How to Create Digital New Hire Forms

Human resources professionals can improve employee onboarding by creating a process to complete new hire paperwork that is easy to follow and manage. Web-based (or digital) new hire forms are a great way to achieve this. Now, you may have people in your organization that can facilitate a process like this by using Excel, Word, or Adobe PDFs. However, the security of personal information should be a very high priority, and those programs often fall short in that area.

OnboardCentric by ExactHire allows organizations to create digital new hire forms that eliminate any security concerns. Our employee onboarding software contains your company’s handbook, policies, Form I-9, W-4 Form, and other new employee paperwork. Here’s how it works:

Implementing Onboarding Software–What to Expect

The process of building a digital new hire form is much more seamless than one might think. First, ExactHire gathers and reviews all the standard forms that you would like to include. If we have any questions about those forms, we will discuss them with you. And we are happy to answer your questions, as well!

Typically, our questions are aimed at understanding who fills out which portions of various forms. We also need to know which form fields will be pre-filled before the employee looks at the form. From there, our team will take the PDF, Word, or Excel forms provided to us and build the questionnaire into the system.

We will assign you an employee-level login to test your newly created web-based new hire forms. As a result, you will receive an email with a username and password requesting that you complete the forms. Then, you will walk through the questionnaire to submit your answers.

After you’ve viewed and signed your forms as a new employee would, you can view your forms as an administrative-level user would, and complete that aspect of the approval process.

Choosing Onboarding Software–Why ExactHire?

Collecting, managing, and storing sensitive employee data is no small task. While there are many online form solutions on the market, few can meet the specific requirements of a Human Resources department.

Our employee onboarding software is designed by a team with professional HR experience and credentials. Beyond simple forms, our system facilitates internal task management and offers features such as integrated E-verify, and push-to-payroll.

Finally, when local or federal governments release new compliance requirements or updates to forms, our team likely knows about it first. We help you respond to changes quickly, and we are always available if you have questions or advice.


Schedule a Personalized Demo

Provide your new hires with a secure, digital method to easily complete employee onboarding paperwork. Sign up for a demo to learn how ExactHire can partner with your organization to modernize employee onboarding!

33 Fall Employee Engagement and Culture Ideas

Pumpkin spice season is here, folks, and that means my favorite time of year is upon us–fall. So many good things happen in the autumn:

  • beautiful fall foliage (at least in the Midwest where ExactHire calls home),
  • tailgating for your favorite sporting events like football and futbol (for all you soccer moms like me out there),
  • new fall TV show premieres, and
  • an early start to the excitement of the holiday season (and more frequent chances to be thankful and celebrate life with friends and family).

At least a few of the ExactHire employees love to celebrate the season, too. Can you tell?

Hey, we worked hard to capture the leaves in motion for this shot!

Hey, we worked hard to capture the leaves in motion for this shot!

The activities our “Fun” Committee plans are great ways to break up the work week and give us more chances to connect with each other. Opportunities for connection are increasingly important for employers in today’s web-based workplace and society.

In this blog, I’ll present ideas for using the autumnal season to inspire ideas for employee engagement.

1 – Pick a day each fall month for competition and snacks

It’s easy to let time get away from you when it comes to planning culture-building activities frequently enough. Have a recurring “funday” appointment on your office calendar, and then fill in with surprise one-off activities as appropriate.

ExactHire has Monday Funday the third Monday of every month following our all-hands company meeting. In September, we honored various pro golf championship tournaments with a little putt-putt of our own. Of course the winner, our Co-Founder Harlan Schafir, was able to claim our super classy brass vase (make sure you pronounce it vahzzz to sound fancy). The giant cookies being served didn’t hurt employee attendance to this event, either!

Harlan Putts | ExactHire Monday Funday

Our Co-Founder, Harlan Schafir, putts for the Monday Funday win!

2 – Roast some office s’mores

Don’t try this one inside, friends…unless you opt to use the microwave or remember to blow out your candle afterward. But let’s be honest, a candle probably won’t get the job done. Lucky for you, mini kitchen blow torches are reasonably affordable.

3 – Have a pumpkin decorating contest

Whether you carve, paint or decorate, procure some pumpkins for all employees willing to participate. Have a small prize, display them in your office (make sure to take pictures!) and then encourage employees to take them home to friends and family.

ExactHire Company Halloween Party-Monday Funday

Employee entries from our fierce pumpkin decorating contest last October.

4 – Volunteer for a worthy cause

As the weather starts to cool (depending on where you live), many non-profit organizations, including shelters, will have a greater need for assistance and resources to help individuals fend off the elements. Organize a team or department to take time to serve in a capacity that will assist the recipient organization.



5 – Have a dance party

Does anyone really do that? Yes, I’ve worked for employers who did this periodically to destress employees. Take requests and then put a season-inspired song on the phone system intercom. Here are some tune ideas to get you started:

  • “Thriller” by Michael Jackson (go ahead, channel Jennifer Garner in “13 Going on 30”),
  • “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo,
  • “Toxic” by Britney Spears,
  • “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band, and
  • “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

6 – Stock the kitchen with fancy coffee creamer

Whether it’s artisanal or just the latest Coffee Mate creation, having access to creamer flavors like pumpkin spice, eggnog, spiced latte and peppermint will perk up anyone’s morning brew.

Artisanal Coffee for Office

Image credit: coffee lover

7 – Sponsor an employee team for a 5K

Five-kilometer races abound in the fall in our area. Select a race that benefits a notable cause and sponsor a team of employees who enjoy jogging and walking. Go the extra mile and have a t-shirt design competition, and then produce the winning shirt for all team members to wear during the race.

8 – Board game breaks

Don’t stop at puzzles, schedule occasional “game days” when employees get the chance to spend an hour facing off against other employees to win a game. Hint: Don’t pick Risk–it takes forever! Twister would be a good one to avoid, too. Fun, but relatively short, options might include

  • Uno,
  • Jenga,
  • Qwirkle,
  • Rummikub, and
  • Euchre.

9 – Make caramel apples

If you don’t want to unwrap little caramel candies or don’t have access to a stove in the office, then keep it simple with incredibly convenient caramel apple wraps.

10 – Celebrate Oktoberfest

Whether you go with a full-on German fare-inspired pitch-in or keep it simple with some Bavarian pretzels and a beer tasting, you can’t go wrong with food. Encourage any employees who are brewing and/or sausage-making hobbyists to bring in their own creations to share.

11 – Feast at a festival

The fall is a time for bountiful community festivals. Here in Indiana, the Covered Bridge Festival is a multi-day, multi-town event that combines crafts, cuisine and crowds into an explosion of autumn sentiment. I never miss it. Check your state festival guide to see if any local events would make a great extended lunch destination for your crew.

12 – Conduct meetings outdoors

Does your building have a patio space, or even a few picnic tables? If so, unplug the laptop and head outside for a group meeting or a 1-on-1 discussion. Employees will relish the fresh air and everyone can soak up some extra vitamin D.

Have Meetings Outdoors | ExactHire

Image credit: Picnic Table

13 – Go on a scavenger hunt outside

Plan an autumn scavenger hunt as a team-building activity and friendly competition. A recent chaperone experience I had with my son’s class field trip taught me that empty egg cartons make great containers for small scavenger hunt items. Or, if you want to go a more tech-savvy route, have participants share proof of accomplishing hunt challenges by tagging your corporate Instagram account (a great tactic for employment branding).

Fall Scavenger Hunt Egg Container

Handy container for collecting fall scavenger hunt items

14 – Plan a spirit week

If you enjoyed dressing up for spirit week during homecoming in high school, then you’re bound to be amused by participating in themed days in the workplace. Solicit employee ideas for themes and consider awarding small prizes each day. Our team had fun with high school day in the past when we showed off our letter jackets, senior portraits and yearbooks.

Letter Jackets Group

Some EH’ers showing off our high school memorabilia.

15 – Have a potluck tailgate

Set up a grill in the parking lot and have employees pitch in by bringing tailgate-themed dishes. Depending on the date and time of the event, consider streaming a favorite sporting event for all to watch while eating. Don’t forget to have everyone wear their favorite jersey, and have a drawing to win a couple of tickets to a college or pro sporting event.

16 – Make some microwave caramel corn

Growing up, the only way I’d eat caramel corn was if it was made in a brown paper bag in the microwave. There’s something about that warm, gooey deliciousness that puts it near the top of my comfort food list. The best part about it is that it is easy to clean up after your office teammates dig into it. Just fold up the bag and toss it in the garbage.

17 – Nerf gun turkey shoot

Looking for inspiration for silly office games? Look no further. Gather up a few Nerf guns from employees’ children, and set up bowling pin-style targets that complement the season on a conference room table. Go for turkeys, pumpkins, ghosts or leaves.

Turkey Targets | ExactHire Monday Funday

All set with turkey targets in place!

18 – Produce a Thanksgiving card or video

This is one of my favorite ExactHire traditions. Instead of sending a winter holiday card to clients, we always send a Thanksgiving note. In the beginning, we sent cards in the mail, but then we transitioned to a collaborative video production to show thanks. We can’t wait to put one together for this year, too! If you’re nervous about getting started with this kind of project, we have some video production tips for you.

Wicked Witch Legs

Wicked witch legs on a previous ExactHire Halloween work day.

19 – Have a costume contest

What would a fall activity list be without a reference to Halloween costumes? Incentivize employee participation with kooky prize categories such as

  • best homemade costume,
  • most tech-savvy costume,
  • best unconventional materials costume (yes, I’m channeling Project Runway), and
  • best pop culture-inspired costume.

20 – Take a group trip to pick apples

Go on an outing to gather up ingredients for some red hot applesauce (a favorite from my childhood) or apple dumplings.





Image credit: Time well spent

Independent Payroll Providers Under Attack!

Payroll providers are under attack! Across the nation, over 240 independent payroll providers are under attack by “mega payroll providers.” Their mode of attack? They offer a slew of low-cost or “no-cost” add ons to their core services in a bid to persuade small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to contract with them. Seems benign enough, but the problem is that many of these add-ons are poor imitators of quality HR tech. They might be compared to the equivalent of kids’ cheap party favors…the ones that are “thrown in” when you schedule your five-year-old’s birthday party at the pricey bounce house playground.

Some of these mega payroll providers are starting to appear like late-night infomercials… “But wait there’s more! Order now and get FREE software for hiring, onboarding, performance management, PLUS a robot to fire your bad hires!” It would be comical if it was harmless, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Because just like those infomercials, there are times when the HR add-on features and benefits touted by the mega providers are too good to be true. The result is that businesses get a pretty good payroll provider with subpar HR software that may be clunky, limited, and resting on the dull edge of technology. This hurts the health and growth of an SMB, which begs the question: are these SMBs really, in fact, getting a good payroll provider?

Finding True Value

The reason a business partners with any vendor is to free itself from work in which it does not specialize. Efficiency is gained by contracting the work out to a vendor, and the service received is of higher value than the dollars invested–a positive ROI. This arrangement allows the business to focus on its core competencies and reach its objectives more efficiently. However, this only works when the vendor provides value via a superior product backed by responsive customer service. Quite frankly, when SMBs go with a mega payroll provider they may be setting themselves up to lose on both fronts.

Many of our clients’ previous experiences with mega payroll providers were characterized by slow, poor customer service when it came to supporting ancillary HR software products. And the less robust add-on products that those providers hawk can sometimes cause more problems and inefficiencies than they solve. So while an enterprise-level payroll provider might provide some benefits and value through its core offerings, many SMBs will find themselves frustrated and nowhere near nirvana with the big provider “single sign-on” platforms.

But there are other victims too. Reputable independent payroll providers with effective solutions and responsive customer service, but without the resources of a mega provider, are being pushed out of the market. They may feel compelled to internally develop solutions that fall outside of their core focus and that threaten profitability. To say it simply, smaller providers are being forced to be something they’re not, in order to give clients something they ultimately won’t want (imitation HR tech). So what is an independent (non-mega) payroll provider to do?

Partner Up

Of course mega payroll providers are not evil. They are simply leveraging their market position and resources to create more perceived value for prospective customers–nothing new here. The problem is that they are failing to deliver enough value to the smaller and mid-sized clients that they steal from independent payroll service bureaus. So if smaller providers are to stand a chance at competing with mega providers, they will have to find a way to offer leading-edge HR technology, while also protecting profitability and providing real value. The best way to do this is to partner with “best-of-breed” HR tech vendors.

The world of HR tech has exploded in recent years. There are SaaS solutions for nearly every HR task and process you can imagine. However, not all tech vendors are created equal. When partnering with a hiring technology vendor, you’ll want to ensure that the following is true of the vendor:

  • It provides product support and customer advocacy.
  • It is committed to product improvement and enhancement.
  • It provides sales support via print and/or digital marketing content.
  • It prices products competitively, protecting your profit and customer value.

Each of these areas must be thoroughly vetted before making a decision on a vendor. A vendor that simply says “yes, we do that,” but cannot provide evidence to how effectively it can, in fact, “do that,” is not a vendor with which you want to partner. Remember, although you will resell another company’s product, your clients will associate it with your organization. If the vendor fails to impress you, it will in all likelihood fail to impress your clients, which reflects poorly on you and can damage your client relationships.

Plan Your Counter Attack

In today’s market, it is critical for independent payroll providers to partner with successful, client-centric HR tech vendors. Doing so provides value to clients and maintains profitability for the provider. But rushing to find a vendor and entering a partnership without planning or research can be disastrous.

Before launching a counterattack on mega payroll providers, take the time to plan your approach to an HR tech partnership. ExactHire has created a guide to help you do just that. In it, you will be walked through a series of questions to consider before you commit to a partnership or any type of reseller arrangement. Our hope is that this exercise will help you evaluate whether teaming up with an HR technology provider will potentially open doors for your organization in the marketplace.


ExactHire specializes in providing small- to medium-sized business with HR software, including solutions for applicant tracking, employee onboarding, automated reference checks, and assessments. Additionally, ExactHire partners with other SMB service providers to help maximize value for growing organizations.

HR Software Provider Partnership Guide

Feature Image Credit: Cross-Hairs by Paul Sableman (contact)

ExactHire Named a Nominee for 2016 TechPoint Mira Awards

It was a big year for the ExactHire team in 2015, full of many exciting developments including the addition of brand new positions and a steady stream of product enhancements. The positive momentum is continuing as we’re thrilled to announce that the Indiana technology growth initiative, TechPoint, has named ExactHire a nominee in the Innovation of the Year category for the 2016 Mira Awards.

In its 17th year, the Mira Awards annual program honors “The Best of Tech in Indiana” each year. This season, 98 nominees in 14 award categories were selected from 168 applications by an independent judging panel comprised of 40 subject matter experts who evaluated and ranked the applications.

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the tech community in Indiana, and we’re honored to be included in the following list of ground-breaking Indiana organizations:

Innovation of the Year

To learn more about the TechPoint Mira Awards and the organizations represented in each category, click here.

Want to bring more efficiency to your recruiting, onboarding & hiring processes? Schedule a demo today.


How Can Payroll Service Providers Protect Market Share?

If you’re a small- or mid-sized payroll service bureau, then you are under siege. It’s not a surprise assault, but rather a slow, stealthy adversary that creeps into your market, much like an ominous freighter on the sea’s horizon. You can see it coming, but have no control over its course and the subsequent impact on your own existence. In fact, your only hope is to proactively launch a counter attack and build up your own clients’ and prospects’ resistance to the wares it is peddling.

So who is your antagonist in this nefarious, naval metaphor?  If you don’t already know, then you will soon, as it’s inevitable that the larger national payroll providers (e.g. ADP, Paychex, Ceridian, Paycom and Paylocity) will begin to make waves in your pond. But they aren’t your only potential foe, as recent newbie market disruptors such as Zenefits, Namely and Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) carry a new kind of threat as well.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at how your competition is leveraging its strengths to recede your market share. Then, later on in this blog series we’ll examine your opportunities for positioning your business as an attractive alternative to the creeping payroll software providers.

National Payroll Provider Creeper AlertBeware of the Creepers

Of course your competitors aren’t as dangerous as the “creepers” in the video game of Minecraft; however, you don’t want to launch an offensive while unarmed, lest they explode any hopes you have of saving and then gaining new clients. Here’s how you start to sense their presence…perhaps you are a well-respected, service-oriented regional provider that makes sure its customers are more than just one number among many. In fact, your payroll software solution is quite robust and can outperform the payroll functionality of your publicly-traded competitors. Everything is working out well in your market until you start to get creeper-inspired emails like the one below.

Hi Toby,
I hope this message finds you well! I wanted to let you know that in the next month or so, our organization will begin transitioning to a new payroll software platform. Your firm has served us very well to date, but as we look ahead with more aggressive HR department goals, we’re looking for ways to optimize our internal resources, including implementing a system that is designed to bring additional features outside of basic payroll services.

If you are interested in learning more about the specifics of our decision to transition to a new system, I am happy to share more. Again, it’s been a pleasure working with your team over the last few years and we wish you all continued success.

Thanks for your help.

That’s what the email actually said, but perhaps all you glean in your moment of frustration is something like this.

Hi Toby,
Your services aren’t keeping up with the “holistic HR” times, so we need to move to a modern solution that will. You’re great to work with, but not so great that we’ll skip out on the chance to run our HR department more efficiently. Sorry ‘bout ya!

President of the Creeper Fan Club

If you’re still not convinced that your customers are susceptible to the subtle onslaught of new opportunities presented by enterprise-level platforms, then consider the comments noted in the transcripts for Q2 2016 earning calls for both ADP and Paychex.

“In the second quarter, we continued to see very strong demand for our solutions, which is evidenced by our new business bookings growth of 15%. Sales of additional human capital management modules that assist with the Affordable Care Act or ACA compliance continue to contribute meaningfully to this performance, which has exceeded our expectations on a year-to-date basis. As a result, we are now forecasting new business bookings growth of at least 12% for FY16.” Carlos Rodriguez, President and CEO of ADP

“We made good progress across all major product lines during the second quarter. Compared to second quarter of last year, payroll revenue advanced 4% as a result of growth in client base and revenue per check. HRS revenue grew at double-digit rates in the second quarter once again led by our success in selling HR outsourcing solutions to our clients, and total service revenue grew 7%.” Martin Mucci, President and CEO of Paychex

While the above comments encapsulate just one recent quarter’s performance, at a minimum they should spike your adrenaline a bit if it isn’t already pumping. If the major payroll players are seeing notable success in endeavors outside of their original core payroll services, then it’s a certainty that they will continue to pursue them aggressively.

The Lure of Having Features Beyond Plain Ol’ Payroll Software

The economies of scale available to large national software providers have given them the ability to expand their offerings into other verticals complementary to payroll. And while you don’t care if they sell their top of the line platform to Fortune 1000 companies, you do need to be aware of how small business-focused sales teams are luring your local clients away. Here are two tactics involved.

Insurance, PEO and ASO Services

Think about the huge customer lists of the “big boy” providers, coupled with the vast internal resources available. They can train and certify employees to offer additional services, as well as to develop add-on HR systems that complement their payroll application. With staff available to offer insurance benefits and a built-in warm lead flow of clients, it’s no surprise that companies like ADP and Paychex are succeeding in up-selling insurance to existing clients to then fund their efforts to convert new customers by poaching from your pool.

They take it a step further to make a ripple in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) space, as well, by offering PEO (Professional Employer Organization) and ASO (Administrative Services Organization) services to alleviate the stress felt by companies that are strapped when it comes to internal HR resources. In fact, ADP’s PEO business, ADP TotalSource, is the largest PEO in the United States according to its Q2 2016 earnings call transcript.

You may not want to go near the PEO business with a ten-foot pole; however, you do want to keep your SMB clients from switching their payroll business to a large competitor. However, if that competitor makes the rest of your client’s HR duties easy and all you are bringing to the table is payroll, then you are fighting an uphill battle. Your competitors have the money and resources to make their entire HR services platform top of mind for your clients.

Free HR Software

If I told your clients that I had human resources management software that they could have for free, what would they say? Some might be reluctant because there’s no such thing as a free lunch. However in the case of how Zenefits and Gusto are disrupting the insurance and benefits space, the client would learn that these organizations get paid by becoming the broker of record when they sell insurance to the client. The commission on these transactions more than makes up for the cost associated with giving their clients “lite” HR software for free. It’s no surprise they’ve captured a lion’s share of new customers in the few years since their entrance.

And while Zenefits, in particular, has been momentarily tarnished by the major compliance faux pas of eluding some states’ regulatory requirements for insurance sales, it will likely bounce back as it continues to be supported by major VC money and a new CEO. Plus, rival Gusto has gallivanted into the market without skipping a beat on a similar go-to-market model.

Go With Your Flow, Don’t Fight Against the Tide

It’s not very productive to battle the current that is bringing major competitors into your space, as you can’t control their approach. However, you do have options for bringing additional HR efficiency to your clients and their organizations.

Stay tuned for more details on those opportunities in the next blog in this series. Or, if you can’t wait, contact ExactHire to learn how your payroll service provider organization can partner with us to bring enhanced hiring and onboarding software functionality to your customer base.

HR Software Provider Partnership Guide

Image credits:

North Shore Trip – August 2015 – MV American Integrity at Sunrise by pmarkham (contact)

Tiny Creeper Statue by post-apocalyptic research institute (contact)


A Paperless Workplace Is Good Business

Wasted time. Wasted money.  No one likes waste–the mere mention of the word evokes the feeling of regret. But across the world we do it every day. Often times, as individuals, we waste because we cannot find an alternative. But for small businesses today, much time and money is wasted by ignoring the obvious, glaring alternative of transitioning to a paperless workplace.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, paper and paperboard products accounted for roughly 69 million tons (or 27 percent) of the U.S. municipal waste stream in 2012–nearly twice the amount of the next most wasted material, food. On average, each U.S. citizen is responsible for 1.2 lbs. of paper waste per day. And while recycling efforts have helped to mitigate paper waste, the best approach to reducing waste is to avoid generating it in the first place.

Paperless Possibilities

The Information Age has ushered in new possibilities for conservation. In the vast majority of cases–especially with the broad adoption of e-signatures and cloud drives–paper documents are not necessary. Yet, too many businesses have been slow in transitioning to a paperless workplace.

Small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. employ around 56.1 million people. Imagine if these businesses fully embraced a paperless work environment. Yes, this would sharply reduce waste by businesses, but more importantly it would influence how employees think about paper use outside the office.

Do I really need the newspaper delivered?

Do I need to receive a paper bill?

Do I have to print this off?

Where else can I save paper?

An environmentally responsible employer brand is one benefit of moving to a paperless work environment, but there are cost savings to be realized with the transition as well. Paperless solutions not only remove the need to use paper for common tasks and processes, many times they automate those same processes as well. So in addition to the savings associated with not buying paper and print cartridges, a business can return higher profits through increased process efficiency.

A Culture of Conservation

Your business can take the first step in becoming a paperless workplace by first creating a culture of conservation. Here are a few ideas on how to use less paper in your office:

  • Purchase printer and copier units that can print on both sides of a sheet of paper.
  • Set all computers and copiers to default to double-sided printing.
  • Use email instead of paper or faxes.
  • Don’t print email messages.
  • Work on drafts electronically, using “edit” and “comment” features.
  • Choose reusable cups, plates, and utensils instead of disposable paper and plastic items for your office break room.
  • Use paper towels made with post-consumer recycled material or use cloth napkins.
  • Choose reusable lunch bags or coolers.

To make the full leap to a paperless workplace,  you’ll need to explore how new technologies can further remove your reliance on paper. From communications and marketing to document storage and employee management, virtually every aspect of your business can be enhanced by investing in technology. And the best part? Many of these technologies are very affordable… and sometimes even free.

So stop wasting time and money, transform your business into a paperless workplace. You have nothing to lose–except paper…lots of expensive paper.

ExactHire provides paperless HR solutions to help small businesses achieve greater efficiency. Please contact us today to learn how you can stop wasting time and money by going paperless!


How to Overcome Employment Screening Challenges in Small Business

I know from experience: being part of a small human resources department often creates a close-knit team, but the workload can make you long to clone yourself a few doppelgangers. Small business HR professionals are often slowed down with manual processes, like ordering background checks and chasing down references. Moreover, they are often pulled away to put out unexpected “fires”; thus, making it difficult to get to every to-do on time. That’s why more small- and medium-sized companies are looking for ways to accomplish more without adding expensive overhead in the form of extra HR staff members.

Our ExactHire e-book, The SMB Guide to Superhero Pre-Employment Screening, reviews best practices in pre-employment screening; including, application review, assessments, background checking and reference checking. In chapter six (embedded below) the challenges of traditional reference checking are reviewed. This chapter comments on how automated reference checking software can gather objective feedback more quickly and with little effort.

For the complete resource to help guide you in fighting potential inefficiencies within your organization, download ExactHire’s complete superhero-themed e-book. Think of automating the candidate screening process as a means to arm yourself with enhanced senses and special, super equipment. After all, what would Wonder Woman be without her lasso; or, Spiderman without his webbing?

SMB Pre-Employment Screening Guide Ebook
Image credit: Thunder of Hooves by JD Hancock (contact)

Perks and Quirks of Working for an SMB

Working for a small to medium-sized business (SMB) is much different than working for a large corporation in various ways. In my personal experience, I have to admit that working for a smaller company better fits my personality. The tight-knit camaraderie and close connections we have to each other’s personal lives feels more like a family environment than the sweatshop-esque call center that I fled before starting here.

Sure, we don’t always get the same financial perks that a Fortune 500 company can offer, but we aren’t getting cheated on our paychecks either. There is a give and take in any relationship–even the employee/employer relationship.


For me, the benefits of a caring team and the perks of occasionally working from home are worth more to me than a company match on a highly-regulated 401K. I am happy to invest my earnings in other vehicles and keep the mileage low on my actual vehicle.

We also bond as a team in a manner that is much more satisfying and organic than anything I have experienced in my past careers. We enjoy the State Fair on an annual basis, reach goals to earn fun prizes, laugh and joke in the hallway, and support each other professionally.


As in life, things are not all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes working for a smaller company can bring in the very real issue of transparency and lack of professional privacy. Whether it be the announcement of someone’s first sale, new grandchild, or the company budget – we all know the story pretty quickly. But it’s nice to know that if our co-founder is going to be out for the afternoon, we will all get a little note with a FYI. This is a unique quirk of working for a small business–nobody’s rights are being violated here. Having high-visibility is embraced by our team as just the nature of our office life.

All of these small business quirks combine to create a wonderful atmosphere that encourages each of us to do our best and support each other. In times of trial and tribulation, we come together to prevail. Most of these are professional challenges, but very recently, we had a bit of a unique situation in our local office.

Quirky Example: The Bucket Brigade

During a typical April shower in Indianapolis (think monsoon thunderstorm), on an otherwise calm Thursday afternoon in the office, we started to hear some unusually loud precipitation. At first, we weren’t sure if something was really wrong until we entered an unoccupied office and stood shocked by streams of water cascading from the ceiling at multiple points! And this was not just any office, but the office of our sister-company’s vacationing president. Electronics, documents, books, personal items, and more that were being showered with water.

The skeleton crew from our joint office quickly gathered and became the Bucket Brigade. Together we made the best out of the stressful situation by forming a make-shift clean-up crew with the common goal of salvaging the important items that had been drenched. I think most corporate offices would have called ‘the authorities’ and remained idle with the fear of being reprimanded for touching the belongings of others. But being part of a small company meant that our team members who were working remotely could instantly ramp up their efforts, while we were free to address the immediate need of clean-up. Thankfully, we were able to save all the items that had gotten wet, and we gained a fun story and team nickname too.

ExactHire specializes in providing hiring solutions for the SMB market. As a small business that seeks to leverage technology for continued growth, we understand the value and power of affordable technology backed by reliable customer support. To learn how our hiring solutions can enhance your HR operations, contact us today!

When Should I Buy Applicant Tracking Software? – Whiteboard [VIDEO]

If your organization has never used an applicant tracking system before, you might be curious about the telltale signs that it might be time to buy applicant tracking software. In today’s Whiteboard Chat, Jeff Hallam shares his insight on the most obvious indicators that it may be appropriate for a small- to medium-sized business to implement a recruiting software solution for the first time.

Video Transcript:

Hi there! Today we’re going to take a look at something that comes up quite a bit as I’m out talking with organizations. And that usually kind of revolves around, for those who aren’t already very large…how do I know if I’m large enough; or, how do I know when the time is right for me to need an applicant tracking tool?

And so today is really just designed to give you some helpful things to keep in mind or some considerations so that you’ve got some warning signs to consider as to when might the time be right for your particular company. So, the obvious one is if you are doing more hiring. And there is no set benchmark, there is no set number of hires. If you hire more than this or fewer than that, it is or isn’t right for you. More often what I find is that it’s relative. It’s relative to what we’ve done before, it’s relative to what we’ve done up to this point, and so for everyone there seems to be this line of demarcation that once we cross that, this becomes a lot more problematic than it has been prior.

So as you continue to grow and you have more openings out there, that is almost always going to be a surefire way to help you kind of keep that in mind. Secondly, if you are seeing instances where candidates are applying, and you’re finding yourself kind of scratching your head and saying I think I’ve heard of this person before. Or, I think we considered them before. Or, other people are looking at the resume and saying “oh, we’ve talked to this person prior.” That’s almost always a good sign if you don’t have a ready way to keep track of that, and if you think about an Excel spreadsheet, Microsoft Outlook folders, or worse yet even just a stack of resumes you might be keeping in a file folder somewhere…that becomes really difficult to cross reference when you have more than a handful of those in there. So again, that’s almost always a good way to know that if that’s happening with more frequency, that means you probably have more openings, you’re getting more candidates. It might be time to look for a more effective way to keep track of those folks.

This is one of those things that comes up a lot…this need to involve hiring managers. So, when you find yourself at a point where it’s becoming more cumbersome to let hiring managers weigh in on certain candidates, it’s becoming more difficult to track and log what their feedback is…who we interviewed, who did we not, why do we not want to interview them or why do we want to interview them…again, that’s typically where Outlook spreadsheets, Excel spreadsheets, Outlook subfolders I should say…those types of things become very difficult to share bits and pieces of with hiring managers who are only focused on a certain opening. So, in other words if I have three openings and I only want Manager One to see this list of candidates, Excel and Microsoft Outlook folders aren’t really designed to do that in a very efficient way.

So again, as you’re finding yourself getting to that point, others are getting involved, and you want their input…almost always going to be something that will tip your hand that it might be time to look at a solution like ours. And then finally if your applicants are hearing crickets. And again, just by way of notice, that is a cricket. The idea here as much as we make light of it is that can be problematic at two different levels…so certainly it can be problematic if you have good candidates and you want to move them along in the process but you’re not getting to them quickly enough. Those folks, if they don’t hear a response very quickly, they’re likely moving on to the next opportunity. And you certainly don’t want to lose access to them. So that’s what we mean on the one side of the fence when we talk about them hearing crickets.

On the other side of the fence though, are the people that you are clearly not moving forward with. When you don’t have an automated tool like an applicant tracking software piece available, it becomes very difficult to keep applicants up to date with where they are and communicate with them effectively. And so even though you may not be worried about them as a potential hire, you don’t want to give those folks incentive to speak poorly of you out in the employment marketplace. Certainly we all have a brand to our potential customers, but that branding also extends over to the employment side of things. So, whether you are talking about your better applicants or your not so good applicants, having a ready way of keeping them apprised of where they are, what the next steps are, and where they fall in that process…is going to be very critical to making sure that you maintain a good presence in the employment brand space out there, and avoid giving people incentive to speak poorly about you to others. So again, hopefully this has been a nice help just to give you a few quick indicators. These aren’t the only ones by any means, and they may not be the exact ones for you…but certainly something to keep in mind as you continue to grow and your business gets to points where you might be considering something like this.

For more information about how ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking system, please visit our resources section.

Portfolio Items