The Case for Unlimited PTO by Matthew Cohen

October 25, 2017

By Matthew Cohen, Practice Leader - Energy & Sustainability and HVAC/R

As a recruiter, I routinely manage the expectations candidates during the offer stage of their interview process. Recently, the most negotiated piece of the offers I see besides salary is paid vacation time.  For decades, the standard for vacation time in most industries was a small amount of PTO accrued over time and the additional PTO was tied to the amount of years someone was employed.  We are seeing a fundamental shift in the importance of PTO.  The advances in our understanding of mental and physical health has caused candidates to value PTO as a key factor in their decision-making process when deciding on a career change.  This shift begs the question: why not have unlimited PTO for your employees?  Below are three reasons unlimited PTO should be considered:

  1. Healthier, Happier Employees: There are a multitude of studies that show the negative effects sitting in an office can do someone both mentally and physically. Having unlimited PTO can give an employee an opportunity to decompress and recharge whenever they feel the need.  Employees who come to work with a positive attitude more often can create a better work environment and decrease stress and employee burnout which will in turn, increase employee retention.
  2. More productivity: It sounds odd, but there is a case to be made that the more PTO employees are given, the greater their productivity. If employees can come to work with less mental or physical stress, they are more likely to produce results at a higher rate. If employees are counting the months until their next few days of PTO, that distraction can limit their productivity.  In addition, having unlimited PTO can create a greater relationship between employees and employers which also can lead to an increase in productivity.
  3. Greater Accountability: One of the biproducts of allowing unlimited PTO is greater accountability between employers and employers. Employees are more likely to be more transparent and honest about their work if they have the freedom to take PTO when they need to.  Those who abuse unlimited PTO and who are not productive when back at work, can be dealt with swiftly with a shared understanding that unlimited PTO means more accountability when at work.

While not all industries and jobs can support unlimited PTO, the importance of vacation is growing at a rate where we all need to understand and take notice.  We are seeing unlimited PTO polices work in many industries and we see this as a continued trend in the future.  Next time you hear someone say, “I need a vacation” you might just want to give it to them.

Contact Matthew:
440-996-0860
mcohen@directrecruiters.com
Matthew's LinkedIn

Candidate Emotions to Consider when Making a Hire

July 13, 2016

By Matthew Cohen, Energy & Sustainability Practice Leader

When a hiring manager makes an offer to a candidate, they think about a number of factors such as salary, benefits, start date, counteroffers and a multitude of statistical information to put an offer together for a prospective employee.  In many cases, hiring managers get lost in the numbers when making an offer to a candidate and don’t focus on the emotional side of a job change. Most of us think of a candidate making a job change as simply changing a line item on their resume when in reality any time a candidate makes a job change they are also making a significant life change as well.  This life change brings with it a number of emotions and thoughts to consider when hiring a new employee.

Below are three emotional changes that hiring managers need to consider before making an offer to a candidate:

  1. Relationship with their current employer- It is important to understand their emotional connection with their current company and boss when making an offer to a candidate. Does the candidate have a personal relationship outside of work with their boss or fellow employees? This can be a key factor when a company makes a counteroffer to a candidate.  Often times, the counteroffer can be purely emotional which can be difficult to overcome.
  1. Candidate’s family thoughts- When making a life changing decision, we often look to our families and/or spouses for support and guidance. Asking a candidate what their family thinks about their decision to make a job change is crucial, especially if they respond by saying they have not told their family yet.  This can be a red flag and it should be encouraged to ask a candidate to tell their family of their decision, they may not always be on board.
  1. Revisiting the “Why”- Understanding why a candidate is making a job change is crucial when making an offer to said candidate.  We have established that making a job change is an emotional decision, therefore it is important to understand and underscore what has caused that person to make a change beyond just dollars and cents.  This can help in a counteroffer situation when you can revisit the emotions of why they were interviewing in the first place.

So while candidates express that changing jobs is exciting and challenging all at the same time, it can also be right up there with life’s highest stress factors such as moving, the birth of a child, new marriage, divorce, etc. Understanding the emotions your new hire is going through and helping them make a successful transition will pay off in spades.

Employment Opportunities In The Energy & Sustainability Industry

Matthew Cohen

February 17, 2016

Matthew Cohen, Energy & Sustainability Practice Leader was interviewed by Bob Hetherington, Editor with AltEnergyMag.com.

What are the most significant hiring challenges facing organizations in the Energy & Sustainability space?

The most significant challenge facing organizations today is the struggle to attract passive candidates who are not actively looking for new opportunities.  To organizations, passive candidates are desirable. They are currently doing their job at peak performance and already exhibit the specific characteristics and skills employers crave. However, even with the improvement of the economy, passive candidates who do not have a compelling reason to change jobs are less likely to be open to new opportunities.

What can organizations in the Energy & Sustainability space do to attract passive candidates who are not actively looking for new positions?

The best way for organizations in the Energy & Sustainability to attract passive candidates is to consistently take a proactive approach.  It is important to constantly be aware of talent in the industry and develop a pipeline even when they are not currently available.  Those organizations that take a relationship first approach with passive candidates, the smoother transition they have, when and if, a prospective candidate is interested in new opportunities.

What are the most significant attributes that companies in the Energy & Sustainability Industry look for when acquiring new talent?

The most significant attributes that companies in the Energy & Sustainability Industry look for when acquiring new talent is the ability to not only be technically proficient, but have the communication skills necessary to explain or even sell their technical knowledge to their customer base.  It is important for companies not only be able to explain what a return on investment will be in a sustainable solution, but how that solution will impact the lives of their employees and community.  Those individuals who have those soft skills are in high demand.

Are there geographical areas in the country that are more active than others when it comes to hiring for this industry?

Those areas where peak demand for HVAC is highest are the areas that are the most active. This would include California, the southeast, Florida and Texas.  The northeast region also is very active in the sustainability industry given legislation there is promoting high sustainability standards.

What are the most sought after positions in the Energy & Sustainability Industry?

The most sought after positions in the Energy & Sustainability Industry are those that are customer facing but also require technical ability.  These would include, sales, project engineering and managers, energy auditors and energy engineers.

Are there any educational qualifications that you would recommend for those seeking employment in the Energy & Sustainability Industry?

For those seeking employment in the Energy & Sustainability Industry, I would recommend the LEED certification as well as the Certified Energy Manager certification (CEM).  Both of these on a resume make a candidate within the industry considerably more attractive.

As a professional in the industry, what trends do you see on the horizon?

One of trends that I see on the horizon is an expansion of services by ESCO’s and energy efficiency consulting firms.  We are seeing a trend of organizations going beyond the simple ROI on an energy efficiency upgrade.  Those who seek sustainability solutions are looking for ways they can transform not only their energy consumption, but how sustainable solutions can impact the lives and productivity of their employees.  This would include asset management and the implementation of a training program on how to keep a building sustainable after the initial upgrade is completed.

How are you expanding and why the practice name change to Energy & Sustainability?

We’ve had great success in the energy industry focusing specifically on those companies who either make a traditional energy efficient product such as HVAC, building automation, LED lighting, advanced metering and energy management software.  We have since expanded not only to service organizations that implement or consult on energy & sustainability solutions, but also expand to emerging technologies that are vital to the future of sustainability.  These would include, energy storage, micro grid technology, cogeneration and advances in renewable technologies.

About Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen serves as the Energy & Sustainability Practice Leader for DRI’s growing Energy & Sustainability sector comprised of HVAC, Energy Management Software, Demand Response, Energy Services, Energy Efficiency, Building Automation, AMI & AMR Technologies, Energy Management Hardware and Systems Integration and Renewable Energy Technologies.  Matt is expanding his practice area through market research, candidate sourcing, recruiting and new business development.

What to Consider Before Changing Jobs

By Matthew Cohen, Energy Management Practice Leader

Today’s companies are as aggressive as ever to recruit and retain strong individuals and they are shelling out big bucks and signing bonuses to get the best talent on their teams.  For even a passive candidate, there is certainly a wide range of opportunities to choose from, but what I have seen as a disturbing trend are candidates who take positions that they think will be the right fit and then leave two, three or six months later for a better position.

There is nothing wrong with upward mobility and there are those organizations that don’t put much stock in employee tenure.  However, many candidates who take positions just because it is in front of them may not be fully exploring their options or asking the right questions during the hiring process.  This can lead to poor tenure and a reputation for being a “job hopper” which in most industries is looked upon as a negative when reviewing a resume.

If you are considering a new position or are interested in exploring new opportunities, these are the five questions you must ask yourself before making a decision.

Am I just chasing Money?- In the war for talent, companies are doing what they need to in order to get the best people, which includes pay much high than the market rate.  There is nothing wrong with making more money, but compensation should be only one aspect of considering a position.  If it’s just about the money, it’s possible to simply ask your boss for a raise and if you are a valuable member of the team, you just might get it.  Also, if money is the only factor for changing jobs, the next position that comes along that offers you a higher salary will be very appealing. However, it might not be the best fit.

Have I told my boss I’m unhappy? For some reason, employees have a difficult time discussing their frustrations with their current employer.  In many cases once an employee shares their issues, they can be worked out or solved.  If a boss hears your grievances and does not solve them that would be a good time to start looking.

Am I leaving my job just to leave?  Often times when someone finds a new position that they are interested and they are fed up with their current employer, they will simply take a new position just so they can leave their old one, this can be a recipe for disaster if the new position they took does not fully meet their expectations or a better opportunity comes along.  This can cause your resume to have brief employer history which can have negative long-term effects on your career.

Will I be happy every day to go to work?  It may sound odd but happiness is and should be the determining factor when taking on a new position.  If there is any, even a small amount of hesitation on whether someone will be happy in a position, it may be time re-evaluate.

Have I seen all that is out there?  There are a plethora of different avenues for discovering new opportunities.  LinkedIn, job boards, recruiters, industry events and personal network can all lead to job opportunities.  Before pulling the trigger on a new position, it is important to exhaust all resources.

Before you rush to change jobs and accept a job offer, take some time to really evaluate the situation. You need to determine if leaving your current company is the best decision and if the next role is going to be the right fit for you.

Please post your thoughts and comments below.

5 Reasons Social Media is a Must When Job Hunting

By Matthew Cohen, Energy Management Practice Leader, DRI

Everyone knows the traditional ways of looking for career opportunities including career websites, job boards, job fairs, and cold calling hiring authorities. These have been the accepted practices in job hunting for years.  However, in recent times, social media has become an increasingly valuable tool for candidates looking for new opportunities as well as hiring authorities and companies looking for top talent.

With that in mind, here are 5 big reasons why social media is a must when making a career move:

  1. Creating a Digital Footprint- Just like paying your credit card on time helps you build financial credit, having a track record on social media can be valuable when prospective employers perform due diligence on prospective hires.  Your Facebook and Twitter are not just for vacation pictures, but are areas where you can post content that you are passionate about and can also relate to your chosen profession.  Use LinkedIn to find out information about people before you meet them as well as grow your network.
  1. Companies Respond on Social Media- Organizations that market themselves to the masses are more than ever relying on social media as a marketing and hiring tool. Hiring authorities and corporate recruiters are more likely to respond to direct messages on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn than traditional ways of reaching out to prospective hires.
  1. Job Posts on Social Media- Companies not only use social media to brand themselves, but increasingly use many social media platforms to post in-demand jobs. If you follow organizations that you may be interested in working for, you are more likely to discover open positions and they’re more likely to discover you. Companies have found that social media recruitment allows them to cast a wider net.
  1. Demonstrates Tech Savviness- Employers are putting a greater emphasis on the use of technology. Having experience on social media shows prospective employers a candidate is aware of the latest trends in technology and is tech-savvy. Therefore, you need to stay on top of relevant technology and social media platforms or you will be considered a dinosaur.
  1. Networking Opportunities- Even when not actively looking for a job, networking with professionals on social media can be a valuable investment in your future. Following executives on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can pay dividends when the time comes to discuss your next opportunity. In addition, utilizing social media provides you with the opportunity to stay in touch with colleagues who can lead you to their connections and possible career openings.

I would like to hear from you on how social media played a role in your recent job search. Please post your comments below.