Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

Monthly Archives: October 2011

Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder CEO

CareerBuilder CEO and Warren Buffett Talk U.S. Job Creation and Economic Recovery

When (almost) alone in a room with American business magnate and investor Warren Buffett, what do you ask him? CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson appeared on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop" this morning to talk about just that. Buffett, Ferguson and a few other business leaders met last evening during Buffett's stop in Chicago for an event for Junior Achievement, and discussed everything from U.S. job creation and the outlook for our nation's economic recovery, to philosophies on business and the housing market. This was the first time Buffett and Ferguson had gotten a chance to meet. On "In the Loop," Ferguson shared a couple of highlights from their discussion:

By in Candidate Sourcing, Economy, Forecasts, Insights & Trends, Talent Acquisition, Video

Jay Goltz

Hire With Purpose: Q&A With Small Business Expert Jay Goltz

"I’m not looking for great storytellers. I want to figure out what makes people tick and how they operate on the job." - Jay Goltz

In the following Q&A, small business expert Jay Goltz draws from his experience as an entrepreneur to discuss the lessons he’s learned – often the hard way – about what it really takes to hire and retain the best people to run a successful business (or, in his case, five). On Wednesday, November 9, Jay will host Hire with Purpose, a complimentary webinar to discuss insider tips, takeaways and tactics small business owners can apply right now to ensure they make the right hiring decision for their teams.

In your book, The Street-Smart Entrepreneur, you talk about lessons you learned the hard way. What’s your most memorable lesson in terms of hiring? I once interviewed a sales manager at a retail shop that had five salespeople, and I asked her, “How many people did you go through before hiring those five great salespeople?” And she said, “Just five.” I literally laughed and said, “Either you have much lower standards than I do, or you’re a hiring guru.” I hired her, and she turned out to be a hiring guru. She moved away about 10 years ago, but most of the people she hired while she was here are still with me. The lesson there is that part of hiring well comes down to who’s doing the interviewing. There are some people who can hit a fast ball and some people who can’t. Likewise, there are some people who are great at interviewing and some who aren’t. There’s some element of natural talent there. And that realization has had a profound impact on my company. It used to be, when I hired, only 30 or 40 percent of the people I hired worked out great, and now it’s up to 80 percent. And that’s because we’re much better at hiring. At the recent Inc500/5000 Conference, Gilt Group CEO Kevin Ryan mentioned how reference checks are often an underrated virtue of the hiring process. What’s your stance on that? I totally agree with that. Whenever I hear about people who are having problems with an employee, I always ask them, “Tell me how you hired this person.” No one has ever said to me, “I put an ad out, I interviewed a lot of people, I did some really thorough questions, and then I really checked references.” It’s always, “Yeah, I didn’t check references.” So people are getting what they deserve, I’m sorry to say. The other thing is, when you’re doing reference checks, you have to read between the lines. I had a call in about a designer one time, and the reference just blurted out, “Oh, she’s really talented.” After interviewing [the candidate] some more, I realized she was really neurotic, but the woman I used as a reference clearly didn’t want to say that. All of a sudden, it made sense why the reference didn’t say, “She’s great. You should hire her.” When someone’s a great employee, people say things like, “Oh, you’re really lucky she applied. You should hire her right now. She’s a wonderful employee. I really miss her.” Is reference-checking 100 percent reliable? No. Even if you do everything right, you’ll still probably only have a 90 percent chance of them working out – maybe 80. But if you don’t do everything right, those chances go down to 30, 40 or 50 percent. Aside from failing to check references, what are some of the biggest mistakes people make in the hiring process?

By in Interviewing, Job Postings, Selection, Small Business, Talent Acquisition, Webinars

The Best Videos You Didn’t See from Staffing World 2011

Perhaps a trip to American Staffing Association's Staffing World 2011 just wasn’t in the cards this year…or perhaps you were too busy attending sessions, entering to win a [insert flashy handheld electronic device here], and learning how to pronounce “beignet” to catch everything there was to see at this year’s conference, which took place earlier this month in New Orleans. We had a feeling that might happen. Lucky for you, CareerBuilder was there, shooting video from the expo room floor, and gathering feedback from fellow attendees on everything from lessons they’ve learned in this industry to current trends, to what they foresee for the future of staffing and recruiting. Visit for complete video coverage or checkout highlights below.

Overheard at Staffing World 2011

“You learn something new every day…Learn to love the new things.” “We believe in giving people opportunities…to change their lives.” “You’re only as good as your resources.”

By in Staffing & Recruiting

Puppy with a cold

“I Got a Cold From My Puppy” and 2011′s Other Unusual (and Adorable) Excuses for Missing Work

If your workplace is anything like ours here at CareerBuilder, once the leaves start to fall, the office becomes riddled with sniffs, coughs, sneezes, shouts of “Gesundheit!” — you get the picture. Trash cans overflowing with tissue aside, though, you’re probably well aware that some employees who call in sick may actually have other reasons for being absent from work, whether it’s a mental health day or a holiday shopping trip. Continue reading >>

By in Insights & Trends, Survey Results, Talent Management

Woman's face surrounded by orange fruits holding fruits like headphones

Increase Brand Awareness and Your Recruitment Reach with Fresh Content

Not too terribly long ago, life was a lot harder. People spent hours growing, finding and hunting their food, only to spend equal amounts of time cooking and preserving it so they wouldn’t starve in the winter. But as technology progressed, it brought along a couple of the more noteworthy inventions in recent history: the refrigerator and the microwave. Now, with the pop of a box and the push of a button, people can eat food that is grown anywhere, anytime, whenever they want. And even more recently, something else amazing happened. While it seemed that the possibilities were endless, people started to realize that they didn’t need to be. Instead of wanting processed foods that are grown, frozen, shipped and eaten out of season, our culture has taken a step back and has begun to embrace fresh, locally grown foods. Believe it or not, creating content on the web isn’t that much different. Providing a regular diet of fresh, organic content is the best way for you to stay engaged with your employees as well as active and passive job seekers, and grow your company’s social media presence. Because most interaction takes place on users’ News Feeds or timelines instead of a profile or page, posting new content is often the only way to stay connected with your online community on a regular basis. In fact, Facebook users are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume content via their News Feeds rather than visit actual pages. Fresh content also simply lets users know, “Hey – We’re here!” since a page with stale content or a stream of RSS-fed items doesn’t assure users that it’s a community where they’re likely to find new, useful information or have their questions answered.

By in Candidate Sourcing, Job Seeker Spotlight, Social Media, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

Magic 8-Ball

Do Employees Want the Boss’s Job? All Signs Point to: Not Likely

Earlier this week, employees everywhere helped bosses celebrate National Boss’s Day. Some gave flowers, or left a handwritten card on their boss’s desk. Others took their bosses out to lunch at their favorite little bistro, or treated them to that pedicure their toes had been screaming for. Still others just wished their boss a heartfelt “Happy Boss’s Day.”

Right about now, bosses everywhere may still be basking in the afterglow of well-wishes, or high on endorphins from that chocolate cupcake display designed to spell out “B-O-S-S.” And they may be thinking to themselves, as they wipe cupcake crumbs off their suits, “Yep — they love me. Continue reading >>

By in Insights & Trends, Leadership Development, Retention, Survey Results, Talent Management

Executive hiring

Executive-Level Hiring is On the Rise: What 23 Percent of Employers Are Doing About It

As we move through still-uncertain economic times, it's not a surprise that many companies are looking for new ways to main a competitive advantage. The more surprising thing to learn may be that nearly a quarter of employers (23 percent) expect to hire for executive-level positions over the next six months, according to CareerBuilder’s new nationwide executive hiring forecast of more than 2600 hiring managers and human resources professionals.

Executive hiring

Which industries plan to hire for executive-level positions most over the next six months?

  • 35 percent of IT companies
  • 25 percent of health care companies
  • 24 percent of sales companies,
  • 23 percent of professional and business services, financial services, and leisure/hospitality companies.

Many employers often look outside the office doors when looking to recruit for these executive-level positions:

  • 18 percent prefer to look externally.
  •  Half of employers place equal emphasis on internal and external candidates.
  • One-third prefer to look internally.

By in CareerBuilder Solutions, Forecasts, Insights & Trends, Survey Results, Talent Acquisition

Where do old office computers go?

Time for An Office Makeover? 5 Changes Employees Want to see Now

Where do old office computers go?What do employees want? Oh, that's such a loaded question! I'm sure many of us could make lists the length of the office hallway detailing our opinions on what we believe makes employees happy. One thing do we know for sure is that employee morale isn't a trend, but an ongoing effort. Within that ongoing effort, though, how do we know what's on our employees' own wish lists? Well, a survey released in observance of  “Improve Your Office Day" has come along, peeled ink-stained paper out of the Trapper Keeper (where I have just decided all employee wish lists are stored), and shared their M.A.S.H. results survey findings with the world. Let's take a look. The survey, which asked employees about their likes/dislikes at work, as well as their suggestions for improving the office environment, found many employees aren't too pleased with their technology -- or their humble surroundings: More than half (52 percent) of the more than 300 workers surveyed gave their office furniture and office décor a "C" grade or lower, and 41 percent gave their office technology the same grade. Also on their lists? Politics, the right to work at home (or lack thereof), and privacy.

What is on employees'  office-improvement wish lists?

  • Eliminating office politics (44 percent)
  • Allowing or encouraging telecommuting (41 percent)
  •  Upgrading computers and other office technology (37 percent)
  • Getting nicer or more comfortable office furniture (35 percent)
  • Providing more private work areas and more flexible work hours (tied at 34 percent each).
Though it's true that some employees do think they can do a better job than their boss, employees seem happy overall with their superiors. Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents gave their boss a solid “A” grade, with a combined 78 percent rating their boss an “A” or “B.”

The snack dilemma

By in Retention, Survey Results

Thompson_Wes cmyk

CareerBuilder Leadership Series: Spotlight on Wes Thompson, President, Sun Life Financial

“I’ve always had the philosophy that strategy in leadership is as much about what you don’t do as it is about what you do.”

In the following interview for CareerBuilder's Leadership Series, Sun Life CEO Wes Thompson reflects on the importance of people as they relate to sustainability, what he looks for in candidates, and the value of trusting your gut. What do the employees at Sun Life mean to your organization? People are really the only sustainable advantage that any organization has over time. Products come and go. Ideas can be copied. These are not sustainable differentiators. Companies that are truly sustainable are those that focus on A-player talent, because you can’t copy talent. So if you’re able to constantly recruit, retain and develop the best people, you can differentiate in the markets that you compete in, and you’ll have a sustainable advantage. It’s really that simple in my view. What’s your philosophy in terms of how you find great people? There’s a lot of hiring that’s gut-related, especially when you get more experienced at interviewing candidates. Technical competencies, product knowledge—those kinds of things can be learned over time. Oftentimes, I’m looking for the challenges individuals have taken on in their lives and careers. I look for examples that clearly demonstrate they’ve been able to overcome some significant challenges. I try to ascertain the values they stand for and if they fit with our core values here at Sun Life. This fit is critical to building a solid foundation and culture at any good company. Throughout your career as a leader, what’s the best or most significant hiring decision that you've made? It’s hard to quantify your best hiring decision. As I reflect on my career, there are so many talented people that I’ve had the pleasure of hiring and watching succeed. In one instance, I hired someone that was my peer at another company. I knew our competencies were extremely complementary, which is important. And we both realized that we could build something unique. I firmly believe if you surround yourself with great talent, you’ll figure out how to win.

By in Leadership Interviews

Choosing the Right People: 5 Lessons from Gilt Groupe’s CEO“At the end of the day, it isn’t just about a having a visionary idea or business plan. It’s about employees who bring passion and flawless execution.”

Such is how Kevin Ryan began - and set the tone for - his keynote address, Hirer’s Remorse? Why 80 Percent of Business is Choosing the Right People, at the recent Inc500/5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. Ryan should know a thing or two about what it takes to grow and run a business. He has launched several New York-based businesses, including Gilt Groupe (for which he is the current CEO), Business Insider, ShopWiki, 10gen/MongoDB, and, not least of all, DoubleClick, which he helped grow from a 20-person startup to a worldwide company with over 1,500 employees. Drawing from his own experience, Ryan discussed the beliefs and practices that have fueled his success as a business leader, the foundation of which, are based on people.

By in Leadership Development, Small Business

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