Weave “Why” Into the Hiring Process, Or Don’t Bother Recruiting!

Have you thought about your organization’s “why” lately? Why do you exist as an employer and is it compelling inspiration for your employees and for job seekers?

I’ve been thinking about this a ton lately, and when I kept on hearing about Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, during my weekly digest of business podcasts I decided to listen to the audiobook. I’m seven years late to the party as it was first published in 2011. Sinek was talking about this in his TED Talks even earlier; yet, this idea is still relevant today.

Many of Sinek’s business examples (e.g. Apple, Southwest Airlines) focus on how clarity around their why inevitably drove customer acquisition and retention. Customers will buy from brands that inspire them, and what resonates for one person will fall flat for another.

In the book, Sinek shared how former Southwest Airlines CEO, Herb Kelleher, championed this belief with the culture he fostered in his organization. Years after Kelleher’s death, his legacy lives on in a still powerful culture that endeavors to give everyone the freedom to fly. In fact, my nephew Andrew, a airplane mechanic with Southwest Airlines, is a prime example.

Andrew and his wife were on vacation returning from the Pacific Northwest last year when their Southwest flight was at risk for further delays due to mechanical issues. Although my nephew had never worked at that airport (which was not a Southwest hub) and was not on the clock, he realized they were short on mechanics due to an extenuating circumstance. Consequently, he informed them that he was a Southwest mechanic and volunteered to assist in the time of need. He was motivated to help his family to have the freedom to fly home more quickly; however, Southwest still had to be responsive to empower him to step in at an unfamiliar location. They did respond, it worked out and he was commended in an all company publication shortly thereafter–a public reinforcement of Southwest’s why.

Having clarity about the purpose of an organization benefits the recruitment process and employee retention, too. In fact, inspiring job seekers and employees is even more important than customers, because without the passionate commitment of your employees, your customers won’t be inspired either.

Align recruiting strategy with your why

Are you currently painting the picture of why you exist to your potential future workforce? If you’re not sure, then you may be leading with the “how” and “what” of your organization (like so many employers) rather than following Sinek’s “Golden Circle.” In the circle, why always precedes how and what.

Remember, a candidate’s experience in your recruiting and hiring process will drive whether they believe your culture is true to the expectation you set. You must craft an experience that exudes your organizational why in order to truly engage job candidates.

At ExactHire, a piece of our why is to use technology to enable flexibility that allows people to balance work and personal life. That element of championing employment that accommodates your own lifestyle is repeated in our sixth and final core value.

ExactHire Core Values

Our work to truly articulate our ExactHire why is a work in progress, which can sometimes be frustrating. Nevertheless, enrichment is often realized in the journey more than the destination. Our newer journey has led us to build a new hiring software application that embodies the piece of our why that champions flexibility in the employment experience. Its first release will especially serve employers of large numbers of hourly, relatively interchangeable positions. This is the applicant sourcing world of “Just In Time” (JIT) hiring, and if that recruiting reality resonates with you, then you already know that it demands flexibility.

Weaving our why into hiring process design

The essence of our employment experience is previewed to candidates via the structure and activities involved with our recruiting and onboarding process. We think intentionally about incorporating our why throughout our hiring process.

Hiring process stakeholders

Before I ever post a new job opening at ExactHire, internally we’ve planned which teammates will be involved at which step in the process, as well as what their objective is in participating (e.g. questions to answer, information to impart). We talk to candidates during interviews about how the trust we place in employees allows us to enjoy flexibility in our working schedules. We can instill that trust due to the careful vetting process job candidates undergo. The ones who make it have chosen not to withdraw from the process despite our consistent candor about what it’s really like to work at ExactHire.

Additionally, the technology that we develop (which we use in our own recruiting process of course) must be flexible to

  • meet candidates where they are,
  • allow them to communicate in the manner that they prefer, and
  • nurture their current engagement level (even if they aren’t ready to make a move yet).

Hiring process steps

Since our why focuses on flexibility, then our how must include regular, clear communication. At the onset of every ExactHire candidate’s recruiting experience, we describe all the interview steps involved in the hiring process, as well as how long we generally review candidates at each stage. There is nothing secret about the steps we take to hire; if we aren’t up front with what is required and our preferred time frame, then we’ll waste the candidate’s time and our time with people who can’t accommodate our needs. We treat people like adults and trust them to opt out if the career opportunity we’re serving isn’t appetizing.

We recently interviewed candidates for an additional salesperson for our team, and for this particular job, the following steps helped us demonstrate our why:

  • Short, initial employment application – While we have many questions for applicants, we recognize that they won’t answer all of them in the first step. So, we only ask a few key questions at the onset.
  • Phone interview – While this is a somewhat traditional approach to screening candidates, if we’re hiring for an inside sales position then phone presence is critical to assess.
  • Remainder of employment application – Once candidates have been engaged during the phone interview, they are more flexible to complete the remaining questions on our application.
  • Behavioral and cognitive assessment – These tools provide us with great data, but that data is only actionable for us because we know our why and which assessment scales are most critical in supporting that why.
  • Video interview – For our recent salesperson selection process, we did a video conference interview instead of an in-person interview to flexibly accommodate everyone’s schedule more easily. Video presence is also an important skill to assess given that modern technology has made it easy for some sales calls to be done via video conference.
  • Job shadow – The final step in our hiring process is a hands-on session during which the candidate experiences what it’s really like on the job and makes sure it is the right fit. He/she can experience our why first-hand.

Job description language

I support Sinek’s suggestion to be brutally honest about the realities of a job. After all, you want to hire people that want the job that you actually have, not one that you bait them with in an airbrushed job description. Here are some tips for incorporating why into your job descriptions.

Don’t hide your warts

Be honest about the thornier aspects of the role and your company. For ExactHire, that means I’ve included job listing truths like

  • our web developers work longer hours while we build a brand new application,
  • we have a 401K plan but no corporate match,
  • due to our small company size you must have a trailblazing mentality–as there is not always a precedent for situations you encounter, and
  • employees must be resourceful and seek help from our whole team–they can’t depend only on their boss.

Highlight your best features

Don’t forget to showcase your organization’s strengths, too. Focus on ones that lend authenticity to your company’s why. For us, these include

  • a relatively flexible work schedule (e.g. I don’t have to use PTO to take my kids to the dentist),
  • the ability to telecommute, and
  • the chance to impact the entire organization and be empowered to help our clients bring flexibility to their job seekers and employees, too.

Be practical

If you only focus on the why in your job title and description, then you will be doing yourself a disservice. For example, you should still use job-relevant keywords in the description because not all employers will attract the same kind of job seeker attention that Simon Sinek does when he posts a job. While your job description should inspire the right job seekers, it can inspire on a larger scale if it’s able to be found via keyword-relevant queries on search engines and job boards.

Appreciate quality over quantity

With brutal honesty in your job description and thoughtful consideration for your organizational why, know that you may not be flooded with applicants. However, the quality of candidates you receive and your potential for cultivating longer employment tenure will be much better.

If you can’t tolerate the thought of fewer applicants as a result of better articulating your why and your expectations, then you’ve either completely missed your why; or, your why isn’t compelling enough when conveyed in its present form.

Employment brand champions

No matter how pervasive your why is across the organization, some employees are better advocates for your company purpose than others. Identify these teammates and spotlight them on your careers site, in social media and print, and within your interviewing process.

Consider using video testimonials with employees telling personal stories about how they identify with the vision of the employer. Also, create blog content that paints a picture of why (or why not) certain types of people should work for the company. Authentic, employee-inspired content does a fantastic job of setting expectations with job seekers regarding their potential fit with your organization.

Engagement during pre-boarding phase

The time between when a candidate accepts an offer and when he actually begins work is a delicate phase. I’ve seen organizations stood up by new hires on day one because the new candidates were not engaged by the organization appropriately during this pre-boarding period.

Reduce new hire “buyer’s remorse” by sharing examples of your company living up to its why during pre-boarding. During our recent recruitment process, I sent a photo of the team enjoying our annual holiday event on a Monday afternoon to remind our yet-to-start new hire of our focus on work-life balance.

This type of image is great content for the company social media profiles, as well. It helps illustrate your why to additional passive job seekers and existing employees and partners.

ExactHire Team Holiday Outing 2018

Employee onboarding

Senior leaders are caretakers of the company why. They must support the vision and inspire others through their actions. Involve these leaders in your new hire onboarding process–whether they sit down and meet directly with new hires or record a video that is shared during the first week of employment.

Due to the scope of their positions with the organization, they are generally busy people and it can be hard to find time to align them with the onboarding process to help support the why. However, while their frequent focus on profits, product features or service agreements is critical, without their attention directed to a compelling why your offering may be at risk of becoming just a commodity.

Keep walking the talk – don’t blame others

Organizations should put their best foot forward to support the why during the hiring process; however, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to reiterate the why to long-term employees, too. While it is a group effort, you have a stake in supporting the vision as well. So, what should you do if you find yourself among co-workers who are disengaged or a supervisor who isn’t representing the why?

While it can be easy to blame others and try to change their behavior, your best chance of making a difference is to be the rising tide.

“If you want to change someone else, change yourself. People change because they’re inspired by someone else’s example, not because they were coerced into doing it.” – Rachel Hollis

What about when you are the one needing the lift–especially this time of year? I can relate and offer this advice. While I can’t snow bird just yet to escape the drab, bone-chilling cold of the Midwest in winter, I can fight any of my own creeping disengagement by creating opportunities for us all to be more engaged.

“If you wish to feel more engaged, fulfilled and happy at work, make it your obsession to help the people around you find more engagement, fulfillment and happiness in their jobs.” – Simon Sinek

I was inspired by a conversation with a co-worker recently to start an optional quarterly book club at work. And while Start With Why isn’t actually our first reading assignment, we have chosen Radical Candor by Kim Scott. I believe it will help us dig into better articulating ExactHire’s why and where we still need some work connecting to it.

Don’t undervalue the business why

You can’t get this part wrong. If you do, it will weaken everything in your company. While inertia may sustain the organization for awhile, eventually the most talented people will leave to seek more challenge and/or something energizing or inspiring to support.

Employee Culture And Corporate Job Fit – Buzzwords Or Reality?

Your employees are a valuable resource. They are the power behind your customer service, production, and revenue generation. They are also the ones who will have the most interaction with your customer base. Having a set of employees who act in a similar way to situations is the key to delivering a consistent experience for customers.

One way to ensure a consistent customer service experience is to have a recruitment process that takes into consideration how well candidates may be able to successfully assimilate into your company culture as a part of the selection cycle. Culture has long been the focus of management consultants and other HR professionals as a way for businesses to improve their productivity, decrease costs and improve employee retention.

However, does corporate culture have as great an impact within an organization as we might be led to believe? Or are employee culture and job fit just buzzwords?

What Is Company Culture?

Organizations are not faceless entities run by people in suits in a boardroom. They have personalities, identities and values that are present both internally and externally. Company culture can be described as the organization’s personality from the employee perspective. It is an experience that includes the company’s mission and the workplace atmosphere.

How this is symbolized within the organization varies from company to company. It might be documented officially, represented in a logo, or be an unspoken set of behaviors understood throughout the organization. A company’s culture will determine the environment of the workplace – for better or worse.

The corporate culture of a work environment also affects how the organization interacts with external entities: the local community, customers, and others. Essentially, when a brand has a strong corporate culture, everyone knows about it.

Take for instance Zappos. Its corporate culture is as well-known as its products, and cultural promotion starts from the moment its team hires a new employee. Zappos has a cultural fit interview and during training, if hiring managers feel the job isn’t for the recruit then the recruit is offered $2,000 to quit in the first week.

Also, ten core values are promoted to every team member. This is possible because a portion of the corporate budget is spent on culture promotion and employee team building. The Zappos team’s efforts have yielded great results, with happy employees and great customer experience.

Employees and Their Cultural Values

Employees have ethics and moral codes which help dictate their behaviors in certain scenarios. With enough information, you can accurately predict what actions an employee would take in different scenarios.

When these actions are aligned with the organization’s corporate culture; the employee feels secure and happy. Other research has found that happy workers are 12% more productive than unhappy workers.

When employees are not aligned to the corporate culture, this can be a significant issue as some sources report. One report by the Harvard Business School stated that the annual cost of a toxic employee, an employee who negatively affects the cultural cohesion of a team, is on average $12,000 per year. Other studies have placed this figure even higher.

Failing to hire employees that will complement your corporate culture may lead to a toxic environment, despite whether the new hire is highly productive or skilled at bringing in high levels of revenue. A hire that is out of sync with your corporate values and culture can cause staff and customers to abandon your business, and this can be costly.

Download ExactHire Company Culture E-book

Hire For Culture

The general consensus among business leaders is that cultural fit is vital for successful recruitment. A survey by Cubiks in 2013 found that 82% of managers thought it was important and 59% had indicated that they had rejected clients because they weren’t a good cultural fit. Additionally, 92% disagreed that cultural fit was a buzzword.

The argument seems to be in favor of the recruitment process incorporating exercises that assess whether the cultural values of the candidate will align with those of the employer.

It isn’t just business owners that think the cultural fit is important, many job seekers believe that finding a company with values similar to their own is important. In fact, corporate culture can be a top priority during the application process relative to market presence, financial performance, or longevity.

How Can You Define Your Corporate Culture?

If you want to hone your recruitment process and start to reduce the number of bad hires that are coming into your business, you need to define your culture clearly. There are three elements that you could use to help according to this blog by Moz:

Shared Beliefs: These are the aspects, concepts and behaviors that your organization believes are universally true. You can sum these up in a few statements including:

  • Great employees have traits like X, Y, Z
  • It is inappropriate to Y at work
  • You should treat others right by doing Z

Shared Priorities: These are the activities, tasks and long/short-term goals that are most important to your organization. This element can also relate to shared processes that individuals have when it comes to making decisions.

Stylistic Cohesion: Not everyone has to agree, that would be useless for your business, as some conflict can help solve problems with innovative solutions. However, cohesion is about creating a team where none of the members adversely affect the happiness or performance of others.

How to Ensure a Good Fit

When it comes to recruitment, make sure you ask the right questions during the interview stage. Questions that attempt to reveal the candidates’ behavioral norms, values and priorities will help you predict cultural values and their future behaviors.

You’ll start to get a good idea about whether they are a good cultural fit as you should know what answers you and the rest of your team would give if asked. However, bear in mind that this is the opportunity for your candidates to query your corporate culture too. So be prepared to answer questions that could relate to that.

You could help demonstrate the corporate culture of your organization in the interview with the support of visual and audio aids. These could be part of the interview or situated in the waiting area.

Finally, offer a social event to examine the candidates’ cultural fit, such as a social meeting after the interview, a job shadow or consider a short trial period. Either of these will give you insights about the candidates in a different setting and reveal details about them that a stressful interview would not. If they get the chance to meet another employee or two, then your current staff could also help determine whether candidates are a good fit or not.


Candidate cultural fit is not a buzzword; it’s a vital aspect of your potential hires that can determine their success and support of your organization. Get it wrong, and you could face extensive costs in replacing the staff member and repairing the damage they cause your business. Get it right, and you could have a loyal staff member who supports the growth and advancement of your organization.

Do you hire with the cultural values of the employee in mind? How do you identify your candidates’ cultural values?

Company Culture Ebook Download | ExactHire

Hiring Right – 10 Tips to Finding and Hiring the Right Employee

There is no magic approach to finding and hiring the right employee. However, there are some best practices you can implement that will increase your odds at success. Here are 10 tips to finding and hiring the right employee.

Make a Plan

The first step in any successful endeavor is to first get organized. Hiring is no different. If you fail to plan in the hiring process you plan to fail. Your plan needs to encompass a number of things. First and foremost, for which skills and experience are you hiring? Taking the approach of, “I’ll know it when I see it,” won’t work.

Start with a clearly defined and reviewed role description. This is what you are expecting the person to be able to do, so make sure your interviewing plan will identify his competency to do so. A formal plan will also help you avoid bias in the process, thus leading to a more successful hire and better results.

Identify Essentials

A big part of your plan is identifying the essential needs and distinguishing them from the nice to haves. The essentials are priority and as such need to remain the focus of the hiring process. You can identify the essentials if you stick to your plan and use the role description accordingly. These would be the core things the individual must do and be able to do to be successful. Don’t get lost in the illusion of the nice to haves.

To help identify whether applicants possess core essentials, set up job-specific screening questions in your applicant tracking system so that you may score and/or flag candidates based on their answers.

Sometimes you’ll identify the nice to haves and get fixated on them as you brainstorm how you can apply them. If they do not have all the essentials they won’t be successful and no amount of successful application of the nice to haves will make up for it.

Provide the Right Environment

The success of a hire goes well beyond the actual hiring process. You want that person to stay with your company as long as possible and perform the best he can, right? This means the right things have to continue to happen in order for that hire to be an ultimate success. Making sure the individual is aligned properly within the organization and environment will help ensure this success.

Start out by finding early wins for the new employee. This will help to build confidence and establish a supportive and rewarding environment. Be intentional about training hiring managers on this trait, and include it as a part of your strategic employee onboarding process. The more wins a new hire can rack up early on the more successful he will be in the long run within the organization.

Interview for Success

Interview success is bolstered by making a plan. But it goes beyond that. You must actually make sure you are hiring for the right things and interviewing accordingly. If your interview isn’t focused on identifying the correct competencies, abilities and fit, even the seemingly best candidates won’t succeed long term.

You have to approach the interviewing process as a due diligence process. You have to approach it as objectively as possible and assess based on facts.

Pay Attention to Red Flags

Red flags will come up in the hiring process–they may come up multiple times during the hiring process. Every time a red flag appears, take care to note it on the applicant’s record in your applicant tracking software. One red flag may not create pause, but multiple red flags can pretty clearly indicate a future problem.

How to spot red flags. Red flags can be pretty subtle, but most likely you will recognize them and you just have to make sure you record them. For example, if the position will require night and weekend work, don’t ignore a candidate that states she prefers not to work every weekend. “Every weekend” may really mean she doesn’t want to work any weekends. It will eventually become an issue.

Study Top Performers

If this is a new position, it’s a bit of a gamble as you don’t really have a precedent. If this is a frequently hired position or you are replacing someone who was good at it, use that information to your advantage. Study what made that person successful, and identify the traits and skills of the top performers currently in the position. If possible, involve some incumbent top performers in the selection process, and consider assessing the cognitive and behavioral traits of your top performers using an employee assessment tool in order to create a benchmark profile against which candidate assessment results will be compared.

Avoid comparing candidates to a past or current low performer. If you think you will have success by hiring the opposite of a low performer, you are not necessarily hiring for success. What you may end up doing is just hiring the opposite behavioral traits and not necessarily someone who can excel in the position.

Focused Networking

Building a network must involve–you guessed it–networking. Forget about recruiter networking groups. After all, you aren’t hiring recruiters. Identify networking groups that are associated with your target market. As you attend events, you will get to know who the leaders are in your particular industry and with whom you need to associate.

When networking with these individuals they will definitely know who the top performers are. As you build these relationships, they will be more willing to identify these individuals for you and even direct them your way. This is one of the best ways to narrow down a candidate pool to only top performers.

Have a Value Proposition

Awareness of your competition and what they are doing to attract and retain employees is critical. You must be prepared to either match what they are doing or figure out a way to differentiate your organization from an employment brand standpoint. What is your value proposition? Why would employees want to come work with you?

Know Your Market

To be a good recruiter, you need to have your thumb on the pulse of the labor market. Doing so will ensure you target the right individuals and conduct searches in the right places. This will also help you decide where best to post job ads that will attract the candidates you are seeking. To streamline this process, search for external job boards by category in your hiring software. ExactHire’s HireCentric platform offers this feature, including the ability to easily post to these job boards from within the applicant tracking system (ATS). Focusing in the wrong areas will only attract the wrong candidates.

Lean on Referrals

The best for last. A heavy focus on referrals should be the goal of any great hiring strategy. There are two main reasons referrals need to be front and center in your focus. First, good employees will refer good people because they want to work with the best. Second, referrals typically have an instant fit and they already have a relationship with the person who is referring them. Top notch job seekers will be more willing to make a change for a friend than slug through the traditional hiring process without the benefit of any insider insight.

Want more ideas on how to attract and retain the best employees? Visit ExactHire’s resource page for more tips and techniques.


Photo Credit:  William Iven

How to Tell if Your Star Performers Have the Glow Your Business Needs

The presumption of talent and appearance of competence is an illusion that can trick even the wisest of leaders and managers. Ask any manager to rank their employees best to worst and they will easily come up with the top and bottom, while struggling a little to identify the middle.  Why is it so easy to come up with the top and bottom?  We intuitively know who our star performers are, who our weakest players are, because we are making these assumptions based on data and facts–right?

In some cases managers may use completely objective metrics and decision making in identifying their top and bottom performers.  Unfortunately, that is not the usual scenario.  Work is a social activity and humans are fundamentally social creatures.  This means that all too often subjective criteria comes into play when managers make “top performer” classifications.

“But I know they are my top performer, because they get the results I want,” you say.  You may be right, but do they actually have the glow your business needs.  Do they represent the full package of what a top performer should have and be?  Are you looking beyond the tangible results?  Metrics are great for determining performance success, but miss the intangible effects of that performance.

Have you ever hired someone, as a rock-star performer, who had tremendous success early on and then fizzled out, left and you had to pick up the pieces?  Have you ever had or currently have a star performer who gets results, but they cause other employee issues?  Have you ever been challenged to address these issues with your top player, because you are afraid they’ll get mad and leave? These are all common scenarios managers have with their alleged top performers.

If you can look beyond the tangible results your star performers are attaining, you will be able to tell if they are true stars and have the glow your business needs to really succeed.

Do They Have Raving Fans?

That is, other than customers and management.  So this is a tough one.  Typically your top performers may be beloved by management and if in a customer facing position, beloved by them as well.  You say they are a top performer, because they solve customer problems easily, they can get things done that management asks and they are always willing to help…management.

Now, on the flip side, are they creating internal raving fans by doing the same thing?  Do they help others solve problems? True top performers will always be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.  They will be willing to help any member of the organization solve a problem, even if it detracts from their ability to achieve their goals.  These are typically the individuals who will quickly jump to the aid of others without being asked to do so.

True top performers will also generate an internal fan base and become respected for their ability to relate well with all in the organization.  You will hear others talking about this individual and the great things they do and assist.  This is when you know you have a true performer that affects the entire organization.  When someone’s peers send them praise and speak highly of them, it means they are really positively impacting the entire organization.

Do They Follow as Well as They Lead?

Another indication of a true top performer is that they are humble enough not to have to be the center of attention every time in every situation.  They will follow others and apply their talents to help others achieve their goals and objectives.  An internally focused top performer will drive only for their own results and means, but rarely will assist others unless they get some sort of glory from it themselves.

What does this look like in a top performer?  This would be the individual who not only achieves his/her own results, but has fingerprints on the results of others as well.  I say fingerprints, because they are hard to see, they are not apparent and rarely does someone know they are leaving them behind.  Make sense?  True top performers are not worried about campaigning for themselves while helping others.  They assist because they can help, not because they want recognition.

They Understand “Business”

Let’s face it, businesses exist to make money and turn a profit (unless you’re a non-profit). Businesses don’t exist simply to employ people.  True top performers will understand and comprehend the needs of the business more so than others. They understand that they are part of the team and apply themselves well to the current needs of the business.  An imposter top performer will complain when things don’t go his way, because it affects his ability to achieve his goals. A true top performer will quickly adjust course, setting aside his objectives if necessary, to help the organization achieve its goals.

They Coach and Teach Others

Anyone worthy of the title of top performer is willing to, and actively engaged in helping others become better.  This is the most critical sign that your top performer truly does have the glow the organization needs.  This also means she is fully committed to the organization, its mission and her coworkers.  Again, top performers see the bigger picture beyond themselves and their own personal gain.

What does this look like?  They will teach others skills and mentor them in career development. They will take new employees and other emerging star performers under their wing and help them become better.  They are not afraid of others succeeding and achieving.


An organization may have many presumptive top performers…people who will get results and achieve their objectives. However, true top performers will go above and beyond.  They will be champions of the organization and others.


For some tools to help you identify and retain top performers, check out ExactHire’s suite of hiring software solutions.

Image credit: Stars by Alex Holyoake (CC BY 2.0)

Baby, You’re a Firework (or at Least Your New Employee Is)

Fourth of July is just around the corner and just like fireworks, onboarding employees can be exciting, stressful, and downright treacherous at times. In the spirit of the patriotic festivities, let’s look through the top ten most popular fireworks in comparison to common candidates and employees that could be experienced in the onboarding process. The process of Onboarding a new employee can be time-consuming, but with ExactHire’s resources and Onboarding Software, you could spend more time getting to know your employee!

If you’re interested in finding out what type of employee you are, take this light-hearted quiz, and then check out the descriptions of each firework below!

1. Party Poppersfirework-party-popper

Party poppers are generally listed as a novelty item or trick noise maker and are sold year-round in shops which sell party supplies. It emits a loud popping noise by means of a small friction-actuated explosive charge that is emitted by pulling a string. Finding a candidate similar to a party popper may come in many forms; one may be the applicant that initially seems exciting and opinionated but can also fizzle out fairly quickly, or it could be the employee that brings excitement all year-round.

2. TNT Poppers


These are a hit with younger kids, mainly because they can’t set themselves on fire but can still annoy the ever-living daylights out of adults by throwing them at their feet. TNT Poppers are inexpensive and can keep people entertained for a total of maybe 20 minutes. In terms of potential employees, this is probably the applicant that may seem like a good fit initially, but after further investigation or an interview, he or she would probably only last a few months in the company.

3. Snakes


At first glance, snakes may seem like mere child’s play, but if you really think about it, how does a small tube of practically nothing turn into an endless black “snake”? We may never know, but this is the new employee that you may not have had high hopes for but it turns out that he can do literally anything – all day. This candidate can make something out of nothing, and can truly be one of the best assets to your company. (Or maybe you’d rather just consider them the metaphorical snake, we’re not here to judge.)

4. Sparklers


An age-old favorite, sparklers light up the front yard for a few minutes and as any new employee does, lights up the eyes of those around it (or him). Though sparklers only last for a few moments, a new employee or candidate may qualify as a Sparkler if he or she comes into the business with flare and favoritism, and sticks around as a consistent favorite.

5. Firecrackers


Iconic? Sure. Noisy? Definitely. It’s easy to imagine what a potential employee with the personality (or voice) of a firecracker would be – loud and potentially explosive. As a candidate, this person or “firecracker” could be full of ideas and popping with enthusiasm! Definitely someone worth holding on to.

6. Bottle Rockets


Just as its name suggests, a Bottle Rocket is a small rocket lodged in a bottle with a stabilizing stick attached to it. A big oversight when thinking about Bottle Rockets (in terms of people) is that they come in a ton of different sizes and models; sure they stick to the basic model, but also bring different ideas (big or small), projects, and goals to the workplace.

7. Roman Candles


As the site, Thrillist, describes Roman Candles “Lovely but dangerous” and they couldn’t be more accurate – for the actual firework. In terms of Roman Candle-esque people though – it’s more in terms of lovely and dangerous. Roman Candle employees come in everyday ready to conquer the workplace and any task that may come their way.

8. Smoke Balls


Smoke Balls are little bombs that when lit give off a few minutes of colored smoke and usually stain anything they touch (I love them). As far as excitement goes, they probably wouldn’t make anyone’s top ten, but they are fun and reliable – never changing what they do. To find someone in the workplace comparable to a smoke ball, you’d probably consider them to be trustworthy, dependable, and mostly predicable.

9. Fountains


A family favorite, Fountains are the fireworks that everyone gets because it’s probably illegal to buy artillery shells in your town. Either way, Fountains are fun and last a long time with many different effects throughout their show. As a potential employee, the fountain may be underestimated at first but with time will prove that she has a ton of new ideas, one just as different as the one before it. Fountain employees are stellar assets to a company and should be held onto at all costs.

10. Artillery Shells


Artillery Shells are the massive fireworks that Fourth of July is truly known for – and also illegal in many states – but that’s not important. What’s important is how big and beautiful they are, each different and special in their own way. As these should be left to be set on fire by the professionals, it is likely that the Artillery Shells in the office are probably the CEO’s or someone who set the whole business in motion. If not, watch out because the shell in your office is heading for big things.


No matter what kind of employee you or anyone in the office is, everyone should be celebrated this Fourth of July, just like our nation’s Independence.

Have a great holiday from everyone at ExactHire!

Image credit: FREE CLIP: Sparklers by Cinema White (contact)

Speaking With Passion – Job Seekers Can Learn From The Seattle Seahawks

Well, the Super Bowl matchup is set. And although my hometown team took quite the proverbial…uh…kick in the face (is that a proverb?), I believe the two best teams from the 2014 season are headed to Phoenix. I’m still trying to purge the Colts-Patriots game from my memory and extract foot from mouth.

The Packers-Seahawks game was obviously the best matchup of the two. There were a lot of great plays during the game, but let’s review the post-game interviews to see what job seekers can glean from what I’d like to call the Seattle Interview Technique, or “SIT”.

Bringing Passion To The Interview – SIT

You remember last year, when a rising star named Richard Sherman approached a post-game interview with….well, with a little bit of energy?

Classic. No one will forget that. Some thought it was crazy, but it’s actually what SIT is all about: passion.

Sure he scared the daylights out of Erin Andrews, but he got everyone’s attention too. And if you can’t grab the interviewer’s attention, you won’t likely stand out as the best. But job seekers, a little bit of advice: Even if you are THE BEST, let’s stick to answering the interviewer’s questions.

So fast forward to this past Sunday. There was obviously a lot of energy and emotion after Seattle’s improbable comeback. There was a lot of SIT on display too!

This is the ideal SIT. There’s passion, but humility. Communication is clear. Word choice is good. Ms. Andrews probably walked away with tears in her eyes, convinced that Mr. Wilson was the best QB around–or at least the best fit for the Seahawks. 

Job Seekers: You don’t have to be the best. You just have to be the best fit for the job and the organization.

Later on, wide receiver Doug Baldwin channeled Richard Sherman and made the case that he and his team had overcome doubters. Apparently, this was an attempt to convince the interviewer that he possessed perseverance and unrelenting confidence in the face of adversity.

There was a lot of passion in this outburst (unfortunately the video has been lost to the internet), but there was a minor detail that undercut his point: The Seahawks were actually the #1 playoff seed and 6-point favorites in that game; very few doubters to be found.

But meh, whatever gets you going in the morning. SIT is not always easy to execute. It’s a balance between exuding passion and coming across as a professional. For me, this example of SIT rang hollow. Thankfully, Russell Wilson’s interview forced this contrived mess to the back page.

Job Seekers: Passion is great, but don’t force it. It could actually take away from, rather than enhance, your performance.

It’s important to note that SIT is not practiced by all Seahawks. In fact, one player has decided to go the opposite direction. Seattle’s starting running back, Marshawn Lynch, has popularized his own, highly controversial technique, MUM–which isn’t an acronym at all. When Mr. Lynch decides to respond to a question, it’s usually only a few words and often repeated throughout the interview.

Yeah, sometimes you are just THAT good. You can walk into an interview, throw down your portfolio, and let your work speak for itself…drop the mic. But even if you are that good, the interviewer still has a job to do. The interview–unnecessary as it may seem–is an important process for the employer–the employer who you chose to engage with by the way. Yeah.

Job Seekers: Please only attempt this technique if your performance is so excellent that it speaks for itself…or if you have an endorsement deal with Skittles. Yeah.

Passion + Performance = Success

The Seattle Seahawks have earned their position in the Super Bowl thanks to an impressive combination of experience, talent, and superb performance. However, it is their passion for what they do that gets attention and makes them standout in interviews. It’s not always the top performers or veterans that make it to the top, many times it’s the people who can combine those tangibles with a driving passion to be THE BEST.


ExactHire provides technology for hiring that helps organizations hire individuals with the right mix of talent, experience, and passion. Pre employment screening solutions include background checking, reference checking, and behavioral/cognitive assessments. For more information, please visit our Resources page or contact us today.


Image credit:
Loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium Seahawks-10
by Philip Robertson (contact)

Work Social – Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Social

How does being social affect your work environment?

Social interactions with friends and family have long been considered important to individual emotional health. It’s been found that people are happier when they are part of a group and have others to rely on for comfort and support. Additionally, recent studies suggest that social connections help prevent physical ailments and disease. But what about at work?

Are the social-butterflies of your office treated as if they can do no wrong? Are there co-workers on the outside of your team’s inside jokes? Does your team spend almost as much time together outside the office as they do during the workweek?

Making a Social Agenda

Whatever the case, and regardless of your personal preference, having a social agenda for the office is important. Teams need to build strong relationships. And since not all employees can meet after work, it is important that social interaction is supported during work hours.

After-work gatherings among co-workers should be encouraged, but that should not be the only opportunity for team-building. Community service projects, company meetings, and sponsored activities should be done on the clock and open to all employees. Many companies coordinate service days where employees are paid to volunteer for community enrichment projects such as building a house, cleaning up a park, or serving food to the homeless.

Hosting retirement parties for employees is another great way for teams to strengthen relationships, while providing team members the opportunity to send off valued co-workers. But, again, companies should host these parties during the workday. This way, all employees have the opportunity to attend, and those with after-work commitments will not be left out.

Company meetings can also have a social aspect to them. Providing time before and after the meetings to mingle, enjoy food, and further discuss meeting topics can be very beneficial for employees. This is especially true for employees from different departments–who otherwise might not have the opportunity to build relationships through informal conversations.

Drawing Lines and Workplace Favoritism

Of course, some lines must be drawn for social interaction. One instance is during company travel. Teams that are going to conventions or seminars should not be forced to room together. Employees need privacy and downtime, and so it is important to avoid grouping members into the same hotel room just to save a few dollars.

One final consideration in discussing social interactions at work is the potential for favoritism. All companies–large and small–should avoid giving preferential treatment to employees simply because they are the most sociable. For example: Just because everyone likes “Joe”, doesn’t mean that he should always be asked to join special teams or attend sporting events in the company suite. Joe may be likable and extremely social, but it is important that employees are rewarded based on merit, and that favoritism does not become a part of office culture.


Organizations can hire for sociability using behavioral assessments as part of their hiring process. This provides another indicator for how a job candidate will likely fit and contribute to your company culture. To learn more about pre-employment assessments and other hiring solutions, contact ExactHire today!


Image credit: Eric Receives Award by Moresheth (contact)

Jazz Up Your Job Postings Today

Are your job postings boring? Would you like to make your open positions stand out from the crowd? Here are a few simple tricks for your next job posting that can be made using an Applicant Tracking System:

Embed Videos Into Job Posting

No matter what your company environment and culture are like, you can use an embedded video in your job posting to let applicants know what it would be like to work there. While pictures speak a thousand words–figuratively–videos bring spoken word, motion, and a realness to a your posting that excites job seekers.

Here’s the markup for the above video, which you can get from clicking on the share icon right below your YouTube video (or other hosting site). : <iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”//” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Embed Images

Include fun graphics and images that highlight your work environment and increase interest in your open position. Introducing your company culture to applicants at the outset also supports your efforts in finding the “right-fit” candidates for your organization.

Final Peanuts Picture

Use Flashy Fonts

Don’t go crazy here, but bold fonts can really bring attention to your job posting. Just be sure to keep it classy and AVOID ALL CAPS!

Using Bright Colors

Who says you have to stick to the company color theme? Try something a little different and see if your responses increase. But…don’t use light colors on white backgrounds…duh!

Include Links to Additional Information Not Found In Your Job Posting

Does your company offer a great set of benefits? Why not include a PDF of this information to entice the right candidates to apply?


Image credit: More Of That Jazz by Fabio Venni (contact)

Job Fit: When Do NBA Teams Get it Right?

Let me start by saying how much I dislike the Miami Heat. The main reason? They’ve taken my Indiana Pacers out of the playoffs each of the past 3 years. While that really has no bearing on the rest of my observations, I couldn’t resist the temptation to throw them under the bus!

When Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh ended up on the same team prior to the 2010 season, it made headlines everywhere. At no time in recent memory had 3 true superstars (i.e., “A” players) played on the same team. Forgetting all of the complaints about how unfair this was and how it would upset the competitive balance in the league, bringing this group together created expectations of multiple world titles for the franchise.

Interestingly enough, that didn’t happen in 2010 (they didn’t even make the Finals) or in 2011 (they lost in the Finals). Only in their 3rd season together did the “Big 3” win their first title. They subsequently repeated in 2012. They advanced to the Finals again this season, but were down 3-1 to the San Antonio Spurs early on.

So, for all the money and hype, this celebrated group only reached their stated goal in 2 of their 5 seasons together. This doesn’t mean they’re a failure. On the other hand, most fans consider them to have under-achieved, relative to their…talent.

Talent vs Teamwork: What’s the Right Job Fit Combination?

There are scores of other examples like this in the world of sports, with this being only the most recent. The most “talented” teams don’t often win championships — at least not as often as the statistics indicate they should. Why?

Teamwork trumps talent. Plain and simple.

The same principle applies in the workplace. Creating an environment where people can fill their niche and contribute is a great place to start. Get the right people in the right seats on the bus, as Jim Collins would say. In addition, don’t allow selfish behaviors. This can range from blaming others for issues, starting rumors, misleading clients, etc. These are all the equivalent of a selfish basketball player — that single player refuses to pass the ball, complains about teammates, blames officials, etc. These types of behaviors can ruin a basketball team, but they can also ruin your corporate team — whether you work for a large or small company.

When you hire, don’t simply look at a person’s accomplishments. While those accomplishments can give you a good feel for whether the person can do the type of work you’re asking them to do, you have to also look a little deeper. Use assessments to better understand the core traits and characteristics of that person — how will they interact with your existing team? Listen to people who have worked with them before — how well did they fit in and how did they react when times were tough?

The San Antonio Spurs have flown under the radar for the last few seasons, but despite this recently won their 4th title in 10 years. They have an approach that works for them in terms of what defines great contributors for their team. Like the Spurs, doing your homework before making an offer will help you build a more sustainable and high-producing team.

ExactHire provides a variety of employee assessment solutions. For more information, please visit our assessment tool benefits page or contact us today.

Image credit: Miami Heat Beat Spurs Win NBA Finals | Le Bron James MVP Highlights
by zennie62 (contact)