a year for this designation.
  • Make sure it is clear to the employee that relocation is a benefit and subject to taxes.
  • Relocation logistics can be complex. If the company can afford to do so, consider hiring a specialized firm to manage the relocation process.
  • Many companies choose to offer relocation assistance only to higher-level employees. Establish guidelines or “pay grades” for which assistance would be approved. Funding can also be a carrot offered for difficult-to-hire positions helping to tip the scales in your favor.

The economy continues to prove it’s recovering, so now is the ideal time to for your company to ensure it has the edge needed to attract top talent that will help boost future growth. Part of that initiative should include an appropriate relocation program.

May 22, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

Veteran unemployment high: Critical programs provide resources

VetForHire300x195Memorial Day is on May 26th, and it’s a day to honor the memory of veterans who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s also a day to show appreciation for the current and past servicemen and women who work so hard to keep us safe.

While a military lifestyle is tough, transitioning back to civilian life after being discharged can be equally difficult. Veteran unemployment, for example, is far too prevalent in the United States.

The unemployment rate for the 2.8 million veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces since September 2001 – a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans – was 8.8 percent for men and 9.6 percent for women, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the 3.2 million veterans who served during Gulf War-era I (August 1990 to August 2001), male unemployment was 5.7 percent and female unemployment was 5.3 percent.

Unemployment varies from state to state, with New Jersey having the highest rate at 10.8 percent. As a veteran myself (former Air Force reserve), it’s particularly disheartening to learn about these high rates of unemployment for men and women who have proudly served our country.

This Memorial Day, and every day throughout the year, we should give thanks to veterans for their service. To help make a difference and reduce veteran unemployment, please support critical organizations and programs that boost veteran employment and help soldiers transition to the civilian working world. Here are some of my favorites:

Feds Hire Vets

This site provides veterans and their families a one-stop resource for finding employment with the federal government. It is also a great resource for hiring managers looking to learn about the many benefits that come from hiring veterans for federal jobs.

VA for VETS

This career center provides everything veterans need to start a civilian career. From expert advice on resume building and interviewing skills, to career coaching and help applying for jobs, this site is indispensable.

My Next Move for Veterans

Thinking about which civilian career is right for you? This research tool provides information about comparable skills and salary as well job listings in a format that is easy to navigate.

Gold Card

A joint effort of the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), this initiative provides unemployment assistance to post-9/11-era veterans.

VetJobs

Founded by a veteran, the site was created to support job search and success for all members of a military family, including enlisted and active-duty members, reservists, National Guard, spouses and dependents of soldiers.

National Resource Directory

To find additional programs and organizations that provide support to veterans as they search for employment or as they face other common challenges – such as rehabilitation, community reintegration and housing assistance – visit the NRD website.

May 20, 2014 / Stephanie Anderson

“LinkUp 5 Step Job Search” webinar recording now available

Are you embarking on a job search but not sure where to begin? Watch LinkUp’s 5 Step Job Search webinar to learn more about: 

- How to organize your search
- Tips on finding quality job openings
- How and where to leverage your network to amplify your search
- What activities will make you more attractive to employers
- How to prepare for and follow-up on interviews

And be sure to download our NEW Job Search Action Plan template here. It’s a great tool to help you organize and prioritize your search for less stress and better results.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmf5Rd6ZkE4&w=450&rel=0