NorthBridge Blog

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.


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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 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.


pat_smallWe’ve all come across potential candidates who are crestfallen about doing temp or contingent work, usually because it comes after years of having been full-timers.  We admit it’s a tough crossover for some, but there are good reasons to feel upbeat about the challenges and opportunities temporary work offers.

So if you know somebody who may need some inspiration or motivation about taking on temp work, pass along these eight sensible reasons for appreciating being a temporary staffer:

  1. 8 MotivationsIt keeps you moving and engaged in work and career.  That’s important for the soul, not just the wallet.
  2. It gets you through the door, and may set you up for a permanent opportunity.  Remember: they’re often assessing temporaries as potential long-term hires.
  3. If you’ve got the chops, you’ll get the bucks: especially for specialty roles that require certain skills, you’ll make very competitive compensation.
  4. Builds your reference sheet with up-to-date testimonials.
  5. Gives you grist for your resume, so there are no dead spaces in your work history.
  6. Helps you build your professional network among the new people you meet on each assignment.
  7. Sharpens or even expands your skills, as some employers will provide training to contingent and temp staffers.
  8. Provides a level of variety and fresh challenges you often don’t see in a regular full-time job.

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We and other experts in temporary staffing solutions have been talking about it for years, but you’d think Forbes had been the first to figure it out from the tone of this column.  But the points columnist Kerry Hannon makes are dead-on: temporary staffing offers flexibility for both parties, employer and employee, that provide welcome positives in tough times.

As she puts it,

The surge in temporary jobs is what really interests me. This is a shift that’s not so temporary. For many employers, hiring temporary workers simply makes sense. They can staff up for short-term projects without the expense of healthcare and other benefits. They can be nimble and run a leaner ship with far less overhead. And in this market, they can attract top talent.

Even the New York Times has gotten in on the act, covering much of the same ground.

According to the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services (NATSS), on any given day there are 2.7 million people employed by temp agencies, meaning $15.4 billion in revenues, up 23% from the previous year.  And over that time, temporary and contingent positions have added a quarter of a million new jobs to the American economy.

Source: The New York Times

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