We asked Kendra Bissonette and Patricia O’Neil Messer, Insight’s HR Business Partner/Recruiting Specialists, to share their insider knowledge on the job market, the hiring practices of companies, and what candidates should know. Here’s what they had to tell us!
Q: Statically, unemployment is declining. Do you see a trend in more companies hiring?
A: Yes. Our small and mid-sized company clients have steadily been adding to their headcount over the past three years. Candidates are attracted to this sized company because they perceive more room for advancement and broader job responsibilities.
Q: Like everything, recruiting is subject to supply and demand. Are we currently in an employer or employee market in terms of hiring?
A: It depends on the type of job and the industry. Technical roles like software engineers and product marketing jobs are two examples of high demand positions. We’re not seeing as much hiring for internal roles like office managers or accounts payable.
Q: What trends have you seen more in hiring lately?
A: Phone interviews. Companies want to be efficient in the process and it takes more resources to schedule and invite a larger number of candidates to the office. Phone interviews are used as a first round a screening process.
Q: What pitfalls should companies avoid in the hiring process?
A bad job description. Some companies dust off the job description from when they recruited for the role last time and want to use it again. But the company and the role have likely evolved since then. Those changes need to be taken into consideration. Since hiring is a process of matching a candidate to a job description, you want to work from a quality document. Have discussions internally to clearly define the role’s responsibilities and prioritize tasks.
Not treating everyone with respect. Consider your hiring process like an advertisement for your company. Candidates will form strong opinions about your company – and tell their friends. Mistreating candidates who are no longer your top choice is a bad idea. Don’t ask candidates to come to your office at the last minute or cancel meetings without advance notice.
Waiting for Mr. or Ms. Perfect. You can teach skills but you can’t change personalities. Hire for fit and consider a training program if a favorite candidate meets 9 out of 10 bullet points on the job description.
Just trying to fill a seat. Someone with all of the skills but who won’t match well with your existing team won’t last long in the role. Since Insight’s HR team is already on site, we integrate with their process to understand the culture of the organization and can quickly identify candidates who would be a good fit for the company.
Q: What advice do you give to candidates?
The job description has all of the answers. Read it and understand it thoroughly so that when you give your answers to questions, you are relating your experience to what the employer is looking to accomplish in the open role.
Treat phone interviews like in person interviews. Don’t lounge on the sofa or take a call from the car. Sit at your desk in professional attire and close the door. You want to give clear, concise and relevant answers to questions whether on the phone, or in person. After all, this is a screening process. If you don’t do well here, you won’t make it to the interview room to prove yourself.
Q: What advice do you give companies?
Align salary with desired skills. Insight has a tremendous internal resources to help companies benchmark a reasonable salary for the open position. Wanting too much for too little money won’t attract the right candidates or provide for a long term, happy new hire.
Ask behavioral questions in the interview. Get to know the candidate’s approach to work, their personality, and the type of person they are.
A good process leads to a good result. If you have candidates meet with more than one person during an interview session, plan in advance who will ask what questions or focus on what areas. Perhaps someone is responsible for asking more technical/skills based questions while someone else focuses on cultural fit and another asks standard interview questions.
For more advice from Insight’s recruiting team, call Kendra or Patty.