NorthBridge Blog

Pat DuganAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3,976,800 workers classified as secretaries and administrative assistants in 2014 (the most recent year for which they’ve posted figures). We’re on course for 4,095,600 people in those jobs by 2024. That’s a steady, if not spectacular, growth rate of 3% a year – but growth nevertheless.

We’ve helped companies hire a lot of secretarial and administrative workers over the years, so we’ve picked up a few tips on how to make a good hire for an admin role. Even though some might say, “Hey, it’s just an admin job – that’s not quite a make-or-break hire for my business, you know?”Chart

Our observation? A great hire is a great hire, regardless of the position, and they’ll help you in ways that go far beyond the job description. A bad hire? That’ll cause damage or costs that make a hiring manager regret not doing their due diligence in the first place.
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Pat DuganWe can sincerely say we work hard at North Bridge at being good partners for both our clients and our candidates, each and every day. That’s not too hard to do when you’re enthusiastic about the business you’re in. And when you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to conduct yourself as you try to connect the right people with the right positions.

7 Signs Quality RecruiterBut there are obviously going to be some people who play fast-and-loose with the rules, don’t play it straight with candidates, or don’t particularly care if they’re trying to shove square pegs into round holes when it comes to filling a client’s open positions.

If you’re a jobseeker, how can you tell – or maybe it’s better to say, smell – the difference between a good recruiter and a bad one? Here’s a list of seven qualities pretty common to good and great recruiters. Keep them in mind: if you ever come across a recruiter who doesn’t follow these tenets, find another one to help you out. Never forget that when you’re making your next career move, you deserve the attention of a true professional.
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Pat DuganSome of us here at North Bridge are South Siders at heart, so it pains us to acknowledge competence anywhere around the intersection of Clark and Addison. If you’re not from Chicago, find a Chicagoan and ask them what that means. If you’re from around here, there’s no explanation necessary.

But as staffing and recruiting professionals, we always have to admire when an organization gets it right. Hiring Theo Epstein to be the man in charge of the Chicago Cubs turned out to be exactly the perfect move for that franchise.

Source: Wikipedia.org


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Pat DuganAt North Bridge, we’ve learned a few things by trial and error over the years about why good candidates apply to a job posting — and why they don’t.

And as the dynamics of recruiting change, thanks to social media and word-of-mouth, it’s important to stay alert and aware of candidate behaviors and mindsets. Because there’s no worse feeling for a recruiter than to post a job…and then get very few applications. Sometimes? None at all.

What’s up with that?

A new survey by LinkedIn probed the reasons why candidates don’t apply for a job, asking 20,000 people (including 7,000 recent job-switchers) why they don’t apply to listed jobs. The results bear out something we’ve observed ourselves — that in an age where more and more information is available about companies, work cultures and jobs, the employers who don’t serve up enough information are the ones who don’t get applications.
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Pat DuganWe’ve talked about the benefits of treating your temps right in the past, and this is a complement to that notion. Because once a temp or contractor has left your business, there are real positives in maintaining a relationship with that person.

That idea is supported by statistics about how companies benefit from delivering a good candidate experience to potential hires. A 2013 report by an offshoot of TalentBoard called the Candidate Experience Awards (yes, there is such a thing!) profiled 63 companies that excelled at it, and among their findings:

  • Nearly 60% of survey respondents (candidates at the included companies) felt they need to have a relationship with a company before they apply for a job there. Nowadays, with information about a company and its culture available within a few clicks of your smartphone, no HR manager can afford to ignore this.
  • But amazingly, 75% of candidates who apply for a job get no response at all — zip, zero, nada, according to a CareerBuilder study. Maybe HR at these companies think that applicants should just get used to it. But how hard would it be for autoreply with a polite turndown?


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Pat DuganWant some insight into the upcoming hiring trends? Whether you’re an employer or a jobseeker, it’s always good to have a crystal ball handy that can peek into tomorrow — and thanks to Chicago-based staffing software firm Hireology, we’ve got one.

Hireology conducted a survey of 2,500 companies in the U.S. and Canada, and arrived at three key insights about how the job market may shift in the next several years:
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pat_smallThe trend toward having more workers spend more time working offsite is growing, according to a recent Gallup study of telecommuting.

Whether they’re full-time or temporary/contract employees, more and more of the workforce is embracing the flexibility that technology allows.

“Technology has made telecommuting easier for workers, and most companies seem willing to let workers do their work remotely, at least on an occasional basis if the position allows for it.” – Gallup

What’s this mean for recruitment professionals and company managers? What are some solid best practices you can use when it comes to managing and motivating full-time telecommuters?


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pat_smallCalifornia recently passed one of the most stringent equal pay laws in the country, enforcing gender pay equity with a very rigorous standard. California already has tough rules in place since 2014 regarding temporary and subcontracted employees, too.

Neither of these may seem relevant if you’re a small to medium-sized business located somewhere outside of the Golden State, but what is crucial for any employer is that they have a firm understanding of the wage and benefit laws in their own state.

Those rules are always evolving, at the municipal, state and national level, as seen in the Obama Administration’s proposed changes to overtime rules.
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pat_small5 HIDDEN BENEIFITSWe’ve mentioned the many benefits of hiring temporary staffers and independent contractors in the past, and most hiring managers are probably aware of the main advantages, like flexibility, seasonality and cost savings.

There are other benefits, however that aren’t exactly “hidden” but may not spring right to mind when considering hiring temporaries:

  1. Leveraging specialized skill sets: To reach your organization’s goals, there may be a need for ultra-specialized proficiencies that might not need to be permanently engaged, or for worked with particular accreditations or licenses. Temp hiring can be a perfect route to adding these talents to your company for as long as you need them.
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pat_smallAs the new baseball season moves forward, we’ve got to wonder – did anybody really have faith that the Cubs would have the season they did last year? Even those of us who have been known to raise a cheer (or a beer) or two for the boys on the South Side have to give credit where credit is due…

And we’d say a lot of that credit goes to Joe Maddon, who’s made a practice of getting teams to perform to their max potential.
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In January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that payroll employment grew by 292,000 in December, while unemployment held steady at 5 percent (the Chicago and Illinois jobs scene is stumbling in a different direction, unfortunately). But what are the broader trends you’ve got to keep an eye on if you’re a recruitment manager?

First off, finding and hiring qualified employees is always a challenge, and in a market where there’s a lot of competing demand for their services, the challenge gets harder, especially when unemployment rates decline or stay put at a relatively low level.

Getting effective, expert workers through the door is critical to a firm’s success, especially in an era where agility and the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions are increasingly central to survival, let alone to becoming a segment leader.
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Hiring the wrong employee can affect your business in too many ways – by costing you time and money, certainly, but also by driving down the morale of your other employees.

Every candidate will put on their best face during the interview process, and they’ve got a huge range of online resources to help them say the right things, anticipate tough questions, and portray themselves as the dream solution to your staffing needs.   But their true selves and real work ethic aren’t easy to discern during an interview.  Making the wrong decision can be costly…and now there’s even a formula for projecting just how costly.

Avoid the Costs of Bad HireResearch by TheUndercoverRecruiter.com gives us a formula that shows the true monetary effects of a bad hire.  If you’re paying that person $65K a year over 2.5 years, you’d see a cost to your bottom line of $840,000.

Why?   Because you need to add up hiring costs, total compensation, costs of maintaining the employee, “disruption costs,” severance, on-the-job mistakes and missed business opportunities – among other factors.

At North Bridge, we’ve given hundreds of clients the option to test the water with attractive candidates through temp-to-hire.  Moreover, we screen those candidates thoroughly before we send them on to employers.  Plus, if anyone takes a hit in the unusual case of a mismatch, we take that burden – not the client – since s/he is on our payroll, not yours.


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