NorthBridge Blog

hiremeHiring recent graduates is something employers can go back and forth about. I strongly believe that companies should in fact hire recent graduates. When I say recent graduates I mean ones that show qualities such as determination.

With hiring recent graduates, not only do you gain fresh ideas, but motivation to make an impact and eagerness to earn success. As the world evolves, companies need to be adaptable to new technology and stay current in order to succeed. With hiring recent graduates allows opportunity for them to share all of their fresh knowledge they just learned, along with being up to date with current trends and ways to attract new business.

Employers could say that recent graduates have no experience in the real world, which is somewhat true, but how do you gain experience if no one is willing to give you a chance? Hiring recent graduates is like a clean canvas, it gives them the opportunity to prove themselves and show why they are qualified for a position, as well as incorporating obstacles they’ve overcame from past jobs and internships. Don’t get me wrong, there are two types of people, ones that are determined to succeed and others that lack motivation and want to achieve without putting in the work. You just have to weed out the bad ones, which shouldn’t be too difficult. A dedicated recent graduate’s resume will be A+ worthy.

Recent graduates also come with motivation to make an impact, with spending majority of their life in school they are ready to get out in the real world and apply everything they just learned. People often disagree and say that recent graduates are just interested in compensation, which plays a factor in everybody, but it is way more than just that. Recent graduates are motivated to land a job so they can continue learning newer skills, improving themselves as an employee, and providing skills and knowledge to add value to a company.

Lastly, I believe that recent graduates want to earn success. Being able to push and challenge yourself every day to achieve success is a quality that recent graduates possess. Before employers turn their heads to recent graduates I would like them to think about what comes with hiring recent graduates.

I strongly believe that recent graduates who are determined to succeed, motivated to work, have the ability to learn from obstacles that may come their way and are loyal are ones worth hiring.

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pat_smallMany people, even some HR professionals, don’t realize there aren’t many places with laws or regulations — or any at all, in some states — to govern what constitutes an “employment agency.”  That means the individual with little or no real training can hang out a shingle and call themselves a “recruiter,” and try to present themselves on the same footing as the established agency with resources, experience, top-notch personnel and a sense of professional responsibility.

What are the implications for companies — and job seekers? They’ve all got to ask the right questions, and vet the prospective recruiter just as diligently as they would each other.  A few tips on how to separate the fly-by-nighter from established pros:

One good rule of thumb is to ask if they’ve got any professional certifications;  some certifications require only a modest amount of effort to obtain, but it’s still an indication they did something to earn that shingle.

References – we’ve brought it up before: it may be the best way of judging a potential recruiter.    If they’re truly professional, they should have no problem giving you a list of satisfied clients.

Promises, promises? No honest professional will make blue-sky promises to you, as a client or a candidate.  They’ll give you an honest appraisal, but the truth of the matter is that in any professional counseling-based business, you don’t count chickens before they’re hatched.  Anyone who promises you the moon and the sky is doing it to play on your sympathies or situation.

If it smells bad, it is. There are too many good, honest recruitment professionals in the business for you to deal with anyone who seems the least bit iffy.    They may not be dishonest, just inexperienced or unqualified — but there are still plenty of sound options out there for a candidate or company that wants to trust its employment future to a trustworthy resource!

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Pat DuganHere’s a relevant survey by that puts numbers to something that nearly anyone in recruitment and staffing has observed or themselves instituted: the practice of using the social networking aspects of the Web to evaluate potential hires.

What that means for those firms, for staffing consultants and for jobseekers is that there may very well be reasons not to hire an individual, reasons that have nothing to do with his or her resume or stated experience – and everything to do with what they post or reveal via the Internet.

Here are some of the reasons cited in the survey for not making a hire, based on what surveyed employers discovered by checking prospects’ profiles and posts on social media sites:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 53 percent
  • Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35 percent
  • Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29 percent
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26 percent
  • Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 20 percent

What a prospect posts on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or other sites is perfectly fair game for any staffing consultant or HR person who wants to make a comprehensive investigation of an applicant.

There’s also good advice here for jobseekers: the barrier between our “public” and “private” selves is pretty thin on the Web.  The offhand gripe about your last boss that you post today may very well come back to haunt you tomorrow.

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Are employers and staffing firms properly positioned for an improvement in the job market? It can be a mixed blessing if you’re not prepared.

Just one of the complications is skills scarcity, as the most qualified and valuable prospective hires find their talents are in greater demand and go off the market. Whether you’re a staffing firm or an employer, you might find yourself really scrambling to fill positions with good, qualified people — if you haven’t been laying proper groundwork ahead of time.

There are a few simple questions any smart HR department or staffing firm should ask itself about its preparedness for a job market uptick of lasting duration:

  1. Do we have a plan in place? Be certain you — and your team — have a strategy in hand to guide you in sourcing and recruiting the right prospects when the need arises. Remember, waiting until only the actual moment you need them most means you’ll have to make last-second choices – not advisable in any business situation.
  2. Are we willing to scale up our staffing team? If there’s a sudden influx of job requisitions, possibly even a new slew of clients to handle if you’re a staffing firm, do you have the personnel on board it’ll take to maintain solid due diligence?
  3. Are we willing to invest in staffing skills? You should always be looking to strengthen your hand; whether you’re an employer or a consultant, you should stay on top of the latest training and work resources available that can help your staffing team succeed.
  4. Are we keeping the prospect file full? Even if you’re not in hiring mode, always be sure to stay abreast of what roles you might have to fill if the situation changes – and try to maintain outside staffing resources or a database of prospects that can give you a quick head start when you do need to put hires in place.
  5. Are we jumping the gun in hiring full-timers? Temp and temp-to-hire personnel are probably still a wise option to keep in mind, unless you’re absolutely positive about your business prospects in the upcoming year.

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Pat DuganOne thing we may sometimes not give enough importance to when we’re bringing on new staff is, how engaged are they likely to be with the job they’re doing?


This story from the Gallup Management Journal® defines “engagement” as…


…the psychological and emotional attachment people feel for their workplaces. It’s based on the fulfillment of basic human needs in the workplace, and the more people feel those needs are met, the more engaged they are.


Why does engagement matter? Because there’s also a clear link between engagement and profitability, which makes engagement a more urgent issue now than it has been in prosperous times.


You might think this feeling of engagement has suffered over the recession, but Gallup finds it’s remained reasonably stable – at 28% in the most recent survey.  But at the team level, there are signs that managers need to heed.  We won’t go into them here, because the article gives an excellent summary.


But as clients and recruiters are evaluating job openings and the prospects that might fill them, it’s important to keep engagement in mind.  Does the role, and the firm, offer the kind of opportunities for long-term attachment that will make it fulfilling for a qualified hire?   And what are the cues you can elicit from prospects that indicate whether or not they’ll be truly engaged with the job, and the company around it?


Being able to demonstrate a potential for engagement to the right person for the job can make all the difference.  When times are tough, when bonuses or raises may be in limbo, that sense of attachment means a lot, and can keep employees loyal and hard-working.  As the Gallup story concludes:


In a healthy economy, engagement makes good companies better. During challenging times, engagement might be what helps keep companies solvent. As the economy begins to improve — and it will — organizations with strong engagement will be poised to grow, and engagement may well play a role in that recovery.

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Pat DuganIt goes back to midyear 2009, but it’s still relevant, so here’s a provocative post from a blog by Lisa Amorao, a Silicon Valley professional in the staffing industry, in which see makes a good analogy between – of all things – taking care of children (hers) with flu, and good client service by staffing firms. There’s one key commentary that jumps out for us:


Now, just as no mother will admit to or feel good about not taking care of a sick child, no staffing firm will admit to abandoning their clients in a downturn. But take a look at the survey results conducted by the Staffing Industry Analysts: 30% of staffing companies feel that providing excellent customer service was a key to their success to 2008. In 2009, only 22% of staffing companies feel that providing excellent customer service is a key factor to their success. Seriously? Thirty percent was already an embarrassing number, 22% is simply horrible. The same survey also revealed that 56% of staffing companies feel that “increasing revenue” was their top priority.


Hear, hear, Lisa. We can’t account for it, either; it’s almost more important, in tough times, to help your clients figure out solutions to the challenges at hand. After all…isn’t that part of why they come to you as a recruitment professional?


If a staffing firm is devoted to maximizing revenue at the expense of good service, then let us suggest they’re not really in the business of human resources, or of creating opportunities or solutions where those may not have been obvious before. Instead, they’re in the business of selling widgets. And like somebody shilling aluminum siding or used cars, they’ll follow the path of least resistance to make a sale. Constant and in-depth client service doesn’t figure into their equations.


Not to toot our own horn too much, but our success as a Chicago staffing consultant over the last 10 years has largely owed to client service, pure and simple. We know it’s good business to work closely with our clientele. If you’re just trying to sell widgets, then you’re probably not interested in partnership, collaboration and problem-solving…and to us, that simply doesn’t make good sense.

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Pat DuganThanks for checking out Building Bridges, our new blog about Chicago staffing and recruitment matters.  It’s hot on the heels of our new Web site re-design (thanks to Biersma Creative), and it’s part of our effort to leverage every tool in the digital and social media playbook to deliver better client services and elevate our presence.  That’s important in any competitive market, but particularly in the Chicago staffing industry.  Frankly, our bread-and-butter is in attracting qualified employees, and then making it expedient for employers to bring them on board, and state-of-the-art digital outreach is part of that.


As we head into what looks like a promising 2010, we’ll be posting links to articles of note, offering insights and opinions about the Chicagoland recruitment situation, plus the occasional post about our clients and our staff, good people all.


It hasn’t been the best of times for the economy in general, or Chicago in particular.   But as we move ahead, we’re seeing signs of optimism and recovery.  We’re pretty certain we can count on the resilience and hard work of area businesses and skilled employees to make the most of the opportunities that arise, and maximize staffing growth throughout an upswing. 


Chicago being Chicago, there’ll be interesting new stories and new opportunities to cite as time goes on.   So we hope to bring you more and more ‘good news’ as North Bridge and the Chicago staffing scene move forward – stay tuned!

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