What Today’s Employers Expect From Employees

By Barb Miller, Marketing Manager, DRI

These days, employers look for skills beyond the ‘academic qualifications’ of candidates. Many of them believe that academic qualifications and experience are something that can easily be found but the right combination of characteristics that help a company make money or save money, are hard to find.

With that in mind, here are 6 of the most desirable characteristics that employers expect from employees:

Taking Initiative. Initiative is all about taking charge. It’s having the motivation to accomplish tasks on your own. If you want to be great at what you do and be considered for a leadership position, you need to show that you are ready, able, and willing to get things done without being asked.

Positive Attitude. Many employers believe that having a positive attitude is more important than the knowledge an employee brings to the table. A positive attitude is infectious. It spreads to all others in the workplace. Also, if you’re a positive person, you tend to be more curious about things. As a result, your job performance is usually better than a negative person because you are always looking for new ideas that yield higher productivity levels.

Entrepreneurial Spirit. Entrepreneurs are innovators. They are always trying to figure out new ways to accomplish tasks. Entrepreneurs like change because change often brings a plethora of opportunities. The essence of the entrepreneurial attitude is that you are able to anticipate change and formulate innovative responses to change that will result in success.

Results-Oriented. Results-oriented individuals are focused on making things happen no matter the challenges or road blocks. This means you dig through projects and figure out how to obtain the desired result(s). In addition, you stay resolute and focused on each project, meet deadlines, and deliver value to the organization.

Team Player. Employers know that their employees are more productive and tend to be more loyal and committed to the organization when they see themselves as an integral part of a team.  Team players show a willingness to collaborate with others in order to execute work assignments and accomplish goals.

Dependable and Responsible. Being dependable means that you do what you say you will do. Employers value employees who come to work on time and take responsibility for their actions and behaviors. In addition, employers know that dependable and responsible employees value their job, job expectations, and their performance level.

Desire for Continued Learning. Continual learning enables employees to increase the contribution they make to the company. If you show a willingness to take advantage of training programs offered at work, attend seminars, read relevant books etc. you become more valuable to every assignment and ultimately the organization. Also, don’t forget to ask for advice from your team and manager on things you need to learn in order to progress.

If you are a hiring manager, are there any other characteristics that you consider to be “must haves” in your workplace?  Please share your comments below.

How Millennials are Changing the Workplace

By John Yurkschatt, IT Director of Sister Company DCA

In 2014, Millennials comprised 36% of the workforce. By 2025, they will make up 75% of the workforce. Compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, the Millennials have a very different view of what the workplace landscape should look like and therefore, come into the workforce with different expectations. We’re already seeing some companies, including our own, that have adopted new techniques for hiring, motivating, managing, and retaining this young talent. Eventually all companies will need to adjust and prepare for this emerging demographic and shift.

On the whole, millennials are hard workers. But what do they really want in the workplace? Here’s our list of the 7 ways they will reshape the future of work:

Emphasis on Technology.  As the most technologically literate generation, millennials find it important that employers keep them connected with the latest and best technology including mobile platforms. In fact, many companies now offer online pre-interview questionnaires and video interviews. Not only is the video interview process a cost-effective and convenient way to screen candidates, it also highlights the company’s use of technology and can help draw in top talent.

Corporate Culture and Meaningful Work are Paramount. Millennials say that meaningful work is a key factor when accepting a job. They want to know that their work will have a positive impact on their co-workers, manager, and on the company at large. In addition, millennials are especially fond of volunteering whether for skills-based volunteering or company volunteering days.

Leadership Must be Transparent and Authentic. Transparency is one of the top four qualities that millennials look for in leaders so it’s no surprise that when they become leaders it is something they will make a priority. Also, this generation is able to smell phony and pretentiousness a mile away. They’re fed up with politicians and business leaders who don’t keep promises and are more concerned about personal gain than serving others. They want leaders with integrity.

Working from Home Will Become the Norm.  The Census Bureau reported that 13.4 million people work from home in America. That number will only continue to rise as more Millennials enter the workforce. They like the idea of remote connectivity and dislike the idea of being confined in an office from 9 to 5. They value a work/life balance but expect to stay highly connected and engaged with their employer and team.

Rewards and Instant Gratification Expected.  Millennial expectations for rewards and instant gratification are due to their emphasis on connectedness and communication. Technology has cultivated an expectation of quick responses and immediate appreciation for a job well done. However, this appreciation is not necessarily monetary. Instead, millennials want their ideas to be considered, appreciated and implemented.

Annual Performance Reviews Eliminated. Millennials want feedback in real-time or at the very least, on a regular basis. They aren’t willing to wait until an annual review to improve. In addition, they want to know what’s expected of them from the start.

Leadership Development a Must. Millennials have a strong opinion about how they will learn and develop leadership skills. Career coaching, mentorship programs, and rotational assignments are the most desired types of leadership training. Less important are the traditional types of training including e-learning, university courses and instructor-led classes. Millennials want to learn through experiences, rather than traditional training.

If you’re a Millennial, what other changes do you see coming in the workplace? Please post below.

6 Mobile Job Search Apps Every Job Seeker Should Know About by Sydney Arnett, Marketing Specialist, DCA & DRI

Looking for a new job? In today’s competitive job market job seekers have to be connected, organized and prepared. To stay ahead of the curve, tech-savvy job seekers are taking advantage of mobile job search apps.

According to glassdoor.com, 9 in 10 job seekers search for jobs via their mobile phones, which is consistent with Direct Consulting Associates’ analytics that say the number one way people come to our website is via the iPhone. In addition, 77% of job seekers use mobile job search apps. Job search apps are becoming increasingly popular as they give job seekers constant access, both at home and on the go, with up-to-date job postings.

Given 59% believe they have a better chance of being considered for a job if they apply as soon as the job is posted online, speed and having access to the latest job listings is a top priority for job seekers. Apps are also popular because many company’s career sites are not mobile-optimized, making it difficult to apply to jobs using a mobile device.

Looking for a job is undeniably one of the most stressful hurdles in one’s life. Whether you’re out of a job or not satisfied in your current position, mobile job searching app can definitely make your hunt a little easier.

Here are 6 mobile job search apps every job seeker should know about:

Job AwareJob Aware
JobAware is an app that allows you to search jobs in cities near you and helps you organize and track your progress throughout the job application process. The app also offers salary comparisons for hundreds of occupations, LinkedIn account integration to help you take advantage of your network, and job search advice from top career experts. And that’s not all. There’s also an autofill feature that allows JobAware to automatically fill out job applications, rapidly speeding up the application process. The app also allows you to find the top cities for any job search term or company.This app can be used to search for full-time, part-time, contract, freelance jobs and internships.

Get HiredGetHired
Just enter what you are looking for and getHired will provide job listings from 8 different job search engines (Indeed, CareerJet, JuJu, LinkUp, SimplyHired, CareerBuilder, JobServe and USAJobs.gov) across more than 60 countries.  getHired is like job classifieds on your phone and is extremely easy and simple to use. However, it’s best used to simply search positions while on the go as it is unable to directly submit your resume. getHired is also only available on Windows phones and tablets.

Job CompassJob Compass
JobCompass is the first application on the iPhone or iPad that searches millions of jobs, locating and plotting them on a map showing you exactly where the jobs are in relation to a specific address or zip code. This app in addition to providing job description information, also allows you to apply directly from your phone.

SnagSnagAJob
SnagAJob is a top-ranked search engine for full-time and part-time hourly positions throughout the US. This app allows you to search and apply to over 350,000 jobs across a variety of industries, including restaurant, retail and customer service.

Switch
SwitchSwitch is a new job hunting app that lets you search for a job the same way you’d swipe for a date on Tinder. Switch allows you to quickly browse through available job listings. You swipe right on jobs you’re interested in and left on jobs you want to pass on. Hiring managers do the same on anonymized candidate profiles and when there’s a match both users are notified. However, Switch is currently exclusive to tech, media, and startup companies in NYC.

LinkLink-Up
LinkUp’s unique search engine, updated daily, lists only jobs that are found on company and employer websites. This helps you uncover the hidden job market of opportunities not publicly advertised on the major job search engines. An additional upside is that as positions are filled and company websites are updated so are LinkUp’s job search listings – so no more applying to outdated job postings.

2015 Job Seekers Have the Upper Hand

According to Forbes Magazine, 86% of workers in North America say they plan to actively look for a new job this year and for good reason…the job market has opened up. That means those who stayed in their current job roles for years due to a lack of choices and the security of a paycheck, now have the upper hand.

In fact, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced that 2014 was the best year for hiring since 1999 and that the unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.6% (employers added 252,000 jobs in December). Better still, 36% of employers plan to increase their full-time staff in 2015, according to a CareerBuilder survey.

What does this mean for you? For the first time in 6 years, the job market is strong.  Job seekers now will find a greater number of opportunities available that will most likely offer better pay.  The hottest industries for hiring are information technology, financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare.

What hasn’t changed are the strategies you need to get noticed and considered for these opportunities. In DRI’s recent blog “Your 2015 Job Search”, I mentioned 8 ways to get noticed. Here’s 6 more strategies for you:

1) Update your resume in ways to capture attention.  You will be especially attractive if you expertise in those hard to fill positions.  Include all your specialty areas on your resume.  Remember to include any quantifiable results you have achieved. For example, if you increased customer retention by 20% over the years, make sure to highlight this accomplishment.  Also, add your social media links especially to LinkedIn so employers can find out more about you.

2) Get insider information.  The best job opportunities never get advertised especially if they’re high level.  You need to network and reach out to people who you know who work at the companies that are of interest to you. If you don’t know an insider, tap into your LinkedIn contacts or try to connect with someone in the know who can help you get considered for open positions.

3) Set up “Google Alerts” for companies of interest to you.  Be in the hiring loop by setting up Google Alerts for 3 to 5 companies at which you would like to work. This way, you’ll be on top of breaking news, job postings and business opportunities long before your competition without having to devote hours to research.

4) Download mobile job apps.  Mobile apps allow job seekers to search discreetly for positions anytime and anywhere and respond to postings quickly. There are apps that help with career planning, organize the job search process, alert job seekers to compatible positions, and can even upload and send resumes to recruiters.

5) Raise your profile and presence.  In and above being active in professional organizations, nominate yourself for speaking opportunities. This will raise your profile and capture the attention of employers.  Also, think about blogging on a regular basis to display your passion and knowledge.  You just may land a new job by being discovered digitally.

6) Be open to recruiters.  If a recruiter contacts you, be open to a discussion. They may be working on an active search that’s right in your wheelhouse and meets most of your “must haves”. But even if it’s not the perfect fit, recruiters also know about other available career opportunities. It doesn’t hurt to entertain a conversation. Also, help out a colleague if you can.  If you pay it forward, one of your colleagues might pay it back at a later date.

Are you among the 86% that are looking to make a job change this year?

Candidate Background Checks More Important Than Ever by Dan Charney, President, DRI

A significant number of job candidates falsify information on their resumes. Surprisingly, many applicants who fabricate their information still land the job. How is that possible?

According to Neil Adelman, President of Safeguard, a comprehensive background screening company in Beachwood, Ohio, “About 50% of resumes contain incorrect information and many businesses either lack the proper in-house resources or initiative to carry out full employment verification procedures or criminal record checks. As a result, companies can easily make poor and costly hiring mistakes.”

There are a variety of reasons why candidates falsify information. From my experience, the reasons run the gambit of trying to hide periods of unemployment, conceal substance abuse, and/or hide a criminal record. For some, it’s simply to get the competitive edge in today’s economy and fierce job market.

According to the Wall Street Journal and the Society for Human Resource Management, here are the top reasons why employers should screen their applicants:

  • Reduce Legal Liability
  • Ensure a Safe Work Environment
  • Prevent Theft & Other Criminal Activity
  • Comply with State Law
  • Assess Overall Trustworthiness

I’d like to add two more…it saves time and money. For example, I recently advised a client of mine to conduct a thorough vetting process before hiring my candidate or any candidate for that matter. The hiring manager said it was their policy to hire first and then check. Unfortunately, they initiated their criminal background check well into his first month of employment, after on-boarding and training were completed. To their dismay, they found criminal activity in his past that if repeated, would put their company at risk. They terminated his employment immediately. Neglecting to do a background check before hiring was a costly mistake for them. Thousands of dollars in company resources including financial, human capital, and time were wasted.

I recommend that the best time to do a background check is when you narrow the playing field to one or two candidates and before a job offer is even discussed. Employment and background verification is too important for your company to hesitate on, delegate to an untrained employee, or disregard your state’s guidelines and requirements.

Frankly, you have a duty to take care of your workforce as well as mitigate risk for your company. That’s why DRI uses screening services before hiring our own employees and recommend the same to our clients.

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Trade Show Experience by Sydney Arnett, Marketing Specialist DRI & DCA

tradeshowsThe 2015 trade show season is quickly approaching. After the holiday season, The DRI team will go into trade show mode. Whether you are attending these shows as an exhibitor or a visitor, it is important to maximize your time and get the most that you can out of the show.

For those of you asking yourselves why you should attend a trade show—there are lots of reasons! As an exhibitor, benefits include increased sales, face-to-face meetings, promotion of your brand, competition evaluation, and building credibility, to name a few. As a visitor, one of the main benefits is that you can meet large numbers of useful people in your industry in once place. If you are attending a show on behalf of your company, trade shows are a great way to forge good business relationships and make face-to-face contact. Trade shows are also the most time efficient forum to keep up to date with new to market technology, state of the art products, and innovations and developments in your specific industry.

So, as you start planning, here are 5 tips to keep in mind for getting the most out of your trade show experiences in 2015:

  1. Prepare
    Visitors: Make a list of the goals you want to achieve by visiting the show. Spend time researching the vendors so that you’ll have a clear idea of who you need to see. Make contact before the show with key people you want to see and either set up a time to meet or at least get their telephone number so you can contact them once you arrive at the show. Bring a bag to carry everything you pick up, like promotional items.
    Exhibitors: Ask yourself: who are you targeting at the show? Getting the right kind of traffic to your booth starts before the trade show, with pre-show activity such as e-mail blasts or marketing campaigns. Also, plan to bring any employees who would greatly benefit from attending the trade show, or who would be beneficial to have there. Lastly, don’t forget to communicate via social media that you will be attending a trade show and to ask if others will be attending. (Also—don’t forget to Tweet and use other social media platforms during and after the show!)
  2. Have your materials ready
    Visitors: Take plenty of business cards and any other materials you want to hand out. If you are representing your company, be sure to bring any literature that you want to give other visitors or exhibitors.
    Exhibitors: Be sure to bring all of your marketing materials, including pamphlets, brochures, and other literature on your company and its services. Giveaways are also good and provide a valid reminder of your brand and tend to draw people to your booth.
  3. Be mindful of your presentation
    Visitors: Your personal appearance is important and is a representation of you and your company. Wear business attire and wear comfortable shoes.
    Exhibitors: Make sure that your booth, and staff, are a good representation of your company. It is important to have an eye catching and functional display system to show off your merchandise or services as well as to attract and educate more potential clients about your business. Even if you get tired, don’t pack up and leave early and don’t sit there and look like you’re waiting for the minute the show ends. This will make someone ask themselves, “Is this someone I want to do business with?” Staying energized and engaged until the trade show is officially over (or longer) proves to customers that you are a company committed to the trade show—and to their business.
  4. Network, network, network
    Visitors: Take advantage of the opportunity to meet industry peers. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others. By taking the initiative, you can promote yourself and your business and make valuable contacts.
    Exhibitors: For many businesses, attending trade shows is one of the best ways to network and spread the word about your company. Engage with visitors and establish new relationships.
  5. Follow up
    Visitors: Ask permission to follow up with new contacts and make sure you understand the prospect’s preferred method for doing so. Also, follow up with companies you requested additional information from. If you missed any companies while you were at the trade show, feel free to reach out to them after.
    Exhibitors: Contact everyone you met at the show within two weeks. Separate contacts/business cards out by hot lead, warm lead and cold. This way you can easily establish the priority of who to contact right away. The goal is to move your relationship forward while the trade show is still fresh in their minds. Following up promptly is key to successfully maximizing your new contacts. A good idea is to organize a follow-up date for a qualified lead while at the trade show. Whether it’s setting a date for a follow-up call or related to sending some follow-up materials, you must plant the seeds for a continuing discussion. People will be much more likely to keep you in the forefront of their thinking once they know that a follow-up is pre-arranged.

Matthew Cohen Interviews Jon Hillberg, President & CEO of KMC Controls

kmclogoMatthew Cohen, Energy Management Practice Leader with DRI, interviews Jon Hilberg, President & CEO of KMC Controls who talks about new technology and talent acquisition in the Building Automation space.

KMC Controls helps facilities achieve higher levels of indoor environmental quality and energy efficiency by automating and controlling building systems.

1) In what areas do you see the greatest growth in the Building Automation Industry?

The Building Automation Industry is going through tremendous change right now and it is only accelerating. As the world becomes more “connected” via The Internet of Things (IoT), massive data collection (Big Data) the opportunity in the BAS Industry will be exponential over the next 10-15 years. While Green Buildings have grown in popularity, the “openness” of systems running in buildings today is paramount. C-level executives today want data they can have in “real time” which allows critical decisions be made without waiting for “old data”. This data also ties very closely to the Demand Response world and Utility Companies need to control electricity usage at critical times. Cloud based systems are also becoming more accepted and utilized allowing large building data storage to be housed remotely and securely away from the facility itself. There are many growth factors as you can see. The challenge is to “pick a lane” and stay focused on it.

2) What do you see as the biggest challenge facing BAS manufactures and system integrators today?

With the popularity of “Apps” today many of the mundane, time-consuming tasks are being cut back or eliminated that SI’s face today. That being said finding qualified technicians that are both HVAC and IT savvy is a tremendous challenge. “Speed to Market” with new, robust, easy to install products challenge the manufacturers as well as continued market pricing pressures.

3) In choosing senior level talent for KMC, what are the key factors you look for when expanding you team?

We look for dedicated, passionate employees who are willing to go the extra mile. Being a smaller player in the BAS space, we have people performing more than just one task if they are capable.

4) What are the major challenges you face when acquiring top talent in the BAS industry?

The biggest challenge we face as a manufacturer is drawing talent to the smaller rural area where we reside. Lifestyle is valuable to many and if they want a larger city environment, it makes our recruiting tougher. We are addressing by opening a design center in a major city which will help somewhat. Allowing people in certain positions to work form home at least 2-3 days a week if not full time also has helped.

matthew-cohen-square-web-shotMatthew Cohen
Energy Management Practice Leader
Direct Recruiters, Inc.
440-996-0860
mcohen@directrecruiters.com

For Millennials, Job Hopping is Normal by Barb Miller, Marketing Manager, DRI

Millennials, also known as GEN Y, were born between the years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s and are notorious job hoppers. Reports suggest they have a short attention span and the majority of this generation does not expect to stay with one employer for more than five years.

Companies are feeling the real costs of these job hoppers. Reported in the Chicago Tribune  30% of companies surveyed lost 15% or more of their Millennial employees in 2013; and 87% said it cost $15,000 to $25,000 to replace a former Millennial employee.

Is there any way to keep Millennials from walking out the door? Yes. But it may mean changing your company culture and/or implementing new and creative ways for employee retention.  Here are 5 suggestions:

1) Offer Job Hopping Opportunities Inside Your Company. Give Millennials an opportunity to have a wide range of experiences within your company. The ability to move between departments can lead to greater exposure and job fulfillment.

2) Leadership Development. Millennials pay close attention to whether their workplace offers leadership opportunities for them. Your company should develop and implement a variety of leadership programs that demonstrate a commitment to these young employees.

3) Mentorship Programs. Mentoring is very important to Millennials. Establishing an effective mentoring program is both a cost-effective means of facilitating connections, accelerate learning and send a positive message about their future with the company.

4) Current Technology. Millennials grew up with technology in their hands. They’re very comfortable with smart phones, IPads, Laptops, etc. and are keenly aware of the latest applications and improved mechanics. Make sure your company offers the state-of-the-art technology to help them work more efficiently and increase productivity levels.

5) Work/Life Balance. Millennials will work hard but want flexibility. Offer them remote connectivity and alternative work arrangements for community or family events. Also, offer a relaxed environment. It’s no coincidence that this generation admires the work environments of Google, Yahoo and Amazon. Gone are the days of wearing suits and ties as a more relaxed workplace is in.

If you’re a Millennial and change jobs often, please comment on how job hopping has been a positive for you.

Networking with Purpose by Guest Blogger, John Yurkschatt, Director of IT Practice, DCA

In today’s challenging job market, it’s not just about who you know but how you get to know them.  If NOT done correctly, networking is a waste of your time. If your approach is to seek out people to tell them about ME, ME, ME, you’ll walk away from every networking event/opportunity disappointed.

The right way to network is to do it with “purpose”.  That means think beyond “What’s in it for me?”  Instead, think “How can I help you?”

True networking is all about connecting, communicating and building a relationship.  It’s about enjoying your conversation with others and actively listening in order to figure out what they need as well as how you can connect them with the right people without designs for personal gain.

For many of you, this revelation is eye opening.  It’s probably contrary to what you’ve been doing.  If so, the following 5 tips on how to network successfully are especially meant for you:

1) Start networking before you’re in a pinch. Desperation can be smelled from across the room. Don’t be that person with panic in your eyes and only out for yourself. Handing out resumes at an event will make people run away from you instead of towards you. Start networking when you don’t have an ulterior motive.  Get to know people and about what’s important to them and start building a relationship.

2) Never dismiss anyone as being unimportant. Everyone has value and you’ll discover that fact if you keep your mind open and don’t judge people based on titles. Remember everyone has connections therefore, everyone is important.

3) Ask for an attendee list. Prior to attending each event, ask the organizer for a list of attendees.You can do some research on the people you want to meet. Check out their LinkedIn profiles and Google their names to gather more information.

4) Fish in the right pond. Unfortunately many of you are attending every event you can. You want to meet anybody and everybody. Slow-down. You need to be more focused. For example, if you’re looking for a big fish, i.e. a key contact with a large company because you want to work for a large company, then you must attend the right event. You have to fish where the big fish are.

5) Figure out how you can be useful. Networking is not just one sided. It’s not asking for favors. It’s about building relationships. It’s about a two way street and that means asking others how you can be of service to them. Be sincere and generous. Give them your business card and let them know they can call you anytime.

Please share how you network with purpose by posting a comment in the box below.

Top 5 Lies on Resumes by Guest Blogger John Yurkschatt, Recruitment Manager, DCA

Have you ever lied on your resume or embellished the truth when speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager? It happens fairly often and it puzzles me because background checks and references are quite easy to conduct. In addition, a simple Google search can quickly uncover false information.

Recently I caught a candidate in the midst of a lie just by asking the same question twice. The first time I spoke with him, he said he made $80,000 in 2013 and wanted to better himself by changing jobs. When I called back a week later and asked that same question again to make sure that the position I was about to present was in his “must have” range, he bumped his 2013 earnings up to six figures.  All of the sudden, he earned over $100,000 in 2013. I asked to see his W2 for verification purposes but he declined.  He also hung up on me which was for the best since any confidence and trust I placed in him was now gone.

What other things do candidates often embellish or just plain lie about? Here are 5 that my team and I encounter quite often:

Enhancing skill sets & accomplishments. If you didn’t do it, or didn’t achieve it, don’t list it.  However, there’s nothing wrong with enhancing your resume with quantifiable accomplishments and improving how you display them.

Unexplained gaps of employment. Rather than make up a fictional job to cover an employment gap, try acknowledging the gap in your cover letter. If you were taking time off to raise children or to take care of a sick parent, no employer will fault you especially if you can show that you’ve kept up with the industry.

Fabricated education, degrees and certifications.  This is very risky. This lie is one that could not only get you fired, but might also incite legal action on the part of your employer. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Omitting past employment.  Depending on the circumstances or why you left a previous job, you might be tempted to leave it off your application or resume. Carefully weigh your decision, because a background check or employment verification could reveal your omission, making it look as if you are hiding part of your work history.

Falsifying reasons for leaving prior employment. There’s a tactful way of explaining being fired or quitting abruptly, and it doesn’t have to involve lying. Just figure out the best way to explain it in as positive a light as possible. Not explaining the reason(s) can and will ruin your chances of getting hired.

Here’s where I need to reiterate that honesty is still the best policy. Lying on your resume or directly to a recruiter or hiring manager will come back to haunt you. Once you’ve told lies, they snowball.  If you land the job, you’ve got to keep up the charade of each lie for the rest of your career. Who can keep up with all of them?

Have you ever embellished your resume or know somebody who did and got caught? Share your resume stories with us below.