Archive | October, 2011

Finding HR Jobs Using LinkedIn, A How-To

28 Oct

Job HuntingThis post, authored by University Alliance, works in conjunction with Villanova University who offers an HR Master’s Degree that is taken completely online. Villanova University also offers HR certification courses which can all be found online.

If you’re a human resources professional, you may have used LinkedIn to post job openings and recruit employees. Now that you’re looking for a new human resources position, LinkedIn can be a proverbial goldmine of leads, information and connections that will be quite valuable when conducting your search.

LinkedIn is a popular professional social networking site that offers excellent opportunities for job-searching. From executives to the
receptionist at your dentist’s office, many professionals are on LinkedIn. By following these tips, you can leverage the site’s many resources to find your next HR job.

Build a Strong Network

LinkedIn is all about building a strong network, so step one should be to analyze yours. Who are your connections? Where do they work? Who are their connections? Reacquaint yourself with your network if necessary.

Before you begin your HR job search, you should start developing and expanding your professional connections. Here are five ways to build your network fast:

1. Join LinkedIn interest groups and school alumni groups.

2. Look up former colleagues and renew those relationships.

3. Meet new connections through your existing network.

4. Use proper etiquette when asking for a connection or introduction.

5. Ask for introductions only from network connections that trust you
and know your work.

How do you help connections get to know you and your work?

Communicate With Your Network

Announcing the launch of your job search to your network is a great first step. You might even find out about an opening, which could really speed things up! Or, you could get very little response – it all depends on well your connections know you.

Get to know your network by maintaining ongoing conversations. Send personal messages, ask for advice or job recommendations, or comment on their posts. Respond to questions in the “Answers” section of LinkedIn and participate in group discussions. You’ll not only build credibility, but by offering your help, you’re much more likely to get their help with your HR job search.

Post Recommendations

LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to increase your standing and get noticed by potential employers. Don’t be shy about asking for a recommendation – most folks are happy to oblige, especially if you offer to reciprocate. Match your requests to your skill set. For example, your former supervisor could speak to your HR skills, while a recommendation from an employee could highlight your leadership skills. A fellow manager might rave about your problem-solving abilities. Varied perspectives can showcase a wider range of your abilities.

Use LinkedIn’s Features

LinkedIn offers loads of features that any job seeker should know
and use:

  • The job search page targets postings for your occupation, according to your profile. If the postings listed don’t exactly fit your
    search, revamp your profile to include the keywords that describe your ideal HR position.
  • Get noticed by adding the “Job Seeker Badge” to your profile.
  • Use InMail for private correspondence with anyone on LinkedIn. Request assistance or ask quick questions about their company.
  • Post news on your HR job search on your “Status Update” to keep your network engaged and your name in front of them.
  • Target 20 or so companies to follow. Check out their employee list and you may be surprised to see you have several second- or
    third-degree connections. Ask your first-degree connections for an introduction.

Search For Skills Related To Yours

You can also keep track of hiring action in the companies you follow by reading their status updates. Or do a global search for your skill
set. Plug your keywords into the search field on the LinkedIn “Jobs” page and you’ll immediately see related job postings. Refine your search by company, date of posting or location as necessary.

Get the Inside Scoop

Spend time each day checking the companies you follow to see if they’ve posted hiring announcements. Send a new hire a congratulatory message and follow up with a polite request for information on how they landed the position. After all, it is a networking site. Communication is the key to networking success.

LinkedIn Can Be Your Path to a New Human Resources Job

LinkedIn is a highly effective networking site, with dozens of resources you can use in your HR job search. Spend some time with these tips, and start getting the most value you can out of LinkedIn. You may find yourself announcing your new position sooner than you think!

Manage The Fear Of Failure To Succeed

26 Oct

Failure Leading to GriefFace it, you and your organization are going to make mistakes from time to time. No matter how brilliant your teams or confident your executives, failure will come at some point or another.

However, mistakes need not be the fearsome omens of grief that people often see them as. On the contrary, they can be sources of wisdom and learning. In many ways, true innovation stems from failure.

So what’s the one trait that contributes most forcefully to the inability to accept mistakes? Fear. Fear is what discourages risks and stifles creativity. While it’s one thing to recognize fear in yourself, it’s another thing to manage and curtail it in others.

Corp magazine contributor TC North points to five signs of fear that managers should work to suppress both among their employees and in themselves. They are:

  1. Procrastination
  2. Excessive rationalization
  3. Avoidance of situations fraught with risk
  4. Blaming and shaming one’s self
  5. Not giving one’s full effort.

To curb the fear of failure, show your employees that mistakes are bound to occur and that you yourself are not exempt. Create a
common area or message board where people can post and discuss some of the mistakes they’ve made, and be sure to contribute to it yourself.

Mentors Can Shape Company Culture & Success

24 Oct

Mentors Can Help Point You in the Right DirectionManagers are good at imparting action and motivation among their employees, but they are not necessarily equipped with the wisdom and expertise to show certain workers how it’s done. That is a job best left for mentors.

Not all companies have an internal mentorship program, but the value of mentors in imparting wisdom is unrivalled. Even if the relationship is not formal, some sort of experienced voice can drastically help new or inexperienced hires take the reins and begin driving performance.

Inc. magazine contributor Leigh Buchanan points out that internal mentorships are intended to help employees develop diverse skills and leadership talents over time. Outside or off-site mentors, on the other hand, are more narrow and come with an expiration date.

Certain sectors and locales may benefit from external mentors more than others, Buchanan adds. This is due to what
CEO Aaron Levie calls a “culture of reciprocity.” Los Angeles’ entertainment industry, New York’s finance sector, Silicon Valley’s tech market – these are a few examples of markets where experts share wisdom at networking events and meetings, businesses benefit from shared interests or objectives.

An Essential For Finding Talent

14 Oct

Referral Programs EssentialEmployee referral programs are a popular way for businesses to recruit talent without investing too much in advertising open positions. With the prospect of new benefits or compensation, workers are much more likely to refer friends or former coworkers, offering a win-win situation for both employer and employee.

However, not all referral programs work according to plan, as the trick to a successful program involves striking a balance between the benefit for employees and the expense to the company.

When implementing a referral strategy, human resource teams need to clearly define the rules and the compensation structures for employees. Cash is the most common incentive, but managers should make sure to incorporate these expenses into their recruiting budget.

Over time, weigh how much the referral bonuses cost against the relative expense of a traditional recruitment program. However, it’s important to remember the role a referral program plays in boosting employee morale.

It also pays to keep the program fresh and up-to-date. Managers should adopt new themes that reflect company culture and use company events to present prizes, awards or small giveaways to publicize the program. It is also important to distribute payment of bonuses to employees in a prompt manner.

The process for referring a candidate should also be fairly simple and not discourage employees from participating. HR managers can add a section on the company intranet or distribute flyers throughout the office.

When in dire need of new hires, managers can launch an interdepartmental competition to see who can refer the most candidates. In the event that a referral is hired, be sure to track his or her progress, acknowledge the referring employee and make sure they receive their payment.

Sometimes, hiring demands may be too high to rely entirely on a referral program, so managers may want to augment the strategy with a traditional recruitment process. In such a situation, it’s even more important to track expenses and ensure the collusion of both programs does not end up costing more than each would have if run independently.

When a referral is brought on board, be sure to inform him or her of the process as well. However, one of the few criticisms of referral programs is a lack of diversity, as a workforce that is highly networked may curtail critical outside perspectives and unique experiences.

For that reason, it’s important to keep a constant eye on the referral program and how it is impacting company culture.

How To Find The Right Manager

12 Oct

Finding The Right ManagerAs a business begins to grow and take on a larger payroll, the need to manage an expanding workforce becomes increasingly difficult. At some point, business owners will need to hire a manager to take control of the administrative and productivity obligations for which owners may not have time.

Before posting a job opening, take time to review exactly what it is you’re looking for in a manager. List some of these desired attributes and qualifications in the actual job posting, but use others for the actual interview process so you can gauge characteristics and personality traits spontaneously.

Because of the direct role managers have in affected company culture and performance, they need to be vetted diligently. Develop interview techniques and strategies that open them up and offer insight into their reasoning, depth of intellect and other considerations.

It’s also important to gather references for prospective managers – and not just one. Cross-checking one reference’s comments against another can help narrow down his or her true nature and employment credentials.

What are some other ways employers can measure prospective managers’ qualifications?

Freedoms Drive Motivation and Productivity

10 Oct

Freedom and AutonomyIt may seem counter-intuitive to promote freedom and autonomy as leading to greater employee motivation and productivity, but this can often be the case.

When workers have freedom over the creation and development of their work, they come to care more about its quality as they see it as an extension of themselves and their contributions. Managers should strive to leverage this trait in their favor.

The greatest motivator comes from increased worker control, when employees feel as though they are the author of their actions they feel more invested in them.

When workers see the products of their labor in the end result of a project or service strategy, the natural reaction is to be happy and, more importantly, to strive to do it better the next time around.

Of course, managers need to be careful about how much freedom they afford their workers. When a certain level of trust is acquired, employers can begin to administer even more liberties.

What are some ways managers can promote a free workplace?

Harness Creativity When It Arises

7 Oct

Harnessing CreativityManagers, executives and employees of all types rely on creativity as a fundamental aspect of their operations – whether they realize it or not.

The ability to come up with ideas on a consistent and reliable basis is a pressing concern for any competitive enterprise, so it makes sense that so many companies seek to develop work environments that harness workers’ creative potential.

However, creativity is not as manageable as many would hope. In fact, it’s downright fickle. However, many employers seek to ignore this basic truth by altering procedures and manipulating tasks to optimize productivity, which only creates a whack-a-mole situation that exhausts everyone involved.

“You can artificially motivate someone for only so long,” Jason Fried for Inc. magazine states. “It’s nearly impossible to fight the natural rhythm of motivation and productivity. You’re better off recognizing that than waging war against reality.”

However, by embracing and promoting creativity when it does pop up, managers stand a much better chance of taking advantage of the ideas that arise.

What are some ways managers can circumvent creative blocks and dry periods?

What Is Your Policy On Ink?

5 Oct

Body Art In The WorkplaceYears ago, chances were you would never see a hint of tattoo ink or the glimmer of a body piercing inside a corporate office. But the with the increasing number of young entrepreneurs and more relaxed atmospheres at many white-collar organizations, body art is becoming a more acceptable aspect of workplace attire.

It is not the human resource department’s job to dictate whether an employee can get inked or pierced outside of business hours. However, one of the tenets of personnel management means you are responsible for keeping the peace between workers, and generational differences may mean that some staff members are uncomfortable with their colleagues’ choice of self-expression.

Consider sending out an electronic survey regarding employee attitudes about allowing more obvious body art. Draft dress codes that reflect those results. If some people in the office log complaints about others’ appearances, store their comments in your human resource management system and keep tabs on the numbers – the issue may need to be regularly discussed as people’s opinions change. Also check your local labor laws, as the rules vary regarding employers’ rights to base hiring decisions on body art or ask workers to cover up tattoos.

Have attitudes changed about tattoos on display in the office?

Generating Excitement About a Mentoring Program

3 Oct

Mentoring ProgamsMany companies try mentoring programs, but how successful are they? Long-time employees might think there’s nothing wrong with the way they’ve always done their job, creating challenges for employers when first setting up these programs.

An individualized approach may help win over some workers who are reluctant to participate. Browse through employee reviews stored on your human resource management system to target individual workers’ problems, and match them to staff members who excel in that particular area.

When it’s time to approach a worker about either coaching a colleague or being on the receiving end of the advice, tact goes a long way. Remind a potential mentor about how well their last performance review went, or reference a particular project where they demonstrated a lot of skill. Tell them their knowledge could benefit colleagues, and may eventually make their job easier by reducing the workload a struggling coworker creates.

If there’s an employee who you think could benefit from a little peer guidance, present the topic in a positive light. Start off praising their strengths before discussing areas that need improvement. Remind them that the program is voluntary, but additional skills could help their career path.

Has your company started a mentoring program? How did you get staff members on board?