Do’s and Don’ts of Employment Background Checks

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The "Do's"

DO: Obtain Applicant Consent. The first step in pre employment screening is to obtain applicant consent. This isn’t just good advice—it’s also the law, as outlined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You must make applicants aware that they will be subject to a background check, and the candidate/employee must sign a written consent form before you conduct the screen.

DO: Make Sure the Background Check Relates to the Job. Establish a clear link between the items you’re screening for in the background check and the job duties. Understand what you “need to know” and what could potentially violate an individual’s privacy rights or cause unfair discrimination.

DO: Apply Your Criteria Consistently. Another way to help keep your company within legal grounds and promote fair hiring is to make sure you apply your policy in a consistent manner. For example, for a particular job category such as “Help Desk Support”  make sure you use the same type of background check on everyone in that job category and that you use the same criteria for assessing the results. You can vary your background checks to make sure they are relevant for the job – but do not vary them within the same job.

DO: Notify Your Applicant of Any Records Found. Before you take any action on the results of a background screen in hiring, promoting, or suspending an employee, make sure you’re aware of the Adverse Action requirements. These requirements are mandated by the FCRA and are very specific about how to notify an applicant of an adverse decision you’ve made concerning the results of their background check.

DO: Consider the Use of Employee Monitoring After Hire: Just because an applicant has cleared a background check, don’t assume that you will know if and when that person might get into trouble once they are in your employ. Monitoring your current employees to make sure you know if an arrest occurs is a growing best practice.

DO: Establish and Publish Your Background Screening Policy. Make clear—in writing—your background screening policy. Detail what types of screens you conduct, and the information for which you’re screening. Make sure you include federal, state and local laws in your guidelines. Additionally, make it clear how you’ll apply your background screening results.

The "Don'ts"

DON’T: Create a Blanket Policy. Fair employment laws require that you only make hiring decisions based on job-related capabilities. Therefore, avoid bright line “no criminal record” policies. Often, old and non-serious convictions have little or no bearing on a person’s ability to fulfill the job obligations.

DON’T: Rely Solely on National Criminal Database Searches. With today’s mobile workforce, it’s wise to conduct criminal searches on a national level to see if there are any criminal activities beyond where your applicant works or worked. But, always back up your national search with a local-level search to verify the results. Otherwise, you’ll risk making decisions on old or potentially inaccurate information.

DON’T: Forget to Screen Your Subcontractors & Temporary Workers. Everyone who works for your company should undergo a background screen. This includes contractors and vendors who are working for you. There is a large body of legal precedent that suggests you can be held liable for anyone who is paid by you; whether they are an employee or a subcontractor.

Percentage of Companies that do Background Checks

Eighty percent of U.S. companies ran criminal checks on job applicants in 2011, compared to about 50 percent of companies in 1996, according to a 2012 report from the Society for Human Resource Management.

What the New EEOC Guidance Means for You

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) 2012 guidance on background checks suggests that employers need to exercise more due diligence in their hiring practices. Its guidance on background check practices underscores the importance of five key practices in the hiring process.

1. Hiring policies should not exclude people from employment based on status.

Policies that automatically exclude people from employment based on only certain criteria (such as criminal status, age, disability, etc.) could pose liability. Employers should refrain from developing narrow policies of this nature to avoid potential legal issues.

2. Employers need to monitor adverse impact.

Hiring practices that result in adverse impact for a protected group are unlawful. If a hiring practice or selection method is adversely impacting a protected group, employers should not use it. This is true of any method used to base a hiring decision such as ability/personality assessments, drug tests, background checks, credit checks, etc.

3. Employers must hire based on the essential functions of the job.

The EEOC’s guidance suggests that employers must make hiring decisions based on whether candidates can do the essential job functions. Employers must identify those essential requirements in the hiring process and determine if a criminal record (for example) prevents a candidate from performing those functions.

4. Hiring criteria has to be job-related.

One of the most consistent trends in guidance provided by the government (and EEOC) on hiring practices is to keep all hiring decisions based on job-related criteria. If the criteria that employers are using to evaluate job candidates are not job-related, it will likely not hold up in court. For example, if an applicant's criminal offense is unrelated to the job, then you may not be able to exclude an applicant.

5. Employers must train decision-makers about employment discrimination.

The EEOC’s guidance emphasizes the importance of employers training both HR practitioners and managers on employment discrimination. Any individual who makes hiring decisions should understand employment law as it relates to recruitment and hiring.

While the EEOC only specifically addressed criminal background checks in its guidance, employers should be cautious with using any hiring practices, criteria and/or policies that are questionable against the guidelines provided.

Please note that by providing you with research information that may be contained in this article, ERC is not providing a qualified legal opinion. As such, research information that ERC provides to its members should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information that we provide is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application.

Additional Resources

Save on Background Check Services!ERC’s Preferred Partner Corporate Screening Services, Inc. offers ERC members discounts averaging over 20% off standard background screening products. 

Behavioral Interviewing
This workshop gives participants the skills they need to effectively plan for and conduct an effective behavioral-based interview. It also guides participants through effectively evaluating candidates so they can hire the best candidate. Emphasis will be placed on the selection process, including legal issues facing interviewers.

3 Steps Toward a Complete LinkedIn Profile

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Signing up for a LinkedIn Profile requires only a few simple pieces of information. However, the more complete your profile is, the more opportunities will likely open up for you.

According to LinkedIn, a "100% complete profile" includes the following items:

  • Industry and postal code
  • A current position with description
  • Two more positions
  • Education
  • At least 5 skills
  • Profile photo
  • At least 50 connections
  • A summary

In this article, we'll discuss 3 of these items that will be valuable additions toward a more complete profile.

Add at least three positions with descriptions

Likely one of the first things you'll do is add your current position. If you've gotten that far, you're off to a great start. But having a more complete employment history provide several benefits for you:

  • Connect with past co-workers - Adding employment history with past employers will allow you to reconnect with past co-workers, potentially opening the door for networking opportunities, partnerships with your current employer or simply reconnecting with an old friend.
  • Demonstrate experience - By adding multiple work experiences, you're demonstrating your experience with different employers in different positions with different job roles. You may also be able to show career progression as you move from one position to another.

Add previous education

Just as adding employment history gives you the ability to re-connect with past colleagues, adding education history allows you to reconnect with former classmates. It also shows relevant education as it pertains to your job or career.

  • Add relevant coursework - Be sure to add your concentration/major if you're adding a post-secondary education, but also include any relevant coursework to assemble a thorough education history.
  • Add activities and societies - This is another easy way to connect with people of similar backgrounds. You may find that you have a closer connection with some of your existing business relationships through past activities or societies.

Add a summary

A summary acts as your personal branding boilerplate. If you were in an elevator with your dream employer (which may be your current employer) and had to summarize your career, experience and expertise on the way up, what would you say? Luckily here, you have more than an elevator ride's amount of time to craft your summary.

  • Think in keywords - What are they keywords that you want people to associate you with? If you're a job seeker, you might use terms like "action-oriented" or "goals-driven." If you're looking to connect with other professionals in your industry, write in terms of tasks or responsibilities.
  • Share relevant extracurriculars - Are you affiliated with an industry association? Do you volunteer with a prominent group that may boost your credentials? Be sure to add that here.
  • Be concise - This isn't the place to write your life story. Try to use short sentences, bulleted lists and no more than a paragraph or two.

3 Reasons You Need to be on LinkedIn

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We've all been there. You're at a meeting or a networking event and you meet another professional. Within the next couple days you search for that person through Google or directly through LinkedIn to learn more about them and possibly even connect. And odds are if you don't do that, the other person does.

Social networks have become engrained in the fabric of contemporary networking, and LinkedIn is the network of choice for the business crowd. Having a LinkedIn profile is a necessity for every working professional. Here's why:

1. Control of Your "Personal Brand"

Businesspeople are expected to be on LinkedIn, and a lack of a profile can be an indication of an out-of-date or inaccessible professional. Your profile acts an extension of your business card, showcasing who you are, where you work and what your expertise is.

Quick tip: Don't use Facebook for business networking.*
*unless you feel 100% comfortable with your peers seeing that picture of you from the Bahamas two years ago

Here are three things you can do right away to make sure you're controlling your personal brand on LinkedIn:

  • Get a profile - This is a no-brainer. If you're not on LinkedIn, plan to set up a profile. LinkedIn offers several great tutorials on how to do this.
  • The basics - If you do nothing else, add your contact information and your current employer. This will drastically increase the ability for other people to find you on LinkedIn.
  • Keep adding - Once you've completed the basics:
    • add former employers (to connect with past colleagues)
    • add education (to connect with former classmates)
    • add a summary of your job and expertise (so people can learn more about you).

2. Organize Relationships

Increasing the size of your professional network, whether offline or online, should be an important component of any business professional's career. Having an extensive network comes in handy not only in career transition and advancement, but can be a great resource for sharing ideas and seeking support for issues related to your specific job function.

  • Staying in touch - Remember that person you met at the networking event mentioned above? Build that relationship by connecting with them on LinkedIn.
  • Staying current - LinkedIn provides you with constant updates about people you're connected to, including job transitions, promotions, shared content and more.
  • Staying in the loop - LinkedIn makes it incredibly easy to pose questions to your network and receive nearly instant feedback, making it a powerful tool for getting answers to your job-specific questions.

3. Finding Information & Answers

While LinkedIn is primarily a networking tool, it's become a great research tool for crowdsourcing ideas and information among similar groups of people. Here's how:

  • Your own audience - LinkedIn gives you the ability to ask your own audience a question and receive answers quickly, either through your status message or through a group discussion board.
  • The power of the Group - If you're not using Groups in LinkedIn, you're missing out on an opportunity to listen in on many of the discussions that your peers are having right now. Join a group or two to start, and simply read some of the discussion topics. You're bound to gain something insightful within the first week.

An Employer's Guide to College Recruiting

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You have everything to offer: jobs to fill, a great workplace, exciting career paths, meaningful work, and a terrific staff. How do you leverage all of this to gain an edge in recruiting a fresh, talented, and enthusiastic May grad? We've compiled a brief employer's guide for successful college recruitment.

Identify talent needs. Determine the talent you need now, the talent you will need in the future, and which departments would benefit from a new college graduate or entry-level role.

Get rid of your traditional practices. Young people are drawn to innovative and non-traditional organizations. Dress down, color your walls, open up your office environment, and change your policies. Attracting this generation requires thinking differently about work.

Create an online presence. Young people spend the majority of their time online and on social media outlets. Use social media, your website, and mobile apps to engage with young people and highlight your culture and workplace.

Build an attractive employment brand for young people. What does your organization offer that is unique and that young people want? Young people generally desire to follow their passions, work on something meaningful, develop their career, and have work/life balance. Create a compelling message that attracts the younger generation.

Promote clear career opportunities and paths. Young people are concerned about the career opportunities they can take advantage of at your organization and how you will develop their careers over time. If they can't see a future at your company, they won't apply.

Make the recruitment experience fun. Whether it's creating an attractive booth at a college career fair or inviting students to fun social events to learn about your workplace, make their experience exciting and memorable and they won't forget your organization.

Use your young professionals to connect and engage with students. Send your other young professionals on-campus and encourage them to connect and engage with students. Have them tell positive and compelling stories about their careers and experiences at your organization.

Engage them over time. Maintain communication with students, especially if you begin recruiting early. Send them emails, call them, and let them know you are interested in them, particularly the exceptional talent that is vetting offers with your competitors.

Develop relationships with key faculty and college career centers. They will recommend top students to you and suggest jobs at your organization to students. Select and target efforts at a few key colleges with quality programs applicable to your staffing needs.

Create a job shadowing experience. Allow students to job shadow and witness your day-to-day operations to help them understand the job and experience the work environment. Pull out the bells and whistles and "wow" them with your hospitality while they are with you.

Use internship programs. There's no easier way to hire a May grad than by converting one of your interns into a full-time hire. You get the benefit of testing their skills and experiences before making an investment.

Provide the right pay and benefits package. For many college grads, their final decision comes down to basics: the highest offer and best benefits. Make sure you know what other companies are paying new college graduates in your geographic area, otherwise you may end up making an offer that is unattractive to your candidates and all of your fantastic recruiting efforts could go to waste.

College recruitment provides the opportunity to acquire fresh talent with tons of potential. Every organization can and should take advantage of these strategies to land a great young hire. 

Additional Resources

Intern & Recent Graduate Pay Rates & Practices Survey This survey collects information from Northeast Ohio employers about their internship and recent graduate employment and pay practices - including intern pay rates and college graduate starting salaries. This survey provides important information for employers planning to hire interns or new graduates.

Project Assistance
ERC offers a broad range of HR consulting services and has expertise in developing selection systems, recruiting, and developing job descriptions. For more information about these services, please contact consulting@ercnet.org.

Save on Background Screening, Job Posting, Recruitment Services and More! ERC members save money with our Preferred Partner Network.

4 Reasons to Not Use Facebook for Hiring

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The 2012 controversy about employers screening job candidates by asking for their Facebook passwords has many employers wondering: should social media and online information be used in the hiring process and to what extent?

Most recruiting experts agree that social media can be used to effectively source and identify great talent. In fact, there is a good bit of evidence which shows that social media is a successful sourcing strategy for finding talent, especially passive candidates. Social media is quickly replacing other traditional recruitment methods such as postings and advertisements.

The main issue with social media is not in using it to find and source talent when recruiting, but rather when social media platforms like Facebook and other online information are used to assess and evaluate job candidates. While the goal should always be to eliminate the risk of a bad hire and hire a top performer, here are a few important reasons why using social media and other online information to evaluate job candidates poses problems.

1. There is limited research support for social media as a selection practice.

There is not enough conclusive and research-based evidence that supports social media as a predictor of future job performance and fit or as an effective hiring method. Though a 2012 study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found a strong correlation between ratings of Facebook profiles and actual performance ratings of employees, this research must be replicated in order to make a stronger case for social media usage in the hiring and selection process.

2. Social media is not yet considered a valid or reliable hiring practice.

All hiring assessments and evaluation techniques should be valid and reliable and social media has yet to be tested against the reliability and validity standards that other hiring methods have endured, such as validated ability and personality assessments, structured or behavioral interviews, and work samples. As a result, it's unclear as to whether social media is a sound hiring practice.

3. Hiring based on information attained via social media poses legal concerns.

Use of social media for selection also poses legal concerns because social networking sites contain so much information that employers are prohibited from using to make employment decisions. For example, social media can expose an individual's race, gender, age, and national origin through pictures, postings, and biographical information. These characteristics are protected from discrimination under law.

Additionally, the courts have yet to clarify their stance on the usage of social media for selection. Until more case law offers guidance on the issue, it will be unclear as to whether social media is an appropriate and legal selection practice.

4. Using social media can lead to decisions based on irrelevant hiring criteria.

A final issue with using social media in the hiring and selection process is that it may not provide the necessary information to evaluate candidates objectively and consistently. Social media often contains a great deal of personal and irrelevant information that causes employers to make judgments about individuals, but not necessarily based on actual hiring criteria (skills, qualifications, experiences, culture fit, etc.).

For example, a posting on Facebook by a job candidate has little relevance to whether an employee can actually do the requirements of the job. Employers can use this information to screen out hires even when it is not job-related. When employers make decisions about candidates based on criteria that is not job-related or based on job requirements, they are making biased selection decisions.

Also note that the three most common reasons new-hires fail are poor culture or personality fit, poor job fit or an inability to do the work, and lack of interest or motivation to do the job. Social media tells employers very little about candidates in these areas.

In conclusion, your organization should think twice before "googling" your next job candidate or asking them for their Facebook password to browse their profile. Not only do these practices expose your organization to legal risks, but they may ultimately not be effective in helping you select great talent. Our advice: stick to tried and true selection practices to maximize your probability of acquiring a great hire. 

Please note that by providing you with research information that may be contained in this article, ERC is not providing a qualified legal opinion. As such, research information that ERC provides to its members should not be relied upon or considered a substitute for legal advice. The information that we provide is for general employer use and not necessarily for individual application.

Additional Resources

Trends in Recruiting
This workshop covers topics vital to recruiting such as leveraging social media, sourcing diverse talent, evaluating candidates, and developing metrics to help your organization gain success in the recruiting process.

Selection Assessments
ERC’s assessment services, which use online and credible instruments, help minimize the uncertainty in employee selection by evaluating the skills, abilities, style, and career goals of job candidates in relation to your job requirements. Our services also include professional interpretation and feedback from our Management Psychologist, Don Kitson.

Project Assistance
ERC offers a broad range of HR consulting services and has expertise in developing selection systems, recruiting, and developing job descriptions. For more information about these services, please contact consulting@ercnet.org.

Save on Background Screening, Job Posting, Recruitment Services and More!
ERC members save money with our Preferred Partner Network. Click here for details.

4 Strategies to Combat Turnover

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Turnover is a reality for every business. It can be a warning sign that something is wrong with our workplace, managers, or teams that needs to be fixed. It can also signal that we might be hiring poor fits into the organization.

The problem of turnover demands that we understand why we are not able to retain some of our employees and fix it before the situation spirals and we lose many talented employees. Here are 4 strategies to combat turnover.

Step 1: Track it.

The first step to deal with turnover is to track and benchmark it. You must understand how your numbers compare to normal turnover for your industry and size and if the turnover you are experiencing is healthy or unhealthy for your business. For example, are your best employees leaving or are your new-hires leaving, and is turnover primarily voluntary or involuntary? At a minimum, track the following types of turnover:

  • Voluntary and involuntary turnover
  • All employee and top performer turnover
  • New-hire turnover at intervals (90 days, 180 days, and 1 year)

Step 2: Research the context.

The second step in combating turnover is to research the context of the termination, including the work area affected and characteristics of the employee. You'll also want to explore the former employee's reason for leaving as well as their supervisor's and coworkers' feedback on the termination. Turnover issues tend to follow a pattern so look for trends in the following:

  • Work area (location, division, department, team, and supervisor)
  • Individual characteristics (length of service, performance, type of job)
  • Reason for leaving (per exit interview/survey)
  • Supervisor and team feedback

Step 3: Identify critical incidences.

Turnover is generally not caused by a single workplace event. Research shows that turnover results from a process of progressive disengagement, which can take weeks, months, and sometimes even years to escalate to a final decision. Eventually, however, a critical incident causes an employee to decide to quit.

To understand the cause of turnover and fix it, you need to identify these critical turning points and causes of disengagement so that repeat scenarios with other employees are prevented. Examine what went wrong, what you could have done differently, and how you will approach a similar situation in the future.

Step 4: Implement interventions.

After determining the causes and context of turnover and putting together the pieces of each former employee's story, there are several major interventions that you can use to solve turnover problems. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Job design: changing a job's design, reducing workload, providing more training, or enhancing employees' skills
  • Management: training or developing a manager's skills, removing a manager from their position, improving performance management or feedback
  • Hiring and selection: making a change in the hiring or selection procedure, enhancing on-boarding
  • Communication: communicating changes and reasons for changes, being sensitive to and dealing with employee reactions, managing and mediating coworker conflict
  • Total rewards: making changes to pay and benefits, enhancing advancement opportunities, enhancing work/life benefits

Turnover is as critical to monitor and address as expenses in your organization. It is a lost investment in your business that can take significant time and money to recover, especially when you lose a high performer. While there’s no magic bullet solution to prevent it, your organization can better manage turnover by tracking it, better understanding why it happens, and implementing interventions that deal with it.

Additional Resources

2012 ERC Turnover & HR Department Practices Survey
This survey collected information from Northeast Ohio employers on voluntary and involuntary turnover of employees and new-hires as well as HR department practices including the role of HR, common HR metrics and benchmarks, and the use of technology and information systems within the HR department.

Tips to Successfully On-Board Your New Hire

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A new job is an important decision in an employee's life and can elicit a number of emotions ranging from nervousness to excitement prior to the first day. HR can play an important role in capitalizing on these positive feelings and engaging new-hires throughout their first days. Here are some tips for successfully on-boarding your new-hire.

Make the pre-employment experience memorable.

Consider sending your new-hire a simple welcome package, calling them prior to their first day to welcome them, inviting them to a company event, and/or  sending a hand-written note or card. These unexpected, small gestures show that you are looking forward to working with the new-hire and reinforces their decision to come work for your organization. It also sends a positive message to their families.

Eliminate your probationary or introductory period.

Not only are these 90-day periods less common than they were several years ago, but there is no place for them in the workplace if you are confident that you have selected a great employee for the job. Requiring these periods in order for employees to continue employment and/or receive certain benefits tends to send the message that your new-hire "has to pass the test" to be a true employee of your organization and that you don't trust their potential. Is that the message you want to send to your new employee, and haven't they already passed the test if you made a good hiring decision?

Be prepared on day one.

Be ready for the new-hire when they arrive on their first day. Treat them like a guest by being ready at the front door, giving a guided tour, making introductions to staff members, providing lunch, and helping them at every step throughout the day. Ensure that their workspace is clean, stocked, and ready for work and that they have all the tools necessary to do the job, including proper equipment and computer programs. Make their first day as pleasant and as organized as possible and limit time spent on paperwork.

Cover the big picture.

Sometimes employers are so eager to get their new-hires working that they don't spend time educating them on the big picture, such as what the company does; it's history, mission, and vision for the future; its values and culture; its product and service offerings; industry; the markets and communities it serves; and the organization's structure. Spending time covering all of the core aspects of your organization's business is critical to helping the new-hire understand how their role fits into the organization.

Encourage relationship-building.

Provide time for your new-hire to build relationships with their supervisor and fellow team members by coordinating team events, social outings, one-on-one meetings, retreats, or other activities to help them learn about their fellow coworkers and build relationships with them. In addition, consider including your leadership team in the on-boarding process. Introducing new employees to senior management and allowing time to get to know them can build a sense of comfort, trust, and security in the leadership team.

Spend enough time on training and provide a mentor.

Surprisingly, many organizations don't spend enough time training their new-hires upfront, which can lead to a host of issues later. While you may want to get your new-hire started on tasks and projects, it's important to recognize that every new-hire (regardless of experience) will need training. Don't assume that they can just jump into the work with little direction or knowledge of your internal processes. If possible, also assign a "buddy" or mentor to help the employee learn and assimilate into the organization.

Ask for their feedback.

Throughout the first few months, it's important to establish checkpoints with your new-hire. If your organization doesn't have a formal feedback or survey process, ask new-hires a few simple questions - if the job is what they expected, what challenges they are experiencing, and if they are being provided with the right amount of training and support. Keep the lines of communication open with your new-hire to ensure that when a problem or misunderstanding arises, it is dealt with quickly.

On-boarding is about investing in employee retention, engagement, and productivity, so if you want to make sure your new-hire stays and thrives, consider these on-boarding practices. They are best practices from employers of choice in the region - NorthCoast 99 winners (www.northcoast99.org) - and will ensure that your new-hires are engaged and productive from the start.

7 Strategies to Find Extraordinary Local Talent

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Is your organization looking for extraordinary talent and thinks it needs to search outside of your local community? Not so fast. Many employers think they can't find talent locally and pursue their search elsewhere, but local talent is at your fingertips if you use the right strategies.

Using local job boards, postings, and advertisements (either print or online) is a good start.  These days, however, employers need to go a few steps further to find the very best talent, including building strong local roots.

Here are some proven strategies used by other local employers to consider in your quest to find and hire exceptional local talent.

  1. Pay attention to and learn about local talent in the region. Read local publications and news. Learn about the successes of other companies and the individuals employed at those organizations.  Take notice of individuals gaining attention in the local media, those receiving industry recognition and awards, and those that contribute the community in their field of expertise.
  2. Develop a presence on social media. Join local groups on LinkedIn, follow local talent on Twitter, read their blogs, and/or create a Facebook page. There are so many ways to leverage these platforms to find talent. For instance, monitor key influencers and those people contributing quality questions and content.
  3. Participate in the community. Get involved in local chambers of commerce. Go to conference and community events held around your community. Join local chapters of professional associations.  Seek and attend speaking engagements. Do community service, participate on boards, and help our non-profits. Use local resources for leadership and employee development. Meet a diverse group of people, network, and learn who the key players are in your community.
  4. Connect with local colleges, universities, and vocational schools. Develop strong relationships with professors and career centers at those institutions. Pursue speaking engagements at colleges so that students are exposed to your company and its leaders.  Use alumni relations to stay in touch. Create internships and entry-level opportunities to keep young talent here for the future of the region.
  5. Encourage your employees to be active in their communities and engage in local professional groups for their personal development. They'll engage and network with others and potentially refer them to your organization for employment. Plus, they'll likely gain valuable professional skills in the process.
  6. Partner with local talent search providers and staffing organizations. There are plenty of them with unique expertise. Plus, they often have the best knowledge of the local labor market and how your organization can find great local people. Who better to trust in finding a local hire than a local staffing provider?
  7. Boost your local workplace intelligence. Know what other local employers are paying for certain talent and jobs. Understand the kinds of benefits and perks they offer to employees. Explore ways that other local organizations are creating attractive and engaging workplaces that keep great talent.

Finding local talent isn't easy, but if your organization is committed to hiring good people, it's worth the effort. Next time your organization is considering looking outside of Northeast Ohio for a great hire and thinks that certain talent doesn't exist in our region, try these strategies before taking your search elsewhere.

Additional Resources

NorthCoast 99
Get recognized as a great place to work in 2012 to help your organization better attract and retain top talent in Northeast Ohio by participating in our NorthCoast 99 program. Click here for more information.

Staffing Services
ERC partners with several local organizations dedicated to staffing, recruiting, and hiring talent. Our Preferred Partners provide various staffing services to ERC members at discount rates. Learn more

Survey Information
Use ERC's compensation, benefits, and policy/practice information to determine the pay, benefits, and practices other local employers use to attract and retain great talent. Click here for more information about our surveys.

Why You Can't Find the Right Hire

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Many employers are facing what is perceived to be a “talent shortage” – many applicants, but few qualified candidates. Even though this perceived talent shortage may be real, here are some other reasons why your organization may not be able to find the right hire.

You have too many job requirements.

Making your qualification requirements too detailed and specific can narrow your applicant pool and doesn’t necessarily ensure that you’ll hire a top performer. Many employers make the mistake of assuming that more experience, education, and specific skills mean a better performer, but fit and personality factors should also play a role. Requesting too many requirements could eliminate candidates that can do the job well and have growth potential. A classic example of individuals affected by narrow job requirements are recent college graduates, who may not necessarily have the skills or experience you are requiring, but may be top performers.

You have misconceptions about unemployed, disabled, and older workers.

Consider whether your organization is inadvertently discriminating against the unemployed, disabled, older workers by acting on misconceptions that these types of individuals are worse performers or less-than-ideal employees. Being unemployed, disabled, or older should not automatically eliminate applicants from being considered for employment. Not only will these misconceptions limit your applicant pool and cause you to miss a potential great hire, but they could eventually lead you to court. Plus, there are a number of successful companies that have tapped into these applicant pools and found top-quality hires.

Your sourcing is too limited.

If your organization is relying solely on job board postings to acquire talent, its sourcing strategy is probably too narrow and thereby ineffective. While job boards are still a common source used by employers to source talent, organizations need to tap both active and passive job candidates – those that are actively seeking new employment and those that are open to new job opportunities but aren’t actively searching. Many employers have turned to social media, networking, and “niche” recruiting to attract specialized talent and tap into these passive candidates.

You aren’t using your network.

A network is, by far, the best way to attract quality hires. Tap into your entire organizational network – including employees, customers, professional connections and relationships – for their recommendations on potential candidates.  They are usually thrilled to help and provide meaningful suggestions. Plus, referrals are one of the most effective ways to attract quality hires and are one of the least expensive sourcing strategies.

You aren’t willing to train and develop the skills you need.

It’s much easier to find an individual that has the ability and desire to learn then it is to find an employee with every skill you need, especially for hard-to-fill technical positions. Consider whether your organization is open to training and developing some of the skills you need but can't find. This option may save you significant time and recruiting costs and allows you to focus on less trainable attributes like culture fit during the hiring process.

Your candidate experience could improve.

Once you’ve found a qualified candidate, how does your organization treat and follow-up with them throughout the hiring process? Chances are, your responsiveness, flexibility, and communication with potential job candidates could improve. Remember that job candidates are just like customers and employees. They’re evaluating your organization and will tell others about their experiences. Make sure those experiences are positive.

You may not be setting your organization apart from the rest.

Finally, has your organization revealed to its applicants how it is it different from other companies? Perhaps it offers stability or advancement opportunities that other employers can’t provide. Maybe it is growing rapidly, has a unique family-friendly culture, or was recognized as a great place to work nationally or regionally. If you don’t talk about your strengths or promote why your organization is a great place to work, applicants won’t know what they are missing by not accepting a job at your organization. Gaining recognition as a great place to work, such as through the NorthCoast 99 program (www.northcoast99.org), and leveraging this to attract applicants, can boost your organization’s reputation and is often the best place to start when it comes to improving your ability to attract talent. It also shows that you care about being an employer of choice and strive to be a good workplace.

Talented employees are undoubtedly a sought-after commodity, but many employers have found that these strategies help them attract the very best talent. If your organization is facing its own “talent shortage,” keep these suggestions in mind.


For more information on how to earn recognition as a NorthCoast 99 winner and one of the best places to work in Northeast Ohio please visit www.northcoast99.org