Social Media For Job Hunters

Clarke, Bruce 2014By Bruce Clarke, J.D.

Are you seeking a new position in your field? You will be much more successful if you understand the methods company recruiters use to select candidates.

First, HR recruiters will view your LinkedIn account. If you do not have one established, you are at a real disadvantage. If you do have a LinkedIn account, you can depend on potential employers performing a careful review of your online network. They will read every single one of your LinkedIn references, too, so you should ensure that your profile properly reflects your true skills and abilities.

Good HR recruiters, however, do not stop with LinkedIn. They regularly follow and connect with candidates who have a genuine interest in your business and industry. Interacting with candidates via Facebook and LinkedIn accounts provides recruiters with an advantage in finding the best people to fill positions quickly and effectively.

We live in a time when job hunters must be engaged via social media to be viewed as relevant and current.

In the job market, you are competing with students fresh from colleges where faculty and students alike use social networking sites for class communication. Some professors even use Twitter and Facebook to disperse assignments. The Jenkins Graduate School of Management at North Carolina State University is addressing the demand for social-media-savvy employees through courses on social media in its MBA curricula.

Social media recruiting is still in its relative infancy, though. There are no specific laws as yet from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission covering the legal limits of social networks for recruiting beyond what is stated in the traditional Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.

Many companies have established metrics to calculate the success of their recruiting efforts. They look at page views of their blog, followers on their social media accounts, retweets of recruitment opportunity announcements on Twitter, and discussions on a firm’s wall posts on Facebook. If the results are low for any of these, chances are the smart company will take steps to improve its social media presence overall, not just for recruiting.

Of course, social media is not the only answer for the recruitment process. As a candidate, you will be interviewed in person and/or over the phone to provide the recruiter with a sense of whether you will be a good fit for the corporate culture. But that step only comes after you have successfully made it through the social media process.

The recruiter will more than likely Google your name to see what comes up. You should do this regularly yourself and remove anything you do not want recruiters to see.

A recent Wall Street Journal investigation found that the online tracking of individuals is pervasive.  According to WSJ, the 50 most popular U.S. websites regularly install tracking technology onto your computer.

You may not realize it, but you have been building a reputation since the first day you signed onto Facebook or posted to an online discussion group. Be smart about what you post online. Your next job

Bruce Clarke, J.D., is CEO of CAI, helping more than 1,000 NC employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability. For more information, visit www.capital.org.

Pay Attention To Pay Trends

What Pay And Benefits Can Tell Us About The North Carolina Workforce And Economy

By: Molly Hegeman, vice president of HR Services, CAI

North Carolina is ranked as one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and areas like the greater Research Triangle are being recognized as some of the nation’s top places to live and work. This is in part due to an economy that has greatly recovered from the effects of the 2008 recession.

North Carolina’s economy has made great strides in the past six years, and results from CAI’s 2013-2014 Pay Trends Survey supports these developments. The recent annual survey from CAI, an employers’ association that supports and evaluates North Carolina businesses, found that the projected average salary increase for employees across the state will hold steady at 2.9 percent in 2014. In fact, 84 percent of all companies surveyed intend to give pay raises this year. This means that employers across the state will need to continue to be mindful of employee salaries as key factors in overall employee satisfaction and retention. With signs of continued improvement in employee pay, what else do salary trends mean for North Carolina associations and companies?

One implication of current salary trends is that associations and companies need to start taking a more comprehensive approach to attracting and retaining top talent. Due to salaries holding steady or increasing, potential employees feel more comfortable in assessing their value and can now be more selective when choosing a new employer. What’s the bottom line? Promoting a strong salary is great, but the paycheck can no longer be the only tool in an employer’s toolbox when it comes to winning over their next employee.

In an increasingly competitive marketplace for the best employees, companies are placing an ongoing emphasis on pay for performance, not just pay for pay’s sake. These companies are challenging themselves to make wiser decisions on spending in the improving economy. It is important for employees to feel that they are not just numbers, but valued team members who should be invested in and rewarded for hard work. Companies are finding ways to show their team members that they are valuable.

Investing in employees is not a brand new concept. But the way companies invest is changing to meet employee needs and speaks volumes to an employer’s ability to attract and keep top talent long term. Company culture is becoming more important than in year’s past. Today’s employees are looking beyond salary alone and are now taking the time to inquire about the work environment, stress level and work-life balance at a potential organization.

Consider questions you may be asked by job candidates that you may not have heard a decade ago. Some examples include: Does your company offer training and development opportunities? Are there service or volunteer opportunities that your company participates in? North Carolina associations and companies that can answer “Yes” to these questions and more are poised to find a greater return on investment in 2014.

Instead of just giving current and prospective employees the chance to achieve a positive work-life balance, companies are shifting their focus to work-life effectiveness. The important concept for companies to embrace is that work is more than just a job. By understanding the needs of employees, offering flexible schedules, remote work, and other benefits that appeal to your workforce, employees will feel more engaged with their employers and find more meaning and fulfillment in what they do each day.

The one-size-fits-all approach to employment, pay and benefits is not relevant anymore. The data compiled through our annual research indicates that work-life effectiveness is made a reality through broadening your policies and benefits that  include more flexible scheduling, the opportunity to work from home and continuing training and education. When associations and companies combine positive pay and benefits that are most valued by its employees, they are more likely to reduce turnover and increase employee productivity and satisfaction.

With an ever-improving economy, North Carolina companies can expect to see pay and benefits trends continue to rise throughout 2014 and for the foreseeable future. Employers will also be able to increase or at least hold steady their salaries for employees, as well as invest in the benefits and other measures that will help them achieve work-life effectiveness. Companies can more easily project their value and pick from the best in the state’s talent pool to ensure sustainable success. Because of positive pay, great companies and strong talent pools, North Carolina looks to continue leading the way as a great state in which to live and work.

Molly Hegeman is vice president of HR Services for CAI, a trusted resource for HR, compliance and people development.  With locations in Raleigh and Greensboro, CAI is a membership-driven organization that helps North Carolina employers maximize employee engagement and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, news, survey data, public policy advocacy and consulting services. For more information, please call (919) 878-9222 or visit http://www.capital.org.

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Manage Well To Avoid Employee Disengagement

By Guest Blogger – Bruce Clarke, J.D.

How do employees get help at your company? Who does the employee go to with problems? Who is there to help keep your employees involved, engaged and committed to their work and the company?

Employees who lack regular communication with a good manager can disengage with their work or eventually join another company with stronger management. Office managers and HR pros can help employees with mechanical questions such as pay and benefits, but only a manager familiar with an employee’s day-to-day tasks can grow a productive two-way relationship promoting strong work engagement.

Skilled managers provide many benefits to the workers they supervise. They are the primary goal setters and the best place to create alignment between the employee and organizational aspirations. Good managers provide frequent feedback and have a genuine interest in their employees’ professional and personal aspirations. They also serve as problem solvers to help workers when obstacles arise.

The negative effects of no management or poor management include decreased productivity, lowered morale, absenteeism and lack of trust and commitment to the company. Employees need managers for guidance, growth and recognition.

Guidance
Managers help employees understand their roles and how their actions affect business results. With proper goal setting and consistent feedback, both positive and corrective, managers help employees understand what success looks like and how to get there.

Every employee has key questions and quandaries they need answered, and managers who work with them on an ongoing basis are the most equipped to offer responses. Sufficient guidance and attention spent on employees will also help them feel essential and valued in the workplace.

Growth
People are rarely satisfied doing the same tasks for long periods of time, so failing to plan for employee challenge and growth opportunities can have dire consequences for your company—specifically, high turnover. Because good managers provide consistent feedback, they know the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. This not only helps managers assign projects, but it helps employees understand what they do well and where they can improve. Managers are also advocates for employee development opportunities, raises, promotions and recognition.

Recognition
Data and personal experience show that good employees who do not feel valued by their employer will leave.  Managers who communicate well and regularly with employees are in the best position to see and prevent unnecessary turnover.  Private recognition of good work, really listening to employee opinions, and removing hurdles in the way of job satisfaction are important tools.  Public recognition within the workplace when important milestones happen or key behaviors occur is also very powerful.

Whether your organization is large or small, the presence or absence of good one-to-one management is the best predictor of workplace health.  All the flex-time, free cappuccino and blue-jeans-days you can muster are no substitute.

Good managers who demonstrate leadership qualities are critical for keeping company morale high. Please feel free to call CAI’s Advice and Counsel at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746 for additional information about how to strengthen the skills of your company’s managers.

Bruce Clarke, J.D. is president and CEO of CAI, Inc., a human resource management firm with locations in Raleigh and Greensboro, N.C., that helps organizations maximize employee engagement while minimizing employer liability.  For more information, visit http://www.capital.org