9 Horrific Hiring Mistakes

Hiring is a science and an art if you approach the process properly. Here are 9 common mistakes made by large and small companies, and how you can avoid them.

JOB DESCRIPTIONS: Poorly written job descriptions will yield poor results. “Poorly written” could be defined as grammatical errors and misspellings, but I am referring to generic job descriptions or unspecific, misleading job descriptions. Investing time in the writing of accurate, unique job descriptions will help job-seekers determine if they are a job fit for the position.


INTERVIEW TEAM: Depending on your industry, the interview process will vary. Just remember: if the team of employees interviewing the candidates are not on the same page, the candidate will know, and you could lose the right candidate. Take time to prepare for the interviewing process as a team. This will keep everyone on the same page and ensure that necessary topics are discussed.


BAD BEHAVIOR: The interviewer must be on best behavior. The candidate’s time is important too. Don’t expect a highly qualified professional to wait an exorbitant amount of time for you–especially if they arrive early. The interviewer should be conscious not to: speak poorly of the company or other employees; take personal or professional calls during the interview; or multi-task in any fashion while conducting the interview. It is also important to dress appropriately for the interview and please, for the love of Human Resources, don’t eat lunch while interviewing potential employees.


FOLLOWING UP: It’s simple. If you are not following up with candidates, you are getting a bad reputation in the world of job-seekers. Applicant Tracking Systems like HireCentric make it easy to send a customized email to applicants that thanks them for their interest and lets them know if the position is a good fit for them.


RESPECT: Another simple thing that can easily be forgotten by interviewers is to respect others. Repeating the same questions can be monotonous,  a particular trait of the candidate could be one of your personal pet peeves, or perhaps you just have stress in your personal–none of that gives you the right to look down on candidates. Don’t treat candidates poorly. You will likely be interviewing some time again in your professional life, so remember the Golden Rule.


COMMUNICATION: During the pre-employment screening process, you may find yourself engaged in conversations via phone, email, or face-to-face. Use these opportunities to assess the candidate’s communication skills. You will likely discover how this person would fit your company culture–before the final hiring stage. Ignoring communication skills, or lack thereof, can be detrimental to your current work environment.


IGNORING WARNING SIGNS: Similar to ignoring queues on communication skills, ignoring a candidate’s negative tone or personality traits can ruin your work environment. During the prescreening process, you should take notes on personality traits that will enhance or spoil your current environment. A candidate with less education and experience may be a better fit than an experienced “Mr. Negativity”. Job-shadowing in the final stage can also help to ensure that you hire the right person.


REFERENCES: Not checking references may be a time-saver today, but it could prove to be a costly mistake. Checking references will verify the dates of employment and daily tasks indicated by the candidate on their resume. Getting insight on work ethic, weaknesses, and attendance can also be helpful when making a final decision between a few, seemingly great, candidates. References that don’t say much versus a reference that raves over a past employee can be a tell-tale sign of who you want on your team.


SKILLS TESTING: Making good hiring decisions is all about having the best data. From cognitive and skills-based assessments to behavioral and interest-based evaluations, hiring managers can gather enough data to get a strong sense of an applicant before they even meet for an interview. Applicants fill out these assessments on their own, and the software automatically scores and evaluates the assessments, providing an in-depth picture of every candidate without adding any work on the shoulders of hiring staff. Assessments can be administered as part of the application process to serve as an early round of evaluation. This can help flag potential employees who may be a poor fit and identify “good fit” candidates based on criteria not typically gathered through a traditional application.


Image credit: Panama Bussiness 2 (desaturated) by Think Panama (contact)

Email Your Network to Find Applicants — Avoid This Mistake

Referrals that come from your network are likely the most reliable and best-suited for your needs.*

*There is always an asterisk, isn’t there? If you are selective about who you request referrals from, their recommendation can be well-suited for your needs. This applies to appliances, restaurants, and yes, even applicants. Let’s focus in on recommendations for applicants.

How You May Email Your Network Now

We’re seeking talented individuals. We spend time putting together a glamorous job description. We make sure the job is published on our website through our applicant tracking software. We then scour our contact list for those in our network that are the “connectors”–to borrow a term from Malcolm Gladwell. Now we email our selected list of connectors.

“Hi! We have a position available. Let me tell you about it, and if you know of someone who would fit, please send this to that person. Tell them to email me at”

Congratulations! You have now created more work for yourself.

Improve How You Email Your Network

This is one of the big mistakes made when emailing our networks, especially when we’re in a hurry. The basic improvement is to switch out your email address for the online application address. Rather than manually entering in an applicant’s information after you receive it via email, have the applicant enter the information in directly themselves.

Most applicant tracking software can track sources. They can even run reports based on those sources. Our HireCentric software does something even cooler: it allows you to customize the referral information into a unique link. By using our Job Referral Page, you can enter specific text to create a customized link.

For example, I might enter “RShuck Professional” and then “RShuck Personal” on another and generate two links to send to two different batches of contacts. When the referred applicants apply, their sources will appear in our HireCentric applicant tracking software as having come from RShuck Professional or RShuck Personal. If you are so inclined, you could send out individual links to your contacts such as RShuck to JTimberlake. That way anyone JTimberlake sent the link to could apply and it could be tracked. This is extremely valuable when seeking applicants for hard-to-fill positions that might contain a type of bonus for the referral.

For more information on how to engage applicants using our Job Referral Page, check out our support center.


Image credit: Networking by Ricki888c (contact)

Job Applicants…Stop Writing In Emoji :)

Today’s forms of communication look eerily similar to hieroglyphics. And it seems the further we come along in our ability to communicate through devices, the cruder people’s true ability to communicate becomes.

What is post mail?

What do you mean, there are no words to describe it?

Is the thank you note extinct?

Where has the cover letter gone?

Language Skills for the Job Applicant

Have you read the book The Giver? I recently had the opportunity to watch the premiere of the film adaptation. There is a very distinct goal in this movie for the characters: “precision of language”. It’s the difference between apologizing and being sorry; between hungry and ravenous. Word choice matters.

The same day that I watched the The Giver, I–along with the world–found out about the death of comedian and actor, Robin Williams. As quotes memorializing Williams and his films plastered my Facebook feed, the one that continued to stand out was from Dead Poets Society:

“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys—to woo women—and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.”

Woo The Employer

Job applicants! You are trying to woo your potential employer! Think precision of language!

Dnt b lazy n do min 2 get by.

There is no reason to even expend the amount of energy it takes to be lazy! Employers are not interested in lazy. Channel your pre-1970’s self. Use your SAT vocabulary words. Consult Emily Post.

Job applicants, I plead with you, stop writing in Emojis and text acronyms. Use your language to invoke feelings and convey meaning. It will set you apart from your competition. Trust me on this, you want to be set apart from your competition. Employers are looking for that special spark. Make the choice to set yourself apart. Afterall, “It’s the choosing that’s important, isn’t it?”


For Hiring Managers faced with emoji-filled applications, ExactHire’s Applicant Tracking System includes features that can quickly score and filter applications. Contact us today to learn more!

Image credit: Eustace emoji cropped by Fred Benenson (contact)

Perfectly Indispensable – 11 Ways to Impress Your Boss

High unemployment rates, volatile markets, and the constant need for businesses to run leaner are all great reasons to become indispensable at work. Let the perfect employee that lives within you radiate through your office, and recession proof yourself!

Increase your personal stock value and make sure you get noticed with:

11 Ways To Win at Work…And Impress Your Boss

1) Be timely and accountable. No one ever needed an employee who was a day late and a dollar short.

2) Use communication properly. Make sure you listen as much as you speak. Communication must go both ways or it doesn’t work.

3) Develop team morale. Don’t just bring in doughnuts on Fridays, offer to help a colleague who you know is overwhelmed. Volunteer to spearhead the project that nobody wants to take on and develop a fun and exciting way to tackle it.

4) Solve issues with solutions, don’t complain. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” In this case, as long as you have a suggestion on the issue, you can bring it up. Otherwise, keep it to yourself until you have an idea.

5) Know the industry. Spend personal time reading relevant and reputable articles that are in line with your work.  By keeping up on the latest and greatest, you are sure to help the business succeed.

6) Pick the hard action-items. When you leave your comfort zone, you will get noticed.

7) Become a SME. Subject Matter Experts are important to your boss and your co-workers. If you are the go-to person for a system, procedure, or difficult client, nobody wants to lose you.

8) Be productive, not just quick. Sure Sally can finish five projects in a day, but none of them are completed properly. Put the extra time into the details and make your pizazz show–your boss and customers will notice.

9) Commit yourself. Sounds pretty straight-forward, but commitment is hard. Luckily, it is also worth the trouble.

10) Embrace and share a positive attitude. Nobody likes a “Debbie Downer” or “Negative Nelly”. Look for that silver-lining and share the positive vibes. It will make your work day happier and more productive, and it might rub off on your coworkers, too.

11) Be reliable. If your boss can’t trust you to turn in something by the deadline, you will quickly be replaced. However, if you have a reputation for always being on time and turning in quality work, that will be duly noted by your peers and management.

Be Indispensable

Once you have mastered these behaviors, you are sure to be considered an indispensable part of your team. Of course, you should know that you will be held to these high-standards that you have created for yourself, too. If you happen to fall short of expectations one day, it will surely be noticed. But all in all, that is a small price to pay compared to what you will gain in not only job security, but most likely in additional financial rewards too. Raises, promotions, special projects and accolades will be yours for the taking!

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Breaking the New Hire Barrier

Barriers separate us from the next level, they prevent us from reaching our desired achievement, and they can be downright scary. Thankfully, all those negatives can be translated into a special brand of motivation that can help us reach that next milestone. We can even use that fear of the unknown to fuel our success as we take a leap of faith into uncharted territory.

I know how unsettling it can be to try something new and put your livelihood on the line to do so. As I sit at my kitchen table to write this blog, it is only my seventh day at ExactHire. There is no way to tap dance around the fact that I was intimidated by this technology, as I have never worked with an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). I know how to provide customer service and I certainly know my way around a computer, but this industry is brand new to me. As natural as it is to have some concern, I would have never imagined that I would already feel confident in my knowledge base of this software. At best, I thought it would be a month before I felt acclimated to these systems.

Luckily, my new position is here. I have learned more than I could have imagined in such a short period of time. Is it because I am a genius? Is it because I am the fastest learner known to mankind? Is it because ExactHire knows exactly who to hire? No, no, and getting closer. ExactHire definitely ‘walks the walk’ and utilizes the technology we provide to staff internally. But, the real reason I am confident enough to start correspondence with our customers is the same reason our clients love us. We strive to improve our business by regularly reviewing our processes, adding to our knowledge management system, and providing unprecedented customer service. The support system at ExactHire is comprised of a tight-knit network of dedicated employees, a vast electronic library of ‘Tip Sheets’, and culture that breeds customer advocacy.

So, you have never used Applicant Tracking Software before. It is expected that you find yourself asking, will you be able to master this new system? Will it be helpful or be the cause of your undying pain? I can assure you that it will improve your manual logging processes and increase the speed of your current methodology for making hiring decisions. Better yet, you are going to improve your business by hiring the RIGHT employee.

Breaking down barriers to new software and technology can be difficult. Make it as easy as possible by choosing an ATS vendor that can support your business needs and wants to help you succeed. If you need to hire the right people, start with the right software and add a dedicated support system. Barriers to being better have never been this easy to break.

For more information about ExactHire’s software solutions, please visit our resources page or contact us.

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What is a Mentor and How do we Find One?

A mentor, according to Webster’s Dictionary is:

  1. experienced adviser and supporter: somebody, usually older and more experienced, who advises and guides a younger, less experienced person; or,
  2. trainer: a senior or experienced person in a company or organization who gives guidance and training to a junior colleague

In the HR world, having a mentor at work can be beneficial for all employees: new hires and those that have been with the organization for years. Building these types of relationships can be a positive for both the mentor and the person being mentored.

Most mentor relationships happen organically, you have a manager that you look up to or they take you “under their wing” and train you in the organization’s culture and job requirements.  You are able to witness firsthand what the more experienced colleague has to offer and then learn from an example. This is a very natural way to be successful at work. It also helps to have similar thinking behaviors to make this relationship fully beneficial. If your organization is willing to help “Assign” mentors, consider using an assessment program (such as PXT employee assessments available from ExactHire) to help match up similar thinking and behavioral styles. Management can use these assessments to help guide mentor programs within their organizations.

But what do you do if you do not have a mentor at your organization? This could be because you are in upper management yourself; or, because it’s a small company and there is not a good fit for this type of relationship. Whatever the reason, there are other options for finding a mentor. (Regardless of your age or work experience, everyone can benefit from a mentor because there is always something new we can each learn!)  Think outside the box! Or in this case, outside the company!  Check for local groups that meet based on industry or interest. Use your networking skills to meet more people from other organizations, bigger or smaller. You will be surprised how quickly you will find someone who would be a suitable mentor. In some cases, you may even be able to help mentor each other, since you will each have unique things to offer in terms of past experience and training capabilities .

A mentor can be important in all aspects of our lives, when we are 6 or 60, whether work related or personal. Having a mentor can keep you focused and on track to achieving many successes in life. To find out more about our employee assessment products, please contact us today.

Image credit: Overcoming obstacles by The U.S. Army (contact)

5 Simple Steps to Making Things Happen

One of my all-time favorite Saturday Night Live skits is the “Fix-it” skit. A quick recap of the original version of this skit goes something like this, “Identify the problem. FIX IT! Identify another problem. FIX IT! Repeat as necessary until it’s all FIXED!”

Sounds simple, but is it really? Well, maybe not quite as simple as a two-step skit but let’s try five steps to making things happen.

1 – Identify your goal

What do you need/want to accomplish or achieve? What is the desired result? You must first identify this in order to understand where to direct your efforts. You should never “ready, fire, aim.” It should always be “ready, aim, fire.” Identify your goal.

2 – Have a game plan

Now that you have your goal, you need to come up with a game plan. How are you going to direct your efforts to put you closer to that goal? This game plan typically comes in many small steps.

Think about dominoes falling. You stand one domino at an angle so that it can hit another domino and so on. When you look at all of the dominoes from above, they form an image, but individually they are simply transferring energy from one domino to the next, once placed in motion.

Map out your game plan full of steps that will put you closer to your goal.

3 – Have more than one game plan

Now that you have your game plan, make a variation of that game plan. Create minor tweaks in the plan that create a different path but still lead you to the same goal. This is beneficial for two reasons. First, if things don’t go just as you had planned them in your first game plan and you have a second game plan; chances are likely that there is still a solution somewhere between first plan and second plan. Second, things rarely go as well as we hope in our first game plan. Having a second game plan helps you to keep moving forward toward your goal.

4 – Be fluid

Keeping your goal identified and in your sights, and at least two game plans at the ready, when situations arise or things begin to change outside of the plan you will be more likely to create a fluid reaction bouncing from one plan to the other and back again. While the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, life does not work that way. We have to be able to adapt and change. There are people who are the opposite of fluid. They’re very rigid. If plans do not go exactly as mapped out, these people toss in the towel, scrap the whole project, etc. That doesn’t put you anywhere nearer your goal. Continue to be fluid with your progress.

5 – Get creative

The more obstacles that are tossed our way or the further we deviate from the game plan may mean that our creativity gets a chance to be exercised. Get creative. Sometimes that might mean doing extra work. Sometimes that might mean going outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes that might mean simplicity. Creative doesn’t always mean harder, but it may be something different.

Want to make things happen? Identify the problem. FIX IT! (By making game plans, being fluid, and getting creative.)
ExactHire offers software products that help companies to improve the results of their hiring process. Need a game plan for your recruiting efforts, please visit our resources page or contact us for more information.

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Passing On Advice – Are You All Ears?

Every year around graduation time people come up with lists of advice. I enjoy seeing what advice other people have been given and what advice they’re passing along. We learn by sharing ideas and thoughts; gleaning little nuggets here and there. Why wait until graduation to pass along golden nuggets? Here’s my list of the best advice I’ve been given from my mentors.

Everything Has a Price

The first time I heard this I did a little gasp. Did I really hear this correctly? EVERYTHING has a price?! Yes. EVERYTHING. I challenge you; name something that you think has no price. Do you have it? Now stop thinking only in terms of money and include time and life. Those things have value and thus have a price.

Why does this matter? The same philosophy behind the statement of missing 100% of the shots you don’t take. If you are interested in something, inquire about it. Many experiences, opportunities, and purchases will present themselves if only you ask, “How much does this cost?” Keep in mind, just because something has a price doesn’t mean you have to pay it. It is your decision if you are willing to pay the price. But everything does have a price. What matters is your consideration and decision on whether the benefit justifies the cost.

Pay It Forward

I am a compilation of investment from others. Time, thought, money, knowledge. I recall my mentor saying one day, “I invest in you and your generation, so that you can invest in someone else and their generation and the cycle will continue. Pay it forward when you can.”

Turns out investing in others is just as important to their growth as it is to your own. Paying it forward has a healthy impact on you as much as it does your recipient.

Answer the Unasked Question

This one is important because often people do not know what they don’t know. If I had no idea that it was possible for candy to be placed inside of a paper mache figure, how would I know that I should beat it until it busts? If people do not know what to ask, it’s most helpful if you answer the unasked question. To know if you are answering the unasked question, try playing the why game. Once you’ve exhausted most or all of the whys, you have answered the unasked question.

For example, “Do kids like piñatas at birthday parties?” could be answered with a simple yes, but then many why questions could follow. Instead a possible answer could be, “Yes, usually kids ages seven and older like piñatas at birthday parties because the coordination they demonstrate to hit the paper mache figure filled with candy until it bursts, while blindfolded, is entertaining as well as surprising.” The trick to this piece of advice, is knowing when to voluntarily provide this information and when a simple yes would satisfy. At ExactHire, we do our best to try to answer the unasked questions when working with clients on software implementations and ongoing support requests.

What kind of advice have you been given that has stuck with you?

ExactHire offers software applications that help small- to mid-sized business leverage technology to automate hiring process-related tasks. For more information about our products and ongoing service, please visit our resources section or contact us.

Image credit: Sage Advice by Randy Heinitz (contact)

Workplace Motivation – Act Like Your Job is Brand New Every Day

We all know that staying motivated at work will more often than not lead to career success…but sometimes this can be a struggle to do, regardless. Now that most people have given up their New Year’s resolutions, here is a good tip to stay motivated at work (as well as in your personal life) throughout the remainder of the year! This seems simple, but sometimes things are easier said than done. Treat your current job as if it were BRAND NEW! Here’s how…

Climbing Up the Corporate Ladder – Make a Plan!

To succeed or advance in your career, you need to be noticed by others of authority in your organization. The most obvious way to do this is to do an excellent job at your current position. Working hard now will pay off down your career path. Now that you know this is what you need today, make a plan on how to execute, making each day another step toward your success. First, think of two other positions within your company that you would like to obtain. Then look at what qualities you have that would make you a good candidate for these jobs. Using this list, create an action plan that showcases your skills.

Differentiate Yourself

Just like when you first started your job, you enjoyed the challenges of what each day would bring. Another way to stay motivated at work is to look at things in a new light – ask yourself, what can I do differently today to still accomplish my goals? Thinking outside the box will help get you noticed by others, making advancement possible and work more challenging and fun. Enjoying your job will likely lead to you being more efficient. Ways to differentiate yourself would be to cross train in another department, join professional groups within your interest areas, seek out special projects and offer help to other staff members whenever possible. Remember to make sure you are still fulfilling your daily job requirements, as well.

Use Your Support Team

Many people don’t like to ask for help, so if you fall into that category, think of it as asking for guidance, instead. Seek out mentors (even if they are not within your organization) who can offer tips on how to succeed or thrive in your current position. Maybe you can take a few classes or network to find similarly-minded people, too. These activities can offer support and improve motivation as you continue your career. Also, speak with your current boss. Let him/her know your action plans and see if he/she has other tips to offer you. If you share your goals with your manager, he/she may be able to help steer you in the right direction of what challenges will best suit you as you work to stay motivated. A happy worker is an efficient and productive one!

ExactHire is a provider of software applications that help companies to automate and improve the recruiting, onboarding and succession planning processes. For more information about our products, please visit our resources page or contact us today.

Image credit: New Beginning by Scott Robinson (contact)