What to Expect from Your Recruiter

posted by NextGen'rs |

The throw everything at the wall and see what sticks method is no way to work, not to mention very wall-unfriendly. And let’s remember, your company is the wall in the eyes of a bad recruiter. This is no way to grow a relationship and yet it’s the modus operandi of so many hiring agencies that are looking to turn some quick bucks.

Maybe over coffee or lunch, you hear a friend say something like “and I shoulda known when they did X that things weren’t gonna work out.” Sometimes red flags are easy to see, sometimes they’re obscured, sometimes you simply choose to ignore them. When you start working with a recruiter, pay close attention to how curious they are about the processes in place as well as the culture at your office. If they seem too dead set on finding out “who has the power to make the call” then this can be a bad sign that their focus in on the wrong thing.

Understanding your processes is especially important. Every office has its own tacit set of rules that can’t be read in a guidebook or clearly explained, yet must be inferred and respected. The same goes for culture. Has your recruiter ever asked about noise levels at your office and whether or not headphones are frowned upon? These types of things are very important if the objective is to find the right fit. They don’t have to ask that exact question, but you want to sense some detailed curiosity about the work environment.

Finding the right fit should be the objective of a recruiter. This is different from finding out how you can most quickly fill a position. That doesn’t mean speed isn’t important, it just means you want to work with someone with a longer view. One who’s trying to build trust through good placements.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

How to Find the Best Talent

posted by NextGen'rs |

The Passive Pool

The biggest advantage an agency has over an HR department is what’s called the passive pool. For a good agency, the passive pool runs pretty deep with talented people currently employed — both happily and maybe a little less than happily. But the key is that these relationships are cultivated over the long term and focused on talent, not on immediate movement or quick fixes. Over time the quality of this pool is what separates the good agencies from the bad.

Your HR department will only have the resumes from people who actively sought out your company and initiated contact. While this is a valuable pool, it typically isn’t the place where you’re going to find the right fit.

It’s not easy finding the right talent. It’s labor-intensive and resource-draining. It can distract your people from moving your business forward. And if the open position experiences a lot of turnover, then you really need to consider an agency for some advice on why this is happening and ways to remedy it so you can stabilize your workforce.

Market Conditions

Current conditions aren’t making it any easier for Telecom, as the pool of talent thins and unemployment dwindles. Combine this with the a rising demand for good customer service, which is what has come to separate the companies that are winning from the ones that aren’t, and you have a problem. But you don’t have to solve it alone, and you probably shouldn’t. Arm yourself with a good recruiting agency, make things a little easier.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

The Art of the Hire: Ways to Interview

posted by NextGen'rs |

Maybe you’ve worked with someone who made you look forward to going to work? Maybe it was the entire crew you worked with. When something went wrong, you covered for each other. Things kept moving forward. You inspired each other to be great. Your worklife entered a blissful state, even if only temporarily.

The people you work with need to have the competencies to do their job well, but what sets the right candidate apart goes beyond skillsets and more deeply into that person’s ability to work well with your team and bring out its best. So, yeah you need someone with core competencies, but if those don’t come with the desire to do great things or the curiosity to seek out different ways to do great things then they’re not worth much. And if those competencies don’t come in a package that plays well with others, then they can undermine your team, and that’s no good.

So how do you find these somewhat elusive qualities in an interview? It’s not easy, but maybe it’s not as hard as you think. You can usually get a feel for a person in the first few moments you meet. Yes, it’s interview day so everything will have that gleaming showroom quality, but you can usually glimpse beneath the veneer and get a real sense of someone. That glimpse should give you a sense of that person’s curiosity. That person’s ability to work with or without a roadmap. That person’s ability to make the office a fun place to go to for others. This may sound a little too human or uncorporate, but remember there is no algorithm that’ll tell you who’s really going be a good fit, and that’s why algorithms don’t make hiring decisions. You do. So trust your instincts about a person and their curiosities, ambitions and ability to play well with others.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

The Art of the Hire: Interview Tips

posted by NextGen'rs |

If you’re sitting down for a face-to-face conversation, chances are the candidate has been vetted at least somewhat and will have the necessary skills to do the job. You’re looking to find something less obvious. Is this specific person going to be the one to move your team forward? This information doesn’t live on a resume, it likely has more to do with attitude and problem-solving abilities. So how can you lead an interview that gets past the shiny interview-day smiles and self-puffery and surfaces these qualities? Here are a few lines of questioning to consider.

There’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all.

That’s how Bob Dylan put it, but the idea that failure is essential to success is not seen as paradoxical in the era of the startup. Can your candidate talk about past failures openly? Try to find out two things: how the candidate viewed and learned from the experience and how much fight did he or she have. Sometimes there’s a sensible reason for failure, but how hard was it to accept that reason? It’s good sportsmanship not to badger around this question. If it’s not revealing, simply move on.

Work Ethic.

As trite as it sounds, nothing trumps hard work. And hard work is all about tolerance and tenacity. How far can they push a project before they hate it and you and everything? How well do they perform the small tasks when, to borrow another quote, the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill?

Compromise and Unexpected Results.

Ask about projects they worked on that they didn’t expect to succeed but were pleasantly surprised by. Ultimately you want to find out how open the person is to exploring projects that they may initially think are dumb. This hopefully casts a window into what they perceive as below them (yikes) as well as whether or not they’re willing to try new things. Could be very revealing.

Rockstar Question.

Ask about a project they worked on in which they were firing on all cylinders. This is something they should be a little prepared for, but that’s fine. Pay attention to what motivated them more than the results. Hopefully you can find out what makes them tick — in under an hour.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

The Art of Retaining Top Talent Series: The Growth Path

posted by NextGen'rs |

Talented people typically know they need to look down the road. The career path they’re forging has to tell a story; to explicitly demonstrate accomplishment, achievement and success. Most of us have been asked Where do we see ourselves five years from now in an interview. It’s a fraught question that usually gets a carefully calibrated answer that probably does more to demonstrate an ability to prepare for an interview than highlight any real ambition. It’s become trite because it’s important, and it’s important that your way of finding out the ambitions of your star players go beyond that wooden question.

I felt there was nowhere else for me to go.

Companies are dynamic. Maybe your office only has 50 people and lacks a hierarchy with a lot of visible rungs. Titles are still important, but like money they are in many ways an external goal, something to impress others with as opposed to satisfy yourself. For millennials, this isn’t as alluring; the real goals are often internal: the need to feel satisfied and engaged. Titles can be important at larger offices for their perceived ability to speed things along, but many smart companies are aggressively working to remove those barriers and bureaucracies that slog good ideas that don’t come from the top brass.

Titles still have transferable value, but since they’ve grown so obscure and specialized (Forestry Technician), even ridiculous (Chief Inspiration Officer) a candidate is given a lot of levity to express their title and level when seeking another job. So what can you do to keep your top talent engaged with a visible growth path? Like many things, the best thing to do is keep your business moving forward by getting out of your employees’ way.

Googlers famously get to apportion a percentage of their time to go after projects they want to pursue. Talk about a stellar recruitment tool. Your top talent is usually self-motivated and enjoy being creative in the way they solve problems. So empower them to attend whatever workshops they want, whatever conferences they have interest in. Allow them to grow in the ways they want to grow and in return they will yield a better work product. And they’ll stick around.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

The Art of the Hire: Interview Advice

posted by NextGen'rs |

Press the suit, shine the shoes. Now’s not the day to try out a new hair style. Arrive early — but NO MORE than 15 minutes early. Have a good breakfast. Thanks to the internet you have way too much information that you’ll need to know if you want to beat out the competition. You have to thoroughly research the company and the people with whom you are interviewing. And that’s on top of crafting a narrative for your career so all of your former jobs form a progression pointing to, you guessed it, your future job with this company. You’ll be their guide through your career path; think lovely meadow, as opposed to class 4 rapids.

But back to the research. You’ll want to start with LinkedIn to see if anyone you’ll be talking with falls within that nebulous orbit of connections you’ve cultivated. Look for any positive associations you can talk about, but not in a creepy way. You may not want to tell an interviewer you know where their kids go to college. But maybe you volunteered with an organization that one of your interviewers also volunteered at and you can allude to it. What a great way to talk about a project that really made you feel fulfilled and great!

You probably already have a sense of how to conduct yourself in a professional way, trust that sense. Be friendly, but polite. Don’t be nervous, but don’t be glib.Talk freely, but stay the course — remember you’re the guide, so a little spontaneity is nice so your fellow travelers (on the journey of your career path) feel special, but don’t get everyone lost.

Some interviewers are going to try to throw you a curveball, even test your level of irritation with inane questions. Keep your path in focus, and try to work everything back to it. You know how politicians never seem to answer the question they’ve been asked? Well the good ones can do that in a way that doesn’t seem evasive. It takes a little skill, but any time you can nudge their question so that it reveals the narrative you’ve crafted, the better off you’ll be.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

The Art of Retaining Top Talent: Philanthropy

posted by NextGen'rs |

There are so many benefits and reasons for companies to give back to the communities they serve. But it’s not just about dollars and cents if you really want to make it work. A company needs a good strategy for its philanthropy and social responsibility, and this is where it can get thorny and maybe some companies decide they’d rather remain focused on their business. Philosophical arguments can be waged about charity and business, but very simply put: Young, talented people want to see their talents enrich more than just themselves and their companies.

Apple was notoriously stingy in the Steve Jobs era. This has since changed. Google has wrapped their identity in their unofficial Don’t be Evil motto, and has famously empowered its employees to be driven not by profit but by making the world a better place. And their public battles with shareholders and banks over their business model has only made being a Googler more desirable to young talented people.

The benefits of philanthropy are enormous; so big that it’s hard to parse when motives move from altruism to self-serving. But who cares? Showing people you’re willing to fight the good fight and that your organization’s bureaucracies or short-sightedness haven’t crippled its ability to do the right thing attracts good talented people.

The pressures to quantify results are growing at an insane rate. And some of the benefits of philanthropy, including making your place of work a great place to work, are difficult to track. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

The Importance of Speed in Hiring

posted by NextGen'rs |

Haste makes waste, right? Well yeah, but too much analysis leads to paralysis. So on which side of the spectrum do you fall when it comes to hiring? Let’s start by stepping away from the cliches and getting a bead on when it’s important to make an offer.

Big Companies that Move like Small Companies.

So many big companies describe themselves as “agile” and “hungry”. They’re told at meetings they need to behave and think this way, that the market demands it. But what does that mean?

It starts with being able to quickly pull the trigger when it comes to hiring. Locking in on the right candidate moves your planning and decisions from more unknowns to less, and that is how you move your business forward. Don’t wait around for the “perfect candidate” with an impeccable track record. Go with the most adaptable; the one who will make your team better not on paper, but when it comes time to make real decisions and execute. Trust your instincts and trust the abilities of your team to onboard and acclimate.

Budgets Open and Close.

Most business decisions, really any important decisions, involve negotiating or balancing opposing forces. When it comes to hiring, one thing you have to keep in mind is how budgets are time-sensitive.

Hiring freezes are a reality at healthy as well as less-than-healthy companies. So when you have some room in the budget to hire, there’s no guarantee it will be there forever. That doesn’t mean you hire anyone, it just means it’s something you need to balance against the candidates that are before you.

A Changing Labor Market.

If you were looking to hire someone in 2008 or 09, you were in an excellent position. If you’re looking to hire someone today, well you’re still in an excellent position. But things have changed a little, and you can’t afford to have the same perspective. You don’t want to be the guy who says things like I remember when milk costed 4 cents a gallon! The market has changed and not only does that affect price and availability, it also affects the speed with which you need to make decisions. When you identify the right candidate, you have to move faster in a tighter labor market — like the one we have today. There is no 4-cent-a-gallon milk anymore.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

Benefits of Temp-to-Perm

posted by NextGen'rs |

Test Drive.

The biggest benefit for working with a temp-to-perm arrangement for both employer and employee is the ability to try out the position before committing. Temp-to-perm gives an employer a lot more flexibility to make a smarter decision. You can learn about someone when they’re all dressed up and well-rehearsed for their interview. But what about their behavior and their motivations on a Tuesday three weeks later when maybe there doesn’t seem to be as much to prove? Isn’t that what makes more of the difference?

It Usually Works Out.

It takes resources to onboard and train someone, and no one wants that to be for nothing. So while there is more opportunity to scrutinize and evaluate someone who is temporary, the general incentive for all is for this to be a stepping stone to permanent, and for everything to work out. For both parties, it allows a disaster to be averted more easily. An employee can have the experience on the resume as a “contract” position so it doesn’t portray a professional inability to stick around. The employer gets flexibility around the hiring process which can often be painfully bureaucratic.

Stigmas.

Some companies still segregate contractors from full time explicitly even in email addresses. This practice is changing and with the prevalence of contractors and more fluid employment arrangements in general, the stigma of being temporary is not really much of one any more. It’s just too commonplace. So, someone in temporary status is not as likely to have issues integrating and will have the opportunities to succeed that they need.

What about Health Care?

For someone who gets benefits through a spouse, contracting can mean more money in the paycheck. This means there’s incentive even for people who are already employed to drop their full-time jobs and try something new without having to worry about health care costs. There is no one-size-fits-all arrangement but temp-to-perm is becoming more and more of an appealing option for everyone.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

The Art of Retaining Top Talent: Compensation

posted by NextGen'rs |

As we move through a new year with a general feel that the economy is rebounding, some of your top employees will bulk up their resumes and LinkedIn profiles and start thinking about making a change. Will money buy their loyalty? Probably not. It may keep some for a little longer, but if you don’t give them what they really want then your problem won’t go away. But what do they want?

I just needed a change.

Is this just a pat answer to shoo off nosy aunts and colleagues or is there more to it? There’s a common misconception that people who are unhappy in their jobs will not perform well. This is especially untrue with millennials. They’ll have the knowledge base and the ability to perform tasks very well even when they don’t feel all that fulfilled in their role. For many, It’s the only way they know how to do anything. So it can come as a shock when they leave.

When there’s no reliable tells to employee dissatisfaction how do you avoid it? Well, talking to them and trying to find out what they want is a good place to start. It’s not easy, but even efforts that feel true and not part of some corporate mandate will let your employees know that their happiness is important. And, that’s what really motivates.

In a widely cited paper, Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton reported that one’s sense of emotional well-being increases with salary levels up to $75,000, then it plateaus. So, while you need to pay people so they can do things like pay their bills, you’re not providing the type of motivation or reward they’re looking for with money alone. It takes a lot more.

Customizing the Approach

This is the era of pleasing customers with experiences tailored to them. Your company wins when it figures out how to do this well. But for some reason compensation systems are still based on the premise that what works for some people will work for all. Retaining good talent really comes down to having really good managers who are good at engaging their teams. In fact, one of the leading causes of organizational disengagement is incompetent leadership. So while money is important, it still can’t buy the things that really matter to your company.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.