Leadership Development: It Takes a Community

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Leadership Development: It Takes a Community


After more than four decades of studying and observing the process of developing leaders, I am convinced more than ever that it takes a multitude of educational inputs, life and work experiences, and learnings to culminate in a wise and effective leader. As much as we tend to look for fast and simple answers, it does not happen quickly.
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Survey Reveals Interesting Differences in How Organizations Select Candidates

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Survey Reveals Interesting Differences in How Organizations Select Candidates

While nearly all (98%) Northeast Ohio organizations conduct interviews as a means of evaluating job candidates for both exempt and non-exempt positions, data from the 2015 ERC Hiring Trends & Practices Survey reveals interesting differences among those that utilize other methods of selection.  

Differences in selection methods for exempt and non-exempt positions

Drug testing, physical exams, and employment knowledge or ability tests are performed more often for candidates applying for non-exempt positions. On the other hand, more employers use reference checks and pre-screening phone interviews for exempt positions. In addition, compared to non-exempt positions, ERC’s research found that 25% more organizations invite candidates applying for exempt positions back for a second interview.
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What HR Professionals Need to Know about the EEOC’s Guidelines on Criminal Backgrounds

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According to a survey released by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2012, approximately 69% of organizations reported that they conduct criminal background checks on all of their job applicants. However, what happens if something questionable shows up on the background check that reveals a criminal past? Do you have the right to ask them about it?

Yes, you do. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines strongly recommend employers speak to their candidates about a criminal history brought up in a background check.

In a Guidance document released in 2012, the EEOC describes the circumstances under which an employer’s use of arrest and conviction records can violate Title VII’s disparate treatment and disparate impact theories. The EEOC continues to embrace a test that evaluates criminal history, known as the Green factors

The Green factors include:

  1. The nature or gravity of the offense or conduct
  2. The time elapsed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence
  3. The nature of the job sought or held

But what is significant about the enforcement Guidance? It tries to assist employers with a better understanding of how the EEOC believes these factors should be applied.

Application questions

As a best practice, the EEOC encourages employers to not ask about convictions on an employment application. However, if the employer does ask the applicant about their criminal background past, the Guidance recommends that they only ask questions that are relevant to the position and job duties.

Arrest records

The Guidance states that an employer may not use arrest records to solely treat an applicant differently and cannot use arrest records alone as a reason to deny employment. However, if an employee has been arrested, the Guidance allows employment decisions to be based on the conduct underlying the arrest. As long as the reason for which the employee or applicant was arrested is relevant and makes the individual unfit for the position, than the employee or applicant may be terminated/not offered employment for the arrest.

Individualized assessments

This is when an employer will inform an employee or applicant that he or she will be screened for a criminal background. The individual is given an opportunity to respond and then the employer considers the circumstances before making a decision.

“In the Guidance, the EEOC states that employers who develop a targeted screen using the Green factors as well as the individualized assessment, can avoid Title VII liability.”

Compliance with federal law:

“The Guidance affirms that an employer who is conducting criminal background checks in order to comply with another federal law or regulation will not violate Title VII.”

However, the EEOC states that if a screening exceeds the scope of a federally imposed restriction, liability can occur if an employer doesn’t provide evidence that justifies an enhanced policy.

EEOC Guidance check list for HR professionals

HR, compliance, termination, or compensation questions?

ERC has a team of HR Help Desk Advisors to provide timely and trusted answers.

Contact the Help Desk

Keys to Setting Up a Training & Development Process

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Keys to Setting Up a Training & Development Process

Many organizations have a training and development function of their business nowadays, whether it is one or a few staff members devoted to training and development, or an entire department. Developing a training function not only helps centralize employee training and development, but also supports an organization's commitment to employee development. Increasingly, organizations that invest in and structure their approach to training and development have a 'leg up" on the competition.

Here are the keys to setting up a training and development process.
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6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

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6 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process

Job candidate engagement and relationship management, recruitment metrics and streamlining, selection assessment, and hiring manager relations are all key areas of opportunity for many organizations and some of the major hiring practice trends.

Here are some ways to improve these aspects of your hiring process.

Improve candidate engagement

Each conversation and interaction with a candidate is an opportunity to engage or disengage the individual and establish a positive or negative relationship or perception of your organization. Remember that declined candidates can be sources of other job applicants, and they are just as important to engage.

  • Establish a timeline for the hiring process regarding when candidates should expect certain stages to occur (interviewing, testing, offer, etc.). Communicate this to candidates.
  • Follow up with candidates in a timely manner by setting a standard for response time. For example, set a goal to respond to candidates who have submitted a resume to your organization within 3 business days of their submission.
  • Communicate expectations. Tell candidates when they will hear from your organization following a stage in the hiring process, such as an interview.
  • Communicate all decisions to candidates. Follow up with candidates after each interview and stage of the hiring process, and when the final decision has been made. Additionally, consider providing feedback to candidates on why they were not selected. Approach the conversation in a way that keeps the door open for on on-going relationship.
  • Make a good impression. Be sure that hiring managers or others involved in the hiring process act professionally, ask appropriate interview questions, are prepared and have reviewed resumes, and treat the candidate with respect.
  • Survey or gather feedback from the candidate about the hiring process. Applicants and candidates are your customers, and in order to improve your hiring process, their feedback can be helpful.

Manage candidate relationships

Staying in touch with candidates and building relationships with them over time can help improve the recruitment process and build a network of contacts for future positions. It also can save money on sourcing.

  • Connect with all great job candidates on LinkedIn so that you can maintain contact with them in the future, should staffing needs emerge.
  • Reach out to exceptional job candidates every once in awhile to “check in” and build a relationship. You never know when you may be looking for their talent.
  • Periodically call or email employees that have left the organization on good terms. Stay in touch with top talent that has left your organization.
  • Consider creating alumni groups or events for previous employees that have left the organization. Some organizations create these groups on social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, while others initiate in-person meetings or events.

Use more effective selection methods

Selection problems typically occur when a) the methods used don’t match the skills, abilities, or knowledge that need to be evaluated and b) the process or people involved in the process approach it in an unstructured, untrained manner that makes decision-making subjective and error-prone.

A comprehensive selection process should be based on a thorough review of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the position, as well as organizational and cultural fit. By analyzing your hiring needs in depth, your organization can create selection practices that best fit the requirements of the position.

For example, if your organization wants to determine whether a candidate’s style or personality fits the position, it is best to conduct an assessment versus asking personal questions in the interview. If other candidate traits should be evaluated, such as leadership style or problem solving abilities, assessments can be used to evaluate those traits.

By focusing on selection methods that fit the position, your organization can improve its selection effectiveness.

Additionally, your organization may consider improving its interviewing practices by providing more structure to hiring managers with an interview guide to ensure that they are asking appropriate, targeted, and consistent questions of all applicants and rating them according to objective criteria or by ensuring that managers are trained on interviewing practices.

Measure effectiveness

Your hiring process should be measured so you know how it is working. If your organization only has time to track a few critical hiring metrics, make sure these are the ones: time to fill, cost per hire, sourcing effectiveness, and quality of hire.

They will show how efficient and costly your process is, what sourcing is generating the most applicants and the best hires, and the quality of candidates whom you are hiring, all important to measuring your recruitment and hiring process’s effectiveness.

Additionally, linking or correlating quality of hire metrics back to the selection tools and sourcing methods can help your organization validate its hiring approaches and determine which ones are effective.

Enhance recruiter/HR and hiring manager relations

Recruitment of great talent can suffer when HR and hiring managers are not on the same page. This can create disorganization, inefficiencies, and inconsistent communication that candidates often pick up on during the hiring process. Positive and efficient recruiter/HR and hiring manager relations can be improved by enhancing communication in all of the following ways:

  • At the beginning of the process, identify the core people that will need to interview, partake in selection phases, and make the final decision. This will prevent the inevitable “reeling” of others into the process which can elongate the hiring timeframe.
  • Communicate the hiring process to hiring managers before recruitment for the position starts. You may consider including a timeline to manage their expectations, help them carve out time, and answer questions. This could be an introductory email or a meeting.
  • Manage their involvement in the selection process. If managers are to rate candidates in an interview, be sure that they have received rater training. If they design interview questions or conduct interviews, be sure they have received interview training. Also ensure that managers have the job description and are aware of any competencies or criteria they will need to assess.  Give hiring managers the tools and training to hire effectively.
  • Keep hiring managers abreast of the hiring process and where candidates stand. Maintain open lines of communication throughout the process.


If technology isn’t being used in your organization’s recruitment process, it’s time to start integrating new systems of tracking applicant and recruiting data. One of the most challenging aspects of recruitment is managing resumes and applications. There are plenty of great systems and software applications that your organization can invest in to help streamline this process. Leveraging applicant tracking systems is important in making the process efficient.

Beyond social media, which is also technology your organization can use to enhance its recruitment and hiring process, some organizations have expanded their sourcing efforts to mobile technology like cell phones and texting.

Behavioral Interviewing Training

Behavioral Interviewing Training

Participants will learn the importance of proper preparation for an behavioral interview.

Train Your Employees